Connie A Thompson

Category Archives: Sunday Dinner

Sunday Dinner: Remembering 1976



Newspaper Clipping from March 1976

It was 1976, the year of the Bicentennial, our country would celebrate 200 years. It was also a year of nostalgia, of remembering the past. Each week we spent an evening watching Laura Ingalls scuffle with her arch nemesis, Nelly. Laura lived on a farm with her parents and two sisters. Their lives were glorified on television. I was ravenously going through the Little House books, although Little House on the Prairie would always remain my favorite.

At my elementary school that spring they had activities to give us modern kids an idea of what it was like to live in another time. I remember how amazed my classmates were and all I could think was that I heard these stories every week at my grandmother’s. Of course the stories usually took place before I was born and in my young mind that meant they were ancient.


My mother made bonnets so we could be like Mary and Laura. Holly Hobby pictures adorned the bedroom walls I shared with my sister, Dawn. One brunette, one blonde, just like us.


As we celebrated the past, my teacher told how families would get together and have dinner every Sunday after church. For me, that wasn’t a story, it was a reality. I marveled how few of my classmates seemed to know their cousins. I saw most of mine every Sunday.

Each Sunday as I get up in the early morning to start dinner, I can’t help but think of my mother and grandmother. They did this too. It was a tradition they held tight to and I am thankful to be following in their footsteps.

This week we’re having pot roast, the simplest thing in the world to make. Put it in the crockpot, add some vegetables and seasonings, turn it on high and four hours later, you have dinner.


Pot roast for Sunday Dinner

Meatloaf Beaumont Village Style

IMG_0933Meatloaf has long been a family favorite. We often had it on Sundays at my maternal grandmother’s (we called her Grandmother) house, but for many years we had it every Monday evening at my paternal grandmother’s (we called her Grandma) house.

Connie, Grandma, Dawn

Connie, Grandma, Dawn

Grandma’s neighbor Mrs. Cook would make a pot of pinto beans every Monday for her. Grandma worked in the mill and didn’t have the hours devoted to cooking beans on the stove. Instead of the customary mashed potatoes, she would often make fried potatoes because that is what her four grandchildren coming to dinner loved. Grandma would also slice an onion and there might be another vegetable or two. Grandma always made the best cornbread.

Elizabeth, Grandmother, Ethan

Elizabeth, Grandmother, Ethan

Here is how you make a meatloaf in the Beaumont Mill Village style (both my grandmothers made it this way).

2 lbs. ground beef
1 small onion, chopped and diced (Grandma always diced it in larger pieces so that her picky grandkids would be able to pick it out easier).
2 eggs
2 slices of day old bread (grated or crumbled)
salt and pepper to taste

You mix all this together with your fingers. It is cold and feels gross.
Once mixed, you put it in a loaf pan.
Bake at 350° for about 45 minutes. (You may have to drain the grease off a couple of times, depends on the fat content of the ground beef.)

Once it is cooked thoroughly, remove and add a thin layer of ketchup.
Return to the oven for about 5 minutes.

And then you will have a meatloaf Beaumont style.

An Easy Sunday Dinner: Baked Ziti

BakedZitiMy grandmother would have never served pasta. I don’t ever remember her making it, but sometimes you just need and want to make something easy. So much goes into preparing Sunday dinner. Saturday I purchase the food. I usually prepare the dessert Saturday evening. Early Sunday morning I begin the prep work and then it is off to church. We go to the early service in order for me to return home and spend an hour and a half in the kitchen to finish the preparations. Sometimes I need a break, and making baked ziti is just that. My family gets a nice dinner, we have the opportunity to spend time with one another, and I don’t spend my morning in the kitchen.

Easy Baked Ziti

1 lb. of ground beef’

1 lb. box of ziti
1 jar bottled spaghetti sauce
2 cups mozzarella cheese

Brown ground beef. Drain oil off. Add bottled spaghetti sauce. Simmer.
Cook Ziti noodles according to package directions. Drain.

