Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My Famous Baked Beans (2)

This is a repost of an earlier recipe that I originally posted without pictures

Baked Beans

(this is half of the recipe below)

In my family I'm famous for my baked beans. For years I made these for almost any occasion, whether it was a barbeque, church supper, or family reunion. I love the way these thicken up and get crusty around the edges. (in the picture above, I was rushing and didn't let them get quite thick and browned enough)


  • 2 1lb 12 oz can of baked beans or pork and beans
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 c molasses or syrup
  • 1 c ketchup or chili sauce (oops-forgot to put this in the picture)
  • 1 c chopped onions
  • 1/4 c Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 t dry mustard (optional)
  • 2 T liquid smoke (optional)
  • 5 strips of bacon, chopped in small pieces (optional)

Mix all ingredients together. Bake in covered casserole for 1 hour at 300 degrees F. I like to take the lid off for the last 10-15 minutes or so to thicken the sauce and brown top.

In the summertime when I make this for just my family, I cut the recipe in half, microwave for awhile, then finish off uncovered in the oven just for the thickening and browning--saves heating the kitchen up for so long.

I like Bush's Baked Beans for this

The best syrup for this is not pancake syrup, but a good thick, golden cane syrup. In the south I like Johnny Fair or Blackburn Made syrup the best.

Most of the time I leave off the bacon, but if I use it, I like to put the bacon on top instead of mixed in.

I leave off the liquid smoke most of the time, just because it's not something I keep on hand.

And as always, I use dried onion flakes instead of fresh onion.

All cans of beans are not created the same. On occasion, I've opened beans that seemed to have more juice than usual--in those cases, I cut back on the syrup and increase the brown sugar to balance the extra liquid.

This recipe lends itself well to halving, which I do for the family-sized version pictured above, and doubling, which I've done for church dinners and other large functions. In that case, double the ingredients listed here for each gallon of beans, and allow at least two hours to bake; more if you mix it up the night before and refrigerate. (It does seem to taste better if I mix it all up and refrigerate overnight, but it takes a lot longer to bake if it's been refrigerated instead of just mixed at room temperature.)

Try this out, I think you'll like it!

I know I'm famous in my family for my yummy baked beans. Maybe I could be famous in other families too. Better make some business cards.

For more recipes, check out:

Tasty Tuesday

Tempt My Tummy Tuesday

And for the first time:

Friday Feasts

I Am Blissfully Domestic

Good cooking, and good eating!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Blog Link-A-Thon

My apologies to those of you who subscribe to both of my blogs for a duplicate post--it's just part of taking care of bloggy business!

One of the things we "Bloggy" people like to do is link to other blogs, and more importantly, have other blogs link to us. I recently participated in a Blog Link-a-Thon at MomDot--a magazine style blog with multiple contributors on lots of different topics related to motherhood--from personal to practical!

As part of that Link-A-Thon, I agreed to post a list of each and every participating blog, and they have each agreed to do the same. It's a virtual web of links and cross-links! (Get it? A virtual web. You know, web. Like the world wide you-know-what--I know, I know, it's weak, isn't it? I'm pitiful, but oh-well.)

