Friday, July 31, 2009

French Cooking School in a Book

Since the new movie is out in theaters about Julia Child and the young woman, Julie, who attempts to learn cooking by using Child's book, I thought I would review one of Julia Child's famous cookbooks today. The book from my collection is Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, and Simone Beck. It was originally published in 1961 by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., but my copy is from the thirteenth printing and is dated 1966.

You might wonder why someone, such as myself, who is so devoted to Southern and "down-home" cooking would own this book. It is not for the very detailed French recipes which include organ meats and every kind of French wine, but the warm memories I have of seeing Mrs. Child's cooking show on PBS. I think her show preceded Mr. Rogers and that's how I was introduced to it...accidentally.

Even as a child I loved the passion that Julia Child showed for preparing food. She made cooking look like it was within the grasp of anyone who was willing to give it a try and not be afraid to mess up once in a while . After all, the famous Julia Child messed up "on camera" and laughed about it! On one show, a buttered chicken slipped from her grasp, and she chased it around the counter with her hands, laughing all the while. I remember her dropping things off the counter or being covered with flour; it didn't matter to her...she was cooking and sharing what she loved with others. I guess the other part of what made her so appealing to viewers was her "un-star-like" quality. Today, other than Mario and Paula, we have people who look like models who happen to have a cooking show. When Julia came on TV it was an unexpected treat; like the "Susan Boyle" of her day. While commercials and print ads of the 60's featured Barbie Doll-sized women in frilly aprons trotting around the kitchen in heels, Julia did not fit the mold; she was a tall, less glamorous-looking woman who was a master in the art of cooking. She inspired many...including a little girl who had just started her 4-H Cooking Project. Thank you, Julia!

As I've already said, this book is not the one that I choose to cook out of because the recipes are for foods that we don't normally eat. I don't cook with wine; if I feel that it cannot be omitted, I usually substitute another liquid such as apple juice. I do wish that I'd consulted this book when I roasted a leg of lamb a few weeks ago. Every one liked it (except Ben) but I felt that it could have been better seasoned during roasting.

If you are making something that you've never attempted, this is a wonderful book to reference. It gives the complete list of ingredients and cooking utensils needed down the left-hand side and the detailed instructions, broken down into steps, on the right-hand side. It would be a great book for the beginner just for its descriptions of cooking methods, alone. If you never make one recipe from this cookbook, but just read it as cooking information it would be well-worth your time and money.

In the front of the book, Julia lets the reader know what is needed, as far as equipment, to stock a kitchen so you don't waste money on items that will not last or will be unnecessary. She gives instructions and helpful illustrations on methods such as trussing a chicken. And in typical Julia-fashion, she gives us not only the instructions for making white sauce, but what steps to take if your sauce turns out "too lumpy"; "too thick"; or "too thin"! She includes a primer on knife skills with illustrations and says,"a knife is considered sharp if just the weight of it drawn across a tomato slits the skin." She also says that knives should be washed and dried by hand as soon as you're done using them.

I would call this a practical reference book for your kitchen. It's a very inexpensive alternative to cooking school. The methods and information are solid, even if French food is not commonplace at your house. Bon Appetit!

Pg. 191 Crepe Batter (French Pancakes)

1 C cold water
1 C cold milk
4 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
2 C sifted all-purpose flour
4 TBSP melted butter
a rubber scraper

Put the liquid, eggs and salt into the blender jar. Add the flour, then the butter. Cover and blend at top speed for 1 minute. If bits of flour adhere to sides of jar, dislodge with a rubber scraper and blend for 2 to 3 seconds more. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

The batter should be a very light cream, just thick enough to coat a wooden spoon. If, after making your first crepe, it seems too heavy, beat in a bit of water, a spoonful at a time. Your cooked crepe should be about 1/16 inch thick.

Join me at Momtrends, Grocerycartchallenge and DesignsbyGollum for the recipe swaps today.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Hamburger Pie, Carrot Salad, and Fruit Cocktail Cake

It's Thursday and our day is off to a running start around here. We had the pest control guy here to spray the lawn at 8:00 because I had to have Ben at his summer job by 9:00. Hubby and Justin are always up and out early, but Ben and I usually get to sleep until 7:30, so this morning was a little different. If I have a service person coming, though, I love to get that first appointment time!

I'm now going to share three of my "let's try it" recipes. The first one today is from a Southern Living Magazine from the 60's. It's called Hamburger Pie and what makes it interesting and different to me is that you use a box of seasoned stuffing mix in it.

Hamburger Pie

Mrs Wilson J. Haskett,
Alexandria, Virginia

1 pkg. herb-seasoned stuffing mix
1 C boiling water
1/2 C butter, melted (I will use Heart Smart and cut it in half)
1 lb. ground beef
1 C shredded cheddar cheese
1 egg, beaten
1/4 C catsup
2 tsp instant minced onion
1 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp sweet basil
1/8 tsp black pepper

Combine stuffing, water and melted butter; mix well. Reserve 1 C of mixture. Press remaining stuffing into 10-inch pie plate to form pie shell. Brown ground beef until done; remove from heat. Stir in remaining ingredients and the cup of stuffing. Spoon into pie shell and bake at 375 degrees for 15 min. or longer if desired. Makes 4 servings.

Next two are from a very old-looking index card from an estate sale:

Carrot Salad
(Written in beautiful penmanship-no name given)

1 pkg. thin carrots, grated
2 hard-boiled eggs, grated
20 saltine crackers, crumbled
1 small onion, grated
Salad dressing to suit taste

Fruit Cocktail Cake
(Other side of same card)

1 medium can fruit cocktail
2 C self-rising flour
2 eggs
1 3/4 C sugar

Bake 30 to 35 min. at 350 degrees.


1 stick margarine
3/4 C sugar
1 small can of Pet Milk
1 can Angel Flake Coconut

Boil 4 or 5 min. Pour over cake while it is hot.

