Texas is not a great soup state. There are households that serve soup on regular basis, I'm sure, and I'm also sure that there are households that don't have a Texas flare and therefore don't have Texas cuisine either. But for the most part, wherever men dine, whether women are present or not, soups tend to have more filling qualities about them like meat and potatoes. In my experience, whether in my mom's kitchen, church potlucks, school lunches, etc. in Texas, soups tend to be considered something extra like a side dish or as an accompaniment to something else. Although occasionally, you'll find some big hearty meat and vegetable type soups, which are actually the main part of the meal. But for the most part, these are like country soups served anywhere in the USA especially in the Midwest. Also you'll find all kinds of fish and seafood soups, bisques and stews along the any of the coasts in the USA. But in the Gulf Coast, many of these have a Creole taste to them. In these places, you'll find gumbos too, which are wholly Creole. 

But compared to other parts of the country, Texas soups in general seem to be few and far between. I'm pretty sure that non-Texans rarely miss our soups anyway. I was talking to my sister, Kenzie, today and we couldn't remember having many soups growing up very often. We remembered mom making ham bone soup after the holidays and potato or chicken noodle soup when we were sick. We also remember her making seafood gumbo and chicken tortilla soup a few times. It was Texas chili and Chicken & Dumplings, both served with cornbread, is what we remembered the most.

The upper Gulf Coast of Texas (all the area North and East of Galveston, Beaumont being the center) is just a gastronomical extension of Louisiana, in my opinion. Although it's a bit different than New Orleans typical cuisine, obviously, there's quite an influence of the Creole and French cuisine of Louisiana, that I adore and miss greatly. 

serves 4 to 6

1/4 C chopped onion
1/4" thick ham steak, chopped OR chopped sausage
2 cloves minced garlic
1/4 C lard or bacon drippings
2 T flour
1 lb fresh or frozen okra, stemmed and sliced
14.5 oz can tomatoes, partially drained
1 T chopped bell pepper
1 T chopped celery (I didn't add this since I'm allergic)
1 bay leaf
1/4 t thyme
1 or more qt hot water
salt & cayenne to taste
1 or more lbs shelled, deveined raw shrimp
Tabasco sauce (optional)

In a heavy pot, saute the onion, meat and garlic in the fat over medium heat until the onion is golden, stirring frequently. Add flour and blend. Cook until flour is browned. Add okra and cook, stirring occasionally. Okra can burn easily, so watch it. When the okra has stopped "stringing" which it will eventually, add tomatoes, peppers, celery, bay leaf, thyme and water. Blend well. When it starts to boil slightly, cook 5 minutes, turning the heat down to low. Add salt and cayenne, to taste. Add shrimp. Simmer for 1 hour. Correct seasoning as needed. (I like to add Tabasco sauce at this time or put out for your family members, guests to put on at their own peril.) Serve with plain white rice, that can be on the side, served under the gumbo or mixed in with the gumbo. 


1 C softened butter
1 C sugar
1 C brown sugar
2 eggs
2 t vanilla
8 drops food coloring 
(not sure why but it changes the consistency)
3/4 C Nutella
2 3/4 C flour
1 T baking powder
1 t baking soda
3/4 C semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease cookie sheets.
Cream together butter & sugars until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla and food coloring. Mix in Nutella. Combine flour, baking powder and baking soda. Stir into the sugar mixture until just blended. Fold in chocolate chips. Drop dough by spoonfuls 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets. FYI: These cookies spread. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. High Altitude will be longer. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

So I was a little zealous....
This recipe will make about 50 cookies, I bet.
So just use what you want and freeze the rest.


