Nothing Fancy, Just Good Food

Deck The Halls with Boughs of Holly Fa-La-La-La-Lalalaaaaa

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… Again! Yay!! I’m so excited for Christmas! I mean, I’ve been in the Christmas spirit since about midway through November, I started watching Christmas movies on the Hallmark channel around then anyway! Every year it’s a little hit or miss… It’s either hard to get in the spirit or its Christmas overload! This year it’s definitely Christmas overload! Like I’m about 2 Christmas ornaments away from Whoville! But that’s pretty much the way it’s done at the Hall house. We just tend to take turns being “Christmas-y” 🙂

I’ve already started my holiday baking. I started the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Filling the house with different goodies, making plans for cookie swaps and Christmas parties, looking over new recipes and tweaking old ones. I’m so excited and can’t wait for the days leading up to Christmas! It’s a whirlwind of grocery shopping, last minute gift shopping, cooking, and wrapping presents. And then, there’s Christmas Day. It’s amazing and tumultuous at the same time. Even though I’m almost 27 I’m spoiled by my sweet mommy who still makes sure I have “Santa” every year. I’m pretty sure it’s mostly because she’s tired of wrapping gifts by that point so she says it’s Santa but I prefer to think it’s her sweetness 🙂 anyway! Being the kid I am I still wake up early… Not as early as I once did, but early-ish. Up until my brother got married and moved out, we would both wake up around 5:30, look at our Santa, and go back to bed for an hour or two. Keep in mind he got married when he was 20, so I was 18. We’re kids at heart! Still are! Every year around this time we still try to make time to sit down and watch Home Alone, A Christmas Story, and National Lampoons Christmas Vacation. They were our favorite movies as kids and for the most part they still are! Now, after I have Santa I gather it up, take it to my room, and get dressed for the day. I come downstairs and start cooking. We make turkey, ham, dressing, squash casserole, green beans, anything starchy you can think of we have it. It’s amazing… But I think the best part of all the food are the treats that we have before hand and Christmas Eve dinner. Christmas Day is so crazy. It’s ridiculous. There’s so much going on that you only get to see bits and pieces of everything. The kids opening their presents, the adults trying to keep up with all the kids and trying to open their presents. It’s wild. It’s fun and we enjoy it and I wouldn’t change it for the world; but, a few years ago my brother told us (yes, he told us and we had no choice) that we were starting a new tradition. We go to his house on Christmas Eve, he makes a prime rib, and we sit down and enjoy the calm before the storm. It’s one of my favorite family traditions. It’s easy and laid back. It’s fabulous. I said that to say this; we have our certain holiday traditions. Food, movies, gifts, and trips. But, it wouldn’t be anything without our family! 🙂 so hold your babies tight tonight, tell someone you love them, make sure you keep it about them and don’t get too wrapped up in the presents and decorations and trying to make things perfect. Go with it!

Some people don’t want to go to the trouble of making a prime rib or you don’t know how. That’s ok because I couldn’t even tell you how to do it myself! But I started thinking of what would be a good Christmas Eve dinner or Friend Christmas dinner that wouldn’t take ages to cook and ages to clean. A one or two dish meal that you can throw together and that would feed a lot. My mind immediately landed on lasagna. Lasagna has a few steps to it but it’s something that you can make ahead of time and make a lot of, it’s easy to freeze, it travels well, and you just add garlic bread and a quick salad and you have a full meal! You can even make it in a throwaway container and cleanup is a breeze! I go two steps further and use a jarred sauce and oven ready noodles so I don’t have to boil them first! My mamaw always made the best lasagna and it was so easy so I have to tell you all about it!

Mamaw’s Best Lasagna:

2 lbs hamburger,

1 lb Italian sausage,

2 jars spaghetti sauce of your choice ( I use Prego Pesto Marinara and/or Prego four cheese),

1 can tomato sauce,

1 medium onion,

30 oz whole milk ricotta cheese,

1 cup Parmesan,

1 pkg mozzarella cheese slices,

1 pkg provolone cheese slices,

1 pkg cheddar cheese slices,

1 egg,

1 9oz “oven ready” lasagna noodles,

Garlic, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning to taste.

Ok, I know it’s a lot of cheese but honestly what’s lasagna without cheese?!? Trust me on this! Brown your hamburger meat and sausage in a skillet… If you don’t like Italian sausage just do another pound of hamburger or ground turkey, or deer meat! Chop the onion. Drain the meat and add the spaghetti sauce and tomato sauce to the meat, then add the onion and season the sauce with garlic, salt, pepper, and Italian seasonings (or oregano, basil, fennel, and sage). Let that simmer while you get the other ingredients ready. In a medium sized bowl mix the ricotta, Parmesan, egg, and salt, and pepper. You can also add cottage cheese or mozzarella to it and I add a few chives and parsley flakes to this as well. Once the sauce is ready and the ricotta is mixed, set up an assembly line. Sauce first, noodles, ricotta mixture, cheese slices. I alternate cheeses between layers. I have to break some of the noodles in half so it will fit in the pan. First, sauce, noodles, ricotta, provolone. Then, sauce, noodles, ricotta, mozzarella. And so on. The last 2 layers should be sauce and cheese. I usually have about two or three slices of each kind of cheese left so I just mix it up. Bake at 375 for about 45 minutes to an hour. Let it get nice and golden brown. I make mine in a extra deep disposable lasagna pan and it made enough for about 15 people give or take. I made some homemade ranch and threw a salad together, made some garlic bread, and it was a done deal! So yummy! And the cleanup was such a breeze!

Now, I know a lot of ya’ll will love this next recipe! I’ve made it several times now and every time, I get rave reviews! It’s a great breakfast casserole that is so easy and you can bake it for a quick breakfast/supper or throw it in a crockpot for an overnight breakfast/supper. When Ashley got married, she had a brunch for all the girls the morning of the wedding and I couldn’t think of what to make. I had an idea of what I wanted it to be; but, I couldn’t find any recipes for it. I searched Pinterest high and low, I looked through all of my cookbooks, but nothing was just right! So, I just kind of threw it together and crossed my fingers hoping for the best! It turned out great! I love to have breakfast for supper so it kind of worked out in my favor and I know it would make a great Christmas Day breakfast too! If you’re like me, you spend so much time cooking for the actual Christmas dinner that your family ends up going hungry all day until then because you don’t have time to stop and make them a second meal if they want to eat on time! But, that’s just my family 🙂 So! That being said, this would be perfect to turn the crockpot on low, throw in these ingredients, and have it nice and steamy and ready for Christmas breakfast while everyone is unwrapping presents! I’ma call it Cowboy Breakfast Casserole!

Cowboy Breakfast Casserole:

1 bag country style frozen hash browns,

2 lbs Jimmy Dean sausage,

1 1/2 cup colby jack cheese,

5 eggs,

1 small yellow onion,

3 green onions,

3 tsp. butter,

salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Tony Chachere’s to taste!

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Chop your yellow onion and brown it with the sausage in a skillet. You can also use: link sausage, smoked sausage, ham, deer sausage, bacon or no meat at all if you’d prefer! While the sausage and onions are cooking, mix the rest of the ingredients together except for the butter. It’s ok if the hash browns are still frozen! I use the shredded hash browns, but you can use the chunks if you’d like! It’s up to you! Drain the meat and add it to the hash brown mixture. Now, put the butter into the bottom of a casserole dish. I use a dark aluminum one but you can use a glass one! I would be careful if you use glass and frozen hash browns! The oven is hot, the mixture will be cold, and the glass may break. Now, I put the putter in the dish and let it melt in the oven, then I spread it all around to make sure it’s nice a coated! Then just pour your mixture in and spread it out! You can cover it with cheese if you want but you don’t have to! If you chose to do this in the crockpot, there are a  couple of variables. If you chose to do bacon or ground sausage like Jimmy Dean I would cook that before I put it in the crock pot. But, if you use link sausage, smoked sausage, or ham you can just throw it in there uncooked. I wouldn’t omit the butter either because that will help everything to not stick, plus it gives it a little flavor! Now, I’ve never tried this but I’ve been told if you have some frozen biscuits, I use Mary B’s, you can put a layer of tin foil on top of this mixture, and put your biscuits on top so that it all cooks at once but it’s separate! I’ve never been brave enough to try this though so I always cook mine in a cast iron skillet in the oven! I have to say though, that if you’re not going to make ’em homemade, Mary B’s are the best biscuits in the world! Especially since they’re frozen! They’re amazing!!! Now, I don’t have a picture of the finished product because my family devoured it when I pulled it out of the oven last night, but this is what it looked like before I put it in the oven!

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Every Christmas we make a lot of goodies! We have all kinds of cookie tins stacked and filled with all kinds of stuff!


Boiled cookies (I know it sounds awful but oh my gosh, yum!), white chocolate peanut butter ritz, cornflake candy, peppermint candy, cheese straws, oyster crackers, sausage balls (my FAVE!!!), and Chex mix. We have it all!! Now, I told y’all alllllll about a lot of this stuff last year and y’all for sure have to check that blog out!! Click here for that one! Buuuut, this year I’ma have to tell y’all about something different real quick! Fudge! Awesome, easy, delicious, and only 6 ingredients, this fudge is sure to be a knockout treat for any time of year! It’s the best! But before I give y’all the recipe I have to give you a warning. This has to be done exactly like the recipe says or it won’t set up right. Fudge is very finicky and it’s something you can’t really play with! That being said it’s easy but you do have to follow the directions! You can double it but you have to be exact!

Savannah Praline Fudge:

1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk,

3 1/4 cup white chocolate,

1 cup caramel pieces,

2 tablespoons water,

1 cup chopped pecans,

Salt, (sea salt if you have it).

Line a 9×9 pan with wax paper. I couldn’t find a 9×9 pan so I did it in a 9×13 and doubled the recipe In a saucepan, mix your sweetened condensed milk and white chocolate. Stirring constantly over medium heat, melt the chocolate until it’s all smooth and deliciously creamy! Pour half of your mixture into the bottom of the pan. Put your caramel and water into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 1- 1 1/2 minutes. Stir it until it’s smooth and pour it evenly over the white chocolate. Sprinkle a little salt over the caramel. Now, sprinkle the pecans. And FINALLY, pour the other half of the chocolate mixture over the pecans! Smooth it out as much as you can and let it sit for a few hours! Then cut it up and try not to eat every little piece of that creamy, dreamy heaven! These are great for your cookie swap or for teacher/friend/secretary gifts! Also for those parties you have coming up and it’s a year round treat and not just for Christmas!


It’s so dang amazing! Speaking of amazing, cheese straws… As awesome as they are in the box, homemade is like 50 times better! I’m not a big fan of the flavor of extra sharp cheddar cheese. It’s not that I don’t like it at all, it’s just that it’s got a strong tang that I don’t like. So, I decided to do half sharp cheddar and half mild cheddar. Now, you can use different cheeses like Asiago or Havarti. But I knew everyone would love the cheddar! So this is what we did!


1/2 pound sharp cheddar,

1/2 pound mild cheddar,

1 1/2 sticks butter,

2 cups flour,

1/2 tsp salt,

1/2 tsp dry ground mustard,

1 tsp red pepper.

First, I buy the cheese in blocks and grate it myself. It’s creamier and easier to work with and it doesn’t take long at all to grate it. If you use a bag of shredded cheese it won’t cream with the other ingredients as well but you’re welcome to try it! Cream the cheese and butter together, then add the dry ingredients. Now, I don’t have a cookie press so I just rolled it out; you can use the cookie press, your hands, roll them into straws or cookies, whatever you like! Grease the baking sheet well and place the straws on it. Place them in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Don’t let them brown! These are great for Christmas presents too! Everybody loves a good cheese straw! Plus, it’s super cheap and easy and you can make several batches at once!! It would be really cute to get some large mason jars or burlap bags, tie it up with a pretty bow and give to clients, teachers, and neighbors!


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Another awesome gift or party idea is Microwave Chex Mix. It requires a few more ingredients but all you need is a bowl or 2 and a microwave! So easy and barely any cleanup so it’s totally worth a try!!


1 stick butter,

2 cups wheat Chex ( I could only find Honey Wheat this year so I just did 3 cups rice and 3 cups corn chex),

2 cups rice Chex,

2 cups corn Chex,

1 cup pretzels,

4 1/2 tsp Worcestershire,

Season salt or Tony’s and garlic powder.

Melt the butter, add the Worcestershire and seasonings, and stir until combined. Add the Chex and pretzels stirring after each addition. Microwave for 4 minutes, stirring every half way through. Pour it out onto a paper towel or some wax paper and sprinkle a little of the seasonings over it. Store in an airtight container and resist the temptation to eat it alllll! You can add peanuts or bugles or even some bagel chips if you want! Some people like it with Cheez It’s or Ritz cheese crackers. Whatever you like!!

Now, I’ve saved the best for last! I love Egg Nog and I’ve always wanted to make my own so I’ve been googling and on Pinterest for ages to find a good recipe and I think I’ve finally found a winner! I’m still going to play with it for sure but what I made the other day was delish! All the kids loved it!!

Egg Nog (2 ways!):

6 egg yolks,

1 1/2 cups heavy cream,

3 cups whole milk,

1/3 cup sugar,

1/2 tsp vanilla,

3/4 cup sugar,

1 1/2 tsp nutmeg,

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon.

Beat the yolks in a electric mixer slowly adding in the sugar until well combined.  Add the rest of the ingredients one at a time, mix well, chill, and serve. Easy right? Now, this will be a thinner egg nog and not quite as creamy and dreamy. So, if you want a thicker, creamier egg nog which is what I love, you’ll need to use whole eggs and combine the milk (just the milk) and egg mixture in a sauce pan quickly, and stirring constantly, bring to a slow boil. Don’t let it boil for a long period of time so you don’t curdle your milk or scramble your eggs, just let it warm it up, it should take about 5 minutes on medium to high heat. Once it becomes thick and smooth, it’s ready and you can remove it from heat! This also reduces your small risk of salmonella since the eggs will cook! 🙂 Now, once you remove it from the heat, you’ll add your cream, vanilla, sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon! Whisk it well, chill, and serve. At some point, if you like, you can add about a cup of whiskey or rum or Irish cream to it! Or just add it per glass so the kiddos don’t get more than they bargained for! 🙂

Ok ya’ll!! I guess that’s all for today!! I reckon I will get back with ya’ll at the New Year!! I hope ya’ll have an AMAZING and very MERRY CHRISTMAS!! Ya’ll come back now ya’ hear?!?

merry christmas

The Story of Thanksgivings’ Past!

