Friday, April 29, 2011

Baby Naming Backlash?

I read an interesting article about baby names today.  A year ago, I was all over baby naming websites, books, lists, and the like seeing that little bit was on her way.  We had basically had her name picked before I even got pregnant, but that didn't stop me from the fun of second guessing myself.  There are even neat, little baby naming polls that you can generate and post on things like blogs or facebook or to just email out to family and friends.  I love baby names; there are just so many good ones out there.  There are, however, those that I loathe.  Interestingly enough, some of those names made the most hated list.  I think burnout plays its part in getting names on this list.  The "Mc-names" of the nineties really got under my skin, Mackayla, McKenna, McDonald's.  Eh?  Too, I find myself frustrated with the shift of once masculine names toward the feminine.  My husband and I both liked Sidney Alexander for a boy, but most of my friends frowned at that saying it was a girl name.  We eventually ruled it out, not for my friends' comments, rather the acronym "S.A.D."  As much as I loved the name, I couldn't imagine having that looming over our child's head : ) 

It's interesting to see the differences in the styles of our daughters' names.  One is not very common and the other's is a family name, very old-timey, but making a shift back up the list.  I find myself drawn to looking back through the family tree to pull inspiration.  I love names that have been around awhile...not sure that we will ever have another child, but I'm always playing around with names.

Here are some that I like:

Boys                   Girls
James                 Jane
Emery                Hazel
Alexander          Elizabeth
Thomas             Camillia
Davis                 Evelyn
Evan                 Stella
Maxim               Rose

Five of the boy names and two of the girl names are family names.  I used up two family names (first and middle) for our baby girl so the pickins are getting slim on family names for a daughter. 

One thing that I discovered that I thought was neat was the many Elizabeths in my family because the women named their daughters after themselves.  Kuddos to them.  Women hardly ever pass down their own names, but men do all of the time.  On a similar note, my grandma told me that it was common for women's maiden names to be included as their child's middle name back in the day.  Too bad that tradition has faded, I liked it a lot, too. 

Are there any traditions in naming that you like/dislike?  Were there any traditions that you liked, but couldn't follow because they clashed with your new last name?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Here's a picture of my mom's cat, Angel.  He's about as big as our Pekingese, George (and he's 17 lbs.)!

This is the remnants of the picket fence that used to surround my mom's house and garage.  My mom's place is magical.  And ancient.  My Granddaddy bought the house from a very old couple.  He'd offered to buy their place for years before they finally agreed.  One day, the old man just called up and said he was ready to sell.  Since my Granddaddy already owned the land that surrounded the place, it just fit right in with the rest of the spread.  But, the area around this house seems different somehow.  It is more magical somehow.  We believe the house was built in the 20's.  It originally consisted of a bedroom, living room, and kitchen.  The rest was added on in the 50's, I think.  Just think, it didn't even contain a bathroom.  The original wasn't even wired for electricity and this place is out in the middle of nowhere, y'all.  Tres magnifique!

The reason I show this fence is this,  look carefully at the remaining hint of!  You can even see it  on the shed next to the fence.  By the way, that little shed houses a cellar that we've been forbade to go into for fear that it would collapse in on itself.  That thing has been there forever and who knows how many snakes or scorpions or black widow spiders lurk inside.  BUT, back to the pink.  The fence, the garage and shed, the house, even the pump house were all painted pink.  AND not just the house, but the inside of it, too!  Every door, cabinet, wall, and trim was dripping in pink.  Can you picture it?  A man painting his whole property pink for his love?  Mind you, pink was en vogue back in the was new on the scene and so many people had pink kitchens and whatnot...but a whole house and all its surroundings?!  I've never seen or heard of such a thing!  I like to think that the man must have loved her an awful lot to paint everything in his bride's favorite color.  We don't know much about the couple.  After all, they did live in the middle of nowhere.  He did leave a headstone on the property (of no relation to him) and when asked about it, he said that he'd made a mistake on the name and just brought it home...that's what he did for a living, carve headstones.  Maybe the pink cheered him from all the death that surrounded his day job.  The couple drug up large flat rocks from the creek for stepping stone paths to the shed and pump-house, and she'd planted roses all around the place.  I like to close my eyes and picture it house, pink picket fence, and pink roses!

