• Breakfast,  Recipe

    Kya’s Tumped Grits

    The Yankee made grits. What would a food journey around “Where the Crawdads Sing” be without grits??They have a star appearance at the beginning of Kya’s story and they stay a comforting lifelong companion throughout the book. Our lives are at times defined by food, or sometimes as in Kya’s case, lack thereof.  When we are ill, we all have a comfort food that comes to mind. Our holidays are stacked with memories of Grandma’s turkey or auntie’s pies. Birthdays come with cake. Funerals come with casseroles. When times are hard, there is often a consistent food. College days with little cash bring lots of ramen noodles, rice, cereal or-…

  • Dessert,  Recipe

    Scupper’s Cherry Pies

    Ingredients 6 cups frozen sweet dark cherries **and the juice 2 Tbsp lemon juice 4 Tbsp cornstarch 2/3 cup sugar 1/2 tsp salt Take the juice from the frozen cherries and whisk in the 4 Tablespoons of cornstarch.  Add all ingredients to a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then on low heat simmer for 10-15 minutes. Let cool. Fill pie crust and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes for mini pies or 40-50 minutes for one large pie.  I used the large sized muffin tins and these were the perfect size for individual pies. For non stick tins, there is no need to grease the pan.  Nerdy Tips If you are…

  • Appetizers,  Breakfast,  Recipe

    Tate’s Spicy Sausage Balls

    Coon Balls 1 lb hot ground sausage 8 oz sharp cheddar, shredded 2 cups flour 1 Tbsp baking powder 1/2 tsp salt milk as needed Preheat oven to 350. Combine sausage, cheese, flour, baking powder and salt. Use hands to mix. Add milk as needed to get a slightly sticky consistency. Roll into golf ball sized balls and bake for 25 minutes until golden brown.  Nerdy Tips Use block cheese. Pre-shredded cheese will dry the coon balls out. Add flavoring to your taste: cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder.  The options are limitless. Pre-cooked coon balls can be frozen then reheated at 350 for 10 minutes.  Pair with my Creamy Dill…

  • Dessert,  Recipe

    The Only Pie Dough Recipe You’ll Ever Need

    I have used this pie dough for over 20 years with a few simple tweaks here and there. I think I found the “un-tweaked” original recipe in a cookie magazine. But it’s how you use the ingredients makes all the difference.  Do yourself a favor and don’t limit this recipe to your usual pies. I use it for savory chicken pot pies (use less sugar) or my kids’ favorite- homemade pop tarts!  Ingredients 2 1/4 cup flour 1/2 cup sugar 1 tsp salt 1 cup cold, unsalted butter 7-10 T cold water Mix together the flour, sugar and salt. Cut the butter into 1/4″ cubes. Use a pastry cutter or…

  • Recipe

    Yorkshire Pudding

    Ingredients 3 eggs 1 cup flour 1 cup milk 3/4 T salt 1/3-1/2 cup hot meat drippings Heat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk ingredients just until mixed. Let rest 30 minutes while the oven preheats. Put 1 tablespoon of drippings in each tin. Place in the oven for 5 minutes. Fill hot Tims halfway with batter. Cook for 10-12 minutes until golden. Serve at once. 

  • Dinner,  Recipe

    Alice’s Cottage Pie

    Alice misses her home cooking and attempts a cottage pie at the beginning of The Giver of Stars. In true Alice fashion, I too attempted this pie and it didn’t come out as ‘golden’ as I had hoped but was tasty none the less! The mashed potato topping I used was taken from the  vintage cookbook and did not disappoint.   Cottage Pie Nerdy Fact: Cottage pies are usually made with beef, while a Shepard’s Pie is made with lamb.  2 T olive oil 5 carrots, sliced 1 leek, sliced 1 lb ground beef 2 T parsley 2 tsp Italian Seasoning 1 tsp garlic powder salt & pepper 1 1/2…

  • Dessert,  Recipe

    Sven’s Swedish Christmas Cookies

    These traditional Scandinavian cookies taste like Christmas. Buttery with hints of warm spices, they go perfectly with a hot beverage. I took the liberty of decorating with white piping which I believe is more of a German tradition.  This dough is more workable after being refrigerated for at least one hour, but preferable overnight.  Ingredients 1/2 cup butter 1/2 cup sugar 1/4 cup brown sugar 1 egg 1/4 cup dark corn syrup 1 tsp ginger powder 1 tsp cinnamon 1 tsp ground cloves 1/4 tsp salt 1 3/4 cups flour 3/4 tsp baking soda Mix ingredients together. Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour. Roll out dough to 1/4″…

  • Recipe


    Recipe courtesy of The Women’s Home Companion Cook Book copyright 1942  I was incredibly awed at finding this book online. How better to get authentic food from the 1930s to represent The Giver of Stars? I love the thin pages and penciled in notes. I can’t wait to share some original recipes! The Women’s Home Companion is mentioned several times in Stars. It was a monthly magazine published from 1873 to 1957. It covered everything from food and short stories to fashion. Ladies could read topics including household budgeting, home building, needlework, child care and etiquette. Of note, I went online searching for the magazines to use and inspiration and props for…

  • Dinner,  Recipe

    Pork & Black Bean Stew

    This stew is the perfect end to a cold winters’ day. Warm, comforting and as spicy as you like it, the pork is slow cooked in Mexican flavors.  Ingredients 2 lbs pork shoulder 2 T olive oil salt & pepper 1 T butter 1 small onion, chopped 1 red bell pepper, chopped 4 garlic cloves, minced 2 tsp cumin 1 tsp chili powder 1 tsp oregano 1 tsp salt 1 can diced tomatoes 1-2 jalapeños, seeded 2 T cornmeal 2 cups chicken stock Trim the excess fat off of the pork shoulder and cube into 1 inch pieces. Salt and pepper the pork cubes. Heat olive oil in a pot…

  • Book Review,  Recipe

    The Giver of Stars Book Review ~ An Epic Inspiration

    This book stuck with me. It inspired a trip to the mountains of Kentucky, horseback riding in the cold and some great comfort foods! by Jojo Moyes narrated by Julia Whelanset in eastern Kentucky, 1930s Book Rating: 5/5British born Alice is adrift in the mountains of depression era Kentucky as well as her confounding new marriage. In a quick paced turn of events, Alice finds herself volunteering to be a pack horse librarian. Moyes composes a magical journey about a young woman finding her place in the world, the meaning of friends and true love. She does all this while paying homage to the power of the written word and…

  • Appetizers,  Breakfast,  Recipe

    Quince Jelly

    Quince is a fascinating fruit. I had mine delivered via FedEx and even through all the plastic packaging and bubble wrap I was captivated by their sweet aroma. Once unwrapped, my kitchen became fragrantly delightful, the smell reminiscent of pears and roses. Not only is this one of the most delicious charcuterie options I’ve ever tasted, it’s different and easy to make!!  Ingredients 2 lbs quince, peeled and cored 3 cups sugar 2 T lemon juice 2 strips of lemon zest, 2″ long 1 cup water Simmer all ingredients 1 hour until temperature hits 220 degrees Fahrenheit. Blend. Fill a greased 8×8 pan and let come to room temperature before refrigerating.  Nerdy Tips…

  • Dessert,  Gluten Free,  Recipe


    Yes, macarons are a particular dessert to make. They can be finicky but you can do it! They are so delicious and fresh when made at home. I taught myself to make them and I will share all of my tips. A bite of macaron will transport me to a heavenly French moment with meringue clouds and sticky sweet suggestions of flavor. Below, all the macarons themselves are vanilla flavored, differentiated by their fillings; Earl Grey tea, Pistachio, Blueberry, Lemon and Salted Caramel Chocolate Ganache.  Macarons 1 3/4 cups confectioners sugar 1 cup almond flour 1 tsp salt 3 egg whites, *room temperature* 1/8 tsp cream of tartar 1/4 cup…

  • Dinner,  Recipe


    The food is as rich and encompassing as the book. My own take on the delicious meal Vianne made; pork roast with German potato dumplings, sauerkraut peppered with bacon and smoothed by shredded green apple, and of course, French peas drowning in tarragon butter.  Ingredients 1 lb bacon, diced 1 medium onion, thinly sliced 1 granny smith apple, shredded 3 cans sauerkraut, rinsed 2 cups chicken stock 1 baking potato, shredded 3 T butter salt & pepper to taste Brown the bacon until crispy in a large dutch oven. Remove from the dutch oven with a slotted spoon, placing on a plate covered in paper towels. Drain the grease except…

  • Dinner,  Recipe,  Vegetarian

    German Potato Dumplings

    This recipe has been passed down in my family for generations. I’ve done my best to put measurements to it, but we have always made them by feel. Dense and filling, these dumplings are best paired with the sauerkraut recipe below.  Ingredients 1 baking potato, peeled and cubed into 1/2″ pieces 2 baking potatoes, shredded 1 egg 1/2 cup milk 2 1/2 cups flour salt and pepper to taste Boil the cubed potato until tender. At the same time, boil a large stockpot of water. Put drained potato cubes into a bowl with the shredded potatoes. Add egg, milk and flour. At this point, you just have to play with…

  • Dinner,  Gluten Free,  Recipe,  Vegetarian

    French Peas

    Light and gorgeously green, this dish will brighten any table! Ingredients 1 T olive oil 1 shallot, thinly sliced 1 clove garlic, minced 16 oz frozen or fresh peas 1/4 cup chicken stock 1/4 tsp lemon juice salt & pepper Cook down shallots in oil. Add garlic and sauté for 1 more minute until fragrant. Add peas, stock, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer until peas are tender, about 5 minutes. Top with tarragon butter. Nerdy Fact green peas are loaded with vitamins and contain high levels of heart healthy minerals, such as calcium, potassium and magnesium. 

  • Recipe

    Tarragon Butter

    Flavored butter is so easy to make and yet it makes a drastic impact on almost any dish! Ingredients 1/2 cup unsalted butter 1/4 cup fresh tarragon, chopped 1/4 tsp garlic paste 1 tsp salt 1/4 tsp lemon juice Cream the butter. Add other ingredients. Roll up in seran wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.  Nerdy Tips tarragon can be replaced with many different fresh herbs; rosemary, basil, thyme.  this butter was delicious on everything from bread to the dumpling recipe below. Nerdy Facts In French cooking, tarragon is one of the four fine herbs. The flower of the French tarragon plant is sterile and grows via root division.