X’s Favorite Brownies

I wasn’t much of a fan of brownies…don’t know why… but I found this recipe, and it’s a hit around here.

3/4 C melted butter

1 1/2 C sugar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

3 eggs

3/4 C AP flour

1/2 C cocoa powder

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 C pecan halves if desired

Blend sugar and butter. Add eggs. Add leavening ingredients and vanilla. Add cocoa, then flour. Add nuts. I have put pecans on top or blended with batter. Both will bake fine.

Preheat oven to 350°. Bake for 40-45 minutes. If you use a Pyrex pan, check it starting at 38 minutes. 8×8 pan works fine.

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Favorite Banana Bread

I have been baking banana bread for thirty-five years. I have tried many different recipes over the years, and I have now settled in on this one. It has many variations.

3 bananas, mashed

1/2 C oil or softened butter

1 C sugar

2 beaten eggs

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 C AP flour or WW flour or combination thereof

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp salt

3 T milk

1 C pecan halves or walnuts

Mash the bananas; a pastry blender is right handy


Mix sugar and oil/butter first, then eggs, then leavening ingredients, bananas, then flour then nuts.

Pour into greased loaf pans, and bake at 350°.

Now for the variations:

If you use the WW flour and butter, start checking for doneness at 45 minutes…perhaps earlier.

If you go with oil and AP flour, it will likely take an hour to bake. I use a wooden toothpick to check doneness.

I use the slightly smaller disposable aluminum loaf pans, and I only use the butter and WW flour method. This method also will not cause the top of the loaf to “explode” during baking.

This batch (my preferred) is with butter and the WW flour


Baking time also will depend on the size of your baking pans.

This stuff freezes very well.


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Coconut Cake

I got this recipe from Food Network’s Tyler Florence

It is baked in 2 cake pans, then they are cut in half creating a 4 layer cake.

Rather than type all the recipe, I am going to drop the link. I have made this a couple of times, and people who say “I don’t like coconut” are asking “can I have some more?”


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Chimay Red Clone

A few years ago, I made a Chimay Red clone. It was so close to the commercial version that only a connoisseur could tell the difference. What is the secret? The yeast. The commercial version of this Belgian abbey beer is that it has live yeast in it.

My brother and I splurged and purchased several bottles (about $35 worth), and as we drank them, we saved the last half inch of each beer. I poured the dregs into an Erlenmeyer flask. Over the course of the next few days, I boiled a little malt each day, let it cool to room temp, and added it to the flask until I had close to 1000 ml of starter.

The rest of the recipe is as follows:

Chimay Red

7 lbs extra lite dme

8 oz. caramunich malt

4 oz, aromatic malt

1 oz. chocolate malt

1.5 lbs dark Belgian candi syrup

.5 lbs clear Belgian candi sugar

2 oz Tettnanger 4.8%

.5 oz Herzbrucker 2.8%

Wyeast 1762 for priming

Cultured Chimay yeast

Irish moss

Brewvint yeast fuel

Culturing the yeast

Monday, October 4, 2010

I boiled ½ c water and 2T malt, and let cool.

My brother and I drank 2 large bottles of Chimay red, and two small bottles.

I flamed the tops of the bottles, and poured the dregs from the bottles into one bottle.

When my wort cooled, I poured it into the bottle.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I boiled 1 c water with 2 T malt, cooled and added to wort. I bought a 1-liter glass flask, so all went into that.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010. We have a little visible bubbling today. I boiled 1¼ C water and 3 T malt, cooled, and added to flask. The flask is covered with foil, and I have been shaking it whenever I pass by.

Thursday, October 07, 2010, I boiled 1 ½ c water and 1/3 c malt, and allowed to cool. There is much more yeast action today. I have also made another batch of wort consisting of 6 c water, and ½ C malt. When the small bottle cools, I’ll add it later. I’ll add the entire contents of the flask into the 1-gallon jug in the morning. That should give me a huge batch of starter. I may even make another small batch of wort tomorrow evening, and add it to the rest for an extra kick.

Friday, October 8, 2010

I boiled 700 ml water with ½ c malt, cooled and added to wort.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Brew day.

I steeped the grains in 1.5 gallons 160-degree water for 30 minutes. I sparged with ¾ gallon 160-degree water.

I brought the mixture to a boil, removed from heat, and added and dissolved the malt.

After the hot break, I added 1 oz of the Tettnanger, and started the 1-hour boil.

At 25 minutes, I added the other oz of Tettnanger.

I added 2 qt of boiling water to the wort.

I added the Brewvint yeast fuel at this time.

I brought 1 qt water to a boil, removed from heat, and added the clear candi sugar. When dissolved, I added the dark candi syrup. I returned the mixture to a boil and added to wort at 50 minutes along with ½ oz Herzbrucker pellets.

