Pizza Bread Bowl Fondue

Bread Bowl Pizza Fondue












Published in Carolina Country April 2019

Well who doesn’t love pizza?  And cheese?  And party food?  Let’s throw all those things together and enjoy some pizza fondue!  Great for gatherings… like next Sunday’s Super Bowl.

Let your imagination run and throw together any sort of combination your crowd loves.  Pepperoni is probably “the” all time most loved pizza… so start there. I have also included a Hawaiian pizza fondue… for folks like me that are not fans of pepperoni!

You can also have fun with dippers… with veggies, crackers, pork rinds for low carbers, tortellini and whatever your imagination comes up with!  Bake in your oven, or cook on the grill… over indirect heat. 

Be sure to drop by my facebook community for chatter on this and lots of other fun stuff!

Pizza Bread Bowl Fondue

Try this fun way to enjoy a simple supper. You can get creative with fondue and dippers, but here are a couple of our favorites.

Course: Appetizer, Fun Food!, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Grilling, Summer Food, Tailgating
Keyword: pizza, fondue
Author: Wendy Perry
Bread Bowls
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 prepared round loaf King's Hawaiian bread
  • 1 prepared loaf cheese bread
Hawaiian Pizza Fondue

  • 2 cups Colby Jack cheese
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, cubed
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 8 ounce can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 6 ounces diced ham
  • chopped green onions or chive
  • coconut chips, optional
  • Dippers: Toasted bread, sliced Canadian bacon, plantain chips, steamed veggies
Pepperoni Pizza Fondue

  • 1 6 ounce package sliced pepperoni, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 1/2 cups cubed American cheese
  • 1 1/2 cup grated or cubed mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Dippers: Deep fried tortellini and Ravioli, toasted bread, assorted veggies

  1. Add ½ teaspoon each of garlic and onion powder to ⅔ cup oil.

  2. Hollow out bread bowls, making sure not to cut through bottom of the loaves. Brush insides with seasoned oil. Cube and brush the cut-out bread as well.

  3. For Hawaiian Pizza Fondue, toss cheeses with cornstarch. Stir
    in pineapple and ham. Fill bread bowls and place on baking sheet. Tent with
    foil. Bake 20 minutes. Remove foil and lay cubed bread pieces around bowls.
    Bake another 8–10 minutes. Garnish with onion and coconut.

  4. For Pepperoni Pizza Fondue, set aside Parmesan, half the
    pepperoni and half the Italian seasoning. Combine all remaining ingredients and
    fill bread. Sprinkle with the remaining pepperoni and seasoning. Place bowls on
    baking sheet. Tent with foil. Bake 20 minutes. Remove foil and lay cubed bread
    pieces around bowls. Bake another 8–10 minutes. Garnish with Parmesan.

Butterscotch Pecan Skillet Pie… with Sweet Potato & Molasses Ice Cream

So I see that today is #NationalPieDay!  We can’t let that slip by without a pie can we?  I meant to post this before Thanksgiving… but, oh well!  And let me just say right here that this pic was way long ago, when I don’t even remember WHAT I was taking pictures with and knew n.o.t.h.i.n.g. about food styling… and one day, I’ll make and reshoot this pie… but till then… we’ll live with this thing!

Butterscotch Skillet Pecan Pie












Way back when, I used to be a frequent guest on the local My Carolina Today Show. I always had so much fun with Sharon and Valonda… producer Kim, and all the crew behind the scenes.  Way back in 2011, I was on their show with some fun ways to give a twist to thanksgiving… you can read all about that and recipes here!
I shared this pie then, but not in a printable format… so I’m giving this one a 2nd time around.  

It is such an easy pie to make for such a big bang!  You can make in a “normal” pie plate, but I like the rustic touch from making in a cast iron skillet.  This Butterscotch Skillet Pecan Pie is only made better if you also take a minute to make some sweet ‘tater and molasses ice cream to plop on top.  You can even blend in leftover sweet potato casserole to make the ice cream more better!  No picture of that for now… 

So, check your pantry and see what’s missing to make this pie. A good southern stocked pantry probably already has everything you’ll need!

Once you’ve made, come and add your comments in my facebook community!

Butterscotch Skillet Pecan Pie with Sweet Potato Molasses Ice Cream

This is such an easy pie to throw together... and you might already have all you need right in your pantry. Make yourself a Butterscotch Skillet Pecan Pie today!

Course: Dessert, Pie, Sweet Treats
Cuisine: American, Southern, Southern Desserts
Keyword: butterscotch, molasses ice cream, pecan, skillet cooking, sweet potato ice cream
Author: Wendy Perry
  • 1 1/2 cup North Carolina pecan pieces
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 large local fresh eggs, beaten with whisk till slightly frothy
  • 1 11 ounce bag butterscotch morsels
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 stick butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 unbaked pie crust, store-bought or your own
  1. Preheat oven to 350. 

  2. Spray 10"-12’ cast iron skillet; place crust into prepared pan.  It will naturally ‘ruffle’ as shown in picture.

  3. In medium bowl, mix pecan pieces with flour. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.  Pour into pie shell and bake 350* for about 40-45 minutes.

  4. Let pie cool before slicing as it is easier to cut at room temperature.


    Sweet Potato Molasses Ice Cream (not shown): Soften 1/2 gallon of vanilla (or butter pecan) ice cream. Blend in cooked mashed sweet potato (about 1 cup) and about 1/2 cup molasses. Refreeze until serving time.

    Note: A bit of cinnamon added to sweet potatoes or ice cream doesn't hurt a thing! You can even used leftover sweet potato casserole in the ice cream!

Country Ham and Pierogi Benedict with Red Eye “Hollandaise”

Country Ham & Pierogi Benedict

Published in Carolina Country February 2020

I didn’t grow up eating pierogies in rural North Carolina… and haven’t had many as a grown up either. But I do like to re-create old favorites with a new twist. When I polled facebook friends for breakfast ideas, one said “pierogies.”  And I thought… “Huh?  She must not be from ’round here!”  LOL

But it got me thinking outside my box. And just how I could incorporate some into one of my breakfast recipes for February Carolina Country.  I had one of those “a-HA” moments… fortunately as a recipe developer I have lots of those… more than I’ll ever be able to create in this lifetime… and way too many in the middle of the night keeping me awake! 

I love Eggs Benedict…. and am a country ham gal too!  So it just made sense to somehow pile all the usuals on top of cheese pierogies!  Now I realize some of you probably make your own, but that’s not happening for this gal. And not for most readers either.  I’m busy… they’re busy… and need recipes that come together without much fuss.  And with them being readily available at the store… no need to reinvent the wheel, right?  I grabbed some Mrs. T’s to play with in this recipe, and was tickled at how well they worked… all buttery and cheesy!

So without further fuss, here is my Country Ham Benedict… with a twist.  I hope you have fun making and eating them.  And be sure to see below how to make a bunch of poached eggs ahead of time so you can serve to a posse… all nice and warm… without fuss’n with all those poached eggs at eat’n time!

Be sure to click here and come on over to my facebook community too… for chatter on this and other goodies!  See you there…
And if you like this recipe, be sure to click over to Carolina Country’s page and give it some (5!) stars. 

How to poach eggs

Eggs can be poached up to 24 hours in advance—handy if you are cooking for a crowd.

Heat 2–3 inches of water in a pan to a low boil. Break eggs, one at a time, into a custard cup or small bowl. Slide gently into water. Do not stir. Remove with slotted spoon after the whites set and the yolks begin to set, about 3–5 minutes. Drain on paper towels if using immediately. For later use, lower into an ice water bath to chill. Drain and keep refrigerated until needed. Warm in water at serving time.

Country Ham and Pierogi Benedict with Red Eye "Hollandaise"

Take this old favorite into a new one by piling your country ham and eggs on top of cheese pierogis!

Course: Breakfast, Brunch
Cuisine: American, Southern
Keyword: apple, benedict, breakfast sausage, brunch, country ham, eggs benedict, pierogies
Servings: 4
Author: Wendy Perry
  • 4 poached eggs (see note below to make ahead)
  • 1 12 count box cheese pierogies, (I used Mrs. T's)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 12 ounces country ham, cut into strips
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup black coffee
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • black pepper
  • chopped chives
  1. Heat skillet to medium. Sauté pierogies in butter per package instructions. Set aside and keep warm.

  2. Add oil to drippings and sauté ham for 4–5 minutes until tender, making sure not to overcook. Remove ham with slotted spoon.

  3. In a separate bowl, whisk cornstarch into coffee to make a slurry. Pour into pan drippings and deglaze skillet. Whisk in milk and pepper; heat sauce until it reaches gravy consistency. If too thick, add a bit more milk.

  4. Divide pierogies onto four plates. Top with strips of country ham and a poached egg. Drizzle with "hollandiase" gravy and garnish with chopped chives.

Recipe Notes

How to poach eggs:

Eggs can be poached up to 24 hours in advance—handy if you are cooking for a crowd.

Heat 2–3 inches of water in a pan to a low boil. Break eggs, one at a time, into a custard cup or small bowl. Slide gently into water. Do not stir. Remove with slotted spoon after the whites set and the yolks begin to set, about 3–5 minutes. Drain on paper towels if using immediately. For later use, lower into an ice water bath to chill. Drain and keep refrigerated until needed. Warm in water at serving time.

Chicken Breakfast Sausage

Chicken Breakfast Sausage





















Published Carolina Country Magazine February 2020


Long ago… in what seems like another lifetime, I was a crazy busy personal chef.  Over a couple of decades, I cooked for so many folks that became like family to me…. singles young and old, couples young and old, families… senior parents whose children would hire me to look after them from afar!  I did dinner parties and cooking classes. I even founded a professional association in 2000 that taught many personal chefs across America (and a few other countries) how to set up, manage and operate their own personal chef businesses!  A “mishap” in a convenience store parking lot “hole” changed all that in 2014 and I had to suddenly re-career off my feet.  Another story for another day.

During the nearly 2 decades I cooked for so many, one of my most requested recipes was this chicken breakfast sausage.  Folks loved and requested it for all sorts of reasons.  No Pork. Seasoned this way or that. Etc. This is kid-friendly too.
I tweaked it until it was just like I wanted it.  And sometimes tweaked per client to suit their personal tastes.  I have also made it with apple tucked in too.  Grating in some fresh apple makes it super moist, but that’s another recipe for another day!  (Or just add some into this recipe.)  

If you find you like this recipe, it’s easy to double batch and freeze patties to have on hand.  Notice my suggestion for making some as is, and some as maple sausage too.  Either way, I think you will enjoy this recipe.  I like to cook in a cast iron skillet to get a little bit of a “crunch” on the outside.  (See note in recipe about cooking with maple syrup in it.)

This sausage is perfect alongside my Whole Wheat Nutty Lemon Ricotta Pancakes that I will be sharing in the next week once published at CC!  

I hope you will give these a try, and comment below or come over and find the post about this on my facebook community and add there!

Chicken Breakfast Sausage

Enjoy this moist and tasty chicken breakfast sausage... as is, or with a hint of maple too!

Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Supper
Cuisine: American, Kid-Friendly, Southern
Keyword: breakfast sausage, kid-friendly, maple sausage, sausage
Author: Wendy Perry
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground chicken, dark/white mix is best
  • 1 small onion, minced (about 3/4 cup)
  • 3 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon (or more!) crushed red pepper, omit or reduce to suit taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • maple syrup, optional
  1. Combine all ingredients except syrup and mix well, forming 12 patties.

  2. Heat skillet to medium heat and add just enough oil to coat.
    Fry about 12-15 minutes, turning once until cooked through center (165).

Recipe Notes

Option:   Make the recipe and divide in half, and add 2 tablespoons maple syrup to half to have some with and without maple. Note that the patties with maple will brown more due to the sugar.  Watch carefully to prevent burning from the sugar.  (I cook these a bit lower and cover to make sure they get done inside.

Eastern NC BBQ Sauce Gravy

Eastern North Carolina BBQ Sauce Gravy

Published in Carolina Country Magazine January 2020

Those of us from the eastern part of North Carolina know there’s only ONE “Best BBQ Sauce” here… that being our Eastern North Carolina vinegar-based BBQ Sauce!   This is my daddy’s version… “Daddy’s Saturday Sauce.” He would throw a pot of it together just about every Saturday… when he would cook the best BBQed chicken we would go get from a chicken house down the road, then just before eating, he’d throw it in that old banged up pot with an ill-fit’n lid, and give it a shake.  Daddy didn’t let it sit long like some folks do… because if you do that, the crispy charred chicken skin will lose it’s “crispy” and we didn’t like ours to do that.  As a matter of fact, I would usually tell him to put my chicken leg quarters in a bowl to the side and I’d fix a little cup to dip my chicken in so it did stay nice and crispy! 

As a little girl, I would often “ride to town,” that being Smithfield, NC, with my grandma to “tend to some farm business” at the then named ASCS office… usually something to do with the tobacco.  There were many BBQ restaurants along the way and around town… and we ate at them all at one time or another.  One of them, Batt Johnson’s, had what I remember to be some sort of white-ish creamy BBQ chicken sauce. I don’t recall it being like a White Alabama Sauce… But my “being a little girl” was a very.longggg.time.ago!  I remember it being different.  I don’t know if it was milk… or thickened with flour, or both… but this tweak’n to my daddy’s “Saturday Sauce” tastes and looks like I remember from way back then.  Whether it’s close or not, it’s my version… and I love this… so it works for me! So here is my vinegary creamy red peppery BBQ chicken sauce… and it’s damn good!  And has me wondering why more BBQ places don’t serve such a “gravy?”

I tried and tried for over a year to get up with some of Mr. Batt’s family members to buy some of their sauce I learned they still make on occasion, to refresh my memory and enjoy it again, and to get info about him and the sauce to include here in my tale, but that just never worked out.  

So… I hope you will make yourself some and see what you think.  If you have memories of Batt’s restaurant, do add them in comments here or hop over to my facebook community and find the post about this recipe and share there… 

Eastern North Carolina BBQ Sauce Gravy

As a little girl, I would often run errands in Smithfield with my grandma. I always looked forward to stopping at the local BBQ hot spots for some dark meat barbecue chicken. One place had a whitish, thick sauce that I’ve replicated below. How to make eastern NC BBQ sauce better? Turn it into gravy…

Course: Gravy, Sauces
Cuisine: Grilling, North Carolina Goodies, Southern
Keyword: Barbecued Chicken, Eastern NC BBQ Sauce, Gravy
Author: Wendy Perry
"Daddy's Saturday Sauce"
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar, I use White House Apple Cider Vinegar (and so did daddy!)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 8 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1-2 tablespoons hot sauce, I use Texas Pete (and so did daddy!)
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
To Make Gravy with "Daddy's Saturday Sauce"
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
  1. Combine all ingredients, except flour and milk, in a saucepan. Heat on medium until sugar melts.

  2. In a bowl, whisk flour into milk to make a slurry. Add to vinegar mixture and whisk until thickened into gravy.

  3. Serve over grilled or store-bought rotisserie chicken. Lip smacking good on sliced pork and mashed potatoes, too!

Buttermilk Bisque… with roasted turnips, pears and leeks

Buttermilk Bisque With roasted turnips, pears and leeks


Published in Carolina Country Magazine   January 2020

Bisque.  A fancy name for soup… 

Another in my threesome of “winter white” recipes for the January issue of Carolina Country, this creamy soup will warm you right down to your bones, and soothe the soul.  

But… if you prefer room temperature, you can enjoy it that way too.

If you are not a fan of turnips, I urge you to give this a try.  When roasted, the natural sugars caramelize, giving them a different flavor than what you may be familiar with.  I don’t know about you, but I grew up being served “stewed” turnips… boiled, usually with some sort of meat, until like mashed potatoes.  And although I love them that way too, I understand many do not, and that may be your experience with turnips!  Over the years, I have served them roasted, usually with sweet potatoes, red onions and Brussels Sprouts.  My non-turnip-eating friends would say… as they picked them out of the dish… “what are these whitish things?  they’s so GOOD!”
And I’d say… “turnips!”  And their response would be…
“Can’t be, I hate turnips!”  As they stuffed them in their face.

So do yourself a favor on a January day. Throw together some of this bisque… so full of layers of flavors that marry deliciously!  Finished off with a drizzle of roasted garlic oil, just serve with some cornbread or pork cracklins… a “winter white” to brush off the winter blues!

And mosey on over to my facebook community where we talk about all sorts of stuff…  


Buttermilk Bisque with roasted turnips, pears and leeks

Warm up from the inside out with this creamy, “winter white” soup. Or serve it chilled! Roasting the produce adds another layer of flavor, and even turnip-haters will find those root veggies tasty. Serve with cornbread and cracklins.

Course: Appetizer, Bisque, Brunch, Soup
Cuisine: American, Farmers Market, Garden Goodies, Gluten Free
Keyword: bisque, buttermilk, leeks, pears, stoup, stew, soup, state fair
Author: Wendy Perry
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 large turnips, (about 4 cups), peeled and cubed
  • 5-6 ripe, firm pears,

    peeled, quartered and cored
  • 3-4 leeks, white parts only, washed and roughly chopped
  • 4 heads garlic
  • 8 ounces olive oil
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh rosemary leaves
  • 3 cup whole buttermilk
  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  2. Toss turnips, pears and leeks with ¼ cup olive oil. Scatter on parchment-lined baking pan.

  3. Cut top off of whole heads of garlic to expose cloves. Place into a small baking dish and pour 8 ounces of olive oil over heads of garlic. Roast alongside vegetables. Remove garlic from oven after 25–30 minutes and separate garlic from oil to cool, reserving oil. Roast vegetables for a total of 35–40 minutes, tossing after first 20 minutes.

  4. Squeeze cooled garlic cloves into a food processor, along with roasted vegetables, celery and rosemary. Add 1–2 cups each of buttermilk and broth (depending on size of processor). Purée until smooth. Pour into pot with remaining buttermilk and broth and heat gently. Add seasonings and butter.

  5. Garnish with a drizzle of the roasted garlic oil, plus a sprinkle of cracklins and cornbread crumbs (optional).



Sticky Pig Twigs… can bacon get any better?

Sticky Pig Twigs


Published in Carolina Country Magazine April 2018

Oh bacon, how we love thee.  Let us count the ways!  

It’s hard to make bacon more better… but y’all, you just must make some of my Sticky Pig Twigs to see it can be done.  You can make them with honey or pepper jelly (I make with Peggy Rose’s HOT pepper jelly and mustard too)… 

Peggy Rose's Pepper Jelly & Champagne Mustard


but when you make them, be sure to make a pile, because if there are many folks around, these sticky twigs won’t last very long!  Just watch closely since they will burn in a minute if you don’t take out of the oven in time!

