Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Gift Of Hospitality

(We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessings…)

My mother-in-law (Ma Ida) taught me many things.
She was a feisty little redhead who raised eight sons, three daughters, and two grandsons. img075
(Christmas Day at Ma Ida’s, 1969)

Everyone loved to come to her house.  They never came without eating a meal.  She hardly ever knew who or how many would be at her table.  It never occurred to her that some would not have a place to sit. In summer,  many of us ate on the front porch balancing our plate on our laps and finding a place close by for a glass of sweet tea.  It wasn’t important that the dishes matched.  I can’t remember ever having a centerpiece!  None of that mattered.  She never owned a dishwasher.
What we did have was an abundance of wonderful food!  Always home-grown and so good.  At family dinners, at least three meats with a whole table of desserts!

(Dessert table on back porch)

You know, I am ashamed to admit this, but I never remember taking a dish to her house(and I don’t think anyone else did either).  What were we thinking!


The joy of gathering at Ma Ida’s is a memory that we all treasure.

(New Years Eve Party at our house, 1974)

(She was also the only person who has ever called me “little”!  She referred to me as “little Betty”.  God love her!)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Thanksgiving...not a time for new recipes

WWII post cards late fall flowers 031
WWII post cards late fall flowers 034I do it every year. Leaf through cookbooks, shuffle through kitchen drawers, go through a box of clipped recipes, finally retrieving a handful of old, dog-eared recipes for dishes our family always expects on the table every Thanksgiving. I don’t view this disorganization as a sign of being messy or untidy. No, I’m showing respect for family history. A yellowed slip of paper with a recipe written by my mother would not be the same on a fresh, white index card. Another memory is sparked as I find recipes shared by old friends written on the letterhead stationary of a bank where I used to work. My old, well used, Cotton Country cookbook is also a good friend during the holidays. WWII post cards late fall flowers 032
I usually plan to eat around 1:00p.m. It ends up happening at noon. Everyone(20+ extended family members) comes early and stays late.
Mother’s cornbread dressing is the most anticipated dish. There is no recipe but I do know it must start with a “fresh, fat hen.” My husband, Stan, is usually in charge of the turkey. We like it smoked, so flavorful and tender it falls off the boneSmoked Turkey from the BGE by bbum.
Fresh cranberry congealed salad is enjoyed by most everyone except Josh(grandson)and Tommy(nephew) for whom we have a large dish of jellied cranberry sauce, fresh from the can!

An old crackled china gravy boat reminds us of my mother-in-law, Ma Ida, and the many times we gathered around her table. ma idas gravy boat 001
There’s nothing more special than family gathered around our table remembering how blessed we are.

Blessed to have our Mother's hand to hold.

Amerryllis-fishing-trail animals 029Amerryllis-fishing-trail animals 028

  WWII post cards late fall flowers 029
Happy Thanksgiving!


Smoked turkey
Cornbread dressing with giblet gravy
Fresh cranberry congealed salad
Relish tray
Creamed sweet corn
Fresh green beans
Macaroni and cheese
*Sweet potato casserole
Rolls/Iced tea
*Pecan pie and caramel cake

3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup sugar
1 t. vanilla
2 eggs
½ cup evaporated milk
½ cup melted margarine
Mix all ingredients with mixer until all lumps are gone.
Pour into casserole dish.
1 cup brown sugar
l/2 cup flour
1/3 stick margarine(melted)
2/3 cup pecans(chopped)
Mix until crumbly. Put on top of casserole.
Bake at 300 degrees for 35 minutes.

3 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
Dash of salt
1 cup Karo syrup(I do ½ cup light and dark)
1/3 cup butter, melted or chopped up
1 cup pecan halves
1 (9inch) pie shell
Beat eggs thoroughly with sugar and salt.
Add syrup and butter, then pecans. Pour
into unbaked pie shell and bake for 50 minutes
on 350 degree oven or until knife comes out
clean after being inserted into pie.

The Main Dish

                                  In Memory of our sweet mother, Nora Belle Campbell
                                                                   1917 - 2013

Holidays are near….lots of family coming!  My mind has taken flight already so I try and do lots of cooking before the big day. Mixin & Making Dr 002 Mixin & Making Dr 001

Mother’s dressing is the main dish… so this morning, my sister came over with four pones of cornbread and I had baked more…we had already cooked a “fat fresh hen,” had about six quarts of rich broth, and had chopped a gallon of celery and onions!  I pulled out the huge dishpan(Mothers) that we always use to mix all this dressing.

tMixin & Making Dr 006

Mixin & Making Dr 003

Mixin & Making Dr 004

This year is going to be easy.  We are doing the turkey and dressing and the kids are bringing the sides!  Thank you, Lord!
We made four 13x9 casseroles of dressing!  Bake it Thanksgiving morning and take my word for it!  No one will ever know you had frozen it.(2 of these are my sisters, just so you know.)  Another handy item that freezes well, see the two gallon bags of Taco soup?  So good!

