Cooking and Recipes

This is one of those recipes that has been in my recipe box for many years…along with the “Chocolate Pudding Cake” which is a post for another day.  No doubt, if you served this to my grown children, they’d remember it and smile…

There was one fresh large lemon perched on top of the red delicious apples in the fruit bowl yesterday and, in a flash, I knew just what I wanted to do with it.  This is a quick (well, except for separating the eggs and beating the egg whites but that’s an important step) and easy recipe.  It’s also delicious!  You could serve it with just a dollop of whipped cream if you’d like.  An 8″ square dish serves four generously.

Lemon Pudding Cake

4 extra large eggs (or 6 medium), separated

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

the grated zest (rind) of one large fresh lemon

1 tablespoon melted butter

1 & 1/4 cups white sugar

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 & 1/2 cups milk

Lightly spray 8″ square baking dish with vegetable spray such as Pam.  Set dish inside a 13″ x 9″ baking dish.  Bring enough water to boil to pour around 8″ baking dish.  Be careful not to get any water in the baking dish. 

Carefully separate the eggs.  Whisk the egg yolks.  Combine the egg yolks, lemon juice, lemon zest and melted butter.  Beat with electric mixer until thick and lemon colored.  Combine the sugar, flour and salt.  Add this dry mixture alternately with the milk to the yolk mixture – beating well after each addition.

Wash & dry the beaters & beat the egg white until stiff.  Combine the egg whites into the batter on low speed of electric mixer.  Pour batter into the baking dish (set inside the hot water dish – with hot water about 1/3 way up the sides of the pan.  You don’t want water in the dish.)

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for about 45 minutes.  There will be light, fluffy cake on the top & lemon pudding on the bottom!  Spoon into dessert dishes and enjoy…

The macho logger tree farmer has jury duty during the entire month of August.  The way it works here in this county is:  you are assigned a juror number and you must call after 6:00 p.m. each evening to find out if your number is expected to report to the courthouse the following morning.  On July 31, he called to learn that he had NO jury duty on August 1.  Last night he called to learn that he was expected to be there with bells on today.  He has not returned home yet.  I will be interested in hearing about the events of today.  In this small town with a low crime rate, I doubt it will be anything too serious.

After a day of sitting in a courtroom, I thought I would surprise him with a lemon angel food cake.  Granted, he would rather have a lemon meringue pie (he’s a pie lover) but there was a surplus of eggs thanks to our faithful chickens and so an angel food cake it was.  I love angel food cake.  It’s light and not too sweet.  This recipe has a hint of lemon with the lemon zest and lemon drizzle on top.

Now I just have to figure out what to do with all those yolks!


Lemon Angel Food Cake

2 cups sifted powdered sugar, divided

1 & 1/3 cups sifted all-purpose flour or cake flour

12 egg whites (about 1 & 1/2 cups)

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 & 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon pure lemon extract

grated zest of one large lemon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Do not grease the 10″ tube pan.  Just be sure the pan is clean and dry.

Combine 1/2 cup of the sugar with the flour, sift and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar and beat with an electric mixer on high until peaks are medium-firm.  With the mixer on medium speed, add the remaining 1 & 1/2 cups of sugar by sprinkling over the beaten egg whites.  Mix for a few minutes.  Beat in the vanilla, lemon extract and lemon zest – about one more minute.  Sift 1/4 of the flour mixture over the egg whites and fold it in gently with a rubber spatula.  Continue gradually adding the remainder of the flour/sugar mixture and folding gently until it is all blended.

Pour the batter into the ungreased tube pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the cake is golden and springs back to the touch.  Remove from oven and invert the pan on to cooling rack until cool.

If you’d like a lemon icing to drizzle on top, just combine the juice of 1/2 lemon with enough powdered sugar to make a good drizzle consistency.


