5 Things To Know About Fishbone Alley

Keep it Funky! That is the motto of Fishbone Alley in downtown Gulfport, an urban, fresh hangout nestled between 26th and 27th avenue. The alley connects several bars and restaurants together in a funky space filled with outdoor art and live music and entertainment.  The art is eclectic and bright, with bluesy vibes complete with dancing skeletons. Some of the nearby establishments include Rock n Roll Sushi, Murky Waters, The Rack House, Kelly’s Sports Pub, Big Mike’s Speakeasy, Rooney’s Irish Pub, The Half Shell Oyster House, and the new Beachcombers opening soon. Before you head downtown, here are 5 things you should know about Fishbone Alley:

 1. The pavers that line Fishbone Alley date back to 1905, and were found after Hurricane Katrina underneath the infrastructure asphalt. They were salvaged and saved for 8 years until Fishbone Alley was created. What a cool piece of Gulfport history!

2. Fishbone Alley is an entertainment district which allows open containers or “go-cups” while strolling the alley and its bars and restaurants. There are often events hosted where you are encouraged to bring a chair and post up for a party or movie night!

3. All of the artwork in Fishbone Alley was done by local artists and is ever-changing. The Alley is colorful and funky, thanks to an amazing group of talented artists on the coast. Some of them include Jerika Broussard, Ryan Merrill, Nicholas Cook, Kelsey Wishik, and Jesse Blalock. The space has kept most of its original surrounding structure, exposed brick, pipes, etc in order to keep an authentic alley vibe.

4. Fishbone Alley has already been recognized nationally by The National Main Street Center through the “Innovation on Main Street” awarded to Gulfport Main Street Association. Yes, Fishbone Alley is an up-and-coming main “street” that is only going to get more popular!

5. The alley was featured in the New York Post in an article called “8 amazing American streets you’ve never heard of” by Perri Ormont Blumberg alongside Nashville’s Printer’s Alley, another pedestrian alley that inspired City of Gulfport’s Economic Director David Parker to create Fishbone Alley. 

So go check it out, take a selfie in front of the “Make it Funky!” sign, relax and enjoy all Fishbone Alley has to offer! 

Happy 4th of July!

Whether you say “Happy 4th, y’all!” Or “Happy Independence Day!”, July 4th is one of the highlights of summers in the south. My favorite memories as a kid were spending my summers in Nashville, Tennessee visiting my family. The adults (parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, even neighbors!) would pool their money together to buy the motherload of fireworks each year. Sometimes we would stop at the huge fireworks places right inside the Tennessee line on our way up from Florida and load up on roman candles,black cats, sparklers, army tanks, and those pop-its that look like garlic bulbs. We would gather at my Aunt & Uncle’s house in Hermitage on their hilly front lawn while eating our grilled hamburgers and hot dogs,  chips and baked beans. Once the sun went down our excitement grew, wondering if us kids would be allowed to light a firework or two. And then the show would begin. At least an hour of brilliant colors, pops, crackles, and BOOMS! I remember lighting bottle rockets in empty A&W glass bottles, watching them twist and turn into the already smoky sky. Our largest and best fireworks were saved of course for the big finale. We would cheer and clap our little hearts out as the lights grew brighter and the BOOMS louder until the very end. The 4th of July remains one of my favorite holidays because of these memories.

If you prefer not to host your own fireworks show, there are still some places you can go today and tomorrow around the coast to spectate:

Tonight:

Ocean Springs:

Fort Maurepas Park, Front Beach @845pm

Tomorrow:

Pascagoula: Beach Park, tune your radio to  Magic 93.7 9pm

Biloxi: Hwy 90/Deer Island 9pm

Or MGM stadium after the Biloxi Shuckers game

Pass Christian: Beach Company at Pass Christian  (Henderson ave and Hwy 90) at DARK

Gulfport: Gulfport Harbor 845pm

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Dreaming of Winter Wonderland

Have you ever wondered what your dreams mean? Last night I dreamt I was outside and it was snowing. Not just a light dusting either, but a good 2 to 3 feet of that beautiful cold white stuff. I could see snowflakes falling but they weren’t tiny flakes they were each the size of the palm of my hand. It was beautiful! What does it mean? Haha, maybe I was just cold. We have had some extremely chilly temperatures in the past couple days on the Mississippi gulf coast. Our house is old and poorly insulated and it takes a delicate balance to heat each room evenly. Dont take this as a complaint, I love that it gets cold in the winter here. It’s a nice break from the humidity we have the rest of the year. Plus winters are supposed to be cold, otherwise my growing scarf collection becomes obsolete. 

