Category Archives: Food

Leefa Monica Wisner Hoag’s Banana Bread

This recipe is even older than Leefa, who was nearly 100 years old when she died; it was her mother’s and might date back to the mid 19th century. But from all accounts, Mary Jane was an unpleasant woman, so I’ll give the credit for this wonderful recipe to her daughter.

I’ve been making it since the 1970s and it has never failed me yet.

(Don’t be off-put by the buttermilk. I never have it on hand. If you don’t have any, make a substitute by adding about 1 T. vinegar to 1/2 c. whole milk (scant). Let it sit about 10 minutes until it clabbers. Do this first and it will be ready by the time you add it to the batter.)

Makes 2 loaves.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat together:

2 eggs

1/2 c. shortening (I use vegetable oil and it works just fine)

1 c. white sugar

1/2 c. brown sugar

After thoroughly creamed, add:

2 mashed bananas (no chunks, at all)

Then add remaining dry ingredients:

2 c. flour

1t. baking soda

1/4 t. salt

1 t. cinnamon

Add:

1/2 c. buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla

After thoroughly mixed, add:

1 c. chopped pecans or walnuts

Pour into 2 greased (Pammed) loaf pans.

Sprinkle tops lightly with sugar (and maybe cinnamon).

Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes on the middle rack in the oven.

Check with a toothpick or a slim knife. If toothpick doesn’t come out clean, turn down the oven temperature about 25 degrees, rotate pan and check again in 10 minutes. Keep checking until done.

