November 29, 2013


I hope everyone had a wonderful and fun-filled Thanksgiving! We had the best Thanksgiving ever. It was a "dancing around the kitchen"  with the kids type of holiday! The weather was beautiful and sunny. All was quiet, except for the football game....of which I paid no attention to.
All is quiet in the kitchen.
 Some have already left for the Friday shopping deals.
 The grandbabies are sleeping in.
 Some are curled up in a corner shopping on line.
I am thinking leftover pie for breakfast sounds rather good.

The day after Thanksgiving, I traditionally pad around in my slippers and loungewear, putting away the Thanksgiving dishes and trying to push myself in  putting up Christmas décor. 
 You can usually catch me curled up in front of the fireplace at some point, breaking out all of my favorite Christmas films: The Holiday, Love Actually, It's a Wonderful Life...Well, if we are going to be honest here, any Christmas movie is a favorite in my book!

What's more comforting than a hot latte'?


A beautiful and luxurious bubble bath to soothe old bones.....

I think I enjoy Thanksgiving leftovers more than the dinner itself...

And now thinking back on it all....was it worth all the effort and fuss? Of course it was...look at the precious memories we made. When you get a hug from one of your children and he says, "Mom! I think that was the best Thanksgiving we ever had!"....oh yes, my darlings, it was all golden!
Mae is ready for Bo to go home.....she decidedly does not like dogs!


How will you be spending your Friday afternoon? When do you typically put up your Christmas décor each year? What is your favorite Christmas movie? You know what...never mind. Everyone just decided to rise and shine and says...."where are we going first?" Shopping is taking priority over my plans for the day.....ah, well, almost made it......

November 27, 2013


“Piglet Noticed That Even Though He Had a
Very Small Heart,
It Could Hold a Rather Large Amount of Gratitude.”

I hope this Thanksgiving holiday your homes are filled with
 good food, loved ones, laughs, music, hugs, and
memories that will be cherished for years to come.

November 26, 2013


The preparation has begun on this icy November day.  

It was time to organize the kitchen island bar with serving dishes.

Once the doorbell rings and the family arrives, 
arms laden with their food offerings, 
coats, hats and boots
(cowboy boots that is...remember honey, this is Texas)
everywhere in the entryway ,
the  pandemonium ensues!


So Mae and I got busy with our thoughts.
We turned up the volume on Pandora and bustled around the kitchen to
 Andy Williams singing
"It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!"

Sometimes I think perhaps I should be more like
Ina Garten and set the buffet with all white serving pieces.
No flair, no pattern...very simplistic.
The food is the focus, not the dinnerware.
But, then I think, no way...I rather enjoy all of these
 festive pieces I have collected over the years.

This is one of my all time favorite casserole dishes.
 It was a gift from the Divine Miss M and I think it is stunning.
This is always reserved for the sweet potato casserole!

The children's table is complete.
 I hope they enjoy using their great grandmother's sterling silver!
This year we will just be hosting two of the grandchildren, Abbie and Noah.
Oh how we will miss having our Luka!  

It's time for the Thanksgiving festivities to begin.
 Estelle's kitchen will be bustling with preparation!
Tuck these two delightful southern favorites away for the leftovers.
 This turkey spaghetti is an all time favorite of Robbie's.
 And oh honey, if you love turkey sandwiches,
 please bake the Texas Country rolls.
They compliment the turkey so beautifully and
this recipe is easy to prepare.

1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
2/3 cup milk
1 (16-ounce) jar Alfredo sauce
 2 cups leftover turkey
12 ounces vermicelli, cooked
1 (10-ounce) package frozen petite peas, thawed
1 (8-ounce) package sliced fresh mushrooms
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 cup crushed garlic-and-onion seasoned croutons
1/4 teaspoon paprika

 Whisk together soup and milk in large mixing bowl; whisk in Alfredo sauce. Stir in chopped turkey, next 4 ingredients, and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Pour into a lightly greased 13 x 9 inch baking dish.

Stir together remaining Parmesan cheese, crushed croutons, and paprika; sprinkle evenly over casserole.

