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I am a simple country girl who loves life and lives it to the fullest. I cook for one of the greatest families ever. Cooking is my passion and I consider it as well to be my gift.

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Sunday, November 21, 2010


Holidays are that special time of the year meant to be shared with family and friends. It is a time to be grateful..not only for all you have, but it is also a time for reflection.
We each need to look deep within our hearts and find peace with ourselves and others. Our nation as a whole needs to continue to stand tall and proud in the face of adversity. Make an extra effort during the approaching season to show and tell those you love just how very much they mean to you. Start today. Continue it tomorrow.
My wish for each of you reading this is for you to be happy, healthy and safe during the holidays and that your table groans under the weight of good food and most importantly, that you are warmed by the company of those you love.
Life as we know it is short and can often be uncertain and trying. We should each make the most of every day that we are given. And remember, no one can do this for you. You have to do it for yourself.

COOKS NOTE: The Cranberry Salad and the Gratin can both be made ahead of time. The ingredients for the Dressing can also be made ready ahead of preparing the dish itself. Take advantage of this, and you will have more time to enjoy yourself and your loved ones when the time comes.

This delightful salad graciously takes the place of the typical canned cranberry sauce on your Thanksgiving table.
Cranberries are not only low in calories but are a potent "health food" due to their rich supply of Vitamin C and ellagic acid, an antioxidant which has shown significant cancer fighting properties.
The tart little berry has been paired with the naturally sweet orange in this recipe. Your taste buds and your immune system will stand up and applaud you. Enjoy!

1 (12oz) pkg. fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 (8oz.) can crushed pineapple
1 (3oz.) pkg. raspberry gelatin
1 pkg. unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
1 (15oz.) can mandarin oranges-undrained
2 large ribs of celery-diced
1 Granny Smith apple-diced
1/2 cup finely chopped toasted pecans
1 cup miniature marshmallows

Process cranberries along with the sugar in a food processor just until berries are coarsely chopped. Add pineapple, pulse 3 times.
Sprinkle raspberry and unflavored gelatins over 1/2 cup cold water in a saucepan. Stir and let stand 1 minute. Cook over low heat stirring until gelatin is dissolved. Stir in cranberry mixture, oranges, and next 3 ingredients. Cool to room temperature. Stir in marshmallows and pour into a 9X13 dish or pan. Cover and chill overnight.
Serves: 8 to 10


Sweet potatoes are a powerhouse of beta-carotene with ample supplies of vitamins B and C, making them potent cancer fighters.
Futhermore, they are loaded with fiber which helps to prevent digestive disorders and keeps cholesterol levels low. One large baked sweet potato contains only 180 calories, no saturated fat or cholesterol and only 18 mg. of sodium (a blood pressure bonus).
This holiday gratin is made special with the addition of fresh squeezed orange juice and an oatmeal and nut topping. Can be made a day ahead of time to the point of baking.

6 medium sweet potatoes, baked
1 stick butter, divided
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar, divided
2 eggs
2/3 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided

1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup uncooked old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup chopped nuts

While they are still hot, clean the pulp from the potatoes into a bowl. With an electric mixer, beat in half stick of the butter and 2 tablespoons of the sugar just until butter is melted. Add eggs, orange juice, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg, beating until smooth. Pour into a 1 1/2 quart baking dish, smooth top with the back of a spoon.

Combine flour, oats, remaining 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Cut in remaining 1/2 stick of butter with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add nuts and sprinkle over sweet potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, then slide under the broiler for 2 to 3 minutes, just until golden brown.
Serves: 8


Our family has been having an affair with this oyster for a long time. Our children, even in their youthful years, could eat their share and somebody elses of this long awaited Thanksgiving or Christmas delicacy. What makes it special is not only the fresh oysters but the homemade cornbread (the recipe follows)...you may say "Well, my cornbread recipe will work just as good"...Try it if you must...but first try my original recipe, and then try yours. Please let me know if you think yours is better...I am open to compromise, otherwise..take my word for it and follow the recipe. 
I have yet to see anyone who did not love this dressing. Even non-oyster lovers will ask for the recipe. It's also delicious warmed over. Have all of your ingredients ready and on hand.

4 cups torn wheat bread
4 cups chicken or turkey broth
12 ounces fresh oysters-drained and quartered
6 cups crumbled cornbread
1 1/2 cups finely chopped sweet onion
1 cup finely chopped celery hearts
4 fresh eggs, well beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 generous pinch of sage

Combine first 2 ingredients; set aside for about 8 minutes. Combine with remaining ingredients; spoon into a lightly greased large crock-pot.
Allow to cook for 6 to 8 hours.
This will 'fluff up" like a souffle. Serve with a roasted or deep-fried turkey, Festive Cranberry Salad and the sweet Potato Gratin.


1 stick of butter
2 cups self-rising flour
1 cup white self-rising cornmeal
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups of buttermilk

Melt butter in a 10-inch cast iron skillet in a 375 degree oven. Combine remaining ingredients mixing only until smooth. Add melted butter to batter leaving only a couple tablespoons of butter in the hot pan. Pour batter in pan and bake in oven for 30 minutes.

And now I would like to share with you this Ayurvedic blessing:

"May the good belong to all the people in the world. May the rulers go by the path of justice. May the best of men and their source always prove to be a blessing. May all the world rejoice in happiness. May rain come in time and plentifulness be on earth. May this world be free from suffering and the noble ones be free from fears."

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