Monday, December 5, 2011

Praline Pumpkin Cheesecake

I made this cheesecake and it's delicious beyond words.

Praline Pumpkin Cheesecake


Cheesecake crust:
2 cups crushed gingersnaps
4 Tbsp. melted butter

Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling Ingredients:
3 (8-oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, softened to room temp.
1 cup extra fine granulated sugar (see note below)
1/2 cup dark or light brown sugar, firmly packed
4 large eggs
1 can (15-oz.) solid pack pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) *See Helpful Hints below
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. cloves
2 tsp. vanilla

Praline Topping
1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar, firmly packed
3/4 cup whipping cream
4 Tbsp. butter
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups pecans, coarsely chopped


Preheat oven to 325

1. To make cheesecake crust, crush gingersnaps in food processor to obtain 2 cups. Add melted butter and mix well. Press onto bottom of 9-inch springform pan and place in oven for 9 minutes.
2. When cool enough to handle, place pan on a layer of heavy-duty foil and wrap outside of pan with foil. Place pan in roasting pan and set aside.
3. To make pumpkin cheesecake, beat soft cream cheese and both sugars on low speed until well blended with no lumps.
4. Add one egg at a time waiting for previous added amount to be fully incorporated. Scrape bowl and beaters well in between additions.
5. Add pumpkin, spices and vanilla and mix to combine. Don't overbeat mixture. Pour into cake pan over ginger crust. Pour water into roasting pan, about an inch high and place in oven.
6. Bake until center of cake no longer trembles, about 1 hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours.
7. Pull roaster out of oven and pull out cheesecake. Allow cheesecake to cool on a rack at room temp. for 1 hour. Place in refrigerator, covered and still in pan, overnight. Remove from fridge, remove outer ring of springform pan. (Run a sharp knife around edge of ring before removing)
Leave bottom of springform pan in place.
8. Praline topping: Toast pecans for 8 minutes in 350 degree oven. In a saucepan, bring all ingredients, excluding pecans to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes ensuring that mixture will not boil over. Remove from heat and stir in pecans.
9. Allow to cool for 10 minutes and spread on surface of cake.

Helpful Hints:
1. Drain pumpkin on paper towels to remove excess moisture. (This step is very important. Spread pumpkin out on several layers of paper towels and use more paper towels spread out over to press moisture out. Will take several times to get it dry enough.
2. Just to be safe, butter the inside of the springform pan.
3. You don't have to buy extrafine sugar for this recipe. Put the granulated sugar in the food processor for a minute or so and you have extrafine sugar.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pomegranate Jelly

I made pomegranate jelly from the fruit of our bush. The taste is excellent and such a lovely red color. It's made the usual way of any jelly. To prepare the pomegranates split open the skin of the fruit and pull the seeds out into a pan. Barely cover with water and proceed as usual.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Cleaning Tip

For dusty lampshades roll a Lint Roller over it; lifts the dust right off. Tables with a decorative cloth can be cleaned by rolling the Lint Roller over the top. Can also carefully remove the tablecloth (to keep from spreading dust) and tumble in dryer using the cold air cycle.

Another tip: If you wear decorative pins or a corsage keep a bar of soap handy and push the point of the pin into the soap several times. before pinning onto garment. Pin glides right in. I wear a live flower every Sunday to church and I use the bar of soap. (Hold onto and recycle your bars of soap when they're mostly "used up". You won't have to use a new bar)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Japanese Fruitcake

This is a cake that our mothers and grandmothers made for Christmas. The longer it sits in the fridge, wrapped airtight, the better it tastes. The cake is stacked with a plain layer and a dark layer, plain and dark. Makes a lovely presention. When wrapping something to be completely airtight use a small kitchen trash bag (make sure it's not perfumed in any way). Pull the top of bag together and suck the air out, place twist tie on. This idea works for many irregularly shaped items that plastic or foil wrap just will not do.

Japanese Fruitcake

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. soda
1 cup raisins, 1 cup chopped pecans

Mix cake in usual manner. Divide dough into TWO PORTIONS. Use one-half of batter to make layers that will be plain. Pour into two prepared cake pans. Into the other portion add 1 tsp. each of cinnamon, allspice, cloves and nutmeg. Flour raisins and pecans and add to mixture. (One Tbsp. flour mixed in a bowl with raisins and pecans keeps them from dropping to bottom of cake pan during cooking.) Pour into two prepared cake pans. Layers will be thin; don't overcook.


3 cups sugar
1 cup milk
1 whole coconut (This recipe is from the era before frozen coconut. Then, you had to crack the coconut, peel the brown off, shred it.) Now I buy frozen coconut
3 oranges, peeled, sectioned and chopped into small pieces, with small amount of zested peel. (You'll want to purchase a kitchen gadget, Micro-Plane that's perfect for fruit zest.)
1 lemon, peeled, sectioned and chopped, with small amont finely grated peel
1/4 stick butter

Mix all and cook until it begins to thicken. You don't want it to get too thick because you want it to soak into the layers. Put filling between and on top of the four layers. If you want enough icing to put on the outside of layers, double the recipe and thicken enough to stick to outside of layers.

Friday, October 28, 2011


We have lots of pomegranates we're picking now off our bush. They'll start to crack, and even crack open when they're ready to pick. I've picked up about 2 1/2 gallons of pecans. We take them to a man who has a machine to crack them at 30 cents a pound. Sure beats dragging the skin off your fingers to shell them. Then I freeze them. The taste of fresh is so much better than the small bags of very expensive pecans at the grocery. Makes the cooked product so much better. Pecan pie, cakes with pecans, candy with pecans. I always make tons of goodies at Christmas, starting right after Thanksgiving and refrigerating them. I usually make a Japanese Fruitcake, an old-time cake that our mothers and grandmothers in the South made at Christmas. The longer it sits the more moist and better it is. We prepare baskets of the Christmas goodies to take to our neighbors. Christmas is a fun time with the whole family gathering in, eating, and eating again. We have a white elephant gift exchange each year that's always a lot of fun, with some begging and pleading for somebody to take the gosh-awful gift they just opened and let them get something else. I go to Home Depot or Lowe's the day after Thanksgiving and get potted poinsettias to decorate the house. They're really cheap that one day only, so I'm always there. An easy and inexpensive way to decorate. I do have a small Christmas tree and other decorations too though.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Battle of Wits

The squirrels and I are having a battle of wits. I have a pecan tree in the yard with lots of pecans each year, but it's amazing how many the squirrels can carry off. So I've wrapped the base of the trunk with aluminum flashing hoping their little claws can't hold on to climb the tree. Several fence posts are near the overhang of the tree so I nailed pie tins (upside down) to each post so they couldn't climb and jump into the tree from the posts. I then sprayed silicone spray on the flashing and pans to make it slick. If a squirrel gets up that tree I want to watch him to see how he does it. It's really aggravating to see the fruit and nuts carted off by various animals around here.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Granny's Made-From-Scratch Biscuits

Greetings from Laid Back Farm Today I'm posting a video of the "how to" of Granny's (that would be me) Made-From-Scratch Biscuits. See the youtube link at the bottom of this post. This is the same biscuit recipe I've been making for my own family for nearly 54 years. So many are intimidated by the prospect of making biscuits but it really is easy, as you will see in the video, and only takes about 20 minutes from start to finish. I hope you'll find the video helpful and please message me back and let me know how your own biscuits turned out. I'll also be glad to answer any additional questions you may have about the recipe. In this tough economy, you'll find homemade biscuits to be a delicious addition to your meals but also a very economical way to feed your family. I look forward to hearing from you. ENJOY!!

