Orange Candied Pecans

Here in the South, we’re blessed with wonderful goodness like fresh veggies, fruits  (oh the peaches in summertime!) and nuts! Lots of Nuts. We have acres and acres allotted to pecan groves when the property isn’t relegated to peaches, so its only natural (to me at least) that the favorite ingredient in Southern desserts comes down to  pecans!



We always seemed to have plenty of nuts of all kinds available during the fall and winter. Daddy was forever coming home from the farmers market with big white bags holding all sorts of nuts that weren’t grown locally. I developed, at an early age a love of things like hazelnuts, black walnuts, hickory nuts and more.  Granny would always have  fresh pecans in abundance for all of her baking and cookie making. And she always cracked a few just for us kids to taste.  Occassionally, she’d crack a pound or so and clean them well then  toast them ever so lightly in a little melted butter. What a treat, warm from the oven!

My Aunt Betty, famous for all of her desserts and goodies during the holidays, would make wonderful glazed pecans crusted with egg whites and sugar. So this recipe for Orange Candied Pecans came into being as a bit of a departure from our family traditions but one that is loved dearly by all to this day.  As with all Southern recipes  the list of ingredients is simple and straight forward. You’ll notice most Southern recipes have short lists of ingredients, and the shorter the list the higher the quality of ingredients must be used. Pecans are the star here, but use the finest organic ingredients you can find. This recipe is splendidly simple, and just perfect for holiday parties and snacks!


5.0 from 2 reviews

Orange Candied Pecans
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Vintage Southern Flavor Perfect for Parties or Snacking!
Recipe type: Sweets/Desserts
Cuisine: Southern
  • 2½ cups brown sugar
  • 1 scant cup milk
  • 1 tbsp. vinegar
  • 2 lb. Diamond Pecan Halves, shelled
  • Rind of 1 orange, grated
  1. Place Pecan halves into large mixing bowl.
  2. Mix lightly with orange rind.
  3. Cook sugar, milk and vinegar at medium heat until syrup forms a soft ball when dropped in cold water. (watch and stir carefully 15-20 minutes is my experience)
  4. Remove from heat and pour over pecans and rind.
  5. Beat the mixture until it begins to sugar(crystallize) and quickly pour on waxed paper lined cookie sheet spreading out carefully (mixture is HOT).
  6. Separate nuts with two forks when candy has cooled.

Candy making is affected by the weather. It is impossible to make good hard candies in a moist, hot atmosphere. They become sticky, then sugary. So make these on a cool, dry day.

Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, bring to room temp before serving.


100 years of holiday traditions you just don’t mess with.

Classic family recipes call for a classic ingredient. Diamond of California nuts.

The only nut good enough for your mom’s mom’s recipes is the only one that should be in yours.

Diamond of California. Premium quality nuts since 1912. 

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Diamond of California via Glam Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Diamond of California

Potato Corn Chicken Chowder

 Cool fall days. They’re finally here and so I get to whip out my best soup recipes. This weekend’s choice is my Potato Corn Chicken Chowder recipe. This my friends is true comfort food ! All the things you love from potatoes to bacon and then some. Garnish this tasty delight with  a sprinkle of crispy bacon and green onions and a little grated cheddar and you have a hearty, belly warming dinner, sure to please your hungry gang!  Dress this up for company by serving in a bread bowl if you like. Any way you do it, its gonna be good!  You could even cook this in a crock pot, just boil off the potatoes first and adjust your cooking times.

5.0 from 1 reviews

Potato Corn Chicken Chowder
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Southern Comfort food at its finest!
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Southern
Serves: 4-6
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 rib celery, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 large russet potatoes, peeled and chopped small
  • Dash Worcestershire
  • 2 fresh boneless chicken breasts (skin removed) chopped
  • 2 (11 oz cans) shoe peg corn
  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.
  2. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic and saute in butter until the vegetables begin to soften, about 4 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle the flour into the pan and continue to stir for 2 minutes just enough to brown the flour.
  4. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
  5. Gradually whisk in the stock, then the milk.
  6. Stir in the potatoes and bring the soup to a boil.
  7. Reduce the heat and simmer the soup until the potato mashes easy with a fork, about 20 to 30 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile add 1 tablespoon of butter to a no stick skillet on med-high heat.
  9. When melted add in chopped chicken breast and saute until browned and no longer pink.
  10. Drain off well and set aside.
  11. Remove the soup mixture from heat and using a slotted spoon remove approximately ¼ of the potatoes to a blender canister and pulse several times and return to soup mixture.
  12. Stir in chicken and corn and return to heat for approximately 10 minutes or until at a rapid boil.
  13. Stir constantly during this period.
  14. Serve in individual bowls and garnish with your favorite toppings.

Sour cream, for topping
4 slices bacon, cooked crisp, for topping
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives or green onions, for topping
1 cups grated extra-sharp Cheddar (about 4 ounces), for topping


Super Secret Ginger Cookies

Over the past few days the alarms have sounded more than a few times as friends have asked for some of  my specialty cookie recipes. I’ve not been too proned to share the old family cookies, but if I don’t who will? And now since most of the old folks have left our earthly home,  I think its time to share some goodies.. Yesterday was one of those days, and my dear friend Audrey needed some quick and easy cookies to bring for a party at her daughter’s gymnastics class party today.  I’d just made a few dozen of these lovelies and the recipe is so simple  I’ll share it here too. Audrey said she thought she’d been given the holy grail of cookie recipes..but truthfully, this one was passed on to me by my bestest friend Sissy’s, Aunt Sis.  We must have been 8th or 9th graders and it somehow got into our minds to make gingerbread houses.  Hours later and covered in royal icing, our houses appeared for all to see (I wish I had a picture).  More than slightly lopsided, we thought they were beautiful!  The recipe below can be used for making gingerbread houses (you’ll have to make your own template or download this one from Martha Stewart or Paula’s made it easy with  this

Over the years, I’ve learned some things about baking, burned my share of cookies and tweaked some recipes to get the results I want, so here goes..
There are several variations in the preparation through carefully. If I confused you anywhere, feel free to let me know through my contact page, I’ll be happy to help. The picture above is the last favorite and by far the easiest!

Super Secret Ginger Cookies
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Soft, sparkly cookies. Perfect for a holiday party!
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Southern
Serves: about 2 doz
  • 2 sticks softened butter
  • 2½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3⅔ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2¼ teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground star anise
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground clove
  • ¼ teaspoon ground mace
Simple Decorations, optional:
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 cup colored or crystal sanding sugar granules
For Cookies:
  1. Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until smooth using an electric mixer.
  2. Add the eggs and mix until combined.
  3. Sift all the remaining dry ingredients in a separate large mixing bowl and mix well. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture until a dough forms.
  4. Remove dough from the bowl and wrap in waxed paper wrap.
  5. Refrigerate until firm, 2 to 4 hours.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease or line cookie sheets.
  7. Remove dough from refrigerator and allow dough to sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes, until pliable. Divide dough in half and put on a floured work surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out until it’s about ⅛-inch thick. While rolling, flour the work surface and rolling pin, as needed.
  8. Cut out desired cookie shapes with cookie cutters.
  9. Transfer cookies to a greased cookie sheet, spacing them 1-inch apart. (Yield depends on the size of your cutters.)
  10. Lightly brush cookies with milk and sprinkle with sugar granules, as desired.
  11. Bake until firm and edges begin to darken, 10 to 14 minutes.
  12. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow to cool on the cookie sheet for a minute, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
This is my favorite way to make these.
  1. Roll the dough into 2 logs that are about 2-inches high and 1-foot long.
  2. Wrap them in waxed paper and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. Once thoroughly chilled, slice the cookies into ½-inch thick rounds and roll them as balls into sanding(coarse) sugar.
  5. Place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. watch them beginning at 8 min, bottoms should be browned tops cracked but cookies will be soft, cool on rack and let pans cool between batches.(Yield on this method is about 2 dozen.)

The chilling and rolling and sanding sugar make these crackle and crumble on top and ever so beautiful!


Creamy Caramel Fudge

There’s not an ounce of chocolate in this fudge so if you’re looking for chocolate move along. If you’re a caramel lover, you’ve come to the right place! Kids love this fudge and so do the grown ups! Its super rich but oh so wickedly delicious.

I started experimenting with this recipe when I was a ‘poor’ graduate student and buying extras like chocolate cocoa powder were just not in the plan.

I’ve heard this called Russian Fudge (guess Chocolate was an issue for them too) but the recipe calls for corn syrup, which I cannot stand. And I think this is probably similar to what some call RedHead Fudge (sorry Vicki)(though I’m not sure). What I do know, is that this is incredibly rich and delicious. Caramel lovers will gobble it up! My recipe here is a little extended from my original version, which included melting the brown sugar with the white sugar milk mixture. The candy came out a little grainy, which I think was the sugar never being melted enough. So, I did the simple syrup and it worked! I use real butter, real vanilla and half and half. I’ve not tested this with margarine or skim milk so I couldn’t tell you the results. But you’re making candy, not diet food, so go ahead and make the full on recipe!

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Southern Pralines

Typical southern sweets like these Southern Pecan Pralines grace almost every southern household during the holdiays.  They’re not terribly difficult to make and you can change the flavor a bit by adding a little almond extract in place of some of the vanilla. But they’re yummy, creamy and rich!

I make these every year. (let the sisters in-law make the divinity and fudge!)

note:  Don’t create any unnecessary humidity in your kitchen while you’re making these!

Don’t turn on the dishwasher or cook pasta or boil water for anything.. Remember the rules for making fudge..same go here!

Also, invest the $4.50 in a candy thermometer you can get it at Walmart, you’ll be making these again!

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