Saturday, January 31, 2009

HOMEMADE APPLESAUCE

I think this recipe is from an old magazine but I am not sure.

6 large Granny Smith and/or McIntosh apples
1/2 cup apple cider or juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
dash of nutmeg

Peel and core apples; cut into chunks. In a 3-quart saucepan combine the apple chunks and the cider or juice. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the apple chunks are very tender. Stir in the sugar and the cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook 2 minutes longer. Mash while still in the pot or cool then puree in a food processor. Cool; store in clean jars. Refrigerate for up to two weeks. Add 1/4 cup old fashion red hot cinnamon candy drops, if desired when you simmer the apples.

Yield: 4 cups

CHEESY CHICKEN MACARONI CASSEROLE

This recipe is from an old cookbook from the folks at Kraft Foods.

1/2 cup elbow macaroni
1 pkg (10-oz) frozen peas and carrots
2 tbsps butter or margarine
2 tbsps all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp dried basil, crushed
1 1/3 cups milk
1 1/2 cups cubed pasteurized process cheese spread (6 oz)
1 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken (or turkey)
3/4 cup soft bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1 tbsp butter or margarine, melted

Cook macaroni according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, place frozen peas and carrots in a colander. Rinse with running water to separate. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, melt the 2 tablespoons butter and stir in the flour and basil. Add the milk. Cook the mixture, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly. Remove from the heat. Stir in the cheese spread until it is all melted. Stir in the macaroni, peas and carrots, and chicken. Turn into a casserole dish that has been greased. Combine the bread crumbs, almonds, and 1 tablespoon butter; sprinkle over the macaroni mixture. Bake, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven 35 to 40 minutes or until heated through.

Serves 6

Friday, January 30, 2009

MEAT POLL RESULTS

I guess we aren't much into seafood! Our meat poll showed that 40% of us cook beef most often, another 40% cook poultry most often, 20% cook pork most often and no one voted seafood.

CHOCOLATE CARAMEL BAR

This recipe is from an old church cookbook from Iowa.

50 caramels
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 stick oleo
1 pkg German chocolate cake mix
6 oz chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a double boiler, melt 1/3 cup milk and the caramels. Set aside. Mix together 1/3 cup milk, melted oleo, and the cake mix. Pour 1/2 of this cake batter into a greased 9 x 13-inch baking pan that has been greased. Bake in 325 degree oven for 6 minutes. Remove from oven and pour the package of chocolate chips over the batter. Cover chips with the caramel mixture and add remaining cake batter. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Cool 30 minutes before cutting. Nuts may be added to the chips layer, if desired.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

HEARTY HAMBURGER SOUP

1 tbsp butter
2 lbs ground beef
2 quarts boiling water
2 cups diced potatoes
1 cup diced celery
2 cups tomatoes
1 cup corn
1 cup diced carrots
2 cups shredded cabbage
2 onions, diced
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup rice

Melt butter in a skillet and add ground beef. Brown the beef, drain and pour into a large saucepan or a dutch oven. Add the water and bring to a boil. Add the vegetables and rice then the seasonings. Simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours to cook the vegetables and allow the flavors to mesh.

APPLE FILLED OATMEAL COOKIES

This recipe is from an old community cookbook.

1 cup finely chopped apples
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsps water
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 cups flour
2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
2 cups oatmeal

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a saucepan, combine apples, raisins, pecans, granulated sugar, and water. Cook and stir this mixture until thick and apples are tender, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

Cream the brown sugar with the butter then beat in the eggs. Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and cloves. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk to the creamed mixture. Stir in the oatmeal. Set aside 3/4 cup of the dough. Drop by teaspoon onto cookie sheets. Make a small depression in each cookie and add a small amount of the apple mixture to the depressed spot. Top apple mixture with a small amount of the reserved dough. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes at 375 degrees until cookies are lightly browned.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

HAMBURGER-ONION HASH

1 lb lean ground beef
2 medium or 1 large yellow onions, sliced
1 medium white onion, sliced
1 can (16-oz) diced tomatoes
1 to 2 tsps chili powder, according to taste
1/2 cup uncooked regular rice
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet, cook meat, onions, and bell pepper until meat is browned. Drain off excess fat. Stir in the tomatoes, rice, chili powder, salt and pepper. Pour mixture into an ungreased 2-quart casserole dish. Cover and bake for 45 to 1 hour until cooked through and rice is tender.

AF MACARONI SALAD

I call this recipe my Air Force Macaroni Salad since the recipe was given to me by a lady who worked in a restaurant in New Mexico when I first went there as a young Air Force wife in the 1960s.

2 cups cooked macaroni
1/2 cup diced cheddar cheese
1/3 cup diced green bell pepper
3 tbsps finely chopped onion
1/2 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
1/4 cup chopped sweet pickle (or sweet pickle relish)
1/4 tsp salt

Mix all the ingredients together. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours before serving.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

BUTTERMILK BROWNIES WITH FROSTING

This recipe is from an old church group cookbook from a Midwestern state.

1 stick oleo
1 cup water
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 cup canola oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp soda
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a small heavy-duty saucepan, blend together the oleo, water, cocoa, and oil. Bring to a boil, stir until oleo is melted and ingredients are blended. Remove from heat and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, salt and soda. Pour the boiled mixture over the flour mixture and stir to blend. Stir in the vanilla, buttermilk, and eggs. Stir until the mixture is well blended. Pour into a greased 17 x 11-inch baking pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes until done. Frost with the following Chocolate Buttermilk Frosting.

