Summertime is almost here, and if you love books as much as we do, we know you’re compiling your TBR stack for the summer. Well, guess what? We’ve done it for you, finding the perfect mix of romance, women’s fiction and mystery – all southern fiction, all set at the beach and perfect for reading by the ocean, the pool or in your home while you relax and sip an iced coffee.
It’s finally here, the time of the year when each successive trip to the farmers market gets more colorful and beautiful. The bounty of summer is upon us guys, and I can hardly wait to cook light and bright recipes that make the most of this season.
Summer is all about getting outside enjoying some rays and having good times. And there’s no better way to do that than to listen to a fun playlist of music full of good vibrations.
We’ve compiled our list of eleven songs that we’re listening to this summer. Our list spans the genres of country and pop, from Maren Morris to Corrine Bailey Rae and back to Chris Lane. Good music knows no bounds, ya’ll!
Set in the tiny fictional community of Waves, North Carolina in the Outer Banks, is Jenny Hale’s newest romantic novel, The Summer House. As someone who loves to align her reading with the current season, I was so excited to pick up this book which is filled with new beginnings, friendships, and romance, all taking place in a beautiful beach setting.
Eating southern brings to mind meals consisting of fried chicken and veggies often flavored with pork, But how do you enjoy southern cuisine if you’re a vegetarian or vegan? For most, the response to that question would be – you don’t. However, there are many ways you can still enjoy southern food without eating meat.
Podcasts are everywhere. Aren’t they great? And there’s something for everyone, including waxing poetic about the south. That’s one of our favorite topics if you can’t tell.
Gardening and I have never been friends, and, thanks to my husband and his enviable green thumb, it’s a skill I’ve never really needed to master. In fact, so brown is my thumb that pulling weeds – in essence, killing plants – is the primary role I play in any gardening-related activity at our home.
I remember when I first heard the quote, Eat to live, don’t live to eat, I had a huge realization that food is there to fuel our bodies and not just satisfy the random cravings. So when I first came across the idea of mindful eating, I was more than intrigued.
Tomato growing in the south can be a tricky task for gardeners, but we get it done. Several varieties of hybrid and heirloom tomatoes manage to thrive in our heat and humidity, and we certainly make the most of every crop.
by Rea Frey Helen Ellis is the type of woman you immediately want as your friend. A sweet, […]
By Julia Jordan | Julia’s Simply Southern
Spring is a beautiful season in the south. There are countless trees and shrubs blooming and the growing season has begun. One of the first locally grown fruits to show up at farmer’s stands and grocery stores is strawberries. I’ve heard many farmers and chefs alike say that the mid to later season strawberries are sweetest.
I am one of those adults who, if given the chance, can spend the entire day just playing around with arts and crafts supplies. So when I had children, I naturally gravitated to activities that involved artsy things like trips to the art museum, attending craft shows and creating things with our own hands.
To Kentuckians, it’s simply ‘The Derby’. You may also have heard it called ‘The Run for the Roses’ or ‘The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports’. It’s the first stop on the journey to the American Triple Crown, but The Kentucky Derby is so much more than just a race.
In southern kitchens, nothing is more iconic than the cast iron skillet. In fact, no other culinary artifact from the 20th century has enjoyed the same longevity, or popularity, as cast iron cookware. Unlike most treasured family heirlooms, the cast iron skillet never collects dust, instead, it serves as a working piece of history that connects southern cooks with their past. My grandmother collected cast iron pans for the sole purpose of passing down to her grandchildren—and she meant for them to be used.
It wasn’t long ago when cookbooks started layering personal essays with recipes as a way to evoke our interest beyond just the ingredients and methods. Using a similar spin is Kerry Bogert’s expertly curated Coffeehouse Knits – Knitting Patterns and Essays with Robust Flavor, which provides a perfect combination of know-how and inspiration for knitters of all levels.
Southern bread is an experience… the smell, the texture and the weight. In the south, the making of bread is a family affair, and most of us have fond memories of rolling out dough with our mothers and grandmothers. I used an amber floral drinking glass, 70’s style, to cut out rounds in the biscuit dough with my grandmother in her kitchen. Our biscuits were never pretty, but that was never the intention, our only concern was to make them delicious.
by Dianna Dames
I noticed Old Books On Front Street about a year ago. It’s nestled towards the end of the shops on Front Street, closer towards Cape Fear Community College. They had a chalkboard easel set up on the sidewalk in front of the store that said, No one loves that old Kindle smell. Of course, that joke brought me into the store.
