Oatmeal Cookies, Cinnamon, Clove, Pecans, and Raisins make these Grandpa's Favorite Cookie

Goof for You Oatmeal Cookies are Chocked Full of Good Ingredients!
This version of my Oatmeal Cookies is my husbands favorite.  In fact he especially asked me to make these for him the other evening.  That is kind of nice I think,  Nice that he asked and nice that I can do something special for this man I have been married to for 39 years this month!  You know, at our age you realize how special it is to still be together and enjoy our family.  The old saying, "all I want is just another year with you" takes on a more special meaning as the years click by, each more rapidly than the last. 

The recipe again was from the first cookbook I ever owned, The Betty Crocker Cookbook,  it is so old and worn it no longer has a cover or a title page but I got it in 1967.  This is the adaptation my husband loves.

Oatmeal Cookies:

3/4 C. soft butter
1 C. brown sugar firmly packed
1/2 C. sugar
1 egg
1/4 C. water
1 t. vanilla
1 C. flour
1 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. soda
1/2 t. cloves
1 C. raisins
1 C. chopped pecans
3 C. quick cook oats

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Prepare the pans with parchment or silpat mats and set aside.  Or, you may lightly grease cookie sheets and set aside.

Mix on medium speed with your electric mixer the butter, sugars, egg, water, and vanilla.   Reduce the speed to very low and stir in the remaining ingredients. 

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2" apart onto baking sheets.  Bake 13-15 minutes or until almost no imprint remains when toughed lightly with your finger.  Remove from baking sheets and cool.  Store in a tightly covered container.  Yield 4 dozen cookies.

Pork Chow Mein

Fresh made Chow Mien using Leftover Pork Roast is Quick, Easy, and Delicious.
This recipe originated in my old Betty Crocker Cookbook (Which is so old and worn it no longer has a cover or a title page.)  and I began making it in 1968.  Since then it has evolved and been made dozens of times and dozens of ways!  Originally I bought a couple of meaty pork steaks for it but then tried with shrimp and chicken.  Today I am using leftover pork roast as I have done many times before. 

Ingredients for Chow Mien:

2 lb. shredded or thinly sliced pork
2 C. celery sliced 1/4 " thick
1 C. sliced 1/4 " thick green onions with tops
1 or 2, 1 pound cans bean sprouts drained or fresh is available
1 can mushrooms, drain and retain the liquid
1 can sliced water chestnuts drained
1 can bamboo shoots drained
1 carrot diced
2 T. cornstarch
2 T. soy sauce
black pepper
2 T. brown gravy sauce molasses type if available
2 C. beef stock
2T. oil for stir fry
cooked rice or chow mien noodles

If using uncooked pork remove the fat and slice thinly, set aside.  Heat the oil in wok or large flat bottomed pan.  Stir fry the pork and when browned add the celery, carrot, and onion.  If you are using previously cooked meat add it after the vegetables are tender crisp.

Stir in the soy sauce and beef stock, cover and simmer slowly for 30 minutes.

Mix the cornstarch with the reserved mushroom liquid in a small bowl and stir well to dissolve.  Stir this into the meat mixture continuing until it thickens and comes to a boil.  Add all of the remaining ingredients and stir together well.

Heat to boiling stirring and cook for one minute. Serve over hot cooked rice or chow mien noodles and pass additional soy sauce when serving.

Yield 6 large servings.


Canning Cinnamon Apple Pie Filling

I have never tried this before, but I don't see why it wouldn't work, so thought I would give it a try!!  I spotted a version of what I have adapted here on and their jars looked just beautiful.  As there are 2 five pound bags of cooking apples in the downstairs refrigerator I can get at it!

