Welcome Friends!!!

I am a scientist at heart, and my kitchen often looks like a laboratory with all kinds of jars and containers fermenting and brewing on the counters. I love to share my recipes, my herbal remedies and health tips, and I really LOVE to save money! We have a large extended family....two sons, their wives, eleven grandkids (and often a friend or two), my sister, Lanny's brother, and my parents that come over every Tuesday night for dinner...kind of a family reunion, only weekly instead of yearly! That adds up to from 17 to 22 or more people here every week. So I have to cook big, and cook economically!

So here we go! For all my friends and family that have been encouraging me to put all my recipes and ideas in one place like this....if you don't see what you are looking for, and cannot find it by using the "Topics" or the search field below right, just let me know and I will be sure to post it as soon as I can.

Be sure to check out our African Mission Adventure - we traveled to Malawi in August 2014 and you will find photo's and stories about our trip! LanDebLewAfrica.blogspot.com!!!

Lanny and I also have started devotional blogspots that you might enjoy:

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Artisan Bread

My friend Wendy gave me a wonderful book... "The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. I love baking bread but this is SO easy that I may never make bread any other way!! No kneading, no machine needed. Couldn't be easier.

You will have to get the book (or go to their web site, linked at the bottom of this post) to see the hundreds of variations, but I will share the Master Recipe here and probably, over time, share many of the other ones that I try.

All you need is a large plastic bucket (I bought a 6 quart rising bucket). Before I bought the rising container I used a one gallon plastic ice cream container and just halved the recipe.

Master Recipe

3 cups lukewarm water (under 100 degrees F)
1 Tbs Yeast
1-1 1/2 Tbs salt
6 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour

Add the yeast and salt to the warm water in the container. Don't worry about it dissolving. Add your flour and mix with a wooden spoon until it is all moist. If it gets difficult you can use your hand to mix it but do not knead it. This should only take a minute or two. The dough will be wet and loose.

Cover the container with the lid but not tightly... leave it loose on one side. Allow to rise at room temperature until it starts to collapse on top...two hours or so. Then refrigerate the dough up to two weeks to use as you will.

When ready to make your bread you simply flour your hands a little and scoop up a ball of dough. You can flour the surface a bit and even use kitchen scissors or a sharp knife to cut out the dough. 

Gently stretch the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides. The bottom will be a bit messy like a bunch of loose ends but don't worry, that's fine. The entire process should take you less than a minute. Remember, you are not kneading, you are simply smoothing out the top with a gluten "cloak".

Now you can put your dough in a bread pan (lightly oil the pan) or free form. If you free form you can use a pizza peel and do it on a pizza stone or use a cookie sheet and parchment paper. 

Let your dough rest for about 40 minutes...longer if your kitchen is cool. Turn on your oven so it gets good and hot. 

When the rest time is over you will want to slash your bread so it can do the majority of rising in the oven as it bakes.

Bake your bread at 450 F for 35 to 40 minutes.

You can buy these buckets online...

The dough is quite wet and loose...

After a couple of hours your dough will be very high and airy...once it starts to flatten on the top it is ready to cover and refrigerate for up to two weeks...if it lasts that long! You will be baking a lot!! :-)

I took this photo right out of the book. The dough is sticky but easy to work with. Don't use a lot of flour, just enough to keep it from sticking to your hands.

I ordered this bread lame but if you have a very sharp serrated knife or even a razor blade (this lame utilized a sharp razor blade), you can slash your loaves.

As you can see, the bread is not fully risen when you slash it and put it in the oven...most of the rising occurs while baking.

If you want to see recipes and tips from this book please visit

Friday, October 2, 2020

Rendering Lard

 It's that time of year...time to render some lard. My friend Wendy gets the best fat at the Farmers Market and brought me 10 pounds this time. I made 9 pints of the prettiest, whitest, tastiest lard ever!

I love this fat...this farmer cuts it in just the right size for my grinder...

I use my giant Instant Pot...

