Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year: Resolved and Inspired

If you've been following my blog from the beginning, you've probably read the post about my inspiration to start A Well-Seasoned Life. If you haven't, you may want to read My Inspiration or Motivating Discouragement. It was a combination of things that came together to motivate me into following my dream to write about food and life. With the New Year beginning at midnight tonight, I've been planning and plotting for the last couple of days, setting goals for this blog and for the realization of my dream.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Seasonings Greetings

I do love a good pun. In honor of some small victories here on my blog, I'm going to celebrate by sharing one of my basic kitchen shortcuts with you. If you've read some of my original recipes, you will see that I almost always use the same combination of seasonings. Here, in my kitchen, we call it Kim's Mix and have saved some effort by combining all of my favorite seasonings into one bottle. I wouldn't know where to begin cooking if I opened my cupboard and couldn't find:
  • Lawry's Seasoning Salt
  • Garlic salt
  • Course Ground Black Pepper

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Shrimp and Pasta with Creole Cream Sauce

There is nothing more satisfying and comforting to me than a plate of pasta. After a week-long binge of holiday finger foods, I needed pasta!!! And, not just a plate of spaghetti from a jar. No, I wanted something different, something new, something rich and creamy with a big kick of flavor. If there's some shrimp in it, then even better. So, I found it! The recipe that would take me back into the kitchen and make those little smokies a distant memory for me. This is from Southern Living's 1001 Ways to Cook Southern, copyright 2010.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Chocolate Pinwheels

Christmas is over and I'll have to admit that I miss having a multitude of cookies to choose from for dessert. So, I was in the mood for something sweet but fast. I didn't feel like getting out the mixer or measuring anything. But, I kept thinking about this sweet "snack" that I saw in my newest cookbook, Gooseberry Patch's Homestyle in a Hurry, copyright 2010. I thought it would be perfect to satisfy my sweet craving. If you like the chocolate turnover at Arby's, you'll love this chocolate pinwheel. You can have these whipped up and in your mouth in about 15 minutes flat.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas and a Happy Dance

All of my hard work in the kitchen throughout the week finally paid off as my cookie platter was assembled for Christmas Eve. My family enjoyed all of the cookies and the platter came home relatively empty. Never fear, I have enough cookies left here to fill it back up to take to my Mema's house later today. All of the cookies were delicious and the recipes are here in Santa's Bakery.

Our Christmas morning started before 6:00 a.m.. There was a lot of excitement and squealing and, at one point, a happy dance broke out when the kids opened a new Wii game. More fun and food to come today and, if I'm lucky, I'll get the greatest gift of all - a nap!!

Merry Christmas to All!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Out-of-this-World Corn Dip

Contrary to popular belief, I did not invent corn dip. But, I did read this recipe, recognized its potential, and introduced it to my friends and family, therefore, creating a phenomenon. So, as a Christmas gift to you, I'm giving you this recipe to share with your family and friends. Be prepared to share the recipe because you will get a lot of requests for it. It's simple to prepare and "different" enough to draw a crowd. This recipe came from Gooseberry Patch's Coming Home with Gooseberry Patch, copyright 2007.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Ranch and Cheddar Cheese Ball

Even though cheese balls are sold throughout the year, I only buy one for my husband during the Christmas holidays. He knows that Christmas is getting close when he finds the cheese ball and a box of crackers waiting for him in the kitchen. This year, I made my rounds in the deli section of the grocery store and found that the price of the cheese ball was $3.99 instead of 2/$5.00 like I remembered. I thought that was way too much to pay for something that I could make myself with ingredients I already had on hand. So, I came home and whipped up this recipe. Eric will be munching on this tonight while watching "Christmas Vacation". I don't know about the cat, but Eric sure will enjoy it...

Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake

Yes, cookies are an excellent choice for a sweet treat at Christmas but sometimes you need to set aside your childish desires and move on to a more mature dessert, a dessert that deserves to be eaten with plate and fork. This tall, handsome cake should be savored while sitting on a couch in front of a roaring fire, the twinkling Christmas lights illuminating your smiling face as you bite, taste, and ponder. I suggest giving your children some of the cookies and sending them to bed. They would not be able to appreciate the depth of chocolate flavor that runs throughout this luscious specimen. The recipe is from Southern Living's 1001 Ways to Cook Southern, copyright 2010.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Double-Drizzle Pecan Cookies

This cookie will wrap up my cookie series for the holidays...maybe. I do have a new cookie press and a spritz recipe that are calling my name. But, for now, I've made three different cookies within the last 24 hours and will be packaging up some of them and shipping them out tomorrow. I know they'll be appreciated. The cookies that remain will be saved for Christmas Eve. Santa will not be disappointed when he comes down our chimney. He will have three different cookies waiting for him. I hope that doesn't make him late for your house. You may want to whip up a batch of these just to be safe. This recipe is from Taste of Home's Best Loved Cookies and Bars 2009.

Mom's Buttermilk Cookies

There is nothing more wonderful than the beautiful simplicity of a drop cookie. And, it doesn't take much to turn them into something special - just some luscious frosting and a few sprinkles. These buttermilk cookies are soft and tender and provided me with a blank canvas that I used to create a winter wonderful with just a sprinkle of white sugar crystals. The recipe is from Taste of Home's Best Loved Cookies and Candies, copyright 2010.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Memories: Apples and Oranges

The Christmas season always makes me think about my Papa. He passed away in 1998 and left a big hole in my family's holiday celebration. There was nothing like getting a phone call from Papa requesting what he would like to have for Christmas. Then, on Christmas Eve, he was more excited than any of us grandchildren. His Christmas cards were ripped open and any money that was inside would immediately be placed in his wallet. He would tear through his gifts critiquing each one and trying on clothes and slippers as he opened them. That way, he could send them right back home with you if they didn't fit or weren't exactly what he had in mind. Not that he wasn't grateful for what he got, he just didn't want to keep it if it wasn't just right. Unlike his wife, my Mema, who would just pack it away unopened to save for "hard times". Papa had seen hard times in his life and he wasn't planning on waiting for them to come around again.

Although he made a living as an auto mechanic, he was known as Preacher Toole around town because he was also a Church of God pastor whose sermons held warnings of "hell-fire and brimstone".  But, all his grandchildren ever got from him was love. Every year, on the last church service before Christmas, he would would end the sermon by bringing out cases of apples and oranges and would distribute them among the small congregation. Papa grew up during the Great Depression and I know how much it would have meant to him to receive anything for Christmas and I'm sure that fruit would have been a special treat for the poor, little boy still living inside of him. The fruit was really a symbol of his gratitude that God had blessed him and he devoted his life to showing his appreciation. 

Even though Papa passed away twelve years ago, the memories he provided are alive and well in my heart. And, I like to think of him in Heaven now watching down over us this holiday season, deeply satisfied and wanting for nothing.

 Merry Christmas!!

Brownie Crackles

Even though the kids and I are home for Christmas break, I'm still working hard in my kitchen baking cookies. I have a care package to ship out this week. And, what package would be complete without a tin full of cookies and treat? These cookies are my first foray into the world of the crackle cookie. Do you remember when I said that I keep brownie mixes on hand because I never know when I'll need one? Well, when I read this recipe and saw that it was made from a brownie mix, I knew that I had to try it. I think these cookies are even better than brownies. They're soft and chewy and oh so rich. This recipe is from Taste of Home's Best Loved Cookies and Bars, copyright 2009.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Andes Mint Cookies

I've been busy all week preparing cookies and candies for my children to give as teachers' gifts and for me to share with my co-workers. It's always a challenge for me to sit down and figure out which treats I will prepare. Sometimes, I get helpful hints or "special requests" from friends and that makes things a little easier for me. These cookies would be one of those special requests. I've made these several times in the past and they're always a hit. Now, if only I can give them to her before she reads about them on the blog. Don't worry, Angie S., I'm on my way with tin in hand!!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Seven-Minute Chocolate Cookies

