Brown Sugar Chews

Brown Sugar Chews1

Positively the best bar cookie known to mankind. Buttery, brown sugary, chewy, buttery…oh, I said that already, …still..…..BUTTERY!  Is it any wonder they are such a favorite? The simplicity of ingredients make this a staple in many a Southern home. My mother  always had Brown Sugar Chews in her famous Tupperware container. All the grandchildren knew where to find them!

When I’m out of dessert, this is a perfect sweet to whip up.  And the great thing is that you can switch it up by adding a variety of  extras. These had macadamia nuts, and white chocolate bar, coarsely chopped. I prefer pecans…but my husband likes macadamia. So this week, it was macadamia. Coconut is also a great addition. It’s all according to how you feel and what you’re in the mood for and what you have available. But honestly, pecans are all you need.

I brown sugar chews ingredients

Ingredients are simple. Brown Sugar, Self Rising Flour, 2 eggs, vanilla, BUTTER,  pecans. That’s it.

How hard can this be? Line a 9×13 baking pan with foil. Butter it or Pam it….Preheat oven 350* Bake 20-30 minutes.

brown sugar chewspan

And then you can fall in love with the most satisfying sweetness you can imagine.

Brown Sugar Chews3

What are you waiting for?  In about 45 minutes you can have a house full of happy campers.

Brown Sugar Chews stacked

Enjoy! 

Brown Sugar Chews

Ingredients

  • 1 box of light Brown Sugar minus 1/2 cup of sugar or 2 cups Brown Sugar
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter or 12 TBLS or 3/4 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven 350*
  2. Melt butter. Remove pan from heat and stir in brown sugar until dissolved. Add eggs, flour vanilla and nuts. Mix until blended.
  3. Spread in a 9x13 buttered pan. I like to line my pan with foil or parchment and then butter or Pam it.
  4. Bake 20-30 minutes until a nice brown crust has formed on top and a tooth pick comes out with only a few crumbs and not wet.
  5. ALlow to cool a few minutes in pan. Remove by lifting the foil out and placing on a cutting board. Cut into squares. These are perfect for a party to cut into tiny squares or larger squares for the cookie jar. Store in an airtight container, or cookie jar. Freezes nicely between wax paper. Seal tightly.
  6. Enjoy!
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Ham Cheddar and Potato Quiche

Ham Cheddar and potato quiche1

I love a quiche. The list of possible ingredients are endless, making it one of the most versatile  dishes ever, IMO.  It’s a great leftover-user-upper.  This is a variation to my Sausage, Spinach and Mushroom Quiche  that I posted earlier. The only difference is I used Ham, obviously,  and cheddar cheese.  Quiche is a delicious way to use leftover ham.

I’ve been making omelettes for breakfast every other morning, trying to use up the ham from Sunday Dinner.  I sent some home with my family after dinner. And still, I have ham!!!  I cut  much of it off the bone and froze the bone for soup later. There’s nothing better than Ham Bone and Vegetable Soup! But today, I decided to make a Ham, Cheddar and Potato Quiche for lunch. I had a leftover baked potato so that worked out great!   Just mix all ingredients and pour into unbaked pie crust.

Ham quiche2

Now, let me give you an important little tip…my pie crust was cracked. It was store bought and had been in the freezer and obviously been tossed about a bit. It had several cracks. One thing you don’t want is pie filling cooking beneath the crust and it will seep through cracks. So, to remedy this, I place my frozen pie crust in the preheated oven for about 2 minutes. Just long enough to soften and barely thaw the dough. Then I remove it from the oven and pressing lightly with my moistened finger tips, I press the crack together until it is no more… now, my pie crust is perfect and ready for filling. :)

Ham cheddar quiche

Another tip….when you are baking a dish such as a quiche, souffle, cheesecake,  casserole, pie, macaroni and cheese or dressing that contain eggs,  allow the dish to cook until the center domes up in the middle. That’s how I always tell if the middle is done. It will begin rising along the sides and continue until the middle is risen, too. Then you know the center part is cooked and you don’t have to worry about raw eggs running out, when you slice it.

IF  the crust around the sides begin to brown too much,  you may lightly cover the edges with foil and allow dish to keep cooking, so as not to burn the crust. Just a little ” Basic Cooking 101″…

My husband comes home for lunch everyday and it was cold today. This fresh from the oven  quiche was a hit.  We both had seconds! Ham, Cheddar and Potato Quiche is a perfect combination of savory, cheesy, warm, oooey gooey goodness.

