Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Way Down South, Heavenly Rolls, and Finally a Daughter

At 22 years old and pregnant with my first child, I wanted a daughter.  As a child, my goal was not to own my own company, or break any records, or blaze new trails. No women’s-lib for me. I wanted to be a Mom and a homemaker.  My favorite toys were always baby dolls and kitchen toys and ironing boards with clothes irons… anything related to home-making.   So here I was in college accounting classes, working full-time, married, pregnant, and in a home of my own.  Life was good.

My Dad and Ryan 1994
A healthy baby to add to our small family and life would be perfect.  And I was sure, this baby was to be a girl.  But, alas, a girl was not in God’s plan. Ryan Alan Williams came on Sunday evening around 7pm and was ALL BOY.  He was, however, the most beautiful baby I had seen to date.  As my first pregnancy, I really wasn’t sure I was in labor that day.  I was “uncomfortable” and “crampy,” but was it labor?  I didn’t know.  So I paced.  

Our home was tiny, so it didn’t take long to walk from one end to the other.  I would walk to the back and into my bedroom, standing there for a moment considering if I should try straightening up a little.  But, once I stopped walking, the cramps would start again, so I would turn and walk to the front.  The 2nd bedroom was at the very front and had a large window where I would stop to gaze at the shop to be sure this baby’s Daddy was still there – we might be taking a trip to the hospital….but not yet.  So I would turn and pace back to our bedroom.  Back and forth I paced for what seemed like hours.  By noon, when I had to stop in the kitchen and hold on to the table in the middle of most trips, I decided we might need to go to the hospital. 

There was really no big hurry, because Ryan wasn’t born until 7pm.  And guess what?  He was a boy!  I had brought a beautiful pink and yellow sundress for this much anticipated baby to wear home.  These days it seems like pregnant women have sonograms every week, and even though they were very common when I was pregnant that first time, we didn’t have insurance.   Without insurance, we just couldn’t justify the cost of a sonogram, so we did it the old-fashioned way.  And here I was with a beautiful baby boy and a pink sundress not at all fitting for a first trip home.  Luckily, my boss, Gwen McKee, came for a visit to the hospital and brought a gift of an adorable blue jumpsuit.  It was so big it practically swallowed Ryan whole, but at least it was not pink and yellow with cute purple flowers. 

Daddy & Nic 1999
Six years later and pregnant with my 2nd child, I was sure it was a girl.  This time, however, I was smart enough to bring two outfits.  After being induced because this stubborn child was more than a week late, and spending all day waiting and waiting for the baby to come, it was finally time.  It wasn’t long before Dr. Ingram announced, “It’s a boy!”  Wait.  Back up.  I managed to raise myself up, look at him, and say, “You better look again.”  He laughed and said, “Honey, I don’t have to look again. It’s a boy!”  

Ryan, Nicholas, Me --
Family Vacation in Florida 2008
Nicholas is now 15 and Ryan is almost 22 – about the age I was when I had him.  And though I wanted a girl all those years ago, I wouldn’t change anything.  My boys have brought so much joy to my life that I can’t imagine a single second without them.  Yes, there have been tough times…  four wheeler wrecks, emergency trips to the hospital, lots of “boy attitude,” ball games won and lost, girlfriend heart aches, and so much more.  But, as you know, the good times far out-weigh the bad.  And for as much as I love my two boys, it feels great knowing how much they love me.  Being a Mom truly is the best job in the world. 

Ryan & Shelbie 2014
Such a cute couple. 
This year, I’m getting to experience another joy of having boys… the daughter-in-law.  Ryan and Shelbie were engaged in December and plan to wed this October.  I’m already infatuated with the idea of a daughter-in-law.  We progress cautiously, the beautiful girl and I… still unsure of our roles as this is a first for both of us.  I look forward to the years going forward and learning more and more about Shelbie, because I like the things I already know… she’s caring and sweet and a hard worker and smart and tough enough to reign in the head-strong guy when necessary.   I know we’ll make it work because we both love the same guy.  And I love the way my son is when he is with her.

If I didn’t already love her enough, this past weekend, Roger and I were traveling – no surprise there – in South Louisiana and decided to tack on a few days on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  Our sweet Shelbie, who works for a major hotel chain, went out of her way to be sure we had the best room.

