Friday, October 23, 2009

My Son of the South

I’m a southern girl. I was raised primarily in the mid-west (a perfectly wonderful place to grow up and be from, I might add) but our home was a southern home. My mother’s family is from the south and my daddy’s is from the mid-west and I have always believed that I grew up with the best of all possible worlds. When I moved to Alabama in 1986, it was as comfortable as an old shoe. I had come home.

My life in Alabama had some unpleasantness (that is how we southerners like to refer to lots of things…including what some textbooks call the Civil War) and within a decade, I found myself the single mother of a son going off to college and a teenaged daughter. I was unprepared for such a life, but I put on my big-girl panties and pulled from my strong Midwestern resolve and my Rebel pride and decided that some unpleasantness was NOT going to ruin my life.

Little did I know what God had in my path, just around the bend. Earlier this week, I shared about my first kiss with Ed, on a chilly Sunday evening. I’m not kidding at all when I tell you that my heart skips a beat after more than a few years just thinking about that slow, sweet first kiss.

I suppose I should just go ahead and confess that the person involved in the unpleasantness was a Yankee. Yes, believe it or not, my first marriage was a mixed one. A Southern/Midwestern girl married to a Massachusetts Yankee. He pahked his cahr in the yahd. Everything he did, he did intensely and most of it quickly. He walked fast, he thought quickly and he talked fast. He kept my little ole head spinning at times.It was an interesting time that ended up, as I said, unpleasantly.

One of my prayers at the end of that marriage and the beginning of the rest of my life was that if God had another mate for me, could he please, Please, PLEASE be a Southerner? You know what? God really does answer prayers, and sometimes He answers in spades. The deliverer of that sweetest of first kisses is now the love of my life and the man of my dreams. Also the answer to my prayers, as he was born in Macon, Georgia (doesn’t get any more Southern than that, I tell ya!) and lived in Memphis, Tennessee from the time he was 12 until he graduated from college. I am happily ever after-ing in the Camelot subdivision with a true Son of the South! Seriously a Southerner!

His Mother doesn’t care much about cooking, and I don’t think I’m talking out of turn, because she says the same thing. Neither did her mother. But, I’m told that his paternal grandmother, Ma, was an exceptional southern cook. And he sure does love him some Southern Cooking. I’m going to share one of his favorites with you, because you just might have a Son of the South that you’d like to please. The recipe below is for Pecan Tarts. The first bite will make you hear the soaring ovation from ‘Gone With the Wind’. You just want to eat them slow and savor all the goodness.

Go ahead…try it. And, y’all come back, ya hear?

~ Mollianne

Pecan Tarts

3 whole eggs

1 cup white corn syrup

1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup sugar

¼ cup melted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

16 tart shells (from the frozen foods section at the Piggly Wiggly, y’all!)

Mix all ingredients well for about 2 minutes with a mixer. Pour into raw tart shells and cook very slowly at 300 degrees for 45-50 minutes.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Apples, Apples, Apples

Photo by scrumpyboy

Is there anything quite as good on a cool fall day as the crunchy sound a crisp, tart apple makes and the rush of liquid sunshine into your mouth as you taste its tart sweetness? Maybe a thing or two, but I think that apples are one of the most delicious gifts of fall. I wonder sometimes if the appeal of the apple had anything to do with Eve’s decision to take that first bite? I’ll have to admit that on more than one occasion, something made with apples has deterred my diet plans. I could sure use a caramel apple made in Mother’s kitchen about now.

I spent the autumn of 1981 in Syracuse, NY. I was a military wife at that time, and we were stationed at Hancock Field. It was a magical fall, with all of the northern colors of leaves and many quaint places to explore. My ex-husband worked shift work and was often home during the daytime and we would pack up the little car with the children and just drive.

One afternoon, we came upon an apple orchard that had a little stand in front where they were selling apples. We bought a bag and stuck up a conversation with the man who owned the orchard. He asked if we would like to see what he had in the barn behind the stand. Curious, we said of course we would. He had a very old cider press, and was actually making cider. He invited us to put a cup under the spout and have a taste. I have never had a beverage that was more satisfying. Fresh from the press, that cider was the stuff that dreams are surely made of. It was like a 4th of July explosion in my mouth. Of course, we bought a gallon, and were quite disappointed that it was empty by the time we got home.

We became very regular customers of that apple orchard that fall. We learned to take our own containers, and stock up, because we almost always emptied one container by the time we arrived back at home.

What precious memories of a fun time. I can close my eyes and see that old stand and barn at the orchard. I have spent years trying to recapture the taste of that freshly pressed cider…and nothing ever lives up to the mark.

