My Best Birthday Present: Nut Bread

I was going to make some pumpkin bread a month or so ago.  As I was making it I started thinking about and wishing I was making the nut bread my mom used to make.  I’ve looked in the past for a recipe and haven’t found one that was like my mom’s.  I think eating that nut bread is one of the things that made me love nuts.

I’d more or less given up on ever finding a recipe.  I have my mom’s cookbooks.  It wasn’t there.

So I gave up and started making pumpkin bread which my mom didn’t make.  It became the tradition here along with banana bread…but no nut bread at my house.

Fast forward a bit.  I was on Facebook.  I was reading a post from my cousin Theresa.  She wrote:  “Got a baking streak going today. I made nut bread, oatmeal cookies, and for supper a breakfast bake with biscuits. Now to find the perfect book to read. At night I’m saying so many prayers I’m falling asleep before I’m done and then finish when I wake up again. Smiles..

What caught me in that update was, “I made nut bread.”

I immediately commented, “Hey I’d love your nut bread recipe. My mom always made it but I’ve not found a recipe I like.”

This all happened on my birthday.  The evening got busy, some of the kids were home.  There were dishes to do.  It was almost 9 pm by the time I sat back down at the computer.

This picture was in my feed.  For a second I just stopped.  I recognized the handwriting immediately.  It’s been 30 years since my mom passed away, but there on the computer screen was my mom’s handwriting.

I looked at it was a post from…
my cousin Theresa.  I looked again.  It said Nut Bread at the top…and there it said, “from the recipe file of Lonnie Johnson.”

Lonnie Johnson is my mom.  My mom wrote the recipe and gave it to my cousin Theresa.  She’s kept that recipe for over 40 years.

It was the best present ever.  I have mom’s nut bread recipe and I have it in her own handwriting.  I’m so happy.

In the past, I wrote a post about people who chose not to share recipes.  You can read that post HERE.  Moments, as I experience after seeing my mom’s handwriting 30 years after she passed away and having such an overwhelming feeling of surprise and love, is another reason why I’ll always believe recipes should be shared.

Isn’t it a fun story?

Well I’m off…I have some nut bread to make!!

50 thoughts on “My Best Birthday Present: Nut Bread”

  1. I treasure my handwritten recipes from my mom, mother in law and lots of friends. They are full of cookie dough, finger prints and other detritus. I love them all. Even tho I have written them in a book now I hang on to these old recipe cards

  2. I love that the recipe is in your Mom’s handwriting. That makes it so special! I always felt like my Mom was there with me when I cooked from her recipes.
    (I lost all the family recipes when my home burned in the 2018 Campfire).
    That was such a touching gift for you. I’m sure it made your Mom come alive again for you.
    I agree we should all share our recipes!

  3. So nice that you found the recipe and a great memory too. I have gotten many family recipes from my Mom and my Aunt, and I never hesitate to give someone one of my recipes. Many times I have misplaced a recipe and put out a call to my friends and sure enough someone has a copy!

  4. I love old family recipes!! I will try this nut bread recipe. My grandmother always made nut bread…I have never found her recipe…maybe this will be close. She passed in 1951! I now make pumpkin bread, banana, chocolate chip, cranberry orange/cheddar cheese, date nut bread, banana bread. I try to make 3 different ones at a time…they look so pretty on a big plate!
    Thanks for sharing!

  5. What a wonderful birthday present indeed. I know I cherish my mom’s old cookbook that she received as a wedding present and her had written cards. I lost her 31 years ago. Thank you for sharing this special recipe. I believe in sharing recipes. I’ve given mine to both my sons/daughter-in-laws and to my oldest grandson. Noah was home on leave and kept talking about his favorite foods he missed. Of course I cooked but also went and bought a journal and spent 2 days hand writing in many of my recipes. He’s cooked for his girlfriend and other friends from my recipes.
    Happy Birthday Jo!

  6. Oh that card is priceless!

    My Mom made a very specific and nicely secured knitted baby bootie. Everyone wanted them as they “never fall off” (she did a knitted cord for around the ankle). Well, she had written it out for some reason before she got ill. When I found it, clearing her home, I laminated it and gave it to my oldest sister who was/is a pro at knitting these. Her 6yo grandson saw it one day, picked it up and said “Oma, here’s your recipe for socks”. So dang cute! A true priceless treasure.

    That loaf of bread probably tasted the best ever for the memories!

  7. Yes, an extremely fun story. And I am so happy you have your Mum’s recipe . Her handwriting is so precious.. It is wonderful to share recipes. I can never understand when people say their recipe is top secret or dilly dally trying to change the subject… It is so silly. I love it when someone asks for a recipe. It’s a real complement, yeah?