I'll be joining Joy of Desserts and Krazy Kitchen to swap recipes today.<

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Estate Tag Sale Scores a WWII Cooking Pamphlet and Army Cookbooks

I stopped by an estate tag sale on Saturday morning and what luck! Amid the stacks of books on different subjects I found some real gems. There, in almost mint condition, was a Betty Crocker pamphlet in red, white, and blue called, "Your Share" from wartime. It gives tips to the homemaker on ways to deal with rationing, and then all kinds of recipes that use very little meat, sugar, shortening, butter and eggs. There is one section that covers cooking at odd hours for people who work shift work, and nutritious snacks to send to work with them. There are tips in the book on making the most of the produce from their Victory Gardens.

My excitement of discovery didn't stop there; I found an Army Manual for K.P. Duty that is full of instructions on how to prepare each recipe (each serves 100 men). Units of measure include: Mess kit spoons; No. 56 dippers; pounds, gallons and mess kit cups. This book does not have its front cover anymore, but I assume it was even taken "in the field" so it's had rough treatment and been well-used. It's dated 1942.

My final purchase of the day was an Army Canned Food Manual from 1942. It is hard-backed and in mint condition, also. There are lots of charts in the book breaking down the cost per serving and amounts of cans of food needed per 100 men. The book goes into detail on the canning process and how best to store and rotate canned foods. I would imagine that Army cooks were tested on the information in this manual. The front of the manual has the Army seal and says, "To Be Used As a Training Aid-Not An Official Publication."

Since I'm interested in old cookbooks and history, I really enjoyed reading these items of American military history. I don't know that I'll ever have the chance to cook for 100 men...but if so, I'm prepared!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Homemade Salad Dressing and Strawberry Pretzel Salad

It's Tuesday and I'm ready to give you a couple of family recipes from my friends and/or family. These are the type of great recipes that we all use and rely on; sometimes it's something that we've made so often that we don't need the written instructions anymore. Even if it's a recipe that I know "by heart" I find real pleasure in the simple aesthetics of holding a yellowed index card or envelope with one of my grandmothers' or aunts' handwriting and personal notes on it. It makes me feel closer to friends from other states and my mom and sister to make something that they are known to make for special occasions. Recipes, for me, are as sentimental an item as photos. For today, I have a couple of salad-related recipes to share. Hope you enjoy them. Have a wonderful summertime Tuesday!

My Great Aunt Mary Lancaster was a half-sister to Mammam and Aunt Lena (the twins) and she lived in the same state, but several towns away, so I didn't grow up around her, but remember her. My memories of her are vague as those of a small child would be. I remember visiting her house with Mammam and Aunt Lena.

When meeting my Aunt Mary,I had the same reaction that I had upon meeting other relatives that lived away; they looked and felt comfortable to me upon first glance because they looked and sounded so much like their brothers and sisters who lived near. For instance, my Great Aunt Gladys looked and sounded similar to Grandma (Yoho) Winland; Grandpa Winland's brothers looked and sounded familiar at reunions, too (all blue-eyed and fair) and of course, Aunt Mary bore similarities to her sisters.

I remember that she had fancy little tea-cups in a china cupboard in her house that I "surveyed" but didn't touch; this was probably why my younger brother, Greg, was not along for this excursion...he was a typical little boy who would have done more than survey and admire the cupboard and its contents! I think the observation of little boys' actions is the origin of the phrase, "bull in a China Shop."(There will someday be a post about the Christmas that I got a tiny piano and Greg got a tool kit from Santa!)

I remember over-hearing (probably on the trip home in the car) from my Mammam and Aunt Lena that, "Mary was always a good cook!" and that's quite an admission, coming from sisters. I feel honored to have one of her recipes that was handed down from Aunt Sis' collection.

Aunt Mary Lancaster's Salad Dressing

1 clove garlic, grated fine
1 small onion, minced
1/2 C sugar
2/3 C catsup
1 C salad oil
1/3 C tarragon vinegar
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt

Combine ingredients in deep bowl of electric mixer and beat until well-blended and fairly thick. Store in quart jar in refrigerator. Makes 1 quart.

I've spoken many times about my Aunt Sis (Ruth Ann) Martin. I was very close to her and we shared an interest in cooking and trying new recipes. Aunt Sis, who was very accomplished in the field of education and teaching, helped start a business school and designed its curriculum, taught business classes and held high standards for her students. She integrated her love of cooking with her love of teaching business classes; one of her typing students' assignments was to bring in their favorite recipes from home and type them clever was that?!

Aunt Sis was also a seamstress, and made my one-of-a-kind wedding gown, doing the fittings on trips in from Indiana to West Virginia! She and Uncle Dave then lovingly toted the gown from state to state, without a wrinkle, for the "big day"! She was a remarkable woman, and when I remember the joy she got from making things for others, I think of Dorcas from the Bible.

When we had our first baby, Aunt Sis and Uncle Dave came in to visit, bringing food and decorations to give me, not just a baby gift, but a "mini-shower". This is the salad/dessert that she made for Justin's "shower"... from the Hoosier-branch of our family.

Aunt Sis' Strawberry Pretzel Salad

2 1/2 C coarsely-crushed pretzels
3/4 C melted margarine
3 TBSP sugar

1 (6 oz.) strawberry Jello
2 C boiling water
20 oz. frozen sliced strawberries

8 oz. cream cheese
1 C sugar
2 C Cool Whip

Combine first three ingredients and press into ungreased 11x13 dish. Bake 10 min. at 375 degrees. Cool.

While Jello is setting, mix softened cream cheese and sugar; fold in Cool Whip. Spread over pretzel crust. When Jello is almost set, pour over cream cheese layer. Chill. Dissolve Jello in water. Add frozen strawberries and stir until melted. Chill.

I will be joining BlessedwithGrace and BalncingBeautyandBedlam for recipe swaps today.

