Family Secrets—Sshh . . . Don’t Tell Anyone

The Apple Pie and Fool-Proof Crust Recipe

I love October because I get to visit family I see only once or twice a year. In early October, we have a family reunion. In late October, we travel to my aunt’s church homecoming and see cousins and other people that make up a Southerner’s extended family. This includes people to whom we’re not actually related but who were grafted in because somebody married into the family line. And despite not being blood kin, we all grew up together and enjoy getting to see each other. We have a lot of fun and it’s never a dull moment with that crowd.

I know this sounds complicated—but if you’re a Southerner, you get it. And did I mention the food at these gatherings? My children have been known to get weepy at the thought of these upcoming feasts. Barbecue—pork and vinegar-based; cornsticks, Brunswick stew; butter-beans—lima beans for the Northern brethren among us; ham biscuits; coconut cake; pineapple cake, etc . . . I’m going to stop now before I break down, too.

Here’s a sure-fire winner of an autumn recipe—from the family I married into.

Fool-Proof Pie Crust
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 ¾ cups vegetable shortening
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. vinegar
1 egg
½ cup water

Mix first 4 ingredients with a fork or pastry blender. In a separate dish, beat the remaining ingredients. Combine the 2 mixtures, stirring until all ingredients are moistened. Shape dough into a ball. Chill at least 15 minutes before rolling into a crust. Dough can be left in the refrigerator up to 3 days or frozen until ready to use. Makes 2 pies—4 top and bottom crusts.

Apple Pie
6-8 apples—I’ve used Rome, Granny Smith and Magnabonum
Juice of half a lemon
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. butter

•Heat oven to 425 degrees. Peel, core and slice apples into ¼” pieces. Place apples (6 cups) into large mixing bowl. Pour lemon juice over apples.
•Add sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg. Toss well. Spoon spiced apples into piecrust and dot with butter.
•Roll out top crust. I like to also cut out piecrust dough ornaments to add to top crust. Cut slits in dough to allow the steam to escape. Brush the top with milk for a glaze.
•Place pie in oven. I put the pie in an aluminum-foiled tray to catch drips. Bake for 45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and juices bubble.
•Let the pie cool and slice into wedges. Serve with vanilla ice cream.


Do you have family reunions or church homecomings? What recipes do you look forward to each year? Do you have a family recipe you could share?

Easy Arroz con Pollo #Recipe from The Christmas Baby


  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • One 3 1/2-to-4-pound chicken, cut into 8 serving pieces and skin removed
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1 1/2 cups low-salt chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce


1. Combine the salt, garlic powder, cumin, black pepper and cayenne in a plastic gallon bag. Shake until combined.

2. Place chicken in the spice bag. Shake, making sure the chicken is well coated.

3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Brown chicken about 6 minutes each side. Remove the chicken to a plate.

4. Add the onions, green peppers, red peppers and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the skillet. Stir 7 minutes over medium heat until softened and fragrant. Add the rice and garlic. Cook 1 minute or until the rice begins to turn golden in color.

5. Combine the stock, tomato sauce and remaining teaspoon of salt in a bowl. Add 1 1/4 cups water and the stock mixture to the skillet. Rice should be completely covered in liquid. Fold the chicken into the rice, including plate juices.

6. Bring the rice to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Cook about 35 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and most of the liquid is absorbed. Skillet should remain covered for 10 minutes before serving. I like to cut chicken into smaller pieces and once again, reincorporate into the rice.


For more behind-the-scenes recipes from The Christmas Baby, visit Pinterest.

My Favorite Cookie #Recipe—Hershey’s Cinnamon Chip Cookies

Sweet mercy . . . cinnchipcookie1


  • 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1-2/3 cups (10-oz. pkg.) HERSHEY’S Cinnamon Chips, divided (I order these online)
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup finely ground pecans or walnuts


1. Beat butter and brown sugar in large bowl until fluffy. Add corn syrup and egg; mix well.

2. Place 1 cup cinnamon chips in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at MEDIUM (50%) 1 minute; stir. If necessary, microwave at MEDIUM an additional 15 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, just until chips are melted when stirred. Stir melted chips into butter mixture.

3. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; add to cinnamon chips mixture, beating just until blended. Cover; refrigerate dough about 1 hour or until firm enough to handle.

4. Heat oven to 350°F. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in nuts, lightly pressing nuts into dough. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.

5. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden around edges. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Makes about 5 dozen cookies.


#Recipe—Green Chile Stew—Under a Turquoise Sky

Green chile stew is a New Mexico classic.images2

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: Serves 8


2 pounds of cubed pork

1 pint canned tomatoes

2 cups cubed potatoes

1 1/2 cups diced onion

1 TBSP minced garlic

2 cups roasted, peeled, chopped green chile


1. In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, boil 6 cups of water and meat until done.
2. Add the cubed potatoes and simmer about 30 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add salt to taste.
3. Warm some tortillas to use as a “sop” bread while you eat your stew.images1
New Mexicans are particular about their chiles and will only buy fresh roasted chiles from the markets. If you must buy canned chile, try to procure Hatch’s Whole Green Chiles, available at Walmart and grocery stores especially in the Southwest. Enjoy.
For more recipes and behind-the-scene photos from Under a Turquoise Sky, visit

Sopa Burger #Recipe—from Under a Turquoise Sky

index1Prep Time: 30 min.
Makes: 4 servings


2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup evaporated milk

1-1/2 teaspoons canola oil

Oil for frying


1 pound ground beef

3/4 cup chopped onion

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon pepper


1 can condensed cream of chicken soup

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese


  1. Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl. Stir in water, milk, and oil with a fork until a ball forms.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, knead dough for 2-3 minutes. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Divide into four portions; roll each into a 6-1/2″ circles.
  3. In a small frying pan or deep fryer, heat oil to 375°. Fry circles, one at a time, for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
  4. In a large skillet, cook beef and onion; drain. Stir in the salt, garlic powder and pepper. In a large saucepan, combine the soup, broth, chilies and onion powder; cook until heated through.
  5. Split one side of each sopapilla; fill with 1/2 cup of meat mixture. Top with cheese. Serve with heated sauce.

