The Chaotic Cooking-Through Challenge: Month Five

Welcome to month five of our cooking-through cookbook challenge.

I hope you’re having fun!

This time of year for us is when Autumn is beginning to come around and Fairs are in full swing.  Baking and comfort foods are about to take center stage in our kitchens.

So for September let us enjoy:

homemade-from-scratch cakes

This includes any frosting recipes that you may find in your book to go along with those homemade cakes you’re about to bake.

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 & Baking!!

🙂

Advertisements

Chaotic Cooking-Through Challenge : Homemade Waffles

We needed Waffles for our Chicken and Waffles so I opened my Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook which I’m cooking-through and made their recipe for Easy Waffles.  We’ve made homemade waffles before and I wanted to try another recipe. These are quick to get together and we had 12 waffles made with all that batter.  What a great tasty waffle recipe! 😊

Enjoy!

 

 

The Chaotic Cooking-Through Challenge: Month Four

We now have been cooking-through our books for three months and have enjoyed various recipes.  I have been enjoying this challenge especially since I’ve really been looking at certain sections of the book and reading various recipes which I’ve been overlooking for many years.  Even though I’m not making every recipe in my book I am actually concentrating on a particular section each month and determining which recipes to try.  I think that having a full month to actually look at certain recipes is a good thing for me.

For August I’m introducing something unique to my challenge:

*it’s a Wildcard month*

That means only one thing: you can make any recipes from the cookbook which you haven’t made so far during this challenge

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!!

🙂

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!!

🙂

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!!

🙂

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.

🙂

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!

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?

Organizing all those loose “keeper” recipes

I have several tags on WordPress.com which I frequently search through for new blogs and posts.  I’m always looking for others who have the same interests as myself and who I can connect with.  I found a post titled: How do you keep your recipes? and left a comment for Marianne regarding my method of organizing all of my loose recipes.  I read other posts she had written and I now am following her blog and she is participating in my cook-through challenge.  Inspired by my comment to that particular post on the Happily Mrs blog I want to share with all of you the method I currently use (and have used for several years) on organizing all of those recipes which my husband calls “it’s a keeper.”

In an earlier post I mentioned that I’ve kept loose recipes for years and mostly in a drawer.  I sorted through and have really scaled down what I’m keeping to make and then when I cook through all of the loose recipes we decide whether to keep or discard them.  Most times those recipes are given the thumbs up and happy face of my husband and he will say “it’s a keeper.”  Translation: “don’t discard that and make sure it’s not lost; we’re eating that again.”  That’s always a good feeling when your family really loves the food placed on the table for their nourishment.  I had begun scrapbooking several years ago but I don’t do that anymore.  I have so much scrapbooking supplies and don’t know what to do with it all.  I then went on to papercrafts and mostly made, and continue to at times, homemade cards of all types.  I have so much stationery and cards and don’t know what to do with them either, but that’s another story.  Anyway, back to the scrapbooking supplies.  When shopping with a friend and getting supplies several years ago I came across some sheets regarding recipes, kitchens, etc. and here is one of them:

I thought this was perfect for the font of a 3-ring binder which would then house my recipe collection which I would scrapbook for myself.  Don’t you think it’s perfect?  It’s got that vintage look and I absolutely love that!!

So off I was to begin scrappin’ my loose recipes which had to never get lost.  I had already bought sheet protectors to fit into a 3-ring binder; had the scrapbook paper and old-school type 12×12″ paper cutter (which by the way is so worth the price since I use it for a lot!!) and just needed a binder.

I organize the binder much like a recipe book is organized.  I have all of the same types of recipes together in the binder.  I don’t use any type of tabs to find a section quicker because I do know where recipes are located in it from all of the years of use.  Within the last year I had to begin a new binder and have moved the ‘main course’ recipes into that one while everything else is staying in the one above.  I’m sure that will change as I acquire new recipes which must be kept.  If the page of the recipe is a full sheet I typically just insert it into a sheet protector; if it is smaller I then attach it to a scrapbook sheet of paper which I cut to 8 1/2 x 11″ to fit into the sheet protector.

