Southern deliciousness for the holidays — ‘handmade so you don’t have to’ — Faithful Foods

From the foodie hot spot of South Carolina, is a family company using their own farm grown ingredients in foods and mixes to make your life easier and tastier: Faithful Foods. Also, during this season of Thanksgiving and gratitude, you should know that they  support their food pantries, contribute to Emergency Relief programs to help after hurricanes and flooding emergencies, honor and care for our veterans, as well as contribute to the Wounded Warrior Project. They also take part in Meals on Wheels, nutrition education and kids cooking. I was happy to be hosted to experience them!

If you don’t have the time or know-how to create heirloom Southern treats, they are the real deal. Faithful Foods has been featured in Southern Living, Okra, Southern Lady, A Taste of the South magazines.

They have both ready-to-eat things (my mom prefers that sort of thing — no fuss, no muss and you don’t have to figure out whether the lady of the house has a cold) and artisan mixes that you can make “your own”.

Brown and Wild Rice Soup Mix with Mushrooms – has a big bay leaf. They suggest chicken broth as a base, but I had beef broth in the house and that worked well. I also added a little half and half, cognac (instead of the traditional sherry), water, chili oil and mini meatballs. I used what I had and doesn’t it look good? It tastes like I made it from scratch (which would have been a pain!), not from a mix. It’s not overly salty. I noticed good mushroom flavors and high quality, toothsome rice. It’s not goopy, either. I found it comforting: you could serve it in a mug or with your best china, as seen here.

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Cheddar Divots are a cool little snack, packaged in a resealable bag. They aren’t the traditional Southern cheese wafer. I tasted good toasted onion and herbs. It’s a shortcake texture in a little bite. It uses tasty sharp cheddar. It’s flavorful, without being overly salty. Serve them alongside a glass of rye!

They suggest Old Fashioned Mulling Spices for apple cider, cranberry juice or tea. However, I remembered having a gluhwein last year at Wroclaw, Poland’s Christmas market. It’s mulled red wine with a splash of rum on top, so I made it the same way. Outstanding! It’s so easy to use, plus it comes with a packet of natural sugar that you can use. I found the spices to be very well balanced: so many mulling spices have a predominance of, say, clove or cinnamon. You’d be wise to keep these in the cupboard for both impromptu and planned shindigs.

Praline Petites are (theoretically) good for portion control. These decadent treats are rich with nuts, nutty brown butter and brown sugar flavors bringing complexity and depth of flavor.

Is it even a party without the Spinach Dip? Theirs is flexible enough to be able to use your fave mayo (we’re not gonna fight that fight today!), and/or sour cream and/or yogurt. I used mayo and homemade yogurt. It had a tangy, savory flavor and when you control the mix-ins, you control the calories! Use it as a dip for crudites, pretzels, chips, thin it for salad dressing and even as a sandwich topper for those boring sandwiches (I’m looking at you, leftover Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches!).

So, what is Apple Orchard with Maple Let’s Do Dessert Mix? It’s a mix with apple bits, a hint of spice and maple that you can mix with butter, cream cheese, sour cream and/or yogurt to use as a fruit dip or spread. I mixed cream cheese and homemade yogurt to spread on fruit slices and even with cookies to make stuffed cookies. This will dress up pound cake, waffles, pancakes and buttered toast to make them shine for company!

Shortbread buttons are crisp and buttery, made from soft red winter wheat and shaped like buttons! Top them with a little Let’s Do Dessert Mix.

Cranberry Brown Rice Mix with Orzo is just crying to be brought to a Thanksgiving dinner or your very next potluck. It’s flavorful, but not spicy or overly salty. They say to make it with chicken broth and orange juice, so make sure you have some on hand. They suggest adding chicken, turkey or sausage, or use it to stuff quail. I used a chicken maple apple sausage chopped up into it! They suggest also serving it chilled for salads with mayo, chopped apples, pecans. In using what I had on hand, I subbed candied pumpkin seeds, along with the sausage, sauteed local candy onion, fried sage and pineapple sage. You could do chopped scallions. You could sub veggie broth and stuff beautiful red peppers for your vegetarian guests. Try serving it with pork chops or duckling.

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The Shrimp and Grits (you supply the shrimp) makes this tricky dish so easy! The mix combines some classic Southern flavors: the French mirepoix (onion, carrot, celery), with the Cajun “Trinity + the Pope” (onion, bell peppers, celery and garlic), along with bacon bits. It’s savory, herby, with a little heat. They say you can season it, maybe if you like things super hot. I made it with 1/2 and 1/2. For the shrimp, I steamed a few jumbos with Old Bay and added a little butter after peeling. I garnished it with garden jalapenos, chopped green onion and garden onion chives. Doesn’t this look tasty?

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