Fall Weekend Getaway in Alabama

I travel a lot with my job – so when we go on a trip, I love to find a beautiful bread and breakfast.  Over the weekend, we had a fall getaway to Alabama and we found a neat bed and breakfast.  It is located in the small town of Valley Head, Alabama.   It is right on the Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama state lines – at the foot of the Lookout Mountains.Even though the leaves were not at peak like they are in Kentucky, it was still beautiful.  The weather was near perfect and if you love Bed and Breakfast with flair of history, I highly recommend Winston Place.

There is a lot of history of this beautiful old house.  The innkeeper proudly shares the history as he provides a tour of the house.  It really takes you back in time, a time when life was simple.  

My favorite spot was the porch.  We had our own sitting area on the porch with a door from our bedroom,

 

 

 

 

 

We found a neat dinner spot on top of the mountain behind us in Mentone thanks to the suggestion of the innkeeper.  .  

Moonlight Bistro

Moonlight Bistro is a log cabin setting with a wide variety of food from pasta to filet, chicken, salmon, and sandwiches.  Dessert choices included deep fried Oreos with ice cream and chocolate sauce.  We skipped that!   Warm chocolate cookies awaited us upon our return to Winston Place.

Breakfast was served in the beautiful red dining room.  The innkeeper kept us company telling us about stories from his days playing football for Alabama. 

Breakfast included scrambled eggs, sausage, cheese grits, potato casserole and biscuits.  It was yummy!

We relaxed on the porch with coffee.  The air was a little cool – but the sun was shining and it was a perfect morning.  I could sit there all day, rocking and relaxing.

When we left Winston Place, we headed back up the mountain to the DeSoto Falls. 

The view was beautiful.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our trip ended with a family wedding.  I have to share this picture from the wedding. 

They used cotton plants from the fields for their decorating.  I loved it along with the burlap.  It was perfect for the wedding held at a stable. 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, it’s home and back to work.

Coconut Lovers Beware

I haven’t been blogging much lately in case you haven’t noticed.  It’s hard juggling work , family obligations and all those other things that mess up having fun.  Blogging had to wait – and I have missed it!  I am going to try and do better!

The first Saturday day in May is kind of a big deal.  It is Derby Day in the great Commonwealth of Kentucky.  The run for the roses!  All kinds of derby activities happen across the state.  I started the day doing something I have never done before…a 5K event.  No – I didn’t run.  A friend and I walked – and even if we were in the last group to cross the finish line,  we didn’t care.  We did it!  We have been walking together and trying to get healthier since February.  We will most likely never run a 5K – but we can now say we have done it!  One check off that bucket list.

Also on the agenda was a Derby Party with our Sunday School class.  We gather every year and have all kinds of good things to eat.  We watch the derby together on a big screen TV.  I usually take a Coconut Cream Pie.  It is almost a requirement for me to be allowed to enter the door.  But…..guess what?  This year I decided to change things up a bit.  I haven’t been baking much and I was in the mood to make a cake.  I decided on a Coconut Pound Cake.  After all, I think it is closely related to Coconut Cream Pie.  Anyway, I think they liked it.  My family loves it.  I even had to freeze a piece for one of my daughters until she could get home to have a piece.   I thought I would share the recipe with you.  I got this recipe from my friend, Donna, who is an excellent cook.  She served it at a Christmas Brunch and it was a big hit.

Coconut Pound Cake

2 cups sugar

1 cup crisco shortening

5 beaten eggs

2 cups flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1 cup sour cream

1 tsp. coconut flavoring

1 cup flaked coconut

Directions:

Cream sugar and shortening in mixing bowl.  

 

 

 

Beat the eggs.

Mix eggs into the shortening and sugar mixture until creamy.

Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt. 

 

Add flour dry mixture alternately with the one cup of sour cream – to the creamed shortening mixture.  Blend, but don’t mix hard. 

 

 

Stir in coconut flavoring and flaked coconut.

 

 

 

 

Pour batter into a greased and floured tube pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes.  Lower your top rack for baking this cake as you don’t want it to brown too quickly. I usually lay a flat piece of aluminum foil on top of the cake the last half of baking to keep the top from becoming too brown.  

