Connie A Thompson

Category Archives: Sunday Dinner

Sunday Dinner: Damascus Pumpkin Spice Pound Cake

Pumpkins

Whenever I see pumpkins, I can’t help but think of a little girl named Damascus, who is the antagonist in The River Witch by Kimberly Brock, the 2013 Georgia author of the year. Damascus is a unique and precocious child. Her mother has died and her father is overwhelmed with grief. Damascus decides that she is going to grow one of the largest pumpkins her town has ever seen. She also uses the pumpkin as a raft in the Damascus River. If you’re looking for a book that will touch your heart, make you laugh, make you cry, and make  you cringe (the heroine, Roslyn battles an albino alligator), then read The River Witch. You’ll be glad you did.

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In honor of Damascus, October and pumpkins, I’m making Damascus Spice Pound Cake for Sunday dinner. My house smelled so good as it baked. I promise your family will thank you, and trust me, it is so easy to make.

 

Sunday Dinner: A Halloween Treat

IMG_1099My mother loved to celebrate Halloween. When I was a kid, every October she would pull the witch made from cardboard out of her hiding place in the closet. This witch had a scary face, must like the wicked witch in Oz. Her limbs moved with the opening and closing of the door.

Mom noticed that one of the little boys, Scott had not been asking us to come out to play as he usually did daily. She asked his mother if everything was all right. His mother laughed; Scott was afraid of the witch on the door. When the witch disappeared, Scott reappeared asking us to play.

Mom loved making themed recipes. She had seen the recipe in a magazine and as my mother often did, she changed it up making it her own. Boo Pudding is a family favorite. What’s not to love about chocolate, cookies, and whipped cream?

1 Large Package of Jello Instant Pudding (Make as directed on box except do not place in refrigerator to set).
1 Regular tub of Cool Whip
Oreo Cookies
Chocolate Graham Crackers
Candy Corn
Candy Pumpkins

I found candy Peep Pumpkins, which would have tickled my Mom. She really loved the Peep Chicks that come out at Easter.

To make:

Crush Oreos and divide. Line the bottom of the dish with half the Oreos.

Make Jello Instant Pudding as directed on box except do not place in refrigerator to set. Add Cool Whip and mix together and place over crushed Oreos.

Top with the remaining Oreos.

Line the dish with candy corn. Place graham crackers to look like tombstones. Add pumpkins.

You can use the spray whipped cream to make ghosts by your tombstones.

Sunday Dinner: California Cuisine comes to South Carolina

Vincent Family Chicken and Artichoke Hearts over Rice

Vincent Family Chicken and Artichoke Hearts over Rice

I’m taking the day off from cooking and we’re having Sunday dinner at a restaurant with my family. Funny how most of my family has decided to take the day off and declined our invitation to eat out. They must really love my cooking.

I wanted to share one of my husband’s favorite dishes. When he was growing up this was a family favorite. I don’t think he realized it had mushroom soup though, my man detests mushrooms.

When we married one of the gifts my sweet mother-in-law gave me was a copy of the family cookbook. My husband has been working long hours, they have a special project and a looming deadline. He leaves early and gets home in time to go to bed again. When he does get home, he’s ravenous and what better way to thank him for all of his hard work than with some good comfort food. The man loves chicken and artichoke hearts. I must confess growing up in the South, and artichoke has never made it to our family dinner table until I met a man from California.

The recipe came to my mother-in-law by way of her brother, Bill and sister-in-law, Phyllis.

Chicken and Artichoke Hearts

• 4 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts halves

• 2 Small jars marinated artichoke hearts, drained

• 1 Can cream of mushroom soup (or other creamed soup) I used cream of chicken

• 1 Can cheese soup

• 1/4 Cup of milk

Brown chicken pieces on both sides and place chicken and artichokes in 9 x 13 pan Pyrex dish. Mix milk and soups together, add salt and pepper to taste, and pour over chicken and artichoke hearts.

Bake, covered at 350° for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Can be served over rice.

The smile my man had on his face as he dived into this dish after a long, hard day of work. I’m so thankful to my mother-in-law for blessing me with a copy of the family recipes. What a lovely way to welcome a daughter-in-law into the family.

Sunday Dinner: Happy Birthday Dad

P1000521Today at Sunday dinner we’ll be celebrating my father’s birthday. I’ll spare him by not telling you how old he’ll be later this week.

One year when we were kids, my Dad had become infatuated with poker. He played all the time. He even taught us a little just so he could play more often. I’ll still can’t remember much of what beats what, but I do remember having a great time when Dad pulled out the cards. Mom was an expert shuffler. She looked like something from Vegas with the way the cards flew between her hands. She was also great at Rummy, but Dad was the poker player.

