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, December 31, 2011

Baked Coconut Custard

I could not decide what to have for dessert on New Year's. First I thought of Rice Pudding with Praline Sauce. I'll post that later. Then I remembered I was having rice with the Black-Eyed Peas. I happen to remember this recipe that I found on The English Kitchen. Great blog. Marie has wonderful recipes. Be sure to check her out. Anyway, I had made this a number of times over the holidays and everyone loved it.

You might think it's a pie, but there is no crust to mess with. It slices like a pie and has a golden crisp coconut top. Plus you can make it the day before serving. This is as good as any coconut cream pie I've ever had. Thank you Marie!

Baked Coconut Custard
6-8 servings
print recipe

2 cups milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large free range eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 or 10 inch pie dish well. Set aside.

Measure the milk, flour, salt, baking powder, eggs, sugar and vanilla into the bowl of a food processor or blender. Blend together for 3 minutes. Add the coconut and blend for about 2 or 3 seconds longer. Pour mixture into the buttered pie dish.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the edges are set and the centre just a bit wobbly. Remove from the oven and let cool, or serve warm. If cooling and serving later, chill in the refrigerator and warm a bit before serving. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and maybe a few slices of fresh fruit. This is heavenly!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Southern New Year's Menu

All the recipes for my Southern New Year's meal are on the sidebar with the exception of the dessert which will appear tomorrow and the ham which I will link to in a minute. That just happens to be the best ham you will ever eat.

"The Ham" I'm going to make you look! No hints, Joyce, don't tell!
My Favorite Black-Eyed Peas Over Rice
Collard Greens With Smoked Turkey
Quick Chili Sauce for the peas
Crackling Cornbread
Baked Coconut Custard

The best part is everything but the cornbread can be made the day before or earlier. Have fun cooking!

Crackling Cornbread

Are you serious! You've never had Crackling Cornbread? I can remember my grandmother making crackling after the hogs had been butchered. You take the fat from the pig and cut it into small cubes. These went in a big black pot and you cooked them draining the grease every now and then, until the cubes got crunchy and golden. I don't know anyone that makes their own crackling any more and the "fresh" ones at the grocery smell funny, so I use fried pork rinds, that are available in the potato chip section.

Perfect for your traditional New Year's peas and greens.

Crackling Cornbread
Makes 9 servings
print recipe

3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar (I only use 2 tablespoons)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
2 large eggs
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups fried pork rinds, coarsely crumbled

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease an 8 x 8-inch square baking pan.

2. In a large bowl or on a piece of waxed paper, stir together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking, powder, and salt; set aside.

3. In a large bowl, beat together the milk, eggs, and butter. Add the cornmeal-flour mixture and stir until just combined. Stir in the pork rinds. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

4. Cool in the pan and cut into 9 squares.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Collard Greens with Smoked Turkey

I'm running out of time to get all the New Year's recipes posted, so I'm posting the collard greens a day earlier than planned.

Can't imagine a New Year without Black-Eyed Peas and Collard Greens. In the past I've always used ham hocks, which are great, but I do enjoy the flavor of the smoked turkey wings, or necks a little more. They are a bit healthier also.

The peas are for prosperity, the most you eat of them the more prosperous, so eat at least 365 peas. The greens are naturally for money.

Collard Greens with Smoked Turkey
4-6 serving
print recipe

3 cups water
1/2 pound smoked turkey wings, or neck
1 1/2 pounds collard greens
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar (do not omit)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

In a 4 quart saucepan, bring the water and smoked turkey to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer covered, for 1 hour.

While the turkey is cooking, wipe the collards with a damp towel, then wash them two or three times or until all the dirt and grit has been removed. Chop the greens as big as you like, about 1 1/2 inch pieces is good, I really like them bigger.. You should have about 10 cups.

Add the collards, oil, salt, black pepper, sugar and red pepper flakes to the pan. Return to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes longer. Discard the turkey, before serving, or chop the turkey meat and add it to the collards.

Quick Chili Sauce

My friend, Laurie at When the Bough Breaks sent me the wonderful Tomato Chili Sauce recipe earlier this summer. This is her quick version that I just love.

The wonderful thing about this is you don't have to have fresh out of the garden tomatoes and it takes a lot less time to make. The way the chili sauce flys out of this house I didn't even bother to can it.

This is perfect to serve with your black-eyed peas.

Quick Chili Sauce
about 2 pints
print recipe

1 19-ounce can tomatoes, or equivalent of home canned
1 large or 2 small green and red peppers chopped
1 cup coarsely chopped onions
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoons dry mustard powder

Spice bag made of 1 teaspoon pickling spice and 2 teaspoon celery seed. Tied loosely in cheesecloth.

Bring everything to a boil reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes or until the consistency you prefer. I had to cook mine longer because I used home canned tomatoes. Remove spice bag fill hot jars and secure lids and can in hot water bath for 10 minutes.

