Archive for the ‘food’ Category

Recipe for Success

Ever had a project that took awhile to complete?

Two years ago I bought a new three ring book that was designed to hold 4 by 6 inch recipe cards, two to a page.  Many years ago I bought a photo album with flip pages measuring 3 X 5 inches.  I put it in a napkin holder that Jim made in seventh grade shop class and clipped the pages with a clothes pins to hold the pages up when I was using it.  It was a flip up recipe holder.  After carefully recopying my favorite recipes on cards with a black Flair pen, it worked rather well.  However, that was about 30 years ago.  It was well used and, by now, pretty ragged.  Time to update the recipes and their presentation.

So — yesterday was glorious!  An early fall day with the sun shining and low humidity and a gentle breeze tinkling the wind chimes.  It was a perfect day to spend on the screened porch.  Besides, the house cleaning crew was coming . . .

I gathered up my mess from the TV tray in the living room and moved my base of operations (as my husband, the former first sergeant, calls it) out to the table on the porch.  By afternoon I had recipes and pages organized.  Then I remembered my mother’s recipe box which I retrieved from a bookshelf where it had sat for 8 years since we cleared out Christine’s house who had all of mother’s stuff.

Wow!  What a trip down memory lane.  I found recipes from both Grandmother Washburn and Grandmother Hubble in their handwriting.  Into the book they went.  Mother had also used recipe cards that I had given her.  Her name was printed on the top line.

Two recipes that Mother had passed on were Snowballs, a butter cookie with chopped pecans rolled in powdered sugar.  And Cream Cheese Cookies.  Both are real family favorites and I make them every Christmas.  Once my next door neighbor called, wanting that recipe.  She had been very ill and it hit me — she really wants the cookies and is too polite to ask.  I quickly took her a plate with instructions to hide them from the rest of the family!  In fact, these cookies were so popular at Christmas time at Dale’s work place that arguments ensued if piggish people ate more than their fair share.  I digress.

One recipe was for Baked Chop Suey Casserole.  In the 1950s, we, who lived in a small town in southern Illinois, thought it was quite an exotic dish.  In those days the nearest Chinese restaurant was probably in Chicago.  I can’t wait to fix it.  I’m sure no self respecting Asian would ever think this dish was even remotely authentic, but heck, what did we know?

Another was for Green Noodle Casserole.  It was such a hit that Mother made it for company.  Once, in the 1960s, before we had children, Dale and I went to Lincoln to help Mom and Dad with a dinner party.  Dale was the bartender and I was the kitchen maid.  Mother sat up a buffet with this dish, a green salad, dinner rolls and her Cream Cheese Pie and her best china and silver.  What a lovely party!  I learned that day that simple foods are okay for a special occasion.  They can be made ahead of time.  You have more fun and so do your guests.


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It just screams, “Summertime!”

Nothing is quite like a bacon, lettuce, tomato sandwich.  Especially when the red juicy tomatoes come from your own garden.  I even peeled them so they were extra juicy.  I mean drip off your chin juicy!   Yum, Yum.

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Hello Again

Hey everyone!  It’s been so long since I’ve blogged that I forgot my password. . .  Took me about seven tries to get it right.

Although I am much better, I’m still not 100%.  Yet each day I feel a bit stronger and can do a bit more housework.  The doctor said it would take a while for everything to resolve itself after the ablation.  However, my a-fib episodes, although frequent, are much less debilitating.  I just take my meds and soldier on.

Thinking I’d be running laps around the block by now — boy, was I optimistic — I offered to host our June get-together for my garden club.  That was back in early May.  Thank Heavens for a hard working husband who takes great pride in the yard and garden.  He had the place looking grand.  After all, it was the GARDEN CLUB, who would notice weeds (some could tell you the latin names) and the failure to dead-head.  Bruce outdid himself.  The old homestead looked fantastic!  One lady asked Bruce if we had professional lawn care.  Himself beamed with pride.

