Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Three Great Holiday Drinks

Mulled Punch

3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cans cranberry sauce, jellied
4 cups pineapple juice, unsweetened
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
3 cups water, additional

Combine brown sugar, 1 cup water, salt, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and nutmeg and bring to a boil. Beat in cranberry sauce, pineapple juice, and additional 3 cups of water.

Simmer until heated through and all ingredients are well blended. Serve punch hot, in mugs, with a cinnamon stick and a smidge of butter. You can add red wine or bourbon if you wish.


1 large jar apple cider
2 cups orange juice
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
1 large can pineapple juice, unsweetened
1/4 cup honey

In large saucepan, combine ingredients and heat to boiling. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 5 minutes. Ready to serve with a cinnamon stick and a slice of lemon.

Wonderful for Christmas parties!

Hot Chocolate Mix

1 25-ounce box instant milk
1 6-ounce jar powdered dairy creamer
1 box powdered sugar
1 16-ounce can instant chocolate drink mix (such as Quik)

Mix all ingredients in a Very Large container. Makes about 17 cups of drink mix - about 90 servings of hot chocolate. Add 3 heaping tablespoons of mix to 1 cup of hot water. Stir to dissolve. Add marshmallows, if you like. This is great!

The Stockings are
Hung from the chimney with care!
Have you prepared the Holiday Drinks?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Granny Shubert's Christmas Candies

As the Thanksgiving feast fades into our memory of another year our memories of sweet treats rise to the surface. NOW is the time to start thinking of the desserts you want to serve your friends and family during the Christmas holidays. I enjoy making cookies and candies to have on hand during that time.

Everyone seems to like these sweets that Granny Shubert used to make during the month of December. I don’t know where she got the recipes, but I have a recipe card for each of them written by her. I have copied them just as she wrote them. Maybe you’d like to give them a try and see if your family and friends like them as much as mine do.

She always claimed, as her children did, that she didn’t cook much; but, she always seemed to have trays of these around when we came home for the holidays. Remember them?


1 box vanilla wafers, crushed

1 stick oleo or butter, melted

1 box powdered confectioners’ sugar

1 small can orange juice (not diluted)

1 cup nuts, chopped very fine

Coconut (optional)

Mix all together except coconut and form very small balls. Roll in crushed coconut. Makes approximately 6 dozen. If dough becomes too dry to handle, add a few drops of water.

Keep in refrigerator or freezer. No cooking needed!


1 box powdered confectioners’ sugar

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

½ cup crunchy peanut butter

1 small can Angel Flake coconut

2 sticks margarine or butter

1 package chocolate chips

¼ block paraffin

Mix first 4 ingredients in large bowl. Melt 2 sticks of margarine, pour over dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Shape into balls about ¾-inch in diameter. Melt margarine, chocolate chips and paraffin. Dip balls into chocolate mixture and place on waxed paper to harden.


1 box (1 pound 2 ounces) vanilla wafers, crushed

1 cup Eagle Brand milk

1 cup chopped candied cherries

1 cup chopped candied pineapple

1 cup coconut

1 pound chopped pecans

5 tablespoons bourbon

Mix all together and shape into 4 long rolls. Roll in powdered confectioners’ sugar and wrap in foil. Chill and cut or freeze.

Pictured in photo from left to right: Sue DeLozier Davis,

William Spence Davis, and Granny Marilee Davis Shubert

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

Grandma's Peanut Butter Cookies

A peanut butter cookie is one of the simple pleasures that all of us have enjoyed, either as a child or an adult. Whether Grandma used to make them for you or you discovered the sheer joy of making them yourself after you starting baking, they are addictive and super easy.

I remember my Grandma Gailey used to bake dozens of them for me and my siblings and cousins to take to school functions. She did this for many years. They were always a hit!

Here is her version.

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup Crisco shortening
3/4 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups plain flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring

Mix together with hands. (She said this was very important! However, I use a dough hook on my KitchenAid counter-top mixer.) Pinch off small amount; roll it into a ball and then flatten it.

Place on pan and make crisscross designs on top with fork. Bake in slow oven.

I think you should probably use an ungreased cookie sheet and place cookies 2-3 inches apart. Moisten fork with water each time you press tines into cookie dough. Cook at 325 degrees for approximately 10-12 minutes or until done.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Chili and Cheese Burgers

There were lots of great food moments during my trip to North Carolina in October. My cousin, Linda Kay, and I flew to Raleigh-Durham where my daughter and two granddaughters picked us up, luggage in tow, and cheerfully listened to all of our complaints and tales of “high” adventure aboard American Flight 700.

It actually was a great flight. We had no complaints except for the fact that we felt confined and a little stiff and sore before the trip was over. The attendants were very nice and eager to make us comfortable; however, it was wasted effort as our 60+ legs were not cooperating!

Linda Kay, my daughter Gail, and I took off that Monday morning for the Outer Banks. The weather was gorgeous and we couldn’t wait to see the ocean spray!

We ate lunch at the “Country Kitchen” just outside of the little town of Bath, North Carolina on the Pamlico Sound. The food was as great as we had been told by a young woman working in the Traveler’s Center.

Linda Kay ordered Chicken Salad on Toast and she said it tasted wonderful. Gail and I ordered cheeseburgers and sweet potato fries. We had a laugh when I was asked by the waitress what I wanted on my burger. I said everything! That stumped her. Gail spoke up and said tomato, lettuce, onion, and mustard. I looked at her a little funny and she said (after the waitress left with our order) that in North Carolina when you say everything – they put everything on it, including chili. I said I didn’t want chili, but guess the waitress took me at my word. I got chili on my burger!

More on our adventures in North Carolina to come.

