Good evening, ya'll. Come on in the house and get out of the cold, rainy, damp weather and have a cup of coffee. If you don't like coffee, shame on you, but I can fix you some hot tea or hot chocolate. I aim to please as the Southern Lady Pledge states.

We find it of utmost importance here in the South to be hospitable to friends, foes, strangers and family. Family can be the most difficult to be hospitable to sometimes for as the old saying goes, "You can choose your friends, but your family is inherited." We all have those who can be challenging to love or stay around for a long time. To avoid getting to the point of being rude, I spend brief bits of time with these beloved kinfolk and then leave to refuel the hospitable genes. Now you know who I am talking about for every family has those who challenge your hospitality but we persevere and always make them welcome.

Some signs of spring are peeking out from their winter beds and I am anticipating their full arrival. I have 1 little jonquil and the tulip tree or Japanese Magnolia is about to burst into bloom with lavender flowers covering the tree. As you drive by the woods you see the red tips buds growing rapidly into little green leaves to herald the arrival of spring.

The weather is swinging back and forth between spring and winter but the signs are there. Yesterday we were enchanted by the blooming cherry trees in Tifton, GA. They have planted lots of these in the medians of the interstate and in beds around the town and they are beautifully gowned in dark pink clusters of flowers. I want one for our yard and I wonder if there is one which has cherries you can eat. Those in Tifton are the ornamental trees with no fruit. Cherries are one of our favorite fruits and are quite expensive in this area.

Well, I bit the bullet today and began my food diary so that I can lose some weight. I have let it slowly creep up and live in my thighs, stomach and various other places on my body. When it takes you 15 minutes to find some clothes that will button or zip, it is past time to loose some of that fat.
Exercise has to be a component of this weight loss and thank goodness it is almost warm enough to walk outside around the sod farm. I have the best of intentions to go to the exercise center but keep finding excuses not to go. There is a stationary bike sitting in my entrance hall and the dust is gathering on it so that is available to begin and I will this afternoon. Not sure why but writing down every bite which goes into my mouth and what the WW points are for each is a powerful deterrent for me and I began the food diary this morning.

Speaking of food, I have a couple of recipes for you which are quick, easy and not too high in calories if eaten in moderation. I dislike that word "moderation" for I tend to whole hog or not at all. Ya'll pray for me!

Tomato Rice Pilaf Soup

2 cans tomato soup - I used Campbells
1 1/2 cans milk - I used 2 percent but you can use whole or skim
1 pkg. Rice Pilaf - Near East brand
1 3/4 cups chicken stock
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. powdered onion
1/4 tsp. powdered garlic

Prepare the rice pilaf mix as directed on the back of the box but substitute chicken stock for the water.
Pour soup into large saucepan add the seasonings and the milk. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer over a medium heat. Drain the rice pilaf when tender and add to the tomato soup. Remove from heat, stir, return lid and let sit for about 5 minutes for the rice pilaf to absorb the soup.
Serve in warmed bowls and sprinkle the top with Parmesan cheese. It would also be good topped with homemade, large, croutons.

Wild Cranberry Pancakes with Nuts

I pkg. Country Gourmet Wild Cranberry pancake mix
1 3/4 cups cranberry juice
1 lightly beaten egg
2 Tbsp. melted butter
3/4 cup of finely chopped pecans
Mix cranberry juice, lightly beaten egg, and melted butter. Pour over pancake mix and mix only until smooth. Add the chopped pecans and mix lightly. Drop by spoonfuls on hot griddle - I use an ice cream scoop. When bubbles have formed on top of the pancakes, turn and lightly brown on other side. Serve with syrup and butter or topped with fresh, sliced fruit such as blueberries or strawberries.

If you cannot find this specific mix, you can use the plain pancake mix and add 1 cup dried cranberries and use cranberry juice in place of water or milk. The cranberry juice adds another layer of flavor and is very good.

The picture above is our cat, Bumper. For some reason know only to a cat, he decided to perch on the back of my desk chair at my computer.

You can go away now, he told me as he sat on the thin back of the chair.

Then he settled down, folded his paws under him, closed his eyes and took a nap. It's amazing how they can become so comfortable on less than an inch.

I hope you enjoy the recipes and let me know if you did and if you enjoyed them.

Nuff said,

The Georgia Peach

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