Have I mentioned that I love Pinterest? I have the Pinterest app on my iphone and whenever I have a free minute, I log on and browse through the interesting pins from my friends.
While I was searching around for glittery birthday party decorations (I was trying to find ideas for Z and my friends for my 30th Birthday Party), I found a pin for a bracelet necklace which used an old bracelet and some ribbon. This bracelet necklace tutorial isn’t the one that inspired me but it’s the same instructions.
When I was much, much younger, my parents bought me an ID bracelet engraved with my name and a little heart charm attached. The bracelet had to be sized down a lot to fit my wrist, but they left me the links to get it resized as I grew. Over the years, those links were lost. Despite the inability to wear it, I kept the bracelet with me through college, law school, and many moves across the state. When I saw the bracelet necklace tutorial, I knew that I had found the perfect way to wear my cherished bracelet.
Pink, Gold, and Jessica
Once again, wearable
Before I started this blog, I didn’t feel that I was all that Southern. I was born and raised in the South. I knew what chocolate gravy was (and I could make), but I didn’t talk particularly Southern and I didn’t identify with most Southern stereotypes. However, over the past year, I have found that I am distinctly Southern especially in my food cravings.
This past weekend, I was craving fried chicken livers. However, Kroger seemed to have removed all of the chicken livers for frozen turkeys. Just because Thanksgiving was next week did not mean that these little gems should be removed from the meat section. Luckily, I was able to find some after looking around (and three trips to the grocery store).
My own delicious version
Fried chicken livers are a Southern staple. When I was little, almost every restaurant (non-chain restaurant) had fried chicken livers on the menu. There was a fried chicken place near the gas station on the way to my grandparent’s house that would sell fried chicken livers by the pound. I even knew a few places that would spice up the livers with garlic and cayenne pepper.
Livers taste different from gizzards. To me, the gizzard tastes like you are eating sand; it’s a very coarse texture. Livers are smoother. It’s like biting into the tenderest piece of meat that you have ever eaten. The flavor of the liver is so strong that after a few bites, you feel like you have eaten enough to last more than a few hours.
Since I’ve lived away from home, I have had to figure out how to cook this dish myself. It’s hard to find a restaurant that serves them or cooks them properly. Plus, not just any liver will do – – You should never use livers that are yellowish in color; livers for cooking should only be bright red. Yellowish livers are sub-par and I don’t even waste the effort on sub-par livers (the flavor isn’t there in livers this color and results in disappointing dishes).
There are a few ways to cook livers – battered and deep-fried, battered and sautéed, and sautéed. Deep-frying livers is a talent; you need very hot oil and can’t leave the livers in the oil too long (oil-logged livers are not tasty treats). I lost my gallbladder a few years so deep-frying is always off the table, but I have figured out a good way to make them which tastes almost as good as the deep-fried livers from my childhood. My recipe has been a lot of trial and error with improvements from my mother and the internet. I never use specific measurements when I cook these but this is the closest to what I do.
- 1 pound of chicken livers (only use the bright red ones) (do not diced or cut)
- 1 large egg
- Milk (1/4 to 1/2 cup)
- Olive oil
- Rinse the livers off. Any dark blood should be rinsed off before any other preparations are done.
- In a small bowl, mix 1 egg and milk together well. I always grind some pepper into the mix. In another small bowl, pour about 1/2 cup of flour and grind some pepper into the flour. Add the livers to the egg mixture to coat.
- Pour about 3-5 tablespoons of olive oil into a skillet (I always approximate the oil and add more if it cooks off). When the skillet and oil are hot, remove a couple of livers from the egg mixture and add to the flour. Coat the livers well and shake any excess flour off. Place the livers into the skillet.
- Livers pop when they are cooking so always wear an apron and do not stand over the livers while they are cooking.
- Cook the livers on medium heat for about 3-4 minutes per side or until they are golden brown. Cooked liver has a gray-brown color to it (grayer than cooked hamburger).
- Place on a paper towel lined plate to cool.
- Serve with ketchup.
The recipe can be made omitting the batter and simply sauteing them. It works wonders for a dinner in a hurry.
I am in charge of the organization for a bridal shower. After the theme of vintage kitchen/aprons and the color scheme of red, orange, & blue were chosen, the best part was getting decorations ready.
The inspiration for this project came from a Craftster post. I knew immediately that it would be perfect for the shower.
What I used:
- Decorative Cupcake liners, folded in half
- White Cupcake liners, folded in half
- White Mini-cupcake liners, folded in half
- White Cardstock
- Blue letter stickers
- Ribbon cut into 2 inch pieces
- Hot Glue gun
What I did:
- Build your aprons. I used one decorative liner with two white liners underneath and two mini liners on top. If you use stickers on the aprons, put the stickers on at this stage.
Bride To Be
- Cut out the bodice of the apron from the cardstock. I cut one piece of cardstock in the shape of a hourglass and then folded the cardstock in half.
Cardstock and ribbon
- Hot glue the cardstock together with the ribbon ends between the cardstock.
- Hot glue the inner liners to the outer liners. The best way is to put the hot glue on the edge of the liner fold and insert one liner into another.
Separate the Liners
Hot glue liner to liner
After the apron liner is glued, glue the dress liners
- Hot glue the bodice to the decorative liner.
Almost there …
- Hot glue the mini liners on top of the bodice glued to the decorative liner. I only put glue in the area of the liner that would have been the base of a cupcake.
- Enjoy the beautiful vintage decorations.
While I was born and raised in the South, I only have a few mannerisms that scream Southern. My family recipe for chocolate gravy is definitely one of them.
Bowl of Chocolate Gravy
When I was little, my maternal grandmother would make this dish for the family whenever it started to get chilly outside or just for me whenever I was sick. She told me that she got the recipe from her mother, Rosella (or Rose Zella), and that when her father remarried after her mother’s death, she had to teach her step-mother how to make it. My great-grandfather ate chocolate gravy every morning for breakfast in a big bowl with butter or poured over his buttermilk biscuits.
When I moved away for law school, I made my grandmother write down the recipe so that I could make it when I was homesick. Everyone would make faces at me whenever I ate it wrapped up in a blanket on cold, snowy Fayetteville days.
Recently, I talked Z into trying it. He was the first guy that I have dated that actually saw the tastiness of chocolate gravy [while he maintains that it should only be eaten over pancakes or biscuits].
Ingredients for One Serving
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Hershey’s cocoa
- 3 tablespoons flour
Mix the dry ingredients very well. Press out any lumps of flour or cocoa. [My grandma demanded that you sift the ingredients for the best results.] Boil water until you have a rolling boil. Slowly pour in the dry ingredients and stir until thick.
Enjoy over biscuits or in a large bowl with a teaspoon (or tablespoon if you are feeling decadent) of butter.
My Pinwheel Necklace Crafty Impulse Buy
This necklace is a prime example of why I shouldn’t be allowed in craft stores without supervision when I have a million other things going on.
Sterling Silver Chain = $17.99
Pinwheel Charm = $2.47
Total cost = $20.46
Amount of time to assemble — Seconds
Amount of time spent feeling guilty for the purchase — Roughly 30 minutes ( “I could have used for that XX’s wedding gift, for Z’s birthday day gift, for Z’s birthday cake, …” )
Last fall, I bought a vintage dress for $5.00 at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre‘s first costume sale. It has taken me six months to get the dress altered [i.e. tailored] so that it fits properly and I wanted to reveal the results here. Only the bodice was tailored but a small tear near the side zipper was also repaired.