Mr. Bayley’s West Indies Salad- Summer on the Gulf Coast

Y’all. There is this dish called West Indies Salad that I had never heard of until I met Bub. If I had ever heard of it, I did not know what it was. Maybe it was put in front of me as a child but, yeah, I ate peanut butter and jellys and fried chicken and would not have touched any kind of crab with a ten foot pole. So- I give Bub full credit for introducing me to West Indies Salad and also for introducing me to the art of picking crabs.

Have you ever wondered why crab meat is sooooo expensive? It’s because picking crabs is a VERY TEDIOUS chore! Around here you can find claw meat for $18-20/pound and $25/pound for lump crab meat. I am here to tell you- crab meat that you do not have to pick, is worth every penny! And here’s the deal, to even think about making West Indies, you need a pound of lump crab meat.

Bub is from (the) Dauphin Island Parkway in Mobile, Alabama. Both his parents are from the DIP. His maternal grandmother still lives off the DIP so we bebop through there fairly regularly. His mom and step-dad live on Dauphin Island- to get on to their home from Gulf Shores, if not on the ferry- we pass right by Mr. Bayley’s old restaurant. It never fails, every time we pass Bub gives me the story. “That’s Mr. Bayley’s old restaurant- he’s the one who invented West Indies Salad. Old Man Wintzell worked for him before he started Wintzell’s.” (Wintzell’s is a Mobile institution in its own right but, a story for another day.)

I wanted you to know why we use Mr. Bayley’s West Indies Salad recipe because there are lots of adaptations of West Indies and not that I have tried a bunch, but I have not met one that I did not like! Now, let me tell you the story of how we even came to picking a cooler full of crab and making West Indies

Everybody in Bub’s immediate family minus our brother-in-laws managed to get off on one of our off days so we loaded up the bags, babies and boat headed to Sand Island, a little strip of land that once was an island but is now connected to Dauphin Island. Bub’s stepdad has a couple crab traps planted around Dauphin Island, so the plan was to hang out on the beach and then in the afternoon go collect the crab and then boil them and eat them on the beach.

Rock Star

It was a fun day! And sure enough, the crab traps were full!

fresh crabs

Baby Bub was mildly interested in the crabs…not too close

So, Bub’s mom and stepdad got the crabs all boiled and throughout this whole process, everybody was watching the sky and the radar… and typical of the weather down here a big storm blew in from nowhere! Bub’s stepdad poured all the crab in a cooler and put them on our boat and we hauled ass back across the bay to get out of the water.

Bub, my Daddy and I probably picked somewhere around 3 pounds of crab meat- which meant a big bowl of West Indies Salad and crab meat to freeze to make gumbo later. (Another yum for another time.) However, West Indies with crackers is to die for!

West Indies Salad

Mr. Bayley's West Indies Salad
  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 1 pound fresh, lump crab meat
  • 4 ounces cooking oil
  • 3 ounces apple cider vinegar
  • 4 ounces of ice water, as cold as you can get it
  • salt and pepper
  1. Follow these instructions exactly!
  2. Spread half the onion in the bottom of a bowl
  3. Spread the crab meat over the onion
  4. Spread the rest of the onion over the crab
  5. Salt and Pepper to taste
  6. Pour the oil, vinegar and water over the layers
  7. Let marinate at least 2 hours but, overnight is better

The rest of this story is that the week before we made this, I came soooo close to buying crab meat to make West Indies. I love it enough to pay $25 for a pound of crab! Is there a recipe in your arsenal that calls for a pricey ingredient?

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Homemade Shaving Cream- Revisited

Wrapping up our first week of revisitations, you like that new word?, I thought I would go back to my homemade shaving cream post. I have made shaving cream twice since my original post. The first time, I just followed the recipe- easy peasy. However, I put it in an old conditioner bottle with a pump. Yes, it made life in the shower that much better and it also cut down on the amount of shaving cream that I wasted. I was really able to stretch it and that is one less plastic bottle headed for a landfill.

