Wednesday, February 16, 2011

mom's very best recipes: review and giveaway!

Guess what...

Gooseberry Patch is coming out with a new cookbook, and YOU get a sneak peak!

Most of us grew up loving our mother's cooking and are now cooking our mom's best recipes for our own families.  Many of my mom's best have appeared on this site - bierocks, apple smiles, country style green beans, and apple crisp (just to name a few).  There's just something about mom's recipes that make us smile and keep us coming back for more.

That's why I love this new cookbook.  All of the recipes in this new book appeared in some mother's recipe box at some point in time.  I imagine that many of them were made so often that the recipe cards are covered in food stains...all the best are!  Flipping through the pages filled me with nostalgia about my own childhood, especially when I saw my own mom's pizza recipe on page 153!  All of the recipes are easy, comforting, simple, and just the kind of wonderful dishes that you'd find on the tables of the best cooks in the world - our moms!

Just like last time, I wanted to try a recipe from each chapter of the cookbook to showcase, just to give you a taste of what this cookbook has to offer.  With the help of my taste-testing husband, we've given each an "award" to describe what we liked about it.

Most Kid Friendly
Mile-High Biscuits and Southern Chocolate Gravy in the chapter "Breakfast and Brunch"

I don't know what planet I've been living on that I had never heard of chocolate gravy...this stuff is incredible!  It's just the kind of breakfast that make Saturday mornings worth getting up for.  The biscuits are easy to whip up, the gravy is delicious, and I love the excuse to have chocolate for breakfast.  Mom...if you are reading this...why didn't we have this when I was a kid?  Huh?

Most Adaptable
Sensational Hot Sausage Dip in the chapter "Appetizers and Snacks"
My husband really liked this dish.  He ate it with chips, with crackers, and even on leftover biscuits!  I thought it was good, too, but I imagine it's one that I would fix differently each time I made it.  I might add some jalapenos and melted cheddar cheese...I might take out some of the onion and toss in some sour cream...the sky is the limit with this one!

Most Versatile 
Dirty Greek Rice in the chapter "Sides and Salads"
This rice is so easy to whip up and it tastes so great that I instantly loved it.  I have to admit, though, that my favorite thing about this recipe is that it could go with just about anything!  I'm always looking for good side dishes, and this one is a winner.  You could pair it with fish, chicken, pork, beef, turkey, or even would work well with all of them.  My hubby liked it but didn't see what I was so excited about...obviously, he's never tried to plan a weekly menu. :-)

Most Elegant
Lori's Rosemary Focaccia in the chapter "Soups, Breads and Sandwiches"
I love the fact that I can now say that I've made focaccia.  I will never, ever, ever tell people how easy it was.  Ever.  (If you are reading this, please forget that I just accidentally told you how easy it was.)  This is one of the most elegant breads I've ever made.  We dipped it in oil when it was hot out of the oven and then made sandwiches out of it the next day.  I love the subtle rosemary flavor and the texture of the crust.  I'll be making this for company, I guarantee it!

Easiest to Whip Up
Sour Cream Chili Bake in the chapter "Main Dishes"
I love dishes that require very little time in the kitchen, and this is one.  After browning the meat, you just mix in a few ingredients and pop in it in the oven!  That gives you plenty of time to clean the kitchen and set the table, if you are into that sort of thing.  I chose to check my e-mail and set up a TV tray...this is why my house is so spotless. :-)  Oh, did I mention this dish is easy to lighten up?  It tasted great, even with ground turkey, baked tortilla chips, and low-fat sour cream.  It's an excellent dinner choice if you plan on eating the next dish.

Most Requested 
Chocolate Chess Pie in the chapter "Desserts
Um, I even need to review this one?  The picture says it all!  This pie tastes like all of the ooey-gooeyness of brownies, and it's positively addicting.  We started eating dinner early just so that we could have a piece of pie sooner.  This pie is the reason my flare jeans now fit like skinny jeans.  And you know what else?  I didn't even have to buy ingredients for it...they are common items I keep in my pantry.  All of those facts make this pie incredibly hard to resist.

I asked my husband to pick his overall favorite recipe to share with you...of course, he picked the pie!

This pie is just so easy.  Combine the baking cocoa, milk, and butter in a saucepan over medium heat, and stir until smooth.  Remove from the heat, let cool, and then add sugar, eggs, vanilla, and salt.  See what I mean about having all of the ingredients already in the pantry?