In casserole dish, put a light coating of sauce on the bottom of pan.
Add ziti noodles. Cover with pasta sauce and 1 cup of cheese. Blend together.
Top with remaining cheese.

Bake in oven at 350° for 35 minutes.

I usually make a large salad and of course lots of garlic bread.


What’s For Sunday Dinner? Back to the Basics

Pinto Beans and Cornbread

Pinto Beans and Cornbread

You can’t get any more basic than pinto beans. My mother had a pressure cooker she used to make pinto beans. It only took an hour or so, of course I’m calling on memory from childhood so I’m not even sure about the amount of time.

Beans were also a staple at my grandmother’s table. Green, lima, Northern, navy, and of course pinto beans.

I have found using my crockpot is the best way to make pinto beans. You need to sort the beans looking for any that are deformed, broken, and sometimes you’ll find small pebbles.

photo 1-2

1. Sort the beans

You must first start by soaking them overnight.

photo 2-2

2. Soak beans overnight

Once they’ve soaked over night, drain off all the water, rinse them, and refill with fresh. The water should cover the beans, and then add at least another two to three inches above them. For seasoning I add fatback, not much, just a little. I always remove it before serving. Cover the crockpot and turn it on high. They will be ready in a little over 4 hours.

Pinto Beans and Cornbread

Pinto Beans and Cornbread

Serve with cornbread. Some like chow-chow (I don’t). My brother loves to have an onion with his. I have a cousin who prefers ketchup. My mother liked to add tomato juice. This makes a great economical dinner.

In addition to pinto beans and cornbread, I also served roasted chicken, green beans, corn, macaroni and cheese, stewed potatoes, and corn.

photo 4-2

And of course there is nothing cuter than a little kid. My grandson couldn’t wait for everyone to get there and started without them. He’s making sure his grandad, who just arrived isn’t going to take his plate.

For dessert we had Daniel’s left-over birthday cake. This little sweetie turned 2 this past week, and Elmo is his current favorite. His mother is holding his arms tight because he kept trying to lick the icing.



The Beginning of a Family Tradition

Mary "Naomi" Goudelock 1886 - 1958

Mary “Naomi” Goudelock
1886 – 1958

I never got to meet her. She passed before I was born and yet she has had such an impact on my life.

My first reaction when I first saw this picture was to wonder what my mother was doing dressed up in old timey era clothes. I really thought this was one of those pictures they take in places like Gatlinburg, TN. I was wrong. It is actually a picture of her maternal grandmother.

I’ve heard many stories about this woman. She lost her husband in an accident at Beaumont Mill. When management told her she would have to move to a smaller house, she bought one instead. She had to have room for her cow and chickens. Family legend says that management not only fired her but her sons that were working at the mill as well. She took in boarders to help with finances.

This is a story my grandmother, Laura Rodgers once told me.

Sometimes a man would walk up from the railroad to our back door looking for food. Mama always gave them something, and she would try to give them a good meal when she could. I asked Mama how come people always knew she would feed them. She said they had a way of marking houses that were friendly to folks. I searched looking for that mark and never did find it.

My grandmother said she started the Sunday dinner tradition because that was what her mother did. She liked having her children and grandchildren come for dinner. There was never enough room at the table and you’d find people eating their dinner anywhere they could find a spot. On warm sunny days the front porch was a favorite.

Today I will continue the family tradition. I’ll have the roast in the crockpot first thing in the morning. When I get back (we go to the early service) I’ll make the macaroni and cheese and finish everything else up. Since we didn’t get to celebrate a couple of weeks ago for my brother, Dennis’ birthday we’ll do that today. Banana pudding is his desert of choice.

I hope you enjoyed hearing a little about Mary “Naomi” Goudelock, the one my family should thank for first beginning this tradition.

Check back next Sunday. I’ll have another story and I promise to bring you the recipe of a family favorite.

