Thursday, November 19, 2015

You wanna be the Homecoming Queen of ALL this season's Holiday parties?

Then, run - do not walk - to nearest Kroger and pick up the following ingredients:
1 8oz pkg Cornbread Mix (Mexican flavor is best)
1 4 oz Can Chopped Green Chiles
1 oz pkg Ranch Dressing Mix
1 oz Sour Cream
1 c Mayonnaise (Duke's!)
2 15 oz Cans Pinto Beans (drained)
1 c Green Bell Pepper (chopped)
2 15 1/2 Cans Whole Kernel Corn (drained)
3 Large Tomatoes (diced)
10 Slices Bacon (cooked/crumbled)
2 c Sharp Cheddar Cheese (grated)
1 c Green Onions (sliced, using both white and green parts)
 You MUST use Duke's mayonnaise. Hellman's nor any other brand will do. Yes, there IS a difference. Duke's is saltier and tangier and enhances every dish that calls for mayo.
That settles it. Now on to preparation.
Organize your ingredients.
Yes, your countertop will resemblance a lunch buffet
Prepare your cornbread according to package directions and add the chilies to the batter. (I prefer muffins because it's just easier to handle).
While the cornbread is cooking, combine dressing mix, sour cream and mayonnaise. Blend well and set aside.
In a large salad bowl, crumble half of the cornbread into bottom of the bowl.

Top with half the beans. Then, layer in this order:
Half of sour cream mixture
Bell Peppers
Crumbled Bacon
Cheddar Cheese
Onion Greens
Repeat layers starting with rest of cornbread
Cover and refrigerate overnight (or for no less than 8 hours) so flavors can develop and harden.
Then voila!  

It's called Chile Cornbread Salad, but I hate calling it a 'salad' because it's really more of a side dish. Actually, Mr. T likes it as a whole meal.
Whatever you wanna call it your guests will love this and will be wanting the recipe!
From my kitchen to yours -
Happy eatin', y'all.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Miranda Lambert's Pink Pistol Boutique

I felt bad for Miranda Lambert on the CMA's Wednesday night. She just didn't seem herself.
It was love at first sight when I first saw this girl on 'Nashville Star'. She reminds me so much of myself when I was in high school, and honestly? I like her much better in t-shirt, jeans and stringy hair than I do when they have her all glammed up...but I digress (which I often do).
Anyway, Saturday mornin', bright and early (about noon), I hopped in my little red wagon my red pickup truck, hit the wide, open Texas road aaaannndd...
about an 1 and 1/2 later I was in Miranda's hometown of Lindale, Texas.
As you can tell by the huge billboard, they are pretty dog-gone proud of their hometown girl.
The reason for this trip? To shop at Miranda's Pink Pistol Boutique. It's right smack dab in the middle of downtown on Hubbard Street. 101 Hubbard, to be exact.


Okay, you KNOW I was major-league crushing on this truck door. I might have tried to bargain, beg or steal this (totally joking), but if you'll remember the vintage Ford door from last year that almost broke up my 30-sum-odd year marriage I figured jail wouldn't be worth it. I settled for this picture instead.
And I opened the door....I heard the Hallelujah choir

I liked ta died!!!!
I have wanted to visit this place for years!

Handsome young Adam greeted every one as they came through the door. And will you look at all those boots??
Here's the wine bar - the first two samples are free, but nope. I didn't try any. Maybe next time.

Of course, Miranda's BFF's the Junk Gypsies
( had their new paint line fully displayed.
You know I didn't walk away empty-handed.

Texas ring!

And my very own pistol (necklace) - although it's not pink.
Adam says Miranda is there quite often, so maybe next time she'll be visiting. And there will be a next time.
I saw a lot of things I liked and no further than it is from me, you know I'll be trippin' there a lot.
Til Next Time,

Sunday, October 18, 2015

New Makeover

Now, if that headline up there had you clicking furiously to get on here to check out my new facelift, tummy tuck or new haircut, then you'll be sorely disappointed.
No facelift, no tummy tuck and no new haircut - hopefully this week, though (on the haircut, not the facelift or tummy tuck, however I would not be adverse to lipo-suction, but, I digress).
Actually, the makeover is fixin' to take place on Hillbilly Hacienda herself.  We haven't done anything new to her in about a year and I am getting restless. No rest for the wicked, huh?
First order of business is building a pool. That should start in a few weeks and will be finished (hopefully) right after Christmas.
Second on the agenda is new wood floors. Right now the flooring is all chopped up. Not literally 'chopped up' as in with a machete, even though I've been major-league tempted, but wood floors in the living room, blue linoleum in the kitchen, pergot in the dining room, tile in the foyer and an ugly, ugly carpet in the office. Yeah, that kind of chopped up
We'll have the floors put in after the pool is finished. I'm afraid I couldn't handle two construction projects going on at once.
 No way, Jose.
Changing the subject to the weather now - how is your autumn looking? I am seeing gorgeous pictures on Facebook of the beautiful fall leaves, photos of folks in sweaters and jackets.
Well, honey - here in Texas it's still hot and no sign of leaves changing just yet. Can you believe it's the middle of October and still in the mid to upper 90's?
This girl LOVES it, but it's hard to get into the fall decorating spirit when it still feels like summer.
Sooooo.....with a click of the mouse, I head over to my favorite blog, Sugar Pie Farm House. Aunt Ruthie has her fall home-tour uploaded. Why don't you head over there and take a look for yourself - trust me, she'll have you going out buying pumpkins and gathering fall leaves.
You will definitely understand why she is my favorite.
Til next time,

Monday, August 31, 2015

Remembering Princess Diana, and a mutual friend

Just like the rest of the world, I absolutely adored Princess Diana.
And just like the rest of the world, I remember what I was doing the night of that awful news bulletin.

