Our Thanksgiving Menu

Starters:  We have a tall narrow buffet on a long wall in our living room.  This year I plan to clear this and use it for beginning appetizers and hot Spiced Cider which I plan to keep warm on a large tray in a crock pot with cups saucers and a ladle.  Along side this will be assorted crackers and the blue cheese ball, and  small tray of assorted raw vegetables, pickles, olives, and dip.  A dish of peanuts and a dish with a few buckeyes will round it off.

The main meal:  I usually serve two meats at Thanksgiving, both ham and a turkey breast.  This is followed with mashed potatoes and turkey gravy,  dressing,  homemade noodles,  sweet potatoes with marshmallows,  wild rice and sausage casserole,  green bean casserole,  cranberries,  hot rolls and butter.

Dessert:  Pumpkin Delight,  Butter Cake with chocolate frosting with sweetened Fruit Salad of mixed berries.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Crab Ball

This crab ball is really festive in a dark green dish with lemon wedges!!

This is a really pretty crab and cheese ball at the Holidays because it is covered with a red seafood sauce and when you put it in a green dish it is really festive. The origin of this is unclear to me. I have always made it and no body in my family ever did before me and it has never been written down that I know of except by me for someone who liked it. It must have been told to me long ago or something I had tasted and made my version of in my youth.
Anyway it is easy and good and usually goes quickly although it keeps well and can look good the second day by just adding additional sauce where the original tasters dug into it!!

I stick the crab ball in the freezer to firm it up while I do the sauce.
Crab ball ingredients:
2, 8 oz. pkg. Philly Cream Cheese
1 can of crab drained and picked through to remove any cartilage
dash of hot sauce
1 t. lemon jest
juice of 1/2 lemon

Lay out 2 sections, each about 15 "long of plastic wrap side by side overlapping about 2 inches forming a seal. You will place the crab ball in the center once you have it formed. Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and using your clean hands mix well and form into a ball. Place the cheese ball in the center of the plastic wrap and bring the sides up around it to wrap it well. Refrigerate until serving time.

1 1/2 C. ketchup
1/4 C. prepared horseradish ( more or less to taste)
juice of 1/2 lemon
dash of hot sauce

Mix together the sauce. At serving time center the ball on a serving dish large enough or a shallow bowl with enough of a lip that the sauce can flow over it but not over run the dish. Garnish with a few lemon wedges if desired and serve with Triscut, Wheat Thins, and Sociable crackers or others of your liking.


Pumpkin Delight

I had not made this before but my best friend Diane says it is wonderful and has become a family tradition at their house.  She makes it the Tuesday prior to Thanksgiving as it is a good do ahead recipe and actually is better if made a few days ahead and allowed to meld a bit.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

The Crust:

24 Graham crackers crushed = 2 C. crumbs
1/3 C. sugar
1/2 C. melted butter
Mix above ingredients together and press into a 9 x 13" pan

First filling:

2 eggs
3/4 C. sugar
1, softened 8 oz. package Philadelphia Cream Cheese
Combine above ingredients and pour over the crust bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Second layer:
Using a saucepan combine:

2 C. pumpkin
3 egg yolks (reserve the whites)
1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C. milk
1/2 t. salt
1 T. cinnamon
dash of ground cloves
Heat stirring over medium high heat until the mixture thickens and remove from the heat.  Meanwhile  dissolve 1 large or 2 small envelopes of plain unflavored gelatin in 1/2 C. of cold water.  When it has thickened stir it into the pumpkin and set it aside to cool.

When cool proceed by beating the 3 egg whites with 1/4 C. sugar until firm.

Fold the egg whites into the cooled pumpkin and spread over the cream cheese filling.  Refrigerate until firm.

Frost with whipped topping, cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve.  In effect we have a 4 ribbon desert layered with complimentary flavors.  I am looking fore=ward to cutting these into squares Thursday and placing them in low stemmed desert dishes I use on special occasions.

Wild Rice and Sausage

This recipe was adapted from Southern Living 1986 Annual Recipes cookbook and that is probably how long we have been making it.  Some years we don't make a turkey but rather have ham for Thanksgiving and this dish captures the flavors and aroma of traditional dressing or stuffing.  Our oldest son Chris has made it and taken it to pitch in dinners with a lot of success.  It makes a good amount, keeps well, and doubles nicely.  I have also frozen it and reintroduced it at a later time and it was all good!!  I am myself looking forward to having it this Thanksgiving!!

You will need:
1 pound bulk pork sausage
1 C. diced celery
1 lg. onion diced
1 green pepper seeded and diced (I omit this)
1 clove minced garlic
3 C. chicken broth
1 undiluted can of cream of mushroom soup
1 undiluted can of cream of chicken soup
8 oz. can of drained sliced water chestnuts
8 oz. drained sliced mushrooms
6 oz. pkg. dry long grain and wild rice mix
Pinch of dry whole thyme
1 t. dried parsley flakes
black pepper
dash of dried red pepper flakes
2 oz. sliced almonds
fresh parsley for garnish, optional
large 3 quart buttered casserole

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Using a large skillet combine over medium heat the sausage, celery, onion, optional green pepper, and garlic;  cook until sausage is browned and vegetables are tender.  Stir to crumble the meat and drain well when done.  Stir together the remaining ingredients except the almonds and parsley for garnish.  Mix well.  Spoon into prepared dish and sprinkle with almonds.  Bake for 1 1/2 hours.  Yield 12 servings.
NOTE:  This makes a really large casserole and I don't want to have so many leftovers so I put this into 2 buttered casseroles and I am freezing one to bake another time and I am refrigerating the other and will add the almonds and bake it on Thursday.   I will probably bake it an hour and see if that is enough with the reduced volume.


Spiced Hot Cider

There has been a jug of cider in my extra refrigerator just waiting to "get spiced"!!  This is my sister Linda's recipe and I remember vividly the aroma the first time I waked into her house and she had this prepared.  It was w-o-n-d-e-r-f-u-l.  And, it tasted as good as it smelled.  I have made it many times since and we have always enjoyed it.

 You will need:
1 gallon apple cider
1 C. brown sugar
4, 2" cinnamon sticks
2 t. allspice
2 t. whole cloves
1-2  fresh oranges sliced

Combine the first five ingredients in your crock pot or in a large kettle on the stove and set to simmer.
Float the orange slices on top.  Serve hot in mugs.  You may want to garnish with additional cinnamon sticks or cinnamon stick candy.

Hot Buttered Rum

Our oldest son Chris arrived for Christmas a few years back with this goodie made up and a bottle of good rum.  I was a happy cook that year let me tell you!!!  I just love this when it gets cold outside.  In fact I am cold right now.  It must be time!!  I do not know where he got this recipe for sure.  I think it may have been from Emorel LeGassi on The Food Channel, but again I don't know why I think that as I don't recall if he ever said.  We will give him credit just in case.

Anyway here is what you need:

1 stick soft butter
2 C. brown sugar
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
pinch of cloves
pinch of salt
bottle of Dark Rum
Boiling water

Cream together in a bowl the first 6 ingredients until well combined.  Refrigerate until ready to use in an airtight container.  To mix using small  mugs spoon 2 T. butter mixture into each mug.  Pour about 3 oz. (6 Tablespoons) of dark rum into each mug.  This should fill the mug about 1/2 way.  Fill the remaining half with freshly boiling water.  Stir well ans serve with a cinnamon stick.  If you are using larger mugs than the example cites adjust the amounts.
NOTE: 1 oz. = 2 T.

Blue Cheese and Pecan Appetizer Ball

This is another recipe from my best friend Diane.  Her parent's have always done a lot of entertaining and this is a cheese ball from their collection of favorites.  It makes 3 good sized or 2 giant cheese balls.  They are also great as gifts and they keep well in the refrigerator.  I think everyone I have ever served or given the cheese ball as a gift to have wanted the recipe.  I am making them up now to have on hand through the Holidays.  It does not call for a lot of blue cheese but it is very flavorful so there is just enough.  I like Maytag blue cheese if you can find it or you can order it on line.  Also the onion and the celery needs to be diced as fine as you can make it by hand and not in a chopper or processor.  It seems to bruise and become too liquid unless you do it by hand.

4 oz. Blue Cheese
4.  8 oz. bars cream cheese
1/2 medium onion chopped very fine
3 stalks celery chopped very fine
2 C. chopped pecans

Combine the first four ingredients well,  I use my clean hands.  Form them as you like in balls or rolls and roll in or top with pecans.  Wrap well in plastic wrap and keep refrigerated until you serve.

As you can see I have made 3 generous cheese balls and 2 are tucked away in the bottom of the refrigerator to be forgotten until I have guests or want to give them as a gift.  The other sits ready to taste and enjoy in a few days.  This is really better the longer it sits as the blue in the blue cheese is like starter and tends to grow a bit and flavor the entire treat although it is not at all overpowering.



Just dipped!!
Buckeyes around here are a type of candy made at the Holidays.  Years ago I made these when my own children were home.  This year I plan to have them at Thanksgiving and see if anyone remembers them.
I am planning to make an easier on the cook Thanksgiving this year focusing on do ahead dishes and letting go of some of the old classics.  This way I can see more of my family and a bit less of the kitchen.
These (Buckeyes and Pumpkin Delight) are great to do ahead and the recipes come from Diane my oldest, dearest, best friend in the whole world.

1 sleeve of graham crackers finely crushed,  about 2 C.
1 lb. box of powdered sugar,  about 4 C.
Necked Buckeyes Chilling!!
2 C. crunchy peanut butter,  18 oz. jar
2 sticks of soft butter
1 T. vanilla
1/2 bar paraffin
1 lb. chocolate chips

In line for Tasting!!
Mix altogether crushed graham crackers, sugar, peanut butter, butter, and vanilla in a large bowl using an electric mixer.  Using your clean hands roll into balls and refrigerate to firm them up. 

Meanwhile over very low heat melt the paraffin and chocolate chips together.  Using a toothpick or skewer affix the candy and dip into the chocolate swirling to cover and leaving about a a fingernail sized portion not dipped,  thus the name, buckeye!!!

Corn Chowder for a Comfort Meal Anytime.

Corn chowder is another one of those feel good meals and is always good but especially when there is a chill in the air or if it is a cold rainy day....This recipe is supper easy and chocked full of vegetables.
It is a great meal when you are tired and busy and like me tonight have been cooking all day in preparation for a big Thanksgiving.
Here's all you need:

6-7 slices of bacon chopped
1 C. diced onion
1 C. diced celery
1 T. fresh or 1 t. dried parsley, optional
1 can of whole kernel corn drained
1 can of creamed corn
2 cans of condensed cream of potato soup
salt to taste
black pepper to taste
dash of celery salt
dash of dried red pepper flakes
1 1/2 C. milk

Fry the bacon in the bottom of a large heavy bottomed saucepan or kettle.  When it is half way to being done add the onion and celery and continue cooking until light brown.  Add all of the rest of the ingredients and stir together.  Heat and serve with fresh crisp saltines or hot rolls.

  In addition I want to say I have made this many times using a quart of left over potato soup or making a quart of fresh potato soup  so it is quite versatile.  I have also omitted the 2 cans of corn and the celery,  added a can of clams and the juice of 1/2 a lemon and it is a great calm chowder.


Green Tomato Pie

Green Tomato Pies
The Sisson's are apart of our family as one of my sisters married into the Sisson clan!  We have all know each other for a lifetime and I can truly say they are a wonderful, fun, and salt of the earth bunch!!!

This recipe comes from Great Great Grandma Sisson and that is as far back as I can trace this recipe.  It has long been a favorite and has been spoken about for as many years back as I can remember.  It is a great use of those green tomatoes hanging around on the vine before the hard freeze.  Or fix it anytime  green tomatoes are available.   Brian picked a bucket of green tomatoes when he took the garden apart last week.  Some have ripened but some are starting to go bad so I need to make these up today and get them to the freezer to enjoy this winter.

