By: Kelly Caldwell /
Some of my favorite childhood memories were being able to go downtown and shop on a Saturday. I’m not old enough to remember the movie theater being opened, but I do fondly recall going to town getting Hawaiian shaved ice and even picking out a video from the rental place.
I had a big sense of nostalgia when visiting Historic Downtown Gadsden. It was busy and active and just down right cool.
I am a sucker for the eclectic and Downtown Gadsden has it. I always say that I want a place to shop, a place to eat and something to do when I am visiting any town or city. Doesn’t matter if it’s Tulsa, Oklahoma or Wedowee, Alabama. Same is true eat, shop, do.
But… there are a few things that make certain places rank higher than others and it starts with something to see. Hitting on all five senses really make a memory stick and the impression Gadsden left will be a lasting one. So let’s get to it.
We started off getting our sense of Downtown Gadsden by visiting Taming of the Ewe. If you knit or crochet or have a cat that likes a ball of yarn, this place is for you. So many options and so knowledgeable. Not only does the shop offer a huge variety of yarns, but its also a tea room so you can get delightful teapots and teas.
I loved how the town was decorated and the murals. We visited just in time to see the newest one completed. The Welcome to Gadsden Sign is so much fun, it greets you coming into the historic area of Broad Street. There are also windows painted as well as a mural commemorating Alabama’s Bicentennial. I loved finding the unique things such as my Willie Nelson album from Gadsden Variety; the cool pyrex pieces at Dusty Things and the dinosaur head at Twigs and Roses. (yes, my friend Tammy was over the moon at that find)
There is a music coming through on the streets and it just puts you in a cheerful mood, especially at Christmas when holiday tunes will be floating through the air.
There are a lot of restaurants downtown. Locally owned, as well as, a few chains, but for our visit we went to The Rail that recently relocated to the downtown area. They have daily lunch specials and even offer a Sunday brunch. We got a variety, but for anyone that knows me personally…I Am a sucker for tacos and they have a taco special EVERY DAY!!!! I conned my way into getting a sampler of tacos because it was late in the lunch shift and the kitchen didn’t mind the request. So I can tell you without a doubt the TACOS are amazing, that day I sampled a Fried Chicken Taco with Jalapeño Ranch; a Brisket Taco with Barbecue Sauce and a Grilled Shrimp Taco with Homemade Salsa. Y’all mama was across the table or she may have gotten smacked they were that good.
Gadsden Variety has the cutest lunch counter and the locals were quick to let us in on the secret of cheesecake. From plain to extravagant, like Salted Caramel Bourbon cheesecake. Yall we had to walk that off for real, but it was so worth it!!!!!. So later that day we did break down for a Frios Pop at Laura Lee’s on Broad. A couple of fun facts. First that’s my aunt’s name so we had to visit the store and Frios Pops, these gourmet frozen treats they were created in a garage in Gadsden. How cool? (yes a pun may have been intended. ) I chose the pineapple mango for a refreshing little bit on our warm day.
Before you think this is a food tour of Gadsden, I do need to mention a few more little shops that like to tickle the tastebuds… First King’s Olive Oil, this little gem specializes in gourmet flavored olive oils and balsamic vinegars. You can do so many things with a little added flavor from Kings Olive Oil. I am partial to the fruit flavored balsamic vinegars like coconut!
Then there is Alabama Gift Company. If you are looking for Alabama Made products this is a fantastic place to visit. They have more than Alabama foods but y’all get the ranch Krackers. Trust me. SO YUMMY!!!
Last, but certainly not least, is the Stone Market, it’s a wine shop. They have all the kinds and some other cool stuff, but most importantly they have the wine.
Y’all every store we visited had a candle burning or one for sale or both. National brands and local favorites. Twigs and Roses had Crave candles in this funky glass that looked like patina and then Laura Lee’s (which is also my aunt’s name Fun Fact) had Sweet Grace from Bridgewater Candle Company that is my all time favorite candle scent on the Planet!
The Alabama Gift Company had candles oh plenty too… They had some different Crave candles which I didn’t know were made in Alabama but its awesome that they are.
The Gadsden Variety Shop has Down South Candles and Jirah’s they were burning the sweetest J&J Candle Company scent I have experienced in a while… Strawberry something I believe.
I hope you take the opportunity to visit downtown Gadsden soon and experience the senses for yourself. We have a bus tour shopping trip scheduled for Dec. 2. It will be a hoot of a time I promise!
