Archive | April, 2012

Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart…

23 Apr

This is a really yummy recipe and I think has become my go-to for when we need a side dish for parties!  This can be very easily changed from a carnivorous mix to vegan by leaving out one thing: bacon!  So, tell your friends, family, and enemies, “This is a recipe for everyone!”  It’s even good reheated the next day (along side the vegetable-ham casserole).

BBQ Microwave beans

  • 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can butter beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 TBSP chili sauce
  • 2 TBSP molasses
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard (I left this out)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 slices of bacon (uncooked)…Leave this off for vegetarian/vegan option

Combine beans, chili sauce, molasses, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper in large bowl.  Pour mixture into 1 qt oven/microwave proof casserole dish.  Top with bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces.  Cover casserole dish; microwave on high for 5 minutes or until bubbly.  Uncover and broil 1 minute or until bacon is crisp.  Makes 6 servings

The picture doesn’t do these justice.  These beans are great!  They really do taste like BBQ beans.  I might even double the molasses/chili sauce next time.  I also plan to double the pinto and omit the butter beans.  Butter beans are good, but their texture is too different from the pinto to really enjoy it like I want to!  I think black beans would be good too.

Grandma’s Notes: 4/20/91- Took Anthony’s birthday card and money to his house.  4/23/91- crocheted a hot pad tonight.  4/25/91- Walked 30 minutes…worked in garden 30 minutes, set onion in a row.  Crocheted…George and Ashley came.  THANK YOU FOR THE HAPPINESS BROUGHT TO THE RESIDENTS OF THE NURSING HOME WITH SONGS.  HELP ME BE ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE THAT SEE GOD EVERYWHERE.


Casseroles are the best!

23 Apr

As you know, I have a slight aversion to onions.  Okay, okay, I hate the little buggers.  The grocery list for this recipe started like many others: 1 medium onion, carrots, milk, etc.  I always shudder to think about buying onions, but I buy them anyway to keep as much authenticity to the recipes as I can.  However, the onions surprised me this time.  They were good!  This recipe is really god the day you make it, but is even better when you reheat it for lunch the next day!

Vegetable-Ham Casserole

  • 2 large potatoes (peeled and sliced)
  • 1 medium onion thinly sliced
  • 3 carrots peeled and sliced
  • 2 cups chopped cooked ham (I used the flat ham steaks with bone-in)
  • 1 can cream of celery soup
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • dash of black pepper
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese

Layer half each of potatoes, onion, carrots, and ham in greased 2qt baking dish.  Combine soup, milk, and pepper.  Pour half of soup mixture over vegetables.  Layer remaining vegetables and ham over sauce and cover with remaining sauce.  Pepper lightly.  Cover and bake at 375* for 1 hour.  Remove cover, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bake an additional 10 minutes.

First layer sans sauce


This could easily be made vegetarian by using tofu or chicken (if you don’t eat pork or beef).  My friend Mel could probably tell me what to substitute to make it vegan too…got any pointers, Mel?!

Grandma’s Notes: 4/23/93- Bought plants from nursery; 12 tomato, 4 bell pepper; 4 eggplants, 12 multiplying onion, 8 cabbage.  Lunch; planted onions.  Left Anthony’s birthday card & check at George’s shop.  Marcus came by for a snack; He brought in my groceries.  Made honey muffins.  THANK YOU LORD, THERE ARE NEW THINGS TO SEE AND TO DO EACH DAY.

Easy Baked Pears and Lemon Spice Sauce

23 Apr

So, this recipe was super easy and the end result could fool any vegetarian.  I made it and instead of letting the hubs take it to work I took it to work, for once!  My coworkers were impressed and thought the result looked like what I thought it looked like (just look at the picture).

Chicken or ???

When I took it out of the oven, I thought is resembled a baked chicken dish my mom would make (but with Total cereal).  Talk about messing with someone’s mind!

Baked Pears

  • 3 fresh pears
  • 1 cup crushed cornflakes
  • 1 TBSP butter

Peel and cut pears in half.   If hard, cook until tender.  Roll in cornflakes.  Place in buttered baking dish, cut side down.  Bake at 400* about 25 minutes.  Serve with Lemon Spice Sauce.

