My Love of Old Cookbooks – I Can’t Look Away

I love old cookbooks. Partially because I really enjoy trying new recipes, and looking through recipes made “the old way” calling for a #2 can of peaches, or lard, or what have you. And part of it is the horror. Because some of these recipes, and some of these pictures, are kind of scary. Or at the least, very kitschy.

For example:

That’s right, that chicken is essentially sculpted out of egg salad. No word on what to do if your sculpting skills aren’t up to snuff.

Sometimes the recipes don’t have pictures, but they can be just as frightening.

I guess these recipes are similar to meatloaf which uses oatmeal as the binder, but these are a little scary. Especially the 2nd one.

I don’t know, I like my pizza burgers with only about a half a can of Spam. And I can’t even imagine how you would grate the Spam.

Growing up, we at a fair amount of Jello because my dad liked it and would eat it. Mainly jello with fruit. At our house, you do not put jello with crazy stuff like carrots or celery. Or, god forbid, sour cream or mayonnaise. However, olives were not even a possibility that I had considered.

OK, this doesn’t include vegetables, but (see 3rd sentence of instructions) BUTTER MINTS with sugary/sweet marshmallows and cool whip? Oy.

Again, the fruit, not so weird, although dates or prunes would be unusual, and I don’t care for nuts in my Jello, but I REALLY don’t care for Grape Nuts in my Jello.

Spaghetti and pineapple do not belong in the same recipe together. Ever. I like pasta salad, and I like fruit salad, but….you get my drift.

I’m not sure what this is but the picture fits in well with the other recipes. If you weren’t feeling a little queasy before, perhaps you are now.

I am sure that many of these are beloved family recipes, and that many people would be horror-struck by some of our recipes (Snickers/Apple SALAD, please?), so please don’t take this a being mean spirited, just a raising of the eyebrows at some unusual tastes. And looking through those old cookbooks gives me quite a bit of enjoyment. Hmmm, I haven’t spent any time doing that lately, I may need to dig into the cookbook stash. I could do a post on just my Jello cookbooks ALONE…..

Recipe Fail and Happy Birthday to Mr. Fix-It

My evening:

I had been looking and looking and looking for a recipe I made once, it was something like “Easy Chicken Risotto” and it was not risotto that you had to stir all the time, and it had chicken chunks in it, and Ken liked it. Well, I finally found it again (it was in a cookbook, not online like I thought it was.) I made it again and neither one of us particularly cared for it. Maybe we have grown out of that stage. Ken even said it “needed something.” So I won’t be posting THAT recipe. It calls for mushrooms and of course I didn’t put those in but I don’t think even mushrooms would have made a difference.

Then I dug around for a recipe for baked donuts for Mom. She has been looking through her cookbooks and could only find ones that called for mashed potatoes. I was pretty sure I had one that I had tried at one point. I found it, even though it was filed under “bread” instead of “breakfast” but I guess donuts could go in either of those places.

Then I dug around on the internet looking for instructions for a chiming clock. I have created a  monster with my Dad, in that he now believes that I can find an manual/instructions/answers for anything on the internet. Well, apparently I can because I found the clock instructions, or at least close.

Mom and Dad have had this mantle clock for a few years, sitting on top of the refrigerator in our house (mantle? In OUR house? You silly….).  They got it at an auction because my Mom likes clocks with Roman numerals. Well, has never chimed before and now it has started chiming, very randomly from what they can tell. From the looks of the diagram I found, it looks like they may have had it turned to only chime once an hour, and set it so that it thought it was night during the day, so we will see what happens now that I had  Dad change some of the settings. Probably chime really loud all night long.

Well, I believe he can fix anything that is broken, so he can believe I can find anything on the internet. I purchased a LOVELY Princess phone on Ebay (because after all the elementary school field trips to the phone company, I thought they were Tres Elegante). It worked (dial tone) but it didn’t ring. I took it home to Dad, and NOW it rings, much to Ken’s dismay, because it lives in our bedroom and it has a very loud ring.

This is the original phone, now in full working order. See, FANCY. Also, Bruce the shark finger puppet, and his friend Norman the shark. Also, a couple of glow in the dark Virgin Marys.

