Dark Roux Cajun Gumbo

Dark Roux Cajun Gumbo

Authentic Cajun Gumbo made with dark roux, vegetables, sausuage, chick, fish and seafood, served over ric
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6


  • 1 Enameled or large Dutch oven



  • 1 heaping cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup vegetable oil


  • 1 bunch celery, diced including leaves
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 bunch green onions, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic,minced
  • 2 Tbsp cajun seasoning
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 12 oz. pkg. Andouille, sliced in thin rounds
  • Meat from one small rotisserie chicken
  • 1 pound Shrimp, pre-cooked
  • 1 pound baked white fish, like cod optional
  • cooked white rice


  • Roux:
    In a large, heavy bottom dutch oven or stock pot, combine flour with oil. Cook on low heat, stirring constantly for 45 minutes. When done, the roux should look like dark smooth melted chocolate, with the same consistency. TAKE CARE NOT TO BURN. lf you do burn, dump roux and start over, you will be happy that you did. Adjust oil and flour as required.
  • Brown the sausage:
    In a separate skillet on medium geat, brown sausage slices about 3 minutes on both sides. Remove sausage to a plate.
  • Cook vegetables:
    If any sausage sticks to pan, degaze with ½cup of the broth in the hot skillet. Pour the broth and drippings from the skillet into the stock pot with the roux.
  • Add the remaining 5½ cups of chicken broth to pot. Add vegetables, parsley, garlic to roux strirring well.
  • Over medium heat, bring to a boil for 10-12 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Skim off any fat that rises to the top. Stir in the Cajun seasoning, adjusting seasoning to taste.
  • Add chicken, sausage, fish, and shrimp.
  • Taste, adjusting seasoing to taste. Serve over rice.


  • Can be made the day before.
    The roux can be made 3-4 days in advance, and stored in a large reseable bag.
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Pull-Apart Peach Bread


Adapted from a recipe by my grandmother Rowena L. Lark, this yeast-based bread is the perfect accompaniment for various fruit fillings ranging from stewed prunes and cherry pie filling right down to marmalades and jams.  Originating from China, Franciscan Monks introduced peaches to St. Simons and Cumberland islands along Georgia’s coast in 1571 [New Georgia Encyclopedia]. Taking advantage of the Georgia peach season that runs mid-May through August, even if not indigenous to the area, I would be remiss by ignoring the state’s “peach” icon. Because no preservatives are in this fresh peach bread refrigerate after two hours and use within three days.  
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 8


  • 1 Mixer with stand, paddle beater and bread hook
  • 1 12-cup prepared Bundt pan



  • 3 cups all purpose flour, divided
  • cup granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 pkg rapid-rise instant yeast
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 ¼ cups 2% milk
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter


  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 ½ cups diced fresh peaches


  • ½ cup glazed pecan halves, optional
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1 tbsp milk add milk as required for thickness


  • Preheat oven to 350℉.
  • Start by adding 2½ cups of the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast to mixer bowl, and using paddle beater, blend on low speed.
  • Add the butter to the milk and microwave for 1½ minutes. (See Note Below) Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and beat for 2 minutes until smooth, increasing speed slightly. Continue to beat for about 4 minutes, stopping the mixer and scraping the dough as needed to ensure all the dough is mixed.
  • Remove the paddle and scrape the dough off the beater, continuing to add flour as needed, one tablespoon at a time. Replace paddle beater with dough-hook beater, and increasing the speed, beat 7 minutes, continuing to scrape dough off sides of bowl.
  • Place the dough in a butter-greased bowl, and lightly spray baking spray over top of dough, cover with a clean dish towel, and allow to sit in the microwave for one hour to rise. 
  • After one hour, remove from microwave and test the dough to see is it has risen enough, by making an indentation in dough using two fingers. If the indentation remains, the dough is ready.
  • Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a couple of times to remove air. Using a plastic dough cutter, cut dough into fourths, making about fourballs from each section. Layer the balls into the prepared Bundt ban. These balls will make the pull a parts.
  • Pour the peach mixture over the top of dough and return to the microwave to sit to rise another 30 minutes. When the dough is risen, remove and place in the preheated oven and bake for 35 minutes. 
  • Test bread for doneness by inserting a toothpick. If the toothpick comes out clean, the bread is done.
  • Cool. Remove bread from pan and add to a plate. Drizzle with topping, adding pecan halves on top if desired.
  • Note: Use an instant thermometer to test that the milk/butter mixture is at the correct temperature. A temperature of 120 ℉ is desired. Less than that may not activate the yeast, and the dough will not rise properly. Heat above 130 degrees may kill the yeast, and the dough will not rise.
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Easy Peach Cobbler

