Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Merry Christmas!

May your holiday be merry!

Christmas comes in just a few days. I am letting this blog go quiet until after New Year's. There are other people and other activities that need my attention right now. I may post a few photos along the way, but without words. I'll see you back here in a few weeks.

Friday, December 16, 2016

What's A Dutch Baby?

Dutch Baby

This Dutch baby would be so good on one of the Christmas holiday mornings. You know, one of those magazine mornings where the family is all in cute pajamas and slowly sipping coffee as they sit around the beautifully decorated tree listening to Christmas music from St. Martin In The Fields.

It would also be good if your mornings are of the crazier variety, with everyone dashing around like mad, bumping into each other as they try to wrap the last gifts before it's time to open them while someone rushes to the store because you're out of milk. (This would be more like my house.) This recipe might bring a tiny moment of "ahhhh" to those in your house. It really is easy if you are the one cooking it. And the one in charge of wrapping boxes. It also would be a nice treat day-after-Christmas treat—which might be a more realistic possibility.

Mommy handed me a newspaper when I was there a few weeks ago. She had talked about needing a cast iron skillet and there was a huge article about a cast iron cooking in the paper. (Christmas hint?) The recipe for Dutch Baby was on a sidebar. Dutch Baby is sometimes called a German pancake. It's basically a puffy egg dish, that's somewhere between a pancake and a popover. I've watched these being made on a couple of cooking shows and read about them on blogs and everyone talked about how easy they are to make.

When I got home I dusted off my cast iron skillet (yes, literally had to wash the dust off) and told Daddy-O we were having a treat for breakfast. Fingers crossed that it would be good because I never made one. Or, even eaten one. It was delicious! And yes, it was easy.

I will tell you that I followed the newspaper recipe exactly—and burned the butter. (My oven takes a long, long time to heat up, so that might be why my butter burned.) I carefully wiped the very hot pan out with paper towels and added more butter and kept going. So THIS recipe has been adjusted to avoid that. You just add the butter and let it melt right before you pour the batter in.

The secret to this puffy pancake is having the pan very hot. After we enjoyed our breakfast, I took some time to look up other recipes to see how hot their oven was (after my butter burning issue.) The temperatures varied from 375 to 450. One recipe heated the pan on the stovetop, added the butter and melted it before pouring in the batter and baking it. Some used 2 eggs while others called for 6 eggs. So it sounds like if you mess something up, it will probably still work.

It might be fun to try some of the different versions to see what the difference is. But I know this one is good. It would be a great brunch recipe during your holiday weekends.

BE CAREFUL as you handle the extremely hot heavy pan! I have a gas stove, so the metal grates are fine for the hot pan. Make sure you have a safe place to set it when it comes out of the oven. And NEVER EVER use a damp kitchen towel as a pot holder. You will have a serious steam burn in the blink of an eye. Before you start be sure you have dry pot holders and a trivet or other safe place to set the pan down. Safety first!


4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick), cut into pieces
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of salt

powdered sugar for garnish
maple syrup for serving

Put a 10-inch cast iron skillet into oven on the middle rack and preheat to 425 degrees.

While oven is heating, pour eggs into a blender and blend on high until eggs are light and foamy. Remove the blender lid and add the milk, flour, sugar, vanilla, nutmeg and salt. Blend again until ingredients are completely incorporated.

When oven reaches temp, put the butter pieces into the skillet and let melt. When butter is melted (about a minute,) remove hot pan from oven, pour batter into pan, and return to oven immediately.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden and puffy. When Dutch baby is done, use an offset spatula to lift it onto a cutting board. Cut into wedges. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve with a drizzle of maple syrup.

Serves 4 to 6

This dish is all puffy when it first comes out of the oven, but it quickly collapses. Not to worry. That's what happens. 

