Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Have a great Thanksgiving!!!!!

Enjoy your day with your family and friends. Be thankful for the many blessing in your life, past and present.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Wet or Dry Brine? Oh me, oh my.

Today starts the kitchen countdown to Thanksgiving. I made the cornbread for my dressing last night, Thursday morning it will be mixed with chicken stock and other things to make the delicous cornbread dressing to go with the Turkey.

Speaking of the Turkey. I had made up my mind that this year I was going to brine my turkey in a wet brine mixture for 24 hours starting tomorrow morning. However, I saw this on and am now torn between a wet or dry brine.

Turkey Technique: The Dry Brine

In the Los Angeles Times, Russ Parsons shares a turkey cooking technique inspired by Judy Rodgers, the chef/owner of San Francisco's Zuni Cafe.

He calls it "dry-brining": "You just salt the turkey a few days in advance, give it a brisk massage every so often to redistribute the salt, and then roast it." The salt releases moisture from the turkey, which gets reabsorbed by the meat, essentially brining the bird in its own juices.
While wet-brining -- soaking the turkey in a saltwater solution -- has become a very popular way of preparing turkey, Parsons notes the technique often leads to a spongy texture. On the other hand, dry-brining leaves the turkey "firm and meaty."

While the technique is straightforward, make sure you leave enough time for the turkey to brine (three days), though Parsons writes that you can cut it back to two days.

Just salting down the bird and giving him a little message every so often sounds so much easier than mixing, cooking, cooling, pouring into a bag, putting the bag in a cooler with ice.

Heck what am I saying, time is of the essence here, so my bird is going to have to settle for a massage instead of a leisurely soak in the tub!

Gobble, gobble!

Have a great Thanksgiving!


Thursday, November 20, 2008

I forgot the Deviled Eggs!!

But was quickly reminded by my daughter when running the Thanksgiving menu by her.

After running thru the list, she said isn't something missing?

Turkey, check,

dressing, check,

cranberry sauce, check,

green beans, check,

sweet potato casserole, check,

rolls, check,

pecan pie, check,

cheesecake, (f0r her), check


iced tea, check

Mom, you forgot the Deviled Eggs. We can't have Thanksgiving without them!!!!!

She's right, I forgot, and they are the standard Thanksgiving and Christmas item in our family.

Ok, they're on the list now, but they will be changed, in keeping with my theme of Thanksgiving Re-Deux.

Here's my new recipe for Deviled Eggs.

12 hard boiled eggs, peeled

1 oz container soft spreadable cream cheese ( I previously used mayo)

2 tablespoons sweet relish

2 teaspoons mustard

salt and pepper

Peel eggs and slice lengthwise. place yolks in mixing bowl and set whites aside.

Mash yolks with cream cheese, then add the relish and mustard,

Taste, add salt and pepper, taste again, add more salt.

Fill white with egg mixture. Sprinkle with Paprika.

Sounds gooood!!!!!! Wish I had about 4 of these puppies right now!


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I love Maxine!

She tells it like it is, doesn't she!

Is this why my brothers are going elsewhere for Thanksgiving?

Just kiddin'!

I get to make them suffer with my cooking at Christmas!


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

In quietness and in trust shall be your strength." Isaiah 30:13

Words I'm trying to live by right now. As you know my Mother passed away in July 2007.

We've (my brothers and I) had her house on the market since January 2008, we did actually have a contract on it, but when the real estate market started it's slide, that contract fell apart due to the financing changing.

We have it priced well below market value, and have not had much luck on it, due to the current economic situation. It is a great house in a great neighborhood and one of the best school systems (Vestavia Hills) in Birmingham, move in condition, new granite in the kitchen, new roof, etc, etc.

However, my prayers may be answered. We have two couples who are seriously looking at it.
Please say a prayer with me that God will shower his mercy on us and we'll sell the house. I have been patient and prayerful for a long time now and it would be a real blessing for my brothers and I, if someone would make this wonderful house their new family home.