Hey everybody! I know ya’ll are just getting over my Halloween post but it’s time to move onward and upward! IT’S THANKSGIIIIIVVVVIIIINNNNNGGGGG! I’m so excited! SO STINKIN’ EXCITED! I can’t believe it’s already time for Thanksgiving! It doesn’t feel like it’s been a year. It seems like last Thanksgiving was just yesterday! So much has happened since then but it just doesn’t feel like it! This year has been such a whirlwind! This time last year I found out that my best friends boyfriend was FINALLY ( 🙂 ) going to propose; there have been countless girls nights, family nights, gatherings, holidays, birthdays, and work days; there  was my moms surgery, her recovery, another surgery, and another recovery; memories have been made, problems have been had, life changes were made, life has been lived! All these things are the normal goings on of a family through out a year; but, it’s all just flown by! Sometimes I wish I could just push a pause button and savor these moments just a little while longer!

I keep seeing these pictures saying “there are only 7 more Mondays until Christmas” and I’m over here freaking out a little bit. It’s like I blacked out at the end of last year and woke up just in time for the holidays to start all over. But, that doesn’t make me any less excited for it! As many of you know, this is my favorite time of year! I love everything about the Fall and Winter…. Ok, I don’t love Halloween; but, we’ve had this discussion ok? I will never understand why people must cover every surface with spiders and spider webs for Halloween. There is nothing cute or fun about creepy, eight legged, killers ok? Give me Freddy Kruger, Jason, and Michael Meyers all you want. Men in masks and people covered in fake blood don’t scare me, I don’t even get a little creeped out by them. That’s child’s play to me. But don’t put me face to face with a spider and not expect me to curl up into the fetal position begging you to kill it. I will be all peace, love, and joy but go straight to Vito Corleone in a heartbeat when a spider is near!

Anyway! Where was I???? Sorry for my little outburst.. I’m passionate about that! 🙂 I LOVE this part of the year though. Rifle season is starting, which I love, because I don’t bow hunt. I have tendonitis and bursitis in  my left shoulder and I just don’t have the strength to pull a bow back. I do have a crossbow but I’ve never killed anything with it. Plus, with my job and my love of football, I don’t have a lot of time for bow hunting. So, rifle season is my forte and I love it. I love the chill in the air and the smell of the leaves. I love football and bonfires. And of course, Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s boots, sweaters, camo jackets, holiday parties, and whiskey drinks season. I could go on and on! The only thing I haven’t mentioned is the food. The food is where it’s all at, where all the things I love about fall meet. The smell of soups, chili’s, and dumplins’ fill our house with the memories of my childhood. It wraps me in warmth, even though it’s cold outside. Which brings me to Thanksgiving. There are so many memories brought forth this time of year. My Mamaw loved to prepare for family holidays like this. She loved her family above all else and nothing made her happier than to be able to cook for us all. She was not happy unless we were all stuffed to the gills at any given time of the year; but no one left her house hungry! Her and my mom stayed in the kitchen for days prepping for these holidays. They would spend hours going over their menu, getting recipes together out of our old Lucern cookbook that the church ladies put together, and going to the grocery for all the stuff. Then, they would come home and steadily cook to make everything from scratch. Everything was so lovingly and painstakingly prepared and you could taste it in every bite of the food. Of course it only took about 20 minutes for it to all disappear from our plates but we would sit around the table talking for at least an hour after we were done. Everyone would split up and go their separate ways, Papaw was off to watch a football game, Daddy was hunting, me and Chance would play, my sisters would go to boyfriends and husbands family houses, my uncle would go off to his wife’s families house; but, Mama and Mamaw would spend another hour cleaning up and talking. After cleaning up they would spend hours and hours decorating for Christmas and then they would torture me by making me wake up at 3:30 in the morning to be in line for the McRae’s Bell Ringer sale. Or the Cracker Jack sale. Or any of the thousands of other sales that were out the next day. I would be so tired that I would crawl under the clothing carousels and hide to take a nap. One year when I was a little older of course, I went to the bathroom in McRae’s and slept on the little bench they had in there. I sure hated Black Friday shopping but I know that I would give anything in the whole world to have just one more day with my Mamaw dragging me behind her at those sales.

That is just one of the many reasons that Thanksgiving means so much to me and my family! Of course, now that Mamaw and Papaw are gone, we do things a little differently. But the heart is still all there! I’ve spent the past two weeks thinking about what recipes I wanted to share with ya’ll for this weeks blog. I always hate to repeat recipes without changing them up a little but the cold, hard facts are, my favorite recipe of all time is my mama and Mamaw’s cornbread dressing! We have it every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas and sometimes for Easter and it’s something that we all look forward to throughout the year. Why don’t we make it throughout the year, you may ask. Well, for some reason, if we’re not cooking for an army, we’re not making it. When my mom and my Mamaw perfected this recipe, there was no “measure this,” or “add this many of that.” It was add it until it looks right. And it always looked right for about 40 people. Many say that this is the mark of a true chef. You don’t have to measure to know how much it needs you just throw it in there and see what it looks like. This has been my downfall many, many times because I am far too lazy to measure anything. Seriously, I just don’t have the patience for it. I know it’s stupid. I get mad at my mom anytime a recipe isn’t exactly the way it’s supposed to be, because she says, and I quote, “Calah!!! You didn’t follow the recipe!” Heck yes I did! I just did it better than the original one. I eye the measurements and that’s exactly what they do with this recipe. It’s frustrating for me because to share it with ya’ll the best I can do is guess at measurements. But, I don’t think there is anyway to really screw it up. The other problem with this recipe is that it really consists of 3 different recipes. And while that may sound confusing it really isn’t. You just have to pay close attention.

First things first, you have to make a turkey. For this, I usually get a small turkey breast from the meat department and cook it in the oven or in the crockpot a couple nights before or the night before we make this. I make it simple, it doesn’t have to be complicated, and you definitely don’t have to babysit it since it’s a small breast. You can get the turkey breast tenderloin or a raw turkey breast. Just make sure it’s small. Just follow these directions:



1 stick butter,

1 can chicken broth,

1 can water,

Lots of salt and pepper.

Turkey is really bland and will soak up the flavor of anything you put with it. You can also make this with chicken instead of turkey if you prefer. 🙂 Turkey is also really dry so just make sure that however you make it, you put a good bit of liquid in with it. It’s going to soak that up as well! Put it in a crock pot or a dutch oven. IF YOU PUT IT IN THE CROCKPOT: you’ll need to keep an eye on it and not let it cook for more than 2 or 3 hours on low. It will burn and it will be nasty and before you ask, yes, I’m speaking from experience! If you put it in the dutch oven or a good oven safe pan with a lid, put all the ingredients in there with it and cook it for an hour to an hour and a half on 450 degrees. Just make sure it’s cooked thoroughly. While you don’t have to babysit it and baste it like the larger turkey’s, you do have to make sure it has enough liquid and make sure that it is cooked thoroughly because it is poultry and the last thing we want is bad case of salmonella on Thanksgiving! Or any time of the year for that matter! Now once that’s done,  you need to set it aside to cool. You’ll need to keep the broth that it sat in but if it has any bones or skin, debone and deskin (Is that a word?) the meat and put it to the side while you finish the other things you need.

The most important part of a cornbread dressing is the cornbread itself. I use my sweet Papaw’s old recipe and it’s the best! If  I do say so myself 😉 It’s super easy! All you really need is about 4 ingredients. I’ve posted a recipe for it before and I’ll post it again but if ya’ll want to go check out the original blog that I posted it in, it was an especially good one, 😉 just click here and it should take you right to it! Now, as I said, it’s pretty simple but it’s another recipe that you have to eye. It needs to be the consistency of pancake batter. It also depends on the size of your skillet. I use a large, heavy, pre-seasoned, cast iron skillet. It’s really important that you don’t go buy some random skillet from just anyone. You need a good one. It needs to be seasoned. You CANNOT wash it. If you have one that hasn’t been seasoned or needs to be re-seasoned, all you have to do is rub it down with shortening, put it in a HOT 450 degree oven for about 45 minutes to an hour. Once you pull it out, rub the excess grease off with a DRY rag. Let it cool and store it. AGAIN, DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, WASH THIS SKILLET… EVER!! For the cornbread, all you need is self rising corn meal, eggs, buttermilk, and vegetable oil. And the skillet obviously. Since I use a large one instead of a small one, I make a double recipe. But, I’m giving ya’ll the recipe for a smaller 12 inch “pawn” of cornbread.


1 cup cornmeal,

1 egg,

1 cup buttermilk.

In a mixing bowl, throw it all together and mix it up. Make sure it’s the consistency of pancake batter. If you need to, you can add a little more buttermilk. Just add until it’s the right consistency. Same goes for cornmeal. If it seems too soupy, add more cornmeal. Only add 2 eggs if you do 2 cups of cornmeal and use a large 17 in. skillet! Easy peasy. Put the skillet over high heat, add about a quarter of an inch of vegetable oil into the bottom of the pan and allow it to get really hot. Not boiling! Just let it get hot enough to sizzle when you drop in a some of your batter. Once its hot, slowly and carefully, pour in your batter and remove from heat. Put into a 400 degree oven for 30-45 minutes, it’ll be a nice golden brown and smell like heaven. For cornbread you need at least two pawns. So you’ll have to double this recipe. I highly recommend, making the batters seperatly though and not trying to make it all at once. Especially if you’ve never made cornbread before and you’re a big measurer. You have to make this enough times to know what looks right and if you start off trying to make two at once, there is a really good chance it won’t turn out right! For dressing, we like to add a can of corn and an onion to the cornbread so that it cooks in and adds a little flavor! 🙂

Once the cornbread is done, it’s time to start on the third and final recipe of the dressing. The dressing itself! You need to crumble your cornbread. It’s your choice on how fine you crumble it. A lot of people like it chunky, my mama always liked it really fine. She’ll spend an hour making sure there are no chunks in that cornbread! It’s up to you though! You can use your hands, your spoon, a pastry blender, my mom uses something she calls a chopper that looks like a medieval torture device… 🙂 Whatever you want!


Once you’re done chopping the cornbread, you can start adding the other ingredients. I’ll put the full recipe below, I don’t add celery, because my mom hates it; but, if you want it you need about a cup and a half of chopped celery.

1 medium onion (2 if you don’t add it to your cornbread),

3 green onions,

1 can cream of chicken soup,

1 can cream of celery soup,

1 can corn (2 if you don’t add any to the cornbread),

3/4 cup shredded turkey or chicken,

2 raw eggs (you can boil these too),

1 stick butter,

a couple dashes of salt,

Lots of broth and ground black pepper.

First you want to chop your onions and green onions, shred the chicken or turkey, and boiling your eggs if you want to boil them. Also, chop your celery if you want it. 2 or 3 stalks should do it (like I said, about a cup and a half).  Add the onions, green onions, cream of chicken, cream of celery, eggs, turkey, pepper, salt, and butter. It’s going to be hard to stir so while you’re adding all of that stuff, add the broth, a little at a time until it’s easy to stir. It needs to be about the same consistency as pancake batter, as well. You don’t want it too soupy but if it’s too dry it won’t be good either. Keep in mind that when you put it in the oven it’ll be thin like pancake batter; but, when you pull it out it’ll be stiff like a cake. That broth will keep it moist but a lot of it soaks into the bread. You’ll bake it at 425 degrees for about 45 minutes. This is really versatile. You can use regular bread if you want but there’s just nothing like cornbread dressing! You can also add cheese or use a cornbread mix. You can use a rotisserie chicken and canned broth. Hard boiled eggs, raw eggs, cream of mushroom soup, less broth, more broth, sausage instead of turkey or chicken, mushrooms. The possibilities are endless! It’s pretty hard to screw this up! But, my favorite has to be just like my mama and Mamaw make it! I can’t imagine it being any better than that!

Mamaw was always very good to make certain things for certain people. My mom is so picky that every time we would have dressing, Mamaw made a separate pan without celery just for her. When she made beef and veggie stew, instead of using just stew meat she would make a separate bowl with hamburger meat instead just for my mom. She made something called husbands delight for my dad, butter beans and corn bread was my Papaws favorite. Everybody had something. For me, it was her cauliflower salad. It consists of a bunch of different layers that are supposed to be tossed before serving. BUT, I only liked the topping of it so she wouldn’t toss it and she always let me get to it first so that i could scrape off some of the top. Now that I’m older, I appreciate the lengths that she went to to make everyone happy through the food that she made. Back then, it was just Mamaw. Now I think, “Oh, what a saint! That would drive me crazy!” But it made her so happy to see us pleased!

I wanted to share this salad with ya’ll though because it was something that I always looked forward to at Thanksgiving. It’s a pretty good salad, now, I like it all together. Back then you couldn’t pay me to eat all of it! Some people call it Seven Layer Salad, I always remembered it as Cauliflower salad, ya’ll can call it whatever you want! It’s an old recipe and I’m sure it has a million and one names 🙂 Ya’ll may think it’s a little weird, it’s definitely different! But, I think ya’ll will like it!

Mamaw’s Cauliflower Salad:

1 head iceburg lettuce,

1 head cauliflower,

3 green onions,

2 cups mayo,

1 pkg. ranch dressing mix,

Lemon pepper,

Bac-o Brand Bacon Bits.

Wash and chop your lettuce and put it in the bottom of a large bowl. Wash and chop the flower of the cauliflower, not the stem, throw the stem away, it’s gross… really gross. 🙂 I chop the cauliflower pretty finely, I like little chunks of cauliflower because I’m still not a huge fan of it, but that’s your preference! 🙂 Layer it on top of the lettuce. Chop your green onions and throw them on top of the other two layers. Now spread on the mayo.. Yes, mayo…. on a salad… don’t judge me, you don’t know my life! 🙂 Sprinkle the ranch mix over the top of the mayo and then sprinkle the lemon pepper over that. Cover it and let it chill in the fridge until you’re ready  to serve. Add the bacon bits and toss before serving! And yes, when I said I just ate the top layer, I meant, I would scoop off the mayo, ranch, lemon pepper, and bacon bits, and eat it by itself. Again, don’t judge me! 🙂 I know it’s not a traditional salad; but, it’s an old school southern recipe and it’s a family tradition!

