Friday, October 29, 2010

Sister Saturday Pumpkin Soup

It's time for Sister Saturday!

Super Sisters  Vanessa and Heather
 are throwing a soup party
and have invited folks to bring 
their best soup recipes
and come along.

I wanted to join the fun.

But which soup to bring?
Decisions, decisions…

Probably not what the sisters had in mind.

In truth, I didn't know what to bring. I thought about bringing chili, but honestly, there’s nothing at all special about my chili. I don’t even use dry beans. I thought of a few other soups too, but my soup making is mostly trial and error, emphasis on the error.   

So I decided to try a new recipe. See... the wonderful thing about a virtual pot luck is that it's visual.  Even if it actually tastes like rubber cement, no one is the wiser as long as it looks good. 

I can't possibly be the only one who thinks like that.

I decided to make pumpkin soup. Now, I've never made pumpkin soup before. In fact, I've never even eaten pumpkin soup before. I just had a notion that it would be an Octoberish thing to bring.

I found my recipe on
In level of  difficulty, it scores a “Debbie”. 

I just finished making it
and tasting it,
It's good! 
 It’s great!
As in 
 I-can’t-believe-Debbie-made-this great...
Maybe this recipe thing is a good idea.

Coconut Pumpkin Soup with Curried Pecans

¼ cup chopped onions. I used sweet onions, of course.
3T. curry powder (reserve 1 tablespoon)
15 ounces pureed pumpkin
2 cups vegetable stock
3 T. pure maple syrup (reserve 1 tablespoon)
15 ounce can of coconut milk
¼ cup pecan halves
a dollop of whipping cream

So first….

Sautee the onions in the olive oil for 5 minutes
Whisk in
               2 T. curry powder
               Vegetable stock
               2 T. maple syrup
Simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove from heat.
Blend in food processor or blender
Return to the pot and add the coconut milk.
Simmer for about 10 more minutes.


Mix the remaining curry powder and maple syrup and coat the pecans. Toast coated pecans for 10 minutes at 375 degrees.

That's it. Seriously delicious.
Garnished with a little whipping cream and the pecans...

The best pumpkin soup I've ever eaten.

Of course...
 If you hippity hop over to the soup exchange, you will discover that our hostess Heather (You know, the one with the word "gourmet" in the title of her blog...that Heather)  has made...
Curried Pumpkin Soup

Yep. That's exactly the kind of thing that happens to me at a real pot luck. The gourmet cook brings the same dish.  Now, I'll have to do that embarrassing shuffle to the car with my full pot of untouched soup.

Just another day in paradise...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Simply Snowing?

Have I mentioned that I love snow?
Well, I do.

I live in southeast Georgia, after all. Around here, no one in his right mind ignores a snowfall. From the youngest child to the grumpiest geezer, we all get just a little giddy at the sight of the first flake.

I'm among the giddiest.
rush outside with the other six year olds
to catch the snow flakes
on the tip of my tongue.
I scrape together slush balls
to fling at unsuspecting targets.

 if it snows during the night,
I rush outside in pajamas
at the crack of dawn
to capture it 
 before the Georgia sun makes mush
 out of my wonderland.

Yep. Snow around here is not only rare, it's fleeting. It must be enjoyed in the moment. That’s why for most Georgians, snow is the ultimate simple pleasure.  

Now, if you were thinking that we enjoyed a rare October snow here in Dixie, you would be wrong. You weren't thinking that, were you? 

This week's simple pleasure is enjoying a snow of another sort.
one that isn't all that rare.
In fact,
 it's  so common that some folks
whiz right on by 
 without a sideways glance
as if it were not special at all.

What a pity...

The Georgia snow crop

It arrives every October like clockwork,
blanketing the fields on the 30 mile country commute. 
It's  my  favorite
crop of all.

I've been waiting since the first flurries of late summer...

I watched as it blossomed white and pink...

And then, as little tiny cotton bolls began to produce little tiny cotton balls...

