Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Easter Egg Shortbread Cookies

Easter Egg Shortbread Cookies
Dorcas Annette Walker

The celebration of Easter majors on life as the earth all around us rejuvenates itself with new growth and blooms overnight despite fluctuating temperatures. No matter how one celebrates this holiday everything points to the creator of the universe whose power and majesty is above and beyond mankind’s ability to reproduce. Who else but God, by the tilting of the global sphere we live on, can turn barren ground and trees into beauty that dazzles the eye? Every tiny chick that hatches out of a hard egg shell is a testimony to the power of the resurrection. Our little farm is alive this spring with peeps and chirps of chicks in all sizes filling the chicken yard with downy bodies that soon turn into feathers along with quacking baby ducks. One becomes memorized watching these fascinating little fuzz balls grow into fat waddling hens along with the anticipation of having fresh eggs appear this fall.

Along with taking care of our livestock, every chance I get finds me burying seeds in the ground in my vegetable and flower garden between spring showers. Each tiny seed that I cover with dirt is an act of faith that in the days to come the dead seeds will sprout and produce living plants. I’ve also transplanted my trailing lima beans and squash in the garden along with some of the other flowers I had started. All that remains on my dining room table now is tomato plants looking rather lonely by themselves. Soon they too will get the chance to grow outside and once again I will reclaim my dining room for eating instead of using it as a green house.

I blame all the excitement of life and new growth around me that triggered off my brain cells into another wild culinary experiment of combining a picture I had torn of out a magazine awhile back that intrigued me with another recipe I discovered while browsing through some cookbooks to create something entirely new that I named my Easter Egg Shortbread Cookies. The Easter Egg Shortbread Cookies are fun to make and remind me of when I colored eggs and made candy for Easter with my children. My Easter Egg Shortbread Cookies are delicious plain or decorated and make ideal party favors or snacks. Preparation time for my Easter Egg Shortbread Cookies is around thirty-five minutes (not counting decorating time) and this recipe makes eighteen 3-inch cookies.

Easter Egg Shortbread Cookies

2 sticks butter melted
1 c sugar
¼ c milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp almond extract
3 c self-rising flour

Cream butter sugar, milk, and extracts together until smooth. Add flour and mix until crumbly. Take a handful of dough; form into an egg shape with your hands, and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350ยบ for fifteen minutes until lightly browned. Let the cookies sit five minutes before moving and cool before decorating!


2 c powdered sugar
2 tb shortening
¼ c milk
½ tsp almond extract
food coloring
candy sprinkles

Beat sugar, shortening, milk, and extract until smooth with a Wisk adding more milk if needed to make a thin consistency. Add a drop of food coloring and mix until getting the desired color. Spoon the frosting over the cookies until covered and then sprinkle with candy.

Weekly tip: When covering candy or cookies with a thin icing place the items to be covered on a rack over a waxed cookie sheet for easy clean up. Let sit until the icing is completely hardened!

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, April 21, 2011

Carrot Salad

Carrot Salad
Dorcas Annette Walker

Jello was a rare thing in our home when I was growing up. To me it was a mysterious delightful intriguing substance that began appearing in salads and desserts during my teen years. So you can imagine my delight when one of my first tasks in helping out in the school kitchen was to serve plain jello for a lunch time dessert. To my chagrin the jello seemed to take on a life of its own every time I scooped out a square with a metal spatula wobbling and sometimes flopping back into the dish while trying to deposit it onto a waiting tray. The dinner line quickly backed up everyone enjoying my confusion and antics of the jello as I tried to get the knack of serving that day’s dessert while wanting to sink into the floor in embarrassment. The head cook seeing my dilemma took over. Later in the privacy of the kitchen, not willing to let a simple thing like jello outdo me, I practiced lifting out and serving leftover jello while the rest of the staff looked on and gave advice. Afterwards I discovered that jello salads are a lot easier to serve than plain jello. Perhaps the subconscious memory of my first disastrous encounter with jello permanently imprinted on my brain is the reason that I seldom make plain jello.

Jello facts:
- Peter Cooper received the first patent for gelatin in 1845. Fifty-two years later Pearl Wait came up with a fruity tasting gelatin his wife, Mary, named JELL-O.
- Gelatin is made from cattle bones, hides, and pork skins soaked in acid or lime, washed repeatedly, and then boiled to remove the gelatin, which has no odor, color or taste.
- Gelatin is used primarily in food, pharmaceutical (outer shells for hard and soft capsules), and photography (the production of photographic paper and film).
- During World War II gelatin was used as blood plasma substitute.
- The first four flavors of JELL-O were orange, strawberry, raspberry, and lemon; today there are 20 flavors.
- The first sugar-free JELL-O was invented in 1923 with 12 sugar-free flavors currently available.
- During the early quarter 20th century, immigrants entering Ellis Island were served JELL-O as a “welcome to America” treat.
- JELL-O is called jelly in the United Kingdom.
- In 1996 the JELL-O museum opened in New York, which is considered the birthplace of JELL-O.
- In 2001 Utah declared JELL-O the official snack; the people of Salt Lake City eats more lime flavored JELL-O than any other city in the world.
- Today gelatin is used to construct paint balls.
- More than 158 products are sold under the JELL-O brand with 300 million boxes of JELL-O sold in the United States each year.

