Makin’ relish

I haven’t had much time to cook-through my recipe book lately to keep up with my cook-through challenge.  Summer has become a busy time for us.

Now it’s relish makin’ time.  Zucchini Relish to be exact.  This is so simple to make and the best tastin’ relish.  I’m using our own home grown zucchini and onions but I had to buy the peppers since ours aren’t ready yet.

I’ve been making this relish since 2015 from the Ball Blue Book.

 

The veggies are sitting in salt water for now.  In a couple of hours they will be ready to be cooked with the vinegar and spices for canning.

We are having a better year with our garden compared to 2016 and have been preserving many things.  We will be very busy when our tomatoes begin to ripen.  We have 6 Roma tomato plants and plan to can a lot of them.  We also have 4 others for eating and they are all growing quite well along with everything else.

I hope to find time soon to make some new recipes for the cook-through challenge.  As I said in the beginning we will make as many recipes from our books as time allows.  And summer isn’t allowing me much time for that!

 Happy summer!

The Chaotic Cooking-Through Challenge: Month Three

I hope that you found the challenge of chicken and beef recipes exciting and made some yummy food last month!

For July lets dig through our books for some yummy

Appetizers and Beverages

I encourage you to have fun, take photos, share your food with others and link your blog posts back to this post on my site so that we all can see what you are making and enjoying.  It is not a requirement to have a blog to join-in on this.   I’d love to see your comments though if you are participating.

I know that you will find satisfaction in various ways by choosing your own ingredients and creating healthy dishes in your own kitchen.  A good home-cooked meal is always a great centerpiece at any gathering and shows your feelings towards others. 🙂

(To read more detailed information concerning the cook-through challenge please go to this link: Chaotic Cooking-Through Challenge)

Happy Cooking!!

🙂

Easy Homemade Rice Pilaf

I enjoy various flavored rice and Rice Pilaf is one of them.

I have found a quick, easy and tasty way to make a homemade Rice Pilaf which tastes much like one of those packs found in the store.  I have the ingredients on hand and you probably do too.

Ingredients

long-grain rice (not quick cooking); I love Uncle Ben’s because it tastes great and cooks perfectly every time!

chicken bouillon cubes (or another flavor you enjoy)

Directions

Mix together the ingredients needed as stated on the box of the rice and for each cup of water add one bouillon cube to the pot

Cook your rice as stated on the box and your bouillon cubes will dissolve and flavor your rice

My husband doesn’t like white rice unflavored but he loves this one since I’ve begun making it this way.  It has great flavor and you can always add any other ingredients which you enjoy.  We both think this tastes like the packs of Rice Pilaf with flavorings that we were buying.

Enjoy!

Chaotic Cooking-Through Challenge : My Homemade BBQ Sauce

To kick off month two I will share my homemade BBQ sauce recipe which was inspired by the BBQ sauce recipe listed in the Poultry section of the Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook which I’m cooking-through.

Last week we had grilled chicken and I made this sauce so I have some photos to share.

A couple summers ago my husband was grilling chicken and asked me for some BBQ sauce to put on it near the end of the grilling time.  I looked in my fridge and found a bottle of some old out-dated sauce.  I had been seeing various recipes to make homemade sauce and while watching those cooking shows about BBQs in the South I wanted to try my hand at creating my own.  Some people love dry-rubs for meats and others love a sauce.  I like both as long as the food is tasty.  🙂  I pulled out my trusty BHG cookbook and another recipe or two which I had clipped from somewhere and compared recipes for homemade BBQ sauce.  I have created my signature BBQ sauce from the inspiration of BHG cookbook’s recipe and another recipe and since that day I haven’t bought BBQ sauce.  This doesn’t make a lot of sauce (approx 3/4 cup) and it is always perfect for chicken, burgers, deer chipped-steak or anything else tasty.  (You could double or triple the recipe as needed for your needs too)

In a small saucepan stir together the following:

Ingredients

1/2 cup ketchup

3 Tbsp brown sugar

1 Tbsp mustard

1 Tbsp water

1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce

1/4 tsp granulated garlic or garlic powder

1 tsp liquid smoke (I use Hickory liquid smoke)

Directions

Cook on the stove on a low to medium heat and stir as needed for 2-5 minutes.  Do not boil.