 And I watched...
 And I waited..
And waited...
for the fields to be defoliated
leaving nothing but fields of fluffy white
Georgia snow

It only lasts a few days

So I pulled Eenezer to the side of the road
and crawled on the hood 
with a shiny red Kodak.

And I captured the moment
before some cotton pickin' farmer
showed up to gather his Georgia snowcrop 
for a simple pleasure of the commerical sort.

Enjoying the Georgia snow crop...

This week's simple pleasure.

Joining Dayle at A Collection of This and That
 for her
Simple Pleasures party.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Chuck Wagon

Plan B...

This is not the table we had planned for this week. We had another one all ready to go… Unfortunately, the weatherman had other ideas, and we had to take a rain check.

So... we just went with the flow. We’re nothing if not flow goers.

We thought to the weekend ahead and let it dictate a little inspiration. You see, we’re not only having a Hallelujah Night Chili Party at our church, I’m also planning to attend a Soup Party in Blogland as well.

This one...
We decided to put together a chili inspired tablescape
which I insisted that we call
A Chuck Wagon

A chuck wagon must use cast iron cookery. Fortunately, the Duchess has plenty of it. She loves to use old family pieces in her decorating. (If you have read here for long, you’ve probably figured that one out already…)

We wanted to use an old cast iron spider that had belonged to her grandmother, but it was nowhere to be found. We finally discovered it down in the bottom of a huge old crock where it was moonlighting as a plant elevator.

So technically… that’s an antique crock pot in the center of our chuck wagon table.

Another cast iron pot holds fall mums and little red peppers.

Bandanas were the only logical choice for chuck wagon napkins. Instead of napkin rings, we stuffed our bandana napkins in some denim pockets cut from a pair of the husband’s old jeans.

Next, we had to invite our invisible friends. We weren’t quite sure who would like to come to a chuck wagon so I let the invisible guest pickometer do the choosing.

I just typed in the words red hot chili peppers…

and I'm not the least bit responsible for what popped out

I report. You decide.

In keeping with the cast iron theme, we made iron placemats by putting together two rectangular wall trivets from Willow House.

We used some  denim blue plates.
These actually came from a local grocery store this summer.

The salad plates are a clear plate with a bandana print on the back side.

The little chili crocks belong to the sister and have been in her kitchen for decades. They have little roosters on the back, but we flipped them around. We'll just keep that our little secret.

We used these cobalt glasses because of their color. The fact that we put stemware on a chuck wagon has no basis in reality whatsoever.

A lantern from my father’s collection on one end…

And a tiered iron basket for bread on the other

And that’s pretty much it.
Not too shabby…

It might be a Plan B chuck wagon tablescape,
but those Red Hot Chili People
are definitely
 the A List
so it all worked out in the end.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Spiritual Smackdown

Last Thursday morning, I sat with my weekly Bible study group engrossed in the lesson. At least I appeared to be engrossed in the lesson. I had the whole pencil perched, head cocked, pensive look thing going on. In truth?  I was lost in my own thoughts of how that particular lesson related to me.

Isn’t that too often the way?

Even when I’m about studying The Word of God, that sin nature has the nasty little habit of making it all about me.

As if…

This particular morning, I was thinking about frustrations and roadblocks, mostly of the human sort,  which The Enemy had put in my Pilgrim's Path.  And so I sat there, nodding on the outside but pouring out a lamentation on the inside.  It was really pretty pitiful.

Then, a funny thing happened.

A soft breeze blew through the open window. Almost as if in slow motion, it lifted and turned  a single page in my Bible.  It was a shiny red Kodak moment.

It was also a touch surreal, and I felt the oddball need to glance around the room to see if anyone else had been disturbed by said breeze. All signs pointed to no.

So I glanced down at the page,
 and there it was,
a message from God,
an underlined passage of scripture 
jumping out from all surrounding verses.

It said,

“Do not lose heart.”

Awww. I felt empowered for a pair of minutes, and I smiled to myself at being so confirmed in the spirit. Do not lose heart, you poor frustrated soul…

I flipped the page and returned to the discussion at hand.

