Sandi is blogging from the WhistleStop Cafe kitchen. It's all about good home cooking; food, family and fun. Thousands of posts . . .

~In the south and around the world.

Friday, February 29, 2008


It's Leap Day!
February 29th only comes in leap year and I am full of Leapenvy for those who celebrate their birthday on Leap Day.... known as Leapers. You can Shop Here for some great leapified stuff.

Since this is such a special day the Leapers suggest you use this extra day for something leapworthy. You know this is the day that a lady can ask a man to marry her. Maybe you would rather loan someone money~ to be paid back on February 29th.

In fact I could use a loan like that!

Leapio Y'all!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Centerpiece of the Month~ February

February was a great month for centerpieces. Something about Valentine's Day and Springtime flowers had everyone in the mood! I am posting a little earlier than usual~ while we are still in February.

I snitched this one~ but I don't think Palma will mind. Palma Bella's Passions posted some poppies from her yard in southern California. Can you believe she grew these?

Nature Girl sent in a pretty arrangement in a wine glass~ so simple! Yet so perfect

Pam and her Sidewalk Shoes is my adopted blogger. She shared her Lenten roses. She got these right out of her yard as well.

Myriam at Once Upon a Tart always sends a beautiful arrangement. This one was inspired by the first signs of spring. She'll show you how to do it yourself... check it out.

At Cherry Hill Cottage there is a perky percolator full of carnations. These will put a smile on your face for a while!

Dust Bunny Hostage is hot, hot, hot. I admit that I had to talk her out of this one.

Pat at Back Porch Musings had an unbelievable Valentine's table. Sandi McBride may not be posting centerpieces~ but she knows where to find them! Thank you Sandi~ and Pat!

What's For Lunch Honey sent us a unique Valentine's bouquet. No flashy red and pink, just the pureness of white. Meeta used creamy roses and ranunculus with silver threads, and then took a perfect picture.At The Bunnies Bungalow
the table was set with doilies, ribbons, flowers and a key to her heart.
I wonder who her lucky Valentine was??

We had so many entries that I don't need to post mine~ but I will say that I had some beautiful roses on my kitchen table. (for those of you who may have been worried for me.)

Thank all of you for taking the time to send in your centerpieces. I can't wait to see what's in store for March!

What have y'all got on your table?

Monday, February 25, 2008


The Oscars was not the only award show in town!

Mandy at Pearl Maple was nice enough to pass on an award to me. She is so sweet~ and so talented. You have to check out her blog.

So here I am in my favorite little red dress~~~~~ Use your imagination!
"I would like to thank Mandy in Australia for this little E. I'd also like to give a shout out to all-y'all who stop in and comment on our little blog. Y'all have made me feel so special. "

Back to the kitchen~ it's dinner time!


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Pizza Saturday

It is a pizza Saturday!
I've already got my dough made. This evening we will roll it out into a yummy tomato-basil pizza. Pizza Dough
3 1/2 cups flour
1 cup hot water
2 Tbs yeast
1 Tbs honey
1/4 cup olive oil
pinch salt
In a large bowl combine water that is very warn to the touch with yeast. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes. Add honey and olive oil. Slowly add flour, mixing until well blended. Dough should easily fold into a ball. Add water or flour as needed to get the right consistency. Place dough on a lightly floured surface to kneed for about a minute. Return to the bowl and cover with a cloth. Allow to sit until you are ready to make the pizza. Dough will double in size in about 45 minutes, punch down and allow to rise again.

To roll out the dough into a pizza crust use a lightly floured surface. Spinning like they do at Pasquale's makes the dough round and even. It takes practice. A little corn meal on the pizza stone will keep it from sticking.
I like to sprinkle my dough with fresh basil or rosemary before covering with a sauce. I use a thin coat of the bruschetta topping and lots of fresh tomatoes and basil. Bill likes lots of grated cheese.
Bake in a hot oven @ 400 until done, about 15 minutes.

Y'all enjoy!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Spinach Lasagna

This is a recipe for an easy spinach lasagna. It isn't purely vegetarian... Bill would be asking 'Where's the Beef?' I like using fresh spinach and a whole wheat pasta. A little left over spaghetti sauce makes it really easy.

Spinach Lasagna
3 cups spaghetti sauce
2 cups fresh spinach leaves
2 cups shredded mozzarella
2 cups ricotta cheese
1/4 cup parmesean
1 egg
1/2 box lasagna noodles
In a large pot of boiling water cook noodles until tender. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with a non stick spray. Combine ricotta and parmesean cheeses with an egg. Begin with a layer of noodles, layer sauce, spread ricotta, layer spinach, sprinkle with mozzarella. Repeat layers of noodles, sauce, cheeses, and spinach.
Cover with tented aluminum foil. Bake at 350° for 1 hour. Allow to sit 15 minutes before slicing.
Sometimes I do this in a 9x13 dish, and sometimes I use 2 smaller pans. One to bake and one to freeze for later.
Y'all enjoy!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

What a Day

Guess who is 40 today?
Kari you are a classic!
Stop by for the birthday blog party!

If that doesn't make today special enough...

We are going to have a lunar eclipse tonight. It won't happen again until 2010.
I hope I can stay awake and get a better picture of the man in the moon.


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Gail's Great Escapes

My dear friend Gail is a bit of a 'celeb' today. There is an article about her in the Sunday edition of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The article is Why I Love My Job ~ and who wouldn't when your job is leading groups to Italy?