Merry Christmas Y’all Cranberry White Chocolate Cookies

Cranberry White Chocolate Cookies

Cranberry White Chocolate Cookies

On Christmas Eve, we would return home after a night of celebrating with my Dad’s family. We were hurried to bed for Santa would soon be coming, and of course he would not stop if we were still awake.

After we slipped into pajamas, Mama would read The Night Before Christmas as we munched on cookies and drank milk. Afterwards we would all help (there were four of us) and put cookies out for Santa. Sometimes they were simple store-bought Oreos or chocolate chips, but there were times when Mama would spend the day baking with us and we’d leave him home-made cookies.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care...

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care…

Last week I got to meet with my book club for our December selection, The Christmas Train by David Baldacci and a cookie swap. I was surprised to find that everyone brought different cookies. I made Cranberry White Chocolate Cookies and they received rave reviews. If you’d like the recipe, click over to the link.  On Christmas Eve, I’ll be leaving Santa some of these hoping he’ll leave some wonderful goodies for my family.

Merry Christmas Y’all

Sunday Dinner: Celebrating My Firstborn


Number One Son

At Sunday dinner, we’ll be celebrating the birth of my firstborn, my one and only son. Some women become mothers in those first minutes after their child’s birth. Other women do not experience that moment until later and unfortunately some never experience it. I am one of the fortunate ones. I remember the weight of him in my arms, the overwhelming beauty and depth of those first moments, the miracle that this baby boy with ten figures, ten toes, and a slightly rosy complexion had come through me. This is the most profound moment of my life. I was finally the one thing I knew God had put me on earth to be, a mother. Of course, minutes later the enormity of the task at hand overwhelmed me. My own mother had trained me well, but it is daunting to know that you are responsible for this child in your arms.


My firstborn with his nephew.


12th birthday


Now as I look at my grown son, I’m proud of the man he is, the paths he has taken, and the future he has planned. Of course, there is a secret all mothers of grown children know, hidden beneath the adult they are, they are still that infant in your arms, the toddler that wants to play, the preschooler that loves the Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles, the schoolboy that hates to study, and the slightly rebellious teen. These images are like the best home movies in my mind.


With my Mom


Our family of three


Aquarium at the beach


The big brother with his newborn sister


Today, we will have my son’s favorites: cubed steak (chicken fried steak), rice with milk gravy, biscuits, and a strawberry cake.

Sunday Dinner: Chocolate Coca Cola Cake


Chocolate Coca Cola Cake

We’re celebrating my daughter-in-law, Casey’s birthday this weekend. She and my son first met as kids at the skating rink. She broke his heart, and they lost touch. Years later, they ran into each other. He asked her out, and they’ve been together ever since.

As a mom, you worry about whom your son will marry. You only want the best for your child. My son married an exceptional young woman. They complement one another bringing out the best in each other.

Casey is truly a blessed addition to our family. She is an amazingly beautiful and talented woman. My son is a lucky man.

Casey loves chocolate. She requested a Chocolate Coca Cola Cake for her birthday. It is easy to make from scratch cake and your family will thank you once they taste it.

Chocolate Coca Cola Cake


  • 2 cups unsifted all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 3 Tbs. cocoa
  • 1 cup Coca Cola
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows

The marshmallows will rise to the top of the batter


  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 3 Tbs. cocoa
  • 7 Tbs. Coca Cola
  • 1 box confectioner’s sugar (About 3 ½ cups)
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts) This is optional. No nuts for my family.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  • Mix the flour and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
  • Heat butter, cocoa, and the Coca Cola in a saucepan until it boils.
  • Pour hot mixture over the flour and sugar.  Mix well.
  • Add the buttermilk, eggs, baking soda, vanilla and marshmallows and mix well.   The marshmallows will rise to the top and the batter will seem thin, but that’s ok. Pour into a 9″x13″ baking pan that has been sprayed with nonstick baking spray. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or just until a pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Make the icing as soon as the cake comes out of the oven.

