Tag: recipes

SWEET TEXAS CHRISTMAS–AND A GIVEAWAY! BY CHERYL PIERSON

Cheryl PiersonHi everyone!  Here come the holidays! The impending season and all the preparation for the meals has got me thinking, as it does each year–and I know I’m not alone.

Our generation has lost so many important talents and skills. Technology makes it easier for us, but in some ways, it takes away our independence. Maybe that’s one reason we love to read (and write!) historical romance. We can go back in time vicariously without having to live through all the hardships and trials of everyday life, experiencing only the top layer of what must have been difficult, by our standards, every moment.

Does anyone know how to cut up a chicken anymore? My mother did. I remember her getting out the wickedest looking knife I’d ever seen every Sunday and cutting up a chicken to fry. They had started to sell cut-up chickens in the store, but they were more expensive. Mom wouldn’t have dreamed of paying extra for that. By the time I began to cook for my family, I didn’t mind paying that extra money—I couldn’t bear to think of cutting a chicken up and then frying it.

It’s all relative. My mom, born in 1922, grew up in a time when the chickens had to be beheaded, then plucked, then cut up—so skipping those first two steps seemed like a luxury, I’m sure. I wouldn’t know how to begin to cut up a chicken. I never learned how.

Hog killing day was another festive occasion. Because my husband was raised on a farm, he and my mother had a lot of similar experiences to compare (this endeared him to her in later years.) Neighbors and family would gather early in the day. The hog would be butchered, and the rest of the day would be spent cutting and packing the meat. When my husband used to talk about the “wonderful sausage” his mother made, I was quite content to say, “Good for her. I’m glad you got to eat that when you were young.” (There’s no way I would ever make sausage.)

Medical issues? I was the world’s most nervous mother when I had my daughter. But being the youngest in the family, I had a world of experience to draw on. I also had a telephone and I knew how to use it! I called my mom or one of my sisters about the smallest thing. I can’t imagine living in one of the historical scenarios that, as writers, we create with those issues. The uncertainty of having a sick child and being unable to do anything to help cure him/her would have made me lose it. I know this happened so often and was just accepted as part of life, but to me, that would have been the very worst part of living in a historical time. I had a great aunt who lost all three of her children within one week to the flu. She lost her mind and had to be institutionalized off and on the rest of her life.

Sweet Texas ChristmasMy mother was the eldest of eleven children. She often said with great pride that her mother had had eleven children and none of them had died in childhood. I didn’t realize, when I was younger, how important and odd that really was for those times. My father’s mother had five children, two of whom died as children, and two more that almost died, my father being one of them.

It was a case of my grandmother thinking he was with my granddad, and him thinking three-year-old Freddie was with her. By the time they realized he was missing, the worst had happened. He had wandered to the pond and fallen in. It was a cold early spring day. Granddad had planted the fields already, between the pond and the house. A little knit cap that belonged to little Freddie was the only evidence of where he’d gone. It was floating on top of the water. By some miracle, my granddad found him and pulled him up out of the water. He was not breathing. Granddad ran with him back to the house, jumping the rows of vegetables he’d planted. The doctor later told him that was probably what saved Dad’s life—a very crude form of CPR.

Could you have survived in the old west? What do you think would have been your greatest worry? What would you hate to give up the most from our modern way of life? I’m curious to know, what skills or talents to you think we have lost generationally over the last 100 years? Be sure to leave a comment along with your contact information for a chance to WIN A DIGITAL COPY OF SWEET TEXAS CHRISTMAS!

I’m not sure I would have lived very long, or very pleasantly. I know one thing—my family would never have eaten sausage, unless they had breakfast at the neighbor’s house.

• ? •

My latest WHR novella, KIDNAPPING KALLI, appears in the PRAIRIE ROSE PUBLICATIONS Christmas anthology, SWEET TEXAS CHRISTMAS. This anthology contains four SWEET Christmas tales that mention a sweet Christmas treat somewhere in the story–and the recipes for those wonderful goodies are also included. My heroine, Kalli, is half-Cherokee, half-Irish. She makes Cherokee fry bread–and if you’ve never had good, hot fry bread you don’t know what you’re missing! Other authors in this anthology are Stacey Coverstone, Sarah J. McNeal, and Marie Piper.

What happens when a former Texas Ranger is hired to kidnap the daughter of a wealthy landowner–or else? He does it–but then finds himself in quite a predicament. Here’s what happens when he goes for water in the darkness:

EXCERPT:

As Shiloh neared the creek, he stepped on something in the darkness. He heard the rattles just as the surprised snake sank its fangs into the side of his leg, two inches above the top of his right boot.

“Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!” He stepped back quickly, his mind only just now absorbing the fact he’d been struck—and there was no doubt, it was a rattler. No point in trying to shoot it—he couldn’t see in the darkness. He pulled the matches out and struck one, but the snake had slithered away.

Numbly, he knelt and filled the coffee pot. Probably the last brew he’d have in this world.

Stuck in the mountains with a girl he’d kidnapped who spoke no English. Damn it. He’d not figured on living to a ripe old age, but sure as hell hadn’t thought to cash it all in at twenty-eight, either.

As he hurriedly stumbled back into the firelight, he saw Kalliroe had spread his bedroll on the ground near the fire and was adding more wood.

She glanced up, and instantly was on her feet, running to him, taking the coffee pot from his nerveless fingers. So much for keeping calm—she’d read something on his face—and he hoped to hell it wasn’t the harsh terror he felt. He tried to calm himself.

“Kalli…listen…I got snakebit—a rattler—” He pointed to the place in his denims where the fangs had penetrated. Would she light a shuck out of here? Leave him to die alone? He couldn’t blame her if she did, could he?

Maybe…dammit. If he could only make her understand why he’d taken her…for a father that loved her…

“There’s…a cave a couple more miles from here, but I’m not sure if it’s clear—safe—got animals in it—” He was talking fast, trying to get it all said—and for what? She didn’t understand. And she wouldn’t be needing shelter—she’d be heading back to Talihina…

Was she even listening? Of course not. Time was running out. Snow was on the way, now—he could smell it.

“Show me,” she said.

He cocked his head, wondering if the venom was working on him already. But she’d rolled up his bedroll and had begun to put the fire out. She gathered the wood they’d not used yet, and located a rope on his saddle, lashing it together quickly and tying it to her horse.

Pouring the water into their canteens to fill them, she looked at him again. “We need to go,” she said softly.

“Shiloh. Shiloh Barrett.” He moistened dry lips. “Just in case.”

Impatiently, she shook her head, understanding he thought she might need to know his name for the undertaker. “Let’s go, Shiloh Barrett. I will help you. And you will tell me what this is all about. 

• ? •

I’m giving away two digital copies of SWEET TEXAS CHRISTMAS, but just in case you can’t wait to see if you won, here’s the link!   http://amzn.to/2hrasn5

 

 

Fall: Memories of Mother and Baking

FALL.... brings back fond memories of my mother and baking. Each year as the season transitioned from summer to fall, so did the smells in my childhood home.

When the days began to grow cooler and the nights colder, my mother started stockpiling baking ingredients. Several times a week the scents of cinnamon, apples and chocolate greeted me when I came home from school. Mom would always invite me to help her make cookies or bake a cake, but I was only interested in licking the beaters and stealing a spoonful of batter before heading outside to play with my friends.

My mother taught herself how to cook and bake. While us kids watched TV at night, she’d browse magazines for recipes and add them to her collection. After my mother passed away, my sister sent me a few of her recipe books. I appreciated the gesture, until I took a closer look and saw that the recipes were all main courses and appetizers. She’d kept the pastry and dessert books for herself. Sneaky sister.

Pioneer Woman to the rescue! A while ago I bookmarked Ree Drummond’s cooking blog on my laptop. I told myself if a Pi Beta Phi sorority girl and graduate of the University of Southern California could teach herself how to cook for the Marlboro man, then I could teach myself to cook for the golfer man.

Ree’s rum cake recipe is one of my favorites. After two trial runs at making this cake, I was confident enough to purchase a fancy Bundt pan and Ree’s vintage-looking cake platter. Each year I stock up on bottles of rum and make several cakes to give away at Christmastime. You can find Ree’s rum cake recipe HERE.