Photographs taken by Judy Shubert Copyright 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cranberry Salad

If you read the post about my cousin, Julie Martin, you will know that she sent me a surprise Christmas present last year – a box of canned Bing Cherries. This is my husband, Bob’s, favorite dessert. If I don’t have or can’t find Bing Cherries I will make the Cranberry Salad shown below. I think it is just as good. Maybe you will try them both and you decide!

I usually make this version of Cranberry Salad at Christmas because I can rarely find the sweet Bing cherries called for in the Coca Cola salad. This makes a FULL LARGE rectangular Pyrex dish 9 x 14 or something like that.

3 regular packages cherry or strawberry Jell-O
3 cans whole berry cranberry sauce
1 #2 can crushed pineapple and juice

Dissolve Jell-O with 3 cups boiling water. Let cool. Do not let it get firm. Add cranberry sauce and drained pineapple. Divide mixture in 2 parts. Put half in large oblong Pyrex dish and congeal. After it has congealed, spread with mixture of the following:

12 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
½ cup pineapple juice

Add ½ cup chopped nuts to remaining half of cranberry mixture. Pour over cream cheese and place in refrigerator again to congeal.

Pretty and good!

Photo accessed from free images at

Coca-Cola Salad

Here is the Coca Cola salad Bob's mother used to make - very sketchy directions but you get the idea. This is also the recipe that uses the Bing Cherries that my cousin, Julie Martin, mailed to me at Christmas.


1 pkg. Raspberry Jell-O

1 pkg. Cherry Jell-O

2 cans Bing cherries, sweet (drained)

1 small can crushed pineapple (drained, saving some for cream cheese topping)

1 cup nuts

2 bottles coca cola (cold)
She used coke that was sold in individual glass bottles. I imagine they held about same amount as our canned drinks of today.


Then mix one 4 oz. pkg. cream cheese with a small amount of pineapple juice.

Sprinkle walnut or pecan pieces to top.

Tastes great!


Copyright 2008 Photo taken by Judy Shubert

at The Daily Grind Museum, Mineral Wells, Texas May 20, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Trinity Valley Quilters' Guild Quiltfest 2008

I attended a great quilt show today. It was my first exposure to the Trinity Valley Quilters' Guild of Fort Worth here in Texas. It was a 3 day event held at the Will Rogers' complex in the Amon Carter Exhibit Hall and they had some gorgeous quilts. I didn't take a camera because I didn't think you would be able to photograph the quilts but there were photographs being snapped left and right! Should have asked before I went. There were a lot of reproduction fabrics, scrappy quilts, and beautiful applique, all in every color and design. The Best of Show went to Janet S. Stuart for her quilt named "Banana Peel". My personal favorites were the Baltimore applique block quilts and the scrappy "Oak Alley", by Ann Monaker and Donna Akins which was one of the Judge's Choice award winners.

Just wanted to share a few of the delightful moments that I had today!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Julie Elizabeth Martin - Oct 7, 1956 - Aug 23, 2008

She was so generous. I want to tell you about a gift she gave me last Christmas. One day during the holiday season the UPS truck pulled up to my house and left a fairly heavy box on my doorstep. It had a return address from and since Bob has occasionally ordered books from them I thought he had ordered something for Christmas. Then when I opened the box it further confused me because it was a Paula Deen appointment calendar and a dozen cans of Bing Cherries! I couldn’t imagine Bob ordering something like that. Later that day Julie contacted me asking if I had gotten her package! We had been having an on-going conversation about Coca-Cola and Cranberry Salad which is Bob’s favorite Christmas dish and I had casually mentioned that I didn’t make it very often any more because I had such a hard time finding the cherries.

She was a wonderful, sweet, interesting cousin and I'll miss our emails and conversations about food, family and our search for family links that will continue to bind us even in her absence.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Word or Two about Knives


I found this very useful information about knives in a 1973 edition of one of my favorite cookbooks, Secrets of Better Cooking, A Treasury of Time Tested Methods of Good Cooking. My copy belonged to my mother and she obviously used it often as the pages are dog-eared and some are even falling out. But I also enjoy using it and have found it very helpful in my quest for the perfect dish.

These are among the most neglected tools in the kitchen, although they are used constantly. They are often poor in quality, not well sharpened or not the proper type for the work they are expected to do. There is a knife for every job. The variety is endless, but you can get a perfect starter set of six knives. If you are not able to pay for a good-quality set, buy one good knife at a time as the need arises. Cheap knives are a waste of money.

A good-quality knife made of hard steel is expensive but, if well cares for, will last a lifetime. Wash and dry your steel knives promptly after use to prevent rust or stain.

Stainless-steel knives have become very popular in recent years. They are far easier to care for than the old-fashioned steel knives but will never keep as sharp an edge.

A new type of knife with a scalloped edge is fast gaining in popularity with practical cooks. Originally designed for slicing crumbly bread and cake, it is now made in many sizes and shapes for use in general work such as paring, cutting and even carving. Do not let anyone tell you, however, that these knives will last a lifetime without being sharpened. Although they stay sharp much longer than knives with straight-edged blades, the teeth that project beyond the cutting edge wear down. This knife requires occasional sharpening with a butcher’s steel on the flat side of the blade, and will eventually need regrinding by an expert.

It is a good idea to have a long butcher’s steel for sharpening knives. These are easy to find; any store that sells quality knives will have them. Keep your knives sharp by frequent honing on the steel. To do this, press the knife edge against the steel at a 20° angle. Starting with the heel of the blade at the top of the steel, draw the blade across and down to the bottom of the steel, in a swinging motion. Do this several times, then repeat on the other side.

The most important advice: store your knives in a knife rack or on a magnetic bar; do not jumble them carelessly with other kitchen tools. This will keep the blades keen longer, and you will never cut yourself when reaching for a kitchen tool.

Later I’ll give you their suggestions on a Starter Set of Knives.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Our 4th of July Celebration

Well, I’m only about 10 days late in giving you a rundown on our family 4th of July get-together! But I figure better late than never – right?