Lemon Spice Sauce

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 TBSP cornstarch
  • 1 cup fruit juice (I used apple)
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 1.5 TBSP lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg (I didn’t have any, used cinnamon)
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Mix sugar and cornstarch.  Add juice gradually.  Cook, stirring constantly until sauce in clear and slightly thickened.  Add butter, lemon juice, nutmeg, and salt.  Serve over hot baked fruit.

This was so good, and I couldn’t resist having a pear (even though we had just gone to DQ for ice cream).  I think it would be good with apples or peaches too.


Grandma’s notes: 4/20/96- Storm blew down part of shop, some siding from house, china berry tree, and crab apple tree; electricity off.  Lance, Haley, and Barbara came and cleared the driveway of limbs.  Power came back on Sunday.  THANK YOU THAT I AM NOT FEARFUL OF COMMON THINGS.  THANK YOU FOR BEING WITH ME IN TIME OF NEED.

Holy WOW! Recipes, Pintrest, and Fans!

19 Apr

So, I decided to just blog for once, instead of cooking and posting.  I know, you probably thought the title meant there was some sort of super-duper-fantastic recipe with your name on it.  Well, there isn’t.  That doesn’t mean there won’t be.  There just isn’t one today.

I did do a little bit of looking though, and this site has had over 2300 views!  As in two thousand, three hundred views!  And I know the recipe that put it over the top was the MARSHMALLOW ICING because of a little thing called: Pintrest.  I think Pintrest has to be one of the greatest site in a while.  I know some people think it’s just a bunch of folks showing off, but it is not…quite the opposite.  Remember the days of “bookmarking” a page to come back to later?  Or even marking a page as a “favorite?”  Well, I don’t know about you, but I almost never remember that I’ve marked something and then forget about it.  On Pintrest it is all out there for you to look at, ponder, and dream about trying/doing/sewing/cooking/etc.

I do hate it, though, when someone just finds a neat picture and “pins” it without directions or an actual link to a legit website.  I mean, wouldn’t it be nice to have a great idea to try WITH instructions?  I digress.  The site has been a great way to get people to the blog and experience some of Grandma’s recipes (even if they never actually try them).

With that said, I would like to offer up a contest, of sorts.  Since beginning this journey I have been keeping notes and thoughts in each of the cookbooks I was given.  I want to give one away!  This is how it will work…

  1. “Follow” this blog (that way I know you will be enjoying ALL the recipes have to offer)
  2. On this post, offer up a recipe that has been used in your family through the years.
  3. I will make attempt each recipe, offer their goods to unsuspecting friends, coworkers, and family members, in hopes to find the best submitted recipe .
  4. I’ll leave the comments open for submissions for a little while, so there are a good number of things to try!

So, share this with your friends, and get those recipes to me.  I would love to start blogging about things shared with me, as Grandma was a big proponent of the same!  IF you win you might just be this happy:

Say, “CHEESE!”

18 Apr

OK so it’s been a while since I posted…sorry!  But in looking at my calendar, it’s not my fault.  It just turned out that way.  Let me start by saying that this has to be one of the EASIEST recipes to date!  Four ingredients, mix, pour, bake, enjoy!  How super simple is that?!

Only 4 Ingredients!

Cheese Cake

  • 2 (8oz) cream cheese (I used the whipped variety)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • graham cracker crust

Mix all ingredients together well.  Pour into graham cracker crust and back at 350* for 30 to 40 minutes.


That’s it!  I made sure I mixed mine until smooth.  I didn’t want any rogue globs of cream cheese floating around!  I also baked mine about 35 minutes.  I set the timer for 30, heard it go off, and then kinda forgot about it until my son came to me and said, “Dah-puhr.”  So, en route to change said “dah-puhr” on the boy, I remembered to take out the cheese cake.  It turned out to be fine and a nice golden color on top.

I even got the thumbs up from the hubs and cheese cake is one of his favorite desserts!


Note: Marcus married Rena Smith on April 18, 2008 at Haley’s house which was Grandma’s house (front cover).  Rena is the third of three children born to Gregory and Donna Smith on July 6, 1982.  Their children are Sidney Taylor, born December 4, 1996; Kai Christopher, born June 19, 2002; and Isaac Gregory, born July 28, 2005

Hurry Up and Ice My Cake!

11 Apr

There have been a few times in which I skipped recipes because they fit into one of two categories: 1) Repeats (I can only make so many batches of salad dressing or mayo), or 2) Frosting (I can only make so many batches of frosting without having a corresponding cake to ice).  This was a similar situation; I had a cake and it said “ice as you wish” and I had not done a particular icing from the week before.  Perfect!