Bake, covered, at 375° for 30 minutes. Uncover, and bake 15 more minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

4 1/2 t. active dry yeast (2 packets)
2 1/2 cups warm milk
1/2 cup honey
8 T. butter, melted
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 T. salt
8-9 cups of flour, all-purpose

In the bowl of your stand mixture, add yeast, warm milk (110 degrees F) and honey. Stir gently to dissolve the yeast. Add 6 T. of the butter, eggs, and 4 cups of the flour. Using the dough hook, mix on low speed until combined. Add the remaining flour until the dough is combined and continue to knead this dough for about 9 minutes.

Turn the dough onto a floured board and gently knead a few times. Place dough in a greased bowl, cover with a slightly damp towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled. This takes about one hour.

Punch the dough down and turn out onto a floured board. Gently knead a few times, then roll dough out into a rectangle. Cut into 48 pieces. Place the rolls onto a baking sheet and let rise, covered, until they have doubled in size. This takes another hour.

Bake the rolls at 350 degrees F. for 12 minutes or until nicely browned. Brush with remaining 2 T. of melted butter.

Luke and the Divine Miss M wish everyone a
Happy Thanksgiving from their snowy, cold holiday in Ohio!

November 25, 2013


 There are some of us that don't want the Thanksgiving day to end, without a delicious pumpkin dessert. A sweet taste of the holiday! Yet, we roll ourselves away from the table simply too full to partake in the pumpkin pie! Well, how about a darling alternative to a sweet ending! A glass of creamy deliciousness!

1 (29- ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 pint vanilla ice cream, softened
4 cups milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground pumpkin pie spice
1 cup French vanilla whipped topping
1 pinch ground nutmeg

In a blender or food processor, blend the pumpkin, ice cream, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, and mace in batches.

 Pour into stemmed glasses. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of nutmeg.

November 24, 2013


 Yesterday was a day of air travel for the Atlanta family. Off they flew to Ohio to visit Ohio Grandma and Nonno.  I am always so thankful when they land safe and sound and I receive a message that all is well. There is nothing more exciting when you are a child and you know you will be visiting grandparents for the holidays. There will be delicious food, lots of grandma kisses and hugs and playtime with your favorite cousins!  Little Luke had his bag packed and he was ready to go by 6:00 AM to head for Atlanta-Hartsfield Airport!
Waiting to board....a second breakfast sounds good this early in the morning

Louie the Lion was chosen to be the lucky one to accompany his buddy on the plane ride.
Mom does a pretty amazing job in packing snacks, books and
games to pass the time during the flight.  

This was what was going on yesterday in Ohio! Ohio Grandma and Nonno live on three acres complete with a pond for fishing! Now what could be more picture perfect than this? A cold November day and snow flurries! This picture is of their backyard toward the barn. Isn't this just magical?I believe this promises to be a good Thanksgiving! And yes, we are a tad jealous!

Mommy: "Luke! What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?" 
Luke: "I'm thankful for Mommie, Daddy, Jesus and cornbread!"

I am thankful that Jesus came before cornbread......

November 23, 2013


This is the one and only chocolate pie I ever make. It started out as the best and has stood the test of time over forty years. The recipe came from mother's old Good Housekeeping cookbook. If you want to make a heavenly chocolate pie for your holiday table, this will not disappoint!

Nick:" Hey! What are you doing?"
Me: "Actually, I am making a homemade chocolate pie!
The weather is freezing and it's going to be a very wintry weekend.
 They are predicting sleet and ice you know!
So, this calls for a big pot of chili, homemade cornbread and
 your Daddy's favorite chocolate pie!"
Nick: "Good lord Mom, that sounds incredible!
 I remember your chocolate pie!
You are going to make that for Thanksgiving aren't you?"
Me: "No, I am making it for the weekend.
We have three other pies on the Thanksgiving menu."
Nick: "But Mom, that chocolate pie is my favorite.
I would be "so thankful" if you would add this to the dessert menu."
Me: "Oy Vey!"

1 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/4 t. salt
2 cups milk
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
3 slightly beaten egg yolks (save the whites)
2 T. butter
1 t. vanilla
1 baked pie shell
In a saucepan, combine the sugar, flour and salt. Gradually stir in milk. Add the ounce of unsweetened chocolate.  Cook, stirring continuously until bubbly, over medium heat. Cook and stir two minutes. Remove from heat.
Stir a small amount of this mixture into the beaten egg yolks. Return this into the remaining custard in the saucepan and continue to cook for 3 minutes, stirring continuously. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and butter. Pour into the baked and cooled pie shell. Top with meringue and bake at 350 degrees F. for 12 minutes.
3 egg whites
1/2 t. vanilla
1/4 t. cream of tarter
6. T. sugar
Beat the egg whites, vanilla and cream of tarter until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, continuing to beat until you have stiff peaks. Spread over your pie. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes or until nicely browned.

November 22, 2013


Dallas is cold, cold and rainy today. We are remembering the "50 Novembers" of President Kennedy. Today, as we head into Thanksgiving week, I am so grateful to have people still with us that share their stories of that November day in 1963. For those of us who experienced this shocking and horrible event, the news coverage brings back vivid memories. We try to convey to our children what the days leading into Thanksgiving were like that year. Black muslin bunting not only covered much of the White House, but the blackness covered the world. They will never comprehend the effect this had, other than perhaps 9/11/2001. We listen, we remember and we are saddened.
I am also sharing this story.....
We've been contacted with a plea for help. A 15 year old neutered male Siamese/Ragdoll located in Cairo, IL needs immediate placement. Power is being cut off and home is being auctioned. The owner is in nursing home and no other family available to take in this sweet senior fella. We're trying to get a photo and additional information. If anyone can offer this older fella a safe place to spend his senior days, please email He can be transported to Paducah and local points beyond. PLEASE SHARE!!!

This casserole is a long time southern favorite. It's so easy to prepare, yet, it is SO delicious. I remember it was my brother, Steve's, holiday favorite!  I could eat this everyday! I would prefer this to the traditional green bean casserole, but I am out-voted here at the Texas table. Hey, since I am the chef.....maybe I'll include this as one of the side dishes this year. I know it's being served in Pensacola at Miss Judy's Thanksgiving table. I am going to stop myself from pouring over old cookbooks....the menu keeps getting longer! Ah, the south....we are such casserole queens!

1 (16 ounce) cans English peas, drained, reserve 3 T. juice
1 (16 ounce) cans asparagus, cuts drained
1 (8 ounce) jars sliced mushrooms, drained
1 can cream of mushroom soup
3 hard- boiled eggs
1/2 cup buttery cracker crumbs
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

 In a greased casserole dish, layer half of the peas, asparagus cuts, mushrooms, soup, cracker crumbs, and cheddar cheese.
Repeat layers.
Bake at 350 degrees F. for 30 minutes


November 21, 2013


What do you mean you intend to spend Thanksgiving alone
eating pancakes and drinking vodka martinis?  
Do you recall preparing your very first Thanksgiving dinner?
 A new bride and far from home.....just the two of you....
where is my mother when I need her?
How does it all come together? How do get your thoughts organized for the menu and all of the shopping? What about the you brine, not brine, roast, smoke or fry?
If you're in charge of Thanksgiving dinner,
get your hands on a copy of this book and you'll have no worries.
This would be a perfect gift for a new bride and groom!
However, even if  your old cook like me,
you are going to enjoy reading the process,
Sam writes, about preparing a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

~Sam Sifton

You can make a better turkey than anyone has ever served in your life.
You can serve it with dressing that will make your guests swoon.

 You can make Brussels sprouts into something marvelous.
Your gravy can be rich and velvety and transform all that it touches.

You can make cranberry sauce  into something divine
that does not come from a can
sweet potatoes free of marshmallows,
the ultimate creamy mashed potatoes

and a beautiful, velvety pumpkin pie worthy to serve the queen.

Set a proper table.
There will be real linen napkins and
there will be candlelight.  
There will be light appetizers. Nothing heavy to take up stomach space

There will be the finest Kentucky bourbon and mulled wine.

Thanksgiving should be the best holiday of the year.
It Can Be The Perfect Storm of Happiness