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.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

God's Gift

We have had an exciting weekend!
Welcome 'Luke Able' to the McMichael clan.

Won't it be fun watching him grow?

Without a doubt, this is God's greatest gift.


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sunday Slow Bakers

Our Sunday Slow Bakers are baking Babbo Breadsticks today. These are featured in Gina's cookbook Dolce Italiano. They are spicy cheesy breadsticks that are served at the Babbo Bar. Don't let the yeast scare you away... they are easy as pie.

1/3 cup warm water
1 pkg yeast
pinch of sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup '00' flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup cold water
2 Tbs EVOO
1/2 cup grated parmigiana
1 Tbs unsalted butter
Kosher salt

Prepare yeast with warm water and sugar. In a large bowl, combine flours, salt and pepper. Pour the yeast into the center of the flour, add water. Combine ingredients, kneading on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1/2 cup cheese, and butter. Continue kneading for 2-3 minutes until smooth. Remove from bowl and knead by hand on a floured surface until smooth. Return the dough to a large oiled bowl, cover with saran wrap and allow to rise over 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 375° .
Roll out 1 inch sections of dough into 14-15 inch breadsticks- about 1/8 inch thick. I rolled mine in kosher salt and rosemary. Bake 12-14 minutes until golden brown.
Makes about 30 breadsticks.
Y'all enjoy!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Saturday Morning

Happy Saturday morning!

This is the perfect day to read the newspaper with a cup (or pot) of coffee in the morning. This sunny yellow bouquet could be my centerpiece of the month for April.

I have noticed the hummingbirds are here early this year. Last year I see they arrived in May. I've got my feeders ready! How 'bout you?

I'll post our Centerpiece of the Month for April next week.
Y'all send yours in!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Strawberry season

Strawberries are in season!
A friend picked some berries in Chilton County just last weekend.Is there a better quick dessert than Strawberry Shortcake?
This adds a little chocolate to a shortcake... the perfect combination! You can whip it up in no time and have a warm dessert.

White Chocolate Shortcakes
2 1/3cup bisquick
1/2 cup milk
3 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs butter
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
preheat oven to 425°

Combine all ingredients, blending well. Add chocolate chips last. Dough will be very thick. Make 6 patties- about 1/2 inch thick. Bake 8-10 minutes.

Slice strawberries, combine with 1 Tbs sugar and 1 Tbs Grand Mariner. Allow to sit for a good while to soften.

Top each shortcake with sliced berries and a dollop of whipped cream.Y'all enjoy!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day

Today is Earth Day.

The first Earth Day was in 1970~ I find this to be amazing! Mostly, because I remember 1970... and I don't remember being overly concerned about the environment. We have come a long way from the days of AquaNet aerosol hair spray, cheap leaded gas, and the earth shoe.

I recently have started carrying my own reusable shopping bags. Those plastic grocery bags seem to multiply in my kitchen... I imagine they grow like kudzu in the landfills. This is one small thing that can make a difference.
This is a concept that has not quite arrived in the aisles of the Piggley Wiggley. When they ask paper or plastic... I pull out my bags. They aren't quite sure what to think of me.
Have y'all checked out Simply Green? It is a blog that always has great eco-friendly tips. I am always learning something new. Kat has posted the funniest cartoon! I drive a bug, Bill drives diesel... that is soooo US.
Act Locally~ Think Globally.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sunday Slow Bakers

Now that all of the Slow Travelers are home from Savannah, with only future trips to plan, we were looking for something else to blog about. Sunday Slow Bakers were born! We plan to feature a recipe from a cookbook and everyone post on sunday.
The cookbook we are using is 'Dolce Italiano' by Gina DePalma (our own Stella). I don't have my own copy (yet) but Kim was nice enough to share.

Sicilian Pistachio Bars

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 t kosher salt
1 cup shelled, whole unsalted pistachios
1 cup softened unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup plus 2t granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1t vanilla extract
1t amaretto
zest of 1 lemon
Preheat oven to 325°

Lightly grease 13x18 jelly roll pan and line with parchment paper; then lightly grease the paper using nonstick cooking spray or butter. In medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt and set aside. Place 1/2 cup pistachios in the bowl of a food processor and process for 20 to 30 seconds until the nuts are finely ground. Stir the ground pistachios into the flour mixture. Cream the butter with the 1 1/4 cups sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla, amaretto and lemon zest. On low speed, mix in the dry ingredients to make a soft dough.
Spread the dough evenly. Coarsely chop the remaining pistachios in the food processor and sprinkle them evenly over the surface of the dough. Sprinkle the remaining 2t sugar evenly over the nuts.
Bake for 35 - 45 minutes or until the dough is firm and just turning golden brown at the edges. Allow the pan to cool on a wire rack for 30 - 45 minutes before cutting the cookies into rectangular bars.
The cookies can be stored in an airtight container, layered between sheets of parchment paper, and kept in a cool, dry place for up to 3 days.
I added a drizzle of chocolate, just because!

