Monday, February 23, 2015

Monday Motivations | February 23

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Welcome to a bright new week friends. I am so happy the sun is shinning and the icy snow has melted! I've got lots of things planned for the next few days and have found some motivation in these links and I'm sharing them with you.  Enjoy!

This is my new favorite hot drink indulgence!  Last week, while the kiddos were sipping their hot chocolate, this London Fog Latte is what kept me warm.

Saint Patrick's Day is right around the corner and it's always a big day in this house.  Make a batch of this easy Irish Soda bread to keep your leprechauns happy!

Over the weekend, Mr. A Southern Soul and I went shopping. Not sure we got everything on our list but we did splurge (it was on sale!) on something I've been researching for quite some time - a food dehydrater.  Everyone in the family loves dried fruits, veggies & jerky so I hope to save some money along with making some yummy foods.  Stay tuned friends for an update...

I ran across this great article on what to do with used coffee grounds from The Kitchn via my Tweeter feed.  Make sure you follow me at A Southern Soul (@Donya_Mullins)

And to finish things up on a high note, my biggest motivator for the week is this…

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Favorite Hot Chocolate Recipes

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Old man winter started his icy, cold tirade yesterday and has promised to continue this nonsense for at least another week.  Temperatures are in the 30's with single digits on the way.  We are finding lots of ways to stay warm and hot chocolate is definitely on list along with hot tea, cozy sweaters and a blazing fire.  I know things could be so much worse like what our friends in the northeast are having to deal with, so instead of complaining, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite ways to serve hot chocolate.  Cheers!
Favorite Hot Chocolate Recipes

No.1 ~ Dreamy Hazelnut Hot Cocoa from Cooking Classy
No.2 ~ How to spice up your hot chocolate!
No. 3 ~ Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate from Chef in Training
No.4 ~ Nutella Hot Chocolate from Clara Persis
No.5 ~ Crock Pot Hot Chocolate from Recipes that Crock

For a little something extra try a drizzle of my Caramel Sauce, or maybe you'd prefer a thick rich swirl of Chocolate Sauce!  Either way, you just can't go wrong.
Stay warm friends...

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Valentine's Pretzel Rods

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With Valentine's Day right around the corner, I decided it was time to make a little treat for my fellas.  Big Sweetie has been working hard, my youngest is deep into his studies and we've all been struggling with a nasty winter cold so, these happy pretzel rods were just what was needed to brighten their spirits.  
All you need is a bag of pretzel rods, vanilla bark coating, candy sprinkles and some mini chocolate chips.  It's fun to make holiday themed goodies and even more fun to watch your family and friends enjoy them!
Valentine's Pretzel Rods
1 bag of pretzel rods
1 package white (vanilla) bark coating
Valentine's Day sprinkles
Mini chocolate chips
  • Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Place sprinkles and chocolate in small individual bowls.
  • Select 6 to 10 pretzels for dipping.
  • Place 4 bark cubes in a glass microwaveable bowl.  Microwave on full power for 1 minute. Stir. Return bowl to microwave for 15 to 30 seconds until melted.  Stir after each cooking time.
  • Pour melted bark into a tall drinking glass.  Gently dip each pretzel into melted bark tipping glass to coat the rod.  Pull pretzel out of glass and let excess candy bark drip off.  
  • Holding rod with one hand, gently sprinkle pretzel with chocolate and/or candies - turning to coat.  Place on parchment to harden.  Can be stored in an airtight container for 2 to 3 days.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Cornbread Recipes | Perfect for Soups & Stews

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When the weather turns cold and nasty, there's nothing better than a big bowl of soup or stew to make the day so much better.  I'm sure you all are like me and have your crock pot or dutch oven going at least once a week with something warm and satisfying.  Along with those bubbling pots of comfort, you've just got to have a little something on the side, right?   Well, here's my answer - I love cornbread, my family loves cornbread and most everyone I know wants a big hunk of bread to go with their soup!
So, to make life a little bit easier, I've pulled together 6 great cornbread recipes from a few of my good friends who also happen to be great cooks.  I hope you'll give these easy, scrumptious recipes a try.  It's always good when the family is together at the table, sharing about their day and enjoying delicious food that made with love.  Stay warm friends!

