Tuesday, January 31, 2006

What's For Dinner?

As requested by Rich, (thanks for your patience!) here are some ideas for dinner.

First thing is to find out what your family eats, good or bad,
and write it down. I'm sure we can all agree that a child who eats,
even if it's unhealthy, is better than a child who doesn't eat.

There are several approaches to the dinner table arena. Mine happens to be a list.
Yep, I'm a list-maker. I have a list of nearly 70 meals I know that almost every member of my family will eat-from main dish to dessert. I started out using index cards and at that time I had 14-2 weeks worth. You can only eat the same stuff so many times in a row so I had to expand. It took time and thought; there really aren't easy answers to this whole dilemma.
This is a link to that list , but be forewarned, it is always a work in progress and as such, there are missing parts. Please only use it as a guide! It isn't the healthiest of alternatives since my husband and a couple of the kids are so picky it's all I could manage.

There are tons of sites out there and books that offer menus for
X amount of days, but when you really get down to it, they are just
guidelines. I don't know of any family where every member will eat
every item on the menus given on those sites and in those books.

Once you have nailed down relative likes and dislikes you need to take a
look at your food budget and make sure that if the only protein anyone will eat is lobster that you can afford it. If not ... think tuna.

You can also do the "Chicken on Monday", "Beef on Tuesday" approach.
Choose one thing for each day ~ chicken, beef, pork, pasta, fish,
sandwiches, pizza etc. and give it a specific day;


As you see, you can do it by dish or by food choice or by ethnicity.
You could make Wednesday soup night or Friday Italian night etc.
Choosing a theme helps you plan knowing that your choices are not
so broad for a particular day.

Then all you need to do is round up recipes for that particular theme
and off you go.

I plan my shopping lists around dinner always. Nearly everything else is
secondary. I plan for staples first, things I know I always have on hand,
and then I pick dinners for the week, make a list for all I will need for them,
and fill in with lunch and breakfast.

Another way to do this is OAMC-Once a Month Cooking, you cook for a day and eat
for a month. It is exhausting but worth it if you have the initial time and freezer space. There are many sites out there about this so I won't bother to expound upon it. You can also do something similar called "investment cooking" or just do prep-work on your purchases as soon as you are home from the store to make things easier all week. You know, pre-peel carrots, clean chicken breasts, separate ground beef into 1 lb packages, make meatballs, make muffin mixes, etc.

You can choose to do the "What's on sale" approach and wait until the Sunday
sales flyer comes out and plan your meals from there. PLEASE keep in mind though, 10 lbs of anything on sale is NOT a bargain if it's something your family won't eat no matter how you disguise it! Tossing food is never thrifty.

Here are links to some helpful sites:
Saving Dinner-Leanne Ely
OAMC Frozen Assets
Menus 4 Moms
Real Food for Real People
(I subscribe to this list and I love it. Out of all the recipe lists I have been on it is the ONLY one I stay with.)
Simply In Season
Kraft dinner ideas
Dad is holding his own (as usual!) please continue to hold him in your thoughts and prayers~he is believing for a complete healing miracle, and we are standing with him.

Monday, January 30, 2006


Sorry if it seems that I have been gone too long. I was in Michigan visiting Dad. I'll be able to update and get moving on here soon.

Many thanks to all of you who were praying and thinking of dad.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Recipes are in!

There were 3 players yesterday (thanks girls!)~and here are the dishes they submitted. Give them a look and go visit their blogs!

From: just_christina

Here is my recipe...this is off the top of my head...it sounds good to me..haha
It's called

In a large skillet put teaspoon of virgin olive oil. Sautee one garlic clove, and
some white onion. Place chicken breast in pan and flip after being browned on one
side.(oh on med high heat)
In a large sauce pan combine salt, tad olive oil and water. Boil, then place
linguine iin pot until tender.

Cut up chicken into bite size pieces and throw in large bowl. combine noodles,
garlic, onion,and your black olives. Toss togher and then sprinkle with parmesan
cheese and vingar and oil dressing.

Well sounds good to me anyway :)

From: Compulsive Writer

Garlic Chicken and Linguini with Mushroom and Olive Marinara

Cook chicken breasts in a skillet with 2 garlic cloves, 2-3 Tablespoons
olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

In another skillet saute 2 cloves garlic, a small bit of chopped onion.
Stir in 1 large can chopped tomatoes, 1 small can tomato sauce 1/4 cup finely
grated carrots, 1 tablespoon sugar and one cup sliced fresh mushrooms. Simmer
together with a generous amount of fresh basil, chopped and a dash of fresh
oregano, chopped. Slice 1 cup olives and stir in. Simmer together till heated

While sauce is simmering, cook pasta according to package directions.

Serve mushroom and olive sauce over pasta and chicken, top with freshly
grated parmesan. Serve along with a fresh salad (with olives, tomatoes,
parmesan and garlic) and your favorite french bread.

(I'm assuming here that I have a refrigerator as well as a pantry--if
not, I could used canned mushrooms and dried herbs)

From: kfarmer

Chicken Dish


4 boneless chicken breasts cut up in bite size pieces
Olive oil
2 cloves garlic
5 olives stuffed with jalapeños (I did not have black olives)
1 small jar pimentos
Chicken stock- (enough to cover chicken)
Sour cream
Fresh grated parmesan cheese
Chopped parsley
Kosher salt

For the linguini-

In big pot put in water, kosher salt, and olive oil. No I did not measure. When
boiling, put in the noodles. Boil correct amount of time, then remove noodles


Sautee 2 cloves of garlic in olive oil. Put in chopped olives and a small jar of
pimentos chopped up. Add chicken breasts and cook till done. Add chicken stock,
fresh grated black pepper and cover and let slowly simmer over low heat. When
chicken has cooked until it is tender, add sour cream to thicken. Pour over
noodles and grate some parmesan cheese over the top and then add chopped parsley.

Anne- I really made this last night and it turned out pretty good. I cant just
imagine a recipe, I have to make it. I even took pictures but my camera's
batteries died... And I cheated a little-I used green olives as I did not have
black (which I thought I did have!) The hubby who is usually negative about
everything said "Damn, this is good!" so I guess it passed inspection.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Let's Play!

Please refer to yesterday's post for the rules to Ready, Set, Cook! and here are the ingredients:

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1/2 lb linguine
1 cup black olives

That shouldn't be too hard ;o)

Have fun!

***************P.S. On a serious note~for those of you who pray, I received an email from dad last evening that he was on his way to the hospital. There is a post about him for anyone who doesn't understand why this is urgent. Please keep him in your prayers.

Monday, January 23, 2006

One more time!

Alright foodies, tomorrow we will try our luck again with Ready Set Cook!

Here's how it works:

I will list 3 ingredients (as I commented before, I'll think a bit more locally and less globally this time) tomorrow morning and you will PRETEND you have them on hand. This is sort of like me saying "Hey guys, I have a pound of ground beef, a few potatoes, and some leeks-what can I make for dinner?" Get it?

So, I will post 3 ingredients and you will have a virtual pantry stocked with whatever you want. You will come up with a recipe that uses all 3 ingredients prominently. In other words, you can't use half a teaspoon of an ingredient that gets lost in the recipe or is something you could leave out.

Now, when you come up with what you would make with the listed ingredients post in the COMMENTS section your IDEA or RECIPE NAME only ie: Roast Quail with Beet Chutney. Then, EMAIL me the actual recipe or detailed instructions as to how you would make whatever it is you came up with.

If you have any questions mid-game or even before just email me at
irishones7 *at* juno *dot* com with Ready Set Cook in the subject line or even use the comments section since I get them in my email anyway.

I PROMISE I will have 3 accessible and familiar ingredients tomorrow and if you can't play DO NOT FEEL BAD! This is all just for fun anyway!

OK, be up bright and early oh and, once I have all the recipes I will post them all on my blog on Wednesday along with your name and/or blog addy.

(On a very far aside note--did you know that the spell check on blogspot doesn't recognize the word BLOG?)

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Recipes from Home Part II

If you will click any of the links below, you will be transported to the appropriate page of recipes for each book.

Here are some worthwhile notes to help you:

1) The first 2 are the recipes my family submitted to each book.

2) It has become painfully clear to me why so many of them suffered from diabetes-although really only on grandpa's side sort of proving the genetic link.

3) Milnot is evaporated milk-just a brand name.

4) Oleo is margarine.

5) Not all of the recipes have appropriate instructions and/ or ingredients-please ask me if you have any questions. I cooked and ate long enough with most of them to be able to decipher whatever is missing.

6) The Herb cookbook and the Parsonage Queens cookbook were not books that my family contributed to so I chose a recipe or two from each heading.

7) If you want any of these books for your own collection-good luck! Actually, I believe the Ash Street cookbook may still be available-the oldest book comes from a chruch that no longer exists so chances are pretty much nil that you could find one-I would be willing to pass on the rest of the recipes to anyone who might want them OR to copy off the entire book (which I need to do anyway to preserve my copy) for anyone who really would like it.

Happy reading!

What's Cookin' in South Bend, Indiana

Treasured Recipes from Ash Street Wesleyan Church, Tipton, Indiana

Recipes from our Kitchen, Parsonage Queens

The Herbal Kitchen, The Brown County Herb Society

Thursday, January 19, 2006

We interrupt this broadcast to bring you...