CHOCOLATE BUTTERMILK FROSTING

1 stick oleo
1/2 cup cocoa
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 lb powdered sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
1 tsp vanilla

In a small saucepan bring the oleo, cocoa, and buttermilk to a boil. Remove from the heat and beat in the powdered sugar, vanilla, and nuts. Pour over the brownies while they are still warm.

FROZEN CUCUMBER SALAD

This recipe has been in my family for as long as I can remember.

7 cups cucumbers
1 cup diced green bell pepper
1 tbsp celery seed
2 cups sugar
1 cup diced onion
1 tbsp salt
1 cup white vinegar

Wash cucumbers and slice but do not peel. Slice into a large bowl and add the onion and bell pepper; mix together well. Add the celery seed, sugar, salt and vinegar to the cucumber mixture. Mix all these ingredients together well. Store in an air-tight container and store in the refrigerator for 5 days. Stir the mixture daily with a large wooden or plastic spoon. After 5 days put into freezer containers and freeze.

Monday, January 26, 2009

MINI-MORSEL MUFFINS

This recipe is from my old hometown newspaper when I was a kid growing up in Southern Indiana.

2 cups all-purpose flour
6-ounces semisweet chocolate mini-morsels
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
6 tbsps butter, melted
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, mini-morsels, nuts, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, blend the milk, melted butter, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla until well blended. Pour the liquid ingredients into the flour mixture. Stir together just until the flour mixture is moistened (it is okay if the batter is lumpy). Spoon the mixture into 12 greased muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then remove.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

BEEF AND PORK SAUSAGE BALLS

This recipe is from an old Iowa church cookbook.

3/4 cup finely crushed soda crackers
1 egg
1 cup milk
1 lb ground beef
1/2 lb pork sausage
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 Tbsp parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sage or Italian seasoning
dash of black pepper

Combine cracker crumbs, egg, and milk in a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients to the cracker mixture; mix well. Shape mixture into 1-inch balls. Place in a shallow pan. Bake in a moderate oven for 20 minutes.

Sauce:

1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 soup can of milk

Mix the soup and milk together using a wire whisk or fork. Pour mixture over the meatballs and return to the oven for another 25 minutes or until done.

COCONUT PINEAPPLE SQUARES

This recipe is from an old midwestern state cookbook.

1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups flour
1 cup drained crushed pineapple
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp butter, melted
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the 1/2 cup of butter and the 1/4 cup of sugar together with a pastry blender or two knives. Add the flour and mix till crumbs are formed. Then mix thoroughly with hands until dough is soft. Press evenly into a 9-inch square baking pan going about 1/2-inch up the sides of the pan. Prick with a fork. Bake for 15 minutes are 350 degrees. Remove from the oven. Spread the pineapple evenly over the crust. Add the 1/2 cup of sugar to the egg which has been beaten. Stir the sugar and egg together until blended. Fold in the melted butter and the coconut. Spread this mixture over the pineapple. Return to the oven and bake 20 minutes longer, until coconut is lightly browned. When cool, cut into 9 squares.

Friday, January 23, 2009

SHIRLEY'S BAVARIAN BEEF STEW

This is an old Iowa recipe.

2 lbs beef stew meat, cubed
2 medium onions, sliced
3 tbsps shortening
1 1/2 cups water
2 tsps salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 tsps caraway seed
1/4 cup vinegar
1 medium head red cabbage, cut into wedges
1/2 cup ginger snaps
1/2 cup warm water

Heat the shortening in a pressure cooker; brown the beef and onions. Add the 1 1/2 cups water, salt, salt, pepper, bay leaf, and caraway seeds. Cover and cook at 10 pounds pressure for 15 minutes. Cool and add vinegar and place cabbage wedges on top of the meat. Cover and cook at 15 pounds pressure for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, soak the ginger snaps in the warm water. Remove the cabbage and meat to a heated platter. Add ginger snaps to the liquid and bring to a boil, stirring to make a smooth gravy.

RAISIN FILLED COOKIES

This recipe is from an old church cookbook from the Midwest.

1 cup shortening
1 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp soda
4 cups flour (or enough to make a soft dough)

Filling:

2 cups raisins, ground
1 level tsp salt
1 tsp vinegar
1 cup hot water
1 cup sugar
2 tbsps flour or cornstarch

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine shortening, sour cream, eggs, vanilla, sugar, salt, baking powder, and soda. Combine the mixture well. Gradually add enough of the flour to make a soft dough. Roll the dough thin and cut out with a biscuit cutter or a glass. Place the filling atop one cookie and cover with another one. Using a fork or your fingers, press down the edges to seal. Bake 6 minutes on the bottom oven rack then move to top rack for 6 minutes. Makes about 4 dozen cookies, depending on size.

MOM WILBURN'S CHOCOLATE MERINGUE PIE

This recipe was from the mother of the Country Music Duo and Grand Old Opry stars, "The Wilburn Brothers". She said it was the pie she baked most often when they were boys growing up in Missouri.

1 cup sugar
4 tbsps cocoa, level
4 tbsps flour, level
Yolks of 3 large eggs, save whites for meringue
1/4 stick butter or margarine
1 1/4 cups sweet milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 9" pie shell, baked

Combine the sugar, cocoa, flour, and 1/4 cup of the milk; mix well. Add the egg yolks and remaining milk, butter and vanilla. Cook in a double boiler until thick. Pour into the baked pie shell. Cover with the meringue topping listed below.

