Dinner Bell: Tracy Bohannan
Tracy Bohannan of Manila enjoys her career of caring for children. Bohannan is the owner and director of the Red Barn Daycare in Manila. She is the daughter of Avise Wright of Manila, Stanley Wright of Georgia, and the late Roger Vandiver.
The Manila native is a 1991 graduate of Manila High School and attended Mississippi County Community College for two years. After working in offices for several years, she decided to open a daycare in 1997.
She said she enjoyed office work but finds working with children very rewarding and it has also enabled her to be at home with her daughter, Haven, age 5.
"It is a lot of responsibility and it is more physical work than office work, but there is something special about helping care for children and watching them grow, develop and prepare for kindergarten," Bohannan said.
She had experience in the child care business as she had worked with her grandmother's daycare off and on for several years.
Last year was the first year any of her children from Red Barn started to kindergarten and Bohannan said she misses them when they leave. Haven is preparing to start to kindergarten in the fall.
She is married to Rusty Bohannan. He is a pipe welder and for the past five years he has worked cross country building power plants. This has given Mrs. Bohannan and Haven the opportunity to travel to the sights for weekend visits and tour the different tourist sites in the area. He is in the process of moving from Texas to a job site in Missouri.
In addition to her career, Bohannan enjoys working with crafts, arranging flowers, and baking. She enjoys a challenge and when Haven asks for a special birthday cake, she goes to work. Last year she created a three foot mermaid cake for Haven's party. For next week's birthday event, Haven has asked for an island cake to go with her special luau party.
Bohannan is an active member of New Harmony Baptist Church where she serves as assistant piano player and works with the children's choir.
Mr. and Mrs. Bohannan both like to cook. She is sharing some of her favorite recipes and also Rusty's grilled pork chops just in time for the grilling season. The Italian Cream Cake is always a favorite at church dinners.
Italian Cream Cake
1 stick margarine
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp. soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 small can angel coconut
5 egg whites, stiffly beaten
1/2 cup Wesson Oil
5 egg yolks
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans
Cream margarine and oil. Add sugar and beat well. When creamy, add egg yolks and beat. Combine flour, soda, baking powder and add to the creamed mixture alternating with buttermilk. Stir in vanilla, coconut and pecans. Fold in stiff egg whites. Do not stir.
Pour batter into three eight inch greased pans. Bake at 300 degrees for 25 minutes. When cakes are done, remove from oven. Cool on wire racks. When cakes are cooled front in layers with cream cheese icing.
Cream Cheese Icing
1 8 oz. Package cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 to 3/4 stick margarine
1 pound box powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. baking power, mixed in sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Cream all ingredients expect pecans. Spread on cake. Sprinkle pecans on top.
Rusty's Grilled Pork Chops
6 or 8 center cut chops (1" or 1-1/4" thick)
Cavender's Greek Seasoning
1 pound bacon
1 small onion
1/2 bell pepper
6 or 8 slices of Pepper Jack or American cheese
Filet chops in a butterfly fashion to form a "pocket." Chop bacon and onions and peppers. Rub seasonings on chops inside and out. Center raw bacon, onions and pepper in chops. Fold over, secure with toothpicks.
Place on hit grill for about an hour, turning often.
If you like, you can baste with barbecue sauce. (We like them like they are.)
When chops are done, place one slice of cheese on each, cook for about another minutes until cheese is gooey and melted into chop.
Grandma Wright's Pie Crust
4 cups self-rising flour
2 cups Crisco
1 Tbsp. Vinegar
Using a fork or pastry blender, combine flour and Crisco into small crumbles. Beat egg with vinegar, set aside. Put an ice cube into a cup of cold water. Combine egg mixture with flour mixture. Add cold water, a spoonful at a time, until dough becomes soft but firm. Separate into balls and refrigerate. Roll out on floured surface.
Can also be frozen to be used later.
Quick and Easy "Wonderful" Fudge Brownies
1 box Duncan Hines brownie mix, plus ingredients for brownies on box
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar
3 to 4 Tbsp. Wesson oil
1 jar Hershey's Fudge Shop Hot Fudge
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
Grease brownie pan using Wesson Oil. Coat pan with sugar making sure bottom, sides and corners are all coated well. Mix brownies according to box directions. Pour into prepared pan. Bake according to box directions. You want them to be chewy. When brownies are done, remove from oven. Heat hot fudge in microwave until easy to pour. Drizzle over hot cake as much as desired. Serve with whatever you like, but best when served warm.
(This is something I do with the children at daycare. They love making their own butter.)
1 large carton heavy whipping cream
Small baby food jars with lid that has been washed well
Fill baby food jar 3/4 of the way full with whipping cream. Place the lid on tightly and shake. It takes a few minutes so I let my kids take turns. When the cream looks really thick like whipped cream you can flavor it with whatever you like. Suggestions are garlic, herbs, or honey. My kids love honey butter. We add about 1/2 tsp. honey, replace the lid and shake until butter is firm. Pour off excess water and the butter is ready to eat. It can be stored in refrigerator in the baby food jars.