Serves 4

Cook pinto beans as described in the previous post or use leftover or canned ones.
Now this vintage cookbook I have, said to use 6 T lard, which is what I did, but I'd recommend using 3 T lard or bacon drippings instead. I had no idea how bad refried beans really was for you until I started making them today. Holy cow! Heat however many Tablespoons of lard or bacon drippings as you desire in a heavy iron skillet over medium heat. Add 2 C beans. As they fry, mash them with the back of a wooden spoon. Continue to fry and mash them until they are dry enough to shake loose from the bottom of the pan in a mass. The inner portion of this mass will or should be moist. The bottom surface will be slightly crusty. The consistency is not necessarily smooth like a puree although it may be. 

WHAT'S COOKIN': FRIJOLES - slow cooker method

Beans are as characteristic of Texan cuisine as green chili is to New Mexican cuisine. One way or another, beans may appear in any kind of a Texas meal, although they are a must only with BBQ and certain Tex-Mex combinations. They may be merely boiled to tenderness (with seasonings of course) or be mashed, baked or fried. They may be served as an appetizer, vegetable, side dish, sauce of some sort or salad. Sometimes they even appear pickled. But pinto beans are the ones most commonly used and are THE Frijoles of Mexico.

Although beans in other parts of the USA will be served in lieu of other starchy vegetables, they are served in Texas as though no one had ever heard of calories side by side with potatoes or rice (or both) or hominy or even pasta.

serves 4 to 8

2 C dried pinto beans
1 large chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1 t cumin (or comino as said in Texas)
2 or 3 chopped chili anchos, jalepenos or green chilis
3 T bacon drippings
salt & pepper, to taste

Pick over beans carefully; wash under running cold water.
Place all ingredients in a slow cooker. Pour 3/4 gallon of water over ingredients and stir.
Turn slow cooker onto low and cook for 9 - 10 hours. 
Stir again and serve. 


You've heard of silver dollar pancakes? 
Inventions like the ice cream cone happened by accident. 
This is how I came up with this idea this morning, by accident. 
It was a hit for those small hands and mouth!

Take a spoon and scoop out 1 to 2 blueberries at a time; drop them on the medium hot skillet.
Turn when brown and brown on the other side. 


4 servings

3/4 C milk
2 T vinegar
1 C flour
2 T sugar
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 egg
2 T melted butter
1 C blueberries

Mix milk with vinegar in a bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to sour.
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
Whisk egg and butter into soured milk. 
Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and wish until lumps are gone.
Fold in blueberries.
Heat large skillet over medium heat and coat with non stick cooking spray.
Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto hot skillet. 
Cook until bubbles appear on the surface. 
Flip with a spatula and cook until browned on the other side.

I like mine with Karo syrup.


If you know what Oktoberfest is and love German food, here's a tasty dinner that's so easy and even my 2 year old loved it.

4-6 servings

1 ring (1 lb) fully cooked smoked sausage, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, cut into 1/8s or 1/16s
14 to 15 oz sauerkraut, drained
1 C apple cider or apple juice
1 1/2 C Bisquick
1/2 C milk
1/2 C shredded Cheddar cheese
1 T chopped parsley (I used dried)
1 beaten egg

Preheat oven to 425°.
In an ungreased 2 qt glass or pottery baking dish, layer sausage, then apple. Top with sauerkraut. Pour apple cider all over. Cover with foil. Bake 30-40 minutes or until hot and apples are easily pierced with a fork. 
In a bowl, stir remaining ingredients until soft dough forms. Drop dough by 7-8 spoonfuls onto sausage mixture. Bake uncovered 10-12 minutes or until biscuits are cooked and golden brown on top. 


I understand that just because you're from Texas, you might not eat cactus but those of us that had/have parents that expanded our food horizons growing up, I bet you did have it especially in the San Antonio or Houston area.

I seriously think this is one of the best tasting egg dishes I've ever eaten - especially if you like Tex-Mex!

