Twelve Days of Sauce - Twelfth Day

What better way to finish off the Twelve Days of Sauce than with a sweet sauce!  This one looks delicious for biscuits, ice cream, bananas, and pasta, anything you might want to turn into a dessert.  Yumm!!

Chocolate Gravy (from Trisha’s Southern Kitchen on the Food Network)


1 cup sugar

3 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder

3 tablespoons self-rising flour

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1 tablespoon butter

Hot buttered biscuits or ice cream, for serving



Mix the sugar, cocoa powder and flour together until there are no lumps. Add the milk and stir to combine. Melt the butter in large saute pan. Add the flour mixture and cook on medium heat, stirring continually until it thickens. Serve over hot buttered biscuits or even ice cream.


Twelve Days of Sauce - Eleventh Day

 Mama’s Smokin’ Sauce – there is no recipe for this one, at least that I can share; I can’t tell you the ingredients, I don’t know them; I can’t tell you where to get it, it arrives seasonally and remotely; it is still worth telling you about!


The first time I had Mama’s Smokin’ Sauce was at a salsa contest when it was modified to become…salsa – it one first place and $500.  I sampled some of the leftovers and was hooked.  Then I needed more.  My sauce supply started arriving seasonally, at the end of winter it would “find” me.  It was first delivered in a Crown Royale bottle, then a mason jar, and at one point in a small mason jar in a brown paper bag with a whisper, “Don’t tell anyone I gave you some, I don’t have enough for everyone this year but I know you and HH like it.”


Even though I don’t have the recipe I can tell you what I know – it is a little sweet with a kick, it is dark and rich and just on the verge of thick, it is great with chips but better on eggs, it will leave you wanting more!  I hear it is great as a marinate for beef or pork, but I don’t want to use enough to take care of that cooking expedition and take away from my eggs, so I have never tried it that way!


That’s about all I can tell you.  I keep trying to get Scott O to sell it, market it but he says it’s just a fun side project and is not ready to commit the time it would take.  Until he finds the time, you will just have to take my word for it.  It is awesome!


Twelve Days of Sauce - Tenth Day

Pan Gravy, mmmmm….  What doesn’t Pan Gravy go on?

Years ago, I started watch my grandmother, Nana, make gravy at Thanksgiving – she was the master.  Mom always had a container of Wondra sitting by the stove when it came time for gravy, but Nana just needed plain old flour.  I learned to make gravy at Thanksgiving with Wondra because it was the only way my gravy did not clump.

Then a few years ago I was out of Wondra when HH wanted something that required gravy so I very hesitantly started making gravy with regular flour.  So I was making gravy successfully all the time.  Now with things like Chicken Fried Chicken or Holly’s Diner Special Chicken I need some gravy and pan drippings are not always readily available, but I have mastered the Pan Gravy.

I know it is equal portions of fat (whether drippings or butter) and flour, then milk, but I didn’t know the exact proportions.  I also learned that if you heat up the milk a bit before adding it to the fat and flour things will blend together better too.  And don’t forget to really cook the flour, meaning, let it cook in the fat for a few minutes before adding the milk or things just won’t taste right.

Today, by chance, I was watching the Food Network and I hear the gravy ratio (which sounds about right) – 4:4:2.  That is, 4 tbsp fat to 4 tbsp flour to 2 cups milk.

Here’s how to make it:

Pan Gravy

4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour
2 cups warm (not hot) milk

In a skillet on medium heat, add butter and melt.  Add flour and stir constantly for about 3 minutes.  Then SLOWLY add the milk, whisking constantly at a simmer.  At the end if your gravy looks too thin, turn off the heat and let it sit a minute, it will thicken up pretty well, then you can always add more warm milk to thin it if needed.


Twelve Days of Sauce - Ninth Day

The sauce today is what holds together Shrimp Scampi.  This is not a complicated sauce, and it is actually going to be a bit of a challenge to write down.  I have cooked this for years; it is one of the recipes I learned at the restaurant I worked at in college – thank you Chef Ron.  So it is a pretty rustic recipe, please use your best judgment and enjoy.


Shrimp Scampi

1 – 12 oz package of linguini or angel hair
1 ½ lb of shrimp, cleaned and shelled
Olive oil, about 2 – 3 tbsp to start
Butter, about 2 tbsp to start
Shallots – probably one, diced
Tomatoes, one good size one, seeded and diced
Cream, probably ½ cup
White wine, probably ½ cup

Cook pasta as directed.  In a skillet, melt butter and heat olive oil.  Add shallots and sauté for about 2-3 minutes (depending on your patience level that day).  Add white wine, parsley, salt and pepper and heat; bring to a simmer.  Add shrimp, cooking about 3 minutes on either side (until they just turn pink).  Add tomatoes, stir.  Add cream; stir for about a minute or so.  Let everything come together, then plate pasta and Shrimp Scampi on top of that. 

(I told you it would be rustic!)


Twelve Days of Sauce - Eighth Day

Chef Don at the Bevi Bistro makes the list once again, this time with his meat sauce or “gravy.”  It’s a bit different from Art’s Special Sauce, yet just as delicious, rich and, well, delicious!  I think the trick with Don’s Sauce is the oven-time to thicken it up.


Don’s Meat Sauce

One large onion chopped (finely chopped)
About ½ cup of chopped celery (finely chopped)
¼ cup shredded carrots **
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1-1/2 pounds of ground meat—beef, veal, and pork mixture
Can of Stewed Diced Tomatoes (14 ½ oz)
Can of Tomato Paste (Small can about 4 oz)
Beef Broth (Approx 10 ounces)
1 cup of red wine
2 teaspoons of Salt
Ground pepper
1 teaspoon thyme (flakes)
1 Bay leaf

** Sub for carrots could be about 2 tsp sugar—that will cut the acid of the tomatoes.

    Sweat the celery, onions, garlic and carrots for a couple of minutes. Brown the meat and break it up.  When brown add back the sweated vegetables.   Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, beef broth, and red wine.   Stir. Bring mixture to a boil.  Add salt, pepper, thyme and bay leaf. Place in preheated oven 325 degrees and cook for at least 2 hours.

Check for thickness—if needed make a paste of flour and water to thicken sauce.  (Tablespoon of flour to about ¼ cup of water.)  Add to sauce and cook until mixture comes to a boil again in oven.  You can check the thickness at 1 hour and adjust thickness.




Twelve Days of Sauce - Seventh Day

Lemon/Pepper Fettuccine is really Linguini Alfredo at the Diner.  This dish of creamy deliciousness can easily welcome chicken and broccoli or any other combo you might enjoy.  I tried and tried to master a good Alfredo sauce for HH, and it wasn’t until I found this recipe that I was successful – I think it’s the egg yolk that does it.


Lemon-Pepper Fettuccine (from the Food Network Magazine kitchen)
Serves 4


Kosher salt
12 oz fettuccine
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 large shallot, minced
1 ¼ cups heavy cream
1 large egg yolk
1 – 2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1/3 cup grated pecorino cheese, plus more for garnish
Freshly ground pepper

1.      Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the fettuccine and cook as the label directs.  Drain, reserving about ½ cup cooking water.

2.      Meanwhile, melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the shallot and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden, about 3 minutes.  Whisk the cream, egg yolk and lemon zest in a bowl.  Reduce the heat to low and add the cream mixture and cheese to the skillet.  Cook, whisking, until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.  Season with salt and 2 – 3 tsp pepper.

3.      Add the pasta to the skillet and toss, adding enough of the reserved cooking water to loosen the sauce.  Divide among bowls and garnish with more pecorino.