Another traditional side dish that we all love is Broccoli and Rice Casserole. It’s not really healthy, it’s got cream of stuff soup in it, and it’s got broccoli, I know people hate broccoli but this is actually the recipe that got me to start loving broccoli! I know that cream of anything soup is not the ideal for a lot of people and there are recipes on Pinterest with alternatives; however, this recipe is from a cookbook that was written by church ladies in the 90’s. And if ya’ll know anything about the 90’s you know we loved our cream of anything soups! And mayonnaise in our salads! 😉 Here’s how ya’ do it!

Broccoli and Rice Casserole:

1 1/2 cups Minute rice,

1/2 cup water,

1 can cream of mushroom soup,

1 can cream of broccoli soup,

1/2 cup chopped onion,

1 pkg. frozen broccoli, or 2 heads fresh broccoli,

1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese,

3/4 stick butter,

Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste.

Cook the rice according to the directions on the package. Melt the butter in a baking dish (we always use a Corningware ceramic dish, mostly because we could always find the glass tops for those though 🙂 ) Combine the soups, onion, broccoli, cheese, rice, and seasonings together and spread into the bottom of the baking dish. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Pull it out, sprinkle some extra cheese on top, and bake for another 10 minutes, uncovered. Ya’ll can substitute the cream of mushroom soup for any cream soups and you can try the healthy substitute as well!

Now, I know that ya’ll alllll came here for the sweets. That is one of the biggest parts of Thanksgiving! At least it is at our house! We always, always, always make pecan pie. There is no getting around it. It will always be there. And a majority of the time, my sister Melissa is the one that has to make it. She loves to make pecan pies, she know the recipe backwards, forwards, sideways, and blindfolded. That is almost always her contribution to the meal. I don’t know how it got started, but somewhere along the line, every year it would be, “Is Melissa making that amazing pecan pie again this year?” And every year she did. It’s a classic and traditional recipe that you can find most anywhere. It’s not much different from any other pecan pie recipe. Alas, it’s amazing. And we always make two… and they’re always devoured with no left overs pretty quickly after the meal! And we always cheat and use a frozen pie shell but it just so happens that I have a pretty amazing recipe for a pie crust that you’ll really, really, really like .You can find it simply by clicking HERE.

Melissa’s Pecan Pie:

4 large eggs,

3/4 cup sugar,

3/4 stick butter,

1 1/4 cup dark Karo syrup,

2 cups pecans, chopped.

I think one of the reasons that Melissa’s pies are always so good is because she’s pretty OCD about her pecans. Not just pecans, anything that she chops has to be absolutely perfect. She will stand with a small pairing knife and a cutting board and make sure all the pieces of the onion that she’s cutting are the same size and it will take an hour if you ask her to cut up anything for you. I ain’t got time for that. I ain’t got patience for that! I will put it in a food processor if I want it to be small because I prefer to make a few quick cuts and I don’t care if one dice is bigger than the other. It’s all getting cooked down anyway! But, just as my mom has her little chopper for her cornbread, Melissa has one of those from Pampered Chef and she gets them all finely chopped! After you get that all done, you can start the filling by melting the butter in a skillet until brown, remove from heat, and then add sugar. While the mixture is cooling, beat each egg separately and add one at a time, stirring after each addition to the mixture. Add pecans and karo syrup and pour into an unbaked pie shell. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes. After it gets out of the oven, it will need to set up. Let it cool for about 20 minutes before you cut it. This lets everything gel up and get all nice and gooey so that when you cut it, you get all that ooey gooey deliciousness in one big bite!

Another traditional Thanksgiving dessert is sweet potato casserole or sweet potato pie. I love sweet potato pie but I’m not big on topping it with marshmallows. I don’t know why but I’m just not a big marshmallow fan. I usually top mine with homemade whipped cream and toasted pecans. YUM!! My mom will not eat sweet potato pie. She said that it’s disgusting because you boil the potatoes and boiled sweet potatoes are disgusting. So, I don’t make it often because I know she won’t eat it. But, it’s another one of my faves!

Sweet Potato Pie:

2 medium sized sweet potatoes,

1/2 stick butter,

1/2 cup brown sugar,

1/2 can sweetened condensed milk,

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream,

2 eggs,

1 tsp. cinnamon,

1/2 tsp. nutmeg,

1 unbaked pie shell.

Wash, peel, and boil your sweet potatoes. When they’re fork tender, add the half stick of butter and milk, mash them up really well. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir. Pour into the pie shell and bake on 350 degrees for about 35-45 minutes. I know half a can of sweetened condensed milk is tough, what are you going to do with the other half? I will drizzle some over the top of the pie, maybe add a little to some heavy cream for whipped cream, or you can make two pies and take one to a friend. 🙂 I cover the top in whipped cream, toast pecans with a little butter and salt and sprinkle them on top. This is one easy peasy recipe that you can easily make your own. You can add marshmallows to the top and bake it for a few minutes to get a toasty flavor on top. You can add sweetened cream cheese, maple syrup, a little of your favorite bourbon, or even make it a caramel sweet potato pie using this caramel pie recipe and adding it on top.  It really is what you want! Have fun with it!

I really hope that ya’ll have enjoyed reading this blog as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. Before we know it, I’ll be writing and you’ll be reading my Christmas blog! I’m not exactly sure what I’ll be writing about for ya’ll yet; but, I do know I’ll be putting a DIVINE fudge recipe that would be perfect for your upcoming Christmas cookie swaps! I can’t wait to share some more of my family’s favorite Christmas traditions with ya’ll, so don’t miss out! Ya’ll come back now, ya hear? 😉

Happy Halloween…… Belated?

Hey y’all! I know I’ve missed y’all and I hope you’ve missed me as much! I sure am glad we’re finally getting some rain! It’s definitely been a dry and balmy start to fall! I just hope it stays cool/cold and we can get this fall started!!! I’ve been stuck in fall cooking mode and all my soups would sure taste better if it were 10 degrees cooler! It’s been a wild couple of months around my house between work, school starting for my nephews, trips, and weddings. All that is finally over and I’m on my way home from a convention in Las Vegas with my AMAZING team and we’ve just had so much fun! We saw shows, we walked miles, we ate fabulous food, we drank amazing drinks, we learned how to better our business, we expanded our horizons, but most importantly we bonded as a company! It was without a doubt the best experience I’ve ever had. I have to take the time out to say that I’m so grateful for Front Gate! I know I’ve said it before but I just can’t say it enough. When I started real estate I never thought I would like it. I got my license for the sole purpose of selling my own houses and helping my mom out from time to time. One by one my amazing brokers and co workers taught me what to do and how to do it and how to love it. I can now proudly say I’m a full time realtor and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’ve never been so happy with a job and it amazes me because it’s something I never even gave a thought to doing as a teenager. In fact, I always said that I wouldn’t have anything to do with real estate or construction. I graduated high school and went to college with all intentions of becoming a restaurant owner. I had plans… I was going to buy into Buffalo Wild Wings and put it at the corner of Hwy 12 and Spring Street in Starkville, right across from Fraternity Row. I had done the research and all but written a business plan and applied for the loan by my Junior year in college. Soon after starting my junior year, I saw a sign being put up at that exact location that said, “Welcome to the future home of Buffalo Wild Wings.”

My heart completely shattered. I’m not proud to admit that I cried over it! Haha, I wanted that so badly and to this day it still makes me so mad I could bite a nail in two! I coulda made millions people! Ok, thousands, but you get the picture! From there I was going to use my thousands to open a steakhouse right here in Flowood! I’m telling y’all I had a 4 year plan, a 7 year plan, and a 10 year plan all focusing on the restaurant industry. By the time I graduated college with my freshly printed, multi thousand dollar, business degree the only thing I could find in the restaurant industry, even though I had worked there for 3 years, was a waitressing job at Newks and they said they couldn’t do a manager in training position. As my heart shattered again, I looked to my sweet daddy, who gave me a job in his office and told me to work there until I figured it out. Before long my brother was telling me how I should flip houses, my company was formed within 2 weeks, my real estate license was on its way, and the rest is history. I’m now doing both of the things I swore I would never do and I honestly couldn’t imagine it any other way! It’s mind blowing how much I love what I do. And in the end, it’s a stepping stone to the restaurant industry. My retirement plan, ? but that’s not what this blog is about, now is it? Y’all are here for food! So let me tell ya bout it!

One thing I loved about Vegas was the food. We ate like kings and queens! We ate at Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen, The Yard House, Vic & Anthony’s, and Cabo Wabo, just to name a few. It was all ahhhh-amazing! But I’ve got to be honest, I think I’m ready for some home cooking. I know I’m ready to see my puppies, my little heathen nieces and nephews, and my sweet, sweet bed! Before I left, I made some amazing chicken and dumplin’s…. If I do say so myself! ? I made the quick version; because, of course I worked late. The quick version consists of using frozen dumplin’s. Now, some of you may say two things. First, you’ll probably say I’m spelling dumplin’ wrong. No, I’m not, I’m from the south and being from the south I drop the “g” so you’ll just have to deal with it. ? plus “Dumpling” sounds about half as appetizing as “dumplin” right? Right! Second, you’ll say I cheated because I used frozen. The fact of the matter is, my mama is and has always been extraordinarily picky and hates doughy dumplin’s so it’s the way I was raised. That being said, I have recipes for homemade dumplin’s but I haven’t talked her into trying them yet, but I’ve been working on it for almost 27 years now so I think we’re almost there. What gives me hope you may say? Well, we were talking about this exact topic the other day and when I mentioned making them with biscuits (in the past she’s always freaked out and rejected the idea in its entirety) she sounded intrigued. This gives me hope that she will cave. In the mean time I took the quick and easy route and bought those frozen dumplin’s… If you decide to take my advice and try this, the dumplin’s are Mary B’s brand and I can almost always find them by the frozen biscuits (another guilty pleasure) on the frozen food aisle. If not there, they’ll be at the end of the frozen section.


This is what you’ll need:
4 lbs chicken breasts (bone in skin on is better for flavor but more time consuming, your choice!),
1 cup butter (don’t judge me),
1 onion,
2 pkgs Mary B’s dumplin’s (keep frozen),
1 cup chicken broth,
Salt, garlic salt, pepper.
Super simple, super easy. You have a couple options on this chicken. You can put it in the crockpot on low before you go to work or sometime in the morning and let it cook through the day so it’s ready when you get home all you have to do is debone, skin, and chop (if you didn’t use boneless skinless) or you can boil it on the stove. Either way is fine. Technically you could probably put all the ingredients in the crockpot and come home to heavenly goodness but I’m not sure how the dumplin’s would do. They stick together if you don’t stir but if you don’t mind them being Doughier that’s ok. But any way, I put my chicken in a large stock pot, cover them with water, add a 1/2 cup (a stick) butter, and a good bit of salt. I would say no less than a teaspoon. I know it sounds like a lot but trust me! Turn all of that on to boil.


While the chicken is boiling chop up your onion. I use yellow onion or vidalia. I wouldn’t use red onion for this… It wouldn’t be the same taste. Just plain old yellow onion is best! Dice into small chunks. They don’t have to be uniform or perfect but they don’t need to be too big. Once the chicken is done, pull it out of your boiler to cool. Leave the water (now broth) in there though, that’s your base for the soup. You need that stock. Skim the top of the broth to get off the excess “foam,” the nasty stuff that somehow boils off chicken during the cooking process. I always skim it off and throw it out. You can turn the broth to low or medium while you’re doing the next step. Once the chicken is cool, pull the dumplin’s from the freezer. Start chopping, deboning, and skinning the chicken. Once that’s done, put the chicken and the onion into the broth.


Open the packages of dumplin’s and break them up. Some will be stuck together, gently pull them apart. I break mine in half and in 3’s. Use your discretion on this though. The most important thing though is that they don’t need to thaw too much so they don’t stick, so if you notice them getting too warm, put them back in the freezer while you work on the frozen ones. Finally, you’ll add the rest of the butter and the extra broth. Now for the dumplin’s. The dumplin’s go in one or two at a time, stirring continuously so they don’t stick.

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If it looks like you need more broth you can add water or canned broth. Once all the dumplin’s are in add some salt, garlic, and pepper, and allow the soup to get nice and thick. If it doesn’t look like it’s getting thick enough for you, you can add a can of cream of chicken soup. You must stir occasionally to prevent it from sticking, this is so important!! Not only will it stick to your boiler but the dumplin’s with stick together as well and form a big ball of dough. Which you don’t want! I usually serve this with buscuits and butter beans or blackeyed peas…. Sometimes I’ll do creamed corn. My mom loves it with English peas. Whatever suits your fancy!! I also sprinkle just a little lemon pepper on top because I’m different and it’s delish!

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Since it’s finally fall and it’s time for warm, ooey gooey, cinnamony (is that a word?) goodness I decided to make some monkey bread. Let me explain. My nephew absolutely adores honey buns. He isn’t a Cookie Monster or a chip monger he is the honey bun extraordinaire! Buy a box of 6 and they’ll be gone in two days if you don’t hide them! I’ve been promising him for a while I would make him something special. Something he would love. I originally planned on honey bun cake but allllllllll over Facebook for the last few weeks, all I’ve seen, every other post is about pull apart monkey bread. It’s all anybody can talk about or post about but nobody is actually making it. They’re just teasing me with it like, “Doesn’t this look good, maybe you should make it, somebody should make it, it should be you, only you could do it justice Calah.” Yep those exact words. Plus, I knew Jeffery would love it and it wouldn’t go to waste on the counter until someone threw it away. So I set to work and I bought canned biscuits! (Cringe cringe cringe!) it’s a pretty easy concept. I hate canned biscuits… Yes I’ll eat frozen, they’re different. Believe me! Anyway! You open the biscuits, cut them up, coat them, smoosh them into a bunt pan, pour stuff over them, bake them and destroy them. But I have to be different… Or difficult… Or both haha anywhooo… Here’s what I did instead!

Monkey Bread Bundt Cake Bites:
3 packages (cans) Pillsbury buttermilk biscuits,
1 cup unsalted butter,
1 cup sugar,
3/4 cup brown sugar,
2 tsp cinnamon,
1 tsp vanilla,
1 cup chopped pecans.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a tube pan or Bundt pan. Mix your granulated sugar and cinnamon together. Get two gallon sized ziplock bags. Put half your sugar-cinnamon mixture in each bag. Cut up your biscuit dough into quarters.

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Put half the dough in one bag and half in the other. Seal the bags and shake. Make sure you get the dough well coated in the mixture.