Many recipes also include some type of cooked fruit sauce to serve with the Dutch baby. I know that would be delicious. But I didn't have any berries to do that. So we used a little maple syrup. It was so good, I can't imagine doing it another way now. But should I have berries on hand the next time, maybe I'll try that, too.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Making Things, Making Peace

I come from a family of makers. My grandmother painted when she was young. Hanging in my bedroom are the beautiful nature studies that she painted over 100 years ago. My dad loved working with wood and right now there are two rocking horses next to our Christmas tree. My daddy made them when our own girls were little. Now Little Sister and Baby Girl love to jump on them and ride like the wind. And his wooden cars and trucks are scattered throughout the toy basket. He must have made hundreds of wooden toys.

Daughter Jessica is an artist—a graphic designer by profession. Mommy and Big Sister are makers of music. They have lovely voices and will provide the special music at our church on Christmas Eve. I have friends and extended family who are artists and writers and musicians and poets and knitters and photographers and cooks and potters. I value the creative spirits that help us make sense of this world, sometimes letting us see things from a fresh perspective.

Pattern:  A Good Plain Sock, by Stephanie Pearl-McFee
Yarn:  Cascade Heritage Prints "Holidays"
Needles:  Size 1.5

So even when the calendar is full and the to-do list is long, I still make things. Tucked in among the other holiday activities in the last weeks, there has been knitting. Yes, there is love knitted into each project that shows I care about the recipient. But if I'm really honest, that's not why I knit and make things. I do it for me. Even if I'm giving my "handknitted love" away, making gives me time to catch my breath each day. I find that taking a few minutes to sit still and knit (or make music) helps keep me centered in this busy season. I'm not doing gifts on a deadline this year, so that pressure is off. If it gets done, good. If it doesn't get done, that's good, too.

 Pattern:  Project Peace (this is at the halfway point)
Yarn:  Brooks Farm Yarn "Acero"
Needles:  size 4, 32-inch circular

My ongoing December knitting is Project Peace. There are 20,000 knitters around the globe taking part in this project. There is a reading and knitting four rows of the cowl each day for three weeks in December. Sometimes the daily reading includes a simple activity to better help us think about what peace means to us. Here is how the designer and originator of this project explains it:
"I truly believe that peace begins with each and everyone of us. We can't expect to live in a peaceful world if we ourselves are not living a peaceful life. So, my focus is to provide you with simple acts of peace over the next 21 days."

Are you a maker? If you are not a maker of things, that's okay. We all do what works for us. But you can be a maker of peace. Internal peace. Peace in your household. Peace in your community. Let's all be makers of peace in the coming year.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Cheese Souffle

Cheese Souffle

As Christmas rushes full speed toward us, I'm sharing a recipe that we enjoyed at Thanksgiving. (I'm a little behind with posting recipes.) This was delicious and it would certainly fit into a Christmas menu, too.

Jessica brought a friend home for Thanksgiving and since he was away from his own family over the holiday, she asked if his family had a traditional Thanksgiving recipe. His answer was cheese souffle. Since it's not something that has ever turned up on our Thanksgiving table, she asked if he would like to make it for the big family dinner. His family always has cheese souffle like our family always has macaroni and cheese. Having the souffle was a way to make him feel at home.

Well, it was so good on Thanksgiving Day that before they headed back to the city a couple of days later, he made it one more time for us. Where we live, dishes like this souffle and our mac & cheese are served as side dishes. But I also think if I added a salad, this souffle would make a great supper.


3 cups saltine cracker crumbs (a little less than 2 sleeves)
4 cups grated extra sharp cheddar cheese (Cracker Barrel--with the red wrapper)
3 cups milk
4 extra large eggs
Red cayenne pepper and salt to taste

Put saltines in a ziploc bag and crush with your hand to make crumbs.

Heat milk to tepid and pour over crumbs and cheese.  Mix.

Add beaten eggs and rest of ingredients.  Pour into greased soufflé dish. 

Bake at 350 degrees for almost 1 hour, uncovered. Done when a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

I don't own a true souffle dish, but a round 2-1/2 qt. CorningWare French White baking dish worked just fine. And here's a tip for warming the milk— heat the milk in the microwave, in 30-second bursts, stirring each time, until it's the right temp.

This is beautifully puffed when it comes out of the oven. And then it falls pretty quickly. Know that is normal and does not affect the taste. It is also good to know that the leftovers are delicious. Just warm it a bit in the microwave.

