Thursday, April 22, 2021

2021 Kentucky Derby Contenders and Basics of Betting

We have talked food, drinks and hats over on my Instagram page but there is one thing we have not discussed - HORSES!!!

Yes, you can attend the Derby or a Derby party for the glamour, food, cocktails and fun - but it really takes it up a notch when you know a little about the horses running. 

First, let's discuss the basics.  The Kentucky Derby is without a doubt the Super Bowl of horse racing.  It is the first jewel in what is called the Triple Crown.  It is run every year (with the exception of WWII and COVID 19, which saw delay's in the race) on the first Saturday in May.  Two weeks later, the Preakness is run in Baltimore, Maryland, and then two weeks after Preakness is the Belmont Stakes in New York.  The last horse to win the Triple Crown was Justify in 2018.  There have been only 13 horses to win the Triple Crown since 1875.  Many believe Barbaro was on his way to winning the Triple Crown in 2006 but sadly, was put down after being hurt at the start of the Preakness.  My favorite, like many, is Secretariat who still holds the record for being the fastest horse clocking in at 1.59.40 for the mile and a quarter race.   

Contenders are three year old horses.  A fun fact I learned on my recent "Behind The Scenes" tour of Churchill Downs is that a horses' birthday is factored not on the actual date of birth but by the new calendar year.  So if a colt is born in October, he would be considered "one year" on January 1st.  Fillies (female horses) are allowed to run in the Kentucky Derby if they qualify.  However, most fillies will run in Friday's Kentucky Oaks (another fun day of horse racing the day before Derby Day).  

So how does a horse qualify for the Kentucky Derby?  There are 35 "qualifying" races that offer a point system and horses win points for the top four spots in each race.  At the end of the season, the top 20 horses gain entry into the Kentucky Derby.  From there, the owners can decide if they wish to run in future races.  There are 14 races on Derby Day with the Kentucky Derby being race 12 usually around 7:00 pm.

So who are the horses and how do you bet?  Click here to learn all about the 2021 Derby Contenders.
Betting, however, is a whole other beast.  People have different strategies - they pick the frontrunner, the stalker or the closer.  It helps to have knowledge of the horse's style and obviously, success with being able to be the frontrunner and maintain.  Perhaps your horse is more successful stalking the frontrunner and then surging ahead at the finish line.  The most exciting race to watch (and nerve wrecking for the owners) is the closer- the horse that takes his/her time and comes from behind to win.

Another strategy is loyalty to a farm or trainer.  Breeding plays a huge part in horse racing and is a lucrative business in its own right.  Trainers and jockey's clearly play a role in bringing out the best in a race horse as well.  So by reading up on the horses, how they performed in the qualifying races and who owns them, trains them and rides them will all help in making your decision.  Click here and here for resources to bring you up to speed.  

As in most cases, a little research goes a long way.  I'll be sharing fun ways you can incorporate wagering into a home viewing party next week.

Enjoy and as they say at the track.....

Go Baby Go!


Sunday, August 16, 2020

Movie Night with Suburban Soiree


We are returning to whatever normal is around here with school starting Monday.  Sports are still cancelled for the fall so I really wanted to do something family friendly and super cute this weekend.  The boys have been visiting their Granddaddy and Gigi in the mountains so I selfishly wanted them close to me and not out and about where I'd have to share their attention.  Bring on movie night!

All summer we have enjoyed outdoor movies however, the weather did not cooperate.  No worries - I piled everything in my itty bitty kitchen area and honestly, the coziness of it all was perfect (save for my youngest who literally did not stopping talking the entire movie.....he comes by it honest).

I follow Amy Wiley of Suburban Soiree on Instagram.  She has the most adorable napkins!  Recently, she posted this Shark printable kit for Shark Week, which I fell in love with.  I mean "shark" cuterie......I die at the cuteness!  Pretty sure my boys could have cared less of the details I went to but it made the evening special and these are the memories I hope they will look back on when they were older.  "Mom was corny but she cared".  Click here to check out Amy's Etsy shop.  

Here is a sneak peak at our fun!

Amy includes a list of adorable family friendly "shark" movies if JAWS is a bit advanced for your crew.  My kids wanted to watch THE MEG but I can barely handle JAWS myself - ha!

The kit includes an interactive Shark Bingo set

This Shark-Cuterie graphic may or may not have been the reason I bought the kit.  Too stinkin' cute!

                         Blue Jello with Swedish Fish made for a fun dessert.

                          Next up, back to school hair cuts 

                                Mama's Boys 

We are already planning our next family movie night.  I want to introduce them to the classics I grew up with this year.  Or really ANYTHING that has NOTHING to do with Fortnite or YouTube.  Who's with me? 

Thank you so much Amy for this adorable printable kit that made for such a fun night with my boys.  Be sure to check her out on Etsy or Instagram!