Monday, July 27, 2009

My Menu for the Week

Here is our menu for the week:

Monday, July 27

Baked Ham
Au Gratin Potatoes
Steamed Broccoli
leftover cake/cantaloupe

Tuesday, July 28

Glazed Chicken
green beans w/garlic

Wednesday, July 29

Ham and Mozzarella Toasted Subs
Lettuce, onions and tomatoes
Apple slices and rest of cantaloupe

Thursday, July 30

Dinner out

Friday, July 31

Chili w/crackers
Jello w/ fruit

Saturday, Aug 1

Biscuits w/Milk Gravy

Grilled chicken salad
Hot Rolls
Iced Tea
leftover Jello

I'll be joining Orgjunkie today for MPM.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Taking a Much-Needed Break This Week

Last Friday I lost my Labrador Retriever, Stormy, and I'm still suffering from it. I've tried to continue with the blog this week, but I just can't write without her behind my chair, for now. Will try to be back on schedule next week.

"Lord, please help me to be the person that my dog thinks I am."

- author unknown

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Basic Family Foods this Week

The recipes that I'm sharing today are basic but delicious. Although, I do think that the Linguine with Green Onions is a little more "uptown" if you need a side dish when company comes. Also, I've never seen anyone turn down "Muzzy" Oliver's Fruit Cobbler, and I have to say, that in defense of the humble Tuna Casserole, Miss Daisy Hale had a very tasty version.

Marcia's Linguine with Green Onions

8 oz. linguine
3 TBSP butter or margarine
1 tsp sesame oil (opt.)
1 bunch green onions, trimmed and cut length-wise into strands, including green tops
2 TBSP soy sauce
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp garlic powder

Cook pasta in a large pot of salted, boiling water. While noodles are cooking, heat butter and sesame oil in a large, non-stick skillet over medium heat; stir in green onions. Cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently until wilted. Stir in soy sauce, ginger and garlic powder. Add drained pasta. Toss to coat.

While my family attended Washington Street Church we had the pleasure of befriending an 80-something-young-lady named Daisy Hale. Our boys called her Miss Daisy. She was a delightful older person with a young spirit. She always paid attention to children and loved life, in general. The moment you walked into her home, her well-practiced Southern manners took over: "Honey, can I get you a Coke?"..."Oh, here..take this chair!"... "Can I get you anything?"

Daisy had survived The Depression and WWII and her stories were fascinating. I could sit in her kitchen, with my Coca-Cola, of course, and listen for hours.

As a child she grew up a " stone's throw" from the track where the Kentucky Derby was held in " Loui'ville", as she would say, so she had fold memories of the excitement of "Derby Day" and helping her "Mama" serve refreshments to family and friends that would come into town for the big race.

We invited Daisy over for dinner one evening and she brought a tray covered with a linen tea towel. Underneath the towel were the lightest little rolls; they were folded over and she called them her "Pocketbook Rolls." They were delicious, and the name of them was intriguing to Justin and Blake. Another time, when I was sick , she brought us this Tuna Casserole and what a welcome change it was from take-out and pizza! Miss Daisy was such a sweet lady and good friend.

Daisy Hale's Tuna Bake

1/3 C chopped green pepper

3 TBSP chopped onion
4 or 5 TBSP Crisco
1 tsp salt
6 TBSP flour

1 can Cream of Chicken soup

enough milk to make gravy consistency
1-7 oz. can tuna
1 TBSP lemon juice

Cook peppers and onions in hot fat until golden; add salt, soup,milk and flour and cook until sauce is about as thick as cream gravy. Then, add tuna, stirring constantly. Pour into a greased casserole dish and top with refrigerator biscuits, sprinkled on top with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees.

Everybody called Mrs. Frank Oliver,"Muzzy". Even though she was the Mayor's wife of my husband's hometown, she was neither formal nor stuffy but friendly and outgoing in personality. "Muzzy" was good friends with my mother-in-law and they liked to swap recipes, so luckily I was passed a few recipes for Mrs. Oliver's delicious dishes that she brought to the Davis' and to church dinners. Here's one for her Fruit Cobbler. Enjoy!

"Muzzy" Oliver's Fruit Cobbler

Mix together:
1 C sugar
1 stick margarine
1 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 C milk
1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

Mix in order given. Put sliced fruit in a pan. Pour mixture over it.
Then, dissolve 1 C of sugar in 1/2 C water. Pour over all. Bake in 360 degree oven for 1 hour.

I will be participating in BlessedwithGrace , AlltheSmallStuff and BalancingBeautyandBedlam's recipe swaps today.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Monday's Meal Plan

Good morning and happy Monday! Here's my menu for the week.

Monday, July 20th -
leftover chicken and dumplings

Tuesday, July 21st -
chicken salad (caesar/regular), rolls

Wednesday July 22nd -
lasagna, lemon pepper squash

Thursday July 23rd -
tuna casserole, carrot and celery sticks, broccoli

Friday, July 24th -
grilled salmon, chinese coleslaw, macaroni and cheese

Saturday, July 25th -

Breakfast: fruit smoothies, bagels
Dinner: hamburgers on grill, corn on the cob, fruit salad

I will be joining OrgJunkie today for MPM.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Gone With the Wind Cookbook

Tonight we have a family game night at our fellowship building at church. The theme tonight is Southern Foods. I'm taking my mother-in-law's Southern Baked Beans and Chicken and Dumplings. I was going to make a Red Velvet Cake, but we usually have more than enough desserts.

I chose one of my southern-flavored cookbooks to review for today. It's a little cookbook that I got one Christmas from Mom and Dad who know how much I love Gone With the Wind. Our cookbook today is called The Gone With The Wind Cookbook , published in 1991 by Abbeville Press, Inc. and its ISBN is 1-55859-370-5. The book is as petite as "Prissy" in size-only 74 pages, but the recipes inside are robust in flavor like Mammy's personality. There's Cracklin' Bread, Peanut Stuffing and Crab and Okra Gumbo! These are recipes not for the "faint of heart" in fact, many of the belles in the story may not have been able to withstand the bold, delicious flavors of these Southern dishes without fainting!

