Black Eyed Pea Picnic Salad

A few months ago there was a guest “take over” on the Garden & Gun Instagram page. If you are aren’t familiar with Garden & Gun it is a southern cultural magazine, not actually about guns. It is the only magazine I still subscribe to and look forward to receiving in the mail. Anywho, the guest created a “Reels” and showed a copycat version of a recipe he serves in his restaraunt, Black Eyed Pea Picnic Salad. I had to watch it several times to make sure I got the ingredients all listed correctly. He doesn’t really provide amounts for the ingredients, so in the recipe below I have listed the amounts as I use them. For months I have used this recipe from a post-it note inside my spice cabinet. I am glad to finally have it down, officially on my blog, should something catastrophic happen to my post-it note!

If you follow me on Instagram (@ BelleAntiquarian) then you know a lot of times in my Meal Plan Monday posts I say that I meal prepped Black Eyed Pea Picnic Salad. This is one of my favorite things to prepare ahead of time to have for lunches and snacks. It is SUPER healthy and actually tastes better after a day or so.

The fresh ingredients that you will need for this recipe are celery, a bell pepper, and parsley. A lot of times people think of parsley as simply a garnish, so they omit it from recipes. The parsley adds a really important flavor to this dish, so be sure not to skip on it! Also, I just want to point out that there is no onion in this recipe. Did you know that a lot of times when people get food poisoning from picnic food, it is actually from the onions? Really!

You’re going to want to do a small dice on the pepper and celery. If you are using the Fullstar food chopper that is all the rage right now, use the smaller dice attachment. And if you don’t have the Fullstar, I recommend getting one. It can be easily washed in the dishwasher.

This recipe calls for canned black eyed peas. Not all canned black eyed peas are created equal. In this case, the recipe called for no-salt, canned black eyed peas, which I have never been able to find. This brand, Hanover, has the lowest sodium content that I can find. I also prefer this brand for this recipe because the liquid in the can is not thick and drains easily. (I use a different brand when not using them in a recipe.) You’re also going to need some Chow-Chow. If you aren’t from the south, Chow-Chow is a relish. Oddly enough, when all of the Covid shortages were happening, Chow-Chow was one of those items that you could not find anywhere. I can still only find it at one local grocery store, and I’m not telling where so that I can get it when I need it. HA!

Below you will find the complete recipe, which you can print or save to Pinterest for later. I usually double this when meal prepping and keep it in an airtight container. I hope you enjoy it! Please be sure to let me know in the comments if you like it as much as I do.

Black Eyed Pea Picnic Salad

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A fresh and flavorful salad with earthy black eyed peas.

Credit: BelleAntiquarian.com

Ingredients

  • 1 bell pepper, small dice
  • 1 stalk of celery, small dice
  • 1 handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 can of low sodium black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup of Chow-Chow
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Dice the celery and bell pepper (small)
  2. Chop the parsley (fine)
  3. Drain and rinse the black eyed peas.
  4. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
  5. Cover tightly and refrigerate for a minimum of one hour, best if overnight.

Pumpkin Breakfast Cookies – Meal Plan Monday

Hi! I’m starting a new series called Meal Plan Mondays. Health and wellness are important to our family, and I thought I’d share a few ways we make cooking and eating more convenient so that we can be as healthy as possible. On Mondays I hope to share recipes I use to prepare convenience foods ahead of time. I may also share our menu for the week and show which ingredients I will prep ahead of time to make weeknight cooking as easy as possible.

This week I am sharing a recipe that I sometimes make so that we have something quick to grab for breakfast – Pumpkin Breakfast Cookies. I found this recipe a while ago from LeelaLicious. I’m not sure “cookie” is the right word for these, although the shape is reminiscent of one. These cookies have many granola type of ingredients, but they aren’t really crunchy or granola-like either. You’ll just have to try them! After I make them, I will put them in an airtight container. If I make more than one batch, I’ll put the second batch in the fridge. Ken just grabs one to-go, but I like to microwave mine for a few seconds before eating it.