The pie looks a bit like mincemeat, is flavored similarly to pumpkin, and has more the consistency of a squash pie.  It's all good!!

Grandma Sisson ALWAYS made these in an 8" aluminum pie pan.  If they were to be frozen she baked them and wrapped them well in aluminum foil and froze them.  To serve the frozen version of this pie you place it frozen pie in a 350 degree oven and bake 45 minutes or until it has warmed throughout.

Here's the recipe:
2 C. chopped fine green tomatoes
1 1/2 C. sugar
2 rounded T. flour
1/2 t. Cinnamon
1/4 t. cloves
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. allspice
2 T. vinegar or lemon juice
2 T. butter
2 unbaked pie crusts

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
You may want to use an electric chopper to fine chop the green tomatoes.  Sprinkle them with 1/4 t. salt and let them sit while making the pie pastry.

Make your favorite pie pastry dough.  Form into two disks and roll the bottom crust and place it in the pie plate.  Set it aside and roll the second crust to be ready to top the pie.  After this is completed drain the tomatoes and salt by pressing the mixture into a colander and squeezing off most of the moisture.  Using a mixing bowl stir together the tomato, sugar, flour, and spices.  (My sister says she has used pumpkin pie spice as a substitute for the listed spices and it turns out well too.)  Add the vinegar or lemon juice and stir altogether well.   Spread the filling into the unbaked shell and dot with butter.  Cover the pie with a slotted second crust or lattice and bake at 375 degrees F for 45-50 minutes.

This pie tends to run over so I line a baking sheet with heavy duty foil for easy clean up.  Because I am using 8" foil pie pans and the are a little flimsy I also tear a additional piece of foil about 9" deep and 28" wide and center the unfilled bottom crust on it.  This acts as a sling to move the pie about, or remove it from the oven without breaking the crust edges or having it cave inward.   Today I have made 3 pies and this has been very useful.

Hope you enjoy the recipe.   We sure do and thanks to the Sisson's for sharing!!

Fried Fish, Fresh Caught Crappie from Kentucky Lake

Crappie draining from the fryer.
Most boys or men I guess I should say born and reared in southern Indiana get pretty excited at the thought of going fishing, catching fish, and/or eating good fresh caught fresh water fish.  The minds of most I have ever conversed with would call crappie one of the best!!  They are a medium sized silver white fish with a small and tender mouth.  You have to take care in landing them as not to jerk too hard and loose them, but rather smoothly with measured firmness.

To our great good fortune a friendly and long time customer of my husband gave him 3 pounds of crappie he has just caught and filleted at his retirement home at Kentucky Lake.   He had come here to bring a repair for Brian and treated us to his catch.  He said his freezer was full as it has been a great fall for crappie fishing.

This was to become Sunday dinner for our bunch along with the criss cross peanut butter cookies,  baked beans. roasted white potatoes and a fresh fruit platter in lieu of a vegetable salad for a change.

When I opened the plastic bag of fish I knew how fresh they really were when there was no smell of anything at all.  You would have never known I was holding a bag of fish in my sink had you walked in behind me!!

I rinsed them and set them to drain in a colander in the sink while I prepared the mixture to dredge them in and heated the oil to fry them.  Here is what you will need to fry fish for 6 people:

3 pounds fish fillets cut into serving size pieces
large skillet or shallow flat bottomed pan
pie plate for dredging mixture
tongs or forks to turn fish
paper toweling on a plate to drain the fried fish
optional,  preheat the oven to 175-200 degrees F to hold the fish if needed

Dredge mixture:
1 C. flour
1 C. cornmeal
3 T. paprika
1 1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1/2 t. lemon pepper
1/2 t. garlic powder

Frying fish
Heat enough peanut oil or other oil with a good heat tolerance for frying to make about 1 " in the bottom of the pan to 350 degrees F.  Fish fries very quickly so be prepared to stay right with it.

Dredge each piece and drop it into the hot oil.  Turn after 2-3 minutes and fry another 2 minutes or so.  You can tell when it is done because you will see the flakiness of the flesh upon bending a piece back a little.  Drain on paper towels and serve with fresh lemon wedges.