Just as the entree section is full of spicy, bold tastes, the dessert section is also out to impress: Melanie's Sweet Potato Pie; Georgia Pecan Trifle; and Coconut Cream Pie are among my favorites. This cookbook is like a like a Southern breeze, warm and enveloping. It's just full of good recipes for family, and most of the recipes are fancy enough to break out the good china for company. Y'all take a look at this one-you won't be sorry!

Our sample recipe:

P. 44 Apple Scallop

1 C flour

1/4 C brown sugar, firmly packed

1/2 C butter or margarine
1/4 C finely chopped nuts
4 C sliced apples
cinnamon and nutmeg

Mix flour and sugar; cut in butter w/ two knives or pastry blender. Add nuts. Place apples in greased baking dish; sprinkle w/ cinnamon and nutmeg; cover w/ flour mixture. Bake at 375 degree oven for 45 min. or until apples are tender. Serve with cream. Makes 6 servings.

I will be joining Momtrends and GroceryCartChallenge and DesignsbyGollum for the recipe swaps today.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy!

It's been a busy Thursday around here. Well, actually yesterday was even busier because the groomer that I use had an unexpected cancellation and gave Stormy the opening! That meant that I went into cleaning/disinfecting mode...on Wednesday! I don't usually schedule grooming on Wednesday because then I'm just exhausted for evening Bible Study at church. I am glad that Stormy (and my house) smell so nice and clean.

The event today that has kept me so busy was my trip to Sam's Club to replace supplies that we're low on. It was very disappointing to find out that our Sam's no longer has Member's Mark Mocha Cappuccino Powder that I make My Easy and Cheap Iced Coffee with; they just had French Vanilla ! I'm going to check at other Sam's Clubs in Oklahoma and Texas; the hunt is on! My Sam's trip is usually two-fold; the trip itself, and the meat-dividing and freezing marathon that follows, but you know my theory on weekend grocery trips-they should be avoided, if at all possible (like weekend laundry!) So, because I've had a hectic couple of days, I'm going to just share my favorite way to make a cold summer salad with you today.

Marcia's Cold Pea Salad

Defrost a Family-sized bag of young sweet peas.
Add 1/2 C chopped celery and 1/2 C shredded American Cheese.
Toss with Wishbone's Ranch Salad Dressing to taste.
Chill for a couple of hours. Serve with wheat crackers.

I'm participating at LifeasMom's recipe swap today.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Summer Visitors

Now that summer's here, we keep having visitors stop by our house. No, they're not out-of-town guests or family. These visitors have four legs and wander into our yard panting and looking distraught. The first couple came into the yard a month and a half ago; a Husky and his little buddy, a Pug. Then, week before last, when we were gladly finishing our mulching project one Saturday, here came a Black Labrador Retriever and his companion, a little Jack Russell mixed breed.

You know that I'm a dog lover, but I get very frustrated with dog owners who irresponsibly let their pets roam the neighborhood! This was not the case with either set of our little visitors. Anyone could tell that they had gotten out of a fence or off their leashes. The dogs were panting and hunting shade and they just "looked lost". If you've been around dogs much, you can tell when they are frustrated or anxious. In the one case, the Husky kept going to our back fence and walking back and forth, as if trying to figure out how to get back to where he came from. It was very sad to watch.

We put out bowls of water near a shady spot, and once we gained the dogs' trust, looked for ID tags. In both cases, we were successful. The Husky had a rabies tag with a Veterinarian's name on it and in the other case, there was a collar with the owner's name and phone number. When we finally were able to contact the owners, they were so glad to have their family members back safely. In the first incident, a woman came to the door and said, "Oh, I'm the "Grandma" and my adult daughter's on vacation while I was taking care of them. I just talked with her on the phone and she's been crying all day!" In the second case, a little boy jumped out of an SUV and gave them a big hug. His buddies promptly jumped into the vehicle after him with his mother thanking us, again and again.

None of these dogs had wandered far, and both sets were from our large subdivision. But, in 100 degree temperatures, it doesn't take long for a scared and anxious pet, who is continually walking and searching, to become dehydrated or suffer heat stroke. If you have any "summer visitors", please give them shade and some water. Then, look for any type of ID tags that will help you trace the dog's owners. You'd want someone to do the same for you if your dog "got out" and was wandering around in the summer heat.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Aunt Sis' Whipped Topping is Cheaper and Always Available

I've given out several recipes lately that call for Cool Whip. I like Cool Whip, but sometimes I get ready to make a dessert, and there's none ahead in the freezer. That means that we either have to skip the dessert, or I have to make a run to the store. My Aunt Sis gave me this recipe years ago and I've made it many times. It is a great homemade whipped topping:

Aunt Sis' (Ruth Ann Martin) Homemade Whipped Topping

1. Put 1/2 C instant non-fat dry milk into a 1-qt. mixing bowl.
2. Add 1/2 C ice-cold water.
3. Beat with electric mixer at high speed until mixture stands in soft peaks, about 2 min.
4. Add 3 TBSP lemon juice.
5. Beat 3 TBSP sugar in gradually
6. Chill about 30 min.
Then serve as topping on fruit, Jello, shortcake or other desserts. Makes about 2 1/2 C. Note: I have used vanilla in place of the lemon juice for a milder flavor.

I have two recipes from Mammam Michael to share today. The first one is a recipe for sauerkraut that she used to make out at her friend, Leona Huffman's farm. Mammam would go out there and visit sometimes in the summer to help Leona ("Fuzzy") get her canning done. This is quickly jotted down as most old "receipts" are.