...melt it all down..

..strain it, fill the jars, and


Thursday, October 1, 2020

Greeting from "Walden's Mountain" on Johnson Gap!!! Our new home!

Thanksgiving is upon us again...this year may be a bit different for a lot of people, but because so many of our family live up here on the mountain together we will probably have about the same family gathering that we always have....(for those of you that do not know: we now live on a 64 acre "farm" with my parents, my sister, and our oldest son Robbie and his wife Molly...our youngest son James and wife Tasha will come up when their daughter graduates HS, in the next couple years...go to our newest blog,  Johnson Gap Chronicles to learn about our growing Family Compound on "Walden's Mountain... many of our grandkids are also already planning to join us up here on the mountain in the not so distant future...).

I'll be posting our latest recipes and homemaking progress soon...we have been so busy moving in and building so many of the residences that we've had little time for anything else...but we still have chickens, have added horses and goats and see lots more farm animals in our future. It's going to be quite the adventure!!

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Thanksgiving Dumplings

Thanksgiving Dumplings:

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup milk
1 tbs melted butter

For dumplings, in a bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk milk and melted butter until blended. Add to flour mixture; stir just until moistened (do not overmix). Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet; set aside.

You will need a couple quarts of stock...you can use chicken or turkey broth, homemade or store bought. I've done both! 

Bring your broth to a boil and start dropping your dumplings in a few at a time so they don't stick together. Don't stir but do move them gently around so they stay separate. You will need to simmer them for 15/20 minutes...gently move them with a long spoon to keep them from scorching on the bottom of the pan. I often add milk at the end to make "gravy" out of the thickening stock. I also taste a dumpling or two to be sure they are done. They are like tiny chewy biscuits when they are done. They initially puff up real big and then seem to disappear into the broth...but don't worry, they are still there and very yummy!!

You can also buy canned biscuits or use frozen biscuits cut into small pieces. I know several people that do that but I never have. It would certainly save time!

Of course you can double, triple, quadruple (I actually use about 10 cups flour for our big crew) and still get the same yummy dumplings!!

Monday, November 18, 2019

Paula Deen's Corn Casserole

This is a great addition to a Thanksgiving meal...it's very easy to prepare but quite delicious!!


    • 1 (15 1/4-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
    • 1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn
    • 1 (8-ounce) package corn muffin mix (recommended: Jiffy)
    • 1 cup sour cream
    • 1/2 stick butter, melted
    • 1 to 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar


    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, stir together the 2 cans of corn, corn muffin mix, sour cream, and melted butter. Pour into a greased 9 by 13-inch casserole dish. Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and top with Cheddar. Return to oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Let stand for at least 5 minutes and then serve warm.

Thanksgiving Cranberry & Pineapple Salad

My folks love cranberry (as a lot of us Southern folk do) with their turkey and chicken, so instead of serving the plain old canned cranberry sauce, we pretty it up a bit...

1 box red jello (cranberry, strawberry, raspberry...)
1 can gelled cranberry sauce
1 can crushed pineapples
* chopped walnuts if desired
* miniature marshmallows if desired
*we usually leave these out...makes it too much like a dessert :-)

Dump the cranberry sauce into a saucepan and heat on low to melt and liquify. Add the jello and about half the called for water and stir until smooth. Empty the pineapples into a pretty serving bowl (don't bother to drain) and pour the cranberry and jello mixture into the bowl, stirring to mix. Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight and serve as a garnish for your turkey...it is really a very tasty salad even without a turkey!

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Billie's Pasta Salad

Billie's Pasta Salad
*Lanny's Mom shared this easy recipe with me years ago and it has remained a favorite! 

elbow macaroni or any shaped pasta you desire (cooked al dente)
chopped or sliced tomatoes
chopped or sliced cucumber
chopped or sliced onion
I sometimes add sweet or bell peppers
cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Mix it all together and enjoy!

Measurements are up to your desired taste and the size of your salad.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

My Easy Christmas Candy Recipes

I seem to be a little less inclined to spend hours and even days in the kitchen making Candy, Cookies, Cakes, etc. for Christmas. Oh, I want those treats to serve to my family and to give as gifts around the neighborhood, but my energy seems to be going south as my age goes north, if you know what I mean :-) Anyway, I still spend time on certain special goodies, but like to take the easier road for others. So, here are a few of my easy recipes for tasty treats that you can whip up in no time...any time of year!

Pretzel Turtles

Cook Time 3 minutes
Total Time 13 minutes
Servings 25


  • 25 twist or square pretzels
  • 25 rolos
  • 25 pecans


Prep Time 10 minutes

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Line a tray with parchment paper and place the pretzels on the tray.
Unwrap the rolos and place on top of the pretzels.
Bake for 3-4 minutes or until the rolos are soft but not melted.
Press a pecan into the center of the rollo right out of the oven.
Allow the chocolate to harden.

Recipe Notes:

**I've had a few people report issues with the chocolate crumbling...this means the oven was too hot or the chocolate was baked too long. I would recommend trying one turtle at first to test your oven and time. If it crumbles when cooled, reduce the time for the rest. Do NOT use convection oven settings.


Thin Mints


  • 16 regular Oreo or chocolate sandwich cookies
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1-2 bags Andes Mint baking chips*
  • Optional: sprinkles


Prepare a miniature muffin tin by lining with mini muffin papers.
Pulse the sandwich cookies in a blender or food processor until they resemble fine crumbs. 

You do not need to separate the cookie from the creme.
Beat the crumbs with 4 ounces of room temperature cream cheese until a thick mixture forms.
Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.
Starting with 1 bag, melt all of the baking chips in a large microwave safe bowl. Microwave in bursts of 15 seconds stirring in between each burst for 10-15 seconds.
Spoon melted chocolate into the bottom of the prepared muffin tins -- not a lot here.
Allow to set completely. (If you don't work fast, the Andes mints harden quickly -- that's okay, just pop them in the microwave for another 15 seconds or so)
Remove the dough from the fridge and form into small balls. Flatten those balls into thin and completely FLAT disks and place on top of the set chocolate. Mash lightly into place.
Spoon more melted chocolate to cover the disk of chocolate.
Add sprinkles to the top if desired.
Allow to set at room temperature.

Recipe Notes:

*If you want a lot of chocolate you'll go through 1 and 1/2 to 2 bags. It's hard to give an exact measurement because it all depends on the size of your oreo filling and how large your final cups are.


3 Minute Fudge


  • 1 can Sweetened Condensed milk (14 ounces) 
  • 2 cups (1 12 ounce bag) semi-sweet chocolate chips (you can use any flavor chips for this candy... Peanut Butter or Butterscotch also make good fudge)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Butter a square pan and line with parchment paper for easy removal of set fudge. Set aside.
In a microwave safe 2 quart bowl, heat chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk, on high for 1 minute. Remove from microwave. Let sit for 1 minute, then stir to combine.
If needed, heat an additional 30 seconds.
Stir until chips are completely melted and chocolate is smooth. Stir in vanilla extract.
Pour fudge into prepared pan. Let fudge cool completely before cutting into 1 inch squares. (you can place in the refrigerator for 1 hour to speed up the process.)
Store in an airtight container.
Fudge does not need to be kept refrigerated.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Corn Casserole

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, stir together the 2 cans of corn, corn muffin mix, sour cream, and melted butter. Pour into a greased 9 by 13-inch casserole dish. Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and top with Cheddar. Return to oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Let stand for at least 5 minutes and then serve warm.

Broccoli Casserole

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13 by 9-inch baking dish with vegetable oil cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, combine broccoli, mayonnaise, cheese, soup and eggs. Mix well with a metal spoon. Place the mixture in the prepared baking dish. Top with the crushed crackers and pour the melted butter evenly over the crackers. Bake for 35 minutes or until set and browned.