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Last updated: May 27. 2014 2:38PM - 2791 Views
By Lucie R. Willsie Lifestyles Reporter



Mom and cook, Kim Atkins-Bruner and her daughter, Emily Grace Bruner, 8, a second grader at Cedar Ridge Elementary, along with their dog, 2-year-old Toby, pose in the kitchen of their home where they create many different and unique recipes, and Emily is learning the many skills her mom knows about cooking. On the day this photo was taken, Emily's school asked the students to dress up like cowboys and cowgirls.
Mom and cook, Kim Atkins-Bruner and her daughter, Emily Grace Bruner, 8, a second grader at Cedar Ridge Elementary, along with their dog, 2-year-old Toby, pose in the kitchen of their home where they create many different and unique recipes, and Emily is learning the many skills her mom knows about cooking. On the day this photo was taken, Emily's school asked the students to dress up like cowboys and cowgirls.
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Emily Bruner, who will be 8 years old in June, likes mac and cheese because she likes how the macaroni noodles look.


“I like how they’re shaped,” she said.


Mac and Cheese was the first dish she made, but she also has made pancakes and trail mix, and soon wants to make some homemade ice cream. You see, her grandma has an ice cream maker. Emily hopes to spend much of the coming summer with her grandma and hopes her grandma will teach her many of her cooking secrets. In fact, the next dish Emily would like to learn how to make is the same first dish her mom learned to make — creamed potatoes.


Emily is in second grade at Cedar Ridge Elementary School. She thinks she might either like to be a nurse, like her mom, or maybe a teacher, or maybe a beekeeper or even an artist. But Emily also hails from a long line of cooks.


“Both my parents have cooked a lot,” she explained. Her mom is Kim Atkins-Bruner, a RN supervisor for Home Instead, and also a featured cook. Emily likes just about everything her mom makes, especially her mom’s fruit salad. In addition, both of Emily’s grandmas are great cooks, one of which, Annamae, also was a Cook of the Week in The Mount Airy News.


Emily really wanted to join her mom in being a Cook of the Week because of her family’s tradition.


“I love cooking … I inherited from my mom. It comes naturally,” said Emily’s mom, Atkins-Bruner. “It’s one of my favorite hobbies.”


She loves to watch others enjoy eating. Emily’s dad, Benny Bruner, agreed.


Kim Atkins-Bruner delights in teaching her daughter how to cook, and hopes other cooks out there love these special dishes that she has put together for them as well.


“I wanted to give a good variety,” she said. “Meats, vegetables … and everyone usually loves coconut pie,” she said. She usually gets many compliments on this particular pie, along with the Toasted Almond Butter Cake. “It’s delicious. It’s from scratch. It takes time though.”


The cake consists of separating the eggs and folding them separately into the batter. Then, toasting the almonds and greasing and flouring three pans.


“It takes three pans because it is a three-layer cake,” Atkins-Bruner explained. In fact, one “secret” to her success in making this particular cake is to use a thick pan, smack its sides, and then lightly tape the pan on the counter to make the cake come out as smoothly as possible.


“This technique helps even out the batter and get the air bubbles out,” she explained.


She thinks she first found this particular cake recipe in a magazine around 15 years ago — and folks have been loving it ever since.


A few other baking secrets of hers she divulged include always using brown eggs.


” ‘Cause the yolk is richer,” she said. “And, use evaporated milk instead of regular milk … It’s also richer … And, always use butter instead of margarine, which has more water … and preservatives … in it, especially low-fat margarine.”


Atkins-Bruner has been making her Chicken Baskets recipe for even longer — about 25 years, she believes.


“I got it from a fellow student at nursing school at Surry Community College,” she said, remembering back.


Her Shredded Beef and Bacon Quesadillas is her own recipe.


“I had some leftover beef stew,” she explained. “I knew it needed some tomatoes and some Mexican flavor.”