With ingredients like oats, pumpkin seeds, and cranberries, these are delicious, gluten-free, and satisfy hunger all morning!

Tips: When I bake these I like to decrease the amount of pumpkin seeds to 1/3 cup. Also, I found Aldi to be the cheapest place to find gluten free oats, pumpkin seeds, coconut oil, and ground flax seed.

Pumpkin Breakfast Cookies

  • Servings: 12 cookies
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A healthy seasonal cookie perfect for meal prepping your grab-and-go breakfast.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 cup rolled old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs, beaten

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325*. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, warm the coconut oil to melt it. (Microwave is easiest. It only needs to get hot enough to melt.) Add the honey, whisk together. Add the pumpkin puree, followed by the eggs.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the remaining dry ingredients until combined.
  4. Add the wet mixture from the small bowl into the dry ingredients in the large bowl.
  5. Drop 1/4 cup sized scoops of the mixture onto your cookie sheet and flatten. (These will not spread while baking.)
  6. Bake 15-20 minutes until edges are lightly browned and centers are set.
  7. Let cool completely before moving to an airtight container.

Fall Snack Mix

I’ve never been a busy hostess. For many years Ken worked nighttime 12 hour shifts. He also worked a rotating schedule with only one full weekend off a month. On top of all of that, he worked most holidays. That meant that hosting friends for dinner on a Saturday night was almost always out of the question. When he did happen to be off at night or on the weekend, we had household things to get done and family time to spend together. Over the years I found that my way of showing hospitality to people was not to bring them to me; it was for me to reach out to them. Sometimes extending hospitality means reaching out to show people how much we care and appreciate them.

…it’s the small things, the size of a mustard seed, that ultimately move mountains.

Cory Booker

I’ve delivered meals to a lot of people over the years, usually when someone is sick. But my favorite way to reach out with hospitality is to treat people out-of-the-blue, “just because.” This week I mixed up a giant bowl of a fall snack mix, and I put it into bags with tags on them. Ken took them into work on Monday and handed them out to his coworkers. There wasn’t an occasion or reason – It was just because sometimes Mondays stink, and who doesn’t love a little treat on their desk?

I’ve seen pictures of similar mixes on Pinterest and Instagram. I’ve actually never looked up or used a recipe. I just mix up a bunch of things that I think taste good together.

Here’s what I like to mix in:

  • Brach’s fall mix candy corn (It’s the bag that also has the mallow pumpkins and assorted fall colors in it.)
  • A jar of dry roasted peanuts.
  • A bag of mini pretzel twists.
  • A “share size” bag of M&Ms. (We like to use the caramel or cocoa flavors in the fall mix.)
  • Chocolate flavored Chex Cereal (Not the whole box.)
  • Caramel Popcorn (We like “The Mix”.)

You can use more or less of the ingredients so that you have the proportions the way that you like. You can add or omit items that you want in the mix. (This time around I didn’t have caramel popcorn, so I used Teddy Grahams.) This is great to set out at a party or to put into bags like I have.

I think there’s an assumption that in order to show hospitality we must invite people into our homes. And that is wonderful way. But it’s not realistic for everyone. If you really want to “invite people in” and show them kindness, sometimes a little gesture can open the door.

Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.

Mother Teresa

10 Ways to Have Fun in October with Young Adults and Teens

One minute we had trick-or-treaters on Halloween, and the next we don’t. This year Jackson is away at college and Samantha will most likely be out of town on a sports trip. Jackson obviously hasn’t gone around the neighborhood for candy in quite a few years, but Samantha did last year with some friends. So, all of a sudden, we don’t have costumes to buy and doorbells to ring. I am actually looking forward to handing out candy this year. (Ken usually stayed home and passed out candy.) But it definitely feels very different than the past 18 years have been.

