Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Homemade Lemonade

Homemade Lemonade
Dorcas Annette Walker

When my husband, Dana, was still in Bible College in Pennsylvania we filled in at a small church on weekend’s seventy-eight miles one way from our campus cabin. It was quite a learning experience staying with an older retired couple while we were still in our teens. The lady of the house always served turkey legs and pink lemonade for her Sunday dinner menu. There was only one catch. She was quite a saving soul, who felt that sugar was way too expensive to be used freely so only used half of the sugar required in anything that she made. I’ve always like tart stuff, but her pink lemonade even slowed me down. After his first taste, Dana only drank water. That pink lemonade went a long ways as it wasn’t until our grandkids came along and fell in love with pink lemonade that I even started storing some in my cupboard. Instead come summertime I would always make up a batch of my Homemade Lemonade.

There is nothing quite like the taste of Homemade Lemonade to quench a person’s thirst on a hot sweltering summer day. For some reason though my husband refuses to drink my homemade drink declaring that one swallow is enough to pucker you up for a week. Fortunately, both my kids like my lemonade. So the other Sunday I mixed up a pitcher of lemonade to go along with the meal. My daughter-in-law, Amanda Rose, took one swallow, made a funny face, and asked for sugar. She added a good amount to her glass, but still she hardly drank any lemonade. Later she told my son, Dwight, to be sure and remind her never to drink his mother’s Homemade Lemonade ever again. For those of you brave souls, who love lemonade, I thought I’d share my special lemonade recipe that is a perfect addition to picnics and family reunions.

My Homemade Lemonade is very simple, quick, and easy to make. Even though the Homemade Lemonade resembles the color of water don’t let it fool you as it packs a little kick. If you find my Homemade Lemonade too strong just add more water. Preparation time for my Homemade Lemonade is five minutes and this recipe serves six to eight.

Homemade Lemonade

1 c sugar
1 c reconstituted lemon juice

Mix together the sugar and lemon juice in a 2-quart pitcher adding water until it is filled completely up to the top and chill in the refrigerator. Fill a glass with ice and add the lemonade. Garnish with a slice of lemon and a sprig of mint!

Weekly tip: You can frost a glass by sticking it in the freezer and chilling it until the glass is completely cold or for a quick frost top the glass with ice, fill with water, pour out the water, and then add your beverage for an ice cold frosted glass!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog at:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Auntie Dorcas' Tomato Juice

Auntie Dorcas’ Tomato Juice
Dorcas Annette Walker

It never fails to surprise me how different threads of life intertwine and push you in a new direction. Making up a batch of tomato juice was the last thing on my mind until last week I received a call from a lady in Cookeville– who shall remain nameless in case anyone that hates tomatoes should decide to throw rotten tomatoes in her direction- asking me if I had a recipe for tomato juice. I searched in vain for a recipe so I began doing research. I was amazed at the high nutritious content in tomato juice. Then I came down with the flu. One day when I was having trouble keeping anything on my stomach I remembered an old home remedy how tomato juice can help settle an upset stomach. I drank some and was amazed how quickly it worked.

Meanwhile about a year ago my niece, Stacy, was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. It came as a total shock as Stacy had always been healthy. She was in college at the top of her class, spent a semester in England as a transfer student, and became engaged to her high school sweetheart. Stacy at first figured that the stress from her schedule was the cause. A local doctor made her symptoms worse with is wrong diagnosing until Stacy was able to see a specialist. For months she went to a wound clinic for deep oozing sores on her leg that wouldn’t heal. I’m all for the latest medical science, but sometimes home cures work when nothing else will. I told my sister to have Stacy soak her leg in Epson salts and the sores began to heal. Right now Stacy is run down, a pale shadow of herself, who had to quit her job while waiting for the insurance company to agree to the treatments prescribed to get her Crohn’s into remission.

My sister and I have been taxing our brains with foods to build Stacy’s weakened body back up without setting her system off. Remembering how the tomato juice helped my stomach, I called my sister that I was going to make up a batch of homemade tomato juice and promised to send her the recipe. I decided to call it Auntie Dorcas’ Tomato Juice in honor of Stacy. I’m determined to get Stacy back on her feet and healthy by the time she walks down the aisle as a radiant bride next April even if I have to bring her down to the mountains of Tennessee and doctor her myself.

My Auntie Dorcas’ Tomato Juice is so packed full of vitamins that nearly jump out of the glass. This soothing blend of eight garden vegetables creates a supper wallop of nutrition perfect to start out your day. There are zillions of recipes for fruit and vegetable juice enabling one to make their own homemade blend. You can substitute or add red & green peppers, cabbage, lettuce, watercress, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, or lemon juice to suit your taste buds. Preparation time for my Auntie Dorcas’ Tomato Juice is 4½ hrs (not counting canning time) and this recipe makes around 18 quarts.

Auntie Dorcas’ Tomato Juice

25 lb box of ripened tomatoes
2 lb bag of carrots
stalk of celery
1 qt canned red beets with juice
1 bunch of fresh spinach
4 large onions
3 cloves of garlic
½ c parsley flakes
½ c sugar
4 tb salt
1 tb pepper

Peel, chop, and puree all the vegetables including the parsley flakes adding water as needed in a blender or food processor. Scald tomatoes in hot water to loosen skins then liquefy. Add sugar, salt, and pepper. Pour into a large canner and bring to a rolling boil that you can’t stir down. Then simmer for thirty minutes. Pour the hot juice into clean canning jars and process for fifteen minutes.