Y'all enjoy!

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Look at the email I recieved...

Your Smilebox has been selected as a Smilebox of the Week! Your photos of Savannah are wonderful! A link to your creation will be posted at

Tamese Robinson

How cool is that y'all?
I am doing a smilebox dance.
This is from my post on Forsyth Park.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


There is a huge event coming up. Barbara at Winos and Foodies is hosting her second annual LiveSTRONG Day~ A Taste of Yellow. LiveSTRONG Day is the Lance Armstrong Foundation's one-day initiative to raise awareness and funds for the cancer fight. LIVESTRONG Day 2008 will occur on Tuesday, May 13.

Last year I was proud to be a part of this event and posted my Limoncello Cheesecake. I had commented that if one little blog could make a difference... We all can make a difference! 148 other bloggers also joined in the event in 2007. We are excited to see who participates in 2008.

This year I am living southern with a Taste of Yellow. How about an Italian fritatta version of a squash casserole?
Sweet Squash Fritatta

4 yellow squash
1 sweet onion
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
6 eggs
6 ritz crackers, crushed
1/2 cup muenster cheese
1/4 cup fresh Parmesan
1 Tbs butter
Salt & Pepper

Thinly slice the yellow squash and onions. Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet or omelet pan. Brown onion and squash lightly. Dot with one tablespoon of butter and lemon juice. Combine eggs, grated cheeses, and crushed crackers. When the butter is bubbly pour in the eggs. Lower the heat and cook until almost set. Place the pan under a broiler and cook the remaining 2-4 minutes until firm.

Now the tricky part... cover the skillet with a plate. Hold your mouth just right and flip the plate and skillet together. The fritatta will fall out easily onto the plate.
Serve warm, with more cheese on top if desired.

Our family has been touched by cancer, as many of you have. This is an event that can make a difference. You still have time to enter your taste of yellow!

LiveSTRONG with a taste of Yellow has been accepted as an official LiveSTRONG Day event.

Y'all LiveStrong!


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

TV dinners

Thai food is one of our favorites. We are lucky to have some great Thai restaurants in Birmingham. Sometimes you just want a quick meal at home in front of the TV.

The secret to good pad thai is the ingredients... I guess that is not such a secret! The freshest herbs and spices will always make the difference. There is no replacement for fresh ginger and fresh bean sprouts.
This is a super easy pad thai. You can do it!

Pad Thai
1 Tbs garlic
1 Tbs fresh ginger
1 lb. shrimp
1 egg
2 Tbs fish sauce
2 Tbs rice wine vinegar
3 Tbs soy sauce
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp brown sugar
1 cup cilantro
1/2 cup bean sprouts
4 green onions
1 lime
1 bag rice noodles
Dice garlic and ginger, cut the onions into small chunks. Saute the garlic and ginger in a wok or skillet with a bit of vegetable oil. Add cleaned shrimp to hot pan and cook until pink, about 8 minutes. Remove when the shrimp are cooked. In the same pan, scramble an egg, set aside with the shrimp. Add the sauces, sugar, and juice from one lime. Simmer until thick.

Meanwhile soak the rice noodles in warm water for 10-15 minutes. When the noodles are tender remove from the water and drain.

Add the shrimp, cilantro and juice from a lime into the liquid. Toss the noodles with the liquid, mixing well to coat.

It takes a few minutes to toss it all together. You'll have plenty of time to catch American Idol or Top Chef. I also served some Spring Rolls. I made them a little differently this time. I'll post that later!
Y'all enjoy!

Make My Day

Thank you Kat!

In case you don't visit her... she is Just A Beach Kat living on the gulf coast. She gave this award to little ole me, and all the 'Bs'.
Now I am going to pass it on to all my March Madness Mates from Slow Travel. We did a great job of keeping up with a post everyday in March. It was work, but it also brightened my day to be able to check in on my friends every day. Jerry, Palma, Angie, Brenda, Jill, and Girasoli.
The Brenda Blog has recently shared her Excellence Award with me...Which also helped to Make My Day.
Y'all brighten my day!