One year for Dad’s birthday, I must have been around 8, Mom make him a cake. We rarely ever had store-bought cakes so this was not unusual. She spent forever decorating the top of the cake to look like a Royal Flush. She was so tickled with her creation. In another life, I think my Mom would have loved to have been a baker. I don’t really remember Dad’s reaction. I’m sure he was pleased.

This morning I’m making Dad’s birthday cake. The house smells like warm chocolate cake. Dad’s favorite is chocolate on chocolate so I’m sure he’ll be pleased. The cookout a few weeks ago was such a hit that we’ve decided to do it again. My husband will be firing up the grill and cooking hamburgers and hot dogs for lunch today.

Sundays are probably my favorite day of the week. I get to see my family. We’ll talk and laugh. My nephew, Ethan always provides a few laughs. My grandson, Daniel will be into everything. (This past week he put the remote control in the fish tank. I guess the fish wanted to change the channel.)

Sundays for me tend to be an odd combination of past and present. I enjoy when everyone comes over, but I can’t help but remember little snippets of the past when I was the child going to my Grandmother’s house. It is a family tradition she instilled in me and I’m so thankful and honored to be carrying it on.

I also want to wish my mother-in-laws a Happy Birthday. Yes, it is plural. Happy Birthday Jan and Shirley. Jan is my late husband, Mike’s mother. Shirley is my husband, Chuck’s mother. I’m so thankful to have two wonderful mother-in-laws.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you have a wonderful day!

 

Sunday Dinner: Grandmother’s Applesauce Cake

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Grandmother’s Applesauce Cake

This past Friday would have been my Mom’s birthday. My mother loved birthdays. For our birthdays, she would always buy two cards–one thoughtful and serious and the other funny. Mom was also superstitious, but being born on the 13th—she embraced that number.

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Randall, Dennis, Me, Mom

To celebrate Mom’s birthday, we’re having a family favorite this weekend—Grandmother’s Applesauce Cake. When you’re celebrating your birthday, it is only fitting that your own mother have something to do with it. So in honor of the two most influential women in my life, here is a favorite family recipe.

When you make this cake, be sure not to follow the directions on the box. Just follow the recipe below. I hope your family enjoys it as much as mine does.

Grandmother Rodgers’ Applesauce Cake

Ingredients for cake:

• Yellow Cake Mix

• 2 eggs

• 1 can applesauce (approx. 15 oz)

• ½ tsp cinnamon

• ¼ tsp nutmeg

• ¼ tsp cloves

• ¼ tsp ginger

 

Ingredients glaze:

• 1 cup powdered confectioners’ sugar

• ¼ cup orange juice

• ¼ cup butter

 

Preparation:

Mix all ingredients (do not prepare cake mix according to box instructions).

Bake for 30 to 35 min in 350° oven.

 

Drizzle glaze over warm cake.

Sunday Dinner: Cubed Steak and Back to School

 

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First day of school 2002

 

Tomorrow the children in our area are going back to school. Yesterday Walmart and Target were filled with parents and kids searching the aisles for school supplies.

 

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It made me think of back to school shopping with my son. He was only six and it was the beginning of first grade. We had the list of required school supplies. He wanted everything to be purple, his new favorite color since it was Donatello’s signifying color, his favorite Ninja Turtle.

Still excited over Ninja turtle action figures

Still excited over Ninja turtle action figures

While we were in the store a summer downpour came. My umbrella was in the car and I had just spent all of my money on school supplies. We waited. It kept raining. It did not seem like it would quit anytime soon.

Ryan looks up at me with his big blue eyes. “Mama, it’s only water.”

We run out into the rain. The sun is shining in spite of the downpour. We laughed and he splashed in every puddle there was on our way to the car. It was an awesome day.

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Cube Steak

Today we’re having one of Ryan’s favorites, cubed steak. Some may know it as chicken fried steak.

You’ll need cubed steak. For the breading you need flour, poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper. There is no exact amount. I just sprinkle the spices into the flour. Dredge the cube steak in the mixture, coating both sides. Cook in a skillet with the bottom covered in oil. I like to cover the skillet, it makes the steak more tender. I usually turn it a couple of times, checking to be sure that it is cooked evenly.

 

Sunday Dinner: Peach Cobbler

peachcobbler

My Mom and Grandmother loved any kind of cobbler. And when the peaches came in, there was sure to be a peach cobbler for dessert. But my mother and grandmother did not always cook with a recipe, they just knew. When Grandmother talked about preparing food, it was a handful of this, a spoon of that, and after decades of cooking, she just knew.

Sometimes in recreating their recipes, their is a lot of trial and error.

