My Grandmother’s Kitchen: Homemade Pancakes

I love the title for this month’s blog post. I had different relationships with both of my grandmothers. They each taught me so much in the precious time I had with them. After our family moved from the city, I used to spend a few weeks each summer with my Grandma Milem.

She lived in a cul-de-sac with other homes filled with folks much like herself; elderly, with grown children. There were very few kids my age living, or visiting in that semi-circle of homes; so I ended up spending a lot of time with Grandma and Grandpa. This is the place where I learned to sew, embroider, and watch Grandma cook. A favorite family memory: she loved to whistle while she worked.

There was always fresh produce on Grandma’s table. Tomatoes sliced on a plate, cucumbers bathed in vinegar, or swimming in sour cream with dill, and onion stalks with their greenery spilling out of the top of a glass of water. She taught my mother how to can the benefits from our garden, her bread and butter pickles were the best! We had jars and jars of corn, green beans and tomatoes. Grandma would take zucchini home and come back to visit with loaves of zucchini bread!

I have fond memories of holiday gatherings. Wonderful smells would fill the house. There were no store bought pies here, no sir. Everything was made by hand, and if you went home hungry it was your fault.

By the time I became a teenager, Grandpa had passed away and their home had been sold. Grandma called herself a vagabond; she lived from place to place. Mostly with her grown children in different parts of the country. She would visit us in southern California for a couple of months, she would then divide the rest of the year between Arizona, South Carolina, or Ohio.

In 1999, we were all called to my Uncle’s home in Ohio to say our good-byes. Hospice had advised that Grandma would be leaving us soon. A memory from that time, so precious to me  was when my Uncle’s home lost power, and there was no air conditioning. My cousins and I took newspaper and made fans. Then we went into the bedroom where Grandma rested and fanned her while singing hymns. If you listened real close you could hear her humming along.

When asking my cousins which recipe they remembered most from Grandma’s Kitchen our memories varied.  But we all think of her as a constant reminder of our childhood, and her great cooking abilities. I just found out recently that one of my cousins had  snagged her recipe box! Oh what a treasure! She then proceeded to send me a picture of all of those recipes. So, per her request, I am happily sharing Grandma Milem’s pancake recipe.

 

Grandma Milem’s Pancakes

1 Egg
1 1/4 cup Buttermilk or sour milk
1/2 cup of Baking soda
1 1/4 Cups of Flour
1 tsp. Sugar
2 Tbs. Soft shortening
1 1/2 tsp. Baking powder
1 tsp. Salt

Mix the dry ingredients together well. The shortening should be soft like butter at room temperature. Add shortening, and  buttermilk; stir well. Let batter rest for a minute or two before pouring on hot griddle.

Click to Tweet: My Grandma’s Kitchen: Homemade Pancakes #holiday #memories .@InspiredPrompts

From Grandmother’s Kitchen: Pecan Pie

The holidays have always been a favorite time of year around my house. Not because of presents, but the time spent in the kitchen sharing memories as we bake. At the end of October, the cookbooks fly off the shelves as everyone searches for new recipes to try during the coming weeks. Pies, cakes, candy, and rolls. No matter how many new ones we add, there is always room for the familiar and beloved recipes of yesteryear from Mom’s and Grandma’s kitchen.

One of my favorites is Pecan Pie. Not too sweet. Just ooey gooey goodness. Did I tell you it’s great with a piping-hot cup of coffee? Yummy.

pecan-pie inspired prompts gail johnson

Click to Tweet: There is always room for the familiar and beloved recipes of yesteryear. #recipes #holidays

Pecan Pie

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

1 cup sugar
1 cup Karo syrup
4 eggs
1 tablespoon of vanilla
½ stick of butter, room temperature
1 cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon of flour
2-9 inch regular shells

In a large bowl mix sugar, syrup, beaten eggs, vanilla, and butter. Add flour and pecans. Pour into piecrusts. Bake for 1 hour or until firm on top. Let cool before slicing. 🙂 Enjoy

Now, it’s your turn. What are your favorite holiday memories? Do you have a favorite recipe book? Feel free to share in the comments.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Grandma Had No Recipes

I heard a rumor it’s already November. I’m not sure I’m speaking to November. However, I am leading with the topic for this month, so I’ll just have to get over it. The official topic is “From My Grandmother’s Kitchen.” This means that all our wonderful bloggers will be writing about some of their favorite foods, and sharing memories, along with one of Grandma’s favorite recipes.

Grandma

Here’s my dilemma: oh, wait, you already read it in the title of this post. Maybe I shouldn’t have led with it. You may be wondering why Grandma had no recipes. Everyone uses a cookbook, or borrows recipes, right? She probably did, at one time or another, but by the time I came along, most everything Grandma made, she knew how to cook. She never used a recipe. She added a little of this and a pinch of that.

My grandma made the best biscuits ever. If you’ve read my Kinsman Redeemer series, or maybe just the first book, Annabelle’s Ruth, Cousin Thelma’s biscuits were like my grandma’s. They were big and fluffy. Toasty on the outside, moist on the inside. Is your mouth watering? Mine is!

I watched her make them. We all did. But no one could duplicate them. We’ve all tried, with no luck. She also made wonderful teacakes—an old-fashioned sweet biscuit-y cookie. I ate plenty of that cookie dough. As soon as Grandma turned her back, into my mouth went another lump. It was delicious, but no one could duplicate the recipe. She even tried writing that one down. We could get really close, but not quite. It was so disappointing.

Grandma was a plain cook. Kind of like Amish plain. She cooked the best vegetables–lima beans, corn pudding, grits and red-eye gravy. Yum! And her creamed potatoes were a-maz-ing. She even made a warm mashed potato version of potato salad, topped with sliced hard-boiled eggs. Delicious, but no recipe to be found, anywhere.

However, she could not create a meat dish unless it was fried. She fried steak. And nine times out of ten, her cakes came out burned, or dry. Her egg white frostings cracked. Sorry, but it’s true. We ate a lot of crumbled cakes, because nothing was wasted in Grandma’s kitchen.

The meringue for a lemon pie was a way to redeem herself. She made a lovely meringue, and the filling was scrumptious. Not me, I usually pile on the whipped cream. I’ve made meringue in the past, and it turned out pretty good, but I take shortcuts these days. She did, too, as time went on. An invention came along that changed her life. It was called “canned biscuits.” It set her free. From that day forward, we ate canned biscuits at Grandma’s house. It was heartbreaking. Such a sad waste of talent.

So, what recipe shall I share, since Grandma had no recipes? Well, I have a binder filled with all my favorite recipes, and guess what? I’m Grandma! So I’ll share one of mine.

Here’s the scene: You’re going to brother’s house for Thanksgiving, and sister-in-law asks you to bring a dessert. She’s a wonderful cook, and always has a gorgeous array of desserts, so you’re intimidated. This simple little cookie may save the day. They taste a little like a pecan sandie. Make a practice batch a few days ahead, just to get the hang of it. These are a hit, wherever I take them—almost as good as Grandma’s—but not quite.

Click to Tweet: Find out why my Grandma had no recipes. #holidayrecipe #cookies

Butter Pecan Cookies

Ingredients

¾ cup pecans
½ butter, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ cup (or less) confectioner’s sugar

Instructions

  1. Spread pecans on a baking sheet and bake in 350-degree oven for 5-6 minutes to toast them. Remove and let cool completely. When cool, chop finely and set aside.
  2. Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add vanilla extract and beat again. Slowly add flour and salt until completely combined.
  3. Mix in pecans.
  4. Use a medium cookie scoop to spoon out cookie dough (a regular spoon works fine). Roll dough into a ball. Roll the top of the ball in reserved sugar. Place sugar side up on an ungreased cookie sheet (I line them with parchment paper). Use a small glass to gently flatten cookies.
  5. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 12-14 minutes, just until edges start to brown. Remove from oven and let cookies cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes before removing to racks to cool completely.
  6. After removing to racks, sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.

Makes about 30 cookies.

Save

Save

Thanks Giving Tips From The Salvation Army: Serve a Wonderful Thanksgiving Dinner — and Save Money!

Our friend, Nike Chillemi, was kind enough to share this money saving article. It might be June but it’s never too early to start planning for the holidays! 🙂

3 Tips for Keeping Costs Under Control

The Salvation Army works hard to ensure that every dollar you donate is used as efficiently and effectively as possible — Doing the Most Good, for the most people, in the most need. In that spirit, we offer these money-saving tips to help you stretch your own budget this Thanksgiving.

Tip #1: Keep It Simple. Instead of five kinds of pies and a dozen side dishes, trim your Thanksgiving menu down to those favorites everyone loves. Also, choose simpler recipes rather than those requiring the purchase of spices and other ingredients you won’t be likely to use again.

Tip #2: Start Shopping Now. The earlier you shop, the more time you have to take advantage of weekly sale prices and coupons. You can also save money by comparison shopping — visiting different stores, and scooping up the best buys at each.

Tip #3: Use Natural Decor. Look to nature, and save on store-bought Thanksgiving decorations. Bring the beauty of the season indoors with your own display of autumn leaves, pine cones, acorns, and other natural elements.

For more information on the Salvation Army:
THE SALVATION ARMY
GREATER NEW YORK DIVISION
120 W. 14th Street
New York, NY 10011
(212) 337-7339
www.SalvationArmyNY.org


Nike Chillemi

Like so many writers, I started writing at a very young age. I still have the Crayola, fully illustrated book I penned (colored might be more accurate) as a little girl about my then totally off-the-chart love of horses. Today, you might call me a crime fictionista. My passion is crime fiction. I like my bad guys really bad and my good guys smarter and better.

I write hard-boiled detective novels with a soul. My detectives, both male and female, are jump into the fray, tough, shoot it up types. Yet, they’re all vulnerable. They’re not so hard-boiled they couldn’t be actual people.

I’m the founding board member of the Grace Awards and its Chair, a reader’s choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction. I writes book reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine. I was an Inspy Awards 2010 judge in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category, a judge in the 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories, and a judge in the Eric Hoffer Awards in 2012, 2013, and 2014.

My four novel Sanctuary Point series, set in the mid-1940s, has won awards and garnered critical acclaim. My new contemporary whodunit, HARMFUL INTENT released in the spring of 2014 under the auspices of her own publishing company, Crime Fictionista Press became a best seller in Amazon’s private investigator category, won the Grace Award 2014,  and has also garnered critical acclaim.

I’m a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Christian Indie Novelists (CHIN).

Save

Christmas from Japan to Papua New Guinea

headshot-jayna-breighBy Jayna Breigh

Long before my husband (let’s call him Bill) and I ever met, Bill seriously considered being a missionary aviator. To prepare for his possible life as a missionary he learned to fly by taking private flying lessons at a little municipal airport. He also spent a year in Japan teaching English through his denomination.

Bill spent one Christmas in Japan while on this mission and remembers it well. Christmas was not a “legal” holiday there like it is here. Banks didn’t close and children had to go to school. I asked Bill if there were decorations and gift exchanges. He said there were secular decorations—Santas and reindeer, but no gifts. As he put it, there were the trappings of Christmas without the Christianity.

image-of-wakyama

Wakyama

Bill did have a very moving remembrance of his one Christmas in Japan. He was working at a Church in Wakayama City (the capital of the Prefecture of Wakayama–yes it has the same name twice like New York, New York). Wakayama City is a seaside city in Southern Japan, about an hour’s train ride from Osaka. On top of the church was a large illuminated cross visible to boats and ships in the Pacific Ocean. A Pakistani Christian sailor saw the cross from his ship in the harbor and joined the congregation of Bill’s church for their Christmas Eve service.

It did not work out for Bill to be a missionary aviator. One of the requirements to fly (at least at that time) was that the pilot had to be married, which Bill was not. The concern of the mission’s agency was that the isolation and depravations of mission life would prove to be too severe a temptation to a single man. Flash forward to today.  Bill ultimately became a commercial airline pilot. And our family now supports a missionary aviation family in Papua, New Guinea. The husband transports medical supplies, translators, Bibles, and other goods. He also flies medical personnel into remote areas and flies sick people out. His wife homeschools their four children. If I had met my husband years earlier, this could have been my life. And just like the missionaries we support, we would have spent Christmas in a remote village, far away from friends and family, far from modern conveniences, far from American commercialism, and surrounded by traditions that are so foreign to the way we were raised.

papua_new_guinea_map

Papua, New Guinea

I took the time to look back through four years of newsletters to see how our missionaries celebrated Christmas in Papua, New Guinea. Since it is in the Southern Hemisphere, it is summertime when Christmas is celebrated. The photographs in the Christmas newsletters of our Papua, New Guinea missionaries show green grass and lush vegetation in the middle of what is our winter here.

In the states, even if someone lives in a seasonally warm state like Arizona, Christmas is still marked with scenes of Winter, songs about snow and the Charlie Brown Christmas Special. And whether one is religious or not, the basis for the celebration of Christmas — the birth of Jesus Christ — is understood. In Papua, New Guinea, it is different. There are more than 850 languages in Papua, New Guinea, the most in the world. Yet, the Bible remains untranslated in approximately 300 of them. That means in these places there isn’t even a written Christmas Story for the people to read if they wanted to.

And this is part of Christmas around the world.

Writing Prompt: He pushed send on the application for the Missionary aviation position. He’d put a name on the application in the space marked “wife.” But, he hadn’t actually given her the ring that was currently in his pocket. In fact, he hadn’t introduced himself to her yet…

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Guinea


 

headshot-jayna-breighJayna is a wife, home educator, and an attorney who practiced in Beverly Hills and Los Angeles for more than a decade.  Currently she resides in the Southeast with her husband and two children.  Jayna enjoys online word tile games and British period dramas.

Jayna has spoken at women’s retreats, led women’s Bible studies, and has taught and facilitated women’s and parenting seminars on topics ranging from sharing the faith, life skills management, and mother daughter relationships. She is also a member of the ACFW.

Her current work in progress is a Finalist in the Inspirational category of the First Coast Romance Writers 2016, Beacon Contest, and took Second Place in the Central Ohio Fiction Writers 2016, Ignite the Flame Contest. You can connect with Jayna at www.JaynaBreigh.com and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/JaynaBreigh.