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86 In Life/ Recipes

Good Mornin’


It’s 6:50 and I’ve already had 2 gingersnaps and I’m on my second cup of coffee so hopefully this post will roll off my tongue! We try to make our coffee at night and set the timer {I have that pesky Mr. Coffee coffee pot… the one that if the filter basket isn’t perfectly placed it makes a pot of coffee all over your counter top, do you have it too?!} Anyway, it didn’t do that this morning, I just thought I’d mention it. But, if I make my coffee in the morning when I’m half awake, I always spill the grounds… I usually bump into the coffee maker with my spoon full of grounds and they go everywhere or when filling the back of the maker I pour water all over the counter. Thankfully, Justin usually makes the coffee at night before bed as to avoid all the early morning tragedy… it’s one of my favorite ways he loves me. Our pot beeps 5 times when it’s ready… usually at 5:40 and then I know it’s safe to get up. With my coffee this morning I had a couple gingersnaps, I tried to tell myself it was a breakfast of champions. They go really well with coffee or without.

I’ve searched high and low for a good gingersnap recipe. I like mine to be a little crisp on the outside but chewy on the inside… I finally found my recipe. And with the girls help we made a wonderful mess and a delicious batch of gingersnaps yesterday.


Yesterday’s mail included another Junior League cookbook, this one from the Junior League of Gwinnett and North Fulton Counties {thank you, Natalie!}. I may just have to start a collection because I’m convinced you can’t go wrong with a Junior League cookbook. After a quick browsing I set my eyes firmly on page 152 and the recipe for Gingersnaps. It didn’t take me long to realize I had all the ingredients which meant, I HAD to make them.  I have to admit, I was skeptical, only because I’ve tried a handful of gingersnap recipes to no avail. I am here to announce… I’ve found my recipe!


They are spicy, crispy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside. In my humble opinion, all around PERFECTION.


The only thing I was out of was parchment paper {which I usually don’t bake without}, so we used heavy foil and sprayed it well… worked out great! We made our cookies much larger than the recipe called for and they turned out perfect. We also didn’t roll them in sugar and they’re just as delicious!

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ginger
3/4 cup butter-flavor shortening
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
sugar to roll cookies in

Sift the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger together. Cream the shortening and 1 cup of sugar in a mixing bowl. Add the molasses and egg and beat well. Add the flour mixture and mix well. Roll into small balls, adding additional flour if necessary to make the dough easy to handle. Dip in sugar and place 2 inches apart on lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375 for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire racks.

Makes 250 to 300 small cookies.

I made average size cookies, slightly pressed the balls of cookie dough down before baking and baked 10 minutes… perfection!

Now, to answer your questions from the last post… the girls pink dresses from the first day of school came from Walmart! I bought them in pink and in this turquoise and purple plaid. I love the style of the dresses, the price and that they are lightweight for our still scorching hot days!


And my ferns photographed by Morgan…

Are Kimberly Queens. Which are much more hardy and tolerant of sun than Boston Ferns. Our front steps get filtered light and the fern on the right gets considerably more sun than the one on the left… which is why it doesn’t look quite as healthy. I feed them an acidic time release fertilizer every 3 to 4 weeks. Usually the bag or box of fertilizer will say “Azalea/Rhododendron/Camellia” and really it should say ferns too because they love it! It keeps them green! I also  bring them in during the winter.

Ok, I’ll be back soon because I’ve got something fun I want to share!!!!!!!!!!

34 In Recipes

Mom’s Fruit Pizza


We are back at the farm from our little jaunt up to Chicago and I thought I’d quickly post Mom’s wonderful recipe for fruit pizza! She has made this every summer for as long as I can remember. It is absolutely delicious ANY TIME OF DAY. We’ve been known to have it as dessert or breakfast and I can 100% guarantee that you will not be disappointed if you try it! I honestly think it deserves a much fancier name, as fruit pizza doesn’t exactly sound appetizing… if you want to be fancy you can call it Frutta Torta.

Mom found a wonderful 12″ tart pan with removable bottom at TJ Maxx that makes the presentation even more impressive. In our travels this past weekend we found a similar tart pan at Ikea {for $5.99}. A round pizza pan will work fine for this recipe if you can’t find a pretty tart pan!


FRUIT PIZZA {yields 2 pizzas}


1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup Crisco {butter flavored}
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt


16 oz cream cheese {room temperature}
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons milk
Assorted fresh fruit: strawberries, bananas, blueberries, kiwis, peaches {you will also need lemon juice for bananas & peaches}
Chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 400°. Cream butter and shortening together, add sugar. Beat in eggs. Stir in dry ingredients. Grease two pizza pans or tart pans {12″}, spread dough on pans and bake at 400° for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool completely. Cream together all ingredients for filling and spread on cooled crusts. Top with fresh cut up fruit and pecans. {Bananas & peaches should be dipped in lemon juice to prevent browning.} It is best eaten the day it is assembled.


*Someone asked about Mom’s silver silverware charger… it came from TJ Maxx in South Dakota several years ago.

64 In Life/ Recipes

More of Summer & More Recipes

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love summer.  There’s something about the freedom of summer that might just make it my favorite of all the seasons. Sure, it’s about 103° outside with 100% humidity but I love being obligation-free and I love seeing the kids enjoy themselves outside. I might even love it more as a mother than I did when I was a child. Tonight we spent time with Justin’s brother and sister and their families and of course we talked about school and how the children will all be starting soon… none of us seem to be ready and I’m just so thankful to have another full year with 1/2 days before Morgan starts full-day 1st grade next year.


Anyway, I digress… Paige has mastered swimming. “Mastered” may be too strong of a word but she has certainly improved and can swim from the shallow end to deep end completely float-free, sporting her way cool goggles, and coming up regularly for breaths. We are so proud of her and she gets a little silly when we make a big deal out of her. She has attempted numerous times to go after diving rings but she’s so buoyant that she can’t get to the bottom to pick them up. I found myself so tickled as I watched her kick her legs and squirm around, giving it her all to get down there… over and over again. I finally caved in and gave her a little push so she could reach them!

Little Martin Man on has come to grips with the fact that we insist he wear his “water wings” when he’s in the pool… and he has fortunately obliged.  If we had another month or two of summer I’m almost convinced I could teach him to swim!


I also have been reminded of what swimming can do to a child’s appetite! We have nearly 4 meals between the time Justin leaves for work and the time he arrives home… but I’m thankful that when they’re hungry they are certainly less picky and will almost always eat what is put before them!


Before I move on to the recipes… another thing I love about summer is zinnias. I know I’ve mentioned them many times but  the seeds are so cheap and they are so easy to grow I really can’t think of any reason not to try them. These are my “GIANT zinnias” and I never knew zinnias could be so giant. It’s probably hard to tell from the picture but they really are enormous {about 5-6″ in diameter}.


Now for the recipes…


I’ve never met a Junior League Cookbook that I didn’t like {and I’ve met several of them} and A Thyme to Celebrate from the Tallahassee Junior League is certainly no exception… especially since I arrived at my doorstep with several of the recipes already completed and wrapped in brown paper packages tied up with bows!

Nancy {a Tallahassee Junior Leaguer and cookbook co-chair} thought I might enjoy the cookbook… and my goodness was she right! She also gave me permission to share a few of my favorites.


I’ve been through the book several times “flagging” what I couldn’t wait to try and so far I’ve not been disappointed! Last weekend we hosted our families here for Paige’s birthday so I chose 2 appetizers from the book and both were a big hit.


First, Artichoke Bites.

Thank you to my sister for helping hold them and for refraining from eating them while I photographed them and thanks to my sister-in-law for placing them ever-so-carefully on the plate. We had fun pretending like we were “foodies”. Now, I wish I could have had my act together enough to take pictures of the whole process but I was hosting our families and well, I didn’t have presence of mind, nor the time to mess with my camera during the process… but trust me, this one is so easy and SO good.

Artichoke Bites

Serves 8
1 {8 oz can} artichoke hearts, drained and finely chopped
1 cup {4 oz} shredded Cheddar cheese
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 envelope of Italian salad dressing mix {I used Good Seasons}
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 ready-made pizza crust {like Boboli, but I found a wonderful thin crust pizza crust in the bakery at Walmart}

Preheat oven to 400°. Place artichokes, shredded Cheddar, mayonnaise, salad dressing, and Parmesan together in large bowl and mix well. Spread evenly over the pizza crust. Bake for 15-20 minutes until hot and bubbly. Let cool and cut into bite-size pieces.

It’s so good and I love that your guests can just pick up the little bites!



Feta Black Bean Dip

Now, this may not be new to you… but somehow it was kept secret from me until a few years ago when I had it at an Auburn football tailgate and it was brought by none other than a Tallahassee Junior Leaguer. It was definitely the first thing I marked in the cookbook. I’ve been thinking about it for a couple years now and am glad to have my hands on the real deal recipe and I’m delighted to be able share it in case you don’t know about it!

Feta Black Bean Dip
Serves 30 {and that’s not a typo, it makes a TON!}
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 {15 oz} cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
3 {15 oz} cans of Shoepeg corn, drained and rinsed
1 bunch of scallions, chopped
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
1 {8 oz} block feta cheese, crumbled

Whisk sugar, vinegar and oil in a large bowl. Add the black beans, corn, scallions, cilantro, and feta and mix well. Chill until serving time. Serve with tortilla chips or corn chips.

They were BOTH so good. I look forward to sharing a couple more recipes! The Tallahassee Junior League sells their cookbook on their WEBSITE if you are interested! Like all Junior League chapters these women are working hard to improve the lives of women and families in Tallahassee!

Ok, now it’s 11:10 pm and I want Feta Black Bean Dip and Artichoke Bites but I don’t think I could keep my eyes opened long enough to eat them…. good night!!