Connect with us


Seen Any Good Movies Lately?

By Gini Rainey

Well, here we are only two weeks away from Christmas, and in the final throes of watching Christmas movies.  Well, unless you’re a Cowboy fan, and then I would imagine you have that on your TV right now, instead of the Hallmark Channel.  I don’t know about your house, but here at ours, we have a nice supply of Hollywood’s best in Christmas movies, among which are approximately 7 different variations on A Christmas Carol, not including Bill Murray’s “Scrooged,” or my friend, Nathan Granner’s “A Christmas Carol – Deluxe Edition” audio album that has him reading and singing his way through Dicken’s timeless tale of the miserly miser.

If you are as much a fan of Christmas movies as we are, you really need to get your hands on “The Dead Celebrity Cookbook presents Christmas in Tinseltown” by Frank DeCaro, a follow-up to his international best seller “The Dead Celebrity Cookbook.”  This book, published in 2012 by Health Communications, Inc., is filled not only with some great celebrity recipes, but is a veritable cornucopia of information about vintage Christmas movies and the folks who starred in them – along with some of their favorite recipes.  Although all the recipes sound really great, the trivia behind the movies is among the best.

Among all of the trivia in this book, you might find it interesting to know that Boris Karloff gave the voice to the Grinch in “Dr. Suess’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” If you’re a fan of Barbara Stanwyck, you might enjoy “Christmas in Connecticut,” in which she plays a food columnist who gets herself into a jam.  Of course, what’s this season without a visit to “White Christmas”  the movie that sky-rocketed Bing Crosby to fame, while his rendition of Irving Berlin’s song by the same name sold over 100 million copies world-wide.  If you haven’t seen “Holiday Inn,” you should take a couple of hours to watch this classic that stars Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby.  Did you remember that William Frawley (Fred Mertz on “I Love Lucy”) was in “Miracle on 34th Street?”  I sure didn’t, but if you want to go back to believing in Santa Claus, this movie  starring Frawley, along with Natalie Wood, Maureen O’Hara, and John Payne just might do the trick.  I could go on and on about all of the neat tidbits in this book, but perhaps you should pick up your own copy and read them for yourself.

Of course, who can talk about Christmas movies without bringing up “It’s a Wonderful Life?”  Donna Reed played Mary to Jimmy Stewart’s George like nobody’s business, which probably explains the relatively simple recipe of hers that is included in this book.  Seems to me that something like this would appeal to just about anyone during this busy time of year.  Donna’s recipe for Lemon Bundt Cake can be made ahead and frozen – now don’t we just love that idea?  Preheat your oven to 325°, then mix the following together in the bowl of your electric mixer: 1 (18.25 ounce) lemon cake mix, 1 (3.4 ounce) box of instant lemon pudding, ½ cup of vegetable oil, 4 eggs, and 1 cup of water.  When well-blended, beat on high speed for 4 minutes.  Pour the batter into a greased and floured Bundt pan and bake for 50 minutes, then invert onto a rack to cool completely.  Glaze with pourable icing or sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.  Helpful AND tasty hint – for the icing glaze use lemon juice and powdered sugar for a bit of extra zing!

Oh, and in case you were wondering, my husband says “A Christmas Carol” starring George C. Scott,  filmed in 1984 is the best version out there.  Me? I really, really, really don’t care for the movie.  Those ghosts scare the willies out of me!

ben wheeler


A Good Pounding!


By Gini Rainey

Good grief, that’s exactly what I deserve.  I have been so over-whelmed with life in the past few months – okay, this year – that I have neglected to do what I love doing – writing!  So, apparently it took an email to our editor/publisher to get me off high center.  She forwarded this email to me on June 24th and it comes from an editor named Jess Miller who just happens to be associated with  Jen Reviews is the authority on everything food, fitness and home and has been featured in some mind-blowing (my mind, anyway!) publications such as Forbes, Fast Company, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, Greatist, Reader’s Digest, MindBodyGreen, Livestrong, Bustle, Lifehacker, Wikihow, and oh my goodness, many many more. 

Jess email says “I was doing research on pound cake recipes and just finished reading your wonderful blog post: In that article, I noticed that you cited a solid post that I’ve read in the past:  We just published a delicious cranberry pound cake with orange glaze recipe complete with step-by-step pictures and detailed instructions. It is completely free and you can find it here:  If you like the recipe we’d be humbled if you cited us in your article.” 

The gauntlet was thrown and I tried it.  I baked it last night and it is yummy.  Of course, knowing me, you know I have to pull in a cookbook of some sort, and for those of you out there who don’t know where the name “Pound Cake” comes from, I pulled out my earliest reference that I have, which is a replica of “American Cookery” written by Amelia Simmons in 1796. It’s really interesting to leaf through this book and try to read some of the recipes.  It is actually a photocopy of the original and along with various spots and stains, the letter “f” is used in place of the letter “s.”  Originally, a pound cake called for one pound of sugar, one pound of butter, one pound of flour, one pound or ten eggs, one gill of rose water and spices to your taste. (Hence pound cake!) We are told to watch it well (remember – wood burning stoves/ovens back then) It will bake in a slow oven in 15 minutes. 

The recipe referred to by Jess is a bit different and perhaps produces a much lighter version than the 1796 version.  What you will need to do to make Jess’s recipe is to begin with a 350° pre-heated oven and a lightly greased and floured 12×4 inch loaf pan.  Then in a bowl, whisk together 1 ¾ cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder and ¼ teaspoon salt.  In another bowl, cream 9 ounces of softened butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon orange zest until light and fluffy.  Then slowly add in 4 eggs plus 2 yolks (at room temp), followed by 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar. Then alternating between the flour mixture and ¼ cup room temp milk, gradually add to the sugar/egg mixture.  Lightly dredge in flour 1 ¼ cups of washed and dried fresh cranberries (because fresh cranberries aren’t on the market at this time, I substituted rehydrated dried cranberries and I think they did well) and gently fold into the mixture.  Pour into the pan and bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  For the glaze, combine 2 cups of powdered sugar with 2 ½ tablespoons of fresh orange juice, and using a small spoon, drizzle over the completely cooled cake. 

This is one yummy cake – the unexpected tartness is a wonderful compliment to the buttery richness of the cake and would serve you well at a winter holiday meal – or even right now in the middle of the hot Texas summer along with a bowl of home-made ice cream! 

Continue Reading


Smith’s Bar-B-Que Opens in Jacksonville

Smith’s Bar-B-Que had a great Ribbon Cutting on Friday, April 5. Smith’s Bar-B-Que is owned and operated by Gary Smith and has been in business for 11 years. They started in the Exxon parking lot but has now found a home at the Travis Towers parking lot at 558 S. Ragsdale. They serve ribs, brisket, sausage, pulled pork and their famous stuffed baked potato. You can also add beans, potato salad and peach cobbler. They also offer catering with no event being too big or too small. Gary Smith is a culinary school graduate, food service manager and the 1st to obtain his vendors permit from the City of Jacksonville. Hours are Friday and Saturday 11 am until…..

They are at 558 S. Ragsdale in Jacksonville, Texas and can be reached at 903.944.0036.


Continue Reading


Artists in the Kitchen

Ad Eguide

By Gini Rainey

I have many passions in my life, mostly leaning toward my right brain, but after working for over 25 years as a business manager/owner, my left brain seems to have shoved a lot of those passions to the side, but trust me – they’re still there!  So, when I come across a cookbook that has wonderful recipes that are paired up with amazing works of art from the National Gallery of Art, you can be sure this is one book I had to have. 

With notable chefs such as Julia Child, Jeremiah Tower and Alice Waters creating dishes and menus to compliment the art of Matisse, Pissaro, and Gauguin, to name a few, you can only imagine what a lovely and creative book this must be. 

While using paintings of the obvious subjects, such as Vollon’s Mound of Butter and Jean Simeon Chardin’s Still Life with Game for inspiration, I think the recipes that truly intrigue me are from the chefs who viewed such paintings as Raoul Dufy’s The Basket and Mary Cassatt’s Afternoon Tea Party, let their imaginations run wild and came up with what might have been in the basket or what Cassatt might served at her Tea Party. 

Pablo Picasso’s Le Gourmet was the inspiration for Nancy Silverton’s Butterscotch Sauce that would make a delicious topping for a bread pudding or a dish of Blue Bell’s Homemade Vanilla ice cream. To make the sauce, combine 1 cup granulated sugar, 2 ½ tablespoons light corn syrup, and 2 ½ tablespoons Scotch whisky in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and cook, swirling the pan occasionally until the mixture just begins to smoke and turns an amber color.  Meanwhile, place 1 ¼ cup heavy (whipping) cream in another large saucepan, split a vanilla bean in half lengthwise, scrape its seeds into the and then add the pod.  Add 1 cup of butter and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and set aside until needed.

When the sugar mixture reaches the proper color, immediately stop its cooking by whisking in the cream mixture in small amounts, waiting a few seconds between additions to prevent it from boiling over.  Once all the cream mixture is incorporated, simmer the sauce for 5 minutes.  Whisk in ½ cup of butter until combined.  The sauce will keep for several weeks in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  To reheat, place the sauce in a bowl over simmering water.  If desired, add some toasted pecans or add a dash of sea salt to taste, and wow, you have got something really yummy going on there. 

stanleys bbq tyler tx eguide magazine



Continue Reading

More To Do!