Thursday, September 3, 2020

Heirloom Recipes: Georgia's Oatmeal Cake & Mom's Ginger Cookies

Hello Friends! 

Today I am sharing two sweet recipes handed down in our family 
for generations...

I'm lucky to come from a long line of fabulous cooks...

both the women and men in my family have specialties they have perfected and tweaked over the years... and as it turns out, they are a generous bunch, taking the time to teach the kids and grandkids over the years and share their recipes...

My favorite recipes... are the vintage ones.

These are the best kind of recipe, the hand-written kind... 
the recipes written on delicate paper recipe cards, 
yellowed from time, authored by those we cherish.  

The recipes are undeniably delicious and the 
memories that accompany these sweet recipes are priceless.  

A little wooden recipe box holds so much inside,
 not only the recipes but...the memories of a lifetime, 
baked as holiday meals, family reunion potluck dishes,
 and the comforting casseroles we take to friends in their time of need... 
The recipes boxes that sit on so many kitchen counters, 
hold the food memories that we treasure.  
I am particularly fond of the recipe cards that are tattered from wear,
 dotted with drips and kitchen spatters having been a well-loved recipe.  

Much like my old rag dolls, you can tell which ones received the most love...
 the most loved recipe cards bear the marks of regular use, 
and can signal a winning dish.

The glorious smells of the kitchen can tell me exactly what season it is...
 whether its a bubbling pot of vegetable soup or the undeniable scent
 of Thanksgiving baking in the oven... 
we all have food memories that take us back in time
 to places and people who have meant so much to us.  

I was recently given the recipe collection belonging to my grandmother...
My grandmother and I have spent many an afternoon
 talking about the parties she hosted and the 
friends that shared their recipes and the happy times they spent sharing delicious food... 
 The fun of reminiscing lets us remember dear family friends.

My grandma said to me just last night, "Remembering these recipes bring
the memories to life and we get to relive those happy times all over again."

 Oh, what fun it has been to read through the ingredients and to see the popularity of dishes thought the decades; the long lost deviled ham logs of the 1960's to the microwave fudge of the 1980's... it's a parade of recipes and memories all rolled into one.  

I am so excited to share my grandmother's cake and mother's cookie recipe on Fox19 today... they will both be watching and what a thrill to see these tried and true family favorites live on, hoping to find a place on other kitchen tables and to be loved by families, like yours.  
Please enjoy these family heirloom recipes and here's hoping they make their way into your very own recipe box.  



Get the recipes here:

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Candy Pumpkins and a Winning Pumpkin Cake Recipe

Are you ready for a little pumpkin fun?

I certainly am...and from the looks of things out my window...fall is right around the corner.  

My son was watching the hummingbirds visit the feeder yesterday... as he watched, a small gust of wind whirled through the backyard, and a cascade of light yellow leaves began to fall to the ground from our maple tree... He exclaimed "What is happening??  Why is our tree losing leaves?? It's still summertime....!"  I reminded him September is here... and fall is coming... 

He wasn't thrilled.  The summer comes in goes in a hurry these days.

But guess what??  

I am thrilled!  I'm bringing out the welcome-wagon for my very favorite season... it's quite literally on our doorstep. {Disclaimer: I may say the same about every season, I tend to be equally excited about the new possibilities of each season}

Right now, today, it is officially pumpkin season... at least that what it says on my calendar.

I'm here for the pumpkins and the cozy firepit nights, I'm here for the leaves, and the caramel apples... the hayrides, and the bright blue crisp autumn skies...I'm here for all of the gorgeous fall days that are right around the corner.

One of the cutest pumpkins of the season... will be the ones I make!

How can that be you might think??

Today, I'm sharing the how-to for these super-cute candy pumpkins.

These little edible cuties, are a surefire way to add a little fall flair to you desserts... thinking ahead to Thanksgiving...these little pumpkins make darling toppers for cakes and pies.  

Speaking of cake... I am including the recipe here for one of the BEST fall desserts I've ever tasted, my two-time, Best-of-Show winning: pumpkin cake.  It's truly delicious, and the perfect make-ahead dessert... 

The secret about this cake... Yes, there is a secret: It tastes better after a day resting in the refrigerator!!  What an amazing trick for this cake, to create magic all on its own...while you are freed up to do other things.  I love a cake that's not too fussy, don't you??