I’ll never be as good in the kitchen as my mother, and I’ll never keep my recipes as organized as she did. But when I do come across a recipe in a magazine or on the Internet that I’d like to try, I print it off and toss it into my vintage recipe tin, which sits on my vintage stool in the corner of my not-so-vintage kitchen. 

 

Giveaway Alert!

Answer the following question for a chance to win a signed paperback or digital copy (winner’s choice) of TWINS FOR THE TEXAS RANCHER. (I’ll announce the winners name in the comment section of this post on Sunday October 1st!)

Of all the treats your mother baked when you were growing up, which was your favorite?

 

Until Next Time…Happy Trails!

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Abraham Lincoln’s Favorite Cake (with recipe)

ChristmasCoffeeOne of the blessings of this festive time of year is sharing good food with family and friends. During the holidays, mothers and grandmothers everywhere retreat to the kitchen and don’t emerge until they’ve baked a pile of goodies imbued with generation upon generation of family tradition.

In that way, holiday life in contemporary America hasn’t changed much from holiday life in the 1800s…including life in the White House during the turbulent years of the American Civil War. Surrounded by carnage, then-President Abraham Lincoln, his wife Mary Todd Lincoln, and their sons probably took comfort in family traditions.

Abraham Lincoln with Mary Todd Lincoln and sons Robert and Tad (Curier & Ives lithograph, 1866)

Abraham Lincoln with Mary Todd Lincoln and sons Robert and Tad (Curier & Ives lithograph, 1866)

One of the traditions Mrs. Lincoln took to the White House with her was a cake she called simply “white cake.” According to Lincoln’s Table by Donna D. McCreary, the confection was created in 1825 by a Monsieur Giron to celebrate the Marquis de Lafayette’s visit to Lexington, Kentucky—the First Lady’s hometown. The dessert proved such a hit that the prominent Todd family somehow convinced Giron to share the recipe, and the cake promptly became a Todd tradition. Mary Todd made the cake for Abraham while they were courting and continued the tradition after their marriage. Reportedly, Mary Todd Lincoln’s White Cake was her husband’s favorite sweet treat.

The recipe survives to this day. Here it is. (Instructions in parentheses are modernizations.)

ChristmasBundtCake

image by Betsy Weber; used with permission (click cake to visit her online)

Mary Todd Lincoln’s White Cake

  • Six egg whites
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup butter at room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup blanched almonds, chopped (in a food processor or blender) to resemble coarse flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

(Preheat oven to 350 degrees.)

Grease and flour a (10- to 12-cup Bundt) pan.

In a medium bowl, beat egg whites (with a mixer on medium-high speed) until stiff (about 4 minutes). Set aside.

In a separate medium bowl, sift together flour and baking powder three times. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar (with mixer on medium speed) until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Add flour mixture alternately with the milk, beating well after each addition. Stir in the almonds.

Stir in the vanilla, then fold beaten egg whites into the batter until just combined.

Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake about 1 hour (until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean).

Let cake cool in pan about 15 minutes, then remove (to wire rack) and let cool another hour before dusting with confectioners’ sugar.

 

Allow me to be frank: This cake is a lot of trouble to make, but the result is worth every bit of effort. It’s now part of my family’s tradition, as well.

May your family’s traditions bring you peace and joy that follows you through the coming year.

 

Sin City, Cowboys and Cupcakes by Charlene Sands

I set REDEEMING the CEO COWBOY primarily in Reno, Nevada because it’s an extension of The Slades of Sunset Ranch Series and my hero Casey Thomas, is the CEO of Sentinel Construction from the Lake Tahoe area.  Casey was born and raised in Reno and he’s come back to expand the business in his hometown.   Well, that’s only one of the reasons…Susanna Hart has a little to do with the other reasons.

