Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Southern Fried Bride's 2015 Caring Hearts Valentine Project

I am excited to launch my first-ever "Caring Hearts Valentine Project" here on my blog and through my blog's FB page, The Southern Fried Bride. I had been on the cusp of doing a project like this for some time, and over the past few days, it was my best friend Kimmi who gave me the final bit of inspiration I needed to go forward with this project when she shared about a crochet project to bring warmth to those in need of scarves, hats and mittens this winter. 

Facebook can sometimes be used for negative things, but I choose to focus on the good that Facebook can often serve, such as how I have been tremendously inspired over the past few years by seeing posts in my news feed others have shared about people, both grownups and children, doing random acts of kindness for others.

My project celebrates that giving spirit, as Valentine's Day draws near on the calendar. The selected recipients of the SFB's 2015 Caring Hearts Valentine Project will receive financial resources to use toward their project of choice that they would like to do in their community this valentine season, whether it be for one person or a group of people. This project is open to both grown-ups and children, as well as teachers and classes of students in schools/organizations where this project funding would be allowed. There will be several projects awarded.

Do you know a young person who has a service project idea or do you have an idea you would like to do in your community this February?

I am now accepting submissions. If you would like to submit a project, follow the directions below according to the category you are applying for: 

Young People Category: For young people, a parent or guardian e-mail me on their behalf about the project they would like to do in the young person's own words. Please e-mail me at with the subject line "Caring Hearts Project".

Classroom Category:  For a class of students, as well as homeschool students, the teacher e-mailing me on the students' behalf with the project in the students' own words. Please e-mail me at with the subject line "Caring Hearts Project".

Adults Category: The application process for adults is to e-mail me and tell me about a valentine's caring project you would like to do in your community. Please e-mail me at with the subject line "Caring Hearts Project".

The deadline for submitting is this Sunday night, January 18 at 11:00 pm EST/10:00 pm CST. Funding will be sent for the selected projects next week to arrive allowing for preparation time for February.

I am very much looking forward to hearing about these project ideas and the caring hearts behind them! You will get to hear about the recipient projects and if they choose, see pictures of the caring in action. smile emoticon

Friday, January 9, 2015

Music Review and Giveaway: The Little Mermaid from Walt Disney Records Legacy Collection #disneymusic

Disclaimer: I received The Little Mermaid Legacy Collection CD as a member of the Entertainment New Media Network.  No further compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

Walt Disney Records is honoring the continuing legacy of the Disney music catalog with a collectible series, The Legacy Collection. The line celebrates the milestone anniversaries of Disney's most cherished and classic films that have been enchanting audiences for generations.

25 years?!? Where has the time gone? I was a teenager when the movie was released and I have many fun memories of watching the movie for the first time in the theater and times since watching with loved ones on video and DVD. 

One of the things I love about Disney characters are that there are so many assortments of qualities and personality traits a person can relate to. In the case of The Little Mermaid, I forever became an Ariel fan because she was a redhead like me. There was finally a redheaded Disney princess! Also, I loved the fact her name begins with an "A", like mine, because I personally believe the A's have it. The songs in the movie became beloved favorites of mine among Disney movies, at the foremost, "Part of Your World", which has a place on honor on my music playlist and I also sing it, on occasion. Other favorites are "Under the Sea", a song which can always lift my spirits on the most hectic of days as well as instantly brighten NY's sometimes dreary winter weather.

As a musician, I was captivated by their 2 disc format for this beautifully book bound set. Disc One features the full movie soundtrack and Disc 2 is a treasure trove for Disney music enthusiasts, with work tapes and song demos from the film, including original song ideas for the movie. It was fascinating to hear these "work in progress" pieces for this beloved film.

A beautifully illustrated collectible 20 page booklet comes with the CD. I love the fact that it  features bonus material including the stories behind the music and the soundtrack's history. 