Below is the handy How-To Guide for making candy pumpkins:

What you'll need:

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Tomato Pie

Is your garden overflowing with tomatoes??  

Mine garden is... full of tomatoes!  Usually, this time of year we head to the shore...just as my first tomatoes are really looking beautiful... and so many times in the past, I knew the deer were just waiting in the woods-- watching for me to leave so they could get my tomatoes while I was away on vacation... but this year (silver-lining- alert) I am here for the tomatoes.  I am here for the BLTs, and the salsa...  I am here for the tomatoes.

Is there anything better than a warm homegrown tomato??  --Maybe this tomato pie... 

The deer don't know why I'm cutting into their summer haul of my vine-ripened tomatoes.... but I am making it my business to harvest all that I can... more tomatoes=more tomato pie.  

I have the perfect tomato pie recipe for you...especially if you have too many tomatoes, just like me.

I made this pie last summer for the first time and I fell in love.  It's easy, and it makes such a great dinner in the summer.

Enjoy.  If you have a favorite tomato variety...let me know in the comments...I love trying new kinds.  Have you had a Green Zebra??  Those little green tomatoes are just wonderful too!!


Peach and Blackberry Bramble Pie

I am no stranger to U-pick farms... and once I get started picking berries, or cherries, or apples,... I cannot stop...
So, you can imagine that I need a collection of great recipes to use up all the seasonal fruits and vegetables that I'm picking!

Behold this amazing pie...using the best peaches of the season and also the most delicious blackberries too.

We ventured out to a nearby farm early in the morning last week to pick blackberries... it was worth getting up early.  The farm is a beautiful slice of heaven...right in our own neck of the woods.
So...with my new basket of blackberries overflowing...I found it to be perfect timing that I was alerted to a virtual pie contest.  How perfect.   Fair season is canceled this year...but virtual fair season...that's something I can do!!  I got busy and whipped up this sweet little peach and blackberry pie...complete with a honey crumb-top and a pastry crust... it was like a slice of summer on a plate.  The folks at Jeni's Ice Cream agreed it was a "peach" of a pie and deserved some recognition too!!  Thanks so much for the pie-love Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams...I love ya right back!
For you, the recipe... be sure to get some ice cream in the house...the vanilla ice cream with the warm peaches and sweet berries made it feel extra special.  We could all use a "little extra special" in our lives these days...  this pie is the extra we all need. Enjoy.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Edible Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Sundaes!

Did you ever eat raw cookie dough??

I can remember my mom telling me NOT to gobble up her yummy cookie dough
as she was busy baking was so tempting!!

Edible cookie dough is all the rage right now... it's an edible cookie dough craze!

My kids are all about the edible cookie dough...and we have paid top-dollar for scoops of this culinary delight while out on the town...and guess what??

We created this terrific recipe and it is as good as the "best" cookie doughs out there...and ours is homemade--and very easy to make!  Simple ingredients and you can customize it!!

The key to making the cookie dough safe to eat-- there are no raw eggs... and the flour is heat-treated...which is a fancy way of saying baked.  We bake the flour (a raw ingredient) to the temperature of 165 degrees.  This process will eliminate microbes that could harm you... we don't always think about flour being a "raw" ingredient...but it is.  Food safety is always important and the quick step of heating the flour to 165 degrees Fahrenheit is super simple!!

Heat the flour on a baking sheet (I love to use makes pouring the flour into a bowl a breeze!)  Heat the flour to 165 in a 350-degree oven for about 10-15 minutes or until the flour registers 165 degrees.  Yes, you can also accomplish this step in the microwave too!!

Let the flour cool... if small clumps of flour form, break them up with the flat bottom of a measuring cup...easy.

This cookie dough is super-delicious just as it is, or you can dress it up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or some fun add-ins.  Make it your own taste sensation!

For July Fourth, we added mini red, white, and blue candies... how sweet!!

Here's our recipe:

Watermelon Basket

Happy July!!

Do you LOVE a great table??  Extras??

I'm so glad...

I do too!!!