Now your sauce is ready for whatever you want to add some pizzazz to.

Enjoy!

 

 

The Chaotic Cooking-Through Challenge: Month Two

Month One was fun with salads and salad dressings and I hope you are enjoying this opportunity to create some new foods for those you love.  I know that I have found some “keeper” recipes which I will add to my rotation of foods.

For Month Two the categories are:

any Chicken or Beef recipes

or make them meatless if you are vegetarian

I challenge you to look through your book for recipes which fall into the above category and make as many as you want too.

I encourage you to have fun, take photos, share your food with others and link your blog posts back to this post on my site so that we all can see what you are making and enjoying.  It is not a requirement to have a blog to join-in on this.   I’d love to see your comments though if you are participating.

I know that you will find satisfaction in various ways by choosing your own ingredients and creating healthy dishes in your own kitchen.  A good home-cooked meal is always a great centerpiece at any gathering and shows your feelings towards others. 🙂

(To read more detailed information concerning the cook-through challenge please go to this link: Chaotic Cooking-Through Challenge)

Happy Cooking!!

🙂

Knitting time

I couldn’t stand it any longer.  After a two month break from playing with yarn I just had to pick up the needles again.  I’ve been occupied with Ravelry again versus my blog.  Here’s my latest project (almost finished!)…

I’ve been thinking about giving this cowl as a gift.

And I’ve been drooling over so many other patterns for my next knit project!

Don’t worry…tomorrow is June 1st and in a few short hours the cooking-through challenge category will be revealed… 🤔

God is talking to me but my husband’s not listening

I said those words to my husband the other day; he laughed.

I went to the local library to pick up a few things including a book titled Back to Basics.  As I reached to grab the book from the shelf another book fell onto the floor right at my feet.

I had a really bad day at the office and the desire to quit my job was so strong.  For several years now I’ve really wanted to stay at home and not have a job other then tending to things at home.  This book is so very appropriate for that and I felt that God was trying to tell me to follow the yearnings of my old soul (because I’ve really been praying for some help in recent months).  My husband just doesn’t understand and most others don’t either.  It is a feeling that you have deep down in your soul for the desire to be at home.  To tend to things there and to find fulfillment for yourself.

I grew up in a rural community on a farm and spent summers at home and going to town on my bicycle.  I really wanted to see the world and to have a fulfilling job.  Now as an adult I just want to go back to the simplistic domestic life.  It is difficult, even without children, to have a full time office job in a city 35 miles from home and to balance home life with that.  I never in my life wanted to take care of my home as I do now.  And I know it also means that I really need to take care of myself because I’m really burned out.  There is no fulfillment for me in a job outside of the home anymore.  I know that the daily commute and anxiety and stress of that commute as well as the job has really taken its toll on me.

I’ve decided to take a little vacation this week and get away from the job and be at home to recharge myself and find some happy.  Last evening I began reading this book and it screams to me to follow my soul’s desires.  Selling that to my husband just doesn’t seem to be working though (and I’ve been trying for several years).  I’ve even thought of ways to make money to sustain us a bit.  I thought of selling photography, knitted and crocheted items on Etsy but after reading books about those ventures I’m not sure.  And if you look on the world wide web it seems like everyone is doing it and competition is fierce.  So since those things don’t seem to be working in my favor maybe it’s a sign to just stay at home, be me and find some happy.

Even the photo on the front reminds me of me.  I love to knit and cook and bake and I wear my glasses when I’m at home.  It was meant to be for me to read.  As I read through this book I will know a bit more about whether it is what I truly should be doing for myself to survive.

Dreaming about cookies!

I recently acquired these two cookie books…

And all I’ve been able to do is dream about cookies.

I’ve been making more cookies lately (just the standards which I love so much) and I Love, Love, Love what Betty says in her Picture Cook Book about them:

I don’t have a proper old-fashioned cookie jar but I do like having cookies in an air-tight container on my kitchen counter (as I do now).

