Apr 30, 2008

Daddy's Violets

30 Days 30 Photos - Day 30

When I was 17 I married my sweetheart. I was the first child in my family to marry. My dad and I have always been close, and he taught me to love and respect nature and all of Gods creations. My dad walked me down the isle of my big church wedding and then he and Mom sent me off on my honeymoon. When my new husband and I bought a house and I moved away from my home town for the first time it was difficult for both Dad and I. I will never forget my wonderful father crawling around his backyard, digging up little purple violets for me to take with me, to plant in my own new yard as a reminder of home. Dad knew I had always loved the sweet little violets. One of the first things I did in my own yard was to plant those violets. They still grow and thrive in my gardens, even spilling out into the grass, just like they did when Daddy retrieved them for me. I never see the violets blooming sweetly in my yard that I don't think of my precious father and his love for me.

Apr 29, 2008

Angels in the Garden

30 Days 30 Photos - Day 29

Apr 28, 2008

Bleeding Hearts of Spring

30 Days 30 Photos - Day 28

Apr 27, 2008

Sweet Tea...A Southern Girls Delight!

This week the Gracious Hospitality Blog-a-Thon topic is "The White, Green, Black, and Herb of Tea". At first I didn't think I had anything, but then I thought, "aren't I the self-proclaimed recipe queen?" Well, of course I had to remember something or risk losing my crown! I have searched my recipe base and I have found a few interesting teas to offer. I must admit to you, I am a simple girl when it comes to tea. I really prefer a simple, plain brewed cup or glass. But once in a while I do enjoy a "recipe", where fruit or spice is added - especially for iced teas in the summer. I hope you will enjoy my tea suggestions, though I am quite sure most of you will be more inventive. I can't wait to dig in and read all of them. If you haven't been looking into the many blogs with posts about these tea topics, you are missing out. Make sure to visit all the wonderful blogs with posts involved in the blog-a-thon by going to gracioushospitality.blogspot.com. It's lots of fun to see the variety posted each week.

First on my list is, of course, Sweet Tea, a true southern girls delight! I know hot teas rank at most ladies tea parties, but in my book, nothing can top a tall, icy cold glass of Sweet Tea with a healthy wedge of lemon! My mother taught me to make the best sweet tea in the world. Now, I can't make it at home very often because I would suffer some serious humiliation at the scales...I can't have just one glass! But when I go to Mom's to visit, Katie bar the door...I'm partaking! Mom really doesn't have recipes - she just throws in a handful of this and a pinch of that until it "looks right". But in this case she provided her Sweet Tea recipe, written by her own hand:

Taking a rest on my front porch on a glorious Spring afternoon, with an icy glass of freshly brewed Sweet Tea - could it get better than that??? God is good in every little way!

Mama’s Southern Iced Tea
Put a clean saucepan of water on the stove, let it come to a hard boil. Drop in about 10 Lousianne tea bags. Just tear off those little old paper tags on the ends of the strings and throw them away...they are of no use when you are making iced tea...drop in the whole thing. Turn the stove off and put the pan on the back of the stove for an hour or two or ‘til it’s cool. Squeeze out the bags and throw them away. Pour the tea into your gallon size Tupperware pitcher and add 1 cup of sugar or sweeten to your liking. Stir it up real good. Pour in a tall glass filled with ice and serve with a wedge of lemon...nothin’ like it!

Note from Kathy:
My favorite tea to use for iced or hot is Tetley or Lousianne, but I do love orange-spice for hot

Whether you enjoy hot tea or iced tea, flavored syrups and ice cubes can make your dainty English tea cups or tall frosty iced tea glasses extra special. Here are two recipes I have used for years when entertaining to flavor any kind of tea:

Fruited Ice Cubes
2 cups ripe fruit, peeled and pitted
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Puree fruit (peaches, raspberries, strawberries, etc.) in a blender with sugar and lemon juice to the consistency you prefer. Pour the mixture into ice cube trays and freeze. Serve in tall iced tea glasses with freshly brewed tea and a wedge of lemon, a few whole berries, a sprig of fresh mint, or a slice of fruit.

Flavored Tea Syrups
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
the zest and juice of 2 lemons, limes, and or oranges
1 cup crushed raspberries and/or 1 cup crushed strawberries
1 cup sugar
1 ½ cups water

Place mint leaves and/or fruit juice and zest in a saucepan with sugar and water. Bring to a boil, dissolving the sugar. Remove from heat and cool. Strain and store the syrup in a pretty jar. Add a couple of tablespoons to each cup or glass of tea. Refrigerator and use for about a week.

The following recipe is interesting because it's punch, but it does contain tea. It's yummy!

Party Slush
4 tea bags
2 cups boiling water
7 cups cold water
2 cups sugar
12 ounce can frozen orange juice concentrate
12 ounce frozen limeade concentrate
1 pint whiskey, optional
2, 2 liter bottles chilled lemon lime soda

Place 4 tea bags in 2 cups boiling water; allow to steep 10-15 minutes. Mix together 7 cups water and 2 cups sugar, bring to boil until sugar is dissolved. Add one 12 ounce can frozen orange juice concentrate and one 12 ounce frozen limeade. Add steeped tea. Cool.
(At this point the original recipe invites you to add a little less than 1 pint of whiskey if desired. My husband and are tetotlers so I don't add the alcohol. I also happen to think it tastes better without, but each to his/her own - I judge no one. I just get my high from God, sugar, and babies!). Freeze the entire mixture - washed plastic milk gallons work well. When serving, allow punch to partially thaw at room temperature for 25 or 30 minutes, then spoon into glasses or punch bowl. Pour equal amounts of 7 Up over the frozen mixture.

If spiced tea is your favorite, my niece provided this recipe. It's wonderful on a cold winter night:

Everybody’s Favorite Spice Tea Mix
2 cups Tang powder
1 ¼ cups sugar
¾ cup instant unsweetened tea
½ cup lemonade mix
1 to 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ to 1 teaspoon ground cloves
½ to 1 teaspoon ground allspice

Mix all ingredients (adjust the amount of spice to your preference) and store in covered container. To prepare a serving of tea mix 2 - 3 teaspoons tea mix with 1 cup hot water.

Autumn Fruited Tea
4 quarts water
1/2 cup sugar
12 tea bags
one 12 oz can each of frozen cranberry juice concentrate and orange juice concentrate

Boil water, add tea bags, turn off heat. Let the tea steep for 15 minutes. Remove tea bags and stir in sugar until it is dissolved. Add cranberry and orange juice concentrates. Stir and serve steaming hot or chilled.

One of my favorites:

Pink Lemonade Tea

Toss 8 teabags into 1 quart of boiling water. Cover and steep for 15 minutes. Stir in one 12 ounce can pink lemonade concentrate and one quart cold water. Serve steaming hot or iced cold with a wedge of lemon.

Aunt Betty Sue's Tea Parties:
When I was a little girl in the '50's my Aunt Betty Sue, a true southern lady, loved to take my sister and I to afternoon tea. Aunt Betty was quite daring - an actress and singer (who eventually ended up in NYC). I thought she was just about the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen, in her high heels and elegant clothes. Betty Sue never had children of her own so our tea outings were a treat for all of us. We wore our Sunday dresses and white gloves and off we went in Betty Sue's white convertible Cadillac. With experience in finding the nicest tea rooms in town, Auntie drove my Sissy and I to town where she taught us proper ladies tea etiquette. We lunched on tiny sandwiches of cucumber and trimmed breads, little tea cakes with candied violets on top, and dainty cups filled with delicious hot tea. What made the tea unique to Aunt Betty Sue, is that she always ordered a pitcher of freshly squeezed orange juice along with the tea and cream. A waitress in white uniform, a frilly apron, and a little ruffled hat delivered a large silver tray to the linen covered table, laden with a shining silver tea pot and little silver containers holding cream, sugar cubes, and the juice. Betty Sue dropped a sugar cube in each cup with silver tongs, then she poured for each of us from the lovely silver pot, and added a spot each of orange juice and and cream into our fancy little cups. Aunt Betty Sue is gone now but her memory lives on in a tea room in Maryville Tennessee and today, in my own cup of tea and orange juice!

30 Days 30 Photos - Days 26 and 27

Apr 25, 2008

Mix and Match Friday

Just had to add this picture...Happy Arbor Day!
Love a tree - plant a tree! Make the world a better place!
(My son accuses me of making my granddaughter a
"tree hugger" - that's ok with me!)

This week I have a hodge podge of pictures to show for Kelli's Show & Tell Friday. If you haven't been there yet, check out her great blog page at There's No Place Like Home, http://kellishouse.blogspot.com. I'm off to see who else is up at 3:00 a.m. checking out blogs!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Some pretty vintage linens I recently found...such dainty work!

This sweet little ceramic plaque hangs in one of our bathrooms.

The wreath which hangs on our bedroom door.

These are some of the things hanging in our bedroom -
sorry, some of them are a bit off center!

This sweet little replica of Abraham Lincoln's birthplace was my
husband's childhood copper cast bank.

These sweet vintage wooden plaques are 9x12 inches. They were made and purchased in The Cascades in Jackson Michigan, probably in the '40's or '50's. One is "The Goose Girl" and the other is "Off To Work We Go". I just love them and plan to hang them in my guest room.