Melt butter and mix with brown sugar. Put one bag in the bottom of the Bundt pan, shaking excess sugar mixture over the top, add half the pecans, and pour half the brown sugar and butter mixture over the top. Now, repeat with the second bag. You can do this all at once, but this way you make sure each little bite is generously coated!


Now bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes. Allow the pan to cool for 10 minutes. There will still be a lot of sticky, ooey gooey, buttery, caramely (? Sounds like a good enough word to me but I’m no English major) ?, boiling hot liquid in the pan so be careful! Once it’s cooled, turn it upside down onto a serving platter. Cut into pieces or pull apart to serve! I’ve thought about doing this with cinnamon rolls, as well or even croissants! I’m not crazy about refrigerated biscuit dough because I’m weird but it wasn’t obvious in this! You could also peel and dice up some apples or pears and for those of you who love pumpkin everything, you can add some nutmeg and pumpkin pie filling or fresh pumpkin as well. I’m going to play around with this and do a little pecan pie filling type thing for the holidays! I’ll keep you updated!!

Since I was supposed to post this before Halloween and I didn’t, cause I’m awful and I’ll make no excuses… I had a Halloween Treat for y’all but it can be made all the time and doesn’t have to be Halloween-y if you don’t want it to!! It’s super simple and something that I made with my nephews as a special treat for them. I called it Halloween Bark but really it’s just Trail Mix Bark kinda…. I’ll let y’all decide what to call it… I’m going to call it White Trash! ?
Pretzel sticks,
Oreos chopped/crushed,
Reese’s cups minis or regular sized chopped up,
Reese’s pieces,
Candy corn,
Dry Roasted Peanuts,
White Chocolate.
It depends on what you’re making this for and for how many. I made separate batches for each kid so I put a piece of wax paper down in a 9in round cake pan. Then, I scattered the bottom with pretzels, bugles, and Oreos. On top of that I put the Reese’s, candy corn, and peanuts in. Then, I melted and poured the white chocolate. When I was done, I let the chocolate sit on top and cool. After it cooled I cut it into pieces and stored it in a ziplock! All done! You can stir it up instead of layer it. You can also add googly eyes and use a cookie cutter to make it look like a ghost or a bat… There are tons of things you can do with this though and it’s sooooo good! You can do peanut m&ms or regular, butterfingers, Heath bars, snickers, ritz crackers instead of bugles, or both, or all of the above! You can also use check mix, caramel chips, butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, toffee bits. Pretty much anything!

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That’s all I have for y’all today folks!! Get ready for my deluxe Thanksgiving blog coming your way in about 2 weeks!! I’m hoping I won’t forget to post it like I did with this one! ? Y’all need to remind me! ? I hope y’all all had a fantastic Halloween! Let’s get ready for Thanksgiving!!

And We Have Kickoff!!

Hey Yall!! This weekend was THE weekend! The weekend we wait for all year! We start wishing it for it to come again as soon as it’s over and we can’t wait to see what the new season brings. The countdown starts around the middle of the sweltering heat of June and by the time it finally comes around, the end of August, first of September, we’re ready to cry in the anticipation of it. It’s football season. The first game, we have such high hopes for it. Our whole bodies vibrate with excitement. All our hopes and dreams hang on that one game. When we win, it sets the tone for the whole season. It gives us something to brag about, something to really bug our opponents about. When we lose, it just gives us something to hope for, for the next game. It’s about drinking, eating, and having an awesome time with our friends and family. For some, it means getting drunk at the MSU vs. USM game and riding the Eagle, because he could. For others, it means arguing with your dad/brother/sister/best friend about what team is better and rubbing it in when your team wins! This people, is what it’s all about. Saturday’s in the South. This is the SEC. And it’s one of the absolute best feelings in the world to be a part of it!

So! What did ya’ll do? I stayed at home, because my Bulldogs pulled the short straw and had a 9:00 game. And I have figured out that I’m way too old to be tailgating that long and at the game that late. So, I was one of the few that stayed home and argued with my dad about why my team was better than USM. You see, if I cheer for the Bulldogs, my dad cheers for whoever they are playing. Because he loves to get under my skin! It’s really, seriously, the most annoying thing he does and he knows it. So he continues to do it. Ever. Single. Year. Even though I made him an amazing meal to enjoy while we watched the game! So unappreciative! 🙂 What did I make you may ask? Well, that’s a long story. You see, I have these great friends that just welcomed two, handsome, sweet little twin boys into the world! They also have a handsome, sweet little 2 year old on their hands!! To say they have their hands full is an understatement so I thought long and hard about what I wanted to make for them. Something easy, something that would freeze well, and something that would be delicious! So, I settled on quiche. I love quiche. You can do so much with it. You can make it something that men will love and you can make it something that kids will love. You can make it ahead of time and you can make it at the last minute. You can make it with the things you have in your pantry. You can even make it healthy. So, that’s what I chose to make. It wasn’t so healthy but it was super, duper homemade. Crust and all! That’s right, I even made the crust!

I made this recipe for the crust for an apple pie a couple weeks ago and I had so many compliments on it that I had to try it again. Don’t worry, I’ll share the apple pie recipe with you sometime too! 🙂 But for now, it’s just the recipe for the crust! And the quiche…. And a couple more 😉

Pie Crust:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour,

1/2 tsp. table salt,

1 cup butter, chilled and diced,

1/2 cup very cold ice water.

Combine flour and salt in a large bowl, cut in butter until mixture is in pea sized chunks. Add 1 tbsp. water at a time until the mixture holds together. Some will tell you to do this with a spoon, but I like to get dirty 🙂 I use my hands! You should be able to make it stick together when you pinch it; but, it shouldn’t be sticky. This makes two crusts. Divide the dough ball in two pieces. Now is the hard part. Get a piece of wax paper, a rolling pin, and some extra flour. Spread the wax paper out, sprinkle the surface with flour, and put the dough in the center. Sprinkle the dough with some flour. Start in the center and work the dough up and down. Then work it from side to side. Gently pick it up and lay it in your pie pan. Then smoosh it into the sides. You can crimp it any way you like. Pinch the sides or use a fork or make it rough and rustic like I did.

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Fill it with whatever you want and bake. Or bake at 350 for about 15 minutes and then fill! I filled mine with eggs, Jimmy Dean sausage, spinach, onions, and bacon! YUMM-O! Here’s that recipe!


1 pkg. frozen chopped spinach,

1 pkg. Jimmy Dean sausage,

1 small yellow onion,

5 pieces bacon,

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream,

1 cup cheddar cheese,

10 eggs,

Black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, salt to taste.

Thaw the spinach and squeeze all the water off of it. Peel and chop the onion. Fry the bacon and crumble it; brown the sausage with the onions and drain the grease off. Beat the eggs with the whipping cream and the seasonings. Now mix it all together and pour it into the pie crusts. This will make two quiches. 🙂 Bake at 375 for 45 minutes.


Onto Sunday… When I was a kid, my mom was an amazing cook. She cooked for an army for lunch and dinner most nights. Sometimes breakfast, if we were lucky! But one of my favorite things that she always cooked was Chicken Chimichangas. They’re super simple and completely amazing. I don’t know where she got the recipe from but it’s the best chimichanga recipe I could ask for. It’s not your typical chimichanga. The kind you get in a Mexican restaurant is much different. They use white and dark meat and they’re dry. A lot of times they put peppers in there. My mom’s is nothing like that. If you remember from my previous blogs about her. She despises dark meat. So we use bone in, skin on, chicken breasts. And, as much as she loves dry chicken, she likes a moist chimichanga! 🙂 So she adds a little extra to her chimichanga mixture to make them nice and moist. They’re DELISH! And the taste of them instantly brings back my childhood. There were countless Sunday dinners spent, watching her de-bone the chicken, shred it, mix up her special ingredients, roll up the chimichangas, and drop them in a frying pan. She would always set them on the table with a warning… “Watch out for the toothpicks!” And she always served them with the oddest combination of white rice and English peas. Of all things. You think Mexican food and white rice and English peas don’t exactly come to mind but that’s what she served it with and it just worked. Somewhere along the way, between being busy with work and growing up, she stopped making them. And we stopped thinking to ask for them. So this weekend, I asked her to make them. And they were every bit as delicious as I remember them being!

Chicken Chimichanga’s:

4 chicken breasts,

1 can, sliced, water chestnuts,

1 medium yellow onion,

1 16 oz. container sour cream,

1 pkg large flour tortillas,

1 stick butter,

Salt, garlic powder, black pepper.

Boil the chicken with the butter, salt, and pepper. Once they’re done, pull them out of the water and allow them to cool. Using a fork, pull the skin off and shred the chicken. Chop the water chestnuts and the onion. Mix the onion, water chestnuts, chicken, sour cream, garlic powder, salt, and pepper together.

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Now, lay out the tortilla, put a spoon full of the chicken mixture in the middle, fold the sides in, fold the bottom up, and roll. Secure with tooth picks.

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Once all the tortillas are filled, pour oil in a pan. About an inch of oil in the bottom of the pan, maybe a little more. Allow it to get really hot and drop the chimichanga in there. Turn half way through. Pull them out of the oil, place them on a paper towel to drain, and sprinkle a little salt on the outside.

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I know this sounds weird but believe me it’s absolutely amazing! You can make it a Mexican fiesta and throw a few pieces of tortilla into the grease and make yourself some homemade tortilla chips. I chose to serve up my favorite Olga Noodles, which I’ve shared before but will share again because they’re just that good. When my brother walked in and saw me making them he just about cried and fell at my feet with thanks… they’re just THAT good. 🙂 Here’s what you’ll need!

Olga Noodles:

1 pkg spaghetti noodles,

1 can Nestle Crema,

1 stick butter,

Garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste.

Boil the spaghetti noodles, add a little oil to the water to keep them from sticking. Once they’re completely cooked, drain the water. Add the stick of butter and stir. Shake up the can of Crema and pour over the noodles. Season to taste and stir well. Make sure all the noodles are coated. Then, as best as you can, walk away before you eat the whole bowl. Seriously, I know they’re good but you’ll just hate yourself tomorrow if you eat too many of them! 😉 I’m playing…. it’s way too many to eat the whole bowl. You won’t be disappointed by these bad boys those! They’re great with these chicken chimichangas; but, they go great with anything else too. Grilled chicken, tacos, steak, Christmas dinner. Even by themselves! Whatever you like!

Now, go out into the big bad world and make some of these amazing recipes! I am planning what I’ll be making for the next football game. I’ll be tailgating at this one and I cannot wait to see my Bulldogs play! We’re playing a pretty tough team so my fingers are crossed and my hope are high! I’m dreaming of beating those tigers!! HAIL STATE!!



Bridal Shower Fun!!

Helloooo gorgeous people! Are yall as tired of summer as I am?!? I want some cold weather, bonfires, football, and deer season! I want it to freeze me out this winter yall!! I’m so pumped!! It’s almost over! And with the ending of the summer I have two very special weddings that I’m preparing for in September! I’m the maid of honor in one of them which means that myself and my very best friend in the whole entire world’s sister, just threw the mother of all bridal showers and we have the mother of all bachelorette parties coming up at the end of the month! That being said, yall are going to learn all about some melt in your mouth homemade petit fours, some knock ya’ senseless cupcakes with dreamy, creamy, cream cheese frosting, a fabulous pizza dip, and the best dang ham and cheese roll ups ya’ ever did eat!
But first! I told yall it was coming and it did!! I got a neeeewwwww caaaaarrrrrr!!! Whoo hoo!! I’m riding around in a FIYNE brand new 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe and yall! I couldn’t be happier!! (And yes, you’re supposed to pronounce the “y” in fiyne ?) When I graduated high school my dad bought me a 2007 Tahoe… I was very lucky and very spoiled and I loved it but I quickly realized that I made a mistake… It was too big for me because it quickly became the party wagon. Everyone wanted to ride in it and it had black cloth seats and it did NOT take long for those to get old. But it was an amazing vehicle and it was good for me. I kept that vehicle for the past 8 years and barely ever had to do anything to it. But I hated… No, I DESPISED, the black cloth. Everything showed up on it and it wouldn’t come clean! I had it detailed a million times and it just wouldn’t look good! So when I made the decision to finally get rid of it, I got the same exact car, just 8 years newer, leather seats, and lots of fun little extras! ? So! I finally grew up and I now have a car payment… I’m not as excited about the car payment as I am about the car but thems the breaks!

Ain’t it gorgeous?!? Now, onto the food portion of this post! 🙂  I had a job throughout high school and some of college… My favorite job in high school had to be at Newks… In fact, when I went to Mississippi State my plan was to go for business administration so I could buy into the Newks franchise… Plans are made to be changed I guess! But I stopped working at Newks for about 6 months when I was in Junior College so I could work as a cake decorator! I worked for Candy’s Confections… Now known as The Fat Cake Guy! It’s the only job I’ve ever been “let go” from aka fired from! His son and daughter in law moved back here from Arizona and they were much more talented when it came to decorating! But nobody could beat my skills in the kitchen! ?On the bright side, they taught me how to make petit fours! Fast forward to today and you’ve got a girl who doesn’t have to spend crazy amounts of money for tiny little slices of deliciousness! Now, I don’t use their recipe… I did a lot of research and I dug to the depths of my soul, trying to find a good recipe and I just couldn’t find one I loved… So I got one I was happy with a tweaked it a little. One thing I did keep from them is using a box cake mix! It’s just easier and for something as complicated as petit fours, you crave ease!! For those of you who need something to be perfect every time… This recipe probably isn’t for you! The icing is something that needs to be done specifically to the instructions otherwise it won’t set up right! This is where it get’s sticky… literally!! Before you start this project, know that it is messy and you’ll need a couple things for it. Parchment paper or wax paper is a must! Wire cooling racks are preferred. A clean freezer, because you will need to put these in the freezer for at least 12 hours! Tons of patience, because it is super messy! And, a good buttercream icing recipe, which I will give you!
Now, don’t judge me, but I used a box cake mix, like I mentioned earlier. It’s easier, tastes just as good, and takes a little less time and clean up! I used a Duncan Hines white cake mix. Don’t follow the directions on the box though… I hate directions! I never follow them! I don’t even really read them all that much! Here’s what I did!
Petit Fours:

1 box Duncan Hines White Cake Mix,
2 whole eggs,
1 egg white,
1/4 cup of vegetable oil.