The last time I remember it being really frigid here was only my second winter in south Mississippi: January 2014. We lived in D’Iberville at the time, and for 2 or 3 days we got first freezing rain and then snow flurries. If you were around, you know it was exciting to see snow here while simultaneously shutting down most businesses due to the icy road conditions. We went outside for a few minutes to hear our shoes crunch on the snowy ground and to make snow balls, which are harder than I thought to form. And it hurts your hands. Haha, maybe I prefer to admire the snow through the window from the comfort of my couch with a warm cup of coffee. We didnt get any snow this far south this time, but some people had icicles in the morning. 

“Those icicles have been known to kill people.”

I dont know about you but when the temperature falls outside, I crave warm, slow cooked, heavy comfort foods. Last night I made beef tips in gravy in my slow cooker.  The slow cooker just tenderizes the meat and distributes the flavor throughout. I like to make chili, roast with potatoes and carrots (hold the traditional onion for my husband and his intense hatred of them), and dense, cheesy lasagna. Oh that sounds so good right now. That is one thing I love about the south; gooey cheesy casseroles.

The temperatures are going back up later this week to the normal spring-like temps, so I’ll enjoy it while it lasts. At least Mardi Gras season is almost here! We usually try to get out to at least one of the parades (for the kids we like the Ocean springs Elks day parade). And of course the best part of the season is King cake. 

Laissez les bons temps rouler! (Let the good times roll)

What are you doing New Years Eve?

“Maybe I’m crazy to suppose
I’d ever be the one you chose
Out of a thousand invitations
You received

Aah, but in case I stand one little chance
Here comes the jackpot question in advance
What are you doing New Year’s
New Year’s Eve?”

-“What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve,” by Frank Loesser

It’s been awhile since my last post, I’ve been busy! I started a new job and with that and the holidays I haven’t had time to write. I figure I’d make one of my New Year’s resolutions to write more, that way I have to make time to blog.

I am a big fan of the New Year’s holiday. There is something refreshing about starting it all over, especially after the hustle and bustle of Christmas. Your house is a mess, relatives have gone home, and you are left in a whirlwind.

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But then as New Year’s Eve approaches there is a little bit of magic back in the world. A little bit of hope that no matter how this year turned out, you can start over in the morning. Change the things that you want to change in yourself and in your life. The possibilities are endless when you wake up in a new year.

As a kid, it was always exciting to me to think about grown-ups dressing in fancy clothes going to a party, sipping champagne, and having a romantic midnight kiss. The reality of my life as a “grown-up” on New Year’s Eve is sitting at home with my husband/soulmate and kids (babysitter? what’s that), binge-watching a TV series on Netflix, eating hors d’oeuvres in the form of a Hormel Party tray, and drinking mimosas because let’s face it they are better than plain ol’ champagne. Then we watch the ball drop in Times Square, share a romantic kiss, and talk about some of our hopes for the new year while we listen to the fireworks in the neighborhood and drift off to sleep.

The next day for some reason is all about the food (even with all of those pesky weight loss resolutions!) It isn’t New Year’s Day if you aren’t eating some black-eyed peas and greens. Hoppin’ John is a traditional southern dish with black-eyed peas and rice, and supposedly the frugality of the dish means you will be prosperous in the New Year. When I ask around it seems everyone has a different take on the tradition. This year I’m making ham, black-eyed peas, cabbage, and baked macaroni and cheese.  I’m not superstitious and I like to put my own spin on traditions. But I do like to make New Year’s resolutions.