When done, run a knife around the edge of the loaf pan to loosen, then remove the bread and place it on a rack to cool.

~~~~~Notes~~~~~

*To make muffins instead of loaves, add a little extra flour for a stiffer batter.

*The recipe calls for shortening. Years ago, I used a stick of butter or margarine, but now only use vegetable (canola) oil. It works fine.

*The recipe calls for 1 c. white sugar & 1/2 c. brown sugar. Sometimes I use 1 1/2 c. brown sugar (because I like a darker, richer loaf); other times I put in 1 1/4 c. white sugar and a couple of tablespoons of dark unsulphured molasses (Grandma’s brand).

*Cut off all the bad (dark) spots on the bananas.

*Mash bananas thoroughly. Any chunks can result in unpleasant pinkish colored lumps in the finished bread.

*If you dislike really, really ripe (over-ripe) bananas, don’t use them. Your bread will adopt the same wine-y flavor. I never eat bananas after they get any dark spots, but I will bake with them. However, I won’t use black bananas. Baking doesn’t improve them.

*I usually use 2 bananas, but if they’re small, 3. However, more than that will make a heavy batter and it might be difficult to get it completely done in the middle.

*Sometimes I use cinnamon, sometimes nutmeg. If I’m out of nutmeg, a bit of allspice. If you really just want the flavor of the bananas, omit all the spices.

*Nuts improve everything. Pecans or English walnuts both work fine.

*Sprinkling sugar on the tops helps keep the crust from becoming gummy and sticky after it cools. It also gives it a nice texture. I’ve tried sugar on the top of one loaf and none on the other – the sugared loaf always gets eaten first.

*Muffins take a much shorter cooking time. Check them after 20 minutes.

*On high humidity days, I’ve had to increase the cooking time. Just keep checking every 10 minutes or so.

*Is great served plain, with butter or softened cream cheese.

Happy baking!

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Filed under Baking, Family, Food, Recipes

Shuttemup Cookies (a Peg Bracken Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe)

A visitor to my blog asked about Peg Bracken’s Shuttemup Cookie recipe and I found it in her 1976 book,  The I Hate to Cook Almanack – A Book of Days (Recipes & Relief for the Reluctant Cook and the Harried Houseperson).

 

I haven’t tried this one, but I’ve never gone wrong on any of her other recipes.  When I do try it, I’ll post an update.

 

Here you go, Aaron, just as Peg wrote it.

 

SHUTTEMUP COOKIES

(The fastest chocolate-chip cooky)

 

Cream together:

1 cup butter or oleo*

1 cup brown sugar

 

Then add:

2 cups flour

1 6-ounce package of chocolate chips

1 cup nuts, chopped

 

Mix it, press it into a thirteen-by-nine inch jelly-roll pan, and bake twenty-five minutes at 350 degrees.  While it’s still warm, cut it in bars.  If you forget to, just break it up when it’s cool.

*oleomargarine

 

 

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Filed under Baking, Books, Cookbooks, Cookies, Food, Non-Fiction, Recipes

Subterfuge at McDonald’s

Today after church we met our pastor and one of his daughters at McDonald’s for lunch. We sat talking for quite awhile after we finished eating.

A young woman (maybe 19 or 20 years old) was walking around the restaurant, stopping at various tables for a minute or so. She approached our table with her cell phone held in front of her and asked our pastor’s daughter (hereafter referred to as P.D.) if she would participate in a … I can’t remember what she called it …. it wasn’t a public service announcement, but something like that.

She wanted two words repeated, which she would record with her cellphone camera, and said that the recordings of several people would be spliced together to make the video. We’ve all seen these things on television or the internet; it looks like a patchwork statement.

P. D. is a young adult and can make her own decisions and she agreed and did it.

Next, the girl turned to our pastor and asked him. He replied by asking what her t-shirt said. (It was some kind of leftist nonsense.)

Then he asked her what was the goal of the video she was making. She replied that it had to do with nutrition.

At that point, I joined the conversation and asked if it was an anti-McDonald’s video. She looked a little sheepish and said yes.

I told her that we wouldn’t assist her because we love McDonald’s, to which she said “I’m sorry.” I said she didn’t have to be sorry about it because we were happy to eat there.

So she left our table and kept going around to other tables looking for unsuspecting tools for her propaganda.

Now that made me mad. If she wanted to ask students at her campus (she looked like a high school or college student) to participate but informing them first what her goals were, that’s one thing.

But to play upon the generosity of strangers and then make them look like fools is something entirely different. It’s dishonest and cruel.

Just what I’d expect from the Left.

So, please be aware that there are wolves among the sheep, and if an innocent-looking young person or innocent looking old person or anyone else asks you to participate in something – ask questions before you agree.

Or you’re likely to see yourself on a video, seemingly saying something that you never said.

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Filed under Cafes/Restaurants, Current Events, Food, Politics, Vicissitudes of Life

Old Fashioned Pie Shop

It’s almost like stepping back into the past. Time is just sort of suspended once you walk in the door.

1930s music is playing, the lady behind the counter is making pies, photos of old family picnics decorate the walls, and the candy you remember as a kid is right there on the shelf.


Fizzies

How long has it been since you’ve had a Black Cow (I didn’t even know they were still made), or an O Henry candy bar?