Nopalitos (or no-pales) are the prepared leaves of certain cactus plants indigenous to Texas. Canned or jarred, they are sold in stores that deal in Mexican food specialties, even large grocery chains such as Krogers or HEB. They are used in sauces, salads and such egg dishes as the following: 

serves 2

3 T lard
2 cloves minced garlic
1 small onion, chopped
1 T fresh, frozen or canned chopped green chilis, drained
1 T chili powder
4 beaten eggs
salt & pepper to taste
1 C canned or jarred cubed nopales, drained and rinsed

Heat lard in an 8 inch iron skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic and onion until just beginning to take on color. Add green chilies and chili powder; blend. Beat eggs lightly and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour into skillet and scramble over low heat, stirring and turning the eggs gently until almost set. Stir in the nopales. Heat through - by then the eggs should just be done. Serve immediately. 


I actually added double the about of Nutella because, well, I'm craving it. I told Ryan after it came out that I think I added too much Nutella and he responded, "Is that possible?!"
I also didn't add the powdered sugar but I bet it would be really good & more presentable.

1 package frozen puff pastry, thawed
11 T Nutella
1/2 C chopped hazelnuts
6 T powdered sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 425°. Lightly grease baking sheet.
Unfold pastry on lightly floured surface and roll out to a rectangle, about 20x9 inches. 
Spread Nutella over pastry, then scatter hazelnuts over the top. 
Roll the long sides of the pastry rectangle on both sides towards the center. 
Where they meet in the center, dampen with water to secure. 
Using a sharp knife, cut about 1/2 inch to 1 inch slices. 
Place on baking sheet and sprinkle with powdered sugar. 
Bake until golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.


3/4 C Bisquick
1 t Italian seasoning
2 T grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 T olive oil
2 C tomato pasta sauce
1 C shredded Italian cheese blend

In shallow dish or pie plate, mix Bisquick, seasoning and Parmesan. In another shallow dish, beat egg. Coat chicken with Bisquick mixture, then dip into egg and coat again with Bisquick mixture. 
In a 12 inch skillet (non stick or coated cast iron is easier), heat oil over medium heat. Add chicken; cook 4-6 minutes, turning once, until golden brown. Cover; turn heat to low to medium heat, cook 8-10 minutes longer, turning once, until juice of chicken is clear when center of thickest part is cut. Remove from skillet to plate.
Add pasta sauce to skillet. Place chicken on top of sauce. Sprinkle with Italian cheese blend. Cover; cook 2-3 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted.


serves 2

1 large potato, peeled & chopped
1 medium parsnip, peeled & chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
2 T milk
1 T butter
1 t brown sugar
1/2 t salt

Boil vegetables in water until tender. Drain. Mash with rest of the ingredients.

This is served here with Oven Fried Chicken Strips.


1/4 C flour
1 egg
1 T water
1 C panko bread crumbs
1/2 C grated Parmesan cheese
approx 1 1/4 lb chicken breast tenders
favorite dipping sauces

Heat oven to 425°. Line cookie sheet with foil; spray with non stick cooking spray.
In shallow dish, place flour.
In another shallow dish, beat egg and water.
In a third shallow dish, mix bread crumbs and cheese.
Coat chicken with flour; dip into egg mixture, then coat with bread crumb mixture. Place on cookie sheet.
Bake approx 15-20 minutes, turning once, until chicken is no longer pink in center and coating is golden brown. Serve with dipping sauce.

This is served with Mashed Potato & Parsnip.


Me: "Oh, Naan, this is yummy apple cake."
Canaan: "It's not's delicious!"

3/4 C sugar
3/4 C brown sugar
1/2 C vegetable oil or applesauce
2 eggs
1 1/2 C flour
1 1/2 C whole wheat flour
1 t baking soda
1 T cinnamon
1/2 t salt
3 C finely chopped, unpeeled apples
1 C chopped nuts (I used 1/2 C walnuts & 1/2 C pecans.)

Heat oven to 350°. Spray 13x9 pan with non stick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, beat sugars, buttermilk, oil, vanilla and eggs with an electric mixer on low for about 30 seconds or until blended. Add remaining ingredients except apples and nuts. Beat on low for about 1 minute or until blended. Stir in apples and nuts. Spread into pan. Bake 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. (High altitude: approx 1 hour) Cool in pan on cooling rack for 1 hour. 


serves 1

4 T flour
4 T sugar
3 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1 beaten egg
3 T skim milk
1 T vegetable oil
2 salted caramels
TIP: If you can't find salted caramels, sprinkle a pinch or two of sea salt into the mixture as you're dropping in the caramels. 

In a small bowl, mix flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, salt, egg, milk and oil well.
Pour mixture into a regular sized coffee mug.
Drop caramels into center of mixture one at a time.
Microwave on high for 1 1/2 minutes.
If cake batter is still gooey, microwave on high for up to an additional 30 seconds.


I'm not sure if Canaan & I have a cold or if it's just allergies. 
This is an alternative to chicken noodle soup.
Can easily be made vegetarian by using vegetable bouillon.

"This is really simple, but really good. Sometimes the simplest recipes taste the best." - Ryan

approx 8 servings

3 T olive oil
1/2 chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
2 qt water
4 t chicken or vegetable bouillon 
1 t salt
1/2 t black pepper
1/2 head cabbage, cored and coarsely chopped
1 can Italian style diced tomatoes

In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. 
Stir in onion and garlic.
Cook until onion is transparent, about 5 minutes.
Stir in water, bouillon, salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil, then stir in cabbage.
Simmer until cabbage wilts, about 10 minutes
Stir in tomatoes.
Return to boil.

Then simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.


serves 1

1 banana
1/4 C Nutella 
1/2 C milk
2 T honey, agave, stevia or sugar
a couple of ice cubes

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. 
Serve immediately.

TIP: For a breakfast shake, add 1/4 C rolled oats or granola. 


I had some leftover dough from the Cheesy Zucchini Galette the other night so it was a perfect item to make a fruit "tart" this morning. 

Use the recipe to make the dough from the Galette I made the other night.
or refrigerated pie crust

Use a variety of fresh fruit: 
(about 2-3 cups total)
Fresh peeled & sliced peaches
Fresh sliced strawberries
Fresh blueberries, blackberries or raspberries

2 - 4 T sugar
2 - 4 T flour
3 - 6 T raw turbinado sugar 
(or more white sugar if you don't have it)

Preheat oven to 450°. 

Roll or lay out the crust on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or on a seasoned baking stone.

Mix together whatever combination of fruit you desire (I used blueberries and blackberries.) plus 2 or more T flour and 2 or more T sugar in a bowl. Pour over the crust leaving a 1 to 2 inch border. 

Fold up the uncovered border over the edge of the fruit and pinch into pleats. 

Sprinkle the crust and fruit filling with 3 or more T of raw sugar (or white sugar if you don't have it).

Bake until slightly golden brown, approx 12 to 20 minutes depending on your altitude and oven.

Sprinkle with more sugar, if desired.

Cut into sections like you would a pie.

Serve warm or at room temperature.


So this was a HUGE hit with my boys tonight. Was very surprised since it didn't have any meat in it but am very happy since this is one of my favorite things to it's theirs too.

I have always loved French cuisine. In college, I was fortunate to be able to study in Oxford, England for a semester and my spring break was spent in Paris where I obviously was truly introduced to their wonderful world of food. Then when a foreign exchange student Mathilde (aka Matu) from Paris lived with us one summer several years ago, not only did we become good friends, but I adored her cooking! Thank you for all the early morning and late night crepes, Matu! Love you girl!!!

Galette is a general term for a round French crust, even pancakes are considered galettes in some French regions. I believe in Canada they even refer them to as cookies. I personally like a classic French flaky type free-form crust for sweet or savory dishes. 