Next time you have left-over ham..you know what to do….and by the way…This combination tasted AWESOME!!! Enjoy!

Ham Cheddar and Potato Quiche

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chopped cooked ham
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1/4 cup diced bell pepper
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup cooked potato, chopped..optional
  • salt and papper to taste
  • 1 TBLS fresh Thyme
  • a dash of nutmeg, opt.
  • 1 unbaked pie crust

Instructions

  1. Place tin foil on a large cookie sheet and fold up sides of foil making a tray to catch any spills. Place unbaked pie crust in middle of foil.
  2. Mix all. Pour into unbaked pie crust. Bake in reheated 375* oven 40-50 minutes.
  3. ****The middle of the quiche should dome up some when done. If it is still sunk in, it's not done yet.
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Amazing Home-Made Cough Syrup

amazing homemade cough syrup2

Last night I made my secret cough syrup for my husband, whose cough had gotten way out of control. It seems to be worse at night and lately we both have lost sleep for one reason or another and his cough wasn’t helping matters.

For 20 years we have made hot toddies when we have a cough or sore throat and they do help. Simply heat some bourbon and honey. Squeeze a lemon into the hot brew and sip away.

Last night I added my little twist. Ginger. Fresh ginger.

amazing cough syrup

You may know that ginger has great medicinal properties. For thousands of years the Chinese have known the value of ginger in maintaining good health. A cup of ginger tea everyday is good to keep your body healthy. It provides relief for everything from stomach issues such as nausea to relieving arthritis pain. And so much more.

But what you may not know, and I discovered quite by accident,  it helps with coughs. I made this little concoction and he slept like a baby. Not even a whimper.  I tell him it’s my Love Potent Number 9. (Now, don’t you feel better?)  He said I’d better patent it because it works!

DSCN3464

I suggest you take this before bed and not drive after taking a dose, due to the alcohol content. Also check with your doctor about combining this with over-the-counter or prescription drugs.  I’m not a doctor, just a grandma….with a recipe.

Also, this is not for children due to the alcohol content and remember that infants are not to have honey before one year of age…

This is for you…home alone ~ nursing a cold ~ with a cough ~and you or~  your spouse ~ wants to sleep tonight…

My husband poured about 1/4 cup into a glass and drank it before he went to bed. We both got a good nights sleep. ;)

This recipe may be doubled or tripled.

Keep in the refrigerator and use within a month….or so. ;)

amazing cough syrup2

Home-Made Cough Syrup

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup bourbon or whiskey
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 lemon thinly sliced
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 short finger (about 1 inch) of fresh ginger, sliced very thinly or grated

Instructions

  1. Heat bourbon and honey over medium heat until honey melts and is blended. Do not boil.
  2. Place sliced lemons in a pint jar (with lid).
  3. I used an empty glass honey jar.
  4. Add ginger to top of lemons.
  5. After honey has melted, remove from heat and add lemon juice.
  6. Pour bourbon mixture over lemons and ginger in jar.
  7. Allow to cool.
  8. Before bed take 2 tablespoons - 1/4 cup of syrup.
  9. Due to the alcohol content you may not want to drive after taking.
  10. And consult your doctor before mixing with prescription or over counter drugs
  11. This is for adults. :)
  12. Children should not be given alcohol
  13. Babies under one year old should not be given honey
  14. It will keep indefinitely in the refrigerator...well, ok...a month or so.
  15. Recipe may easily be doubled or tripled.
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Mother’s Kitchen Makeover

Mo

I know it seems like I have abandoned my little blog this week…. I feel like I’ve been in a whirlwind, lately. Two weeks ago my 80 year old mother, who just had her cast removed from her broken wrist, told me she really wanted to refinish her table and chairs in her breakfast nook. My mother is like me…or rather I am like her…when I want something done it gets done, like, now.  I told her to wait for me, that I would come see her and we could decide what to do in her kitchen. It hasn’t been updated in almost 30 years. Boy, does time fly or what?

Her kitchen still has her 1980’s tiny floral print wallpaper with country decor. I’m in no mood to scrap wallpaper off of walls….so I decided to do a tissue paper faux technique to cover the paper and paint. Saturday, two weeks ago, I drove to my hometown and Mama and I went shopping for fabric to make curtains and from there we bought paint for the room. I thought I could get it all done in a day, but as it turned out, I only was able to finish the tissue paper and paint. So, I brought the table and chairs home with me to refinish.

I finished painting and staining everything last Friday but had not recovered the cushioned seats. (That’s when I was surprised by a surprise birthday party!) And it’s a good thing. Because the next day I found the coordinating  fabric that goes with the curtain fabric we bought. I had to buy it. It was too perfect not to. And besides, she wanted blue and this was a very pretty blue.

So the first of this week,  I moved to Plan B. I repainted everything, chairs and table legs to go with new fabric.

mamas kitchen before

This is before…you can’t see the tiny little flowers….they are there…trust me.

She has had this table, since I was in elementary school.

mama's table before

And this is after… The tissue paper doesn’t show up in this photo, but it will when I glaze it this weekend…

mamas kithen painted after

Isn’t it amazing what a little paint can do?  What I really can’t believe is that my daddy approves. That makes me happy!

I ended up taking the table home with me to refinish. I sanded the finish off of the top and stained it. We love how it turned out.

mamas table and chairs redo

I had  painted the chairs and legs a medium blue but was able to find the coordinating fabric so I repainted them cream and glazed them lightly.  This fabric is so pretty with the cream chairs.

fabric for chairs

This printed floral fabric is for the curtains. We haven’t finished them yet.

mamas fabric

This is the finished…well..almost…Breakfast nook. We still have work to do on the curtains. I love it!

mamas kitchen

I found a soup tureen with blue and brown floral design on it at the antique mall that works perfectly on the table.

Mamas centerpeice

Don’t you love the rich walnut stain?

walnut stained table top

mamas table top

I painted this blue rooster on canvas and matched colors from fabrics. The stenciled design on the left is done using modeling paste to add texture and dimension to the painting.  He’s so fine.

mamas rooster painting

HIS Mercies are new every morning….Lamentations 3:23

mamas sconce

I found the sconce at an estate sale and picked it up for $5.00 and painted it to match, too.

mamas kitchen side2

When your parents get older there’s not much they really need, materially. But what they can use is a little sprucing up around the house. I remember when I was a child that my daddy and uncles would buy wallpaper every year and wallpaper my grandmother’s living room. It was always an old fashioned victorian style print…lot’s of roses and florals and ribbony stripes.That room must have had dozens of layers of wallpaper!!!! It impressed me that they would do something so sweet for my grandmother, that she couldn’t do for herself. A true labor of love. And after all she had done for them, she deserved it.  And what a role model they were to us grandchildren. Honoring their father and mother.

l loved doing this for my mother.  It was a pleasure. And the fact my daddy approves is icing on the cake.

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet Surprise Birthday Luncheon

1renee birthday table decor

Last Saturday was my birthday. It was one I’d rather not broadcast…yes, it was one of the biggies. I’ve entered a new decade of my life and I’m proud to be here. Many people don’t make it. But like I said…I’d just rather not make a to-do about it. Just let me slip on in and keep it to myself. I’ve done a great job so far,  even keeping my husband in the dark….well… in the shade, at least. Not any more. Nope. My sweet children decided I needed to celebrate. And they wanted it to be a surprise.

2renees birthday tabless

It almost was. That is, until Stella decided she needed a day off from school on Thursday.  It’s hard being a 2nd grader. Sometimes  you just need some NaaNaa time. I had errands to run. The tummy ache she claimed to have seemed to dissipate as soon as the “last bus ran.” Imagine that. So we made the rounds. I’m working on my Mother’s Kitchen Makeover (coming soon) and I was looking for a centerpiece. Stella is a great little shopper. We love the antique mall and goodwill and yard sales….fun.

In the middle of this journey, I mentioned to Stella that this Saturday she would be ‘crowning’ the new 1st grade winner of the school pageant. Stella won last year. That’s when the beans came out. Stella said she wasn’t going to crown…that she had it all worked out for the first runner up to crown, because she’d “…rather go to my party….because family is more important than beauty pageants.”  

Yep, the one I didn’t know about.

3renees Birthday soup and salad

Later my daughter asked if I had talked to my son…I hadn’t. I asked her what was going on….just a little family get together. Ok, that is fine. Family. Then my husband came home and I asked him what was going on….he said family and friends. They sent invitations. OMG. To whom? He didn’t know but friends I’ve known through the years.  It was all the kids’ idea and they were handling it. Great.

Then, I asked where they holding this party?   That was when I received the shock heard around the block. They were giving me a surprise party at my house. My house??? You have got to be kidding me!

I had brought my mother’s furniture home to my house to refinish this week. I’d been working on her furniture all week on my porch. Sanding, priming, painting, staining. varnishing…..endless steps to refinishing her table and chairs. My house had been totally neglected while I worked on this project. Now I find out there’s going to be a party here in about 36 hours. And people are coming…not just family.

5pomgranate salad

I was not happy.  I don’t like surprises.  Some people do, I don’t. Not unless it involves diamonds or cars…those surprises are fine. My house was a wreck. My porch was a wreck. My yard had pecan leaves everywhere. I wasn’t happy.

My children were blowing up their cell phones with word that I was worried. They thought it was funny. They sent someone to clean my house. They sent a man by to do my yards. I was feeling a little better….still. We moved the furniture to a storage building.  They cleaned and cleared away things to their proper places.

6French Onion Soup

My children wanted to give their mama a party and somehow I was going to find a way to be happy about it. They love me. My husband reminded me how blessed I am. How many parents are there who just wish their child would call them on their birthday??? Mine wanted to give me a party. It was a precious thing to do.

I should have known better than to worry. When it was over,  it turned out to be the most pleasant and delightful luncheon ever. And the friends they invited were closest friends,  who I would have invited myself. The kids said they knew me and knew what I liked. Small. Close. Friends. Family.

11tables

The guys decorated the tables. That’s never happened before! I was impressed! That was the first indication that it was going to be okay. The tables were beautiful.

4personal chef Josh

My youngest son made my French Onion Soup. I can’t imagine peeling and cutting up 9 pounds of onion!  Then they found a salad recipe that called for pomegranates. They knew I would like that…and they were right….it was perfect. My daughter made the salad and tea. Garlic bread rounded out the meal and German Chocolate Cake was dessert. All my favorites. Totally delicious. It was a labor of love.

1renee birthday guests

The children and grandchildren waited on me and my family and friends. They made me so proud…every one of them. And when it was over….they cleaned everything up, washed all the dishes and put everything away. What more could a mama ask for?

You know, Jesus said not to worry. And I shouldn’t have. I’m one blessed mama.

It was the best party I’ve ever had in my life…so far.

I’m wondering if I’m the only one who cringes at the thought of a surprise party? How do you handle surprises? Do you mind being in the dark about things? Or is it just me?

Apple Walnut Squares with Caramel Glaze

apple walnut squares1

I did say apples are my favorite Fall fruit, didn’t I? Already?  They are! Last week after I made my Home-made Apple Tarts I realized I had bought more apples than I needed.  I saved the apples to use this week in my Apple Walnut Squares with Caramel Glaze. [Read more...]

Savory Cream of Carrot Soup

savory cream of carrot soup1

I’ve been craving something lately,  I just didn’t know what. My eyes have been bothering me, so when I saw this recipe for carrot soup …it just looked so good that I couldn’t let the weekend pass until I made Savory Cream of Carrot Soup.  It is so very good, and the fact it’s delicious and good for my eyes…..well, it’s a win-win. And I had enough to freeze…. win-win-win. [Read more...]

Home-Made Apple Tarts

homemade apple tart

Fall is officially here.  I know it’s technically been here a few weeks, but in Georgia the season kinda drags its feet. Then slowly but surely the weather gives in, until the nights and the mornings are finally cool. You know it’s here because the leaves turn loose and begin tumbling to the ground…..And it’s apple season. Time for any and all things apple, my favorite Fall fruit. Today I made Home-Made Apple Tarts. After supper, we had Apple Tarts and coffee. And in the morning,  we will do it all over again…..

I have to admit, the first time I made these I was a little nervous. You see,  apple tarts are my mother in law’s specialty. And I make a point to never enter a competition with my mother in law. There’s no way to win. Not for me nor for you with yours. She was his first love and nothing will ever compete with that.  So, with this fact always in mind, I tread very carefully across this most hallowed ground. ;)

I remember when we were dating and I had made my perfect roast beef for dinner. We stopped by later to see his mother and he must have been smokin’ something, I never knew what got into him. To this day.  I caught my breath when I heard him say to her  “It was the best roast beef I have ever put in my mouth.” I looked at him and thought “What have you done? Have you lost your mind???” He told me later, that he was trying to put the words back into his mouth as they stumbled out, but they wouldn’t stop coming… It was something we will never forget. She stopped what she was doing and looked at him, then she looked at me, then back at him. I knew he had stepped in it. There was no cleaning up that mess. We didn’t stay long.