For the Meringue Topping:

3 large egg whites
1/4 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 tbsps sugar

Beat the egg whites until stiff. Add the vanilla and 1/2 tablespoon of the sugar. Continue to beat. Gradually beat in the remaining sugar. Pile the meringue on the pie, spreading all the way to the crust to seal the edges. Bake in a 300 degree oven until the meringue is browned, about 8 to 10 minutes.

CONTEST

Dear Blog Followers,

A reader has extended an invitation for us to visit www.chocolate-candy-mall.com and enter a Valentine contest. I checked this out and some great prizes are offered. It is a neat site and I recommed you check it out. I know many of you have lots of Valentine ideas to offer.

Linda

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

ROAST WILD DUCK

This recipe is from an old Iowa cookbook.

2 wild ducks, about 2 lb each
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp. dried rosemary
2 small apples
2 small onions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

The ducks should be plucked of the feathers but not skinned.

Sprinkle the cavaties of the ducks with the salt, pepper, and rosemary. Place an apple and an onion inside the cavity of each duck. (You may have to cut them to get them to fit inside the cavity.) Place the ducks, breast side up, on a rack in an open roasting pan. Roast 1 1/2 to 2 hours until the ducks are tender when pierced with a fork between the leg and the body. Juices should run clear as with poultry. Remove the apples and onions and discard.

Serves 4

COLLEGE FUDGE

This recipe is from a very old cookbook I got in a collector set.

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
3 tbsps cocoa
1 tbsp butter
1 cup milk
1 cup chopped nutmeats
1 tsp vanilla extract

Put the brown sugar, white sugar, and cocoa in a 2-quart saucepan; mix to blend. Add the butter and slowly pour in the milk. Stir together well. Over a low to medium heat bring the mixture to a boil. Continue boiling while stirring; cook to the soft ball in cold water stage. Cool slightly then beat until creamy. Add in the vanilla and nuts. Mix well and pour into a buttered pan to cool. Pan size will depend on whether you want thin pieces of fudge or thick pieces.

DATE STICKS

This old recipe is from past church dinners in Iowa.

1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup finely chopped nuts
1 cup dates, cut into small pieces
granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all the ingredients together in a medium bowl; mix well. Spread in a greased jelly roll pan or a cookie sheet with sides. Bake in a 350 degree for about 30 minutes. When cool, cut into bars and roll them in sugar.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

SONNY JAMES' YEAR 'ROUND STRAWBERRY CAKE

Sonny James was a very popular country music entertainer and Grand Old Opry star when I was a teenager. I got this recipe on a trip to Nashville, Tennessee in the early 70s. Sonny James said this was one of the favorite cakes served on his cattle ranch in Alabama. And he always had it waiting when his father visited for Sunday dinner.

1 pkg white cake mix
1 pkg (3-oz) strawberry jello
3 tbsps flour
1 cup salad oil
1/2 cup water
4 eggs
1 pkg (10-oz) frozen strawberries, thawed
1 stick margarine
1 box confectioner's sugar

Combine the cake mix, jello, and flour in a large mixing bowl. Add oil and water and blend well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating one minute after each addition. Fold half of the strawberries into the batter. Grease two cake pans, line bottoms with waxed paper circles and grease again. Pour in the batter. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. Cool and spread with icing made from the margarine, sugar and remaining strawberries.

Monday, January 19, 2009

MY FAVORITE BROCCOLI RICE CASSEROLE

This is the broccoli casserole that has been popular in my family for many, many years.

1/2 stick oleo, use part to grease 2-qt baking dish
1 small onion, chopped
1 square box frozen chopped broccoli
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2-in square of Velveeta cheese, cubed
1 cup minute rice, cooked according to pkg directions

Bake at 375 degrees.

Melt oleo in pan, add chopped onion. Cook over low heat until onion is transparent. Add the broccoli and continue to cook just until broccoli is separated. Add soup and cheese; mix well. Add the minute rice. Mix well and pour into the prepared baking dish. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

Note: This casserole can be made up to a day ahead, refrigerate before baking then add 5 to 10 minutes to the baking time.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

UPSIDE-DOWN GRAPE CAKE

2 tbsps butter
3 tbsps packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups seedless red grapes, halved
1 1/3 cups baking mix (such as Bisquick)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup milk
2 tbsp canola oil
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 egg

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in an 8-inch square baking pan placed in the oven. Remove pan from oven and sprinkle brown sugar over the margarine. Arrange grape halves on the brown sugar/butter mixture. In a medium bowl, mix together the baking mix, granulated sugar, milk, oil, almond extract, and egg. Beat the mixture vigorously for about a half minute. Pour batter over the grapes. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Invert immediately onto a heatproof serving plate. Let pan remain in place for a few minutes, then remove. Serve warm. Add whipped cream, if desired.

HAM AND CHEESE POTATO SOUP

Origin Unknown

3 to 4 medium red potatoes
2 cups water
1 small onion
3 tbsps butter
3 tbsps flour
dash crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 cups milk
1/4 tsp sugar
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup cubed cooked ham

Peel potatoes and cut into 1-inch cubes. Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan; add the potatoes and cook until they are tender. Drain, reserving the liquid. Set the potatoes aside. Measure 1 cup of the cooking liquid, adding water if necessary; set aside.

Peel onion and finely chop. Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion to butter and cook stirring frequently until the onion is translucent and tender, but not brown. Add flour to the saucepan and season with pepper flakes and pepper. Cook 3 to 4 minutes then gradually add the potatoes, reserved liquid, milk, and sugar. Stir mixture well. Add in the ham and cheese. Simmer over low heat for about a half hour, stirring frequently.

