Monthly Archives: September 2015

Cookie Monsters



  • 8-12 chocolate cookies or brownies
  • Butterscotch pudding
  • Semi-sweet chocolate
  • 8 large marshmallows 

Melt chocolate and add to marshmallows for eyeballs; set aside. Prepare pudding according to package directions and spoon half into clear glasses. Crumble cookies and add to glass; top with remaining pudding. Garnish with marshmallows and play “Monster Mash” by Bobby “Boris” Pickett & the Crypt Kickers: “They did the mash… the monster mash…”

Everything I need to know (almost) I learned on YouTube (almost)

Southern Hospitality

When Russell joined Facebook a few months back, he asked me right away, “Why do people keep sending me recipes on Facebook?”

Ha! I explained to him that first off, no one is sending him anything personally and that secondly, they aren’t “sending” – PLEASE get the vernacular right – they are POSTING. After that he began un-friending people who he still insisted “sent” him recipes. Instead, he’s found other beneficial uses for Facebook besides connecting with old college friends. He’s discovered YouTube.

One night he excitedly said, “Guess what, Ann! I’m going to learn how to fold fitted sheets.” He showed such enthusiasm that I expected him to say, “I’m going to learn how to become a scratch golfer.”

Let me explain: In one minute and 42 seconds, Jill Somebody will teach you this: “Hold the sheet lengthwise with both corners, with the fitted side towards your body.” Then she says something about “corner one goes in the pocket, then corner two, three and four; then fluff and fold.” Next (she really says this) “walk it to the table” and finally, “fold it in thirds.”

If only! That night, Russell ran to the linen closet, grabbed a fitted sheet and tried this. After what seemed like hours – I dunno – I was ignoring him, he yelled, “It doesn’t work!” I turned around and all I saw was his arm poking out and his beet red face. I couldn’t believe it. He had almost folded himself into the sheet.

And here’s another YouTube video I saw that sounded interesting. See what you think: how about you want to “bole some coworn” as Paula Deen, in her strong Southern dialect, would say. This one is one minute and 18 seconds and is hosted by Carl, but there’s no talking here – just pleasant Asian music playing in the background with the words printed across the screen. Oh, and I noticed an empty jar of Bonne Mamam gourmet preserves, so I thought this might be a good indicator of his culinary prowess.

Here’s the deal: he microwaves for three minutes an ear of corn with the husk left on. Next, he’ll lay the corn on the counter and slice off the end with this huge Shun knife. I’m guessing it’s a Shun knife, since he appears to be a gourmet chef. He then grabs the hot corn with an oven mitt, cuts off a small portion off the large end and shakes the cob, whereby the husk slides off easily and there’s NO corn silk left behind.

It didn’t happen quite this way for me. In fact, I failed miserably. I had to keep cutting more off the cob, inch by inch, until there was only one-third of the original ear left. The husk would NOT slide off, so I peeled it off – one layer at a time, I might add – and was left with a little corn and a lot of corn silk. Russell said at dinner that night, “What happened to this corn?” “Just eat it!” I said with a grimace.

But the best tip on YouTube – at a short one minute and 55 seconds – for a foodie like me (since the corn thing failed miserably) was sharpening kitchen knives with an ordinary coffee mug. Red Ferret, the host (is that his real name?) has a lovely British accent, so I could listen to him all day, even if I didn’t learn a thing. Especially when he says, “odnery” for ordinary.

What you do is, turn the mug upside down on a flat surface. Then, slide the knife blade at about a 30-degree angle over the unglazed rim on the bottom. I didn’t know there was an unglazed rim on the bottom of the mug, did you? So I tried that one today. To test the success, the tutorial says your knife will then be so sharp you can slice a piece of paper.

I followed the instructions, and then tried to slice through a watermelon – my favorite – but I didn’t see one bit of difference in the knife’s sharpness. As I sawed back and forth, back and forth, making very slow progress, I wondered what I did wrong. I also wondered if the corn guy, above, sharpens HIS knife with a coffee mug? I’m guessing not.