To keep up with all the activities and events of Historic Downtown Gadsden.... Go follow their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/DowntownGadsden
Why not throw caution to the wind this Thanksgiving and mix up your holiday table with a little more color. After all, it is 2020, and breaking with tradition is to be expected if not mandatory.
My girls and I love Fiesta dinnerware. My sister, Laura Glass Lumpkin, loves the classics: Lenox, Gorham, Fostoria, and a little "Dollar Store". Her hobby of collecting dishes has turned into a full-blown obsession. She gets it honest...from our Mama.
So, for this article, we decided to do a "Thanksgiving Table Setting Mashup". Laura with her classics, yard sale and thrift store finds. Then there is me with Fiesta Dinnerware* and some of my everyday silverware and glasses.
I believe the "mashup" was a great success. Hope you do as well and will want to add a little Fiesta to your traditional Thanksgiving dinner table too. If you do, please send us pictures. Better yet, join our new Facebook group, SouthernHolidayLife, and post your pictures there.
Fiesta Dinnerware provided by Alabama Dish Outlet.
Transitional for Thanksgiving or Christmas
Pick Up Your Copy of Southern Holiday Magazine from one of our great advertising partners or read the digital issue online
ON THE COVER
Welcome Home! While this may look like a nothing special place setting to you, it means so much more to us. Capturing so much without saying a word is one of our favorite things to do at Southern Holiday Life. In this picture, we showcase American Made FiestaWare (Available at Alabama Dish Outlet in Oxford); succulents from Heflin (Floral Designer Susan Jennings of Kudzu Creative); Alabama Made Candles (Crave Steel City Collection available at Twigs and Roses in Gadsden). The cover represents surviving a difficult year and the small businesses that are still standing in the midst of it all! You will learn more about local small businesses throughout this issue and we couldn’t be prouder for it!
Pick up your copy at any one of our great advertisers or read online by clicking here.
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
After the last nine months or so it’s safe to say we all need a little more hope this Christmas.
Usually by the time I am writing this, I have been working on my Christmas Cheer by listening to holiday tunes of years past and may be even watching a Christmas movie or two in my down time.
This year, however, as the world is still upside down in this pandemic, I am actually embracing the Christmas Spirit more than usual. I am excited about doing Christmas things even if I have to wear a mask or be socially distant.
As with everything else that is 2020, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve/Day will all be different this year.
For some it will be getting through the holidays filled with sadness at the loss of loved ones that should be here...To those people, you have my prayers of peace.
For the rest of us that are blessed to have not lost someone close to you due to this dreaded illness, count your blessings. Show compassion to the ones that have and love your loved ones a little more.
I, for one, will do my best to embrace this magical Christmas season and appreciate all of my blessings. If you are reading this, thank you for your continued support of our magazine. We have all made it through a very trying year that at times we felt pretty hopeless.
Here is to 2021 and saying goodbye to 2020!!!
Enjoy Life! Kelly
By: Mary Lee Caldwell
>>>Put those important thoughts on paper and help alleviate some of the stress this Holiday season. A weekly planner with individual pages for meal planning, Christmas card list, gift tracker, budget and party planning guide.
A Pretty Tablescape Overlooking Lake Wedowee
Who loves to see a pretty tablescape? I know I do. My mother, just like her mother loved a pretty table. They were both collectors of china, crystal, and pretty dishes. Some of my most cherished possessions are dishes and stemware given or inherited from my mother and grandmother.
The women of my family have inherited the love of dishes as well. All three of my daughters have Fiestaware in their homes and their favorite colors of the American Made dishes are just as eclectic as they are. But, it makes gift giving a little easier as long as I can keep their colors straight.
Anyway, along with dishes my mother also loved the color turquoise, anything close to it from sea foam to teal and everything in between. So when it came time for inspiration for this casual summer tablescape, it was obvious where my heart led me. During the photoshoot I sent a message to my girls saying this was “Grandmother Ann on a table.” I think its quiet lovely and I hope Ann Awbrey Glass would approve the following casual summer tablescape.
Our tablescape was inspired with the thoughts of sharing a relaxing day and enjoying a lovely supper with friends at the lake. Our color palette included turquoise and white with a hint of pink.
The materials we used included a rustic table, Fiestaware pottery dishes in turquoise and white, Fostoria tea glasses and wine glasses, a bottle of wine, serving pieces blush pink napkins and a floral centerpiece.
