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Stories | Recipes | Events | People | Places | Things | Local News January 2017

Tombigbee Electric Cooperative

The votes are in!

Announcing the Best of Alabama Comfort food that satisďŹ es the soul

www.tombigbee.org


®

Manager Steve Foshee Co-Op Editor Jessica Garrison ALABAMA LIVING is delivered to some 420,000 Alabama families and businesses, which are members of 22 not-for-profit, consumer-owned, locally directed and taxpaying electric cooperatives. AREA cooperative member subscriptions are $3 a year; non-member subscriptions, $6. Alabama Living (USPS 029920) is published monthly by the Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives. Periodicals postage paid at Montgomery, Alabama, and at additional mailing office.

Comfort food On a cold January day, what’s better than to snuggle in with a bowl of homemade soup, chowder or even mac and cheese? Our readers agree!

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VOL. 70 NO. 1 n January 2017

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POSTMASTER send forms 3579 to: Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, Alabama 36124-4014.

What are the seven cooperative principles?

ALABAMA RURAL ELECTRIC ASSOCIATION

AREA President Fred Braswell Editor Lenore Vickrey Managing Editor Allison Griffin Creative Director Mark Stephenson Art Director Michael Cornelison Advertising Director Jacob Johnson Graphic Designer/Advertising Coordinator Brooke Echols Communications Coordinator Laura Stewart Graphic Designer Tori McClanahan

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NATIONAL ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVE:

National Country Market 611 South Congress Ave., Suite 504 Austin, Texas 78704 1-800-626-1181 www.nationalcountrymarket.com www.alabamaliving.coop USPS 029-920 • ISSN 1047-0311

Printed in America from American materials Alabama Living

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Alabama history book

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Worth the drive

Retired Alabama Archives Director Ed Bridges has written a new resource for anyone seeking a broad understanding of Alabama history.

Locally sourced food stars on the menu at Decatur’s Albany Bistro.

D E PA R T M E N T S

ADVERTISING & EDITORIAL OFFICES:

340 TechnaCenter Drive Montgomery, Alabama 36117-6031 1-800-410-2737 E-mail: advertising@areapower.com www.areapower.coop

Seven Cooperative Principles

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WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! ONLINE: www.alabamaliving.coop EMAIL: letters@alabamaliving.coop MAIL: Alabama Living 340 Technacenter Drive Montgomery, AL 36117

Al Online

Look for this logo to see more content online!

Get our FREE monthly email newsletter! Sign up at alabamaliving.coop

9 Spotlight 29 Around Alabama 28 Gardens 40 Outdoors 41 Fish & Game Forecast 34 Cook of the Month 46 Snapshots ONLINE: alabamaliving.coop

ON THE COVER: Frances Gray makes the ice cream at her family’s Peach Park complex just off I-65. Alabama Living readers voted Peach Park as the place to buy the “best ice cream” in our annual Best of Alabama contest. PHOTO: Mark Stephenson JANUARY 2017 3


Storm Update By Steve Foshee

Tombigbee Electric Cooperative Board of Trustees Jim McRae

Chair

David Collins

Vice-Chair

Curt Morris

Secretary Treasurer

Terry Gosa Greg Guin Sheila Gunter William T. Hulsey Chad Williams Warren Williford

Visit our website www.tombigbee.org

Headquarters: 3196 Co. Hwy 55 Hamilton, AL 35570 205.921.6712

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Weather is a very interesting thing. It’s always changing. We go weeks with no rain; when we get the rain, it seems to come in buckets. All of this happened at the end of November and first of December. Along the way, we had a tornado. This tornado caused us several problems. It began on our system around the airport in Lamar County. It traveled from there to below Beaverton, on to Gu-Win, then northeast to Twin, on to Brilliant, and exited our system south of Haleyville. That is a long way for a storm to travel, causing several power outages. This created around 65 damaged areas to the power system with close to 30 poles on the ground. Other areas were damaged due to high winds. At the peak, we had almost 3000 homes without power. So, we had a difficult three days but we were finally able to restore power to all of our affected members in about 48 hours. Considering the resources we had and the damage created, this was a remarkable accomplishment. We are very grateful for the two companies who came in and helped us get power restored, Black Warrior Electric Member Cooperative, Eutaw, and Corbitt Power & Light, LLC, Albertville. When the storm began, our Operations and Engineering Manager, Mark Carden, and I were monitoring the situation closely. As the damage began, our crews were working to restore power quickly. Then the tornado touched down, and the damage calls began to come in. We were on the phone at 4:00 a.m., about 4 hours from the first reports, seeking assistance. The problem at the time was the storm was so large, running from Kentucky to the Gulf Coast, that every utility was experiencing problems. Thus, no one was in position to give us aid for a while. We finally secured some aid around 9:00 a.m. the following morning.

It was not all the help we needed, but it was close. It took both companies time to pack and travel, so they arrived Wednesday afternoon. In the meantime, our men were working, some working for 24 straight hours. We are sorry it took us a bit to get everyone’s power back on, but we did our best. It is a big deal to house the visiting crews, deliver three meals in the field, answer hundreds of calls, and give out information with such a small staff. Restoring power requires everyone at Tombigbee being very engaged. Are we perfect in our execution? No. There are always things on which we can improve such as communicating better to our members what is going on and when things are going to get back to normal. But it was a great effort. I appreciate so much every employee’s dedication to the job in these times. It’s a job they were hired to do, and they did so without complaint. They were professionals every step of the way. This does not happen in some places this day and time, but it does here. In future issues, we are going to be communicating to you how to receive information from us and the technology we have available. It is a technological world now, and we are a part of it. However, it does us no good if you are unaware it is here especially with the outage situations we had. While you might be in the dark waiting on us to restore power, there is no reason to be in the dark concerning what is happening here. All of us are very grateful for the much needed rain of recent weeks and are hopeful the drought is over. Tombigbee and all its employees wish you all a very happy new year!n Steve Foshee is the president and CEO of Tombigbee Electric. Cooperative. Contact him directly at sfoshee@tombgibee.org

www.alabamaliving.coop


| Scholarship |

TEC Scholarship Once again, it’s time for the 2017 Tombigbee EC scholarships. We are delighted to bring this opportunity to the students in our service area and urge you to contact your guidance counselor or our office for your application today. To receive an application simply contact your high school guidance counselor or send an email requesting an application to: Last year, the selection committee for the 2016 Electric Cooperative Scholarship Foundation selected Emilie Fowler, the daughter of Gary and Angie Fowler, as the Tombigbee Electric Cooperative Scholarship recipient. Emilie is a graduate from WinďŹ eld High School.

Are you a high school senior who is graduating this spring?

info@tombigbee.com You can also call our office and request an application as well or ask us any questions you may have. 205.921.6712.

Are you a dependent of a member of our local cooperative? If so, you are eligible to apply for a scholarship from the Electric Cooperative Foundation. Tombigbee has joined other cooperatives throughout Alabama to create the Electric Cooperative Foundation. This spring, the foundation will be awarding scholarships across Alabama for students to continue their education at post-secondary and vocational schools. Alabama Living

JANUARY 2017 9


Seven Cooperative Principles As mentioned in the December issue of Alabama Living, Tombigbee recently completed Touchstone Energy’s survey considering the cooperative difference. This survey took a sampling of our membership to judge how Tombigbee is doing based on the satisfaction of our members. In our December article, we began to detail the difference in being a member of a cooperative and a customer of another company. We discussed how cooperatives were formed and how our owners were vital and important members to Tombigbee. There are several aspects of a cooperative which makes it different than any other type of business, but perhaps the most important differences are our principles. These are voluntary and open membership, democratic member control, members’ economic participation, autonomy and independence, education, training, and information, cooperation among cooperatives, and concern for the community. First, we have voluntary and open membership. When cooperatives were first formed, farmers had the choice rather or not they wished to receive electricity and become members. While it might seem difficult to believe, there are stories from various co-ops of farmers who did refuse at first, stating they were fine with kerosene. Of course, over time, they changed and became members of a cooperative. Open membership eliminates any discrimination based on age, sex, race, religion, etc. In other words, a cooperative is open to all people able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of a member. Second, Cooperatives are democratic organizations which are controlled by their members. This means our members have an equal opportunity to vote on cooperative issues such as board elections. Recently,

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Tombigbee concluded its’ 75th Annual Meeting. For this meeting, most of our members chose to vote by mailing in their ballots. If their ballots were received (either through mail or in person) by the deadline, the members were treated with a $5.00 bill credit. We are currently looking at different ways to increase member participation and votes. Look for more information about this particular topic in the July 2017 issue of Alabama Living. Third, members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of the cooperative. By paying the $5 membership fee and then paying for your electricity usage, you’re contributing to the capital of our cooperative. As far as the democratic control, each member receives one vote regardless of the amount of electricity used or financial status on important factors such as the board of directors, elected from the membership by the membership. Each member is important, and each member has a vote. Fourth, Autonomy and independence is another one of our principles. Although cooperatives share the same goals, values and principles, each cooperative is responsible for governing its own day to day activities. Why is this important? Each cooperative is unique because the areas we serve are unique. Local control is important because things which might work for other cooperatives might not be in the best interest of our members. Although Tombigbee sails our own ship, so to speak, we are not sailing alone. We are members of associations such as the Alabama Rural Electric Association (AREA), the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), and Touchstone Energy Cooperative.

www.alabamaliving.coop


| Survey Says | Fifth, Tombigbee has the principle revolving around

education. Education, Training, and Information is incredibly important to cooperatives. We strive to be our members’ trusted energy advisors. In other words, we want to be the ones you come to with questions about energy efficiency, usage questions, etc. In our survey findings, we discovered our members do trust us to educate them on matters dealing with energy usage. However, as a cooperative, we must work on communicating these tips or items with our members. Our magazine is a great source of information. We also have information on our website for our members to use such as the ability to view account details, see their usage, access engineering forms, report an outage and much more. Tombigbee employees also are constantly educating ourselves to become more successful at completing our job to better serve our members. Sixth, cooperation among cooperatives is a very important principle to Tombigbee and other cooperatives. Simply put, this means when others need help, we’re willing to help them and vice versa. At the end of November, Tombigbee’s system was hit with a tornado causing several power outages. With the help of another cooperative and a cooperative contractor company, we were able to restore all outages in about48 hours. Tombigbee’s linemen are also willing to help when needed. Recently, we sent a crew to Florida and North Carolina to help with the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. Seventh, our last principle is concern for the community. Tombigbee strives to strengthen our community by providing reliable electricity at an affordable price. We also strive to influence our community by various programs such as participating in the Youth Tour, offering a scholarship to a graduating senior, and raising money for Relay for Life just to name a few. The cooperative business model and these seven principles have one very important aspect in common: you. If you are receiving electricity from Tombigbee, you are one of our members. You are being served by a cooperative who values their members, their rights, and their community. With regards to the Touchstone Energy Survey, these principles are just another way to indicate how our business model is different than any other. In attempting to explain the cooperative difference, these seven principles are a successful starting point. As the months continue, Tombigbee will continue to dive into this study and communicate our results to our members/owners and further explain the cooperative difference.

As noted on www.cooperative.com, “if you are a member of a cooperative, you are connected, you have a voice, and you can make an impact.” Look for more information on this and the Touchstone Energy Survey in future issues of Alabama Living.

