Collard Greens

Collard Greens from THeHillHangout.com

My southern is showing a little with the publication of this recipe. But I can’t help it. I have only recently acquired a taste for greens, so I’m learning to make them. If you haven’t ever tried your hand at cooking greens, let me introduce you to my recipe for collard greens.

Collard greens aren’t hard to make, but they take a long time. But since they are incredibly healthy and we all need more green in our diet, they are worth the effort. 

Collard Greens from TheHillHangout.com

There are as many ways to make collard greens as there are southern cooks, so feel free to tweak this recipe to fit your tastebuds. You can buy collard greens fresh in a bunch, but then you’ll have to de-stem the leaves and wash them really well. I prefer to buy mine shredded.

Collard Greens from TheHillHangout.com

And can you imagine washing all of those collard greens after they have been shredded? So this is what I’m looking for…

So much easier! In order to make a big pot of collard greens, here’s what you’ll need…

2lb bag of shredded and pre-washed collard greens

2 quarts of chicken stock

2 small white onions, diced

1 Tablespoon minced garlic

2 teaspoons red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon salt

1 pound of bacon, cooked and diced, with grease reserved

1/3 cup vinegar

1/3 cup maple syrup or molasses

In a large dutch oven or stock pot, heat 2 tablespoons of reserved bacon grease over medium heat. Saute onions and garlic in bacon grease until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add in cooked bacon, red pepper flakes, and salt. Pour in one quart of chicken stock and heat until simmering. Let simmer for about 30 minutes to allow bacon to flavor the stock. Add part of the greens to fill the pot, as they won’t all fit until some have cooked down. Place lid on pot, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer to let green wilt. When able, add more greens, stir, and allow to wilt. Continue until all greens are added to the pot. Add the second quart of chicken stock.

Once all greens are cooking, add vinegar and syrup. If you follow me on Instagram, you might remember my favorite vinegar from Trader Joe’s, which is what I use in this recipe.

Allow to simmer covered for about an hour. Collard greens are a tough green, and you want to cook them low and slow to make them tender. Serve with pepper sauce if you like them a little spicy.

Collard greens are a wonderful complement to most any meat-and-veggie type meal. We like them with roasted pork and cheese grits, and they are also wonderful with a rotisserie chicken and sweet potatoes. 

Collard Greens from TheHillHangout.com

Cranberry Orange Relish

Cranberry Orange Relish fron TheHillHangout.com

Cranberry Orange Relish is a new-to-us recipe on our holiday table this year. While I’ve long been a fan of cranberry sauce – yes, I like the canned stuff! – I wanted something a little more special this year. Festive, maybe. This simple recipe is just the ticket. It takes about five minutes to make, and it is absolutely delicious! 

Cranberry Orange Relish is full of bold flavor, so it is definitely best as a relish instead of a full-size side dish or salad. A little goes a long way. 

Cranberry Orange Relish from TheHillHangout.com.

You can go with a nutty option or a non-nutty option. I like both. You’ll need a 12 oz bag of fresh cranberries, one orange, a half cup of sugar, and an optional half cup of chopped pecans or walnuts.

Cranberry Orange Relish from TheHillHangout.com.

Wash the cranberries well. Quarter the orange with the peel on. Take seeds out if there are any. Squeeze orange juice in a mixing bowl. Place cranberries and squeezed orange in food processor and chop for a few seconds. Be sure to get all big chunks of orange peel chopped or they will be bitter. Put chopped fruit mixture in bowl with orange juice. Add sugar and mix well. Store in fridge for at least an hour. Stir again and add nuts just before serving.

We hope you enjoy Cranberry Orange Relish as much as we do!

Cranberry Orange Relish from THeHillHangout.com

Cookie Dough Dip

A few months back, I got together with some of my favorite food blogging friends. We ate and cooked and ate some more. I tell ya, it never gets old sharing your work with people who get it. And these people get it. 

While we were together we made several recipes that we could all share with our readers, and this cookie dough dip was one of the favorites of the weekend. I made it for my family, and they whole-heartedly agree. It’s a keeper, and it’s a great recipe to take to parties, showers, or to tailgate. Here’s what you’ll need…

6 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
1 block cream cheese (8 oz), softened to room temperature
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup mini chocolate chips
graham crackers, chocolate graham crackers, animal crackers or vanilla wafers, for serving

Directions:

  • Using a stand mixer, or an electric hand mixer, combine softened butter and cream cheese in a medium-sized bowl until mixed well.
  • Turn mixer to low speed and mix in brown sugar, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar. Mix until thoroughly combined.
  • Stir in mini chocolate chips.
  • Serve with chocolate graham crackers, vanilla wafers, or animal crackers for dipping!

