Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Cookbook Wednesday: Country Cooking

This is a pretty cookbook.  Really, it feels more to me like a book I'd enjoy perusing, rather than a place to find recipes.  Of course, it's published by Bon Appetit, which you don't go to for casual cooking.

It was purchased at a library used book sale.  This was obviously a library edition, given the plastic cover.  But the pocket glued inside it is the real tipoff.  I'm always sad when a book is stamped "Discard," as this one is.

 It was published in 1978.  The table of contents shows that the recipes and whatnot are collected from a variety of European countries and North America.

Look at the pretty pictures!  There are a few pages at the beginning of each section about something or other; in this case, they're writing about dinner.
 You can see how extensive the recipes are.  Not quick Wednesday night fare.

 But every page is so pretty!
This is Cookbook Wednesday, which I'm hosting while Denise is off visiting with her daughter.  Leave me a note if you'd like me to link you up.

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Edited to add:

Poppy's Bean Cookbook.  Really!

Nellie's Boxcar Children Cookbook.  My kids loved the Boxcar Children. 

Debbie's Hockey Booster Club Cookbook.  Community cookbooks are always such fun.

Thanks for participating, all of you.  I'll be more prompt with my links next week.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Too Early for Straw Hats?

My local paper runs a history column, with excerpts from its earlier editions.

100 Years Ago Today:

"A high temperature of 87 degrees was recorded the previous day in Scranton.  Due to the heat, straw hats were spotted on the heads of men downtown.  Official straw hat season was due to start on May 15."

No word on whether the police were ticketing violators of Official Straw Hat Season, nor whether ladies were seen wearing White Shoes Before Season.  At least the gents had the fashion police surveying them, too.

Also no word as to whether this gent was wearing an appropriately seasonal hat while visiting with his mother in Massachusetts, approximately 100 years ago.

Happy (Nowhere near 87 degree) Sunday, everyone!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Thorsday Book Review: Around the World in 50 Years

This is another book I saw reviewed in The Wall Street Journal.

by Albert Podell

The author is an attorney, but when he started this journey, fresh out of college, with his friend Steve, it was simply to be a road trip to circumnavigate the world, paid for by sponsorships and magazine articles.  It's a great book, written in the tone of a friend relating interesting, and sometimes horrifying or scary, anecdotes.  Albert Podell was the son of lower middle class Eastern European Jewish immigrants who earned his way through college and always wanted to travel.  The book never talks about his experiences in countries where plenty of people have gone, save in the beginning, where he writes about getting car repairs in Spain at the beginning of his journey.  Instead, he recounts the first journey, in the early 1960s, with plenty of attention and humor paid to the trip across northern Africa (for instance, the nomad who wanted to buy the "chunky" nurse he and Steve had with them for $2000, and deciding that he couldn't do so because Albert insisted that he must take the 2 skinny nurses as part of a package deal).  There are tales of trips through countries in civil uproar, difficulties of traveling in the Middle East as a Jew (he learned enough Christian prayers, etc, to be convincing as a non-Jew), difficult to nonexistent roads, and the strangers they met along the way (hunting from the back of the open Jeep-like vehicle late at night, anyone?).

Mr. Podell continued to travel as he aged, and, at some point, decided it was his goal to visit every country in the world.  Some places he visited twice, such as visiting East Pakistan, and opting to return when it became Bangladesh.  He's brutally honest about each place he visits, not writing about the great culture and history, but instead about the people (friendly in some places, not so much in others), the infrastructure or lack thereof, accommodations, government, things an observant visitor would notice.  He paid a lot of attention to Southeast Asian and African countries.  As I was reading that section, I thought it would be interesting to Diane from France, whose family traversed Africa in 1953 (and who published her mother's book about the journey), as a comparison to her experiences.  But even for someone who has no desire to leave her own continent, this was a spellbinding work.  5/5

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Cookbook Wednesday: Pampered Chef Cookbook-let!

A couple of years back, my friend Chan gave me this cookbook, along with a terrific refrigerator magnet that contains cooking conversions of all sorts.  I have enjoyed this little cookbook because it's short and sweet.

There are just a few recipes from several different categories, including appetizers, main dishes and desserts.  And, really, what else is there in life?  Drinks?  Check.  They're in there.  Pocket sized and complete.

I've been meaning to make this artichoke dip for a holiday gathering, ever since Greg's then girlfriend brought it for Thanksgiving a while back.  Usually, I'm lucky if I can remember my own name during Thanksgiving week, and I certainly never leave the house for fear of forgetting where I live while I"m remembering all the cooking I need to do.  But one of these days, I'll make this dip.

 Doesn't Twice Baked Potato Soup sound divine?

And I have to make this cake this summer, after Ryan gets home from college.  Mark's a weasel; he never finishes any desserts I make.

Of course, since this is a Pampered Chef cookbook, all of the recipes include instruction to use their products for stirring, mixing, baking and whatnot.  But that's OK

So, sometimes short and sweet is the perfect cookbook, so much so that I bought 7 copies and gave one to each of my older 7 children after I got this one!

This is Cookbook Wednesday, a tradition which I'm carrying on for Louise while she's on hiatus; she'll return after her annual visit with her daughter.

