Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Party Fit For A King ......

Last year Elvis Presley's 76th birthday was celebrated at Evansville's McCullough Library and it was a grand celebration indeed.  Recipe Records was there along with a local Elvis enthusiast and collector, Ruth Salley, a Newburgh middle school teacher.  She recalled the exact moment when she fell head over heels in love with the King of Rock & Roll and told  delightful accounts of various moments when she felt connected to him.   

Lanea & Mags were there in a "tiz" as I call it ..... Mags & Annie coming in on Friday night, we baked & baked & cooked & cooked for the celebration & we concocted our program for the next day.  At the party we had the time of our lives not just talking rock & roll, but meeting Elvis Presley fans and listening to the stories of when they saw him or how many records of his that they own, etc. That has always been the enjoyable thing about Recipe Records ... it is a time for us to converse with music lovers that we might never have the pleasure of meeting otherwise.

Elvis Presley's story is pretty familiar to most people.  The tale of a poor boy born in Tupelo, Mississippi who makes it big...however, this poor boy didn't just "make it", he defined a genre of music forever.   He introduced blues, rock & roll, shaking hips, Southern charm and a voice that was unlike anyone before him, to the world.  He was a gentleman who loved his mom and dad, taking care of them like royalty.  This fellow had so many great qualities about him, but you can't ignore the depth of Elvis' natural musical talent.

 So, if Elvis were still alive today.... would he be creating music...what kind, who with, where at?  One of my "folks" quickly suggested that he'd probably do a duet with Lady Gaga or perhaps Adele.  I wondered if he'd dabble with Christian music or even with country.  That was the intriguing thing about Elvis, his diversity in genres and his honest interest in different styles made him versatile and unique; although I doubt that he'd care for hip-hop/rap music or the heavy metal stuff.....

When Elvis died in 1977, he was only 42 years old and obviously wasn't in a healthy state at that time.  His career was waning and he was consumed by vices which controlled his life.  It's such a tragic story that you hear of all too often, especially with talented, trusting artists.  If he were alive today I would love to see him with a healthy body, with healthy relationships around him and producing great music and more.  I think he would've blown the socks off the likes of the Simon Cowell's of today and perhaps he would raise the bar on some of the talent that corporate America sees as the future of popular music.  I'd also like to think he'd build a recording studio in Memphis and get back to basics.  Recording some Christmas compilations or simply finding new talent and springboarding them to stardom.  His experience and knowledge in the music world would've provided endless opportunities to himself and others; we'd also see him getting back to the core of his

Barring health issues, I think that Elvis would spend his twilight years giving occasional shows, in the same vein as Tony Bennett, Neil Diamond & Paul McCartney.  Perhaps giving an occasional Vegas TV special or cameos in movies.  As someone pointed out to me, his physical health was rather a wreck, but his voice never left him and what enjoyment he would've given us in the world today.

Don't miss Elvis' 77th birthday party THIS Saturday, January 7, from 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. at Newburgh's Ohio Township Central Library (that's the beautiful new white building off of Bell Road)  Ruth Salley & myself will be there to entertain you with Elvis stories, trivia, memorabilia and food samples - featuring his favorite grilled peanut butter & banana sandwich.  Call the library to register  812-853-5468  x 301 . 

Don't be cruel......join us on this cold January day ....  !

Lanea Stagg
Recipe Records

Monday, December 26, 2011

Resolve to Discover a New...

I have to admit I am somewhat of a music snob...... My family & friends (especially Ned--who gave me 24 cds of new music for my b'day) supply me with a lot of new tunes to crank out in hopes of finding a new band that I find worthy of jamming to in my car - or kitchen. Mags & I used to say that it's not that we don't like a particular genre.... we like ALL genres of music... as long as it's GOOD MUSIC.

That being said, I am a great fan of what I call 'old school country' music..... you know.... Hanks I & II, Waylon & Willie, Glen Campbell, Charlie Daniels......     My shameless plug for the week is - p. 141 of Recipe Records...which has a recipe for Out in the West Texas Town of El Paso Enchiladas (remember that song by Marty Robbins).... along with a song list of what Mags & I considered some of the best country songs that you can't go wrong with when you're in the country mood.

I spend a lot of days trying to convince my children what is "good music" . On the flip side I've noticed they are trying to educate ME on current music that is "good ". One theme throughout our book is stepping outside of your "zone" & learning about a new style of I'm gonna give you a New Year's challenge to check out something different than you would normally listen to & report back to me..... Heck....hopefully I'll learn somethin'!

One night I popped in on my 16 year-old son & he was watching a video of the Zac Brown Band.... a country music band that I've heard a lot of squabble over, but haven't given them a realistic chance. He was playing some song called 'Country Fried' or something like that ... after reading up on them & such, I've discovered these guys are quite the delight.  There's six members of the country/southern rock band from Atlanta and they've released four successful albums.  "Chicken Fried" is the song I caught Ethan jamming to and so I pulled it up on iTunes and holy cow's pret-ty good stuff....... 

