Life’s Little Instructions

As we all celebrate the beginning of a new year, one of my family traditions is particularly special to me. Life’s Little Instruction Calendar always finds its way under the tree, and my sons seem to continue this family tradition as well.


I am especially moved throughout the year as the daily “thoughts” seem to hit close to home or even speak directly to a situation that’s relative in my life. I hang on to a few, post one or two on the door at work, keep some in a special box that I flip through from time to time, and use some as scratch paper the day after they post. No matter what the use, it all seems important to me. These thoughts certainly don’t take the place of a daily devotional, but in their own little way, they lend a meaning to each day that has become part of my routine. There is a superstition that no matter what, you do NOT pull the day off until the next morning. There are some that have prompted topics for speeches, those that make you look in the mirror and think “good job,” and others that eerily make you think you have a friend that understands. No matter what the day, I don’t leave until I have read my calendar.

I hope you have traditions that you don’t want to lose. I hope you have set some goals for yourself and hope your core values are too long to list. The word for 2017 for me is “STRETCH.” I have many reasons why that’s important and it seemed appropriate for this year. I would love to know what your word would be if you could only pick one.

Heeeereeeee’s toooooooo GoooooooD Healllllllth and Happpineeeeessssss.


Nathalie Dupree Cooks for The VeryVera Show

One of my personal and professional goals was met this season by having the Queen of Southern Cooking, Nathalie Dupree, join me on The VeryVera Show. From her charming personality, her continued passion for food and her gift as an educator, it was one of the most memorable days of filming. She filled the gaps in conversation during filming with tips that were so appropriate to the home cook. She laughed at herself with a miss-cue on a word and actually advised us to encourage the audience to DVR it! She is amazing.

Nathalie Dupree has shared so much with so many and I am honored to have had the opportunity to be guided and advised by such an inspirational woman. She truly is the Pioneer of Food TV, having no one to mimic in her early years in front of the camera. Her wisdom and ease are evident as seen here and she has followers and admirers both young and old. The key to success to me is sometimes measured in those that are successful because of your influence. There is quite a long list of interns and students of Nathalie’s that have risen to the top in cookbook writing, culinary careers and food-related professions. When she holds your hands, looks in your eyes, and says, “Listen to me,” you do.


Our entire crew feels very fortunate to have had a day with Nathalie. She took an interest in every member and was so willing to help and assist with all aspects of the day. Their next question will be, “When is she coming back?” Next time you see Nathalie, ask her what her secret word is for smiling in a picture. We all know!


Soda Bread Sleeve Template

Once you’ve made your Soda Bread, it is time to package! Download the bread sleeve template and soon you’ll be sharing your homemade bread in style. Happy baking!

  1. First, cut along the dotted lines.

  2. Cut one of the side strips in half and set aside.

  3. Take the “Soda Bread” strip and wrap it over the top of the bread, making a crease where the paper bends over the sides of the bread.

  4. Fold the paper where you made crease marks.

  5. Using the strip you cut in half, attach it to the “Soda Bread” strip with either clear tape or a stapler. Once both ends are attached, it will look like a sleeve that slides around the bread.

  6. You may have to make adjustments to the back strip that is attached depending on how tall your loaf of bread is. You want to be sure the sleeve fits tightly so it doesn’t slide off.

  7. Once your bread is wrapped in plastic wrap, slide your sleeve on and now you are ready to display your Soda Bread!

A Birthday Wish Come True

Within a year of the Internet going public, staked its claim on the vast frontier of the World Wide Web.


20 years later, we continue to recognize the value of this interpretation of our evolving brand.

Our quest was always simple: good quality, great service, and fantastic presentation. Our new website focuses on the movement of The VeryVera Show to regional status. I invite you to scroll through the newest chapter of the VeryVera story. You’ll see glimpses of the past and the excitement of the future.

Lights, camera, ACTION!

Check out the original 1996 website here

Thank you to Wier/Stewart for our beautiful new site!

24 Years!

Vera + Jones, 1991.

Vera + Jones, 1991.

Generally, the one feature people comment on and recall about me the most is my smile. Oddly enough, as a third grader, I didn’t like my smile—it was my biggest insecurity because my teeth were so big. Today, it’s hopefully what people remember most about me.

