Sweet ‘n’ Salty Pecan Pie

Pecan pie is one of those desserts that’s the perfect cross between candy and nuts . . .the perfect blend of sweet and salty. It’s sure to please, but don’t serve too much, because it’s so rich a little slice goes a long way! It needs to be eaten with care, savoring each bite slowly. I usually think of pecan pie as a Southern favorite any time of the year, or as a Northern pie to be made in winter, when the body needs more fuel to keep burning warmly. However, this past winter, I failed to make even one, so Alan requested pecan pie for Father’s Day. In case you’ve not fallen in love with this perennial Southern favorite yet, here’s my recipe to get you started!

Sweet and Salty Pecan Pie
(Serves about 10)
Fluted 11″ pie crust

Make 1 crust for an 11″ pie (but don’t bake it yet):

In a mixing bowl, combine:
1.75 cups flour
2/3 cup Crisco (or other vegetable shortening)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cold water.
3. Mix in your blender just until a ball form. Roll out after sprinkling a little flour on top so it won’t stick to the rolling pin. I always roll the crust out on top of some saran wrap so I can get it off the counter and into the pie plate in one piece, but you have to flip the crust over so the saran ends up on top and can be pulled off. Also, if the saran slides around, put a few drops of water on the counter underneath the wrap to make it stay in place.
4. Arrange the crust in the pan, flute the edges, and prick some holes in the bottom with a fork
Spread 1/2 cups of salted, crushed pecans on top of the crust at the bottom of the pie plate
Preheat the oven to 350°F.


In a large mixing bowl, add:
3 eggs, and beat them slightly
3/4 cup light corn syrup (I know corn syrup is out of vogue right now, and you can replace it with 3/4 cup brown sugar plus 2 tablespoons water, but it doesn’t turn out with quite the perfectly chewy smooth texture)
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup melted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
Blend together, then add and gently stir together:
2 cups chopped, salted pecans

Place the filling into the unbaked pie shell, then top with:
1.5 cups halved (or could be chopped, but halved are pretty), salted pecans

Bake at 350° for 50-60 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is firm.

Let it cool for an hour before serving, preferably topped with a little whipping cream or a scoop of ice cream, although it’s mighty good plain too!

Take of the best fruits in the land in your vessels, and carry down the man a present, a little balm, and a little honey, spices, and myrrh, nuts, and almonds” (Genesis 43:11; I know our husbands aren’t exactly kings, but they are the kings of our home castles, and worthy of some special gifts from time to time too! 🙂 ).

German Potato Pancakes

German Potato Pancakes with Homemade Applesauce and Sour Cream
(Makes 6 pancakes)

One of my favorite meals as a young wife was brats with mustard and sauerkraut, red cabbage, and “German Potato Pancakes” with home made applesauce and sour cream on top. Now that I actually have a daughter-in-law from Germany, I’m not totally convinced this is as authentically German as I used to think, but that doesn’t distract from the great taste, so let me share my recipe for potato pancakes!

As with most recipes, I adapt them for convenience, so I generally use leftover potatoes that have already been baked, boiled, or fried into hash browns (as long as they’re not so cooked that they’ve become mushy). In fact, I’ve been known to used leftover mashed potatoes, and they’re good too!

In a large mixing bowl, combine:
2 cups cooked, chopped potatoes (or: shredded, uncooked potatoes)
1 egg
2 crispy slices of cooked bacon, chopped into small pieces
2 T. (melted) bacon fat
2 T. flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ small onion, chopped
2 teaspoons chopped chives
½  teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon spicy Montreal steak seasoning
½ teaspoon parsley flakes
¼  teaspoon salt (or to taste)
¼ teaspoon pepper (or to taste)

Mix thoroughly, divide into 6 approximately equal patties, and fry them over medium heat in 2 tablespoons melted bacon fat (or butter) until  crispy and golden brown on both sides.

Serve immediately (or keep warm in covered pan and reheat for a few seconds before serving).

They can be served “as is,” or with ketchup (which Americans tend to love with most potatoish sides), but they are especially delicious topped with home made applesauce (or store-bought, but at least use chunky-style and warm it up) and sour cream. Oh, and if you’re like us (at least this year), you might try serving up some great German devotional “spiritual food” for dinner while you’re at it!

From I Want to Live These Days with You, A Year of Daily Devotionals by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was executed by the Nazis during World War 2 for his stand against evil.

Matthew 8:23-27 says, “And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him.24 And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep.25 And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.27 But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!”

Fresh Strawberry Pie for Brianna and Alan’s 369th Birthday!

Every family has a few unique “fun facts,” and one of my favorites in our family is that our oldest son was born on my birthday and our youngest daughter-in-law was born on my husband’s birthday! So, we’re often privileged to share a birthday party. This year was Brianna’s 36th and Alan’s 69th, so together they’ve lived 105 years . . . but it was also fun to arrange the candles so that it looked like even longer! 🙂 Fresh strawberry pie has been one of Alan’s favorite birthday desserts since early in our marriage, so I thought you might enjoy making it too.

