The Word On the Street

At this moment,  9 hours 7 minutes and 633 miles away, a beautiful person is being remembered in a Funeral Mass at St. John Vianney Catholic Church. One of the classiest Southern ladies I have ever known, Deborah McNeill was my friend and distance didn’t matter. We met in the late 80’s as sorority advisers for Psi Chapter of Alpha Gamma Delta at the University of Alabama. She only lived in Tuscaloosa a couple of years or so but we have maintained our friendship through the years, thanks to Verizon and AT&T. She was one of those friends, that you may not talk to often, but when you do, it’s like you just talked to her the day before.

Our conversations often started with Deborah asking, “what’s the word on the street?” most often related to Alabama football. Being true Southern girls, we know (or at least, we think we know) our football! Now Deborah would have just listened to ESPN Sports Center or to the opinion of Paul Finebaum but she always wanted MY opinion on who the new coach would be, if Lane Kiffin was leaving, if Alabama was going to beat Auburn or Georgia or Texas A & M or whoever they were playing or just about whatever was going on at the time, especially in the SEC. Perhaps she thought I had inside knowledge since my husband worked in athletics and now with FOX and ESPN or maybe she just knew I loved talking sports. There were no short conversations in our friend history!

Not only did we cover sports, our conversations always included our families. She never failed to ask about my girls or about Barry – always asking “where’s Barry going this weekend?” (For football or baseball) and always getting an update on Elle and Annie’s activities. She was genuinely interested in my family and she was always happy to share about hers – updating me on  husband, Tom, and daughter, Hayley. She was most excited about Hayley’s upcoming wedding.

It was the bond of sisterhood that brought us together in the first place. From Alpha Gams at Troy and Georgia to working together with Alpha Gam at Alabama! Good times,  great memories from that experience together. Up until a couple of years ago (when they stopped publishing it in the newspaper), I always sent her the University of Alabama recruitment list as soon as it was published or posted online. We always talked about the list as if we knew each and every girl on the list.  Her service to Alpha Gamma Delta was amazing – 4O+ years of service in various capacities. Over the past few days, since I heard the devastating news, I took at look at the Alpha Gamma Delta  Purpose and considered  how it applied to my friend.

ΑΓΔ Purpose

To gain understanding that wisdom may be vouchsafed to me. √

To develop and prize health and vigor of body; √

To cultivate acquaintances with many whom I meet. √

To cherish friendship with but a chosen few and to study the perfecting of those friendships.√

To welcome the opportunity of contributing to the world’s work in the community where I am placed because of the joy of service thereby bestowed and the talent of leadership multiplied. √

To honor my home, my country, my religious faith. √

To hold truth inviolable, sincerity essential, kindness invaluable. √

To cover beauty in environment, manner, word and thought. √

To possess high ideals and to attain somewhat unto them. √

This shall be my purpose that those who know me may esteem Alpha Gamma Delta for her attainments, revere her for her purposes and love her for her woman hood. √

No doubt that in all of her years of service and commitment to Alpha Gamma Delta, she checked off every aspect of it’s purpose. You can see that here….Deborah’s Obituary

Another thing that Deborah and I shared a passion for was being a volunteer. If you read her obituary, you read about her community activities. I believe her actual degree was in fundraising and she was always interested in such activities that I was involved in with my Annie’s school, Sprayberry Center. If fact, she didn’t just want to hear about it – she wanted to be a part of it! Over the years, she has purchased cookbooks, contributed to the library that is named for my Father and most recently, she purchased a brick during our Brick by Brick campaign. When the bricks are laid at the school entrance, there will be my sweet friend’s name forever reminding me of all the love and support she offered to me in my endeavors for Sprayberry!

My memories of my dear friend are many and so very special – way more than I could ever share in a blog spot but I must share the final “Word on the Street”

Deborah…… ‘Word On the Street” says that you were a lot of fun and full of life….that you always showed great kindness to others – I don’t ever remember hearing you say an unkind word about anyone….that you knew ALOT about SEC football and I loved talking about it with you…..that you were an amazing Mom…..that you were the best sister-to your real life sister and to your many Alpha Gam “sisters”….. that YOU fulfilled a great purpose on this earth!