Ingredients for Canned Apple Pie Filling:

1 peck (10 pounds) cooking apples (Johnathan, Gala, Granny Smith, Arkansas Black, Rome, etc.)
peeled, sliced, and cored (I used 1/2 Gala and 1/2 Johnathan.)
6 C. sugar
1 1/2 C. Clear-jel*
2 T. Cinnamon
2 1/2 -3 C. cold water
6 C. apple juice or water (I measured from and used from the water prepared with ascorbic acid that I sliced the apples into.)
1 t. salt
3/4 C. lemon juice or ascorbic acid according to pkg. directions, if you use the ascorbic acid instead of lemon juice increase water/apple juice amount above to  7 C. and dissolve according to pkg. directions.)

*Clear-jel is a type of easily dissolving corn starch and does not clump nearly as badly as regular corn starch tends to do.  (I ordered mine from the King Arthur Flour Company on line and had it in just a couple of days.)

I place the empty jars in the rack in the up position over the boiling water to keep them hot.
Prepare 6-7 quart jars and lids.  Slice the apples into a ascorbic acid and water bath to prevent browning.

I used 2 pans with 6 C. water and 6 t. ascorbic acid each to cut the apple slices into and hold.
To facilitate the apples from shrinking and your jars from appearing half full you first boil the apple slices in this recipe.  Bring a large heavy bottomed kettle with the first amount of cold water to a boil.  Add about 1 quart of the apple slices at a time and bring the water back up to a boil for about a minute or so.  Next strain the apples out of the water using a slotted spoon or spider and add the next batch of apples.  Keep the parboiled apples covered and warm while boiling the rest of them.

Apples ready to boil.
When you have finished with all of the apples empty the water and you may reuse the kettle in the next step.  Add the sugar, Clear-jel, cinnamon, and apple juice (If using ascorbic acid instead of lemon juice dissolve it in the apple juice or water per the package directions.) or water to the heavy bottomed kettle and stir.  Turn the heat to medium high and bring to a boil stirring until thickened, bubbling, and smooth.  Turn off the heat.

Add the apples and stir.  If you are using lemon juice instead of ascorbic acid add it now and stir well.

Fill  the hot jars 3/4 full of apples and syrup.  Top off each jar with syrup to within 1" of the rim of the jars.  Run a plastic spatula around the inside of the jars to release air bubbles.  Wipe the rims with a clean wet cloth.  Add lids and rings. 

Process the quart jars in boiling water bath covering the entire jar and lids for 25 minutes.  Remove from the pan and allow to sit on a tea towel on the counter to cool undisturbed overnight.

I really was pleased with the way these turned out and will probably make more for the winter's baking.  I may even dress up the jars and give as Christmas gifts. I can see a square of cotton fabric
across the top of the jar and the ban screwed on to hold it with a ribbon and a gift tag attached.  I would certainly appreciate such a gift.

Yielded 7 quarts.


Pickled Peppers

I almost hate to admit how I do this as it is a bit hap hazard.  Usually I have a bunch of peppers and don't really know what to do with them and this method developed from that circumstance.  The men in this family like peppers a lot.  The gals not so much.  I like to use them in cooking but am quite happy using the ones I dry.

One year I had made dill pickles and had a good bit of unused brine left and saved it in a sealed jar in the refrigerator.  At about the same time my husband came in with a gallon or so of peppers and wanted me to "fix" them.

So I washed them, cut the ends off and sliced the big ones, then poked small holes with a skewer in the small ones.  I dumped them and the brine in a large non reactive kettle and set them to boil for 10 minutes.

Then I packed them in clean sterile hot pint jars and sealed them up with Ball and /or Mason lids and bands.  Process in a water bath for 10 minutes or just keep in the refrigerator and use them from there, it will depend on how many you make which you prefer to do.

The brine recipe I use is:

2 1/2 C. water
2 1/2 C. white vinegar
1/4 C. salt

Boil all together until the salt is dissolved.  I double or more this to make as much as I think I will need.  I mix the varieties of peppers and the whole with the slices.  It all works fine for us. 


Canning Nectarines & Peaches.

