Even the birds in Marie Nichols trees get home cooked food. She says now they take one look at store bought suet, turn their little beaks up and fly away. Use your leftover bread for crumbs, less expensive shortening, peanut butter, flour and meal. She says they're not that picky.

Can you believe I'm sharing recipes that require patience?

The granola bread sorely tried mine, but my friends declared it very tasty. After all the sweet sweets over the holidays, sorta sweet is good. It goes well with the oatmeal with added fruits and nuts of your choice.

Creamsickle salad isn't all that sweet and it doesn't taste that much like the creamsickle I remember, but it does't have to. It's delicious on it's own.

I've shared the coconut cream pie with you before, but in case you lost it, here it is again. The weather has been just right for meringue lately, cold and dry. It's too cold to get out, so bake a pie.

Suet

Courtesy of Marie Nichols

1 1/2 pounds solid shortening

1 pound crunchy peanut butter

2 cups plain cornmeal

1 cup all purpose flour

Raisins, crumbs, birdseed

Melt shortening and peanut butter. Stir in remaining ingredients. Line a 9x13 dish with foil, leaving hangover for handles. Spread mixture evenly in pan. Set aside until firm. Remove from pan Cut into squares to fit your feeder. Store remaining suet in the refrigerator.

Marie toasts the crumbs to reduce the moisture.

Granola bread

1 cup warm water (115-120°)

1 package yeast

1/4 cup honey

1/2 tablespoon oil

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour

3/4 cup granola

3/4 cup golden raisins

In a mixing bowl, whisk yeast into water. Stir in honey, oil and cinnamon. Add flours, salt, granola and raisins.

Using a wooden spoon, beat thoroughly. (About two minutes). Cover and set at room temperature two hours. Refrigerate over night. Next morning, remove to counter and let rest two hours. Spray a standard size bread pan with Pam. Gently place dough in the prepared pan. Press dough lightly to fit the pan. Cover and let raise two hours or until double. Preheat oven to 375°. Bake 30-40minutes or until golden.

Cook's note: you may use your mixer for making the bread. Use the paddle attachment to mix then switch to the dough hook and beat for two to three minutes.

Cinnamon oatmeal

2 cups milk

1 cup rolled oats

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey

For the topping:

2 tablespoons sour cream

1 teaspoon maple syrup or honey

2 teaspoons milk

Nuts and fresh fruit

In a small bowl, whisk all the topping ingredients together. Set aside.

In a medium size heavy saucepan bring milk to a gentle boil. Stir in oats and cook three to five minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Stir in cinnamon, vanilla and syrup. Divide between serving bowls. Pour topping over each serving. Add nuts and chopped fruits as desired.

Creamsickle salad

1 (4-serving size) package French Vanilla Jell-O instant pudding mix

1 cup milk

1/2 cup frozen orange juice concentrate

1 (8-ounce) container Extra Creamy Cool Whip, thawed

1 can pineapple tidbits, very well drained

1 large can mandarin oranges, very well drained

1 cup coconut

Whisk together pudding mix, milk and orange juice concentrate. Refrigerate five minutes. Remove from the fridge, whisk until smooth. Gently fold in Cool whip. Add fruit and coconut. Stir gently to combine. Cover and chill about three hours.

Coconut Cream Pie

1 9-inch pie shell baked until golden

3 large eggs, separated

3 tablespoons cornstarch

Pinch of salt

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 cup sugar, less two tablespoons*

2 cups half and half

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon coconut flavoring

1 cup coconut, plus more for sprinkling on top

In a medium size heavy saucepan, whisk together eggs, sugars, cornstarch, salt and half and half until smooth.

Bring to gentle boil, stirring constantly, over medium heat. Remove from heat; stir in flavorings and coconut. Pour into the prepared crust. Cover surface with plastic wrap whilst you make the meringue.

*place two tablespoons brown sugar in a one-cup dry measuring cup. Finish filling cup with granulated sugar.

For the meringue:

Reserved Egg whites

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 350°.

Beat egg whites with cream of tartar on medium speed until frothy. Raise speed to medium-high and gradually add sugar, beating to stiff peaks. Spoon onto pie, spreading all the way to the edge of the crust to seal. Sprinkle with coconut. Place pie on preheated oven and bake until coconut and meringue is golden. Watch carefully!

Miss Olivia Sipe is the owner of Miss Olivia’s Table in Maryville.

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