I hope that story has painted a rosy, peaceful, picture in your mind.


The Kitchen Witch

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Golly Gee!

Would you take a look at these?!?!

The 1st Zucchini
and the first ripened tomato!
Bebe had to give it a bite to see what all the fuss was about...not what she was expecting : )

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


One of the many meals we enjoyed while our computer was bust...This boil included: corn, sausage, potatoes, and, of course, crawfish.  Mmm Mmmm, good and good fer ya.

I'm adding this to "Savory Sunday" @ Eating in Winnepeg!

Dahlin' Angels

Have you ever seen such sweet Easter angels?!


Michael Lee West following my blog!  I've gotta get my A-game on or at least get my computer up and running at home = )

Monday, April 25, 2011

Waiting, and waiting, and waiting

Have some gorgeous pictures of the girls at Easter, but have to wait 'til we receive our new hard drive before I can upload them (I think)...

In the mean time, since the computer's been down, I picked up Yayas in Bloom and started rereading it.  I'd forgotten how much I love the Yayas : )
Photo credit here

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Crispy Chicken Nuggets

Psst.  Guess who snuck on her husband's laptop.  He's so totally emersed in the sports channel that I don't believe he will be aware.

Well, tonight I was dragging something awful, but I finally hauled my carcass into the kitchen to cook something for that doe-eyed bunch I call my family.  Seriously, like a bunch of Tiny Tim beggars, them. 

Something popped to mind the other day that I figured I could take a crack at, an old Nigela Lawson episode where she cooked up some chicken that she'd marinated in buttermilk.  Let me just add that I love this lady (almost as much as my dear Paula Deen, but don't tell her that, I'd hate for my dahlin' to get her feelings hurt). 

Anyhow, back to the chicken.  I didn't have the time to marinate it in buttermilk as long as Nigela suggested, but it was wonderful.  Too, I didn't have Ritz crackers available (I think her recipe is called "Ritzy Chicken Nuggets") so I used Panko crumbs seasoned with Old Bay seasoning, a dash of kosher salt, and a sprinkling of Rajun' Cajun 'cause, c'mon, I'm keepin' it real.  Another change to the recipe was that I baked my nuggets.  Hmm, maybe with all these changes, I'll just call it my own recipe so here goes:

Crispy Chicken Nuggets
2 to 3 chicken breasts, pounded thin (To do this, I placed the breasts in a Ziploc and hammered with a meat tenderizing mallet)
1/2 cup buttermilk, (oh go ahead and marinate your bird, if it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside)
Panko Crumbs
Old Bay Seasoning to taste
1/2 tsp. salt
A dash of Cajun seasoning, to taste

After pounding out the chicken, we cut the breast into strips about an inch wide (not real specific on this part).  We dipped the strips in a bowl of buttermilk and then dredged through the seasoned Panko crumbs which we  had poured out onto a plate.  I placed them on a parchment lined baking sheet and baked @ 350 degrees until done.  I turned the nuggets once, after about 15 minutes.

We served these with sweet potatoes, and a honey mustard dipping sauce for the nuggets.

To make the honey mustard, just mix about a half cup of mayo, 1/4 cup honey, and a a little less than a 1/4 cup brown mustard.  Stir well.

Sorry no pics, still.  Hard drive is being ordered soon.  I hope.

Ta ta,

The Kitchen Witch

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Bummed Out

Computer crashed on Sunday...possible that we will not be able to recover anything since we didn't it backed up (I know, I know).  Sent the hard drive off to see what they could recover and praying that they get Bebe's entire first year worth of photos back.  Prayers, please.  I'll be out of touch for a few : ( but will have lots of yummy pics of Crawfish Boil, cakes, and other goodies in no time.