Fresh Strawberry Pie
(Feeds 1, or possibly 8-9 🙂 )

I forgot to photo making the pie shell, I think because I’ve written it up before, but in case you don’t have a favorite recipe yet, here’s mine:

One 10-inch Baked Pie Shell

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine:
1.5 cups flour
2/3 cup Crisco (or other vegetable shortening)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cold water.
3. Mix until a ball forms. Roll out (I always roll it out on top of some saran wrap so I can get it off the counter and into the pie plate in one piece, but you have to flip the crust over so the saran ends up on top and can be pulled off. Also, if the saran slides around, put a few drops of water on the counter underneath the wrap to make it stay in place.)
4. Arrange the crust in the pan, flute the edges, prick some holes in the bottom with a fork, and bake in a hot oven for 12 minutes or until it’s starting to turn a golden brown on the edges. Let it cool on the counter while you make the filling.

Strawberry Glaze

1. In a saucepan, stir together until completely blended:
1 cup sugar
¼ cup corn starch
2. Next, add:
2 cups water
1 three-oz. package of strawberry jello powder
3. Heat, stirring almost constantly, until it bubbles, thickens, and clarifies

Let it cool to room temperature, and then add:
1 cup fresh strawberry jam or fresh freezer jam
2 pounds or 2 quarts hulled but whole strawberries (about 5-6 cups)

Coat the berries completely, then gently fill the pie shell. The berries can be heaped quite high, depending on how many strawberries you’ve got and how big your pie shell is. (I’ve made it without the jam, but it really does add to the overall flavor if you have some available. Just follow the directions on the package, but you may want to have made the jam beforehand. I tend to buy the berries when they go on sale about once a year for $0.99 a quart and make my year’s supply in May.)

Chill thoroughly in refrigerator, and then, just before you serve it top with:

 1.5 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar, whipped together until medium peaks form

If you serve it right away and the peaks aren’t too stiff, it may turn out like this, but nobody seemed to fuss!

May you live long and celebrate many, many, many happy birthdays!

When they are old, they will still produce fruit; they will be healthy and ·fresh [green; verdant]” (Psalm 92:14, EXB “Expanded Bible”).

What’s For Breakfast? How About Stuffed Croissants?!

Last spring when Alan was at a conference in Orlando, Florida, we came across something I’d never seen before.

They were flaky, savory breakfast sandwiches called
“Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Croissants.”

Even though this restaurant (the Rosen Plaza Hotel) has an assortment of fabulous breakfast items,

after we’d tried all the yummy offerings, and it was time for just one last bite,

we both wanted to have “one last stuffed croissant” for our grand finale.

Therefore, this morning, I’d like to share with you my own rendition of this most memorable breakfast treat.

Stuffed Breakfast Croissants

(Makes 6 breakfast sandwiches)

  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F.
  2. Start with one package of Crescent Dough (or better yet, croissant dough, although some types have smaller rectangles)

3. Spread out the dough sheet and cut into 6 equal squares.
4. Add a slice of your favorite cheese (or whatever’s in your fridge) to each square.

5. Fry bacon (1/2 slice per sandwich) and lightly scramble eggs (1/2 per sandwich; just cooked enough so they won’t run off the cheese!) with salt, pepper, 1 teaspoon chopped chives, garlic powder, and whatever else your family likes (pepper, mushrooms, onions, etc.) per taste. (You could use sausage and eggs also, or an assortment of veggies with eggs, or even straight veggies!)

6. Add the bacon and eggs equally on top of the dough and cheese.

7. Wrap the two edges of the dough together and pinch to seal.

8. Bake in the oven at 375°F. for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.
9. Serve with some fresh fruit and beverages, and you’ve got a breakfast that will please most anybody!

We love to take in some spiritual food with our breakfast too. It’s a great habit. Just a few minutes from a devotional book will give your soul some food for thought to help fuel a day of grace! 🙂

Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up” (Deuteronomy 11:18-19).

Orange-glazed, Chocolate Chip Scones

Here is a drool-worthy recipe that Joel makes, inspired by the 1997 edition of The Joy of Cooking with just a very few personal touches (to up the flavors). It’s perfect for tea time, breakfast, or . . .really anytime you want a scrumptious dessert!

Orange-glazed, Chocolate Chip Scones

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Stir together thoroughly (by hand) in a mixing bowl:

2 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar (or just 1/3 cup if you plan to eat it with jam or don’t want it very sweet)

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

Next, add:

6 tablespoons of cold butter, cut into chunks

Blend with a pastry blender (or a big fork) until the chunks are no more than pea-sized, but take care not to let the butter melt. It needs to be a little chunky still.