This was the high chair I used for my two children, only then it was a combination of natural wood and painted black - very colonial looking. When our first granddaughter was expected the high chair became a family project. My son and I stripped it, he and his dad did the sanding, and I did the staining and finishing. Our second granddaughter is almost ready to use it next!

30 Days 30 Photos - Days 23, 24, 25

Most of these pics were taken this week in my garden. Thankfully, Spring is finally here in our part of the country. As I type, I am enjoying the sounds of an early Spring thunderstorm!

Glorious Spring!

Apr 23, 2008

Support For Our Sisters In Need

Life Time TV is hosting this link to a petition letting our lawmakers know we want them to place into law the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act of 2007. This would require hospitals/insurance companies to provide patients in-hospital care for 48 hours following mastectomy. Insurances want to make mastectomy an out patient procedure. Click on the link below to add your name to the gazillions of others who realize this is a no brainer and want quality care for woman on what is probably the worst day or their lives.


While you're at it, click on this link too, to provide a needy woman a free mammogram:

Apr 21, 2008

Now We're Talking, Girls!

This week's topic for Gracious Hospitality's weekly Blog-A-Thon is "The Sweet and Savory of Yummy". Now we're talking, girls...this is my week! Several years ago I wrote and published a cookbook compiled from my family's recipes. I'd like to share some of the recipes from the book for this week's Hospital-A-Tea challenge. First I'll tell you the story of how the book happened.

Both my parents were born, raised, and have spent most of their lives living in the mountains of East Tennessee. If you've ever visited the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and driven the Loop in Cade's Cove, you've seen my family history. My mother's great great great grandfather, John Oliver, was the first non-Native American to settle in Cade's Cove. All Southerners like to cook - and eat, but nobody can win that prize over my parents! Mother is a world class cook and baker. Her greatest joy is to bake and feed her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. The family has grown large over the years and we have all spread out all over the country. Several years ago we opted not to exchange Christmas gifts individually anymore. We decided on one gift per family or couple. Well, none of you know me very well yet, but I am the kind of woman who will take off on an idea and practically become obsessed with it until it is perfected - not always a good personality trait, but we won't go there! Back to the story...every December 26 we all converge on Mom and Dad at their Smoky Mountain home to enjoy another Christmas together as a family. In 2004 I decided my family gift for the next Christmas would be to type all of Mom's recipes and bind it for everyone. Well, then the idea grew more in my head, as unfortunately it always does, and I decided to ask all family members to send some recipes to be included so the book would be a family heritage. I thought I would have to beg for the recipes and a few family members might send a couple. Well, thankfully, I started working on the book in February that year and finished in November. I received hundreds of recipes from my fam. Mom's recipes were the priority and hers were all written on old envelopes, paper bags, torn pieces of note paper, etc. It was an enormous job but I wanted her wonderful recipes and the memories they bring to each of us to be preserved. Mom is 77 and Dad is 81 and they are still vital, happy, productive people, though they are slowing down. My dad still works. He just called me this morning to tell me he has turned in his notice and is going to be a full time retiree! I think it's about time...but, back to the book. I completed the book on my computer, printed out 17 books consisting of almost 400 pages each on 8 1/2 X 11 card stock, hole punched every stinking page, placed them in huge binders, and made a cover for each one. I despised the book by the time I was finished. I was ready to DARE anyone to criticize one single tidbit in it, as siblings can sometimes do (no one did anything but offer praise and gratitude)! The original book took 10 months, usually devoting 10-18 hours a day. I would say I averaged about 16 hours a day. So, my family Christmas gift was a flaming success in 2004. We all loved the book and used it daily, but it was a hu-normous undertaking, to use my 4 year old granddaughters expression.

Mother and Dad, Easter 2008

So here's how the book got published. On a later visit with my parents, Mom and I went to lunch in their town at a restaurant which a distant cousin owns. Olivia also writes a weekly newspaper column about food, dining out, and recipes. Olivia has published several recipe books from her personal files and from her newspaper readers. Mother started right in telling Olivia about the book I had done for the family. So Olivia asked me if she could interview me for an upcoming column. I did the interview which showed the book and a couple of things she asked to to bake from it. It was fun but I thought that was it. Not so fast...Olivia called to ask if I would like for her publisher to publish my book. I was thrilled and then it all happened...after a lot more work to re-write the format, etc. of the recipes. The book was published in 2005 and my home town newspaper did an interview also. Sometimes I want to write another book, and maybe I will, about entertaining or diet recipes. I don't know..I'm still recovering from 2004.

