Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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Tea in My Treasure

I’ve got a treasure, which is worth way more than its weight in gold. And the funny thing is, the entire treasure fits in a legal sized envelope.

grams-envelopeThere really is a treasure in there. Want to see it? ‘Kay.

grams-receipes

I admit, most people wouldn’t consider this to be worth much, but I love it. It’s one of those things I’d grab first if a tornado was headed my way. Well, maybe not a tornado. But definitely if there was a raging grass fire headed toward our house!

They’re recipes I found in a drawer at Grandmother’s house when I lived there. When I moved, I collected them all and put them in the envelope.

Usually, the envelope lives here–

grams-cooking

I also copied them and put them in books for my sibs.

gram's-book2

I don’t think they were Grandmother’s absolute favorite recipes. She had those memorized! But there are some goodies.

One that I’d only tried once, my sister’s DIL just loves, so I decided to try it, again. Turns out, it really is pretty doggone good!

A little too sweet for my taste, so I add a little brewed tea to mine. 😀

grans-cranberry-spice-tea

Here’s the recipe:

Cranberry Tea

48 oz cranberry cocktail
46 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
1 C boiling water
3/4 C brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice

Combine water, sugar and spices and bring to a boil to dissolve sugar. Add juices and 1 or 2 cinnamon sticks. Remove after 10 minutes simmering. Refrigerate and re-heat to serve.

grans-goodies

Of course, the real treasure was my grandmother’s presence in my life. We lived with her or right next door to her always. (At least I did until I got married.)

She was one of the kindest, sweetest people in the world, and could cook like no one else.

I remember the day she gave her heart to God. I’d stayed home from church with Granddad because I didn’t feel good. She came home from church with her hair wet. She’d accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior and been baptized.

I’m not sure of the date, but it was sometime in the ’60’s and, if I’m not mistaken, Ronnie Epps was our preacher. (Guess I’ll have to run over to the church and check that out for sure.)

Do you have treasures like mine? Hard to put a dollar amount on, but you wouldn’t trade them for the world.

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PS:

pumpkin-cake

PS:

I asked Beth (my book winner) for her favorite recipe, and she responded right away with this link to Kraft!

Here’s what it says:

1-3/4 cups  flour
1 pkg.  (3.4 oz.) JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding
1 Tbsp.  CALUMET Baking Powder
2 tsp.  pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp.  baking soda
1/2 cup  butter, melted
1 cup  sugar
1 can  (15 oz.) pumpkin
2 eggs
1/3 cup  chopped PLANTERS Walnuts

Make It

HEAT oven to 350ºF.

MIX flour, dry pudding mix, baking powder, spice and baking soda; set aside.

WHISK butter, sugar and pumpkin in large bowl.  Blend in eggs.  Add flour mixture; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened.  Pour into 8×4-inch loaf pan sprayed with cooking spray; top with nuts.

BAKE 1 hour to 1 hour 5 min. or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, covering loosely with foil for the last 20 min.  Cool bread in pan 10 min.  Remove from pan to wire rack; cool completely.

Kraft Kitchens Tips

Special Extra
Slice the bread loaf, then spread with softened PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese.  If desired, you can heat the  bread slices in the microwave before spreading with the cream cheese.
Variation
Instead of sprinkling the nuts on top of the batter in the pan, you can stir them into the batter before pouring the batter into the pan. Or, you can stir half the nuts into the batter and sprinkle the remaining nuts on top.
Pumpkin Pie Spice Substitute
No pumpkin pie spice on hand?  No problem!  Here’s an easy way to make your own.  For each 1 tsp. of pumpkin pie spice needed, just combine 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ground ginger, 1/8 tsp. ground allspice and 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg.

Thank you, Beth AND Kraft!!!


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Breakfast Pizza WITH CHOPPED GREEN CHILIS, Anyone?

Every Tuesday, our field guys have a safety meeting. Brother Jeffrey is usually in charge, which means he gets the speaker (or does the speaking) and the food. I don’t know about the speakers, but I know the food is great. The office gets the leftovers, and we put them away! YUM!!!

In the time honored tradition of Granddad Ray, Brother Jeffrey is a great cook.

Sometimes he makes whomp ’em or frozen cinnamon rolls, but usually he makes biscuits and gravy, piggies in a blanket or breakfast pizza.

I assisted in the breakfast pizza prep this week, so I’m going to share what I learned with you. 🙂

breakfast-jeffrey

Here’s what you need:0

  • 1# sausage. (He used hot.)
  • 8 eggs. (He likes extra large.)
  • 6 slices white bread
  • a squeeze of mustard.
  • 1 CAN CHOPPED GREEN CHILIS (sorry, I left this out earlier.)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese.
  • 1/4 tsp salt.

Brown the sausage and drain on a paper towel.

breakfast-brown

While the sausage is cooling, beat the eight eggs and cut the bread into 1/2 inch cubes. Mix the eggs and bread, stirring well. Add sausage, salt, mustard and cheese. AND CHOPPED GREEN CHILIS (that I forgot earlier)

breakfast-stir

When everything is well mixed, put in a prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until the eggs are set.

breakfast-bake

Top with salsa and yum!

