This week in The Cafe, we celebrated "Muscadine Week," serving dishes and desserts featuring fresh muscadines and Muscadine Jelly, Sauce, and Preserves from our friends at Paulk Vineyards (also known as one of Our Makers: Paulk's Pride). We even served the delicious Muscadine Apple Pie again!
If you've followed us for very long, you probably know that Jorjanne in particular has a special connection to muscadines, especially Paulk Vineyards and Paulk's Pride! If you don't remember, you can read her blog posts, "Muscadines, Grandma, & a Husband" or "Faithful in the Little Things" to see why they're so dear to her.
When we were planning our specials for Muscadine Week, we tried to think of something to serve with a simple PB&J, using Paulk's Pride Muscadine Jelly, of course, and chips. Now, we've told you before how much we love a congealed or fruit salad here in the South. (You can read more about that in our blog post, Fluff or Frozen?) We looked for a Muscadine Fluff recipe, but couldn't find one anywhere. We just couldn't believe it! So what else could we do but create one of our own?
After a few test batches, we finally decided on the perfect combination of sweet and creamy, cool and fluffy, with a little bit of crisp apples too! Since we used the Muscadine Sauce, we didn't need any other sugar or spices. It's a simple recipe, which makes it great to serve with just about anything. Take it to a potluck dinner or on a picnic, and impress folks with its sweet and savory flavor that makes a lovely transition from summer to fall.
If you decide to make our Muscadine Fluff, we'd love to hear what you think about the recipe. Comment below, or share a picture on Facebook or Instagram.
Breakfast has always been my favorite meal of the day. I love everything about it! I love starting my day off right; cooking up something delicious, and I especially love the syrupy sweetness that comes along with a breakfast menu. I am a tad picky when it comes to food, unfortunately, but with breakfast I can't go wrong! I love breakfast food so much so that it influenced the time we chose for our wedding ceremony. I was so excited to be able to feature a yummy breakfast spread at our reception!
I love the idea of "brunch" and I think whoever came up with it is genius. It's perfect for Saturdays, holidays and special occasions!
When hosting a shower, I love having them in the morning. Not only does it free up your afternoon/night, but it allows you to offer a fun variety of morning munchies. Everyone loves fruit, casseroles and muffins! You can do different things to dress up your breakfast menu, like having chocolate dipped strawberries! Not only are they pretty, but they're a delicious brunch dessert.
I thought it would be fun to share a few of my favorite brunch recipes with you today! A few of them are ones I found on Pinterest, while some of them were shared by friends.
These Lemon Blueberry Muffins have to be one of my all-time favorites. They are so full of flavor and a fun play on the classic blueberry muffin. You'll never go wrong using fresh blueberries and lemon zest!
Lemon Blueberry Muffins by Gimme Some Oven.
At the last baby shower I hosted, I tried a new spin on a breakfast casserole! We wanted to serve muffins, and rather than serving a casserole made with more bread, we opted for a "Baked Omelet" recipe. It turned out to be delicious and it helped create a balanced menu!
I make this recipe from time to time for us to eat throughout the week. It's perfect for a quick morning meal with a bagel or slice of toast! It's also a great recipe to use if you're wondering what to do with the leftovers from a baked ham.
Baked Ham and Cheese Omelet by The Seasoned Mom.
One of my daily favorites would have to be yogurt with granola and fresh fruit. I love taking this snack on the go and I feel good knowing I made a healthy choice. We served this at our wedding, and I have served this at showers before--the guests love it! They can dress it up however they'd like! (My all-time favorite is vanilla yogurt with sliced strawberries, granola and chocolate chips. :)
*Also, my favorite brand yogurt is Dannon Light and Fit Vanilla.
Pancakes and waffles are great, but I love french toast. There is just something about the way the egg sinks into the bread, yet crisps up the edges! I could make it (and eat it) every morning....if I had time. We usually cook up french toast on Saturdays, when we're allowed to be a little lazy. I have recently ventured into the french toast casserole realm after having it at a friends house, and I love it too! The possibilities are endless. With a perfect pairing of added fruit or flavored syrups--it's quite the treat!
My friend, Kaitlyn, invited Phillip and I to her moms house for the weekend. The boys enjoyed an adventurous river trip while us girls relaxed and visited with family! We had the best time and were able to enjoy breakfast together on Sunday morning. Mrs. Redonna served a french toast casserole that we all just loved! She shared the recipe with me, and agreed for me to share it with you! She altered a bread pudding recipe to create this french toast delight, and boy is it delicious! Once we were home, I tried the recipe out myself! Click HERE to see the recipe!
Last, but not least, is the classic breakfast casserole. My mom serves breakfast casserole every Christmas morning, so it holds a special place in my heart. She cooks up a big pot of grits to serve alongside it, making an irresistible combination. I have even tried making breakfast casserole in muffin tins. The recipe I used called for english muffins--which created a sturdy base! They were perfect to make ahead and freeze for individual morning meals.
If you don't have a breakfast casserole recipe of your own that you love, try ours! (For a fun spin, use Maple Sausage!) Check out our Recipe Archive to see the recipe!
If you're looking for more brunch menu ideas--here are a few other favorites!
If you have a brunch favorite of your own, we'd love to know what it is! Send us the recipe to try for ourselves, or post a pic and tag us on social media! Meanwhile, take a look at what we have listed online to add a little southern soul to your next brunch.
Happy Peach Season from The Southern Mercantile! We LOVE peach season around here--we can't get enough of this Georgia grown fruit. The possibilities are endlessly delicious! Today we want to share two of our all-time favorite peach recipes with you (again).
If you are new to The Southern Mercantile, you may not have had the opportunity to be introduced to our Peach Bee Hives! This dessert is not only beautiful, but delicious! In our opinion, it's the perfect way to kick off the peach season. Click here to read our step-by-step tutorial on how to craft this yummy treat, or click here to go directly to the recipe!
Check out the story behind everyone's favorite Peach Cake by clicking here! This seasonal recipe is sure to wow the crowd. A simple, yet delicious, take on a sweet peachy treat!
We hope you'll take the time to try these fun recipes this summer! We'd love to know what you think, or if you have a favorite peach recipe yourself! Tag us in your social media posts so we can see what you're up to in the kitchen!
Don't forget, we are still taking Pre-Orders for our Peach and Bourbon Peach Jam! These flavors are made fresh in small batches while the peaches are in season. Once it's gone, it's gone! Click here to Pre-Order today!
Fresh salsa really is so simple and easy to make, there is no reason to be intimidated and no reason you can't enjoy this treat all summer long! I will confess that I love to eat at a restaurant in Atlanta called Taqueria Del Sol. It is a small chain, and there are several in North Georgia and Tennessee, but we always go to the one in the West Side Provisions District because I just love, love, love this part of Atlanta! Taqueria Del Sol has the best homemade salsa. They offer three varieties on a little trio plate and Matt and I usually make quick work of it! Many years ago, I scoured the internet for recipes similar to their salsas. It was so long ago, I can't remember where I found what I ended up with! My copy was hand written on a sheet of computer paper, with notes of alterations I had made. I didn't know until doing a little research for this blog that Eddie Hernandez, co-owner of the restaurant, now has a cookbook! I'll have to be hinting around to Matt that I want one for Christmas!
For Fresh Tomato Salsa you will need:
1/4 bunch of cilantro
2 Tbsp. spoons yellow onion (I usually like a little extra onion)
**Unless I am having a party, I usually half the recipe because it makes a lot!
If you want to punch up the flavor a little bit, you can try roasting your tomatoes and jalapeños for a Roasted Salsa. For the roasted salsa you will need:
1/2 bunch of cilantro
1/4 of a medium sized yellow onion
**Again, I usually make a half recipe. It doesn't make quite as much as the fresh tomato salsa but it still makes a lot!
In no time you have two delicious, homemade salsas that are sure to please any guests! I think they are best served on the patio with good friends and good tequila! Haha!
If you try these recipes at home, I'd love to hear from you and know what you think! Be sure to check out the store for cute kitchen accessories and serving pieces to bright up your summer kitchen. From my kitchen to yours, happy eating!
Check out our Kitchen category for cute new aprons and
coordinating dish towels!
As much as I love muscadines, I’ve never been a fan of a muscadine hull pie. I must admit, I’ve only tried a couple of slices, which weren’t all that bad, just not all that good either. It’s the concept that didn’t really appeal to me: squeezing the pulp and seeds out to cook down the skins of the muscadines to make a pie out of them?
