If you are hungry when you start reading this, I’ll warn you right now, you will be drooling by the time you get to the bottom of this post. Lots of food pics and lots of talk about food. My family gathered in my parent’s mountain house in NC (they live in ATL, but have had this mountain house for about 25 years) for a few days. We ate, we sat on the porch, we walked for miles and miles a little bit, we talked about food, and we ate like pigs some more. 🙂
My family dearly loves a good meal and when we get together, there’s plenty of celebrating with food. We are so blessed to have parents that know how to grow things and this is how we were raised. Fresh vegetables from the garden, my mom “putting up” food for eating later, either canning or freezing that bounty from the garden. So, this is normal for us. I feel for those of you who do not know what eating fresh veggies from the garden is all about, but I know that many of you do. We had plenty of it and still do, thanks to my hard working parents who still enjoy growing their own food and sharing it with us. They are 81 and 82 now and that hasn’t slowed them down much at all. My mom can still cook up a storm and I’ll share some of that with you here.
We are blessed indeed! I have a sweet video of my mom making this cornbread, but I haven’t been able to get it uploaded. If I do, I’ll post it later. On a side note, I should have mentioned that this recipe comes from a book about some of my family who were missionaries in Paraguay back in the late 60’s, early 70’s. So, this recipe was mentioned in the book and mom decided to try it.
Edited: Several mentioned the cole slaw and I’ll try to remember to get that one and post it too. 🙂
Paraguayan Cornbread from Aunt Evelyn
(Note: This recipe is for a 9 x 13 pan, but mom halved it)
3 cups Martha White cornbread mix
6 eggs, beaten
1 3/4 cup milk (skim is fine)
1 lb. Monterey Jack cheese (cubed)
3/4 cup oil (olive is fine)
4 cups chopped onion (2 large onions)
Grease 9 x 13 glass baking dish. Chop onion, saute in olive oil. Cube cheese (don’t use shredded, the cubes will bake & get gooey, you want that!).
Measure cornmeal in one bowl. Beat eggs & mix with milk in another. Pour milk into cornmeal all at once, beating with whisk to eliminate lumps. Add cubes of cheese. Pour hot oil/onion mixture into cornmeal batter. Quickly mix well. Pour into greased pan. (Note: mom didn’t saute the onions, but added them in raw & they cooked fine inside).
Bake at 450* for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Cut and serve hot. I also think adding chopped jalapeno or chile peppers would be great too.
I took pics of most of our meals and you can see, we eat well. Our first breakfast was grits and tomato gravy, with homemade biscuits, sausage and bacon. Tomato gravy is probably not something that is common to all Southerners, but my mom has been making this for as long as I can remember. She serves it over grits or rice and it’s delish. She uses fresh tomatoes when available and when they are not, she uses her canned tomatoes. I use her canned tomatoes for a LOT of things I cook too.
Tomato gravy is basically, a little bit of bacon grease (left over from cooking bacon), a couple of TBL will do, add some flour (couple TBL) and then add those fresh chopped tomatoes with salt and pepper. Add the flour to the grease first, making sort of a roux, then add the tomatoes and stir, stir, stir. The gravy will thicken up a bit and you’ll have a delicious gravy that is to die for over grits.
Mom’s made from scratch biscuits. Don’t ask me how to make these, I have no idea. I don’t make biscuits from scratch. 🙂
Here’s my plate, with the grits and tomato gravy, bacon, sausage, and a biscuit topped with honey. We found a local small fruit market near my parents that carried Sourwood Honey from Asheville for $10 a quart and we brought home 2 quarts. It’s not that easy to find and Sourwood honey is the best, in our opinion.
My dad in the garden, where he feels so much at home among all the vegetables.
We did take a walk down the street one morning and here are the sights we saw.
Queen Anne’s lace growing wildly in the nearby meadows.
An old and rustic barn.
A pretty hydrangea in someone’s driveway.
We hiked up to a neighorhood across the street from my parent’s house that has filled up over the last few years. There’s quite a view from up there. This house was adding a double decker observation deck and I’m sure they will enjoy that.
Cause here’s the view that they will have. Gorgeous, huh? Nothing like the NC mountains for the most beautiful scenery.
We drove down by the river that’s near our parent’s house too and had never been down this little lane.
There are some beautiful cottages and mountain houses right here on the river. Loved that this house is apparently Bama fans! Roll Tide.
Back to my parent’s house, they have a sweet little creek right in their front yard.
My parent’s creek.
Flower in the creek.
My parent’s also have huge blueberry bushes that are always loaded. They gave us 2 big bags of blueberries to bring home, as the end of blueberries is near. We did go out and pick about a gallon more off the bushes, since there were still some left. They are big and sweet.
Back inside, we are getting ready for yet another wonderful meal. Mom’s getting ready to fry some okra.
Eggplant is frying here and she’s getting the rest of the veggies ready to go.
We had feasts at every meal.
Fried okra, zipper peas, black-eyed peas.
Creamed corn, fresh tomatoes, and pole beans. Are you drooling yet? 🙂
The girls played Mexican train dominos one night. That’s my niece, Lauren, who went yardsaling with me a few weeks ago.
And the breakfast finale on Saturday morning: Blueberry pancakes with sausage and bacon. I told you we like to eat. We certainly cannot eat like this all the time, but it sure is a treat for a couple of days.
While we were out shopping a little, I took this pic of the local store in Brasstown, near my parents house. Clay’s Corner is known for the New Year’s Eve possum drop. They drop a possum in a basket, then set him loose to celebrate New Year’s Eve. You know, just like New York and dropping the Big Apple. 🙂 It’s quite the culture here in the NC mountains.
A few short years ago, news of the possum drop in Brasstown, NC made The NY Times and the fine folks at PETA (ha!) decided to sue this little store for animal cruelty if they did the possum drop that year. So, the store backed off for a year or two until things died down and now they are back to normal with the possum dropping. Thank goodness. They sure don’t need anyone telling them what to do. I mean, after all they weren’t hurting any possums, just having some good clean fun with them.
The grand finale was a fish fry. Dad and Lauren are cooking up the fish, while I was getting the ice cream churn going for our homemade vanilla ice cream. My mom gets fresh perch from her brother in Florida and we love, love having fish fries with this wonderful filleted fish. It’s the best!
Fried perch and my mom’s hushpuppies, along with cole slaw.
My plate, with baked beans and cheese grits. We love to serve cheese grits with our fish fries down here too.
And to top it off, homemade vanilla ice cream with fresh peaches. We were so stuffed, of course we didn’t eat anything the rest of the day. Again, can’t eat like this every day. It will be back to normal with the exercise routine.
We brought home some wonderful fresh SC peaches from the local market, as well as peppers and cucumbers from my parent’s garden.
Just picked okra came home with us too. I’ll be frying this up this week.
Two bags of fresh blueberries. I sure do love these on my morning cereal.
And we brought home a huge box of tomatoes that some friends had given my parents from a local garden that had been picked and they had a surplus. More salsa coming up! We also brought home more frozen veggies that my mom had put up as well as a case of her canned tomatoes, which is so great to have around. I use it for everything from spaghetti sauce to homemade soups.
So, I hope you enjoyed going to the NC mountains with us! It’s always a treat to just hang out with my family, eat and visit, and be together. There’s no cell phone coverage where they are or internet service. They do have a big TV though with satellite, so are not completely isolated. But, it’s a great way to get away from the busyness of life in the city and enjoy country life for a few days.
Linked to Jen’s Tasty Tuesday.
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holy moly! i am drooling now!! i love all of the above, though the closest thing to many of your fresh vegetables for us are… frozen. i love blueberries on my cereal too. corn bread recipe…. wow!!!!! thanks for sharing such wonderfully, family-oriented, down home goodness! I wish things were still like this!
I am starving now 🙂 All the food looks DELISH!
I have followed your posts for some time but this is the first time I have commented. The food looks delicious. I think I LOVE your parents. You are so blessed. Now, I want to go stay a week with them and let you mother teach me to cook all that glorious food! I will clean their house and hoe the garden and whatever else just teach me to cook all that food!
WOW! Yumm-O! I copied the cornbread recipe. I will be making that real soon. Why is it when family gets together all we do is eat? I am not southern but I am Slovak. I have a good ole Irish name by marriage but I cook a lot of Slovakian foods. When we get together for the Holidays with my family all we do is eat! LOVE! Thanks for such a great post. You will have to add it to your favorite posts column! Nancy from OHIO
yes, that did it, now I am starving ahaha!!
I’m a southern girl so I can appreciate and drool over every single picture! Oh.My.Word! What I wouldn’t give to have been there. Tomato gravy is one of my favorite things my Mom makes. I love it over rice with her pork chops and a pear salad. Oh, I’m hungry just thinking about it. You’re a lucky girl.
[email protected] Ki!e says
I love zipper peas; Those pictures could have been taken at my family get togethers. I have seen many of the same dishes cooked up.
Fried okra, zipper peas, black-eyed peas, grits: I have never had any of these to my knowledge. But your pictures sure made everything look good! I think I gained five pounds just by reading.
Frances Usher Jackson says
Hey Girl! This is how we eat too, sometimes! I was born in NC, lived in GA, MS and now in AL. My grandmothers were fantastic cooks and I’d like to think that I learned something from them. Your family “get-together” reminds me of my own. Lots of great food and LOVE! The Smokey Mt. photos made me SOOOO homesick for NC. Some of my family still lives there, need to get home and visit them soon. Wish we were having a family reunion up there, but it’s here in AL this Oct. I sure did enjoy your trip to the mountains, thanks for the memories!
Rhoda, I hold you responsible for the 5 pounds I just gained bu simply reading your post and looking at the pictures. Thanks for taking me along, I enjoyed the trip.
This is the way Roy(husband) cooks, but we are on diet right now, so will save recipe for later.
Rhoda, I always love your posts with your family. Your mother reminds me so much of my grandmother. I have memories of her standing by her stove, and she could cook the best food ever. And, you daddy is so cute. Our families are such a blessings.
OMG! You are right I am hungry now!! God bless your parents who are still active, and eating good healthy foods!
My grandparents had a farm many yrs ago, and used to grow their own vegetables too, Oh the pies too! Thanks for sharing this great post!
Nathan's Uncle says
Rhoda, I am drooling all over my computer, I am jealous to the core, and I WANT ALL THAT FOOD RIGHT NOW! You ate ALL my favorite things. IT IS NOT FAIR!
Pam Greene says
Hi Rhoda *smile* I love your blog! Deep South and yummy food! What a beautiful family too! Please ask your sweet mama if you could do a little video of her making those biscuits! They look waaaay better than mine! Thank you for being you!
joycee tilton says
I love the cabin and the food, oh man I am drooling and it’s only 8AM! What a special time with parents and family!
Thanks for all the pictures of that beautiful southern food, it made me reflect on my childhood visits to Alabama to visit my Grandma Gregson. There is nothing like Tomato gravy and rice. When it comes to cooking good food southerners do it right and most of all they will always make you feel welcome at there table.
janice haughton says
Dozx yoru know where I can find some pole beans in northern va or north carolina? I would love to have a pot for Thanksgiving.
Wow, that’s some good looking food and right down my Southern alley! 🙂
I just posted about Tomato Gravy on my blog the other day, and biscuits…yum, yum.
And those fresh tomatoes…can’t wait for a fresh summer vine-ripened tomato!
Carolyn Simpson says
Love your blog. Hope to find the recipe for your mother’s apple/walnut cheesecake. Also, would love going to yardsales with you. At almost 76 years old, I still love, love, love thrift stores, yard sales and getting ideas.
It’s all about southern cooking and family. Love your site