This section will feature some of the favorite menu selections I cook for my family and friends.  Food brings us together, creates memories, and nourishes our bodies and souls!  I love to cook and my boys love to eat, so I’m always looking for ideas myself, and will share some of my own along the way!

Late Summer Suppers — Crowder Peas

  Last week I made a run to the farmer’s market for some fresh Arkansas tomatoes and happened upon these yummy fresh crowder peas just begging to be purchased at checkout!  Couldn’t resist – though I wasn’t sure if I could pull off a successful dish.  Did a little research and came up with my own recipe – easy and yummy and doesn’t take long!  Goes well with cornbread, fresh tomatoes, and some chow chow if you have it on hand!!

2 cups fresh crowder peas            1/2 onion, chopped         
2 tbsp. butter or bacon fat                   1 tsp. minced garlic    
1/2 cup ham chunks                              water
 salt, pepper to taste                              sugar

Rinse peas, drain and set aside.  In 4 qt. pot, saute onion and garlic in bacon drippings or butter for 5-7 minutes.  Add peas, ham, and water enough to cover about 1/2 inch above peas.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and cook for 45 minutes until peas reach a soft texture.  Add salt and pepper to taste, and sprinkle in a spoonful or two of sugar for a dash of sweetness.  Mash peas just a few times with a potato masher for a thicker consistency.  Serve with a side of cornbread and you’ll think you’re back at grandma’s!!

Shari's Snowday Stew

Old Fashioned Goodness for a cold snowy day!

Shari’s Old-Fashioned Snow Day Stew

Nothing’s better on a cold wintry day than a good old-fashioned bowl of beef stew!  Last night, I took a couple of recipes, blended ideas from both, and added my own twist for a new recipe that I’m keeping in my Favorite Family Food Files!  There’s just enough left over to enjoy another bowl or two on this snowy day:)  Every home cook needs a trusty stew recipe, so here’s one that my family likes.  Maybe yours will like it too!

1 1/2 – 2 lbs. beef, cut for stew                 3 carrots – bite-sized chunks
1 C. flour + 2 tsp. salt                                   3 celery stalks – bite-sized chunks
Cavendar’s seasoning                                  minced garlic – 2 tsp.
1/4 C. cooking oil                                               3 tsp. sugar
32 oz. beef broth                                           1/2 C. red wine (cooking/table)
1 onion, bite-sized chunks                         Worcesteshire Sauce
3 T. butter                                                        14 oz. Tomato Sauce
4-5 red potatoes, bite-sized chunks

Heat oil in 8 qt. Dutch oven.  Add Cavendar’s and salt to flour.  Dredge meat chunks in flour mixture and brown all sides in oil.  Remove meat and set aside.  Add onion to oil and drippings and saute for 5 minutes.  Add butter and garlic, and cook on medium heat for 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove and add to meat.  Add wine to the pan and deglaze in drippings for 5-10 minutes, then stir in sugar.  Return meat, onions to pan and lightly pour Worcesteshire sauce over mixture.  Add beef broth to cover ingredients and bring to a simmer.  Add potatoes, carrots, & celery and additional broth to desired consistency and simmer for 30 minutes.  Add tomato sauce and simmer for 30 more minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Serve with warm, crusty bread and enjoy!!

Coconut Tilapia – inspired from Southern Brazil

by Shari Edwards on Monday, April 12, 2010 at 7:11pm
While on a mission trip with students, on our last day of sightseeing in Florianopolis, Brazil, our IMB Missionary, Alana Ichter Greenwich, took us to a charming seaside restaurant in a little fishing village. This restaurant was known for the thousands of notes left by patrons, some famous, hanging on the walls and from the ceiling! The food in the southern coastal region of Brazil is some of the best, most fresh-tasting I’ve ever eaten. One of the items offered in this restaurant was a Coconut Tilapia, braised in coconut milk. I have re-created this dish to the best of my memory, and am very pleased with the results — some of you asked for the recipe, so here it is. I hope you enjoy! (If only I could reproduce the amazing rice dish they serve there, it would be perfect! Still trying …)


4 Tilapia filets
Butter/Olive Oil
Fresh grated coconut
Coconut Milk
Salt/Pepper to taste
Cashews or Almonds(Optional)

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Melt about 1/3 stick butter and around 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a 9 x 13 baking dish. When melted, place tilapia filets in dish, coating both sides in butter/oil mixture. Pour in coconut milk, enough to reach just the top of the filets. Salt and pepper as desired. Bake for 15 minutes, remove and sprinkle with grated coconut. Though not served this way, I added chopped cashews for more texture and flavor. Return to oven for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until fish is flaky and light and coconut is golden brown.

This dish is very moist and juicy. If you prefer a drier fish, coating the fish with a breaded mixture, and using a minimal amount of coconut milk is another option.

(The first time I attempted this dish, I could not find Coconut Milk, so I used Coconut Cream … which resulted in a very rich, sweet-tasting fish. Yummy but not exactly right:) Coconut Milk can be found in the organic section of your grocery store.)

view from the restaurant