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Monday, April 8, 2019

Sheila's Bread Pudding

This is some stuff to make you sigh in contentment. I grew up eating bread pudding as a dessert. Mom made it in order to efficiently use aging bread as a dessert. This is not low calorie, low fat or gluten free.  It is, however, chocked with wonderful memories for me.  This is my Sweet Baboo's version drawing from several of our female ancestors' versions.

It makes a very nice transportable dessert since it lies flat in a casserole dish covered by plastic. Easy to heat. Delightful to eat.  I even make it sometimes with whole wheat bread to give you some fiber.

  • 5 cups cubed white bread 
  • 3 eggs 
  • 1 cup sugar 
  • 1/2 cup melted butter 
  • 1/4 to 1 cup milk 
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg 
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 to 1 cup raisins (optional) 
  1. Cream butter, sugar and eggs 
  2. Add 1 tsp. each -vanilla and almond flavoring 
  3. Mix in bread 
  4. Add enough milk (up to a cup or so) to make the bread mixture mushy 
  5. Press it into a greased casserole dish 
  6. Bake at 350 degrees just until set. 
  7. Serve warm, room temperature or even cold with lemon sauce. 

Lemon Sauce: 

  1. In 1 quart sauce combine:  1 1/4 cups water, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 tsp grated lemon peel, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1 1/2 TBSP corn starch. 
  2. Mix well. Cook and stir until thickened. 
  3. Then stir in two tablespoons butter or margarine Makes 1 3/4 cups sauce 

Serving Directions:

That's it. To serve, just plop a big old spoonful of this stuff in a bowl, pour some lemon sauce over it, and enjoy. The ingredients are sort of a medium version. You may want to adjust spices or ingredients to your tastes. There's a bit of "the hand of the chef" in this stuff. I even use whole wheat bread in mine. I tear up whatever bread is laying around including burger buns and hot dog buns. Bread is bread. And I double the lemon sauce because I like lots of sauce, but then that's me. Feel free to ignore any or my alterations. Mom's Bread Pudding never fails.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Honeymama's Christmas Fruitcake

As usual, we hit that thang before I could run get the camera.

My grandmother, "Honeymama" as she was known by us grandkids, used to make her Christmas fruitcake every year sometime in November. By the time I first sampled her fruitcake, a firm tradition had been established. Every year the first piece of fruitcake went to my Aunt Sandra, her second child. None of us could touch the fruitcake till Sandra had eaten the first piece.  Aunt Sandra lived a good hour or two drive from Keene up on the prairie west of Springtown, Texas, north of Weatherford so she only came down once a month or so to check on her Mama.

One year, not long after my Grandfather passed away, Aunt Sandra got busy with business affairs and didn't come and visit her mama as often as Honeymom thought she ought to. I was sitting in her kitchen a few days before Thanksgiving, looking covetously at that fruitcake when all of a sudden my grandmother stood up, pulled a big knife out of the drawer and approached the fruitcake muttering darkly.

"If she can't be bothered to come visit her mother, I know someone who will appreciate a piece of fruitcake.

I couldn't believe it when she plunked a thick slice of fruitcake and a tall bottle of Dr. Pepper down in front of me. With a twinkle in her eye, she winked at me and went back to her early Thanksgiving preparations.

Honeymom gave a copy of her fruitcake recipe to Sheila years ago. I still have the handwritten copy. Apparently Honeymom got the recipe from "Aunt Dora", whoever that was. I should check the family tree to see who she was I suppose. Anyway, Sheila tweaks it a bit and no two fruitcakes come out exactly the same but they are all addictively delicious. She made two this year, the first with chopped dates which lasted about two weeks. The second time we didn't have dates so we made it with craisins (dried cranberries).  Feel free to have fun with the ingredients. It's a very forgiving recipe. I think the secret is that neither Aunt Dora, Honeymama, nor Sheila use citron in the recipe. It's a nice mild fruity and dense moist cake. I can't resist it.