My, oh my! I do love apples and apple cider. Below is the most amazing apple cake I have ever had. Another staple at my house in the fall, this is one that is sure to please anybody with a sweet tooth.

Hoping that today, you will find delight in an apple!


Fresh Apple Cake with Caramel Frosting

1 ½ cups salad oil

2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp salt

1 tsp soda

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla

2 ½ cups flour

1 cup pecans

3 cups chopped raw apples

Prepare raw apples and set aside. Measure salad oil into large mixing bowl. Add sugar and eggs. Beat until creamy on low speed with electric mixer. Sift flour with salt, soda and baking powder. Add a small amount of flour at a time to the creamed mixture. Beat well after each addition. When all the flour has been added, or when batter becomes very stiff, remove electric mixer. Fold in chopped pecans and chopped apples. Spread evenly into a 9 x 13 inch pan (or 2 9 inch pans) lined with wax paper.

Bake at 350 degrees for 55 or 60 minutes. turn onto cake rack, remove wax paper, cool and frost.

The apples should be tart and crisp for this recipe.

Caramel Icing

½ cup butter

1 cup brown sugar

¼ cup milk

1 box powdered sugar

Cook butter and sugar together until well blended. Add ¼ cup milk and one box of powdered sugar. Mix and add just enough to spread.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wonderful Wednesdays

I like Wednesdays. Wednesday is the day that reminds me that anything meaningful I want to do this week better get done, and also that the weekend is coming if I can just hang on. I work in a large church and Wednesdays are our busy day. There is always lots of activity in the building on Wednesdays. We host a Wednesday Night Supper, so there is always a wonderful blend of fragrances in the hallway as our chef prepares the meal. Mmmmm!

Three of my co-workers and I share a meal at lunch every Wednesday. We take turns preparing for each other. It has been a delightful experience for us. We have a bit of down time in a busy day. We don’t grab fast food. We have tried (notice I say tried) to have healthy food. Everything about the experience has been good. I thought I would share with you today a recipe that I’m going to make the next time it is my turn. With the cooler weather, my thoughts have turned to soup, and this one is a dandy.

Happy Wednesday to you!


Southwest Chicken Soup - in the Crock pot

Put: 2 pounds chicken (I know people who buy rotisserie chicken from the store, but I just get a few breasts and thighs and bake them the night before) cut into bit size pieces in the Crock pot.

Add: 1 package dry ranch dressing mix and 2 packages of taco seasoning and mix with the meat.


1 chopped onion

1 can of black beans, drained

1 can kidney beans, drained

1 can pinto beans, drained

1 can shoepeg corn, drained

1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes with chilies

1 can diced tomatoes

2 cups water

2-3 cans chicken broth (depending on how soup-y you want it)

Simmer for 2 hours or longer on low.

Garnish with sour cream, cheese, tortillas strips or chips, cilantro, etc.

For more great Works for Me Wednesday ideas, check out We are THAT Family!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Did I mention that I love this time of year?

Image from

It is another glorious autumn day here in the Heart of Dixie and as I looked out my bedroom window this morning, I saw some exciting changes of color in my yard.
Once again, my cheeks were cool and the air was crisp as I walked to the car. The hymn “For the Beauty of the Earth” has been in my heart and on my lips all day long.

It is just the sort of day that makes me so grateful for the senses of sight, smell, and touch. There is a glory in the colors as they change delight my eyes. The fragrance of apples and cinnamon and pumpkins is such a treat. The feel of a leaf that I pick up to examine is luxurious.

Today, I want to celebrate God’s bounty and share with you a wonderful recipe that satisfies my senses of sight, smell and touch. May you ‘taste and see that God is good’ today.


Fried Apples (from Cracker Barrel)

6 tart apples, sliced

1 tsp Lemon juice

¼ cup Bacon drippings

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/8 tsp. salt

1 tsp. Cinnamon

1 dash nutmeg

In a large skillet, melt bacon drippings. Pour apples evenly over skillet bottom. Sprinkle lemon juice over them, then brown sugar, then salt. Cover and cook over low heat for 15 minutes until apples are tender and juicy. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg.

(You won’t be sorry you made these…I promise!)

Monday, October 19, 2009

It's Here

Photo by elbfoto

Autumn is here.

Really, truly here and I LOVE it!

While some, including my darling husband, find that Autumn is the prelude to winter, cold and darkness, I find that I come alive and am at my best when the morning air is crisp and my cheeks are cool. I love the colors of autumn. I love the smells and the food and the gathering of family and friends to watch football, go trick or treating. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. The food is great, the expectations and obligations are much less than that of Christmas and there is something so wonderful about a day to eat and be thankful for all of God’s bounty. I love that Columbus Day is a holiday for me and I almost always do something just for me on that day! I love that we honor our Veterans in the autumn (another day off for me). I fell in love with Ed in the autumn and every year, I get that catch in my throat and remember the first sweet kiss that happened on a chilly Sunday evening. It really is my favorite time of year.