1. Lori@Not Always Charming

2. Fairy Blog Mother

3. Crazy Adventures in Parenting

4. Engineer a Debt Free Life

5. Sweet 'n' Sassy Girls

6. Good Golly Miss Blondie

7. SavvySuzie

8. For The Love of Baby!

9. Tammy@lovemy2dogs

10. Blessings Abound

11. Coupons, Deals and More

12. Hairstyles For Girls

13. Stacie @ The Divine Miss Mommy

14. A latte in the morning

15. KiddiesCorner Deals

16. 3 Kids and Us | Mom Blog

17. The Ohana Mama

18. Coupon Queens of Laurel Run

19. Today's Journey

20. Eve @ Confessions of a Housewife

21. My Charmed Life

22. Laurie@DoubleBugs

23. Lisa @ Final Score boys3 girls2

24. New Sue Review

25. Suzanne Calling

26. Just For Me…and You

27. Time Slides By

28. Babes and Kids

29. Declutter a Little Each Day

30. Grocery Savings for Real Families

31. Life Starring Ellie and Eve :: A review site (and more!)

32. So Cute Crafts

33. Brea's Mommy

34. Are Muffins Just Ugly Cupcakes>

35. It's A Beauty Filled Life

36. The crazy suburban mom

37. Donna's World

38. Momma's Gone Over the Wall

39. Mommy's Quiet Time

40. Joyce (Saving My Cents)

41. My Trendy Tykes

42. The Not-So-Blog

43. Confessions From HouseholdSix

44. SiPPyCuPSand FiNGerPriNTS

45. Jennifer@CouponMommie

46. Shasta @ Crackers&Chaos

47. Giftfully Simple

48. Just For Fun

49. Digital Mommy

50. Me And Craig

51. Parenting Princesses

52. Shan@Last Shreds Of Sanity

53. Inside My Head

54. Petit

55. My Love Lucy

56. FreckleBox personalized gift

57. Baby Lulu Dress

58. Blog 4 Mom

59. 3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

60. Jolly Mom

61. My Life My Journey

62. Maman And Gourmand

63. Jess - Life @ 30

64. The POSHpreneur

65. A Blog of Goodies

66. Christy aka The Write Gal

67. LookWhatMomFound

68. Peanut Butter & Smelly's Dad

69. Lucy

70. Angry Julie Monday

71. The Mogul Mom Blog

72. Angela

73. Deal-ectible Mommies

74. Christy's Creations

75. Lisa

76. Courtney@Booksnboys

77. Wannabe Supermom

78. Thre Craft Momma

79. Internet Toddler

80. Jennifer@Life is a Sandcastle

81. Kristen of La Dolce Vita

82. Cranberry Fries

83. Toni @ The Mud Bug

84. The Mom Buzz

85. Tricia @Nightowl Mama

86. Frugal Mommy of 2 Girls

87. Mommy Cracked

88. EclecticBird

89. Mama Mentor

90. Moomettesgram's Musings

91. Moomette's Magnificents Reviews

92. Moomettesgram's Favorite Recipes

93. Diaries of a Domestic Goddess

94. Go Graham Go!

95. NerdFamily Things

96. NerdFamily Blog

97. Making Money Keeping Money

98. NerdFamily Food

99. Flying Giggles & Lollipops

100. Gena @ Morris Bunch

101. Crystal @ Simply Being Mommy

102. A Kindred Spirit's Thoughts

103. Two Of A Kind, Working On A Full House

104. D-Lo's Lounge ($25 Gift Card for Ginch Gonch)

105. Free Sample Freak

106. What Mommies Need

107. Mom of 2 Boys, Wife of 1

108. icefairy's Treasure Chest

109. Cheaper Than Therapy-Musings of The Mom Jen

110. Therapeutic Reviews & Giveaways

111. Lily Bean Designs

112. Dirty Diaper Laundry

113. Dance Momma

114. JamericanSpice

115. Mombalance

116. A Pocket Full Of Buttons

117. Ordinary and Awesome

118. Reviews and Giveaways

119. Subjective Beauty

120. Tales From A Shopaholic Mommy

121. Mommiemayhem

122. IE Mommy

123. Nikki @ Blasian Baby Notes

124. Amber Woodward

125. Grammy Janet's Place

126. Outnumbered 3 to 1

127. ShimmerMeBlue

128. Dev's Favorite Giveaways

129. Joyful Money Saving

130. 1stopmom

131. A Modern Mama

132. PourSomeSugarOnMe

133. Fancast

134. Lollipop Baby

135. Lola & Ben

136. idoby2celebrants

137. Sue Jackson

138. Cackleberry Kids

139. Gifts By The Stars

140. Jemma

141. Handmade Kids

142. Ollie Rose

143. Babasfarmlife

144. Banquet Manager

145. Monkey's Momma

146. This Mom Can Shop

147. EcoLabel Fundraising

148. Divine Chaos

149. baby kakes ink alphabet onesie

150. tee from recycle me

151. Elizabeth @ Suzy Q Homemaker

152. marla mandell bread (5/17)

153. ozone socks 5/15

154. Belly Bumps to Baby Hugs

155. Hip T (5/12)

156. ThenComesBaby PARTY FAVORS

157. Homemade Gourmet

158. Fresh Pure and Simple- Arbonne Consultant

159. MomDot Mom Blogs

160. MomDot Mom Reviews

161. Bloggers Give Charity

162. Organic Baby Resource

163. Potamus Prefers

164. The Army Wife

165. Through Hazel Eyes

166. Frugal Rhode Island Mama

167. Just Jingle

168. And Twins make 5!

169. Frugal Plus

170. Christie

171. What Happened To My House?

172. Miracles on Mama Street

173. Heck Of A Bunch

174. Blog Designs by Susan

175. mommy23monkeys

176. Hanna

177. Got Kids Need Valium

178. Womb At The INNSANE

179. Katie & Kimble Blog

180. Kim @ Adventures SAHM

181. The Frugalicious Mommy

182. Penny Pinching Diva

183. CarrieAnne@Another day. Another thought or two

184. Beauty4Moms

185. Nikki @evilflu.com

186. Little Miss Julia

187. Mrs Zeee

188. Cheryl

189. Frazzle Dazzle SuperMom

190. Florida Mealtime Savers

191. Inspiration Station

192. Mommy's Kitchen

193. Saving with MamaNordy

194. Saving SAHM Sanity

195. Stephanie @ A Little Piece Of Perfect

196. Nodin's Nest

197. Lil Miss Eco

198. Laryn Strickland

199. HeatherMama

200. The Gerber Babies Blog

201. WhateverSuccess

202. Women Who Win: Enter Sweepstakes & Giveaways

203. Kat @ The Burb Blog

204. Happy Healthy Families

205. Sweeps4Bloggers

206. dramaqueensmum

207. The Mom Trap

208. Multitasking Mama

209. Mama Michies Musings

210. Little People Wealth

211. Belly Beyond

212. Kim Kihega

213. Mom Fuse

214. Juanita

215. Adopt a 'Do

216. On the Refriderator Door

217. Christine

218. Little Diva

219. My Household Junk

220. I'm Here….Really

221. Brittany@The Greer 5

222. mary

223. Nicole @ Nicole's Nickels

224. Lori Newman

225. Kris @ NSQSA

226. Debb

227. Shawn Ann's World

228. Peke Moe -NZ made baby sleep sacks

229. A Simple Kinda LIfe

230. Sweet Serendipity

231. Bouncing Off The Walls

232. Jane Loedding

233. Roz

234. http://msbuildingupdabenjamins.blogspot.com/

235. Msbuildingupdabenjamins

236. Musings from Me

237. Veronnica

238. The Adventures of Miss V

239. Mudd Kids

240. Mom Most Traveled family travel

241. Relishing the Dirt

242. Good, True and Beautiful

243. Deb @ Frugal Living and Having Fun

244. The Last Blog on Earth

245. A Wrestling Addicted Mommy

246. Rae

247. kimert@diaries of a coach's wife

248. Dore's Diaries

249. Blog by Donna

250. Lisette

251. Pillaging With Buffie

252. Mom of Faith


254. flutterbyechronicles

255. shelley

256. Life In A House Of Blue

257. kristen

258. Alex the Fey Thriller Series

259. MamaCheaps!

260. Donalacasa

261. A Jewish Journey

262. Anissa @ Our Chaotic Life

263. BethinNC

264. Stuttering Shell

265. Don't Blink

266. Life is Sweet

267. Lisa

268. Sue@Stay At Home Mom

269. m.e (cathie)

