Posted in Food

Brown Sugar: SO Easy To Make!

If you use brown sugar very often, this one is definitely a game changer! And had you known – if you don’t already, that is – you’d probably have been making it all along. I know I would have.


My daughter LOVES oatmeal. Her favorite is apples and cinnamon but no matter what flavor she decides on, it automatically gets brown sugar. For a long time, I inwardly groaned every time I heard, “Mom, we’re out of brown sugar!” Because, believe it or not, it was a catastrophe around here. No brown sugar? What kind of mother was I anyway!

One day, I had a particularly curious moment and I decided to look up how brown sugar was made. I was blown away. You want the recipe? Are you ready? Okay, here it is: one cup of regular white sugar and 1-2 tablespoons of molasses (depending on whether you like light or dark). Yeah, I know, right? Crazy simple. Well, with one minor thing that makes it take awhile…

You have to mix it together with a fork and it does take a while. There’s no shortcut, at least not that I have found at this point. I tried it with a hand mixer and lets just say I got less than perfect results. It was a mess, but I still had to giggle. At least I could now make brown sugar!

And let me just say, once you make it for yourself, you’ll absolutely LOOK for things to make with it. It’s so light and fluffy and fresh, it’s amazing. And I don’t worry about running out anymore. I do a lot of my shopping at discount groceries and sometimes I can find a 10 pound bag of sugar for just 3 dollars. I stock up when I find buys like that. And I always keep a jar of molasses – Brer Rabbit, of course. It goes a long way, so I don’t have to buy it very often.

As far as keeping it fresh, I usually put mine in small recycled coffee tins. Those things come in handy for just about everything, but it really works for brown sugar. And corn meal. And rice. And dried beans. But, I digress {smile}.

I’d love to hear from you if you make it, just to see if you love it as much as I do. Thanks for stopping by, as always. And don’t forget to smile!

Posted in Musings

I’m not that into social media these days

Back in 2009, I found social media for the first time.  I started my page and added friends and before you know it, I was head over heels in love!  I am probably one of the most anti-social humans on the face of this planet, with a great deal of social anxiety (something I only recently found out even existed) so I’ve never had the numbers of friends that most people have.  Now, add to that the fact that I have almost 50% hearing loss in both ears from years of being a musician, and that takes most phone conversations off the table unless I know someone well enough to say “huh?” about half a million times.  Making business phone calls or anything like them absolutely makes me sick to my stomach, knowing what I’ll be going through.  More anxiety, as if I needed that.


So, at that point, social media was the opportunity I never had to make connections with friends and family members that lived far away.  There were lots of fun games and it was always fun to see the funny videos and pictures that got posted.  And there’s another thing – I’m a picture fanatic.  Everyone that knows me knows that!  So I spent a lot of time looking at pictures and then I had an absolute ball when I was able to post my own, after getting my first good camera.  I was in heaven, and it was all made possible by social media!


But after all these years, it seems like it is primarily a place to rant and share the latest “so and so is offended because” posts, that there’s no fun in it anymore.  At least from that standpoint.  And let’s not even get started on the politics!  You know, I’ve never seen anyone change their political views on issues or candidates just because someone shared a post containing what they believed to be most true.  It’s obvious who hates who and why and how much, but I don’t see it changing the world.  Not like people think it will.

I fell into it at one point.  I was one of the most politically minded posters there is out there, and I just knew that if I posted enough of what I believed to be the truth, that people would start to see things my way!  So I was vehement, and I belonged to “pages” and “groups” and on and on the list went…until I was an emotional wreck.  I literally allowed it to bring me to tears.  And not just the politics.  It was so much more than that.  My heart broke for injustices around the world I would never in this life have known about had it not been for social media.  And to be honest, I don’t think we were ever meant to know about it.  The Bible says where there is increase of knowledge, there is an increase of sorrow.  That was never so plain to me as it is now!

