Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Roquefort Cheese Soup

Sigh.  As many old recipes are, this one is lacking on the instructional input.  It comes from my great grandma, Elizabeth Wheadon Wetherbee of Alexandria, LA.  I'm learning a little about her and my family's former generations.  Her grandpa, T. C. Wheadon, opened the Alexandria Hotel at the start of 1900, only to be trumped by the historic Hotel Bentley a few years later.  Who knows, maybe this soup was served in the hotel's restaurant.

2 quarts Chicken broth
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped fine
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 pint coffee cream
1 pkg. Roquefort Cheese
1 Tbsp. Parsley, chopped
4 slices crisped bacon, crumbled

Serve immediately with toasted croutons.

Well, I began this one like I do many soups.  I snipped my bacon into little pieces and fried them up, transferring the bacon bits to a paper towel-lined plate when done.  I chopped my veggies and sauteed them in the bacon fat.  Use olive oil or butter if you want to skip the bacon.  When the vegetables had gone soft, I added my chicken stock and cream.  I added the cheese at the end, along with the parsley, and then I adjusted with seasoning.  Salt, pepper, creole spice, and the like.  I topped the bowls with the crumbled bacon.

I wasn't totally in love with the soup; I'll be honest.  Something seemed to be lacking.  So here's a similar recipe from Emeril Legasse.  Maybe between the two, I can find a happy combination and make it all my own.  Let me know if you've experimented with a similar recipe for Roquefort soup and how it turned out for you.  I'd love any tips.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Dinner

Christmas day was particularly delightful.  Bebe played with her new kitchen from eight in the morning until bed time.  Big Sissy experimented with her flat iron, dad watched sports (and helped from time to time in the kitchen-he'd be cross if I didn't mention), and I whipped up the lunch.  

Community Coffee

Spinach Salad with Candied Pecans, Pears, & Raspberry Vinaigrette
Sauteed Green Beans in Garlic, Onion, and Bacon
Rum Infused Sweet Potato Casserole
Honey Glazed Ham
Cranberry Sauce
Yeast Rolls
Assorted Olives

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Crafting

At Thanksgiving, I collected bags full of pine cones from the yard of an abandoned house with the intentions of creating a pine cone wreath/  Then I saw a craft idea on Disney's Family Fun webpage and I thought I'd give it a try, too.

Today I finally got around to creating those crafts.

Here are the results...
I've got some adjustments to make to the wreath, but I like the overall results.
Here's my little pine cone carolers...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Comes but Once a Year

Shhh.  Mommy bought herself and early Christmas present this year.  Unwrapping all that bubble wrap had me more excited than the dad with the leg lamp in "A Christmas Story."

 I bid on a 45 piece set of Oneida Silver Plate Dinnerware on the Goodwill Website.  The set was only $48 and after learning about the pattern I upped the bid by $1.50, AND I WON.

From what I've seen on the web, the pattern is Mary Stuart circa 1927 (the year my late Grandma was born so it holds a special sentiment).

As I unwrapped it all, I realize that there are actually 5 serving spoons (instead of 4) and 16 teaspoons (instead of 12) so my 45-piece set grew substantially.  The more the Merrier...Christmas!  All seems to be in good shape, too.

On, this pattern goes for $8-$12 for some pieces and up to $34 for a sauce ladle which my set includes.  I'd say I got a bargain at $1.09 a piece.  Yea for my score of the year!

Chocolate Peppermint Torte

When I was a little girl, my mom bought me a Hershey's Chocolate Lover's Cookbook.  My eyes danced across the pages as quickly as my fingers could turn them.  I drooled over the images and was excited to try out the recipes.  I've never made it all the way through the book, but the pictures still look tempting so maybe I'll bake my way through it, yet.  Big Sissy and I had the idea to try out this recipe for her birthday cake.  It seems festive, appropriate for a December baby.

Here's what you'll need:
2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup boiling water
Peppermint filling
Cocoa glaze

Peppermint Filling
1-1/2 cups cold whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2/3 cup finely crushed hard peppermint candy OR 1/2 tsp. mint extract
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
several drops of red food coloring

Cocoa Glaze
2 tbsp. unsalted butter or margarine
2 tbsp. Cocoa powder
2 tbsp. water
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease and flour three 9-inch round baking pans.  In a large mixing bowl, stir together dry ingredients.  Add eggs, milk,oil, and vanilla; beat on medium speed of electric mixer 2 minutes.  Stir in boiling water, batter will be thin (I almost forgot this step and began to pour batter in prepared pans...eek).

Bake 20-25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean  (my oven always takes longer so this was between 30-35 minutes for me).  Cool for 10 minutes; remove pans to wire racks to cool completely.  This is important because warm cakes would surely melt the whipped cream.