No. 1 Southern Bite | Bacon Green Onion
No. 2 Game and Garden | Southern Fried Cornbread
No. 3 The Country Cook | Cornbread Dumplings
No. 4 Plain Chicken | Beer Cornbread
No. 5 Melissa's Southern Style Kitchen | Broccoli Cheese Cornbread
No. 6 A Southern Soul | Southern Cornbread

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Waffle Iron Hash Browns

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OK - I admit it - I got sucked into a new food craze. During the holidays I watched a few cooking shows plus I read a ton of magazines. That's where I saw this idea of using a waffle iron to cook foods you'd normally make in traditional ways. Oh my gosh, there were so many crazy things people are doing with their waffle irons and most actually looked good.  Then, there was that crazy article about using that kitchen gadget for potatoes…well, just get out of the way y'all, I'm in!  
I decided to make my life easy and purchased the shredded potatoes then I added the other ingredients.  I had success on the first try!  My hash browns were crispy and crunchy on the outside then soft, buttery and hot on the inside.  If you all love breakfast as much as my family does, then you have got to try this cooking method.  It's now a standard in my kitchen since I have a "don't worry about it" dish cooking away.  I just turn my attention to making light & fluffy eggs, buttering toast and enjoying my cup of coffee…

Waffle Iron Hash Browns
3 cups of shredded hash browns
2 tablespoons butter - melted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
pinch of garlic powder
**these are measurements for my waffle iron which is round and holds about 1 1/2 cup of mixture.  Adjust depending on your iron.
  • Heat waffle iron to medium high heat. 
  • Place hash browns in a medium size bowl.  Drizzle butter over potatoes and toss to coat.
  • Sprinkle salt, pepper and garlic over hash brown and gently mix.
  • Spray waffle iron with cooking spray.  Place 1/2 of potato mixture in iron, close and lock lid.
  • Cook hash browns until there is very little steam coming from waffle iron and until desired crispiness.
  • Remove potatoes from waffle iron with tongs and season with additional salt and pepper.

Here are a few more breakfast recipes to try with your crispy hash browns ~

Monday, January 26, 2015

Monday Motivations | January 26

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Over the weekend, I discovered a few helpful, inspiring and fun connections on Pinterest and thought you might enjoy them too. There's a little food, a cute craft, an uplifting quote & a helpful DIY for the winter months.  Enjoy everyone…

  • And this quote just speaks for itself.  Best wishes for a joy-filled week!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Skillet Beef Stew

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Today I'm sharing about 2 of my favorite things - cast iron and quick, easy meals.  My guys love a warm hearty meal especially during these chilly winter months but sometimes, there are just not enough hours in the day and dinner time can be a little underwhelming.  So, I've been working on ways to bring new dishes to the table that can be made in a short amount of time, have familiar ingredients and most importantly are scrumptious.
Well friends, I hit a bullseye! This skillet beef stew has all the essence of that wonderful dish that's been cooking away for hours but my version took about 45 minutes!  I let my big cast iron skillet do all the work by searing the beef to perfection then delivering even more flavor to the sauce.
Of course, from time to time I'll make that traditional pot of beef stew but this recipe is one of my new go-to dishes for a busy, hungry family...

Skillet Beef Stew
1 1/2 lbs of beef stew or beef tips
2 carrots
6 to 8 baby potatoes
1/2 cup red wine
1 1/2 cups beef stock
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
olive oil
1 tablespoon parsley
  • Heat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Wash, peel and roughly chop carrots.  Wash potatoes and cut in half.
  • Layer carrots and potatoes on a baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat.  Roast in oven for 20 minutes until just under fork tender.  Remove from oven and set aside.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet - I use cast iron.  Place beef in pan making sure meat is in a single layer. Season with salt & pepper. 
  • Sear beef on all sides. Once meat is done, remove from pan and set aside.
  • Lower heat on skillet, add 1 tablespoon of butter to melt.  *There should be about 3 tablespoons total of fat in the bottom of pan.  Sprinkle flour in pan and whisk until mixed with fat, scraping up brown bits from bottom of pan.  
  • Using a microplane, grate garlic into pan. Cook flour mixture and garlic on low heat for 1 minute stirring constantly.
  • Slowly add in wine and whisk until flour mixture is completely incorporated. Add beef stock, stir and raise heat to a low boil.
  • Add in beef and vegetables.  Continue to cook until sauce thickens and all ingredients are heated through.  
  • Sprinkle in salt, pepper and parsley stirring gently.  Taste and adjust seasoning.
  • Serve with a green salad and warm bread.