  1. 4 eggs
  2. 2 cups sugar
  3. 1 cup melted butter
  4. 1 tsp. baking powder
  5. 2 1/2 cups flour
  6. 1 cup milk
  7. 1/1/2 cup walnuts or pecans
  8. 1 cup chopped dates, raisins or craisins
  9. 2 small boxes or 1 large box chopped candied pineapple 
  10. 2 small boxes or 1 large box candied cherries
  11. 2 cups grated fresh coconut
  12. 1/2 cup flour (dusted on fruit)
  13. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  14. 1 tsp almond extract 
  15. 1 tsp butter flavoring
  16. Spices to taste (nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, etc.)
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  2. Mix eggs, sugar, butter, and baking powder till smooth.
  3. Add 2 1/2 cup flour and milk
  4. Chop nuts and all fruit and toss in a large bowl with 3/4 cup flour
  5. Mix coconut into fruit mix
  6. Add spices till the batter tastes like you like it.
  7. Stir all together in a large bowl and fold into a large bundt cake pan (or a normal size bundt pan and a loaf pan) coated with butter
  8. Bake at 300 degrees for approximately 1 hour until a knife inserted into the cake comes out clean.
Serving Suggestions:

This recipe tends to run over the top of our bundt pan, so we put some of the batter in a loaf pan and made a "giftable sized fruitcake" (right) and avoided having to clean fruitcake batter off the oven racks. One hint given to us by seasoned fruitcake bakers: Fruitcake tastes best if you let it sit for a few days in a cool corner before you eat it. Wrap it in plastic and hide it from yourself. It's the only way it's going to make it more than 12 hours without you losing control and chopping off a hunk of it. My Honeymama used to let hers sit for up to two weeks or until Sandra showed up for her first-of-the-season fruitcake.  Serve with milk or either Coke or Dr. Pepper in the traditional bottle.

If you can bear to give away the smaller fruitcake, cut it in slices after it cools, then put the slices in one of those plastic gift boxes or cake tins. Walmart sells them in the Christmas wrap section. Just slap a bow and a tag on it and you have a fantastic gift most people with working tastebuds will love.

If you think you don't like fruitcake, you might want to try this fruitcake. The lack of citron really makes this a lovely collage of gentle, tasteable flavors and a tribute to the culinary genius of Aunt Dora, my Honeymama and my Sweet Baboo!
If you find you don't like this fruitcake, box it up and mail it to "Uncle Tom's Home for Homeless Fruitcakes".
We'll make sure your unwanted fruitcake will achieve its ultimate purpose in the grand cosmic scheme of things.

© 2018 by Tom King


Friday, June 1, 2018

Honeymama's Candied Dill Pickles

If you like sweet pickles at all, you'll love these.  My grandmother (we called her Honeymama) used to make these and whenever she had a jar in the fridge, I was there to mooch 'em.  Nothing better in the world than a longhorn cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread with Kraft Mayo, a slice of fresh tomato still warm from the garden and several candied dill chips.  She taught me how to make them, in self-defense I think, hoping I'd ease up on her supply. 

Oh, and you needed a tall cold Dr. Pepper in the return-for-deposit bottle to go with it. The beauty of candied dills is you almost have to make them yourselves. For some reason pickle makers have never mass produced candied dills for very long, if at all.

Here's what you need to make candied dills:

  • 1 giant jar of cheap hamburger dill pickle chips
  • 1 cup of sugar for each quart of the jar's capacity
  • 1 tablespoon of mixed pickling spice per quart
  • Vinegar (apple cider vinegar works nicely and gives it a unique flavor)
  • Cheesecloth
  • Twine

Here's what you do:

