Thursday, December 30, 2010

Here Come the Brides, Dum-da-da-da

In my eyes, it's completely wedding season. As of January 2, 2011. Wedding season (for me) will officially start. Not only in attendance of me going/ being in friend's weddings, but also at work (Yoknapatawpha Arts Council of the Powerhouse Community Arts Center, Oxford, MS).

Upcoming Weddings to attend listed by month:
       January - 2
       March - 1
       May - 1 + 1 wedding reception
       June - 1

Which I guess isn't a TON, but to me- its the most I've ever been to in a span of 6 months.

Also, for the record, Weddings are a BLAST. Are you kidding? Free food, friends, dancing, and booze. Why would you not want to go? It's the best excuse for traveling and getting out of town for a weekend.

I'm around weddings constantly in the Spring. Working for the Arts Council allows me the opportunity to show off our building to potential brides-to-be and help them plan their special day. I'm not joking when I say that between today (Dec. 30) and July 23rd, that's exactly 30 weekends in total, we only have 6 weekends that are actually available for using the building.

Since I've seen many styles of weddings, I'm going to share with you who is the best of the best when it comes to catering/ bartending/ venue space in Oxford.


Yoknapatawpha Arts Council of the Powerhouse Community Arts Center

The Powerhouse, (duh). Our rental/usage of building has one of the lowest prices in town. Any tables, chairs, lighting we have available is no additional cost. Our house manager is available and present to help with any and all pre-reception/ during reception/ and after reception setup or take down.

Gallery room

The Powerhouse was built in 1928 as the ‘Powerhouse’ for the city of Oxford. Its vintage style brick and spacious rooms with tall ceilings provide any couple with the ingredients to create a delightful celebration. Located on
University Avenue
, it’s the venue that adapts to the vision for your special day. The Powerhouse features two spacious rooms. For smaller events, one room may be reserved for a more intimate gathering or for larger events both rooms could be connected so your guests can mingle freely from room to room.
Theatre room

My absolute favorite work has always been done by The Twisted Twig. Ashley Daniels is personable, easy to work with, and her work is always exceptional and elegant. She does all of the florist work herself, and she is absolutely my favorite in town.
The Twisted Twig

Catering/Bar service: I have 3 favorites.
For just bar service: The Lyric does a great job and their prices are reasonable.
For Catering + Bar: Party Waitin' to Happen can do both. Everytime I see them cater its always something new and intriguing. Ibby & Wiley are a mother/son catering duo. Always delicious. And they always do a fantastic decoration setup with the food.
Party Waitin' to Happen

For just Catering: Taylor Grocery Catering. Butch- the owner can seriously, probably, make anything. Most people know them for their catfish place in Taylor, MS. Taylor Catering has a cute little catering van that they cook the food in and bring with them on site. I've seen them do buffet style & serving style and their homestyle southern meals have always been a personal favorite of mine.

So to recap, favorite time for brides to get married = Spring and that is Wedding Season, which = fun x10 for all. Polish your dance shoes and save your money for wedding gifts + hotel rooms.

And if you're looking for the perfect gift for a new bride:
Square Table Cookbook is a perfect little taste of Oxford.
Order yours today:

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Breakfast = Most Important Meal

Michael Bluth: What's most important in life?
George Michael Bluth: Breakfast.
Michael Bluth: Family.
George Michael Bluth: Right. I thought you meant in the things you eat.

Breakfast is the "most important meal of the day," or at least that's what we've always been told, right? Besides, Momma makes fabulous breakfast.

Here's why breakfast is the best:
1) It gives your metabolism a boost. (Hi weight loss!) Think about it. Your body has been in starvation mode during 6-8 hours of sleeping. Not eating for an extended period of time causes your metabolism to plummet, (which is why people may feel sluggish).

2) Eating a good breakfast will keep you from over eating later- because your body has probably already started giving you signals of "Hey, I'm hungry" with headaches, nausea, or dizzy spells when you stand up too quickly.

3) Our body runs on glucose, and you get that from FOOD. So eat, be merry.

4) Also, breakfast is the BEST. Are you kidding me? Biscuits, Gravy, Sausage or my fav Turkey Sausage, Hashbrowns, Eggs, Bananas, English Muffins, Pancakes! The list goes on and on..

I made Tiny French Toast for Sunday Morning Breakfast!
I also made pancakes, but I accidentally goofed up the recipe... that's why they aren't pictured. *wah wah* It's also why you should never "wing" a recipe unless you really know what you're doing.

 And just because I love Arrested Development so much...