Halved and pitted nectarines in the ascorbic acid bath.
I have never canned nectarines or even thought of it.  We just always eat tons of them when they are in season here and available at the local orchard.  They may well be my very favorite fruit.  I can even remember the very first time I ever had one as a little girl!

Be that as it may, while perusing through my Ball Blue Book,  I saw a recipe for canning them and thought, "Why not?"  Canned plums are quite good and so should be these.

Our weekly half shares from Joe Engelbrecht's Fourth Generation Orchard have been great and right now I sit with 10 pounds of apples, 10 pounds of nectarines, and 5 pounds of peaches in my extra refrigerator.  Saturday I will receive more of something, I am guessing apples so I best get busy!

First I placed the quart canning jars, screw bands, and lids in the dishwasher on sterile wash and turned it on.

Peach halves and a couple of nectarines.

First I set a large kettle of water to boil to slip the skins from the peaches.  Next I prepare 2 large bowls of water with an ascorbic acid bath (1 t. ascorbic acid per each 1 C. of water dissolved together) for both kinds of fruit.  You do not peel the nectarines for canning, only halve them and remove the pits.  Both kinds of fruit require 30 processing time so I can do a couple of quarts of each and batch the processing together.

Next I prepare a batch of medium syrup:

3 1/4 C.  sugar
5 C. water
5 t. ascorbic acid

Heat all together until the sugar is dissolved then turn to lowest heat.  Yield 7 C. medium syrup.

Prepare a large bowl with ice and cold water.  Plunge about 5-9 peaches into the boiling water and leave for about 3 minutes.  Remove with a slotted spoon and plunge into the ice water.  Halve each peach and remove the pit and skin.  Place the peach into the waiting bowl of water and ascorbic acid to sit until all of the rest of the peaches have been prepared in the same manner.

After the peaches were completed I halved and pitted the nectarines and placed them into their ascorbic acid and water bath.

Remove the clean hot jars from the dishwasher and fill with the prepared fruit leaving 1/2" head space.  Add the hot syrup to fill again leaving 1/2" head space then use a butter knife to remove any air pockets you see.  Proceed to fill all of the jars.  Wipe the jar rims with a clean wet paper towel and place the lids on snugly.  Place the jars evenly in the cold packers rack and hang the rack atop the rim of the water until it comes to a boil.  Then, lower the rack and jars into the boiling water.  The water should cover the lids of the cans.  Add boiling water if it does not.  Bring the water back up to a boil and process for 30 minutes for quart jars of peaches and nectarines.

Yield 5 quarts of fruit.
When the time is up remove the rack to hang again on the rim of the cold packer for about 10 minutes.  Then lift the rack out and onto a towel on the counter.  Remove the jars again to a towel on the counter and let them sit undisturbed for 10-12 hours before storing.

Hot Chicken Taco Salad in a Crisp Flour Tortilla

Hot Chicken Taco Salad with Beans in a Flour Tortilla Bowl.
The other day I saw a commercial on TV advertising a little pan to place a flour tortilla in and bake, resulting in a crisp ruffled base for a taco salad.  It occurred to me you would achieve the same result by ruffling a large flour tortilla in any oven proof round dish slightly smaller than the tortilla and baking it until crisp.  So I tried it and it works just fine!

Yesterday I remembered I had two cooked chicken breast halves in a zip lock bag in the meat drawer I needed to use so a plan was hatched.  Chicken taco salad and I would use a crisp tortilla base.

First thing was to mix up my Taco Seasoning:

4 T. Chili Powder
3T. + 1 t. Paprika
3 T. Cumin
1 T. + 2 t. Onion Powder
1 t. Garlic Powder
1/4 t. Cayenne Powder

Store in an airtight container and shake well to mix.  For 1 pound of beef or chicken for tacos, mix 2 T. seasoning to each pound of cooked meat and 1 C. of water and simmer until the water is almost gone.

