Putting Together Memories

For Christmas, I went to Shutterfly to make a really cool Christmas gift for my brother and two sisters.  Since so many of our memories of Mom are surrounded by her cooking for us, I wanted to make a cookbook of some of our favorites of Mom’s cooking.  It turned out great!

Mom's cookbook

Mom was a really good cook and cooked for whoever would show up for lunch, or she would bribe us with fried chicken and dumplings to come on weekends.

Surrounded by grandkids at Christmas 001 Her utmost joy was derived from feeding and caring the best she could for her children.  And her grandchildren.  And her great-grandchildren.

She might mutter and complain about Jillsurprise party 1972 with Jill 002 not knowing what good food was as she made her the requested grilled cheese while bowls of delicious food (mashed potatoes and dumplings and home-canned green beans and Mom’s  coleslaw to name a few) sat on the table ready to be gobbled up by the rest of us.  Just her way of saying, “I love you.”

Those were hard words to say by a little girl raised in the depression to become the hard-working woman who didn’t have time for frivolity.  Not often anyway.  Every once in a while if we begged she would get up and do what she called “The Shawneetown Stomp” with my older sister.  It was great!!  She would laugh and dance, and so would we.  At least try to dance.  Mom was a great dancer.  So is Tish.  And they looked awesome together!

Mom used to tell stories about growing up in her family, the hardships.  As it does most people, that upbringing weaved its way into who she became.  It caused her to worry about having the money for a home and food.  She was frugal, very frugal.  Yet I still had a beautiful dress for prom and homecoming that she made from royal blue velvet material.  We still managed to get high school class rings, probably wanting us to have one because she didn’t make it through high school.  Each of the girls had piano lessons, something she would have been good at considering her lovely voice when she sang and her rhythm when she danced.

And, of course, the only boy in the family received a really cool car on his 16th birthday.  (No, I’m not mad about it anymore.  Not that I ever was, really.  Well, maybe a little.  But not anymore.  Hardly.)

A few of Mom’s recipes, most in her own handwriting, were included.  This dumpling recipe was from the sessions Mom and I had as she tried to teach me how to make them.  She was too weak by then to roll them out, but she sure enjoyed sitting there teaching me, smiling ear to ear.Mom's Dumplings 001

There was a little bit of history of Mom’s family because they were a close bunch of sisters.  And like my own family, one boy in all those girls.  (Did I mention that my brother wrecked that really cool car by jumping over the levee and breaking it right in half?”  Not that that bothers me or anything anymore.)

So along with pictures of kids and grandkids and recipes, I included a few pics like this one:Logsdon Siblings circa 1930s 001And just so we wouldn’t forget that once upon a time our Mom had a Amy & Churnie 1947 001real life, a life with laughter and flirtation, I included some like this one.

Being the middle child in a family of four children, my characteristics and qualities have been woven in ways such as those that made my Mom into who she was.  And that is why on the back of the book I put a really good picture of me and a not-so-really great picture of the rest of them.

My brother is the one in the silly birthday hat.  And I only used that picture because it was one of the best I had of him.  Not at all because I may still be just a tad incensed by the fact that he got a car on his 16th birthday, and I did not. Mom's cookbook back

If you want a free book, here is the link for you to get one.  https://invite-shutterfly.com/x/SOm1IE

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Cookin’ It Up

My Blue Apron meals have been entertaining and delicious!  For $59 a week I get three different meals for two people. The first one arrived to much excitement and anticipation.Cookin it up  I couldn’t wait to get into it to see what was cookin’ for the next week.Cookin it up

Once I got it opened, I was greeted with a letter from Blue Apron and all the recipes on these beautiful, big, easy-to-read cards.  Nice people.  Underneath the welcome letter was all the produce and knickknacks (spices, butter, vinegar, cream, etc.) for the meals.  Everything is measured, with just the right amounts being sent:  certain amount in ounces of greens, the required amount of veggies whether it’s one onion or several fingerling potatoes, enough meat for two, fresh herbs all packaged and labeled.Cookin it upcookin it up

cookin it up

The packaging is eco friendly, with an insulated storage bag that could be reused to go to the grocery store (which comes in very handy in rural areas where the grocery store is at least 20 miles away).  In the bottom of the box are two frozen ice bags keeping the meats cold.  The whole kit and caboodle can be recycled.