Here's a sample of the musical treasures you will find on this CD set:
The Little Mermaid's hardback bookbound CD case and collectible booklet feature newly created artwork inspired by the movie from Lorelay Bove, a visual development artist at Walt Disney Animation Studios, whose work includes the Disney movies "Tangled" and "Wreck-It Ralph". I found her artwork for the CD case and booklet to be absolutely captivating. 
Disneyana Trivia
"The Little Mermaid"  was a milestone in Disney animation. It was the first princess musical to be made at Disney since 1959’s "Sleeping Beauty". This special connection is honored during the scene in the movie when Eric is waiting for Ariel to arrive and you see that one of the portraits shown is of Princess Aurora and Prince Phillip from "Sleeping Beauty".

The Legacy Collection 2014 Releases:
The Lion King 20th anniversary 
Mary Poppins 50th anniversary 
Sleeping Beauty 55th anniversary 
The Little Mermaid 25th anniversary
The Legacy Collection 2015 Releases:
Fantasia 75th anniversary
Pinocchio 75th anniversary
Toy Story 20th anniversary
Disneyland 60th anniversary
Lady & the Tramp 60th anniversary
Pocahontas 20th anniversary
Aristocats 45th anniversary
Cinderella 65th anniversary
All currently released soundtracks are available online at the Disney Music Emporium website along with collectible Disney music products, news and video content.
The next release from The Legacy Collection will celebrate the 75th anniversary of Fantasia with a 4-disc set on January 13, 2015. 

One reader of The Southern Fried Bride will win a Walt Disney Records The Legacy Collection The Little Mermaid 2-disc CD set, valued at $19.98. 

To enter, leave a comment below and tell me which one of the Walt Disney Records Legacy Collection releases I listed above are you most looking forward to?

  • Prizes will be sent directly to the winner from Walt Disney Records. Please allow 4-6 weeks for shipping.
  • Giveaway ends on Wednesday, January 14, 2015 at 8:00 pm EST.
  • The winner will be chosen by random number generator after verification of entries and winner will be notified by email. The number of eligible entries received determine the odds of winning.
  • Winner must reply by email to accept prize within 24 hours or another winner will be chosen. 
  • The winner will be announced in the comments of this blog post after the winner has accepted the prize. 
If it comes to this blogger’s attention that the winner of this giveaway has won on an additional blog for this same prize, this blog reserves the right to choose another winner.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A Celebration Cake: Double Chocolate Malt Layer Cake

The Southern Fried Husband's 40th birthday celebration was this week. His 10 days older wife (haha), along with his family, honored his wishes for no birthday party, no surprise party and had a family birthday dinner at his parents' home. For his gift wish list, he requests as always, doing a good deed for another person would be the perfect gift for him. We will be celebrating the spirit of reaching both our 40th milestones later this month on a trip to the Caribbean where he will be attending a dermatology conference. 

I baked my "Double Chocolate Malt Cake" for one and then my traditional chocolate cake for his family dinner.  Double Chocolate Malt Cake is a chocolate malt layer cake with chocolate malt whipped frosting, served with his favorite gelato in caramel cookie crunch. With the Valentine's Day holiday coming before you know it, this chocolate creation is a fun take on a classic treat. "Double Chocolate Malt Layer Cake" is a chocolate malt cake with chocolate malt whipped frosting, chocolate cookie crumb trim and topped with a chocolate ganache drizzle. Malted milk powder is the main ingredient is ice cream malts. It is a natural sweetener made from barley malt, wheat and milk. You can usually find it in the grocery store in the drink mix section by the instant breakfast powder. Ovaltine is my favorite brand and I tell people that might be the Little Orphan Annie fan in me. 

Double Chocolate Malt Layer Cake
2 1/4 cups flour 
1 cup sugar 
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 
2 teaspoons baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1 cup milk 
  1 cup Ovaltine malted milk powder 
  1 cup oil 
  3 large eggs  
  1 cup sour cream 
  1 teaspoon vanilla extract                                                                                                                                  

chocolate malt frosting (recipe below)                
Optional: chocolate ganache topping
                cookie crumb trim ( 8 crushed chocolate cookies)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat two 9-inch baking pans with butter or cooking spray and dust of flour. In large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In separate bowl, combine milk and malted milk powder, stirring to dissolve. Add milk mixture to dry flour mixture. Add oil and eggs to mixture and beat with mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add sour cream and vanilla, beating just until combined. Pour batter evenly into pans and bake for 20 minutes. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans and let cool completely on racks. Frost cake. If desired, add crushed cookie trim. Seal 8 chocolate cookies in plastic sandwich bag and roll over with rolling pin to crush. Take cookie crumbs by the handful and gently press into bottom 1/4 of cake around length of cake. If desired, pour or drizzle ganache topping on frosted cake. If you use ganache on cake, refrigerate the cake for at least an hour so ganache can set. Enjoy!

