Run out of pancake syrup? Don’t worry. Make your own. This is delicious.

½ cup light brown sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup water (1/3 cup if you want thicker consistency)

¼ teaspoon vanilla

dash of salt

Combine all ingredients.

Mix well.

Bring to boil and cook for 2 minutes.

Cool slightly.

Serve over pancakes, waffles or French toast.

Store leftover syrup in refrigerator.

OPTIONAL: Use all granulated sugar. Instead of vanilla, use maple extract.

There has been a slight change made to the recipe below. But, if you bought a copy of the book after Dec 1st, no need to worry, the change has been made to the book -- and the change is added below.  My fault. My face is red. I forgot to say "cook the macaroni according to directions on box." But, I did make this recipe without cooking the macaroni first, and it turned out okay.


The recipe below was handed down from generation to generation in my friend Dolly Withrow’s mother-in-law’s family. It was created during the Great Depression and was served when meat and money were scarce. No cook in the family ever measured any ingredient, so she had to guess. Dolly watched Ora make this recipe many times, though, for it was served on every Thanksgiving and Christmas. When her husband, Bill, and she entered Ora Withrow’s house, the tantalizing aromas of macaroni and baked turkey with dressing lured them inside. Those were memorable, happy Christmases. Both her in-laws are gone now as are their three sons, one of whom was her husband. Ora’s sister, Dolores Stump, is the only remaining member of that family. She loved them all, and loved her sister-in-heart.

Dolly’s hope for you, the readers of this recipe and this cookbook, is that you, too, will have wonderful memories of Christmases with the aroma of Ora’s macaroni inviting you inside a warm and welcoming home.

2 cups uncooked macaroni

1 bell pepper, chopped fine

1 medium onion, chopped fine

1 large package sliced pimento cheese (or American cheese with one small jar of diced and drained pimentos) Cut cheese into small pieces.

Add a little salt and pepper to taste. (You will later add tomato juice, which will be salty, so use your judgment as to how much salt you add. I add a tiny dash only.)

Cook macaroni according to directions on box. Drain macaroni and mix with bell pepper, onion, and cheese (also add pimentos if purchased separately from cheese)

Mix all ingredients in a deep baking dish. We use Corning Ware sprayed with Pam. Add tomato juice as you continue to mix ingredients. Use just enough tomato juice to barely cover macaroni mixture. You can place strips of extra cheese on top in lattice-woven fashion if you wish, and I drizzle a little more tomato juice for color.

Bake at 325 degrees about an hour and ten minutes.

Here are a few added TIPS to the Hard Rock Candy Recipe in my book:

TIP: Cooking times will vary according to the wattage of microwave. In a high-wattage (1250 watts) microwave, I found that it only takes a cooking time of 2 min 45 sec the first time and 2 minutes the second time. The above cooking times were done in a lower wattage microwave. TIP: During second cooking stage, watch through window, if mixture starts to turn brown, stop the microwave!


On summer mornings, Grandma and I sat on the front porch and
waited for the mailman. She raised her hand and waved to all the passers-by and often times said, "Who was that?" when a stranger drove up the road. With a fly swatter always by her side, she kept down the house fly population. Any that dared land on her porch banister were shortening their days on this earth. The large willow tree in the middle of her yard, with its long limbs swaying in the
breeze, was a mecca for her grandkids. We pulled the limbs after a rain and took a shower beneath the tree canopy. We lay in its shade on hot summer days. We searched for four-leaf clovers in the grass beneath it. We chased flickering fireflies at night.

However, my most vivid memory is of stepping inside the back door into her home. Like a moth attracted to the welcoming glow of the porch light,  I was drawn to Grandma's quaint kitchen, her familiar voice,  her smiling eyes set deep inside her wrinkled face, her bucket of cool well water by the back door, and last but not least, the aroma of her stack cake.

If there was any food that left an impression on my young mind, it was her applesauce stack cake. Grandma stacked thin layers - six, seven, or eight of them - on top of each other with applesauce spread between them. This cake, baked my many generations of our family,was made with a handful of this, a handful of that, and a pinch or two of something else.

When I bake one, the sweet aroma brings the past into the present. It brings back images of Grandma. It brings back the feeling of a much simpler time.

Write down your recipes, lest you forget.
Write down your memories, lest you forget.

And that is why I have included 12 pages to write down your own recipes, lest you forget.

But there's not just recipes!
There are 3 pages of cooking tips, food remembrances from my childhood, my original poems about Appalachia and food, instructions on how to make aprons from blue jeans, and a page of food traditions and superstitions.


The Star Spangled Flag

How is a flag like Santa Clause?

They both hang out at the pole.
American flags come in all sizes. There are little ones, big ones and humongous ones.
In the summer of 1813, Commander Major George Armistead requested a big flag be made. He wanted a flag so big that “the British would have no difficulty seeing it from a distance.”
In Baltimore they commissioned Mary Young Pickersgill, a “maker of colors,” to sew the huge flag. Mary and her 13 year old daughter, Caroline, used 400 yards of the best quality wool bunting. The stars measured 2 feet from point to point. The red and white stripes measured 2 feet wide each. When they finished the flag of 15 stars and 15 stripes, it measured 30 feet by 42 feet.
Ft. McHenry, which was constructed between 1799 and 1802, was shaped like a five-pointed star! During the Battle of Baltimore in September of 1814, the British bombarded the fort. The huge flag Mary and her daughter made flew proudly, ready to meet the enemy.
Bombshells, weighing as much as 220 lbs., shot through the air. Some exploded in midair! Rockets traced wobbly arcs of red flame across the sky.
Francis Scott Key, a young poet-lawyer witnessed the bombardment while under British guard on an American truce ship.  He and Col. John Skinner had gone to ask for the release of a prisoner. They secured his release but were not allowed to return, having seen the preparations for the enemy’s sea attack.
During the night, by the light of the bombs bursting in the air, they saw the flag flying. Before daylight, there came a sudden silence. Francis Scott Key did not realize it, but the British had ordered a retreat. When day light came, the flag was still there. He was so inspired by the sight of the flag, he began to write on the back of a letter he had in his pocket. He continued to write until he finished the poem that became known as “The Star Spangled Banner.” It became our national anthem in 1931.
Over the years, pieces of the Star Spangled Flag were snipped off by the Armistead family and given away as souvenirs and gifts. The historic flag that flew over Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore, now tattered and torn, is located at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History.



Along with poems, stories, craft and activity ideas, my book is filled with articles and recipes. 
Think your child would like to read more? 
If so, you can go to Amazon or Barnes and Noble and order a copy.

As a little bonus for your child, go to my download page and download a sheet of bookmarks, a coloring page and worksheets your child can print out to go along with his or her book.



     This booklet is for the writer, no matter if you are young or old.

If you long to write and need help getting ideas, this booklet is for you.

Each letter of the alphabet will spark your imagination. I will even suggest imaginative ways to publish your writing.

All you have to do is provide your time and your determination. Be persistent and never give up.

Keep this little booklet handy. When you need a little help and encouragement, open it up and find the words that will keep you going.

For each item with an *, check at the end for additional information on that topic.



Just for fun write a wanted poster. Practice your skills of description and details.

WHAT If’s*


Write whoppers. The bigger the better.


Inspire us and write a book on women writers.


Words are magic! Pick the right ones!


There are plenty of places out there on the WWW where you can post or publish your writing.


Write, write, write. Don’t talk about writing – write!


Writing conferences are helpful and fun!

*What If's

When writing for children, a good way to come up with an idea is to say, "What if?"

What if the scarecrow didn't scare the birds?

What if the skunk lost its stripe?

What if a long necked giraffe got a sore throat?

What if a mountain could talk?

What if your bad guy had a change of heart - right in the middle of your story?

What if the owl decided to stay up all day and sleep during the night?

What if you found a secret room in your house?

What if you walked through a door in your neighbor's house and it led into a different world?



This PDF is available free on my download page.