This weekend is the be-all and end-all for weekends to come to Natchez, be out and about in Natchez, and strongly consider becoming a Natchezian in your spare time. With the hot air balloons already floating around to excite the locals, we’ve got our fingers crossed for a weekend of calm and cool weather. So, come see us.

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But, we would also like to see you stay for dinner on Sunday night. Country Roads will play host after a long weekend for us locals and set out of spread that showcases the best views, tours, and dining in town in the second event of the Fall Supper Club Series. How do you become a member of the club? All you need is your golden ticket that can be purchase right here. Want to know what’s on the menu? Read a scrumptious overview here.

There are only a few tickets left, so hurry and grab yours now.

 

I know; I’m jumping the gun. But I love fall for many reasons — the main one being that Christmas soon follows. Last December, I hosted a little gathering for my Moscow Mule-loving friends and tried out a new recipe on them. The Cranberry Mule was a hit!

 

Cranberry Mule

Cranberry juice (not juice cocktail)

Ginger beer

Vodka

Fresh limes, cut into wedges

Fresh cranberries, frozen for garnish

Over ice, pour a shot of vodka into your mule mug. Top with half a can of ginger beer and finish with cranberry juice. Squeeze in a lime wedge and add frozen cranberries as a garnish. You could also add sprigs of rosemary for a Christmas-time look.

When I moved into my house, the first order of business was to paint. The house was spotless (Thanks, Elizabeth Turner!), and I was able to run straight to the paint department to start selecting shades of gray for every single surface. I was excited to paint the chocolate brown dining room a bright shade of gray to lighten the space. We found that the cabinets used as book shelves by the previous owners were actually better suited for china cabinets since a plate rail was on each shelf. Once we got into the process and did a little digging in the attic, we found that the glass doors to the built in cabinets were in perfect condition. They just needed a fresh coat of crisp white paint and to be rehung. This may have been the easiest face lift we have completed to date.

Last fall, Mom and I came across this recipe in an issue of Louisiana Cookin’ in hopes we could bring on feelings of fall. These are delicious, spiced to perfection, and a must bake this weekend.

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Cane Sugar Snaps

3/4 cup all-vegetable shortening

1 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1/3 cup cane syrup

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon ground ginger

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 cup raw cane sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, beat shortening and granulated sugar with a mixer at medium speed until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add egg, beating until just combined. Add cane syrup, beating until just combined. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, ginger, baking soda, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, salt, and cloves. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to shortening mixture, beating until combined. In a small bowl, stir together cane sugar and remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Using a spring-loaded 1-ounce scoop, scoop dough, and roll into balls; coat in sugar mixture. Place dough balls at least 1½ inches apart on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, about 13 minutes. Let cool on pan for 5 minutes. Remove from pan, and let cool completely on wire racks.

So, what is my house missing (besides a dishwasher and actual en suite bathroom)? A fireplace. I feel like every home needs a mantle. And since I grew up in a home with a brick fireplace as the focal point of the living room, it was something I wanted somehow in my chimneyless house. Luckily, my Dad is Mr. Fix It and was able to build a mantle for me.

I had the perfect empty wall in my dining room, so for my 27th birthday, dad built a mantle into my house. We spent hours in the molding department at the hardware store trying different layers. Corbels versus none. Details versus simple. What we ended up with looks like it should have always been there. Hopefully I will find the perfect iron grate to place in the hole where the fireplace would be. I’ll keep my eyes peeled in the mean time.

With a weekend of football ahead of us, go to the store and pick up these items. You will be glad you did when having your own at-home tailgate in front of the TV. It’s our family’s favorite, and I can’t believe I haven’t shared it before now.

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Seven-layer Mexican Dip

1 small can Frito bean dip

1 package taco seasoning (low sodium)

1 8-ounce container sour cream (plain Greek yogurt)

1 12-ounce container guacamole

1 package shredded taco cheese (low fat)

3 ripe tomatoes, diced

1 small can black olives, sliced

3 green onions, chopped

In a small bowl, combine the bean dip and taco seasoning.  Spread bean mixture on the bottom of your serving piece.  In another small bowl, combine the sour cream and guacamole.  I now substitute with the Greek yogurt; and, honestly, I like the taste better.  Spread this mixture over the bean dip layer.  Add the bag of cheese to the stop.  Spread the tomatoes and olives over the cheese, and top with the green onions.  Serve with tortilla chips or Frito scoops.

Since celebrating 6 years in this little house on Auburn last week, I’ve been looking through the before and after photos I have showing some major changes we’ve made over the years. So, I thought I’d share a couple of those projects with you.

When I bought my house in 2012, we found wall furnaces in so many rooms that were no  longer in use, actually removed the ones in the bathrooms and kitchens right away, and covered the holes they left. However, there was a pair of furnaces in the living and dining rooms that were in the wall and the floor that posed quite a problem. However, after a couple of years of thinking, dear ole Dad came up with the perfect Mr. Fix It fix. He was able to recreate the look of the built-in china cabinets into matching book shelves  to cover not only the holes in the walls but also the missing hardwood floors. Plus, who doesn’t need more built ins?