November Prompt Winner-Crystal A. Murray

Thanks, all of you who entered a recipe in our November Prompt Contest.
We had a random drawing and drew out Crystal A. Murray.We hope you’ll stop back by in the months ahead and try again.

Congratulations, Crystal A. Murray, winner of the November Prompt Contest.

“Crystal writes articles, stories, poetry, song lyrics, & web content. She loves variety in her writing as it keeps writing fun for her. As president of her local Christian writer’s group, Crystal loves to find prompts and exercises to encourage other writers to have fun in their writing as well. Crystal’s still under-development writing page on Facebook can be found at

Here is her winning recipe!

Easy Cream-Cheesy Pie…

Easy-to-make desserts always get my vote, and these are super yummy and have lots of variations.

Graham Cracker Pie Crust
1 large box of flavored gelatin
1 8oz tub of whipped topping
1 and 1/2 block of cream cheese (can use fat free version as well)

Soften the cream cheese to make things easier to mix. Mix in the whipped topping (I like Cool Whip Extra Creamy, but it also works well with some of the diet versions of topping). Add about half of the flavored gelatin powder (more if you want a stronger flavor, less if you want more of the cream cheese flavor to come through) and mix until the gelatin is dissolved into the cream cheese & topping mix.

Note: If you really don’t want any granules of sugar, you can dissolve the gelatin in a glass cup in the microwave with a little water. It makes kind of a thick syrup.

Note2: Use your favorite flavor for the gelatin. I have found lemon and cherry to make the best-tasting cheese pies. I have also had good results making this with sugar-free gelatin, but I’ve been avoiding the aspartame products lately, so I’ll probably stick to the sweet until they come out with a stevia-flavored one.

Pour all ingredients into the pie crust and chill until ready to serve.

Optional: sprinkle some of the remaining gelatin powder over the top for a sort of sparkly look. You can even use stencils to make a greeting on top if you like.


Grandma’s Stuffed Cabbage/Russian Style

There are a few things I will always remember about the holidays.  One is the way my mom went out of her way to celebrate two Christmas’s a year.  My grandparents were immigrants to this country of Russian ancestry.  They brought many customs with them.  At Christmas they would put straw under and on the eating table to remember Jesus’ lowly birth.  They had other specific ways to celebrate involving food. Since they lived in Pennsylvania and we didn’t get to be with them at Christmas, we celebrated regular Christmas on December 25th and Russian Christmas on January 7th.

 On Russian Christmas Eve, Mom would set up and decorate a small tabletop tree.  We would have a special meal prepared with seven dishes, all of Russian background.  My favorite was the stuffed cabbage.
When my mom was a child, her mother, Lena, would rise early, cooking for a houseful of children. She would go to the slaughterhouse for fresh ground beef.  As Grandma mixed the ground beef and rice, Grandpa would sneak bites of the raw beef, certainly not recommended today. Grandma harvested cabbage from her garden across the road from the house.
Russia is actually the largest consumer of cabbage worldwide. Cabbage is used in many ways, ranging from eating raw and simple steaming to pickling, stewing, sauteing or braising. Pickling is one of the most popular ways of preserving cabbage, creating dishes such as sauerkraut.
 Cabbage is used extensively in Polish and Russian cuisine. It is one of the main food crops, and sauerkraut is a frequent dish, as well as being used to stuff other dishes such as golabki (stuffed cabbage) and pierogi (filled pasta). Other eastern European countries, such as Hungary and Romania, also have traditional dishes that feature cabbage as a main ingredient. In the United States, cabbage is used primarily for the production of coleslaw, followed by fresh market use and sauerkraut production.
Holidays and food just go together, and make memories for a lifetime. Do you have a special dish passed on from grandparents or other relatives?
 My granddaughters, Ava and Sadie last Christmas
Stuffed Cabbage
2 ½ pounds lean ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
1 pound bacon, cut small
1 pound cooked rice
Salt, pepper, Nature Seasoning, to taste
1 can tomato paste
1 can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons vinegar
Wash rice, cook ten minutes. Drain excess water, set aside. Fry bacon and  onion til golden brown. Drain excess oil.
Put rice in large mixing bowl. Mix in ground beef, bacon and onions and mix well; add seasonings. Set aside.
Cut cabbage, core out about two inches deep and place head of cabbage in boiling water to steam until leaves can be removed easily. Repeat until you remove all cabbage leaves that are big enough to roll. Line the bottom of a large pot with leaves you don’t use.
Scoop filling and place in leave, tucking in ends and rolling. Pack stuffed cabbage in pot, then fill with hot water until barely covered. Place a plate on top, weighted down to keep stuffed cabbage from floating. Cook on medium low for forty-five minutes, then pour sauce into pot and cook fifteen minutes more. Good served with hot sauce or ketchup.
Today’s writing prompt: Jakob lifted the forkful of ground beef, rice and cabbage toward his mouth when his cat, Ralphsky, lunged…

Collard Greens with Lima Beans & Turkey

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday. Some of you are out shopping today or trying to catch up on your NaNoWriMo. I’m not taking part in NaNoWriMo this year, since I’m hosting out of town company.
Here is one of my family’s favorite dishes. It’s another old-fashioned tummy-warming meal just in time to use up some of your leftover turkey (you can substitute smoked turkey or turkey polish sausage slices). The crushed red pepper is a southern necessity, but if you can’t stomach spicy dishes, you can leave it out. Serve with hot buttered corn bread. 
1 bag frozen baby lima beans
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups vertically sliced red onion
3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 cup diced turkey or smoked turkey breast
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
3 garlic gloves, minced
1 bay leaf
8 cups sliced collard greens
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Heat oil in a dutch oven or large pan over medium-low heat. Add onion; saute 10 minutes. Add beans, broth, and the next 5 ingredients (turkey through bay leaf). Bring to a boil and let simmer for about an hour*, Stir in collards, vinegar, and tomatoes. Cover and simmer an additional hour. Stir in salt and pepper. Discard bay leaf. 
*At this point, you can choose to bake it in the oven at 375º. After an hour, add the other ingredients and return to the oven for an additional hour. 
This recipe is easily adaptable to a Crockpot. Place sauteed onions in your Crockpot, top with beans, broth and the next five ingredients. Then add the chopped collards and pour the vinegar and tomatoes on top. Cover and cook all day. Stir before serving.
Based on a recipe from Cooking Light, March 2000 and reprinted on

Don’t forget this month’s contest. Submit a story using one of our prompts or submit a favorite holiday recipe. You can copy and paste as a comment or use our contact page to enter. 

Mamaw Avon’s Pink Stuff

photo by Anna

Southerners love their “get-togethers,” especially if the holidays and food are involved. My husband Danny’s family is no exception. Though his mother, Mamaw Avon, now lives in her heavenly residence, her bright smile and recipes live on. Thanksgiving meant turkey, Christmas meant ham, and for both holidays, she made cherry fluff, or as we called it, pink stuff.

On Thanksgiving Day, we’d wake early to the smell of the turkey which had baked all night. “Dressing,” which is a southern-type of cornbread stuffing, was tasted and re-tasted to get the spices just right. Vegetables were cooked and the house filled quickly with family and friends bearing casseroles and cake plates brimming with delectable dishes. The pink stuff was mixed together and chilled before the start of our late afternoon celebration.

The large crowd would be quieted before we’d give thanks to God for His abundant goodness, then to the feasting. Most of us ate our pink stuff with the meal, but a few would save a bowlful for desert later. The left-overs brought us all together for several days thereafter and the fun would begin all over again.

Do your holidays have enjoyable food traditions or memories?


Pink Stuff

1 can cherry pie filling

1 small can crushed pineapple, drained

12 oz. Cool Whip

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 cup miniature marshmallows

½ cup pecans, finely chopped


Mix all ingredients in large bowl; mix well. Pour in decorative bowl and refrigerate for one hour.


Today’s writing prompt: Sandra emptied the pecans she’d chopped into the faded hand-painted bowl as a tear slipped down her cheek. Her mother’s bowl…

Grandma Sexton’s Peanut Butter Pie

Less than a week until Thanksgiving. Oh, I know, you’re not even thinking about oven roasted turkey, homemade dinner rolls and grandma’s dressing. Y’all are elbows deep in NaNo writing, or you should be. By my calculations you should be over the half-way mark. Me, not so much. I’m still sitting under 8k. Is there hope for me? I don’t know, we’ll see.

Anyway, this is my all time favorite Thanksgiving dessert. It’s been handed down through several generations.  Grandma Sexton was born Pearl Sabre Kelly in Plattsburg, Winston, Mississippi, November 1890. I don’t know where she got the recipe from, but it is the absolute best pie (if you like peanut butter) ever made, but I LOVE peanut butter. I’m addicted to peanut butter.


1 cup light corn syrup (Karo)

1 cup sugar

3 eggs (Mom recently discovered medium eggs work best)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (Gluten free)

1/3 cup peanut butter (make sure it’s not contaminated)

1 9″ pie shell (I’ve used Gluten Free Pantry, but I think I’ll try something else this year. Also, Mom makes me an individual pie in a small custard dish without the crust, so I’m sure you can make this crustless.)

Combine all ingredients. Pour into pie shell. Bake in a preheated 450 degree oven for 10 minutes. While leaving the pie in the oven, reduce the temperature to 325 degrees and bake for 30 to 40 minutes more.

If you make it, let me know what you and your family thought of it. 

Blessings and happy NaNoing,