Combine all the ingredients and get out a shallow baking pan. DON’T COOK THE CAKE IN A REGULAR CAKE PAN. The name that I’m coming up with for this dish is a jellyroll pan, some people call them regular old cookie sheet. It just needs to be a little deeper (about 2 inches deep) than your regular baking sheet. I line this with wax paper and pour in my cake batter. Bake according to box and allow it to cool. At this point, the cake should be level, if it’s not cut the top of it off until it is. While it’s cooling, mix up a batch of this dreamy buttercream! But FIRST, I’ve got to have a talk with ya’ll about vanilla flavoring. I use Authentic Mexican Vanilla. I bought it in Mexico, you can buy it in boutiques or even online I think. Most of these recipes generally call for clear vanilla flavoring and that’s ok if that’s what you want to use. I just like the flavor of my Mexican Vanilla. The only negative to using Mexican Vanilla is that it is brown and it will change the color of your icing slightly. But I don’t care. 🙂 It’ll give it a slight off white color but a deeper, richer vanilla flavor which is why I like it so much. SOOOO, if you’re wanting a pristine white look, you may want to buy clear vanilla flavoring. You can’t find this at any old grocery. Walmart MAY have it but I’ve always found it at Hobby Lobby… Amazon always has it as well 🙂


1 1/2 cup shortening

3 cups confectioner’s sugar,

1 tsp. vanilla flavoring,

Ice cold water.

First things first you want to whip your shortening, your confectioner’s sugar, and your vanilla together on low and slowly add your water until you reach the right consistency. Now, you need to taste! If you get a really oily film in  your mouth, you’ll need to add a little more confectioner’s sugar. Add a tablespoon at a time until it’s just right!! Once the cake is cooled and the icing is made, coat the top and sides of the cake with a thin layer of buttercream. This is known as the crumb coat. It has three purposes. Purpose number one is to keep all the crumbs in place so they don’t get caught up in all the icing. Purpose number two is to create a smooth canvas for you to pour your icing on. And purpose number three is keep the cake from getting stale. It locks all the moisture in and keeps all the air out! Once you get your crumb coat in place, place some wax paper over it, and stick that baby in the freezer and live your life for the next 12 to 24 hours… whichever is best for sweet, little, ole you!! 🙂




Once you pull the cake out of the freezer, trim the sides off. Don’t trim too much…. just the outer edges. Now, outline the size of the petit fours you want. I usually do 2 inch by 2 inch slices. It doesn’t have to be perfect! Once it’s outlined, put them back in the freezer while you make the icing! Place some wax paper underneath a cooling rack and set out all the slices.


6 cups confectioner’s sugar,

2 tbsp. light corn syrup,

1/2 cup water,

1 tsp. vanilla.

Place sugar, water, and corn syrup in a boiler. Turn to medium heat and stir well. While that is coming to a boil, get the cake out of the freezer and cut into slices. Place the slices on the cooling rack. Immediately remove icing from heat once it boils and begin pouring over slices. Now, you have two options. You can scrape the excess off of the wax paper or you can make a new batch! If you scrape the excess, you have to bring it back to a boil to make it pourable. Otherwise, make a new batch and pour over the slices! Make sure the slices are fully covered with the icing! If not, do one more layer! Allow them to completely dry and do with them what you may! I top mine with little roses; but, I’m a bad teacher and can’t show you how to do it unless we’re face to face. SORRY!! 🙂

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I thought a lot about what kind of cake I wanted to make for this. Ashley loves strawberry cake but she LOVES cream cheese icing even more. But, I thought if we did cupcakes instead of a cake, I could make it really cute. In my research for ideas I came across a cupcake cake, shaped like a wedding dress. It was adorable! So, I had to try it! I got my box cake mixes and I set to work. Don’t judge me, I added stuff to it! 😉


Strawberry Cake:

1 box Duncan Hines Strawberry Cake mix,

3 eggs,

1/3 cup of oil,

1 cup water,

4 oz. strawberry cream cheese.

Mix the ingredients according to the directions on the package. Add the cream cheese. Now mix it well and fill your cupcake pan. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. You can also do the white cake mix like I said earlier with these cupcakes and they are absolutely to die for! Now, for the cream cheese icing!!


4 (yes, I said 4) blocks of cream cheese,

2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar,

1 tbsp. vanilla,

1 tsp. cold water.

Mix all the ingredients together and try not to swoon! So simple and so delicious!!



Place the cupcakes on a cake board. The assembly goes as follows:

1st row- 4 cupcakes,

2nd row- 4 cupcakes,

3rd row- 2 cupcakes,

4th row- 3 cupcakes,

5th row-4 cupcakes,

6th row- 5 cupcakes,

7th row- 5 cupcakes.

Now, ice in a circular pattern using a star tip. Then fill in the holes between the cupcakes with a small star. BEAUTIFUL! I placed a thin stirp of rhinestones around the “waist” and a big gem in the center and my masterpiece was done!

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One of Ashley’s favorite things in this whole world has got to be pizza! She’s crazy about it! So, I ran across a recipe for pizza dip a while back and I had to try it!


1 8oz pkg cream cheese,

1 1/2 cup parmesan cheese,

3 green onions,

1 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese,

8 oz. pizza sauce,


Garlic powder, Italian seasonings, salt, and pepper.

Mix the cream cheese, 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, green onions, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Spread in the bottom of a baking dish. Spread pizza sauce over the cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle mozzarella, the rest of your parmesan, and your pepperoni on the top. Bake at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes. You can add black olives, Italian sausage, pineapple, ham, bacon… whatever you want! I served it with Ruffles, you can serve it with baguettes or Fritos!

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I love those little poppyseed ham and cheese sandwiches that are made with Hawaiian rolls. The other day I came across a recipe that changed them up a little bit and made them into rollups. Which is amazing because every time I make the sandwiches, the bread falls apart and they are never perfect and it bugs the crap out of me. So, making the rollups seemed like a good idea. Now, I still have some tweaking that I want to do, technique wise. However, the taste was ON POINT! They were great!! This is how you do it!!


1 can Pillsbury crescent roll seamless dough sheet,

¾ lb deli ham (thinly sliced, but not shaved),

12 slices Swiss cheese (thinly sliced)

½ cup (8 tablespoons) butter,
2 tablespoons brown sugar,
2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce,
2 tablespoon Dijon mustard,
1 tablespoon poppy seeds,
Garlic powder and salt to taste.
The original recipe called for pizza dough, the crescent roll dough is a little sweeter so I added a little salt to the sauce. Roll out some wax paper and spread the dough on top of it.
Place the ham in a single layer on top of the dough.
Then layer the cheese.
Roll it up and cover it in the wax paper.
I froze this over night to bake the next day. If you’re not doing it the next day you can refrigerate it for 45 minutes to an hour. Once you pull them out of the fridge, cut them into one inch rolls, and place them into a baking dish. Place the butter in a boiler and put in the rest of the ingredients. Bring it to a boil and spoon over the top of the rollups. Bake them at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Here is the finished product!!
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This girl has been one of my best friends for almost 20 years. I wanted to make sure this shower was perfect! So I was a Pinterest fanatic for about a month and a half. It turned out great!! Ashley’s sister did an awesome job with all of the decorations. She made a banner, a sash, all the centerpieces, she decorated advice and recipe boxes, decorated the tables, and she cooked too! Overall, I think it will go down in the Bridal Shower Hall of Fame! 😉 Now, we have our bachelorette trip to take care of, the rehearsal dinner, and the BIG day!! I can’t wait to be a part of it!


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The Blog Is Back Ya’ll!!!

I know, I know, I know, it’s been forever! You’re never going to want to read my blog again… I may as well give up! Buuuut I’m gonna do it anyway! It’s been a long and super busy few months! As I started to explain in an Easter blog that I never finished because I’m a total disappointment, 😳 my mom had shoulder surgery, work has been crazy for us both, and I bought a new flip house!! I’ve turned into my mother! 😱😱😱😱 Real estate has absolutely bloomed and so has my business. Everybody is getting married or getting pregnant or moving jobs and they need new houses! Which I’m completely grateful for because otherwise I would not have a job! But that means I’ve been neglecting ya’ll and for that I’m soooo, soooo sorry!! Please forgive me! 😊 To make up for it I’m going to share some AH-MAAAAZZZZZING recipes with yall! I have 2 different ice cream recipes, a pecan cobbler recipe, a green bean recipe, and a grilled chicken recipe to knock your socks off!! So, make sure you’ve got enough ink in your printer and get a pen for your next grocery list!!

In the spirit of goodness (and getting back on your good side) I’m starting with dessert!! As far back as I can remember, my family has been making peach ice cream from scratch. Every summer, the day that peaches are in season, we start looking forward to making it… Up until this summer I’ve never really thought about making anything other than peach ice cream. And then Chick Fil A started serving frosted lemonade… The Bain of any dieters existence! It’s like key lime pie in a straw yall! The best thing my taste buds have ever seen…. Untiiiiiilllll I decided to make my own. So, today I’m going to give you the recipe for my family’s famous peach ice cream and for my now famous key lime pie ice cream! First, you’ll need an ice cream maker. I don’t have anything fancy, just a regular old ice cream maker from Fred’s will do. You’ll need a large bag of ice and a box of rock salt. From there, you’ll need to find somewhere that you can close the ice cream maker up. I put ours in the sunroom, the dogs can’t get to it and I can’t hear the noise. Of course, the newer ones don’t make nearly as much noise as the older ones do. When I was a kid we had one that sounded like a someone was chewing on gravel it was so loud!! Anyway! We’ll start with the Peach Ice Cream. You’ll want fresh peaches, it can be done with canned; but, I like fresh better. The peaches need to be easy to peel. so not too soft and not too hard, the farmer’s market usually has a pretty good selection… better than the grocery does at least. 🙂


6 or 7 fresh peaches,
2 cups sugar,
1 can sweetened condensed milk,
1 can evaporated milk,
3 eggs,
1 tsp. vanilla,
1 cup Peach flavored Nehi
2 cups whole milk.
Peel, pit, and dice your peaches. Place them in a bowl and sprinkle a half cup of sugar over them. Let them sit for about 45 minutes, plenty of time to mix the other ingredients and get your ice cream maker assembled. Or if your like me, enough time to find all the parts to it! 😀 In a separate bowl, mix the rest of the sugar, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, eggs, Nehi, and vanilla. Once the peaches are done, pour them into the mixture as well. Now, pour the mixture into the aluminum canister. There will be an indentation in the aluminum that says max fill. Pour your whole milk up to that line… A little more or less than 2 cups… Give it a final stir and assemble the ice maker. Put in alternating layers of ice and salt until you reach the top of the aluminum canister. You don’t want any salt or ice to get inside the canister. Plug in the machine and walk away. Every 15-20 minutes, add more ice and salt around the canister. You don’t have to use Nehi, you can omit it all together or use a different peach flavored drink. My mom has omitted plenty of times but you just get more peachy flavor with it ☺ You can also use canned or frozen peaches but fresh just seem so much better to me… Then again I’m weird soooo do whatever you want! Be careful not to make it too sweet. If it’s got too much sweetener in it it won’t freeze properly… Same with too little so try to balance your sugar with your salt! If you think you’ve got it a little to sweet add a pinch of salt!
Now, for my new favorite ice cream! The first time I tasted Chick Fil A’s frosted lemonade, I thought it tasted just like a key lime pie without the crust! Then, I decided I was going to try to make it myself. My first idea was to make it and pour into a graham cracker crust and top it with a meringue or a whipped cream. Then I decided that I would crush up graham crackers inside it and freeze them with it. My mom said that would make them soggy so I finally settled on just sprinkling it over the top of the ice cream. It turned out perfectly! My niece, who is 2, was the first one to try it. She took it straight to her daddy who took a bite. He just thought it was ice cream he didn’t know what I was going for. I was in the kitchen making every one a bowl when I heard him say, “Oh my gosh! This is amazing! It tastes JUST LIKE key lime pie!!” Mission Accomplished!! 🙂 Everyone loved it and I can’t wait to make it again! I couldn’t find key limes in my grocery store but I did get some fresh limes and some Key Lime Juice. This is what you’ll need:
1 can sweetened condensed milk,
1 can evaporated milk,
1 pint heavy cream,
3 limes,
1 1/2 c key lime juice,
3 eggs,
2 cups sugar,
2 tsp. vanilla,
2 cups whole milk.
A little known secret, if you mix the sweetened condensed milk and the eggs first, it’ll be easier to mix the eggs without sloshing all the ingredients! Once you’ve added these two together, add the rest of the ingredients except for the whole milk and the limes. Obviously, you have to juice the limes first… Once they’re juiced add them to your mix! Just like with the first recipe, put the mixture in your aluminum canister. Fill the rest of the canister to the max fill line with whole milk, a little more or less than 2 cups of whole milk. Give it a final stir and assemble the ice maker. Put in alternating layers of ice and salt until you reach the top of the aluminum canister. You don’t want any salt or ice to get inside the canister. Plug the machine in and walk away. Every 15-20 minutes, add more ice and salt around the canister. While that’s making, you can start the topping!
1 sleeve of graham crackers,
1/2 cup brown sugar,
1 stick melted butter,
1/2 cup crushed pecans.
Crush your crackers and mix with the sugar and pecans. Melt the butter and pour over the crackers. Mix it all together! You can bake this for a little extra toasty flavor and crunch! Or you can put it in the microwave for about a minute and a half! Once your ice cream is done, sprinkle these over each individual serving or mix the whole bowl in the ice cream canister! Either way, you’ve just made the best dang ice cream in the history of the world so bow down at my feet, kiss my toes, then pat yourself on the back! 😉 oh and don’t forget to share! ☺


Next thing I have to share with you is…. Drumroll please…. PECAN CAN CAN COBBLER ER ER ER!!!! Apparently, pecan cobbler is not a well known thing. I thought it was until I made it yesterday and my brother and his friend looked at me like I was crazy and said, “Don’t you mean peach cobbler? Or pecan pie?” I said, “No, I’m talking about pecan cobbler, it’s better than peach cobbler and pecan pie, have you been living under a rock?” They didn’t believe me and if there’s one thing I hate is someone saying I’m wrong when I’m right, so I had no other choice but to pull out my handy dandy tasting spoon and let them have a bite! And they fell in love, the rest is history, and I didn’t get a chance at a final product picture because it wasn’t long before it was gone! So! I have to share with yall the greatness that is pecan cobbler… I’m quite surprised it’s not more well known in the age of Pinterest and Paula Deen! It’s like pecan pie with a cobbler crust for one and for another it’s one of the easiest desserts I’ve ever made! You probably have everything you need for it already!