Mammam (Lina Michael) and Fuzzy's (Leona Huffman) Sauerkraut

Cut cabbage fine and pack pretty solidly in glass quart jars. To each jar add: 1 tsp salt 1 tsp sugar 1/4 C warm water, then seal tightly The sauerkraut will be ready for use in three weeks.

Another farm recipe to make your own hand cream.

Homemade Hand Cream Leona Huffman

2/3 C mutton tallow
1/3 C mineral oil

1 tsp Borax
3 TBSP water

You can add a nice aroma to this with some oil of Geranium. (I think you could probably add any essential oil that they sell in stores now, too.)

Have a good Tuesday!
I will be participating in BlessedwithGrace's recipe swap today.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Easy Menu for the Week

Hubby is traveling for business this week and so I'm "kickin' back" and making an easy menu of items we like to eat that are easy or make-ahead. I'm going to concentrate on sorting closets and drawers out while he's away. We worked on Ben's room yesterday until we were sidetracked by a nosebleed (but that's another story!) Here's my plan for the week:

Monday, July 13

Ham and Cheese sandwich pockets
Caesar Salad

Tuesday, July 14

Homemade Salsa

Wednesday, July 15

Spicy chicken sandwiches
Creamed peas and potatoes

Thursday, July16

Chinese take-out
Blackberry cobbler
Vanilla ice cream

Friday, July 17

Family Game Night
(Theme: Southern food)
Chicken and Dumplings
Southern Baked Beans

Saturday, July 18

waffles w/ fruit
Turkey bacon

Garlic rolls
Oreo Dessert

Thanks to Leslie, who joined my list of followers! I will be joining OrganizingJunkie for MPM today.

Friday, July 10, 2009

"Mammaw" Larck's Cookbook Still Relevent

Friday is so great! Not only is it the beginning of the weekend, but it's also the day that I share my thoughts on a cookbook from my collection that I've been reading during the week. The book that I'm sharing this week is one of my treasured favorites. It originally belonged to "MamMaw" Minnie Larck, a petite older lady full of energy and optimism that we befriended at one of our past church families.

"MamMaw" shared a birthday with our youngest son, Ben. At the time that we attended that congregation, Ben was the youngest member and "MamMaw" Larck was the oldest. She absolutely loved the idea that Ben came into the world on her birthday and she remembered him every year with a little gift (even though, she had plenty of her own dear grandchildren and great grandchildren to buy for) Ben,in turn, usually paid her a visit on her birthday with something that he (we) had made for her; one year she got hand-decorated gingerbread men and Ben helped her eat her gift!

During her working years, Minnie Larck influenced many young people as she reared her own children and served as head cook at an elementary school. Her own children all turned out to be workers in the church, including one Elder and a daughter who was a preacher's wife. Those many children that she cooked for at Scott-Teays Elementary benefited from her smile and positive example.

After Mrs. Larck left this world for a better situation, I was given one of her cookbooks with her name handwritten in the front and a lemon cookie recipe scribbled in the back (that uses 5 lbs. of pastry flour!) for "her children"...all of them.

Woman's Home Companion Cook Book is a thick and sturdy cookbook that had a run of five printings after WWII. It was published by P. F. Collier & Son Corp. from New York. My copy is the final 1946 printing. This is a go-to type "workhorse" of a cookbook.

As with many items from the past that are re-discovered and found to be useful, this book addresses families on a small food budget which is relevant in today's economy (according to recent media reports). If you go to the grocery store and gas pump on a regular basis, you might also feel that these reports could have some merit. The mission statement in the front, written by food editor, Dorothy Kirk, explains that the book can, 'help everybody from the bride just starting out to the more experienced cook in search of something new.' She goes on to say, "It will solve problems for families on small food budgets and supply unlimited ideas for those with larger ones. Let it be your friend. It will see you through the unending rounds of three meals a day."

This book has no back stories or chatty text giving the historical significance of a recipe, but it does include several tips for the preparation and presentation of the food item. For example, the section on fruits and vegetables, gives tips on selecting each type of melon, peach, or orange and gives the reader a break down of each kind of that particular fruit and when it is in season. If you've ever tried to pick a good melon when you have never done it before, this would be very helpful advice.

Selecting the best fruits and vegetables is not the only money-saver in this cookbook, it includes lists of ways to use up leftover cooked cereals (one is a gnocchi recipe using Cream of Wheat-type cereal). Another section of the book is entitled, "Using Leftover, Dried and Canned Meats" and is followed by other recipes in the book for sandwich spreads, both meat-based and cheese or vegetable-based spreads. There are lots of recipes for egg dishes, pasta and rice, and you know that these are meal-stretchers.

I like the versatility in this 951-page resource of cooking knowledge because even though it is very practical in its focus and tone, it has canape' recipes for parties and a wonderful dessert section that's full of both fancy and homey desserts. I am just amazed at the number of recipes that brought back memories of desserts that our grandparents enjoyed: Fruit Fritters; Bread Pudding ("Pappy" Michael's favorite); Baked Custard (Mom made it for us as children); Rice Pudding (of Pokey Little Puppy fame!); Tapioca Cream (my dad's favorite) and Mince Pie (past Thanksgivings).

The only less-than-desirable part of this book to me is the section on Organ Meats and Tongue, but you find that in many older cookbooks. There are people who enjoy these foods, I'm just not among them. There's a recipe in the book for Pepper Pot and I know that is a very historic recipe in the exotic foods category. So if you have an "advanced palate" this is your book, as well!

With few pictures, and lots of recipes, this is just as the food editor describes it, "more than a cookbook; a handy kitchen encyclopedia." If you had no other cookbook, you could be well-fed and well-informed.