This is now the 2nd phone, apparently I will collect these if given the chance. I have not tested this one to see if it works, but you know where I am taking it if it doesn’t.

He will at least attempt to fix anything I bring home, and usually successfully. Happy 77th Birthday today, Dad!  I love you!


The Newt Starts to Come Together

I think this is the somewhat final design for the Newt Quilt piece – of course, when I went to look for fabrics, things changed a bit.

The background fabrics are actually pretty close to what is pictured. The table and Twinkies and the yellow in the tapestry are far too yellow-orange, and I had to look for fabrics that were more plain yellow. (The assignment for this month is a Triadic color scheme, and I chose the primary colors of yellow, blue and red.)

Brief digression:

Ken had to go to work BOTH DAYS this weekend, so there wasn’t very much interesting cooking, just more eating of leftovers. Since he was gone on Saturday, I was feeling guilty that our mail lady had to get out of her vehicle, and walk up a little tiny path and then LEAN over the snow bank to put our mail in the box, so I decided to shovel the giant snowbank out of the way. Our jr. in high school neighbor from across the street came out and helped me after I had been working at it a while, and he made the last part go considerably faster. I will have to make him cookies. She should be able to drive up to it now. She will have to back up to get back out, but she can drive up to the mail box. Of course, on Sunday, my arms and wrists and right shoulder had a few things to say about that.

ANYWAY, as a reward for me getting that done, I went off the the quilt store (Harriet’s Treadle Arts) and got myself a hot chocolate at Starbucks on the way. I found two fabrics that I thought would be ideal for the bottom of the table and the tapestry. (I took along my drawing, but not the color wheel, big mistake.) That was almost too easy! It was too easy. When I got home, I discovered that the yellow in the checkerboard pattern for the tapestry was VERY yellow gold, and that my drawing had a lot of yellow gold in it. So, back to the drawing board.

Got some housecleaning done, some work on some “postage stamp” quilt blocks that I am doing to use up scraps, some sorting of fabric scraps into colors, and some work on my niece A’s pieced quilt. Ken didn’t get home until after midnight, and I didn’t sleep well until he got home.

He was up again Sunday morning and headed into work at 9:00. I headed out to another quilt store at about 10:00, and found some more yellow-yellows and and olive (olive is actually a tone of yellow) for the table top and twinkies, and a couple of red/yellow prints for the tapestry. The rest of the day was spent figuring that out and doing some more housecleaning. Ken got home and watched golf and did laundry, I made fajitas for dinner (meh). Got most of the fabrics I am going to use for The Newt fused and ready to go.

Of course I needed the color wheel to do some checking (I have two of them) and I couldn’t find either one. Hopefully one is in the car. I already found something this weekend that was “lost” – already can’t remember what that was, but it was in the sewing room and it was under a pile……

Important new hint: to clean your iron after you have fusible webbing/spray starch on it – iron on a dryer sheet. Wow! Yes, while the iron is still hot. I am managing to keep the iron clean this way. Ken doesn’t like surprises when he goes to iron his shirts. Also, the teflon pressing sheet for use w/fusible webbing was a very good purchase.

MaryAnne wanted to play fetch all weekend, I got out two new balls for her since she has destroyed most of her older ones, and she lost both of them already. Leo was carrying his stuffed kitten around in the middle of the night and crying because he was lonely. High maintenance weekend for cats.

So how about some gratuitous cat pictures?

Leo is mad because MaryAnne is copying him.

Being all cute for once. We used this one in our Christmas letter in 2010.

If MaryAnne isn’t getting enough attention, she rolls around on the floor like this and washes her stomach. Then she gets attention because we tell her she isn’t being ladylike.

Sew What?

This weekend I need to get started on a the newt quilt. Now that I have kind of changed my plan of attack, and am making the background at least 3 different colors, I may not need to go buy more fabric. We will see. I also need to sew my oldest niece’s pepper pants. She wanted a pair of pants with hot peppers on them, because of some fabric she found at my Mom’s house. There wasn’t enough fabric in that remnant, but I found some online. I have them cut out, just need to get them sewn together. Her family is coming out to Colorado to go skiing over Presidents’ Day weekend, so I will get the chance to have her try them on and see if they fit, will check how they fit on her sister, too, so maybe I can make her some fun pajama pants. I am envisioning them mostly as “lounge-around-the-house” pants but she has kind of an interesting fashion sense so she may wear them out of the house if her mother allows.

