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Friday, November 8, 2013

Sister Sue's Pecan Pie Bars

Sister Sue's Pecan Pie Bars

CRUST

2 cups plain flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1 stick cold butter

In a large mixing bowl sift together the dry ingredients. With a pastry cutter or two knives, cut cold butter into the flour mixture until it is crumbly.

Place into 13 x 9-inch glass pan such as a Pyrex dish sprayed with non-stick spray (I use Pam.) With hands, press crust out on the bottom and up onto sides of pan.

Cook in pre-heated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes until light golden.

While crust is baking, prepare the filling.

FILLING

2 eggs
3/4 cup white Karo syrup
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 1/4 chopped pecans

Have filling ready to pour over hot crust and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees until the edges are firm.

This is a delicious alternative to the traditional pecan pie. It is so easy to grab one and go, the kids will eat them when they might not slow down for a piece of pie! I also like to eat one when I'm having a cup of coffee or a glass of milk. Try them this holiday season and next holiday season you'll find yourself baking both pecan pies and pecan pie bars!

SOURCES:
Picture:
Photo digital format by Judith Richards Shubert using Raspberry Road Designs Secret Family Recipe Cluster Freebie

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Pecan Pie

 
Sue's Pecan Pies
and Pecan Bars
 
Thanksgiving is normally when my family starts thinking of serving pecan pie, but any time is really a good time to serve pecan pie. My sister, Sue, began baking pecan bars several years ago, in additional to her traditional pecan pies and they were a hit. So easy to grab and run, crunchy and sweet, I have noticed them  more and more recently on cooking shows and recipe blogs.
 
My favorite is still her Pecan Pie. She told me our mother, Mildred, always used Granny Pruett's recipe. Mildred loved Granny Pruett's pie so much after tasting it years ago, she never went back to her own recipe. Now, after a couple of tweaks, Sue does the same thing. She uses Granny Pruett's basic Pecan Pie recipe.
 
I will miss being at her Thanksgiving table this year. I will have to use her recipe and North Carolina pecans instead of the Texas pecans she always uses! I can only cross my fingers that my oven cooks my pies to half the perfection that hers and Grandma Mildred's has always done.
 
Sister Sue's Pecan Pie
 
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups Karo syrup
6 eggs
1 1/2 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups chopped pecans
 
Mix all ingredients well and fill 2 unbaked pie shells. Bake at 300 degrees for 50-60 minutes.
 
The only difference in our brother-in-law, Gene's, mother, Granny Pruett's pie: 1 tablespoon butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla, bake at 350 degrees.
Enjoy!!
 
 
 


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Mineral Wells Pecans

October and November is truly the time for pecan harvesting in the south, and that includes my beloved Texas. There are more memories tied up with my Aunt Irene and Uncle Raymond Stone's pecan trees than I can even bring to mind. Children from every generation played and worked under the beautiful branches of the pecan trees that they cared for over 50 years - from the early 1950s until the mid 2000s - they were a source of income as well as pride and joy!
 
Irene Checking the Pecan Trees

As little kids, we played games under the trees and then helped pick up the pecans when we could. Later it became a serious job. My sister even had to have a fella with whom she was having a first date take her to Irene and Raymond's as soon as they got through eating burgers, probably at the Dairy Queen, because she had to help shell pecans! I wonder who that date was, and IF he ever showed up again? Hmmm?

Every Easter there were colorful bonnets and dresses and dress shirts running around every which way looking for the eggs hidden by the Easter rabbit or the adults after the family got finished with the Easter Sunday meal. The pecan trees held many secret places where you might later find a pink or yellow egg that a grandchild had missed.

Raymond's knowledge of his pecans was enviable. He entered them in shows and competitions held around the county and the Texas Fair. I remember he had a large display of different types of pecans found in Texas and it was very impressive. It always hung in the hallway between the dining room and their bedroom.