Carrot Salad

2 (3 oz) boxes of orange jello
2 c boiling water
1 (20 oz) can of crushed pineapple
1 c grated carrots

Stir together in a medium-sized bowl the jello and water until dissolved. Add the can of pineapple and carrots. Chill until set. Preparation time is around twenty minutes and this recipe serves seven. You can serve the Carrot Salad plain or on a leaf of lettuce. Garnish with mayonnaise, cool whip, and/or carrot curls!

Weekly tip: Always use canned or cooked pineapple in gelatin salads as fresh pineapple or kiwi will prevent the jello from setting!

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, April 14, 2011

Dwight's Grilled Burgers

Dwight’s Grilled Burgers
Drocas Annette Walker

Family member support becomes invaluable during a crisis. My heart always goes out to people, whose family structure is fragmented during a catastrophe. We are blessed to have two adult children within our close-knit family unit, who have been right with us from the start of Dana’s hospital episode. Not only has Dawn and Dwight transported me back and forth, dropped their work schedules to rally around their dad, help with laundry and housework that I was getting behind on, but they make sure that I am eating right to keep up my strength. One of the first things you quit during hospital stays, as you become isolated from the outside world, is structured meals. One spends hours sitting in a waiting room waiting on surgery to get done, only to transfer one’s body to another waiting room where life revolves around the intensive care visiting hour, until you move to a hospital room of continual interruptions day and night for procedures and tests. Your focus on getting your loved one back on their feet becomes your first priority. I’ve found that simple and quick meals are what one goes for in hospital life.

My son, Dwight, loves to fix stuff on the grill stationed on our back porch. After a long day at work, Dwight will often grill something for his supper. During one of my short overnight stays while I was getting packed up to go back to the hospital, Dwight grilled up a hamburger to eat first letting me feature his culinary skills in this week’s column. Warm spring weather is a perfect time to spend outdoors cooking something on the grill surrounded by a dazzling array of spring blossoms. Dwight’s Grilled Burgers is a basic recipe that you can use to make your own deluxe burgers. With a soft bread exterior and crusty inside you get a toasted crunchy taste with each bite. Preparation time for Dwight’s Grilled Burgers is around fifteen minutes and this recipe makes one grilled burger.

Dwight’s Grilled Burgers

2 slices of bread or hamburger bun
1 hamburger
garlic salt & pepper
1 tb chopped green peppers
1 slice of pepper jack cheese
1 tb margarine

Get the grill hot and wait until the fire dies down. Sprinkle garlic salt and pepper on the hamburger and place on the hot grill. Lightly brown the bottom and flip over. Place peppers and then the cheese on the hamburger. Butter the bread and place the buttered side down on the hot grill. Shut the grill until the bread is lightly toasted and the cheese is melted. Place the toasted sides against the grilled hamburger. Add lettuce, sliced tomato, onion, ketchup, and mustard before eating!

Weekly tip: Use hickory or other wood chips to add flavor to your grilled meat!

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:

Monday, April 4, 2011

Egg Salad

Egg Salad
Dorcas Annette Walker

Monday morning started out normal to begin with. I had my list of things that I wanted to get done and had started on the housework when Dana called me from the doctor’s office. He had been having chest pains over the weekend with an elevated blood pressure, but was ready to walk out of the doctor’s office and get back to work as his blood pressure was lower thinking it all was a waste of time. As soon as the doctor saw Dana, he sent my husband to the hospital. I dropped everything and rushed to our local hospital. Tests confirmed that my husband had suffered a mild heart attack over the weekend so the doctor transferred my husband by ambulance to the Cookeville hospital. My son left work and drove me down to Cookeville where our daughter met us. In the space of hours my world dramatically changed. Not only had my husband suffered a heart attack, but he is facing a triple by-pass. Sitting at the hospital with my children- while keeping an eye on my husband as he slowly adjusts to being a patient that is supposed to lie in bed and let others work on him- I couldn’t help but ponder on the fact how quickly life can change. All of our family’s focus is now channeled on seeing that Dana has a successful heart surgery and recuperates. Not only did my housework schedule change, but I had to quickly rearrange my recipes as the last thing the hospital staff needs is a strange cook muddling around their kitchen, sweet as they all are.

So I decided to share a recipe my mother often made that popped into my mind late last night before I fell asleep on the pull-out couch in Dana’s room. Talking by phone with my sister yesterday we both repeated together a phrase we often heard our mother say during our growing up years that now is our motto when any disaster strikes. “It’s a great life if a body doesn’t weaken.” My mom’s Egg Salad can be used as a simple salad on a lettuce leaf or as sandwich filler. Preparation time for my Egg Salad is ten minutes (not counting boiling time for the eggs) and this recipe makes two cups.

Egg Salad

4 large eggs boiled
1 c mayonnaise
1 tsp mustard
Salt & pepper

Mash cooled boiled eggs in a small bowl. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. Add mayonnaise, mustard, and mix well. Serve on a lettuce leaf or between two slices of bread!

Weekly tip: To make it easier to peel boiled eggs add ½ tsp salt to the water when boiling them!

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: