Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Spring Pea Salad


To me spring is: seeing the earth come alive and produce a rainbow of blooms, baby chicks and ducks, fresh lettuce, peas, and onions from the garden, the first sign of a robin and birds chirping as they busily build nests, frogs poking their noses out of the water for the first time while froggie eggs float in the pond, along with weather that goes crazy- sunny and warm one day only for the next day to have freezing rain and frost. Ah yes, springtime (my favorite time of the year) bursts forth after a cold barren winter bringing lots of life, activity, and color.

Just as each person has their favorite color so we tend to have different tastes depending on the area we grew up in, our family’s history of favorite foods, and what we were raised with.  For some reason a lot of people hate peas, especially children. Even though I introduced peas to them as youngsters, both of my two adult children still turn their noses up whenever peas are mentioned. It’s a mystery to me as I love peas.  Peas are very healthy providing nearly one third of the daily recommended allowance for fiber, vitamin A that fights wrinkles, vitamin C, and vitamin K-1, which helps fight dark circles along with a host of anti-aging compounds including omega-3. As if that wasn’t enough research links peas to nutrients that lowers stomach cancer as well as being good for heartburn and neutralizing stomach acids. So you had a wise mother if she prepared and told you to eat your peas.

My Spring Pea Salad is a dish that will evoke images of spring no matter time of the year you make it. The Spring Pea Salad will add color and texture to your menu and fits with about any other food group.  Best of all the Spring Pea Salad is quick and easy to prepare and can be made up ahead of time.  This recipe serves six.


1 (16 oz) bag of frozen peas
4 slices of bacon or ½ c of bacon bits
1 small diced onion or 2 tb of dried onions
1 c shredded cheddar cheese
2 hard boiled eggs chopped
1 c mayonnaise
½ c Ranch dressing
Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium-sized bowl combine together the peas, bacon, onion, cheese, and eggs.  Sprinkle salt and pepper. Add mayonnaise and Ranch dressing mixing all the ingredients together. Let sit for about ten minutes and then serve!

Tip: If one absolutely hates fresh or frozen peas you can substitute the frozen peas with two cans of peas, although the salad won’t be as colorful!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Fluffy Fan Rolls


I made a pea salad recipe for March, only not to like the taste of the finished salad. Since I only post what works for me- in other words it will work for anyone else- and tastes good, I did some research into pea salad recipes and came up with a couple I was going to try. Only, I got sidelined with planting my veggie garden and before I realized it the month of March, along with April, was gone. I determined to get a Mother’s Day recipe to post.

After dithering over a couple of recipes while the days in May few by- between working outside, keeping up with my growing ducks, and then getting some baby chicks as well- Mother’s Day came and went, although I felt quite motherly with all my farm animals. Right after Mother’s Day, I tried the Fluffy Fan Roll recipe and loved the buttery taste and texture- along with my fellows, who gobbled them up at top speed- but wasn’t satisfied with how they looked. A second time around and I finally had the rolls looking like they were supposed to.

While these Fluffy Fan Rolls are not a real quick and easy recipe (see second paragraph) they are something fun to do in the kitchen and look quite elegant to serve.  You can make your own bread/roll recipe or thaw up a frozen bread loaf to make the Fluffy Fan Rolls.  Time to do the Fluffy Fan Roll will vary as the dough needs to rise and double, but once they are in the pan you can let them sit while you do other stuff until up in the afternoon or suppertime.  This buttery Fluffy Fan Roll recipe makes twelve dinner rolls.


1 frozen bread dough roll or enough dough to make a loaf

On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough real thin in a rectangle shape about fourteen inches wide by twelve. Butter the top of the dough.  Using a sharp knife cut seven strips two inches wide.  Layer all the stripes of dough on top of the end strip.  Then cut one inch pieces up the strip until you have twelve.  Place each inch layer in a greased roll/muffin pan lengthwise.  Spray cooking oil over the dough and cover. Let sit and rise until doubled. Bake at 350º for twenty minutes until lightly browned.  Serve warm.

Tip: To keep freshly baked bread or rolls soft: remove from pan and cover with a kitchen towel as soon as they are out of the oven until ready to serve!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Cheesy Spoon Bread


In my parent’s day spooning meant you were courting; an old fashion slang word for kissing and cuddling.  The word spooning originated from an old custom when houses were heated only by a wood-stove and wooden furniture was the norm.  The bed was considered the warmest place in the house so it was practical for a courting couple to spoon or bundle fully clothed in a bed.  Old order Amish and Mennonites still consider spooning a practical purpose to give young unmarried couples a chance to be “close” without being sexual.  Today spooning is considered a form of affection between a couple where they lay front to back fitting together like spoons in silverware chest or kitchen drawer. 

Spoon bread is believed to be of Native American origin from the Indian porridge called suppone or suppawn, although today’s version of spoon bread with butter, milk, and eggs came more after the civil war.  The first printed recipe for spoon bread appeared in a cookbook by Sarah Rutledge in 1847 and became popular as a Southern belle in the South. Even though spoon bread is named “bread” it is closer in consistency and taste to a savory pudding served by the spoonful.  Kentucky has a yearly Spoon Bread festival.