Until we meet again, I will keep up with the latest football news (I might even listen to Finebaum), I will cheer for Georgia and Texas A&M unless, of course, they are playing Alabama and know you will understand, I will keep in touch with your family, I will continue to be involved in my community because you set the example, and I will always, always remember the times we had together and cherish every moment.

I will miss you my sweet friend!

Friday Football Fare – Cheesy Potato Soup

Potato Soup

It was Friday night at the end of a long week and Potato Soup just sounded good! Cutting up potatoes did not sound good, so I searched for a recipe using hash browns that I already had in the freezer and I stumbled upon what will likely be my “go-to” potato soup recipe! It doesn’t get in easier than this! Or tastier!

Potato Soup
1 (30 oz.) bag of frozen shredded hash browns
1 (10 oz.) can cream of chicken soup
4 C. chicken broth
2 C. shredded cheddar + more for topping
½ C. softened cream cheese
½ C. sour cream
1 t. onion powder
½ t. dried oregano
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Croutons for garnishing
Crumbled bacon for garnishing

Combine hash browns and chicken broth in a large pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and stir in chicken soup, cheese and onion powder. Season with salt and pepper to taste and cook for another 10-15 minutes. Stir in sour cream and cream cheese until completely incorporated and thoroughly heated. Transfer to serving bowls and top with oregano, croutons and bacon, if desired.

I found this recipe at which has some really great recipes! Check them out! You can get a printable version HERE


  • This is a thick, creamy soup!
  • It is “Annie Approved”… Annie is our pickiest eater and she loved it!
  • It took less than 30 minutes to make – you can’t beat that!
  • Soup is really better when the weather is cooler. We had about a minute or two of cooler weather this week so it’s coming. I hope!
  • This soup would be perfect for a Game Day (or any day) at home served with cornbread or maybe a grilled cheese sandwich (my favorite!).

So while I was making my soup last Friday evening and getting ready to listen to Hillcrest on the radio, I had a surprise call from my cousin who was in town for the night. I felt a little like my Mother the night (when I was in high school) that my Daddy brought home some relatives after the game. My Daddy, being the social butterfly he was, ran into some relatives while working concessions on the visitors side and thought it would be nice to have them stop by our house on their way home. Not only were we already in our pajamas, we didn’t have a thing to serve so my Mother quickly put together some cheese and crackers. We have laughed about that for years! Mother was so embarrassed that was all she had on hand. For anyone who knows her, you know she would have had a spread had she known they were coming.  So, I offered to pick up some dinner for Tim but he chose the Potato Soup and he seemed to enjoy it!


There is nothing like “Friday Night Lights” this time of year and there’s nothing quite like spending time with family. Tim’s Mom was my Dad’s sister.  I can’t help but think that it would make them both smile for us to be spending time together. Miss my Dad and my Aunt Maureen! So glad he called, even if all I had to offer for dinner was potato soup!

Hope your football weekend is all you wish for it to be! Enjoy the games and the football fare!

Go Patriots and Roll Tide!




Friday Football Fare: Zesty Pimento and Cheese

On game day or any day, this pimento cheese variety is simply the best! Last weekend, we were invited to dinner with some friends and our sweet host served this tasty dish. We loved it and so I had to find the recipe. I did a search and found it at Recipe Link. I verified with Becky that this was the one she had used. She confirmed that this was the same recipe she had used from Southern Living years ago.

I liked it so much, I chose to make it for my Birthday Club gathering on Wednesday. After rave reviews from friends, I knew it was a “must blog”! One more review to go-I shared it as appetizer for a birthday dinner for our friend, Tina. Again, rave reviews!