 

cookin it up

cookin it upIngredients so far have included shrimp, cod, ground lamb and beef, ground turkey, chicken, and flank steak.  Along with the vegetables I normally use such as garlic, onions, potatoes, and carrots, I’ve also been introduced to adding kale and spinach and Swiss chard and fava leaves and epazote and pea tips to the skillet to cook in with the recipe.  Then there’s the red rice and barley that I have found are delicious as well as filling, making a meal satisfy all evening.

Time to start cookin’ it up!!!

the recipe cards

the recipe cards

knickknacks

knickknacks

ingredients

ingredients

Tonight’s meal was turkey meatballs in pita bread.  I lined the pita with a vanilla yogurt, lemon juice, and diced cucumber dressing; added some of the lettuce from the salad, then placed the spiced meatballs in the middle.  Not bad but it wasn’t one of our favorites.  We aren’t big fans of ground turkey — too bland.

 

Cookin it up

Spiced Turkey Meatball Pitas with Sugar Snap Pea & Bibb Lettuce Salad

The Navarin-style lamb meatball stew was one of our favorites.

Navarin-style lamb stew

Navarin-Style Lamb Meatball Stew with Pea Tips & Carrots

The chili blackened cod just needs a little tweaking for our tastes.  Just a little less grapefruit cut up in it and little more finely chopped.

chili blackened cod

Chile-Blackened Cod with Epazote, Avocado & Red Rice Salad

The flank steak with peppercorn sauce, creamed spinach, and fingerling potatoes was super.  Definitely will be making that one again.

cookin it up

Pan-Seared Steaks with Green Peppercorn Sauce & Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

Since the shrimp and fresh pasta meal, I may have to invest in a pasta machine.  I had no idea the difference fresh pasta makes in a dish!

Lemon & Black Pepper Shrimp with Fresh Linguine di Cavolo & Fava Leaves

Lemon & Black Pepper Shrimp
with Fresh Linguine di Cavolo & Fava Leaves

The chicken was very good as well.  The barley added flavor as well as kept us satisfied.

Pan-Seared Chicken Verjus with Pearled Barley & Mushrooms à la Grecque

Pan-Seared Chicken Verjus
with Pearled Barley & Mushrooms à la Grecque

Blue Apron has raised my awareness of how I cook and how I eat.  Only one dish has had much fat in it, and then not excessive.  Learning to cook for two with no leftovers or very little leftover is a plus as well.  The mingling of flavors of the herbs and vegetables and meats combinations has been a learning experience, things I wouldn’t have dreamed of doing together.

The next shipment is Wednesday, and I’m looking forward to it.  None of the meals have taken much time to prepare nor more than two pans.  We have enjoyed critiquing each dish together.  A “foodie” date night.

Sometimes I freeze the meat if I am not going to get to it within a couple of days, but the dishes are much better the quicker the use of the ingredients is.  The meals turn out like the pictures on the cards (my nephew thought I was posting the web site pictures instead of my own when he saw them on Facebook) after you “plate” them.

I just need a chef hat… a really cool chef hat.

 

 

And I’m Going To Wear A Blue Apron Too!

Sometimes I scan through blogs, and often times I find at least one really cool one. Such was the case today.  I found this super cool, informative (unlike mine) healthy lifestyle blog called dailygarnish.  She writes about running, yoga, eating well, raising healthy children… just a good place to go when you have a few extra minutes.

It’s where I found out about Blue Apron. Blue Apron  You know how I love aprons, and you know how my cooking is supposed to be kicking off and going places (for only as long as I’ve been blogging), so when I saw this blog post about a food service called Blue Apron, I was wildly curious.