  1. Pour out the pickles into a collander and drain off the vinegar. 
  2. Rinse the pickles with fresh vinegar.
  3. Rinse out the pickle jar.
  4. Put the pickles back in the jar
  5. Pour part of the sugar into the jar. 
  6. Pour vinegar over it to dissolve the sugar.
  7. Alternate sugar and vinegar till the jar is about 3/4 full of vinegar.
  8. Measure 1 tablespoon of pickling spice onto a six inch square of cheesecloth.
  9. Wrap the cheesecloth around the spice and tie the open end securely with string.
  10. Tuck the spice ball down in the pickles
  11. Finish filling the jar with vinegar and the entire amount of sugar
  12. Put the lid back on and shove it to the back of the refrigerator
  13. Put a sign on the jar threatening to chop off the fingers of anyone who gets into the jar without permission.
  14. Shake up the jar every day or two to promote complete dissolving of the sugar on the bottom of the jar.  Open the lid and sniff. It doesn't help any, but it's good for your morale during the curing process. 
  15. Wait at least two weeks for the sugar and spice to permeate the pickles.
  16. About  a week into the process, make another jar or two. You will need them because if the first jar lasts a week I'd be surprised.
  17. Enjoy!
I make my own labels for these.  I wondered why no commercial pickler made candied dills for a long time. Then, I found candied dills made by a small local boutique pickler named "Annies". She sold them through a special display at Brookshire's and charged $7 a pint for them.  I used to buy them when I couldn't wait for a new batch to cure. They are that danged good!

Annie even sells one variety of candied pickles that have jalapenos in them. Those are really good too. I may try a batch of Honeymom's candied dills with a few jalapenos tossed in to give it a little kick. I'll let you know how it turns out.


Sunday, May 27, 2018

Vegan Cole Slaw

Cole Slaw
I came into possession of some vegan mayonnaise. I was skeptical at first but the stuff turned out to be really really good. Made with all the usual ingredients, the only thing different is the vegan mayo. It makes up to a huge bowl of Cole slaw for potluck. As with fresh made Cole Slaw, if you set it in the fridge overnight you may get some settling of the thinner parts of the dressing in the bottom of the bowl. Just toss it all again or pour off any water that settles and it’ll be great.

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cup Vegannaise (vegan mayonnaise)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cider or red wine vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon celery seed
  • ½ teaspoon season salt or Creole seasoning
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
Slaw Ingredients:
- ½ head of green cabbage
- ½ head of purple cabbage
- 3 cups grated carrots.
  1. Chop both cabbages
  2. Grate the carrots
  3. Toss with dressing in a large sealable bowl
  4. Refrigerate in a sealed bowl until ready to use.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Oriental Cole Slaw

Once again it's so good we ate half of it before I thought,
"Hey, I need to write this one up for TPV!" The recipe makes
better than twice that much Cole slaw.

This my Sweet Baboo's favorite Cole slaw recipe from our box o' old recipes under the kitchen cabinet. It's easy to make and it's a huge bowl of Cole slaw when you're done - perfect for potluck. It's not that hard to do.


Slaw -
  • 2 pkgs. Chicken flavor Ramen Noodles
  • 1 bag Cole Slaw mix
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds 
  • Butter/margarine
Dressing -
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • Seasoning packets from Ramen noodles
  1. Crush the Ramen Noodles in a large bowl. Store in a Ziplock bag.
  2. Put Cole Slaw mix in a large bowl or Tupperware container.
  3. In small frying pan melt butter and brown the slivered almonds.
  4. Mix almonds into slaw and noodle mix.
  5. In a small bowl, Mix sugar, vinegar, oil, and Ramen noodle seasoning packets
  6. Pour dressing over slaw mix and toss till everything is evenly coated. Keep the crushed Ramen noodles separate and don't add them until just before you serve it up.

Put the Cole slaw in a big Tupperware bowl, seal and store in the fridge overnight so it's nice and cold for potluck on Sabbath. Just before you serve it, pour the Ramen noodles into the slaw and give it a good toss.

Mmmmm good!

Tom King

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Sheila's Homemade Banana Pudding

This dessert is a sure potluck hit. You should double or triple the recipe. It looks nice in a big yellow mixing bowl which I recommend everyone get because, well, everyone should have a big yellow glass mixing bowl. There are easier ways to make banana pudding, but no Jello mix can quite compete. You can't make it like this out of a box. Between the cooking time, the assembly time, and making up the topping, it can take an hour to put it all together. It’s very much worth it. It’s easy to double or triple the recipe. You just have to be really careful keeping it stirred while cooking a very large batch so it doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pot.



  • 1/2 Cup Sugar or you can substitute Stevia or something like that to lower the calories. You just have to change the prep a bit.
  • 1/3 Cup Flour or ¼ cup corn starch
  • 3 Egg Yolks, Save the egg whites for making meringue if you plan to do that.
  • 2 Cups Milk
  • 1 Box Vanilla Wafers
  • 5 Bananas
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla (a bit more if you use something beside vanilla extract)
  • A dash of salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Cream of Tartar, for making meringue
  • 3/4 cups Sugar, for making the meringue
  • 3 Egg Whites, for making meringue
  • Alternate topping – large tub of Whipped Cream or Cool Whip
  1. In a large pot or saucepan, mix flour, egg yolks (beaten), milk and salt. If using sugar add it now. If using artificial sweetner, set it aside till after the pudding is cooked as heat will kill the sweetness.
  2. Heat over medium eat, stirring constantly with a wire whisk. It takes around 15 minutes for the pudding to thicken. Don’t let it scorch.
  3. When the pudding thickens and begins to bubble, remove it from the heat and set it aside to begin to cool. Add vanilla when it's cooled a bit and stir it up good.
  4. In your big yellow mixing bowl, place a layer of vanilla wavers in the bottom of the bowl. If making a double or triple batch, make sure you have an extra bowl or a really, really big bowl.
  5. Slice bananas and cover the layer of cookies. Alternate cookies and bananas
  6. If using artificial sweetener (which will cause diabetics in the group to kiss you feet) stir the sweetener into the pudding. Just follow the replacement amounts on the box of sweetener. At any rate, with your pudding ready to go, every few layers, spoon the pudding over the cookies and bananas. Add more cookies and bananas and pudding layers until you fill up the bowl. 
  7. At this point you should preheat the oven to 350 degrees if you are doing meringue. If you are doing Cool Whip skip to step #13.
  8. Place all the egg whites in another mixing bowl. Add a teaspoon of cream of tartar and 3/4 cup of sugar or sweetener two tablespoons at a time while beating the egg whites. It could take up to 15 minutes.
  9. Continue whipping egg mixture till it forms stiff glossy peaks.
  10. Pour meringue mixture over the top of the banana pudding; spread it out over the bowl. Dab at the top of the meringue with a spoon till curly peaks form.
  11. Set the pudding on a baking sheet and bake in the hot oven till the peaks begin to brown.
  12. Remove the pudding and allow it to cool to room temperature, and then chill in the refrigerator. Do not put hot meringue straight out of the oven in the refrigerator. It will collapse as I discovered the hard way.
  13. If you’re doing Cool Whip instead of meringue, wait till the pudding cools at least to slightly warm and then spoon whipped topping over the top of the pudding. At this point I add cookies in decorative patterns on top of the topping.
  14. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  15. You may have to padlock the refrigerator door while the pudding is cooling. Otherwise, you may get up Sabbath morning and find a big hole in your pudding.
Serving Suggestion:
This part’s simple. Pull off the plastic, stick a big spoon in it and get out of the way. I promise you that you will be taking home a nice clean bowl.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Creole Seasoned Vegeburger Mac and Cheese Casserole

This one is very like the Vege-Cheeseburger Macaroni Casserole in my last blog. It's just a little simpler and maybe a little quicker. Here's how it works.

  • Morningstar Griller Recipe Crumbles (1/3 bag)
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1/2 bell pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Jar of spaghetti sauce
  • 1/4 cup grated cheese
  • 6 sliced olives 
  • 2 boxes macaroni and cheese
  • 1 tbsp Tony's Creole Seasoning
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Cook the macaroni by package directions.
  3. In a large pot, lightly cover the bottom with olive oil.
  4. Saute onions and peppers with Griller Crumbles.
  5. Add spaghetti sauce and prepared mac and cheese.
  6. Stir in Creole seasoning
  7. Warm the mixture then pour into large loaf pan
  8. Sprinkle grated cheese over top.
  9. Spread sliced olives over the cheese
  10. Bake 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melted and begins to brown.
Serving Suggestions:

Bake on Friday. Simply reheat for Sabbath Potluck.

© 2018 by Tom King