Aunt Sis

(Photo Credit: Allison Morgan Photography)

As a child, I saw the hustle and bustle around the kitchen in preparation for our Christmas meal at my grandparents’ home up the road. What I rarely saw: actual cooking! My late Aunt Sissy, the only sister of my grandfather Georgie, lived a couple miles down the road and knew how to develop incredible flavor and fine southern cuisine. Without Aunt Sissy and her daughter (my cousin, Jo Ellen), we’d be a hungry bunch on Thanksgiving afternoon! Read some of Jo Ellen’s favorite memories of Thanksgiving with her Mother….

Believe it or not, Mom never baked a turkey!  When I was little, we always raked all the millions of pine needles that fell in the front yard on Thanksgiving Day!  It was the only day my folks weren’t working!  It used to make my grandmother so mad because she always cooked.

After I moved in (our) house – around 2002 or so – Mom did teach me how to make milk gravy using all the drippings from the turkey.  It’s still how I do it to this day.  She always was the one who fixed green beans, fresh corn that she had frozen from either Aunt Mollie and Uncle Lawrence or a local farmer here and squash casserole.  Of course, she made the green jello salad that (Uncle Mike) loves for most holiday gatherings too.

Looking ahead to Christmas…the photo (below) is Mom helping me make White Christmas Trash!  But my main memory of her at Christmas was her baking hundreds of pound cakes throughout December for friends and to sell at National!  I still use her pans and mixer!

Cooking 2007
So, in honor of Aunt Sissy’s beautiful cooking and tremendous love for family, we’re sharing a favorite holiday tradition: white trash! In the Smith, Swann, Wilson, and Hodgson homes, you’ll find this in a bowl or wrapped in a festive goodie bag for neighbors near and far. While (a little bit) messy, it’s a wonderful treat to make with kiddos of all ages. (Just be prepared to lose quite a bit of ingredients to sneaky hands)! Try out this recipe below for a sweet and savory rendition of our holiday snack.
  • 3.5 cups Cheerios toasted oat cereal
  • 3 cups Rice Chex
  • 3 cups Corn Chex
  • 16 ounces M&M’s plain chocolate candy (or select the special edition Christmas peppermint M&M’s for more flavor!
  • 2.5 peanuts or preferred mixed nuts
  • 2 cups small pretzels
  • 2 (11 ounce) packages of white chocolate chips or white melting chocolate

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Melt the white chocolate down, being cautious with temperature to prevent burning. Pour the melted chocolate over the dry ingredients and carefully mix with a spatula. Spoon the mixture onto parchment or wax paper, creating a flat sheet across the counter. Allow it to dry before breaking off pieces to separate as candy.

What are some of your favorite holiday traditions and recipes? Comment and share with us!

Happy baking,



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