Spread peppermint filling between the layers (The book made three, I didn't have 9-in pans so only made two), reserving 1/2 cup for garnish.  I didn't do the garnish, but had plenty of filling left over.  Instead I sprinkled some crushed up peppermint on top of the cocoa glaze. which is spread over the top of the torte.  Refrigerate (and refrigerate your leftovers...whipping cream).

For the filling- In a small mixing bowl, beat whipped cream and powdered sugar until stiff.  Fold in peppermint candy and/or extract, vanilla, and red food color until evenly blended.

For the glaze:  In a small saucepan over low heat, melt butter; add cocoa and water, stirring constantly until slightly thickened.  Remove from heat and gradually add powdered sugar and vanilla, beating with a wire whisk until smooth and of spreading consistency.  Add an additional water 1/2 tsp at a time if too thick.

**I'm thinking the next time I make this cake, I'll make some sort of thicker filling.  Even though the whipping cream was beaten stiff, it still smushed out the sides when the top layer was placed on.  Maybe a peppermint flavored butter cream would prove thick enough,  Thoughts?

Sharing @

 Ms. enPlace  & 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

These are a few of my favorite things...

1.) Jesus is the reason for the season.

2.) Making goodies to give

                                                                              3. ) and receiving goodies from others
These are traditional Mexican Christmas cookies, Pan de Polvo.  My eighty-something year old neighbor makes hundreds of these little melt-in-your-mouth treats, AND she makes dozens of tamales.YUM!
4.) Gathering with friends and family to play fun games...
I've got more to list, but this is a good start. : )

Friday, December 16, 2011

Hey, Good Lookin', What Ya Got Cookin'?

Recently, a fellow blogger asked me which were my favorite food blogs.  There are a few that I turn to fairly often for inspiration, but usually my search technique is to get a craving, "google" it to death only to not find exactly what I'm looking for, then put my own spin on it (usually due to the fact that I don't have all the ingredients, but am too lazy to run to the store).  Ahem.

So, in no particular order...

The Southern Lady Cooks, it's Southern.  It's good.

Cajun Delights; visit Marguerite for authentic Louisiana cookin'

Bona Fide Farm Food, it's bona fide. 

Chef Rick's Southern Cooking, he doesn't post often, but his archive is packed full of must have recipes.  He also has a blog, Hushpuppy Nation, that is chock full of southern food history.

Ms. Enplace, another Louisiana sweetie

and lastly, Designs by Gollum has a fun recipe swap she calls Foodie Friday.  You can scroll through tons of food blogs that link up to her page.  Let your eyes lead the way.

These are all fun blogs, but I don't always stick to blogs.  I love my recipe books and websites.  My favorite recipe books are your local ones...Jr. League books, Women's club, churches, and the like.  The recipes are things that are homey and the ingredients are all ones you've heard of and can find in your grocery store.  Here are a few good websites to bookmark.

Food Timeline, good for food history if you're into that sort of thing


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Cookie Bake-Off

Today was the great Christmas cookie bake-off of 2011.  I'm pooped.  My sweet niece and nephew joined us today to partake in the baking fun.  Here are a few pics.
Real men wear aprons, especially vintage Christmas ones.
What's baking without a little licking?
Big Sissy and Cousin decorate sugar cookies.
Big Sissy thought it could be great fun to snap a picture of me.  She said my smile was saying one thing, but my eyes were telling a different story.  She's perceptive, that one.  Needless to say she didn't snap any more pics after that,
Here's a plate of Nutella cookies.  The verdict is still out on these.  The first batch out of the oven was very crunchy.  The second batch is in now.  If you like a crunchy cookie, this may be your thing.  I prefer soft cookies, myself.  I'll post links for the recipes tomorrow.  

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Have You Ever Lost...

A few days (maybe weeks) ago, I found an amazing Christmas menu spread on a blog  post (likely one I follow), but now I can't seem to find it anywhere.  For shame!  I was going to pull ideas from it for my own Christmas dinner.    This thing was loaded with all kinds of yummy southern favorites.  We're talking bourbon glazed ham, jambalaya,  desserts...  OOH.  WHAT WERE THOSE DESSERTS?  And the salads!  Now, I've got to put my thinking cap on to come up with a menu and I hardly have the energy to do so.

