Thursday, February 9, 2012
We will no longer be posting on this blog. All postings, both text and photo, can be found on our new Tumblr account! We hope you will follow us there, too! Simply click on the title of this blog post to be transferred to our Tumblr (http://www.bluffsandbayous.tumblr.com)
Please feel free to email me if you have any questions!
Adam M. Blackwell
Bluffs & Bayous Magazine
Monday, December 26, 2011
Welcome to 2012! Our January issue features one of life’s many happy occasions—weddings. Our January issue’s tribute to couples as they begin their lives together coincides with new beginnings we all celebrate in our lives this month. Starting our year off by sharing the nuptial events of these newly married couples is an exciting feature we look forward to each year. Each wedding offers a unique take on tying the knot as each couple selects specific venues and makes detailed plans or is honored with events leading up to the wedding-day festivities. We know you will enjoy reading about these happy events and about the myriad services and products many of our advertisers offer to assist those planning a wedding. While we publish engagements and weddings throughout the year, our January issue features all elements involved in weddings; it is our “All Things Wedding” issue.
We wish all of you a happy and fruitful year full of new beginnings. Whether we set goals for reorganizing our homes or workplace or improving our health and employment options, we hope you are successful in fulfilling those resolutions. One of my goals for the New Year is to work at keeping myself organized. To start and complete a task or job—you know, those monumental ones as well as those nit-picky, bothersome ones—within the work day is a goal I’m determined to achieve. When I am operating on deadlines, an albatross around my neck almost all the time, I find myself sometimes putting important details or tasks off to the last minute. So, this January, beginning DAY ONE, I plan to get this mini-makeover, this newly organized me in gear and rev up the mechanism to make this new approach a permanent modus operandi. So…what’s your personal goal to achieve this year?
Of course, as we anticipate 2012, we also pause to appreciate our 2011 that you filled with kind words, thumbs-up compliments, burgeoning support, creative ideas for features, and requests for subscriptions. In fact, we were delighted to do some “Santa Clausing” in sending letters out in December to those who received the magazine as gifts from loved ones.
Finally, as we send you along your reading way, we remind all of our Bluffs & Bayous readers and advocates about our interactive magazine online, www.bluffsbayous.com. The entire publication is online, page by page. By clicking on any website printed in the magazine, readers can zip to the selected site for more information. All of this is our gift to you each and every day, 365 days a year, and free—your own virtual joy stick to explore and learn about events and services in the Bluffs & Bayous reading area.
Happy New Year and welcome to another year of celebrating with us life along and beyond the Mississippi!
Monday, November 28, 2011
Welcome to the exciting month of December. Throughout the Bluffs & Bayous region, folks have been preparing to make this holiday season a spectacular one. In many of our communities, holiday decorations already “deck the halls” as they eagerly welcome the Christmas season, anticipate the lighting of the towns’ Christmas trees, and complement the Christmas parades that kick off following Thanksgiving weekend. Add this spirited expectancy to some of our recent chilly days and nights, and…..it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
In our December issue, we feature one of our community’s annual Christmas traditions—the work of the Santa Claus Committee in Natchez, Mississippi—that reaches out to embrace those whose holidays need a bit of brightening. Many of us are blessed with good health and the material comforts of home, nice jobs, and financial security. Many others are not. The Santa Claus Committee with a bit of merriment and bastion of commitment has sought to help these multitudes who are not. For eighty-two years now on Christmas Eve, this committee’s enthusiastic members have cruised around the city of Natchez in a parade of their various vehicles, including Santa in his open-air “ride,” tossing candy and quarters and spreading cheer to children (and adults) along the way. At the end of their hours-long parade route, committee members welcome children to a Christmas party and distribute Christmas gifts, funded from the thousands of dollars the committee raises for this and other community-assistance agencies.
We applaud all those in our communities who work so hard, so selflessly, to brighten the hearts of so many and keep the tradition of service alive in our communities. May their spirit, which is the spirit of Christmas both now and year round, find its way into all of our hearts this season and enrich us with a stronger conviction of what our purpose and mission are here on earth.
This season brings amazing events for all of us to enjoy. It is a refreshing time to reflect on the real reason for and the real message of this holiday season. Our December…Up & Coming calendar chronicles these many events throughout the region, and we provide their websites for you to visit and learn more about the exciting details. Be sure to select your favorites to attend and spread the spirit of the season. May all of our days this December be blessed with giving to others and may the riches of this sharing be reinvested year after year as we cherish life along and beyond the Mississippi.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the staff of Bluffs & Bayous!
Thursday, October 27, 2011
November 2011...The Dining Issue
This month, we bring to our readers interesting articles regarding our staple of life, food! In particular, we spotlight some of the fabulous restaurants in our Bluffs & Bayous region; and we also share a salute to long-time food editor Laurin Stamm of Vicksburg, Mississippi, who recently published a cookbook of favorite recipes from her 50 years as the only Food Editor for The Vicksburg Evening Post. Another salute this month goes to the recently held Natchez Food and Wine Festival in Natchez, Mississippi, during which “An Invitation to the Natchez Table” welcomed chefs from the Natchez and New Orleans areas who created scrumptious Southern fare for a packed crowd at The Carriage House restaurant on the grounds of antebellum Stanton Hall. Our Delta writer Jenni Guido continues this focus on food and restaurants as she features another of her favorite spots to dine, The Carlyle House, further north in Ruleville, Mississippi. Along with our coverage of these features, come a number of recipes to try in your own kitchen at holiday time or at anytime that company comes calling.
Having celebrated through October’s month-long run of festivals, ending with the sundry hauntings of Halloween, we turn our thoughts to appreciating the gifts and privileges of living in our blessed country and, in particular, to enjoying the richness of our part of the South. We continue to count our blessings each day as we enjoy the people and their talents who make our area such a versatile, hospitable, nurturing place to live and who provide us challenges to preserve the excellence we have and to improve the shortcomings we find.
As we move closer to Thanksgiving and near the season of multiple religious holidays, be sure to keep our “November . . . Up & Coming!” events listings close so you can take part in our communities’ many celebrations of the season, musical arts performances, theatre performances, and historical lectures and symposiums. Also, remember Bluffs & Bayous is now an interactive book online...just a click away to keep you abreast of all that is going on... and makes a great read during any of your travels. Download us, or email us to your friends and family throughout the country and even overseas. We are global!!
Enjoy this issue as much as we continue to enjoy sharing life along and beyond the Mississippi with all of you!
Thursday, September 29, 2011
October 2011, Festivals!
I love October—the month of fall colors, oranges, reds, golds, dark greens, browns. I love this month of seeing Halloween decorations throughout our communities, fall home décor, and festivals. Our October issue is dedicated to the region’s calendar of festivals during this first, full month of fall. We have compiled a list of events for you to peruse and use to plan a flurry of fall outings. Our feature festival story is The Great Mississippi Balloon Race, one of Natchez, Mississippi’s most popular events.
During this weekend the town is bursting with folks from all over. During their college years, my children brought friends home during this festival weekend to introduce them to Natchez in one of its shining moments. Preparing meals and snacks to have on hand for all the friends and family members stopping by as well as staying has been and is always an enjoyable part of Balloon Festival for me. Just last year our daughter brought home some friends from Mississippi State for this festival, and we had a blast serving the white bean chicken chili (See recipe below.) and other seasonal favorites for her bunch during lunchtime on Saturday of the Balloon Festival. I have pulled an easy menu with recipes to share in case any of you have guests coming to visit during the festival season. Of course…be sure to enjoy the tantalizing festival food on location, too….those are always a treat!!
