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Pucker Up Buttercup

Tart Frozen Yogurt

The first time I ever had tart frozen yogurt was on a mother-daughter trip to New York City. Mama and I had shopped till our feet were numb, there was some brief crying on Broadway in Midtown Manhattan but we were determined to make it to Bloomingdale’s. Like all Southern women, we forged ahead for the greater good, which was shopping the shoes at Bloomies!

We landed ourselves in Forty Carrots for an iced tea break and discovered tart frozen yogurt. As we sat, swollen feet and all, going on and on over this delicious treat. Out of the corner of my eye, not staring of course because that’s rude, I noticed a lady enjoying her iced tea and tart yogurt. She looked so familiar, all I could peg is that she was a Southern mama.

For the next few days, mama and I found ourselves at Forty Carrots enjoying our new-found gem, that tart frozen yogurt. Low and behold that same lady would be sitting right there minding her manners and enjoying that yogurt too! It was Celia Weston, an actress that has built a career on playing Southern mama’s.


1 1/2 cup 0% Fage Greek yogurt

3/4 cup 2% Fage Greek yogurt

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 tbsp light Karo syrup

In a small bowl, stir together sugar and water. Microwave for 1 minute then stir to make sure sugar is dissolved. Add buttermilk, stirring well and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine yogurts, simple syrup mixture and Karo syrup. Whisk until well blended and smooth. Pour directly into ice cream maker and follow instructions for maker.

This Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker is one of my favorites. It is around $50 and you can usually find it at Macy’s or Williams-Sonoma. The best part is that it makes ice cream in just 20 minutes!

Best if served immediately.

I usually end a post with a few notes about the recipe but instead here are a few words of wisdom from my Southern mama:

Put some lipstick on, you need to brighten up your face.

Never wear white before Easter or after Labor Day.

It is never too soon to write a thank you note for anything.

No matter what, always keep a pleasant look on your face.

Always mind your manners no matter where you are.

Modern Woman

Fried Green Tomato Wedge Salad

My great-grandmother, Nanny, was a modern woman before her time and if she were alive today she would have still broken the mold when it comes to strong, southern women.

Growing up in Mississippi, she had her sights on going to college in Tennessee to become a teacher and star basketball player. So she set out to make her way by selling tomatoes on the side roads of the Delta to get where she intended to go and never looked back.

Nanny was so independent that she once drove herself to Nashville, checked in the hospital for surgery not even telling my great-grandfather, Frandaddy. Her reply was that he didn’t need to know!

Nanny never slowed down, some of my fondest memories are picking vegetables in her garden and watching her tend to her beloved tomato plants. It was nothing for her to go out in the morning, wring a chicken’s neck and the next thing you know it was fried chicken for breakfast.

In her seventies, she won the Van Buren county beauty pageant, walked 10 miles to raise money for cancer and got up every morning to work-out on her stationery bicycle.

So yes, I come from a long line of strong, southern women. I like to think I have Nanny’s steely will and her love of tomatoes.  Enjoy an updated classic wedge salad with a modern twist!

For the blue cheese dressing:

1 – 4.4 oz light Boursin Cheese

4 oz light blue cheese crumbles

1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk

1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

salt and pepper

In a blender, combine Boursin cheese and buttermilk until you reach a smooth consistency. Add fresh parley, blue cheese crumbles and salt and pepper. Pulse a few times, until the blue cheese is incorporated. If you like a thinner dressing just add a bit more buttermilk. Chill until ready to serve.

For the fried green tomatoes:

2 medium, firm green tomatoes

buttermilk for soaking

1/2 cup cornmeal

1 cup flour

1 tbsp Cajun seasoning

Canola Oil for cooking

Slice green tomatoes in 1/2″ thick slices and place in between paper towels to soak up excess moisture. Let sit for about 5 minutes.

Place tomatoes in a shallow dish and cover with buttermilk. While tomatoes are soaking, combine cornmeal and flour in another shallow dish. Season well with salt and pepper. I prefer my favorite Cajun seasoning instead of salt and pepper for the extra kick.

In a large skillet, heat about an inch of oil over medium-high heat. Take tomato slices, shaking off excess liquid and dredge in cornmeal mixture, place in hot oil and cook for 4-5 minutes per side. After cooking, place fried tomatoes on paper towels to drain off excess oil.

For the wedge salad:

1 head iceberg lettuce, chilled

6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

1 red tomato, diced

hot jalapeno pepper jelly

blue cheese dressing

fried green tomatoes

Cut the iceberg lettuce into 6 - 8 wedges. Top each wedge with a spoonful of blue cheese dressing, diced tomatoes, crumbled bacon and fried green tomatoes. Drizzle a spoonful of hot jalapeno pepper jelly over the wedge salad before serving.


Need a fast hor d’oeuvre, pour the rest of the pepper jelly over a block of cream cheese and serve with Triscuits!