6 servings

1 1/4 C flour, chilled in freezer for at least 30 minutes
1/4 t salt
8 T cold unsalted butter, but into pieces and chilled again
1/4 C sour cream
2 t fresh lemon juice
1/4 C ice water

Whisk together the flour and salt in a large bowl. Sprinkle bits of butter over dough and using a pastry blender, cut it into until the mixture resembles coarse meal with the biggest pieces of butter the size of tiny peas. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice and water and add this to the butter/flour mixture. With your fingertips or a wooden spoon, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Pat the lumps into a ball; do not overwork the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least for an hour.

1 large or 2 small zucchinis, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
1 T plus 1 t olive oil
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1/2 C ricotta cheese
1/2 C grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 C shredded mozzarella
1 T basil leaves, thinly sliced if fresh

Spread zucchini out over several layers of paper towels. Sprinkle with 1/2 t salt and let drain for 30 minutes; gently blot tops of zucchini dry with paper towels before using. In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil and garlic together; set aside. In a separate bowl, mix ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella and 1 t of the garlicky olive oil together and season with salt and pepper to taste. 

To make the filled Galette
Preheat oven to 400°. On a floured surface, roll dough out into 12 inch round. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet lined with parchment paper or seasoned pizza stone. Spread ricotta mixture evenly over bottom of dough, leaving 2 inch border. Shingle zucchini attractively on top of ricotta in concentric circles, starting at the outside edge. Drizzle remaining T of garlic and olive oil mixture evenly over zucchini. Fold border over filling, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open.

1 egg yolk eaten with 1 t water

Brush crust with glaze.

Bake galette until the cheese is puffed, zucchini is slightly wilted and galette is golden brown, approx 30-40 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle with basil (I thought I had some basil but didn't so that's why you don't see it on mine.) , let stand for 5 minutes.

Slide galette onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or at room temperature. 


Yet another thing I've made for the new baby. Although these items are not really what I'll be hanging up in her room, I wanted to show you some things you could hang. You may decide just to hang your child's artwork or just photos, or bows & hats, etc. The options are endless.

What you'll need:
old frame or frame from clearance  (Hobby Lobby!)
measuring tape
upholstery tacks
scissors or wire cutters
pliers or jewelry pliers
glitter glue
mini clothespins 

Pin clothespins to a piece of cardboard or cardstock. Take your glitter glue and "paint" the tops of the clothespins in very close lines, going back and forth. Allow to dry over night. 

If your frame doesn't already have a hanger on the back then put one or two on.

Place your frame on a rug or carpeted floor. Using your measuring tape, evenly space the spots where you'll place your upholstery tacks making sure that both sides of the frames where you have the spots correspond with each other. Gently hammer in the upholstery tacks leaving a little space in between the frame and the tops of the tacks. 

Take the end of the wire and tightly wrap it around the base of one tack, turning the end in so that it does not show. Now pull it taught across the other side of the frame to the corresponding tack and again wrap it tightly around the base of that tack. Cut with scissors or wire cutter and turn the end in so that it does not show. Continue with the other tacks.

You can now hang up your frame.

TIP: If there are any chips or scratches in the frame, using a felt tip marker, preferably permanent but you can also use a crayon or other to fill in the unsightly marks. 

Using the glittered mini clothespins, safety pins or other type hangers, hang what you will onto the wires.


These are so light and yummy, I dare say this is my favorite blueberry muffin recipe.

makes 12 muffins

2 eggs
1 C sugar
1/2 C oil
1/2 t vanilla
2 C flour
1/2 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
1 C sour cream
1 1/2 C blueberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 12 muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.

In large bowl, beat eggs, gradually adding sugar while beating. Continue beating while slowly pouring in oil. Stir in vanilla. 

In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt.

Stir dry ingredients into egg mixture alternating with sour cream.

Gently fold in blueberries.

Scoop batter into prepared muffin cups.

Bake for 20 minutes. 


This is a great, tasty way to get more veges in. We all loved it, even my 2 year old!

Using my normal bread recipe with a little variation...

