Sweet Potato Pie

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The older I get, the more I notice that people are always rushing here and there to get the next thing done on the list. I am that person or I was that person. I stay busy these days don’t get me wrong, however, I’ve thought about what makes me happy and sometimes the things we rush to do or get to are just that…Things…life is made of precious moments spent with the ones we love and we should take the time to appreciate and enjoy them not the things we rush after. Slow down and smell the roses that you say are so beautiful. Enjoy the day!

I’m not a huge sweet potato fan. This time of the year, I tend to bake them quite often. Between Thanksgiving and March, sweet potatoes are used quite a bit in my house.  Although I’m not a fan of it by itself…if its wrapped in a pie crust and a few other things…then I’m all in! LOL

When my son was about 2 years old, I decided that I wanted to try to bake a sweet potato pie. I asked both of my grandmother’s for their recipes…lol…neither one of them could tell me their recipe. Oh don’t misunderstand me, it wasn’t that they didn’t want to give it to me…because they told me what they used…they just couldn’t tell me exactly how much of each ingredient. How many of you have heard that before? It’s funny because I’ve watched them both in the kitchen while I was growing up and I don’t think I saw a measuring cup used. They just knew what to use by sight, consistency, and the feel of whatever they were making. I miss that. It’s funny the things you remember from your childhood.

I wasted soooo much butter, sweet potatoes, sugar, and eggs when I tried…it was sad! It was like the father on Almost Christmas that tried several times to make his deceased wife’s sweet potato pie…it wasn’t funny for him and it definitely wasn’t funny for me or at least not then…it is now. Yes, I can laugh at myself. We all should be able to.  Sometimes things just don’t go your way. You either try again or give up…and baby let me tell you…I’m no quitter! It’s in my blood to succeed!

I just could not, for the life in me get it to taste like either of my granny’s pies. I was so disappointed and frustrated. I didn’t give up though. When I told my grandma what happened, she said, “Well why did you throw them away?”  I said, “because it didn’t taste like yours!” It tickled her a little but then she proceeded to tell me to start tasting my batter. Once I add something taste a little to see if I like it. And what do you know….it works! Over the years I’ve worked on my recipe and tried many others. I finally figured it out. I’ve been able to taste and get the measurements correct to pass on to you!

First things first…you must take the time and bake your sweet potatoes. Do not, I repeat do not boil them. It only adds more moisture that you don’t need in your pie. Baking the sweet potatoes intensifies the flavor. So my recipe makes 2 deep dish sweet potato pies. If you like the regular pie crust or a thinner filled pie just cut the recipe in half. So that’s my tip for you…lol. Most vegetables are better baked. Try it for yourself and let me know what you think in the comments.

Ingredients:

4 medium sized sweet potatoes baked and peeled

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup lightly packed Brown sugar.

1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk

1 stick of butter….real butter only please

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp allspice

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

2 large eggs

1 tbs milk

 

Directions:

1.  Pre heat your oven to 350°

2.  Blind bake your pie crust just for a few minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. I usually poke a few holes in it to keep it from bubbling. This also keeps your crust from becoming soggy.

3.  In a large mixing bowl, combine first 5 ingredients with an electric hand mixer. Turn your oven temp to 330°.

4.  Add spices and vanilla. This is where I taste to make sure it’s what I like. You may want start with less spice to achieve what you would like.

5.  Add eggs one at a time. If your battery seems runny, you may add 1/4 cup of self rising flour or even cake mix if you have some.

6.  Divide your battery into the 2 piecrusts. Use the milk to brush the edges of the crust. This will help keep them from burning or you can use a pie shield. It also gives a beautiful golden brown edge.

7.  Bake for 45-50 minutes. They will rise during baking and then gently fall once they are cooling on a wire rack.

8.  Let cool before slicing.

I hope you enjoy these pies as much as my family has.

 

 

 

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Chocolate Covered Strawberries

 

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Today is the day for lovers, loved ones, and everyone one who chooses love over hate and pain. We should live a life full of love and hope! The world would be a much better place. Be a blessing to someone today. Give a hug, smile when you don’t have to or need to or want to. You never know who may be watching and who will pay it forward.

Several years ago when I graduated from college, my aunt was a blessing to me and gifted me a cruise to Key West and the Bahamas! Talk about a good time!!!! We had a blast! The food was great not to mention the drinks! We did the Bar Crawl which basically was a tour of several bars in Key West. We also had some time to experience the food. I definitely appreciate the love my aunt showed me. I had such a great time that we were cruising again in less than a year!

One of the small things that I enjoyed was the tray of treats that were waiting for us in our room. The single treat that I enjoyed the most was the chocolate covered strawberries. Of course I had seen them before and wanted to try them but I simply hadn’t. When we returned home, I decided that I would try to make them myself. For those of you who know me…you know that I will try almost anything. So I did a little research and said how hard can it really be to cover some berries. Well let me tell you…sometimes the smallest things can be the most difficult. However after trying to get them perfect, I realized that they didn’t have to be. They were still good! So I made them and my family was absolutely glad that I did. Two ingredients and some wax paper are all you need really.

You’re going to want to find the sweetest, juiciest, freshest strawberries that are available. I tend to make a lot of these when it’s strawberry season.

 

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Ingredients

1 quart of strawberries…washed and dried with the stem still in tact

1/2 pkg of Almond bark…melted in a bowl

Tray covered in wax paper

 

Directions

  1. Melt almond bark according to package directions
  2. Dip berries holding them by the stem, one at a time in the almond bark ( I’ve found this to be the easiest way)
  3. Let the excess drain and place on the tray to dry (if you are adventurous…before they dry sprinkle with finely chopped nuts or mini chocolate chips…the possibilities are endless!)

 

This is a nice treat to end the night with! Enjoy! Thanks for reading!

Baby Brother’s Eggrolls

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I have a baby brother whom I don’t get to see very often because he lives in the Midwestern part of the country. However, he too has taken a liking to cooking. He and his wife enjoy being in the kitchen together. I think that’s amazing! Like I said in the last post, food is the love that binds us all together. Cook with those you love! You’d be amazed at the interaction and the feel good endorphin’s that are released! I remember when he got his first apartment in California and started cooking. He used to call me on the phone and ask how to cook different things. We would talk during his preparation and cooking process. It was a great bonding experience for us because we were so far apart!

I have to take a moment to shout out a local chef/entrepreneur…Free Spirit Food Shack! Keisha Gause is living her dream. I had the chance to partake in some of her cuisine and I was impressed. I had the daily special which was fish tacos w/chips and avocado slaw! Because I can’t pass up an egg roll , I also had a beef egg roll. She is reasonably priced and she delivers. Check her out on Facebook…Free Spirit Food Shack.

Back to the recipe at hand here….when Little brother was home, he and his wife graced the family with some home made egg rolls and spring rolls. They were delicious! He says that they can’t take full credit for this recipe because they received it from a friend and they’ve put their own spin on it. As will I.  He gave me the ingredients without specific measurements. So I have tried to give some measurements along with my additions to this masterpiece.

Everyone was oooing and awing over them. They made my tongue want to slap my brains out!…LOL…I must say that I have never tasted an egg roll any better at any restaurant. They were absolutely amazing!

We are an eclectic family with several nationalities under one roof and we all like to try different things. So don’t be surprised at some of the dishes that I feature here. I think it’s great to try new things. It’s exciting! Making egg rolls can be a tedious job but soooo worth the end result! I hope you enjoy them as much as my family has!

You can use shrimp, ground pork, or beef. I use shrimp. Baby brother uses ground pork and chicken…not together…lol…but if you like to experiment, mix and match what you like!

Baby Brother’s Eggrolls

5 tbs minced garlic

3/4 lb cabbage, sliced thinly

1 1/2 lbs peeled, deveined, chopped shrimp ( I leave them whole)

1/2 sweet onion diced

1 carrot, peeled and shredded

1/2 of a bunch of cilantro, chopped

3 green onions (my addition to the recipe)

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tbs sesame oil (my addition to the recipe)

1 box of Thai Kitchen rice noodles…you will use less than half the box.

salt & pepper to taste

Egg roll wraps

Directions

  1. In a large skillet or wok…add sesame oil, 3 tbs of garlic and shrimp(meat of choice) and cook until shrimp turn pink.
  2. Remove shrimp and place on the side. Add onions(sweet & green), carrots, cabbage, ginger, remaining garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook for about 10-15 minutes or until cabbage is al dente.
  3. Cook noodles per package directions and drain.
  4. Mix everything together and let cool. It’s easier to wrap with cooler ingredients than hot…it will rip the wrap
  5. Once mixture has cooled, wrap eggrolls.
  6. Deep Fry in 350-375 degree temperature canola oil for about 4 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towel.

 

My 1st recipe with Grandma was Chocolate Candy

Welcome to Sheca Cooks!

 

Grandma's Chocolate Candy
My first candy recipe

 

This is my very first post! I’m so excited…this may seem trivial but it’s been a long time coming. I’ve been contemplating starting this blog for more than a year. I finally decided to do it with nudge from a great friend! Sometimes all it takes are a few kind words of encouragement to get going. Well let me be the first to tell you….if you have a dream don’t procrastinate…tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us…GO FOR IT! YOU CAN DO IT!  

My Grandma is very special! She has always encouraged me to do whatever I set my mind to. I think it is her that introduced me to how wonderful cooking is…especially with those you love.  Like my Grandma, food is the one thing that can bring us all together! We laugh, we cry, we dance, we talk about whatever is going on in our lives…all over great food! If it’s a huge planned get together or if it’s me stopping by and she is about to cook or already has…there’s always something for you at Grandma’s house.  She likes to make me think that she learns from me…however I can definitely say that I’ve spent my life surrounded by great women who have taught me love, patience, endurance, strength, and the ability to pick myself up when I fall. You know what I mean….the old adage about feed a man a fish and he eats for a day…teach a man to fish and he will never be hungry…..well let me say this…I’ve never been hungry.  I’m proud to have women in my life that I call mama, grandma, and aunt!  Okay….I’m tearing up…back to the task at hand…

The very first recipe we (Grandma & I)  ever made together was a super sweet, delicious, chocolate covered creamy, nutty bite of goodness! I’m sure other people have made it and have a name for it but we called it chocolate candy!  Her recipe included paraffin wax to melt with the chocolate to help it dry quickly and stay firm. My recipe is slightly different because I use candy melts or almond bark. 

Grandma’s Chocolate Candy

1 1/2 softened sticks of butter

1 lb of confectioner’s sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

1 pkg of chocolate almond bark or chips of choice

 

Directions

1. Cream butter and sugar first then add vanilla and condensed milk.  Mix together until smooth.

2. Stir in the nuts. Set bowl in refrigerator to cool and set for about 10 minutes.

3. Create balls or shapes of your choice out of the nut mixture. You may want to spray your spoon or scooper with some cooking spray to prevent sticking. Place pieces on a cookie sheet that has been lined with wax paper. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes.

4. In a large microwave safe bowl…melt the bark or chips according to package directions.

5. Remove the balls/shapes from freezer. Use a fork to dip the  pieces in bark and cover well. Let drain and sit back on wax paper to harden.

I hope you enjoy this treat! Of course it’s not something you will eat daily. However, it’s simple and quick.