Peanut Butter Criss Cross Cookies

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies
This is a really old cookie and I have enjoyed it since I was a little girl when my own Mother made them for us. She gave me the cookbook she used a while back. It was titled "The Way to a Man's Heart". This is not the recipe she used but I always think of her old cookbook and that it was a wedding gift when my parents married and I see the notes she penned in the recipe. You see her recipe made 100 cookies. Mine makes 2 or 3 dozen depending on how large you make your cookie!!!

Adapted from "The Betty Crocker Cookbook", the first cookbook I had when I was married.

1/2 C. shortening half butter half shortening softened
1/2 C. peanut butter
1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C. brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 C. flour
3/4 t. soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1//4 t. salt

Mix thoroughly shortening, peanut butter, sugars, and egg. Blend in dry ingredients. Cover and chill at least an hour. Pre heat oven to 375 degrees F. Shape dough into 1" balls. Place 3" apart on lightly greased cookie sheet. (I use Silpat mats or parchment paper and Do NOT grease these). Using a table fork dipped in granulated sugar flatten the cookies in a criss cross pattern. Bake 10-12 minutes until set but not hard. Yield 3 dozen. Cool and store in an airtight container. These also are good with a Hershey kiss candy pressed into the center rather than the criss cross.


Pull Apart Cheese Bread

Golden Cheese Bread
Just want I need to go with a steaming bowl of soup....or anything else I can think of right now!!!  When is hot home made yeast bread not good I ask you.  Put on top of the wonderful smell of bread baking CHEESE!!!  I ask you.....My whole house swoons as it sits here on this lovely wooded hill.  Giving rise envy to the leafy smells of fall.

Boy am I windy today.

Well anyway.  As it happens I have received an order I had placed with King Arther Flour that included Vermont cheese powder.  When I came across a King Arthur recipe for Golden Cheese Bread,  I was inspired.

As anyone who knows me will tell you I am quite specific about ingredients and what I like to use for what.  I have ordered from King Arthur for many many years and have never been disappointed.  I have never taken anything from any vendor or supplier.   I just prefer and use these products.

I did quite a bit of adapting to their recipe which can probably be found on their website.  Here is my version:

1 C. lukewarm water
4 T. soft butter
1 1/2 C. King Arthur all purpose flour
1 T. gluten
1 1/2 C. King Arthur Bread Flour
1 T. sugar
1/4 C. powdered milk
1/3 C. Vermont cheese powder,  optional but good
1 1/4 t. salt
3/4 t. onion powder
1 scant T. instant yeast

Filling and topping:
1 1/3 C. shredded cheese of your choice, I used sharp cheddar and brick
2-3 T. melted butter

Combine all of the dough ingredients in the bowl of your mixer and process with the dough hook kneading to make a soft, smooth dough.   Fill a large 8-10 C. heavy glass or pottery bowl with very hot water and let it sit a minute or two to heat it through.  Dump the water, dry the bowl quickly and butter it well.  Place the dough in the bowl, turning it to grease the top into the warm bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and a clean towel and set it aside to rise for 1 1/2 -2 hours.  It should be very puffy but not necessarily doubled.

Gently deflate the dough, and divide it into chestnut size pieces (about 1").  Don't be too fussy here, the pieces don't have to be exactly the same size, nor do they need to be rolled into balls.  Dividing   the dough in half, then each piece into half again, etc. works well.  You want to end up with 64 pieces of dough, more or less.

Lightly butter a 9 x5" loaf pan and line it with foil.  Grease the foil well.

Place 16 pieces of dough in the bottom of the pan and sprinkle with 1/3 C. of the shredded cheese
then drizzle with butter.

Make another layer with 16 pieces of dough, sprinkle with 1/3 C. of cheese and drizzle with butter.

Repeat with the remaining dough making 2 more layers.  Brush the top layer with butter but do NOT
sprinkle with cheese.

Cover the pan and let it rise for 60 minutes.  Towards the end of the rising time preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

When the dough has risen till it is slightly crowned over the top of the pan bake for 20 minutes.  Tent it lightly with foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes.  An instant read thermometer should read 190 degrees when inserted into the center of the bread.

Cream of Mushroom Soup & Cheese Bread
Remove the bread from the oven and immediately loosen the edges with a table knife.  Wait 2 minutes and turn it out of the pan onto a baking sheet and carefully turn it right side up.  Sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese and return it to the oven for about 2 minutes for the cheese to soften and start to melt.  Remove from the oven and serve warm......Oh yes.

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Steaming Hot Mushroom Soup
Being as soup crazy as I am I look for fresh lovely produce and base a lot of where our food dollars go on what is beautiful in the produce department.  The past week found fresh mushrooms, shitake, oyster, and white buttons all in a row that needed to be made into something silken, rich, and nutritious!!

My husband loves soup too especially mushroom so that meal was planned on the spot.
My version calls for:

5-6 oz. fresh shitake mushrooms
5-6 oz. oyster mushrooms
8 oz. white button mushrooms
or a pound to a pound and a quarter of whatever fresh mushrooms you like or are available.
1-2 T. olive oil
8-9 T. butter
2 C. chopped onion
1 C. diced carrot
1 bunch chopped green onions
4 T. flour
1/2 C. white wine ( I use dry Vermouth)
1/2 C. water
10 1/2 oz. can undiluted double strength chicken broth
3 T. cornstarch
1 C. heavy cream
Black pepper

Clean the mushrooms using a soft bristled brush, knocking off any loose debris.  Separate the stems and cut them off into a separate area.  Trim any bad parts off.  Slice the mushrooms into bite size pieces and set them aside.

To make the mushroom stock, place a large saucepan over the flame and add 1 T. butter and 1 T. olive oil.  Add the onion, carrot, chopped mushroom stems, 1 t. salt, and 1/2 t. pepper.  Cook this over medium heat for about 10 minutes and add 6 C. water.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a good simmer for about half an hour.

Using a soup kettle heat the remaining butter and add the green onion and stir as you saute them for about 4-5 minutes.  Add the sliced mushrooms and continue cooking for 8-9 minutes, until they are browned and tender.  Add the flour and cook for a minute or so.  Stir in the wine and water then strain the mushroom stock into the kettle and continue stirring.  Taste and add salt and pepper.  I use about 1 1/2 -2 t. salt and 1- 1/2 t. pepper but that may be more than you want.  Turn down the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  Right before you are ready to serve mix the cornstarch with the cold chicken broth and add it to soup and bring to a boil stirring well.  Add the cream and heat to serving temperature  but do not boil.   This is very good with fresh hot bread and a small salad  for a great meal.

My adaptation is inspired by Paula Dean and Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa.


Fried Green Tomatoes

Salted and Draining.
Fried Green Tomatoes is one of my most if not my most favorite movie!!!  I love the part in the parking lot when the two sassy teenie boppers get the sports car they just cut in front of our 'heroine" with smashed to blooming smithereens when our "heroine" blows a gasket and rams the daylights out of it with her big old "tank" as she tells them she is "older, richer, and has more insurance"......

Well anyway.........I am trying to catch up and get more thing done now that I am finally over whatever the heck I had for a good month!!  I really feel good now and am getting some outdoor stuff done too.  I finally did complete the big drag all my plants inside project yesterday.  There were two ferns left that needed tending and one of the was a huge monster,  the other was root bound and had to be chopped out of the pot.

So enter those green tomatoes.  I thought they would go well with the dinner I was planning of a small pork loin roast,  sweet potato and pecan casserole and fried green tomatoes.  I found my Paula Dean cookbook looked for her green tomato recipe.  Looked good.  It was good!!

Paula Dean's Fried Green Tomato
1 C. self rising flour  ( I used 1 C. all purpose flour plus 1/8 t. soda and 1/8 t. baking powder)
3-4 green tomatoes sliced thin
2 t. black pepper
vegetable oil for frying

Earlier in the day wash and slice the tomatoes.  I used a mandolin  and sliced them into a large colander fanning them out as I went.  Salt each layer well and let the just sit in the sink and the salt will draw some of the liquid out of them.  I let the sit a couple of hours and they were fine.

Place the flour in a pie plate and mix in the pepper.  Set this aside.  About 15 minutes before serving heat the oil, dredge the tomatoes in the flour and pepper and fry until golden on each side.  Drain on paper and serve warm.

Sweet Potato Pecan Casserole

Sweet Potatoes and Pecans!!
This is a recipe that a woman I worked with Ramona Saurie,  gave me years back.  It fast became a family favorite.  Easy too and you can make it ahead!

3 C. sweet potatoes (2-3 cans drained) or 4 large raw then boiled and drained
1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C. butter
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1/3 C. or less milk

1/3 C. melted butter
1 C. brown sugar
1/2 C. flour
1 C. chopped pecans

Butter a large deep casserole and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
Boil and mash sweet potatoes.  If using canned heat in syrup then drain and mash.  Add the rest of the casserole ingredients but use only enough milk to make potatoes soft but NOT runny.  Pour into a deep casserole and set aside.  Mix topping ingredients well and cover the top of the casserole.  bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Serves 10-12.

I recall the first Thanksgiving that I served this and the comments were they wanted seconds of this instead of dessert!!


Buttermilk Pie !!

Buttermilk Pie
This has got to be one of the easiest and most delicious pies ever for anyone who is inclined to have a sweet tooth and enjoy cream pies.  I made the recipe 35 years ago for the first time from a cookbook my Grandma Neukam gave me and all my sisters from the Dubois County Extension Homemakers Club in 1975.  Now my sisters and all the family enjoy it.  I hope you will too.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

!/2 C. buttermilk
1 3/4 C. sugar
2 large eggs
3 T. flour
pinch of salt
1 stick butter or margarine melted
1 t. vanilla

Mix everything together and pour into an unbaked 9" pie shell.  Sprinkle the top lightly with fresh nutmeg.  Bake 15 minutes at 400 degrees.  Reduce to 350 degrees and bake about 45 minutes longer.
Cool to allow the filling to set.

This pie is rich,  you could use a little less sugar and add 1 T. more flour.
NOTE:  This is the way the recipe is written.  I have sometimes reduced the sugar by 2 T. and increased the flour.

Chicken and Vegetables over Rice

Moo Goo Gui Pan
We like to try something a little different every once in a while and this is my, without a notion of a recipe, made up version for my daughter-in-law and granddaughters Moo Goo Gui Pan.  Please keep in mind I have never before eaten this and am working from what they tell me it tasted like!!  Prepare rice to serve four to six according to package directions.

The chicken:
1 1/2 lb. thinly sliced chicken breast
1 egg white beaten til frothy with a fork
2 T. cornstarch
2 t. soy sauce
Combine all of above ingredients in a large zip lock bag and refrigerate while preparing the vegetables.

Prepare a large kettle of water to boil,  two or three quarts with a tablespoon of vinegar for blanching.

Blanched and ready vegetables.
The vegetables:

1 C.  fresh carrots peeled and sliced about 1/4 " thick,  blanch 3 minutes then shock in ice water.  Drain.
2 C .fresh  broccoli in uniform florets,  blanch 2 minutes then shock in ice water.  Drain.
1 1/2  C. fresh sugar snap peas,  blanch 2 minutes then shock in ice water.  Drain.
1/2 C. celery sliced 1/4" thick, blanch 1 minute then shock in ice water.  Drain.
After removing each veggie from the ice set it aside to dry a bit or store in the refrigerator until later if you are doing the prep ahead of time.

Final preparation:
2-3 T. peanut or vegetable oil for stir fry
1 1/2  cans ( I used Campbell's) undiluted double strength chicken broth (about 1 1/2 C. water and 3 chicken bouillon cubes divided
2 T. cornstarch dissolved in  1/2 C. the room temperature broth or water
1/2 C. cream or half and half
 2 t. soy sauce

Drain the chicken and heat wok or large deep flat pan to stir fry.  Drizzle 2-3 T. peanut oil into hot wok and stir fry chicken until done.  Add the first can of double strength chicken broth and comer and simmer  an additional 4-5 minutes.  Add the cornstarch dissolved in broth and stir to thicken, add the cream and bring back to the boiling point then  add the vegetables and soy sauce stirring and heating through.  You only need to heat as the vegetables are already tender crisp.  This is a great do ahead meal.



Election Day Chili
During the 1960's I was in high school and went with the same boy all that time.  His Mother was a fun lady and as I also worked for them too we all went "home" to their house quite often for lunch or dinner.  Their family had a wonderful tradition I have always remembered and often repeated as my own.  Every time election day rolled around Arlene got a big pot of chili on the stove and everyone settled around the TV with their bowls and crackers to watch the election returns come in through out the evening.

Shocking Tomatoes
Yesterday I got out and picked what will no doubt be close to the last basket of fresh tomatoes and a good quantity of poblano peppers, some green and some red.  So it only seems fitting to do something special with this last bounty from the garden.

Charring Pep
This morning I decided to slip the skins from the tomatoes and roast the 6 or 8 red poblanos and get started on the election day chili.  It could lazily simmer all this afternoon and tomorrow so we would have that," Oh wow, it's even better today that it was the first time we ate it chili!!!"

Here is how it came together:
1 1/2 lb. ground pork
3 lb. ground round
2 large yellow onions diced
1 whole head of garlic chopped
4-5 pounds mixed fresh tomatoes blanched, shocked, peeled .and halved
1 quart canned tomatoes
6-8 poblano peppers roasted and seeded
2 t. house seasoning
1/2 C. Chili powder
2 t. cumin
1 t. cocoa powder
1 C. catchup
2 t. sugar
2 cans of chili beans ( I use one hot and 1 mild)

Using a large heavy bottomed kettle combine the meat, onions, garlic, and house seasoning and brown it all together.  Combine in the bowl of the food processor the fresh tomatoes and *roasted poblanos and whirl until the peppers become blended into the tomatoes forming a sauce like appearance.  Add the tomato peppers mix and a quart of canned tomatoes to the meat kettle and stir together.  Add the remaining ingredients stirring well and continue to simmer over the lowest heat.

House seasoning:  1 C. kosher salt, 1/3 C. lemon pepper, 1/3 C. garlic powder, 1/4 C. black pepper.
Mix and keep in airtight container.

Roasting Peppers:  Char the peppers over a flame and place them in a heavy plastic bag and seal.
The steam will loosen the skins and you just scrape them off under running water.  I probably left them sitting 20 minutes to loosen them.

As I turned the calendar.

November 1 Sky 2010
As I turned the page yesterday on the calender to November many things crossed my mind.  I will have to endure the drudgery of lugging all of my plants inside this week as a hard freeze will be here this weekend.  They are like old friends or an old dog you have known for a very long time,  you love them but they can get on your last nerve!  Too big, too spindly, too much sun,  not enough, or BUGS!!!

Then there is poor old Susie our beloved 14 year old boxer with cancer........can she make it another winter......

The Falling Leaves
Then there is the rest of the family.  Winter makes everything more difficult for everyone.

Then, I stop.  I look at what I am doing and stop curtly.  Smack yourself girl.

Thank God above we have all made it this far.  Why look at those plants, some of which belonged to my late mother-in-law and others that came from my Mother and late  Dad's home in Florida, and there are some from Grandma Powell.  And look at Susie who's life expectancy was 8 or 9 to begin with!!  And,  I am so Blessed to still have my lovely Mother and all of my brothers and sisters, my husband, children and beloved grandchildren, nieces and nephews. 


Shame on me.  So as I ponder where to start in the early planning of our family Thanksgiving and the Christmas Season to follow, I give thanks to God.  I thank Him for this wonderful family and this wonderful Country.  I praise Him for his Grace and Forgiveness and I thank Him for all of you.

I am thankful we all can go vote tomorrow in a free country.  I am proud that how ever our election turns out we are all still civil to each other.  My neighbors who have signs out for a political party different than the ones in my front yard will still wave and smile as we drive by.  We will still look after each others homes if something takes one of us away for a weekend.

Where else but in America ??