Thursday, July 23, 2020

Stuffed Shells

We are back to celebrating Sunday Suppers in an effort to return to some sort of normalcy.  With only three weeks left to summer break, slowly but surely, we need to break some bad habits that we've embraced since being confined to our homes last March.  What better way to start than breaking bread as a family.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Memorial Day Pop Up Shop


Old South Cheese Straws
$10 a dozen

Jalapeno Cheddar Crackers
$10 a dozen

Pecan Sandies
$12 a dozen

Cheddar Biscuits
Country Ham Biscuits

$20 per dozen

Shredded Pork and buns, with Western BBQ Sauce, Lexington Style Mustard Sauce and Alabama White Sauce
$40 serves 8

Low Country Boil
Shrimp, corn, potatoes and sausage prepped and ready to boil and serve immediately
Market Price 

Hamburger/Hot Dog Bar
Southern Sideboard special hamburger recipe with all the fixins along with hot dogs ready for the grill
$30 serves 8

Brunswick Stew        $13 a quart
Cornbread                  $20

Lemon Chess Pie        $15
Kentucky Derby Pie    $20

Please order by Wednesday, May 20th for delivery/pick up beginning noon on Friday, May 22nd.  
text 828.228.5807 or email


Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Perfect Tea Sandwiches

As promised from my last post, here are my favorite sandwiches to have on "stand by" for a ladies luncheon or appropriate type event.  Up next, I'll walk you through the ins and outs of tea etiquette.

Last year, I hosted a Galentine's luncheon for my girlfriends.  I had some fun with lip and heart shaped cookie cutters to make the perfect themed sandwiches.  Typically, you'll find pimento cheese, egg salad, benedictine (cucumber/mayonnaise mixture) and/or tomato aspic down south.  Thanks to a recent trip to the Plaza Hotel back in March, I am known to offer herb-roasted prime rib with horseradish cream and watercress on a brioche slider now too.  For this menu I used the following:

Heart Shaped Sandwiches:  thin, white Pepperidge Farm bread with herbed cream cheese and cucumber slices.

Lip Shaped Sandwiches:  thin, pumpernickel Pepperidge Farm bread filled with Palmetto Cheese.

Triangle Cut Sandwiches:  thin, wheat Pepperidge Farm bread filled with smoked salmon and egg salad.

During my Mother-Daughter Christmas Tea, I offered the same bread offerings but paired Palmetto Cheese with white bread, egg salad with wheat bread and cream cheese and smoked salmon with the pumpernickel.  I always use the thin Pepperidge Farm breads for these sandwiches.

The trick to keeping the sandwiches moist so they don't dry out is to layer them between buttered parchment paper in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

For little girls you can offer peanut butter and jelly, Nutella and strawberry, Nutella or peanut butter with banana or ham and cheese.  Using fun shaped cookie cutters to match your theme elevate the excitement and make your party more festive.  I have a horse shoe cutter that I'll use for the Kentucky Derby and Steeple Chase events. 

Other pairings I enjoy are turkey and cream cheese on a raisin bread, herbed goat cheese with cucumber on a grain bread and cream cheese with thin radish slices on pumpernickel.  A fabulous summer option is strawberry, basil and cream cheese on white bread.  It is so refreshing and unexpected. 

Usually, I like to make my own egg salad, chicken salad and pimento cheese but y'all - these suckers take a good while to assemble.  Find a trusted deli or brand and spend your time on the assembly line rather than whipping up the fillings.  For pimento cheese, I prefer Palmetto Cheese or Proper Pepper. 

So speaking of Galentine's Day - here is a sneak peak to last year's details. 

Pulled out all the silver, crystal and Mottahedeh Tobacco Leaf china

Nicoise Salad is always a hit

Rose all day!

Sweet treats

I can't wait to recreate for my friends this year though it will be much more casual.  Cheers to girlfriends!


Friday, January 17, 2020

A Time For Tea

I hosted a mother-daughter Christmas tea and had such a fun time planning something totally girly.  My mother was in town visiting from Atlanta, which gave me an excuse to banish the boys to the basement and entertain my friends and their sweet daughters.  It was the perfect way to kick off a season of merriment. 

My "Adpot a Daughter" Tea Party


I wanted the little girls to enjoy the "big girl" table with some finery without worrying

Monday, August 20, 2018

Homemade Fish Stock

One of the things that I miss about living in D.C. is the abundance of good, fresh seafood.  Fortunately, we have a fabulous seafood shop in town that flies food in from the coast - but you pay for it it.  Unfortunately, they do not "prep" food as some of the coastal shops do and thus, I am on my own when a recipe calls for fish stock.  So Saturday was spent channeling my inner Julia Child making homemade fish stock.  I thought I would share since this is not something you find or use every day.

Seafood Stock
Makes 1 Quart

1 pound shelled shrimp
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion - rough chop
3 carrots - rough chop
3 celery stalks - rough chop
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 cup white wine
1/3 cup tomato paste
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
bunch of fresh thyme springs - do nothing to them - just toss in

Shell the shrimp and save for another use.  Warm the oil over medium heat and saute the onion for 3 minutes, add the shrimp shells, carrots and celery and saute for 10 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for a minute more.  Add 6 cups of water, wine, tomato paste, salt, pepper and thyme.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for an hour.  Strain the liquid and you should have rendered a quart of fish stock.  Perfect base for a fish stew!