The sample recipe today is going to be from that dessert section that impresses me so much. Here you go:

P. 600 Apple Brown Betty

Butter, melted, 1/4 C
Dry bread, cubed, 1 1/2 C
Tart apples, diced or sliced, 4 to 5 C
Brown sugar, 3/4 C
Cinnamon, 1 tsp
Salt, 1/4 tsp
Lemon juice, 2 TBSP
Water, 1/3 C

Mix melted butter with dry bread cubes. Combine apples, sugar, cinnamon and salt.

Place part the the bread cubes in the bottom of a greased casserole; add layers of apples alternately with bread cubes; have bread cubes on top; pour combined lemon juice and water over all.

Cover and bake in a moderate oven (350 degrees) for 1 hr. Uncover for last half hour. Makes 5 servings.

Pineapple Apple Betty: Substitute 1 C diced pineapple for 2 C apples.

Join me at GroceryCartChallenge, DesignsbyGollum, LifeasMom and MomTrends for their Friday recipe swaps.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


I think we've got some winners from my clippings box today! I have sooo....many recipes for chicken, and I'm sure you do, too. It's such a versatile meat. Our sons and I enjoy it in tangy sauces such as oriental dishes, but my husband, the purist, likes it grilled best (he's not one for sauces). When he has a business trip, we have lots of hot, spicy and tangy foods in his absence, or serve sauces on the side when he's home. Here's a recipe that I got from my friend, Carrie, that would be good to try:

Tangy Glazed Chicken
Carrie Gallagher

2 Chicken breasts
1/4 tsp salt, optional
4 1/2 tsp butter or margarine
1 small onion, thinly-sliced
1 celery rib, thinly-sliced
1/2 C chicken broth
1/2 C apple jelly or spreadable fruit
3 TBSP orange juice
1 TBSP minced fresh parsley, optional
1/4 to 1/2 tsp dried thyme

Sprinkle chicken with salt, if desired. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat; brown chicken on all sides. Remove and keep warm. In the pan drippings, saute' onion and celery until tender. Add the remaining ingredients; cook and stir until jelly is melted. Return chicken to pan. Cook uncovered for 30-35 min. or until meat juices run clear. Top chicken w/ sauce mixture.

(She made a note that she serves this with rice.) Since this recipe just makes enough for two, I would have to double or triple it!

I got this next recipe from a WV newspaper clipping; it was submitted by Tish Yost of Wheeling. It's been photo-copied and someone had written, "very good!" on the corner of it.

Cabbage Casserole
Tish Yost

1 small head cabbage
1 lb. ground chuck
1 C chopped onion
1 can tomato soup
1 1/4 C water
1/2 C rice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 C grated cheese

Chop cabbage and put into baking dish. In skillet, brown ground chuck and onion. In saucepan, add 1 can tomato soup and water. Bring to a boil. Add hamburger mixture, rice, salt and pepper. Pour over cabbage. Top with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees, covered, for 1 1/2 hrs.

I thought this sounded like an easy dish to transport to a potluck, or when you're taking food to someone.

My final offering today comes from an April issue of Country Woman Magazine from 1997. This was the first place winner in their recipe contest that month. It was submitted by Susie Baldwin of Columbia, Tennessee.

No-Fry Donuts
Susie Baldwin

2 pkg. (1/4 oz. each) active dry yeast
1/4 C warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
1 1/2 C warm milk (same as above temp.)
1/3 C shortening
1/2 C sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
4 1/2 to 5 C all-purpose flour
1/4 C butter or margarine, melted

1/2 C butter or margarine
2 C confectioners' sugar
5 tsp water
2 tsp vanilla extract

In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add milk and shortening; stir for 1 min. Add sugar, eggs, salt, nutmeg,cinnamon and 2 C flour; beat on low speed until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (do not knead). Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch dough down. Turn onto a floured surface; roll out to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut with a 2 3/4 inch doughnut cutter (or thin-edged drinking glass); place 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets. Brush with butter. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 min. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 min or until lightly-browned.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, melt butter; stir in sugar, water and vanilla. Stir over low heat until smooth (do not boil).Keep warm. Dip warm doughnuts, one at a time, into glaze and turn to coat. Drain on a wire rack. Serve immediately. Yield: 2 dozen.

Join me at Joy@JoyofDesserts and for their recipe swaps today!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Defend Your Garden! Plants to Keep the Bugs Away

Not only do I save old clippings from magazines on cooking, but also on gardening, as I'm sure many of you do. I've been trying to defend my little patch of vegetables, herbs and weeds (well, they are thriving!) in the backyard. Yesterday, I came upon an old clipping that I had stuck in one of my gardening books before the cross-country move. I believe it is from a Woman's Day magazine from who-knows-when. It lists plants that keep pests away.


-Garlic plant: Keeps aphids and Japanese Beetles away and is effective against fruit-tree borers. It also repels mice and moles

-Onion plant: Repels mice, moles and cabbage butterflies

-Mint: Plant around the house to deter ants.

-Tansy: Repels ants, Japanese Beetles and mosquitoes.

-Thyme: Plant in the vegetable garden to repel cabbage worms.


-Basil: Repels flies and mosquitoes.

-Marigold: Plant in a row next to bean plants to deter beetles.

-Spinach: Plant in the garden to repel slugs

It also provided a list of perennials that are water-thrifty:

-Blanket flower
-Butterfly weed
-Evening Primrose
Jerusalem Artichoke
New England Aster
-Oxeye Daisy
-Purple Coneflower

Hope this is helpful to all of you "practicing gardeners" like me ('practicing' meaning that I practice all the time at trying to keep the plants alive) and not too annoying to the experts among us! Have a good Wednesday.
Welcome and "thank you" to Elaine and e4e8231 who are now on my followers list!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sneaky Family Recipes for Adding Fruits and Veggies to Your Meals

I'm sorry that I'm running late on the blog today; had an event to attend this afternoon. But, although it's late afternoon here, I've got my family favorites to share with you. Hope your day has been going well.