Well let me just say that this was an interesting go at a cake!  I was doing pretty well until I went to pour the mixture into the cake pans.  I had forgotten the baking powder!  So I quickly stopped pouring and returned the mix to the bowls, added the powder and then poured into the waiting cake pans.  The end result was a cake no more than an inch high.  Now, did it not rise because I added the baking powder at the wrong time, or because that’s how it’s supposed to look?  I have no clue.  What I do know it that the cake was perfectly complemented by the random frosting I decided to use.  It was sugary sweet (in a not-so-coma-inducing kind of way) and the cake was light a buttery…the perfect pair!

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did (and the hubs’ work buddies!).

Hurry Up Cake with Penuche Icing

  • 2 cups sifted Swan’s Down cake flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1.25 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup milk (minus 2 TBSP)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs

With butter at room temperature, line bottoms of two, deep 8″ layer pans with grease.  Preheat oven to 375*; sift flour once before measuring.  Mix by sifting flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.  In another bowl, put butter and mix at low speed until softened; sift in dry ingredients; add milk and vanilla; beat on low speed for 2 minutes.  Now add eggs and beat 1 minute longer (scraping bowl frequently during mixing and scraping beaters between periods).  Turn batter into pans; bake at 375* for 25 minutes (or until done).  Frost as desired (see recipe below). 


  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 TBSP corn syrup
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Combine everything except vanilla, in a medium saucepan; while stirring constantly, bring slowly to a full rolling boil on high heat; switch to a medium heat and continue to boil for 1 minute.  Cool until lukewarm (112* to 115*).  Add vanilla; beat (at medium speed) until mixture is thick enough to spread.  Note: makes enough frosting to cover tops of two 8″ layers, or top of 12x8x2 cake.

I have a small round and a small square, so I made those.

The icing just ran down the sides of the cake and was amazing.  I also made a home made ice-cream that I enjoyed with this…mostly.  I used a lower fat milk and it froze too hard.  It got tossed the next day when I couldn’t scoop any of the ice-cream out!


Grandma’s Notes:(from cake)4/8/95- The one act play from THS went to Nacogdoches and placed 1st; we will now go to regional in Kilgore in 2 weeks.  Zach got all star player for the whole thing.  THANK YOU LORD FOR WATCHING OVER ME.  SHOW ME HOW TO HELP SOMEONE TODAY.  (from icing) 4/1/98- Mailed April’s birthday card for the 3rd and worked on tatting.  4/5/98- Barry, Haley, and Braden Monroe, and Marcus and Taylor were at church; all ate with Barbara.  Haley and I walked down the driveway; admired the beautiful wisteria, azaleas, and irises.  THANK YOU LORD FOR LEADING AND HELPING.  HELP ME TO SEE NEEDS AND HOW TO HELP.

Hash it out…

9 Apr

I am a HUGE proponent of all-in-one dishes.  They are easy to cook, usually require a few steps, and are great to reheat for lunches the next day.  This one was no exception.  What’s not to like about ground beef, pasta, onions, tomatoes, and chili powder?!  This is also a great meal that can be altered based on your family’s likes and tastes.  My husband is not a big tomato fan, so next time I might just cut the amount in half.  I also made the mistake of using canned tomatoes (I know, I know, use fresh).  I am a huge proponent of fresh fruits and veggies, but only in season.  So, I will buy canned or frozen.  Anyway…I didn’t really think about the canned tomatoes until I went to take the first bite and realized the mix was a little more salty that I would normally like.  When my grandma would use fresh tomatoes, she would most likely add a pinch (or so) of salt.  Since the recipe called for salt, however, and I added it.

In the end, I would have made this with elbow macaroni because it’s super difficult to measure “1 cup” of uncooked spaghetti.  Although when try to do so, my son had fun picking up the pieces of pasta that would fly across the kitchen. :-)  In the end, my husband liked the meal and found a way to kick it up, when he had it for leftovers, by adding a sweet chili sauce and a little bit of red pepper flakes.  Whatever works!

