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With Easter right around the corner, this week we will #southernchat about Easter Traditions, a topic suggested in one of our earlier chats.  Everyone has their own special traditions for Easter – from family to eggs to baskets. Some of my favorite Easter style pieces are oh-so-Southern-inpsired, keeping it classic but still spring fresh. Seersucker, straw, pastels, stripes and floral scents help set the stage for an Easter gathering you’ll never forget.

Easter Style

My own traditions growing up were family events that brought us closer together. My grandmother always put together special Easter egg hunts at her house, leaving little clues in each egg that led to the next.  After the last egg, the next clue helped us to find our Easter baskets which were filled to the brim with treats.  The wooden baskets we found were handcrafted by my parents and painted in soft spring colors, mine with a bunny and my sisters with a chick on it.  They went perfectly with the Easter dresses my sister and I would wear as we made our way to Easter brunch at my grandmother’s country club.

Liza Graves Style BlueprintThis week, we have a special guest, Liza Graves, co-founder of styleblueprint.com.  I very much related to the Easter memories that Liza had to share.

I grew up honoring Lent, with a grandmother and all of her sisters who gave up liquor each spring for 40 days and then got quite tipsy at the annual Easter party, held at my grandmother’s on a 3-acre lot on the river in the second oldest house in town. It was THE party to be invited to. Ham biscuits, coconut cake and sparkling punch, spiked and served out of a punch bowl, were always mainstays on the buffet table. Sometimes my grandmother & her sisters would get a little tipsy, get into arguments and storm off to their respective homes, all within one block of one another – just in time for the caterer to leave and everyone to proclaim that it was the best party yet.

I do think that everyone has funny Easter traditions, but the big Easter Egg Hunt at a friend or neighbor’s house, lent, smocked dresses, ham biscuits, coconut cake and family spats that end in hugs are something that most southern families have in common!

I love Liza’s spin on Easter, and I can’t wait to hear all about your Easter traditions, too! I hope you can join in the fun.

 #southernchat

#southernchat: Easter Traditions (Monday 3/25/13 9:00PM est)

Q1: What Easter Traditions do you & your family have?

Q2: When you think of Easter, what elements come to mind?

Q3: What are some of your favorite southern foods on the Easter table?

Q4: What are the perfect pieces for a classic Easter outfit?

Q5: What southern goodies will you be filling the Easter baskets with this year?

Kayce Hughes LogoGiveaway!

Special thanks to Liza for coordinating this week’s giveaway – a $50 gift certificate from our friends at Kayce Hughes! With stores in Nashville, Chattanooga, and now, Atlanta, what better place to outfit your whole family for the Easter holiday than here. Just join in the chat by using the #southernchat hashtag sometime from 9:00-10:00pm est on 3/25/13 and you’ll be automatically entered to win.

Easter Style: Rachel Zoe Straw Hat, ASOS Cork Clutch, NARS blush, Happ & Stahns Eau de Parfum, J.Crew Seersucker Dress, Gucci Necklace, Butter London Polish, Sperry Wedges.

Jars & Canning

If you know me well {or .. not so well} you know that jars are simply one of my favorite things! When I was little, I loved playing in my grandmother’s pantry because she kept nothing in it’s original packaging but instead transferred everything to be stored into various sized glass jars, which were labeled and reminded me of a candy store – it was beautiful. And today, I do the same with many of my baking ingredients. And, of course I package my own IceMilk Aprons in their very own jars as well as a nod to this special fondness I have.