Reno was known in earlier days as “Sin City”, gaining its name and reputation for underground gambling and prostitution.  After gold was discovered Virginia City, Charles Fuller decided to construct a bridge over the Truckee River charging a toll to cross, but the bridge wasn’t sturdy enough and his venture failed. Right before the Central Pacific Railroad came through the area, Myron Lake bought the bridge and land surrounding the area.  The sturdier bridge he had constructed soon became known as Lake’s Crossing.  In 1868 Lake’s Crossing was renamed Reno after Civil War hero, General Jesse Reno.reno arch

Reno became an important freight and passenger center. In 1928, the Reno City Council decided “Sin City” wouldn’t do, they needed a new slogan for their town and started a “motto” competition.  The winner received $100.00 and the new slogan and now famous arch that hovers over the main street in town reads: The Biggest Little City in the World!

 

Susanna Hart owns a home-based business, Sweet Susie’s Pastries and More in Reno, Nevada.   Here’s one of her  recipes!

Rocky Road Chocolate Muffins (credit to Cupcakes Made Simple)

rocky road chocolate muffin

6 TBSP sunflower oil OR 6 TSP butter, melted and cooled

1 ½ cup all purpose flour

2 ounces unsweetened cocoa

Pinch of salt

1 TBSP baking powder

½ Cup super fine sugar

½ Cup white chocolate chips

1 ¼ ounces white mini-marshmallows cut in half

2 eggs

I Cup of milk

Grease a 12 hole muffin pan.  Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Stir in sugar, white chocolate chips and marshmallows.

Beat eggs in large bowl, add milk and oil and beat gently.  Make a well with dry ingredients and add in beaten liquid ingredients.  Stir gently until just combined. Spoon batter into muffin pans.

Bake in pre-heated oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.  Let cool in pan for 5 minutes.  Enjoy!

 

Romantic Times Book Reviews: Sands continues the Slades of Sunset Ranch series with a heartfelt story, three-dimensional characters and a storyline that flows with relative ease. This is a SURE BET! Reviewed by: Susannah Balch

 

RTCCAMAZON  

REDEEMING THE CEO COWBOY is available for pre-order and in bookstores August 1st.

Ten years ago = ancient history…right?

So what if former rodeo champion turned construction mogul Casey Thomas is back…living right next door? Susanna Hart is busy running her Sweet Susie’s pastry business and raising her two-year-old cousin. Why pay any attention to the man who took her virginity ten years ago, then left town?

Casey still feels guilty for taking advantage of his little sister’s best friend. A helping hand is just what her business—and his conscience—need. But guilt isn’t his only motivation. Casey’s got a sweet tooth for Susie. And the more she resists, the sweeter it gets!

Do you have a favorite muffin or cupcake recipe?  How would you feel about your EX- moving in next door?  Have you ever been to Reno or Lake Tahoe? Impressions?  I’d love to hear from you!  

Post a comment to any or all of these questions and a random blogger will be drawn over the weekend to win a $10.00 Amazon or BN Gift Card! 

 

Cheryl St.John: Those Church Ladies & Their Marvelous Cookbooks

I have a thing for cookbooks. And especially church cookbooks. And especially especially old ones. Those church ladies have always been able to cook, haven”t they? I also have a thing for interesting tidbits of American history and enjoy learning how things were done and imagining the people. In the 80s I participated in putting together a church cookbook, and I bought enough copies so that my daughter”s could all have one once they were married. The recipes have become such family favorites that they are staples at gatherings and even weekday meals. One of my daughters wore hers completely put until it fell apart.


Years ago a friend from a writer’s listserv sent me a copy of a cookbook her grandmother had given her. Little did she know that all these years and books later, I would still be gleaning helpful tidbits from a booklet titled COOK BOOK compiled by THE LADIES of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Eureka Kansas, 1896.

making scones

From this little gem, I have used names, recipes and tips, and created businesses for the fictional towns in my stories. Cookbooks are pieces of history, especially those put together by the women of those early towns and cities. The advertisers who paid for space and thereby funded the ladies’ project were a diverse group. Leedy’s Dry Goods and Clothing House for example boasts the lowest prices guaranteed and quality unexcelled. Their tag line: Good cooking is most appetizing on neat linens. We have them.

Chas. A. Leedy sold dry goods, boots and shoes, fancy goods, clothing, and men’s furnishing goods. I have no idea what a men’s furnishing good was, but I am confident Mr. Leedy sold only quality in that line.