SUBSTITUTIONS WHEN COOKING

Did you ever start to make something only to realize you didn't have a necessary ingredient? I know I have and it can be very frustrating. In going through some old cookbooks, I have figured out ways to make substitutions that won't mess up the finished product. Here are a few of them:

1 tablespoon cornstarch = 2 tbsps flour or 1 1/2 tbsps quick cook tapico
1 cup cake flour = 1 cup - 2 tbsps all-purpose flour
1 cup all-purpose flour = 1 cup + 2 tbsps cake flour
1 square baking chocolate = 3 tbsps cocoa + 1 tbsp shortening
1 cup MELTED shortening = 1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup milk = 1/2 cup evaporated milk + 1/2 cup water
1 cup buttermilk = 1 tbsp vinegar + enough milk to make 1 cup
1 cup heavy cream = 2/3 cup milk and 1/3 cup butter
1 cup heavy cream, whipped = 2/3 cup well chilled evaporated milk, whipped
1 garlic clove = 1/8 tsp garlic powder
1 tablespoon fresh herbs = 1 teaspoon dried herbs

Saturday, January 17, 2009

MIZ EFFIE'S SOUR CREAM CHOCOLATE CAKE

I have no idea who Miz Effie was.

2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsps baking soda
2 cups sugar
pinch salt
3 tbsps cocoa
2 cups sour cream
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift the flour, sugar, salt, cocoa. Add cream, eggs, and vanilla. Beat well and pour into large 9x13 pan that has been greased and floured. Bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

FROSTING:

2 1/2 cups sugar
2 tbsps cocoa
1 1/2 tbsps white syrup
3/4 cup cream
2 tbsps butter
vanilla

Cook the first 4 ingredients to a soft ball stage. Add butter and vanilla. Cool 45 minutes before beating and pour over cake. Never stir until it has cooled about 45 minutes.

If you milk and have cream, this is an easy and good cake.

SIMPLE HAMBURGER HOT DISH

This recipe is from a very old community cookbook.

1 pkg (8-oz) egg noodles
2 lbs ground beef
2 cans cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 med onion
8 slices cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Cook noodles in salted boiling water, drain and rinse. Brown ground beef and onion together, season with salt and pepper. Mix noodles, meat, and soup together and put in a 9x13 lightly greased baking pan or dish. Lay the cheese over the top. Cover the pan with foil and bake 30 minutes at 300 degrees or until the cheese melts and the casserole is bubbly.

Serves 8 to 10.

HOMEMADE CHOCOLATE SANDWICH COOKIES

This recipe is from an old Midwestern State church cookbook.

1/2 cup butter or oleo
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup milk
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsps baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup cocoa

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix all ingredients together in the order given. Beat until smooth. Drop by rounded teaspoon on buttered cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 7 minutes. Do not over bake. Cool and make sandwiches using the filling recipe below.

Marshmallow Filling:

1/2 cup white shortening
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup marshmallow cream
1 tsp vanilla
3 or 4 tsps milk (adjust amount for the right consistency)

Cream shortening and sugar together and mix in rest of the ingredients. Spread between cookies and make sandwiches. Wrap individually in plastic wrap to store so they won't stick together.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Lemon Pie with Meringue

This recipe is a clipping from an old women's magazine.

1 lightly baked pie crust shell
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
Yolks of 5 large eggs, reserve whites for meringue
1 tbsp grated lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tbsps cold butter, cut into small pieces

In a 2-quart saucepan, mix sugar with cornstarch. With a wire whisk, stir in 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water, egg yolks and lemon juice. Bring mixture to a gentle boil while stirring. Boil, stirring, for approximately 1 minute until translucent and thick. Remove from heat, stir in the zest and butter until butter is melted and blended in. Pour into the lightly prebaked crust. Make meringue and top pie.

Meringue:

Whites from the 5 large eggs used in pie
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 cup sugar

Beat egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl on low speed of electric mixer until they form soft peaks. Increase speed to medium-high and add sugar, a little at a time, beating just until stiff peaks form. Spoon meringue over the lemon filling and spread to the edges sealing to pie crust. Make decorative swirls in meringue. Bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees until browned. Cool completely. Refrigerate until serving time. Leftovers should also be refrigerated.

SHIRLEY'S ASPARAGUS CASSEROLE

This is from an old church community cookbook.

2 cans asparagus
2 tbsps milk
3/4 box cheese crackers or saltines
3 hard boiled eggs
1 or 2 pieces pimento, chopped
2 small cans English peas
2 cans mushroom soup
1/2 stick butter or margarine, melted

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Heat mushroom soup and milk together in a medium saucepan. Crumble crackers into melted butter and mix well. Using half of each layer asparagus, sliced eggs, peas, soup mixture, sprinkle with pimento. Repeat with remaining items. Top with crackers. Bake at 325 degrees until browned and bubbly.

CHEWY SCOTCH SQUARES

This old recipe was the Senior Winner in Pillsbury's 5th Grand National Recipe and Baking Contest (now known as the Pillsbury Bake-Off).

3/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1 tsp double-acting baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup peach or apricot preserves or jam
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Melt the butter in a 2-quart saucepan. Add the brown sugar to the melted butter and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the preserves or jam to mix well. Add the oats to the flour mixture and mix thoroughly to blend. Add the butter mixture to the dry mixture and mix well. Cover a baking sheet that has sides with aluminum foil. Turn up the edges of the foil about 1/2-inch all the way around. Spread the dough in the center of the foil and spread to about a six-inch square. Bake at 300 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Dough will spread during baking. Cool 15 minutes; sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cut into squares or bars.

