Nostalgic Food From My Childhood

My mom is a great cook who was raised by a great cook. Many summer days and nights I remember her cooking all of the meals outside and on the grill. Steaks with baked potatoes and a salad full of garden-fresh vegetables was a standard summer meal. She also fried okra and chicken fairly often. Especially the okra. To this day, I think fried okra may be my all-time favorite food.

We had family over regularly for fish fries. She’s known for her barbecue and homemade breads.

My mom is notorious for big breakfasts, even though growing up I wasn’t much of a breakfast eater. We usually had eggs, bacon, toast or biscuits and some sort of fruit. Now that she’s a “granny,” though, and not just a “mom,” my kids have Mickey Mouse-shaped pancakes each time they stay with her.

One meal in particular, though, is nostalgic for me. I honestly haven’t made it as an adult because it won’t be as good, I’m sure. I may cave soon, though, because just thinking of it gets me excited!

It was the meal where I knew my mom had had a longer day (she was a high school math and computer science teacher), but it was amazing. Fried spam, ranch-style beans and Kraft macaroni and cheese.

Seriously. Out of everything my mom made, this meal has continued to stand out to me. The spam had a crust from where she had fried it, and it was the perfect salty bite. The Kraft mac and cheese kind of congealed as it cooled, making large bites easier. The ranch-style beans were different from the pintos my granny regularly cooked, making them a bit special, even though they were from the can. The best part? It was a splurge. This meal didn’t happen often, and it came together quickly. Clean up was a breeze, which was an added benefit for me.

Maybe I will have to try this meal just once for my kids to carry on the tradition.

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.

An Elegant Experience – The Chophouse on Bankhead

On Saturday evening, two of our closest friends went to dinner with us sans kiddos! This rarely happens, so we were all excited for an opportunity to spend time together. We mulled over various dining options on Saturday afternoon, and we decided to try a place none of us had ever been to before – The Chophouse on Bankhead.

I was beyond blown away. From the moment the open the door to greet you to the time they say good night, everything was perfectly executed. At no point during the evening did I think, “I wish they knew or did that.” The restaurant is located in Mt. Vernon, Texas, which was about a 20 minute drive for the four of us. Mt. Vernon is a fun town where my best friend and her family lives, so I already enjoy visiting there. The Chophouse on Bankhead is incredibly unique and different from the other restaurants currently there, though. Our meal was a true experience, lasting well into three hours.

We started with a charcuterie board, which was just fantastic. The executive chef pays such close attention to the details and pairing of foods. A lot of love and time went into each course. The homemade pickles, though, were my top pick from our appetizer!One we had enjoy the platter, we all opted for wedge salads with perfect, tangy blue cheese dressing. Since we knew we would have multiple courses, we chose to have each couple split the wedge, which the restaurant was more than willing to do.

I’m not even normally a huge lover of blue cheese, but I couldn’t help but each every delicious bite. Our entrees took the longest time of all the courses for us to decide what to eat. While the menu was vastly more expansive than this, my picks were narrowed to choosing between the mussels (l0ve), the ribeye (love) and the crabcakes (love). Simply because everyone who has left a review has raved about the steaks, the ribeye won out, which my husband and Jonathan also got. Sally opted for the crabcakes, which looked absolutely wonderful!

The au jus was the tastiest I’d ever had, and my baked potato was dressed perfectly. Even as big of a steak eater as my husband is, none of us could finish our steaks. This may have been paritally due to the food consumed prior to this course, but did we let our full stomachs stop us from ordering dessert (no picture of it….sorry about that!)? No, we sure didn’t. We ate our sticky toffee pudding like they had just told us the place was on fire – that is to say, very quickly!

Something that really pushed this visit over the top in every way were the extras they brought. An amuse-bouche was brought over by the executive chef himself prior to our meal, and I wish I had thought to take a picture of it! It was a delicious mousse resting on top of a quarter of a cucumber slice. The flavorful bite impressed us all. After our entrees were eaten, the chef again brought us another delight – coconut macaroons, which were perfectly creamy with that toasted coconut flavor throughout. The attention to every last detail was unmatched.

I will say, I felt a little odd taking pictures of the food, as I know that isn’t truly in accordance to etiquette. However, I had spoken with the executive chef and let him know about my etiquette business, so he was very encouraging of my blog post, which needed pictures.

All around the restaurant there were frame photos and newspaper articles about Mt. Vernon. The pictures were so neat to look at, but the newspaper articles took the cake! We learned about one poor man who was “minus his right little toe” after a mishap with his gun that shot the toe “clean off even with his foot.” Most of the stories we read about were just as comically written.

If you have the opportunity, I hope you’ll visit The Chophouse on Bankhead. The experience is magical, and I know you won’t be disappointed!

Food Network Magazine Deal from Amazon!!

{This post contains affiliate links, and we will receive compensation for purchases made through the links.}

I truly enjoy giving and receiving magazines. If you give it as a gift, the receiver gets to enjoy your gift repeatedly, which is what makes it so special.

Right now, Amazon has Food Network Magazine on sale for 10 issues for only $6!! This makes each issue only $0.60 each, which is an incredibly low price! You’ll pay nearly $6 buying issue at the store.

Spring Evenings

One of my favorite things about spring is the longer evenings. Yes, I know we don’t really “gain” or “lose” an hour during time changes. However, it being light outside at 8pm is wonderful to me. I got in a bad habit during the winter of rarely going outside, even on mild days.

One of my goals for spring is to venture outside more often and to spend that time as a family. What we do together doesn’t have to be complicated. My goal is to just spend more time outdoors as a family. This past weekend my husband and I enjoyed sitting outside together playing cribbage while our kids picked me the perfect wildflower (weeds) bouquet.I love raising children to be givers. They were both so proud of this bouquet and enjoyed finding more “flowers” to add to it.

Earlier in the day, the kids and I made a delicious batch of double fudge brownies from scratch. They are heavenly. If you don’t brown your butter before making brownies, let me encourage you to start doing so!

To go with it, we made a batch of homemade hot fudge!

This is the easiest, most delicious hot fudge I’ve ever eaten. It’s slightly adapted from The Pioneer Woman’s version . However, I added about two or three tablespoons of sweet milk (regular cow’s milk) to thin it just enough for my preference. Also, I did it on the stove instead of the microwave. It just always seems more “homemade” that way. Yes, I know it’s just sweetened condensed milk with chocolate chips and in no actual way “truly” homemade. Let me enjoy my moment. 🙂

We warmed our brownies slightly, added Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla (a must) on top and poured on our hot fudge. Then the kids decorated theirs with sprinkles while Garrett and I topped ours with raspberries. Such a perfect dessert. I hope you get an opportunity to try this! It’s a great solution for an easy dessert when you have last-minute guests. Enjoy!