It's a cookie! No, it's fudge! No, it's a COOKIE!!! Listen, there's really no need to argue. It's a fudgy cookie. And, I will admit that it's not the most beautiful cookie in the world. But, like life, it isn't always about looks. There's a lot to be said for taste and character. And, this cookie is full of both. Besides, I think everyone who receives this in her Christmas basket will appreciate its inner beauty. This recipe is from Southern Living's 1001 Ways to Cook Southern, copyright 2010.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Gooseberry Patch Review: "Homestyle in a Hurry"

One of the delights of life is eating with friends.
-Laurie Colwin

Homestyle in a Hurry is the latest cookbook from Gooseberry Patch and it came into my life at the perfect time. I've already started working on my New Year's resolutions for 2011. One of my main resolutions for the new year is to save money by cooking more and eating out less. Homestyle in a Hurry is filled with recipes that contain inexpensive ingredients, most of them are probably already in the pantry. And, the dishes come together in 30 minutes or less.

Chocolatey Chewy Brownies

Years ago, I used to wonder why anyone would make brownies from scratch when the box mixes were so good. During my days as a stay-at-home mom several years ago, I started making scratch brownies and discovered the joy of homemade brownies. I've probably tried every brownie recipe in my cookbook arsenal. Scratch brownies are so easy to make. Most of the ingredients are staples in my pantry so I could quickly whip up a batch when necessary which was about once a week. Now, don't get me wrong, I still have boxed mixes in my cupboard. They do come in handy. But, if you're looking for a good scratch fudgy brownie recipe, then try this one from Gooseberry Patch's Homestyle in a Hurry, copyright 2010.

Sourdough Chicken Casserole

"You had me at hello!" First of all, I'm always a sucker for a recipe that has white wine in it. I just love the flavor and richness it adds to food. So when I saw this recipe in Gooseberry Patch's Homestyle in a Hurry, copyright 2010, I knew I had to put it in the top of my "to do" list. I was right - this dish has unbelievable flavor and should move to the top of your list, too. Although it may seem like a long list of ingredients, the dish comes together fairly quickly if you prep and chop everything before you start cooking. I always suggest that you read through a recipe carefully before you get started and figure out a gameplan to make the cooking process go more smoothly.

Barb's Bacon Green Beans

Have you ever gone about your life thinking that everything was fine, that you had everything you needed to make you happy? And then, wham!!, you discover something that makes your life complete and you wonder how you ever lived without it. That happened to me today and I'm overwhelmed with emotion that I've gone through my whole life without Barb's Bacon Green Beans. But, now that I have have been enlightened, it is my mission to save my readers from their false sense of well-being. This recipe is from Gooseberry Patch's Homestyle in a Hurry, copyright 2010.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Salted Chocolate-Covered Caramels

I'm trying really hard to be cool and hip - to be on the cutting edge of food trends. So, when I saw the term "salted caramel" all over the magazines and internet, I needed to see what the buzz was about. I've always loved the combination of salty and sweet so this sounded right up my alley. I decided it was high time I invested in some course sea salt and moved into the 21st century of desserts. This post is a combination of recipe and review. I needed to ease myself into this thing so started with a simple recipe that I found on the Kraft web site.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Polarizing Express