I had a kind of unusual fashion sense myself as a kid, (if you couldn’t tell from the improvised Wonder Woman costume). A lot of my clothes were hand-me-downs, thank goodness I had some older girl cousins. I also had a teacher in 8th grade who gave me some of her older clothes, enhancing my wardrobe greatly. I also had the ability to sew my own clothes, which was mostly where the “interesting” came in. I remember an outfit my junior year of high school, I probably sewed it over the summer for school that fall: Fuschia stirrup pants, a blue paisley shell, a purple/fuschia paisley long shirt that came down past my bottom, and then a really long blue paisley shirt that came down to just above my knees. I would combine these in various layers. I also shopped a lot in thrift stores, which I still love to do.

I was lucky enough to have a Mom who knew how to sew and who taught me. She still mends endless pairs of my Dad’s jeans, since he works outside with animals and tractors and engines all the time, he is hard on jeans. And she helps my nieces when they are out there, they are always putting on some show/production and want to sew costumes.

I haven’t sewn clothes for myself for a while. I have sewn some for the nieces/nephews, so maybe I will get back into it, and I may go on a roll with pajama pants if this 1st pair with peppers works out.

My Mom sewed our dresses and Dad and my brother’s shirts.

See that blue weather cottage on the wall behind us? That is why I had to buy one when I saw it at an antique store. The one I found is not blue, however. The quest continues.

This is the smock with the embroidered cartoon characters she made me for the 1st day of school (I have written about this one before.) Wade and Scratch the puppy also in the picture.

Something funny happened with this picture, but you can see Mom’s skirt – I had a matching one. They are still in her cedar chest. She thinks we should let the nieces play dress up with them, I think I should make them into a small quilt. We will see.

Pretty sure Mom made my night hat here – I was very into the Little House on the Prairie books at this time. Don’t remember if she sewed my nightgown or if that was a gift – if it was a gift, I am pretty sure it was from Aunt Connie. Aunt Connie, can you clear that up? Mom and I had matching nightgowns…this must have been 1976…..Anyway, I am very grateful to come from a family of women who sew – Mom, Aunt Connie, Aunt Eileen, Aunt Betty, and others I am sure I am leaving out, all contributed to MY wardrobe and my dolls’ wardrobe as I was going up, and taught me to be creative and make things for myself.

Is it Newty Enough?

I bet that very few people talk to gas pumps as much as I do. I’m sorry, but when they beep at me, I feel the need to talk back. Probably because they seem to beep excessively, with multiple beeps when only one beep would do. I am kind of reprimanding them for beeping rather than getting on with pumping gas. And they should be able to switch of the option that wants to know if you want a car wash when there are 20 inches of snow on the ground.

Here is the prototype for the next quilt. The colors will probably be a bit different, and I have consulted with an artist friend, and she thinks I need some horizontal interest in the background, instead of the triangle shaped tapestry. I will also probably make the jar taller and narrower, so the newt is right on one of the “rule of 3rds” lines.

I really like the newt’s bored expression, he looks like he is thinking, “Oh, YOU again.”

And people googling found my blog by searching for:
people laughing at table
artists who paint pictures of cakes or buns
country outhouse jigsaw puzzles

I can understand the last two, but “people laughing at table”? What did the poor table ever do?

Sewing Expo Loot

Woke up Tuesday morning to 4 more inches of snow. We were supposed to have a half inch to an inch and/or “a trace.” As I said, “they can trace my a**. (Ken insisted I put that on the blog.) I was not delighted to trudge through it to my car this morning. At least I didn’t have to shovel it, that is Ken’s area of responsibility. And there is more coming, oh joy! Oh rapture!

I attended the Sewing Expo with my friend Cathy this weekend. With my Color Theory Class in mind, I bought several fabrics that might be good for future projects. And, uh, a few other things.

That is a new cutting board. It is a little too long, but it is trimmable. It is made out of PVC, and smooths out again after you cut on it. This is one thing I wished I had purchased at the last sewing expo, and didn’t, I was glad to see them at this one.

In front of the board is a fabric painting book by Cindy Walter. I really liked her samples at her booth – and hope to take a class from her next time. To the left of the book is a bag of batik scraps to build my collection from SewBatik from Mayville, ND. He had noticed my “SDSU Jackrabbits” shirt, since he was from North Dakota. In front of book are two blue print fabrics from Fabric Junction in Sturgis, SD.  I tried to get the “from SD discount” but it didn’t work.  The blue fabrics are for (maybe) my triad color project which is due next. To the right side of the book are three red fabrics for the same project.

Next to those is my “007 Bonding Agent” kit with a pressing cloth, bonding powder, bonding glue stuff, and iron cleaning sheets. You can do all kinds of good stuff with this – it is kind of an “As seen on TV – demonstration” type product, but I think I will use this on my jeans that need to be patched and on fusible projects.

Then there are some Dy-Na-Flow fabric dyes. I have some ideas for those. I promise I will wear old clothes.

Back to the left side, laying flat on the couch, is a “mini-cakes” cookbook, which I should just probably have as a blog give-away to save myself the calories. I would hate to give away an untested product, however…

Then there is a whole stream of violet, blue, red-violet, blue, orange, yellow….those are all “gradations” fabrics that are dark at the top and really light or a totally different color at the bottom. These will also be excellent for my color class. Again from SewBatik from ND.

In front of the cookbook is a special foot for magically and effortlessly piecing curves. We will see.

Next to that, folded in triangles, are marbled fabrics from Quilters Treasure in New Hampshire. Again, for color class.

And that is a roll of very cute cat fabrics – yes, one of my “fabric collections,” next to a silicone lint roller – again, as seen on TV. We certainly go through enough of the tape ones. Ken, the head cat fur remover in the house, expressed skepticism.

At the very front are two more fabrics, a dogwood print that was just too beautiful, and a strawberry print. I seem to be collecting strawberry prints, now, too. Along with some purple prints, the cat prints, and cupcake prints. And I think there might be one more I forgot.

So, a good time was had by all, and my feet were tired, but I have many raw materials to work with now. I had several people comment on my SDSU Jackrabbits shirt and tell me they were from SD, or ND, or they had attended SDSU. South Dakota is really just one big small town. I love it.

“Just Do It My Way.” “Like I’ve Never Heard That Before.”

The title is a conversation between Ken and I as he resisted following instructions on how to put address labels and stamps on my Christmas letters. Yes, I am a little behind.

My new saying for him, from Anthony Bourdain: “Don’t look at me, you signed on for this cruise, Gilligan.”

Here are some final pictures from the snow. We ended up with about 17 inches according to the yardstick.

You might spend a lot of time playing fetch with your cat if you are snowed in.

After the 1st snowblowing. Friday about 3:00.

We got a few more inches after that.

Like 6 more inches, the driveway is pretty much snowed in again.

Not a good day to be parked outside.

Official measurement?

Snow cliff hanging off the back of the garage.

With icicles.

Well, I guess I would rather have snow than -20°.

Leo says ‘Tsup? I chillin.


Snowy Weekend Eating

Thank you to all of you who have followed me or who are reading and commenting – I enjoy your commentary!

Friday was indeed a snow day, we ended up with about 17 inches at our house by Ken’s estimate. I made us cheeseburger soup, which is a good “cold day” soup for dinner.

Recipe here: (This blog, A Year of Slow Cooking, has some excellent recipes. Also some not-so-excellent ones, which she details as well. I enjoy hearing about when somebody else’s family doesn’t like what they made…)

My adjustments: more chicken broth and a little more milk because I like a lot of broth. I did not increase the Velveeta because there was enough in there already. I did not put in the red pepper because no way Ken would eat that. I put in a little cayenne, chili powder, and oregano, just to give it some seasoning. Ken thought it was “spicy.” He also recommended the following improvements: more meat and needs bacon. See what I am working with here, folks? You can also make this recipe just on the stove top, without a slow cooker.