Corned Beef with Potatoes and Carrots

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner, and what a perfect time to try your hand at cooking corned beef with potatoes and carrots! Though this dish is a traditional St. Patrick’s Day favorite, it is actually a wonderful dinner any time of the year.

I cook my corned beef with potatoes and carrots low and slow in my Le Creuset braiser, but you can do it in a covered casserole dish or even in a Crock-pot. No matter what kind of baking dish you use, remember to cook low and slow to make it tender. Corned beef is not a cut of meat you want to cook too quickly.

My favorite corned beef is the one pictured above from Cook’s. It comes with a pickling spice seasoning packet, and it’s the one I use for this recipe. I rinse my brisket in cold water before cooking.

Spray your pan with cooking spray, and place the rinsed brisket in it, fat side on top. Sprinkle the top with the seasoning packet, pour in 1-2 cups cold water (can use beer for a fuller flavor), add the minced garlic to the water, place onions around brisket, and place 2 rosemary sprigs on top. **Do not add potatoes and carrots at this point.

Cook on 275 degrees for 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Pull out of oven to add potatoes and carrots. Place remaining sprigs of rosemary on top. Return to oven for another hour.

Plate and serve! This recipe for Corned Beef will melt in your mouth. It is incredibly tender and flavorful.

Corned Beef with Potatoes and Carrots
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Ingredients
  1. Cook's Corned Beef with Seasoning Packet
  2. 1-2 cups cold water or beer
  3. 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  4. 1 small white onion, quartered
  5. 4-5 sprigs fresh rosemary
  6. 4 medium potatoes, cut into 2" chunks
  7. 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 3" pieces
Instructions
  1. Spray cooking dish or dutch oven with cooking spray. Rinse beef brisket and place in pan fat side up. Pour in water or beer. Add in garlic and onions. Sprinkle seasoning packet over top of brisket and place two sprigs of rosemary on top.
  2. Cook in 275 degree oven for 3 to 3 1/2 hours.
  3. Remove from oven and add potatoes and carrots. Place remaining rosemary sprigs on top. Return to oven for another hour.
  4. Remove from oven, plate, and enjoy!
The Hill Hangout http://thehillhangout.com/

Pickled Onions

Pickled Onions from TheHillHangout.com

Good evening, everybody! We are about ready to ring in the new year, but I didn’t want 2017 to get away before I have a chance to show you a delicious accompaniment to your traditional southern New Year’s Day meal or any southern meal. I made a batch of these pickled onions today, and they were quick enough that you can make them in about 30 minutes and enjoy them with your good luck meal.

Pickled Onions from TheHillHangout.com

I started out with three medium sized onions, peeled and sliced into 1/4″ or smaller rings. My preference for pickled onions is to use Vidalia onions (check to be sure that they were grown in Vidalia, Georgia, as these are the real deal. You just can’t imitate onions grown in that good Vidalia soil!). However, this time of the year I didn’t have Vidalias, so I used regular sweet onions. They will be a little spicier than Vidalias, but they will be delicious.

Though I am making these in canning jars, I am actually not going through the canning process with these. I will put them in the fridge, so no need to sterilize jars. I filled the jars all the way to the top with onions and packed them down pretty tightly to fit in as many onions as I could.

I don’t pre-cook my onions because I like my pickled onions a little crunchy. Pouring the hot brine over the onions cooks them a little anyway. But if you don’t want any crunch to your pickled onions, you can boil them in a pan of water for about two minutes before you put them into jars.

The brine I used was a combination of apple cider vinegar, water, salt, turmeric, celery salt, cinnamon, sugar, whole cloves, and whole peppercorns. See recipe below for specific measurements, but I brought all of this to a boil and poured over sliced onions. Be aware that turmeric stains terribly. Be very careful not to get it on your clothes, countertops, dish towels and use only jars you don’t mind getting stains.

Pickled Onions from TheHillHangout.com

Once I poured the brine into the jars, I let them cool on the counter. This allows the onions to cook a little in the jars before going into the fridge. Once completely cool, they are ready to be refrigerated until ready to eat. I can’t wait to pull these out on New Year’s Day to eat with my traditional meal of ham, greens, black-eyed peas, and cornbread!

