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In this week’s Heirloom Recipe Series, we are so excited to feature a recipe from the collection of Winnie Abramson.  The daughter of a chef and restaurant owner, Winnie’s love of cooking began from an early age.  She decided to incorporate her passions for cooking, green living, nutrition and photography to produce the wonderful and informative blog Healthy Green Kitchen.  You’ll find everything you need to know from making homemade mozzarella cheese and nutella hazelnut spread to a yummy homemade throat remedy and how to start composting.  Oh and it’s super organized and easy to navigate too!

The recipe Winnie shares with you today could not be more interesting, creative and delicious sounding.  Here at IceMilk Aprons, we cannot wait to get in the kitchen with this recipe and we have a feeling you’ll feel the same way too!



My grandma Bessie was a lot like me: feeding people made her happy. When she died a few years back, I inherited her recipes.

I keep her recipes in a box, and every now and then, I go through the contents piece by piece. Her greatest hits are all here – Jewish favorites like her brisket and her bundt kuchen- these are the recipes that she made often. But there are also many recipes in the box that while written out on cards in her perfect script, weren’t part of her regular rotation (or at least the rotation I knew as a child).

I always wonder about the story behind these recipes. Are they recipes she actually cooked? Or did they simply intrigue her, so she wrote them down and kept them, but never actually got around to making them?

This recipe for Pickled Crab Apples is one of the handwritten recipes in Grandma Bessie’s collection. I honestly have no way of knowing whether or not this is something she ever made. But she saved it for a reason- it meant something to her- and making the recipes she lovingly preserved is how I stay connected to her.

Recipe for Pickled Crab Apples

Makes 3-4 quarts

How this recipe ended up in my grandmother’s collection is a bit of a mystery to me. A bit of internet research tells me that pickled crabapples (also called spiced crabapples) are traditionally made in the South (where she never lived), but I also found reference to the fact that these might have been served at Jewish holiday meals. Note that as is typical for me when I follow pretty much any recipe, I made some changes. You’ll find my adaptations at the bottom of this post.


*6 pounds crab apples

*5 cups sugar

*1 1/4 cups cider vinegar

*1 stick cinnamon

*a few whole cloves

*1/2 teaspoon cinnamon drop candy


1. Wash apples. Do not remove stems.

2. Bring sugar, vinegar, cinnamon stick and cloves to a quick boil. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add cinnamon drops.

3. Add crab apples and cook over moderate heat for an hour- 75 minutes until apples are tender.

4. Lift apples with slotted spoon into jars.

5. Cook syrup 10 minutes after filling jars with fruit. Pour syrup over apples in jar and seal.

I halved the recipe and because I didn’t have access to crab apples, I substituted the smallest, crunchiest apples I could find, and I cored and sliced them. I used organic brown sugar instead of white sugar, omitted the cinnamon candy and added an extra cinnamon stick. The result was a chunky applesauce heavy on the spice and tang, and really quite delicious.


Be sure to connect with Winnie on Twitter, Facebook, on her Healthy Green Living blog, and take a peek at her gorgeous food styling & photography talents online here.

Part of our Heirloom Recipe Series, featuring foodies, chefs, artisans, Southerners & fabulous folks willing to share their stories, recipes and photos in an effort to help preserve and share these family recipes for generations to come.

Mark your calendar folks! IceMilk Aprons is so excited to have the joy and privilege of joining Gena Neely Knox for her cookbook signing at one of our favorite places, Urban Cottage!  Mrs. Knox is kicking off her summer cookbook tour for Southern My Way Saturday, April 23 from 1pm-4pm and we could not be more thrilled to be joining her.

In case you’ve been missing out on the greatness that Gena Knox has created, let us fill you in!  A homemade salsa company turned catering business, creating beautiful landscape architecture on the Georgia coast and starting one of the fastest growing, nationally ranked private companies, Fire and Flavor, with her husband.  Oh and she just wrote her second cookbook, Southern My Way!  Gena’s passion for food, the South, homegrown gardens and family traditions is evident in everything she has created.

Here at IceMilk Aprons we love that her cooking influences come from generations before her, the same traditions she had as a young girl are carried on today, and that she is still trying to master her grandmother’s caramel cake!  If you are in the Atlanta area Saturday the 23rd, please stop by and visit.  Also, check out for more information about her book tour and for delicious recipes!  If you would like all the details for the event or would like to RSVP via Facebook please click here.

Our wonderfully southern friend Ms. Lisa Porter joins us here this week for the Heirloom Recipes Series and I couldn’t be more happy to have her. Lisa has a delightful blog – The Lisa Porter Collection – that is filled to the brim with inspiration, beautiful things and creativity galore. I love scrolling thru her photos and writings as the bring about happy times. And her profile photo on Twitter will prove to anyone in doubt that she simply is the purest of Kentucky gals, oh how I adore the proper nature of hats!