Thanks to Todd (and Todd's mom, I'm sure) for sharing this recipe with our family.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Bread, Bread, And More Bread

All photo credits here: Kathy

There are two kinds of cooks—those who have their special recipes, closely guarding that family recipe that everyone wants and those who freely share the recipes. Both approaches are fine. It's perfectly okay to keep your recipe a secret. But I have always been in the "freely share" camp, mostly for selfish reasons. I knew that if I lost a recipe, someone I knew probably had the recipe and I could get it back. 

Clockwise from top left: Rolls; Applesauce & pecan w/glaze; Rosemary, garlic & olive oil; Peppers, onions & green chilies.

But there is a second reason to share that I'll admit I never considered. Sometimes a person can take your recipe and then expand it into new great things. That's what happened when Kathy, a good high school friend of my sister, saw my sourdough bread recipe here on the blog years ago. (It's recipe that my grandchildren call "Mimi bread.")

Here are some of the "conversations" she and I have had over the years on Facebook. Good thing I rarely delete anything! I even dug back through her Facebook photos to find pictures of many of the variations she tried. I love that she labeled her bread "adventures." If you want to experiment, here is how she does her special loaves... 

"Mimi, I really don't have any recipes for the breads except for yours. I just go to my spice cabinet and start pulling out whatever gets my attention and just "dump." I don't roll out the dough; I just add the ingredients and gently knead them into the dough. I should measure and write out a recipe for each variation sometime. So far, each loaf of bread has been well received."
And if you want to make one recipe into three different "flavors"...
"Yes, I have also added the ingredients after I divide the dough; just knead it [herbs, etc] in gently. Either way is fine and the end result is delicious!"

She has made some sweet bread variations, too. I stopped by a farm produce store on my way home from baby sitting last week and bought a loaf of apple bread. I was expecting a quick bread, but when we sliced it, it turned out to be a slightly sweet yeast bread with a glaze on top. Very close to Kathy's version she tells about here...
"I use the "Mimi bread" recipe. I used orange juice instead of the water in the recipe. I just added Craisins and pecans to the mixture before I added the flour. I didn't measure. Just 'til it looked right. Then just did a glaze of powdered sugar and orange juice. It is quite tasty."

So why have I never done rolls? No clue, except that I tend to stick with the basics in most things. Kathy is much more creative than I am. She talks here about making them in a muffin pan, but the photo shows that she's also done them in a cake pan.
"The rolls that I made are wonderful. Using your recipe, I just pinched off a little bit of dough for each section of the muffin pan. Cooked them for 20 minutes. Don't know why I haven't thought of that before."
Left: Knorr vegetable packet.  Right: Spicy tomato juice, Parmesan & Romano cheese.

She really has tried everything. She told me last week when I wrote to ask if I could share all of her suggestions and photos that the most requested "flavor" of all the things she has tried has been the rosemary, garlic and olive oil.

Left: Wheat w/flax seed.  Right: Wheat, flax seed & molasses.
I bake a lot of bread from Thanksgiving to about Valentine's Day and then will forget to feed it about then. It will die and I throw it away. Then I'll make new starter the next fall. But Kathy has a different way to manage her starter when she's done for the season. She freezes it!
"I know all about letting the starter die. I always freeze mine and it has done well until this year."
I didn't ask what she does when she's ready to use it again. I'd guess that she lets it thaw, feeds it, and uses it.

Right this minute, I have bread rising in the pans. Yes, just the plain basic sourdough that we love. These will go in the freezer for Christmas week when we have a full house here. And maybe before they get home, I'll get crazy and try some of Kathy's mix-ins. The only problem? Which one to try first!

Thank you, Kathy, for sharing your bread secrets.

