Friday, September 30, 2016

Foodie Fridays - Banana Oatmeal Muffins

(This is a recipe I submitted to the newspaper around August - Hope you enjoy!)

It’s that time of year. School has begun. New clothes have been purchased, the perfect pair of shoes found, and just the right backpack. And now the morning hustle and bustle begins daily. I’ve been trying to do some meal planning and thinking about what I’m going to pack my girl for lunch now that she’s moved up to in her words to, “big girl school.” I’m also trying to plan some quick grab and go breakfasts that are healthy and will give her energy and keep her full until lunch. One thing she for sure loves is muffins. Muffins are a perfect grab and go breakfast and since these include just a little sugar your little one will not crash an hour later and the oats will keep them full. They only take a few minutes to whip together and baking time is around 25 minutes. So for a few dollars and about an hour you’ll have some scrumptious homemade muffins for breakfast before school and honestly before work. Hope you enjoy!

Banana Oatmeal Muffins

½ cup light brown sugar
1 cup self rising flour
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 to 3 ripe bananas
⅓ cup old fashioned oats
1 tsp vanilla extract
⅓ cup chocolate chips or
⅓ cup chopped pecans or walnuts or
⅓ cup raisins

Mash bananas and then combine with eggs, oil, vanilla, and brown sugar. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt and then combine with wet ingredients and mix until flour is completely incorporated. Last fold in oatmeal and an optional ingredient if you choose. Bake in a well greased muffin pan for 20 to 25 minutes until brown or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Makes around 12 muffins.  

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Stories of the South - Outhouses & Family

Photograph by my grandmother Nancy Pepper Lancaster 1987
Outhouse from John and Ethel Pepper's homeplace Chickasaw County Mississippi 

My family, both sides, are definitely farm people.  

All of my great grandparents were farmers and my grandparents grew up on farms and didn't get jobs in town until after WWII when mechanization changed farming forever.  

One set of great grandparents from Hohenlinden, MS were farmers their entire lives, this was my immortal MawPep and PawPep also known as John Henry Pepper and Ethel Beard Pepper.  PawPep was a true southern Renaissance man.  He was a farmer, a craftsman of baskets, furniture, and homes, a trapper, a hunter, and a lover of animals.  His wife, my MawPep, grew up on a farm and a sawmill.  She was right there with him when it came to having multiple skills.  She sewed clothing, made quilts, crocheted, cooked, canned, gardened, and farmed right along side PawPep raising hogs, picking cotton, and raising my grandmother and great uncle.  

John and Ethel Pepper with some of their handmade split oak baskets

Their farm is located in the Hohenlinden community which is west of Woodland and not close to much of anything else.  They probably didn't have electricity until the 1930s and also had a well for their water for years.  (As a child I can remember being told explicitly to stay away from the old well.  It had been bricked up but the ground was soft.)

Of course when you don't have running water inside you can't have an indoor toilet.  I barely remember this outhouse.  My Dad found some old pictures my Granny had taken and passed them along to me.  

While there is a lot of that simple living that I love and try to strive toward I'm proud of my nice, warm, snake free bathroom. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Foodie Fridays - Creamy Garlic Cheese Grits

This week’s recipe is super simple but I wanted to share it anyway as it’s a great staple for any recipe box.  One of the first things I learned to cook was grits.  My mom would buy those little packs of microwave grits and it was something quick and easy that I could fix in the morning before school.  As an adult I still like cheese grits but I’ve left those microwavable packages behind.  I do use quick cooking grits though and my favorite brand right now is Dixie Lily yellow corn grits.  They are even grown and packaged in the USA!  I make these creamy garlic and cheese grits often for breakfast and supper.  If you’ve never served grits for supper they make a great side dish for pot roast and of course as the perfect base for shrimp and grits.  One of the best things about this recipe are all the flavor combinations you can make by just changing out one or two ingredients.  I’m using shredded colby jack cheese but you could try sharp cheddar, Parmesan,or monterey jack.  I normally use 1% milk but it works with 2%, whole milk, and to really splurge add a dash of half and half.  It’s a simple recipe but you can customize it to fit your taste.  One quick tip I will give you I learned through hard won experience, use a larger pot than you think you need for this recipe.  The milk will make it boil over in a heartbeat and I don’t want you having to clean burnt milk off your stove-top like me.  I hope you’ll give it a try and I really hope you like it.      

