Tag Archives: Southern Living magazine

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Growing Up With Southern Living Magazine

Southern Living magazine subscriptionA Southern Living magazine subscription is akin to a rite of passage for women in the South. Blogger Shannon McRae recounts her changing attitude toward her mother’s magazine.

Any child who grows up in the Deep South can pretty much be guaranteed two things: that you’ll learn and use “sir” and “ma’am” and that your mom will subscribe to Southern Living magazine.

For as long as I can remember, my mom has had a subscription to the ubiquitous Southern culture magazine. There was always a stack of back issues on our living room coffee table, in a basket beside my mom’s side of the bed or stuck between the cookbooks in a cabinet above the oven.

My parents are computer savvy now, so I don’t think my mom saves as many issues anymore since she can easily look up a favorite recipe or idea online. But stuffed in the drawers of the bedside table in the guest room, I bet you could easily find an issue from the ’80s.

It’d be hard to guess how many Southern Living-inspired meals I was served during my childhood. I grew up before anyone worried about low-fat and low-carb, and my mom used generous amounts of butter in a normal Tuesday night dinner.

We feasted on the magazine’s holiday-themed desserts and summer-inspired salads. In fact, Southern Living recipes are so much a part of my family’s culture that I recently confused one for my grandmother’s original recipe. I was searching for a particular potato casserole recipe—one that had a cornflake topping (Gourmet? No. Delicious? Yes).

“Do you have Nanny’s recipe for potato casserole?” I asked my mom. She couldn’t remember one my grandmother had made, and after a few more details from me, said, “Oh, that’s not Nanny’s. That’s a recipe I found in Southern Living years ago.”

As a teenager, I remember occasionally flipping through the magazine during moments of extreme boredom and swearing that I’d never be interested in what variety of daffodil bulbs to plant in my front yard bed. But then, as it’s bound to happen, I slowly started becoming more like my mother.

I remember the first time I cooked a real dinner for four girls when we were all single. And the time I planted petunias in the tiny plat of dirt right outside my first condo. Suddenly I could see how it’d be useful to know a little more about cooking, gardening and interesting towns just a few hours’ drive away from me.

My style today is a bit more modern than my parents’, and bulgar is a staple in my pantry. Because of that, Southern Living isn’t the homemaker’s handbook to me that it was to women of my mother’s generation. But even though I love Dwell and Eating Well, I will always identify with Southern Living.

When I lived in the Northeast for a few years, I always picked up a copy when I saw it in a bookstore. It was like running into someone in New York City who used the word “y’all.” It felt familiar.

And last spring when it was time to plant the pots on my front porch, I turned to the magazine that I knew could tell me just what to do. And then I called my mom to see if she’d read it, too.

For a limited time, subscribe to Southern Living magazine and get 13 issues for just $10.


Southern Living March 2013_featured

4 Things Southern Living Taught Me About Flowers

Southern Living magazineYour thumb may not be feeling very green this spring, but a beautiful garden can be simple with these four tips.

When it comes to keeping things alive, I feel like I’ve got all I can handle with two kids, a husband and a cat. Yet, I still gaze longingly across the street at my two neighbors who both maintain beautiful gardens.

Joann, who my children consider their adopted grandmother, is as lovely as the flowers that sing out from every corner of her yard. She has such a way with the earth, and when you step into her yard you feel as if you’ve entered a magical place.

While I would love to have this same touch with flowers, I’ve killed every one I’ve ever planted. Still, looking across the street at those flowers growing so beautifully just yards away gives me hope.

In my optimism this year, I decided to dive into the pages of Southern Living magazine for gardening inspiration, and I made a few discoveries. Here are my top four:

1. Flowers and plants look beautiful in diverse community. Just as we are strengthened by a strong and loving community, when you plant the right flowers and plants next to one another they not only look pretty but they also thrive.

2. The addition of a few colorful flowers and plants can add a heap of curb appeal to your home. Groups of plants and flowers, even in different sized pots, can boldly proclaiming the joy of spring at your front door. I contrast this look in my mind against the empty space in front of our black front door, and I’m astounded at the impact a few bright flowers have on how welcoming a home feels.

3. Container gardening can be a great starting place for a novice like me. It’s easy to look at the sprawling gardens presented in the magazine or in my neighbor’s yard and become overwhelmed, throwing in the towel before I start. In reading about window boxes in this issue, though, I realized that starting small can later inspire a more extensive garden.

4. Building a relationship with the flowers matters. You may be giggling a little as you picture me singing to a sad little wilting flower. This isn’t entirely out of the question if you know me at all, but what I’m referring to is learning. When you build a relationship with a person, you learn their likes and dislikes. If I treated learning about different types of plants and flowers like building relationships with people, perhaps I’d learn how to better care for them.

This year I’ll attempt to nurture at least one pot of flowers. If I can “get to know” a couple plants and flowers, hopefully my garden community will continue to grow.

