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My momma’s really easy, really good yeasty biscuity rolls-Countdown to Thanksgiving!

November 10, 2009

I think most families have a stash of beloved holiday recipes that have been passed down through generations of mothers to daughters (or sons).  Of course, everyone thinks their own geneological treasure trove of culinary button-poppers (people used real butter back in the day-and LARD)  are  the best of the best.  But, I say these people are delusional.  Their family recipes simply can’t be the best, because (and I’m speaking frankly here) MINE are.  LOL

Seriously though, mine really are the best…..They’re so good I’m gonna prove it to you and (gasp) share them!  (My gran-ma-ma will no doubt be twirling  in her grave!  Literally! She was a majorette in the Fox Den High School Band, dontcha know, and she never passed an opportunity to demonstrate her considerable twirling talents–never mind that she’d  traded in her baton for a  cane decades before!)

Anyway, thanks to my twirling granny and her granny before her, our Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners are, for the most part,  set in stone when it comes to menu-planning.  They are also virtually identical–it’s turkey and dressing all the way with my bunch, baby!    Oh sure, we add a new recipe here and there as our sons get married and their wives have the gall to try and mix in a few of their own family recipes.  I’m just kidding!  We welcome their family receipts with an open mind, and a few of them actually make it to our holiday table. (after a double-audition and proof of authenticity!)  But, in general, the menu deviates rarely.  If it did, I’m convinced I’d  be stoned in my herb garden  for blasphemy by my mother.

I’m gonna start with our all time favorite and the only exception to the “twice-a-year” rule*–Yeast rolls (actually, these are kind of a cross between a roll and a biscuit.) and work my way up to the piece d’resistance– turkey and dressing.

*twice-a-year rule:  The promise to serve these recipes only twice a year at Thanksgiving and Christmas — no matter how much you crave giblet gravy while you are pregnant  in July.  The promise is signed in blood and then and only then are you handed the key to the rusty padlocked strongbox where the recipes are kept.

These rolls,  like most good older recipes, use simple  ingredients.  They are Beginner Easy (See definition link at the top of this page under RECIPE RATINGS), pretty much fool-proof,  and so good that I have to triple the recipe in order to have enough for leftovers!

First off, heat 1 c. buttermilk, 1/2 c. shortening, 1 tsp. sugar, and 1 tsp salt til lukewarm. (when the shortening starts melting, turn the heat off, but leave the pan on the burner and stir til it dissolves) Put about 1/3 c. very warm water in a small bowl and sprinkle 1 packet quick-rise yeast over the top.  Let it sit a few minutes to let the yeast soften up.

Sift 2 1/2 cups flour and 1/2 tsp soda together into a large bowl.   Stir the yeast into the buttermilk mixture and combine with the flour/soda mix.

mix liquid into dry

Stir til completely mixed.  It will be very sticky.


Cover the bowl with plastic wrap that is sprayed with Pam.  Let rise 30 minutes or til doubled in size in a warm place.  I usually stick them in the oven with the oven-light on.

Grease a 10″ round cake pan or pie tin or whatever you want to use.  With greased hands make a dozen rolls and put into the pan.  Cover lightly with saran wrap sprayed with Pam and let rise for another 30 minutes in a warm place.

After they’ve risen, gently brush melted butter over the tops of the dough with a soft pastry brush (I use about 1/4  stick of melted butter and yes, I mean real honest to God salted buttah!)

buttered dough

Bake at 425 degrees about 15-20 til golden brown.  Immediately after removing from oven, brush the tops with another 1/4 stick melted butter.  No, I’m not kidding, and I’d show ya how I then split the pipin’ hot baked rolls in half and slathered their innards with more butter but……

buttery goodness

………..These were snatched and gone before I could say “clogged arteries are a heart attack waiting to happen.” And, saving you a bite wasn’t even open for argument.  Sorry!