Pour the pie filling into a prepared pie crust.  You could go buy one, but it's just as easy to make one.  For this pie, I used my friend Kristen's recipe as featured on her blog, From My Tiny Kitchen.  I didn't take the time to make mine nearly as pretty as hers, but you wouldn't either if you could smell that bit vat of chocolatey goodness that I was pouring into it.  Trust me.

Bake your pie at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until set.  Then comes the hard part...letting it cool.  This pie MUST be eaten when cooled (I like it when chilled), so you have to find something to amuse yourself in the meantime. 

I dare you to only eat one slice!  It can't be done!

Chocolate Chess Pie
from Mom's Very Best Recipes
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 t. vanilla
1/8 t. salt
9-inch deep-dish pie crust

In a saucepan over low heat, combine cocoa, butter and milk.  Stir until smooth.  Remove from heat; cool slightly.  Add sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt; beat well.  Pour cocoa mixture into crust.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until set.  Cool before slicing.  Serves 8. can YOU win a free copy of Mom's Very Best Recipes?  Just leave me a comment answering the following question - which of the other recipes featured above would you like me to share?  I'll tally up the answers and share that recipe when I announce the winner!  (Please also make sure I have access to a valid e-mail so that I can contact you if you win.)  Giveaway ends next Tuesday at midnight (Pacific time).  Winner announced Wednesday, February 23.

PS - Gooseberry Patch gave me a free book to review as well as another to give away, but the views and opinions (and pictures!) presented in this post are entirely my own!   Disclosure...check!


  1. The dip! Looks fabulous; perfect for upcoming BBQ potlucks!

  2. I'd like to see the recipe for Sour Cream Chili Bake. Thanks!

  3. Excellent cookbook! The sour cream chili bake looks wonderful! I would love to see that one! Thanks!

  4. Thanks for the pie recipe. Looks so yummy. I would love to see the Sensational Hot Sausage Dip recipe.

  5. It all looks so good! I'd love to see the Sensational Hot Sausage Dip and the Rosemary Focaccia! I love making focaccia since it's so easy, and I'm always looking for new things to put in it!

  6. everything looks amazing, what a fun idea/giveaway! thank you for sharing :)
    i would love to see the sour cream chili bake. very fun <3

  7. They all look good, but I'm a dip lover so I'll go for the Hot Sausage Dip.

  8. Chocolate Gravy is teh BEST! My mom made that for special weekend breakfasts growing up.

    Since I know that is awesome already I think I would like to see the Sour Cream Chili bake. That looks good and I am always looking for something that I can throw together quickly if needed.

    ~ Blaire

  9. They all look SO yummy! However with this LONG And cold winter, I've really been looking forward each night to some simple finger foods to munch on as I snuggle in with my electric blanket. The Sensational Hot Sausage Dip and the Rosemary Focaccia would be perfect! Thanks!

  10. Oh, Gooseberry Patch publishes some of the BEST cookbooks, ever :) :) Yeah, that chocolate gravy looks really rich and tasty :) :) I like that and the chocolate chess pie, looks good too :) :) I'm glad you're hubby is willing to help out with "quality control" with all the recipes ;) :) Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :)

  11. I love Gooseberry Patch! And I love chocolate. So the chocolate gravy recipe would be awesome!

  12. aha, how can I miss this chance!!
    I want to try the Most Elegant: Lori's Rosemary Focaccia in the chapter "Soups, Breads and Sandwiches"
    The reasons are:
    1) I never had Focaccis and don't know how to pronounce it,is this a French word again?? So I want to try it.
    2) it does look elegant in your picture and I like the word elegant
    3) Flour is very hard for me to deal with(I am used to rice) but Erik likes bread. So I should practice how to make it.
    4) Rosemary sounds romantic so I like it.


  13. Okay...are you kidding?!! Who wouldn't want the chocolate gravy??????

    Deborah in NC

  14. I can't wait to try this looks yummy and coming from Gooseberry Patch I know it will ne great..: )
    Have a great day

  15. Biscuits and choco gravy! :D Hehe. Thanks!

  16. That pie sounds so easy to make - and it looks delicious. If only I'd seen this earlier in the evening, I could have whipped it up tonight for our weekend guests! Perhaps tomorrow I will. :)

    And now I'm curious to know how to make that Sour Cream Chili Bake. It looks so good, but of course they all do!


  17. I think the Rosemary Focaccia sounds like something I would like to try to make! (Although I am not sure it is as easy as you say it is-- I am not the greatest in the kitchen)!

  18. Aw that pie recipe looks wonderful. Definately going to give it a try. Cold here in Canada today, would love the Sour Cream Chile Bake recipe. Thanks for the other great recipes on your site.

  19. That chocolate gravy sounds interesting. My mother never gave us chocolate for breakfast either. Chocolate is good anytime.

  20. Oh I love these cookbooks the Rosemary Focaccia looks reallygood. Would love to win this.

  21. That Focaccia one looks interesting lol. I've never made it either but want too. Lovely website you have!

  22. You really know how to make those recipes shine, Kristin, and we love your "award" system! Thank you for your kind words about our new cookbook and for giving some of the recipes inside a test spin. :)

    Our vote (do we get a vote?) would be for the hot sausage dip. We tried this one at our potluck for Mom's Very Best Recipes and it was a HIT!

  23. I can't wait to try your pie, yum! Please enter me as well. Thanks!

  24. Thanks for the pie recipe!! I'd love to win the book. The recipe that I'd like for you to share is the hot sausage dip. :)

  25. Ohhh yum, please post the Rosemary Foccacia recipe !!

  26. Ooops... forgot my email...

    Ohhh Yum, please post the Rosemary Foccacia recipe !!!


  27. Thanks for the pie looks yummy. I would love you to post the Rosemary Foccacia recipe. I've been hunting for one, but they always sound very difficult.


  28. Oh my goodness! You used my recipe! Lori's Rosemary Foccacia. This was my very first recipe to ever be published. I am so honored you chose it to write about in your blog! Thank you!

  29. They ALL looks so tantalizing, its hard to pick just one!!! But the one i would like to see the most is Rosemary Focaccia recipe. thank you so much for sharing your recipe, "Chocolate Chess Pie", I can't wait to try it, just looking at it makes me want to go bake!!!
    Im also very glad that i found your website. It's refreshing to read reviews from somebody that makes me hungry just from reading what you write! I cant wait to see more on your site!

    Thanks Again!!!

    Jaqulyn Culp

  30. The recipe I would love for you to share is Lori's Rosemary Focaccia. It looks sooo yummy! Thanks for giving me a chance to win the cookbook too! :)

  31. hands down the bisquits and chocolate gravy!

  32. That chocolate pie looks wonderful! I would like the recipe for Lori's Rosemary Focaccia.

  33. Mile High biscuits and Southern Chocolate Gravy looks yummy.

  34. All of them look wonderful, but I'd love to see the Hot Sausage Dip! Thanks for the chance to win.

  35. They all look delicious but I would like to see the Sour Cream Chili Bake recipe!

  36. Can't wait to try the pie....sounds yummy!!! Would love to have the Hot Sausage Dip recipe and the cookbook....hope to win it! Thanks! I'm on Facebook!


  37. ALL of the recipes sound wonderful. I woulod really like the Dirty Greek Rice. Thanks

  38. I love chocolate chess pie, yet I have never made it. You make it sound so easy, will have to try it. I would really like to have the recipe for the Sour Cream Chili Bake. I have friends and family members that love chili and I sure would like to get this recipe to try. Thank you for sharing with us.

  39. The Dirty Greek rice looks interesting. Yum

  40. I would say of course the chocolate gravy..but that recipe has been in my family for years. Its is amazing!! But I would love the recipe for the Sour Cream Chili Bake. Thanks!

  41. biscuits and chocolate gravy

  42. I would like to see Sour cream chili bake.

  43. I would like the recipe for the Sour Cream Chili Bake.

    aj-aslan7 at

  44. The kid-friendly biscuits and gravy please! Yum! TFS! And TY for the chance to win!

  45. I'd love to see the recipe for dirty rice.

    As always, your blog continues to rock the house.

    daldak01 at yahoo dot ca

  46. Wow, they all sound delicious!! Would love to try Lori's Rosemary Focaccia Bread. The Dirty Rice sounds great too.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Have a God Filled Day

  47. The rosemary focaccia bread sounds delish! please share!

  48. Would love to try the Rosemary Focaccia or the Chocolate Gravy. Love your recipe books!
    Thanks Sarah

  49. All a treat to the eye and I agree the Chocolate Chess Pie looks delicious!Yvette x

  50. Thank you for this lovely giveaway! I would love the sour cream chili bake recipe! Sounds like a good combination. lanty tracey @ yahoo. com

  51. The chocolate gravy sounds good to me. and the chili bake for dinner. What a great day!


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