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Monday, September 21, 2009

The Blue Collar Cocktail Hour Shower Recipes: Mac 'on Corn Casserole & Beanie Weenies

Last week, Mom and Super Mom SGM threw the man formerly [and sometimes still] known as the Blue Collar Scholar, i.e. Chris Horne, and his beautiful, blushing bride-to-be Dr. Heather Braun a wedding shower.

But in the style of Thursday's infamous intown Cocktail Hour, this wasn't your ordinary wedding shower.

The wish list? Anything you would "see on TV." The booty? Everything from the Bump-It to the Egg Genie to a toenail clipper with headlight and magnifying glass . . . amongst other things.

There was a tub of PBR, fresh made lemonade (spiked or not), $2 Chuck and "Proud to be Southern" apps like cornbread and pickles, as well as tin pans piping from the oven, smothered, covered and steaming in butter. Paula would be proud.

Here are the recipes:

Mac 'on Corn Casserole

2 cans of corn
2 cans of creamed corn
2 cups of dry pasta noodles (elbow mac in this case)

stick of butter

1/2 big block of Mexican style Velveeta, cubed

2-3 cups of shredded cheddar cheese (the more cheese, the better, in Mom's book)

Mix all of the ingredients in one of those big foil pans (or more earth-friendly, large casserole dish). Do not drain the juices from the corn - the water cooks the pasta. Bake all together for an hour at 375. No salted needed . . . the cheese covers it!

Blue Collar's Beanie Weenies

Giant can of baked beans
Pack of cocktail weenies

6 slices of bacon

Brown Sugar (to taste)
Mustard (to taste)

Maple Syrup (to taste)
1/2 onion, chopped

green pepper, chopped
3 pats of butter

2 cups of Jim Beam

Mix your beans, mustard, syrup, brown sugar, onion, pepper, butter, cocktail weenies and Jim Beam in large tinfoil pan (or big casserole dish). Layer slices of bacon on top. Sprinkle with more brown sugar. Bake for an hour at 375.

Try not to have a heart attack.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Open Wide for The Jessica

One of the big buzzes around Macon lately is the new ownership at the Rookery. Wes Griffith and Chad Evans partnered into one of downtown's must loyal establishments, and instead of rocking the boat, they floated a few ideas and made the boat better.

One of the biggest changes you'll see (and smell) at the Rookery is it's non-smoking policy. Even though the
cig machine remains, if you want to puff, you have to take it outside. Already, families are responding to the new rule. The Rookery has officially become a place downtown to take the kids to have a burger and not feel like you are feeding them in a bar.

They have also gussied the place. Check out the l
ow-light liquor bottle lanterns about each booth - Wes came up with the novel idea. And speaking of booths, his wife Betsy picked out some killer Damask-patterned upholstery to recover the seating, as well as added additional vintage lamps to the restaurant's signature rook nook upstairs. It's amazing what a big difference the little things make.

But among the best of the changes is the menu. It's still bar apps, burgers, salads and such, but the classics are still there and the signatures are even better. And the guys are having some fun with it. All the burgers have a Georgia music twist -- The Big O Burger has an onion ring, the Johnny Jenkins burger comes with pimento cheese, the Allman Burger has mushro
oms (what else??), the Dr. John has a fried egg . . . and the one Shuga tried, the Walden Greenback Burger, has a fried green tomato, bacon and if you ask, horseradish-infused bistro sauce. Yep, a burger in honor of the fam, who at one glorious time, was all about the bank.

However, there is one thing on the new Rookery menu that has Mom as proud as peacock and as stuffed as a tick. When she was a little girl, growing up the shadows of downtown Macon
where her dad had his office and living quarters, a treat for her was a trip to the Rookery where her dad would order her a scramble dog and watch with marvel at how his 50-pound (soaking wet) child would eat every sloppy bit.

On Friday, Mom received two messages. One was from Wes: "I bet you $5 you can't eat the Rookery's new Scramble Dog." The next message was from Chad: "Have you tried the Rookery's new Scramble Do
g? It's called The Jessica." Mom didn't believe it. So, she had to see for herself. Her text back to the both of them: "It's on."

And it was. The 12-inch Vienna all-beef weenie is nestled in a toasted bun and smothered and covered with chili, nacho cheese, onion, ketchup and mustard. Jalepenos line the plate. And it is good. Damn good. So good, Mom pushed her battered fries aside, so she could eat every . . . last. . . bite. Then she mopped up her plate with the fries
. And told Wes to pay up. The Rookery is rocking and rolling, y'all. And Candy's Land highly recommends The Jessica.

Let's Face It

Mom isn't getting any younger. She turns 32 on Sunday (Sept. 27). She doesn't think she that's old, but apparently, she is now older than her mother, who refused stopped accepting her age when the birthdays started coming quicker than silver, i.e. 31.

So, Mom got a microderm with Anne Bragg at the Vineville Salon this weekend. And according to her, there is nothing more face lifting than the intense scrub reduction and restoration it gives her fine lines and gaping pores.
If you're feeling like your face (and your self esteem) could use a lift, send me a Candygram at, and we'll set you up with a free "see for yourself" with Annie and the clock-stopping microderm.

Image c/o of

It's Been Too Long

Mom is finally coming up for some air after feeling like the last couple of weeks have been some kind of surreal, under the sea experience where she could see the sun, but couldn't seem to reach the surface. Between changing jobs and dealing with whatever nasty cold is floating around, she is just now finding her way and catching her breath. But don't get me wrong - she surfaced with a big smile on her face. One week down and she is loving her new career with the College Hill Corridor, and now that Candy's Land is catching up, she couldn't be happier.

During the transition, she and Shuga D managed a little get-away to Atlanta. For Mom, Atlanta is where it began for her. It's where she came out of her shell as an extremely shy girl with 14 years of sheltered private school life to undo. For whatever reason, it was Atlanta where Mom immersed and accepted herself as a small fish in a big city pond and ultimately, became more confident than ever. Between answering the phones at Capricorn, attending Georgia State's urban campus, studying abroad in Paris, working for a marketing company where she drove a Cadillac into Phipps Plaza and weaving her way around social circles throughout the radius of the Perimeter, Atlanta was an amazing awakening for her. It's where Mom became Mom. And to this day, when she drives through the downtown connector, she can't help but smile.

So, Mom and Shuga celebrated the new career back where it all began. They stayed at Buckhead's swank W. They ate and drank their way around margaritas and lobster tacos at Nuevo Laredo Cantina (Mom's all-time favorite restaurant), bellinis and Mediterranean tapas at Lola's, mojitos and rooftop view at Whiskey Blue, martinis and oddities at Dante's Down the Hatch, spiked thyme lemonade back at the W, brunch and hot tea at Flying Biscuit and Fruity Pebbled frozen yogurt at Buckhead's own version of a Pinkberry (not sure the name). They spent the rest of their rainy-afternooned Sunday staying dry at the Georgia Aquarium.

So in honor of Mom's new post, that all began during her college days in Atlanta when she realized she was small fish in a big pond, and even though there were plenty of fish in the sea, she would still swim with and against the current to make a splash one way or another . . . here's a little video.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sorry for the Delay, but Mom's Gotta a Brand New Bag!

Things have been in a good kind of tizzy here in Candy's Land. It's Labor Day, and we're celebrating labor! Specifically, new labor. Such as Mom's new gig as the Director of Marketing and Outreach for the newly formed College Hill Alliance, which is the full-time staff for the College Hill Corridor. Today, she is playing catch up as her full-time work at Imedia comes to a close and her new job kicks off, literally, the minute she walks out of her old office.

With the Downtown Look-Around happening this Friday, the "Lovely by Surprise" screening on Saturday and the Second Sunday Gospel Brunch the next day, Mom is jumping into her new role - which will be to plan, promote and coordinate such cool events - head and high heels first, starting Friday evening.

But truth be known, she jumped into this job heart first the minute the College Hill crew started showing the city how it can be done. Below you will find the full press release issued by Mercer University about mom's new role. You can also see cover story in the new issue of the 11th Hour - the first one Mom has written in over three years - that further explains the passion behind her new leap of career faith.

Walden Named Communications and Outreach Director of
Newly Formed College Hill Alliance

MACON - Jessica Walden has been named director of communications and outreach for the College Hill Alliance, effective Sept. 14. Walden is currently director of communications for Imedia Group, where she edits, writes and coordinates two of the company's community-based business publications, address Macon and Houston County Magazine.

Walden fills the first of three staff positions for the newly formed College Hill Alliance, which is funded by a $5 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The grant for the Alliance was announced in June and is designed to reshape the city's first neighborhoods into a vibrant college town connected by leafy roads and bike paths to the city's downtown.

"This is an important position with the Alliance and Jessica's commitment to and experience with this project will prove invaluable," said Sarah Gerwig-Moore, associate professor of law at Mercer and co-chair of the College Hill Corridor Commission. "We have a great story to tell, and Jessica is the one to help us. Her varied experience in marketing and service to the community makes her a perfect fit."

Deeply committed to downtown development and her hometown community, Walden has been an advocate of the College Hill Corridor since its inception, regularly attending major events hosted by the organization and participating in the public forums regarding the development and implementation of the College Hill Master Plan.

"After graduation, I returned from Atlanta and became invested in my community. I understand the need for other members of the creative class to do the same," Walden said. "Working for the College Hill Alliance is truly a professional opportunity to follow my heart and strengthen our community. I've been impressed with the momentum, resources and leadership within the College Hill Corridor, and I look forward to working with that leadership to ensure the progressive revitalization of Macon. I hope we can continue to develop Macon as a great place to live, to work, go to school or to operate a business."

A Macon native, Walden began her career as the public relations and events specialist at the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. She later worked as a writer and editor for the 11th Hour weekly newspaper and managing editor of Georgia Music Magazine. For the past three years, Walden has served as marketing chair on the Bragg Jam Festival's board of directors. She also serves on the MAGA Film Festival board of directors and various other volunteer committees aimed at promoting downtown Macon, community diversity, animal welfare and the local arts and culture scene. Since 2006, she has remained an active mentor with the Mentors Project of Bibb County. She is currently a member of Leadership Macon's Class of 2009.

"Jessica's experience and contacts in the Macon community made her the perfect fit for the College Hill Alliance's communications director," said Andrew Blascovich, director of external affairs for the city of Macon and co-chair of the College Hill Corridor Commission. "As a member of the commission, I am excited by what Jessica will bring to the overall College Hill mission on a full-time basis."

Walden graduated from Georgia State University in 2000, cum laude, with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism. During her college tenure, she worked for Capricorn Records, the company her family founded in Macon in 1969.

The Knight Foundation committed $2 million to Mercer University to fund the College Hill Alliance for three years and $3 million to the Community Foundation of Central Georgia to fund residents' best ideas for transforming the neighborhoods along the College Hill Corridor. The College Hill Alliance, with offices in Mercer Village, will focus on accelerating neighborhood revitalization. Specifically, the alliance will implement the master plan that will beautify the area, create a business case to attract private investment to College Hill and seek additional funding for the neighborhood.

The basic elements of the College Hill Corridor initiative were conceived in a Mercer Senior Capstone class taught by Dr. Peter Brown, senior vice provost and professor of philosophy and interdisciplinary studies, in the fall of 2006. A Community Foundation of Central Georgia grant, from its Knight Fund, allowed the students to travel to Washington, D.C., to meet with Richard Florida of the Creative Class Group to learn how they could help spur economic development in the College Hill area. Florida's work focuses on diversity and creativity as basic drivers of innovation and regional and national growth. The students concluded that Macon was well positioned to recruit and grow creative service industries, such as graphic design, marketing and the arts, by retaining talented young people graduating from the city's academic institutions.

Inspired by this visit, the Mercer students proposed a plan to make Macon more attractive to young professionals by connecting Mercer and the downtown area to create a "college town" atmosphere. In response, Mercer President William D. Underwood and then-Macon Mayor C. Jack Ellis formed the College Hill Corridor Commission in the spring of 2007 to make the idea a reality.

About the College Hill Corridor Commission

The College Hill Corridor Commission is a diverse, 18-member organization appointed jointly by the City of Macon and Mercer University. Its goal is to restore the social and physical fabric between the Mercer campus and downtown Macon. Along the way, the Commission intends to add economic value to the city's tax base, beautify residential and commercial areas, attract and retain creative young professionals and program fun public events. For more information, visit

About Mercer University

Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University enrolls more than 8,000 students in 11 schools and colleges - liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies - on major campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah and at three regional academic centers across the state. Mercer is affiliated with two teaching hospitals - Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah and the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon, and has educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta. The University operates an academic press and a performing arts center in Macon and an engineering research center in Warner Robins. Mercer is the only private university in Georgia to field an NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit