My "back porch" is my kitchen, my favorite room in the house. Come on in, the coffee is fresh, and I just made a pitcher of sweet tea. The cookies will be out in a minute. I have over 40 years of recipes to share with you, along with my opinion on everything. Oh my, you are right, it is cocktail time. What can I get you? Of course I can make you a Mint Julep! Stop by anytime, something is always cooking, and the back door is never locked.

Bon Appetit, Y'all

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Red Rice

How could you be from the South and not love rice? Dirty Rice might be my favorite, but a lot of people don't like the idea of chicken livers in their rice. Red Rice is another favorite. This is a South Carolina recipe, Charleston or Savannah I can't remember which.

Red Rice
6-8 servings
print recipe

6 strips bacon, cubed
4 tablespoons bacon grease
1 large onion, chopped fine
1 small can tomato paste
1 1/2 to 2 cans water
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 to 3 teaspoons sugar
good dash each of salt and pepper
1 1/4 cups of raw, long-grain rice.

Fry bacon and remove from pan, reserving grease; saute' onions in 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease. Add tomato paste, water, salt, sugar, and peppers. Cook uncovered for about 10 minutes until mixture measures 2 cups. Cool to room temperature.

Add mixture to rice in top section of rice steamer or a Dutch oven. Cover. Add 3 tablespoons bacon grease; steam for 30 minutes, then add crumbled bacon, and loosen rice with a fork. Add more liquid if necessary. Cook 30 to 40 minutes longer.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Off to College

I must be crazy for doing this post because I know it will bring the "Wrath of Angie", my niece, upon me. They are getting ready to send Aaron their first born off to college in a couple of weeks. Angie It would probably be a good idea for you to stop reading here.

These are suggestions and ideas from parents in the Central Kentucky area sending children off to college for the first time.

1. Know that this is your child's experience, not yours. It's their room let them decorate it however they want. Only offer suggestions if they ask or ask them without them knowing it's "what you think is best".

2. Don't sweat the small stuff!

3. Fight the temptation to call your child every day. You will find your child, especially boys, will have more to say when he initiates a phone call. A text message is best, it lets you know they are okay and is less embarrassing for them not to be on the phone all the time with parents.

4. Encourage them to stay on campus most weekends. They need that opportunity to meet friends, get involved on campus and make memories.

5. Don't expect boys to change sheets. This was heard by a parent at orientation, and it is true. He'll need one set of sheets for the fall and one for the spring.

6. Time management is probably the hardest thing they will have to master and more of a challenge than some of the subjects the will be studying.

7. The worst thing you can do when your child comes home for the summer or vacations is to revert back to the way things were before they left. The first time you ask "Where are you going", get ready for a fight.

These were just a few of the highlights from the article published in Kentucky Monthly Magazine.

If you agree or disagree remember I'm just the messenger.

Feel Good Friday - New Shoes

Not that I normally need any help feeling good, but don't you love new shoes? I am years past the 3-inch heels torture that we have all endured. I love fun comfortable shoes, no not tennis shoes, I hate those.

On Wednesday of this week I went to the mail box, 1/2 mile away, and there was a box for me from a dear friend. I love packages and surprises. Couldn't wait to get home and open it. I had them on until this morning when I had to start canning tomatoes. Had to take them off because I just knew I'd drop a big tomato on them.

The next project was to see how many outfits I could come up with to go with my new shoes. Lots! My favorite is one I'm wearing to church Sunday because my friend Sara is playing the piano. The outfit is basically from our church yard sale last week that my niece, Angie, and I went to the day before the sale to get all the good stuff. A long black skirt with cut-outs around the bottom, 25 cents, pink cami, 25 cents, black summer sweater 25 cents. All J. Crew with the tags still on. I added a black ribbon belt trimmed in gold, a black ribbon tote, and my fabulous new black and pink BIRKIES.

I am hot and boy do I "Feel Good".

Thank you dear friend for helping me "Feel Good", but you always do.

For more Feel Good Friday.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Tomato Preserves

As long as I can remember not a summer passed without my Mom and Grandmother making Tomato Preserves. To this day it is still my favorite of any jam, jelly or preserve.

Feel free to use yellow or red tomatoes or a combination. Tomato Preserves on a hot buttered biscuit makes my mouth water just thinking about it.

This is the recipe they used. In the next week or so I'll share another Tomato Preserves recipe that I found I also enjoy.

Tomato Preserves
12 6 ounce glasses
print recipe

5 pounds firm ripe tomatoes
8 cups sugar
1 orange, thinly sliced (paper thin)
1 lemon, thinly sliced (paper thin)

Peel and quarter tomatoes, cover with sugar, and allow to stand overnight. Drain off syrup; heat to the boiling point and cook until the syrup will spin a long thread (232 degrees on your candy thermometer). Add tomatoes and orange and lemon slices. Cook over low heat until tomatoes are transparent. Seal in hot sterilized jars.

Cooks Note: Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. My Mom didn't but I do, because you should.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Blackberry Sherbet

I think I found this recipe on Taste of Home a few months ago. It had great reviews and was very simple, so why not try it. I have made this so many times and everyone always wants the recipe. I made a batch yesterday and started checking my favorite blogs and there again was Jaz on Octoberfarm, got the name right this time, with a lemon, cornmeal shortbread recipe that I just knew would be perfect with the sherbet. It is.

I'm giving the recipe as it was posted, but to be honest I've alway just poured mine in the ice cream maker and followed the directions for freezing sherbet.

Blackberry Sherbet
8 servings - 1 quart
print recipe

4 cups fresh or frozen blackberries, thawed
2 cups sugar
2 cups buttermilk

In a food processor, combine blackberries and sugar; cover and process until smooth. Strain and discard seeds and pulp. Stir in buttermilk. Transfer puree to a 13-inch x 9-inch dish. Freeze for 1 hour or until edges begin to firm. Stir and return to freezer. Freeze 2 hours longer or until firm. Or freeze in your ice cream maker according to mfg. directions.

Just before serving, transfer to a food processor; cover and process for 2-3 minute or until smooth. This step not necessary if using ice cream maker.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Canning Vegetable Soup

This is the perfect time of year to can vegetable soup. The tomatoes, corn, potatoes, lima, etc. are wonderful in the garden. I don't can my vegetable soup with meat. I add it later from left over whatever, steak bones are great. You can use this as is or add other vegetables later when you are ready to use.

The batch I'm making today is for Aaron my great nephew who is off to college in a few weeks. We just can't have that sweet thing starving, and he loves veggies.

Vegetable Soup
Yield: about 14 pints or 7 quarts
print recipe

2 quarts chopped, peeled, cored tomatoes (about 12 large)
1 1/2 quarts cubed and peeled potatoes (about 6 medium)
1 1/2 quarts 3/4-inch sliced carrots (about 12 medium
1 quart lima beans
1 quart whole kernel corn, uncooked
2 cups 1-inch sliced celery (about 4 stalks)
2 cups chopped onions (about 2 medium)
1 1/2 quarts of water
Salt and Pepper (optional)

Combine all vegetables in a large saucepot. Add water; simmer 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Ladle hot soup into hot jars, leaving 1-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two-piece caps. Process pints 55 minutes, quarts 1 hour and 25 minutes, at 10 pounds pressure in a steam-pressure canner.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Not Your Ordinary Peach and Blueberry Cobbler

Crank the air conditioning down and turn the oven on. You have to have cobbler in the summertime.

This recipe was adapted from my favorite cobbler recipe that I posted when I first started the blog in January of this year, Blackberry Cobbler Mcguire. I use this for all my cobblers, just changing the fruit and adjusting the sugar if needed. Everyone loves it.

I'm making one today to give to my friend David, the best produce man I've ever found, who helped me shuck 8 dozen ears of corn Saturday. What a friend! Did I forget to mention he also gave me the corn.

Peach and Blueberry Cobbler
Serves 6
print recipe

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, 1/2 stick cut into bits and chilled
1 cup water
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups self-rising cake flour *
1/3 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups fresh or thawed frozen peaches (about 1/2 pound)
1 1/2 cups fresh or thawed frozen blueberries (about 1/2 pound)

Serve with vanilla ice cream, if desired

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a 10-inch glass pie plate or baking dish melt 1/2 stick uncut butter in oven.

In a small saucepan combine water and 1 cup sugar and heat over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is completely dissolved. If your fruit is not as sweet as you like now is the time to add a little more sugar.

In a food processor pulse together flour and remaining 1/2 stick cut-up butter until mixture resembles fine meal. Add milk and pulse just until a dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and with a floured rolling pin roll into an 11-by-9-inch rectangle. Sprinkle dough with cinnamon and scatter fruit evenly over top. Beginning with a long side roll up dough jell-roll fashion and cut into 1 1/2 -inch thick slices. (Slices will come apart and be messy). Arrange slices, cut sides up, on melted butter in pie plate or baking dish. Pour sugar syrup over slices, soaking dough, I know it looks like a mess, and bake cobbler in middle of oven 45 minutes. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over cobbler and bake 15 minutes more, or until golden.

*I have a hard time finding self-rising cake flour so I use plain cake flour and add 2 teaspoons baking powder and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Works great.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Doing Good on the Sabbath - Saints and Scriptures Sunday

Have you known people who do nothing on the Sabbath except go to church and prepare a meal? In my opinion that is not what the Bible teaches us. If helping someone needs to be done on the Sabbath do it. Check on your elderly neighbors in this heat we are having. Take food to people that are ill. If a big storm is coming tomorrow don't leave your crops in the field to be destroyed.

As we have heard many times, going to church doesn't make you a Christian. Helping others and your personal relationship with God will make you a good Christian.

Mark 3:1-6

Then Jesus went back to the meeting place where he found a man with a crippled hand. The Pharisees had their eye on Jesus to see if he would heal him, hoping to catch him in a Sabbath infraction. He said to the man with the crippled hand, "Stand here where we can see you."

Then he spoke to the people: "What kind of action suits the Sabbath best? Doing good or doing evil? Helping people or leaving them helpless? No one said a word.

He looked them in the eye, one after another, angry now, furious at their hard-nosed religion. He said to the man, "Hold out your hand." He held it out-it was as good as new!. The Pharisees got out as fast a they could, sputtering about how they would join forces with Herod's followers and ruin him.

My goal this week is to do something good for someone everyday, no matter how small it might seem to you it will mean the world to someone in need.

As always for more Saints and Scriptures Sunday visit Dianna at The Kennedy Adventures.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Shaker Lemon Pie

I was reading one of my favorite blogs yesterday, Octoberfarm, and realized that Jaz had gotten a bad recipe for Shaker Lemon Pie. This really is a wonderful pie and since I love she and Teddy so much I felt it was my duty to provide them with a really good recipe, she would do the same for me. And she might share her new pie crust recipe with us.

The whole secret here is lemons with thin skins, which reduces the amount of pith (the white stuff), and mandoline thin lemon slices.

This recipe is over a hundred years old.

Shaker Lemon Pie
6-8 slices
print recipe

2 large lemons
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, well beaten

Slice unpeeled lemons paper thin. Remove seeds, add sugar, and mix well. Let stand 2 hours or a little longer, stirring occasionally. Thoroughly blend beaten eggs into the lemon mixture. Turn into an unbaked 9-inch pie shell, arranging lemon slices evenly. Cover with a vented top crust. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes; reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake 20 minutes longer or until a silver knife inserted near the edge comes out clean. Cool before serving.

Friday, July 23, 2010

New Header and Background

Well, what do you think! I love the new header and background that my wonderful niece, Angie, and her son John came up with for the blog change. John is a great photographer.

Of course my little Annie and Mazzy are my favorite animals on the farm, but Pepper (the red one) and Candy (the black one) are my next very favorite. These are the most loving sweet animals I have ever seen. Donkeys sometimes get a bad rap for biting, chewing, kicking, etc., but not my precious little sweethearts. All they want are donkey muffins and carrots and to snuggle against your shoulder. They love everyone. Lots of work has been slowed down because they demand attention from anyone on the farm.

Let me know what you think of the changes!

Paella a la Valenciana

This recipe was adapted from a Spanish cookbook found at a yard sale, where most of my favorite cookbooks are found.

There are as many kinds of paella as there are paella cooks. Please feel free to make substitutions. For example, use hot turkey sausage in lieu of pork sausage.

The general idea is to cook all of the ingredients in one dish until they are done but not overdone. I happen to have a paella pan, found at the same yard sale, but a large skillet works just as well.

Saffron is very expensive, the most expensive spice in the world, so unless my sister sends me some, hint, hint, I use turmeric.

Paella a la Valenciana
4-6 servings
print recipe

1 small chicken, boiled (save 2 1/4 cups of the stock to cook rice; water must be hot)
8 pork sausages (chicken or turkey sausages maybe substituted)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic finely chopped
3 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 green or red peppers, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon saffron or turmeric
Salt and pepper
1 cup rice
6 canned artichoke hearts
1/2 cup peas
1/2 pound cleaned shrimp

Boil the chicken and strip the meat from the bones. Cut meat into bite-sized chunks. Save the hot water for cooking the rice.

Brown the sausages in some of the olive oil in a large frying pan and cut into bit-size chunks.

In remaining olive oil, saute the onion, garlic, tomatoes, and peppers in the same pan.

Return the sausages to the pan and add the chicken pieces and spices.

Stir in the rice and pour in the hot water/broth.

Cook on low heat for about 15 minutes, then add artichoke hearts, peas, and shrimp.

Cook another 10 minutes, until rice is tender, and serve.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Quick Coq au Vin

When I'm knee deep in tomatoes, corn, apples, peaches, etc. that all need my immediate attention, I am looking for something quick for dinner.

Trust me this is not a Julia Child recipe, but it is quick and wonderful. Perfect for company or just family.

Quick Coq au Vin
Serves 4 or more
print recipe
Up to 8 pieces of chicken, white or dark meat or both
1 1/2 cups dry red wine
1 package (1 3/8 ounce) onion soup mix
1 beef bouillon cube

Place all the ingredients in a 2-quart casserole, cover, and bake 2 hours at 350 degrees.

Serve over rice or riced potatoes.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Martha's Vineyard Clam Chowder

Clam Chowder to me is a soup for all seasons. There was a time that I could get fresh dug clams, but to be honest the ones at the fish market and grocery are just about as good and a lot less work. I have even used canned clams, chopped and the little baby one with great results. If you use canned you will need to have a few bottles of clam juice also.

There are as many chowders as there are chowder makers, and a lot of cooks never make it the same way twice. This is a really good one, but feel free to alter it to suit yourself.

Martha's Vineyard Clam Chowder
4 nice servings
print recipe

1 large onion, chopped
4 or 5 slices of bacon cut into small pieces, or a small chunk of salt pork, cubed
2 cups diced potatoes
2 cups water
24 or more clams
1/4 pound ground kielbasa
Salt and Pepper
Hot pepper sauce
1 quart milk

Fry the onion and bacon (or salt pork) until the onion is pale and cooked.

Add potatoes and water and boil until the potatoes are done.

Meanwhile, steam the clams, and save the broth. Remove the meat from the shells and grind or chop it, then return it to the broth (using as much broth as suits your fancy) and add the potatoes, onion, kielbasa, and bacon (or salt pork), salt and pepper to taste, and a few shakes of hot pepper sauce.

At this point you can add the milk or you can freeze the chowder base for future use and add the milk later, after you've thawed and reheated the base.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Herbed Zucchini Cheese Bread

It is getting to be the time of the year when we need all the zucchini recipes we can find. I got this on line from I have no idea where. If you know let me know and I'll give credit where it is due.

This savory bread is a wonderful change from the sweet zucchini bread that we commonly see and uses harvest fresh herbs from the garden. Serve this savory bread with softened goat cheese for an appetizer or serve as an accompaniment to a main-dish soup or salad.

Herbed Zucchini Cheese Bread
1 8 x 4-inch loaf
print recipe

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons of your favorite herbs, chopped, such as dill and parsley, or rosemary basil, and oregano
2 tablespoons green onions or shallots, finely chopped
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 eggs
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup milk
1 cup zucchini, shredded

Combine dry ingredients, herbs, green onions or shallots and cheese; stir to mix well. In a separate bowl, beat eggs lightly add oil and milk, and mix well. Stir in zucchini. Add liquid ingredients with zucchini to flour mixture and stir just until all ingredients are mositened; do not overmix. Pour into a greased and floured 8- by 4-inch loaf pan, and smooth top of batter. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let loaf stand for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Marinated Onions Delicato Style

Delicato's marinated onions make a wonderful relish to serve with ham, and are terrific on a ham on rye sandwich. This recipe, from Delicato cookbook author Arlene Mueller, will add a special touch to any party table.

Marinated Onions Delicato Style
Makes 4 cups
print recipe

4 cups very thinly sliced sweet onions
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
2 cups dry white wine
Parsley springs for garnish

Place onions, salt, and pepper in wine. Chill for several hours or overnight. Garnish with parsley sprigs.

For a brighter, rosier look, substitute red onions and Rose or Cabernet wine, and use plenty of black pepper.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Work The Words Into Your Life-Saints and Scriptures Sunday

Luke 6:43-49

You don't get wormy apples off a healthy tree, nor good apples off a diseased tree. You must begin with your own life-giving lives. It's who you are, not what you say and do that counts. Your true being brims over into true words and deeds.

Why are you so polite with me, always saying "yes sir," and "That's right sir." but never doing a thing I tell you? These words I speak to you are not mere additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundation words, words to build a life on.

If you work the words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who dug deep and laid the foundation of his house on bedrock. When the river burst its banks and crashed against the house, nothing could shake it; it was built to last. But if you just use words in Bible studies and don't work them into your life, you are like a dumb carpenter who built a house but skipped the foundation. When the swollen river came crashing in, it collapsed like a house of cards. It was a total loss.

Have a Blessed week, and for more Saints and Scriptures visit Dianna at The Kennedy Aventures.

My Favorite Ratatouille

I make this so often in the summer that I almost forgot to include it in the post. I assume everyone made it I guess.

I have used this as a vegetable, salad and appetizer because it can be served warm, at room temperature or cold. Ratouille will keep in the refrigerator for a week. Gook luck with that one.

To serve as a vegetable I serve it warm with a light grating of Swiss Cheese, as a salad cold on a bed of shredded lettuce, or as an appetizer, cold or at room temperature with crackers, bagel chips or something similar.

My Favorite Ratatouille
depends on how you're serving it
print recipe

2 medium zucchini
1 medium eggplant
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons floor
1 large onion, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
salt and pepper to taste
2 green, yellow, or red bell peppers, seeded and cut in strips
5 ripe tomatoes, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoons capers (optional, but add lots of flavor)
fresh basil leaves for garnish

Cut the zucchini in 1/4-inch slices. Cut each slice in half. Peel the eggplant and cut in 1-inch cubes. Place the zucchini and eggplant in a bowl, sprinkle with salt and let stand 20 minutes to extract excess moisture. Wipe dry and sprinkle with flour.

Heat the oil in a skillet. Cook the onion and garlic just until limp and transparent. Add eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, salt, and pepper. Cook, covered, over a very low flame, giving a stir every now and then, for 30 minutes.

Remove the cover, lay the tomatoes on top and cook an additional 10 minutes, uncovered. Sprinkle capers on top. Garnish with a few basil leaves. Serve warm at room temperature, or cold.

Ratatouille will keep in the refrigerator for a week.

Grilled Vegetables

This is one of those use anything you want of like recipes. I normally make this when I have a little bit of this and a little bit of that in the fridge. All garden fresh of course.

This is my favorite blend, you make your own.

Even people who don't like vegetable like them when they're cooked like this.

Grilled Vegetables
Servings depend on how many veggies you use
print recipe

Red and/or green peppers
Summer squash and/or zucchini or whatever
Portobello mushrooms

Parboil such veggies as carrots and broccoli.

Marinate the vegetables for half hour, adding mushrooms and eggplant during last few minutes. I use a combination of Good Seasons Garlic and Herb salad dressing, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil.

Place the vegetable in a grilling wok and grill over medium-high heat for 10 minutes, or so, turning regularly. A large skillet works also.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Red Potato and Red Onion Gratin

With the new potatoes coming out of the ground this time of year and fresh onions from the garden, plus thyme from your herb garden.

This recipe is just the perfect combination of ingredients that make up a fabulous, simple gratin. Gratin, by the way does not necessarily refer to a cheese topping, although that is how it is most often thought of in America! This is wonderful to serve with any main dish or as a light supper with a simple salad or sliced tomatoes.

Red Potatoes and Red Onion Gratin
6 servings
print recipe

2 pounds potatoes, about equal size
3 medium red onions
1/4 cup plus two tablespoons light olive oil
2-3 sprigs thyme
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Peel the potatoes and slice them 1/4-inch thick into a bowl with plenty of cold water. Keep them covered by one inch of water, changing the water as it becomes starchy. The number of changes depends on the potatoes; three or four times is usual.

Peel the onions and slice them 1/4-inch thick. Cook them in 3 tablespoons olive oil with 2 to 3 sprigs of thyme, over very low heat. Cover the pan, but stir occasionally. The onions should be sweet, slightly softened, and because of the steam effect of keeping the pan covered, still crunchy after 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Rinse the potatoes in a colander and pat them very dry between tea towels. Toss them in the remaining olive oil.

Layer a lightly oiled shallow 2-3 quart earthenware casserole with potatoes, slightly overlapping them in concentric circles, and salt and pepper lightly. Remove the thyme from the onions and discard it. Strew some of the onions lightly over the layer of potatoes. Continue layering the onions and potatoes, ending with a layer of potatoes.

Dot with 3 tablespoons butter. Bake in a preheated 425 degree F oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until the potatoes are a deep golden brown.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Kentucky Carrot Casserole

Please at least take the time to read the recipe. Don't say yuck, carrots, right away. Children actually love this if you don't tell them it's carrots, men as well.

This is really very good and makes a very colorful dish for any meal. It would be wonderful for the holidays.

Okay maybe I wouldn't have made it yesterday if my brother, Larry, had not brought me fresh carrots, plus a bushel of green beans and pounds of boiling onions. And I thought I was going to have a day off! Someone he was working with a the annual Lion's Club Bluegrass Fair had given him all this stuff. Being the true children of our father, if it's free we're taking it.

Kentucky Carrot Casserole
serves 4
print recipe

3-4 medium carrots
4 whole green onions, minced
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
salt and pepper to taste
2 eggs, beaten
paprika and minced parsley for garnish

Cut the carrots in small pieces. Cover with lightly salted water and cook, covered, until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and mash coarsely. Place the carrots in a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and blend. Place the mixture in a lightly butter casserole. Dot with butter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes. Garnish with paprika and minced parsley.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Lucy's Mystery Cake

Lucy is saving me again. This week is just to busy to be thinking of new recipes and having the time to post them is out. This is a wonderful quick cake made from a cake mix. Can you believe I'm even using those words!

Lucy's Mystery Cake
12-14 servings
print recipe

1 box of yellow butter cake mix (You know I prefer Duncan Hines)
1 package instant vanilla pudding (3.4 ounce size)
4 eggs
2/3 cup oil
6 ounces Toll House chocolate chips
1/2 bar Bakers German Chocolate, grated

Beat together cake mix, pudding, eggs and oil. Fold in chocolate chips and grated German chocolate. Pour into a greased, floured tube pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan. No frosting required.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Vacation Bible School

Sunday night at our church started a little Summer Fun or mini Vacation Bible School for all ages and I mean all ages, Ella (2), Louise (92). Our lesson was to be Daniel In The Lions Den. Being the lazy person that I am I'm thinking I'll take the easy way out and volunteered for Pre-K. How in this world do you Mommies do it? I would never have made it without the help of "my assistants" Linda Hutchens and Betty Tucker.

Do all children that age have the attention span of 2 minutes, barely. Linda finally got the Daniel story read. I had checked out every children's book in Lexington on Daniel In The Lions Den. Our room had a tent covered with tree branches for the den and filled with blankets and pillows for hiding from the lions. Of course the children didn't want to stay in the "den" for the story so they walk out and I have to crawl out. Linda finishes the story outside the den while the children play back in the den throwing out all the blankets and pillows and removing the branches. All of this took about 5 minutes. I have these kids for 2 1/2 hours. Moving On.

Next we are going to decorate big cookies that I had made with the frosting in a tube. They are suppose to look like lions heads. Don't ask. After they finish their first cookie they get to eat it while we set up another cookie to be decorated. I turn around and all I can see are these little sweet faces with big black mouths. What was I thinking! We bought black frosting for the lion's eyes and mouth. Well cleaning them up took up at least 10 minutes. While the cleaning up is going on for some reason they have all removed their shoes. I'll find those later.

On to crafts. We are painting picture frames any way they like, with acrylic paint. Nuts, Nuts, Nuts! I still have black, purple and yellow on my hands. Someone is taking their pictures to be put in the frames later. The children didn't have as much paint on them as the adults, well Ella just had to lay her little arm on the paper plate that had several colors for mixing. This was a great activity because they actually sat down for a few minutes.

Next was refreshment time which was nothing more than dropping cookies on the floor, stepping on them, remember no shoes, and spilling lemonade on the cookies. I really don't think anyone ate anything because there was to much on the floor.

Time to clean them up again, now we have faces, hands, arms and feet to clean. I would have hosed them off if I could. I still have 20 minutes.

Here is the deal I tell them. If we find your shoes and you put them on we will go into the real nursery with all the real toys. Who said kids don't pay attention. This was done in about 2 minutes.

As soon as they hit the toys these little demons turned into sweet little angels and played for the next 15 minutes until Mommy and Daddy came to get them and started asking "What is all over your face?". It's okay I said it will come off in a day or two. What I'm really thinking is, be grateful we didn't have Cherry Kool-Aid.

It was all worth it when each little "angel" gave us a hug as they left.

Yes, I did take pictures, I just don't have a clue where my camera is right now.

Our next Summer Fun is in August and will be The Story of Moses. You know even Moses was a basket case at one time and I will be too if I do many more of these Summer Funs.

I will be linking this to Feel Good Friday this week.

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Favorite Cucumber Salad

We all have our favorite Cucumber Salads in the summer and this is just one of mine. I still always enjoy the cucumber , vinegar and onion salad, but this is a nice change.

As the story goes, this originated in Hollywood back in the forties and made it's way to the southeast shortly thereafter.

Cucumber Salad
4-6 servings
print recipe

2 tender cucumbers, peeled and cut in paper-thin slices
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Dash of cayenne pepper

Combine and chill well. Easy!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Saints and Scriptures Sunday-Give Away Your Life

Luke 6:26-30

"There is trouble ahead when you live only for the approval of others, saying what flatters them, doing what indulges, them. Popularity contests are not truth contests-look how many scoundrel preachers were approved by your ancestors! Your task is to be true, not popular.

Luke 6:35-36

"I tell you, love your enemies Help and give without expecting a return. You'll never - I promise - regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we're at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind.

Giving not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity."

Have a blessed week see you next Sunday at the Kennedy Adventures for more Saints and Scriptures Sunday.

Pommes de Terre Mont d' Or

Okay, my French is terrible also. Since the movie Julie and Julia everyone is cooking from Julia Child's cookbooks. This is a fabulous, easy potato souffle', sort of, recipe from Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home. Use leftover mashed potatoes to make this golden gratin - crusty on the outside, light and fluffy on the inside. Whipping in an extra egg will make it rise higher. Serve as an accompaniment to any beef dish.

Pommes de Terre Mont d' Or
4 Servings
Printer Friendly Version

4 cups mashed potatoes, left over or fresh
3 large eggs
2/3 cup grated Gruyere or Swiss cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a shallow baking dish or casserole.

Put the potatoes in the work bowl of a food processor, then add the eggs, about 1/2 cup of the grated cheese, and salt and pepper. Process briefly, about 10 seconds, to whip all the ingredients together.

Scoop the potatoes into the prepared gratin dish and smooth with a rubber spatula. Scatter the remaining cheese over the top and place on a baking sheet (in case of spills) in the lower part of the oven.

Bake about 30 to 35 minutes, until the top of the gratin is crusty and golden.

See, French cooking is a snap!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Watermelon Salad

I know I have referred to this salad at least two times before. I really don't care.
If anyone reading this doesn't make this this summer shame on you and you must not love your family. In my opinion this should be made by the vat. You can't stop eating it. I just finished making a vat. You will always be ask for the recipe.

This originally came to me from my niece, Angie, Ballard Boys, along with lots of other recipes that I use often.

Watermelon Salad
6-8 servings depending on the size of the watermelon
print recipe

1/4 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger, Angie and I both use fresh grated
Mix and drizzle over watermelon, and serve

Friday, July 9, 2010

Freezing Corn

Sometimes I feel like I'm the only person on earth that still cans and freezes food for the winter. Most people look at me like I'm just strange, however they don't mind eating my veggies during the long winter months.

Corn on the cob is a real favorite at my house and frozen and prepared properly will taste like garden fresh year round. Most folks don't realize that corn is the only vegetable that should be defrosted before cooking for the best flavor.

Select only tender, freshly gathered corn. Husk and trim the ears; remove silks and wash.

Corn-On-The-Cob: Blanch ears 1 1/2 inches in diameter 6 minutes, 2 inches in diameter 8 minutes and larger ears 10 minutes. Cool, vacuum seal or place in freezer bags.

Cook's Note: I had a bushel delivered yesterday at 6:00 p.m., 8 hours late. I blanched none, removed husks and silks from 3 dozen and bagged and froze. The remaining 3 dozen I put in the freezer in the husk. It takes up a lot of room, but I have plenty of freezer space and I'm tired. Remember to use the corn in the husk first because the shelf life is about 6 months. Easy!

Easy Corn on the Cob

This is the only way I prepare corn on the cob today. Long gone are the big pots of boiling water. This works equally as well for fresh or frozen defrosted corn.

Shuck ear of corn and remove silks; wet. Wrap ear in 2-3 wet paper towels. Wet being the secret. Place in microwave oven, cook for 2 minutes. Remove and wrap in tin foil, leaving paper towel in place, until ready to serve. These will hold in a warm oven, 170 degrees F, for up to an hour.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Cream of Refrigerator Soup

This soup is a kind of green vichyssoise, which comes out a little different each time you make it, depending on what veggies you have leftover in your refrigerator. It can be eaten hot or cold, but is always fabulous. I prefer it hot in the winter and cold in the summer. Do not be afraid to experiment with the veggies, maybe even beets would be good. You would have pink soup instead of green, pretty.