Zesty Pimento Cheese Spread
1 can Rotel, drained
1 C. Hellman’s mayonnaise
1 t. Worcestershire Sauce
½ t. salt
2 blocks (8 oz. each) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 (4 oz.) jar pimento, drained or 1 jar roasted red peppers, chopped

Stir together first 3 ingredients. Add cheese and pimento and stir until well combined.
Serve with crackers or on a sandwich. Makes about 2 ½ cups.

Printable Version


  • I used a jar of roasted red peppers instead of pimento. Of course, I had to chop them, but that allowed me to make a little chunkier than pimento.
  • Annie is a connoisseur of pimento cheese! She loves this version!
  • The peppers give it a sweet flavor while the Rotel gives it the zest!
  • Using sharp cheddar just adds more flavor. Of course, you can use whatever cheese you prefer.
  • Becky said that she picked up the “Everything” Ritz by mistake but then I got them on purpose because they were SO good!


Happy Game Day! Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think!

Friday Football Fare: Butternuts


So this week my game day recommendation is in the sweet category. I kept seeing this recipe showing up on Facebook. I finally printed it and this week, I finally made these delicious treats. Super easy and supper tasty! The most difficult thing about making them was that I couldn’t find butterscotch chips. I didn’t know there was a shortage! Not really, but I did end up going to 3 different grocery stores to get them. They didn’t even have them at my beloved Publix! Now that I have made these, I realize that I should have bought several bags because I know I will make these again.


¾ C. butter, room temperature + 1 T.
½ C. powdered sugar
¼ t. salt
1 ¾ C. all-purpose flour
6 oz. package butterscotch chips
1 C. finely chopped pecans

Rum Glaze

3 C. powdered sugar
½ t. rum extract
½ C. chopped pecans
3-4 T. milk or water

Cream butter with powdered sugar and salt, until light and fluffy. Blend in flour and mix well. Add butterscotch chips and 1 C. finely chopped pecans. Shape dough, a teaspoon at a time, into balls. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in 325 degrees for 15 minutes or until firm but not brown. Allow to cool on wire racks. Make glaze, mixing all ingredients until smooth. You can either dip the cookie in the glaze or use a spoon to pour over cookies.

Printable Version

I would like to give credit where credit is due but I printed the recipe and it does not have the source. I tried to go back and find it without success. If I run across it again, I will update the blog.

Here are my suggestions for this recipe:

  • I reduced the amount of rum extract in the recipe to 1/2 t. After polling some of the recipients of my Butternuts, we decided that the teaspoon originally called for in the recipe was just a bit too strong.
  • I chopped my pecans for the glaze really fine and mixed them into the glaze. That’s why you don’t see sprinkled pecans on top of my Butternuts. This was really quite by accident. Guess I wasn’t paying close attention to the recipe but, hey, I like it this way.
  • I do think that next time, I will dip the Butternuts in the glaze instead of pouring the glaze on top. Too much of that yummy glaze left on the parchment paper.
  • I always, always use parchment paper for baking cookies!
  • I used the smallest Pampered Chef Cookie Scoop for dipping and then rolled dough into ball.
  • Go ahead and get extra butterscotch chips! You don’t know when your store might be out and you will want to make these again!

Hope your teams experience SWEET victory this weekend, except, of course, you are a Bessemer City or Colorado State Fan! 🙂 Go Patriots and Roll Tide!


Friday Football Fare: Sausage Biscuit Bites

Sausage Biscuit Bites

Did you enjoy the first weekend of college football? Some wins, some losses but tailgate food is always a winner! Last weekend, I made these Sausage and Cream Cheese Biscuit Bites from Plain Chicken. They were delicious! They were especially good right out of the oven. My suggestion is that if you have leftovers, reheat them before serving yourself! I’m thinking they would be really good for breakfast or brunch. So, I thought I had biscuits but it turns our I had crescents instead. I cut the crescents and made them work but the small biscuits as called for in the recipe would be much easier. I was actually able to save some of the sausage/cheese mixture to make more at a later time. So quick and easy and you know I’m all about that!