My resolutions for 2017 are:

Write more. I have always wanted to be a writer and I’ve learned you become a writer when you simply write. So whether it is writing here on this blog or creatively in another way, I want to do more in 2017. Some of my friends have published or are on their way to publishing their own books, and that is so awesome!

Be more creative. This is a broad resolution, but I have a creative streak if I really let myself be. I have scrap booked, drawn pictures, journal-ed, and created other things in the past and I would like to find something that I enjoy doing creatively.

Read more. I read some in 2016 (The Game of Thrones series, part of the Harry Potter series, and various other books) but want to find some time to read more even if it is a few minutes a day.

Be more kind and patient. I want to be more kind and patient and be the type of wife and mother my family deserves. I want to be more kind to people in general. The world would be a better place if we were all a little nicer.

I hope you set some positive resolutions for yourself in the new year. Don’t skip them because they are overdone, or easily broken. Instead give in to the hope that each New Year’s Day brings.

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Hallowe’en: History & Hauntings on the Gulf Coast

Halloween is a mismatch of different cultures’ celebrations. Beginning with the Celtic festival of Samhain and being linked to the Catholic holiday of All Saints, Halloween has adopted many traditions that have evolved into today’s celebration of trick-or-treating in costumes. During Samhain, people would light bonfires and dress in costume to ward off evil spirits. Bonfire literally means fire of bones, which happened during the sacrifice of livestock during the festival.

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Photo: Pinterest

Halloween is celebrated all over the world, but some of the most haunted places are in the southern United States. Many places are thought to be haunted by Civil War generals and soldiers, and others plantation slaves come to exact their revenge. One famous (said to be) haunted home is The Hermitage in Tennessee where President Andrew Jackson once lived. During the restoration of the home, many strange and unexplainable noises were heard such as pots and pans rattling in the kitchen. It was said to have been the ghost of Andrew Jackson himself, and once the restoration was complete those ghostly occurrences stopped. Perhaps he could finally rest in peace. I’ve been to The Hermitage when I was just a kid and it didn’t seem particularly creepy to me. There was a small graveyard on the grounds, but nothing struck me as out of the ordinary. However, it was midday, not the spooky hours of the dead.

Here in south Mississippi, Keesler AFB, Aunt Jenny’s Catfish Restaurant (Ocean Springs), The Old Place in Gautier, The Blue Rose in Pass Christian, and the Gregory House in Gulfport are all said to be haunted by ghosts and spirits.

Now, whether or not you believe in paranormal activity is a personal decision, but one thing everyone can agree on is how frightening Halloween used to be. Nowadays, children dress up in bright costumes of their favorite superhero or TV character. People don’t want anything too scary walking the streets with their little ones. Everything is light and adults dress in sexy or funny costumes. While that’s still fun and exciting for kids and grown ups alike, the true meaning of Halloween to me is to scare or be scared. Bring on the scary costumes, spooky music playing, and the dread of midnight. Take a look at some vintage Halloween costumes below (photos from Buzzfeed and Vintage.es).

If you’re on the gulf coast, New Orleans is where it’s at to celebrate Halloween. Home to witch doctors, voodoo shops, and some of the most ornate and beautiful cemeteries, New Orleans does Halloween with style. Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau is said to still live in New Orleans, having become immortal. It is said she could be seen and heard crying near her Cottage at St. Ann’s after Hurricane Katrina destroyed New Orleans. You can visit her grave in St. Louis Cemetery #1, and there is even a Marie Laveau’s Voodoo Shop on Bourbon Street.

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Photo: Pinterest

Halloween is second in New Orleans only to Mardi Gras celebrations. Here are some of the festive homes in New Orleans decked out for Halloween this year:

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Photo: VisitNewOrleans Instagram
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Photo: VisitNewOrleans Instagram

And I’ll leave you with a memory from my childhood and possibly yours as well, Disney’s version of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. We watched this every year in elementary school, and it got me in the Halloween spirit every time.

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Happy Hauntings!