At 52 minutes, the wort boiled over, and I stopped the boil, and begun the cooling process whilst cleaning the stovetop.

I cooled the wort to 73 degrees, added 1-gallon cold water from fridge, and enough bottled water to make 5 gallons.

I aireated the wort for 30 minutes.

The OG before pitching yeast was 1.076.

The starter was in the temp controlled fridge…I am hoping it was around 70.

I added the yeast starter (3/4 gallon) and the OG was 1.066.

It took 6 hours for the ferment to begin.

The next morning, the ferment was very active.

I put it in the fridge on the fridge side with a temp controller, set at 70 degrees on the freezer side.

The fridge side heated up to 80, so I put the beer on the freezer side, and left the controller at 70.

October 13, 2010

I racked today. The gravity was an unbelievable 1.012! So much for the “slower fermenting Trappist Ale yeast”!

October 23, 2010

I bottled today to 2 C water, ¾ C corn sugar with an extra tablespoon, as there was a tad more than 5 gallons, and Wyeast 1762, Belgian Abbey II yeast, which was smacked the night before. The FG was 1.010.

This beer tastes so close to the original version, my brother cannot tell the difference. It is very good.

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Oven chicken thighs

Preheat your oven to 350°. I use a cookie sheet with a wire rack to allow juices to drain off.

Boneless or bone-in; makes no difference. Sprinkle seasoned salt on both sides of your chicken pieces. You can also put on BBQ sauce on both sides of your thighs.

Bake for 20 minutes, and turn over putting more sauce on thighs. Bake again for 20 minutes, and turn again adding more sauce.

An easy recipe that require little monitoring. Kids love ’em.

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X’s BBQ Sauce

I’ve used this for over thirty years, and have not changed it. It’s a sweet sauce.

1 8 0z can tomato sauce

1 tomato sauce can filled with catchup

3/4 C brown sugar

1/4 C apple cider vinegar

1 T Colgin Hickory flavored smoke sauce

Blend all ingredients in small saucepan over low-medium heat. Stir as necessary until bubbly. It will keep in your fridge for several months.

This is great for a condiment on burgers, brisket, or chicken in your oven see next recipe.

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Watermelon Wine

The basic recipe for this was gotten from here


I used a couple of watermelons that I had grown up at my dad’s and a couple of cantelopes for my fruit.


Mine came out very sweet. In hindsight, I should have added at least one package of champagne yeast to eat up the residual sugars. Mine was very sweet; ie, too much sugar did not get eaten.

That is the idea of this recipe is to add so much sugar that it kills the yeast because of the high alcohol content.


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Apple Kuchen

A favorite of my wife’s.

1/2 C butter

1 box yellow cake  mix

1/2 C coconut

2 1/2 C apple slices

1/2 C sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1 C dairy sour cream

2 egg yolks or 1 egg

Preheat oven to 350°.

Cut butter into dry cake mix until crumbly. Mix in coconut. Pat mixture lightly into ungreased 9×13 cake pan, building up slight edges.

Bake for 10 minutes.

Arrange apple slices on warm crust. Mix sugar and  cinnamon; sprinkle on apples. Blend sour cream and egg; drizzle over apples (topping will not completely cover apples).

Bake 25 minutes, or until edges are lightly brown. Do not overbake.

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I wanted for years to make enchiladas from scratch. I asked some of my Hispanic friends, and as it turns out, they cheated by using canned sauce. This recipe is in a Luby’s cafeteria cookbook that my wife  has.

The cool thing about this recipe is that one can make either chicken or beef enchiladas with it. You will need:

The Sauce

1 1/2 lbs browned ground beef (or cooked shredded chicken)

1/2 C chopped onion

2 tsp garlic powder

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

4 C broth or bouillon

2 cans 15 oz diced tomatoes

3 T chili powder

1 T plus 1 1/2 tsp paprika

1 T ground cumin

1/3 C cornstarch

1/3 C water


16 corn tortillas

cooking oil

6 C shredded cheddar cheese

1 C chopped onion

1 C shredded American cheese

Cook chicken or beef. Add to large saucepan with broth, tomatoes, chili powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika. Adjust broth to thickness desired. 8 C is too much. I use four. Simmer for at least an hour. Use cornstarch to thicken mixture and set aside.

Heat half inch or three quarter in a skillet to 350. Fry tortillas for a few seconds on each side.

Add your chopped onion to the cheddar cheese. I don’t use a whole cup of onion. Half is plenty for me, but use the entire cup if you like.

Using a measuring cup, fill each tortilla with 1/3 C of the cheddar cheese and onion mixture. Save the American cheese for topping.

This will give you sixteen enchiladas. I use two 9×12 cake pans.

Preheat your oven to 350°.

