"I've discovered that my own little postage stamp of native soil was worth writing about and that I would never live long enough to exhaust it."
- William Faulkner

Thursday, February 21, 2008

the amazing face

When work is busy, the blog suffers. I'm sorry I've neglected you, old friend, but duty calls. Monday and Tuesday of this week, I attended the Governors Conference on Tourism here in Jackson. It's essentially an excuse for tourism peeps all over the state to get together for a good time. Sure there are seminars and forums, but they really just get in the way.

One such seminar was conducted by Ann Marks, an expert in face reading. Not expressions or emotions, but the actual features of the face forehead to chin, ear to ear. The presentation itself was fascinating, especially for a former psychology major like me. Ann discussed how everything about our faces tell a little about our personalities - both nature and nurture. The eyes you inherited from your dad may have also given you your open-mindedness. The nose that's the spitting image of your mom may be the reason you love art. And your ears that stick out a little might be what hears the beat of that different drummer you seem to march to.

I know it sounds like witchcraft or tarot cards or palm reading, but this is a practice that's been around since the ancient Chinese wrote of it thousands of years ago. The great Greek philosopher Aristotle published on it as well. We've all heard the old adage "the eyes are the windows to the soul," and there may be more truth to that than we ever thought. You better believe I stuck around until way after the session was over to have my own face "read." As I'd hoped, she was spot on. It was eerie how she was able to pinpoint specific personality traits simply by identifying certain features on my face and head. I of course bought the book for a small price and plan on reading each of your faces when I see you next. Oh, and those of you that might be interested in hearing what she had to say about the faces of the presidential candidates, I asked her that, too.

As the blog suffers, so does the Delicious Dish. I know you were all heartbroken to stumble upon my blog on Monday and the recipe had not been added. Fear not, I've got a great one this week!

Mexican Chicken Casserole


Vegetable oil cooking spray
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of chicken soup
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cheddar cheese soup (the nacho cheese kind is good in here)
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup (i like to use a can of Ro-tel)
1 (10-ounce) can tomatoes
1 whole chicken, cooked, boned, and chopped or 4 cups leftover cooked chicken (sometimes I just boil a few chicken breasts and shred them)
Unsalted butter, for greasing pan
1 (11 1/2-ounce) package flour tortillas
2 cups shredded Cheddar


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13 by-9-inch pan with the cooking spray.
In a large bowl, stir together the 3 kinds of soup and the tomatoes. Stir in the chicken.

Layer the tortillas and the chicken mixture in the pan, beginning and ending with tortillas. Sprinkle the cheese over the casserole and bake for 30 minutes.

* This one makes great left-overs, too!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


L is for the way you look at me
O is for the only one I see
V is very, very extraordinary
E is even more than anyone that you adore

LOVE is all that I can give to you
LOVE is more than just a game for two
Two in love can make it
Take my heart and please don't break it
LOVE was made for me and you!

Happy LOVE Day!

Monday, February 11, 2008

it's my mississippi, too

I admit I've slacked on the blogging this week, but it wasn't for lack of material. Since my last post, I escorted a Japanese journalist all over our great state, drowning her in information and photos of the interesting, the funny and the interestingly funny spots in Mississippi. On each trip of these I take, I see, experience or taste something I never have before, and it inspired me to give you a few highlights of my journey. Sometimes we're so focused on "getting away" that we don't realize the great stuff in our own backyard.

Romie's Restaurant in Tupelo is soul food central. Their lunch menu is a never-ending list of deep-fried comfort foods from chicken spaghetti and fried green "maters" to corn bread and pork chops. Check your diet at the door, folks. Don't miss: the banana pudding was the best I've had to date.

We all know Oxford has great shopping and dining - it's the envy of college towns all over the nation. When you're in the area, venture off the square onto Ole Miss's campus. Though the maroon blood pumping through my veins moved a little slowly when I passed The Grove, I was fortunate enough to see the Civil Rights Memorial near the campus's Lyceum. This powerful monument of Ole Miss's first black student James Meredith is worth a visit - even for the Bulldogs out there. Don't miss: William Faulkner's Nobel Prize in the Lyceum.

Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil at The Crossroads - the junction of Highways 61 and 49 in Clarksdale - for the ability to play the guitar like no other man before him. Blues junkies from all over the world make the pilgrimage to this soulful mecca to stand on the same ground as this blues great. Even if you're not all over the blues, you'll love Cat Head, the ultimate delta blues and folk art purveyor. This store is packed with photography, music, t-shirts and art, all indigenous to the Mississippi Delta. Don't miss: the folk art paintings by L.V. Hull - I even gave one to Claire for Christmas this past year!

Ok, so I'm partial to Greenwood. The small town that changed my mind about the Delta in general is changing the minds of people all over as well. The downtown area is growing and developing in a way that would make the cotton brokers of yesteryear puff their chests with pride. Don't miss: Russell's Antiques. Even if you can't afford anything, you can play in the diamonds. They are a girl's best friend, after all. Tell them I sent ya.

Prior to this job, my only thoughts of Vicksburg were those cultivated in Mrs. McCoy's 5th grade history class in our Civil War unit. A bunch of 10- and 11-year-olds in a motor coach with a sack lunch and canned Cokes with names scribbled on masking tape doesn't exactly say "solemn," "mournful" or even quiet. But, I ran across something even a 5th grader can appreciate. Enter Mrs. Margaret's Castle - her husband told her if she married him, he'd build her a castle. Not exactly what I had in mind, but to each his own. Don't miss: well, just don't miss the whole thing. It's folk art on steroids.

And for this week's Delicious Dish, I chose something that I made for my honey last year for Valentine's Day. Since we are poor and I am developing my culinary prowess, I'm cooking again this year. Not sure what just yet, but I have a few things in mind. Anywho, these are super-easy and a fantastic appetizer - the best fungus you'll ever eat.

Paula's Sausage-Stuffed Mushrooms (the real recipe is for Crab-Stuffed, but sausage is cheaper ;) and good year-round)

1 of those tube things of ground sausage, browned and crumbled (or 1 c. crab meat)
1/2 cup cream cheese
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
4 tablespoons Parmesan (I prefer the grated kind)
House Seasoning, recipe follows (not really necessary to make Paula's unless you just want a good general spice blend. I use Shapley's.)
2 portobello mushroom caps, or 10 white mushrooms caps (both are good)
1/2 cup bread crumbs (store bought are best, believe it or not)
Nonstick cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Combine the crabmeat, cream cheese, parsley, green onions and Parmesan. Season with House Seasoning, to taste. Stuff the mushroom caps with the mixture and top with bread crumbs (I just pour some on a plate and press the tops of the stuffed mushrooms in the crumbs). Spray the tops with nonstick spray to help them brown. Transfer to the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the filling is hot and melted.

Paula's House Seasoning

1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder

YUMMY! Best when shared. ;)
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