Interesting that listed among the directors of the First National Bank was none other than C.A. Leedy. Seems men’s furnishings were making him a tidy profit.

1_1241462477740

H. C. Hendrick called himself a dealer in pure drugs—my how the times have changed. No one admits to being a drug dealer nowadays. H.C. sold medicines, chemicals, oils, varnishes, glass, putty, fine brushes (my husband swears a little putty and a fine brush can conceal anything; he must have descended from the Kendricks). They also sold a full and complete line of fancy toilet articles, fine stationary, choice perfumes, books, dye stuffs and all other articles usually kept in a first class Drug Store. Prescriptions were accurately compounded.

Then there was H.C. Zilley, dealer in hardware, stoves and tinware who sold agricultural implements and wagons, with sidelines of furniture and undertaking. Why not get into the undertaking business? He already had the shovel and wagon.

Lewis’ Art Studio did photography in all its branches; proofs are shown and all work guaranteed. VIEWING A SPECIALTY. I don’t know what that means either, I’m just telling you how their ad reads. YOUR PATRONAGE SOLICITED. Those printers liked their capitals, and they had all kinds of fancy fonts. This place was opposite the courthouse, FYI.

1874Now, Frank B. Gregg, he sold Fire,…Lightning and Tornado… Insurance – and he liked effusive punctuation. Okay, this was Kansas, so that tornado insurance probably came in handy. Suppose Aunty Em took out a policy with Frank?

A.Frazer’s Transfer and Bus Line: Meets all Trains, All Calls Carefully Attended

Your guess is as good as mine here.

Miss Nellie Smith was pianist, teacher of piano and organ and a pupil of Rudolf King, Kansas City. Her terms were moderate.

W.W. Morris was another dealer in pure drugs and medicines. Also advertised were paints, oils, varnishes school andmiscellaneous books, stationary, window shades, wall paper, musical merchandise, jewelry, fancy and toilet articles. “We manufacture the following specialties and guarantee them to be the BEST articles for the purposes recommended: Calla Cream, Castole,

Excelsior Compound.” They were located NO. 23 OPERA BLOCK.

The church ladies who contributed to this publication had wonderful names like Madella Smith, Eva Downard, Katie Addison, Olive Sample, Hattie Kelley, Lydia Thrall, Cornelia Newman, Mabel Mueller, Lulu Kendrick and Lizzie Bell.

eureka

A big percent of the recipes contain lard, and many of them, like biscuits and Boston brown bread, ginger cake and ginger snapsare items we could whip up in our kitchens today, with the exact ingredients and directions. Others—not so much. Like suet as an ingredient. I’ve only fed suet to the birds. And what is black mustard? It’d required to make cucumber catsup.

Another example:

Scrapple: Scrape and clean well a pig’s head as directed in pig’s head cheese, put on to boil in plenty of water, cook 4 or 5 hours, until the bones will slip readily from the meat :::are you shuddering yet?::: take out, remove meat, skim off the grease from the liquor in pot and return the chopped meat to it, season highly with salt and pepper and a little powdered sage if liked, and add corn meal till of the consistency of soft mush; cook slowly 1 hour or more, pour in pans and set in a cool place. This is nice sliced and fried for breakfast in winter and will answer in the place of meat on many occasions.

As you can see the Methodist Episcopal Church Ladies have given me plenty of material for my stories. Little did they know so long ago that their contributions and ads would

be research and fodder for imagination.

WHAT”S NEW?

My newest venture is indie publishing, and I”ve just released three of my earliest books for Kindle and Nook. It was interesting to read over the stories I wrote so long ago, and it was great to have an opportunity to tweak things and bring them more up to date.

If you have a Kindle or Nook, you can start reading any or all of them within minutes by clicking on one of these links. If you”ve already read them or plan to, I would appreciate all reviews.

Land of Dreams

For Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/awe75qd

On Nook:   http://tinyurl.com/9wctgtc

 

In this tale of hope and love, too-tall spinster Thea Coulson wants to be a mother to a child who arrives in Nebraska on an orphan train. When Booker Hayes shows up to take his niece, a marriage of convenience suits them both. Thea’s dreams are filled with the tall, dark army major, but she guards her heart. Booker’s first taste of home and hearth has him longing for more, but first he must win the hearts of both of the females in his life.

 

 

 

Saint or Sinner

For Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/b2rvcvp

On Nook:   http://tinyurl.com/ajwb3p7

 

Joshua McBride returns from the war a changed man, ready to put down roots and plant his feet in the community.  Prim and uptight Miss Adelaide Stapleton, leader of the Dorcas Society, doesn’t believe he’s changed—people are never what they seem.  But she has plenty of secrets of her own—among them the inescapable fact that Joshua sets her heart to pounding and makes her long for his disturbing kisses. How long can she keep her own past hidden—and resist temptation?

 

 

Heaven Can Wait

For Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/atmqnbz

On Nook:   http://tinyurl.com/avm23y6

Raised within the confines of a strict religious community, Lydia Beker longs for a simple touch, dreams of seeing more of the world. When handsome farmer, Jakob Neubauer and his family visit the bakery where she works, she is fascinated, but Outsiders are forbidden to her. Jakob is attracted to Lydia, as well, and she makes the difficult decision to leave everything she knows behind to marry him. He offers love and passion, but will she ever fit into his world?

Heaven Can Wait is one of the top ten January covers at http://ebookindiecovers.com/ in the Indie Cover Awards.

A “RECIPE” TO HELP HURRICANE SANDY VICTIMS

After Hurricane Sandy devastated so much of the East Coast, help began to pour in immediately. But here in the farther inland parts of the U.S., we were left wondering what we could do, other than donate money?

In times of disaster, we all wish we were able to do more. Many people don’t want to give to a nebulous charity, fearing scams of all sorts.

One of my publishers, Rebecca Vickery, came up with the idea of a recipe book. The authors that write for her three imprints were asked if they wanted to contribute recipes to go in the book. The sales from the book would go, in part, to one of two charities, which we voted on. By a large margin, Save the Children was our choice.

The book was a work of love that we all participated in, some with more than one recipe. It’s filled with quite a variety, and even though on the cover it says, “Featuring favorite holiday recipes by various authors”, I promise there are several in this book that I will be making all through the year.  Who can wait for the holidays to have some of these scrumptious treats?

I’m sharing my contributions with you today, but there are plenty more where this came from in this little gem of a book—many of them easy and geared for our hectic lifestyles.

I can certainly vouch for the two below—Blonde Brownies has been a staple in our family since I was born. It was on a “Brownie” recipe sheet when both of my sisters belonged to a troop, and my mom was a leader. This recipe is one of those that doesn’t last long around our house—the ingredients are items you usually keep stocked, and it’s easy to make. Same with the Hello Dolly Bars.

I’m giving away a copy of our AUTHORS IN THE KITCHEN cookbook today—just leave a comment to be entered in the drawing. If you can’t wait to see if you won, here’s the link!

http://www.amazon.com/Authors-Kitchen-Rebecca-J-Vickery/dp/1481179225/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1358885661&sr=1-1&keywords=authors+in+the+kitchen

I hope you enjoy!

BLONDE BROWNIES

4 eggs

1 tsp. Vanilla

1½  cups flour

2 ½  cups brown sugar

½ tsp. salt

1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

½  cup (OR MORE!) choc. Chips

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Beat eggs well. Add brown sugar gradually, beating until well mixed. Add vanilla, flour, salt and mix well. Add chopped nuts and mix. Pour into a greased, 9×13 pan and sprinkle chocolate chips over top of the batter. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes (depending on your oven). This makes a 9×13 pan of brownies. You can half this recipe for an 8×8 pan, and reduce cooking time to 25 minutes.

 

HELLO DOLLY BARS

½ cup butter

1 ½  cup graham cracker crumbs

1 six oz. package chocolate chips (I always add extra!)

