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Chicken ‘n Dumplings

As the weather begins to cool down…it becomes Chicken ‘n Dumpling Season….ENJOY!

Preserving the Good Life

As the weather cools, my crowd loves soups, stews and old fashioned Chicken ‘n Dumplings.  This recipe is an all time family favorite at our house.   I can remember standing over the stove as a little girl, waiting for the milk to boil so the dumplings could be dropped.  Making Dumplings of any sort is an art.  Once mastered, you can make all sorts of dumplings:  Pea Dumplings, Blackberry Dumplings, not just Chicken ‘n Dumplings.  Here’s how we done it on our family farm.

Boil 4 large chicken breasts until done.  Separate chicken and broth, set broth aside. Take a mixer and shred the chicken – you’ll never hand shred chicken again….

In a pot combine shredded chicken, 1 pint chicken broth, 1 quart of milk and 1/2 stick of butter.  Bring to a boil.


This is where you can do it one of two ways:  Biscuits from a can…

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Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

One of my all time favorites….

Preserving the Good Life

Some of my fondest memories of Grandma’s kitchen involve a strawberry, rhubarb combination.  She used to make some of the best cobblers!  She never measured anything and I’d get tickled when she cooked with rhubarb.  She would add what she thought was enough sugar, then she’d add a little more just for good measure!  I had to figure out a way to get that combination of tart sweetness into something that I could eat in much smaller portions. There’s something about combining the sweet strawberries with the tart rhubarb that makes a blissful combination and leaves you wanting more.   When I tasted this jam, I could close my eyes and envision standing back in Grandma’s kitchen.
Rhubarb can be hard to find in my area until late May.  Sometimes, you can find it at the Farmer’s Market or the grocery store.   I got super excited when I found…

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Strawberry Jam – No Pectin, No Sure Jell

Strawberry Season has begun!

Preserving the Good Life


This recipe yields 12 jelly jars (8 oz)

  • 1 Gallon fresh berries – caped, washed and chopped
  • 8 cups of sugar – divided
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tablespoons Real Butter
  • 12 sterile jars, rings and lids


Place the jars in the oven, heat to 200°.  Cap, wash and chop berries.  Measure berries.  An average gallon yields 8 cups of chopped berries; this is important.  For every cup of berries, you will need one cup of sugar.  Add berries and 1/2 of the sugar to a stock pot and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Increase temperature to high.  Once it’s at a rolling boil, boil for 5 minutes, occasionally stirring.  Add remaining sugar, lemon juice and butter.   Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 10 minutes, stir occasionally.  Be sure to stir it enough that it doesn’t stick.  Skim off any excess pink foam.  Boil…

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Apple Cranberry Crisp

Preserving the Good Life

This is one of those mouth-watering recipes that can be used as a side dish at Thanksgiving, Christmas or as a dessert for any holiday occasion.


  • 3 cups chopped unpeeled apples
  • 2 cups whole raw cranberries
  • 1 1/4 cup of white sugar
  • 1/2 cup of water

Mix together the apples, cranberries and sugar in a casserole dish.  Top with 1/2 cup water.



  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cup of oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional

Mix together the topping and sprinkle it over the cranberry, apple mixture.


Bake for 1 hour on 350 degrees.  This is delicious as a side or as a dessert, warmed and topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Enjoy!!!

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Labor of Love

I don’t know where to even begin in writing this post, my heart is so full….so let’s just start at the beginning.  A friend sent this article to my husband, it’s an article that I hadn’t seen in years, it explains the history behind the family cabin…..”Recapturing A Heritage”, Callie and Clinton Marshall were my grandparents.


In 1985, when I was a young child, my grandfather built this one room cabin as a replica of what he grew up in.  He wanted his grandchildren to see what it was like to grow up in a simple cabin with no power, no running water and the bare basics like he did.  This cabin sits at the foot of the mountain, on the family farm, back in a little corner surrounded by shallow creek.  To me it’s one of the most peaceful places on earth,  often referred to by my Grandmother as “a ‘lil peace of Heaven”.  The older I get, the more I understand why she called it that.