Texas Hash

  • 2 medium onions
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 3 TBSP cooking oil
  • 1 lb ground steak/beef
  • 2 cups of tomatoes
  • 1 cup uncooked spaghetti (I think elbow macaroni would be best)
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Cook onions and celery in oil until golden.  Add meet and cook until redness leaves.  Add tomatoes, spaghetti, and seasonings.  Mix well.  Put into large casserole.  Cover and bake at 350* for 45 minutes.  *I started at 25-30 minutes and turned off the oven, leaving the dish inside.* Yield: 8 servings.

Texas Hash

Grandma’s notes: 4/1/93- Beautiful 50* at 7:15; read; Annie Bertha McDonald called.  Haley spent afternoon.  4/2/93- stopped by George’s.  Bessie Baldwin called.  4/3/93- Patched Zach’s pants.  Anthony & friend Bryan came & spent the night.  They played dominoes; I crocheted.  THANK YOU LORD FOR EVERYTHING.  LET MY HEART SHINE SO OTHERS CAN SEE YOU IN MY LIFE.


I want candy

7 Apr

I have always been impressed with those who are able to make candied anything: nuts, fruit, hard, soft, etc., etc.  I have been successful in making melted chocolate candies and even made a few batches of marshmallows one Christmas.  So, when I saw this recipe, I jumped on it, hoping that I would find another candy I could easily make with few ingredients and no need to heat sugar to a particular temperature.

One thing I did not really think about was the average relative humidity in Florida…a MILLION %.  Okay, not really, but it is anywhere from 10-20% higher in the Orlando area compared to Dallas.  BUT, the oddest thing is my grandmother’s home in East Texas is very close to Shreveport, LA.  In doing a bit of research, I did find that the relative humidity of that area is very similar to ours.  So, in theory, the only thing that would make much of a difference in recipes would be out altitude.  To make a long story longer, this recipe did not really turn out all that great in the end.

If you live in a northern or western state where it’s commonly dry, then this should be a good recipe for you!

Before I begin, this is a very time consuming process.  It requires boiling, boiling, cooking down, and then letting everything cool and dry.

Candied Citrus Peel

  • 2 medium oranges
  • 2 medium lemons
  • 1 medium grapefruit
  • Boiling water (2 @ 8 cups each)- boil peel in this
  • another 1.5 cups water (use in recipe)
  • 1.75 cups sugar (plus another 1-2 cups for later)
  • 1/2 cup lite corn syrup
  • 1 pkg (3oz) lemon flavor gelatin

With a sharp knife, score and peel fruits into quarters; pull away from pulp (save fruit for another day’s salad). *side note: oranges are very pithy…peel as much of it away as you can*  With the sharp knife, cut peel into long, thin strips.  Heat peels and 8 cups of water in a large kettle over high heat to boiling; boil for 15 minutes; drain peels in colander and rinse.  With 8 more cups of hot water, boil peels 15 minutes (again); drain.  In same kettle over high heat, add 1.5 cups water, sugar, and corn syrup; heat until boiling and sugar dissolves, stir frequently.  Gently stir in peels.  Reduce heat to med-low and cook until most of syrup has been absorbed, about 40-50 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat; gently stir in gelatin until dissolved; cool 10 minutes.  Mixture will be thick and sticky.  Onto wax paper, place 1 cup of sugar; lightly roll a few pieces in sugar.  Continue and add more sugar if necessary.  Place the sugar coated peels in a single layer on wire racks overnight or about 12 hours.  Store in tightly covered container up to two weeks.

Mine looked like this after they dried.  My son really liked the lemon peels, I think because I hadn’t really trimmed enough of the pith from the oranges.  I also forgot to use a grapefruit.  These would have made it to work with my husband except that I left the container on top of the stove and there is a vent from the oven that made all of the peels get all melty and drippy (if those are actually terms).  So, I ended up having to toss them.

I think I would also add limes to the mix in the future.

Grandma’s Notes: 4/3/99- Made strawberry pie for April (1st one I ever made); also made a chocolate pie.  We had a birthday party for April.  She got so many nice gifts.  Today, a lot of wind and rain.  THANK YOU LORD FOR LOVING ME WITH ALL MY IMPERFECTIONS.  HELP ME TO IMPROVE.  PRAISE YOUR NAME, NO STORM HERE.

Easiest Dip EVER!

5 Apr

If you are like me, you enjoy hosting and attending gatherings with friends and family.  You might also be like me in that you sometimes wait until the very last minute to figure out what you want to bring to said party.  Well, think no more!!!  This recipe has been a staple of party and everyday life in my family as long as I can remember.  I have even been known to spread this on sandwiches instead of mayo or mustard and even add a little ranch dressing to it to make a southwestern-inspired dressing.

