Celebration Weekend ~I finished my book!~

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I hit “send” on my second book this past Friday, April 13th. While finishing up my book I blogged lightly on Southernplate.com and took the past week completely off from Southern Plate to focus entirely on finishing my book and making my deadline (keeping people posted on the Southern Plate Facebook page as I was able). For book details, see bottom of this post.

My family was thrilled, I was thrilled, and for the first time in a very long time I had a weekend that I could enjoy with no guilt! It was plum near perfect, a lot of fun, and so many more wonderful events to celebrate cropped up within it that I just couldn’t resist sharing it with you.

We began with a celebration dinner at a local restaurant. My husband took off work a little early so we could eat shortly after the kids got out of school and avoid the crowds. We decided on Outback Steakhouse because we couldn’t remember the last time we’d gone there. It was an excellent choice because I had the best steak I’ve had in a restaurant in years and one of the best baked sweet potatoes I’ve ever had. Our waiter was incredibly nice, too. It was a lovely meal from start to finish. Of course, the company helped :).

The boys went home and Katy Rose and I went to Gymboree where we spent my GymBucks buying Katy’s Back to School Clothes for next year. We saved even more by choosing from the lines that had been put on sale and now I have a huge weight off of me for the fall because I won’t have to go to fifty different stores at the end of summer in my usual quest for age appropriate clothing. I felt like I’d just met one deadline and trumped another! WEEEE. Back home to go to bed because my wonderful son, Brady had a big day of his own Saturday, competing in a state Destination Imagination competition.

and the next day…


They are now invited to Global Nationals. Thank goodness that is in Knoxville, Tennessee!

We’re so proud of these incredibly intelligent guys. They are absolutely upstanding kids in every way and truly deserving of this honor.

(Brady is the one holding the plaque)

After that Katy Rose and I took a little road trip to South Pittsburg, Tennessee to meet our friend Jyl for a late lunch at our favorite haunt, Cracker Barrel. It was her birthday and my mother had sent her a party in a box, which included hats. When we arrived we found out Jyl had written on each hat to make it a celebration for each of us! Isn’t that a sweet friend? We meet her for her birthday dinner and she makes it about all of us!

Katy Rose had taken out her starter earrings the night before and replaced them with some brand new ones, so she was pretty proud of her hat.

Here we are in our hats outside of Cracker Barrel.

If you’re ever in South Pittsburg, you have to go to the Lodge Factory store.

Katy Rose is holding a giant inflatable cell phone because…well, She’s Katy Rose and these things happen.

As a matter of fact, I’ll be back here in just two weeks for the National Cornbread Festival! If you’re going to the festival, be sure you check out my Facebook Event page for details the time and location of the Southern Plate meet and greet because I’d love a chance to meet you!

Here is a list of upcoming events I’ll be at.

For specific information, tickets, and times, please see my Facebook Events Page and be sure and RSVP there if you’ll be attending because I sometimes notify people last minute if I get a wild hair and come up with something fun for us to do!

Alabama Book Festival – April 21st. I’ll be speaking and signing books at a specific time and will post the time on the Facebook Events page by Wednesday of this week.

Great Day Houston, Live Appearance – Houston Texas, April 24th – free tickets available if you contact them soon, details on my Facebook events page.

National Cornbread Festival – April 28th. Special meet and greet time for Southern Plate Family. See Facebook page for details and be sure and RSVP

Paula Deen Best Dishes Appearance – April 29th, Food Network. Check your guide for times. This is a re-airing of the episode we filmed last year.

I don’t aspire to travel much because my heart is at home, so if I’m coming near you and we have a chance to meet each other, I’d love to see you when we have the opportunity.

Back to my weekend 🙂

It’s a long drive home from South Pittsburg, so Karo and I stopped by the wal mart in Scottsboro, Alabama to buy some flowers and plants for our gardening on Sunday. By the time we got home it was almost bed time and we gladly headed off.

After church Sunday, I put some chicken into my electric smoker. Doesn’t this look good? I use an Applewood Rub made by McCormick’s that I just pick up at the grocery store, and smoke with with soaked hickory chips.

We’d invited our friend who is an expert at all things that bloom or sprout for Sunday dinner and to help us with Katy’s first flower garden. Katy Rose has a keen interest in flowers and her Mama is not so much into the whole “Hey! It’s 100+ degrees! Lets go outside and squat down under the sun for an hour or two and weed something…”. I do try to find ways to encourage my kids when I see they are really into something though, so I thought letting her have her own flower garden would help encourage her and I wanted her to have a pro help her put it in and offer tips.

