Apparently I’m “cool”.

My teenaged son just called me cool.  If any of you have teenagers, you understand what high praise that is.  You are probably wondering what I did to deserve it.  Did I buy him booze?  Nope.  Let a girl stay in his room?  Nope.

I made jello.

Actually, I made one of the recipes from an old 1930’s era pamphlet from Royal Jello.

Back when the kids were very young, I made jello more frequently, because it’s inexpensive and “there’s always room for jello!”, but honestly, it’s empty calories that could be used for something better. (like wine.)

However, when thinking over what sort of things I could make from my old booklets, I kept coming back to a gelatin dish of some sort.  Nothing too strange, though I’ve had the experience of diving into a delicious looking dessert, only to find myself munching on raw, shredded carrots.  That was NOT an experience I wanted my family to share.

It was a pretty big deal when gelatin powders came out.  Up until then, it was a tough thing to make.  Long hours over a hot stove, boiling animal bones meant that mainly the wealthy, with servants, had the ability to serve it.  It was quite elegant to be able to present your guests with a pretty aspic or jelled treat.

In the years following the commercial success of Jell-O, these, once rare dishes were everywhere.  Even when I was growing up in the 70’s, it was not a party unless you had a jello dessert and I still make a 7-layer jello for special occasions!

So here’s my lovely Royal Cherry Monticello.

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Not as pretty as pictured, through only my own fault,  I was rushed for time and incorporated the whipped cream before the gelatin was sufficiently thickened.  I actually had to make a thrift store run this morning to get the mold.  What modern woman has a bunch of random molds?  Well, actually, I do now…

So, long story short, how do you get a teenaged boy to call you “cool”?

Make jello, or come on over here.  I have LOTS.

Let me feed you!

 

 

 

The way Grandma used to cook

Do you collect something?  Most people do.  Seashells, beanie babies, shoes, maybe?  I collect old cookbooks and cooking pamphlets.  I have hundreds of these little booklets and it is just so fun to page through them.  It’s even educational!  Like a little walk through history.

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Here are a few of my books.  You can pick these up very inexpensively at used book sales, antique stores or garage sales.  Most of them will not set you back more than a few dollars.

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I just love the Settlement cookbooks subtitle, “Way to a Man’s heart.”  This cookbook is not the original from 1901, but rather a much-loved 1928 edition.   To tell the truth, I prefer the loved copies best.  It’s delightful to read another housewives notes and clippings.  My copy has a handwritten recipe for Tuna Surprise (yeah, no thanks), and a handful of articles from the local newspaper, including one entitled, “Old-Fashioned Roast Cookery is Unpatriotic” from a 1942 Chicago newspaper!  These little articles are valuable to me!  As you can see, sometimes the backs are more interesting than the front!  Wouldn’t you love to “Dine and Dance” at Chateau D’Jean?     36836416_10212678631906808_1469070512507322368_n

My oldest book is the White House Cookbook, which I inherited from my Aunt.  It was her Mother-in-law’s book and started me on my quest for more like it!  The book is EXTREMELY fragile and rarely removed from its safe haven.  It’s been well-used in its many years of existence.  I actually had an American Family cookbook from the same year, but it was even more fragile, so I donated it to the local historical society here in town.

So my idea, what with all these lovely books, is to make a few recipes from some of them and show you how they turned out!  I’m looking them over and in the next few days should have some interesting ideas.

My husband is terrified.  He’d much rather YOU would

let me feed you!

Cooking Vegan for the first time

Cooking new ways and using new ingredients is the best way of understanding people and cultures.  Though we are not a vegan family, I am intrigued by the lifestyle and food options.  So, naturally, when my daughter invited a few friends for an Independence Day celebration and one happened to be vegan, it gave me the opportunity to try something different.

These tacos are made with Tempeh, which is a fermented soybean product, sort of in a pressed cake-type thing.  I’ll admit it does not look very appetizing, but I’m game to try most things, so why not?  Besides, every year I have a list of foods to try and this was number one!36580986_10212644190325790_1342196345359826944_n

I used a recipe from Thug Kitchen.   Breakfast Tempeh and Potato Taco Bar.  The link will take you to the recipe, which is copyrighted, and I respect other people’s creations too much to steal them.  However, here is what the filling looked like going into the oven. 36640267_10212655711653816_2212548511294029824_n

See?  All nice and soaking in that spicy liquid, which is vegetable broth, (easy to make from scratch and freeze for when needed), and spices!  The broth cooks into the tempeh and softens the potatoes so nicely.  I made this slight in advance and put in the slow cooker so our guests could help themselves.  Here is the finished taco! 36753588_10212655711453811_1613652739621912576_n

Not only did our lovely vegan friend eat about 4 of them, but our other guests, who tried them out of curiosity originally, kept coming back for more!  These really were simply fabulous!

