Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

I grew up eating Pat Vaughn’s Sloppy Joe’s. My mother made them whenever we had a big gathering, be that family or friends. It was one of her favorite easy go to meals. Pat Vaughn was our next door neighbor when I was a young girl. Her oldest daughter and I would play in our adjoining yards, in the winter sledding down my terrific hill in the side and front yard, climbing trees – well mainly I would climb tree’s I was the tom boy, Laura was more of a girly girl. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

To this day, Pat will always have a special place in my heart. Both her and her husband Joe were a great influence on me and a wonderful support. They loved and treasured me just like I was there daughter and I appreciate that today.

Well I must give up my memory lane and put pen to paper or shall I saw fingers to key board and document this recipe. Because tomorrow I will be making it for our first ever Pumpkin Carving Party. I am hoping we can carve pumpkins outside in the driveway. Hurricane Sandy is threatening to give us rain shows, but maybe they will only go as far as the Triangle area. Keep your fingers crossed.

Sloppy Joe’s ala Pat Vaugh

1 lb of ground beef
3/4 C ketchup
1/2 C water
1/4 Vinegar
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp minced onion
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp dry mustard
2 T sweet relish (maybe 3 to taste)

Brown the beef in the pan, then combine with ketchup, water, vinegar, sugar and spices. It can be kept warm in a crock pot for easy serving.


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Gingerbread Pancakes

This morning when I finally dragged myself out of bed – because frankly I was a bit tired from all our fun this weekend. Disney Princesses on Ice was Friday night, followed by Girl Scouts Candlefest last night – where we walked the whole Arboretum in the cold, however we didn’t do that without some tasty treats like hot chocolate and smores, not to mention warming up while we took a horse and carriage ride. So it was tough getting out of bed and I wanted to treat us all to some pancakes, but I was tired of pumpkin pancakes and thought about gingerbread pancakes because this is the holiday season. I have never had any before but I googled and found this recipe.

I used Trader Joe’s Multigrain pancake mix with molasses, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. I also substituted buttermilk for the milk – and we HAD to put in chocolate chips because my daughter wouldn’t eat pancakes with out chocolate chips or so she says. All three of us were in love with the pancakes.

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Birds Nest

This is a great Spring treat, that I stumbled upon while sorting through mountains of paperwork. It’s been awhile since I have made these but I am going to put them on my to do list soon.


1/4 C  butter

1  10 oz package of marshmallows (big)

12  pack of Shredded Wheat Biscuits (crumbled)

1  tsp of ground cinnamon


Melt butter and add marshmallows. When melted stir in shredded wheat. Form into nest shapes and add jelly bead eggs or chocolate covered eggs.

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Pecan Pie

This is my all time favorite pie to make. It was my mother’s favorite pecan pie. No other pecan pie could hold a candle to my pecan pie. However this year I am making two pecan pies, a chocolate pecan pie for my sister-in-law and the standard pecan pie. I am excited to try the chocolate one.

Use a 9 inch pie pan. Preheat the oven to 450

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 Cup of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 Cup of melted butter
  • 1 C of pure cane sugar syrup or 1 maple syrup

Stir in:

  • 1 Cup to 1 1/2 pecan halves (black walnuts make a great substitution)
  • 1 tsp vanilla or 1 Tbsp Rum

Preheat the oven to 450, line a pan with pie dough and bake it only partially for about 5-7 minutes.  Reduce heat to 375.  The combine eggs, sugar, salt, butter and cane sugar syrup. Stir well.  Next add the pecans and vanilla or rum if you are using that. Fill the shell, bake for 40-50 minutes at 375 until a knife inserted in the filling comes out clean.  Serve warm or cold. Top with either ice cream, home -made whip cream or cashew cream.

To make the chocolate pecan pie, line the bottom of the pan with 1/2 Cup of chocolate pieces, I used dark chocolate pieces from Whole Foods.

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This is my all time favorite cranberry sauce. It contains fresh orange juice, roasted pecans and orange zest. I, first found this recipe in Mothering Magazine November-December 2006 issue, however I have changed it slightly to incorporate a more orange flavor.

  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 1/4 Cup of fresh orange juice
  • 1/8 Cup of water
  • 2 Cups of cranberries
  • 1/2 Cup of pecans
  • butter
  • salt

Simmer together the sugar, orange and water until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. The add the cranberries. Cook them until all the berries pop. Stir occasionally.  Pour into a blender or use an immersion blender. While the berries are cooking zest an orange or cut up the peel into tiny pieces about 1 Tablespoon, add this zest after you blended the berries.

Next toast the pecans in butter and salt. Chop the pecans  and add to the blended sauce. Mix well and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

November 25, 2015

In and effort to reduce our sugar intake this year I decided to cut the amount of sugar in half. The sauce still came out tasty. So if you want to do the same thing. Use 6 tablespoons of sugar instead of 3/4 cup.

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