Thursday, May 31, 2012

No claimed prize!

Either the 1500th blog viewer was a stranger or just didn't want to bother with my prize. Whatever!

Many years ago I started collecting glass tea lights. They are large enough to hold a regular size teapot and keep the pot warm with a small votive candle. I really do not remember how many I have in my collection, but I know it is more than 15. Most are at least 20 years old, since I have been collecting that long. Two years ago I found an unusual one in England at a charity shop.

Oh, charity shops! Things that keep the Antiques Roadshow alive!

Rain? Will it come our way?

Water. Water. Clear water.

We need some rain. In our pond. On our levees. On our grass. On our trees. On our flowers. On my veggie garden. Yesterday we thought the rain was coming our way, but the clouds just disappeared. Maybe later today? Let's hope so. We need it.

In the meantime, we will keep watering what we can. Around 7:30 am I saw three sprinkles on the back porch. That is not enough to help. We have an irrigation system on the front porch and in our veggie garden. And then we hand water the rest of the vegetation that we want to keep alive.

Instead of rolling out the hoses, let's roll out the cookies from Just Plain Cooking.

Roll-out Cookies (Memaw's)

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 3/4 cups flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Beat in egg and vanilla. Mix baking powder with flour. Add one cup at a time, mixing after each addition.
The dough will be very stiff. Blend last flour in by hand. Do not chill dough.
Roll out on floured board to 1/4 inch thick. Cut with cookie cutter. Bake on cookie sheet until golden brown.
Dough may be tinted. Add food coloring until desired color.

For chocolate cookies, stir in 3 ounces melted unsweetened chocolate.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Mastering the Drop Cookie

Too busy to write anything yesterday. Three of our porches are now clean, and I learned about Organic Gardening at my class last night.

Now for some cookie dough making from Just Plain Cooking:

Master Drop Cookie (Memaw's)

2 cups sifted flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup soft shortening
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 unbeaten eggs
1 tablespoon milk

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
Cream together until light and fluffy the shortening, sugar, and vanilla.
Add eggs one at a time. Beat vigorously. Stir in milk.
Add flour mixture about 1/4 at a time, mixing well after each addition.
Drop by teaspoons 2 inches apart onto greased cookie sheet.
Bake in 375 degree F oven for 12 minutes or until brown. Remove while warm.
Makes 4 dozen cookies.

Chocolate Chip Cookie-
Fold 1 cup chocolate chips and 1/2 cup pecans into dough. Bake as directed above.
Spice Cookies-
Sift with flour mixture 1 teaspoon each cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Bake as directed above.
Raisin Cookies-
Fold 1/2 cup raisins into dough. Bake as directed above.

Monday, May 28, 2012


Someone in the US read my blog at 12:24 today and is now the winner of an antique glass teapot warmer/light.

You made the 1500th hit on my blogspot, so claim your prize.

If you are friend or family member, you know my email address.

If you are someone I do not know, you will need to let me know how to reach you on a comment at the end of this blog.

Now on to the 2000th hit.

1500 (Almost)

All it takes is two more blog readers, and then I will have had 1500 hits in four months on this blogspot!

That is actually about how many hits per day our Dutch apartment gets on And it has been up for sale since March 2010. The actual webviewers of the apartment per day averages around 30, and that is what I would love to have per day viewing my Wetcreek blog.

There are lots of ways to let people know you are out there writing, but I am still trying to keep it friendly and not so busy with ads, etc. I write for the pleasure of writing and publishing my mom's recipes for her family.

If you are number 1500 and friend or family, let me know. You are entitled to a prize. Just check the counter at the bottom of the blog.

In the meantime, have a good holiday today. ( when you are retired, after 37 years of teaching, every day is a holiday! )

Date Oatmeal Cookies (Memaw's)

1 1/2 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
3 eggs ( well beaten)
1/2 cup milk
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup chopped dates
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup nuts (chopped)

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, soda, and spices. Sift twice.
Cream butter and gradually add sugar and then cream until light and fluffy.
Add the beaten eggs to the creamed mixture and stir in the oats and milk.
Sift flour over dates, coconut, and nuts. Mix well.
Stir into oatmeal mixture. Mix thoroughly.
Drop by small tablespoonful onto lightly greased cookie sheet 3 inches apart.
Bake in 350 degrees F oven about 10 to 12 minutes or until delicately brown.
Makes 3 dozen cookies.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Playing in the Dirt

Many years ago I asked my younger brother what he was doing outside in the yard, and he answered, "playing in the dirt." Well, he is a grandpa now, and I saw his beautiful vegetable garden last week where he has been "playing in the dirt" just like old times. Great job, WFC!

