Have a Fabulous New Year with Okie Hoppin’ John

It’s a longstanding belief, at least around these parts, that eating black eyed peas on New Year’s Day is good luck for the coming year. So, every year I make my version of Hoppin’ John. It’s a bit of a nuisance, but so worth it.

Okie Hoppin’ John

2 packages wild rice, cooked as directed

1 package Kielbasa sausage, cut into chunks

12 ounces Velveeta cheese

1 small carton sour cream

1 can chicken broth, divided

1 can black olives, sliced or chopped

1 tablespoon butter or cooking oil

1 large sweet onion or 2 bunches green onions, chopped

8 cloves garlic, minced

1 can black eyed peas with jalapeños, including juice

1 can black eyed peas with bacon, including juice

6-10 drops hot sauce, optional

Cook rice according to directions. While rice is cooking, sauté onions and garlic in butter or cooking oil.

Mix remaining ingredients except chicken broth in a slow cooker, adding the onions and garlic when they are ready. Add rice after cooking. Add about 1/2 can of chicken broth so the sauce is slightly runny and let it all sit in slow cooker on medium for at least an hour before serving. If sauce thickens too much, add another splash of chicken broth.

Notes: For added heat, add jalapeños or extra hot pepper sauce. Dish is also delicious with cooked bacon crumbled in it.

This dish is a wonderful way to start the New Year. It’s a southern superstition that eating black eyed peas on New Year’s Day is good luck for the coming year. However, many people don’t particularly enjoy black eyed peas on their own. In this Hoppin’ John, even the pickiest eaters will usually gobble them up.

FamilyHolidayFavorites10-15This recipe is from Family Holiday Favorites, only $2.99 on Amazon. The e-book contains 50 tried-and-true recipes gathered from several different families. The book is illustrated to maintain a festive appeal and has a linked table of contents for frustration-free navigation. Check it out here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005WDHL20

Vintage Recipes: Hot Chocolate Drinks from Hershey’s

I have a 1979 edition Hershey’s Cocoa Cookbook and it is chock-full of chocolately deliciousness!

With winter officially here, I thought it would be nice to share a few of the hot drink recipes. Cold weather makes me think of hot chocolate as well as football games and falling leaves. It’s nice to have several easy, delicious recipes to heat up a chilly evening.

Favorite Hot Cocoa

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon cocoa

½ cup sugar

Dash of salt

1/3 cup hot water

1 quart milk

¾ teaspoon vanilla

Combine cocoa, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan and blend in water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for 2 minutes. Add milk, stir and heat to serving temperature but do not boil. Remove from heat then add vanilla. Beat with a mixer until foamy. Makes about 5 servings.

For a single serving, combine 1 tablespoon cocoa, 2 tablespoons sugar, a dash of salt and 1 tablespoon of water. Boil and stir for 1 minute. Add 1 cup milk and 1/8 teaspoon vanilla. Heat to serving temperature, stirring occasionally.

Spiced Hot Cocoa

¼ cup cocoa

1/3 cup sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon salt

½ cup hot water

3 ½ cups milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

Dash of ground cloves

Combine cocoa, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a saucepan then blend in hot water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for 2 minutes. Add milk and heat to serving temperature, stirring occasionally. Do not boil. Remove from heat then add vanilla and cloves. Beat with mixer until foamy. Serve hot. Garnish with cinnamon sticks, if desired. Makes 5 servings.

Hurry-Up Hot Cocoa

1 tablespoon cocoa

2 tablespoons sugar

Dash salt

Hot milk

1/8 teaspoon vanilla (optional)

Combine cocoa, sugar and salt in a cup. Stir in hot milk to fill cup. Add vanilla and stir until blended.


Canadian Cocoa: Add 1/8 teaspoon maple extract.

Irish Mint: add 1/8 teaspoon pure mint and peppermint extract.

Orange Cocoa Cappuccino: Add 1/8 teaspoon pure orange extract.

Swiss Mocha: Add ½ teaspoon instant coffee granules.

Viennese Cocoa: Add a dash of ground cinnamon and a dash of ground nutmeg.

FamilyHolidayFavorites10-15For more delicious wintery treats, check out Family Holiday Favorites, only $2.99 on Amazon, here http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005WDHL20.

It features 50 tried-and-true show stopping recipes split into sweet and savory dishes with a splash of holiday illustrations to keep spirits high.

Devil those Easter Eggs

Easter is just around the corner so it’s time to gather the deviled egg ideas to use all those hard boiled eggs!

First, to have Easter Eggs, you need hard boiled eggs. For anyone who doesn’t know how to hard boil eggs, here’s the easy way:

Place a dozen eggs in a single layer in a large saucepan then add enough cold water to cover them by about an inch. Cover the pan and heat to full boil then turn off the heat. Let eggs stand in the hot water for 20 to 25 minutes then run cold water over the eggs to cool.

After the Easter Egg Hunt, you may be left with lofts of eggs. We always check them carefully and only use eggs that have no cracks in the shell, then make deviled eggs. Our favorite recipe follows.

But if you have lots of hard boiled eggs and want to get adventurous, try adding an extra ingredient or two to the deviled yolk mixture. If you make a ham for Easter, dice up a bit of ham and include it. Or if you are an onion fiend, try mincing up some chives for festive-looking deviled eggs. You could even add both ham and chives for a special treat!

Southern Deviled Eggs

12 large eggs, hard boiled and peeled

1/2 cup mayonnaise

3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish

2 teaspoons prepared mustard

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste


Cut eggs in half, lengthwise. Remove yolks and place in a small bowl. Mash yolks with a fork then stir in mayonnaise, relish, and mustard. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Fill egg whites with yolk mixture. Garnish with paprika. If made in advance, store covered in refrigerator until serving.

Note: Spoon filling into a sandwich baggie and snip off the corner to create a dispenser. This makes it quick and easy to fill the egg whites.

Southern Deviled Eggs recipe is from Family Holiday Favorites: 50 Delicious Dishes, available online for only $2.99 at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Sony, Kobo or Smashwords.