270. Run DMT

271. Princess Ratbag

272. Michelle G

273. CF Mama @ Nathan's Fight

274. Moody Mama Says

275. Laurie Ann

276. Cooking During Stolen Moments

277. A Simple Walk

278. Vanessa

279. middleagedmom

280. Ramblings Of A Wannabe Writer

281. Oh My Baby

282. Fordcast Sunny

283. Lisa Miller

284. Stacie @ The Divine Miss Mommy

285. Bibs & Cribs {very cute stuff}

286. My Lil' Budget Book

287. Misadventurous Mommy @ Misadventures in Baby Raising

288. Misadventurous Mommy @ My Mommy Said

289. Milk & Honey Mommy

290. Milk and Honey Mommy

291. Amy O'Neal

292. Parenting Children

293. A Girl And Her Life

294. MarieLynn Boutique Blog

295. Born Fabulous Boutique Blog

296. The Pitter Patter Boutique

297. Stephanie Deese

298. Brea's Baby Boutique Blog

299. digiscrapping.net - Heather Manning

300. Kids Activities Blog

301. Two Little Whales Cloth Diapers & More

302. 3 boys & a dog

303. Karen ~Georgia Angel

304. JenniferB @ my not so hurried life

305. Shannon Blogs Here

306. A Virtuous Woman

307. Secrets of a Southern Kitchen

308. Dreamer

309. Sweet Reads from Lollipop Book Club

310. Mommie Daze Virtual Baby Shower - ends June 8

311. Heck Of A Bunch (1 yr. Pogo sub giveaway)

312. MomSaves4U

313. Barely Domestic Mama

314. Emilie @ Baby Loving Mama

315. Professional Family Manager

316. Kathleen

317. Coaching The Family

318. Frugal Creativity

319. Easy Being Green

320. Dandelion Bubbles

321. Shelly aka The Attic Girl

322. Foxtoybox-Discovery Toys

323. Ashley @ Beauty4Moms

324. Colleen - Mommy Always Wins

325. Playground for Parents

326. World of Discovery

327. Kati @ Country Girl City Life

329. A Little Bit Nutty

330. Mahayla’s Mommy

332. If I Could Escape . . .

Wow, that's a lot of links!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Frosting-in-the-cake Cake

I should probably title this post "True Confessions of a Not-So Great Cake Baker"

I've never had problems with cakes before. Until lately.

I have a recipe for a really good but slightly unusual cake that I've been wanting to share; the problem is, I've made it three times, and I can't get it to come out pretty. It tastes great, it just looks awful. It's fallen every time, not to mention run out through the bottom of my removable-insert tube pan. It's been a disaster. Every time. And yet I can't resist trying it, again and again.
So I'm going to give your the basic recipe, along with what I think are the issues with it!


  • 1 box cake mix, any flavor
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 c milk or water
  • 1/2 c oil
  • 1 can frosting, any flavor

Mix all ingredients together, including the frosting. This makes a softer batter than most cakes. Pour into a lightly greased or cooking-sprayed tube or bundt pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 50 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before trying to remove from the pan.

The first version of this I ever tasted, it was made with German chocolate cake mix with the traditional German chocolate coconut-pecan frosting, and was an excellent, extremely moist cake and looked fine.

The first time I made this, I used Duncan Hines Butter Recipe Golden cake mix, and chocolate frosting. Partway through the baking process, I smelled smoke, and realized to my dismay that the batter had oozed out around the bottom of my removable insert tube pan, and was burning on the bottom of the oven. I attributed the fall to me opening the oven door to slip a cookie sheet on the bottom shelf to catch the drips. It tasted great, but looked terrible.

Second time around, same cake and frosting flavors, only this time I put the cake pan directly on the cookie sheet and turned the oven up slightly. It still oozed, only this time, it just stuck the cake pan to the cookie sheet, and poofed up to make a little round baby cake inside the tube. And fell. Kind of like this:

So I gave up for a while. Looked up reasons for cakes falling--over beating. under beating. oven temperature too low, etc, etc. Decided to use a bundt pan and try one more time. Forgot the bundt pan and used the tube pan again, this time with French vanilla cake mix and cream cheese frosting. It puffed up so pretty. At 50 minutes, it was still slightly "jiggly" in the middle, so I left it an additional 5-7 minutes. Took it out, it was slightly deflated, but not bad. Went back later to find, once again, this:

I still haven't given up on this recipe. My mother makes a version of this recipe and hers doesn't fall. Her local paper has a cooking column where this recipe has been discussed, though, and apparently I'm not the only one who's had problems with it. Some folks have had it rise so much it overflowed their pan, others, like me, have seen it rise to beautiful heights, only to fall later. For myself, I've made this in an electric oven, and in my experience most electric ovens burn too hot, so I automatically reduce the oven temp by 50 degrees. That may be too low for this particular cake, due to the softness of the batter.

So next time, this will be made in a bundt pan, not a tube pan, and I'll adjust the oven down only 25 degrees. And put a cookie sheet under the pan. Just in case.

Meanwhile, we're having some good-but-not-pretty cake this afternoon.

(Not so)Good cooking, and good eating!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Stuffed Bread, Live and In Color

Taco Stuffed Bread

This is a repeat of a recipe I posted, without pictures, in January. My family still thinks I'm a little bit "not right" for taking pictures of food as I cook it, not to mention toiletries and groceries I buy (on A Virtuous Woman). There's just something about a post with pictures, though! Unfortunately, as my timer was beeping to check this, my sweet husband checked the oven, removed the bread, sliced it up, and even served our plates before I thought to tell him to hold off for a final picture! So, you will have to imagine this artfully arranged on a dinner plate.


  • pizza dough (homemade would be great, but refrigerated works just fine, too!)
  • 1 lb ground meat
  • 1 can whole kernel corn
  • 1 envelope taco seasoning
  • grated and/or sliced cheese

Cook and drain ground meat. Add corn and taco seasoning, and enough water, if needed, to mix thoroughly.

Bring to a bubble, cover, and simmer for a few minutes to allow the seasonings to blend well with the meat and corn. Remove the cover and allow most of the liquid to cook away.

Open the pizza dough and spread flat, stretching the dough as much as you can without tearing it. Put meat mixture down the middle and cover with cheese. (This shows grated cheddar--I've used every kind of cheese you can imagine, including sliced American)

Bring the dough together on top, pinching or folding to close the edges. (Sorry for the poor quality of this picture) You may have to slightly stretch the dough to do this. Spray lightly with cooking spray or brush lightly with oil to keep the dough moist and give it a bit of a shine. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned on top. Let cool slightly, slice and enjoy!


You can make this with Italian/spaghetti seasoning and mozzarella cheese, but our favorite is still the taco filling.

I hope your family likes this as much as mine does!

I listed this recipe at the recipe swap at the Grocery Cart Challenge.
Good cooking, and good eating!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

One of My Favorite Kitchen Tools

My Recipe Holder
I'm not a kitchen tool snob. I don't have a lot of expensive gadgets and utensils. I have a few quality items that I really love, but most of my cooking spoons and tools come from Walmart or Dollar General or Target.

This one, though, is different. It's a little wooden thingy shapped like an old-fashioned iron, with a clothespin glued to the handle to hold recipes--it keeps them where you can see them, without getting in the way on the counter. My aunt, my mom's sister, painted the design by hand. Isn't it cute? I can't even count the number of times I've used it over the years.

So what's your favorite kitchen gadget? Is it one like this, that you use often without even thinking about? That trusty old half-melted-off-handled cooking spoon that you can't live without? Or an expensive-but-worth-it state-of-the-art something?

Review--Country Bob's All-Purpose Sauce

I received an email a while back asking if I'd like to do a review of Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce. This is not a product I was at all familiar with, but I agreed, and they sent me two bottles to try, along with a little booklet.

I went to their website first, http://www.countrybobs.com/ to find a little more about their products. What I found was an interesting backstory--doesn't knowing something about a product's history make it even more interesting? It does for me!

I'm not going to reprint the whole story, but this is a company that's founded on Christian principles--a little lagniappe for me--by a gentleman who started off making the sauce for his own use, then for family and friends, and finally expanded into commercial production. They now produce Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce, All Purpose Spicy Hot, Barbecue Sauce, and Seasoning Salt, as well as a really nice cookbook.

The sauce that I got to try was the regular All Purpose Sauce.

The first thing I did with it was use it straight, as a steak sauce. I liked it, but thought it was a little sweet for that. I think I'd like the Spicy Hot version better for that.
Next I put some on some boneless skinless chicken thighs, which I baked in the oven--this was similar to oven-barbecued chicken, but without the smoky taste that most bbq sauce has. Good, but again, I'd like the try the regular barbecue sauce for this.

Next, I used this as a dip/sauce for steak and baked chicken, this time mixed with ranch dressing, and loved it that way. (I have a long history of mixing ranch dressing with ketchup, bbq sauce, or steak sauce--I don't like ranch on salad, but I love it, mixed with various sauces, with meat). This is my table use of choice, but again, I hardly use anything without mixing it with ranch dressing.

And the final use--my favorite cooking use--was mixed into ground meat, along with bbq and a little worchestershire sauce, which made some of the best sloppy joe's I've ever made!