Friday, April 15, 2011

TGIF & a Mexican Martini...sort of

For a girl who hardly ever drinks, a craving for a Mexican Martini sure hit me like a ton of bricks.  If you've never had a Mexican Martini, think of a dirty margarita, a salty-sweet combination of citrus-y flavors mixed with Spanish olives.  Mmmm  Deliciousness.

I googled a recipe and quickly realized I didn't have all the makes for a traditional one so I do what I always do, put a "whatever I've got on hand" spin on it.

Here's how it went:

The Kitchen Witch's Easy Mexican Martini

1/2 oz. Triple Sec
1/2 oz. Sweetened Lime Juice (I used Rose's brand)
3 oz. Sweet & Sour Mix
1-1/2  oz.  Tequila (I use Jose Cuervo)
1/2 oz. Orange Liquor (I used Paula's Texas Orange)
Splash of fresh squeezed lemon juice
Splash of Olive Juice
3 Pimento stuffed Spanish olives

Use less tequila if you like.  I felt a buzz off of just a few sips.  Then again, that's coming from a girl who almost never drinks!

Bottoms up,

The Kitchen Witch

Fried Green Tomatoes

I never imagined I'd end up with as many tomatoes on the vine as we currently have; I'm thrilled!  I decided to try my hand at Fried Green Tomatoes and they certainly were yummy.

Here's what I did:

Fried Green Tomatoes
Vegetable Oil
4-5 Med. to Large size Green Tomatoes
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 cup ea., Yellow Corn Meal & All Purpose Flour for a separate bowl
Cajun Seasoning

After washing and slicing my tomatoes, I beat two eggs in a medium sized bowl.  In a second bowl, I added a 1/2 cup plain All Purpose Flour.  In the third bowl, I combined a 1/2 cup of each, Yellow Corn Meal & AP Flour.  I seasoned this with Ragin' Cajun Seasoning, but feel free to use any kind of seasoned salt that you like. 

Once you have your dredging line up ready to go, heat oil a 1/4" deep in a cast iron skillet.  Make sure your oil is hot before you add your first batch to fry or else you'll end up with an oil saturated tomato.  Once your skillet has a good sizzle, start adding your tomatoes.  Once they're finished frying, place on a paper towel lined plate.

We served these with Ranch dressing for dipping.

I'm sharing at Designs By Gollum's Foodie Friday event.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Big Boy Tomatoes
Yellow Pear Tomatoes
Patio Variety
Beaf Eater Variety
Would you look at all of these tomatoes; I'm so excited, y'all!  Last year I only had three measly tomatoes between two plants all season! 

Now, I've got a question about Fried Green Tomatoes...are there a certain variety that's best for making them or will any kind of unripened tomato do?  It seems that my google search left me a little confused on the verdict so what's your opinion?

Many said there is a specific variety that never turns red, others said that it's just an unripened red tomato.

My thoughts, I can't imagine southerners back in the day being so particular about having grocers "order a specific variety of tomato" just so they could prepare Fried Green Tomatoes.  I think we've over complicated this, y'all.  Wouldn't it make sense that some women saw that they had more tomatoes cropping up than they knew what to do with and so they started plucking them off?  I bet some clever lady sat and thought about what to do with her rock hard tomato and figured, "I'm gonna fry this little sucker within an inch of it's existence." and viola, the fantabulous Fried Green Tomato was born ; )

I think I'll fry some up tonight!  I'll post pics to let you know how it went.

Ta ta for now,

The Kitchen Witch

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Getting Ready for the BIG Day

Baby's turning one in less than a month!  I wanted to do a "Big Top" birthday and so I've been scouring the web for any kind of circus throw-backs that I could find.  Check these out...
found on Etsy
We're serving all the common carny fare...Hot Dogs, popcorn, giant salty pickles, and roasted peanuts of  course. : )  I bought the polka dot straws for good measure.  I don't know if I'll use them to craft cupcake toppers or to sip Coke & Root Beer floats. 

It's all so fun, planning the first birthday.  I'm in the process of making her birthday banner and will post that in a few days.  It's my "I can't sew for crap" version of bunting or politely called, "No Sew" ; )

I'm at a loss for the flavor of cupcakes to make, but I've bought some fabric to cover our lazy susan which has three tiers and ought to display the little cakes nicely.  Why (by the way) do they call these things Lazy Susans?  If my name were Susan, I'd be offended.  Hmmm, deep thoughts~

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Whatcha Got Cookin'? (Tuna Steak Sandwiches)

Grilled Tuna Steak Sandwichs and a Spinach Salad, that's what! 

We like to use King's Hawaiian Sweet Bread for our buns.  We drizzle the steaks w/EVOO and sprinkle with salt.  We serve it with a slice of tomato, lettuce, and Tatziki sauce.  To make the Tatziki sauce we mix equal parts greek yogurt and sour cream (I'd guess about 3/4 cups of ea., but mix what you need depending on how much you want to serve).  I add in half a cucumber, small diced, and 3 cloves of garlic mashed in a molcajete with kosher salt and olive oil, enough to make a paste.  If you don't want to add the garlic, feel free to do without; it does spice the sauce up!  We also added in a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and fresh dill, chopped, from our garden.  You can use this sauce on the sandwich or the salad,  or both!  For the salad we used baby spinach, diced tomato, dill, and cucumber slices.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Pigs for her Piggies!

This little pig went to market, this little pig stayed home...

     Bebe's got her first pair of Squeaker Shoes to commemorate her first steps!  The sound of her squeaking all over the house is pure heaven ~ : )

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Little Bit of This and a Little Bit of That

How many times have you gone in with an idea in mind only to realize you don't know where you're really going with it?  The other day, I bought Penne pasta and Italian sausage for the makings of some sort of pasta dish.  I've read a few recipes with these ingredients so knew I had something to work with, but what else could I add?

I decided that Bell Peppers and Sweet Onions would compliment nicely, but I was still missing something.  While the water built up to a boil, I merrily chopped and sauteed.  The Italian Sausage was thawing...Hmmm.  What else could I add?  I decided I'd add sliced Yellow Squash.  Yes, that would go nicely.  And I remembered that I had a can of Artichoke Hearts.  Mmm.  Now we're talking.  I had Big Sister pick some fresh Sweet Basil and Italian Parsley to toss in at the end, but still...

Sauce!  I needed a sauce.  Too bad I didn't have any cream or jarred pasta sauce to doctor up.  BUT WAIT!  I did have a can of Tomato Sauce and a brick of Cream Cheese.  That would make a lovely cream sauce, wouldn't it?!  Well, yes; it did, and there folks is how you wing dinner  ; )
FOODIE FRIDAY Click for details

Season to taste.  I kept it simple with S&P.  By the way, I'm sharing on Foodie Friday's over @ Designs By Gollum.  Check it out : )  And, y'all know we usually get to eating in this house quicker than you can blink an eye so no photo of the finished prodect.  I'll have to add one in later on : )

Love and Hugs,

The Kitchen Witch

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Fried Okra among other things

I began the night's dinner without any real plan.  I had a pack of Babyback Ribs that I'd given the rub and a bushel of sweet potatoes that I'd pricked to bake, but I needed something else...something green....something yummy.  In the midst of my thoughts, a  childhood memory if fried okra came to mind and I knew that's what I had to make.  It's been a long time since I've had fried okra and I don't know if I've ever prepared it myself...maybe once a long time ago. 

After looking to my idol, Paula Deen, I realized that my buttermilk had gone bad and I wasn't sure of whatelse to use.  I read another recipe that called for milk or cream and I figured that was something I could swing.  To make Fried Okra went a little something like this:

Fried Okra
1/2 Cup Yellow Cornmeal
1 Cup Flour
1  tsp. Salt
1/2 Tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. Cajun Seasoning
Milk to dip okra in before dredging in Cornmeal mixture.
Vegetable Oil to fry okra in ( I fill pan knuckle deep w/oil..maybe a tad more)

Line a cookie sheet with paper towels to drain okra.  Heat oil and begin to dunk okra in milk and dredge through flour. 

You will have to work in batches.

Here's my pics.