6 tablespoons butter,
1 1/2 cup pecans,
1 1/2 cup self rising flour,
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar,
2/3 cup milk,
1 tsp. vanilla,
1 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar,
1 1/2 cup hot water.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees while you look for a good baking dish. It’s best if you can find a glass one. 9×13 would be best! Put the butter in the bottom of the pan and stick it in the oven. While that’s melting, mix your flour, granulated sugar, vanilla, and milk together.


It will be pretty thick and you’ll start think you need more milk, you don’t! 😊 Be careful not to over mix but don’t leave any lumps! Once the butter is melted, angle the pan, allowing the butter to coat all sides of the dish. Now, sprinkle the pecans over the melted butter, spread the batter over the pecans.

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Don’t mix it! Just layer it! Then, sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the top, again don’t stir!


Carefully pour the hot water over it all and put it in the oven.


Bake for about 35 minutes… It’ll still be a little jiggly but once it cools it will firm up! Serve with cool whip or some vanilla ice cream! Yummy! Make sure your mama isn’t around while ya eat it cause it’s so good you’ll want to slap her! 😀 P.S. You have to share this too 😔

Now that I’ve told you allllllll about some sweet stuff, I reckon I ought to get you some real food recipes! After all you need a complete meal!! At Christmas my sister in law brought us some of the best green beans I’ve ever eaten! I immediately fell in love with them! They’re sweet, sour, salty, soft, and crunchy all at the same time! I liked them so much that she is now obligated to bring them to every holiday meal we have 😉 so of course I begged her for the recipe and I have to give that recipe to yall for a lot of reasons, mainly because I posted a picture on Facebook and everybody wanted it!! Soooooo! Here it is ya’ll! Green beans from Heaven!!

5 cans whole green beans,
2 large yellow onions,
1 pkg thinly sliced bacon,
3/4 cup brown sugar,
1 cup apple cider vinegar.

Fry your bacon and set the strips on a paper towel to drain and cool, try not to eat any (that’s the hardest part!). Add the vinegar and sugar to the bacon grease and stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Slice the onions into thin slivers. Layer the green beans and onions in a casserole dish, crumble bacon over it, pour grease mixture over the top, cover and let it marinate overnight. Ok, maybe that’s the hardest part…. Hmmm… Maybe my priorities aren’t straight… Anyway! The next day you’ll need to put them in a COLD oven, cook on 350 degrees for an hour, stirring often.


It’s important to put it in a COLD oven!! If you put it straight from the fridge to the hot oven it will crack a glass dish and you will be unhappy and hungry!! ☺ Also, if you preheat it you won’t cook it as long! Now that you have these amazing green beans, you’ll need some chicken to go with them… I mean, you could make the beans a meal in and of itself, but I gotsta have some meat or it’s not really a meal! Right?? Right! So, I have a great recipe for a grilled, skin on, bone in chicken… We’re not looking to save any calories on this one! I figure if I can’t blog on a regular basis, I can at least fatten you up when I do! 😀
My mom, as I may have mentioned before, is a super picky eater, meaning she hates chicken with skin on and bones in unless it’s fried and even then it better be kinda burnt and not at all juicy! Soooooooo I made boneless, skinless chicken breasts for her and I marinated both types of chicken over night in a zip lock bag. That being said, about an hour before grilling it, I pulled the chicken out of the fridge to come to room temperature! Ya’ll don’t have to marinate it that long but it’s easier if you’re doing this for a big group and the marinade really soaks into that chicken and makes it nice and flavorful!

Approx. 4 lbs chicken breasts,
1 cup Stubb’s chicken marinade,
1 cup mustard,
1/2 cup Kroger olive oil & vinegar dressing,
1/2 cup Worcestershire,
Garlic salt, onion powder, Tony Cacheries, salt, and pepper,
2 large freezer bags.
Put the chicken in the bags. Pour all the ingredients into a bowl, mix well, and pour half into each bag. Let the air out of the bag and massage the chicken so that all the marinade is coating every piece of chicken. If you don’t let it sit overnight, give it at least 30 minutes!


Then put on a hot grill! Since the chicken is thicker with the skin on and bone in you need to let it cook at least 10 minutes per side! Once you get that heavenly chicken off the grill, the heavenly green beans outta the oven, and the heavenly ice cream out of the freezer you have yourself one spiritual meal y’all!! Is that sacrilegious? I hope not! Cause this food is legen-waitforit-dairy!!! Haha yea I’ve been watching a lot of “How I Met Your Mother” reruns but did ya get it?!? Dairy? Like the milk in the ice cream?!? Yea maybe it’s kinda late and time for me to go to bed… The puns are getting bad… Anyway! I promised ya’ll updates on my room renovation and the good news is, it’s mostly done! All I have to do is find a bedskirt and hang my curtains! Here are the most recent pictures and a couple before and after pics!!

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My masterpiece!!! Ok yall… Did I make up for my absence?!? Please tell me I did? I sure love writing to ya’ll and I’m going to try and do better! I promise!! I have a plan to blog about some homemade fudgesicles, homemade VANILLA ice cream, baked ravioli, and few diet friendly things too! Plus, my best friends wedding is coming up and I’m in charge of Bridal Showers and Bachelorettes so you’ll be getting a recipe for some FI-YNE petit fours, dips, sandwiches, punch, and much more!! In the mean time I’ll be kicking real estate booty!! In the midst of writing this I’ve taken 3 calls about listing houses!! The next blog I write, I’ll hopefully have bought a brand new caaaarrrrrr!!!! And hopefully, fingers crossed, I’ll have sold my flip house! Pictures to come of both!!! Stay tuned to find out and ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear? 😍

Back from the edge of the earth!

Hey ya’ll! I know you’re wondering if I’ve fallen off the edge of the earth (hence the title) 🙂 No, I’ve just been busy, sick, tired, and dieting! 2015 kicked off with my family and I at our ranch in Texas with very little phone and internet service. We were snowed/iced in for a few days and weren’t able to communicate with the outside world, which, I have to say wasn’t the worse thing in the world! We enjoyed every minute of it! After we got home, I started my second AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge and lost a total of 11 lbs. and 6 inches! Go me! 🙂 But before ALLLLLL that, let’s rewind to Christmas Eve, when my best friend of all time, Ashley Franklin, got ENGAGED!! That’s right! She’s getting hitched ya’ll! And that my friends is called motivation! Now that I have a wedding in September I gotta hit this AdvoCare train a little bit harder! All kidding aside though, I’m super excited for Ashley and Aaron, they are so perfect for each other and I, for one, have never seen my friend so happy! She is practically a sister to me so as soon as I got back to town from my trip, we hit the floor running with wedding details galore! Not only are we planning bachelorette parties and bridal showers, we’re picking out dresses, cakes, venues, flowers, and colors. She picked a date and is now worried that she’ll have everything planned out MONTHS before the wedding 🙂 I told her that that is probably a good problem to have! On top of all that, my sister in law just had a new baby, my sweet little new niece, Waverly James!



She’s gorgeous!! And to add a little buttercream frosting to it all, I turned 26 at the beginning of the month and redecorated my bedroom! It’s just been a crazy start to what I’m sure will be a crazy fabulous year!

But, ya’ll didn’t come here for all of that! Ya’ll came for food! It’s no secret that food has been a big part of all of my family celebrations for as long as I can remember. Since this month has been full of those celebrations, I thought I would tell ya’ll a little about the food we enjoyed while celebrating! I will warn you all of my recipes are of the Advocare friendly persuasion 😉 but for those of you not dieting, these are great recipes too. I’ll tell ya’ll about the restaurants I chose to eat at on my birthday for my cheat days though too 🙂

First and foremost, a huge hit with my family to kick off my challenge right! The first couple of days are hard to get into the swing of things and a routine is a must! The morning of  January 11th dawned bright and early for me! I had a lot to do and a little time to do it! It was the day of the Premier Bridal show and we had plans to go! The show was from 1 to 5 and I knew that when I got home, all my family would  be there and they would be hungry! So, I tried to make things easy on myself and my family. I put Chicken Taco Soup in the crockpot! Easy peasy right? Right! My mom wouldn’t have to worry about supper and neither would I… How foolish I was! I made the mistake of telling my mom, “Oh, I’m excited to try this new recipe, it’s AdvoCare Chicken Taco Soup.” Of course all she heard was, “Oh, I’m excited to try this new recipe…. DIET, disgusting, soup!” I rushed to put everything in the crockpot and ran out the door. I sent my mom a text a little later letting her know I would be late but all she had to do was take the chicken out of the crockpot, shred it, and put it back in the soup. Imagine my surprise when I came home and there in the crockpot was my lovingly crafted AdvoCare Chicken Taco Soup and there on the stove was my mothers diet busting veggie soup and cornbread… There is just no faith in that woman I swear 🙂 I said, “Mom… what’s wrong? Is my soup nasty?!?” She replied with, “I don’t know, I just thought the others might not like it because it’s diet so I wanted to make sure they had something they would like.” It was like a knife straight to my heart! Meanie! I pushed it aside, like the adult that I am, with a little “Oh I see how it is” and a smile. Everyone started fixing their bowls and before we knew it my DIET, DISGUSTING soup was all gone and her “EVERYONE WILL LIKE IT” veggie soup sat lonely on the stove! Victory!

So, now you probably want the recipe huh? She sure did after she ate two bowls of it! 🙂 It’s really simple and full of flavor. As I said before, I usually take the chicken breasts out after they’ve cooked and shred them; however, this is messy, so if you want to chop them before that’s fine. It’s tastier to me if you let the breasts cook whole though. I used boneless skinless breasts, you can use whatever you like, even rotisserie chicken if you want! This is what you’ll need:
Crockpot Chicken Taco Soup (AdvoCare Approved):

3-5 chicken breasts, (depending on how many you’re feeding-using 5 stretched for 6 people)

2 cans black beans,

1 bag frozen corn,

1 jar black bean and corn salsa- I used Private Selection- (small jar for 3 chicken breasts, lg jar for 5)

24 ounces Swanson’s All Natural Chicken Broth,

1 can Rotel,

1 pkg. Taco Seasoning,

1 pkg. Ranch Seasoning.

Put it all in the crockpot, stir it up, and turn it on low and slow for 8 hours. Once it’s done, you can pull the chicken out and shred it up. Put it back in the crock pot for about 15 minutes. I know it sounds a little different, but give it a try! You won’t be disappointed! 😉

Something I really love but rarely make, for some reason, is pork tenderloin! It’s so easy and simple and delicious! I got the idea for the recipe from a recipe for Crockpot Balsamic Chicken recipe. The recipe looked delicious but I didn’t have time to put it in the crockpot and didn’t want to go to the grocery store for chicken. I did have a pork tenderloin that I could work with though so I set to work trying to make it work! My mom HATES balsamic vinegar though, so I had to sneak it in. I had bought some Kroger brand Balsamic and Basil Vinaigrette dressing and since I didn’t have straight Balsamic Vinegar it seemed like the next best thing. It called for Olive Oil anyway so it worked out for the best. It’s all about workin’ with what ya’ got folks! So! Here’s what you’ll do:

Creole Balsamic Tenderloin:

1 pork tenderloin,

1/2 cup Balsamic & Basil Dressing,

1/2 cup creole mustard,

1 lemon,

1tbsp. garlic powder,

1tsp. sea salt,

1 tsp. lemon pepper.

The tender loin I buy is really thick. I always split it down the middle. It cooks faster and is easier to season. So, split your tenderloin down the center. Pour your balsamic and basil vinaigrette over the top of it. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze some of the juice over the tenderloins. Now, coat the outside of them with creole mustard. Sprinkle on your seasonings. Cut the lemon into rings and bake at 375 degrees for 40-50 minutes.

My favorite go to meal is always salad. Just any kind of salad. My dad’s favorite go to salad, just so happens to be my least favorite! He wants a big ole bowl of iceburg lettuce with a bunch of hamburger meat and ranch dressing on top. I prefer what he calls fancy lettuce. Baby spinach or leafy greens. I’ve been trying to change it up a bit so I made a little taco salad bar. This time I used a mixture of extra lean ground beef and deer meat.  But I didn’t stop there! I added taco seasoning to the meat first,Nathen a can of corn, and a can of black beans… I let that simmer while I opened up some black olives, green olives, salsa, chopped lettuce, and onions. I also crushed up some tortillas and sliced an avocado. It was an awesome break for everybody and the kids ate them as tacos.

Speaking of tacos… For the past 16 years my family and I have been going to the same restaurant to celebrate my birthday. When I was 16 my dad bought a sombrero from them for me to hang in my room. When I was 18 they shoved whipped cream so far up my nose it took 10 minutes to get it out. At 21 I had my first alcoholic drink in front of my parents. And I can’t wait to go back next year. For those of you who don’t know, the restaurant I’m talking about is named El Charro. It’s a little place on Lakeland Drive before the Ridgewood Road intersection. Yummmmmyyyy! Ya’ll go check it out! Not only did I go to El Charro, my mom took me to Amerigo’s, another favorite. Instead of a birthday cake I get tiramisu from Amerigo’s… We all know how much I love coffee… This place has the BEST tiramisu and my mom and I love their lasagna! And then on Friday night, my sweet best friend took me to Ratliff Ferry for a huge steak… And it was amazing… The most perfect birthday I could have asked for!

Both before and after my birthday I started “Spring cleaning.” I decided I wanted a new bed so I asked my dad to make me a new one… Out of pallets 🙂 I started researching on Etsy and found a few little things I wanted, found a new comforter, and picked a paint color. When I was in high school I thought pink was the best color ever so this is what my room looked like:


And this is now:



It’s not done yet… I still have another piece of furniture ordered, a bed skirt, curtains, comforter, and rug coming in, and a couple things for my walls ordered.  I’m super excited about it! I’m hoping to have it all done by April, which is when the last piece of furniture will be done. Now that this month is almost over and the next is right around the corner, I hope I’ll have a little time to write more blogs 🙂 I’m hoping I’ll be done with all my Spring cleaning!  I’m looking forward to what this month will bring! Y’all have a good one!


Christmas Goodies for All to Enjoy!