COCONUT BUTTERMILK PIE

This is an old Alabama recipe.

1 cup sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
4 tbsps butter, melted
3 tbsps flour
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp lemon juice
pinch of salt
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 9-inch pie crust, lightly baked and cooled

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine sugar, eggs, butter, and flour. Beat with electric mixer until well blended. Mix in the vanilla, lemon juice, and salt. Using a wire whisk, whisk in the buttermilk until well blended. Pour into the prepared pie crust and sprinkle the coconut over the top. Bake on the middle oven rack for 10 minutes at 425 degrees then lower the temperature to 350 degrees until lightly browned and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Note: To prevent edges of pie crust from getting too brown, loosely wrap the edge of the pie with foil before putting in the oven.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

LIVER COUNTRY STYLE

This recipe is from the community where I attended high school in the 1960s.

6 slices bacon, cut in pieces
1 lb beef liver, sliced thin
flour
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 cups milk
1/4 cup buttered bread crumbs
2 cups sliced onions
3 tbsps butter

Fry bacon until crisp; remove from pan and drain. Dredge liver in flour and brown in the bacon fat; remove from pan and set aside. Add 2 tablespoons four, salt and pepper to drippings, stirring until smooth. Gradually add milk; cook until thick and smooth. In a small skillet with 3 tablespoons butter, saute onions for 5 minutes. In a buttered casserole dish place alternate layers of liver, bacon, onions, and gravy. Top with the buttered bread crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

SWEET POTATO AND PINEAPPLE CASSEROLE

This recipe is from an old acquaintance of my late mother.

4 tbsps butter
1 1/2 cups crushed pineapple, drained and juice reserved
3 cups sweet potatoes, cooked
1/2 cup brown sugar
salt to taste
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 cup reserved pinepple juice (add water if necessary to make a cup)
2 cups marshmallows

Melt butter; add pineapple. In a buttered casserole dish, place alternate layers of potatoes and pineapple/butter mixture. Springle with the brown sugar, salt, nutmeg, and cloves. Pour the juice over the casserole. Bake in a moderate oven, 375 degrees, for 25 to 30 minutes. Add marshmallows. Leave in oven until marshmallows are brown.

WALNUT BUNDT CAKE

This recipe is from an old church cookbook.

1 cup soft shortening
3/4 cup milk
4 eggs, unbeaten
3 cups sifted cake flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 tsps baking powder
1 1/2 tsps salt
2 tsps vanilla extract
1 cup very finely chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Into a large bowl sift flour with sugar, baking powder and salt. Drop in shortening and 2 eggs; pour in milk and vanilla. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed. Add 2 eggs, beat as before. Fold in nuts. Turn into greased Bundt pan or tube pan. Bake 1 hour. Cool 10 to 15 minutes before removing from pan. Cool. Make a glaze by combining 2 tablespoons light corn syrup and 2 teaspoons butter or margarine in a small saucepan. Boil 3 minutes but no longer. Place walnut halves or pieces on top of cake, if desired. Pour the boiled glaze over the top allowing to run down the sides. Note: This cake freezes well.

BAKING FREQUENCY POLL RESULTS

Based on our latest poll results, most of us are bakers. We asked the question "How Often Do You Bake?" Here are your results: 35% of you either bake daily or several times a week, 24% of you bake weekly while the same percentage bakes monthly. Only 17% say you seldom bake. Based on these results, we will continue to add several baking recipes weekly. Thanks for your participation in our poll.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

KAREN'S BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

1 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup evaporated milk
pinch of salt
1/4 cup almond flavoring

In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the shortening, powdered sugar, milk and salt. When mixture is well blended, add the almond (or vanilla, if you prefer) flavoring. Beat at high speed for 5 minutes. This will frost a layer cake or a sheet cake. Add food coloring, if desired.

Monday, January 12, 2009

TENNESSEE HILLS POTATO AU GRATIN

4 or 5 large russet potatoes
3 large onions
2 cups milk
salt and pepper to taste
butter
flour
grated cheddar cheese

In large casserole, put layer of peeled and sliced potatoes using half the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Add a layer of half the onions. Dot with butter. Repeat the process with the other potatoes and onions. Pour milk to cover. Sprinkle lightly with flour. When almost done, top with grated cheddar cheese. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about an hour.

Serves 6 to 8.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

SOUR CREAM RAISIN PIE

This recipe is from an old Iowa church cookbook.

1 cup sour cream
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 9-inch unbaked pie shell

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl. Pour into the unbaked pie shell and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 1 hour until done.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

ELLEN'S CARROT CAKE BARS

This recipe is from an old midwestern community cookbook.

2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 tsp soda (level)
1 tsp salt (level)
1 tsp cinnamon (level)
3 small jars carrot baby food
1/2 cup chopped nutmeats

ICING:
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, room temp
1/2 cup soft oleo
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all the cake ingredients and mix with an electric mixer for 3 or 4 minutes. Bake in a well greased cookie sheet pan with sides for 25 to 30 minutes. When cooled, mix all the icing ingredients together and frost the cake. Cut into bars.

Friday, January 9, 2009

SWEET AND SOUR POT ROAST

This recipe is from an old handmade cookbook from Southern Indiana.

1 chuck roast (approximately 3 1/2 lbs)
2 tbsps fat
2 onions, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup water
2 tbsps brown sugar
1/4 cup catsup
2 tsps vinegar

Brown meat in the fat. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer 1 hour and 30 minutes.