But then, that annoying voice... you know the one... began to speak inside my head.  It said, “Go back and read the rest of the passage.” 

Now, I was pretty content with the part I had read, and I said as much to the voice inside my head. Apparently it disagreed.  The little nagger kept repeating, "Go back and read the rest of the passage."  I'm almost positive it called me Deb-or-ah.

Finally, I turned the page.
And I looked down.

And this time, I noticed
not four underlined words,
but five.
I had conveniently overlooked the fifth one.
It was the word "AND".

Well phooey, my word from God was not a complete thought at all. It was part of a larger whole. There was context to consider.

This context:

(Hebrews 12: 4-13)

Yep. Right there in the middle of my personal pity party, He flipped the page of His book to show me another take on the aforementioned frustration. While I was using words like persecute, and trial, and attack, he was using words like discipline… and rebuke.


I spent the rest of the Bible study and a good part of the afternoon thinking about that passage and how it related to me.  I thought about my attitude of late as well, and I came to a conclusion.

It stinketh. 

And I thought... was it possible that the current obstacle in my Pilgrim's Progress was my own attitude? Was it possible that the frustration du jour was not sent against me but for me? Was it possible... even remotely possible... that what I perceived as the Enemy trying to frustrate my plans was not that at all, but a loving Father giving his daughter a good old fashioned time out?

You know...
for her own good…
to “think about it”…
to work on that attitude, missy….

All signs point to yes.

So I have been in the corner since Thursday, doing some fast praying about my attitude. And you know...even if I'm wrong and it was just some random breeze blowing, that's still a pretty good place to be.

How about you?
Have you ever gotten the spiritual smack down? 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Simply Grand

“An old woman is like an old barn.
They both look better with a coat of paint.”

So quipped my pastor.

I told him I disagreed on both counts. Someday I’ll yak all about my love of old barns, but my thoughts this morning are about my love of old women.

I’m blessed to know a group of women so old that they’re approaching the century mark. That’s right… an entire group of ladies all nearly one hundred years old.

And still active.

Faithfully, they attend Sunday School and church and mid week prayer meetings, some still driving themselves to get there. It's the husband’s great privilege to help them from car to building….

and up the steps…
because they still take the steps.

He’s also their substitute teacher. Considering the fact that he has to secure a substitute for his own class to do it, you might find that odd.  Considering these women, you wouldn’t find it odd at all.

They range from 90 to 99 in that class…
And they take notes.

The husband is convinced that their passion for learning is one of the secrets to their fountain of youth. Once a month, they meet to discuss all things literary in their book club. They call it…

Girls Reading in the South
GRITS, for short.

They’re not only faithful; they’re spunky.

Last year, we asked the ones in our DAR chapter to try a little convertible ride in the local festival parade. They jumped at the chance, some of them insisting that they would sit not in the back seat but on it.

In their western wear no less.
Did I mention that they’re spunky?

Last Sunday afternoon, the DAR held an open house for our historical home. Of course, they came. I snapped this picture of two of them relaxing on the porch.

(No. That's not the Duchess in the sassy hat...)

The young lady on the left is 98.
She was born the day the Titanic went down.
The one on the right is 99.
 She’s usually the designated driver.

Could they be any more beautiful?

If you’re wondering where I’m going with this ramble,
 it’s this:

Sometimes you’re just in the right place at the right time.

So it was for me last Sunday as these two wonderful old ladies decided to tour the house. While the 99 year old can steady herself with a cane, the younger one needs a bit more assistance.

Because I was standing there yakking with  them, I got the honor. So with one hand on her cane and the other hand in mine, the grand old lady strolled through the grand old house.

With me.

Funny thing about walking with old people.
You measure your steps…
And you stop...

And you listen intently to what they have to say. After ten decades, their vocal chords aren’t as strong as they used to be. Their minds, however, are as strong as ever.

So I got a personal tour of my favorite old home with a legend of living history by my side. She told me all about the first renovation. She knew details that weren’t written in any records.

Old folks generally do.

