Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Virtual Book Club

Make yourself a steaming mug of tea, wrap up in a cozy quilt, and embrace the cool upcoming months by reading a few books with me! I'm always looking for the next best book, and enjoy switching back and forth between classics and the NY Times Bestseller list. 
On my radar:
The Aviator's Wife

The Pecan Man
And the Mountains Echoed

A few of my favorites from 2013:
The Light Between Oceans (M.L. Stedman)
The Shoemaker's Wife (Adriana Trigiani)
The Shadow of the Wind (Carlos Ruiz Zafon)
The Art of Hearing Heartbeats (Jan-Philipp Sendker)
The Water is Wife: A Memoir (Pat Conroy)

Monday, December 30, 2013

Bourbon & Cheerwine

 If you are a fan of Cheerwine and a fan of bourbon, this cocktail will change your life.

I must share a snippet I read from another blogger, Lisa Fame, regarding the "cocktail of Southerners" she first came across at the Tupelo Honey Cafe in Asheville, NC. This is how she described her first taste of bourbon & cheerwine:
The first sip was a burst of flavor, a sensation of icy cold, sweet, along with slight hint of cypress and an oakey finish....

Had Scarlett O’Hara had Cheerwine and Bourbon, she’d have been the one looking at Rhett and telling him she didn’t give a damn. But, she wasn’t.

I suggest you get yourself to the local ABC store, pick up a bottle of Maker”s Mark and then hie yourself over to the nearest Piggly Wiggly and grab a 2 liter Cheerwine.

Head home, grab a Highball and fill it half full of ice. Everything is always half full in the South. Always.

Now, open your Maker’s Mark and pour a healthy splash in the Highball. No, that piddly splash isn’t going to do it, halfway full is more like it. Now, top it off with some fresh, highly carbonated Cheerwine. Grab your sterling cocktail stirrer and give it a quick whirl.
After I read this, I just had to watch the part of Gone with the Wind when Rhett delivers his famous line! Click here for the YouTube video. 

Bourbon & Cheerwine

1 1/2 ounces Maker's Mark or middle shelf bourbon *I got in major trouble for diluting 
          Maker's 46 with cheerwine, and swore I would never do it again, BUT we only had 
          good bourbon in the house*

6 ounces Cheerwine

Fill a highball glass half full of ice, add bourbon and top with Cheerwine. Stir and enjoy! 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Hearty Chicken Stew with Butternut Squash and Quinoa

The day after Christmas is a wonderful day to clean up our acts, to practice a little moderation and put carbs and sugar back in their place on the food pyramid. I was mentally ready to get back on my running program and set some new goals for 2014. This stew was the right step back to a healthy lifestyle for the Salmon household, especially after noshing on sweets for the last three days. 
This stew is one of the best I've ever made. The combination of butternut squash, quinoa, and kalamata olives is phenomenal. I now understand why this is one of Dara's (from the Cookin' Canuck blog) most popular recipes. 

Hearty Chicken Stew with Butternut Squash and Quinoa 
1 1/2 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 can (14 ounce) petite diced tomatoes
2/3 cup uncooked quinoa
3/4 cup pitted and quartered kalamata olives
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  1. Steam the butternut squash until barely tender, about 10 minutes. Remove half of the squash pieces and set aside.
  2. Steam the remaining squash until very tender, an additional 4 to 6 minutes. Mash this squash with the back of a fork. Set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the chicken broth to a simmer. 
  4. Add chicken thighs, cover, and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. 
  5. Transfer the chicken thighs to a plate and allow to cool. Pour broth into a medium-sized bowl.
  6. Return the saucepan to the stovetop and lower heat to medium. Add olive oil.
  7. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion starts to turn brown, 8-10 minutes.
  8. Add the salt, minced garlic, and oregano. Cook, stirring for an additional minute.
  9. To the saucepan, add tomatoes, butternut squash pieces, mashed butternut squash, and stir to combine. 
  10. Stir in the reserved chicken broth and quinoa. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the quinoa turns translucent, about 15 minutes. 
  11. Shred the chicken with your fingers or a fork.
  12. Stir in the chicken, olives, and pepper into the stew and simmer, uncovered, to heat, about 5 minutes. 
  13. Stir in the parsley and serve. 