Twelve Days of Sauce - Sixth Day

Today’s Creole Sauce with Crab Cakes was not inspired by our recipe trip to New Orleans, but sure would fit in well.  HH and I have been enjoying this Paula Deen recipe for a few years, it is often either our Christmas dinner or New Year’s Eve dinner.  Either way or any time of year it is delicious, but then isn’t anything with sour cream, mayo and Old Bay?


Paula Deen’s As-They-Should-Be Crab Cakes (January/February 2007 of Paula Deen Magazine)
Makes 4 crab cakes

1 – 8 oz container jumbo lump crabmeat, picked free of shell
2/3 cup panko, divided
2 tbsp minced red bell pepper
1 tbsp minced green onion
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
2 large eggs, divided
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice (about ½ a lemon)
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
Creole Sauce (recipe follows)

In a medium bowl, combine crabmeat, 1/3 cup breadcrumbs, bell pepper, green onion, and Old Bay seasoning; set aside.

In a small bowl, lightly beat one egg. Whisk in mayonnaise and lemon juice.  Add egg mixture to crab mixture, tossing to combine.  Shape mixture into four patties.

In a small bowl, lightly beat remaining egg. Lightly brush each side of crab cake with egg, and dip in remaining 1/3 cup bread crumbs.

In a large skillet, heat butter and olive oil over medium heat.  Add crab cakes and cook 3 – 4 minutes, per side, or until golden.  Serve with Creole Sauce.



Creole Sauce
Makes about 1/3 cup

¼ cup sour cream
3 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp minced green onion
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice (about ½ a lemon)
2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1 tsp prepared horseradish (I leave this out)

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients; cover, and chill.



Twelve Days of Sauce - Fifth Day

Chili Con Pasta is today’s offering.  DiAnne’s Cincinnati Chili recipe introduced me to chili over pasta.  This just didn’t seem normal at first, but I tried it and it was great!  HH and I had it over pasta shells, and since the chili is sans beans it works really well.  Next time I’m trying the Spicy Buffalo Chili recipe over pasta!

Here’s the recipe for both.

Cincinnati Chili

1 ½ lb ground beef
2 cups onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 – 15 oz cans tomato sauce
3 cups water
4 tsp unsweetened cocoa
3 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground allspice
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp cumin
¼ tsp ground red pepper
3 tsp cider vinegar

12 oz cooked spaghetti

2 cans kidney beans (optional)
Red onion, chopped (garnish)
Cheddar cheese, grated (garnish)
Oyster crackers (garnish)

Crumble beef into a large non-stick skillet and cook over medium/high heat.  Add chopped onion.  Cook, mixing with a large spoon to break up meat, until beef is browned.  Add garlic, tomato sauce, water, cocoa, chili powder, salt, allspice, cinnamon, cumin, red pepper and vinegar.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer slowly, uncovered, one (1) hour.  Stir occasionally and add more water as necessary to make consistency of a meat sauce.

Spoon sauce over cooked spaghetti

2 way – add cheese
3 way – add cheese and onions
4 way – add cheese, onions and beans

Serve with Oyster crackers.


Spicy Buffalo Chili

2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
2 lbs ground turkey
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken chopped into bite sized pieces
3 cloves garlic, chopped
4 celery ribs, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
2 carrots, grated
1 – 4 oz can chopped jalapenos
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp coriander
2 tsp chili powder
½ tsp cayenne powder
1 – 12 oz bottle pale ale beer
1 cup buffalo sauce (Frank’s Red Hot works well)
2 – 15 oz cans tomato sauce

Crumbled blue cheese (garnish)
Green onions finely chopped (garnish)

 Heat a Dutch oven over high heat.  Add olive oil and butter, melt.  Add chicken and turkey, break up and cook meat until well done.  Add garlic, celery, onions, carrots and jalapenos.  Season with salt and pepper to taste, add cumin, coriander, chili powder, cayenne; cook vegetables until soft.  Add beer and scrape any brown bits off bottom of pan.  Cook over medium/high heat about five (5) minutes.  Stir in hot sauce and tomato sauce.  Reduce heat to low and simmer until chili is done, at least 30 minutes.  Makes one gallon.





Twelve Days of Sauce - Fourth Day

Mac and Cheese, Martha Stewart’s to be exact.  This is the only hold-over recipe that I use from Martha any more.  This Mac and cheese is so good, I only make it once a year for my brother-in-law at Christmas.  Gary may be my excuse, but I’d find another if he weren’t around since I love it so much!  Thanks Gary! 


This Mac and cheese is creamy, cheesy and gooey with toasted bread crumbs on top.  You can just have this for dinner, why would you need anything else?

Macaroni and Cheese 101, Martha Stewart style
Serves 12

8 tablespoons (l stick) unsalted butter, plus more for casserole
6 slices good white bread, crusts removed, torn into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces
5 1/2, cups milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt, plus more for water
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

4 1/2 cups (about 18 ounces) grated sharp white cheddar cheese
2 cups (about 8 ounces) grated Gruyere or 1/4 cups (about 5 ounces) grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 pound elbow macaroni

Preheat oven to 375˚. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish; set aside. Place bread in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Pour melted butter into the bowl with the bread; toss. Set the bread crumbs aside.

Warm milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Melt remaining butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. When butter bubbles, add flour. Cook, stirring, 1 minute.

While whisking, add hot milk a little at a time to keep mixture smooth. Continue
cooking, whisking constantly, until mixture bubbles and thickens, 8 to 12 minutes.

Remove pan from heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, peppers, 3 cups cheddar cheese,
and 1 1/2 cups Gruyere (or I cup Pecorino Romano); set the cheese sauce aside.

Cover a large pot of salted water, and bring to a boil. Cook the macaroni until
the outside of pasta is cooked and the inside is underdone,
2 to 3 minutes. Transfer macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well.  Stir the macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce.

Pour mixture into prepared dish. Sprinkle remaining cheddar and Gruyere (or
Pecorino) and bread crumbs over top. Bake until golden, about 30 minutes. Transfer dish to a wire rack for 5 minutes; serve.




Twelve Days of Sauce - Third Day

Tasty Thai Shrimp and Sesame Noodles has a wonderful flavor, and the shrimp and pasta come together deliciously because of the sauce.  The original base of the sauce calls for Italian Dressing but now-adays I just use my favorite olive oil, balsamic vinegar and spice blend.  This base with peanut butter, soy sauce, honey and ginger are right up my flavor-alley.

This is an easy dish, very delicious and HH approved.


Tasty Thai Shrimp and Sesame Noodles

1 lb. medium shrimp, shelled and deveined (or chicken breast or tofu)
1 – 8 oz bottle Newman’s Own Light Italian Dressing (divided use) (any Italian will do)
2 tbsp chunky peanut butter
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp grated peeled ginger root (sometimes I used candied ginger because I always have that on hand)
1 – 8 oz package capellini or angel hair pasta
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 medium carrot, peeled and shredded (washing and grating will do)
1 cup chopped green onions (about 3 -4, depending on what you like)
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro for garnish (I always forget this, so…)

In medium bowl, mix shrimp with 1/3 cup Italian dressing.  Cover and refrigerate one hour.

In small bowl, with wire whisk or fork, mix peanut butter, soy sauce, honey, ginger, red pepper and remaining dressing.  Set aside.

After shrimp has marinated one hour, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.

Meanwhile, in 4-quart saucepan over high heat, heat vegetable oil and sesame oil until very hot.  In hot oil, cook carrot one minute.

Drain dressing from shrimp; discard dressing.  Add shrimp and green onions to carrot.  Cook stirring constantly, about 3 minutes or until shrimp turn opaque throughout.

In large bowl, toss hot pasta with dressing mixture and shrimp mixture.  Sprinkle with chopped cilantro.



