A Memorial Day Weekend “Must See”

For the past couple years, I have been in awe of the beautiful flag display at Cannon Park in Carterville. 

The Carterville Lioness Club will be presenting their Military Salute again from May 27-May 29, 2017 at Cannon Park in Carterville.


Video from the 2016 Military Salute Display

This display honors veterans and active duty military from all over the Tri-C area. Each flag has been purchased by someone to bear a soldier’s name. There are even names representing those that fought in wars and battles decades before us.  Some have been decorated with pictures of the soldier in uniform or with flowers.  It would be a great way to make those history books seems a bit more real for kids and adults. (Homeschool families, seriously consider planning a lesson around a visit to the display.) 


Oregano Pesto

A few years ago, I repurposed a very old mattress box springs into a raised herb garden. The oregano I planted has made it through a couple winters and continued to grow stronger each spring. This is good. Southern Illinois seems to have a climate that pleases oregano.

One of my favorite meal prep uses for oregano is in pesto. The other night, I had walnuts and some manchego cheese nearing their expiration. So, you guessed it. Pesto they became. I tend to switch up the cheese and nut type with whatever I have that seems like it makes sense–such as parmesan and pine nuts or even sunflower seeds. You do want to use a harder cheese, with a consistency such as parmesan, so that you don’t end up with a gooey mess.

Once made, I like to spoon my pesto into pint canning jars and top each with a little pool of olive oil at the top to help keep it from drying in the fridge or freezer. Ideally, the pesto jars should keep for a couple weeks in the fridge or a few months in the freezer. Just make sure whatever you store it in is airtight and kept at a food safe temperature as this is not a canning process. (Simply using a canning jar does not make it canned…) You can also freeze it in ice cube trays and pop the cubes into a freezer bag for storage.

Oregano pesto is handy thing to have in the fridge on standby. It adds an extra layer of flavor to soups and sandwiches and can be added to omelets or egg dishes. Pesto also stands in great as a wet rub on meat. Be creative. It is wonderful as a spread itself or mixed with other ingredients to make other variations.

This is the basic recipe:

clean, fresh oregano, approximately two to three cups
cheese–such as manchego or parmesan, approximately one and a half cups grated
nuts–such as pine nuts or walnuts, about one cup
juice of one lemon
honey (or sugar), about a tblsp
kosher salt or sea salt
crushed black pepper
one clove garlic, minced
about a 1/4 cup olive oil

1. Chop together the oregano, cheese, nuts, lemon juice, honey, salt, pepper, and garlic in the food processor.
2. Slowly drizzle in olive oil.
Add more olive oil for a thinner pesto if desired.
You may also use a traditional mortar & pestle method to combine ingredients if desired.

ASOSI Is Here!

It’s still a work in progress, but the ASOSI (A Slice of Southern Illinois) app is now available for free download (link in this post.) Links to local restaurants, sites, shops, and events are being added daily. It may take a while to load even a fraction of the wonderful things to see and taste in Southern Illinois..

You can also access this blog and the feed from the Facebook page on the app. It is for Android, Apple, and desktop fomats. If you have suggestions of locally owned Southern Illinois restaurants, shops, or family fun centers, please submit them via message on the Facebook page or in the comments section of this post. 

Check out my new App I just created with Apper builder!


It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas…in Carterville


     Beautiful lights and decorations, horse drawn carriage rides, hot chocolate, Christmas shopping, and friendly folks can only mean one thing:  It’s time for Christmas in Carterville. Friday, December 2, 2016, from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm, downtown Carterville becomes a celebration that anyone familiar with “Gilmore Girls” would expect to find in Stars Hollow. 

     This year, the event has added a Christmas cookie contest. There are even more unique businesses to visit downtown. Botski’s, a cafĂ© and coffee shop, and Live Simple Shop are among the unique spots that have opened in newly renovated spaces on Division Street. If you are searching for hard to find Christmas gifts, you may find something in one of the antique stores or have something made at Live Simple Shop. 

     Besides the downtown businesses staying open late, many other vendors will be on site. Some of these are Ginger Snaps, kettlecorn, homemade salad dressing, Lipsense, Scentsy, Toy Copters, and more! 

     Some of the family-friendly activities include free hot dogs, carriage rides for a suggested donation of three dollars, and selfies with elves. The elves will also be around to assist folks in navigating the celebration. Free entertainment is set to include a performance by Arabesque Sugar Plum dancers as well as a group of line dancing ladies on the main stage. Kids will have an opportunity to write letters to Santa at Malone’s and also visit the Santa House. Local fireman will climb the truck ladder and conduct a “Snowball Drop” for the kids. 

     For more information, including a video Q&A session on the event, you may visit the Christmas in Carterville Facebook page. 

Marching Bands Invade Saluki Stadium

Yes, you read that correctly. No worries though. They were competing in the 2016 Music and Motion Field Show Competition at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. There were rifles involved, but they were not weapons. These were show rifles spun and tossed skillfully into the air. Warm sunshine and enough of a breeze to make silk tosses a bit more challenging combined as perfect weather for the event.

A Taste of Colonial Southern Illinois

     What do Mother Goose, cannons, rockin’ bagpipe music, and Indian Fry Bread have in common? They were all part of the October 2016 Fort Massac Encampment at Metropolis. 

     As a kid, my family made trips to the festival on many years to see the action. I still remember proudly wearing a little seashell ring and a hematite ring that were souvenirs from the vendor area–a Colonial mall of sorts. My brother, who went with me, reminded me that we also used to walk along the Ohio River by the fort to look for seashells. 

Have you heard of Taste of Chicago? Well, there were so many food choices that this was somewhat of a Taste of Colonial Southern Illinois. Not only could you taste things cooked on an open fire, but you could smell fresh herbs and spices while listening to the fifes and drums.