So I couldn’t help myself when I learned about Betty’s vintage cooky book.  I was drawn to it immediately and searched for one online; a used one, of course.

This Betty Crocker Cooky Book is from 1963 (First Edition First Printing) and it looks like new.  I don’t know if the price sticker on the front is from 1963 though.  The cover with all of the cookies just draws you to this book and there are many recipes inside.

This Woman’s Day Cookie Cook Book is from 1963, Third Printing.

It only cost 75 cents back when it was sold in ’63 which is such a bargain by today’s standards.

I’m guessing that many housewives in the 1960’s were very busy baking cookies once they retained one or both of these publications.  I can only imagine how magical Christmas must have been back in that time with so many cookies coming out of mom’s oven.  They can really make a home so warm and inviting especially when the smells are floating through the house as they are baking.  Ah…such great memories!!

What cookies do you enjoy making and keeping in your home?  Do you have a proper old-fashioned cookie jar full of cookies all of the time?  Please share some of your cookie memories with me.

Chocolate chip are my most-favorite cookies and I love using milk chocolate and dark chocolate chips versus the semi-sweet; and I must use butter in the recipe!  I’ve been addicted to the Nestle brand of chips because the chocolate content is better than Hershey’s (in my opinion the taste is so much better) and European chocolate is the best over anything because their number one ingredient is almost always chocolate (cocoa) versus sugar.  Do you look at the ingredients listed on your chocolate chips?  When you see sugar listed first you will find that the taste is just not as good as those which have the cocoa ingredients first.

(On a side-note, I love European chocolate over the American chocolate.  If you haven’t tried any European chocolate you’re missing out on something very extraordinary in taste and quality.  It seems like sugar has become the number one ingredient in all chocolate made in America anymore and the cocoa content is minimal.)

So many cookies…

so little time…

The Order of Patrons of Husbandry a/k/a The Grange

You may have heard of The Grange.  You may even be a member or your family was active in their local Grange many years ago.  It doesn’t seem to be an active organization where I live anymore but they still do exist.

As a youth I had heard of the Grange but wasn’t really aware of all that they did in our country’s history and more importantly I didn’t know that they were such an important organization for the many rural families of our country.  I think that they were such an important agricultural type organization where the rural farm families could gather at their local building to support one another, find others with the same interests as their own as well as share food and fellowship with one another.  I seem to remember reading that many rural families during World War 2 would gather there to home-can foods together and share equipment.  That must have been such a fun and wonderful time; don’t you think?

What really peaked my interest in knowing about them is this recipe book.

This book had been my Grandmother’s.

It is evident as I look through that all recipes are from Grange members.

It lost its covers and some pages are missing as well.  As you can see my brother was hired by my Grandmother to make a new cover for it. 🙂

As I was on my journey to bake through all of the Pumpkin Pie recipes in my possession to find the one which I fell in love with first, my Grandmother’s, I had looked at the ones in this book.  You can read all about my Pumpkin Pie adventures in this post: Eating Our Way Through Autumn; One Pumpkin Pie at a Time.

But as I was reading all of the members’ organization names and county names I began to realize that this particular cookbook wasn’t from the Pennsylvania Grange.  So I began my journey through the world wide web to determine where it could be from.  Lo and behold, somewhere I found a photo of a page of recipes in a Grange cookbook which was being sold on the internet (possibly Amazon) and I compared that page to my book.  Fortunately the page on the internet was in existence in my Grange cookbook.  I finally found the one which my Grandmother used so much and it is the one titled Ohio State Grange Cook Book which is from 1970 (with red spiral bound plastic).

As you can see in the top photo there are a lot of stains and I believe the book became wet somewhere along the way because of the big stains on the top of most of the pages.  Pies were something which my Grandmother often made; she was a great baker and loved to bake all of the time.  The photo above has the Pumpkin Pie recipes on the right page.  I made one of them but I still can’t seem to find the right mixture of ingredients for the pie which she always made unless I’m not remembering the taste correctly.

