Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


Mary Sue’s Super, Best, Most Delicious, World’s-Yummiest Ice Cream

Homer Simpson

Homer Simpson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I’ve heard run-of-the-mill things called “vanilla” I never understood it, because at our house, vanilla was the b-e-s-t!

Larry Lawrence asked me yesterday on Facebook if I had the recipe for Mom’s ice cream. That brought memories of the summertime treat flooding back. Yuuuuummy, creamy, delicious ice cream.

If I could make the Homer Simpson drooling yummy sound, I would.

So today, I’m going to share that recipe.

You can make it any flavor you want, as long as it’s vanilla. 🙂

 Mary Sue’s Super, Best, Most Delicious, World’s-Yummiest Ice Cream

1 egg
1/2 pint heavy cream
1 pint half-and-half
4 Cups whole milk
1 can Eagle Brand Milk
2 Cups sugar
2 tsp. vanilla

Using a mixer, lightly beat the egg, mix in cream, half-and-half, milk, Eagle Brand, sugar and vanilla. Pour in the freezer can and fill the rest of the way with whole milk.
Follow the Freezer instructions to freeze.

Grandma told me that sugar can freeze out, so be sure to taste the mixture before you add the final amount of milk and make sure it’s a little sweeter than you think it should be. If it’s not sweet enough, add more sugar. 🙂

And when it’s ready, share a bowl with me!


Happy St. Paddy’s

Everyone’s Irish on St. Paddy’s Day!

So, how are you planning to spend your ancestors’ national holiday?

Wearing green and pinching people?

Turning the water in your river, lake or pond green?

Makes me wonder if the fish turn green, too.

 Baking green cookies?

Drinking green apple juice? (For green apple juice, just add a drop or two of blue food coloring.)

Or are you going to wear a t-shirt that says–

and enjoy your day that way?

#1 son and his wife love celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. One year they came to the house and made us an Irish dinner. Soda bread and corned beef and cabbage. De-lish!

I don’t have #1’s recipe, but Ina Garten has one that looks good, so I borrowed it to share with you.
The Barefoot Contessa’s Irish Soda Bread:


    • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus
    • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, for dusting currants
    • 4 tablespoons sugar
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 18; teaspoons kosher salt
    • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, 1/2 inch dice
    • 1 ¾ cups buttermilk, shaken
    • 1 extra large eggs, beaten
    • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
    • 1 cup dried currants


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is mixed into the flour.
  3. With a fork, lightly beat the buttermilk, egg, and orange zest together in a measuring cup. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture. Combine the currants with 1 tablespoon of flour and mix into the dough. It will be very wet.
  4. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and knead it a few times into a round loaf. Place the loaf on the prepared sheet pan and lightly cut an X into the top of the bread with a serrated knife. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. When you tap the loaf, it will have a hollow sound.
  5. Cool on a baking rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Here’s the corned beef and cabbage recipe I found online that looks good. Not that I’m a judge of corned beef and cabbage, but it looks good. 🙂

Corned Beef and Cabbage–

Makes. 6 servings (the meat shrinks quite a bit) Preparation   time. 10 minutes Cooking time. 3 to 4   hours

Ingredients 1 (3 pound) slab   of corned beef, preferably home made 2 tablespoons coarsely   ground black pepper 2 tablespoons pickling   spices, preferably home made 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1″ segments 2 pounds of potatoes, cleaned and cut into 2″ chunks 1 small head of cabbage, outer leaves removed, cut in quarters.

A good idea. While the meat is cooking, mix up some of my Secretariat   Horseradish Sauce and refrigerate for  at least two hours to let the flavors marry. Serve it on the side as a  sauce.

Do this 1) Open the package the meat came in and dump out all the liquid. Rinse  thoroughly. Trim off all the fat cap. If you have made your own corned beef, and you should, it is  just plain better, remove it from the brine, and rinse it well.

2)  Corned beef is essentially pickled in salt, and straight out of the pack  it is way too salty. Before we can eat this cured meat, we need to cook  it and desalinate it a bit. Place the beef in a large pot along with  enough hot water to cover it by at least 1″ and put the  lid on.

Turn the heat to medium and bring to a low simmer for 30 minutes. Do not let it boil. If you boil it, it will get tough and shrink. Beware that the meat is cold, so when it warms the water will slowly move from simmer to boil. Keep an eye on it and do not let it boil. After 30 minutes, dump out the water and cover the meat with fresh hot   water. This time add the pickling spices.

Bring to a low simmer again, this time for 1 hour. Again dump the water and pickling spices and replace it with fresh hot water. Bring to a simmer and let it simmer for 1 hour. Add the carrots. After 30 minutes add the potatoes. After 10 minutes add the cabbage. After 15 minutes the cabbage will be done and so should everything else.

3) Remove the meat and place it on a carving board. There are often two horizontal muscles separated by a thick layer of fat. Separate  them by sliding a knife through the fat. Carve and/or scrape off the  fat layer. Carve the meat by cutting across the grain about the thickness of a pencil. Any thinner and it will fall apart, any thicker and it will be chewy.

5) Lift out the cabbage, potatoes and carrots and divide them into  serving bowls. Place the meat in the bowl. Spoon some of the cooking liquid over them and serve. Happy Holiday!

Or just pop over to Mommy Hates Cooking and follow her recipes. She sounds as if she’s actually prepared them, which I haven’t. I watched while the preparation happened, but that’s it.