I was delighted that Lisa agreed to join us here this week and know her & her family enjoyed a walk down memory lane while compiling this delicious post for you. She has been truly gracious to IceMilk Aprons over on her blog and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have her here to share with y’all. Enjoy!


Heirloom Recipe Series with Lisa Porter.

Just think how remarkable it is that you can mix together flour, butter, sugar, and an egg, and make a memory that will last a lifetime!

Ever since I was a little girl, I have always had memories of cooking with my mother. Even now, preparing food together is a way for us to connect with each other and with the other wonderful cooks in our family. When I was very young, these values were subconsciously learned and absorbed day after day standing on a chair next to her at the kitchen counter. I was a curious one, carefully watching, and always asking why. I was not just learning how to cook, I was being with my mom and we were playing house!

When I was a teen returning home from high school, I would make my way across the courtyard between our house and the garage, through the French doors that led straight to the kitchen. Mom was always home when I arrived. Not in an apron with flour on her face, instead she was usually in her tennis skirt and sun visor and was contemplating whipping up something new from her favorite Junior League Cookbook!

Yes our schedules had changed but one thing remained the same, time together in the kitchen, Setting the table and lighting the candles was my job. Still playing house, and no we weren’t formal; we just had an antique chandelier from Mexico that she loved to light for dinner. That was the 70’s and Julia Child and Erma Bombeck had the final word!

These days, we still love to gather in the kitchen. It’s the heart the home and the food prepared there nourishes us both physically and emotionally. Food cures and consoles and fills a home with an aroma of warmth and love. Every time life get’s to complicated, I pull my family back to the dinner table, and we all end up happier at the end of the day.

In my kitchen, I have a bookcase full of cookbooks. Remember, I used to work for Chuck Williams. But honestly, I love to cook, my husband loves to cook, my daughter loves to cook, and my son, well, he is a growing boy and just loves to eat.

We all have our specialties but in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we seem to have let something far more important slip away, making memories by lovingly preparing and sharing old family recipes handed down through generations.

This all goes back to what I mentioned earlier, making memories, making food memories that remind us of a special person, place and time. When I started writing The Lisa Porter Collection two years ago, I knew that cooking and entertaining were topics that I wanted to discuss. When I discovered Ashley and Ice Milk Aprons, I was thrilled to find this adorable, energetic, entrepreneurial young woman who decided that if we were going to be cooking and entertaining in the kitchen we certainly deserved to look fresh, crisp, and stylish!

I love how Ashley also believes in keeping all of our food memories alive. She is inspiring whole new generations to find pleasure in preparing food that was lovingly prepared by generations before us. She inspired me to look past my newest cookbooks and unearth what I like to call my golden oldies. Handwritten recipes on stained index cards that remind me that caring hands were at work.

These handwritten recipes not only remind me of my southern heritage, they have given me the greatest way to teach my children that a home cooked meal shared with family and friends is truly what makes life rich!

I was thrilled when Ashley invited me to share two of my favorite homemade recipes here at Preserves! Four generations of my family have been making these traditional southern desserts. I hope you will enjoy them too!

The first recipe is for Apricot Cake.

This recipe was handwritten by my mother, and me, for her Aunt Elouise Stinson.This was Aunt Elouise’s favorite Apricot Cake from the Lubbock Women’s Club Cookbook in Lubbock, Texas.

She had it every year on her birthday. She made me my first Apricot Cake for my 2nd birthday. Growing up, it became my favorite too!

I was always very curious about Aunt Elouise. I remember sitting at her art deco dressing table and running my fingers across her hand cut crystal perfume bottles and monogrammed ivory brushes. She loved red lipstick, good jewelry, Tennessee Walkers, fur coats, and apricot cake! I loved her dearly.

This next recipe is for Brownies-beat by hand and was handwritten especially for me by my Aunt Martha Lee McCaleb shortly before I left for college.

She always said that using fresh ingredients and a little elbow grease was what made homemade the best! How did she ever find the time?

Aunt Martha Lee raised a set of twin boys plus one more making for three rambunctious sons. Here we all are in 1962, admiring a new litter of puppies in Granny’s front yard. Aunt Martha Lee in her stylish red & pink shift, Granny, Uncle Charles, the boys, and me on my mother’s knee.

Aunt Martha Lee was always so busy in the kitchen.  She was usually whipping up creamed tuna on toast and chicken pot pies. All for those hungry boys! I always waited till the coast was clear, then I would grab a kitchen chair and push it right up next to her at the counter. It was time to make brownies.  Little did I know we were making memories. Thank you Aunt Martha Lee. I love you.