Pour the sauce over the enchiladas. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Remove and add American cheese on top of enchiladas. Put back in oven without foil until American cheese is melted.

Goes good with Spanish rice and refried beans.

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Hard Cider

Wyeast 4184 sweet mead

6 gallons apple cider

5 lbs Tupelo honey get it here


acid blend

The cool thing about making hard cider is that it doesn’t have to be boiled. Just put it all together and add  your yeast.

Scrub your lemons and slice them as thin as you can. Put it with the cider just before you start the ferment.

The honey; you might heat that with a gallon of cider to dissolve it, and let it cool overnight.

The yeast we use has an eleven percent alcohol tolerance. Our ingredients won’t be enough to reach that high content, and it’s not a contest to do so.

We use the lemons to add some citric acid which will help the flavor of the cider. We can also add some acid blend before we are done with it. It will need some or the flavor will be ‘cloying’.

Cider is a joy unbounded if it can be both sweet and carbonated. This only can happen if we keg it. If we bottle it, it will have to be still; or not carbonated.

Taste and add acid blend if necessary at this time.

6 gallons of Louisburg cider

5 lbs of Sue Bee honey

2 lbs piloncillos

3 lemons

2 lbs raisins

Wyeast 4184 Sweet Mead

Can you see the manufacturing date? 1-15-15. It will take a little longer for the pack to expand. This yeast should go to 12% alcohol by volume…maybe a little higher


These are half pound cones of Piloncillo which is pure cane sugar. First press of the sugar cane, I believe.


I decided to keep my rare and expensive Tupelo honey and use this


I poured the yeast into a starter  mixture this morning (9/28). No, it wasn’t expanded; I was impatient. I think I noticed the airlock starting its first bubble this afternoon. There is hope after all. I did buy some back up yeast; some champagne and some wine yeast (cote de blanc). I hoped I wouldn’t have to go that route as it would require addition of much  more sugar to have the yeast die off because of the alcohol content. Roughly, one pound of fermentables for every percentage of ABV. So if a yeast has a tolerance of 12%, then twelve pounds of sugar…in theory…is all it will ferment. It’s probably safe to assume that one could count on at least a point or two higher in the final ABV measure added to the specs of said yeast.

This particular yeast said

YEAST STRAIN: 4184  |  Sweet Mead™

Back to Yeast Strain List

Leaves 2-3% residual sugar in most meads. Rich, fruity profile complements fruit mead fermentations.

Flocculation: Medium
Attenuation: NA
Temperature Range: 65-75°F, 18-24°C
Alcohol Tolerance: 11% ABV

This year I am going to boil 2 gallons of the Louisburg down until there is one gallon. The liquid will be gone, and the sugars will remain. When this is done, I will dissolve the piloncillos in that warm cider, and add the honey to get it a little thinner as well.

One could boil more cider down to have a super strong batch, if one has the time and inclination. One also has to be aware that boiling apple cider can release pectins. Not a good thing for cider. I was lucky last time. Perhaps I am still lucky. I know not how to combat this. An easy low boil was what I did a couple years ago.

Since we have fruits and raisins, we will use the plastic bucket for this batch.

Cider Day Today


I poured two gallons of the cider into a 3 gallon pot and put it to boil. I added 4 cones of the piloncillo (2 lbs). They dissolved easily.


It took two hours to boil from this to this


Removed from heat and cool in ice water bath in sink. Add and dissolve honey too at this time.

Meanwhile, I sliced the three lemons wafer thin and added them to the now sanitized bucket, as well as the raisins.

I also poured three gallons of the Louisburg into the bucket and covered while the other cools.

I also had poured some cider into our starter flask, and that jug was in the fridge. I added that also to our just-off-the-stove cider to help cool it. When it reached 80°, I added it to the rest of the batch and added the yeast.

The OG was….1.100. Pretty impressive. The quick gage on the hydrometer indicated that the ABV would be at 13%, if it fermented out all the way.

As I mentioned earlier, this yeast shouldn’t live through that high of alcohol content, so we may very well have naturally sweet, strong cider.

Now we wait.

Update 10/3/15

On Thursday, the ferment seemed to have stopped…that would be way too early, so I added a package of Lalvin K1-V1116 wine yeast. I did not check the gravity but when I popped the top of the bucket, I could see it was fermenting so I surmised that the blowoff tube in the adaptor to the bucket lid, got wampa-jawed and was not making a seal.

In theory, the wine yeast will finish fermenting the originally pitched yeast. I was hoping the yeast would die off due to too high of an alcohol presence, leaving the wine sweet yet strong.

The wine yeast is much more tolerant of alcohol, so it may very well ferment all the sugar and leave the batch dry. If a sweet batch is still my goal at that time (it is), I will have to add more sugar to the batch to kick up the alcohol so it will eventually kill off the yeast. If I do this, all my specific gravity readings can be flushed down the toilet as they will be worthless to me now.

