lemon pie hawaiian

The Hawaiian Pie Of My Eye

This pie definitely tastes like it flew straight out of the 1950s or 60s and flashed forward into my mouth. And based on where this recipe was located in my Mom Betty’s cookbook, I’m likely not that far off on its origins. I’ll continue some research to see if I can determine the publication for this recipe because I recognize the size, format and paper.

The original recipe below claims this pie is a cross between lemon chiffon and lemon meringue. I had to Google the difference between both in order to put my stink eye at ease.

I love that this recipe calls for a pre-made pie crust vs. fresh (hey, this era was a time often about making fast meals which were often a combination of part scratch and part ready made). This has a definite sweet-sugary taste which is one of the reasons I recommend unsweetened coconut – you don’t need extra in this.

I’m not sure how Hawaiian this pie actually is but with coconut in it, the taste will likely remind you of soothing tropical sunsets and beautiful beaches. You can read more about my Texas family’s connection to Hawaii through a few more Hawaiian-inspired recipes. Enjoy!

Foodie Tips

❤  What’s a pie shield? It’s typically made of silicon and it can help prevent the top edges of your crust from burning. Here’s ours from Williams-Sonoma which is adjustable and its been a life saver! You can also make your own impromptu version by using foil and shaping it around the crust’s edge.

❤  A word about the filling. We had a lot of filling left over but we didn’t opt to make a second pie as we were on diets (yeah, that’s the ticket)! We poured the extra filling into some custard cups to devour on some weak moments after our initial pie festival.

i. Time

Total prep: Allow 1 hour for Hawaiian pie prep plus 4 hours for chilling. 

ii. Ingredients

8 ¼ ounce can  crushed pineapple, drained (I could only find an 8 ounce can of Libby’s)
¼ cup  brown sugar, packed
¼ cup  unsweetened flaked coconut
2 tablespoons  unsalted butter, softened (my Grandmother “Nanny” insisted on Falfurrias)
9-inch  pastry shell, unbaked
4-serving size  regular lemon pudding mix
½ cup  granulated sugar
1 ¾ cup  water
cage free egg yolks, slightly beaten (save the whites for below!)
2 tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon  more butter
cage free egg whites
¼ cup  more granulated sugar
to garnish  toasted coconut (optional but highly recommended)

iii. What To Do

0. PREP
Set out your butter to soften to room temperature. Preheat your oven to 425°F

1. MAKE THE PIE BASE
Combine the drained pineapple, brown sugar, ¼ cup of the coconut and 2 tablespoons butter. Spread it over the bottom of the pastry shell.

2. BAKE THE PIE’S BOTTOM
Cover the edge of the pastry with foil or a silicon pie shield. Bake in your preheated oven at 425°F for 15 minutes, removing the crust protector after the first 5 minutes of baking. When done, remove the pie from the oven and set it aside to cool.

3. LET’S MAKE CUSTARDY FILLING
In a  medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat combine the pudding mix with a ½ cup of the granulated sugar. Stir in the water and egg yolks and cook and stir until things are bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in the lemon juice and the remaining butter. Cover with clear plastic wrap and let things cool, stirring occasionally.

4. LET’S PREP THE WHITES
In a bowl beat the egg whites on high speed with your mixer until you see soft peaks. Gradually beat in the remaining ¼ cup sugar until everything forms stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites into the cooled filling. Pile everything on top of the baked pastry shell.

5. PREPARE FOR DISMOUNT
Place the pie in the fridge for at least 4 hours. When ready to serve garnish with some toasted coconut.

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

A Scan Of Mom’s Original Recipe Clipping


brazil nut chips

Brazil Nut Chips HeroGet Ready To Go Nuts

I’m not sure where Brazil nuts have been hiding my entire life. It’s likely because as a native Texan “nuts” really just means “pecans” which have been the center of my world since I was a younger me. Also surprising to me is that Brazil nuts aren’t nuts per se but seeds that hail from the Amazon rainforest’s Brazil nut tree.

Low and behold we were on a low carb diet and had ironically had just purchased a big bag of them from Costco. Even at only 2 net carbs for about 9 nuts they had a buttery good flavor but a little too bland right out of the bag for my liking. Turns out a little lovin’ from the oven transforms the nut-seeds into a rightfully righteous super snacker!

Butter and Brazil NutsFoodie Tips

❤  These nut chips are super-easy to make and eat! You might just want to go ahead and multiply the recipe so you’ll have extra for impromptu snacking or pop-ins. Jarred and wrapped with a ribbon these also make great gifts!

❤  This is a simple recipe that literally heightens the flavors that you use for seasoning. The next time we make these (oh, and we’ll be making them again) we’re eyeing some cayenne (for heat) and for herbs thyme, oregano or rosemary. You can’t go wrong!

i. Time

Total prep: About 20 minutes.

Kirkland Organic Whole Brazil Nutsii. Ingredients

1 ½ cups  whole brazil nuts, shelled
2 tablespoons  unsalted butter, melted (my Grandmother “Nanny” insisted on Falfurrias)
½ teaspoon  seasoned salt*

* A word about seasoned salt: A family favorite for as long as I can remember is Lawry’s brand seasoned salt. It wasn’t until my post-college years when I was convinced my taste buds needed more “oomph” when I switched to Lawry’s seasoned salt with black pepper. That’s what I used for this recipe and it was amazing, as always!