There are certainly things that make me smile quite a bit: our grandchildren and their successful parents, great friends, and of course, my husband. This picture was taken just a few days before we tied the knot. Though our appearances have changed—more gray hair and a few less strands—I am as happy this morning as I was that cold March morning 24 years ago today. My husband and I still love to cook, fish, and dance together along with watching our family grow. Jones can shoot his age on the golf course and is still the best date I ever had!

#BestDateEver #HappyAnniversary

Bunny Tracks + Brunch

Frances (2 months old) & McClendon (10 months old) are celebrating their first Easter. Their Dads’ probably remember the bunny tracks I had to clean up on Easter Morning. As you’re hiding eggs, cleaning up from the Easter Bunny, and/or preparing little ones for Easter, slide this delicious breakfast casserole in the oven to enjoy for brunch.

God Bless,


Easter Breakfast Casserole – serves 8

 1 pound ground maple pork sausage

6 slices hearty white bread

1 eight-ounce package shredded triple Cheddar cheese

8 large eggs

2 cups whole milk

1 teaspoon dry mustard

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9” x 13” inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large skillet, cook the sausage over medium heat, stirring frequently, until browned and crumbly, about 10 minutes, drain well on paper towels.

Cut crusts from the bread. Cut the slices in half and arrange in a single layer in the prepared baking dish, cutting pieces to fit as necessary to cover the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle with the sausage and cheese.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, mustard, seasoned salt and pepper, carefully pour over the ingredients in the dish.

Bake casserole until set and golden, about 40 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

The Coveted Green Jacket


The signs are up. The azaleas and dogwoods are in full bloom. That’s right, the tournament is a mere week away. In honor of the 2016 Masters, I’m sharing one of my favorite recipes—an Augusta staple—the Green Jacket Salad.

Green Jacket Salad
½ cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 Roma tomato, diced
1 teaspoon Lawry’s seasoned salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
¼ cup chopped green onion, about 1 onion (use lots of green top)
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
2 12-oz bags prepared Iceberg and Romaine salad greens
1 pita bread, split in half, toasted and broken into bite-size pieces or Naked Brand Pita Chips
Parmesan cheese for garnish

Combine vegetable oil, vinegar, seasoned salt and oregano in a wooden salad bowl and mix with a flat bottom spoon. Add in green onion, tomato and parsley and continue to grind and stir until thoroughly mixed. Place greens and Pita chips and toss until well-coated.

Happy Mothers-in-Law Day!

In-laws have classically been viewed in a not-so-positive light.  Movies and television shows have done their best to put this spin in place.  I was lucky with my in-laws but as my children grew, I realized that one day I would be one, too.  As each of our three sons chose their spouses, my dream has been to develop a unique relationship with each of them.

What I have learned is that daughters-in-law are very special women.  They are the woman in your son’s life; the person that took over when it was time for you to step aside.  I remember wondering what it would feel like when that day came and how I would manage through, as my relationship with my sons was so tightly bound.   I have learned that the next stage of life includes developing relationships with their wives and that it can be very rewarding.  I cherish being included, being trusted and being invited to be part of their lives.  I also respect and appreciate each of these young women as I observe them in their individual relationships with their mothers, all of whom adore each other.

I have especially enjoyed sharing recipes with each of them and hope that they, as well as you, will enjoy one of my favorite recipes that belonged to my mother-in-law, Sue Stewart.   She had quite an influence on my life.

Happy Mother’s Day!


German Coleslaw

Sue Stewart:  “Sometimes I think cabbage multiplies itself when you prepare it for coleslaw.  It is amazing how many servings you garner from one head of cabbage.  Since this feeds a crowd, serve this make-ahead side dish at your next picnic. When dressing the coleslaw be sure not to over stir the ingredients. A light toss is sufficient to coat the cabbage.”

  • 1 large head cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • ¾ cup canola oil

Layer the cabbage and onion in a large serving bowl until both the ingredients are used.

Combine the apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt, celery seed, and mustard in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Allow the mixture to come to a boil.  Continue to boil until the mustard blends.  Add the canola oil and return to a boil.  Once boiling, remove from heat and pour over the cabbage mixture.  Do not stir, but toss lightly to coat the cabbage.  Refrigerate for 4 hours before serving.

Serves 14 to 16