George Michael Bluth: Don't you always say "family first"?
Michael: Yes, I do. But that is not a family. Okay? They're a bunch of greedy, selfish people who have our nose. And Aunt Lindsay.
George Michael Bluth: She's not my real aunt?
Michael: Not her real nose. Got a picture of her when she was 14 in a swimming cap. She looks like a falcon.
-Quotes from Arrested Development, Season 1. Thanks IMDB.

Friday, November 12, 2010


It's always been my personal tradition- that when someone has a birthday you make sure they have a cake. I mean- come on, who doesn't want to have a cake on their birthday? Ok, so maybe you don't want to eat it, but doesn't it just feel good to know that someone went to the trouble of buying you/making you a cake?

My point exactly.              Exhibit A:

Triple Layered Chocolate Cake

 I made this cake for my boyfriend's really good friend Calvin. His birthday was last Thursday. This was the first time I've made a chocolate cake from scratch- and it turned out pretty dang good, if I may add. Also, this chocolate cake is three layers- THREE. It was so huge, and it was a lot harder than I thought it would be to layer them up just so. For only having an hour and a half to create this, I'd say the icing (presentation) was probably the only place I'd lose points.

I'm not joking when I tell you this. 20 minutes after I had finished icing the cake and we were in transit on the way to give it to Calvin, my boyfriend turns to me, laughs and says, "I don't think Calvin likes chocolate."

Happy Birthday, Calvin.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Square Table on QVC Nov. 14th

Even if you aren’t much of a cook, you still know about community cookbooks. In a sense, it is a compilation of a community’s history that helps to identify their traditions, but with food. 

It’s because of my grandmother’s potato salad that I feel like celebrating the 4th of July. It’s my granny’s friend Nonie who makes this Strawberry Bread that makes me want to inhale an entire loaf just so I don’t have to share. It’s the food comma my dad puts himself in every Thanksgiving just for my mom’s dressing. These are the reasons that Favorite Recipes® Press has had the immense pleasure of reintroducing many home cooks to their dog-eared; finger smeared cookbooks of long ago, sharing the rich history of the community cookbook form with a broader audience.
Favorite Recipes® Press (FRP) has specialized in helping nonprofits and independent publishers from around the nation create, distribute, market and sell award-winning cookbooks since 1961. When FRP came up with a compilation of these community recipes called Recipes Worth Sharing, the response gave home cooks everywhere something to gaga over. With a feature on America’s shopping network, QVC, it quickly became one of the fastest selling cookbooks on national television.

Original Recipes Worth Sharing Released on QVC
            "Favorite Recipes® Press is proud to present yet another great compilation cookbook highlighting the best community cookbook recipes from its customers.  Included are a few favorites from Oxford's very own award-winning Square Table published by the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council." –Mary Margaret Andrews, Director of Marketing and Distribution Sales for Favorite Recipes® Press.

Thanks to FRP, recipes from Square Table will be featured in their second compilation cookbook More Recipes Worth Sharing. 

This new cookbook will be launched on QVC’s popular Sunday morning show, In the Kitchen with David, on November 14th.

   More Recipes Worth Sharing includes over 500 of the best, most popular recipes contributed by more than 82 community cookbooks from 26 states. Also included are inspiring stories about community projects made possible from the sales of community cookbooks.

More Recipes Worth Sharing provides Square Table with national attention and advertising that they would not have been able to afford without the feature on QVC. The Arts Council is now able to reach larger audiences and expand their market. In addition, all Square Table cookbook sales go towards funding community arts programs in Oxford, Miss.

Communities all over the United States will be tuned to QVC on Sunday morning, November 14, for the unveiling of More Recipes Worth Sharing, will you?

For more information on More Recipes Worth Sharing visit or to order your copy of Square Table today visit

Monday, October 4, 2010

I am my Mother's Child

I was feeling ambitious last Friday night when I decided to cook dinner AND make a dessert, my first cheesecake in fact. My boyfriend and I both have work all day long throughout the week, so when Friday comes we normally just crash and chill out for the night. But not me, I felt ambitious.

It's a great feeling, when you know you can do something that you've never done before and you're just excited to try something new. So for dinner I made catfish fillets with roasted potatoes and asparagus, (I've never cooked catfish before).

And for dessert I made a Pumpkin Cheesecake with Maple Pecan Topping. And yes, it IS as rich as it sounds. Once you get past the sugar shock, the pumpkin and maple taste together are a delightful swirl in your mouth. The hardest part of the cheesecake was making the Graham Cracker crust- I don't know why I decided to use a mortal and pestol to crunch up every single graham cracker until it was tiny perfection, but it sure was fun! And also tedious.

Pumpking Cheesecake w/ Maple Pecan Topping

I never knew that someday I would love cooking/baking as much as my mother does. I am my mother's child, and I love it. Now if I could only be a gardener...

Maple Pumpkin Cheesecake


  • 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (14 ounce) can EAGLE BRAND® Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Maple Pecan Glaze:
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans


1.                        Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2.                        Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter; press firmly on bottom of 9-inch springform pan.
3.                        In large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk until smooth. Add pumpkin, eggs, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt; mix well. Pour into prepared pan.
4.                        Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes or until center appears nearly set when shaken. Cool 1 hour. Cover and chill at least 4 hours.
5.                        To serve, spoon some Maple Pecan Sauce over cheesecake.
6.                        Maple Pecan Glaze: In medium-sized saucepan, combine whipping cream and pure maple syrup; bring to a boil. Boil rapidly 15 to 20 minutes or until slightly thickened; stir occasionally. Stir in chopped pecans. Cover and chill until served. Stir before serving.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Computers in Cars = Stupid

The dumbest thing you ever did was put a computer inside of a car.
So before writing this blog I had to ask myself...

All cars manufactured today contain at least one computer. It is in charge of monitoring engine emissions and adjusting the engine to keep emissions as low as possible. The computer receives information from a many different sensors, including:
  • The oxygen sensor, air pressure sensor, air temp sensor, engine temp sensor, throttle position sensor, knock sensor, oxygen sensor
Using the info from these sensors, the computer can control things like the fuel injectors, spark plugs and the idle speed to get the best performance possible from the engine while keeping emissions low. The computer can also sense when something has gone wrong and can inform the driver with the "Check Engine" light. A mechanic can read a diagnostic code from the computer and fix the problem. Depending on how expensive the car is, there can be all sorts of other computers. For example:
  • There is probably a computer controlling the automatic transmission
  • If the car has anti-lock brakes, there is a computer reading the wheel speed and controlling the brakes
  • Many air bag systems have their own computers
  • A car with keyless entry or a security system has a computer for these systems
  • Advanced climate control systems often have computers
  • Some cars now have motorized seats and mirrors that can remember the settings for multiple drivers, and these contain computers
  • Any radio or CD player with a digital display contains a computer of its own
  • Cruise control systems use computers
In other words, a modern luxury car is a rolling computer network. It is amazing how many embedded controllers a car can have.

Is it amazing? Or slightly terrifying that technology can do so much these days? I mean if you've ever seen Battlestar Galactica then you know how the cylons (robots) were capable of creating a holocaust and potentially destroying all of mankind. But that's a different story, and a fantastic tv series.

So.. what you've all been waiting for: Why Computers in Cars are a Terrible Idea:

Last night I was going to go hang out with my friend, when I put the key in my car's ignition and nothing happened. Yes, the radio and dashboard lit up fine, but nothing else. Not a crank, not a air clicking sound from the battery, nothing. So my dad deciphers via iphone call to me that it's probably the starter, and my battery is dead. OK. So I get my roommate's boyfriend to check it out to see if he agrees, and he notices a little glowing green key lighting up on my dashboard. "What does this symbol mean?" We all don't know so we look it up in my driver's manual.

Immobilizing Antitheft Device.

(thanks google images)
 Also known as: your car (computer in car) no longer recognizes your key. The key that is specifically made and sculpted JUST for your car, oh and don't bother trying the spare, because it won't work either.

Yes, I was/am completely locked out of my car. Thanks for towing service and paying for a diagnostic test... my car will be "reprogrammed" and I'll be able to access it again.

But can we talk about how bullshit that is?
The same thing happened to my roommate's car a month ago.

So thank you, HONDA, for making my car shut down for no apparent reason. Your immobilizing antitheft device only works against its car owner.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sunday is my Favorite Day

What's more therapeutic than cooking? How satisfying is it to know that you created something that makes somebody else happy? And then you too get to enjoy that glow of satisfaction while enjoying your creation. Awesome, welcome to my Sunday.

I enjoy my sunday because I spend a lot of them cooking- and I always cook something new. For example a couple weeks ago I made Blueberry Buckle.
right before the baking process

And this is the After Picture
 So my oven cooks unevenly sometimes and the crumble topping looks a little burnt, but words can not describe how delicious it is passed its outer crumble shell. Now if you've EVER heard of a Blueberry Buckle, then you know that it has the same consistency as a coffee cake ... so it would basically taste like a condensed blueberry muffin. Fabulous.

