Friday, November 28

Holiday Wassail

Nothing (well, except for a fresh cut tree) makes a house smell more like Christmas than a pot full of Holiday Wassail to warm your insides after those cold winter days on the mountain! We usually "brew" our first batch on Thanksgiving Day so that the men will have something to warm their insides when they come in from an evening hunt- and continue to make several batches throughout the holiday season. This year I told Grandma I would make a batch and bring up for Thanksgiving- but I couldn't find my recipe! After searching the 'net I thought I had found one that might work- but it just wasn't the same! The first thing I did when I tasted the botched batch was to ask Grandma if she had my original recipe- thankfully she did!

  • 1 qt. 14 oz. pineapple juice (sweetened)
  • 1 qt. orange juice
  • 1/2 c. lemon juice
  • 5 tea bags
  • 2 1/2 qts. boiling water
  • 1 qt. cold water
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 2 tsp. whole cloves
  • 3 cinnamon sticks

Combine fruit juices. Steep tea in boiling water for 15-0 minutes. Remove bags. In saucepan combine remaining ingredients. Boil for 3 minutes. Strain. Just before serving combine fruit juices, tea, and spiced water. (I have also combined these the day before to really bring out the spice.) Bring to simmer and serve warm!

Monday, November 24

Sausage Breakfast Casserole

This recipe was given to us by Anne S. of the Trott House Inn Bed & Breakfast in Newton, NC. Since all of my "girls" in our wedding were from out-of-town, we rented out the Trott House for a Friday night sleepover before the big day- it was so much fun! Imagine eight girls, plus my Momma and Paula staying up really late the night before and then pampering ourselves all day the next day before the big event! The Trott House also was host to my "bridal breakfast" for my closest girl friends and family members who were helping with the day! There were about 20 of us in all who enjoyed a feast, including this amazing breakfast casserole before we all got "done up" in our wedding finery (okay- so yeah, I was running late to the breakfast since it took 3 1/2 hours to do my hair at 6 am!) Needless to say, every time I eat this dish I remember the best day of my life- celebrated with those I love the most!

  • 8 slices bread, cubed
  • 2 cups grated sharp cheese
  • 1 ½ pounds hot sausage, cooked and drained
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 ½ cups milk
  • ¾ teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup, mixed with ½ cup milk

Layer bread cubes in the bottom of a greased rectangular casserole dish. Top with sausage and sprinkle cheese on top. Beat eggs with milk and mustard and pour over previous layers. Refrigerate overnight. In morning preheat oven to 300. Mix soup with milk and pour over top and bake for 1 ½ hours.

Tomato Pie...

This is one of our favorite side dishes, it's modified from a Paula Deen recipe- when I didn't have all of the original fixin's in the house- very YUMMY!

  • 1 9-inch prebaked deep dish pie shell

  • 5 roma tomatoes, blanched, peeled and sliced

  • 1 cup grated cheddar

  • 1 cup grated mozzarella

  • 1 cup mayonnaise (good old fashioned, plain mayo!)

  • salt, pepper & oregano (sprinkle desired amount over tomatoes)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

First, blanch the tomatoes and slice. Place the tomatoes in the collinder to drain. Using a medium sized bowl, mix mayonnaise, cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, salt and pepper. Layer the tomato slices in pie shell. Season with salt and pepper and oregano. Spread the mayonnaise and cheese mixture on top of the tomatoes and bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.

To serve, cut into slices and serve warm.

Pumpkin Crunch Cake

(Recipe from a Rose Acre Farm Egg Cookbook I picked up at the National FFA Convention- I promise that this recipe is egg-strodanarly good!)

  • 1 can (15 oz) Solid Pack Pumpkin

  • 1 can (12 oz) Evaporated Milk

  • 3 eggs

  • 1 ½ c. sugar

  • 1 t. cinnamon

  • ½ t. salt

  • 1 package (box) Yellow Cake Mix

  • ½ c. Pecan (halves)

  • 1 c. butter (two-sticks, unsalted)

  • Whipped Topping or Ready-Whip to top when served
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan. Combine pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Pour into the greased pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix evenly over the pumpkin mixture and top with the pecans. Drizzle melted butter over the pecans. Bake at 350 degrees F for 50-55 minutes or until golden brown. Cool and serve well chilled (or warm!). Top with whipped topping when served.

Wednesday, November 19

Autumn Apple Pie...

This is my new favorite apple pie recipe of all time- and I promise it tastes fantastic!
(Recipie modified from Amy B.'s version in the Gooseberry Patch "Taste of Autumn" Cookbook)

  • 4-5 medium red delicious apples (or any other variety), cored, peeled & thinly sliced

  • 3 T. lemon juice

  • 1/2 c. brown sugar, packed

  • 1/2 c. plus 1 T. sugar, divided

  • 2 t. cinnamon

  • 1/4 t. nutmeg

  • 3 T. all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 c. butter, chilled and diced

  • 1/2 bag of caramels (I used the quick melt balls) or 9 caramels, unwrapped & quartered

  • 2 9-inch frozen pie crust (I used a deep dish and 1 that I could spread over it)
Combine apples, lemon juice, brown sugar, 1/2 cup of sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, flour, butter and caramels. Stir until mixture evenly coats apples. Spoon mixture into the deep dish crust. Cover with second crust; flute edges and vent as desired. Sprinkle remaining sugar over crust. Place on an aluminum foil-covered baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes; reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake an additional 20 minutes or until the crust is golden.

Tuesday, November 18


When the temperature drops, and the leaves fall from the trees- it is so easy to think those gloomy thoughts and dream of brighter days. But there is a beauty to the crisp air- there is a sense of accomplishment as the harvest season drawls to a close and a chance for us to stop and think of all of the wonderful blessings we have in our life. My husband- ever the deer hunter- claims that he loves fall because the woods come to life before his eyes... the leaves dancing in the wind, the smell of the crisp air, the dusting of frost on those cold mornings. There is beauty all around us.

Thanksgiving always marks a time for us to remember our blessings- and even in times of trials we do have so many things to be thankful for. From the Lord's blessings, to family and friends, to having a warm home to come to- there are so many things that I know I take for granted. Words cannot express how much ya'll mean to me!