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Trash talk

29 Nov

So this Friday will mark a new chapter in my family’s Christmas traditions. We are hosting our inaugural ugly Christmas sweater party. I’m super stoked. 

With a holiday party comes all the food stuffs too. So of course I went directly to the best source of holiday recipes: my mom. Oh my goodness y’all. My mom used to throw some killer Christmas parties. I’m pretty sure she spent an entire month’s grocery budget on the food for said parties too. The smells that wafted through the house, from December 1-25 were heavenly. 

One of my favorite things she’d make was Texas Trash. Basically a homemade Chex mix. I’m sure she included a small amount of questionable ingredients because it was so addictive. Ha ha. And whatever didn’t get consumed at the party would be leftover and only got better with time. It’s great to gift and even better to “taste test.”

Sow without further ado, I give you Cheryl’s Texas Trash  

right out of the oven


  • 3C corn squares cereal 
  • 3C rice squares cereal
  • 1C of wheat squares, “Os” cereal (Cheerios), or Kix – I use store brand Tasteeos
  • 1C mixed nuts 
  • 1.5C mini pretzels 
  • 6 TBSP butter
  • 2 TBSP Worstchestershire Sauce 
  • 1.5 tsp seasoned salt

Preheat oven to 250°F. Melt butter and combine with salt and sauce. Pour over cereals/nuts and toss until coated. This may seem like not enough butter/seasoning, but just keep tossing. On a sided cookie sheet or roasting pan, spread mixture in single layer (it probably will make two pans). Bake for 60 minutes, tossing every 15 minutes. When done, transfer to countertop on paper towels to cool and to allow for any additional oils to drain off. Once cooled, transfer into an airtight container. 

Christmas tins are perfect to put them into and then gift. 
I wish I had some smell-o-vision for you right now. 

It never happened. 

26 Nov

Picking a recipe from Grandma, I mean. I didn’t have pie crust, I didn’t want to thaw any fruit, and I just didn’t want to spend forever in the kitchen. 

So, I opted for a fruit salad with homemade vanilla whipped cream and a honey simple syrup. The plan is to let the kids (and older “kids”) use waffle cones for cornucopia sand fill them with fruit, whipped cream, and/or vanilla pudding. 

I also wanted to make sangria. No particular reason, I just wanted to. It’s a SUPER simple recipe and I used an info graphic from Wine Enthusiast to guide me. Yeah, sure, sangria is basically a wine Hunch Punch, but I am a fairly snobby person when it comes to the red concoction. I tried to find the link to the graphic, but could only find it on Pinterest. 


I’m not above buying premade Sangria either! Why try to make something that’s already been perfected?! Needless to say, those were my ingredients: $5 Argentinian red wine, $4 sparkling peach wine, $5 Brandy, and $3.98 peach schnapps. I also added pears, apples, oranges and lemon juice, along with a 1/4 cup of OJ. Let’s just say that it smelled much better this morning after it being in the fridge all night.  
Anyway, we are now en route with the least amount of food I’ve ever had to take to someone’s house for a holiday…ever! Whoop! 
Amber’s notes: Be thankful all year, not just during this season. Give generously, love unconditionally, and never be afraid to dance in the rain. 

Grandma would be proud

19 Jan

I tried my hand at merengue last night. Let’s just say that in the world of baking, a stand mixed would be worth it’s weight in gold if I made these types of pies regularly.

In an effort to become a healthier family, we are starting to cut back on refined sugars and processed foods. So, to use what we already had, I gabbed the cookbook and did. Quick search. I’m not sure why chocolate, but I’m glad I started making it.

It was delicious.

8/31/96- George with his tractor is mowing around my house and chicken house. Lance visited; sprayed wasp nest in carport. 9/3/96- all my 85 3/4 yrs, my family grew sweet potatoes, but I never saw or heard of these beautiful orchid colored blooms w/reddish purple colored throat until this year. YOU LORD ARE MASTER OF THE EARTH. GIVE STRENGTH TO YOUR PEOPLE.



Thank you, thankyouverymuch

26 Sep

I tried to type that in my best Elvis accent.


I finally got off my keister and made the canned goods I planned to make!  My two recipes yielded 4 jars of Pickled Squash and 5 of Pear Honey.  If you remember, the pear honey made it into the county fair back in 2012 and sold for $70.  Not Texas State Fair worthy, mind you, but a start for someone who had only been canning/preserving for less than a month!

Anyway, it’s been one of the most popular amongst my friends and was a natural choice when deciding what I wanted to give away as thank you gifts.  The second choice seemed the least time-intensive of most of the pickle recipes and I had yet to conquer the pickle realm.


And so, I give you…my goods!

photo(5)Yeah, I know, not the best photo…but it will have to do.  The squash was surprisingly easy to make and I did it first since it took the longest.  You can find the pear honey post here.  I’ll share the pickles recipe because I think canning/preserving is a lost art (though there are many who still do it) and it it easy to do.  You need no special canning equipment other than pots and pans!


