Category Archives: Recipes

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.

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

Country White Bread


This is the easiest and most dependable yeast bread I’ve ever made. The recipe came from a Country Living magazine almost 25 years ago. Lately I’ve baked some every few days.

COUNTRY WHITE BREAD

1 pkg. yeast
1/2 c. warm water
1 T. sugar

Dissolve yeast in sugar and water to prove.

Add:
1/1/4 t. salt
1/4 c. sugar
5 1/2 c. flour
1 c. water
3 T. oil

Mix together and knead for about 8 minutes.

Oil large mixing bowl, place dough in bowl and turn once.
Cover with a clean tea towel and put in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about an hour.

Place risen dough on floured board, punch down, work out the air pockets.
Shape into loaves, and place into greased pans.
Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk.

Bake at 350 until done; depending on your oven this could be from 35 minutes to 1 hour.

Notes
*When I want a wheat loaf, I dissolve the tailings from a bag of Raisin Bran cereal in a little warm water or milk, then add it to the mixture. Years ago, I bought regular bran and wheat germ, but when I added them to the recipe my husband said it gave it an unpleasant texture. For some reason, the fine stuff at the bottom of the cereal bag works well, which is especially nice because I don’t want it floating in my cereal bowl and it seems like a waste to just compost it.

*Contrary to what I used to think, it is possible to over-oil the bowl.

*For taller loaves, I use two different sizes of pans – one large and one medium. When I use both large pans, the loaves are smaller.

*For a nicer crust, I butter the top about midway through the baking.

*I have discovered the Best Place for the dough to rise. Well, at least in the winter. Under our Vermont Castings wood stove. I couldn’t believe it. It rose twice as fast but wasn’t too hot. Perfect.

*Sometimes I just don’t get a good rising. Maybe it’s a humid day. I don’t know. But when that happens, it can be used for croûtons. This was my husbands idea and it was a really good one. The big puffy loaves don’t make nice croûtons but a dense loaf is just right.

*My hands just aren’t what they used to be and I can’t knead the dough, so I use my heavy duty mixer. It’s a Kenwood (an English product), not a Kitchen Aid, but it works every bit as good and cost a fraction. I bought it about 1994 and didn’t want a Whirlpool product, because at that time they were contributing to Planned Parenthood (but not anymore, as I understand it). Here‘s a more current list.

This post is linked to:
Food on Fridays @ Ann Kroeker.
Frugal Fridays@Life as Mom

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Filed under Baking, Food, Hints, Home, Recipes, Thrift, Thrift

Vintage Kitchen Altered Book Ephemera, Part II

(Click on images to enlarge, then click again on the magnifying glass.)

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Filed under 1943, Advertisements, Ephemera, Food, Hints, Making Do, Menus, Recipes, Thrift, Thrift, Vintage Advertisements, Vintage Magazines, World War II

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.

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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

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Filed under Childhood pastimes, Cooking, Family, Food, Making Do, Recipes

Gingerbread Men

Better Homes and Gardens Cookies and Candies, 1968 edition

My friend Merrily gave me this cookbook when I was 16. She was one of the best cooks I knew, and certainly the best cookie maker. The recipe for my sour cream pound cake came from her.

We have literally worn the cover off of this book over the last 39 years. Joe’s luscious fudge is in this book, and this is the only gingerbread man recipe I’ve ever used.

Better Homes and Gardens Cookies and Candies, 1968

Notes:

* If rolled thick, this recipe makes a soft cookie, which is what my family prefers. However, with the last bit of dough, I roll them thinner for a crunchy cookie which goes well with morning coffee.
* Plan ahead and chill the dough. It does make a difference. I’ve tried doing it in a rush and it just doesn’t work. The dough is sticky and then I add too much flour.
*I’ve never used shortening, I’ve always used vegetable oil (canola, etc.).
* Make sure the cookie cutters are well floured before each cutting, or you’ll start losing arms, heads, etc. that don’t want to separate from the cutter.
* Keep a pastry brush handy. Flour is needed to dust both the rolling pin and the rolling surface, but you don’t want that floury taste on the bottom of the cookies. It’s a hassle, but dust them off before placing them on the baking sheet.
* Parchment paper gives the best result. For years I Pammed the sheet, but the pp results in a better cookie.
* Press raisins into the cookie after they’re on the sheet. Frozen raisins work better. Soft, room-temperature ones don’t want to press in and will likely fall off.
* Sprinkle sugar over the tops before baking.
* Bake one sheet at a time, although it isn’t as important with this recipe as it is with chocolate chip type cookies.
* Turn sheet around half way through baking.
*After baking, let set for about 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

I store the finished cookies in a clear jar on my counter-top. If left out on a plate in humid weather for a long time they stay soft, but not as nice. Besides, it’s way too easy to pick up one from a plate everytime I pass by.