Then the next time rolled around and I have since become a fan of coconut oil and all its wonders- particularly when it comes to skin care. So, I added a cup of coconut oil to my recipe. However, coconut oil at room temperature is not a liquid- it is a soft solid. To maneuver around this, I pulled out my magic bullet blender and blended the coconut oil with the conditioner, lotion and baby oil.

blended not stirred

Once this was all blended, I transferred it a bowl and added the shampoo and stirred by hand and then poured it into the same old pump conditioner bottle.

Mix it up

I have to say, in the year and a half or so that I have been using homemade shaving cream- I have been so happy with it. The addition of coconut oil to the recipe leaves my legs (and underarms) very slick. I rarely, if ever, put lotion on my legs during the warm months.

Homemade Shaving Cream- Revisited
  • 1 cup of conditioner
  • 1 cup of coconut oil
  • 5 Tbsp baby oil
  • 5 Tbsp of lotion
  • 1 cup of shampoo
  1. Combine the first 4 ingredients in a blender of choice
  2. Add the last ingredient and stir well
  3. Let sit for 30-hour before using
  4. Shake well before every use

Homemade Shaving Cream Revisited

Do you have a piece of your beauty/skin-care regime that you make on your own? Please share!

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Making Amends Week- Part 3: Silver Polishing & A DIY/Upcycled Silver Jewelry Saver

Loyal readers may remember that I did a Pinterest Experiment this past January involving an alternative method to polishing silver. You may also remember that I later apologized for it, as it was an unmitigated mess. I am here today to redeem myself. As I mentioned on Monday, this week FTTDWYW is making amends. To redeem my electrochemical flop, I wanted to share with you my (much tested) preferred method of polishing silver. In addition to that, I wanted share with you a/n DIY/up-cycled silver jewelry saver.


I’ve been polishing silver for a long time. From my grandmother’s collection of souvenir spoons from across the globe to helping my mom maintain her collection, I have logged many hours polishing. I actually kind of like it. Like wiping counters clean, there is something satisfying about the instant gratification of polishing. Along with the electrochemical reaction method mentioned above, I have also used silver polishing clothes and the silvercreamfinaltraditional silver cream. Although I like the portability of the polishing clothes for jewelry, I’ve found that the clothes leave a slight, powdery residue that irritates my earlobes when I wear recently polished earrings. Sometimes, the old and true ways really are the best. For my money, I polish my silver like my mom and grandmama do… with creamy, silver polish. Like them, I set up my unpolished silver on the counter to the left of the sink, and set up a towel drying station to the right. The creamy purple goop and the hexagonal applicator do it every time. For nooks and crevices, I gently apply cream into the piece with a toothbrush. By rinsing the piece and then hand drying it, you remove all residue (which my earlobes appreciate). If your store doesn’t have Wright’s Silver Cream (it should), look for it in our FTTDWYW Amazon store!

As I mentioned, my attempt at polishing electrochemically, was such an epic fail. Although the results were impressive at the time of experiment, within the week all pieces were tarnished again… but this time in weird colors. In the below top row, see the orange, purple, and green pieces.


So, I cleaned all the above pieces nice and shiny. Now to keep it that way! Here is where the DIY/up-cycling happens. You guys know how much I love up-cycling. I live for giving something another use instead of tossing it in the trash. I’m am super allergic to a host of things– both inside AND out!–and as such, I go through bottles of Allergra allergy medicine on the reg. Although the plastic bottle is recyclable, the lid is not. Neither is the tube of desiccant. I ran across an article on alternative uses for desiccants and one of the suggestions was to put them in a sealed container with your silver to prevent tarnishing. Lord knows I have some containers- as I have been trying to make the switch from Tupperware to glass… AND I’m collecting them for another pass at the adorable painted animal glass jars. As all my animal jars were taken, I found another cool jar amongst my collection. I put 6 tubes of desiccant inside the jar and went to do the same to my silver. Upon my return with my jewelry, I eyed the jar critically and realized that although the benefit of putting desiccant in a jar was substantial, wouldn’t it be even cooler if I didn’t have to SEE the desiccant while it was providing moisture absorbing powers? Light bulb moment. I decided to hot-glue the tubes together, than onto the inside-top of the mason jar lid, and voila! All the power of the desiccant without having to see any of it!


Since I had to break out the hot-glue gun, I collected my other things that needed hot-gluing (above, picture 1-fridge magnet of windmill that had lost its magnet and an awesome pair of clip- on earrings that has come loose) and went to town.  See the above log of desiccants (middle)? And then that same log glued to the lid (above right)?