A recipe! Imagine that.

I saw a recipe the other day at
Domestic Diva's site for Chocolate Chip Angel Cookies. It caught my eye because it's not your run-of-the-mill recipe, and neither is the finished product! I am admittedly a Toll House girl so this was a stretch for me. I made a batch this morning (yes, I was puttering in the kitchen rather than type recipes) and they are FABULOUS. Soft in the center and delicately melt-in-your-mouth crisp on the edges. Oh, my. My oldest daughter is home until exams start today and we are trying to keep our hands off of them.

We all know
I hate baking cookies so, if I say these are good, they are GOOD. Hop on over and give it a look, and say "Hi" while you're there!**********

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

Not the World's Fastest Fingers

I'm getting there with those family recipes but it is painstakingly slow. I'm not a quick typist and with distractions (read: children) it's taking longer than I wanted.

I will not leave you hanging! I love my readers (since I am also a reader) and so, here is my favorite meatloaf recipe from one of those books. My mother submitted my Grandma Foster's recipe. This is the only meatloaf mom ever made and it's just flat out GOOD. Give it a try!

Mom Foster's Meatloaf
Printable Recipe

1 1/2 lb hamburger
3/4 c corn flakes, crushed
1 egg
1/2 c. milk
1/2 Tbsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 c. onion, chopped
Green pepper, chopped (optional)

Mix well and shape into a loaf (all but ketchup). Spread ketchup over top. Bake for about 2 hours in a slow oven (250 degrees F).

This recipe brings up one of those age-old quandries, how do YOU spell ketchup/catsup?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Recipes from Home

Everyone has a place they call Home. You may be living there now, you may have once lived there, and for a very few, Home may be somewhere you have never been yet but your heart is there and so you know that it will be Home once you arrive.

My Home is Tipton, Indiana. My mother spent her entire childhood (save very few years where she was born) there and my maternal grandparents and great grandparents lived in Tipton for most of their adult lives. When Grandma passed away in October, her body was flown Home to Tipton to be interred next to my Grandfather.

I spent every summer between my grandparents and my father, who lived, and still lives, in Michigan. We lived in Frankfort when I was a toddler and my father worked at the college. We attended Foster family reunions in Lafayette.

My grandparents were deeply entrenched in the community in Tipton, Grandpa being the Superintendent of the Wastewater Treatment facility there and grandma teaching piano lessons for 35 years out of their home on Poplar St.

They were beyond involved at their church, Ash St. Wesleyan, grandpa teaching Sunday School and grandma playing the organ, teaching the youth church and doing the accounting for the church for many years.

I remember going to Frankfurt in the dead heat of summer to Camp Meeting at the college with my brothers and swinging on the swings just outside the pavilion where the meeting was held, swinging in the light that spilled out from inside and humming along to the hymns that we knew so well.

I remember trips to Kokomo to shop at the mall, the closest to Tipton, and to eat at the Smorgasbord there. I can never recall the name but for some reason there was a large real stuffed bear in one corner of the dining room. There were visits to South Bend to visit grandpa's brother, Hershel and his wife and one of Grandma's closest friends, Aunt Dorothy. I still have family, from both sides, in South Bend.

I remember days and days spent at the Tipton City Park for church picnics, swimming at the city pool almost daily, hours spent in the cool air conditioning of the local
library, visits to the Five and Dime to spend our allowances, and dinners at The Pizza Shack By The Tracks which was once known just as The Pizza Shack until they moved. Breakfast at Jim Dandy, and the best fish in the world at Catfish Bob's.

I remember going to Atlanta for the best ice cream ever 
and a glimpse of one of the last one-street towns in America, and lunch at a fancy restaurant in Cicero by the reservoir that looked so much more like a pretty lake than a yucky word like "reservoir".

I recall going to The Polar Bear or The South Pole for "frozen custard" after Wednesday meeting. I recall the times we rode in the back of grandpas bright red Ford work truck with the big city seal on the side~back when you could ride in the back of a pickup without getting pulled over.

I remember the summer my oldest brother spent de-tasseling corn; how he would come home dead tired and sweaty, his hands red and raw, and the fact that he made over $300 that summer, the most any of we kids had ever made.

Mostly I remember what Indiana smells like when you cross the Eastern border from Ohio and cut up onto 27 to head towards Tipton...the sweet wonderful smell of corn fields-as far as the eye can see-and the not-so-pleasant smell of hog manure. But hey, it's still Home.

Now that I've rambled, I have several cookbooks from Indiana that are so precious to me, the most important being the fund-raising cookbook put together by Ash Street Wesleyan Church in Tipton. The other important one is a very old cookbook last printed in 1959 and so care-worn I can hardly open it without another piece falling off.

My family contributed many many recipes to those books and I will type them all up and share them with you.

I also have 3 other cookbooks specifically from Indiana~one is from the Indiana South District of the Wesleyan Church, one is from WWKI~in short, a radio station that raises money annually for the poor, and the other is a wonderful herb recipe book from The Brown County Herb Society. I'll pick and choose some recipes from those also.

Ready, Set...Huh?

Well, it seems only one person "got it" and sent me a recipe.

I may not have made it understood in the posts leading up to yesterday that we were playing a VIRTUAL game. You know, IF you had XYZ on hand, what would you make?

Well...at any rate, a dear friend of mine sent me the best looking recipe containing those 3 ingredients and I will post it here and tell you to go and visit Ally at Grocery Maven. She would love to have you peek in at her world :o) and it's a worthwhile read as well. Thanks Ally!

Okay Anne, this is what I would do if I found myself at home one day with shrimp, an orange, and couscous. Let's assume it's a
box of whole wheat couscous, since that's better for you, and at least a
pound of medium tiger shrimp, peeled and deveined. The orange is
peeled and sectioned.

I would also add: 1-1/2 chopped onion, 1 tbsp minced garlic, 1 tbsp
minced ginger, 1 sliced red bell pepper, 2 zucchini, sliced, 1 cup +
1/2 cup chicken broth, 1/4 cup orange juice, 1 tbsp olive oil, soy
sauce to taste, salt, black pepper, cornstarch.

Here's what I'd do:

1) Prepare the coucous as the box directs, subbing in one cup of
chicken broth for one cup of water, and adding the chopped onion half
to the water/broth mixture.

2) Saute the chopped onion, ginger and garlic in a non-stick frying
pan on medium with about a tbsp of olive oil, until the onions are
translucent. Add the sliced pepper and the zucchini to the pan, with
1/2 cup chicken broth, orange juice and soy sauce to taste. Cover and
simmer until zucchini is nearly done. Take the cover off, and toss in
the shrimp and the orange sections, stirring and tossing until cooked
but not over cooked. Taste, and add salt and pepper if needed. If you
like a thicker sauce, thicken with 1 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 1/4
cup water, stir and add to the pan liquid, and simmer until thickened.

Serve the shrimp dish over the couscous.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Ready, Set, Cook! (and go vote again!)

The newest "hot" flavors for the year have recently been listed (I found them in a Kraft publication-I'm sure they are listed elsewhere) so I decided to toss the overly funky lists my family was providing me with and go with 2 ingredients from the "hot for this year" list and add another.

The 3 ingredients up for play today are:

couscousOK, the challenge is set. Come up with a dish--a dish and a sauce--or a dish and a side that uses these 3 ingredients prominently and email me actual recipes or detailed instructions at irishones7 at juno dot com.

I will gather recipes and names and post it all tomorrow. Remember this is just for FUN! There is no voting or competition.

Get Cookin'!

Quick note~
I have been informed that you should be able to vote once a day for BoBs~so...get back there and continue to vote for your favorites!

Monday, January 16, 2006

On Your Mark!

Tomorrow is Ready Set Cook! day and here's the scoop:

1) 3 ingredients will be posted tomorrow morning-they are predetermined
by someone other than myself.

2) Single dish with sauce or single dish and side are acceptable.
Any other ingredients are fine but the 3 listed MUST be in the dish and must be

3) Post your ideas in the comments section and email actual recipes or VERY detailed
instructions for your dish to me at irishones7 at juno dot com.

4) I will post the recipes (or instructions) on Wednesday along with your blogger

If you don't have a blog-that's OK too-just please give me a name to go with your
recipes so I can credit you properly.

That's it! It should be fun, which is the whole purpose. If it all goes well, we may get
into actual contests at a later date, which would be even more fun!


This meme was sent to me by Paula.

5 "weird" things about me;

1) I love ROUND things. I don't know why but I do. It's a very comforting shape to me and
my oldest daughter ribs me constantly about that being the reason I was pregnant 6 times.

2) I can hold and write with a pen/pencil 2 different ways. People have commented on it
my whole life. I'm not really sure why anyone finds it odd but they do so, I thought
I would mention it.

3) I hate shoes, I hate socks, I would go barefoot for life if I could.

4) I do not get postpartum depression, I get postpartum fear of heights. Odd but true.
I even get scared of being on my porch, which is only 3 feet off the ground.

5) I have a severe fear of metal in water-ie: large metal pipes in water, drain holes, etc.
I have never figured that one out. I even hate large pipes that hold water on land.
My grandfather was Superintendent of the water works in Tipton, Indiana and when he would
take us to the "shop" I could barely breathe because there was a room there that had
nothing but large pipes carrying water to and from the area.