Alabama Living

JANUARY 2017  7


Do you want to be a part of Youth Tour 2017? For more information on the 2017 Youth Tour contact: Brenda Overton boverton@tombigbee.org or 205.921.6712 ext 224 or your school guidance counselor. Montgomery Youth Tour Dates: March 7-9

Washington D.C. Youth Tour Dates: June 9-15

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www.alabamaliving.coop


January | Spotlight AREA, Alabama Living to celebrate anniversaries The Alabama Rural Electric Association (AREA), which publishes Alabama Living, officially turns 70 later this year, and the magazine itself will turn 70 in early 2018. We started looking back through the magazine’s archives to learn more about our early years. But we’ve realized that some of our readers may hold some valuable information, about both the magazine and our association. AREA’s first publication was called the Alabama Rural Electric News, and was published as a broadsheet newspaper beginning in January 1948. In September 1967, the publication became AREA Magazine, and in January 1968 debuted in a standard magazine format. A little more than 20 years later, the magazine became Alabama Living, in part to distinguish it from the Rural Electrification Administration (REA), which was an agency of the U.S. Agriculture Department but was long associated with rural electrification. Alabama Living officially debuted in May 1989.

Then, as now, the magazine is published each month as an information and educational service to members of rural electric cooperatives in Alabama. Do you have any early copies of the Alabama Rural Electric News? We may feature you in an upcoming issue! We’re also interested in stories about AREA’s beginnings, when it was located on Lee Street in downtown Montgomery. Perhaps you have a friend or family member who was a member of the first AREA board, or you have some correspondence from the cooperative leaders who were instrumental in AREA’s formation and early years. To let us know about the beginnings of either the magazine or the association, send an email to Allison Griffin at agriffin@areapower. com, or send her a note at P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124.

Whereville, AL

SAFETY TIP: First-aid Kits A well-stocked first-aid kit is essential to being prepared for emergencies. Source: American Red Cross

Keep a first-aid kit in your home and in your car Know the location of firstaid kits where you work Identify and place this Alabama landmark and you could win $25! Winner is chosen at random from all correct entries. Multiple entries from the same person will be disqualified. Send your answer by Jan. 11 with your name, address and the name of your rural electric cooperative. The winner and answer will be announced in the February issue. Contribute your own photo for an upcoming issue! Send a photo of an interesting or unusual landmark in Alabama, which must be accessible to the public. A reader whose photo is used will also win $25. Submit by email: whereville@alabamaliving.coop, or by mail: Whereville, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124.

Wheather you buy a kit or put one together yourself, make sure: It has medications, emergency phone numbers or other items your healthcare provider may suggest You check the kit regularly

DECEMBER’S ANSWER

Clayton, Ala., is home to the Whiskey Bottle Tombstone that was once featured on “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” The grave belongs to William T. Mullen, whose wife adorned his resting place with this unique marker after he refused to stop drinking, according to the Encyclopedia of Alabama. The marker lists Mullen’s date of death as July 18, 1863. (Photo taken by Mark Stephenson of Alabama Living.) Congratulations to Larry Scurlock of Clarke-Washington EMC, the correct guess winner. Alabama Living

The flashlight batteries work

Check expiration dates

For a list of suggested medical contents for your kit, visit www.redcross.org and search “first-aid kit.”

JANUARY 2017 9

Al


| Power Pack |

A fulfilling New Year’s resolution: Retirement planning

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t’s 2017, and that means you might be one more year closer to retirement. Whether you’re at your very first job or wrapping up a successful career, there are always new things to learn about when it comes to saving for the future. So why not make retirement planning part of your New Year’s resolution! Putting money in a high yield savings account (if you can find one) is always smart, but you can do even more. The U.S. Department of the Treasury now offers a retirement savings option called myRA. There’s no minimum to open the account, you can contribute what you can afford, and you can withdraw funds with ease. To learn more

about myRA, visit www.myra.gov/. Hopefully your employer chips in a little. An employer-sponsored retirement plan or 401(k) can be a useful way to set aside funds for retirement, especially if your employer offers matching funds on what you invest. If you don’t work for an employer that offers this type of plan, there are many other plans designed to help you save for retirement. From solo 401(k)s to traditional and Roth IRAs, there are programs designed to fit a multitude of budgets. The earlier you start to save, the more funds you’ll have ready for retirement. And, as always, there is Social Security, which is funded by taxes you pay while you

work. To get estimates of future benefits and check your earnings record for accuracy, you can create a my Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. Along with giving up bad habits, this New Year start a good habit that can make a lasting, positive change.

Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached by email at kylle.mckinney@ssa.gov.

Founder’s mother inspired 2017 quilt contest theme

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inda Partin, longtime employee at the Alabama Rural Electric quilted with her own mother. “My grandfather built a quilting Association (publisher of Alabama Living), conceived of the frame that could be raised to the ceiling when they weren’t working on it and lowered so that they could work on their latest quilt idea for a statewide quilt contest in 2000. She’s organized the biwhenever they had the opportunity,” Linda says. “When she was ennial event ever since, and this year’s competition holds a special a little girl, she and her Mom would get up before daylight. They meaning for her. Linda’s mother, Thelma McBrayer Bradley, passed away July 3, 2016, just 25 days short of turning 99. Sixteen years ago, had no electricity, so they couldn’t wait until the sun came up and when Linda first told her mother about her idea for a quilt contest, they could lower the quilt frame and work on the quilt. All my life, Mrs. Bradley was happy to help her get it started. Mother kept us in quilts and one of the most fun “She told me how many squares, what size things to do was to sit and listen to her tell us stories of when she grew up on the farm and sit on they needed to be, and all of the particulars,” the quilt, looking at the different fabrics and pick Linda remembers. “She always wanted to know out the ones that were made from scraps of my what the theme was and how it was going. She dresses. She had four little girls and made all our was so proud that I was able to meet two Alabama first ladies through this project and she clothes. A professional seamstress, she owned a was so, so much a part of this project.” dress shop before I was born, made many of her But after her mother’s funeral, Linda found it nieces’ wedding gowns, her daughters' wedding hard to get started on the contest prep for this gowns, she upholstered furniture, and she even year. “It was too hard,” she says. “It was too made a car top at one time. much entwined with her. As I was getting ready “Today, quilting is an artform, but it was a to cancel the program for this year, I prayed, and way of life then. She came from a family of eight cried, and decided what better way to honor her, and no central heat and no electricity and quilts than by doing this ninth quilt in her memory were for warmth.” and in honor of all our hardworking moms. I Mrs. Thelma Bradley is surrounded by Linda says her mother was “always working called my sisters and they all thought it was a her daughters (from left to right) – on something or other and most of the time I Top row: Judy Howard, Mary Conn; wonderful idea!” didn’t even know what it was. In her older years, Bottom row: Linda Partin, Joan Bishop she crocheted lap throws for the elderly (who Helping in the healing process for others were younger than she was) to be used on wheelchairs. When her So the theme, “In Honor of Mom,” was chosen. “This year’s quilt hands became so twisted with arthritis, the lap throws took too project is probably doing more to help in my healing process than long, so she started crocheting baby caps for an organization called anything I could have done. And, I am finding out from some of Newborns in Need. She made close to 400 lap throws and more the quilters that is doing the same for them. As they call and write, than 3,000 baby hats.” I am getting comments like, 'Working on this helps me rememBesides organizing the AREA quilt contest, Linda herself makes ber times I spent with my Mom,' and 'Thank you for doing this. quilts for her own six grandchildren “except the 2-year-old. His My Mom was a quilter and she can’t do it anymore, but she taught will be next year. Any ideas for a quilt to do for a then 3-year-old me.' One lady said she is making her quilt square from some of her grandson would be greatly appreciated!” Mother’s clothing." Deadline for submitting your square for the 2017 AREA Quilt Quilting has a long tradition in Linda’s family. Mrs. Bradley, who Contest is Jan. 27. Email lpartin@areapower.com or call 334-215was born on a family farm in Rowan County, KY, near Morehead, 2732 for an entry packet. – Lenore Vickrey 10  JANUARY 2017

www.alabamaliving.coop


| Power Pack | HEALTHY LIVING

Rural Alabama’s health: A major public health concern

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any people think that rural areas are not as important as more urban areas with larger numbers of people. This is far from the truth.  Rural areas are the sources of the vast majority of materials, resources, and necessities, such as food, that everyone must have to survive.  Having healthy and vibrant rural areas is important to everyone.   Rural Alabama is plagued by numerous health status concerns combined with a lack of healthy population growth. This lack of healthy population growth creates difficulty in attracting and keeping health care providers. Twenty-four rural counties have smaller populations today than they had in 1910.  More disturbing, 41 counties are projected to have less population in 2040 than they had in 2010.  Alabama's population growth is projected to be the lowest among all southern states, less than one half of Mississippi's growth.

• Only two rural counties (Coffee and Pike) are recognized by the Health Resources and Services Administration as providing the minimal primary care service that is needed. None provide minimal dental service that is needed for low-income (Medicaid) residents, and none provide minimal mental health service. The Alabama Department of Public Health has a long history of recognizing the importance of rural health. This Department has housed Alabama’s official State Office of Rural Health for many years. In addition, ADPH officials, including State Health Officer Thomas Miller, M.D., were the founders of the Alabama Rural Health Association in 1991. This non-profit organization operates independently but closely shares rural health interests and concerns with the ADPH.

Major indicators of the serious health issues facing rural Alabama include the following:

For additional information on rural health concerns and this association, please visit www.arhaonline.org.

• Alabama has the 3rd highest death rate among all 50 states and the rate is 10 percent higher for rural residents than urban Alabamians.

Editor’s note: Alabama Living congratulates Jim McVay, Dr. P.A., former director of the Bureau of Health Promotion and Chronic Disease of the Alabama Department of Public Health, who wrote our “Healthy Living” column for the past few years. Dr. McVay retired Dec. 31 after 42 years with the state of Alabama.

• Life expectancy is three years less for Alabamians than for the nation - 3 ½ years less for rural Alabamians. • In 1980, 45 rural counties had hospitals that provided obstetrical service. Today only 16 rural counties still have such service available.  The loss of hospitals that deliver babies is greater in the 12 counties of the Black Belt Region.  In 1980, 10 of these 12 counties had hospitals providing obstetrical service.  Today only one county (Dallas) still has this service.

Thanks for Natureplex story

Dale Quinney is executive director of the Alabama Rural Health Association, 1414 Elba Highway, Troy, 36081.

Letters to the editor

I had the pleasure of taking part in John Felsher’s visit to the Alabama Nature Center’s NaturePlex, as he prepared to write a story for the Alabama Living magazine (October 2016). He did a fantastic, well-written article that spotlighted our facility beautifully. Mr. Felsher was such a pleasure to be around and I think he kind of enjoyed taking in all of the sights, sounds and beauty here at the NaturePlex. Please accept our thanks for highlighting some of what we do here on our property. The exposure that was done gave our facility an introduction to your grand audience, and we can’t thank you enough! Also, I do know for a fact that a couple drove all the way from Andalusia to visit our facility because of this story in your magazine. Thank you for sharing a taste of the outdoors with your readers! We always have something cool going on, so if you ever want to do a follow up or highlight something else; we are always happy to share our mission and our property with you!

I have at least one definite proof that your magazine gets read! On Sunday, despite the raw weather, a couple who had driven down from Ashland in Clay County showed up at our studio. She had read about the Cloverdale-Idlewild Art Trail in Alabama Living (“Around Alabama,” December 2016). She was thrilled, she said, and considered it a nice way to spend her afternoon. She was planning to visit all five studios. Thanks, thanks, thanks!

