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Month: October 2022

Best Little Cookies in Texas

My friend M’Lissa Steel has deep roots to Fayette County. Her Great-Grandfather, William Loessin was Sheriff of Fayette County from 1925-1946. Even before that, her Great Great Great Uncle, August Loessin, was the Sheriff. My own Dad spent some time at the historic courthouse as a Federal Social Security Claims Representative as well. Walking around the square with her affirmed the saying is in fact true about everyone knowing your name in a small town. Hugs all around! 

Pecan season is here! Celebrate with this authentic and legendary recipe from the Chicken Ranch. Yes, that Chicken Ranch. M’Lissa’s Great Uncle Bill was hired as caretaker of the property after it was closed. This recipe is attributed to Miss Jesse, one of the first Proprietors. Remember earlier I said to grab as many pecans as you could? This recipe calls for 2 lbs.! It is certainly a celebration of our Texas State Tree – the Pecan. Happy Baking!

Best Little Cookie in Texas

Prep Time 10 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American


  • 4 eggs
  • 2 Cups sugar
  • 8 cups chopped pecans
  • 2 tsp cloves
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp soda in a little water
  • 1 lb chopped dates
  • 1 lb raisins
  • 1 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 3 cups flour (or slightly more)


  • Preheat oven to 275 degrees
  • Beat eggs well.  Add sugar and stir.  Add cinnamon and cloves.  Stir.
  • Add chopped dates, pecans, raisins, and butter.  Mix well. Add Soda.  Then mix in flour, a little at a time.
  • Drop 4 -5  mounds on greased cookie sheet.  Bake and test a few cookies to see if more flour is needed.
  • Bake in slow oven - 275 degrees, 30 - 45 minutes.  This will depend on size of mounds.  Original recipe said 20 minutes, but this isn’t quite enough.  Perhaps it was a wood burning stove originally………



OK  - this is a good time to divulge that I LOVE cookie dough!!! 🙂
Keyword cookies, pecans, dates


Spaetzle – its a celebration of all things Octoberfest!  Join me as we examine the many possibilities of this versatile German pasta.  Think of it as your side dish instead of potatoes, pasta, or rice.  It also can become a main by adding sliced sausage.  My daughter-in-law adds sautéed mushrooms to excite her children’s palate.  So, you may not be able to say it correctly (like me) but you can cook it up a storm and add a little diversity to your meals.  Prost!

Creamy Spätzle with Sage

Cook Time 35 minutes
Servings 6


  • 1 Bag Spaetzle noodles
  • 4 Quarts Water
  • 1 tbsp Concentrated chicken broth
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped sage
  • 2 tsp chopped garlic
  • 3/4 cup Heavy cream (whipping cream)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper


  • Bring 4 its water to boil. Stir in spaetzle, boil uncovered for 25-28 Minutes
  • Drain in colander
  • Melt 4 tbsp butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and chopped fresh sage. Cook, stirring frequently for 1 minute.
  • Stir in cream and spaetzle. Turn heat to low and cook for 1 1/2 minutes. Stir in salt and pepper.



You can also top with grated Swiss cheese
Sliced sausage can be added to create a complete meal when served with a salad.  

Sour Dough Loaf

Few aromas in life match that of fresh bread cooking in the oven. And then to follow up, the crispness on the outside and tenderness on the inside of a loaf of freshly made sour dough bread is pure heaven.

Sour dough starter can be found from a friend or even the internet. At first glance, this recipe seems complicated, but once you’ve done it a couple of times – you’ll have it down, Sour dough bread is easily digestible, giving you a feeling of satisfaction but not stuffiness. With fresh butter – truly nothing is better!

Branch out, try it, and you will be hooked. It’s truly worth the organization of your time to make it work.