She has made apple tarts for him since he was a little boy.  It’s a comfort food for him and he loves them.  I dreaded having him try mine.  I worried about the crust. I was concerned it might be tough. I worried about the filling, I knew she only used dried apples….I didn’t have her recipe, but I did have one from a dear lady I knew years ago.  When I finished with my first batch and tasted the first one…..oh me, oh my.  They were out of this world. I wasn’t worried any more. And further more, not only would my husband approve, she would, too!

I love my mother in law. We’ve always been kindred spirits. We love the same things: cooking, gardening, shopping and her son.

homemade apple tarts closeup

The tart has perfect layers of tender and delicate crust.

homemade apple tart apples

Although some recipes call for dried apples, fresh apples are perfect. You simply cook them until the juice evaporates. The filling is a simple stewed apple, sugar and cinnamon combination. I used Granny Smith Apples.

homemade apple tart filling2

Roll out crust into 5 inch rounds. Place a tablespoon of filling in the middle and fold over, crimp with a fork.

homemade apple tarts filling

Fry in 1 inch oil, on medium heat. You don’t want the oil to be smoking….

homemade apple tarts frying

Drain well on paper towels. Sprinkle with granulated sugar while still warm.

homemade apple tarts sliced

This recipe makes about 15 apple tarts.

Homemade Apple Tarts wide

Whew!…..It’s always nice to pass the mother in law test, don’t you think?   I’m not even going to tell you what he said about my Home-Made Apple Tarts!……no way….  I will say this…they won’t last long!

Enjoy!

Home-Made Apple Tarts

Ingredients

  • 4 large baking apples .....I used two Granny Smith and two Fuji. The Granny Smith tend to cook down faster and the Fuji will not fall apart so easily. You may use either or some of both.
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1-2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 TBLS butter
  • Crust:
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup salad oil
  • hot salad oil for cooking

Instructions

  1. Peel and slice apples. Place in large boiler...(just apples) and turn heat on medium. Cover them with a lid. Watch the apples and stir them as they cook a little, but not too much. After about 3-4 minutes remove lid and add sugar and cinnamon mixture. Cook uncovered until done. If you stir too much they will all cook apart. Don't cook them that long..maybe 3 more minutes. Remove from heat and stir in flavoring and butter. Stir and set aside to cool.
  2. For Crust:
  3. Mix all ingredients and add additional flour so that you can handle the dough. Once dough is smooth, place in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes or until you are ready to assemble tarts.
  4. To assemble:
  5. Roll out half of the dough about 1/8 inch thick, on a well floured surface.
  6. Once it is rolled out, dust it with a little flour and fold into a square.
  7. Roll it out again. This makes the wonderful flakey layers. ..but this can be our little secret....
  8. Cut into 5 inch circles. (I used a large wide-mouth peanut butter jar)
  9. Wet the edges with water.
  10. Place a tablespoon of filling in the center of the dough round.
  11. Fold over and press together with fingers
  12. With a fork, crimp edges.
  13. Fry in hot oil until both sides are lightly browned.
  14. Drain on paper towels.
  15. Sprinkle with granulated sugar
  16. This recipe will make about a 12-15 tarts
  17. Enjoy!
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Happiness is God’s Will for Us

Young joyful woman in spring field

A couple of weeks ago I was wondering whether or not God wants His people to be Happy. I found that He certainly does. So much so, that Jesus devoted a whole sermon on just exactly how we can be happy! Another word for happy is blessed.  I think it’s safe to say that happiness is God’s will for us! [Read more...]

Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant parmesan1

I don’t now about you, but Eggplant Parmesan is one of my favorite dishes.  It satisfies something deep down in my being….makes me think I must have Italian ancestors somewhere back there….wouldn’t that be nice?  And, I wish I still had relatives there living a beautiful villa in a quaint little Italian Village…..that would work! I can claim this: My son proposed to his sweetheart in a city park overlooking the country side in Monterubbiano, Italy. I’m thinking that counts for ‘honorable mention’ at the very least…..;) And when I painted the backdrops for our Nutcracker production my husband nicknamed me Michalangela. There,  you see? I have many reasons to claim Italian heritage… [Read more...]