Two years ago, my sons decided that they were old enough to ride the mall’s Christmas train without me. I was relieved when they chose to ride in the caboose thinking they would be safer in there than riding in the open seats. As the train began moving, all seemed well. But, as the end of the caboose came into sight, there stood my 4-year-old on the caboose’s platform hanging on to the rail surveying the view. The only thing standing between him and the track was a thin rope “gate”. I yelled and pointed to get the driver’s attention. The driver, a young, hip African American guy with long flowing braids, seemed a little out of place in this winter wonderland, and, I’m sure, had better things to do than deal with naughty kids. He stopped the train, walked to the back, and gave a verbal warning. But before he could return to the “engine”, my son had jumped off the back of the train and was walking around in the “snow”. Again, I motioned to the driver who returned to the back of the train, chased my son back into the caboose, and “locked” the rope gate again. The train ride ended quickly after only one turn around the track. My kids were delivered safely to the depot and I gathered them quickly trying to avoid eye contact with the other waiting parents. Hurridly, we left the mall that day with heads hung low having lost our golden tickets and without a single, silver bell in sight.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Red Velvet Brownies

When I think of Christmas desserts, I always think of Red Velvet Cake. My aunt Barbara is famous for baking a beautiful Red Velvet Cake every Christmas. It is so rich that it's impossible to eat a whole piece. Unlike a lot of recipes for Red Velvet Cake, her recipe does not contain cocoa powder so her layers are a brilliant, bright red. If I get enough requests, I will bake Barbara's Red Velvet Cake for the blog. Until then, you'll have to settle for these Red Velvet Brownies - thick and dense and rich with cream cheese frosting. This recipe is from Southern Living's December 2010 issue. Click here to see the original recipe.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Rolo Pretzel Candy

I'm sure that this little "recipe" is nothing new to some of you. But, if you haven't tried it before, then stop what you're doing and run out and buy a bag of Rolo candy. These are so simple and delicious. They're the perfect treat for your Christmas cookie and candy tray this year. I've been making these for years and they're always a hit!! Throw a few of these into your next outgoing cookie tin. Your friends and family will thank you.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Happy Birthday, Baby Boys

Today, we had a birthday party for my little boys. My younger son will be six on Dec. 5th and my older son will be eight on Dec. 6th. The last two days have been a flurry of delivering cupcakes to school, buying gifts and food, and getting the house in order long enough for the grandparents and cousin to stop by to celebrate for a few minutes. I took the easy way out and ordered pizzas, the kids' favorite food. I supplemented with chicken dip and Polish sausage appetizers.

Polish Sausage Appetizer

Now, if you've been following me for a while then you know how I love a kielbasa! What's not to love? It's perfect for a quick meal and even better as an appetizer. I always try to keep one or two in the freezer. I just feel better knowing they're in there, just in case. So, when I received my monthly newsletter from Gooseberry Patch this week and saw a recipe for an appetizer that used kielbasa, I knew I had to try it. The recipe can also be found in Gooseberry Patch's Comfort and Joy, copyright 2004.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Visions of Sugar Plums

I had my recurring dream last night. Not the one where I'm searching for a clean, functioning public restroom...but the one where I enter a fragrant, bustling bakery and press my face up against the display case and stare at all of the beautiful pastries, fully aware that all of the people around me are hip and beautiful and I most certainly do not belong there. Still, I soldier on determined to make a purchase. Last night, I settled on two cinnamon rolls and a piece of Boston Cream Pie. I knew it was a dream because I don't even like Boston Cream Pie. The dream ended as I walked out of the bakery with my purchase but without tasting one morsel. Fortunately, I woke up to the reality of a plate of these cookies from Taste of Home's Best Loved Cookies and Bars, copyright 2008.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Chicken Fingers with Dipping Sauce

I've decided that we've been eating out way too much lately. So, I told the kids that we would be eating at home this week. Of course, there was major moaning and groaning and utter disappointment. How would we get by without Mexican Monday? What would we eat? Would we starve? I had to come up with a couple of meals that the kids would eat. My younger son and I love these chicken fingers. 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Decking the Halls

Thanksgiving is over and it was a wonderful day spent laughing and overeating with family at my Mema's house. I'm happy to report that we did not repeat the mistake of forgetting the cranberry sauce this year. Several cans were brought in and I was in charge of overseeing that it made its way to the table. Like Noah's ark, the food came in by twos. We had two turkeys - one baked, one smoked. Two of my aunts brought dressing. I, of course, had to try both of them. We also ended up with two bowls of gravy, but we combined those to save room. As we were all packing up to leave, we realized there was a forgotten banana pudding in the refrigerator. So, even though we were all stuffed, we pulled out some bowls and choked it down just because it was there...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pecan Pie Cookies