Use the toothpick method to make sure cake is done.  Warning – this cake will fall if not completely done when you pour the hot glaze over the top.

 While cake is still hot and in the tube pan – poke holes in cake and pour glaze over the top letting it soak into the cake. 

Let set several hours (overnight is even better).  Flip cake out of the pan – and enjoy!

 

Glaze:

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup hot water

1 tsp. coconut flavor

Boil 1 minute – and then pour over cake.  I added some buttercream frosting flavored with coconut oil and frosted with shredded coconut just for the presentation. 

Yum, yum….

While I am at it …. I think “I’ll have Another” piece.

I’ll Have Another is on the way to the Triple Crown…having won in the Derby and Preakness!

Paula Deen…..Make Room for Mrs. Wilkes!

If you haven’t been to Savannah, Ga – put it on your “bucket list”.  Savannah takes you back in time and gives you many reasons to love visiting.  The history of the City, the beauty of the trees with spanish moss, the beautiful squares, the fountains, River Street, cobble stone streets and the unique shops are just a few of the reasons I love this city.  And now I have a new reason to love Savannah  – Mrs. Wilke’s Dining Room.  I heard about Mrs. Wilke’s – (sometimes referred to as Mrs. Wilke’s Boarding House) from many friends who highly recommended the entire experience.  Most of my trips to Savannah have been afternoon or night visits while vacationing on a nearby island.  Mrs. Wilke’s is only open for lunch so my family had been unable to find a time to give it a try. 

A work-related conference in Savanna allowed me to explore the City for 4 days recently.   Many of the meals were included in the conference, so I had to pick and choose carefully where to eat during our “free-time meals”.  The choices of restaurants are unbelievable.  A lot of people at the conference wanted to go to Paula Deen’s Lady and Son’s Restaurant.  I had eaten there a few years back – so I wanted to try something different.  After all, I am not as big a Paula fan as I once was.  I really liked her before they started air-brushing her portraits on the magazine covers and before she started being so “polished” on her show instead of down-to-earth.   Don’t get me wrong, I am still a fan.  I love her story of where she came from and the obstacles she overcame to be who she is today.  I also admit I have most of her cookbooks and I have had the opportunity to attend two of her personal appearances.  I just wish she would stick to food instead of trying to sell furniture! 

On my list of “to-do” on this trip to Savannah was to eat at Mrs. Wilkes.  Believe it or not – there are no promotional brochures in the tour racks for Mrs. Wilkes.  I had to get on the internet to find out the details.  Mrs. Wilkes is only open from 11 am until 2 pm Monday thru Friday and she doesn’t take reservations.  Her website indicates customers just start lining up in front of her restaurant a little before 11 am each weekday.  You are called in by the host to be seated according to how many seats are available at a table.  Unless you have enough people in your party to fill up a table, you sit with people you don’t know.  The food is already ready on your table when you sit down in bowls, served old fashioned family style.  You spend the first part of the meal passing bowls, and believe me that took a little while as there are plenty bowls to pass.  We were there on a Tuesday and they served fried chicken, barbeque shredded pork and beef stew.  I passed on the beef stew – but the other two meats were good enough to write home about.  The side dishes – well, in order to sample everything, I could only allow a little more than taste of each dish…. cornbread dressing, mashed potatoes, candied yams, creamed corn, lima beans, green beans, black-eyed peas, macaroni and cheese, squash casserole, okra and tomatoes, cucumbers, and rice.  I am certain I missed a few…it was overwhelming.  I tried not to overload my plate – but as you can see, I wasn’t too successful.   Opps, I almost forgot to mention the cornbread and homemade biscuits.   Sweet tea was the token drink, after all we were in the south!      

I get hungry just looking at this picture.  Close your eyes and you can even smell the goodness!! 

After consuming the main meal, they had offerings of banana pudding and peach cobbler.  I was only able to take a bite of the banana cobbler.  I just couldn’t hold anything else!  

I will admit, I wasn’t crazy about the idea of sitting with complete strangers and breaking bread.  But….it was ok.  In fact, it was better than ok.  We ate with two couples from Florida, one couple from Ohio, and another lady from the northeast.  We exchanged stories of our favorite restaurants, foods, and moaned together as we started filling up!  You can bet my next trip back to Savannah will include Mrs. Wilkes!