My Momma’s Really Easy, Really Good Yeasty Biscuity Rolls

I rate this recipe Beginner Easy! (see definition link at the top of this page under RECIPE RATINGS)

1 c. buttermilk

1/2 c. shortening

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

1/3 c. warm water

1 packet quick-rise yeast

2 1/2 c. flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 stick salted  butter

Heat the buttermilk, salt, sugar and shortening until lukewarm. (let the shortening melt)

dissolve the yeast in the 1/3 c. warm water and combine with the buttermilk mixture.

Sift the flour and soda together in a large bowl.  Make a well in the center, and pour in the liquid ingredients.  Stir with a large spoon until combined. (It will be very sticky) Cover with saran wrap sprayed with Pam and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes or til doubled in size. (I stick it in the oven with the oven light on.)

With greased hands form the dough into balls and place in a pan that has also been greased or sprayed with Pam.

Lightly cover the pan with saran wrap sprayed with Pam and return to your warm place for 30 more minutes or til doubled in size.

Gently remove the saran wrap and carefully brush the tops of the dough with about 1/4 c. melted butter (more or less–just make sure each roll has some butter)

Bake in a hot oven (425) for 15 to 20 minutes or til golden brown.  Remove the pan from the oven and immediately brush another 1/4 c. melted butter over the tops.

Serve with lots more butter. (and honey if desired)

makes about a dozen good sized rolls.


Happy Halloween! Be safe and eat chocolate!

October 30, 2009

halloween 2

On Hallowe’en the thing you must do
Is pretend that nothing can frighten you
And if somethin’ scares you and you want to run
Just let on like it’s Hallowe’en fun.
~Author Unknown

Apple Crisp + Crisp Autumn Day=Perfection!

October 24, 2009


Fall is definitely in the air in my neck of the woods and to me, that means a crackling wood fire and the aroma of Cinnamon Apple Crisp wafting through the house. It’s one of my autumn rituals.  I only make it once a year on a crisp sunny day in October.  Don’t ask me why,  cuz’ I don’t know why.  It is what it is, and that’s just what I do.   My kids  know I only make it once a year in October, and they all start watching the weather channel around the 5th looking for the first 65 degree day.  Yep, they love apple crisp almost as much as I do.

So, today was the day.  I made the apple crisp, and hubby built the fire. We all sat around the hearth warming our cockles (does anyone know what a cockle is?) eating our apple crisp buried under mounds of creamy vanilla ice cream.  This year was particularly exciting because  our 16 month old grandson got his very first taste of the crunchy, juicy, bubbly sweetness.  He was not disappointed.  As a matter of fact, he took his first bite and giggled which cracked us all up.  It’s good to laugh when eating apple crisp.

I can tell you truthfully–If I die tonight, I will die a happy girl.


A  few tips to make your apple crisp even more delicious.

1. The best Apple Crisp is always made in the Fall.  Why?  Because that’s when the apples are best, silly!

2. Use a mixture of apples for the most exquisite taste. I like a mix of 1/2 Granny Smith, 1/4 Macintosh, and 1/4 Gala for a good mix of tart and sweet.  I always use at least 1/2 Granny Smith cuz’ they are so juicy and tart.

granny smith

Granny Smith






5.  For extra crunchy toppings use regular cooking oats.

6. For added flavor add 1/2-1 cups chopped pecans to the topping.



Start with 5 cups sliced apples (4-5 medium whole apples)  If only using one variety of apple, Granny Smith works well.

apple time

peel em’, core em’, and slice em’ about 1/4″ or less  thick

lightened slice the apples

Put 2/3 cups sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, and 1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon in a large bowl.  Mix with a wire whisk.

lightened mix for apples

Add the sliced apples and combine thoroughly before transferring to a 13 x 9 baking dish.  Sprinkle any leftover sugar mix over the apples.  MMMMM. Don’tcha wish your smeller could reach through your computer bout’ now?

lightened prepared apples

Put 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, 1 3/4 cups  flour, and 2 cups oats in a bowl. (I use the one I mixed the  apples in. I hate washing dishes!)  This is where you would add the chopped pecans if you were so inclined.  Mix with  1 cup melted butter  til crumbly.  Spread over the apples in the pan.

lightened spread over the apples

Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes or until apples are fork tender and bubbly, and the top is a crunchy brown. (Is crunchy brown a color?)

lightened brown crunchy topping

Just look at all the pretty colors the different varieties of  cooked apples made!  Serve warm….

lightened apple crisp

With a big scoop of ice cream. (the full bodied kind–no light, no ice-milk, and no sugar free allowed!)

lightened scoop of ice cream

And don’t give a second thought to the fact you have to lose 10 lbs by Friday for your 30 year class reunion. You didn’t want to go anyway.

llightened bite

Apple Crisp


5 c. sliced apples, (4-5  medium apples)

2/3 c sugar

3 T flour

1 heaping tsp cinnamon

1 ½ c lt. or dk. brown sugar

1 ¾ c flour

2 c quick or regular oats

1 c butter, melted

1/2-1 c. chopped pecans, (optional)



In a large bowl, mix together 2/3 c sugar, 3 T flour and cinnamon.  Add sliced apples and mix well.  Transfer to 13 x 9 baking dish.

In the same bowl, mix together 1 1/2 c. brown sugar, 1 3/4 c. flour and 2 c. oats. Add 1 cup melted butter and mix til crumbly.  Sprinkle over apples in baking dish.  Dish will be very full.  Bake at 350 for 50-60 min. or til apples are tender and bubbly, and topping is browned.  Serve warm with ice cream.

Serves 10 (or 6 if you and your family are pigs like mine)

Sometimes I double this recipe and use a 15×11 glass baking dish for the above reason.

September 11–there will be no forgetting…

September 11, 2009

garden gate

Double chocolate banana summer squash bread

August 23, 2009

The summer squash is STILL producing.  I swear, if I have to look another squash in the face this year I’ll scream!

Here’s another good recipe if you’re having my problem and have waaayyy to much squash.  So far I’ve frozen 4 batches (8 loaves) of this one.  It’s really really good with a cup o’ joe!

First shred 2 cups of squash and set aside.  (Yep, this is the same picture of shredded squash I used for the lime squash muffins–so shoot me!)


Next put 2–1 oz squares baking chocolate–I used semi-sweet–in a microwave safe bowl.


Nuke it til it is melted and creamy, stirring occassionally.

melted chocolate

In a big mixing bowl combine 3 eggs, 2 cups sugar, 1/2 c. vegetable oil,  1 mashed banana plus enough light sour cream to make 1/2 c., 1 tsp vanilla, the melted chocolate, and the summer squash.

yucky stuff

In another bowl,  dump 2 c. all purpose flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp salt, and 1 tsp cinnamon.  Combine well with a wire whisk.

flour mix`

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir to blend.   Mix in 3/4 c. chocolate chips.

add the choco chips

Pour into 2 loaf pans sprayed with Pam.

2 loaves

Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Spread each slice with real butter and serve with a big glass of cold milk or cup of hot coffee and try not to eat a whole loaf in one sitting!

have a piece


2 1 oz squares baking chocolate

3 eggs

2 c. white sugar

1/2 c. vegetable oil

2 c. grated summer squash

1 ripe banana

add enough lt. sour cream to the banana to make 1/2 c

1 tsp vanilla

2 c. all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

3/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly grease two 9×5 inch loaf pans.

In a microwave-safe bowl,  heat chocolate until melted. Stir occasionally until chocolate is smooth.

In a large bowl, combine eggs, sugar, oil, banana, sour cream, grated  summer squash, vanilla and chocolate; beat well.

Mix the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon with a wire whisk.

Add to the wet ingredients and stir to blend.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pans.

Bake in preheated oven for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a loaf comes out clean.

This freezes well.

Hilde’s Beef Roll Ups or as they say in Bavaria-Rinds Rouladen!

August 18, 2009

I knew I would try this recipe the minute Hilde posted it.  I’d never made anything like it before, and rolling a  pickle up inside a slab of beef slathered in brown mustard was too intriguing to just tuck  away in a recipe  file never to be seen again.   I had to make it and the sooner the better.

I was not disappointed.  It was delicious and an added bonus was the gravy.  It was the best gravy I’ve ever tasted hands down!  Did I ever tell you guys that I’m from Oklahoma?  Well, Okies are gravy connoisseurs,  and I’m no exception.  Give me a  bowl of gravy and a couple of buttermilk biscuits or one or two slices of Wonder bread to sop it up with and I’ll give you a happy woman.  Ok, a happy FAT woman if I allowed myself to indulge as much as I’d like.

So here goes—Hilde, I hope I did it justice!!  Be kind when you critic me!   I’ve never done a roll-up before.

First off buy some really skinny beef.  The skinniest you can find.  My local Walmart had some packages of top round steak that I thought would fit the bill.

top round steak

You’ll also need to gather up some spicy brown mustard, some dill pickles, (I used kosher dills and bought the sandwich sliced variety cuz’ I’m a lazy cuss– but you could also get whole pickles and slice them in half), and some beef broth. (I used canned because, well, I’m a lazy cuss and it’s just way to much trouble to make my own)


Next, put one of the steaks on a cutting board, sprinkle with salt and pepper,  get yourself a meat pounder–technical name, meat “tenderizer”. I do a few light whacks with the toothy side, switch to the flat end—

meat tenderizer

— and BEAT THE SNOT OUTTA THAT LITTLE SUCKER!–but be careful not to lose complete control and tear a hole in it.  Despite the violence, it’s a delicate operation.

Added plus: besides spreading the steak out and making it easier to roll, the beating does really help tenderize an otherwise “chewy” cut of meat.  If you don’t have one of these handy little kitchen gadgets–grab your husband’s hammer. (just make sure it’s clean)

pounding the steak


Before pounding

Before the beatings

After pounding

After the beatings


Smear some of the brown mustard on one side of the meat, and lay a strip of raw bacon lengthwise on top of the mustard.  Sprinkle on some chopped raw onions, and lay one of the pickle slices across one end.  It doesn’t matter if the pickle hangs over a little.

mustard and bacon pickle and onion


Now here’s the tricky part.  Starting at the pickle end, roll it all up as tightly as you can and secure it with a toothpick or two- or ten.

roll em' up

Douse each roll up with flour and brown in vegetable shortening in the bottom of a heavy dutch oven or casserole. I used a hot skillet and scraped the dredges into my dutch oven. I did this because I paid a lot of money for my dutch oven, and I make a real effort to treat it like it was lined in gold.  Either way, the roll-ups should end up in the bottom of your baking pan.

Here’s an ah ha! moment.  If they all fit in your heavy skillet, you could just cover em’ with it’s matching lid or even heavy foil and transfer it to the oven. WISH I’D THOUGHT OF THAT EARLIER!  (mine’s old fashioned iron, BTW.   It’s impossible to kill it.–I’ve had this one for over 20 years and it’s still good as new)

floured roll upsbrown the roll ups


Pour the beef broth over them.  I know, they look kind of ugly right now, but just wait!  Plus, I probably didn’t get them brown enough. Thank God it didn’t matter in the end–they were still wonderful.

cover with sauce

Put on the lid and cook for an hour or so at 325 degrees.

Remove the roll ups and keep warm while you make the gravy. Stir 3 heaping T. flour into a little cold water and whisk into the liquid in the pan.   Wincing the whole while,  I gave in and sat my pot on the stove and let the gravy come to a boil. (Remember, I’m a lazy cuss, and I’d already washed my skillet and obviously was too stupid to leave my roll ups  in old iron-sides  in the first place)

Anyhoo, put whatever pot your beefy little bundles were once in on the stove top. Lower the heat and stir while you simmer for 2 or 3 minutes to cook the flour and thicken the broth.  Put the roll ups back into the pot. Coat them real good with the gravy.

And speaking of gravy, just look at it. Now, that’s a thing of beauty. I’m salivating at the picture.  The pickles and mustard melded with the beef broth and onions in such an exquisite way that I just don’t have the words to describe the taste–the color–the aroma….Oh, the aroma! Just trust me when I simply say,  IT WAS GOOD!

in the gravy

I served it up with Hilde’s suggestions for sides—mashed potatoes and sweet and sour cabbage. (the recipe I found for the cabbage was delicious as well–It had apples and bacon and red cabbage and I could have made a meal just of that. Of course, that’s another post.)

Top it off with a German beer–a little polka music in the background for ambience–you’ll swear you were in the heart of Bavaria!

Here’s your bite!  (And don’t forget to slather them taters in the gravy!!!

have a bite

Below is Hilde’s actual recipe for those that want some precise ingredients.  I took some more of her advice and doubled it for my family and they wiped it out.  My husband put it on his list of  top 5 favorite meals of all time. THANKS HILDE FOR SHARING!!

(Rinds Rouladen)


4 Breakfast Steaks (thin sliced Steaks)
Salt and Pepper
Mustard (spicy brown)
1 med. Onion
4 Slices of Bacon
2 Dill Pickles (cut in Half lengthwise)
3 Tablespoons Flour
1 1/2 – 2 cups
Beef Broth

Beat Steaks until thin if needed, sprinkle with Salt and Pepper and spread Mustard on one Side.
Lay a Slice of Bacon on Top of the Mustard on each Steak, sprinkle with chopped Onions,
place a Half of Pickle at one End of the Steak and roll it.
Tie the Ends of the Steak together with a Piece of Threat or use Toothpicks to hold the Steak Roll together.
Melt Shortening in a roasting Pan,coat Rolls with Flour,
brown all Sides of the Steak Rolls.
Add Beef Broth, cover and cook in a preheated Oven at 325 for one Hour.
Thicken the Sauce with Flour or roux and season with Salt and Pepper.

This Recipe can also be made on Stove Top, just cook covered on low about 1-1/2 Hrs.
This tastes good with Mashed Potatoes and Purple sweet and sour Cabbage

Guten Appetit!

P.S. I double the Recipe, four Roll Ups wouldn’t be enough for my Family :)

Summer Squash Lime-Kissed Tea Cakes

August 9, 2009

Last year all 6 of our squash plants died leaving us seriously deprived of one of our favorite summer veggies.  This year my husband planted 15 of those suckers. He was determined not to go without again.

Need I even say that the summer squash in this year’s garden is producing “abundantly”?  It is, and that could be the understatement of the year! I have yellow squash coming out my ears!  I’ve fried it, boiled, baked it, mixed it into other dishes, eaten it raw, and given it away to the point that friends and relatives run the other way when they see me coming.  Now, in desperation, I am on a mission to find the most wonderful squash bread/cake/muffin recipe in the world, because I have enough of it to feed the world.  Plus, squash bread is freezable.

muffins on plateI found this recipe on the internet.  It included a photo of the cutest little muffins I’ve ever seen,  and of course I couldn’t resist trying to duplicate them.  And, with a few tiny little tweaks, I did! (Well, maybe a few big tweaks) It called for almond flour and I couldn’t find any at my local Walmart. (Imagine that!)  Why I decided to substitute soy flour is a mystery to me other than it had a similar texture, and the store had some on the shelf.  I got home and found the lemons I thought I had were limes—so I substituted limes.  Then, I realized I didn’t have any buttermilk–only 1% milk.  I attempted to use my Granny’s tried and true method of adding vinegar to the milk to curdle it, but alas, 1% milk doesn’t curdle very well.  That’s when I got the hair-brained idea to add the vinegar to a can of evaporated milk I found in the pantry.  It didn’t curdle well either, but it didn’t turn gray like the 1%, so that’s what I used.  Oh, and it called for an 18 tin mini-muffin pan and I only had a 24 tin mini-mini muffin pan.  Other than that–it was the exact same recipe….

Except that I changed the name too.  The original was Mini Summer Squash Cupcakes with Lemon Glaze. I’m fairly certain that the original cupcakes are terrific and I included the true ingredients next to my substitutions if you wanna try them—  but honestly, I don’t think they could possibly be any better than my cobbled together concoction.  My Lime-Kissed Tea Cakes were melt in your mouth delicious and frankly, I thought my name sounded more romantic–so romantic that I may even add them to Dave and Teresa’s garden wedding menu!

First, mix 1/2 c. flour, 2 T. soy flour, and 1/2  tsp. baking soda, and a pinch of salt  together with a wire whisk in a small bowl.

soy flour

Next, grate 1 T. plus 1/2 tsp lime zest.

lime shavings

In a separate bowl,  mix 4 T. room temperature butter with 1/3 c. sugar using a hand mixer.  Add in 1 egg, 1/2 tsp vanilla, and 1/2 tsp. of the lime zest and mix well. (Save the rest of the zest for later)

lime egg and sugar

Alternate adding the flour mix and buttermilk (mixing well after each addition) into the sugar mixture til it’s gone. (I did half and half)

In a food processor, shred 3/4 cup yellow squash.


Wrap the squash in paper towels and squeeze out the excess moisture before stirring it into the batter.


Spray a mini muffin pan that holds 18 (or 24)  tea cakes with Pam, and fill them almost to the top with the batter.

muffin tin

Put in a 350 degree oven for approximately 20 min. ( a little longer if you have an 18 tin pan)

in the oven

or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean.  Remove from oven, run a knife around the edge of each lil cake and let cool for 10 min. before removing from the pan and placing on a pretty dish worthy of their name.

Mix 1-2 T. fresh squeezed lime juice  with 3/4 c. sifted confectioner’s sugar. (to a drizzling consistency)  This smells so darn good you’ll need a napkin for the drool you’ll be drizzling out the side of your mouth.


Drizzle the icing in an artistic fashion onto the tea cakes, and sprinkle the reserved 1 T. of lime zest over the tops.

cooked muffins

I so wish you could smell these babies.  From miles away my family sniffed and followed their noses to my kitchen.  There was a traffic jam in the doorway, I kid you not!

Just look at this little guy!  Isn’t he just too cute to eat??

little muffin

Dontcha just wanna take a bite anyway?

1st bite

They didn’t last 5 minutes.


I’d call that a success! Try them–they’re light, they melt in your mouth, and are a perfect summer treat.



1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. soy flour (or almond flour)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
Pinch of salt
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter at room temperature  (oops! I used salted and it was fine)
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 T. plus 1/2 tsp. grated lime zest (or lemon zest)
6 Tbsp. buttermilk
3/4 cup finely shredded yellow squash
3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 – 2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice (or lemon juice)

Mix flour, soy flour, baking powder and pinch of salt in small bowl with wire whisk.

In separate larger bowl mix 4 T. room-temperature butter with 1/3 c. sugar using a hand mixer.  Add 1 large egg, 1/2 tsp vanilla, and  1/2 tsp grated lime zest and mix well.

Alternate adding flour mix and buttermilk to the sugar mixture til well blended.

Hand stir in the 3/4 c. finely shredded yellow squash and put into an 18 tin mini-muffin pan that has been sprayed lightly with Pam.

Cook at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes til toothpick inserted into center of muffins come out clean.

Run a knife around each muffin and allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing to serving platter.

Mix 1-2 T. lime juice into 3/4 c. sifted confectiioner’s sugar to a thin consistency and drizzle onto muffins.  Sprinkle the remaining lime zest on top.

Makes 18 little tea cakes or 24 little-er tea cakes