Icebox Banana Pudding

BPI reached way back in my recipe box this past weekend for this Southern delight! By way back I mean I’ve had this recipe for over 30 years… Even the title signifies it’s an old recipe. You don’t hear the refrigerator called an “icebox” these days! There was a sweet older woman in our church in Athens, Georgia named Miss Lillie Bell, and this is her recipe. When I was a young wife and mama she was a mentor to me, but I didn’t realize that’s what was happening at the time. All I knew was that she loved me. She just quietly came alongside and helped me with my two young boys. She worked in a mill that made clothes for children and she literally provided clothes for my boys when they were toddlers.  She made teacakes for my husband Gary too – that will be another post for another time!

I brought this banana pudding to work yesterday to celebrate working surviving 🙂 one year in the Superintendent’s office. (See yesterday’s post!) Here is the recipe for you:


  • 2 four-serving sizes of Jell-O Vanilla Instant Pudding Mix
  • 3 cups of cold milk
  • 1 can of Eagle Brand condensed milk
  • 1 large container of Cool Whip
  • 1 box of Nilla Wafers (no off brands please)
  • 6 to 7 bananas

I layer mine in a trifle bowl – wanted you to know that first!

  1. Using a mixer (I use a hand mixer) mix the instant pudding mix and 3 cups of cold milk in a large bowl.
  2. Pour the Eagle Brand milk in the pudding mixture, continue to mix until creamy and well blended.
  3. Now add 1/2 to 2/3 of the Cool Whip (save enough to spread on top) to the pudding mixture and mix well.
  4. Layer in this order: vanilla wafers, bananas, pudding, vanilla wafers, bananas, pudding…repeat!
  5. Top with Cool Whip.
  6. Chill at least 4 hours or overnight is best.



Cream Cheese Pound Cake – Recipe

Yesterday was my sweet husband’s birthday and that man of mine dearly loves a pound cake, so I made a special one for him using my heart-shaped pan. You can order one for yourself by visiting this Williams-Sonoma Site.IMG_8978

Cream Cheese Pound Cake
3 cups sugar
2 sticks butter (softened – room temperature)
1 8-ounce block of cream cheese (softened – room temperature)
6 large eggs (room temperature)
1 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups plain flour (sifted)
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Butter and flour the pan generously. [I used Butter Flavor Crisco.]

2. Whip sugar, softened butter and cream cheese well.
[I LOVE THIS MIXER. It literally makes me so happy to use it. Baking becomes an EVENT, not a routine thing. And celebrating my wonderful husband’s birthday and love for pound cake is an event in itself! AND did I mention it was also Valentine’s Day while I was baking?]IMG_8990

3. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

4. Add vanilla.

5. Lower mixer speed, and slowly add sifted flour and salt.

6. Pour batter into pan. (It is a thick batter, so it is more of a “spooning” into the pan.)IMG_89917. Place in a cold oven and set temperature to 300 degrees. Bake for 1 and 1/2 hours.

For some reason this cake began to rise over the top of the pan…  WOW! It rose so high I literally sliced the top off before I turned the cake out of the pan! Gary loved eating that buttery crunchy top. IMG_8992

8. Let cake cool about 10 minutes in pan and then gently turn onto a platter or cake plate.

Happy Birthday to my wonderful husband, Gary. I love him so much and I’m so thankful he loves my cooking and is enjoying his pound cake. These are the beautiful pink roses he gave me for Valentine’s Day. He had them waiting at the table when we went out to dinner.IMG_8979

I close with this beautiful picture of the clouds set in the shape of a heart framed by the valley and mountains. Enjoy your loved ones, make time to bake their favorites and celebrate love and family. Each day is a gift and treasure from the Good Lord.IMG_8994

Job 37:16 (NLT)
Do you understand how he moves the clouds
    with wonderful perfection and skill?


Blackberry Cobbler & 37 Years!


It’s been a great week – Gary and I celebrated 37 years of marriage this past Wednesday on June 11th.  I’m thankful for my sweet husband…for the way he leads and loves. I had no idea as a young 19-year-old bride what a great man he was. I just knew I loved him and wanted to be his wife. God in His great plan for me unfolded a happy home that now includes two sons, two daughters-in-love, and five amazing grandchildren.  All because two young people fell in love and got married.  Here we are…about to begin our journey.  We’d only just begun…  I wish you could see Gary’s baby blue leisure suit because it matched the baby blue Pinto car.  He was also very proud of his white patent leather boots that matched his wide white belt.  And the platform wedge shoes I had on? They are back in style today!


Today before church the discussion turned to cobblers as a group of us ladies were in the choir room.  Some of us cook the fruit, some don’t, some of us sweeten the fruit, some don’t.  All I know is last night I made a blackberry cobbler that my husband told me was the BEST I HAD EVER MADE! So I wanted to share my recipe that happens to be the way my mama and my Granny also made cobblers.  Starting with these beautiful berries right from my garden sure was wonderful!