I have kept special recipes from family members in here as well so that they don’t get lost and I can look at their handwritten recipes as I wish.  Here is sample of one which my late Mother had given to me at my wedding shower.  It is in her handwriting and I found the most perfect scrapbook paper to attach it to.  You may notice on the side that I have inserted a label which says ‘2010.’  That was the last year which she was able to home-can food and I saved that from one of her jars as a memento as well.

My Mother in law gave me several of her family recipes and I have them together (since they are Autumn dishes) on a cool Autumn sheet with a few brads which I attached (can’t you tell that I love Autumn and everything about it?!  Even my scrapbooking supplies can tell you that!).  🙂

Sometimes I attach things using an adhesive when the complete recipes is on the front but if I must flip over the recipe card or sheet I will use photo corners so that I can do that without harm to the recipe (as above).

As I had looked through all of my Grandmother’s loose recipes I came across vintage things which she had and I don’t want to lose them either.

When I make a recipe for the first time I often will write the date and comments, including smiley face if appropriate, so that I know for the future.  I do this in my recipe books as well as including my notations concerning substitutions/additions/deletions of ingredients (see below).  I tried this recipe only last Thanksgiving for something different and others enjoyed it so I will make this again.

 For me this method is working really well.  My husband can even go to one of these binders to find a recipe if I’m not home and he will have no problems locating it.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my method of organizing the “keepers” and may even decide to try it out for yourself.

Happy Organizing!!

🙂

The Chaotic Cooking-Through Challenge: Month One

As we begin this challenge I want to say Thank You to everyone who will be joining in this food adventure.  I look forward to making more recipes from one of my favorite cookbooks which I have used for over 20 years and will share my experiences with you as I cook-through my book.  I’m sure all of us will find good recipes to add to our cooking/baking rotation.

So grab your recipe book and let’s getting cooking!!!

For Month One the category is:

Salads/Salad Dressings

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.  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!!

🙂

I’m going to cook this book

It’s become a tough decision for me.

I have so many vintage cookbooks as well as newer ones which I want to cook-through so deciding on a book for this challenge has become difficult.

But I have decided to cook-through my Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book which I acquired in the mid 1990’s.  You can read all about my love affair and collection of these cookbooks at this link: My BHG Collection

It is a book which I turn to again and again and have written all over the various recipes which I’ve already made with many notes on them concerning what I did to make them scrumptious in my kitchen.  I have begun looking through it and realized that there are still so many more recipes which I haven’t made but want to try so that is the reason I’ve chosen this book filled with over 1300 recipes.

I also have loose recipes inserted throughout and this poor thing is falling apart due to 20+ years of use but it is well loved and I do look to it for guidance on so many things while in the kitchen as well as for the tried-and-true standby recipes which I’ve made for years and which we enjoy so much.

The top cover has come away from the spine so my hubby taped it for me to at least keep it together

Most of the book is away from the spine but I keep it intact now with a rubberband!

I hope you all are looking through your books to choose the one which you will use for my fun challenge.

The first recipe category big-reveal will be posted on May 1, 2017.  Tell you friends and family; the more the merrier!

And a big THANK YOU for joining me on this fun challenge adventure!

🙂

The Chaotic Cooking-Through Challenge

I have been thinking of doing a ‘cook-through’ of one of my cookbooks.  Have you done this or been thinking of this challenge for yourself?

Recently I read some posts from a girl who is completing a challenge with a friend by cooking-through a popular cookbook.  It really sounds like a lot of fun but due to my personal circumstances it is a difficult thing for me to do with a friend.  So I was thinking of a virtual cooking-through challenge which I could do with friends from around the globe through my blog.  Many cookbook clubs or ‘cooking-through’ challenges rely on everyone cooking from the same book.  I have a bit of a twist in mind for this one.