When we reached the staircase, I asked if she planned to venture upstairs. She twinkled her eyes at me and said, “Maybe not today, Debbie.”  But she glanced up the stairs, and I could tell that she wanted to. I almost believe that she would have let the husband carry her up there had she not been wearing a skirt.

Not really.
 You see, besides being faithful and spunky,
 she is first and foremost
a lady.
A very grand old lady.

And this week’s simple pleasure was taking a stroll with her.

Sharing this today with my blog friend Dayle at
A Collection of This and That
Please meander over there for more

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Beneath the Live Oak Trees

This week, we had the notion to set up a table
beneath the Spanish moss
on our state tree,
the Live Oak.

Since all I have to offer at my place is a piney stick forest, we headed out to the farm. And since we couldn’t rightly theme an entire tablescape around Spanish moss, we decided to go with an oak theme instead.

It had nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that
 The Sister had these nifty acorn plates.

Or this leafy tablecloth.
 Just pretend those are all oak leaves, OK?

For our centerpiece, we used a combination of leftovers from bouquets that I bought for the girls and weeds from the side of the road. Autumn is starting to be kind of pretty here.

We stuck them in what the Sister and I call
The Old Oaken Bucket.

We dubbed it decades ago after singing the song of the same name in elementary school. It’s one of my favorite treasures from the Duchess’s collection.  She used to let us play with it. We lugged The Old Oaken Bucket all over the prairie in our Poke Bonnet Days.

Now, according to The Duchess,
it’s actually a sugar bucket
and not made of oak at all.

But tablescaping is a democracy
and not a monarchy…

So The Old Oaken Bucket it is.
with Spanish moss spilling over the sides.

Our invisible guests this week are a couple of blognuts who were crazy enough to create their own Words on Wheels nicknames.  You know who you are.

Be careful what you ask for friends…

The next thing you know,
you're hanging out on a table
with the rest of the nuts
in Debbie Land.

Just sayin'...

We made the place cards from wooden fake-orns from Hobby Lobby. They’re attached to equally fake oak leaves.  We have to go with the fake stuff here. You see, Georgia oak leaves look nothing like that at all...

And our acorns are about the size of an English pea.

We used this Cambria Brown stemware that the Sister bought at Tuesday Morning. I would mention that they remind me of the color of sap... but I don't want to detour down Maple Drive.

Old Oaken Flatware…

Napkins and rings
 with acorns and oak leaves

leaf candle set on an old brown insulator
and a few squirrels on the table
 to help with nut control…

And our Live Oak Table is just about complete.

And there you have it...

Spanish moss,
Live Oaks, and
and an ever expanding
 bunch of nuts.

Sharing this with The Porch People
for Tablescape Thursday.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Talk back Tuesday

No, this is not some cutesy new blog feature for Tuesdays. I just like alliteration.  Next to gross hyperbole, it's my favorite literary device.  I consider it a great victory in Debbie Land that I resisted the urge to title this Yakback Yousday. 

Because I'd really like you to yak this one back.  Yes indeed. This post is not designed to make you laugh or cry. It's designed to make you think. 


I was lying in bed watching television last night, and I heard Dennis Miller opine about reality TV. Specifically, he was speaking of the genre of shows like Dancing with the Stars. I guess they call it reality competition or some such thing.  He was asked his opinion on the current season, and he said something like this:

He doesn't  watch those shows anymore because they are too realisitc for him.

In those shows, he said,
the truly talented or best competitor
doesn't win the prize.

Instead, it's the one
who makes watchers feel a certain way
or feel that he deserves to win
whether he has actually
earned the victory or not.


He said that it is reflective of our culture in general.

Hmm, again.

Now admittedly, I don't watch those shows. I don't have a problem with them, and I've heard that they are fun to follow.   I just don't watch much television at all any more.

I'm more apt to be here...

doing this....

(I added that part to fulfill my oddball need to illustrate all posts.) 

But I have been thinking about what Miller said all morning.  I actually typed this up a few hours ago but didn't post it.

So what do you think? Do you think we have become a culture more willing to consider feelings over talent and abillity?  Do you think that's a good thing or a bad thing?