Easy Peach Cobbler

This quick and delicious Peach cobbler recipe uses fresh peaches poured over batter and butter, and baked. Submitted by Carol Manson.
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 44 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 6


  • 1 13×9 inch baking dish


  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 cup milk (2%)
  • 4 cups fresh peaches, sliced
  • 1 tbsp fresh squezzed lemon juice
  • ½ tsp high-quality cinnomon
  • pinch of coarse salt


  • Preheat oven to 375℉
  • Peel peaches and slice. Add1 cup of sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon and bring to boil in a medium pot over high heat, stirring constantly.
  • Melt butter in the baking dish.
  • In a separate bowl, combine flour, remaining cup sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add milk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.
  • Pour batter over melted butter. Do not stir.
  • Pour peach mixture over the batter. Do not stir.
  • Bake at 375℉ for up to 45 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Ice cream is a superb accompaniemnt.


If uneaten, the cobbler should be refrigerated after two hours. It will keep in the refrigerator for about three days. Before reheating in the oven, remove from the refrigerator and bring it to room temperature.
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We often write about things of minimal interest to many on Facebook. Still, we do it as if by sitting at home and doing very little, we can excel in some superhuman exercise in camaraderie. But now and then, we are privileged to write about something gratifying. And so it was when my dear friend Terrie and I recently took advantage of a beautiful Savannah afternoon to stroll through Forsyth Park—passing a park bench where locals, also taking advantage of the excellent weather, engaged in boisterous conversation.

Our first inclination was to keep walking, but that wasn’t meant to be because a colorful painting caught Terrie’s eye as we began to pass the group. Stopping, I picked up the picture painted on white corrugated cardboard. Looking closely, I could now see what had appeared to be an abstract, was the silhouette of a woman and a guitar. Looking at the park bench, the woman sitting among the men, her guitar next to her, was obviously the model for the painting. We began talking to the artist, Sheldon, who told us how he lived in Savannah’s village of Tiny Houses, which is affordable housing for those who might otherwise be homeless vets. Terrie asked the man how much he wanted for the painting, and without hesitation, Sheldon asked for $75; we settled on $50. Upon Terrie asking him to sign his artwork, the artist picked up a paintbrush and wrote SHELDON in all caps on the bottom.

I was now tasked with the responsibility of having the picture framed. Anyone with a picture professionally framed can attest that framing can cost far more than an excellent bargain found. I first set out to find the right frame. Fortunately, I found a beautiful gold-colored wooden rectangular frame for $35 in a second-hand store called Finder Things in Pooler.

Next was to head over to J and L Glass, who, for $20, meticulously measured and cut glass to fit the frame. Finally, I made a trip to Hobby Lobby in search of matting. My original idea was to paint the frame black and use two pieces of white matting inserted with goldenrod piping. Kelly, a framer at Hobby Lobby, suggested I not paint the frame and use black matting with a corresponding color from the painting; I agreed with her, and we decided on gray. I will say that in hindsight, because of the black matting, I would have selected a non-glare glass.

Still, I was pleased by the finished work, which now has a new home. I also admit that because I like it so much, I feel a pang of guilt for not giving Sheldon his original asking price. I invite any locals reading this post or others visiting Savannah not to miss Forsyth Park. Not only will you experience the magic of one of Savannah’s most well-known icons, but you might also run into Sheldon and his artwork.

Bandera (Cloned) Cornbread Recipe

Bandera Cloned Cornbread Recipe

Southwest style cornbread with creamed style corn, green chilies, and Cheddar and montery Jack cheeses.
Cook Time 1 hour
Cuisine American
Servings 8


  • 1 cast iron skillet Can use one 12 inch skillet, or two 6 inch
  • 1 large mixing bowl


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • ½ cup Monterey Jack, grated
  • ½ 2 oz mild green chilies
  • 1 15 oz. can cream styled corn
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt


  • Preheat oven to 300℉
  • Add butter to skillet and melt in oven.
  • Mix flour, cornmeal, salt and baking powder in large bowl and set aside.
  • In another bowl combine sugar, creamed corn, and chili peppers. Add eggs one at a time. Fold into flour mixture and blend toget ingredients together.
  • Carefully remove skillet with butter from oven. Pour butter into batter and slowly blend together.
  • Return batter back into skilleyt and bake 30-45 minutes until golden brown and inserted toothpick comes out clean.
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Carolyne’s Roast Turkey Chili

Carolyne’s Roasted Turkey Chili

Roasted Turkey Thigh Chili Recipe, with kidney beans, corn, and green chillies.
Prep Time 12 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6


  • 1 Dutch Oven (My 3-3/4 Quart Le Creuset Dutch Oven is the perfect size for this recipe.)


  • 2 Large turkey thighs; bone in, skin on extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper
  • 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 15 oz. can kidney beans, rinsed
  • 1 15 oz. can whole kernel corn, rinsed and drained
  • 1 med red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 med yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 Tbs chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 2 oz. can diced, green chilies
  • water or chicken broth as needed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • garlic powder to taste for turkey thighs


  • The Night Before: Rub olive oil over turkey thighs. Add garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. Roast thighs in oven for an hour and a half at 350℉. Cool. After cutting meat from bones, shred, leaving skin (optional). Place meat in a bowl and refrigerate overnight.
    The Next Day: Seed the bell pepper and chop. Chop onion and mince the garlic, sauteing all three in olive oil 5 to 7 minutes. Add cumin, oregano, chili powder, and salt. Add the turkey meat and tomatoes, kidney beans, green chilies, and corn. Simmer for 45 minutes, adjusting spices to taste.
    Serve with Carolyne's Bandera cloned cornbread recipe
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Who Spilled the Snake Oil?

As we draw to the end of Holy Week, I have spent considerable time reflecting on what is happening today, particularly in America. Regardless of one’s religious or non-religious perspectives, please bear with me as I allegorically express some real-life situations and events.

Going briefly to the mid-1700s, I am reminded of a recipe said to have been printed in Spain by Juan Loeches that gave instructions to take two pounds of live snakes, mixed with three ounces of sesame oil, and cook slowly until the meat fell from the bones. The mixture was then strained and stored for later use for various remedies, such as cleaning the skin and removing pimples, impetigo, and other defects. Traditional Chinese medicines have included such techniques for centuries. Chinese migrant workers may have brought these medicines to bear in the U.S. through the grueling labor they performed building the transcontinental railway. While snake oil may have had some validity due to its high levels of Omega 3, officials have never delivered any specific benefit of the concoction with any conclusive results. The facts, or lack thereof, did not stop patents in England from being issued, and soon, English inventors began manufacturing Snake Oil, a practice which spilled over (pun acknowledged) into the U.S. In time, chemical analysis showed the substance was a little more than mineral oil with some added herbs and fragrance.

Many of us over a certain age have no doubt seen Western Movies where the Snake Oil Salesman, purported to be a doctor but with no credentials, comes to town to peddle his miracle snake oil to those in pain seeking relief—let me say that again, those in pain seeking relief. A shill planted in the audience might attest to the oil’s magical powers to increase sales. The wanna-be doctor would sell his product and get out of Dodge before his trusting and desperate customers knew they had been duped.

Similarly, have you ever wondered how anyone using a fake resume, espousing bogus philanthropic pursuits, finances, and other significant falsehoods, got elected to a sizeable congressional district? Was it because we were all feeling too poorly, drowning in our attempts to deal with life situations, to see the signs, and needed a new face—any face—to bring a new sense of hope? We are too sophisticated to drink the proverbial Kool-Aid—that’s already been done; we needed something new—we needed snake oil.  

And did we play any part, for the same reason mentioned, that allowed one of the most prominent Snake Oil fraudsters, marauding as an American financier and executing one of the largest Ponzi schemes in history, defrauding investors out of billions of dollars for close to twenty years before being brought to his knees by a 150-year prison sentence? Was it because we could not get those college funds together fast enough, buy that new home for our growing families, or live the American Dream on a grander scale that we needed something more? We required more—snake oil.

And, how could we ever consider a man with so many failed business deals that we can’t keep track of to lead us in the government’s business? A man, although ousted from public office by the people, once again, running for the same highest office in the land with close to ninety million followers, a man with numerous criminal charges, including being indicted for using campaign funds to pay off a porn star to coverup his sexual encounters. At the same time, unphased by the knowledge, we knew his unsuspecting wife dutifully waited at home with their newborn son. How, after comparing himself to Jesus Christ, and with the audacity to stand before the nation on television, and like a cheap local ad, during Lent, when eighty percent of Americans celebrate the holiest period of the year, hawk his version of the Bible for $59.99, to raise money to pay his legal debts? Take the snake oil, and watch the madness magically disappear! Warning: Results may vary!

Snake oil, once considered some innocuous product used by a door-to-door salesperson, has suddenly become like some 11th biblical plague spewed from the mouth of a serpent. It is a hazardous substance slowly and menacingly spreading across America to prey on the credulity of a nation that continues to seek remedy as it runs around the snake pit desperately trying to find more—snake oil.

Defending Freedom with Honor and Valor

Black Women in the Military

Major Oleta Crain

So much of what we, as Black people, enjoy today stems from the fruits of the labors of those upon whose shoulders we stand. To deny and obliterate the history of Black people in America ends all possibility to fully understand race matters in this country, particularly the painful parts. The goal is not to hold on to injustices but to celebrate achievements.

In recognition of Black History Month 2024, I salute all men and women of the armed services. Because of my own time served as a United States Marine, I pay homage to one that I find particularly deserving of being honored, Oleta Lawanda Crain, an African American military officer, civil servant, and civil rights advocate with a focus on women’s rights.

Born in 1913 in Earlsboro, Oklahoma, and growing up in Wewoka, she graduated from Douglass High School and received her bachelor’s degree from Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri. An undergraduate degree in business administration would follow from the University of Maryland’s extension in Heidelberg, Germany. As Major Crain, she would complete additional coursework at Harvard and Cambridge University in England and the School of International Relations in Vienna, Austria.

The United States Army was the first U.S. military branch to enlist women when, in May 1942, Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) into law. The idea was to use women to fill specific administrative positions, freeing the men to serve in combat. These jobs were limited to “female appropriate” positions such as drivers, clerical, medical, and cooks. Oleta enlisted after being inspired by a WAAC poster encouraging women to join the war effort. She would only later learn they had not been speaking to her. Undeterred, she forged ahead, was promoted to corporal, and became leader of an African American unit.

In September 1943, Congress authorized the Women’s Army Corps (WAC), making women an official part of the Army, and upon being discharged from the WAAC, Oleta became one of only three Black women out of 300 women nationwide selected to officer training, entering as an Army Air Force Second Lieutenant. Although constantly exposed to racial discrimination by her peers and superiors, after the war, First Lieutenant Crain would be the only Black female officer to be retained by the military. Using her singular and unique position, in the wake of raising concerns about segregation, racism, and sexism, she was promoted to Captain and, in 1948, was transferred to Westover Air Force Base in Massachusetts to work in intelligence. Accused of being a communist by her superior officer, following many months of investigations, she was vindicated of any wrongdoing, emerging from the fiasco with a top-secret security clearance. As personnel director at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage and staffing office at Lindsey Air Station in Germany, Oleta retired from active duty in June 1963 with the rank of Major.

Far from done, the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington, D.C., hired her, and she went to work as a human resources development specialist. Moving to Boston, she took an associate regional administrator position. She taught and attended night school for five years to earn a master’s in public administration. By the mid-1970s, she had been transferred to Denver to serve as regional administrator of the Women’s Bureau for Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.

Focusing on improving women’s employment conditions, wages, and career options, she also supervised conferences on childcare, health benefits, job training, working conditions, and earnings equality. She retired in 1998.

Oleta Lawanda Crain’s distinguished service and humanitarian awards are numerous, and in 1988 was inducted into the Colorado’s Women’s Hall of Fame.

Oleta Lawanda Crain

On November 7, 2007, at the age of 94, Ms. Crain died. She dedicated her collection of documents from her military service to the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library in Denver. A Delta Sigma Theta, the Denver chapter of the sorority, established the Oleta Lawanda Crain Scholarship in her honor.

The U.S. Department of Labor posthumously cited her contributions during Black History Month in 2018, whose theme was African Americans in Times of War.

May her memory be a blessing and an inspiration to all.


Born in the Netherlands in 1496, Menno Simons was a Roman Catholic priest who became an influential Anabaptist religious leader after being excommunicated from the Catholic Church in 1536. A contemporary of the Protestant Reformers, he, along with his followers, became known as Mennonites. Through his writings, he held certain beliefs about Jesus with great conviction despite persecution by various Roman Catholic and Mainline Protestant states. These opinions were codified in the Dordrecht Confession of Faith in 1632, which affirmed “the baptism of believers only, the washing of the feet as a symbol of servanthood, church discipline, the shunning of the excommunicated, the non-swearing of oaths, marriage within the same church,” strict pacifistic physical nonresistance, anti-Catholicism and in general, more emphasis on “true Christianity” involving “being Christian and obeying Christ” as they interpret it from the Holy Bible.

In the late 1600s, Simons was linked with another Anabaptist leader, Jacob Ammann. Because of the extreme positions that Simons felt Ammann supported, such as “shunning and other innovations, the two factions split, and Ammann went off to establish the Amish faith.

James Henry Lark, Jr.

The grandson of an enslaver, Joseph Edward Glover (1809-1879), and his enslaved housekeeper, a woman named Mary Ann Bird Gibson, James Henry Lark, Jr. was born on May 4, 1889, in Savannah, Georgia, to Leila Glover, the “masters” runaway mulatto daughter, and a Black man, named James Henry Lark, Sr, from Augusta, Georgia. Four years later, Leila was alleged to have been murdered. With details unknown, her death certificate only gives the cause of death as “undisclosed.” The following year, James died under the same circumstances, and once again, the death certificate provides the cause of death as “undisclosed.” Orphaned at age five, little James Jr. was returned to his grandmother, where he lived to the age of twelve; when unable to withstand the ill-treatment he is said to have received, he ran away to Washington D.C. to his father’s brother, Alexander.

In 1917, he was raised by his uncle and his aunt. During WWI, he enlisted in the army and was sent to France. Returning in 1918, he married his uncle’s daughter, his first cousin, Rowena Winters Lark. The family settled first in Maryland and later in Washington and began attending a Mennonite Church. In the early 1920s, James bought a 103-acre farm in Quakertown, Pennsylvania, where he assisted in raising the couple’s six children while Rowena taught school in Washington, one hundred and sixty miles south.

Following a study conducted by Goshen College, a four-year Mennonite liberal arts school, James and Rowena were asked by the Mennonite church to work in Chicago with the urban (Black) poor. James agreed, believing that by doing so, spiritual and financial power would be placed in his hands to strengthen Black churches. While that didn’t materialize as planned, on October 6, 1946, the Mennonite church ordained him as a minister, and on September 26, 1954, he became the organization’s first Black bishop. Over the next forty years, James and Rowena would work with mainly Black families living in poverty across the United States and Canada. Their work was not easy, and for several years, they were subjected to Jim Crow laws of the South, as the Mennonite church looked the other way, in some cases even upholding positions of the Confederate South. Still, they persevered, albeit not without some collateral consequence to their family.

James and Rowena Lark were my maternal grandparents.

A Name Is More Than Mere Letters

Originally named Carolyn Marie Lark, in the 1980s, after starting a secondary career as a singer, a co-worker suggested I add an “e” to Carolyn to give it more celebrity. Taking the suggestion, I eventually had the name legally changed to Carolyne. The interesting point is that my mother had named me after her best friend in high school, a young woman named Carolyn E. Potser, whose middle name initial was “E.”
Some years after changing my name, my mother gave me a birthday card wishing me “Carolyn” a Happy Birthday. Upon making some snippy remark about no longer spelling my name that way, her only response was a sincere apology. Given our tumultuous relationship, it would take me some time to realize the depth of her acceptance and love for me.
From that day until the day she passed away, not only did the woman who named me never again use the original common spelling of Carolyn, but she became a champion of the new identity. She embraced the unique spelling, often sending me notices and articles about others with the exact unusual spelling. It was a testament to the bond a mother tried to create with her daughter, a reminder that our names hold significance and meaning beyond mere letters.
And so, the name Carolyne became more than just a modification; it became a symbol of self-expression, individuality, and the unbreakable connection I shared with my mother. It’s a story of transformation and acceptance, where a simple suggestion led to a lifelong identity and personal growth journey.
So, whenever I see my unconventional name written, it reminds me of the remarkable journey that brought it into existence and the endless support and love I have received along the way. It is a part of who I am, a name with a story that continues to unfold with each passing day.