1 envelope yeast or 2 1/4 t yeast
2 C warm water
1/2 C sugar or honey
1 t salt
1 egg
1/3 C oil
1 tub garlic & herb spreadable cheese (picture below)
5 oz fresh spinach
4 - 4 1/2 C flour
(I use unbleached white wheat.)

Mix yeast and warm water together and let sit for 5 min in a warm place.
Add sugar, salt, egg and oil; mix well. 
Add cheese, then spinach; mix well.

Add flour; mix well then knead.
Place in greased loaf pan.
Allow to rise for 1 hour in a warm place.

Bake at 350-375 degrees for 15-20 minutes. 


I've had my eye on a Pottery Barn baby mobile for years but didn't want to spend $59 or more and besides it's discontinued anyway. Even handmade ones on Etsy are $45 or more. So I had to make one myself for under $20! 

This is the one I made for our baby's room.

What you'll need:

14" - 16" embroidery hoop (bigger or smaller depending on how big or small you want the mobile to be)
acrylic paint and brush, if desired
card stock or other craft paper & shape template or shape punch
nylon thread or fishing wire
hot flat iron for hair (just trust me)
small glass beads
1 small metal or plastic ring, 1" or larger
ceiling hook

You can do whatever shape you desire: butterflies, birds, circles, airplanes, cars, hearts, animals, rain drops, etc. or even a mixture of shapes like I did. 

Use only the inside hoop of the embroidery hoop, the one without the screw.
Paint the hoop both inside & outside with acrylic paint, if desired.

All of these measurements are approximate so feel free to do what you want.
When dry, take 4 pieces of the nylon thread measuring approx 48" each. The nylon thread will want to curl, so whip out your hot flat iron and quickly run it across each string a few times to make it straight(er). This will allow approx 1' from the ceiling. Take the first thread and measure to 14". Tie a knot at a starting point on your hoop. Then string it  directly across the hoop. Tie another knot and leave the ends free until later. Taking another 48" piece of nylon thread and at 14" make another knot onto the hoop but this time it will be approx 6.5" from your starting knot. Each knot will then be approx 6.5" from each knot making it look like sections of a pie. Tie the ends to the hoop. Repeat until all 4 pieces are knotted to the hoop. 

Take the loose ends and one at a time, secure it with a triple knot to the 1" or larger metal ring. This is the top of your mobile.

Cut out desired amount of shapes, you can always go back and cut out more. You'll need at least 95 pieces if using 4 anchor "pie sections" strings.

Cut 17 or more of varying lengths of the nylon thread. The smallest should be no less than 12" in length.
To get a chandelier effect, the outside pieces should be smaller and gradually get longer towards the middle of the circle. Example: If you're smallest length of thread is 12", then you'd make 8 - 12" pieces, 8 - 15" pieces and 1 - 31" piece. Finished mobile will hang down to the lowest point of approx 32" from the ceiling.

Tie a knot onto a glass bead, cut off excess and thread with a needle through your first shape. Or using a needle, poke a hole through the shape or die-cut and then thread the fishing wire through it. Depending on how big your shapes are, make some space in between the next bead you thread and knot then the shape and repeat until you have a few inches up top in excess to tie later. 

Repeat process for each string except for the longest middle string, look for further directions below. As you finish each string, group them according to size to make it easier to string up to the hoop later. The longest string is what will hang in the middle and also as another support from the hanging metal ring. So, if desired for extra support," leave at least 13" from the top of your hanging shapes from that particular string. This is the only string you'll have to do that for. 

Starting with the longest string, tie a triple knot at approx 13" from the top to the middle of the "pie" then tie the very top of the string to the metal ring. 

TIP: At this point, it might be a little easier to hang the mobile so that you can see what you're doing as a you finish off each string to the mobile. 

Now take a 15" piece and tie the top of the string to the middle of one of the pie sections. Continue the process with the remaining 15" pieces.

At this point, you should only have the 12" pieces left. Take a 12" piece and tie the top of the string to one of the knots on the hoop. Continue the process with the remaining 12" pieces around the hoop. 

And that's it!