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New Year’s Recipe: Black-Eyed Peas

December 27, 2017

I grew up in Southern Missouri, not quite in the South, but definitely more South than North and maybe even than Midwest. Kind of the meeting spot of all of that.

One area where we were definitely more South than anything else was food. I’m pretty sure by the age of five I was 50% bacon fat.

We also followed some Southern food traditions. One of those was black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day. Let me be clear. I despised black-eyed peas. The tradition for me became dreading and complaining every New Year’s day about the required consumption to ensure my “good luck”for the coming year. Maybe if I’d chowed down, I’d be J.K. Rowling rich today… ūüôā

The following recipe is not my mother’s but it is from my home¬†region and¬†my guess is the peppers makes it a bit tastier.



Black-Eyed Peas

  • 4 cups water
  • 3/4 cup sweet red & green peppers, minced
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 4 cups black-eyed peas
  • 2 hot red peppers
  • chunk of fat pork¬†(can save fat from some other pork cut, ask your butcher for it, or substitute bacon)
  • salt & pepper to taste

Combine the black-eyed peas, water and fat pork in a stockpot.


I have a red Le Creuset  stockpot that I love, but this blue one is extra pretty. (From Amazon)

Let this soak for an hour
or more. Add the hot peppers then cover and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the beans are tender. (plan on 45 minutes minimum) Check during cooking and add more water if needed. Once tender, stir in the minced sweet peppers and cook another 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Give it a try and let me know what you think. Definitely let me know if it brings you a year of good luck!


Horse Cookies of the “stud muffin” type…

December 10, 2017

Our Appaloosa loves these expensive German stud muffin cookies. A few places sell them, but they are kind of pricey, especially if you have to order them online and pay for shipping.Homemade Horse

So I’ve been making my own. To be honest, I don’t normally follow a recipe, but a friend asked me to write one down because her horse loves them too. So… here is my latest “version.”

  • 2 cups HOT water
  • 2 cups barn oats (as in the kind you feed horses)
  • 2 cups rolled oats (extra points for using steel cut)
  • 1 cup flax meal or ground flax seed
  • 1 cup wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce (or pureed fruit, last batch I took some pears from our yard that I’d frozen and pureed them with a bit of water)
  • 1/2 whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup molasses (this is the magic)
  • Other things you might want to add, like peppermints in the middle of pumpkin seeds, etc.

An important part to this recipe is the hot water. I heat mine in the microwave and then add the oats (both kinds) to it. Then I let it sit a bit to soften and get a bit sticky.

Once that has sat five minutes or so, stir everything else in. The consistency should be that you can drop it from a tablespoon onto a cookie sheet and it will hold its form pretty well.IMG_20171209_182107389

Now either do the above for smaller treats or spray muffin tins with some Pam type cooking spray and pack the dough in to make actual muffins.

Bake at 350 degrees (325 if you have a convection oven) for 14 minutes or so for the drops and 17 for smaller muffins. (not minis, but not full sized normal either… adjust baking time dependent on the size of your muffins tins.) The tops should still be soft when you take them out. They will firm up more as they cool and they will burn easily because of the molasses.

Cool and store in the fridge or freezer depending on how quickly you are going to use them.

Or… buy them premade!

Recipe: Baked Beans

August 6, 2017

August is my birthday month, but I’ve posted so many cake recipes… so I decided to go with how we frequently celebrated my birthday, a barbecue. I love a good barbecue. My husband does the whole smoked meat thing now. Back in the day it was just a grill and some burgers. Maybe if we were really lucky, pork steaks. I adore pork steaks.

In case you aren’t from Missouri or a surrounding area, pork steaks are steaks cut from a pork shoulder/butt. Thin, but not stupid thin. In Wisconsin, I’ve only found one butcher who had clue one what I was talking about when I asked for pork steaks, so I mainly buy the butt/shoulder and cut them myself. Bone in or boneless, both are delicious.

Okay, so pork steaks…if you’ve never had them, you HAVE to try them, ¬†but this post was supposed to be about my favorite barbecue side: baked beans.