Bruce, aka The Grillmeister, produced juicy hot dogs and hamburgers.  The others brought the side dishes.  We ate and ate and talked and laughed and enjoyed the screen porch and the deck.  The weather was glorious.  Humidity was low and the breeze was steady, so unusual for Augusta at this time of year.   I’ll probably be getting a bill from the weatherman for ordering up such a lovely evening.

Needless to say, we were happy we had leftovers as neither of us strayed far from the recliner or the porch the next day.  We were too busy sniffing roses.

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Feeling like a Ham

We bought a Christmas ham.  After six meals with it, I’m glad to see the end of it.  We always get plenty to feed the number of adults we expect for dinner.  When people can’t come, we have more left over than we expect.  “We’ll freeze some” was one school of thought.  However, it was already sliced and ready to go — so easy when you also have potato salad,  mac and cheese and sweet potatoes.  Oh — and pecan pie and frosted sugar cookies and fudge and seven-layer cookies . . .   I never want anyone to leave hungry.  However, now we are full and ready to go back to chicken soup.  Happy New Year!

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Home Again

Except for new, yet cranky, tire, our reunion trip was uneventful.  Hugh went with us this year so we met him in Asheville and, therefore, had a new route and new scenery.  Bruce and I decided we like it better. Anything to avoid Atlanta traffic . . . .

The sidewall of the tire gave out about 10 miles west of Evansville.  At least I had two fellas to change it.  We limped into Fairfield 30 miles away on the baby tire and headed for the local Wally World for a replacement.  It was the only tire place open on a Saturday afternoon.  I would think tire shops would be rather busy on a Saturday — but what do I know?  We thought the tire guy was going to cry when he saw the amount of tread still on the relatively new tire.  However, stuff happens and we just bought a new tire and drove across the road to the motel.

Needless to say, our cousins were absolutely delighted to see Hugh as it had been some years since he had attended and no one knew he was coming.  We enjoyed the lively and humorous conversations!  There’s nothing like a hearty belly laugh with people you love.  The weather was even not too hot — a rare occurrence in August.

A surprising discovery was that there are several variations of Grandma Hubble’s  famous ham loaf recipe. Who knew?  Now I won’t rest until I try the new versions.   Then I can make an educated recommendation next year to the cousins.  Oh, if only we could ask Grandma.  Better yet, I wish she could just bake it for us.  Hers was always the best.


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Our pickle session was uneventful this year.  With the new range, we could no longer use the big pressure canner in the kitchen.  Way too heavy for the ceramic cooktop.  Therefore, we had to do the processing a bit differently.

After internet research, Bruce purchased a turkey fryer set-up.  It’s “cooking” apparatus reminds me of a very large bunsen burner.  We  put it outside by the back door on the patio area out there.  Bruce was in charge of the 10 minute water bath timing.  Man — hot and heavy work.

I ran the cooking pots for the relish and the bread and butter pickle recipe.  Severeral years ago I discovered that smaller batches are easier to manage than a double batch.  Too often the pot can cook at the bottom and not at the top.  Better to stick to the recipe.

So we put up 16 pints of delicious relish and 26 pints of b&b pickles. That keeps us in pickles for a year with ones for gifts too. A good summer project.

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That is the question.  We’ve been to Edisto many times.  So when we rent a condo at the beach, which has a kitchenette, we have to bring some items from home.   Obviously, there’s no reason to buy new plastic wrap or tin foil or seasonings, when we have plenty at home.  The problem is this: some things are there one visit and not there the next, even though we rent the same condo.  One year there would be lots of coffee filters, this year there were none.  One year there is dishwasher detergent, this year there was none. Last time the condo had a rubber mat in the slippery tub/shower, now none.  Rather important for a knee replacement veteran.  See the problem?

The solution is to buy more or do without.  The dilemma is to decide which.  How much do we really need something?  Or is it just more convenient?

So — I bought coffee in filter packs, purchased more Finish detergent (which I always can use) and asked a friend to loan us a tub mat.  It worked.  Next time, I’ll just bring it all and hope the truck will hold it!

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