As I’m sitting and writing this, I’m thinking about my dad.

Dad was born on George Washington’s birthday. Back when he was born, if you happened to be born on a president’s birthday you received a birth certificate from the White House. My dad’s was proudly framed and displayed above the mantle. When he was about 7, the house caught on fire and his birth certificate burned. He cried because he thought he’d never have another birthday.

Dad would have been 90 years old this year. I lost my dad 22 years ago and I still miss him. I remember the wonderful tomatoes he always grew and the beef. I had never eaten store-bought beef until after my dad died. What a taste difference there was.

I’m sharing a few of the recipes that I think my dad would enjoy on his birthday.

Creamy Apple Dessert


1/4 cup butter or 1/4 cup margarine

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs 

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk (like Eagle Brand Milk)

8 ounces cream cheese, softened 

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 (21-ounce) can apple pie filling

1/4 cup chopped walnuts 

1/2 tsp. cinnamon 


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use a 1 1/2 quart baking dish (10x6) and melt butter or margarine in the oven. Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs over the melted butter and mix well. Press into the bottom of the dish or make a crust. Mix sweetened condensed milk, cream cheese and lemon juice. Spread evenly over crust. Spoon pie filling over. Ready layer. Bake 25 to 30 minutes until set. Cool slightly. In small dish, mix together nuts and cinnamon. Sprinkle over pie filling. Serve warm or cold.  

Hershey’s syrup brownies


1/2 cup butter (no substitutes, melt in microwave)

1 cup granulated sugar 

4 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract 

1 cup flour

1 (16-ounce) can Hershey’s syrup 

1 cup chopped nuts (optional)


3 cups confectioner’s sugar 

1/2 cup butter, melted (no substitutes)

4 Tbsps. cocoa

4 Tbsps. milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom of a 10x15-inch pan. After melting butter in microwave, cream sugar and butter together. Add eggs, one at a time and beat well after each addition. Add vanilla extract. Add flour, mix well. Add Hershey syrup, mix well. Add chopped nuts, if using. Pour batter into pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until brown. Test with a toothpick. When brownies are almost done baking, prepare icing. Bring to boil in the microwave, the butter, cocoa and 1 Tbsp. milk. In a mixing bowl, add confectioner’s sugar. Add cocoa mixture to the sugar and beat well. Add 1 tsp. vanilla extract. Add the rest of the milk. Add enough to get the desired spreading consistency. Let brownies cool about 5-10 minutes. Spread icing on brownies. Sprinkle with some more chopped nuts, if desired. The icing will harden to a fudge like consistency. Let brownies cool completely before cutting into squares. 

French Vanilla Peach Cobbler Dump Cake


2 (15-ounce) cans peach chunks in light syrup 

1 box French vanilla cake mix

1/2 cup unsalted butter 

1 tsp. cinnamon sugar (1/4 tsp. cinnamon plus 3/4 tsp. sugar) 

13x9-inch baking pan


Drain one of the cans of peaches, reserving the syrup. Empty the peaches into a 13x9-inch baking pan. Empty the entire contents of the other can of peaches (with syrup) into the 13x9-inch pan. Spread the peaches out evenly. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar across the top of the peaches. Sprinkle the cake mix on top of the peaches and press down with your hand. Cut butter into 16 pieces and distribute across the top of the cake mix. Pour the reserved syrup over the cake mix and run a knife through the mix and the syrup to spread it around a bit. Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream.

Old-time soft sugar cookies


1/2 cup shortening 

1/2 cup granulated sugar 

1/2 cup brown sugar 

1 egg

3/4 cup buttermilk 

1 tsp. vanilla

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt


1/4 cup granulated sugar 

1 tsp. cinnamon 


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cream together shortening, sugar and brown sugar. Mix in egg, then the buttermilk and vanilla. Combine the dry ingredients and stir into creamed mixture. Chill dough for 1 hour. Drop mixture by rounded tsp., 2 inches apart on lightly greased baking sheet. Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle on top of cookie dough. Bake at 400 degrees for 7 to 9 minutes or until set. Store In tightly-covered container.

Easy No-Bake Cherry Delight


1 3/4 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs 

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup melted butter

2 cups whipped dream whipped topping (1 envelope)

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 (8-ounce) cream cheese, softened

1 (28-ounce) cherry pie filling


Prepare a 9x9-inch baking pan. (Coat with non-stick cooking spray)

In a bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and 1 Tbsp. sugar; spread on bottom of prepared baking pan to form a crust. Mix the Dream Whip topping according to directions on the package, then beat in the cream cheese into the Dream Whip a little at a time. Add the remaining sugar and vanilla until well-blended. Smooth on top of the crust. Top with the cherry pie filling. Chill at least 3 hours (overnight is even better). Cover.

Joyce Jacks is a native of Barrow County and a graduate of Winder-Barrow High School, Athens Technical College and the University of Georgia. She can be reached at

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