Some people are meant to be politicians, some rock stars, some pastors, and missionaries. Some are meant to offer comfort from the depths of their heart to friends and family, and some people are quiet bystanders, maybe the one who took your money for breakfast this morning.  Someone has to drive the garbage truck, and another has to drive the septic service truck.  People gifted in teaching are meant to be teachers, and those with artistic and musical talent are meant to provide what some people love with all their hearts.  Everyone has something they are good at, everyone has something they are meant to do. I guess I just don’t see why people have to be mean…




Posted in Food

Old Fashioned Chess Pie

My husband absolutely LOVES chess pie. I’d heard about it practically from the time we got married but it took me years to find the recipe. The first one I ever made was good, he said, but not exactly like he remembered it. Of course, I went and lost that recipe, and over the years, have searched and searched for one that would work. It really was somewhat unfair to him though, as I had no idea what I was looking for. I’d never had it.

Not long ago, I started the search up again, because I found an absolutely awesome pie crust recipe and had to use it for something. In doing so, I found THE recipe, apparently. My husband was beyond thrilled and I had to make it two days in a row <smile!>

It wasn’t an easy find, however, so I thought it my duty to record it and pass it along. Authentic chess pie HAS to have vinegar and meal, or it just won’t turn out right. I found untold recipes, and they all seemed like they’d make good pies, but it wasn’t until I found this one that I found something my family was literally drooling for. Besides, with my track record for losing recipes, I figured I’d better get it somewhere I wouldn’t lose it again!

I’ll also add that awesome pie crust recipe as well, below, so just keep scrolling for that.

Warning: this pie is INCREDIBLY rich and sweet! 🙂


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 TBS cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 TBS vinegar
  • 1 unbaked 9″ pie shell

Cream together butter, sugar and vanilla until well mixed. Add in eggs, meal, and evaporated milk, mixing well. Finally, add vinegar, mix well, and pour into pie shell. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.

Now, there are some tips I’ll give you up front for this pie. If you’re NOT new to pie baking, especially “eggy” ones, then you’ll already know these. But for anyone like me, who wasn’t too sure, it will come in handy…

First of all, it’s best to use a deep dish crust. This pie puffs up during baking and can boil over on you. At any rate, it’s also best to put the pie tin on a cookie sheet as well. In the event anything does boil over the tin, the cookie sheet will catch it and won’t make a mess in your oven.

Secondly, at the end of the cooking time, when you pull this pie out of the oven, it will look as though it’s not done. I pulled it out and the center was still jiggly and it would have been easy to stick it back in and overcook it, but thankfully, I didn’t. So if it looks undercooked at the end of an hour, pull it out anyway, and just make sure to let it sit and cool for at least a half hour before cutting.



Now for the crust recipe:

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5-7 TBS ice water

Mix flour and salt and then cut in the shortening and butter together. Be careful not to overwork the dough which will reduce flakiness.

Add water, a few tablespoons at a time, until dough just holds together.

Divide dough into 2 pieces, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. You can also wrap one to freeze if your pie doesn’t call for two crusts. It will also keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.

On a floured board, roll dough out in a circle a couple of inches larger than your pie pan. To avoid stretching dough, roll from the center outwards. Lift rolling pin up and off the dough, instead of rolling backwards, to prevent bringing the dough back towards the center.

Use a spatula if the dough sticks to the board at all, rolling or folding it as it comes up. Simply unroll or unfold it into the pie tin and work the sides up as you wish.

*My advice, concerning the dough – it tends to work better if you leave it in the fridge overnight and then set it out to bring it almost to room temperature. Work it carefully, as all crust dough’s have a tendency to split, which – while it doesn’t affect the flavor – can cause all kinds of undue stress, if you’re anything like me.

As always, thank you so much for stopping by, I always appreciate it. Have a blessed day, and remember to SMILE!

Posted in Food

Summer Stuff

Well, it’s been awhile since I’ve written! Too long, I think. I’ve been incredibly busy with everything lately. I’m about 2 months into being a full time freelance writer and I’m still learning to juggle my schedule since I work from home. Being my own boss is great, but there are times I just get completely discombobulated! Especially when I wind up with a full calendar that contains client deadlines, doctor’s appointments, mystery shopping dates, band practice and performances, grocery shopping and personal stuff. It can be overwhelming! So I have to start putting things down in stone, so to speak, to make sure all my bases get covered.

Summer is in full swing and we’ve been taking some family time out on the lake. I think I love that most of all and the last time we were there, I caught myself looking longingly at the houseboats. I could drop everything and move into a houseboat in the blink of an eye, haha! I love the water and everything associated with it. But the time is not now. Maybe someday?