This morning I spent almost 4 hours "playing in the dirt" in our garden. Our raised beds aren't as big as F's, but we have beans, onions, garlic, asparagus, tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, lettuce, eggplant, bell peppers, arugula, and herbs. If we can keep everything moist in this heat, we should be able to enjoy our garden veggies in a couple of weeks. We have already sampled the red onions, arugula, and asparagus. Our artichoke plant produced like crazy, but I just cut off the old branches and it continues to be leafy. We have Brussel sprout plants from last fall, and they look like they are going to try to produce again.

Today I was just pulling weeds and getting rid of the old lettuce plants from the sowing in March. Most of the weeding I do by hand, since I am famous for scoffeling the wrong plants. We grow marigolds and some herbs in and amongst the veggies to keep out the critters. I have heard that garlic helps, too. When the veggie beds are plantless in the winter, I throw mandarin orange peelings around on top of the soil to keep out the "playing in the dirt" beasts. That seems to help. What also helps is that our beagle likes to take a leak along the wooden sides of the beds. He protects our territory, LOL.

Whenever I have a weeding morning, I am usually useless for the rest of the day. Today was no exception. But I still need to get through these cookie recipes. Here is a healthy one from Memaw's Just Plain Cooking.

One Fruity Cookie (Memaw's)

2 cups Fruitful Bran cereal ( or something similar like raisin bran)
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter or margarine (softened)
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon almond flavoring or 1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg

Combine cereal, flour, soda, and salt. Set aside.
In large bowl, beat butter and sugars until creamy. Add egg and flavoring. Continue beating until smooth. Gradually add cereal mixture mixing until well blended.
Drop by level measuring tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake at 375 degrees F for 8 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 2 dozen cookies.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Say Cheese!

Yesterday I included an old Dutch class photo from around 1920. Not one soul in that photograph is smiling!

So I went searching on Google to find out when people started smiling in photos.

One source said around 1930. By that time people had personal cameras and wanted photos of happy, smiling relatives. That sounds logical.

Then I read that the lower class peddlers were always smiling in photos, since smiles brought business from the richer classes. They were used to being nice and friendly to make a wage. That also makes sense.

Then I thought about having to stand and face the sun or a bright flash. That always made me frown.

What about the fact that in the beginning years of photography the apparatus was so slow that keeping a smile on your face for a couple of minutes was too long to endure?

As a former teacher, I can imagine that taking an official school class photo was so formal that no one was expected to be having a fun time. Have you taken a photo for an official document like a passport or driver's license lately? In The Netherlands your ears have to show and gosh knows what else. If you don't already look like a criminal when you go into the shop, you most certainly do on your photo.

After more Googling I discovered that people in Third World countries ( sure that is not PC--politically correct) rarely smile in photos. But playing children the world over are smiling. Thank goodness.

The nicest story about Helen Keller was when Anne Sullivan was trying to teach Helen to smile. If you never see a smile, can you possibly know what it is and how to do it?

Now I understand why we all look forward to a baby's first smile. At my mother's 87th birthday party a couple of weeks ago, my great niece B was our smiling baby. She has a lovely disposition and smiled the entire day. That was great for a 16 month old on a hot day in the country!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Old Photos

My Dutch mother-in-law passed away one year ago this month at the age of 96 years.

My son keeps asking me to include photos in my blog, so here is a photo of his Oma at the age of 4 or 5 years.

She is the bashful little blondie smack dab in the middle of the photo. She is the one with the huge bow in her hair and looks so sweet and innocent.

For those of us who knew and loved her, we knew those characteristics as well as many others.

She lived a long life.
She lived a hard life.
She lived a good life.

We miss you, Oma.

(This is Oma's second appearance on the World Wide Web. She never quite understood this whole computer/internet stuff. When our son checked his email on his Iphone, she thought he was checking out his appearance in a mirror.)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Recipes By Heart

Some of my favorite books are cookbooks. I think it is because I depend so much on the written word to be able to cook.

I can never remember how much of anything in a recipe. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I can't remember numbers.I never learned my cell phone number, and I even have to think twice about our home landline number. I have no idea what our phone number in The Netherlands was. I think it ended with 3306, but even that isn't certain. And no, I don't have early Alzheimer's. I have never been any good at remembering numbers!

