IMG_2827In our family, lemonade and limeade rank along with iced tea for cooling drinks.  When our boys were growing up, we lived in the Dallas, Texas area where there were Braum’s  restaurants noted for their great burgers and limeade.  This is one of those copycat recipes for Braum’s limeade. Now, my granddaughters enjoy making tall glasses of the tangy stuff.

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

1 lime

club soda


cherry/cherry juice (optional)

Almost too easy to call a recipe – make a simple syrup by bringing 1 cup of water and a1 cup of sugar to a boil to dissolve sugar. Let cool.

Cut lime in half and press juice into glass. Add 1/4 cup simple syrup, club soda, and ice. Add cherries or cherry juice if you want a cherry limeade!  Put lime rinds back into glass along with ice.

Purple Hull Peas


I grew up in Cherokee County, in East Texas. In the summertime, along with all the other fresh melons and vegetables, fresh peas from the garden were often on the table. My mother was fond of Lady Cream Peas, Black Eyed Peas were favored by many (there is even a Black Eyed Pea festival in an East Texas town), Field peas, and the delicious peas in the photo, Purple Hulls.  You can buy them by the bushel at farm stands along the road and shell them yourself, but most often now I visit our Farmer’s Market in Sugar Land and buy a bag already shelled. I keep them refrigerated until I cook or pop them right in the freezer.

The plainest way to cook them after shelling is with some ham or salt bacon and seasonings in a big soup pot. Often I add bacon, chopped onions and peppers from the garden.  When they are ready, add some green onions, a slice of cantaloupe, and a pan of hot cornbread and you have a feast!  I never really think about having a recipe for cooking peas, but here is the list of what went into this pot. After the growing season is over, I always put a few bags of peas in our freezer so we can prolong the goodness.

Purple Hull Peas

2-3 cups of fresh purple hull peas, shelled and rinsed (my grandmother would have called this a “mess” of peas!

4 strips thick bacon, chopped

1 onion, coarsley chopped

1 sweet red pepper

1 green pepper

1-2 jalapeno peppers

water to cover (you may use chicken stock for extra flavor)

salt and pepper to taste

1 Tablespoon sugar (optional)

Add all ingredients to large pan, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer.  Cook, adding liquid as necessary for an hour and a half, or until tender. We like to serve hot in bowls so we can add some cornbread to the soupy part.

Chicken, Mandarin, and Pecan Salad with Creamy Lemon Dressing


We make a rotisserie chicken stretch into several meals at our house, and I am always trying new ways to use the “rest of the story” when I remove all the chicken bits from the bone. If time permits,  I also cook the bones and strain the broth to use in other ways. But I always pull the meat away, shredding or chopping as I go. Most of the time I have 3 two cup portions to use or freeze. This salad was a perfect lunch, using 2 cups of leftover shredded rotisserie chicken.  This makes 2 generous servings for a lunch entrée.

Chicken, Mandarin, and Pecan Salad

2 cups chopped Romaine lettuce

2 cups shredded cooked chicken

1  hard-boiled egg, peeled and sliced

3 green onions, sliced

1/2 cup chopped pecans

8-10 canned  mandarin orange slices


Creamy Lemon Dressing:

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

Combine all salad ingredients except oranges and toss. Drizzle with Creamy Lemon Dressing, then scatter mandarin slices on top.

Tino’s Chicken Flautas


In 1976, Joe and I and our sons Benjamin, Jeremy, and Sean  (age almost 3, 5 1/2, and 8) moved from North Dallas to the growing suburb of Plano, Texas. From the time we were getting ready to move to our house on Deep Valley until the time we moved from there, our favorite Mexican food restaurant was Tino’s, owned by Tino Trujillo. Even after we moved away from Plano, we tried to make it to Tino’s when we were back in the area. From the location we first visited in 1976, Tino moved to a spot in Plano’s Collin Creek Mall. Later, there was a third location called Tino’s Too. One of our favorite dishes was Chicken Flautas.