It doesn't help that is one block from my house and I have to pass it several times a day, and seeing it sitting empty and dark saddens my heart. I know I would be happier and in a better place emotionally, seeing it occupied by a new family.

In quietness and in trust shall be your strength." Isaiah 30:13



Monday, November 17, 2008

Pink Fluff!!!

Ok, continuing my theme of the not so ordinary Thanksgiving, I am retiring the green congealed salad, and replacing it with PINK FLUFF!!!

Yep, this stuff is guaranteed to spice up that Thanksgiving buffet. It's glorious pink color provides just that spark of color you need, plus it is absolutely delicious.


1 12 oz carton Cool Whip, thawed

2 cups miniature marshmallows

1 cup chopped pecans

1 16 oz can crushed pineapple, drained

1 12 oz can cherry pie filling

1 12 oz can condensed milk

8 ozs cream cheese softened.

Stir all ingredients together and refrigerate.

Put it in a pretty clear bowl and add a little pep to your menu! Good enough to be enjoyed as dessert too!



Friday, November 14, 2008


isn't this the cutest idea. I will definitely be making some of these for Thanksgiving.
Here's how to do it;
Hershey Kisses ~ Mini Nilla Wafers ~ Frosting ~

Put a small amount of frosting on the bottom of the Nilla Wafer, place the bottom of the Hershey Kiss to the frosting and add a dab of frosting to the top.
Wouldn't they be precious scattered around a Holiday cookie or cheese tray!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Christmas Food Gifts!

Giving food as a gift is a Southern tradition and I love to give it to neighbors, co-workers, just about anybody.
This year I've been looking for something different and think I've found it, courtesy of The Birmingham News. This is pretty cost friendly too.
Chcolate Gravy!!! Doesn't that sound yummy? Imagine it over hot from the oven, homemade biscuits, or topping a brownie sundae, or a slice of pound cake, or even just over vanilla ice cream.
You make the mix, then the receiver add the milk and butter when they're ready to indulge.
Package it up in a pretty gift bag or box, or put in a baggie and wrap with colorful fabric, or put it in a pretty glass container tied up with a fabulous ribbon.

Attach the instructions on a recipe card and your friend will be thanking you!


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Thanksgiving Re-Deux!

Thanksgiving in the South has very consistent elements. Turkey and cornbread dressing, cranberry sauce, green beans, sweet potato casserole, congealed salad, and desserts. We generally don't change this too much.

But since my Thanksgiving this year is going to a very small event, just me, my husband, daughter, mother-in-law, and brother-in-law, I'm thinking that the usual fare needs to be tweaked, changed, or maybe improved on, just to liven it up.

First up, the green beans. Had these recently and they are fabulous!!!! Don't get me wrong, I like green beans, but I have never been inspired to eat the whole bowl. But these are not your every day green beans. Make these and your kids will be fighting over them.

Wouldn't that be something! Keep the video camera handy.


3 cans of whole green beans,drained
1/2 cup of brown sugar
Garlic salt and pepper to taste
5 or 6 slices of bacon
Put drained green beans in a greased 13x9 in pan. Add brown sugar and stir. Sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper. Top with bacon slices.

Cook at 350 covered for 30 min. and uncovered for 30 min.

YUM, YUM, YUM!!!!!

Now, how to re-invent the turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole, congealed salad, (already got this one, up next) and desserts, without straying from the required elements of the traditional Southern Thanksgiving menu.

Any suggestions, please let me hear from you.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I have it from excellent sources, (My Bunco Group) that this is the place to do your Christmas Shopping in Birmingham. Christmas Village was fun, but things were a little too country and primitive for my taste, ( I didn't buy a thing except food mixes, not a good thing). According to the shopping experts, (again, My Bunco Group), this is the place to knock out a Christmas list. Actually they wanted us to all go together on Thursday, the first day, but unfortunately some of us have jobs. Someday, I will know how how it feels to be one of the lucky ones that doesn't have to get up and go to work EVERYDAY OF MY FREAKIN' LIFE.
(sorry, I just lose control every now and then)
I'll just have to wait until Saturday to make my appearance.
Hope they leave me something to buy!

Check it out!


Monday, November 10, 2008


Even in Women who have had a complete hysterectomy!(Even In The Absence Of Ovaries)
An Eye-Opener On Ovarian Cancer


Years ago, Gilda Radner died of ovarian cancer. Her symptoms were inconclusive, and she was treated for everything under the sun until it was too late. This blood test finally identified her illness but alas, too late. She wrote a book to heighten awareness. Gene Wilder is her widower.

Kathy's Story: this is the story of Kathy West

I have Primary Peritoneal Cancer. This cancer has only recently been identified as its OWN type of cancer, but it is essentially Ovarian Cancer. Both types of cancer are diagnosed in the same way, with the 'tumor marker' CA-125 BLOOD TEST, and they are treated in the same way - surgery to remove the primary tumor and then chemotherapy with Taxol and Carboplatin. Having gone through this ordeal, I want to save others from the same fate. That is why I am sending this message to you and hope you will print it and give it or send it via E-mail to everybody you know. One thing I have learned is that each of us must take TOTAL responsibility for our own health care. I thought I had done that because I always had an annual physical and PAP smear, did a monthly Self-Breast Exam. When I had a total hysterectomy in 1993, I thought that I did not have to worry about getting any of the female reproductive organ cancers. LITTLE DID I KNOW. I don't have ovaries (and they were HEALTHY when they were removed), but I have what is essentially ovarian cancer. Strange, isn't it? These are just SOME of the things our Doctors never tell us: ONE out of ever 55 women will get OVARIAN or PRIMARY PERITONEAL CANCER. The 'CLASSIC' symptoms are an ABDOMEN that rather SUDDENLY ENLARGES andCONSTIPATION and/or DIARRHEA .I had these classic symptoms and went to the doctor. Because these symptoms seemed to be 'abdominal', I went to a gastroenterologist. He ran tests that were designed to determine whether there was a bacteria infection; these tests were negative, and I was diagnosed with 'Irritable Bowel Syndrome'. I guess I would have accepted this diagnosis had it not been for my enlarged abdomen. I swear to you, it looked like I was 4-5 months pregnant! I therefore insisted on more tests and they reluctantly) scheduled me for a CT-Scan (just to shut me up, I think). This is what I ! mean by 'taking charge" of our own health care.' The CT-Scan showed a lot of fluid in my abdomen (NOT normal). Needless to say, I had to cancel my trip and have FIVE POUNDS of fluid drawn off at the hospital (not a pleasant experience I assure you), but NOTHING compared to what was ahead of me. Tests revealed cancer cells in the fluid. Finally, finally, finally, the doctor ran a CA-125 blood test, and I was properly diagnosed. I HAD THE CLASSIC SYMPTOMS FOR OVARIAN CANCER, AND YET THIS SIMPLE CA-125 BLOOD TEST HAD NEVER BEEN RUN ON ME, not as part of my annual physical exam and not when I was symptomatic. This is an inexpensive and simple bloodtest! PLEASE, PLEASE TELL ALL YOUR FEMALE FRIENDS AND RELATIVES TO INSIST ON A CA-125 BLOOD TEST EVERY YEAR AS PART OF THEIR ANNUAL PHYSICAL EXAMS. Be fore warned that their doctors might try to talk them out of it, saying, 'IT ISN'T NECESSARY.' Believe me, had I known then what I know now, we would have caught my cancer much earlier (before it was a stage 3 cancer). Insist on the CA-125 BLOOD TEST; DO NOT take 'NO' for an answer! The normal range for a CA-125 BLOOD TEST is between zero and 35. MINE WAS 754. (That's right, 754!). If the number is slightly above 35, you can have another done in three or six months and keep a close eye on it, just as women do when they have fibroid tumors or when men have a slightly elevated PSA test (Prostatic Specific Antigens) that helps diagnose prostate cancer. Having the CA-125 test done annually can alert you early, and that's the goal in diagnosing any type of cancer - catching it early.

Do you know 55 women? If so, at least one of them will have this VERY AGGRESSIVE cancer. Please, go to your doctor and insist on a CA-125 test and have one EVERY YEAR for the rest of your life. And forward this message to every woman you know, and tell all of your female family members and friends. Though the median age for this cancer is 56, (and, guess what, I'm exactly 56,) women as young as 22 have it. Age is no factor.


Well , after reading this, I made some calls. I found that the CA-125 test is an ovarian screening test equivalent to a man's PSA test prostate screen (which my husband's doctor automatically gives him in his physical each year and insurance pays for it). I called the general practitioner's office about having the test done. The nurse had never heard of it. She told me that she doubted that insurance would pay for it. So I called Prudential Insurance Co, and got the same response. Never heard of it - it won't be covered. I explained that it was the same as the PSA test they had paid for my husband for years. After conferring with whomever they confer with, she told me that the CA-125 would be covered. It is $75 in a GP's office and $125 at the GYN's. This is a screening test that should be required just like a PAP smear (a PAP smear cannot detect problems with your ovaries). And you must insist that your insurance company pay for it.

Gene Wilder and Pierce Brosnan (his wife had it, too) are lobbying for women's health issues, saying that this test should be required in our physicals, just like the PAP and the mammogram.


ps. Since my Mom died of Ovarian cancer and I have a fibroid cyst, my gyn automatically does an internal sonar scan and the CA 125 and my insurance always pays for it.
I tell everyone I know to get this test done, they can use the same blood they draw for all the other yearly tests. BUT YOU HAVE TO ASK FOR IT UNLESS THEY HAVE SOME REASON TO DO IT.

Pass it on.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

What is your favorite Holiday food memory?

Mine is my mothers Fresh Apple Cake. She made it for me at Thanksgiving every year.

This will be my 2nd Thanksgiving without my Mom, she died in July 2007 of Ovarian Cancer. Last year I didn't have the strength or desire to even pretend there was a Thanksgiving or Christmas. I just wanted them to be over with, it was hard to face them without her.

This year however, I'm going to do better for my family's sake. I have my Mom's recipe book and will be attempting to make this cake because it's a tradition we shared, just she and I. It's full of recipe clippings from years back, but this is the ONE recipe that means the most to me.

I would sit at her kitchen table and peel the apples because it hurt her hands to do it, and we would talk as she made the cake magic happen. Maybe my daughter will help me do it this year and we can start this tradition with the next generation.

I know as I smell it cooking, my thoughts will be of my Mother, and how much I loved all the Holidays she made so special.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


In remembrance of my Mom, (Dorothy Hodgens) who died of Ovarian Cancer in July 2007 and in honor of my new friend at Shoal Creek Cottage, who has defeated the monster.

from her blog.

If any of these symptoms are unusual for you, can not be explained by existing medical conditions, and persist for more than two weeks, please be sure to bring this to the attention of a physician. INSIST ON BEING TESTED FOR IT. SIMPLE BLOOD TEST!

1.Vague but persistent and unexplained gastrointestinal complaints such as gas, nausea, and indigestion
2.Abdominal bloating, pelvic and/or abdominal pain, and/or feeling of fullness
3.Unexplained change in bowel habits (constipation or diarrhea)
4.Unexplained weight gain or loss
5.Frequency and/or urgency of urination
6.Unusual fatigue
7.Shortness of breath
8.New and unexplained abnormal postmenopausal vaginal bleedingOvarian Cancer:

The FactsCurrently, there is no accurate test for ovarian cancer. The most effective way women can protect themselves against ovarian cancer is to learn the signs and symptoms. If these symptoms are unusual for you and persist, see a health care professional to rule out the possibility of ovarian cancer.

I miss you Momma!