Brazil Nuts On The Stovetopiii. What To Do

1. To Soften The Nuts
Place the Brazil nuts  in a medium-sized saucepan. Cover with water and over a medium-high heat bring things to a boil. Simmer 2-3 minutes then drain.

2. Make Nut Slivers
While still warm shave each nut lengthwise into thin slices with a paring knife. We left the skin on for extra flavor.

Brazil Nut Slivers Dotted With Butter3. Season & Bake
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a shallow baking pan with foil. Spread the Brazil nut slivers into the pan and sprinkle “dots” of butter all over them. Lightly season and bake until lightly browned and crisp for about 12 minutes, stirring or shaking along the way (about every 2-3 minutes). With each stirring I added a little bit more seasoning until I arrived at my preferred taste.

Brazil Nut Chips In A Baking Pan4. Enjoy
Remove the prepared nut chips from the oven and let them cool a bit. Dig in and store any leftovers in a container with a tightly-fitting cover. This just might be the perfect time to learn more about the Brazil nut with this article while you enjoy your newest culinary creation!

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Brazil Nut Chips Recipe

Delicious! I can eat an entire 2-cup batch by myself!

More About This Recipe
I found the recipe recipe tucked in my Mom Betty’s Black Recipe Cookbook. From the looks of the yellowed paper and because older recipes came from the black recipe book closest to when my Mom and Dad married I’d say this recipe is from the 1950s or 1960s. 

Brazil Nut Chips Recipe

The Original Scan Of the Brazil Nut Chips Recipe From Mom’s Cookbook


pumpkin dump cake

Pumpkin Dump Cake Recipe by Betty's Cook NookA Bit Of Dump Cake History

The folks at Epicurious describe the dump cake as “the worst name in the history of desserts.” I, on the other hand, snickered when the name first graced my being. In fact it was more of a snortle of sorts.

The year was 2005 and my Cousin Julie had emailed me the dump cake recipe below that she was impressed with. Being one of the early bathroom humor pioneers (poo-oneers?) I simply replied: “you know I’ll try this because it has the word DUMP in it!” Well that email got filed away with good intentions and sadly forgotten. This year when I was missing my Cousin I went digital dumpster diving into my old email account and a few clicks later the recipe floated to the surface (pun intended).

Flashback: Dump Cake

Before we dive into this recipe I was curious the glorious origins of the dump cake. While some online posts said the first dump cake would send us to 1980, others threw me off track saying the dump cake actually went by other names, including “wacky cake.” For my purposes my culinary etymological research is purely of “dump cake.”

The Los Angeles Times Economy Cook Book No. 5 Dump CakeAs can be seen by the Google Books Ngram Viewer let’s have a peek at the usage of dump cake over time. There it was – nestled on page 50 of 1917’s The Los Angeles Times Economy Cook Book No. 5: Practical and Economical Recipes by Skilled Cooks – this nugget for Dump Cake. Albeit the recipe instructions read more like a conventional cake (think more effort), the origins of the name take us back to when my Grandmother “Nanny” was 17. You can click this link and see for yourself! I can’t wait to let this useless trivia factoid rip at my next party!

What’s even more interesting is I discovered I lived at the trifecta of perfection – when word usage of dump cake and two sidekicks near and dear to my heart – “pac man” and “bean roll” – were in pure alignment. The year was 1979 and little did I know I was living the glory days. Who knows if this moment in time will rise again?
Google Books Ngram Viewer Dump Cake Pac Man Bean RollFoodie Tips

❤  I have to admit I was leery that this cake would come together. But just as the name implies the magic of the dump cake took over once it was in the hot oven and things began to mingle.

❤  Striving to curtail holiday overeating (which later proved to be a farce) we split the recipe into three greased 9″ round foil pans. I was nervous if they would turn out OK and they did! We gave two cakes to unsuspecting neighbors who said they enjoyed it greatly.

i. Time

Total prep: About 60 minutes.

ii. Ingredients

29 ounce can  Libby’s 100% pure canned pumpkin
12 ounce can  evaporated milk
cage free eggs
1 cup  sugar
1 teaspoon  salt
3 teaspoons  cinnamon
1 box  Duncan Hines classic yellow cake mix
1 cup  Texas pecans, chopped
¾ cup  unsalted butter, melted (my Grandmother “Nanny” insisted on Falfurrias)
to serve  whipped cream or ice cream (optional)

iii. What To Do

1. Preheat oven to 350°F degrees.

2. Mix the first six ingredients until well blended and pour the batter into a 9″ X 13″ greased pan.

Making Pumpkin Dump Cake

3. Sprinkle cake mix on top and then sprinkle that with pecans.

Pumpkin Dump Cake

4. Pour melted butter or margarine over top. Bake for 50 minutes.



Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream. My Cousin Julie topped her cake with dulce de leche and said it was really good!

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Let’s have a peek at some vintage Libby’s pumpkin ads:

October 1986 Great Pumpkin Cookie Recipe

Libby's 1964 Pumpkin Pie Ad Typo

Libby's Pumpkin Life Magazine Ad 1950


texas kolaches

How To Make Texas-Czech KolachesWhere Old Meets New

In the golden days of past my Mom “Betty” subscribed to Southern Living magazine and to this day, so do I. 

In SL’s most recent September 2020 issue they gave claim to the seven “Cooks of the Year” for their culinary innovations. I, too, love innovators for without them we’d be eating the same thing day after day… (fancy some porridge and toast?). But I will continue the foodie fight to honor those in the rear view mirror – the ones who fed our bellies when we were kids. Our Mothers, Grandmothers, and best of all – the ones likely before we can remember. These are the true culinary geniuses who made mealtime a favorite time without the aid of modern kitchen contraptions like microwaves, silicon utensils, immersion blenders, air fryers, and bluetooth ovens (I’m guilty of owning all these items)!

The Missing Piece

With more than 200 recipes here at BettysCookNook.com, the Southern Living kolache recipe fills a missing puzzle piece in my Mom’s culinary legacy; Mom’s kolache filling recipes (below) had been in her cookbook without their much needed pastry crust recipe until now! And since kolaches hold a near and dear place in the heart of Texans right up there with queso, big hair, and cowboy boots you have plenty of recipe ideas thanks to my Mom’s 3 filling recipes below – apricot, prune, and cottage cheese. In addition, there’s a streusel recipe to top things off!

Thanks to Southern Living Magazine I’m gratefully able to connect the past with the present. I hope you try and enjoy this recipe! Thank you, Lydia Faust, for sharing a slice of the great days with the rest of us! #HatsOff

While I usually veer off the I-35 interstate in the city of West, Texas for some of the world famous savory Czech Stop kolaches (bless you, jalapeño, sausage and cheese) let’s not forget their sweet kolache friends! I didn’t make all 3 fillings but the apricot filling was my first pick and it was dy-no-mite! I’d suggest starting with that one first.

This is a recipe for those with a little kitchen grit. I found kolaches much easier to make than homemade tamales (which had me sore for 2 days) or puffy tacos (Joe does most of that work) and you’ll have plenty of leftovers to share with friends and family. I’ll never bat an eye at how much these cost as I found hand making these to be a labor of pure love.

Foodie Tips

❤  This kolache recipe made 53 of the yeasty delights and ironically Mom’s apricot filling recipe filled them all to the last scoop!

❤  It’s customary for the kolaches to touch while baking; they often come out of the oven square-ish. I had giant stainless baking sheet pans so my kolaches came out round. Despite the tweaked shape they tasted the same!

❤  To form the hole we wrapped a spice jar with saran wrap to prevent the dough from sticking and pressed away (shown).

❤  I remember growing-up my Mom’s friend “Miss Joyce” called some savory pigs in a blankey “koblasniky.” Turns out she wasn’t kidding – the sweet treats are kolaches and the savory friends koblasniky. I was happy to confirm in this article. My Moravian ancestors would be proud I stand corrected! Here in Texas folks just refer to anything wrapped in the billowy dough kolaches and we all know what’s involved.

How To Make Kolaches

i. Time

Total prep: Your entire morning. (includes 60 minutes for baking)

ii. Ingredients

for the kolache pastry:
1 ½ tablespoons  active dry yeast
½ cup  warm water (105°F115°F)
¼ cup  unsalted butter (my Grandmother “Nanny” insisted on Falfurrias)
¼ cup  vegetable shortening (Crisco)
1 ½ cups  lukewarm whole milk (100°F105°F)
6 cups  all-purpose flour, divided, plus more for the prep surface
¾ cup  evaporated milk
⅓ cup  granulated sugar
1 tablespoon  kosher salt
2 large  cage free eggs
1 large  cage free egg yolk
5 tablespoons (or more)  unsalted butter, melted

for the apricot filling:
1 pound  dried apricots
¾ cup  granulated sugar
3 tablespoons  unsalted butter

for the streusel:
½ cup   granulated sugar
½ cup   flour
½ cup   butter, melted

iii. What To Do

1.
Sprinkle the yeast over warm water and stir to combine. Set aside. Place the butter and shortening in a large microwavable bowl, and microwave on high until melted, about 1 minute. Stir well to combine. Whisk in the lukewarm whole milk and yeast mixture.

2. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Sift 3 cups of the flour over mixture. Add the evaporated milk, sugar, salt, eggs, and egg yolk. Beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Remove the whisk attachment and replace it with a dough hook. Gradually add the remaining 3 cups flour; beat on medium speed until dough is smooth, about 2 minutes. Let the dough sit at room temperature for 5 minutes; then beat it on medium-high speed until the dough is elastic and very smooth, about 10 minutes.

Kolache Dough Rising3. Brush the top of dough with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour. Punch the dough down and cover it again and let the dough rise until doubled, about 30 more minutes.

Making Kolaches

4. Generously flour a work surface. Gently roll dough out to a 1-inch-thick rectangle (about 18 x 14 inches). Using a 2-inch round cutter, cut out circles, and place them 1 inch apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Brush the tops with 2 tablespoons of the melted butter. Let rise in a warm place until almost doubled in bulk, about 20 minutes.

How To Make A Kolache

Texas Kolache
Apricot Kolache Filling5. While the dough rises, let’s make the apricot kolache filling. Prepare the apricots according to the package directions (I boiled mine in water for about 10 minutes then drained the water). Add the sugar and butter. I used an immersion blender to get things soft but I was careful not to over process it; you still want it a bit thick (not like apple sauce) and a few chunks here and there are OK. Set the filling aside.

6. Let’s continue on by making the posypka (streusel topping): Use a pastry cutter (suggested) or your fingers to combine the sugar, flour, and butter to form a crumbly texture. Store this in the refrigerator until ready to use.

7. Back to the kolaches! Make one small indentation in the center of each dough circle (see tip above or you can use your fingers), and fill each with about 1 tablespoon of the filling. Sprinkle each kolache with 1 to 2 teaspoons of the posypka. Let the kolaches rise until they’ve doubled in size, 20 to 30 minutes.
Kolache with Apricot Filling
8. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Position racks in top third and lower third of oven. Bake the kolaches until golden brown, about 20 minutes, rotating baking sheets between top and bottom racks halfway through the baking time. Remove from oven. Brush the kolaches with the remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter and transfer them to wire racks. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Apricot Kolaches

You may be tired by this point so sit back and enjoy a few bites of the sweet life!

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Apricot Filling Recipe For Kolaches

A Scan Of Mom’s Original Apricot Kolache Filling Recipe

Prune Filling Recipe For Kolaches

A Scan Of Mom’s Prune Kolache Filling Recipe

Cottage Cheese Filling Recipe For Kolaches

A Scan Of Mom’s Cottage Cheese Kolache Filling Recipe

Streusel Topping Recipe

A Scan Of Mom’s Streusel Topping Recipe


mrs. copple’s banana bread

Mrs. Copples Banana Bread RecipeBreadwinners

Back in 2012 I posted this banana nut loaf cake recipe (which is really just banana bread, disguised with the “loaf” part). It has remained a family favorite to this day and I look forward to making muffins out of my Aunt’s recipe on our next go.

My friend Suzanne will be delighted to hear that Mrs. Copple’s banana bread recipe doesn’t call for nuts (shorthand for pecans, here in Texas). She and I continuously arm wrestle over whether banana bread should or should not have nuts and since I’m the fingers behind this post we know that “with nuts” wins. Yay me! But I will admit – this banana bread packs a great taste. Even if the nuts were forgotten! 🤠

Regardless of nuts and butter (or no nuts and margarine), I think we can agree we’re “breadwinners” when we enjoy a baked banana slice of home sweet home.

Foodie Tips

❤  You won’t see a bread picture in this post. Why? We decided to gift some of this sweetness to neighbors and thought muffins would be more portable than slices of bread. This recipe yielded 6 large (jumbo) muffins and 12 mini muffins (yielding 18 in total). For the large muffins you’ll cook about 25 minutes at 350°F; the minis were ready in 15 minutes.

❤  In addition to arm wrestling over nuts or no nuts, you can add butter vs. margarine to the list! We used butter in this recipe vs. margarine. Sorry, Mrs. Copple! During the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown all we stock is unsalted butter so that’s what we used. There are some culinary differences between butter and margarine that you might want to read more about in this post.

❤  I thought it interesting lemon juice was called for to prevent turning the bananas brown (the bananas wouldn’t be sitting out for a long period of time). But I’m not willing to risk a brown banana bread so in the lemon juice went!

❤  To serve, my favorite way to enjoy a bread or muffin is “toasty warm” with a smear of plain Philadelphia Whipped Cream Cheese on top! There’s nothing better!

banana bread mini muffins

i. Time

Total prep: About 40-75 minutes (depending on whether you make mini muffins or bread)

ii. Ingredients

1 stick  |  margarine or unsalted butter (my Grandmother “Nanny” always insisted on Falfurrias brand butter)
1 cup  |  sugar
|  cage free eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon  |  baking soda
1 teaspoon  |  baking powder
1 teaspoon  |  salt
2 cups  |  flour, sifted
|  bananas
a tad  |  fresh lemon juice

the best banana bread muffins

iii. What To Do

1. In a mixing bowl cream the margarine (or butter) and sugar together.

2. Add the room temperature eggs and beat well.

3. In a separate bowl add the baking soda, baking powder, and salt to the flour.

4. Mash the bananas and sprinkle them lightly with a squeeze or two of fresh lemon juice to keep them from turning brown.

5. Mix together the flour mixture and the creamed butter/sugar mixture.

6. With a spatula hand mix-in the bananas and your banana batter is ready!

7. Decide whether or not you’re making bread or muffins. Prepare your chosen baking pan (we used nonstick spray) and fill ¾ full.

8. Bake for 50-60 minutes for the bread; about 25 minutes for jumbo-sized muffins; or 15 minutes for the mini muffins… all until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

A Scan Of My Mom “Betty’s” Coveted Banana Bread Recipe (in her handwriting)


lela’s grits

True Grits

Grits were born in the 16th century thanks to the Muskogee Native American tribe of Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia.

Flash forward 400-ish years later and we’re still enjoying cornmeal that’s often served with a seemingly endless assortment of sweet and savory sidekicks.

Because grits don’t have much flavor all by themselves, they are super versatile adopting the taste of their foodie sidekicks like bacon, cheese, onions, shrimp, sausage and more. Butter is a given! I’ve included some ingredient options below, although Lela’s original recipe just called for garlic cheese. Sometimes the simple foods provide the greatest comfort!

My orientation to grits was via the 1970s greasy spoon diner sitcom Alice. I spent many hours watching Flo Castleberry find a delightfully southern and spunky way of telling people to “Kiss my grits!” Here’s a video compilation of some of her sassiest moments:

Truth be told – one bite in and you may just kiss these grits. I enjoyed reminiscing over this dish and hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Foodie Tips

❤  Garlic cheese roll? Yeah, you won’t likely readily find it at the grocery store. This good ol’ classic has been discontinued by Kraft but you can score a way to make your own Garlic Cheese Roll at home with this Betty’s Cook Nook recipe (scroll to the bottom for the bonus cheese roll recipe).

❤  This pimiento cheese recipe tastes great in lieu of the garlic cheese roll.

❤  I discovered a recent Southern Living magazine article with some ingredient options to enjoy grits three unique ways: Option 1: Scrambled eggs, cubed ham, shredded cheddar cheese, halved cherry tomatoes, and chopped fresh chives. Option 2: Fried egg, cubed chorizo, cubed avocado, crumbled queso fresco (fresh Mexican cheese), and hot sauce. Option 3: Poached egg, crumbled bacon, sautéed spinach, and shaved Parmesan cheese.

i. Time

Total prep: About 25 minutes

ii. Ingredients

3 cups  |  boiling water
1 cup  |  grits
to taste  |  salt
1 roll  |  garlic cheese roll
1 stick  |  unsalted butter (my Grandmother always insisted on Falfurrias brand butter)
|  cage free eggs
to serve  |  cheddar cheese, shredded
to garnish  |  bacon, crumbled (optional)
to garnish  |  green onions, sliced (optional)

iii. What To Do

1. In a saucepan bring the water to a boil.

2. Slowly stir the grits into the boiling water. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally for 4-5 minutes until thickened.

3. Add the salt, garlic cheese, butter and eggs and continue cooking until everything melts, about 2-3 minutes. The cheese should cool the grits a bit – you’ll want to make sure you don’t scramble your eggs!

Optional step: We transferred the grits into a buttered casserole dish, topped the grits with the shredded cheddar cheese and baked it at 350°F for 10 minutes to give the grits a cheesy crust up top.

4. To serve (if using): Sprinkle the bacon and sliced green onions on top and enjoy!

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

A Scan Of Mom’s Original Grits Recipe Card

Who is Lela?

When I was growing up Lela Swinny lived at 3006 Northridge in San Antonio just 2 doors around the corner from my family’s home at 2927 Trailend.

The Swinny family was a delightful bunch of folks and my family spent almost as much time at their house as our own so naturally “fooding” was a part of the times our two families shared.

Mom’s dear friend “Lela” taught me many things ~ the joy of laughing, how to swim in their awesome pool, and how to cook a memorable breakfast treat called “Egg In A Nest,” which is also posted here at Betty’s Cook Nook.

True family fact: Back in the 1970s Lela was throwing out an old desk that caught my Mom’s eye. A coat of red paint later and it was a cornerstone in my brother Tim’s red white and blue bedroom (it was around the time of our Country’s Bicentennial celebration so red white and blue was extra hot). In the 1990s I painted the desk black and it’s the desk where I author this cooking blog to this day, proving that Lela is still with us, heart and soul!

You’ll find a picture of Lela and me in the “old family photos” tab and you can search for her by name to connect with more of her spirited recipes here at Betty’s Cook Nook.

Cheers to two great friends – my Mom Betty and Lela!


spinach crepes with ham sauce

Spinach Crepes with Ham SauceCrepes Of Great

Whether they’re sweet or savory, crepes have always intrigued and intimidated me.

I’m always afraid I can’t keep them in tact (no crepe skills) which is likely why only recently I found the encouragement to make them later in life. Thanks to this recipe my partner Joe showed me firsthand that crepes are actually doable without a fancy crepe pan or cooking classes!

Crepes originate from Western France and they are celebrated every February 2nd during e jour des crêpes or “the day of the crepe.”

Growing up I don’t remember eating these crepes with ham sauce but I do remember dreaming about every kid’s treasured hammy story “Green Eggs and Ham.” You can enjoy a video short of that below.

This recipe hails from my Cousin Julie’s kitchen and I’m pegging it at circa 1970s or 80s. Julie wrote the recipe on her special stationery to my Mom “Betty,” and I’ve included a scan of the original below!

Foodie Tips

❤  If you’re fast-tracking this recipe while the crepe batter is chilling in the fridge you can continue on to prepare the filling and ham sauce. Or you can enjoy a mimosa and some conversation with your friends and family while the party crescendoes.

❤  Depending on the size of your pour you may have some leftover crepes. You can refrigerate them to enjoy a day or two later or… we froze a few of ours by placing a sheet of waxed paper between each crepe then placing the stack in an air tight, freezer-safe bag.

