Holiday Weight Gain - The Southern Way

Obviously none of us actually try to gain 10 pounds over the Holiday season... but if it's going to happen, I suggest doing it the right way - Southern Style. 

My grandmother is from Mississippi. She's nearly 90 and she cooks the best food in the entire world. Her specialty is the pound cake, and a coconut cake, and meat loaf, and biscuits... ok, she doesn't have a specialty because everything she makes is perfect. But OMG the CRAB CAKES! Anyway, I've attached some of her most famous dessert recipes, some of my mother's best recipes, and some of my precious little North Carolinian grandmother's who passed a few years ago. Because, if you're going to win at this whole "Holiday Weight Gain" thing, I suggest you do it properly. Also, if you want to win at being the most awesome guest at a party, make one of these. 

NOTE: None of these items are paleo and none of them are healthy. But if you share them with friends and family they do make you feel all warm and happy inside - and isn't that what the holidays are all about?! 

Also, if you're not sure of something, just add more butter. 

Hay Stack


1 cup butterscotch chips

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup salted peanuts

2 cups chow mien noodles (crunchy)

a) Mix chips and peanut butter, melt in double boiler or microwave

b) Gently stir in peanuts and noodles

c) Drop by forkful onto waxed paper and allow to set

d) Store in airtight container



 I emailed my mother for these recipes and copied them verbatim from her email. So be on the lookout for mom-esque notes *cough* e *cough*


Papa, Sasa's husband, always said to never trust a skinny chef - Sasa was skinny but always to be trusted! One time she went to this great pie place to pick up a few pies and on the hour long drive home she ate an entire chocolate pie by herself. She also hid chocolates all around the house.

Lemon Squares

1 cup butter

2 cups sifted flour

1/2 cup confectioners sugar

2 cups sugar

4 TBS flour

1 tsp baking powder

4 eggs

6 TBS fresh lemon juice

pinch salt

Preheat oven to 350. Melt butter, add sifted flour and confections sugar. Mix well and pack into an un-greased 9x13 pan. Bake 15 minutes. Mix together sugar, flour and baking powder. Add eggs one at a time, add lemon juice and salt. Pour this mixture over hot crust and return to oven and bake 25-30 minutes. Cool and cut into squares. Sprinkle confectioners sugar on top. Store in airtight container. A PERENNIAL FAVORITE!


1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup butter

1 egg (separated)

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups sifted flour

1 cup pecans, broken


Cream butter and sugar, add egg yolks, salt, vanilla, flour and 1/2 of the pecans. Spread on greased cookie sheet. Beat egg white and spread on top of dough. Sprinkle with remaining pecans. Bake 60-75 minutes @ 250. Cut into squares while still warm. Store in airtight container. PERFECT FOR CHRISTMAS EVE DESSERT BUFFET!

Cheese Wafers with Pecan


Pauline was a friend of Sasa's who made all sort of delicious things! Have you ever had pickled watermelon rind?! Delicious!

1/4 pound butter

1 bar cracker barrel sharp cheddar cheese, grated

1 1/2 cup flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp red pepper

pecan halves or sesame seeds as topper


Sift together dry ingredients. Add grated cheese and butter. Mix well with hands to make firm paste. Roll as for ice box cookies to make two long narrow rolls in waxed paper. Chill overnight in fridge. Slice into thin wafers, add pecan half or sesame seeds. Bake on cookie sheet at 350 for 8-10 minutes. (Watch carefully as they can burn quickly!) Remove from pan within a minute and cool on wax paper. Store in tight tin. A GREAT HIT AT HOLIDAY PARTIES!


2 eggs

2 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

2 tsp vanilla

1 TBS lemon juice

3 cups flour

1 tsp salt

1 1/4 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

3 cups chopped apples


Beat eggs, sugar, oil, vanilla and lemon. Add dry ingredients. Mix well. Add pecans and apples. Bake at 325 for 1 1/2 hours in greased and floured tube pan.



1 cup brown sugar

1 stick butter

1/2 cup cream


Heat until melted. Let cake sit a short time. Remove from pan and pour on icing. FABULOUS THANKSGIVING FARE!

Shufie Nuts


In my family, these are called Shufie Nuts - my mom's middle name is Shuford and so her nickname is always Shufie. These are a Christmas staple and the key to these is the pecans. You can't get cheap pecans. They need to be big and delicious.

3 cups brown sugar

1 cup water

2 TBS butter


Boil together sugar and water until syrup spins a thread at 235°. Pour in 5-6 cups of best pecan halves. (I use Mammoth or Junior Halves from Sunnyland Farms in Georgia.) Stir constantly until candy begins to thicken. Pour onto wax paper and separate halves. Work quickly. Store in tight tin. THE BEST TASTE OF CHRISTMAS!

Marian's MAC & CHEESE

Marian was Gram's wonderful house keeper who treated all of us like her family. She was an amazing cook. She is very very missed.

1 pound macaroni (Use pasta of your choice, fun to switch it up now and then. If children are with you in the grocery buy farfelle noodles as it is fun to hear the children say "farfelle" over and over in a smooth and silky voice!)

6TBS butter

6TBS flour

3 cups milk

1 tsp salt

1 tsp dry mustard

3 cups shredded cheddar (also mix up cheeses, your favorite works as do combinations of cheeses)


Boil noodles in salted water until just tender. Drain well. Prepare white sauce with the melted butter and flour. Add milk and continue stirring until thickened. Add seasonings and simmer 4-5 minutes. Butter a 4-5 quart baking dish. Arrange alternate layers of noodles, sauce and cheese, ending with cheese. Bake @ 350°F for 25-35 minutes, 'til bubbly on top. (NOW, EAT TWO SERVINGS AND GAIN FIVE POUNDS!)


(But it's worth it, right?)



Healthy lifestyle plug: "Healthy" is a lifestyle, not something that just happens sometimes. That way, when you regularly fill your body with wonderful nutrients and give it plenty of exercise, when you do decide to eat *Southern Style,* your body won't hate you forever. It will be able to burn it off quickly and get right back to where it was just a month before. Part of a healthy lifestyle is treating yourself on occasion. So be healthy this Holiday Season - when you really must just have some of Gram's Haystacks, just do it! Don't feel guilty - really enjoy it and then go rake the yard or play with your dog!