A Trip to Tuscany…in our mind

A new story from Robyn of Thoroughbroad fame, the recipe and more about the perfect dish for those hot summer evenings with an adult beverage and friends! Tuscan Chicken Dip…yummy.

Recently, a post from Stacy’s Pita Chips showed up on my Facebook feed. It was a contest for a dip. I thought that it might be fun. The first thing that came to mind was a pasta sauce recipe from my days with the Thoroughbroads. This sauce is always in my freezer but you will have to wait for our cookbook to learn more about that. So, I mulled it over thinking how best to get those flavors into a dip. Gathered my ingredients and set about creating. Got it done, placed it in a pretty dish, and snapped some photos. Then, I put it in the refrigerator to let the flavors mingle overnight. The next day I did some tasting and decided to tweak it a bit. Then, I wrote out the recipe and went to the website to submit my masterpiece. I thought I had a good chance because it was a little different. Only one problem, I missed the deadline!! Well, you just can’t rush that creative process. Friends enjoyed my labors and pronounced it delicious. Even worthy of an award. Hope you enjoy it too.

Tuscan Chicken Dip

2 T Olive oil

1 Boneless chicken breast, diced **

1 Mild Italian sausage link, diced

3 Slices prosciutto,diced

1/2c. Sun dried tomatoes, dice

1 T Basil

2 t Rosemary

1 t Sage,rubbed

1 t Garlic

16 oz Sour cream

8 oz Cream cheese, room temperature

Add olive oil to skillet and cook chicken breast until juices run clear. Remove from pan, let drain on paper towel, cut into a small dice, let cool, then measure 1c. Add diced sausage to skillet, cook till lightly browned, remove to paper towel to drain and cool. Add tomatoes, prosciutto, and herbs to skillet. Stir to combine and release the flavors of the dried herbs. Drain and cool on a paper towel. Place sour cream and cream cheese in a mixing bowl. Beat with mixer just to combine. Stir in all ingredients just till blended. Place in a container and refrigerate overnight. Serve with pita chips or your favorite cracker.

** Shortcut- Start with rotisserie chicken

Tuscan Chicken Dip

June Blooms

With June comes garden tours, planting annuals, filling containers with blooming flora, bringing out the patio furniture, enjoying the warm or this year HOT weather and a cool beverage on a front porch with friends. Being in Bourbon country, many think of this spirit as a fall/winter pleasure, but with all of the “mixologists” jumping on the Bourbon wagon,  we are enjoying all types of refreshing beverages made from the brown liquor. The Kentucky Mule for one,

  • 2 oz Woodford Reserve bourbon.
  • 12 oz Fresh lime juice.
  • Ginger beer, to top.
  • add a sprig of rosemary as a stir stick and pour over ice


The Bourbon Melon for another. Tropicana makes a new Watermelon juice in the refrigerated section of your grocery store. Mix the container with 1/2 pkg of Jolly Rancher Watermelon Jello right out of the box, 2 bottles of Ale-8-One and 4 jiggers of Bourbon. Shake vigorously to melt the jello and serve over crushed ice. Makes 4-6 tumblers of adult beverage.


The latter was perfect for hosting a few Master Gardeners on a recent front yard drive by garden tour of a run down neighborhood in downtown Bardstown, KY (currently being revitalized with the hopes of being the Bardstown “Garden District” in ” The Most Beautiful Small Town In America” and “The Bourbon Capital of the World”).

What makes a small town the best is not always the way it looks. The way you are treated by those who live there can make it the best. That is what Bardstown does well. And, that is what is happening in the downtown area of Henrytown recently.

One of the Thoroughbroads downsized into a small bungalow in that run down neighborhood and decided she could be a catalyst for change. She recruited her next door neighbor and off they went door to door leaving anonymous notes thanking homeowners who were working on their properties and front yards. The word got out that someone was appreciative of their efforts…only they did not know who. Next, plants started appearing on their front door stoops with a card marked The Henrytown Pride Project. Then, a benefactor heard what was going on and donated a number of heirloom lilies and iris, so those started appearing on steps and the number of homes showing headway started multiplying. Within 1 year 31 homes had refurbished their curb appeal, rentals started coming up for sale (because property values were increasing) and young people started buying their affordable first homes and learning how to enhance them with gardens.

The project took off and now neighbors know neighbors, they are sharing not only plants with each other, but dinners and adult beverages on the porches that once sat vacant. In a world where all you hear is bad news daily, it is refreshing to know that with a little bit of encouragement instead of chastising others, you can see the change you want just by being the change yourself.

Robyn comes to visit Scarlett every chance she gets, they sit on the front porch and enjoy a drink with these neighbors. All think Robyn should move from Alabama back to Kentucky and become a member of The Henrytown Pride Gang. Who knows what the future will hold, but “The Most Beautiful Small Town In America” will always be here for her with open arms.


After all….The Thoroughbroads would be proud that they continue the tradition of hospitality, Kentucky style.


What do you say….

Just a few of the comments we have had from our visitors that are enjoying the Blog…

Please tell us what you think!

” Robyn, your blog is so fun! I like that there’s a theme of the Thoroughbroads but that it is not overkill. Very Cool!”   Jane from Alabama

” Scarlett, you make me want to meet Madlyn! She sounds like so much fun. I felt like I was at the table with you guys during the Halloween meal. I really like the way you paint a picture and make me seem to be sitting right there with you. And cool recipes.”   Paul from Kentucky

“This is a blog you want to step inside (and EAT)!”   Amanda from Alabama

“Scarlett, I want to see more pictures of you and Robyn and the other Broads. I really enjoy the way you tie an experience in with the recipes and historical photos. I want to know you gals better. Great job.”   Colonel from Kentucky

“I Bookmarked It!”   a classmate from West Virginia

“I really like the way you blend the stories with the recipes. I suspect that Scarlett and Robyn are not the real names and one of them is named _____? I’m not much of a cookbook fan, though–I look up recipes on the Internet rather than in books, and when I read stories I prefer to just read the stories. That’s probably typical of a man. Although I’m not a typical man. Typical men don’t read and don’t cook, right? I admire your creativity!”   Warren a non fundamentalist

“I need to try the chocolate cake recipe!”   Alice from Alabama

“How much fun is all of this? So many nice touches & fun narrative.”   Marlyn from Florida

Robyn, I am about to head to bed but I wanted to let you know I have started reading the Foodie Friday Friends blog. I love it! I started at the last post and read backwards. I read the post First Meeting for the book. Oh my, I’m ready for a road trip. Now off to bed and dreams of amazing recipes and meals shared with friends!”   Connie from Alabama


Like Everything Else Change Is “A-Comin'”

To give you some context to compare Derby in the ’80’s to Derby 2019, take note. Robyn & Scarlett and most of the Thoroughbroads were in their 30’s and 40’s in the ‘80’s. It was pre-cable TV ( you still had only a few stations and MTV had just been invented). Dallas was the most popular TV show and the question of the decade was… Who Shot J.R.? M.A.S.H. ended its longtime run with 123 million viewers watching at parties or the ONE small TV in a bar. And, a sports network (ESPN) became more and more popular as interest in watching sports at home became available. The hand held video camera and the remote control were the rage in this decade… the Kentucky Derby on television was just starting to hit its stride. With that background for a comparison, it is amazing how much the Derby of the 1980’s is a fading memory.

On a recent trip to Kentucky (the week before Derby 2019), Robyn enjoyed looking at the local Louisville magazines all show casing what to wear to this great event, how to travel to it, what you could eat and drink at all of the preliminary parties & events over the Derby Festival Days along with the actual Run for the Roses. It was almost like the Derby she remembered was held on another planet.

The events have all grown in size and splender. The fashion targets the same 30-40 age bracket, but the styles have become much more “in your face”. Gone is the classic, conservative, genteel look replaced with brighter colors in multiple patterns and bigger bolder creative hats on both men and women. You travel now by big stretch SUV’s and so called celebrities have taken the spotlight instead of the trainers, jockeys and horses. It has become KENTUCKYWOOD! Said best when Robyn noted that everyone seems to be in a costume.

Of course some things have stayed the same or at least recognizable. The mint julep is still the drink of choice, but beer and the “Lily for the Filly” – a more fruity cocktail, are available for those who do not abide Bourbon. The food has highly improved with Louisville becoming a Foodie destination now and the Downs itself is even more beautiful with ease of access to it and within it…those improvements are very well received by all. The Downs is just plain beautiful now. Thurby (the Thursday before Derby) and the Oaks on Friday are where you will see the locals. Much less crowded and the last couple of years has had the best weather. You can actually see a horse up close on those days!