When you think about Thanksgiving dinner, I'm sure that a cookie tray doesn't enter your mind. Cookies are for Christmas, right? Wrong! You may have never thought about cookies for Thanksgiving, but you will after reading this post. Now, you know how I love my pecan pie. But, pecan pies fail in comparison to the joy that I get out of eating these Pecan Pie Cookies. Yes, I am well aware of pecan tassies, pecan tartlets, and pecan pie bars. I've eaten and enjoyed these many times in the past. However, I will take these cookies over those renditions any day. The recipe is from Southern Living, November 2000. I'm celebrating the 10th anniversary of these luscious cookies entering my life. You will thank me for introducing them to yours!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Speedy Chinese Noodles

If I had to pick one food to eat on a daily basis, it would be noodles. In fact, when I was a stay-at-home mom with two little toothless boys, it was our daily meal. And, we never got tired of eating noo-noos. The kids still love what they call "seasoned noodles" - cooked noodles tossed with olive oil and garlic salt. But, I've evolved a little from the seasoned noodles days and like to shake things up a bit. I still like to keep things simple though and this recipe fits the bill. It's from Gooseberry Patch's Homemade Christmas, copyright 2010. And, it's my new favorite.

Crab Dip Supreme

A few weeks ago, I added a new cookbook to my collection, Cooking in the South by Johnnie Gabriel, copyright 2008. While Ms. Gabriel is famous for her desserts, I was drawn to this recipe. I'll be the first to admit that crab meat can be rather expensive and I only buy it a couple of times a year. But, I broke down and bought some yesterday because I wanted something different and couldn't get this recipe out of my mind. To justify the price, I declared last night a special occasion - it was the beginning of my week-long vacation. I haven't had a week off since last Christmas and decided to celebrate nine days away from the grind.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Coconut Bread

With the Thanksgiving holidays quickly approaching, this is the perfect bread to have on hand over the next few days. It makes a simple breakfast when served with a cup of steaming coffee (or icy cold Coke, whatever your poison), then turn around and eat it as a snack while you're watching your favorite sitcom family put their differences aside for one day and gather around a perfectly roasted prop turkey and deliver cliched speeches of gratitude. I'm actually looking forward to it myself.

Whenever I post a recipe, I try to give credit where credit is due. I've had this recipe in my files for years. I've narrowed it down that it came from the internet. The recipe simply says, Coconut Bread, Brenda. So, thank you, virtual Brenda, I hope I did your bread justice.

Velvet Pumpkin Bread

After baking an imperfect pumkin pie that left me reeling with disappointment, I decided to go back to basics with pumpkin bread. I found this recipe in Gooseberry Patch's Comfort and Joy, copyright 2004. As I write, my almost 8-year-old is now eating a piece of this in the living room. He hates pumpkin and almost anything else I bake that isn't brownies. I told a tiny white lie when he asked what it was. I told him it was cake and he's shoving it in his little mouth and saying it's good. This will keep him satisfied for about ten minutes. He will then return to the kitchen with his insatiable appetite and plunder the pantry and refrigerator. But, this pumpkin bread has bought me a little relief for now.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Lessons Learned

I worked hard all week reading recipes and brainstorming ideas to bring to life here on my blog. Last night, after a long day at work combined with an exhausting trip to the grocery store with my sons, I set to work creating the pie you see above: Pumpkin Bee Sting Pie. I also had a Banana Crunch Dessert on my agenda that I had planned to prepare this beautiful Saturday morning. But, I come to you now, dear readers, empty-handed and with my head hanging low.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cranberry Salad

Thanksgiving is already upon us. Those of you hosting the big dinner are probably already creating your menus and compiling your shopping lists. And, I'm sure that many of you are adding cranberry sauce to your list. You will go to the grocery store and purchase the mandated can of cranberry sauce and, if you can even remember having it on the big day, will pop open the can and release the jellied fruit with its ringed beauty from its tin prison. It will land with a thud on your cut-glass dish and you will slice it to make it "fancy". At  most, two people will eat it. The majority will turn up their noses and declare their hatred; others will simply  ignore it and the sad ruby sauce will meet its end in the trash later that night.

