But seriously, when I saw Conecuh Cheddar biscuits at a local coffee shop I knew I had to give them a try, and I’m so glad I did… Because mine were better.
For those of you unfortunate enough to have never eaten Conecuh sausage, it is a hickory smoked pork sausage, somewhat similar to andouille sausage (which you can sub if your grocery store doesn’t carry Conecuh). It’s made right here in Alabama, about 3 hours south of Birmingham in Conecuh County.
These drop biscuits whip up in no time, and have less cleanup because there’s no rolling or cutting involved.
These are a great brunch option, or part of a heavy breakfast, or even with dinner. They are savory and satisfying, and not very diet friendly. But you should make and eat them anyway.
Conecuh and Cheddar Drop Biscuits
Easy and delicious, if not diet-friendly, drop biscuits with smoked sausage and cheddar.
‘Twas the night before football and all through the field,
Some teams who will conquer, and others who’ll yield.
The Yellow Hammers have been stirred by the Gumps with great care,
In hopes that Saint Nick will give the Trojans a scare.
Bulldogs, Aggies, Tigers, and Cats,
were dreaming of touchdowns and padding their stats.
With girls in sundresses and guys in their caps,
The dreaded offseason had finally lapsed.
Last season is gone the record is wiped clean,
all players are tougher, and faster, and mean.
States, Techs, and Directions, we all have a chance,
of crashing the party, of making the dance.
When 9AM came the alarm started ringing,
For Big and Rich tunes we now will be singing.
Gameday is on, the analysts talking
Some predictions they make are really quite shocking.
Some fans are yapping, and talking big smack
insistently shouting their glories are back.
Goal post to goal post there the truth lies
which teams are pretenders and which claim the prize.
The tents are set up, the TVs are tuned,
Toes will meet leather come just after noon.
The long wait is over, no longer just near
so grab a cold beverage, and sit down right here.
The players and coaches, all focused and prepped,
Know legends have walked the same places we’ve stepped.
For bookies and band geeks, all the above
Here’s America’s sport and the game we all love.
With the official start of football season around the corner, it’s time to tailgate! In celebration, I’ve joined a group of bloggers from all over the country — all of whom are big football fans! — to bring you 64 tailgating recipe ideas for a terrific football party, including my easy recipe for Tailgate Tacos! Click on their links below to join in!
Y’all. After nearly 8 months of waiting, it’s FINALLY football season!!!
If you’ve followed me at all for the last several years, you’ll remember that my entire family, including my dear husband, is really big on football, and in recent years, particularly on tailgating.
Every year we tailgate at a few games, and not only is it a wonderful way to get out in the gorgeous fall weather and spend time with our loved ones, it’s also a great excuse to create tasty dishes to share!
Between my huge family and the dozens of guests who inevitably stop by, making sure we have enough food for everyone has become embraced as a good-natured challenge.
Because of the nature of tailgating (You’re outside all day, but no crockpots allowed!) it has been fun coming up with ways to make sure we not only have enough food, but that we can quickly and easily heat it back up on the grill.
Enter: Tailgate Tacos
You simply mix up a bunch of your preferred taco meat (I’ll show you how to make delicious chicken today!), throw it in an aluminum foil pan, throw it in the cooler with all the fixins, and heat the entire pan back up on the grill. So simple!
I’ve been on a quest for a few years now. The perfect chambray shirt is a staple, and I hadn’t found the perfect one until just a few days ago, and like many great discoveries, it happened completely on accident.
I was walking by Cato Fashions the other day when the window display caught my eye. Now, I haven’t been in a Cato in YEARS—it just isn’t on the list of places I like to go when looking for clothes.
Here are a few reasons why this shirt is absolutely the perfect chambray shirt
1. It’s long enough
At 6 feet tall, I have a hard time finding shirts that are long enough to cover at leas the top half of my booty. There’s nothing more uncomfortable than having to pull your shirt down all day long.