Thank you again Ashley for inviting me to Preserves and including me in your Heirloom Recipes Series! I so appreciate you allowing me to share my two favorite deserts and go on about the amazing women for whom they are named. They taught me long ago that made from scratch means made with love and that the effort that goes into a homemade desert is always rewarded by the pleasure it brings.

xo Lisa


Please do connect with Lisa over on her lovely blog, The Lisa Porter Collection or on Twitter @LisaPorterColle!


Part of our Heirloom Recipes Series, featuring foodies, chefs, artisans, Southerners & fabulous folks willing to share their stories, recipes and photos in an effort to help preserve and share these family recipes for generations to come.

I am so happy to have Twitter friend, and now real life friend, Katherine Strate here with us for this week’s Heirloom Recipe Series! Katherine attending the fine University of Georgia and had a popular blog in school appropriately coined “Dawg Food” so she is no stranger to food, blogs, or lovely historic towns. Having similar foodie-like callings, we became fast friends and enjoyed a rustic meal over at my hometown favorite, as you well know by now, Bakeshop.  I love sharing this delicious and special recipe below from Katherine this week, as we just had a conversation in our own family over the holidays about Chess Pie so the timing was impeccable!  Do enjoy Katherine, and her grandmothers beautiful recipe.


Heirloom Recipe Series with Katherine Strate.

The first pie my grandmother ever taught me to make was Chess Pie.

Gooey, delicious, and made with the ingredients even a basic cook would have in her pantry, this is the perfect, unique pie to take to a friend’s house—and not come home with leftovers.

I remember first being introduced to the pie one summer when I wanted to make some extra money by selling baked goods. Addie suggested I make Chess Pie because it’s easy and a guaranteed favorite. At the time, I didn’t remember having eaten Chess Pie before, but I remember taking a bite of the pie we made together in the kitchen of the house where my dad grew up. It was warm, soft, sweet and so decadent I thought, “there has to be a secret ingredient.”

Turns out, my secret ingredient was Addie. As I’ve grown older, I’ve learned about some sugar and spice in her life that have molded her into the strong, stoic, poised, loving woman she is today.

One of the most defining ingredients of my grandmother’s life is her experience as a student at Ward-Belmont Girls School and later at Vanderbilt University. In the 1940s, it was rare for women to go to college, especially a girl from the country. Addie attended Ward-Belmont (to which she still travels for reunions with her schoolmates) and then graduated from Vanderbilt with a business degree.

I guess I always took her education for granted until a friend said to me, “Katherine. Do you know how unique your grandmother is? Women in the 40s got home-ec. degrees, not business. Addie is amazing.”

And she is. That woman can do everything. She later helped my grandfather start the family insurance business, keeping the books and being the general office manager.

But she never let her cooking and entertaining skills get rusty. If there’s anything Addie is known for, it’s her knack for hostessing and making guests and company feel like they are at home. She’s “one of those” cooks that just needs the ingredients to a recipe, or nothing else. Sometimes, I’ve asked her for a specific recipe, and she just sends me the ingredients. I then have to call her and say, “OK, Addie. I have my grocery list, but what do I do with the ingredients once I have them?” I hope to be as good a cook as her one day…and as good a hostess.

Just this past Labor Day, Addie had our extended family (about 16 people) over for brunch. When I stopped by her house the Friday before, she already had the table set three days in advance. Granted, she moves a little slower these days, but the table was set with her good silver and a cute centerpiece she created. How amazing is she?

Without fail, everything Addie cooks is incredible, which is why I was so surprised Chess Pie is easy to make. To be honest, you do have to watch and make sure you don’t cook the egg yolks too fast, “otherwise you’ll have egg yolk pie,” as Addie says. But you just have to pay attention.

Here’s her recipe I wrote on a recipe card, and placed it on the apron she made for me (kind of my own version of IceMilk Aprons).


Addie’s Chess Pie


3 eggs

1 ½ c. sugar

1 stick butter

1 T. vinegar

1 t. vanilla


Beat eggs well (very, very important!). Add sugar. Chop up butter into mixture. Add vinegar and vanilla. Place in double boiler and allow butter to melt stirring constantly.

Pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake at 250 degrees for 20 minutes, then increase oven to 350 and bake 25 minutes longer.

I hope you’ll try making Chess Pie. My secret ingredient is my grandmother, but maybe you have a different one. I’d love to hear how it turns out.


Be sure to connect with Katherine on Twitter at { @KatLady }


Part of our Heirloom Recipes Series, featuring foodies, chefs, artisans, Southerners & fabulous folks willing to share their stories, recipes and photos in an effort to help preserve and share these family recipes for generations to come.