"A Treasured Collection of Family Recipes: A Labor of Love" by ME!

Here are some recipes from my book which I might serve at a lunch or a tea. I am working on a second site for all the recipes from my book. I'll post it when I get that completed. I hope you will all enjoy using my family's heritage recipes, starting with these samples.

Mini Party Quiches
1 stick butter
3 ounces cream cheese
1 cup flour
Mix all together well and press into bottom and sides of mini muffin tins.
Custard Filling:
4 eggs
1 tablespoon flour
1 ½ cup cups half & half
¼ teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons melted butter
2 tablespoons diced onions
½ pound bacon, fried crisp & broken (if desired)
1-2 cups Swiss cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Break eggs in bowl with wire whisk. Stir in next 6 ingredients. Layer each prepared, unbaked, pastry shell with bacon first, then cheese, then onion. Spoon custard filling over these ingredients in each shell until 2/3 full. Bake at 375 degree oven until slightly puffed and custard is set, about 35 minutes.
Note: When having a party, the basic custard recipe can be used to make a variety of mini quiche appetizers using your choice of vegetables and meats; vegetarians could even try Crumbles.

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 pound precooked lump crab meat
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup dry bread crumbs
¼ cup finely chopped celery
¼ cup finely chopped green onion
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons melted butter
about 40 large mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed and caps hollowed out
Preheat oven to 420 degrees. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, except mushrooms. Brush mushroom caps with more melted butter and arrange on baking pan. Spoon mixture into caps. Bake stuffed caps at 420 degrees for about 12-15 minutes or until hot. Add more salt, pepper, or lemon juice as desired. Serve hot.

Cheese Pennies
5 ounce jar sharp American or cheddar cheese spread
¼ cup shortening
2/3 cup flour
Mix all ingredients together with a mixer for about 30 seconds. On a lightly floured surface shape the dough into two logs 1 inch in diameter. Chill for at least two hours. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice the rolls into ¼ inch slices and bake on ungreased cookie sheets for about 10 minutes or until light brown. Cool and serve with sandwiches. Or with vegetables and dips.

Artichoke and Cherry Tomato Tarts
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
¼ cup sour cream
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, cut into 4 inch squares
1 cup drained canned artichoke hearts
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 teaspoon thyme leaves, fresh if possible
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly flour baking sheet. Whisk egg yolk and sour cream together, add salt and pepper. Arrange pastry squares on floured baking sheet and spoon 1/4 of mixture on center of each. Top with artichokes and tomatoes. Spoon remaining sour cream mixture over vegetables; sprinkle with thyme. Bake in middle of oven until golden brown, about 12 minutes.

Baked French Toast Cups or Casserole
1 loaf bread, cut into cubes (I use Pepperidge Farm cinnamon bread)
2 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
½ teaspoon cinnamon if not using cinnamon bread
2 cups half and half
½ teaspoon nutmeg
8 eggs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine last 6 ingredient above with a wire whisk. Pour over bread cubes in large bowl. Spray 9 x13 inch pan or muffin tins with vegetable spray. Fill cups or pan with bread cube/custard mixture. Chill, covered, over night. Sprinkle topping over each cup or casserole. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 50 minutes for casserole or for about 25 minutes for muffin tins.
¾ cup softened butter
3 tablespoons corn syrup
1 1/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
Stir together all ingredients. Dot all over casserole top or muffin cups before baking.

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 ½ cups self rising flour
¼ cup sugar
2-3 tablespoons poppy seeds
¼ sup milk plus 2 tablespoons
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 large egg
1/3 cup oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffin tins. Combine ¼ cup sugar and 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest and set aside for topping. In a bowl combine everything but the flour and stir to combine well. Stir in the flour and combine just until flour is incorporated. Spoon batter into muffin cups 2/3 full. Sprinkle tops with lemon-sugar mixture. Bake muffins at 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes.

Pumpkin Bread
4 eggs
3 cups sugar
1 cup oil
16 ounces canned pumpkin
3 ¼ cup flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix in order given and bake in 2 large loaf pans (greased and floured) for 1 ½ hours at 325 degrees, or until knife comes out clean.

Zucchini Bread
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat 3 eggs until frothy, add 2 cups sugar, 1 cup oil, and 1 tablespoon vanilla until smooth. Add 2 cups packed, coarsely grated zucchini, 2 cups flour, 1 heaping tablespoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 teaspoons baking powder. Mix well. Fold in 2 cups chopped walnuts or pecans. Pour into 2 well greased and floured loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean and loaf feels firm to touch. Cool 5 minutes in pan, then turn out to cool completely on a wire rack. Wrap tightly in foil when cool and keep in refrigerator. Freezes well. Makes 2 loaves of delicious, sweet zucchini bread!