So don't tell me a recipe for anything. Please write it or send me a message. I need visuals (words and numerals)!

Memaw, on the other hand, has a good memory of amounts of ingredients in recipes. I heard that one time in Houston she made oatmeal cookies with no recipe. I would have had to use the Quaker box top ( inside) to make those cookies. I have not checked to see if the following Oatmeal Cookie recipe from Just Plain Cooking is the same one as Quakers 's.

Oatmeal Cookies (Memaw's)

1 cup raisins
1 cup water
3/4 cup shortening
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups oatmeal
2 1/2 cups sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Simmer raisins in water in saucepan over low heat until raisins are plump. (20-30 minutes) Drain raisin liquid into measuring cup. Add enough water to make 1/2 cup. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Cream shortening, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Stir in raisin liquid. Sift together flour, baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon, and cloves. Stir into creamy mixture. Add oats, raisins, and chopped nuts. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Makes 6 dozen cookies.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Best Oatmeal and Raisin Cookies

Another great cookie recipe from Memaw's Just Plain Cooking:

Best Oatmeal and Raisin Cookies (Memaw's)

3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 egg
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups oatmeal
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup raisins (or more, if desired)

In mixer bowl, beat sugar, shortening, and butter until light. Add egg, water, and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy.
Stir together oats, flour, salt, soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir into beaten mixture, blending well. Stir in raisins and nuts.
Drop dough by rounded teaspoonsful one inch apart onto greased cookie sheet.
Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 12 to 15 minutes. Cool slightly before removing from cookie sheet. Makes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

(Back in the day, my friend's mom added chocolate chips instead of raisins. I always thought she was a brilliant baker because of this swap.Actually chocolate covered raisins would be great in these cookies. I will try that!)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Are Brownies Cookies or Cake?

Don't know about you, but I have had some dry, dry brownies in my lifetime. I guess those would be called cookies, since according to the French cookies are just dry cakes. On the other hand, I have had brownies that resembled pudding. There was no other way to eat those without a spoon. I know that Memaw actually likes my cousin K's brownie recipe the best. Perhaps this following recipe was written before K published hers:

Best Fudgy Pecan Brownies (Memaw's)

1/2 cup butter or margarine (melted)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease 8 x8 x2 inch or 9 x 9 x 2 inch pan.
In large mixing bowl blend melted butter, sugar, and vanilla. Add eggs and using spoon beat well. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Blend into egg mixture. Stir in pecans.
Spread into prepared pan and bake 20 to 25 minutes.
Spread warm frosting over warm brownies. Cool and cut into 16 squares.

Chocolate Pecan Frosting (Memaw's)

1 1/3 cup confectioners sugar
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons cocoa
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup chopped pecans

In a small mixing bowl, place sugar and set aside.
In small sauce pan, melt butter and stir in cocoa, blending until smooth. Add milk stirring constantly over low heat until slightly thickened. Pour hot mixture over confectioners sugar. Beat until smooth. Stir in vanilla and pecans.
Spread over warm brownies.

Monday, May 21, 2012

My Favorite Cookie

I had completely forgotten about this cookie until I turned to the recipe today. Maybe Memaw made lots of chocolate chip cookies, but I actually remember this as my favorite. She always had these ingredients on the shelf, especially the peanut butter! Story goes that when I was very young I often preferred a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to steak. Probably still do!

Chocolate Nutbutter Cookies (Memaw's)

2 cups sifted flour
1/2 cup cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup peanut butter (chunky)
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk

Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.
Cream together shortening, peanut butter, and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat well.
Blend in dry ingredients alternately with milk. Blend thoroughly.
Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets. Press with fork to flatten or form a lattice design.
Bake at 400 degrees F for 8-9 minutes. Do not over bake. Cookies are still soft when done.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Home on the Ranch

Not so very long ago, our Dutch brother-in-law called our place a ranch. We laughed, but sometimes ranch is pretty close to the truth. We just don't have any cattle.

This morning our beagle went "huntin'." I looked up while weed chopping in the front yard and saw our proud Flip with his prize, a rabbit. When I tried to lure him away so I could dispose of the dead animal, our dog became more determined to keep his prey. While I ran into the garage to get a dog biscuit, our Flippy divided his rabbit and ran off with the head. Yuck! Yuck! And Yuck! No way was he going to let me have it!

Not an hour later, I watched our valiant hunter ford our shallow pond. He was either cooling off (90F) or fishing. Anyway, he was in no condition to come back into our house. After blood and mud, we put this guy through the wringer (in the pool shower), and he slept like a baby all afternoon.