Twelve Days of Sauce - Second Day

Don’s White Sauce was originally discovered in “Any Bozzo Can Cook” written by Sam and Gene of the Gilroy Garlic Festival.


This sauce is thick and creaming, warm and yummy, everything a good sauce should be.


Don’s White Sauce

 ½ cup butter
½ cup flour
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp white pepper
1 ¾ cup chicken broth
¼ cup white wine
2 cups ½ & ½
½ cup grated Parmigiano cheese
½ tsp freshly-grated nutmeg

Melt the butter in a large sauce pan over medium-low heat.  Add the flour and season with the salt and pepper.  Cook the flour, stirring constantly, for 2 – 3 minutes.  Combine the broth, the white wine and the ½ & ½.  Slowly whisk the liquid into the flour mixture and it will begin to thicken.  Remove from the heat, and stir the grated cheese and nutmeg.  Continue stirring until the cheese is melted.

As Don often says “Turn up the heat!”




Twelve Days of Sauce - First Day

This year…Sauce.  What could be better, on anything, than a delicious sauce to dip, cover, smother, or drizzle.  To start off this journey, the featured sauce at Holly’s Diner especially during the holidays – Art’s Special Sauce.


Art’s Special Sauce is a red sauce for pasta.  This sauce is hearty, a bit tangy with all the tomatoes, stick-to-your-ribs and all around delicious.  Art’s Special Sauce has been featured many times at Holly’s Diner and is the perfect way to start off the Twelve Days of Sauce adventure.


Art’s Special Sauce (as Art wrote it July 18, 1998)

3 - #2 cans tomato sauce
3 - #2 cans tomato puree
3 - #2 cans crushed tomatoes
3 onions, processed (chopped finely)
1 cup processed garlic (I don’t ever use this much, but still a healthy portion)
2 lbs good ground beef
1 lb ground pork (try ground Italian sausage)
10 mushrooms processed (I use a grated zucchini instead)
½ cup Italian parsley, minced
3 green onions, minced
1 carrot grated (for sugar)
1 tbsp oregano, dry or fresh
1 cup red wine
1 – 2 Basil leaves, fresh or dry
(Olive oil, salt, pepper)


1.      Fry beef and pork and drain, set aside.

2.      Mince onions and garlic.

3.      In pot, cover bottom with coast of olive oil, sauté onions and garlic ‘til limp.

4.      Add meat to onions and garlic, and add all liquids; stir and add all other ingredients; salt and pepper to taste; add up to one #2 can of hot water

5.      Stir often; cook on low heat just a bubble for five or six hours.


Note 1– the #2 cans are the 28 ounce cans

Note 2 – Art showed me that the way to get everything out of the #2 cans the tomatoes came in was to put the cup of wine in one and slosh around, pour the liquid in the next can, etc.  When you get done with the last can you will have a very thick wine, but have gathered the majority of the tomatoes left in the cans.





Chili Queen

Guess what!?  I’m the Chili Queen!!

There was a “big” chili cook-off on recently, the same event I entered last year and won second, this year I won first place!  The Spicy Buffalo Chili worked its magic and made me the winner.  That means a plaque, $100 and the title HH gave me for a yea r – Chili Queen!  It’s so exciting.  Too bad the chili is too spicy for HH to enjoy, but the judges certainly enjoyed.

It looks like Spicy Buffalo Chili will now retire from this competition; I’ll have to work on something else for next year.  Hmmm, maybe a version of the Cincinnati Chili recipe DiAnne shared with me.  I have a little time to think about it.

Spicy Buffalo Chili

 2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
2 lbs ground turkey
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken chopped into bite sized pieces
3 cloves garlic, chopped
4 celery ribs, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
2 carrots, grated
1 – 4 oz can chopped jalapenos
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp coriander
2 tsp chili powder
½ tsp cayenne powder
1 – 12 oz bottle pale ale beer
1 cup buffalo sauce (Frank’s Red Hot works well)
2 – 15 oz cans tomato sauce

Crumbled blue cheese (garnish)
Green onions finely chopped (garnish)

 Heat a Dutch oven over high heat.  Add olive oil and butter, melt.  Add chicken and turkey, break up and cook meat until well done.  Add garlic, celery, onions, carrots and jalapenos.  Season with salt and pepper to taste, add cumin, coriander, chili powder, cayenne; cook vegetables until soft.  Add beer and scrape any brown bits off bottom of pan.  Cook over medium/high heat about five (5) minutes.  Stir in hot sauce and tomato sauce.  Reduce heat to low and simmer until chili is done, at least 30 minutes.  Makes one gallon.



Alabama Again

Hello Diners! It’s so nice of you to stop by!! Before I tell you about the deliciousness of Alabama (my second visit in so many months), I want to apologize for the delay in posts – technical issues. Hopefully things are back on track, they have to be since the Twelve Days of… are just around the corner! Thanks for your patience at the counter.

Well, it’s back to Alabama, the second time in two months, this time for my annual visit with SS, Miss Audrey Rose and GeoJohn. We started off with a lovely evening at SS’s Café, fresh pasta with artichoke alfredo and barbecued chicken on our grandmother’s heart-warming Dots and Daisies china (or pottery in this case.) SS did a fantastic job, and I learned a new term “Part Two.” When SS has leftovers, she dubs them “Part Two” so a few nights later we had Pasta Part Two – delicious again. Maybe HH will buy-in to “Part Two” better than leftovers, stay tuned on that one.

The next day, SS and I had our big “girls” day, with breakfast at the French Café which included lattes and chocolate croissants. Then it was on to lunch which was supposed to be the Hot & Hot Fish Club but ended up being Chez Fonfon for shrimp salad and fancy grilled ham and cheese sandwich with fries – we shared, so delicious. Oh! And my favorite, a glass of iced tea with a side of simple syrup, a do-it-yourself Sweet Tea (I’ve been dreaming of this lately, it makes me so happy.)

Then it was on to Brick & Tin downtown for dinner. Miss Audrey had a deviled egg appetizer, and grilled cheese sandwich for dinner (right Miss Audrey?) I had butternut squash soup and a harvest salad, just perfect on a fall evening in the South.

Oh, sure there were stops between dining, book stores (including my favorite, the Alabama Booksmith) and specialty stores, gardens and walks, a visit to historic Gee’s Bend to see the quilt ladies and a drive through Selma, but no one cares about that at the Diner! Right?

The day after that it was Meat + 2 at Miss Kitty’s with Miss Audrey, her friend and SS. The plates look pretty monochromatic, but SS and Miss Audrey did have lima beans so there was some green floating around. That night SS and GeoJohn took me to Taco Mama’s, definitely risky since Mexican food in the South is different than Mexican food in San Diego – authenticity comes into question with one of those locations. SS and I shared a fish taco plate, and GeoJohn had fish nachos – yes, fish nachos! I was a bit skeptical, but GeoJohn ate the whole plate so they must have been good. The fish tacos, chips and salsa were very good, more like a California Fresh Mex than traditional Mexican food, but worth another visit on another trip for sure.

The last day of the visit included Nutella Crepes at SS’s Café (very warm and yummy) on a rainy morning, Pasta Part Two, and a visit to Steele City Pops. This visit to Steele City Pops I had the very decadent Maple Bacon Bourbon pop, not quite as creamy as I thought but very delicious (the bits of bacon were fabulous!). SS’s was a berry cream cheese pop that was very creamy, and Miss Audrey had something else delicious and wonderful.

We concluded the last day with the set-up of The Mixer. Since Art’s Mixer now sits at Holly’s Diner, my mixer needed a new home. SS had been with me when I originally purchased The Mixer and she was happy to add it to her Café. So The Mixer traveled about 1700 miles and now proudly rests at SS’s Café waiting for the a new opportunity.