When we travel, the two things Roger and I love best are stopping at antique stores and eating at locally owned restaurants.  On this trip, we were headed to an antique store and saw a sign for Prejeans Restaurant.  I could remember Gwen talking about how good it was so we decided to stop.  It was outstanding!  We had gumbo and shrimp, but the best part was the hot fresh rolls.  I’ve never had anything quite like them – I thought they were almost biscuit-like, but Roger disagreed.  They were slightly crusty on the outside and tender on the inside.  I tried, unsuccessfully, to track down a recipe for their roles so if anyone has one, send it to me!  In the meantime, we’ll have to make do with my favorite home-made roll recipe.  

My Favorite Yeast Rolls

2 (¼-ounce) packages dry active yeast
1 quart warm water1 cup sugar1 cup powdered milk1 tablespoon salt7 to 9 cups all-purpose flour1 cup oil

Add yeast in warm water combined with sugar, and set aside 10 minutes until yeast is completely soft. In a separate bowl, combine powdered milk, salt and about 5 cups flour.  When yeast is ready, add oil and mix well.  Combine with powdered milk and flour mixture.  Add additional flour, a little at a time, until it gets to the right consistency -- not too sticky (needs more flour) but not too heavy (too much flour). Treat inside of large bowl with oil.  Add dough and turn to coat with oil.  Set in a warm, dry place to rise to double in size.  Pinch ping-pong-sized portions of dough and place on a treated baking pan.  Set aside to rise again, about 30 to 45 minutes.  Preheat oven to 350° and bake 15 to 20 minutes or fully cooked and golden brown.  Makes about 3 dozen large rolls.  

Nicholas and Me - 2002

Ryan and Nic - 1998
Ryan and Me - 2004

Monday, January 14, 2013

Summertime Mysteries, Bigfoot and Sauerkraut

The big ceramic crock sat a dark corner of our crowded and dusty utility room.   It was a mystery unsolved by my eight-year-old mind.  I was forbidden to ever lift the lid and could only stare at it, imagining how it would sound and smell if I broke the rules and raised the top.  What would I find inside?  Would it be something good that my parents weren’t sharing with me?  Or maybe it would be something bad — a tragic family secret long hidden away from prying eyes.  I didn’t learn until many years later what exactly was in that crock.

I’m older now (wink, wink).   I know sauerkraut is made with cabbage and salt and tastes best when cured in a ceramic crock in a damp, dark place.  The pieces of those long ago summer days are falling into place.  

Mom (left front) with her
sister-in-law (The Aunts).
As my Mom and my aunts would chop endless heads of cabbage, us kids played outside – where summertime kids belong. There was a shallow creek with a sandy bottom on the property next door to our house. My brother and I and any number of first cousins would walk up and down the creek.  I made pies for everyone out of sand, watched the little minnows swim and basically made an annoyance out of myself. 

My brother is two years older, and I was pest.  Ask him. He’ll tell you.   I wanted to be a part of their games and their fun, but I couldn’t keep up.  And when they didn’t include me because I was too little, I found endless reasons to go tattle.  Any minor infraction was made huge in my mind.  I would tell my Mom about it with indignation and authority and stand by just waiting for them to get a spanking – they never (okay, rarely) did. 

Easter the year I turned 4 (pre-bigfoot
days).  That's me left front, Annette
on the right, Mickey is in the back
behind me.  (You may remember
Aunt Alice from another  post, that's
her carrying the basket and my cousin 
James just behind Annette. 
When my cousin Annette, who is older than Mickey, was at our house, the two of them barely tolerated me at all.  Mom would make them let me tag along so they would begrudgingly take me on their walks around the neighborhood.  When I became too much them to bear, their fun really started. 

Everyone would suddenly STOP!  “Did you hear that?” 

“What?” I would ask with my eyes big. 

“Listen!  Mickey, did you hear it?”

“I heard it,” he would say looking all around like something was going to jump out of the trees any second.  “What was it?”

“I don’t know, let’s look.” 

I didn’t know what was going on.  I would try to hold Mickey’s hand and then Annette’s, but they would just shake me off.  They needed their hands free to solve this new mystery.  

 A big production was made of searching around, looking in bushes, watching the ground.  “Oh No!”  Mickey would suddenly say.

And as Annette and I came running, I would see it there on the ground.  “What is it?” I whispered.

“It’s a big foot track!  RUN!”