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Exploring The Pass

In Pass Christian, a small town on the Mississippi gulf coast just west of Gulfport, you will find scenic views, southern charm, and locally-owned shops and restaurants to make you feel right at home. This town has lived through two of the worst storms in our nation’s history, Camille & Katrina. Since then, the locals have been dedicated to rebuilding and retaining that southern charm that has won so many people over. The Pass Christian Historical Society works diligently to preserve and protect the gorgeous buildings, homes, and history that make the town so special. The Pass is known for its St. Patrick’s Day & Mardi Gras celebrations. They were named a Mississippi Main Street Community in 2011, and represent that distinction with their Davis Avenue shops and restaurants.

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“The Pass” as it is called by locals did not disappoint this weekend. We started by visiting the Trinity Pumpkin Patch on Highway 90 with a backdrop of the beautiful Gulf of Mexico and its white sandy beaches. Not many places can you visit a pumpkin patch on the beach, which is one of the unique things I love about Pass Christian, MS. We enjoyed wandering through searching for “the one” while enjoying the view. Despite it being two days before Halloween, they still had hundreds of pumpkins to choose from in every size and shape including this quite large one in the picture below.

 

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After perusing the pumpkins, we drove over to Cat Island Coffeehouse/Pass Christian Books for a coffee and apple juice for the kids. Cat Island Coffee House is located on Historic Scenic Drive in downtown Pass Christian. It’s a beautiful little shop, although small, and boasts unspoiled views of Cat Island in the distance.

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View from Inside Cat Island Coffeehouse/Pass Christian Books

The interior was a book lover’s dream, with shelves and shelves of titles including local Mississippi authors. A cozy spot to relax and read with a cup of coffee. We tried the iced coffee which was flavorful and sweet. There is indoor seating both upstairs and downstairs, and also outdoor seating on the deck. However, we took our coffees to go as we had more exploring to do.

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Upstairs looking down
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Books Galore
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Even a section of books for the kids

We hopped back in the car and went around the corner to Pass Christian’s centrally located park, War Memorial Park. This park was started in 1945 in memory of locals who fought in WWII.

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War Memorial Park, Pass Christian, Mississippi

Beautiful live oak trees shade the playground, walking trail, and various monuments scattered around the property. This park is extremely well kept, so it was no wonder people of all ages were out enjoying the mild weather and sunshine.

The front of the park lines up on Scenic Drive, where a Saturday local market was taking place. Of course we had to check it out. Homemade pepper jellies, local honey, goat’s milk soaps, and tie-dyed t-shirts were just a few of the items for sale. Everyone was so friendly you would think you’ve known them for years.

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War Memorial Park with local Saturday Market in the background on Scenic Drive

Our last stop was the main street of downtown Pass Christian, Davis Avenue. All of the shops were open and well-maintained.

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Davis Avenue, The Pass’s main street

Some of our favorites were Hook Gulf Coast Cuisine, Asian Paradise, and Pass Christian Olive Oils and Vinegars, which surprised us because the last time we visited it was an Irish Pub. The building is very interesting, so I’m happy to see another business was able to use it.

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Pass Christian Olive Oils and Vinegars, Davis Avenue

We caught a whiff of a cigar and looked over to see The Pass has its very own cigar shop, Cigars in the Pass. Pass Christian has a personality all its own. Check out this sign spotted by Pass Wine & Spirits:

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I can certainly relate.

We loved every minute spent in The Pass. It is a charming locale on the gulf coast, and one worth visiting if you’re in the area. For more information on Pass Christian please visit the links below:

Pass Christian Main Street

Pass Christian Historical Society

Pass Christian War Memorial Park

 
 

Fri-yay = Beignets

Before becoming a Mississippian, I had heard of king cake, Mardi Gras, and beignets, but never really knew much about them. Now that I know, there’s no going back. Beignets are one of my favorite desserts. They are made with sweetened dough that is deep fried and rolled in powdered sugar. They pair beautifully with a cup of coffee or just on their own. Personally, I think the best foods in life are those that can be considered breakfast or dessert (i.e. doughnuts).

For about a month I have been seeing pictures of fresh beignets on my newsfeed. A friend of mine just opened her own bakery business called Faith & Flour Bakery out of the Seminary, MS area. She makes beignets, cakes, cookies, breads, and more! Unfortunately I don’t get up there very often so I have yet to try her beignets or baked goods. If you are in the area or would like to see what she can do, visit her Facebook page here: Faith & Flour Bakery

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Custom cookies by Faith & Flour Bakery, Seminary, MS
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The beignet picture that inspired my night. Faith & Flour Bakery

Now if you are visiting New Orleans everyone will point you in the direction of Cafe Du Monde. It is a must. I don’t know where the best beignets in South Mississippi are but I do know in a pinch on a Friday afternoon you can get some delicious beignets at Fayard’s on Popps Ferry Rd in Biloxi. I bought 2 dozen for my family to enjoy tonight!

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Tonight’s beignets from Fayard’s

If you are somewhere far away in need of beignets (trust me, you are in need of beignets in your life) then I trust Southern Living’s recipe. You can find it here.

Happy Beignet Fri-yay!

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Pass Christian & Autumn’s Delay

We’re sorry to inform you that Autumn’s arrival has since been delayed. Here in South Mississippi we had just a taste of fall weather before the temperatures climbed back into the 80s. It could be worse! But with Halloween quickly approaching, it sure would be nice for the kids to not sweat under their costumes while roaming the neighborhood. Plus I have been eyeing all of the wonderful stews and hot chocolate recipes on Pinterest that can only truly be enjoyed on a chilly evening.

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Source: City Data, Pass Christian. Photographer unknown.

Things have been hectic this week, but I’m ready to slow things down with a trip over to Pass Christian this weekend. When I first visited Mississippi, the first town I saw was Pass Christian. It’s a quiet town of about 5,000 people with enormous live oak trees that sits right on the gulf coast. This town has been devastated by two of the worst storms in our nation’s history, Hurricanes Camille (1969) and Katrina (2005). In Katrina, most of the town was completely destroyed. This is a contributing factor to why I love Pass Christian so much. The will and determination of the community to stay and rebuild when all has been lost is something to be admired. When I first visited in 2012, what I loved most about Pass Christian was the fact that it was full of locals, not tourists! Growing up in Florida the closest beach was Daytona, arguably the biggest tourist beach in the state. While I loved going there to play in the sand and surf, as I got older the crowds became much more noticeable and distracting. In Pass Christian, you can slow down and enjoy the view of the gulf with its breathtaking sunsets and sailboats dancing on the water in the distance.  Not to mention exploring all of the local shops and businesses.

If you love Flea Markets, they’ve got one! The Flea Market & RV Park at Menge is a large outdoor flea market open every Saturday and Sunday. The last time I was there, we stumbled upon this diamond in the rough!

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Tom Selleck Original, author unknown.
8095 Menge Ave
Pass Christian, Mississippi
(228) 452-0590
I can’t wait to relax this weekend and explore Pass Christian for the first time in awhile. Be sure to check back in soon to see what I find!
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Once you Pop, you can’t stop!

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Photo courtesy of Pop Brothers Facebook page

I’ve been hearing a lot of amazing things about Pop Brothers and their artisan ice pops, so this evening I loaded up the family and headed west on Highway 90 into downtown Gulfport. Driving down Highway 90 right before sundown is one of the prettiest drives in all of Mississippi. Roll down your windows and let the cool salty breeze carry your worries out to sea. The sunset was extra spectacular this evening, changing the blue sky into shades of golden orange disappearing into the horizon.

We pulled into Pop Brothers just off Highway 49 about an hour before closing, and past the outdoor seating and through the windows I could see a line of customers inside. When I entered the door I was greeted warmly and asked if this was my first visit to Pop Brothers. It must have been obvious, my eyes were wandering from the expansive menu board to the freezers full of delectable flavors and back again. He explained the entire menu to me in a flash and left me to my decisions while he helped the other customers.

Now it was my turn, and after careful consideration I picked Lavender, Milk, & Honey. Doesn’t that sound like a relaxing spa for your taste buds? My son took a safe bet, Madagascar Vanilla dipped in dark chocolate with a white chocolate drizzle. Our other picks to take home for my husband and I to try later* were Oreo Cheesecake and Mississippi Road. Mississippi Road was a wildcard choice: filled with chocolate, peanut butter, banana, bacon, cream and pistachio.

