No-fail Sugar Cream Pie

Sugar Cream Pie is truly a regional specialty.  I had never heard of one until I met Andy.  In case you missed the memo, both Andy and I started our lives in the Midwest.  He was born in Indiana, I was born in Illinois.

Even though Illinois and Indiana are so close to each other, this pie calls Indiana home, and most folks across the border have never heard of it.  Same with buckeye balls, I never heard of those before Andy either.

Some version of sugar cream pie was made by Andy’s Aunt Alice, but I have not been blessed with any recipes.  She was the pie baker for Andy’s grandmother’s restaurant, Elizabeth Parker’s in Richmond, Indiana.  Eventually she was the pie baker for Uncle Bill and Aunt Karen when they took over the restaurant.  Andy loved all of Alice’s pies, except perhaps chocolate.  He isn’t a chocolate fan.

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Chicken Chow Mein/Chop Suey

This recipe for chow mein is simple enough to make during the week. Some folks call this chop suey.  I make this dish at least once a month. I love it with jasmine rice, but white rice works too. I like everything about jasmine rice. The smell while it is cooking reminds me of popcorn. The taste is a little nuttier to me than white rice.

I generally have both kinds of rice in the pantry, but to me jasmine just pairs better with Asian cuisine. Unless of course, it’s Cheater Fried Rice, then it’s whatever kind of rice the manufacturer sticks in the bag.

Chow Mein is fairly versatile too. You can substitute or add just about any vegetable or protein. This is just a base recipe and I would encourage you to add your own spin to this. Any recipe of mine is usually just a good starting point. They tend to be a representation of how I like whatever recipe I have featured. Like a famous chef once said, “There are no food police.” It’s your kitchen, it’s your choice.

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Tomato Bread

Tomato Bread was only available at once restaurant back home and this was the place you named when asked where you wanted to go for dinner, your birthday, anniversary, or just for a get together. It was a hometown mainstay. The family that owned it, always made you feel like you were in their home as a guest. Perhaps we were, I believe one of the second generation owners lived upstairs. And we really were like old friends, the DH and I both grew up eating dinners there. Then we were older we started eating dinners there together.

There were some things that you just had to order with every meal, tomato bread and quesadilla. There was also their bread and cheeseballs that came out as soon as you sat down. I have not been able to recreate the cheeseball, nor the bread.

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Buttermilk Sugar Biscuits

Buttermilk-Cream-Biscuits-Body-2Biscuits in the south are a tradition and our buttermilk sugar biscuits is our version of the southern classic. It seems that every household in the deep south has their own special recipe for biscuits. Our house is no different. Nothing gives me more joy on a Saturday or Sunday morning than whipping up a batch of buttermilk sugar biscuits for breakfast.

My wife and I have worked on our own biscuit recipe for the past few years. We could always make a solid biscuit, but it was never exactly what we were looking for. We have tried traditional southern biscuit recipes, buttermilk biscuits, and cream biscuits. Cream biscuits were our jam for a while, but we finally came across a buttermilk biscuit recipe that was also the cat’s meow. We could never decide on which recipe to make for breakfast, so we combined them! Through experimentation, my wife and I were able to combine the best of both cream biscuits and buttermilk biscuits.

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Peanut Butter Icing

Peanut butter icing is another one of those recipes my mom made all the time. Originally, this post was supposed to be called chocolate cake with peanut butter icing. It is a comfort food for me. My mom was making this long before it was a trendy “new” idea.

One time, we went to my grandma’s house for a family dinner. We left the house in a rush and the chocolate cake with peanut butter icing got left behind. We were too close to Grandma’s and too late to retrieve it.

When we got home that evening, the cake was missing…….. Cakes don’t normally grow legs and walk through the front door.

Later the same evening, the cake was found in the family room, half eaten sitting next to the telephone. Phones were corded and rotary dial back then. Apparently, even thieves like this combination.