Pickled Onions from TheHillHangout.com

Pickled Onions
Pickled onions are a fantastic side dish for any southern meal!
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Ingredients
  1. Three medium to large onions (Preferably Vidalia, but any sweet variety can be used)
  2. 4 cups apple cider vinegar (Can substitute white vinegar)
  3. 1 cup cold water
  4. 1 cup sugar
  5. 3 teaspoons ground turmeric
  6. 3 teaspoons celery salt
  7. 1 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt (or regular table salt)
  8. 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  9. 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  10. 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
Instructions
  1. In glass jars or other glass containers, divide cloves and peppercorns and pour into bottom of containers.
  2. Peel and slice onions into thin (1/4") rings. Pack into jars or other glass container. (Turmeric will stain plastic containers, so glass works best.)
  3. Mix vinegar, water, sugar, turmeric, celery salt, salt, and cinnamon in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Let boil for two minutes. Pour hot brine into glass jars, covering onions.
  4. Allow onions to completely cool on countertop before refrigerating. When cool, put lids on jars and refrigerate.
The Hill Hangout http://thehillhangout.com/

Southern Kitchen

This post was sponsored by SouthernKitchen.com. All opinions my own.

I found a fantastic new-to-me resource that I think you all, my dear readers, will adore. Have you seen Southern Kitchen yet? Since Thanksgiving is right around the corner, I think it’s the perfect time for me to introduce you to Southern Kitchen and all of their wonderful recipes, stories, and kitchen items. From their site…

“We created Southern Kitchen to share the stories, recipes and heritage of Southern food and culture in today’s South; the South that praises locally-made, rejoices in diversity and revels in finding the perfect balance of traditional and modern. Everything Southern has a story, and many of those stories take place around the kitchen — whether that’s the actual kitchen, the porch kitchen or the backyard kitchen. Southern Kitchen is focused on delivering the best in eating, drinking and entertaining. We celebrate the chefs who are redefining what it means to ‘cook Southern.'”

When Southern Kitchen asked me to be one of their brand ambassadors, I jumped at the chance to bring you wonderful traditional holiday recipes like…

Deep-Fried Turkey

Bacon Cornbread Dressing

Pickled Cranberry Relish

I also thought you’d enjoy a few Southern-inspired recipes like…

Alabama White BBQ Sauce

Black Bottom Pie

Chipotle Shrimp Tacos

Not only do they have terrific Southern recipes, but they also have a fully stocked store where you can find all kinds of cook’s utensils. I am so pumped about the new mortar and pestle I just received from them. I’ve already used it to grind dried herbs when I made chili the other night, and the flavor was so much more intense. I love how grinding dried herbs unlocks the flavor!

If you love cooking Southern foods as much as I do, I encourage you to sign up for Southern Kitchen’s emails (to receive special deals, recipes, entertaining tips from Southern Kitchen). And lucky you… SouthernKitchen.com is giving all TheHillHangout.com readers $10 off of your first $50 order using the code WELCOME10. How fun is that?!?

I’m excited to partner with a brand that fits so well with my readers, as I know you will love seeing their recipes, shopping the store, and hearing stories from the wonderful chefs at SouthernKitchen.com.

Abram and Sarai and Marriage and Comfort

I’ve always been enthralled by the story of God calling Abram to leave his home and family and follow God to a place that He would show him. Abram was from the area we now know as Mesopotamia – the land of the nomads. The theological belief of most of the nomadic people was polytheism – the belief in many gods, each of whom controlled a different aspect of the world. It was common practice that if one had a desire – a baby, say – then one would pray to the fertility god and offer gifts and sacrifices to that god. But if one also needed safety for a journey, one would call on the god of travel. This would have been common practice for Abram, his family, and all those with whom he lived in community.

That’s why it has always been so significant to me that when God called Abram to follow Him to a land that He would show him (Genesis 12: 1-2), that Abram recognized the voice of the One True God, turned his back on polytheism, and followed God without knowing where he was going. Amazing faith, right?

But until today, I’d never noticed much about Sarai’s part in Abram’s calling. Read with me from Genesis 12:4-5…

So Abram went, as the LORD had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people that they had acquired in Haran, and they set out to the land of Canaan.

God called Abram, and Abram obeyed quickly, without hesitation, submissively, and fully – even when he’d only known a religion of many gods before. Sarai went with Abram supportively, though she’d only had the same religious beliefs before God’s call to Abram. She didn’t command that the LORD also speak to her; it was enough for her that He’d spoken to Abram. I love Matthew Henry’s commentary on this, “If Abram leave all to follow God, Sarai will leave all to follow Abram. And it was a mercy to Abram. It is very comfortable when husband and wife agree to go together in the way to heaven.”

Abram walks so closely with God that Sarai is able to trust his judgement, even when it doesn’t make sense to her. What a beautiful picture of a wife who honors her husband, and in so doing honors God!

1000 Posts

Y’all, I can hardly believe it, but The Hill Hangout has hit its 1000th post!! I had no idea when I started this family blog 9 years ago to show baby pictures to our family that it would grow into anything.

But for God.

I’m still a little overwhelmed that so many of you come to this corner of the internet everyday to read the words we write. I pray they will always be God’s words, not my own. I pray that through my fingers on the keyboard, He will encourage you, teach you, uplift you, inspire you, disciple you, discipline you, help you, and speak His message of love, redemption, salvation, and light to you. I am beyond grateful that He allows me the privilege of meeting you here. To Him be glory now and forever.

All my love,
Ashley

prAna

**This post contains sponsored content. prAna provided the clothing featured in exchange for the post.**

For months after I went back to work, I spent most of my clothing budget trying to pump up my business wardrobe. Business suits. Comfortable heels. Classic accessories. You get the idea. But once that part of my wardrobe was pretty built up, I noticed that I had let my casual wardrobe slide. I had great clothes for the work week, but almost nothing to wear on weekends or when I was out and about. You know, the kind of clothes that are great to wear anywhere “from city streets to mountain peaks.” The kind that is comfortable and versatile, but also fashionable. If you are in the same boat as me – looking for great casual wear that is comfy enough to move around in but also cute enough to wear all day – let me introduce you to prAna.

All of prAna’s clothing is made of either organic cotton or of hemp, and many of them use recycled materials as well. prAna is a very planet-friendly clothing company. prAna’s ultimate goal is to make sustainable clothing accessible and important to everyone. I particularly love that they do not use any form of forced labor or child labor, and they pay fair wages to their overseas employees and voluntarily abide by an ethical code of conduct. They are super sustainability-minded, both in terms of the materials they use and the people they employ, so you can feel really good about the clothing you are wearing.

I love the poppy color of their organic cotton Jardin top, though it comes in several really great colors. I love it with jeans, and it would also be super cute with a pair of wide-legged linen pants for work or dinner out. But I would also totally throw this on with a pair of shorts, like the Tess shorts I’m wearing in the photo below. I’m wearing the gravel color, and these shorts are super comfy. They are made of organic cotton and can I get an amen for the 3% spandex that gives them a little bit of stretch?

I’m also a huge fan of a well-fitting pair of yoga pants for the weekend. Kind of like these Juniper pants.

My fave top to pair them with is the Liana sweater. I’m wearing it in moonrock, but it comes in two other great colors as well. I wear a tank under mine, which you can see below, and it is so lightweight that it provides just the right amount of coverage without being to hot for warm climates like mine. And the assymetrical hemline is very flattering!

If you want to join the #prAnaclub, they are graciously offering readers of The Hill Hangout a 15% discount on all purchases through June 16, 2017. Use code S17PCLUBAH. Let me know what you get!!

Fashion Over Forty: Everyday Looks for Winter

Fashion Over Forty: Everyday Looks for Winter

Everyday clothes are my jam. If you know me in real life, you know this is how I look if I’m running errands, going out for dinner, attending Bunco or a Sunday school party, etc. These looks truly are my everyday clothes. For those of you who want to follow along, I bring you Fashion Over Forty: Everyday Looks for Winter. I’ll link to sources in case you want to purchase.

TunicSimilar ScarfSimilar JeansSimilar Leopard Clutch

Fashion Over Forty: Everyday Looks for Winter

White Piko TopJeansBooties – Scarf (Sold out, but similar here)

Fashion Over Forty: Everyday Looks for Winter

DressSimilar Gold Cuff BraceletSimilar Black Suede Boots

Fashion Over Forty: Everyday Looks for Winter

Heart of Dixie TeeRed ConverseLucy’s Lockets Cuff

Fashion Over Forty: Everyday Looks for Winter

Plaid Vest (Old Navy – sold out) – Gray Piko TopHunter Rain BootsSimilar Crossbody Bag

And while fashion is fun, the very best items you can put on everyday are kindness, humility, grace, truth, and the armor of God. Don’t know what I’m referring to? Take a look at Ephesians 6.