Julia's Simply Southern: January 2015 >

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Carolina Cup

The Carolina Cup is an annual steeplechase horse race held at the Springdale Race Course in Camden, South Carolina. This year's race is Saturday March 28, 2015. Suggested attire is typically dresses and sunhats for women and bowties and sport coats for men.

Photo: Jamey Price

The History of the Carolina Cup -By:  Carolina Cup

The heavily wooded and peaceful small town of Camden, South Carolina is a lovely place to spend a few days – or maybe a lifetime. There are many historic sites to visit, lots of antique shops to peruse and plenty of parks in which to take a quiet stroll, but mostly, Camden is about horses. Thoroughbred horses.

Springdale Race Course is situated just on the outskirts of town, and hosts two of the most important steeplechases on the yearly calendar – the extremely popular Carolina Cup in the spring and the prestigious Colonial Cup in the autumn.  Interestingly, in a state where pari-mutuel betting is not allowed, more than 60,000 people routinely show up and have a wonderful time at the races. Clearly, going racing in the South is not just about the chance to win a bet.
Camden is well known as a training center for racehorses from the Eastern part of the U.S., and throughout the world. With its spacious, well maintained grounds laid out in the European training style, there are a variety of places in which to train and exercise the substantial horse population. Hall of Fame trainers have habitually sent their horses to Camden for a winter rest, or some rehab following an injury. It is also where young Thoroughbreds can begin their early training in a relaxed atmosphere away from the sometimes frenetic and more confined space of the racing facilities in major urban cities, such as New York and Miami. Many champion racehorses have called Camden home at some point during their careers, including the incomparable Ruffian.
Henry Kirkover and Ernest Woodward were upstate New Yorkers who purchased the old race course in town and renamed it Springdale. Woodward was Chairman of the Board of the Jell-O Corporation and an avid foxhunter with the Genessee Valley Hunt.  In the 1940s Woodward gave the more-or-less 600 acres of the course to Kirkover, who had the same equine interests as his friend, but sadly not the same bank account balance. The property was sold a few years later to Mrs. Ambrose Clark of Aiken, SC;  subsequent to her death the race course was bought by Marion du Pont Scott.

Mrs. Scott bred, owned and was passionate about horses all of her life.  She had a horse farm in Virginia as well as the acreage in Camden.  Trouble Maker carried her famous pink and blue colors to victory in the Carolina Cup in 1932.  Most likely, her best horse was Battleship, who trained in Camden and then was sent across the pond to win the Grand National at Aintree, England in 1938.  Battleship was not a very big horse, but he was certainly a brave one, as the Grand National is one of the most demanding races in the world.

Mrs. Scott died in 1983 and deeded the 600 plus acres of Springdale Race Course and the immediate environs to the state of South Carolina with the caveat that the land remain solely for equine use in perpetuity.  She also bequeathed a million dollar endowment for maintenance.  It was a wonderful and well intentioned gesture.  The course is now ably managed by Jeff Teter, himself a former champion rider. Today both Springdale Race Course and the National Steeplechase Museum share the same knowledgeable and active Board of Directors and both are thriving.
The white clapboard building that houses the racing offices and the Steeplechase Museum, both non-profit organizations, is on the grounds of the race course.  The original building was a simple two-room structure that purportedly was moved from Marion du Pont Scott’s Camden house Holly Hedge over to the race course. The building reflects Camden’s famous cottage architecture that was prevalent among the residences of visiting horsemen around the turn of the century. A life-size bronze statue of Lonesome Glory is the first thing to catch the eye at the walkway towards the museum entrance.   As a record-setting five time Horse of the Year, this rangy chestnut certainly deserves his pride of place on the front lawn. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Mardis Gras

Check out this site for everything you need to know before heading down to Mardis Gras ~ 
 Celebrate Mardis Gras

31 New Orleans Classics for Mardi Gras~  Recipes

Mardi Gras is about music, parades, picnics, floats and excitement.  It's one big holiday in New Orleans!