Laurie, her mum and gramma all wrap theirs in paper to store. That keeps their color nice and deep. If your house is like mine you will not have that problem. I don't think it will change colors in 2 weeks.

Laurie I can't thank you enough for both of these FABULOUS recipes.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My Favorite Black-Eyed Peas Over Rice

Everyone has their favorite way to prepare Black-Eyed Peas. I think I have tried every one out there, but this really is the best, in my opinion. Did you know black-eyed peas are not just for New Years Day!

This is my version of Hoppin' John!

Black-Eyed Peas Over Rice
about 8 generous servings
print recipe

The night before , rinse 1 cup dried black-eyed peas. Soak all night in cold water. The next morning, check your peas. Discard any "floaters". While the peas drain in a colander, fry 4 slices of bacon. Remove bacon; reserve for another dish - for example, bacon deviled eggs. Pour off all grease except for 2 tablespoons. Pour this grease in an 8-10 quart pot. Chop 1 onion, 3 stalks celery, and half a green pepper. Add these vegetables to the pot with the bacon grease and saute over medium heat. Mince 2 teaspoons garlic and throw in the pot. Add the peas, 1 1/2 cups chicken stock and 3 quarts cold water. Add 1 1/2 pounds pigs' tails, finely chopped, or 1 large smoked ham hock. I have also used smoked turkey legs or wings. Add 1 teaspoon salt 3/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1/8 teaspoon cayenne, and 1 hot red-pepper pod whole. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer' covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring frequently. Remove the lid and cook another 30-45 minutes. Meanwhile in a separate pot, cook long-grain rice, following the directions on the bag. Orzo makes a delicious substitute. Serve the beans/peas over the rice.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Turkey/Chicken Hash

Did you have turkey for Christmas? Or do you still have some in the freezer from Thanksgiving? I do. I love a good Turkey/Chicken Hash. It's perfect for breakfast, brunch, lunch or supper/dinner. Great for a church supper or yes, funeral food. Serve it over toast, biscuits or corn cakes.

This is one of those great make-a-head meals.

Turkey/Chicken Hash
8 servings
print recipe

1 onion, chopped finely
1 red bell pepper, chopped finely
1 green bell pepper, chopped finely
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup medium-dry sherry
1/2 cup half-and-half
5 cups diced cooked turkey/chicken
1 1/2 cups diced cooked potato
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
Hot pepper sauce, to taste
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves

In a heavy skillet cook the onion and the bell peppers in the butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until they are softened. Add the flour, and cook the roux mixture, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the broth, the sherry, and the half-and-half, whisking. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking, and stir in the turkey, the potato, the Worcestershire sauce, the lemon juice, the hot pepper sauce and salt and black pepper, to taste. Simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, thinning the mixture with water if necessary. The may may be prepared up to this point 2 days in advance and kept covered and chilled. Reheat the hash, thinning the mixture with water or broth if necessary. Stir in the parsley and transfer the hash to a chafing dish.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Breakfast for Dinner with Green Onion Home Fries

Happy beginning of Kwanzaa!

If I didn't have this recipe typed and ready to post you would be getting zilch today. The only thing that sounds good to me is a fried egg sandwich. Don't get me wrong, I had a wonderful Christmas dinner at Edie and Larry's yesterday. I'll tell you all about it later. For now I'm not going to talk about food for a whole day.

The nice thing about New Year's Day is you can have anything you want as long as you have collard greens and black-eyed peas. We'll get to that in a few days.

Breakfast for Dinner with Green Onion Fries
Serves 4-6
print recipe

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes, boiled until just tender, drained and quartered
4-5 green onions,white and light green portions, thinly sliced on the bias
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 pound Mexican chorizo, casings removed
1 yellow onion, diced
1 large bunch Swiss chard, stems and ribs removed, leaves cut into 1/2-inch strips
1 red bell pepper, roasted, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch strips
1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
8 eggs

Sunday, December 25, 2011



LUKE 2:1-7
from The Message

About that time Caesar Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Empire. This was the first census when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Everyone had to travel to his own ancestral hometown to be accounted for. So Joseph went from the Galilean town of Nazareth up to Bethlehem in Judah, David's town, for the census. As a descendant of Davie, he had to go there. He went with Mary, his fiancee, who was pregnant.

While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the hostel.

Merry Christmas to All. Have a wonderful day.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Girdle Cakes

Yes, Girdle Cakes, that's what the Scots call them. To us it's still a griddle cake or pancake. I found this recipe in one of Diane Mott Davidson's books a few years ago, Prime Cut. Not only do I enjoy her novels but I love her recipes. I think it's the addition of cottage cheese that makes these special.

This might be perfect for Christmas morning!