I can still remember Tino’s smile, his warm welcome, and his personal greetings to our sons as they grew. I was delighted to get the recipe for chicken flautas when it appeared in the Plano Star Courier, our local newspaper. There was a feature in the paper titled Cooking Corner.  This recipe was titled Pollos Flautas and was contributed by Georgie Farmer, whose picture appeared along with a plate of flautas.

Interesting to me when I pick up the now yellowed and tattered newsprint:  It does not say Tino’s Flautas, but I have always called it that. It has been many years since we had a meal with Tino, and he is no longer with us, so I can’t ask him. But these flautas are exactly like the ones I remember enjoying so long ago. We remember you fondly, Tino!

Tino’s Chicken Flautas

3 Tablespoons margarine (use butter now!)

1/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup chicken broth

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

1 Tablespoon parsley

1 teaspoon grated onion

dash each of paprika, ground nutmeg, and black pepper

2 cups finely diced cooked chicken

24 corn tortillas

guacamole and sour cream (optional)

In sauce pan melt butter. Blend in flour, salt, and chicken broth. Cook and stir until the mixture thickens and bubbles. Add lemon juice, parsley, onion, paprika, nutmeg, and pepper. Stir in chicken and cool slightly. Place about 1 1/2 Tablespoons chicken mixture on each tortilla. Roll up tightly.  Fry in deep hot oil at 350 degrees, holding together with tongs for about 10 seconds or until tortilla is crisp. Spoon on guacamole and/or sour cream. We also serve with salsa.

Tomato, Cucumber, Onion and Mint Salad

IMG_3224We like to have delicious light lunches that are not sandwiches and don’t have to include meat, cheese, or bread.  Recently I saw a similar version of this salad  that Paula Deen recommended. It is a refreshing departure from one based on lettuce or other greens. It is too late in the season for our garden to provide the tomatoes and cucumbers, but we have more than enough mint and parsley!  This works well with a triangle of pita bread, or as a side if we use it for dinner with grilled meats or fish. Try this with chopped basil and some mozarella balls for an entirely different but tasty salad..

Tomato, Cucumber,, Onion, and Mint Salad

2 Roma tomatoes, chopped

2 cucumbers, peeled and chopped

1/2 red onion, sliced thin

1/4 cup (or more to taste) fresh mint leaves, chopped

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

1 Tablespoon chopped Parsley

salt and pepper to taste

Combine tomato, cucumber, onion, and mint in salad bowl.  In liquid measuring cup, whisk together oil, vinegar, parsley, salt, and pepper.  Pour over vegetables and mint and toss. Refrigerate at least an hour before serving.

Southwestern Soup

IMG_3136This slow cooker soup is perfect for Sunday lunches. Just load up the ingredients before leaving for church and return hungry to a house that smells heavenly because lunch is ready to serve!

Southwest Chicken Soup

1 pound chopped or shredded cooked chicken
26 oz.diced tomatoes
1 10 ounce can enchilada sauce
1 onion, chopped
4 oz. can chopped green chile peppers
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 (10 ounce) package frozen corn
1 (15 once) can black beans-rinsed
crushed tortilla chips for topping

optional:  2 limes, quartered

Place chicken, tomatoes, enchilada sauce, onion, green chiles, and garlic into a slow cooker. Pour in chicken broth, cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Stir in corn, and beans. Cover, and cook on Low setting for 6 to 8 hours or on High setting for 3 to 4 hours. Serve in bowls with crushed tortilla chips on top.  We enjoy a squeeze of fresh lime juice for each bowl.

Halibut with Lemons, Olives, and Rosemary


We have enjoyed halibut and salmon from the fishing trip that Joe and our sons took to Alaska in May.  I am still experimenting with different ways of serving the halibut, but all of them have been delicious. This is my favorite, a variation on a recipe I found from The time my family spent living in Indonesia created for us a fondness for Southeast Asian food and I love using a spice blend from Penzey’s called Singapore Seasoning. This is aromatic mixture that contains lemon peel, garlic, turmeric, cumin, fennel, ginger, and cayenne pepper among other spices that are perfect for fish and chicken.

