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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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Monday, January 31, 2011


Fry out some hamburger, slap up a can of Pillsbury's French Loaf Bread across the counter, make some coleslaw, and last but not least place some Alexia's Onion Rings on a baking sheet...and wait for the good times to begin.

1 can Manwich Sloppy Joe sauce
1  refrigerated Pillsbury French Bread Loaf
homemade coleslaw
Alexia's Onion Rings

Set the Sloppy Joe's to cooking as per directions...beat the French bread loaf over the counter and then cut it into 3 sections. Mold each section into a ball, pinching the end seams together and placing seam end down on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees until browned. Place onion rings on another cookie sheet and bake 10 minutes on one side and then turn over for 5 minutes.  Slice off the top of each bread bowl and then take a wooden spoon and poke the bread meat down all around the inside of the bread bowl. Don't panic, it's a whole lot simpler than it sounds. Add the cooked sloppy Joe to each bowl. Serve all three together on a plate with a warm smile and the love that it took to get it all together!
"I never met a Sloppy Joe that I did not want to take home with me!"~Adele Forbes


Always popular with my summer clients, the cheese terrine is not only pleasing to the palate but to the eyes as well.

32 ounces cream cheese

2 large cloves garlic -- crushed, peeled, minced finely
2 teaspoons herbs de provence
7 ounces oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes -- julienned
3 tablespoons sliced green onions
4 ounces bleu cheese
1/2 cup sliced almonds or walnut pieces
7 ounces prepared pesto sauce
1/2 cup fresh parsley -- minced
1/2 cup fresh basil -- minced

Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap. In a food processor, blend one package of cream cheese with garlic and Herbs de Provence. Spread into bottom of a plastic butter dish  and sprinkle with basil. Refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes until firm.
To make second layer, process one package cream cheese with sun-dried tomatoes and green onions. Spread on top of first layer and sprinkle with parsley. Refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes until second layer is firm.
For third layer, process remaining cream cheese, bleu cheese and nuts. Spread over first two layers and repeat dusting of basil. Refrigerate until firm.
To make final layer, combine one package of cream cheese with pesto sauce in food processor. Spread onto previous layers and top with parsley. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
To serve, unwrap and invert onto serving tray. Cut slices from loaf as needed. Serve with mild crackers.
Serves 10 to 12

"I never met a cheese terrine that I didn't like."~Adele Forbes

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Always handle salad greens with kid gloves.

In  my humble opinion, the salad spinner is one of the greatest kitchen inventions EVER! Grab one at a yard sale for a dollar or Wally World for $4.00. Make sure that it is one that has open holes on the bottom of it so that the water can run out when it goes for a spin around the sink.

Tear greens in bite-size pieces with your hands to avoid bruising with knife. I hate ordering a salad in a restaurant and it arrives in huge pieces...it is a whole lot easier to eat when the lettuce is in smaller pieces. That's my opinion and I am sticking with it!
Don't cut up tomatoes either for a salad because their juices will thin the dressing and wilt the greens. Add them at the last minute or serve on the side.

After you have spun your greens in the salad spinner, place a sheet of paper towel in a large zip-lock baggie and then pour the lettuce in, position it over the towel so it is all nice and even, seal it and place it in the fridge until you are ready to make your salad. The greens will we nice and crisp and well chilled.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


"The bishop smiled approvingly. A soup like this is not the work of one man, he said, it is the result of a constantly refined tradition. There are nearly a thousand years of history in this soup."~Willa Cather

1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
3 tablespoons butter
1 can (14.oz.) cream-style corn
2 (10 oz.) cans cream of potato soup
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup water
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme, or 2 teaspoons fresh
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
3 (6 oz.) cans crabmeat, drained and flaked

In a large pot, saute the celery, onion, and red pepper in the butter over medium heat until tender. Add the creamed corn, potato soup, milk, cream and water; stir to combine. Add all seasonings and adjust to taste. Add crabmeat and stir. When heated through, remove the bay leaves. Serve warm. Great with a green salad and cheese biscuits.