Granny's Homemade Biscuits The first thing in any cooking is to wash your hands thoroughly. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. The oven must be preheated for the biscuits to bake correctly. (I don't measure anything, but I did measure this so you'd have directions and measurements) Place 2 1/2 cups flour in a medium bowl - White Lily flour (no other brand except White Lily). Measure one cup Crisco and add to flour already in bowl. Pour 1 1/2 - 2 cups buttermilk in bowl. (Add more or less buttermilk until consistency is right). Mix the dough well with hands until it can be poured out on floured pastry sheet. Sprinkle flour over mound of biscuit dough. Flour hands and knead dough from bottom and up over till it will spread out and flatten with hands. (Doesn't take a lot of kneading). Use a biscuit cutter dipped in flour before each use. Place biscuits in pan. I have a very old pan with a wonderful sheen on it that doesn't have to be greased because it's seasoned well. You may want to grease the pan you use. You'll have several pieces of dough left over from cutting. Either roll together and cut more biscuits or pick up pieces and form into a biscuit and put onto pan. I usually have two larger-sized biscuits from this. Grandaddy likes to get these larger biscuits. Your biscuits are ready to go in the pre-heated 500 degree oven and back for 12-15 minutes. Don't overbake. While the biscuits are cooking I cut up pieces of cheese to put in the biscuits immediately when they come from the oven. I butter some biscuits to eat with honey that comes from a neighbor's hives. We had bees for several years but the mite that has taken out many hives in Georgia got in ours and they were gone. I also have fig preserves and muscadine jelly, blueberry jam. When the biscuits are removed from the pan I simply wipe down the pan with a wet dishrag and it's ready to go again.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Food Prices Increase

It doesn't take an economist to tell you that food prices are rising, with the highest jump in 36 years. And the droughts, floods and other calamities will cause the prices to rise even more. You can save tons of money in the grocery store by being a careful shopper. What caused me to sit down here just now was on my last trip to the grocery. In the produce section there were packages of sliced squash at twice the price of the fresh squash on another part of the counter. Come on! How long does it take to zip a knife through squash to slice it? Seconds, that's how long. Any time you pay somebody to do something you can do yourself, it will cost you. You can buy small (less than 1 lb.) bags of sliced apples for $2.50. You can buy
2 1/2-3 lbs. of fresh apples for the same price. /Another idea: Wal-Mart equals other stores' ads, even the Buy One Get One Free ads. And when you have maufacturer's coupons from the Sunday paper for these specials they often end up nearly paying you to take it. You don't have to use gas and travel all over just to get a store's specials. The ad must state a price (often BOGOs don't) and it must be the same exact item. Store brands are also equalled and there's real savings there. And you do know you shouldn't buy dishwashing detergent and cleaners at the grocery; get those at the Dollar stores. Much cheaper. And speaking of the Dollar stores they have a large selection of greeting cards at a fraction of the cost of a Hallmark or other card. I send lots of cards and this is an important way to save. I consider myself an expert at saving money. These are just a few of my ideas. More later.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

happenings in Between

The name of our community is Between. We're halfway between Stone Mountain and Athens (Georgia Bulldogs, you know), but we're also halfway between Loganville and Monroe. I said all that to say this -- ta da! we have a traffic light in Between now. Highway 78 has striped crosswalks at the light. Everything the big city has, we have. Also, since Between doesn't have a post office, our address is Monroe. And Monroe just happens to have the oldest person in the WORLD living here. She was 115 last Friday. And feeling well, too. There are only a very few people who've lived in three centuries. That's just so amazing.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fig Preserves Cake

Be sure to use homemade fig preserves. Finely chop figs.

For the cake:
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups canola oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 cups fig preserves
1 cup pecan pieces, toasted

For the frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 lb. confectioner's sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

To make the layers: Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour three 8-in. pans. In medium bowl beat eggs till light in color. Add sugar and oil and continue to beat to make a smooth batter.

In a bowl combine flour with cinnamon and salt and stir. Add half the flour mixture to batter and STIR to blend. Add buttermilk and sour cream and mix well. Add preserves and nuts and stir into batter. Divide batter equally among 3 prepared pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Loosen layers by gently running knife around edge and turning out onto wire rack to continue cooling while making frosting.

