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.


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. 🙂


Breakfast is Ready!

A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. Proverbs 31:10-11.

Those verses describe my mom exactly!

The article below was published in C-Town’s paper, THE CLEVELAND AMERICAN, back in 1986. I have it laminated and keep it on my desk at work.

It has several of Mom’s favorite breakfast recipes. Try a few. You (and your family) will be glad you did!

Lori Lucas, the coordinator of the article, is the author of the blog, “I’ve Got a Big Story to Tell.” Take the time to go visit. She grew up in C-Town, so you know she’s good people!

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Top Turkeyday Treats

There’s one in every family. You know the one I mean. The dish that has to be on every holiday table. It’s so good, there’s rarely any left at the end of the day, no matter how much you make.

When my kids were growing up, I thought it would be a fruit salad my husband’s stepmother made–Mattie’s Fruit Salad. It was good, but not quite as good (to my boys, anyway) as the salad my mom had been making forever–Strawberry Salad. I’m never sure if it’s a salad or a dessert, so I just put it on the table and we eat it through the entire meal.

Cheryl Allen put the salad in our church cookbook.

  My cookbook is well worn! LOL.

Here it is:


1 large package strawberry Jello
2 C. boiling water
1 lb. strawberries (one box, frozen)
1 small flat can crushed pineapple.

Mix all and set. (I use frozen strawberries and add them instead of the cold water to the Jello.)
Before serving, add sour cream over top of Jello mixture.

Image via Wikipedia

My mother put half the Jello mixture in the fridge to set, put the sour cream on it, then topped with the other half so there was a stripe of sour cream in the middle. I found Cheryl’s way to be much easier unless doubling the recipe. (I hate having unset Jello in my way, on the counter, waiting for the first half to jell.)

And since it’s Thanksgiving, and I’m thankful to have had her in my life, I’m going to share Mattie’s Fruit Salad.

1 box frozen strawberries
one can fruit cocktail, drained
1 apple, peeled and chopped, and/or 1 banana sliced and/or a bunch of seedless grapes
1/2 pint container of sour cream
Defrost strawberries and drain juice. Mix strawberry juice with sour cream and pour over thawed strawberries, fruit cocktail and other fruit and mix until all the fruit is coated well.

These recipes are oh, so good!
Now you have two great salad recipes that just might do as a dessert. 🙂 Help yourself!

What’s the must-have dish for your table?