HOT COCOA

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa (not hot chocolate mix)
dash of salt, optional
1/3 cup hot water
4 cups milk
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
Sweetened whipped cream, optional

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, cocoa, and salt; blend in the water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils. Boil and stir for 2 minutes. Add milk; stir and heat to serving temperature. DO NOT BOIL! Remove from the heat and add vanilla. Beat with a rotary beater or wire whisk until foamy. Serve in cups or mugs topped with the sweetened whipped cream, if desired.

Options: For Christmas, use 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and 1/4 tsp peppermint extract. Top with miniature marshmallows and put a candy cane in the mug as a stirrer.

Instead of the sweetened whipped cream, use marshmallow cream.

Add a teaspoon of instant coffee granules into the hot water for a mocha-flavored hot chocolate.

CARROT, APPLE, AND RAISIN SALAD

This recipe was popular in my childhood.

2 cups grated carrots
2 cups finely chopped apples
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped nuts
1/3 cup mayonnaise

After chopping apples, toss with 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice. Combine with the remaining ingredients, mix well. Sprinkle a few chopped nuts on top for garnish, if desired. Cover and refrigerate until serving time. Refrigerate any leftovers.

SERVED HOT POTATO SALAD

6 to 8 boiled or baked potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 lb Velveeta cheese, cubed
1 cup mayonnaise
1 small onion, chopped
1 tbsp prepared mustard
salt and pepper to taste
3 to 4 bacon strips and drippings

In a large bowl, gently mix together the potatoes, cheese, mayonnaise, onion, mustard, salt and pepper. Partially fry the bacon strips (do not fry crisp). Pour bacon drippings into the potato mixture. Put mixture into a lightly greased baking dish. Crumble bacon over the top of the mixture. Bake 30 to 40 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve hot.

Note: This can be made ahead, refrigerated and then baked before serving.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

APPETIZER CHEESECAKE

This recipe is from the mother of children I went to school with in the 1950s.

2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup green pepper
1/2 cup celery
1/4 cup olives
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsps lemon juice
5 drops hot pepper sauce
1 cup cracker crumbs

Finely chop the green pepper, celery, and olives and mix with the sour cream, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and hot pepper sauce. Line a 4-cup bowl with clear plastic wrap. Spread 1/2 cup of the sour cream mixture in the bottom of the bowl. Layer with half of the cracker crumbs, then 1 cup of the sour cream mixture, 1/2 cup of the crumbs, then the remaining sour cream mixture. Cover and chill for 24 hours. Unmold onto a serving platter; remove the plastic wrap. Top with the remaining cracker crumbs. Serve with fresh vegetables and assorted crackers.

FYI

In case you wonder where you come in on grocery spending, here are the results of our latest poll. Our poll asked visitors how much they planned to spend on groceries per week during the month of January. 60% planned to spend $75.00 or more per week. 40% planned to spend $50.00 or less.

Thanks to all of you who participated in the poll.

PUMPKIN ICE CREAM

This quick and easy pumpkin ice cream recipe was published many years ago in the local newspaper of my hometown when I was a kid. (Many, many years ago!) It was from a local home extension service's home economist.

1 cup pumpkin pulp
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 quart vanilla ice cream

Mix pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and nutmeg together. Soften ice cream and blend with the pumpkin mixture. Freeze until firm and you have your own homemade pumpkin ice cream.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

THE LATE JERRY REED'S MEATLOAF

You may remember Jerry Reed has a country singer or as an actor. I got this recipe years ago on a trip to Nashville, Tennessee.

1 1/2 lbs ground round
1 1/2 cups cornflakes, crushed
1 cup rice, cooked
1 cup onions, chopped
1 cup bell peppers, chopped
1 egg
1 small can tomato sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together and place in a loaf pan. Bake at 325 degrees for about 1 hour or until done. Serves 6.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

MARINATED CARROTS

This recipe is from an old church potluck.

2 lbs fresh carrots, peeled
1 lg. green bell pepper, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
1 can tomato soup, undiluted
1/2 cup olive oil
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
dash of pepper

Wash and scrape carrots; cut into thick crosswise slices. Boil in water just until tender; drain well. Combine soup, olive oil, sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil until sugar is dissolved. Pour over carrots, green pepper, and onion. Cover and chill in the refrigerator. Good served hot or cold.

SPICED BLUEBERRY CAKE

This recipe is from an old Iowa community cookbook.

1 cup shortening or butter (add 1 tsp salt if you use shortening).
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
2 tsps baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp allspice
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups blueberries (use whole can of blueberries, juice and all)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream butter and add sugar gradually creaming until fluffy. Beat the eggs well and blend into the sugar mixture. Add buttermilk and stir mixture well. Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and the spices together; beat into the creamy mixture. Gently fold in the blueberries until well mixed in. Pour batter into a greased 9x13-inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes or until cake tests done.

Good with your favorite chocolate frosting.

Stays moist for a long time.

Monday, January 5, 2009

ETHEL'S WALDORF SALAD

2 cups diced unpared red apples
2 tbsps lemon juice
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 cup thinly sliced celery
1/2 cup broken walnuts
1/2 cup seedless raisins
lettuce leaves for presentation

About 1 hour before serving time;
1. In a medium bowl, toss diced apples with lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of the mayonnaise. Refrigerate.
2. Just before serving, remove from refrigerator and add celery, rest of the mayonnaise, broken walnuts, and the raisins. Mix together well and serve on 4 salad plates. Place lettuce leaves on plate and top lettuce with the Waldorf salad.

Yields 4 servings.