Once I was done hot-gluing, I put half of my polished silver in the jar, and the other on my earring display stand on my dresser- intending a side-by-side comparison to see if the desiccants really worked. You’se guys. It really worked. Three weeks later, the silver that was displayed was starting to tinge- which is better than the electrochemical method which tarnished almost immediately. The silver in my snazzy silver keeper? Looked totally freshly polished! (see middle picture vs. picture on right)


Pretty cool, huh? All silver, from now on, will be going in my silver saver.

What do you think? Do you wear silver jewelry? Are you allergic to everything? Do you have commemorative spoon from around the world? As always, let us know!


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The Best Breakfast Casserole (in the World!)- Revisited

As I mentioned last week, Leigh and I had a state of the blog meeting the week before last. We decided that there are some old blog posts of ours individually that needed to be revisited. So, we decided that we would line up a week of nothing but revisions. She kicked us off yesterday revisiting her Scrubbing Doubles post.

Today, I am going back to my mom’s breakfast casserole. I have to tell you the story behind why I decided to revisit it. Anytime I get loose in the kitchen, I have my camera on hand- pretty much always. I just take a slew of pictures in case I decide to blog about it. So, when we went camping back in the Spring, I made this breakfast casserole to eat cold the next morning. Yes, it is good enough to eat cold. It just slipped my mind that I shared this recipe in the early days of FTTDWYW. So, I wrote the post, edited the photos, scheduled it… and then it dawned on me- I have already done this recipe!

So, when Leigh and I decided to revisit some older posts, I knew I had one already ready to go! Now, I am serious. Pay close, careful attention to this one- it is a keeper. This is a sure way to impress any overnight guests or to take to a family that is welcoming a baby (breakfast is often forgotten) or to have on hand for holiday mornings and is def one that will impress any over-night guests. This is a good one. And without further ado,  my first revisit:

Here’s the deal- having an easy, delicious breakfast casserole in your bag of tricks is a good thing. I am here today to ensure you have a breakfast casserole in your arsenal that is a tried and true crowd pleaser. This is one of my moma’s recipes in her cookbook. She’s probably made it about a thousand times and I have made it a time or two myself and it is truly wonderful.

The first thing you do is brown a pound of pork sausage and once that is down drain it on paper towels and set it aside. And while the sausage is browning, cube 8 slices of loaf bread with the crust removed. Spray of 9×13 pyrex with cooking spray and spread your bread cubes on the bottom. Cover the cubes with your browned sausage and cover the sausage with 2 cups of shredded cheese.

bread cubes

(Baby Bub was around to supervise and ensure quality control.)

quality control

Next, you will need to combine 6 eggs with 2 cups of half and half cream. I suggest beating your eggs first and then stirring in the cream. Pour this over the entire dish. And then put it in the fridge overnight!

headed to the fridgeYes! One of my favorite aspects of this casserole is that you make it the night before! Can we say hello overnight guests? Can we say hello Christmas morning? Can we say hello weekend mornings? I mean, this casserole is an overall 10!

The next morning, set this casserole out on the counter for 30 minutes before you put it in the oven on 350 F for 45-50 minutes. The casserole will puff in the center when it is ready.

hot out of the oven

Serve this baby with some fresh cut fruit or even by itself and you have a real winner!

Breakfast Casserole

The Best Breakfast Casserole (in the World!)
  • 1 lb pork sausage
  • 8 slices of loaf bread, crust removed and cubed
  • 2 cups of shredded cheese
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups of half and half cream
  1. Brown sausage and drain on paper towels
  2. Place cubed bread in a greased 9x13 pyrex
  3. Scatter sausage over the bread cubes
  4. Sprinkle cheese over sausage
  5. Beat eggs and combine with half and half
  6. Refrigerate overnight
  7. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking
  8. Bake on 350 F for 45-50 minutes (casserole will puff when ready)

This casserole is not only silly simple to make but also silly delicious to eat! If you missed it the first time, this is now your chance to hit it up. As always, check it out and let us know what you think.