If you haven’t used any recipes from Plain Chicken, you are missing out! It is one of my favorite sites for good, basic recipes – the ones with ingredients you can pronounce and you might even have in your cabinet or refrigerator. Visit them sometime and see what you find! If you find something yummy, tell me. I might want to try it, too!

Speaking of websites, here’s another one for you! Bats and Blogs is one you might want to follow if you are a sports fan! Written by my husband, Barry, it is full of information about baseball (of course!). football and basketball.  From statistics to stories on a local, state and national level, he covers a variety of topics and events. His travels with FOX and ESPN take him to places that he will tell you all about. He not only covers record breaking performances, latest scores, but he will share with you where to dine (breakfast, lunch or dinner) in the college towns he visits. Every trip includes a photo gallery of his experience. Check it out!

Happy Football Friday! Enjoy the Weekend! Go Hillcrest and Roll Tide!

Friday Football Fare – Greek Salsa


It’s football, y’all!! I don’t know about you but I am ready for football, pumpkin spice, tailgating, cooler weather and all things fall! Kicking off the season with a recipe you might want to try this weekend. It’s perfect for game day – whether you are on campus or at home, it works!

War Eagle 4

I made this for a recent Auburn Send Off party for our niece who was headed to the Plains to start her college career. We scored big with this dish and it seemed to be a favorite!

Greek Salsa
8 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
1   lg. tomato – seeded and chopped
1 cucumber – peeled, seeded, chopped
½ can sliced canned black olives
½ C. minced parsley
3 chopped green onions
1/3 C. olive oil
1 ½ t. dried oregano
1 ½ t. dried dill weed
Juice of ½ lemon
Pepper to taste

Mix first 6 ingredients in a bowl. Add the olive oil, oregano, dill weed, lemon juice and pepper and toss to coat. Chill, cover for 2- 24 hours. Serve with your favorite variety of chips.   Printable Version

On the Grill: Ridiculously Good Ribs

Because I have never really been a huge fan of ribs, it’s surprising that I would choose this recipe at all. It was Memorial Day and I was looking for something to grill – a change from hamburgers and hotdogs. I picked up a Taste of Home magazine and there it was – Jim’s Secret Family Recipe Ribs.  Well, I guess it is not a secret anymore since it was printed in a magazine! It’s hard to keep a secret, anyway! I made a few adjustments to Jim’ ribs – they were delicious!! Thanks, Jim, for sharing your secret!

BBQ Ribs

2 pkgs. of pork loin country-style boneless ribs

1/4 C. soy sauce

1/4 C. dried oregano

2 T. onion powder

2 t. garlic powder

1 liter Sprite

BBQ Sauce

1/2 C. brown sugar

1/2 C. hot water

1 C. ketchup

1/4 C. honey mustard

1/4 C. Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce

3 T. lemon juice

1 1/2 t. white vinegar

Brush ribs with soy sauce. Combine oregano, onion powder and garlic powder; rub over both sides of ribs. Transfer to a roasting pan; refrigerate, covered, overnight.

 Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Add Sprite to roasting pan. (Don’t pour over ribs). Bake, covered, until tender, about 3 hours.

Meanwhile make BBQ sauce by dissolving sugar in hot water. Combine with remaining ingredients. Reserve 1 C. for serving.

Remove ribs from over; discard liquid. Brush both sides of ribs with sauce. Grill ribs over low heat, turning and brushing occasionally with the remaining sauce, until heated through – about 10 minutes. Serve with remaining sauce.

Printable Version


  •    These ribs will be very tender so handle carefully. I used tongs.
  •    You can use any BBQ sauce you like. I chose Sweet Baby Ray’s.
  •     Any lemon-lime soda will work. Just had Sprite on hand.
  •    If you don’t have brown sugar,  granulated sugar will work.
  •    These are really good! Everyone will want seconds!
  •    Enjoy!

“From every mountainside, Let Freedom Ring.”………..America

This beautiful flag flies in front of Valley View Baptist Church, our church, on Hwy 69 South in Tuscaloosa – a beautiful reminder of that we live in the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Happy 4th of July to All!