SCOTTISH SHORTBREAD

This recipe is from an old cookie cookbook. I can't find a date on the book but it has a retail selling price of 15 cents printed on the front cover. I think that should say something about it being vintage!

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup butter

Sift together the flour and sugar. Cut in the butter thoroughly to form a soft dough. Divide the dough in half and shape into two balls. Place on ungreased baking sheets and flatten into 7-inch circles, about 1/2-inch thick. Flute the edges to form a scallop. Prick lines on the circles by using a fork, outlining 12 wedges on each circle. Bake in a moderate oven of 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until light golden brown. While still warm, cut along the pricked lines but do not cut all the way through. Cool and break into wedges.

Yield: 2 dozen cookies.

It says in the cookbook that this recipe actually came over to America from Scotland.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

FUDGE AND NUT BROWNIE CAKE

This recipe was in a collection of recipes I found.

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, your preference

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease and flour a one 9-inch cake round cake pan and set aside.

Combine the butter and corn syrup in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Add the chocolate chips and stir until melted. Remove from the heat. Add the sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract. Stir until thoroughly combined. Blend in the flour and the nuts. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees about 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling. Make the glaze below and pour over the cooled cake.

GLAZE:

2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tbsps butter
4 tbsps dark corn syrup
2 tsps milk
Chopped nuts for garnish

In a saucepan, combine chocolate, butter, and corn syrup. Cook the mixture over low heat until the chocolate melts. Remove from the heat and stir in the milk. Pour glaze over cake while it is still on the wire rack (be sure to have a cookie sheet, waxed paper, or something under the rack to catch any drips. Let stand until glaze sets. Garnish with chopped nuts, if desired.

DOUBLE DELIGHT PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES

This recipe was cut from an old magazine.

1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts, chopped finely
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 roll (approx. 16 oz) refrigerated peanut butter cookie dough

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a small bowl, mix peanuts, granulated sugar and cinnamon. Set bowl aside. In a second small bowl, stir together the peanut butter and powdered sugar until completely well blended. Shape mixture into 24 balls. Cut the roll of cookie dough into 12 even sized slices. Cut each slice in half crosswise and flatten slightly. Shape one piece of the cookie dough slices completely around one of the 24 balls you made. Cover the ball completely. Roll each covered ball in the peanut, sugar, cinnamon mixture. Gently pat the mixture completely onto the balls. On an ungreased cookie sheets, place the balls 2-inches apart. Grease the bottom of a small drinking glass and place into remaining peanut mixture. With the bottom of the glass flatten each cookie. Sprinkle any remaining peanut mixture on the tops of the cookies and press in lightly. Bake for 7 to 12 minutes at 375 degrees or until the edges are golden brown.

TRIPLE CHEESE POTATO BAKE

This is a recipe from an old magazine clipping.

2 cans (10 3/4 0z ea) cream of chicken soup
8 oz sour cream
1/2 tsp pepper
1 pkg (30 to 32 oz) frozen hashed brown potatoes
3/4 cup sliced green onions
1 jar (2 oz) diced pimentos
3/4 cup shredded Sharp Cheddar cheese
3/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 13x9-inch baking dish and set aside.

Combine soup, sour cream, and pepper in a large bowl; blend well. Stir in potatoes, onions, pimentos, Cheddar and Swiss cheeses. Spoon mixture into the prepared baking dish. Spread out into an even layer and sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top. Bake, uncovered approximately 1 hour or until bubbly and golden brown.

AMISH BREAKFAST CASSEROLE

This is a recipe from an Amish lady from Northern Indiana who is now deceased.

8 slices of bread, cubed
1 lb bulk pork sausage, fried, crumbled, and drained
6 eggs
2 cups milk
1/4 cup butter
1/2 tsp dried mustard
1 lb of grated cheese
1/2 tsp salt

Put bread in the bottom of a casserole dish. In a seperate bowl, beat eggs and add milk, onion, salt and mustard. Sprinkle sausage and cheese over the bread. Slice butter over the cheese and pour the egg mixture over all. Bake in a medium heat oven (325 degrees) for about 45 minutes.

1980s Cheese Spread

This recipe was torn from a magazine page. It was dated 1982. It was in a Kraft Foods advertisement.

2 pkgs (8-oz each) Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup Miracle Whip Salad Dressing
1/3 cup Kraft Grated Parmesan Cheese
10 crisply cooked bacon slices, crumbled
1/4 cup green onion slices
Nabisco Triscut Wafters

Combine the cream cheese and salad dressing; mix until well blended. Add remaining ingredients, except Tricuts, and mix well. Chill. Serve with the Triscut Wafers.

Variation: Substitute 1/2 cup finely chopped han, 1/4 cup chopped green pepper, and 1/4 cup onion for the bacon and green onion.

Note: The KRAFT products are listed because this was a KRAFT ad. Any brands may be used and you may serve with your favorite snack crackers. In my opinion, this is also good when used to stuff celery for a relish tray or appetizer platter.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

PHIL'S MEXACALI CASSEROLE

This recipe is from an old Southern Indiana Fire Department cookbook.

1 lb ground beef
3/4 cup chopped green peppers and jalapeno peppers* mixed
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 can (17 oz) cream-style corn
1 can (16 oz) tomato sauce
1 can (4 oz) mushroom pieces
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tsp chili powder
8 oz pkg noodles, cooked according to pkg directions and drained

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Brown the ground beef in a large skillet with the peppers and onion. When beef is browned, drain the fat. Stir in the remaining ingredients; mix together well. Turn into a buttered 2 1/2-quart casserole dish. Cover and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

*When working with jalapeno peppers, it is a good idea to wear gloves. Do not touch hands to eyes when handling hot peppers. Remove the seeds unless you want your dish to be really hot. The heat is mostly in the seeds.

