Blueberry Buckle

1/2 c. flour plus 1 1/2 c. separated
1/2 c. light brown sugar
2 T. sugar plus 2/3 c. separated
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/8 t. salt plus 1/2 t. separated
4 T. unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces plus 10 T. separated
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. lemon zest
1 1/2 t. vanilla
2 eggs
1 pt. fresh blueberries (frozen are too moist, do not use frozen)

Blueberry BuckleStreusel topping: In a food processor, combine 1/2 c. flour, 1/2 c. light brown sugar, 2 T. sugar and 1/8 t. salt. Add in 4 T. butter cut into eight pieces one piece at a time. Blend until mixture is crumbly.

In a small bowl, blend together 1 1/2 c. flour and 1 1/2 t. baking powder. In a large bowl or mixer, combine 10 T. butter, 2/3 c. sugar, 1/2 t. salt and 1/2 t. lemon zest until creamy. Add in eggs one at a time. Blend until light and fluffy. Add in vanilla. Slowly blend in flour/ baking powder mixture. With spatula, gently fold in blueberries.

Pour blueberry mixture into a well greased 9 X 9 X 2 inch baking dish. Sprinkle with streusel topping. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes or until deep golden brown.

May serve with vanilla bean ice cream or as a breakfast coffee cake.

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Fudge Brownie Pie

2 eggs
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter, melted
1/2 c. flour
1/3 c. Hershey’s cocoa powder
1/4 t. salt
1 t. vanilla
1/2 c. pecans, chopped
1/2 gallon vanilla bean ice cream
hot fudge sauce (bought or homemade)

Fudge Brownie PieBeat eggs in small bowl, blend in sugar and butter. Stir in flour, cocoa and salt. Then add vanilla and nuts. Pour into lightly greased and floured 8 inch pie pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Cool and cut into wedges. Serve, topped with ice cream and hot fudge sauce.

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Kaleidoscope Cookies

1 c. butter, softened
1 c. powdered sugar
1 1/2 t. vanilla
2 1/2 c. flour
1/4 t. salt
food coloring

Cream together butter and powdered sugar. Add 1 1/2 t. vanilla, 2 1/2 c. flour and 1/4 t. salt. Combine all in a mixer and mix well.

Put 6-8 drops of one color of food coloring (orange maybe for fall) on one side and 6-8 drops of another color of food coloring (perhaps yellow for fall). Mix on low for a few rounds (maybe 6 times). Just blend it a bit, not to thoroughly mix the colors.

Divide into 3 balls. Chill for 1 hour. Roll each ball into about 12″ long and 1″ in diameter and slice with a sharp knife to make “coin-like” cookies. Bake at 400 degrees for 8 minutes.

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German Pancakes

This is from our dear friends Trace and Christine. We like to serve this on Sunday nights with sausage, scrambled eggs and juice. Yummy, cost-effective and fast!

1 stick butter
1 c. flour
1 c. milk
4 eggs
2 T. sugar
1/8 t. salt
5 T. favorite jelly or jam
1/4 c. powdered sugar

Melt butter in oven at 425 degrees in a large iron skillet (I use my Pampered Chef deep dish stone)–swish butter around to cover bottom. Be careful not to burn butter.

Mix flour, milk eggs, sugar and salt thoroughly. Pour into melted butter in pan and swish around a bit, so that mix is completely covering bottom.

Bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Fun to watch with kids–turn on oven light and watch the hills and valleys form.

Take from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Move to large plate and spread jelly around top. Roll into a jelly-like roll. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top. Slice into servings and enjoy!

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When the News You Get is “Bad.”

The phone rang, and I heard my son rushing to get dressed.  It was different than when he would get ready for school.  There was an urgency in his actions that morning.  His dad was already up waiting for him to go hunting on the morning after Thanksgiving.  The sky outside my foggy windows was just beginning to show a lightness from the sun that would soon appear.  I covered my head back up with the blankets and thought about all the shoppers and the hunters that were making journeys into the early morning darkness.

But Adam wasn’t going hunting, he didn’t have on his hunting clothes….he had been called out to a fire.  At 16, he volunteers at the local volunteer fire department.  He stopped at the door and turned back.

“It’s Mrs. Sandra’s.”

My heart dropped.  News that someone is in trouble hurts your heart, but when you personally know that person…your heart breaks.  I started praying.  I jumped on FaceBook (the source of all news) to see if anyone else had heard, and I put out a simple prayer request, since I didn’t know all the details.  I prayed it wasn’t major.  I gave Adam a little while to get to the fire and do his thing before I texted him for news.  His response was simple.


My mother’s heart kicked in, and I wanted to be there for my son, who was responding to a fire at the home of his best friends.  My friend’s heart kicked in, and I wanted to be there for my dear friend.

I started getting dressed.

When we pulled up, the yard was full of emergency vehicles and cars from the volunteer fire department.  They had gotten there first…but it was too late.  The house was already engulfed in flames.  We found Sandra and her children covered in blankets watching their home of over 17 years burn to the ground.

“Why?” (When just the night before her entire family had gathered for a Thanksgiving meal in the same house now holding fire within its walls, that she had a cleaned for days before the event and had all the leftovers in the fridge.)  “Why was God doing this?”  I held Sandra as she cried out, knowing that God loved her, but not understanding why He allowed such pain into her life.

And then she started remembering everything that was in the house, now gone forever.  Treasures from her mother and father in a chest–all she had left of them.  TJ’s things were lost, her foster son who had been killed in a car accident just a couple of years ago.  All of Travis’ and Justin’s boyhood memories from the past 16 and 17 years.

Treasures that had been passed down to her.  Treasures that she was saving to pass down to her children.  She could see every one of them in her mind and where they were in the house, as the ceiling caved in and the walls started to fall.

Her sons watched as the metal frame of their beds crashed into what used to be the living room–the only thing recognizable from their room from the second story.  Their father held them, as only a father can hold sons that are young men.  Stressed relationships were put to the side as he once again stood by the side of the mother of his children.  It didn’t matter at that moment that they had divorced when the boys were little–tragedy brings family together.

Just a few short hours before, she had posted on FaceBook all her blessings from having the family together in her home and pictures that she had taken with all her children and grandchildren.  Now they all stood in the yard with her.

Her blessing list had changed in the matter of a few moments.  But as the sun started to shine through the black smoke, she was reminded over and over again that she was loved by each person that came to hug her and offer their help.  She was reminded that what mattered the most was standing in the yard with her.  Her children…her friends.  She even reminded us that God can bring good in all situations.

God was still in control.

And as I stood watching a home being destroyed, I thought about Mary.

She was in the midst of God’s will for her life–for everyone’s life!  Mary nearly lost her husband, probably lost her family–all to do what God asked.  She gave up the comfort of her home and rode astride a donkey in her final days of pregnancy and then had to give birth alone in a barn.  Strangers came to her instead of family….and they came with the news that the king wanted to kill her child.  She had to leave in the middle of the night, to a strange place for who knew how long.  And yet….

Luke 2:19 HCSB Mary was treasuring up all these things in her heart and meditating on them.

All Mary had in the world was wrapped in a blanket in her arms and leading the donkey.

It was enough.

It was what would be passed down from heart to heart for more generations than her young mind could possibly ever imagine.

After the shock subsides and the pain over what was lost eases, Sandra will continue to pass on the one thing that can never be destroyed…..

He was wrapped in a blanket and laid in a manager….in tomb…for you…for me.

I know that many of you have received a text, a phone call, or a doctor’s report that simply was “bad”.  You’ve been knocked down to your knees and all you can do is cry out to God and ask “why”.  In all honesty, you may never have the answer to the “why”, however, never forget that God loves you and He will love you through the trials and tribulations that come.   He can give you a peace that is the foundation that keeps you from sinking into a pit of despair.  He is with you.  He understands.  He is wrapping His arms around you.  He loves you.

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Jefferson Davis Pie aka Kentucky Pie

This is one pie that everybody wants around the Smith holiday table.  It takes simple ingredients and careful care to make, but it is oh, so delicious!
2 c. sugar
1 T. all-purpose flour
1. T. corn meal
1/4 t. salt
1/4 c. butter
1 t. vanilla
3/4 c. milk
4 eggs
1 pre-made pie shell (or recipe for pie crust here)

Place pie shell in pie plate, pressing down around the top edges with a fork or with your index finger.

Mix together in mixer: 2 c. sugar, 1 T. flour, 1 T. corn meal and 1/4 t. salt. Blend completely for 30 seconds. Add 1/4 c. butter, 1 t. vanilla, 3/4 c. milk and eggs–one at a time. Blend for one minute more.

Pour mixture into pie shell and bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes, until top is browned. (At high altitude, we turned the temperature down to 325 degrees.

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Shrimp Dip

This is a Smith family favorite!  Every holiday at my Chris’ parents’ home, his sister Angela will begin making this.  And we will all hover around her like vultures waiting for it to be finished. So usually the refrigerate for 2 hours part does not happen…it’s just that good.

1 bar cream cheese
1 large carton sour cream
1 pkg. Good Season’s Italian dressing (dry)
2 (4 1/2 oz.) cans shrimp
2 t. lemon juice
1 can cream of shrimp soup

Thoroughly blend cream cheese, sour cream, lemon juice and dressing mix with a blender. With a spoon, mix in soup and shrimp. Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving. Great with Wheat Thins or Triscuit crackers (fire-roasted tomato are our favorite!).

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Turkey Tetrazzini

When you have turkey leftovers, this is the very best way to spend them!  This dish will make your house smell wonderful and it tastes fantastic.  My whole family will gobble this up–hee hee!

10 ounces mushrooms, sliced thin (about 4 cups)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 3/4 cups milk
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup dry white wine
10 ounces spaghetti
3 cups coarsely chopped cooked turkey, including cooked giblets if desired
1 cup cooked peas
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/3 cup fine fresh bread crumbs

In a large heavy saucepan cook the mushrooms in 1/4 cup of the butter over moderate heat, stirring, until most of the liquid they give off has evaporated, stir in the flour, and cook the mixture over low heat, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add in a stream the milk, the broth, and the wine, stirring, bring the mixture to a boil, stirring, and simmer the sauce for 5 minutes. ( I add a teaspoon of tarragon also, just because I love the flavor) – In a kettle of boiling salted water cook the spaghetti until it is al dente and drain it well.

In a large bowl combine well the spaghetti, the mushroom sauce, the turkey, the peas, and salt and pepper to taste, stir in 1/3 cup of the Parmesan, and transfer the mixture to a buttered shallow 3 quart casserole. In a small bowl combine well the remaining 1/3 cup Parmesan, the bread crumbs, and salt and pepper to taste, sprinkle the mixture evenly over the Tetrazzini, and dot the top with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, cut into bits. The Tetrazzini may be prepared up to this point 1 month in advance and kept frozen, covered. Bake the Tetrazzini in the middle of a preheated 375 degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until it is bubbling and the top is golden.  From Debbie Elrod, Seymour, TN

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Giblet Gravy

This is my favorite gravy.  It is my favorite gravy that someone else makes.  I do not like dealing with “giblets.”  Though they are a cute word, they are gross to me…that is, until they are made into this splendid gravy.  Then I’m good with it.  It is delicious!

turkey liver, heart and gizzard (from the package inside your turkey)
1 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper
1/2 c. drippings from the cooked turkey
1/4 c. flour
3 c. giblet stock (see below) and milk (or cream)

Wash giblets. Boil giblets in a stock pan with 4 cups water over medium-high heat with salt and pepper until done, adding liver during the last 20 minutes. Drain, reserving the stock.  Chop giblets finely. Pour 1/4 c. stock in the roasting pan, adding flour mixed with 1/4 c. milk (or cream)–cook over medium heat.  Stir constantly.  Add 1 cup giblet stock, 1/2 c. drippings from turkey and 1  c. milk (or cream). Add giblets. Cook over medium heat for five minutes, stirring often.

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