And candy cigarettes??? Who would’ve thought they could survive in this O-So-Politically-Correct-New Age?

My friends and I fake-smoked and ate a lot of those little abominations and get this: we understood the difference between candy and the real thing. Just as playing with all those squirt guns and cap guns didn’t lead to actual Bonnie & Clyde type criminality, “smoking” those sugar sticks didn’t result in an addiction to nicotine.

I digress.

If a really wonderful dessert is what you seek, this is it.

The Key Lime Pie may be the best I’ve ever eaten, and the Blackberry Cobbler is great, too.

Although they have seating both inside and out, I always get mine to go. The servings are generous enough to share or put some back in the fridge for later.

You won’t see a huge case full of everything – their products are handmade and fresh and therefore, limited. Kind of like you’d expect from a Mom & Pop type store because…well, that’s what it is.

The Oak Street Pie and Candy is located right next to the locally famous and original Babe’s (more on that later) on Oak Street in Roanoke. Babe’s offers nothing for dessert – unless you want some honey on your biscuit – so the Pie Company is really convenient for that after dinner sweet.

The last time I dropped in, a young mother was there with her 2 children and I heard her telling them that some of the candy was the kind she ate when she was a kid (I’m guessing in the early 1990s). We struck up a conversation and she said they lived in Flower Mound, a very nice and spanking new affluent town which is booming. However, she brings the kids to Roanoke to see that there’s a different kind of life, where things are valued for their longevity.

Roanoke has done a really marvelous job refurbishing their old town section. They’ve kept the old and the new is well integrated.

More on the rest of it later.

I wanted to begin with one of my new favorite places.

If you want to visit them online, go here. The price list is for whole pies, but they sell single servings, too. Looks like they sell boxed lunches and that a lunch menu is coming soon.

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Filed under Antiques/Vintage, Cafes/Restaurants, Food, Fort Worth/Dallas, Local Shopping, Old/Vintage, Restaurants, Roanoke, Shopping, Texas, Texas

Lunch at the Reata

Back in the early spring, Joe and I went down to the Reata in Fort Worth’s Sundance Square for an anniversary lunch.

I guess you’d call it “Upscale Cowboy” and it’s certainly worth it if you’re here for the western atmosphere. There are apparently no dress requirements like business casual because the last time we were there, the dining room was populated with men from the rodeo dressed in cowboy working clothes.

This is a huge mural on one of the dining room walls. The place is decorated with lots of western art, saddles, chaps, etc., even the restrooms.

Pecan biscuits and cornbread


These are served while waiting for your entree. The pecan biscuits were especially good, but then again, I can’t see how pecans wouldn’t make anything better!

Reata Vegetable Plate

Can you believe this Vegetable Plate??

Most of the entrees are fairly meat heavy, and although I’m not a vegetarian, I really just don’t much like meat. When waitress suggested the Vegetable Plate, I asked her what was on it. Most places let you choose about 3 sides, so when she kept naming them off, I asked how many to choose. She said they were all on it.

Yellow squash, zucchini, sautéed onions, carrots, polenta, brown beans, green beans, portabello mushroom, tomatoes, spinach, corn, and asparagus. And I asked for a serving of grits (which were some of the best I’ve ever had). Don’t remember if I’ve left anything out. Of course, I couldn’t eat all of it, so I brought it home in the niftiest carryout setup I’ve ever seen and had 2 more meals from it later.

Joe had the chili rellenos and said they were good, but that he actually wished he’d ordered a Vegetable Plate, too.

Go here for the link to their Lunch Menu.

I have several other photos that were going to be included in this post, but I can’t get them to load and crunch. Maybe later.

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Filed under Food, Fort Worth/Dallas, Restaurants, Texas

Cozy Shopping

Can’t make it to England for spring break?

If you’re in north Texas, do the next best thing: pay a visit to The British Emporium in Grapevine.

It’s owned by 2 English ladies,Sheela Kadam and Alexandra Evans.

This is Sheela and her son.

There are lots of British products, so it’s easy to miss something; if you don’t find what you’re looking for – just ask – they’re always friendly and helpful.

A Large selection of tea, bags, loose, black, or green:

Biscuits:

There’s quite a variety of U.K. foods, including frozen items.

Almost 20 years ago when I helped plan a cream tea for the ladies at our church, I bought clotted cream there. I don’t think I’ve ever even seen it on the shelf of any other grocery store on this side of the pond.

This is a fun place and a unique one. The other British shops I’ve seen weren’t nearly so nice or as comprehensive in their stock.

Loads and loads of gift items: everything from china tea pots, cups and saucers to English newspapers, British comedies on DVD, music CDs, greeting cards, playing cards (perhaps 15 different kinds), electric kettles and books.


Ahhh, the books.

As you can see it’s not a huge selection, but that’s okay because it’s a good one. And it’s not static. There are different ones each time I visit and sometimes it’s really difficult to choose just one. Or two.

At Christmas you might find unique board games, such as Beatles Monopoly.

Last year I took some nice photographs before Easter but lost them when our hard drive crashed, but I think they’ll be decorating again for it soon.