OK, my turn is over and I don't have enough friends to beg to do this so, I won't. I also
noticed that the few friends I do have were already tagged by something similar. I need to
widen my circle.

Recipe for today for no particular reason other than it's GOOD.

Mom gave me this recipe which she got from Helene Bozakis, which just means that it's
as authentic as you can get.

Makes one 9x13 pan

Printable Recipe

12 oz box of phyllo sheets
2 sticks butter-melted
2 lbs. fresh spinach-washed and trimmed
1 large onion finely chopped
3 T olive oil

1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1-16oz. container cottage cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
2 teaspoons dill
6 eggs slightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

Brush the pastry sheets with butter and layer 1/2 in a
greased 9x13 pan.
Saute onion in oil until tender. Add spinach and cook
until wilted.
Combine cheeses, herbs, eggs and nutmeg.
Add cheese to spinach and mix-spoon into prepared pan.
Top with remaining pastry sheets and butter the top.
Seal edges and bake at 350F for 45 minutes until golden
and crisp.
Let stand 10-15 min. before cutting. Good served hot
or cold.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

A Little De-Mystification Please; Alice B. Toklas was NOT a Pothead

Oh, the infamy that comes from putting a word like "haschich" in your book!

Alice B. Toklas, longtime companion to Gertrude Stein, the woman who penned Alice's biography, was not a pothead. The plain truth is, she was running out of time while writing her cookbook and, still shy of recipes, rounded out things by requesting recipes from her friends, many of whom were rather ... er ... different. One of them, Brion Gysin, a painter, handed over a recipe (and the introduction for it as well) for haschisch fudge (NOT brownies!) and the unsuspecting Alice tossed it into the manuscript and away it went. It was not printed in the American edition but was included in the British one. 

*Note: All spelling and grammar is AS-IS from the book

Here it is, in it's entirety~as magicians and stuntmen say, "Don't try this at home."

(which anyone could whip up on a rainy day)
Printable Recipe

This is the food of Paradise-of Baudelaire's Artificial Paradises: it might provide an entertaining refreshment for a Ladies' Bridge Club or a chapter meeting of the DAR. In Morocco it is thought to be good for warding off the common cold in damp winter weather and is, indeed, more effective if taken with large quantities of hot mint tea. Euphoria and brilliant storms of laughter; ecstatic reveries and extensions of one's personality on several simultaneous planes are to be complacently expected. Almost anything Saint Theresa did, you can do better if you can bear to be ravished by 'un évanouissement reveillé.'

Take 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, 1 whole nutmeg, 4 average sticks of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon coriander. These should all be pulverised in a mortar. About a handful each of stoned dates, dried figs, shelled almonds and peanuts: chop these and mix them together. A bunch of canibus sativa can be pulverised. This along with the spices should be dusted over the mixed fruit and nuts, kneaded together. About a cup of sugar dissolved in a big pat of butter. Rolled into a cake and cut into pieces or made into balls about the size of a walnut, it should be eaten with care. Two pieces are quite sufficient.

Obtaining the canibus may present certain difficulties, but the variety known as canibus sativa grows as a common weed, often unrecognised, everywhere in Europe, Asia and parts of Africa; besides being cultivated as a crop for the manufacture of rope. In the Americans, while often discouraged, its cousin, called canibus indica, has been observed even in city window boxes. It should be picked and dried as soon as it has gone to seed and while the plant is still green.
There are many really terrific recipes in this book and I will share them someday soon.


ATTENTION! Be prepared! On Tuesday, January 17th, we will be playing a watered-down and just-for-fun version of Ready Set Cook!~check in soon for details and BE THERE OR (dare I say it) BE SQUARE!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Time to VOTE!

OK Fans, er ... readers ;o) It's time to go vote for your favorite blogs. All the categories are listed HERE so click away and may the best blogger win!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

I love BoB!

This whole BoB Awards deal has been really good for me.
I don't mean exposure or self-esteem wise, I mean, WOW there are so many food blogs!

I am a firm believer in having as many cookbooks and cooking web sites as you can have.
I especially love food blogs because they are so personal~each one gives up something of
the blogger with each post and recipe. Just too cool. I'm so excited to find
other people as passionate about food as I am and you just don't get that from generic
recipe sites, do you?

I will eventually have time enough to share about my favorite sites but for now, here are
the other 9 BoB finalists;

Domestic Diva
I absolutely love her setup and the photos and recipes are to-die-for!

Naughty Curry
If you don't already love Indian spices, you will after reading this blog. Super funny
and talented contributers and great photos.

Gatronomy Domine
A woman after my own heart~she cooks seasonally and the recipes are divine.

Baking Sheet
OK, I will now refer you all to this blog for any and all baking recipes-yum- in a word.

