• Both of my grandmas were fantastic cooks.  Grandma Rayl was the epitome of a country cook--fried chicken, cubed steak with mashed potatoes & gravy, amazing pies and so on.  Grandma Milburn could do those things, too, but she really liked to entertain.  She had quite a knack for homemade candies.  She would make a lot of the things that take too muc...h patience for me to want to make, like toffee, divinity, from-scratch fudge and buttery caramels. 

    There are two of her candy recipes that I make almost every year--peanut brittle and this caramel corn.  Delicious!  Since World War II was a not-so-distant memory in the 1970s, Grandma's recipe calls for margarine, but I prefer using real butter.5 qts. popped popcorn, unpopped kernels removed as much as possible

    2 sticks butter

    1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

    2 c. brown sugar

    1/2 c. corn syrup

    1 tsp. baking soda

    Combine butter, cream of tartar, brown sugar and corn syrup in stockpot (non-stick if possible).  Bring to a boil and boil for five minutes ONLY. 

    Add baking soda.  Stir well.  It foams up high and is HOT so handle with care! 

    Pour over popcorn and mix thoroughly. 

    Spread on buttered cookie sheets and bake in 200 degree oven for one hour.  Stir with pancake turner occasionally. 

    Put on waxed paper and cool, then break into pieces.  Keeps well in airtight container.

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  • I wish you could see the look on my face as I contemplate the delightfulness of this recipe.  (Sigh.)  I hope you enjoy it as much as four-fifths of our family does.

    1 medium(ish) butternut squash (You can also use turban or hubbard.), baked and scooped from the pulp

    4 T. butter

    1 large onion, coarsely chopped


    1 bell pepper (any color), coarsely chopped

    1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped

    2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped

    1 jalapeno, seeded and coarsely chopped

    1/2 – 1 tsp. ground ginger

    4 c. chicken or turkey stock

    salt & pepper to taste

    1/2 c. cream, half-and-half or even whole milk

    toasted pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, toasted pecans or green onions for garnish

    In a large soup pot, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the onions, peppers, celery, carrots and ginger; saute for about 15 minutes or until onion is transparent.  Stir in the squash and stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about half an hour until all of the veggies are very soft.

    Let the soup cool until it can be put into a blender. Dividing if necessary, puree soup until smooth.  Return the mixture to the soup pot and stir in the cream.  Heat through, but do NOT boil.  Serve and enjoy!

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  • My husband’s aunt was the first person who made these for me, so these will always be “her” crackers in my mind.


    16-oz. pkg. oyster crackers



    ½ c. oil


    Mix crackers and oil until crackers are coated, then spread out on baking sheet.  Bake at 225 degrees for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.


    Combine the following in small bowl:


    1 pkt. ranch seasoning mix (I make my own; recipe is below.)


    ¾ tsp garlic powder


    2 t. dill weed


    Sprinkle seasoning mixture over crackers as soon as they come out of the oven.  Gently stir until well-coated.  Allow to cool on waxed

    paper or newspaper.




    Homemade Ranch Seasoning Mix


    ½ c. dry buttermilk


    1 tsp. dried dill weed


    1 ½ tsp. onion powder


    1 ½ tsp. salt


    ½ tsp. garlic powder


    ¼ tsp. ground pepper


    Put in small storage container and shake until well-blended.  To replace a packet of ranch dressing mix in any recipe, use one heaping tablespoon.

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  • As my sister-in-law, Cindy, says, "It's not fall until you've had apple cake". 


    ½ c. butter, softened



    2 eggs


    1 ¾ c. sugar


    2 c. flour


    1 tsp. cinnamon


    ½ tsp. salt


    1 tsp. baking soda


    1 tsp. nutmeg


    4 c. apples, peeled and sliced thin (I like tart apples for this.)


    ½ c. nuts (if desired)


    Cream butter, eggs and sugar and smooth.  

    Sift together dry ingredients and gradually add to creamed mixture.  Stir in apples and nuts. 

    Pour batter into greased 9x13 pan.  Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

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  • <p>Apple-Cranberry Salsa</p>


    Fall’s a comin’! 

    This recipe is perfect for a casual get-together, a healthy snack or even over your oatmeal for breakfast.


    2-3 apples, grated or chopped

    1 c. dried cranberries

    1-2 T. honey or maple syrup

    juice of one orange

    ½ t. cinnamon

    Mix and allow to sit for 15 minutes. 

    Eat with cinnamon tortilla chips, on your oatmeal or with a fork.

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  • Creamy Swiss Cheese Green Bean Casserole

    This is a great twist on an old favorite--without the canned soups.  Yum! 

    4 c. green beans, washed, snapped & blanched

    6 T. butter


    ¼ c. flour

    1 tsp. salt

    Black pepper to taste

    2 tsp. sugar

    2 c. sour cream

    1 tsp. ground mustard

    2 c. Swiss cheese, grated

    ½ c. cracker crumbs


    Preheat oven to 350 and spray 9” baking dish with cooking spray.