Of course, I believe the idea came from what Southern cooking is best known for: making something delicious out of what you have on hand! Many folks make jelly out of muscadines, using only the pulp, leaving the skins behind. I’m sure what happened was some smart Southern woman decided she had worked too hard separating the skins from the pulp to just throw those skins away, so she made a pie out of the muscadine hulls! The idea must have caught on, because there are multiple variations on the same basic recipe. Now, I’m all about creatively repurposing leftovers, but since I don’t have to separate the muscadines by hand to make jelly, I’m certainly not going to do it just to make a hull pie!
Recently, a magazine contacted my husband, Chris, and asked for a recipe using muscadines with apples for a special piece featuring apples in North Georgia. Of course, he turned to me and asked, “Any ideas?” Although this was during our harvest season and fresh muscadines were abundant, I thought how much easier it would be to use one of our products made from muscadines that are available year-round. My favorite muscadine product is Paulk's Pride Muscadine Sauce. Maybe I could even combine it with apples to make a modern version of a muscadine hull pie?
So, I did what any good Southerner would do - I invited my best friends over for dinner and got to work! Chris took care of grilling steaks and vegetables I marinated while I chopped apples and made homemade ice cream. At least we’d have something delicious if the pie was a flop! After dinner, I proudly uncovered my creation and began to slice and serve it to raving reviews. Roxie declared it the best pie she’d ever eaten! Good thing, too, because I had to email the recipe later that week!
Paulk’s Pride Muscadine Apple Pie recipe was printed in the Fall 2017 issue of Georgia Connector magazine and is also available at www.paulkspride.com.
We’ve also made it into one of our Southern Mercantile recipe cards if you’d like to print it!
I sure hope you enjoy Paulk's Pride Muscadine Apple Pie as much as we have - we even served it in our Cafe during "Muscadine Week" in September!
Almost every southern cook I know has a recipe box or binder full of cards and slips of paper collected over the years from family, friends, and magazines. This is in addition to a cabinet full of cookbooks - from beautiful glossy picture-filled hardback books to spiral bound paperbacks filled with covered dish supper favorites and the name of the cook. My Mama had a dark wooden recipe box with a cornucopia painted on the top. She would pull it down from the cabinet above the stove, and we would know something delicious was about to happen in that kitchen.
When I got married, I received a recipe box, a couple of binders, and plenty of blank recipe cards. At the time, I had no recipes of my own to write on the cards and put in the binders or box! My mother-in-law gave me an old binder full of her and her mother’s recipes. This binder has become precious to me. Over the years, I have learned to make a few of those recipes, including my husband’s favorite - fresh peach cake for his birthday. (I shared this recipe in my blog Peach Cake.)
Last year, my Mama gave me the sweetest birthday present - her wooden recipe box! She included the card for my favorite meal as a child - Chicken Spaghetti! She’s also been working on typing up her other recipes to add to my collection. Of course, those in her own handwriting are the ones that are so dear to my heart. I have such sweet memories and feelings of home every time I look at that box.
Now that I have learned how to cook, I have lots of recipes in my everyday repertoire, and love gathering more. My problem is I have not organized all those recipes. I have a shelf full of cookbooks I’ve collected and lots of recipes scribbled here and there, but I don’t really have a system to organize them all. That’s one of those goals I’ve always hoped to get done, but never have! So, I’m trying to get my act together now, starting with our favorite recipe box from Rifle Paper Company. Choose from three different designs to match your kitchen and personality. We also have a cute Berry Basket Recipe Box you may prefer with its open top. And, all our recipes in the Recipe Archive are available in a printable format perfect for 4”x6” recipe cards to fit!
I look forward to organizing all my recipes - both old standbys and new favorites. Of course, I will still use recipes found online and in cookbooks; but, there is something nostalgic about reaching for a full recipe box. You can almost feel a connection to the cooks who have shared those recipes with you as well as the many southern cooks who have come before. And, what a wonderful gift for those who will come after us. One day, perhaps I can pass on a full recipe box to my daughter-in-law to help her become a great southern cook.
In honor of Mother's Day this weekend, I thought I would share one of my Mom's favorite recipes! There are two dishes that come to mind when I think about her; Sweet Potato Souffle and Buttermilk Salad. Both of these dishes seem to make it to every family gathering or holiday meal--usually per request of one of my cousins! Since summer is upon us, I thought I'd share her sweet and simple Buttermilk Salad Recipe.