Marla Ruskin Alabama Wildlife Federation

Janice Prescott Montgomery

Alabama Living

E-mail us at: letters@alabamaliving.coop or write us at: Letters to the editor P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

Calendar listing works

JANUARY 2017 11


7 1 0

2 Readers vote on their favorites about Alabama By Allison Griffin

Moundville Archeological Park, on the banks of the Black Warrior River, contains the remains of one of the largest prehistoric Native American settlements in the United States. See more about it on Page 18.

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his time of year, the lines of people hungry for fresh peach peaches. And she makes 16 other flavors, some of which rotate in ice cream in Clanton aren’t as long as they are in the sweland out seasonally. tering summertime. That means a welcome break for FranAs you might expect in a county known for the soft summer ces Gray, who makes the ice cream at her family’s Peach Park fruit, peach is the most popular flavor, followed by vanilla. complex just off Interstate 65. “We use our own peaches in our ice cream,” she says. “In the Alabama Living’s readers voted Peach Park as the place to buy summertime, we freeze them in three-gallon buckets, and when the “best ice cream” in the magazine’s annual Best of Alabama we open in the spring before peaches come in, we use our own contest. Each year, we ask you to choose your frozen peaches to make the peach ice cream.” favorites in our state – the people, places and In the summer, she comes in early to get sights that make us uniquely Alabama. started before the crowds arrive, and she’s Gray’s husband, Gene, started Peach Park usually at the store for 9 to 12 hours each day. more than 30 years ago as a small fruit stand, “I do enjoy it, but it’s hard work. I’m getand today the business has grown to include ting too old to do this. I keep telling them, a retail storefront that’s been expanded sevand they won’t listen to me,” she laughs. “I’ll eral times, a neighboring convenience store be 77 in March. I haven’t found anybody to (which continues to sell the fresh ice cream take my place yet. Every year, I say it’s going during the winter months, when the larger to be my last year.” store is closed), an RV park, a playground Her son, Mark, a board member of Central and more. Alabama Electric Cooperative, co-owns and When her husband and the Barber’s milkmanages Peach Park; several other family man failed at making ice cream back in the members work or have worked here. A cou1980s, Frances stepped in and came up with ple of her grandchildren aren’t old enough a home recipe for a gallon machine, and af- Frances Gray makes the ice cream at yet, but they’ll be trained to work, just as ter several batches, she hit on a perfect mix. Clanton’s Peach Park. their older family members have. Now, the business uses a 10-gallon machine, Asked what she enjoys most, she says, “I but she can barely keep up; she makes ice cream six days a week guess just the satisfaction of making ice cream, and I feel like evduring the summertime. erybody’s enjoying it. I feel like I’m contributing.” As of early August last year, she used more than 1,400 buckRead on to find out the other winners in the 2017 Best of Alaets of peaches for ice cream – that’s more than 4,200 gallons of bama contest.

12 JANUARY 2017

www.alabamaliving.coop


ken:

Best fried chic

, Montgomery

aurant Martin’s Rest

has ery institution wn Montgom dto an id tm ea d m ne e w e 1930s. Th th e This family-o nc si g in ok ic fried ch ktry-style co s daily, but the ge served up coun an ch u en m ent put it on d dinner urism Departm three lunch an To a it m ba la A e y: Th e You Die,” and en is a mainsta Alabama Befor in rt t fo Ea m to co s rn he is he D ut the list of “100 e’s list of best So Leisure magazin made Travel + , d breast pieces dishes. al thigh, leg an ps of plump, on iti ad tr e th to In addition to s” – rounded es “pulley bone rv ll want to savor se u’ so Yo al p. ’s is cr tin y ch Mar un cr a to eat, fried u’ve picked the a wish after yo tender breast m e ak m t n’ do u if yo every bite, even d in n. ea cl Carter Hill Roa ne bo pulley cated at 1796 lo is t an ur ta Martin’s Res 67. call 334-265-17 Montgomery;

Best football player:

Bo Jackson

The multi-sport athlete from Besseme r lettered in football, baseball and track at Auburn Universit y, and went on to win the Heisman trophy in 1985. He played both professional football and baseball before he retired from spor ts in 1995. While Alabamians were long familiar with the talented athlete, Jackson gained an even wider expo sure as a Nike endorser and the star of the “Bo Knows” ad cam paign. Since his retirement, Jackson has been active with entrepreneurial pursuits and several charities , especially those that serve children. Though he and his family live in Illinois, Jackson was moved to help his fellow Alabamians after the April 2011 tornadoes that devastated much of the northern part of the state. The sixth annual Bo Bikes Bama char ity ride, which he formed to raise money to build community stor m shelters, will be April 29, 2017.

Best campground and best state

park:

Gulf State Park                          

s, the famed beaches at With two miles of sugar-white sand attract tourists from nty Gulf State Park in south Baldwin Cou e to offer than sand mor has park Alabama and beyond. But the beach pavilion, new se, cour golf ship and surf: A champion sites, hiking trails, and a rental cottages, tennis courts, camp nds 1,512 feet into the fishing pier that is 20-feet wide and exte Gulf.             years ago, demolishHurricane Ivan devastated the park 12 the facilities and erasing ing the convention center, wrecking s are in the works as part sand dunes. But now, major upgrade t Project; besides a new men of the Gulf State Park Enhance (which the state hopes er cent ce eren 350-room lodge and conf des an education center, to open in 2018), the project inclu trails and restoration of an interpretive center, miles of new dunes. includes modern bathThe 496-site improved campground , waterfront campsites houses, pull-through sites, back-in sites welcome). New to also and ADA-accessible sites (and tents are include grill tops that sites ping the park are 11 primitive cam and picnic tables. . www.alapark.com or call 251-948-7275 Alabama Living

JANUARY 2017 13


Best small town

art:

Fairhope’s down town The charming, lai d-back community of Fairhope, on Baldwin County’s Eastern Shore, fea tures a downtown shopping district filled with bloom ing flowers, local restaurants and un ique shops and bo utiques. But it is th town’s abundance e of public art, gallerie s and art-centered events that give it th e feel of an artists’ colony. Perhaps its most iconic piece of art is a mural calle d “Aboriginal Sealife” at the corner of Fairhope Avenue an d Church Street, painted by Ameri’ ca Jones. “Fairhope acknowledges and values art, which is part of what I appreciate about it, Jones said in an al. ” com article in June 2014.

:

Best prehistoric/archaeologic site

Old Cahawba

tal (1819Cahawba was once Alabama’s state capi , but it town r rive m bellu ante ing thriv 1826) and a l War, Civi the became a ghost town shortly after ing. ood fl and n due to loss of rail transportatio the remains But its roots go back much farther; builders of nd mou by pied occu ge of a large villa lie underAD) the Mississippian Period (100-1550 rding to acco tal, capi rst neath those of Alabama’s fi . ama Alab the Encyclopedia of uraged to Now a historical park, visitors are enco of onceains study Old Cahawba’s few striking rem The site ts. stree rted great houses and walk its dese Comal oric Hist ama Alab is maintained by the er, cent ome mission, and the park includes a welc a and s sign tive picnic area, hiking trails, interpre nature trail. ville; call The address is 9518 Cahaba Road, Orr m a.co awb .cah www visit or , 334-872-8058

:

Best waters to fish

Lake Guntersville

en ranked has historically be Lake Guntersville es nationalof bass fishing lak at or near the top kson and e itors come to th Jac ly. Thousands of vis , making sh fi to ar areas each ye ty un Co all sh ar M e region. omic engine for th e years it an important econ been built over th Its reputation has ts, and en m na t catches in tour year. thanks to the grea ch ea e lak e th l trails visit na tio na e th of t ar os m inas m ramps and private There are free boat stretchich eter of the lake, wh ersville around the perim nt Gu to Nickajack Dam park ees 75 miles from at -st lle vi rs /lake-gunte Dam. alapark.com

14 JANUARY 2017

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Alabama Living

JANUARY 2017 15


Best waters to play:

Lake Martin

sa River, with an astound80-acre impoundment on the Tallapoo 39,1 this but g, shin fi pie crap and bass Lake Martin is also known for its recreational opportunities. poosa better known for its abundant water rokee Bluffs, on the Elmore and Talla ing 700 miles of shoreline, is perhaps the Tallapoosa River in 1926 near Che of rs ama wate Alab to the er ded pow oun ctric imp oele pany hydr rol and to supply Alabama Power Com constructed primarily for flood cont was lake e Th tin. Mar Lake form to county border, and boaters. recreational opportunities to anglers y Creek, Madwind Creek, residents, but it also provides ample k State Park, Smith Landing on Sand Cree d Win at ities facil ates oper ation serv set aside for public use Con of are ing access areas The Alabama Department . Numerous other recreational and boat isco Alam p Cam near t Poin ’s Pace Kowaliga Creek, and om and listed on lake maps. lakemartin.c

Best outd

oor annua l festival/ National S jubilee: hrimp Fes tival

Gulf Shore s’ annual N as a way to keep tourist ational Shrimp Festi val began s at traditionall in 19 y the end to the beach after Lab o r Day, whic 71 th e The event su m m er h was beach seaso celebrated of slowing n. down. This 45 years this fall, an d free festiva in October l, on the se shows no signs each year, cond full w attracts ab ers say, an eekend out 250,00 d features 0 more 300 and crafts, vendors th patrons, organiza retail mar at off ketplace, o shrimp! utdoor villa er fine art, arts ge and of co Two stages urse, little ones’ offer continuous mu sical entert attention is ainm captured in lage. mysh rimpfest.c the Childre ent while the om n’s Activity Vil-

l: Best themed trai

es Robert Trent Jon

Golf Trail

ip on of championsh lf Trail is a collecti Go rt s be ne Ro Jo t ct en ite Tr urse arch The Robert d by legendary co ne ed lp sig he de il s, tra se e ur Th co a. caliber golf te of Alabam ibuted across the sta nations in Trent Jones Sr., distr t popular golf desti os m e th of e on to in transform the state of the vid Bronner, CEO the world. and executed by Da state’s ted e ea th cr s of ts wa t se ep as The conc diversify the lp he to a, am ab Al s of te of Alabama. Retirement System omically help the sta on ec d an nd roughout the state, fu n io pens les at eight sites th ho 8 id37 th wi d rte e courses are cons The Trail sta at eleven sites. Th ral les ve ho se 8 d 46 ne to aw n sp s ow but has gr d the trail ha an , ble da or aff ll t sti m ered world-class ye rn states. rtjgolf.co ects in other Southe oj pr ed nc na fi testa

Best family o uting locatio n, and best “sp ur of the mo ment” weekend trip :

Beaches

Alabama’s Gul Beach, Gulf Sh f coast beaches – Orange ores, Dauphin both of these Island – won categories, an d it’s easy to un derstand why : the sugar w hite sands, th family activi e ties and rest aurants availa in the charm ble ing towns ne ar the coast, ample opport and unities for en joying nature learning abou and tw of the state’s gr ildlife. The coastline is one eatest econom ic and environmental assets . 16 JANUARY 2017

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Alabama Living

JANUARY 2017 17


Best sports venue:

Bryant-Denny Stadium Bryant-Denny Stadium is home to one of the most storied programs in col lege football history. Or iginally named for forme r president George H. De nny (coach Paul “Bear” Bry ant’s name was added in 1975), the Crimson Tide’s home has a seating capacity of 101,821, making it the seventh largest stadiu m in the U.S. Until the early 1990s, Leg ion Field in Birmingham hosted most of the Tide’s marquee games. Expansio ns over the years added lux ury skyboxes, additional seating and massive high-d efinition video screens. Alabama’s won more tha n 80 percent of its games played inside Bryant-Denn y over the last 84 years, according to Saturdays Do wn South.