Cream of Refrigerator Soup
serves 4
print recipe

3 leeks (white part, mostly), washed and thinly sliced
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced or thinly sliced
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 ounces spinach, washed and shredded, and/or any other leftover vegetables in your refrigerator
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk, scalded
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash of white pepper, I'll never tell if you use black pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream (you can use milk, if you prefer)
Chopped chives for garnish

Saute leeks, potatoes, onion, and spinach in butter in a large saucepan for twenty minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft but not brown. Add any other leftover vegetable. Stir in chicken broth and milk; bring mixture just to boiling point and remove from heat. Season with salt to taste. Puree through food mill or in food processor. Chill several hours. Stir cream into chilled soup and serve in chilled cups with a sprinkling of chopped chives.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Traditional Virginia Spoon Bread

To me there are few things better to eat than a really good batch of Spoon Bread. My first taste was in Williamsburg, Va., at Chowning's Tavern or Christiana Campbell's Tavern, at least 100 years ago. Some time years ago I acquired this recipe and have used it on many occasions. It may or may not be from Virginia, but it certainly a good dish. I could have spoon bread and fresh sliced tomatoes from the garden and call that supper.

Don't skimp on the butter for serving.

Traditional Virginia Spoon Bread
Servings 4 or just me
print recipe

Stir 1 cup stone ground cornmeal into 1 pint boiling water, which contains 1 teaspoon salt. Stir 1 minute, remove from fire; add 2 tablespoon butter. Beat well, add 4 beaten eggs and beat in 1 cup cold milk. Beat again and pour into a buttered baking dish.

Bake 25 minutes in a hot 400 degrees F. oven and serve from the baking dish with lots of butter. Lots of butter.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Low Country Pound Cake with Lemon Glaze

There is no way to have too many pound cake recipes. Pound cake is the perfect cake for summer to serve with all the wonderful sweet berries available. Keep one in the freezer for emergencies.

Low Country Pound Cake with Lemon Glaze
print recipe
12-14 servings

3 cups of plain flour - not self rising
3 sticks salted butter, softened
3 cups sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
6 large eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Generously grease and lightly flour a tube pan. Sift flour three times. Cream butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time. Beat only until each disappears. Blend in 1 cup of flour followed by 1/2 cup whipping cream. Repeat with 1 cup flour and 1/2 cup whipping cream. Add remaining flour. Fold in vanilla.

Add batter to pan, level it and drip it flat on the counter to knock out the air bubbles. Place in center of the oven and bake for an hour and fifteen minutes, or until it's browned on top and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan (very important). Remove from oven. Wait ten minutes and invert on a cake plate. Do not cover until cool to touch. Serve plain or with Lemon Glaze

Lemon Glaze

2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup water
3 tablespoons lemon juice (not the bottled stuff)
1 egg yolk
the rind of the lemon grated
1 tablespoon butter

Stir cornstarch and salt into sugar. In heavy pot or double boiler, add water, lemon juice and egg yolk. Put over high heat and stir in dry ingredients. Cook until you see a bubble or it thickens. Remove from heat, stir in finely grated lemon rind and butter. Cool and pour over cooled cake.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Pear Butter

You may never make Apple Butter again after having this. Only kidding, but this is most requested by friends. The Pear Butter is lightly scented with orange and nutmeg. This is just a wonderful old recipe that is perfect on a hot biscuit or even a plain piece of toast.

It's difficult to tell you how many pears you will need, I've used 4-8 pounds in order to get enough for the two quarts of pulp that's required to make this recipe. Buy plenty. Also if you are buying your pears from an orchard, and you should, ask for the ones that are not so pretty, your going to mush them up anyway and they are much cheaper.

Pear Butter
5-6 half pints
print recipe

4-8 pounds medium pears, quartered, and cored, remember you need 2 quarts of pulp
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup orange juice, real orange juice

1. Place pears into a large pot over medium heat, and add just enough water to cover the bottom of the pot and keep them from sticking, about 1/2 cup. Cook until the pears are soft, about 30 minutes. Press pears through a sieve or food mill, and measure out 2 quarts of the pulp.

2. Pour the pear pulp and sugar into a large saucepan and stir to dissolve sugar. Stir in the orange zest, nutmeg and orange juice. Cook over medium heat until the mixture is thick enough to mound in a spoon. When the mixture begins to thicken, stir frequently to prevent scorching on the bottom. This will take about 1 hour.

3. Ladle the pear butter into hot sterile jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. Remove air bubbles by sliding a metal spatula around where the pear butter touches the glass. Wipe jar rims clean, and seal with lids and rings. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. The water should cover the jars by 1 inch.

If you live in high altitude areas check with your local extension for exact processing times for your area.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The World Is Not a Stage - Saints and Scriptures Sunday

Haven't we all known someone this applies to. It doesn't have to be the playactors on the street corner, or television it can also be our neighbor.

Matthew 6: 1-4 Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don't make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won't be applauding.

"When you do something for someone else, don't call attention to yourself. You've seen them in action, I'm sure - 'playactors' I call them - treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage, acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds. They get applause, true, but that's all they get. When you help someone out, don't think about how it looks. Just do it - quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out.

For more Saints and Scriptures visit The Kennedy Adventures please.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Frogmore Stew

Can you believe it's the 4th of July again? Wonderful long weekend. You will have lots of time for the hamburgers, ribs and hot dogs. Have something really special on the 4th, Frogmore Stew. This has to be one of my all time favorite eating experiences. Kids old and young love this mess.