One last ranch event today was the arrival of the snake in our backyard. Don't ask me what kind it was, but we think we saw a rattle. My hub went out to scare it back into the woods, but he ended up smacking it with a rake and tossing it into the bushes.

Luckily this was no typical day on the ranch, but it wasn't a boring Sunday.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Since When Did Weeds Mean Organic?

This morning my hub and I got up really early and drove out to a workshop about organic gardening (farming?). We were the last of some 15 or so other home gardeners to arrive for the gathering. Then we walked through the debris of the irrigation facility (what a mess), through the clover and brambles and weeds in the pitiful looking veggie plot, and into mud holes in the fruit orchard.

The veggies could have used a good hoing ( or is it hoeing/"scoffeling"), and a ride on a lawn mower would have spruced up the rest. I really got tired of hearing about how plant merchants had lied to and ripped off this guy. I really think he did not do his homework on plants and shopped "in the dark."

Then he showed us his greenhouse, and finally I saw an idea I could borrow. Along one side of the greenhouse, he had made a huge enclosed bed of river sand to use as a rooting bed for new cuttings. The bed is misted with water ever so often, and this is an excellent new plant rooting place. Ingenious idea! Then his wife told the sad story about not knowing the sex of her kiwi plants and getting wonderful arborlike vines, but no fruit. ( Blamed lousy merchants again!)

After a short sales pitch for a watering system, we heard about cotton hull compost. Gosh, I remember Papaw going to the cotton gin to pick up cotton hulls to use for our veggie garden almost 60 years ago. So cotton hulls (smushed or not) are not news for me. I really wanted to hear about home composting, not having to buy something to be delivered on an 18 wheeler.

The visit to the Organic Farm ended with a quick look at two pups and eating a turkey sandwich and chips. Just wish we had seen live turkeys and chickens and collected a few free range eggs. Now that would be ORGANIC. Singer, La. still has a long way to go to get back to nature and be organic.

No cookie recipe today. But I plan to go get the last of the chocolate chip cookies out of the freezer for my snack. Freezing them immediately after baking them is the only way to keep us from eating them all at one time. I think I learned that trick from the Bernstein Bears. (Great books for your kids!)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Two Fifty Neiman Marcus Cookie Recipe

If you are really interested in the history of the two fifty cookie recipe, just Google it. I have heard so many versions that I do not want to even begin to try to remember which was the original one. Just a hint: it didn't cost $2.50. Oh, now I spoiled the story!!! Here is the recipe Memaw put in Just Plain Cooking in 1990. So that has to be an old story.

Neiman-Marcus $250 Cookies (Memaw's)

2 cups butter
2 cups sugar
2 cups brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla
4 cups flour
3 cups blended oatmeal (blend or process to fine powder in blender)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons soda
24 ounces chocolate chips
1/8 ounce grated Hershey bar
3 cups chopped nuts

Cream butter and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix together flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder, and soda. Add chips, grated Hershey bar, and nuts. Roll into balls and place 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet. Bake for 6 minutes at 375 degrees F. Makes 112 cookies. Recipe can be halved. (But who would ever want to do that?)

Oh, by the way, my yoghurt is just fine. Good bacteria just grew and grew while it was incubating in the pantry cozy corner. I strained it all night, so it is more like cream cheese than Greek yoghurt. Okay by me!

And you won't read any more Paparazzi stories. Think I have worn that one out.

Soon I want to begin a Tuning the Tuin segment of my blog. I am an avid collector of garden (Tuin) ideas in Mastering Gardening on my Pinterest boards. If you haven't followed me on Pinterest yet, just click the red button on the top right of this blog. I have collected way over 700 garden (flowers and vegs) ideas on my board. Browse and enjoy.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Paparazzi Ruins Yoghurt

(Warning: Today's blog may be considered X-rated.)

It may be true!

The Paparazzi ( four members this time) may have caused me to over cook the milk for my weekly yoghurt production.

I set the 1% fat milk into the crock pot at 8:00 am and went out to work in the yard. As my hub and I do all of our own yard (lawn) work, we spend many hours outside. Around 11:00 am I was finished with my boxwood cuttings/rootings (68!) and grapevine watering when the Paparazzi arrived with two more in tow.