What the Hell Does a Vegan Eat Anyway?
Wow. If you're looking for alternatives to the way the rest of we fatties eat, this is it.
In a world where Vegan can look really unappetizing, they make it look awesome.

Morning Coffee & Afternoon Tea
Coffee, tea, chocolate, there isn't much more to say! You all should know by now how much
I love "tea" and this blog is chock-full of my favorites.

Kalyn’s Kitchen
South Beachers read on! Just the photos will make you gain weight though. Dieting never
looked so yummy.

Cake Fun -
I've done google searches that didn't turn up this much cake info! Take a look at the
Flickr photos. Do they make house calls?

Wine Cask
Like having a set of your very own sommeliers! They do know their stuff.

This is the link to all of the nominees and I need to say something about Jam Handy.
I blogrolled his site and you should go check it out.
He has the coolest collection of retro cook booklets and he posts recipes
and photos from them. Really neat blog.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Winter Breakfast and Irish Cooking

Breakfast Crumb Cake
Breakfast Crumb Cake

One of my favorite cookbooks is Monica Sheridan's The Art of Irish Cooking. Not just because of my Irish heritage, (my husband's Irish ancestry is far more copious) but I love the simplicity of Irish cookery and the fact that, despite all odds, the Irish survived where a less hearty group of people may have perished.

I also love this book for this passage:

"I can remember, as if it were yesterday, the day my great-grandmother moved from the cottage where she had lived all her married life to a more modern abode. When the day of parting came she refused to budge until a bucketful of live embers was carried to her new home and the fire kindled from them. In her old home the fire-banked up every night-had never been quenched for two hundred years, and she was not going to abandon her luck and her feeling for the dead generations behind her."

What an heirloom to have! I sadly suspect the fire ended there with great-grandma, but that it lived even that long was a testament to tradition and family.

Another passage I'm fond of:

"Breakfast, which started at 8 A.M. for the smaller children going off to school, always began with oaten porridge and milk straight from the cow and still warm...The porridge was followed by boiled eggs...A great cake
of brown bread stood at either end of the table..."

This passage I love because it so well describes our wintertime breakfasts here except that we don't have a cow. My own favorite brown bread recipe has already been posted and oatmeal and hard boiled eggs are pretty straightforward. I will offer up these few tidbits;

When I make oatmeal I add to the cooking water: brown sugar, vanilla extract, a tablespoon or two of butter and a pinch of salt. It comes out already sweetened and the family prefers it that way. I can't say how much of each honestly, it's just one of those things I will probably never be able to recite a recipe for. When time permits I make steel cut oats from McCann's. They take longer to cook but are worth it.

Hard boiled eggs are on of those things everyone has the "perfect" way to make. I place my eggs in a saucepan, cover with cold water and bring the water just to a boil, lid the pan-take off the heat and let stand for 15 minutes. I run them under cold water and the shells usually come right off and I don't suffer from "green yolks".

This is Monica Sheridan's recipe for brown bread, not yeast leavened, but closer to Irish soda bread made with baking soda.

Brown Bread (1)
Printable Recipe

4 cups stone-ground whole-wheat flour
2 cups white flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups buttermilk, sour milk, or sweet milk*
(Anne's note *sweet milk is another name for plain old MILK)

Mix the whole-wheat flour thoroughly with the white flour, salt, and soda. Make a well in the center and gradually mix in the liquid. Stir with a wooden spoon. You may need less, or more, liquid-a lot depends on the absorbent quality of the flour. (Anne again-the weather has an impact as well-keep humidity in mind when you are baking-less liquid on humid days, more on dry days is a general rule) The dough should be soft but manageable.

Knead the dough into a ball in the mixing bowl with your floured hands. Put it on a lightly floured baking sheet and with the palm of your hand flatten out in a circle that is 1 1/2 inches thick. With a knife dipped in flour make a cross through the center of the bread so that it will easily break in quarters when it is baked. Bake at 425 degrees F for 25 minutes, reduce heat to 350 degrees F, and bake a further 15 minutes.

If the crust seems too hard, wrap the baked cake in a damp tea cloth and leave standing upright until it is cool. The bread should not be cut until it has set-about 6 hours after it comes out of the oven.

Now, there is no way I am up to baking our own favorite yeast bread daily-so we often have a very versatile crumb cake that everyone loves.

Breakfast Crumb Cake
Printable Recipe

2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar brown or white
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup margarine, butter or shortening
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (PLEASE try freshly grated! It really is different)
2 eggs-slightly beaten
1 1/3 cups buttermilk, sour milk or milk

Mix together flour, sugar and salt. Cut in shortening (or margarine or butter) until
crumbly. Set aside 1/2 cup of crumbs. Add remaining ingredients and mix until well blended. Pour into a greased 13x9x2 baking pan and top with crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

My family is nuts about this right from the oven.