Hey yall! It just wouldn’t be Christmas around my house if we didn’t make a bunch of goodies to keep on hand! I remember holidays with my mamaw… The days leading up to Thanksgiving and Christmas would be filled with cooking. My Mamaw’s birthday was on Christmas Eve so we would have a little family gathering and we stuffed ourselves with sandwiches and cookies and sausage balls. Mamaw would always change her voicemail to “Deck The Halls” and she and my mom would shop for weeks and spend hours wrapping. Bags weren’t much of an option for them. Mamaw was a floral designer and she had all the crafty stuff down which includes wrapping and bows and decorating… I can do decorating but I can’t make a bow or wrap a gift to save my life. They always turn out too loose, I always have too much tape, and most of the time there’s a space between the pieces of paper. My mom… MY MOM, the woman who is supposed to support you no matter what, and tell you whatever you did is perfect even if it’s awful… My MOTHER!! She laughed at my latest attempt at wrapping… Haha it’s pretty sad. Bags are my best friends! But not Mamaw… She had everything wrapped perfectly with big, gorgeous bows on them, with perfect curls. The one thing she didn’t do was have a real tree which blows my mind, even now after all these years… I mean she worked around so many fresh and gorgeous flowers, you would think she would insist on a fresh and gorgeous tree. But no, she had a fake one and it was almost lifted off the ground with all the gifts underneath it. And there were Santa Clauses everywhere. They were her absolute favorite. When she died, my mom kept all of her Santa’s. Now we have at least a hundred Santa’s… Probably more and they are all over the place! There are skinny Santa’s and fat Santa’s and tall Santa’s and short Santa’s. They have long beards, short beards, long hair, short hair, red coats, blue coats, sleighs, and bags. They’re Victorian, Modern, and Classic. Every type of Santa you can imagine… We’ve got ’em!
 There are two things that always spell out Christmas for us. We can decorate and watch the movies and shop and wrap presents but there are two things that Mamaw ALWAYS did that made us get in the Christmas spirit. First, she made Wassail. Wassail, for those of you who don’t know, is a spiced, mulled cider. Not only is it delicious but when left on a stovetop simmering on low, it makes the whole house smell like Christmas. So… Here’s her recipe for Wassail…
1 gallon Apple cider,
1 qt orange juice,
1 qt pineapple juice,
1 cup lemon juice,
1 cup sugar,
24 whole cloves,
4 sticks cinnamon.
Mix all ingredients together in a boiler, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. You can add wine, brandy, sherry, or even mulled beer. You can also add some apple slices or orange rind. Now if you want the smell without the drink Mamaw’s favorite Christmas smell was as follows:
1 quart pineapple juice,
1 quart Apple cider,
1 quart water,
3 cinnamon sticks,
16 whole cloves,
1 tsp. allspice,
2 tsp pickling spice,
4 pieces ginger root.
Combine in a boiler, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Put this in an old pot you don’t use a lot. You probably won’t want to use it for anything else. You can also use one of those small crockpots used for potpourri. You can also put this in a mason jar or small bowl and light a floating tea candle in it if you don’t want to keep it on the stove all the time. Back in her day, they didn’t have Scentsy and Christmas scented candles… So this was her alternative. And boy does it smell good!
The second thing she did to make us really get into the Christmas spirit was make peppermint candy. She would buy these red and green peppermint chunks that she could only find at Wilson’s in Jackson, crunch them up even more with a hammer, sprinkle it in melted vanilla “bark”, and spoon it up like little pieces of peppermint heaven. It’s been a long time since we’ve had these. When Mamaw died it was hard for us to find the peppermint chunks and it made us miss her so much that for a long time we didn’t make them. We tried substitutes for them but they just didn’t taste the same. Recently, we found the peppermint chunks and this year we made them. When my brother walked in yesterday and saw them in my Christmas tin I thought that he was going to cry! He lifted the lid and took a deep breath and said, “I’m taking these home and you can’t stop me!” I was more than happy to oblige! This is what you’ll need:
Peppermint candy:
1/2 pkg. red and green peppermint chunks-I’ll tell you where you can find them below
2 pkgs. vanilla flavored almond bark
1 small hammer or mallet… As long as it’s clean!
Wax paper
Ok… I’ve found these peppermint chunks at Create a Cake here in Brandon off of Old Fannin Road. You can also search “red and green peppermint chunks” and find them on Amazon. Andes also makes some peppermint baking chunks but they’re not the same. Smash up the pieces with the hammer… They need to be pretty finely smashed. This makes the peppermint go further but it also makes the peppermint taste more mild and not so in your face! It’s also better for your teeth. 🙂 Lay out a long sheet of wax paper. Melt the bark in the microwave at 30 second intervals. Just melt one package at a time. The good thing about this bark is that you can use the little pan it comes in to melt it and stir in the peppermint, so clean up is a snap. Once the bark is melted, add in the peppermint a little at a time, it takes about a cup of peppermint per package of bark…stir as you go.
 IMG_4022  IMG_4027
Once it looks like this:
You can start spooning it onto the wax paper. Give it a few minutes to dry and then you’ll have heavenly goodness for days!
Even though these are some of my favorites from Christmas holidays past, there are plenty more! I also love Sausage Balls, White Chocolate Dipped Ritz Crackers, and Oyster Crackers!! We buy little Christmas tins at Hobby Lobby… They’re usually 50% off at Christmas… Sometimes 60% right before and maybe a little more right after! We fill the tins with all these treats and snack on them during Christmas and when we take our family trip to the ranch after Christmas!
   A family favorite is probably the easiest… White Chocolate Ritz. It’s so simple and easy to make and every one goes crazy over them. We probably go through about 4 boxes of the mini peanut butter ritz every Christmas, if not more! This is what you’ll need!
White Chocolate Dipped Ritz:
1 box Bite Size Peanut Butter Ritz,
1 pkg. vanilla flavored almond bark,
Wax paper.
Now let me start this off by saying one thing. I know that you’ll want to try it with white chocolate chips. I know that you will because even though I’ve been told and even though I’ve done it before and it didn’t work out right, I tried again this year. And it didn’t work out right. Again. So just do yourself a favor and get the almond bark. If you can’t find it (I couldn’t which is the reason I just tried the regular white chocolate) wait until you can find it. It’s just easier and cheaper that way. Again, you can leave the bark in the container it comes in, take off the plastic, and put it in the microwave. 30 seconds and stir, 30 seconds and stir, 20 seconds and stir. Lay out some wax paper. Then add in the Ritz, a few at a time. Using a fork, roll the Ritz around, then pick it up and set it on the wax paper to dry. If the chocolate hardens before you’re done with it, just stick it back in the microwave for 10 or 15 seconds. Once they’re dry just pull them off the wax paper and put them in a tin.
While that’s a family favorite, my brother and I love, love, love Oyster Crackers! They’re simple and easy too and they go a long way! While I don’t remember Mamaw making them a lot, I do remember her making them every now and then. And then I remember my sister making them and me falling in love with them all over again. So I got the recipe and now, it’s not Christmas without them. If I could, I would eat a whole box in one sitting 🙂 they’re amazing!
Hidden Valley Oyster Crackers:
1 16oz box plain oyster crackers,
2 pkgs Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix,
Garlic powder, dill weed, and white pepper to taste,
1 cup vegetable oil,
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil.
Combine all the ingredients except the oyster crackers. Whisk them together thoroughly. Line a cookie sheet with wax paper. Spread the oyster crackers out in a single layer. Pour the oil mixture over the crackers evenly and stir allowing the oil to coat all the crackers. Bake at 300 degrees for 15-20 minutes. You may want to check on them every 7-10 minutes and stir to make sure the bottoms don’t burn. Allow to cool and then place in a tin!
Sausage balls… My personal favorite! My dad likes them… My mom will eat them… Everyone else will snack on them if they’re around… But me? I devour them! Why? Because it’s sausage, and cheese, and biscuit and it’s amazing!!!! Hmm… Maybe I should blow off this blog to eat some really quick…. Anyways… They’re really easy but they can be kind of messy so don’t say I didn’t warn you! Mamaw always said that you could only use Jimmy Dean Sausage and I did try it with another brand. The taste was the same but they were very greasy. So it’s up to you what brand you use! She also used Coon’s Brand cheese or Coon Hunters cheese or something like that and I can never find it in the grocery so I just use Kroger brand Sharp Cheddar.
Jimmy Dean Sausage Balls:
2 pkgs. Jimmy Dean Sausage,
4 cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese,
1 medium onion,
1 tsp garlic salt.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Chop the onion very finely… I use a food processor. I also buy the blocks of cheddar and grate it myself. You don’t have to but I feel like it melts better. Now mix all the ingredients together… Don’t cook the sausage first! I use my hands because it’s easier. Once it’s all blended together fully, form the ingredients into balls. Place them on an ungreased pan and bake for 15 minutes. You may want to line the pan with wax paper. The cheese melts and can make a mess on your pans and that’s a pain to scrub off! Once they’re cooled you can take them off the pan and put them in the tin! Yum! Now I’m seriously ready for some more food! And I believe we have enough of it!
 I’ll be sitting down to give y’all some yummy recipes for the New Year and maybe some more Christmas recipes if I can find a little extra time! I have to bake cookies and watch A Christmas Story with my nieces and nephews, then I’ll be trading Christmas gifts with my best friend in the world, then it’s Christmas Eve with my brother and his girls. THEN, it’s Christmas for the Hall house! And at some point, I’ll have to see my Bella girl again before I leave for a long eight days at the J Bar S ranch in southwest Texas…If not… I hope y’all have a very Merry Christmas! I know I sure will!!

A real meal before all the sweet Christmas treats coming your way!

Hey ya’ll! It’s that time of year again! The most wonderful time of the year!! CHRISTMAS!!! It’s time for white chocolate covered Ritz, oyster crackers, boiled cookies, fruitcake, cornflake candy, and all the goodies that we never make except for at Christmas. It’s time for hot chocolate, Christmas cookies, cookie swaps, Home Alone, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Story, and Christmas lights. It’s time for family and friends, Christmas vacations, hunting trips, and Christmas parties! It’s CHRISTMAS! I’m so excited! I can’t wait! I know we have lots of junky sweets coming up and I totally don’t need it which is why I’ve already ordered my next Advocare 24 Day Challenge to start the day that my family and I get back from our annual family hunting trip in Texas! But, in the meantime, I’ve got plans to make tons and tons of food. I’ll make my mamaw’s famous icebox fruitcake, boiled cookies, chocolate dipped peanut butter Ritz, cornflake candy, toffee bars, Ranch oyster crackers, Wassail, sausage balls, and lots and lots of other stuff!!! I know… you’re thinking, “Did she just say FRUITCAKE?!?!?” Why, yes I did, missy or mister because I love me some fruitcake! I’m going to be making some pretty easy dinners, if I make dinner at all, considering I’ve got so much going on! So I figured I would give ya’ll one more good, real meal before I start posting about Christmas food. I’ll probably make some chicken and dumplins one night and maybe a roast but I’m going to be posting about a lot of Christmas stuff so get ready!

Since we last spoke, I had a successful deer hunt with my dad and killed my biggest deer to date. I’ve sold a couple of houses, had some new clients, and done A LOT of online shopping! We’ve also had our office Christmas party where we were surprised by Front Gate with a CRUISE to Cozumel! I’m so excited and I just can’t wait! We’re going to have so much fun! We’ve also added a lot of people to our office over the past couple of months and I’m so excited to be able to spend some quality time with all of my co workers and get to know them better!! We are truly blessed to work for such a wonderful, generous, and supportive company!

my nebraska deer daddy's nebraska deer

These pictures sure don’t do the size of the deer justice! They were like small pony’s with huge racks!

cruisin to cozumel Merry Christmas ya Filthy Animal Front Gate Crew

Since I’ve been so busy, I’ve been eating out a lot! You know that means I have to give a little shout out to some awesome restaurants around here! I think I’ve mentioned that I love going to Canton on Friday nights and enjoying a humongous 22 oz. ribeye with sides for only $22.50 at Ratliff Ferry Trading Post. They have other stuff too but the steak is truly outrageous! It’s the best steak I’ve ever eaten and that’s including my own! And you know I think all of my food is better than anyone else’s so you know I’m telling the truth! Plus it’s a great price and they have alcohol so ya’ really just can’t beat it! 🙂 The owner also asked me to mention how sexy he is but I’ll let ya’ll make that decision for yourself 😉 I also had a divine pizza at the fabulous Pizza Shack recently that will knock your socks off! The Pizza Shack has been voted Best Pizza in Jackson for a couple of years now and it’s definitely worth it! I can’t forget though to tell you that my cousin’s husband just opened up a restaurant that I’m dying to try out called Lou’s Full-Serv… it’s been met with rave reviews from people all over the state and I can’t wait to make a trip over to see for myself.

Ratliff Ribeye  pizza shack pizza

As good as all of these places are though, there aren’t many that are better than a good old home cooked meal! Which brings me to the glorious food I have prepared for ya’ll’s reading pleasure! My very first time I went to Longhorn Steakhouse, I ordered chicken. Yep… chicken at a steakhouse… such a horror! But I will not ever regret it and neither will you my friends; because, I fell in love with the chicken and had to make it for myself at home! I fiddled around with ideas, looked stuff up online, and went back to have a second tasting of this heavenly chicken. I finally settled on a recipe and made it with bated breath for my family. Then I realized that as rich as it was I would only make it once a year on special occasions. It’s not hard, in fact it is very easy to make; however, it’s alfredo sauce covered chicken with a ton of cheese on top! 🙂 And you have to serve it with mashed potatoes and just so you don’t feel too guilty at least with one green veggie! Haha it’s worth it though for just one bite of heaven!

Now, this isn’t their exact recipe, only my version of it, but it’s really close! The recipe is really good for 5 or 6 chicken breasts but I never measure when I make the sauce so I always have some left over. In that case, I add the extra sauce to my mashed potatoes… wicked, I know, but DELICIOUS!!! 🙂 You’ll see 😉

Creamy Parmesan Chicken:

4-6 Chicken Breasts-boneless, skinless,

1 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream,

1 stick butter,

6 oz. parmesan cheese,

1 cup shredded mozzerlla cheese,

1 cup shredded pepper jack or Monterey jack cheese,

Garlic salt, ground black pepper, Tony Chachere’s.

