Monthly Archives: February 2013

The Tribute

What does this post title, The Tribute, have in common with peanuts? I’m so glad you asked! George Washington Carver didn’t invent the peanut, but he did help revolutionize its impact. In honor of Black history month I present a little bit of history of George Washington Carver and a peanut recipe. Below his bio is a recipe for spiced peanuts (link to original source included).

George Washington Carver was a scientist, botanist, educator, and inventor. Born as a slave into Mose Carver’s farm somewhere around 1864 (his actual year of birth is unknown) in Diamond, Missouri (southwest corner of the state). He was raised by the Carver’s as their own and was encouraged to pursue his interest and curiosity in plants and science and further his education. In 1890 he began studying art and piano at Simpson College in Iowa. While there one of his instructors encouraged him to pursue his passion for botany and he enrolled at Iowa State Agricultural College where he was the first black student and later the first black faculty member. Carver received his masters at Iowa State Agricultural and went to work at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama as the head of the Agricultural Department under Booker T. Washington. Carver would spend the rest of his life at Tuskegee where he developed techniques to improve soils depleted by repeated plantings of cotton. Together with other agricultural experts, he urged farmers to restore nitrogen to the soil by practicing systematic crop rotation: alternating cotton crops with plantings of sweet potato or legumes (such as peanuts, soybean and cowpeas). This practice restored nitrogen to the soil, resulted in improved cotton yields, and generated alternative cash crops for the farmers. To train farmers to successfully rotate and cultivate the new crops, Carver developed an agricultural extension program for Alabama that was similar to the one at Iowa State. To encourage better nutrition in the South, he widely distributed bulletins (published work). His most popular bulletin, How to Grow the Peanut and 105 Ways of Preparing it for Human Consumption, was first published in 1916. It gave a short overview of peanut crop production and contained a list of recipes from other agricultural bulletins, cookbooks, magazines, and newspapers, such as the Peerless Cookbook, Good Housekeeping, and Berry’s Fruit Recipes. Carver died in 1943 and left a legacy with both the Carver Museum and the George Washington Carver Foundation.

The Spiced Peanuts
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons of cajun or creole seasoning
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, ground
2 cups (or 1 14-16 ounce container) of lightly salted dry roasted peanuts

heat in a skillet over medium heat
stir in seasoning and cayenne
add peanuts to skillet
cook for two minutes stirring constantly
serve warm or at room temperature
store for up to 3 weeks in a tightly covered container
serves 8

The Original Oyster House

This one of my favorite meals! I love shrimp and this is the shrimp trio platter at The Original Oyster House in Mobile, AL. This restaurant sits on the Mobile Bay and is chocked full of character and history. It has been destroyed and rebuilt several times. If you follow the history of hurricanes you know that in 2004 and again in 2005 the Gulf area of the United States was hit very hard by hurricanes. In 2004 Hurricane Ivan destroyed the restaurant and in 2005 Hurricane Katrina caused lots of damage.   Since the 2005 hurricane season the gulf has remained calm and recovered from the damages. If you make it down south to Mobile I recommend The Original Oyster House. There is a second location in Gulf Shores, AL as well.

The Mat Frame

Happy Valentine’s Day!! Hannah and Harley wishes everyone a loving and peaceful day filled with what or who brings happiness to your world.

I am a practical person. I love practical ideas that can be slightly altered for a personal and unique touch especially for gift ideas. Everyone knows at least one or two people that are suckers for ideas like this one. For those on a budget this idea is refreshing.

Not only am I practical, but I also love photos. Any time I get the opportunity to give or receive a photo I love it!

Here’s the idea: take those blank, dull, and boring mats add some of your decoration using a sharpie or marker(s), place your favorite photo in it, and you’ve got an original mat (made with love) as a setting for a framed gift.

How is that practical? This is what I love about ideas like this one: it’s great for any occasion and it creates unique and one-of-kind pieces of décor. This is a great idea for children to give gifts to mom and dad or teenagers with a creative flair on a budget. The mat you see in the photo was purchased for $1.50 from Wal-Mart and the metal stand (optional, but make sure the mat will stand on it’s own) was $.97.

The Matchboxes

Projects 120

Candy matchboxes are a great idea for a large group. I wish I had known about this when I was younger during those class time Valentine’s parties.

Here’s a step by step guide that’s truly easy (I promise). The beauty of this idea is that it’s not limited to Valentine’s Day; it can be used for Christmas, birthday parties, and showers! It’s also an inexpensive idea that children can create on their own (with some adult supervision, of course).

For the explanation purposes let’s assume we are using this idea for a Valentine’s Day project.

You will need:

  • Matchboxes (I found a package of 10 small boxes at Wal-Mart for $.97)
  • Candy of your choice (I recommend the smaller pieces of candy like sweethearts, M&MS or skittles.)
  • Valentines Day Theme paper (I choose some patterned paper from Hobby Lobby for $4.80, but any colored paper will work. No need for the expense if it’s not necessary)
  • Scissors
  • Tape or glue (I chose tape because glue is messy and if I placed the paper on crooked I could easily fix it with tape.)


Really this can be done several ways. You could wrap the outside of the matchbox like a gift, but if you do that keep in mind you will have to cut openings on the sides for the inside box. You could also simply cover the top and the bottom of the matchbox with your paper. I thought this way seemed less complicated. I traced the outline of my box on the paper and cut what I needed. If you are short on time you could trace the outline on one sheet and cut multiple sheets at once. I tried this method and it works well enough, but be aware that there will probably be some trimming required on those bottom sheets.

Once the boxes are covered add your choice of candy and there you have candy matchboxes!

PS: For a personal touch write the name of the recipients on the boxes.