To make the frosting: In a medium bowl combine cream cheese and butter and beat with mixer till smooth. Add sugar and vanilla and beat at high speed till fluffy. Spread frosting between layers and over assembled cake.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pickin' blueberries

We've been so busy for the last 6 weeks picking blueberries on our farm. We picked about 70 gallons. (Now think about the size of a blueberry. It takes 1 1/2 hours to pick a gallon.) We sold most of them, made blueberry cobblers, and eat them fresh. They're so sweet this year, perhaps because of the 90-plus degree heat every day. But we're relieved they're gone for this year. Tiring and hot work. We prefer buyers pick their own, but not many are willing to put forth the effort anymore. It's easier for them to pay somebody to do the work. Figs are starting to ripen and looks like tons on the tree, if the birds will allow. I'd like to make several jars of fig preserves to have for my Fig Preserve Cake that's so good. I don't have any now because we got zero figs last year due to hornets taking up residence in the fig bush. And hornets are not like other bees; they'll fight you if you try to go along about your business. They refuse to be ignored. In September we'll have muscadines (a southern grape) and they too make absolutely delicious jelly. William has been sharing okra with us and nothing beats a fresh pan of fried okra. It's not summer without fried okra. And of course the obligatory fresh sliced tomatoes. We've picked tons off 4 - you read it right, 4 - plants. One day we got 2 5-gal. buckets full. I froze and canned them for later soup, chili, etc. use. Again, all the difference in the world in store-bought ("vine ripened" HA!) tomatoes and picked ripe off the plant at home. We have the Parks Whopper variety that I grow from seed, starting February 14 in the basement on a hot box. A viable seed given heat and moisture has no choice but to sprout and grow. I did grow some late Better Boy variety because I found the seed in the basement. Just now starting to bloom. We'll see if this was a good idea. But I'm always trying new things, wondering what to do next.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

More 'Life on the Farm'

Today we have a total of 8 baby goats with 2 more mamas ready to have theirs. This afternoon a mama had triplets and they're all jumping around and eating - and eating, and.....

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Life on the Farm, etc.

We have three baby goats, all male, which is not good. Only need one male here and they don't sell for as much as the females, which will produce and have more. Several other mamas are very pregnant (one's going to burst if she doesn't soon give birth). But the babies are so cute bouncing and leaping around, full of energy. The branch in the pasture where they water is drying up bacause of the serious drought we're in and that means we'll have to start watering by filling up tubs with a water hose. But we take it as it comes and do what's needed.> Now's the time to dig up and divide daffodils as I did today. The foliage should be nearly all dead and dig slightly away from the clump of bulbs so you don't split any. They'd have to be thrown away. They're ever so lovely in the early spring with their many different types and colors.> I plan to make a batch of homemade Brunswick stew this week. It takes days to make in getting the pork cooked and shredded and the baking hen cooked. I use an electric grinder for the pork and finely chop the chicken. Then all the other ingredients are added and cooked together for several hours. I cook it in a very large heavy-gauge aluminum (won'd stick to pan) pan I'd bought at a garage sale years ago. My pans are treasures to me but nobody cooks in this manner anymore so when I'm gone the pans will be of no use to anyone. My main iron frying pan I've been using for over 50 years, and the inside is smooth as silk. Also have a very old iron Dutch oven that's equally great for cooking just about anything.