We choose to keep our centerpiece simple with pink Hydrangea in a white Fiestaware water pitcher and we adapted a casual place setting so we could show off as many of our pretty dishes as possible.
To learn how-to create a simple Casual Outdoor Tablescape visit pages 8 and 9 in the July issue of Lake Wedowee Life
Location: The beautiful lake home of John and Pam Brown.
Fiestaware dishes, Fostoria glassware provided by Alabama Dish Outlet located in Oxford, AL
The holidays are all about traditions. From where people sit (big table versus kids’ table) or what you are going to eat. I mean I still beg for hash-brown casserole for either Thanksgiving or Christmas. It is a non-negotiable for me. Then you also have the people that like to buck tradition and change things up every year. Well, I have news for you... That’s a tradition, too. While planning this issue, we decided to turn some of the traditional side dishes on their ear and give our readers something new to try this holiday season. We hope you enjoy!
Corey Carpenter is the son of Tracy Carpenter a veteran contributor to Lake Wedowee Life magazine. He took the reigns for this article as well as providing his photography skills. He is a graduate of Randolph County High School and a recent graduate of the University of Alabama. He lives in Tuscaloosa. Tracy still provided the recipe!
Are there things that spark nostalgia for you? Specific things that take you rushing back to a specific place and time in your mind. Some things are just too much for me to deny a trip down memory lane. I’m an incredibly nostalgic person though, so maybe you can’t relate. If you can’t relate, I’ll try my best to explain to you how sensitive my nostalgia sensors are. Any little thing can trigger my wistfulness whether it’s a familiar smell, or an old picture. Sometimes it’s just looking out my bedroom window. It could be anything.
Cloudy gray cold days are especially a trigger for my nostalgia. In my younger years, these types of days would bring some of my favorite little moments. I remember when I was younger I would watch a lot of TV when it was cold and rainy outside and for some reason I recall a specific Campbell’s soup commercial that I’ll likely never forget. In this commercial, it’s a cold winter afternoon when a snowman comes stomping into the kitchen from the bitter cold outdoors. A woman’s warm smile greets him as he enters and the woman sets a bowl of chicken noodle soup on the table for the snowman to eat. As he eats the soup, the snow melts away revealing it’s a boy under all that cold snow. He has been warmed up. He is home and cozy and happy now. It’s the epitome of cheesy nineties commercials and I loved it. Sometimes I even long for cold cloudy days so I can be like the child in the commercial. I want a cloudy day so I can truly appreciate the comfort and coziness of coming home.
My entire life I have heard you should have some soup when you’re sick. That’s perfect because Homer and the Greeks created the term “nostalgia” by combining the Greek words nóstos (which means “homecoming”) and álgos (which means “an ache or a pain”). Nostalgia is an aching for the past – an aching for the comforts we find in our memories. If you find yourself suffering from the symptoms of nostalgia, I’d recommend some soup. It will bring your childhood snow days back to life. This recipe may not be chicken soup like my commercial, but it’ll do the trick even better. It’s from mom.
Recipe by Tracy Carpenter
8 oz. mascarpone or cream cheese
1 cup cool whip
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon white vanilla flavoring
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cold water
5 cups fresh blueberries, divided
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 9 oz graham cracker pie crust
Strawberries for garnishing
Mix Mascarpone, cool whip, sugar, vanilla and lemon juice until well combined with an electric mixer.
Pour into the graham cracker pie crust and spread evenly. Place in the fridge while you make the
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, cornstarch, salt and water until smooth. Add 3 cups blueberries. Bring to a boil, cook and stir until thickened and bubbly, approximately 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add butter, lemon juice and remaining berries, stir until butter is melted. Cool. Pour on top of Mascarpone cheese filling. Garnish with strawberries. Refrigerate until serving.
Notes: The blueberry filling will be thick. This is nothing to be concerned about. Adding the butter and lemon juice will thin it some. Omit the mascarpone cheese filling and use just the blueberry filling for a classic old fashioned homemade pie. Layer graham cracker crumbs, mascarpone cheese filling and blueberry filling in dessert cups for a light fruit parfait.
I have an extensive and irrational love for popsicles — frozen deliciousness on a stick. I love ‘em and I don’t care who knows. No matter the time of year, I so often find myself craving a good popsicle.
Growing up in hot Florida summers, some of my best memories are eating popsicles with my family. I remember making them with kool-aid as a kid. We would freeze orange juice in ice trays, cover them with foil, insert toothpicks, and enjoy.
