A New Pumpkin Bread recipe, and it's a Winner!

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, June 25, 2024

Years ago my friend, Barb gave me her recipe for pumpkin bread.  I gave it to my daughter-in-law, Lindsay and it became both of their go-to signature recipe.  I liked it, too, but continued to make mom's pumpkin bread thru the years, memories ya know.

Well, their's a new kid on the block.  Our grandson Ben is visiting it this week, he says it's almost as good as moms, but neither is a good as Starbucks.

This recipe is similar to the one Barb and Lindsay use, but this new recipe has vanilla instant pudding instead of coconut,  and it has more oil, 1-1/3 cup instead of 1 cup.  It also has less cinnamon, only 1 teaspoon but I'm going to bump that to 2 tsp. the next time I make this.

Hubby loves it, because it is so moist it's almost like a custard.  My take on it, I think it's excellent, but I would add extra spices, that's the only change.  Here's the recipe, I got it from Miss Annie's Home and Kitchen.  A great place to visit, the woman has wonderful recipes, or you can follow her on Facebook.

I'm giving you the link to Barb's recipe below, and I need to find mother's as well and post it.

Here is Annie's recipe, with my modifications:


1 1/3 cups vegetable oil

5 eggs

1 16-ounce can pumpkin

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon - I'm going to change this to 2 teaspoons

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 (5.1 ounce) large package OR 2 (3 ounce) packages vanilla instant pudding


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix oil, eggs and pumpkin in mixing bowl and beat well.

Add flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and baking soda to pumpkin mixture and mix until well blended.

Stir in pudding mix with mixer until well blended.

Pour into greased loaf pans.

Makes 2 loaves, use 8x4"size loaf pans, 9x4 makes loaves that are too flat,   Bake for 55 minutes or 1 hour until toothpick comes out clean










Jennifer Garner's Mom's Famous Blackberry Cobbler

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, June 25, 2024

Definitely not a fan of celebrities, with one exception, Jennifer Garner. There is a sweetness to her, an authenticity, she is, to me, a national treasure in a world filled with narcissistic celebrities. She was on the Today Show this week with her 86 year old mother, Pat, and they made Blackberry Crumble. Of course, I'm all over this like mayo on white, my family loves blackberries and I'll definitely be making this soon.  You can also substitute blueberries or peaches...
Here is the recipe, it looks like a winner!

4 cups blackberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 Tbsp lemon juice
6 Tbsp butter
Prepare a 9×6 (inch) baking dish and preheat oven to 425F
Rinse blackberries and plop them in the dish. Mom doesn’t care if you dry them.
Drizzle lemon juice and almond extract over top of the blackberries.
Mix together sugar, flour, salt and egg. It will be chunky.
Spread the mixture evenly over the blackberries.
Melt butter and drizzle over top of everything.
Bake for 25 minutes—until golden and bubbling.
Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream for the dreamiest outcome.

I'm a huge fan of Rubbermaid Freshworks Containers. They keep produce, especially fragile fruit like blackberries, raspberries and strawberries fresh for days longer.


Bettye Baldwin's Broccoli Salad

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, March 11, 2024

This family favorite is just the best, period!  Given to me by a neighbor twenty years ago, we have made it countless times.  The dressing is a bit labor intensive, but SO worth it.  I make the dressing ahead and toss together at the last minute.

Update Easter 2024

I always have problems with the cooked dressing lumping.  This time boiled water, vinegar and salt and then let it cool before I whisked in the egg mixture.  

And, this is what I did that really worked - I strained that egg, sugar, cornstarch and dry mustard before I added it to the pan with the vinegar in it to finish cooking.  That made it totally lump free. 

4 cups broccoli florets
1/2 cup GOLDEN raisins
1/2 cup red onion rings
1/2 cup sliced raw mushrooms
6 slices bacon, crumbled - I always add more bacon, I usually double it


3 eggs, beaten
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon dry mustard
 1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1/3 cup Hellman's Mayonnaise
3 Tablespoons butter

Mix together broccoli, raisins, mushroom and onion rings.  Set aside.

Mix dressing ingredients ell - eggs, sugar, dry mustard and cornstarch.  Set aside.