So what sugars? you may ask. We must be careful about adding refined white sugar. We could used brown sugar and/or honey. Corn sugar would be OK too, but not to excess.

If we go this route, it would be prudent of us to go ahead and add the extra sugars now; at least two pounds.

No harm to cider, and I added the wine yeast anyway. I now have a strong ferment going.

Will update.


I brought to boiling 1 C water and dissolved 8 oz of piloncillo in it. Then I dissolved 1 lb of honey. I cooled and poured that into 6 1/2 gallon carboy, then racked the cider onto it. It was too early as I had lots of CO2 bubbles in the siphon hose which caused me to stop the racking as the bubble buildup stopped the flow of cider.

I removed racking tubes and canes, and poured the rest of the  cider makings into a funnel into the carboy; mostly raisins and lemons but a good quart of cider.

This will take another week to see what it’s gonna do before I take my next step.


I moved the cider to the kitchen, fully intending to rack it today. In the move however, I shook it enough so it started fermenting again. You can see here the CO2 bubbles on the edge, and on the top forming little colonies.

See the sediment

Yeah, that’s me in the reflection. Hopefully, Abby Sciutto won’t be able to reverse render an image from the reflection.

I dissolved 2 piloncillos in a quart of boiling water. When cooled, I added a pound of Tupelo honey and stirred until dissolved. When rack the cider, I will rack it on this. 2 more pounds of fermentables. We should be seeing this batch of yeast die off.

Update: 10/24/15

I racked it this morning to the above mentioned extra sugar. I didn’t see any flurry of yeast activity. I moved it back into the spare bedroom and in doing so, it got sloshed several times. I’ll just have to watch it to see if it starts up.



When done, it left the sediment behind.

update: 10/26/15

Here are a couple of shots showing the tiny colonies of bubbles on top and you can see there is more sediment forming. I had not the patience at this particular observation to watch the airlock.




I racked today to 1 tsp of potassium metabisulphate. This chemical will kill off, or slow down any yeast that are still alive.


I dissolved 1 tsp into about 1/4 C water, poured it into empty carboy, and siphoned the cider onto it. The other package you see there is chitosan, which is a clearing agent made from fish guts. The particles are charged positively and attract free floating particles in the cider and fall to the bottom. I am not using it at this time as I want to be sure the ferment will not start up as we will add some more sugar before we bottle. More on that later.


Siphoning in progress. See the difference in the amount of sediment compared to the last racking?


I pulled a shot for sampling. It’s very clear already.


I can feel some carbonation, and it’s sweet as it is. My guess is that the yeast has died or is dying due to high alcohol content.

I’ll wait a few days and check it for sediment.

At that time, we could add chitosan, which would definitely speed up the clearing process, but it may not need to be cleared that way at all. If the yeast is truly dead, then it will clear. Patience.


Notice the end of the racking can in the above picture. It has a standoff on the end so we won’t siphon trub into our cider. The idea is to leave it behind to clear our cider. It’s a small sacrifice, but necessary for clearing.

Below is a picture of the carpeting by the wine rack. A few years ago, the batch of cider had not fully stopped fermenting, but I corked it anyway. Over a period of maybe two weeks, I lost probably 2 gallons of cider onto the carpeting as the corks popped out. I didn’t even notice and the mess even dried up before I caught it. It was tragic because that stuff was so strong that if you got up to fill your glass a third time, you realized that your legs stopped working.


Will update when the next racking occurs.

Update: 11/14/15

I bottled the cider today. It had stopped fermenting almost as soon as I added the potassium metabisulphate a few weeks ago and could have bottle any time. It had just a wee bit of sediment today. I added one can of frozen apple juice concentrate (Seneca brand) as I racked it and stirred it in well, then bottled. A few glass ones and the rest plastic for shipping. Yes several samples were made and couldn’t figure out why I got such a buzz, then remembered I had no breakfast.

Bottling setup.


A bench corker is a must have if you are going to make a lot of wine bottles with corks. There are hand held ones, but you are required to have three hands and be an acrobat to use them.





This was maybe 5 1/2 gallons. 5 2-liter bottles, 6 1-liter bottles, and 4 1.75 liter glass bottles. Comes out to 20 liters or so. There was enough left for about 6oz sample glass. It tastes better than last year. Tangy and not boring. Plenty of kick too.

Does anyone remember why we don’t take a specific gravity reading this time?

This batch is done.

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Refried beans

The best refries are made from scratch; that means you gotta make the  pinto beans too.

2 C dried pinto beans

1/2 lb bacon

1 15 oz can diced tomatoes

1/2 large onion, chopped

1 T cumin or to taste

2 T chili powder or to taste

1 tsp coriander +-

Soak the beans in water overnight with a tablespoon of salt. Drain and rinse well, add back to pot. Add the bacon, tomatoes, onion, and spices. Add enough water to cover beans. Heat to simmering, and do so for at least 4 hours or until soft.

For the refries

In a skillet, add several large spoons of beans. Heat and bubbly and mash with potato masher or equivalent. Add pepper, salt, and coriander. Cook beans  until they come together and thicken.

Charro beans II

2 pounds dry pinto beans

1 lb bacon

2 cans Herez salsa casera

I use an eight qt crock pot. Soak beans overnight (12 hours) in water. Be sure they have at least a couple inches of water over the top of them.

Drain and rinse well. Chop bacon and place into large frying pan over medium heat until you get a lot of fat rendered (fifteen to twenty minutes).

Put bacon and fat into crock pot. Pour both cans of Herdez over bacon. Place beans on top and cover with water by one inch. Put crock pot on high until beans begin to boil. It will take 2 1/2 to 3 hours, then turn to low. Cook for four hours or until desired tenderness.

Do not add salt until served.

The Herdez has just enough ‘kick’ to give them some warmth.

Oklahoma beans

When I was a kid, my dad worked, my mom was a teacher and in the summer, she went to college. They took us to several places over the years for “day care”. One family was white trash. I don’t know how they were tied to my folks, but they stuck us there several weeks one summer.

The thing I remember most was lunch. Every day, she cooked corn bread and beans. I can still smell them today.

You will need

1 lbs dry pintos

12 oz bacon

Soak beans overnight in pot with 1 tablespoon salt.

Drain and rinse well.

In your bean pot, put your chopped bacon and cook over medium until you have a good but of fat rendered. Put in your beans, and add enough water during cooking just to cover the beans.

Season when served.

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Spanish Rice

Mexican food? What comes to mind? Enchiladas? Refried beans? Spanish Rice? Tacos?

Here’s my version of Spanish rice.

bacon grease…2 T

1 1/2 C rice

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp pepper

2 tsp cumin

chopped bell pepper to taste

15 oz can diced tomatoes

2 C salted boiling water

Start your 2 c water boiling now.

Brown rice in bacon grease until golden, then add spices and peppers and tomatoes. Add boiling water and cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

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King Ranch Casserole

An easy version of the original recipe.

3 lbs of cooked, boned, shredded chicken

1 can cream mushroom soup

1 can cream chicken soup

1 can Rotel diced tomatoes with green chilies

1/2 can chicken broth

1 dozen corn tortillas cut into wedges

1 onion chopped

2  C cheddar cheese, grated

Mix soups, tomatoes, onion, chicken, broth, 1 C cheese. In a large greased casserole, put 1/3 of mixture on bottom, then a layer of tortilla wedges, layer of mixture, layer of tortillas, layer of mixture and top with tortillas and cheese. Extra cheese is OK.

Bake one hour at 350°, uncovered.

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Homemade Caramels

If you like caramels, this is a great recipe. When refrigerated, they are almost hard as a rock. When in your mouth, they literally melt.

I usually put all ingredients into a 4 1/2 qt pot, and start the heat on just under medium. The sugar must be dissolved before you crank up the heat.

I don’t even put my thermometer in until it begins to boil.

You will need a candy thermometer for this. Brach’s? Ha! Russell Stover? Don’t make me laugh.

2 C white sugar

1 C brown sugar, packed

1 C white corn syrup

1 C evaporated milk

1 pint heavy whipping cream

1 C butter (2 sticks)

1 1/4 tsp vanilla (added after boil)

First, prepare your pan into which you will cool your candy. A 9×11 cake pan works well. Be sure to line it with buttered HD foil. Don’t skimp on the butter. Corners, sides, bottom coat them well.


Put all ingredients (except vanilla) in a medium size sauce pan. I use a 4 1/2 quart pot.


Just starting to boil


Temp about 200


See how high it got? It won’t get any higher than this. As the water boils out of the caramel, the volume will decrease, lowering the level in the pot. The heat is now on 7 (med-hi).

The temp will get up to just under 220, and stay there for half an hour. You must stir constantly.

Melt butter and heat to combine and dissolve sugars. This will take 45 minutes to reach temperature of 250° F. You must stir constantly. It boils up within an inch of my current pot. I have ordered a slightly larger, tapered pot for this batch.

When you attain the temp, remove from heat, add extract and stir in, then pour into buttered pan, unless you are making turtles¹. Allow to cool completely. I put it in the fridge for an hour or so.


Remove your foil filled candy from pan and upside down it on cutting board. Peel off your foil. Cut strips to your liking, then cut those into cubes or whatever form you want them. I wrap 6″ long strips about 3/4 inch cubed and cut as necessary.



If you like turtles, now is the time to make them just before the caramel is poured into your pan.

To prepare, you must lay out wax paper with a couple two-three pecans. You must make several piles/groups of them; as many as you want. Drizzle your melted caramel over your pecans. Then later, drizzle melted chocolate from your double boiler over your caramel and pecans. Allow to cool.


Melting chocolate. I used 4 chunks of the almond bark and 1/2 slab paraffin, and about 3 C semi sweet chocolate chips.



Final note: don’t use wax paper for the turtles. The caramel is too hot and the cooled turtle will take wax paper when it is separated. Try parchment paper or lightly sprayed cookie sheet (last resort). Still tasted good but what a pain.

My most recent batch of Millionaires used cupcake cups, sprayed with your choice of cooking spray. I put 5-6 pecan halves then poured a goodly blob of melted caramel, then topped with said melted chocolate. The spray will keep them from sticking.

I keep a chunk of melted chocolate year round. It won’t go bad. When I am done with whatever; bonbons, millionaires, peanut clusters, I pour melted chocolate into clean cottage cheese or sour cream container, place in fridge and let cool. When hardened, just put into a Ziploc bag for next time. Additives in chocolate chip concoction can be shortening and paraffin. Either or both will help thin the mixture some.

A double boiler is almost necessary as the stuff will burn if put directly over heat.

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Irish Cream

Make your own Irish Cream.

14 oz condensed milk

1 C whipping cream

2 T chocolate syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract

2 tsp instant coffee

4 eggs

12 ounces Irish whiskey


This recipe through Patrice Lewis


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Hot Buttered Rum

When it gets cold outside, especially around the holidays, this is how we stay wasted warm. As with most recipes, everybody has their own. This is mine.

1 lb softened butter

2 lb dark brown sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp cloves

Mix for an hour in your Kitchen Aid mixer.

Will keep indefinitely in fridge.

Heat water in mug, add spoon of butter mixture, and top with your favorite rum.

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Who can afford the outrageous price the original brings for this? This is not bad and X drank it with coffee for years…still do.

1 1/2 C brown sugar (can use piloncillo…1 C=8 oz)

1 C white sugar

2 C water

1/2 C instant coffee powder

3 C vodka (100 proof is best)

1 vanilla bean, split (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)

Combine sugars and water and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Lower heat and add coffee slowly, stirring with wire whisk. Stir until coffee is dissolved and allow to cool. Split your vanilla bean with a sharp knife, and scrape out the pulp from the bean. Add to cooled  mixture and mix in vodka. It must all stay together in gallon jug until vanilla permeates the mixture. 2 weeks will do unless you use extract. IMO, it’s worth the wait to use the vanilla bean.

A double batch is what I do, and don’t be stingy with the vodka.

I buy a 1.75 liter and use it all.

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X’s Lasagne

X learned a long time ago in his first marriage, that if he wanted to eat what he liked, he would have to make it himself.
X’s first wife’s idea of cooking was “jazzed up pork and beans”.
A can of pork and beans, with catchup and mustard added.
Thus endeth the marriage.

The first time I made this, I used the recipe on the back of the noodle box. I did not even know what a ‘clove’ of garlic was. I have modified it over the past 35 years, and this is what it has evolved to.

Box of lasagne noodles. You only need about a dozen, depending on how big your pan is. I use the kind you have to boil first. Use what you like.
2 lbs ground beef, chuck, sirloin, whatever you can afford
1 lb pork sausage Owens, Jimmy Dean, etc.
2 28 oz cans diced tomatoes
12 oz tomato paste
can mushrooms…if you like ’em, use the larger one..optional
cayenne pepper
3-4 cloves garlic; pressed or chopped
1 large onion chopped
cottage cheese…if you like ricotta, go for it

1 lb mozzarella cheese grated

sliced mozzarella for top; at least a dozen slices
black olives…optional

olive oil as needed

In a large skillet, heat up some olive oil an add onions. Sweat them and add garlic. Add your beef and sausage.

Meanwhile, in a large pot put all your tomato products, 1 1/2  – 2 tsp basil, 1 1/2 tsp oregano, pinch cayenne, mushrooms, chopped black olives. You will need at least a 6 qt pot for this.

When your meat is browned, drain (if necessary) and add to sauce. Simmer for at least an hour or until thick.

Preheat oven to 350

Meanwhile, boil your noodles; rinse and let them sit in cold water  until ready for use.

When your sauce is ready, layer as follows:

Cottage cheese on bottom of pan and add some sauce to cover bottom of pan

Then layer of noodles

Then put the grated cheese in the next layer and add some sauce to help fill the second layer

Add a layer of noodles and add the rest of the sauce (if enough room) and top with another layer of noodles.

Put the sliced cheese on the top.

Bake for 30 minutes. Check at 25 so as not to have the cheese get too brown.

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Wheat Beer

Making your own beer is like cooking; you make what you like, the way you like.

I would probably have never discovered wheat beer without the suggestions from a friend and the guy at the  homebrew store.

The style is traditional German Wheat. This beer is very lightly hopped, as is the style. The yeast is what gives the beer its taste. The hops are mostly for aroma.

Wyeast 3068 Wiehenstephan yeast

8 lbs wheat dme

1/2 oz Cascade whole leaf hops

1/2 oz Hallertauer whole leaf hops

I always make a starter for my homebrew. This is done by boiling 1/2 C wheat malt with 1 C water, a allowing to cool. Meanwhile, smacking the yeast and allowing it to expand for a day or so, then adding the contents to the starter. Allow it to sit another 12 hours to so, then one can brew the beer. The starter makes a small batch of beer, but it contains trillions of yeast cells which will help your beer ferment better and faster.

Using a 5 gallon stainless steel pot, I heat 3 gallons of water to boiling. I removed from heat and add my eight pounds of wheat dme, making absolutely sure that every morsel is completely dissolved. If not, it will burn on the bottom of the pot, thus ruining the entire batch.

When dissolved, we return it to the heat and bring it back to a boil. We have to be careful and not let it boil over. It will be required to adjust the heat so as not to allow the pot to boil over. My stove is ceramic and is easy to move the pot off the burner. If you have gas heat..good. If it boils over, you will have a mess and a stink that is indescribable. Start your timer when the boil begins. We will boil for a total of one hour.

After our hot break occurs, we can relax a little. Get your carboy out and sanitize it. At 30 minutes, we add our 1/2 ounce of Cascade hops. At 55 minutes, we add our Hallertauer hops. At 60 we removed from heat and begin to cool.

I use a water bath in the sink and I also add ice into the beer. It takes 20 minutes.

Pour into carboy through funnel with strainer to filter out the hops.

Add water to carboy to make five gallon marker. Use aireator to put O2 back into beer.

Check the original gravity and it is 1.064. We look for a target final gravity of 1/4 the original, which will be 1.016.

Pitch yeast, shake up, and let sit with airlock tube.

Now we wait. Will update.



Gravity is 1.016 which is exactly what I was looking for.

DSCN0713 Those of you who homebrew understand that this gravity reading, which is exactly 1/4 of the OG, indicates that our primary ferment is done.

Will rack and wait another week, then bottle.

When the beer is racked into the secondary fermenter, at that time we could add fruit. This would add another week to our time, but this batch will stay regular beer.

Am planning to make a batch of Chimay white in the next couple weeks.

Update 3/25

I bottled the beer today. I used 3/4 C corn sugar dissolved in 2 C water. The gravity today was 1.012…not bad. Now I wait a week or so, and I’ll have some tasty German wheat beer.

I am expecting my Chimay white supplies today as well. I’ll be brewing that after my wheat beer carbonates, and I can get it out of the way. I post my recipe plan for this beer recently.

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Hot Wings

This recipe is for BBQ hot wings; not fried. It will do up to 40 wings. They can be frozen in the marinade, and thawed and cooked later.

1 C soy sauce

1 C white vinegar

1 C Worcestershire

1 8 oz bottle of Louisiana hot pepper sauce (I use twice that)

1 T garlic powder

2 packets dry Ranch dressing mix

Mix well. Snip wing tops off. Marinade wings for at least 8 hours. BBQ them and turn often and brush marinade when you turn them. Can also pour hot sauce on wings after done cooking.

Alternate method

Marinate your wings as described. Steam wings in colander over boiling water for 10 minutes. Cool on rack over paper towels, and put in fridge for an hour.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place wings on rack and cook for 20 minutes, then turn over and cook 20 minutes more. Watch carefully.

Place in bowl and add your favorite hot pepper sauce. Not bad. It’s an Alton Brown variation.

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Sourdough Bread

Sourdough bread requires that you make  starter first. This will take a few days to prepare accordingly. This bread is very tasty with a hard crust.


1 package dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)

2 1/2 C warm potato water (or warm water)

2 C flour

1 T sugar

1 tsp salt

Dissolve yeast and sugar in water, then add flour and salt. Mix well and cover. Leave in warm place for 2-3 days. Every time a 1 Cup portion is taken out, add 1/2 C water, 1/2 C flour, and 1 tsp sugar.

Sourdough Bread

1 package dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)

1 1/2 C warm water

1 C sourdough starter

2 tsp sugar

1 1/2 tsp salt

5 C flour +-

1/2 tsp baking soda

In large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and sugar. Blend in starter and salt. Add 3 1/2 C flour. Mix well, cover, and let rise for 1 1/2 hours. Add remaining flour and enough to make a stiff dough. Knead for 8-10 minutes. Shape into two loaves and put them onto baking sheets with cornmeal on them, or put in loaf pans. Let rise another 1 1/2 hours.