The art of bread making can become an all-consuming hobby,
and no matter how often and how many kinds of bread one has made,
there always seems to be something new to learn. ~~Julia Child

For those of you who might have missed earlier posts with the basic bread recipe, here it is again: 

SOURDOUGH BREAD (also known as "Mimi Bread")

1 cup starter
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup oil
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups warm water
6 or more cups bread flour (use the extra to flour the surface for kneading) 

Mix the bread ingredients. (I use a wire whisk to mix in the first 3 cups, then use a sturdy spoon for the next 3 cups. As you add the last cup of flour, work in about half of that cup and see if you need the rest. If not, save that half-cup for kneading the bread after the first rising.) Place in a large bowl, sprayed with PAM. Lightly spray the dough with PAM. Cover with plastic wrap. Let stand and rise at least 8 hours.

Punch down dough. Knead on floured board about 10 times. Divide into 3 parts. Spray three 8-inch loaf pans with PAM. Shape dough and place in pans. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let stand and rise until pans are full, about 5 to 6 hours.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until brown and bottom of loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack.

Whole wheat bread: Use 2 cups whole wheat flour and 4 cups bread flour.

To feed starter: Remove 1 cup for baking (or discard) and feed with 1/3 cup sugar, 3 tbsp. instant potato flakes and 1 cup warm water. Mix well and let stand 8-12 hours. Then refrigerate. Store in plastic container with slits cut in lid. Feed every 3-7 days.

To make starter:  Double the feeding recipe. Put in a glass or plastic container, loosely covered. Let set out on counter for 4 days. Then add 1 envelope dry yeast. Let stand another 24 hours. Use 1 cup for first batch of bread or store in refrigerator for up to 7 days.

This bread freezes beautifully. It makes a great gift.

The art of bread making can become a consuming hobby, and no matter how often and how many kinds of bread one has made, there always seems to be something new to learn. Julia Child
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/bread.html
The art of bread making can become a consuming hobby, and no matter how often and how many kinds of bread one has made, there always seems to be something new to learn. Julia Child
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/bread.html

The art of bread making can become a consuming hobby, and no matter how often and how many kinds of bread one has made, there always seems to be something new to learn. Julia Child
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/bread.html
The art of bread making can become a consuming hobby, and no matter how often and how many kinds of bread one has made, there always seems to be something new to learn. Julia Child
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/bread.html
The art of bread making can become a consuming hobby, and no matter how often and how many kinds of bread one has made, there always seems to be something new to learn. Julia Child
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/bread.html

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Lowered Expectations

How are things at your house? The count down to Christmas is getting intense. I know there are some of you who had everything in place for the holiday before Thanksgiving. Or, you wrapped up your preparations over the Thanksgiving weekend. I am not one of you. I imagine there are many of you who, like me, will stumble through Advent and limp into Christmas, getting some things done along the way and leaving other things in the "Well, it was a nice thought" category.

I told someone last night that my secret to "getting it all done" was lowering my expectations. Way lower. And that's okay. If you are like me, the expectations are mostly self-imposed anyway.

The photo-a-day Advent project a couple of years ago was a truly meaningful exercise for me. When it was announced this year, I thought about it. For two seconds. It was meaningful because it required much more thought than I had anticipated. And this year I know I cannot be that focused. Instead I am taking part in Project Peace, a knitting project sponsored by The Healthy Knitter with over 15,000 participants world-wide. It is a simple exercise in mindfulness. With knitting.

I love sending Christmas cards with a family photo. But this year when the grandchildren were here for Thanksgiving, Little Sister was still broken out in hives all over her face from her illness and Baby Girl cried much of that week with an ear infection. So no grandchildren photo happened. My holiday expectations dropped another notch. And that's okay. The list of things-not-done is growing.

Certainly there are many things that will get done. But they will be chosen carefully. We are already opening the doors on our Advent calendar. That means a lot to us. I might not decorate our lamp post. I'm not sure anyone would notice.  Maybe instead of "lowered expectations" I should say we are having a "curated Christmas" Participating in things carefully selected to enhance the season. I am sifting through the events, the recipes, and the traditions and deciding which ones will make us feel better and not feel pressured.

You get the idea. I plan to do what I can, what is meaningful, and truly not worry about the rest. By December 27, no one will remember if there was greenery on the mantle. Or, whether or not I pulled out the Christmas mugs.  We will remember that we were together. We will remember laughter. We will remember that we could feel the love.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

I am thankful for all of you who visit here. 
Time is precious and I'm honored that 
you choose to use a little of yours visiting this space. 