:

Best waterfall

s Noccalula Fall

laat strangled A ing drought th pl es, ip cr tim e r th te et re kle. In w category befo Gadsden a tric in n. lls si We chose this Fa ba la its lu h ca roug hich left Noc trail winding th robama last fall, w ll with a gorge fa of a young Che er at ue w at t st oo ze -f on 90 a br ll es ing ta ur tbe at oo fe er -f it death aft la Falls is a nine plunged to her s, nd ge le Above Noccalu l ca lo , according to t love. . Check kee woman, who er to marry a man she did no calula Falls Park th oc fa N r ic he bl by pu d e re th at orde ic areas and an just the falls ture trails, picn na , ad te es m There’s more th ho r l garden, pionee afallspark.com out its botanica alul cc no d. un ro pg year-round cam

Best Native American site:

Moundville Archeological Park

nctuary:

Best wildlife park or sa

er Alabama Wildlife Cent

untain State Park, is Ala nter, housed at Oak Mo alfor ly ual ann ing The Alabama Wildlife Ce car facility, t wildlife rehabilitation bama’s oldest and larges species. 100 n tha re mo m fro ients e most 2,000 wild bird pat Alabama wild animals hav ive nat well over 50,000 , ion con ept in inc n C’s bee AW has ce Sin organization the center’s efforts. The 350 n tha re mo s ent s pre been helped because of AWC a year for over 30 years. tinuous service 365 days a. www.awrc.org bam Ala ut gho ou thr ms progra conservation education 18 JANUARY 2017

Prehistoric native Americans farm ed, hunted and fished the area known as Moundville, south of Tuscaloosa. Today, the Moundville Native American Festival, held each fall, the park’s most prestigio us event, celebrates the culture and heritage of Sout heastern Indians, past and present. Performers, artists and craftspeople entertain and educate visitors abou t the rich culture and heritage that made the Southeas tern native Americans unique. www.moundville.ua.edu


Alabama Living

JANUARY 2017  19


Best thing about

living in Alabama:

ate The weather/clim

who’ve lived in preciated by those ap t ub te do no t fac n region of the sta lly mild, a mon in the norther winters are genera m its co t e bu or , m is rse l ve fal di ow can be nter snowstorms. Sn Alabama’s weather urism. The e had their fill of wi abama. o’v Al wh in d on an en s ate : agriculture and to om m es en iti ph tiv re ac ra ic ly northern cli om ive on lat e it attractive to portant ec but snow is still a re the state’s most im ason, and also mak se of g o in tw ow in than in the south, r gr g to fac lon r a state ate is a majo winters afford the Our moderate clim ecipitation and mild pr d un -ro ar ye nt usually abunda ers. escape brutal wint snowbirds eager to

Best compliment you hear about Alabama:

Friendly people, Southern hospitality

   The act of hospitality is referenced in no less an authority tha n the Bible: “Do not forget to entert ain strangers, for by so doing some peo ple have entertained angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews 13:2) We’re well known for sho wing graciousness, kindness and warmth to people, whether they’re new acquaintances from the neighb orhood or out-of-towners. The art of receiving and entertaining guests , socially or commercially, is no doub t one of our greatest assets.

s past year:

ing thi Your favorite article in Alabama Liv

Beloved college coaches, recipes

ys tell us that the recipe feature is When we travel the state, readers alwa : Each month, our team picks the best their favorite, and it’s easy to see why the monthly theme, prepares the dish reader-submitted recipes that match we who picks a cook of the month, es, takes studio photos of the food and all our talented home cooks who to you ank interview for the magazine. Th share their beloved recipes with us! ributed a story for the September Freelance writer Emmett Burnett cont ge coaches. He interviewed Gene colle issue on some of the state’s beloved others to ask them about their legStallings, Larry Blakeney, Pat Dye and to find out what they’re up to today. acies at their respective schools, and

Sand Mounta in reader wins Best of Alaba ma drawing

David A. Bruc e, a member of Cooperative, w as randomly ch Sand Mountain Electric osen as the w the readers who inner among vo name was draw ted in our “Best of Alabama” contest. His n from more th an 1,300 onlin entries this year e and mailed . Bruce lives in Higdon and en his Alabama Li jo ving magazine every month. U ys reading because of a di nable to work sability, he said the $250 prize certainly be a money would welcome gift. Th anks to everyo in the contest! ne who voted

20 JANUARY 2017

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Alabama Living

JANUARY 2017 21


| Alabama People |

Dr. Ed Bridges

Alabama history: a fresh perspective Ed Bridges, for 30 years the director of the Alabama Department of Archives and History, recently published a new bicentennial history, Alabama: The Making of an American State. Released last fall by the University of Alabama Press, the book is a comprehensive resource for anyone seeking a broad understanding of Alabama history. We talked with Bridges about the book, which in some ways, he says he’s been working on all his life. – Lenore Vickrey

W

hy is it important for Alabamians to understand our state’s history? If you think about it, our understanding of history sets the framework for all of our ideas and attitudes—not only about public policy issues, but about encounters we have with people of different backgrounds. To make the best of our opportunities, being as knowledgeable and informed as possible is very helpful. I also think that having an understanding of the concerns and issues of other people helps us work with them more effectively. There are many other reasons, but it also seems to me that we are enriched and broadened as people if we can see ourselves in the larger flow of life of which we are a part. What is your favorite period of Alabama history? I love the whole story. My book is divided into seven chapters, which reflect the period divisions that make most sense to me. Each chapter or period seems to have its own narrative arc that is powerful and profound in its own way. And each has its own clusters of people and events that give the big story of the period flesh and life. But then seeing the way these periods flow and link together makes for a big history of Alabama that I think is wondrously rich. Announcements about the book say it gives readers a “new perspective” on the social, political, economic and culture forces that have shaped the state.  Can you elaborate on that “new perspective”? We have not had an overview of Alabama history written for the general public in decades. Over the course of this time, scientists and engineers in Huntsville helped send a man to the moon. The system of segregation was abolished. The structure of Alabama’s heavy industry and textile manufacturing changed profoundly, and hundreds of thousands of people moved from farms to cities. We are now part of a global community shaped by sweeping technological changes that hit us with accelerating speed. Having lived through these changes causes us to see the world differently than we did a half a century ago, and I think we need history books that include these more recent stories and that reflect what we have learned from them.   Now that the book is published, what is your next project? I’m very much involved in helping with the state’s upcoming Bicentennial celebrations, which will begin in March 2017. For two and a half years, covering the years that began when Alabama became a territory and ended when we became a state, groups across Alabama will be developing programs and activities to commemorate our history—the whole story of how we became who we are today. It should be an especially wonderful time for more exploring of Alabama history more deeply.   What do you read for pleasure in your spare time? I love the “great courses” programs and am doing one now on the Italian Renaissance. I also try to mix serious works, such as Robert Caro’s The Power Broker, about Robert Moses and the building of modern New York city, with fun reads, such as The Boys in the Boat, about the U.S. rowing team in the 1936 Olympics—which, by the way, is a wonderful book. And I am going back to dig out some of the classics I missed along the way, such as Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations and George Eliot’s Middlemarch. Can you think of a richer feast than that?

22  JANUARY 2017

Photo by Michael Cornelison

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Alabama Living

JANUARY 2017  23


Sweet treat takes top honors at competition

A

fter her name was announced as the winner of the “Crockin’ It” contest at the Alabama National Fair, Ashley Holman of Montgomery made a quick trot to the stage and was a little teary-eyed when she accepted her ribbon and certificate. The homemaker won first place for her recipe, Rocky Road Chocolate Cake, which she says combines her favorite Rocky Road ingredients: milk chocolate, marshmallows and nuts. She’d seen several similar recipes on the Internet that piqued her interest, and she decided to put different elements into a cake and cook it in a slow cooker. It took her two or three tries to get it right, but she was pleased with the outcome, and said the recipe is very easy. “You use not only instant chocolate pudding in the mix, you put the dry cooking syrup, chocolate pudding on top, and pour some milk on top of it. You don’t stir it in. You just let it go in. The Crock-Pot does all the work. Once it’s done, you let it sit for a few minutes; then you put the marshmallows and pecans and stuff on top. It’s really easy stuff.” Like most talented home cooks, she started cooking as a youngster, about age 6 or 7, and says her father and her grandmother were her biggest influences. As an adult, Holman went to culinary school at Trenholm State Community College. She’s a home cook now, but enjoys learning about food and trying different recipes. But it’s more than just a hobby for her. She’s had some serious health issues, and says cooking for her is “therapy.” She loves the contests each fall at the Fair, when she says she can just be creative with recipes and focus on her food. At the time of the “Crockin’ It” contest, she’d already won fourth place in the Cooking with Chicken contest and third place in the cakes competition. Alabama Living celebrated a first with this year’s contest: The second and third place dishes were created by two people from the same family. Tallassee’s Mary Lyons and her son Levi, 25, entered separately and won (see recipes on Page 26). Cooking talent obviously runs in the family! - Allison Griffin Fair Creative Living Center Director Glenda Yarbrough, left, and Alabama Living Editor Lenore Vickrey, far right, congratulate contest winners Ashley Holman, Levi Lyons and Mary Lyons.

24 JANUARY 2017

Ashley Holman’s Crock-Pot Rocky Road Chocolate Cake took the top prize at the Crockin’ It competition.

First Place

Crock-Pot Rocky Road Chocolate Cake Ashley Holman 1 1 3 1 1 /3 1 3¼ 1 2 ¾ ½

15.25-ounce box chocolate cake mix 3.4-ounce package instant chocolate pudding mix large eggs, lightly beaten 8-ounce container sour cream cup butter, melted teaspoon pure vanilla extract cups milk, divided 3.4-ounce package cook and serve chocolate pudding mix cups miniature marshmallows cup semi-sweet chocolate chips cup chopped pecans

Place dry cake mix, instant pudding mix, eggs, sour cream, melted butter, vanilla extract and 1¼ cups milk in a large mixing bowl. Mix with an electric mixer for 2 minutes. Lightly spray slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray and pour batter in. Sprinkle cook and serve pudding over batter, but do not stir! Pour the remaining 2 cups milk into a saucepan and heat through on medium heat (do not boil), stirring frequently. Gently pour hot milk over pudding mix; do not stir. Cover and cook on low for 2 to 2 ½ hours. Turn off slow cooker and take the lid off; the cake will set up as it stands. Sprinkle marshmallows, chocolate chips and pecans on top and let it stand for approximately 15 minutes, until the marshmallows start to melt. Serve immediately. www.alabamaliving.coop


Alabama Living

JANUARY 2017  25


Alabama’s Best Cake (adult category) Levi Lyons’ creation, Crock-Pot Spinach Sausage and Ricotta Shells, is made with Kelley’s Jalapeno Pepper Smoked Sausage.

Second Place

Crock-Pot Spinach Sausage and Ricotta Shells Levi Lyons 1½ 1 1 1 1 ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 ½

cups Kelley’s Jalapeno Pepper Smoked Sausage 16-ounce package jumbo pasta shells 16-ounce package ricotta cheese 10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach, cooked and squeezed dry jar pasta sauce cup grated Parmesan cheese egg, slightly beaten teaspoon salt cup shredded mozzarella cheese teaspoon olive oil teaspoon Italian seasoning

Cook pasta shells according to package directions. Cook sausage on stovetop. Remove casing and scramble in pieces. Stir together ricotta, spinach, Parmesan cheese, egg, salt, shredded mozzarella and Italian seasoning. Add sausage and olive oil and mix together roughly. Pour ½ cup pasta sauce in bottom of slow cooker. Fill jumbo shells with mixture, and place in the bottom of the slow cooker. Pour pasta sauce over shells and repeat. End with pasta sauce over shells and Parmesan cheese on top.