“What’s in this amazing, versatile dip?”, you ask.  Only TWO ingredients.  That’s right, two ingredients.  Didn’t hear the first two times?  TWO INGREDIENTS.  There…now that we’ve established this is a minimalist’s dream dip, I will also tell you that most of the time you probably have these two ingredients already in the fridge!

Let me make this disclaimer though: any salsa can be used, but I make no guarantees as to the quality of said salsas with this recipe.  We only ever had Pace Picante sauce at our house.  You know the stuff…”This stuff’s made in New York City…Get a rope!”  Pace is made in Texas and was invented, if you will, but a Texan.  So, they know their stuff.  Also, when looking for this at the grocery store, do NOT get salsa…you must get picante sauce to get the best results.

Now that we have that out of the way…the recipe:

Chip Dip

  • 1 carton of cream cheese (8oz)
  • 1/2 jar (more or less) of Pace Picante Mild Sauce

Mix the cream cheese and picante sauce in the mixer until well blended.  Now enjoy that bag of chips!

I have been lazy and purchased the whipped cream cheese, then I don’t have to use the mixer.  However, the consistency is much better if you buy a brick of cream cheese, let it soften and then use the mixer to blend it. As you can see above, mine is still a little chunky, but still delicious!

I like this with Frito’s Scoops best.  Although you can get all healthy and do the baked Tostito’s Scoops.  But, I like my dip a little thicker (less picante) and they just don’t seem to hold up to the dip as well.  Oh, and did you know…Frito’s Scoops are GLUTEN FREE!  So, this recipe would be good for just about anyone!


Notes: April Dawn Horton was born April 3, 1985 in Fort Worth, Texas.  She graduated from L.D. Bell High School in 2003.  April then went to UTA and earned her degree in Kinesiology.

I Yam what I Yam

5 Apr

OK, so I really need to read and then reread recipes before completing them.  When making these muffins I read the recipe to determine what I needed, from the spice cabinet, and when I saw I was running low on cinnamon (which needed to be in the mix and on top) I knew I needed to add it to my shopping list for next week.  I did not, however, remember to add it to the top of the muffins before baking them…ARGH!

Anyway, if you remember a post of mine a few weeks back (think: Yam Molasses Cookies) you know that I was using a veggie peeler to “grate” my sweet potatoes.  This time, I just bought canned yams (in syrup).  Not only did I save cooking time, it was WAY easier to mash them up.  I also figured out one of the reasons I really don’t like the sweet tuber…they STINK!  I had a very hard time stomaching the scent of mashed yams and liken it to how I felt a few times when I was pregnant with my son and the lady next to me in choir wore too much horrid perfume.  But, I digress.

The muffins cooked well, although I am still having trouble keeping the “darker” recipes from browning too much when baking.  I also think there are some very serious issues with baking times and temperatures.  This one called for 425* for 35 minutes!  I don’t know about you, but I have never had to bake a muffin longer than 15-17 minutes at any temperature.  So, I watching these for the first 15 and they were more than done.  After taking them out, I saw the darker bottoms, but the tops were perfectly golden.  I then decided that I would cut it back to 325* the next time I make them.  I would also remember to sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top.  The final result is mildly sweet with little spice noted.  Perhaps pumpkin pie spice would be good too.

Yam Muffins

  • 1.75 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 TBSP baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1.5 cups mashed yams
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup margarine or butter
  • extra cinnamon and sugar for top of mixture

Combine first 6 ingredients.  Make a well in the center of mixture.  Combine eggs, yams, milk and butter.  Add to dry ingredients, stirring until just moistened (the mix is very thick).  Spoon into 18 greased muffin tins.  Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon mixture.  Bake at 425* for 35 minutes.

You can see the extra browning on the bottom of the muffins…I just can keep them from doing that.  Suggestions?


Grandma’s Notes: 4/3/94- April Horton’s 9th birthday; Easter services.  Frank’s family left “hanging” clothes home.  Amber and Haley went & bought a dress.  Cheryl Horton borrow from Barbara; April from Ashley; Frank from George; all went to church.  4/19/94- LORD, LET MY WORDS BE WORDS OF COMFORT & COURAGE; NEVER WORDS TO DISCOURAGE.  LET THEM GLORIFY YOU.


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