For more recipes and behind-the-scene photos from Under a Turquoise Sky, visit

#Recipe—Huevos Rancheros—from Under a Turquoise Sky

There are many versions of huevos rancheros. Some people use cheese, beans or grilled chiles. The most authentic version must include eggs and salsa, served with corn tortillas.


4 eggs

1 cup fresh salsa

4 corn tortillas



1. Pre-heat oven to 500 degrees. Coat the tortillas in oil and place on cookie sheet. Cook for 5-10 minutes until it achieves the desired crispness.
2. Heat the oil in a frying pan and cook each egg on one side until the whites are firm. Flip to cook the other side but remove while egg yolks are still runny. Place one egg on each tortilla.3. Heat salsa and pour about 1/4 cup over the top of each egg.Enjoy.

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Chili-Chocolate Birthday Cake Southwest Style #Recipe

Beyond easy Chili-Chocolate Birthday Cake—Southwest Style—for Aaron’s birthday in Under a Turquoise Sky.

Super Easy—because remember this is Kailyn baking this!!!!images6


  • 1 box Triple Chocolate Decadent Cake Mix
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon, separated
  • ¼ tsp. plus ⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 container cream cheese, vanilla, or chocolate frosting of choice
  • Pastry bag (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare cake mix as directed. You will have your cake batter in 1 bowl and filling in a second bowl.
  2. Add 1 tsp. of cinnamon and ¼ tsp. of cayenne pepper to cake batter and mix well.
  3. Spoon cake batter into greased and floured pans.
  4. Bake cake as directed and cool completely.
  5. Prepare frosting by adding 1 tsp. of cinnamon and ⅛ tsp. of cayenne pepper to each container of frosting that you use. Mix completely and frost cake. For a more decorative look, utilize a frosting bag.


For more recipes and behind-the-scene photos, visit

#Recipe—Tortilla Burger—Under a Turquoise Sky

images3Real popular with the Santa Fe crowd. You’ll need:

1 lb. ground beef
10” diameter flour tortillas
Green chiles
Pinto beans
Shredded cheddar cheese


1. Cook beef patties on stove top or grill.

2. Place two tablespoons of pinto beans in the center of each tortilla and spread. Layer a tablespoon of chopped green chiles on top of the beans and sprinkle another layer of two tablespoons of grated cheddar cheese.

3. Top with the cooked burger and fold the tortilla around the burger. Carefully turn the wrapped burger over onto fold and place onto a cooking sheet. Spread a quarter cup of green chile  over the tortilla burger and sprinkle with two tablespoons of grated cheese. Place the cooking sheet in the oven and cook until the cheese melts (about two minutes).

And all you’ll need to ask your drooling family is—Would you like fries with this order?

For more recipes and behind-the-scene photos of Under a Turquoise Sky, visit

Navajo Fry Bread #Recipe



3 cups unbleached flour, sifted

1/2 cup dry powdered milk

1 Tbs. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup warm water or milk

Vegetable oil for deep frying


1. Combine the first 5 ingredients in a large mixing bowl and knead until smooth and soft, but not sticky. Depending on the altitude and humidity, you may need to vary the liquid or the flour.  Don’t overwork the dough, or it will become tough and chewy.

2. Brush a tablespoon of oil over the dough and allow it to rest 20 minutes to 2 hours in a bowl covered with a damp cloth.  After the dough has rested, heat  about a 1/2 inch of oil in a deep frying pan until it reaches a low boil (375º). 

The traditional puffy texture is achieved by frying the bread quickly!  The hotter the oil, the less time it takes to cook. Test oil first.

3. Pinch egg-sized balls of dough and flatten them out into large, saucer-sized circles with no more than 1/4 inch thick. 

4. Fry circle one at a time.  Allow about 2 minutes cooking time per side before turning dough.  When golden brown, place on paper towels to finish draining.

Serve hot with honey, jelly, fine powdered sugar, cinnamon, agave, or fill with a breakfast omelet.

For more recipes and behind the scene photos of Beneath a Navajo Moon, visit


Let’s Go Hawaiian—Auntie Teah’s SPAM Breakfast Burrito Recipe

 Jumpstart your weekend with this delicious SPAM breakfast burrito—straight from Auntie Teah’s Big Island kitchen.



1 Can of SPAM

1 Dozen Eggs

1Dozen Tortillas


Garlic Powder

Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

1 can pineapple chunks


Slice SPAM into long strips.
Fry slices in pan until crispy, set aside.
Using same skillet, scramble eggs. Spice to taste with garlic powder.
Warm tortillas in oven.
Spread mayo on tortilla.
Assemble SPAM, scrambled eggs, shredded cheese and pineapple chunks in tortilla.
Wrap and enjoy.
For more recipes and behind the scene photos of Aloha Rose, visit