CLEAR SOUPS: crisp crackers, cheese toast strips

CREAM SOUPS: cheese popcorn, seeded crackers, crushed pretzels, pickles, olives

CHOWDERS & MEAT SOUPS: Melba toast, oyster crackers, sour pickles, pickled okra, bread sticks, relishes, toasted garlic bread

EGG BALLS: Take the yolks of three hard boiled eggs, one teaspoonful of flour made smooth with the yolk of one raw egg, and one-half teaspoonful of salt. Mix and make into small balls and drop into boiling soup just before serving.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Our friend Jimmy Hughes on his pier in the Inland Waterway at Holden's Beach checking the crab traps. Steamed crabs, crab cakes, crab bisque...

2 1/2 finely crushed potato chips
1 lb. lump crabmeat
1/3 cup tartar sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons butter, divided into 6 pieces
1 lemon, cut in wedges

Preheat broiler. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a sheet of aluminum foil; set aside.
Place potato chips through pepper in a bowl, stirring just to combine. Shape mixture into 6 patties and place on baking sheet. Top each pattie with a pat of butter.
Broil until browned, 2 to 3 minutes, watch carefully. Serve with lemon wedges.

"why my good sir, this is a krabby patty, smothered in jellyfish jelly"~spongebob


Here once again is the result of venturing into my pantry and refrigerator for the makings of 'what's for dinner tonight?'
Hamburger meat, red bell peppers and fresh cilantro made their selves known to me from the depths of the fridge.
A savory sweet onion beckoned from it's woven bowl atop the table on the lazy Susan.
The pantry served up chicken broth, my home-canned summer salsa, black beans, corn, tomatoes, sugar and vinegar; whilst visions of sweet and sour danced in my head.
So with my wooden spoon in hand and favorite apron adorned I settled in for one of this long winters favorite activities...whipping up a large pot of soul satisfying chili. Why don't you join me?

1 lb ground round
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup sweet onion, chopped
1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
4 cups chicken broth
1 1/4 cups salsa
2 (15 oz.) cans black beans (rinsed and drained)
1 (15 oz.) can corn, drained
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
sugar and vinegar to taste (a couple tablespoons of each or less-to your liking.)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
sour cream
Heat olive oil over medium heat in large pot. Add ground beef, onion and bell pepper and saute, stirring to crumble, until meat is no longer pink. Drain off any fat.
Add chicken broth through tomatoes, stir well to combine. Add sugar and vinegar to taste, relying on your taste buds to speak to you when the right flavor shows itself.
Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Add cilantro, reserving some for garnish. 
To Serve: Ladle into bowls. Top with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of cilantro. Serve with my LITTLE BITS OF SUNSHINE which you can find the recipe for here in my blog.

"Chili represents your three stages of matter: solid, liquid, and eventually gas."~Roseanne


One of my favorite food magazines is Kraft's 'Food & Family'. Not only is it oriented around budget friendly meals but it also features recipes that are quick and simple to make. You can feed 4 people this dish with a side green salad for under $10.00. I fed it to 6 poker players last Friday night and there was none left and everybody was extremely happy.

1 pkg. (7 1/4 oz.) Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Dinner
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 can (14 1/2 oz.) Rotel tomatoes with green chiles, undrained
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano or basil
1/2 cup Kraft shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare Dinner in large pan as directed, omitting butter. Brown meat in large skillet on medium-high heat; drain. Add tomatoes and oregano; mix well. Bring to boil.
Add meat mixture to dinner; spoon into 9-inch square baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese.
Bake 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and casserole is heated through.
Serves 4

"For our first date, I made Ryan Hamburger Helper, which is basically what I grew up on. I make my own version of it now, with macaroni and cheese and hamburger meat. And the kids - it's their favorite dinner."~Reese Witherspoon

COOKS NOTE: Original recipe calls 1 can of Italian-style stewed tomatoes. I personally prefer Rotel Tomatoes with green chiles, which supplies some heat.