13 years earlier I was fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of her when I was living outside of London. She was pregnant with Prince Harry and I was pregnant with my daughter. Both of us were mere weeks from delivery. Me, in a tiny hospital 3 hours outside of London. Diana, of course, in the Royal Hospital. That's where the similarities stopped -until many years later when I would become friends with her former Chief of Staff, Patrick Jephson.

Patrick's wife Mary Jo (a very interesting woman in her own right) was a mutual friend of my husband's business partner. It just so happened that I was the chair for an upcoming event with my Capital Speakers Club. This was my second year of chairing this event. The year before I'd hosted designer/tastemaker Carolyne Roehm, so the pressure was on to equal that.

Well, who better to follow up with than Princess Diana's equerry?

Next thing I know, Patrick agreed to be the guest speaker and highlight his service and time with the Princess.
We had planning meetings many times over the course of the next few months leading up to the event.  People always ask me if I have any 'inside scoop' on Princess Diana, and the answer is no. When I first met Patrick, I was too paranoid to ask him anything at all about the late princess. I didn't want him to think I wanted to be friends with him just to find out about her. And second of all? Once I got to know him I simply forgot. He and his wife, Mary Jo are so incredibly interesting I found myself mesmerized by the things they were doing with their life and that's really all I wanted to hear about. (Mary Jo, who incidentally used to work for 2 US Presidents and the Queen of England, is absent from the picture above because she, herself was a guest at Buckingham Palace that night.)
On this night, the 18th anniversary of the Princess' death, I know he feels this loss.
I haven't talked with him since leaving the DC area over a year ago.
It's moments like this that remind you just how short life is. 
I think I'll not let another day pass to send him a note and tell him how much I appreciate him.
Til next time,

Monday, August 10, 2015

Kim Watkins Hogan

It was a few weeks after Thanksgiving 2001. I had just mailed out 150 Christmas cards and even though I'd personally addressed each and every envelope I couldn't tell you the name of one person I'd sent them to.
Except for one:
Kim Watkins Hogan.
Sure enough, about 5 days later my phone rang and I saw her number on my caller I.D.
In the card I'd written that we'd moved to Washington, DC, had survived 9-11, and included my phone number so we could catch up.
I knew she'd call!
"Kathie, this is Ralph, Kim's dad. I just called to tell you that Kim died a few months ago. We wanted to call you but could not find your number."
"Kathie, she really loved you".
When I met Kim I was a newlywed - all of 19 years old. It was my first time away from home and my first time away from friends, family and everything I knew - and my very first real, grown up job.
We both worked at Ruth's, a very popular and expensive department store in downtown Columbus, Mississippi.
I was so completely out of my league.
I was a country girl-tomboy from the Missouri Ozarks and my new colleagues were the most beautiful and glamorous women I'd ever seen in my young life, and believe me - they let me know under no uncertain terms that I was not on their level. Everything about me was fair game for torment. My looks, my clothes and even the old pickup truck I drove. Especially the old truck.
It's safe to say that completely opposite of me,  Kim was probably the most well-liked person at the store.
The store owner, Mr. Bernstein loved her.
Customers and co-workers alike adored her. And as well-dressed and pretty as the other women were - Kim was even more so.
She didn't have that beauty-queen flash that the others had. 
Her beauty was graceful.
Her mannerisms - even simple gestures were quiet and gracious. She had beautiful skin, and a smile so sweet and captivating that she commanded a room without uttering a word. Like the late Princess Diana, she had a way of ducking her head when she smiled. In a word, she was completely charming.  
But more than anything - she was kind.
The way she made me feel about myself when the others made me feel so, so worthless - I'll never forget it as long as I live.
The way she took me under her wing - not caring what the others thought.
We ate lunch and took our breaks together.
Our friendship also extended beyond work, often hanging out and shopping.
She gave me so much confidence that when it was time for me to move on I did so with a sense of adventure.
Even after I left the area we stayed in touch
I continuously sought her approval and advice for many years.
Anytime a major event occurred in my life I called her. She cried with me when I lost my first son. She rejoiced with me when I got my first radio job, and she was proud for me when I won Mrs. Missouri.
We had daughters within a few years apart and we'd compare stories of what they were doing.
I sent pictures of William when he was born.
And I couldn't wait to tell her about my new adventures of being a Washington DC wife.
I looked forward to sharing stories of White House dinners, the Washington Ballet and complaining about the awful beltway traffic.
I always blamed her for my obsession with clothes and makeup and I was excited to show her pictures of what I'd worn to where.
But mostly....I'd looked forward to something that was just not meant to be - growing old with her.
As for the rest of my co-workers from Ruth's?
I never saw nor heard from any of them after I left.
But sometimes their memory creeps in when I witness someone alone in a crowd and obviously uncomfortable.
And that's when my 'inner' Kim kicks in.
Because while I count her friendship as one of life's greatest gifts, I also credit her with my tendency to naturally hone in on that one person in the crowd that is off by themselves, overlooked, ignored and unimportant to others.
And that is the greatest gift of all.