We will have a ham.  Turkey for Thanksgiving and ham for Christmas, that's our tradition.  Big Sissy is requesting a Cherry Pie and has asked to make her Orange Fluff recipe so there's that, but I don't have a clue about the sides.  Pea salad?  Green Beans?  Spinach Salad?  Ughhh, I'm at a loss.  What will you be having?
For giggles

Monday, December 12, 2011

Potato Soup

5-6 large baking potatoes (I used Russet variety), diced
1 medium sized onion, chopped
1 (32 oz.) container chicken stock
3 cups water
1 tbsp. Better than Bouillon chicken base
1 (16 oz.) whipping cream
2 tsp. onion powder, plus more to taste
2 tsp. garlic powder, plus more to taste
Salt & black pepper to taste
Your favorite Cajun or Creole seasoning, to taste
1 bay leaf
1/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp. celery seeds
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/4 cup chives
1/4 cup parsley
2-3 strips bacon, diced and browned

To begin, wash and dice your potatoes a medium dice.  Place diced potatoes in chicken stock and water with chicken base in a large stock pot.  Simmer until potatoes are fork tender.  Add cream, herbs, and seasonings. Remove a little of the liquid and place in a bowl with flour to make a paste.  Add flour mixture back to soup and bring back to a simmer to thicken.  Cook for 20 to 30 minutes on a low temperature.  Sprinkle bacon before serving.  You may garnish with chopped green onion, fresh chopped parsley, shredded cheddar, or more bacon...whatever tickles your fancy.  If you don't have all of the ingredients, say celery seeds, it's not a make or break deal (unless we're talking about potatoes or some other key ingredient) so feel free to improvise.  That's the fun in soups, you can pretty much taste-test your way through. : )

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Molasses Cookies

I've had my mind set on baking molasses cookies for Christmas for some time.  I combed many recipes and found Kate's blog, Cooking During Stolen Moments, and knew it was the one to try.  I was not disappointed.  It yielded about 24 cookies, give or take, by rolling the dough into walnut size balls.  If you are interested in an easy no-fuss cookie recipe, this is just the thing.  The spices give a wonderful holiday flavor, the ingredients are things most likely already in your cupboard and, if not, inexpensive to buy at any common grocery market, and they're simple to make!

Here's what you'll need:
  • 3/4 c. butter or margarine
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 c. blackstrap molasses (or 1/2 c. plain molasses)
  • 2 1/2 c. flour (You can use any combination white/whole wheat flour)
  • 2 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. nutmeg
  • 1/2 t. ginger
  • For rolling dough – 1/2 c. white sugar
1. Cream the butter or margarine and brown sugar together until fluffy. Add the egg and molasses and beat for an additional minute.
2. In a small bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Sift or stir with a fork or whisk for 30 seconds.
3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix just until combined. Cover dough and refrigerate for 1 – 2 hours, until firm.
4. Roll heaping tablespoons of dough into a ball, then roll through white sugar. Place on lightly greased cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes.
recipe by Kate Miller; please go by her blog and check out her fine recipes. : )
Happy Holidays,
The Kitchen Witch

sharing @ FOODIE FRIDAY Click for details by Designs by Gollum.

Yea, Sissy

Big Sissy's Christmas card design was chosen out of all the designs submitted in her middle school.  She's thrilled and so are we.  Here's a picture of her Christmas card.  The school will send this out as their holiday card to all the parents, administrators, etc.
We are so happy for her!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Born in the U. S. A.

It's "Buy American" month, apparently.  I'm just learning this, but I did catch a news story on ABC News the other day about buying American and it piqued my interest so I've been checking labels lately.  Once you start looking at the things you mindlessly buy, it's amazing how much doesn't come from America.  I guess I typically don't notice where products are coming from aside from seafood at the counter with it's blatant labels, "product of Taiwan."  Shame on me. (The seafood issue has irked me because I live on the Gulf Coast and so don't get how it's cheaper to ship shrimp all the way from Taiwan when they're just down the street on the docks.)

I've withheld from buying several things that I've picked up because they were not American made.  This news article claims that if you spend just $64 dollars, that creates 200,000 jobs in America.  Buying American may be more difficult than it sounds, but don't be discouraged.  If you're like me you will feel tons better about your purchases.

Here are a few of my buys for stocking stuffers, all American made goodies.
Elmer's assorted box of chocolates rests in the bottom box (I guess Dad's getting a sneak peek at his treats), DeMet's Turtles will make it in our stockings, Ferrara Chocolate Oranges (the whack and crack variety) are also American, I was glad to discover, and Liberty Orchards Fruit Delights will be my little gift to myself unless unexpected company arrives and I'm pressed for a gift to give ; )

I've also been scouting antique stores for vintage buys instead of buying newly, crummy made things.  You can scout pages like to make online buys if you don't have the time to go junking.  This helps fellow Americans who are trying to make a buck, too.  Many of the people on Etsy are just too crafty for words.  I think you will be impressed.

Here are a few fun ideas...
Vintage cookie cutters Christmas shapes aluminum with one green handle

Large Avocado Green Sunflower California Pottery Round Serving Platter

Vintage Dish Set: Crisa Milk Glass Christmas Holly 49 Pieces Mint

creamy pearl acorn necklace -white gold plated chain

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Boneless Buffalo Chicken Tenders

Sunday is game day during football season around our home, and what better dinner during the game than Buffalo style hot wings.  My family loves wings, save me.  I'm just not that big a fan of eating "off-the-bone," but I have to admit I do crave the flavor of wing sauce from time to time.  We are particularly fond of Frank's Wing Sauce.  I found this recipe on, and was pleased with the results.  I use my Lodge cast iron Dutch oven w/lid to fry the tenders; it is great for frying things.