I read the article on dailygarnish then went on to Google to check out the reviews. Everything I read gave the food service a thumbs up.  So I clicked on the website and filled out the information and now I wait.  The beginning of April I will get my first shipment.Blue Apron

The delivery is everything I will need to make three meals for two people.  Three really cool meals.Blue Apron Each ingredient is measured, each vegetable is included as are the meats, each box is iced.  It includes a recipe card, easy-to-read recipe card.  Blue Apron I am so very excited!!

 

The Party of 1981

The PartyHer name is Dymisha.   One of those friends that settle into your heart, make it their home, and will always be there whether you see them again or not.  That door in my heart has been opened recently, and those wonderful memories came flooding out,  balloons floating into the sky bursting into lovely fireworks.

It was 1981.  We went to church together and were doing a Paul/Timothy study.  We would meet; Dymisha would make me an egg and cheese sandwich with an ice-cold-over- ice Coke (she had Pepsi); the kids would play.  These sessions drew us close, taught us who the other was, and bound us together as sisters, sisters in Christ.

She was the one that turned me on to those delicious egg sandwiches that are to this very day my go-to comfort food.  Whenever I’m tired and hungry, I make an egg and cheese sandwich.  Whenever someone at the house is hungry right now, they get an egg and cheese sandwich.  And I always, always, always, every time I make one, think of her, Dymisha.  I put this recipe (if you want to call it that) on one of my blogs way back in the beginning, but I will put it on here again because it is just that good.

My Most Favorite Egg Sandwich In The Whole World

2 eggs (mix with a fork in the pan) fried in a T. of unsalted butter, no salt, better flip once, maybe fold them over some to fit on the bread

2 slices whole wheat bread, butter lightly one side, lay one piece butter side down in the same pan after scooping up the eggs with a pancake turner, then plop the eggs onto the bread

1 slice of cheese, whatever cheese you like, parceled over the top of the eggs, then place the other piece of bread on that, once again lightly buttered

flip to melt the cheese until it’s gooey and oozing out the sides and the bread is all crispy.

serve with an ice-cold Coca-Cola over crushed ice

Double Yum!!

It was my birthday, June 17, 1981.  Dymisha had invited me to go out to eat somewhere, and I was so excited.  Mom was going to keep the kids; a girls’ day out.  But first, she said, we had to make a stop at a lady’s house for some buttons or some kind of sewing stuff.

Okay.  I was good with that because we were out for the afternoon!

Well, first I have to tell you that Dymisha could do anything.  Really.  Anything she set her mind to, she could do it.  If she decided she wanted to wallpaper her living room, the next day it was done.  If she wanted new curtains, get out the sewing machine and make some that afternoon.  If she needed shelves built, well, where’s the drill.  She amazed me!

So I never thought anything at all about going down the street to the park for her to pick up something she needed to make.

Was I ever surprised!!

(to be continued)

My Sunday Thing: Praising God at the First African Baptist Church in Savannah

the sanctuary

the sanctuary

This photo is from the web site of the First African Baptist Church in Savannah, Georgia.  It is taken from the pulpit looking back toward the door that goes outside, the door we came into Sunday morning to spend in worship with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

It was awesome!

The HHHs are back.  The Hogbottoms are on our annual trip to Hilton Head (thus the Hilton Head Hogbottoms).  It’s only been two days and true to our name we have bellied up to the trough at several wonderful restaurants and ate like the hogs little piggies we are when we come to this lovely island.

Today after our fantastic time in worship with all the others at church, we strolled along Bay Street looking for a place for lunch.  We settled on Your Pie, a great pizza place.  Just a little spot on the corner a couple of blocks from Montgomery Street where the First African Baptist Church is located.  Great crust, great toppings!  Of course, it only took a few hours till we were starving again.  This time is was the Crazy Crab on the island.  YET another good choice!  Cheesy grits, crab cakes with chipotle sauce, grilled shrimp, parmesan crusted grouper.  These people know how to cook!