2. It’s the perfect weight
Light enough to wear in spring and summer with the sleeves rolled up, or layered in fall and winter!
3. The fabric
It’s made of Tencel (also known as lyocell), which is a sustainably raised fiber made of reconstituted cellulose that is soft, absorbent, and even more breathable than cotton. Again, perfect for wearing all year round.
4. The Price
One of the things that’s kept me from investing in other chambray shirts has been their price… If I’m going to spend more than a hundred dollars on a shirt it better be PERFECT, and I haven’t found one (even a $100+ one) that checked all the boxes. This one DOES, and would you believe it was only $30?!
In June James and I took an amazing 10 day trip to Italy! We had an absolutely incredible time traveling with another couple, and we can’t wait to go back.
Should I use some more superlatives?
But seriously, if there’s one thing I can tell you about Italy it’s that it is in no way overhyped.
Aside from the obvious things like “drink as much cheap delicious house wine as you can” and “the people watching is amazing,” here are a few of the other things we learned in Italia.
1. Only Pack Comfortable Shoes
I really just can’t stress this enough. Only pack and wear really really comfortable shoes.
There will be bloggers who will tell you to you must be as fashionable as possible to keep up with the locals, and even that some restaurants won’t let you in unless you’re wearing heels.
These bloggers, to put it delicately, are absolutely full of it.
I toted a pair of Coach wedges in my pack the entire trip. We went to cheap hole-in-the-wall restaurants, we went to restaurants that would make the nicest ones in Birmingham blush, and everything in between, and I never wore those shoes once.
You know why? Because in Italy you walk everywhere, and even if you think you’re used to walking quite a bit, you almost certainly aren’t used to walking 7-10 miles a day on cobblestone streets.
Here’s an important corollary: If you think you might be hiking, where appropriate footwear. Ignore this advice at your own peril.
Our first day in the gorgeous seaside area of Cinque Terre we went on a somewhat-impromptu hike after our boat tour ended earlier than we expected. My quite expensive, very comfortable Naot sandals will be just fine, I thought!
Hear me all you who have eyes to listen: nothing looks less fashionable than having to wear socks with your $155 sandals because of enormous blisters.
2. Absolutely do the touristy things
Vatican? Check. The Colosseum? You betcha. Il Duomo? OMG. The Pantheon? Don’t you dare miss it. La Piazza de Michelangelo? I’ll write more about that in a minute, but YES!
Every single “touristy” thing that you’re “supposed to see” in Italy is 100% worth the lines and crowds.
Just don’t be a hipster traveler. Yes, there are TONS of hidden treasures to be discovered that we adored, but if something has been drawing tourists for the better part of a millennium (or two!) there’s probably a really good reason for it.
3. Don’t be afraid
While we were preparing to travel I probably spent as much time trying to find the perfect pickpocket-proof purse and learning all about how to protect myself from everything gypsy swindlers to terrorists.
And then there was the anxiety of learning exactly how to say several common Italian phrases in the perfect accent that would make me look like less of a typical American tourist.
Newsflash (to me): You’re a 6 foot tall naturally blonde woman from Alabama. You aren’t fooling anyone.
But even if you aren’t an amazon from the deep south, chances are you are not going to blend in with the locals after only a few days in a foreign country.
Yes, it is really nice and an appreciated gesture to attempt to speak the language (it’s beautiful, and if you took high school Spanish, it’s was actually really easy to pick up), but in Western Europe nearly everyone in the service industry knows enough English to bring you delicious food and wine.
On the safety and security front. Just don’t be stupid. Wear a crossbody purse, pay attention to your surroundings, and don’t buy the dadgum roses from the dadgum gypsies. But have fun! The cops are there to help you, and the very heavily armed and highly trained military men and women are there to protect you from the bad guys.
Life is too short and the world is too big and beautiful to stay home out of fear.
4. The whole country is some kind of entertainment district
Most cities here in the states have what are called entertainment districts where you can openly drink alcohol on the street.