Girdle Cakes
makes 8-12 cakes
print recipe

1 egg
1 1/2 cups or more buttermilk
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup blueberries, plus more for serving
Butter and maple syrup for serving

Oil a large skillet or griddle (girdle") and preheat it over medium heat.

In a large bowl, beat the egg lightly, Stir in the buttermilk and cottage cheese.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Sift again into the egg mixture. Stir in the dry mixture very lightly, mixing only enough to combine. If the mixture is too dry, stir in a small amount of additional buttermilk. Gently stir in the blueberries.

Scoop the batter into pancakes until the hot, well-oiled pan. After the cakes have set on one side, gently loosen them with a metal spatula to make sure they do not stock. When the edges of the cakes appear dry, flip the cakes carefully to cook until cooked through and golden brown on both sides. This can take from 2 to 5 minutes per side.

Serve immediately with butter and maple syrup and/or more blueberries.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Cheese Ball

It's the holidays! Everyone needs a cheese ball at the ready. This can be made long before serving. Freezes beautifully. Make an extra one now to have for New Year's, or Elvis's Birthday, I don't care. It is so much cheaper to make your own cheese balls, not to mention they are ten times better.

Cheese Ball
about 2 pounds
print recipe

1/2 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
1/4 pound Roquefort or blue cheese
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons grated onion
Cayenne pepper to taste
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup finely minced parsley
1 cup chopped pecans

Thoroughly mix all ingredients except parsley and pecans. Combine parsley and pecans and blend half of them into cheese mixture. Spread remaining parsley mixture on sheet of waxed paper. Form cheese into a ball and roll it in parsley mixture until well coated. Chill before serving. Freezes beautifully.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tapenade Dip

Are you planning a Feast of the Seven Fishes for Christmas Eve? This would make a lovely dip to serve with raw vegetables. Another make ahead! Can't have too many of those during the holidays.

Tapenade Dip
about 10 servings if you have other appetizers
print recipe

1 (6 1/2-ounce can white solid-pack tuna fish, drained
2 anchovy filets
1 tablespoon anchovy oil
4 tablespoon chopped ripe olives
1/2 small onion, grated
1 clove garlic crushed
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup cubed cooked potatoes (Don't leave this out: contributes to smooth texture)
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Dash of Tabasco sauce
Juice of 1 small lemon
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise

Put all ingredients into container of electric blender and blend until smooth. I use the food processor.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Southern Baked Brisket

This is just a classic Hanukkah recipe infused with a little Southern flavor for my Jewish friends. My non-Jewish friends will also enjoy it, even if you're not southern. I used Lipton Kosher Recipe Secrets Onion Recipe Soup and Dip Mix.

This really is delicious!

Southern Baked Brisket
8-10 servings
print recipe

1 (12-ounce) bottle chili sauce
2 cups ketchup
1 1/4 cups cola soft drink
1 (1.9-ounce) package dry onion soup mix
1 (3-4 pound) beef brisket flat, trimmed

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Stir together first 3 ingredients and both envelopes from the soup mix package in a large bowl.

2. Place brisket, fat side up, in an aluminum foil-lined roasting pan. Pour chili sauce mixture over brisket.

3. Bake, tightly covered, at 350 degrees F. for 4 to 4 1/2 hours or until fork tender. Remove from oven; let stand 20 minutes. Cut brisket across the grain into thin slices using a sharp knife, and pour pan juices over slices.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Onion Marmalade

Wonderful to have on hand during the holidays or anytime. Use for any kind of sandwich, ham, turkey, beef, etc. It's also a perfect condiment for your ham or roast beef holiday dinner

Onion Marmalade
makes about 1 1/2 cups
print recipe

4 cups finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1. Saute' the onions in hot oil in a skillet over medium-high heat with the salt, pepper, and cayenne. Cook, stirring often, for about 11-12 minutes, or until the onions are golden. Add the sugar and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the vinegar and parsley and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, cool, and serve.

2. Can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Pan-Roasted Sausage with Apples, Onions and Sage

Does this sound like winter food! I even cut some turnips into thin wedges and added them. Beautifully seared meat that's perfectly cooked is called pan roasting, and it's foolproof.

Remember to use a heavy oven-proof skillet and have your meat at least an inch thick for perfect oven roasting.

Pan Roasted Sausages with Apples, Onions, and Sage
4 servings
print recipe
Adapted from Coastal Living Magazine

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
6 sweet Italian sausages (about 1 1/4 pounds
1 large sweet onion, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
8 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 (8-ounce) package baby portobello mushrooms, quartered
1 red bell pepper, sliced
2 Golden Delicious apples, cut into 1/2-inch -thick wedges. I use Granny Smith.
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat 1 tablespoon oil i a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage, and cook, turning occasionally. 6 minutes or until browned. Remove from skillet, and set aside.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, 1 minute. Add mushrooms, and cook 1 minute. Add bell pepper and apples, and cook stirring occasionally, 3 minutes or until mixture is slightly softened. Stir in sage, salt, and pepper; cook 1 minute. Stir in broth and sausages.

