Archives for August 2010

Daily Linky Interwebby BIG TIME CATCH-UP

I didn’t post many links this summer because, well, I just didn’t. I actually don’t have a single valid reason. However, as always, I’m happy to blame my lack of consistency on the heat. THE HEAT RUINS EVERYTHING.

But today there is a slight hint of fall in the air (a hint that will no doubt be obliterated by the BLAZING HOT SUN within the next few hours), and I’m feeling motivated to do a linky catch-up of sorts. No doubt your sense of ambivalence is PALPABLE.

Giddy up.

– Okay. So our pastor, David Platt, has written a book called Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From The American Dream, and I think it’s safe to say that God has used Radical to hit sort of a collective cultural nerve. And also, from a personal standpoint, to STEP ALL OVER MY TOES.

In a couple of weeks my bloggy friend Marla (edited to add: I just corrected ANOTHER mistake) :-) is hosting a Radical read-along. It’ll last for about nine weeks-ish, and all you need to participate is a copy of the book and a willingness to share what you’re learning.

I haven’t talked to anyone who’s walked away from this book unchanged. And if you really, really want to read it but just can’t afford it right now, let me know via email at Just put “Radical Book” in the subject line.

– I loved Jon’s post about making horrible trades. And as an English nerd, I was sixty-four kinds of happy when I saw how he tied the post together at the end. So good.

– My new Kellogg’s $100 Visa gift card giveaway is up and running and waiting for your comments! (edited to add: comments are working now)

– If you’re a blogger, my friend Mary needs your help getting the word out about something – and you might make a little bit of extra money in the process. Here are the details.

– When I read this poem that Priscilla posted, I thought, “Oh. I am totally printing that out and putting it on my refrigerator.”

– For mindless entertainment, you can’t really beat MadMenYourself. Because whether you watch the show or not, you’ll enjoy sporting a kicky flip hairdo with your pointy eyeglasses.

– Ever thought about the pop culture divide between you and this year’s college freshmen? Take a look at the Beloit College Mindset List for the class of 2014. It made me feel old. REAL old. (via Throwing Things)

Happy Tuesday, everybody!

Kellogg’s Love Your Cereal – Post 3

This is sponsored content by BlogHer and Kelloggs.

So I know it may be a little strange, but I’m sort of endlessly fascinated by cereals.


I LOVE THEM. I’ve even written blog posts about them before.

And while I’d like to think that my cereal tastes show how I’ve grown and matured as a person, I pretty much like all the same cereals that I did when I was a kid.

Frosted Flakes? Yes ma’am. Brings back fond memories of staying up until 10 o’clock to watch “Charlie’s Angels” re-runs on a station out of Chicago. Frosted Flakes was always my go-to late-night snack.

Frosted Mini-Wheats? Please and thank you. It was hands-down my favorite cereal for the mornings. Not too sweet – and when the milk starts to change the texture of the wheat wafers just a little bit so that they’re slightly mushy but not soggy? That’s what cereal-eating will be like in heaven.

Apple Jacks? Why, I believe I will. They always remind me of spending the night with my friend Laura and playing endless rounds of Trivial Pursuit with her parents. I really have no idea why I associate those things with each other; I can only assume that I chose cereal as my snack food during our games.

However, recently my loyalties have shifted to a new cereal that my little boy discovered earlier this summer. He saw it one day in the cereal aisle, asked if we could PLEASE PLEASE PRETTY PLEASE add it to our breakfast rotation, and since I am always a proponent of refining our cereal-related palates, I agreed.

You may have noticed that we are very fancy in our house. Very fancy indeed.

What I could have never known, of course, is that while the little guy would try and like this cereal, I would try it and LOVE IT. Except that I’m not really that sure that “love” is a strong enough word.

Oh my goodness, people. This stuff is divine. It’s different from other cereals in the cinnamon-sugar vein because it’s actually much more cinnamon-y than sugar-y. For that reason, it’s not too sweet for the mornings, but more than anything else, it is PERFECT for dessert. And as I’ve said before, if you are not familiar with the cereal-as-dessert-option, then clearly I have overshared. I do apologize.

So what about you? What are your favorite Kellogg’s breakfast cereals? Or do you have a favorite from when you were younger? Leave a comment with your answer, and you’ll be entered to win a $100 Visa gift card (and come back next week to enter again – because these giveaways will continue for the next 9 weeks).

And be sure to visit the Kellogg exclusive offers page – you have 24 other chances to win $100 every single week that this program is running!

