Friday, December 6, 2019

A Kentucky Tradition from the Belle: Spoon Bread

Missy Tippens

I made an old favorite from my childhood for Thanksgiving: Spoon Bread!

I imagine some of you haven't even heard of it.  The way I remember first having spoon bread was at Boone Tavern in Berea, Kentucky. Boone Tavern is on the campus of Berea College. I was reminded of it recently when I passed by Berea while attending my uncle's funeral in Frankfort.

Berea College was the South's first interracial and coeducational college. As their sign says: "Charging no tuition, Berea admits promising Appalachian student with limited economic resources. All students work in campus jobs, such as serving at the college's hotel."

Our family would visit there when I was a child, and we would eat in the hotel. I remember students being the waiters. And I remember, especially, the spoon bread!

Click here for the recipe from the Kentucky Living Magazine website.

Basically, it's just white cornmeal, milk, eggs, melted butter, salt and baking powder.

You cook the cornmeal with the milk into a thick oatmeal-like (grits-like!) consistency. Then you let it totally cool. Once cool, you add it to the eggs and melted butter, etc.

The recipe requires 15 minutes of mixing! So I made it in my stand mixer so I could let it go while I did other things.

You can see it starts out as a glue-like blob.

But it gets smoother and smoother.

Once it was finished in the mixer, I baked it in a buttered Corningware dish.

Here it is fresh out of the oven. You want to wait until the last minute to bake it because it's served hot, spooned out of the dish, with creamy butter. And you want that butter to melt!

I love this dish! I hadn't had it in many years and really enjoyed making it for Thanksgiving. I hope you'll give it a try. I think you'll love it like I do!

Missy Tippens was born and raised in Kentucky. These days, she lives outside Atlanta with her husband and daughter (and middle son for another week or so). You can find her books at

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Bidding a Fond Farewell to Fall....

We had a great Thanksgiving. I had most of the family in NYS, so that in itself was a coup!

And we had two days of celebrations! PARTY!!!!! The first day was at our house, welcoming our oldest daughter and her crew to WNY Thanksgiving for the first time in a lot of years... a decade, maybe? Anyway, it was great fun and we got to do this:

For years I've wanted to do a Living Nativity with my own grandkids. I've done several with my wonderful daycare families, but never had all my grandkids together when it wasn't 90+ degrees... so this time daughter Beth and I planned it all out... got out bins of the old costumes and found some new parts at the Salvation Army Thrift Store and put together the look... and an outdoor venue, using our fall photo prop background, but stripped of it's cute stuff. It gave us a nice, stark venue.

And then a storm moved in. Wind. Pouring rain. Then more wind. That meant we weren't doing an outside venue, so we scrambled... on Thanksgiving morning... to put up old fencing and hay bales and draped burlap because our garage isn't conducive to quick change.... it's more like a storage facility all winter long, for all the farm stuff because we don't have a barn. You get the picture!

But in the end, despite the scramble, it came out wonderfully well! And the parents, who may have doubted my sanity, are really happy with it! :) So all's well that ends well or "Ende gut, alles gut".

Farmer Dave's German grandmother used to say that.

And here are some more fun remembrances from this past month at the Herne/Blodgett house!

Loading the porch with firewood....
Preschool with Lena... making a fall collage in waxed paper
Our Halloween night! Warmer than usual, about 60 degrees and pouring rain! But fun! We made memories that night for sure!

Cookies by kids.... for kids! They were really into the spirit! :)
And now we end fall looking forward. This beautiful story releases in two weeks, on shelves nationwide or you can PREORDER IT BY CLICKING THIS LINK.  
And Mary and Joseph's trek to Bethlehem begins a new liturgical year with the season of Advent, a beautiful time of reflection, prayer and anticipation because who doesn't get a little giddy when a baby is due? For unto us a child is born! Mary and Joseph and the donkey (who may or may not have existed, but was commonplace then) are making their way around the dining room. On Christmas Eve they'll arrive at the inn, where they'll be rebuffed but offered a place to stay in a place where animals slept... And so it begins.  
And now I'm wishing you the peace, hope, faith and joy of a blessed Advent season! There's a new Christmas cookie recipe coming next week "Christmas Crinkles", and we'll watch Mary and Joseph continue their journey... and we'll pray for one another because that's the very best thing friends can do, isn't it? God bless you and yours!

Multipublished inspirational author Ruth Logan Herne loves writing stories, and if she didn't have a gazillion kids and grandkids and half-a-zillion animals, why she'd tuck herself right into a writing cave i.e.: Emily Dickinson and hide from the world, but seeing as how that's not the case, she does a lot of smiling and nodding and funny projects that it seems like a really cool mom and grandma ought to do... and then writes her stories in the middle of the night. And that seems to work! Find her on facebook, stop by Ruthy's website or email her at She'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Thanksgiving in Maine

Since the youngest started a new job this year and isn't allowed to take any time off yet, the oldest and I traveled to Maine for Thanksgiving again.

This trip is not for the faint of heart. The trip that in summer takes max 7 hours, ends up more like 9 - 10 each way on Thanksgiving weekend. That's a lot of driving for a 4 day weekend. The things we do for family.

But, we had a lovely family time. I figured I'd share a bit with you.

We stayed in a terrific AirBnb that gave me a view of sunrise over Back Cove.

Eldest and I spent Black Friday walking the Marginal Way in Ogunquit while youngest worked.

Fenway was a bit wary of the drawbridge.

Friday night we picked up dinner from a place that also served vegan foods for my vegan. I had the most amazing pizza! It was called Autumn White.

I was enjoying it so much that I didn't think to take a photo until much later, so it doesn't look as pretty.

I apologize for the photo. I thought I had taken a much better one.

The restaurant, Monte's, uses an American wheat, rice, and Maine spelt crust called pinsa that is cold-fermented for 72 hours. I was curious what pinsa was so I Googled. 

According to Pizza Today, Pinsa is the result of over 100 years of Roman artisan baking experience, creativity, and expertise.

Apparently the ingredients, the kneading, and the cold-fermenting process make it very easy to digest. I only know it was delicious.

Then there was the topping - a layer of ricotta with slices of Delicata squash, a spinach crema ådribbled over the squash, onions carmelized in balsamic vinegar, and topped off with pumpkin seeds and pecorino cheese.

So, it wasn't your typical Thanksgiving, and we had three scary car adventures including discovering that someone had removed 3 lug nuts from a tire, but all's well that ends well, right?

Have you ever had pinsa? I really wish I lived closer to Monte's so I could have this again.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

The Holidays are Here!

The holiday season is finally here. At the Obi house, we kicked Thanksgiving off with four out of five kiddos home with their families.
We had SO much food. And yes, those are paper plates. They make cleanup so much easier.

This was the first time since last Christmas I got to see our two youngest grandchildren together.
And these two little mischief makers...
Had quite a time.
Going so far as to commandeer their uncles' laser tag game.
It's always a treat when our kids bring us flowers. But these apple roses my youngest son made were an even bigger hit. Aren't they pretty?
Then Friday rolled around and everyone went home, leaving Grammy with a big box of tissues. Not because they were gone, but because she woke up with a cold. Fortunately, there was plenty of leftover turkey to make some turkey noodle soup.
Actually, it was a turkey and chicken noodle soup since I had some leftover chicken breast in the refrigerator, too. I used my favorite recipe (you can find that here), except instead of starting with raw chicken/turkey, I simply chopped up the cooked meat and added it to the sauted onions and garlic, then continued with the rest of the recipe as usual. It was exactly what I needed to clear out my sinuses and set myself on the path to feeling better. Because it's time to get ready for Christmas! 

So how was your Thanksgiving? And what are you up to now?

Three time Carol Award finalist Mindy Obenhaus lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband, the youngest of her five children and two dogs. She passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. When she's not writing, she enjoys cooking and spending time with her grandchildren. Learn more a

Monday, December 2, 2019

Thanksgiving Leftovers: Turkey Manhattan

You know that old saying, "The more life changes, the more it stays the same"?

Well, that's what my life is like as we ease into the holiday season, and I'm very happy about that! With all the changes we've experienced this year - ever since that fateful day in April when we saw that the PERFECT house for us was for sale and we made an offer - I long for a season of same-old, same-old. :-)

One of the traditions that hasn't changed is our annual Thanksgiving get together. This year we had fifteen - almost the same number we had the year of my original Turkey Manhattan post five years ago! The faces around the table have changed a bit, but the fellowship was even sweeter with the passing of time! (Never take friendships for granted!)

Enjoy this post from the past!

* * * * * * *

Leftover Turkey Manhattan
(a rerun recipe from 2014)

How was everyone's Thanksgiving?

For years, ever since we moved too far away from our families to get together with them on a regular basis, we've invited friends who are in the same situation to our house for the big dinner.

After all, what better way to celebrate Thanksgiving than with friends and family?

This year we had seventeen at our house. Every family brought something for the meal and we had a wonderful time. :) I hope your Thanksgiving was just as full of blessings as ours.

But then comes the day after Thanksgiving. And leftovers.

I always assign leftover turkey to certain favorite meals, like the Turkey Tetrazzini Missy shared last week. (Find that recipe here.)

But when we have leftover potatoes and gravy (an almost unheard-of event!), we fix Turkey Manhattans.

Easy-Peasy, and sooooo good!

No recipe, just layer the goodness on your plate:

First layer: bread. I use bread leftover from making bread cubes for the dressing on Thanksgiving. You need one slice per person.

Second layer: turkey. Sliced white meat is the best.

Third layer: mashed potatoes. To heat them up, warm them in a pan with a little added milk and butter.

Fourth layer: gravy. All over your sandwich.

Since this was my day to say goodbye to simple carbs for a few weeks, I went ahead and had a few potatoes and the bread with my serving.

Oh yes, it's comfort food to the max! But after this (at least until Christmas!), I'm staying away from the starchy carbs and sticking to the other yummy fruits and veggies.

Of course, if you're a just-turned-twenty-one bean pole of a guy, then you can fix your serving this way:

Add a salad and a veggie - if you have room on your plate :)

You can also make this sandwich with chicken or beef - just switch the gravy for the beef version.

Now it's time to talk turkey (sorry, I couldn't resist!). How was your Thanksgiving? Did you have any leftovers?

Jan Drexler spent her childhood dreaming of living in the Wild West and is now thrilled to call the Black Hills of South Dakota her home. When she isn’t writing she spends much of her time satisfying her cross-stitch addiction or hiking and enjoying the Black Hills with her husband of more than thirty-seven years.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Thanksgiving Leftovers -- My Annual Post

If you're out shopping today, good luck!! I can tell you I will be avoiding shopping in huge crowds. Not my thing. :) So for your enjoyment, if you're a homebody like me (or in between your shopping trips), here's my annual replay of my favorite Thanksgiving leftovers post! This is from 2011. Enjoy!

Missy, here. I wanted to tell you about a wonderful way to use up your Thanksgiving leftovers. I thought I'd share it today so you'd have time to add extra ingredients to your shopping list for next week. (Is it really approaching that quickly??!!)

Last year, I chaperoned a trip with my son's AP U.S. History class. We visited Boston and surrounding areas. At one stop in Concord, we let the kids go do lunch on their own. Several of the teachers and I hit a fantastic restaurant called Main Streets Market and Cafe. I had what I think may have been the best sandwich of my life. The Turkey Cranberry Wrap. I was in heaven. Recently, I decided to recreate this sandwich on my own. (I can't believe I didn't think to do it sooner.)

So, here we go! Pull out those leftovers and get to wrapping!

Get some of those low carb wraps I mentioned a few weeks ago. Spread on cranberry sauce. Your choice of type. My daughter chose jellied, "the kind that's shaped like a can."  :) Layer with baby spinach.

Add dressing. I heated mine.

Then layer on the turkey. Again, I heated mine.

Wrap up and serve with a side of sweet potato fries just for fun. :)

How easy is that?! And it's an amazing sandwich. I ate it leftover on three days last week! And didn't even get sick of it.

What's your favorite thing to make with Thanksgiving leftovers?

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving!

From all of us at the cafe....

To all of you....

Wishing you a blessed and peaceful Thanksgiving Day.

Whether you have family around...

Or friends...

Or are eating as a party of one...

Please know that you are beloved. By God, by Christ and by so many others.

Life doesn't have to be scripted to be wonderful. It doesn't have to follow a protocol. It simply needs to be appreciated, so on this beautiful day of thanks and prayer, we wish you the very best. God bless you!

Jan, Mindy, Cate, Ruthy and Missy

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Kale - the new Romaine

Facebook and Twitter have been full of so many funny memes this past week.

My favorite may be this:

Unfortunately, it's not really funny. From what I'm reading, this last round of recalls was the straw that broke the camel's back for many people. As much as they love salads, they're just not willing to risk getting a serious life-threatening illness.

So, I'm here to tell you, you don't have to forgo salad. Just try a different base.

I've been preaching the benefits of kale for years, but for those I haven't convinced yet, consider this. If you buy a bag of kale like Glory, you can blanch it and then use it as a base for a salad. It won't have quite the fresh crunch of Romaine, but it won't have e coli either.

I thought I'd share photos of a few of the kale salads I've shared over the years.

You can really just add any of the things you would normally add to your salad!

Mindy even did a post on Kale salad back in June.

So, have you given up on salad? Want to give Kale a try?

Or will you just stick with cake?

And from my family to yours...