Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Southern Lady's Guide to Your New Year's Dinner

I can hardly wait for New Year's Day! It not only is a new start to a fresh year, but the meal itself is steeped in tradition! We have our tried and true menu. Fried Hog Jowl (it is like bacon but not smoked) this is for health. I will cook a big pot of mixed greens (collards, turnip greens and kale). The leaves of the greens look like folded money. With that said we eat greens to make sure we have plenty of money in the new year. And last but not least we eat black eye peas for luck. This tradition started during Sherman's march to the sea. The union soilders destroyed all the crops and storehouses except for the dry corn and black eyed peas since this was thought to be food for the livestock. The confederate soilders felt lucky to have it.

Now that I have taught you what to eat, I think I should warn you of things you should not eat on New
Year's. First on my list is crayfish or lobster. They walk want to go forward, not backwards in the new year.  Second, stay away from the chicken wings. I know it is hard with all the bowl games, but you don't want your luck to fly away. And last but not least, no matter what chick-fil-a says eat no chicken. Chickens scratch the ground and you want to look to the future, not dig up the past.

I hope that clears up any questions you may or may not have had. No matter what your New Year's traditions are remember the most important tradition is sharing it with the ones you love!!!

God Bless and Happy New Year,

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

With Christmas Behind Us

We can start preparing for 2011.  Jesse will turn 2 on Friday and Saturday we will begin a new year.  I certainly hope this one doesn't fly by as fast. I will do my best to prepare a New Years Day dinner as close to traditional as possible.  I can't get Hog Jowl here and Doug or the boys won't eat greens so I find some really thick cut bacon and cabbage (some steamed and some coleslaw) and black eyed peas.

I love collard greens...the guys refuse to try them :(

Super crispy hog jowl...sure wish I had some this year.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Red Velvet Cake

One of my favorites.  I have never met anyone who doesn't like it.  I have a simple recipe that came from a community cookbook my mom gave me when I was 16.  I bake one for each Pastor (Senior, Assistant and Youth) and for Irene and us. This year the tradition went a little further.  I met a customer on Monday that also loves to create for gifts and she told me she has not had a Red Velvet since her best friend died several years ago.  I asked her is she could come back on Tuesday.  She said she could, so I made her a cake too.  It was a very interesting experience.  I wrote her out a Christmas card and told her how much God loves her. I had to keep my word even if I had to stay up to Midnight to do it.
She did come by to get it and she seemed a little surprised I went through with my promise. Today she brought the pan back with a card or appreciation. Her name is Linda. I'll never forget her face. I hope to talk to her throughout the next year.
I have found Wal-mart to be a very fertile planting ground.

A note from Linda

Cake Recipe
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp soda
1 tsp white vinegar
1 oz bottle red food color

mix everything together accept the vinegar and soda.  After mixing well pour the vinegar into the soda and mix gently into the batter. Bake (in either 9x13 pan or 2 - 9 inch pans) at 350 for about a half an hour for round pans and 40 min for 9x13 pan.  Or until tooth pick comes out clean.

1 stick butter (softened)
1- 8 oz package of cream cheese
1 - 16 oz box of powder sugar
1 tsp vanilla
optional 1 cup chopped pecans

Beat butter and cream cheese together till fluffy.  Slowly add powder sugar.  When fully consumed beat in vanilla.  Pecans can be put in the frosting or on top.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Sheppard's Pie

I used a recipe from Gordon Ramsey, because I had to substitute ingredientsit added my own pzazz,  I little too much garlic (if that is possible) but very good none the less. Below is my adapted version of the dish.

Servings: 4 Filling

  • 1 lbs extra lean ground beef (or lamb)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, grated
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • steak season
  • 1 cupcooking Sherry 
  • cup of chicken stock
  • rue for gravey

Mashed Potatoes

  • 1 1/2 lbs potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • salt
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • salt (to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons parmesan cheese (grated-for mashed potato topping) 
  • 4 ounces grated extra sharp cheddar
  • 4 tbls sour cream 


