Angel Biscuits

angel biscuits

I remember spending the night with a friend when I was growing up.  Her mother baked canned biscuits for breakfast and I remember thinking they were delicious and wished my mother would bake canned biscuits too.  My mother only made homemade biscuits, she was boring.  What was I thinking?  My mother does not cook like she use to and I love it when I get one of her homemade biscuits!!  To this day her biscuits are the best I have ever had.  I’m not sure what she does, but I can make my biscuits exactly like hers and her biscuits are always better…hands down.

This is my mother’s recipe for Angel Biscuits.  This is not her everyday biscuit recipe but her “special occasion” biscuit recipe.  These biscuits are mixed up, then refrigerated at least 8 hours before they are baked.  I bake these every Christmas morning.  They are delicious with sausage and ham or just buttered while hot and served with jam or syrup.


Angel Biscuits
  • ¼ c. warm water (105° to 115°)
  • 2 (1/4-oz.) envelopes active dry yeast
  • 5 to 5½ c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1½ tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 c. shortening
  • 2 c. buttermilk
  1. Combine ¼ c. warm water and yeast in a 1-cup liquid measuring cup; let stand 5 minutes.
  2. Combine 5 c. flour and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl; cut in shortening with a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly. Add yeast mixture and buttermilk; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in remaining flour, if necessary, to make soft dough.
  3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead 1 to 2 minutes. Cover and chill in refrigerator at least 8 hours.
  4. Pat or roll biscuit dough to ½" thickness. Cut dough with a 1½" round cutter, and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 10 - 12 minutes.


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Snack Mix

Snack Mix


Since my kids were small I have packed snacks for road trips.  The kids are older, and quite frankly, not on many road trips with us, but I still pack snacks.

On a recent trip to the beach I made this snack mix.  This snack mix travels great, and you will not find one at the store as flavorful as this.  You could leave the red pepper flakes out and it would be a great addition to your child’s lunchbox too.

I tried something new and I absolutely love it!  This recipe is basically the seasoning for Crackers with a Kick.  I substituted the crackers for a mixture of crispy cereals, pretzels and cheese crackers.  I did not use pecans, but I think it would be a great addition.  Also, I will definitely make a double batch next time!

Snack Mix
  • 3 c. Crispix cereal
  • 3 c. wheat Chex cereal
  • 2 c. Cheez-it crackers
  • 1 c. mini pretzels
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 (0.4-oz.) pkg. Ranch dressing mix
  • ½ tbsp. red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  1. Preheat oven to 300°. Pour cereals, crackers, and pretzels into a large bowl, set aside.
  2. Melt butter. Add Ranch dressing mix, red pepper flakes, if using, and garlic powder. Mix together.
  3. Drizzle seasoning mix over cereal mixture and mix to cover all pieces.
  4. Pour onto two baking sheets, spreading to a somewhat single layer. Bake at 300° for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Cool completely. Store in an airtight container.


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Penne with Sausage and Sun-Dried Tomatoes and the Ramblings of a Sad Mother





After shopping practically all summer then packing for weeks, we moved our baby girl into her dorm last Friday.  She started her freshman year of college on Monday.  She has worked hard and she is ready for this change.  That does not change the fact that she has grown up way too fast and I do not think I am ready.  Where did the time go?  Why wasn’t I warned about “mother guilt”?

My son started his third year of college, but he is living at home.  I was not prepared for these desperate feelings.  Maybe guilt isn’t the appropriate word here.  Maybe I should say sadness because time has gone so fast.  When the kids were growing up I spent all of my time with them.  I quit work to be a stay-at-home mother.  Both my mom, and Greg’s mom, stayed home when we were growing up and after examining the budget and daycare cost we felt that we could do it.  It was not always easy and I have had occasional odd jobs, but nothing that has taken me away from the house when they were home.  They were my life!  I have not made a decision in 21 years when it did not cross my mind how it would affect them.  Even my own medical exams and dental appointments were made during the school year and during the school day.  Every recipe I have made for 21 years has been a recipe that I thought they would like.  Every family vacation has been to a place they would enjoy the most.  When they were younger I spent every summer planning activities they would enjoy…crafts, putt-putt, painting pottery.  What am I to do now?  The day before we moved her out I sobbed all day.  I kept thinking that maybe I could have been a better mother.  Maybe I should have read a few more bedtime stories, rocked my babies one last time, tucked them in a few more times.  I was overcome with guilt/sadness.  Then I realized as much as motherhood is a blessing I have had these feelings on different levels throughout their lives.

