Janet's Notebook
Remembering Mom Through Recipes

Grandma's Secret Apple Brownies

With Mother's Day next Sunday, I've found myself thinking more and more about my mom and grandma. I learned how to cook by watching them. I'm lucky enough to have handwritten recipes my mom jotted down through the years.

When I find myself reminiscing, I tend to pull out those old recipes and start cooking. Looking around Just A Pinch, it seems I'm not the only one who thinks of mom when in the kitchen.

"These are very tasty and the muffins were a hit with the family," shares Pat Duran. "I thank my grandma for this recipe... my mom saved [it] for me along with many others."

Pat's Lemon Date Muffins have a lovely combination of flavors due to the lemon juice, zest and dates. You get a nice zing of flavor from the frosting on top too. These super moist muffins will pair perfectly with your morning cup of coffee.

Jessica Harrington's Grandma's Secret Apple Brownies! belong smack-dab in the delicious intersection of breakfast and dessert... the two most important meals of the day! "My grandmother used to make these all the time for me when I was young," says Jessica. "She finally gave me the recipe and I have been making them since!"

In each bite, you get a small piece of apple, with a bit of cinnamon and a hint of the orange juice. Perfection! They smell terrific while baking, look great and taste even better.

"Growing up as a kid through adulthood, mom would make this recipe," remembers Lynda Loose. "She would call and invite us over because she was making creole - that is all she would have to say."

Lynda's Mom's Shrimp Creole recipe has the perfect amount of seasonings. Sauteing the celery, onion, okra and shrimp in bacon fat adds a smoky flavor you'll subtly taste through the entire dish. Southern comfort food at its finest.

"This Mexican Red Table Salsa (Salsa Roja de Mesa Mejicana) dates back to my great-grandmother's time, I am sure even further back," explains Juliann Esquivel. "This sauce has been passed down for generations - it's timeless and delicious."

Packed with big flavors, I've been known to snack on this from time to time. I like a bit of heat, so this salsa is perfect for my palate. But, you can easily just add one jalapeno (or even leave it out) and it'll stick pack a punch of flavor.

"Another recipe from my boyhood," exclaims Paul Bushay. "My brothers and I would always ask for this when we had picnics or backyard barbecues." Paul's Esther's (My Mom) Potato Salad recipe is the potato salad for the dill pickle fan.

Not only had I never tried preparing potato salad this way, but I'd never even heard of it. What a pleasant surprise! The dill adds a freshness to the dish. I highly recommend you pick up some dill pickle relish the next time you're at the store and add this to your summer cookout menu.

Cindy Eggleston's Cindy's Tipsy Beef Chili has a great combination of flavors. "This recipe was passed from my mother, to my sister, [then] to me and each time one of us added a little something different," says Cindy. "My husband suggested the beer and it just seemed to add that little extra kick, along with the tequila of course."

Adding beer to chili is a great way to punch up the flavors... the tequila helps there too! Red and green peppers add a colorful crunch to the dish. Serve with a side of cornbread and watch everyone dig in.

To me, a recipe is like a memory. Maybe this Mother's Day, I'll get in the kitchen with my son and share a few memories with him.

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Pat Byrd - May 23, 2015
Memories forever!
Nancy Sewell - May 11, 2015
My oldest granddaughter will be 11 this week and I am putting together a Recipe Book for using all of family's "tried and true" recipes. I have been able include 5 generations of contributors. I am hoping to include some of the humorous recipes as well.
Cynthia Connors - May 8, 2015
I think we all enjoyed our Grammy's and Mom's recipes back in our growing up years. Of course women were home and had the time for home baked and cooked meals. Everything from scratch and Grammy's straight from her garden to table. My Grammy made home baked beans from an electric pot she had bought @ a yard sale for $1.50! She cooked the heck out of that pot!

No expensive cookware, just pain savvy, thrifty cooking. These women had the knack and knew their way around a simple kitchen. No fancy pots and pans, no designer kitchens. These are the for show accoutrements of women today who don't have a clue of what they're doing.

I miss these women and their no nonsense ways.
In their memory, this Mother's Day, Cynthia