Tomato Grits (My 100th Post!!)

I just realized that this is my 100th posting!!  When I started this I’m not sure I really thought I’d still be doing it 100 post later.  I’ve had a good time and I love the feedback that I get.  When the feedback stops is when I’ll stop.  So, if you enjoy the recipes please let me know!
Could be a law, I don’t know…but I think you have to love grits to live in the south!  We’ve raised a good southern girl who loves grits.  Savannah especially loves these Tomato Grits and wants me to make them all the time.  It’s a very simple recipe that I usually serve with shrimp or fish, then we warm up leftovers for breakfast the next day.  They would be a great addition to a brunch menu too.

My current recipe has evolved over the years.  I started making Paula Deen’s Tomato Grits years ago but after making a small change here and there this is how I make them now.


Tomato Grits (My 100th Post!!)
  • 2 c. water
  • 1¼ c. milk
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. quick-cooking grits
  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 4 oz. Velveeta cheese, cubed
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 (10-oz.) can Rotel tomatoes, undrained
  1. In a saucepan, bring water and milk to a boil. Add the salt and slowly add grits. Return to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 3 minutes. Add butter and stir until butter melts. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes, or until grits are thick and creamy. Stir in garlic powder, Velveeta cheese an Cheddar cheese until melted. Add Rotel tomatoes stirring to combine. Serve warm.
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Barbecued Oysters

We decided to take one last trip before Savannah goes back to school next week.  We went to Pensacola and had a great time visiting with great friends, eating at our favorite restaurants and going to Joe Patti’s!!

We brought home some oysters and fired up the grill to cook them last night.  They were DELICIOUS!!!  In fact, we brought 4 dozen home and were regretting that we didn’t buy more when we finished those off.

In the 5 years we lived in Florida we never tried to barbecue oysters.  We talked about it a lot, but not once did we try it.  If we would have known then what we know now we would have been grilling them all the time!

I made up a few different mixes to put on them, since I really wasn’t sure what would be best.  I’m going to share our favorite with you.  If you like oysters you will LOVE these!!


Barbecued Oysters
  • 48 oysters
  • 1 c. unsalted butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. hot sauce
  • 1 lemon
  • ¾ c. panko bread crumbs
  • ¾ c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • kosher salt
  • ¼ c. freshly chopped parsley
  1. Heat grill to 400 - 500 degrees.
  2. While grill heats, scrub oysters under running water, discard any that are open and do not close within a few seconds, set aside.
  3. In a saucepan combine butter, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and juice of lemon. Heat, stirring, until butter melts. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Mix panko, Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley, set aside.
  5. Grill oysters for 5 minutes. Remove from grill and pry off top shell, using oven mitts. Discard top shell. Rinse oysters with clean water. Sprinkle oysters with freshly ground pepper and kosher salt.
  6. Return oysters to the grill, shell side down. Spoon butter mixture onto each oyster, top with panko/Parmesan mixture. Cook just until hot and cheese starts to melt. Serve immediately with French bread if desired.
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Strawberry & Blueberry Salad with Almonds

I’ve been making this salad with strawberries for years.  It wasn’t until recently that I started adding the blueberries though.  After seeing the commercial for Wendy’s new salad with strawberries and blueberries I decided to try the addition.  It is so good that I’ve made it about a dozen times in the past 2 weeks.

The recipe comes from a cookbook that was put together as a fundraiser when my kids were in elementary school.  I’ve been toasting almonds in the oven and adding them to the salad.  The original recipe, and how I made it for years, calls for caramelizing the almonds.  I’ll give you the directions and you can do the almonds as you prefer.  Personally, I think the salad is just as good with the toasted almonds and it’s less trouble.


Strawberry & Blueberry Salad with Almonds
  • 1 bag Spring Mix salad greens
  • 1 c. sliced fresh strawberries
  • 1 c. fresh blueberries
  • 1 c. sliced almonds
  • 6 tbsp. sugar
  • ¼ c. vegetable oil
  • ⅓ c. white wine vinegar
  • ¼ c. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ tsp. hot sauce
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  1. Caramelize almonds by melting 6 tablespoons of sugar over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. When sugar has melted, remove from heat and add almonds. Quickly mix and spread of a wooden cutting board. Break apart with cool.
  2. In a jar mix oil, vinegar, ¼ c. sugar, parsley, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Shake to combine to make dressing.
  3. Just before serving toss salad greens, strawberries, blueberries, almonds and dressing.
  4. Serve immediately.
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Aunt Sara’s Chocolate Pie

aunt sara's chocolate pie


For some reason Greg and Wes always request a pie or a cheesecake for their birthdays.  This year Greg wanted a chocolate pie…like his grandmother use to make.  What a request!  Can anything really EVER be as good as a memory?!?

I guess so, because he loved this pie.  I made my Aunt Sara’s chocolate pie.  This pie is chocolate perfection!  Best served warm with no meringue.  (In my opinion, that is.)  Not in Greg’s though…he likes the meringue and he likes his chocolate pie cold.  Oh well, I guess it’s true, opposites do attract (:


Aunt Sara's Chocolate Pie
  • 1½ c. sugar
  • 4 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 4 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 3 egg yolks (set whites aside for meringue)
  • 1½ c. milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 lg. pie shell, baked
  • Meringue:
  • 3 egg whites
  • ¼ c. sugar
  1. In a large skillet melt butter. Add sugar, cocoa and flour, whisk together.
  2. In a small bowl whisk eggs yolks and milk together. Add to cocoa mixture and whisk together.
  3. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly with the whisk. Cook until mixture has thickened.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Pour into baked pie crust, set aside.
  5. To make meringue beat egg whites on high speed of an electric mixer until foamy. Gradually add sugar and continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Spread meringue over pie, sealing the edges at the crust.
  6. Bake in 350 degree oven until lightly browned.
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Cucumber Salad

My father-in-law came bearing gifts today.  Gifts of home grown tomatoes and cucumbers from his garden.  Yummy…right?  I had a tomato sandwich right away and it may have been the best thing I’ve ever had.  At least it was at that time.

I immediately thought of a recipe that my friend Debbie gave me for cucumber salad.  But after much searching, I decided that it must be on the same sheet of paper as the Jalapeno Popper Dip.  The sheet of paper that someone was glad they found in my shopping cart because it had lots of good Debbie recipes on it.

So, with a little inspiration from Deb’s recipe I came up with this.  I remembered that it had sweet chili sauce in it, so that’s where I started.  I think her recipe probably used all rice wine vinegar, but I had fresh lemon juice squeezed and decided to use it.  It is really quick to put together, has no fat and its delicious!  It was good right away, but better after marinating for a few hours in the refrigerator.

Thanks for the wonderful veggies John, you’re the best!


Cucumber Salad
  • 2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and chopped into ½" chunks
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • juice of one lemon
  • 2 heaping tbsp. sweet chili sauce (found near Asian food)
  • splash rice wine vinegar
  1. Peel cucumbers, remove seeds and chop into ¼" - ½" chunks. Sprinkle with salt a mix well.
  2. Mix lemon juice, sweet chili sauce and a splash of rice wine vinegar. Pour over cucumbers. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
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