Place the butter in a medium saucepan and melt over medium heat. Once it’s melted, remove from heat and slowly add the whipping cream. It’s really important to do this slowly or your cream will curdle. You have to introduce the cream to the heat as carefully as possible. Place back over the heat and bring it to a boil. Add 4 oz. parmesan cheese and seasonings and stir occasionally until the sauce is thick. Just make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. This is pure deliciousness. Don’t worry about how much seasoning you add. Just taste as you go and make sure that it’s as tasty as you want! While that’s thickening, place the chicken in the bottom of a casserole dish. Once the sauce is thick, pour the sauce on top of the chicken.

alfredo alfredo 2 Parmasan chicken

Now, just sprinkle the rest of the parmesan and other cheeses on top. Don’t be afraid to add extra cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. Here’s the tricky part…. trying not to eat it until it cools!!

parmasan chicken 2 Creamy Parmasan Chicken

So the only thing that I can ever eat with this is mashed potatoes. I shouldn’t…. it’s so starchy…. but I LOVE IT!! (Did anyone else just read that in Ricky Bobby’s kids voices?) Showing my redneck side 🙂 Anyway…. this is how I use my extra parmesan sauce leftover from my chicken!

Parmesan Mashed Potatoes:

1 bag of fingerling potatoes,

the remaining sauce,

a little salt and pepper to taste.

Boil the potatoes in water. Once they’re fork tender, add the sauce, and mash thoroughly. I like mine kinda chunky, especially when I’m doing it by hand (because I’m lazy!). Once you’re happy with the consistency, add the salt and pepper. Stir again and serve! This doesn’t make a ton of mashed potatoes. Definitely enough for about 4 people though. I like to add some purple potatoes to this or some red potatoes. Red potatoes are sweeter and go really well with the heavy cream in the parmesan sauce.

Potatoes Parmasan Mashed potatoes

So, I tried something new with my green beans. I was trying to cook less and without all my kitchen equipment. I was at a friends house and only cooking for two. I baked them instead of cooking them in a skillet so it was different but good. I did the same thing that I normally do with a skillet just in a throw away baking dish. Green beans are a simple and delicious side. You don’t have to do too much with them, yet you can do so much with them. This is how I did it and I’ll put instructions for the skillet version in the instructions 🙂

Green Beans:

2 cans French style green beans,

1/2 small onion,

1/2 cup Kroger brand Oil & Vinegar dressing,

3 strips of bacon,

Salt and Black pepper to taste.

Drain the juice off of one of the cans, NOT BOTH!!! It needs to cook in some of it’s own juices! Pour both cans into the baking dish. Chop your onion and mix it into the green beans. Pour the dressing on it and mix it again. Layer the bacon on top and sprinkle on the salt and pepper. Bake it at 350 for about 20 minutes. Stirring occcassionally. Now, when I do it in the skillet, I cut my bacon strips into smaller chunks. My mom likes me to cook it first but I see it as an unnecessary extra step…. again, I’m lazy haha. I let it simmer in my skillet on medium heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. This serves 2 or 3 people large portions or 4 people smaller portions. If you use more than 3 cans though I recommend doing a whole onion. Also, this works for whole green beans, I just tend to like French style. You can also use one bag of frozen green beans or a good bunch of fresh. Don’t forget to cut off any stem of the fresh green beans though!!

Well I guess that’s all for now! I’m just about done with my Christmas candies and treats so I’ll probably be back with ya’ll on Saturday writing about chocolate covered ritz, sausage balls, oyster crackers, boiled cookies, cornflake candy, toffee bars, and my mamaw’s personal favorite….. peppermint candy 🙂 I can’t wait to share these recipes with ya’ll. They’re so near and dear to my heart and I know ya’ll will love them. I’ll also include some pictures of the awesome light displays I’ve been seeing all over town. Tomorrow is steak night at Ratliff Ferry and I hope to see some of ya’ll there…. if  not I guess it’s just your loss 🙂 Ya’ll have a good night and check back in a couple of days!!






Happy Thanksgiving!!

Hey ya’ll! It’s that time of year again! Time for turkeys, dressing, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, pecan pies, and shopping. Oh, and family too. 🙂 And football…. and hunting… and the list goes on and on and on and on. Around our house, Thanksgiving is a little different. My dad usually is out of town. I know… when is he home?!? He and a friend own a ranch in Southwest Texas and every year, his business partner brings his family out to the ranch. My dad takes them hunting and hires someone to cook for them and I usually send a little something for them as well. We usually either celebrate the weekend before or the weekend after with my dad and the day of with whoever wants to come. And we always have too much food but that’s pretty much par for the course at our house!

This time of year is always difficult for us though. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a wonderful time of year. It’s cold, there’s plenty of hunting to do, plenty of football to watch, lots of yummy food, Christmas is around the corner. But, it was my Mamaw and Papaw’s favorite time of year too and we always miss them so much. Mamaw’s favorite thing to do was go to the Bellringer sale on Black Friday. And Papaw would gorge himself on food and football until time for bed. My mom and my mamaw would stay up until midnight cooking and then wake up at 8 and start again. Now, my mom makes the dressing while I make pretty much everything else and she cleans up after me. Haha, she’s gonna kill me for saying that. It’s not that she doesn’t help. Believe me she does. I’m just a tornado in the kitchen. I run around mixing and chopping, pouring and measuring, stirring and shoving things in the oven. Mama comes in behind me adjusting temperatures (which drives me crazy and used to drive her crazy when Mamaw did it), wiping countertops, throwing stuff away, and mixing up the most amazing dressing that you have ever put in your mouth. We’re always about an hour late with lunch, we eat in about 15 minutes, then are too full and too tired to clean up until about 8 p.m. My mom usually starts decorating for Christmas while I put my feet up and take a Tylenol! And before you ask… No, I never help my mom with the Christmas decorations. I value my life and my time too much 🙂 she likes everything a certain way and I know that it would end up taking more time for me to help her than it would save her! So, what do ya’ll do on Thanksgiving?

Since it’s not Thanksgiving just yet, I don’t have any pictures for ya’ll but I do have some great recipes. Our typical Thanksgiving meal consists of the classics. Turkey, Ham, cornbread dressing, green bean casserole, macaroni and cheese, sweet potato pie, caramel pie, and pecan pie. I know, Hello Starchy Goodness! Since we cook a lot of these things for Thanksgiving & Christmas, I’m only going to give ya’ll some of the recipes. I’ll give ya’ll the rest for Christmas! I’m going to give you the super, duper simple recipe for my mom’s Turkey. The best cornbread dressing in the world, creamy and cheesy macaroni and cheese, and a yummy caramel pie. Go get those fat pants on! You’ll probably need them after this meal 🙂 First things first, we’ll start with the dressing. The dressing probably takes the longest time to make but it’s definitely worth every stinkin’ minute of it! First, you’ve got to decide if you’re going to put celery in it. I don’t mind the celery but my mom HATES it. So, she never puts it in there. If you want to put it in there it’ll be perfectly fine… Also, you need to decide on how much you’re going to need. We always make a TON! But, I’ll give you the smaller version. Start with your cornbread. I’ll give ya’ll the link for that recipe here too. Now, my mom likes to use the broth from the turkey to make it nice and moist. She also shreds some turkey up in it. If you want to make it the night before and you don’t have the turkey ready you can boil some bone in chicken with a little butter and salt. Pull some of the chicken off the bone and use the broth that you’ve created. Something really important to keep in mind is that this is not an exact science. The dressing is going to be good no matter what but a lot of this is based on preference. Anyway, back to the recipe. Here it is!

Mama’s Cornbread Dressing:

2 pans of Papaw’s cornbread– this recipe is for one pan, my mom usually doubles it and adds one onion and one can of corn to this recipe for dressing,

1 medium onion (2 if you don’t add it to your cornbread),

3 green onions,

1 can cream of chicken soup,

1 can cream of celery soup,

3/4 cup shredded turkey or chicken,

2 raw eggs (you can boil these too),

1 stick butter,

a couple dashes of salt,

Lots of broth and ground black pepper.

Start by making your cornbread. Let it cool while your chopping your onions, green onions, shredding chicken or turkey, and boiling your eggs if you want to boil them. Also, chop your celery if you want it. 2 or 3 stalks should do it. Once your cornbread is done, dump it into a big bowl and let it cool. Once it’s cooled, crumble it all up. Add the onions, green onions, cream of chicken, cream of celery, eggs, turkey, pepper, salt, and butter. It’s going to be hard to stir so while you’re adding all of that stuff, add the broth, a little at a time until it’s easy to stir. It needs to be about the same consistency as pancake batter. You don’t want it too soupy but if it’s too dry it won’t be good either. Keep in mind that when you put it in the oven it’ll be thin like pancake batter; but, when you pull it out it’ll be stiff like a cake. That broth will keep it moist but a lot of it soaks into the bread. You’ll bake it at 425 degrees for about 45 minutes. This is really versatile. You can use regular bread if you want but there’s just nothing like cornbread dressing! You can also add cheese or use a cornbread mix. You can use a rotisserie chicken and canned broth. Hard boiled eggs, raw eggs, cream of mushroom soup, less broth, more broth, sausage instead of turkey or chicken, mushrooms. The possibilities are endless! It’s pretty hard to screw this up! It’s pretty darn delicious and you’ll think me for it sometime! 🙂

Next up is the turkey. We like to put our turkey in the oven right before bed and let it cook until over night. This allows us time to carve it and get some little pieces and that broth for our dressing. It also frees up our oven for later! Now, raw turkey is pretty much disgusting. There’s no way around saying that. Putting your hand inside a dead, naked, raw, and slimy bird and pulling out it’s gizzards is absolutely the least fun of the whole Thanksgiving cooking experience. So let’s just get that out in the open right now. That being said, it’s also one of the easiest things you’ll make too. My mom will tell you that simpler is better. She doesn’t like the thing I’m about to tell you to do to this bird. She hates it in fact, but I think it makes it juicier. Which is difficult, turkey is very lean. You have to add a good bit of fat to it so it’s not too dry. I like to inject mine with Tony Chachere’s Injectable Butter. There are some flavors that are specifically for turkey and chicken but I just use the original. Mama says that I should just put butter under the skin of the turkey and on the outside. Anyways, this is how I like it!

Roasted Turkey:

1 large, raw, nasty Turkey 🙂

1 stick of butter,

1 jar of Tony’s injectable butter,

Salt, pepper, garlic powder.

Let the Turkey thaw for a couple days if its frozen. Cut the packaging off and wash it under warm water. Stick your hand all up in there (cringe) and pull out the gizzard bag. Throw that disgusting little bag away as quickly as possible. Let the stick of butter get really soft. Once it’s softened, rub the butter all over the outside and under the skin flap on the breast of the turkey. Take the needle off the injector, shake the butter, and fill the needle. Inject it strategically all over the turkey except for in the legs and wings. When you feel like there’s enough inside the turkey, pour the rest over the outside of the turkey. Now sprinkle generously with salt, garlic powder, and pepper. Roast according to directions on the packaging. It’s really easy even if it is quite disgusting. I like fried turkey too but these men around here won’t do it and I’m too busy in the kitchen to do it myself. Believe me, I would if I had time! I guess we need to have a talk with these lazy men around here! Mmmhmm Chance Hall…. 🙂 Haha, seriously though, Chance does smoke turkey sometimes and when he does that we usually just make a turkey breast in the crockpot for the dressing.

Macaroni and Cheese. Oh Macaroni and Cheese. The most delicious food ever invented. Creamy and cheesy and yummy. One of my favorite comfort foods. I used to love boxed macaroni. I loved the Velveeta Shells. And then, I ran out of the boxed stuff when I needed it the most. So, I invented this recipe and the rest is history. I like lots of cheese. Creamy velveeta mixed with cream cheese and sharp cheddar. MMMMMM!! Fabulous! I also do this in my Dutch oven, but you can do it in the crock pot or just in a regular casserole dish. But, the most important thing is the noodles. You can do whatever you want! You can have bow tie noodles, shells, egg noodles, rotini, penne… whatever you like! Also, it’s very important that your noodles taste good. The base of macaroni and cheese is the macaroni after all. So I flavor my water with… what else? Garlic salt… it’s seeping out of my pores by now, I’m sure!

Creamy, Dutch Oven Macaroni & Cheese

1 pkg. large elbow macaroni noodles,

1/4 cup butter,

8 oz. cream cheese,

15 oz. Velveeta,

2 cups sharp cheddar,

1/2 cup heavy cream,

1/2 tsp garlic salt,

Ground black pepper and salt to taste.

Boil the noodles with the garlic salt and butter. While they’re boiling, cut the cheese up into cubes and put the heavy cream in a sauce pan with the Velveeta, cream cheese, and cheddar. Allow the cheese to melt and season with salt and pepper. Drain the noodles and add the cheese mixture to them. Since I make mine in my Dutch oven, I usually just put the lid on at this point, turn the heat to low, and keep a close eye on it until I’m ready to serve. You can sprinkle some more cheese on top, put it in the oven, sprinkle some bread crumbs over it, add cottage cheese. Add bacon… the epitome of goodness in this world! Go crazy! But honestly… how much better can mac and cheese be? It’s sure hard to screw it up!

Next up… Caramel Pie! It’s very easy and it’s very simple. I make a graham cracker crust from scratch but you don’t have to do that. It simple but I dress it up and it’s always an argument over who gets the first and last piece. There are variations on this recipe all over the place but this is the simplest and fastest

Caramel Pie:

1 Graham Cracker crust,

1 can sweetened condensed milk,

1 cup heavy whipping cream,

1 cup sugar,

1 cup chopped pecans,

1/4 cup butter,

a dash of salt.

First, put the unopened can of sweetened condensed milk in a boiler and cover it with water. Turn it on high and allow it to boil for two and a half hours, keep an eye on it and continue putting water in the boiler as it evaporates.  While that’s happening, make the crust from the link above… or from this link. Whip the heavy cream and sugar until it reaches a stiff peak. It’s best to use an electric or stand up mixer for this. Chop the pecans and lay them on a baking sheet.  Put small pats of butter in different places on the pecans. Sprinkle with salt. Bake at 375 degrees for 7 to 10 minutes. Once the sweetened condensed milk is done boiling, allow the cans to cool. Open the cans and you have made CARAMEL!! You’re welcome! 🙂 Pour the caramel into the shell. Make sure the caramel is completely cooled. Top with the whipped cream and sprinkle the toasted pecans over it. You can also top with some melted chocolate or chocolate chips. Even white chocolate. Or some regular sweetened condensed milk. Super easy and that is the best way to go for these big Thanksgiving meals!

I guess that’s all I have for ya’ll today! Hope you enjoy! If ya’ll have any questions feel free to ask! Make sure you hug your loved ones a little tighter, watch the football game a little longer, thank God for the little things, and eat a bunch of good food!! Have a Happy Thanksgiving!


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