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Making Amends Week- Part 1: Scrubbing Doubles

I’m getting this post in just under the Monday wire. My apologies to anyone who noticed/care. I am currently in Georgia. I tried diligently to pre-emptively get my posts done for this vacation since I know that writing while I am traveling is difficult. I did a pretty good job in getting posts banked in advance… except for today. And while the post is last-minute, the concept is not. In fact, today marks the first day of a week of themed posts. This week, Coralie and I are making amends… not so much in the apologetic way, but in the “we are always striving for excellence and are updating some previous posts” kind of way. There are some posts which, after they have been published, we have honed and figured out a BETTER way to do them. This week is all about that! This week we have picked four previous post topics from our archives and updated/amended them and are sharing our better versions!

Today,  I am picking one of my favorite previous post/things: the up-cycled dish scrubbies made from webbed produce bags. In the original post, I had collected the bags and nested them within each other… and it worked great. Though I noticed, after much use, that the bags would un-nest themselves during dish-washing and I would find rando bags scattered across my sink (or in the dispose-all). And although they were still super-effective, I kept thinking there had to be a better way to keep the scrubbie together. So, today, I want to share with you guys my solution to improve these awesome up-cycled scrubbies!


After my initial post, Josh and I began saving ALL of our produce bags. After several months, we had accumulated many many  bags- sweet potato, ginger, garlic, shallots, avocados… ALL OF THE MESH BAGS! From using the original nested version, I knew that I didn’t need to use ALL the bags to wash dishes. In fact, two or three bags worked better as they rinsed faster. I also figured out that I really only needed a scrubbie that was roughly the size of my palm. I reasoned that if I somehow fastened a few netted bags together at the corners that it would truly make these scrubbies perfect!


I started by cutting all the paper tags off the bags (as shown in pictures one and two). On the smaller webbed bags, I kept the bottom seam. On the larger bags, along with any paper labels/packaging, I also cut the bottom seam and made the bags into one big sheet (picture three).  Once all the bags were prepped (removing any produce skins that were left in the bags), I folded the sheets made from the larger bags in half four times. I then cut the sheet in half- creating two scrubbies.


I then addressed how to keep the scrubbie together without closing the sides- which would prevent food from escaping the net. So, I used some yarn from my yarn stash (y’all know how much I love busting my fabric/yarn/craft stash), a large plastic/child’s needle (though anything large enough to thread yarn would do) and did a simple stitch in each corner of the scrubbie. I thought about doing a more decorative stitch, or using a prettier yarn, but these are dish scrubbies… not art.


For the smaller bags, I just nested one within the other and stitched the four corners. I trimmed the edges to make them neater, but it wasn’t completely necessary- unless you are slightly OCD, like me.

I think they are super cute. I have them all stored under my sink ready for deployment. SO MUCH EFFECIENCY!

Thanks for reading and get ready for a whole week of amends! What do you think? Did you try out the original idea? Would you try the improvement? As always, let us know!!!


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Kitchen Cotton Strikes Again


Once again, my dear friend Sheila has deemed our humble site worthy of her awesome yarn knowledge. See her previous stellar contributions here, here, here, here, here, here, and here - or, find them all in the Guest Post section of our …Everything Else page. Today, she shares with us an amazing, yarn-stash-busting pattern for placemats and coasters that is both super stylish and practical! And do not fear any possible errant stains on these beautiful, ivory placemats and coasters… she assures me they are (depending on the yarn used) completely bleachable. I love having clever, crafty friends… ~Leigh


Summer is a good time for small projects made with cotton; nobody wants to have woolly sweaters and afghans in their laps for hours at a time in July. I wanted to make a set of cotton placemats and coasters in a basketweave pattern, since I’ve always loved the neat and simple optical illusion of a good knit-purl basket stitch. I couldn’t pick just one from all the options in my stitch dictionaries, so I made a set from four different patterns, matched up by their garter stitch borders.


The placemats are all roughly 10 1/2 to 11” (26-28 cm) by 16 to 16 1/2” (40.5-42 cm) and the coasters are about 4 1/2” to 5” (11.5-12.5 cm) square depending on the stitch pattern used. I have listed the multiple for each stitch pattern; to make your placement or coaster wider or narrower, cast on more or fewer stitches by that multiple.