Roasted Bell Pepper Dip
(from Warm Welcomes, Junior League of Baton Rouge, Louisiana)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small red onion cut into quarters
1 (7 ounce) jar roasted red bell peppers, drained
12 fresh basil leaves, crushed or ½ teaspoon dried basil
12 ounces cream cheese, softened
Chilled blanched fresh asparagus spears
Red, green, orange, and yellow bell pepper strips
Divide the olive oil over the onion in a small baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes or until tender. Let stand until cool. Process the onion, roasted peppers, and basil in a food processor until pureed. Add cream cheese and pulse until combined. Chill, covered, for 3 hours or longer. To serve, mound the cream cheese mixture in the center of a serving platter. Surround with bagel chips, asparagus spears, cherry tomatoes, bell pepper strips, and mushrooms.
Cheryl and Mike’s Black Bean & Corn Salad
2 cans of shoe peg corn, drained
2 cans of black beans, drained
Cilantro (about ½ cup chopped)
¼ cup of chopped red onion
1 or 2 avocadoes, chopped
1 box of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
Mix all ingredients; squeeze the lime juice over the mixture; toss and serve.
White Bean and Chicken Chili
(From Giadu at Home, www.foodnetwork.com)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds chicken breast (The secret to good-tasting chili is to season your chicken and grill, roast, or smoke for additional flavor – Cheryl)
1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons chili powder
3 tablespoons flour
2 15-ounce cans cannellini or other white beans, rinsed and drained
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper for seasoning
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped, fresh flat-leaf parsley
In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the cooked chopped chicken, 1 teaspoon salt, cumin, fennel seeds, oregano, and chili powder. Cook, stirring constantly. Stir the flour into the chicken mixture. Add the beans, and chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a simmer, scraping up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Simmer for 55-60 minutes until the liquid has reduced by about half and the chili has thickened. Add the red pepper flakes and simmer for another 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Ladle the chili into serving bowls. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.
Cheryl’s Seasoned French Bread
1 loaf of fresh French Bread
Seasonings (I love the Slick Rick’s Garlic & Herb Seasoning from Slick Rick’s Foods in Natchez.)
Herbs De Provence Spice
Any kind of white or yellow grated cheese
Split loaf in half lengthwise. Butter generously both halves of the bread. Sprinkle seasonings generously. Top with grated cheese of your choice. Heat at 375 degrees until slightly toasty, and the cheese melts. Serve with chili or favorite dish. Yum!!
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Moreover, Adam Blackwell has been incorporating additional features on our Facebook page. The interactive magazine can be downloaded there as well. Become a fan of the Bluffs & Bayous’ Facebook page as well as link to our Twitter, Blogspot, Tumbler, and Shutterfly to get the latest updates, news, and photographs from our Social Scenes. We will soon host some special offers, so be sure to login and become a fan of our social media pages.
Our September magazine is packed with adventures in the outdoors, from kayaking, swimming, and hunting to amazing grilling-in-the-outdoors recipes from Donna’s Chillin’ & Grillin’ section. She has rounded up some of her friends’ wild-game and outdoor-cooking secrets to share with you this month. We also have another “girlfriend” story that evolved during July, and I wanted to share some of my college friends’ thirty-three year friendship—it’s all about sisterhood.
The next several months will be busy here at Bluffs & Bayous: We are preparing our Festival, Dining, Holiday, and Wedding issues; and if any of you have contributions to any of these theme-focused months, be sure to contact us now. We want to share our area’s festival and holiday events and our readers’ engagement and wedding stories, and now is the time to submit the fascinating details of those occasions of your lives. Please refer to our website for information regarding these featured submissions.
Enjoy your month of area high school, college, and NFL football games and tantalizing tailgating fare from our recipes herein. We appreciate all of the emails, Facebook postings, and telephone calls regarding our August Back to School issue. Your continuing, enthusiastic responses inspire us to work even harder to produce a magazine each month to top the one before—as we all accentuate the positives, the pluses, the superlatives of our life along and beyond the Mississippi.