Just because kids are grown (or mostly grown), the fun doesn’t have to stop. Family time is still very important, and some of our best memories have yet to be made. Our time together as a family of 4 is limited, but Jackson will be home for Fall Break, and I hope to maximize our FFF. (Forced Family Fun)

If you’re looking for a few ideas on how to have fun with your BIG kids (or kids at heart), here are a few things to try:

  • Pumpkin Carving Contest – Since everyone is old enough to wield their own knife, why not turn the pumpkin carving into a contest? (Bonus: add prizes)
  • Corn Maze – These are more fun as young adults than when they’re younger kids. They don’t have to stay with you, and they can really “get lost.” (Bonus: Find one that is open at night.)
  • Host a Trunk Together – Our church hosts an annual “Trunk or Treat”. That’s when families sign up for a parking space, decorate their car/trunk in a theme, and pass out candy to the church kids as they walk through. This is a great way to still get away with dressing up even if they’re too old to trick (or trunk) or treat.
  • Family Fantasy Football – Okay, so this one is longer than just the month of October, but how about having a family fantasy football league? Sunday football games just went to a whole new level.
  • Chili Cook-off – Each member of the family makes a batch of chili. Invite the neighbors or extended family to taste and “vote”.
  • Decorate the outside of the house together. Brainstorm as a family for some fun ways to make the yard and house SPOOKY. What would have scared them a few years ago?…Make it happen!
  • S’Mores Bar – You’ve had the basic s’more before. But have you tried a flavored marshmallow on a Reese’s peanut butter cup with chocolate graham crackers? Try different flavor combinations. (Bonus: Try this as a surprise on a random weeknight.)
  • Haunted Houses – Does your area have a seriously scary haunted house? In metro Atlanta we have Netherworld, which is not really for young kids. If your young adults are into get freaked out, something like this may be for them. (I’m a scaredy cat. I went in my 20s, and I’ll pass on it now.)
  • Scary Movies – Now that they’re bigger, maybe they want to watch some real thrillers. I’m going to stick with Hocus Pocus, myself.
  • Bonfire and Bonding – Corny, I know. But a simple bonfire and just talking together is probably one of the most relaxing ways to spend a memorable October Night.

I’m always looking for new ways to have fun. If you have more ideas that I haven’t thought of, I’d love to hear from you! Please let me know in the comments below.

Our Porch Pumpkins for Halloween through Thanksgiving

Do you skip Thanksgiving decor? I know a lot of people who put their Christmas decorations up on November 1st, but around here we wait until at least the day after Thanksgiving. Every year I like to get pumpkins that we do not carve and leave them out on the porch into November to serve as Thanksgiving decor, too.

That is the PLAN anyway. Sometimes (like now) it is too hot (scorching) and the pumpkins go bad. But our porch directly faces north, so it is not usually a problem. I have a new theory that if I stop talking about how hot it is that it will stop being hot. Hopefully telling you about my theory doesn’t mean I just talked about it being so hot.

I recently saw some posts on Instagram of people commenting that all of the porch pumpkins people are posting must’ve cost hundreds of dollars. Let me tell you, this did not. If you’ve been around for a while then you know that I like to decorate, but I like to save money while doing so. All of the small white pumpkins came from grocery stores and cost only $1.00 each. The total cost of these pumpkins was $45. I absolutely love supporting local farms, but sometimes they aren’t the cheapest place to get a pumpkin. Shop around!

The stool is something that Ken and I picked up at an estate sale years ago. It was in the back of a garage and I paid less than $5 for it, I have used it for decor all over the house. I picked up the brown crates at other estate sales. I can’t remember how much I paid for them, but they are not a big brand crate.

I really wanted some white mums, but I couldn’t find them anywhere. I picked this yellow one up at Aldi for $2.99!

I wanted to include this photo because it shows my two sidekicks – Anniebelle and Beauregard, our dogs.

Shopping Your Own Home for Halloween

A really easy way to decorate your home at any time is called “shopping your home.” What that means is that you look around your own home for items that you can rearrange, move, or group together to make “new” decor. I “shop my home” most often around holidays.