Potato Salad Two Ways

“In the South, perhaps more than any other region, we go back to our home…hoping it remains what it was on a lazy, still summer’s day…”

-Willie Morris

Everything that is summer in the south is at the root of who I am. No matter where I have lived or where I’ve been, my roots bring me back to the lake, celebrating a summer holiday with perfect potato salad.

My Nana was the queen of holiday meals and July 4th is still my favorite thanks to her. Aside from the grilled hamburgers, baked beans and deviled eggs, potato salad is one thing every good southern cook knows how to make by heart. It’s the cornerstone of any summer holiday meal in the south.

So here’s a lightened up version of Nana’s and twist from Lolleigh – potato salad two ways!


3 lbs red new potatoes, washed

1 hard-boiled egg

1/2 cup celery, diced

1/4 cup sweet pickle relish

4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

1 tbsp chives, chopped

2 tbsp sun dried tomatoes, diced

1/2 cup light blue cheese crumbles

1/2 cup Hellmann’s Mayo

1/2 cup light sour cream

1/4 cup 0% Fage greek yogurt

1 tsp white vinegar

salt and pepper

Place whole potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a rolling boil and let cook for about 45 minutes or until potatoes are just tender when pierced with a fork.

Pour off water and let cool. Cube potatoes and divide evenly into two bowls.

For the dressing:

Combine Hellmann’s, sour cream, greek yogurt and vinegar. Set aside.

Classic Potato Salad:

Into one bowl of diced potatoes add egg, celery, relish, salt and pepper. Toss with half of the dressing mixture and chill before serving.

Bacon and Blue Cheese Potato Salad:

In the remaining bowl of potatoes add bacon, chives, sun dried tomatoes, blue cheese crumbles, salt and pepper. Toss with the remaining half of the dressing mixture and chill before serving.


I never subsitute anything for Hellmann’s, not even the reduced fat version. The real deal is just better!

Happy 4th of July!


Simple Grilled Chicken

 ”You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.”

Abraham Lincoln

You can’t fool a good cook with a bad recipe and good cook knows most of the time that simple is better. In all my years of cooking, the most important lesson learned has been the less ingredients and steps a recipe requires, it is usually a better recipe.

It’s the same principle when spotting liar. The more information and the more complicated their story, you can usually bet they’re not telling the truth. So the problem with lying is that all the little details usually add up and get you caught. The same goes for a bad recipe – all those little details and steps add up and the result is a bad dish!


4 chicken breast halves, boneless and skinless

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup canola oil

2 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp honey

1 tbsp orange juice

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Wash and dry chicken breast, place in a large ziploc bag. Whisk together remaining ingredients until well blended. Pour over chicken and seal bag. Place in fridge and let marinate for 1-3 hours.

Preheat grill to a medium-high heat. Grill chicken 8-10 minutes per side, depending on thickness. Juices will run clear when chicken is done.


If you like a little bit spicier marinade, just add more crushed red pepper flakes.

Make a meal on the grill. I like to grill fresh corn and vegetable kabobs when I make this chicken dish.


Lemon Berry Tart

Life is a funny thing – full of ups and downs, great joy and sorrow, heartache and love. A mother’s greatest gift to her child are roots and wings to navigate this sometimes bumpy life and I find myself using these tools more than ever these days.

I am grateful to be a mother today but I am even more grateful to the woman who taught me how to be a mother. It’s funny that at age 36, I need her just as much today as my 14 month old needs me.

We love you to the moon and back – Happy Mother’s Day!


1/2 cup almonds, dry roasted and unsalted

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

1 tbsp sugar

1/4 tsp cinnamon

3 tbsp butter

1 – 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk, fat free

2 eggs, separated

1/3 cup lemon juice, fresh

1 tsp lemon zest

1 tbsp sugar

strawberries and whipped cream for garnish

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Grind almonds in a food processor until finely ground. Combine almonds with graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon and melted butter.

Press mixture into a tart pan with a removable bottom. Make sure to firmly pack the crust down with the bottom of a glass. Bake for 5 minutes and then let cool.

In small bowl, whisk together condensed milk, egg yolks, lemon juice and lemon zest and then set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites and sugar until stiff peaks form.

Fold egg whites into the condensed milk mixture and the pour into the tart pan.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until center is set. Let cool for an hour on a wire rack and then transfer to fridge and let chill for another hour before serving.

Serve with whipped cream and a strawberry.

Backstage Pass

Backstage Pass

This has to be one of the coolest jobs around, feeding the crew of Sugarland. Three meals a day, rolling into different towns, setting up a mobile kitchen and hitting the ground running the minute you get there takes one organized chick to get it done.

My sweet friend, Peanut, is just that girl. She hops on a bus after a show and begins planning her menu for next show. Before getting to the new venue, she calls ahead her shopping list to a runner, gets off the bus, does a little more shopping and then gets to work with the catering crew. 

Breakfast is done, lunch is out and now it’s time to prep beef tenderloin for tonight’s menu featuring filet mignon with béarnaise sauce.

Ready for dinner, grilled halibut with olive tapenede.