BoB Time

Look to your right (that-a-way >> if you're directionally challenged)
and you'll see a handy-dandy blue button with the word BoB on it.
Click it.
You will be transported to the wonderful world of the Best of Blog Awards for 2005.
Take note that yours truly is one of the 10 finalists in the Best Cooking/Recipe Blog
category. Cool, huh?

All thanks to mamacita, whose own blog you will have to check out.

Whether or not I win, place or show doesn't really matter to me. I love blogging and
I think it's great that someone else thought enough of my writing to nominate me.

Thanks mama ;O)

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Back in the Saddle Again


Well, I guess on the internet that should be, "Yahoo!".
After several harrowing days with computer problems,
a brand new computer and then phone problems, (Verizon has MUCH to answer for)
I'm finally back. Bet you missed me!

I had originally wanted to post about holidays following THE Holidays, like Epiphany, but that has since passed and I'm thinking on other things.

Since I don't have tons to say, and since it goes along with the title of this post,
here are a few "Cowboy" recipes. Git along little dawgies and et up.


Cowboy Caviar

Printable Recipe

2 (14 oz each) cans black eyed peas, drained
1 (16 oz) can kidney beans drained
1 (11 oz) can sweet corn, drained
1 (14 oz) can Rotel (chopped tomatoes with green chilies), undrained
1 (4 oz) can chopped green chilies or 1 or 2 jalapenos depending on how hot you like it
1 (4 oz) can sliced black olives, drained
1 small jar pimentos, drained
1 onion, chopped
1 avocado, diced
1 bottle oil and vinegar Italian salad dressing

Drain all cans of beans, etc and empty into large bowl. Mix in
undrained can of Rotel. Add onion and avocado. Pour bottled Italian
dressing over all and mix to combine. Chill at least an hour for
flavors to blend. Serve with tortilla or corn chips.


Ranch Style Chicken Fried Steak And Gravy
Printable Recipe


4 lb Round Steak 1/2-inch Thick
1 c Milk
1 c Unbleached Flour
Salt & Pepper


4 T Fat
4 T Unbleached Flour
1 qt Milk

Tenderize round steak. Dip in milk and then flour, salt and pepper to
taste. Fry in deep fat at approximately 375 degrees F until golden
brown. After steak is done, pour off fat leaving about 4 T in pan.
Add 4T flour. Stir until smooth. Add 1 qt milk. Stir and cook until until
thickened for steak gravy.

Cowboy Beans
Printable Recipe

1/2 lb Lean bacon
1 lb Ground beef or chuck, lean
1 lg Onion-diced
1/4 c Green pepper-diced optional
1 can Pork 'n beans (16 oz.)
1 can Red kidney beans (16 oz.)
1 can Butter beans (16 oz.)
1 can Baby lima beans (8 oz.)
1 can Great northern beans(16 oz)
1/4 c Brown sugar
1/2 tsp Dry mustard
1/4 c Molasses or maple syrup
1 bottle BBQ sauce
1/2 tsp Pepper

Cut bacon into 1/4" bits; brown in a large skillet. Remove bacon from
rendered fat and set aside. In the bacon drippings, saute the onion &
pepper until tender. Add the ground meat and brown lightly.Put the
meats into the bottom of a crockpot. Add the Pork 'n Beans with the
liquid on them. Drain most of the juice off of the remaining cans of
beans and add them with the remaining ingredients to the crockpot.
Mix all well. Cook on HIGH setting for 1 hour to get well heated
through, then lower heat setting to LOW and allow to cook for 5 - 6
hours. Stir from time to time. Check on seasonings and correct if
desired. A little more brown sugar or syrup might be desired.


Cowboys' Favorite Cinnamon Rolls
Printable Recipe

1 box white cake mix
5 c. flour
2 pkgs. quick-rising yeast
2 1/2 c. warm water
Butter or margarine
Brown sugar

Combine cake mix and flour; stir yeast into warm water. When yeast has
softened add to flour mixture and stir will. Cover and let double. Roll
1/2 inch thick and then butter and sprinkle with brown sugar and
cinnamon. Roll up and cut into 3/4 to 1" slices. Place in greased pan
and let rise until doubled. Bake in preheated 350° oven for 15-20
minutes. Frost with confectioners sugar or brown sugar frosting.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

For My Loyal Readers, A Little Luck!

I've been having some technical difficulties with my computer (no ... not because I'm blonde) and so I am working offline mostly on a post, but for those of you who are STARVING, here are a few traditional New Year's recipes.

OK, I know, New Year's is over~but I didn't want to hang onto these until next year!

New Year's foods around the globe:

· Japan: Noodles at midnight at Buddhist temples
· Pennsylvania Dutch: Pork and sauerkraut on New Year's Day for luck
· Cuba: 12 grapes at stroke of midnight to signify the 12 months of the last year
· German folklore: Herring at midnight for luck in the New Year
· Polish: Pickled herring as the first bite of the New Year for good luck
· Southern United States: Black-eyed peas for luck, corn bread for wealth and greens such as cabbage, collard greens, mustard greens, kale or spinach for money
· Philippines: An abundance of food on the table at midnight in order to ensure an abundance of food for the coming year
· Denmark: Boiled cod
· Holland: Olie Bollen, a doughnut-like fritter

Since I'm in Pennsylvania and my mother-in-law is part PA Dutch, here is a traditional recipe for Pork and Sauerkraut. If you've never had it, give it a try. It sounds so simple but is very rich in flavor.

Sauerkraut with Pork (Sauerkraut Und Speck)

Source: Pennsylvania Dutch Cook Book-Fine Old Recipes, Culinary Arts Press,1936.
Printable Recipe

3 lb piece of pork
1 qt sauerkraut
salt & pepper

Wipe piece of pork with a damp cloth, place in large stewing pan and
cover with cold water. Set over flame to cook slowly for one hour.
Add the sauerkraut and more water if necessary and continue cooking
for another hour or until meat has become thoroughly tender. Season
with salt and pepper. Serve with mashed potatoes.

Choucroute Garnie

Printable Recipe

Literally "garnished sauerkraut"-this is typical French provincial fare and my favorite version of pork and sauerkraut.

1 medium onion-sliced
5 slices bacon-diced
2 cloves garlic-minced
1 lb kielbasa cut in 2" lengths
1 lb pork cut in 2" cubes
1 lb sweet sausage -like country style- cut in 2" lengths
2-16 oz cans or bags sauerkraut-rinsed and drained
6 medium potatoes peeled and cubed
2 cooking apples peeled-cored and cut in thick slices
2T brown sugar
4 whole cloves
4 juniper berries-or 1 shot of gin-optional
1 bay leaf
1t freshly ground pepper
1c white wine

Saute bacon and onion with garlic in oil until onion is
tender-don't brown.
Add meats and saute until no longer pink.
Add remaining ingredients and simmer until potatoes and
meats are tender-about 45 min.
Remove bay leaf, cloves and juniper berries before serving.

Hoppin' John
Printable Recipe

1 pound dried black-eyed peas
½ pound salt pork, cubed
½ pound cooked ham, cubed
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 ham bone
¼ teaspoon (more to taste) crushed red pepper
Pepper to taste
3 cups cooked rice

Rinse peas and pick over, removing any small stones or particles. Cover with cold water in a large pot, bring to a boil for a minute, remove from heat, cover and let sit for one hour.

In a large skillet, sauté the salt pork to render fat, add onion and garlic, and cook until onion is soft, about five to six minutes. Add the onion mixture along with the ham bone and seasonings to the pot with the peas. Add enough water to cover the ingredients and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for about 1 to 1½ hours or until black-eyed peas are tender and not mushy. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over hot, cooked rice. Serves eight.

Southern-Style Collard Greens

Printable Recipe

2 pounds collard greens
6 to 8 thick slices partially cooked bacon
4 to 6 cups water
1/2 to 1 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons salt

Wash collard greens in about 3 changes of water, until no sediment can be felt in bottom of sink or bowl. Cut out thick stalks and any thick veins. Roll leaves and cut in 1/2-inch strips or chop coarsely. Cook diced bacon to render some of the fat; discard fat or save for another use.
Bring water to a boil. Add the chopped onion, cooked bacon and salt. Add greens to boiling water. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for about 1 hour, or until greens are tender.
Serves 4 to 6.

Ollie Bollen

Printable Recipe

1 Cake yeast (2/3 oz)
1 Cup Milk
2 1/4 Cups Flour
1 Egg
1 1/2 Cups Currants and Raisins
1 Tart (Cooking) Apple Fat for Deep Frying
2 tsp Salt

First blend the yeast with a little lukewarm milk. Sift the flour and salt. Add Milk, mix to a batter with yeast and egg. Add currants, raisins, and peeled, minced apple. Leave batter in a warm place to rise to double its size. Heat the fat to 375 degrees F. Put two metal spoons into the batter. Shape balls with the two spoons and drop them into the fat. Fry them for 8 minutes until brown. The doughnuts should be soft and should not be grease-soaked inside. If they are fried to slowly the crust becomes hard and tough and the doughnuts become greasy. Drain on absorbent paper. Serve then piled on a dish and thickly with sifted confectioner's sugar. Eat while hot if possible.

Eat up~and I hope the start to your 2006 has been great so far!