If I were making it for G-Man and me, I’d be tempted to add mushrooms to the mix, and maybe a few green onions, just to layer a little more flavor. 🙂

It’s even better when you add the CHOPPED GREEN CHILIS.


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Lock Your Doors!

Marilyn Pappano, whose newest book, In the Enemy’s Arms, is on shelves now–and it’s fabulous, tells a joke about being from a Small Town World where the only time you lock your doors is during zucchini season. Guess what?

It’s time! 🙂

Most of my family LOVES squash. I remember eating it as a kid with ketchup, but I got smarter after that.

Grandma Reeves wouldn’t eat it at all. Mama could fry up a big platter, and Grandma would just pass it along. “I don’t eat squash. It’s poor folks’ food!”

“Then I’m a poor folk.” Daddy grinned big. “Pass that squash over here.”

We told our kids it was grown up food, and they couldn’t have any. Funny how that makes them beg for it! (It worked until they figured out what we were doing.)

I like straight or crook neck (yellow) ever better than zucchini, but I don’t quibble if someone else cooking. IT’S ALL GOOD.

You know how they tell you in church that you can’t out give God? You can’t out give a squash plant, either. It’s the gift that just keeps on giving. You can batter and fry the blossoms or eat the whole fruit.

The squash itself can be fried, baked, stuffed, boiled, broiled, sautéed or made into a casserole or dessert bread. (There’s not much better than zucchini bread. Yuuuum!) I’ve read you can even put leftover stewed squash in white bread, but I’ve never tried it.

When G-Man and I were first married, we were very successful at growing squash. (Hey, if you water it, it will grow.) We cooked that stuff every way we could think of. And we froze it.

If you freeze squash, don’t let your dog unplug the deep freeze. Bags of frozen squash left to defrost and sit a few days before you find is a real mess. (Blech.)

My absolute favorite way to eat squash is fried. Yuuummy goodness.

Here’s how Mama taught me–

First you slice the small fruit into a bowl of salted water.

 Keep the slices thin.

Dredge the slices in salted flour. (I’ve found that just salty water, the way Mama did it, isn’t enough seasoning.)

 Shake off the excess flour and fry the slices in oil. I use Cannola Oil, but any vegetable oil works. I don’t deep fry my squash, but you could.

Then you just set them on the table and watch them disappear. If they make it to the table. Sometimes it’s a toss up–will we leave any to serve with dinner? 😉

So–that’s my favorite way to prepare squash. Please–someone share their favorite zucchini bread recipe with me. I’ve never baked it. 🙂

My hibiscus–just for fun.


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Chicken Tales

When Mom and Dad were first married (they were 18 and 19, respectively) they lived in the Basin near Old Ford. Dad went to school at the University of Tulsa. Mama stayed home (sometimes) and one day decided to fix Dad fried chicken for supper.

Now Mom had learned to cook at her mother’s knee, and could fry up some great tasting chicken. The only trouble was, she didn’t have an ax to kill the fowl.

So what did she do? What any self-respecting born-during-the-depression Okie would do. She rung that bird’s neck.

When Dad got home from school, she had fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy on the table.

How many eighteen-year-olds do you know who could do that?

I don’t pretend to know what all has to happen to take a chicken from the hen-house and get her on the table, but I know it has to do with giblet, innards and feather removal. Ick.

I can cut up a chicken (surprised to my MIL when G-Man and I were first married) and I have a wishbone piece! But I’m not sure how you get to the inside stuff you have to throw out.

To be honest, Mom, Grandma, Grandmother and Aunt Phyllis were all fantastic chicken fryers. Mom gave Phyllis the kudos for being the very best. I’m not sure if that was because her chicken was any better or if she did it to get Phyllis to fry the chicken most of the time. 🙂 Whatever it was, we were ALL glad she did.

A long time ago, Phyllis told me how to make the World’s Best Fried Chicken. Now I do it every 4th of July.

Want to give it a try? (You don’t have to wait for Independence Day.) Click here! PHYLLIS’S FRIED CHICKEN.

BTW: Have you butchered your own chickens? Tell me about it.

PS: #4–Still need a Father’s Day gift? How about this?

or

 Pretty cute, huh? 🙂


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Mary Sue’s Super, Best, Most Delicious, World’s-Yummiest Ice Cream

Homer Simpson

Homer Simpson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I’ve heard run-of-the-mill things called “vanilla” I never understood it, because at our house, vanilla was the b-e-s-t!

Larry Lawrence asked me yesterday on Facebook if I had the recipe for Mom’s ice cream. That brought memories of the summertime treat flooding back. Yuuuuummy, creamy, delicious ice cream.

If I could make the Homer Simpson drooling yummy sound, I would.

So today, I’m going to share that recipe.

