Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Childress Thanksgiving

My grandmother was an amazing woman.  To begin with, her name was Laveda Texanna Childress.  She was smart, beautiful, funny, loving, compassionate, wise and an incredible cook.  I'm not sure where my family's love of cooking came from, but I like to think it began with her or her mother.  I learned to make my grandma's Chocolate Meringue Pie when I was eight years old.  And, to this day,  my cooking goal is to roll a pie crust like my grandmother did.  She would make the dough without seeming to touch it and then roll it up on the pin and lay it, perfectly, in the pie dish.  I still have no idea how she did it.

I miss her terribly.  Especially during the holidays.  But, I am thankful that the tradition of making her Sweet Potato Casserole, her ah-mazing stuffing, her Cranberry Freeze and her countless pie recipes carries her presence into my mom's sweet smelling kitchen and keeps us warm.

Sorry, this post didn't get up yesterday.  By now these recipes probably won't make it in your Thanksgiving arsenal.  But, they'll be here for you and I hope one day, when you make one, you'll think of sweet Laveda Texanna and how good cooking can keep memories alive!

Sweet Potato Casserole

6-8 baked sweet potatoes

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup canned milk

2 eggs

3/4 of a stick of butter

1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon


3/4 sticks of butter

1/2 cup of brown sugar

1/2 cup chopped pecans

3/4 cups of cornflake crumbles

Cook sweet potatoes in 400 degree oven until tender.  Cool.  Mix meat of sweet potatoes, sugar, eggs, and butter in a large mixing bowl and beat at medium speed until well blended.  Add milk, nutmeg and cinnamon, mix well.  Pour into baking dish and bake 35-45 minutes at 300 degrees.  Casserole should be set. (We sometimes make the casserole up to this point and then cover and freeze until Thanksgiving).

Melt butter, combine with brown sugar, chopped pecans and cornflake crumbs.  Spread on top of casserole  May be refrigerated at this point.

When ready to serve, bring to room temperature and bake, 10-20 minutes or until hot, at 350 degrees.

Cranberry Freeze

3 cups of cranberries (1 bag)

1 1/2 cups of sugar

1 small can (2/3 cup) of crushed pineapple, well drained

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1  8 oz. package cream cheese, softened

1 cup heavy cream, whipped

Combine cranberries and sugar in food processor.  Blend well.  Add pineapple, chopped pecans and cream cheese.  Blend well.  Fold into whipped cream.  Pour into a 6 1/2 cup ring mold.  Freeze.  Unmold on pretty platter.  Serve frozen.  

Grandmother's Pie Crust

1 stick of margarine (make sure it's cold)

1 cup of flour

3 tablespoons cold water

Cut the margarine and the flour together until mixture is the size of small peas.  Try not to overwork the dough.  Add the water and form into a ball.  If the dough gets too warm, wrap in saran and put into refrigerator until cool.  Roll out onto a piece of wax paper, sprinkled with flour into a circle; adding more flour as needed.  When the dough is the size of a pie plate inver the paper over the pie plate and gently peel of the dough.  Gently fit the dough down in the plate and crimp the edges.

The crust is ready to bake until golden brown in a 350 degree oven.

Pecan Pie

1 stick of butter

1 cup of light karo

1 cup of sugar

3 large eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 dash of salt

1 cup of chopped pecans or you can arrange whole pecans on top of the pie in a decorative pattern

9 inch unbaked pie crust

Melt butter in a small sauce pan until it is golden brown, do not burn.  Set aside and let cool.  In a large mixing bowl, add ingredients in order listed.  Stir.  Blend in browned butter.  Pour into the unbaked pie shell and bak at 425 for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 325 and bake for 40 minutes.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Turkey plans

Although this is not our feathered friend of the season, I thought this photo was simply lovely.  

How you  today?  I hope you are gearing up for a wonderful Thanksgiving feast this week.  I was telling my friend about our family's Cranberry Freeze recipe and became so giddy with excitement that I'm not sure I can wait a whole day to eat it.  It is so good.

I will say though, that every Thanksgiving I experience a strange phenomenon:  I usually spend the day cooking greatness with my mom and, by the time I sit down for Thanksgiving dinner, I'm not hungry!  And no, it can't be explained by my eating throughout the day.  Because I've made a conscious effort to not snack while preparing Thanksgiving goodness and my hunger strike still hits.

Don't worry though, it usually wears off 2-4 hours after the Thanksgiving meal.  With me around you won't have very many leftovers.  That's when I usually pig out.

Have a fantastic Tuesday.  Tomorrow I'll be posting a few family recipes and our Thanksgiving place settings! Can't wait!


Monday, November 22, 2010

chicken coop

I've wanted chickens ever since we moved out to Montgomery four years ago.  There are two issues with this desire though: my fear of finding a snake when reaching for eggs and the cost of building the chicken coop itself.  It seems like the chicken coop is always pushed to the bottom of the house project list.  Probably because the coop I have in mind includes a 25 foot concrete run.  And, when it comes down to it, pouring a concrete slab for a chicken coop just isn't a priority.

But, this chicken coop wouldn't require a slab.  Plus, it's adorable.

Maybe my speckled, blue eggs aren't that far away after all.

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