Pumpkin Dip

pumpkin dip

As everyone prepares for the festivities this coming Thursday, I thought I would share a new recipe I got off of Pinterest.  I have been experimenting with different recipes to find a light but flavorful combination for cookies or fruit.  This one is perfect…light, sweet and a great pumpkin flavor.  Christina from Carolina Charm hit it out of the park.  The recipe is below, but you should check out her blog… http://www.northcarolinacharm.com/

Pumpkin Fall Dip

 15 oz can of pumpkin purée

5 oz box of instant vanilla pudding (do not prepare)

16 oz container of cool whip

1/2 tbsp of Pumpkin Pie Spice


Mix pumpkin purée, dry pudding, cool whip and pumpkin spice together until combined.  Chill for several house before serving.  Sprinkle surface of dip with cinnamon.  Serve with apples, vanilla wafers and/or ginger snaps.


Chicken Quesadillas


On the weekends while I’m dusting, vacuuming, and folding the never-ending loads of laundry…I LOVE to watch the Food Network, Cooking Channel, HGTV, DIY….anything along those lines.  I’m always on the hunt for fast weeknight meals.  Something triggered me one of those weekends on quesadillas.  They are so quick to make, and you can make them with leftovers of a variety of proteins, or just veggies.  Boneless, skinless chicken breasts were on sale at the grocery one week and I was freezing them with my vacuum sealer (which is a wonderful thing by the way) and had two lone breasts that didn’t make it into a bag.


I  have also discovered that Taco Seasoning is the perfect power packed seasoning for something like this!   You can make the chicken like I did, or you can use leftovers if you plan right.  I cooked the chicken in my black skillet with olive oil, butter and some of the taco seasoning mix on the breasts.  My kids really like these with shrimp too.

This week has been so busy and this fast meal fit the “I’m hungry right now Mom” and I’ve still got a million things to do tonight.




I had this on the dinner table under 30 minutes.  We added raw veggies with ranch dip and called it a meal.  What kid do you know that doesn’t love to dip their dinner?  Now that’s what I call FAST!

Happy Hump Day!

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Happy Friday!

We’ve got another weekend packed with football.  Whether it’s college or NFL, you might be heading to a watch party and need a little something to take with you.  This has become one of my favorites quickly thanks to one of my book club friends.  You’re the best Aimee!


This can be put together quickly and is rather addictive.


Mix all the ingredients together except for the reserve of cheese.  Personally I prefer to shred my own cheese, but this was purely out of convenience and we were hungry.


Looks kind of gross….I know.  Just be patient, it will come together.


I spread the mixture into a pie plate.


And before I added the remainder of cheese, I added more Franks….

because I put that stuff on everything;)

j/k…I like it, but not that much.


And after time in the oven…you have a WHOLE bunch of dip.  This is for a crowd, so if it’s just your family affair, then i would cut the recipe in half.


I’m just warning you now….don’t sit next to this dip;)

Happy Friday and enjoy your weekend.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Mix together:
1 block softened cream cheese
8-12 oz. sour cream
1/4 cup franks red hot
1can chunk chicken
1 1/2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese

Spread mixture into an oven safe baking dish and then add the additional 1/2 cup of cheese to the top (I used slightly more just to cover the surface)  Also add any more Frank’s if you prefer a little extra spice.
Bake for 25 minutes at 350.

Serve warm.

Mini Meatball Sandwiches

Everyone needs a fast meal during the week on a busy school day.  And what I love about this one, is that it’s freezer friendly and who doesn’t love to be prepared and well stocked?


This comes together quickly


Combine the meat, half and half, bread crumbs, garlic and seasonings and make your meatballs.  I was making them quickly so sorry for the misshapen little balls;)  I made 3 pounds of meatballs and taking pictures all while my family kept entering and asking when it would be ready.  I saw a fellow blogger state that our kids will have to go to therapy due to delaying meals or not allowing them to touch the food so we can take pictures for our blog.  Probably true:)


Add onions to the olive oil.  Then make some room for the meatballs.


Brown for a few minutes….


Then flip and add…


the marinara sauce and let simmer for 20 minutes covered.


And Viola….add a veggie and dinner is on the table:)  Do you know that you can switch out loads of laundry, empty and load the dishwasher and help with homework in 20 minutes?  You can!!


And here is where the remaining meatballs have gone.  I have two dinners now in my freezer for another few nights in the future.  Freezer Fantastic!