Via Etsy

When you shop your home, you’re saving money and repurposing items that you already own. If you get stumped while you’re doing this, an easy way to get started shopping your home for a holiday is to think of what colors that holiday is known for. Easter – pastels. Christmas – green, red, white, gold. Thanksgiving – brown, gold, orange, red, yellow. 4th of July – red, white, blue, silver. Halloween – black, orange, white (sometimes purple and green).

Any time you group items together by holiday colors, even if those items are not holiday related, they look like holiday decor. As you are walking around your home, focus on the colors that you need.

I’ve put together a list of items to look for if you “shop your home” for Halloween. Remember, it will be a snap if you focus on what colors you need. Of course, you’ll have to put the items together in a way that makes sense and looks nice. This is just a list to get your creativity flowing.

  • Books – black, orange, or white.
  • Black Picture Frames
  • Candles – black, white, or orange (possibly purple or green!)
  • Blankets
  • Pillows
  • Black Boots
  • Scarves or Hats
  • Napkins or Tablecloths
  • Dishes
  • Beads or Buttons to use as vase fillers
  • Black Lamps
  • Flowers
  • Dried black beans (vase filler?)
  • Planters or Flower Pots

Once you have gathered your holiday colored items, think outside of the box for ways to use them. What can become a container? A scarf can be draped from a mantel or across a table. A tin can turns into a vase. Pictures can temporarily be taken out of frames and replaced with printed computer graphics or silhouettes. A black typewriter can display a spooky message. All of this for free because you used items that you already owned. Have a spooktacular time decorating for Halloween!

Better Homes & Gardens

Maple Glazed Banana Bread

I was looking for a “fall” type of banana bread, and I found a great one that I want to share with you! This recipe from A Latte Food was a winner for us because it didn’t call for nuts. Many banana bread recipes use walnuts or pecans, but we are a nut-free household. Ken doesn’t eat gluten, but he wouldn’t have eaten banana bread anyway, so no big deal there.

The maple syrup in the glaze was the touch of “autumn” I was looking for. Sometimes I substitute the vanilla extract in the glaze for imitation rum extract, and that is a delicious fall flavor, too! But here’s the great thing about this recipe – it’s fantastic even without the glaze! If you want to skip on some of the sugar, skip the glaze and just make the banana bread.

Something that I like to do with baked goods or desserts is to split the recipe in two, and share the second one with a friend or neighbor. Not only do I feel like I am showing some hospitality to others by sharing goodies, but I am also keeping it out of the house so that I won’t overindulge!

A great way to share is to bake into foil pans with a lid. This is great because no one has to worry about returning a dish to you. I put this bread into a pretty bag with a tag. It’s the little touches that will make the recipient feel special and let them know they are cared for.

Maple Glazed Banana Bread

  • Servings: 12 slices
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

A flavorful banana bread with maple glaze.

Credit: BelleAntiquarian.com

Ingredients

    Bread
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3-4 medium ripe bananas
  • 2 tbs. brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Maple Glaze
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract *OR* imitation rum extract
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350*. Grease two 8×4 pans.
  2. In a small bowl, mash bananas, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and ground cinnamon.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs to butter and sugar mixture, beat until mixed.
  5. Add the mashed banana mixture to the large bowl with the butter, sugar, and eggs.
  6. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda.
  7. Slowly add a little of the dry mixture to the wet mixture until it is all incorporated.
  8. Bake at 35-40 minutes (for two 8×4 pans) until cake tester comes out clean with just a few moist crumbs stuck to it.
  9. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Move to a wire cooling rack.
  10. Maple Glaze
  11. Melt butter, maple syrup,vanilla (or rum) extract, and cinnamon over low heat. Once melted together, pull the pan off the heat. Sift in powdered sugar, and whisk until fully combined. Allow to cool for 8-10 minutes so the glaze can thicken.
  12. Once the glaze has thickened, give it a quick stir and pour it over the breads.
  13. Allow the glaze to harden completely before cutting into slices.