But onto the cookbooks again…

After determining which Grange this book is from I began to wonder why she had this particular one since we live in Pennsylvania (although Ohio is our neighbor) and, of course, how did she get an Ohio Grange Book??  From what I recall, her one brother (my Great-Uncle) would visit family in Ohio.  I don’t remember if they were my Grandmother’s family too or if they were my Great-Uncle’s wife’s family in Ohio.  But I have seen photos of him visiting a cemetery of family members in Ohio.  So I guess it’s possible that the Grange cookbook found its way from their through that route.  I just don’t know.  I was just so happy to finally learn which Grange this book had come from.  And apparently it was well-loved by my Grandmother.

About two summers ago I had been at a flea market and came across a woman who was selling her late mother-in-law’s things.  They were going to move into the home but there was just so much stuff.  She was telling me information since I was interested in her cookbooks which she was selling.  I bought 3 of them.  Two were vintage Better Homes and Garden cookbooks which I discussed in the post about my collection and one of them was this Grange cookbook.

After reading through this amazing collection of vintage recipes I was so excited to have found such a treasure for what I seem to remember to be only 25 or 75 cents!!!  This book contains so many rare and old recipes which you are not going to find in too many other places.

There is a section containing recipes from various noted individuals in Washington, D.C. of the time (1976) including…..

There are various recipes in the book which claim to have been served to President George Washington in the White House too!
There is even a section titled Special Diabetic Recipes.  I find that unusual for a cookbook published in 1976 and yet so fascinating, especially for a Grange cookbook.  Those Grange members were sure concerned for their members’ health and well being and made sure to include those types of recipes in their Bicentennial Cookbook.  The only recipe which we’ve made so far was the Pennsylvania Dutch Mustard recipe which it says is over 100 years old.  It was a disaster and my husband and I proclaim to never eat any others then French’s!  It smelled horrible and the taste was horrific!  Needless to say it was dumped out.  At least we can say we tried; can’t we?!

But due to these two Grange cookbooks I  began to look at other various used Pennsylvania (PA) Grange cookbooks on the internet; Amazon mostly.  That’s where I tend to visit for used cookbooks, by the way.

I started reading reviews about what appears to be the most-loved of all PA Grange cookbooks.  The one originally published in 1972.  You can buy reprints of this book but I seem to remember to have read some reviews somewhere that stated some recipes are missing from the reprints.  That is one of the main reasons I don’t like buying a reprint.  Too often they are missing items/recipes from the original publication.  So off I began my search for a used one on Amazon for a descent price.  I received an Amazon gift card last year from someone who told me to ‘treat myself’ so I decided to use it towards the purchase of two PA used State Grange Cookbooks.

Here is the 1972 book which claims to be the best loved version of all of the ones which the PA Grange has sold.

And this one is from 1950 even though there is no date on the inside.

I am satisfied with my PA Grange collection of cookbooks.  But most importantly, I have finally determined which one my Grandmother loved the most.

Now if I only could go back in time and watch her make the best Pumpkin Pie ever (and get the recipe)!!!!!

I hope that when I get to Heaven she’ll have one waiting for me as well as a big bowl of her delicious Rivel Soup!

Chaotic Cooking-Through Challenge : Creamy Parmesan Salad Dressing

I decided to make another salad dressing because we are busy eating salads right now since lettuce is fresh in our garden.

My second recipe is a variation of a Creamy Italian Dressing by changing it up a bit to become a Creamy Parmesan Dressing.

Here are the ingredients which I used in my recipe.

I was unable to find the recipe that I used on the BHG website to provide a link for you.  But if you search online you can find various recipes.

I made notations in my book and plan to make this again since we like this one.  It tastes much like one from that famous company who sells their Buttermilk dressings.

🙂

Italian Sausage Vegetable Soup

On a recent cool, damp and rain-all-day Saturday I threw together my Italian Sausage Vegetable Soup to simmer all day in the crockpot and I made a wonderful bread to go along with it as well as a salad.  I posted my recipe once before but wanted to share it with you again as well as give you a few photos.