Monday, April 18, 2011

storing winter blankets

I'm in the process of putting away the winter blankets and I have a wonderful storage idea. The large zippered bags that come with comforters, mattress covers and other items can be used to store blankets, or anything else. After you wash and dry them and put them in the zippered bag, then put the bag under the bed. One of the best storage places in the house. The bed covers usually come to the floor and no one knows it's there but you. Unused space put to good use.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Poke Sallit

When I was talking about the collards I should have mentioned eating poke salad(sallit, as old folks pronounced it). You know what a poke berry weed is, has the red berries that birds like and it will stain everything. Sometimes comes up in a flower bed, grows wild beside the roads. In the spring folks would gather the young leaves of the poke salad (every part of the plant is poisonous) and cook them. The cooking water(pot likker) would have to be drained off several times so it wouldn't poison you. (My husband says if I ever cooked them (I haven't) that I'd lack one time in pouring off the water and kill him). They cook up sort of like spinach, a little slicky. I've seen my mother-in-law cook and eat them. I've never tried them, thank you very much

spring collards

You can grow collards if you have a flower bed and growing your own ensures they're pesticide free and clean. I grow my plants from seed and put the plants in the ground early fall. They'll make huge leaves that you cut from the plant (leave the stalk, I'll tell you why later.) Get a cutting board in your lap, place each leaf on the board and use a sharp knife to cut down each side of the pithy stem (trust me, that stem will not cook tender), stack 5-6 stems, roll like a cigar and make crosswise cuts, making "ribbons". Much easier to wash this way and already cut for serving. Cook in large pan till tender (the amount will shrink considerably), then can pressure cook with a piece of fatback for ultimate tenderness and flavor. Good with cornbread and mashed potatoes. Leave the stalk in ground for winter, in spring will sprout new tender leaves for more harvest. In early winter before the first hard cold gather all the leaves for cooking; those leaves won't make it through the winter, then wait for spring and more collards. Nothing tastes better!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Cream Puffs

This recipe is so easy and foolproof. You can put chicken or salad in them or use them as a dessert with pudding and chocolate topping, Chocolate Eclairs

Cream Puffs
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1 cup flour
4 eggs

Heat oven to 400. Heat water and buttr to rolling boil. Stir in flour. Stir vigorously over low heat about 1 minute or till mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat. Beat in eggs, all at one time; continue beating till smooth. Drop dough by 1/4 cupfuls 3 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheet.
Bake 35-40 min. or until puffed and golden. Cool away from draft. Cut off tops with serrated knife. Pull out any filaments of soft dough. Carefully fill puffs with desired filling - pudding, salads, etc.
To make eclairs shape dough into "fingers" 4 1/2 inches long and 1 1/2 inch wide. When cool fill with Vanilla Cream Pudding and frost with Chocolate Icing: Melt one ounce unsweetened chocolate and i tsp.butter over low heat. Remove from heat, stir in 1 cup confectioners' sugar and about 2 Tbsp. hot water. Beat till smooth. Refrigerate eclairs till serving time.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

raising goats

Most often a buck(male) goat is mean, the girls, never. The buck will come at you with his head down and horns ready to run into you. Sometimes they'll come at you standing on their back legs and waving their front feet - out to get you. To prevent a lot of that we use a "hot stick", a long yellow stick that has batteries and delivers a powerful shock. The buck we had knew exactly what it was. If you came in the barn with it, he'd take off. When Perry goes down the driveway and stops, the goats think he's brought them something to eat and will come running. One day he was working with a shovel - with a yellow handle - to fill up a hole. The goats came running and when Perry picked up the shovel to put it back in the truck the buck ran the other way as fast as he could. He remembered that something that looked just like that shovel delivered a jolt he didn't want again. So goats have memories and they know their colors. The girls stuck around; they'd never been shocked and yellow meant nothing to them. We'll be having more babies in about 4 months; gestation is 5 months. Nothing is more fun than baby goats and their antics.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Chicken 'n Dumplings

2 Tbsp. butter
2 1/4 cups White Lily self-rising flour, divided
3 (14.5 oz.) cans chicken broth
1/4 cup Crisco, chilled
1/2 cup milk
2 cups cooked, diced chicken
black pepper

Note: Don't even think about using canned chicken broth. Buy chicken, pressure cooker it and you have fabulous broth and tender chicken. Now to the rest of the recipe.

Melt butter in Dutch oven. Whisk in 1/4 cup flour. Reserve 1/2 cup broth to make dumplings, then add rest of broth into Dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat.
Place 2 cups flour in large bowl. Cut in Crisco using pastry blender until mixture is the size of peas. Blend in just enough broth till dough leaves sides of bowl. Pour any remaining broth in Dutch oven.
Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Knead 2 or 3 times. Roll dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut dough into strips, about 2x1-inch. Return broth to boiling. Add dumpling strips to boiling broth.
Cover; reduce heat to low. Simmer 15 minutes or till dumplings are cooked through. Stir in milk, chicken and pepper. Cook till heated through.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Pear Cobbler

I'm sure Kay's recipe for Fruit Cobbler has now circled the globe, but in case you missed it she's enlarged on it with a fresh Pear Cobbler. She needed to use up some pears she'd bought that wouldn't seem to ripen and I'd just torn a recipe out of the Sunday newspaper's magazine and helped her out. She made it, brought some to my house and it's soooooo good. The original recipe she's used for many years came from her great-grandmother, Carrie Smith, on Tom Smith Road.


4 1/2 Tbsp. butter
3/4 cup plain flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt
3/4 cup milk (can use cream for a richer taste)
1 1/4 tsp. vanilla
8 small pears (some soft, some harder, about cups), peeled and sliced or diced.

Cut butter into chunks and place in a Pyrex dish. Place in a 350 oven 5-8 min., till butter is melted. Whisk together dry ingredients in bowl. Add milk and vanilla and whisk till smooth. Pour batter over hot butter, top with pears. Do not stir. Bake 45 minutes or until top is browned and a toothpick poked into center comes out clean. As they bake pears will sink to bottom. Serve slightly warm from the dish.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Brunswick Stew

2 (2 1/2- lb.) chickens (A large baking hen works well; has more taste )
1 (3-lb.) Boston butt pork roast
3 (14-oz) cans diced tomatoes (or equal amt. fresh tomatoes)
1 (16-oz.) packages frozen whole kernel corn
2 (16-oz.) packages frozen butterbeans
2 med. onions, chopped
32-oz. chicken broth (use broth from cooking chicken)
1 (24-oz.) bottle ketchup
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 Tablespoon salt
1 Tablespoon black pepper
2 Tablespoons (or to taste) hot sauce

Cook chicken in pressure cooker. Remove meat from bones and chop (or use a food grinder). Save broth. Cook Boston butt in same pan. This meat chops or grinds best when cold. Refrigerate. In same pan pre-cook the butterbeans, then the corn. Combine everything in a LARGE pan and cook, stirring occasionally, 2-3 hours. Makes about 8-10 quarts. Freezes well. (A note: Be careful when cooling a large amount in a pan. Can spoil if not handled properly. May have to ladle out into smaller bowls or pans to cool for freezing) Hint: Boston Butt pork goes on sale often; this week you can find it for $1.29 a lb.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Scalloped Potatoes

I have an easy and delicious recipe for scalloped potatoes.

8 medium potatoes, thinly sliced in food processor or mandolin

In saucepan: Melt 2 Tbsp. butter. Add 1 small onion, minced. Cook 4 minutes, then add 2 cloves garlic, minced. Cook 30 seconds,
Add 3 cups heavy cream 4 sprigs thyme and 2 bay leaves. Bring to boil, add sliced potatoes, cover pan and slow simmer for 15 minutes. Pour into baking dish, remove bay leaves (can't leave them in your food). Sprinkle 2 cups grated Cheddar cheese over top, bake in 350 oven for 20 minutes.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Brunswick Stew

I made Brunswick Stew today, homemade and from scratch. Some things you just can't make a small amount; can't do it. So I have about 10 quarts. But then it takes so long to make you'd want to make a bunch at the time. If you want the recipe let me know and I'll print it for you - or you can buy the Yellow River cookbook and the recipe is in there. Excuse me now, I have to go get another bowl of Brunswick stew.