November 30, 2012

Banana Pie Supreme...Loosen Your Corset!

Mammy: Oh now, Miss Scarlett, you come on and eat jess a little, honey!

Scarlett: No! I'm going to have a good time today, and
do my eating at the barbecue.

Mammy: If you don't care what folks says about dis family I does!
I is told ya and told ya that you can always tell a lady by
 the way she eat in front of folks like a bird.
And I ain't aimin' for you to go to Mr. John Wilkenson's and
eat like a field hand and gobble like a hog!

Scarlett: Fiddle-dee-dee!
Ashley told me he likes to see a girl with a healthy appetite!

Banana Pie Supreme
6 T Cake Flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 t. salt
1 3/4 cup whole milk
2 slightly beaten egg yolks
1 1/4 t pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup whipped cream
3 bananas
Shaved Chocolate
Baked 9- inch pie shell

Mix together flour, sugar and salt in top of a double boiler. Add milk and cook over hot water, stirring constantly until mixture thickens. Pour a small amount of mixture over egg yolks, beating vigorously. Return to double boiler and cook two minutes longer, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, cool and then add the vanilla. Chill. Fold in the whipped cream and arrange sliced bananas in the pie shell. Cover with the cooked custard and continue to layer until all is used with custard being the top layer. Garnish with banana slices, whipped cream and shaved chocolate.

November 29, 2012

Easy Cheesy Spaghetti..A Season of Baking

"The ladies of the family crammed into their schedules, the added excitement of cooking and baking and preparing seasonal delicacies. They obviously enjoyed it and their attitude increased the peaking anticipation in us children. "Are you ready for Christmas?" "Lawsy mercy, no! Only two cakes done and not enough daylight to turn around!"

"Auntie was the cake -maker in the family. Her name was Sara Mary, but her parents and brothers called her "Sack." They are all dead now and unavailable for explanation, and I never thought to ask the derivation of that nickname. The children called her "Auntie." She made the fruitcake first and she always liked to have that one, with it's richness of nuts, citron and pineapple, cherries and raisins, out of the way long before Thanksgiving so that it would season. She kept it stored in a tightly fitting lidded lard can and twice a week she would douse it with blackberry wine. This was the wine she made herself and for a teetotaling Baptist, she was inordinately proud of it." excerpt....."Christmas Gift"

Easy Cheesy Spaghetti
1 lb. ground chuck
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can Mushroom Soup
1 can Tomato Soup
1 soup can of water
1/2 lb. medium cheddar cheese, grated, plus additional for topping
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 lb. thin spaghetti

Brown the ground chuck with onion, green pepper and garlic. Add the soups and 1 soup can of water. Let simmer for one hour. Add the cheese, salt and pepper. Stir until the cheese is melted. Cook spaghetti until al dente and drain well. Put into a greased 2 quart baking dish and top with additional grated cheese. Bake at 350 degrees F. for about 30 minutes. ~ Jackson, MS.

November 28, 2012

Chicken Pie....A Sense of Place

"Our family is lucky. People speak and write about "sense of place", but ours is visible. tangible. It is the house and the house still stands. In a hundred and fifty years it has survived the Civil War, carpetbaggers, boll weevils and the Great Depression. For a while at least, it is safe even from the sucking cusps on that blindly groping tentacle of progress, the powerful sprawl known as Atlanta. The holdings around it have shrunk, divided the legacy and gift until the map of the land has become a jig-saw puzzle, it's dividing lines known only to intimates. All of the pieces are still in the family however, and all of the pieces dovetail and fit. So do the members of the family; my sisters, nieces and nephews and my children."

"In the middle of the puzzle sits the house. Serene and secure, it shelters its sixth generation. It's appearances have been altered by every owner it has had, but the heart of it is unchanged."~"Christmas Gift"

Annie Dean's Easy Chicken Pie
1 (3 pound) chicken
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 soup can of chicken broth
1 can baby sweet peas
1 frozen package of mixed vegetables
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
2 t. Worcestershire sauce
1 t. Tabasco sauce
salt and pepper to taste
3 hard boiled eggs, chopped
Biscuit Mix

Cook the chicken until tender. Remove skin and bones. Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces and place in an 11 " x 13" baking dish,. Add soup, broth, veggies and seasonings. Gently cover the the biscuit mix which has been mixed with enough milk, to make a pour consistency. I normally use 2 cups of mix. Bake at 350 degrees F. for about 45 minutes. ~Gluckstadt, MS.

November 27, 2012

Fruit Cocktail Cake..The Exhilaration of Christmas Shopping

"Miss Mildred was our Mother. Her in-laws called her "Millen," and all of them loved her as much as she loved them. She was the one who took us Christmas shopping and there was none of that sterile, preplanned, mind -made -up- ahead- of- time gift selection for her. We shopped! Some time in the week before Christmas she bundled us all into her square Chevrolet with quilts to wrap around our legs against the cold, and we careened merrily off to Atlanta. If it was bitterly cold, Pa Jim heated bricks on the hearth and gave all the children one as a foot warmer.

"Each of us clutched what money we had earned and our Christmas lists. We knew for who we were going to buy, and how much we could afford to spend, but had not the faintest idea what we were going to purchase. This added to the excitment, the frenzy, the urgency!"~ Excerpt...."Christmas Gift"

Fruit Cocktail Cake
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 t. baking soda
1 large can fruit cocktail
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla

Sift together in a mixing bowl, the flour, sugar and soda. Pour the dry ingredients into the fruit cocktail and eggs. Mix well. Pour into a greased baking dish, 11" x 13" and bake for 30-45 minutes in a 300 degree F. oven.

1 cup coconut
1 stick of butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 t. vanilla

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan. Boil two minutes. Pour over hot cake!
~Greenwood, MS.

November 26, 2012

Butter Pound Cake Icing...The Christmas Spirit

"This was the best Christmas we ever had. It had to be because it always is. I heard my mother say so every year. It was she who protested that she didn't want a present; she just wanted us all to be together and love one another. It was she who feared that seasonal frenzy would overshadow eternal verities. She was apprehensive that we might get so caught up in the excitement of giving and regardless of what anyone tried to teach us, of getting, that we would ignore "the true meaning of Christmas."

"She would have loved this one. Last year the family was broke and we said, "Let's don't give any presents." Then we dipped into reserves and gave them anyway. This year even the reserves were gone. There was still, however, the thrill in the heart, the building of excitement, the rush of preparation. There was still the awareness of hope, the weary world rejoicing." ~Excerpt..."Christmas Gift"

This was a recipe my mother made every year during the holiday season.
We could not wait until Christmas Day!

Bittersweet Icing for Pound Cake
1/2 cup milk
3 1/2 cups marshmallows
1 T. strong coffee
1 12 ounce package of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
1 frozen pound cake (Estelle's uses Sara Lee)

Combine the first four ingredients in a double boiler. Cook until the marshmallows are melted. Cool. Fold in the whipped cream. Slice the pound cake into four layers. Frost the cake between the layers and then the sides of the cake. Refrigerate until serving time.~Laurel, Mississippi

November 25, 2012

A Snowman...Come Along All You Dreamers

Sometimes life has a way of presenting us with magical opportunites when we least expect it....So it is in this tale of "A Snowman Named Just Bob!" Chidren will see what transpires when Bob makes a surprise visit in the midst of a dreamy, wintery storm. I bought this book for my grandchildren about eight years ago. I highly recommend adding this beautifully written and illustrated book to your child's or grandchild's Christmas library. Snuggle, cuddle and read!

A Snowman Named Just Bob
Written by Mark Kimball Moulton
Illustrated by Karen Hillard Crouch

November 24, 2012

A Rite of Passage....Celebrating Christmas

As we begin the Christmas season,
I am excited to post somewhat of a theme,
 if you will, for the month of December.

I would like to reflect what the Christmas season truly reflects as it did more so, in years past. The wonder and excitement of childhood, combined with the wisdom and reverence of maturity.....a tale rich in tradition and continuity.

The recipes featured will be from Mother and  from some her close friends in the Junior League.  They will include the most requested recipes from Miss Annie Dean, Miss Betty Ann, Miss Pat (who happened to be the biggest LSU fan I ever met) and Miss Bobbie! They are divine, delicious and economical! Some of the best cooks in Mississippi shared their culinary skills in all of those Holiday Open Houses we were fortunate enough to experience.

Let's share our tidings of the season and celebrate Christmas....
Southern Style at Estelle's!!

November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving....A Warm Welcome

Home is where we show love to those we care about the most! My goal is to always create a warm and welcoming home, filled with things my family and I both love, one that's comfortable to live in and delightful to visit! We had another glorious Thanksgiving Day and matching the season to the home plays an important role in all of this! I hope you and your family celebrated the day making warm memories. We certainly did!

Grandbabies and puppy dogs!

Miss Elizabeth preparing the Salmon!

The bride and groom with their new baby Bo!

Three generations....relaxing in front of the Chiminea

The family Thanksgiving photo to include Franz...the biggest baby among us!

We were blessed this year to have Bob and Ann, Cat's grandparents who are in their late 80's..a most amazing and beautiful couple!

The pies were baked and ready....delish! Pumpkin, Dutch Apple and Cherry!

The Autumn Mulled wine...this year I used red Bartlett pears, rather than plums and it was heavenly!

Appetizers were being prepared

Meanwhile....a beautiful Thanksgiving day was being enjoyed in Atlanta

November 21, 2012

Home to Mississippi

This is now just a memory....home for Thanksgiving

We drifted off to sleep with the savory aroma of turkey baking in the oven. There was something special happening. You could feel the anticipation and excitement in the air. We had helped Mother prepare the shopping list early in the week and her list included real whipping cream, butter, and expensive wines and cheeses. That huge mixing bowl had been sitting on the counter drying the bread for her delicious dressing.

The fine china and their wedding silver had been carefully displayed  in the dining room. We woke up to cooking, baking and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Daddy would be singing some sort of happy tune. He loved having his family home for the holidays. It seems all too brief. The time in which you were a child, The memories have not faded. They are as vivid as if I were looking at an old movie....hearing their voices and seeing everyone in the dining room. Then one by one, I see everyone gone...the dining room empty and now belonging to someone else. I hope they know that I remember.....

November 20, 2012

Our Family Table...Featuring Nick's Southern Banana Pudding

Our Family Table
Happy Thanksgiving

As we gather together with family again for Thanksgiving dinner, Darling and I are so grateful for so much more than the fabulous meal that gets turned out every year.

We are aware that today's love and laughter will become the memories of the children and grandhchildren. Those comforting thoughts will carry them through their lives. They are beginning  to create new memories as they celebrate with their own families. My hope is that they will be inspired by their holidays past, just as we keep those lively Thanksgiving dinner memories from our Mississippi childhood deep within our hearts.

Nick's Southern Banana Pudding
2 cups of granulated sugar
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
2 cans evaporated milk
4 large eggs
3 tablespoons of flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 pounds bananas - ripe but firm
2 box vanilla wafers

Separate your eggs into two separate bowls. You willuse the yokes in the pudding and put the whites in
a meringue. In a medium sauce pan mix your sugar and flour. It'seasier to mix dry ingredients. Next stir in your milk. Lightly beat your egg yokes. Stir the beaten egg yokes into your sugar/flour/milk mixture. Heat this mixture over very low heat, stirring frequently. The mixture will gradually thicken. Stir in the vanilla extract. Allow mixture to cool.

Slice your bananas. Put down a layer vanilla wafers across the bottom of a glass baking dish. Also line the sides with vanilla wafers. Put down a layer of pudding, then bananas. Continue alternating layers until all of your mixture is used up. Make sure mixture is cooled before topping with meringue. You will have some vanila wafers left over.

Mix your egg whites on high until they start to thicken. Continue mixing while stirring in your confectioners sugar. When you can lift your mixer from the mixture and the meringue forms a little peak it is whipped enough. Spread meringue across the top of your banana pudding. Place in over preheated to 350 degrees and bake until golden brown about 20 - 25 minutes.

The banana pudding will be soft/more liquid if you eat it hot, but gets firmer as it cools. Some people let the pudding sit for 24 hours so that the flavors blend more - I never could wait, besides I liked it hot.

November 19, 2012

The Beauty of Johnson Brothers Gravy Boats

I learned to make a good homemade gravy from my Grandmother and my mother. I suppose if you were pressed for time you could serve the gravy in a jar, but oh my darlings, there is no substitute for a good homemade gravy, especially when serving it with your holiday dinner celebrations. It is really not difficult and I urge you to give it a try. How marvelous it is over open- faced turkey sandwiches the day after Thanksgiving! I have always adored Johnson Brothers china and the gravy boats especially. Let's enjoy taking a look at some of these beautiful designs, which have always and will forever be, my favorites!  

Johnson Brothers Harvest

Johnson Brothers Millstream Blue

Johnson Brothers Strawberry Hill Pink

Johnson Brothers Acanthus

Johnson Brothers Old Britain Castles

Johnson Brothers Normandy Flow Blue

Johnson Brothers Queens Bouquet

Lawd, lawd, doesn't this look divine!

Homemade Turkey Gravy
1 stick of unsalted butter
 1 1/2 cups finely chopped yellow onions
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
 Defatted turkey drippings plus chicken stock to make 2 cups, heated
1 T. brandy
1 T. white wine
1 T. heavy cream

In a large 12-inch saute pan, cook the butter and onions over medium-low heat for 12 to 15 minutes, until the onions are lightly browned. Don't rush this step; it makes all the difference when the onions are well-cooked.

Sprinkle the flour into the pan, whisk in, then add the salt and pepper. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the hot chicken stock mixture and Cognac, and cook uncovered for 4 to 5 minutes until thickened. Add the wine and cream, if desired. Season, to taste, and serve. Note: I make chicken stock, by taking chicken thighs, boneless and skinless, generously sprinkled with rotisserie seasoning, garlic powder and pepper, then drizzled with olive oil and baking them in a 300 degree F. oven for one hour. This makes very flavorful drippings. Then I boil the turkey giblets and combine this with the drippings for the stock. Chop up some of the giblets to be mixed in with the gravy. There is no actual recipe for this, it's just how Mother and Gram did it!

November 18, 2012

Will you meet me for coffee? I drive a Cadillac!

The office ……a short story….what’s a girl to do?
This is a story about Miz Robeline.
The story is true and actually, so is Miz Robeline
but that’s not actually the real name in this tale of intrigue.

You sometimes wake up just as always…..the alarm rings 5:30 AM. You make coffee, shower, apply a light touch of make-up, dress in your uniform-type office attire and out the door you go. All seems normal. You go through the day until noon and it’s time for lunch. Thirty minutes to quickly devour a sandwich, an apple and a bottled water. Exciting, huh? Then it’s back to the computer to problem- solve for the afternoon.

An unexpected turn…it’s 1:00 PM

“Oh Miz Robeline! Someone left a bag for you at the front desk. He asked me to give it to you personally!”

A look of surprise comes across Miz Robeline's face. “For me? Who is this from?”

The girl is answering Miz Robeline in a whisper over her shoulder, as she is walking back to her desk……”the gentleman said he wished to thank you for being so kind and compassionate to him the other day….said he found you to be so helpful…”

Miz Robeline peeks into the bag with a perplexed expression. She carefully pulls out two envelopes, along with a box of chocolates.

Envelope # 1 is thanking her for being helpful regarding a small computer problem he was having. He stated he felt she showed a lot of compassion (I don’t get this? Compassion? Regarding a computer issue? Please!) and her suggestions had proven to be so helpful to him (OK…I DO get this…helpful at resolving the issue…I am totally fine with this). He then stated that he found her to be very attractive….(whoa buster….here it comes….the wham-bam-thank ewe Ma'am) He would like to invite her to meet him for a cup of coffee..(Coffee? Hmmm….a Starbucks perhaps…I do love a Grande White Mocha with extra cream…)….

OK…..thus far, we have a box of chocolates….and an invitation for coffee! I hope he did not mean Denny’s early breakfast crowd or the Cracker Barrel senior’s…..(wait a minute, I AM a member of the Cracker Barrel seniors)....Starbucks, perhaps?… intriguing!

Envelope #2..his “Bio”……(good lawd! Are you kidding me?) He drives a late model Cadillac, he loves to sail (said it was his passion….well, it’s good to have a passion, I suppose), owns his own boat, an RV , which he enjoys traveling in and camps around at State and National Parks. He touted he owns not one, but two homes (he did not mention skiing, so I am going to assume this is a home base, then a small condo in Florida.) He is the father of one son and grandfather of two. (how nice….uh, what about a wife? Widowed? Divorced? Separated?...what’s the deal Lucille?) He has been a member of the Mt. Holy Hill Baptist Church for 51 years…(not 50, 51….oh, lawd…..he's a Baptist! That ain't good scooter!)

SO, ok……this is how it was. She stood there thinking about all of this for the next five minutes. She places the envelopes back into the bag, but unwraps the chocolates. She chooses one with pecans and caramel and ponders envelope #1. She removes envelope #2 and rereads the bio. She then calls her coworker into her office and says…..”sit down…..I have something I need you to read! Oh, would you like a chocolate?”

Is this modern dating? Why two envelopes? Why the long biography of himself and may I add, with no mention of marital status? How many copies of this life’s biography do you suppose he has?

What’s your theory and what would you do?

November 17, 2012

Turkey in the Snow

Thanksgiving Day in Maine....Are We Really Going to Fry the Turkey?

It looks very cold outside.....the neighborhood is quiet...everyone is warm and toasty inside and the aroma of turkey "roasting in the oven" permeates their homes.

That's how they do it in Maine....they

Hey! There is a tad bit of sunshine peeking through the snow clouds!

Thanksgiving Day Breakfast was served. The plan was still in place.....we were from the South and gosh darn it.....we were gonna "Fry that Turkey!"

Mae was busy keeping an eye on her "Mr. Jimmy!" He was enjoying his Thanksgiving Feast! Mr. Jimmy was her bestie.....I just wonder......"is anyone feeding you Mr. Jimmy? Mae Mo says "Hey!"

Oh she is being all tough and pretending to hide from
Mr. Jimmy's view! "Be vewy, vewy quiet...."

The pies were  ready!

Checking out the back woodlands...deer tracks were everywhere!

Don't you know we were the only ones in Maine frying a turkey in the snow!!

Oh perfect he is! Good job!

Yet, another pefect Thanksgiving thankful for it all!