Alabama Living also sponsors the annual “best cake” (adult) category at the Alabama National Fair. This year’s winner was Stacie Bruney of Eclectic.

Caramel Apple Pecan Layer Cake Cake: ¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature 1½ cups granulated sugar ¾ cup sour cream 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 teaspoon Alaga Yellow Label syrup 6 large egg whites, room temperature 2½ cups all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare three 8-inch cake pans with floured cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Don’t skimp on the creaming time. Add the sour cream, vanilla and syrup and mix until well combined. Add the egg whites in two batches, mixing well after each addition. Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. In a small measuring cup, combine the apple butter and milk. Add half of the dry ingredients to the batter and mix well. Add the apple butter mixture, mix well, and then add remaining dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Stir in pecans. Divide batter evenly between the pans and bake for 2224 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs. Remove from oven and cool 3-5 minutes before removing from pan. Caramel Frosting: ¾ cup granulated sugar ¾ cup boiling water 1 cup butter, softened

Mary Lyons’ Crock-Pot Tropics Sipper features Alabama-made Milo’s lemonade.

Third Place

Crock-Pot Tropics Sipper Mary Lyons 4 4 3 1 ½ 1

cups Milo’s brand lemonade cups pineapple juice whole cinnamon sticks cup Alaga syrup cup packed light brown sugar medium orange, sliced thinly

Place pineapple juice, lemonade, cinnamon sticks, brown sugar, syrup and orange slices in slow cooker. Cover and cook on high 3 ½ to 4 hours. Serve with cinnamon stick in mug. 26 JANUARY 2017

4 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon ½ teaspoon nutmeg Pinch of allspice ½ teaspoon salt ¾ cup apple butter ¼ cup milk ¾ cup pecans, chopped

2 egg yolks 4 cups powdered sugar

Spread sugar in a large heavy skillet. Heat very slowly until sugar melts and starts to turn a golden color. Add boiling water SLOWLY, stirring constantly. Continue heating until melted sugar dissolves completely in water. Boil until about ¾ cup remains. Beat butter until smooth, add the egg yolks and blend well. Add syrup alternately with powdered sugar to the butter mixture. Beat until smooth. Place the first layer of cake on cake stand, and top with half of the frosting and spread into an even layer just to the top of the layer. Add the second layer and top with remaining frosting, spreading in an even layer. Top with last cake layer. Cinnamon Apple and Caramel Topping: 1-2 apples, cored and 1 tablespoon butter chopped Pinch of nutmeg 2 tablespoons light Sprinkle of lemon juice brown sugar Ghirardelli caramel sauce ½ teaspoon cinnamon ¼ cup pecans, chopped Place apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, butter, nutmeg and lemon juice into a pan, toss together and cook until apples are tender. Pile apples on top of cake. Drizzle caramel sauce around the top edge of cake and over apples, and allow sauce to run down the sides of the cake. Sprinkle with pecans. www.alabamaliving.coop


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Sale or Rental

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Our 2017 theme is:

CALL FOR ENTRIES LASTAlabama Rural Electric Association’s

In Honor of Mom 9th

Quilt Competition

Thelma Bradley, mother of AREA Quilt Competition coordinator Linda Bradley Partin.

Design your quilt square recognizing what makes your mom special to you!

Mail, E-mail or Fax form below for your entry package. Deadline to submit quilt square is January 27, 2017.

Name: ________________________________________________ Address: ______________________________________________ City, State Zip: __________________________________________ E-mail: ________________________________________________ Phone: ________________________________________________ Cooperative: ___________________________________________ (The electric cooperative name on front of this Alabama Living.) Alabama Living

Mail to: Linda Partin AREA 340 TechnaCenter Drive Montgomery, AL 36117 or Phone: 334-215-2732 Fax: 334-215-2733 E-mail: lpartin@areapower.com JANUARY 2017 27


| Gardens |

Growing a happy, helpful new year

T

he start of a new year is the perfect time to think about all the things you hope to accomplish in the coming months in the garden. It’s also a nice time to figure out ways to help others. And you can even combine the two! Here are a few ideas to kick-start a 2017 garden to-do list for yourself and for others.

Gardening for yourself

Make a list of things you want to do in your 2017 garden and include any garden problems that need to be addressed. A prime example: If last year’s drought killed plants and lawn areas in your yard, plan ways to repair the damage or reimagine a lower maintenance, more drought-tolerant landscape. Peruse gardening websites or other online resources or curl up with seed and plant catalogues, books and magazines, which you can buy or borrow from your local library or gardening friends. Collect your ideas in a central, easyto-access location. Pinterest or another online idea organizing application or website can help with this if you’re tech-savvy. If you prefer to hold ideas in your hand, buy a garden journal/organizer or make one from a loose-leaf or spiral-bound notebook. (Get one with pockets, where you can store pages from magazines, brochures and other printed material.)

Katie Jackson is a freelance writer and editor based in Opelika, Alabama. Contact her at katielamarjackson@ gmail.com.

28 JANUARY 2017

Visit public gardens for inspiration. A nice list of Alabama’s public gardens is available at www. al.com/living/index. ssf/2016/03/gardens. html#14. Attend winter gardening workshops and presentations. Check with local garden clubs, public gardens, nursery and garden centers, Master Gardener groups and local Alabama Cooperative Extension System offices for options. Become a Master Gardener. Many local Master Gardener groups are accepting applications for 2017 classes, which typically begin in the spring or fall of the year. Check with your local Extension office or go to https://mg.aces.edu or http:// alabamamg.org for more information on this program.

Gardening for others

Pitch in. Offer to help relatives or neighbors who may not be able to keep up with their own yard work or gardening duties. Volunteer. Check with your local school system, chamber of commerce, Extension office or with other community action groups to see what garden volunteer opportunities are available in your area. Donate. Many non-profit gardening organizations and projects rely on philanthropic support for their programs. Look for ones that fit your ideals and make a do-

January Tips  Plant shrubs, trees, fruit trees, roses and spring-flowering bulbs.  Prune fruit trees and summer-blooming shrubs.  Order seeds and plants for spring gardening.  Keep birdbaths and bird feeders clean and full.  Start a compost heap or turn existing ones.  Plant hardy annual flowers and vegetables  Sow seed for lettuces, cabbage and broccoli in cold frames.

nation of money or in-kind supplies and services. Heal. Therapeutic garden-related projects may well be underway at your local hospital, senior center and through other community service programs (see sidebar for one very special project that needs both volunteers and donations). Ask around to see if one exists in your area— or start one yourself! These are just a few of the many ways you can make 2017 a year of gratifying gardening, but there are many more. Spend time this month exploring the options and if you have unique ideas of your own send them to me. Perhaps we can share them with other readers in future columns!

A prescription for garden healing We gardeners know the many physical and emotional benefits of gardening and now, thanks to a partnership between the University of Alabama Birmingham’s Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System’s Master Gardener program at Auburn University, those benefits are being shared with others. The two organizations are working together to conduct a gardening intervention study, Harvest for Health, that pairs gardeners with cancer survivors in an effort to help survivors increase their intake of healthy vegetables while improving their physical function and quality of life. For the study, funded through the National Cancer Institute, researchers are seeking 426 cancer survivors age 65 and older in 31 Alabama counties to work with Master Gardener mentors. Participating survivors receive all the gardening supplies — including garden beds (either raised or wheeled containers that make it easier to garden) — and all the help they need to tend their garden. To learn more about the project, including which counties are participating in the study, details about criteria for participation, how to become a mentor or how to donate to the study, call 1-800-GROW-GR8 or send an email to harvest4health@uab.edu or smithkp@ auburn.edu. www.alabamaliving.coop


January | Around Alabama Tuesdays in January, Gulf Shores, Tuesday Winter Civil War Tours at Fort Morgan. One-hour tours begin at 2 p.m. Reservations are not required, but weather conditions may cancel the tour. Admission: Adults-$7, students-$5, child-$4. Fort-morgan.org

1

Photo courtesy of the Coffee County Arts Alliance.

Orange Beach, Polar Bear Dip. Take a dip in the Gulf of Mexico on New Year’s Day at 12 p.m. Traditional New Year’s delicacies to follow at the Flora-Bama. Purchase a towel and annual shirt at the gift shop. Florabama.com

4-Feb. 22    

Theodore, Winter Wednesdays at Bellingrath Gardens. Join us on Wednesday mornings at 10:30 a.m. for special programs covering gardening, history and the collections in the Bellingrath Museum home. Garden admission $13 for adults, $7.50 children ages 5-12. Bellingrath.org

6-29

Wetumpka, Camellia Show at Jasmine Hill Gardens. Enjoy hundreds of varieties of gorgeous blossoms along native stone walks. Fridays and Saturdays, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sundays 12-5 p.m., Admission $10, adults, $5, children. 334-567-6463

7

Montgomery, 5th Annual Hope Inspired Ministries Extra Mile 5K+1/10K+1 challenges runners to go the “extra mile” through downtown Montgomery. Open to individuals and team competitions. 334-649-4330, hopeinspiredministries.org

10

Foley, City of Foley and South Baldwin Chamber of Commerce host the 5th Annual Snowbird “Visit Foley

The Broadway musical “Pump Boys and Dinettes” will be at Enterprise High Performing Arts Center Jan. 31.

Coffee” at the Civic Center, 407 East Laurel Ave. Free coffee and doughnuts. Enjoy a walk through Foley and free gifts. 9 a.m.- 12 p.m.

14

Birmingham, The MLK Day 5K Drum Run/Walk is a celebration of the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. Run begins and ends at Kelly Ingram Park, 16th St. and 6th Ave. North. Race features drumlines from area schools that will keep the beat along the course. mlkday5kbham.com

15

Birmingham, The State Ballet Theatre of Russia will perform “Cinderella” at The Lyric Theatre at 2 and 7 p.m. The State Ballet Theatre of Russia, visiting Birmingham for a third time, brings to life the classic and timeless fairy tale, “Cinderella,” a romantic tale of true love to glorious life, with

more than 55 of Russia’s ballet stars. The State Ballet Theatre of Russia was established in 1961 and has performed works by both classical and modern Russian composers. Tickets are available at www.lyricbham.com or (205) 216-3118.

19

Millbrook, Build a Bluebird Box at the Alabama Wildlife NaturePlex. Bird expert Carol Alford will lead guests in the construction of a bluebird box to take home. Bluebirds begin nesting in February, creating the perfect opportunity to attract them to your yard. Cost is $15 and is open to all ages. Alabamawildlife.org

20-Feb. 19

Park Eagle Awareness Weekends. Features live bird demonstrations, interactive programs, guided field trips for viewing eagles and family fun activities and crafts. Alapark.com

28-Feb. 28

Mobile, Mardi Gras. Delighting both young and old from around town and across the nation, this celebration lasts more than two and a half weeks and culminates on Fat Tuesday, the day before Lent. The streets of downtown Mobile are filled with the sights and sounds of live marching bands and brilliantly colored floats. Mobile.org

29

Chatom, Indian Artifact Show, 8 a.m.-3 p.m., Chatom Community Center, 222 Dixie Youth Drive. Free. Display tables, $10; dealer tables, $20. For more information or to reserve a table, contact Bimbo Kohen, 251-377-1191, bimbo@millry.net

Guntersville, Lake Guntersville State

Photo courtesy of Hope Inspired Ministries.