Happy Monday and have a good week!

Mini Meatball Sandwiches   (adapted from Pioneer Woman)


  • 1 pound Ground Chuck Or Ground Beef
  • 1/2 cup Panko Or Other Bread Crumbs
  • 1 clove Garlic, Minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • Steak or Grill Seasoning of your choice (I used a Pub House mix from McCormick)
  • 1/2 cup Half and Half
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/2 whole Medium Onion, Diced
  • 1 jar (large) Marinara Sauce
  • 12 whole Dinner Rolls (or Slider Rolls)
  • 4 slices Provolone Cheese, Cut Into Four Wedges Each

Preparation Instructions

Mix meat with bread crumbs, garlic, salt, pepper, seasoning and milk. Knead together with hands. Roll into heaping tablespoon-sized rolls.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook for one minute. Add meatballs between the onions and brown for a one minute. (You might have to do this in two batches, depending on the size of your skillet.)

Pour in jar of marinara; shake pan gently to mix. Put on lid and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.

When ready to serve, cut each dinner roll in half. Place a wedge of Provolone on the top and bottom of each roll. Spoon a meatball with the sauce onto the bottom bun; top with the top bun. You missed the cheese ones because my kids said “no” to the cheese.  I know….I was a little baffled too??

Serve immediately!

Apple Pickin’

We haven’t had the hottest summer.  But I’m anticipating those crisp mornings that have electricity in the air-  putting a spring in your step, a scarf around your neck and a Pumpkin Spice Latte in your hand!  Football has hijacked our TV and the Braves are trying to extend their season (Let’s Go BRAVOS!)  I’m anxious for the crunch of the leaves and my husband’s choice words for those leaves as they accumulate quickly throughout our yard.

This morning it was 62 degrees.


The beginning of fall is apple orchards, fall festivals and being out and about all weekend long.  The smell of apples, ciders and pumpkin bread fill the air.  I jumped out of bed and told the kids if they wanted to pick some apples today that we needed to get moving…because Momma wanted to be out in the beautiful weather!


Daddy had to work, so we couldn’t wait around for him.  When he’s not at work on the weekends he’s at a football game.  So we fit him in to our fun-filled fall weekends when we can.


This is the part the kids enjoy…riding John Deer tricycles, pig races and…


And petting zoos!

My two especially liked the kittens.


What is this face??!!  Did the baby chick bite her?  Is this her excited face?  Yikes!  This looks like one that belongs in the album to show the first boy who comes a courting;)


But this is what I enjoy….apple houses lining the roads, BBQ in gas stations and beautiful countryside to view as we drive the long and winding roads.  CoW!  over there….oh, you missed it.  (Sorry, we’re not used to seeing them;)


And this!  I love the fruit and the farm grown veggies.


Oh, and this good stuff…peach BBQ sauce, kettle corn, apple cider donuts and my absolute favorite….

Apple Fritters!


So now I must figure out what to do with all of these apples, and I’ve got a few good ideas so far.  Until then…


Happy Fall Y’all!!

Happy Friday!!


Heading into the weekend, I thought I would share with you a drink I created on the spot for our tailgating at Ole Miss last weekend.  I was planning on making Blueberry Lemonade (from a previous post) and Peach Tea for the non drinkers.  I had started preparing the Peach Tea at my sister’s home, and she said…”do you want to add a little something to that?”

Roger that!


She pulled down a bottle that I had heard and seen some commercials for…. but had yet to find a need to buy.  Looks like I found one:)

It reminded me of the Firefly Sweet Tea Bourbon that I used in another drink, the Firefly Bourbon Sunrise I made for our Mardi Gras shrimp boil earlier this year.  It is quite smooth and added just the right touch to my Southern concoction.  Most of my family does like a little something extra, so only a few virgin drinks wouldn’t be out of the norm.


I have been in love with jars now for awhile.  They  made the perfect vessels for a tailgate while allowing me to premix the drinks and transport them without incident.  I used the cardboard packaging that the jars came in.  The jars are quite durable, so you don’t have to worry about breaking them.  And it’s more environmentally friendly than using plastic cups.  But the best part is that they are leak proof (if the lids are screwed on properly).

Back to the good stuff….


Fill the jar full of ice half full of tea.  (I used prepared tea for convenience)


Continue filling the jar almost to the top- gotta leave room for the HONEY.


