Blackberry Mousse

Easy Blackberry Mousse

Summertime and the blackberries are ripe…..well, I actually bought mine at the store. These days, you can find them year round in the freezer section, so you can make this anytime you feel like it. And I do.

I have this thing about blackberries. Maybe because I remember picking them in the Summer growing up. Or maybe it’s the blackberry cobbler my grandmother always made for our family reunions. Or all the jams I made with them when my babies were little. Whatever, I love anything blackberry. If you haven’t tried my ‘signature’ Blackberry Tea…please do! It’s the perfect Summertime drink.

This weekend we celebrated a couple of birthdays at my house and yes, we had birthday cakes…but, I decided to make Blackberry Mousse, too.

blackberry mousse 2

Not only is it a pretty little dish to set before your guests…it’s a delightful little dessert. And perfect for a Summertime Dinner Party.

The fun thing about this recipe is that any berry will work. You may use blueberries, strawberries raspberries or any combination there of. I used Blackberries…..because I’m partial to Blackberries….but I already said that.

This recipe can be made ahead, even the day before.  Just wait to add whipped cream on top and berries right before serving.

This is such a pretty dessert to serve to company.  I found the parfait glasses at GoodWill…. I’ll bet you can, too. You may need to make a couple of trips, like I did,  but you will eventually find enough for a party. 😉

blackberry mousse

Here’s the recipe ….happy cooking!

Blackberry Mousse


  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blackberries
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cups of granulated sugar
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 8oz blocks of cream cheese softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 packet of unflavored gelatin powder
  • 3 TBLS warm water
  • 1/2 cup fresh blackberries
  • 2 TBLS blackberry jam/jelly
  • whipped cream
  • mint leaves


  1. Place blackberries in a saucepan with 1/4 cup of water. Heat over medium heat until berries hot. Press hot berries through a mesh strainer, mashing the berries with the back of a spoon to extract juice,
  2. Mix gelatin with 3 TBLS warm water until dissolved.
  3. Beat whipping cream until stiff peaks are formed; Set aside.
  4. Cream sugar, vanilla, salt, gelatin and cream cheese until light and fluffy.
  5. Fold whipped cream, cream cheese mixture and berries together until well blended.
  6. Divide into 8 parfait glasses, cover and refrigerate until time to serve.
  7. Toss with 1/2 cup fresh blackberries with warmed jelly to glaze.
  8. Just before serving add additional whipped cream, glazed berries and a mint leaf to each serving.



Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Cream cheese pound cake3

Don’t you love a good pound cake? I had cream cheese on my counter along with fresh butter at room temperature and they just seemed to be calling my name. I usually make sour cream pound cake and it’s my favorite,  but this cream cheese takes the cake. Oh, wait, it is cake…. 😉 [Read more…]

Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls

sourdough cinnamon rolls2

I won’t waste your time explaining how delicious and easy these are to make. And I won’t tell you that this is one more wonderful way to use the extra sourdough starter that we usually have to toss at a feedings. [Read more…]

Marinated Cucumber and Tomato Salad

marinated cucumber and tomato salad

I don’t know about you,  but Summertime in the South means looking for anything to keep me out of the kitchen for very long and lots of light Summery dishes to keep everyone cool. Marinated Cucumber and Tomato Salad is one of my favorite go-to salads of Summer.  It’s quick and easy and cool and delicious..perfect for Summer.   This nutritional side dish complements any meal from hamburgers to steaks and from chicken to seafood.

Raw vegetables are always a healthy choice and when you combine onions with fresh dill weed you’ve added even more nutritional value to the tomatoes and cucumbers, not to mention the health benefits of apple cider vinegar and olive oil.

Begin with one or two cucumbers, peeled and cut into about 1/4 inch slices. 1 cup of cherry tomatoes cut in half. Always cut cherry tomatoes in half,  so they don’t squirt out of  your mouth when you bite them….just saying. You may use fresh tomatoes cut into chunks, if you prefer.

I use Sweet Vidalia Onions. In case you didn’t know….Vidalia is pronounced “VI (long ‘I’)- Dale- Ya”  NOT “Vee DAhl Ya.” I live 40 miles from VI-dale-ya ….. So, for those who want to be ‘in the know’…now you know. 🙂 About a cup of sliced Vidalia Onions…or any sweet onion.

For the marinade use: 1/2 cup fresh dill weed, 1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar, 1/2 Olive Oil,  2/3 cup granulated sugar. You may increase the sugar or vinegar to suit your tastes. Salt and Pepper to taste.

marinated cucumber tomato salad

The amounts will vary,  based on how many people you plan on serving. You can use this amount of marinade for up to double the vegetables listed above. Just splash in some more vinegar and oil, if you need more.

marinated cucumber and tomato salads

If you use cold vegetables out of refrigerator,  it should be ready to serve immediately. If vegetables are at room temperature you may want to chill in fridge at least 30 minutes.

Any variety of vegetables may be included in this recipe. Or you may choose to use ‘cucumbers only.’


Marinated cucumber tomasalad

Stay cool this Summer with this Marinated Cucumber and Tomato Salad. Enjoy!

Marinated Cucumber and Tomato Salad


  • 2 Cucumbers, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 medium onion peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh dill weed
  • 1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 Olive Oil
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Combine marinade ingredients and set aside.
  2. Toss all vegetables together in a bowl.
  3. Pour marinade over top and toss to cover..
  4. Cover with Plastic wrap
  5. Refrigerate until ready to serve, at least 30 mins.
  6. Enjoy!
  7. Vegetables MAY BE DOUBLED. Toss in more vinegar and oil if needed.

Pappa al Pomodoro aka Italian Bread Soup

Pappa al pomodoro12

Pappa al Pomodoro is the ultimate Italian comfort soup. It’s what makes Italian men and boys come home to mama.  I was reading a novel a few weeks ago and the protagonist mentioned slipping into a cafe his first evening in Tuscany and being served this delightful soup that made him forget his troubles…

Ok. I could use some of that.

I’m making no promises, but for the moment, I confess getting lost in the delicious combination of basil and tomato sopping its way through my sourdough.  From a girl who considers Campbell’s Cream of Tomato Soup one of my go-to comfort foods….let me just say…this stuff is the ultimate comfort.

papa al pomodoro3

Since I’ve been on a quest to find recipes for my sourdough obsession, this jumped off the page into my lap. I did some research and found it is also called Bread and Tomato Soup or Italian Bread Soup. It’s a very rustic peasant soup with loads of flavor.  And it’s so easy to throw together for lunch. The great thing is,  it uses leftover sourdough bread or any kind of hearty bread you have on hand.

papa al pomodoro2

Pappa al Pomodoro  is perfect made with fresh tomatoes or canned. The basil growing outside my kitchen has never been put to a better use.

papa al pomodoro1

So, while I can’t promise all your troubles will melt away, I can promise it will be a hearty, satisfying and deliciously comforting soup.  And who knows, your troubles just might melt away.

Pappa al Pomodoro or Italian Bread Soup is the comfort of comfort soups. Enjoy!

Papa al Pomodoro aka Tomato and Bread Soup


  • 4 cups of chopped tomatoes, fresh or canned
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup torn basil leaves or 1 TBLS dried basil
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 3-4 cups stale, day old, bread cubes
  • Garnish: Parmesan cheese


  1. Saute minced garlic in 2 TBLS olive oil over medium heat, until fragrant, 1 minute.
  2. Add tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper. Simmer 5 minutes. Add broth, stock and bread cubes. Cook 10 minutes on low heat.
  3. Serve in bowls garnished with remaining olive oil and parmesan cheese

Southern Baked Beans with Bourbon

southern style baked beans with bourbon

How about some Southern Styled Baked Beans with Bourbon for your next cookout? Who wants Boston Baked Beans with little sugar, no bourbon, no bacon and simply northern?   When you can make these beans full of brown sugar, bacon and bourbon? The only thing Northern in these babies are the beans. I did use Northern Beans, but then, I turned on the Southern charm and sass.

These beans are not made from canned beans. No ma’am. They are made from dried beans and they take all day to cook. I know that sounds like a pain, but really they aren’t. And besides that,  they are worth.every.single.minute.

Your kitchen will smell heavenly all day long.

Before you get turned off,  let me assure you,  this is not a slave over the stove recipe. It’s a mix it up, put it in the oven and let it cook….all day long.

My daughter wanted me to go the the antique mall with her in the midst of cooking these. I told her I was baking beans that cook all day long. She said “Mama, why would you do that to yourself?”  I told her to step inside.

The fragrant aroma melted her heart. Later on the taste sold her. And not only that, because they cook slowly, with lots of liquid, I was able to go to the antique mall with her. My husband was home, mind you. I don’t ever recommend you leave the house with anything baking in the oven all day…regardless of what the recipe says. But I did take an hour to run to the store with her, leaving my trusty husband at home.

southern baked beans with bourbon2

Why not just pop a can of baked beans? Well to begin with, dried beans are extremely good for you.  They provide dense nutritional value. They are a complex carbohydrate and low on the glycemic index. They contain beneficial dietary fiber and help to lower  LDL without compromising good HDL. They are a major source of protein, low in fat and are rich in Iron and B vitamins as well as plant phytochemicals. According to the American dietary guidelines we need 3 cups of dried beans a week.

Another reason…. they are very cost efficient. One bag makes enough for a party, large family or leftovers to freeze. So it’s possible to feed your family a very healthy diet on a budget. Win-win.

But what about the embarrassing issues associated with beans? No problem.  Let me tell you how to solve that problem. Dried beans need to be soaked overnight to rehydrate. Still, sometimes there remain embarrassing issues.

So to remedy the embarrassment… 🙂 The night before cooking, I cover them with water in a large pot and bring them to a boil. Once the water is boiling, turn the heat off and allow the beans to sit in hot liquid over night.

In the morning,  pour off  the liquid and rinse the beans with cool water.  Then cover with cold water again and bring them to a boil again. This time I allow them to simmer for awhile on low. It doesn’t matter how long.

It’s according to how much time I have.  Anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours. While they simmer, I cook breakfast, make the beds and get dressed.   Or I start getting everything ready for the recipe and simmer them very little.

When I’m ready to add the beans to the mixture,  I drain and rinse them once again. At this point you should have no problem whatsoever with “the bean embarrassment issue.”

Now, for the recipe. The night before, sort your beans in a large flat pan. Pick out the broken, cracked or discolored beans and throw away.

southern baked beans sorted

In a large pot cover beans with cold water and bring to a boil. Allow to sit, covered, overnight.

southern baked beans soaked

Drain and rinse in the morning. In the morning, cover with water and boil again….do you see the foam? Guess what that equals when you eat beans that have not been prepared properly? Lots and lots of gas…nope, not kidding. So, unless your teenage son has entered a contest….we don’t want this.

southern baked beans foamy

After it has simmered the next morning, pour this stuff off again. Rinse. Now, it’s safe to add beans to recipe. But first, while it simmers…..

Gather your ingredients…

southern  baked beans ingreds2

Cut up about 1/2 pound bacon and fry in a large dutch oven until crispy. Remove bacon from pan,  leaving drippings in the pan. Save the bacon to add prior to serving.

southern baked beans bacon

Next, sautee one large onion cut up in bacon drippings.

southern baked beans onion

To onions add all remaining ingredients and 6 cups of water in the large dutch oven pot.  Cover and bake in over 275* for 6+ hours.

If you’re concerned about the bourbon, I promise all the alcohol will be evaporated in the 6+ hours they cook…but, it may be omitted altogether, if you prefer. Out of bourbon? Rum is a good substitute.

southern baked beans pan

Check them every hour and stir the pot. Toward the end of baking,  check to see if sauce is getting thick and taste for tenderness.  If sauce is thickening and beans are not tender enough, add one cup of water and cook longer.