The dinner menu for the Nashville Sugarland show. Yum!

Ready to eat!

Peanut and Jack living like rock stars!

Thanks to all for a fun, stress-free day, love and support,


The Blindside

Roasted Carrots

“Our character is what we do when we think no one is looking”

H. Jackson Brown

When I was little I hated carrots. My mom would pile them on my plate and I would just stare at them. I was never one of those kids that snuck them under the table to our dog, instead I was hard headed. I made up my mind and decided that carrots were not for me.

Now that I am older and wiser, roasted carrots are one of my favorite veggies. I am still hard-headed and credit the carrots for building my character!


1 lb bag of carrots, washed and peeled

1 tbsp olive oil

coarse kosher salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Wash and peel carrots. Then slice on a diagonal into 1/2″ to 3/4″ slices.

Toss carrots in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and then place carrots on a baking sheet.

Roast for 20-30 minutes according to if you prefer them lightly roasted or slightly burnt. Makes 4 servings.


Roasted carrots are delicious. They develop a sweet flavor similar to sweet potatoes.

Spaghetti and Cheatballs

Spaghetti and Cheatballs

“The biggest myth about Southern women is that we are fragile types…we’re about as fragile as coal trucks.”

-Lee Smith

So Lolleigh’s kitchen hit a bit of a rough patch this week, but all things considered it’s not gonna shut this kitchen down. I always say that Italians and Southerners have one thing in common, they cook with love and it shows in the food.

Here’s my version of traditional spaghetti and meatballs. Cooked with love and with a lot less fat than a traditional meatball.

Recipe for Meatballs:

1 lb extra lean ground beef, 97/3 or 95/5

1/2 small onion, finely chopped

1 egg

1/4 cup milk

1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs

1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients together well, your hand works best. Then form about 18, 1 inch meatballs.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place a wire rack on top of a foil-lined cookie sheet, bake meatballs for 20 minutes.

 For Sauce:

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 small onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

1 cup tomato sauce

1 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped

1/4 tsp dried oregano

salt and pepper

Heat olive oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Saute onion for 5-7 minutes until tender, add garlic and cook for 30 more seconds. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce and rest of ingredients. Turn heat to medium-low and let simmer while the meatballs continue cooking.

Once meatballs are added to the sauce let simmer for about 20 more minutes and then serve with you favorite pasta.


I like to use Barilla Plus pasta. It’s whole grain with added protein and omega 3′s.

Extra Lean beef is easy to dry out, so don’t over bake the meatballs.

The Blueberry Birthday

Buttermilk Blueberry Muffins

My little guy turned one last week and so we’re back after a long weekend of action-packed 1st birthday festivities! One thing for sure, this kid loves food, he eats anything I put in front of him. Yesterday he tried out tomatoes, cucumbers and kiwi, smacking after every bite he popped in his mouth.

His birthday breakfast was a huge blueberry muffin, which was shoved almost entirely whole into his mouth. Hope you enjoy as much as he did!


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup canola oil

1 egg

1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk

1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

In a large bowl combine all flour, baking powder, salt and sugar then make a well in the center of the mixture.

In a small bowl combine buttermilk, egg and oil. Pour mixture into the well and then gently fold wet and dry ingredients together until just blended. Do not overstir or muffins will be dense.

Gently fold in blueberries. Then drop batter into muffin cups filled 2/3 full. I like to sprinkle about a half teaspoon of raw sugar on top of each muffin before baking for a crunchy, sweet crust on top.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Makes about 15 muffins.


These muffins freeze really well. Just double the recipe and store half in the freezer for later.

I like to use the foil muffin cups that don’t require using a muffin pan so there’s no mess to clean-up.

Me Oh My Jambalaya

Andouille Sausage Jambalaya

Mardi Gras made the list in Patricia Schultz’s book, 1000 Places To See Before You Die but a side note should be added to include that whatever happens at Mardi Gras should go to the grave with you too!

I’m not sure how much I will ever reveal about my first trip to Mardi Gras. It did involve a trip to Pat O’ Brien’s, hurricane stained clothes and being asked to dance by a guy with women’s underpants strung around his neck (they still had the price tag on them!). Great fun and great memories that I’ll take to the grave - peace, love and Fat Tuesday! 


3 cups cooked white, long grain rice

3/4 – 1 lb andouille sausage, preferably turkey

1/ 2 green bell pepper, diced

1/2 large onion, diced

2 celery stalks, diced

1 tbsp olive oil

1 6oz. can tomato paste

Prepare rice according to package directions but substitute chicken broth for water for cooking. Make enough for 3 cups cooked rice.

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add peppers, onions and celery cooking for 5 minutes. Add sliced sausage and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in tomato paste. Cook for a few minutes and then add rice, mixing well. Cook for about 15 minutes before serving being careful not to burn the rice.


I actually found a turkey andouille sausage at Whole Foods. The brand is Wellshire Farms and it was actually really good and had quite a bit of heat to it.