Blueberry Muffins
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 rounded teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg
½ cup oil
1 cup milk
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix all dry ingredients together, then stir in wet ingredients by hand, except for berries. The batter does not have to look extremely smooth. Gently fold the berries in. Spoon batter in greased muffin pan or muffin pan with paper liners. Sprinkle tops with sugar. Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes Makes 1 dozen.

Frozen Fruitcake Salad
1 cup sour cream
½ small tub Cool Whip
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
13 ounce can crushed pineapple in its own juice, drained
2 medium bananas, diced
½ cup each red and green candied cherries
½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Combine first 5 ingredients together. Fold in fruits and nuts. Turn into 4 ½ cup ring mold and freeze for several hours. Remove from the mold and let stand for at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Note: It will be easier to remove from the mold if you carefully and quickly dip the frozen mold into hot water for about 5-10 seconds.

Strawberry Vinaigrette Salad Dressing
½ pint fresh strawberries
2 cups sweetened, frozen strawberries, thawed and drained
½ cup Balsamic vinegar or white vinegar
4 cups olive oil
1 teaspoon dried or 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1 tablespoon dried marjoram
dash of salt
dash of pepper
Blend all ingredients in blender or food processor until oil is incorporated but bits of strawberry remain. Yields 7 cups.

Springtime Asparagus
2 cans asparagus spears, drained
1 can cream of mushroom soup
4-6 slices American Cheese
4 slices crumbled toast
½ stick melted butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place asparagus spears in a 8 inch buttered baking dish. Spoon soup over the top. Top with American cheese slices. Toast at least 4 slices of bread; tear them into pieces and top the asparagus and soup. Melt ½ stick of butter and pour over the toast. Bake at 350 for about 35 minutes.

Chicken Crepes
1 cup flour
1 ½ cups milk
3 eggs
1 tablespoon melted butter
½ teaspoon salt
Blend ingredients in blender. Make crepes on electric crepe maker or in a buttered skillet by pouring a ladle of batter into the skillet and rolling the batter around the pan to make a thin pancake. Turn once when set.
4 tablespoons chopped onion
4 tablespoons chopped green pepper
1 cup mushroom pieces
1/2 cup butter
4 tablespoons flour
1 ½ cups chicken broth
¼ teaspoon marjoram
¼ teaspoon oregano
4 cups cooked chicken breasts, cubed into bite size pieces
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Saute vegetables in the butter until tender. Add flour and cook 1 minute; add chicken broth; blend and cook until bubbling. Add marjoram, oregano, and cooked chicken breast pieces.
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 package chicken gravy mix
1/3 cup mayo
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Combine with whisk and pour over filled crepes in baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

Sugar Cookies
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
2 sticks butter
1 cup vegetable oil
Combine all above together with mixer.
2 eggs
4 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
additional sugar to press into cookie tops
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in order and mix well. Roll dough into smalls. Roll each ball in additional granulated sugar and place on greased cookie sheet. Dip the bottom of a glass or jar into granulated sugar and press on to each ball. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Chocolate Fondue
14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
7-10 ounces marshmallow cream
12 ounces chocolate chips
Place all the ingredients in an electric fondue pot. Heat until melted, stirring to incorporate. When the fondue is warm and thoroughly mixed serve with an assortment of dippers. Examples: cubed pound or angel food cake, butter or sugar cookies, sliced pears, apples, bananas, kiwi, pineapple, strawberries, or just about anything you would like to try.
This makes a wonderful dessert for a small group around a table.

Pineapple Delight Summer Cake
1 yellow cake mix
1 cup oil
4 eggs
1 can mandarin orange slices, drained
15 ounce can crushed pineapple with juice
1 small box instant vanilla pudding mix
9 ounce tub Cool Whip
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix the first four ingredients together well with a mixer and bake in three greased and floured 8 inch cake pans at 325 degrees for 25 minutes. With a spoon, stir together the crushed pineapple including the juice, the instant vanilla pudding and the Cool Whip. Chill for about 30 minutes before spreading between layers, and on top and sides of cake. Chill cake and serve. Store left over cake in the refrigerator.

Snow Mounds
1 cup butter
½ cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2¼ cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chopped nuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients well and form into 1 inch balls. Bake at 350 degrees for 14-16 minutes or firm and lightly browned. Roll each cookie in powdered sugar while warm; roll again when completely cooled.

