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An Amish Cookbook, A Tater Tot Casserole and Special Friends

As I celebrated another birthday last week, I was super excited when my daughter sent me an Amish cookbook from Shipshewana, Indiana.  When we visited our family in Indiana this past summer, we visited Shipshewana and I loved the Amish community.  I have enjoyed reading through the cookbook and I think the food seems to be such great comfort food. I also enjoy the cookbook because it includes lots of information about Shipshewana.

I am sharing two versions of a Tater Tot Casserole that is in the cookbook, “A Taste of Shipshewana – A Collection of Local Recipes.  The recipes in the book are submitted by the merchants in the town of Shipshewana.  The second recipe has more detailed instructions and I must say tater tots are a family favorite at our home.  We don’t have them very often so I think this will be a surprise for Mr. D sometime soon. I have heard of hash brown casseroles and I will give Cracker Barrel credit for making that so popular.  Until I read this book, I had never heard of a tater tot Casserole.

tater tot casserole

A few weeks ago, one of my co-workers and I realized we both had October birthdays.  She is much younger than me (In her 20’s) and I suggested that she come over to our house for margaritas and burgers.  We included her co-teacher that is also in her 20’s.  My first thought after inviting them was that they would never come to my house because I am so much older.  They came on Friday night and Mr. D made margaritas and we had burgers with all the fixins.

We laughed our heads off and just had the best time.  I really think it does make you feel younger when you hang out with young people. Here is our picture and is there any doubt that we are enjoying ourselves?

Dianne, Alithia and Miesha

Dianne, Alithia and Miesha

After my rant last week about healthy eating, it was so good to sit down with friends that enjoyed the food and appreciated it.  We told funny stories about each other and our daycare kids and enjoyed our time together.  I think that is what makes our meals so special!

I had a wonderful birthday and so many people made it so special.  Thanks to my family and all my friends that made it so special.  And thanks to you for stopping by.

 

 

 

 

A Great North Carolina Recipe – Carolina Sweet Potato Fritters

Over the last few weeks I have grown a little weary of the current emphasis on healthy eating.  Don’t get me wrong, I have a husband that is a diabetic and we have been committed to healthy eating for a long time.  I work with preschool kids everyday and we have a very high priority for the children to have nutritious food and to exercise. Every day I want improve on my behavior from the day before.

I do get tired of sitting down with someone to share a meal and they think it is important to share how unhealthy our food is.  I sometimes think it is a contest to see if one person can prove they are more healthy than another person. I was raised to believe that was impolite.

I seriously thought about not blogging anymore as I felt most people now are vegan, gluten intolerant, lactose intolerant or on some type of special diet. I really started to feel as if no one really wanted to hear about the wonderful traditions of the South.  I then realized this blog is about my Southern roots and that is what I enjoy writing about the most. So I am going to focus on the recipes and traditions that mean so much to me. When I changed my focus and returned my thoughts to who I am, I got excited about this blog again.

When I saw this recipe for Carolina Sweet Potato Fritters I knew I wanted to share it with you. I think I clipped it from a copy of Our State Magazine recently and it sounds wonderful.  I even think this would be a great treat for an afternoon snack when the kids come home from school.

sweet potato fritters

I was also raised to believe it is impolite to go to someone[s house and read the labels on the food they are serving or to tell the hostess not to even offer you anything to eat.  I was taught to say, “No, Thank You” and I think that is all that is really required today.  The choices we make determine the direction of our lives so my choice is to be a Southern girl that loves living in the Old North State.

So Does That Mean I Am Southern, I certainly hope so. Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Healthy or Not? Let’s Have A Pumpkin Cake

So is pumpkin healthy or not?  I think it depends on how you prepare it.  I do feel overwhelmed with the many different items I see this time of the year that include pumpkin.  I like pumpkin but being a Southern girl, I am more partial to sweet potatoes.  North Carolina produces more sweet potatoes than any state in the US.  When I saw pumpkin spice M&M’s the other day, my first thought was the pumpkin craze had gone a little too far.Then to my amazement, I saw pumpkin spice oreos.  Maybe I am just old and grumpy and set in my ways but I want an oreo with a luscious chocolate cookie and delicious creme filling. An M&M for me has to be traditional even though I will consider peanut butter M&M’s sometimes.

As I was browsing through my cookbooks, I saw this recipe for a pumpkin cake and I think it sounds delicious.  The recipe was submitted to the St. Peters Lutheran Church cookbook by a very special lady, Glenda Thornburg.  I think the recipe sounds easy and would be a great option for dessert during the fall months of the year.

pumpkin cake

Mr. D loves pumpkin pie and every year at Thanksgiving he wants the traditional pumpkin pie for dessert.  I showed him this recipe and he seemed interested in it and that was a surprise to me.  In the past when I have suggested any other type of pumpkin dessert he has only wanted the traditional pie.  I guess he wants his pumpkin pie to be traditional just like I want my M&M’s and oreos to be traditional.

I will admit I absolutely love the wonderful aroma of pumpkin pie when it is baking in the oven.  Doesn’t it smell so welcoming and comforting? I think I have just talked myself into baking something with pumpkin or sweet potatoes.  However as much as I love sweet potatoes I wouldn’t want them in my M&M’s and oreos either.  Thanks for stopping by.

Dips For Tailgating? Crab? Shrimp? Or Spinach?

On Monday I wrote about tailgating and it really is a tradition all over the USA.  I started thinking about coastal communities and recipes they would incorporate into a tailgating event.  As I browsed through my low country cookbooks I found three options that would be great possibilities.

The first recipe I am sharing with you is from my A Taste of Charleston South Carolina Restaurant Recipes. It was submitted by Sticky Fingers Restaurant in Mt. Pleasant.  Sticky Fingers has wonderful barbecue and I have eaten there many times.  They have restaurants throughout the low country and I thought it was unique that they would submit a recipe called Savannah Dip. I have seen a similar recipe before but it did not include artichoke hearts.  This would be so good served warm and I do think that is a possibility with tailgating.

 

sticky fingers shrimp dip

 

The following recipes are from my Beaufort, North Carolina cookbook, ” Let Us Keep The Feast” by St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Women.  Both recipes sound very easy to make and I can imagine they would be included at a coastal college game but I know they would be appreciated anywhere.

shrimp dip beaufort

I always think of the coast as my second home and just browsing through the cookbooks brought back so many happy memories.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

A Change In My Routine

 

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Over the weekend I had a horrible attack of vertigo.  I did not feel good for a few days and after a doctor’s visit it was determined that I had an inner ear/sinus problem.  I am very thankful that it wasn’t anything more serious.  I am also very thankful that I was with Mr. D walking into a grocery store and not driving a car.  I had vertigo problems several years ago and never had a more severe attack or one that lasted so long.

I had already decided that I would decrease the number of posts I created each week and having the vertigo incident helped me to see that was a smart decision.  If you are a regular reader, my intention is to create a post every Monday and Thursday.  As I will also be turning 67 very soon and still work part-time, I think it is time for me to slow down a little.  It is always my goal to share a quality post with you and I want to continue to do that.

So tomorrow I will have my second post of the week and will continue to post on Mondays and Thursdays.  Thanks so much for letting my share my experiences here in the beautiful state of North Carolina and giving you a glimpse of the sunny South.

Cheese Rice Krispies – A Tailgating Treat

I very seldom mention tailgating.  It isn’t because we aren’t sports fans.  In fact, Mr. D and I met on a blind date and attended a football game with friends on our first date.  Mr. D loved professional football and I loved going to my high school football games.  We have changed and sports has changed so we don’t watch much football anymore.  I do remember attending a Wake Forest-North Carolina college game in Winston-Salem a few years ago.  I was amazed at the many different ways that people experienced tailgating.  There were people with white tablecloths and table settings of crystal and china.  There was also people eating the Colonel’s chicken out of the back of a pick up truck.

As I was browsing through my recipe books over the weekend, I saw the recipe I am sharing with you today and it made me want to tailgate.  I have never heard of rice krispies being incorporated into a savory recipe.  However, I think this sounds like a wonderful treat.  I am including two more recipes on the page that are for cheese biscuits and they sound good too.

The recipes are from my cookbook 300 years of Carolina Cooking and was published by the Junior League of Greenville, South Carolina in 1970.

 

rice krispie cheese treats_0001

I love the concept of tailgating and I love cheese so much, I can’t imagine having a spread for a big game without some type of cheese dish.  Mr. D and I usually watch NASCAR on a Sunday afternoon but it isn’t quite as exciting as it used to be.  I have heard stories of the NASCAR of previous years and I do believe it was a lot more exciting.  “Chicken Bone Alley” is the cheap seats at a NASCAR track and is located on the back stretch of the oval track opposite the start/finish line.  The term refers to the people in the cheap seats throwing chicken bones toward the track. Maybe they need to stir up a little more excitement for the NASCAR fans today.

Anyway, who says you have to watch a sporting event to have a tailgate party anyway? Thanks for stopping by.

 

Ina Garten’s Lentils and Tomatoes

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I know everyone is busy but over the past few weeks we have been extremely busy.  Of course, we spent our wonderful week at Hilton Head Island but it took a week to get ready and then another week to get over it.  I realized I haven’t been cooking that much.  We have been eating basic meals of a grilled meat, a vegetable and some type of starchy vegetable.  I knew this week I really wanted to prepare something special.  Yesterday, when I came home from work, I made the Stewed Lentils and Tomatoes from Ina Garten’s Cookbook, Barefoot Contessa at Home.  The picture above is the recipe when I made it.

I will say lentils is not something I was familiar with growing up in the South.  I did not actually consider using the beans until I saw this in Ina’s cookbook.  The dish is rustic and comforting.  I think the hardest part is peeling and chopping the carrots and onions.  I have made this several times and at first I did not cube my carrots in very small pieces.  My lentils would be done but my carrots would still be a little too crisp.This time I made sure to chop them in smaller pieces and I did use my food processor so my cubes would be more uniform. The red wine vinegar adds such a great flavor to the lentils.  If you asked me what lentils taste like, I would probably say they are tasteless but with the other ingredients they are very good.

Page One Of Recipe

lentils page 1

Recipe Page Two

lentils page 2

As you read through the ingredients, I think you will see this dish is quite healthy.  I love anything that incorporates more vegetables.  I did not include the curry in my version as Mr. D and I just don’t like that taste.

Here in the South as we transition from Summer to Winter, we have cool days and then we will return to warmer days.  I planned this meal earlier in the week when our temperatures were in the 70’s.  However, as I prepared the dish yesterday, it was 81 degrees.  We still enjoyed the lentils and tomatoes and I think it is a great option for a Winter meal too.

Happy Friday Everyone and thanks for stopping by.

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