Ridiculously Easy One-Bowl Oatmeal & Apple Cookies

My grandmother Ida’s pride and joy was her “Oatmeal Bars” which we helped her bake every summer during our visits to her Iowa farm. She was especially proud that you could make these bars using only one bowl. I decided to bake a variation of her recipe, but making cookies rather than bars. I had a very tart apple to use up and added this to the dough. The cookies turned out great. They are soft and moist yet chewy with plenty of apple and oatmeal flavor. The cookies are very simple to make. I used a large saucepan and “dumped and stirred” in the ingredients — one at a time in order. For further ease, I adjusted the ingredients so that most of them are “one” cup or “one” item. The hardest part of the recipe is peeling and chopping the apple.

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Aunt Gaye’s Fresh Blueberry Streusel Pie

Here is another absolutely delicious way to use fresh blueberries. I asked Aunt Gaye, who lives in Birmingham, Alabama, for recommendations on using blueberries since I had such a large summer crop. (Aunt Gaye is a great cook.) In a second she replied that she indeed had a favorite blueberry recipe: “Fresh Blueberry Streusel Pie.” She promised to mail me the recipe. Mail. Isn’t that great? Everybody likes to get mail. On the down side, now I had to wait several days for the recipe. Well, the recipe arrived as promised and I made the pie. Aunt Gaye showed off her cooking talents again, this is another winning recipe. The pie really highlights the fresh blueberry flavor. The crunchy streusel topping also sets the blueberries off, too.

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Blueberry Buckle

Fresh blueberries are great any time of the year; I especially enjoy picking blueberries from by own backyard bushes. In my opinion, these backyard blueberries have more aromatic flavor than the blueberries purchased from a grocery store. So if you have a chance to “pick your own blueberries,” go for it. Today I am making a “Blueberry Buckle” which is a simple coffee cake filled with lots of fresh blueberries and topped with a crunchy streusel topping. I added in a few walnut pieces. They give a flavor and help accent the nice “pop” from the blueberries. This cake is delicious!

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Southern Cookin’: Hummingbird Cake

Today I am baking a “Hummingbird Cake,” a cake with a Southern tradition. It is early in June and this time of year reminds me of our annual trips driving our kids to summer camp in Mississippi. The camp is located in the heart of the Mississippi Delta and you can’t get more southern than this. It was always a bit sad driving down the two-lane country roads with red dirt, smell of pine trees, and hot, hot humidity as our kids would be gone for most of the summer. But they loved camp and made many enduring friends there. So a “Hummingbird Cake” reminds me of this annual ritual.

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Rich Meyer Lemon Tart with Gingersnap Crust

I have a Meyer lemon citrus tree growing in my backyard which makes a crop of fruit each winter — sometimes more, sometimes less. The fruit look like very large lemons with a tart, aromatic flavor, although they are technically not lemons at all. I look forward to figuring out recipes to use these unique lemony-looking fruit. Every now and then I like to indulge in something special and rich. A recipe for a Meyer Lemon Tart with a Gingersnap Crust in a magazine caught my eye. I’ve had this magazine tucked away for a couple of years — this seems like a good time to try the tart. The crust is made like a graham cracker crust — only using gingersnaps. The filling is similar to a Key Lime Pie using sweetened condensed milk and Meyer lemons. The ginger flavor in the crust balances the sweet, rich filling. If you like sweets, this is dessert hard to to resist.

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Let’s Eat Fruit: “Kitchen-Counter Fresh Fruit Bowl”

The 2020 – 2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans were released to the public on December 29, 2020. These guidelines are updated every five years. Panels of nutritional scientists and researchers meet to review the latest nutrition research on how to keep Americans healthy — what foods and nutrients do we need to eat. Their reports then undergo scrutiny by anyone who wants to make a public comment. (This amounted to more than 62,000 comments!) After all the comments are considered, a policy report is released to the public. The report is important because it dictates how government funds are allocated and spent, especially for food programs. As expected, one of the conclusions state that Americans don’t eat enough fruit. And this, unfortunately, is often true at our house. Although we always have fresh fruit around; sometimes it gets skipped. When I make a “Kitchen-Counter Fresh Fruit Bowl,” the fresh fruit seems to quickly disappear. Here’s a little more about the Dietary Guidelines and also how I make my fruit bowl.

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Cream Cheese & Persimmon Brownies for Halloween

These brownies have just a tint of orange color and just a pungent “bite” that make them perfect for a “hint” of Halloween. I love cream cheese brownies; and I’m never sure which I like best — the brownies or the swirled in cream cheese. I decided to add a ripe persimmon to the cream cheese filling of this delicious brownie recipe for a Halloween effect.

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Alice’s Small English Cottage Pudding with a Gluten-Free Twist

Every now and then my friend, Alice, sends me an idea for a blog post. Her recipe for “English Cottage Pudding,” turned out to make a delightful dessert. As we discovered, it is not a pudding at all. Americans would call this a small 8″ x 8″ cake. When a sauce — in this case cherry sauce — is poured over the cake as a topping, the result is a moist and flavorful cake. Alice practices gluten-free cooking and she substituted gluten-free flour in the recipe. It changes the texture of the cake, but it is still delicious. Since fresh cherries are plentiful in the grocery stores in August, I made a fresh Cherry Sauce for the topping. And I found some antique English china dishes dating from 1875 to photograph my cake.

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Holly Clegg’s Strawberry Custard Brûlée and a Blackberry Variation

This blog post is a tribute to cookbook author, Holly Berkowitz Clegg, who passed away last week. Holly raised her family in Baton Rouge and lived here for many years. Her message began as a healthy approach to southern cooking with easy meals in a series of “Trim & Terrific” cookbooks. Over the years her accomplishments include authoring 17 cookbooks selling over 1.5 million copies, appearing in national media and writing a bi-weekly food column for our local newspaper, the Advocate. I am making a blackberry variation of a recipe from one of her cookbooks, “Strawberry Custard Brûlée.” It is light and tasty. It exemplifies her goal to make things low-fat and easy. I like it — you will too. Continue reading

Luscious Blueberry Pound Cake

It is Mother’s Day today. Here’s an easy and elegant cake for the occasion. The first batch of blueberries on the bushes in my backyard are ready for picking and I decided to bake an blueberry pound cake. This recipe is a simple dessert to make. Last summer my teenage grandson came for to visit; we had a baking session and baked this cake. Continue reading