3. Bake 20-25 minutes or until sausages are cooked through and vegetable are tender.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Saint and Scriptures Sunday

One week until Christmas! How did that happen! Have you finished your shopping? Decorations in place? Stockings hung with care? Cookies baked? Menu planned for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day? That's okay you still have almost a week.

More importantly have you thought of those less fortunate? Have you picked an angel or two from the angel trees that the Salvation Army has in various locations all over town? This year I decided on the Food Angel Tree from Kroger grocery store. For $25.00 you can pick a local family from the tree and they will be provided with Christmas dinner food. These are hard times for a lot of people. But for the Grace of God go you or I. Please help if you can.

This is a brief part of our wonderful ministers, Scott and Susan Winkler, message from our church newsletter this month:

"God's gift is His son, Jesus. Our gift is to accept what is so lovingly offered. God's gift is to guide us by His word, by His Spirit. Our gift is to live as we are taught. No wrapping paper needed, no lights needed to wrap around the tree. Just an open and honest life given to God. Be thankful for Christ's gift, for God's love and for the good people who are all around you showing you what His love looks like."

Have a Blessed week and don't get stressed. Remember it's not about the presents and food.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Bacon Candy

Stop whatever you're doing! If you make a big batch of this you can forget about the peanut brittle and fudge. No one will even miss it. Since it's the holiday season we can eat what we want, right! Holy cow is this good!

Bacon Candy or Candied Bacon, it is all the same, delicious. I guess this was the "food item" of the year in 2009, and everyone has their own recipe. Most of the recipes I have found call for 4 to 8 slices of bacon. Who are they kidding. That will be eaten before the pan hits the counter top. Just the smell of it cooking will bring in the neighbors. This can be served for breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks, hot, room temperature or cold. Stick some in a zip lock bag for your purse, in case you get stuck in a snow drift.

Bacon Candy
make as much as you want
print recipe

1 pound of good bacon (less if you want)
1/4 cup of brown sugar, or maple syrup

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Line a sheet pan with foil and place a rack in the pan.

Place bacon strips on rack, not touching, you may have to do two or three cooking. Now you have a choice, either brush the bacon on both side with maple syrup, or sprinkle with brown sugar. I hate decisions, so I brush the bacon with maple syrup and sprinkle a little brown sugar on also. The syrup helps the sugar to stick better, don't overdo either one.

Bake for 10 minute or so and turn bacon, bake for an additional 10 minute or until a nice golden brown. Let cool a little before serving.

If using for a snack, stand the bacon pieces upright in a pretty glass.

COOK'S NOTE: Save that wonderful sweet bacon grease in the bottom of the pan to season your green beans, collards or kale.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Fudge-Filled Dessert Strips

This really isn't a cookie, but it looks like a filled cookie, sort of. Maybe it's a pastry. These are very easy and absolutely delicious. I will find any excuse, at any time of the year to make these.

Lots of butter, cream cheese and walnuts, how bad could they be! If it doesn't have at least a cup of butter it's not worth making.

Fudge-Filled Dessert Strips
36 pieces
print recipe

1 cup butter, softened
1 package (8-ounces) cream cheese, softened
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups (12-ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1 can (14-ounces) sweetened condensed milk
2 cups chopped walnuts
Confectioners' sugar, optional

In a large bowl, cream butter and cream cheese until fluffy, Gradually add the flour and mix well.

Turn onto lightly floured surface; knead until smooth, about 3 minutes. Divide dough into fourths; cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or until easy to handle.

In a microwave, melt chocolate chips and milk; stir until smooth. Stir in Walnuts. Cool to room temperature.

Roll each portion of dough onto an ungreased baked sheet into an 11-inch x 6 1/2-inch rectangle. Spread 3/4 cup chocolate filling down the center of each rectangle. Fold long sides to the center; press to seal all edges. Turn over so the seam sides are down.

Bake at 350 degrees F. for 27-32 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool. Cut into 1/2-inch slices. Dust with confectioners' sugar if you like.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Salmon Ball

Back in the old days when people actually had cocktail parties you would always find a Salmon Ball among the goodies. It was so good and could be made ahead. Now this is a great thing to put out to keep everyone out of the kitchen while you finish the holiday dinner. You could add this to your football night list of snacks also.

Salmon Ball
about 10 servings
print recipe

1 (1-pound can red salmon
1(8-ounce package cream cheese)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 teaspoons grated onion
2 teaspoons horseradish
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Several dashes cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon commercial liquid smoke
1/2 cup chopped pecans
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

Drain salmon, remove skin and bones, and flake with fork. In a small bowl of mixer, cream cheese and blend in lemon juice, onion, horseradish, salt, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper, and liquid smoke (this is important). When well blended, stir in the flaked salmon. Check seasonings; it might require a little more salt.