Chicken Taco filling:

1 pound cooked diced chicken
1 recipe for taco filling

Mix and simmer until most of the water is cooked away.  Meanwhile make chopped lettuce,  diced onion and tomato, shredded cheese, and heat re-fried beans.   Assemble pepper rings and any other dressings or condiments desired.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Tortilla bowls:

Large flour tortillas
Oven proof bowels slightly smaller than the tortillas

Place the flour tortillas inside the slightly smaller bowels and pat the center of the tortilla gently down to the bottom of the bowel.  With your fingers ruffle the sides as shown in the pictures.  I baked 8-12 minutes checking for crispness every few minutes after the first 8 for crispness.  You will need to watch closely as the thickness and damptness of the tortilla will vary. 

Assembly of Taco Salad:

I choose to use re-fried beans as the first layer of the salad but cheese would also do well crating a bit of a moisture barrier if you do not like or want the beans.  Next layer the hot meat and a bit more shredded cheese. 

Lettuce, onions, pepper rings and tomatoes are next followed by our favorite, ranch dressing.  It was a feast in a bowl!

Brian smacked his lips and said it was a "do again" what more could I ask for?


My "Pie Bird" sits in a nest of Blackberry Pie.

The Hollow Bird with the Open Mouth Allows the Steam to Escape.
Four and Twenty Blackbirds Baked in a Pie......We have all heard the nursery rhyme.  But did you know that there really are pie birds and they really ARE baked in pies? 

In olden times they were very popular and found to be quite useful as they aid in reducing the overflow of a pie by releasing the steam as well as allowing the juices to boil up inside of the hollow bird.

Pie Bird in a Blackberry Pie
My pie bird is well used and I have very often purchased them when I come across them and given them to many of my friends and relatives as gifts.  They used to carry them at our local Rural King store but I am not sure if they still do.

The next best bet would be an antique shop or rural auctions.  I am quite sure the older ones are prized by collectors but it is certain they can still be found!!

Today I decided to make up a blackberry pie using the berries the Saltzman's gifted us on Sunday and my pie bird was a great asset.  The pie hardly boiled over at all, just a tiny bit.  Usually you can count on a pie with this much fruit filling to really cook over a lot!

The way to use a pie bird is to place the bottom crust into the pie dish and then to center the bottomless and hollow little bird in the center of the pastry lined dish.  Then spoon the filling evenly around the bird.  Top with a slotted top crust and push the birds "beek" through the top crust.  Crimp the edges to seal.

Bake the pie as directed.  I still tend to place a foil lined baking sheet under the pie on a lower rack but again it does reduce the overflow a great deal.

Recipe for Blackberry Pie given on 7/18/10.
Pie Crust Recipes given, Cherry Hand Pies on 8/12/12.
Cherry Pie and Crust on 7/7/10.
Three Pie Crusts on 2/12/12.


Canning Basic Tomato Sauce

Beautiful Home Canned Tomato Sauce.
Yesterday I met the loveliest young family!  Mark and Shannon Saltzman and their young son.  Mark is friends with and a fellow gun enthusiast of my husband's.  He had invited us to their lovely home in Wadesville, IN. to share their huge tomato crop of this year.  Shannon has canned and juiced to her wits end and was happy to share their bounty as not to have them go to waste.

This morning I got them going and I am sure there is a good half bushel simmering away on my stove at this very minute!

Ingredients for Basic Tomato Sauce:

1/2 bushel (20 pounds) ripe tomatoes

3 large onions
1 head of garlic
15 fresh basil leaves
3 T. kosher salt
2 T. sugar
1T. black pepper

Wash, core, and cut off the flower end of each tomato leaving the skins and seeds.  Cut in half or quarter so they are all of a similar size. Place the tomatoes in a very large or 2 smaller heavy bottomed pans.  Peel and rough cut the onions and add.  Peel the garlic cloves and rinse the basil leaves and toss them in along too.  Stir in the salt, pepper, and sugar. 

We like onions, garlic, and basil to flavor our sauce.
Bring to a boil and stir well.  Reduce to a simmer and partially cover with a lid.  Simmer for 6-8 hours or more until the sauce is thickened and the tomatoes have cooked down to nothing but skins.  You will NOT see a lot of water or liquid on top.

