Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.

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Tea in My Treasure

I’ve got a treasure, which is worth way more than its weight in gold. And the funny thing is, the entire treasure fits in a legal sized envelope.

grams-envelopeThere really is a treasure in there. Want to see it? ‘Kay.


I admit, most people wouldn’t consider this to be worth much, but I love it. It’s one of those things I’d grab first if a tornado was headed my way. Well, maybe not a tornado. But definitely if there was a raging grass fire headed toward our house!

They’re recipes I found in a drawer at Grandmother’s house when I lived there. When I moved, I collected them all and put them in the envelope.

Usually, the envelope lives here–


I also copied them and put them in books for my sibs.


I don’t think they were Grandmother’s absolute favorite recipes. She had those memorized! But there are some goodies.

One that I’d only tried once, my sister’s DIL just loves, so I decided to try it, again. Turns out, it really is pretty doggone good!

A little too sweet for my taste, so I add a little brewed tea to mine. 😀


Here’s the recipe:

Cranberry Tea

48 oz cranberry cocktail
46 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
1 C boiling water
3/4 C brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice

Combine water, sugar and spices and bring to a boil to dissolve sugar. Add juices and 1 or 2 cinnamon sticks. Remove after 10 minutes simmering. Refrigerate and re-heat to serve.


Of course, the real treasure was my grandmother’s presence in my life. We lived with her or right next door to her always. (At least I did until I got married.)

She was one of the kindest, sweetest people in the world, and could cook like no one else.

I remember the day she gave her heart to God. I’d stayed home from church with Granddad because I didn’t feel good. She came home from church with her hair wet. She’d accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior and been baptized.

I’m not sure of the date, but it was sometime in the ’60’s and, if I’m not mistaken, Ronnie Epps was our preacher. (Guess I’ll have to run over to the church and check that out for sure.)

Do you have treasures like mine? Hard to put a dollar amount on, but you wouldn’t trade them for the world.

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Thanksgiving Smiles

Thanksgiving Turkey

Thanksgiving Turkey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Were you grateful yesterday? I was so thankful, I nearly exploded to prove it!

Oh, my stars. The food the Shay/Spess family can cook! YUM. And it’s not just the women who have talent in the kitchen. Our guys are super handy at the stove/oven/sterno/campfire, whatever!

I remembered this morning that we forgot to sing our Thanksgiving songs. G-Man’s answer? “I don’t know any.”

My answer? “Pfffft. You do, too. What about, Over the River and Through the Woods? What about, We Gather Together to Ask the Lord’s Blessing? What about, A Turkey Sat on a Backyard Fence?

He tuned up, and we sang our way through the rest of breakfast.

Not! (LOL.)

Smile 1:

So, Thanksgiving memories? My favorites are the ones when Mom and the Grands were alive. Those ladies could cook! They were so good, they put Rachel Ray and Paula Deen in the shade. Grandmother made a Pineapple Chiffon pie that made your tongue lap your brains out. (I thought I’d posted that recipe. Sorry.) Grandma made hot rolls to die for. Here’s her recipe.

Everything Mama made was delicious! (And I have the ongoing weight problem to prove it.) Many years on Turkey Day, all Mama’s side of the family would come for dinner. She had six brothers and sisters and they all had at least one or two kids, so it made for a full house!

Sometimes Grandmother would have the Spess side at her house while Mama had the Reeves side, and since they lived next door to each other, that made for a huge crew! We had a ton of fun with all those cousins coming and going.

I know churches that don’t have as many members as I have close family. By close family I mean brothers, sisters, parents, aunts, uncles and cousins. What a crew.

One memorable Thanksgiving, a cousin’s son even tried to walk on Mom’s pool cover. (That kid still can’t walk on water. LOL!)

Smile 2:

I don’t know about Mr. T here, but I was certainly stuffed yesterday afternoon.

So you won’t be disappointed, I’ll share Grandmother’s Pineapple Chiffon Pie recipe here:

1 1/2 C milk

2 T flour

3/4 C drained crushed pineapple

3/4 C sugar

2 eggs, separated.

Put milk on to heat. Mix sugar and flour. To the hot milk, stir in sugar mixture. Stir in beaten egg yolks. Boil until real thick (7-8 minutes.)

Remove from heat and add drained pineapple. Fold in beaten egg whites. Pour into baked pie crust.

Refrigerate until cool. Before serving, top with HOMEMADE whipped cream. (Not Cool Whip.) (I added that last part, but it makes a big difference.)

If you make this pie, let me know how it turns out. It was always one of my favorites. 🙂


Shopping Fleas

Running late this morning, but I have a great excuse. I was out with the dry cattle last night. (Grandmother’s saying. It means I was out late.)