Combine pecans and parsley and spread on a sheet of waxed paper. Turn salmon out onto this mixture and turn it this way and that until all sides of the mound are coated. Wrap in the waxed paper and chill thoroughly before using. The mixture will not be sliceable but will spread nicely when chilled. Serve with melba rounds or your favorite plain cracker.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Cookie Swap Brunch and Eggnog Punch

What do you mean old woman don't have fun! I laughed so much yesterday I had to come home and take a nap. Fifteen or twenty women of a certain age all talking at one time. Everyone talking about something different and no one knew what was being said. What a blast!

It has been years since I've been to a brunch as lovely as Janice had yesterday. Her house was decorated beautifully for Christmas. Her food outstanding, sausage casserole, hash brown casserole, fresh fruit platter, country ham on rolls, monkey bread, juices, etc. I sort of lost interest when she started making the punch. This is without a doubt the only way to serve eggnog for a crowd. Everyone, yes, me too, had at least 2 glasses. You know I had to get the recipe to share with y'all.

Eggnog Punch
about 24 servings (6-ounces) each
print recipe

1 3/4 to 2 quarts French vanilla ice cream
2 quarts dairy eggnog, don't use that canned stuff (8 cups), chilled
1 liter cream soda, chilled
Peppermint sticks, cinnamon sticks, and/or the small candy canes
Ground cinnamon or nutmeg

Place ice cream in an extra-large punch bowl. Add half the eggnog, Stir and mash mixture using a potato masher until ice cream is melted and mixture is well combined. Stir in remaining eggnog. Slowly pour in cream soda, stirring to combine. To each glass add a peppermint stick, cinnamon stick, or candy cane. Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon or nutmeg (about 1/8 teaspoon per serving).

Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Chips

Glazed doughnuts are transformed into an addictive crisp snack, thanks to a panini press. If no panini press use your griddle and a brick wrapped in foil. These are heavenly, and make perfect little gifts.

The chips can also be made plain without the cinnamon sugar.


Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Chips
16 chips
print recipe

8 glazed donuts (When did you ever see 8 donuts in a box? Use the whole dozen.)

1. Preheat panini press, or griddle. Using a serrated knife, cut doughnuts in half horizontally.

2. Place doughnut halves, cut side up, in batches, in preheated hightly greased panni press. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar before closing press. Cook 1-2 minutes or until browned; transfer chips to wire rack to cool completely. If using griddle you will need to turn. (Chips will crisp a they cool). Store in airtight container up to 1 week.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Lizzies

I'm off to a Christmas brunch and cookie swap this morning and this is what I'm taking. It is the perfect recipe to start the Christmas cookie baking season. Even people who hate fruit cake will love these. Yes, this is the recipe I promised the other day when I posted the Light Fruit Cake recipe. I average making 2 or 3 batches of these each holiday season. They don't have to sit as long to ripen as a fruit cake, make wonderful gifts packaged in a pretty cookie tin and people start asking for them before Thanksgiving.

If you have a stand mixer, please use it. If not, get the hubby or big strong someone to stir for you. The longer they sit the better they get. At least let them ripen for a day or two in a cookie tin with tight fitting lid.

This is a really old recipe. I have made them for over 35 years. Originally this came to me from an old boy friends ex-mother-in-law. Now that's a story for a different day!

Christmas Lizzies
8 dozen cookies
print recipe

1/2 cup good bourbon
3 cups seedless raisins
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking soda
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground gloves
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
4 eggs
1 pound pecan halves (not chopped)
1/2 pound citron, chopped
1 pound candied cherries, whole

Pour bourbon over raisins; let stand for 1 hour. I have let them stand overnight. Sift together flour and spices; set aside. Cream butter and brown sugar; add eggs, beating well. Blend in dry ingredients. Stir in raisins, pecans, citron, and cherries. Drop by spoonfuls onto a greased or parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes. They may not look like they are done but they are.

Cool on racks and store in air tight containers. I also cover them with cheesecloth soaked in additional bourbon.

Bring on the eggnog!

COOK'S NOTE: If you absolutely do not use liquor grape juice works well also.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Justine's Cookies

All I want for Christmas is for the "recipe angel " to come to my house and sort out all these pieces of paper with recipes on them. I don't know if the name of the cookie is Justine's Cookies or if someone named Justine gave me the recipe. I hate getting old. I do remember I served these with a Creamy Orange Sherbet and they were wonderful. If I don't forget I'll post the sherbet recipe later, if I find it.