I cannot stand for this! I am in the minority of cranberry sauce lovers. I take pity on the sauce every year and eat more than my share just to show my appreciation for this Thanksgiving classic. This recipe for cranberry salad came from a former co-worker years ago. I didn't have the recipe written down so I had to try to go by memory. Whether I nailed that recipe or not, this recipe is delicious. It can be used as a side dish, but is sweet enough to be a dessert. I may not convert the haters out there, but I'm trying. I hope you'll kindly make this recipe without prejudice.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Today is my Mema's 86th birthday. I'm so blessed to have had this woman in my life for all of these years. 

Pecan Pie #3 - The Classic

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "How many pecan pies can one person make? She baked two different kinds last weekend. When will it end?" It ends today! While my other two pecan pies are both delicious, I felt that my readers needed a classic pecan pie. No coconut, no chocolate, no caramel - just pure, classic pecan (where's the vanilla ice cream?) pie. This recipe was given to me by my friend, Deborah Smith. She read my other pie posts and insisted that I needed to add this pie to my collection. It is a simple and quick recipe that I think you will enjoy. I can now mark "pecan pie" off my bucket list. It is done!

Buffalo Chicken Dip

While brainstorming ideas for an appetizer to take to my Mema's 86th birthday party, I knew I wanted to do a type of chicken dish since I had gotten a great deal on a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store. My cousin would be making her famous Chicken Dip so I needed to go in another direction. When I made the decision to make a Buffalo Chicken Dip, I found many variations out there on the internet. I decided to tailor it to fit my tastes because I don't like canned chicken or bleu cheese dressing. The dip turned out well and I think it got better when it was at room temperature. It's possible that it could even be good cold, but considering there was only about a tablespoon left at the end of the party, I couldn't test my theory.

Black-Eyed Pea Spread

There was a call-to-arms on Thursday afternoon when my mom called to inform me that we were having a party for my Mema's 86th birthday this Saturday. We were doing a simple meal - chili and finger foods. I knew I needed to leap into action and come up with a new appetizer to introduce to everyone. My relatives would be more than willing to serve as guinea pigs for this experiment. I raked through my cookbooks and the internet. I finally settled on this recipe from Johnnie Gabriel's Second Helpings, copyright 2010. It did not disappoint.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cookbook Bliss

I came home Monday afternoon from a long day at work and found, not one, but two new cookbooks propped up against my front door awaiting for my arrival. I opened the packages quickly but prolonged the excitement by waiting until bedtime to crack open the crisp new covers. Laying in bed, comfortable in my pajamas, surrounded by books is my idea of pure bliss.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Pecan Pie Recipe #2

If you don't like your desserts extra rich and dense and luscious, then don't waste a moment on this recipe. This pecan pie is a chocolate lover's dream. Don't be thrown off by the addition of toasted coconut. The coconut is only there to add to the chewy texture. This pie is all about the chocolate and pecans. It's like eating a chewy, gooey piece of turtle candy. This recipe is from Southern Living's Big Book of Christmas, copyright 2009. It's definitely a WOW dessert so don't waste it on people who aren't close to your heart. Keeping it all for yourself is a viable option, too.