Mom’s Breakfast Club was started to help educate moms and families about kids’ cereal and share the scoop on their nutritional benefits and ingredients. To learn more about the program, visit

This giveaway is now closed.

Don’t Forget About The Fabulous Prizes

1) The Laughing Cow giveaway #2 is still going strong. Chime in with a funny cooking story, and you could win a $150 Visa gift card.

2) Today is the last day to enter the second Kellogg’s Love Your Cereal giveaway (with a $100 Visa gift card prize). I’ll post a new Kellogg’s giveaway tomorrow (another $100 Visa gift card).

3) The McDonald’s Family Time giveaway ends tomorrow.

4) The Smuckers Kidvitations giveaway also ends tomorrow ($200 Visa gift card).

5) It doesn’t end tomorrow, but you don’t want to miss your chance to enter the Juicy Juice giveaway ($100 Visa gift card).

Hope y’all are having a great Monday!

It Was, Quite Simply, A Revelation

About a month ago a new restaurant opened here in Birmingham.

Yes, Texans. I just heard you squeal.

And listen. We couldn’t wait to try the Chuy’s. I feel like I’ve heard people talking about the Chuy-liciousness (GET IT?) for a sweet forever, and I originally had every intention of being there opening weekend and knocking on the door until they let me in and agreed to pour cheese dip into a glass so that I could drink it through a straw.

But things have been a little cuckoo around here with our various and sundry end-of-summer funtime activities, and our inaugural trip to Chuy’s kept getting pushed farther down the list. But this past Friday night we agreed that Chuy’s was a must-do for Saturday lunch, and then we held a solemn candlelight ceremony so that we could affirm our love for homemade tortillas and really good pico de gallo.

Or maybe we just fell asleep watching TV. Regardless, it was a terribly exciting evening.

So Saturday morning we pulled into a parking spot at Chuy’s at 10:55 IN THE A.M. because we wanted to beat the crowd. And it’s a good thing that we did, because I’ll have you know that by 11:20 that place was packed.

I’ll also have you know that by 11:20, we were in the midst of a serious Tex-Mex blessing.

Because oh my goodness. The salsa. And the jalapeno ranch. And the deluxe tomatillo sauce. And the everything. It was just. divine. And the little man was so fascinated by the tortilla-making that was going on next to our table that the sweet ladies behind the counter gave him his own little piece of tortilla dough.

Sorry for the glare. But I wanted to capture the fact that the tortilla dough seemed to make him thoughtful. Analytical. Consumed by tortilla-related possibilities.

We had a great lunch, and I’m sure we’ll go back an embarrassing number of times. Because in addition to the food being great, there are two other decided benefits to Chuy’s: 1) it’s next door to Charming Charlie, and 2) OH MY WORD THE VIEW.

I’m actually considering moving to Chuy’s patio this fall. Just so I can sit there all day long and look at the pretty leaves.

Welcome to Birmingham, Chuy’s.

We’re mighty glad you’re here.

First Day Of School! First Day Of School!

When I was growing up, my friend Laura’s daddy would always start off a new school year by singing “SCHOOOOOOOL DAYS, SCHOOOOOOL DAYS, DEAR OLD GOLDEN RULE DAYS,” and it made me laugh whenever she would tell me about it because who? who sings that? who wakes up their child by singing a song from the early 1900s?

We do, apparently.

And so this new school year began.

I’ll spare you the sight of our before school pictures; just suffice it to say that my eyes would have benefitted from a solid half hour underneath some ice-cold cucumbers. I’ve noticed over the course of this past year that it’s always a good idea to give my face a little recuperation time in the mornings so that things – like my eyelids, for instance – can settle down a bit, but the hurried pace of the first day of school did not afford me that privilege. My 20 year-old self would have laughed at my need for early morning face rehab, of course, as she jumped out of bed, threw on some sweats and hauled her crease-free face to Lee Hall two minutes before Advanced Composition started.

But here’s a little secret that you can’t tell anybody: sometimes, when I think about that wrinkle-free, crease-free version of myself? I want to kick her. Just a little bit. A gentle kick. Mainly so she’ll appreciate the fact that she doesn’t have to slather on moisturizer the second she gets out of the shower. And so that she’ll treasure her precious few remaining years of looking wide-eyed with absolutely no help at all from ice packs and/or cosmetics.