Roasted Halibut with Lemons, Olives, and Rosemary

Halibut Filets (I used only one large filet for 2 of us)

1 Tablespoon olive oil

Sea salt

2 teaspoons Singapore Spice Blend from Penzey’s

Fresh rosemary

1 lemon, sliced thinly

1/4 cup sliced, pitted Kalamata olives

Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Coat a baking dish with cooking spray. Lay the fish in pan, then brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and Singapore spice blend. Top with twigs of rosemary and slices of lemon. Sprinkle olives and remaining olive oil over all and bake 15 minutes or more, depending on thickness of filets.  Lemons will brown and fish will flake when pulled with fork.  I like to make this with roasted fresh green beans and red potatoes, baked in the same oven.

Squash Verole

IMG_3111There are so many ways to enjoy summer squash!  I used my 8 inch iron skillet to make this delicious Mexican flavored crookneck squash, a real treat along with some fresh purple hull peas.  I found the recipe in an all time favorite cookbook, The Texas Experience, Friendship and Food Texas Style. I use the cookbook so often the back is coming off and the pages are loose, and I always smile when I see my friend’s handwriting inside the front cover:  “To my best friend with much love, Merry Christmas 1984  Sondra.

It has been almost 30 years since we lived near each other, but I still miss her, and every time we talk, we pick back up where we left off!  Thank you, Sondra.  For the book, and for the friendship!

Squash Verole

4-6 yellow squash, sliced into rounds

1 onion, choed

4 tablespoons oil of your choice (I used coconut)

1/4 cup milk

1/2 cup chopped green chiles

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 cup cheddar cheese, grated.

Saute squash and onion in oil until tender.  Add milk, chilies, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes. Remove fro heat and add cheese. Serve hot.


Blueberry Muffins


Fresh blueberries usually disappear before I have a chance to cook with them, because we love them fresh, with yogurt, and in smoothies. But prices have been good lately and I decided to use some of the most recent purchase making these fresh blueberry muffins. These were wonderful fresh from the oven, but this makes a large batch, so I stored them in the refrigerator for breakfasts and snacks. This recipe has more berries than most, so they are moist, full of berry goodness, and a little crumbly – yum!

Blueberry Muffins

12  cup butter, at room temp

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 teaspoons baking powder

1teaspoon salt

2 cups flour

1cup milk

2 1cups fresh blueberries

1 Tablepoon sugar and 1.2 teaspoon nutmeg for topping

Heat oven to 375°. Mix 1 Tablespoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg for topping and set aside.

Grease 18 regular-size muffin cups  In bowl, mix butter and sugar until creamy.Add eggs one at a time, then beat in vanilla, baking powder and salt.

Fold in half of flour, followed by half of milk. Repeat for other half. Fold in blueberries.

Spoon into muffin cups and sprinkle topping  onto each muffin.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown and test done..


Fig and Apple Chutney

IMG_2836One of summer’s gifts comes to us from the fig tree in our garden. When its fruit begins to ripen around the first week in July, it seems as if its branches will break from the hundreds of green figs. The foliage is so dense that I really have to work at finding the blushing fruit whose softening texture and slight bent on the stem say “pick me” even more than the color. This year because we had such a wet June, the harvest began a bit sooner. Picking twice a day can be a chore, especially as the temperatures rise.  We have many ways we like to use the figs, but because I know we won’t use all of them, I start giving bags away to those I know love figs, and try to make at least one batch of fig chutney.  This year, the figs I used for a small batch were almost the last to ripen.  Because of the sudden extreme heat, the tree went into preservation mode and all the green figs on the tree stopped ripening, hardened, and began to drop.  Even though we watered heavily, there were no more ripe figs.  So the few little jars of fig and apple chutney will have to do. It is some of the best I have made, so I will certainly try the recipe again next year.


Fig and Apple Chutney

1 pound of fresh figs

2 apples 1

1 1/4 cup of sugar

1 / 2 cup cider vinegar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Clean the figs and halve or quarter depending on size. Peel and cut apples into cubes. Put everything in a saucepan with sugar, vinegar, spices and salt. Heat until boiling. Reduce heat and cook for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Ladle the hot chutney in sterilized jars. Close immediately. Turn the jars over until completely cooled. Best after 2 or 3 days. I store mine in the refrigerator.