They have a gig in Evansville's new downtown venue - The Ford Arena this Wednesday nite, Dec. 28 at 7:00 p.m.   Tickets are a little pricey, however, you probably got a little Christmas cash from Mom & Dad, so use it to make a night of it ... and, who knows how long it'll be until another good concert will be in town ... Tickets are $56.50 & 61.50 plus those fees which should be illegal... I think I'm going to try to make it to the show & I'll let you know if it's "good music" .

To all my friends and family this season - I want to send you all a big hug. So many people are suffering this year and I wish everyone a lot of smiles & happiness in 2012. Even if I can't check in with everyone as much as I'd like - I think of you often. xoxoxo
Recipe Records
Evansville, Indiana

Monday, December 12, 2011

I'll Have a Bluesberry....Christmas....

I always like to receive a gift that is it food or conveys comfort & love to the recipient and is endearing.  Luckily....Recipe Records is a fantastic tool to use when trying to decide on what you should make your neighbors, co-workers and loved ones.  You'll find many choices of candies, etc., that are not a lot of work which equals not a lot of time.    May I suggest wishing someone a BLUE Christmas with some fabulous blueberry topping along with a CD of blues music.

Keep in mind that Recipe Records makes a wonderful gift and now through Friday, December 16 receive FREE SHIPPING with your purchase!  You can purchase the books on our website using Pay Pal, or contact me via email (I joke to many about how I tote books around in the back of my car .... it's no joke )    The book is also available at

On page 181 of the book you'll find one of my favorite recipes, Bell Bottom Bluesberry Topping, along with stories about our love of blues music.  Bell Bottom Blues is one of my favorite songs and is by Derek and the Dominoes....  if you aren't familiar with that band... Derek = Eric Clapton .   As far as I can remember they only released one album as a band--but that was all they needed.  That album yielded "Layla" and many other what I call "crying songs" .   Eric was desperately in love with George Harrison's wife during this time period & helped to create this album with her in mind.

You still have time to whip up this super easy topping, fill up a glass jar, tie a ribbon around it and pass it along.  The topping is delicious on pancakes, pound cake, ice cream or just by the spoonful (which is how I personally prefer it) .  The recipe came from Mom and I have many fond memories of making Christmas treats for teachers, etc., at Christmas with her.  So make a memory with your family this year......

Bell Bottom Bluesberry Topping
(a tribute to the song Bell Bottom Blues by Derek & The Dominoes)

3 C. Blueberries, rinsed & drained (frozen blueberries are most economical)
3/4 C. Granulated Sugar
2 tsp. Cornstarch
1/2 C. Water
1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice

Combine sugar & cornstarch in saucepan. Add blueberries, water and lemon juice and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently to desired thickness.  Great over ice cream, pound cake, vanilla pudding, pancakes & waffles.

Here's a few Blues suggestions for that CD to accompany the topping:

Lanea's Suggested Blues Songlist:

Blue Christmas - Elvis Presley
Bell Bottom Blues - Derek & The Dominoes
Smokestack Lightnin' - Howlin' Wolf
Come In My Kitchen - Robert Johnson
My Man - Billie Holiday
Baby Scratch My Back - Slim Harpo
Born Under a Bad Sign - Albert King
Good Morning Little Schoolgirl - Sonny Boy Williamson (Jonny Lang does a mean version also)
T-Bone Blues - T-Bone Walker
Boom Boom - John Lee Hooker
The Thrill Is Gone - B.B. King


Lanea will be at Tallulah's kitchen store, 812 E. Broadway in Columbia, Missouri, this Saturday, Dec. 17 from 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.!  Looking forward to seeing old friends & making some new ones!!

As always - feel free to email with questions about the book or about preparation of any recipe!


Lanea Stagg
Recipe Records

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Hey Soul Sisters......

It's an interesting phenomenon where you think a song is about something in particular but you find out it's really not.  The pop song "Hey Soul Sister" by Train is a love song where the vocalist pours out his heart to his soulmate....but I never really listened to the lyrics that closely & thought it was a girl/soul sister kind of thing....  At any rate (that's Indiana talk for "anyway" )'s a fetching tune which features a catchy ukelele riff and my girls & I have always enjoyed it, except during that "hit" obsession where it was on EVERY radio station you turned on.......  In case you aren't acquainted with the song, I put a youtube link below....