And off I would run as fast as eight-year-old legs would take me.  By then, the shredded cabbage had been layered in the crock with salt.  It had been pushed down as tight as possible with a heavy plate and something of weight on top.   No clues to the mystery remained.  Everything was cleaned up in the kitchen with hot dogs and Kool-Aid waiting for lunch.  

When, about two weeks later, my Mom and my Aunts were enjoying the fruits of their labor  — Homemade Sauerkraut, I never linked it to the mystery of the crock. Sauerkraut stinks!   As a child, I tried to stay as far away from the stuff as possible. 

These days, I love good sauerkraut, and homemade is the BEST.    A few months ago, we had an abundance of cabbage from the garden, so I recruited my Mom to come over and show me how to make my own sauerkraut.  I got to see all the secrets that crock contained.    

That's one mystery solved, but I wonder if anyone ever found that Bigfoot creature?

Homemade Sauerkraut

5 heads shredded cabbage
6 tablespoons plain salt (not iodized)
Large ceramic crock

Wash, core and shred cabbage.  As each 1 or 2 heads have been shredded, mix the cabbage well with salt.  Layer the cabbage in the crock, a little at a time, pushing it down as tightly as possible.  When all cabbage is in the crock, press it all down as tightly has possible.  Cover it with a heavy plate, keeping it under pressure while you add a weight on top (a gallon jug of water works well).  Cover with a cloth then wrap with a band or string to hold the cloth tight.  Cover it all well with plastic wrap and allow to sit for 10 to 14 days or longer.   (We generally do 14 days.  But research shows that it can sit for as long as 6 to 8 weeks.  It depends, it seems, on how long you can wait and your taste preference – the longer it ferments, the more sour your sauerkraut.)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Lifetime of Fiscal Cliffs

Francesco Santalucia -
When I think about the fiscal cliff looming in front of our country... and I have to admit I try to think of it as little as possible...  it makes me realize how many times my personal finances have faced the same issue. 

The United State's fiscal cliff may be a bigger drop, but I'm here to tell you that when you are young, pregnant with your first child, going to college, working full time, and headed toward your own fiscal cliff, it feels much more personal.  

There is really no telling how many of these fiscal cliff fiascos I've managed to avoid over the years.  Moving out of my parent's home, getting married, and starting a family...  A divorce, single mom, buying a new house for my little family... a second marriage, building a house from scratch, starting a business... Each time, when things felt truly hopeless, that's exactly when they worked themselves out.  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

The one thing that gets me through these difficult times is faith.  I worry, I cut expenses, I agonize over the budget, my husband and I enter into our own committee talks about budget cuts to make...  But it's the faith that gets me through.  I read my bible more.  I pay closer attention to the promises God gave me. And I pray.  These are the times that I'm on my knees earnestly asking for guidance... help... solutions. 

And, because I know putting your faith in God works, this is my wish for our country.  That as a people, we can come together and get past this fiscal cliff with prayer and faith.   Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philipians 4:6   

Of course, when faced with fiscal problems of any kind, spending less is never a bad idea (for a country or a household).  One of the first things I always cut is eating out.  It simply costs less to eat at home, and when you live as far out of town as we do, it saves considerably more with fuel and those convenience trips by the supermarket, too.  But cooking at home every day can be time-consuming so I always turn to easy, time-saving recipes like these:

Busy Woman's Roast

1 (3-pound) roast
1 can cream of chicken soup (also good with cream of mushroom or cream of celery)
1 envelope Lipton's Dry Onion Soup Mix
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon each garlic powder, seasoned salt and black pepper

Place roast on a large sheet of aluminum foil. In a small bowl, combine soup, onion soup mix, Worcestershire and seasonings. Spread over roast. Seal foil well so gravy doesn't leak out. (I usually stack two pieces of foil.) Bake at 200 degrees for 8 to 10 hours. Put it on the morning and it's ready by dinner time.

Candied Sweet Potatoes

2 large sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon baking soda
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter

Peel sweet potatoes and cut in circles about 1/2-inch thick. Cover with warm water; stir in baking soda. Soak 10 minutes; drain in colander and rinse. Combine sugar, salt and 1/2 cup water in a saucepan; bring to a low boil. Add potatoes and continue to cook, stirring syrup over potatoes, until syrup is thick and potatoes are done. Melt butter over potatoes, stir and serve. Serves 3 to 4.

Southern Style Greens

3 1/2 to 4 pounds collard, turnip or
mustard greens (or a mixture)
1/2 pound lean salt pork or smoked ham hock
1 tablespoon sugar
3 beef bouillon cubes
8 cups water
1 tablespoon margarine
Salt and pepper

Wash greens repeatedly until all grit is removed–it will take a lot of washing. Drain. Remove and discard large stems. Combine pork, sugar, bouillon cubes, water and margarine in a large soup pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil 5 to 10 minutes. Add greens. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 1 1/2 hours or until greens are tender.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Contrasting Saturdays, a Surprise Visitor, and Bacon for Breakfast

Contrasting Saturdays,
a Surprise Visitor,
and Bacon for Breakfast

Not so many years ago, Saturdays at my house were mass chaos.  Two boys in the house can make a lot of noise. Combine that with friends over and televisions on and slamming doors and music coming from a bedroom or two and you have the formula for a not so relaxing Saturday.  As a single mother with a very demanding job, I wondered if I would ever have even a minute to myself again.  If there is anything you learn as you get older, it’s that everything will change with time.

These days, most Saturdays at my house are very quiet.  As often as not, it is only Roger and me home at our separate computers taking advantage of a little extra work time.  The biggest excitement of these Saturdays is loading Lacey (Nic’s beautiful black lab) in the truck for a ride to the store after we drop the garbage at the end of our driveway. 

Recently, the quiet of just such a Saturday was broken by the sound of tires on the driveway and a closing car door.  We had a visitor.  A long-time friend was traveling through from an archaeological expedition, and what a surprise we enjoyed to discover he arrived with a surprise gift in hand.   We carried the package, wrapped in thick white butcher paper, to my kitchen counter.  As it was unwrapped, the smell was unmistakable.  It was fresh-sliced thick-cut bacon from a local general store.  Yum.

Because Sunday always follows Saturday, the next day was destined for homemade pancakes with bacon and eggs for breakfast.  We enjoyed a delicious breakfast before church that brought back memories of livelier pancake breakfasts with young boys and more recent memories of a friend who took the time to drop by on quiet Saturday.   Perfection. 

Best Ever Homemade Pancakes

¾ cup milk
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 cup self-rising flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons melted butter

Combine milk and vinegar and set aside about 5 minutes (the vinegar will sour the milk).  Combine flour and sugar in a large bowl.  Whisk egg and butter into sour milk; add to dry ingredients.  Whisk until batter is smooth.  Coat a large skillet with nonstick spray and heat over medium heat.  Add ¼ cupfuls of batter to hot skillet.  Cook until you see bubbles in the pancake.  Flip and continue to cook until browned on the other side.  Serve hot with your favorite syrup. 

Spinach Omelet

3 large eggs
1 tablespoon milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter
½ cup baby spinach
1/3 cup shredded cheddar plus more for topping, if desired

Whisk eggs, milk and salt just until blended.  Heat an 8-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat about 1 minute.  Add butter and tilt pan to coat evenly. Pour egg mixture into pan and swirl to spread out to edges.  As omelet begins to set on bottom, lift edge and tilt pan to let uncooked mixture flow underneath. Continue lifting edges of omelet and tilting pan, working your way around all sides, until no more uncooked egg mixture will flow underneath and the top is just a little moist, about 2 minutes total.  Spread spinach evenly over ½ omelet then top with 1/3 cup cheese. Tip pan to slide omelet, cheese side first, onto warm plate; flip bare half over cheese as omelet leaves pan.  

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The View from My Kitchen Window

The View from My Kitchen Window

Sometimes, when looking out my kitchen window, I see grass that needs to be cut, a dog to feed, a porch to sweep… in other words… responsibilities.  There are times, too, when I look at life as a whole in that same way.   It’s all drudgery and responsibilities.  I focus on all the things that are not working exactly as I planned.

Today is a beautiful almost-Fall day in Mississippi.  After a few cooler days, the temperature is back up to the low 80s, but there is a constant breeze and just enough clouds to keep the sun’s heat at bay.   

On days like this, I am ashamed of the times I see only the bad.  Everywhere I look today there is something and something else and something more to make me thankful.  I am truly an imperfect child of God who is blessed has absolutely no room to complain.

Cooking, for me, can go this way too.  There are times that it is pure drudgery and other times that I love every minute of cooking – particularly for my family.  I come from a long line of cooks.   When I think of childhood, I think of gravel roads, wood burning stoves, the smell of wood as my Daddy worked on one thing or another, and my Mom in the kitchen.  I think of Granny Sis (my Mom’s Mom) and her seven-layer chocolate fudge cake.  I remember Big Ole Mamaw (my Dad’s Mom) and a big pan of homemade biscuits. These are the things that make me smile. 

