“Would Your Dad Like This?”

Saturday morning I got up, organized my grocery list and went to the store. I needed a bunch of stuff plus Zyrtec so that was an expensive visit. Canned fruit/veggies were on sale so stocked up on those, now the cupboard is so full you can hardly get in there, much less find anything. And butter was $1.99 a pound, I showed great restraint and only got 7 pounds.

Got home just in time to turn around and run to JoAnn’s and get a stick iron before my radio show started. Decided I needed the stick iron if I was going to stay sane putting my landscape fusible quilt together. It helped, but it is still a pain. If I am going to make something this large with fusible pieces again I need to figure out an easier way. It is all up and assembled on the wall, but all the pieces have fusible webbing on the back of them, and they aren’t attached to anything, just stuck up there. So I have been carefully removing pins and putting my Teflon pressing sheet behind the pieces and ironing them together. Next time I will put my batting on the wall so I can just iron the pieces right on there.

I worked on that while listening to “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” on PBS, and then it was time to make lunch. Made rolled club sandwich with some modifications. http://www.pillsbury.com/recipes/baked-club-sandwich-rounds/7e7df15c-df0b-4d36-a95d-b7bc20c7da35/. (I have posted pictures of this before, got the recipe from Sister-in-Law Kristyn and it is one of Ken’s favorites).  Pulled out the turkey I had purchased a while ago, the first time I tasted it (last week?) it didn’t taste quite right, so I tossed that. Then I looked at the two packages of turkey Ken bought about 2 weeks ago – and noticed that one of them said “Use by February 2012” – I am still training him to look at expiration dates, but come on, February?? What store doesn’t check their luncheon meat? And his other package said “April 5” but I opened it up and gave it the sniff test and it didn’t pass. Well, I had some soprasetta and uncured salami from when I was on my “meat and cheese tray” kick in March, and they were just fine. I also spread the unrolled bread with pesto to give it a little more taste. Ken isn’t wild about the pesto but I limit the amount and it is overshadowed by all the BACON and CHEESE.

Then I stirred up the Bavarian Cream Jello, as well as a pan of brownies (Hershey’s recipe from Aunt Eileen) Again, w /some modifications, I ran out of cocoa and so I shoveled in some Nestle Quik type cocoa. Ken pronounced that they tasted “Different than your Aunt’s” so I don’t know if he will eat many but I will send them to work with him or I will eat them all week (I will keep a couple for treat).

By that time I was tired and wishing for a nap, and Ken had gone to the range to hit range balls, but I was checking the TV schedule on the computer and Antiques Roadshow was on, so I substituted that for a nap, and did some embroidering as well.

Ken’s quote about my anticipated Jello-fest – “I said I’d eat plain jello, not weird stuff with s*** in it.” I told him he has to try one bite…..He asked me “Would your dad like this?” “YES!” I said, it has cherries and Jello and Cool Whip. I married someone who doesn’t like Cool Whip, I am not sure how this happened.

Ken had to stop at the grocery story on the way home because I wanted to make stroganoff for dinner but I forgot to put sour cream on the list. Of course, he needed breakfast stuff and hadn’t put that on the list, so he got that too. Put together the stroganoff (I pretty much use Paula Deen’s recipe, but put in some Worcestershire sauce for extra flavoring, and we eat it with egg noodles.) I used to just use cream of mushroom soup and sour cream, but the addition of beef broth (I just use water and “Better than Broth”) makes the gravy stretch a little longer. We both watched some of the Masters.

Here is the Jello mold “Bavarian Cream” and the recipe. I didn’t quite achieve the perfection of the picture in the Jello book but I was pretty happy with it. And it was tasty. And Ken ate it, except for the cherries and the whipped topping (once again, must be some sort of genetic defect….) Recipe and pic from the “Joys of Jello” book below.

It also got a little melty when I dipped it in the hot water to get it out of the mold. I tried warm water and that wasn’t doing it, so I went with hot, and it was too much, but hey, it did come out of the mold.

Did you know they still make Dream Whip? The box version of Cool Whip? King Soopers even has a Kroger brand version, which is good because otherwise it is kind of expensive.

Next Round of Voting

OK, now it is time to vote on a recipe. Remember, I said I was not going to pick any gross ones that even I wouldn’t eat, and or any that Ken wouldn’t eat, so that excludes a lot of the seafood ones, including “Shrimp Wiggle” which is fighteningly titled to say the least. So these aren’t very adventurous but they are vintage and interesting.