A couple years ago, Maggie & niece Annie, myself & daughter Abby went to the coolest Beatles Festival ever -- Abbey Road on the River in Louisville, KY.  It is an annual pilgrimmage of ours and this particular year I was all jazzed up because the festival was offering a free guitar class wherein they would teach you to play a Beatle song by the end of the class. Wow---I thought that was the coolest thing ever and I was determined that Mags, Annie, Abby and I would take part in this event & become skilled at a Beatle song.  However, I didn't completely budget the whole idea of buying guitars ....... Annie has a guitar, but the rest of us did not.  So, I put on my budget thinking cap and remembered I had seen some charming ukeleles at a local pawn shop some weeks beforehand and I got the idea that all four of us should take the ukeleles to the class..... it can't be much different to learn a song on a ukelele, right ?  So I headed down to the pawn shop that was selling brand new ukeleles in delicious Beatlesque colors and surprised the girls on our way to the Fest.    Ha.....well....I was mistaken, as I was informed by the guitar teacher that the guitar & ukelele chords weren't gonna quite work out like I envisioned.  Luckily there happened to be a ukelele "specialist" on hand who taught us to play Train's "Hey Soul Sister" and "Something" by The Beatles.   We were soon calling our "band "  the Uka-ladies...and we were definitely Soul Sisters....  What great laughs we had with that whole thing -- and it's those types of memories that I want to encourage you to create for you & loved ones.

I have to provide you with a recipe for "Hey Soul-food Sister Fried Chicken" which was sent to me by Mags' beau, Keith.  I don't think chicken should be fried in anything other than a giant black iron skillet that seemingly weighs 50 pounds.  It might be surprising to know that I have officially never fried chicken because I conveniently have never owned a black skillet due to the trauma that I endured in childhood.....I distinctly remember my mom frying awesome chicken with a large iron skillet, but I mainly remember having to WASH the disgusting iron monster.  Man those things get nasty...  

"Hey Soul-food Sister" Fried Chicken


  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne red pepper
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup 2% milk
  • 2 chicken thighs
  • 2 chicken drumsticks
  • canola oil


  1. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the first five ingredients. In a shallow bowl, beat the egg and milk. Add chicken to bag, a few pieces at a time, and shake to coat. Dip into egg mixture, then return to flour mixture and shake again. Remove from bag and let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Heat about 1 in. of oil in a large skillet. Fry chicken until golden brown on all sides. Reduce heat to medium and cook until a meat thermometer reads 180°, about 15 minutes.
In my various internet browsings, I came across a skillet cookbook that looks fantastic & I'm gonna check it out.... if I ever get that iron skillet (and someone else commits to washing it) ......   A Skillet Full

I gotta mention that soul sisters are important....biological or be sure you give yours an extra "I love you" during these chaotic days of the holiday season.....

Lanea Stagg
Recipe Records Cookbook

Thursday, December 1, 2011

On the 1st Day of Christmas..My True Love Gave To Me.....Straight No Chaser

Straight No Chaser, Indiana University's pride and joy blew the top off The Centre in Evansville, Indiana last night....joyfully performing tunes for the holidays and covering hot songs from popular artists.  You know how you love that surprise when you put on your comfy ole' winter coat for the first time of the season and you find a $20 bill in the pocket ?? Well.... listening to Straight No Chaser singing holiday classics infused with their catchy twists and surprises makes you feel warm, fuzzy and like a millionaire..... Their element of surprise holds your close attention so you don't miss any addition or revision to their tunes.  This a capella group of 10 gentlemen (OK... I know there are peeps out there who aren't familiar with "a capella" - don't be ashamed...... it means NO MUSIC)....   performs with such depth that you'd swear there was a 12 piece orchestra backing them up... The range of their vocal talents extends from both ends of the spectrum; great soprano, with alto and bass foundations.
I can't write enough great things about these guys --- they are The Rat Pack meets the Backstreet Boys with a schmaltzy midwestern charm......from the light jokes about their the jabs at their dancing "skills" (the choreography is similar to a grade school musical) .... to their love of being in their college home State:  Indiana. It's enjoyable to watch their comedic style which endears them to the crowd and the crowd LOVES THEM!
The group aims to please all ages, and they covered songs from Elvis to Weezer to Lady Gaga to Michael Jackson and Madonna...and a particularly great version of Cee Lo Green's "Forget You" (which is actually titled something different...but I'll keep it rated "E" for everyone) . One of my favorite sets was their homage to those Jersey boys, Franki Valli & The Four Seasons. The group was smack-dab DEAD ON with their "Big Girls Don't Cry" and "Walk Like a Man" - oh and the dance moves....priceless.  They didn't indulge me, however, by performing their version of "Rehab" by Amy Crackhouse...I mean Winehouse  ...their cover is fantastic.

Their Christmas songs were full of soulful harmonies and of course, more humor stemming with my favorite song of the eve, "You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch" which contained the lowest bass I believe I've ever heard live. Be sure you look on YOUTUBE for their "12 Days of Christmas" and "The Christmas Can-Can" .... We also included this group on our Christmas song list on page 191 of Recipe Records.
It's not clear who, if anyone, is the frontman of the group and it seems to me it's not necessary to have one. Each member brings something great to the stage and it's clear these fellows are going to entertain for decades to come.  Their creativity is obviously endless and it's backed by incredible talent and charm..  Bing Crosby & Nat King Cole were the kings of holiday classics in the past, but the torch has been passed to Straight No Chaser who are, officially (in my book), the royalty of Christmases present and future.....  
Like them on Facebook and check out their website: