Archive | January 2016

The Tunnel’s End


I love this part of a project, when I am close enough to finished I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. When one project is winding down and I start musing about the next in the extra recesses of my mind. When all that is required is editing and proofing, formatting, and the trailer is all but completed as well.

I am headed out this morning to get a visor fixed on a much needed car we purchased yesterday for my husband. That Aveo was literally on its last tire – er – leg. I can honestly say, we got our money’s worth and eight years out of the vehicle. I couldn’t have asked for more.

After that I, will be Walmarting for much needed groceries. God has blessed us not only with eight years out of a cheap car, but we have thus far managed to navigate the aftermath of my husband’s open heart surgery with a lot of penny pinching, a few sacrifices, and a number of financial blessings thrown in our path. Hubby’s first paycheck came yesterday, so I hope to restock my kitchen and freezer over the next few days so meal planning is less an exercise in creativity and more an exercise in enjoyment.

After that, I am hoping to finish first round edits on the history portion of Metes & Bounds III: John McQueen & Nancy Crews, Ancestors & Descendants. Then, tomorrow, I’ll move to first round edits on the genealogical listing, which is another 300 pages. This book is massive, and while there are always rabbits to chase, I am not going to do so aymore. The work is already huge, and I have a plotted novel about John Cayle and Sarah Grayson calling my name. rabbit-471928_960_720 (1)I much prefer moving toward the end of the tunnel than looking down dark, skinny rabbit holes!

Don’t forget to post pics of your favorite comfort food for January’s Cooking Challenge to my Facebook page. If I get at least twelve pics throughout the year, then those posting pics get one entry for each pic into a drawing at the end of the year for a $25 gift card and an autographed copy of whichever book of mine they choose – novel or genealogy!

I am already working on the food challenge for February. I learned my lesson! I will cook it ahead of time before posting, so your adventure into the past might be more enjoyable!

Blessings to everyone this weekend!





The Past Isn’t Always Pretty


Well, I brought the past into the present, and it was pretty scary. I survived, but just barely. But first things first.

I assembled all my ingredients for My Very Nice Pudding. I plucked my Kerrygold from the refrigerator. I used real whipping cream (after all, I was trying to bring the past into my kitchen.) I gathered my spices and my other ingredients.

Then, I started baking.

It smelled good. It looked good.

But it was anything but. It turned out more like a cake than a pudding, but grainy and wet, like softened cornmeal.

If that was the way it was supposed to be, then I might have starved had I been a colonial.

IMG_20160109_163335My advice? If you are feeling adventurous, then try it!

But if you are not adventurous, then I’ll make it easy for everyone to still participate in our January Cooking Challenge.

This month, post your favorite comfort food for wintertime. Be sure and include something in the picture so we will know it came from your kitchen.

Remember, if I get at least twenty postings this year (not including my own) I’ll hold a drawing at the end of the year for a $25 gift card and an autographed copy of one of my books – your choice. That includes genealogy books as well as novels.

And I will have two more of each to pick from by year’s end, God willing!

In the meantime, I’ll try next month’s recipe ahead of time.




January’s Cooking Invitation

Bringing the Past Into the Present – One Recipe at a Time!


1/3 pints scaled milk, 7 spoons of fine Indian meal, stir together while hot, let stand till cooled; add 7 eggs, half pound of raisins, 4 ounces butter, spice and sugar; bake one and a half hour.

— Simmons, Amelia, “American Cookery,” 1796.



   I have decided that this year I am going to make one Colonial recipe a month. (I don’t believe in setting higher goals than what I can reach. I know one is doable.) To make it more fun (and after a friend said she would join me), I decided to ask my readers to join me as well.

   I invite readers, after they make the recipes, to post picture(s) to my Facebook page. Be sure to include something in the picture (yourself or a 21st century object) so we will know the picture was taken recently. To sweeten the pot (yes, that pun was intended!), if I get 20 pictures by the end of the year (not including my own), I will hold a drawing for a $25 gift certificate and a signed copy of one of my books (winner’s choice). Winners can enter up to 12 times for 12 recipes baked this year.

  Now, I wanted to start off this year by making a Twelfth Night Cake in honor of the winding down of the holidays. After all, my tree is still up, I love nutmeg and cinnamon, and, well, anything called “Twelfth Night Cake” must be interesting. However, a quick look at the number of ingredients seemed too daunting, to say nothing of the alcoholic content.

   Who knew Colonials drank so much?  And the history? Too complicated to relate in a simple post.

   I then determined that perhaps I would find a gingerbread recipe, for I have been wanting to experiment lately with something other than the Duncan Hines boxed mix I have made for years.

   What I didn’t count on was that colonials like their gingerbread in the shape of little men, and I have little inclination at the moment to roll out dough and cut out little men which might then jump off my cookie sheet and run away. I have enough trouble with little, and big, men around here.

   What I did decide to try this month was Indian pudding. It is something that I have always wanted to make, although it may be the charm of the name more than anything else.

   The recipe I am using is from the Colonial Williamsburg History is Served website.

   Indian Pudding was made in the early days of not only the Virginia colony, but in New England as well. It combined the colonists love of pudding, which they brought with them from England, with corn, which they found in the New World. As with all cooking in any time and place, there were variations in recipes and serving styles, from soft pudding to bread, from plain, fresh, hot pudding out of the oven and even, sometimes, replete with sauces dripping over the top.

   The important thing to note though, for the sake of history, is that Indian Pudding was NOT an Indian dish. The Indians were masters at preparing corn, but they had neither molasses nor milk. The did grind the corn and mix them with berries, oftentimes drizzling the whole with maple syrup.

   But that is not Indian pudding.

   The cooks in the kitchen at Colonial Williamsburg have been including modern versions of the older recipes which oftentimes included pounds, pints, spoons, and pinches. (What is a pinch anyway?) I here give it amended from their website using notes at the bottom to clear up part of the measurements in their recipe. While I have included the recipe on this page, you can click on the link at the right for a somewhat printer friendly version to keep in your kitchen for when you are ready. (It is just the recipe on a single page.)

   If you decide to step into the past this month in a small way, be sure to take a picture and post it to my Facebook page, including yourself or an object that will let us know the picture is from the present. Remember, if I get at least 20 pictures this year (not including my own), I will hold a drawing at the end of the year. Each person can enter as many times as they have posted cooked recipes (one entry per recipe for a total of 12 for the year).

Click here for a somewhat printer friendly version.


A Nice Indian Pudding

  • 1 pint of milk (or cream if you want it rich) + 2 or 3 tbsp cream

  • 1 1/4 cups of cornmeal

  • 6 tbsp raisins

  • 6 tbsp sugar

  • 1 ½ tsp each (or less if you choose) of ground cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves

  • 3 tbsp melted butter

  • 3 eggs

  1. Heat milk over medium heat. Remove it from burner and slowly add the cornmeal, stirring it slowly with a whisk. Once blended return it to the burner and cook until fairly thick.

  2. Remove from heat and add melted butter and spices then blend these altogether.

  3. In a mixing bowl whisk eggs well, add the tablespoons of cream and whisk until incorporated with the eggs.

  4. Add the eggs to the cornmeal mixture and blend thoroughly with a spoon.

  5. Pour the mixture into a greased 9 inch pie plate.

  6. Bake in a 360° oven for 30 minutes or more. Stick a knife blade in, and if it comes out clean it is done.