Here are some family recipes to help you sneak some extra veggies or fruits into your meal plans:

Aunt Hazel's Vegetable Casserole

2 1/2 C green beans
3 1/2 C milk
1 1/2 C diced cooked potatoes
3/4 C grated cheddar cheese
6 slices crisp bacon
1 large onion, diced
6 TBSP flour
1 tsp salt
crushed corn flakes

Gradually add flour to bacon fat in sauce pan; blend well (I use a slotted spatula to keep the lumps out). Gradually add milk and cook until thickened. Stir continually adding cheese, salt and a little pepper(if you like.) Combine sauce and vegetables and pour into greased (a light spray of Pam does it) 2 qt. casserole dish. Sprinkle w/ crushed corn flakes. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 min. (Don't overcook the potatoes!)

Mom's (Shirley's) Ambrosia Salad

1 large pkg. lime or lemon Jello
12 large or 120 small marshmallows
1 small pkg. cream cheese
1 1/2 C hot water
1 small can crushed pineapple or fruit cocktail
1 envelope of dry Dream Whip mix (I found this most recently at Krogers stores)
You can add chopped pecans if you like!

Stir hot water into jello. While hot, dissolve marshmallows and cream cheese in Jello and chill. Beat Dream Whip until stiff(per pkg. directions). Fold into Jello and fruit mixture. Refrigerate until set. Cut into squares and serve. This makes a very pretty salad or dessert. I always make it using the crushed pineapple.

This is a Jello Salad recipe that I got from a co-worker named Cindy Pritt when I was first married. She brought it to a luncheon at work and I thought it was delicious.

Cindy Pritt's Jello Salad

1 small box each of orange and lemon Jello
1 can crushed pineapple-drained
2 TBSP flour
1/2 C sugar
1 C pineapple juice
shredded coconut
grated American cheese
chopped nuts
2 pkg. of Dream Whip powdered mix

-Dissolve jello w/ 1 1/2 C boiling water. Add 2 C cold water. Add crushed pineapple, drained; let jell.
- Mix 1/2 C sugar, flour and pineapple juice in saucepan. Cook until thickened, stirring constantly.
- Whip 2 pkg. of Dream Whip w/ 1 C milk. Add pineapple mixture. Spread over Jello
-Sprinkle coconut, shredded cheese and nuts on top.

Kudos to KAMZ for joining my "Followers" list! I'm up to 2! Come on you "Shrinking Violets"...stand up and be counted. I read the numbers each week on my counter; I know that you're out there! Don't be shy.

I'm joining the recipe swap at BlessedwithGrace today!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Join My New Followers List....Please!

What a great holiday weekend, but now it's Monday and time to get back to the business of menu planning and ...laundry (how is that not a four-letter word?!)

I want to say a big hi and thank-you to my first "follower" listed...Sharon from Florida! Ben re-did my blog decorations and added a little follower gizmo on the side. Sharon is the first brave soul to click it and be associated with Frugalhomekeeping; I thank you and my dog, the editorial assistant, thanks you.

If any of you other readers don't mind to admit that you read us, you can simply click the "followers" button down on the right hand side; it doesn't obligate you in any way to sharing money or recipes! In fact you can just give your first name; I completely understand your hesitancy to click any thing new on the computer (especially if you're a computer newby like me.) Every time it asks me for my name and address, I freak out and ask the 15-year-old for advice and also if there are any legal obligations...and who will see the info that I provide! Completely computer-phobic! It's just a way to count my followers and encourage me to keep writing the blog (some sunny summer days that is needed!)

We have a pretty normal week around here this week so the menu is normal, as well:

Monday, July 6

Baked Cod w/ Tarragon
Hash browns w/ Vidalia onions
Green beans

Tuesday July 7


Wednesday, July 8

Baked Steak in crock pot
Mashed potatoes

Thursday, July 9

Roasted Lamb
Broccoli Rice

Friday July 10

BBQ chicken
Tater tots
Vegetable plate

Saturday July 11

BLTs w/ fried egg on toast

Lamb kabobs on grill
Macaroni and cheese

Friday, July 3, 2009

Spinach and Shrimp Salad from an All- American Cookbook

Boy, am I ready for a day when Americans celebrate their freedom and proud heritage! With Independence Day in mind, I've chosen a cookbook this week entitled; A Celebration of America-Timeless Recipes from the Kitchens of Pet.

Over the years, Pet Milk, and the other fine food products of the Pet Company have been staples of the American kitchen. Most of our moms used Pet Evaporated Milk in their pumpkin pies at Thanksgiving, or in fudge at Christmas. As most companies do, Pet branched out over time to include such familiar items as Whitman's Chocolates, Underwood Deviled Ham, Downyflake Waffles and a whole line of Old El Paso products, just to name a few. The beginning of this cookbook gives the reader a wonderful history of how the company (originally called Helvetia Milk Condensing Company) was started in Highland, Illinois at the turn of the century. Pet milk was a product born out of necessity in a time when there was no refrigeration and milk was delivered by horse-drawn carts. Pet provided canned milk that was fresh, clean and would "keep indefinitely on the pantry shelf of every American home." Louis Latzer, the company's founder, would change the way cooks in this country thought about dairy products and their availability.

This cookbook is not one of my older ones, as it was printed in 1984 by McGrew Color Graphics. Its ISBN is 0-87502-133-6. It is wire-bound with a hard cover. The front cover is beautifully done with a colorful array of foods that are typically American. I thought today's sample recipe should be something you could tote to a picnic. Here it is from page 97:

Shrimp Spinach Salad

1 lb. spinach or leaf lettuce
5 slices bacon
1/4 C wine vinegar
2 TBSP water
2 TBSP firmly-packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly-ground pepper
1 can 4 1/4 oz. Orleans Deveined Shrimp
3 eggs, hard-cooked and chopped
6 fresh mushrooms, sliced

Wash spinach and remove stems, or clean lettuce. Pat dry, and break into bite-size pieces. Meanwhile fry bacon until crisp. Drain bacon, reserving 2 TBSP drippings. Crumble cooled bacon. In small skillet, prepare dressing by combining reserved bacon drippings, vinegar, water, brown sugar, dry mustard, salt and pepper. Bring mixture to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Rinse shrimp under cold, running water: Drain thoroughly. In large bowl, toss together greens, dressing and shrimp. Garnish with chopped eggs and sliced mushrooms, and crumbled bacon. Serve immediately.