You can make it any flavor you want, as long as it’s vanilla. 🙂

 Mary Sue’s Super, Best, Most Delicious, World’s-Yummiest Ice Cream

1 egg
1/2 pint heavy cream
1 pint half-and-half
4 Cups whole milk
1 can Eagle Brand Milk
2 Cups sugar
2 tsp. vanilla

Using a mixer, lightly beat the egg, mix in cream, half-and-half, milk, Eagle Brand, sugar and vanilla. Pour in the freezer can and fill the rest of the way with whole milk.
Follow the Freezer instructions to freeze.

Grandma told me that sugar can freeze out, so be sure to taste the mixture before you add the final amount of milk and make sure it’s a little sweeter than you think it should be. If it’s not sweet enough, add more sugar. 🙂

And when it’s ready, share a bowl with me!


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Happy St. Paddy’s

Everyone’s Irish on St. Paddy’s Day!

So, how are you planning to spend your ancestors’ national holiday?

Wearing green and pinching people?

Turning the water in your river, lake or pond green?

Makes me wonder if the fish turn green, too.

 Baking green cookies?

Drinking green apple juice? (For green apple juice, just add a drop or two of blue food coloring.)

Or are you going to wear a t-shirt that says–

and enjoy your day that way?

#1 son and his wife love celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. One year they came to the house and made us an Irish dinner. Soda bread and corned beef and cabbage. De-lish!

I don’t have #1’s recipe, but Ina Garten has one that looks good, so I borrowed it to share with you.
The Barefoot Contessa’s Irish Soda Bread:

Ingredients

    • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus
    • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, for dusting currants
    • 4 tablespoons sugar
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 18; teaspoons kosher salt
    • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, 1/2 inch dice
    • 1 ¾ cups buttermilk, shaken
    • 1 extra large eggs, beaten
    • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
    • 1 cup dried currants

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is mixed into the flour.
  3. With a fork, lightly beat the buttermilk, egg, and orange zest together in a measuring cup. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture. Combine the currants with 1 tablespoon of flour and mix into the dough. It will be very wet.
  4. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and knead it a few times into a round loaf. Place the loaf on the prepared sheet pan and lightly cut an X into the top of the bread with a serrated knife. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. When you tap the loaf, it will have a hollow sound.
  5. Cool on a baking rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Here’s the corned beef and cabbage recipe I found online that looks good. Not that I’m a judge of corned beef and cabbage, but it looks good. 🙂

Corned Beef and Cabbage–

Makes. 6 servings (the meat shrinks quite a bit) Preparation   time. 10 minutes Cooking time. 3 to 4   hours

Ingredients 1 (3 pound) slab   of corned beef, preferably home made 2 tablespoons coarsely   ground black pepper 2 tablespoons pickling   spices, preferably home made 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1″ segments 2 pounds of potatoes, cleaned and cut into 2″ chunks 1 small head of cabbage, outer leaves removed, cut in quarters.

A good idea. While the meat is cooking, mix up some of my Secretariat   Horseradish Sauce and refrigerate for  at least two hours to let the flavors marry. Serve it on the side as a  sauce.

Do this 1) Open the package the meat came in and dump out all the liquid. Rinse  thoroughly. Trim off all the fat cap. If you have made your own corned beef, and you should, it is  just plain better, remove it from the brine, and rinse it well.

2)  Corned beef is essentially pickled in salt, and straight out of the pack  it is way too salty. Before we can eat this cured meat, we need to cook  it and desalinate it a bit. Place the beef in a large pot along with  enough hot water to cover it by at least 1″ and put the  lid on.

Turn the heat to medium and bring to a low simmer for 30 minutes. Do not let it boil. If you boil it, it will get tough and shrink. Beware that the meat is cold, so when it warms the water will slowly move from simmer to boil. Keep an eye on it and do not let it boil. After 30 minutes, dump out the water and cover the meat with fresh hot   water. This time add the pickling spices.

Bring to a low simmer again, this time for 1 hour. Again dump the water and pickling spices and replace it with fresh hot water. Bring to a simmer and let it simmer for 1 hour. Add the carrots. After 30 minutes add the potatoes. After 10 minutes add the cabbage. After 15 minutes the cabbage will be done and so should everything else.

3) Remove the meat and place it on a carving board. There are often two horizontal muscles separated by a thick layer of fat. Separate  them by sliding a knife through the fat. Carve and/or scrape off the  fat layer. Carve the meat by cutting across the grain about the thickness of a pencil. Any thinner and it will fall apart, any thicker and it will be chewy.

5) Lift out the cabbage, potatoes and carrots and divide them into  serving bowls. Place the meat in the bowl. Spoon some of the cooking liquid over them and serve. Happy Holiday!

Or just pop over to Mommy Hates Cooking and follow her recipes. She sounds as if she’s actually prepared them, which I haven’t. I watched while the preparation happened, but that’s it.

I did eat it, though. Yummers!  🙂

How are you going to celebrate? At least tell me you plan to pinch someone!
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