My sister and her husband decided to have an old-fashioned potluck on Friday the 4th for those in the family who could make it to Granbury for the weekend. There were 15 adults and 11 kiddos for most of the day on Friday and we enjoyed an impromptu birthday party for one of the 6-year olds, as well. After all of the eating – a wonderful meal, ice cream, cake, watermelon – we all crowded into various automobiles and drove to a great spot overlooking Lake Granbury to wait for the scheduled annual fireworks show that was slated to begin at 9:30 p.m. The hill was crowded with folks in their own pickups and SUVs with kids spilling out of the beds and windows of the vehicles parked on the grassy hill just south of the lake.

We all had a great time and the kids were so excited they could hardly stand still and wait on the show. But finally 9:30 rolled around and everyone “oohed” and “ahhed” with each burst of light and color filling the dark sky.

The next morning most of us drove the short distance just beyond the Granbury High School to wait for the annual Granbury 4th of July Parade to begin. Again, we had kids spilling from every available seat in the cars and pickups we drove there. I used an umbrella to help shield me from the hot Texas sun and my hubby, Shubert, sat very still in the shade of the car. The parade was a hit by everyone’s standards as I heard several folks commenting on how much they enjoyed it and how much better they thought it was this year!

After the parade we all went back to my sister’s house and Shubert made another freezer of ice cream – peach this time. It was wonderful. And after several naps and a lot more playing by the children we headed home, each in different directions, to await and plan our next get-together.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Eat with Sincerity and Gratitude

I found the most uplifting and interesting blog tonight. "This Ignatian Life |" came to my mailbox from a Google Alert on Food Gratitude and I'm so glad I decided to check it out. So often I glance at the list and delete without taking a few minutes to read further.

The last post entitled "Eating Like Ignatius?" was posted July 1 and the picture of the beautiful, plump blueberries drew me in so I just had to read it. Please go to their blog and read this well written piece on how food is such an important component of our spiritual well-being. The writer encourages us to increase our mindfulness about food. A couple of ways he suggests we do that is to "participate in your food production," "prepare your own food," and "learn about the best farming and gardening practices."

The writer ends the post by saying, "
But probably the most important way to begin to cultivate mindfulness is to eat with sincerity and gratitude, 'conscious of the lives and the world from which food comes.' "

Monday, June 30, 2008

My Disaster making Sour Cream Pound Cake

I don't know what happened to my pound cake! I have made Paula Deen's Grandmother's Sour Cream Pound Cake numerous times with success every time, but today something happened either in the oven or at the mixer.

About mid-way through the baking time I started smelling burned sugar - oh, no. I knew what I'd find when I peeked in the oven. Sure enough, the cake batter was spilling out over the sides of the bundt pan and down past the racks to the floor of my oven. A huge mess. But I left it to bake and eventually the timer went off and I removed the poor cake from the oven. It had obviously fallen in on itself. I quickly cleaned out the warm batter from the bottom of the oven and off of the racks while my "cake" cooled a little in the pan on the cutting board. When I finally got to the cake, I turned it out onto a cake plate and there were spots of teflon coating, of all things, in several places on the cake that had come off of my "old" bundt pan! Well, I cut that away - don't won't to poison anyone - and even cut away 1/4 of the cake and dumped that into the trash. I know, you're probably asking why I didn't just throw the whole thing away? Well, I have company coming this afternoon and my husband asked specifically for this cake. Any of you who know him will realize he doesn't do that very often, so I really wanted to please him. And I figure that since I have some sweetened strawberries and Cool Whip in the refrigerator, we can always disguise the cake, right?

Well, it's a poor excuse for a pound cake. I really don't know what happened. Like I said, I've made this very recipe several times. The humidity shouldn't be a problem. There isn't any! The only thing I can think of is the oven temperature was too low. The recipe calls for 325 degrees for 1 hour and 20 minutes and I honestly don't know if I've changed that to 350 degrees when I made the other cakes. I may have. I think it wasn't cooking fast enough. Does that sound logical? Also, maybe I beat the cake too much after adding the sour cream.

At any rate, we'll probably eat the cake smothered in strawberries and my husband and I won't say a word about our morning of disaster in the kitchen!

If you'd like a copy of Paula Deen's Sour Cream Pound Cake it is on her website here.
It's really a wonderful cake and I know you'll enjoy it. Maybe I was just having a really bad day. Sometimes we cooks have them, don't we?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Aunt Irene's Hot Cole Slaw

This recipe is a favorite of mine. It's especially good for all of those 4th of July picnics or luncheons that will be enjoyed next week. I think all of our family likes our Aunt Irene's version of a classic salad.

You will need the following ingredients:

1 head cabbage, shredded

1 large onion, shredded

1/2 cup sugar

Sprinkle sugar over shredded cabbage and onion. Set aside.

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon celery seed

1 teaspoon celery salt

1 tablespoon prepared mustard

3/4 cup vinegar

1 1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup Wesson oil

Place sugar, celery seed, celery salt , mustard, vinegar and salt in pan; bring to boil. Then add Wesson oil and bring to a boil again. Pour over cabbage mixture.

Chill—the longer the better.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Baked Pork Chops – A Reminder of Home

My Daddy and Step-Mother
Mildred Smith Hicks & Leon Fremont Richards
in their home in September 1964
Having grown up in a household where my father was a butcher for the local Safeway store and my mother worked in the same meat department, we had a variety of cuts of meat every day. Breakfast fare usually included thick slices of bacon, smoked, peppered, and honey cured. Occasionally a pork chop made its appearance on our breakfast plate beside the usual eggs and fried potatoes and onion. We didn't have that big of a breakfast every weekday because Mom spent long days at work and school was calling - we usually ran a little late with 4 teenagers and 2 elementary-aged kids to get ready. But the weekends found us all gathered in the country kitchen around the beautiful round oak table that my younger sister now has in her home.
Align Center
Again on the weekends we enjoyed various cuts of meat that daddy patiently showed us how to prepare. Mom was usually in the garden or making biscuits.

Reminder of Home
I was reminded tonight of the thick pork chops that Daddy used to bring home and stuff with delicious dressing prepared just like you would for the Thanksgiving turkey. He would take a very sharp knife and cut a slit in the meat across from the bone and stuff it with cornbread dressing.

Request for Pork Chop
I had asked my hubby to please bring home some pork chops from the grocery (he usually does our shopping) because we hadn't eaten them for quite some time. He found some beautiful chops that were about 1-inch thick with the bone in. If you sometimes wonder how to cook pork chops that are that thick I find that baking them is probably the easiest thing to do.

Preparation of Meat
I rinsed the meat under running water and patted them dry. I had prepared a basil olive oil mixed with garlic salt and dry Italian seasonings that I placed in a shallow bowl. Then I rubbed this on all sides of each pork chop. I then wrapped them tightly in aluminum foil, placed them in a heavy cast iron skillet to bake in my 350º oven. I baked them for one hour.
They were delicious. And because I had wrapped them in foil I had no mess to clean up. Of course, they could just as easily be cooked in any ovenproof dish and if you chose to not use the foil, the chops would brown nicely. Mine were not as brown but tasted more like a pork roast.

You should try this method of cooking pork chops. I found I could not "fry" my pork chops all the time. Cooking them this way cuts down on the calories and fat.

Bon appétit.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Photos taken at the West BBQ Cookoff by Judy Shubert

Copyright 2008 by Judy Shubert ~ Related Posts

West Volunteer Fire Department's 15th Annual Barbeque Cook-Off

I'm posting this article that I wrote on March 26th for the Associated Content website. I wanted to post more of the pictures that I took that day, so for those of you who have not read it, I hope you enjoy.

Last weekend my hubby and I spent a fun-filled, relaxing afternoon at the West Volunteer Fire Department's 15th annual Barbeque Cook-Off in the north central Texas town of West! We go occasionally to visit my sister and brother-in-law while they're cooking for various Barbeque Cook-Offs around the state. They were competing at the Volunteer Fire Department's Barbeque Cook-Off Saturday, March 15th. They've also been to several Cook-Offs in Louisiana, Arkansas, New Mexico, Illinois, Kansas, and Missouri. They're great competitors and have two rooms FULL of awards. They usually compete in the Barbeque Brisket, Barbeque Ribs, and Barbeque Chicken categories with an occasional entry in a special category such as "Cook's Choice," Beans, Dessert, or Pulled Pork.

Backwoods Smoker
For a long time my sister only helped her husband prepare for the event. Since she wasn't the actual contestant she wasn't allowed to actually help him cook. Then she fell in love with a small, very unique cooker - the Backwoods Smoker. It was only the SECOND time she entered using her new Backwoods Smoker when she snagged the coveted Grand Champion award at a Cook-Off in Irving, Texas. She has been cooking ever since.

American Royal in Kansas City, Missouri
They were invited to cook in the American Royal in Kansas City, Missouri a couple of years ago. They came away with a check for 2nd runner-up. My brother-in-law has also cooked in the Great American Cook-Off in Kansas City, Kansas, where he won 1st place in the Invitational Pulled Pork category. The next day he cooked in the open contest with 182 other teams and won 1st place in the chicken category. He has really had to watch his back, however, because my sister's awards are beginning to crowd out his in the office and the den!

Awards Ceremony at the West Cook-Off
When my husband and I stop by where my sister and brother-in-law are cooking we try to show up in time for the awards ceremony which is usually held on a Saturday afternoon about 5:00 p.m. Everyone is so friendly and they have so much fun together, we really enjoy the excitement of waiting to hear who won, who got on the final table and who won Grand Champion. The Grand Champion has to have the highest score of any other cook in that particular Cook-Off. The Cook-Off in West was no exception.

Kids Barbeque Pork Chop Cook-Off
My niece's 5-year-old daughter has been entering the Children's category with her special Barbeque Pork Chop. Last weekend at the West Barbeque Cook-Off she placed 2nd in the Kids Barbeque Pork Chop Cook-Off for ages 5-10. She won a trophy that is nearly as tall as she is.

It was reported that last year there were 101 teams and I believe there were nearly as many this year. The Cook-Off is sanctioned by the International Barbeque Cookers Association (IBCA) and is judged by their rules.

The IBCA Mission Statement can be found on their website:

"International Barbeque Cookers Association's purpose is to develop and bolster equitable competitive Barbeque cooking internationally."

We give competitive cookers the peace of mind when their product is placed in the judging area. IBCA shall know no boundaries nationally or internationally.

The Cook-Off was held at the West Rodeo grounds where motor homes, rolling barbeque pits, pickups, and the wonderful smell of barbeque filled the air and the grassy parking area reserved last weekend for the cooks and their "followers." The West Volunteer Fire Department sold barbeque for $8 a pound and had a drawing for a $300 charcoal grill that was donated by the West True Value Hardware Store.

Everyone Wore a Different Hat!
I always try to have my camera with me and I especially loved taking pictures of all of the different "hats" found in West that day. Everyone was so friendly and very willing for me to snap away. I thought you'd enjoy seeing some of them. I have attached five of my favorites to this article.

Don Swift Photos
I also want to tell you about the pictures that Don Swift took at the Cook-Off.

Don is a great photographer who routinely has his work in the Waco Tribune-Herald and also online. Don takes great shots at high school sporting events and some of his best were taken at China Springs High School football games. Of course, I'm probably a little prejudiced since my niece and nephew are both involved with the football team and the marching band. Don Swift's photos of the West Barbeque Cook-Off are online at the Waco Tribune-Herald website.
As my husband and I drove away that evening headed back north towards Fort Worth we both agreed that we had one of the most enjoyable afternoons we'd had in quite a long time. We decided to try to go more often. Maybe my sister and bro-in-law will actually let us go in the motor home with them and stay all weekend some time soon!

Friday, June 20, 2008

29 Pints of Dill Pickles!

Well, I made dill pickles yesterday. Had to search our local vegetable markets to find fresh dill, but my husband was finally successful. He found 3 large bags at a fruit and vegetable market on Hwy. 26 in Colleyville, just 20 minutes from us.

My neighbor and her husband gave me the cucumbers with a promise from me to supply the neighborhood with dill pickles! She gave me enough to make 29 pints. That's a pretty large batch of pickles! It took me about 8 hours from start to finish and my feet and back hurt like crazy when I finished. But all of those pretty little glass jars look great on the kitchen counter.

Remember, I posted the recipe here several days ago. This recipe is one of my favorites. Our Mom, Mildred, always had them on her pantry shelf and an opened jar in the refrigerator.

Come on by ~ I'll let you taste them ~ maybe even take a jar home with you.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Our Lifestyle Food Attitude with Gratitude

My 4 sisters and I have decided to challenge each other to lose weight. While we were on our annual Girls' Weekend in April we weighed and decided how much weight we wanted to lose by Thanksgiving. We sat at the kitchen table in the little Bluebonnet Bed and Breakfast and shared our current weight and our individual goals. We did okay for a while but seem to have gotten off-track a little. But there are a few tricks to get back on course.

I have joined Beliefnet, a web community of inspiration, spirituality and faith. You can find in its pages some very encouraging, helpful articles. I read those by Norris J. Chumley under the section "Weight Loss with Norris" daily. They have been very helpful. I am able to forward the pages to my sisters giving them encouragement also. He has comments on such things as "Q&A: Is Peanut Butter Really Fattening?" "Eat More Fish", and "7 Diet Mistakes to Avoid". You can find a unique lifestyle plan, based on Norris Chumley's book "The Joy of Weight Loss" (Lantern Books 2001), that can help you drop unwanted pounds by encouraging you to connect to your spiritual source, eat balanced meals, and discover that fitness can be fun.

I also love reading the blog by Janice Taylor, Our Lady of Weight Loss whom Oprah called "a kooky genius". She is a Weight Loss Coach and Certified Hypnotist, author, artist and motivational speaker. She is the author of Our Lady of Weight Loss: Miraculous and Motivational Musings from the Patron Saint of Permanent Fat Removal and All Is Forgiven, Move On: Our Lady of Weight Loss's 101 Fat-Burning Steps on Your Journey to Sveltesville (publication date May 15, 2008). Janice is also the creator of the popular e-newsletter Kick in the Tush Club and a 50-pound big-time-loser.

You might want to get inspired reading her blog and working her puzzle here at the bottom of my page!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Quick Dill Pickles

Gardening season is upon us. Soon there will be enough cucumbers in the garden that I thought a good pickle recipe was in order.

3 quarts water
1 cup salt
1 quart cider vinegar
1 head dill for each jar
1 garlic clove for each jar

Bring water, salt and vinegar to boil in big pot. Cut and slice cucumbers into spears or rounds. Place in clean jars. Add dill and garlic to jars. Use some kind of dipper to scoop up enough liquid for each jar to pour over cucumbers, dill and garlic.

Jars and lids need to be heated in boiling water for a few minutes so you will get a good “seal” when closing. Jars must be proper canning jars such as Kerr or Ball brand. You may use these jars if left over from last pickling session, but you need to purchase new lids and rims.

After sealing, immediately cover the pickle jars with a towel so they will not cool off too quickly. You will be able to hear the lid pop. This means they have sealed properly.

Let the pickles set for at least seven days before eating.

This is one of Mildred's recipes. One summer Ann and I made so many quarts of these we thought we were dreaming about pickles. But they disappeared quickly. Everyone likes them (if they like dill pickles)! Try them. They are not as difficult to make as it sounds!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Grandma Mildred’s Orange Slice Cake

Christmas and Thanksgiving have always been very popular holidays for the cooks in our family (and those who enjoy eating!), as I'm sure it is with most families. There is always a favorite dessert that someone requests and at our house Mom's Orange Slice Cake was one of those. I don't remember the grandchildren being especially fond of it, but for the adults it was one of those explode-in-your-mouth kind of tastes that you only experienced at that time of year. For one thing it's not something you would want to eat every Sunday afternoon! My goodness, how in the world would we ever get to our desired weight loss goal?

For the cake you will need:

1 cup butter

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

1 lb. Dates, chopped

1 lb. Orange slice candy

2 cups chopped pecans

1 cup shredded coconut

3½ cups plain flour

1½ cups buttermilk

1 teaspoon baking soda

Cream together 1 cup butter with 2 cups sugar. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each. Mix chopped dates, chopped orange slice candy, pecans, and coconut with ½ cup of the flour; set aside.

Add ½ cup buttermilk to sugar mixture; beat well. Add baking soda to remaining buttermilk. Sift remaining flour and add to sugar mixture alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour. Fold in date mixture.

Turn into an oiled and floured tube pan. Bake in preheated 250º oven for 2 hours, 30 minutes.

Cool cake on rack for 10 minutes and then turn out of pan.


1 cup orange juice

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

2 tablespoons butter

Mix orange juice, confectioners’ sugar, and 2 tablespoons butter in saucepan. Heat, stirring until sugar and butter are melted. Pour over hot cake. Cool.

Enjoy this moist, delicious, beautiful cake next Thanksgiving or Christmas with Gratitude in your Heart and Praise to God on your lips.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Arthritis Formula

Maedelle Carlyle

"Mother gave me this for arthritis."

1 cup Bur Rabbit Syrup (Blue label)

1 cup lemon juice

Mix and keep in "box".

Take 2 tablespoons 3 times a day.

As you feel better, take less.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Marilee's Chess Cake Squares - a Hit!

I don't know how my sister-in-law's birthday celebration supper for her son turned out but I tried the recipe for Marilee's Chess Cake squares yesterday and they were a hit. I took them to my sister's house for supper. All four of us sisters got together with 5 of their grandkids in Rhome, Texas for Scrabble. We enjoyed the fun. Baby sister won again!

When I make the Chess Cake Squares the next time I believe I'll add another tablespoon of lemon juice. It was good with 1 tablespoon like the recipe indicated, but I like lemon and think a little more of it could only make it better!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Chess Cake Squares from Marilee

Yesterday my sister-in-law in Nashville, Tennessee, called to ask if I had her Mom's recipe for Chess Cake Squares. It was her son's 37th birthday on June 4th and that is the cake he requested for his celebration dinner last night. I didn't remember the recipe or the cake but I have a lot of Mom's recipe cards in a box that I brought home from Nashville after she died on January 11, 2000. My intention then (and now) was to somehow devise a way to make copies of all of them for the grandchildren in the family. There are 8 of them and I would love to surprise them with a group of recipes in their grandmother's handwriting that they can use and cherish. My sis-in-law's request has placed this on the fore-burner of "my list of things to get done SOON!" If anyone out there has any good ideas I'd really, really like to hear from you.

I found the recipe in the first handful of cards I picked up and read it to her on the phone. I'm sure she made a delicious version of this cake and it was enjoyed by all of the family there last night. Sure wish Shubert and I could have been there to enjoy it, too, and wish our nephew a "Happy Birthday".

In case you'd like to try this easy cake I've copied the recipe here for you. Bon Appétit!


1 box Butter Cake Mix (Duncan Hines)
1 egg
1 stick oleo (I'd substitute butter)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
Mix the above ingredients. Pat the fairly dry mixture in the bottom of a 9x13 pan. (Do not melt butter.)

8 ounces cream cheese
3 eggs
1 box powdered confectioners' sugar
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
Place the above 4 ingredients in the same bowl, mixing well. Pour over top of dry mixture in pan.

Bake 38-40 minutes at 350 degrees for metal pan, 325 degrees for glass pan.

Don't over cook!

And, yes, I DO plan to give that box of original recipes to my sister-in-law as SOON as I get them scanned into my computer!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Family Cookbook - One Slice at a Time

Several years ago, before it became fashionable or even practicable, to use a computer program to keep our recipes at our fingertips, my sister and I decided we should put together a family cookbook. From conception to birth it was a labor of love and long, long hours of sorting, typing, editing, editing, editing!

The idea was received with great anticipation and cooperation from all of our family, "Give us several of your favorite recipes and we will be responsible for putting a cookbook together and see that everyone gets a copy."

Recipes began to pour in from all directions - North, South, East and West. Not that we are scattered in too many directions that far from Texas, but we did have family members sending recipes from as far away as North Carolina, Alabama, Oklahoma, and Missouri. Before we knew it we had a stack of handwritten and typed recipes that seemed to spill over the top of the desk to the floor and several feet out into the room. My sister was responsible for calling or sending emails to verify ingredients or quantities or give someone a gentle reminder that, "Yes, we do need your recipes, Aunt Bea, what would our Family Cookbook be without your favorite pecan pie?"

I busily began to enter the recipes into my computer, using the only computer program that I was familiar with - WordPerfect. And I was VERY loyal - adamantly proclaiming that WordPerfect was the best and only program worth using. Little did I know then how I would regret using WordPerfect for our cookbook.

I don't remember what year the idea of a family cookbook actually took root, but it took several years and many inquiries from family members as to its whereabouts to finally bear fruit - no pun intended! To begin with my sister and I both are perfectionists in certain areas of our lives. We couldn't seem to leave well enough alone as we edited, cut, rewrote, and edited some more. The book would seemingly be coming along great and then someone would want to include another one of their new recipes, or they just found Aunt Nancy's peach cobbler recipe written in her own hand, and it just had to be included. In retrospect we should have set a limit, but how do you tell Aunt Bea or Aunt Nancy why her favorites were not in the final book?

With all the changes and our dedication to "perfection," so to speak, time was slipping away - further away from our promised delivery date - every day. Then with my insistence on using WordPerfect instead of Microsoft Word, disaster was lurking just around the corner.

My computer died. Now I think my husband is a computer genius. He had suggested that I backup my work on CD. Thank goodness for that. But when we got a new computer, guess what it didn't have. That's right - WordPerfect! I don't remember exactly WHY I couldn't convert my WordPerfect files and have them formatted the way I wanted, but I eventually had to open them in Microsoft Word and let the formatting do whatever it wanted to do, and then slowly and methodically redo the pages one at a time. I'm sure there was something I wasn't doing properly, but I was very frazzled by that time, and I just did the only thing I knew how to do.

We finally began to see a light at the end of the tunnel. The book was being printed at last - on my printer, of course. My husband took reams of 24# bright white paper around the corner to Staples to be cut into 5 ½ x 8 ½ sheets. My printer was spitting the pages out faster than I could check to make sure the pages were backed up with the proper pages! You see, I insisted on a Table of Contents and an Index. What self-respecting cookbook editor wouldn't? It took nearly as long to print the thing as it did to get it prepared and ready to print. After we had collated the pages and printed a front and back cover we had the cover laminated and the cookbook spiral bound at a local print and copy shop.

My sister thought it would be a great idea to include a Memorial to those family members who were no longer with us. Each of them had a recipe that we included and the Memorial was placed on the same page with that recipe. We published additional books three years later because there were friends and other family members who had not gotten a cookbook and asked us to "please" print them one. By that time there were other beloved family members who had gone home to be with their Lord and Savior so their names and Memorials were included in the new edition.