Monday, January 24, 2011


When you remove a roast from the oven, be it beef, lamb, pork or poultry, let it sit for a little bit before slicing into it. This time allows for the juices to settle into the meat. If you start carving it right away most of the goodness will be lost on the cutting board.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


 "My grandfather always said that living is like licking honey off a thorn."~Louis Adamic...never heard this quote before but you have to love it!
I truly do love me some good honey...honey do this and honey do that...the best honey that I have found comes from Brunswick County on the coast of North Carolina and is made by a fellow by the name of John Smith. A reporter had written him up in the Brunswick Beacon, which we subscribe to, and my husband made a fuss about us obtaining some of this golden nectar. So on our next trip to the beach I called every John Smith in the phone book and at call # 8 I found the right one. It was during the winter and he told me to call him back in the Spring and that he would fix me up....I now have enough to last me for a spell.

And now to the tip...that is what you came looking for...Rub your spoon with butter before dipping it in the honey, it will slide right off. Unless of course you are like me and prefer to lick the spoon.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Never~ever~ use a metal bowl to mix a salad in...lettuce does not like metal...use china, glass or wooden.

Friday, January 21, 2011


Have a big old massive headache? Cut a fresh lime into and massage it around your temples and forehead...you'll be so glad that you did! Eat the kiwi...respect the blackberry...it knows it's place.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


When the weather outside is not cooperating for grilling your ribeye, fry it out in a pan in 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil. When done to your liking remove it and add 1 more tablespoon butter, a healthy splash each of Brandy, Grand Marnier and white wine...when the glaze coats your taste buds your tongue will do the happy dance!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


When deep-frying foods such as chicken and shrimp, place the finished product on brown paper bags as opposed to paper towels to retain the crispness.


Today is my good friend Eb Pope's birthday. Happy Birthday Eb! You are one of the dearest friends I have ever had and I want you to know how much I appreciate you, and what better way than with this fabulous fusion of red velvet cake. Enjoy your day...

1 pkg. yellow cake mix
1 pkg. vanilla instant pudding, large
4 big eggs
1 1/2 cups evaporated milk
2 bottles red food coloring
2 teaspoons cocoa
1/2 stick butter, softened
Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl and beat until nice and smooth. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour half of batter into a 10-inch prepared bundt pan.
2 (8oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
2 big eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Confectioners' sugar for garnish
Combine cream cheese through vanilla and beat until smooth and creamy. Spread evenly over the batter in pan. Top evenly with remaining cake batter. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan 10 minutes then invert to cool. Dust cooled cake with the confectioners' sugar. Serves 12 to 16
"A friend knows the song in my heart and sings it to me when my memory fails." ~Donna Roberts

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Don't throw out left over wine: Freeze into ice cubes for future use in casseroles and sauces.

Monday, January 17, 2011


New Feature: CULINARY TIP OF THE DAY #1: Let raw potatoes stand in cold water for at least half an hour before frying to improve the crispness of french-fried potatoes. My grandmother always did this when I was growing up in her house and she did make the crispiest fried potatoes. She also cut them in little chunks and I remember them as the best fried potatoes ever.

MACS & CHEESE SOUP (Comfort Food at it's Best)