May today find you doing something meaningful.
Maybe it's spending time with family,
or serving in your community, 
or having some quiet time alone.
It's all good.
 Wherever we are, whatever we do today, 
let us all pause and give thanks for our many blessings.

"I have learned, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content."-Philippians 4:11


Saturday, November 19, 2016

Giving Thanks And Sweet Potato Souffle

"Mimi, if you miss me, you can look at this. That's me in the red nightgown."

Like Batman who always responded quickly to the bat signal, this grandmother headed out as soon as she saw the "signal." It's part of the grandmother gig. As soon as I got home from a wonderful, relaxing knitting retreat with friends (old and new) in the mountains last weekend, I got a call that Little Sister was sick. Not critical like Baby Girl was last fall, thankfully. But sick enough to need extra hands. You always have to remember that when one child is sick, the others still have a regular schedule to keep.

Knitting retreat friends.
Someone got clever with the popcorn at the retreat.

I had not unpacked from my knitting trip yet, so I threw the suitcase and knitting bag back into the car and headed out. And almost a week later, I am back at home. Little Sister is improving. Recovery will take a little longer but it's coming.

Next week, we will be hearing lots about thankfulness. We should be giving thanks each and every day, but we really do talk about it more in November. If you asked me today, these things are top of my list...
  • I am thankful for the interstate highway that let me make the trip down quickly and safely.
  • I am thankful for doctors and nurses who work odd hours at urgent care offices and answer night phone calls.
  • I am thankful for paramedics. (And I'm thankful no one scowled because she was better by the time they arrived.)
  • I am thankful for airline personnel who got J-Daddy on a return flight 90 minutes after his plane landed on the other coast.
  • I am thankful for the ER staff that finally sorted it all out days later.
  • I am thankful for all-night pharmacies where prescriptions can be filled in the wee hours.
  • I am thankful for children playing loudly because that means things are better.
  • I am thankful that as bad as it sounds, it wasn't quite as scary as it reads here. Although in the moment, it was scary enough.
  • I am thankful that Daddy-O can manage without me here when I am needed there.
  •  And today I am thankful to be at home. But I am ready to go again if needed. Just put up the "grandmother signal." I'll answer as quick as Batman responds to his signal!

In the midst all of the craziness of the week, Mommy was trying to make lists and get Thanksgiving things planned. She said, "Mom, your sweet potato recipe isn't on the blog. I was at the grocery store and looked for the recipe. Why haven't you posted that one?"

So in the interest of collecting all of my favorite recipes here in one place, I'm sharing our sweet potato recipe. I grew up with sweet potato souffle with marshmallows on top. With raisins in it if we got fancy. Then my mother switched to this recipe and made it for years. When I started making it, I cut down the amount of butter. (She used a half cup of butter in the topping.) And no one has ever complained.

(I will try to pop a recipe photo in here soon.)
Just so you understand, this is not really a souffle. But that's what this recipe was called back then. That's what my mother's recipe said, so I'm leaving the name as is.


5 medium sweet potatoes, cooked (3 cups mashed)
1/3 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoon flour

Mash sweet potatoes in mixer. (Hand mixer is fine.) Melt butter and add to potatoes. Add sugar and salt. Beat in eggs and add vanilla and flour.
Pour into a greased 8x12-inch casserole. (2-quart) 

1 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar

Mix and spread crumbly topping over sweet potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. 
Can be made a day ahead, refrigerated and baked the following day.

You can substitute 2 medium cans of sweet potatoes, drained, in place fresh sweet potatoes. I think it's worth peeling the potatoes, though.

We worked on many art projects while home from school.

Monday, November 14, 2016

It's Time To Start The Starter

I have just enough time to get this started so that we can have bread for Thanksgiving. Yes, the rolls are great, but this is the recipe that everyone looks forward to. I've been using this sourdough recipe for 25 years now. Even if I make rolls, I need to make this also. Someone saw the roll recipe here and said, "But you're bringing the loaves, too, aren't you?" And the granddaughers call this "Mimi bread." How can I not bake it?