The Cookie Sheet: Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut butter cookies are a favorite of mine! So… it was easy to say “yes” to a request for peanut butter cookies. It is my treat to bake my co-workers a treat for their birthday. When I realized that I actually missed Sam’s birthday, I offered to make her request. She said she loved peanut butter cookies! Works for me! I’ve made peanut butter cookies before, but I realized I didn’t have a “go to” recipe. I do now! A quick search for peanut butter cookie recipes led me to the “Best Ever Peanut Butter Cookies” from  A Dash of Sanity.  In addition to being soft, chewy, and delicious (my criteria for a really good cookie), I made this batch of cookies in less than 30 minutes. Perfect! Sam’s description was that they were “spot on”. We had a mini-party for those in the office at the time, complete with a duet of Michelle and I singing “Happy Birthday”. I knew this recipe was a keeper, though, when everyone had a second cookie and Sam left with the plate half empty  (or half full – whichever way you see it!)

Best Ever Peanut Butter Cookies

1 C. cream peanut butter

1/2 C. butter, softened

1/2 C. granulated sugar

1/2 C. brown sugar

1 large egg

1 T. vanilla

1 1/2 C. plain flour

1 t. baking soda

1/4 t. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking pans with parchment paper, if desired. Mix together peanut butter, butter, and both sugars. Beat until smooth and creamy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until combined. Mix the flour, baking soda and salt together before adding to the butter and sugar mixture. Use a cookie scoop to place on baking sheet. Use a fork to flatten slightly and create a criss-cross pattern. Bake for 8-9 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

My tips:

  • Always use parchment paper. It just makes them cook more evenly and not as easy to burn.
  • Pampered Chef cookie scoops are the best! 3 different sizes available! You can get them Here (The cookies in the photo are medium size). Tell Carrie I sent you!
  • Don’t over bake if you want them soft and chewy!
  • Yes, 1 Tablespoon of vanilla is correct!
  • You can print the recipe from the link above. Trust me – you will want to keep this one!
  • Make a batch for your family or to share!
  • Enjoy!



Ham and Cheese Pasta Salad

Always looking for “quick and easy plus yummy” recipes, I found a couple of recipes that I turned into this delicious dish! It’s perfect for summer lunch or dinner. Make a complete meal of it by adding fruit, make it part of a salad supper or just serve it on it’s on. Here is the recipe and my tips to make it great!


Ham and Cheese Pasta Salad

16 oz. pasta of pasta (your choice)
1 green pepper, finely chopped
8 oz. block cheese (your choice), cut into small chunks
¼ cup, finely chopped onion
1 cup mayo
¼ C. sugar
2T. apple cider vinegar
½ t. black pepper
½ t. dried parsley

Cook pasta according to the package. Drain and rinse under cold water until the pasta has cooled. Drain well. Combine mayo, sugar, apple cider vinegar, black pepper and parsley. Combine the pasta with the dressing. Stir in pepper, onion and chunks of cheese. Chill for one hour before serving. Enjoy!

Printable Version

  • Use any type of pasta you like. We have just discovered this Garofala brand. It’s the best – don’t know what makes it better – we just think it’s better. They offer a great variety, too!  Found it at The Fresh Market but my search to find the photo says it’s also available at Wal-Mart.
  • I use green peppers because that’s what I had on hand. I love to buy the red/yellow/green pepper package at Publix produce. Wouldn’t that make it pretty?
  • Sweet Vidalia onions are just the best!
  • I used sharp cheddar chunks but it would be so good with any cheese. I want to try it with mozzarella.
  • I bought the chopped ham in the package and used the whole package. It’s already chopped which saves so much time!
  • The recipe say refrigerate for an hour so, refrigerate for an hour! I didn’t do this and it was yummy! The next day, after being refrigerated, it was yummier!

Hope your summer is off to a great start! Let me know if you try this recipe and how you liked it!

Happy Summer!