Tag Archives: food

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


Mincemeat Cake

9 Dec

So, it felt great to get back to the store to shop today.  I never thought I would enjoy shopping, but I did.  I went with my list and made sure I re-upped my staples (sugar, flour, eggs, milk, chocolate chips, etc.)  What I didn’t do was take my cookbook with me to make sure I had all the random ingredients for specific recipes.  Needless to say, I had a small panic attack was able to calmly decide what to make when I realized I didn’t have any enchilada sauce, tortillas, or powdered sugar (not the same recipes).

So, I went back to the pantry and looked at what I had available: fig preserves, pear mincemeat from this post, and other various pantry staples.   I remembered a recipe, back in May, that called for mincemeat.  That would have to do.  I also had all the other ingredients.

I was excited to be able to use a preserved item that I preserved myself.  I even had to use a knife to unseal the lid, it was THAT well-sealed!  I remember having to do that when opening my grandmother’s preserves and jams.  I guess I did it right?!  And when I added it to the mix, i had to taste the concoction (since it had been January since I made it)…umm…YUM!

Anyway, the cake is fairly simple and the mincemeat could easily be substituted with other fruit preserves.  I think fig would probably work well. *note: I have not tried it with other preserves or jams, so I can not attest to the consistency of a cake made with them.

This cake was a fairly wet mix and I had a hunch that the baking time would need to be increased.  I was right.  I tested the center of the cake at the end of the stated time and needed to increase the time 5 minutes TWICE.  I also used a ceramic corningware dish.  It calls for a 13x9x2 pan with no specificity of the kind, but I’m sure it was supposed to be an actual metal pan.  However, the result was DELISH!


Mincemeat Cake

  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup homemade mincemeat (I used pear mincemeat)
  • 1 cup milk, or buttermilk
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 2 cups flour
  • pinch of salt

Beat together sugar, butter, and eggs.  Add mincemeat.  Mix soda in milk; add  to creamed mixture alternately with flour and salt.  Pour into 13x9x2 pan.  Bake at 375* for about 20 minutes (test center to determine done-ness).  Top with recipe below


  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 TBSP grated orange peel
  • 2 TBSP orange juice
  • 1.3 cup coconut (or nuts) I used 1/6 coconut & 1/6 pecan
  • 2 TBSP softened butter

Mix together all ingredients and pour on top of warm cake.  Broil in oven until top of cake is bubbly


Grandma’s Notes: 5/27/95- Lance and Marcus came; Marcus plowed the garden.  6/4/95- Church service was good.  When we think about it, how terrible life would be without love.  Barry Monroe was at church with Haley.  Went home and finished book.  I think I’ll read it again.  Started reading; then to bed.

Home again…

30 Nov

I am on my way home from a 13-wk job in Texas. I will guarantee recipes will be done for the holidays. Thanks to the followers that have kept up with me, even though I wasn’t cooking!


Mexican cornbread

1 Sep

There are quite a few things I love about Texas…tonight, one of those was hatch chiles.  If you aren’t familiar with them, you should be.  They have a fantastic smoked flavor and go with everything!  That being said, I wanted to sub them into a cornbread recipe to go with some pulled pork.  However, dinner was ready and I hadn’t even taken out the ingredients!

So, I just went ahead a made it for whomever, and whenever.


Look at that color!  The picture doesn’t do it justice.

Mexican Cornbread
1 cup cornmeal
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp soda
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup melted butter
3 smoked hatch chiles cleaned and diced up(recipe calls for 1/2 lb ground beef sauteed with onion and jalapenos)
Grated rat cheese (pretty sure she meant cheddar)

Mix all ingredients, except for cheese and chiles.  Pour one half of the batter into a hot, greased skillet.  Place chiles on top of mix and cover with cheese.  Pour remaining batter on top.  Bake for 45-50 minutes at 350°.

Grandma’s Notes: 8/5/93- Carried April to the doctor with her east.  I had to put in drops.  She fought me like a little tiger.

On the road again.

25 Aug

At the moment (yes! in the car), I am traveling across the southeast U.S. in route to a new chapter in our lives.  I have recently been hired by a hospital in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area as a contract physical therapist.  I will be living with my parents…can we say flashbacks of high school?!  My husband retires in December and we are trying to cut back on my student loans prior to that day.

Anyway, on order to not feel like a complete freeloader, I decided to bring my cookbook and cook while I’m in Texas.  However, I forgot my calendar at home…yes, the one with the ENTIRE year planned!  Instead of letting it get me bummed, I realized I had my 2nd.book under the armrest of the truck and started flipping through it…


It isn’t as comprehensive as the original calendar, but it will give me a good meal and side dish most weeks and a few desserts and breads.

Here’s to new opportunities!!

No Eggs? No Problem!