Creamy Garlic and Cheese Grits

1 cup milk
1 ¼ cup water
1 tablespoon butter
½ teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup grits
½ cup shredded colby jack cheese

In a medium saucepan combine the milk, water, butter, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.  Bring to a low boil and add grits.  Simmer on low heat whisking often to avoid lumps for 3 to 5 minutes.  Before serving whisk in ½ cup of cheese.  Makes 4 to 6 servings.  

Friday, September 2, 2016

Foodie Fridays - Easy Humus

I submitted this to the paper several weeks ago, and thought I would share it with all of you here!
Feels good to get back to posting on this blog again.  I've missed yall!

Can a snack be good for you? What about a snack that’s a creamy dip for chips and veggies that packs in tons of fiber, protein, iron, antioxidants, and helps regulate blood sugar. Does such a healthy snack really exist? It does and it is super easy to make. I think you all are beginning to see a pattern to my recipes here. What I’m talking about is hummus. If you don’t know what hummus is, it’s a smooth and creamy Middle Eastern dip made with chickpeas beans, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper. That’s pretty much it. You can serve it with pita bread or pita chips, fresh vegetables like carrots, bell pepper, and broccoli, over chicken, or in a sandwich. It is a staple for many Middle Eastern and Mediterranean diets and you can even find it on restaurant menus in our area. The main ingredient is chickpeas which are a protein and fiber rich legume that are a good source of iron, Vitamin E and K. They are also a complex carbohydrate that fills you up without causing your blood sugar to spike and then crash making it a great snack choice for diabetics. The high fiber content is also great for weight loss as fiber rich foods leave you feeling full and satisfied and the protein content helps reduce hunger. Chickpeas also contain isoflavones which are an antioxidant that has been shown in multiple medical studies to help lower bad cholesterol.  Not bad for something the size of a butterbean. A serving size is around a ¼ cup or about 4 tablespoons. Compare that to something like Dean’s French onion dip. A serving size is 2 tablespoons and contains 5 grams of fat while twice the amount of hummus contains only 1 gram of fat. I hope you’ll give it a try, the only special equipment you need is a food processor or blender.  Hope you enjoy!

Basic Hummus

2 - 15 ounce cans chickpeas drained and rinsed
Zest from one lemon
Juice from one lemon
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon fresh black pepper
2 cloves or 1 teaspoon garlic
⅓ cup olive oil plus 2 tablespoons reserved for garnish
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon dried oregano

In a food processor combine the chickpeas, lemon zest, lemon juice, water, salt, pepper, and garlic. Close food processor and pulse several times until mixture is well combined. With food processor running slowly drizzle in olive oil until hummus is smooth. You may need to stop and scrape down the sides with a spatula to make sure all the ingredients are well processed. Once the hummus is smooth and creamy spoon into a dish, sprinkle with cumin, paprika, oregano, and garnish with a drizzle of olive oil about a tablespoon or two. Serve with pita bread or pita chips and it is also excellent with fresh vegetables.  

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Throwback Thursday - Camera Cheesin'

Don't ask what I was doing in this picture, I can't remember it was 1988!

Growing up an only child I was never lonely and I was never bored.

Most of the time anyway.

I sailed pirate ships.
I was a famous archaeologist hunting secrets from the past.
I was an Indian Princess (complete with tee-shirt buckskin outfit).
I was an heiress, an actress, and a frontierswoman with my very own frontier fort.

My grandmother's yard was whatever I wanted it to be and thank goodness they never dissuaded me from playing pretend.

This picture was taken at my Great-Grandmother's house in Hohenlinden.  And honey, that is some straight up cheesin'.  


All images are property of me unless stated otherwise. I would love for you to share, post, link, etc, but please link back to this page and give credit. I promise I'll do the same in return. Thanks!