Weekly tip: A ripe tomato has a uniform color. You can ripen tomatoes by placing them in a paper bag for a day or so. Then store in a cool place, but not the refrigerator!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog at:

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Zucchini Cheddar Corn Muffins

Zucchini Cheddar Corn Muffins
Dorcas Annette Walker

One garden vegetable that is guaranteed to give you an abundance harvest is zucchini or squash. All you have to do is plant one packet of seeds and you will get zillions of squash in return. A lot of gardeners become overwhelmed with their squash harvest not knowing what to do with it all. Thankfully besides giving some away there are lots of ways that you can eat and put up your squash harvest. One way to use your zucchini is by making these delicious colorful Zucchini Cheddar Corn Muffins.

I read an article this week about survival seed banks, which brought to my mind some folks that we became acquainted with years ago. I was slicing up tomatoes during a visit when she asked me how many years of food we had saved up. I nearly dropped my knife in amazement when she confided that they had put up eight years worth of food in a safe underground storage cellar. Their total goal was for twenty years of food. They believed that we would have to go through the tribulation and were getting prepared when the end of the world came. Emergency seed banks are nothing new with their waterproof military grade containers claiming to keep seeds good for 100 years for you to grow your own food when a worldwide crisis shuts down the food supplies.

Now I believe in putting up and storing food, but twenty years supply? Can you imagine the expense of buying all those jars, the work involved, not to mention finding storage place? If such a crisis would to occur and you had lots of food what kind of person would turn their back on those starving around them? My Bible tells how God daily fed at least four to five million Israelites in the middle of a wilderness where there wasn’t any ground fit to grow a garden and the prophet Elijah with ravens during a severe drought. As long as there are gardeners and farmers around there will be plenty of food. Just grow squash. Meanwhile instead of fretting about the future I plan to enjoy each day that the good Lord gives me.

My Zucchini Cheddar Corn Muffins are a nifty addition to any meal with their summery tasty. You can add mushrooms, peppers, black olives, or salsa for a different twist. Preparation time for my Zucchini Cheddar Corn Muffins is ten minutes and this recipe makes eight to nine muffins.

Zucchini Cheddar Corn Muffins

1 (8.5 oz) box of corn muffin mix
1 c shredded zucchini
1 c shredded cheddar cheese
1 egg
½ c milk

Mix together all the ingredients and spoon into a greased muffin pan. Bake at 350ยบ for twenty to twenty-five minutes until golden brown. Serve hot with butter!

Weekly tip: Shred and freeze individual cups of zucchini for year round baking use!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog at:

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Plum Delicious Dessert

Plum Delicious Dessert
Dorcas Annette Walker

The last couple of weeks I have had been going plum crazy as I harvested the fruit off of my two loaded plum trees each day. My plums are dark purple when ripe bursting with sweet juice that runs down your chin as soon as you take a bite. Talk about plum good! There is nothing like picking and eating a fresh plum that has been warmed and ripened by the sun. I’ve been plum busy canning jars of plums and cooking plum jam. So I thought I’d give you a recipe for a Plum Delicious Dessert to enjoy.

Plums are a smooth-skinned fruit that comes in a wide variety of color, sizes, and taste (sweet or tart) with a creamy yellow or bright red flesh containing a flattish pointed stone in the middle of each fruit. The Romans introduced plums to Northern Europe and by 1864 there were 150 species of plums with hundreds of varieties. Plums are native in China, America, and Europe with most placed into two categories: Japanese and European. The plum tree can reach a height of 20-33 feet, is considered a stone fruit tree that is different from other fruit trees in that the shoots have a terminal bud, and blossoms in early spring. California is famous for its export of plums.

Plums are often dried as prunes, but can be stewed, canned, made into jams, jellies, puddings, or used in pies, and cakes. Fermented plum juice when distilled produces brandy. Although plums are high in carbohydrates, they are low in fat and calories, and are free of sodium and cholesterol. Plums contain iron, Vitamin C and A, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and fiber. They are good for allaying thirst, are proven to have just as much or more antioxidants than blueberries, used in the treatment of arthritis, and helps regulate the function of the digestive system.

Plum Delicious Dessert

1 c crushed graham crackers
1 qt canned plums
½ c sugar
½ c cornstarch
½ tsp almond extract
1 (8 oz) cool whip

Place graham crackers in the bottom of a glass dessert dish. Pit the plums and place in a medium saucepan with sugar. Add enough water to make a liquid paste with the cornstarch, add to plum mixture, and bring to a boil stirring with a Wisk until smooth. Take off the heat and add the extract. Cool for half an hour than pour over the graham crackers. Let cool for another half an hour before spreading the cool whip on top. Take a knife and swirl through the cool whip and fruit. Chill overnight before serving! Preparation time for my Plum Delicious Dessert is about fifteen minutes (not counting an hour for cooling time) and this recipe serves eight.

Weekly tip: Store fresh plum in a cool dark place. And here’s an idea for you- how about using plum jam with your peanut butter and jelly sandwich or instead of sliced bananas and peanut butter substitute fresh slices of a plum? Be plum inventive!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog at: