Thursday, March 29, 2012

Iron Skillet Nutty Sticky Buns

Iron Skillet Nutty Sticky Buns
Dorcas Annette Walker

The first day of spring has arrived feeling like summer with temperatures up in the 80’s lately. If this keeps up we are in for one hot summer. I’ve been working outside in the morning so I can quit by afternoon when the sun is bearing down and stay indoors until early evening. As the longer daylight hours expand- what joy- I love feeling the mountain cool down for nighttime after a sweltering day. The bad news is that due to our mild winter the ticks are already out. I didn’t think they would be alive this soon, but the other week when I was planting some potatoes on a cooler day I ended up with eight of the critters on me. For some reason I seem to attract these horrible insects. I immediately called my daughter to warm her about keeping a close watch on my grandchildren whenever they went outside. I spent a miserable couple of days with big red itchy welts that have slowly gone down. Thankfully so far my Lyme is staying in remission, although it really scared me. So now I’m putting on Skin-so-soft by Avon every time I work outside. Ticks are dangerous as they carry the Lyme virus so be extra careful. You can read more about Lyme disease on my Lyme blog at:

Yesterday I pulled out from my freezer a log of frozen bread dough and set it out to rise while I worked outside in my flower gardens. That evening when I started supper I rolled out the dough and made sticky buns, put them in my iron skillet, and set them in the oven to bake. By the time supper was done the Iron Skillet Nutty Sticky Buns were finished and ready to eat. I was amazed at how simple it was to make up a batch of Iron Skillet Nutty Sticky Buns; perfect for those working during the day or someone like my son, who likes to putter around the stove, but not spend hours cooking. Preparation time for my Iron Skillet Nutty Sticky Buns is around fifteen minutes (not counting baking time) and this recipe makes a dozen sticky buns.

Iron Skillet Nutty Sticky Buns

1 roll of frozen yeast bread dough
1 stick of butter
2 tb shortening
2 c br sugar
1 c chopped pecans
1 c powdered sugar
1 tsp shortening
2 tb milk

Lightly grease a bowl and log of bread dough, cover, and let rise for at least five hours. Punch down the risen dough, melt butter in an iron skillet, and roll out the dough in a rectangular shape. Spread shortening over the dough and then the brown sugar and nuts. Sprinkle on cinnamon. Roll up the dough lengthwise and cut into twelve pieces with a sharp knife. Place each section face up in the iron skillet. Bake at 350ยบ for twenty-five to thirty minutes until golden brown. While cooling mix up the frosting by combining the sugar, shortening, and milk in a small bowl. Beat with a Wisk until smooth and then drizzle over the sticky buns!

Weekly tip: Always work with bread dough on a warm sunny day as the dough will rise more quickly and thoroughly and your end product will be of a lighter fluffier quality!

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, March 22, 2012

Asparagus Soup

Asparagus Soup
Dorcas Annette Walker

March is days of contrast; temperatures soaring into the warm seventies and then plunging into the low thirties. You never know from one week to the next just what the weather will be. Yet in spite of radical weather changes, barren earth comes to life, flowers begin to bloom, grass becomes green, trees unfurl tiny brand new leaves, and there is expectancy in the air because spring has arrived. Chill winter winds turn into blustery gusts with bursts of spring rain only to soften into warm breezes. I love hanging wash out on the line in March watching clean clothes play hide and seek with the clothes pins as the wind whips the clothes around with each blast of air that quickly dries the wash even under cloudy skies. Yes, March’s weather conditions are fickle, but seldom boring.