Raymond Checking the Pecans Gathered
and Put Into Bed of His Pick-Up
 

He and Irene worked hard seeing that their pecan trees were healthy and produced a good crop each year. Some years were not as good as others, but that is just the way it is, isn't it? It is sad now when we drive by the old homeplace, the trees were taken by fire shortly after they had both died. The Texas heat and summer fires are unrelenting. We are all just glad they were not here to see the devastation. I believe they know and see from where they are, but it would be hard for us to see the hurt in their eyes.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Pecans in Caldwell

When I looked out the kitchen window this morning and saw Shubert on his hands and knees under the pecan tree, I wondered if he was picking up scattered broken limbs. I went back to my dishes and when he opened the storm door and asked me to hand him a bowl, I realized he had his shirt-tail full of pecans!
It has been a peculiar Fall here. There was so much rain this summer and early Fall, the growing season seems to have been affected. Pecans usually do not fall until most of the leaves are on the ground. But I followed him outside and realized if we didn't gather the pecans soon the squirrels would beat us to them. I called Brenda, telling her how many pecans were already down, and asked her if our granddaughters would like to help gather them up.


The largest pecan tree in August of this year.

Shelby and Paige quickly picked up pecans that have fallen from the two trees in their great-grandmother, Lois Blalock's, yard. They shared stories with me that they remembered about the past when Lois, "Maw Maw", was still alive. 
Paige remembered Maw Maw teaching her about pecans. She and Shelby were chattering along, competing with the squirrels! But they got the job done ~ before the squirrels could come back! Payton couldn't help today, but maybe next time she will be able to come, too.



"Maw Maw taught us how to pick up the pecans," one of the girls told me. "She told us to begin under the tree and go in a circle picking up the pecans as we went out toward the edges." Paige showed me how there were more directly under the tree by the trunk, so she said Maw Maw must have known what she was talking about.
Papa Shubert added a few more to the girls' box of pecans, but he had already worked enough for the morning, so quickly left the rest for them.

Shelby and Paige both said that this year is not like other years. The leaves are not covering the pecans. They remember having to hunt for the pecans. Shelby told me that she remembers when Maw Maw was alive and still able to pick up pecans, she loved to show them the ones hiding under the leaves. Paige said that when they pushed away the leaves, Maw Maw always made them put the leaves back because she loved how they looked on the ground. She loved how the ground looked like Fall.



Maw Maw would sit on the front porch after she got to the point where she was unable to pick up pecans and crack some of the ones the family picked up. All of the family helped. Shelby said she would pick up a bowl full and take them to her and she would crack those, watching the girls pick up more, calling out to them, telling them to make sure they looked carefully and not miss the ones hiding under the leaves! Paige and Shelby both agreed that it was sad when she was not strong enough to crack the pecans any longer.
They have both learned life-long lessons from their great-grandmother. It was heart-warming to listen to them talk about her, remembering her with such love and respect while working under the same trees that she had labored under for many years. I could imagine them all together in my mind's eye having such fun gathering up the pecans. I believe Mrs. Blalock is smiling tonight remembering those times, as well.


Sources:

Photos:
Taken by Judith Richards Shubert, Digital Format, October 28, 2013


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Grandma Gailey's Peanut Butter Cookies made by Angie

I first published Grandma Gailey's Peanut Butter Cookie recipe on November 17, 2008 here. It appears in our Family Cookbook, One Slice at a Time; however, in the cookbook there are 4 ingredients that have been left out. The recipe published on the blog and the one Angie used in this delicious plate of peanut butter cookies yesterday has all the "stuff" to make all of the Pruett grandchildren declare them "deeelicious!"

Grandma Gailey's Peanut Butter Cookies
Made by Granddaughter Angie Pruett

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.

NOTE:
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.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Make it a Fall Family Tradition

My Caldwell, North Carolina, family have worked with the folks who own and operate McKee's Corn Maze in Rougemont for several years. There have been times when Gail, Shelby, Gailey, and Troy have all worked there during the month of October preceding Halloween. The McKee's arrange to have the corn maze haunted during the last couple of weeks and the frightening fun is really ramped up!
As we all get ready for Fall to burst with all its glorious colors, the Corn Maze is the perfect place to visit right now to get us in the mood! Go on out and see Vickie and David McKee and their terrific assistants. Then go back when the place is haunted; you'll make it a tradition in your family!
Judy and Bob Shubert
Granddaughter Shelby Blalock 
Entrance to the McKee Maze
Cedar Creek Farm on Kiger Road
 One Maze Entrance
 White Pumpkins

 One of Two Small Donkeys
 Goats

 Latta's Egg Ranch
 Rhode Island Red Chickens

 Tractor at Each End of Maze
 Decorated Round Hay Bale
 Shubert Cutting into Hickory Nuts
 Beautiful Annuals
 Neat Gourds
 Locally Grown Pumpkins
 Fall Flowers
 ? Another Exit or Entrance ?
 An Exit
 Pumpkins and Flowers
 Shelby working
 A New McKee's Sign
 Red Barn with Green Roof
 Fall Flowers and Scarecrow
 Those Pumpkins Again
 Hayride Driver
Taking a Hayride 
 Great Pumpkins
 David and Gail Explain the Maze
Those on Hayride Return
Only Few Cars Left in Parking Lot
Going Home for the Day

Sources:
Photos
Taken by Judith Richards Shubert, October 5, 2013, Digital format.

McKee's Cedar Creek Farm; http://www.mckeecornfieldmaze.com/; accessed October 5, 2013.
McKee's Cornfield Maze on Facebook; https://www.facebook.com/McKeeCornFieldMaze

Pumpkin Fudge for Halloween

Photo By: WILLANDJENN2004
A few years ago I was given a small pie pumpkin from a cousin's garden in Maryville, Tennessee. It was so cute! I looked at it and didn't have the foggiest idea of what to do with it! But Margaret assured me it was the easiest thing in the world to cut open, take the seeds and stringy "mess" out of the middle, cut the flesh away from the outer peeling of the pumpkin and cook it. So I decided to try it. I found better instructions in an old cookbook, followed them faithfully, and it turned out beautifully. I had pumpkin puree that I could use in any recipe I chose. Then I found several recipes for Pumpkin Fudge that sounded good and decided to try my hand at that.

I can no longer find the recipe I used for that initial batch of fudge using my fresh pumpkin, but I do remember how delicious it tasted. Everyone raved about it; no one in my family had tasted pumpkin fudge before, so I guess the taste was something brand new and exciting.

I found a recipe on  Allrecipes.com that must be similar but it uses marshmallow creme and white chocolate pieces. The chocolate fudge I make at Christmas is the one found on the Kraft Marshmallow Creme jar and it is the one my family loves.


The only thing about this recipe I found to be WRONG is this: You need to add the marshmallow creme AFTER removing from heat along with the chips. The recipe says to bring back to boil for 18 minutes once it's been added. This counteracts the effects of the marshmallow creme!  SO Boil the sugar, milk, pumpkin and butter together. Boil until it reaches 234 F. on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat, and add chips, marshmallow creme, vanilla and spices. 

PUMPKIN FUDGE

INGREDIENTS:
2 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 cups white sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 cup white chocolate chips
7 ounces marshmallow creme
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:
1. Line a 9x9-inch pan with aluminum foil, and set aside.

2. In a 3-quart saucepan, heat milk and butter over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.

3. Mix in pumpkin puree and cinnamon; bring back to a boil. Stir in marshmallow creme and butter. Bring to a rolling boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 18 minutes.

4. Remove from heat, and add white chocolate chips and vanilla. Stir until creamy and all chips are melted. Pour into prepared pan. Cool, remove from pan, and cut into squares. Store in a cool, dry place.

OTHER HELPFUL HINTS:
Use a heavy pan that will cook the candy evenly: a porcelain enamel cast iron pan would be great. Use good quality ingredients always, and a heavy-duty aluminum foil to line the 9x9 pan. Do not start timing the 18 minutes until AFTER the mixture has come to a true rolling boil ~ in other words, you can stir it and it doesn't stop boiling. It would be best to use a candy thermometer. The humidity will affect your candy ~ don't make it on a day that is rainy or that has a high humidity. If you do, you will need to boil it longer the final time and let it reach a temperature on the candy thermometer of 236-240 degrees. Have everything ready before you start to cook. Once you start, there is no time to hunt for ingredients or open containers, or chop pecans. Have fun!

SOURCES:
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2013 Allrecipes.com
Photo By: WILLANDJENN2004

Friday, October 4, 2013

Where's My Momma?

The little grey calf was bawling this afternoon when I looked out the window. He isn't a new-born calf, but fairly young. The Blalocks now have 9 or 10 baby calves on the place. I slipped out back with my camera to see if I could find them at play, but all of the others were in another pasture and Baby Grey was the only one there looking for her momma. She quickly found her among the black heifers who have not delivered and the two greys in the fenced area behind the house.




Baby Grey and her Momma #5

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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.

--Chief Tecumseh

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