Maybe these feelings are normal…maybe they are not.  However, I think mothers have always felt guilt/sadness about something.  It starts when you are pregnant.  You are comparing yourself to other mothers…natural birth vs. epidural, then breastfeeding vs. bottle, natural homemade baby food vs. jarred, stay at home mother or mother with a full-time job in an office and at home, your baby started talking before my baby (what have I done wrong), your baby started walking before my baby (what’s wrong with my baby), and the list changes as they grow but it still goes on and on.

At this point, I’ve done what I have done.  I pray it was enough.  I hope my kids are not on some talk show one day blaming their mother for everything!

I have great memories of growing up.  Times were different then.  My mom did not  plan activities for us, we didn’t go to the movies (although I do remember seeing Jungle Book at the theater), or have play dates, no pottery classes, or summer camps.  However, my childhood was perfect.  I played outside everyday with my brother and cousins.  We rode bikes, climbed trees, made mud pies, and recorded ourselves singing on an old cassette recorder.  I never had a video game.  It was enough though.  It was more than enough.  They loved me and gave me a great childhood.

Maybe that is it.  Love…maybe that’s all they need.  Lord knows I have done that.  Yes, they have made me mad occasionally but I have never stopped loving them.  It has been a blessing to have these last 21 years with my children.  I am so thankful that God chose me to be their mother.  They are wonderful kids and they have made my world complete.  How easy will it be to figure out this next phase of mothering?  Changing diapers was easy, the adolescent years were a little more challenging, adult mother/child relationship…I’m just beginning to figure out.

If you have an opinion on this I would love to hear it.  Maybe it can help me in this adjustment period.  For now, I know you didn’t visit NJSD to read the ramblings of a sad mother so I’ll tell you about this recipe…

On Savannah’s last night at home she requested her “last meal”.  A pasta dish that I cooked for the kids often in Florida, but had not prepared since we moved to Georgia, five years ago.  Pasta is not high on Greg’s list of favorites.  Over the years, if he was traveling for work, I would cook a pasta dish or order pizza.  The kids and I would throw a blanket on the living room floor, then sit on the floor for dinner and a movie.

I’m not sure why I’ve taken a five-year break because this is an incredible dish!  It is from an old Giada De Laurentiis cookbook.  The original recipe calls for two (8-oz.) packages of frozen artichoke hearts, thawed, to be added with the garlic.  My kids have never cared for artichokes so I leave them out.  Also, you may notice that there are no chunks of sun-dried tomato in my photograph. If you don’t like to bite into a sun-dried tomato, which a few in my family do not, you can find sun-dried tomatoes made with crushed tomatoes.  The brand that I found near me was “Bella Sun Luci“.  It is an 8.5-oz. jar labeled Bruschetta with Italian Basil Sun-Dried Tomato and Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  The extra basil will be fine in this recipe.


5.0 from 1 reviews
Penne with Sausage and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Serves: 6
  • ¾ c. drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, sliced, 2 tbsp. of oil reserved
  • 1 lb. Italian hot sausages, casings removed
  • 2 lg. garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1¾ c. reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • ½ c. dry white wine
  • salt
  • 12-oz. penne pasta
  • ½ c. freshly shredded parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • ⅓ c. chopped fresh basil
  • ¼ c. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 8-oz. fresh mozzarella, drained and cubed (optional)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. Heat the oil reserved from the tomatoes in a large, heavy frying pan over a medium-high flame. Add the sausage and cook until brown, breaking up the meat into bite-size pieces with a fork, about 8 minutes. Transfer the sausage to a bowl. Add the artichokes and garlic to the same skillet, and sauté over medium heat until the garlic is tender, about 2 minutes. Add the broth, wine, and sun-dried tomatoes. Boil over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce reduces slightly, about 8 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the penne and cook, stirring often to prevent the pasta from sticking together, until tender but still firm to the bite, about 10 minutes. Drain the pasta (do not rinse). Add the pasta, sausage, ½ cup of the Parmesan cheese, the basil, and parsley to the wine mixture. Toss until the sauce is almost absorbed by the pasta. Stir in mozzarella, if using. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve with additional Parmesan.





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Almost Famous Coleslaw

Almost Famous Coleslaw

My family is extremely picky when it comes to coleslaw, including myself.  I love the slaw that I use on fish tacos with lime juice and cilantro and I love marinated coleslaw.  It is the coleslaw with mayonnaise that I get picky about.  I am not a mayonnaise hater…I just don’t want to taste it.

This coleslaw is a perfect combination of flavors and it pleases my entire family.  I like to serve it when we smoke a Boston Butt or when I cook cornbread and pinto beans.  Some of you may be wondering what makes this coleslaw “almost famous”.  Give it a try, you may find that it taste somewhat like the slaw at a famous restaurant chain.  It can be served after 2 hours but I like it best after 24 hours.

Almost Famous Coleslaw
  • 9 c. finely shredded cabbage or 2 (10-oz.) bags
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • ½ c. sugar
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ⅛ tsp. ground pepper
  • ½ c. mayonnaise
  • ¼ c. milk
  • ¼ c. buttermilk
  • 2½ tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1½ tbsp. white vinegar
  1. Combine cabbage and carrot in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk together sugar, salt, pepper, mayonnaise, milk, buttermilk, lemon juice, and vinegar until blended; toss with vegetables. Cover and chill at least 2 hours before serving.

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Pretzel Dogs

pretzel dogs copy

These Pretzel Dogs have quickly become a favorite of my family and friends!  I have been so excited about sharing this recipe with you.  I have tried dozens of recipes over the years, but when I discovered this Alton Brown recipe on food my searching was over.  These are perfect…pigs in a blanket on steroids!

These plump, juicy hot dogs wrapped in a soft pretzel dough are sure to be a hit at your picnic, party or tailgating.  Eat them alone or with mustard, cheese, or your favorite condiment for dipping.  Have fun with them and get creative with the toppings.  You can sprinkle the pretzel dogs with sea salt, cheese, jalapeños, or with the everything seasoning that I used (recipe follows).  Kids and adults alike will not be able to resist them and they will come back for more so make plenty!


Pretzel Dogs
  • 1½ c. warm water
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 pkg. active dry yeast
  • 4½ c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 oz. unsalted butter, melted
  • 10 c. water
  • ⅔ c. baking soda
  • 2 lg. egg yolks, beaten with 2 tbsp. water
  • Topping of your choice: Sea Salt, Everything Seasoning, Cheese, Jalapeños
  • 2 pkg. hot dogs
  1. If using a bread maker add the warm water, sugar, salt, and melted butter to the pan. Top with flour, make a well in center and add yeast. Set machine to dough cycle and skip to step 3.
  2. Otherwise, combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
  3. Preheat the oven to 450° F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.
  4. Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.
  5. In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a lightly-oiled surface, and roll into a 10x20-inch rectangle.
  6. Cut the dough into 20 1-inch wide strips, then wrap each strip tightly around a hot dog in a spiral, pinching the edges to seal, and leaving the ends open. About half an inch of hot dog should peek out of each end of the dough wrapper.
  7. Drop 2 or 3 dough-wrapped hot dogs into the boiling water for 30 seconds.
  8. Arrange the boiled hot dogs on the prepared baking sheets. Brush each pretzel dog with the egg yolk mixture, and sprinkle with the topping of your choice.
  9. Bake until golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Everything Seasoning
  • 2 tbsp. dried minced onion
  • 2 tbsp. dried minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp. poppy seeds
  • 2 tbsp. sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp. kosher salt
  1. Mix all of the ingredients and store in an airtight container.



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