We’re from Tennessee where barbeque is summer time mainstay. Whither it’s a bbq rub or sauce, there’s nothing like smoking a side of meat on the grill for an outdoors weekend bit of fun. But my Dad’s bbq beans were also a side dish during the winter too. I don’t remember a single Thanksgiving dinner where a bowl of bbq beans next to the Turkey wasn’t part of our table.
One cold and rainy fall day, my dad decided we were having a warm roast for dinner. And that meant making bbq beans. I don’t remember how I got involved in fixing the meal, but this is how he taught me to make a country version of baked beans.
Anne, Duchess of Bedford, was one of Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting in the late 1830’s and early 1840’s. It’s Anne who is credited for “inventing” Afternoon Tea.
It was during these early days of Queen Victoria’s reign, that the time between lunch and dinner was widening. Anne began asking for tea and small cakes to be brought to her private quarters in mid-afternoon to stave off her hunger between meals.
It wasn’t long before she began inviting other ladies to her private tea in the hopes of learning the latest gossip, which of course she would share with the Queen. And the afternoon Tea with treats became a mainstay of English society.
The baker in our house is Garrett, who has a talent for breads. And his tea scones are no exception. They’re great with dinner, especially on the side of a bowl of Vickie’s Beast Stew.
It’s a cold wintry day and I thought it would be nice to warm up the house with a little baking. I love my Dad’s Southern Cornbread. But since it’s snowing and I don’t have buttermilk, I decided to do some experimenting.
One of my first professional jobs was at a large Fortune 5 company. We were graced with a large cafeteria for breakfast and lunch. One of my favorite things from that time was their sweet cornbread muffins. So here’s my attempt to replicate them. These muffins are a bit sweeter and definitely a lot lighter than buttermilk cornbread.
One of the things I remember my dad baking during the fall and winter seasons is cornbread. He had an old iron baking dish, that shaped the corn bread into small corn on the cob shapes. He liked his cornbread heavy and stiff, for soaking up sauces and juice from the main meat of the meal. Or his favorite red kidney beans. The mainstay in Beans on Toast in our house.
My Mom and Dad are from east Tennessee, in the mountains of the Smokeys. The north side of the South. My dad learned to cook from his Mom, who learned to cook from her mom and so on. The old family recipes are ages old and they were designed to sustain anyone during the hard work of the field and farm. I don’t know exactly where this recipe started, but my Dad told me, his grandmother used to make this nearly every Sunday for dinner after church.
Aunt Mildred’s Loaf Bread This recipe was shared with family in friends in loving memory of Aunt Mildred Marie Guinn Stoots, my Aunt. Every time we visited the family in east Tennessee, my Mom would head over to Uncle Leonard and Aunt Mildred’s house on Sunday. After church they would always have a big late lunch. With 8 kids, you can be assured it was BIG. Especially when they grew up and brought friends home.
I loved the smell of their house. Especially when Aunt Mildred was baking bread for the Sunday dinner. I really miss both of them. We lost our precious Mildred in January 2009. And we happily share our memories of her kitchen with the world.
Preparation Time: 1 hour
Total Rising Time: 2 hours
Serves: Makes 3 loaves Continue reading →
There’s nothing like fresh baked bread on a cold winter day. The aroma that fills the air, can remind you of days gone by, visiting grand-parents for the holidays and just feeling warm and cozy at home.
One very cold January day, we were faced with 3 feet of snow outside and trying to decide what to do for dinner. Spaghetti ended up being our choice, and I made a comment, sure would be nice to have a loaf of Italian bread to go with it. That conversation occurred around lunch time and it started Gary thinking.
He had the rest of the afternoon to put his hands into making his version of an Italian loaf. He has become a well seasoned baker and he always has a few tweaks to any recipe you can find for baking. Bread baking is his usual obsession and what he’s learned over the decades certainly improves his adventures into baking something new. This recipe is just such an attempt.
Garrett’s Hamburger Buns Gary is the baker in our house. One summer we had friends and family over for a cook-out and our homemade hamburgers were to large for store bought buns.
Right then and there, Gary decided he was going to make his own buns for the next cook-out. And they’re absolutely wonderful even by themselves!
We’ve become so enamored with his version that we have them anytime we’re having grilled sandwiches. They go great with grilled chicken, bbq, ham, and oh yes, hamburgers.
Preparation Time: 3 hours
Makes approx 32 buns
Use them for your next cook-out or once they’ve cooled from the oven, place them in a ziplock air-tight bag and freeze them until they’re needed. Continue reading →
Garrett’s Saltine Crackers
When you’re struggling and money is tight, picking up a box of crackers can sometimes seem like a luxury you can’t afford. We’ve been in that situation. It’s cheaper to pick up a pound of flour and make what you need then it is to spend $2 for this and $4 for that. Those little extra dollars eventually add up. But Gary likes having peanut butter and crackers for lunch.
When things were really bad during the recession, he worked on perfecting a saltine cracker recipe. We think he’s created a pretty good cracker.
The other good thing about making homemade crackers, you get to control how much salt is on those saltines. Or you can make your own version of a seasoned cracker. I love replacing the coarse salt with a Ranch Dressing powder for instance.
Our Holland Cinnamon Hats
Our own twist on a simple little recipe. A perfect addition to any holiday table, as an appetizer, a snack or a small after dinner dessert.
We love cinnamon bread in our house. One day we were talking about mini-muffin snacks and someone said “why doesn’t anyone make cinnamon snack muffins”? And an idea was born. We started with a basic recipe and started tweaking it to a muffin we love.