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“Food To Live For”

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Food to Live For Cookbook

As our blog followers know, last month I posted an entry entitled “Food To Die For” which was a synopsis of Jessica Bemis Ward’s first cookbook for Lynchburg’s Old City Cemetery.  Today I want to expose you to her second book, Food To Live For We’re Alive and Cooking.

It took Jessica almost ten years to compile and write her second cookbook.  After the huge success of her first she and the wonderful staff and volunteers at Old City Cemetery knew she needed to write a follow-up.

Food To Live For concentrates on the foods prepared for gatherings of family and friends, as did Food To Die For.  The recipes in Food To Live For celebrate daily meals as well as celebrations, birthdays, holidays, dinner parties and spur of the moment suppers among neighbors and friends.  Just reading the table of contents to review the categories of recipes included will make your mouth water.  Appetizers, soups and chowders, salads-including main dish salads, main courses and of course desserts.  Speaking of desserts, there are six recipes for all things chocolate!

As before, sprinkled throughout the book are helpful hints, tips, sayings, musings and wonderful pictures from various members of the Old City Cemetery staff and volunteers.  Some of these will make you chuckle.  Others will remind you of your mother or grandmother.  Others still will prod you into action.  The pictures throughout the book add to the stories of the gravegarden, the people who reside there and there lives before.  Several pages speak of “cooks in the gravegarden.”  Personally I find it interesting to know more about some of the people who are buried at Old City Cemetery.

Food To Live For is available for purchase at Old City Cemetery, 401 Taylor Street, Lynchburg, VA 24501.  434.847.1465.  Proceeds from this book also benefit the cemetery and it’s education programs, tours, maintenance and growth.  Old City Cemetery is always an interesting place to visit, no matter the month, season or weather.  If you haven’t visited this special place yo are long overdue.


Hawaiian Pancakes

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Hawaiian Pancake

Hawaiian Pancakes, moist and very tropical.

While thumbing through a cooking magazine recently there was an article about Masaharu Morimoto, an Iron Chef on the Food Network show, Iron Chef America, stating his favorite breakfast was a pancake with pineapple, coconut and macadamia nuts.  Having lived in Hawaii for three years in the 1960’s I never had pancakes with these tropical ingredients, but I do enjoy each ingredient individually so I decided to create a recipe with these three ingredients and I’m calling it Hawaiian Pancakes.  First I took our Ultimate Buttermilk Pancake recipe and altered it a bit.  When we lived in Waialua, our neighbor worked at a sugar mill and would always bring us bags of what we called “raw sugar” so I changed the white ganulated sugar to Turbinado.    Next, get a fresh pineapple (it tastes so much better than canned pineapple) and you will use macadamia nuts and shredded or flaked coconut as the toppings.

  • 2 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tablespoons of raw sugar (Turbinado)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Cups buttermilk-room temperature
  • 2 eggs-room temperature-separated
  • 2 Tablespoons melted unsalted butter

To the Buttermilk Pancake recipe above you can alter or add the following ingredients to make them “Hawaiian”

  • add 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • add 3 heaping tablespoons of shredded coconut to the batter
  • add 1/3 cup diced, fresh pineapple chunks to the batter
  • top with a few fresh pineapple chunks, as a garnish
  • top with 1/3 cup toasted macadamia nuts, as a garnish
  • top with 1/3 cup toasted shredded coconut or coconut flakes, as a garnish

Sift the dry ingredients together in one bowl (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pineapple chunks and shredded coconut).  In a second bowl whisk together the wet ingredients (buttermilk, eggs yokes, coconut extract and melted butter).  Keep the two mixtures separate until you are ready to make the pancakes. Whip the egg whites to stiff peaks then gently blend to the combined ingredients before cooking

Heat a griddle or frying pan to medium heat.

Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and mix using a fork or wooden spoon.  Mix until just blended together (it will be lumpy).  Do NOT over blend the mixture.  Let the batter sit for 15 minutes before cooking.  ADD THE EGG WHITES NOW. Using a scoop (I use an ice cream scoop)  pour the batter on the griddle or frying pan.  Brown on both sides and serve with butter and maple syrup.  This recipe should serve five or six people.  If you are making them in batches you can preheat the oven to 200 degrees and store the cooked pancakes in the oven on the shelf until you have cooked all of them and are ready to serve them (will keep well in the oven for 30-45 minutes).

Top with pineapple chunks, macadamia nuts and coconut.  Serve with syrup.

We have had several return guests ask us to make these pancakes for them again.  Yes, they are that good!  And who doesn’t hope that winter is finally over and you can dream of sunny and war, Hawaii?  I’s sure you will enjoy our Hawaiian Pancakes.  They are moist, fluffy, light and soooo much more.

“Food To Die For”

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Food to Die For Cookbook

Many of you who read our blog posts, from The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast, know of and have visited Old City Cemetery, in Lynchburg, VA.  A unique spot in Lynchburg, it obviously started out as merely a cemetery.  Funeral customs in the 1800’s encouraged family, friends and others to spend time in the cemetery “visiting” the departed, sharing picnic space with the departed, caring for the gravesites and enjoying a place of peace and beauty.

Today Old City Cemetery is visited in much the same way.  Every time we visit there are people walking the grounds, visiting the various grave sites, enjoying the roses, trees and plantings, taking time for quiet reflection at the fish pond, swinging in the giant swing hanging fro the pecan tree or learning about the cemetery by visiting the village of small museums or participating in a tour.

The book Food To Die For A Book of Funeral Food, Tips and Tales, by Jessica Bemis Ward was first published in 2004.  Published as a fund raiser, 100 percent of the cookbook’s profits have benefitted the cemetery.  Initially the profits were allocated toward the building of the cemetery’s chapel and columbarium, which were completed in 2006.  Since it’s first publication more than 16,000 copies of the cookbook have been sold, raising funds for various projects throughout the cemetery.

The more than 100 recipes found within the pages of the cookbook are for comfort foods, the types of dishes taken to bereaved families or relatives.  Chapters include casseroles, main dishes, soups, vegetables and side dishes, breads and desserts.  The recipes were gathered from various sources, including local cooks, friends and relatives of Jessica’s, along with many from Jessica herself.

In addition to the delicious recipes the book is full of practical information.  How to write an obituary. Writing condolence notes and thank you’s for funeral food.  Advice pertinent to funeral food: send food in a non-returnable container, include a copy of the recipe along with your dish, along with reheating instructions.  Extra advice: two small pans are better than one large one, how to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold and many other useful tips and hints.

We have enjoyed reading and studying this book.  There are several recipes we have used, both at the B & B and in our “normal” life.  Be sure to try the Blueberry Bundt Cake, the Classic Chicken Tetrazzini (great for leftover Thanksgiving turkey), or Jane White’s Corn Pudding (which is very similar to Mike’s Grandmother’s recipe she passed down to me.)

Strangely enough this book makes for an interesting read, even if you are not looking for a recipe to help comfort someone you know that has experienced a loss.  Next month you will find a blog post written for the companion book Food To Live For We’re Alive and Cooking.

Both of these books can be purchased at the Old City Cemetery Visitor Center.  They each cost $25.00, with all proceeds remaining at the cemetery.  Old City Cemetery is located at 401 Taylor Street, Lynchburg, VA 24501.  434.847.1465 or

Sausage-Cheese Breakfast Pie

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Sausage-Cheese Breakfast Pie by The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast, Lynchburg, VA

Sausage-Cheese Breakfast Pie

Our Sausage-Cheese Breakfast Pie is one of the simplest recipes we have but it is easy to make and tastes great!

As most of you know we alternate a savory entreé with a sweet when guests stay with us for more than one night.  This easy to prepare and serve quiche-like entreé is great when serving up to 6 guests.  It only takes about 15 minutes to prepare it, before it goes into the oven.  Guests staying with us at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast have said it reminds them of the Bisquick™ Impossibly Easy Cheeseburger Pie.  It does!  I substituted ground sausage for the ground beef, in the original, and ta dah!  A “new” breakfast dish.

Sausage-Cheese Breakfast Pie at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast in Lynchburg, VA

So easy to make but good to eat.


  • 1 pound mild Italian sausage
  •  1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup Original Bisquick™ mix
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs


Heat oven to 400°F.  Spray a 9-inch glass pie plate with non-stick cooking spray.

In a 10-inch skillet, cook sausage and onion over medium heat 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sausage is brown; drain.  Stir in salt.  Spread in pie plate.  Sprinkle with cheese.

In a small bowl, stir remaining ingredients with fork or wire whisk until blended.  Pour into pie plate.

Bake about 25 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.  Let sit 5 minutes before slicing.

Serves 6.

Pumpkin Bread

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Pumpkin Bread

It’s November and thoughts are turning to pumpkins.  Pumpkins can be used in a variety of dishes, not just for a delicious pie.  Pumpkin Bread is a great accompaniment to our savory breakfast dishes served at The Carriage House Inn Bed & Breakfast.  Don’t let the ingredient list fool you, it looks long and intimidating, but you probably have everything already in your pantry–except the pumpkin.  If you need a new idea for a dish at your Thanksgiving meal, or a delicious hostess gift for someone you may be visiting during the Thanksgiving holiday this recipe fits the bill.  Enjoy!


  • 1 2/3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup raisins


  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine first eight ingredients.  Whisk together eggs, pumpkin, oil and water; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.  Fold in walnuts and raisins.
  2. Pour into a greased 9×5 loaf pan.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 65-70 minutes.  Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

**  Be creative, you can use additional or alternative stir-ins for the walnuts and raisins: shredded toasted coconut, dried cranberries, candied ginger, cinnamon chips, toasted pecans or diced apple or pear.


Savory Sweet Potato Bread Pudding

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Sweet Potato Bread Pudding

We have been serving this comforting casserole during October when spinach and sweet potatoes are in season and can be found at the Lynchburg Community Market, the grocery store or even our garden at The Carriage House Inn Bed & Breakfast.

Cubes of French bread are baked in a rich Parmesan custard with smoky bacon, spinach and chunks of sweet potatoes.  We serve this casserole accompanied by cheesy scrambled eggs and a light salad of mixed greens dressed with a balsamic vinegar dressing.

Sweet Potato Bread Pudding Ingredients


  • 2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1½ – 2-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 8 thick-cut bacon slices
  • ½ cup chopped sweet onion
  • 5 ounces baby spinach
  • 8 ounces French bread loaf, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 ½ cups half-and-half
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.  Lightly coat an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.  Toss together sweet potatoes, olive oil, ½ teaspoon of the salt, ¼ teaspoon of the pepper on the prepared baking sheet.  Bake in preheated oven until sweet potatoes are just tender, 20-25 minutes, stirring halfway through.
  2. Meanwhile cook bacon until crisp; drain, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings in the pan.  Crumble bacon.
  3. Remove potatoes from oven, and set aside.  Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.
  4. Cook onion in hot drippings until just tender, 2-3 minutes.  Add spinach, and cook until spinach begins to wilt, about 1 minute.  Add bread cubes and crumbled bacon to spinach mixture, stirring to completely incorporate.
  5. Whisk together eggs, half-and-half, Parmesan and remaining 1 teaspoon salt and  ¼ teaspoon pepper in a large bowl.  Stir in bread crumb mixture, stirring gently to completely incorporate.  Lightly coat 13 x 9-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray; spoon mixture into prepared dish.
  6. Bake at 350°F until golden brown and set in the middle, 45-50 minutes.  Let stand 10 minutes before cutting into serving size pieces.

Helpful Hints:

  • Check the doneness of the sweet potato cubes before the 20 minute mark.  Depending on the size of the cubes they may be done earlier.  Remember, they are going to continue cooking in the oven for about 45 minutes.
  • We cook our bacon in the oven, on a wire rack atop a baking sheet.  This allows the bacon to remain flat and the drippings fall onto the baking sheet.  It takes about 15-20 minutes to cook the bacon this way, in a 400°F oven.
  • I have used my kitchen shears to cut the bacon into small pieces.  They are then a bit more uniform and I can snip them right into the mixing bowl.
  • We have made this recipe in the baking dish, as described above or in Texas-size silicon muffin cups.  The muffin cups make serving a breeze and allows for cooking the casserole ahead of time and then just reheating the servings necessary.