Add your Jim Beam (a shot is perfect, but of course it’s up to your discretion) and your good to go.  What a sweet southern treat, with a smooth kick.

Have a great weekend and enjoy all of the football, tailgating and the fast approaching arrival of Fall.

I think we may head out to an Apple Orchard…

Quick shout out to my bestest friend for her birthday today!!!

Everything counts in large amounts:)

The Boys of Fall

When I feel that chill, smell that fresh-cut grass

I’m back in my helmet, cleats and shoulder pads

Standing in the huddle, listening to the call

Fans going crazy for the boys of fall

-Kenny Chesney

It’s that time again, minus the chill in the air …


College Football started last weekend, and the NFL officially started this past weekend.  My husband has already tailgated with some of his boys with his setup including a dish TV and a playstation 3 at Georgia Tech. But our whole family headed to Oxford Mississippi to experience a tailgating experience in the infamous Grove.


We had planned this excursion for about a year.  My father graduated from Ole Miss many years ago but has not been back without his alumni association to tailgate.  He wanted his whole family to experience the legendary Grove.


Some things looked very familiar.


But not THIS!!!


The Grove is located in the center of the University of Mississippi on 10 acres of land filled with oaks, elms and magnolia trees.  It’s been described as the Holy Grail of tailgating and the #2 top tailgating school according to ESPN.  After my experience, my opinion is the South at it’s best.  I have tailgated in several places in the south,  but nothing compares to this scene.

File:Ole Miss Walk Of Champions.jpg

Another ritual that I’ve been anxious to see is the “Walk of Champions”.  How intimidating but exciting would it be to walk the length of the Grove lined with fans cheering and wanting to give you a high-five.  We could tell who the freshmen were.


All of these traditions are steeped in grace and dripping in Southern Hospitality.  Ole Miss is proud of their school and even prouder of their tailgating.   My husband and I wanted to take the challenge of tailgating on steroids, so I copied an idea I saw on pinterest around the Superbowl this year.

  The Snackadium……


We had some help with some construction possibilities, but in the end…it turned out exactly as I had pictured it.


This had to be a disposable structure.


This is a five layer mexican dip…refried beans, salsa, sour cream seasoned with taco seasoning, shredded cheddar and shredded lettuce.  Sour cream represents the not proportionate yard lines while slim jims stand tall for the goal posts.  Finally I’ve been told the olives are representing a 4-3 defense and a single back offense.  (Sounds like someone plays NCAA Football too much)


I went the extra mile with some cut and paste.  It turned out well and we were pleased.  I hated to eat it, and it was even worse when we had to walk away from it.  But it served it’s purpose, and we’ve already discussed future construction upgrades.


Farewell University of Mississippi.

  Thank you for sharing your hospitality and unsurpassed tailgating.  We have already talked about revisiting, but still have other schools on our list.  Notre Dame and LSU…. you’re at the top.

Have a good week as we start the count down until next weekend;)

A joke a day…

The first day of school I sent a note in my 2nd grader’s lunch box telling her how proud I was of her and that I couldn’t wait to hear all about her first day of  second grade.  She liked her note so much she asked me to keep sending notes.  Well, I ran out of things to say after the first week, but I still wanted her to look forward to something at lunch time everyday.


So I went online searching for jokes that could get some second graders in stitches.  Some have been successful, while others went over her head all together.  We’ve been in school for about three weeks now and I’ve learned that several of her friends like to see what joke is waiting, while a few lunch ladies will come and visit to see the joke of the day.

I’m glad others are enjoying the jokes.   But the only reason why I scour the internet and friends for jokes  is to make my Emma giggle while she tries to retell the joke.  Here is her favorite one that she still can’t get through without snickering through the whole thing.

What did the math book say to the doctor?

“I’ve got a lot of problems.”

Uncontrollable giggles all around:)

I’ve made a list of all the jokes I’ve used so far along with a few more.  A few have asked for a list, maybe you want to try jokes in the lunchbox, or just to have a good laugh one night at dinner.  Enjoy:)

What do you call a boy with a dictionary in his back pocket?

A smarty pants.

When is the Ocean friendly?

When it waves.

Why can’t you tell an egg a joke?

It might crack up.

What did the cookie say to the doctor?

I feel kind of crummy.

What did one elevator say to the other elevator?

I think I’m coming down with something.