My grandsons love these. In fact, they asked me to make paper gingerbread men for them to play with last summer. I used my larger sized cutter for a pattern and we had the plain, regular gingerbread man, plus Gingerbread Batman, Gingerbread Robin, Gingerbread Joker, Gingerbread Superman. Construction paper was cut out to make their clothes and their faces were done with Crayolas.

This post linked to Food on Fridays @ annkroeker.

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Filed under 1960's, Baking, Books, Christmas, Cookbooks, Cookies, Cooking, Food, Recipes

Vegetable Soup

100_8140 My mother made the best vegetable soup in the whole world. Mine is similar and very good, but hers was great. And of course, she didn’t follow a recipe or write it down. Mostly it was just what she had on hand, although she always started with bacon, and since both of our sons don’t eat meat now, I nearly always omit it. But it really is better with the bacon.

I don’t follow a written recipe either, but I will try to give approximations. This is a very flexible and forgiving soup; if I don’t have one ingredient, maybe I have something else that will work. For instance, I like to add about 1/2 c. of barley after it’s boiling to thicken it. If I’m out of barley, then I grate a raw potato. Also, I like a variety of colors, so I put in corn (frozen or canned), or maybe some chopped yellow squash. For something green, it’s green beans, peas or broccoli. When using broccoli, I don’t add it until about the last 1/2 hour or it will turn to mush; very unpleasant. When our youngest son was a teenager and nearly all he ate was meat, surprisingly, this soup was one of his favorite meals. Inexplicably, vegetables that he wouldn’t have touched if served separately, were eaten along with everything else. I even used to sneak in a turnip once in awhile because it looks about like potato in the general mix. So, here goes:

VEGETABLE SOUP

1-2 T. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
salt
pepper
herbs and spices (optional)
paprika
chili powder
oregano
~
3 carrots, scraped and chopped
Water
Tomato product: sauce, paste, canned tomatoes
6+ potatoes (I like a lot of them) peeled and chopped
yellow vegetables, chopped if necessary
green vegetables, chopped if necessary

100_8135

1. Turn burner to medium heat and add olive oil.
2. When oil is hot – but not smoking – onion, celery, & garlic.
3. After vegetables become translucent, add salt and pepper, paprika,
chili powder, & oregano.
100_8138
4. Add carrots.
5. Pour in about 2 quarts of water and tomato product.
6. Add potatoes, yellow and green vegetables.
7. Bring to a boil and add barley or grated potato.
7. Stir occasionally. It will stick and burn if left completely unattended (especially if you add barley).
8. Set heat on low and cook for about 2 hours.

100_8145
Notes:
~This is a very nourishing, thrifty and comforting soup. For a small family, it will make several meals.
~If you want to add bacon, fry it first, then crumble and use the bacon grease to saute the onion, celery and garlic.
~If you use canned tomatoes, the broth will be thinner, of course. Tomato paste will make a thick broth, more stew-like. When I use paste, I cut the vegetables in bigger chunks.
~Leftover spaghetti sauce can even be used for the tomato base. If so adjust the other herbs/spices accordingly.
~Add water while it’s cooking if it looks like it needs it, or you like it thinner.
~Use your own judgment about what leftover vegetables you would like to add. Personally, with the exception of lima beans, I don’t care for beans in vegetable soup but if you do, go ahead and put them in.
~Omit all the herbs and spices if you prefer the flavor of the vegetables alone. Or, if you want to make it more like minestrone, eliminate the chili powder and add basil and beans.
~I’ve never been successful in adding macaroni or rice to this recipe, but if you know just when to add them, try it. Neither one should be put in for the whole cooking time.
~My mother added shredded cabbage, but this is something else I can’t seem to get right. Maybe I’ve tried to use too much. Maybe she just put in about a cup of shred. It was very good in hers.
~Even though our sons are grown and gone from home, I still make a large kettle of this soup. It’s actually better the second day after it’s been refrigerated overnight. And it’s so easy to just re-heat a couple of bowls for lunch on Saturday when we’ve been working out in the yard or come in from church on Sunday.
~On subsequent days, it will look like it needs water added before reheating, but only add a little, if any at all. It becomes more liquid as it heats.
~If reheating on the stovetop instead of a microwave, stir fairly constantly while heating. It sticks and burns easily.
~Cornbread is the best accompaniment, but cheese and crackers are good, too. My husband likes it with hot, buttered toast.

Linked to:
Food on Fridays @annkroeker
Frugal Fridays @Life as Mom

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Filed under Cooking, Cozy, Family, Food, Recipes, Thrift, Using What You Have