You all know how I adore a rustic fare. For me, cobbler is the perfect expression of myself thru food.  I adore everything about it’s Southern, rustic, fruitful, sweet, hearty wholesomeness. My favorite waivers between apple and cherry, I go back & forth each time I have one or the other, so I imagine I like them both absolutely equally. That seems all fair in the world of food choices, no?

Fully aware of my constant cobbler debate, Mom decided upon Apple Cobbler for a post-holiday dinner dessert this year. Oh joy! So as I write this post, I must say I’m skewing much towards the side of apple cobbler as a favorite once again. The apples were crisp and even in the wintry chill, reminded me of a perfect Fall day in North Carolina.

This recipe was well, adapted we shall say,  from a basic recipe, mostly because I’m not the best at following instructions and I got a bit ambitious with the initial mixing of ingredients. But much to my delight, it’s hard to mess up a hearty cobbler and so I shall share our delicious mishap with you too.


Rustic Apple Crisp

Toss together the following ingredients in a lovely mixing bowl. This will be the inside of your cobbler. Spray a glass baking dish & fill with the below:
6 small granny smith apples, in thin slices.
4 TBSP flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Sprinkling of salt

Mix the following ingredients together for the crumbly topping to pile atop the apple mixture:
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
6 TBSP salted butter in pats
2/3 cups oats
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Bake in oven at 350F degrees for 30-40 minutes. Serve with whipped cream or scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. Top with caramel sauce for even more oooh’s & aaaah’s.

This week we have the lovely Maggie Battista from over at Eat Boutique here as our guest for the Heirloom Recipe Series. I am thrilled to have Maggie, as she was a very early supporter of IceMilk Aprons and was so kind to include us in {this blog post} way back in 2009!  Maggie has a fabulous sense of style and I do fall in love with nearly everything she features on her blog. Eat Boutique is fabulously committed to the stories behind food-based businesses, you can read more about their mission {here}, but I am truly inspired and in love with the stories as you know so we are a match made from the start! Enjoy this delicious heirloom recipe from Maggie, and special thanks to her for putting so much time into this post & her lovely images, especially during the hustle & bustle of the holiday season!


Heirloom Recipe Series with Maggie Battista from Eat Boutique.

Hispanic and Italian American by birth, I was surrounded by so much amazing food growing up. We had sweet plantains and homemade refried beans every Sunday, and there was always a big pot of orange-tinged rice on the stove, loaded with so much chopped cilantro. Sure, we sprinkled Parmesan cheese on our plantains and served our beans with finger-thick slices of whole milk mozzarella, always finding a way to intertwine the foods of my Mom’s Honduras with my Dad’s Naples-infused Newark-upbringing.

The holidays were really no different from the every day, except that our dishes were just much bigger, brighter and even more exotic. We had tamales often, as they were one of those impressive Latin dishes that required extra time to prepare, something my hardworking family really only had around the holidays. And on many Christmas Eves, my Dad would make a rich, tangy “gravy,” filled with pork neck bones and so many cans of Italian tomatoes. I was in charge of opening each can, a task I took on gleefully, loving to watch my Dad on his rare appearances in the kitchen and knowing the sweet reward was a bit of the chef’s treat, a bite or two of that meltingly rich pork.

It wasn’t strange to incorporate other cultures into our festivities. Rarely would a family celebration conclude without a thick glass of store-bought Baileys, a warming Irish treat that my non-Irish family adopted as their own. My family closely identified with the Irish, always pointing out their centuries of suffrage. My Honduran uncle always said he never met an Irish man who didn’t intimately understand his own plight as a poor, hard-working immigrant who just wanted a good life for his family. He never met an Irish man he didn’t instantly adore. (He also slyly requests his “Irish medicine” when he wants a tiny glass of whiskey or Baileys, whatever is on hand.)

Twenty years later, I met my Irish man. Born in Boston but raised to feel solidly attached to all his cousins, aunts and uncles in the old country, my husband completely understood me but didn’t quite understand my family’s infatuation with Baileys. From his visits to Ireland, he recalled how the coffee and whiskey infused cream was just something the old ladies drank instead of straight whiskey. It was rarely drunk in his family. In fact, he didn’t really remember tasting it until my Mom offered him a glass of the stuff with a few ice cubes. Now, he can’t get enough.

When my sister’s colleague shared her recipe for homemade Baileys a few years ago, I laid my claim to the ingredient list and poured, measured and mixed everything until I found my favorite version. I also replaced many of the ingredients with the organic versions (although that’s not necessary) and homemade extracts (and that’s really not necessary but, I think, kind of special). I now make this each holiday season and bottle it in tiny medicine bottles. I love sending my holiday visitors home with one of my family’s favorite medicines to sip and savor once they’re home, out of the wintry cold. While this specific recipe hasn’t been in my family for generations, the spirit of it has and I’m so pleased to share it with you too.

Homemade Baileys

4 fresh hen eggs
0.5 teaspoon of homemade almond extract
1.5 teaspoons of homemade vanilla extract
2 teaspoons of organic chocolate syrup
2 teaspoons of organic instant coffee granules
1 can of organic sweetened condensed milk
1.25 cups of good Irish whiskey
1 cup of heavy whipping cream

Blend all ingredients in a blender or a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. Or put everything in a jar with a tight fitting lid, and shake it all until combined. Store in the back of your refrigerator, where it’s the coldest. Shake again just before serving, and serve over a cube of ice. This recipe makes a quart that keeps for 4-6 weeks.

Ingredient notes: (1) I always use farm fresh eggs when I’m making something that isn’t cooked in some way. (2) Whiskey is a very personal decision so use whatever you like. I tend to use the good stuff like Basil Haden (my favorite) or Bushmills (my husband’s favorite).


Maggie Battista is a Boston-based entrepreneur with more than 12 years of community building and outreach experience connecting millions via sites like Lycos, Tripod and TripAdvisor. She took a break from technology years ago to explore authentic food, fine dining and superior hospitality, and discovered the vibrant real world communities that emerge around food. She started to celebrate exceptional food experiences derived from entrepreneurial spirit, pure ingredients and great service, and regularly drive long distances for one amazing night with a great chef, farmer or host.

Be sure to connect with Maggie over at Eat Boutique and discover all the wonderful things she & her team have to say!


Part of our Heirloom Recipes Series, featuring foodies, chefs, artisans, Southerners & fabulous folks willing to share their stories, recipes and photos in an effort to help preserve and share these family recipes for generations to come.

I am so excited to have the absolutely queen of preserves with us this week for the Heirloom Recipe Series – Mrs. Cathy Barrow of Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Kitchen. Now you all know how much I adore preserves, and Cathy has been recognized by NPR and The Today Show and will soon be featured in the food52 cookbook! I hope you’ll take a moment to get just a glimpse inside of Cathy’s kitchen!


Heirloom Recipe Series with Cathy Barrow.

My mother’s been gone five years now, but each Thanksgiving she sits on my shoulder and guides me through the rituals.

So many of the foods on my table were foods she made year after year. We didn’t ask for a change in the menu – no one wanted anything to change at all. We looked forward to the appetizers – chopped liver on celery stalks (“There will be plenty of bread later.”)

The table was piled high with creamed onions, green beans with almonds, sausage and apple stuffing, giblet gravy, cranberry sauce and of course, that big beautiful bronzed bird.

Desserts were plentiful, but always included pies: apple for my brother, pumpkin for my Dad, and mincemeat for Mom and me.

Since there were only four of us, and food enough for ten, we were thrilled to start a new tradition when Mom and Dad bought a little weekend house in the Berkshires. By that time, my brother David was married with two kids. I was a career girl, working in Pittsburgh. We would gather in Hartford for Thanksgiving dinner then caravan to the country the next day.

Like us, many of the neighbors had spent their Thanksgivings at home and driven up to the mountains for the weekend. The neighbors – Gail and Dusty – also had plenty of leftovers to share, but were curious to see what others were eating for the holiday. Everyone had leftovers. And that’s how The Dead Poultry Society was born.

Every year, the Friday after Thanksgiving, for years and years, we gathered with a dozen or more neighbors to sample their family’s Thanksgiving favorites. There was an amazing pear relish from Gail. Another had scalloped potatoes that I still dream about, studded with truffles.

But rising above all these treats was the day-after-Thanksgiving sandwich my mother concocted. I’ll be making it again this year, because there’s just nothing like the sweet, salty, savory goodness of this sandwich. It’s definitely a little naughty – highly caloric – but just this one day? It’s a necessity.

Day-After-Thanksgiving Sandwich

Roast turkey
Cranberry Sauce
Chopped liver
Leftover stuffing


And this really isn’t possible without classic chopped liver, just the way my grandmother used to make it.