1 can Eagle Brand milk (sweetened condensed milk)

1 1/3  cups shredded coconut

1 cup chopped nuts

Pour melted butter into a 9×13 pan. Cover evenly with the following: graham cracker crumbs (press down to soak up the butter), nuts, chocolate chips, coconut. Pour milk on top. Bake at 350 F. until lightly brown or chips have melted (about 25 minutes). Cool before cutting.

(You can also add some butterscotch chips along with the chocolate chips for variation.)

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/cherylpierson

Fresh From the Garden…or Crock Pot

I kept trying to think of a topic to write about and was coming up blank. During all this scouring of my brain, I was in the process of cooking one of my favourite summer meals: Hodge Podge. And then it clicked! I”ll do a recipe post, I told myself, and give the P&P readers two of my favourites! Problem solved!

Except both of these recipes aren”t actually written down anywhere. I just add whatever amounts seem right. So bear with me – the good news is you really can”t screw either of these up if you get a little too much of anything.

The first one is for Hodge Podge, or what some people call Poor Man”s Stew (because it doesn”t have any meat). We always just called it Beans, Peas and Potatoes and we only had it when the garden was on. Creative bunch, our family.  And you MUST have it with fresh bread. The nice, soft, white kind like your Grandmother used to make. Ready?

HODGE PODGE

Approx 4-6 cups green or yellow wax beans, FRESH, stemmed and cut into <1 inch pieces

Approx 3 cups shelled peas (again, FRESH)

Six good sized new potatoes

Butter

Milk AND cream

Salt and Pepper

Prepare beans, wash, then put to boil in a large pot. Make sure you have enough water to cook ALL ingredients, not just the beans.

After they come to a boil, cook approximately ten minutes, then add peas.

Cook another ten minutes and add potatoes. Cook until potatoes are tender. Drain.

Add: a knob of butter (you can use margarine, but real butter is AWESOME), and begin with 1 cup of milk (we drink 1%, so that”s what we use) and 1 cup of cream (we use 5% fat cream in our coffee, so we use that, but a richer 10% or so is better). Use as much milk/cream as it takes to make it as wet as a stew but not brothy like a soup. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with that fab bread and butter, which is particularly good for sopping up the salty milk at the bottom of the bowl.

And my other go-to recipe in the summer, especially for feeding a crowd. Our favourite thing to serve it with is fresh coleslaw or a tossed salad.

EASY PULLED PORK

One 2-3 pound pork shoulder or butt  (You can use a leaner loin roast but it won”t shred as easily)

Water

Steak spice

Garlic

Salt and pepper

1 bottle of your favourite barbecue sauce (we use one that is called Kansas City Barbeque, which is very dark and rich)

Put the roast in your crock pot, and add about 1 inch of water. Sprinkle roast with a little steak spice, 1 clove of fresh garlic (or equivalent of dried/minced), and a little salt and pepper. Let simmer 6 hours.

Remove roast to a large bowl (a bowl keeps the juices in) and drain most of the broth out of the crock pot (you don”t want this too watery!). Using 2 forks, shred the pork. Put back in the crock pot and pour in the sauce. Stir it in and then let cook another hour in the sauce.

Serve on your favourite bun – we like whole wheat kaiser rolls just lightly toasted. We”ve doubled this recipe and it fed nine hungry people (including teenagers, who eat like nematodes).

 

Cheryl St.John’s No Fail, Quick and Easy Quiche

Well, it’s the day after the Fourth. We’re all cleaning our driveways and bearing up under the heat. I’m always looking for something quick and easy, yet home made, to fix on a holiday or a weekend. I created this one because so many of us love hash browns, and I love a good quiche.


No Fail, Quick and Easy Quiche

I was hungry for quiche, but wanted to make it fast, so I came up with this idea. This recipe is so versatile, you can’t mess it up. You may substitute or add ingredients to your liking. It’s quick because instead of a pastry crust, I use hash browns.

30 oz bag Mr. Dell’s frozen shredded hash browns, thawed

½ cup (I stick) butter or margarine, melted

salt and pepper

1 thinly sliced small onion or 2 Tbsp dried onion flakes

5 cups fresh chopped baby spinach leaves

8 oz bag shredded Mexican-style cheddar jack cheese

14 eggs

1 1/3 cups milk

2 cups sour cream (optional)

1 21 oz pkg ready to eat bacon or fry 12-15 slices.

