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Favorites For Memorial Day


Tybee Island Georgia Lighthouse

Tybee Island Georgia Lighthouse

As America celebrates Memorial Day, we pay tribute to those who have given their lives in our nation’s wars.

John M. McHugh

As we approach Memorial Day, let us remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice, their lives, for our freedom.  Let’s also continue to lift up our military for their service and protection.

Today, I am sharing a few family favorites that we enjoy in the summertime. The first one for baked beans is one I have been making for almost 30 years and it is easy to make and very tasty.

Baked Beans

1 lb of hamburger (browned and seasoned with salt and pepper to taste)

1 large can of pork and beans or two one pound cans of pork and beans (remove the pork)

3 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce

3 tablespoons of vinegar

1/2 cup catsup (the recipe actually called for hot catsup and I don’t think that product is being made anymore)

1 medium chopped onion ( the recipe does not call for the onion to be browned but I do add it to my browned hamburger after I have drained the fat from it and let it cook for just a minute or two)

1/2 teaspoon Tabasco Sauce

Garnish with three strips of fried bacon if desired

Brown the hamburger as directed.  Drain the fat.  Add the onion to the meat and cook it for just a minute or two on medium heat.  Mix the hamburger and onion with all of the other ingredients and place in a 9 inch square casserole dish.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  This is so good with burgers, hot dogs or barbecue.

We will definitely be using our grill over the weekend and the wonderful thing about where we live in the South is the fact that you can use your grill throughout the year except for the extremely cold months of January and February.  The recipe below is super easy and our favorite way to grill our hamburgers.  I mix them up and then Mr. D grills them to perfection.

Hamburgers On The Grill

For every pound of hamburger  80/20,  I add

1/2 package of dry onion soup mix and 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce and 2 tablespoons of water

I mix all of this together and make four hamburger patties per one pound of ground beef

I love potato salad especially in the summertime and the recipe below is inspired by my Mother-in-law Edith.  I could never duplicate her version because I truly believe her expertise in dicing the potatoes and chopping the onion added extra flavor to the potato salad.

Potato Salad

4 cups of diced white potatoes

1 medium size jar of pimento drained

1/2 of an onion chopped very fine

1 tablespoon of celery seeds

approximately 1/2 cup of mayonnaise  (This is something you have to experiment with)

1/2 of a chopped bell pepper

1/4 cup of sour cream

Boil potatoes in water until firm.  Cool and chill overnight if possible.  Cut into cubes and add additional ingredients.  It is great if you can make this ahead of time and let it set for at least eight hours but it is even more flavorful if it is chilled overnight.

I hope you and those close to you have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend.  Thanks for stopping by.



Ms. Kay’s Grandmotherly Recipes: Blackberry Jam Cake – Nutty Good Oatmeal Cookies

On Monday, I shared a few recipes from Miss Kay’s Duck Commander Kitchen Cookbook.  As I read through her cookbook, I saw how much she loved her grandchildren and how much she loved her Granny.  That really touched me and I wanted to share a couple of recipes from the cookbook relating to Grandmothers.

Ms. K's _0001

The first recipe is for Nutty Good Oatmeal Cookies and Miss Kay talks about how her grandchildren and children raid her cookie jar when they come to visit.  I think this recipe looks wonderful and I can see why her family always looks for cookies when they visit.

Ms. K's oatmeal cookies


Ms. K's_0001


The next recipe is for Miss Kay’s Granny’s Blackberry Jam Cake.  It sounds wonderful and has more ingredients than the blackberry wine cake that I am familiar with.  I think this recipe is a real keeper. I also love the way Kay remembers her Granny with so much love and happy memories.

Ms. K's blackberry jam cake


I am so thankful for Grandmothers that have close relationships with their grandchildren.  We are only able to see our grandchildren a couple of times a year and many times I envy my friends that see their grandchildren on a consistent basis..  I don’t think there is any relationship more special than the one between a grandmother and grandchild.

I enjoyed this cookbook and I have to say that I admire Miss Kay and think she is a loving caring Southern lady that loves to cook.

By the way, I know Memorial Day is fast approaching.  I will share a few of my favorite summer cookout recipes tomorrow.  Thanks for stopping by.

Grape Salad and Crawfish Pie – From Miss Kay’s Kitchen

When you collect cookbooks, your friends know it and help you to find new recipes  for your blog.  My friend Barbara told me last week she had two new cookbooks that she wanted to loan to me for my blog.  Today, I am featuring recipes from Miss Kay’s Duck Commander Kitchen.  Kay is matriarch of the Robertson clan that has an A&E TV program Duck Dynasty. The family lives in Louisiana and many of her recipes have Cajun influences.