Going to a pick-your-own farm is a good time if you go alone, make it a family outing or a destination for your date. You’re outside getting some fresh air and sun, you’re becoming one with nature, getting back to simpler times… and coming home with a bucket of dessert.
by Staff Writer
We’re drinking all the strawberry beer this Spring. And why not? What better way to kick back and enjoy the fresh fruity flavors of the season than to drink the best strawberry-inspired beers we could find? It’s the beginning of the strawberry season after all. Our roundup of seasonal favorites includes three beers from North Carolina: one ale, one sour, an apple cider and one beer brewed in England.
When flowers begin to blossom and the temperatures rise, we know strawberry season is not far behind. There are so many delicious ways to eat strawberries, and one of my family’s favorites is paired with cake and topped with whipped cream.
by Dianna Dames
The Azalea Festival first came about in 1948 after Dr. Houston Moore, MD spent several years cultivating the Greenfield Lake area of Wilmington, NC. Inspired by the Rhododendron, or Azalea flower, he successfully rallied the support of community leaders to create a festival in its honor. Over the years, the festival has expanded to include artwork, gardening, and local history. Every year, the festival draws around 300,000 people into Wilmington.
Located on the corner block of a quintessential Main Street, USA, The Mill stands as a newer addition to downtown Fuquay-Varina in North Carolina. Upon entrance, wafts of aromatic roasted beans tantalized my nose and lured me in.
If you are a fan of beer, or just a fan of having a good time, you will definitely be a fan of at least one of Trophy Brewing’s three locations. For your food truck days with friends, pizza nights with the family, or dinner dates downtown, Trophy has a location to suit your needs. For this sunny Saturday afternoon, in particular, I decided to check out Trophy Brewery and Taproom.
The Southern side dish is an important part of our culture. Often, our seasons are marked by the sides we choose to serve, for instance, you know it’s summer when potato salad takes the place of mashed potatoes, and it’s definitely fall when the corn pudding makes an appearance on your plate.
by Dianna Dames
Located on the outskirts of Wilmington, in a suburb called Ogden, I’ve passed The Sour Barn many times and thought about stopping there. The parking lot is always packed, a variety of food trucks are frequently on hand and I’ve heard nothing but good things. I decided Saint Patrick’s Day was the perfect day to visit.
Walking around Lafayette Village in North Raleigh is one of my favorite ways to pass the time. It’s an adorable European-style village in the middle of suburban Raleigh that approximates a small town in France but actually houses locally-owned gourmet restaurants and upscale shopping. It was on one of my strolls around the village, that I happened upon Jubala Village Coffee located on the perimeter of the shopping center.
Kids are born with devices attached to their hands. The milestone for technology is practically non-existent. I remember begging my mom to let me get a cellphone. Then on my thirteenth birthday how proud and elated I was to finally receive one. My sister had an iPod Touch when she was five and had seemingly unlimited access to Netflix.
What would the South be without its traditional dishes? Typically, full of warmth and comfort, for those who are trying to make healthier eating choices the Southern favorites seem to be out of the question. But, with a few changes, you can make Southern food healthy. And we know healthy means different things to different people. But whether you’re trying to cut sugar, salt, carbs or fat, there are easy ways to enjoy your southern favorites.
The search for donuts often leads to well-known national chains, some of which have kiosks even in the local gas stations. However, one Durham donut shop can be found not in, but next to a corner gas station, and the owners and bakers are often right inside rather than at corporate headquarters. That shop is Baker’s Dozen, one of a family-owned chain of three shops in the Triangle that are offering some friendly yet serious competition to the national chains.
by Nikki Terpilowski
Visit one of our favorite bakeries in Fuquay-Varina in the early morning hours, and you’ll be greeted by the smells of butter, cinnamon and the tantalizing scent of rising bread. You’ll hear the sounds of the staff calling out to each other, the dull thump of hands pounding dough and the low chatter of the customers.
Helado. The Spanish word for ice cream slides over the tongue as easily as ice cream itself. At Pincho Loco, the ice cream and dessert shop tucked between Broad and Ninth streets in Durham, this creamy delight takes on many forms.
True to a Latin American sense of style, the little shop announces its presence at 1918 Perry Street with a profusion of colorful signs, the biggest ones offering their menu choices in both English and Spanish.
When it comes to family fun, Raleigh has a lot to offer. So much so, that sometimes it’s precisely the abundance of options that makes it tricky to plan for a fun and relaxing day out. Well, today, I have an itinerary that is slightly off the beaten path, but it still does a top-notch job of delivering fun for the whole family without the usual hassles of crowds and parking!
Pristine nature is a relative rarity. Just ask any seasoned hiker how many times she or he has been enjoying a “natural” view and then stumbled upon an old cellar pit or a stone wall that once marked the edge of a farm. Nature taking back its own has its charms though, and the interaction between human history and natural history make the Occoneechee Speedway Trail one of the most intriguing in the Hillsborough area.