To the best of my knowledge the entire country of Italy is an entertainment district.
Drink the wine. Be careful. Have fun.
5. Watch sunset on La Piazza de Michelangelo
In Florence (my favorite of the cities we visited) looking over the city is the Piazza de Michelangelo, where Michelangelo’s David used to be displayed. My favorite evening of the entire trip was when we climbed up to the top with a few bottles of good wine and sat on the steps for several hours anticipating the sunset.
We made friends with a world traveler, a group of middle aged women from Brazil (Salute!), and dozens of romantic couples.
6. Eat ALL THE GELATO
In all we went to four locations: Cinque Terre, Florence, Rome, and Pompeii/Mt. Vesuvius.
We can’t wait to go back!
Do you have any questions about what to see and do in Italy? Travel tips of your own? Let’s chat about it in the comments!
And we know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose. – Romans 8:28
There has always been something about that verse that hasn’t sat well with me. It feels like a cop out, something we read when we need to feel like the God we worship isn’t a God we understand, or even particularly like. Ever leaning on it felt like the grownup version of a high school football team choosing Philippians 4:13 as their rallying cry.
Like, God doesn’t care about high school football, quit co-opting my gospel.
Don’t get me wrong, Romans 8 has always had an incredibly special place in my relationship with James. The story of grace and forgiveness in its verses formed, in many ways, the foundation of our eventual romance and now our marriage. The 28th verse has just never really been my favorite.
But when your life is shaken to the core with a single phone call, sometimes all you can do is cling to the Good News.
On a hot July morning that phone call came from my beloved husband; a phone call whose quick and heartbreaking conversation I have been unable to erase from my memory in the last month.
“Liz,” James told me shakily, “Brad just called. Dad’s died.”
Larry Michael “Mike” BeShears was a helluva man who spent every moment he had helping and loving others.
Whether it was wielding a chainsaw in the great privet battles of 2013-16, making homes in Appalachia warmer, safer, and drier on ASP, or reclining in the basement watching college football and eating pigs in a blanket, he was always the most pleasant and gracious man in the room.
The number of ways he blessed my life are far too many to count in the last nearly 6 years I knew him, but the way he impacted his family is absolutely innumerable.
There are so many things for which we are thankful in the wake of this tragedy, but perhaps the largest thing from my perspective is that Mike saw James fully into manhood.
I don’t know if he considered himself a feminist, but he sure as hell was one. He loved his wife with reckless abandon, and was an equal partner in all things—two practices whose example James has followed since the first days of our relationship.
Everything he did kept his family in mind; there was never any question where his priorities laid. There is no question that I love and respect my husband as much as I do is in large part because of the illustrations drawn out by his earthly father throughout his life.
So how. HOW. could his unexpected death be any evidence of a good and elaborate plan for good?
The last month has been a blur. It wasn’t like a bad dream, it was like a black hole. Everything has been dark and stretched out, occurring both in the blink of an eye and in the length of eternity.
But as we’ve begun going through the stages of grief, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, little things have been revealed to us, and Romans 8:28 has been spoken to me, first in a whisper, then in a shout like rolling thunder.
“You know Mike wouldn’t have hurt his family in a million years, for a trillion dollars,” I’ve heard God say. “Do you think I would?”
There has been glaring evidence of the hand of God all through the last month, from decisions made years ago, to inconveniences that week in July that ended up being the largest of blessings.
“See?” God shouted in the details. “This isn’t fun, but I have a plan.”
Still, I would think in a refrain too often repeated by those who suffer evil at the hands of others, why would a loving God allow something so needlessly horrible?
“Don’t you get it?” God began to lovingly roar, filling my ears and heart. “As much as Mike loved you, don’t you know the Creator loves His creation infinitely more? I love you. I am working for you. Your job is to trust me.”