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Not Your Ordinary Strawberry Shortcake

My grandparents always had a vegetable garden. Not just a backyard garden, I swear they had at least half of an acre. When I was a kid I thought they had a farm instead of a garden. Planting season was a family affair in the spring. My grandparents had 6 children and 14 grandchildren. I recall heated conversations about which tomato plants needed to go in the ground and how many. I don’t know how many ever got planted, I just know there was enough for the entire family to get their fill. No summer meal was complete at anyone’s house without juicy ripe red or yellow tomatoes and hot buttered corn on the cob.

Planting weekend usually ended with a crappie fish fry. Except I don’t recall fish being fried, I remember grills being covered in small fish and the rush to get the little ones to cram pieces of white bread down their throats when they swallowed a bone. That was supposed to make sure no bones poked through their throats. Bless their little hearts.

The best part of their garden was the strawberries they would grow. I could never eat the fresh ones since I would break out into hives whenever I tried to eat them, any strawberry really. But once they had been macerated or frozen I could eat them. Lucky for me, their freezer was always full of frozen strawberries.

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Mini Blueberry Pie

Anyone who knows me, the real me, knows that I can’t just leave a recipe alone. It’s like an addiction. I add this, take away that, increase this and decrease that. Sometimes it’s successful, sometimes it is a complete disaster.

Yes, even food bloggers have bad hair days in the kitchen. Sometimes the bad hair day is literal when you create some great recipe only to find a hair taking a leisurely swim in your dish.

Once I even served general’s chicken and the DH was mortified, I had completely forgotten to put the sugar in. I even had the sugar canister near the stove. I carried it back to the pantry without another thought, until we ate it. Accidental kitchen disaster, but that was just nasty.

Mini-Blueberry-Pies-Feature

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“Too Cheesy” Macaroni and Cheese

Who doesn’t love a big helping of homemade macaroni and cheese? My spouse, that’s who. He likes the stuff from the box; powdered cheese, foil packet of cheese, any kind of cheese besides good old fashioned American cheese slices. Now don’t misunderstand, there is something to be said about the convenience of those blue boxes and I have cooked my share of them. I have also served up the frozen and refrigerated prepackaged varieties. I feel no shame.

But I prefer my macaroni and cheese the way my mom used to make it when she was in the cooking spirit. It is swimming in cheese, enough cheese that it gets called “too cheesy” in this house and rarely gets made anymore. I was excited to write this post because it gave me the excuse to make it for photos.

(Side note: while writing the recipe, I realize that the DH might actually be right, this might be too cheesy……. But please do not tell him he was right, I will never hear the end of it.)

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Boulevardier

A boulevardier is now my all time favorite mixed drink. When I was in college, I foolishly believed that mixed drinks were for girls. Boy was I wrong. As I get older I could care less about what other people think about my drink of choice at the bar. I have zero problems or ordering a cosmo in a group of grown adults. Who doesn’t love cranberry juice?! Real men drink whatever they want without being bothered by what other men or women think of them.

Anyways, I’m a fan of bourbon and bourbon mixed drinks. An old fashion or a whiskey sour were my default go-to drinks until I discovered the Boulevardier. This drink is typically composed of bourbon, campari, and sweet vermouth. Most recipes call for an ounce of each. I have also seen a lot of recipes call for 1.5 oz of bourbon, 1 oz of compari, and 1 oz of sweet vermouth. Well, I really like bourbon, so I go with 2 oz bourbon, 1 oz compari, and 1 oz sweet vermouth.

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Cinnamon Pie Crust Pinwheels aka Rollie Pollies

I heard it again today. Actually I didn’t hear anything, it was a text.

DD: How long do I bake these things.

Inner voice: What things?

Me: Huh?

DD: The roly things with pie crust.

Inner voice: Haven’t we talked about this at least a dozen times?

Me: “Until they look done.” I was driving and that was the best response I could give based on stoplight time – driving and texting is bad, bad, bad!

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