So what did I learn from this?  Tempeh, despite its appearance, is really versatile and I can’t wait to try it in other things.  Wouldn’t you think this old broad would know not to judge appearances?

The Thug Kitchen books are delightfully fun.  However, I should add a caveat.  If you are a bit sensitive, be warned, there is lots of bad language in them.  As for myself, I swear like a sailor, so I find the books quite amusing!   It’s up to you, however.  Don’t let a few cuss words having you leaving a valuable vegan resource behind!

Now I can say, confidently, to my vegan friends, Let me feed you!

Foods for the Fourth

fac221cd242cba33646eb653a12b7a09 My daughter has decided to have few college friends over before they head off to fireworks and festivities, so I wanted to make a few small things to tide them over before they go eat carnival food. (which is what summer is all about, right?).

I slapped together this quick fruit salad, with cherries, (because they are my favorite summer fruit and I always have them on hand), pineapple, (69 cents each!!!!!) and mint, (growing in the yard.)  I added a dash of lime juice and will let it sit for a bit before serving.  36591781_10212643309063759_4854018694721830912_n

The sales on fruit now are incredible!  I found raspberry pints 2 for a dollar!  I KNOW, RIGHT?  They made their way into my cart, despite having no clear plan for them.  I had a vague idea of making a fool or something, so some whipping cream was added to my list.  Upon arriving home, I thought, “Why not make a semi-freddo?”  My hubby loves them, so I invented the following recipe for the day.

Rose-Raspberry Semi-Freddo

  • 2 pints raspberries
  • 2 t. rose syrup (simple syrup made with rose water)
  • 2 c. whipping cream
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 2 T. powdered sugar + 1 T. powdered sugar
  • splash of wine

Prepare a loaf pan by covering it with foil and letting ends overlap.

Add raspberries to a blender and process until smooth.  Press through a sieve to remove seeds.

In a large mixing bowl, mix cream cheese with 2 T. sugar, until smooth.  Add raspberries, rose syrup and wine.

In another mixing bowl, that’s been chilled, beat cream until stiff, add 1 T. sugar.  Then gently fold in the cream cheese/raspberry mix.  Don’t mix it together until it’s uniformly one color.  You want a bit of that contrast!

Pour into prepared pan and freeze at least 6 hours.  Eat within the next day or so, but if you are like we are, that should not be a problem!

Here’s the finished product.  I like to drizzle a bit of chocolate sauce on top of each serving! 36598099_10212643309263764_7782789750364045312_n

Hope you enjoy it!   Happy Holidays!<a href=”https://www.bloglovin.com/blog/19518133/?claim=hhwzqyrks7v”>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

 

 

Crepe bar

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     It’s fun when the gang has guests sleepover!  When the kids were little, sleepovers were very carefully planned.  They tended to be full-blown productions, loud and chaotic.  Now that my kids are college-aged, they tend to be much more sedate, usually because it was a late night or a night of indulgence and I insist they not drive home.  Either way, I like to feed whoever stays the night with us and my favorite way to do that is with a Crepe Bar.  Crepes are really simple to make and if you set out a few extra ingredients, your guests can customize their breakfast!  36598405_10212621973210376_8746434386993348608_n

  The recipe is a basic one, you can find anywhere on the internet, reproduced here for your use.

                                       Crepes

  • 1 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 c. milk
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 2 T. butter
  • 1/2 t. vanilla

   Mix all ingredients in a bowl until smooth.  Spray small fry pan with oil or melt a pinch of butter.  Heat.  Pour scant 1/4 cup batter into pan and swirl with wrist until batter coats pan evenly.  Cook about two minutes, flip and cook the other side quickly.  Place finished crepe on a plate and cover with a clean dish towel until ready to serve.  Add favorite fillings and toppings.

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You can make these right as the gang is waking up and by the time they are all finished, the kids are up and eating and you can polish one off yourself.  Also, leftovers, if there are any, keep nicely in the fridge for a few days.

Happy hosting!