Justine's Cookies
about 7 dozen
print recipe

1 cup butter
1 cup light brown sugar
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg beaten
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup uncooked oatmeal, not instant
1 cup chopped dates
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Cream butter and sugars together thoroughly in large bowl of mixer. Add egg and beat well. Sift flour with soda and salt and add to mixture. When blended, stir in oatmeal, dates, and nuts. Pinch off small amount of dough, roll into balls about the size of a quarter, then roll in sugar. Place about 2-inches apart on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. (Cookies will puff up, then seem to collapse, but don't worry; they're suppose to. They'll be crisp and crinkled on top, similar to macaroons.)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Walnut Balls

These are cookies for the baking challenged. A five year old could make these. Perfect for the holidays because they freeze beautifully.

Walnut Balls
about 60 cookies
print recipe

1 cup butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts (I like using half English and half Black walnuts.)
Powdered sugar

Cream butter in large bowl of mixer, add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Sift in flour, add vanilla and beat until smooth. Stir in walnuts. Form into balls about the size of a quarter; place on greased baking sheet. Bake at 300 degrees F. for 25 to 30 minutes, watching carefully to avoid overbaking. The cookies should not be allowed to brown. When done, roll in powdered sugar and store in airtight container. Freezes beautifully.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Pepper Jelly - Glazed Carrots

As a rule I'm not a huge fan of carrots. Carrot Cake is good! I found this recipe in a Southern Living Magazine and thought, why not. It is really, really, delicious, and the perfect side dish for any meat. I hope you try it.

Pepper Jelly-Glazed Carrots
6 servings
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1 (32-ounce package) carrots, halved crosswise
1 (10 1/2-ounce) can condensed chicken broth, undiluted
1 (10 1/2-ounce) jar red pepper jelly (see note)
2 tablespoons butter

1. Cut carrot halves lengthwise into quarters. Bring carrots and chicken broth to a boil in a skillet over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring often, 6 to 8 minutes or until carrots are crisp-tender and broth is reduced to 1/4 cup.

2. Stir in peppery jelly and butter, and cook, stirring constantly, 5 minutes or until mixture thickens and carrots are glazed. Transfer to a serving dish, using a slotted spoon. Pour half of pan juices over carrots; discard remaining pan juices.

Cook's Note: Use one (10 1/2-ounce) jar hot jalapeno pepper jelly instead of red pepper jelly.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Chuck Wagon Chili in the Slow Cooker

The real-deal chili is right here. Large chunks of beef chuck steeped in spices, tomatoes, beer, and a bit of chocolate, and cooked in the slow cooker. The first time I had chili with chunks of meat instead of ground beef was in Bandera, Texas, at least 100 years ago. This is good stuff!

Chuck Wagon Chili in the Slow Cooker
Generous 12 cups
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1/4 cup chili powder
2 tablespoons whole cumin seeds
1 teaspoon cayenne
3/4 teaspons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons dried Mexican or regular oregano, crumbled between your fingers
3 bay leaves
2 teaspoons brown sugar, light or dark
4 pounds boneless beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-2-inch cubes
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 medium onions, coarsely chopped (about 4 cups)
1 1/2 cups chopped celery, including leaves
6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 japapeno chiles, roughly chopped, seeded or not your choice
One 12-ounce bottle dark Mexican beer, such as Negro Modelo
2 tablespoons tomato paste
One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 ounce semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped DO NOT OMIT
3 tablespoons masa harina (corn flour, not cornstarch)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
Grated cheddar cheese, for garnish
Chopped green onion, for garnish
Sour cream, for garnish

1. Combine the first 7 ingredients in a small bowl; set the mixture aside.

2. Add the beef to a medium bowl and season with the peper and 1 tablespoon of the kosher salt.

3. Heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add enough beef to fill the pan, don't over crowd, and cook until nicely browned on one side, about 2 minutes. Turn and cook another two minutes. Tranfer browned beef to the crock of a 6-quart slow cooker. Repeat with remaining beef and oil.

4. Add the onion, celery, and 1 tablespoon of the remaining salt to the skillet and cook, stirring, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, jalapenos, and spice mixture and cook for 1 minute longer. Pour in the beer, tomato paste, and crushed tomatoes and simmer for 3 minutes. Stir in the chocolate, masa harina, and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook for 1 minute longer. Transfer this mixture to the slow cooker. Cover and cook the chili on high, undisturbed or stirring only once during cooking, for 6 hours, or until the beef is very tender. Remove bay leaves and stir in the cilantro and parsley. Serve the chili hot in bowls topped with grated cheddar, chopped green onion, and sour cream.

Come and get it!


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Flaming Holiday Pudding

I'm digging around in a box of old recipes looking for something, I've already forgotten what now. I found this recipe I haven't made in 30 years. I've decided the reason I don't make some of these one time favorites is because I lose the recipes and don't have a clue where to start looking.

Don't confuse this with the fabulous Plum Pudding that my friend Joyce at October Farm sent me. This takes a third of the time to make and is entirely different. It is perfect for the holidays.

