The AppleBarn Restaurant in The Smoky Mountains

The setting is perfect for these restaurants and shops. They were built right beside the Little Pigeon River and we can hear the water running over the tops of big rocks there. There are trees and birds all over the property. The big country store has anything you can imagine with apples on it or in it and even apples themselves to buy. A new fun store has hard cider with many different flavors to try. After eating your meal you can find the candy and ice cream stores very satisfying too. Have fun and make it an evening not just a meal.

Waldorf salad with a twist 


Leave it to my California Chef Sister to add a pear to this already deliciously good salad. So with this new idea I decided to look up information on pears. I found out that most pears come from Oregon and Washington and most varieties have a long season from August to May. So why don’t we use them more? Well when you pick them up in the produce area of grocery store they feel hard and if you were to push on them it would cause them to bruise and rot. What to do? Be patient! Buy them, bring them home and put them in a brown paper bag for a day or two then eat them like they are or use them in a variety of different recipes.


Once a foster parent, always a foster parent/4 layer chocolate cake

During the holidays you hear in church and see on TV the stories of people helping people, and everywhere you go they are asking for your change to help the needy , but rarely are you personally involved. Well, not this Christmas. A past foster child of ours has run into some bad luck where he’s lost his job and is living with a disabled friend not much better off, except he does have a roof over his head, well barely. So I went into immediate action! First I hired him to do a little work around my house to give him some instant cash. He has no car so I had to pick him up and take him home. On the way home I thought I’d stop by a church to get him some food for him, only to find out that they give all their food to the food bank. I’d been seeing the food bank drives on TV and all the food others were donating. So I thought “a piece of cake”, pun intended!  I got the number from the church and called right away. I heard on the line a recording stating that there was a three month waiting list….for food! I thought to myself someone would be dead at the end of that waiting period if they had no food to begin with. Plus when someone has no food and no car, how are they supposed to make the miles and miles walk to where the food bank is to get this food. To me this sounded all backwards. Instead of the churches giving to the food bank, the food bank should be giving to the churches in areas where people could walk from home to get this food. So what to do now!! I called my children and husband. Like ghost busters they went into action!! My son talked with his school and was able to get a very nice back pack filled with canned goods with poptop openers, and when our friend was unpacking the cans to give my son back the backpack he was thrilled when he found out he could keep it too. Adam, my son, involved kids his with this project and they found out first hand what it meant to help out a very needy person. You can imagine the questions Adam had to answer. Then his wife, Lisa, used Facebook and sent out a “help” call to see if anyone knew of dentists in the area that could help our friend with new teeth. When our friend lived with us he was a teenager and he had the most beautiful teeth of any of the children we cared for. Now, sadly from his life’s choices his front teeth are gone completely and the rest are rotting out. Lisa has received some information and we are currently working on getting him new teeth which will open up new job possibilities. My daughter in the meantime contacted her church and she was able to get a large basket full of fresh foods like a ham and cheeses and bread and she promptly delivered it to him taking her children along to see this process unfold. Between all of us this holiday has turned out well for our needy friend. Maybe we can’t reach all the needy in town but at least we can start with one. I’m so proud of my family and I know it was more of a learning experience for my grandchildren than any of the words they’ve heard in Sunday school and youth. 

Our Aunt Wanda Belle Tacy/And Lemons. #lemons

imageI like lemons and put them in my water all the time. But I’ve never met anyone who liked lemons more than my Aunt Wanda. Through the years she put lemons in everything she made from  cookies, cakes, frosting, candies, puddings and tarts. She served lemonade  and lemon sherbet. She was a great cook and prepared many meals for everyone she knew and if you took the time while eating you’d probably taste a hint of lemon in most things she made. She said the secret ingredient in most things was lemon. Added to spaghetti sauce or chili brought out the flavors of all the other vegetables  It makes me sad to think that my sweet aunt passed away on August 31, 2016. But I can’t dwell on that for long because she was so ready to see her Living God as she would say and point to heaven while in her hospital bed. Still she fought hard to get rid of the pneumonia in her lungs. She would try to eat even when she wasn’t hungry. She’d sit up and cough and take small steps around the room. But in the end  she was really sick and very weak and she told me we have to trust God because He knows what’s best for us. 🙏

I have made lemon squares in her honor and I’m asking any of you to fix your favorite lemon recipe and send it to me and I will add it to this blog. She would have  liked this. Happy cooking! 🍋🍋🍋

image.jpegMix crust with 1/2 c butter, 1 cup flour and 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Place in the bottom of an 8×8 pan or tart pan like I did here. Bake 335 degrees for 20 minutes.

While the crust is baking mix 2eggs, 1 cup sugar, 2 T flour, 2 T fresh lemon juice and the jest of I lemon.

When the crust is done pour the mixture on the hot crust. Put in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving.

PS  A special note of thanks to Lindsay’s Bakery for the delicious lemon coffee cake I took to Aunt Wanda at the hospital to help her and Uncle Bob celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary. She liked it so much she ate two pieces and we still had plenty to pass out to all the nurses on her floor. 💕

Family Camp at the Beach/Keylime Pie

When a family gets together at the beach you can expect the numbers to grow as the years pass. This year was 27. LaDonna started this tradition and she would be proud to know her efforts were not in vain. She loved the beach and all the sun and sand and salt that went with it.


As we all checked into our large duplex with eight bedrooms and sleeping for 25, we scrambled to find the right room for each group. A couple of us found sleeping buddies and that made for late night talks and giggles.

We divided the meals so no one had to be responsible for them all. Which was good since we made overnight blueberry oatmeal for 20 at a time and scrambled eggs or omelets using about 2 dozen eggs each morning.


You never knew who was in the kitchen making those frying pan sounds until you got there! Lots of thanks to a new member of our group, Rebecca, who had our two coffee pots ready to turn on after getting them ready the night before!

We did go out a few times to eat, but with a group this size, there aren’t tables big enough. Ha! Of course we broke up into smaller groups from time to time so we could visit more easily. And the evenings in the beach chairs watching the sun set allowing our feet to tip into the salty water was mesmerizing .


Between jogs and walks on the beach, the townhouse pool was a cool distraction. And when you got cool enough you could get into the hot tub!

There were movies and games and books to read. Everyone brings the books they have read throughout the year so if you chose a book to read and didn’t have time to finish, you could take it home with you.

As the week progressed, our dessert cravings were satisfied when Lisa made brownies and Jessica and Alexis fixed peach cobbler. And when I found a recipe for Keylime pie in a drawer in the kitchen, I had to make it as well! Here’s the recipe…


Mix together in a bowl 2 cans sweetened evaporated milk, 1/2 cup sour cream, 3/4 cup lime juice, a heaping tablespoon grated lime zest and several drops green food coloring. Pour into a prepared graham cracker crust and bake at 350 degrees for about ten minutes. DO NOT BROWN!  Put in refrigerator until cool. Add thinly sliced lime and serve with whipped cream.