Let me know if you have an entry you'd like linked!  Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Links to Cookbook Wednesday Participants:

Nellie's Little House Cookbook! 

Grannie Pantries: First Cookbook, or The Origins of Poppy!

Debbie's America's Most Wanted Recipes! 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Garden Tuesday: Spring, At Last

We had sunshine this past weekend, and signs of spring have finally arrived!

My yard, around sunset (it was cloudy)

 Little Purple Flowers!
 More daffodils!  We transplanted these bulbs from our woods about a decade ago, and they haven't bloomed until now.  Maybe they needed a lot of time to recover from the stress.
 Close up little purple flowers.  I have no idea what they are.
 Overlooking this lovely representation of spring.  The ivy hasn't turned green yet, but I'll take whatever spring I can find!
Are you seeing signs of spring?

Happy Garden Tuesday, everyone!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Carrot Bread for a Bake Sale

The high school Mark attends requires community service.  He and two of his pals were a little short, so I came up with a great idea: I'd lead 3 teenaged boys in baking goods for the library's used book and bake sale.  I must be nuts.  Actually, they are nice boys (even Mark), and I happily fed them teenage-boy-friendly dinners as a reward.

They made 2 kinds of cookies, 4 loaves of carrot bread, 3 pans of granola bars (and I made yeast raised rolls). 

The carrot bread didn't make the picture; it was in the bottom of the box:

They did a lot of baking!

So, since the carrot bread didn't make the pictures, here's the recipe I created:


3 cups flour
1-1/2 cups sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs (or 3 egg whites)
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cups shredded carrots
1 cup chopped walnuts

Stir together the dry ingredients in your mixing bowl.  Add the eggs and oil, and beat until combined.  Stir in the carrots and walnuts.  Pour into 2 greased loaf pans.  Bake at 350F for 45 to 55 minutes, depending upon your pan size.  2 loaves.

The bake sale ladies were impressed with the giant box of goodies Mark hauled in on Saturday morning, and evidently these offerings sold pretty well.  I think Mark was pleased despite his grumbles to the contrary.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Cookbook Wednesday: Cookie Love

For all the years my kids were growing up, I rarely made cookies.  They are a lot of work, and don't last long with 6 (or even 4) sons clamoring for cookies.  I did teach the girls to bake, however, and to read a recipe, and they took up making cookies on Sunday mornings before I got up, starting when they were in middle school.  Their go-to repertoire was chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies: admirable choices.

So, recently I got the opportunity to review this cookbook, which seems very appropriate for Cookbook Wednesday:

by Mindy Segal

This is a beautiful hardcovered book.  The author explains that she is dyslexic, and has trouble reading recipes correctly, and so developed a love of baking cookies, often creating her own recipes.  She explains the basics - various ingredients, their use, and even where to get hard to find items.
 She includes recipes for 8 categories of cookies, including drop cookies, shortbread, sandwich cookies, egg white cookies, spritz and thumbprints, twice baked cookies, Rugelach and bar cookies.
 And every page has pretty pictures for inspiration.
 Sandwich cookies include Ice Cream Sandwich cookies, of course.  She also includes recipes for any special sauces or fillers you need to make for your cookies.
 We've all had thumbprint cookies, but how about Pecan Praline Thumbprints?  I want them.  Now.
 Rugelach look very complex in the bakery, but she makes it look almost easy.  Again, she includes recipes for the fillings.
 Her instructions are very long and detailed.  It does make it seem a little daunting to make most of these cookies.  Still, I think that (if you're me) you should be able to scan the ingredients and procedure, then do your own thing, so you're not scared off by the 2 pages of instruction for each cookie.
 The one thing I didn't like about this cookbook is that the typeface is on the small side.  That makes it hard for not-so-young eyes to read the recipes very well.

Overall, however, this is a very well organized book.  I enjoyed reading it, and look forward to making small batches of cookies for my dearly beloved and my youngest son.  4/5

Note: I received this book from Blogging for Books.  All opinions are my own.

This is my entry for Cookbook Wednesday, usually hosted by the lovely Louise, who is on hiatus.  Leave me a note to be linked up!

Edited to add:

Nellie's Junior Cookbook! Classic Red Plaid Cookbook for kids!

Poppy's Brain Oysters and Frozen Whale!  Trust me, you have to read her words.

Happy Wednesday, Everyone!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Garden Tuesday: Drive By

It's Tax Week, and....nevermind.

My daughter bought me flowers for Easter, and put them in a coffee pot.  I thought they looked pretty.

And my forsythia is finally showing signs of life.  Spring might finally arrive here after all!

Happy Garden Tuesday, everyone!  See you tomorrow for Cookbook Wednesday!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Honey Rolls

I found this recipe somewhere; it must have been online, because the sheet I used for the recipe was cut and pasted into a document that I could cleanly print out.  I made a double batch of these for Easter (the night of the two legs of lamb), and I had exactly 2 left over.  They were gone early the next morning.


