Friday, May 29, 2015

Banana Corn Cakes

Everyone loves pancakes. But some of you may have never heard of their Southern cousin, the corn cake. With a slightly heavier texture and a more savory taste, they are generally served alongside meals instead of with syrup for breakfast. I renovated an old classic corn cake recipe so I could serve these for the morning rush.


1 8.5oz box Jiffy corn muffin mix
1 egg
2 tbsp. melted butter
3/4 cup milk
2 small bananas, peeled and mashed

Preheat pancake griddle or pan. Place bananas in a large bowl and mash them. Add all remaining ingredients and stir until combined. Batter will be a little lumpy. Spoon onto griddle and flip corn cake when bubbles appear and edges are set. Makes 10-12 cakes.

Grab a fork and your favorite honey or syrup, pile them up, and dig in! These cakes can also be made ahead of time and individually frozen on a cookie sheet placed in the freezer. When frozen, just place in a freezer bag and pull out and reheat as you would your favorite frozen convenience pancake.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Sending warm wishes and positive vibes to those of you that are currently struggling! Hang in there, the sun will shine again soon!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Black Bean & Corn Salsa

Hope ya'll had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! Ours was frequented by bouts of rain, but we still had a good time overall. Honestly, I didn't cook that much. We dined out most of the weekend at our favorite local restaurants. It's been hot here and that always kills my motivation to fire up the oven. One of the dishes I do enjoy when summer sets in is this Black Bean & Corn Salsa. It is yummy cold with tortilla chips. It also pairs well warm with your favorite lean white meat.

Ingredients: (Can easily be doubled.)

1 15oz. can black beans (drained & rinsed)
1 15oz. can whole kernel corn (drained)
1 14oz. can diced tomatoes with green chilies (a.k.a. Rotel tomatoes, I use mild.)
chopped fresh oregano (to taste, optional)
chopped fresh cilantro (to taste, optional)
salt & pepper (to taste)

For salsa:

Mix everything together in a large bowl, seasoning to taste with herbs. If desired, juice of a fresh lime can be added for an extra flavor boost. Serve with tortilla chips.

For side dish:

Add black beans, corn, diced tomatoes with green chilies, salt, and pepper to a large pot and cook on stovetop at medium-high heat until warmed through. Remove from heat and add freshly chopped herbs. Stir to combine. Great served alongside lean pork or chicken.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Mexican Cornbread Casserole

This Mexican Cornbread Casserole is both delicious and filling. The original recipe came out of an old church cookbook I treasure. However, like most recipes, I've tweaked it to my taste.


1 lb. ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 15 oz. can chili beans
2 cups of salsa (I use mild.)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 14oz. can of fiesta corn (or whole kernel corn), drained
1 packet taco seasoning


2 boxes of Jiffy cornbread mix
2 eggs
1 1/3 cups milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brown ground beef and onion on stovetop at high heat. Pour into a 13x9 baking dish. Add taco seasoning, chili beans, salsa, cheddar cheese, fiesta corn, and sour cream. Mix until combined.

In a large bowl combine cornbread mix, eggs, and milk. Stir thoroughly. Pour evenly over ground beef filling. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes or until golden brown. Serves 6.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Country-Style Zucchini Bread

Every summer I plant zucchini squash and every summer I end up with too many plants maturing all at once. And even after sharing with all of my neighbors, I would still have a lot left over. That's when I began hiding my plentiful squash in muffins, breads, and cakes. I love this recipe that came out of my local Carolina Country magazine years ago. It actually lists it as a cake and calls for a cream cheese frosting, but I have always omitted the frosting and baked it in a loaf pan as you would bread.
2 cups of finely grated zucchini
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups self-rising flour
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 8oz. can crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the oil, white sugar, brown sugar, salt, vanilla, cinnamon, and eggs in a large bowl. Slowly add the flour in and mix well. Then add the zucchini, pineapple, and pecans and stir to combine. Pour into two loaf pans, or if you prefer, a 13x9 cake pan. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until golden brown and bread springs back when touched.
I found this recipe plenty sweet enough without adding the cream cheese frosting. But for those of you who would like to serve it as a cake, I will include the frosting recipe.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 8oz. package of softened cream cheese
1/2 cup softened butter
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Cream butter and cream cheese together. Add powdered sugar in slowly and mix to combine. Add vanilla extract and stir well. Spread frosting over completely cooled cake.
Good eats!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Easy Can Up-cycle!

This is easy can up-cycle that even the youngest toddler can achieve. And the best part is that you probably have all the items you need laying around the house. My son had a ball doing this and he was very proud of his finished product. He even insisted that I put his prized toy front loader in the picture with it.
For this craft you will need:
an empty, clean metal can
an old sock (white or lighter color)
liquid food coloring
Place can into sock until the top of the can is even with the top of the sock. Cut off sock below the bottom of the can. Have your child take the food coloring and drip dots and make designs all around the outside of the sock while it's still on the can. Once your child has finished with their design, remove sock and rinse under cold water. Note that the colors and design will bleed, becoming abstract. Wring out excess water and hang to dry. When dry, place sock back on can and fold under the loose sock end and tape in place on the inside.
I am using our can to hold pens on my desk. These would look great in multiples for a craft room or office. This would also be a great and inexpensive gift for Dad this upcoming Father's Day.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Banana Nut Muffin Cheat!

I love fresh banana nut muffins made from scratch, but as a busy mom of an active toddler I lack the time to make them. So here's where Nana's great fake-out tip comes into play. Easy, toddler-approved, and ready to eat in under 30 minutes!

You only need these two ingredients plus milk.
First, mash the ripe banana in a bowl. This is my son's favorite job! He loves cooking with me. Then add the muffin mix and the milk as directed on the back of the package. Stir to combine. Then pour into a muffin tin and bake in an oven that's been preheated to 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until risen and lightly golden. One pack of muffin mix usually yields 6 medium muffins.
Then just sit back and enjoy a nice cup of coffee while you watch as your muffins disappear. Seriously so good that you would never know that they were not completely homemade. I've sent these to school, work, and on fishing/hunting trips and the bag always comes back empty with rave reviews.


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Simple Savory Roasted Potatoes

I've been making these since I was a little girl. It was always my job to toss the potatoes with the oil and spices after Momma cut them into wedges. So simple. So good.
4 potatoes, cut into wedges
extra virgin olive oil-enough to coat potatoes
1 tsp. thyme
salt & pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a roasting pan mix potatoes, oil, & spices. Make sure the potatoes are in one even layer or they will not get crispy. Cook in oven for 45 minutes. This time could vary depending on your oven and the thickness of your potato wedges.
A wonderful side dish for chicken, beef, or pork. Mmmm...I can taste the crispy, caramelized, savory, potatoey goodness already!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Mouth-Watering Sausage, Cheese, And Onion Quiche

My mother created this recipe after trying many different quiche recipes over the years. She always uses six eggs and 1 1/2 cups of milk for her base. Usually she fills them with leftovers from the fridge. But my family's favorite is the sausage, cheese, and onion quiche she makes. Perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Ingredients: (Makes 2 quiches)

2 pie shells ( I use Pillsbury ready-made, but you can make your own crust too.)
1 lb. Jimmy Dean sausage
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 medium onion, chopped
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brown sausage and chopped onion in a pan on the stovetop at high heat. Place uncooked pie shells on a cookie sheet and divide sausage mixture between them. Then top each with 1 cup of shredded cheese. In a bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Then divide and pour the wet mixture evenly over top of each pie shell. Place in oven and cook for 45 minutes. Let sit a few minutes before cutting. I always serve mine with a salad.

This recipe is great for using up eggs that are getting old. I made these quiches all the time when we had pet chickens in North Carolina. I sure do miss all of those farm fresh eggs!


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

An Open Letter To My Mother


Dear Momma B,
I love you more than you know. You make me smile when no one else can. You offer wisdom, strength, and love unconditionally. You are a great mother and grandmother. I can still remember you rocking me in your recliner when I was upset as a little girl. Your snuggly hugs were always so comforting. I miss them greatly now that we are thousands of miles apart.
You are my confidant and my best friend. I can share my thoughts and feelings openly with you without any fear of recourse. You are my biggest fan and my cheerleader. I have so many heartfelt childhood memories of us huddled in the kitchen cooking together, picking and planting flowers in your garden, and going to the movies and eating monster cookies. And who can forget our mother/daughter road trips. Feeding alligators in Louisiana; strolling the beaches all around the Gulf; shopping in New Orleans; and visiting every zoo, museum, and aquarium in the South. We have had so many fun times!
And we have had to support each other through bad times too. Hardship, illness, death- life has kicked us in the teeth more than a few times. But we've always pulled through. You are my rock, my heart.
Now that I have a son of my own, I appreciate you even more. You put so much time and effort into raising us, making us happy, and keeping us healthy. I can only hope to be half as good a mother as you have been to me. Hugs!
Love you bunches,
Baby B

Monday, May 4, 2015

Adult Beverage Alert! Pink Panties Cocktail

It was sunny and beautiful here this weekend! Perfect weather for playing outdoors, grilling hamburgers, and enjoying a refreshing adult beverage. Our Pink Panties Cocktail is refreshing, easy to make, and the perfect blend of tart and sweet. And since it's light on alcohol, it's perfect for your upcoming Mother's Day brunch.
This is a variation on a classic Mimosa that I learned from a friend. Our version only contains two ingredients. But I've seen several versions online that add different simple syrups to change the taste and color.

Moscato (I used Barefoot.)
Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice
Fill cocktail glass with ice. Add 3 parts Moscato and 1 part grapefruit juice. Stir and enjoy!
Simple and refreshing! If it's effervescence you desire, you could substitute Barefoot Bubbly or your favorite Champagne instead of Moscato.