Flaming Holiday Pudding
about 6 servings
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2/3 cup light or dark raisins
1 cup uncooked cranberries
1 1/3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup moist mincement
1/2 cup golden molasses
2 tablespoons water

Rinse and drain the raisins and cranberries. Sift the flour with the salt and soda. Add the mincement, molasses, water, raisins and cranberries. Stir until well blended. Spoon into a one quart mold (a coffee can will do). Cover tightly. Place in a deep kettle with a rack, with boiling water to 2/3 the depth of the mold. Cover and steam 1 1/4 hours in continuously boiling water, replenishing as needed.

Allow pudding to stand a few minutes, then invert on heat-proof serving plate. To flame, saturate sugar cubes in lemon extract and arrange around pudding. Set fire to sugar. Serve pudding with hard sauce.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Cranberry Pecan Cheese Wafers

Yes, I grabbed this right out of December's Southern Living. I was afraid one of you would miss it, and it's too wonderful to miss. This is a must do for the holidays. Serve plain, with your favorite cheese ball or cheese spread.

Cranberry-Pecan Cheese Wafers
18 dozen
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1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped sweetened dried cranberries
2 cups butter, softened
4 cups (16 ounces) freshly shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground red pepper
4 cups all-purpose flour
Parchment paper

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Cool completely (about 15 minutes).

2. Meanwhile, soak cranberries in boiling water to cover 15 minutes; drain and pat dry with paper towels.

3. Beat butter and next 3 ingredients with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until blended. Gradually add flour, beating just until combined. Stir in cranberries and pecans. Shape dough into 4 (12-inch-long) logs; wrap each log in plastic wrap. Chill at least 8 hours to three days.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut each log into 1/4-inch-thick slices; place on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake 13 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from baking sheets to wire racks, and cool completely (about 20 minutes)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Old-Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies

It's that time of the year when we all start thinking about COOKIES. This is not a normal Christmas cookie but are great anytime. Do you have a cookie swap you are hosting or attending this year? I have one next week and I'll share that recipe later.

These are big, chewy sugar-topped cookies for peanut butter fans of all ages.

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies
3 dozen large - 6 dozen regular size
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1 cup butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1. Beat butter and peanut butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugars, beating well. Add eggs, beating well.

2. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; gradually add to butter mixture, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Cover and chill dough 3 hours. Overnight is better.

3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Shape dough into 1 1/2 inch balls; place 3-inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Dip fork in additional sugar; flatten cookies in a crisscross design.

4. Bake at 375 degrees F for 7 to 8 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool.

NOTE: For smaller cookies, shape dough into 1-inch balls, and bake 6 to 7 minutes. Makes 6 dozen.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Easy Slow Cooked Pulled-Pork

This is a long post today because I have nothing else to do and it's cold outside and I feel like whining. I really, really, really hate cold weather. Did I mention it was raining, and could turn to snow later.

This simple recipe serves a crowd or can be frozen in family size portions to use as needed. Just a suggestion, use one of those wonderful slow cooker liners to make clean up a breeze, unless you are into scrubbing and soaking.

Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork
12-14 sandwich servings
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One 6-7-pound Boston butt pork roast, bone in or boneless
8 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved lengthwise
2 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar, light or dark
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon sweet pimenton (smoked Spanish paprika)
2 teaspoons Mexican or regular chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
12 to 14 soft buns or roll, for serving
Your favorite barbecue sauce, for serving

1. Place the pork in a shallow baking dish. Using the tip of a paring knife, make 16 narrow but deep slits in the meat, evenly spaced and on all sides, and insert a piece of garlic into each slit. In a small bowl combine the brown sugar, salt pimento', chili powder, oregano, cumin, crushed red pepper, cayenne, and coriander and stir to combine. Using your hands, rub the spice blend evenly over the entire surface of all sides of the meat. Cover loosely and refrigerate overnight.

2. Remove the pork from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature for 1 hour.

3. Place the pork in the crock of a 6-quart slow cooker, fat side up, and cook on high until tender and falling apart, about 8 hours. (As the meat becomes tender, break the roast into several smaller pieces.)

4. Remove the meat from the crock and transfer to a large heatproof bowl or platter. Remove any excess fat and/or bones and discard. using two forks, pull the meat into shreds. Ladle on enough of the accumulated cooking juices from the slow cooker to keep the meat moist. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

5. Serve the meat hot, on toasted buns or rolls, with your favorite barbecue sauce. (alternatively, adjust the setting on the slow cooker to the "keep warm" setting and remove about half of the cooking juices from the crock. Return the pulled pork to the remaining juices in the slow cooker and allow guests to serve themselves from the slow cooker. This is especially useful for parties or tailgating. The extra cooking juices make a great addition to soups or stews.)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Saint and Scriptures Sunday

No scriptures today, just a few comforting thoughts.