Saturday I went to the Sewing Expo with my friend Cathy, we met a friend of hers from her work there and oh we had a lovely time. I decided my next project for my Color Theory class will be “Still Life with Newt,” in the primary color triad, and started collecting fabrics. I want to make a large vase with a blue print fabric, and I think I found one or two that will work. I also found several other useful things. That is a whole ‘nother post.

I wore my SDSU Jackrabbits pullover, and talked people from North Dakota, Madison, SD, Sturgis, SD, and a guy who played baseball for a semester at SDSU before he totally tore his knee up playing on the cold hard ground. People from SD will usually talk to you when they see you wearing a Jackrabbits shirt – SD is one big small town. I love it.

I was wiped out after that so we had Papa Murphy’s Take and Bake, they make an excellent thin crust.

Waffles from a new recipe for breakfast, batter was too thin, I had to add a cup of flour, so I don’t recommend it. It got good reviews on my Facebook Foodie group, so I don’t know what is up. Maybe the altitude?

Lunch Sunday was Runzas. I will put the recipe at the bottom, it is long and has many of my personal notes as to how I do it differently. Ken asked if he could try to set a new record for number of Runzas consumed at one sitting, and I discouraged him from that. My Aunt Connie also made Runzas today, and my Uncle Norman said they need more filling and less bread (I can hear my Dad, his brother, saying the EXACT same thing, about other recipes – he would probably not even eat this one because of the cabbage and onions.) And he dipped his in ketchup, which is interesting, I could see mustard maybe….The recipe below also includes a cheese option, which is JUST WRONG.

Dinner:Spicy Sweet Bacon Chicken Breasts – I make these with boneless chicken breasts, usually cut in half or thirds. I base my cooking time on my meat thermometer, usually about 20-25 min. I might have been a little wild with the Cajun seasoning, because Ken also declared these to be spicy.

Runza or Bierock (Polish or German) (Also called, charmingly, in some place in Colorado, Kraut Burgers)

1 pound ground beef

1 small onion, chopped

2 c. cabbage, chopped

2 Tablespoons butter

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

1 pound frozen broad dough, thawed and raised

8 oz cheese – Jack , Cheddar, muenster, or mozarrella, sliced (Personally I consider putting cheese in runzas an abomination, but to each his own.)

Crumble and brown the ground beef in a heavy skillet. Add onions to meat and cook until they are transparent. Drain off the fat. In a separate (bigger) (I use a dutch oven) sauté cabbage in butter until just wilted. Add cabbage to the beef mixture, season with salt and pepper. (This is good enough to eat right now.)

Cut the bread dough into 8 pieces. Roll each piece in a very thin rectangle, about 6 by 7 inches (this is a huge pain.) Place about 3 Tablespoons of mean mixture on each rectangle. Add a slice of cheese, if you are so incluned. Fold the dough over the meat, pinch edges together. Seal it up well, you don’t want escapees. Place on a cookie sheet, let rise 40 to 60 minutes (or until they are good and puffy). Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 18 minutes or until browned.

Glenda’s variations: Make your own bread dough (using Speedy Dough recipe_. This is going to make more runzas, so if you have more than a pound of hamburger around, use it. I had a spare ½ pound hanging out in the freezer so I threw it in. Chop about the whole head of cabbage. Don’t chop too fine, you don’t want cole slaw here. Using the food processor makes it too small. Use 4 T. of butter, or as much as you need for the cabbage you have. With the home made dough, I pull off a piece bigger than a golf ball and smaller than a tennis ball. I flatten it out (using one of those smaller light weight disposable cutting boards works well, then the dough peels off of it) into a circle about 5” across. I put about 1/3 cup filling. This time I made a recipe that would make 2 loaves of bread, and I had filling left. So I am still working on that. I will make rolls for Christmas tomorrow, so may only make half into rolls, and use the rest to make runzas. This is a time consuming recipe and labor intensive, but I did get 18 runzas so far, and more to come. They are great frozen and then warmed up for breakfast.

Notes: The ones called Kraut burgers sometimes, but not always, actually have sour kraut in them in addition to the cabbage.

Snow day?