Adapted from http://www.foodnetwork.com/food-network-magazine/
My husband found this recipe when he was looking through some of my magazines and placed it in my hand and said, "we have to have this and sooner would be better than later." So I obliged him and put my own spin on it as I am bad to do and it is now ranked amongst our 'very favorite things'. It is not low calorie, though it is lower calorie than the classic baked macs & cheese, and it is most definitely not low carb either. But when you cook for a tall, thin man, whom I have been cooking for over 35 years, and have not put even 1 ounce of fat on him, you come to the reality that it is not going to happen, so when he asks for something special I don't mind to deliver. And deliver I did! It is delicious and I guarantee it to warm not only your belly but your soul.
1 cup elbow macaroni
2 Roma tomatoes, skin-on, sliced 1/2-inch thick
4 (1/2-inch thick) slices baguette
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup sweet onion, diced fine
1 good sized carrot, diced fine
1 to 2 stalks celery, diced fine
1/4 cup plain flour
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup evaporated milk
3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
3/4 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees and place oven rack in the upper third.
Bring a pot of water to a boil, add macaroni and cook just until al dente (firm to the bite).
Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and place tomato and baguette slices on it. Season with sea salt and pepper. Bake until bread is golden, turning once, this step will not take long.
Melt butter in large pot, add onion, carrot and celery, saute for 3 or 4 minutes until nicely softened. Add flour, cook and stir for about 2 minutes. Gradually add the broth and allow to come to a boil, stir until thickened, 6 to 8 minutes, remove from heat. Add milk, cheeses and macaroni, stirring until cheeses are melted. Season again to taste.
Top each individual serving with baguette slices topped with tomatoes.
Serves 4

"But I love fish, cheese and meat, and I eat everything, but only in small quantities if it's rich."~Eva Herzigova

Friday, January 14, 2011


Here is a healthier version of the typical white flour, loaded with sugar and oil, banana bread. The best thing about it...you are not going to miss the old version...not one little bit!

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon each of baking powder, baking soda, and ground cinnamon
4 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted
cooking spray
light whipped cream cheese
Stir together first 4 ingredients in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture.
Stir together bananas and next 4 ingredients; add to flour mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Gently fold in walnuts.
Pour batter into a 9X5-inch loaf pan which has been sprayed with cooking spray.
Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes to 1 hour until done. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, remove and cool completely.
If you wish, serve with light whipped cream cheese spread.
Yield: 10 servings

"I never met a banana nut bread that I did not like."~Adele Forbes

Thursday, January 13, 2011


This yummy recipe ended up as dinner last night and it was divine! Add a side of mashed potatoes and a crusty baguette.

2 1-inch thick bone-in pork loin chops
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
olive oil & butter
1 Gala apple, sliced

Place saute pan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter. Cook pork chops about 5 minutes on each side until golden. Remove from pan and add add apple slices, adding a little more butter to the pan if needed. Cook one side until golden and then turn and cook the other side. Serve next to the pork chops with mashed potatoes and a crusty bread.

“There is poetry in a pork chop to a hungry man.”~Philip Gibbs (NY Times 1951)

Monday, January 10, 2011


My husband and I both decided that these were the best pumpkin muffins yet that we have had the pleasure of eating. I pulled two of them apart and placed a pat of real butter in between them while they were still hot out of the oven...they did not last long. The scents and flavors of the cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg made their presence known with every bite.

1 (16oz.) can pure pumpkin
1 cup cooking oil
3 cups sugar
3 large eggs
3 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 cup golden raisins
paper baking muffin cups

Place pumpkin through cloves in mixing bowl and beat with electric mixer until smooth, about 2 minutes until well blended. Stir in nuts and raisins.  Spoon batter into paper-lined muffin tins using a 1/4 cup measure. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove and cool on clean dishtowels.

"A book reads the better which is our own, and has been so long known to us, that we know the topography of its blots, and dog's ears, and can trace the dirt in it to having read it at tea with buttered muffins."~Charles Lamb, Last Essays of Elia, 1833

Monday, January 3, 2011


Spring is a time of renewal, not only for our sight and senses, but for our palates. With memories of winter fading, we can turn our thoughts to the wonderful array of springtime produce. Firm asparagus and sweet green peas are at their peak. Celebrate the awakening of the warming soil with these time tested recipes.


NUTRITIONAL INFO: Excellent source of Vitamin A, C, and folate.

LOOK FOR: Firm smooth stalks and thin or fat shoots with tight buds at the top.

STORAGE: Cut the ends of the stems and place in water as you would flowers. Store in refrigerator for just a few days.

USES: Roasted, steamed. Drizzle with olive or nut oils.