I finally got some tomato plants going, but not nearly as many as I wanted. We didn’t get to put in the garden we’d planned, but that will be okay. For now, I’m able to buy salvage produce and I’m freezing and storing that right now. Hopefully, as the summer turns into fall, I can buy some other produce from local farms and put back at least a portion of what I had planned to. It’s a little time consuming, but oh so worth it. There’s nothing like eating food you’ve canned or frozen, and it’s so much cheaper than buying the already processed stuff from the grocery.

I’m also hoping to get in some dehydrating this year. It’s been a long time since I’ve done it, but I miss it. And dehydrated fruit is such a great snack when you’re looking for something sweet, but not JUNK. I’ll probably use a solar oven to do it, if it doesn’t get too hot. I’m still learning, and still anxious to learn.

If anyone has any recipes or tips, please feel free to leave them in a comment, and know that they would be greatly appreciated. I am forever looking for ways to cut out frivolous spending at the grocery store by making things instead. I have a great bread recipe and roll recipe, and I’m always looking to add to the list. I just started making my own pie crusts as well!


As always, thanks for stopping by and visiting. I really appreciate it. Be blessed today and don’t forget to smile 🙂

Until next time…

Posted in Musings

Mid-Year Rambling: Changes

Well, today is June 1.  We are halfway through this year, can you believe it?  I sure can’t, but I wouldn’t go back and redo it for ANYTHING.  There’s been a lot that has happened that I’m just glad to leave in the past.  I’ve even had to leave some people back there as well.  I don’t regret it.  Sometimes things just happen and people around you may not understand it, but that’s okay.  Some people in your life are meant to be like spent dandelion fluff, there with their beauty one moment and gone with a blast of wind the next.


However, the prospect for the rest of this year looks fairly promising.  I’ve embarked on several new endeavors that I greatly enjoy, and some things are still in the planning phase.  I’m not where I want to be but, as the old saying goes, thank God I’m not where I was.  It’s good that we go through seasons in our life, and that we’re not really meant to “arrive” anywhere.  It’s a constant journey, a constant changing, and though it may be an uphill climb sometimes, we have to keep in mind, there’s another side to the hill.  And the view is sometimes breathtaking.

I’m also learning to implement some changes here and there, where they’re needed, and one of those is this very blog!  I started it back in January with the absolute best of intentions.  Aren’t all blogs started that way?  Anyhow, I meant to record stories of what my family has been through for the past few years – thus, the title “All Out War” =  but I’ve never been brave enough to put that out there.  I probably never will, and I guess that’s okay.  When I said I left a lot in the past, I meant it.  There comes a time when moving forward is the only option viable for keeping one’s sanity.

After realizing I wasn’t going to be writing about what I thought I was going to be writing about, I figured I’d venture into some childhood memories of growing up in the Appalachian Mountains.  I did, and people seem to enjoy reading the few I’ve put on here about that, and I will undoubtedly write more to come.  But even that wasn’t something, I realized, that I could write about on a daily basis.  I do probably have enough stories to do that, but they escape me every time I sit down to write.  So I suppose I’ll have to submit to the fact that they’ll be scattered notions, when the Lord sees fit to have me recall them.

During all this time of thought and wondering what to write, I was doing a lot of research into what you “should” write in your blog.  I came across just about everything you could put a label on.  There’s advice that one should narrow things down, find a niche to write in and stay there, so people coming to your blog would know what to expect.  Well, if there’s one thing that’s for sure about me, people really never know what to expect!  And I realize after all this time that I have literally “niche-picked” myself into a void, which I hate.

I write.  I’ve always written.  It’s what I do.  Well, that and play music.  I’ve also always done that.  I mean, really, I don’t have a memory that goes back far enough to be without music in some shape, form or fashion.  I was playing guitar and singing before I ever started school, so there’s that, and that’s the way it’s always been.  There were some missing years, where I took a hiatus, but when it’s as much a part of life as it is for me, there’s no leaving it.

Anyway, my decision for this blog is this – I’m just going to write when I feel like writing.  I’m going to write about what I want to write about on any given day.  And if I don’t get a billion followers or make any money doing it, that is downright peachy with me.  Because writing is what I do.  I may not have a specialty or a niche, and I may not have something new on the same subject day after day, but if you do come and sit a spell, you at least won’t be bored!  And neither will I.  Because I’m doing what I love and doing it often.