But the highlight of the day was the worship service of the morning.  The coming together to give God our time, our thoughts, our offerings, our love.  As the song says that we sang this morning, “Forget about yourself.  And worship Him.”  I wish I could have had a video of the congregation singing that song because it was powerful.  If you haven’t heard it, take the time to listen to it.  Just click here.

The offering was made important:  blessing God, giving with joy and fellowship with Him and each other.  We took our tithes and our offerings one at a time down to the front and dropped it in two buckets.  Coming in a line, one after another, adults came with sealed envelopes, young ones came flapping their dollar bills.  The Hogbottoms came with folded money and our visitor card.  Dropped in to mingle with all the other joy from giving.  The whole time the choir and congregation singing I Will Bless The Lord At All Times.

It’s a song by Joe Pace with these lyrics:

I will bless the Lord at all times, He’s good

I will bless the Lord at all times, He’s good
I will bless the Lord at all times, He’s good
I will bless the Lord at all times, He’s good

He’s good, so good, real good
Each and every day of my life
I’ll bless the Lord for He’s good

Yes.  I’ll bless the Lord.  At Hilton Head.  At Savannah.  At home.
He’s good.  Real good.

And worthy of my Sunday morning.

Greenhouse Going Up

Fresh veggies!!  Robust and beautiful flowers! Aching back and dirt-filled nails!  Oh, yes!  Yes!!  Bring it on!

veggies

veggies

My sweet husband is once again laboring away on something that I have wanted for a long time.  The gift he gave me for Christmas.  My coveted greenhouse.  Which went along with the round, tumble compost maker.  Good rich dirt is one of my favorite things.

the making of a greenhouse

the making of a greenhouse

The weather was gorgeous, so the flower beds got cleaned, and all the new buds coming up were exclaimed over with lots of oohing and excited squealing.  I love spring.

a peony coming up

a peony coming up

baby's breath getting ready to breath!!

baby’s breath getting ready to breath!!

 

The greenhouse has our gardening juices flowing.  Not only will we have things growing in that, we will also have things for the small orchard we are planning.  We went through Stark Brothers catalog and ordered fruit trees and asparagus and strawberries and blueberries and blackberries and… I am just so excited.

Did I mention I love spring?

spring

spring

We have sat here and watched youtube videos on gardening in  raised beds, growing  in the garden plot, making compost, how to plant certain plants, all sorts of things.  Here are a few of them just in case you find a plant catalog lying around somewhere.  I’ll warn you now.  If you look through the catalog and watch the videos, it will change your life.

HAPPY GARDENING!!!!

The Mystery of the Frozen Fruit

IMG_6971Blackberry pies.  Steve’s mom had some frozen blackberries, so I made these two pies a few weeks ago.  Every night we had a bowl of blackberry pie and three scoops of vanilla ice cream.  It was so good!  I gained so many pounds.

It wasn’t just the blackberry pies that caused the pounds to pile on my whatever.  It was this too:IMG_6976

Pumpkin bread made out of the home-grown pumpkin that she had cooked and frozen.

We meant to take her some of each.  I don’t know how that happened that neither the blackberries nor the pumpkin made it to her.

A dadgum mystery.

 

Wow, it’s chili tonight!

Today is March 5, just a couple of weeks till spring, yet we had a blizzard.  I’m talking big, fat snowflakes.  And lots of them.  Of course, it wasn’t really warm enough to stick, so tonight it just looks like we have had a big rain.  The blizzard was a wet one, and snow was sticking to everything. And it was freezing out!  The wind was blowing frigid air; it was snowing humongous snowflakes:  Where in the world is spring?! So… since it was so chilly, I came home and made chili.

IMG_6946Somewhere along the pathway of life I have accumulated all these old dishes.  Some are cracked, and yes, I realize they are probably not the safest things to use since they have cracks.  They may have given me some kind of bug that affected my tummy, or they may not, but either way, I will continue to use them because I like them.  Cracks and all.