19 Aug

Necessity is the mother of all altered recipes, I’ve learned.  As I have stated before, I am lazy.  I enjoy baking and cooking new things, but HATE to have to leave the house to get anything I’m out of.  Case-in-point, yesterday the boys were napping (as they are now) and I couldn’t sleep because the little boy had his feet in my face and the big boy was snoring.  So, I figured I would make something.  I looked in the pantry and saw we had oatmeal, I knew I had just purchased flour, chocolate-chip oatmeal cookies it was.  I even got so far as to mix the dry ingredients and add in the milk (almond in this house), after creaming butter and sugar, when I realized I didn’t have any eggs.  I know, I know, how could I be so lazy as to not even have eggs.  Believe me, I have gotten numerous scoldings from my baker-sister regarding a lack of stocking my pantry with basics.  THAT is a whole other post, though.
Anyway, I thought, “You need to use your Almond Milk before it goes bad so just add a bit more to the mix.”  Seemed like a substantial thought at the time.  So, I did.  This is what turned out:

Look good, huh?!  My son woke up from his nap, just in time to see the m&ms and was more than excited.  I even had the second half of the batch, uncooked, in the bowl.  With no eggs, I had no problems letting him taste a big ol’ spoonful of the concoction.  The reaction?  “MMMMMMM!”  Now, if that doesn’t say they are good, I don’t know what does.  The texture is obviously different from traditional oatmeal cookies, but by using the almond milk I almost made a sort of oatmeal cookie bar.  I can’t explain it, you would just have to try it!

With no further ado:

Amber’s No-Egg Oatmeal Chocolate Cookies

  • 1/4 cup butter, margarine or butter substitute (for my vegan buds)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup almond milk (THIS is our favorite brand)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups quick cook oats
  • 1 cup chocolate chips, m&ms, or carob pieces

Cream butter and sugars, stir in milk and vanilla until mixed well.  Add dry ingredients,  except for oats and chocolate, until incorporated well.  Stir in oats and chocolate.  Spoon heaping TBSP onto parchment lined cookie sheets and bake at 350* for approximately 12 minutes.  Cookies should cool a couple minutes before removing them from the cookie sheet.  Transfer to wire rack and let cool completely.  Cookies will “firm up” upon cooling.  Store in airtight container.  Yield: 1.5 doz cookies



Three-Grain Peanut Bread

18 Aug

Well, so much for “getting back on the horse.”  I can’t tell you how crazy life has been lately.  Sad thing is, I still have to go to the grocery store, I still have to cook, so why no posts?!  Well, um…I’m lazy.  There you have it.  I really enjoy these recipes and such.  However, after a while, you kind get tired of cookies, cakes, and pies (three of grandma’s fortes).  Even her “breads” are a lot like cakes sometimes.  So, it’s been a bit difficult to be motivated to make desserts.

That being said, we have new neighbors two doors down and I was looking for something easy to make for a house-warming goodie.  I found the following recipe, from November’s calendar, and realized I didn’t have to leave home to get any other ingredients. *Yay*


Three-Grain Peanut Bread

  • 1 cup fork-stirred flour
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal (i didn’t have this, but added a bit more flour and oats)
  • 1/2 cup nonfat dry milk solids
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1.5 cups regular milk (this means almond milk in our house, no cows milk)

In a large bowl, stir together flour, oats, cornmeal, dry milk solids, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Cut in peanut butter until particles are small.  Beat egg and milk to blend; pour into flour mixture and stir to mix well.  Turn into a greased and floured 9x5x3 inch loaf pan and spread evenly.  Bake in preheated 325* oven until cake tester toothpick (who has a cake tester anyway) comes out clean.  I baked mine for 70 minutes and it was fine.  Place pan on wire rack to cool for 10 minutes; loosen edges; turn out on wire rack; turn right side up; cool completely.  To store, wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Sorry for the horrible picture, but I ALWAYS forget the camera until after I have already cut into it and remember to take a picture.  But, you can kind of see the small chunks of PB in there.  This was one of the first things I’ve made that my husband actually requested seconds two days in a row!

I think this would be phenomenal put under the broiler, toasted, then with a little jam on top.  This bread is just sweet enough to make you LOVE it, but not so sweet that you feel guilty about eating it.  A great gift bread (if you don’t eat it all first).


Grandma’s Notes: 11/26/93- If the Lord be with us, who can be against us?  Such a wonderful thought.  Making tatting.  11/29/93- Helen and Phil Nathans spent the night.  Bessie Baldwin called; chatted about an hour.  12/18/93- Fixed Barbara a birthday card.  THANK  YOU FATHER FOR THE REALITY OF YOUR BEING, THE THINGS NOT SEEN BUT VERY REAL EVERY DAY.