Pickled Squash

  • 8 Cups sliced squash (think pickle chips)
  • 2 TBSP salt
  • 3 cups vinegar
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 3 bell peppers (green or red give the best colors)
  • 2 tsp mustard seed

Sprinkle squash with salt and let stand one hour.  Except for the squash, mix everything else and bring to a boil.  Drain water off squash; add to boiling liquid.  Bring to boil again and cook an additional minute.  Then put in jars and seal.  Yield: 5 pints.

Grandma’s Notes: 10/1/99- 52 degrees at 8:45; walked to Lance’s driveway and back.  The four-o’clocks are so pretty since the rain.  10/3/99- Zach came; visited and talked about some of his future plans.  Crocheted, read, and picked up pecans.  I BRING MY LIFE TO YOU LORD BECAUSE I KNOW WHATEVER IS WRONG IN IT, YOU CAN FIX IT, AND I WILL BE WHOLE AGAIN.


I just realized that the above journal entries are almost right back where I needed them for the time of year.  I guess I planned that just right.

Back in the Saddle Again…

8 Jun

Yeah, yeah, yeah…I know it’s been a while, ok a LONG time, since I last posted anything. I apologize.

Upon returning from a date night with my hubby, I thought it would be fun to make cookies with the rug-rat.  He didn’t really seem too enthused, until I started asking for a “special cookie maker.”  That got him excited, go figure.  So, I started looking at the ingredients I had on hand and Grandma’s trusty recipes.  I was missing a key ingredient for a cookie I thought looked easy enough: Mincemeat Cookies.  I ran out of pear mincemeat at Christmas and didn’t have any other jars on hand.  However I did have three jars of fig preserves from my Aunt Barbara.  She and her daughter, Haley (my oldest cousin), are always good for a few jars of this and that when I’m home.

So, I used chopped fig preserves.  If you have never had mincemeat, I suggest you try some.  Unless your great-aunt Gertrude still makes it the “real” way (with the meat of a hog’s head), a jar of modern mincemeat is usually a mix of spices, sugar and various “hearty” fruits like pears and apples.  While figs are a little softer in texture, their flavor is a similar profile and mincemeat.  In other words, it worked.

There was no indication as to the yield in the recipe.  It made about 48-60 cookies I think (give or take the “tester” cookies).  So here it is, the first recipe of the year.  Better late than never!

Mince Meat Cookies

  • 3 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 1 cup shortening (I used butter)
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs (well beaten)
  • 1 cup of mince meat, or preserves of your choice

Sift the flour, salt, and soda together.  Cream butter and sugar then beat and add eggs.  Stir in mince meat.  Add the dry ingredients and mix.  Drop by the spoonful (or see option below) onto a greased baking sheet.  Bake at 400* for about 12 minutes, or until cookies are golden.  Option: make bake in thin sheet and cut into bars.


Gave him a cookiephoto(2)

First biteHe likes them!He liked it!

The mix seemed a little dry while mixing, so I poured in some of the fig preserve liquid to moisten it up a bit.  It worked well and the cookies taste amazing!  The hubby just came out of the kitchen exclaiming, “Wow, that made a lot of cookies!”  Another note: The hubby is not a fig eater but enjoyed these cookies, so they must be good!


Grandma’s Notes: 9/20/98- Went to church; crocheted some.  THANK YOU LORD FOR YOUR CLOSENESS TO ME IN MY EVERYDAY LIFE.

Christmas Eating (part two)

29 Dec photo(3)

OK, as promised…and promised again, I’ll share the remaining recipes from Christmas day.  Our main course came from A Butcher Shoppe & a Bit More.  It was beef tenderloin but I didn’t get any pictures.  I’ve come to figure that taking pictures of meat, by itself, is not all that appetizing.  Trust me, though, it was amazing!  The people at your local butcher shop are fantastic people to know.  I’m glad I found them.

Now, for Grandma’s recipes…One of the things I remember eating, on quite a few occasions, at Grandma’s was “creamed potatoes.”  If I didn’t know better, I would think this had some kind of special gravy or actual sauce.  NOPE!  It’s just flour and water.  SO very simple.  The trick is to not cook the potatoes until they are mush, because then you end up with just watered down mashed potatoes.  You want some shape left to the potatoes.  I will say, however, that these potatoes resembled hers but didn’t taste exactly the same.  Nevertheless there were very few bites left in the bowl!

Potatoes in Cream Sauce

  • potatoes, preferably new (we used russet)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • flour for thickening
  • enough milk or water to moisten the flour

Peel and boil whole small new potatoes, or cut up others.  Leave them in water in which they were cooked.  Thicken with flour/water mixture and season.  Possibly add small amount of butter.