  • Place the butter in a saucepan on medium heat with the cocoa powder and Coca Cola.  Heat until the butter is melted and it is all well blended.
  • Pour over the box of confectioner’s sugar and mix until it’s smooth. If you are adding nuts, stir them in.
  • Spread the icing over the cake while it is still warm.

Thankful for Sunday Dinner Family Tradition

Many of my friends on Facebook are doing thirty days of thankfulness. Today, I am thankful for Sunday dinners. It is a tradition my grandmother, Laura Rodgers began with her family, and it is a tradition passed down from her mother.


Sunday Dinner August 2000

Every Sunday the family would gather at my grandmother’s house after church. The main entree would change, but every week you could just about always count on mashed potatoes, green beans, pinto beans, macaroni and cheese, corn, biscuits, and cornbread. Depending on the season, there might be additional vegetable dishes.

As I was looking through photo albums for pictures for this post, I was amazed at how many pictures were taken at my grandmother’s house, even more than the home I grew up in.


Connie at Sunday Dinner April 1968

When grandmother passed, at her funeral the preacher spoke of the Sunday dinners she always cooked. He called me out, encouraging me to continue the tradition. For a little while, I took a break. Cooking for more than a dozen people can be quite a chore, but I no longer see it as that. Sunday dinners are a way to keep the family together, spending time with one another. I still serve many of grandmother’s traditional offerings, but sometimes we might just have spaghetti. My husband loves to grill, which he will be doing today.


Grandmother on her porch. Sunday dinner August 2000.

After dinner, the guys may watch a race or a ball game. My grandson, Daniel will run around entertaining everyone. We might play Quirkle or Blokus. My niece, Elizabeth usually wins. We can’t play Scrabble, my brothers and I are too competitive for that and our inner children tend to come out, which isn’t pretty.

In a time where people often lament that families never get together, I’m so happy that mine still does, every Sunday after church.

Sunday Dinner: Celebrating My Hubby’s Birthday

photo-7One of my husband’s favorite desserts is chocolate cake. We celebrated at Outback on Thursday, but he asked me to wait until Sunday dinner to make his birthday cake. I wanted to do something special, something more than a cake from a box. I mentioned it to my friend, Kate and she told me about this recipe she has saying every time she makes it the cake comes out wonderful. She graciously agreed to let me share the recipe with you.


I saw this on FaceBook and thought I would share. Chuck loved it.

In special honor of my wonderful husband, we’ll be adding a little vanilla bean ice cream on the side. I won’t overwhelm him with candles, but I will hang the traditional Happy Birthday sign. It is just from a local party store, very similar to the one my Mom used to have. After years of use, the letters of her sign were coming apart and we finally had to let hers go. I was tickled when I found one to replace it with.

If you’re wondering, Chuck also asked for potroast and fried okra for Sunday dinner. And since those are two family favorites, I’m sure they’ll all be pleased.

Kate’s Chocolate Cake Recipe:
2 c sugar
1-3/4 c all purpose flour
3/4 c Hersheys cocoa   (regular or dark)
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs at room temp
1 c milk
1/2 c vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 c boiling water
1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour baking pan.
2.  Combine dry ingredients in large bowl.  Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on Medium speed 2 minutes.  Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin).  Pour into pan.
3. Bake 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack completely before frosting.
***  I use a glass 9×13 baking pan and check it early to make sure it doesn’t get done too soon.
Original Frosting recipe:
1 stick unsalted butter
2/3 c Hershey’s cocoa
3 c powdered sugar
1/3 c milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1.  Melt butter.  Stir in cocoa.
2.  Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating on Medium speed to spreadable consistency.  Add more milk, if needed.  Stir in vanilla.
After Kate sent this to me, she reminded me cocoa should be mixed with the boiling water for the cake and with the melted butter for the frosting.