Tag Archives: Recipes

Chocolate Syrup

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from The Tightwad Gazette II


This recipe is from Amy Dacyczyn’s book The Tightwad Gazette II, which I highly recommend. It’s good for making chocolate milk, hot chocolate or an ice cream topping. Since the publication date is 1995, I’m sure the price of Hershey’s chocolate syrup has gone up. I don’t know because I haven’t bought any for years.

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It is cheaper and tastes better than commercial chocolate syrup. Just don’t overcook it. You will end up with something like fudge sauce, which is great over ice cream, but difficult to dissolve in a glass to make chocolate milk.

It doesn’t take very long to make; after it comes to a boil, you only cook it 3 minutes. It’s easy to make, our grandson almost always asks for it and if we don’t have any in the refrigerator, he loves to help his grandpa make some.

And while it’s cooking, well, that fragrance in the kitchen is like perfume.

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

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Filed under Books, Cookbooks, Cooking, Family, Kitchens, Thrift

Cockeyed Cake (Chocolate)

Don’t have any eggs, shortening or 30 minutes to devote to making a cake? Cockeyed Cake doesn’t even require a mixer and is a very thrifty recipe.

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The I Hate to Cook Book


This recipe comes from the Peg Bracken’s 1960 “The I Hate to Cook Book”. As you can see from the photo, my copy is quite worn, but it’s one of my favorite cookbooks because it blends good, dependable recipes with humor and clever illustrations. It’s very mid-century, so if you like this era, I highly recommend this book.

When I was in grade school at Mingo (and when school cafeterias actually cooked instead of the way they do it now – just reheating frozen food), the cafeteria ladies made this cake but they called it Wacky Cake. This is what Peg says on pages 91-92 and will give you an idea about her writing style, which I find very amusing:

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Illustrations by Hilary Knight


“This is a famous recipe, I believe, but I haven’t the faintest idea who invented it. I saw it in a newspaper years ago, meant to clip it, didn’t, and finally bumped into the cake itself in the apartment of a friend of mine. It was dark, rich, moist, and chocolatey, and she said it took no more than five minutes to mix it up. So I tried it, and, oddly enough, mine, too, was dark, rich, moist and chocolatey. My own timing was five and a half minutes, but that includes looking for the vinegar.)

Cockeyed Cake

1 1/2 c. sifted flour
3 T. cocoa
1 t. soda
1 c. sugar
1/2 t. salt
~~

5 T. cooking oil
1 T. vinegar
1 t. vanilla
1 c. cold water

Put your sifted flour back in the sifter, add to it the cocoa, soda, sugar and salt, and sift this right into a greased square cake pan, about 9x9x2 inches. Now you make three grooves, or holes, in this dry mixture. Into one, pour the oil; into the next the vinegar; into the next the vanilla. Now pour the cold water over it all. You’ll feel like you’re making mud pies now, but beat it with a spoon until it’s nearly smooth and you can’t see the flour. Bake it at 350 degrees for half an hour.”

Chocolate Icing
1 T. butter
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
2 T. cocoa
dash salt
1 t. vanilla
3-4 T. milk
1/2 c. chopped pecans

1.While cake is baking, place butter in mixing bowl to allow to come to room temperature.
2. Sift powdered sugar, salt and cocoa together.
3. Add most of the milk and vanilla. Blend well.
4. Mix in chopped pecans.
5. Place on warm, not hot, cake and allow to soften a bit before icing.


Cake Notes
:
*At the bottom of this post I’ll include the amounts for a double recipe, which is what I usually make. Realizing that anyone can double the above amounts, I have gotten myself in trouble on other recipes by forgetting to double some of them. It’s so much easier to have it all written down.
*Even though she says you can mix it in the cake pan itself, I find it difficult to do. If you are proficient at it, go ahead, it will save you having to wash a bowl.
*A few years ago, I read that one should only grease the bottom of a cake pan, because an ungreased side gives the cake something to cling to and rise nicely. So that’s what I’ve down ever since and it’s never caused a problem. Just run a knife around the edge of the pan before serving to loosen it.
*The picture below doesn’t do justice to the cake. It’s a really nice, chocolatey cake, just as Peg said.

Icing Notes

*The Mingo School cafeteria ladies didn’t ice the cake, they simply sifted powdered sugar over the cake. This works fine if you’re serving all of it immediately, but the next day it absorbs some of the oil from the cake and begins to look tired.
*This is my standard icing recipe that I learned from my mother. I never measure the ingredients, but I did today for this post.
* Baking time is subject to the vagaries of your own oven. This morning it took an extra 30 minutes. There must be something wrong with my thermostat. Just keep checking it after 30 minutes and use the toothpick test.
*Once I used cream in the icing recipe instead of milk and really didn’t care for the result. It stayed way too soft for me.
*The milk requirement in the icing is variable. Too much and it will be runny, too little and it will tear up the cake when you try to spread it. After adding the initial amount, mix it up and add only 1 T. at a time.
*Don’t put the sifter in the sink after you use it. You might need to add more powdered sugar if the icing is too thin. This has happened to me many times.
*This is a good recipe if you have a vegan in your family. Just use vegetable shortening (instead of butter) and water (instead of milk) in the icing recipe.

