Old Fashioned Banana Pudding

Posted by on Monday, November 17th, 2014

southern banana pudding

I don’t know why I equate home made banana pudding with church gatherings, but I still do. I have pleasant memories of attending many a church social where somebody’s grandmother had made banana pudding from scratch.

I have always been fond of home made banana pudding. This is a southern tradition I hope never dies. Although we southern cooks have instant JELLO pudding available, NOTHING beats the taste of home made pudding whipped up from real ingredients. And guess what? Real banana pudding is MUCH easier than you think. I have a secret to share – I make mine in the microwave!

In large microwave safe glass bowl add and mix together:


  • 1 ½ cups organic sugar
  • ¼ cup plain organic flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Add and stir with a wire whisk:

  • 4 cups organic whole milk

Microwave milk mixture for 2 minutes. Stir with wire whisk and microwave 2 more minutes.

While mixture is microwaving, separate 6 egg yolks from the egg whites. Save egg whites if you and your family prefer meringue topping on your banana pudding. Mix the eggs with a fork.

By the time the milk mixture has been in the microwave for 4 minutes, it should be warm. Remove about ½ cup of the warm milk mixture and add it to the beaten eggs. Mix well, then pour egg mixture into the bowl with the warm milk mixture. Whisk to blend and then return the mixture to the microwave. I continue microwaving and stirring 1 minute at a time until mixture has thickened almost to the consistency of pudding. This mixture will thicken a little more as it cools.

Add 1 TABLESPOON of vanilla extract and stir.

I like to use my trifle dish, but any 2-3 quart casserole dish will do just fine for the grand assembling of the banana pudding. Our kids like to take over here and layer the pudding with a 16oz package of vanilla wafers and 4 peeled sliced bananas. Organic vanilla wafers are available now in the organic section of most grocery stores.

(Some folks I know like to dip the banana slices in Sprite or ginger ale to keep them from turning brown. Personally- I don’t care for the citrus taste, but other folks may not like brown bananas. My thinking is that banana pudding typically doesn’t last long enough for the bananas to turn brown!)

Pour about 1/3 of the pudding mixture into the dish; add about ½ the banana slices and 1/3 of the vanilla wafers. Repeat this process using 1/3 pudding, ½ bananas and 1/3 wafers. Top with the remaining 1/3 pudding and vanilla wafers.

If you are a BIG fan of meringue, beat the eggs whites on high speed in a glass, grease free dish until soft peaks form. Keep beating and gradually pour ½ cup sugar. Spread over top of pudding. Bake meringue in a 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Here at home, we like REAL whipped cream on ours. I whip up a PINT of whipping cream until soft peaks form and gradually add ½ cup POWDERED sugar. YUM!

On a final note, I have some members of this household who DESPISE bananas. If you have any anti-banana people and want to keep peace in the household, feel free to omit the bananas and add extra wafers. This is how we manage to keep everyone happy.

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Posted by on Monday, October 13th, 2014

Loaded Potato Soup
  • 12oz package bacon – cooked and crumbled, save 2 T bacon drippings
  • 2 medium sized sweet onions – diced
  • 2 stalks celery – diced
  • 2 32oz boxes vegetable or chicken broth
  • 2 chicken bullion cubes (I use NOT CHICKEN brand – gluten free, MSG free)
  • 6 medium potatoes – peeled and diced (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 stick butter
  • 3/4 cup flour (use cornstarch for gluten free recipe)
  • 4 cups whole milk – divided
  • 12 oz sour cream – 1 cup for soup, 1/2 cup for garnish
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese – 2 cups for soup, 1 cup for topping
  • 1 cup green chopped onions – 1/2 cup for soup, 1/2 cup for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cook bacon strips in large skillet or in microwave. Reserve 2 Tablespoons of the drippings.  Crumble cooked bacon and set aside.

Sautee the diced onions and celery in the large skillet with the 2 Tablespoons of drippings and set aside.

In a large Dutch oven add the vegetable or chicken broth.  Bring broth to a boil, then add the diced potatoes.  Reduce heat to medium and let potatoes simmer 10-15 mintues, or until potatoes become tender.  Add chicken bullion cubes. While potatoes are simmering in broth,  place the stick of  butter in a saucepan.  Melt the butter in the saucepan over medium heat then add the flour (or cornstarch). Whisk the mixture quickly to blend the flour and butter, then gradually pour 2 cups whole milk into the butter/flour mixture and continue whisking over medium heat.  Mixture will begin to thicken.  Continue whisking until mixture is smooth but slightly thick.  Then add thicken mixture to the tender potatoes and broth.  Stir gently to mix the flour mixture with the potatoes and broth.  Then add the other 2 cups of milk to the dutch oven. Also add the sautéed onions and celery to the Dutch oven.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Reduce heat to low and add 2 cups grated cheddar cheese.  Stir gently to melt and blend the cheese with the soup.  Add 1 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup diced onions, and 1/2 cup of the bacon.  Stir to blend all the ingredients and serve right away. Use remaining cheese, bacon, sour cream, and onions to garnish individual bowls of soup.