Italian Sausage Vegetable Soup

Take approximately 1 pound of Italian Sausage and boil in water until it is cooked (you may want to put a few knife holes in each piece so that it will cook better).  Then take the sausage out of the water and either slice it up or take it out of the casing so that it is like ground beef pieces (or buy Italian Sausage already out of the casing) and place into a frying pan which has olive oil (or your oil of choice) heated in it and fry for a little while (until pieces are the way you like or some have browned, your choice).  When almost finished frying, add in some minced garlic and diced onion (again, your choices).  When the garlic and onion have heated for about 2-3 minutes, transfer everything to your crock pot.

To this meat mixture, add two 15-oz cans of beans/peas (I used one can of Northern Beans and one can of Black Eyed Peas; you could use whatever you like or have on hand), a quart of home-canned tomatoes (or a comparable size that you buy in the stores), carrots (as much as you want), roughly 2-3 cups of beef broth (or other broth you have or like), pinch of salt and pepper or other seasonings you prefer.  Put on high for an hour or two and then low for 6 hours.  Add in 1/4-1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning and some frozen or fresh chopped sweet peppers, frozen or fresh sliced zucchini and squash (I have frozen zucchini and squash from my garden last year).  Keep on low until ready to eat (roughly two more hours).  If you want you could add spinach or kale at some point in the recipe (I added kale near the end).

To go with the soup, I made a Cheddar Herb Bread using white sharp cheddar cheese (use a good quality cheese if you are able to) as well as dried rosemary (store bought) and my own dried parsley versus the cilantro that is mentioned as an option in the recipe; I make mine in an 8″ x 8″ square dish.  I saw this recipe once in a Better Homes & Gardens magazine and am glad I gave it a try; it is a quick and easy bread to mix together.  Here is the link to that recipe on their website: Cheddar Herb Bread.  It is a fantastic bread!  It reminds me of a rosemary bread that we received at a well-known Italian restaurant along with some dipping oils and it smells so good in the kitchen when baking. I reheated my piece in the microwave at supper time and put on some butter; yummy!

Enjoy!

My Vintage Betty Crocker Picture Cook Book, Copyright 1950

I love used vintage cookbooks from the early to mid 20th century and I’m happy with my small but ever-growing collection.  When I search online for vintage cookbooks I always narrow my results to ‘used’ books because I want a book with character.

I decided to treat myself and leave work early one day last week to go to a used-book sale at a library in the city where I work (“early bird gets the worm,” as they say).  They have two sales a year and I was there for one before but this time I was concentrating on looking through all of the cookbooks for anything vintage.  So many of the books looked rather new and appeared as if they weren’t even opened or used and only $2.00 for most books.  I found several Better Homes & Gardens cookbooks and Betty Crocker ones too.  Most were newer and not the vintage ones I enjoy but I did find a reprint of the 1950 Betty Crocker Picture Cook Book.  On the inside it states that it is a reprint of the 1950 book and I believe the reprint date was 1988 or somewhere around that time and that it includes all of the original content/recipes from the book.  I chuckled to myself as I flipped through it and recognized the pages from my original book which is the First Edition (Sixth Printing).  Also, this one had a soft cover and copies of the front and back cover of the original one and it just wasn’t the same for me (many pages seemed distorted as it was “reprinted”).

Here is my original book which I bought last year through Amazon and has the character I’m looking for in a vintage book.  It is in very good condition for its age too.  I’m not going to get into too much detail about this book in relation to the recipes and content exclusive to this cookbook because Marianne over at Happily Mrs has chosen to cook-through this book for my challenge and she will most likely be sharing much with you as she blogs about her food.  I bet you will want to buy one for yourself too! 🙂

These older cookbooks are more then just a collection of recipes.  They give us a glimpse into the home life of housewives during the time period they were written and are so valuable in that regard.  The newer cookbooks today just don’t compare to these older ones, in my opinion.  Everything which I’ve made from this book so far has been really good and a “keeper.”  I love all of the photos and how-tos included.  I’ve been successful with my white yeast breads using the recipe and photo instructions in here.

I want to share the character of my book with you which makes it so much more special.  I am thinking of myself as a safe-keeper of these older books until I pass on into the next life.  Hopefully the next person will care for these books in the same manner that I do.  They are getting more rare and difficult to find in such good condition.  But the antique business has picked up in recent years in the United States and throughout the world more people are beginning to appreciate the value of these vintage items and prices are going through-the-roof for such things.