Prep Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 50 mins
  1. Prepare the mashed potatoes:.
  2. Place potatoes in a pot, add enough water to cover, add salt, cook for 15 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork. Drain potatoes and mash. Add milk, broth and butter to the mashed potatoes. Add cheese and sour cream. Season with salt, then beat till fluffy and creamy
  3. Prepare the filling:.
  4. Add 2 T grated Parmesan cheese. Cover, set aside, keep warm while preparing beef.
  5. In a large skillet, heat olive oil, stir fry beef until no longer pink. Drain off excess grease. Add onion, garlic, and carrot and stir fry for 3 minutes.
  6. Add sherry and broth and cook for 1 minute. When the broth begins to boil add rue.  Mix quickly to avoid lumps. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  7. Transfer beef to a deep dish.
  8. Spoon mashed potato on top of beef. Sprinkle with 1 T grated Parmesan cheese. Fluff with a fork to create peaks.
  9. Bake in a 400° F oven for 20 minutes till light brown and bubbly
I used a cast iron skillet so it went from stove top to over.  

Original recipe 


Servings: 4


Mashed Potatoes


Prep Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 50 mins
  1. 1 Prepare the mashed potatoes:.
  2. 2 Place potatoes in a pot, add enough water to cover, add salt, cook for 15 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork. Drain potatoes and mash (I prefer using a ricer). Warm the cream and butter then add to the mashed potatoes. Season with salt, then beat with a wooden spoon or hand beater for 1 minute until fluffy. Do not overbeat or it might turn gummy.
  3. 3 Prepare the filling:.
  4. 4 Add 2 T grated Parmesan cheese. Cover, set aside, keep warm while preparing beef.
  5. 5 In a large skillet, heat olive oil, stir fry beef until no longer pink. Drain off excess grease. Add onion, garlic, and carrot and stir fry for 3 minutes.
  6. 6 Add worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, thyme and rosemary, cook for 1 minute. Add wine and simmer until wine has almost evaporated. Add the broth and simmer for 5 minutes or until sauce has thickened. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  7. 7 Transfer beef to a deep dish.
  8. 8 Spoon mashed potato on top of beef. Sprinkle with 1 T grated Parmesan cheese. Fluff with a fork to create peaks.
  9. 9 Bake in a 400° F oven for 20 minutes or broil until top is brown.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Peach Pie

I processed and froze ten quart bags of Pennsylvania State peaches this summer. I used four bags of my stash to make two pies.  One for Pri and one for me. Turned out Yummy although a little juicy.  Next time I will add a bit of tapioca to the fruit.

To make the perfect pie crust I use a recipe I have had since I was 16.  Came in a community cookbook my mother gave me when we started out life on our own.

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt (very important)
2/3 cup vegetable shortening
3- 6 tablespoons ice water.  I never count how many I actually use.
Mix flour and salt
cut in shortening
quickely mix in ice water a couple TBLS at a time, once incorporated roll half on a floured surface and put in pan add filling and roll out the top crust.
I usually bake my fruit pies at 425 for 35 minutes  

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Friday, November 5, 2010

Crazy Month of Apples

We went apple picking a few weeks ago.  So far I have made 6 pies. 2 batches of apple butter, 1 batch of applesauce...

Friday, October 29, 2010


My life has been so crazy the last few weeks.  I will update blog soon with my Potato Corn Chowder Recipe. Perfect for chilly fall and cold winter days. My kids gobble it up as fast as I can make it.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fudge-Cayenne Brownies

  1. Family sized box of Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownies
  2. 6 0z semi-sweet chocolate chips
  3. Ground Cayenne Pepper (1/2 teaspoon maybe 3/4)
Mixed brownies as directed.
Melt chips with a little mild until smooth and starting with an 1/4 teaspoon at a time add pepper to your taste this should be a little hotter than if making chocolate molds.  Stir in the batter.

Turned out really well and was a big hit at our chili cook off.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Jesse agrees that mom makes the best chocolate butter cream cheese frosting.

This message has been sent using the picture and Video service from Verizon Wireless!

To learn how you can snap pictures and capture videos with your wireless phone visit

Note: To play video messages sent to email, Quicktime@ 6.5 or higher is required.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

yummy fresh bread was suppose to be a gift for Paula along with some homemade jam. But my shoulder prevented going to her celebration.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I don't like to let anything go to waste.  I had 3 spotted bananas and decided to pull out my old recipe book and make a bread. I have had it since I was 15.  My mother gave it to me when we moved to Villa Rica and I became more responsible with making the evening meals.
Wyatt loves it when we bake and I always try to include him. He is great at cracking eggs and mashing bananas. I taught him to beat the eggs last night.  I just love that boy!
I want to experiment with the recipe. It is really good but I would like to add something that makes the flavors pop. Think maybe using butter instead of shortening for starts :).

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 soft, ripe bananas, mashed 
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Cream sugar and shortening; add eggs, flour, soda, bananas, vanilla and chopped nuts. Pour banana bread batter into 1 greased and floured loaf pan; bake at 350° for about 50 min, It was not set in the middle so I simply turned the oven off and left the loaf to finish baking. This banana nut bread recipe makes 1 loaf.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Creating Memories

Everyday has the potential to bless my family and make memories that my boys will take into adulthood.  It is up to me whether their memories are good or bad.  I try to spend quality time with each one.  I want when they look back at their home life they remember more good than bad. Remember me as an affectionate, supportive, fun parent.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Surprise today is a "Creation by Karen"

This week is homecoming at my daughter's wonderful  school, Carrollton High School. Each day this week they had a different dress up day.

Monday- Tacky Day
Tuesday- Toga Day
Wednesday-Celebrity Day
Thursday- Generation Day
Friday- Spirit Day

Jenn-Jenn really wanted a yellow tutu. There were pink tutus, green tutus, purple tutus, and get this black and orange tutus but no yellow ones to be found. So it was up to mommy to save the day. First I searched you tube for a how to do a tutu video. Here is a great video How to make a tutu It is so easy. I knew a trip to Hobby Lobby was in order. So with 3 yds of yellow tulle, 2 yds of black tulle ( I think next time I would use 6 yards for a tutu to fit a size 0/1 teen). Below is the finished product!

My beautiful Jenn and her yellow and black tutu! Now all is good in the Trojan Nation!!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

In the Land of Peaches

My summer was all about peaches.  I have bought 1 small basket (held 5), 2 pecks and 2 bushels.
I started with just devouring them raw, then decided I wanted some for the winter.  For the first time ever I took on the job of freezing, canning and jamming them.  First batch I ended up with 10 quarts in the freezer.  Second I turned into Jam and Canned some slices.  Third batch I made more Jam.  All of these I treated about the same way.

  • Make a light syrup using about a cup of sugar to about 4 cups of water and a dash of lemon juice.
  1. Wash the fruit
  2. Blanch for 60 seconds (I did 2 at a time) to remove skin.
  3. Cut in half and remove the pit.  Slice uniformly and place in the syrup.
To make jam:

  • You'll need a very large stock pot for water bath.
  • Heat oven to 200.  Place mason jars in the oven.
  • This is a plain Jane "I love peaches" recipe.  Additional ingredients and mixing fruits I am sure would be terrific.
  1. place 16 cups of sliced (without syrup) in a dutch oven with 2 cups of sugar.  That can be reduced to taste.
  2. Cook on medium high heat stirring CONSTANTLY. I break down the fruit with a potato masher as I stir.
  3. When it begins to bubble add 2 tablespoons of butter- keep stirring.
  4. When it comes to a full boil add 2 boxes of fruit pectin and continue to stir for 1 more minute and turn off heat. 
  5. Remove hot jars 1 at a time and fill, seal and place in a water bath till all jars are used.  Leave in the water bath till properly sealed.  Between the boiling hot water and hot jam it doesn't take long to seal a jar.
*This recipe yields 10 half pint jars.

Frozen Peaches:

  • I used 1 quart freezer bags
Simply fill the bags with fruit and syrup and seal.

Canned Peaches:
I used large mason jars for this.  Ladle fruit and syrup into jars packing in the fruit.  Seal in a water bath.

Next adventure.....Apple Butter.

Monday, September 13, 2010

chile relleno

2 poblano peppers halved and seeded
1/4 pound ground beef
Extra sharp cheddar (white)
salsa (about 1/4 cup mixed with ground beef)
salsa verde
Salt to taste

I put a slice of cheese in the inside of each pepper. Added a small amount of ground beef mixture and rolled in flour.  Stuffed mixture in pepper on top of cheese.  Add another generous slice of cheese on top and back for about 20 min at 400.  Pour Salsa Verde in on top and bake an additional 10 min. I moved them close together in the last 10 min to keep the peppers from drying out.