Growing up I would help my Grandmother clean the cabin every Spring, Fall and before special occasions.  We would dust the family heirlooms, wash windows and sweep, it’s harder to clean than you think with no running water or electricity.  The guys would weed-eat and clean up outside, clearing limbs from the creek and cleaning up the best they could.   As my grandparents aged and later passed on, I continued to clean the cabin every Spring,  Fall and special occasion just as I did growing up.  My grandparents put such love it that place, it was the least I could do, not to mention it’s filled with such memories of sleepovers, fish frys, chicken stews and Christmases past.


This picture is of my family the Christmas of 1985….

Another family member inherited this lil piece of heaven but that didn’t stop the love I poured into it. I’m fortunate enough to live about 20 minutes from the property and be able to help take care of the upkeep.  What I wasn’t able to do was make all the much needed repairs without his permission and my father’s help.  That’s where God stepped in and the rest is history.  Since the 1st of August we have worked diligently, tirelessly and weekly on this cabin making the much needed repairs.  My father went at this project with a passion and if you know him, you know, when he’s on a mission the job is going to get done!

Here’s how the cabin looked late July…


The project started with bulldozing behind the cabin to make room for a back porch.  We spent a Saturday building a back porch to help keep the water off the back of the cabin to help preserve the logs.  As it was, the back of the cabin stayed wet and the logs were rotting.  Opening and closing the back door became a challenge as the water had damaged the framing.


There’s a spring head just to the side of the cabin that ran to the creek and left a swampy mess behind it.  We dug a 100 ft ditch from the spring to the creek and spent a Saturday building a “blind” ditch to bury the spring head so it could drain into the creek and not leave the swamp behind.  Later the boys hauled in loads and loads of black mountain dirt to cover the ditch and make a yard.

We tore the old shingles off of the porch to realize that boards needed to be replaced before our roofing party.  We replaced the rotten boards and replaced the old moss covered shingles with a new tin roof.

We tore out old wooden chinking which had strips of insulation tucked in behind it. That was a nasty job as the mice had resided in those cracks for 30+ yrs and it made for a perfect doorway for the snakes.  We  found 4 snakes during this project!  As we cleaned that out, a man by the name of, Blanchard Montgomery went behind us and filled those cracks with cement.  It’s a true art to do that type of work and Blanchard done a beautiful job.

During the removal of chinking we found four logs that desperately needed replacing, that lead to another day’s project.  The Montgomery boys helped my father that day, they literally found a Pine tree and took it from standing, to the sawmill to the cabin walls.  That adventure was educational in itself.

Another day was spent replacing the molding and fine tuning the back door.  As it was, the door would barely open and close and took “holding your mouth right” to get it to shut properly.

Another full day (or two) was spent making a newer, more stable bridge to replace the one that was tattered and rickety due to age.

At this point, projects were beginning to wrap up and the cabin was finally mouse and snake proof, so the cleaning began…but 1st, we needed lights.  So we installed 4 LED lights to run off of a battery.  The cabin is so tucked in to the base of that mountain that you had to pipe in sunlight.  When the lights came on, wow, not only was I able to see the craftsmanship that went into the cabin, I was able to see all the dust and spiderwebs.  It took a week’s worth of generator operated vacuuming, elbow grease, corn oil and Murphy’s Oil Soap to get it clean enough to suit me.  I took every piece of glass and linen home to wash it.  We spent a day reworking every piece of cast iron.

The cabin is filled with four generations of family heirlooms, such as; receiving gowns that my great-grandmother wore, a picture of my great-great-grandmother, a hammer my great-grandfather used to mend shoes and irons that my great-grandmother used to iron clothes for the Dr of the community, Dr. Gates.  So much history under one roof.

Now it’s time to enjoy it and make some memories!  We had our 1st Christmas there in 12 years this past Christmas.

Stay tuned for the renovations to come in 2017……


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