I have posted my recipe for CHOCOLATE COBBLER on my blog as well as my recipe for PEACH COBBLER if you want to see those recipes.  The blackberry cobbler recipe below is identical to the peach cobbler recipe, but I didn’t take pictures while making it last night as our “Father’s Day Celebration” grew and Gran Jan had to hurry! [First it was just me and Gary and my mom and dad.  Then my younger sister Jo called and had a change of plans, so she came.  Next we heard from our son Jonathan and he and his wife and two children came, so the party of four quickly turned into a party of 9!]  It was great except for I sure missed my Cartersville Crew…


9 x 13 casserole dish
4 cups of fresh blackberries
6 cups of water
2 cups of sugar
1 and 1/2 sticks of butter
1 and 1/2 cups of self-rising flour
1 and 1/2 cups of milk (not skim)
1 and 1/2 cups of sugar
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Rinse blackberries.
3. Now make a simple syrup by bringing the 6 cups of water to a boil and then adding in the 2 cups of sugar so it dissolves.
4. Add the blackberries to the simple syrup. 
5. Simmer berries in the simple syrup for 4-5 minutes.
6. Remove the pan from heat and set aside.
7. Melt the 1 and 1/2 sticks of butter (I use the microwave) and pour in 9 x 13 casserole dish.
8. Now take a wire whisk and mix the sugar and self-rising flour well, removing all lumps!
9. Then add the milk to the sugar/flour and whisk until creamy. It will be thin – that is fine!
11, Gently pour this “batter” over the melted butter in the pan.
12. DO NOT STIR! I repeat – DO NOT STIR!
13. Now ladle the cooked berries and all the juice (sugar syrup) over the batter so they are evenly placed.
15. Slide casserole pan into pre-heated oven and bake until bubbly and browned (about 45 minutes).
The Beautiful Crust will rise up through the berries and will be so delicious!
Serve warm topped with vanilla ice cream.
 This has been a great weekend that began Saturday morning with coffee on the front porch and ended this evening with sitting in the swing by the pond while Gary fished a bit off the bank. There was also blackberry cobbler making, an awesome time of worship at church, playing with grandkids, honoring my dad and husband for Father’s Day today, and even weeding the garden! Life’s simple pleasures really are the best, so don’t forget that vanilla ice cream on the cobbler… 

Jalepeno Cornbread Muffins Recipe

Spicy food is a favorite of mine, and I especially like jalepeno peppers. When I make Mexican Cornbread I add in lots of chopped pickled jalepenos.  Last month there was a post from Living Proof Ministries with their favorite holiday recipes. Go HERE to read the post and see the wonderful recipes.  When I saw Diane Riley’s cornbread muffins recipe and that it was almost identical to my Mexican Cornbread recipe, I wanted to try to make muffins instead of a pan of cornbread.  The result was perfection!  I’ve shared my step-by-step recipe below:Muffins-TinMuffins-Plate

Gran Jan’s Jalapeño Cornbread


  • 2 beaten eggs
  • ¼ Cup Canola oil
  • 1 Cup buttermilk
  • 1  medium to large onion, diced (I put the diced onion & 1 Tablespoon of Canola oil in a bowl and microwave for 3 minutes so the onion is really done.)
  • 1  can of creamed corn
  • 1 ½ Cups self-rising cornmeal
  • ½ Cup self-rising flour
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)
  • 4-5 Tablespoons of diced pickled jalapeños (or less or more )


1.  Mix egg and oil together, whisking until well blended.
2.  Pour in buttermilk and then add microwaved onion, and creamed corn.
3.  Next add cornmeal and flour and stir well. 
4.  Lastly, add shredded cheese and diced jalapeños. 
5.  Bake in a 450 degree pre-heated oven for about 25-30 minutes.  

You can either pour about 1/2 cup of the batter into each tin of a greased muffin tin (makes 12), or use a  good old Southern cast-iron skillet well-greased with Crisco to bake a pan of cornbread. (I sprinkle the skillet with cornmeal before pouring in the cornbread batter.  It makes the top crispy.)   

These are good with chili or soup or any stew or with just a bowl of pinto beans or blackeyed peas, or great northern beans, or white beans…or ANYTHING!

Hope you make some soon!

~Gran Jan


Tomato Sandwich – Southern Summer Staple!

Summertime in the South is wonderful with all the delicious fresh fruits and vegetables we enjoy…corn, okra, watermelon, butter beans, squash, cucumbers, blueberries, zipper peas, peppers, blackberries, cantaloupe, zucchini, peaches, green beans, purple hull peas, and of course, THE TOMATO! I planted 10 tomato plants this year in my garden. Below are the different varieties…Early Girl, Husky Red Cherry, Super Fantastic, Goliath, Big Beef, Park’s Whopper, and Better Boy. What fun names!
TomatoVarietiesWe had four ripe tomtatoes this week, and today for lunch I enjoyed eating my first tomato sandwich of the Summer of 2013. 🙂
TomatoSandwichFollowing is the “recipe” for a truly Southern delicacy, a tomato sandwich:
Vine-ripened tomatoes
Mayonnaise (preferably Hellmans)
White bread (a must, although I did use “white wheat”)
Salt and Pepper

1. Remove core from tomato and then slice.
2. Put mayonnaise on BOTH slices of the bread.
3. Carefully place tomatoes on bread, overlap if at all possible.
4. Salt and pepper the tomato slices.
5. Put one piece of bread on top of the other.
6. Carefully lean over the kitchen sink with your sandwich.
7. Say the blessing and thank God for your delicious tomato sandwich.
8. Take a bite and then let the juice run down your chin…

Happy Summer!