So while I still can’t possibly comprehend what good could come of losing one of my most loved humans, we’re choosing to listen. We’re choosing to grieve and celebrate. We’re choosing to cry and laugh.
We’re choosing to trust that all things really are working together for good.
Short Summary: The beautifully told story of the legendary Pope Joan who fooled a world dominated by men. Date Completed: July 9th, 2016 Where I read it: Birmingham, Alabama Format: Paperback borrowed from the library Would I read it again: Probably not, but I definitely recommend it!
As I’ve mentioned before, historical fiction is my absolute favorite genre, and this story about the legendary Pope Joan did not disappoint. As Cross goes over in the conclusion of the book, there is actually ample evidence that a female Pope actually existed in the late 9th century.
A lot of church history and a little romance, Pope Joan’s story, whether fictional or not, was a reminder both of how far women have come and how far we have yet to go!
Short Summary: A controversial but very very good memoir from one of tech’s leading minds, Sheryl Sandberg. Date Completed: June 29th, 2016 Where I read it: Birmingham, Alabama Format: Audio book borrowed from library Would I read it again: Probably
In my short summary above I mentioned how Lean Inis considered controversial by many feminists and non-feminists alike, but I can’t really wrap my head around why. Perhaps it would have drawn less ire if it have been, instead, titled Lean ON?
Much of the premise of her book is how Sheryl believes the keys to success lie first in women surrounding themselves (and men in turn surrounding women) with support. Because behind every successful woman is a lifetime of other women and men who lift her up.
“Leaning in” is about is not about asking permission, it’s not about infiltrating the men’s world and trying to make tiny changes to make it more friendly. It’s not about propping yourself up with so many responsibilities you become both irreplaceable and completely paralyzed. And it’s not just applicable to rich white women.
It’s simply about the fact that we can’t change the rules of the game without freaking changing the rules of the game. Sitting back and waiting on others to do it means it will never get done.
Claim your place at the table, and instead of being put off by criticism or setbacks by someone else’s game, make it your own.
But we simply cannot do it by ourselves. As Mrs. Sandberg points out in her book, of all the successful women she knows only one does it without an egalitarian partner.
Reading this book knowing that within a few short years of its writing Sandberg would lose the loving and supportive husband to whom she dedicated so many words of affectionate praise was just short of heartbreaking.
So women, we can’t make it without changing the rules of the game, and we can’t make it by ourselves. Whether you lean in, lean on, or do the lean, I don’t care, let’s just stop tearing other women down, shall we?
Short Summary: A sweet and surprisingly vulnerable memoir by comedienne and actress Amy Poehler. Date Completed: June 24th, 2016 Where I read it: Birmingham, Alabama Format: E-book borrowed from library Would I read it again: Probably not, but I highly recommend!
As a fan of SNL’s Weekend Update and Parks and Rec, I already liked Amy Poehler, but after reading Yes Please I think I may love her.
Between her vulnerability over her divorce and her slightly self-deprecating recollections of growing up the funny girl in a suburb of Boston, you see beneath the characters she plays to recognize just how much of herself she puts into each persona.
As a woman who has inarguably made it in show business, and in comedy in particular, Amy Poehler expertly shows the unique challenges females face in her field while cracking jokes along the way. Also, her womance with Tina Fey is incredibly inspiring
Short Summary: Heartbreaking short stories beautifully written Date Completed: June 16th, 2016 Where I read it: Birmingham, Akabama Format: Hardback borrowed from Library Would I read it again: Maybe
Named one of the best books of the year by the New York Times, 13 Ways of Looking is a collection of short stories, each heartbreaking in their own way. This one only took me a few days to read, it was so engaging.
According to this excellent review from NYT, McCann was randomly attacked while walking down the street in New Haven, CT, in 2014, leaving him both physically and emotionally scarred.
Between a lovable jewish judge who loses everything and the divorcee who may have lost her son, you’ll cry at their losses and rejoice in their ability to realize that life keeps moving.