Coconut Buttermilk Custard Pie
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
¾ stick melted butter
½ cup buttermilk (be generous with your ½ cup)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/3 cups Angel Flake Coconut
9 inch unbaked pie shell
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix eggs with a whisk, add all remaining ingredients except coconut and mix again. Stir in coconut. Pour into prepared, unbaked pie crust. Bake at 325 for
45 - 50 minutes. Cool before serving. This pie is best served the day it is baked.

1 ¼ cups graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup melted butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together and press into bottom of 9 inch spring form pan.
Cheesecake Filling:
3, 8 ounce packages cream cheese
¾ cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sour cream
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
Beat the cream cheese, ¾ cup sugar, eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla together until smooth with mixer. Pour into 9 inch spring form pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 - 40 minutes, or until knife inserted in middle comes out fairly clean. Ten minutes before time is up for baking, stir together 1 cup sour cream, ½ cup sugar, and ½ teaspoon vanilla. Spread over top of cheesecake. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Chill; top with strawberries and prepared strawberry pie glaze.

Chocolate Almond Biscotti
2 cups chocolate chips, divided
2 cups flour
¼ cup dry baking cocoa
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs
1 cup slivered toasted almonds
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In the microwave melt 1 cup chocolate chips. In a bowl combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and soda, both sugars, butter and vanilla. Mix until crumbly. Add eggs one at a time, beating well. Beat in melted chocolate. Gradually add flour until incorporated. Stir in almonds. Chill for about 15 minutes. Shape dough into 2 loaves with floured hands. Bake at 325 degrees for 40-45 minutes on greased baking sheets. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Cut loaves into ¾ inch slices. Lay each slice on its side on the baking sheets. Bake the slices for 10 minutes longer on each side. Cool. Dip biscotti in melted chocolate and more slivered almonds if desired.

Blueberry Crumb Cake
2/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
¼ teaspoon baking soda
2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups flour
1 ½ cups fresh or thawed, drained frozen berries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine milk and lemon juice; set aside for 5 minutes. In a large bowl, beat remaining butter and sugar; add baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Beat in eggs one at a time; add vanilla. Add flour alternately with milk mixture; beat until smooth. Gently fold in 1cup of the blueberries. Spread ½ of the batter in a greased and floured 10 inch tube pan; sprinkle with ½ the crumb mixture. Spread remaining batter over crumbs; sprinkle with remaining crumbs and remaining ½ cup blueberries. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center. Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing from pan to finish cooling.

Cheesecake Cupcakes
2, 8 ounce packages cream cheese
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 box vanilla wafers
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix first 4 ingredients together with mixer. Place 1 wafer in bottom of cupcake liners in muffin tins. Fill 2/3 full with cheesecake batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool and spoon on any fruit topping.
These look beautiful on a dessert tray for a party or shower in regular or miniature muffin size.

Peanut Butter Bars
½ cup butter
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 egg
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1 cup oats
6 ounces chocolate chips
¼ cup peanut butter
½ cup powdered sugar
2-4 tablespoons evaporated milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix ingredients together and bake in greased 9x13 inch pan at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with 6 ounces chocolate chips. In a bowl, mix peanut butter, powdered sugar, and evaporated milk. Whisk until smooth. Drizzle bars with peanut butter sauce. Allow to cool before cutting into bars.

Butterscotch Thins
6 ounces butterscotch morsels
1 cup butter
1 ½ cups light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
2 2/3 cups flour
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
2/3 cup finely chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt butterscotch morsels and butter over hot water or in microwave at medium. Remove from heat and beat in sugar, eggs, baking soda, salt, flour, and vanilla. Mix well. Shape dough in 2 logs. Wrap with waxed paper and chill several hours. Thinly slice the dough and bake on ungreased cookie sheets at 375 degrees for about 6-8 minutes, or until brown.

Heavenly Coconut Pound Cake
1 cup Crisco
5 eggs
2 cups sugar
Mix all of the above together well using a mixer.
2 cups flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup coconut
1 ½ teaspoon coconut flavoring
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all of the above additions into the batter. Bake in tube pan at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
Five minutes before baking time is up, bring 1 cup sugar and ½ cup water to a boil for 1 minute. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla. Spoon all the glaze over the cake (still in the pan) as soon as it comes out of the oven. Cool cake completely before removing from pan.
This is to die for - just try to forget about the Crisco!

Bible School Sour Cream Coffee Cake
1 tablespoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
2 sticks butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients well with mixer. Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan or tube pan. In a small bowl, stir together cinnamon, brown sugar, and pecans. Beat the remaining ingredients together with a mixer. Pour half the batter in the pan, sprinkle on half of the cinnamon sugar mixture, layer remaining batter on top and end with the last of the topping mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes.
When I was a teenage bride I got this recipe while teaching Vacation Bible School. It has become a family favorite.