At one time it lived here although I don’t remember if the seller who sent it to me was from this place.

As I turn the page with the above sticker I am greeted by such a wonderful dedication page.

I’m sure Hilma so enjoyed cooking with this book.  It probably brought a smile to her face every time she saw this from her friend, Sarah Fiske.

This book has a section on ‘making work easy’ with short cuts.  I wrote about this once before at this link: Unique Discovery.

This book is truly a treasure and has so much it in that I want to make as well.  If I could go back to the 1950’s and have a cookbook club I would certainly use this book and have a monthly dinner party to enjoy all of the foods. 🙂  I’ve been wondering though how much this book cost when it was published and sold in the 1950’s.  Does anyone know?  I’m very happy that I purchased this book as ‘used’ versus a reprint.  I would like to read it as a novel but I keep getting distracted or side-tracked with something in the book or something else all together.  As I type this post I am sitting here listening to Old Fashioned (Vintage) Christmas music and enjoying my trek through the mid 20th century.  If you find one of these used treasures somewhere along your travels in life just hang onto it.  There is a lot inside that you will enjoy!

Re-purposing vintage household items in my kitchen

I love to re-purpose items which I already own; in other words “make do with what I already have.”  I have made a more conscientious effort to cease bringing things into my home which I certainly do not need because to me “less is more.”

I already have quite an accumulation of many different items but I have begun to donate to a local “Good Will” store to benefit others.  I also dislike clutter in the home which truly affects your life.

In my kitchen I have re-purposed some vintage items which I already own and want to share these tips with you.

For many years now already I have used crocks to hold my kitchen cooking utensils.

I have a large crock to hold the larger ones and a smaller one to hold the smaller items in the corner of my cupboard near my stove.  We love them!

I always keeps napkins available somewhere on either the counter or table and recently I debated on what to place them in.  I had them on my table for awhile but I didn’t want that anymore and I wanted something for the counter but nothing too large or out of place.  I have many different crocks throughout the house so I took one of the smallest ones which I have, removed all of the pine cones which it was holding as decor, and washed it out.

This is quite a close-up of it and I keep this on the counter versus the table.

I also have one of my Grandmother’s vintage molds (a small one).  I honestly can’t remember if she used it for anything when she was living but I had received it.  I wanted to display it on my counter and thought what a wonderful candy dish this would be.

The kitty perched on the “tower” is actually for the side of a flower pot and I re-purposed her too!  She tends to fall off quite a bit though and land in the candy (I guess she’s hungry for some!).

When someone wants a nibble on something they can help themselves.

Before you go out and spend money on something you really don’t need to own just look through all of the stuff that you have already.  It’s all waiting to be used again!

Chaotic Cooking-Through Challenge : Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

I’m so happy I began this Challenge and chose this cookbook.

As it is now Springtime and we are enjoying more fresh salads I am excited to begin making homemade salad dressings.  They are not something which I’ve typically made unless a special dressing was needed for a homemade salad and I certainly overlooked the simplicity and ease in putting these together.

My first recipe which I’ve made is a Vinaigrette Onion Salad Dressing.

This Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook’s many recipes has variations written to “change-up” the basic recipe and I chose to add fresh spring onion (Thanks, Dad!) to mine to turn the basic Vinaigrette dressing recipe into an Onion Vinaigrette.

Here are the ingredients which I used in my recipe.  Not much to making it and I have everything in my home without having to purchase anything extra.

Because the recipes which I will be making are not my own but BHG’s and I don’t want to have any copyright violations I will provide a link in my blog post to the recipe on the BHG website, if available.  I will provide the tweaks and variations which I did to their recipe here in my blog posts.

This Basic Vinaigrette recipe is at the following link: Basic Vinaigrette

I used olive oil, dried oregano and freshly ground black pepper for the seasonings but I did not use the mustard they suggested.

The various dressing recipes in the book mention that they can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks so I only made half the recipe.  We really enjoyed it though and there is still some left.

I made sure to mark the book with the date and my instructions on ingredients/substitutions which I used.

This one’s definitely a “keeper” and I will make it again!

What all are you enjoying at your table?