Then, she added some ham and bacon and cheese to complete this scrumptious taste sensation. She just knew from years of cooking, as well as looking at other recipes and talking with other cooks — mostly her mom, Betty Atkins, she confessed — what went well with what.


“My mom did a lot of ‘home-cooking’,” Atkins-Bruner said, “and kept a lot of recipes in her head.” One of Atkins-Bruner’s favorite recipes of her mom’s is homemade biscuits and gravy.


But Atkins-Bruner is not going to rest on her laurels. No sirree. Her next cooking goal is to be more proficient with grilling.


“It’s healthier and easier to clean up,” she revealed.


RECIPES


SHREDDED BEEF AND BACON QUESADILLAS


BY KIM ATKINS-BRUNER


RN SUPERVISOR AT HOME INSTEAD


INGREDIENTS


½ to 1 pound of shredded stew beef


1 package of real bacon bits, soft


1 to 1 ½ cups of Wal-Mart brand white corn and black bean salsa


1 small can of green chilies


Mexi blend and/or sharp cheddar shredded cheese


Flour tortillas


Olive oil


DIRECTIONS


Salt and pepper stew beef to taste. Stew beef until tender. (Chef’s note: I always fix extra stew beef and use leftover beef for this recipe.) Drain and shred the beef. Drizzle the olive oil into the skillet. Put beef, bacon bits, green chilies, and salsa in the skillet. Heat thoroughly. In a separate skillet, drizzle more olive oil over med/high heat. Place the flour tortilla in hot oil. Put a layer of cheese onto the tortilla. Put a layer of the beef mixture on top of the cheese. Cover the beef mixture with another layer of cheese. Top with another flour tortilla. Cook each side of the tortilla (like a pancake) until golden brown. Put on a paper towel and cut into slices like a pizza. Serve with sour cream and/or guacamole. (Cook’s note: Chicken can be used instead of the beef.)


FRESH CORN CREOLE


BY KIM ATKINS-BRUNER


RN SUPERVISOR AT HOME INSTEAD


INGREDIENTS


3 cups of fresh corn, cut off the cob


¾ cup of diced green peppers


¾ cup of diced onions


½ stick of unsalted butter


1 ½ cups of diced fresh tomatoes


1 teaspoon of salt


1 teaspoon of sugar


1 Tablespoon of butter


DIRECTIONS


Sauté the green peppers and onions in one-half stick of butter until limp and transparent, but not brown, or about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the corn, tomatoes, sugar, and salt. Cover and cook about 10 minutes or until the corn is tender. Stir in the remaining Tablespoon of butter. Serve hot.


CREAMY COCONUT PIE


BY KIM ATKINS-BRUNER


RN SUPERVISOR AT HOME INSTEAD


INGREDIENTS


1 cup of sugar


1/3 cup of flour


2 egg yolks (Chef’s note: I use brown eggs.)


1 large can of evaporated milk (Chef’s note: Measure out 2 cups. The second cup will be a little short. Fill the second cup with water to make a full second cup.)


1 cup of coconut


1 stick of unsalted butter


1 teaspoon of vanilla


1 shortbread cookie pie crust


Whipped cream topping


1 cup of heavy whipping cream


1 cup of powdered sugar


1/3 cup of toasted coconut


DIRECTIONS


Use a double boiler. Mix the sugar, flour, evaporated milk, and egg yolks together in the double boiler. Turn heat on high. Cook pie filling while whisking continually until very thick. When pie filling is very thick, remove from heat. Add butter and vanilla, and continue whisking until the butter is melted and the vanilla is blended well. Fold in the coconut. Pour into the shortbread cookie pie crust. Let it cool completely. For the whipped cream topping, use a stainless steel bowl if possible. Before you whip the cream, put the stainless steel bowl and mixer beaters into the freezer and allow them to get very cold. (Chef’s note: This will help the whipped cream set up better.) Put the powdered sugar and heavy whipping cream into the cold bowl. Whip the cream on the highest speed until the cream forms very spiked peaks. Put onto the cooled pie immediately or store in the fridge until the pie is completely cooled. Top with toasted coconut. Store in the fridge.


ASIAN COLE SLAW


BY KIM ATKINS-BRUNER


RN SUPERVISOR AT HOME INSTEAD


INGREDIENTS


Cole slaw


1 bag of angel hair cole slaw


2 packages of Ramen noodles (Chef’s note: Crush while in the bag and discard the flavor packet.)


1 small package of sliced almonds


Sauce


2 Tablespoons of soy sauce


1 cup of sugar


¼ cup of red wine vinegar


¾ cup of olive or canola oil


A splash of sesame seed oil


DIRECTIONS


Mix all of the sauce ingredients together and place into the freezer 30 minutes before use. Toast the almonds and crushed Ramen noodles at 350-degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes. Mix with the angel hair cole slaw. Pour the cold sauce over the cole slaw. Mix well.


CHICKEN BASKETS


BY KIM ATKINS-BRUNER


RN SUPERVISOR AT HOME INSTEAD


INGREDIENTS


4 stewed chicken breasts


2 Tablespoons of melted butter


8 ounces of cream cheese


¼ teaspoon of salt


1/8 teaspoon of pepper


2 Tablespoons of milk


1 Tablespoons of minced onion


1 package of crescent rolls


1 can of cream of chicken soup


DIRECTIONS


Shred the cooked chicken into a large bowl. Add the next 6 ingredients to chicken. Mix well with hands. Put approximately 1 ½ to 2 Tablespoons of the chicken mixture into each crescent roll and spread the crescent roll dough around the chicken mixture to make a basket. Bake at 350-degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes. Dilute the soup with ¼ to ½ can of water depending on desired thickness and heat. Pour the soup over the cooked chicken basket.


TOASTED ALMOND BUTTER CAKE


BY KIM ATKINS-BRUNER


RN SUPERVISOR AT HOME INSTEAD


INGREDIENTS


Cake


½ cup of butter, softened


½ cup of shortening


2 cups of sugar


5 large eggs, separated (Chef’s note: I use brown eggs.)


2 ¼ cups of all-purpose flour


1 ¼ teaspoon of baking soda


1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons of buttermilk


1 teaspoon of almond extract


½ teaspoon of vanilla extract


½ teaspoon of butter flavoring


1 cup of flaked coconut


1 cup of slivered almonds, toasted and chopped


Frosting


8 ounces of cream cheese, softened


½ cup of butter, softened


6 cups of powdered sugar


1 teaspoon of vanilla extract


DIRECTIONS


Beat the butter and shortening at medium speed. Gradually add the sugar. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift the flour and the baking soda. Add the flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture alternately, starting and ending with the flour. Stir in the flavorings, flaked coconut, and chopped almonds. Beat the egg whites at high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold into the batter. Pour the batter into three greased and floured pans and bake at 350-degrees Fahrenheit for 20 to 22 minutes or until done. Cool the cake layers in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes and remove the cakes from the pan and cool completely on wire racks. Beat the cream cheese and butter at medium speed until creamy, gradually adding powdered sugar, beating until blended. Stir in the vanilla. Spread the cream cheese frosting on cooled cake between layers, on the sides and on the top of the cake.


CREAMY MAC-N-CHEESE


BY EMILY GRACE BRUNER


8 IN JUNE/2ND GRADE AT CEDAR RIDGE ELEMENTARY


INGREDIENTS


1/2 box (1 pound) or macaroni noodles


2 to 3 cups of boiled water


1 small can of evaporated milk


5 to 6 slices of American cheese


1/2 cup of sharp cheddar cheese


1 Tablespoon of butter


DIRECTIONS


Boil the water and add the macaroni. Cook until done. Drain. Add the evaporated milk. Add the two types of cheeses, along with the butter. Mix well.


Lucie R. Willsie can be reached at 336-719-1930 or on Twitter at LucieR.Willsie.


 
 
 
 
 
 
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