Category Archives: Cooking

In Celebration of General and Mrs. Washington

In commemoration of the birth of our First President, I offer this recipe named after his wife. Although I don’t know how it came to be named after the First Lady, I seriously doubt it reaches back into the early years of our country. Who developed this candy? I don’t know, but I’m certainly glad they did.

MARTHA WASHINGTON CANDY

1 stick butter, melted
1 lb. Angel Flake Coconut
1 lb. pecans, chopped fine – but not too fine
1 can Eagle Brand milk
1 1/2 lb. powdered sugar

1. Mix all ingredients thoroughly.
2. Roll into 1″ balls.
3. Chill for 30 minutes.
4. Melt 2) 6 oz. packages chocolate chips with 4 oz. paraffin in double boiler. Keep the heat on low.
5. Using toothpicks, dip each ball into melted chocolate to coat thoroughly.
6. Place dipped balls onto waxed paper covered cookie sheet to set.
7. Remove toothpicks.

Notes:
*The taste of this candy is very much like an Almond Joy, except for the pecans. And substituting or adding pecans never hurt anything. Fresh, local pecans are best if you can get them. I didn’t realize it for years, but they do make a difference in the taste.

*The first time I made this recipe, I was offended by the paraffin and tried to omit it. It was a real mess and wouldn’t set.

*Keep most of the dough balls in the refrigerator while you’re dipping, bringing out only a few at at time. They quickly warm to room temperature and will slide off the toothpick when dipping.

*Store them in the refrigerator except when you bring them out to serve; this keeps the chocolate from getting warm and sticky.

*After they set up on the waxed paper cookie sheet and there is a little hole left in the top of each piece of candy where the toothpick has been removed. This bothers my husband (hereafter known as the Creative Perfectionist). His solution is to take spoonfuls of the melted chocolate and drizzle it over the tops, filling the holes. This makes a lovely presentation and gives the look of expensive, handmade chocolates. Well, they are handmade, but they aren’t all that expensive.

*Normally I don’t like “shortcut” candy, cakes, etc., but this is a really good recipe with a wonderful flavor.

4 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Food, Recipes, Washington's Birthday

Vintage Kitchen Altered Book Ephemera

These pictures are from the October 1, 1943 issue of The Family Circle magazine. Some magazines haven’t changed all that much over the years. Family Circle has changed a lot. In ’43, it contained only 20 pages, included current events and a movie review, a short story and was printed in black and white on paper which was not slick. The cost is not printed on the cover, but I’m guessing that it was about .05. (Click on the image for an enlarged view, then click again on the magnifying glass. It will then be readable.)


The Sweetheart Toilet Soap ad is particularly nice for me, because that’s the brand of soap my mother bought for our bathroom (besides the Lava that was for my dad. Boy, I only used that soap once!). Sweetheart was pink and pretty and had a lovely fragrance.


I’ll be scanning in lots of vintage ads, recipes and illustrations and will share some of them here. I’m working on an altered book. It’s been awhile since I’ve been in an altered book round robin, and my sister (Fran) suggested we invite Abby and Cathy to join us in one with the theme of “Vintage Kitchens”. We will each choose a more specific theme for our own books then write a few rules for the others to follow when they work on ours.

Fran has chosen the 1950s, with emphasis on the colors of turquoise and pink.

For mine, I’ve chosen a 1940’s look with red and white, and accents of green and yellow.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1940s, 1943, Advertisements, Altered Books, Cooking, Crafts - Cheap, Crafts - Paper, Ephemera, Food, Making Do, Recipes, Thrift, Vintage Magazines, World War II

Homemade Ice Cream

Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream


When I was growing up, homemade ice cream was a simple fact at summertime celebrations. We simply always had it. After a trip to Owasso to the automated ice house – where one put in a coin (a quarter? surely more than a dime?) and down the shaft and out the door shot a huge solid block of ice – my mother would stir up a batch of mix for the ice cream freezer.