There are some days that I’m just “in the mood to cook”.  Today was one of those days.  Dinner was a salad from the garden, a delicious, tender pork roast with herbs and seasoned pepper, grilled zucchini and squash, and the best corn pudding ever – modified from a recipe by one of my favorite cookbook authors, Ina Garten.  Dessert was homemade french vanilla ice cream.  It’s probably a good thing that I’m not “in the mood to cook” every day!

The Best Corn Pudding Ever

1 stick butter

3 cans whole kernel corn (drained)

I had my heart set on making this dish but when Jim stopped by the market for me, there was no fresh corn!  FRESH corn – 5 cups fresh corn kernels cut off the cob (about 6 – 8 ears) would be my preference.  The next preference would be frozen corn, but I didn’t have that either!  So, I went with canned and the dish was still delicious, but I can’t wait to try it with fresh corn!

1 yellow onion, chopped

4 large eggs, beaten

2 cups whole milk

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

1 cup ricotta cheese

1 tablespoon Herbs de Provence

1 tablespoon sugar

1 scant tablespoon kosher salt

3/4 teaspoon seasoned pepper

3/4 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Spray a 13 x 9 baking dish with Pam or other vegetable spray.

Melt the butter in a large saute’ pan and saute the onion (and corn if using fresh) over medium-high heat until tender.

Whisk together the eggs and milk in a large bowl.  Add the cornmeal and then the ricotta.  Add the Herbs de Provence, sugar, salt and seasoned pepper.  Add the cooked onion mixture, corn and grated cheddar cheese.  Pour into the prepared baking dish.

Bake for about 40 minutes or until top is golden and dish is set.

Remember the chocolate cake that makes its own pudding?  How about the lemon cake that creates a delicious lemon filling as it bakes in the oven?  I’ll have to share those recipes one of these days.  Easy, quick desserts.  Yesterday, I made a quick and easy “crustless coconut pie”.  It was one of those times when we were busy but were in the mood for dessert.  It was very good.  Not a 5 star dessert that takes hours to create, but warm from the oven, it hit the spot.  I think it would be even better with a little dollop of whipped cream…

I revised this recipe on July 27.  I added the juice of one large lemon + milk to = 2 cups milk.  Plus I added 1/8 teaspoon baking soda to the self-rising flour.  The result was delicious!  Plus, I baked it in two pie plates and liked it much better.



Crustless Coconut Pie/Cake  (REVISED 7/27)

Lightly grease two shallow 9″ pie plates.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

4 eggs

1 & 3/4 cups sugar

In a two cup glass measuring cup:  add the juice of  one large fresh lemon + enough milk added to it to make 2 cups milk

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup self-rising flour

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon lemon extract

zest of one large fresh lemon

1 cup Baker’s sweetened flaked  coconut, divided

Beat the eggs with an electric mixer until very frothy.  Add the sugar and the 4 next ingredients and beat well. 

Distribute 1/2 cup coconut in each of 2 shallow, greased pie plates. 

Pour half the filling mixture into each pie plate and stir gently to distribute coconut. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden.  Top with a dollop of whipped cream.  Enjoy!


I love the wonderfully fragrant herb Rosemary.  I love everything about it…the rich evergreen color, the fragrance and especially the taste.  I’m happy to say that, in spite of more rain than usual for the summer so far, our Rosemary is thriving in the garden.  It’s also exciting to know that, as the weeks progress, the potatoes are steadily growing beneath the surface of the garden.  How exciting it will be in a few weeks to actually dig them up!  I’ll look forward to cooking potatoes from our garden.

In the meantime, I purchased some fresh Idaho spuds and prepared this delicious Rosemary Scalloped Potatoes dish for supper tonight…with fresh Rosemary from the garden.  It was delicious and a hit with both of us!  Definitely a recipe worth sharing…

Rosemary Scalloped Potatoes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 13″ x 9″ glass baking dish.