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Lavender, Milk & Honey and Madagascar Vanilla dipped in dark chocolate with a white chocolate drizzle.

We left and took a short drive over to Jones Park** to devour our ice pops before they melted onto our laps. It was still warm here this evening in South Mississippi, but a cold front is on its way thank goodness. The Lavender, Milk & Honey was everything I expected: beautifully flavored, creamy and with a hint of lavender. I didn’t try the Madagascar Vanilla dipped in chocolate, but my son said it was AMAZING (and he was covered head to toe in chocolate, but that’s to be expected with kids and ice pops).

Later on that evening, we busted into the last two selections. You can’t go wrong with Oreo Cheesecake. I put it on my list for my next visit. It had a whole oreo inside! The Mississippi Road however is for a very specific audience. We expected it to be sweet, but the pistachios and bacon overtook the rest of the ingredients making it more savory. Perfect for someone who likes salty and sweet mixed, but on the more salty side.

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All in all, Pop Brothers has so many flavors, you could come in every day and order something new. They even told me they don’t have a paper menu because they are always coming up with new ideas! The best thing about stopping at Pop Brothers is it is truly a guilt-free indulgence. Their ice pops are made from real whole foods, have no artificial ingredients, no food coloring, and are made on-site. They’ve just recently announced they are opening two more locations for us on the coast: One in Bay St. Louis, and one in downtown Ocean Springs. I know we will be back for more soon!

Pop Brothers in Gulfport

1501 25th Avenue, Gulport, MS

(228) 206-0656

Website

Facebook

*Later meant I brought my own cold pack to carry the ice pops home and keep them cold. However, if you’re not as prepared as me (ha ha) Pop Brothers sells dry ice to pack yours in. Very thoughtful of them!

**I love going to Jones Park: it’s a great location on the beach, well lit, and all of the park has spacious sidewalks and no litter in sight. They also have movie nights in the park on the 3rd Friday of each month. Tonight they are showing Hotel Transylvania 2 and having a costume contest for the kids.

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A cool Peppermint Iced Tea for a late Autumn arrival

As I strolled through my neighborhood this afternoon, I noticed (along with beads of sweat on my forehead) that Autumn has not yet arrived to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Since moving here 4 years ago, I’ve come to realize that some years southern Mississippi gets extremely lucky and gets an early Autumn. Other years Summer hangs around and around and drives our electric bill up. This has been one of the latter. Since Autumn is taking its sweet time, probably hanging out in New England with Tom Brady getting a coffee or visiting Niagara Falls in its scarf and boots, I thought a cool refreshing drink was in order.

I have been dreaming about making fresh peppermint tea for about a month. You see, a month ago I bought my very first peppermint plant. The plant was tiny and came in the standard black plastic crate. It smelled amazing! But it needed love. It didn’t have enough leaves to harvest and make a tea yet. So I waited and waited, and soon my plant doubled in size. Peppermint plants are fast growers and throw out runners to keep expanding, so if you are thinking about planting one I’d recommend keeping it in a pot. They are known for taking over a garden bed because there is no stopping their roots. They are determined to grow no matter any obstacle in their way. Now isn’t that inspiring? Maybe if you drink this tea, you’ll gain that determination through osmosis.

What a beauty.

 

 

Recipe*

 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup to 1 cup of fresh Peppermint leaves

1 Quart of water (you can use more)

Honey to taste (I prefer local honey)

Ice

Garnish: Mint sprig and/or Lemon, Lime, any citrus you like!

 

Directions:

Bring the water to boil. Remove from heat. Pour water over peppermint leaves. Cover and allow to steep for at least 5-7 minutes. Steeping longer enhances the flavor! Pour tea over ice and add garnish. Sip and say, “Ahhhh.”

*This will be the simplest recipe you’ve ever seen.

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Thank you for reading, leave me a comment if you have any special peppermint recipes for me to try!

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