Our family Thanksgiving is always full - full people, full house, full tummies, full of laughs, full of blessings, and of course - tons of food... you know the drill!

This year it was held at my sister-in-law's plantation, Orange Grove. Thursday was just a glorious day and got even better when lots of family arrived - some 40 people. In they came with main dishes, casseroles, sweet potato dishes, salads, collard greens, cranberry sauces, Virginia ham, two kinds of turkeys producing a feast for all!

The main event was the frying of the turkey... all done by the able and talented turkey fryer - Chip Walker. He performed his task without a hitch and produced the most splendid, best tasting, non-dry fried turkey ever. Many thanks Chip ('cause we ALL remember what happened last year)!

My contribution to the feast was two desserts. The first one was a Coconut Cake that I will post about later. The other was Sticky Toffee Pudding - an English dessert that I make every year for the masses.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Butter a 13 x 9 pan (metal, not glass)

  • 1 stick softened butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 16 ozs. chopped and pitted dates
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 and 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (non-aluminum)

Cream butter and sugar until well mixed. Add 4 eggs and 2 teaspoons of vanilla. Mix well.

In a food processor, pulse the 2 cups of boiling water and the 16 ozs. of dates until well mixed. Add 2 teaspoons of baking soda, 2 and 1/4 cups all purpose flour, and 1 teaspoon baking powder. Pulse until well incorporated. Add this mixture to the butter mixture and mix well.

Pour into prepared baking pan and bake 35-40 minutes or until top springs back.


  • 3 cups whipping cream
  • 12 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar

Place all the above in a saucepan and bring to a slow boil. Cook about 5-8 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Cut the cake into squares, top with warm sauce. Then, top with slightly sweetened whipped cream.

This is some kind of goodness!


They (by the way, who is "they") say, Sunday is a day of rest. But not today, our church had it's Pre-Thanksgiving Bake Sale and yes, I made Derby Pies and then worked at the sale. All the money raised is being sent to our partner church in Haiti to feed the hungry and destitute after this devastating Hurricane season they have experienced. We are all so blessed every day that we have a roof over our heads, readily available food (most of us will never know starvation) and for the most part - good health. I am feeling very thankful!

After working the sale, I spent the afternoon in a friend's commercial kitchen producing 42 pounds of Southern Fried Pecans. What would have taken me 4 - 5 hours at home, took about 1 hour from start to finish. Many, many thanks Tony.

As for the recipe for the pecans, I have not decided yet whether to market them or not so until then, I will not post the recipe. Sorry...

They are Divine!

Until then, Happy Thanksgiving.


For a short of period of my life, I lived with my grandmother, Granny. She was a big influence in my life, especially in her love of food. She was an amazing cook. Every year at Christmas, she made the most unbelievable fudge and sands (now called Mexican Wedding Cookies).
I have yet to find or duplicate the recipe for the fudge, but I did find the recipe for the sands.
When I first made them, I miscalculated the amount of butter and had to add a stick of melted butter at the end to make the dough come together. A disaster that turned out to be the better way to make these cookies. I have tried them with the proper amount of butter as the recipe indicates and the way that I initially made them. I also have added the rice flour to the recipe. Anytime I want a cookie that is a bit crispy, I add rice flour.
As it turns out, the disaster way is the best method. I am sharing with you the best method recipe.

  • 1 stick soft butter
  • 1 stick of melted butter
  • 8 Tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon of Rice Flour
  • 2 Cups Chopped Pecans
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Place softened butter and 8 Tablespoons sugar in the bowl of mixer. Beat together until incorporated. Add flours nuts and vanilla. Beat at slow speed until this comes together. Add 1 stick of melted butter. Mix just until incorporated. Roll into small balls and place on baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper.

Bake 25 - 30 minutes or just until they start to brown. Rotate sheets half way through baking process.
Remove from oven and immediately sift xxx sugar over the top.

Makes about 6 dozen.
Store in airtight tin.


Well, it has been a long time - maybe September since I posted. BUT, I have a really good excuse - I have been in London for the birth of grandbaby #9 - a girl named Marguerite Louisa Letton Mackinnon, born 10/17 - a beauty as evidenced by the picture.
I will soon be posting pictures of my latest cooking adventure (venture). With the help of my really good friend, Tony Page, I will use his commercial kitchen this weekend for production of Southern Fried Pecans.
Then getting ready for the Holiday season, I will post my famous Grannie's Sands.. you will not be disappointed!
Until then, Bon Appetit!

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Mother/Step-Mother of 5 (Blended family), Grandmother of 9 precious grandchildren - 7 stateside and 2 in London. Cooking is my passion and stress release, Lived in the Charleston, SC area all my life, love to travel to England and Italy.
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