I did eat it, though. Yummers!  🙂

How are you going to celebrate? At least tell me you plan to pinch someone!
Related articles


Chicken and Poodles

When I’m trying to lose a few pounds (or more than a few) weird things happen in my head. I develop cravings for breads and cereals and all the yummy carbs I try to cut back on. I know it’s not true hunger, but I want it just the same.

In honor of my cravings, I’m going to talk about CHICKEN AND POODLES. Okay, it’s really chicken and noodles, but I had to call it something weird when the kids were little. They LOVE them now. (Smothered Steak turned into Smothered Snake in my world.)

Here’s the recipe for homemade noodles, written in Grandmother’s own hand.

I have to warn you, making noodles from scratch isn’t easy. Grandmother didn’t have a machine to roll out or cut the yummers for her. She mixed them by hand and used a rolling pin to flatten them. In case you’re wondering, it’s a very stiff dough and builds muscles to get through preparing them.

Maybe you burn enough calories making them that you can afford to eat them. 🙂 I don’t know because I’ve never done it. I made noodles from scratch one time, and I used a mixer,

a noodle maker thingy that fits on my mixer and cuts the noodles, too. And still it was way too much work.

A package of Reames frozen noodles is much easier and tastes almost as good.

I’ve made chicken and noodles using the dried noodles off the store shelf, and it wasn’t bad. (I made them fairly often when we were first married.) Boil up the noodles, add left over chicken WITHOUT bones and a can of Cream of Chicken soup. Not bad stuff. (I used a tuna casserole recipe and made it taste good.) You can put it in the oven and top with crunchies (chip crumbs or bread crumbs) but I never have.

So here’s how I make good Chicken and Poodles for two.

1 pkg Reames noodles
cooked chicken (left over baked chicken, roasted chicken breasts or grilled chicken is great)
chicken broth
salt and pepper

Cook Reames Noodles in chicken broth. (If you add a couple of the bullion cubes, it makes them even better!) Give them plenty of time to get done. Toss in the chicken, season to taste. Tada! Yummer supper. For some reason, it seems like a long cooking time rather than rushing it makes it better.

BTW: No poodles were harmed when making this meal.

Since I posted Grandmother’s Noodles in the past, which makes Chicken and Poodles a repeat, I’m going to share Smothered Snake. (Yes, this is a rerun, too. Sorry about that. Guess I need find something different to cook, don’t I?)

1 round steak (can be tenderized, but doesn’t have to be)
vegetable oil
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
salt and pepper

Heat oil in a heavy, oven proof frying pan. (I use a cast iron skillet.) Season steak, brown in pan. When well browned on both sides, remove the steak from the pan and put the soup in. Stir well to loosen all the yummy goodness from the pan and mix it into the soup. Then put the browned steak back in the pan and cover with soup.

Cover and put in a 350 degree oven for one hour. Chow down.

You can thank me later. 🙂


What Do You Call It?

In honor of Alpha and Omega’s visit to Ted’s yesterday, I’m going to share my recipe for Taco Soup. (Mexican flavor, low calorie. LOL)

This soup actually has lots of different names. It’s a Weight Watchers recipe my friend, Marilyn Pappano, shared with me several years ago, and she called it just that. Taco Soup. (I believe she told me it had a point a cup. Makes me wish I could live on Taco Soup.)

My family doesn’t call it Taco Soup. The concoction has three cans (at least) of beans in it. You can guess what we call it! LOL.

Walking Buddy, Carollea calls it Chili Soup.

If I’d invented it, I’d have named it Can-Can soup. 🙂

Here are the ingredients:

1 lb hamburger
1 Can chili beans (undrained)
1 Can pinto beans (undrained)
1 Can red beans (undrained)
1 Can corn (undrained)
1 Can Rotel (undrained)
1 package taco seasoning
1 package dry Ranch Dressing mix

Brown hamburger meat, drain fat. Add beans, corn, Rotel, taco seasoning and Ranch Dressing mix. Bring soup to a slow simmer and cook for half an hour or so. (Or just until it’s hot–depending on how hungry you are.)

No matter what you call this soup, I call it good!

What would you call it?


Breakfast Yummers

Have you ever had Coffee Soup?

Ever heard of Coffee Soup?

Outside my parents’ home, I haven’t. But it’s good stuff. (I’m really curious whether it’s a Spess family thing or if other people enjoy it, too.)

When I was a kid, Mama fixed a big breakfast every day of the week except Sunday. We had pancakes, Squaw Bread, French Toast, eggs–fried or scrambled–and, of course, biscuits and gravy. Kids who rarely ate breakfast at home loved it when they stayed all night with us.

Of course, some of them ate breakfast weird, even with us. They’d do strange (to us) things such as putting peanut butter on their pancakes and powdered sugar on their Squaw Bread instead of syrup, like us ‘normal’ people.

When we had biscuits and gravy, though, most everybody ate it the right way. Oh, some had their biscuits upside down instead of the *right* way, but we understood that some people were just different.

The one thing that seemed to blow every kid’s mind the first time was Coffee Soup. For it to turn out right, you just about have to start with the biscuits my mama made. No fat in the bread makes it a little denser and more likely not to fall apart–necessary when you make Soup. (I tried it once with a canned biscuit. Yuck!)

Here’s what you’ll need:

One coffee cup
Hot coffee
Hot biscuit
Cream, Half-and-Half or milk

Break the biscuit up in the coffee cup. Add coffee to barely cover the biscuit, then a spoonful of sugar and enough milk to make it a delicious tan color. Taste. If it’s not sweet enough, add a little more sugar.

Eat it up with a spoon. Try it next time you make biscuits. You’ll be surprised at how good it is!