Cheese Crispies … with a Kick!


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I am no stranger to cheese crackers, cheese straws or cheese wafers, and have made them all.  Recently I came across a recipe for “Cheese Crispies” in a Taste of Home magazine which sounded intriguing by the addition of Rice Krispies.  When I try a new recipe, I usually make it exactly the way it’s written, but not with this one.  I like a good “kick” to my cheese crackers, so in addition to the cayenne pepper, I added a good dose of hot pepper flakes.  The heat level is completely up to you.

There was one other change I made to the original recipe.  When I divided the dough in half, each half was far too much dough for just a 7 inch log.  I rolled each half of the dough into a log that ended up being 14 inches long and they worked perfectly.  I also had to increase the bake time for a crispy cracker.  All in all, I ended up with 84 crackers with a good kick!

Click here for the recipe:  Cheese Crispies

On Saturday, March 18, I took a tray of these Cheese Crispies to the Southport Cheese Shoppe in honor of their one-year anniversary here in Southport.  Congrats to Eric and Lisa Stettner for bring the world of cheeses to Southport.

If you are in the Southport, North Carolina area, be sure to stop by the Southport Cheese Shoppe where you find fresh cheeses, jams, jellies, olives and nuts. Owners, Lisa and Eric Stettner, will be happy to help you with your selections. The Southport Cheese Shoppe is located at 417 B North Howe Street, Southport, NC 28461.  Phone: 910-477-6387.
Click here for their website:  Southport Cheese Shoppe
Click here to visit their Facebook page:  Southport Cheese Shoppe

See ya around the appetizer table ~ Barbara

“With These Hands” – Stitch ‘N’ Time Stitchers – New Exhibit at Calabash Library


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Earlier this year I had the pleasure of meeting a group of “stitchers” at the Hickmans Crossroads Library in Calabash, North Carolina.  I visited them on two occasions to learn more about their group, why they have come together, what their community involvement is, but, more importantly, to capture their spirit through their hands as they stitched.

I’m very grateful to the South Brunswick Magazine who published my story, and photographs.  The article is in the Winter 2016-17 issue which hit the newsstands on February 28, 2017.  The magazine is a free publication and can be found at local grocery stores and shops in South Brunswick County (NC). The article can be seen here and also downloaded as a .pdf (see the end of this post.)

I am also very honored to share these photographs with the patrons of the Calabash Library with an exhibit of photographs from the article, plus several others.  The exhibit will be on display at the library through Monday, April 3, 2017.






South Brunswick Magazine Winter 2016-17

For a .pdf file of the article, click here:  With These Hands

For more information about the Hickmans Crossroads Library in Calabash, North Carolina, click here:  Calabash: Hickmans Crossroads Library

The Hickmans Crossroads Library is located at 1040 Calabash Road, Calabash, NC. Telephone: 910-575-0173. The library is open Monday through Friday from 9 am until 6 pm; closed Saturday and Sunday.

Click here to view the gallery on my website of all the photographs in the exhibit:  Stitch ‘N’ Time Stitchers

If you are in the area, I hope you will stop by to see the exhibit.  Now, where did I leave my knitting needles?? – See ya around the yarn shop. ~ Barbara

Only 38 Days Until Valentine’s Day … Make These Paper Fortune Cookies For Your Sweetie


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Many parts of the country are under a deep blanket of snow and ice, so now may be a good time to start on a fun project for Valentine’s Day … Paper Fortune Cookies (no calories!!).dsc_1881_logo_web

Use different papers, different designs and write your own fortunes or use a small sampling of some of my favorites (see below).  Don’t have paper?  Download the document below which contains two sheets of valentine designs.  A 3-inch circle, outlined in black, will be your guidelines for a perfect size fortune cookie.  Print and cut. dsc_1887_logo_web

Supplies Needed:  3-inch circles of cardstock paper, designs of your choice; fortune cookie sayings; glue and paper clips and scissorsdsc_1789_cropvivlogo_web

Need paper and fortunes?  Click on the two documents below, download, print and cut out.

Paper: Two Valentine Designs with 3-inch circles, ready for printing, click here:  Valentine Paper
Fortune Cookie Sayings: Ready for printing, click here:  Fortunes for Cookies

There are a number of ways to assemble your cookies.  Please click on the link below to see how Lara folds and glues her cookies.  So easy and very fun.

  • Fortune Cookie Tutorial
    Thanks very much to Lara Heacock of “Kind Over Matter” Blog for great craft ideas and an easy tutorial for paper fortune cookies.  Click here:  Kind Over Matter Fortune Cookies Tutorial

This was a fun project as the cold, winter weather kept me indoors.  And now I’m ready for Valentine’s Day.  Are you?

~See ya on the beach when the weather warms up. Barbara

Brrrrr … it’s cold outside. Make a pot of soup and add “Mary’s Savory Muffins.”


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While living in Nashville, TN, many years ago, my dear friend, Mary, and I would spend lunchtime together in the courtyard of the Nashville Public Library, or Saturday’s in the tea rooms of Kentucky and Tennessee or just hanging out.  One thing we had in common was our love of baking and sharing good eats with family and friends.  I have many of Mary’s recipe, but this one is my all-time favorite.  In fact, I won first place at the North Carolina Mountain State Fair in Asheville several years ago.  Thanks Mary!!


Now that winter is upon us, these savory muffins hit the spot partnered with a piping hot bowl of soup or stew.  The fragrance of oregano and sun-dried tomatoes will waft through the kitchen air, and if you’re like me, it will be difficult to wait until they are baked.  Trust me on this, you’ll see as you work with the dough with all the lingering scents.  Yogurt keeps these muffins moist and the feta cheese adds another layer of saltiness, but just the right amount. Don’t worry, these come together fairly quickly and bake for just 25 minutes.  Grab the butter, ladle out the soup and enjoy these tasty eats.

Click here for recipe:  Mary’s Savory Muffins

I wonder what other tasty eats my friend might share with me?? Aren’t friends great!

See ya in the kitchen around a bowl of hot soup and muffins ~ Barbara

Take a Book, Leave a Book – a Little Free Library may be in your area … stop by and see my library, “Delilah”


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What do you get when you take an old birdcage, a wooden crate and metal sheeting … and lots of books?  You get a Little Free Library.  Little Free Libraries now number over 50,000 in the United States and around the world.  My library, “Delilah” is number 41,796 which I built with the help of neighbors this past summer.

And thanks to many friends who came to her official ribbon cutting, she is stocked with books for children, young adults and adults.  The books come and go thanks to neighbors who stop by to “take a book and leave a book.”

To learn more about my library, “Delilah,” and the other libraries here in South Brunswick County, North Carolina, you can read my latest article that was just published in the Fall 2016 issue of the South Brunswick Magazine.  For anyone in Brunswick County, the magazine can be found at local stores, like Food Lion and Lowes Foods.  My article appears on page 80 through 83 (see below.) Or you can click here for a .pdf file:  little-free-library-bsammons-2016





Fall 2016 Cover


Contributors Page









During this holiday season, “Delilah” is all decked out in purple snowflakes, icicles and garland and holiday-themed books.  Can’t wait for the new year to see what books my neighbors will share with other fellow readers.

Many thanks to the South Brunswick Magazine for publishing my article.  Let’s all spread the word about the Little Free Libraries.

To learn more about the Little Free Library non-profit organization and to find a library near you, click here:  Little Free Library

See you around the library. ~Barbara

All I Can Say Is That You Can Never Have Too Many Jalapeno Peppers … Check Out This Pizza!


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I am a huge fan of jalapeno peppers … in moderation.  My sister recently went food shopping and brought home a new item from the folks who created the Crispy Fried Onions that most of us use on top of our Green Bean Casserole at Thanksgiving.  And look at what she found … Crispy Jalapenos!  Sounds and looks very interesting, but what can I do with them?  I immediately went to their website (see link below) and searched for a recipe using these Crispy Jalapenos.  I found a couple of recipes but the one that intrigued me the most was for a Crispy Jalapeno White Pizza.


I followed their recipe, for the most part, but since I did not have a pre-baked pizza crust, I had to bake the pizza dough that was in my refrigerator.  Their recipe also calls for plum tomatoes but I prefer those mini yellow tomatoes as they are not as acidic as the red tomatoes.  You can use whatever type of tomatoes you enjoy the most.  But the real “kicker” to this pizza was my addition of Hot & Sweet Jalapenos from Trader Joe’s.  They added an extra “sweet” punch to my pieces of pizza.  My sister is not quite as brave but she did enjoy the Crispy Jalapenos.  I kept a light touch with the Crispy Jalapenos on her side of the pizza.


Many thanks to French’s for this new, additional taste treat.

Click here to go to their website:  The French’s Food Company

Click here to go to their recipe:  Crispy Jalapeno White Pizza by French’s

Or, if you want to see my recipe with the few changes, click here:  Crispy Jalapeno White Pizza by Barbara

Be sure to check out French’s website for more recipes using their fine products.  I already see a few that are calling my name.

Keep it hot, keep it spicy … just be sure to have a glass of milk handy.  See ya around the jalapenos. ~ Barbara


Homemade Soft Pretzel Bites … Perfect for Football Season


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One of my favorite snacks, right up there with popcorn, are pretzels, especially soft pretzels.  And now, I can make my own soft pretzel bites by using just a few ingredients.

While glancing through the October 2016 issue of Good Housekeeping, I spotted the “Ask Susan” page.  There they were, front and center, soft pretzel bites.  And take a look at the recipe, what could be easier!  Now, I’ve made soft pretzels before, but they seemed so time-consuming and the whole boiling water thing seemed too daunting and messy.

“Ask Susan” suggests making soft pretzel bites with pre-made pizza dough.  Of course you still have to drop them in boiling water with baking soda, but it’s a lot easier with small pieces of dough.  After a quick dip in the boiling water, brush on egg wash, sprinkle on kosher salt, and pop them into the oven.  Perfect little pretzel bites in 15 minutes. Take a look at my venture into the world of soft pretzel bites.


For the 16-ounce package of pre-made pizza dough, it yielded 32 soft pretzel bites.  Don’t forget to add mustard as a dipping sauce.  My favorite is grainy mustard with a kick. Or you might prefer a queso dip, the choice is up to you.

Now, let’s get on with football season!!  See ya around the field. ~ Barbara

For recipe, click here:  Pretzel Bites
Courtesy of Good Housekeeping Magazine, October 2016 issue

I Will Travel Most Anywhere For A Good Car Show


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If you know anything about me, or have followed my photographic journey, then you know how much I love an old car or truck, especially those found in junkyards or by the side of the road, but I also love a beautifully restored Chevrolet just as much.  My heart skips a beat when I see the fins of a Cadillac or the hood ornament of a Pontiac Chief.  Back in August, my sister and I took a drive to Leland, North Carolina, just a 30 minute hop, to attend the Leland Under the Lights Car Show.  I have shared my photos on my website, but I wanted to share this recent write-up in the North Brunswick Magazine, the Fall 2016 issue, page 93, that features my photography from this car show.


Front Cover

Front Cover

The North Brunswick Magazine highlights life in Leland, North Carolina as well as neighboring communities. The magazine shares stories and photographs about the people, places, events, and spirits of North Brunswick County residents and visitors. The South Brunswick Magazine highlights areas of Southport, Oak Island, Ocean Isle, Holden Beach, Sunset Beach and Calabash, North Carolina.

I am truly honored to be a contributing photographer to this local magazine, along with their sister publication, the South Brunswick Magazine. 

My sister and I have lived in Southport for just a little over a year, but what a year it has been.  We have found new opportunities to share our work, made new friends and reconnected with old friends.  This move has given me an outlet to continue with my writing and my photography, both of which are my passions.

Change can be difficult, but with change comes new opportunities, if you keep your mind clear and open.  As long as I have my camera at my side and pen and paper handy, I’m a very happy camper.

Hope to see you at the next car show! ~ Barbara


When There’s A Chill In The Air, You Know It’s Time For Stews, Soups or Chili!


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Even if the weather isn’t chilly, to my family, it’s always “soup” time. My mother would tell us stories of her growing up on a farm in rural Ohio where their mid-day meal always started with a bowl of soup. In those days, families didn’t have all the assorted dishes, silverware and what-not’s that most of us have today, so once they finished their soup, they would turn over their bowls and enjoy the rest of the meal on the bottom on the bowl.  Those were different times back in the early 1900’s, but I find myself doing some of the same things today.  One plate or bowl for everything, one fork or spoon, that’s it. Life is better when it’s simple.

Speaking of simple things, here is a fabulous recipe that could not be any easier and it’s gluten-free and packed with vegetables.  A perfect soup for the winter, or just about any time.

Chilean Black Bean Soup


Serves 6

1 large onion, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (16-ounce) bag frozen corn
4 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 cups vegetable broth

In dutch-oven, over medium heat, place olive oil and add onions.  Cook onions until translucent.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer until squash is cooked, approximately 40 minutes. Serve.  Freezes well.

Kitchen Tip:  Look for pre-packaged, cubed, butternut squash in your grocery store.  One package is usually 4 cups. Keep it simple!

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At this time of year, family traditions make a family and keep a family strong. Treasure your family traditions.

Hope to see ya at the dinner table.  ~Barbara

Gluten-Free Cookies? Give These Maple Pecan Drops A Try


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Is it possible to bake gluten-free cookies without a lot of unusual ingredients?  Yes, it is and these Maple Pecan Drops fit that bill very nicely.  Even if you don’t have to eat gluten-free, these cookies are a snap to make with just a handful of ingredients. The recipe makes just 15 cookies, but I guarantee they won’t last long. The original recipe is courtesy of King Arthur Flour but I made several “tweaks.”  I used almond meal from Trader Joe’s which accounts for the darker color of the cookies.  If you use almond flour, your cookies will be lighter in color.


Maple Pecan Drops Recipe

1 cup almond flour
3 tablespoons softened butter
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup diced pecans

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Mix all ingredients in a small bowl until a cohesive dough forms. Use melon ball scoop to scoop out balls of dough onto the prepared baking sheet.  Arrange them about 2 inches apart. Use a fork to flatten each cookie to about 1/4-inch thick, making a crosshatch design. Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, until they start to turn light golden brown on top.  Remove from the oven and cool on pan for 10 minutes.  Transfer to a rack to cool completely before serving.


I’m back in the kitchen today to try more gluten-free recipes, but this time I’m turning my attention to a butternut squash stew, shrimp and spinach pasta salad and even a BLT appetizer spread.  Stay tuned for more gluten-free recipes.

See ya around the crock-pot.  ~Barbara