Sunday, June 16, 2013

Randy Travis playin' possum

Randy Travis playin’ possum
Here’s word on a tribute to Southeast Texas native George Jones:
“Randy Travis has delivered a hit with the surprise debut of the George Jones tribute song, “Tonight I’m Playin’ Possum.”  The heartfelt single is now available on iTunes.  “Tonight I’m Playin’ Possum” was recently recorded by the country icon and singer Joe Nichols. This is the first song from Randy's new album that’s set to be released this fall.

“It was an honor when I received a request to record this tribute to George Jones, and after I heard how well Keith Gattis had written “Tonight I’m Playin’ Possum,” I was excited to record it.  Thanks to Joe Nichols for coming in and helping on this project,” says Randy Travis.

The Grammy winner provided fans with the first public hearing of “Tonight I’m Playin’ Possum” at the CMA Music Festival. Listen at To download on iTunes, visit:

A subtle grind of pepper
I’m in a hot pepper family. From breakfast on, I’m planning meals around red flakes, cayenne dust or whole jalapenos with the seeds in. Before I saw the Trudeau Adagio Chili Mill, which grinds red pepper flakes or any dry spice, I’d never thought about grinding the red, pizza-style pepper. This red mill looks good in the kitchen and on the table and gives a great “twist” of flavor to anything that wants spicing up. A red top and bottom grace a clear cylinder that shows you when it’s time to restock. It’s easy to refill and, hey, could fit in my purse for restaurant excursions. Pepper lovers will understand me.

Keep Calm
Ever take directions from your jewelry? Of course you do. Many of us wear pendants associated with our faith, so it makes sense that Alef Bet Jewelry by Paula offers symbols from the Star of David and hamsa necklaces to an “amen” pendant. Her tagline is “Faitih. Fashion. Forward.” The message I’m taking is from a new line of inspirational bracelets that practically require a magnifying glass. This string has a thin silver strip with the tiny message “Keep Calm.” Throughout the day, it’s a reminder to step back and breath. It’s a lovely, shiny, affordable reminder that comes in a wee little sparkly bag. Is it too early to think of stocking stuffers? Keep Calm.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Quickles are Off the Eaten Path

“Off the Eaten Path”
You might want to take Morgan Murphy home and feed him, but he’s already eaten his way across the south for this very fun and informative book. The concept of traveling and eating and writing is not new, but this Southern Living book is fresh and adds Murphy’s suggested playlists, such as “Folsom Prison Blues,” for a nod to Johnny Cash’s Arkansas roots. I’d try a Feliz Navidog hot dog in West Virginia, Farmer’s Daughter bacon and okra skillet from Chuckey Tenn., and Indian Fry Bread Tacos from Oklahoma. There’s nothing in this book I wouldn’t try.
He starts in Texas with goodies like Hillside Farmacy Grapefruit Jalapeno Margarita (Austin) and Salsa Fuego’s Chile Con Queso in Fort Worth. Did I mention he Murphy has convinced these fine, offbeat establishments to share recipes? As someone told him, he could charm a dog off a meat truck. Quaint sayings, like “give me some sugar” meaning a kiss, are also part of the fun.
Here’s how I know he knows what he’s talking about. In a bit on Kartchner’s Grocery and Specialty Meats in Krotz Springs, La., he says that boudain is best eaten in the parking lot where you bought it. This place shares a crawfish etouffee and a bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin recipe.
Here’s a recipe from Oxbow in Clarksdale, Miss.

1 English cucumber
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup cider vinegar
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons salt
¼ teaspoon pickling spice
¼ teaspoon chopped fresh dill
1 bay leaf
Cut cucumber into 1/8 inch slices using a mandolin or V-slicer and place in a large glass bowl. Bring 2 cups water, vinegars and next 5 ingredients to a boil in a medium-sized nonreactive saucepan, stirring often, until sugar and salt dissolve.
Pour hot vinegar mixture over cucumber slices. Cool to room temperature (about 3 hours). Cover and chill at least 24 hours; store in refrigerator up to 3 weeks. Makes 2 ½ cups.

The Handy Camel
My husband called it a giant chip clip. Seal up a bag of charcoal, fertilizer or dog food into The Handy Camel clamp and grab the plastic handle and you can easily tote around a bag that used to be a bother. This device keeps your product fresh, neat and portable. If you keep it in your trunk, I’ll bet it could help you haul in a lot of groceries at once by clamping up your plastic bags. (Though I assume you use recyclable bags whenever possible!) I got a sample in the mail and I cant’ decide which of my big bags will get to wear it. I’m leaning toward charcoal. is your go-to guy.

This mug means business
Here’s how I taught myself to drink more water… I make sure I finish a travel cup full on my way to work. Being hydrated makes me feel better and makes me less hungry. Not many people drink as much as they should. Trudeau’s has BPA-Free travel mug with a leatherette sleeve that may put one in the mind of coffee, but hey, water or tea can go in this sleek number, too. When opened, the lid provides “the ultimate 360 degree drinking experience.” It’s not a stunt. It just means you don’t have to aim for that one little hole. I like the “boardroom” look of this model that’s comfortable in the hand.

Sheic Journals
I love, love, love bound books so when Sheik Journals promoted itself as Not  Your Average Journal, I took note. You’ve got your basic and more adventurous colors, but hey, you’ve got to fall in love with purple paisley lining the zippered pocket, and the quick-ease magnet cover. There, they have already proven their point. See more at

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Collect your Masons, try H20 & Kizmet

Mason Jars to light Southern Summer Night
Mason Jars are hip d├ęcor on Pinterest and Victoria Carr of Performance Contractors is collecting them to make Southern Summer Night glow. J.A.G. and Classics Recovered Band will play this much-anticipated party July 20 at the Carl A. Parker Multipurpose Center with a dinner from the Golden Triangle Chef’s Association. Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce and the Port Arthur International Seafarerss Center will benefit.
Call Paige Snyder at the Chamber, 963-1107, to get your tickets… or get your Mason Jars in on the action.

H2O does seafood and meat
Turns out the fried pork at H20 Seafood Restaurant in Port Arthur is as good as the seafood. This attractive eatery is under new management and the Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce helped announce this through a mingling and munching session. Cheese dip was amped up with crawfish, shrimp and crab and the pork caused a commotion of praise.
I teased hostess Courtney Nguyen for being very strict, because she urged me to pass on the red wine and choose white for a good cheese pairing. She wanted me to have my very best dining experience and wouldn’t hear of me sampling a cabernet in a glass that had just a drop of a more dry blend in it. She got me a new glass. She knows what she is talking about.

The Kizmet Cajun
Cindy Kreutzer says business has been “awesome,” “stupendous” and “amazing” since Kizmet Koffee studio moved to 6039 39th St. in Groves.
“We have made new friends. We are really enjoying it,” she said.
The Cajun is a new sandwich offering, loaded with Vidalia onion sauce, provolone cheese, boudain, bacon and beef. But save room for lattes and smoothies. I want one of everything in the store from wind chimes and jewelry to very artsy bags. Herb and Cindy are supporting the arts  in Groves. Oh yeah, there’s free wi fi, Cindy reminds fans. Call them at (409) 962-9300.