We included a list of contributors as well as the Memorials. Favorite sayings were scattered throughout the cookbook. They were taken from a high school Autograph Book that had belonged to the Mother of a cousin in Oklahoma. Her daughter graciously gave us permission to use the sayings. One of my favorites is "Don't drive faster than your Angel can fly."

We have all enjoyed our family cookbook and I can say with assurance it is one that nearly everyone uses more than any other. The cookbook is a source of enjoyment and comfort. Comfort when we see the names and recipes of our loved ones who are no longer here and comfort in all the "comfort foods" found on the book's pages.

My children sometimes call and ask why a certain recipe is not in "our cookbook". Then there is always that little nagging thought in my head that it would be nice to print a 2nd family treasure but I think my marriage of 40+ years might be strained a bit if I took on another task such as the last one.

I heartily recommend taking on a project such as this with your family members or friends. It will be one you will not soon forget. I still have my backup copy on CD in Microsoft Word and the WordPerfect copy is lurking around somewhere laughing at me!

Also published by Judy Shubert at Associated Content

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

My Favorite German Chocolate Cake

German Chocolate Cake is one of my family's favorite desserts for special occasions. I always thought it a little tricky to make because of the use of three layers. But as I've gotten older and more experienced in the kitchen I've found it's not difficult at all. There are a few tricks that will help you in the construction of this beautiful 3-layer German Chocolate Cake.

I found this written up in the Dallas Morning News twelve or fifteen years ago and added it to our Family Cookbook. You can find my article here on the pitfalls and successes of publishing our Family cookbook entitled "How to Put Your Family's Recipes Into a Cookbook Using WordPerfect."

I use this particular version of German Chocolate Cake when making cakes for a birthday party, a Christmas get-together, a reunion, or other special occasions.

The ingredients are as follows:

1 (4-ounce) package Baker's German's sweet baking chocolate

½ cup water

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) margarine or butter, softened

2 cups sugar

4 egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup buttermilk

4 egg whites

Coconut-Pecan Filling and Frosting (recipe follows)

Preheat your oven to 350° F. Line the bottoms of 3 (9-inch) round cake pans with wax paper and set them aside. In a microwave, heat the chocolate and water in a large bowl on high for 1½-2 minutes or until the chocolate is almost melted, stirring halfway through heating time. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted.

Mix flour, baking soda and salt and set the mixture aside. Beat margarine and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until mixture is light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

Stir in chocolate mixture and vanilla.

Add flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beating after each until smooth.

Beat egg whites in another large bowl with electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently stir egg whites into batter. Pour into prepared pans.
Bake 30 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched in the center. Immediately run a spatula between cakes and sides of pans. Cool 15 minutes; remove from the pans. Remove wax paper. Cool completely on wire racks. Spread coconut-pecan filling between layers and over top of cake.

Coconut-Pecan Filling and Frosting:

In a large saucepan, mix 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk, 1½ cups sugar, ¾ cup (1½ sticks) margarine or butter, 4 egg yolks (slightly beaten) and 1½ teaspoons vanilla. Cook and stir over medium heat about 12 minutes or until the mixture is thickened and golden brown. Remove from heat. Stir in 1 (7-ounce) package shredded sweetened coconut (about 2⅔ cups) and 1½ cups chopped pecans. Cool to room temperature.

The Bad News:

The Dallas Morning News reports that each serving has about 848 calories, 51 grams fat and 152 mg cholesterol. But, it sure is gooooood!

Helpful Hints:

If you freeze the layers for 30 minutes or an hour after they cool on the counter it will be easier to spread frosting on them. Lightly brush off any crumbs from the frozen layers and place them on wax paper as you're working on the frosting.

Place one of the cake layers in the middle of a cake plate, frost with about 1 cup of icing and top with a second cake layer. Frost the second layer and place the third cake layer on top. Frost the third layer with the rest of the icing. This cake typically does not have icing around the edges so if you want to frost the edges you will have to make more icing.

To make perfect egg whites use perfectly clean utensils. Place bowl (preferably glass or metal), electric mixer wire whip, and egg whites in refrigerator to get completely cold before beating.

Buttermilk Substitution

If you don't have buttermilk, mix up some soured milk to use as a substitute.

To make 1 cup of soured milk, place 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar in a 1‑cup glass measuring cup. Add enough low‑fat (1% milkfat) milk to measure 1 cup; stir until mixed. Let the mixture stand for 5 minutes in the refrigerator before using.

Hope you try this recipe and use it often!

Judy's Mustard Potato Salad

There is an on-going disagreement in our family about potato salad. There are at least 3 different versions of this favorite dish brought to nearly every covered-dish get-together we have.

I've always claimed that my version, Judy's Potato Salad, is the one made by our grandmother when we were children. Then there is the version my sister makes that I believe she borrowed from her German friends! But the most heated discussion is over which potato salad our favorite uncle favored - his daughter's or mine. He often said mine was his favorite! I'll let you decide if mine suits YOU!


5 pounds potatoes, cooked (use the variety for mashing)

3 or 4 hard-boiled eggs

¼ cup onion, chopped

½ cup celery, chopped

1 small jar pimento

¾ cup sweet pickle relish





Yellow mustard

Peel and cut the potatoes into medium size pieces. Cook the potatoes in a large stew pot with enough water to cover while boiling. Drain in a colander and place potatoes in a large mixing bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste, about 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, and about ¼ cup milk. Mix with electric mixer until potatoes are smooth.

Add chopped eggs, onion and celery. Add pimento and pickle relish. Add mayonnaise and yellow mustard to taste (approximately ½ cup mayonnaise and ¼ cup mustard). If potatoes are too watery at this point add less mayonnaise. Add more salt and pepper if needed.

I usually do the taste test and add more of any of the ingredients if I feel the salad is lacking something!