i. Time

Total prep: About 90-120 minutes (including 1 hour for the crepe batter to chill)

ii. Ingredients

for the crepes:
1 cup  |  flour, sifted
½ teaspoon  |  baking powder
¼ – ½ teaspoon  |  salt
|  cage free eggs
1 cup  |  milk
¼ teaspoon  |  nutmeg

for the filling:
1 cup  |  onion, chopped
2 tablespoons  |  unsalted butter (give Falfurrias brand a try per my Grandmother “Nanny”)
10 ounce package  |  frozen spinach, thawed
1 cup  |  swiss cheese, diced
2 teaspoons  |  dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon  |  salt
¼ teaspoon  |  nutmeg

for the ham sauce:
2 tablespoons  |  Mmmmmore unsalted butter
2 tablespoons  |  flour
¼ teaspoon  |  salt
1 cup  |  milk
½ cup  |  half and half
2 teaspoons  |  dijon mustard
1 ½ cups (about ½ pound)  |  ham, cooked and diced
to garnish  |  green onions, chopped (optional)

iii. What To Do

Prepare The Crepes: 1) Combine by hand the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium-sized bowl and set aside. 2) In a separate bowl beat the eggs and milk together then add to the flour mixture. 3) Refrigerate 1 hour or overnight, if you’re preparing this ahead of time. 4) Over medium-low heat (we used gas) melt some butter in a flat pan or crepe pan. 5) Pour 3 tablespoons of the batter all at once into the heated pan and let it sit a few seconds. Carefully rotate, flip and cool a bit more on the second side. Transfer the crepe onto a plate until ready to use. Continue cooking and stacking until you’ll all out of batter, making about 12 crepes. If you’re lucky the crepes will turn out something like this:

Prepare The Filling: 1) In a larger pan over medium-high heat, sauté the onion in butter. 2) Add the spinach and cook until the moisture evaporates. 3) Stir in the swiss cheese, mustard, salt and nutmeg. 4) Preheat your oven to 350°F. 5) Fill the crepes using ¼ cup of the filling for each, roll ’em up, and arrange them in a lightly buttered casserole dish. You can place them in a chafing dish if you’re serving right away.

spinach and ham crepes from bettys cook nook

Prepare The Ham Sauce: 1) In your crepe pan, melt butter and stir in the flour and salt. 2) Add the milk, half and half and the mustard. 3) Cook, stirring constantly until thickened. 4) Fold in the diced ham and heat until warm. 5) Pour the ham sauce over the crepes and “warm up the whole business at once in the oven” as Julie wrote below, about 10-15 minutes or heat in the chafing dish (per above).

We sprinkled some chopped green onions on top to serve (optional).

Enjoy!

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook
spinach crepes and ham sauce

Julie's Spinach Crepes with Ham Sauce Recipe

Who is “Julie Mueller”

Julie is more than my 1st Cousin; she has been like my 2nd Mom. Julie had a heart bigger than Texas and I can still hear her signature “infectious” laugh which would instantly brighten any room.

Julie was known for having the impeccable skill of a master entertainer and with that the tastiest of foods were always to be enjoyed by all! I always thought of Julie as my very own Martha Stewart as she was crafty well beyond the kitchen across mediums like needlepoint, painting, furniture restoration and being a wonderful decorator and story teller. Whether by design or accident, Julie taught me to never underestimate the loving power and influence of a Cousin!

You’ll find several of Julie’s recipes, photos, and stories here at Betty’s Cook Nook. Her memory lives on in those who knew her and I’m happy to share some of her favorite foods with you.


hondo corn casserole

Thanksgiving Spectacular

In uncommon fashion I’m pre-posting some recipes that are on deck and ready for the upcoming foodie festival!

Scroll down below and you’ll find three recipes that hail to my kitchen from my Cousin Julie – Hondo Corn Casserole (thank you, carbs), Madeira Turkey, and Wild Mushroom and Pecan Stuffing! These are on deck and coming out of the oven soon!

For you new-comers out there if you missed it make sure and check out the latest posts perfect for Thanksgiving –  Pumpkin Bread, Sour Cream Apple Pie plus Brandied Pumpkin Flan which is a family Thanksgiving staple. On our sister site Home Style Austin you can score our newest recipe Honey+Rosemary Roasted Cashews which are great for gift giving. Enjoy our 2019 fall “flavorites” from us to you!

This is surely going to be a Thanksgiving to remember. Photos and my usual rambling on about the good ol’ days to follow!

HONDO CORN CASSEROLE

This recipe sat in my cookbook likely since the 1990s. This year I was searching for the best sides to make for Thanksgiving and dived in. I couldn’t remember the origin of the recipe but when I read the ending of the recipe “If guests arrive, give them a drink and regale with stories of Texas Gulf Coast wonders” I knew this recipe hailed from someone special.

One phone conversation with Cousin Jennifer and it was confirmed – this recipe was from my dear Cousin Julie Sutton Mueller. Jennifer said this was one of Julie’s long-standing recipes at the holidays and as the recipe indicates – it’s a crowd favorite and people always ask for this recipe. That certainly proved true this Thanksgiving when I made it for our annual gathering at Canyon Lake!

Foodie Tips

❤  All about the corn: You can use a box of frozen corn – the instructions below presume you’ll use canned corn. If you’d like to increase the serving sizes to 8-10 you can add a can of the whole kernel corn.

❤  “Unsweetened condensed milk” – you’ll likely not find this in your store… but never fear – it’s the same thing as evaporated milk. Who knew?!? I didn’t until I researched it!

i. Time

Total prep: About 75 minutes

ii. Ingredients

16 ounce can  |  cream style corn
16 ounce can  |  whole kernel corn
1 cup  |  cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup  |  Ritz crackers, crushed
1 small  |  onion, chopped (or several green onions, chopped)
|  cage free egg
3 tablespoons (or less)  |  sugar
⅔ cup  |  unsweetened condensed milk (see foodie tip above)
1 stick  |  unsalted butter, melted (tip: my Grandmother “Nanny” insisted on Falfurrias brand butter)
1 small can (4.5 ounces)  |  chopped green chilis
to taste  |  salt and fresh cracked pepper

iii. What to do

0. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Meanwhile…

1. In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine all the ingredients together and set aside.

2. Grease or spray an oven casserole dish and fill it with your casserole mixture. You can either refrigerate this overnight until ready to bake or you can simply jump to step 3!

3. Bake for 50-60 minutes until the top is golden brown. Recommended step: If you’d like to make a pretty top crust, 10 minutes before the casserole is done baking sprinkle more cheese or crushed Ritz crackers on top. Deeeee-licious!

Serves: 6-10 (see recipe expansion tip above)

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Hondo Corn Casserole

A Scan Of Cousin Julie’s Hondo Corn Casserole

Thanksgiving 2019Enjoy your preview of what’s to come for Thanksgiving 2019!Wild Mushroom and Pecan Stuffing

Madeira Roast Turkey


sour cream apple pie

Sour Cream Apple Pie Recipe

The Apple Pie Of My Eye

Hubba! Hubba! One bite into this apple pie sent me back on a flavor adventure into my childhood – a time when apple rocked my world.

My fondest apple memories weren’t necessarily of the fruit itself, but its fruit-inspired kissin’ Cousin – Jolly Rancher Apple Candy. Awe shucks – my eyes would grow wide with these little suckers and my fingers could barely fumble fast enough to frantically tear off the plastic wrapper so I could get down to business.

Jolly Rancher Apple Stix Vintage Print Ad

It Doesn’t Appear That Jolly Rancher Made Any Apple-Inspired Print Ads Back In The Day…
So I Modified A Fire Stix Ad To Represent!

Several years ago my tongue stumbled upon my first Caramel Apple Pop and these have since become my go-to candy for Halloween trick-or-treaters. These taste like a green apple Jolly Rancher that’s been dipped in rich, lux caramel. Boy howdy! These are way easier to enjoy and I don’t have to be reminded that when it comes to my ability to handmake a caramel apple on a stick I ought to just phone a friend for help (you can read all about that hilarious foodie fail here)!

Back To Pie Basics

This recipe – like others – unassumingly sat tucked away in my Mom’s cookbook. Then this October fall rushed in. This is when Texas temperatures drop into the 90s and we reach for blankets and sweaters to keep us alive. October is a time of year when the eyes and the appetite often turn to the wonderfully warm and woodsy flavors of fall. And sitting right in the middle of it all is the fall apple.

Enjoy the mash-up of apple graced with the south’s favorite sidekick – good ol’ sour cream! Topped with a cinnamon-sugar crumb topping, the remarkable taste is probably one of the earliest sweet ‘n sour ‘n tarty foods I can remember.

Sour cream apple pie – you’re welcome in my stomach any time!

Foodie Tips

❤  I may not be an apple connoisseur but I do recognize all apples are not created equal when it’s time to bake them. Avoid the ones that get “mushy” – nobody wants those in their pie! I got lucky and picked a granny smith apple which proved to be the perfect pucker-upper for the sour cream pairing! Here’s some southern wisdom about selecting baking apples.

❤  I have a gas oven and it browned my pie a little more than I would have preferred. I used a silicon pie crust shield which will help prevent the edges of your crust from burning.

i. Time

Total prep: About 75 minutes

ii. Ingredients

for the pie:
|  pie crust
2 tablespoons  |  flour
⅛ teaspoon  |  salt
¾ cup  |  sugar
cage free egg
1 cup  |  sour cream
1 teaspoon  |  vanilla
¼ teaspoon  |  nutmeg
2 cups  |  apples, diced (I enjoyed this with the peel on)

for the crumb topping:
⅓ cup  |  sugar
⅓ cup  |  flour
1 teaspoon  |  cinnamon
¼ cup  |  unsalted butter, melted (tip: my Grandmother “Nanny” insisted on Falfurrias brand butter)

iii. What to do

0. Preheat your oven to 400°F. Meanwhile…

1. Line a 9-inch pie pan with the pastry.

2. In a medium-sized bowl sift together the flour, salt, and sugar.

3. Add the egg, sour cream, vanilla, and nutmeg to the flour mixture. Beat everything into a smooth, thin batter.

4. Stir in the diced apples and coat well.

Sour Cream Apple Pie Going Into The Oven

5. Pour your apple batter into the pastry-lined pie pan.

6. Bake at 400°F for 15 minutes then lower temperature to 350°F and bake for 30 minutes – be careful not to over-bake!

7. Remove the pie from the oven and let it rest while we make our crumb topping.

8. Coarsely mix the four topping ingredients together in a small bowl and sprinkle them over the top of the pie. Lumpy crumbs are good here – there’s no need to pulverize the topping.

Apple Pie Crumb Topping

9. Raise the oven to 400°F and return the pie to bake 10 minutes to brown.

10. Remove the pie and let it rest. Warm or cold this pie is delicious!

Sour Cream Apple Pie Guard

Yield: 8-12 slices of tasty pie

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Sour Cream Apple Pie Recipe

A Scan Of My Mom “Betty’s” Original Sour Cream Apple Pie Recipe


prune cake

Prune Cake Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Thanks To Prunes, The Wait Is Over

If you’ve made it this far into the recipe then you’re obviously open to prunes. I mean hey, they have a bad rap for being associated with senior folks… and for giving the gift of, ahem, “regularity.”

