Southern Cookin' Makes You Good Lookin'

Random Rantings about Food and Such

Skillet Cane Syrup Cake

Have you ever found something, especially something you associate with your childhood, that you don’t see on a regular basis and suddenly you’re giddy with excitement?  That happened to me several weeks ago when we were in Ollie’s.  You know, if i could get all of my favorite stores and restaurants and friends and what-not in ONE place,…you’d probably have to call it Heaven because i don’t think it will happen here on earth.  Anyway, for those of you unfamiliar with Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, it is where overstocks go to be bought up by bargain hunters (like me) at a good price.    Sometimes you go to Ollie’s and get a couple things; sometimes you go to Ollie’s and wish you’d brought a U-Haul with you.  The last time we went, i found something i never expected to find.  Bottles of Cane Syrup!  Yes!  You can’t find cane syrup around these parts–just isn’t far South enough.  And to make it even better–it was Roddenberry’s Cane Patch Syrup.  (insert smile)  Now, i know that folks from Louisiana think that Steen’s is the only cane syrup there is but we happened to grow up on Roddenberry’s and think it’s just dandy.  When we would go to  California to visit my grandparents, Mama always made sure to bring a can of Roddenberry’s to Pa who would eat it every morning on Nana’s homemade biscuits and gravy.  Yep, that’s right.  He put syrup on top of his gravy, which i thought was odd but now that i’m older, maybe it wasn’t so strange.

So…all that yack just to tell you about a WONDERFUL recipe i tried today!  Michael’s MawMaw makes syrup cakes but i’ve never been smart enough to get the recipe from her.  After looking at several different recipes online, the one posted on Grit’s website by Razor Family Farms was the winner.  And, buddy, was it a winner!  Believe it or not, i was a good girl and only tweaked it slightly.  She suggested serving the cake with melted butter, toasted pecans, and more syrup.  I put the pecans on the bottom of the pan before adding the batter and it really didn’t need the butter and extra syrup.  It is soooo fine as it is!  If i would do anything differently, it would be to add more pecans, but that’s it.  Very light, moist, and full of flavor!  After baby girl ate a bite, she said, “Tell me again why we ever go out to eat?”  ;0)  You do the dishes and maybe we won’t.  File that one under Heaven also.

Skillet Cane Syrup Cake

1 stick (4 oz) softened butter plus 1 Tbs for melting in skillet

1/2 cup sugar or Splenda

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups cane syrup

2 large eggs

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

dash of nutmeg

1/2 cup buttermilk or sour milk

2 tsp vanilla or buttered rum

1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Heat oven to 375 and melt a tablespoon of butter in an iron skillet (large.)  Spread melted butter around skillet to coat.  Pour pecans on bottom of hot skillet.

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add cane syrup and eggs.  Mix thoroughly.

In a bowl, combine flour, salt, soda, and nutmeg.  Alternate adding dry mixture and buttermilk in the creamed mixture, a bit at the time, until incorporated.  Add vanilla.

Pour batter in the still-hot skillet.  As soon as the skillet is in the oven, turn the temperature down to 350 degrees.  Bake for 45 minutes to one hour, until cake is springy to the touch.


Butterfinger Trifle

My name is April and i’m addicted to Pinterest.  Anyone else need to join my Not Interested in Recovering group? ;0)

Saw a yummy sounding recipe on Pinterest a couple days ago and decided to look around at the blog to see what else this smart lady had to offer.  OH, children!  There it was.  Butterfinger Trifle.  Hello!  Needless to say, i pinned it and decided it was going to be dessert after Sunday dinner.  All i can say is,…Emily at 52 Mantels is a genius!  (

First thing she did that was brilliant: added sour cream to your boxed brownie mix’s list of ingredients.  Talk about fudgy!  Second thing:  add peanut butter to your vanilla pudding.  We may start having peanut butter pudding around here more often!  Now, i will tell you that this arranged marriage started off a little rocky.  Peanut butter was not convinced it wanted to be wed to pudding but after several minutes of persuasion, it finally came around.  I did tweak the recipe just a tad but am sure you’d be happy with either version.

This is a dangerous recipe, friends.  It WILL be gone tomorrow one way or other because resistance was futile for me today! May have to spend a little extra time exercising on Pinterest to work it off.

Butterfinger Trifle

1 box brownie mix

1–8 oz container sour cream (light or non-fat is fine)

2 small boxes vanilla pudding

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

2–8 oz containers whipped topping (or 2 cups homemade)

1 pack (8 bars) fun-size Butterfinger candy bars

Prepare brownie mix according to directions, adding in the 8 ounces of sour cream.  Bake as directed.  Brownies will be very moist and fudge-like.  Allow to cool.