When I got back to Georgia after being home in Louisiana for several weeks, I had another package from Country Bob's waiting for me--with a complimentary copy of their cookbook, and ten coupons for free sauce--some for me and some to give away to family and friends! If you've ever read my other blog, A Virtuous Woman, you know how I love my coupons! I was surprised, though, at how much I liked the cookbook. It's a really nice hardback book, well laid out with attractive pages, and has recipes for everything from appetizers to main dishes, and even some for desserts! No, the desserts don't have Country Bob's sauce in them!

One thing I like about this company, as well as the cookbook, is that this is a Christian-based company, and they make no apologies for that. "Christ is our CEO" is a slogan that's prominently displayed on their website, as well as their products.

Another thing of interest I found on their website, which may be of special interest to some of you foodies out there, is that you can purchase plastic bottles from them to use for your own concoctions that you may want to give away to family and friends--and, they can also contract with you to make and bottle your sauces for you if you're ready to branch out to sales! Isn't that the coolest thing??? I'm not that creative at this point, but you can be certain that if I ever get ambitious, this is the kind of small company I'd want to do business with.

Visit http://www.countrybobs.com/, check out their story, and request a free bottle to try.

Good cooking, and good eating!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Pass the Peas, Please

A couple of months ago I posted about my learning to eat and then to cook asparagus, a vegetable that I was not familiar with growing up. Today's post is about a vegetable that this Southern girl grew up with; one that that my parents and grandparents and probably even their parents' parents grew and cooked and ate, namely, the purple hull pea.

These may look like a green version of black-eyed peas, and while I'm sure they're related, fresh purple hull peas, to me, taste nothing like black eyes. For one thing, black-eyes are mostly eaten dried, then soaked and cooked, while purple hull peas are eaten fresh or frozen from fresh, not dried.

My family grows what's called pink-eye purple hulls. My dad's favorite variety, the Mississippi Pink-Eye, is one that hasn't been available commercially for a couple of years, so he's compromised by growing a different variety of pink-eyed purple hulls, known, I think, by the name "Top-pick".

I have memories in childhood of getting up in the dark and riding in my Papa's pick-up truck while my mom and Nanny (grandmother) rode in the car, to a farm where you paid a little bit of nothing to pick your own peas. (In later years I remember them growing their own, so I'm not sure why we went somepalce else that year to pick peas.) It was wet, nasty work--you had to pick early, when the dew was still on the ground, before it got too hot. It was fun for about the first five or ten minutes, but once the sun came up, it got old fast. (Where were the child-labor laws when we needed them??)

Once we had picked our bushel baskets full, we took them home and then the fun part begun--shelling all those peas by hand. I can remember shelling till my fingers got sore--and with purple-hulls, they get black and purple stained, too. Nobody could out-shell my Nanny-she loved it and was faster than anybody else I knew. In the early days, we sat outside in lawn chairs under the tree, surrounded by the bushel baskets of picked peas, dishpans full of shelled peas, and brown paper bags of pea hulls--ready for daddy or papa to throw over the fence to the cows. It was fun, really, everyone sitting around and talking and shelling peas. To this day I love running my hands through dishpans full of raw, uncooked peas, they feel so smooth and cool, I used to imagine it was treasure as I picked up handfuls and let them run through my fingers back into the dishpan. Nowadays my parents have a pea-sheller; two people can shell a bushel of peas faster than we could have even imagined back then.

I'm not sure how much help we kids really were, or if it offset the amount of whining I'm sure we did, but once the shelling was done, we were off the hook. The women of the family, though, still had hours more of blanching and shocking and bagging for the freezer before they were done--usually long after the rest of us were in bed. It was a right of passage for us girls to be allowed to help--first with the bagging, later with the actual blanching (immersing in boiling water for a few minutes) and shocking (immersing then into ice water to stop the cooking process), getting them ready for the bagging process. Zipper topped freezer bags are a wonderful invention, but there was a technique to twisting those little paper-(and later plastic) coated wire twisty ties to the top of the bags so that they held tight without slipping off!

The results, though, brought back the taste of summer every time our mom's and grandma's cooked up a pot of peas. A little bit of bacon or at least bacon grease, some salt and pepper, that was all that was needed to cook the best peas.