I think I made something like this for 4-H Ground Beef Cook Off one year, except you didn’t cut it into slices, it was just left in a big roll and cooked. My brother referred to it as “The Worm.” When I was practicing, making it every week to get ready for the contest: “Ugh, we have to have ‘The Worm’ again?”

These might be good for breakfast.

This is quite a “snack,” I hope those 8 people are hungry. This has bacon and cheese, so no reason Kenny won’t eat it. Plus, you are supposed to use the broiler, so there is ALWAYS the chance something will catch on fire. At least in my kitchen there is always the chance.

I have souffle on my list of things to attempt to make this year (hmm, 1st quarter is gone already, I need to get on that list). I don’t know if this is a good souffle recipe but I am willing to try it. The only thing I know about souffles is that on old sitcoms they were always falling when someone made a loud noise anywhere near the kitchen. That means this could be a challenge.

This is not a voting option, but I just enjoyed these a little too much. Especially “Green Balls” and “Burning Bush” which sound like they might be related medical problems.

Ok, now is your chance. I will keep taking votes until Saturday morning, and then I will cook your choice and provide pictures and commentary this weekend.

Pulled Pork and Shoe Leather

I was waiting for one of the grocery stores to have some sort of pork roast on sale for a reasonable price because I was in the mood for pulled pork in the crock pot. I got two blade roasts (bone in) that were 4 pounds each – I wanted leftovers and some to freeze. I used this recipe/procedure.

Cheater Barbecue Pulled Pork Recipe

This made a lot of pulled pork. And yes, it does take a whole bottle of Liquid Smoke. But it is delicious.

This was AFTER Ken and I had helped ourselves.

Pork, with yellow wax beans and au gratin potatoes. Not very colorful, I realize. But delicious.

Come closer to the porky goodness.

I made some “tangy” bbq sauce for mine (Ken thinks bottled is safer than one of my concoctions). The recipe said to just stir the ingredients together (juice from pork, vinegar, ketchup, seasonings) and it was good to go – well, that essentially made weak bbq soup. So I put it in a pan and boiled it up. Within minutes, Ken and the cats were complaining about the vinegar smell and opening up the windows. Well, the boiling improved it, I must say. But now the whole house does smell like pickles.

Ken digs in:

Ken approves:

Well, I was going to put up the recipes from “500 Snacks” but I inadvertently left it at work. Hopefully, tomorrow. So, I thought I would put up the pork and now, how about some shoes. My theory on shoes: I need two pairs of brown shoes and two pairs of black shoes for work. I am well past the high heels stage, I have to wear orthotics because of my plantar fascitis, and so these are good, sturdy oxford-type shoes. I hope you enjoy them.

Ken was quite stymied by my request to photograph my shoes. “I have had a lot of weird requests as a photographer, but this is a new one…”


I was quite amazed that I was able to find this many pairs of this type of shoe so late in spring, I have been disappointed before, and had to wait until the next fall to refresh the shoe wardrobe.

2nd pair brown – I like that these have the nice little seam across the toe:

Please note that I changed to black socks for your enjoyment of the black shoes. I like the little buckle/grommet on these.

This is what Leo thinks of shoe photography:

Leo wonders when we will quit fooling around and play with the cats, darn it.

Almost all of these have a little bit of a heel to them, more so than my last ones, so I will probably turning my ankle quite shortly.

Survey Says…….

Thank you for everyone who voted in my survey last Thursday. The Winner is “500 Snacks” – I am sure everyone was lured in but the attractive purple cabbage on the cover with festive snacks on toothpicks sticking out of it.

My trip to Chicago was quick but felt like I was gone a much longer time than 2 nights. After 2 and a half days of hotel food I couldn’t wait to get home. That hotel was obsessed with carrots. We had carrots at every meal. First two meals: asparagus and carrots as the vegetables. Third meal: carrots, broccoli and cauliflower. We had a sandwich buffet for lunch on Saturday – I thought I would escape the carrots, but there were carrots in the potato salad. Carrots do not go in potato salad, I am sorry. It was good potato salad, otherwise, with hard boiled eggs in it.