Her business is called Gail's Great Escapes . She and her husband John invite small groups to stay in a villa in Tuscany.
"She leads weeklong, small-group tours to a villa in a mountain village in Tuscany, the part of central Italy near Florence. She is the hostess for up to 16 people who can tour the region, visit wineries and restaurants, taste local wine and cheese, take art and cooking classes, relax with yoga and meditation instruction, or just sit back and enjoy the countryside."

Gail and John do this with a touch of southern hospitality- in Montisi.
It is the perfect blend; the security of a tour, with the freedom to do what ever and where ever your heart leads. Meals in the evening at the villa, art lessons, cooking lessons, tours of wineries, or just relaxing under a Tuscan sunset.
We are lucky enough to already have our room reserved!

If y'all have ever wanted to see Italy~ check out Gail's Great Escapes.
Ciao y'all,

Saturday, February 16, 2008


Uncle Bubbie and SandiHoHo had a fun evening.

We were babysitters and entertainers for MJ.

Actually, we were the ones entertained!
I had forgotten what it was like to have a busy little girl in the house.
Look at her handle that phone~ she is on her way to those teenage years...
Thank you for my valentine.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

And the winners are...

We ended up having 177 comments on our One world One heart giveaway. We chose two random numbers.... Which means two new friends in fun aprons!
#147 Molly Jean at Creative Life and Times

I found out that I was lucky enough to win some fanciful fabric from Quilt Diva Julie, I see some new aprons in the making!

I also have a new crystal braclet from Rob who has a CreativSpirit...lucky me!

The idea of this event was that we could all bring our hearts together, to become a closer community, through blogging. What an amazing idea. Thank you to Lisa for all of the work she put into it.

I am excited about the new friendship that have been formed. I look forward to visiting each of you and I hope y'all will stop in the cafe occasionally.

Hearts to Everyone involved!
Thanks y'all

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Since it is Valentine's Day everyone is posting on Chocolate.
I will join in!
This is a different way to use cocoa~
and a left over cup of coffee.
Chocolate Beef Tenderloin
1/2 cup strong coffee
2Tbs olive oil
2# beef
2 Tbs flour
2 cups beef stock
2 Tbs tomato paste
2 Tbs cocoa powder
1tsp basil &oregano
pinch allspice
fresh thyme
1cup carrots
1cup pearl onions
1cup greenbeans
Slice beef into cubes, marinade in ziplock bag with coffee (I added a splash of WhistleStop Marinade) Heat olive oil in a large shallow pan. Brown beef quickly and remove. Add flour to pan and stir until brown. Slowly add broth and the coffee marinade stirring until blended. Stir in tomato paste and spices. Return meat to the pot. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add carrots and cook until tender. Uncover, add onions and green beans. Simmer. The sauce will thicken as the veggies become tender.

I serve it over garlic mashed potatoes.
Now that is a different way to eat chocolate!
Y'all enjoy!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


With all of the excitement of the One World One Heart giveaway I almost let the centerpiece of the month slip by.
This is just to prove that I don't always have a vase of fantastic flowers on the table.

But if my 'honey pie' knows what is 'good 4 you'...

Y'all will see a picture of flowers soon!

Monday, February 11, 2008

It's Good to be Me!

I was recently tagged by my friend Just a BeachKat to post why It's Good To Be Me. She used a quote that I love.
"A Birth Certificate shows that we were born
A Death Certificate shows that we died
Pictures show that we lived!"
I so agree! It is the moments in life that we remember.

So... I'll show you why It's Good To Be Me!I love to travel. I enjoy learning and experiencing new places. I like trying new foods, and new languages. It must be the fact I grew up as an Air Force brat~ the next move is always an adventure.I always have a project in the works... It drives Bill nuts. Sometimes my projects will overlap, but I am a get-it-done kind of a person. I may even verge on obsessed until I move on to a new project.
We have 2 wonderful children. Bill inherited them as teenagers~ not always the easiest time even for parents who love them and raise them up. They have grown into wonderful adults. We love it now when they come visit and fill the house with chatter- and the sounds of drumming. We both come from wonderful families and that is a big part of 'me'.
Marrying into the WhistleStop family changed my life. I have gone from a fairly private person to a part of a nationally recognised name. I am even published in a cookbook! The next cookbook is a part of my current obsession... stay tuned.
We have a princess in our home. Not Me ~:D The princess of the house is Fancy Freckles. She is getting older, and is deaf from those cocker spaniel ear infections. She can still sniff out a cookie though!

My goal in life is simple... to one day be able to do nothing but this~

If you haven't done this yet~ tell us why It's good to be you!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

BreakFAST Cookies

This is a great breakfast cookie~ filling and nutritious. It looks like a lot of ingredients, but it is quick and easy to make.
They are quick 'out the door' on Monday morning!
I always keep some on hand. Today is the perfect day to make a batch for this busy week.BreakFAST Cookies
4 Tbs butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup raw sugar
1/4 cup carrot baby food
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup bran flakes
1/3 cup grated carrots
1/3 cup crasins
1/3 cup chopped almonds

Combine the softened butter and sugars, cream baby food and other wet ingredients. Blend until smooth. Add dry ingredients, stirring until well combined. Stir in oats and cereal. Finally add fruits and nuts. Stir this thick and chunky batter until well blended. Scoop rounded mounds onto a cookie sheet- they will not rise or spread.
Bake at 350° for 12 minutes. Store in an air tight container to keep them moist.
Approximately 190 calories in each cookie.

Y'all don't forget to check out the aprons in our One World One Heart giveaway!
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