Gingerbread Love

By Carlton Hughes

Have you ever been the apple of someone’s eye? The object of affection from someone who loves you unconditionally?

That was me with my grandmothers. They loved me more than anyone else has in this world, and I say with a straight face that I was the favorite. Apology to my cousins—who probably feel the same way. Both grandmothers had a way of making me feel like I was the most important person in the world.

Growing up, I loved to visit my grandmothers, and there were always special treats and surprises.

Mammaw Dema, my paternal grandmother, was petite in stature but strong as could be. She didn’t mince words, and you never had to guess what she was thinking. At her house I could always find a fresh pitcher of green lemon-lime Kool-Aid in the fridge, and, if I was lucky, there would be a homemade chocolate pie. Not a combination you find every day, but it worked for us.

Mammaw Arietta was my maternal grandmother, and she was a bit more soft-spoken. She loved having her family members around her, and they often gathered at her small home to talk, to drink coffee, and to play cards. Speaking of cards, I spent many an evening getting thumped by her at 500 Rummy. When I finally beat her after hundreds of tries, she wasn’t disappointed—she said she had taught me well.

One of my favorite treats at Mammaw Arietta’s house was her homemade gingerbread. It wasn’t shaped as cute gingerbread men—it came out of the oven in big slabs, with a design made from pulling a fork through the dough. I enjoyed large pieces smothered with peanut butter; again, it worked for us.

My mother recently provided me with the recipe, which is typical of a grandmother’s method of cooking. Some of the measurements are not exact, and there are no baking instructions. The cooks from that era didn’t have Google or hundreds of cooking blogs to draw from—just their own instincts, put to good use with limited ingredients.

The recipe was passed down to my grandmother from her mother. It’s the best gingerbread I have ever had, and, to this day, when I smell ginger, I think of those days at her house.

GRANDMA GREER’S GINGERBREAD

2/3 cup sweet milk (what we called regular milk, as opposed to buttermilk)
1 cup molasses
½ cup regular granulated sugar
2 eggs
½ cup shortening
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ginger (or more to taste)

Mix all ingredients together. Add enough all-purpose flour to make the dough stiff. Grease a large baking sheet and spread the dough on it. Run a fork through the dough several times to make a design. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown.

Click-to-Tweet: An old-fashioned holiday recipe from .@carltonwhughes #inspiredprompt #gingerbreadlove #grandmotherslove

3 Questions Wednesday with Carlton Hughes

Welcome to 3 Questions Wednesday.

Carlton Hughes

Today’s guest is a familiar one, a member of the Writing Prompts Crew. Among other things, he’s a communications professor, a children’s pastor, and an all-around great guy. Our readers know him for his warm, humorous posts.

So, let’s see how he answers our 3 Questions–

Question: Carlton, what inspires you?

Carlton:  Many things inspire me, but I’ve narrowed it down a bit. (1) I live in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, and you truly witness the creativity of God here. Right now the colors of autumn are vivid, and nature inspires me. (2) I’m also inspired by the people in my life—my family, friends, students, and co-workers. There are always good stories floating around! (3) This one may sound strange, but I love classic sitcoms and get inspiration from them. When I’m feeling down, I’ll watch an episode or two of I Love Lucy, The Andy Griffith Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, etc. I love to write humor, and what better way to learn than to watch the best.

Sounds like you’re inspired by life. And you’re right–stories are everywhere. For humor writers, those classic shows are the best.

Next question–You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?

Carlton: This question is hard, but I’d have to say a vibrant royal blue, mostly because I bleed Kentucky blue!

The color blue indicates patience and calm, and also fealty (loyalty), and you are certainly loyal to your Kentucky Wildcats!

Final Question–As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Carlton: For a long time, I wanted to be an architect—I think it was the “Mike Brady Effect.” When I realized you had to take a lot of math to be an architect, I changed my mind quickly. I developed an interest in journalism starting in junior high and wanted to be a broadcast news anchor—I even double-majored in broadcasting and print journalism in college. God had other plans, though, and I became a professor and a freelance writer. However, I use the skills from my broadcast journalism classes in my writing all the time. Math? Not so much.

Good choice! This is a perfect example of how God uses our gifts to be a blessing to others.

Thanks, Carlton, for visiting 3 Questions Wednesday, and giving our readers the chance to get to know you better. Readers, besides here on our blog, you can find Carlton on Almost an Author (blog).

Click to tweet: Carlton Hughes bleeds blue! #Kentucky #3QuestionsWednesday #InspiredPrompt


Carlton W. Hughes is a communications professor at Southeast Kentucky Community College and coordinates the Dual Credit Program at Harlan County High School, where he also teaches part-time. He is children’s pastor at Lynch Church of God and won the 2013 Shepherd’s Cup Award, the highest honor for children’s pastors in the Church of God denomination. Hughes is also a year-round volunteer and Relay Center Coordinator for Operation Christmas Child. As a writer, his works have been featured in numerous publications, including the books Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dating Game and Simple Little Words. Hughes is a two-time first-place winner in the “Dramas/ Plays/Scripts” category in the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference Writers Contest. He resides in Cumberland, Kentucky, and he and his wife Kathy have two sons, Noah and Ethan. He is a fan of chocolate, good books, basketball, and classic television shows like “I Love Lucy.”


And don’t forget to enter our “Once Upon a Christmas Giveaway III” — you’ll see a “click-meme” in the sidebar on the right, or if you’re on your phone, you can click here to enter: Rafflecopter Giveaway

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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

The Wisdom Tree by Lisa Worthey Smith

I’m so happy to welcome one of my Alabama friends, Lisa Worthey Smith, to our blog. Lisa finds truths in everyday events and nature itself and uses those truths to show a patternplan, and purpose intentionally designed by the loving hand of The Creator.

Hello, Lisa! Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

Lisa:  I’m a simple Southern girl, who would rather be outside than inside any day of the week! I relished my time as a full-time mom then transitioned into the corporate workplace for a number of years, then taught high school students at a small Christian school.

Then when my health would no longer allow me to work at all, God sent a hummingbird to teach me about suffering. Yep, a real hummingbird who I named Oscar. The story was so unique people often asked me to write it down, so I did. Oscar the Extraordinary Hummingbird was published in 2015.

God used that story to guide me into this phase where I minister by writing and speaking occasionally. After a recent speaking engagement, several kind people requested I publish that story, and The Wisdom Tree was put into book form October 2017.

What genre are your books? What draws you to this genre?

Lisa: I intended to write non-fiction, Christian inspirational (like Oscar). “I just don’t have the creativity to write fiction.” Then God gave me the fictional story of The Wisdom Tree. (Hint- Don’t tell God what you can’t do. God has a sense of humor and might just change your course!)

Both have Bible studies included which is where my heart lies. My mission is to draw people to the Word, to point them to the hand of God all around us and create an eagerness to learn more about Him.

Do you work to an outline or prefer to see where an idea takes you?

Lisa:  Some of both. My short stories tell themselves, then I go back and block in chapters and outlines. If I ever write a novel length piece, I’m sure it will start with an outline.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Lisa:  Finding a way to say “the end.” I know readers want a satisfying conclusion, but I enjoy the stories so much that it is hard to stop! I tell myself if I don’t finish, I won’t be able to share – so I make myself cross the finish line in order to be able to share them with you!

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Lisa:  Tippy tapping on the keyboard for His kingdom as long as He desires, and there is life within me!

Thanks, Lisa, for dropping by! Sounds like a good book…

Click to tweet:  Alabama author Lisa Worthey Smith latest book, The Wisdom Tree. #amreading #InspiredPrompt


 The Wisdom Tree

An ordinary tree, in an extraordinary place, in an extraordinary time, being prepared for an extraordinary event. If you listen closely to the trees in the Garden of Gethsemane, you might hear this story of a little olive tree named Sprout, and how he came to be known as The Wisdom Tree.

Often compared to the writing style of Max Lucado, this parable includes a Study Guide with the most basic and important questions in Christianity and provides the biblical answers for each.

Simple enough for middle readers, and yet adults who are acquainted with the New Testament love to hear the familiar story told from a unique perspective.

Suitable for book clubs, Bible study groups, homeschool, and personal growth.


 A long-time Bible student with a passion to help people grasp the depths of God’s love, Lisa Worthey Smith has been called “the parable teacher”. Using stories of everyday life and Creation, she weaves gentle stories of inspiration, hope, and love with the common theme of seeing the hand of God at work.

She and her husband live in northern Alabama where she spends time in her yard which includes a hummingbird garden and of course, an olive tree.

Contact Lisa

Twitter 

Life in My Father’s World Facebook 

Bible Study 101 Facebook

Oscar the Extraordinary Hummingbird Facebook

Lisa Worthey Smith Facebook

Website –  www.BibleStudy101.net

Blog – www.LifeInMyFathersWorld.blogspot.com

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!

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