  8. Oh how wonderful! I have 4 recipe boxes full of recipes that my mother was going to make someday. Can’t bear to get rid of them.

  9. For my bridal shower over 50 years ago everyone brought a hand written recipe card. I still have all those cards. Nearly all the people who wrote them are gone but their memories live on.

  10. I love this! So happy for you to have your mother’s recipe. Some years ago I was mentioning a cookie recipe that my grandmother made and my aunt happened to have it. I was so delighted to have it and glad I asked as not too long after that my aunt passed away. Now her daughter is asking my sisters and me if we had any of her mother’s recipes. We only had two cookie recipes to give her which made me sad.

  11. Love hearing this story. How great to find a special recipe you have been searching for. I, too, have some recipe cards in my Mom’s handwriting. I really cherish them. It’s funny, her writing looks just like her Mother’s. So glad you had a memorable birthday.

  12. Judith Fairchild

    Happy birthday Jo, what a lovely gift? Makes your birthday even more special. Enjoy having nut bread again. I have some of my Mom’s recipe in my head.i never have thought to pass them down. She never wrote them out. But taught me by telling me how to do it. To we your mom’s handwriting is wonderful

  13. A couple of years ago my sister gave us all a framed page out of our grandmothers cooking book for Christmas. It was a priceless gift to us .she was the keeper of the books but decided we all needed this gift rather than them all sitting in a book unused. What a priceless gift for you though especially on your birthday, showing mums never really leave us they are there when we need them in soul and spirit happy birthday.

  14. I have recipes my mom, grandmother, and mother-in-law wrote out by hand. Some of my grandmother’s have grease stains on them, so you know she used them. I found out recently that you can get recipes screen printed on tea towels, and some how printed on wood. What a neat way to keep memories alive.

  15. Happy Birthday. I understand about the Nut Bread recipe. For my birthday my daughter to whom I gave my Mom’s favorite cookbook to made a copy of a recipe of my Mom hermit cookies. She framed the recipe which is in my Mom’s writing and I have it on my counter along with my MIL cookie jar. My Mom is gone 10 years, but the recipe one of the best gifts I received this year.


    1. Brenda feel free to copy the recipe. No rules about that here. If you share it, it’s nice if you credit the blog for the recipe.

  16. I agree with the comments bout how hand writing really has a special meaning. Instantly known. Maybe your cousin could do the ultimate and send the actual card to you! But it is probably as special for her as for you. But now you have the recipe!!!!!

    But, about the recipe,….sour milk? like old milk?

  17. Jill Schaumloeffel

    Old milk from the grocery is unsafe to use. You can make sour milk by adding 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to a cup of milk, stir and let sit for about 5 minutes. In the old days when milk came right from the cow, you made sour milk by letting it sit on the back of the wood stove for a day or two. It soured nicely.

    1. My parents were dairy farmers. Dad had cows and Mom had goats. All of our milk was fresh. We were so fortunate to sour our own milk.

  18. What a wonderful birthday present to you! It is so fun to use recipes from family and even better in their handwriting! Enjoy your nut bread! Yum! ❤

  19. A friend of mine had her mom’s handwritten recipes printed on tea towels by Spoonflower as Xmas gifts to siblings and/or grandchildren

  20. Aww, bless your heart, and your cousin’s too. It’s so special to have those handed down recipes from our mothers and mothers-in-law. I have my Mom’s recipe book with lots of recipes in her hand writing, but she never wrote the best ones down, like her, biscuits. She just knew how to make them, didn’t need a recipe any more. Consequently, they’re lost to me.

  21. Connie R. in Wis

    What a wonderful birthday gift from your Mom. In the day of Pinterest and computer recipes, it’s sad to think we might lose that personal touch of a recipe in a loved ones handwriting. What a treasure. I too feel it is a compliment if someone wants a recipe. It’s sad to think how many wonderful recipes (and memories) are lost when a loved recipe is not shared and eventually lost forever. Enjoy your nut bread!

  22. Happy Birthday Jo! What a perfect gift to finally have a copy of your mother’s nut bread recipe in her own handwriting! So happy for you. When we first married my husband talked about a chocolate pie that mama used to make. I tried a couple of recipes, but they weren’t what he was looking for. I got a recipe one day from his sister-in-law and (BINGO!) it was the one! I’ve been using that recipe ever since.

  23. Jeanie S, Central Illinois

    This is such a sweet story, Jo. My mom made nut bread and often served it with cream cheese. Since, I don’t have her recipe, I will use your mom’s. Thanks for sharing.