1 cup of diced ham could be used in place of the bacon.  Chopped chives could also be used for garnish.

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Pam’s Soft Molasses Cookies

Posted by on Thursday, October 9th, 2014

soft-molasses-cookiesHome schooling allows us to enjoy so many special experiences and meet a lot of fabulous people.  About 15 years ago, I met Pam at a home school retreat in Alabama.  She shared her Soft Molasses Cookies with me way back then and later mailed me her recipe.  Through the years we mailed each other Christmas cards and now we keep up with each other through Facebook.  And I’ve made countless batches of these cookies. Pam, I don’t think I’ve ever told you how much my Granddaddy loved your Soft Molasses Cookies.  Granddaddy has been gone a while now, but I found great  joy in baking them for him each October for his birthday.  So in honor of a dear friend Pam, and in honor of the sweetest Granddaddy that ever walked this earth, I give you the recipe for a special fall treat.

  • 1/2 cup soft butter
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening (I use organic)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 cups plain flour
  • 2 1/4  teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • Extra sugar for coating

In a large bowl, cream butter and shortening.  Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy.  Beat in molasses, eggs, and vanilla.  Set mixture aside.  In another large bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and spices.  Blend with a wire whisk.  Gradually mix flour mixture into creamed mixture until dough is blended and smooth.  Use a 1 oz cookie dough scoop to measure scoop dough then roll dough into a ball using hands.  Drop cookie dough ball into a bowl of sugar and thouroughly coat the dough ball with the sugar.  Continue forming balls of dough and coating them with sugar.  Place coated balls of cookie dough about 3″ apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 11 minutes.  Remove cookies from oven.  I lightly press each cookie with a flat spatula to remove any excess air.  This keeps the cookies chewy and moist.  Store cookies in an airtight container.  Makes 3-4 dozen cookies

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Sour Cream Cornbread

Posted by on Thursday, September 11th, 2014

  • Sour Cream Cornbread

Here is another recipe passed down by my Mother-In-Law. It’s simple, quick, and easy.  Although I prefer to make this bread with fresh cut corn or frozen corn, the original recipe called for canned cream style corn.  Either way this bread always proves to be a crowd pleaser.

Here’s how:

  • 1/2 stick butter – melted
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup fresh cut corn (or 1 cup of canned creamed corn)
  • 1 cup self rising meal
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped jalapeño peppers (optional)
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (optional)
  • 2 more Tablespoons melted butter

Melt butter in a 8″ iron skillet.  In a medium bowl add the sour cream and eggs and mix well.  Add the corn, meal, and chopped onion, and melted butter. Add peppers and cheese if desired.   Stir until blended and pour into iron skillet.  Bake 425 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until top is golden brown.

Add a couple of Teaspoons of melted butter to the skillet before pouring the batter in for an extra measure of butter taste and crisp crust.

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Posted by on Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Boston Brown Bread
This recipe was handed down to me by my mother-in-law.  I recall her preparing this bread in soup cans to take along on family camp trips in their old FAN RV from the early ’70’s.  I have no idea who thought up the idea of baking bread in soup cans but this is a fantastic idea for transporting food for a camp trip.  The cans can be slightly heated over the campfire before removing and slicing the bread, or the bread can be served cold.  Either way, Boston Brown Bread turns out moist and filling and is perfect for camping, breakfast, party appetizer, or a snack.  Serve it with some cream cheese spread or just plain butter.
You will need approximately 7-8 12oz soup cans.  Completely cut off the lids and remove labels and glue from the cans.  The cans may then be cleaned in the dishwasher and stored for use later.
  • 2 cups Kellogg’s All Bran cereal
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 Tablespoons molasses
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional) *

In a medium sized bowl mix the cereal, raisins and buttermilk.  Let mixture set for about 15-20 minutes. Then stir mixutre to blend.

Sift flour with baking soda and salt,  Then add the brown sugar and molasses along with the cereal/raisin/buttermilk mixture. Stir mixture to blend all the ingredients.  Batter will be slightly stiff.

Spray  soup cans with cooking spray and then spoon some of the batter into each can, filling cans about 2/3’s full.  Place all the filled cans on a baking sheet and carefully place all in a preheated 350 degree oven.  Let bread bake for approximately 35-40 minutes or until bread is browned and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.  Remove baking sheet with all the cans from the oven and let the cans cool completely before handling them.  Run a knife along the inside of the can, between the can lining and the bread to gently loosen the bread from the can before serving.  Slice loaf into 4-5 round pieces.  Serve with cream cheese spread or butter.

This bread can be removed from the cans, wrapped in Saran wrap and frozen for later use.

Cream Cheese Spread:

  • 8 oz package softened cream cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream or mayo
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts – optional

Mix the cream cheese, sour cream or mayo, and nuts together.  Spread over bread right before serving. Store spread in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

*The original recipe did not call for the chopped walnuts in the bread batter.  I like to add nuts to the bread and omit the nuts from the spread as the nuts tend to get a little soggy in the stored spread.

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Posted by on Friday, August 22nd, 2014

Here is a versatile recipe that is delightfully tasty made with all that garden fresh summer zucchini.  The rum soaked raisins up the moisture content.  The walnuts and cinnamon compliment the zucchini and raisins.  This recipe generously fills 2 loaf pans, making the perfect portions to keep and to share.  Local food friends can drop by Lester Farm’s produce stand and pick up some fresh summer zucchini for this recipe.
  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup rum
  • 1 cup oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

In a small mixing bowl, mix the raisins and rum together.  Let mixture set overnight in the refrigerator or microwave the mixture a couple of minutes to help the raisins absorb the rum.

In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nuts and zucchini. Whisk to blend and set aside.

In a small mixing bowl combine the oil, eggs, and vanilla. Use a wire whisk to blend well then set aside.

In an extra large mixing bowl dump the flour mixture, the raisin mixture,  the oil mixture and use a sturdy spoon to mix by hand.  Mixture will be very dense.  Spoon the mixture evenly into 2 greased loaf pans or 6 greased mini loaf pans.  Bake large loaves at 350 degrees for approximately an hour.  Bake mini loaves for approximately 30 minutes.  Bread should be fully cooked in the center – and no raw batter should be on an inserted toothpick once removed.

Optional bread spread:

  • 1 8 oz pack cream cheese – softened
  • 1 stick butter – softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine cream cheese and butter.  Beat on high speed with an electric mixer until butter and cream cheese is light and fluffy.  Add the powdered sugar and cimmamon and blend well.  Serve over sliced zucchini bread.

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Posted by on Monday, August 18th, 2014

ratatouille 2
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • ½ diced onion
  • 3-4 cloves minced garlic
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 small eggplant cut into thin rounds
  • 1 zucchini cut into thin rounds
  • 1 yellow squash cut into thin rounds
  • 1 red bell pepper cut into thin round slices
  • 3 more Tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375. Spread tomato paste over the bottom of an 8” cast iron skillet.  Sprinkle on the onion and minced garlic.  Mix the 2 Tablespoons of olive oil with the water and pour over tomato paste and onions and garlic.  Next arrange the vegetables by starting at the outer edge or of the skillet and work inward in a circular pattern, beginning with a slice of eggplant, then yellow squash, followed by zucchini and red pepper.  Repeat this pattern until the skillet is filled with vegetables from the outside to the center.  Sprinkle vegetables with salt and pepper and Italian seasoning and drizzle 3 Tablespoons olive oil over vegetables.  Cover with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit in the skillet.  Bake Ratatouille for approximately 40 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Remove the parchment paper and sprinkle some Parmesan cheese over the top of casserole before serving.

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Posted by on Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

bacon poppersBacon. Peppers. Pineapple.  A simple combination of flavors form the perfect party appetizer.  YUM!
  • 8 sweet banana peppers
  • 1 8oz package softened cream cheese
  • 1 small can crushed pineapple – well drained
  • ½ teaspoon seasoned salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 green onions – finely chopped
  • 8 pieces uncooked bacon

In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, well-drained pineapple, seasoned salt, garlic powder and chopped green onions and mix well.  Wash peppers and dry each one with a paper towel.  Using a paring knife, make a careful cut from the tip of the pepper almost to the other end, stopping right below the stem.  Make a couple of slight perpendicular slits below the stem to slightly open the pepper.  Spoon enough cream cheese mixture into the pepper, and then carefully wrap the pepper with a piece of uncooked bacon.  Continue preparing each pepper with the cream cheese mixture, and wrap with bacon.  Place peppers an inch apart on a foil lined baking pan.  Bake peppers at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes, or until bacon is thoroughly cooked.  Serve right away.

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Breakfast Pull Apart Sausage Bread

Posted by on Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

Breakfast Pull Apart Bread

First let me start by stating I WON’T be making this again for a while.  Then why post the recipe if I don’t plan to bake this again?  Because it was so amazingly delicious I couldn’t stop eating it is the reason why!  This recipe can be assembled at night, placed in the refrigerator, and baked for breakfast.  Use frozen bread dough balls or whip up a batch of  ARTISAN BREAD IN 5 MINUTES A DAY.  YUM!

  • Frozen Bread Dough Balls or 1/3 batch of ARTISIAN BREAD IN 5 MINUTES A DAY rolled into 1″ balls
  • 1/2 pound sausage (not links)
  • 1/2 medium onion – diced
  • 1/2 red or green bell pepper – diced
  • 1/2 stick real butter cut into pieces

In a medium skillet over medium heat scramble the sausage until mostly browned, then add the diced peppers and onions. Sautee for a couple of minutes or until onions begin to turn translucent.  Set mixture aside.

Generously grease a bundt pan.  For a crispy tasty flavor go all out and use some bacon drippings.  Then fill the bottom of the pan approximately 1/3-1/2 full of 1″ bread dough balls.  I had a batch of the ARTISAN BREAD IN 5 MINUTES A DAY made and stored in the fridge. I used about 1/3 of the batch to make the bread dough balls.  Place the cooked sausaage, peppers and onions on top of the bread dough.  Add the shredded cheddar cheese and dot generously with butter.  Cover pan with foil and place it in the refrigerator overnight.  Remove the pan from refrigerator when ready to bake.   Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Let pan set on counter top about 20-30 minutes, while oven preheats.  Bake for 20 minutes, then uncover pan and bake another 10-15 minutes, or until bread is fully cooked in center of pan, and cheese is golden brown.  Use a knife to go around the bread, and to help gently remove bread when it is cool enough to handle.  Place a pretty plate on top of bundt pan and flip all upside down to release breakfast bread.  Serve while bread is still pretty warm.

Filed in Appetizers,Breads, Doughs, and Crusts,Breakfast,Christmas,Pork | One response so far

Katrina’s Cream Chicken Tetrazinni – Can Be Gluten Free

Posted by on Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014


Our family modified this recipe from Ms. Katrina’s slightly. We like to make our own cream of chicken soup to avoid MSG and gluten.  Instructions are given here for making your own cream soup for this recipe.  2 10 oz cans of store bought cream of chicken soup can be used in place of the home made but the home made adds extra creaminess to the dish.

  • 1 12 oz can evaporated milk
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 4 Tablespoons Cornstarch
  • 2 NOT CHICKEN brand bullion cubes
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt

In a medium size pan add the butter and let it melt over medium heat. While butter is melting add the corn starch and water to a pint jar, place lid on jar, and shake vigorously to dissolve the corn starch.  Add this mixture along with the evaporated milk, chicken bullion cubes, pepper, and celery salt to the melted butter.  Use a wire whisk to stir almost constantly until mixture thickens.


  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Montery jack cheese
  • 1 deli chicken, meat pulled and diced into small pieces
  • 4 oz jar sliced mushrooms – drained
  • 4 oz jar diced pimentoes
  • 8 oz angel hair pasta, broken into 2″ pieces and cooked according to package directions, then drained (can use gluten free pasta instead)
  • 8 oz melted butter mixed with 2 minced cloves of garlic
  • more Parmesan cheese for topping casserole -about 1/2 cup
  • dried dill weed
  • paprika

As soon as the home made cream of chicken soup has thickened, add the Montery jack cheese, Parmesan cheese, and sour cream to the soup and stir to melt and blend the cheeses.  Set aside creamy mixture.  In a large mixing bowl add the diced chicken, mushrooms, pimento, and 8oz melted butter.  Stir to blend well.  Then add the cream soup/cheese mixture to the chicken/pasta mixture and stir slightly to mix well.  Pour mixture into a  gerased 13×9  dish or a large greased 10″ iron skillet.  Spread mixture evenly over dish or skillet.  Top with more Parmesan cheese, dried dill weed, and paprika.  Bake in 350 degree preheated oven 30-40 minutes or until cheese is golden brown and casserole is bubbly.

This recipe freezes well and is the perfect dish to make for large crowds or take to someone who is sick or on bed rest.

Filed in Casseroles,Gluten Free | 2 responses so far

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