A Wife Loved Like The Church

Posts Tagged ‘Southern Living

This week a made a batch of Southern Living’s blackberry sweet tea. I thought I’d be sweet {pun intended} and pass along the recipe.

{photo credit}

Blackberry Sweet Tea

  • 3 cups fresh or frozen blackberries, thawed
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • Pinch of baking soda
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 2 family-size tea bags
  • 2 1/2 cups cold water
  • Garnish: fresh blackberries

Combine blackberries and sugar in a large container, and crush with a wooden spoon; stir in mint and baking soda.

Pour 4 cups boiling water over tea bags; cover and steep 5 minutes. Discard tea bags.

Pour tea over blackberry mixture; let stand at room temperature 1 hour. Pour tea through a wire-mesh strainer into a large pitcher, discarding solids. Add 2 1/2 cups cold water, stirring until sugar dissolves. Cover and chill 1 hour. Garnish, if desired.

This is a super, super, super easy recipe. If you’ve ever made sweet tea, it’s as easy as that. However, I will say this: as I’m not a big fan of sweet tea, I’m not really a big fan of flavored {cold} tea. The blackberries give the tea a tartness, that I wasn’t in love with. I think you could easily remedy this by cutting back on the amount of blackberries used, or increase the sugar. BUT, Jonathan loved the tea, it was certainly tasty and it made me realize how incredibly easy it is to make flavored teas. I’m planning to experiment with mangos, because that does sounds yummy.

Do you like sweet tea? How about flavored tea?

Visit Alicia at Alicia’s Homemaking for more Try New Adventures Thursday.

This is the temp my car registered yesterday afternoon

After starting the week off at a blustery 50*, we ended our week with, well, a 50*+ jump. That has to be a record of some sort.

The a/c is on, ice water in hand and the dress code is anything cool. The girls and I are living by the pool most afternoons, and enjoying every minute of it. I’m surprised at how adjusted I am becoming to the temperature. Although, all my wonderful secret fit belly pants and bella bands are not heat-friendly. I’ve tried folding them down, but then it puts too much constriction on my stomach which is pretty uncomfortable. It leaves me in a quandry as to how to hold up my pants. I suppose dresses are the way to go after all.

Southern Living’s May issue has some wonderful sweet tea recipes that I am hoping to try this week. Currently, I have water boiling for blackberry sweet tea – I’ll be sure to share the recipe with you all Thursday. They also have a sweet tea tart which looks divine. And while I might not drink sweet tea often, I’m a Southerner at heart and love anything recipe that requires tea, sugar and heavy cream. Hmmm….

I’m not sure about where you live, but here in Texas summer has fully arrived. While, maybe Texas summer hasn’t arrived, but summer by most normal standards. The high today is 90. N-i-n-e-t-y. Riiiight. I forgot that part of the deal when I signed up to move back here. Summers get hot. It starts in March. Ends in November.

During college I wore a lot of skirts and tank tops. But two and a half kids later, piecing together several different coordinated outfits doesn’t seem too feasible for me {unless of course, they are Gymboree hand-me-downs from my awesome SIL}. And so my love of dresses is renewed a little earlier this year.

As my stomach expands, I’m going to need to add in a few flowing dresses and transition out my fitted ones. Here are my favorite options:

Old Navy Ruffled Linen-Blend Sundress in Coral Tropics {Notice the empire waist? Much needed}

Old Navy Floral Print Jersey Dress in Blue Print {How delicate and pretty is this?!}

Merona Maternity Ruffle neck Dress in Purple {Let’s face, I’m probably gonna need to “bump” up come June}

Old Navy Ruffled-Yoke Jersey Dress in Blue Typhoon {This just speaks “cute and comfy”}

Mossimo Cami Maxi Dress in Avalon Sea {Though I’m weary of spaghetti straps}

Old Navy Flower-Graphic Tank Dress in Black Jack {Simple yet way cute}

A Pea in the Pod Sleeveless Rosette Dress in Charcoal {Very beautiful, very impractical, very expensive}

Motherhood Sleeveless Ruffled Dress in Green/Pink Floral {This looks so sweet and innocent}

Anthropologie Pangaea Silk Dress {So feminine, so silky, so, so expensive}

Merona Carey Dress in Ebony {I actually am ordering this to wear in my high school best friend’s wedding in late May}

Do you have any summer dresses that you’ve been eyeing? Any good maternity dress suggestions?