History of Mardis Gras from MardisGrasNewOrleans.com
On March 2, 1699, French-Canadian explorer Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville arrived at a plot of ground 60 miles directly south of New Orleans, and named it "Pointe du Mardi Gras" when his men realized it was the eve of the festive holiday. Bienville also established "Fort Louis de la Louisiane" (which is now Mobile) in 1702. In 1703, the tiny settlement of Fort Louis de la Mobile celebrated America's very first Mardi Gras.
By the 1730s, Mardi Gras was celebrated openly in New Orleans, but not with the parades we know today.
By the late 1830s, New Orleans held street processions of maskers with carriages and horseback riders to celebrate Mardi Gras. Dazzling gaslight torches, or "flambeaux," lit the way for the krewe's members and lent each event an exciting air of romance and festivity.

Mardis Gras 1896

Mardis Gras circa 1900-1910

Mardis Gras 1930's

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Easy Turnovers

This is a super easy treat to make

You'll need 1 package of regular Crescent Rolls and 1 Can of your favorite Pie Filling. I used Blueberry here. Spray a muffin tin and place each crescent in with the widest section on the bottom. Add a teaspoon to teaspoon and a half to each crescent and fold the edges over. It's ok for gaps. Bake in a 375 degree oven 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Let cool before serving, the filling will be quite hot. Optional: Sprinkle tops with sugar before baking or drizzle with cream cheese frosting after baking.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Pan Roasted Chicken with Asparagus and Red Pepper-Asparagus Gravy

Photo: Biltmore Estate

Recipe from Biltmore Estate

A comforting meal the whole family will love. Tender chicken with crispy skin paired with pan roasted baby asparagus, then topped with creamy gravy made with bold herbaceous Biltmore Roasted Red Pepper Asparagus Soup Mix.
Serves 2 - 4
Preparation Time: 5 minutes, Cook Time: 55 minutes


  • 2 large bone-in split chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound baby asparagus - ends trimmed
  • 1/2 lemon - juiced
  • 1 tablespoon bacon grease
  • 2 shallots - peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup Biltmore Roasted Red Pepper Asparagus Soup Mix
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh thyme for garnish

Preparation Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place a large deep oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil to the skillet and salt and pepper the chicken breasts liberally.
Once the oil is hot, place the chicken in the skillet skin-side-down and sear the skin for 3-5 minutes, until it’s lightly golden. Then flip the chicken oven and place the skillet in the oven for 35-40 minutes.
Trim the asparagus and set aside. After the chicken has roasted at least 35 minutes, add the asparagus to the skillet and toss with the chicken juices. Drizzle lemon juice over the asparagus and place back in the oven for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the bacon grease in a small saucepan and set over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté for 2-3 minutes until the shallots are soft. Pour the soup mix and chicken stock into the saucepan and whisk to combine. Bring the gravy to a simmer, then reduce the heat and simmer another 3-5 minutes to thicken.
To Serve: Plate the chicken and asparagus then top with warm gravy. Garnish with fresh thyme leaves.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

Monday, January 19, 2015


Cotton, yes it's the fabric of our lives, but so much more. We all know the benefits of cotton in textiles for our clothes, sheets, and towels. We do love our cotton in the South because it is a breathable fabric. We sure need it with our humid hot summers! It's also a natural choice. We even use it as a beauty product. It is now used for decoration and floral arrangements too. 
Cotton in Floral Arrangement

Cotton Boutonniere 

Cotton Wedding Bouquet 

Breaking the Bread Code: How to Get the Freshest Loaf at the Store

Interesting Article from Wise Bread by Paul Michael on how to get the freshest loaf of bread, when buying it at the store.

In America, we each consume around 53 pounds of it every year. It’s the one food eaten by people of every race, culture, or religion. And we all want the freshest loaf whenever we buy it.
But is there a way to spot it, other than squeezing, tapping, or simply guessing?
Well, it turns out that there’s a simple visual code that can take you straight to the freshest loaf in seconds. And it’s all contained in the twist ties or plastic clips around the top of the bread bag. (See also: Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, By the Month)

The Color Code of Freshness

I often wondered why they used different colors on those tags and ties. When I was a kid, I had hundreds of bread clips on the spokes of my bicycle tires, but I just figured the colors were for variety.
As it turns out, they indicate when the loaf was baked. The standard is as follows:
  • Blue: Monday
  • Green: Tuesday
  • Red: Thursday
  • White: Friday
  • Yellow: Saturday
And here's a quick color key that you can keep on you, if you so desire:
An easy way to remember it, though, is to simply recall the alphabet. The colors run in alphabetical order, so the earlier they appear in the alphabet, the earlier in the week the bread was baked. And it’s true. Even the ever-cynical Snopes.com backs it up.
This whole system was set up to help the supermarkets and grocers identify which bread was new, which was getting old (so it can be put on sale), and which was out of date and needed to be removed from the shelves. As a general rule of thumb, you should only see two colors of tags on the shelves at any one time, or three maximum for those days when bread wasn't delivered. But that doesn’t stop the old bread from sneaking in though. Do a check next time and see for yourself.