31

Enterprise, “Pump Boys and Dinettes,” A Broadway musical celebrating friendships and the simple things in life; Enterprise High School Performing Arts Center, 7 p.m. Set in a gas station and diner, the “Double Cupp Diner” is on Highway 57 somewhere between Frog Level and Smyrna, NC. This musical stars four gas station attendants and two waitresses who sing and play all manner of instruments including kitchen utensils. The music is a quirky, highly imaginative blend of country, rock-a-billy, swing, rock and roll and jazz. For information or tickets, call Coffee County Arts Alliance at 334-406-2787.

5th Annual Hope Inspired Ministries Extra Mile Run will be Jan. 7 in Montgomery. To place an event, e-mail events@alabamaliving.coop. or visit www.alabamaliving.coop. You can also mail to Events Calendar, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124; Each submission must include a contact name and phone number. Deadline is two months prior to issue date. We regret that we cannot publish every event due to space limitations.

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| Consumer Wise |

Remodeling the heart of your home

Tips for an efficient kitchen remodel By Patrick Keegan and Amy Wheeless

Q:

My family is planning to remodel our kitchen in the coming months. The remodel will be pricey, but we hope to incorporate energy efficient features that will help reduce our energy costs. What are some things we can do to make sure our kitchen is as energy efficient as it can be?

A:

Appliances

If you are replacing any kitchen appliances, look for ENERGY STAR-certified refrigerators, dishwashers and freezers to help save energy. In particular, refrigerators that are ENERGY STAR-certified will use about 10 percent less energy than standard models— and up to 40 percent less energy than a refrigerator from 2001. Once it is replaced, rather than moving your old refrigerator into the garage where it could use even more energy, ask your electric co-op how you can recycle it. They may even offer a program that hauls away your older appliance.

Undertaking a remodeling project in any part of your home gives you the chance to make a space work better for your needs—including reducing your energy use. For many households, the kitchen is the heart of the home—meaning it is used the most— so incorporating energy efficiency measures here can have a real impact Lighting on your energy bills. Many remodeled kitchens incorpoBefore starting a remodel, consider rate lots of windows to ensure a bright, having a home energy audit completnaturally-lit kitchen. Using natural ed by a certified professional. This enlight can make your kitchen feel more ergy assessment can help you identify open and reduce reliance on overhead major efficiency issues in your kitchen lights, but beware of overheating the that you can address as you remodel. room in the summer. When thinkThe audit can also identify other large ing about your windows and lighting, efficiency investments your home may consider your home’s climate and orineed that could make sense to invest entation and how to use natural light in at the same time. For example, upstrategically. grading your heating and cooling sysIn addition to overall lighting, a tem and ductwork during the same Your refrigerator is probably the most important appliance in kitchen needs bright task lighting. Inyour kitchen – choose and place it wisely to save energy. time as your kitchen remodel could be stalling individual task lights on sepmore cost-efficient than completing two separate projects. arate switches can help minimize the energy you use for lighting. Throughout your kitchen, install ENERGY STAR light fixtures and Below are some additional tips and thoughts to consider while bulbs, which are certified for energy savings, high quality and peryou go through your kitchen remodel: formance.

Kitchen layout and design

During a remodel, homeowners often want to expand the kitchen. However, bigger isn’t always better—and enlarging the footprint of your kitchen will likely mean higher heating and cooling bills. Consider whether a more efficient layout in your kitchen could prevent a need for expansion. The design phase of your project is also when you will decide on placement of your major appliances and kitchen features. There may be opportunities to shorten plumbing runs to make hot water delivery to your sink and dishwasher more efficient and to add plumbing insulation to reduce heat loss. Also think about heat sources in your kitchen and how they will affect your refrigerator— placing your refrigerator in a very sunny spot or next to your oven will make this appliance work harder and use more energy.

Patrick Keegan writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not-forprofit electric cooperatives. Write to energytips@ collaborativeefficiency.com for more information.

30  JANUARY 2017

Kitchen ventilation

Increasingly, homeowners are installing professional-looking hoods above stoves in their remodeled kitchens. Be sure to pick a high-efficiency model sized for your needs and install it so that it vents directly to the outside. Remember that running a hood exhaust fan more frequently than needed can make your heating and cooling system work harder, as conditioned air is pulled outside.

Overall comfort

The kitchen is often a family’s gathering place, so installing zonal heat in this space could make sense—you could turn up the thermostat for the kitchen without warming the entire home. Other ways to ensure that the kitchen is a comfortable room for your family are to address any building envelope issues noted in your energy audit: for example, increase wall and attic insulation, address duct and air sealing needs, invest in efficient windows and install window coverings that help block hot summer sun and blustery winter wind. This column was co-written by Pat Keegan and Amy Wheeless of Collaborative Efficiency. For more ideas on energy efficient kitchen remodeling, please visit: www.collaborativeefficiency.com/energytips. www.alabamaliving.coop


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| Worth the drive |

Chef Jake Reed crafts a sustainable menu sourced from local gardens and farms that changes each season.

Seasonable, sustainable foods star at Albany Bistro Story and photos by Jennifer Crossley Howard

A

lbany Bistro sits on a tree-lined street in one of Decatur’s two historic enclaves of Victorian homes, a crossroads for the city’s characters with a reach that extends across town and soon across the Tennessee River. Open since 2009, the neighborhood restaurant integrates a local sustainable approach to its menu of signature dishes such as Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Fried Green Tomatoes with mozzarella and chipotle mayonnaise. Pets are welcome outside. Executive chef and owner Jake Reed and managing partner Rick Brown work with farmers to bring local food to their tables and host community farm-to-table dinners while trying to revive interest in expansive bike trails through the inaugural Chefs Against Hunger bike ride, held in early fall. 

32 JANUARY 2017

“We want to make it cool to go to Lucky’s (a local supermarket) or Albany Bistro by bike,” Reed says. Composting, growing an urban garden outside their doors, decreasing transportation of food by localizing sources and recycling are some of the practices they’ve woven into the business. The physical interior is loyal to sustainability, too. Save the aluminum chairs in the dining room, most of the decor also had a prior life. So too, did Reed and Brown. Reed worked his way up the Nashville restaurant scene for years until the 2008 economic downturn sent him to Decatur to attend nursing school.  While moving a carload of possessions home each weekend, Reed’s favorite place to grab a sandwich for the road, Back Or-

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der Gourmet Deli, closed and went up “People love it, and they are so upset for sale. By February 2009, Reed had when strawberry season ends,” Reed signed a lease to open Albany Bistro. says. “Everything just kind of fell into Farm-to-table dinners take Reed place,” he says.  Opening a restaurant and Brown to remote farms, from was a dream always that lingered in the Mooresville to Tennessee, where even back of his mind.  meeting sparse culinary necessities can “I didn’t think it would happen at an be a long shot.  early age,” Reed says. “I kind of thought “Our requirements are one electrical it would be my retirement plan. It was socket and one light bulb,” Reed says.  kind of providence.” Albany Bistro’s residential location Brown, who has an engineering has only boosted patronage. Neighborbackground and has fostered much of hood regulars walk down from their the sustainability, needed a break from The bistro boasts side and front outdoor seating, the bungalows while travelers along I-65 setting for pet friendly events held throughout the year. the tedious detail at his former job.  are willing to drive a bit for a reprieve “One day I was like, ‘I can’t do this from fast food.  anymore,’ ” he says.  “That has really been one of the things that’s surprised me is the He welcomes the relationships with customers. “I love talking amount of traffic we get from the interstate,” Reed says. “That has to the folks,” Brown says.  changed the way we market, seeing that progression.”  The vision for the neighborhood bistro has constantly evolved. Soon Albany Bistro’s influence will extend beyond the city limWhen it opened, the interior boasted farm tables and mismatched its of Decatur to a china and had an overall rustic feel. second restaurant Albany Bistro These days it looks like a chic local hangout off a sidewalk in that will have a dif- 1051 Grant St. SE Decatur, AL 35601 Manhattan with glowing candles, mirrors, metallic accents and ferent name but the 256-686-1667 Decatur white linen tablecloths. Reed and Brown kept the exposed brick same sustainable ap- Hours: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5-9 p.m. and hexagon-tile floors Back Order had refurbished.  proach and charm. Monday-Friday; 5-9 p.m. A seasonal menu offers much opportunity for Reed to experiReed and Brown Saturday; 10 a.m.-2 p.m. ment with dishes, such as his beloved Strawberry Grilled Cheese. plan to open their Sunday (brunch) www.albanybistro.net On paper, he thought there was no way it would work, but on the second restaurant in stove it became a hit. But when strawberry season is over, so, too, north Alabama by is the sandwich.  spring 2017.

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| Alabama Recipes |

Polish Casserole

34  JANUARY 2017

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Comfort food Soothing, nostalgic, as much about solace as sustenance... BY JENNIFER KORNEGAY | PHOTOS BY MICHAEL CORNELISON

W

hen we were brainstorming ideas for 2017 recipe themes and comfort food came up, it instantly claimed one the 12 spots and was never challenged, even as lots of other great topics emerged. That’s no surprise. Everyone loves comfort food. But what is it, really? Almost any dish designated “comfort food” shares at least one of a few common characteristics: filling, soothing, nostalgic, as much about solace as sustenance. But beyond that, the specific recipes that we each deem “comforting” are as varied and different as we are. And often, it’s as much the story behind them as their taste or texture that brings us such satisfaction. I was introduced to the dish that today tops my list of comfort foods — red beans and rice — in a rather uncomfortable way. My family was having dinner with friends one night, and red beans and rice, made by our New Orleans native hostess, was on the menu. As the adults at the table passed around a bottle of Tabasco, sprinkling its tangy heat into their steaming bowls, I asked my mom what it was. I was about three. She decided on a “show not tell” approach to answer my question and put a single drop on her index finger and held it out for me to try. I did, and my tender toddler tongue was torched. I screamed, and my mother was mortified by her mistake. Turns out, my mom had no idea how hot Tabasco was. She’d never had it either. The memory of that meal ceased to be unpleasant many moons ago; it’s now one my family laughs at. And it didn’t turn me off red beans and rice either. She got the recipe from that friend and made it regularly throughout my childhood. Even though there’s nary an ounce of Cajun or Creole heritage in my family, silky soft beans surrounding smoky, salty sausage, their flavors soaked up by fluffy white rice and punctuated by several dashes of Tabasco, tastes like home to me. I’m sure you’ve already got a few dishes that hit the same spot for you, but check out this month’s reader-submitted recipes – some simple, some classic, some presenting familiar favorites (cheeseburgers!) in new ways – and add a few more to your list.

Alabama Living

JANUARY 2017 35


Chicken, Corn and Bacon Chowder 1 2 3 1 ½ 4 2 ¼

pack of bacon cans of whole kernel corn boiled chicken breasts clove garlic, minced chopped onion cups of chicken broth cups of heavy cream cup all-purpose flour Salt and pepper to taste Cayenne pepper, optional, to taste

Cook of the Month Whitney Bennett, Wiregrass EC

Cut bacon into small pieces and fry, reserving the grease for later. Drain and set aside. In reserved bacon grease, cook chopped onion and minced garlic until transparent, about 2-3 minutes. Drain and set aside. In a stock pot, heat 2 tablespoons of bacon grease and add ¼ cup of all-purpose flour, mixing well to create a roux. Once the mixture has thickened, gradually whisk in chicken broth. Add onion, garlic, corn, chicken, bacon and spices. Let it simmer for 15-20 minutes on low heat. Once it is warmed through, add heavy cream and simmer an additional 5-10 minutes. Add water if the chowder becomes too thick. Cook's note: 1 rotisserie style chicken may be used in place of boiled chicken.

My Good Cornbread Cake (Vegan-friendly)

1 cup unbleached flour 1½ cups Martha White Corn Meal Mix (Hot Rize) 1 cup almond milk ½ cup maple syrup 2 tablespoons egg replacers (can also use flax seed) Vegetable oil Mix dry ingredients first. Then add almond milk, syrup and egg replacers to get the consistency like pancake batter. Add extra milk, if you have enough, or water until you get the pancake consistency. Put ¼ cup oil into a cornbread pan or a cast iron skillet to coat, and put the pan into a 425-degree oven. Heat until hot. Remove the pan and pour the oil into the batter and mix very well, then pour the batter back into the pan. Cook for approximately 20-25 minutes at 425 degrees. Editor’s Note: A common formula for replacing eggs with flax seed is 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds plus 3 tablespoons of warm water-equals one egg. Wilma Jackson Central Alabama EC

36 JANUARY 2017

Whitney Bennett has been making her homey, hearty Chicken, Corn and Bacon Chowder for about three years. She adapted a basic corn chowder recipe to fit her family’s tastes. “We like meat, and my three girls love chicken, so I added that. And then bacon makes everything better,” she said. She loves that the rich and creamy soup is easy enough to make any time, although she usually reserves it for the colder months. “It’s so simple to do. We eat it mostly it the winter,” she said. “It really warms you up from the inside out.”

New Orleans Red Beans and Rice 1 pound small red beans, rinsed and soaked at least four hours, or overnight 2 cups Kielbasa sausage, cut into bitesized pieces 1 cup cooked ham, cubed 1 large onion, chopped ½ cup celery, chopped 3 large garlic cloves, minced 4 cups water (or enough to cover bean mixture) ¼ teaspoon dried thyme 1 large bay leaf 1 teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon pepper 1 teaspoon hot sauce 3 cups cooked rice Combine all ingredients except rice into slow cooker. Cook 6-8 hours on low, stirring once. Serve over rice. Cook’s note: Remove some of the beans and juices just before serving, mash them, and pour back into the pot for a thicker mixture if desired. Tammy Formby Marshall-DeKalb EC

Chicken and Dumplings 3 2 2 1 1 ¼ ⁄ 1 1 ¼

cups boiled, cut up chicken quarts chicken broth boiled eggs, chopped can cream of chicken soup cup plain flour teaspoon salt teaspoon baking powder tablespoon shortening egg yolk cup broth or milk

Mix flour, salt, baking powder and shortening together; add egg yolk and milk or broth. Mix together to make a stiff dough. Roll the dough thin on a floured surface and cut into small squares. Lay squares on waxed paper about 30 minutes to dry out. Drop the squares into boiling broth and chicken soup. Cook 8-10 minutes, gradually adding the chopped chicken. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add chopped eggs. Cover with tight lid and let sit 30 minutes. Cook’s note: The dumplings can be made ahead and frozen. Place them on cookie sheets until frozen, then put into freezer bags for later use. Philena Peterson Baldwin EMC

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Polish Casserole 4 cups uncooked penne pasta or any other pasta that holds sauce 1½ pounds smoked Polish sausage, cut into ½-inch slices 2 10¾-ounce cans condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted 1 16-ounce jar sauerkraut, rinsed and well drained 3 cups shredded Swiss cheese, divided 1½ cups 2 percent milk 4 green onions, chopped 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard 4 garlic cloves, minced Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the sausage, soup, sauerkraut, 2 cups of cheese, milk, onion, mustard and garlic. Spoon into 2 greased 8-inch square baking dishes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake uncovered 45-50 minutes or until brown and bubbly. Serve with garlic bread and a green salad. Cook’s note: This dish is good, filling and freezer friendly. Freeze up to 3 months; to use, thaw in refrigerator overnight. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until golden brown. Kay Moore Cullman EC

Bacon Cheeseburger Chowder 1 pound ground beef, browned and drained 1 tablespoon dry onion flakes 1 tablespoon dry green pepper flakes 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 2½ cups milk 1 pound potatoes (about 2 medium), peeled and diced 1½ cups water 1 tablespoon beef bouillon granules 2 cups shredded cheese (any kind) 3 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled; reserve until ready to use. When the beef is drained, add the flour and stir until blended. Pour all ingredients into a large slow-cooker and cook on low for 6-7 hours. Add bacon before serving. Peggy Key North Alabama EC Alabama Living

Southern Comfort Chicken ½ cups cubed chicken 2 1 garlic clove, finely diced, or equivalent 1 medium onion, sliced in rings 5 medium potatoes, diced 1 cup of frozen carrots, thawed 1 pint of heavy whipping cream ½-1cup water 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter Parsley, salt and pepper to taste Melt butter in large skillet or Dutch oven. On medium low, cook chicken until no longer pink and onions are tender, stirring as necessary. Add garlic when "almost" done. (Do not drain any juices!) Stir in carrots, potatoes and whipping cream. Add seasonings and enough water to cover potatoes. Let simmer for 20 minutes to 1 hour. Cyndi McConnell Baldwin EMC

Cheesy Southern Mac and Cheese 6 ounces elbow macaroni 1 8 ounces cream cheese 1 stick of butter 2 cups milk 4 eggs, beaten 1½ cups white cheddar cheese (reserve 1/2 cup for top) 4 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese (reserve 1 cup for top) Salt and pepper to taste Prepare macaroni according to instructions on box. Drain and return to pot. Add 1 cup white cheddar, 3 cups extra sharp cheddar, eggs, milk, butter, and cream cheese to pot. Add salt and pepper. Pour into 9-inch by 13-inch casserole dish or pan. Cover with remaining 1 cup extra sharp cheddar and 1/2 cup white cheddar. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Lisa Johnson Tallapoosa River EC

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup 7 4 3 2 1 1

cups chicken or turkey broth chicken bouillon cubes carrots, sliced or diced celery stalks, chopped or diced teaspoon dried minced onion flakes cup cooked chicken or turkey, chopped 1 cup uncooked elbow macaroni (can use egg noodles) 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes Put the first 5 ingredients into a large cooking pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Keep covered and turn heat to low; simmer for 45 minutes. Add the chopped chicken or turkey, macaroni and parsley; stir and simmer (covered) for 20 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Julie Williquette Joe Wheeler EMC Please send us your original recipes, developed by you or family members, and not ones copied from a book or magazine. You may adapt a recipe from another source by changing as little as the amount of one ingredient. Cook of the Month winners will receive $50, and may win “Cook of the Month” only once per calendar year. Online: alabamaliving.coop Email: recipes@alabamaliving.coop Mail: Recipes, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124 Please include a phone number and co-op name with submissions!

Recipe Themes and Deadlines: Mar. Lemons Apr. Easter Meals May Shellfish/Shrimp

Jan. Feb. Mar.

8 8 8

Coming up in February... Cooking for Two!

Alabama Living reserves the right to reprint recipes in our other publications.

JANUARY 2017  37


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Vacation Rentals GULF SHORES/FT MORGAN BEACH HOUSE - Pet Friendly,WiFi, Non Smoking (256)418-2131, www. originalbeachhouseal.com GULF SHORES or ORANGE BEACH CONDOS - 1BR / 1BA hall bunks. Balconies directly overlook the beach. Low family rates (256) 3525721, amariewisener@gmail.com CABINS IN THE SMOKIES PIGEON FORGE, TN: Owner rates – (251)649-3344, (251)649-4049, www.hideawayprop.com

HELEN GA CABIN FOR RENT – sleeps 2-6, 2.5 baths, fireplace, Jacuzzi tub, washer/dryer – (251)948-2918, www.homeaway. com/101769, email jmccracken36@ yahoo.com GULF SHORES CONDO – 2BR / 1BA, gulf side, pool, sleeps 6 – Reserve for now, FALL & WINTER rates – (256)708-2515, (256)708-7509, barbarawilliams166@gmail.com PIGEON FORGE, TN – 3 bedroom, 2 bath house – Walking distance to parkway, light# 1 - $95.00 / night – (256)309-7873, (256)590-8758 PIGEON FORGE 4 BEDROOM HOUSE – VRBO RENTAL 556992 – (256)717-8694, (256)717-9112 GULF SHORES/FT. MORGAN BEACH HOUSE - 3BR/2BA cottage, sleeps 6; WiFi; 2 pools; 1/4 m to beach Family friendly rates - www.VRBO #885103 Slice of Heaven LOOKING FOR A FAMILY FLORIDA VACATION? 3BR / 2BA House, Ft. Walton, GREAT LOCATION – (205)566-0892, mailady96@yahoo. com. PayPal Accepted WINTER FEST through FEBRUARY – Cozy Cabins, Pigeon Forge (865)712-7633, touristcabinsforrentbyowner.com GULF SHORES PLANTATION - Gulf view, beach side, 2 bedrooms / 2 baths, no smoking / no pets. Owner rates (205)339-3850 ORANGE BEACH CONDO, 3BR/3BA; 2,000 SQ.FT.; beautifully decorated; gorgeous waterfront view; boat slips available; great rates - Owner rented (251)6045226 GATLINBURG – DOWNTOWN LUXURY CREEKSIDE CONDO – 2BR / 2BA, sleeps 6 – aubie12@ centurytel.net, (256)599-5552 PIGEON FORGE, TN: 2BR/2BA, hot tub, air hockey, fireplace, swimming pool, creek – (251)363-1973, Homeaway#241942 BEAUTIFUL PANAMA CITY BEACH CONDO – Sleeps 6 comfortably, many amenities onsite – Joy (256)878-0211 ONE BEDROOM CABIN near PIGEON FORGE and GATLINBURG – Call Kathy at (865)548-7915 GATLINBURG, TN – Fond memories start here in our chalet – Great vacation area for all seasons – Two queen beds, full kitchen, 1 bath, Jacuzzi, deck with grill – 3 Night Special - Call (423)605-2113, Look for us on FACEBOOK / billshideaway

PANAMA CITY BEACH CONDO – Owner rental – 2BR / 2BA, wireless internet, just remodeled inside and outside – (334)790-0000, jamesrny0703@comcast.net, www. theroneycondo.com

Real Estate Sales LAND FOR SALE IN MONROE COUNTY – 380 acres, forest wildlife area, planted pines, 3 stocked lakes, 2 duck ponds, electricity and water accessible, shed with concrete slab, established roads and gates, road frontage. Will not parcel out - $2,800/acre. Serious inquires Only (251)362-8283

Travel WELCOME CARNIVAL TO MOBILE – Jan. 9, 2017 – 5 nights, COZUMEL / PROGRES0 MEXICO – $350 - $400 – (256)974-0500, (800)726-0954

Musical Notes PLAY GOSPEL SONGS BY EAR - 10 lessons $12.95. “LEARN GOSPEL MUSIC”. Chording, runs, fills $12.95 Both $24. Davidsons, 6727AR Metcalf, Shawnee Missions, Kansas 66204 – (913)262-4982 PIANOS TUNED, repaired, refinished. Box 171, Coy, AL 36435. 334-337-4503