Since my mother has made this recipe my whole life, I've never had to! She let me borrow her coveted Big Creek Church Cookbook for me to attempt it myself. This book has been well loved over the years, with paper clips marking her favorite recipes.
All you need are four simple ingredients to make this refreshing treat. In our family, this "salad" is a part of the meal, not dessert. Although it may look deceiving, this definitely pairs well with fresh peas and cornbread.
It wasn't until I started to make the recipe that I realize my Nana was the one who submitted this selection! Come to find out, Nana made this for her family and now my Mom carries on the tradition.
It only takes a few minutes to whip up, but you must let it set up overnight. My mom likes hers to be extra fluffy, so she uses 16 oz. of Cool Whip rather than 8 oz. If you think you'd like it to be tart, use two cups of buttermilk. If not, just use one!
If my mother had made it, it wouldn't be so lumpy. If my mother had made it, it would be a little fluffier! Some things are just best left to Mom.
I am so thankful to come from a long line of women who love to cook and serve. If you'd like to reminisce with us about our Mothers a little more, check out our Mother Memories blog! I hope you'll try this recipe as well as some of the others we've shared. Don't forget, you can always check out our Recipe Archive when you are in need of a new one to try!
With Easter around the corner, I started thinking about what recipe to share with y’all. A couple of years ago, I wrote about Deviled Eggs. You can even find our Blue Cheese and Bacon Deviled Eggs Recipe Card in our Recipe Archive.
One of my favorite desserts has always been carrot cake. I mean, what better way to get your veggies than in dessert? Apparently, carrot cake has been around for centuries in Europe. Carrots were used to sweeten the cake instead of sugar, which was much more expensive. It became popular in the 1960s-70s in the United States. As is the case with so many things, here in the South, we’ve perfected carrot cake and made it our own. I’m not sure if carrot cake is a traditional Easter dessert for everyone, but it certainly is in my southern family!
I’ve seen carrot cakes decorated with cute little carrots made from marzipan or icing, as well as some that include candied ginger for a little extra zing, but my favorite is generously iced with the perfect cream cheese frosting and sprinkled with extra pecans or walnuts on top! Of course, like any cake, it’s imperative that carrot cake be moist. There’s not much worse than a dry cake. I enjoy a glass of milk with a piece of cake, but I don’t want to need the glass of milk to wash it down!
This recipe is precisely that perfect balance of moist cake and sweet, creamy frosting. Brenda, Roxie’s mother, created this cake for Terry, Roxie’s father, after he went wild over the carrot cake at the Smithsonian Museum restaurant one summer. She tried different recipes, then put together a patchwork of a recipe by combining parts of several to come up with the one Terry thought was wonderful. Terry likes to see and taste what is in the cake, so the pecans aren’t chopped very fine. Using crushed pineapple helps keep the cake moist, and Brenda is known for ensuring there is plenty of frosting to go with each bite of cake. She also saves a step and a bit of time by freezing the grated carrots when they’re close to going out of date, so she can be ready to make a carrot cake whenever she wants.
Click here to go to our Recipe Archive to find the Carrot Cake Recipe Card to print! We’d love to know if you use Brenda’s Carrot Cake recipe this Easter or any other time, for that matter! Take a picture and tag us on Facebook, so we can celebrate with you! If you have any other tips or ideas for Easter, feel free to share those with us, too!
As I sit here contemplating how to begin this blog, I find myself struggling with the syrupy sweet words I am accustomed to using. Today I do not feel syrupy, but rather very heavy. If you live in our area or have been watching the news, then you are aware of the tragedy that surrounds us. We experienced terrible weather this past weekend which resulted in multiple tornadoes that destroyed countless homes and claimed precious lives. I find it hard to concentrate on my work, carry on small talk, or even drift off to sleep at night. I wonder what I can do to ease the pain and loss of the families in our surrounding counties. I am overwhelmed by the many needs but oh so grateful for the ones who have sprung into action. What I do know is the needs that these areas are currently experiencing and I can start there. I will do what I can to support these families and I will stay informed in the days, weeks and months to come. If you too are interested in donating to the families who have been affected by these storms, I would encourage you to find the nearest collection location and give. A little goes a long way.