When I recently came across the chance to review Geoffrey Fisher’s Slingshots & Key Hooks: 15 Everyday Objects Made from Foraged and Gathered Wood, it was nearly impossible to say no. This is quite a strange decision because I am not, nor have I ever been, a carpenter, a woodworker, or even a wood hobbyist. But, what I am, is a creative person who loves making things with her own hands. And that is just what Slingshots & Key Hooks is all about.
cby Taylor Brooks
As if you needed another reason to venture into downtown Raleigh, I’m about to give you one more. Ashley Christensen is an award-winning chef, located in Raleigh and she owns five restaurants and bars scattered around downtown. This past weekend, I had the opportunity to visit one of her restaurants, Chuck’s Burgers.
I love downtown Raleigh with it’s hustle and bustle, sights and the many spontaneous events that it hosts. Parades, street festivals, and arts and crafts shows are just a few that come to mind. Now that the weather is taking a turn for the warmer, I took my family and headed downtown this past weekend. We ran across a book store that had a Little Library out front. I was immediately charmed and decided to visit the shop.
Spring is upon us and we’re ready for the season of light, fruity IPAs. One of our favorite local breweries is Gizmo Brew Works. Have you seen the crazy list of beers these guys offer? It’s bananas and we love it. With beers infused with eclectic flavors like lavender, French toast and peppermint, we’re not sure which beer to try first.
by Nikki Terpilowski
I thought I knew all of the coffee shops in Fuquay-Varina. But recently, I drove down Broad Street and saw a new sign on one of the historic buildings I’ve always found so intriguing. It was the location for a butcher for a while, was empty and now it’s filled with chocolates, pastries and coffee. I had to see for myself what Tsuru Sweets & Coffee was all about.
Pancakes are the ultimate in comfort food. Wonderful at breakfast paired with whipped cream and fresh fruit, as a side to scrambled eggs and sausage or bacon but perfectly delicious alone with butter and Maple syrup.
Every good Southern cook knows the basics of meal planning: meat, bread, and a side (or two or three). There are certain mainstays in the pantheon of Southern dishes—if you’re cooking Southern, you should know these. Dressed up, or scaled down, these Southern mains are down-home, traditional, and always satisfying.
by Taylor Brooks I enjoy visiting new bars and was excited to visit The Blind Barbour. Pulling up to the […]
As a mother of a three-year-old boy, I’ve had my fair share of nighttime throwdowns. Sometimes it would start right away, and he would refuse to clean up his toys in order to stay awake longer. Other times I would get all the way out of his room before he would have a massive fit and I would spend another hour trying to calm him down. This meant runs for water, extra trips to the bathroom and just one more story. Sigh.
I’ve always loved books and I often seek the refuge of bookstores in my area.
There is a mixture of big-box chain bookstores and independent bookstores in the greater Raleigh-area and I thought I’d visited them all. So I was pleasantly surprised when I stumbled upon an independent bookstore in Wake Forest, secreted away amongst a community theater and a dance school. I couldn’t wait to explore.
Who doesn’t like fluffy buttery sweet pancakes for breakfast? Or lunch? Or dinner? It’s one of those meals that can appease the finickiest of eaters, both child, and adult. We know it’s pretty hard to mess up pancakes and they’re actually really good, whether you get them at a drive-thru window at a fast-food restaurant, sit down for a quick bite at a country diner or hobnob it at a fine dining establishment serving mimosas with your pancakes at brunch. But we still wanted to figure out some of the best places in North Carolina to get a really tasty plate of pancakes, and that is what we did.
The capital city of Raleigh is host to good food, great shopping, interesting historical sites and a diverse collection of independent bookstores. Raleigh is fortunate to be able to sustain more than one bookstore and we’re happy to support them all.
Here’s a look at three of our favorite bookstores in Raleigh.
Early afternoon on a Saturday, a woman stands in front of the counter at Halgo speaking Polish, ordering kielbasa and other meats. A couple proudly tells Ziggy Gorzkowski, the proprietor, that their families are from Poland and they are transplants from Michigan in search of good Polish food. But customers don’t need an accent or family history in order to enjoy Halgo, the European deli across Alston Avenue from the South Regional Library in Durham.
I am willing to bet that after sleep, the next most researched topic in parenthood is food. In fact, in my homestead of three young kids, there is never a moment when I am not thinking about food. Even as a self-professed foodie who loves to cook and read cookbooks and food blogs, I am constantly exhausted trying to stay one step ahead in my children’s questionable and ever-changing eating habits.
Southern food is a living record of the people, places, and cultures that have contributed to the evolving landscape of our unique little corner of the world. Too complex and varied to ever achieve a conclusive origin story, the history of Southern food is best examined by considering its major influences—the integration of cultures, natural bounty, and love for the community.
Growing up in the south, that is the southern region of the United States, the humble biscuit is beloved like a member of the family, recalled as fondly as a favored pet and evokes nostalgic feelings of comfort, happiness and warmth. If you’re from the south and you move away, a really good biscuit can become a yearning.
There are two things we like to do in Hillsborough, NC. One is touring historical sites and the other, hiking. While there is much to learn from this area’s historic houses and museums, today we’re focusing on hiking with three unique trails.
North Carolina has so many wonderful bookstores, it was a real challenge to find the best of the best. But we’ve come up with an excellent selection of bookstores that are bound to please even the finickiest of book lovers. With curated book collections, helpful staff and creative spaces, we think you’ll agree these are some of the best bookstores around.
There’s nothing we love more than a soft, flaky buttery biscuit. Whether you’re making a sandwich of it with fried chicken, slather it with butter and molasses or use it as a side to a traditional southern entree, there’s nothing quite like it. And we absolutely had to compile a list of the best biscuits in North Carolina.
Isn’t it annoying when you’re mad for some good Polish food, you do an internet search and find a bunch of German or vaguely European restaurants? Hello, they’re not the same. Don’t worry, we’ve done the search for you – hey, we know how hard it is to find a good Polish place to eat in the south. It’s near darn impossible, not like up north, where you can’t throw a stone for hitting a Polish deli.
Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, good fried chicken is subjective. If you were born in New Jersey, your idea of fried chicken will not be the same, as say, someone who grew up in South Carolina.
It’s not difficult to make a good burger and every restaurant and diner seems to have one, and yet some burgers are just better than others. We’ve done our research, cross-referenced the results and finished off with the ultimate in taste tastes.
Every now and again, we like to put together a fun day trip agenda for our more adventurous readers. Bored? Not sure what to do? Leave it to us and we’ll help you explore the small towns around you and the communities within larger cities.
There’s just something about a nice cozy mystery. If you’ve read one, or two or three, you know what I mean. They are a bit addictive with the cute town, eccentric cast of characters and mysteries you want to solve for yourself. And let’s not forget the themes! It’s so entertaining to read a story that incorporates something you’re really interested in, whether it’s cooking, knitting or woodworking, there’s a cozy mystery for every reader. And there’s nothing we love more than to find a really good cozy mystery set in the south.
We’ve compiled a list of our favorite cozy mystery series set in the southern USA.
I remember discovering craft beer. And then I realized I was a porter and stouts kind of gal. The darker and the thicker the brew, the better. And almost immediately after that, I recall thinking that the stout beer I was drinking would probably taste awesome in a cup of vanilla ice cream. I immediately did an internet search for is ice cream and beer a thing? Of course, as the internet will remind you, there is nothing new under the sun. And every idea has already been thought of… at least twice. Of course craft beer + ice cream or spirits + ice cream is a thing. Of course it is.
In a world dominated by smartphones and other handheld devices, society seems to have developed a need to be constantly entertained. We scroll through social media on the bus, read a book while waiting in line or, if all else fails, pull up a game to pass the time. Our minds are always busy, but what happens when we don’t step back, focus our minds and recharge?
Craft beer is booming everywhere, but it’s fairly blossoming in the Tarheel State. You can’t walk for tripping over a brewery. And just when you think you’ve got a grasp of all the breweries in your neighborhood, a new one pops up.
Whether you’re interested in the Revolutionary War, a fan of Outlander (if you’ve read the book or seen the television series, you know what I mean) or just interested in learning more about North Carolina history, the Tryon Palace is a great destination for your day or weekend trip.
When’s the last time you had dinner with your family? I don’t mean when’s the last time you all sat on the couch watching TV or playing video games and eating dinner at the same time, but rather, I’m referring to the old school tradition of setting the dining room table with plates, cups and silverware. Everyone sits together and there’s no screens or devices to be seen?
We are always down to celebrate the awesomeness of fried chicken. And what better way to enjoy some good eatin’ and travel the south, than to plan your travel around three of our favorite fried chicken festivals. If you live in Louisianna, North or South Carolina, Tennessee or Georgia, these events might not be new to you, but we bet plenty of our readers want the details!
With so many good books to choose from, we wanted to keep it simple for you. Here are four of the best examples of southern fiction published in 2018. Well reviewed by critics and readers alike, these stories set in the south are sure to resonate with us. If you read one, let us know what you thought of our recommendations.