These days I do mine a bit different, but they still have the same great taste. Once I put my still frozen peas in the pot and add water, I add dried onion flakes, a teaspoon or two of chicken stock paste, and my favorite all purpose seasoning, Tony Chachere's (Tony Chay Chay's to my family).

Bring everything to a boil, breaking apart the peas as they thaw. Turn down to medium or medium high, and cook until the peas are done, at least 45 minutes, depending on the quantity of peas.
I've tried commercial frozen so-called "purple hull peas", and to me, they taste like black eyes. Personally, I like dry black eyes, but not fresh ones. I have yet to find a commercially frozen purple hull peas that taste like the purple hulls I know and love.

Some people freeze their purple hull peas without blanching first--I've never cooked peas done this way, but I know they take longer to cook. Conversely, some people basically cook their fresh peas almost to done before freezing, so they take a much shorter time to finish.

In my family, we put up vegetables in the freezer. There are different techniques for vegetables canned in jars; I have no experience cooking peas put up this way, so if you try canned peas, you're on your own!

What's your favorite home grown vegetable?

For more recipes and links, see Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam, and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace.

As always, good cooking, and good eating!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Not Your Granny's Banana Puddin'

Probably a staple at every Southern family reunion is good old banana pudding. I can remember my grandmother making the traditional banana pudding--hot, cooked pudding poured over layers of vanilla wafers and banana slices--best eaten when it's cooled just enough to "set", but still slightly warm. (Any later and it turned into a slimy mess of soggy cookies and blackened bananas. Yuck.) Every now and then she made a pineapple version for one of my cousins who doted on it. (Hot pineapple. Double yuck.)

Banana pudding was never one of my favorites growing up, but I did enjoy it on occasion if I could catch it at just that right moment--otherwise, I'd rather have the pie. Or cake. Or anything other than banana pudding.

A number of years ago, though, there began to appear recipes for "uncooked" banana pudding. At first they were just instant pudding poured over the cookies and banana--good, but nothing to write home about.

Later some other versions came up, made with that staple of a Good Southern Belle cook--Cool Whip. My sister made one of these at Easter, and it was Very Good.

I remembered, though, somewhere in the back of my brain, finding a recipe once for uncooked banana pudding that was made with sweetened condensed milk as one of it's ingredients, and I determined to leave no search engine unsearched until I found it. Turns out there are several different versions of uncooked-banana-pudding-made-with-sweetened-condensed-milk, so I looked over several of them and found the basis of what I believe may be the Ultimate Uncooked Banana Pudding. It has all the right ingredients--namely, Cool Whip, sweetened condensed milk, and cream cheese. Could it possibly get any better than this? I don't think so. I did adjust the proportions of some ingredients, but I believe this may be IT.

Here is my version of the Ultimate Uncooked Banana Puddin'

  • Vanilla Wafers
  • 4-5 bananas
  • 2 boxes of instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 8ox pkg cream cheese, softened
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 c milk
  • 1/2 container Cool Whip

Cover the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan with vanilla wafers. The original recipe called for 30--it took 35 (yes, I counted) to cover the bottom, plus a couple of extra thrown in just to be sure. And I like to put some around the edges to look traditional, too, so that was at least 20-25 more, if you really want to count them. Cover with sliced bananas. The original recipe called for 2 thinly sliced bananas. They must have shaved them awfully thin, because I used 4 or 5 to cover the pan. Mix the cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, milk, and pudding mix, and beat for 2-3 minutes. Add cool whip, and beat at low speed until well mixed. Spoon over the top of the cookies and bananas. Add extra cookies around the edge. Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours.

Notes: I had a hard time getting the cream cheese to mix in thoroughly. I let it sit out to soften, but apparently not long enough--when I added all of the pudding ingredients, including the cold milk, I had a hard time making the cream cheese fully incorporate. As a result, some bites have an extra little lump of cream cheese--for a special treat!

I made this tonight to take to a family reunion tomorrow. I had some extra pudding and cookies and one leftover banana, so I made a couple of small ones--don't they look cute? I admit--I tasted--the pudding is quite rich-I think it'll be a big hit.

What's your favorited version of banana pudding, cooked or uncooked?

I'm sharing this recipe at Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Bedlam and Beauty, and Tempt My Tummy Tusday at Blessed with Grace. Check both of these out for links to other recipes.

Until next time--good cooking, and good eating!