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Corner Condo

While we were in Savannah we rented a cute little condo. We opted to share a place in the historic district rather than a local hotel.

We couldn't have been more pleased! The Corner Condo is convenient to everything. Parking is right outside the door. There is a fresh market down the street on Liberty.

It is a busy corner, so the noise and the neighborhood could be a problem. We just snuggled into our cozy condo and enjoyed the time with friends. The layout of the condo would ensure that if you weren't close friends before the weekend... you will be by the time you leave! The lofts are open and airy, the decor is very tasteful. Everything you might need for a get away.

Someone suggested that LuLa might need to meet up with the Travelocity Gnome...

What a sight that would be!
Who knows~ Sandi

Friday, April 11, 2008

Forsyth Park

Click to play LuLa in Savannah
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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Good Eats

Y'all know we had good food at the Lady and Son's... but that is not the only good eats in Savannah.
One of our favorite places is the Chart House... I know- A Chain Restaurant! This is not on the scale of a Red Lobster or Captain D's- a little more up scale. It is a great location on Bay Street, right on the water, in one of the city's oldest buildings.On a pretty evening you can sit on the patio and enjoy wonderful seafood. It is fun to watch the boats go by and overlook the excitement below.

This wasn't a pretty evening... but the food was great!
We sat inside, in a cozy dining room. The company was exceptional, with our Slow Travel friends and a long lost cousin.

The next day we wandered around town and took our chances on a little cafe on Bay Street~ B. Matthews.
I say 'took our chances' because the building looked like it is one hurricane away from falling in. Like most of Savannah- that is a part of the charm!

The food was great. I had a pecan crusted chicken salad. Bill had a sandwich... it disappeared before I could get the picture! Sweet tea for everyone.

As we wandered around the river walk, I felt right at home...
Check out this brick!

It's a small world y'all,

Monday, April 07, 2008

Lady and Son's

A trip to Savannah would not be complete without at trip to Paula Deen's Lady & Son's. This is an example of what a dose of the Food Network can do for a small town diner. Paula Deen has a wonderful story, and she worked harder than most for a long time. You have got to love her for that. I do think that she will admit that she was in the right place at the right time and BAM! (as Emeril might say) The lines form around the block and the gift shop is right next door.
Bill and I both commented that the food was very similar to the WhistleStop Cafe (back in the day). Good southern cooking, with no shortage of fried chicken, creamed corn, black eyed peas, and greens. $6.99 for fried green tomatoes~ The hoe cakes are complimentary~ that's what the aprons say.
There were gallons of sweet tea to wash it all down. Banana pudding, cobbler, and pecan pie for dessert.
We went with a group of other Slow Travel friends~ their opinion on our Southern cuisine was fun! The overwhelming advise was if it isn't fried or buttered... don't get it here!
The walk several blocks back to the car just helped to stabilize the calories. Now, how do you reckon those Son's stay so slim and good looking?
More for y'all from Savannah~

Sunday, April 06, 2008

A Southern Delicacy

Have you ever had the delicacy of the South?

Boiled Peanuts!
It is a developed taste. Salty and soft... but not mushy. They can be a bit messy to eat. What is a summer day in the south without salty juice on your fingers!

Make your own at home... It is more of a process than a recipe. Here's the way we do it.

Start with Raw peanuts in the shell. Green Raw is better -if you can find them.

Soak your nuts for about 30 minutes.
In your biggest pot, add water and salt.
1 cup of salt per gallon of water for 3-4 pounds of peanuts.
Commence to boiwling! Turn down the heat to keep the water at a rolling boil.
You may need to add water as they boil down.
This is an all day process, they will need to boil for several hours.

The taste test is the only way to know when they are done.

Perfect nuts are soft... but not mushy. Salty enough to keep you eating just one more.
Give it a try. I bet you can't eat just one.
Y'all enjoy!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Savannah Smiles!

We are here y'all!
Savannah is such a beautiful city.

The azaleas are in full bloom, and today the weather is perfect. The weatherman is not so optimistic about the weekend.

I left my rainboots at home... So I am hoping the rain will hold out.

On the other hand the gnats are fierce!
LuLa needs to wave her magic wand ****
bugs be gone!
See y'all soon,
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