Today you can buy popsicle molds in all shapes and sizes, Further, flavor possibilities are only as limited as your imagination. I had so much fun making the popsicles featured in this article I felt like my kitchen was a playground.
Let the kids join the fun! They love to help make them almost as much as they like to eat them.
As the summer heats up, I hope these recipes will help bring out the kid in you again. So, crack out those molds and enjoy sweet, frozen goodness all summer long.
Light colored pudding mix
5 different food colors
Prepare your pudding according to directions on package. You may want to add a little more milk to make it pourable. Divide pudding mixture into 5 small bowls, adding about 1/2 cup to each. Add a couple of drops of food coloring to each bowl and mix well. I used a gel food dye for vivid colors. You can now spoon the pudding mixture into the molds. I put the mixture into five different pastry bags and filled the molds that way. If you don’t have pastry bags you can use a ziplock bag and cut the corner out. After each color is added, tap mold on counter to remove air bubbles. Cover with foil and insert sticks and freeze for about 8 hours. Run mold under hot water to loosen the popsicle.
1-8 oz can crushed pineapples
1-15 oz peaches in light syrup
1-15 oz pears in light syrup
6 strawberries, sliced
1 kiwi, peeled and sliced
2 Tablespoons Tang
1/2 package of a small box of vanilla pudding mix
Drain the canned fruit into a bowl and save the juice. Liquefy the pineapples, peaches and pears in a food processor and mix together in a medium bowl. Add the pudding mix and Tang to the juice you drained from the fruit. Mix well and add to the liquefied fruit and mix well again. Pour a little into the mold and place a kiwi against the side of the mold. Then pour a little more of the fruit mixture over the kiwi and slide a strawberry against the side of the mold. Finally, finish filling the mold up with the fruit mixture. Cover with foil and insert sticks and freeze for about 6-8 hours. Run hot water over mold to release popsicle. You can also liquefy the strawberries and kiwi if you wish. Adding blueberries would be yummy, too!
Strawberry Lemon Basil Popsicles
6 medium to large lemons
1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons sugar ( more if you like really sweet lemon aid)
2 cups water
6-8 strawberries, mashed
1-2 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
Combine the chopped basil and mashed strawberries together and set aside. Squeeze the juice from the lemons. Make lemonade by adding sugar and water to the lemon juice and mixing until the sugar has dissolved completely. Spoon 1 Tablespoon of the mashed strawberries and basil into to the mold. You can add more if you’d like. Pour the lemonade into the molds. Cover with foil and insert sticks and freeze for about 5-7 hours. Note: The strawberries will float to the top, so I put the popsicles in the freezer for about an hour and take a wooden skewer to push them down some.
Key Lime Popsicles
1-1/8 cup water 3/4 cup sugar (use more if you don’t like tart desserts!) 1 to 1-1/2 cans sweetened condensed milk 1-1/2 cups key lime juice
1 tsp. lime zest
Mix water and sugar together until the sugar has dissolved. This may take some time. You may want to mix it a while, let it sit a while and stir again until it’s all dissolved. Add the sweetened condensed milk, key lime juice and zest. Mix well. Pour into the molds. Cover with foil and freeze for about 5-7 hours and under to water to release from the mold.
Banana Pudding Popsicles
1 small box instant banana pudding
2 ripe bananas
several crushed Nilla Wafers
Prepare your pudding according to directions on package. You may want to add a little more milk to make it pourable. (I added about 1/3 c to 1/2 c extra.) Mash one of the bananas and add it to the pudding mix. Chop the other into chunks and add them to the mixture. You can use as many bananas as your heart desires. Add crushed Nilla Wafers and spoon them into the mold. Gently tap the mold on the counter to get rid of any air bubbles, and insert the handles that came with the molds or cover with foil and insert a craft stick or tongue depressor. Freeze for about 5 to 7 hours. Run the mold under hot water to loosen popsicle from the mold, and make sure the popsicle has fully released or you will leave half of the popsicle in the mold.
Another recipe I like is to take frozen strawberries in syrup. Thaw them, puree’ them, pour them into the molds, freeze them. Then dip them into magic shell chocolate for chocolate covered strawberry popsicles(you may want to add a little water if the mixture is too sweet for you.
You can test taste the mixtures as you are making them to adjust the ingredients to suit your taste. (I call this quality control.)
Are you craving them yet?