  24. That is awesome. My Mom for Christmas one year wrote all of her favorite recipes in small notebooks for all of her kids 6 of us. That must have taken forever. That was over 35 years ago and I still have it. She is 92 now and we are all still making her recipes. I have since copied them into a different book so that I can save the original. Thanks for sharing I can’t wait to make your Mom’s nut bread and add it to my collection.

  25. That recipe came home when you could most appreciate the fullness of what it meant. Not just a recipe that you’ve missed, but a reminder that love always remains. It’s a beautiful, beautiful experience. Thank you SO much for sharing it with us.

  26. That is so awesome Jo! My grandmother made a walnut coffee cake in a coffee can ( back when they were all metal) and she would mail it to people. Being in the can it travelled well. I have never found her recipe. It was so good. Perfect mix of nuts, butter and cinnamon and I am nit sure what else. Like you I have never found any that compare.. Enjoy baking!!!

  27. recipes are like pictures, you don’t lose anything by making a copy to share…and you gain lots by spreading the joy!

  28. I remember my mom making nut bread and poppy seed bread. Don’t know what happened to those recipes. I’m going to try your moms nut bread and see if it is similar in taste. Love having recipes that have memories attached!

  29. Kathleen OConnell

    I can’t believe this…my mom also had this nut bread recipe and made it for Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays….we always had nut bread slices and hot cocoa on Christmas morning as we opened gifts. Ihave tried to make several nut bread recipes, never the same; I think the brown sugar was the ingredient I was missing, as I used white sugar. I recently compiled all recipes in our family in a computer file, printed out on recipes cards and made 3-ring recipe binders for my girls just so these favorites over generations uld not be lost. Only recipes attributed to a family member were included…such as Aunt Mim’s cookies, Grandma’s breakfast pancakes, etc. Isn’t it interesting that this recipe was nowhere in my mother’s recipe cards box either. Thank you for sharing your story…..I am going to make a couple of loaves this week and have a cup of cocoa with a slice….take care and be well….

  30. Well, you got me crying this morning. LOL! That was a wonderful gift to have your mom’s recipe and in her handwriting!!! That’s a treasure that has been found for sure!

    I know we are in the world of typing and computers and a lot of people don’t write anything more than they have to nowadays, but, I personally write down good recipes that I like and I put them in a binder. I also have handwritten on recipe cards, my favorite cake recipes my mom makes. Mom is 86 and can’t make them anymore. I recently showed my DIL this book and explained what was what in it so she would know to cherish it when I am gone. My son already knows. I have mom’s cheesecake recipe which is a family favorite of everyone in our family. My mom got it from my aunt many many years ago. I have my mom’s pound cake recipe which is the best pound cake ever! It has the crunchy top..another family fovorite for all of us. I have the recipes from my mom for the cake she made me for my birthday and the cake she made my brother for his. Mine is like a Texas Sheet cake and my brothers is a Coconut cake that you refridgerate…both of these are family favorites too.

    I also have one of my grandmothers personal cookbooks with her handwriting in it and I cherish it. My grandma was a gourmet chef that catered presidential conventions and weddings and she also taught chefs to cook.

    Suffice it to say, get to handwriting your recipes and make a book for your family folks! If you don’t have someone now that would love it that cooks, eventually someone might.

  31. We recovered my mother’s “go-to” cookie recipe because she had shared it with a woman at church. My aunt had some of my grandmother’s handwritten recipes copies and bound for us one Christmas. Share–you may be saving the recipe for your children or grandchildren.

  32. Best birthday gift ever. I have several recipes in my mother’s handwriting and some of my aunts as well and it always gives me a warm feeling when I use them and see their writing. Not going to happen as much for the next generation as we are copying and pasting more often than not or taking screen shots but there is still love in sharing recipes. I don’t get why people don’t.

  33. My aunt, who was my Dad’s sister, always made homemade bread. My Mom lived with her when my Dad was gone during WWII, but Mom never baked bread. I decided I was going to get her recipe so I went to her house when she was making bread. This didn’t work out very well because it was from memory with a pinch of this and a handful of that. This didn’t translate well for me to make bread.

  34. Bonnie Lippincott

    I love your Nut Bread story! I have an old (very old) recipe box from my mother. There are hand written recipes from my grandmother, my mother, my sister, me, and many of her friends.

    A couple of years ago I started getting asked, by the now grown up grandchildren, for copies of her recipes. With many handwritten changes and unfamiliar jargon, what 90’s kid knows what nucco is? Margarine if those reading this don’t know. So I typed out the recipes, then scanned the original and put it ion the page as a photo. I also included some anecdotes where appropriate.

    It’s the best of both worlds and it makes for a nice collection of wonderful, tried and true recipes. It’s been a hit, and being on regular sized computer paper, it’s easy to put in a binder that can be added to.

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