Shoffner learned to cook from mother

Shoffner learned to cook from mother


Thomas Shoffner said he has always been intrigued by cooking.

Shoffner said his mother, Susan Shoffner, taught him and his brother, Leavy, how to cook at a young age because she wanted to ensure her sons could take care of themselves and not have to live off of fast food.

“My mom taught me and my brother how to cook as soon as we could read,” Shoffner said. “She would let us follow the directions on the cake box and monitor us to make sure we did it right.” 

Shoffner said Southern traditions are important to him, and he likes to honor them. 

“In the South, food always brings people together and has a way of bringing a small dose of joy even in a dark moment,” Shoffner said.

Shoffner’s grandmother, Wilma Warren, taught him how to make buttermilk biscuits, and he still enjoys baking today. 

He especially loves to bake cookies with his daughter, Meredith, who is 3 years old and already knows how to add different spices to foods.

Shoffner grew up in the Forestdale community in Neshoba County, where he has now returned after living in Maryland for work and meeting his wife, Heidi. They have been married for four years.

Shoffner is a licensed professional counselor and runs his own company, “Finding Hope Counseling Services LLC,” with the help of Heidi. 

Together they hope to spread the message about the importance of mental health, especially in small towns like Philadelphia. 



2 large sweet potatoes, diced

2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless, diced

1c sliced mushrooms

2 stalks celery sliced

Salt and pepper to taste


Cover sweet potatoes with water and an inch over them in a medium soup pot. Cook until tender. Blend with an immersion blender or in batches in a regular blender.

While cooking potatoes, sauté chicken in 2T cooking oil, season with salt and pepper. Remove chicken, reserve drippings, cook celery and mushrooms. Add into a pot with puree. Enjoy! Top with Season All or smoked salt if desired.




¾ cup liquid from a 15.5-16oz can of chickpeas

¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

½ cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Heat the oven to 200F with the racks in the upper-middle and lower-middle positions. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2. Combine the chickpea liquid and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until foamy, 2-3 minutes. With the mixer still on medium, gradually pour in the sugar, followed by the vanilla. Increase the speed to high and continue to beat until the mixture forms stiff peaks, about 5 more minutes.

3. Scoop the meringue into a piping bag fitted with a ½ inch tip and pipe low circles about 2in across. Bake until they are dry and crisp, about 1 ½ hour.

4. Transfer the cookie sheets to wire racks and let meringues cool completely before serving or storing in airtight containers for up to 1 week.

Coconut Whipped Cream

1 (14oz) can full-fat coconut milk (Thai Kitchen or Taste of Thai, no fewer than 12g fat per serving)

¼ - ¾ cup powdered sugar

½ tsp vanilla extract

1. Chill your coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight, being sure not to shake or tip the can to encourage the separation of cream and liquid.

2. The next day, chill a large mixing bowl 10 minutes before whipping.

3. Remove the coconut milk from the fridge without tipping or shaking, and scoop out the thickened cream, leaving the liquid behind.

4. If your coconut milk doesn’t harden, you can try to salvage it with 1 – 4Tbsp tapioca starch during the whipping process.

5. Place hardened cream in your chilled mixing bowl. Beat for 30 seconds with a mixer until creamy. Then add vanilla and powdered sugar and mix until creamy and smooth, about 1min. Avoid over whipping because it can cause separation. Taste and adjust sweetness as needed.

6. Use immediately or refrigerate – it will harden and set in the fridge the longer it’s chilled. Will keep for up to a week.

Pavlova Assembly

1. Do not do this until just before serving.

2. Layer coconut whip on top of meringues. Add blueberry pie filling on top of that.



2 cups almond flour

¼ cup coconut flour

½ cup raw or granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder 

1/8 teaspoon salt

7 tablespoons coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly

1 large egg

1 teaspoon almond extract

1/3 cup Bonne Maman Preserves (I like the four fruit type)


1. In a medium bowl, stir together the almond flour, coconut flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

2. In another medium bowl, stir together the coconut oil, egg, and almond extract.

3. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and stir until combined. The dough will feel quite wet. Let sit for 10 minutes, which allows the coconut flour to absorb the liquid.

4. Preheat the oven to 350F and line a cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper.

5. Roll the dough into 1” balls and place 2” apart on the prepared cookie sheet. The dough will feel quite greasy, but this is ok.

6. Using your thumb, make an indentation about ¾ of the way down into each cookie. You may want to reform the edges if they start to split.

7. Fill each indentation with about ½ teaspoon of jam, being careful not to overfill.

8. Bake for 8 minutes or until the cookies have started to brown on the bottom.

9. Cookies will be soft when they come out of the oven. Cool for 5 minutes on the sheet to let them firm up, then remove to a cooling rack.

10. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 4 days. They also freeze very well for longer storage.

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