I placated myself at O’Hare Airport with two different kinds of soup from Rick Bayless’ Tortas Frontera. I had tortilla soup and corn and poblano chowder. The tortilla soup had more chili powder in it than I have eaten in anything for a while, but it was good. The corn chowder was also good. I had the raspberry/cactus agua fresca. I didn’t really notice the cactus but it was also tasty. I also got a large bag of 3-way Chicago style popcorn from Garrett Popcorn – (buttered, cheese and carmel corn, all mixed together).

The airplane was full of high school and college kids on their way home from spring break, including a young man next to me who at one points flopped over asleep onto MY shoulder. I strongly discouraged this.

I was excited to get home and go to my favorite Pho place, between the food poisoning last week and the travel, I needed a restorative. We did that on Sunday and it was just what I needed.

Prior to showing you some recipes to vote on (tomorrow) for what I should make from the recipe book, I am going to show you some that I will NOT be making. Remember, I said I will be trying to make some things we actually will eat, not things that waste food.

I will not be making anything with the word “jellied” in the title.

“Frankfurters take on new glamour in this gleaming aspic” – enough said.

Vintage Watkins Cookbook Brownies

Since I take such delight in posting bad/scary recipes from vintage cookbooks, how about if I post a good recipe. I was emulating one of my favorite food blogs, Time Travel Kitchen, and I thought about submitting this as a guest post, but now I have my own blog and am short on materials, so here it is!

This is from an old Watkins cookbook, I don’t know how old because I didn’t take a picture of the copyright page, and right now I can’t find the cookbook. That is how it goes in this house sometimes. Watkins was a company that used to have sales women like Tupperware, etc. I don’t know if they ever had parties. They had spices and flavorings (like vanilla extract) and maybe cleaning products. They are still listed as a home business opportunity online. Or you can order the products online. Whenever I see someone at a fair or festival selling Watkins, I stock up. You can also buy Watkins at Walmart now, but the bottles are pretty tiny.

Artsy picture of brownie ingredients. I am not really sure I succeeded in being artsy. Do you wash your sifter? Obviously I don’t. But it is flour and cocoa and stuff like that, and it would probably rust if I washed it. So there.

Here is the cookbook. I also have a Watkins cookbook that is strictly salads.

Here is the recipe:

I did not use Watkins Baking Powder or cocoa. I did use Watkins vanilla. The book does not tell you what size pan to bake in, but it didn’t make a huge amount of batter, so I used a well-greased 8 by 8 glass pan. I do believe I cooked them at 350, that is about what a moderate oven should be. Don’t you love how these old cookbooks assume everyone will know that. Along with “little salt” – I used about 1/4 tsp. They taste flat without salt.

They kind of cave in in the middle and are all cakey and fudgy. Despite the recipe suggestion, these do not need frosting. They are quite rich already.

Some of the better brownies I have ever made. Very rich. Unfortunately, I took these pictures several months ago, so I have no hot and delicious brownies to go eat now. Oh well, at least I had something to write about!

So have you ever used Watkins products? Do you have a Watkins cookbook?

Worcestershire: Not Just For After the Shower, for Any Time You want to Smell Like Fermented Anchovies

I had great ambition to get up on Sunday morning and make waffles (best waffle recipe here) but then I remembered I had leftover shrimp soup so the waffles will wait until next weekend. Worked on the landscape quilt more (the sky is about doing me in….) and alternated with cleaning up the sunroom and kitchen, finally getting all of the pictures that had been taken down after the October kitchen fire for cleaning and painting. More or less in the same places. I think.

Lunch was steaks with this marinade. It has been floating around Pinterest so I thought I would try it. I would debate it being the “World’s Best” but it was pretty good. It was very windy, and hard to get the grill started. Peeled a bunch of potatoes and mashed them so we will have those leftovers all week. Steaks, cheesy brocolli, and mashed potatoes with pork gravy (out of beef gravy mix, see next paragraph…..)

Ran to the grocery store as we were starting to get quite a list and Ken needed some things for work breakfasts.

I learned an interesting thing at the grocery store. If the guy who was bagging groceries leaves and no one takes his place, things stack up and it is possible for a bottle of Worcestershire sauce to get stuck at the end of the belt, where it goes around and around and around and that friction will remove the lid AND the little “sealed for your protection” jobby and Worcestershire sauce will spray all over the place. Oh well, there are worse things to smell like than Worcestershire sauce.

Tried another new recipe for dinner. Saucy Asian Meatballs. My picture isn’t nearly as perfect as hers but I did buy a fun new plate at CostPlus World Market to display them on.

I used chicken instead of beef or pork because Sunflower had ground chicken on sale and we tend to eat a lot of beef so a change is good. The meatballs were good, the sauce needed something. Maybe it was just a taste we were not used to. Of course, I determined there was not going to be ENOUGH sauce for putting over rice, so I stretched it with teriyaki sauce, so that probably didn’t help. We tend to like sweeter Asian sauces, so I may experiment next time.

I leave you with a rare picture of sibling cleanliness, on top of the laundry pile. MaryAnne very rarely puts up with this for long.

MaryAnne the Gargoyle

It was a busy weekend, starting out Friday night with me making it home in time for us to go to the fish fry at the nearby Catholic Church (the week before, my drive home took an hour and a half, so we were too late for the fish fry, and went to Texas Roadhouse for rolls, large drinks, and steaks instead.) The fish fry was OK. They fried the tarnation out of that fish – it was a little tough for me. Ken liked it. In addition to the fish, there was Kraft macaroni and cheese, fried potatoes, cole slaw, bread and carrot cake for dessert. Lemonade, coffee and water to eat. Only $7 each, it was very reasonable at least. A little heavy on the carbs maybe. :  )

MaryAnne has a new bad habit. She jumps up on top of the entertainment center, hoping to reach down to the second shelf below and get one of her sparkle balls. If she wouldn’t knock them under the washing machine, she wouldn’t have this problem. Needless to say, it is a little startling to walk into the room and see furry gargoyle peering over her realm. There is also catnip on that shelf.

We don’t put her stuff on the TOP shelf, because she could reach that.

She thinks she is quite clever. This is what you see when you walk into the room, feel the hairs on the back of your neck prickle, and look up:

Got quite a lot of knitting done on my Mom’s socks while watching re-reruns of Diners, DriveIns and Dives on various evenings. I am down to where I need to start decreasing on one of them, so I will continue to work on the foot on the other one until I am also that far along, and then start decreasing on both of them.

I also spent some time looking through one of my top well-loved church cookbooks. It is not actually a “church” cookbook, it is the Hendricks Community Hospital Association Cookbook, published in 1993. I believe I purchased it in Hendricks while I was there for an auction, the summer I did repertory theater after college. It has the true mark of a good midwestern cookbook, separate sections for cookies and bars. You know they are serious about their bars if there is a separate section. I think I may have found my long lost favorite lemon bar recipe. I will experiment and post. It is also good to look through a cookbook again after you have maybe set it down for a few years, because your tastes change and you may cook differently, so more recipes may be useful. Which just means you should never get rid of a cookbook, maybe that is why I have so many, someday I should count them.

Noticed my crocuses were blooming this week! I was going to take a picture but they close up pretty early, and I missed them. The tulips and iris and several other perennials are also up, I am pretty sure we will get snow on them at some point but hopefully it won’t freeze too hard. It looked like snow/rain in the foothills this afternoon but apparently it is just dust blowing in the wind. There was a major fire going out on the Eastern plains on Sunday evening, I have farmer friends out there that I am thinking about. It is very dry and windy, we could use some moisture (even snow!) for the crops and just simply to cut down on the fire danger.

Leo says we don’t have to worry about HIM jumping up on the entertainment center. He and his fishy are happy to stay on the ground.

SDSU Jackrabbits and Funeral Food

Well, we enjoyed a rousing basketball game Thursday night, with the SDSU (SOUTH DAKOTA, not San Diego) Jackrabbits giving Baylor a run for their money in their first NCAA appearance. You have to love a team called the Jackrabbits. No one else has that team name, thank you very much.

Our alumni association held a watch party at a downtown bar, and I had told my boss this was very important and I was going to leave at 3:30 to get through the traffic and attend. For a while there, Ken and I were among the 4 oldest people there. Eventually some more people who had graduated before 2000 appeared. We all grouped together and talked. We were NOT the ones doing shots, please note. One of my Facebook friends suggested that we tell stories about the olden days, when you had to look stuff up at the library, and go to division II games. Oh yeah. But it was very fun to be with a group of about 50 people, enjoying the game.

One of the gals there was from Lemmon. And I said, oh, my uncle was married to B.H. from Lemmon (names changed to protect the googleable). And she said, “Was his name R.?” “Why, yes,” I said. “B’s mom is MY mom’s best friend!” she said.