Here is our smoked chicken, all ready to be gobbled up 🙂

Tomato Mozzarella Melts

Summer Corn Salad

Katy Rose made this entirely by herself with my supervision (and chopping skills). She had a big interest in cooking this weekend so I just took her in the kitchen with me any time I went in there and let her do as much as she wanted while I talked her through it. She also made brownies and her first pineapple upside down cake.

Butter Stewed Potatoes, one of Ricky’s favorite way to eat taters 🙂

And some simple rustic bread

This is me posing with our dinner. I had been working longer than usual hours and the ironic thing about writing a cookbook is how little time I have to cook when I’m doing it, so I got to enjoy making a meal for the first time in a few weeks.

Oh, just so you know, I haven’t sprouted dog legs. That is Zoey, and this photo shows why she’s earned the nickname “Mama’s Shadow” in this house.

After eating we set out to weed the gardens with family friends Peggy and Alexa.

I set these up as vegetable gardens but as things have gotten busier for me I’ve cut back my vegetative ambitions. So this year I decided to plant one small garden of tomatoes and give one to Katy Rose for her own flower garden.

Hint: If it’s ever time to weed a garden and you have friends who just love doing that sort of thing, every now and then tell them you want to take a picture and run into the house to get the camera, then you can spend at least five minutes on the porch drinking iced tea and resting from the weeding a bit, as long as you click your camera every now and then. 

She did a fabulous job choosing flowers and planting them just where she wanted them.

During this time Brady was setting up his own server for some network where he and some of his close friends can build some virtual world and not be open to public strangers paying them visits…so he is obviously absent from the gardening endeavors because he’s too busy trying to be the next Steve Jobs. I keep telling him that he needs to be the first Brady Jordan instead 🙂 Eventually, he’ll understand what I’m getting at…

This is Karo posing with her newly planted flower garden in a photo I enhanced using Instagram.

 What a beautiful end to a fabulous weekend.

Life is good folks, and if you let it, it gets even better! 


Thank you so much for all of your encouragement as I went about writing my second book. You’re pep talks and kind words on Facebook and Southern Plate keep  a smile in my heart!

Details on my Second book:

It will be out in Spring of 2013 through Workman Publishers. I’m thrilled to be with them because some of my personal favorite cookbooks have been Workman ones. I love their cookbook formulas, layouts, and prices!

What is the book title? I can’t tell you just yet but as soon as I’m able I will definitely share that! It sets the tone for the entire book and I just love it 🙂 I actually named this one myself but didn’t get to do that on my first book.

Does it have stories? I wrote it so yup. You know I can’t just hand you a recipe and leave it at that! 🙂

Where can I get your first book? My first book is available online through most national booksellers and Amazon.com (best price at Amazon, click here). Many booksellers have copies in their stores, too. Wal Mart and Sam’s Club sold out shortly after the book came out so don’t look in these stores, but you’ll have pretty good luck in a Barnes and Noble, Books a Million, and the like. My best advice if you want a deal is to hit Amazon because it is generally at least ten dollars cheaper there.

Will your book be available for pre-order? Yes! I’ll be sure and tell you as soon as it is, possibly by Christmas.  I wrote this book to be an absolute workhorse in the kitchen and if you enjoy Southern Plate recipes, it is my hope you’ll use this one so much that you wear it out and have to buy another copy! 🙂 My mother proofed it for me and when she was done she called and said “I’m gonna tell you what, if folks can’t find something they wanna cook in that book they just need to go out to eat!”. ~giggles~


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  1. I loved reading this post again. Brady took your advice 🙂 . I’m as excited for you today as I was when you first wrote this post. Watching you fulfill every goal that you set for yourself is a blessing to every one of us that follow your blog. I pray for you every day. I love your humility and your grace in giving the glory for everything in your life to God. I love you Baby Girl. Ma.

  2. My husband and I are both sooo excited for your new cookbook. We have used your first one half to death. We are both native southerners living in the north and the only way to get that good ol homecookin’ is to fix it ourselves. (Your first cookbook even got my husband cooking and for that I owe you an eternal debt of gratitude and possibly my firstborn…at least until he learns to drive – the source of my new gray hairs.) I’ll just sit here impatiently waiting for your new book to come out. Spring isn’t that far away, right? Thank you for real food cookbooks and for pictures of Piggly Wiggly groceries (one of those kid sweet memories for me.)

  3. just found this post and i am SO EXCITED TO KNOW YOU WROTE A SECOND COOKBOOK! i adore the first one and have given away every copy i’ve purchased so i just ordered my FOURTH copy of your first cookbook from Amazon!
    Can’t wait to Pre-order this new one!
    Thank you for all your hard work on the books and the website!

  4. I just love your posts…. you make me smile everytime. You encourage me to be a happier person… Plus your recipes are simple and yummy.

    Thank you so much…

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