Something special happens when you invite someone into your home for dinner. I believe that same magic is present when you bring food to their doorstep. Preparing and cooking a meal takes time, it takes thought, it takes love. A casserole has the ability to minister to someone where words can't reach.
Here in the South, it is customary to deliver a casserole to someone when certain life events take place. (Deaths, births, sickness etc.) Whether the event is tragic or filled with joy, sending food their way is an opportunity to communicate that we care and are willing to help in a time of need.
I believe cooking and baking to be one of my love languages. I blame it on my Southern roots as well as generations of good cooks and caring women. I love having people in my home and at my table. We share more than food--we share life.
Only recently have I started this venture in loving people through food. Now that I am married with a home of our own, I find joy in filling the freezer with delicious casseroles (to make dinner for a hectic night easier, or to share with others). This Christmas I decided to make lots of cookies and casseroles to share. When choosing a casserole, I decided on one of our favorite dinners: Chicken Pot Pie. Who doesn't love Chicken Pot Pie?! I found a recipe last year on Pinterest from Lovely Little Kitchen that we just love.
After tweaking it a bit, I have finally perfected it for us--and for freezing! I would like to share this recipe with you, in hopes that you might share it with others!
Wrap casserole with saran wrap to ensure that it is sealed.
Cover with tin foil, labeling what it is.
*I like to use cute labels, making sure that I give clear directions on how to bake, if it is a gift.
If baking straight from the freezer, uncover, remove saran wrap, and place the tin foil back over the casserole.
Bake at 400 degrees for an hour, or until bubbling.
Be sure to remove the tin foil during the last few minutes of baking to brown your crust!
If thawed, just follow the directions on your recipe card!
*I found that I like to cheat and use canned biscuits to make my crust, but you can use any type of crust you like! This dough works well with freezing, so if you change it up, I would just suggest that you do a little experiment before gifting it!
**Also, if you are having trouble weaving your crust, here are a few helpful tips at Gimme Some Oven!
Sometimes showing love to those around you looks like making a plate of food and taking it to the widow next door. Sometimes it looks like dropping off baked goods at your local DFCS office. Sometimes it even looks like buying canned goods for a local shelter. There are so many ways to love the people right around you, and often times we are too busy to notice.
Though feeding people may be one of my love languages, what is yours? You don't have to bake a casserole to show someone you care--that's just one idea! This world is desperate for love and attention, and if we don't show it to them, they will search elsewhere.
I heard Jen Hatmaker once say that your physical neighbors were not placed there by chance. We were chosen to live alongside one another and care for each other--and if we can't love those directly around us, how can we love the world?
Though you may not be able to reach out to the tornado victims I mentioned in the introduction, I would like to challenge each of our readers to think of someone in your community who may need a little love. Whip up this Chicken Pot Pie, bake a few slice-and-bake cookies, or take them a vase of flowers. Let's consider what others around us may being going through and let them know we care. In the busy-ness of life it is often easy to miss opportunities to love--so let's make one.
The Southern Mercantile was thrilled to be a part of the annual "Mistletoe Market" this year in Perry, GA. We had a blast getting to set up a mini Southern Mercantile store. Here's our finished product, what do you think?
It was so much fun to fill our little space up with all of our favorite things!
We introduced our favorite soaps in our favorite scents. These shea butter soaps from France feel like such a treat! Who can go wrong with lavender, white gardenia, sage and mirabelle. These soaps are now available in the store and they make a perfect hostess gift or stocking stuffer! Click HERE to shop!
We had the opportunity to meet new people and make some new friends! We served our special "spiced percolator punch" as a special treat to those who stopped by. It was such a hit, we're sharing the recipe below!
Our Maileg bunnies, angels and mice were a huge hit! We have restocked our "Littles" category and they are all available now!
One of the highlights of the weekend was getting to meet James Farmer! We just love all of his books and have carried them in the store for years. You guys can nab one of your own by clicking HERE!
Next weekend we are headed to Jacksonville, FL to participate in the "Vintage Market Days of Jacksonville". If you are in the Jacksonville area drop by and visit with us! We'll be hitting the road to some new places in the new year, so we'll keep you posted on our schedule. If we're ever in your neighborhood we would love to meet ya!
Hot Spiced Percolator Punch
(makes 22 servings)
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