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Cockeyed Cake

Double Cake Recipe:
3. c. flour
6 T. cocoa (1/4 c. + 1/8 c.)
2 t. soda
2 c. sugar
1 t. salt
~~
10 T. oil (1/2 c. + 1/8 c.)
2 T. vinegar
2 t. vanilla
2 c. cold water

Double Icing Recipe
2 T. butter
3 c. powdered sugar
dash salt
2 t. vanilla
1/4 + 1/8 c. milk
1 c. chopped pecans

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

*Updated October 28, 2012: a reader (Peg) pointed out that I had doubled the amount of cocoa in the half recipe. That has been corrected, and I sincerely hope it didn’t cause any trouble for anyone. The Wacky Cake recipe that our cafeteria ladies made was indeed more chocolatey than this one from the I Hate to Cook Book, but I doubt it was twice as chocolatey.

Mea Culpa.

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Filed under 1960's, Books, Cookbooks, Cooking, Mingo, Oklahoma, Thrift, Using What You Have

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

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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.
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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.

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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

Cozy Reading

100_8353Brenda over at Coffee, Tea, Books and Me is asking her blog readers to submit their favorite books and movies that are in the Cozy category. She defines them as ones that make her feel all warm and cozy in the winter weather. Partly because we live in the south, my definition would be a little different – books and movies that me feel contented. There’s more to it than that, but when I start trying to nail it down, it gets elusive.

For instance, Agatha Christie mysteries are considered cozies, but they almost always involve murder. No gory details or horrible unpleasantness – but murder, none the less. I struggle with my affection for her books. Surely a Christian shouldn’t be so fascinated with sin. If I’m wanting to rationalize, I could say that it’s actually the intricacies of logic and justice that intrigue me.

Cozy books of all types make up a good deal of my reading. I also read a lot of challenging non-fiction: political, Alzheimer’s tales, biographies, but I find that after a few of these books, I need to read something that calms me down a bit. Because, even though I believe those topics to be necessary and important to my life, they can be a bit stressful.

Anyway, here’s some of my list. It isn’t complete because I’m sure that I’ll remember an omitted favorite this afternoon.

I’ve used Brenda’s format, to help me compare my list to hers.

AUTHORS
M.C. Beaton -mostly mysteries: Edwardian, Scotland, Cotswolds
Elizabeth Caddell – light mid-20th century novels of England
Agatha Christie – mysteries
Emily Kimbrough – reminiscences of very early and mid-20th century
L.M. Montgomery – Anne of Green Gables series
Miss Read – very light and pleasant novels of an English village school
D.E. Stevenson – light English romances
Gladys Taber – journal-like books about living in New England
Laura Ingalls Wilder – Little House books

FICTION
+Little House in the Big Woods, Laura Ingalls Wilder
*Absolutely any of the Miss Read books
*Mrs. Miniver, Jan Struther (disclaimer: there is a chapter on fortune telling which I skipped. I don’t think witchcraft/occult is harmless fun.)
*The Gown of Glory, Agnes Sligh Turnbull (one of the reader reviews on Amazon compared it to Our Town.)
*The Nightingale, Agnes Sligh Turnbull (same town as The Gown of Glory, different people)
*Half Crown House, Helen Ashton (post WWII England)
*Owl’s Castle Farm, Primrose Cumming (mid-WWII English farm life)
*Now That April’s There, Daisy Neumann (English children returning home from America 1945)
SERIES
*Fairacre series by Miss Read
*Thrush Green series by Miss Read
*Some of the Mitford books by Jan Karon
*Reminisce Magazine books – collections of short personal stories from very early to mid-20th century

NON-FICTION – HOME ARTS
*A Thousand Ways to Please Your Husband with Bettina’s Best Recipes, Louise Bennett Weaver & Helen Cowles LeCron (either 1917 or 1932 edition)
*The Little House Cookbook, Barbara M. Walker
*If Teacups Could Talk, Emilie Barnes
*The Charms of Tea, by Victoria Magazine
*Beautiful Home on a Budget, Emilie Barnes & Yoli Brogger
*Timeless Treasures, Emilie Barnes
*Sew Pretty Homestyle, Tone Finnanger
*Crafting Vintage Style, Christina Strutt
*Creating Vintage Style, Lucinda Ganderton