Swiss and Bacon Dip

I love spending the holidays with family. There is nothing better than sitting around, relaxing, telling stories, and sharing great food together. Josh and I have both worked many holidays in our careers, and we really appreciate being able to enjoy Christmas day with our parents. Josh's nephew just completed basic training, and is back in town for a few weeks looking fit and handsome with lots of stories to share. Since he's been subject to Army food for the last few months, I thought I would bring over a few fancy appetizers for him to enjoy. I made this dip, firecrackers, rosemary roasted cashews, and a pitcher of holiday sangria. 
I don't know about y'all, but I am completely over cookies, toffee, fudge, and chocolate. I am not over the peppermint hershey kisses, my Harry & David pears I am hiding from Josh, or salty snacks. This dip is perfect for gatherings, parties, or football watching. 

Swiss and Bacon Dip
adapted from Fabtastic Eats

8 slices center cut bacon (substitute real bacon bits if you're in a hurry)
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
2-3 shallots, finely diced
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard or horseradish Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon horseradish (optional)
2-3 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese

Pretzel thins, rye triscuits, ritz crackers, or baby carrots for dipping

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook bacon in a heavy skillet (unless using real bacon bits) and then crumble. Cook shallots on low, until almost caramelized, 10-15 minutes. 

In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, dijon mustard, swiss cheese, shallots, and bacon. Transfer to a casserole dish and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top. Bake until golden and bubbly at edges, 18-20 minutes. Serve warm with crackers and carrots for dipping.

Transfer to crockpot to keep warm if desired. 

Holiday Sangria

I surprised my in-laws this Christmas by showing up with a pitcher of sangria to share. I did tweak the original recipe for the holidays - I used blackberry brandy, added maraschino cherries, and used Sprite zero instead of sugar and soda. I also did not marinate the apples and pears overnight, but added them just a few hours prior to serving. This way, the fruit looked pretty and did not soak up all of the sangria. I believe we have a new Christmas Day tradition. Cheers! 

Holiday Sangria
1/2 cup blackberry brandy
1/2 cup triple sec
1 large bottle red wine (I like yellow tail big bold red)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup frozen lemonade concentrate
1/3 cup orange juice
1 orange, sliced into rounds
12 maraschino cherries with splash of cherry juice
1 apple, thinly sliced
1 pear, thinly sliced
2 cups ginger ale or 7-up (add just before serving)
  1. In a large pitcher, mix together the blackberry brandy, lemon juice, lemonade concentrate, orange juice, red wine, triple sec, and splash of cherry juice.
  2. Refrigerate overnight for best flavor.
  3. Chop fruit and add 2-3 hours prior to serving along with cherries. 
  4. Add 7 up or ginger ale  immediately before serving. Be sure to scoop a few cherries and fruit into each glass. 

Christmas Gravy

This year, I wanted to have an extra special Christmas morning breakfast, one that would remind us of our first Christmas being "Married and Merry". My top indulgences include fried chicken and waffles, monkey bread, or biscuits and gravy. Since fried chicken is a little fussy to get JUST right, and we've been overwhelmed with sweets over the holidays, we opted for this easy yet delicious spicy sausage gravy. I think every cook has their own version of this recipe, but for the love of biscuits and gravy I'm sharing mine anyways. Sausage, flour, and milk, OH MY!

I'd be lying if I told you I made the biscuits, but I find that frozen Mary B's biscuits are better than the hockey pucks I've made in the past, and it requires zero effort on my part, so I put all my lovin' into stirring the gravy. The photo does not do this dish justice, though I promise it will not disappoint. 
The breakfast crew - I loved making appetizers for later while listening to these boys laugh uncontrollably while watching Christmas Vacation. 

Spicy Sausage Gravy
1 pound hot bulk pork breakfast sausage (I use Jimmy Dean)
1/4 cup and 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups milk (more as needed)
1/2 tsp Lawry's seasoned salt
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

With your fingers, tear small pieces of sausage and add them in a single layer to a large heavy skillet. Brown the sausage over medium-high heat until no longer pink. Reduce the heat to medium and sprinkle half of the flour over the sausage, stirring until it dissolves. Add the rest of the flour and stir until all of the flour has dissolved (2-3 minutes).

Slowly pour in the cold milk, stirring constantly as you pour. Cook the gravy, stirring frequently, until it begins to thicken (10-15 minutes). Add more milk to reach desired consistency. Add seasoned salt and pepper. Spoon gravy over warm biscuits and serve immediately. 

Store leftover gravy in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If it is too thick when reheated, add a little milk to thin it out. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

What I'm Reading Now

On my list to read - 

The Aviator's Wife
The Pecan Man
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life

Renewing my commitment to read a novel a week instead of watching mindless TV or browsing Pinterest and Zillow like it's my job!

What are y'all reading?

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Katherine's Pecan Sour Cream Pound Cake

Today is a happy day, because I realized that I have already found the two pound cake recipes I will need in my life! This one, and Elvis Presley's Favorite Pound Cake. I just don't think you can trust anyone that does not like pound cake.

This pound cake recipe may not be world famous, but it is famous in our house and likely the state of Louisiana where Katherine grew up. This is the quintessential Southern pound cake and it belongs in every cooks repertoire. My husband loves it so much. Thank goodness Katherine shared her recipe with me so I can keep my sweetheart happy.

The first time Katherine made this for us, she did not use a glaze, and it was equally delicious, so I will leave it up to you to decide if you want to glaze the cake. The pecans though, unless you have an allergy, I would never leave out. You can layer the pecans on the top, middle, or bottom depending on your mood.
Katherine's Pecan Sour Cream Pound Cake
1 stick butter, softened
2 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup sour cream

1 cup chopped pecans
4 tsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

1 cup confectioners sugar
3 Tbsp orange juice
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan. Sprinkle half of topping on bottom of pan, and set aside. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Fold in sour cream. Mix in flour and baking powder. Pour half of batter into bundt pan. Sprinkle remaining topping onto batter. Pour remaining batter into pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 to 60 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

If glaze desired - combine 1 cup confectioners sugar, 3 tablespoons orange juice, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and drizzle over cake while still warm.

Beef Bourguignon

I made this classic recipe for the first time last year for my wonderful friends Whitney and Katherine after we read Julia Child's memoir My Life in France in our book club. We went all out with our French themed night, though Katherine broke the rules and brought her delicious sour cream pound cake which was divine! Instead of making the 4 page Julia version, I followed Ina's recipe which was simple and perfect. The recipe is very easy, so don't be overwhelmed by the length. 
The weather is just right for a hearty beef stew, and so I made this for us with creamy mashed potatoes. Of course, it reminded me of our French night and I missed my girls who have graduated from PA school and moved away and now have wonderful jobs as physician assistants! I just had to make Katherine's pound cake for dessert since I was taking a cruise down memory lane. 
Beef Bourguignon
from Ina Garten

1 Tbsp good olive oil
8 ounces dry cured center cut applewood smoked bacon, diced
2 1/2 pounds chuck beef cut into 1-inch cubes
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-inch cubes
2 yellow onions, sliced
2 teaspoons chopped garlic (2 cloves)
1/2 cup Cognac
1 (750mL) bottle good dry red wine, such as Cote du Rhone or Pinot Noir
1 can (2 cups) beef broth
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves (1/2 tsp dried)
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 pound frozen pearl onions
1 pound fresh mushrooms, stems discarded, caps thickly sliced

Serve with crunchy baguette or over mashed potatoes and top with chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is lightly browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large plate.

Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3-5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the seared cubes to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside.

Toss the carrots and onions, 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper in the fat in the pan and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Cognac (optional), stand back, and ignite with a match to burn off the alcohol. Put the meat and bacon back into the pot with the juices. Add the bottle of wine plus enough beef broth to almost cover the meat. Add the tomato paste and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and place it in the oven for 1 and 1/4 hours or until all of the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork.

Combine 2 tablespoons of butter and the flour with a fork and stir into the stew. Add the frozen onions. Saute the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of butter for 10 minutes until lightly browned and then add to the stew. Bring to a boil on top of the stove, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste.  Serve over mashed potatoes or with crunchy french bread, and top with freshly chopped parsley. 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Cincinnati Chili

My aunt Brenda made this unique chili for me for the first time a few years ago and I loved it instantly. The chili has a cult following, and is completely different than Texas style chili. For starters, it is served over spaghetti noodles and the beef is boiled in the spice blend. The spices used in the chili include cinnamon, cocoa, allspice, chocolate, and Worcestershire. The chili sauce is so intense, rich and flavorful and has no beans, though you can add beans as a topping later. Brenda sent me home with the seasoning packet that she uses and I ordered more on amazon. You can make this from scratch, though I think the packet is delicious as well!
In Cincinnati, you can order the chili as follows:

Two-way chili: on spaghetti
Three-way chili: on spaghetti with cheddar cheese
Four-way chili: on spaghetti with cheese and onions
Five-way chili: all of the above, plus kidney beans 

Cincinnati Chili
1 packet Cincinnati Recipe Chili Mix
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
Spaghetti noodles, cooked according to package instructions

1 cup onion, finely chopped
1 cup sharp cheddar, grated
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
Oyster crackers - I used my firecracker recipe

Combine the contents of chili packet with can of tomato paste and 6 cups of water. Add lean ground beef. Do not brown. Beat mixture with a fork and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 60 to 90 minutes or until desired thickness is reached. 

To serve, add a layer of the cooked spaghetti on the bottom of your bowl. Ladle a generous amount of chili over the spaghetti. Top with onions, grated cheese, kidney beans, and oyster crackers if desired.  

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Apple Pie Martini

Hot weather calls for vodka, rum, and tequila. Cold weather calls for bourbon and scotch. 
Out here in the country, we are rockin' the bourbon, cider, egg nog, and cinnamon whiskey drinks. 

Tonight I was in martini bliss sipping on this yummy cocktail. The recipe I originally saw is shown below, what I really wanted was a martini so we made a few modifications...more booze and less juice!

Apple Pie Martini
1.5 ounces Fireball cinnamon whiskey
1.5 ounces vanilla vodka
3 ounces apple cider
Dash cinnamon
Brown sugar for rim

Sugar the rim of a martini glass. Combine remaining ingredients in a boston shaker, add 
ice, and shake. Strain into a martini glass.

Apple Pie on the Rocks
1 ounce vanilla vodka
1 ounce fireball cinnamon whiskey
4 ounces apple cider
Brown sugar for rim of glass

My Favorite Running Gear

Here is my top list of cannot live without gear for runners! Tell me, what are your favorites? 
 - lululemon run inspire crop II - a little pricey at $86 dollars but my oldest pair is still going strong after over 2 years of running and I wear them ALL the time and for every race. 

 - yurbuds - not sure how I discovered these only recently but the sound quality is great and they fit perfectly. 

- tuneband for iPhone - I've tried a few different brands and I really like the snug fit and that my phone isn't covered with plastic so I can skip annoying songs on Pandora or change the station easily

-Mizuno wave riders - I recently switched from the Saucony Cortana to this pair of shoes - I was a little nervous but completely love them! They are great on the treadmill or the pavement and my feet are very happy after a long run

- headbands for holding your hair back - I like sweaty bands and BIC bands in many fun colors - the photo above is from my first half with Liz and Megan and we bought matching 
sweaty bands from the Expo. 

- a good water bottle - here is my favorite 

-Tifosi Dea sunglasses - they do not slip at all during sweaty runs and are the larger frames are more fashionable than most running glasses. I have been super happy with these, and for $50 much cheaper than oakleys - but if you want to spend more look at the Oakley Overtime, similar but twice as much money

- The marathon stick - great for massaging leg cramps in calves and hamstrings after a long run! 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Quinoa Pad Thai

Quinoa is a staple in our pantry. I order it by the case on Amazon. It's taken over the place of brown rice in our every day meals. I (almost) always cook it in chicken broth to give it extra flavor. I love bringing quinoa dishes in to work for healthy meals, especially during the holidays when we are drowning in sweet sugary treats from our patients and their families. 

I was recently challenged to bring a new quinoa dish to work, and this recipe jumped out at me. The photos will do all the talking, it is beautiful on a plate and so tasty. I almost want to keep it all for myself - but I want all my friends at work to taste this recipe, so in the holiday spirit I suppose I will share! 
Quinoa Pad Thai
adapted from Cooking for Keeps

5 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup shredded carrots (I used more because I love carrots)
1 cup bean sprouts
1 cup shredded napa cabbage
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch green onions, sliced thinly
2 eggs
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
1 pound chicken, sliced thinly

For the sauce:
3 Tbsp fish sauce
2 Tbsp sugar
4 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1-2 tsp chili powder, to taste
  1. Prep all ingredients.
  2. Whisk together sauce and set aside
  3. In a large skillet or wok, heat 1 teaspoon canola oil over high heat.
  4. Quickly stir fry the garlic, half of the green onions, all of the carrots and cabbage, about 1-2 minutes, then remove from pan.
  5. Heat another teaspoon of oil and stir fry chicken (5-6 minutes), then remove from pan. 
  6. Heat another teaspoon of oil in the pan, add quinoa, and stir fry for 2 minutes. Add veggies and chicken back in to quinoa along with bean sprouts. Add sauce to the quinoa and stir well. 
  7. Make a well in the center of the pan and scramble egg, then combine with stir fry vegetables. Serve topped with chopped peanuts, remaining green onions, and fresh lime wedges.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Chicken and Black Bean Oven Tacos

Guess what folks - it's Mexican night! I've had oven tacos on my radar for a month, and just could not wait another week to make them. Warm tacos with melted bubbly cheese is impossible to resist. In fact, they were so good we each polished off three tacos! These were the perfect match for the cherry beer-garita in the recipe below.  I'm officially adopting the oven method for all tacos -whether stuffed with chicken, taco meat, or veggie style - once you try it you'll understand. 

Chicken and Black Bean Oven Tacos
 Adapted from SkinnyTaste

Chicken breast - 12 ounces
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (10 ounce) can tomatoes with green chiles (I use Rotel)
1 1/8 tsp chili powder
1 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp oregano
12 crisp corn taco shells
Shredded cheese (mexican or cheddar)

Toppings - scallions, cilantro, avocado, diced tomatoes

Season the chicken with salt, garlic powder, 1/8 tsp chili powder, 1/8 tsp cumin.
Add beans and tomatoes to crock pot and season with the remaining chili powder and cumin. Place chicken in the crock pot and cover, cook on HIGH for 2 hours. Remove chicken and shred with two forks. Drain the beans, and combine chicken and beans in a bowl or the crock pot to keep warm. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Arrange the taco shells in a 9x12 baking dish, standing up. Spoon the chicken and bean mixture into the shells, and sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cheese is melted and is starting to bubble. Garnish with your favorite toppings (I like cilantro, avocado, and diced tomatoes).