As we had not seen them in a week, we hoped they were finished with our pond, levee, and us. Not knowing what they were going to do, I forgot about my yoghurt and stayed outside to keep an eye on the adjacent landowners. I saw that a newcomer took photos and then she took binoculars out of a bag and turned to me. By that time I was sitting on our front porch tickling our beagle, so I waved at the binoculared paparazzi. She must have seen me wave, since she threw the binoculars back into the bag and walked off.

What they think they will see out here is anyone's guess. Wonder if they have heard that we are starting a Nudist Camp and Beach. Just joking, but wouldn't that be a real HOOT? We could call it Wetcreek Naturist Camp. For Senior Citizens Only! That means the Paparazzi could join right in on the sidelines. (don't picture it--too disgusting)

But back to my yoghurt. I will have to wait until around 9:00 pm to find out if it is going to be alright. Right now it is keeping warm under covers in the warm pantry.

No cookie recipes today. I am too feed up with the spiteful Paparazzi!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Super Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Publishing chocolate chip cookie recipes is almost as good as eating one. And not as many calories!

We won't discuss the number of calories in Wendy's Chili Cheese Fries that I ate yesterday afternoon with my mother. (She ate one, too!)

I am really amazed that Memaw had so many chocolate chunk recipes in her repetoire back in 1990. I must try a few of the recipes sometime soon.

Super Chocolate Chunk Cookies (Memaw's)

1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1 package Semi-Sweet chocolate cut into large 1/2 inch chunks
3/4 cup chopped nuts

For best results, use Baker's Semi-Sweet chocolate.

Mix flour with baking powder and salt and set aside. Beat butter, sugars, vanilla, and egg until fluffy. (Do not use whipped butter or margarine.) Blend in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chunks and nuts.

Chill dough at least one hour to prevent the cookies from overspreading during baking. Drop dough 2 inches apart using heaping tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool 2 minutes and remove from sheet and cool.
Makes 2 dozen 3 inch cookies.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Now This Is My Kind of Cookie

Chunky Chocolate Cookie Squares (Memaw's)

2 1/2 cups unsifted flour
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter or margarine
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup corn syrup
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup pecans
1 package (8 ounces) Baker's Semi-Sweet chocolate or 2 packages Sweet chocolate cut into 1/2 inch chunks

Mix flour, soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl with mixer set at medium speed, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Slowly beat in corn syrup and then egg and vanilla. Beat in flour mixture until blended.

Stir in pecans and half of the chocolate chunks. Spread evenly in ungreased 15 1/2 x 10 1/2 x 1 inch jelly roll pan. Sprinkle remaining chocolate on top.

Bake in 350 degree F oven 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on rack. Cut into 2 1/2 inch squares.

Makes 2 dozen squares.

( Barking dog outside! Maybe I should see what's up!)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookies

When we lived in Europe, I often used baking chocolate chip cookies as a reminder of "the good life" in America.

Thirty years ago, finding chocolate chips anywhere outside of the US was very difficult. Notice I did not write "good chocolate"chips, since nothing beats good Swiss and Dutch chocolate. For many years I made my own chips by beating up a good bar of European chocolate. Maybe I was the first one to bake chunky chocolate bits cookies. But I think not! I know that I did use Nestle's recipe, since I keep an empty chips bag in my recipe box.

Many times when I was homesick for my native land, I would mix up the cookie dough, bake 3/4 of it, and eat the rest of the unhealthy dough as the cookies baked. That is just how the cookie crumbled! (Mrs.A. at ASH would not have approved of eating the raw egged dough. But bet she did it, too.) YUMMY!

From Just Plain Cooking, here is the first of several chocolate chip cookie recipes:

Chocolate Chip Cookies (Memaw's)

1 1/4 cup sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon soda
1/2 cup butter or oleo ( margarine)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 package (6 ounces) chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. In a small bowl, combine flour, salt, and soda and set aside.
Cream butter and sugars. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture.
Stir in chocolate chips and pecans. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto lightly greased baking sheets.
Bake 10 - 12 minutes.
Makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

I 'm Back!

Know anyone who reads the back page first when reading a magazine? Well, now you do. It is me (or I). For many years I have been reading magazines from back to front. I usually read the articles from top to bottom, but sometimes I even read the last paragraph, then the next to last, and so on. I think it all has something to do with holding the magazine and turning the pages. It is easier for me to hold the magazine in my left hand and flip the papers with my right.

I have tried reading from back to front on novels and stories, but I honestly do not want to know the conclusion before I read the story. So that is not the reason. I never watch the end of a recorded movie and then watch the rest. I just like to read magazines and even newspaper articles "backwards." No one seems to notice that I do this, but maybe others do this, too. Why else would magazine editors choose to make the back page so interesting!