Grandma’s notes: 6/4/91- walked a mile.  Anthony called; they have a 6:00 ball game; I went and watched the game.  6/5/91 Anthony and Ashley came.  He mowed.  I fixed a pot of potatoes; Haley came; began to rake after dinner.  Marcus cut hay this P.M.  Haley came in thirsty and hungry.  THANK YOU FOR THE HAPPY MOMENTS YOU GIVE ME EACH DAY.  Loyce brought SS class flowers.

Since I had not done too many posts in recent weeks, I decided to make sure I had as many recipes as I could (that would be Christmas dinner appropriate).  So, I also made some great carrots.  Granted, they aren’t your typical sweet, brown-sugary kind, but tasty anyway.

Savory Carrots

  • 4 cups carrot slices
  • 1 cup chicken broth (or vegetable)
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 cups onion slices
  • 2 TBSP flour
  • 1/2 cup water

Cook carrots in broth until tender, do not drain.  Saute onion in butter; blend in flour.  Gradually add water.  Stir in carrots and broth.  Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened; continue cooking 2 minutes.  Makes 8 servings.

I used a 2# bag of whole carrots and doubled the liquid because I did mine in the crock pot to keep from heating up the kitchen too much.  Therefore I had to also add more flour to get a good consistency and thickness to the sauce.

photo(3)Grandma’s Notes: 7/11/91- Shelled purple hull peas.  Amber, Anthony, April, and Ashley spent night.  7/18/91- Carried Haley to cheerleader practice; took her to hayfield; picked up Marcus; took him to Bible school.  7/27/91- Finished reading I Samuel at 3:00.  THANK YOU LORD FOR BEING THERE FOR ME.  MAY I NEVER BE IN THE WAY OF MY CHILDREN TRUSTING YOU.


One of the most favorite things to eat at pretty much any meal, holiday or otherwise, is sauteed cabbage.  Everyone has their favorite way to make it.  Ours is by pan sauteing it in a pan after cooking bacon.  Who doesn’t like a little bacon grease?!


  • 1 large head of cabbage
  • 6-8 slices of bacon
  • 1 lg onion sliced (optional)
  • 1 chicken bullion cubes
  • salt and pepper to taste

Fry bacon in electric skillet (I just use a pan); crumble; set aside on paper towel to drain.  Cook sliced onion in some of the bacon grease until tender.  Put on another paper towel to remove grease; set aside.  Slice cabbage and cook in some bacon grease, stirring it down to add more (and not burn).  Add 2 bullion cubes dissolved in about 1/4 cup water.  Cover and cook until tender; (add no other liquid).  Put in a large dish; put cooked onions on top and top all with crumbled bacon.

photo(10)I remembered to take a picture AFTER we had devoured it.  This is all that was left!

Grandma’s Notes: Lance and Barbara were married January 23, 1967 at Ramah Baptist Church in Tenaha.  They have two children, Haley Ann Horton Monroe and Marcus Lance Horton.


So, there you have it.   A Christmas breakfast and dinner that even Grandma would have been proud of.

Spicing Up the Holidays

16 Dec

I may or may not have mentioned that my husband is getting ready to retire at the end of this year.  With that comes a LOT of celebration!  With celebration comes guests, and with guests come FOOD!  What better way to utilize some of Grandma’s recipes?!  I even volunteered our house to host Christmas dinner.  I may or may not have bitten off more than I can chew.  All I know is that I refuse to wait until the last minute to get things ready.

So, I have planned my menu and begun to shop for our breakfast goodies.  The plan, for Christmas morning, is a hot cocoa and spiced tea bar to go along with a baked oatmeal casserole and a more traditional breakfast casserole.  The cocoa is going to be a crock-pot version I found here, thank you Pinterest!  As for the spiced tea, thank you Grandma!

This is such an easy recipe and one that can be made ahead of time (ahem, like I did today).  Since it’s shelf-stable in a air-tight container, it also makes for a great Christmas gift for the neighbors.  One tip: try to get your ingredients at a big-box store.  As much as I hate to shop at Wal-Mart, it is one of the few places where you can get Tang.

Anyway, I did change this recipe a little.  The original mix called for lemon-flavored tea and TWO cups of sugar.  Now, I don’t know where you grew up, but when Grandma had Tang at her house, I don’t ever remember having to add more sugar when making it.  So, I used unflavored, unsweetened tea and lemonade mix.  I think it gives a more “natural” lemon flavor.  Well, as natural as a powdered concoction can taste.

So, I mixed everything and put them into mason jars this evening.


Spiced Tea

  • 1 cup unsweetened instant tea
  •  2 cups Tang
  • 1 cup lemonade mix (I used Countrytime)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves

Combine all ingredients and store in jar with lid.  Use 2-4 tsp of mix per mug of hot water.  Side note: this is an UH-Mazing concoction sprinkled over crushed or shaved ice and eaten as-is.

Grandma’s Notes: 11/26/81- Thanksgiving Day; Lance and family, along with George and family were here for a 6:00 P.M. dinner.  Had a good time, a grand meal, and good fellowship.  Called Frank and family about 10:00.  They had celebrated with church friends and had a good day


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