A Wife Loved Like The Church

Posts Tagged ‘Southern Living

If you’ve ever gotten to talk to me for very long {especially after October 1st}, you might know that I am a little obsessed with Christmas. So, when Southern Living sent me an offer for this:

photo credit

I seriously had to stop from reading it cover to cover and waste spend the entire afternoon planning out my Christmas meals, decorations and parties. Because, after all, it is only June 1st and I still have 207 days till Christmas.

Healthy fried chicken? Isn’t that an oxymoron? Not when you oven fry it!

In an effort to make a staple comfort food healthy, I decided to oven fry our chicken. Essentially, you batter the chicken like normal, but instead of frying it in oil, you bake it. Yes, I am sure some good ole’ Southern mama is about ready to say “bless your heart” as she shakes her head at me.

First, take your raw chicken and beat it. You heard me right. Beat it. You want to tenderize the chicken to ensure it cooks through. This is especially true when you fry it.

Whisk eggs in a bowl.  A trick my mom taught me is to add milk to your eggs to make the mixture go further.

Dip chicken in egg mixture.

Spread flour on a flat surface for coating chicken. I added wheat germ (for some bonus “health”) and cayenne pepper (for a kick) to my flour.

Throughly coat chicken on both sides.

Place chicken on a pan and cook at 350* for 20 minutes per side (total of 40 minutes).

The finished product:

To be honest, the breading didn’t turn out quite how I’d like. A lot of it stayed on the pan, and the chicken didn’t really have a “fried” look. Everyone cheerfully ate it and the cayenne pepper was a nice touch. However, I’m not sold on oven frying over oil frying. Mostly because, I just love fried chicken.

I served this meal with some mashed potatoes, green beans and my favorite easy biscuits. While it’s a bit time consuming (and even more so if you fry the chicken) it’s a pretty simple recipe and a “must” for every good Southern woman.

More pictures of my little helpers. I’m not quite sure why Julia’s telling Hannah to “be quiet”. Maybe because Hannah kept laughing hysterically at her.

And this is what Hannah does when I try pushing her past her 3-hour nursing limit. She tries eating anything she can grab.

Mental health that is.

And within the context of traveling with a potty-training toddler and a nursing infant.

We got back from Tennessee in one piece. We had a blast, but I was glad to be home and so were the girls. I never realized how challenging it must have been for my parents (i.e. my mom) to travel with 4 kids back and forth from Tennessee to Texas every year. Oy. I’m just tired thinking about it!

Highlights from the trip:

– seeing my best friend from junior high for the first time in 10+ years.

– going to Dave’s exhibit opening for Seven Deadly Sins.

– eating at Shoney’s with my brothers.

– eating a hot fudge cake at Shoney’s. All. By. Myself.

– having lunch with John.

– deck time.

– watching Julia run around half naked. All week. 😉

– going to the private opening of Twilight Visions – which is all about Paris.

– spending 24 hours with my best friend.

– having the best trip home in a long time.

Julia on the front porch with my family's dog, Buddy. You can't tell, but she has on no pants.... ;)

Julia on the front porch with my family's dog, Buddy. You can't tell, but she has on no pants.... 😉

Dave has this skeleton for a shoot he's doing. Julia didn't bat an eye at her "lunch mate", except to get a little mad that he was in her usual seat.

Dave has this skeleton for a shoot he's doing. Julia didn't bat an eye at her "lunch mate", except to get a little mad that he was in her usual seat.

Omi and Hannah. Beautiful.

Omi and Hannah. Beautiful.

For whatever reason, Hannah didn't sleep very well while we were gone. But, towards the end of the trip she started sleeping on Omi's bed and loved it. Must have reminded her of being at home on our bed.

For whatever reason, Hannah didn't sleep very well while we were gone. But, towards the end of the trip she started sleeping on Omi's bed and loved it. Must have reminded her of being at home on our bed.

Time to renew my Southern Living magazine. You might remember the sad, sad day I cancelled my subscription last year. And then the happy, happy day I got it back.

Well, August was my last month, again. Jonathan said I could renew if I could get another good deal. Lo and behold, the next day I got a card from SL asking me to renew for $1.03 an issue. Not quite the deal I had last time, but I’ll take it.

I called Southern Living.

Because I couldn’t find the card they sent me in the mail, they wouldn’t give me any deals on my renewal.


I googled “Southern Living Promotional”.

Found an amazing deal on Amazon.

$14.97 for 2 years (plus two extra issues over the holidays!)

Coming to a whopping .57 cents per issue.

Take that rep lady!

This girl knows how to get her magazine!

And the best part?

This time next year I don’t have to go through this again! 🙂

Can’t keep a Southern woman down if ya try!

