A Few of My Favorite Things with Katina Holland

Mom’s Favorites


We are coming up on a year since I started my column. How exciting is that!  I want to keep in touch with my readers.  I would like to invite you to send me letters or call me here at the office.  Do I ramble too much before the recipes?  Would you rather just have recipes?  Is there something you really enjoyed that you would like to see more of?  Is there something you saw but forgot to keep and would like to see again?  Is there something I haven’t put in yet that you would like to see?  Send me a note and I will incorporate some of your suggestions into my column.  I love getting the feedback.  

Sunday is Mother’s Day.  This is the day set aside each year to honor the sacrifices mothers around the world make for their children each and every day.  Personally, I think to use just one day to celebrate these wonderful women is seriously lacking.  Her heart broke every time the tears ran down your face.  She worried and fretted when you took your first steps, but knew she would have to let you take them and every step since from first driving lesson to first dates to first child.  Even if you are grown now, your mother still worries for you.  She wants you happy and healthy and she misses you if you aren’t close.  She should be celebrated every day.  

Do you know what is really great about your mother besides her love?  She doesn’t want you to buy her fancy things.  Like most holidays, the stores are quick to get in your face and try to get you to buy, buy, buy.  Your mother only asks for what is most precious to her-your time.  She wants you to visit her.  She wants a homemade card or a Popsicle stick picture frame or a crooked birdhouse painted in 4 different colors.  She wants you to bring your children to see her.  She wants to hear your laughter.  She wants you to do the cooking and cleaning for a day so she can relax.  She wants a handpicked bouquet of wildflowers.  She treasures the homemade because it’s from the heart and it’s from you.  

I have mentioned my mother in this column before, but I want to mention her again.  My mom is a beautiful, smart lady.  She helps me come up with ideas whether it be for this column or designing a cake.  She is also quick to offer to help if I need it.  She is good to listen and will offer advice if needed.  She is a fount of medical knowledge for which I am forever grateful.  She is a woman of faith and has a lovely soul.  She was chauffeur and nursemaid and teacher and so much more.  We used to get up early for the holidays to put my hair up in crazy shapes and she never complained about doing it.  From the way she lost her parents to her brother’s health to losing her son, the fact that Mom gets out of bed every day is an awe inspiring testament to her inner strength.  

But she is so much more than what can be easily described.  How do you explain the pure love of a mother?  She has been there to hold and comfort me my entire life.  Mom baked the cakes growing up and always tried to give us what we asked for, no matter how off the wall it was.  We had rules and structure, but it taught us right from wrong.  We also had a lot of freedom to make our own mistakes.  We were allowed to fall.  It gave us character.  We were allowed to fail in some things.  It made us stronger.  We explored and let our creativity run wild.  It made us free thinking.  Mom was the guiding light showing us the way, but let us choose our own paths to get there.  I am the woman today because of the woman she was when I was growing up.  She helped mold me without forcing me into anything.  

Even as an adult, my mom has been there for me.  She can’t do as much as we used to do together, but she still does what she can.  I write my column today to say thanks.  Thank you Mom for being there, for holding my hand, for letting me cry on your shoulder during the dark times.  Thank you for the comfort when I was scared.  Thank you for the boundaries and the freedoms.  Thank you for encouraging me to keep reaching for the stars.  Thank you for the beef stew that I love and for passing down old family recipes and showing me how to make homemade bread.  I treasure those memories of us.  Thank you for the love you showed me.  Thank you for these things and so much more.  I love you so much.

I remember cooking once.  Mom and I were in the kitchen together and she looked at me and said she knew I was going make a great wife and mother someday.  She told me my caring nature and tender heart were great qualities and would serve me well later in life.  It meant a lot to me coming from her.  I think this moment is where some of my passion for baking comes from.  This week, I am going to share some of Mom’s favorites.  She like things that are light and flavorful.  Salads are a favorite of hers and she loves fruits.  Whatever you choose to make this weekend, do it in honor of your mother.  Share the meal with her or just cook it for her.  Let her truly take the day off, but don’t leave the mess for her to clean up the next day either.  Meet me in the kitchen this weekend and join me in celebrating Mom.


Baked BBQ Chicken

4 bone-in chicken breast halves

3 Tbsps olive oil

1 ½ tsps smoked paprika

2 Tbsps fresh lemon juice

3 cloves garlic minced

¼ tsp salt, more or less to taste

Pepper to taste

1 cup BBQ sauce

Remove skin from chicken breast halves and place in a large Ziploc bag.  Combine olive oil, smoked paprika, lemon juice, and garlic in a small bowl and pour over chicken.  Let chicken marinade for at least an hour, but no more than 24 hours in the fridge.  Preheat oven to 350°F.  Remove chicken from bag and place on a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper.  Bake for 20 minutes and brush a layer of BBQ sauce on the chicken. Return to the oven and repeat brushing with BBQ sauce every 5 minutes until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes longer. Chicken is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F when read with a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast.