Make the coaster version of each pattern first as your gauge swatch!


I used a hardy kitchen cotton in ecru, so that the mats may be bleached and machine washed and dried without damage for many years.

Yarn: Lily Sugar’n’Cream Solids, in Ecru. 161-163 yards/148-150 meters per placemat, 17-24 yards/16-22 meters per coaster.
Needles: Size 6 (4 mm) 32” circular needle (or straights of any length for coasters only), or size needed to make gauge.

Sl1 Slip one stitch purlwise
M1 Make one stitch by backwards loop cast on (the Elizabeth Zimmerman method of M1; see tutorial here
Basketweave Stitch 1


This is the “Basketweave” stitch from the venerable A Treasury of Knitting Patterns by Barbara Walker.

Gauge: 19 stitches per 4”/10 cm
Multiple of 8 sts + 5
Row 1 & 5 (RS): Knit
Row 2 & 4: K5 * P3, K5 *, rep to end
Row 3: P5 * K3, P5 *, rep to end
Row 6 & 8: K1 * P3, K5 * rep to last 4 sts, P3, K1
Row 7: P1 * K3, P5 * rep to last 4 sts, K3, P1

Cast on 25 stitches for the coaster, and 71 stitches for the placemat. End on Row 1 or 5 of the pattern.


Basketweave Stitch 2


This is pattern no. 16 from The New Knitting Stitch Library by Lesley Stanfield.

Gauge: 18 stitches per 4”/10 cm
Multiple of 8 sts + 2
Row 1 (RS): * K2, P6 *, rep to last 2 sts, K2.
Row 2: P2, * K6, P2 *, rep to end
Row 3: Knit
Row 4: K2 * K2, P2, K4 * rep to end
Row 5: * P4, K2, P2 * rep to last 2 sts, P2
Row 6: Purl

Cast on 22 sts for the coaster, and 70 sts for the placemat. End on Row 3


Basketweave Stitch 3


This is the “Basket Stitch” from 1500 Patterns (No. OJ 84, Mon Tricot Collection).

Gauge: 20 stitches per 4”/10 cm
Multiple of 6
Rows 1 and 7. Knit
Rows 2 and 8. Purl
Rows 3 and 5: * K1, P4, K1 * rep to end
Rows 4 and 6: * P1, K4, P1* rep to end
Rows 9 and 11: * P2, K2, P2 * rep to end
Rows 10 and 12: * K2, P2, K2 * rep to end

Cast on 22 sts for coaster, and 68 sts for the placemat.

End on row 1 or 7 of the pattern.


Basketweave Stitch 4


This is the “Garter Basketweave” stitch from Charted Knitting Designs by Barbara Walker

Gauge: 20 stitches per 4”/10 cm
Multiple of 6 sts + 1
Row 1 (RS) and all other RS rows: Knit
Row 2 & 4: * K5, P2 * rep to end, K1
Row 6 & 8: K1 * P2, K5 * rep to last 6 st, P2, K4

Cast on 23 sts for the coaster, and 69 sts for the placemat.


To Make Coaster:


Cast on the number of stitches indicated for each pattern stitch.

Rows 1-3: Sl1, Knit.

Begin working pattern stitch plus selvedge stitches, beginning each row Sl1, K1, and ending each row K2.

Work to desired length, ending on row indicated for each stitch pattern.

Work Rows 1-3 again.

Bind off in knit.


To Make Placemat:


Cast on the number of stitches indicated for each pattern stitch.

Begin working pattern stitch plus selvedge stitches, beginning each row Sl1, and ending each row K1.

Work to desired length, ending on row indicated for each stitch pattern.

Do not bind off. Instead, place marker, M1 stitch, and turn work clockwise with right side facing. Pick up 1 stitch in each chain stitch of the selvedge. At the end of the edge, place marker and M1. Turn and pick up one stitch in each cast-on stitch across the bottom of the mat. Place marker, M1, and turn again. Pick up one stitch in each chain of selvedge along right edge of mat. Place marker, M1, and turn again.

Join work and purl one round, slipping markers as you encounter them.

Next round, * slip marker, M1, K1, M1, knit to marker *, repeat to end of round.
Next round: Purl

Repeat these last two rounds one more time. Bind off in knit.


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