At first, I wasn’t real sure I wanted to feature her recipes.  I have seen the show a couple of times and I wasn’t sure it was my style.  However, when I started reading her cookbook I realized she loves to cook and she loves her family.  I have enjoyed reading about the traditions that have been handed down to her and that she is passing on to her children and grandchildren.  There are beautiful quotes about food and family laced within the pages of the book and she has such wonderful stories about the recipes she has included in this collection. Here is one of the quotes in the book:

Ms. K's

The first recipe is for crawfish pie and it does sound good even though I don’t really know what a crawfish looks like. I understand it is a member of the lobster family so I guess it could be Southern lobster.  She does say that you can use frozen crawfish and I am not sure whether it is available in the freezer section of our local grocery store or not.

Ms. K's crawfish pieAnother recipe I was very happy to find was the one below for Grape Salad.  I remember eating a version of this at bridal or baby shower and absolutely loving it.  Kay mentions recipes in her book that are for the “girlie” occasions of our life and I think this salad would be a perfect choice for that type of occasion.

Ms. K's grape salad

The one thing that convinced me to share Miss Kay’s recipes with you was when she shared recipes from her Granny.  As I had a Granny too, it really helped me to understand how we are very similar.  We are both Southern, love to cook and love our families.  On Thursday I will share a recipe from Miss Kay’s Granny and one she shares with her grandchildren.

Ms. K's

A special thanks to my friend Barbara for sharing her cookbook and thanks to you for stopping by.

Our Yard In Bloom

Mr. D and I are really lazy gardeners.  At one time we would work really hard to plant annuals and perennials in the yard but we have simplified our lives a little.  I have gone to container gardening and this year I have even simplified that a little.  A couple of years ago we visited a winery and they had groupings of smaller pots with one individual plant in each pot.  When I visited the local garden shop for my plants, I decided to try that this year. Here is a picture of my petunias and I always enjoy having them in my yard every summer.

Petunias - A great choice for the hot humid South

Petunias – A great choice for the hot humid South

The basket of begonias below is on the table in our sun porch.  I haven’t bought begonias in years but these really appealed to me this year.

Begonia in three individual pots that I placed in our sunroom

Begonia in three individual pots that I placed in our sunroom

Another thing we have really started to enjoy is flowering shrubs.  We have a row of Rose of Sharon that borders one side of our house.  They give color and is very low maintenance. Here is a picture of my rhododendron and I know it is very small but it was blocked by an overgrown bush and  this year it is getting sun.  I am so pleased with the color and look forward to it finally growing in my front yard flower bed.



In the fall we started working on a project to redo the main flower bed in our front yard.  When we moved into the house there were four large overgrown holly bushes there and some type of scraggly plant in front of them.  No matter what we did, it just did not look good. During the fall we removed the large holly bushes and planted some new shrubs.  The bushes in the back are Daruma Loropetalum and grow very slowly.  The coral colored plants are drift roses.


I especially love my bird house and that was a Christmas gift from Mr. D this year.  The bird bath has been a fixture for a very long time.  Here is how the front of the house looked before. Even though it will take some time for these shrubs to fill in, we are very pleased with the new look of this flower bed.

Dale's 60th Birthday 008

I love how pretty a Southern yard can look in May and June.  It seems as if the flowers just pop.  Below are some more pictures that I wanted to share.

closeup of the bird bath and flowers in the front yard flower bed.

closeup of the bird bath and flowers in the front yard flower bed.

Sweet Potato Plant  - One of my new favorites

Sweet Potato Plant – One of my new favorites

A knockout rose in my side yard

A knockout rose in my side yard

My chives have really grown in the past few weeks

My chives have really grown in the past few weeks

A foxglove plant that followed me home from Home Depot.  It is definitely a favorite

A foxglove plant that followed me home from Home Depot. It is definitely a favorite

Another rose bush that was in our yard when we bought the house several years ago

Another rose bush that was in our yard when we bought the house several years ago

My hibiscus plant is coming up in my front yard

My hibiscus plant is coming up in my front yard

This was in my yard when we purchased the house

This was in my yard when we purchased the house

Hostas beside our walkway

Hostas beside our walkway

The weather here has been extremely warm lately and I haven’t had any desire to work outside. I love summertime but it is a learning experience to understand which plants thrive in our Southern humid Summers.  Thanks for stopping by.

It’s Strawberry Time In North Carolina – Let’s Include The Berry Patch and Strawberry Pies

On Saturday Mr. D and I took one of our road trips and we have been planning this one for quite some time. I honestly believe this trip started to develop last September when we returned to Rockingham, NC, for my 50th high school reunion.  As we were traveling through the town of Ellerbe that is nearby, we saw the Berry Patch and remembered how good their strawberries taste.  They are totally ripe and juicy with the sweetest most flavorful taste I have ever experienced.  Now, I know I am not a worldly person but I have eaten lots of strawberries grown in North and South Carolina and these are just the best.  We planned our trip around the production of the strawberries.  I called the Patch a couple of weeks ago and asked when would be the best time to come.  They said they were available every day but would not be picked if it had rained the day before.  It had not rained at all during the week and we were so excited about getting our berries. Here is a picture of the berries and I wish I could share a taste with you.


Here are a couple of pictures of The Berry Patch located in Ellerbe, NC.  We started visiting them when the only structure on the property was the huge strawberry.

The Berry Patch Produce, Ellerbe NC

The Berry Patch Produce, Ellerbe NC

The Ice Cream Shop at the Berry Patch

The Ice Cream Shop at the Berry Patch

We arrived early in the day, as our main goal of our trip was to buy fresh strawberries.  We also treated ourselves to delicious strawberry ice cream. After leaving The Patch, we made a quick trip to Rockingham and on to Southern Pines.  Southern Pines and Pinehurst are very pretty towns in the heart of the Sandhills with lots of unique shops and restaurants to visit.

As I prepared this blog post, I thought of the zillion different ways you can prepare strawberries.  I found two pie recipes in my St. Peter’s Lutheran Church cookbook that I think would be so good.  I might give the Strawberry Glaze Pie a try and substitute baking Splenda for the sugar.  I think the strawberry pie using the condensed milk sounds good too.

strawberry pies

If you aren’t a seasoned cook, you can prepare a yellow cake mix cake and serve it with the fresh sweetened strawberries and whipped cream.  Yum, there isn’t anything better.

Even though I was tired when we returned home, I did spread the berries out into layers and put them in the refrigerator.  However, I think they taste sweeter if I remove them from the fridge and serve them at room temperature. I know Mr. D and I will enjoy our special strawberries in so many different ways until they are all gone.

I hope you are enjoying this wonderful first fruit of summer.  Thanks for stopping by.


Restaurant Quality Parmesan Risotto – A Great Option For Mother’s Day

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about being in a routine of going out to eat and not really enjoying it.  It was just part of our routine.  Now we are being more adventurous in discovering places to eat in our neighborhood instead of going to the most popular chain restaurants.  I am not bashing those restaurants at all because when we are traveling they are welcome sites and we know the quality of their businesses.

I did want to explore options for the restaurant quality meals at home that wouldn’t take a whole day to prepare.  Honestly I believe you could prepare any recipe in any of Ina Garten’s cookbooks and have a special restaurant quality dish.  When I saw this recipe for easy parmesan “risotto”, I knew I wanted to try it.  It is in Ina’s cookbook, :How Easy Is That?”.  I actually prepared this on a weeknight and it is very easy to make. Being a person that does not like to peel and chop vegetables, I appreciated the fact that I only had to grate some Parmesan cheese.  Mr. D loved this and I think my version turned out perfectly.

parm risotto pic

As I was thinking of options for Mother’s Day, I thought this was a good one.  It is creamy and mild with a perfect blend of flavors.  I think it would be good for brunch, lunch or dinner.

parm risottoMr. D and I really enjoyed this and Ina is correct when she says, “you have to make this to believe it.”  Many times in the past when I would prepare a recipe from one of Ina’s cookbooks, Mr. D and I would wonder whether it would be good or not.  Now when I prepare one of her recipes we just say Ina hasn’t failed us yet and this should be delicious.  We are never disappointed.

After I grew up and married, we always went to my Mothers on the Saturday before Mother’s day.  I grew weary of doing that but I wanted my daughter to know the tradition of having family celebrations on special occasions.  Many times my Mother and I would have differences of opinion and I wasn’t happy to see her but I knew she was my Mother and I should continue the tradition.  Now that she is gone, I do have a clear conscience about the time I spent with her.

Sadly, that tradition has not continued for my nuclear family and Mr. D and I will spend another holiday alone.  However, I am lucky to be married to a man that cares so much for me and we do enjoy spending time together.  We will go to Josh’s ( a wonderful local restaurant) for brunch on Sunday and then grill burgers later in the day here at home.  (They will be restaurant quality of course, haha)  On Saturday we will take one of our road trips and I will share more about that one Monday.

No matter who you are or whatever your family situation is, I hope you have a very Happy and Blessed Mother’s Day.  Thanks for stopping by.

Let’s Start The Week With Easy Parmesan Chicken

IMG_3377I purchased the Crock Pot Recipe Collection Cookbook during the cold winter months.  I have really enjoyed reading it and like the idea of making different types of recipes in my crock pot.  On a recent Sunday we had many different obligations and I decided the crock pot was going to be a great way to prepare our main meal of the day.  As I read through the cookbook, this recipe really appealed to me.  The aroma of the Parmesan Chicken was so welcoming on a busy day. As the pasta was cooking, I made a salad and put some prepared garlic bread in the oven.  Everything was ready quickly and enjoyed very much by Mr. D and I.

As you read the recipe you will see they recommend on step 3 to sprinkle cheese over the chicken and cook for ten more minutes.  We chose to add the cheese to the sauce at the table as it was being served.

ckn parmThis will definitely be something that I will prepare again soon and I do plan to use my crock pot even in the summertime.

Our family will be visiting for a very short time in June and as much as I love to cook, spending time with our grandchildren will be our top priority. I hope you are having an easy Monday and thanks for stopping by.



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