Here is the recipe:Wow, It's Chili Tonight

The spice I used in the chili had some interesting ingredients: Wow it's chili tonightSo I’m wondering.   How many people put cinnamon, cloves, or cocoa powder in chili?

 

Cooking for the Hogbottoms

WOW!!!!  What happened while I was away?  My last post was November 4.  Since my stats haven’t been all that great, I just don’t check them like I used to check them.  So today when I got on here and did a quick check, it said my highest day was 408!!  Say what?!?!  That was on November 15, a Thursday.  Normally, it’s around 100.

So what happened?  I didn’t get Freshly Pressed.  Or if I did no one left any congratulatory messages on my email or post.  Was Momma’s soup so tasty looking that people all over the world were referred to my blog to look at the photos or try to get the recipe?  It’s crazy good!  I love love it!

And playing off the fact that just maybe it was the dandy soup that did it, here is the recipe in my Aunt Biddy’s handwriting:The Aunts' Soup Recipe

The Aunts' Soup Recipe 2This is just the BEST soup ever!!!

And since I’ve been cooking (my friend tells me I’m nesting) (will explain that another day), I had the Hogbottoms over for a book club breakfast this morning.  We ate heartily and discussed heartily which books we are going to read next year.  Below are the recipes from the breakfast.  They were all great!

Lemon Blueberry BreadThe last thing to do for this bread is make a glaze from confectioners’ sugar and 1 TBSP lemon juice.  Drizzle over cooled bread.

We had Sausage, Spinach and Swiss Strata which was also very tasty.Sausage, Spinach and Swiss Strata

I used 8 eggs instead of 4 eggs and 4 egg whites as well as some whole wheat bread.  The only spinach I had was fresh, so I cooked that and added what I thought was a 10-ounce package and added an extra bit of the turkey sausage as well.  I also topped the strata for the last ten minutes of baking time with halved cherry tomatoes as well as the Swiss cheese.  Turned out just right for a Christmas breakfast.

These Ham and Egg Breakfast Cups were a big hit… and so so easy to make:

Ham and Egg CupsLast but not least were the steel cut oats.  The easy method, and my only method, is 1/2 cup per 1 cup of water and stick in the microwave for a couple of minutes.  Deeelish!!  Pour some Savannah Bee Orange Blossom or Tupelo honey over it and double YUM!!

Add some bananas and red seedless grapes and orange slices along with milk, o.j., and coffee for the final touches.

And a good time was had by all… especially since the Hogbottoms did my dishes.  I love those gals!!

Making Momma’s Soup

It’s soup season!!  All over Facebook people are making chili and soup.  Yesterday I made Mom’s vegetable beef soup from the recipe that all her sisters used.  A few years ago the family on Mom’s side had a reunion and brought recipes for a small cookbook.  In it, in my Aunt Biddie’s handwriting, is the soup recipe they all used.

Here are some pics of the Aunts’ Soup:

We always add homemade egg noodles to this soup.

Filled with cabbage, potatoes, carrots, onions, celery, tomatoes, vegetable or tomato juice, and beef.  Yuuuuuummmmm

While the vegetables cook, I make the egg noodles.  This time I cooked them in water before I added them to the soup, but normally I just add them straight to the soup.  I always use my Granny’s, Dad’s mom’s, old rolling pin.  This thing has seen untold numbers of pie crust, dumplings, noodles…

The end product is always served with cornbread at our house, and this time I made it in the neat cornbread pan that was my grandfather-in-law’s, Joe Wright.  I love using things like that; always reminds me of people I love.

Mmmmm Can’t wait to dig in!!

Here is another good soup recipe I found in my cooking escapades.  It’s really, really good.  Next time I will leave out the pasta, though.

Kale, White-Bean, and Sweet-Potato Soup

And once again I am not sure who to give credit to for this recipe.  I just know it was in a magazine that I have clipped and saved over the years:

 

Kale, Bean, Sweet Potato Soup Recipe