I will be participating in recipe swaps at Grocerycartchallenge and Designs by Gollum today.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Let's Try a New Recipe for the 4th!

When I was growing up, I remember the excitement of upcoming holidays. Usually, a few days before, my mom would pull out a big metal box that she kept her untried recipe clippings in and pick out a couple that sounded good and were appropriate for the holiday ahead. She would stick these to the fridge with a magnet along with her handwritten menu plan (as you can see, "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree" here). I was always anxious to try the new recipe when the holiday arrived.

I was thinking of Mom and her pre-holiday ritual last night as I looked through my box of recipes for us to try for the 4th of July. I found three that sounded so good to me. One's for ribs, and you know that if you have gotta have coleslaw. It's an unwritten "cook-out rule"! (My husband thinks there's a rule like this about mashed potatoes and corn.) And then, for the grand finale I found a great recipe for Fresh Berry Cobbler. I think that berry cobbler with vanilla ice cream should be the official summer dessert; I'd vote for it.

A quick "hello" to my sister, Becky, in Ohio who's getting ready for an Independence Day cookout with some of their friends. I talked with her briefly on the phone yesterday while she was at the grocery store getting the ingredients for baked beans. She's blessed with an assistant cook; when she plans to have people over she has Hayley (my niece) helping her cook everything and get the place ready. Happy holiday planning to all!

Slow Cooked Short Ribs
(Old Taste of Home Magazine)

2/3 C all-purpose flour
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
4 to 4 1/2 lbs. boneless short ribs (beef)
1/4 to 1/3 C butter or margarine
1 large onion, chopped
1 1/2 C beef broth
3/4 C cider or red wine vinegar
3/4 C packed brown sugar
1/2 C chili sauce
1/3 C ketchup
1/3 C Worcestershire sauce
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp chili powder

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine flour, salt and pepper. Add ribs in batches and shake to coat. In a large skillet, brown ribs in butter. Transfer to a 5-qt. slow cooker. In the same skillet, combine the remaining ingredients. Cook and stir until mixture comes to a boil; pour over ribs (slow cooker will be full). Cover and cook on Low for 8-10 hours or until meat is tender. Yield: 12-15 servings
-Pam Halfhill
Medina, Ohio

This slaw recipe is an old recipe from Mabel Inbody , a lady who was friends with my Aunt Lena and Mammam (they were twins and had many friends in common). If I remember correctly, Mrs. Inbody attended church with Aunt Lena.

Mabel Inbody's Coleslaw

1 head cabbage
2 carrots
1 onion
2 or 3 stalks celery
1 green pepper

Grind all vegetables and mix together.

2 tsp salt
1 tsp celery seed
3/4 C sugar
1/2 C salad oil
1/2 C vinegar

Boil on stove top and then pour over slaw. Will keep in the icebox for a week.

The clipping for the berry cobbler came from an old Southern Living Magazine from who-knows-when!

Fresh Berry Cobbler

1 C sugar, divided
1 1/2 TBSP cornstarch
6 C fresh berries (BLACKBERRIES, blueberries, raspberries)
1 1/2 tsp grated lemon rind
1 C all-purpose flour
3/4 C self-rising yellow cornmeal mix
1/3 C butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 C milk

1. Combine 1/3 C sugar and 1 1/2 TBSP cornstarch in a small bowl. Combine berries, cornstarch mixture, and lemon rind in a large bowl until well-blended; Spoon berry mixture into a lightly greased 2-qt. baking dish.

2. Combine flour, cornmeal mix, and remaining 2/3 C sugar in a medium bowl. Stir in butter and milk until blended. Gently spread batter evenly over berry mixture.

3. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 min. or until wooden pick inserted in middle comes out clean. Serve warm (with vanilla ice cream-my suggestion) 6-8 servings

I will be joining and SouthernFriedMama for their recipe swaps today.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Housework-One Thing Leads to Another

You know how it is when you start your morning with a big project, and then one thing leads to another? Well, it's been one of those days for me. I got up early this morning with the intention of cleaning up "dog presents" in the yard before Dana mows it. That led to watering my plants under the old swing set and pulling weeds. Then, as I watered plants on the porches, I noticed a few weeds peeking through in the landscaping, so I got them, too. While I was cleaning up the beds, I noticed some huge tree-like "demon weeds" growing up around my rose bush, so I got out the garden shears and whacked 'em (sounds like an episode of The Sopranos!) By this time, I'm all sweaty (oh that's right..."Southern women don't sweat, they glow!" I love that saying.)

After the yard work, I decided to come inside to cool off and have something cold to drink. Another plan that I had for today was to change my vacuum bag and vacuum the living room while I had help moving the furniture (Ben was home). We lugged all the heavy furniture to the middle of the room and I did that project. As I sat on the couch for my 5-minute break, I noticed that the plantation shutters had gotten very dusty since my spring cleaning. I thought to myself that it was the perfect time to reach them with the ladder since all the furniture was out of the way.

Before I started this task, I got out the ladder, my micro-cloth and my can of Pledge Clean and Dust. I love that product; I have allergies and I find that it really does help trap the dust and not scatter it.

So here I am at 2:00 in the afternoon and Just now chatting on my blog. It's been a busy morning. I started out with one project in mind and that turned into several projects. It seems like once I get started with one thing, I look around and see four more jobs that need done. Just one of those days, and as usual, all household projects take longer than expected because the dog is at my every step "helping"!