It takes 5 days to make your starter. So I mixed it today and can bake by the weekend. On VERY rare occasions I had ended up with bad starter. It happens. And I have not allowed time for a redo this year. Good thing the roll recipe is good, too.

Make a note somewhere of the day you started and the day that you are to add the yeast. My memory is short these days.

I wrote the feeding recipe on the lid of my container to make things easier. (I have been known to buy a large Cool Whip just to get the plastic container. Yep. Threw out the Cool Whip and saved the bowl. But don't tell anybody I did that.)

To make starter:  Double the feeding recipe.  Put in a glass or plastic container, loosely covered.  Let set out for 4 days.  Then add one pack dry yeast.  Let stand another 24 hours.  Use 1 cup for the first batch or store in refrigerator for up to 7 days.

To feed starter:  
Remove 1 cup for baking (or discard) and feed with:
1/3 cup sugar, 
3 tbsp. instant potatoes
1 cup warm water 
Mix well and let stand 8-12 hours. Then refrigerate. Store in plastic container with slits cut in lid. Feed every 3-7 days. (My favorite container for storage is a large Cool Whip container. Cut an "X" in the lid to let the starter breath.) 


1 cup starter
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup oil
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1-1/2 cups warm water (just beyond lukewarm)
6 or more cups bread flour (use the extra to flour the surface for kneading)

Mix bread ingredients. (I use a wire whisk to mix in the first 3 cups, and then use a spoon for the last three cups.) Place in large bowl sprayed with PAM.  Lightly spray dough with PAM.  Cover with plastic wrap.  Let stand and rise at least 8 hours.
Punch down dough and knead on floured board about 10 times.  Divide into equal 3 parts. (I have started weighing my dough to get the loaves the same size. But I guessed for years and years and that works, too.)
Spray three [8-1/2 x 4-1/2 inch loaf pans with PAM.  Shape dough and place in pans. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let stand and rise until pans are full, about 5 to 6 hours.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes, or until brown and bottom sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack.

Whole wheat bread variation:  Use 2 cups whole wheat flour and 4 cups bread flour.

This bread freezes beautifully. It makes a great gift. 

I have friends who have used this to make rolls also. And some have done cinnamon bread. One adventurous friend mixes all manner of herbs and cheeses into hers for a wide assortment of breads. I need to ask her one more time how she does that and if I can share her tricks.

And just so you know, this is not true sour dough. I've done that, too. True sour dough would not include instant potato flakes. But this is the recipe we like best. And it's nearly foolproof. Barely requires kneading. It's a good beginner recipe if you haven't tried yeast breads.

So what IS the hardest part? Making all of the wait times fit into your schedule. Once the starter is going, I often will mix the bread right at bedtime and let it rise overnight. Then in the morning it's ready to punch down, knead and put into pans for the second rising. I'll do that soon after I get up and it will be ready to bake around lunch time.

And I've used all sorts of other baking schedules. You'll have to figure out how to make it work in your house. But do think about it before you get started. There have been times when I set my alarm for 4:00 AM because that's when the bread was ready to go into the oven. That was not my best planning. But the bread was perfect. You'll figure it out.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

So How Old Am I?

The most fun birthday card from a dear knitting friend

Today is my birthday. 67 years old. That's a long time. I thought it would be fun to see what was invented, discovered and developed AFTER I was born.

There were the obvious computer-y things like social media, all the digital stuff, touch screens and iAnything. And then there were the things, like 8-track tapes, VHS players, Atari game systems, and Instamatic cameras, that have already come and gone.

I found some surprises. I thought air conditioning came along after me. It was not a standard for buildings where I grew up until after I was in college, but it was invented and was in use before I was born. I guessed that paper towels hit the market after me—but no, they were an item earlier than 1949, as were asphalt and styrofoam.

No, I am not older than dinosaurs or steam engines even though the granddaughters think I came over with the Pilgrims. They also think Daddy-O is 28. They don't have a strong grasp of age yet.

