Category Archives: Aunt Mary’s Recipes

Vintage Recipe ~ Aunt Mary’s “Quick Crunchies” aka Rice Krispie Date Balls

I love looking through Aunt Mary’s little recipe box.  She was one of the best home cooks I ever knew and I always enjoyed eating at her house.

Many days she would call my mom at work and tell her the soup was on.   She almost always had homemade yeast rolls rising in muffin tins.  She’d sit the trays on her hot water heater behind the kitchen door.  I’d lift the tea towel that covered the rolls to inhale the yeasty smell of dough rising.

Good memories.

I found this quick little candy recipe in her recipe box.  I’ve been wanting to try a recipe with dates so I decided this one would work nicely.  This is just one candy I made during the past holidays.  Hope you enjoy!

quick crunchies

 

Aunt Mary’s “Quick Crunchies” aka Rice Krispy Date Balls

1 stick butter
3/4 c. sugar
1 (8 oz.) chopped dates
1 c. pecans, chopped
2 c. crispy rice cereal
1 tsp. vanilla
coconut, for rolling

In saucepan, melt butter and sugar over low heat. Add dates and
cook 3 minutes or until mixture thickens and remove from heat.

Add nuts, crispy rice cereal, and vanilla. When cool enough to handle,
form small balls and roll in coconut.

More of Aunt Mary’s Recipes

Fudgy Chocolate Oatmeal No Bake Cookies (sugar free)

I first had these yummy cookies when I was just a youngster.  They’ve always been my favorite cookie.

One night I came home late and wanted Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies.  My Aunt Mary used to make the best!  She always had the ingredients on hand.  We’d watch as she brought everything to a boil and boiled for just 1 minute and the cookie recipe worked every time.

I’ve never been able to boil for just one minute and get the cookies to harden up.

A friend shared that she uses the water test method…when the syrup becomes a “soft ball” and doesn’t fall apart when dropped into a cool cup of water, then it’s ready.  This takes anywhere from 3 – 5 minutes usually in my experience.

Using Splenda totally changes this recipe.  It’s not just the best since Splenda and chocolate are somewhat bitter with each other, but you can try changing it up and using your own sweetener blend.  They must have been pretty good, tho since my girls finished them up!

Fudgy Chocolate Oatmeal No Bake Cookies

1 cup granulated sweetener (try Truvia or Swerve)
2 tablespoons cocoa
1/2  stick butter (4 Tablespoons)
1/4 cup milk (try using Almond Milk or Coconut Milk for fewer carbs)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 cups quick-cooking oatmeal (gluten free oatmeal) *
1/4 cup Jif Natural peanut butter

Combine granular sweetener,  cocoa, butter and milk in a saucepan.  On medium heat, bring to a boil for around 2-4 minutes, or until syrup seems to thicken up.  (I can’t remember if I tried the “soft ball stage” test on this recipe.  I think I just cooked the mixture until it started coating the spoon.  It was right around 3-4 minutes of boiling time. )

Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter (optional), vanilla and oatmeal.  Drop by spoonful onto a wax paper lined sheet pan.  Let cool for at least 30 minutes.

* Can use a mix of old fashioned oatmeal and coconut chips instead.

no bake cookeis sf

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National Pie Day – January 23rd

In honor of National Pie Day…check out these easy,

yet delicious pie recipes.

 

Chocolate Fudge Pie

 Printable Recipe

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Aunt Mary’s Chess Pie

Printable Recipe

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Southern Pecan Pie

Printable Recipe

Chicken and Dumplings and Aunt Mary

As children, my brothers and I stayed with my Great Aunt Mary during the summer and after school while my mom worked long hours at a local law firm.

Summers were so much longer back then and there was always so much to do.  Never a boring moment.  Aunt Mary would keep us busy, either by helping her or by letting us do a craft.  We made beautiful flowers out of colorful layers of toilet tissue (you could buy pale pink and baby blue toilet paper back then :)), colored on paper towels or paper plates, or made small trash cans using egg cartons, yarn, and a tin pie pan.

Sometimes we even sat out on the swing and guessed what color the next car would be.  We couldn’t do that today; too many cars fly up and down that road now.

On beautiful warm days, we played outside.  We might even help Aunt Mary hang the freshly washed laundry out on the line or maybe work in her garden.  Oh, how I remember the goodness that came from that little vegetable garden out in the back yard behind the chicken coop and shed.

Fresh green beans with baby whole new potatoes fried up in an iron skillet and seasoned with bacon grease.  Ripe, red tomatoes, peeled because Aunt Mary couldn’t chew the peeling, and cut into thick slices.  Slimey boiled okra, fried summer squash, green onions, purple hull peas, and in the fall,  roasted sweet potatoes.

That woman had a green thumb and was always working at canning fresh snapped green beans and red tomato relish.

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Lunch was her main meal of the day and in the evenings she usually had a few leftovers or some cornbread and gravy and sat at the table writing in her journal as the evening grew darker.

I remember as a child loving my Aunt Mary’s Chicken & Dumplings.  It was always a treat when we had Chicken & Dumplings.   Thanks for the memories, Aunt Mary.  You will forever live on in our hearts and minds.

Learn more about my Great Aunt Mary.

This is not her exact recipe, but very similar.

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This just happens to be my daughters’ favorite dish.  Rarely ever do I have any leftovers.

Chicken and Dumplings

1 (3 pound) whole chicken

salt and pepper to taste

3 cups water

2 cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons shortening

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup water

Directions:

In a heavy pot with a lid, or a crock pot,  place the chicken, salt, pepper and water.   Simmer all over low heat until tender, about 1 hour, or if using a crock pot, cook on low until done, maybe 3-4 hours.  (My crock pot low is like medium, it’s pretty hot)

Let chicken cool slightly in pot, then remove and take the meat off of the bones. Discard the bones and skin and skim excess fat off the broth if desired. Return broth and chicken pieces to the pot. Simmer over low heat while making the dumplings.

To Make Dumplings: In a medium mixing bowl, cut shortening into the flour and salt. Stir in 1/4 cup water (more if needed) to form a soft dough. Roll out dough on a floured surface, with a rolling-pin, until thin. Cut into 1 inch wide strips using a pizza cutter or knife. Tear off 1 -2  inch long pieces from these strips and drop into simmering broth.  Simmer for 10 minutes with the lid off, then 10 minutes more with the lid on.  Serve immediately.

DISCLAIMER: If you purchase from the links in this post you are helping support Heart of a Country Home at no extra charge to yourself.  Thanks and Happy New Year!

On this cold winter day, I’m partying over at

Special Cake with Fudge Sauce

fudge-cake

The strawberries were gone too soon.

But, there was still plenty of Aunt Mary’s Special Cake to be eaten.  I recalled my Mom’s  famous Skillet Cake and Fudge Sauce that I always requested for my birthday.  This recipe is not like hers, but it was quite yummy and was gone very soon.  I even had to make another batch to finish off the Special Cake.  My oldest daughter couldn’t get enough of it.  I think she had it for supper one night along with another piece (or two) for dessert!

I just kinda threw this together and here’s my sketchy instructions.

Microwave Fudge Sauce

1 square of semi-sweet baking chocolate
1/3 stick butter
1/4 cup cream or sweet milk
powdered/confectioner sugar (as much as needed for taste and consistency – I think I used a cup or more)

Place chocolate, butter, and milk in a microwave dish.
Cook on high for 2-3 minutes.  Stir until chocolate is melted and sauce is smooth. Begin to add confectioner sugar, stirring after each addition until desired sauce consistency is achieved.

Aunt Mary’s Special Cake with Strawberries

recipe

Several years ago I had a chance

to go through Aunt Mary’s little recipe box.  I copied down the recipes that I thought I might like to make and read through those that I remembered her making.  There was Date Nut Cake, Chess Pie, Pecan Crisp Cookies and even a recipe on stationery sent from a friend along with a greeting and personal  note.  One that stood out to me was hid near the back of the box, with no name other than Cake.  Not wanting it to get lost in my files I renamed it “Special Cake”.

recipecard

Over the years, I’ve made Special Cake several times, usually during the summer to go with strawberries and fresh whipped cream.  My oldest daughter happens to love Strawberry Shortcake.

cake-pan

I made it again this weekend and decided to use my new bundt pan (can you call it a pan if it’s ceramic?) from Williams-Sonoma that was a gift from my dear youngest brother.  Here’s a similar cake pan if you’re looking for something a little different.  This glass bundt cake pan is very unusual and surprisingly afforable!

cake

My cake wanted to stick a little and didn’t brown as well as the one on the cake pan lable, even after baking for 45 minutes.  I took a slice of it and cubed it up for Strawberry Shortcake Trifle.  Check out these cute individual trifle dishes!

trifle

Don’t you just love spring?  Spring brings us those delicious little red bits of delectable fruit we call strawberries.  Aunt Mary brought me a Special Cake recipe to use with that delicious fruit,  along with many wonderful memories.

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Happy Spring and happy Strawberry Shortcake Season!

Read more about Aunt Mary’s life and recipes

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Aunt Mary’s Easy Chess Pie

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She’s been gone 21 years now, but I still think about her often. 

What a special lady!  Born during the depression, with a cleft pallet and hair lip, her life was full of difficulties and disappointments.  But you hardly ever knew about her hard times.  She was always rejoicing in just being alive.  She lived on disability, but she didn’t let that keep her from sharing with people.  She sent boxes of clothes and other items to missionaries overseas and fed them at her dinner table in her little three room shotgun style house that was full of warmth and love.  Many times she called mom at work and invited her to supper.  Often after dinner she’d get out her auto harp and we’d sing songs there in her small living room.  She was full of joy and would often get happy while we sang.

Everyday she cooked lunch.  That was her main meal of the day.  She made the best iced tea with lemon and the very best cornbread.  I even loved her coleslaw and that is unusual for a kid!  We always had to clean up the kitchen afterwards.  I tried to encourage her to let her dishes airdry, but nothing doing!  We had to towel dry those dishes and put them back into her little upright cabinet.  That same cabinet now resides in my kitchen.  For a while, I could open it up and still smell her kitchen.  That smell is long gone as is Aunt Mary, but she still lives on in my heart.

aunt-mary-pie

Aunt Mary’s Chess Pie

4 eggs
1 ½ cups sugar
2 Tbsp butter, softened (I used 4 because most other recipes call for a stick)

Cream the butter and sugar together.  Add eggs
one at a time, mixing after each addition.  Bake at
350º for 35-40 minutes.  Cool, slice, and enjoy!