Visit Amanda at Oh Amanda for more Top Ten Tuesday.

Growing up I prided myself on having no Southern accent. I worked continuously to sound as if I was from any where but Tennessee. Then in the summer of 2002, after spending time in southern Alabama, I realized how deeply I missed my Southern accent. Unfortunately, it no longer comes naturally {unless I’m very tired or very upset} and it seems odd to work on an accent at nearly 30. So instead of drawing out my vowels and slowing down my speech, I’ve devoted myself to other Southern endeavors, like mastering fried chicken, sweet tea, and teaching my girls to say ma’am and sir. One endeavor {which might be my favorite and easiest} is to subscribe to Southern Living. And while, I don’t always make their mouth-watering recipes, when I come a cross one that grabs me by the horns, I know it’s going to be a keeper.

Goat Cheese and Strawberry Grilled Cheese Sandwich

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The original recipe called for more ingredients than I had on hand, so I made a simplified version:

1/4-1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese

2-3 strawberries, thinly sliced

2 pieces of bread

Place half of the goat cheese on a slice of bread. Layer with strawberries. Add remaining cheese. Grill on a lightly grease frying pan {or in your George Foreman, like me}, until cheese is melted. Cut in half. Enjoy!


I’ve experimented with other cheeses, and will say that goat cheese is the way to go. It’s tanginess mingles just perfectly with the sweet-tartness of the strawberries. It’s delicious!

What’s your favorite grilled cheese sandwich?

Visit Jill at Diaper Diaries for more Things I Love Thursday.


I’ve lived in the North. I’ve experienced heavy-crazy snow fall. But all you Northern people complaining about last week’s snowpocalypse clearly don’t know real snow fall.  Because, if you really knew what real snow fall looked like, then you’d have freaked when you saw this:

Instead of freaking out about Chicago’s weather:

{photo credit}

Because we all know, that this is worse:

And abandonment of your car will not only be necessary but mandatory.

And you can never been too safe:

{Notice the “HELP” signal?????}

When we moved into our apartment, we laughed that it had a fireplace. A fireplace. In southern Texas. Now you’re laughing. Even though we laughed, we knew right away, the moment it was cold enough to put the fireplace to use, we would. December came a went. No fire. Then the new year began. Still, no fire. Finally, this last week, we had an “arctic blast” {weatherman’s words, not mine} and the daytime temperatures have been in the high 30’s / low 40’s and slightly dreary. Perfect fireplace weather.

Feel the warmth?

Monday I told the girls I would attempt to build and start a fire. After much coaxing turned begging and finally walking away, I had a fire going. It was slow at first, but then it burned for several hours, using up all our wood. Tuesday we bought more wood, and I started yet another fire. Come Wednesday night, I tried my hand once again. We celebrated my new found ability by roasting marsh mellows. Yummy.

Yes, those are stockings you see. All our Christmas decorations are still up, with no plans of taking them down soon. And it's not from my love of Christmas, just sheer laziness.

Now, it might not seem like a big deal to start a fire all on your own. Plenty of people have done it. But I can’t honestly say I’ve ever started a fire by myself before this week. I’ve always started fires with other people, had help collecting kindling, help coaxing it, and bringing it to life. Never all by myself, where the fire won’t start unless I start it. It was a pretty great feeling!

Up next? Starting a fire without matches! {Well, ok, that might be a bit of a stretch.}

Visit Alicia at Alicia’s Homemaking for more Try New Adventures Thursday.

After spending time off and on all day yesterday making my yeast rolls, I’d say they were a success {for my first time at least}.

