If you were to walk into my grandmother’s kitchen, open the white cabinet door closest to the oven, you would find a pancake recipe scotched taped to the inside of the door. This very loved piece of paper symbolizes my Saturday mornings. My sister, Hope, and I spent every Friday night at our grandparent’s house. We would wake up bright and early on Saturday morning. There were two rules: we could never change out of our pajamas until after breakfast, there could never be too much syrup or butter applied to our pancakes.  Grandma used a green bowl to mix the batter in and a ¼ measuring cup to pour the thick batter into the hot pan. Grandma was a magician with pancakes. Before I knew it, there was a stack as tall as my face waiting at the bar for us. It probably seemed like magic because my sister and me were too busy making the syrup bottle talk. It was always a hyper fellow because it had too much sugar in its belly.

My grandmother is one of the happiest people that I know. She seemed especially happy at breakfast making these pancakes. I remember her waving around the spatula in the air while saying, “Praise the Lord!”. So here’s to grandma, here’s to Saturday mornings, and here’s to bisquick: just like grandma. Praise the Lord!


Recipe: Serves 6

2 cups of bisquick (don’t judge me)

½ cup sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

2 eggs

1 cup of milk

2 Tbs. butter, melted

1 tsp. vanilla


Combine the bisquick, sugar and baking powder in a bowl. Add the eggs, milk, butter and vanilla to the mix. Put a non-stick pan over medium low heat. Use a gravy ladle to pour the batter into the hot pan. No butter needed because it is in the batter. Once bubbles have formed all over the pancake, gently flip. Repeat with the rest of the batter.



Soups and Gumbo

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

Gumbo is as diverse and unique as its cook. Every woman in my family makes the dish differently. My grannie’s gumbo was always dark, rich and smoky; my grandma’s was light and simple. Grannie used okra as a thickener with dark roux and grandma used homemade roux and nothing else. Two very different women, two very different tastes, one spectacular dish… gumbo.

Sunday lunch meant gumbo at grandma’s house. There was always a nutty perfume that met me in the garage on those days (yes, the heavenly smell of her roux permeated through walls). I would rush to the door, eager to eat and eager to take off my itchy white socks that I was forced to wear for church. I am still convinced that little girls’ church clothes are a form of cruel and unusual punishment in the South. Nonetheless, the endurance had its reward, and the incentive came in the form of a bowl of chicken and sausage gumbo. Grandma kept the leftover roux in a small, glass-measuring cup on the counter. The roux always looked like chocolate sitting there, daring me to stick my finger in for a lick. Thankfully, it was Sunday and I was never sneaky or inquisitive enough on Sundays. I waited my turn in line, grabbed a bowl, filled it with white rice and ladled the light liquid straight from the pot. God blessed the pot my grandma used to make gumbo in. No matter how many people showed up for lunch, this little silver pot could feed everyone at least two meals. Loaves and fishes came in the form of gumbo right before my very eyes. God bless gumbo!


Makes about 12 servings

2 – 2 ½ cups of homemade roux (recipe below)

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces

3 large smoked sausage links, cut into ½ inch rounds

2 large onions, diced

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

2 green onions, green and white part sliced on a diagonal

1 gallon of water

To make roux:

Add 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of vegetable oil in a glass-measuring cup, or any other microwave-safe container. Stir well. Heat the mixture in 1-minute intervals and stir each time. The mixture will start to look like chunky peanut butter (sorry, that was the only comparison I can think of!). After the texture changes, heat in microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring each time, until the mixture resembles milk chocolate. Immediately take the roux out of the microwave and cool on counter. The mixture will continue to cook on the counter. Cool before using.


Sauté sausage on medium heat until browned. Remove the sausage out of the pan and add the chicken to the pan. Season well and sauté till browned. Once the chicken has browned, take out and add vegetables to the pan. Season vegetables. Sweat vegetables for about 10-15 minutes. Add all of the ingredients to a large pot and add the roux. Mix to coat. Put the heat on high and add water. Season well with salt, pepper and cayenne. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 3 hours. Season before serving.  Serve with rice and garnish with green onions.



Cornbread was our traditional Sunday supper.  I can remember the smell of hot oil heating up in a skillet in the oven. That seasoned skillet was waiting patiently to be anointed with the humble, sunny cornbread batter that my paw-paw carefully mixed together.  My paw-paw’s cornbread was like an unsweetened corn cake. My mom would serve everyone his or her own wedge of bliss. The crunchy bottom of the cornbread was always mysteriously gone from my slice (which so happened to be my mom’s favorite part).  We filled our white bowls with the savory bread and christened it with milk and sugar.  At desperate moments to stay up and play cards, we snuck Community Coffee into our bowls.  Happiness and sunshine fit in-between my two hands on Sunday nights.

Inspired by Highlands Bar & Grill cornbread recipe. Yum!


¼ cup of bacon fat

¼ cup of melted butter

1 ¼ cup of buttermilk

½ cup of milk

½ cup of flour

1 tsp. salt

2 cups of cornbread mix

2 Tbsp. honey

1 egg, slightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 4500

Put the skillet in the oven when preheated

Mix 2 cups of cornbread mix, flour and salt in bowl. Then add buttermilk, milk, butter, honey and all but 2 tablespoons of bacon fat. Stir to combine. Add egg to batter.

Coat hot skillet with bacon fat and let sit in the oven for at least 5 minutes

Once the skillet it piping hot, add the golden batter and cook for 20 minutes or until golden and bubbly on top. Enjoy!

Southern Memories

Louisiana Memories

Photo taken by family member in Eunice,LA.

In Louisiana, the endless summer nights were filled with fireflies, crawfish boils, and blackberries served with homemade vanilla ice cream. Everyone would gather in the backyard, the picnic table was covered with newspapers, and there was a gigantic silver pot slowly boiling away with spices that filled the warm, moist air. Vinegar and pepper in one bowl, a simple concoction of ketchup and mayonnaise in another; these were the only two condiments allowed on the table. Everyone had their own technique of how to peel the crustaceans. Being a seafood vegetarian, I would normally end the night in my own little chair, playing with the only survivor of the tragic boil. I named him Earl. My family would spend hours upon hours whipping through pounds and pounds of crawfish, enjoying the company, enjoying the food, enjoying life. It wasn’t about the meal; it was about the tradition, the family, and the smiles. The food brought us all together. As I sat back and watched the last of the summer blackberries disappear with the sun, I reflected in the belief that there’s no place like home.


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