Friday, January 2, 2009

RHUBARD CRUNCH PIE

This recipe is from an old community cookbook from Indiana.

1 1/4 cups sugar
6 tbsps flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 cups diced rhubarb
1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell
2 tbsps butter

Sift sugar with flour, salt, and cinnamon. Combine with rhubarb, tossing lightly to coat all the rhubarb. Pour into the pastry shell. Dot with butter.

Crunch Topping:

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup butter

Blend brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over rhubarb. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake for 40 minutes longer or until the rhubarb is tender and the topping is golden.

ETHEL'S STUFFED GREEN PEPPERS

This recipe is from an old lady in the community where I grew up (many years ago).

1 1/2 lb ground beef
large onion
2 eggs, beaten
1 can whole kernel corn
bread crumbs to thicken
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp steak sauce
salt and pepper to taste
6 to 8 large green peppers
tomato juice

Parboil peppers which have had seeds removed, until just tender. Stuff with ground beef mixture which has been previously sauted and drained and mixed with eggs, corn, bread crumbs, sauces, salt and pepper. Cover with tomato juice in a large baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

GRANDMA WILSON'S ELEGANT RHUBARB PIE

This is a recipe from my mother-in-law who is in her 80s.

1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tbsps flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsps melted butter or margarine
1 egg, slightly beaten
3 cups rhubarb, cut into 1-inch pieces
Pastry for a two crust 9" pie

Cream together sugar, flour, salt, butter and egg. Spread rhubarb in the bottom of a pastry lined 9-inch pie pan. Spread the sugar mixture over the rhubarb and cover with a top pastry. Make slashes in crust for air to escape. Pinch edges together securely. Bake at 450 degrees for 45 minutes.

TEA, TEA, OR TEA?

TEA IS ONE OF THE MOST WIDELY CONSUMED BEVERAGES IN THE WORLD!

Staying hydrated and drinking plenty of liquids is important to our overall health. Tea is a great beverage choice as it basically has no carbs, protein or fat. It is tasty, is a natural source of amino acid and antioxidant catechins. It is available in several forms and is tasty both as a hot drink or iced. Note that we are talking about true tea here. Herbal teas usually contain no actual tea leaves but infusions of fruit and/or herbs. Therefore, this article is not about herbal teas.

True tea comes from the Camellia Sinensis evergreen plant commonly known as the tea bush. The tea bush grows mainly in tropical and sub-tropical climates. This plant or tree prefers acidic soil and requires an annual rainfall of at least fifty inches. Camellia Sinensis plants can grow into trees but are usually kept cropped to about waist height to make cultivation easier. Only the leaves from the top 1-2 inches are picked. Many of the top-quality teas, such as darjeeling, are picked from plants grown at elevations of about 5,000 feet. This causes the plants to grow slower thus acquiring a better flavor.

There are four basic types of true tea common to us today. They are black, green, white and oolong. Each is unique but they all come from the same source. The difference occurs in the processing. Briefly, here is a description of each type and what makes it unique. Green tea leaves are unwilted and unoxidized. White tea leaves are wilted and unoxidized. Oolong tea leaves are wilted, bruised and partially oxidized. Black tea leaves are crushed and fully oxidized. Because of the oxidation process, white and green teas have a higher concentration of the antioxidant catechins.

Proper preparation also differs for each of the tea types. For black tea, boiling water should be used. Many of the active substances in black tea won't develop at lower temperatures. This is the most common mistake made when brewing black tea! For optimum results, black tea should be brewed about 4 minutes and never longer than 5 minutes. Longer brewing will cause the tea to taste bitter.

Green tea should be brewed at a lower temperature, approximately 180-185 degrees which is below the boiling point. Hotter water will burn the green tea leaves causing a bitter taste. When brewing green tea, it is best to pre-warm the mug or teapot you will brew in. This will keep the tea from cooling immediately before it is fully steeped.

Oolong tea should be brewed at about the boiling point in a pre-warmed mug or pot. For oolong tea, it is best to use spring water. The minerals in the water tend to bring out more of the flavor in the tea. High-quality oolong tea leaves can be brewed several times. It actually improves with reuse. Many believe the third brewing actually produces the best tea.

To keep your teas fresh and flavorful, store them in a dry, dark, cool place inside an airtight container.

The health properties of tea are constantly in debate. Many believe drinking tea will help to prevent heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc. One thing we know for sure is that tea contains both antioxidant and amino acid properties. It also doesn't add to our daily carb, protein or fat and calorie count when drank in it's natural state without adding sugar, milk, etc. And it tastes good. If you aren't currently a tea drinker, become one. It sure won't hurt you and it just might be healthy for you.

For more of Linda's writings and recipes, go to: http://diabeticenjoyingfood.blogspot.com

BOILED SPICE CAKE

This is an old Iowa "church" recipe.

2 cups water
3/4 cup cooking oil
2 cups raisins
2 cups sugar
2 tsps cinnamon
2 tsps nutmeg
1 tsp ground cloves
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a 2-qt saucepan, bring the water, cooking oil, raisins, sugar, cimmamon, nutmeg, and cloves to a boil. Boil mixture for 10 minutes then allow to cool. Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, eggs, and salt. Mix the batter well and pour into a well greased and floured 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Bake 30 to 40 minutes until the cake tests done.