Chopped Chicken Liver

6 eggs, hard boiled and peeled
1 lb. yellow skinned onions, minced fine
3 oz chicken fat (schmaltz) or unsalted butter
1 T grapeseed oil
1/2 lb. livers from pastured free range chickens
2 T cognac

Chop the eggs very fine using an mezzaluna or food processor. They should be fluffy. Put in a large bowl and set aside.
In a large heavy saute pan, heat half the butter with the oil. Add the onions and saute slowly until richly browned but not burned.
Salt and pepper generously while they cook.
In the meantime, rinse and clean the livers well, removing connective sinew.
When the onions have finished cooking, put them in the bowl with the eggs.
Heat 3 oz of schmaltz or butter in the onion pan and saute the livers until no pink remains. Do not brown or crisp. Salt and pepper generously.
Remove the livers from the pan and deglaze with the cognac.
Put the livers in your food processor or a bowl.
Pour the deglazing liquid and goodies from the bottom of the pan into the egg/onion mixture.
Chop the livers with a mezzaluna. If you use your food processor, pulse off and on to chop, not liquify.
Gently fold the livers into the onion/egg mixture.
Test and correct for seasoning. The flavor blooms after chilling, so make this in advance and season carefully.
Pack in ramekins or other serving dishes. Keep dishes small – about 4 oz. and make sure to freeze whatever will not be used within two days.

All images courtesy of Cathy Barrow

Be sure to also connect with Cathy Barrow over on her website, Twitter (@mrswheelbarrow) and on her Facebook Page!




Part of our Heirloom Recipes Series, featuring foodies, chefs, artisans, Southerners & fabulous folks willing to share their stories, recipes and photos in an effort to help preserve and share these family recipes for generations to come.

In week’s Heirloom Recipe Series, I am so thrilled to have my dear friend Christina Ahumada with us. Christina’s extreme passion for creativity seeps through everything she touches, including her oh-so-wonderful new blog, anora grey. I fell immediately in love with Christina’s style after a quick glance at her perfectly polished nail color and my adoration easily continued after being invited to one of her prosecco & homemade cookie dinner parties.

All photos courtesy of Christina Ahumada


What recipe are you sharing with us?

Great Nana Ida, on my Mother’s side.

What makes this recipe meaningful to you?

Flour everywhere, batter flung among my two sisters and me, the fireplace cracking as the logs move. Smell of cinnamon, nutmeg …….the scent of baking.  The hum of family and friends laughing and enjoying. The exuberance of a snowy afternoon, or a holiday meal being prepared.  Tradition is an oh, so important ideal to carry on, and scents, tastes and experiences bring all those traditions back to the tips of your fingers when you take that  bite into that same recipe you had long ago.  With baking traditions, your memoirs are only a recipe away.  Being in Atlanta now and being born and raised in NY – family is a plane ride away, so the wonderful memories of laughter, sisters, mothers, grandmothers are only a few whisk-strokes away.  Cooking these heirloom recipes bring them right into my kitchen. Every single one of them.

E very holiday breakfast, an array of baking items were prepared. Bread Dolls, Sweet Rolls, and my Great Nana Ida’s Coffee Cake. Rich with cinnamon, roasted walnuts, and they always-adorned crumb part of the cake, this recipe was one we looked forward to every holiday. It provides the memory of family, warmth from the cool, snowy New York winters; and love of family and friends.

Baking has a creative, cathartic memory for me, a tradition that began far before my mother began working with my sisters + I on the kitchen counters with our noses covered in flour and fingers covered in batter. Working with my hands created a most gratifying result and you can then watch people enjoy your creations. I have began an annual holiday tradition combining my memories and host  a cookies + champagne soiree for my very best girlfriends where I serve my Grandmothers brisket, my Mother’s bread dolls + baking delectable’s from my Great Nana Ida’s recipe book all created in  her pink baking bowls.  This serves as a great platform for me to embrace all my creative passions, carry old traditions while beginning new ones, flowers, entertaining + baking. Simple, creative pleasures are easy to find… you just need to be looking for them. These, to me, are the best simple creative pleasures I could ask for.

Nana Ida’s Coffee Cake Recipe

1 cup butter

1 ½ cups sugar

4 eggs separated

3 cups sifted flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 cup milk


*Brown Sugar

*Cinnamon topping

Cream butter, gradually blending in sugar + eggs yolks.  Beat until light + fluffy. Sift flour with baking powder; fold into creamed mixture alternately with milk.  Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry + fold into batter.

Turn 1/3 of batter into greased + floured 9 inch tube pan. Sprinkle with 1/3 of topping.  Add another 1/3 of batter + topping.  Add remaining batter, sprinkle with the remaining topping.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or until cake tester tests it is done.
Makes 12 servings

*Cinnamon topping: Cinnamon, Brown Sugar + Chopped Walnuts


A bit more about Christina:

Born loving all things creative Christina naturally gravitated to flowers, fashion, interior design + baking. She would pick flowers from her mother’s many gardens until she began taking too many, and she was given her own garden to create and pick flowers from.

Christina embraces her creative passions at anora grey, a floral design company inspired by a passion for design + a love for flowers.

This company embraces creativity offering consultation and floral styling services on all things design, creative, event, wedding or styling related, working with Interior Designers, Brides, Interior Design and Shelter Magazines.

Christina believes no room is complete without the perfectly selected flowers. She tweets on all things flowers, creative + design at @anoragrey and enjoys blogging her work + inspirations at


Part of our Heirloom Recipes Series, featuring foodies, chefs, artisans, Southerners & fabulous folks willing to share their stories, recipes and photos in an effort to help preserve and share these family recipes for generations to come.

For this weeks Heirloom Recipe Series, I am delighted to have Wendy Read with us – Founder & Chief Jamrista of Sunchowder’s Emporia. I instantly fell in love with the beautiful packaging of Sunchowder’s jams – I just adore the simplicity and am sure you’ll see why. And, I tend to be a sucker for jams – they seem so fabulously Southern and remind me of roadside stands on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

What recipe are you sharing with us?

I am sharing my Grandmother Ida’s sponge cake recipe.  I have photographed the original card which is in my mother’s handwriting.  My Mom stored all of her recipe cards in her very special Cream and Red American Home Menu Maker tin container from the early 1950’s.  The box had room for two sets of recipe cards, side-by-side with cream-colored tabs for Fish and Poultry, Meats and Eggs and Cakes and Fillings and Frostings.  I used to love when my Mom took out her recipe box and started to sort through them, flicking them back and forth with her index and middle finger until she found that one recipe she was looking for,  and then we could anticipate the great dish  to come.

What makes this recipe meaningful to you?

My grandmother used to come and visit us every month when I was growing up. She always came with her blue valise (which is the word she used for her suitcase), a black purse in the winter (or a white purse in the summer), lots of fabulous costume jewelry,  a hair net,  and she was usually carrying a blue tin which originally contained  Kjeldsen’s Danish Butter Cookies. But we knew better, my brothers and I, there weren’t any butter cookies inside, there was a sponge cake inside, a delicious, fresh, sponge cake that my Grandmother had baked just for us.   She would always add a special touch of  lemon zest or orange zest and we couldn’t wait to sit down to a slice.

She would line the tin with waxed paper and place the tube cake carefully inside and then cover with another layer of wax paper, and close the tin.  I can almost smell the cake now as I imagine her opening it for us; she would grip the sides with her fingers and turn it round and round working the lid until it would slide off, and the scent of fresh cake would waft up and out to our waiting plates and forks.

What photos are you sharing with us?

I have photographed my Mom’s original recipe card and laid it on top of her tin recipe holder.  I also photographed the cherished tin that held my Grandma’s sponge cake when she came to visit us, I love this tin and wouldn’t give it up for the world.   Both the tin and recipe box are some of my absolute treasures, you see I lost my Grandmother Ida in 1990 and my Mother Ruth  in 1991.  These memories of enjoying food together are the ones that are the strongest and the truest for me.  When I bake or cook a dish that we used to share together, it makes me feel closer to both of them.

A bit more about Wendy & Sunchowder’s Emporia:

Wendy’s products can be found nationwide.  She owns Sunchowder’s Emporia and is an Artisan Jam, Chutney and Pickle producer.  She lives in Florida and produces tropical and seasonal products.  Her jams are all made in small batches using  French Copper Pots.   She does not use commercial pectin, corn syrup, colors, additives or preservatives in any of her products.   She loves to preserve the harvest and takes pride in being part of the revival
of canning in America.    You can  find out more about Wendy and also find her products at

You can also connect with Wendy & Sunchowder’s Emporia at:




Part of our Heirloom Recipes Series, featuring foodies, chefs, artisans, Southerners & fabulous folks willing to share their stories, recipes and photos in an effort to help preserve and share these family recipes for generations to come.

This week, I am so excited to have designer + blogger Amy Beth Cupp Dragoo, also known to many as ABCD Designs!

Aside from having fabulous initials, her taste for design resonates clearly through her beautiful line of papers and invites, as well as her divine blog. I just adore the black background with white script. Her tweets are friendly and her taste is just as wonderful as she is. And, now truly a blog-veteran, I am so proud to congratulate Amy on her third-anniversary of blogging this week (have you seen how we’re celebrating?) Blog years is quite like dog years at this point, so three is quite a wonderful accomplishment.

Heirloom Recipe Series with Amy Beth Cupp Dragoo:

Hello, my name is Amy Beth Cupp (ABC!) and in 2007, I married Mr. D! What are the chances that I’d be lucky enough to meet the man of my dreams and get to add a D to my already catchy set of initials? During the Fall of ’07, we were newly married and gut renovating an apartment in NYC. I was stuck at home during the kitchen installation. It was at that point that I thought it might be fun to write a blog about newlywed life. was born! ABCD Design stands for Amy Beth Cupp Dragoo designs (fill-in-the-blank-here) her life! I write about all things that make a house a home. I am an artist, a trained chef and a floral designer. I have worked in interior design as well as events and photo styling. On ABCD Design, it’s a mixed bag of nesting topics, but it’s always about what inspires me, and living a well-lived life. You can also see me tweeting @abcddesigns.

Who’s heirloom recipe are you sharing with us today, Amy?

The recipe belongs to my dearly departed mother-in-law, Barbara. I think she’d be so proud to have a recipe featured on your blog! My mother in law read my blog as though it was a religion. Often, after I pressed ‘publish’ I’d receive a lengthy phone call to discuss whatever it was that I had chosen to blog about on any given day. One morning, she called the Mr. up at work to talk about how much she loved ABCD Design, and how it was giving her a whole new insight into the personality of her new daughter in law. During that phone conversation, (in her wonderfully rich southern accent) she said “You know, I even follow Amy’s Twitter!” The Mr. was like “Um, Mom… what’s a Twitter?”

What makes this recipe especially meaningful to you?

I prepare this recipe on occasion when I sense that my husband is in need of a little comfort food. I think losing your mother has to be one of the hardest things that a person can go through in their lifetimes. It’s been a year and a half, and the sadness is still pulling at our heart strings like we lost her just yesterday. Last Christmas, I went through my mother in law’s recipe box. I scanned in all of her handwritten recipes and presented my sister-in-law in book form so that she too can recreate the dishes she remembers from her childhood. Until now, I have kept them all private, and I intend to do so going forward. But on this occasion, (as I mentioned above) I think that sharing the beef stroganoff recipe is appropriate. Like I said, she was very proud of her new daughter-in-law’s blogging and I have no doubt she’d be delighted that I have kept the blog going for the last three years, and honored to be featured by IceMilk Aprons!

– Beef Stroganoff  –

The Mr. likes to have beef stroganoff on egg noodles – just like his mama used to serve it. I also know that she liked to make peas, and a green salad as a side dish. At the table, he likes to top it with a condiment called Tiger Sauce.  (It adds a little kick of heat to the dish.)

I have made my own version of Beef Stroganoff based off of Barbara’s recipe, mine is a little more descriptive! As a side note, I like to use organic ingredients whenever possible – it makes the dish taste cleaner, and more vivid. With the Mr.’s birthday coming up, I made beef stroganoff last week. This time I served it on fresh porcini mushroom ravioli. I must admit, it was a delicious addition to the recipe!

2 lbs grass-fed, antibiotic free, 85% lean ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1lb fresh sliced mushrooms
2 cans of Amy’s organic cream of mushroom condensed soup  (It’s available at Whole Foods)
Garlic – I use about 6-8 cloves, minced.
Salt – I think it is important to season throughout the cooking process – so just sprinkle on a little pinch with each step in which I suggest you add salt.
1/4 Cup Ketchup
1T Dry Mustard
1/2 Cup Water
1/3 cup Vermouth
8oz Organic, hormone free Sour Cream
Add fresh ground pepper to taste at the table

In a large sautee pan, melt a pat of butter on medium-high heat, being careful not to burn the butter. Sautee the mushrooms on medium high heat. Sprinkle with salt to release water in the mushrooms. This will help them cook. Once they’ve softened, add the onion, and season with a bit of salt again. This will help the onions release water and continue to keep everything moist. Once the onions are translucent, add the garlic. Turn the heat down way low and continue to stir on occasion, or you can simply turn off the heat and set it aside.

In a large dutch oven or soup pot, brown the beef. There no need to brown in butter and drain fat as it says on Barbara’s recipe card. There is plenty of fat in the beef to brown properly without added butter. Season the meat with a bit of salt.

Once the beef is fully cooked, add your onion/mushroom/garlic ingredients to the pot with the beef.

At this point, add the ketchup, water, and Vermouth. Bring this up to a simmer so that the alcohol will burn off and only leave the rich flavor, not the taste of alcohol. I like to let it simmer for at least 10 minutes, if not 20.

Prepare noodles in a separate pot – by the time they are done cooking, your stroganoff will be too!

Right before you serve the stroganoff, add the 8oz sour cream. Be sure it is fully incorporated before you serve it atop the noodles.


Part of our Heirloom Recipes Series, featuring foodies, chefs, artisans, Southerners & fabulous folks willing to share their stories, recipes and photos in an effort to help preserve and share these family recipes for generations to come.

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