So when you go to the store for your next loaf, make sure the color of the tag is the same as the day on which you are shopping. Blue for Monday, green for Tuesday, and so on. Please note that if it’s Wednesday, you also want green. Sunday, you want yellow. For some reason, the system does not include those days. Some say it’s because bakers did not used to bake on Wednesdays and Sundays.

There Are Exceptions to the Rule

Of course there are. Life would be too easy if everyone followed the same rules, made the same chargers for every cell phone, and used the same bread code.
So in some rare instances, you may see bread tags that are one color regardless of the day on which they were baked. They may simply contain a date. In that case, here’s what you need to remember:
The date on the tag is the sell-by date, not the date it was baked.
Ahh, but what if there’s just a twist tie that’s always the same color? Well in that case, you should see a date somewhere on the bread bag. The same rule from above applies.

Some Bread Makers Have Their Own Color-Coding Systems

Again, this is not the norm, but some companies have created their own color codes for various reasons. This is not helpful for them, because it makes the task of restocking that much more difficult for the supermarket.
If you’re really anal about having the freshest bread, and you want to check, just call the maker of your favorite loaf of bread and ask what their color-coding system is. It will usually be the one in this article, but better safe than sorry.
Now go, get your fresh bread. Unless you’re making bread-and-butter pudding, in which case buy the oldest loaf you can find.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Hot Cocoa

  • This recipe makes up ready to use homemade cocoa mix whenever you want a cup.
  • 3 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups cocoa powder
  • 1 tbs salt
  • In a large bowl, combine sugar, cocoa, and salt, and whisk to combine well. Store the mixture in an airtight container.
  • For serving heat whole milk and use 2 tablespoons of mix for each cup. Top with whipped cream or marshmallows if you prefer. 

National Winnie The Pooh Day - January 18th

A tribute to everyone's favorite bear - Celebrate #NationalWinnieThePoohDay

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The History of Corn Bread

Corn bread, once a major part of a diet, is now a southern accompanying favorite to almost any meal. You'll find my cornbread recipe at the bottom of the article.

This article is from Indians.org 

We all have the Native Americans to thank for corn bread.  Its humble beginnings can be traced back to the Indians that the European settlers came in contact with when they first arrived in America. However, it stands to reason that the Native Americans have been making corn bread long before that.
The Indians used corn ground into meal and flour for years in their cooking.  Corn was a major food source so they were very creative in its usage.  Because the white settlers were dependent on the natural resources, they too, adopted the practice of making corn bread.  A surge in popularity around Civil War time was inevitable as corn was plentiful and cheap.  Corn bread and other meals made from corn were easy to make.
Because there were special varieties of corn grown throughout North America, the corn bread differed by region.  In the southwest areas, blue corn was popular.  The northern regions favored the yellow corn and the south had white corn.  In addition, the preparations in making corn bread differed too.
In the beginning, when a lot of supplies were scarce, the Indians made corn bread from a simple mixture of water, salt and cornmeal. The recipe graduated to using variety of sweetener products like sugar, honey or molasses for northern corn bread. The south tended to steer clear of the sweetened corn bread and favored using fat from bacon or lard.
Because of some of the natural components in the corn, there is no need to use yeast to get the corn bread to rise. This property makes it one of America’s favorite quick breads.  These days, you can still make corn bread from scratch.  However, there are a number of varieties of corn bread mixes available these days from your local grocery store. Corn bread, once a major part of a diet, is now a southern accompanying favorite to almost any meal.