Delicious Meatloaf Recipe!

My tried and true recipe for MEATLOAF is a family favorite and really is delicious. I use a broiler pan and I believe it makes all the difference! Be sure to spray both the top and bottom of the broiler pan with Pam for easy cleanup. This is a great recipe that my youngest son Jonathan really likes.  His wife makes it for him now, and she’s a good cook. So sweet! The Southern woman in me knows it is especially good with side dishes of mashed potatoes, black-eyed peas and homemade biscuits. And steamed cabbage, yes that’s a good side too! My recipe for homemade bisuits is right here.




  • 2 lbs. ground beef – I use ground chuck
  • 1 1/2 sleeves Ritz crackers, finely crushed
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 Cup ketchup – or more to preference
  • 1 medium onion diced (I cook the onion BEFORE I mix it in w/the ground beef.) I do this by placing the diced onion and  1 – 1 ½  tablespoons of canola oil in a bowl and heating in the microwave for 3 -4 minutes
  • Salt and pepper to taste (may use seasoned salt)

1.         Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.         I use a broiler pan (it came with my oven) and spray both top and bottom pieces with Pam.
3.         In large bowl:

  • mix ground beef and beaten eggs
  • add microwaved onions
  • add ketchup
  • stir in crushed Ritz cracker crumbs

4.         Mix all the above ingredients well and form into a rectangular loaf and place on the broiler pan.
5.         “Squirt” some ketchup over the top of meatloaf. 🙂
6.         Bake through for 1 hour – let stand a few minutes before slicing.*

*I transfer to a serving platter before slicing.

~Gran Jan


Beth Moore’s Gravy Recipe

Beth Moore is not only a great writer, Bible teacher, (and wife, mother and grandmother), the woman can cook. In her words she claims not to be “stellar,” but rather just a good country cook.  Well…those kinds of cooks are my favorite. My Granny and my parents are both great cooks. I’m a good cook myself – based on what my family tells me, and their estimation is all that matters to me.  In fact, my husband often says, “that was a feast” and it has become a family saying that especially tickles my daughter-in-law Erin.

Anyway, Beth wrote a great post on her blog this week about “Holiday Cooking Hints” and she and I had talked earlier in the day about doing a tutorial next year. How FUN! Go here for the complete post  with lots of great recipes and great ideas. Siestaville is the best blog community anywhere.  Following is her gravy recipe taken from the blog post:

Beth Moore’s Gravy Recipe

Now, for a few gravy hints. The drippings to a turkey are absolutely divine. After you’ve let the bird cool off enough to work with the drippings, tear open your roasting bag and use a cup or ladle to pour a generous amount into a measuring cup exactly like this:

See how the spout is at the bottom? The fattest part of the liquid will rise to the top after just a few minutes. You only want to use the bottom part to make your gravy or it’s too greasy. Set the filled measuring cup to the side until it’s time to make your gravy. Do you girls have iron skillets? They are best for making gravy but not imperative. You want it to be one of the last things you do before serving your meal. I’m going to tell you how to do basic gravy rather than giblet gravy so you’ll know how to make it from any roast whether beef, pork, or bird. I’ll leave giblet gravy to one of the other cooks on here.

Go back to your measuring cup of drippings. Pour that lower (less fat) half of your liquid in a skillet. Heat it up to a rolling boil. Depending on how much liquid you have in your skillet, put about a heaping tablespoon of flour (not into your pan yet!) into about a fourth cup of warm water and stir it up really well until the lumps are out. While the liquid in your skillet boils, pour in the flour mixture and stir constantly for at least several minutes. After it’s well mixed, decrease your heat to a low boil. Add some salt and pepper if the liquid needs it. (You can’t be afraid to taste it in process or it won’t be well seasoned.) The liquid in the skillet will all begin to thicken. Keep it boiling until it looks like gravy. Grin. And add some water – just a little at a time – until it has the consistency you’re looking for. Especially with any of my bird-gravies (chicken or turkey), I like to add no more than a dime-size of this:

It simply adds a little color. For those of you with access to a Williams Sonoma, however, this is absolutely FABULOUS (this is the only thing on here today you can’t get from a regular grocery store):

I pray you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving surrounded by loved ones and that you take the time to truly give thanks to our Great God for His goodness to us.  This past Sunday night at my church our interim pastor, Joel Southerland, actually had us physically write down our blessings. Since I’ve been “counting to 1,000” with Ann Voskamp on Multitude Mondays that was near and dear to my heart. I’ll be sharing my list soon. 

Happy Gravy Making!