Monday, October 18, 2010

My Big Fat 80's Kitchen

If you’ve read here long, you know I’m one of those people with the quirky need to name my stuff.

My car is Ebenezer.
The GPS is Gypsy.
My debit card is Debi.
I spell it that way in my head
so as not to confuse myself.
The list goes on…

Although I would love little more than to move to the country and dub my home with a poetic name, I have not named our house. Even in Debbie Land, it seems a bit silly to name a home in a 20 year old subdivision. So though I long for my Pine Knoll, my house is just called The House.

My kitchen, on the other hand, has a name.
And it’s Rip Van Winkle.

I named it after the man in the story who fell asleep for twenty years only to wake up a misfit in the world around him.  Yes indeed. Rip Van Kitchen is so stuck in the 80s that it has big hair.

Plaid wallpaper...

With a huge fruit border...

To be fair, the fruit was added in the 90s. I put it up to cover the original colonial blue border that said “Welcome Friends”.  I think it even had pineapples.

It was supposed to be a temporary fix.


The wallpapered kitchen went along with the rest of the wallpapered house. When we bought the house, it was covered with roughly 2,800 square feet of the stuff. Aside from the living room, every single room had either paper or border. Some had both.

It didn’t bother me at the time. I like a challenge. Of course, I was also over a decade younger and had more of a stripper’s body back then, too. I jumped right in, and over the first few years, did my stripping act all over the place.

In the den…
Up the stairs…
In the bedrooms…
In the home office…
In the bathrooms…

Had I been a blogging stripper, I'd have pictures…

But Rip Van Kitchen kept getting put on the back burner. Yes, I realize that it’s the heart of the home. Yes, I know that it’s supposed to be the priority room …Yes, I know it affects property value…
Wok Wok Wok Wok Wokkkk….

Rip stayed stuck in the 80s. 
Basically, there were three reasons:

First? Money. We’re committed to this cash only thing, and other room fixes were cheaper. The kitchen is the big Kahuna. We need want a new floor, and new cabinets, and new countertops, and sink, and lighing, and ...

Well, you get it.

Second?  My serious obsession with the big Ta Da.  I could have done any one of those updates over the years. I could have at least stripped that wallpaper and painted the walls for goodness sake, but oh no…

Oddball as it may be, it is more acceptable in Debbie Land to apologize for a kitchen with big hair for over a decade than to complete a portion of a project.

I know. Sad, isn’t it?

But mostly? Fear. You see, stripping wallpaper in this house has given me sheetrockaphobia. This is the irrational fear that wallpaper has been gorilla glued to bare walls and will come down in one inch fragments, bringing the sheet rock with it…

…which results in major reconstruction
 and unkind sputterings about builders and previous owners.

I would rather avoid it.

So in true Debbie Fashion,
 I have neglected Rip Van Kitchen for over a decade.

But blogland has an uncanny knack of inspiration.

So I decided to do a little experiment. I pulled the refrigerator away from the wall, soaked the paper behind it in a solution of fabric softener and hot water, closed one eye, and peeled….

And guess what? It wasn’t raw sheet rock! Nope. It had been painted beneath and came off fairly easily.

So I kept on stripping…
And stripping…
And stripping…
And by the time I finished,
 it looked like this.

No ugly wallpaper!
No fingernails either, but they'll grow back.

All told, the Great Stripping Adventure took about two weeks. The soffits were the biggest pain. Half of the wall paper was attached to bare wood there. This part came off in millimeter sized pieces most of the time, but I stuck with it.

So there you have it:
How Rip Van Kitchen
 Strip Van Kitchen.

 Of course, I jumped off Stripper Mountain with no clear vision as to where to go next... 

I know. Sad, isn't it?

So if you see me peeking around in your kitchens with a notepad and shiny red Kodak, don't be startled. Be flattered. I'm just looking for some inspiration.

By the way, I feel the oddball need to say that I took a few days away from blogland to spend undivided time with my two favorite college girls who were home for fall break.  I'm sure you missed me, right? right?

Yeah... that's what I was afraid of.


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