For a limited time, get a one-year subscription of Southern Living magazine for just $10!


Southern Living’s Cherry-Pistachio Bark Is a Perfectly Balanced—and Festive—Treat

Southren Living Cherry-Pistachio BarkFor a just-right holiday candy, try Southern Living’s Cherry-Pistachio Bark. It incorporates the colors of the season, and best of all, it doesn’t take long to make.

Chances are good you’ll run across some peppermint bark—or some variation of it—this season, what with candy canes being pretty plentiful and it being an easy enough treat to whip up on short notice.

But if you’re looking to try something new or make something a little less sweet, Southern Living’s Cherry-Pistachio Bark could be just the thing you’re looking for.

Much like the candy-striped and white chocolate concoction, this bark recipe comes together quickly, in about an hour or so. Factor in a little more time if you have to shell the pistachios, though.

Once the pistachios are shelled, they’ll have to be chopped to make a cup-and-a-quarter’s worth. If you have a nut grinder, this step is easier than it sounds—especially if it has the handy measuring guide like mine does.

Next step, add the dried cherries and two tablespoons of water to a bowl and microwave on high for two minutes. Once this is done, the recipe says to drain, but in my experience there really wasn’t much of anything to drain.

With the pistachios and cherries at the ready, start melting two 12 oz. bags of white chocolate chips and 6 2 oz. squares of vanilla candy coating in a large pan. Actually, I could have started this step while chopping the pistachios and microwaving the cherries, but I didn’t want to risk burning the chocolate.

Patience is required here because of the low heat setting, but it’s worth the wait. Chop the vanilla candy coating squares into smaller pieces, then continue to break them up with a knife as they soften in the saucepan.

Stir the mixture until smooth, then add the cherries and pistachios and mix well.

At this point, I added the mixture to a wax-paper lined cookie sheet and spread it as thin as possible. Southern Living’s instructions called for adding it to a jelly roll pan and cutting it out in heart shapes (it was printed in a February issue).

But had I known how much it would yield or how thick it would be, I would have used two cookie sheets for a thinner bark.

The result is a festive candy—red from the cherries and green from the pistachios—that is a satisfying balance of sweet and salty tastes.

For step-by-step visuals of this process or to repin, check out this recipe on our Pinterest board.


Skewers on the Grill

The 10 Best Magazines for Great Grilling Recipes and Advice

Whether you’re a grill master or an aspiring one, you’ll find all the tools of the trade and plenty of recipes to make while honing your skills in these ten magazines.

Grilling season may unofficially run from Memorial Day to Labor Day, but don’t think you have to have to put away the grill and tongs just yet. Fall is the perfect time to keep it burning!

The weather’s nice and cooler, plus what goes hand in hand with tailgating better than breaking out the grill?

Whether you’re watching the game from your own luxury suite at home or you’re traveling to support your favorite team, you’ll need plenty of good recipes and advice to try something new or hone your skills, if even just a little.

These are the ten best magazines for tips, shortcuts and recipes for any occasion or meal, so don that apron and fire up the grill!

1. Food Network Magazine: Every issue contains pointers from the network’s celebrity chefs, including grill master Bobby Flay.

2. Southern Living: In the South where football is nearly akin to religion, this magazine reveres the tailgate. In fact, check out its recently published Official SEC Tailgating Cookbook too, which is packed with spirited treats prepared on and off the grill.

3. Cooking Light: Enjoy the fruits of the flame even by cutting back on calories, fats and more, all while searing in good—and good-for-you—flavor.

4. Every Day With Rachael Ray: An all-grilling issue is published in the summer, but Rachael’s still got great advice and recipes to share year-round.

5. Food & Wine: If you want to go beyond the grilling basics—chicken, beef and pork—you’ll find tips for preparing other meats, like lamb, here.

6. Cook’s Illustrated: Marinade not sticking? Meat overdone? This in-depth how-to publication explains what’s going wrong—and how to make it right.

7. Everyday Food: Throw the whole meal on the grill, including simple and flavorful sides often found in this magazine.

8. Taste of Home: Don’t forget dessert! Fruits like peaches can be prepared over the open flame to complement a main dish, enjoy as an in-season appetizer or after-dinner treat.

9. Clean Eating: Vegetarians and carnivores alike will find palatable recipes in this healthy publication. Think everything from grilled Portobello burgers to grilled shrimp skewers.

10. Whole Living: Turn here for tips on preparing the healthiest of grilled fare while being mindful of your environmental footprint. For example, opt for charcoal rather than using lighter fluid as it’s easier on the ozone. Same goes for fabric napkins and sturdy plastic flatware—over just tossing the cheaper versions after one use.