Chocolate Malt Frosting

1 stick butter, softened  
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 
1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream 
3/4 cup Ovaltine malted milk powder 
7  cups powdered sugar 

In large bowl, beat butter and cocoa powder with mixer at medium speed until creamy. Set aside. In separate bowl, combine cream and malted milk powder, stirring to dissolve. Add cream mixture to butter mixture, beating at low speed to combine. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating in between additions, until smooth. 
Chocolate Ganache Topping                                                                                                                    
1 1/4 cup chocolate chips
1 cup heavy whipping cream   

Place the chopped chocolate into a medium-sized bowl. Heat the heavy cream in a microwavable container and microwave for 2 to 3 minutes on high, or until it just begins to simmer; be careful not to allow cream to boil over. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let stand for 30 seconds or so. Using an electric mixer, beat on low until chocolate mixture is smooth. Use as is for glazing on top of cake or place in plastic condiment-size squeeze bottle to make drizzle lines over cake. 

For my husband's 40th birthday milestone, I want to share this musical slideshow tribute that played at our Oklahoma wedding in June 2011 as guests gathered at the church for our ceremony. It captures the spirit of the way I illustrate the love I have in my heart for my husband and he, likewise, for me. You'll also see some of our family members, living and passed on, who are among those who mean the world to us. This storybook themed slideshow ends with the beginning page of a new chapter in our lives and I have enjoyed every single day of that chapter continuing to fill with new pages in our lives.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Recipe Corner: Easy End Zone Caviar

Earlier this week, a reporter here in NY was working on an "international holiday food" story from other countries and ended up being so taken with my American South "Hoppin' John" dish and had never heard of any of the Southern tradition good luck foods. I loved getting to tell her all about the New Year's foods and traditions that have made their way down through he generations in my family from Alabama to Oklahoma to my New York kitchen.
Here is a quick and easy, no cooking-needed recipe for a black-eyed pea dish that is a perfect game day appetizer. I hope today has been a great start to 2015 for you and yours! 

"Easy End Zone Caviar"

1 can black-eyed peas, drained 

1/8 cup jalapeno peppers, chopped
(Time saver tip: I use a can of black-eyes peas with jalapenos added, drained)

1 can diced tomatoes, drained

1 cup canned corn, drained OR frozen corn kernels, thawed

1/2 medium onion, chopped

1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped

1 cup Italian salad dressing

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon parsley

In large bowl, combine beans, tomatoes, corn, onion and bell peppers . Add in salad dressing. Season with garlic powder, paprika and parsley. Mix well. If desired, transfer into serving bowl. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes prior to serving. Serve with tortilla chips or crackers. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Holiday Blessings Reflection: The Gift of Good Health

This year is coming to a close, and it is a time of reflection for me as I go out with the old and welcome a new year ahead. One of the things I am most grateful for this year is not only my own personal health and my husband's, but the fact that we count so many of our loved ones who are blessed with physical health. Good health care is a blessing, but I can become quickly confused by all the current health care guidelines in order to receive that health care.

With the onset of Obamacare in America, I believe learning about new health care program offerings can seem real confusing, real quick. I recently enjoyed learning about a health care program offered to residents here in New York that evolved out of the realization that health insurance is way too complicated. 

Oscar started in New York and was built from the ground up by New Yorkers for a unique understanding of the things New Yorkers value in their healthcare and the best ways to help fit it into their busy lives. They use smart technology to simplify the healthcare experience and allow members to proactively manage their health.