One of the first things a person can harvest when gardens have just started being planted is tender shoots of asparagus. I have become very familiar with asparagus due to the unfortunate circumstances of inheriting my grandmother’s weak bladder that often causes one to flare up with bladder infections. Anyone who has suffered bladder infections can sympathize. During my lifetime I have drunk countless gallons of cranberry juice and have been on numerous antibiotics only for my bladder to flare up again at a later date. I have researched and read about bladder infections trying all kinds of ideas, but it wasn’t until my daughter was almost a teenager when an older lady recommended eating asparagus with the juice that I finally found something effective in stopping bladder infections besides going on antibiotics. Ever since I have always kept a can of asparagus in my pantry for any beginning signs of a bladder infection. It’s been years now since I’ve had to take antibiotics for a bladder infection and I’ve noticed that I don’t have near as many flare up’s as before. So if you are plagued with bladder troubles start eating asparagus.

Each bite of my creamy Asparagus Soup is a delightful taste of spring and a perfect dish for St. Patrick’s Day. The Asparagus Soup can be made year round by using frozen or canned asparagus (just don’t forget to adjust the amount of salt). Preparation time for my Asparagus Soup is thirty minutes and this recipe serves two.

Asparagus Soup

1 c fresh asparagus spears
1 c celery
1 c water
½ tsp salt & pepper to taste
1 (12 oz) can of evaporated milk
1 tb dried onion
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 tb cornstarch

Cook the asparagus, celery, salt & pepper in the water for about ten minutes until soft. Let cool for five minutes. Place in a blender and liquefy. Pour back into the saucepan adding the milk, onion, and bouillon cube. Place the cornstarch in a little bit of water just enough to dissolve and stir in. Bring all the ingredients to a boil over medium heat stirring constantly. Garnish with asparagus tips!

Weekly tip: Asparagus is a member of the lily family whose cultivation began more than 2,000 years ago in the eastern Mediterranean region. Never wash or soak asparagus before storing. Instead stand upright in an inch of water in the bottom of a jar, and cover with plastic for up to two days. Asparagus is a good source of vitamins A, C and E, B, potassium and zinc!

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, March 14, 2012

Mint Brownie Ice Cream Cake

Mint Brownie Ice Cream Cake
Dorcas Annette Walker

The month of March is hemophilia awareness- the same month my son, Dwight, who has severe hemophilia, was born in on the thirteenth. Life has been a whirlwind ever since. Three years later, despite my sister’s frantic endeavors to bring on her labor earlier, my niece was born on Friday, March the thirteenth too. Thankfully Stacy does not have hemophilia. So when we found out that my daughter was due in March, Dwight and Stacy were dearly hoping that Dawn’s baby would also be born on the thirteenth. Since my daughter had to have a C-section her doctor chose March the second (they usually do a C-section about a week earlier) to Dwight and Stacy’s dismay.

Nevertheless my sweet little granddaughter stirred up quite a cyclone of her own. We were all at the Baptist Hospital in Nashville around noon- after driving through stormy weather that morning- when Dawn went back for her C-section. All the television stations were focused on the weather first around our state and then here in Tennessee as several tornadoes began moving across the state. Dawn’s C-section has just been finished and she was in recovery when the hospital went on alert. Everyone was hustled out into the hallway from the waiting room and then sent down to the dining room in the basement when the hospital went on full emergency mode shutting everything down.

Meanwhile Dawn ended up staying in the recovery room five hours instead of the usual one due to her having a bad reaction to one of the meds. Since the Baptist Hospital, for security reasons keeps the babies with their mothers, it wasn’t until after 8 pm that night that we got to hold tiny Katie Dawn in our arms for the first time. My sweet granddaughter was well worth the long wait, although my husband is threatening to call her “Stormy” instead of Katie.

My Mint Brownie Ice Cream Cake is a scrumptious birthday cake I’ve made up ahead of time to feature in this week’s column for Dwight’s birthday. Ever since Dwight was a teenager and I bought an ice cream cake for his birthday one year, he has always asked for an ice cream cake for his birthday. I have combined two of Dwight’s favorites: mint ice cream and brownies interlaced together with a fuggy chocolate topping to create this personalized cake. Even though the Mint Brownie Ice Cream Cake takes time to make, the look Dwight’s face when he takes his first bite will be well worth the effort. Preparation time for the Mint Brownie Ice Cream Cake is around thirty minutes (not counting freezing time).

Mint Brownie Ice Cream Cake

1 pan of brownies already prepared
2 (1.5 qts) mint chocolate ice cream
1 (11.75 oz) jar of hot fudge ice cream topping
1 (16 oz) container of cool whip

Soften ice cream in the microwave, spread into two 9-inch round cake pans, cover with wax paper, and freeze for a couple of hours. Dip a knife in hot water and move around the inside edge of one layer, run hot water over the bottom to dislodge the ice cream, and place on cake dish. Quickly spread half the jar of topping, sprinkle a layer of crumbled brownies on top, and refreeze. Pour the rest of the topping on the brownies, remove the second layer of ice cream and position on top. Frost with cool whip- refreezing if needed-, garnish the top with brownie crumbs, and then freeze until completely hardened!

Weekly tip: Ice cream cakes can also be layered in loaf pans and then frosted. Spraying a thin layer of cooking spray inside the pan helps the frozen ice cream slide out easier!

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, March 8, 2012

Zesty Chicken Quesadillas

Zesty Chicken Quesadillas
Dorcas Annette Walker

Even though spring doesn’t technically start for a couple more weeks outside my mini irises and crocuses are blooming while the daffodils and hyacinths’ are starting to open and add their color to the world. Each day brings new anticipation of what flower will be blooming next. My bushes and trees have been budding out for a couple of weeks now due to our mild winter season thinking that spring has already arrived. I’m just hoping that once everything is in full bloom we don’t end up with a spat of freezing weather and snow the end of March or in April like it has done some years when we have had an earlier spring. On the other hand we’ll just have to take what the good Lord sends our way. Meanwhile I’ve been enjoying hanging out wash on sunny days and working in my flower gardens. I’m running behind this year on my veggie garden and starting plants from seed as Dana was back in the hospital again and this week there have been doctor visits. Sometimes it seems like there isn’t enough hours in the day to get everything done that needs doing.

This weekend is going to be very exciting for our family as on Friday our daughter, Dawn, is scheduled for a C-section. We can’t wait to hold tiny Miss Katie Dawn in our arms. For the past month or so Dawn’s amniotic fluid has been fluctuating up and down. One week our daughter was only one point away from having an emergency C-section. Right now our family is all on a countdown as we plan on heading down to Nashville early Friday morning to help entertain Annette, who is nine and quite anxious to see the baby sister that she prayed for, and William, who is six as we await the birth of our brand new granddaughter. Technology and science has advanced so much from back when I gave birth to Dawn years ago.

My Zesty Chicken Quesadillas are finger lick’in good and a quick filling lunch with crispy tortillas stuffed with leftover chicken or turkey, onions, and peppers covered in melted cheese. You can add chopped tomatoes, refried beans, black olives, mushrooms, or use a different kind of cheese if you prefer. Any leftover Zesty Chicken Quesadillas can be popped in the microwave and heated up for another day. Preparation time for my Zesty Chicken Quesadillas is fifteen minutes and this recipe makes one quesadilla.

Zesty Chicken Quesadillas

1 tb butter
1 flour tortilla
½ c chopped chicken
¼ c seasoned frozen onions & peppers
¼ c shredded coby-jack cheese
salt & pepper

Melt butter in a skillet. Fill half of the tortilla with the chicken, onions, and cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste and fold in half. Fry tortilla on medium heat until one side is browned, turn over, and fry for five more minutes until the other side is brown. Serve hot!

Weekly tip: The quesadilla originates from Mexico derived from the Spanish word queso (cheese). Most quesadillas contain cheese with a savory mixture of meat and vegetables folded in half and fried until the cheese is melted. It then can be cut into slices or wedges. In the USA many restaurants serve quesadillas as appetizers. Dessert quesadillas come in flavors of chocolate, butterscotch, caramel, and different fruits!

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: