Old-Fashioned Chocolate Pudding

Before my granny passed away, she had given me over a dozen chocolate pie recipes. One today that I’m sharing with you is a tried and true favorite for when I make chocolate pudding (think, inside part of the pie).

2/3 c. sugar

1/4 c. flour

1/4 c. cocoa powder

Mix those ingredients together. Add 1/4 c. milk to make a paste. Add in three egg yolks. Add additional 1 1/2 c. milk. Bring together over low heat, whisking constantly. Once fully thickened drop in 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Enjoy!

***Bonus*** Omit the chocolate and add additional teaspoon of vanilla for vanilla pudding!

Thursday Tales and Traditions

Tonight I’ll have the opportunity to speak at my alma mater, Texas A&M University-Commerce. This is where I met my husband. This is where my parents met. And this is where my grandfather attended to start this legacy. I hope that one day my kids will have the opportunity to walk the grounds as students, too. While the name has changed multiple times (originally East Texas Normal College, which was a teachers’ college), the traditions have remained the same.

TAMUC isn’t a very large school. There are around 15,000, which is a size I absolutely love. I felt like we knew nearly everyone. I had the opportunity to be involved as much as I wanted. The bar is set high for all students there, and it’s constantly being destroyed. The Lions are the 2017 Divion II National Champions. That’s wonderful in and of itself. However, the school has numerous sporting teams ranked in the top 10. They excel academically, too. To say I’m honored to be chosen to speak on business etiquette at this school is a vast understatement.

I always lead any speaking engagement with the statement that I teach Southern etiquette. What is so different about Southern etiquette? Well, white after Labor Day or before Easter is a primary difference. Another difference is that in business etiquette, women remain the “more important person,” all other things equal. Southern etiquette also places a much higher emphasis on tradition.

If you’ve been keeping up with the news lately, you know a new royal baby has been born. Even as an American I love this. It reminded me of one of my favorite Southern etiquette books, though. A Southern Belle Primer: Why Princess Margaret Will Never Be a Kappa Kappa Gamma.

This book was full of both facts and fun. It’s really one of my staples. There is a follow up, though it’s a bit harder to find and is usually more expensive. It is New Times In The Old South: Or Why Scarlett’s in Therapy & Tara’s Going Condo.
Readers, this is where I need your help. I have recently run across A Southern Belle Primer: Or Why Paris Hilton Will Never Be a Kappa Kappa Gamma. I’m curious as to whether it’s simply a name update or if the book has actually changed.

Just for fun, the book I’ve recently purchased is: The Southerner’s Handbook: A Guide to Living the Good Life.
If you haven’t read it, Garden & Gun was introduced to me by one of my Southern Belle friends, Chaney. I have been addicted ever since! I hope y’all enjoy these books! If you’ve already read any of them, I’d love to hear your thoughts. ūüôā As always, thank you for reading!

 

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The Best Way to Start Entertaining

I truly love having people over. I have an extroverted personality, and being around people refreshes me. My husband, though, is the exact opposite. He needs alone time to rejunvenate. I think for some introverts the planning and anticipation can often be as exhausting as the actual event.

Now that my kids are four and six and sleep through the night, I enjoy reading for a while before bed. One blogger I enjoy following, Money Saving Mom, has recently recommended the book Just Open the Door: How One Invitation Can Change a Generation.

So often we build things up that we become overwhelmed with just the idea of it.

The best way to start entertaining is to simply open up your home.

I believe we are social creatures, which is why etiquette has such a big part in our lives. Etiquette, at its core, is about respect of others. While etiquette is so much more than knowing which fork to use, using the correct fork is respectful of your host. Knowing that it’s respectful is what etiquette is all about.

Now, you absolutely don’t need anything other than an open door to entertain.

Having an open heart and an open door leads to lasting relationships.

Use what you have, which is yourself. Offer a compassionate heart and open ear. Just take that first step to allow someone into your home and into your life. You’ll be so thankful you did.