If beans are tender you may remove lid during last hour and continue to cook in oven until thickened. Just watch more closely toward end and stir occasionally. The sauce will thicken more as it cools, so allow for that….don’t over cook.

I transfer mine into a bean pot to serve. Stir in crispy bacon.  Serve!

Southern Baked Beans with Bourbon3

If  you aren’t serving children, you may add an additional 2 TBLS bourbon and stir prior to serving.

Southern Baked Beans with Bourbon


  • 1 pound dry Great Northern beans (or navy beans)
  • 1/2 lb bacon, chopped in 1" slices and cooked until crispy. Reserve dripping and drain bacon
  • 1 large Vidalia Onion, chopped coarsely
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup barbeque sauce
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup mustard
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 cup bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon salt, to taste
  • 3 jalapeno peppers, optional, seeded and deveined and chopped..the sugar cuts the heat.


  1. Sort beans.
  2. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Over and allow to sit overnight
  3. In the morning drain and rinse.
  4. Cover again with cool water and bring to a boil again.
  5. Simmer 20 mins-2hours on low.
  6. Drain again.
  7. While simmering, cook bacon and drain. Add chopped onion to pan with drippings and cook until tender.
  8. Mix remaining ingredients in pan with onion.
  9. Add 6 cups of water
  10. Pour this mixture into a large dutch oven with lid
  11. Preheat oven to 275* Bake 6 hours or until tender and thickened.
  12. Check every hour or so and stir.
  13. Taste test at the 3 and 4 hour marks and add additional water if sauce is getting thick.
  14. After the 4 hour mark, add one cup of water as needed each hour until they are tender and sauce is thickened. If it is still soupy you don;t need to add more water...only if it is thickening and beans aren't tender yet do you need to add water.
  15. You may remove lid toward end of baking if beans are done and still sauce needs more thickening.
  16. Will thicken more as it cools.
  17. Enjoy!


Blueberry Mousse Cheesecake

blueberry mousse cheesecake ad

Hope your Mother’s Day was great! Mine has been wonderful. All my children and grandchildren were here plus my parents. What a blessing to have 4 generations here for Mother’s Day Dinner….on the back porch. Plus we had a big reveal. I’m not quite sure how many knew and how many didn’t but my baby is having another baby. That much we all knew. [Read more…]

Perfect Loaf Sourdough Bread

Perfect Loaf Sourdough Bread

Finally! I’ve found a recipe for Sourdough Bread that satisfies my soul….I’m not kidding. Well, so far as bread can satisfy ones soul…Maybe it’s just my idea of what a good loaf of sourdough bread ought to be. [Read more…]

Sourdough Chocolate Sheath Cake

sourdough chocolate sheath cake

Who knew? I took my mama’s Chocolate Sheath Cake recipe and switched the buttermilk up with sourdough starter and voilà  ~ it worked. Which leads me to believe just about any recipe that uses buttermilk can be interchanged with sourdough starter. Maybe not all recipes…but cakes and breads, etc.  (So far I’ve had wonderful success with my buttermilk biscuits and pancakes!)  And taste-wise, I couldn’t tell any difference. Sourdough Chocolate Sheath Cake is awesome!!!  This is great news for those of us who struggle over throwing away extra starter at every feeding! [Read more…]

Hearty Ham and Bean Soup

Hearty Ham and Bean Soupad

The great thing about serving ham for Sunday dinner is having a leftover ham bone!  Ham bones make the best soups!  And you can freeze a ham bone until you’re ready to make soup. Just wrap it up really tight with Saran and then tin foil…(write with a marker what it is and the date)…and put it in the freezer!  You will be so glad you did on a day like today…dreary and raining. Then when you want to make soup, you’ll be ready. And this Hearty Ham and Bean Soup is the perfect comfort food on a cold and rainy day and so very satisfying.  Buttery Sourdough Biscuits are made for this soup! And today it passed the taste test of Stella….along with lots of buttered biscuits! [Read more…]