Chopped or cut into small pieces with scissors

substitutes for bacon:

Canadian bacon, chopped ham, turkey

– about ¾ cup for each dish

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Spray or butter two quiche dishes or two 9” glass pie plates.

Divide hash browns in half and press onto the bottom and sides of the dishes. The bottom of a sprayed glass or jar will help. Don’t leave any hash browns above the edge of the dish or they’ll brown too quickly and burn when you bake the entire quiche.

Drizzle with melted butter; spread butter to sides with a spoon.

Season with salt and pepper.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Whisk eggs. Add milk.

When crust is baked, spread half the sour cream onto each crust. Spread half the spinach in each dish.

Top with cheese and chopped bacon.

Pour egg mixture evenly over the layers.

Press down any ingredients that aren’t covered until egg mixture is above.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes.

Let stand about 5 minutes before slicing.

Serve with a side vegetable or a fruit, such as melon and grapes.

You can make these quiches ahead, serve the next day, and they are equally delicious.

You can also make each one different, such as one bacon and one turkey and add Parmesan to one. Exchange the spinach for steamed broccoli if you prefer.

Let me know if you try it!

Updated: July 4, 2012 — 11:03 pm

Dessert Week with the Fillies — Day Two

  

Home on the Range Christmas Cookies

By Victoria Bylin

 

3/4 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking power
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 c. oatmeal (regular not instant or steel cut)
1 c. Rice Krispies
1/2 can shredded coconut (3 oz or so)
1 small bag chocolate chips
1/2  large box raisins
1/4  lb. walnuts
 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cream butter and sugar and vanilla. Add beaten eggs. Cream well. Add dry ingredients (sugar, brown sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt). Mix well. Add coconut, chocolate chips and nuts.  Flatten into small cookies with wet hands.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Makes approx. 8 dozen cookies.

 

Grandma Rosa’s Caramel Cookies

By Tracy Garrett

 

Since my Grandma Rosa played an important part in my first western historical, I thought I’d share one of her recipes with you. Every Christmas you would find some of these in Grandma’s freezer.

4 cups dark brown sugar
1 cup shortening
6 cups flour
4 eggs
1/4 cup molasses
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cream of tartar
8 tablespoons water
1/4 tsp salt 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Cream sugar and shortening. Add eggs, slightly beaten, and  molasses and mix well. Add dry. Mix well. The dough will be very stiff. Form dough into two 2-inch rolls. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill overnight in the refrigerator. Slice thin and bake for 10-12 minutes. 

Grandma’s recipe calls for a “very slow” oven, which is 275-325 degrees. If your oven runs hot, go for a lower setting.

COWPOKE CORNBREAD

4 Teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup sugar

1/2  cup sifted all-purpose flour

1 cup yellow cornmeal

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1/4 cup shortening

Sift flour with sugar, baking powder, and salt; stir in cornmeal.  Add eggs, milk, and shortening.  Beat with rotary or electric beater till just smooth. (DO NOT OVERBEAT.) Pour into greased 9x9x2-inch pan.  Bake at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Butter and serve warm.  Good with soups, chili, beans–ANYTHING.

Corn Sticks:  Spoon batter into greased corn-stick pans, filling 2/3 full. Bake in 425 degree oven 12-15 minutes.

Corn Cakes: pour onto hot griddle as you would pancake batter.

You can also use a cast iron skillet.  My grandmother used to pour a small amount of oil in the bottom of a cast iron skillet, heat it in the oven, then when it began to smoke, pour the batter into it.  It will bubble up around the edges, and this makes it “crusty” on the bottom and sides.  Then put it into the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes or so. If you do this, make this easy substitution: rather that using 1/4 cup of shortening, use 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in the batter, and 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in the bottom of the cast iron skillet when you heat it.  This is equivalent to 1/4 cup of shortening. 

(My mom used to break up leftover cornbread into a glass of milk for a treat and eat it with a spoon. This was a habit from when she was growing up–in her large family, their “dessert.”)

To comment on Stacey Kayne’s recipe, click here.

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