The next time you see me on the last page of my magazine, don't look forward to seeing me finish it for quite some time. The back page means I have just begun to enjoy my read from Back to Front.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mother's Day

I am taking the weekend off (literally and figuratively). Back on Monday.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Pond Finished and Now Rain

As far as we can tell, our pond levee is completed. We haven't been given any official notification, but the hard hat sign has been removed. Now if the hard head Paparazzi will just remove their spectator chairs from the sidelines, we can get on with our lives.

And now the rain (slow and steady) has arrived in our Wetcreek. Good for us and our refurbished pond, but not so good for our neighbor's daughter who is getting married tomorrow. The wedding will take place at a lovely old antebellum home on the other side of the state. Maybe the rains and storm will have petered out by tomorrow afternoon. Anyway, it will be a lovely wedding ( inside or outside) and as always, "they will live happily ever after!"

Ever heard of Butterfinger Cookies? Let's begin with these in the Cookie segment of Just Plain Cooking:

Butterfinger Cookies (Memaw's)

1 1/4 cup unsifted flour
1/2 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup margarine
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup Butterfingers candy bars cut into small pieces

Sift together flour, soda, and salt.

Cream together margarine and salt (think she meant sugar) until light and fluffy. Beat in egg.

Stir in Butterfinger bits and dry ingredients. Add vanilla and blend well. Chill dough for 30 minutes.

Drop by half teaspoonfuls onto greased baking sheet. Bake in moderate oven (350 degrees F) 10 to 12 minutes or until done. Remove from baking sheet and cool.

Makes about 6 dozen cookies.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Cheese French Fries

This is the last entry in Memaw's Entrees section of the cookbook she hand wrote for me back in 1990. We still have Cookies, Cakes, and Pies to go.

Cheese French Fries (Memaw's)

4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into thick fry sticks
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup flour
Salt and pepper

Boil potato pieces for 5 minutes.

Mix cheese and flour. Add salt and pepper. Drain boiled potatoes. Pour cheese mixture over potatoes while potatoes are still hot. Mix well to coat potatoes with cheese mixture.

Deep fry until brown. Good with steak or fish.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Crossing the Line

When do observers of your life "Cross the Line?"

I think today the Paparazzi did it. No, they did not come onto our property. But even after the construction of our pond levee has been completed, they showed up at their regular 6:30 pm time tonight and took photos of my hub cleaning up our property.

That, my friends, is crossing the line--of decency and respect and privacy. And it is just downright RUDE.

Slow Cooker Greek Yoghurt

I had another successful attempt with making Greek yoghurt. Tuesday has become Make Yoghurt Day, so this morning I can jar up my new supply and enjoy it for one week.

While trying to sell our agaves on Saturday, I did a little shopping. I found a small slow cooker (crock pot) that looked brand new and had a removable pot for $3. After cleaning it up ( not dirty, just dusty) and testing it out, I used it yesterday to make my yoghurt. The little white ceramic pot holds 8 cups of liquid, so that is perfect for the half gallon of milk.

After 2 hours on low and up to 180 degrees F, the milk was at the correct temp. I cooled it down to 110 and added my live yoghurt culture from last week's yoghurt and put the entire thing to bed in three big towels in the warm pantry for 8 hours. Last night before going to bed myself, I put the covered pot in the fridge to cool completely. That was much easier, since the pot could be removed from the machine.

This morning I saved a small jelly jar of yoghurt for next week's culture and began the straining process in a strainer with coffee filters. I will probably need to empty out the drained whey a couple of times, but basically my Greek yoghurt is just about ready to jar up and enjoy this next week.

Now for some real food from Just Plain Cooking:

Dirty Rice (Memaw's)

3 tablespoons cooking oil
2 medium onions
4 toes garlic
2 ribs celery
3 shallots
2 tablespoons parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 pound lean ground beef
1/2 pound chopped chicken livers
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 beef bouillon cube (dissolved in 1/2 cup hot water) or 1/2 cup beef bouillon soup
3 cups cooked rice

Chop onions, celery, and shallots. To heated cooking oil, add onions, celery, and shallots. Sauté until soft, at least 10 minutes.

Add chopped livers, ground beef, parsley, and garlic. After browning meat thoroughly, add liquids. Cover and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.

Remove from heat. Add to rice and mix well.