Lemon Apricot Nectar Cake
1 lemon cake mix
1 cup Apricot Nectar
½ cup oil
4 eggs
2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix first four ingredients together and bake in greased and floured tube pan at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. Cool and remove from pan to serving plate when just warm. With a whisk, mix powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest together until smooth. Drizzle over cake.
Note: I have used pureed baby food in a pinch when I didn’t have apricot nectar on hand.

Strawberry Coconut Crepes
3 eggs
3 tablespoons sugar
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon melted butter
Blend all of the above until smooth in blender. Make thin crepes in crepe pan or on an electric crepe maker. Make a pile of them with parchment paper between each crepe so they will separate. Makes about 20-24 crepes.
1 ½ cups no fat milk
1 small box instant, sugar free French vanilla pudding mix
1 cup coconut
8 ounce tub Cool Whip
Mix milk and pudding mix until smooth, stir in 1 cup coconut and 1 small container fat free or low fat Cool Whip.
To Assemble:
Lay 1 crepe flat out on a plate and place about 1/4 cup filling in center. Roll crepe up. You can do this on each dessert plate when you are ready to serve or you can prepare all of them ahead of time on a platter or tray, then chill. I usually serve two or three to each guest.
Mix sliced strawberries with strawberry pie glaze or strawberry jam. Spoon about 1 tablespoon over each filled crepe. Sprinkle of toasted coconut.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Snack Cake
¾ cup boiling water
1 cup uncooked oats
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup sugar
½ cup butter
2 eggs
1 ¾ cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cocoa
¾ cups chopped walnuts or pecans
12 ounces chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour boiling water over oats in a large bowl; allow to stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. Add both sugars and butter. Beat in eggs. Add flour, salt, baking soda and cocoa; mix well. Stir in ½ chocolate chips. Pour into greased and floured 9x13 inch pan. Sprinkle remaining chocolate chips and nuts over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.
A simple snack cake for any time of day, even as a breakfast cake with coffee. A hit every time!

Shortbread Cookies
1 pound butter
4 cups flour
1 cup packed light brown sugar
pinch salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter with mixer; add brown sugar and salt; mix well. Add flour and mix until well incorporated, but do not over mix. Roll dough into a circle or rectangle. Place on cookie sheet. Using fork, make holes in surface of cookie dough. Bake at 350 degrees for about 18 minutes, or until lightly brown. While cookies are very warm cut into wedges or bars. Cool. Store in tight container. These are also very good and pretty on a cookie tray if you dip an edge into melted chocolate.

Great-Grandmother’s Old Fashioned Carrot Cake
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup oil
2 cups flour
3 cups grated carrot
1-2 cups chopped pecans or walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix everything except nuts and carrots; mix well. Stir in nuts and carrots. Bake in greased and floured layer cake pans at 350 degrees 25-30 minutes in 3 greased and floured layer pans. Frost when cool.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese
1 box powdered sugar
1/3 cup softened butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
Beat all ingredients together until smooth. Frost cake and sprinkle the cake top with chopped nuts.

2 2/3 cups coconut
1 cup chopped almond slivers
2/3 cups sugar
¼ cup flour
¼ teaspoon salt
4 egg whites
1 teaspoon almond extract
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine coconut, nuts, flour, sugar, and salt. Stir in egg whites and extract. Drop by teaspoons full onto lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Cool. These look pretty and taste delicious with the bottoms dipped in melted chocolate.

Oatmeal Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, pour 1 ¼ cups hot tap water over 1 cup raw oats and let stand. Cream 1 cup white sugar, 1 cup packed brown sugar, and 1 stick softened butter. Beat 2 big eggs into the mixture. Then add 1 1/3 cups of plain flour in, and ½ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and a generous teaspoonful of cinnamon and mix well. Add oatmeal from the small bowl to mixture and beat well. I add 1 cup of finely chopped pecans, but this is optional. Just stir them in by hand if you want to add them. Pour batter into a well greased and floured 9x13 glass baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes or until done. While cake is baking make up your topping.
¾ stick butter
1 tablespoon cream or milk
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 ½ cup flaked sweetened coconut
1 ½ chopped pecans
Melt butter in a saucepan and add cream or milk; then mix in brown sugar and let it boil for 1 minute. Take off the heat and add coconut and pecans. Spread carefully on top of the baked cake and put under the broiler to brown lightly. I leave the oven door open while broiling - watch it carefully or you will burn the frosting. This cake is delicious served warm but it is almost as good served cool.
Mother says she remembers her own mother making this for her and her brothers and sisters when they were children. Mother also made this often for us when we were children and it is usually in the works when we arrive for a visit now. No one makes it as wonderfully as Mom!