Recipe adapted from heatherlikesfood.com.


Easy Summer Fruit Salad

2/3 cup fresh orange juice

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 tsp grated orange zest

1/2 tsp grated lemon zest

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

2 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced

3 kiwi fruit, peeled and sliced

3 bananas, sliced

2 oranges, peeled and sectioned (I like to use Mandarin oranges)

1 cup seedless grapes

2 cups blackberries (blueberries also work well in this salad)

Bring orange juice, lemon juice, brown sugar, orange zest, and lemon zest to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla extract. Set aside to cool.  Place fruit in large bowl.  Don’t worry about layering the fruit.  I like to make sure the fruit is covered well with the sauce.  Pour the cooled sauce over the fruit. Mix well.  Cover and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours before serving.  Mix again as the sauce will settle to the bottom.  

Recipe from allrecipes.com.


Strawberry Watermelon Slush

1 16oz container fresh strawberries 

4 cups watermelon cubes 

½ cup fresh squeezed orange juice (you can also use lemon or lime juice)

¼ cup honey 

Hull the strawberries and place them on a baking sheet. Freeze for 1 hour 20 minutes, or until frozen.  Place watermelon in a blender; process until liquefied. Add honey, orange juice and frozen strawberries and process until desired consistency.

For an alternate option, use ice to make the slush instead.  Place fruit, juice and honey in blender and process still smooth.  Add ice slowly and blend until desired consistency is reach.  I usually use about 2 cups of ice.  


Garlic Parmesan Asparagus

½ pound fresh asparagus

½ tsp salt

½ tsp fresh ground black pepper

3 cloves minced garlic

2-3 Tbsps parmesan cheese

Olive oil spray

Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper and set aside.  Rinse the asparagus and trim off woody end pieces. Spread out in a thin layer on top of the prepared cookie sheet.  Spray the asparagus lightly with a coat of olive oil spray. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic, and parmesan cheese. Use your hands to mix the asparagus with all of the ingredients, then lay out into an even layer again. Bake in the preheated oven for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from belleofthekitchen.com.


Coffee Cake

Filling-I like this combination very well and sometimes double the recipe so I can have more.

½ cup packed brown sugar

½ cup chopped pecans

1 ½ tsps ground cinnamon


3 cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ tsps baking powder

1 ½ tsps baking soda

¾ tsp salt

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

¾ cup unsalted sweet cream butter, softened

1 ½ tsps vanilla bean paste

3 eggs 

1 ½ cups sour cream


¼ cup unsalted sweet cream butter

2 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

1-2 Tbsps milk

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 12-cup fluted tube cake pan or 10-inch angel food (tube) cake pan.  In small bowl, mix all filling ingredients and set aside.  For the cake: In medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside. In large bowl, beat granulated sugar, butter, vanilla and eggs with electric mixer on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Beat in flour mixture alternately with sour cream on low speed.  Spread 1/3 of the batter (about 2 cups) in pan; sprinkle with 1/3 of the Filling (about 6 tablespoons). Repeat twice.  Bake about 1 hour or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool 10 minutes.  For Glaze: In 1 1/2-quart saucepan, heat remaining butter over medium heat until very light brown; remove from heat. Stir in powdered sugar and vanilla. Stir in milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until glaze is smooth and thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle cake with glaze.

Recipe adapted from my mom’s recipe box.


Peach Pound Cake

4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted once

3 cups granulated sugar

2 cups room temperature unsalted sweet cream butter

½ cup buttermilk

½ cup peach schnapps

6 large eggs

2 tsps vanilla bean paste

2 1/2 cups diced fresh peaches-go for peaches that are just barely ripe.  Peaches that are on the verge of over ripe have more liquid and that can cause the cake to not come out right.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Place flour, sugar, butter, milk, peach schnapps, eggs, and vanilla (in that order, this is important for this cake) in 4-qt. bowl of a heavy-duty electric stand mixer. Beat at low speed 1 minute, stopping to scrape down sides. Beat at medium speed 2 minutes. Stir in peaches by hand. Pour into a greased and floured 10-inch (16-cup) tube pan.  Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 20 minutes. Remove from pan to wire rack; cool completely (about 1 hour).

Recipe adapted from southernliving.com.


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