Britt, Misty and Anistyn Baker
Britt, Misty and Anistyn Baker
For Misty Stephens Baker her family has influenced everything from her career to her cooking.

Misty is married to Robert Baker. They have two children: Britt, 7, and Anistyn, 1.

"She [Anistyn] is celebrating her birthday today," Misty said with excitement.

The busy mother works at John E. Stephens Chapel Funeral Home and Stephens Monuments. Both businesses are owned by her parents, John and Cindy Stephens.

Misty performs several tasks at the offices, including office manager, sales, etc.

"I've worked with my parents for 10 years, ever since they started the monument business in 2003," she said. "At the time I was with a finance company but I wasn't satisfied. But I never pictured myself working at the funeral home."

Eventually Misty asked her parents if they needed any help with the monument business and at the funeral home.

They talked about it and according to Misty, "the rest is history."

However, it's not just her parents with whom she works.

Husband Robert and brother Dusty also work there. The two are also firefighters for the Philadelphia Fire Department. Robert is a captain.

"God has blessed me to work with my family," Misty said. "We're a very family oriented business."

Misty also sells purses for Thirty-One Purses. She has done this for the last year and a half.

When asked about her hobbies and interests, the first thing mentioned is her love of cooking.

But, according to Misty, she doesn't get to cook as much as she would like.

Misty learned to cook from her grandmothers: JoAnn McLain and Tiny Stephens. Tiny died in 1996.

She describes her cooking style as "not always going by the recipe. Most of the stuff I just throw together," she said. "I may look [at the recipe] but I make my own changes."

Stew is an easy one to do, Misty said, noting that she adds zucchini, bell peppers or squash.

"I just like trying something new like Tiny did," she said.

Misty recalled how growing up she couldn't wait for Tiny to make her cake icing.

"She always kept icing roses in the fridge and gave the extras to the grandkids," she said.

Misty also remembers her Grandmother McLain's peppered steak.

"The meat was so tender you could cut it with a fork," she recalled.

She also remembers the gravy that was served with the steak. It was made with bell peppers, onions, cream of mushroom soup, etc.

"I've turned it into a stew," she said. "I loved that gravy so much. There aren't many foods I don't like."

Misty said that most members of her family are easy to please at mealtime.

Robert eats about anything and Anistyn hasn't met a food she didn't like, especially home cooked foods.

"Britt's the picky one in the family," she said.

Misty has shares some of her favorite recipes.



MAMAW TINY'S 5

FLAVORED POUND CAKE

2 sticks margarine

1/2 cup shortening

3 cups sugar

5 eggs

3 cups plain flour

1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup sweet milk

Flavoring: 1 teaspoon each of: coconut, rum, butter, lemon, vanilla

Cream margarine, shortening and sugar. Add eggs one at a time. Add flour and milk alternately. Bake 1 1/2 hours at 325 degrees.



CROCK POT CHICKEN FAJITAS

1 onion, sliced

3 sweet peppers, sliced-color of choice

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs

1/4 to 1/2 cup chicken broth

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoon cumin

1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder

Squirt of lime juice

Tortillas

Fajita fixings

Combine sliced onion and peppers in the bottom of a greased Crockpot. Lay chicken on top of veggies and pour in broth. Sprinkle cumin, salt, chili powder and lime juice. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4-6 hours. When chicken is cooked through and tender, shred with two forks and stir back into the juices. Serve with a slotted spoon. Adjust seasonings for your taste.



POPPY SEED CHICKEN

6-8 chicken breast

1 small sour cream

2 cans cream of chicken

1 tube of Ritz crackers, crushed

1 stick margarine, melted

Poppy seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil chicken, shred. In a separate bowl, mix soup and sour cream then add chicken and mix well. Pour mixture into a buttered casserole dish. Sprinkle on crackers and poppy seeds then drizzle melted butter over the top. Cook for about 40 minutes until bubbly.



CHICKEN 'N RICE

6-8 chicken breasts

1 onion

2 cans cream of chicken soup

2 cans cream of celery soup

2 cups of rice

Salt and pepper to taste

Boil chicken, tear apart. Add soups, onion and rice to broth and cook until rice is tender.



ROASTED CHICKEN

1 5 to 6 pound roasting chicken

1 large bunch of thyme, plus 20 sprigs

1 lemon, halved

1 head of garlic, cut in half crosswise

2 tablespoon of butter, melted

1 large onion, thickly sliced

4 carrots cut into 2 inch chunks

Olive oil

*I have also added butternut squash and sweet potatoes

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Remove chicken giblets and rinse chicken, inside and out. Remove any excess fat and, pat dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken and stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, both halves of lemon and all the garlic.

Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Place the vegetables in a roasting pan, toss with salt, pepper and the 20 sprigs of thyme and olive oil.

Spread around and place the chicken on top. Roast chicken for 1 1/2 hours or until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and thigh.



CHILI

3 teaspoon olive oil

garlic

1-2 onions, chopped

1-2 green peppers

1-2 pounds ground chuck

1-2 pounds stew meat

1-2 cans of tomato paste

2 or 3 cans diced tomatoes

2 cans kidney beans

2 teaspoon chili powder

1-2 bay leaves

Cayenne pepper to taste

Salt to taste

Brown ground chuck and stew meat, drain. While meat is draining, sauté garlic, onion and pepper in olive oil until tender, about 5-10 minutes.

Place in a large crockpot or boiler. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, chili powder, cayenne pepper, salt and bay leaves. Cook on low for about 8 hours or high for about 4 hours. Remove the bay leaves before serving.