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My Grandma passed away at the age of 94. She was a wonderful cook and I was lucky enough to inherit her recipes. Many date back to the 1940s and 50s. Grandma prepared them in a charming country kitchen with no running water and most of her produce came from her garden, not from the grocery store. These are made-from-scratch recipes. I wish I had spent more time with her in the kitchen and . . . I wish I had spent more time with her for so many other reasons.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Grandma's Seven Layer Salad - It's So Good!

Seven Layer Salad is my go-to dish when I have to take a dish to share.  I always get tons of compliments on this salad, and there is never anything left to take home.  And . . . it looks great in my Pampered Chef Trifle Bowl.

Kosher salt
8 oz Bow Tie Pasta
2 stalks Broccoli (cut into florets)
1/2 cup Miracle Whip
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup chopped fresh chives
2 tsp dried parsley
Juice of one lime
Freshly ground pepper
2 avocados (diced)
2 cups of diced ham
8 oz (2 cups) shredded cheddar
1 small head romaine lettuce (sliced)
2 tomatoes (diced)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook until al dente.  Add the broccoli during the last four minutes of cooking.  Drain the pasta and broccoli and rinse under cold water.  Shake off the excess.  Remove the broccoli and pat dry.

Whisk the Miracle Whip, buttermilk, chives (reserve 1 Tbsp), parsley, half of the lime juice, 1/4 tsp salt and pepper to taste.

Toss the past and a few tablespoons of the dressing in a medium bowl.

Assemble the salad:
Toss the avocados with the remaining lime juice in a large glass serving bowl and season with salt.  Arrange in an even layer.
Top with layers of the ham, broccoli, pasta, cheese, lettuce and tomatoes.
Drizzle some of the dressing over the salad and then sprinkle with the remaining 1 Tbsp of chives.

Cover and refrigerate salad and dressing before serving.


Monday, September 30, 2013

It's Fall . . . Time for some Apple recipes -- Apple Chutney

I love Fall!  The weather is getting cooler and that means it's time for apples and pumpkins.  Tonight -- it's all about apples.

6 Granny Smith apples (peeled, cored and diced)
1 medium Vidalia onion (diced)
1/2 tsp ground Ginger
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (2 oranges)
3/4 cup cider vinegar
1 cup light brown sugar (lightly packed)
1/2 tsp dried mustard
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup raisins

Combine the apples, onion, ginger, orange juice, vinegar, brown sugar mustard, pepper flakes and salt in a large saucepan.  Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.  Reduce the heat to simmer and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until most of the liquid has evaporated.  Take off the heat and add the raisins.

Set aside to cool and store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Cooking with Grandma in the Kitchen

I learned so much cooking with my Grandma in her country kitchen.  I think my love of cooking is a product of spending time with her, watching her cook, and eating her delicious dishes.  I was fortunate enough to have her in my life well into adulthood.

I have cooked my way through all of her recipes now.  Many of them are wine, pickle, and bread/roll recipes that are very labor intensive.  It's so much easier to just go to the store and buy these things, but I believe it's good to know how to make these foods yourself.

Check out the recipes here.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

A simple, but very tasty way to prepare potatoes for dinner.

3 lbs fingerling potatoes (washed, but unpeeled)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
Sea salt and ground pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  In a bowl, toss the potatoes with the olive oil and thyme leaves.  Transfer the potatoes to a baking sheet in a single layer and season with ground sea salt and pepper.  Bake for 25 minutes or until tender inside while crispy outside.

This one gets a thumbs up from the whole family!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Produce Co-op -- What a Great Way to Save Money

About a year ago I read about this produce co-op and I thought it sounded like a good idea.  But . . . I was reluctant to try it out.  I didn't know anyone who had participated and I wasn't sure about the quality of the produce they would provide.  The prices were great, but I had to pay in advance and then pick it up at a particular location within a 15 minute window.  So much pressure!!! :)

I finally gave in and placed an order for the Produce Basket.  With the delivery fee and the required one time $2.00 contribution for coop bags, my total came to $24.25.  Take a look at a snapshot of the Produce Basket.

This picture doesn't begin to do justice to what was in the basket.  There were bananas, plums, nectarines, fresh ginger, cilantro, Napa cabbage, button mushrooms, tomatoes, lettuce, oranges, apples, carrots, potatoes, and cauliflower.  The bag had to weigh about 30 lbs.  Amazingly, everything was very fresh and well worth the money spent.  Some weeks the bag weighs 40 lbs plus.

The co-op delivers every two weeks.  When I arrive at the pick up point, there are probably 50 people waiting in line to get their produce.  Pick up goes very quickly.  Everything is sorted into bags and boxes and our orders are labeled with our names.  I have quite a time carrying all of my purchases all the way to the car.

Check out the co-op when you have time.  Their website is www.communityhelpingscoop.com.  There are groups all over the St. Louis area.  I happen to be part of the High Ridge group.  Be sure to sign up for a group, and they will e-mail you a couple of days ahead to remind you to order, and then send you a reminder to pick up your produce on the delivery date.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Grandma's Recipes

Most of Grandma's recipes have been for what I call ordinary everyday recipes that came out of the 1940s through 1960s.  There are tools in the blogger world to look to see how many people read posts and I've definitely found a pattern.  The more exotic the recipe name, the more visits there are to that post.

There are certainly gems hidden in the posts on this page -- I've had the pleasure of discovering most of them.  It's just a shame that more people don't take the time to read back through the recipes to discover the basics.  Grandma didn't have the luxury of running to the grocery store just to pick up a forgotten item.  Her shopping was limited to one day each week -- usually Saturday.  She relied on items in her freezer, on her canning shelves, or from her garden to plan her dinners.

It couldn't have been easy.  I can't imagine not being able to just run to the store for something I need to complete dinner.  That happens to me frequently.  Grandma was a planner.  She had to think ahead -- there were no microwaves to defrost meat or other items.

We have so many luxuries when it comes to cooking compared to those who cooked years ago.  One of my resolutions for 2013 is to get my financial house in order.  To accomplish this, I'll need to review my grocery budget.  That's one area that can use an extra eye!