Granny’s Stew and Dumplings

This is what we always make for Christmas dinner. Almost everyone like it with ketchup on top, but I don’t think it needs it!

1 pound stewing beef
1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/4 cup shortening
1 cup onions, chopped
3 3/4 cups boiling water
potatoes, peeled and cubed
carrots, peeled and chopped
pearl barley
green beans
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons shortening
3/4 cup milk

Mix flour and spices.  Roll beef in flour mixture.  Brown in shortening.
Add onions and water.  Simmer till meat is tender – about 2 hours.
Add vegetables and cook till tender.
To make dumplings:  mix dry ingredients.  Cut in shortening.  Stir in milk.
Drop by spoonfuls onto stew. Cook slowly 10 minutes uncovered and 10 minutes tightly covered.
Serve with ketchup and rice.


30 Day Brandied Fruitcake

Mum’s had this starter since the 80’s. I think the link to the recipe is the same thing. It is full of flavor and super moist. We always send it to our grandparents in Hawaii and also serve it for dessert on Christmas!

1 1/4 cups starter juice (Like this recipe…
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 quart sliced peaches with juice, or more if needed
2 1/2 more cups sugar
#2 can chunky pineapple in heavy syrup, or less if needed
2 1/2 more cups sugar
1 large jar maraschino cherries, drained
1 1/2 cups brandied fruit, without juice
1 box yellow cake mix with pudding (or add one small box of pudding)
2/3 cup oil
4 eggs
1 cup walnuts, chopped

Mix starter juice,  2 1/2 cups sugar and peaches in a one gallon glass jar.  Cover.
Stir daily for ten days.
On the tenth day, add 2 1/2 cups sugar and pineapple.
Stir daily for ten more days.
On the twentieth day (total), add 2 1/2 cups sugar and maraschino cherries.
Stir daily for ten more days.
At the end of 30 days total, you are ready to bake cakes.
Mix together cake mix, oil and eggs.
Add fruit and nuts and stir well.
Pour batter into a greased tube pan.
Bake at 325 degrees for 50-60 minutes.
Cool in pan.
Invert onto serving plate.
Poke holes in cake with chop stick.
Mix some powdered sugar and brandied fruit syrup to thick glaze consistency.
Pour glaze into holes until no more glaze can be absorbed.
Cover holes with pieces of pineapple and maraschino cherry halves.

Fried Plaintains

These are so delicious and interesting. They remind me of hash browns in texture and the flavor is between a potato, sweet potato and banana.

2 cups water
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
1 1/2 cups canola oil
2 green plantain bananas


Combine water, garlic and salt in bowl and set aside.
In a large saute pan, heat oil to 32 degrees.  Peel plantains and slice crosswise into 1 inch pieces.  Carefully add plantains to oil and fry until golden yellow in color, about 1 – 1 1/2 minutes per side.  The oil should come halfway up the side of the plantain.  With a slotted spoon, remove the plantains from the pan and place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, standing them on their ends.  With the back of a wide, spatula, press each piece of plantain down to half its original size.  then place the plantains in the water and let soak for 1 minute.  Remove and pat dry with a tea towel to remove excess water.

Bring oil back up to 325 degrees and return plantains to pan and cook until golden brown, approx 2 – 4 minutes per side.  Remove to a dish lined with paper towels and sprinkle with salt.  Serve with savory dipping sauces (Ranch, Bang Bang sauce, ketchup etc).

Chicken Noodle Soup

This soup on a cold winter day with warm biscuits is probably the best. 

8 cups chicken broth
3 celery rib , sliced
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1 cup corn (or more)
2 cups chicken, cooked and chopped
pasta (to look)

Bring broth, veggies and spices to a boil. Let simmer for 10 minutes.  Add chicken and noodles and cook till noodles are soft.

Nutella Espresso Mug Cake

It started out with one and then I was sent to the store for ice cream and raspberries. Then made six more… That’s what happens when you have siblings. I actually split each mug of batter into two mugs to make it a more reasonable serving.

4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon espresso powder or instant coffee
1 egg
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 tablespoons Nutella
3 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons oil
1 pinch salt
whipped cream or ice cream
fresh raspberries

In a 10 oz. mug beat egg lightly. Add milk, salt, espresso powder, sugar, cocoa and oil and mix well.  Add Nutella and mix well.  Mix in flour carefully and do not over mix  Microwave on high for 3 minutes.  Serve with ice cream and raspberries.


We always triple this recipe into a jelly roll pan, so cooking it up to temperature takes forever. Mom had notes on the recipes reminding whoever makes these to wear long sleeve shirts and hot pads while stirring because when it boils it can sometimes splatter and burn. For some reason, a double recipe in a 9X13″ pan made the caramels too thick, so we recommend either doing two single batches or doing a triple!

1 cup butter
2 1/4 cups brown sugar
dash salt
1 cup light corn syrup
15 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Melt butter in large pot.  Add brown sugar and salt.  Stir till thoroughly combined.  Stir in corn syrup and mix well.  Gradually add milk, stirring constantly.  
Cook and stir over medium heat until candy reaches 245 degrees (firm ball).  Raise temperature if it gets stuck.
Remove from heat.  Stir in vanilla.
Pour into a sprayed 9″ X 9″ pan.  Cool.
Turn onto cutting board and cut into pieces.  Wrap in plastic wrap or wax paper 5 right away.

Peanut Brittle

This is Mom’s least favorite candy to make, so she usually measures ingredients, washes dishes and stirs each batch a couple times to make sure we don’t burn it. The trick is, don’t stir it the entire time, especially once the peanuts are added. Probably the most important thing to do is make sure your thermometers are working, so you don’t burn three batches like we did this year!

2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
23 cups nuts
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Line baking sheet with foil or Silpat mat.  Assemble ingredients.
Combine sugar, syrup, water, butter and salt.  Cook and stir till sugar dissolves and mixture comes to boiling.
Cook, stirring constantly, to 275 degrees on a candy thermometer.  This takes forever.
Add nuts and continue cooking, stirring constantly, till reaches 295 degrees.  Remove from heat.
Stir in baking soda.
Pour onto baking sheet.  Spread out and flatten with a spatula or wooden spoon.
Cool.  Break into pieces.  

English Toffee

This is probably the easiest of the hard candies we make. I’m trying to figure out the best way to get the nuts to stay on cause they tend to all fall off.

1 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons corn syrup
3 Tablespoons water
1/2 cup butter
1 cup chocolate chips, semi-sweet or milk, melted
walnuts, chopped

Cook sugar, corn syrup, water and butter in pot, until it reaches 300 degrees (hard crack), stirring constantly.
Pour onto foil, Silpat or really well greased baking sheet, making sure it isn’t too thin or thick. Let cool till touchable, but warm and dab with paper towels to soak up any grease on top. Sprinkle chocolate chips over and leave for a couple minutes to melt or put it in the oven at 170 for a couple minutes.  Spread melted chocolate. Sprinkle with walnuts and press gently. Let harden. Break into pieces.