I suppose there were electric machines available then, but I’d never seen any and we certainly didn’t have one. Ours was the old-fashioned hand crank type. The women were always in the house where it was cool-er (no a/c), and the men would gather outside by the water hydrant (I don’t know why that was the designated spot, but it just was) to chop up the block of ice with an ice pick and take turns at turning the crank. Just who the men were besides Daddy and my older brother is lost in the mists of my memory. Probably uncles and maybe cousins and certainly my brother’s friends. What I can remember is the good-natured buzz of conversation and how that was the place I was drawn to.

Inevitably, I would beg for a turn at the crank and Daddy would try to talk me out of it, telling me that I wouldn’t like it because it was hard to turn. But I would insist that I could do it and he would let me try. About 2 rounds, maybe 3. It was really stiff and more than my skinny little arms could handle. Then I’d drift back and forth between the women and the men, asking if it was ready yet. It took forever. About 30 – 45 minutes.

Joe and I bought our first freezer during our second year of marriage. It was kind of a big deal because we didn’t have a lot of spending money and $15.00 was a lot back when minimum wage was $1.65 an hour. That one is long gone and we’re about to wear out our 4th one. Nothing fancy for us; we’re not the kind of people who have new-fangled gadgets like the kind that doesn’t take ice or ice cream salt (although I am curious). Not even a White Mountain (on sale: $248.00). We buy cheap ones at Wal-Mart and our current one was an end of season close-out that cost $9.00.

For some reason, we’ve made more this summer than ever before in any one season. We do like our snacks and summer in the south is just too hot to keep the oven long enough to bake 4 trays of cookies (always one tray at a time) or a pie or even a cake. Our summertime desserts are usually No Bake Cookies, Rice Krispie Treats or homemade ice cream.

Homemade Vanilla w/ syrup and pecans
(The photograph above also has Sweet and Spicy Pecans from Ravelin Bakery in Denton, Texas. Sandra posted a similar recipe on her blog.)

Last week was the first time we’ve ever made vanilla. I don’t care for vanilla unless it is topped with strawberries or peaches or chocolate syrup or an accompaniment to cake, so we’ve always made a flavor. Our usual choices are banana nut, strawberry or peach. If we don’t have any fresh fruit, then we make chocolate. Once, years ago, we made blackberry. It was a lovely shade of purple, but please learn from my mistakes and strain out the seeds first. Sheesh.

The reason for making plain vanilla? It was a special request from our 5 year old grandson. So we added an extra egg, more vanilla extract and increased the heavy cream to make it a little more special.

We use the same basic recipe, with a few variations which I’ll list at the bottom.

*This recipe uses raw eggs. There are lots of recipes available for a cooked custard ice cream, which I’ve never tried myself.

BASIC HOMEMADE ICE CREAM – makes 1 gallon
In a blender, mix:
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
dash salt
1 cup of milk
2 cups heavy cream
fruit – about 3 bananas and a dash of nutmeg or 2 cups of strawberries or 5 peaches, peeled and pitted

Blend until smooth. Pour into ice cream freezer container. Add another cup of chopped fresh fruit cut into 1/2″ pieces. For Banana add 1 cup of chopped pecans or walnuts.

Fill container with whole milk up to the fill line.

Place container into bucket and lock on the motor. Add alternate layers of ice and rock salt and plug it in and let the motor turn until it stops (check on it every few minutes and add more ice and salt as needed) which will be anywhere from half an hour to an hour.

Important: Before taking off the lid, brush off all the ice and salt and pull the container up out of the water/ice mixture. I didn’t do this one time and salt got into the ice cream and it was inedible. Now I even slowly pour about a cup of water over the lid before removing it to make sure that no salt will invade the mixture.

It will probably be very soft right after the motor stops. My dad always let it set to “cure” but I usually can’t wait, so we have a serving right away. Joe has put the Tupperware box in the freezer ahead of time so that the ice cream doesn’t melt even a little bit in a room temperature container.