Not restaurant quality, but very good.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Simple Salsa

I make this for my guys....fresh and way cheaper than the commercial brand

1 Large can of crushed tomatoes (I used flavored with basil garlic and oregano)
1/3 bunch cilantro- chopped
3 cloves garlic - chopped
1/4 large onion - chopped
3 jalapeno pepper - chopped

Mix all together and serve with chips and is SPICY!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I Think the Secret of Making

A sweet biscuit is you have to make the dough first.  Then after your dough is ready as if you were going to cut and bake, add the other ingredients.  That is the difference between a fruit cake and a biscuit.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Life is Messy

What a beautiful mess I made creating dessert biscuits. IMade the first batch for my guys and the second is going with me to the ladies fellowship at church. I hope they are good. I made a butter frosting for them hoping it would melt down a little more.
Many blessings from my home to yours.

One Pan Pasta

What a long day of babies and chores. I finally have supper finished. Kitchen almost put back to rights. Pictured os the onw pan skillet supper I mentioned earlier. This time I used rotini pasta and put a layer of cheese on top. I am serving it with fresh baked bread. My guys are about to eat it up.
This message has been sent using the picture and Video service from Verizon Wireless!
To learn how you can snap pictures and capture videos with your wireless phone visit
Note: To play video messages sent to email, Quicktime@ 6.5 or higher is required.

Peach Upside Down Cake

I made another batch jam out of the last of my peaches and I had enough slices left over for a cake...another experiment.  I need to buy some nutmeg and ginger.

First I put brown sugar in the slices and mixed well but gently. Next I made a basic butter cake recipe from Good Housekeeping, poured it onto the peaches and baked at 350 till golden brown.

Basic Butter Cake
by Good Housekeeping
  • 2 cup(s) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon(s) baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 3/4 cup(s) whole milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup(s) sugar
  • 3/4 cup(s) butter or margarine, softened
  • 3 large eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 13" by 9" metal baking pan, or three 8-inch round or two 9-inch round cake pans. Dust pan(s) with flour.
  2. On waxed paper, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. In cup, mix milk and vanilla; set aside.
  3. In large bowl, with mixer at low speed, beat sugar and butter just until blended. Increase speed to high; beat 3 minutes or until creamy, occasionally scraping bowl with rubber spatula. Reduce speed to low; add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Beat in flour mixture alternately with milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture just until blended, scraping bowl occasionally.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan(s). Bake 40 to 45 minutes for 13" by 9" cake, 23 to 25 minutes for 8- and 9-inch layers, or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool in the pan(s) on wire rack 10 minutes. With knife, loosen side of cake(s) from pan(s); invert onto wire rack to cool completely.

I made 2 layers.  I sent one to the Pastors and I ate most of the other. I was going to stack em and send both but one would not cooperate.

Note to self: Pastor Kristi liked it. I asked her what she would change and she suggested chopping peaches and adding to the batter...try that next time!

One Pan Pasta

I made a wonderful meal using Ziti pasta. large can of crushed tomatoes (I think 28 oz) lean ground beef, shredded extra sharp white cheddar Cheese, 2 cherry peppers and onion and garlic. I also used just a bit of whole milk to cream it up, gave it a lighter appearance. I used my Pampered Chef Professional (not plugging PC) Family size skillet to cook onion and garlic as well as ground beef so I put it all together in that same pan and place it in the oven. Cooked at 350 till it heated through and thickened.*It would be delicious with Italian Sausage or even chicken.

Going to make it tonight with Sweet Italian Sausage

Sorry I don't have a photo.  I'll add one next time I make this tasty dish.

Rhubarb and Cherry Upside Down Cake

Rhubarb and cherry upside down cake.This is one I made up this summer.  I placed rhubarb, pecans and pitted halved cherries in the bottom of the pan with brown sugar cinnamon and butter and added a lemon cake mix (prepared as directed).  I have discovered cooking times are longer with fruit on the bottom.  Baked about 40 min at 350.

Fruit Dessert Biscuits

Fruit dessert biscuits

I rarely make something from a recipe, rather I see what I have on hand and go from there. Tonight I made up a dessert biscuit. I had some leftover biscuit dough so I threw it back in the bowl with some milk and butter I added sugar and cinnamon, chopped cherries and apples. Kneeded in extra flour and cut with my "biscuit glass". Baked about 20 min at 350. After they cooled I glazed with powdered sugar and milk. Came out really guys loved them.