During the various English celebrations (such as the royal wedding) the shop invites patrons to join them for planned events.


Even Indian food specialities have their own shelf.

And that shelf above Sheela’s head? Containers of loose tea and hard candy. If you prefer something more personal than pre-packaged tea or candy, you can do it the old-fashioned way and have your selection weighed out and bagged for you.

Not going to be in the area? Then you can shop from their online store, here.

Some of my photos are a bit blurry, but you can go here for their tour of the store.

Then for a relaxing lunch after shopping, I recommend that you go 1 block south, then 1 block west to Beatitudes Tea Room.

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Filed under Books, England, Food, Grapevine, Local Shopping, Shopping, Texas, Texas

Beatitudes Tea Room

When we’re out, my husband is quick to notice any Chinese, Thai, Indian or Barbeque restaurant.

Not really my cup of tea.

In fact, the businesses that catch my attention are antique malls, thrift stores, bookshops and tea rooms.

So, I was delighted when I spotted a new one: Beatitudes, one block off Main in downtown Grapevine, Texas.


A few days later I was reading the November/December issue of Tea in Texas, a free magazine available in many tea rooms across the state, and saw this article about Beatitudes.

So the next time my friend, Mo, and I were out at lunch time, we decided to give it a try.


We chose the Victorian dining room because I was very tired that day and the chairs seemed a bit more comfortable.

Next time – and I do plan on several next times there – I’d like to have lunch in the Country dining room. Very cottagey. (Spell check is going crazy with that word, but it gets the point across.)

As you can see, the decor is lovely, the atmosphere is serene.

The food was quite good. Complimentary appetizers were small scones and flavored butter.

I ordered the veggie sandwich and it wasn’t at all what I expected, but it was absolutely delicious.

For dessert, I had coconut cream pie, which was warm and it was some of the best I’ve ever had.

The shop offers a variety of Faith based gifts and vintage china.

So, if you find yourself in Grapevine near lunchtime (or breakfast), please give this Christ-centered business a try.

Here is their website.

Go here for the menu.

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Filed under Antiques/Vintage, Faith, Food, Grapevine, Internet links, Local Shopping, Tea, Texas, Texas

Edible Art


Several weeks ago when our grandsons were here, Liam created a beautiful bowl of edible art. It was a very creative project for an 8 year old to think up and execute.

Lately Pinterest has had lots of edible art projects and Liam’s fits in beautifully.

We were/are very proud of him.

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Filed under Family, Food

Does the Flour Make a Difference?

Frankly, I never thought so until a couple of months ago. I thought that flour was flour. Although I didn’t really trust the store brands (except for Sam’s Club), I honestly thought that the type or brand didn’t matter. Usually, we just buy the 25 pound sacks of the Baker’s Secret (store brand) all-purpose flour at Sam’s and use it for everything from bread to cake to cookies, and the results are usually pretty tasty. But then I started thinking …

The first time I’d ever heard of King Arthur was when looking through one of those dreamy-wish-book-kitchen-catalogs. I don’t remember how much it cost, but it was pretty pricey. Then a few weeks ago, I saw their bread flour on the shelf at Wal-Mart for about $3.15, so I decided to try it.

Using the same recipe that we’ve used for years, suddenly the crust was really good. I mean really good. In fact, it was the best pizza I’ve ever made. And I used it for my Country White Loaf and it was noticeably better.


This week I bought a box of Swan’s Down Cake Flour.

What I’m expecting is a really lovely cake.

Founded in 1790, King Arthur is America’s oldest bread company. In 1996, it became employee owned and is headquartered in New England.

For more information on King Arthur –
general information: go here,
company history: go here,
baking blogs: go here,
recipes (including gluten-free): go here.

Swans Down has been around since 1894. For recipes on their website, go here.
This page has a pdf link for “Six Steps for Baking Success.”

So, to answer my own query: Yes. It does.

This post is linked to Food on Fridays @ AnnKroeker.com

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Filed under Baking, Food, Made in the U.S.A.

Grapevine Farmer’s Market

Last Friday morning I stopped by the Grapevine Farmer’s Market and loaded up on fresh produce. Jack & Racquel Morehead were quite nice and their son cheerfully carried everything to the car for me.

Why buy fruits and vegetables at a farmer’s market (in Oklahoma we call them fruit stands)? Why not? I was going to buy it at the grocery store anyway, and there was something really nice about walking around looking at the vendors’ tables and talking with them.

Good old free enterprise and small business – the backbone of the American economy.

Grapevine Farmer’s Market is open Thursday – Saturday, 8:00 a.m – 4:00 p.m. and they take credit and debit cards.


I took home one of these beauties.

Another vendor was a nice family selling beef. Their ranch is near Decatur. I didn’t buy any then because I wasn’t going to go home for several more hours and didn’t have an ice chest with me, but I plan to get some later.

Steve & Susan Beggs sell lean, grass-fed beef. Go here for their website. She told me that the produce market in Decatur (the one in the little stone building just north of Braum’s) also carries their beef.

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Filed under Food, Grapevine, Local Shopping, Texas, Texas