Fall Table Setting

If you’ve been around for a while, then you know that I like to use the color blue in fall decorating. (I wrote a whole post on it HERE.) Part of the reason blue sneaks its way into really every seasonal decorating I do is that I love collecting blue and white dishes. I’m using what I have! LOL

This fall is no different! I was setting a table for fall, and I decided to use these Chinese Bird plates (3 men version) by Adams China. I was about to say that these aren’t particularly old, but then I realized that they’re almost 50 years old. That’s definitely not new, lol. I am a big fan of actually using china and not just keeping it tucked away safely. I hand wash them because dishwasher detergent is abrasive, but there’s no danger in using a pretty plate on your table.

It does feel a little odd setting a table for fall when it’s been mid-90s for months now. Atlanta has been breaking record high temperatures for almost the whole month of September. It’s said that fall is the southerner’s reward for surviving summer. But, honestly, at this point I’m not “surviving” very gracefully. The Atlanta forecast shows 90 degree temperatures through the first week of October, and I’m a little cranky about it.

I definitely may not feel like fall, but here’s to a happy one anyway!

Fall Mums Centerpiece

Not long after Pumpkin Spice Lattes arrive in your local coffee shop, everyone seems to get some mums and pumpkins for their front porches. Most people leave them on their porches for the season and then toss them. However, mums are great perennials, so if you plant them directly into the ground in late summer or early fall, they’ll most likely come back in the spring.

Interestingly enough, mums (full name chrysanthemum) can be grown indoors in a bright, sunny spot. Did you know that mums were tested in the NASA Clean Air Study, which is a test to see which plants can clean indoor air quality? Mums were found to improve the air quality against all 5 of the major toxins that were tested. How cool is that?!

Mums are inexpensive, and you can find them anywhere from grocery stores to home improvement stores. I picked mine up from Walmart for $4.88. I wanted to use mine for a fall centerpiece before I planted them outside. Since I was going to be planting them outside, and I only needed them on my table for a couple of days, I didn’t want to plant them into a pot.

I decided to find a way to dress them up a little and hide their ugly, plastic pots. I dug through my donate pile and found a sweater and a shirt that went well with my table cloth.

I cut the shirts for a square piece of material that I could wrap around the pots. The piece of twine that I used with the striped material was a scrap we had in the garage. The striped piece of fabric around the sweater material was actually part of the packaging for the tablecloth that I was using.

This would be a really cute and easy way to dress up a mum to give as a gift. The mums cost $4.88 and the other materials were free because I already had them! Do you use mums in your fall decor?

These are going to be planted in my big whiskey barrel planters in the backyard once I am done with them on the table. Happy fall, y’all!

Autumn Ambience Playlist

Am I the only one that gets bored of listening to the same music over and over again? I’m adding to my playlist collection with an “Autumn Ambience”. I really like saving playlists because when I’m in the car, cleaning, or cooking I can quickly pull up a playlist that I haven’t listened to in a while.

The playlists I make are likely to change as I find new songs and artists to add. For now, here are a few songs that I have been listening to on this Autumn themed playlist:

  • Winds of Change, Vance Joy
  • Autumn Leaves, Ed Sheeran
  • Fireside Song, Genesis (You’ve got to wait about a minute into this song for it to get going.)
  • Leaves That Are Green, Paul Simon
  • Somewhere Only We Know, Keane
  • Once You Know, Good Morning
  • Wheat for Billie, Jamie Lawson
  • Changes, David Bowie
  • Autumn Leaves, Eric Clapton
  • Simple Song, Passenger
  • Golden Leaves (acoustic), Passenger
  • Seasons, Rival & Cadmium
  • Seasons Change, Scotty McCreery

Find this playlist on Spotify or Apple Music. (click for Apple Music.)