Another year, another visit to the South, more delights experiences, more opportunities to dream about. Already, I can’t wait for next year!


Alabama Adventures - Extras

One thing I left out on our Alabama Adventure was one of our “finds” along the way.  As with every adventure, HH & I seek out thrift stores and yard sales even when we travel.  The challenge is always making sure we don’t “fall in love” with something that is too big to fit in our suitcases.


On this trip, HH discovered quite a find at a thrift store in Scottsboro – a baker man list maker.  I remember one of my grandparents or my Dad  had when I was growing up, although not quite so decorative.  This one is really cute and oh so handy at the Diner.



Another stop I missed in Parts 1- 4 was Tate’s BBQ.  Tate’s is in Scottsboro and we must have passed it about ten times during our trip on our way back and forth to town.  At first we thought it was closed just like the bar next door, it sure looked like it.  Then one day we noticed two police cars in the parking lot chatting with each other and wondered if it might be open for lunch, but it still didn’t look like there was much life.  Then we drove by and noticed someone getting an order from the window so we decided to take a chance and just share something.  I was sure we were going to regret this choice, but what the heck, we would regret it together.


As we pulled into the parking lot and up the slope, we could tell there was someone inside.  HH was the brave one, approaching the window and ordering a pulled pork sandwich.  As HH got our order he had to ask about the bag of water hanging over the window – why was it there?  He was told, to slow the flies down.  Okay.


We took our pulled pork sandwich back to the cabin and shared it on the dock.  It was delicious, no barbeque sauce (forgot to ask), and we enjoyed it.  One this day, taking a chance paid off.


Alabama Adventure - Part 4

HH & I spent the last afternoon/evening of our Alabama Adventure in Birmingham with SS, Miss Audrey Rose and GeoJohn.  First culinary stop:  Steele City Pops.


Apparently Steele City Pops was the hottest thing  since cupcake bakeries this past summer.  Steele City Pops is a specialty popsicle shop.  When SS mentioned it as our first stop, HH & I agreed but wondered how creative the popsicles could be.  We found out real quick.


The menu at Steele City Pops allows you to choose from fruity or creamy.  With lots of options we ended up with pink grapefruit/pink peppercorn, banana, raspberry/lemon and pumpkin - we all passed on the maple/bacon/bourbon.  SS said they should have egg nog and peppermint for the holidays – yummy!

We enjoyed the afternoon exploring Birmingham, visit the botanical garden, then we stopped in at Pat’s for hors d’ oeuvres.  Pat made some wonderfully tasty, yet deliciously simple snacks -  seasoned oyster crackers.  Here’s the recipe if you want to try them:


Pat’s Oyster Crackers

½ cup oil
½ tsp each of garlic powder, dill weed, lemon pepper
1 pkg Hidden Valley Ranch (dry mix dressing)
1 box oyster crackers

Mix together everything except the crackers.  Put the mixture into a zip lock bag and add the oyster crackers, shake well.  Lay wet crackers on a cookie sheet to dry for about 2-3 hours, serve.



After some visiting at Pat’s we were off to Dreamland, the barbeque we had been waiting for.  Dreamland was a comfortable, eclectic place that was full of locals – and there was even someone else with a Hawaiian shirt on!  HH was no longer the lone ranger!


 The first thing we were served was a plate of white bread and barbeque sauce.  I thought this was for us to make sandwiches; Miss Audrey helped understand that this was our appetizer kind of like chips and salsa.  Interesting.  Different.  The bread was fresh and tasty, the barbeque sauce was flavorful.  Next dinner was served, there were a lot of ribs ordered at our table, and some pulled pork sandwiches as well.  Everything was delicious.


It’s always good to have a tour guide when visiting a different city, especially when it come to food.  Thank you SS, Miss Audrey Rose and GeoJohn for everything.