Intuition is a spiritual faculty and does not explain, but simply points the way.

Should we make this move? Should we change jobs? Should we talk to others about our feelings? We are seldom short on prayers when we're filled with fear and indecision. We are, however, short on answers. Our worries block them out.

No prayer ever goes unanswered. Of this we can be certain. On the other hand, the answer may not be what we'd hoped for. In fact, we may not recognize it as the answer because we are expecting something quite different. It takes a willingness on our part to be free of our preconceptions - free to accept whatever answers are offered.

Our answers come unexpectedly, a chance meeting on the street, a passage in a book or newspaper, a nagging feeling within. God speaks to each of us throughout the day. Our prayers are answered, our problems find solutions, our worries are eased, if we but attune ourselves to the messages. They are all around.

It will be attentive to all the signs from God today. Whatever answer I seek is finding its way to me.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Very Special Day Plus Chicken and Dumplings

Today is a very special day for a very, very special person. My niece, Angie, The Jammie Girl will celebrate her 45th birthday today. I knew I'd get that age in some way. She and I are so much alike she could have been my daughter. Sorry sweetie, but it's true. She has had a terrbile year and a half suffering with her neck and surgeries and job loss, etc. If you have a few extra minutes please visit her on her blog and wish her a Happy Birthday. She would love hearing from you.

We share the same love of cooking and really good food. Both of us would run over old people in wheelchairs to get to a pot of Chicken and Dumplings.

Happy Birthday Sweet Girl!

This recipe was given to me by a friends mother, who got it from her grandmother, and that's as far back as I know. Shirley said the secret is the bay leaves, butter and lots of pepper. I agree.

My Favorite Chicken and Dumplings
6-8 servings
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1 whole fryer chicken or a big fat hen if you can find one
4 or 5 bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
4 to 6 tablespoons butter, I put the whole stick in
More pepper if needed

1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup oil
3/4 cup water
2 small eggs
3 cups flour

Wash the chicken and place into a large Dutch oven. Cover well with plenty of water and add bat leaves. Add salt and plenty of pepper, and butter (the more butter, the richer the dish). Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and cook, uncovered, until the chicken is well done, about and hour.

Remove the chicken from the broth. Discard the bay leaves. When the chicken has cooled, remove the meat from the bone and return the deboned chicken to the broth. About 1/2 to 3/4 pot of broth should remain.

For dumplings: In a large bowl, mix together the salt, oil, water, and eggs. Slowly add the flour to the mixture, lending with a fork. Stir only long enough to mix dough.

Turn the dough onto a floured board. Pinch the dough in half, and roll out until thin, about 1/4-inch. Slice the dough into 1/2-inch-wide strips, and cross-slice into pieces 4 to 8-inch long, for ease in handling.

Bring the broth and chicken back to a boil, and pepper well to taste. Drop the dumpling strips into the boiling stock. Boil approximately 20 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until the dumplings are done (they should be puffy). Most of the broth will be absorbed. Serve with pinto beans and cornbread.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Savory Breakfast Casserole

How many times have we all made the "famous" sausage breakfast casserole! This is a little more gourmet and a lot tastier. Don't be messing with the croissants, or heavy cream or you will lose the whole "gourmet" thing. Perfect for breakfast, brunch, or dinner.

Savory Breakfast Casserole
6 servings
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6-ounces thick-cut smoked bacon (about 4 strips), diced
1 1/4 cups chopped yellow onion
3/4 cup chopped mixed red and green bell peppers
2 3/4 teaspoons of your favorite Creole Seasoning, mine is still Emeril's
4 large croissants (about 12 ounces total), cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup minced green onions
6 ounces medium yellow cheddar cheese, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
7 large eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Cook bacon over medium-high heat until crisp and fat has rendered, 4-6 minutes. Remove bacon using a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towels-lined plate to drain. Remove all but 1 1/2 tablespoons of the bacon dripping from the pan and reserve the drippings on the side. Add the onion, bell pepper, and 3/4 teaspoon of the creole seasoning to the pan and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are soft and lightly caramelized, 4 to 6 minutes. Return the bacon to the pan and stir to combine.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Betty's Fruit Dip

On Tuesday this week, my friend Betty Sipe hosted a soup luncheon for the ladies of our Christian Women's Fellowship at her home. This is her fruit dip she served with apple wedges. She used red, green and yellow apples. The ladies were still scooping up the dip after the apples were gone. As Betty's said, it's for any fruit, not just apples.

Betty's Fruit Dip
approx. 2 1/2 cups
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Two 8 ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons caramel sauce, homemade or ice cream topping

Mix the above well. Spread on the plate or platter you will be serving on.

Wash and core apples. Don't peel. Cut apples into wedges and toss in pineapple juice to keep from darkening. Stand apples upright in the dip mixture. Drizzle with more caramel sauce.

I can't tell you how wonderful this is.