Sour Dough Loaf


  • Large oven-proof pot with lid
  • Kitchen scale
  • Parchment paper
  • Glass jar with lid


  • 50 g (1/4) Cup active sour dough starter
  • 350 g (1 1/3 C + 2 tbsp warm water
  • 500 g (4 Cups + 2 tbsp) bread flour
  • 9 g (1.5 tsp) fine sea salt

To Replenish Starter

  • 60 g active sour dough starter
  • 60 g water
  • 60 g unbleached flour


  • 1. 1. In the Middle of the day before wanting to bake bread: Take starter from the refrigerator. Using a scale with a jar set on top and set to “0”. Measure 60 g starter. Take scale to “0” again. Measure in 60 g water and stir. Take scale to “0” and add 60 g flour and stir. Loosely cover and set on counter until 6-10 PM. (I like to set under my under-counter light)

Make the Dough: 

  • 2. In the evening, set a 8 1/2” bowl on the scale and set to “0”. Add 50g starter. Set scale to “0”. Add 350 g warm water and mix together thoroughly. Set scale to “0”. Stir in 500 g bread flour and 9 g or 1 1/2 tsp salt. Finish mixing by hand to fully incorporate the flour. 
  • 3. Cover with a damp towel and let rest for 30 minutes. 
  • 4. Take this time to replenish your starter with fresh water and flour in a new jar. (I print the date on jar)
  • 5. After dough has rested, work into a smooth ball . Grab a portion of the dough and fold it over, pressing your fingertips into the center. Repeat, working your way around the ball until it tightens - about 15 seconds.

Bulk Rise: 

  • 6. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let rise overnight (8-10 hours) at room temperature - approximately 70 degrees. The dough is ready when it has doubled in size.


  • In the morning, move the dough to a lightly floured cutting board. (I also flour my hands) Repeat the pull and press function from the previous night. Flip the dough over and let it rest 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile line a bowl with a towel dusted with flour (or use a proofing bowl) and lift dough into it, seam side up. 

Second Rise:

  • Cover the bowl and let it rest for 30 - 60 minutes. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut a sheet of parchment paper to fit the size of you baking pot, leaving excess room around the sides.


  • Place the parchment over the dough and invert the bowl to release. Sprinkle th dough with flour and gently rub the surface with your hands. Using the tip of a small, serrated knife or a razor blade, score the dough with an “X”. 


  • Cover dough with lid and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and bake an additional 30 minutes.Remove and let cool for 1 hour. Sourdough is best consumed on the same day it is baked. Store at room temperature in a plastic bag for one day. 


  • If we don’t consume in one day (which is hard), I slice and freeze. You can also make croutons and freeze. 
  • This may seem complicated at first glance, but once you’ve done it a couple of times, it makes sense.

Cauliflower “Mock” Mac-n-Cheese

Mac ‘n Cheese – It’s classic; it’s comforting; kids as well as adults love it!  By simply swapping out cauliflower for the pasta, you add nutrition as well as cut carbs.  The cauliflower actually gives it a little crunch and it will still satisfy that melted cheesy craving. 

In true Texas fashion, I like to add chopped jalapenos for that “heat” factor in your mouth.  (Determined by how many seeds and how much membrane you leave).  The dried mustard lends a kick without overwhelm. 

I use dried onion flakes for easy preparation, but you can also saute ¼ cup of fresh red onions for a little color. 

Try it!  You may be surprised how you love it!

Cauliflower "Mock" Mac-n-Cheese


  • head cauliflower
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • cup half-and-half or whole milk
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried mustard
  • 1 tbsp dried onion flakes
  • 1 jalapeno finely-chopped
  • cup shredded cheese, divided


  • Steam bite sized cauliflower in small amount of water for about 5 minutes.
  • Remove from pan.
  • Melt butter, stir in flour and 1/2 and 1/2 and stir until thickened. ( if gets too thick, simply add more milk)
  • Add garlic, mustard, and onion flakes
  • Add finely chopped jalapeño
  • Stir in 1 cup of cheese
  • Add in cauliflower and stir.
  • Pour into an oven proof container, top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese and bake for 10 minutes.