The little man had a great first day of school, which honestly wasn’t a huge surprise since he typically has a great time doing anything at all. Pushing a grocery cart down a frozen food aisle? BEST THING EVER. Sitting on the couch in the salon where I get my hair cut? IT’S SO RELAXING, MAMA! Watching a public transit bus at a red light? I LOVE THOSE BUSES! I WANT TO RIDE ONE OF THEM SOMEDAY! Going to Walgreens? PERFECT! I WANT TO LOOK AT ALL OF THEIR FUN TOYS!

Bless him. He’s definitely a carrier of the COMPLETELY LIMITLESS ENTHUSIASM gene.

So after school we headed over to a yogurt shop to celebrate the first day of school with my sweet friend NK and her girls. It’s one of my favorite traditions, mainly because I like to sit back and think about how much the young’uns have grown and how before you know it we’ll be at their graduations and they won’t really need us so much anymore and OH MY WORD DOES ANYONE HAVE A TISSUE?

The kids had a blast fixing their yogurt and then piling on nutritious toppings like gummy bears and sprinkles and Oreos and hot fudge. But more than anything, they had a blast laughing about everything and nothing.

They’re getting so big – which is all the more reason to hold them extra tight while we still can.

Hope back-to-school has been a happy time for you, too!

The Laughing Cow – Post 2

This is sponsored content from BlogHer and The Laughing Cow.

We eat a lot vegetables in our house. In fact, I like to think that I cook a way above average amount of vegetables. Black beans, blackeyed peas, green beans, asparagus, butterbeans, corn, squash, carrots, tomatoes, okra, sweet potatoes, eggplant – all of these things are regular parts of our diet.


I was born and raised in Mississippi. I spent the first three years of my married life in south Louisiana. And I now live in Alabama. And while we do eat healthily for the most part, I occasionally call upon my Southern cooking heritage when it comes to adding bacon and butter to our vegetables. So while I feel confident telling you that you could stop by our house on almost any night of the week and find several vegetables from which to choose, you should probably know in advance that you might not be eating them steamed and flavored with the teeniest bit of olive oil when you visit.

However, I think you’ll find that you’ll appreciate the temporary vacation from worries about your cholesterol when you experience that first taste of bacon fat in your peas.

Yes ma’am. Pass the cornbread. Please and thank you.

So just in case you’ve never experienced the joy of preparing and eating vegetables in the Deep South – I thought I’d offer a brief tutorial here today. You probably wouldn’t want to follow these rules all the time, but every once in awhile it’s good to kick up your soul food heels. And while it is not necessary for you to visit your cardiologist before implementing these methods in your own cooking, it is certainly recommended. As I always like to say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of really good butter.


1) If there’s no form of pork product in your vegetable, you’re doing something wrong.

I grew up knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that pigs and vegetables are BFFs. They go together like peas and, well, ham hocks. And even when I cook vegetables that aren’t traditional Southern staple – like black beans – I like to fry a little bacon, remove it from the pan, and then use those bacon drippings to season my beans. Which leads us straight to tip #2…

2) A little bit of bacon makes every vegetable better.

Sprinkle some crumbled bacon on a cooked sweet potato. Or mix it up in some green beans with sugar and vinegar. Or stir it up with some eggplant, onion, garlic and butter. Or add it to your bread crumbs when you’re dredging green tomatoes. YOU CAN’T GO WRONG. And more importantly? Your life will never be the same.

3) Go big with real butter or go home.

Now contrary to what you might think, I’m not advocating that you use large quantities of butter when you cook vegetables. But I am advocating that you use real butter. Nothing from a tub. Nothing that “tastes like” butter. I’m talking about the real deal butter – the best thing that ever happened to baked sweet potatoes or fresh squash. I’d rather use a teaspoon of the real stuff than a tablespoon of the fake stuff. Let’s embrace the real-live butter. It’s the right thing to do.

So. There you have it. The three primary ways I like to take perfectly healthy foods and occasionally make them significantly less healthy. And I’m so grateful that you’ve joined me on this somewhat fat-laden portion of my culinary journey.

One more thing: if you’d like to win a $150 Visa gift card, leave a comment on this post that answers the following question:

Share a funny cooking-related story, video clip, picture, etc. in the comment section and you will be entered to win $150. Please keep your comments G-rated as any profanity or offensive content will automatically disqualify you from sweepstakes entry. You should also visit The Daily Laugh hub to read funny content each day and for weekly chances to win $100 at the “Play For Laughs” game. If you share something really funny, we may even use it in The Daily Laugh!

And don’t miss the other bloggers’ posts – you have 11 other chances to win each month!

Questions about the sweepstakes? Check out the official rules.

Happy Laughing, everybody!

This giveaway is now closed.