Enjoy!  And come on over to my fun facebook community… and Peggy Rose’s too!

Find locations to buy her jellies and mustard here!

Sticky Pig Twigs

Make a pile of these, because they will disappear right before your eyes. Enjoy as is, or chopped on salads. Especially good on a juicy summer BLT … add more hot pepper if your crowd can take it!

Course: Appetizer, Fun Food!, Snack
Cuisine: Southern
Author: Wendy Perry
  • 1 pound thick sliced bacon, cut in half
  • 4 tablespoons pepper jelly or honey
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon stone ground mustard (I like Peggy Rose's Champagne Mustard!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Blend all ingredients (except bacon).

  3. Line baking pan with foil or parchment paper. Place wire cooling rack over lined pan and spray. Lay slices of bacon on rack. Bake 15 minutes. Brush bacon with glaze and continue baking about 5 minutes. Turn bacon over and brush. 

  4. Continue brushing and cooking at 5 minute intervals, checking to make sure bacon does not burn. Remove from oven when deep brown and edges are crisp and curled, about 30 to 35 minutes total. Cool on wax paper or rack. 

Recipe Notes

Note: If making multiple batches, change liner between new pans as the sugar will drip onto foil, burn and smoke up your kitchen.

Winter White Velvet Cake

Winter White Velvet Cake

January has me thinking “winter whites.” So I tweaked my GrandMa Perry’s Red Velvet Cake a little into this White Velvet version… served on my mama’s cake stand. I like to make it a day ahead and chill for cake to “ripen” and let all the flavor bloom and cake to moisten from the frosting.

Published in Carolina Country Magazine January 2020

A few months ago when creating recipes for the January issue of Carolina Country Magazine, my mind was thinking…  “Winter Whites.”  I strive to create 3 recipes that are a variety… not all sides, or sweets or main dishes.  And of course in January, we’re snuggled in from the chills of winter outside… in recovery mode from the holidaZe…  longing for stick-to-your-ribs comforting foods.  Hearty foods.  With something sweet and decadent to enjoy in our pajamas after supper and a long day getting back into the groove at work.

This month, I created an Eastern North Carolina BBQ Sauce Gravy… well, because what is more comforting that g.r.a.v.y.?  And for my friends who don’t eat much or any meat, a soothing creamy Roasted Turnip, Leek and Pear Buttermilk Bisque. Don’t let the turnips scare you off… they take on a new life when roasted and pair perfectly with the pears.  Stay tuned… I will be sharing those soon!

So what about that “something sweet?” I decided to see what would happen if I took my grandma’s Red Velvet Cake recipe, and made it “white.”  Well low and behold, I did just that with a couple of simple tweaks, and turned out one of the best damn cakes I’ve ever had…. let alone baked, since y’all know I’m the “non-baker” gal.  One of these days I’ll get around to putting Ma Perry’s original Red Velvet Cake recipe here. So for now, you’ll just have to settle on this white version! 

I recommend making it 1-2 days before you want to eat it… to give the butter brushing and creamy frosting some time to marry into the layers and make them more better.  That’s not to say you HAVE to do that… just that it takes the cake to another layer of moister deliciousness.  (Yes, I do make up my own words!) So here you go… maybe the best white cake ever, at least for this gal who isn’t a big sweets eater and would rather have pie than cake!  I think you will find this treat to not be overly sweet… “just enough.”  With moist layers surrounded by fluffy nutty coconutty goodness.

I can hardly wait for you to make it and give your reviews.  Please join us over in my facebook community for that!

Winter White Velvet Cake

A decadent moist cake awaits cutting… butter-brushed layers with creamy traditional Red Velvet Cake frosting but with a special addition of macadamia nuts too! Winter White Velvet Cake… the “new red velvet cake!”


And if you like this recipe, please take 30 seconds to click over to it on the Carolina Country web page and give it some stars!  Thanks bunches…

Winter White Velvet Cake

Ice, snow, whipped cream — January has me thinking “winter whites.” So I tweaked my Grandma Perry’s red velvet cake into this white velvet version and served it on my mama’s cake stand. Make it a day ahead and chill to let the flavors “ripen.”

Course: Dessert, Sweet Treats
Cuisine: American, Southern, Southern Desserts
Author: Wendy Perry
  • 1/2 cup solid coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 5 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup macadamia nuts, chopped (toss with ½ teaspoon salt)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Line three 8" or 9" round cake pans with parchment paper.*

  3. With mixer, cream oil with sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in salt and flour.

  4. Add vanilla and buttermilk to batter. In a small bowl, pour vinegar over soda. After it fizzes, stir and add to batter.