Bake at 400° for 35 -40 minutes. Brush tops with butter.

I have found that  400 degrees is too hot. I  have had much success baking at 350 degrees.

I have made buns also with this recipe. Just roll a wad of dough and then flatten it in your hand. Bake on baking sheets with parchment paper for around 15-18 minutes.

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This is X’s favorite gumbo recipe and honestly, I have not tried any others except this one. It is very good. With any gumbo, the roux is extremely important…it is what binds the other ingredients together.

Lots of recipes out there, and every Cajun’ family has their own and I’m sure they’re all delicious.

You will need a big pot for the ingredients, and the roux will cook better in a cast iron skillet. Get your pot of ingredients going before you add your roux. Think of your roux as the thickener for gravy.

3/4 lb ham, cubed

1-1 1/2 lb sausage (I use Hillshire Farms ring sausage. I know…andouille is recommended or boudin. I have tried both and thought I was gonna die. Use what you like. I do.)

3/4 C bacon drippings

1 C vegetable oil

1 1/2 C flour

1/4 C olive oil

3 C celery, coarsely chopped

3 large onions, coarsely chopped

2 bell peppers, chopped

2 cloves garlic

1/2 C parsley, fresh

1 lb okra

2 28 oz cans diced tomatoes

1 can Rotel diced tomatoes with green chiles



Worcestershire sauce

2 bay leaves

1/4 marjoram

1/8 rosemary

In a large pot, saute ham and sausage in 1/4 C of the bacon drippings. Add veggies and sweat them until  soft. Add tomatoes and spices.

In your cast iron skillet, heat 1/2 C bacon dripping, and 3/4 C veg oil and add flour. Cook over medium high heat until nice and brown…about 30 minutes; stirring constantly. Add roux to veggies. Stir in well.

Add okra.

Heat through. Add 6 drops of Tabasco and 2 T Worcestershire.

Serve with rice.


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Corn Bread Stuffing

This corn bread is very similar to my other one, and as a matter of fact the only difference is sugar instead of honey, milk instead of whipping cream.

1 c corn meal

1 C flour

1 C milk

2 T sugar

4 tsp baking powder

1/2 salt

1/4 shortening

1 egg

Preheat oven to 400°. Mix dry ingredients first, then add others. Mix briskly for 1 minute. Pour into greased cast iron skillet or 8×8 pan for 22 minutes.

I leave out overnight to make stuffing.


3/4 C minced onion

1 1/2 C chopped celery with leaves

1 C butter

cut your corn bread into cubes and put half of them into skillet

2 tsp salt

1 1/2  tsp sage leaves

1 tsp thyme

1/2 tsp black pepper

Begin to sweat veggies in large frying pan until soft. Add half the bread cubes. Stir.

Turn into deep bowl and add rest of bread cubes.

Stuff bird. This will completely fill a 20 lb bird.

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Santa Fe Soup

Don’t let the title trick you into thinking this is a watery, runny concoction that you gotta have crackers to thicken.

This is more like a chili, but even more like a dip for chips. It is mildly spicy with lots of bulk. I enjoy mine with Fritos.

2 lbs browned ground beef

1 large onion chopped

2 pack dry Ranch dressing mix or 6 T

2 packs dry taco seasoning mix (I use McCormick)

1 can black beans

1 can kidney beans

1 can pinto beans

2 cans Rotel diced tomatoes with green chiles

1 15 oz can diced tomatoes

2 cans corn drained

Mix together and heat through for  30-60 minutes.

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Favorite Oatmeal Cookies

Oatmeal Cookies

2 sticks butter, softened

2 C brown sugar*

2 eggs

1 t baking soda

1 t cinnamon

1/2 t salt

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 3/4 C flour

3 c quick oats

1 1/2 C raisins (optional)

1 C pecan halves (optional)

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs. Add salt, baking soda, vanilla, and cinnamon. Mix well. Add flour, then oatmeal. Blend well. Add raisins at this time and pecans.

Preheat oven to 375°.

Place dough on cookie sheets or sheet pans. I sometime make giant patties as big as my hand. Flatten them slightly and bake for 8-10 minutes.



∗You can make your own brown sugar. 1 C white sugar with 2 T molasses.  For dark brown sugar, use 3-4 T molasses.

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Corn Bread

There are as many recipes for corn bread out there as there are southern cooks.  This is my favorite…I have another for when I make turkey stuffing.

1 C corn meal

1 C AP flour

1/4 C sugar

1 T baking powder

1/2 t salt

1 C whipping cream

1/4 oil

1/4 C honey

2 beaten eggs

Preheat oven to 400º.

I have best results in a cast iron skillet. Bake for 22 minutes…15 for muffins.


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