Cherry Beer-Garita

By now, you must know I am a big fan of the Corona margarita (dubbed the Katie-Rita) after my great friend Katie Jo.

Here is a slight twist on the classic version. If you like cherry flavor, you will love this, I promise!

Cherry Beer-Garita
12 ounces cherry 7-up or cherry soda
12 ounces tequila
12 ounces Corona
12 ounces frozen limeade concentrate

Combine above ingredients in a large pitcher and stir well. Serve drinks in mason jars with a maraschino cherry and lime wedge. 

a favorite quote

I love this quote, and wanted to share it on the blog today. There are so many things I have learned since saying "I Do" and this is one of them. Love is an action.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Holiday Gift Guide 2013

I have completely enjoyed reading all of my favorite bloggers holiday gift guides - and decided to make my own this year! These are not things that I want, but things that I own and absolutely love, and would be delighted to receive as a present! 
1 - Peppermint Bark from Williams Sonoma - highly addictive and wonderful in s'mores
2 - Lands End wine totes - perfect for a hostess gift
3 - A good bottle of wine - this Rubus Barossa is one of my top 5 picks
4 - Murphy Jewelry - all of her jewelry is stunning, affordable, and handmade. I get 
     compliments every time I wear these earrings. 
5 - Revlon Just Bitten Lipstain - great color selection and much cheaper than Tarte - I love 
      the colors Romance and Crush - and truly lasts all day
6 - fun flats - these Kenneth Cole Slip on By Suede flat comes in a few bright colors and are 
      50% off right now! 
7 - Anthropologie mugs and teacups, I love the monogram mugs
8 - A bottle of good bourbon - my favorite is Basil Hayden
9 - Yurbuds - I swear I will never wear another brand in my life - these rock and come in 
     fun colors
10 - Philosophy Amazing Grace firming body emulsion - the most lovely scent
11 - Oster flip nonstick Belgian waffle maker - who doesn't love waffles! 
12 - Adagio Teas selection of holiday teas 
13 - Old Dutch 16 ounce Moscow Mule mug - my #1 pick of the list
14 - Fresh Sugar travel sized lip treatment collection - my go to lip gloss
15 - Handmade brie baking dish - lots of nice designs on Etsy
16 - WoodWick candles - they even make the crackling sound like a wood burning fire

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Cherry Torte

Our memories are powerful forces, especially when it comes to those we have loved. My grandma Shirley passed away when I was in college, yet I still have crystal clear memories of baking with her. The first sweet she taught me how to make was this simple cherry torte.
 I learned how to make it and carefully copied down her instructions when I was just a little girl. As I read over my writing today, I laughed at how I pointed to Shirley McLean and noted "Grams", my name for her, giggled over my misspellings (suger, ingrediants, judgment), with my favorite grammatical error appearing at the bottom "poor cherries on top". 
Though this is one of the most simple and easy recipes, it brings back such fond memories for me, such that I've included it in our McLean family cookbook. I decided to make this dessert for us tonight, the night that we are decorating our Christmas tree, and love that continuing to make her recipes keeps her memory alive in me. 
Cherry Torte
Copied as written when I was young - for laughs!

pie cherries (1 can)
2 eggs
graham crackers - 14 squares
half a stick of butter
1 packet of whole cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
bowl and blender

 - Cut butterstick in half
 - Put butterstick in bowl and mic. for 30 sec.
 - Put 7 gramcrackers in blender and grind for two times
 - Dump in the melted butter (graham crackers) 
 - Take fork and stir crackers into butter
 - After stirring dump in square pan and pat down bring up a little on the sides
 - Preheat oven to 350
 - Break two eggs in blender and blend
 - Put 3 quarters cup of suger in blender, open little top and pour suger in slowly
 - Put all of the cream cheese in blender (cut in chunks)
 - Mix all together
 - Pour on top of crust
 - Put in oven and bake for 25 min. or by my judgment
 - Take out, let cool, poor cherries on top, put in fridge before eating.