I was busy taking beautiful pictures for you. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)

Sister Debbie, my shopping guru, her beautiful daughter, Mel, and her sweet baby girl.

 This is a baby that you’d dance for, just to see her smile.

 After work yesterday, the four of us drove to a town that’s not too far away to a flea market sale. I’ll give you a hint about where it is. It’s the home of Oklahoma Spess University.

We walked in the gate and here’s the first thing I saw.

Just like the windows in an adorable potting shed I coveted recently.

I thought, “I want those! I could build that potting shed in my yard.” Okay, I couldn’t really build a potting shed, but I’d have them for someone else to use. 🙂

Deb came up behind me. “I’ve always wanted a pair of those to go beside my patio door.”

But we’d just walked in the gate, so we moved on.

 So many cute ideas.

So many “I wants!”

I even wanted something for my friend. Wish I’d bought it. 😦

And this!

 Just like one Sister Debbie and I had when we were small.

The hardest part was checking out with our fantastic buys.

Isn’t this an adorable jacket?

 “Giddy Up or Go Home”.

Loved this jacket. But I complimented the woman (a bunch) and she didn’t offer to sell it, which I would have if I’d had them for sale.

So I decided to wrestle her for it. Warning: Never try to wrestle a woman for an adorable jacket. They’ll kick your hiney.

Surveying all the fun.

And so, as the sun set in the west, we loaded up and headed for home.

Actually, the loading up is the funny part. I’ll fill you in on that tomorrow.

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Lemons to . . . ?

You know the old question, What do you do when life hands you lemons? Make lemonade, of course!

I’ve heard several other answers.

  • Serve mine with a twist.
  • Stuff them in your, uh, ladies’ underwear and save money on padding.
  • Sell them on eBay.
  • Trade them in for ones that get better gas mileage. (I like that one!)
  • Make a helmet for your kitty.

Okay, this guy used a lime, but you get the idea.

My Granddad Ray was one of those guys who knew about turning lemons into lemonade. He was born in 1900, along with a twin sister, in this cabin.

 The cabin was built on the place my great-grandfather got in the opening of the Cherokee Strip. I believe Great-granddad Spess staked a different place, then traded a man for this one. That was seven years before Granddad Ray was born.

Granddad grew up on that land. When he married, he and Grandmother built a house there and had two children. They moved to town by the time they had their last child.

My dad was born in 1930, the last of Granddad and Grandmother’s four children–all six years old and under! (Oy!) 1930 was practically the beginning of The Great Depression, but Granddad figured several ways to turn the lemons of a depression into lemonade.

He raised and butchered his own animals and raised much of their own food on the Farm. (I have a hunch he was a pretty fair trader, too!) He sold insurance and got into the oil business.

When I was a kid, we always called the land where Granddad was born The Farm. (Original, right? LOL) The Farm is in the Basin, near Old Ford.

As kids, we loved to go there. Sparky, the horse Dad bought when he was twelve, lived there as well as two families of cousins. When we were there, we could fish in the best catfish pond in the world, and if we were very, very lucky, Granddad would pick a watermelon and we’d get to eat it, warm and sweet, straight out of the garden.

The soil near the river was really sandy, and while it might not be the best for raising some crops (kind of hard to keep watered) Granddad found it was a great place to plant watermelons.

About the only thing on The Farm I never liked was Bull Neddles. Know what that is?

This is from Plant of the Week on Facebook:

The entire plant is covered in glass-like hairs that when touched break off into the skin and act as hypodermic needles releasing a toxin that causes an intense burning sensation.  The stinging hairs can penetrate even the heaviest clothing such as jeans.  Depending on sensitivity of ones skin the affected area can remain red and swollen for a number of days after initial contact.

If you ever got too near one, you’d remember. Just brush against a bull neddle and your legs start itching and stinging enough to make you cry for a long time.

As kids, we wore shorts all summer long except when we went to The Farm. If we forgot and wore them and got caught by a bull neddle, we didn’t forget again for a long time.

But Granddad knew something about Bull Neddles that us kids didn’t know. It was good for food! Not the stinging neddles, but the seed pod.

Inside the seed capsule that bears a coat of armour more formidable than steel waits a delicious nut. (from Plant of the Week on FB again.)

I remember one year when Granddad brought home a bucket full of those seed pods. When he told us what they were, us kids gave that bucket a wide berth. We imagined that, even after they were off the plant, they’d cause itching like our on legs when we got too close in the summer.

I don’t know if anyone except Granddad ever ate those nuts he picked. LOL.

Granddad even knew how to find fruit in an old orchard that had gone wild, and how to turn the gritty pears he picked in that orchard into honey. Pear honey. 🙂

One more thing I know? When Granddad got lemons, he made lemonade but he added fresh orange juice to it and lots of sugar, so it wasn’t so tart.


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. 🙂