So what has happened in my 67 years? Here is a list of things that have come along after I was born. Most of them feel like they've been around forever.


1.      Color television
2.      Remote control TV
3.      Flat screen TV/digital TV
4.      DVRs
5.      Push button telephones
6.      Portable telephones
7.      Cell phones/Smart phones
8.      Personal computers—laptop & desktop
9.      Handheld calculators
10.  Velcro
11.   Post-It notes
12.  Super glue
13.  Ziploc bags
14.  TV dinners
15.  Instant grits & oatmeal
16.  Ketchup packets
17.  ICEEs/Slurpies
18.  Frosted Flakes & Sugar Smacks
19.  Jif peanut butter, Jiffy Pop, & Cheese Whiz
20.  Cake mix
21.  Microwave ovens (for home use)
22.  Ebooks/Kindles
23.  GPS guidance systems
24.  Drive-thru fast food windows
25. Online shopping
26.  ATMs
27.  Banking drive-up windows
28.  Internet
29.  WiFi
30.  Text messages
31.  Email
32.  Google
33.  Answering machines
34.  Spandex
35.  Panty hose
36.  Corning Ware
37.  Tupperware
38.  Non-stick cookware 
39.  CDs/DVDs
40.  Plastic bags
41.  Bubble wrap
42.  Con-Tact paper
43.   Bar codes
44.  AA batteries
45.  Smoke detectors
46.  Cordless power tools
47.  Polar fleece
48.  MasterCard & VISA
49.  Radial tires
50.  State of Alaska
51.  State of Hawaii
52.  Power steering
53.  Automatic sliding doors
54.  Sharpie pens & Magic Markers
55.  Diet soda
56.  Barbie dolls
57.  Mr. Potato Head
58.  Hula hoops
59.  Silly putty
60.  Play Doh
61.  Commercial jet liners
62.  Weather satellites
63.  Hydrogen bomb
64.  The “I Love Lucy” television show
65.   Mad magazine
66.  James Bond  (the novels & the movies)
67.  Rock ‘n Roll

I have always thought that if I were six weeks younger, I would sound much younger. Being born "in the 40s" just sounds older to me than being a child of the "50s." If you are much younger than me, you're thinking, "That ALL sounds old!" You are right. We all are.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

When You Need Cookies Fast

Glorified Grahams

This has been one busy week. I drove into my driveway late yesterday. And I'm headed out again today. This time to a knitting retreat in the mountains. Looks like the temperatures will be much cooler than anything we've seen so far this fall. Which means I need to think about packing more carefully than my usual throw-a-few-things-in-a-bag approach. This is the first time I've had to think about jackets and socks and sweaters in a very long time.

My information also said to bring something for the snack table. Snacks are a big deal at knitting retreats. Snack foods, coffee, knitting and friends. Maybe not in that order, but that's what knitting retreats are about.

It just isn't in my soul to take store bought cookies to a retreat, but goodness I didn't have time to bake. And then I remembered this recipe. It is as old as the hills. I found it years ago in my 1971 Better Homes & Garden New Cookbook in the section marked "Easy Cookies."

Man, I don't know how many times this recipe has saved the day for us. Mommy who is our family's expert baker made a cake for a church function a few weeks ago and the cake was a "throw away" (her words.) So she quickly whipped up a batch of these and sent them instead. Every time we've every taken these, someone wants the recipe. Many of you may already have it. But if you don't, here you go.

I usually have the four ingredients on hand. It only takes minutes to put together. The note in my own cookbook says, "This is my go-to recipe when I need just one more thing to serve."

I feel better about my snack contribution now.


24 graham cracker squares, divided into "sticks"(that's about two packs from the box)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans

Line a 15-1/2x 10-1/2x1-inch pan with aluminum foil. Then line up the the graham crackers on the bottom of the pan. Mix butter and brown sugar. Spoon over graham crackers and spread to cover if necessary. Sprinkle with chopped nuts. Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes. Let cool. Break apart.

I lift the foil from the pan to easily remove cookies. One pan of these fills an 8-inch square foil pan if you are taking them somewhere.