Funny story. So, I get preserves jars by the truckload from a small town grocery store or from our local hardware store to hand pack each of my aprons. My husband is kind enough to go there and load them up in his pickup truck and bring them home for me. The folks at the store are certain we are moonshiners. It makes me laugh every time, though I have kind of gotten into the Moonshiners show {anyone else?} …

Jars

products in jars

Jars & Canning

Canning and preserving is on the list as one of the top 10 trends of 2013 and is oh-so-chic! With farming and farmers markets being so popular these days, I’m not surprised! Williams-Sonoma has a special section on their agrarian site just for Canning & Preserving. Mason jars are being used on everything from weddings to packaging to entertaining. Blackberry Farm has a preservationist on staff. So, whether you love Ball, Mason, Kerr, Weck or other jars, take your pick and jump right into this fun, southern-inspired craft. Some of my favorite things come in jars and I included them above for you to enjoy, but I’d love to know what else you have that I haven’t yet discovered! I hope you’ll join in our #southernchat this week to talk about all things  jars, preserving, canning & more!

southernchat

#southernchat: jars & canning (Monday, 2/18/13, 9:00 pm est)

Q1: When you think of jars, what is the first thing that comes to mind?

Q2: What kind of jars are your favorite? Brands, shapes, sizes & more!

Q3: Have you ever tried canning & preserving? If not, would you give it a try? If so, any tips to share?

Q4: I shared some of my favorite things in jars, so what are your favorite things in jars?

Q5: What are some of the most creative things you’ve seen done with jars?

{ If you’re interested in sponsoring the southern jars & canning chat, or to learn more about #southernchat, to be a guest or host another giveaway, click here to learn more!}

Jars + Canning:
Phickles Pickles, Emily G’s Jams, Bella Cucina pesto, IceMilk Aprons, Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine, St. Helena Olive Oil Co. Sea Salt, Blackberry Farms Grain and Nut Granola for Williams-Sonoma, Canning for a New Generation book.

Today is a special day for me, as it is every year – the celebration of my Grandmother’s birthday.

My grandmother, Cele, was born in 1912 and would have turned 100 years old today. She led such an interesting life and was the matriarch of our family without doubt. She loved to entertain, bake, host and could sew up a storm like you wouldn’t believe. She was the original entrepreneur of our family, having a host of professions – from working in a dental lab to having her own luxury line of ties.  Though she has been gone for several years now, her memory lives on today through our family, and also through IceMilk Aprons. She was the inspiration for the company and collection as it is today, and the business wouldn’t exist today without her help, love and support.

And so today is a day for celebration! I proudly carry on the tradition that was started back in 2008 – our One-Day Sale at IceMilk Aprons! Simply enter “HAPPY100” in the promo code during checkout at www.icemilkaprons.com at any point today (11/12/12) to take 20% off your entire order.

I do hope you will join in the celebration, and get a head start on your holiday shopping!

I am so happy to have Twitter friend, and now real life friend, Katherine Strate here with us for this week’s Heirloom Recipe Series! Katherine attending the fine University of Georgia and had a popular blog in school appropriately coined “Dawg Food” so she is no stranger to food, blogs, or lovely historic towns. Having similar foodie-like callings, we became fast friends and enjoyed a rustic meal over at my hometown favorite, as you well know by now, Bakeshop.  I love sharing this delicious and special recipe below from Katherine this week, as we just had a conversation in our own family over the holidays about Chess Pie so the timing was impeccable!  Do enjoy Katherine, and her grandmothers beautiful recipe.

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Heirloom Recipe Series with Katherine Strate.


The first pie my grandmother ever taught me to make was Chess Pie.

Gooey, delicious, and made with the ingredients even a basic cook would have in her pantry, this is the perfect, unique pie to take to a friend’s house—and not come home with leftovers.

I remember first being introduced to the pie one summer when I wanted to make some extra money by selling baked goods. Addie suggested I make Chess Pie because it’s easy and a guaranteed favorite. At the time, I didn’t remember having eaten Chess Pie before, but I remember taking a bite of the pie we made together in the kitchen of the house where my dad grew up. It was warm, soft, sweet and so decadent I thought, “there has to be a secret ingredient.”

Turns out, my secret ingredient was Addie. As I’ve grown older, I’ve learned about some sugar and spice in her life that have molded her into the strong, stoic, poised, loving woman she is today.

