This has been a project in the making for quite a while now. I have just recently had the time and motivation to get it done. That...and I now work from home 4 days a week since moving to Northern Virginia. I am able to work....get my house chores done and get dinner started before my son gets off the bus. I am so very thankful for the opportunity to do it gives me more opportunities to cook from scratch and prepare nutritious meals for my family.

Enjoy your digital copy of my first release {Sweets}. I will be releasing a new section each month until I combine them into one collection. I cannot wait to share all of these recipes with you. If you have any questions about them please feel free to email me at amanda{at}

Hey Y'all Let's Eat! is an interactive online cookbook. Click links when you see them to get more information, photos and even videos. Hope Y'all Enjoy!

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When I was in college I worked at Olive Garden. I loved working there and my love for Italian cuisine came alive. An instant hit was their Zuppa Toscana soup. I’m not a huge Italian sausage fan, but this soup balances that flavor very nicely. I did create this recipe based on OG’s original recipe but changed a few things to make it more my own. Hope you enjoy it!

5-7 slices of bacon
1/2 lb hot Italian Sausage
5 medium russet potatoes, washed and thinly sliced
2 cups kale, chopped
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 qt water
2 cans chicken broth
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
4 medium cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper 
grated Parmesan for sprinkling 

On a greased cookie sheet, lay bacon flat and bake for about 15 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Flipping with a fork halfway between. Drain bacon, and crumble. 

 In a pan over medium high heat, cook sausage until it's heated thoroughly, and there's no pink. Drain very well on a paper towel (or else you'll have grease floating in your soup.) Set aside. 

In your soup pot over medium heat, cook the potatoes, onion, garlic, chicken broth, and water until potatoes are cooked through. 

Throw in cooked sausage, half the bacon, red pepper flakes, and salt & pepper. Simmer for about 10 minutes. 

 Add in kale and cream. Let soup heat through and serve with the other half of the bacon. Sprinkle with Parmesan. 

I enjoy visiting our local farmer’s market. Using fresh and organic ingredients really makes a difference in the flavor of your recipe. Some of my recipes call for pre-made ingredients to save time but can easily be substituted for the most natural and organic ingredients. This photo was taken at the Spotsylvania Farmer's Market.

I am not a huge fan of red velvet cake. When I tell people that they freak out because I love to eat & bake sweets. However, I am a fan of these red velvet cookies. They are absolutely amazing. These would be perfect for a Valentine's Day treat or for cold winter days like today.

Here is the recipe:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups + 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature.
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon red food coloring
Toss the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.

 Using a handheld or stand mixer beat the butter on high speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl as needed. Switch the mixer to medium speed and beat in the brown sugar and granulated sugar until combined. Beat in the egg, milk, and vanilla extract, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Once mixed, add the food coloring and beat until combined. Turn the mixer off and pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Turn the mixer on low and slowly beat until a very soft dough is formed. Beat in more food coloring if you'd like the dough to be redder. The dough will be sticky.

 Cover the dough tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour. Chilling is mandatory. 

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

 Scoop 1.5 Tablespoons of dough and mold into a ball. Place 9 balls onto each baking sheet. Bake each batch for 10 minutes.

The cookies may have only spread slightly, that is ok. Simply press down on the warm cookies if you'd like them spread out more. Allow to cool for at least 25 minutes.

here is an easy DIY project that would be super cute for teacher gifts, random acts of kindness gifts or just to have on your own tree.

here are the supplies i used to make these ornaments:

tree limb
hand saw
drill with small bit
chalkboard paint
sanding paper

find a tree limb that is the width you prefer. keep in mind larger sizes will not hand properly on a tree so keep it about 3 inches. use your handsaw and slice as many pieces off that you would like. always do a few more than needed just in case you mess up on something.

get your sand paper and sand the side you are going to paint just enough to get the grain of the wood smooth. go ahead and drill a hole at the top portion...not too close to the top to prevent splitting or breaking.

use chalkboard paint to create your surface. allow it to dry 12-24 hours.

prime your chalkboard surface by lightly running the chalk over the chalk paint area and the cleaning off with a dry/lightly damp cloth.

run your twine through the drilled whole and tie.

now draw your designs. simple as that!

enjoy and if you make your own send me an email to amanda {at} so i can share!