Education WWW.2HOMESCHOOL.ORG – Open Year Round K-12 enrollment. Contact Dr. Cerny (256)653-2593 FREE BIBLE CORRESPONDENCE COURSE – write to P.O. Box 52, Trinity, AL, 35673

Pets CHIHUAHUA PUPPIES. Registered, guaranteed healthy, raised indoors in loving home, vet records and references. (256)796-2893 AKC BEAGLE PUPPIES FOR SALE – Northwest, FL area – Cell# (850)554-1062, Email allenmanning59@gmail.com, www. thebeagleman.com

Fruits / Nuts / Berries GROW MUSCADINES AND BLACKBERRIES , half dollar size – We offer over 200 varieties of Fruit and Nut Trees plus Vines and Berry Plants . Free color catalog. 1-800733-0324. Ison’s Nursery, P.O. Box 190, Brooks, GA 30205 Since 1934 www.isons.com

Can’t sell it on Craigslist? Try Alabama Living. Our readership is more than a million every month! 38  JANUARY 2017

www.alabamaliving.coop


Alabama Living

JANUARY 2017  39


| Outdoors |

Big cats prowling Alabama? Not likely! A rehabilitated Florida panther is released back to the wild in Okeechobee County, Fla., in January 2015. The Florida panther is an endangered subspecies of cougar; cougars were the only big cat species native to Alabama. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE FLORIDA FISH AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION COMMISSION

E

very year, hunters and other outdoorsmen report seeing large cats in Alabama and other eastern states where none should exist. Cougars, also called mountain lions or pumas, once ranged from northern Alaska to the tip of South America. The eastern subspecies roamed over most of North America east of the Mississippi River, but allegedly went extinct in the 1940s. About 100 Florida panthers, another cougar subspecies, still live in extreme southwestern Florida. “Cougars are the only big cat species to historically call Alabama home,” says Thomas E. Harms, the large carnivore biologist for the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. “Their historic range covered the whole state and they were common here.” Fearsome predators, cougars can weigh more than 200 pounds and easily bring down deer, elk, cattle and other large animals, even humans! Since the earliest colonization of North America, people tried to exterminate cougars and other predatory threats to themselves and their livestock. As the human population grew, forests became croplands and pastures. By the early 20th century, few large cats remained east of the Mississippi River. “The last confirmed cougar killed in Alabama was in St. Clair County in 1948,” Harms says. “Since the 1960s, nothing has been confirmed.” In 1961, a cougar track was confirmed in Clarke County. In the late 1960s, another track was found in the same general area. Also in the late 1960s, an Alabama conserJohn N. Felsher is a freelance writer and photographer who writes from Semmes, Ala. Contact him through his website at www. JohnNFelsher.com

40  JANUARY 2017

vation enforcement officer found a cougar den with cubs in northern Baldwin County. The Endangered Species Act placed big cats in most states under federal protection. For decades, known cat populations in protected areas began increasing. Expanding populations may force young cougars to spread out to find their own home ranges. A solitary and incredibly elusive adult cougar might call several hundred square miles home. “Cougar populations are on the rebound,” Harms says. “As a biologist, I cannot say that a cougar doesn’t exist in Alabama, but we have nothing to confirm that they do reside in or are passing through the state. There have been confirmed sightings in Louisiana, Arkansas and Tennessee.” In November 2008, a man shot a healthy 140-pound fully clawed male cougar on the Georgia side of West Point Lake, which straddles the Georgia-Alabama line near Roanoke, Ala. DNA evidence confirmed it as a Florida panther, which possibly wandered up from Florida. Each year, people report seeing not just big cats, but black panthers. “Panthers” never existed as a distinct species, but people often call cougars, South American jaguars and African leopards “panthers.” No documented cougar in history ever had black fur, although bobcats sometimes occur in black or melanistic phases. The scientific name for cougar, Puma concolor, means “cat of one color.” Leopards and jaguars can occur in black phases. “Genetically, it is not possible for cougars to have a black phase,” Harms says. “Most pictures of black cats circulating around are pictures of the black phase of a jaguar or leopard or a regular black house cat, but I will not discourage anybody from sending me a picture for verification.” People reporting “black panthers” usually see something else such as Labrador retrievers, raccoons, small bears, big house cats,

coyotes, foxes, feral pigs or dark-colored bobcats. People could possibly see a genuine cougar in silhouette, dark shadows or caked in mud. Many big cat reports occur at night or during low-light conditions when distinguishing colors becomes extremely difficult. Sometimes, people might see an actual tan cougar, but remember it as black because that’s what they wanted to see. One afternoon, my son and I drove through a wildlife management area. Canals paralleled the road. We spotted a large dark animal crossing the road about 75 yards ahead of us. Both of us immediately thought “cat,” because of how it moved, its size and long tail. I stepped on the gas. Seconds later, we reached the spot where the “black cat” disappeared and saw a very large, but normal, brown otter swimming in the canal. We didn’t expect to see an aquatic otter crossing the dry road in mid-afternoon. In the distance and because of the way light filtered through the trees, the silhouetted otter looked black. Another long-tailed cat, a jaguarundi, resembles a small cougar. About the size of a large house cat, a jaguarondi at 25 yards could look like a lion 100 yards away. These South American felines range as far north as southern Texas, but have been released in Florida. “There have been reports of jaguarundis in Alabama, but we have not been able to confirm them,” Harms says. “Jaguarundis can be hard to differentiate from a regular house cat. They are similar in size and color.” Anyone shooting a cougar in Alabama could face severe penalties. People who think they have spotted a cougar, tracks or other evidence should contact Harms or the nearest district wildlife office. “If we believe that is it a credible sighting, we would investigate further. Try not to disturb any evidence, if possible.” Contact Harms at 251-626-5474 in the wildlife office in Spanish Fort. www.alabamaliving.coop


Tables indicate peak fish and game feeding and migration times. Major periods can bracket the peak by an hour before and an hour after. Minor peaks, half-hour before and after. Adjusted for daylight savings time.

a.m. p.m. Minor Major Minor Major

JAN. 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 FEB. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28

07:46 08:16 09:01 09:31 10:01 10:31 04:01 02:01 06:46 08:31 09:31 10:16 11:01 11:31 -07:31 07:46 08:16 08:46 09:16 03:16 04:01 01:31 07:46 09:16 10:16 11:01 11:31 -07:16 07:31 08:01 08:31 08:46 02:46 03:16 01:16 -08:31 09:31 10:16 10:46 11:16 11:46 06:46 07:01 07:31

Alabama Living

12:46 01:16 02:01 02:31 03:01 03:31 11:16 05:01 04:01 04:46 05:16 05:46 06:01 06:31 07:01 12:16 12:46 01:31 02:01 02:31 09:46 10:31 11:31 03:31 04:31 05:01 05:46 06:16 06:46 12:31 01:01 01:31 02:01 02:31 09:16 09:46 10:16 11:16 04:31 04:46 05:16 05:31 06:01 06:16 12:01 12:31 01:16

01:01 01:46 02:31 03:16 09:31 11:16 -12:01 12:46 01:46 02:31 03:16 04:01 04:31 12:16 12:46 01:31 02:01 02:46 09:31 11:16 --12:46 02:01 03:16 04:01 04:46 12:01 12:46 01:16 02:01 08:16 09:16 10:31 ---12:46 02:01 03:01 03:46 04:31 -12:31 01:01 07:31

06:16 07:01 07:31 08:31 04:31 05:46 07:16 08:16 09:01 09:46 10:16 10:46 11:16 11:46 05:16 06:01 06:31 07:31 08:16 03:46 04:46 06:16 07:31 08:46 09:31 10:31 11:16 11:46 05:31 06:16 07:01 07:31 02:31 03:16 04:16 05:31 07:01 08:16 09:01 09:46 10:16 11:01 11:31 05:16 06:01 06:46 01:31

CECIL PIGG STEEL TRUSS, INC. P.O. BOX 389, ADDISON, AL 35540 cecilpiggsteeltruss.com

See Our Website for Monthly Specials

WE SELL: Steel Trusses • Hay Barns Lumber • Equipment Sheds Building Material Packages Painted Metal • Work Shops Insulation • Kneebraces Galvalume Metal

STEEL TRUSS BUILDINGS BUILT TO YOUR SPECIFICATIONS

256-747-8178 • FAX: 256-747-8760

JANUARY 2017 41


As evidenced by the outages caused by the tornado at the end of November, it’s important for our members to be able to report an outage quickly and effectively. At Tombigbee, we have various ways for you to report outages. Our automated phone system will allow you to report the outage by pressing 1 using either your account number or the phone number listed on your account. Outages can also be reported on our website, www.tombigbee.org. However, a very simple way to report your outage so your services can get restored as quickly as possible is by downloading our free app, takeCHARGE. While there are several things you can do with our app such as making quick and easy payments, requesting notifications, and viewing your usage, reporting an outage is a very important tool we’ve put in our members’ hands. First, download the free app from either the iPhone or Android app store. Members must then log in using their account number and a password. Once a member logs in, they will have full access to their account. While experiencing an outage, members will click the “report an outage” option from the main menu screen, shown here. Since the app already has access to all of the member’s information, they can report an outage by simply pressing the “report an outage” button. However, the member can also input a contact phone, confirm the outage, add a comment, and request a callback for updates. The takeCHARGE app gives our members another way to inform Tombigbee of the interruption in their service. Download this free app today to make reporting your next outage easy! If you have any questions about downloading the app or other ways to report outages, please call our office (205.921.6712) during regular business hours.

42  JANUARY 2017

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Ring in the New Year with a new appliance from the Energy Store!

For information on our in-stock merchandise, please call our office and ask for Energy Store Rep, Cristi Vaughn, at 205.921.6712- ext. 245. Financing is available to our members with credit approval. Just tell us to “Put it on my bill!” Remember, you do not have to be a cooperative member to purchase.

Alabama Living

JANUARY 2017  43


44  JANUARY 2017

www.alabamaliving.coop


| Market Place |

JC POLE BARNS

30x50x10 with sliding door and man door.

8800

$

Additional delivery may apply pending location.

270.776.7869 www.jcpolebarns.com

STORAGE CONTAINER SALES • RENTALS

20’ STEEL CONEX • 40’ STEEL CONEX

AFFORDABLE CONEX 251-947-1944 w w w. af fo rd at r u c k . co m af fo rd a b l e @ g u lf t e l . co m

Alabama Living

JANUARY 2017 45


| Alabama Snapshots |

Before and After

ied ents made of dr ristmas ornam ler. Ch e Ty , es es th ot g M tin ie in ITTED BY Jean I have been pa BM SU s. ar ye an 20 okra for more th

Rachel and Andrew before and after bra ces. SUBMITTED BY Audra Wilson, Monroeville.

Boomer’s, a mini ature Australian Shepherd, beautif ul red tri-colored coat before and aft er his summer cu t. SUBMITTED BY Ju lie Johnson, Troy .

Joe Young performing a concrete break at a 4th degree Black Belt Test. SUBMITTED BY Onita Young, Vinemont.

Submit Your Images! March Theme: “Favorite Antiques” Deadline for March: January 31 SUBMIT PHOTOS ONLINE: www.alabamaliving.coop/submit-photo/ or send color photos with a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Photos, Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

RULES: Alabama Living will pay $10 for photos that best match our theme of the month. Photos may also be published on our website at www.alabamaliving.coop and on our Facebook page. Alabama Living is not responsible for lost or damaged photos.

46 JANUARY 2017

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