Prepare both boxes of pudding.  Allow to set partially before adding peanut butter.  This takes a bit of mixing but will incorporate eventually!

Crush 4 of the fun-sized (miniature) Butterfingers and mix in with one container of whipped topping.

In a trifle bowl or other container, layer crumbled brownies, pudding mixture, and whipped topping with crushed candy, ending with a layer of brownies on top.  When ready to serve, top with the other container of whipped topping and sprinkle the remaining candy bars, crushed, on top of that.


Nacho Mama’s Macaroni and Cheese

During my hiatus from posting, i missed the one birthday celebration i should not have missed.  Without this person, i’m not sure where i or this blog would be.  This is the single most influential person in my culinary life.  That’s right.  My Mama.  Back on January 8th when i was slacking off, she had a birthday.  This is a very late post in honor of her special day.  Her and Elvis, that is.  And it wasn’t that i didn’t think about it that day.  The problem was…i just couldn’t decide!  Honestly!  How do you take the world’s best cook and sum them up with one recipe???  Truly, i could not narrow down all her amazing dishes and choose one.  With that being the case, i offer you one that is not even hers.

I tweak.  My brother tweaks.  My eldest child tweaks and given time, the youngest will too.  We can’t help it.  It’s in our blood.  We got it from Mama.  She knows how to take a recipe and just make it better.  It’s like her incredible ability to play the piano by ear.  You can start to hum a song and she instinctively knows where it’s going.  Unfortunately, that was not passed on and i’m not sure why.  That would’ve been nice to have.  But i’ll stick with the food tweaking and be grateful for it.  All that to say this: i found this Mac-n-Cheese recipe on Pinterest and pinned that puppy right away!  At f first, i thought i’d tweak it to make it healthier (called for 1 1/2 sticks of butter, for one thing!)  In the end, i’m not sure if it’s healthier but, BABY! it is the best mac i’ve ever eaten.  A notorious macaroni eater in this household was seen swiping a very large spoonful of it before it could get into the oven, if that tells you anything.  And…it has a “secret” ingredient. :0)  If you make this, see if your taste-testers can figure it out.  If you know it’s there, it’s obvious, but i had my crew fooled.

Happy Belated Birthday to the World’s Best Mama and Cook!!!  You know how we always talk about Granny’s Chicken and Dumplings and Aunt Vera’s Chocolate Pie and so on and so forth?  We have so many favorite dishes for you, we’ll have to make a cookbook for them all.  LOVE YOU!!!

Nacho Mama’s Macaroni and Cheese

1 box (16 oz) elbow macaroni

1 can  Cream of Cheese soup, undiluted

1 can evaporated milk

1 can coconut milk   :0)

1/2 stick butter

1 tsp Adobe Picante (chipotle) spice or chili powder

2 cups Pepper Jack cheese

3 cups Sharp cheddar cheese

Topping:  2 Tbs each of masa harina or cornmeal and Romano cheese with 1/2 tsp of chili powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook pasta until done but still firm.  Drain and set aside.

In the same pot that pasta was cooked in, cook butter, soup, milks, and spice over medium-low heat until warmed thoroughly and mixed well.  Add drained pasta back in, mixing well.

Add cheeses a bit at the time until well incorporated.

Pour macaroni into a greased 9 x 13 pan.  Sprinkle topping across the top.

Bake 40–45 minutes.

Nacho Mama's Macaroni and Cheese

Leave a comment »

Nacho Papa’s Meatloaf

Today is better than Valentine’s Day.  Today is Bear’s (my Dad’s) birthday!  Twenty-nine years ago today,…he was saying he was 29-years-old.  I passed Bear up in age so long ago, it ain’t even funny.  But anyone who knows him would agree that, no matter what the numbers add up to chronologically, at heart he’s 29!

If you’ve never had the opportunity to know Bear, you have  missed out.  He is a kick in the pants.  Sometimes literally but, hey, sometimes a person just needs a swift kick to the posterior.  He is a hoot.  If you’ve been around my brothers, you would know that the nuts didn’t fall far from the tree.  Bear is the reason my blood is part salsa.  In fact, salsa really describes him well.  Yeah, that’s it.  If Bear were a food, he’d be salsa.  Spicy.  Colorful.  A party.  Never quite sure what your’e gonna get because he’s such a myriad of flavors.

Saw the neatest thing at the store yesterday and BING!  Recipe warp ahead!  Rotel has come out with a spiced-up tomato sauce.  Comes in Original and Mild but why would you want Mild?  For lunch today, i made a Mexican version of meatloaf in honor of Bear.  Which is a little weird because we all know that the idea of the word “loaf” associated with Bear is ludicrous.  The man’s a machine.  But i digress.   In all honesty, the critics and i agree that i left out something that would have made it better.  It needs a touch of sweetness, so in the recipe i’m listing an ingredient that i haven’t actually tried but am sure it needs.

Rotel Tomato Sauce

Happy Birthday to the best Bear and Father anyone could ever have!!!  You have lightened our world just like we’ve lightened your wallet throughout the years.  ;0)  LOVE YOU!!!

Nacho Papa’s Meatloaf

1 1/2 lbs. ground meat

1 cup breadcrumbs (or cornbread, corn chips, etc.)

1 tsp. chili powder

1–8 oz can of Rotel tomato paste, Original or Mild

1 green onion, sliced thin

2–3 chili peppers, diced

2 Tbs. brown sugar or 1 Tbs. molasses

Mix ingredients together until well incorporated.  Place into a foil-lined loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

Top with 1 1/2 cups (or 1 store-bought can) of enchilada sauce.  Bake for 10 minutes with foil opened.  

Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of shredded cheese and crumbled corn chips.  Bake 5 minutes.

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 Tbs. self-rising flour

1/4 cup chili powder

8 oz. tomato sauce (i used Rotel’s brand in this as well)

1 1/2 cups water

1/4 tsp each of cumin, garlic powder, and onion powder

Heat oil in a skillet on medium-high heat.  Stir in flour and chili powder.  Reduce heat to medium and cook until lightly browned, stirring constantly.

Gradually add tomato sauce, water, and spices until smooth.  Cook on medium for ten minutes.

Not flattering for some of us (okay, me!) but typical when you have crazy people

Leave a comment »

Little Wait/Little Weight Cake in a Mug

A couple days ago, Ashley asked if i were saving any of the cake mixes for any reason.  Nah, just got them while they were on sale, so have at it.  Less than 10 minutes later, she shows up with a steaming mug.  How sweet!  She brought a cup of tea!  Ha!  Guess again.  She brought CAKE!  Ooooooh!  Cake!

Now you’ve probably seen the mug cake/cake-in-a-mug things before as i have.  This is even better because it is a lighter version.  Some brilliant person got the idea of mixing a box of cake mix (any flavor, any brand) with a box of angel food cake mix so that you only have to add water.  Genius!  Of course, you could add other liquids in place of water.  Use a chocolate cake mix and add coffee–mocha cake!  Or a lemon cake mix and add pineapple juice–sunshine cake!  Carrot cake mix with V-8–super carrot cake!  And Jackie Chan smiles and doesn’t have to karate chop you.  Okay, got carried away there.

Only drawback with these…really hot when they first come out (so blow, blow, blow!) and…doggone, you just want to keep eating them!

Thank you, Ashley, you little muggins you!  ;0)

Cake in a Mug

1 box of cake mix (any flavor or brand)

1 box of angel food cake

Mix cake mixes together in a container that can be sealed.

Single serving:  1/3 cup of cake mix with 3 tablespoons of water.  Mix thoroughly in a larger mug.  Microwave for one minute.  Can spray with cooking oil spray before adding mixture but cleans up fairly easily without it.



So Like Sonic’s Cherry Limeade

Hello,Children!  Hope this finds all well and having a wonderful start to 2012!  Sorry for my absenteeism of late.  Life has been…interesting!  Nuff said.

This past Friday we had the privilege of hosting a surprise birthday luncheon for a very special lady who just happened to be turning eighty-years-young.  Our beloved Jewel (or Lee-J, as her old Air Force and nursing buddies call her) didn’t know what hit her.  She knew she was coming over for lunch, but not that some of her favorite friends would be there as well.  We enjoyed ourselves and enjoyed her enjoying herself! :0)

Queen for the Day, Lee Jewel Lockard

Tried out a new recipe to serve along with iced tea and coffee and it made a big splash.  Literally.  For some reason it “exploded” on poor Ashley when she tried stirring it in the glass dispenser (you know, those cool ones with a spigot.  Love it!  Gift from Stephanie.  World’s s-l-o-w-e-s-t spigot, but no biggee.)  She and dear Donna had to wipe up the tidal wave, but most of it was still present and accounted for.


This recipe is so, so easy and only 3 ingredients!  Life is good!


So Like Sonic’s Cherry Limade

1 can frozen limeade

1 jar maraschino cherries

1 bottle of lemon-lime carbonated soda  (i double batched this recipe  and one of these sodas was Cherry 7-up)

Allow frozen limeade to defrost a bit before mixing.  Add in cherries with juice and soda.  Mix and serve.

* Can freeze some of the cherries in the cherry juice in little shaped containers ahead of time if serving in a punch bowl/glass container.

Leave a comment »