Advent calendars have gained popularity over the past several years. Advent marks the beginning of the Christmas season and in Latin means “arrival” which represents the approach of Christ’s birth. The first known advent’s date back several centuries and had a more religious meaning than some we commonly see today.

As a child one of my fondest memories was our Christmas countdown. I get my creativity and craftiness from my grandmother, “Ma”. She handmade a Christmas Bell countdown that hung on the wall along with our other holiday d├ęcor. Normally I saw these made with paper links, but ours had chocolate kisses! Each night we would take a kiss until they were all gone...on Christmas Eve. The excitement I felt as a child stayed with me, and when my son was born I couldn't wait until he was old enough to partake in the fun!

When I started looking around at different countdown ideas years ago, there were not a whole lot of things I could find online. Now if you go to websites like Pinterest, type in “advent” and you will be overwhelmed by the number of different images you see. Some seem to be for more decorative purposes, while others are for fun. Advent calendars are for all ages and a great way to have a family tradition that will always be included in treasured memories for years to come.

Here are a few of the items that Mr. B has in his advent:

  • vintage pocket knife
  • gift cards
  • us coins
  • dollars
  • gold dollars
  • chocolates
  • dog treats (for our pup obviously)
  • small games
  • magic tricks
  • hand sanitizer
  • underwear
  • gloves
  • chap stick

These things can add up and get a little pricey so this counts as one of his presents.

Click Here to view  past Advent Calendar ideas.

If you are a reader of our sister publication  Lake Wedowee Life then you will know that 3 of my favorite things to craft with are burlap, twine and mason jars. If you are  not a reader of Lake Wedowee Life then you need to subscribe online so you can enjoy our crafts, recipes and lake living. (

Back to the crafts...these three crafts were super easy to make and inexpensive. We will start with the twine pumpkin.
The supplies you will need are:
Cinnamon stick
White glue
Green spray paint (optional)
Plastic wrap
Large glass and pencil/pen

Pour white glue into a bowl. You will need about 5-6 tablespoons.
Measure about 3 feet of twine and cut. Measure about 14 inches of twine and cut. Place pieces into the glue and coat well. Does not have to be heavily saturated, just sticky/tacky. Measure a six inch piece of twine and set aside for later.
Wrap the middle piece of twine around the pencil in a spiral. This will be the “leaf.” Wrap the longer piece of twine around the glass covered in plastic wrap. Do not overlap but keep the spiral tights.
Allow the twine to dry overnight. Slowly unwrap the twine. It should stay formed into a spiral shape.  Take the  smaller piece of twine you set aside earlier and loop through the center of the spirals and tie. Spray paint the small spiral green.
Once tied and secure, I spread out the stiff twine loops evenly around the center to form a complete pumpkin. Add the cinnamon stick to the center. You can use hot glue if you’d like to secure it better. Then tuck in the green twine spiral. Again you can hot glue this one too.
Now on to the mason jar lid pumpkin. The supplies you will need for these are:
20-25 jar lids
Small piece of Twine
Cinnamon stick
Small piece of burlap
Orange & Green spray paint

Spray your jar lids with orange spray paint. You can leave them natural colored if that will fit with your decorating scheme or use a different color altogether.  Allow them to dry.

Spray your piece of burlap. You could buy green burlap but I used what I had on hand. Allow that to dry.

Once lids are drip loop twine through the center and secure tightly with a knot. Spread them out evenly. Add cinnamon stick to the center and tuck in your burlap leaf. Can be hot glued if necessary.

The pumpkin wreath is pretty self explanatory. I purchased orange burlap on sale at my favorite craft store for 3.99. I used a small green wreath base that was purchased at a dollar store.

Weave the burlap through the base. I used used industrial strength adhesive for the cinnamon stick stem and a piece of greenery from the yard for the leaf.

To see video instructions on how to make a wreath with burlap visit our website and look for the menu titled ‘Crafts.’

I love a good Holiday wreath. I also love when I can create something different and unique.

Last year at our Southern Holiday Life trip to Scott’s Antique Market I got this as one of my gifts. I saw these skates as we were browsing and fawned over them Leisel surprised me by buying them as my gift from her. I instantly knew that I would turn them into a wreath and create this wreath alternative for SHL 2013.

To see other wreath alternatives I have created you can visit our website and browse through our craft section under ‘Features.’

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