Good with beef or fowl. Great with barbecue.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Liver and Onions

Just pure and simple from Just Plain Cooking:

Liver and Onions (Memaw's)

1 pound calf liver (thinly sliced)
2 onions (sliced into rings)
4 slices bacon
Salt and pepper to taste
Flour for dredging liver

Fry bacon until crisp in a large skillet. Remove bacon from skillet and drain.

Sauté onions in bacon fat in skillet until golden brown. Remove onions from skillet nd drain. Set aside bacon and onions. Keep warm.

Salt and pepper liver slices. Coat each side thoroughly with flour. Fry in hot bacon and onion fat until brown on each side and no longer red on inside. Serve topped with onion rings and bacon.

Gravy may be made from dredges left in the skillet. Good with mashed potatoes.

(Chicken livers give that special taste to tomorrow's recipe--Dirty Rice.)

Monday, May 7, 2012

A Request for Cookin in de Keuken

Yesterday we had a good family fish fry in my brother MOUF's yard/poolside. Way too much food, and this year the birthday girl (our mom) made her own coconut cake. Yummy!

Today is her birthday, so HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MEMAW!

I am not known as the cook in the family, but I had a couple of polite requests for my cucumber salad recipe. I had almost forgotten what I said I was going to call my own favorite recipes. But Cookin in de Keuken is the name I chose, and I have this recipe to share today:

Cucumber Salad (mine)

4 cups of thinly sliced cukes (I use me Dutch cheese cutter)

If you have time, dejuice the cucumber slices by placing a heavy saucer on top of them in the bowl for a couple of hours in the fridge. Then pour off the excess liquid.


1 cup mayo
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup white vinegar (rice wine is good, if you have it)
1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix well and pour over cucumber slices. Let sit for at least one hour in the fridge before serving.

(I use this dressing on cabbage coleslaw, too. I think it is very similar to Memaw's tried and true coleslaw dressing.)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sunday at Mammaw's Was Chicken and Cornbread Dressing

What we remember of our youth may sometimes be distorted by what we hoped actually happened. As I am not much of a fan of turkey, I remember eating chicken and dressing for Sundays at my grandmother's house out in the country. I believe we also ate chicken instead of turkey on special occasions, too. It was probably because chickens were cheaper and easier to find all year round. Maybe it was because a good tender chicken tastes a whole lot better than turkey!

Well, it is Sunday, and we are all going to Memaw's (and of course MOUF and his dear wife's) house for her birthday (May 7) dinner. Not sure whether we will have fish or chicken, but the whole family should be there. If I had my wish, I would like to eat Chicken and Cornbread Dressing. A girl can dream, can't she?

Chicken and Cornbread Dressing ( Memaw's)

1 chicken (roasting size)
Salt and pepper

Season chicken and place in a covered roasting pan. Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees F. Add dressing to pan and bake about 1 hour more. Remove cover and brown.


4 cups cornbread crumbs
4 slices bread (white or brown)
1 onion (chopped)
4 ribs of celery (chopped)
2 eggs (beaten)
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
Salt and pepper
2 cans of chicken broth

In a large bowl tear bread to small crumbs. Add onions, celery, eggs, seasoning, and chicken broth. Mix well. Pour around chicken in roasting pan and bake for 1 hour. Remove cover to brown.

Giblet Gravy

Boil livers and gizzards until tender. Chop into small pieces. Make gravy from chicken broth. Thicken with flour. Add chopped chicken pieces and 1 chopped boiled egg. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve over dressing.

(I would like a big plate of this right now. Forget the homemade Greek yoghurt and cereal for my breakfast.)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Treasure or Trash Fest

Who knows what will sell at open air flea markets. Today I saw everything from mayhaw trees (half dead) to silverplated serving pieces. The sale in the city park began officially at 8:00 am, but shoppers began checking out the goods around 7:00 am.

We tried to sell a few of my hubs own transplanted variegated agaves (American Opal Century) for giveaway prices. Although we sold a few plants and even a couple of my lemon balm mint, he said he would mow over the baby agaves from now on.

It wasn't worth the effort, and most shoppers wanted aloe vera plants instead of agave. Some knew that tequila is made from agave, but we weren't serving Margaritas. And I think Mexicans make tequila from the grayish green variety anyway. So Hub is right, whack 'em with the weed eater. No wasting time with those suckers anymore. All three of us (Flip went too) are too tired to do much else today.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Keep Calm

The levee for our pond is almost finished. This is day 8 of the 12 days, so the contractors have done well.