1 cup very warm water
2 tsp yeast*
3 cups flour
1 egg, warmed to room temperature
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup honey
1 tbsp butter melted with 1 tbsp honey

Pour the water into your mixing bowl or bread machine bucket; sprinkle the yeast over it, and add the flour, egg, salt and 1/4 cup honey in the order given.  Mix according to your usual procedure or following my directions over there ---------->; add more flour if it's needed.  After the dough has risen, remove it from the bread machine or mixing bowl, place it on a piece of floured wax paper, and divide into 12 pieces.  Form each piece into a ball and place in a well greased 10" pie plate.  Melt the butter with 1 tbsp honey, and brush over the tops of the rolls.  Let them rise until doubled in bulk, then bake at 375F for 15 to 18 minutes, until nicely browned.

Lest there be any doubt about how delicious these rolls are, Mark specifically asked me on Monday night to make more.  Mark asked; you know Mark: he's my youngest, fussiest child.  He doesn't like food.  He swears you're going to love these.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Thorsday Easter Dogs!

I mentioned that both Natasha and Tank were here for Easter; of course, they brought their people.

Natasha isn't that fond of Tank.  Let's face it, she's almost 6, and for a big dog, that's pretty old.  Plus, Natasha is cranky.  Very cranky.  So while the two of them romped outside and (sort of) played together, or at least played near each other happily, she growled every time Tank tried to play with her indoors.  "Go away, kid!  You're way too bouncy for me."  In this picture, she had been enjoying one of her beef ribs, and saw Tank about 10 feet away.

 Note the bone under her right front paw.

Tank was his ever-jolly self.  Remember how he found the little pink rug in the corner when he was last here? (Here's a picture to help you remember.)

Well, I left it rolled up and under the table you see in the background, and he found it and tried to pull it out of its hole.  Of course, I helped him get his rug back, and he brought his toys to his perch.

And what happens when a puppy romps in the mud?  His person washes his feet, of course.  He was not amused.  Thereafter, he let Jeffrey wipe his paws every time he came in.

Happy Thorsday, everyone!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Cookbook Wednesday: Made With Butter?

When my mother died, she had bookshelves full of cooking magazines, along with quite a few paperback cookbooks, and a very few hardcovered cookbooks.  Since she didn't like to cook, and therefore wasn't a good cook, I have no idea why she had accumulated all of these books, but there they were.  I gave most of them to Goodwill, but kept about 4.  This is one of them.


Land O' Lakes equals butter, right?  Butter equals buttery goodness, decadent flavor, and all of that, right?  This had to be a keeper.  It's a ring bound book, which is nice; in theory, you can take out the page you need, and keep the rest of the book away from the perils of cooking, wherein liquids and food grub might fly about and attack your book at any moment. Or at least wet hands might handle said cookbook.

 (Note to self: Always use the flash.  Not just sometimes.)  Some of the recipes used butter or margarine or cheese, but some didn't.  I don't believe these appetizers did.
 But look at that creamy soup goodness!  You know butter and cream are both involved in this baby.  One thing that irritated me a little is that the picture is on one side of the page, and the recipe is on the other side.  So in the photo above, the picture does not correspond with the recipes beside it.
 These chicken recipes had nothing to do with butter, but they do look pretty good.  The biggest sections in this book were Poultry and Sandwiches/Salads.  I'd have thought breads and desserts would be really big in Land O' Lakes world, but that shows just what I know.
 So I'm glad I snagged this cookbook.  I'm even going to try a chicken recipe out of it tonight.  And maybe some of these salads will make it into rotation this summer.
 This is my Cookbook Wednesday post, for Louise, who's on hiatus until after she visits her daughter!
Anyone who wants a link provided here, just let me know!

Nellie's Children's Cookbook!

Poppie's Cooking Electrically!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


It's a tradition in our house to hold Easter dinner on Saturday night; I started that when the big kids started going off to college, and needed Sunday to travel back to school.  Now that most everyone is an adult, it still works, giving them time to visit spouses' families on Easter, or just travel home early and relax before Monday takes over their worlds once again.

This year, I cooked a standing rib roast on Good Friday.  It wasn't planned that way, it's just that I had an extra left over from Christmas.  Don't try to puzzle out how I could just happen to have an extra 18 pound chunk of meat and bone in the freezer; it's one of life's great mysteries.  Suffice to say that it was very much enjoyed.

Easter Dinner (on Saturday) was the traditional leg of lamb (actually, two legs of lamb, totaling 14 pounds), carved by Ryan, along with rolls and other lovely sides.

 (In case anyone noticed, yes, that is a new tablecloth; I ordered the fabric in January and it finally arrived the week before Easter.)

Tank hoped he found a sucker to feed him.  Sitting right next to the fierce midget?  Nope.  Ryan's not that dumb.

Of course, Tank and Natasha each had a beef rib bone on Saturday afternoon, and another on Sunday.  Then Tank took home the remaining 4 rib bones, and Natasha took home the 2 lamb bones.  Fair is fair.

I'd intended to post these pictures yesterday, but my wireless router died Sunday night, and it took me all of Monday to get it diagnosed and a new one ordered.  Hooray for Amazon and their overnight delivery!  Everything works again!

I hope you're all having a nice Tuesday; see you tomorrow for Cookbook Wednesday.