There are many variations to spoon bread.  My Cheesy Spoon Bread is like the traditional Southern cornmeal pudding and goes with anything. This Cheesy Spoon Bread has a soft, creamy, velvet-like texture that can be used in the place of bread or cornmeal.  It was an instant hit with my fellows and the perfect dish for your valentine.   Best of all the Cheesy Spoon Bread is easy and quick to make. This recipe serves six to eight.


1 box (8 ½ oz) corn muffin mix
1 can (15 oz) cream corn
1 ½ c shredded cheddar cheese
1 c sour cream
2 eggs
1 small onion minced
½ stick butter melted
Black pepper

Mix together all the ingredients and pour into greased 9-inch baking dish or iron skillet.  Bake at 350º for 35-45 minutes until golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving!

Tip:  You can substitute yogurt in place of sour cream in any recipe to get the same consistency!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Baked Bean Soup


When the chill North winds starts to blow over the mountains here in Tennessee bringing frosty mornings as the leaves change color and begin to fall, my taste buds always start yearning for the comfort of warm homemade soup.  Autumn is a busy time of the year finishing harvesting the last of the fresh veggies to put up and store, cleaning out garden beds, and layering straw in the hen-house. I also switch over to flannel sheets, washing, and hanging out all the bed comforters on the line during the remaining warm sunny days. Like the squirrels outside who scamper around storing up the last of the acorns, I find myself racing to complete my list of chores inside and out while the weather lasts before the holidays begin. Often dropping and fluctuating temperatures flare up my bones without warning sidelining me beside the cozy warmth of my wood-stove for a day. This time of the year I cannot afford spending hours in my kitchen.  Instead I fall back on popping something in the oven while a kettle of soup simmers on the stove as I scurry about completing another task.

So when I spotted a recipe of Baked Bean Soup it jumped right out at me.  Baked beans are always a favorite of my husband and bring back the memory of hot summer cookout days when our children were small.  The Baked Bean Soup is filling- especially with a slice of homemade bread or toast- and yet quick to prepare. Also my Baked Bean Soup is something you can put in a Crock-pot and let simmer all day.  This recipe makes around thirty servings and is great the second time around.


5 (16 oz) cans of pork & beans
1 lb hamburger
1 (14.5 oz) can of tomato sauce
1 small onion chopped
1 c catsup
¼ c syrup
¼ c bacon bits
1 tb mustard

Brown the hamburger and onion.  Puree three cans of pork & beans and put all of the beans and tomato sauce with the hamburger.  Stir in the catsup, syrup, bacon bits, and mustard. Bring to a boil and let simmer for fifteen minutes. Garnish with bacon bits and serve!

Tip: You can also freeze any leftover soup as well.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Grape Sherbet


During the hot and humid (and often very dry) days of August garden work slows down outside but continues inside with canning.  It is while working over a hot stove and keeping jars filled to can that I am most thankful for central air.  Years ago when I was younger and my children small we had a large window unit to try and combat the summer heat that never could keep up with the canning season.  By the end of the day the last thing I wanted to do was cook supper after working at the sweltering stove all day so I’d often pack sandwiches and our family would head down to the nearby park to try and cool off.  Sometimes I would grill hot dogs or hamburgers for supper on our small grill in the front lawn under the largest tree- before grilling outdoors became fashionable- just to get out of the hot kitchen. Today with central air, I’ll take a break from canning in the afternoon indoors and enjoy an ice cream cone- something the younger generation takes for granted.  Growing up ice cream cones and homemade ice cream was a rare treat.

I’ve always loved the taste of sherbet fascinated by its rainbow array of colors and flavors.  To my dismay this summer I noticed that sherbet was nowhere to be found in the ice cream frozen section of the stores.  I don’t know if the demand for sherbet has decreased until the managers have decided not to stock it anymore or what. So I was quite delighted while organizing my pile of recipes to try one hot afternoon to discover an article and recipe on how to make sherbet. I couldn’t believe how simple sherbet is to prepare.  All it takes is fruit juice and a simple syrup water combination that you freeze together. I had just harvested and made grape juice earlier in the week and had some juice left over after make grape jelly.  Even though grape juice wasn’t listed in the fruits (I can’t imagine how it was left out considering all the fruits you’d first think of like strawberry, blueberry, orange etc they had grapefruit, watermelon, and even tea) I decide to make some Grape Sherbet.  My Grape Sherbet was absolutely delicious and turned out perfect.  Talk about a classy desert! Needless to say I am hooked on making sherbet.


2 c grape juice or any other fruit you desire that is pureed and chilled
2 c simple sugar syrup

Combine the juice and syrup together with a Wisk. To make sure the mixture has the right density drop an egg into the mixture (I washed the egg first) and submerge it completely.  If the egg floats to the top with only part of the shell showing about the size of a quarter the mixture is ready to freeze.  If the egg doesn’t float add more sugar syrup.  If too much egg is exposed add more juice.  Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze like you would ice cream.  The finished sherbet should be smooth and thick. Freeze 2 hrs or overnight before serving.

Tip:  To make a simple sugar syrup bring to a boil equal amounts of water and sugar (like 2 c of sugar and 2c of water) and then let cool!