New York is one of the states that set up its own healthcare exchange, which allows Oscar to enroll members directly through our website. We also have local, state-licensed Healthcare Guides who specialize in helping people through the enrollment process and can even sign you up over the phone.

Oscar members can get free primary care visits, flu shots and other preventive care to keep you healthy so you can focus on all the important people and things in your life.

The founders came together and gathered some of the best and brightest talent in technology and healthcare to develop the kind of health insurance we all want for our families and the experience we want for ourselves. Oscar is thankful to provide simple, quality health insurance to New York residents and we just recently started providing to New Jersey residents.

New York is one of the states that set up its own healthcare exchange, which allows Oscar to enroll members directly through our website. We also have local, state-licensed Healthcare Guides who specialize in helping people through the enrollment process and can even sign you up over the phone.

For more information about their health care program, you can call 1-855-OSCAR-88.

Disclaimer: I was not compensated by Oscar for writing this blog post. All opinions expressed in this blog post are my own.

Monday, December 29, 2014

DIY Goodness: Holiday Fruit Refrigerator Jam

This holiday season, I enjoyed making this holiday fruit refrigerator jam for family and friends. It is made with some of my favorite fruit bounties this season brings: cranberries, cherries and orange peel. It is wonderful on toast and is perfect for New Year's breakfast or brunch.

"Holiday Fruit Refrigerator Jam"

*makes 6 half-pint jars

3/4 cup cherries, pitted and chopped
3/4 cup cranberries, chopped
1/2 cup orange rind, finely grated   

4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 (1.75 ounce) package powdered no-sugar fruit pectin
3/4 cup water
6 half-pint canning/freezer jars

Rinse 6 clean half-pint freezer-safe canning/freezer jars with boiling water. Dry thoroughly. Wash cherries, remove pits and chop in quarters. Place in medium bowl. Do not drain cherries. If cherries have been chilled, set aside until the cherries reach room temperature. Repeat these steps with cranberries. In small bowl, finely grate orange peel and set aside. In large mixing bowl, combine cherries, cranberries and orange peel. Add sugar and lemon juice to mixture. Stir well. Set mixture aside 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes. In saucepan, combine powdered fruit pectin and water. Stir well. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute. Remove from heat. Immediately add pectin mixture to fruit mixture and stir well. Keep stirring mixture about 3 minutes until sugar is completely dissolved. Quickly pour into sterile jars to within 1/2 inch of top of jar. Wipe off top edges of jar and cover with lid. Makes 6 half-pint jars. Let stand at room temperature 24 hours to set. After jam has set, enjoy immediately or it can be frozen for up to one year. Once opened, it can be stored in refrigerator up to 3 weeks. Enjoy!

Celebrate Southern Linkup

Saturday, December 27, 2014

New Year's Eve bridesmaid style with Weddington Way

I was honored to be asked by Weddington Way to do a bridesmaid style board for New Year's Eve wedding inspiration. I chose to style their "Ella" bridesmaid dress in Champagne Toast. This dress style and color pairing is my top bridesmaid dress pick for a NYE wedding and it has one of the qualities that I looked for when choosing dresses for my bridesmaids, a style of dress that can be worn well after the wedding as a special occasion dress.

I love the delicate lace detail of this dress style along with the classic details of long sleeves, boatneck and scalloped hem. The Ella is available in sizes 0 to 18.

I chose to pair the dress with gold accessories befit for a truly glistening NYE bridesmaid entrance. 

I chose statement shoes for the dress with gold glitter open toe high heels with bow detail by Alexandra Bee. I chose jewelry pieces by Kate Spade that I believe would also make perfect bridesmaid gift choices: "Lady Marmalade" stud earrings have just the right amount of sparkle for the ensemble along with the "Pop, Fizz, Clink" bangle for the perfect statement bracelet for the evening wedding. The champagne gold clutch by ICE brings elegance with a classic edge. Nail color in a gold glitter shade by Julep completes the look. 

You can view the entire Weddington Way bridesmaid collection of dresses here

Disclaimer: I was not compensated by Weddington Way for this blog post. All opinions in this blog post are my own.