Friday, August 26, 2011

Mama's Best-Ever Baked Beans

"I'll tell the family's secret recipe!"
I promise I am not telling a lie when I say that my mama's baked beans recipe is the best you'll ever put in your mouth. If you don't believe me, ask B; he won't waste a minute to second that notion. It's super easy, too. I find myself making it time and time again, especially during the summer months to take to a cookout or when we get a craving for hot dogs (which isn't too seldom). The fact of the matter is baked beans can be made a hundred different ways but with this recipe you'll have a delicious side dish prepared in no time that will leave everyone fat, full, and happy, and requesting the recipe. Duke may not tell his family's secret recipe but we aren't selfish people. So, in the words of Duke:  "Roll that beautiful bean footage."

Nan's Baked Beans
2 (28 oz) cans of Bush's Best Original Baked Beans (or adjust can size to number of servings needed)
bacon, uncooked
1/2 Vidalia onion, cut into thin strips
brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9x13" casserole dish. Drain most of the juice from the beans and remove pieces of fat. Pour one can of beans into casserole dish and spread evenly. Squirt mustard and ketchup over beans (there's no measurements so I just make circles or loops covering the beans). Use a spatula or back of a spoon to spread/combine mustard and ketchup evenly. Add slices of onions.

Next, get a hand full of brown sugar and crumble with fingers over onions. Again, there's no measurement but if I had to guess how much I used I would say 1/3 cup or a little more. I like them sweet! Now it's time add the next can of beans. Pour contents of can #2 over onions. Repeat mustard and ketchup steps--don't forget to smooth out loops, or circles, or whatever you're calling them with a spatula or back of a spoon. No onions for this layer but do sprinkle with more brown sugar. Lay bacon slices on top.

Place in preheated oven and cook for approximately 45 minutes, or when beans are hot and bubbly.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Anniversary Tomato Pie

Wondering what to do with some of those home grown tomatoes you have on hand? I want to share a recipe for tomato pie I made last week and it was so good I made it again for church supper last night.

I've told you that my sister, Marcelle, was visiting last week. Before she came, I asked her to bring some recipes she had tried and some new ones we could cook while she was here. She brought them in a manilla envelope. When I pulled them out, my eyes fell on a page with a picture of a beautiful tomato pie on it. I looked closer. My eyes got large and a gasp escaped from my mouth. It was a page torn from the August issue of Southern Living magazine! Did you understand what I just said? Marcelle had TORN a page from the sainted Southern Living magazine! I could not believe it! I NEVER tear my borders on sacrilege. Law, I was sure lightening was going to strike but it didn't, thank goodness.

This is what you need for the crust which you should make several hours ahead of time. It needs to chill in the fridge for 1 to 24 hours. The colder it is the easier it wil be to roll out and transfer to the pie plate.

I have to tell you about this bowl. It is one of a set of four Pyrex mixing bowls given to me by a co-worker as a wedding present. I have used them almost every day of my married life and I am almost afraid to talk about them for fear they will get broken...which will also break my heart. I'm sorry, I'm sentimental that way. Jane Revell, wherever you are, girl, I think of you everytime I mix something up in those bowls.

Mix the dry ingredients together then cut in the shortening with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles little "peas."

After adding sour cream, form the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate from 1 to 24 hours.

Sometime later, when you are ready to get serious about finishing the pie, peel 4 medium tomatoes, slice them about 1/2 inch thick, and lay out on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and let stand 30 minutes.

Okay,  I rolled the dough to a 13 inch circle on a well floured surface and I do mean well floured because the dough is tender and sticky and doesn't handle easily. I managed to get it in the pie plate and crimped up all pretty. And, yes, I know my rolling pin is missing a handle. It belonged to my grandmother, Nannie, and it works quite well with only one "arm." Well, I did say I am sentimental didn't I?

While the crust bakes for 10 to 12 minutes, pat the tomatoes dry with a paper towel. Remove crust from the oven and sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the bottom then layer on those beautiful tomato slices.

Put the topping on and spread to the edges of the crust. She's ready for the oven!

My oh my, isn't she lovely? Marcelle and I think this crust would make a great chicken pie, too.
Let me know what you think.