Slices of Pie at the Heart of Social Change in Greensboro, Alabama

Slices of Pie at the Heart of Social Change in Greensboro, Alabama

Southern Living magazine March 2012Oh the power of food. One Greensboro, Ala. restaurant has seen a single slice of pie turn into remarkable social change.

I know Greensboro, Ala., as a town whose roads lead to Tuscaloosa, first as a student and now as a football fan. Located in the state’s Black Belt—so named for the fertility of its soil—cotton prospered here in the 19th century. Then, once it dried up and left, success seemed to follow it.

Today, catfish ponds dot either side of Greensboro’s two-lane roads, but there’s something exciting happening in this town that’s literally reinvented its economy. And it’s as simple as pie.

Greensboro’s Pie Lab restaurant has garnered national attention since its 2009 launch, earning coveted stamps of approval for the social change it’s fostered—not to mention its pie—from Southern Living and Garden & Gun magazines. Southern Living heralded the cafe’s apple pie as the region’s best.

But Pie Lab wasn’t supposed to last long. Originally intended as a pop-up experiment, the location was meant to serve as a gathering place for brainstorming bigger and better ideas for fostering economic change in the community.

It did, but Pie Lab is still going strong as a self-sustaining cafe that serves up more than a mean slice of pie. There are homemade biscuits for breakfast, savory pies and quiches for lunch and, of course, pies for dessert. (I’m putting its new Granny Smith apple pie with sharp white cheddar crust on my culinary bucket list.)

In and of itself, Pie Lab is a sweet story about how the simplest things can make a big difference. It’s where the locals gather. It’s building the community. It’s teaching young employees new skills and creating jobs. It’s giving Greensboro something to be proud of.

And if that weren’t enough, it’s doing even more. The social change that Pie Lab was supposed to create is happening, according to a feature in Southern Living’s March issue. Pecans! is just one offshoot of Pie Lab; it’s a project that targets high school dropouts to teach them business skills in the hopes of helping them return to school.

Participants make, market and sell sugared pecans, peanut brittle and pecan butter, and the proceeds help fund their college education. It’s been successful enough to send five program graduates off to pursue their studies.

HERObike is yet another spin-off of Pie Lab. Again reaching out to high school dropouts, the program teaches entrepreneurial and leadership skills through the unique manufacturing process of building custom bikes with locally harvested bamboo.

Just one of five places nationwide to use bamboo in custom bike construction, Greensboro is offering the 18 students enrolled in the program hands-on training to prepare them for better-paying manufacturing and technical positions.

Not bad when you consider it all started with a slice of pie.

Cooking Light magazine March 2012

Easy-to-Make Tomato Basil Soup Recipes You Have to Try

Cooking Light magazine March 2012You may not think you’re a fan of tomato soup, but two magazines put their own spin on the classic, and the results were delicious.

Unlike most people, I suppose, I don’t have fond childhood memories of being comforted with a warm bowl of tomato soup when I was sick or even on a cold day. But it wasn’t because of bad parenting; I was just a very picky eater.

Not until many years later, well into adulthood, did I even dare to taste tomato soup, and that was at the one and only place I’ve ever eaten it—Soho South Cafe in Savannah, Georgia. Fortunately for me, the tomato basil bisque is always on the menu, because it’s the one thing I must have when I eat there–even if it’s 80 degrees outside. It’s just that good.

Many times I’ve thought about how convenient it would be to recreate Soho’s bowl of deliciousness at home. And just as many times I’ve thought about how whatever I did would fall short—or, maybe worse, turn me off to tomato soup for good.

But the March issues of Southern Living and Cooking Light magazines gave me new hope (maybe). Both featured recipes for tomato basil bisque, and both seemed surprisingly easy.

For convenience, I’m leaning toward Southern Living’s version—the recipe promises that it takes 15 minutes total! Surely it’s because it uses canned tomato soup and canned fire-roasted tomatoes as its base, then easy add-ins like buttermilk, fresh basil and ground pepper cooked in a saucepan.

The finished product can be topped with even more fresh basil and ground pepper, as recommended, or Parmesan cheese.

Cooking Light’s version takes a few more steps but includes preparing toasted bread for dipping (a must, if you ask me). Those additional steps come in the form of sautéing the onion and garlic not found in Southern Living’s recipe.

Canned fire-roasted tomatoes are used in the presumably lighter version of the soup, but in this case, the mixture is cooked, blended and then put back into the saucepan to be seasoned before serving.

Low-fat cream cheese and low-fat milk cut calories in Cooking Light’s recipe as opposed to the buttermilk used in the Southern Living one, but that’s one of the few differences aside from the extra preparation time.

One key advantage to Cooking Light’s version is the toasted bread, rubbed with garlic and topped with Asiago cheese to complement the soup. I’d say that’s probably worth the extra steps it takes to pull off this recipe.

Then again, adding bread to Southern Living’s 15-minute fix is easy enough if you’re crunched for time.