Fill the cold packer with water enough to cover the jars and place the rack to rest up on the rim of the pan.  Set the clean empty jars in the rack and turn the heat on to bring the water up to a boil.  In another pan set the rings and seals in water and bring to a boil.  Boil for 10 minutes and turn off. 

Meanwhile place a food mill atop a soup kettle and ladle the hot tomato mixture into the food mill then process the sauce into the kettle.  Dump the seeds and skins into the disposal.  Fill the hot jars leaving 1/2" head space and wipe the rims of each jar with a clean wet cloth before placing the lids and rings atop the jars.  Tighten just enough to make them snug.  Place the jars back into the rack and lower into the hot water bath.  Add additional boiling water to cover the lids if necessary then bring back up to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium high and cover.  Process for 24 minutes for pint jars or 30 minutes for quarts. 

When the time is up turn off the heat and lift the rack of jars up and again and hang it on the rim of the cold packer.  Let the jars rest about 10 minutes.  Remove the jars to a clean tea towel on the counter and do not disturb them for 24 hours.  Label with contents and date.  Store in a cool dark place.

Yield about 11-12 pints of sauce.

Hot Crabmeat Dip & Chicken Casserole Gifted Recipes in My Mailbox

Hot Crab Dip Served with Corn Chips.
This week two of my dearest and oldest friends gifted me with recipes.  Diane Begley Goss sent me two of her Mother, Gayle Begley's most favorites, Hot Crab Dip and Chicken Tetrazzini.  These arrived just in time for the weekend as we are attending a double Birthday "cruise" for my husband and Granddaughter Katie this weekend.  It is perfect to prepare these dished ahead and just heat them up as needed this weekend.

Low and behold,  Mickey Thienes, also know as Henderson, Kentucky's "Herb Lady", mailed me a old and fascinating recipe for a Yeast-ed Chocolate Cake and a Black Chocolate Cake.  Had I already not baked a "Devil's Food" cake and "Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes" for our party I certainly would have plunged into one of these recipes and will certainly do so in the very near future!

Tried and True Devil's Food Cake, Brian's Favorite.
Mickey also sent me a very old copy of her Corn Relish recipe I plan om fixing yet this fall.  SO A REALLY BIG THANK YOU GOES OUT TO BOTH DEAR FRIENDS.  I am so excited for all of these new things to try!

NOTE:  Katie requested these specific cupcakes instead of a regular birthday cake this year. The name of the recipe can be typed into the finder box for the recipe as is the case with any other mentioned.

White chicken, sauce, mushrooms, and cheese make this delicious with a side of fresh cooked green beans from our garden.
Ingredients for Chicken Tetrazzini:

7, 1/2 chicken breasts, (cook and cut up into bite size pieces) save the broth for cooking the spaghetti.
3 C. uncooked thin spaghetti broken into bite sized pieces and cooked in the chicken stock.

1 stick butter
1/2 C. chopped onion
1/2 C. chopped celery
Cook the celery and onion in half of the butter until tender.

1, 12 Oz. can of evaporated milk
1 t. celery salt
1, 10 3/4 Oz. cans of cream of chicken soup

1 large box of mushrooms sliced
Cook the mushrooms in the remaining half stick of butter apart from the onion and celery.

1-2 C. shredded cheddar cheese for the top of the casserole.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter a large casserole dish and set aside.

Combine all of the ingredients except the cheddar cheese until well blended.  Pour into a large buttered casserole dish.  Bake for 30 minutes until hot and bubbling.  Top with shredded cheese and bake an additional 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted.  Yield 10 servings.

Fresh Fruit Platter
Deviled Eggs
Vegetables and Dip
Note I served this with fresh green beans, deviled eggs (which dumped over in the car and looked a mess), veggies and dip, and a fruit platter.