I'm extra, or so I've been told... at first I wasn't sure whether this term was, in fact, a compliment... after doing a little research on the matter, I'd say you can take it either way...  I'm taking it as a compliment, at least that is what I choose to believe.  "Extra" according to my definition is as follows:

  ex·tra (adjective

1.  describing a person who celebrates in an over-the-top manner more or beyond what is usual or expected or typically deemed necessary.  2. the exuberance, joy, and enthusiasm for the mundane or basic, satisfied only by adding details (ie: sprinkles, menus, coordinating paper products, place cards, confetti, hand-lettering, baubles, flower arrangements, party favors, candles, design elements, coasters, ribbons, garlands, centerpieces, tiered trays, baskets, place-settings, napkin rings, and or other visual celebratory enhancements that create an inviting and beautiful aesthetic. 3. one who achieves satisfaction and enjoyment from creating memorable events, meaningful holidays, and beautiful opportunities for family, friends, and acquaintances to enjoy carefully curated details. "Karri Perry is extra, and she wears it like a badge of honor as she adds sprinkles to her cupcake."

Always define who you are on your own terms 
and never be fearful of rewriting the 
definition when necessary.  
Xo. -Karri Perry

I cannot help myself when it comes to going the "extra" mile for holiday celebrations...I love all the little details.  The table... it's the main event... where our meal will take I love to decorate the table too!!

 I began my July 4th table with a gorgeous paper runner from Hester and Cook.  Navy and white stripes laid a great foundation... I followed with fresh flowers, flags, super cute picnicware from Walmart.  The plates are from the Better Homes and Gardens line and are perfectly picnic-ready!!  I made the napkin rings from paper towel tubes and ribbon...with the help of my hot glue gun.  Finally, we have bottled root beers for every guest... and to add to the fun... my Watermelon Basket!!  How extra is this?!

Speaking of details, this watermelon basket is the little extra detail that just makes me smile!!

Five Reasons to Carve a Watermelon Basket THIS Summer:

1.  It's so darn cute... it's extra, I'm extra and it will be extra cute on your buffet, or picnic table.

2.  Economics. Summer fruit is in season...especially melon, my watermelon basket was under $10!

3.  EASY.  Takes about 30 minutes! Using basic kitchen can transform your fruit!

4.  Healthy.  Extra fruit is always a good idea.

5.  It's FUN and not a "regular" fruit tray... and melon balls are somehow more delicious too!!

Get the recipe and directions here:

Fire Crackers and Creamy Cool Cucumber Dip

Firecracker, Firecracker, Boom, Boom, Boom!!
I seem to vaguely recall a childhood jump-rope song that had those
"Firecracker" lyrics in it...
Isn't it so funny, all the little things we retain from our childhood?

All these years later and I can tell you half a poem about firecrackers and
a few of other odds and ends...
I can tell you how much an extra long ice pop from Gil's cost in 1984.   10 cents.
I can tell you that my elementary school felt like a scene from The Wonder Years... and how grateful I am to have grown up in a small-ish town.
I can you how long --exactly to the minute-- it took to ride my bicycle home from the city pool to be home in time for dinner.  We had to leave by 4:40 and not a second later... if we planned to arrive home by 5pm. (It was an uphill ride (both ways), with a sopping-wet towel and pruney-feet...just some of the details my 10-year-old self had to factor into my travel planning)

I can also tell you what we ate every Fourth of July (I really can) because... for most of my childhood we celebrated with family friends.  Every year, the same plans and every year was always fun.

Many of my July 4th memories include swimming in the hot and humid sunshine, a rope swing, basement roller skating, and a deluxe homemade fireworks extravaganza (an entertainment experiment put on by the parents). I recall mosquito bites, lightning bugs, and the memory of always leaving the party completely worn out... I was living my best life...

And still today, July Fourth doesn't feel complete unless there are frosted chocolate brownies, a big bubbly casserole of cheesy potatoes, homemade chip dip, and of course, plenty of grilled burgers and hot dogs.

July 4th has always been a favorite of mine...lots of reasons why... I love that it's a no pressure, non-gift-giving holiday, a fun family day, good food, music and a day to spend together...
I recently received some great advice from my grandmother. She's 93 years young and waiting very patiently to visit with all of her family and friends again.  We were discussing the current Covid-19 situation...and she said, "Make sure to celebrate the's so important to keep family traditions going if you can."  She's right...   It's so important to celebrate... I'm trying to keep the joy present and spread the lighthearted feeling of summer wherever I can.  -It somehow feels better to carry on and celebrate... and I do think it will keep our spirits up.