This recipe, by the way, is a true testament to how Southern Missourians can take a fairly healthy dish (beans) and completely destroy any health benefits it might have had, but in a very tasty manner.

Baked Beans

  • 6 – 10¬†slices of bacon
  • 1 diced onion (or less to fit your preference)
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 to 3/4¬†cup molasses
  • 3 tablespoons mustard (plain old yellow is fine)
  • 3¬†cans pork and beans

Fry off your bacon, let cool and drain on some paper towels, then crumble it up. Reserve the bacon grease.

Combine bacon, onion, ketchup, molasses, mustard and pork and beans in a casserole dish. Mix it up and depending on how decadent you want to go and your taste, add some of the bacon grease. Mix again.

What all the baked beans I ate as a child were baked in! (from Amazon)

Use a spoon to taste some of the juice. Here’s where you can add more mustard if it’s too sweet or more ketchup/molasses if it’s not sweet enough. More bacon grease if you like too.


(You can also leave the bacon only half cooked and add it that way. Then it will produce its own fat.)

Bake uncovered at 325 for around two hours.You want them to thicken. Also, note they will bubble and if you have them in too small of a casserole dish, they will bubble over. I recommend oversizing the dish some and placing a pan on the rack beneath them just in case.

Also… I play with this a lot. I like the molasses, but you could substitute some of it with brown sugar. I don’t know why you would… but you could. ūüėČ

Recipe: Lime Pickles for the 4th of July

June 25, 2017

Summer is here and¬†cucumbers abound… hopefully. AND 4th of July barbecues are coming. Looking for something new and unique to bring? How about homemade lime pickles? Not a whole lot more all American than that.

My grandmother made a LOT of pickles. A lot. Honestly, as a kid I preferred the store-bought dills to the homemade, but I LOVED her sweet pickles, especially the lime pickles.

If you’ve never had lime pickles they are sweet and extra crunchy. Just great.lime-pickles

Lime Pickles

  • 7 LB sliced or speared cucumbers
  • 2 gallons water
  • ice water for second soak
  • 1 1/2 cups lime
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 quarts vinegar
  • 4 LB sugar
  • pickling spice

    Nothing beats an old-fashioned Ball canning jar… wide-mouthed, of course. (from Amazon)

Soak cucumbers for 24 hours in water and lime. After 24 hours, rinse well and soak another 3 hours in ice water.

Drain and transfer to a stockpot. Add salt, vinegar and sugar.  Let stand overnight.

Next day,  bring to a boil. Pour into canning jars with a pinch of pickling spice in each.

Recipe: Lady Baltimore Cake

June 4, 2017

This is what we call a fancy cake. A few more steps than a lot of the cakes most people I know make… of course, most people I know use a box mix. Personally, I don’t find most box mixes worth eating. If you haven’t had a real homemade cake in while, try one. You will definitely taste the difference.

I’m posting this recipe in June because it’s been used as a wedding cake a lot. It’s a great cake for any “want to impress” occasion though.

I love the history of this cake. Owen Wister, author of The Virginian, chose Charleston, South Carolina as the setting for a romance novel (titled Lady Baltimore) and modeled his main female character after a local belle. The book is actually titled after a cake the belle bakes and sells!

‚ÄúI should like a slice, if you please, of Lady Baltimore,‚ÄĚ I said with extreme formality.

I thought she was going to burst; but after an interesting second she replied, ‚ÄúCertainly,‚ÄĚ in her regular Exchange tone; only, I thought it trembled a little.

I returned to the table and she brought me the cake, and I had my first felicitous meeting with Lady Baltimore. ¬†Oh, my goodness! Did you ever taste it? ¬†It‚Äôs all soft, and it‚Äôs in layers, and it has nuts ‚Äď but I can‚Äôt write any more about it; my mouth waters too much. ¬†Delighted surprise caused me once more to speak aloud, and with my mouth full, ‚ÄúBut, dear me, this is delicious!‚ÄĚ

An industrious Charleston tea room owner created a cake to match the book and shipped a Lady Baltimore to Owen Wister every year.

Now for the recipe…

ladybaltimorecakeLady Baltimore Cake

  • 3 1/2 cups flour, sifted
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup sweet milk (aka whole milk)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 egg whites, beaten until stiff

Cream sugar and butter together. Set aside.

Combine sifted flour and baking powder.

Add vanilla to milk.

You will have three bowls/cups.

Alternate adding flour mixture and milk mixture to creamed butter/sugar, stirring in between until all added and mixed well. Mix some more. Make sure very well mixed/beaten.

Fold in beaten, stiff egg whites.

These are my latest favorite round cake  pan. My sister came up for a visit and was all kinds of envious. Really heavy duty. (from Amazon)

Bake in three round layer pans at 350 degrees.


  • 1/2 LB figs
  • 1/2 LB pecans
  • 1/4 LB raisins
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 egg whites, stiffly beaten

Grind figs, pecans and raisins together in a food processor. Set aside.

Boil sugar and water in a saucepan until sugar threads when you lift it with a spoon. Turn sugar mixture carefully into the stiffly beaten egg whites, beating while adding.

Remove 1/3 of this and set aside. Stir ground fig, pecans and raisins into the original 2/3. Spread this between the layers and onto the top layer. Over this spread the plain white icing. (the 1/3 you had set aside)


Recipe: Mother’s Day Brunch Coffee Cake (Merk’s)

May 7, 2017

I love brunch. We didn’t do brunch growing up, but once I moved to St. Louis, I discovered it was a “thing,” especially for Mother’s Day and I realized what a hole there had been in my life!

That said, we did do coffee cake, and Merk’s with cinnamon and nuts and brown sugar… OMG good and perfect for any brunch, especially a Mother’s Day brunch.

I wish I knew more about the history of this recipe. All I could find was a mention of it being credited to a woman named Milli Merk and being popular in the 1940’s and 1950’s. If you know more, share!


Note: the above¬†is a generic coffee cake image. Baked in the tube pan it should be higher and my Merk’s Coffee Cake doesn’t have a sugar glaze… although you could certainly go for broke in the calorie department and add one. ūüôā

Merk’s Coffee Cake



  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 pint sour cream
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped nuts

Cream shortening, sugar and vanilla well. Add eggs one at a time and beating in between.

Sift flour, baking powder and baking soda together. Alternate adding flour mixture and sour cream to creamed sugar mixture, mixing after each until all combined and mixed well.

Grease a  10 inch tube pan and line the bottom with waxed paper.  Spread half of the batter into the pan.

Cream butter, brown sugar and cinnamon together. Add nuts and mix well. Drop 1/2 of this in dots onto batter in tube pan. Pour remaining cake batter on top of dots. Dot remaining brown sugar mixture on top.

Bake at 350 degrees about 50minutes. Cool cake for 10 minutes before removing from pan.

Recipe: Easter Bunny Cake

April 8, 2017

We LOVED this bunny cake when I was young. I remember when my sister and I first discovered it. We thought we were SO cutting edge and talented. LOL. Now though it has become the THING to make when we get together over Spring Break/Easter.

The actual Bunny Cake¬†isn’t so much a recipe as instructions. You can use a box mix, your favorite white or yellow cake recipe or… carrot. ūüôā

You bake your cake in two round pans. When done, let cool and then turn out onto racks. When completely cool, place one whole cake onto a flat moveable surface like a baking sheet, board, etc. Position in middle of sheet, leaving room for ears above and bow tie below.


Cut the second round cake so you have two bunny ears and a bowtie. Roughly like the pattern below.


Place ears above already placed round cake and bowtie below.

Frost the whole thing with white or colored frosting. Add coconut to make him “furry.” And add green-tinted coconut around him for grass. Decorate with gumdropsps, jelly beans and licorice to make his face, add polka dots to his tie, whatever! Have fun with it and make sure you let the kids join in.

¬†Or cheat and buy this pan… buy WHY would you want to do that?