Thursday, May 26, 2016

Cookbook Wednesday: Summer Desserts

OK, I know it's Thursday.  But Wednesday was busy, and it's better that I've made an effort, right?

This cookbook is in honor of Memorial Day, which is the start of summer in the minds of most Americans, including me.  Ryan and Dan found it at the supermarket a couple of years back, and brought it home, respectfully requesting that I use it.  A lot.

 Some of the recipes involve baking.
 Some just require mixing.  I've actually made this, with pineapple and oranges, and, of course, with real whipped cream, not cool whip.  It's pretty good; the boys love it.
 I'm sure everyone would like this.  I'm not sure I have the patience to be this cute.
 Did I mention that every recipe involves Jello, instant pudding, cool whip or a combination thereof?  It's OK, summer is meant to be easy.  And Peanut Butter Cup Pie sounds great.
 Lemon Mousse?  Love it.  Diet recipe? Even better.  I'll have to look into this one (but with real whipped cream, of course.  Not so diet.  Oh, well.)
 And this one does sound delightful.
 Now I've given you plenty of summer desserts to drool over.  Here's hoping you enjoy summer confections this weekend and beyond.

This is Cookbook Wednesday on Thursday, hosted by Louise!  Hop on over and see what she and others are offering!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Cookbook Wednesday: Bread

I found this cookbook on my shelf while digging for the recipe for what Mark calls "The Traditional Horse Race Day Coffee Cake."  Yes, I always make a yeast-raised coffee cake for the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes.  I did it once, and have been suckered into it every race since.  So, this pretty little cookbook was tucked neatly in beside the cookbook that contains Mark's favorite coffee cake.

 It really does have information and recipes for bread from around the world, from America to India.
 The book starts out with a history of bread, much of it surmised from the archaeological record.  It's great reading, but the real problem is that the typeface is much too small.  The book is maybe 8" or so high, and as you can see by the comparison to my thumb, the print is smaller than that in the newspaper.  I can't really read it well without a magnifying glass.
 A discussion of wheat and other ingredients follows,
 along with a listing of the most commonly used bread making tools.
 What really puzzles me is that the second section is a discussion of what kinds of breads are commonly made and eaten in various nations and regions.
 No recipes, just what they are.
 This book finally gets to the recipes in the third section, but I think it would have been much more useful had the discussion about the breads and the recipes been side by side.
 Again, this is a cookbook with beautiful pictures which I can never hope to replicate.  Oh, well, it's fun to gaze upon them and dream of the day when I have hours to spend making pretty bread.

 The pages are heavy, glossy stock, and that makes it all the more fun to read.  Heck, you could (theoretically) even use it without too much fear of permanently grubbing up the pages, because they could (again, theoretically) be wiped off!
 This is Cookbook Wednesday, hosted by the gracious Louise!  Pop over to see what she and others are offering today!
Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Garden Tuesday: The Open Air Attic

So, after the fire last fall, we had the roof torn off and replaced at the front of the house.  That's where the holes were, after all, and that was the most critical need.  But there were still charred timbers and sheathing in the back of the house, and my brilliant dearly beloved found a terrific carpentry crew to deal with that.

They replaced all the rafters from inside, one at a time, leaving the singed sheathing (and slate roof) in place.  Then, in one day, they took the slate off; the next day, they opened the back of the attic and replaced all the sheathing in one day.  Thus, the Open Air Attic Look:

While it's an interesting decorating idea, I don't recommend it if rain is forecast.  I do have to say, it gives a very nice look at the back yard!  Again, going to the edge to take a look out isn't recommended if you have a fear of heights; this is from about 30 feet up.

Happy Garden Tuesday, everyone!

Monday, May 2, 2016

An Itty Bitty Visitor

So, midweek, my oldest son phoned to see if we would be home last weekend (as if we ever aren't home) and if any of the sibs with dogs would be here.  When he received answers of yes and no, he announced that he and Ashleigh would be coming up with the baby.  They are going on a working vacation in late May, and he wanted to "test drive" the baby for 3 hours to see how she'd react.

OK, I don't need any excuses; just bring her to visit.  We'll be happy to see you, too.

She spent lots of time with Grandpa, AKA The Great Red Protector.  Everyone knows he's a friend to children and dogs. And look at the ears on that hood.

 She's controlling her head fairly well now.

 Again, we are good at pretending we can sit up with our Daddy.

 Her Mommy wanted this picture.  It was the only time on Sunday when I held the baby; her Grandpa got lots of quality time with her.  That's OK; he makes me smile.
 You can't really see it, but in this picture, he is sitting in a chair which belonged to his grandmother, her great-great-grandmother.
And, peering over her Daddy's shoulder, as he carried her to her car seat to leave.  It looks like she's waving bye-bye!
Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Cookbook Wednesday: Shortcut Cooking

Again, this is a cookbook I think I've mentioned before.  But more and more people these days are finding cooking time extremely limited, while still wanting good food.  Our old friend, Betty Crocker, has the solution for all of us.

circa 1991

I found this at a bookstore while shopping for books for my kids for Christmas, and added it to my pile (the place was much too small to even consider having baskets).  It's been a very good resource for me.

It has both Fix it Fast and Fix and Forget sections, each divided into categories for such marvels as main dish salads, soups, get the idea..

 Some pages just contain recipes.
 Others have glorious pictures, which always make me feel that my finished product is not nearly as attractive as I'd like.  Where are the cookbooks with the "This is what it will look like on your plate" pictures?  (Yes, I know both Pams and Larry put out pretty plates, but I have hungry hordes who won't wait.)

 So, this cookbook comes to mind this week because of this beautiful and delicious (not to mention super easy) dessert.  Seriously, it's right up everyone's alley.  You mix it in the baking dish, and only dirty one fork and one measuring cup.


1-2/3 cups flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1-1/2 tsp ground allspice (I used 2 tsp whole, which I crushed)
1 tsp cinnamon (my addition, because I felt it was necessary)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup water

Spray your 8x8 or 7x10 pan liberally.  Put the dry ingredients into the pan and stir to combine.  Add the oil, applesauce and water, and stir with a fork until well combined.  Bake at 350F for about 35 minutes, until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean.  Top with:


1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tbsp whipping cream

Melt the butter, add the remaining ingredients, bring to a boil on the cooktop and simmer until the sauce thickens.  Or cook in the microwave in a 2 cup glass measuring cup; cook until the sauce thickens slightly.  Spoon over the warm cake.

I added whipped cream.  Mark hated it (but you all know he hates everything).  Ryan liked it so well that he took Mark's right out from under his nose and ate it.
 (Again, not as pretty as the cookbook picture, but that's OK).
 This is Cookbook Wednesday, and I"m linking up with Louise for this event!
Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Soft Dinner Rolls

Well, back to Ryan's bad tooth dinner, now that the excitement of Kellie's big announcement and visit are over.

To go with his Cream of Spinach Soup, Ryan wanted really soft rolls, which he could eat without much chewing.  And, since I had a tooth go bad on me last Thursday (and went for a root canal on Friday), I pulled this recipe out again.  Nice flavor, very soft, what more is there to say?


1-1/4 cups very warm milk (110-120F)
2 tbsp yeast
4 cups flour
2 tbsp gluten powder (optional)
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Add ingredients to your mixing bowl or bread machine in the order given; process according to my directions (see link to the right ------>).  Form into 16 balls, place on baking sheets and flatten.  Let them rise 15 to 20 minutes, then bake at 375F for 15 to 20 minutes, depending upon how dark you want them.

Ryan swore that I kept him from starving to death in the 2 days before he had his tooth pulled with these rolls.  And, having eaten them with a very tender mouth over this weekend, I have to agree that for soft bread, these are the best!

Happy Monday, everyone!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Cookbook Wednesday: Ryan Made Me Do It

At the used book sale 2 weeks ago (different from the one last weekend, which I attended with the girls), I picked out a couple of cookbooks.  Then Ryan found this one, and campaigned for it.  So, it would be accurate to say "Ryan made me do it!"

by Nick Malgieri
c. 2000

The cover of this book is enough to make you want it.  And all of the cookies on the cover.
 And the inside of the covers are enough to make you say, "Ah, well, weighing 400 pounds is a fine price to pay for all of these cookies!" (But when you realize YOU have to make them, your resolve will doubtless waver.)
 The table of contents shows that there are a wide variety of cookie categories in this cookbook, from (my favorites) bar and drop cookies, to more elaborate molded, piped and biscotti, and even including savory cookies AKA crackers.
 There are not pictures on every page; in fact, they are on very few pages.  There are about 4 pages similar to the inside of the cover, and that is enough drool inducement for my little corner of the world.  And don't these bar cookies look like something you simply must have now? I'm a sucker for shortbread.
 Ultimate Lemon Squares?  I don't know how they are different from regular lemon squares, but count me in.
 Drop cookies? These look terrific.
 Checkerboard cookies.  These are on the table of contents page.  The illustration tells you how to make them look checkered.  Probably too much work for me, but I'm betting that one or more of my daughters might try this when they are home at some point.
 Virtually all of these recipes call for a ton or butter.  I'm pretty sure that is a 100% guarantee of fabulous flavor.  Ryan will no doubt be campaigning for me to find out.  Soon.
 Macaroons, also known as diet cookies, but loaded with different flavors.
 Vanilla pretzels?  I love vanilla.  And I love their illustration of how to get the pretzel shape.
 Biscotti.  Double baking feels like a lot of work to me, but everyone loves biscotti.
 Sandwich cookies? Of course!
 Pizzelle, in many forms and flavors.  I have an old pizzelle iron, designed to be used on the stove top, which I haven't used since, oh, 1981 or so.  I'm not inspired to get it out.
 And crackers, also known as savory cookies.  These skinny rosemary bread sticks are a lot like the ones you sometimes find in restaurants; they might be a fun alternative to the regular, fat puffy ones I make.
 This is Cookbook Wednesday, hosted by Louise.  Stop by and see her Passover cookbooklet, and then visit the other contributors to this event.
Happy Wednesday, everyone!