Southern Living does a personal/fun story on the last page of their magazine every month. July’s issue was “What Southern Women Want in Men”. There was a list of 15 things Southern women like/want in men (not just their husbands, but all men). I’d say with the exception of one (something to do with college ball) I agreed with all of them. Somewhere on the list was “the ability to build things, i.e. homes, home renovations, etc”. And ya know what? This Southern gal really likes that her man can build things. In the last two months, Jonathan has renovated our basement and then this past weekend he built this:



With the help of two friends, Jonathan constructed our pergola. It is a beauty! I sat outside for part of this afternoon and the porch is nearly completely shaded. It’s wonderful. Kinda like Jonathan. 🙂

Since Julia was born, I’ve been getting more and more anxious about her fully grasping her “heritage”. We’re mastering the Hispanic side (thanks to Grandma), but I’ve found that the tried and true Southerner side will mostly likely only come from me. Not good.

See, I spent a majority of my high school and college years running away from my roots. Honestly, there never seemed to be much use in holding on to them, until I moved to Iowa and had a baby. Now, I want desperately for Julia, Dubya Dos and any other Windham babies to just “get” it. I know of some things that will come naturally for me to pass on: saying ma’am and sir; calling coke, coke, none of this pop stuff; enjoying a good glass of tea; knowing how to make a mean batch of fried chicken; and understanding where the Mason-Dixon line clearly cuts off.

I googled different “Southern” phrases for a laugh. Although, I am thoroughly convinced these are used everywhere, not just in the South. Let me know if you’ve actually heard and used them, as I know for sure I have:


Like a chicken with your head cut off

Snowball’s chance in h*ll 

Argue with a fence post

Rode hard and put up wet

Short end of the stick

Ruffled her feathers (I actually say this way more than I realized!)

Chewin’ the fat

I declare (said like “Well, I declare!”, when something is shocking or a surprise)

Bump on a log

Bitten’ off more than you can chew

Barking up the wrong tree

Like water off a ducks back


And here are some of my favorite stereotypes:


A Southerner knows that “fixin” can be used as a noun, a verb, or an adverb. 

Only Southerners make friends while standing in lines … And when we’re in line, we talk to everybody! 

In the South, y’all is singular …. All y’all is plural. 

Every Southerner knows tomatoes with eggs, bacon, grits, and coffee are perfectly wonderful; that red eye gravy is also a breakfast food; and that fried green tomatoes are not a breakfast food. 

All Southerners know exactly when “by and by” is. They might not use the term, but they know the concept well. 

Only a Southerner knows instinctively that the best gesture of solace for a neighbor who’s got trouble is a plate of hot fried chicken and a big bowl of cold potato salad. If the neighbor’s trouble is a real crisis, they also know to add a large banana puddin’. 


But, truth be told, there are a few things about the South that I will gladly leave behind and never, ever teach my children. And that’s the great thing about being a Southerner in Iowa. I get to pick and choose what Julia and Dubya Dos learns about all things Southern. 

*When I was in college, a guy I knew used this as a pick-up line on me. He wasn’t actually meaning it (or if he was I never knew!), but he said it every time he saw me.

I must say that I’ve been known to be a politically charged person. Being that I am very opinionated, the two go hand in hand. But, if by the title of my post you were hoping for my opinion on this year’s election and how I view the Iraqi war, I’m sorry to say you will be disappointed.

However, if you were hoping for something a little more enjoyable, then I have good news.

I recently got Grandma’s Wartime Kitchen: World War II and the Way We Cooked from the library. The idea behind the cookbook is to show you how our grandmothers cooked while having their food rationed. I must say I am loving this book!

I just made Swedish Meatballs last week that were an absolute hit. All of the recipes call for items that you most likely already have tucked away in your pantry or fridge, making dinner time just that much easier.

Now, I will let you know, these recipes aren’t necessarily “health friendly”, given that the desserts call for corn syrup and most of the dinners call for vegetable shortening. However, you can easily replace these items with olive oil, honey, agave or such. Mainly, the idea is to cook with what you have, use all your resources and be mindful of what you eat.

While I enjoy going through different cook books each month, I might be persuaded to make this one a permanent item. It’s pretty much the greatest.

Swedish Meatballs

1 pound ground beef
1 cup day-old bread crumbs (about 3 slices) – *Just process the bread to make the crumbs
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening – *I used olive oil
1 1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350*F.
Combine ground beef, bread, egg, onion, 1/4 teaspoon salt, allspice and pepper. Shape mixture into 24 meatballs.
Heat shortening in a 3-quart Dutch oven. Add meatballs and saute until brown on all sides; remove to bowl. Add 1 cup milk to the Dutch oven and bring to a boil. Stir remaining milk and flour together, add to boiling milk mixture along with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Return meatballs to sauce. Cover and bake 30 minutes. Serve from Dutch oven.

Some variations that I made: I don’t have a Dutch oven, so I just browned the meat in a regular pan. Then I moved them to a small baking dish. I made the sauce in the pan I used for the meat, then poured it over top the meatballs, covered with foil and baked.