Cornbread Recipe:

2 Cups of Self-Rising Cornmeal (I prefer stone ground, white cornmeal)
1 Cup of Plain Flour
2 Eggs Beaten Lightly
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 Cup Buttermilk

Combine all ingredients well, pour batter into an oven heated cast iron skillet or baking pan and Bake cornbread at 400 degrees until browned ~ 20-25 minutes

National Hat Day - January 15th

Here are a few of my favorite hats

This is what  National Day Calendar has to say about National Hat Day ~ 
Hang on to your hats and celebrate in style on January 15, with millions of others across the nation, as it is the annual celebration of National Hat Day.
  • Hats may be worn for safety and protection, religious reasons, ceremonial reasons, warmth or fashion.
  • In the Middle Ages, hats were an indicator of social status.
  • In the military, hats may denote ones  nationality, branch of service, rank and/or regiment.
  • A Thebes tomb painting depicts one of the first pictorials of a hat .  The painting shows a man wearing a conical straw hat.
  • Structured hats for women began to be worn in the late 16th century.
  • Millinery is the designing and manufacture of hats.
  • The term “milliner” derived from the city of Milan, Italy.  The best qualityhats were made in Milan in the 18th century.
  • Millinery began as traditionally a woman’s occupation, as the milliner not only created hats and bonnets but also chose lace, trim and accessories to complete an outfit.
  • In the middle of the 1920’s, to replace the bonnets and wide brimmed hats, women began to wear smaller hats that hugged their heads.

Depending on where you live, if you are outside in the middle of a cold January, you may definitely want to wear a hat on National Hat Day!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Cold Vegetable Pizza Appetizer

I have been making this cold vegetable pizza appetizer so long (at least 20 years) and honestly can't remember exactly where I got the recipe. You see it everywhere now and everyone has their version of it. It is always a hit! I'm not even kidding people love it and want to know how to make it. It's so easy, so I'm going to share my version with y'all. 


2 Tubes of 8oz Crescent Rolls
1 1/2 Cups of Mayonnaise, preferably Duke's Mayonnaise
1 Package of 8oz Cream Cheese, softened
1 Packet Buttermilk Ranch Mix
1 Cup of Chopped Broccoli Florets
1 Cup of Chopped Cauliflower Florets
1/3 Cup Shredded Carrots
1/3 Cup Finely Chopped Green Pepper
1/3 Cup Sliced Radished
1 1/2 Cup of Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Sliced Black Olives (optional)
Cracked Black Pepper to taste

Unroll the crescent rolls and place on a large baking sheet. Flatten dough and seal all of the seams. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, and ranch packet mix until thoroughly combined. Spread the mixture onto the crust. Top with vegetables, olives, and finally cheese. Add cracked black pepper. Cover and chill at least one hour before serving. Cut into squares.

Tip: Be sure to cut vegetable pieces such as broccoli and cauliflower into small pieces

A Few Facts About Grits

Three-quarters of grits sold in the U.S. are predominantly in the South, stretching from Texas to Virginia, which is also known as the “grits belt.” 

 In South Carolina, state law requires grits and corn meal to be enriched, similar to the requirements for flour, unless the grits are ground from corn from which the miller keeps part of the product for his fee.

Grits have their origins in Native American corn preparation. Traditionally, the hominy for grits was ground by a stone mill. You can still buy stone ground grits today.

Photo by : Suzanne McMinn

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Made in the South

Garden & Gun's 5th Annual Made in the South Award ~ delicate globes, each one perfectly distinct, that taste like trout fresh from the opalescent waters of the Western  North Carolina mountains.


Made in South Carolina Garden & Gun's 5th Annual Made in the South Award You think you know salt. But try a pinch from Bulls Bay, and then a sample from a big-name competitor, and you’ll understand what salt maker Teresa Gooden means when she de-scribes how textures and flavors of different salts can vary widely depending on location and environmental factors. “Ours has a very briny flavor, and is a little bit on the sweet side,” she says. 

backside of tea and soupspoon | annladson.com

Made in South Carolina Garden & Guns's 5th Annual Made in the South Award Though Ann Ladson Stafford hung up her apron years ago, the pastry chef turned jeweler—who wielded her whisk at the Charleston restaurants Peninsula Grill and FIG—hasn’t been able to shake the time she spent in the kitchen. Which is why she decided to apply her metalsmithing skills to tableware. “As a pastry chef, my most precious tool was a sterling silver spoon I carried in my chef coat,” she says. That favored utensil became the inspiration 

Made in Georgia Garden & Gun's 5th Annual Made in the South AwardsThe knife maker re-purposes saw blades from Appalachian lumber mills that once dotted the rolling landscape and transforms them into hand-wrought cooking tools.

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