Hot Casserole of Crab Meat Dip Just Out of the Oven.
Ingredients for Hot Crab Dip:

1 C. cream or milk
1 C. mayonnaise
2 T. fresh parsley chopped or 2 t.. dried
1/3 C. finely chopped onion
5,  6 Oz. cans of crab meat
2 eggs
sprinkling of salt and pepper
1, 8 ounce bar of softened cream cheese
2 C. crushed butter crackers

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter a medium sized casserole or pie a dish and set aside.

Drain and Pick Through the Crab Meat for Cartilage.
Open the crab and check of shinny cartilage, removing any you may see.  Mix all ingredients except the crackers until well blended.  Pour into the buttered dish and top with the crushed crackers.  Bake 30-40 minutes and serve hot with tortilla or corn chips of your liking.

Mixing Ingredients.
This recipe is better if made early and reheated and the flavors are allowed to meld.  This works well to prepare in the morning and refrigerate, then reheat all or small portions in individual bowls.  The small portions due particularly well reheated in the microwave as pictured at the top of this page.  Yield 8 large servings.


Cherry Hand Pies

My Mother and my Grandmothers all made pies with lard and I did to when I was a girl at home.  I remember we all went to my Grandparents house, always in the winter time and they butchered.  After the lard was rendered we brought home a large 10 gallon metal bucket for the coming years use.  We fried, baked, cooked everything with it.

I have been thinking about lard because it is not artificial, not full of preservatives if you buy it at a slaughter house or from a processor.  When I looked at the grocery there were preservatives.  So. last week when I drove up to Haubstadt to Joe Engelbrecht's wonderful orchard I went on to Dewig's Meat Processing and Market.  They had lard without any preservatives so I purchased a 4 pound pail.
There would be the residue of any chemicals the animal has been given.  I tell myself since this is small town America it will not be as much because it is locally raised, maybe I am deluded but hopeful.

I have this ongoing battle with myself about fake versus real and chemicals versus natural.

Well anyway, I made pastry for these pies using lard just to see and remember the difference.

Ingredients for Pie Crusts:

4 C. flour
1 t. baking powder
2 t. salt
1 2/3 c. cold lard
1/2 C. ice water
1 beaten egg
1 T. white vinegar

This is a adaptation of the pie crusts I usually bake but I used lard instead.  Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.  Cut in the lard with a pastry cutter until it resembles coarse meal.

Using a smaller bowl beat the water .egg.and vinegar together.  Form a well in the center of the flour and add the wet ingredients mixing with a fork until it forms a rough ball of dough.  Turn unto a well floured work surface and divide into 4 parts and pat each into a disk.  Wrap each disk and refrigerate for up to 3 days.  Freeze if you want to keep it longer.

Cherry Pie Filling:

2 C. pie cherries
3/4 C. sugar
1 1/2 T. tapioca
1/4 t. almond extract
1 T. butter
sugar for sprinkling

Mix the cherries, sugar, tapioca, and almond flavor together in a bowl and let stand 10-15 minutes before using.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Place parchment or Silpat mats on baking sheets and set aside.  Roll the pastry as for a pie and cut 3 1/2" squares and place 9 of them on the prepared sheets.

Place a tablespoon of the filling in the center of each square.  Roll another portion of the pastry and cut another 9 squares.   Cut the center of each square for the steam to escape.  Place the second square atop the first to cover the filling.  Crimp the edges with the tines of a fork dipped in flour.  Sprinkle the tops with sugar for a pretty glisten.  Bake 15 minutes.  Cool on a rack and serve.  Yield 9 pies.


Helen Corbitt's Chicken Salad

Do you love crisp sweet grapes?  How about crunchy celery and toasted pecans?  Well team them up with tender cooked chicken breast and it might be my all time favorite chicken salad.  The addition of whipped cream lightens the dressing then pass a fork for the final taste for seasoning. 