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TWOsday Recipes

Hi, y’all! I hesitate to even call what I’m sharing today “recipes.” I wanted to share some easy go-to ideas for your events. Each recipe has only TWO ingredients!

First, my favorite sweet dip is what I call Marshmallow Fruit Dip. Simply combine a 7-ounce jar of marshmallow creme with an 8-ounce brick of cream cheese. Whip it together by hand or in a stand mixer. This is a hit with my kids! They love dipping grapes and strawberries into it.My next delicious duo is Chili-Cheese Dip. Combine an 8-ounce brick of cream cheese with a 10-ounce can of chili (no beans). Heat on the stove until the cheese has melted. Bake in a cast iron skillet in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Serve with Fritos or tortilla chips!

Another savory dip is the Classic Cheese Dip. For a 16-ounce brick of processed cheese (Velveeta), add two 10-ounce cans of tomatoes with chiles (Ro-Tel). I always just put mine in the crock pot. This is also perfect with Fritos or tortilla chips!

Finally, my last recipe is for making sugar molds! This is the easiest way to fancy up a tea party. Just add 1/2 teaspoon of water for every 1/2 cup of sugar. Blend both items in a food processor until all sugar is evenly wet. Spoon into mold, making sure to pack the sugar down well.

Invert onto a cookie sheet by placing the cookie sheet upside down on the mold and then turning both over. Gently remove the mold and let the sugar molds rest for at least 30 minutes.

Get these flower-shaped molds for only $1.99!


Or try the heart-shaped molds, if that’s more your style.
***Edited to add a new recipe!***

Lime-Sherbet Punch. Anyone else always pronounce it “sherbert?” I think it drives my husband crazy. Anyhow, I usually do a quart of slightly softened lime sherbet (but you can use raspberry or orange to change the color!) to a 2-liter of ginger ale. Now, we’re flexing on the two-ingredient rule, but if you’re having a 1950’s themed Christmas, add in some maraschino cheeries for color! Really, though, you only need the sherbet and the ginger ale.

Southern Cooking With A Cast Iron Skillet

One of my favorite kitchen tools is the classic cast iron skillet. My mom and granny both cooked in one religiously. My granny’s cornbread skillet has to be the smoothest and best seasoned skillet I know. My mom has a rare talent for finding old, warped skillets and making them like new again with her seasoning skills.

Seasoning in this instance is not like salt and pepper, for those who don’t know. Seasoning refers to a technique for prepping a cast iron skillet. If you treat a cast iron skillet correctly, you won’t need to season regularly.

Soap should never be used on cast iron skillets.

Trust me on this. The skillet is very porous, so the soap residue will remain, which will seep out into your food. My home economics teacher in high school taught us that the very best way to clean a cast iron skillet is with hot water. One you’ve cleaned it, heat it on the stove to ensure that every droplet of water is removed.

If you find an old skillet (those are my favorite kind), the rare exception to soap maaay be right before you season it. This is incredibly debated, though. If you choose to use soap, make sure you use a heavy duty scrubber with lots of hot water after you do so.

After you dry it, rub a thin layer of vegetable oil all over the interior of the pan. I mean thin. You don’t want build up on your pan. Finally, place¬†your skillet upside down¬†in a 400-degree oven for an hour.

Lard was originally used in place of oil. This is still commonly used by people who regularly use their skillet. Animal fat, though, can go rancid if you don’t use your skillet often, so this will need to be a personal preference.

Once your skillet is seasoned, you can just maintain it. To maintain, sfter you wash your skillet with hot water, add a very, very minute amount of oil to your pan. I also like to place paper towels in between skillets.

While old skillets are my favorite, Lodge is a great brand, so I wanted to at least give y’all a link if y’all are interested in looking into these skillets more.¬†Click on picture to learn more!

If you cook with cast iron, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!

Here’s a super, super easy two-ingredient “recipe” for you to try!

Combine an 8-oz brick of cream cheese with a can of Hormel chili (no beans for us Texans). Heat on top of top to melt cheese. Place in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes. Serve with Fritos or tortilla chips. Enjoy!