  5. Divide batter into 3 prepared pans. Bake 10–15 minutes until done and the cake separates from sides of pan (time will depend on pan size.) Brush one side of each layer with melted butter.

  6. For frosting, cook flour, milk and vanilla in a double boiler, stirring constantly until thick. Cool. In another bowl, whip sugar and butter at high speed until fluffy. Add cooled, cooked mixture and blend into fluffy frosting.

  7. Frost cake and scatter each layer and top with coconut and nuts.

Recipe Notes

*Either size pan will work. I prefer a 9-inch pan for thinner layers.

Merry & Bright Holiday Cheerwine Punch… with fruit-filled ice ring

Merry & Bright Christmas Cheerwine Punch



Published in Carolina Country Magazine  December 2019
I love North Carolina’s Cheerwine.  I play with it in all sorts of ways, like my Cheery Grilled Corn with Hoop Cheese Crumbles and Bacon Dust!

Cheery Grilled Corn with Hoop Cheese & Bacon Dust











And… I love punch! I especially love Cheerwine’s seasonal holiday punch. (Stock up before it’s gone.

Cheerwine Holiday Punch

Punch is so fun… and in this case, most festive. As a caterer for many years, I liked serving punch because it was one of those things that could be done for bunches at the time with little labor.
(Except the time one of my brides brought quarts of frozen green stuff just before the wedding and my poor mama ’bout killed herself and broke 2 choppers trying to break up that “hard as a rock stuff” up minutes before all those guests were headed for the punch bowl.)

There are so many kinds of punch, and although I enjoy those frothy vintage ones with sherbet floating in the bowl, they just don’t quench one’s thirst, defeating the purpose of something for that.  Many times, I would be given “Aunt So and So’s” fluffy (usually green) punch recipe to make for wedding receptions. I would always have to make sure there were pitchers of water (and extra cups) since, albeit delightful and family tradition, did nothing but makes folks MORE thirsty with all that sugar… buckets of SUGAR!

My goal when creating this delicious sparkly punch was to cover all bases. Something festive but also, not necessitating water because it makes guests “more thirsty!”  And too, I wanted something for all to enjoy… something the host/hostess could fix and let folks serve themselves and not have to fret over so they can enjoy the party too… (see the rest of this menu with my Gingerbread Banana PuddingGingerbread Banana Pudding







and Pork Tenderloin Sheet Pan Supper).Pork Tenderloin Sliders & Sweet Potato Sheet Pan Supper







The beauty of this punch is that it is “all-age friendly.”  But… you can simply sit out some vodka or rum (spiced rum is great!) and let the grown-ups make themselves an adult beverage should they so desire.  Snow Hill’s Covington House Vodka made with local Covington sweet potatoes would be excellent and a personal favorite!  Or if rum is your thing, you won’t go wrong with a splash of Johnston County’s Broadslab Distillery’s oaky Carolina Coast Spiced Rum (my personal FAVE spiced rum)!

Cheerwine’s Holiday Punch is just perfect for this thirst-quenching big bowl of “Cheery, Merry & Bright!”  You can skip the edible gold stars and flecks, but I highly recommend getting some. That can be found at craft stores or ordered online and at your doorstep in a day or two.  I used both gold flecks and stars… and having donated my punch bowls years ago, borrowed one of many available punch bowls and cups from my little rural country church. It’s fun to see all the punch bowls and tubs of punch cups they have tucked away in the equipment closet there in the church annex.  And when I was making this and needed a punch bowl, knew exactly where I would find several to pick from!  

Sooo…. throw yourself a gathering!  And make some of my Merry & Bright Holiday Cheerwine Punch… it will make your table so festive, and let you enjoy your party right along with your guests.  The ice ring can be done days or week ahead of time too… ready to plop into a punch bowl and add the other stuff. 

And from my table to yours…
Merry Christmas.  Happy New Year.
Cheerwine… and Cheers to fun gatherings for you and yours!

Be sure to come on over and join the merriment on my facebook community too!

Merry & Bright Christmas Cheerwine Punch

Having friends over for a holiday supper? No need to fret over multiple beverages … punch to the rescue! Let your imagination loose as exact measurements are not necessary.

Course: Beverages, Drinks
Cuisine: American, North Carolina Goodies
Keyword: Cheerwine, Christmas party, festive, holiday punch, punch
Author: wendy perry
ICE RING (can be made days ahead):
  • bundt pan
  • 1 46 ounce can pineapple juice
  • 1 10 ounce jar cherries with stems, drained and juice reserved
  • Strawberries, pomegranate arils, star fruit, pineapple wedges, cherries, rosemary
  • Edible gold stars and flecks, optional
  • 1 part Holiday Cheerwine Punch*
  • 1 part gingerale
  • 1 part lemon-lime club soda
  • fresh mint
  1. Layer fruits (including cherries) and rosemary stems in the bottom of Bundt pan. Gently pour in pineapple juice just to cover and then freeze. Mix cherry juice with pineapple juice, pour over frozen fruit layer and refreeze. Be sure to freeze as instructed. Most of the fruits will float, so if you pour too much for the first layer, they will be deep in your ring and not show up on top.