The recipe as I first saw it was from SAVEUR but as always I made a change or two to my families liking as I am sure you will too.  I prefer to cook the chicken breasts by seasoning them well, preheating the oven to 400 degrees F,  slathering a bit of olive oil on a half sheet pan and then after placing the chicken on the pan drizzling a bit more oil on them.  Usually about an hour is the right amount of time required unless they are small. (Note: I am usually cooking 6 large at a time so fewer or smaller would cut the time down a lot.)  When their juices run clear they are done.  Cool and remove any skin and/or bone if necessary.

Ingredients List for Helen Corbitt's Chicken Salad:

2 pounds of cooked chicken breasts torn into bite size bits
2 C. mayonnaise
2 C. thinly sliced celery
2 C. halved seedless purple grapes
1 C. whole pecans toasted
2 T. chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 t. kosher salt or more to taste
1/2 t. black pepper
1 C. whipped cream

Fold all of the above ingredients together to mix thoroughly.   Yield about 12 cups.

Serving suggestions:   We like a fruit plate with a scoop of chicken salad for a lunch or light supper.  It is especially good along side nectarines.

But tonight I an serving this with fresh homemade Cream of Tomato  Soup made with fresh tomatoes and Basil from our garden.  The soup recipe was posted here on 8/11/11 titled Cream of Tomato Soup.

Double Chocolate Chip Banana Mini Loaves

Every time the King Arthur Flour Catalog comes in the mail I will have to admit It is just like getting a seed catalog in the dead of winter of that first Christmas catalog.  I can't wait to sit down and check out the new recipes and see if any new products will tempt me!

Yesterday was just such a day and I noticed this recipe on page 12.  I have seen recipes for chocolate banana bread before and not tried them but today it struck me and as it happened I had 3 large sweet ripe bananas waiting for something to do!  So here is my version of their recipe,  it is delicious.  I put 3 mini loaves double wrapped snugly into the freezer and enjoyed a taste of the fourth.  They will be handy if I need a quick hostess gift or a refreshment I had not planned on making.

Ingredients for Double Chocolate Chip Banana Bread:

1 1/2 C. All purpose flour (I use King Arthur)
1 1/2 t. baking soda
scant 1/2 t. salt
3 T. cocoa (I use King Arthur Baking Cocoa)
3/4 C. soft butter
3/4 C. sugar
1 extra large egg or 1 large egg plus 1 yolk
1 1/2 t. vanilla
1 1/2 C. mashed banana
3/4 C. sour cream
1 1/2 C. semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.   Grease and flour 4 mini loaf pans, 3 1/4" x 5 3/4"  or one 9" x 5" loaf pans and 2 mini loaf pans and set them aside.

Combine the flour, soda, salt,  cocoa, and chocolate chips and stir them together so they are well mixed and the chips, because they are coated with the flour mixture, will not sink to the bottom of the pans.  Set this aside.

Using a mixing bowl beat together the butter and sugar until creamy.  Beat in the egg and stir in the vanilla, bananas, and sour cream.  Slowly mix in the dry ingredients and chocolate chips just until well incorporated. 

Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 45 to 60 minutes until loaves test done with a pick inserted into the center.  Remove from the oven and rest in the pans 10 minutes and remove to finish cooling on a rack.

Yield 4 mini loaves.

PS:  King Arthur Recipes are always good!  At least all of the ones I have ever tried.  These are delicious and I can't wait to spring them on my grandchildren.


Fresh Pack Bread and Butter Pickles a Quart at a Time

I REALLY like little pickle recipes that you can make a jar or two at a time.  You really do not always have enough for a big recipe and I HATE to let anything go to waste.  Fresh pack pickles are so popular and everyone loves those Klaussen Fresh Packs!

This is a recipe I saw on line at Williams-Sonoma and held on to for just the day I had a few cucumbers that needed to become something.  I am very happy with the results  my version netted and I hope you will be too.

