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Inspired by my love for summer whites, I think it’s time for a little IceMilk Aprons giveaway {don’t you think?}


I feel that my obsession to pin, pin, pin as of late has taken away some time from my other lovely friends on Facebook and Twitter so I have decided to give a little love back that way. And, if you must know, summer is my all-time favorite season {90-degree weather and all}.

It’s a simple little giveaway for one of my very favorite aprons – the Frosty Tin Marshmallows – inspired by my Grandmother’s tasty little frozen mint salad treats.

Summer always brings something to celebrate – good times with family & friends at the lake or beach, and weddings too! Lots of home-cooking with all those fresh summer fruits & veggies, too. And, I hope an heirloom apron only adds to your entertaining fun!

Hope you’ll partake for a chance to win!

As always, entering is so simple. But, this time I truly mean it!

1. Pop over and “Like” the IceMilk Aprons Facebook Page

2. Leave a  comment on the giveaway post telling me your favorite summertime family recipe

3. Wait … that’s it!

Be sure to enter by Friday, June 29th at 5PM EST.

Giveaway entries must be submitted between 6-22-12 and 6-29-12 at 5PM EST . Winner to be chosen at random and will be announced on 7-2-12. Open only to US residents. A maximum of one (1) entry per person is allowed. No purchase is necessary of course. Some restrictions may apply.


For this weeks Heirloom Recipe Series, I am honored to have friend and famed food stylist, writer and Running with Tweezers blogger, Tami Hardeman with us. When I began this project, I didn’t truly consider the depth of emotion and connection people have with their recipes, specifically their family recipes. I am not quite sure why, as my personal collection of heirloom recipe cards are one of my most treasured possessions. I just wanted to hear and share the stories of others and help others to cherish memories, sift through recipes and preserve their family dishes for future generations.

I believe that Tami did such a beautiful job in sharing her special story,  recipe, and  gorgeously simple photography with us (I personally *adore* her soup shots, so this is such a treat) that I kept her note to me intact to truly capture the essence of her storytelling below.

image by Tami Hardeman

Dear Ashley,

I hope this finds you well. I do apologize for the delay in getting something to you.  I have a small confession to make – approaching this blog post about recipes from my mother has been far more challenging than I first thought it would be. I’m writing this on the eve of the four year anniversary of my mother’s passing…and even typing about it today has made me more emotional that I realized I would be several years since her death. September has become a month of days – those kinds of days – the ones marked by a heaviness in the air. A tightness in my chest and a lump in my throat. This month is a series of anniversaries – a triple threat of my mom’s hospitalization, her birthday and then the day she died. It all happened so fast four years ago – 17 days from start to finish. Now, as that chain of events reminds me of itself every year, the time goes by so very slowly.

I spend my time in September when I’m not working, which thankfully this year isn’t often, by cooking. The oppressive heat we’ve been experiencing is so counter to the foods I crave this time of year. I woke up wanting to bake my mother’s chocolate chips cookies and put tomato-y stuffed cabbage rolls in the crock pot to simmer. Today, however, I wanted to make soup. My mother was an evil genius when it came to making soups. Several of her recipes are the stuff of legend – one year, a friend of mine asked if my birthday gift to him would be a quart of my mom’s chicken and rice soup. I asked, of course, and she happily obliged. I remember her then ridiculous idea for cheeseburger soup, which a few weeks later graced my lips as a spoonful of the most perfect cheeseburger you’ve ever tasted. Her way-heavier-than-need-be matzo ball soup that she took over the top with egg noodles in the bowl, as well (i think the peas in the broth were canned – no one is perfect) is something I still crave. Her improvisational skills when it came to soup were astonishing…and it’s a source of great inspiration for me. It’s also hard for me because when I want to recreate those recipes, as I am often want to do, I don’t have a recipe book or card to turn to. The very few journals of hand-written recipes or magazine clippings of ideas were sent to my aunts in the months after my mother passed away. It’s forced me to turn to my own recipe-less powers and hone them, which I am happy to say that I’m (mostly) able to do.

I woke up on this Sunday…and as I wait for the inevitable mix of sadness, frustration, grief, loss, and waves of memories that make me smile to wash over me…I made soup. Outside of the infamous chicken & wild rice soup (the recipe for which I’m still trying to figure out), one of my favorite soups my mother made was a recipe taught to her by my grandmother. In the way that most German recipes come about, it’s a simple way of using very cheap, hearty ingredients. An even mix of cabbage and potatoes with just a little bit of seasoning. I’ve never found a recipe for it…and haven’t attempted to make it until today.

Just smelling the ingredients simmering on the stove brought me back to smelling it our kitchen growing up. I hadn’t had this soup since before my mother passed away…and I have to tell you: tears welled up in my eyes when I tasted the first spoonful. It’s exactly how I remember it – thick, creamy (but it had no dairy in it), pungent from the cabbage but in the best possible way. Making this today – and finally recording the recipe for myself and others to see – felt like my mom’s hand on my shoulder. As hard as it’s been to talk about, the process of cooking in my life the way I was taught – even when I didn’t realize I was being shown – is one of the saving graces in my life now. For the longest time, I’ve lamented not paying more attention to my mom in the kitchen – you never think that one day, she’s not going to be around to teach you how to cook something. I guess that’s the power and the purpose of family recipes and passing them down. The process, the learning – it’s happening to you whether you realize it or not.

Thank you for giving me the chance to share this part of me and who I am – and a part of my family – with you, Ashley. You and your blog – and your dedication to beauty and tradition – are really something quite special.

All the best,



German Potato and Cabbage Soup – serves 6 to 8

4 tbsp. butter
1 cup diced yellow onion
3 large russet potatoes – peeled and chopped into even pieces
1 small head green cabbage – cut into evenly sized pieces
salt and fresh ground pepper
6 cups chicken stock – you can substitute 1/2 stock and 1/2 water, as well
crisp prosciutto, chopped herbs or sour cream for garnish – my mom always topped it with a dollop of sour cream and crumbled bacon…but I think the herbs are a nice touch & keep it lighter
– Melt the butter in a large, heavy- bottomed stockpot. When the butter is melted and starts to get foamy (not brown), add the onions and potatoes. Stir thoroughly, cover, and allow to simmer for about 10-12 minutes. Add the chicken stock (and/or water) and simmer the onions and potatoes until the potatoes are almost fork-tender, about 15 minutes. Add the cabbage and cook for another 10-12 minutes until the cabbage is also tender. Allow to cool and then puree in a blender until smooth. Pour the soup back into the pot and warm through again before serving, adding salt and pepper to taste.

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

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.

Part of our Heirloom Recipes Series, featuring foodies, artisans & 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.

Amy Deaver is the owner & jam maker at Lemon Bird Handmade Jams. I found her delightfully packaged and beautifully designed jams online and instantly fell in love. I adore their simple design, beautiful photography and their dedication to using seasonal and local fruits. Here is what Amy had to say:

What recipe are you sharing with us?
I found this recipe in my Grandmother’s file, and I also scanned in the front of the recipe book.

What makes this recipe meaningful to you?
I was really surprised when I found this card in my Grandma’s collection of recipes.  The recipe is for a barbecued brisket and this has been our family meal on Christmas Day for as long as I can remember.  My Dad gets up early and gets the brisket ready to roast in the oven all day long.  While it cooks, we spend the entire day together as a family opening gifts and enjoying our time together.  In the late afternoon, we all sit down at the formal dining table for a meal of the brisket and cheese grits.  This is the one day out of the year when we eat this meal and everyone in the family loves it.  It’s a really special day and time for all of us to be together since we all live far apart.  On Christmas day we all cook together, eat together, and celebrate together.

What photos are you sharing with us?
To save my family (and self) the shots of us in our PJ’s all day on Christmas Day – I’ll instead include a photo of the Great Snow Storm of 2008.  We live in the mountains of Southern California and last year we received about 3 feet of snow in one week.  We were actually snowed away from home for a few days.  Here’s a photo of some of our beautiful snow coming down.

Special thanks to Amy. We hope you’ll check out their delightful line of handmade jams at!

date-filled-cookies-1A special recipe to share today, Date-Filled Cookies. Inked by Nana in her very distinct handwriting, the filled cookies have such a rich sweetness and are reminiscent of days past.

The tender cookies make a delightful presentation with their dark contrast of the date filling and the lightly toasted color of the cookies themselves. They come as quite a surprise to some palettes today, as dates aren’t used in too many recipes nowadays.

date-filled-cookies-2Mom actually has to special order a Date Bar Mix from the grocery store, as they’ve stopped carrying them due to popularity – but are SUCH a treat to enjoy!

I do hope you’ll give these a try and keep the dates ever-present in cooking for generations to come.

buttons-bowtiesA very yummy recipe today … an easy & charming southern cookie recipe … Buttons & Bowties! I love the recipe on so many levels.

First, I think it’s pretty easy to see that this was a popular one in our family from the huge stain across the card. A little hard to read, but well worth the efforts!

Second, the buttons. I’ve seen several variations of button cookies – very cute, very easy to do and they make for a great presentation for a special homemade gift. The cutest probably being for baby showers, with the buttons threaded together & sweetly packaged in a little box. buttons-bowties-b

And lastly, the bowties! Certainly my favorite – sort of reminds me of seersucker suits, southern weddings & summertime. I am quite certain a bowtie-exclusive post will follow very soon!

And remember – be sure to roll the cookies in the sugar when they’re good & hot. Delish!

Thanks to Mom for deciphering the recipe below …

Buttons & Bows
____ Preheat oven: 400˚ Bake

____ Mix the following in a medium bowl to make a soft dough:

2 cups Bisquick® Original baking mix

1/3 cup milk

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 egg

____ Sprinkle (LIGHTLY!) counter with flour

____ Put dough on surface, and knead quickly and lightly (if you knead for too long, the dough will turn hard)

____ Roll dough with rolling pin until it is ½” thick

____ Cut dough with biscuit cutter or shape as you want (be creative! Roll out the letters for your initials, make shapes, tie into
pretzel knots, make buttons and bows, etc!)

____ Place shapes on cookie sheet

____ Bake 8-10 minutes or until the tops are light brown

While you’re shapes are baking:

____ Clean up what you can

____ Melt 1/4 cup butter in saucepan over LOW HEAT

____ Put 1/2 cup sugar in a small bowl

____ Take cookie sheet with baked shapes out of oven (use oven mits!), and remove with a spatula—place on drying rack

____ While they are warm, dip in melted butter, then dip/roll in sugar

____ Clean up kitchen while they cool/dry

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