I think that many of us have treasured cookbooks in our kitchens with so many wonderful recipes and we want to make everything in that one particular book.  It may be one handed through many generations of your family; given to you as a wedding or housewarming gift; a spur-of-the-moment purchase/gift for yourself of a cookbook from one of your favorite famous chefs; a cookbook which is geared towards including children and all family members to work together in the kitchen or maybe you want to immerse yourself into a new cuisine which has been tempting your taste buds of late.  Whatever the book, I believe that many home cooks have at least one which they treasure the most.  I have several in my vintage collection, including some previously owned by my family members who have passed on, which are always luring my eyes to their pages and wonderful old-fashioned simple, yet delicious, recipes.  My biggest issue at times is which book I would start with for a ‘cooking-through’ challenge!  🙂

Here are my ideas on this challenge which anyone can participate in.

First and foremost in this challenge – YOU choose the cook book which you would like to cook-through.  You don’t need to purchase a particular book (unless you want to) for my challenge.  I have faith that many of you who enjoy cooking may already own a book which is the first one you thought of when reading this post.  I want this to be a supportive atmosphere where we all can cook-through the book we want to (no matter the age of the printing of it or author or type of food) and yet share our experiences online via our blogs.   I know that sometimes just a little bit of encouragement and support from others is all we need to undertake and complete a challenge in our life (even if it may seem like a minor challenge to others).

On the first day of each month, for 12 months (hopefully beginning May 1, 2017), I will provide a blog post which gives a recipe category for that month.  I then challenge each of the participants who are following along to look through their book for recipes which could be included in that particular category and choose the ones to make in their own kitchen as time in their life will allow (because lets face it – we all have lives to live outside of the kitchen and away from our blogs; but we still must eat!).  You can make as many as you want to or are able to.  As you make those recipes you can blog about them on your site (photos optional but encouraged) and place a comment (with your post’s link) on, or ping back to, my monthly post on that category so others can find your posts.  If for any reason you and your family do not eat those types of foods you may also blog about the reasons why you do not partake.  There again, that is optional.

We can all support each other and give tips on recipes via blog posts and comments and discover new recipes to add to our collections.

As for the definition of ‘cooking-through’;  I let that up to you!   Each of us gets to define that for ourselves.  You may want to cook every single recipe between the covers while someone else will want to only cook a percentage of the recipes included in their book.  Or maybe you only want to cook some more recipes from a particular book with no thought to setting a goal for the amount that you will make out of that book.

You may decide to set some personal challenges for yourself.  Maybe involve the kids or just do this with your spouse or a friend.  You may want to follow the recipes exactly as written with no deviations or you may take some liberties in spices or alternative ingredients to fit into your dietary restrictions or possible food allergies.

Maybe you even want to challenge yourself to cook-through two books at once!

I let those things up to you because this should be a fun challenge for us all.

The only thing which unites us all for this challenge is that we will be cooking from the same recipe category in a particular month.

If you think you would be interested in doing this challenge please leave a comment below; or better yet, create a blog post which introduces the book you have chosen with a link to this blog post on my site.

No matter what you decide, happy cooking/baking in your little kitchen!!

Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book, First Edition from 1942

I love seeking out vintage cookbooks from the early and mid 20th century.

Last Spring while browsing through a book-corner in a farmer’s market building I found a 1942 edition (the first edition of this book) of the Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book.  I don’t recall ever seeing this cookbook before but was immediately captured by its vintage beauty and history and I knew that I had to add it to my growing collection.

The price written on the inside was a nice surprise as well!

For the age of this book it is in near perfect like-new condition with a few pages (beginning at page 653) which are away from the binding but are still included with the book.  Those pages are in the Frozen Desserts section of the book.

There were no other recipe clippings in amongst the pages, which I love to find, and I haven’t noticed any writing in the book either.   I so enjoy finding those types of things when I purchase a previously-owned vintage cookbook; it adds character to the history of that book and gives an insight into the cook who owned it before.

Recently I’ve looked on the internet to find that this book is being sold by some at prices upwards of $50.00 and so I am happy at what I consider to be a ‘steal’ of a buy.

There is so much history in these types of books.  For example, this book includes a Wartime Postscript in the front of the book which many people mention when discussing this particular cookbook.

And in the final paragraph of the ‘Foreword’ of the book you will see that there is mention of ‘our world at war.’

