When P eter and I made our trip to Arizona — Chandler to be exact — we had the cutest surprise waiting for us. Cheryl has the cutest ideas just like her sister Terrie.

I’ve told you about Peter pulling me away from the Twinkies when we happen to find ourselves in a grocery store. Well, I told Cheryl and probably all of you because that is what I do. When we got there we found in my chair two packages of jelly beans and a package of snowballs. Seems she couldn’t find Twinkies. In Peter’s chair she had a bunch of carrots since he thinks Twinkies are so unhealthy.

Guess who ended up eating the snowballs … it wasn’t me, so that would leave Peter. I didn’t see him eat them or I would have yanked them away from him like he dragged me away from the Twinkies in the grocery store. All I saw was the empty package. When I asked him about it, he didn’t deny it. Because he couldn’t. There was no else there who loves snowballs like I do!

He really isn’t a diet freak; he just doesn’t like Twinkies, so therefore, I don’t like Twinkies.

I won’t tell him, but I bought a box of Twinkies the other day. Guess what? I found I didn’t like them as much as I thought I would. I’m weaned! Just goes to show you when you are denied something it makes you crave it more, then you find out it wasn’t as good as you remembered.

That’s a pretty profound statement. You can write it down and use sometime if you want to. Love it!

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Here are some more recipes from my friend Marlyn Monette in Shreveport, Louisiana. She loved seeing her recipes printed. As I’ve told you, Marlyn had a food column in the Shreveport newspaper, but health issues jumped up and hit her. She worked so hard for so many years in the food business. She didn’t print them like I do — she made them, did catering, wrote several cookbooks and then wrote a wonderful food column. So here you go, girlfriend!

Marlyn calls this recipe a family favorite. That’s the recipes I like to print the best. Nothing can beat a family favorite.

Banana Liqueur Cake

INGREDIENTS

1 Duncan Hines Butter Golden cake mix (do not substitute)

1 small vanilla instant pudding

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup Crisco oil

1 small jar baby food bananas

4 eggs

1 cup finely chopped pecans.

Glaze

1 stick margarine

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup banana liqueur

DIRECTIONS

Liberally spray Bundt or angel food pan with cooking spray; sprinkle pecans in the bottom. Mix all cake ingredients and bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 50 to 55 minutes until cake pulls away from sides and center is firm.

Glaze

About 30 minutes before cake is done, melt margarine in a heavy saucepan; blend in sugar. Add water and mix well. Bring mixture to a boil and cook five to 10 minutes until it begins to thicken, stirring often. Add banana liqueur and cook until reduced and thickened. Caution: if glaze is boiled too long, it can turn sugary. Keep warm until cake is done.

When cake is done, remove from oven and drizzle one-half of the glaze on top as soon as it comes out of the oven. Let cool 10 minutes and invert on a plate. Drizzle remainder of glaze on cake, letting it drip down the sides.

Friend, I can see why this is family favorite. Let’s have some more recipes as long as I have room. I keep saying they should give me a whole page. Can’t imagine why. Maybe they need room for some news and ads.

n n n

Marlyn says these melt in your mouth. They must be good because she had to repeat the recipe in her second cookbook. Lucky us!

Oh, Marlyn says they are temperamental when it comes to damp weather.

Sara’s Meringue Kisses

INGREDIENTS

2 eggs whites

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup chocolate chips

1 cup finely chopped pecans.

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat egg whites with salt until stiff. Slowly beat in sugar. Continue beating until very stiff; fold in vanilla, chocolate chips and nuts. With a teaspoon, drop batter on lightly greased cookie sheets in small amounts. When ready to put in the oven, turn oven off. Place cookie sheets in oven, close oven door and leave in oven overnight or for at least six to eight hours. Remove from cookie sheet and store in airtight container.

Tip: Sara often puts a drop of food coloring to add color to the kisses. If you are making these kisses for gifts or party trays and want them snowy white, use a white vanilla; also be sure the oven burner is off when you put them in. They brown very easily if oven is too hot. I once had to sacrifice and eat all the brown ones that could not be used for party trays. It was tough job, but someone had to do it.

Tip: Meringue Kisses are also delicious with butterscotch substituted for chocolate. They make beautiful party trays when you want dessert that is not messy.

Those must be delicious. If I were to make them (like I know where the stove is) I would use butterscotch.

I’m so sorry you had to eat the too-brown ones. That had to be tough. Why didn’t you call me, Marlyn? Thank you again. I love you girl!

If you have recipes or tips to share, or a request, send to Conversations with Gin, P.O. Box 334, Clute TX 77531 or email ginscolumn@hotmail.com.

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