  2. Remove ring from freezer about 20 minutes before serving time. Run warm water over Bundt pan to loosen ring. Gently place ring into punch bowl.

  1. Pour Cheerwine, ginger ale and club soda over ring. Garnish with additional star fruit, mint leaves, rosemary, gold stars and flecks.

Recipe Notes
  • Variation: Offer spiced rum on the side for an adult version.

  • *Regular Cheerwine can be used if Holiday Punch is not available.

Pork Tenderloin Sheet Pan Supper with Sweet Potatoes & Caramelized Onions

Pork Tenderloin Sliders & Sweet Potato Sheet Pan Supper


Published in Carolina Country Magazine December 2019

When planning my recipes for the December issue of Carolina Country Magazine, my vision was to create three recipes that would provide a host/hostess with a complete meal for a small Christmas gathering he/she could enjoy and not spend the entire party in and out of the kitchen fixing and replenishing food.

I also wanted the recipes not to be labor intensive and could mostly be done ahead of time.  I’m pretty sure I accomplished all those goals… with a tasty well-rounded meal, each complimenting the other… while featuring a few of my favorite North Carolina products. 

Greet your guests with a beautiful bowl of Merry & Bright Christmas Cheerwine Punch! As noted on the recipe, you can offer some nice rum or vodka for those guests who prefer a “punch” to their punch!  See ideas for some NC rum and vodka over on the Cheerwine post!
Merry & Bright Cheerwine Christmas Punch







Now for the main dish… I used NC pork x 2… with the best bacon on earth, Cheshire pork… from Heritage Farm General Store… and pork tenderloin from my favorite little local grocery store in Louisburg… Moss Foods… slathered both before and during cooking with some Peggy Rose’s pepper jelly! The loins are placed atop a tray full of thinly sliced onions that carmelize in the pork drippings (YUM!) and are surrounded by seasoned NC Sweet Potato wedges… that also get kissed from below by those onion-y porky drippins.  Y’all, I can’t even begin to describe this lusciousness!  This can all be prepared a day or two before your guests are due, ready to pop into the oven and then served right off the tray with a basket of slider rolls for your company to self-serve.

Rounding out this perfect little meal… Gingerbread Banana Pudding!  Gingerbread Banana PuddingJust drop by a local thrift store and grab a cute hinged jar to make this in… details over on that post.


So there you have it! A complete meal that will surely impress your friends… and one that will let you have just as much fun as they will at your party.  

I wish you and yours the merriest Christmas and hoping you have a most blessed season.  Just don’t forget #TheReasonForTheSeason! 

Don’t forget to come over and like my facebook community for recipes and so much more! 

Pork Tenderloin Sheet Pan Supper with Sweet Potatoes & Caramelized Onions

You won't go wrong serving your holiday company this Peggy Rose's pepper jelly glazed-Heritage Farm bacon wrapped NC pork tenderloin.... nestled among seasoned NC Sweet Potatoes!

Course: Main Course, Supper
Cuisine: American, North Carolina Goodies, Southern
Keyword: nc pork, nc sweet potatoes, peggy rose's pepper jelly, sheet pan
Author: Wendy Perry
  • 3-4 small sweet potatoes, washed and dried
  • 2-3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3-4 onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2-3 tablespoons oil
  • about 3 pounds pork tenderloin, silver skin removed
  • dried sage
  • cayenne pepper
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • salt
  • 1/2 cup hot pepper jelly, divided I use Peggy Rose's
  • 12 ounces bacon
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • chopped chives
  1. Slice potatoes lengthwise into wedges. Toss with oil, then add cumin, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.

  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss onion rings with oil and scatter on large sheet pan.

  3. Dust tenderloin generously on all sides with sage, peppers and salt. Lay on top of onions.

  4. Warm 2 heaping tablespoons of jelly in microwave for about 15 seconds and spread over tenderloin. Wrap with bacon and dust the bacon with black pepper.

  5. Place potato wedges on onions around pork. Roast for about 35 minutes until pork reaches 140 degrees by thermometer.

  6. Warm remaining jelly with balsamic vinegar and drizzle over pork. Let rest a few minutes before slicing.

  7. Garnish with chopped chives. Slice pork, top with the roasted onions alongside the savory roasted sweet potatoes.

Gingerbread Banana Pudding With Molasses Whipped Cream

Gingerbread Banana Pudding


Published in Carolina Country Magazine  December 2019

Who doesn’t love banana pudding?  Or gingerbread?  Well I thought it was time to share this goodie my catering clients have enjoyed for years… Gingerbread Banana Pudding!

This is such a fun dessert to offer at your Christmas gatherings… or anytime you have a crowd to feed.  All parts n’pieces can be done ahead of time to assemble just before your company rings the doorbell. You can find large hinged jars for a few dollars at your local thrift store… or just put in a glass trifle dish or small punch bowl. Just be sure to put it in a serving dish where folks can see all the delicious layers inside! 

Also included in this issue to round out a workfree party for you, this simple pork dish glazed with Peggy Rose’s Pepper Jelly…

Pork Tenderloin Sliders & Sweet Potato Sheet Pan Supper

Pork Tenderloin Sliders & Sweet Potato Sheet Pan Supper










and this sparkly punch!

Christmas Cheerwine Punch
with fruit-filled ice ring

Merry & Bright Cheerwine Christmas Punch











Sit out with other self-serve goodies so you, the host/hostess, can enjoy your party too!  Make your table festive with what makes your heart happy…. like I did here with my Ma Hocutt’s Christmas apron… one of many she had!
Run outside and snip some (free) greenery… turn on your Christmas tunes, and have FUN!

Be sure to join the festivities at my facebook community too!!

Gingerbread Banana Pudding with Molasses Whipped Cream

This southern favorite with a seasonal twist feeds quite a few folks, can be made ahead, and guests can self-serve. Find a fun, hinged, wide-mouth jar to make it in and wow your company!

Course: Dessert, Fun Food!, Sweet Treats
Cuisine: American, Southern Desserts
Keyword: banana pudding, gingerbread
Author: Wendy Perry
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup blackstrap molasses
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil, liquified
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 1/2 cup self-rising cornmeal mix
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon apple pie spice
  • 2 cups applesauce
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tall can evaporated milk
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Molasses Whipped Cream:
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • molasses
  • 5-6 ripe bananas, sliced
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.

  2. Blend together eggs, sugar, molasses, coconut oil and extracts.

  3. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix into wet ingredients a little at the time until well incorporated. Fold in applesauce.

  4. Pour into baking dish. Bake 30–40 minutes, until the surface starts showing cracks. Let cool.

  5. For the pudding, mix all ingredients together and cook in a double boiler, whisking occasionally until thickened. Cool. If pudding is thick, thin a bit with milk as you want it just thin enough to seep down into gingerbread.

  6. For the whipped cream, whip 1 pint of heavy whipping cream to firm peaks. Drizzle with molasses and swirl in with a knife.

  7. Now you are ready for assembly! In a jar or deep dish, loosely layer cubed gingerbread, banana slices, pudding and cream. Repeat, ending with whipped cream.

Molasses Ginger Crinkles

Molasses Ginger Crinkle Cookies


For 5 years, I was House Chef for Our State Magazine. I did do several special projects where my recipes were featured (like my Carolina Cakes!), but the first few years I was in place mostly to prepare recipes chosen by their staff selected from hundreds of cookbooks sent in by readers for their Community Cookbook Series.

This is one of those recipes. Y’all know I’m not all that fond of baking, but wanted to share this recipe from “back in the day” today, on #NationalCookieDay! This recipe originally appeared in Our State in October 2014!  I really love this cookie recipe and it was one out of hundreds I prepared over the years that I have made a few times.  It’s a good basic molasses cookie recipe I think you will enjoy too!  Can’t you just smell them baking now?  Do make some and come tell us what you think over on my facebook community too!

Molasses Ginger Crinkles Recipe

...a perfectly spiced and seasoned crispy little cookie perfect for the Christmas season!

Course: Dessert, Sweet Treats
Cuisine: American, Southern
Keyword: ginger snaps, molasses ginger cookies
Author: Our State Magazine Community Cookbook Series
  • 1 1/2 sticked unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unpacked light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 teaspoon coffee extract or pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped crystallized ginger

  1. Cream the butter, ½ cup of the granulated sugar, and the brown sugar in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a wooden spoon and beat until light and fluffy.

  2. Slowly add the egg, molasses, and coffee extract, beating well to combine.

  3. Combine the flour, ground ginger, fresh ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt in a separate bowl and stir to mix. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat just until combined. Cover the dough with plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight, until firm.

  4. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375˚. Combine the remaining ½ cup granulated sugar and the crystallized ginger in a small shallow bowl and stir to mix. Pinch off small pieces of the dough and roll them into 1-inch balls. Roll each ball in the sugar-ginger mixture to coat evenly and arrange on ungreased baking sheets, spaced about 2 inches apart.

  5. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the edges are set and the center is still soft. Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes. Serve warm or transfer to a baking rack to cool completely.

  6. Store in an airtight container until ready to serve, or for up to 3 days.


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