BIOGRAPHIES & AUTOBIOGRAPHIES
*Farewell, Horton Foote
*In My Father’s House: the Years Before the Hiding Place, Corie ten Boom
*Agatha Christie: an Autobiography, Agatha Christie
*A Fortunate Grandchild, Miss Read
*Time Remembered, Miss Read

FASHION

*20th Century Fashion, John Peacock
*Fashion Accessories, John Peacock
*The Costume Collector’s Companion 1890-1990, Rosemary Hawthorne Air

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Filed under Books, Cooking, Cozy, Faith, Fiction, History, Tea

Sour Cream Pound Cake with Chocolate Marble

Five O'Clock Tea, by Mary Cassatt

Five O'Clock Tea, by Mary Cassatt


My friend Merrily gave me this recipe over 35 years ago. It’s absolutely wonderful and would be perfect with either tea or coffee. My husband thinks that an icy glass of milk is the only suitable drink for cake, pie or cookies.
( Posted below this one is the half recipe which is just right for a loaf pan.)

Sour Cream Pound Cake with Chocolate Marble
(Full recipe – fits tube pan or bundt pan)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place oven rack to center.
2 3/4 c. sugar
1 c. butter
6 eggs
1 1/2 t. vanilla
~
3 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. soda
~
1 c. sour cream
~
1/3 c. cocoa powder (not the drink mix)

1. Pour sugar into mixer.
2. Soften the butter, but do not melt. Add.
3. Break the eggs, 1 at a time into a separate bowl, then add to the mixture. It’s just too difficult to try to get chips of eggshell out of the mixer.
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4. Cream together until light and fluffy.
5. Add vanilla. Mix thoroughly.
6. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, salt and soda.
7. Add about a c. of flour mixture to batter, beat until well mixed.
8. Add about 1/3 c. of sour cream, mixing well.
9. Keep alternating until all the ingredients (except cocoa) have been added.
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10. Set aside 1 c. of batter into a small mixing bowl. Add cocoa & mix thoroughly.
11. Oil or Pam baking pan.
12. Spoon about 1/2 of batter into baking pan.
13. Spoon chocolate mixture on top.
14. Add remaining batter.
15. To marble, use a table knife and drag once around the batter.
16. Bake at 350 on middle rack. (This one took 1 1/2 hours.) Keep checking after 1 hour. Use toothpick test when it looks done.
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17. Let cool slightly and turn over onto serving plate. Absolutely needs no icing.
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Half Recipe
1 1/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter
3 eggs
1 t. vanilla
~
1 1/2 c. flour
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. soda
~
1/4 c. cocoa powder (not drink mix)

Directions same as above. Use loaf pan.

*updated January 18, 2012

Linked to:
Food on Fridays at annkroeker
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed With Grace

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Filed under Baking, Cooking, Recipes, Tea

Snickerdoodles (and sort of a cookie tutorial)

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This recipe for cinnamon cookies came from a Bryan Chapel (Oklahoma) cookbook which my husband’s grandmother gave me in 1974. It is probably the most inexpensive cookie I make.

A little attention to detail and you can make cookies every bit as good as your favorite bakery. Probably better.

Snickerdoodles
(Makes about 3 dozen.)
~Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.

2 eggs
1 1/2 c. white sugar
1 c. vegetable oil (not olive oil)
~Mix together very thoroughly (it will look creamy).

2 2/3 c. flour
2 t. cream of tartar (if you don’t have cream of tartar, see * below)
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
~Sift together and add to creamed mixture, just until blended. Do not overmix.

2 T. white sugar
1 T. cinnamon
~Stir together in a small bowl and set aside.

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~Form dough into 1″ balls, then roll in sugar/cinnamon mixture and place 2″ apart on parchment lined cookie sheet.

~Place on middle rack in oven (only 1 tray at a time). Set timer for 10 minutes.

~After timer goes off, turn tray around and set timer for an additional 5 minutes. (see * below)

~When done, slide paper off onto table and allow cookies to cool for about 5 minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack.

*****Notes*******
If you’re an experienced baker, then you may know everything I’ve written in this section. Most of it I’ve learned from making thousands of cookies. Please don’t be put off by how detailed this is. Baking good homemade cookies is not difficult but it does take focus. I’ve had some real disasters by trying to do something else while I bake, thereby being distracted enough not to set the timer, or thinking that a couple of extra minutes won’t hurt anything (when I haven’t even checked on them). Believe me, it matters. A good recipe is merely where you begin – it’s no guarantee of a good cookie.

*Most recipes call for an oven temperature of 350, but I’ve found that 300-325 (only you know your own oven) with a longer baking time (and turning the tray) gets better results.
*Shortening was listed in the original recipe, but I rarely use it and find that vegetable oil works great. It’s perfectly fine if you prefer it, but the texture and taste will change some.
*If you don’t have any cream of tartar, you can substitute 2 t. baking powder and eliminate the baking soda. This will change the flavor a little.
*I learned from America’s Test Kitchen to NOT overmix cookie dough after adding the flour. It will result in a cake-like texture, rather than a cookie one. Before learning this, I knew that sometimes I got that fluffy texture, but I didn’t know why. Just mix thoroughly, then stop.
*The original recipe calls for equal parts of cinnamon and sugar to roll the balls in, and sometimes I do but it will make them very cinnamony and darker.
*You don’t have to use parchment paper. You can lightly grease or Pam the baking sheet, but it will change slightly the way the cookie browns. I’m not much on buying speciality stuff for the kitchen, but I really like the result I get when using parchment paper. Before placing the paper down, I flick a few drops of water onto the baking sheet. This helps to prevent the paper from sliding around and landing the cookies onto the floor. This has happened to me.
*Placing them 2″ apart will allow them to expand without melding into each other.
*Another important lesson I learned by myself (and it was confirmed by America’s Test Kitchen) is to never bake more than 1 tray at a time. I don’t know why this is true, I just know that it is. For years, I’d bake 2 sheets at a time (or more if they were smaller) thinking that it would save both time and energy. Then each tray would turn out differently and some were just awful. As I’ve said before, science is not my forte and this sounds like a physics question. I’ll ask my husband.
*They’ll be puffy when you remove them from the oven, then deflate slightly.
*This part is just observation, not science: I can’t tell you exactly how long to bake them. This morning when I checked them after the second timer, they were still doughy in the middle and I put them back in for another 4 minutes, then they were just right. I had to break one in half to check it. To me, the best texture for Snickerdoodles is slightly crispy on the outside and chewy (not underdone) in the middle. There again, bake them to your own preferences.
*Sliding the parchment paper off of the cookie sheet prevents them from continuing to bake a little after removing from the oven. Placing them on a drying rack helps them to cool without drawing moisture to the bottoms and becoming soggy or heavy.

Now, let’s get the coffee started.
(This post linked to Food on Fridays http://annkroeker.wordpress.com/)

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Filed under Baking, Cookies, Cooking, Food, Recipes

Friday Night Pizza – on Thursday

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Fridays feel like celebration days to me and I want something fun to eat and do. That usually means pizza and a movie. Years ago we usually went out to a movie, but the pickings are getting pretty slim and even if we find something we want to pay to see, we go to the Saturday matinee. Much cheaper. Also, we used to order the pizza and my husband would pick it up on the way home but I’ve found that it takes about the same amount of time to make one as it does to order and wait for it. Homemade is a lot cheaper and most of the time it tastes better, too. But this week I knew I’d be too tired to come home and cook on Friday (it was Grandparents Day at our grandsons’ two schools); hence, the celebration night was moved to Thursday. We had the leftovers on Friday while we watched a James Stewart comedy, (“Dear Brigette”) and that worked out great.


Friday Night Special

Dough

Preheat oven to 450-500 degrees. Keep the kids away from the oven.
2 c. flour
1/4 t. salt
1 t. active dry yeast
1 t. sugar
1 T. olive oil
2/3 to 1 c. warm water

Combine either by hand or in a heavy duty mixer (don’t try this with a hand held mixer; it won’t work the heavy dough and you might burn out the motor): mix everything together, and knead for about 5 minutes.

Roll out dough to a little larger size than the pan, on a floured surface and brush off excess flour. Place on a oiled or Pam-ed pizza pan. Fold over the extra and press down to make the border.

Toppings
1 T. olive oil –
2 T.tomato sauce (more if you want)
1/4 t. garlic powder (or the real thing if you have any)
1/2 t. oregano
1/2 t. basil
Salt
Pepper

Shredded motzarella – about 2 cups

1/4 onion
1/4 green pepper
3 whole mushrooms
3 slices jalapenos
1 can black olives, drained
Dash of marjoram
Dash of thyme

Rub oil lightly over the top of crust, including the border.
Spread tomato sauce using the back of a large spoon.
Evenly distribute the herbs and salt and pepper to taste.
Sprinkle about 1/2 c. mozzarella evenly over the top.

Chop the vegetables together. My husband chops them moderately fine, but not minced. Add herbs and mix well.
Drop evenly over the top.
Sprinkle the remainder of the cheese.

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Set the timer for 5 minutes and bake on the lower rack. This gives the bottom of the crust a chance to get crisp.

Then move to middle rack and check after 5-7 minutes, until it’s the browness you like. Slide off onto a clean counter or large cutting board and slice. We place ours onto a wire cooling rack so the crust doesn’t get soggy.

The above amounts are flexible. I usually use a little more water if the dough doesn’t seem pliable enough, but it shouldn’t feel sticky, either, if it does use a small amount of flour (a couple of tablespoons) and knead it some more.

Left over spaghetti sauce works great instead of plain tomato sauce.

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Filed under Cookbooks, Cooking