If you get a chance to come to Kentucky the week of Derby or during the pre-week’s activities you should do so. It is definitely a Bucket List item. It gets bigger every year, but the sentiment, pageantry and fun still exist…it has changed to meet the age bracket that works to live instead of lives to work. Who knows what it will be like when the children of these young people are old enough to attend. If we are still around, I bet it will be awesome/epic or hip/cool.


Finlandia® Oaks Lily®

The Official Drink of the Kentucky Oaks


  • 1 1/4 oz. Finlandia® Vodka
  • 1 oz. Sweet and Sour Mix
  • 1/4 oz. Triple Sec
  • 3 oz. Cranberry Juice

Preparation: Once the ingredients are mixed, place the pinkish cocktail in an Official Oaks Lily® glass (stemless wine glass) with crushed ice, add a straw and garnish with a blackberry and lemon wedge.


These are delicious ALL Spring & Summer!


Cool Men’s attire by Vineyard Vines a major sponsor of the Derby.

Mesmerizing-Tea-Party-Dresses-And-Hats-97-In-Mermaid-Prom-Dresses-with-Tea-Party-Dresses-And-Hats_large And take a look at the fashions for 2019 and the hats…colorful and bright.

pink-hummer-limo-hire-derby1 And, the bigger the brighter the better for arriving at Churchill Downs in 2019.

Do You Remember…

Before second grade Scarlett’s dad made her a mini kitchen set to play with. After all, every Southern born gal needed to know how to cook, right?

Here is a picture of Scarlett and her dad who built her a mini kitchen set from 1960 in Atlanta, Georgia (sorry for the picture quality).

IMG_1325daddy copy

This was before the easy bake oven which Kenner introduced in 1963, and which Hasbro still manufactured as of late April 2016. You can still buy an ultimate version on Amazon!

The cool thing about Scarlett’s kitchen set is that you had to use your imagination…nothing really cooked anything or kept anything cold but many a hot pot of tea was made and enjoyed with Dad on the back porch.

We would love to share your stories and pictures of an era that has gone by…now kids just use their smart phones and have Uber deliver the “eats” they have purchased using THEIR credit cards. The world has changed for sure.


Hometown Favorites

This Thoroughbroad get-together would start an interesting conversation about hometowns only one of us was from Kentucky and only one of our gals had lived 13 places in 10 years! It was required that we each bring a dish that reflected our home or favorite state.

West Virginia, Georgia, New York….were represented well. Each recipe was delicious. our conversations wrapped around memories we each had of our favorite towns we had lived in and made each of us wish we had lived there too. Crawdad catching and shrimp seining in Georgia, big city shopping in New York, golfing in North Carolina, West Virginia mud boggin’, Derby favorite in Kentucky …all had stories to tell, but we enjoyed the one Robyn told us and we think you will too.

When Steve and I moved to Princeton WV, the first couples we met both had pickup trucks that they ran through the mud. When in Rome….Soon my car was traded for a F-150 Ford  short-bed with lift kit and roll bar.

One day, we went to an area that had been a quarry. Now, it was a huge lake of mud. One woman tried to drive across but got stuck. I told Steve I wanted to try it. He said to hit the gas and not let up. I have always been accused of having a lead foot so hitting the gas was no problem for me. I made it across and Steve was all smiles. He said that when I let the brake off, the truck literally jumped up off the ground and more or less bounced across the mud.

Soon it was time to move again. I was headed to Lexington KY for the closing of our new house. I stopped at a rest area and headed back to the truck. Since I was wearing a suit with a straight skirt, I had to hike that skirt up to my rear to get up into the truck. The truck was equipped with a CB radio which I did not talk on but sometimes listened. As I headed down the road, I heard a trucker asking if anyone else had seen the redhead in the F150 at the rest area. You never know who is watching. I laughed. I knew I looked good. After all, that truck was my color- green!

A few of the recipes are shared here for you to try.

Cheddar and Nut Ring Surprise (from New York)

1 lb sharp cheddar cheese, grated

1 cup pecans, chopped

1 cup mayo

1 small onion, grated

Black pepper, cayenne and minced garlic to taste

1 jar of strawberry preserves

Mix all ingredients except the preserves and put into an oiled ring mold. Refrigerate until chilled then place the preserves in the middle of the ring after you have removed it from the mold. Serve with buttery crackers.


Quick and Easy Savannah Shrimp Paste (from Georgia)
1 lb cooked shrimp (meat only)
6 oz cream cheese softened
2 Tbsp mayo
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp vinegar
1/2 onion finely minced
salt & pepper to taste
Cream cheese add mayo, grind shrimp in processor and add all other ingredients and freeze…serve as a sandwich spread or on crackers.


Robyn’s family Recipe for Wilted Lettuce Salad (from West Virginia)

This salad has been a staple my entire life. We never had to fry bacon for the salad because there was always a container of bacon drippings on the stove. Both of my grandmothers and my mother had aluminum containers with strainers for the bacon drippings. In the winter, we used head lettuce. In the summer, whatever leaf lettuces were in the garden. This is also good made with spinach. One way to change up the flavor is to use different vinegars.

6      Slices of bacon

6      Green onions with tops, thinly sliced

2 T.  Apple cider vinegar

1 t.   Sugar

½ t.  Ground black pepper

Head leaf lettuce, rinsed, dried, torn into pieces. Place bacon in large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until brown and crisp. Drain bacon on paper towels. Add vinegar, sugar, and pepper to the bacon drippings. Stir to combine. Combine the lettuce and green onions in a large bowl. Pour the warm dressing over the lettuce and toss to coat. Add crumbled bacon and serve.

recipe box

Master’s Famous Pimento Cheese (from our golfing girl who moved to Louisville from North Carolina)

Combine in bowl

1 4-ounce jar Pimientos, small

1 1/4 cups Duke’s mayonnaise

1/2 tsp Spanish paprika, sweet

1 8-ounce block Cheddar, sharp

1 8-ounce block Swiss cheese



Kentucky Butter Cookies

2 Eggs

1/2 cup Granulated sugar

1 tsp Vanilla

1 box White cake mix

1/2 cup Butter

1 tbsp Water

Mix all ingredients together then scoop out a big spoonful size and place on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 until slightly browned on top…you can sprinkle with confectioners sugar before serving warm.


Steve’s Chocolate Cake


The story as told by Robyn,  she always made a delicious chocolate cake for husband Steve to take each year when he met up with his hunting buddies in the fall. It was expected that he would bring one every year and so he did…and Robyn has agreed to share the recipe finally. In the mean time… the pictures at the end of the story attest to its “yummyness”!

As you scroll down the pictures you see the plate is licked so clean you can see the Pillsbury Dough Boy engraved in the bottom of the plate…

After Labor Day, the countdown to Thanksgiving began in Robyn’s house. That was the date of Steve’s annual deer hunting trip. Once a year, he made the trek to West Virginia to hunt with the same bunch of guys. Robyn didn’t mind in the least. She used this time catching up with friends in far flung places

Steve arrived home with the buck of his dreams and started preparations to butcher. Next door, five year old Jacob, was watching with interest. Finally, he ventured over. What is that? It’s a deer. Is it dead? Yes. Jacob took off.

A few minutes later, Jacob returned with a red splotchy face and Mom in tow. Mom explained that Jacob thought that Steve had killed Rudolph. Steve got down on Jacob’s level and gave him a hug. I am so sorry to upset you and I would never do such a thing. Steve explained that this could not possibly be Rudolph. Look at that nose. That nose is definitely black not red. This deer came from West Virginia. All of Santa’s deer are at the North Pole resting up for Christmas. Steve went on to explain to Jacob that before there were grocery stores, this was how people got their meat. Jacob seemed satisfied with this explanation and returned to his yard. Whew! Disaster averted and a freezer full of venison.

This was Steve’s dream buck. A perfectly shaped and balanced 10 point. So, that head went to the taxidermist. A few months later, it came back and was installed on the wall of the family room. Robyn looked at it. She said if she was going to be looking at him, he needed a name. Steve immediately said, Romeo! If he hadn’t been chasing a piece of a** , he’d still be alive.