Here's what you will need:  I used about half the amount of sauce/butter since I had a smaller package of tenders
  • 2 1/2 lbs boneless chicken breasts or possibly tenderloins
  • 2 c. Frank's Red Warm Sauce
  • 1 1/2 c. butter
  • oil
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1 tbsp pepper
  • 4 large eggs
  • 9x11" baking pan
  • medium sized sauce pan
  • skillet
  • 1 gallon zip lock bag
  • bowl
  • foil


  1. Step 1. I use chicken tenderloins for this recipe because they come about the perfect size. If using boneless breasts cut into thirds. No matter what you're using, make sure the chicken is well thawed.Step 2. Crack the large eggs into a bowl and mix them to an even consistency. Soak the chicken pcs in the large eggs for about ten min.
  2. Step 3. Put the pepper and flour into a 1 gallon zip lock bag and mix them together, then put all the chicken into the bag. Close the bag blowing as much air into the bag as possible. Shake the bag till all the chicken is coated in the flour/pepper mix and pour into a bowl.
  3. Step 4. Pour about a half inch of oil into a skillet letting it sit till it's nice and hot. I usually turn the element on med/high and it takes about 5 min to get up to temperature.
  4. Step 5. With tongs, place four or possibly five pcs of chicken into the oil at a time, browning each side. It usually takes about four min per piece, per side.
  5. After each piece is finished frying, set aside on some napkins to cool and the excess oil can be absorbed.
  6. Step 6. In a medium sized saucepan, heat the butter. When the butter is melted, pour in the Frank's Red Hot Sauce. This recipe is for a medium spice but you can change which by adjusting the amount of Hot Sauce.
  7. Step 7. Take all the fried chicken and place in a 9x11" baking pan, arranging them side by side. Pour the butter/hot sauce mix over the chicken and cover with foil.
  8. Bake at 350°F for about 45-60 min, depending on how tender you would like the chicken. (I baked these for about 20 minutes since they were completely cooked from frying.)
 Ms. enPlace  & FOODIE FRIDAY Click for details

    The Stockings were Hung by the Chimney with Care...

    This semester is finally coming to a head.  I'll be so glad to finish; it's been more hectic than ever before, and, well, my blog output is testament to that, but I've got plans.  Oh, yes.  I've got plans.  The holiday season is upon us and I haven't been so busy that I haven't noticed.  In fact, we've put up our tree and decorated the mantel.  I've even wrapped a good portion of the presents.  How's that for keeping on top of things?  

    But I miss my blog buddies.  Truth is I've been relying on old standbys for dinner...nothing new to post, but I've got holiday baking on the brain.  I'll be sure to be back in the kitchen just as soon as finals are finished.  We're talking fudge, molasses cookies, gingerbread, and popcorn garland.  Yep, I'll have a full plate...of goodies, that is!

    Thursday, December 1, 2011

    Tonight, while driving hubby home from work, I heard this across the radio, "I'd like to check you for ticks."  This could quite possibly be the worst song on the radio at the moment, Brad Paisley's "Ticks."

    image source

    What a romantic image.

    Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    Big Sissy's Christmas Wish List

    In no particular order...
    image source
    Yep; that's a pig.  We live in the city.  In a residential neighborhood.  It may just as well have been a hippopotamus; odds for each are equally likely, nil.
    Tampa Cell Phone Advertising
    image source
     Why does a 13 yr. old need a cell phone, really?
    image source
    I really have no opposition to this gift aside from the fact that she hates to read.  I hate to admit it, but it's true.  I can't even pay her to read in the summer.  When asked, "why a Nook?" she responded, "so I can play games on it."  Gasp.

    Folks, I'm just not ready for her in make up.  Especially curious as to why she wants one of these huge color pallets.  I'm envisioning images of Tammy Faye & Bozo the Clown.  Pray she keeps within reason.
    image source
    Apparently this trapper's hat/scarf/mitten concoction is all the rage.  It also comes with a pretty hefty price tag of around $130.  Did I mention we live in Texas?  We may get four cold days all season.

    And lastly...
    image source

    The Jersey cow made it, most recently, on her list of wants.  This list, obviously, does not take budget and/or city zoning & ordinances into consideration.

    Does anyone else have a teen whose list is as absurd as this one?  Definitely not made it easy on us this year.

    At least little sissy was easy to buy for.
    Step2 Party Time Kitchen
    available @ Wal-Mart
    A sweet little kitchen set is always fun for little ones.