Pecan Pie Recipe #1

I have seen some real disasters when it comes to homemade pecan pies. I once saw my father-in-law cut into a pecan pie and, as he removed a slice, the space filled up with the rest of the flowing, runny pie filling. Yuck! While I've never personally experienced a disaster of that magnitude, I did make one of those "magic" pecan pie/cheesecake combos which looked beautiful but had absolutely no taste whatsoever. But, I've decided that as a southern cook, I needed to perfect my pecan pie-making skills. So, I painstakingly researched pie recipes this weekend and came up with two that I wanted to share here. Both are from the authority of southern cooking: Southern Living.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Ranch and Bacon Pasta Salad

I know that people have their guilty pleasures. I'm sure that, at this moment, some of you have stashed away some chocolate in a secret location in your home. Some of you are heating M&M's in the microwave because you like them warm and creamy. (I know who you are!) And, some of you are taking a pan filled with nachos covered in refried beans and jalapenos out of the oven and will eat them alone in your bedroom while laying in bed, surfing the web, and texting your kids in the next room.

I'm not judging because I, too, have my guilty pleasure and this is it - Ranch and Bacon Pasta Salad. Whenever I cook it for dinner, I "sample" bowl after bowl of it while my husband is outside sweating over the grill. By the time dinner is ready to be served, I'm usually gorged out and can't even look at it anymore. "No, don't mind me. I don't want any." I'm a little hesitant to share this recipe since I know what problems it can lead to, but I'm going to trust that all of you have more willpower than I do. Besides, it's simple to make...maybe too simple.

Coming Soon to a Blog Near You...

A Tale of Two Pies

It was the best of pies. It was the worst of...hey, wait a minute. This is the best of pies because I baked two different kinds of pecan pie today ~ one caramel, one chocolate. Couldn't leave anything to chance on Thanksgiving day. More details to follow, but here's a sneak peek.

It is the best of pies!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Enchilada Casserole

About twenty years ago, my Mema somehow acquired this Enchilada Casserole recipe. She cooked it and we liked it. I mean, we really liked it and she really liked to cook it. For a few years there, she was never without the ingredients and could whip this up quickly and almost magically if you walked in unexpectantly after church or a long day at work. Mema is 86-years-old now and doesn't cook as much as she used to. My cousins and I have grown up and have our own families now. But, many of us, including my brother, have cooked this casserole. And, I think I can speak for all of us when I say we always think of Mema when we cook it. I hope you'll try it and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Squash Casserole

Here's my third installment in the Casserole Chronicles. The weather has cooled off here in Georgia and I'm really cranking up the oven and cranking out the casseroles. This recipe is so simple, savory, and hearty. And, the leftovers have provided my husband with lunches all week long. I think everyone has a squash casserole in her recipe box. This is mine and I hope you'll try it.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Smothered Pork Chops

Sometimes when I'm in the kitchen, I'm just preparing a meal. But, there are times when I'm really cooking. And, when I'm standing over a skillet, my face bathed in steam, working on a batch of homemade gravy...well, that's cooking!

If my husband had his way, I would cook this every week. Fortunately, I do things my way when it comes to the kitchen. Besides, if I made it every week, it wouldn't be special. And, I like to keep him begging for more.

Apple-Pecan Log

There are just some recipes that draw my attention over and over again. I may not stop what I'm doing to rush to the kitchen, but I will pause, thoughtfully stroke my chin, and think, "Hmmm...very interesting." I can't tell you the number of times I've been drawn to this recipe from Gooseberry Patch's Autumn with Family and Friends, copyright 2009. Of course, there's the obvious reason - apples and cinnamon - but, there's also the "log" factor. I usually make cheese balls, so a cheese log is a foreign land to me. So, come with me while I explore this new territory.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Berry Good Kielbasa

After taking the day off from cooking yesterday and preparing for an exciting evening of trick-or-treating with my kids, I was anxious to get back to the kitchen today. I was in the mood for some finger foods, perfect for sitting around and watching ghost story marathons. One recipe that had been calling my name for a while was this one for Berry Good Kielbasa from Gooseberry Patch's Autumn with Family and Friends, copyright 2009. Plus, the name Berry Good Kielbasa made me think of Frankenberry - perfect for Halloween!