1/2 cup chopped sweet onion

3 cloves garlic, minced

5 tablespoons butter

6 level tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 & 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon Lawry’s Seasoned Pepper

5 cups milk

6 cups very thinly sliced potatoes (about 7 potatoes)

1 & 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

In a large saucepan, saute onion in melted butter until tender.  Stir in the flour, salt and pepper until blended.  Slowly add the milk.  Bring to a boil and stir until the sauce is thickened.  Add in the cheese and stir until almost melted.

Arrange half of the sliced potatoes in the baking dish.  Pour half of the sauce over the potatoes.  Layer the remaining potatoes and pour on the remaining sauce.

Bake uncovered about 1 hour and 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender and the top is lightly browned.  Serve immediately.

Sliced potatoes with sprigs of fresh rosemary…ready for the sauce next.

                                                                              Sliced potatoes, rosemary sprigs and sauce…ready for the oven. Dish placed on a cookie sheet to prevent spillage in oven.

Golden and bubbly Rosemary Scalloped Potatoes. This photo was made AFTER we had already served our plates. It looked too good to wait. It IS delicious!

Yesterday was one busy Saturday.  It started early morning and ended with having the young family who lives on the next farm up this little mountain over for supper.  They have three adorable young boys and we enjoyed our visit with them very much.  Our menu consisted of:  fruit salad, grilled chicken, potato salad, green beans, hot cornbread muffins and this Sour Cream Pound Cake for dessert.  After supper, we all went for a “hike” (well, okay, it was a HIKE for me) down past the greenhouse and garden, past the orchard, past the “shooting range” and the deep, dark woods…to the top of the canyon.  Since I’m a city girl (I’m slowly turning into a farm girl), everybody kept pointing out the poison oak for me to watch out for…so far, I’ve escaped it! 

Thought I’d share the recipe for this DELICIOUS cake with you…

Farm fresh eggs are definitely a richer color and make for a delicious cake!  Any pound cake worth the trouble of making will contain about a half dozen eggs.  This cake was made using 6 farm fresh eggs from my Barred Rock Plymouths and Rhode Island Reds!  Those eggs couldn’t have been any fresher – they were warm in my hands!  The rich, deep orange yolks are typical of farm chickens who are fed a diet of excellent quality chicken grains and supplements AND have access to grasses, sunlight and the great outoors!  Our chickens definitely qualify (although they are not allowed to free-range all over the 58-acre tree farm because they would become cougar food).

Sour Cream Pound Cake 

2 sticks butter, softened

3 cups sugar

6 eggs

1 cup sour cream

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon lemon extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease with Crisco and flour one 10″ tube pan OR two large loaf pans .  (The Crisco/flour makes for a delicious crusty top.)

Sift flour and baking soda together.  Set aside.  Cream butter well.  Slowly add sugar, beating constantly to cream well.  Stir in sour cream and the three extracts.  Add flour mixture about 1/2 cup at the time, beating well after each addition.  Pour into the prepared tube pan OR the two large loaf pans.  Bake for about one and a half hours or until cake is done.  Cool on rack for about 5 minutes, then loosen edges of pan with table knife.  Turn cake on to rack to cool completely.  Enjoy!

Farm fresh eggs are definitely a richer color and make for a delicious cake!

Pound cake batter in two large Pampered Chef loaf pans…

When it comes to cooking, I prefer all fresh ingredients and homemade.  Don’t we all?!  However, there are some days when it’s just too nice to stay inside…like on a beautiful Spring day when the weather is, once again, perfect.  It could be that I’m outside freshening up my chicken’s house with fresh hay or holding a few boards on the new goat shed while the macho logger tree farmer hammers or I’m checking out the progress in the garden…that was all today.  So that meant coming up with a quick, easy supper…like this easy, but really good, chicken pot pie.


Busy Day Chicken Pot Pie

1/2 Vidalia sweet onion, chopped fine

2 Carrots, peeled and diced fine

2 fresh stalks of celery, chopped fine

2 cloves of fresh garlic, minced

1 potato, peeled and sliced thin like potato chips (I pan fried these in a little butter for several minutes before layering them in the bottom of the dish just to make sure they’d be done).