Will this year be different for all of us??  Yes, to some degree July 4th will not be the same...but we can still celebrate and we can still keep our traditions alive.  We can make delicious foods and make a point of making the most of the day... because one day...the memory of this difficult time will be part of the story we share with our grandchildren... the now we are experiencing, will become the "I can tell you how much gas was in 2020..."  or "We had the BEST Fire Crackers that July 4th of 2020...did you ever eat a Fire Cracker??"

Which brings me to this Southern staple of parties and picnics... the Fire Cracker!  How perfect for July 4th... the recipes for this appetizer/snack certainly varies from town to town and from church gathering to neighborhood block party... but, essentially, it's saltine crackers, that are lovingly soaked for a few hours to overnight in a slurry of spices and seasoning, and coated in either oil or butter.  The crackers are then baked in a single layer, until toasty and crisp.  Our family loved them!!  They'll be a new addition to our picnic spread this year...

I'm so curious if you have a Fourth of July favorite??  What will you be bringing the picnic this year?

If you need a super easy and very crowd-friendly snack, this is it.  These crackers are great on their own or served with cheese, veggies, or this creamy cool cumber dip... see below.

These Fire Crackers definitely bring a little smoky heat to the the cucumber dip is the perfect addition if you need to cool off!!

Enjoy this new "old-fashioned" favorite... may it become one of those traditions, those delicious recipes, that family will look forward to for years to come.

Enjoy the recipe:

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Patriotic Pineapple Upside Down Flag Cake!

Our "Pineapple Upside-Down Cake" is all dressed up for July 4th!!

This flag cake is the cutest!! It doesn't get much sweeter.
This easy...and I do mean EASY...dessdert will have you ready for Independence Day in a flash!

Be sure to have a platter or large cutting board (9x13 or larger) available for inverting the cake...even a sturdy piece of aluminum foil-covered cardboard or a foil-covered baking sheet would work in a pinch.  This pineapple upside-down flag cake is inverted after baking to reveal a gorgeous and very delicious dessert!

Below I share my recipe for an easy scratch cake...if you want to use a boxed cake mix... you can, just be sure to adjust the baking time ... a well-baked cake will spring back when lightly touched and a toothpick will come out cleanly from the center.

Happy first day of summer!
I hope you'll enjoy this patriotic cake as much as we do!!

Get the recipe:

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Lemon Blueberry Pound Cake

Hello friends!!

This is a great little pound cake...loaded with lots of lemon flavor and bursting with blueberries!

I hope you'll give it a try... be sure to note that the bake time is 1 hour and 20-30 minutes total.  This cakes bakes in a cooler 325 degree oven on the middle rack.

Get the recipe:

Fried Chicken Sandwich and Coleslaw

Growing up,
the summer months were always accompanied 
by a few steadfast activities that made summer feel complete…  
If the following few summertime events did not take place,
could we really be sure summer came and went??

1.  Riding our bicycles to and from the city pool with our towels draped around our necks…for what would be an almost daily ritual of sun-soaked afternoons and lots of swimming…. So much swimming.  

2.  Fourth of July with tall stacks of chocolate-iced brownies, grilled hot-dogs, fun with family friends and the evening would not be complete without our parents putting on death-defying homemade fireworks shows… the hose was always nearby.

3. Festivals… in Cincinnati, you are never further than a few blocks in any direction from a Catholic Church  -- every Parrish had a festival…  We were sure to spend a few summer evenings pulling tabs on “bars and bells” cards and playing .25 cent festival games… loading our pockets with tiny whistles, bubbles and penny candy… all in a good night's work of festival gaming...

4. Family picnics in the park…Our family would load up into the car...and we would get a bucket of chicken and a few sides from our favorite local chicken restaurant. We would take our fried chicken and picnic in the park…My brother and I would always gobble up our meal, so we would have plenty of time to run off to play on the swings, or to throw pebbles into the water…  always a special meal...eating in the woods made the food tastier... and somehow more summery.

All my life… my chicken…if it was fried… it came from the store. These chicken restaurants… aren’t these the establishments where the folks have the special secret recipe… right??

I truly never fried chicken at home…I just grew up ordering our fried chicken out…so it just never happened…

Trust me, we had every other kind of chicken dish under the sun...grilled, baked...casseroles... we just never fried it...

Then fast-forward to a year or so ago—and the "chicken sandwich wars" arrived… and our family played along… We sampled them all…I mean, it’s a hard job and we were certainly up to the task…(I do have a personal winner--btw)

After all the chicken sandwich samplings were behind us…  I decided, I would attempt to make my own version of the a fried chicken sandwich…how hard could it be??

Here’s my version of a  “winning” recipe…. She has never won a blue ribbon (yet)…but she’s a first-class chicken sandwich and you don’t have to look very much further than you own pantry to find one.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

10 Ways To Celebrate Mom! Springtime Strawberry Cake

It's almost Mother's Day

Let's celebrate all the moms...

10 Creative Ways to Celebrate Mom

1.  A homemade card...never goes out of style...same for coupon booklets!

2.  Call mom, grandma, all the them and spread the LOVE.

3.  Make a list of your favorite memories of mom...and share them!

4.  Bake her a cake (hint, hint)...maybe this Strawberry Cake!!

5.Make mom dinner...and do the dishes too!!
Here are some easy and delicious ideas:
Farmer's Market Salad
Our Favorite Chicken Salad

6.  Cheers to mom!!  Toast mom with a Mom-osa Juice Bar
Find it here...with free printables:  Momosa Bar with Printables

7. Make copies of your favorite photos and create a mom-scrapbook of your favorite memories over the years.

8.Treat mom to a yummy dessert... Strawberry Shortcake Doughnuts

9.  Mom-Movie Night

10. Mom' S'mores Bar: S'mores Bar

Get the Recipe Here:

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Layered Farmer's Market Salad: Lemon Basil Dressing

Hi Friends!!

It's almost Mother's Day weekend... I can think of nothing easier than a make-ahead picnic-salad... Moms throughout the land will be happy some else is doing the cooking...and the bright flavors in this farmer's market layered salad are so delicious!!

I just happened upon some photos this morning...of a Mother's day from 10 years ago...a whole decade slipped by...(how did that happen??)
I was so happy to see that my little guy created a handmade card and we were both smiling BIG... I hope that's how he always remembers me and his childhood... full of smiles...
I know right now, our world seems unimaginable...compared to even last year...but hopefully we can still find time to celebrate the little things, celebrate all the moms, and even find the smallest of reasons to smile BIG.

Speaking of smiling...this salad made me smile... 
1. It's Easy to make...who does not like easy??

2. Bright summer flavors... and it's full of vitamins and good nutrition.

3. It's custom-made... make it to suit your bacon?? Add some! Dislike peas?...Omit them.'s easy-easy.

4.Cute...putting foods in fun containers might not always be practical...but it's way more fun to serve and eat beautifully displayed foods!!

5. I LOVE my farmer's market.  Support local, shop small and farm to table is a great way to eat if you can... 

This salad will be perfect all summer long...We enjoy the fresh flavors of the farmer's market and I love how the produce changes as the season moves from month to month.  As the options change at the Farmer's too can your salad ingredients.  I think the best part of this salad might be this amazing lemon-basil dressing.

If you make this sure to drop me a note to tell me what you thought of it.
Get the Recipe:

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

We Love Mom S'more Than Ever! S'Mores Party!

It's almost Mother's Day...
and what a fun way to celebrate... making a S'mores Bar!!  We love more S'more than ever...and this cute set-up could not be easier to pull together.

Easily created in the backyard or the kitchen.
A few years ago we did a segment for
 a Father's Day S'mores Bar... and now...
 it's time to make one for mom!!

Is it too cold to do S'mores outside??

No problem...

Do them in the kitchen!!

I line a rimmed tray with parchment or foil.
Line up the graham crackers on the cookie sheet.
Place 1 (one) marshmallow on each graham cracker
Bake at 350 for 4-5 minutes or until
your marshmallows are golden, toasty and puffed.

Add desired toppings and a top graham cracker....Taaa Daaa...
S'mores forever... easily made and quickly eaten.

(Use caution...they will be very warm)

How easy!!

Just for you free printable S'mores Mother's Day Cards and a super-cute S'mores Menu.