Raspberry Energy Bar and Cross Country Running

It takes a certain type of young man to run cross country, I think.  Not only does it take a good bit of physical strength and endurance, but mental tenacity while training and running for miles in hot, humid Savannah weather, too.   Under the passionate dedication of Coach MacKay, my two older boys had the amazing opportunity to run on the Savannah Arts Academy team this year. The team won the regional title and will be heading to the State meet in a few weeks.  Go Panthers!

These homemade whole grain raspberry energy bars made with wheat germ, oats, flax seeds and berries are a wonderful nutritious filler before the race.  And they taste wonderful, too!

Raspberry Energy Bar

Cooking oil spray
2 cups whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks butter, cut into 16 pieces and softened (2 tablespoon divided)
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
3/4 cup sugar-free raspberry jam
3/4 cup fresh raspberries
1 tablespoon lemon juice


Preheat oven to 375° F. Line a 13 x 9-inch pan with foil by spreading two sheets of foil perpendicular to each other over the pan, with extra foil hanging over the edges. Grease the foil with cooking spray.

Whisk the flour, wheat germ, granulated sugar and salt in a large bowl. Beat in 14 tablespoons of butter with an electric mixer on low until the mixture looks like wet sand, about 1½ minutes. Reserve 1¼ cups of the mixture for the topping and put the rest into the pan. Use the bottom of a measuring cup to press it into an even layer. Bake the crust until the edges begin to brown, about 14-18 minutes.

Mix the reserved flour mixture with the oats, nuts, brown sugar and flax seeds. Add the remaining butter and pinch the mixture with your fingers into small clumps. In a separate bowl, lightly smash the raspberries, jam and lemon juice together. Spread the berry mixture over the hot crust and sprinkle the crumb streusel on top.

Bake until golden brown, about 22-25 minutes. Let the bars cool completely in the pan. Remove bars from pan by lifting up the foil edges. Cut into 24 squares.


Barber Vintage Motorcycle Festival 2014

Each October, my family goes wild about our annual family trip to Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. For days leading up to it, my husband and older boys are busy packing up their motorcycles and gear, while my girl and I happily bake and cook our meals ahead to freeze to have in the RV.  For breakfasts, we had Banana-Pumpkin Muffins a few mornings, and other times we had bacon (yes, this can be baked ahead and frozen) and fried eggs. For our dinners we had fried rice, chili, and for our youngest son's 11th birthday dinner, we had Cheese Ravioli and marinara sauce with grilled sausages.  

If you are motorcycle enthusiasts, this trip is a must.  The grounds are immaculate and beautiful, and the Barber Vintage Motorsport Museum is quite spectacular.  For our family, it is a wonderful time not only watching the exciting races but to savor beautiful sunrises, shared meals, and late night talks in the RV with our children.  Looking forward to our next year's trip!  

Food Photos featured on Savannah Morning News 

Banana-Pumpkin Muffins

Makes 2 dozen

3 cups all-purpose unbleached flour (15 oz) 
2 cups granulated sugar (14 oz) 
1 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon baking soda 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
3 eggs 
1 1/4 cups vegetable or canola oil 
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
1 (8 ounce) canned pumpkin puree
2 cups mashed ripe banana, about 3
1 cup toasted walnuts, chopped (optional) 
Sugar to sprinkle

1. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, and cinnamon, set aside. 
In a large bowl, beat the eggs, oil, sugar, and vanilla until creamy; stir in pumpkin and bananas. 
With a rubber spatula, fold in the dry ingredients just until moistened.  

2. Spoon batter in muffin tins. Sprinkle tops with chopped walnuts and sugar.

3. Bake at 350 degrees F for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Simple Marinara Sauce 

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, grated
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried pepper flakes
1 (32-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 dried bay leaf
1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

In a large casserole pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, dried oregano, basil and
pepper flakes, and sauté the garlic and herbs until they just begin to sizzle and heat.
Add the crushed tomatoes, bay leaf and grated Parmesan cheese, and simmer uncovered over
low heat until the sauce thickens, about 45 minutes.
Remove and discard the bay leaf. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with good quality store-bought ravioli.  


Cow Girl Chili Recipe and Bloomingdale's First Rodeo

When you are married to a Texas A & M alumnus,  you learn to love rodeos, even when you are a Korean.  And you teach your four children Aggie's yells.  My husband and children were excited for months when they heard about the rodeo coming to our little town of Bloomingdale, Georgia.  Hey, it's a pretty big deal when the city is only 14 square miles with a population of 2,700.  This great event would have never happened if our good neighbor, Mr. Waller of Ottawa Farms , didn't host it.  Thank you so much, Mr. Waller! We had a fantastic time!

Recipe and photos featured in the Savannah Morning News 


2 tablespoons vegetable oil or corn oil
2 medium onions, chopped fine (about 2 cups)
1 colored bell pepper (red, orange, or yellow), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
6 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 tablespoons)
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
2 pounds 85 percent lean ground beef
2 (15-ounce) cans red kidney beans , drained and rinsed
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 can (28 ounces) tomato puree

Kosher salt to taste
2 limes , cut into wedges

1. Heat oil in a large heavy-bottomed non-reactive Dutch oven over medium heat until simmering but not smoking a few minutes. Add onions, bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, pepper flakes, oregano, and cayenne; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and beginning to brown, about 5-6 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and add half the beef; cook, breaking up pieces with wooden spoon, until no longer pink and just beginning to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add remaining beef and cook, breaking up pieces with wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 4 minutes.

2. Add beans, tomatoes, tomato puree, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. Remove cover and continue to simmer 1 hour longer, stirring occasionally (if chili begins to stick to bottom of pot, stir in 1/2 cup water and continue to simmer), until beef is tender and chili is dark, rich, and slightly thickened. Adjust seasoning with additional salt. Serve with lime wedges and condiments if desired.

**Slow Cooker Option: At the end of step 1, transfer the cooked beef mixture to a slow cooker; add the rest of the ingredients as directed in step 2. Cook the chili on the high setting for four hours.

**At my church, this recipe is multiplied by 15 and served along with baked potatoes, cornbread and all the fixings!  Great Fall menu for a large crowd!


Happy Mother's Day!

I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me. 
They have clung to me all my life.          ~Abraham Lincoln

How do I measure my success as a mother?  By the accomplishments of my children?  By their happiness in this world? 

May I be that mother that my mom was to me.  She prayed for me when I was lost. And I want to do the same for my children, until my last living day.  I will have no greater joy (or success, my words) than to hear that my children walk in truth (3 John 1:4).  


Happy All Hallows' Eve

How are you spending the All Hallows' Eve tonight?   I hope it will be filled with children, friends, and candy.  Here are some quick spooky treats you can take to your party.
Be safe and have fun!

Photos features on Savannah Morning News.  

Pretzel Bones

Recipe by Miss Sophie

 1 bag (7 ounce) of white meltable candy wafers
 36 thin pretzel sticks of various lengths
 72 mini marshmallows (about 1 cup)

 1. Follow the instructions on the candy wafers package to melt ½ of the bag in a wide bowl.
 2. For each bone, press marshmallows onto both ends of a pretzel stick or rod, with the marshmallows’ flat sides parallel to the pretzel.
 3. Dip each pretzel into the melted candy to coat it. Lift it out with a fork, letting the excess drip back into the bowl. Place the bone onto a sheet of waxed paper to set at room temperature.

Strawberry Ghosts 

Recipe by Miss Sophie

15 fresh strawberries
8 ounces white baking chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon shortening
1/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

 1. Wash strawberries and gently pat with paper towels until completely dry.
 2. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt white chocolate and shortening at 50% power; stir until smooth.
 3. Dip strawberries in chocolate mixture; place on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet.
 4. Immediately press chocolate chips into coating for eyes. Freeze 5 minutes.
 5. In microwave, melt remaining chocolate chips; stir until smooth. Transfer melted chocolate to a small sealable freezer bag. Cut a small portion of one of the tips off and use chocolate to draw mouth.
 6. Keep refrigerated until time to serve.


Figs in Summer

In these dog days of summer in Savannah, one fruit that seems happy and thriving in the sweltering heat are figs.  I can't say that about myself; I'm happy to jump from air-conditioned car to air-conditioned buildings to avoid the humidity and blaring heat.  But I love picking those dark, ripe figs early and eating them straight from the tree before the birds have a chance to peck at them.  

You'll love this Spicy Fig Jam.  Crystalized ginger adds to the intense ginger flavor, and a bit of surprising spiciness to the jam.  My family and I love smearing this on pieces of baguette and pairing it with a creamy wedge of brie cheese.  Oh yum.  

These photos and other fig recipes can be found on Miss Sophie's weekly food column in the  Savannah Morning News

Spicy Fig and Ginger Jam 

This is a fig jam with a bit of spiciness that comes from the ginger. It goes well with a soft cheese like brie.

 4 cups coarsely chopped fresh figs
 2 1/4 cups sugar
 1/3 cup water
 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
 4 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger
 1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently. Cool. Pour into airtight containers. Note: Refrigerate Fig and Ginger Jam in airtight containers up to six weeks.

Strawberry-Fig Preserves

Try some on a hot buttered biscuit for a real treat.

 7 cups of figs coarsely chopped in the food processor
 7 cups of sugar
 3 (3 oz) boxes of strawberry gelatin
 1 box of Sure-Jell

In a large, heavy pot, combine the figs and sugar. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes, stirring often. Stir in strawberry gelatin and Sure-Jell. Boil for another 5 minutes, stirring often. Transfer the mixture to hot sterile jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace, and seal. Process jars for 10 minutes in a water bath.


Cherry Hand Pies

Some things are definitely worth re-posting.  When my friend Miss Sophie wanted to write about cherries in her weekly food column in the Savannah Morning News, sweet and juicy memories of this hand pie flooded my mind.  And I couldn't resist sharing the recipe with Miss Sophie and her readers.

Frozen cherries are used, but why not make your own favorite version of fruit hand pies?  
Apples or peaches would be great here. 
And seriously, if you don't have time to make a homemade crust, get already made ones!  Make life easier on yourself.  

These photos and other great cherry recipes are published in the

Cherry Hand Pies

Makes about 8 hand pies

Adapted from Bon Appetite

12 ounces frozen pitted cherries, slightly thawed, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons tapioca

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup granulated sugar, and extra for sprinkling

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/8 teaspoon table salt

1-double pie crust of your choice, rolled out and chilled well (click here for pie crust recipe)

1 large egg white

1 tablespoon water

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Toss together in a bowl the first 8 ingredients.  Refrigerate while preparing dough.

Whisk egg white and 1 tablespoon water in another small bowl for egg wash, set aside.

Take the chilled crust, roll out to a large rectangular shape about 18" x 16".  Using a pie crust cutter and a clean ruler, cut the crust into smaller rectangles, about 4x5, or so.  Chill the pastry and work with one rectangle at a time. 

Using your finger or a pastry brush, apply the egg white mixture on the edges of the small rectangles.  Scoop a heaping tablespoon of filling mixture, and fold over the dough, forming a packet.  Seal the edges well by using a fork to crimp.  Cut two or three slits on top with a paring knife.  Repeat the process with remaining pastry and filling.  Makes about 8 packets.  At this point, the packets can be frozen for later use.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Fit about 4 pies on each pan.  Brush tops with egg white mixture, then sprinkle with granulated or raw sugar.  Bake until tops are golden brown and filling oozes out, about 30 minutes.  Transfer to wire rack and cool before serving. 


Grilled Corn and Peach Salsa

How do you describe summer in two words?  Corn and peaches.  
The marriage of grilled corn and perfectly ripe peaches yields an amazing combination of flavors.  I'm often in awe of the incredible gifts that God has given us in foods: colors, textures, flavors.....all so beautiful and good.  This summer salsa is fantastic with grilled flank steak or chicken. 

These photos and other great summer salsa recipes can be found in Miss Sophie's column this week.  

Grilled Corn and Peach Salsa

Recipe by Miss Sophie with modifications

 4 ears grilled corn cut off the cob
 2 ripe, Georgia peaches, peeled and diced
 2 large tomatoes, chopped
 1/2 small red onion finely chopped
1 Tablespoon Italian parsley leaves chopped
1 Tablespoon cilantro leaves chopped
 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
 ¼ teaspoon pepper
 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

 In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients. Let stand 30 minutes to 2 hours to let the flavors blend.  Season more with salt if needed.  


Berries Prompt Trip Down Memory Lane

How has your summer been?  It's been quite crazy for me lately.  Take a deep breath and feast on these beautiful berry photos and recipes.  The words and recipes are by my friend Teri Bell, aka Miss Sophie, who writes weekly food column on Savannah Morning News and photos by yours truly.  

Words and Recipes By Miss Sophie

Last week I noticed something red on the berm behind our house. Much to my delight, it was a thorny bush with soon to be blackberries growing wild. There were already two or three tiny ripe ones, which I quickly washed off and shared with Steve.

Eating that blackberry took me back to summer afternoons when my best friend, Robert, and I would venture into the field behind his house navigating our way through the brush and thorny bushes in pursuit of big wild blackberries. We didn’t worry about washing them, we picked and consumed all at the same time until we couldn’t find any more or we had our fill.

Mama said that when she was a little girl, she and Aunt Jenny would walk along the side of the road picking blackberries until they got enough for grandma to make them a blackberry pie. I guess Robert and I missed out not sharing our blackberries with grandma — we might have gotten a pie, too!
I don’t know if it is because I don’t walk down the side of the road or if it is just because I now live in the “big city,” but I don’t see wild blackberries much anymore. The ones behind my house were the first in a long time and these were tiny. I remember the blackberries in the field being big, fat and delicious! Today when I see the sticker price of blackberries, I can’t help but think of all those I consumed for free! If only I had known what a goldmine there was in that field.

Pricey or not, we should all invest in some berries on a regular basis. Turns out they are not only good — they are good for you! Berries are very high in antioxidants. For those of you, like me, who have always secretly wondered exactly what “high in antioxidants” means, I looked it up. The short version: Our atmosphere is full of “free radicals.” When these radicals come together they produce a reaction. Some reactions are good, but some can cause cell damage that can result in cancer and other diseases. Oxidation produces free radicals. Antioxidants inhibit oxidation. Foods are measured for their antioxidant level by their “oxygen radical absorbance capacity” or ORAC. The higher the ORAC, the better the food is for you. These foods absorb radicals therefore eliminating the possibility of a reaction. Now that’s all clear — right?

One way to fight the high price of berries and boost your ability to fight off free radicals is to purchase them when in season, as they are now, and freeze them for use later in the year. It is so simple to do! Wash and drain the berries. Spread berries out on a sheet pan and allow to air dry for 15 or 20 minutes. Place the pan in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer berries to a freezer bag. Write the name and the date on the freezer bag and toss into the freezer. Frozen berries are great to use in smoothies and require no thawing.

Berries don’t have to be laden in sugar to be enjoyed and are great in a salad, like a Raspberry Avocado Salad, but berries do make some of the best desserts! I wonder if I bury the berries in sugar and dough, if they lose their oxygen radical absorbance capacity? I’ve always heard that in some cases “ignorance is bliss.” I’ve decided this is one of those times.

Teri Bell is co-owner of Miss Sophie’s Marketplace at the Mighty Eighth in Pooler. Go to sophiesmarketplace.com.


Adapted from Driscoll’s Berry Recipes
1 package (6 ounces or 1 1/3 cup) Driscoll’s Raspberries
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 1/4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cups olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 pounds cooked whole shrimp or grilled chicken strips
1/4 cups diced mango
1 tablespoon thinly sliced red onion
4 cups baby spinach leaves or spring mix
2 avocados, halved, pitted and sliced
Blend 1/3 cup raspberries, vinegar, honey and Dijon mustard in a blender or food processor until smooth. Drizzle in the oil while blending. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons water to thin slightly, if needed. Season with salt and pepper. Combine shrimp or chicken, mango, and onion in a medium bowl. Gently stir in remaining raspberries. Divide lettuce onto four plates and arrange avocado slices on top of lettuce. Top with raspberry mixture and drizzle the dressing on top. Serve with any remaining dressing on the side.


2 cups self-rising white cornmeal
1/2 cup sugar
5 large eggs
1 (16-ounce) container sour cream
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 cups fresh or frozen blackberries
Preheat oven to 450 F. Stir together cornmeal and sugar in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture. Whisk together eggs, sour cream, and butter; add to cornmeal, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in blackberries. Spoon batter into two lightly greased 12-cup muffin pans, filling three-fourths full. Allow to sit 3 or 4 minutes. Bake at 450 F for 15 to 17 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Cool in pan on a wire rack 5 minutes.


I can’t talk about berries without sharing this simple recipe again!
1 can crushed pineapple, 20 ounces, do not drain
3 cups blueberries or blackberries
3/4 cup sugar
1 package yellow cake mix
1 stick butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Put pineapple and berries in buttered pan; sprinkle with 3/4 cup sugar. Pour dry cake mix over berry mixture then drizzle melted butter over the dry mix. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup sugar. Do not stir. Bake about 45 minutes.