Lace Cookies
2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 tablespoon flour
2 cups sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 sticks butter, melted (no substitute)
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Put oats, salt, sugar, and flour in a large bowl and mix well. Pour very hot butter over the mixture and stir until the sugar has melted. Add eggs and vanilla; stir well. Batter is slightly thin. Preheat oven to 325 degrees; cover cookie sheets with aluminum foil. Drop 1/2 level teaspoon of the mixture onto the foil, 2” apart (this is important). Bake 10-12 minutes - watch carefully - do not over brown. When cookies are completely cooled they will peel off foil easily. Makes about 6 dozen.

Frozen Fruit Salad
3 cup water
1 cup sugar
12 ounces frozen orange juice
2 large cans fruit cocktail with juice
1 can crushed pineapple in its own juice
1 can chunk pineapple in its own juice
1 small jar cherries, cut up and drained
4 to 5 bananas, sliced
Boil water and sugar together and cool slightly. Stir in frozen orange juice. Add fruit. Freeze in clear plastic cups. Thaw about 1/2 hour in refrigerator before serving. Serves 20.

Apr 20, 2008

Trillium & Beach Pipers

30 Days 30 Photos - Day 21
Trillium in my garden this morning.

30 Days 30 Photos - Day 22Dreamin' again! Gulf Sand Piper tracks on the beach, May 2007.

Apr 19, 2008

Happy Saturday!

30 Days 30 Photos - Day 19

Ya and hoo! I think Spring is finally here! And I took these pictures in my garden yesterday morning to prove it! Happy Spring everyone!!

There is a fairly new meme named "Then Sings My Soul Saturday" which started just a few weeks ago over at Signs, Miracles, and Wonders (http://signsmiraclesandwonders.blogspot.com/). Every Saturday people are invited to post the lyrics or the music itself to songs they feel is uplifting and inspirational. I think it's a great idea because music is so influential and meaningful to memories, circumstance, worship, and joy. I decided to include the lyrics to a song I listen to almost every single night to go to sleep. As you can see by the post time I am NOT a good sleeper! However, when nothing else works, music does often help me fall asleep. One of my favorite artists is David Phelps and my favorite of his songs is from his album "Revelation". The song is "God Will Take Care of You". I wish I could have added the music itself but apparently I am not technologically efficient because I can't figure it out! I give up for now, but you can still read the words.

OK...I did find this link to a Google music site page with the song on it if you are interested in going there! I'm gonna figure this blogging, posting, linking thing out if it kills me


Have a wonderful weekend everyone and Happy Spring!

"God Will Take Care of You"

You don't say a word, but I know you're so afraid

Trying hard to take a step of faith.

You're so confused and you're so alone

Standing face to face with the unknown.

Every need you have God already knows about it

Still, He longs to hear from you.

I believe if you put your trust in Him

That is where the road of faith begins.

'Cause if His eye is on the sparrow,

When it comes to me and you,

There is no place He won't go,

And nothing He won't do.

Like a mother cradles a child,

His grace covers us somehow.

So whatever you go through,

God will take care of you.

Change is never easy,

It's just a part of living.

There's so much more that we can see.

A higher place so far above it all,

Is ours when we're faithful to His call.

We don't know,

We don't have to understand,

The how's, the why's, the when's.

Give it all to Him.

Apr 18, 2008

A Sweet Surprise From My Man

Tonight was just a lovely evening that I would like to share with you. First of all, the weather today was just glorious and the evening was the first really summery feeling night we've had here in Michigan. My husband and I went out this evening to meet my sister for dinner. She is visiting from Tennessee and she wanted to do some shopping. So we went to dinner, then shopped for a few hours at various places. My husband is always patient when I am shopping and manages to occupy himself for as long as I need - without complaining - a great trait in a man! He drops me off and picks me up at the door...yes, I have it made and I know it and he's all mine! Anyhoo...I bought a few things for my little sis but I didn't really find anything I needed so I didn't get anything for myself this time. When we were ready to say goodbye to my sister my sweet man brought out a boxed gift for me. He had chosen and purchased this precious little cup and saucer set for me as a surprise. Don't you think the very best presents a man gives you are the one's he picks out all by himself with no hints or helping comments? Even when you don't actually love the gift, you just have to love it when they come home with a surprise - you know, it's the thought that really counts and then the gift really IS the sweet thought and effort he put into choosing a gift for you. Of course, I really DO love this little set very much. My man was so cute and proud of himself and his find. It just made my whole week!

30 Days 30 Photos - Day 18