Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Family Reunion

With the sweet arrival of summer comes the picturesque family gatherings.  For more than 20 years my family has gathered for the great, ever-growing, Allen Family Reunion.  As the oldest of 7 children, my grandfather, Pa, had a bond with his siblings that filtered down throughout each family.  They raised their babies together, they sent the cousins off to camp together, they celebrated milestones, they mourned the death of family members but through it all they loved each other.  This undying devotion and eternal sibling love is what has kept this tradition alive.  Two years ago, when I moved into my grandmother's house, I made her a promise that as long as I lived in her house I would continue to host the Allen Family Reunion as she had done for so many years before.  Here are a few old pictures I have found of the Allen family through the years...


As most backyard BBQ's go everyone brought a little something whether it was a side dish, a dessert or an appetizer.  Here is a glimpse into some of the dishes that were made, the fun that was had and the beauty that is generations of my family coming together once more to remember those who have gone before us, appreciate those we still have and love the promise possessed by the newest generation!

Cucumber Salsa
2 medium cucumbers - peeled, seeded, and chopped
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons minced fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (12 ounce) package tortilla chips

In a medium bowl, stir together the cucumbers, tomatoes, green pepper, jalapeno pepper, onion, garlic, lime juice, cilantro, dill, and salt. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Serve with tortilla chips.

Marinated Mushrooms 
(Louise Corcoran December 25, 1983)
1 package large mushrooms
Good Season’s Zesty Italian dressing (made by directions on the packet)
Add ¼ cup vinegar (extra)
1 sliced onion

Marinate overnight.

Annie sure does love Richard!

See!  Brothers can play nice!

Amanda's Corn and Tomato Salad
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup mayonnaise (preferably homemade)
1 cup full-fat yogurt
1 teaspoon each dried dill, oregano, and garlic
juice 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon each kosher salt and cracked black pepper.

Mix everything together. Taste. The dressing might taste a bit more muted than you want, but beware of adding too much more seasoning. As Cookiecrumb said, let it burgeon.  Allow the dressing to sit for a day. Taste. Cut corn from 4 corn cobs and cut up some tomatoes. If you have some purple basil that can be sliced (about a cup or so) and added. Add salt and pepper and as much dressing as needed to coat.
Shoepeg Corn Salad (Lee Gordon)
2 cans shoepeg corn
6 scallions, chopped
1 cup Hellman's mayonnaise

Combine all ingredients and let sit overnight before serving cold.

Eddie's Corn Cakes
Pat's Homemade BBQ
That is one good lookin' kid!
Jessica's Broccoli Salad
2 bunches of broccoli - cut into small pieces
1 med. red onion, minced
1/2 cup raisins or craisins ( or a mix of the two)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
3/4 - 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese 
8 - 10 cooked bacon slices - crumbled

Dressing - sometimes I add a little more to each ingredients to make a little more dressing
1 1/4 cup mayo 
1/2 cup sugar
 2 tablespoons cider vinegar  

Whisk mayo, sugar, & vinegar then pour over the other stuff, mix gently, cover & try to refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Serves 6 - 8

Aunt Jean's Slaw
1 medium head cabbage, shredded
1 medium onion, halved and sliced thin

Bring to a boil:
1 cup sugar
1 cup vinegar
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1-Tablespoon mustard (dry or prepared)
1 Tablespoon celery seed
Add: ½ cup Mazola oil
Bring to boil again. Dribble over cabbage. Press down.
Let stand overnight. Keep stored in refrigerator.
And now it is time for the desserts....

A family favorite has always been when Jim brings out the watermelon!  For years we would have a contest to see who could spit the seeds the farthest.  I must say, my grandfather always seemed to think there was no point in a seedless watermelon as that would take out all the fun!

No-Bake Black Bottom Pudding Pie
Brought by Amanda Allen, recipe found at
for the crust:
4 sheets graham crackers, smashed
2 T butter, melted
1 T powdered sugar
for the ganache layer:
8 oz semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 pint cream
for the filling:
2 small boxes instant vanilla pudding
2 pints cream (not half n' half...use heavy whipping cream!)
cocoa to finish

Mix together the graham crackers crumbs, powdered sugar and melted butter with your fingers and press into a glass pie plate (or 9-inch casserole pan).  Freeze two hours or overnight until hard.
Next, make the ganache. Place chocolate chips in a bowl and bring the cream to a simmer on the stove (watch it so it doesn't scorch!). Pour cream over chocolate and mix well until smooth. Pour onto frozen crust and place back in the freezer for two more hours.
To make the filling, beat together the cream and instant pudding on high until stiff peaks form. Smooth onto chocolate layer of pie. Freeze until hard (about an hour).
Right before serving, dust with cocoa powder.

Aunt Jean's Lemon Chess Bars
1 box Duncan Hines yellow cake mix
1 stick butter, melted
1 egg
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Mix together.  Pat in bottom of 13x9x2” pan, lightly greased.

           Mix together with mixer:
          1 –8 oz. package cream cheese
          3 eggs
          1 tablespoon lemon juice
          1 box powdered sugar

Pour over top of dough.  Bake 350 for 38 to 40 minutes.   
Don’t overbake.  Cut in squares.  Freezes well.

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  1. Ruth~ this is such a wonderful post. I love all your recipes, but this post is so special. I wish our family did big reunions like this. It's wonderful that you can keep this tradition alive and a priority in your family! Hope you're doing well!!