Woo hoo! It's Moist and Easy Cornbread Time!

I’m passionate about cornbread ~ I've tested a lot of cornbread recipes, and I’ve learned one thing about it ~ many other people get worked up about it also!

There is quite the debate as to how it should be prepared...

It’s either about the type of cornmeal:  stone ground or not; yellow or white?   
How much flour?  
How many eggs should I add?  
Which is better:  milk, buttermilk, or sour cream?  
Should I make it with butter, lard, Crisco or bacon grease?
Contaminate it with sugar, or not, or how about honey?  
Bake it in a cast iron skillet or baking tin?
And, finally ~ a 375° or 425° oven? 

In other words, give it to me if you’re not!

Presidents even reacted to it:  George Washington started by savoring hoe cakes, a simple corn bread fried in shallow grease.   

During James Polk’s presidency, of a trip to New Orleans, he wrote that "all the dishes were prepared in the French style of cooking, and to one unaccustomed to it it was difficult to tell of what they were composed... I took a cup of coffee and something on my plate to save appearances, but was careful to eat none of it.  As soon as an opportunity offered, I asked a servant in a low tone if he could give me a piece of corn-bread and broiled ham."1

James Polk
Abraham Lincoln  loved corn cakes, and it was said he ate them “as fast as two women could make them.”   

Way back in the 1920's, Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge preferred to start their day with corn muffins.  Herbert Hoover loved fried cornmeal mush, and so do I, almost as much as cornbread! 

Warren Harding
Herbert Hoover
Calvin Coolidge

As a matter of fact, cornbread was served in some of the White House’s more formal settings.   Franklin D. Roosevelt served it at a 1939 state dinner for King George VI.

Franklin D. Roosevelt
King George VI

On to the 40's, when farm boy Harry Truman had simple tastes; he favored his cornbread with sorghum molasses bought on trips home to Missouri.  We've often heard, John F. Kennedy was a small eater and nearly always had to be reminded it was dinner time, with corn muffins being his favorite.  Peanut farmer Jimmy Carter liked dining on corn fritters at the Carter family's big weekend breakfasts.

Harry Truman
Jimmy Carter


Then there's Paula Deen!  
 Thanks to her for this cornbread recipe!

Paula Deen’s Moist and Easy Cornbread

Flour and cornmeal
ready for the oven

It's a truly Southern melt-in-your mouth cornbread ~ especially when it's piping hot out of the oven with butter melting on it!

Give it a try!

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Moist and Easy Cornbread

This is a true Southern cornbread ~ melt-in-your-mouth good ~ especially when it's straight from the oven, slathered with butter, thanks to Paula Deen's recipe!
prep time: 15 MINScook time: 25 MINStotal time: 40 mins


  • 6 tablespoons melted, plus butter for baking dish unsalted butter
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large lightly beaten eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk


Preheat the oven to 425º. Lightly grease an 8-inch baking dish.
In a large bowl, mix together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, buttermilk and butter. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the cornmeal mixture and fold together until there are no dry spots (the batter will still be lumpy). Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish.
Bake until the top is golden brown and tester inserted into the middle of the corn bread comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the cornbread from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes before serving.

1As quoted in Mark Eaton Byrnes' James K. Polk:  A Biographical Companion


Stuffed Cabbage Rolls for a Comfy Winter Meal!

We are paying for last winters’ mild weather! 

There’s no avoiding winter here since we’re just 40 miles northwest of Chicago.  Winter barely started when Mother Nature wasted no time in putting us in the deep freeze and keeping us there for 2 weeks with highs in the single digits, not counting bone-chilling wind chills way below zero ~ it's about unbearable!  A warm-up is on the way today ~ that translates, SNOW!

All of this cold weather leads me to dishes like this stuffed cabbage leaves, a great comforting winter dish!

I have a ton of food memories from when I was growing up, but stuffed cabbage rolls isn't one of them.  I don’t recall ever eating them back then, and Bill says the same.     

While the direct origin of cabbage rolls cannot be certain, its lineage can be traced back some 2,000 years ago to Jewish cooking, according to Gil Marks, author of the 2010 Encyclopedia of Jewish Food.  Cabbage is not mentioned in the Bible, but it is referred to in the Talmud, he says where the rabbis praise the cabbage for “sustenance.”  Though no one knows where the tradition of filling leaves originates, it appears in cultures around the world stretching from Europe and the Middle East to the jungles of the Amazon.

For example, the following names and some of the differences in their recipes…

Jewish “holishkls” is served during the fall harvest festival.  The dish is made with raisins, brown sugar, lemon and tomato for a sweet and sour taste.

Lithuanians call it “balandeliai,” translating to “little doves.”

Ukrainian “holubtsi” is made with sauerkraut, and usually no meat, served with perogie.

The Polish version is “golabki,” meaning “little pigeon feet” and served with sauerkraut and sweet paprika.

Finland’s version is “kaalikaaryle,” and the cabbage rolls are browned before brazing.  

But today in America, it is just simply stuffed cabbage, the exemplary comfort food that makes a complete meal.

Here’s the version we eat:  a savory meat and rice filling wrapped up in tender cabbage leaves that’s slow-baked in a sweet-sour tomato sauce.

While these cabbage rolls are pretty tasty straight out of the oven, there even better the next day, so here’s hoping you’ll be lucky enough to enjoy the leftovers, should you try this recipe!

Yield: 6 servings

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

These cabbage rolls are stuffed with lean ground beef and lean ground pork and rice. It's a comforting winter dish!
prep time: 30 MINScook time: 1 hourtotal time: 1 hours and 30 mins


  • 1 head cabbage
  • For the Filling:
  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 pound lean ground pork
  • 3/4 cup uncooked long grain rice
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned pepper
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • For the Sauce:
  • 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar


For the Cabbage:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, remove 10 to 12 whole outer leaves from the cabbage by cutting them off the core. (Reserve the remaining cabbage for another use.) Add the leaves to the boiling water and blanch until wilted, about 2 minutes. Transfer the leaves to a colander to drain.

Make the Filling:
Combine the filling ingredients in a bowl.  Scoop out approximately 1/3 cup of meat mixture and form into a log shape.
Place filling in a cabbage leaf close to the core. Fold once, then grab both side and fold in, like a burrito.  If the leaves are too small, overlap 2 leaves.
Arrange cabbage rolls snugly next to each other in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.

Make the Sauce:
Combine sauce ingredients in a bowl and pour evenly over the cabbage roll.
Cover with foil and bake for about 1 to 1-1/2 hours, until meat is cooked through.


Ring in the New Year with a French 75!

Even though it may sound like a dainty little drink, this potent marriage of gin and bubbly is name after a giant gun ~ the French 75mm gun  ~ used in the First World War.  Evidently the cocktail was rumored to have such a kick that it felt like being shelled with the powerful field gun right in the gut.  

The Canon de 75 modèle 1897 the source of the name of the cocktail

Simply named 75 (Soixante Quinze in French), the original recipe differed slightly in that it was served over cracked ice in a tall glass, similar to a Tom Collins, with champagne replacing the soda. 

An early form of the French 75 was created in 1915 at the New York Bar in Paris.  Years later in 1942, it was popularized in America at the Stork Club in New York City, and appeared in the cult classic movie “Casablanca” that same year.   It is referenced twice in the John Wayne films A Man Betrayed (1941) and Jet Pilot (1957.) 

Combine gin with fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, champagne, and cracked ice; shake and strain into a champagne flute, top with champagne, add a lemon twist for garnish, and…

A French 75! 

Ring in 2018 with this classy cocktail!


French 75

A potent marriage of dry gin and bubbly.


  • 1½ OUNCES London dry GIN


  1. Combine the first three ingredients in a cocktail shaker with cracked ice. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds and strain into a champagne flute.
  2. Top with 3 oz of champagne and serve with a lemon peel for garnish.

Have a safe
Happy New Year!

Have a Very Merry Christmas!

A silent night,

a star above

a blessed gift

of hope and love.

Here’s wishing

a very

Merry Christmas

to you and yours!

Eat, Drink & Be Merry,

Cream Cheese Cut-out Christmas Cookies

From the time Billy and Matt were little boys, this was the cookie they had to have every Christmas, not only for them to eat, but for Santa to enjoy with his glass of milk on Christmas Eve. 

I had no problem baking them; however, there was a catch:  they had to help with the decorating.  Cookie decorating is definitely not my thing.  I use cookie cutters rarely and forget piping bags, I have no patience for them at all.  

 I warned you, ☺ about my cookie decorating, 
but they make up for it in deliciousness!

Santa's, angels, snowmen, candy canes, reindeer, stars, Christmas trees and bells covered the table  ~ plenty of cookies to keep them busy decorating for a good while on a wintry afternoon.  I mixed icing with red and green food coloring, handed them each a knife and we decorated away.  Colored sugar was scattered everywhere, they did a great job, and what a fun mess we made! 

Sadly, those days are long gone, and now this is my go to cut-out cookie recipe.  These cookies are easy to make, although the dough needs to refrigerate for an hour.  Easy to make, delicious to eat, just not so pretty to look at now that I do all the decorating myself...

Cream cheese is the little secret ingredient here that makes these cut-out cookies easy to handle and adds a little tang to complement the sweetness.

I like them rolled out on the thin side and nice and crisp, with just a very slight touch of golden color on the bottom and sides when they come out of the oven.  If you roll them out thicker, they have a softer cookie texture. 

So ~ turn on your favorite Christmas tunes and bake and decorate to your hearts content!

The aroma is wonderful as they bake...

Cream Cheese Cut-out Cookies
Printable recipe

1 cup butter, room temperature
3 ounces cream cheese
2¼ cups flour
1¼ cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 egg
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract

3 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
Food coloring, optional

Method for the dough:
Beat butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed.
Add half of flour, then sugar, egg, salt and extracts.
Beat on low speed until combined.
Beat in the remaining flour on low speed.
Divide dough in half, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to ¼” thick.
Cut out shapes with cookie cutters.
Arrange on baking sheets.
Bake for about 12 to 15 minutes or until edges are slightly golden.
Transfer to write rack and cool completely.

Method for the icing:
Beat together sugar, butter and cream cheese in small bowl.
Add extracts.
Stir in milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until icing is of spreading consistency.
Add food coloring if desired.
Decorate cookies with icing and sprinkles.
Makes about 2 dozen


“I know the look of an apple that is roasting and sizzling on the hearth on a winter's evening, and I know the comfort that comes of eating it hot, along with some sugar and a drench of cream... I know how the nuts taken in conjunction with winter apples, cider, and doughnuts, make old people's tales and old jokes sound fresh and crisp and enchanting.”
Mark Twain


Jules-Alexandre Grun

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