What do you call cheese that’s not yours?

NACHO  cheese.

What do fish like to paint with?


How do you make a tissue dance?

Put a little boogie in it.

Why did the girl throw the butter out of the window?

She wanted to see a butterfly.

Why do bananas have to put on sunscreen before they go to the beach?

Because they might peel.

Why did the boy bring a ladder to school?

He wanted to go to high school.

Where do pencils go for vacation?


What do you call a pig that knows karate?

A pork chop!

A laugh a day keeps the blues away:)

The Shed

When I think of summer I think of BBQ.  We head out to all kinds of BBQ festivals, and my husband smokes out from as soon as it’s bearable to be outside for long periods of time to right around the rainy season we tend to get after Halloween.  He loves to smoke and we love his ribs, pulled pork, pork and beans and grilled potato salad.  He tries to smoke everything!


(Pigs and Peaches BBQ Festival in Kennesaw, GA last weekend)

  If you have followed me for any amount of time then you may have seen a trip or two to Biloxi, Mississippi.  Actually the picture in my header is from Biloxi Beach.  Outside of that Casino town is a quaint little town called Ocean Springs.


My in-laws used to have a condo tucked away on a bayou in Ocean Springs.  The down town area is very popular and has lots of  shops and delicious restaurants.  But  the place that is on our “have to do” every trip is “The Shed”.  We had seen a BBQ competition on the Food Network a year before we took our first trip to Biloxi.  The brother and sister team from Mississippi had a great story:


Once there was a guy that spent most of his out-of-class time at Ole Miss scouting out, jumping in, and rummaging through dumpsters and street side garbage piles.  The highlight of his week was the “night before trash day.”  After graduation, he wanted to move back to the Coast.  One sobering morning he surveyed all he had collected over the years.  It was everywhere, it was insane: warped used two by fours, old tin roofing, bent nails, ugly windows, mountains of pure, unadulterated junk!

Not knowing what to do with it and not willing to part with a single plastic bucket or warped record, he built a trailer out of the larger parts and loaded the rest on top of this homemade junk hauler and moved back to Ocean Springs. One evening while dumpster diving on the Coast, the guy, Brad Orrison, knee deep in hardwood flooring had an epiphany: “I’m gonna’ build myself a take out barbeque joint with all this junk!” Brad (24) and his sister Brooke (19) hammered and nailed.  They practiced cooking, smoking, and timing meat to perfection.  A few weeks after opening, Brother Brett (22) just graduating from Full Sail University in Recording Arts and being the sound engineer for the House of Blues in New Orleans, breezed in with all his knowledge and contacts to set up one of the finest Blues venues in the South.  Now, The Shed had all the elements it needed to become a true BBQ & Blues Joint.

– See more at: http://theshedbbq.com/about/the-shed-story/#sthash.ieKdIId8.dpuf

The first time we saw “The Shed” it actually was just as described, a BBQ joint pieced together with plywood, tin and hub caps!  You could tell where they decided to add-on and where it started.  Every growth had been documented in the walls and on the floor.


We heard about a year or so ago the entire thing went up in smoke.  This last July we stopped in for some BBQ on the way home and the place has been rebuilt and looked fabulous.  They could seat people and you weren’t worried about the place falling in on you;)  But now they also have started a show on the Food Network.



The show is a little too rehearsed and corny…but the BBQ is fantastic.  If you ever find yourself driving on I-10 by Ocean Springs, MS…stop at exit #57, and “Get Fed at the Shed”.  You won’t be sorry….I guarantee!



It’s been raining almost every minute since last Wednesday afternoon.  Make no mistake, we greatly appreciate every drop of rain.  Two years ago we were in a drought like no other I’ve experienced in Georgia.  But I’m not sure how many more nights my kids are going to accept not setting the fireworks off or lighting up the Sparklers in the front yard.


No parade, no festivities, no BBQ and no fireworks!  It’s a downer:(  This picture was taken several years ago.  Cooling off in the fountain on a hot fourth of July afternoon.  And since it’s Saturday night and it’s still raining…I think our fireworks are going to have to wait until we come back from our trip next weekend.


There is always next year…gosh, my kids are growing so fast.  (sigh)

Hope you’re enjoying your holiday weekend wherever you are!

Dandelion Revolution

Healing from the Ground Up


Est. 2010


London - Our New Journey

Bottle Branch

Botanical photography and papergoods

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