The New & the Old 2016 Greatest Hits Post

Happy New Year Everyone! The years just seem to slip away faster & faster! I’m still dividing time between home and the folk’s. I never thought of love as an “investment” before, but I can see how the sharing, caring, the ups & the downs, compromise & commitment have paid off with a relationship that’s enduring and has great benefit to them both.

The Folks

Me, I’ll probably spend my last years with a dog and a cat, and when I pass, they’ll nibble me away before anyone finds me. And let’s hope it’s not my Homer, who always goes right for my nose. She cuddles up, purring and lays her head on my cheek, then…nips my nose. Yep, it’ll be closed coffin for me, for sure, if Homer is around.

And by the way, I AM single, and wonderful. And modest. . and hey, I can cook, too. I think I have a few more good years left, but I ain’t gettin’ any younger! Who knows, maybe someone will yet save me from that fate…

Homer decided to help us decorate for Christmas, this year!

As for highlights, this year my Dad and I had a lovely trip to visit my brother & sister-in-law in Atlanta in April and had a little mini-reunion with my daughter and nieces, nephew and grandkids. Thank you, J & J, for that most generous gift!

The two girls on the right-hand side are my sister, Liz’s, girls, the young man is my brother’s son, in the grey is my daughter and my four grandbabies are in front. And my Da, back center.


And, as many of you know, I lost my beloved Gibson in June. I made it out of the vet’s to the car, somehow drove across the street to an empty parking lot and wailed, shamelessly. How I love/d that dog! What an amazing journey we had together. There’ll never be another like my Gibs.

And that’s my daughter, Jessica, below, the one who’s inadvertently responsible for this blog, with my youngest granddaughter & my Gibson. You’ll find a few of Jessica’s recipes on my site. Love you, sweetie! My fave? Cheesy Tuna Casserole with Green Olives.

Gibson with my daughter & one of the twins

After Gibson, I consoled myself trolling for shelter dogs on the internet, night after night. While sobbing. I mean, who does that, really?

And that’s how I found the deplorable Chance. He’s curled up with me now in a rare moment of quietude. That face = trouble. How did I not see that one coming?  He’s bright & sweet and totally rambunctious. And very busy!

Chance about 11 weeks

But now on to the food. You knew that would be coming, sooner or later, right? I mean this IS a food blog, after all. Here’s the top recipe countdown for the year.

Old Fashioned Swiss Steak. This is just how my Mom made it. She never really “taught” me, I just learned it – from the time I was old enough to stand on a kitchen chair. 🙂 It’s in the number 10 spot.

Old Fashioned Swiss Steak tomatoes green bell peppers
Old Fashioned Swiss Steak

Cook’s Illustrated Meatloaf. In the number 9 spot is Cook’s Illustrated Meatloaf. This one is adapted just how we like it, and the meatloaf is fantastic, but that sauce is heaven. Make the sauce. Drink it, bathe in it, put on your meatloaf. Just make it!

Cook's Illustrated Meatloaf
Cook’s Illustrated Meatloaf

Scalloped Potatoes, like the ones your Grandmother Made came in at #8. Comfort, through and through, this is a 1950 Betty Crocker Cookbook recipe – so these really ARE the ones Grandma made! I do like to add cheese, sorry Grandma!

Scalloped Potatoes - Old fashioned 1950's Betty Crocker version
Scalloped Potatoes – Old fashioned 1950’s Betty Crocker version

Split Pea Soup is here for the 2nd year. This is one gorgeous recipe and I never can seem to get a great photo. I’m surprised it’s holding on in the number 7 spot coz there are haters out there, people, haters…

Split Pea Soup, adapted from Cook's Illustrated
Split Pea Soup – I keep trying to get a BETTER pic, not sure I’m going in the right direction!

Here’s my Chipotle Pulled Pork Empanadas. About 2 cups of shredded pork, some sweet potato & a touch of kale, they’re divine! You’ll look like a genius if you make these & its really easier than you’d think.

Chipotle Pulled Pork Empanadas
Marvelous Empanadas made from leftover pulled pork

Runzas or Bierocks: From the moment I posted this recipe, it’s been popular, and this year it came in number 4. There have been complaints the recipe’s too long. It’s not any longer than any other, it just has detailed instruction. I want to hold your hand through the process so you can get it right the first time – even if you’re not a baker. The home-made dough is fast, easy and a joy to work with.

Freshly Baked Runza or Bierock
Freshly Baked Runza – you can’t imagine how good they smell!

Scottish Oatcakes: Well, they’re really just oatmeal pancakes and one of the best pancakes of any kind I’ve ever had. I’ve been making them at least 25 years & now I’m trendy with this healthy recipe!

Scottish Oatcakes Oatmeal Pancakes
Scottish Oatcakes – Oatmeal Buttermilk Pancakes

One of my fave desserts of all time passed to me from a friend at work. Banana Sheet Cake. Seriously delish. It’s even been picked up by other bloggers as the “BEST” & requested for birthdays!

Banana Sheet Cake
Banana Sheet Cake

Pozole. I should say Red Pozole, because now I have a Green Pozole, too. Make from scratch or use some of the meat & juices from Crockpot Pulled Pork to shortcut. This is like eating a tamale in soup form.

Pozole Pork Hominy Stew Posole
Pozole – Sometimes spelled Posole, a Pork & Hominy Stew

And in the number one spot: Hotel Eggs. Baked to perfection in the oven, they take a little time but they are superb. And they free up your stovetop for other breakfasty sides. Who knew this simple little, no fuss recipe would take over the number 1 spot two years running? They’re just eggs, people, they’re just eggs, lol!

Oven Baked "Hotel" Eggs - easy and perfectly light and fluffy!
Oven Baked “Hotel” Eggs

I’d like to also show you one of my fave recipes on this blog – one that’s never gotten the love from ya’ll I’d like to see it have. Seriously, it’s only had 55 views, ever. It’s just so delish and super simple it’s hardly a recipe. Individual Dulce de Leche Apple Crisps. Bonus, they can be made with butterscotch or caramel, too. Home-made or store-bought.

Individual Dulce de Leche Apple Crisp
Individual Dulce de Leche Apple Crisp

There’s not a recipe in my top 10 that isn’t an absolute classic, either “All American” or a familiar one from just south of the border. So I know my readers have great taste! But do click around. My fave type of cooking is fresh, fun food and you’ll find plenty of that here, too.

So while I keep working on finding and developing recipes that keep the budget under control, what this year has taught me is that my readers love classic recipes, too. I’ll keep giving you my quirky Grandma recipe box, a mix of new and old, and I hope you’ll keep following along! I love that you’re here for the ride, and thank you! And, as I say every year, like that old Girl Scout song:

Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver, but the other gold…”

Happy New Years Everyone! And may you have many more new memories this year to cherish along with the old…

I think Chance’s looking for the ground!!