They didn’t turn out as soft as I imagined. Once I got to the point of punching down the risen dough, it was really, really gooey so I added more flour to make it easier to handle. Perhaps I added too much? Or let it rise too long? Or even baked them too much? Not completely sure what happened, but the outside was harder and more dense, the inside was a little softer but not exactly what I like in my dinner rolls.

In the end, it was a good first try. I’m giving it another go today in hopes of learning something new. Wish me luck!

You might recall my post about being scared to use yeast. Well, it’s only taken 5 months for me finally get over my irrational fear and use it! I currently have dinner rolls rising {at least I hope they’re rising…}.

First off, I was completely miffed by the idea of proofing my yeast. Maybe it’s because I have no clue what I’m doing, but I kept thinking “So, if I proof the yeast and it’s active, then what? What do I do with the stuff in the cup? How to I know that putting the yeast straight into the mixture won’t kill it?”  Turns out, you use the yeast you proof. Of course it would be that simple. Duh

Here’s a simple way to proof your yeast:

Measure 1/2 cup of water into a coffee mug.

Measure 1 tablespoon sugar into a small bowl.

Measure 2 1/4 teaspoon yeast {or one packet} into a small bowl.

1. Heat water in microwave until temperature is about 100 degrees {which was 12 seconds in my microwave}.

2. Add sugar. Stir until dissolved.

3. Add yeast, stir {won’t dissolve fully} and set for 5-10 minutes.

If your yeast looks like this:

Then you’ve done it right and your yeast is active. Now, apparently {I say apparently, because I still don’t know the final outcome of my rolls} you can just add this mixture into your recipe. You will need to subtract 1/2 cup water, 1 tablespoon sugar and 2 1/4 teaspoon yeast from the original recipe.

If my rolls turn out {and even if they don’t} I’ll make sure to let you know all about it!

I don’t drink sweet tea.

{But, I do drink my sacrilegious unsweet tea from a mason jar, so that counts for something, right??}

I’ve never really enjoyed sweet tea, but always want to. Add in my lack of a true Southern accent and I feel as though I’ve slighted my Southern heritage. But, I’m working to remedy my drinking ways. This week I made our normal two batches of tea {unsweet for me, sweet for Jon and the girls} and I’m drinking my tea half and half. Verdict? I’m not in love, but it’s growing on me.

My dear readers, you are in for a special treat. I’ve decided to share my all time favorite family recipe with you: Poppy Seed Chicken. {You know it’s a fabulous recipe when it’s featured in Southern Living.} My recipe varies slightly from SL so if you want the exact “mama’s way” recipe, you’ll need to follow theirs. Otherwise, I’ll give you mine.

What you need:

2-3 cups chicken, cut up

1 can cream of chicken {or cream of mushroom}

1 8 oz sour cream

1/2 roll Ritz crackers

2-3 tablespoons poppy seeds

Boil chicken until complete. I typically use boneless, skinless chicken breast, but finding cheap-ish free range chicken breast just isn’t easy. So, this go round I opted for a variation of bone-in breast and thighs that are free-range. If you do that, you’ll need to boil, then peel off the skin and de-bone.

Mix together chicken, cream soup, poppy seeds and sour cream:

Wanna know a secret? I use two cans of cream soup – one cream of chicken and one cream of mushroom. Why? Helps make the dish go further.

Wanna know an even crazier secret? This time I used plain yogurt instead of sour cream:

I had everything ready to go for making dinner, opened the refrigerator to grab the sour cream and…. we had no sour cream. Perfect. I went out on a limb and tossed in plain yogurt {since I have always heard you could substitute it for sour cream}. In the end, it had a slightly different taste, but if you had never had poppy seed chicken before, I doubt you’d notice the difference.

Put your mix in a cooking dish and spread with chopped up Ritz crackers and poppy seeds.

Here’s the end result:

Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes, or until golden and bubbly.

Our standard poppy seed dish is served with potatoes, veggies and bread. You can make the dish ahead of time {morning of or night before} and leave it in the fridge until you’re ready to cook it. It’s an easy dish that is a wonderfully yummy comfort food!

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