So yesterday I finally went grocery shopping after procrastinating for probably 2 weeks.. and after spending, you know, $80 I feel like I'm set for a while. My whole purpose for groceries was I could make 2 things: a mushroom & tuna casserole and apple-crisp. If you don't know, it's apple season (check out my previous post). I have never made either of these recipes, until yesterday. I used to watch my mom make apple-crisp all the time, so since it's that time of year, it was my daughterly duty to make it.

I had my friend Amanda come over for some girl time chit-chat while I was preparing the mushroom & tuna casserole.  So it's an easy recipe- consisting of Mushrooms, Onions, cream cheese, fettucini noodles, milk, salt & pepper, and swiss cheese for topping. Easy.

While I was combining the mix in the casserole dish and was adding the shredded cheese on top I then asked myself- isn't this a strange combo of food in a casserole? But I guess I don't know anything about food, because it was DELICOUS. Thank you google for providing me with a unique new recipe that really hones in on the greatness of mushrooms, (which is also an in-season food).

I didn't get a picture of the casserole, but I did snap a picture of the apple-crisp for dessert.

Mom would be proud
Advice of the day: Always serve apple-crisp warm and with a little vanilla ice cream on top. YUM

Happy Fall!

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Matching Taste with the Season since 6500 B.C.

We all feel it, the brisk cool air that hits your nostrils on a September morning. That certain dampness that makes you grab your sweater on your way to work, even though you know it will be a high of 98 degrees later on because of the Mississippi sun. I am thankful for it every day I wake up, mainly because that brisk air in the morning reminds me of that crisp taste of my favorite fruit.
            It is absolutely apple season. I know I’ve told at least 6 of my friends by now that it’s apple season and they just look at me and say, “oh?” and shrug off, what I felt, was stimulating news. Apples are something to be excited about; says that a medium sized apple contains only 80 calories. That’s 80 calories containing fiber, antioxidants, water and sugar. Be picky if you want, because there are 2,500 varieties of apples grown in the United States every year. We’ve apparently been eating them for a long time anyway; Archaeologists actually have evidence of people eating apples as far back as 6500 B.C.
            So since it is apple season, and it is absolutely worth celebrating, I’ve decided to reach out and share my favorite apple recipe with you. Using my community’s cookbook, Square Table Cookbook, I was able to quench my crunch with their Crunchy Apple Walnut Salad. If you’re asking me- apples are the only way to bring in the fall season.

Crunchy Apple Walnut Salad

¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons apple juice
2 tablespoons balsamic white vinegar
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste

2 Braeburn or Fuji apples cut into bite-sized pieces
6 cups red leaf lettuce or other salad greens
¼ cup chopped walnuts
Parmesan cheese, grated

  • For dressing, in a jar, combine ingredients and shake well
  • For salad, in a serving bowl, combine apples, salad greens and walnuts. Pour dressing over salad and toss. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
6-8 servings

*Permission to use the Crunchy Apple Walnut Salad recipe granted by the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council. Square Table Cookbook is a community cookbook and a fundraiser for the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council and can be ordered on their website 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

How Family Recipes Get Preserved

College Graduate Keeps Tradition for 4th of July
            It sneaks up on us as we grow up that we enjoy reliving our past. There is a comfort in those family traditions surrounding the holidays. The recognition of this has come after I graduated from college and plummeted into the real world. By securing that first full-time job, moving two states away from my parents, and paying for my own car insurance; all of this happening as we approach for what my family knows as a big holiday- July 4th. Being on my own made me realize this will be the first holiday of many that I will not get to enjoy family traditions.
            July 4th for my family was a trip to my Grandparents farm for the holiday weekend. It is a holiday that had certainties of running through the fields to fish in the lake, waiting for the sun to set for fireworks, and barbecuing with the perfect side item of my grandmother’s potato salad. I wanted to make my July 4th celebration a continuation of the traditions I grew up with on the farm, I wanted to make my grandmother’s Potato Salad.
My grandmother doesn’t write down recipes, she has that photographic memory I never inherited, so when I ask her over the phone how to make the potato salad I end up feeling lost in translation. The 4th of July preparation has commenced with less than a month away, and at least 10 guests are all looking forward to home cooking.
After several trials and tribulations with my lost-in-translation potato salad recipe and various resources from the web, I decided to consult our local bookstore. There were all kinds of community cookbooks; it’s like a compilation of grandma’s recipes from across the country captured in one book. It was in the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council’s Square Table Cookbook that I found Shout Hallelujah Potato Salad. Just reading the title made me know I had to try it, the hint of spice into a savory, creamy potato gave a whole new meaning to potato salad.
            I knew with the Shout Hallelujah Potato Salad recipe I wouldn’t have my grandmother’s tradition, but I could craft that potato salad to be my own and start making new traditions.

