Monday, July 7, 2014

South Your Mouth Cookbook Review

Mandy Rivers' debut cookbook, South Your Mouth, Tried & True Southern Recipes
Update! Congratulations to Katherine Kelley who said:

Thank you for your great recipes! You've helped transform this former Yankee now loving life in Mississippi into a respectable Southern cook, and provided loads of laughter as well. My southern-born & bred & fed husband sure is happy!

Katherine, please contact me by Monday, July 14, 2014 at with your full name and mailing address so we can get your cookbook to you!

I started my own food blogging adventure in 2008. Even writing that seems so odd to me that I've actually been doing this that long already!

In the beginning there weren't that many of us blogging about food specifically, and most especially about Southern food. Facebook was new, Pinterest and Instagram didn't exist, but all that's certainly changed over the past six years, and I've met many different bloggers along the way through all of those mediums. Some became friends, others came and went, posting for a little while and then fading away, and others, well, you just seemed to connect to right away.

Mandy Rivers is like that. I first got to know her over three years ago and immediately found her personality engaging. She's personable, funny and despite her recent successes expanding from her blog work, she still remains quite humble about it all.

And then there's the food, of course! Mandy is from Lexington, South Carolina, and authors the successful blog South Your Mouth but her recipes have also been featured in several popular magazines and she is active on many social media sites where earlier this year, she caught the eye of Food Network producers. Mandy represented the South in a network competition called America's Best Cooks, alongside my personal favorite and my own state of Mississippi's Iron Chef Cat Cora.

Image: Food Network Television
Mandy's newly released, debut cookbook of the same name, South Your Mouth, Tried & True Southern Recipes is as delightful as she is. It arrived on my doorstep as I was leaving for a weekend in Dallas, so I tucked it into my suitcase. As I settled into bed that night, I began reading it and found myself literally laughing out loud quite a few times, as I leafed through the pages, because Mandy, and her humorous personality, shined through every single page. I was so proud of her!

Whether its Baked Pimento Cheese or Fried Pork Chops with Country Gravy, Southern-Style Collard Greens or Mama's Cornbread Dressing, the 200 recipes in this book are all kitchen-tested and family-approved! South Your Mouth is a celebration of Mandy's irresistible Southern recipes, as well as her secrets for turning a so-so recipe into a SO AH-MAZ-ING! dish you'll be proud to serve to your family. Her down-to-earth recipes and easy-going Southern style, will have you cooking and laughing at the same time too.

The recipes are classic Southern cooking made with basic ingredients and easy for busy moms. Organized by meal types, beginning with Beverages and Appetizers all the way to Pie and Other Desserts, and everything in between. I especially love how Mandy gives cakes and pies, clearly two of my favorite desserts, special attention, because as far as I'm concerned those are the king and queen of sweets.

You'll start with Beverages & Appetizers, where you'll find recipes for Chicken Tenders, using Mandy's "Chicken Scratch" Seasoning, Sausage Balls, Cheddar Pecan Wafers, Ham and Cheddar Roll-ups, both savory and sweet dips, and beverages, including, Creamsicle Crush, Apple Buckle, Banana Shimmies, and, of course, Mandy's Southern Brewed, Sweet Tea, among others.

Bread & Breakfast follows that, bringing you dishes like Sausage and Cheese Grits Casserole, Bacon Gravy, Cat Head Biscuits, Buttermilk Pancakes and Chunky Monkey Muffins, to name just a few.

The chapter on Soups, Stews & Chilis includes Slow Cooker Chili, Ranch Chicken Chili, Sausage Steam Pot with Potatoes and Cabbage, Broccoli Cheddar Soup, Hamburger Soup, Cajun Ham and Bean Soup and Husband's Favorite Beef Stew.

Buffalo Chicken Salad, Southern Style Coleslaw, Ham Salad, Ranch BLT Salad, Macaroni Salad and Holiday Cranberry Salad are among 16 offerings in the Salads chapter.

Vegetables follows that, including Oven Roasted Rosemary and Garlic Potatoes, Baked Onion Rings, Sweet Potato Praline Casserole, Cowboy Beans, Southern Collard Greens and Flat, Broke, and Busted Potatoes, among others.

Next is the Pasta, Rice, Etc. chapter and includes, in part, Mandy's recipes for Lasagna, Chicken Pilau, Chicken and Sausage Dirty Rice, Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Casserole, Italian Sausage Skillet, Baked Spaghetti and Mandy's own, Greasy Rice.

Of course, chicken in covered in an entire section on Poultry, with favorites like Nanny's Chicken and Dumplings, Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken, Crispy Baked Chicken Wings, Oven Barbecued Chicken, the Honey Garlic Chicken pictured above, and a homemade Shake and Bake copycat, just to name a few.

Seafood brings you favorites like Salmon Patties, Pan Fried Catfish, Potato Chip Crusted Cod, Charleston Crab Cakes, Southern Fried Shrimp, Blackened Fish, Shrimp and Grits, Daddy's Fish Nuggets, and more.

Classics like Fried Pork Chops and Gravy, Hamburger Steaks, Cheeseburger Pie and Coca-Cola Glazed Ham grace the Meats section, along with sandwiches like Game Night Sliders and Tavern Sandwiches and many more meat-based recipes.

The section on Cakes includes favorites like Honey Bun Cake, Earthquake Cake, Preacher Cake, German Chocolate Sheet Cake and Mandarin Orange Cake among recipes for Peanut Butter Brownie Cheesecake, Fried Ice Cream Cake and other sweet goodies.

Cookies and Candies are represented by a collection of recipes including Pecan Chewies, Mud Hen Bars, Magic Brownie Bars, No Bake Kitchen Sink Cookies, Mr. Goodbar Clusters, Fluffernutter Squares and Pink Lemonade Cupcake Truffles, and more.

And finally, the Pies and Other Desserts chapter wraps things up with Black Forrest Trifle, No Churn Homemade Ice Cream, Chocolate Pudding Pie, Fresh Strawberry Pie, Lemon Dream Pie, Classic Pecan Pie, Show Stopping Peach Cobbler, Coconut Cream Pie and Mama's Apple Cider Pie, to name a few.

Mandy's recipes are unfussy, family-friendly and easy to follow, with ingredients you are familiar with or that are easy to find, if you don't already stock them in your pantry regularly. This is unpretentious, honest comfort food that Southerners are known for and love, and you'll find her versions of many of your favorites here. Preview the full index here. It's a cookbook that you'll find yourself reaching for time and again. Order one now at online retailers like Amazon, or look for a copy in your favorite bookstore.

It's time to South Your Mouth, y'all! Visit Mandy's blog, or follow her on Facebook and Pinterest.

GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED! Quail Ridge Press has agreed to provide ONE additional copy of South Your Mouth, Tried & True Southern Recipes for me to give to one lucky Deep South Dish reader free! Simply comment below to enter for a chance to win.

GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED! To enter, leave a comment on this post (Please comment only once!), but if you post anonymous, please leave a first name and last initial at minimum to identify yourself. An email address is most appreciated.

This giveaway closes on Thursday, July 10, 2014 at 12:00 noon CST. One winner will be selected at random from the comments and will be announced within 2 to 3 days on the site at this post. Winner will have 48 hours from the announcement post update to check and respond to claim the cookbook. Giveaway open to U.S. residents only please.

Thanks for reading and good luck!

Disclosure: I received one free copy plus another copy of South Your Mouth, Tried & True Southern Recipes to review and giveaway.

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