Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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Gotta Love It!!!

Imagine my house is a cabin deep in a forest somewhere, and a forest fire is blazing toward me. I have only minutes to snatch a few of my favorite, most cherished things. What would I take?

Along with my Bibles, kids’ baby books, pictures (while we’re imagining, pretend I have a dump truck to load it all in) my laptop, old things handed down to me from G-Man’s family and mine (and it’s a slow moving forest fire) the one thing I couldn’t leave without is this–

This is a cookbook my friend, Marilyn Pappano, gave me a few years ago. One day, she mentioned she was making one for her son for Christmas. I immediately started jumping up and down like a demented bunny rabbit, waving my hands like a traffic cop at the Indy 500 and screaming, “Me, too! Me, too! I want one of those.”

Okay, maybe I wasn’t quite that animated, but I would have been if the situation had required it. 🙂

Marilyn just smiled her sweet smile and remembered. By the time Christmas rolled around, I’d put the cookbook out of my mind (hey, that’s a lot of work!) but Miss M hadn’t. 

Thank you again, M! This is the gift that keeps on giving and never wears out. (The pages are in page protectors so if I get food or oil on them, they can be wiped right off.)  

Marilyn is one of the very best cooks (my fam excluded, of course) I’ve ever known in my life. She’s lived all over the south and collected the absolute b-e-s-t recipes I’ve ever begged for.

Just a taste of her Jambalaya will make your tongue lap your brains out. (That’s a saying my granddad passed down to my dad, who passed it to me. It means it’s good stuff.)  

I’ve already shared at least one of her recipes. Remember Ummm–Babyback Ribs? That’s a Marilyn recipe. (I fixed it just this week. So good!)

This week, I’m sharing a snack with you. Marilyn took these to our Christmas party one year. They’re a great, delicious snack and not (very) unhealthy!

I’m not sure who Regina Hicks is, but the woman knows what tastes good.

Here’s how you do it–

Put the spices and oil in a shaker jar and the pretzels in a container such as a plastic bag or Tupperware container with a tight fitting lid. Pour the spicy oil over the pretzels, close the container and shake it up.

Every 15 minutes for two hours, shake it up again. And, just like magic, the pretzels are ready.

I poured them out on a paper towel covered cookie sheet, but there wasn’t any oil to absorb. The pretzels had soaked up every bit of the oil and spices. And when you eat them, they don’t have an oily taste or touch.

I don’t know where it all goes, but those pretzels are addictive. (I didn’t have cayenne pepper, so I used chipotle pepper and tossed in 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes.) They were still yummy good, but I think I’ll add more spices next time–or maybe I’ll buy some cayenne and do it right. 😉

 I’m telling you, this is good stuff!


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Grandmother’s

We’re having Grandmother’s Chili tonight. I’ve shared it with you before, and yuuuum! It’s good stuff.

I wish I’d fixed it the other night (when it was cooler than it is tonight) or at least while it was raining (we got two inches!!! THANK YOU, JESUS!!!) but this will be better than not having it at all.

Recipe:

4 or 5 pounds of hamburger (or chili) meat
1 chopped onion
1 large can of tomato juice
3/4 C chili powder
1 T oregano
1 T cumin

Salt and pepper to taste

Brown the hamburger and onion together until all the meat is browned and onion soft. Drain fat. (I usually put the cooked hamburger/onion in a colander and rinse the meat to get rid of as much fat as possible.)

Put the meat back in the big pot and add the spices, salt and pepper. Stir to mix well then add tomato juice and simmer for an hour or so before serving.

To make the chili a little spicier, I sometimes add a teaspoon or two of red pepper flakes (like for topping a pizza.)

That’s it–the world’s best chili (as far as I’m concerned, anyway.) The fresher the spices, the more flavorful the chili.

So, what’s for supper at your house tonight?

And who cooked it? You or someone else?