When Frogmore Stew was first cooked in the 1960's, Frogmore was a little hamlet on St. Helena Island, near Beaufort, S.C. In the 1980's, however, the postal service abolished the name Frogmore. That changed the name of the popular dish to Lowcountry Boil, Beaufort Stew or I have heard it call Savannah Houseboart Stew - except, of course, among the proud (and peeved) residents of Frogmore.

Some folks add a half pound of butter to this, but I find the sausage adds plenty of richness to the dish.

This is a take-your-shoes-off-and relax kind of dish. Everything cooks in one pot. I always serve this on heavy brown paper or even newspaper for ease of cleanup. No napkins please, big rolls of paper towels will work much better. Ice cold beer or sweet tea is the beverage of choice.

Frogmore Stew
8-10 servings
print recipe

5 quarts of water
1/4 cup Old Bay Seasoning (finely ground or in the bag)
4 pounds of small red potatoes
2 pounds kielbasa or hot smoked link sausage, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
6 ears fresh corn, halved
4 pounds unpeeled large fresh shrimp
Old Bay Seasoning
Cocktail Sauce

Bring 5 quarts water and 1/4 cup of Old Bay Seasoning to a rolling boil in a large covered stockpot.

Add potatoes; return to a boil, and cook, uncovered, 10 minutes.

Add sausage and corn, and return to a boil. Cook 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Add shrimp to stockpot; cook 3-4 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. Drain. Serve with Old Bay Seasoning and cocktail sauce.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Amazing - Feel Good Friday Again

No doubt you are sick of hearing about green beans, corn, cabbage etc. However, I did get 60 ears of corn in the freezer this week and there are 20 cases of Mason jars sitting on my "back porch". Enough of that it's Feel Good Friday.

Sometimes the things that make us happy or "feel good" are great or funny memories. Some things are funny and somethings are hilarious. This to me was hilarious, but maybe you had to be there.

Eight or nine years ago I had mouth cancer and because of the chemo and radiation treatments I couldn't talk for several months. As you can imagine everyone was thrilled.

When I would go shopping or any place I always had my little dry erase board with me in case I had to ask someone a question. On this particular day I was in a department store looking for t-shirts in x-small, which I couldn't find. A really sweet young lady ask if she could help. I wrote on my board what I needed and gave it to her. She wrote back that I should follow her and she would show me where they were. I erased all of that and wrote that my hearing was fine. She wrote back and said she was glad to hear that. I said you don't have to write on the board and she wrote, okay.

I looked at her, she looked at me and we started laughing so hard we both had to sit down. People actually came up to us and ask if we were alright.

Every time I think of this I can't help but laugh. Even in bad times there is always something to laugh and feel good about.

Have a safe and happy 4th of July weekend. See you next week.

Freezing Blackberries, Blueberries, etc.

Finally, it's time for fresh berries, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries and raspberries are normally what I freeze. I only freeze berries right off the vine. Wash berries well and pat dry with paper towels; spread in single layer on a large rimmed sheet pan that will fit in your freezer. When berries are frozen transfer to freezer bags and return to freezer. This will allow you to remove as many or as few as you need.

I freeze gallons of various berries each year to make pies, cobblers, jams and jellies, etc.

Throughout the summer and fall I hope to provide you with lots of wonderful canning, freezing and dehydrating ideas and recipes.

Blackberry Liqueur Sauce

The blackberries are heavenly this year, yes I get mine from David at my favorite produce stand just down the road.

I first made this last year and ended up making several batches throughout the year with some of the blackberries I had frozen. This is the perfect dessert topping for a simple tart, plain cheesecake or simply over vanilla ice cream.

Blackberry Liqueur Sauce
Yield: about 3 half-pints
print recipe4 cups blackberries
1/2 cup Chambord
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 pouch liquid pectin

Wash berries; drain. Combine blackberries, Chambord and sugar in a saucepan; let stand 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Add lemon zest and lemon juice. Bring to a boil. Stir in liquid pectin. Return mixture to a rolling boil. Boil hard. Stir in liquid pectin. Return mixture to rolling boil. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from hear. Skim foam if necessary. Ladle hot sauce into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Adjust two-piece caps. Processing 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner.

Cook's Note: To make a thicker sauce:
1 8-ounce jar Blackberry Liqueur Sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

Put Blackberry Liqueur Sauce in a heavy saucepan. Add cornstarch, stirring to dissolve. Cook over medium heat until sauce thickens and has a glossy appearance. Remove from heat. Cool.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Grilled Potato Salad

The 4th of July is knocking on our door. Fire up the grill and get ready for lots of fun. Everyone knows if you are having hot dogs and burgers you have to have a potato salad of some kind. This is so easy and good. Serve it warm or room temperature. If at all possible buy your potatoes from a produce stand close by or the farmers market.

Grilled Potato Salad
Serves 6
print recipe

2 pounds small new red potatoes, cut in half
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste (House Seasoning is better)
3 scallions, minced

Heat grill to medium-hot. Toss the potatoes in 2 tablespoons oil and place on the grill. Cook, turning until potatoes are lightly browned, about 15 to 20 minutes.

In a small bowl, add the mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil until well blended. Pour over potatoes. Add the scallions and toss.