2 cans premium chunk chicken breast packed in water(I used Kirkland’s brand from Costco)(Or, if you have time, just cook a couple of boneless, skinless chicken breast!)

1 can green peas, drained

1 can whole kernel corn, drained

1 can Campbells Cream of Chicken Soup

1/2 cup milk

3/4 – 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2+ teaspoon Lawry’s Seasoned Pepper (season to taste)

1+ teaspoon Kosher or Sea Salt (season to taste)

1 – 2 tablespoons Tuscan Roasted Garlic Herb spice OR  Herbs de Provenance or Sweet Basil leaves

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Lightly spray a 13 x 9 glass dish with Pam or vegetable spray.

Drain the peas, corn and canned chicken in a colander.  Combine the soup, milk and cheese.  Combine all the ingredients (except potatoes) in a large bowl, including the vegetables.  Add salt and spices.

Layer the potatoes in the pan and then spread chicken vegetable mixture in dish on top of them.  Bake for about 15 minutes at 400 degrees.  Remove the dish from oven and place buttermilk biscuits on top (recipe below) (OR you could use a package of refrigerated biscuits if it’s an especially busy day).  Return to oven and bake for about 15 more minutes until biscuits are golden.  Enjoy!

This recipe used the last of my Tuscan roasted garlic seasoning…will have to order some more!

Sprinkle the Lawry’s Seasoned Pepper on your diced vegetables and saute them in a tablespoon or so of butter until almost tender…

Buttermilk Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/3 cup Crisco shortening

3/4 cup buttermilk

If baking with the dish above, bake at 400 degrees.  If baking the biscuits separately, bake at 425 degrees.

Whisk all your dry ingredients together.  With a “light hand” cut in your Crisco until it looks like coarse crumbs.  Slowly add the buttermilk until a consistency that it sticks together for a nice dough but not gooey.  Flour a board or pastry cloth and gently knead the biscuit dough using a little extra flour if needed.  Roll out with a floured rolling pin and cut with a glass or biscuit cutter.

It’s a cool Spring day here…in the mid-sixties.  There’s a sweet mountain breeze blowing in all the open windows.  No doubt Summer will officially be here soon…in fact, on my youngest baby’s 31st birthday to be exact, June 21st.    In the meantime, I’ll enjoy this weather.

I thought I’d take advantage of what may be one of the last cool days to make a pot of soup…delicious Navy Bean Soup.  Every time I make this soup I’m reminded of years ago when my family and I lived in Indiana.  Each year, there were festivals in the small towns around us, usually in the late Summer or early Autumn and we loved going to all of them.  One of my favorites was in Bridgeton, Indiana, the Covered Bridge Festival.  Among all the tasty foods at the festival, there would always be an enormous black kettle of navy bean soup cooking and a long line of those wanting to buy a bowl!  For a reasonable sum, it was served with sides of hot corn bread, pickle relish and chopped onion.  Navy bean soup is also a favorite in our nation’s capital.  This soup is so good it has been served in the U.S. Senate cafeteria for years.  This is my version of Navy Bean Soup.

Navy Bean Soup

1 hickory smoked ham slice

1 sixteen ounce package of small white navy beans

1 can or box of chicken broth

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (or Crisco oil)

1 sweet vidalia onion, chopped fine

2 stalks of fresh, tender celery, chopped fine

2 carrots, peeled and diced

3-4 small cloves of garlic, minced

1 bay leaf

1 sprig of fresh rosemary, washed and chopped (this came fresh from my garden this morning)

a light sprinkling of dried parsley flakes (or fresh if you have it, I didn’t)

a light sprinkling of dried Thyme leaves (these weren’t ready yet in the garden)

Kosher salt (you will be seasoning to taste – start with about 1 teaspoon)

Lawry’s Seasoned Pepper (I love this stuff!) (again, season to taste – start with about 1/2 teaspoon)

Start the night before (unless you have a pressure cooker…I don’t).  “Pick” and rinse the beans.  Cover with water, several inches above the beans.  Cover the bowl completely with plastic wrap and let sit on the counter overnight.  The next morning, empty the beans into a colander and rinse.

Saute the onion, celery, garlic and carrots in 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil (or Crisco oil if you don’t have EVOO) in a dutch oven.  Pour the beans into the dutch oven/pot.  Cover the beans barely with water.  Add the 1 can of chicken broth.  I just used Campbells.

Add all your spices.  Season to taste with the Kosher salt and Lawry’s Seasoned Pepper (great stuff).

Now for your ham slice:  trim all the fat and the little center bone away and cut into bite size pieces.  Brown lightly in separate small skilled in a smidgeon of butter and then add to your soup.

Bring your soup briefly to a boil and “skim” off any “foamy” stuff.  Don’t let it boil on high long at all.  Then turn the heat down to low or semi-low, cover and let it cook for several hours.  After it’s cooked for a while, taste it to see if you need to add more salt or pepper.  When the beans are good and tender, it’s done!  Remember to remove the bay leaf before serving.  Serve with hot cornbread and enjoy!

The soup just started cooking here…a few more hours on low and it will be scrumptious!You must add your cornbread to go with your soup…this makes the combination a complete “amino acid” protein and delicious!


It has been cooking about an hour here but still not done. Looking good and tasting delicious.

When I went to the garden this morning looking for fresh herbs for the soup, look what I found growing so beautifully!  Recognize it?  I know you Southerners know what this is…it’s TURNIP GREENS!  My first time to grow them ever and I’m not sure how much longer before I pick them and cook them but I can’t wait!

There is no better remedy for stress (the thought of that scary CPAP waiting for me!) than homemade old-fashioned sugar cookies.  Granted, I took the easy way out and did not roll them.  I chilled them briefly and dropped them with a melon-ball dipper or is that a cookie scoop?  I lightly sprinkled sugar on top of each one and then I pressed them slightly down with the bottom of a glass.  It worked great and they’re delicious!

Here’s the recipe…

Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies

1 stick butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 eggs, beaten

2 tablespoons buttermilk

2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

additional sugar for sprinkling

Cream the butter.  Gradually add the sugar and beat well.  Add the buttermilk and eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Combine the flour and soda.  Combine with the creamed mixture.  Stir in vanilla and almond extract.  Chill the dough for about an hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Lightly grease cookie sheet.  Using melon baller or cookie scoop, drop rounded cookies on to cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with sugar and flatten cookie somewhat.  Bake for about 10-13 minutes until lightly golden.

There are days that I prepare a a very involved, full-course meal for dinner.  You know the kind, the ones you prepare hours in advance.  That wasn’t today.  Today, it’s raining (again) with only random glimpses of the sun peeking through all those dark clouds.  Today,  I was imagining what it would be like to live in a log cabin and cook on a woodstove…much like my ancestors did long ago.  I think I could do that…I really do.  Well, okay, part of the time.  I might actually like to have a backup stove just in case.

Tonight’s supper was a very simple one…meat loaf, buttery cabbage and hot cornbread.  It reminded me of growing up in the South.  Although, Mama would have added another dish or two.  I must say though, it was really good…


The ingredients for this really good meatloaf…

A Really Good Meatloaf

1 & 1/4 pounds very lean ground beef

1/2 finely chopped Vidalia sweet onion

3/4 sleeve crushed Ritz crackers

1 egg, beaten

1/4 cup milk

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce

1 tablespoon Toasted Onion Herb by Victoria Taylor’s Seasonings

Mix well and form into a loaf.  Place in glass dish.

Meatloaf topping:  1/3 cup Ketshup, 3 tablespoons brown sugar and 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard.  Combine and spread over top of meatloaf.

Bake at 350 degrees about 55 minutes or until done.




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