Heat vinegar, water and salt to boil.  With whisk, add egg mixture stirring constantly.  Continue to stir and cook until thick on medium low heat.  

Remove from heat and add 3 Tablespoons of butter and 1/3 cup Hellman's Mayonnaise.  DO NOT USE MIRACLE WHIP.

Cool dressing  and refrigerate in quart jar if making dressing ahead.  This make 2/3 quart of dressing and keeps for several days.

This keeps well if you toss ingredients and put in fridge overnight.  I never add bacon until I'm ready to serve it as bacon gets soft.

Hershey's Perfectly Perfect Chocolate Cake, it really IS perfect...

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, March 03, 2024

Oh my, this cake is just so good, it's indescribable.  It's better than grandma's homemade chocolate cake, it's better than Aunt Edna's secret recipe that she won't share, it's better than any cake you can buy in a bakery, it's just that that good!   If you've been looking for a decadently moist homemade chocolate cake with silky chocolate frosting, look no more, your search has ended.  This recipe dates back to the 70's, it's definitely stood the test of time and has been passed down for generations, now

I make this cake, my friends make it, my daughter-in-law requests it every year for her birthday.  It's just the best homemade chocolate cake, period! The only thing that could possibly improve this is just to drink it with a glass of cold milk. 


* 2 cups white sugar

* 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

* 3/4 cup HERSHEY®'S Cocoa Powder

* 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

* 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

* 1 teaspoon salt

* 2 eggs

* 1 cup milk

* 1/2 cup vegetable oil

* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

* 1 cup boiling water

* 1/2 cup butter

* 2/3 cup HERSHEY®'S Cocoa Powder

* 3 cups confectioners' sugar

* 1/3 cup milk

* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Heat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Frosting.


4. To make "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Frosting: Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla.

What Do I Bake This In?

1.  One Pan Cake: Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350 F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely. Frost.

2.  Two Layer Cake in 9" Pans.  Don't do it!  The layers will be too flat, trust me...

4.. Three Layer Cake: Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Heat oven to 350 F. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost.

5.. Bundt Cake: Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan. Heat oven to 350 F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Frost

6.. Cupcakes: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350 F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.

I found this set of three, 8" cake pans on Amazon.  They are quick release and do a great job.

Here's the Amazon link

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Mom's Salisbury steak

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, February 06, 2024


I've made this recipe since the 70's and it's still a family favorite after all these years.  Serve it with mashed potatoes, corn, hot rolls and coleslaw and it's comfort food at it's finest.  

1 (10 1/2 ounce) can Campbell's Condensed Golden Mushroom Soup, divided, you only use 1/4 cup in the Salisbury steak, the rest you. mix with water for the gravy.

1 1⁄2 lbs ground round - I used chuck

1 ⁄2 cup plain dry breadcrumbs

1 large egg, beaten

1 ⁄2 cup chopped onion

salt and pepper

garlic powder - about 1/2 tsp.

1 ⁄3 cup water


Sauce onion in a tablespoon of olive oil until soft.  If you omit this step they can be crunchy

Combine 1/4 cup of the can of soup with ground beef, bread crumbs, egg, onion, salt, pepper, and garlic salt; mix well.

Shape into 6 patties.

Place in shallow baking dish.  I line with parchment paper for easy cleanup. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Drain off fat, if needed

Combine remaining soup and the 1/3 cup water; pour over patties.

Bake an additional 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated.


We like a lot of gravy so I use an additional can of Golden Mushroom Soup, not listed above.  I add 1/3 cup water to the soup, warm it in a saucepan and pour over the potatoes when we serve it.

Jack's Pizza

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, November 19, 2023

Pizza doesn't get better than this!  Many, many years ago we had a neighbor named Jack and he made the BEST pizza!  He perfected his dough and gave me the recipe.  This is Chicago style, decadent pizza and it's beyond delicious.  It's a bit of work, making homemade crust, but so worth the effort and the Cuisinart simplifies things.  Don't be tempted to buy a premade crust for a shortcut, the crust is what makes the pizza so good.

This recipe make 2 pizzas

Pizza Dough

4 cups bread flour

1 pkg. yeast

1.3 cups warm water

2.5 tbs. oil

1 tsp. salt

.5 tsp. sugar

Put the warm water with a 1/2 teaspoon on sugar in the Cuisinart, add one package of Red Star yeast sprinkled on top and let it set for 10 minutes until it starts to form bubbles. The sugar activates the yeast. Once it's active and bubbles, add the flour, salt and oil. Using dough hook, let it spin until all the dough doesn't cling to the sides and it forms a smooth ball, about 8-10 minute.

Dump into an oiled bowl and let it set until doubles. Punch down and you are ready to roll out. 

Sauce for 1 pizza:

8 oz. can tomato paste, thinned with a bit of water

pinch of sugar

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. oregano

add additional spices to taste, Italian seasoning is a good option

If making sausage pizza, brown sausage lightly


Roll out crust in a circle, I use a pizza stone which I sprinkle with cornmeal

Add tomato sauce, preferred meat, sautéed sausage or pepperoni, mushrooms and raw veggies, if desired, then top all with parmesan cheese.

Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 10 minutes, take out of oven and add mozzarella, the amount you add depends on how much cheese you like, I usually add 1/2 to 3/4 a lb. of cheese per pizza.  Bake an additional 10-15 minute or until edges are brown.

Seriously Yummy Thanksgiving Recipes

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, September 23, 2023

It's never too early to start planning your Thanksgiving menu.  

I went into my archives and found this post from 2008.  I had asked my friends for their favorite Thanksgiving dishes, the ones they make for family and friends.

So many good recipes, after you click on the link below, just hover over the name of what you're interested in, click and it will link to the recipe.  Nothing like planning ahead...


~ Jan

World's BEST Spinach Salad

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, July 26, 2023

This is simply the best spinach salad ever.  It's not the classic recipe with hot bacon dressing, the poppyseed dressing just makes this salad. And like many dishes that are truly outstanding there is a bit of prep involved.  But it can be done in stages and the results are spectacular.  Take the time to make homemade croutons, it takes it to a whole new level. Trust me on this one.

~ Jan

Spinach Salad

2 lbs. flat leaf spinach, washed and stems trimmed
2 small red onions, peeled and sliced
8 large mushrooms, cut into thick slices
2 large eggs, hard boiled, chilled and peeled
1/2 to 1 lb. crisply cooked bacon, drained and broken into small pieces

Poppy Seed Dressing


1 egg, buy pasteurized eggs as this recipe calls for an uncooked egg.  I've made it countless times with no problems with the eggs
1/4 C.sugar
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
2/3 C. red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbs. grated onion and any juice from it
2 C corn oil - don't use olive oil because if you put olive oil in the fridge it will congeal
3 Tbs. poppy seeds


Use the food processor for this.

Combine egg, sugar, mustard,vinegar, salt, onion and the juice in food processor @ 1 minute.
With motor running slowly pour in the oil. When all the oil is incorporated turn off, taste and seaso to your liking.
Transfer to a bowl, stir in the poppy seeds and refrigerate, covered til ready to use. 

Homemade Croutons

You can do this in a skillet, I find it easier to just put them on a cookie sheet and bake them

1 loaf of crusty bread, cut into 1.5" cubes 
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp. butter, melted
3 cloves of garlic, crushed

Toss together all ingredients, put on cookie sheet and bake in preheated 375 oven until crisp and brown, flipping with spatula often so that they brown uniformly.  This usually takes about 15-20 minutes. 

Drain on paper towel

When ready to serve, toss all ingredients with dressing and top with croutons and crumbled bacon

The Ultimate Summer Wedge Salad

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, June 04, 2023

Here you have it, folks—a summer salad that's bursting with flavors and textures. The combination of lettuce,  crispy bacon, and blue cheese creates a harmony of tastes that will make your taste buds sing with delight. I also like to change it a bit by adding nuts and apples.  Whip up this salad for your next backyard barbecue, potluck, or a refreshing weeknight dinner. It's the perfect way to celebrate summer's bounty and savor the sunny season. So, go ahead, grab your salad bowl, and enjoy this scrumptious creation. Happy summer salad-ing


Iceberg lettuce - if you're not a fan of wedge salad, just chop your own it's so much fresher than bagged

.5 lb. of thick sliced bacon

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes

1/2 cup dried cherries or cranberries - totally optional

1 large smith apple, chopped.  Honeycrisp never disappoint, again optional

Chopped egg (optional

1/2 cup toasted pecans or walnuts, and the final optional ingredient, just to mix it up a bit

I like lots of blue cheese on this, but cheddar works too if you aren't a fan of blue cheese

I'm going to give you two options for dressing, of course Blue Cheese Dressing is the classic, but if you don't care for it, the Sweet Balsamic is ahhh-mazing...

Classic Blue Cheese Dressing

4 ounces blue cheese crumbles

1/3 cup buttermilk

1/3 cup sour cream

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 Tablespoon parsley chopped

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

salt and pepper to taste


In a small bowl add the blue cheese crumbles and buttermilk. Mash the crumbles with a fork.

Add in the sour cream, mayonnaise, parsley, garlic powder, and salt and pepper and whisk. Add in more buttermilk if you want a thinner consistency.

Sweet Balsamic Dressing

1/2 cup canola oil*

1/3 cup sugar or more to taste

4 tablespoons good balsamic vinegar

1/8 teaspoon dry mustard (I actually prefer a squeeze of yellow or Grey Poupon mustard)

Few twists of fresh cracked pepper, always use fresh cracked, the flavor just zings


Put all of the ingredients in a jar, put on the lid and shake until blended. 

*I use canola oil instead of olive oil so that I can refrigerate what I have left.  Olive oil congeals in the fridge, canola oil doesn't.

I added OXO links.  I'm really loving this smaller size salad spinner this summer.  Why?  Because you can wash your lettuce, spin it dry and put the whole container in the fridge.  Works for me and I'm such a fan of OXO products, they never disappoint...

















Decadent Strawberry Cheesecake

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, May 12, 2023

Are you ready to indulge in a decadent dessert that will satisfy all your sweet cravings? Look no further than a delicious strawberry cheesecake. This creamy, velvety dessert is a classic favorite for a reason, with its rich flavor and smooth texture that is perfect for any occasion. Whether you're celebrating a special occasion or simply looking for a delicious treat to enjoy with friends and family, a decadent strawberry cheesecake is the perfect choice.

Graham Cracker Crust

 1 sleeve graham cracker crumbs
4 tablespoons butter - melted
2 tablespoons sugar
pinch of salt

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside.

Cheesecake Filling

 4 large pkgs, Philadelphia cream cheese softened 
1 1/2 cups of sugar
 2/3 cup whole milk
1 pint sour cream (16 oz)
4 eggs (beat in one at a time)
4 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon vanilla

Strawberry Topping

1 ½ lbs strawberries
1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
3 to 6 tablespoons sugar - adjust as needed, taste for sweetness
1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of your 10" springform pan with a parchment paper round for easy removal. Then, double wrap the pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil.


Use a food processor to make graham cracker crumbs. Alternatively, crush them in a resealable bag using a rolling pin or kitchen mallet. Mix the crumbs with the melted butter, sugar, and salt. It should resemble wet sand and hold its shape when pressed. Add the crumbs to the pan and firmly pat down to get an even layer on the bottom and sides.

I use a KitchenAid stand-up mixer to cream the cream cheese and sugar. Add remaining ingredients one at a time until blended. Pour into springform pan.

Heat oven to 350 degrees AND place an oblong pan of water about 1/3 full on rack beneath rack for cheesecake. Prevents cheesecake from cracking.

Place cheesecake on the above rack. I bake in our gas oven for 50 minutes. 


Remove cheesecake from the oven and place on a rack. After about 5 minutes, run a thin knife around the edge of the cheesecake to prevent from sticking or cracking when cooling.


Once cake is completely cooled pour the strawberry topping on top* cover the cheesecake with foil and place in refrigerator overnight. Remove springform and enjoy.

Note:  Cheesecake is never good the first day, always refrigerate it overnight for best results.

* If you prefer, make the topping, and put it in the fridge in a jar.  Then spoon it over each slice of cheesecake as you serve it.

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