In order to keep my cool about the rude paparazzi neighboring landowners (still looking with binoculars at us on our front porch!), I will leave it at that. "It is what it is. They are what they are." Actually, I don't think they know what they are.

Keep Calm! Keep Calm!

Chicken Pie (Memaw's)

1 large fryer
Salt and pepper
Shortening for browning chicken

Cut chicken into pieces. Brown in hot fat. Place chicken into casserole. Add 1 cup water to fat in which chicken was browned. Boil 2 minutes. Pour over chicken. Add sufficient water to cover. Add salt and pepper. Cover.

Bake in slow oven 325 degrees F until chicken is tender. Uncover.

Arrange small biscuits over top. Bake in hot oven 450 degrees F about 25 minutes.

Serves 6.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Will the Canned Ones Do?

When I told Memaw that Chicken and Dumplings were the next on the list to be published, she said she buys it in a can these days. For sure that is better than the Picadilly's version. But here is the Just Plain Cooking version:

Chicken and Dumplings (Memaw's)

1 large fryer (cut up)
1 medium onion (chopped)
2 ribs of celery (chopped)
Salt and pepper
Water to cover chicken

Place cut-up chicken in a large stewpot with onions and celery. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Lower heat to simmer. Cook until meat is tender. Salt and pepper to taste. Remove chicken from juice. Add more water, if necessary.


1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Heat chicken juice.

Combine flour, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl. Add hot juice until all flour is moist and forms into a ball. Roll out dough to 1/8 inch thick.. Cut into strips. Drop dough strips into boiling chicken juice. Lower heat. Cook about 10 minutes with cover on pot. Add chicken and simmer 5 minutes more.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Smothered Chicken

Why do recipe names sound so awful? Who would even dream of smothering anything? But the recipe books are full of smothered delicacies. Here is Just Plain Cooking's chicken version:

Smothered Chicken (Memaw's)

1 frying size chicken cut into pieces
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup shortening
Salt and pepper
1 onion (chopped)
1 can Rotel tomatoes whole with chilies

Coat chicken pieces with flour, salt, and pepper.

Brown chicken pieces in shortening from skillet. Add chopped onion and can of tomatoes to chicken. Cover and simmer until chicken is tender in about 1 hour.

Serve with fluffy rice or mashed potatoes.

Baked Chicken with Gravy (Memaw's)

1 large fryer split in half
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons flour ( for gravy)

Season chicken halves with salt and pepper.

Place in large baking dish with cover. Bake 350 degrees F for 1 hour.

Remove cover and bake 30 minutes more until skin is golden brown and crunchy. Remove chicken from the pan.

Thicken the juices to make gravy. Add water for right consistency. Makes a rich tasty gravy.

(As much as I said that we don't eat chicken, I can remember how yummy the baked chicken with gravy and rice tasted. Sides of corn and a green salad made it a delicious meal. Thanks, Mom.)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Chicken Fried Chicken

Back in the day ( I love that expression), I watched a family member spend two hours frying a chicken. I won't reveal any name, but remember I said that I only fried chicken once on a cold 4th of July in The Netherlands. So that was not me ( or is it I?). Don't plan on doing that again any time soon. Too many fried chicken places within 30 miles from here for me to bother with that.

But for the brave of hearts, here is Just Plain Cooking and

Fried Chicken (Memaw's)

1 2 1/2 to 3 pound chicken (cut into pieces)
1 cup flour
2 cups shortening
Salt and pepper

Put flour and salt and pepper in a large paper or plastic bag. Drop chicken pieces into the bag and shake to coat evenly with flour.

Heat shortening in a deep frying pan until hot. Drop chicken pieces into the hot fat and fry until golden brown and chicken is cooked to the bone. Turn often to keep from burning. Drain on paper towel.

Serve hot.

(It gets smothered tomorrow.)

Paparazzi in the Country

We have had spectators while this pond levee reconstruction has been underway.


One of the government men calls them CNN, but they are just plain old Paparazzi. No one has hired them to hide in the tall grasses (and mosquitoes!) and take photographs of what is going on here. At least, I do not think they are getting paid.

What bothers me the most is that they view us with binoculars while we are sitting on our private porch and even take photos of us as we walk our Flip in our own front yard.

Do we know the stalkers? Of course, we do. They are a couple of the landowners of the property next to ours. The government has not been allowed to get on their property ( they withdrew their original permission!), and now they ridiculously sit in the heat and insects to protect their land. I guess? Who knows why they are sitting there and taking photos and sometimes making comments.

Spite! Just pure spite.