Ingredients for One Quart of Fresh Pack Bread and Butter Pickles:

4 C. sliced cucumbers sliced about 1/8" thick
1 sweet onion sliced as above
2 C. white wine vinegar or 2 C. white vinegar
3/4 C. sugar
1/4 C. kosher salt
 1 t. mustard seed
1 t. celery seed
2 bay leaves

Slice the cucumbers and onions into a nonreactive container and set aside.  Pour the remaining ingredients into a medium sized nonreactive sauce pan and bring to a boil stirring until the salt and sugar are dissolved.

Pour the hot brine over the vegetables and stir together well.  Let cool to room temperature and pack into a clean one quart jar and screw on the lid.  Store in the refrigerator.  Will keep well for  a month refrigerated.

Discard any remaining brine.  Yield 1 quart.


Slow Cooker Country Back Ribs with Just 2 Ingredients

These country back ribs could not have turned out with any more ease or any more flavor!!  One of my sons had tipped me off to pouring a can of root beer over a pork roast and slow cooking for 6 hours.  I thought it would translate nicely to back ribs so I tried it today.  In the words of one of my daughter-in-laws it is a "do again".

Ingredients for slow cooked BBQ Country Back Ribs:

4 meaty country back ribs
1 can Root Beer
1 jar your favorite BBQ sauce

Place ribs in the slow cooker and turn onto high for 6 hours or low for 8-10.

Pour a can of Root Beer over all and let this simmer all day.  After 6 hours drain off all of the liquid.  Return the meat to the cooker and cover with the bottled BBQ sauce.  Reheat over low until serving time.

We served with a side of fresh cooked green beans, cottage cheese, and sliced tomatoes.  Yield 4 servings.

Old Fashioned Banana Walnut Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

One layer 9" Cake Just Right for the Two of Us.
There was a banana cake I made all of the time when the kids were home with a brown sugar candy frosting and this cake reminded me how much we liked it.  Another reason to try it is it is a smaller cake.  Just one 9" layer which makes much more since for the two of us, especially on a weekday.  We usually have company for Sunday dinner which calls for something larger.

Anyway.....I love Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa) and caught her making this for a bake sale on TV one day and jotted down the recipe to try.  She has never disappointed me so I was sure my version of her cake would turn out to be just great!  And it did, both beautiful and delicious.

Ingredient List for Banana Cake and Frosting:

3 ripe bananas mashed
3/4 C. sugar
1/2 C. packed brown sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
1/2 C. canola oil
1/2 C. sour cream
fresh zest of 1 orange
1 t. vanilla
2 C. flour
1 t. soda
1/2 t. kosher salt
1/2 C. chopped walnuts

Butter and flour a 9" x  2" deep pan, (I used a spring form) and set it aside.   Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the bananas and sugars in the bottom of a large mixing bowl and beat well on low speed.  While the mixer runs on low add the eggs, oil, sour cream,zest, and vanilla.  Mixing well.

In a separate bowl combine the flour, soda, and salt.  Whisk together and add the nuts tossing them to coat well.  This should help keep them afloat in the cake batter.  Add the flour and nuts to the batter and mix until all ingredients are wet and combined.  Do not over mix.

Pour the batter into the prepare pan and bake for 50 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let it sit undisturbed for 15 minutes.  Then remove from the pan and finish cooling on a rack.  Yield 8 servings.

Ingredient List for Cream Cheese Frosting for 9"  One Layer  Cake:

6 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
6 T. butter at room temperature
1 t. good vanilla extract
2 1/2 C. sifted confectioners sugar
1 T. powdered egg whites
pinch of salt

Mix the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla with an electric mixer at low speed until just combined. Sift the powdered sugar onto a sheet of waxed paper and add the powdered egg whites and salt. Add to the creamed mixture and beat just long enough to blend.  Frost the cake.  Yield, frosting for one 9" layer.

This is a tall one layer cake and I would NOT advise you to bake in in the older style 9" x 1 1/2" cake pan.  It think would run over the sides of the pan.  The newer pans are 2" tall or use a spring form pan.