 Again, the more I do in advance, the more I can enjoy my family.

Mixin & Making Dr 007

(First published on my blog, life)

The Very Best Cinnamon Toast

u Cinnamon Toast 010

kinda copied this from another blogger. (Ree Drummond – the famous Pioneer Woman) I changed, added, played with it…Oh my goodness, it is so good!
First you must start with real butter.  I used 1 1/2 sticks for this.  Let it soften or cheat and sap in the microwave.
Cinnamon Toast 001

Add sugar to taste.  I used about 3/4 cup.
parker reunion week end food 006

Mix, stir, mix, smush…
Cinnamon Toast 003

Add cinnamon (to taste)  We are not big cinnamon eaters so I just do a couple of shakes.
Cinnamon Toast 004

Now, use your imagination….add some vanilla. (Sorry, it didn’t get in the picture.)  This really does make it so much yummier.
  Cinnamon Toast 006

This is the bread I use and it is wonderful.  Spread generously(approx. 1 tbsp.) on as many slices as you want.  I’m telling you this is good!  So keep that in mind.  Be sure and spread over all the edges too.
Cinnamon Toast 007

OK, now place your slices of bread on a cookie sheet and bake about 10 min. in a preheated (350 degree) oven.Cinnamon Toast 008

By now, your whole house is smelling so good!
Now, turn your broiler on and watch very carefully.  Oooooh, now it is caramelizing with little sugar bubbles.
.Cinnamon Toast 009

This is really something special.  It doesn’t take much to make me happy!
I warned you, make more next time.

What's That I Smell???

Dressing makin' 012

I had four black iron skillets filled with cornbread cooking….the first step for making dressing. My mother is the expert dressing-maker. I was almost out the door (going to get her) and Stan was going to “watch” the cornbread. Just one quick look before I left. Have mercy, have mercy…..smoke blinded me as I opened the oven. What in the world?? Dear God in heaven, I had left a pot holder in the oven and it had dropped down on the heating element.

Dressing makin' 002

I bought three of these pretty, provincial print pot holders…cooked one of them with the cornbread today!
Dressing makin' 023

Immediate Gratification Jam

If you like great jam, try making little batches of your own.  This is especially good when strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, or blueberries, come in season.  I don’t try to preserve my jams in airtight jars with wax seals and the like because I only make enough to last about a week.  This recipe keeps fine in the fridge for that long.  Then you can make a batch of something else.  The ratio is l cup of sugar to l pint of fruit.
I like to use about 2 pints of fruit when I make this recipe.
 parker reunion week & flowers 034
2 pints of small fruit
2 cups sugar, approximately, or more to taste
Granddaddy snacks 010

Toss fruit with sugar until all is coated and covered.  Place sugar-coated fruit in saucepan and add enough water to come halfway up the fruit in the pan.  Do not cover.  Bring to boil, then immediately lower heat to simmer.  Stir occasionally.  When fruit has melted into liquid, check for sweetness and add more sugar if needed.  When extra sugar is melted into mixture, your jam is ready to use.  It will be quite runny but will firm up a bit in the fridge.  Store extra jam in refrigerator.

 parker reunion week & flowers 037

Now, if you live in France, walk to the boulangerie-and purchase a baguette, still warm from the ovens.  Slather it with butter from a local dairyman and then top it with some of this homemade jam.  Enjoy!
parker reunion week & flowers 038

parker reunion week & flowers 039
Blackberries are totally mine!
text taken from one of my favorite books, Joie De Vivre 006

Grandchildren's Favorite Sandwich

I’ve never cared for sandwiches until I tasted my first Panini.
Pininis 003

If you don’t have one of these, you must go to Williams Sonoma right now and buy one!  Run!Pininis 004

It is, hands down,  our grandchildren’s favorite meal at MiMi & Granddaddy’s.
Pininis 002

I’ve never made the same one twice.  It depends on what I have in the frig.  Good deli ham and turkey, at least two different kinds of cheese, is a good start.  Oh wait, the very most important ingredient is a good earthy bread.  You can’t go wrong at Publix.  I usually use the five grain Italian.Pininis 005

Brush the outside of each slice of bread with olive oil.  Usually I mix a spread of mayo, mustard, and pesto? if I can do it without the kids seeing me!
Pininis 006

I sautéed onions and bell peppers, and cucumbers.  Sometimes I do this and sometimes, I don’t.
  I’m telling you, you can’t mess this up!Pininis 007

You can peek, it doesn’t hurt a thing.
Pininis 010

Pininis 011


Dear God in heaven...

A Delicious, Simple Salad

This glaze can be found at Publix.  It is so good on this salad.dressing for salad 001
There is really no recipe.  Just the ingredients you see.
goat cheese
Balsamic glaze
Arugala watermelon goat cheese
dressing for salad 002