Denver is preparing for snowmageddon. There is nothing we like better than a big storm that we can mull over for a few days and get all dramatic about. This one sounds like it may truly BE something, but I always know that I may wake up in the morning and find a miserable dusting of snow rather than the predicted 8 to 22 inches. I am planning on working from home, I don’t care to drive to work in more than 5 inches of snow, spending more time on the road than at the office.

Pictures from Nov 2009 snowstorm (Bird bath. Looks like about 12-13 inches. We could get twice that out of this storm, or half that, who knows.)

I stopped at the grocery store, which is the same idea everyone else had. The only things that were really getting down to bare shelves that I noticed were ice cream and avocados. Oh, and Kroger brand velveeta substitute. I went with the regular Velveeta. Apparently everyone is planning on making guacamole and queso and having ice cream for dessert.

I am planning on making cheeseburger soup and runzas. There was no shortage of green cabbage, and onions were on sale, so good for me.

I asked my checker guy how long this busy-ness had been going on and he said ALL DAY. And then he said he was going to go to Costco after work and buy a very large bottle of wine. And if it didn’t snow that much, he would still have his very large bottle of wine.

Post with Topsy Turvy Tomato planter, and hanging flower basket. And snow.

The parking lot wasn’t terribly full, and I didn’t think the store was packed, but they certainly had a shortage of carts, so the checker asked me to return mine to the store after I took it to the car.

Our neighbors’ grill.

I got milk and bread, of course, isn’t that what you get at the store before a blizzard? And I thought we might be low on eggs, so I got another dozen, but that was a mistake, so now I need to do some baking AND we need to eat some eggs for breakfast. And I have bread, so we can have “soak eggs.” That is what I called eggs over easy until I was in college, I had no idea what to order at a restaurant to get soak eggs. I also might experiment with poaching eggs in my rice cooker. We will see how that goes.

AND I got powdered buttermilk, because I have waffle recipe to try.

Now, if you really want to be snowed in, you want to be at the ranch in SD, because my Mom has enough food there to feed an army for about 6 months or quite possibly more. Assuming the freezers are working. If not, there is beef on the hoof. When the zombie armageddon happens, you know where I am heading. (WordPress does not think armageddon is a word is a word if it isn’t capitalized. I talking just general armageddon, not the biblical one. I don’t think the biblical one has zombies. Well, maybe.)

So unless the big storm veers to the east, it is going to be me and the cats (and maybe even the husband) working from home. Whee! Snow day!

The Nautilus Quilt

I had my color class with the Nautilus Quilt tonight, and it went very well. We were doing analogous colors, which is a run of colors adjacent to each other on the color wheel, but only including 1 primary. So my color run was blue-green, green, yellow-green, yellow, yellow-orange, orange, orange-red, seven colors with yellow being the primary among them.

Here is the finished quilt.

The background is a very light yellow green, it doesn’t show up as well as I would like in the picture.

Here is the mama nautilus.

Baby nautilus.

Close up of the tentacles.

It was really interesting, because there were about four of us who did this same color run, and there were four TREMENDOUSLY different quilts. I put mine up and talked about it, and then another student said she used the same colors but she didn’t like hers as well as mine, and so the teacher had her put hers up next to mine. Now, obviously, it didn’t have tentacles, but it was a very nice quilt, the teacher suggested some design things she could do to make it so she would like it better, and then we had two more quilts put up on the wall with the first two, so that was a really cool way to do it.

I got good compliments on the design, the colors and the quilting. This is the most “all me” thing I have made so far, and I really really enjoyed it.

I can’t decide if I should stick to the tentacle theme now. I like making pieces that have something “out of place.” This one was out of place because quilts don’t usually have tentacles. Now, a quilt has tentacles, so I would have to do the next one putting two things together that aren’t usually together.

For example, I put this little (not complete) sketch together this afternoon. I call it “Octopus Eying Birthday Cake.”  This is the sort of thing I enjoy. So perhaps the Triadic Color Scheme project will be an octopus and a cake, or a still life with newt. I will have to think on it a bit.

One thing I noticed (as I was looking in particular at still life paintings from the National Gallery and American Gallery) is that many still life paintings have oysters in them. Why is this? An oyster would be interesting to put on a quilt, too. Of course, many of them also have dead birds and/or fish, but I don’t find that as interesting as oysters. Or newts.