    Melt 4 T. butter in large saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in flour, salt, pepper, sugar and mustard, whisking continually until bubbles form. 


    Lower heat and stir in sour cream, whisking until thickened.  Fold in green beans until coated.


    Spread beans in baking dish and sprinkle evenly with cheese.  Melt remaining butter and toss with cracker crumbs; sprinkle over top of casserole.


    Bake for 20-25 minutes or until sauce is bubbling and crumbs are golden brown. 


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  • <p>Spicy Cheese Corn Casserole</p>

    You can definitely control the "heat" in this dish by using ingredients that appeal to your taste buds.  If I make this for my family, I keep it pretty mild with bell peppers.  If I were going to make it for some of my "spicy" friends (you know who you are...), I would use poblanos or even a little jalapeno.

    2 T. b...utter

    ¼ c. onion, chopped

    ¼ c. pepper, chopped

    1-2 T. adobo sauce

    2 T. flour

    2 ¼ c. whole milk

    2 tsp. sugar

    1 tsp. salt

    1 qt. sweet corn

    ¾ c. cheddar cheese, grated


    Preheat over to 350 and grease 9” baking dish.


    Melt butter over medium heat.  Add onion, pepper and adobo sauce, sautéing for about 2 minutes.


    Add flour and whisk until white bubbles form on vegetables.  Cook & stir flour for a couple of minutes.  Gradually add milk, then sugar and salt, whisking constantly.  Bring to a boil.


    Add corn and stir to blend.  Pour mixture in baking dish and sprinkle cheese over top.


    Bake for about 30 minutes of until casserole is bubbly.


    NOTE:  You can freeze this before baking!

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  • Zucchini Ravioli LasagnaAnother recipe from Angela that I'd like to try.  All of the comments are hers.

    This is the basic recipe I use, although I've never made it the same way twice.  The good news is this is very easy to customize.  This last time I halved it to make just one pan.  My family doesn't even like zucchini (except for me) and they love... this dish.

    2 large bags frozen ravioli

    4 large zucchini, cut up however you like

    1/2 onion, diced

    3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

    Olive oil

    Sea salt

    Fresh spinach, cut up (at least half the bag, maybe more)

    1 ½ jars tomato basil sauce

    16 oz. container low fat or fat free ricotta

    2 or 3 cups part-skim mozzarella, shredded

    Preheat oven to 375º.

    In a large pan, sauté the onion and garlic in a couple of Tbsp of olive oil until soft or however done you like it.  Add the spinach and sea salt and sauté a few more minutes until done.

    Boil zucchini in large pot for about 5 minutes.  Remove with slotted spoon onto paper towels to drain and allow to sit for a few minutes.  Add to onion/spinach/garlic mixture, combining well.

    Using the same water from the zucchini, boil the ravioli until done (or floating).  Drain and return to the pot.  Add the tomato basil sauce to the ravioli, mixing gently until heated through.  Then add the ricotta cheese and mix gently until well combined.

    In a large greased casserole dish, layer 1/3 of the zucchini and spinach mixture, followed by 1/3 of the ravioli, and 1/3 of the shredded mozzarella.  Repeat 2 more times and bake at 375º for 30 minutes.

    **If this is way too much for you, I would half the recipe, or simply divide into two smaller baking dishes and freeze one. It does make a lot!

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  • Zucchini Quiche

    This recipe comes from my college friend, Angela.  I can hardly wait to try it!

    3 cups shredded zucchini, drained


    4 eggs, lightly beaten

    1 cup bisquick (or alternative)

    1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

    2 oz swiss cheese, shredded

    1/4 cup cooking oil

    2 green onions, cut

    1 1/2 tsp dried dill weed

    Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients together; pour into greased pie dish. Bake for about 40-45 minutes or until knife/toothpick comes out clean. Let stand at least 10 minutes before serving (sometimes, depending on the wateriness of the zucchini it needs more time to solidify). 

    ** This freezes well (before baking).  Also, different cheeses work great - use what you like.  I usually use a different onion and omit the dill. Still awesome.

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  • Connie’s Dill Pickle Recipe


    This is by far my favorite dill pickle recipe.  Not only do the pickles taste good, but this recipe is QUICK—not needing hours (or days) of soaking and rinsing.  Plus, it comes from my friend, Connie, and I just really like her.



    To each QUART jar, add:


    ½ large carrot, cut in sticks (or 4 small carrots)

    3-5 cloves garlic

    Fresh large flower of dill (or ¼ tsp. each dill weed and dill seed)

    Cucumbers (sliced or speared)

    ¼ tsp. pickle crisp granules

    1 jalapeno (optional)


    For the brine, bring to a boil:

    1 qt. white vinegar

    2 qt. water

    2/3 c. pickling salt (or a little less)


    Pour hot brine over filled jars.

    Process in hot water bath for 12 minutes.


    Cool & store for three months before trying.

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