This recipe makes a very scoop-able ice cream (after sitting in the deep freeze for a few hours) but the texture is going to be different than a commercial product. It’s not that it has ice crystals (it doesn’t) but it’s just not as slick and smooth. I like that about it and I really like the incredibly fresh and pungent flavor that the fruit gives it. All natural. No artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.


CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM
Use the same basic recipe as above, but omit the fruit and add 1/2 cup powdered cocoa (not the drink mix) and 1 cup of chopped nuts. Joe likes to add chocolate chips in the blender; I don’t because no matter how long I blend it, it still has hard little bits of the choc. chips.

VARIATIONS
1 can of Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk can be substituted for the heavy cream then reduce sugar to 1 cup. When I’ve done this, it was because I was out of cream, but had the Eagle Brand and some Carnation canned milk, which I also used. The outcome will be different than with the cream, but it’s probably lower in cholesterol.

Once I didn’t have any whole milk or cream, and used 1 can of Carnation and reconstituted dry milk. This is probably much, much healthier than the cream & whole milk type, but is more like ice milk than ice cream.

It’s also a nice touch to put the serving bowls in the freezer ahead of time, especially if you’re going to be eating it outside.

As I said, after being in the deep freeze awhile, it makes nice scoops. Joe put the scoops into Braum’s (a nice Oklahoma company) ice cream cones for our grandsons, poured some sprinkles in a bowl and dipped them. They thought it was grand.

This post linked to:
Frugal Friday @ Life as Mom
Food on Friday @ annkroeker

3 Comments

Filed under Childhood pastimes, Cooking, Family, Making Do

Peaches

From the closeup photo in the new banner above, one might think we have huge peaches. You may have even heard that everything grows bigger in Texas.

Well, the peaches on our tree don’t grow bigger – they’re pretty small.

But, oh how I have hope!

After several years of late freezes and goat damage, we have real live fruit on our tree!

Fresh peaches are so wonderful; they don’t have any resemblance to store-bought ones – unless they’re local, of course.

When we lived in Oklahoma, we would drive down to Porter and buy them from the orchards.

In Texas, there’s nothing like a Parker County peach. And boy, you have to get over there fast. One year the crop was so slim that we didn’t get any. Another year, the orchard was only letting people have a set amount.

I like to get 1/2 bushel, or a whole one if I have help putting them up for the freezer. We eat a ton of them fresh, make ice cream (absolutely incredible), eat them with heavy cream or make cobblers.

Then through the year, I ration them out to myself (Joe doesn’t like eating them plain so I’m really just putting them up for myself or the cobblers or ice cream. There are actually about 3 jars left in the freezer and I think they’ll last me until next month when the crop is in.

Speaking of ice cream, Joe made some Banana Ice Cream on Sunday when our family was here. Only Liam, Joe and I ended up eating it, so there was plenty left over for the freezer. There are only 2 servings remaining.

Good thing we’ll be in Grapevine today so we can pick up more cream. Sam’s has it in quarts for a whole lot less than the grocery store. And since this is ice cream weather (they’re predicting record high temperatures this week), I want to have plenty on hand.

I could hardly believe how good that Banana Ice Cream was. When I complimented Joe on how good it was, he told me the reason…he used the whole quart in it! I’ve always used about a cup or two, but never the whole carton. He said that was why it scooped so easily after being in our really cold freezer.

All I know is that we’ll be making Chocolate Walnut this afternoon and I can hardly wait.

After all the surgery, my taste buds are back to normal.

Hallelujah!

2 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Family, Gardening, Local Shopping, Made in the U.S.A., Oklahoma, Shopping, Texas

1932 February Menu


(Click on image to enlarge to a legible size, and click again, if necessary.)

Needlecraft Magazine printed menu suggestions each month. It’s helpful to bear in mind that 1932 was deep depression. Around that time, my great-uncle sold his 3 story Victorian home in Kentucky for $500.

Average Cost of new house $6,510.00
Average wages per year $1,650.00 (if you even had a job)
Cost of a gallon of Gas 10 cents
Average Cost for house rent $18.00 per month
A loaf of Bread 7 cents
A LB of Hamburger Meat 10 cents
New Car Average Price $610.00
Average House Price 540

Go here for more information about 1932.

This post linked to Food on Friday @ annkroeker.com

8 Comments

Filed under 1930s, Cooking, Ephemera, Family, Thrift

Easy-No-Need-To-Buy-A-Mix Cornbread


CORNBREAD

(This recipe is for an 8″ x 8″ pan; for the large cake pan or skillet size, just double everything.)

1 egg, beaten
1 c. cornmeal
1 c. flour
1 c. milk
1/2 t. salt
3 t. baking powder
1 T. sugar
1 – 2 T. oil

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees (toaster oven 350-375 degrees).
2. Mix all ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl with a spoon.
3. Butter or Pam baking pan.
4. Use a spatula to transfer batter from bowl to baking pan – it wants to stick to the sides of the bowl.
5. Bake for about 20 minutes until brown on top and knife inserted into middle comes out clean.
6. Serve hot with butter.
7. If you have any left, store it in an airtight container in the freezer until you make cornbread dressing. Or feed it to the birds.

This is a fairly basic recipe and easy to mix up. It came from a regional cookbook we got as a wedding present over 30 years ago. I’ve altered it a bit: lessened the baking powder and oil and added the sugar. I don’t like sweet cornbread, but if you do, add a little more sugar until it suits your taste.

Since I’m from the south, cornbread is like one of the 4 food groups. Beans (pintos) and cornbread is actually my favorite meal. If there’s fried potatoes, greens and chopped onion,
to go with it, well…I’m real happy.

My mother grew up out in the country during the 1920s and didn’t have access to store bought white bread, but she said that her mother made biscuits every morning and cornbread every day at noon (“dinner” to Mama). This must have seemed strange to my Philadelphia-born grandmother, but she adapted to kentucky ways.

The best cornbread I’ve ever eaten was made by Mrs. Hickson, head of the cafeteria at Mingo School. Tuesday was Beans & Cornbread day. Even kids like me (who took their lunch every other day of the week) bought their lunches on Tuesday. I think my friend, Carol, has the recipe. I hope so because I’d love to have it.

This post is linked to Food on Fridays @ annkroeker

4 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Family, Kentucky, Mingo, Oklahoma

Vegetarian Chili

It’s not as bad as it sounds, although it won’t fool a meat lover, but then again it’s about as close to the real thing as I can get. Some vegetarian chili recipes have things like carrots, etc. in them, which I don’t understand. Mostly I make this when our vegetarian sons are here, but I have made it for just Joe and me, too.

Vegetarian Chili

*1 package Morningstar Farms Crumbles (or 4 Boca Burgers thawed and cut into 1″ pieces)
*1 onion, chopped
*2 cloves garlic, minced
*2 T. olive oil
salt
pepper
~
1 can (I think it’s about 12 oz.) diced tomatoes
1 small can tomato sauce
2 cans (or more) pinto beans
1/4 t. comino
Chili powder (at least 2 T.)
Oregano – dash

1. Saute crumbles, onion and garlic in olive oil. Crumbles will not get real brown or crisp, so just cook until the onion is translucent. I use the dutch oven for this step. There’s no reason to wash an extra skillet. Just keep stirring it to keep it from sticking.

2. Add canned ingredients and spices. We use quite a bit of chili powder. If you’re not sure, add some and taste, then adjust to your own preferances.

3. Cover and heat over low heat for 30 minutes. It really doesn’t need more time that that, and much longer and the soy products change texture somewhat.

4. Serve with fresh chopped onion and possibly a little sour cream and grated cheddar on top, or cheese slices and saltines or cornbread on the side.

Variation:
Three Way: add cooked spaghetti to your bowl. I love it this way. When I was a girl Ike’s Chili Parlors in Tulsa sold Chili, Chili with Beans and Three Way (chili, beans and spaghetti).

This post linked to Food on Friday @ annkroeker.com

1 Comment

Filed under Cooking, Family, Tulsa