Finally, add 1 cup chocolate chips and stir until evenly mixed throughout

In a separate bowl, stir together:

1 large egg

½ cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon grated zest from an orange

Add the liquid ingredients to the dry and stir just enough to moisten.

Gather into a bowl and knead gently against the sides of the bowl until most all of the flour has been incorporated into the ball and the bowl is fairly clean. (This shouldn’t take more than 5-6 times; don’t overwork!) Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and pat into an 8” round (which should be about ¾ inches thick).

Cut into 8 wedges (or up to 12 small ones, depending on how many people you want to serve). Bigger ones are moister, and they’re so good even children can usually happily eat a large one. Place at least a half an inch apart on a cookie sheet.

Brush the tops with cream (or milk).

Bake in the preheated over for 12-15 minutes, until starting to turn a golden brown.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool down to warm.

While still warm, frost with a glaze made from:

1 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon softened butter

2 tablespoons orange zest plus enough juice to make a thick frosting. (If you make it too thin, it will all drip off. The cooler the scones, the thinner you can make the frosting.)

Serve warm. They really don’t need butter, clotted cream (whipped cream), or jam, but suit yourself!

Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart:
so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel” (Proverbs 27:9).

Zesty Orzo Salad with Grilled Chicken

Looking for a hearty summer salad for a warm day? This recipe was inspired by something my son ate at his sister’s house, but then he improvised and served it with grilled chicken, which took it to the next level. Here’s what he did:

Zesty Orzo Salad
(Serves 6-8 as a main course if topped with chicken)

Prepare 16 oz orzo according to the instructions on the box, making sure to salt the water well and cooking it until it’s al dente. Drain, rinse, and when it’s cooled down, add and mix together well:
One can drained chickpeas
8 oz. crumbled goat feta cheese
1 cubed cucumber
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Italian dressing
4 tablespoons crushed mint leaves (or 1 cup fresh)
4 tablespoons crushed basil leaves (or 1 cup fresh)
1/2 cup chopped kalamata olives
1 small, chopped red onion
2 lemons, zested and squeezed (which will make about 1/2 cup liquid)
2 cups raw spinach or assorted salad mix
1 teaspoon sea salt (to taste, which might require more)
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
6-8 grilled chicken thighs, either added on top or chopped and added to the mix

Joel served it with grilled chicken and fresh bread and butter, and it was really delicious, but this recipe makes a huge bowl, so I took a bowl over as a side dish to some friends’ home the next night. Actually, it seemed to get more savory in a day or two, so it lasts really well (although test and add more salt and pepper as needed).

“The Lord liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted” (Psalm 18:46).

Link love back to this site: https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/herb-lovers-lemony-orzo-salad/

Light and Fluffy Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie
(serves 8-10)

My daughter’s favorite pie is lemon meringue, and so I wanted to be sure to have one ready for her when she arrived with her family last weekend! Meringue pies are wonderfully fluffy and light, so they’re especially perfect for warm weather, but (of course), they’re also yummy at any time of the year! As my father used to say, “I only like two types of pie: Hot and cold!”

Light and Fluffy Lemon Meringue Pie

Here’s the recipe:

Graham Cracker Crust:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Place in the bottom of an 11″ pie plate:
7 crushed graham crackers
½ stick melted butter
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

3. Stir until completely mixed and pat it down into a uniform depth in the pie shell.

4. Bake at 350°F. for 12 minutes or until golden brown on the edges. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature.

Lemon Pie filling:
1. In a saucepan add together:
1.5 cups granulated white sugar
1/3  cup corn starch
¼  teaspoon salt. Stir all ingredients until smooth and without lumps.
2. Add:
1.25 cups water. Mix thoroughly and then heat on the stove, stirring (almost) constantly to keep it from sticking on the bottom. It is done when it thickens and starts to bubble.
3. Then add:
½ cup lemon juice and zest from 2 large, fresh lemons
4 beaten egg yolks (add one at a time and stir quickly and thoroughly)
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter until melted and the filling is uniformly smooth and thick.
4. Remove from heat and allow it to cool.

Pour the filling into the baked shell and allow the entire pie to cool to room temperature. (If it’s still warm, it can melt your meringue.)

Meringue Topping:

  1. Now might be a good time to turn the oven back on to 350°F., because it’s best to have the oven hot when you slide the pie back in with the meringue on top
  2. To make the meringue topping, place in a mixing bowl:

4 egg whites
¼ cup sugar, beaten until medium-stiff peaks form. Spread evenly on top of the pie.

Bake in preheated 350° oven for 10 minutes or until lightly browned on top.

Serve as a dessert for dinner, at tea time, or late at night when your daughter and her family arrive for a visit! 🙂

Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God” (Ecclesiastes 5:19). I’ve been studying “gifts” in the Bible and have been impressed by the fact that even the capacity for enjoying our blessings is a gift from God!