Tomato Pie
  from Southern Living Magazine, August 2011
4 medium tomatoes, peeled and slice into 1/2 inch slices
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil ( or 1 teaspoon dried basil)
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided

Place tomato slices in a single layer on paper towels, sprinkle with salt. Let stand for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, bake crust at 350F. for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and sprinkle 1/4 cup of cheese over the bottom of crust. Pat tomato slices dry with paper towels and layer in the crust. Combine mayonnaise, green onions, basil, and remaining cheese. Spread over tomatoes. Bake at 350F 34 to 37 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Sour Cream Pastry

1 & 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup sour cream

Stir together first 3 ingredients in a bowl. Cut shortening into flour mixture with a pastry blender until mixture resembles small peas. Add sour cream; stir with a fork until combined. Gently gather dough into a flat disc; wrap in plastic wrap, and chill 1 to 24 hours

So, why did I title the post "Anniversary Tomato Pie?' Because yesterday, August 24th, was mine and David's 36th wedding anniversary. He has blessed my life in too many ways to name here. Thankfully, he is not a picky eater. He has enjoyed my successes in the kitchen and endured my failures without complaint. Happy anniversary, baby, and you're still the one.

Happy cooking!

Monday, August 22, 2011


"Scuppernongs? I need a definition please." --my non-southern friends

According to, a scuppernong is defined as "a large variety of muscadine (Vitis rotundifolia),[1] a species of grape native to the southeastern United States. It is usually a greenish or bronze color and is similar in appearance and texture to a white grape, but rounder and larger and first known as the 'big white grape'.[2] The grape is also commonly known as the "scuplin" in some areas of the Deep South." My mama always called them "bulluses."

Now, I am sure my northern friends and the rest of you not from the South but from other parts of the land, have heard of a muscadine, right? Well, a scuppernong is very similar to a muscadine except it's green and larger...and oh so tastier! It grows on a vine and has seeds just like a grape. Here's what Katie Hendrick had to say about scuppernongs in her article published in the August/September 2009 edition of Garden and Guns magazine:
Think of the scuppernong as the South’s supergrape. It outlasts scorching temperatures that would shrivel the pinot, chardonnay, or gamay (and provides forty times more antioxidants). Its unusually thick skin keeps the bugs at bay. And it makes a robust jelly or wine, perfect accompaniments to duck, pork, or even fried green tomatoes. Although its range spans from southern Virginia to Florida, this golden variety of muscadine is most closely associated with North Carolina, where it was first cultivated and still sprouts up in backyards each August in clusters of jawbreaker-size goodness. The scuppernong’s sweetness has also made it a favored ingredient in treats such as sorbet and pie, but many North Carolinians will tell you there’s no need to tamper with perfection. To really eat one like a local, just pluck it from the vine, bite a small hole in the skin, and suck out the good stuff.

There is a sweet family in Wadley, the Carters, who have been growing scuppernongs in their backyard for as long as I can remember. They set up a roadside stand in their driveway during the summer months and sell scuppernongs that have either been hand-picked by them or that you've picked yourself. Once they've weighed your pickings and you've exchange money, you drive away happy, and hot, but still happy because you know that you are about to make a glutton of yourself consuming this sweet, southern fruit. One hour later, you're still happy because you can recall the goodness that was recently devoured, regardless of whether you're suffering from a raw tongue or keeping the John company with a magazine in hand. It's all good in the mornin' time!

How To Properly Eat a Scuppernong

First you will need a napkin, paper towel, plate, etc. for expectorating, aka "spitting", the seeds. To begin, remove scuppernongs from the recycled, plastic grocery sack that held last week's raw chicken and ground beef purchases. Give the scuppernongs a quick rinse with tap water just for good measure. Place one scuppernong in your mouth nestling it between your top and bottom molars. Gently press down until you feel the scuppernong pop and can taste its juice. Remove from mouth and suck out the "good stuff" from inside of the skin (no need to define "good stuff"; you'll see what I mean). Manipulate the "good stuff" around in your mouth, using your tongue and teeth to remove the seeds. There will be anywhere from 2-5 seeds. Spit out--oh, sorry, I mean expectorate--the seeds into the aforementioned napkin, paper towel, plate, etc. Swallow remaining "good stuff" and repeat above steps.

Scuppernongs and muscadines make good jelly, jam, and wine.

Comment below with your take on scuppernongs; we want to hear from you!


Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Year on Ladybug Farm Cupcakes

What inspired me to bake these cute and delicious cupcakes? Membership in a newly formed and, as yet, unnamed book club. I am really excited about this new adventure because, number one, it gives me a good excuse to read a book instead of, say, ironing or washing the dishes. As if I needed an excuse. Number two, I really like the other members. I know all of them, some better than others. They are women I am not around very often. We don't live in the same town, move in the same circles, or go to the same church. But I just know we are going to have the best time together! We chose A Year on Ladybug Farm by Donna Ball as our first "read." So when I saw these ladybug cupcakes in Martha Stewart"s book, Cupcakes, I knew I had to make them for our meeting to discuss the book. While Martha's recipe calls for a yellow cake, chocolate seemed to be a better choice since it is the color of good, rich dirt and grass grows from dirt, does it not?
While looking at another food blog, "Bake at 350," I saw that she, also, had made the ladybug cupcakes using chocolate cake and provided the recipe which I will share with you here. Have fun but be prepared to spend some time on these. The cupcakes themselves are's the decorating that took so long. Well, I never said I was a professional! Oh, and my sister, Marcelle, helped me.
Thanks, girlfriend.

One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes

3/4 cup dutch process cocoa (I use Hershey's Special Dark cocoa)
1 & 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 & 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 & 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F Place 18 liners in cupcake pans. Whisk together cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Mix on low speed about 3 minutes. Batter is very wet. It is easier to pour into cups if batter is transferred to a container with a spout. Fill cups 2/3'rds full. Bake 20 minutes. Cool completely on racks before frosting.

Here is the buttercream frosting recipe I usually use to decorate cakes:

1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons milk
Cream butter and shortening with electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar and beat well on medium, scraping down side and bottom of bowl often. Add milk and continue beating until light and fluffy. Keep frosting covered until ready to use. Refrigerate leftover frosting in airtight container up to 2 weeks. Rewhip before using. Makes 3 cups

To decorate the cupcakes, I tinted portions of frosting with Wilton colors Leaf Green, Red Red, and Black. I used Wilton tip # 233 to make the grass. Since I didn't have fondant or marzipan to make the ladybugs, I used a round tip to pipe an oval shape and let it dry a few minutes. Then I could pat the frosting into the ladybug shape. Next, I added the black head and spots.

As Marcelle and I usually do when we talk about recipes, we discuss what we might do differently, add or subtract to suit our tastes. As in this case, we couldn't help but think of other frostings that would be yummy on these moist, chocolatey cupcakes. Like, say, chocolate cream cheese, or peanut butter, or mocha, or 7 get the picture.

Happy cooking!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Glenda's Pound Cake

I have had such a great week! My sister, Marcelle, is visiting and we've had so much fun talking, laughing, and cooking together. Marie took some time off from her work so she could be with us which made it all the more fun to be together. I am so thankful for these two very special ladies!

Tuesday was Marcelle's birthday. I won't tell you how many years she celebrated because she would kill me!
Anyway, we asked her what her favorite cake is and, without giving it any thought, she said Glenda's pound cake. I'm sure she has told me who Glenda is and how she got the recipe but I have forgotten. What is memorable is this moist and delicious. Well, that was all the excuse I needed to get out the old tube pan, some butter, eggs, sugar, etc. and whip up a cake which we promptly cut and ate while it was still warm. Awesome!!!!!!!!!

So here we go.....

This is all the stuff you will need. I like to get the ingredients together or else I will leave something out.

I love my mixer! My husband gave it to me and every now and then when I am using it he will say, "I did good, didn't I?'' And I will answer, "You did VERY good!"

I, also, love this tube pan. It belonged to my mother, Dot, and is precious for that reason alone. I think I "borrowed" it from her and "forgot" to return it. I have looked for one to give Marie but cannot find one that is the quality this one is. So, no, you can't have it! It is part of Marie's inheritance.

Sift the flour, friends. It gets the lumps out. Do it before you measure unless the recipe states otherwise.

This is what a properly greased and floured tube pan looks like. I like to wrap a piece of paper towel around my fingers, dip them in some Crisco and rub the inside and tube until there is a thin coating. Then I sprinkle flour all around the tube portion then swirl to coat sides. Shake out excess flour, give the pan a good tap to remove any remaining loose flour. Now, I'm not saying my way is the only way but it's the one that works best for me.

Cream the butter, Crisco, and sugar together real good 'til it's fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time blending after each one. I crack the eggs in a small custard cup before adding because I have had to stop and fish out egg shells too many times. If you are one of those people who can crack the egg on the edge of the bowl and add in without shells then go for it.

Okay, at this point, I have all of the ingredients in and the batter is in the pan. I tap the pan on the countertop a couple of times to release air bubbles and swirl it to even the batter out. "They" say baking is a science, meaning the ingredients should be added in a specific order. I always try to follow the recipe but this I know...when putting in the dry and liquid ingredients always begin and end with the dry. So I will start with a third of the flour, then add half of the liquid, then the next third of flour, and so forth, ending with the last third of the flour.  Ready for our friend, the oven.

What a beautiful sight! I wish you could scratch and sniff. Cool in pan 10-15 minutes then turn onto plate.

With a bamboo skewer, poke holes in the top of the cake.

Pour topping over cake saving some to brush on sides of cake with a pastry brush or rubber spatula.
This topping penetrates the cake and makes it so moist! Now sit back and wait for the compliments!

Glenda's Pound Cake

2 sticks butter ( I ALWAYS use salted butter...never been a problem)
1/2 cup Crisco
3 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs
1 teaspoon rum flavoring
1 teaspoon coconut flavoring
3 cups of sifted all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup whole milk

Cream butter, Crisco, and sugar with electric mixer until creamy and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, blending after each egg. Add flavorings, salt, and baking powder. With mixer on low speed, add flour and milk beginning and ending with flour. Stop mixer to scrape down sides of bowl and continue until flour in incorporated. Pour into greased and floured 10 inch tube pan. Bake at 325 F
for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove cake from oven and test for doneness with skewer or cake tester.
Let cake cool in pan for 10-15 minutes. Invert cake onto plate and turn back over onto another plate so cake is right side up. Poke holes in top of cake and pour on topping.


1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon almond flavoring

Comine sugar and water and bring to a boil. Simmer until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add almond flavoring. Pour over top of cake and brush sides of cake as described above.

Happy Cooking!

Monday, August 15, 2011

And the Winner Is...


Molly won Paula Deen's rubber spatulas, our favorite vanilla, wire whisk, and a cooking magazine! Congrats to Molly and a big thank you to everyone who commented on our blog posts, Facebook posts, sent emails, and "Liked" our Facebook status. Thanks for your support and stay tuned for more giveaways and many more great recipes!

Marie and Nan

Mistake Turned Great

Good morning everybody! I am so excited to be sharing a food blog with my daughter, Marie. From the time she mentioned it, my mind has been whirling with all I would like to share with you about our love for food. And eating it is not the only good part.  Do you ever consider how much of our lives center around food? The times spent around the table sharing with family and friends make for wonderful memories.  Food expresses sympathy and comfort in times of grief and illness. It provides nourishment our bodies need for growth and strength. It is the centerpiece of celebrations and the stuff of childhood memories.

Whether I share a recipe you will want to try or one you wouldn't come close to wanting to cook, it will likely be tied to a personal memory or special person who means lot to me. Whatever comes out of this blog, I hope you enjoy it and have fun cooking!

This is going to be a fun week for me because my sister, Marcelle, is visiting. We are also soul sisters where food is concerned. When we are together, we are sharing recipes, reading each others newest cookbooks, and trying new dishes. I'll be telling you alot more about her as time goes on. Well, I was, of course, planning what we would eat last night for dinner. I wanted to do a light meal because I had cooked and served a large lunch to the family. Marie provided her special chicken salad. (She will share that with you later) I made deviled eggs and wanted to do a dip with fresh fruit. While reading Madigan Made I came across her Orange Creamsicle Summer Fruit Dip and thought that sounded great. Well, when I went to make it, I misread the ingredients and didn't realize it until it was too late. But it turned out to be a delicious mistake! I plan  to make her version another time but here is my blundered attempt. Yes, I CAN mess up a recipe with only 3 ingredients!

Fluffy Lemon Fruit Dip

1- 8oz. Whipped topping, thawed
1- 14oz. sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup lemon juice

Fold whipped topping into milk until smooth. Add lemon juice, mixing well. Refrigerate until ready to use. Serve with variety of fresh fruit, thin, crisp cookies, pound cake, and angel food cake cubes.

*Tip:  Omitting lemon juice creates a thinner dip that is too sweet. Lemon juice thickens and sets the dip.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Candy Bar Sticky Buns

Have you ever baked something that, no matter how hard you didn't want to or how hard you tried, you just couldn't resist taking a bite when it came out of the oven? Unfortunately, it happens to me all  the time--my list is too long. But if I had to choose the #1 most tempting out-of-the-oven treat, it would be these sticky buns. They are simply irresistible.

The original recipe came from a lady in Wadley, Mrs. Audrey Tarver. Mama received it first then passed along to me. It has been one that I've had for a while storing in my recipe tin but it wasn't until recently that I made up my mind I was going to give it a try. I had been ignoring it because reading just the short list of ingredients made my mouth water and I knew I would be hooked. And I was right...I was. Please note that the original recipe called for Snickers (original name is "Snicker Buns"). I have also made these with Milky Ways (my all-time favorite candy bar). Both were delicious. The Snickers provided the bun with a little crunch from the peanuts. The Milky Way version was creamier, lacking nuts, but if desired, you could sprinkle pecans on top of the icing or in the center. The fun part about these sticky buns is that you can play around with them substituting your favorite candy bar and topping the icing with whatever tickles your fancy.

The pictures below show the mini version. I made them for my sweet friend Molly's baby shower brunch. I thought the minis would be more ideal for ladies--small, hand-held and less rich. I used fun-sized Snickers because that's what I already but I cut them in half. Next time I will use the bite-size candy bars for the miniatures.

Enjoy but beware:  temptation may conquer.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt 1/2 stick of butter or margarine in a bowl. Set aside.

Begin making buns with a can of crescent roll dough. Separate triangles of dough. If making minis, cut each triangle in half. Unwrap 8 fun-sized candy bars for regular buns or 16 bite-size candy bars for minis. Place candy bar at top of your triangle and roll the dough as you would if making crescents.

Seal edges and mold in your hand to form a ball. You want to make sure that edges are sealed completely or the chocolate will seep out during baking, creating a messier bun.

Roll each ball of dough in melted butter and place in either 8-count or 16-count mini-muffin tin.

Place in oven and bake 10 minutes. Make glaze (see below). You will cover buns with glaze while they're hot.

For the glaze: 
1/2 cup powder sugar
1 Tbsp milk
1/4 tsp almond extract
Combine and stir until smooth. Pour over hot buns.

Candy Bar Sticky Buns
Serving size:  8 regular buns or 16 minis

8 fun size candy bars of your choice (recommend Snickers or Milky Way)
1 can crescent roll dough
½ stick butter or margarine, melted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Unroll and separate triangles of dough. Wrap one candy bar in each triangle. Form ball of dough around candy bar and seal edges completely. Roll in melted butter and place in muffin pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Cover with glaze while hot (see glaze instructions below).

½ cup powder sugar
1 Tbsp milk
¼ tsp almond extract
Combine ingredients and stir until smooth. Pour over hot buns.

*For mini sticky buns:  Use 16 bite-size candy bars and cut each triangle of crescent roll dough in half. Follow instructions as above and place dough in mini muffin pan.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mango-Pineapple Smoothie

McDonald's ain't got nothin' on this!

So I caught a break at work and came home for an hour to let Jasper out and piddle around a bit before going back. I began to get that yearning for something sweet (you know that feeling that you can't ignore?). I ate a Subway salad for lunch without cheese and with fat-free dressing so I thought I deserved something good. Something with some weight.

Several weeks ago I came across a recipe for a mango-pinapple smoothie from Weight Watchers. It just so happened that Publix had mangos on sale that week so I bought one, came home and chopped it up, and put it in the freezer for when the time felt right to make the delicious-looking smoothie. Well, the time was right today because I found that all of the remaining ingredients I needed were in my pantry and frig. I altered the recipe just a bit and instead of drinking the serving size, I proceeded to finish the entire thing (sorry Brandon!). I never thought a smoothie would be the first recipe on our new blog but it seems as though it's worked out to be. I took a quick snapshot and it is!

Mango-Pineapple Smoothie
adapted from Weight Watchers
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1 cup canned (or fresh) pineapple chunks, drained, reserve juice*
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp reserved pineapple juice (can omit if thicker consistency is desired)
  • 1 1/2 cups mango chunks, slightly thawed*
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
*The great part about this recipe is its flexibility; you can substitute with any fruit desired. I think strawberry-banana-pineapple would be one of my top favorite combos. (And maybe with a hint of spiced rum???)

Drink and enjoy!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Meet Our Friend Oven

Ahh, another new and exciting adventure involving food and my mama--my favorite combination. Welcome to "Our Friend Oven." This all began with an epiphany I had in the shower Friday morning. The thought of creating a seperate blogspot just for food and recipes and tag-teaming with the best, my mom, randomly entered my mind. It made me want to shout "Eureka!" It was brillant and I immediately called mama to discuss how this was going to work. So just a few days later, this is where we find ourselves.

This is going to work very similar to "Up on Blue Berryhill" except you will be receiving recipes from me and mama. You will find Southern favorites, our attempts at food decorating, and some originals. Don't let the name fool you, though...our site will not be limited to baked goods. Oven is going to invite her friends Stove, Kitchen Sink, Refrigerator, etc. along for the ride:)

To kick off "Our Friend Oven" (get ready for this, it's going to be cheesy), we are going to have a drawing for a couple of items that we consider "kitchen essentials". All you have to do is leave a comment to this post or any others between now and next Monday, August 15 (or you can email us at and your name will be entered into a drawing. We will post the winner Monday evening.