The Spring season is a burst of activity in our natural world after the winter weather thaw. New life begins to emerge in front of our eyes. Spring weather can be ever changing. One day we can experience beautiful blue skies and sunshine, the next day, can bring cooler temperatures and a blustery wind.
Spring is a beautiful reminder of how wonderful nature can be! I hope that you will enjoy my pictorial review of Spring.
Today marks the first day of the winter season. Soup and stew season has already begun at our house and is a regular feature in our weekly menu.
There is simply nothing better than a hot bowl of soup and a melted, gooey grilled cheese to take the winter chill off after a long day at the hardware store.
During the Christmas season, I love to curl up on the couch and enjoy my favorite Christmas classic movies. This past weekend I stumbled upon a recipe from one of my favorite vintage movies, It Happened on 5th Avenue(1947).
Richard & I have watched this movie countless number of times, but as our conversation took a turn about the stew featured in the movie, I decided to do a quick internet search to find out more about the intriguing dish. Slumgullion Stew, an Irish stew, mentioned in the 5th Avenue movie, was easy enough to find a few different variations of the recipe. I settled on my favorite and then decided to give it a try and see if it will make the cut on our menu board for our family favorites.
One of the central characters in the movie, Mike, enters the room and instantly smells the fragrance of Slumgullion Stew cooking in the kitchen, which transports him to a memory of a better time in his life. This stew scene will ultimately mark the beginning of change for him.
Upon further reflection, many of those old, classic black and white movies have the theme of transformation for the main character in the movie. An iconic example is, It’s a Wonderful Life(1946). The central actor, George Bailey is transformed into a more appreciative person by the end of the movie.
Regardless if you love those old movies or not, I’ve decided to share my version of Slumgullion Stew with y’all today. I believe the original intention with the recipe/movie version is to use what you have. I did conclude that one unique feature of the stew is black eyed peas and pasta from my research.
There are different versions of Slumgullion are out there when you check the internet, but I’m sharing my take on the original movie stew pictured on the big screen.
Recipe for Slumgullion Stew
⁃ 1 to 2 lbs. of stew beef (cooked)
I used my leftovers from earlier in week
⁃ 2 cans of black eyed peas
⁃ Cubed carrots (add as many as you like)
⁃ Potato chunks (I added approximately 3-4 red potatoes)
⁃ 1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
⁃ 1 32 oz. Beef broth
⁃ 1 beef bullion cube with 1 cup water
⁃ Salt and pepper to taste
⁃ 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
⁃ 1 bay leaf
⁃ Pasta (macaroni noodles would be the traditional favorite)
⁃ Add all ingredients into a large crock pot for simmer on low for 8 hours or until vegetables are tender. Add pasta hour before serving.
Special note: The recipe I found online added cabbage, and chopped red peppers. I opted to leave them out. The consistency of my final stew was soup like, which is what I intended since I added the pasta into the recipe. For a thicker stew like consistency add a flour roux.
Lastly, sharing my Classic Christmas Movies Favorites… in no particular order
1. White Christmas (1954)
2. It Happened on 5th Avenue (1947)
3. Going My Way (1944)
4. Shop Around the Corner (1940)
5. Bishop’s Wife (1948)
6. Holiday Inn (1942)
7. Christmas in Connecticut (1945)
8. Remember the Night (1940)
9. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
10. Holiday Affair (1949)
11. The Thin Man (1934)
Wishing everyone a fantastic holiday season and hoping that you will enjoy the most wonderful time of the year whether it is spent trying new recipes, establishing new Christmas traditions, gathering with friends and family, or even watching a few new classic Christmas movies .
My morning usually starts with breakfast and a large mug of steaming, hot coffee. After breakfast, I usually try to check notifications on our social media and put out new stories on our most active social media accounts. My morning routine was in full swing today when I came across a post about the first day of November. It was a cute one, Bette Milder in her best Sanderson sister costume on the left side of the screen and on the right, Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold, of National Lampoons Christmas Vacation. The gist is that Christmas has officially begun today on November 1st.
In reality, yes, it probably has officially begun. Retailers have had all things Christmas up and in stores for a few weeks now… trees, lights, and decorations. Hallmark Christmas movies have been featured on the television for the last few weeks and I would bet some folks are ready to get onto a healthy dose of holiday spirit with Christmas lights, and trees .
So what happened to the season of Thanksgiving? It is now a holiday surrounded by a kickoff of the Christmas shopping season. I’m not debating the right or wrong way to celebrate the month of November in this blog post, but my thoughts are just reflection upon the season of Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving… a time of gratitude, grace, thanks, blessings, and giving back to our community. After all, the smallest blessing can be received even from the tiniest of things in life.
Thanksgiving is now just 23 days away. What will I do differently over the next few weeks in preparation for this important holiday of Thanksgiving besides shopping for a turkey & dressing???
I’m actively working on my November “bucket list” and I don’t think putting up my Christmas tree is high on the list right now.
Here’s my current brainstorming plan…
1. Create a Thanksgiving playlist of music. ( FYI: I have a working playlist now and will continue to update it as the month progresses.)
2. Make & bake a pumpkin spice treat, pumpkin muffins??? Thanks mom for sharing the recipe.
3. Make Hot Apple Cider – Muddled with spices
4. Fire pit and marshmallows
5. Friendsgiving fun.. it’s been a couple of years since we have done this, but going to try to do this again.
6. Try a new soup or stew recipe for a cool, “fallish” evening meal
7. Enjoy the simplicity of every day life in the season of Fall.
8. Gratitude posts… share posts that are inspiring and complete at least two a week on my personal IG page or Facebook page.
9. Watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, with popcorn of course!
10. Create a list of must watch Thanksgiving movies 🍿 or shows. This one will be a work in progress for 2022… so I’ll let you know what ends up on my list when it is finished.
November might actually turn out to be a nice month y’all, with more reflection about blessings, thanks, gratitude, family, friendship and slowing down to enjoy the last days of Fall.
The colors of Fall is distinctively different from any other season of the year. The Fall season is truly a mosaic of colors of the rainbow… green, gold, red, orange, & brown set against the bright blue sky.
Our natural world which we have grown accustomed to during the summer, suddenly changes into a magical world of autumnal colors, happening almost overnight it seems. I’m sharing my favorite, everyday hardware life Fall photos with y’all today to celebrate the season of Fall using the caption of Fall is…
I really hadn’t thought much about Sonker since my teenage years but an early morning walk few weeks ago brought the word back into my vocabulary once again.
Our walking group had converged on the North Wilkesboro Greenway trail and we had begun talking about miscellaneous things, ie… who was doing what over the next few days… Summer fruits seemed to be on the agenda for discussion and the term Sonker came up… chiefly the origin of the term. One of my friends never had heard of the term and begun to ask questions about it and how it was similar or different from a fruit Cobbler.
My input into the conversation…Sonker was a common summer dessert in my home growing up and I also remembered my Granny used the term often. Cobbler wasn’t the commonly used term to describe the fruit-filled pan of goodness at our house nor in my extended family households.
As we continued our walk and daily topics of discussion changed, I made a mental note to ask my mom about the Sonker recipe later and if she knew anything about the origin of the name.
A week or so elapsed in time before I recalled the Sonker conversation on the Greenway when I was talking on the phone with my mom one afternoon. She immediately answered my questions. She recalled an article that she had read in Our State Magazine about Sonker. She relayed key details from the article, and encouraged me to go read more about it. Mom discussed the differences between her version of Sonker and Granny’s. Granny usually had leftover fresh biscuit dough which she topped with fruit. Mom’s recipe, y’all will be able to find at the end of the blog post today.
FYI, Mom is fantastic with last minute supper guests…she can whip up an easy dessert effortlessly. My sister & I often challenged her to this task, with extra guests at the table. Sonker was one of those perfect, easy desserts… baking and bubbling in the oven while supper was being served. The aroma filled the kitchen with goodness waiting patiently for the final feature, dessert fruit-filled Sonker.
For those of y’all who are still wondering what on earth is Sonker??? Sonker is a deep-dish fruit “pie”, usually served in a square/rectangular baking pan. Sonker is supposed to be “juicier” than a typical cobbler. Sonker can be a dessert large enough to feed a family or accommodate guests in your home. Sonker is NOT a “fussy” dessert. The ease of recipe is part of the charm of Sonker. On the other hand, cobblers, tend to have more of a thick biscuit texture to the breading and the texture on top appears to be “cobbled”. The dough is dropped or spooned onto the top of the fruit typically in a cobbler. The end result of a well baked Sonker, in my opinion, showcases your fruit, cobblers often showcase the beautiful breading.
Upon my Mom’s urging to further read & research, I also learned that Surry County hosts a Sonker Trail and a festival each October. Surry County even has a classic Sweet Potato Sonker with a creamy/milky type “dip” which is a finishing feature of the Sweet Potato Sonker.
Y’all still might be thinking …really, IS a Cobbler the same thing as Sonker??? In my opinion, these two are very “close first cousins.” Honestly, I simply prefer to use Sonker to describe my fruit-filled deep dish pies.
According to the research articles I have read, the term “Sonker”, was derived from a Scottish word meaning straw saddle. The Sonker experts tell us that they suspect that cooks used the analogy of the crust likeness of the fruit-filled pie to compare it to the Scottish word.
Also, the Sonker experts believe that the term Sonker originated in Surry and Wilkes Counties. I suspect that if you aren’t a “native” to these two geographic areas NOR your parents, you may not know the term Sonker.
My husband had no clue what Sonker was all about, even though he has lived in Wilkes his entire life BUT his parents were not “natives” of Wilkes. Cobbler is the term he definitely prefers to use for the fruit-filled dessert.
My sister, on the other hand, a Wilkes County native, who now lives out of state, is teaching her young daughter to make Sonker… thereby keeping the legacy of our mom’s recipe going strong.
I would suspect the term Sonker is locale specific. My grandparents lived in both Surry & Wilkes Counties during their lifetime. So I believe they were well connected to the locale and it was reflective within their vocabulary and local food choices. Sonker was definitely a sweet part of summer during my younger years. I hope to continue my Sonker Summers by experimenting with my mom’s classic recipe and just simply enjoying the “fruits of my labor”.
Your personal preference of the term Sonker or Cobbler could be ingrained into your vocabulary mindset. But cobbler makers & lovers, I hope that you will add Sonker into your vocabulary AND into your food palate. Let’s keep our local food history alive and growing! Go experience Sonker this Summer.
Mom’s basic recipe for Sonker :
Ingredients & Utensils
-Square baking pan (this recipe is easily doubled or even cut in half in order to accommodate the number of people you wish to feed, for my 8-9 inch square baker I use 3/4 cup instead of full recipe)
-1 stick melted butter
-1 cup self rising flour
-1 cup milk – (I added a dash of vanilla to mine but it is not necessary)
-1 cup sugar
-Fruit (fresh, frozen, or canned… use what you have on hand)
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Melt butter in baking pan.
3. Mix together milk, sugar, flour and dash of vanilla (if desired) into bowl as butter melts.
4. Once butter is melted, pour milk /flour/sugar mixture over the butter into pan. Do not stir!
5. Add fruit on top of milk/flour/sugar mixture. The breading will disperse throughout the Sonker as it bakes. Sprinkle extra sugar on top of fruit for extra sweetness if desired.
6. Bake until crust is golden brown.
7. Note: You may want to let your Sonker cool down for 10 minutes before eating. No one wants to get burned eating a hot Sonker.
8. Sonker is goes well with vanilla ice cream, enjoy y’all.
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