Friends enjoying the grub
Shout Hallelujah Potato Salad
(Featured in the Square Table Cookbook p. 60)

5 pounds petite gold potatoes
5 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
1 4-ounce jar diced pimientos
4 drops Louisiana Hot Sauce
4 ribs celery, chopped
2 teaspoons celery salt
1/4 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
1 cup sweet salad cube pickles
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1/4 cup yellow mustard
1 to 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Paprika for garnish

In a large pot of salted water over high heat, boil potatoes with skin on until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain in colander and peel off skins with fingers while holding under cold, running water. Cool potatoes, chop into small pieces, and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add eggs. In a small bowl mix drained pimientos with hot sauce. Add to potato mixture. Add all remaining ingredients except paprika. Do not stir. Mix by hand, mashing some potatoes and leaving others in chunks. Add salt and pepper to taste, transfer to serving platter, and shape into mound with a spoon. Dust with paprika. Cover and refrigerate 3-4 hours.

20-25 servings

*Permission to use the Shout Hallelujah Potato Salad recipe granted by the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council.
Square Table Cookbook is a community cookbook and a fundraiser for the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council and can be ordered on their website

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

From Drive Thru to Dinner Party

A Different Graduation for a Recent College Student

I’ve recently come to realize that summer is slowing uncoiling from my grasp- soon kids of all ages will be back in the hustle and bustle of school and for the first time in my life I will not be one of them. I entered summer with a college diploma and ended my summer with a wake up call to reality – a job. “You mean I work nine to five and I don’t have homework?” This is still a common conversation I have with myself from time-to-time. My busy life has changed from: classes, work, different social events, and cramming for tests to: work, cleaning my house, and making sure I have clothes for work.  My eating habits have changed also from the drive-thru diet of the college student to cooking in my own kitchen.
            I have time to cook? Who knew! I don’t cook just anything. I have been on a mission to master the culinary roots of my new North Mississippi home. I’m a Missouri girl which is not necessarily the South, but I was lucky to have a Momma raised in the Mississippi Delta. I was spoiled on home made anything! So I have enjoyed learning that I do have her ability to cook. I don’t know the recipes by heart, and I won’t feel truly accomplished until I can make gravy from scratch. Until then, I’ve decided to stick with the recipes my mom did actually write down, and when I can’t find what I want from those I go for my copy of what has become my favorite cookbook; Square Table.
This isn’t just any cookbook, it’s my community’s cookbook, but one with a collection of recipes all from Oxford, Mississippi. I’m learning about my community’s traditions with recipes and stories told from famous Oxford chef, artists and authors.  The home cooked meals I create entertain my friends and fellow co-workers. You definitely feel more grown up once you’ve hosted a dinner party or proudly brought a dish you have cooked to a social function.
The friendships I made in four years of school now live as far away as Baltimore, South Florida, or Utah. When those friends visit I want to be able to give them a meal that really captures my new hometown, in all it’s flavor. I like to call it the Yoknapatawpha Special. The appetites are worked up after we’ve toured Faulkner’s house Rowan Oak, left an empty Wild Turkey bottle with a note on Faulkner’s grave, walked the historic square, and heard great live music. The meal that makes the trip is called Supper at Rowan Oak: smoked ham, red potato salad, sweet slaw, sweet onion pie, buttermilk biscuits, and pecan squares. I always serve it with Yoknapatawpha Tea seasoned with a little Wild Turkey whiskey.  

Yoknapatawpha Tea
4 English Breakfast tea bags
12 large fresh mint leaves
3 cups boiling water
1 cup orange juice
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 cup sugar
6 cups water
Sprigs of mint
Orange slices

Place tea bags and mint leaves in a 3-quarter pitcher. Add 3 cups boiling water and steep until cool. Discard tea bags and mint leaves. Add orange and lemon juice, sugar and 6 cups water to tea mixture, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Serve over ice and garnish with mint sprigs and orange slices.
3 quarts for Serving

*Permission to use Square Table Cookbook’s “Yoknapatawpha Tea” recipe granted by the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council

The Yoknapatawpha Arts Council can be reached at (662)236-6429 

I'm an Official Blogger!

Thanks to friends who have inspired me to start my own blog, I guess I'm a real person now!

I mainly wanted to start a blog to keep up with the stories I write for work- I help promote a really awesome cookbook (Square Table Cookbook to purchase!) and ya know, I do other fun office things, but writing stories has got to be one of my favorites. Thank god I am able to apply what I learned from my journalism degree into my life- my work life even!

So for fun recipes, personal insight, and anything else I can offer- I hope I can entertain anyone who glances at Around the Square Table.