Regardless of prunes’ affiliation with the trots at least 4 generations of my family have loved knocks at bathroom humor even before it was vogue. So I’m not sure why it took me 8 years after recovering Mom’s cookbook to dive into this recipe just because of the word “prune;” I should have been drawn to it!

So in 2000 even though the FDA changed the name of prunes to “dried plums” which boosted sales I say bring on the prunes! They taste great no matter what they’re called and who doesn’t like a little regularity? Plus, it seems that California may have returned to their prune-y roots, making me want to just call this “prune-plumb cake” just to ensure I have all “loose ends” covered (pun intended).

A Prune By Any Other Name…

I smiled when I saw this came from the Fredericksburg cookbook of our family friend “Lela.” Fredericksburg, Texas holds a special place in the hearts of Texans and it’s where Texas-German charm and heritage runs as thick as our state’s love for silky queso. I had a gut instinct this cake had historical origins to our European roots and I was right! Whether it goes by spice cake, election cake or muster cake, this is a delightfully decadent and dense cake that tastes like a warm slice of sweet Christmas drizzled with butter.

What’s different about this cake is the twist of incorporating Texas pecans and vanilla, and commingling them with the fruity smash-up taste of prunes in both the cake and the icing! I think you’ll agree this cake will disappear in a jiffy!

I saw in a recent McCormick video (below): “It’s the recipes we pass on to the next generation that are the reason there’s really no flavor like home.” And I hope this recipe becomes a, ahem, “regular favorite” that hails from Fredericksburg, to Lela, to my Mom, to me, and now to you!

Foodie Tips

❤  You can enjoy prune cake tabletop warm or cold from the fridge… but my favorite is when it’s just a bit warmed from the toaster oven or the microwave.

❤  9″ x 13″ loaf pan? This threw me because I thought loaf pans were almost as tall as they were wide. A 9″ x 13″ pan is what I call a sheet cake pan. I’m wondering if I could make a couple of 5″ x 9″ loaf pan cakes out of this!

❤  Prunes’ super power? Fiber, sorbitol, and polyphenols. They act as antioxidants and help keep a clean house.

i. Time

Total prep: 1-2 hours (includes cooling the cake)

Prune Cake Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

ii. Ingredients

for the cake:
3 | cage free eggs, well beaten
1 ½ cups | sugar
1 cup | salad oil
1 teaspoon | soda
1 cup | buttermilk
1 teaspoon | cinnamon
1 teaspoon | ground cloves
1 teaspoon | allspice
1 teaspoon | nutmeg
1 cup | mashed prunes, cooked
1 cup | pecans, chopped
2 cups | flour
1 teaspoon | baking power

for the icing:
2 tablespoons | butter (my Grandmother insisted on “Falfurrias” brand butter)
1 cup | sugar
2 | cage free eggs
½ cup | sour cream
1 cup | chopped prunes
1 cup | more chopped pecans
1 teaspoon | vanilla
a pinch | salt

iii. What to do

1. In a medium bowl beat the eggs and add the sugar. Beat everything together.

Prune Cake Recipe

Now Forming: A Blowout

2. In a measuring cup add the soda into the buttermilk, making sure to leave plenty of room as the soda will cause carbon dioxide bubbles to form, so use a larger measuring cup to prevent a “blowout,” (shown).

3. Add the salad oil, the buttermilk mixture and the the rest of the cake ingredients and mix well.

4. Bake everything in your choice of a greased 9″ x 13″ cake pan or three greased 8-inch cake pans at 350°F for about 25 minutes. When done remove the cake from the oven and let it cool on a cooling rack, if you have one.

Prune Cake Icing

5. After the cake has cooled a bit you can jumpstart your icing! Cream the butter and sugar and add the eggs. Mix with the remaining icing ingredients, transfer into a medium pan and cook over medium-low or medium heat until thick. Spread on cooled cake.

Serves: About 20 (sheet cake style)

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

A Scan Of Mom's Prune Cake Recipe

A Scan Of Mom’s Prune Cake Recipe

 

Who is Lela?

When I was growing up Lela Swinny lived at 3006 Northridge in San Antonio just 2 doors around the corner from my family’s home at 2927 Trailend.

The Swinny family was a delightful bunch of folks and my family spent almost as much time at their house as our own so naturally “fooding” was a part of the times our two families shared.

American Revolution Bicentennial LogoMom’s dear friend “Lela” taught me many things ~ the joy of laughing, how to swim in their awesome pool, and how to cook a memorable breakfast treat called “Egg In A Nest,” which is also posted here at Betty’s Cook Nook.

True family fact: Back in the 1970s Lela was throwing out an old desk that caught my Mom’s eye. A coat of red paint later and it was a cornerstone in my brother Tim’s red white and blue bedroom (it was around the time of our Country’s Bicentennial celebration so red white and blue was hot). In the 1990s I painted the desk black and it’s the desk where I author this blog to this day, proving that Lela is still with us, heart and soul!

You’ll find a picture of Lela and me in the “old family photos” tab and you can search for her by name to connect with more of her spirited recipes.

Cheers to two great friends – Mom and Lela!