2 lb. trimmed asparagus
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a shallow baking dish that is just big enough to hold the asparagus. Divide asparagus into three bunches. Layer one bunch at a time with the tips all pointed in the same direction. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Repeat layers, finishing with the cheese. Dot the top with the butter and place in oven. Bake about 20 minutes or until asparagus is cooked through and the cheese is golden in color.
Serves 4 to 6


NUTRITIONAL INFO: Excellent source of vitamin C. Good source of vitamin A, fiber and folate.

LOOK FOR: Bright green pods filled but not bulging. If to large they are old and starchy.

STORAGE: Keep in refrigerator. Use within 2 days.
BEST USES: Peas like keeping company with carrots, mushrooms and pearl onions. For a lively zip add fresh dill or mint.

Plump, freshly shelled green peas in my humble opinion, are a must have in your
kitchen after a long drab winter.
I learned the fine art of cooking risotto many moons ago from a wonderful lady in her home in Grandfather Golf & Country Club. Though I was intimidated by it at first, it did not take me long to get past that initial bout of nerves. Now I absolutely love making risotto and you need not be intimidated by it either. It just takes some time, but trust me when I say that the finished product is well worth it.

1 lb. unshelled English peas (which should yield at least 1 cup shelled)
3 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, diced
1 cup Arborio rice (best rice to use for risotto)
1/2 cup dry white wine
juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
1 tablespoon fresh mint (optional)
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add 1 cup of peas and cook for 2 minutes, just until they turn bright green. Plunge into ice water to cool, drain well.
Bring chicken broth to a boil in the same pan you cooked the peas in.
Heat the olive oil in your largest heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent but do not allow it to brown. Add the rice and cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until it has turned nearly white. Add the wine, stirring until the wine evaporates. Now add the broth, 1 soup ladle at a time, allowing for almost all of the broth to be absorbed before adding the next ladle full. Continue adding and stirring, you may stop stirring long enough to pour yourself a glass of the wine, until all of the broth has been used. This is going to take approximately 18 to 20 minutes. It will have a creamy appearance.
Add remaining ingredients, season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover for a few minutes, allowing for it to steam, then serve immediately. Never allow your risotto to loaf. Pass a bowl of extra grated Parmesan cheese. Serve remaining wine with the meal.
Serves 4 to 6

"I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose, I would always greet it in a garden."~Ruth Stout


On our last trip to the coast of North Carolina we developed a huge craving for BBQ Ribs. I had some honey barbecue sauce and discovered a can of pineapple rings, and added to this mixture a sweet onion and green bell pepper.  So I made layers of all of these ingredients in the slow cooker with generous sprinklings of sea salt and freshly ground pepper, and the rest as THEY say is history. The end result turned out to be some of the best ribs we had ever had the pleasure of passing over our tongues to out bellies. That being said....be sure and try it...it is simple and soul satisfying. Cook it on the LOW setting for 8 to 10 hours. You'll be glad you did!

"The story of barbecue is the story of America: Settlers arrive on great unspoiled continent, discover wondrous riches, set them on fire and eat them."~Anon
"I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky, and all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by, and the wheel's kick, and the winds song and the white sails skating, and a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking."~John Masefield

Sunday, January 2, 2011


I have to confess that I have never been much of a scratch roll or biscuit maker. I tend to want to knead the dough to death and this is a no-no in the world of bread baking. Then I ran up on this recipe in an old church cookbook and thought, what the heck, I'll give it a try. The dough will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week and all you have to do is take out however much you need at a time and roll it out, cut it out, and then slip them in the oven. No waiting to rise, no kneading. Works like a charm every time and the man of the house is happy.

6 cups self-rising flour
1 cup Crisco shortening
5 tablespoons sugar
2 cups buttermilk
5 tablespoons warm water
1 pkg. dry yeast

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Cut shortening in to flour and sugar. Add buttermilk and yeast mixture. Mix well and store in covered bowl. Roll out on floured board. Cut and bake at 450 degrees until brown. Keeps for a week in the refrigerator.

“Poetry is the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits.”~Carl Sandburg