In honor of the fact that I wore my boots and a wrap to church this past Sunday morning so I’d be warm, I would like to share one of my all time favorite autumn recipes with you. It is a tradition in my home and as long as I am able, I will celebrate the first cool days with gingerbread. Whenever possible, I have a piece with apple cider, fresh if I can get it, and heated if at all possible! Autumn Blessings to you, each and all!

~ Mollianne


½ cup oil

1 cup sugar

½ tsp. salt

3 tblsp. molasses

1 egg

2 cups flour

½ tsp. ginger

1 tsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. nutmeg

¾ tsp. baking soda

1 ¼ cup buttermilk

Beat the first four ingredients together. Add the egg and beat again, till smooth. In a separate bowl, combine the flour with spices and soda. Add flour mixture to first mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating after each addition.

Bake in a greased and floured baking dish (or use muffin tins…my favorite way to eat them) at 375 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Happy Birthday, Charlotte!

This week, on October 8, 2009, I turned 76 years old. I am truly, honestly and completely a senior citizen. Even I think I am one! Oh, my! Wonder how I am supposed to feel: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually? I believe I’ll just have a look at me through my 76 year old eyes and take an inventory. That way, maybe (just maybe, mind you) I’ll find out how I’m supposed to ‘be’ and ‘feel’.

Physically: Yes, I have 2 artificial knees, but I walk…really walk (fast and far says her daughter) most everyday. Ol’ arthritis dwells within me, in various and sundry places—well, really most everywhere he can get! Got thinning bones…so what? I’m doing what I can for that. I wash, iron (yep! I still iron most everything), clean house make many, many trips up and down the stairs, do a little (very little) yard work, and oh…yes! I shop some. Not bad, I guess. I rode a bicycle with my great-grandchildren last year. Not very far, mind you, but I rode that bike! So, for someone my age, I suppose I would earn a passing grade.

Mentally: I forget. I put things away so I’ll know where they are and forget where I put them. I go upstairs for something, see something else that needs to be done and forget why I went upstairs. I still read a lot, do games on the computer, watch TV (but that doesn’t take mental dexterity, does it?) and do crossword puzzles…so? I’m not as quick with the wisecracks as I once was. I cannot memorize things like I used to. That is where I am. Oh! Yes! I certainly am not up to Sean and Malcolm (great-grandsons) on the ‘Brain Age’ game, but since I received my very own Nintendo DS for my birthday, along with the game, Brain Age, I bet I’ll catch up quickly!

Emotionally: Let me see…I find myself a bit sad more these days. Friends are ill, and some have gone home to Heaven. I am the like the older generations past, I find that I despair for the world. Seems to me like it is ‘going to hell in a hand- basket.’ I heard that when I was young. The old folks felt the same way back then. I still laugh a lot. I see funny things every day. Our family is fun. I enjoy a good ‘chick flick’ as well as mystery and action/adventure movies. I am not yet immune to the charms of leading men like Mark Harmon, Pierce Brosnon, etc. Music still moves me. I love Gospel and 40’s music. I find my feet tapping in time to Glenn Miller’s “String of Pearls” and when Frankie croons, my 15 year old self ‘swoons’ still. Just a little like I did so long ago.

Spiritually: Most important, my relationship with my Lord. We grow much closer with every passing day. As I reflect over the past, I can see His Guiding and sadly, I see times when I was going my own way. For those times, I know I’m forgiven. You know, its true; Life in Christ is a growing life. It develops. How ‘bout that? 76 and growing! I feel it. I know that "I’m not what I want to be, not what I’m gonna be, but Thank God, I’m not what I was." My Lord still wants to use me and I still have the desire to be used.

The BEST! Our marriage: After 57+ years it is better than ever. Deeper! Stronger! I guess that saying about ‘Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be’ is true. Aches, pains, cancer, arthritis, surgeries, heart issues, a general slowing down…all this we experience together and that is a Good Thing. Goodness, what I though was love (and it was love) so many years ago is so much less than what love has grown to be today.

What is Love? Love is Bobbie and me.

Love is the air we breathe. The arms that hold, the eyes that reflect each other, the concern for welfare of each, tenderness of touch, shared memories and prayers, family that cares, the private times, the hands held, lips that kiss. Years of all of this and more. That is what Love is for me.

Okay! So I’m 76! I’m still a wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, friend…still me!

So, I happily say to myself, “Happy Birthday, Charlotte!”