When Chuck and I married, his mother sent me a copy of the Vincent family cookbook, a list of recipes she compiled over the years of all the family favorites. I didn’t realize how different Southern cooking can be until looking at those recipes. Artichoke hearts is a favorite ingredient with their family. To me, it was just one of those things I saw on the shelves of the grocery store. Amid the recipes I’m not familiar with, there were many that I was including peach cobbler. Chuck is such a sweetheart. He loves to cook. He offered to make the peach cobbler.

We had to go to two fruit stands before he found the peaches he was looking for, the really ripe ones that demand your immediate attention.

Vincent Family Peach Cobbler 

4 C. pealed and sliced peaches.

Mix with 1/4 C. sugar and sprinkle cinnamon over the top.

Place in a 9″ pie pan and dot with pieces of butter.

Topping:

1C Bisquick

1/4 C. sugar

1 egg

Mix together and put on top of peaches. Sprinkle 2 or 3 tablespoons of water over the topping mixture and bake 25 – 30 minutes at 400 degrees. Top should be nice and brown.

Chuck also left a couple of the peach pits because his Grandma always said that it adds flavor.

Sunday Dinner: Celebrating Ashley’s Birthday

Amanda, Ashley, and Connie

Amanda, Ashley, and Connie

Families grow in the usual ways through births and marriages, and sometimes God has other plans.

In elementary school, Ashley was my daughter’s best friends despite the one year difference in their ages. They lived in the same neighborhood, rode the same bus, and went to the same church. Ashley spent many nights at our house, much like my best friend, Lisa did when we were kids.

Ashley and Amanda balanced each other. Amanda was adventurous while Ashley tended to be more cautious. Ashley kept Amanda out of major trouble while Amanda encouraged Ashley to try and do new things. Funny how life repeats itself, but in the Connie and Lisa friendship, I was the goody goody as Lisa used to say.

Ashley stayed over so often that she practically lived with us, but any time the girls got too rowdy or obnoxious as preteen girls do, I would threaten to send her home.

I always thought I would have three children, but after my daughter was born, my mother convinced me to have my tubes tied. No more babies for me. I just assumed that I was wrong; two children would be enough.

One night Ashley called and without going into detail, she needed a place to stay. It was only going to be for a few days. She lived with me for most of her teen years. I never replaced her parents. She continues to maintain wonderful relationships with them.

We often find God has plans for us to grow, and being a mother figure to Ashley was one of those ways we each got to grow. Ashley’s presence changed the family dynamic. She and Amanda were still good friends, but things changed and they became more like sisters, at times very close and other times at each other’s throats. Ryan now had two girls to pick on. My brother would tease him that he was living with the estrogen club.

Beach Pyramid

Beach Pyramid

This Sunday we’re celebrating Ashley’s birthday. This past week she finished her internship and will begin working next week as a dental assistant for a local dentist. She makes this Mama proud.

Ashley and Ryan

Ryan and Ashley

Ashley has requested a yellow cake and her favorite Sunday dinner recipe, my Mom’s barbecued chicken.

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Grandma Mary Anne’s Barbecue ChickenIngredients:

  • Boneless chicken breasts

•                Barbeque sauce

 Preparation:

Place chicken breasts in water on top of stove and boil until done. Check to make sure the chicken is no longer pink on the inside. For added flavor, you can chop and onion and/or celery and add to the water.

Cut chicken into small bite size pieces. Place in casserole dish and cover with barbeque sauce and stir. Thoroughly coat each piece of chicken. Cover with tin foil and bake for 30 minutes at 350°.

 

 

 

Continuing The Tradition of Sunday Dinners

Growing up Sundays usually meant church followed by Sunday dinner at my Grandmother’s house. We would all gather to eat and enjoy each other’s company. There were always family stories, old and new. It didn’t take much to become a family legend.

My Aunt Doris is still asked if her camera has film (even though she has a digital camera now). She arranged twenty of so of us including small children packed on Grandmother’s porch posing for a picture. She took several, each time setting the timer and nearly killing herself to get to her place in the picture. She snapped pictures all afternoon and then began to wonder why she did not have to put more film in – there wasn’t any film in there to start with. This was over thirty years ago, and it still follows her around.

Sunday dinners were always such a huge part of my childhood and I knew one day I would want to keep the tradition going for my own grandchildren. We lost Grandmother back in 2007, but the memories and the things she taught me still remain.

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You love your children dearly, but when you get a grandchild, it is a different kind of love. I think perhaps you feel more freedom because you’re the grandparent, you don’t have all the day to day care and responsibility, but you do have all the pleasure. And all I can say about my grandson is that he is just so stinkin cute, even if he did learn to say SpongeBob before GrandMom.

I hope you’ll join me on Sundays. I’ll be sharing recipes and family stories.