I tell you, South Dakota is one giant small town.Too fun.

Well, then we got to talking with the four of us “more distinguished” alumni, about all-you-can eat lunch buffets (we are from SD, of course we are going to talk about food) and how you aren’t going to make any money on a lunch buffet if you have a high percentage of South Dakotans showing up. Which led me to say we grew up training on church potlucks and funeral luncheons. And I had to tell them my mom and dad had a funeral to go to today, and m & d were talking about just going to the service and not staying for the lunch, and I was shocked, shocked I say, because funeral lunches are good! And one of the guys said “Yeah, you don’t want to miss the egg salad sandwiches!” Which totally cracked me up because I had talked to Mom on the phone and that is what they had! Or that is what she had, my dad had either beef salad or ham salad. My fellow alum said “I haven’t even SEEN ham salad anywhere but SD.”

So I think for my next knitting party I am going to have to make beef salad sandwiches. I don’t have a grinder any more, (we also talked about how you need the big heavy meat grinder) (Mom still has hers that was a wedding present 48 years ago, from Aunt Lucille and Uncle Emil, she thinks) so I will have to try the food processor. This recipe is a pretty good approximation, although I don’t think we ever added anything so fancy as eggs, probably because my dad wouldn’t eat them, and you had to be real careful with the onions if he was eating them too.


So, I am not trying to be disrespectful of anyone’s funeral, but most of the funerals I have attended have been celebrations of life, and I know the deceased would have been happy we enjoyed the food.

Other things common at SD west river funerals (or maybe just Folsom, SD funerals): If there are sandwiches with lunch meat, there will be some with mayo and some with butter. Chips. Relish tray. BARS (how to tell a good cookbook, they have sections for cookies, and cakes, AND BARS!). And every kind of salad you can imagine. Jello with fruit, jello with vegetables, jello with mayo (ugh), Cool Whip in every incarnation imaginable. And KoolAid for the kids, coffee for the grown ups and ice tea if it is summer. I still go for the KoolAid myself.

What am I missing as far as funeral food? What did you grow up eating at funerals?

And, a picture of fancy Jello for your enjoyment.

Yes, I made that, of course.

Burning Down the Kitchen II

First of all, I apologize if you are a subscriber and you got eleventeen update notices, but I have been categorizing uncategorized posts. I don’t know if WordPress sent out notifies on all of them or not, I hope not, but if you were inundated, I apologize. I am trying to get into the habit of putting them into categories as I write them.

I may have mentioned that the spectacular October grease fire was not my FIRST kitchen fire, just the largest one so far. Small oven fires are really quite common, because I like to broil steaks, and quite often the fat on the steaks catches on fire on the broiler pan, and has to be extinguished. I also bake a lot of sweets, and they boil over and get on the bottom of the oven, and then I forget about them, and the next time I use the oven, they smoke lot and may or may not catch on fire. There was a notation in last year’s Christmas letter about flaming muffin batter, I don’t think I have made those muffins since then, and they were good muffins, but you know, trauma.

My previous memorable fire was when I totally destroyed the toaster oven.

I was on one of my various health kicks, and I was making homemade tortilla chips by cooking cut up tortillas in the toaster oven. (I don’t remember if they were corn or flour.) Let me tell you, if you do that, you need to watch them VERY closely. Because I turned around and those chips were on fire. And after I threw a whole box of baking soda in there, I didn’t think I wanted to eat them. Or to use that toaster oven ever again. The time required to clean it of all the baking soda was not attractive. So we just threw that toaster oven out and it was still kind of a mess to clean up.

I also boil things over quite often. My mom has had the same burner pans on her stove since she got the stove, I believe, but not so in my case. But I am trying to do better, after noting her example. It helps if I remember to clean them up right after I cook something, rather than after I cook something AGAIN and things get really cooked on.

I really would like a gas range and stove top but maybe that isn’t such a good idea with my proclivities.

I don’t have any pictures of the aftermath of the toaster oven fire, so how about a picture of Leo after his summer haircut? His hair has all grown back now and he was rather dandruffy so we gave him a bath the other night. He took it rather well, considering. A video of the procedure is not possible because it requires one person to do the holding and one person to do the washing. And, we don’t have room for a third person in the bathroom.

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…..