Well, I don’t give up easily, so I’m going to give YouTube another chance. We’ve got a big home improvement job coming up – removing wallpaper – and I did some research today. I picked a tutorial by John Ripper since I hoped to “rip” off that wallpaper fast. He made it look so simple (they always do).

The only tool I have to buy is a hand-held wallpaper scorer, which I can find at the hardware store. I already have the other necessary items, fabric softener and water. Sounds easy, right? Wish me luck! If this doesn’t work, I swear I’m going to divorce YouTube and start dating Pinterest.

- Ann Ipock
Author of Life is Short, But It’s Wide; Life is Short, So Read This Fast; and Life is Short, I wish I Was Taller

Bacon-Wrapped French Fries

  • 4 baking potatoes
  • 1 pound bacon
  • Salt, to taste

Bacon Wrapped French Fries Appetizers SnacksCut potatoes into long fries. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and place oven rack in the center. Cut bacon strips into quarters (4 short strips from each piece). Wrap strips around fries and place on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Bake 15 minutes or until potatoes feel soft. Switch oven to broil and broil fries until tops get crispy. Season with salt and serve. Makes 4 servings.

Lighten Up, Y’all


Cookbook author and renowned chef Virginia Willis is coming to Columbia County Library to demonstrate how to make healthy tailgating recipes from her latest cookbook.

Virginia WillisTailgating season is here, and those who look forward to finger-lickin’ food as much as football on game day are in for a treat. Chef Virginia Willis will visit Columbia County Library to share lighter versions of some of her favorite tailgating recipes from her newest cookbook, Lighten Up, Y’all: Classic Southern Recipes Made Healthy & Wholesome. Guests will be able to sample recipes such as Lightened-Up Pimiento Cheese, Sinless Seven-Layer Dip, Damn Good Dawg Chili and Texas Sheet Cake.

“All Southern food is not unhealthy, and we’re a vegetable-based cuisine. Having said that, tailgating is generally a more indulgent type of eating,” says Willis. “I try to think outside of the cracker box. Instead of serving dips and spreads with crackers or chips, I like to use cucumber slices, carrot sticks, endive lettuce leaves and celery sticks.”

She also suggests replacing half of the sour cream or mayonnaise in dips with 2-percent Greek yogurt, and substituting turkey burgers or pulled chicken barbecue for beef burgers or pulled pork.

“My philosophy is that it’s not all or nothing,” says Willis. “It’s important to try to keep some balance. I know I can’t eat indulgent, rich foods all day and feel good later.”

A graduate of L’Academie de Cuisine and Ecole de Cuisine LaVarenne, Willis landed her first job in a professional kitchen as an apprentice for Nathalie Dupree’s TV cooking show on PBS. She also has worked on more than 1,000 television episodes, as kitchen director for Martha Stewart and Bobby Flay, and as producer of “Epicurious” on The Discovery Channel and “Home Plate” for Turner Studios.

Virginia Willis Lighten Up Ya'llAs a Southern chef, author of multiple cookbooks, award-winning food writer and blogger, Willis is a respected voice on Southern food and cooking. She also delights her fans with her knack for giving classic French cooking a down-home feel and reimagining Southern recipes “en Français.” She has traveled the globe to learn her craft, but she loves coming to Columbia County to visit family and friends.

“I have never technically lived in Evans, but my mother and sister live there now, and I have visited my grandparents, Sam and Louise Baston, for years as a child,” says Willis. “One of the most important connections I have is with Riverview Methodist Church. There are a group of people that are part of that congregation that have truly been part of my life my entire life. I’ve lived all over the world and travel a great deal. It’s always been wonderful to come home to Columbia County, to have that continuity, to have that sense of home and place.”

Following the cooking demonstration, Willis will hold a book-signing reception. Reservations for the event are required. They can be made at


What: Tailgating With Virginia Willis

When: 12:30 p.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday, September 12

Where: Columbia County Library meeting room

How Much: Free

More Info: