October 4, 2023 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

From Linda Lee Greene Author/Artist

“Well, dog-gone,” my father replied when I told him my research on the subject revealed that hickories and pecans are in the same family of trees, and that pecans grow as far northeast as Southern Ohio, our original stomping grounds. While hickories grow in abundance there, neither my father nor I could recall seeing a tree giving forth pecan nuts in our area. It was also news to us that Native Americans were responsible for naming both of the trees. The word “hickory” is said to have come from the Algonquian Indian word “pawcohiccora,” while “pacane,” or “paccan,” or “pakan,” meaning “a nut so hard it has to be cracked with a stone,” evolved into “pecan.”

If we were sons and daughters of Nashville, Memphis, Dallas, New Orleans, and other warm places along the “Pecan Belt,” we would be familiar with the resumé of pecans—we would know, for instance, that pecan trees can grow to be one hundred feet tall and live to be one thousand years old—quite a bit taller and much older than hickories. Now that’s a lot of nuts! In addition, after peanuts, which aren’t tree-nuts at all, pecans are the most popular nuts in North America. In fact, the United States produces over eighty percent of the world’s crop of this indigenous commodity. This is true even though along with electricity, automobiles, airplanes, telephones and countless other good things from North America, with the help of humankind, pecan trees eventually set root in other places around the globe such as Australia, Brazil, China, Israel, Mexico, Peru, and South Africa.

Along with many other firsts credited to him, Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, is recognized as the person who introduced the pecan to areas east of the Mississippi Valley, its native ground. Having discovered them during a trip to the area, he carried some nuts and seedlings back to his home in Virginia. He also introduced them to his friend, fellow Virginian, and first president of their homeland, George Washington. Thereafter, both of the gentlemen grew the trees on their plantations, an enterprise that spread to the southern states of the country. Subsequent to the Civil War, Union soldiers transported the seedlings and nuts to the north, which increased the regard for the buttery-flavored nut even further. It was a black-slave-gardener named “Antoine,” at Louisiana’s Oak Alley plantation, however, who was responsible for developing the first cultivar of the tree. In 1876, it was dubbed, “Centennial,” in commemoration of the one-hundredth anniversary of the founding of the United States. Since then, in deference to the people who fostered them originally, many of the current, five-hundred cultivars of the plant have been named for Native American tribes including “Cheyenne,” “Kiowa,” “Sioux,” “Choctaw,” and “Creek.”

No overview of pecans would be complete without including pralines, the nutty confection originated in France using almonds rather than pecans. Stories abound regarding its appearance in the French cuisine. One account is that Clement Lassagne, chef of Marshal du Plesses-Praslin (1598-1675) concocted it after watching children in his kitchen nibbling on almonds and caramel. Or, it might have happened when one of his young and clumsy apprentices knocked over a container of almonds into a vat of cooking caramel. The most popular version involves Marshal du Plessis-Praslin himself. A notorious ladies man, he is purported to have asked Lassagne to develop an alluring treat for his paramours, which he presented to them in decorative little packets. For a time, the treat was referred to as “praslin,” after the lascivious gentleman, but evolved into “praline,”

Brought to Louisiana by French settlers, chefs in New Orleans eventually substituted pecans for almonds and added cream to the French praline recipe. The basic “Big Easy” recipe for this Creole treat comprises pecans, brown sugar, white sugar, cream, and butter added to either rum, vanilla, chocolate, coconut, or peanut butter. Pronounced “prah-leen” in Louisiana, it is “pray-leen” to the rest of us, but regardless of the way one pronounces it, it is a Southern delicacy. Having always been sold on the streets of New Orleans, passers-by are lured to the Vieux Carré-stalls of praline vendors by the mouth-watering aroma, as well as the Creole call, “Belles Pralines,” “Belles Pralines!

Pecans are rich in protein, vitamins and minerals. Clinical research has found that eating about a handful of plain pecans each day may help lower cholesterol as effectively as designated medications. They also are said to promote neurological health as well as delay age-related muscle-nerve degeneration. If you have a hankering for baked-goods, but want to avoid the unhealthy ingredients in traditional recipes, the following is a tasty and healthy substitute. It is also a better choice for people sensitive to gluten. This recipe batter can be used for baking basic bread, pancakes, crackers, crepes and cupcakes, but add maple syrup or Stevia to sweeten the batter.

The recipe normally substitutes almond flour for flours made from grains. I have found that by adding garbanzo/fava bean flour to the almond flour, a smoother and finer batter is the result. It also calms the rather strong flavor of almond flour. Cranberries are featured in this recipe, but any berry or fruit, will do.

Healthy Berry-Pecan Muffins


1 tbsp. (15 ml) ground cinnamon

2 tbsp. (25 ml) maple syrup

1 tbsp. (15 ml) unsalted butter

Combine ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.

Muffin Batter

2 ½ cups (625 ml) almond & garbanzo/fava flour mixture

1 cup (250 ml) chopped pecans

¼ tsp. (1 ml) salt

½ tsp. (2 ml) baking soda

1 tsp. (5ml) ground cinnamon

Combine the following ingredients in a separate bowl.

2 eggs

½ cup (125 ml) Yogurt

½ cup (125 ml) maple syrup

1 ½ cups (375 ml) cranberries, or berries or fruit of choice

Preheat the oven to 325° (160°C).

Line a muffin tin with large baking cups

Combine the wet ingredients in another bowl and pour into the first bowl of the dry ingredients. Mix well. Add enough water to make the batter about the consistency of toothpaste. Evenly fill each baking cup with the batter and drizzle the topping over each one.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.)

This is a good day for baking a delicious treat, and what can be better than baking with pecans and fruit? A delightful breakfast, snack, or dessert of Healthy Berry-Pecan Muffins and a cup of coffee awaits you. To soothe your tummy further, add a pinch of baking soda to your coffee grounds upon brewing. It cuts down on coffee’s acid. I do it! I like it! It works!

This is a good day for baking a delicious treat, and what can be better than baking with pecans and fruit? A delightful breakfast, snack, or dessert of Healthy Berry-Pecan Muffins and a cup of coffee awaits you. To soothe your tummy further, add a pinch of baking soda to your coffee grounds upon brewing. It cuts down on coffee’s acid. I do it! I like it! It works!

Was it chance or destiny’s hand behind a man and a woman’s curious encounter at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas? The cards fold, their hearts open, and a match strikes, flames that sizzle their hearts and souls. Can they have the moon and the stars, too? Or is she too dangerous? Is he? Can their love withstand betrayal?! Can it endure murder?! Amid the seductions of Las Vegas, Nevada and an idyllic coffee plantation on Hawai’i’s Big Island, a sextet of opposites converge within a shared fate: a glamorous movie-star courting distractions from her troubled past; her shell-shocked bodyguards clutching handholds out of their hardscrabble lives; a dropout Hawaiian nuclear physicist gambling his way back home; a Navajo rancher seeking cleansing for harming Mother Earth; and from its lofty perch, the Hawaiian’s guardian spirit conjured as his pet raven, conducting this symphony of soul odysseys.

A reader says, “I loved this book. I got lost in the realism and all that was going on, and it made me feel like I was watching a movie instead of reading a book. If you want to be left breathless in a sea of a million emotions, buy this book. It will captivate your senses on every level. I highly recommend, A CHANCE AT THE MOON.”

“Give me a ticket to Las Vegas, a big stack of poker chips at a table lucky as gold—oh, and a copy of A CHANCE AT THE MOON to refuel me when I fold.” Tina Griffith, multi-award-winning author of THE ELUSIVE MR. VELUCCI


Multi-award-winning author and artist Linda Lee Greene describes her life as a telescope that when trained on her past reveals how each piece of it, whether good or bad or in-between, was necessary in the unfoldment of her fine art and literary paths.

Greene moved from farm-girl to city-girl; dance instructor to wife, mother, and homemaker; divorcee to single-working-mom and adult-college-student; and interior designer to multi-award-winning artist and author, essayist, and blogger. It was decades of challenging life experiences and debilitating, chronic illness that gave birth to her dormant flair for art and writing. Greene was three days shy of her fifty-seventh birthday when her creative spirit took a hold of her.

She found her way to her lonely easel soon thereafter. Since then, Greene has accepted commissions and displayed her artwork in shows and galleries in and around the USA. She is also a member of artist and writer associations.

Visit Linda on her blog and join her on Facebook.


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