Will Nicholas (my 14-year-old) have these same fond memories of eating at home with family?  I really don’t know.  But he recently gave me a very good memory.  One of Nic's favorite meals is ham steak with red eye gravy, scalloped potatoes, and yeast rolls.  One day this week, I made chicken salad for supper which he doesn’t really like.  So, I had left-over ham steak and served him that with some left-over macaroni and cheese plus sliced cucumber with a little cup of ranch dressing for dipping… such a simple meal.  And his simple response, “Mom, you are awesome,” made my heart soar. 

Today, when I look out my kitchen window, I see hope.  A beautiful 30-foot tall gum tree blowing in the wind, sunshine that seems to light each leaf individually, and wide open spaces... all this gives my heart a reason to remember the good things.  Lord, I pray, that I can see more of the good in every single day, every single person, ever single situation, for You told me, “all things work to the good of God’s chosen.”  With that, there is no room for complaints.

Red Eye Gravy – Is more of a method than a recipe.  Basically, once you cook the ham steak, use some left-over black coffee to deglaze the pan.  Pour over steak.  (Some people add butter and water or beef stock; I find that totally unnecessary!) 

Scalloped Potatoes

5 medium red potatoes
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk

Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350°.   Wash potatoes well; peel and slice thin.  Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat; stir in flour.  Add milk and whisk well.  Continue to cook until thick and bubbly.  Layer ½ potatoes in a 3-quart glass baking dish separating potatoes.   Season to taste with salt and pepper and cover with ½ sauce.  Repeat layers.  Bake covered for 40 minutes.  Uncover and make another 15 to 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. 

Note: When I’m in a hurry (when am I NOT in a hurry?), I boil the potatoes until they are just slightly soft, but not cooked through.  Then I slice them with skins for this recipe.  It cuts the cooking time by about 20 to 25 minutes. 

Yeast Rolls

1 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
1 package active dry yeast
2 tablespoons water
1 egg, beaten
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
Melted Butter

Scald milk; stir in 2 tablespoons butter, sugar and salt until butter is melted and sugar is fully dissolved.  Set aside to cool.  Sprinkle yeast over 2 tablespoons lukewarm water.  When milk mixture has cooled to lukewarm, stir into yeast mixture.  Stir in egg.  Stir in 1 to 1½ cups flour then turn onto floured board.  Knead in more flour using just enough to form a dough that can be easily handled.  Coat a bowl with melted butter.  Place dough in bowl, then flip over and cover.  Let dough rise in a warm place until  it has doubled, about 1 hour.  When doubled, pinch 1-inch balls from dough.  Make a tight circle using your thumb and index finger.  Force dough through the hole making a smooth round ball.  Place on greased cookie sheet.  Repeat until all dough is used; allow to rise again until doubled (about 40 minutes).   Bake in a 425° oven about 20 minutes.  Remove from pan immediately.  Serve hot.  

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


I call these YUMS because they are made with all the things I love best -- YUM! Even better, they are SUPER EASY.

2 flour tortillas (the small ones)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Butter, softened (or use spreadable butter)
Cool Whip (about 1/4 cup)

Preheat oven to broil. Quarter tortillas to make 4 triangles each. Combine sugar and cinnamon on a saucer. Spread butter over 1 side of 1 triangle. Place in sugar and press to coat. Butter other side then flip and press into sugar/cinnamon so that both sides are coated. Pull 2 corners together and hold with a toothpick. Repeat with remaining tortilla triangles, placing each on a cookie sheet as you go. Place in oven to broil about 5 minutes. (Watch closely and remove when they are toasted; they go from perfect to over-cooked quickly.) After broiling, they may flatten out some. Don't worry. Allow to cool slightly so they are easier to handle then gently squeeze from the sides to plump them back out. Allow to cool completely. Fill with Cool Whip (plump them up again before filling, if needed). YUM!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Unconditional Love, a Boy and his Dog, and Breakfast for Supper

One of the great joys of living in the country is ambling down our long driveway then turning left to walk along our little country road.  It’s barely wide enough for two cars to pass, but that’s okay because there are rarely two cars there at the same time. 

There are hundreds upon hundreds of trees lining both sides of our country lane, and as you walk, there is always something to see.  A rabbit hopping quickly across the road in front of you, a tree changing its colors from summer into fall, or maybe even random bones from some animal or another will all keep mind and eye entertained and occupied.  And as you walk and watch, the smells are changing with the view… here, the neighbor is cutting grass, then the muskiness of an animal close by, or the smell of muddy creek water.

Last night, I had the privilege of walking with company.  With the distraction of having another person there, I missed some of the usual sites and subtleties of the walks I love.  However, on this special evening, I witnessed something better—unconditional love.

It was actually too cold to be walking outside, but the sun was shining and I was craving the walk so Nicholas and I went anyway.   And, of course, Nic’s black Labrador, Lacey, followed along with us.  We started slow as Nic brought along his rock crawler (RC truck), but I enjoyed watching him maneuver it in and out of the ditches, over rocks, and across gulleys.  What I consider just a game, he takes very seriously.  He’s planning his route as he goes and concentrating on ensuring that his truck makes it successfully over and through every hurdle.

I’m getting running commentary on what it takes for a vehicle to cross over a “mountain” without flipping backward, or how to back out of it if it looks like you might flip, or how to get your four wheel drive out of a deep mud hole without digging yourself in deeper.  I’m pretty sure I won’t have the opportunity to put this knowledge to practical use, but  I listened and I learned anyway. 

When the batteries gave up on the rock crawler, Nicholas stashed it in the woods and we kept walking.  This is the part I enjoy most because now he’s talking about his days and his feelings and his dreams.  My heart doubles in size with my love for this 13 year old boy, then grows to almost breaking when I hear him say my name, “Momma.”  Then he grabs my sleeve, pulls me to the other side of him, and places himself between me and the oncoming car.  Unconditional love?  For sure. 

I had the pleasure of witness unconditional love again as Nicholas suddenly bolts into the edge of the trees, jumps across the creek bank, around a tree, back across the creek and sprints across a tree that has fallen across the bank.   All the while, Lacey is following, just as Nic knows she will.  They come out of the woods simultaneously, both jumping and happy and both knowing, unconditionally, that the other will be right there.  It is amazing and a true blessing to witness that kind of love and devotion.

I’ve walked this road hundreds of times in the eight years we’ve lived here, but this was no ordinary walk.  On this day, I heard the voice of God and it said to me that unconditional love is real and it is for me to give… and receive. 

So, what could a family possibly have for dinner after such a special walk?  Its breakfast for supper, of course.  Growing up, breakfast for supper was always special to me.  For whatever reason, it made me feel happy and secure and like all was right in the world.  On this day, when I feel that all is right in my world, I’m feeding my family breakfast for supper with a side of unconditional love!

Country Ham and Easy Red Eye Gravy 
Country ham slices, 1/4-inch thick
Brown sugar
Prepared coffee

Cook ham slices (do not trim fat) in a hot skillet for a few minutes each side. If needed, add some butter. Chances are the ham is already pretty salty so just sprinkle with a bit of pepper. When ham is cooked, remove to a plate. To make gravy, keep all bits and pieces along with ham grease and butter in the skillet. Add water by the spoonful to make a sauce. Sprinkle with a bit of brown sugar and a few drops of coffee. Serve ham hot
over biscuits with a spoonful of gravy over the top.
Recipe from: Georgia Hometown Cookbook

Quick Biscuits 
2 cups self-rising flour
¼ cup margarine, softened
½ cup milk
Dash salt
Large dash sugar
Melted butter (optional) 

Combine all ingredients, except melted butter, and pat to ½-inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutter or floured small glass. Place on greased cookie sheet and bake at 400° for about 15 minutes.Top with additional melted butter last 3 minutes of baking if desired.
Recipe from: Tennessee Hometown Cookbook

Cheese Grits 
1 1/3 cups quick grits plus ingredients to prepare per package directions 
1 pound Velveeta cheese
1 stick butter
1/2 cup half & half
4 eggs, beaten
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste

Prepare grits per package directions. Add Velveeta, butter and half & half. Pour small amount of grits into eggs (so as not to "cook" eggs), and then return all to pan, stirring well.Add cayenne pepper. Place in 9x13-inch buttered dish and cover with foil; bake at 375° for 25 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake 10 minutes. Serve warm.
Recipe from: Mississippi Hometown Cookbook