Place in serving bowl and sprinkle top with paprika. My grandmother usually boiled one or two more eggs that she sliced and used to decorate the top of her potato salad.

Cover and place in refrigerator until cold. Do not cover with aluminum foil; use plastic or glass instead. Foil will discolor eggs and possibly interact with mayonnaise.

Potatoes are easier to peel if you rinse them first with water. I learned that from my mother-in-law. It works, too!

Grandma used to use a little vinegar as well as mustard. I rarely do, but the vinegar tastes great! Another on-going joke in our family is one concerning my husband and squash relish. It is a well-known fact that he cannot stand squash and declares no one can trick him into eating the stuff. My youngest sister decided to give it a try. She and her husband usually have a garden and one year it was overrun with squash. She spent hours in the kitchen making squash relish and had our youngest granddaughter, who was about 7 years old at the time, help her. You guessed it - at the next family get-together she served her version of potato salad, told my husband after he had eaten more than his share that it had the dreaded squash relish mixed in. We've never known whether she actually put squash relish in the potato salad or not, but it certainly comes up at every meal where potato salad is served! Enjoy!

Judy's Beef Enchiladas

Do you love Mexican food? Do you sometimes crave the hot, spicy taste of enchiladas? I have the perfect recipe for enchiladas that I use every time one of my family members has that craving.

My younger sister also makes delicious enchiladas and her son requests them every year for his birthday dinner. She makes a wonderful green chili and cheese enchilada. They are a little more complicated; I usually opt for the quick and easy!

My mother's twin sister taught me how to make enchiladas at least 25 years ago. She said she always used El Paso brand tortillas, enchilada sauce and taco sauce. I prefer that brand, too, but if I can't find them in one of the local grocery stores I will use the brand available. My husband and I also prefer the mildest flavor of sauces; they can be found in Mild, Medium, and Hot. When I first started making these you could find the El Paso tortillas in a flat round can and that's what my aunt used. I haven't seen them in the grocery store lately. I substituted the bagged tortillas found in the bread section and they are great.


2 or 3 pounds ground hamburger (I prefer ground chuck)

2 small cans El Paso mild taco sauce

1 package of 24 corn tortillas

2 cans El Paso mild enchilada sauce

½ cup chopped onion

1 16-ounce bar sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Brown hamburger meat. Add 2 small cans taco sauce and cook slowly while preparing the tortillas.

Having tortillas and paper towels handy, I quickly dip tortillas one at a time in and out of hot oil in a heavy skillet. I use a pair of tongs to lift them out of oil. Then I place them on a paper towel to drain. I usually get 4 on a paper towel, and then place another paper towel on top, then another 4 tortillas, layering them until you have used all of the tortillas. It's important to dip them in and out of hot oil quickly to soften them. If you skip this step the tortillas will become too brittle while baking.

Let the tortillas cool slightly so you can handle them without burning your hands. Fill each tortilla with about 2 tablespoons hamburger mixture and roll tortilla up. Place them in an oblong baking pan, such as a 13" x 9" x 2" Pyrex dish. After filling the dish, sprinkle chopped onion and shredded sharp cheddar cheese over rolled tortillas. Then pour 1 can mild enchilada sauce over all. Bake in a 350º oven for approximately 20 minutes.

There will be too many enchiladas for 1 pan; place the overflow in a smaller baking dish and pour the second can of enchilada sauce over them.

This can be a little messy but it will help if you gather everything together before you start cooking. Also, don't get the oil too hot or it will begin to splatter and pop. Take your time!

I serve mine with a great salad and chips. Enjoy!

Vernelle's Baked Butternut or Acorn Squash Recipe

My mother moved to the west coast in the early 50s, married a career Air Force guy and traveled to many interesting places. We kids were always pretty jealous because we would get the postcard saying, "Wish you were here." We would love to have seen the things that were shown in full-color on the front of the postcard, but we knew in our hearts that we were safer and more loved right where we were - at home in Texas with Daddy and Grandma and Grandpa.

Anyway, I've since grown a lot, both mentally and emotionally and as an adult I've seen my share of interesting places. So, I no longer hold it against her that she saw the Statue of Liberty, the Redwood Forest, and Moammar Ghadafi up close and personal, and smuggled a memento out of Libya stuffed inside her bra!

She loved squash and when I ran across these 2 recipes for her favorite, butternut squash, I thought I would share them. She probably learned how to prepare the squash like this from a friend or neighbor while living in California or Idaho. I know we never had it at Grandma's!

Baked Butternut or Acorn Squash

Preheat oven to hot (400º F.).

Cut a butternut squash in half lengthwise, and then across into quarters; or cut acorn squash in half. Remove the seeds and fibers and brush cut surfaces with melted butter. Mother said she sometimes sprinkled cinnamon and sugar along with the butter if she had a sweet tooth! Or you can just add salt and pepper.

Place on a baking sheet, cover with aluminum foil and bake until almost tender when tested with a knife, about twenty-five minutes. Uncover, brush again with butter, and continue baking until tender and lightly browned.

Glazed Butternut Squash

1 2-pound butternut squash

½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed into measuring cup

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg or ginger

¼ teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons butter, melted

Peel, seed and slice the squash. Place on a rack in a pot with a tight-fitting cover; add water to cover bottom of pot, cover and steam until squash is nearly tender - 12 to 15 minutes. Drain the squash well.

Preheat the oven to hot (400º F.).

Arrange the squash in one or two layers in a greased shallow baking dish. Mix sugar, spices and salt and sprinkle over the squash. Drizzle with the melted butter.

Bake until the squash is tender and somewhat glazed, 15 to 20 minutes. For a deeper glaze, place under the broiler for a few minutes.

Also published by Judy Shubert at Associated Content.



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When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the morning light, for your life and strength. Give thanks for your food, and the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies with yourself.

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