One of the most defining ingredients of my grandmother’s life is her experience as a student at Ward-Belmont Girls School and later at Vanderbilt University. In the 1940s, it was rare for women to go to college, especially a girl from the country. Addie attended Ward-Belmont (to which she still travels for reunions with her schoolmates) and then graduated from Vanderbilt with a business degree.

I guess I always took her education for granted until a friend said to me, “Katherine. Do you know how unique your grandmother is? Women in the 40s got home-ec. degrees, not business. Addie is amazing.”

And she is. That woman can do everything. She later helped my grandfather start the family insurance business, keeping the books and being the general office manager.

But she never let her cooking and entertaining skills get rusty. If there’s anything Addie is known for, it’s her knack for hostessing and making guests and company feel like they are at home. She’s “one of those” cooks that just needs the ingredients to a recipe, or nothing else. Sometimes, I’ve asked her for a specific recipe, and she just sends me the ingredients. I then have to call her and say, “OK, Addie. I have my grocery list, but what do I do with the ingredients once I have them?” I hope to be as good a cook as her one day…and as good a hostess.

Just this past Labor Day, Addie had our extended family (about 16 people) over for brunch. When I stopped by her house the Friday before, she already had the table set three days in advance. Granted, she moves a little slower these days, but the table was set with her good silver and a cute centerpiece she created. How amazing is she?

Without fail, everything Addie cooks is incredible, which is why I was so surprised Chess Pie is easy to make. To be honest, you do have to watch and make sure you don’t cook the egg yolks too fast, “otherwise you’ll have egg yolk pie,” as Addie says. But you just have to pay attention.

Here’s her recipe I wrote on a recipe card, and placed it on the apron she made for me (kind of my own version of IceMilk Aprons).

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Addie’s Chess Pie

Ingredients

3 eggs

1 ½ c. sugar

1 stick butter

1 T. vinegar

1 t. vanilla

Directions

Beat eggs well (very, very important!). Add sugar. Chop up butter into mixture. Add vinegar and vanilla. Place in double boiler and allow butter to melt stirring constantly.

Pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake at 250 degrees for 20 minutes, then increase oven to 350 and bake 25 minutes longer.

I hope you’ll try making Chess Pie. My secret ingredient is my grandmother, but maybe you have a different one. I’d love to hear how it turns out.

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Be sure to connect with Katherine on Twitter at { @KatLady }

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Part of our Heirloom Recipes Series, featuring foodies, chefs, artisans, Southerners & fabulous folks willing to share their stories, recipes and photos in an effort to help preserve and share these family recipes for generations to come.

grandma-grandpa-honeymoonIn honor of Valentine’s Day, thought we’d discuss the tradition of gift giving on your anniversary.

I’d be safe to say that every girl loves chocolates and flowers, but why not shake things up a bit this year and get back to the basics. I found this wonderful list to share of the “traditional” anniversary gifts. I love this. I think this is simply a wonderful thing to follow – it makes you focus on things that are more meaningful and makes you be creative with such things as “paper” for the first year! Careful!

Another wonderful idea to consider creating as a tradition for your next anniversary, as a gift alternative, is one I’ll share from April. Plan a trip to celebrate each anniversary. It doesn’t have to be a week-long vaca to Europe (though nice …) it could be a simple weekend road trip to some quaint B&B that you’ve been meaning to checkout by the beach.

The photo is one of my Grandmother & Grandfather on their honeymoon, traveling around & having fun! Whatever the traditional anniversary gift is, just ensure it’s a meaningful one.

1st Paper
2nd Cotton
3rd Leather
4th Fruit, flowers
5th Wood
6th Sugar
7th Copper, wool
8th Bronze, pottery
9th Pottery, willow
10th Tin
11th Steel
12th Silk, linen
13th Lace
14th Ivory
15th Crystal
20th China
25th Silver
30th Pearl
35th Coral
40th Ruby
45th Sapphire
50th Gold
55th Emerald
60th Diamond

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