This is a nice bonus for me because I enjoy learning so much about the 1930’s and 1940’s War World 2 period and of the home front life as well.

I love all of the additional information which can be found in these older cookbooks apart from the hundreds of recipes included.  In fact, this book has about 2600 recipes in all as mentioned in the Introduction of the book.

Even today where would you find such a large volume of recipes with so many extras included (and a few photos to boot!)?!  It is a bit heavy to carry around but that isn’t something that I would do with this book anyway.

I don’t know if any of my family members had owned this book but I do know that the best recipes which I have ever used, and continue to use today, are those which were passed onto me from the ‘Greatest Generation’ and they are the ones which evoke the best memories which I hold so dearly to my heart.

If you have owned this book or learned to cook/bake through one of these, no matter the edition, I’d love to hear stories from you!   I also know that Woman’s Home Companion was a magazine for Women during those early years and I’ve read that some cookbooks like this one were given to Women when Encyclopedias were purchased.  I would love to know more regarding other ways that these were “sold” to American Cooks.  If you know of any stories please share.  You can read more about the magazine at Wikipedia.

Please leave comments below and thank you in advance!

Eating our way through Autumn; One Pumpkin Pie at a time.

I have always enjoyed Autumn here in Pennsylvania.

It is a beautiful time of year with colorful leaves, crisp cool air, sweatshirts to wear and festivals all around.

I also love getting back to making comfort foods and baking more in my kitchen.

For the last few years I’ve been baking through many different Pumpkin Pie recipes in my search to find the perfect one:

The first Pumpkin Pie I fell in love with.

My Grandmother’s.

I do have many of her recipes including the few cookbooks which she owned but like many of her generation, The Greatest Generation, the recipes to daily eating were kept hidden well in their memory and not written down.  I have tried many of the Pumpkin Pie recipes among her collection but I can’t seem to find the exact one which she made.  She may have used one of the written recipes which I’ve found but tweaked it a bit by adding or omitting something which I can’t seem to figure out.  I even asked my Aunt (my Grandmother’s daughter-in-law) if she had my Grandmother’s recipe.  She doesn’t but she did share the one which she has always made and it is very good as well.

One thing is certain.

My husband isn’t debating with me over all of the taste-testing which he’s been enduring through my many attempts at finding the ‘one!’ 😉

I recently purchased a blue used cookbook titled The Victory Binding of the American Woman’s Cookbook Wartime Edition.

It is a book full of recipes which use common household items found during the War time.  Nothing fancy is needed and there is a lot to be found within the covers among the nearly 1000 pages.

I have found a Pumpkin Pie recipe in there which has gotten me to the closest I think I can get to my Grandmother’s pie.  It seemed to have the appearance, taste and consistency of her Pumpkin Pie; from what I can remember anyway.

To usher in the Season and to share with you, here is the one from that book and I hope you will enjoy it this Holiday Season.

Happy Autumn!!

Ingredients

1/8 tsp salt

2/3 cup sugar

2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 2/3 cups milk

1 1/2 cups mashed cooked pumpkin

1 Pie Crust

Directions

Sift dry ingredients together and stir into eggs.  Add milk and pumpkin.  Line pie pan with crust and pour in filling.  Bake in preheated oven at 450 degrees for 10 minutes; reduce to 325 degrees and bake 35 minutes longer or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.   Cool.

Variation

Use 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg and 1/2 tsp ginger instead of pumpkin pie spice

Vintage Appliance Cookbooks

When I received my Grandmother’s cookbooks and recipes I found she had held onto several cookbooks/leaflets which were given when she purchased an appliance.  I remember them from when I was a child and would look through her cookbooks.  I didn’t realize at that time how rare and priceless they are.  Now I do.

Anytime I cruise through vintage items for sale I will look through these types of cookbooks for the unique ones which catch my eye or call to me through nostalgia.

 My husband is an International Harvester Collector so looking for anything which was made by IHC is something which we do all the time.

Here is an example of one of the cookbooks which they gave when you purchased their freezers.

20160814_110636

Did you know that?!  They made freezers as well as many other items in addition to their well-known tractors.  Quite a history behind that company alone.  It is part of our country’s history and so interesting to learn about.

GE appliances are part of my history and my family has owned many GE items; especially stoves.  My Grandmother had this among her collection:

20160814_110549

It is a little worn but still a keeper.

And who hasn’t heard about Kenmore?   Sears’ appliances were/are found in many homes and Kenmore has been a name that has been around for many years.

20160814_110505

These two are unique to me though:

 20160814_110604

20160814_110618

What do you have hiding among your vintage cookbooks?

1965 Cookie Cookbook

I purchased a vintage cookie cookbook in 2015 while cruising through a consignment shop.  The book was marked at $10.00 but I happened to be there when all cookbooks in that particular stall were 50% off and I decided to purchase it.  It has been a cool find!

The book is from 1965.  And just viewing the cover pulls you in and yet takes you back in time.

1965 cookie cookbook

As I sat down to stroll through the pages I came across many unique features and entries among them.

I love purchasing used vintage cookbooks because they tell a unique story.  There are almost always written notes among the pages and sometimes clipped recipes are used for page markers.  On the inside on the first printed page are someone’s notes marking her favorites so she would know exactly where to turn for these constant-makes.

20160814_101719

This page also tells me who published the book as well as indicating that it was from 1965 (MCMLXV).

I also found that the First Ladies of the time period had submitted their favorites.  This includes the First Lady of the White House at that time: Ms. Lyndon B. Johnson.

20160814_101824

I think that it is so cool that so many Women in Washington shared cookie recipes from their own kitchens which they made for their own families.

I had also found a recipe in the book from a woman who shares the same name as my one sister-in-law and the last name is quite unique.  I have given a copy of that page to my sister-in-law and my husband’s family found it so cool as well (and we know that it isn’t my sister-in-law who submitted that recipe since she wasn’t born until 1970 anyway!).

There were some other unique recipes which I didn’t know about until I found them in these pages.

Here is one of them:

20160814_102147

If there is anyone reading this who remembers these cookies or a story about them, I’d love to hear it.

And as this particular recipe shows you, there were notes as well on other recipes to tell you a little history about it.  I think that is a cool feature too.

There truly are over 500 cookie recipes in this little ‘gem’ which I’ve found and I’ve tried a few.  I think that once the weather gets cooler I will venture into a few more to add to my repertoire.

Happy Baking!

Unique Discovery

One think which I really love about vintage cookbooks are the unexpected and quite unique features which are often found within those pages.  There are always tips and advice which wouldn’t be found in a present-day cookbook.  I think those are indicators of a simpler time of life and the mores of society.  When reading these things it is hard to imagine that they would be tolerable or even printable in today’s society.  I find no offense when reading these things but enjoyment and often find that they are useful tools to have in my arsenal.

Here is an example of one such unique discovery which I found in my ‘Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book.’

20160402_161418

Here are “Short cuts to making work easy.”  I know this is referring to housework since many women in the 1950’s didn’t work outside of the home but who couldn’t use some of these tips today anyway?

20160402_161354

And a rhyme to enjoy!

20160402_161435

“Wear comfortable clothes and properly fitted shoes while working around the house.”

To be honest, you won’t find me wearing a dress and heels while cleaning the house. 🙂  But, I think many women may have done that in past.

In the “For personal outlook” block-I certainly don’t apply make-up, cologne and earrings before I eat breakfast! 🙂

20160402_161450

In the “If you feel tired” block-I laugh when I read that one! :OP

The middle block advice is a great one though and we should all strive to follow that to help with our personal health.

In the “If you have just a moment” block-that’s funny too!

20160402_161453

Been hearing about good posture since I was a child.

Alternate sitting and standing is always good for health and back.

“Check up on yourself” is sage advice; don’t you think?!

“Refresh your spirits” is a good one too.  

I don’t find it humorous when a cat is stuck in a tree though!

Well…some of that advice is good but some of it is just too funny to me too. 🙂  I still enjoy finding these types of things in vintage printings of the past.  It reminds me of a simpler time, in my opinion, and of a time which I really wish I could have truly experienced.