Friday, January 31, 2014

Organized Cooking and Shopping!

Good Friday Morning!  It is still cold here is SW Virginia, 17 degrees this morning, but we are supposed to warm up into the 50's today and almost 60 tomorrow!  YAY!

I've had several people in my "real life" (as opposed to the ones here on the blog) ask me how I am able to work full time and then go home and fix dinner every night and not be stressed about it.  Well, it's very easy if you plan ahead and organize!

I have been using the following plan for over 30 years now, and haven't found anything better to replace it.

It takes planning ahead.

On Thursday or Friday night I usually block off an hour to plan my meals for the next week.

I grab a few of my cookbooks and glance through them to see what sounds good.  I also check out my Pinterest boards for some new recipes.  I always try and make one new thing each week.    Here are my boards in case you are interested lbpsews boards.
See that notebook with the Mickey Mouse figures on it?  That's where I keep all the recipes I have printed online.  I have two of these and I bought some tabs to organize the recipes into categories.
Makes life a lot easier!
Then I get out my menu planner
I printed these from Arsty Fartsys' website and I keep them in a notebook, that way I can look back at what I have already made, the notes that I made on a new recipe and decide if I want it again that week.
Then for each day I write down what we will be having:
and what cookbook it is in or if it's on Pinterest and the page number.
Now on to the grocery list.  I have made an Excel spreadsheet with the different categories of groceries.  Anal, I know, but it is very helpful!
Sorry for the fuzzy photo, but you get the idea.  Look through your recipes and write down what you need on the list.  Simple.  This also keeps me on track at the grocery store and I don't pick up things that I "think" I need for a recipe, but really don't.
Then I go online to the grocery stores in our area and see who has the best deals on the items I need. 
Oh let's not forget the coupons.
I will admit to not being the best couponer in the world.  I make most things from scratch and many of the coupons are for premade items.  However, I do usually have around $10.00 in coupons that I use each week.
Stick that grocery list in the back of your coupon holder and put it in your purse!  This is important!  I have totally left my list sitting on the counter and then have no idea what to buy.  I live 20-30 minutes from the grocery store so it's not like I can just run out and grab and item if I need it.
Once I get home with my groceries, I spend an hour or so on the weekend prepping items for the following week.  Like chopping a bunch of onions or slicing a couple of peppers, etc. 
Each morning I check my menu and put the non perishable items out of the counter.  That way when I get home I just grab the refrigerated items and start cooking.  There is no wondering what I am going to have for supper, no stopping at the grocery store on the way home (which can lead to buying things you don't need) and this creates a lot more peace of mind for me.
Now you know my system, hopefully this will help if you are getting stressed out during the day about what to make for dinner.  If you have any ideas too, I would love to hear them!
Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Vintage Recipe Monday! Dutch Apple Cake

Good Monday Morning!  It is bright and sunny and as sad as this is, 31 degrees feels warm! 

I hope everyone had a great weekend.  I got a lot of laundry and cleaning done.  Fun stuff, right?

This weeks recipe comes to us from "Aunt Jenny's Favorite Recipes"  This little booklet was published by the Spry shortening company in what looks like the mid 1940's.  The Spry shortening company started in 1936 and was Crisco's largest competitor.  Unfortunately, Spry in no longer in business but their name lives on with these Aunt Jenny Booklets that were published.

I decided to make the Dutch Apple Cake.
2 cups sifted flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup Spry
1 egg, well beaten
3 tablespoons Spry
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon milk
2 cups of apples, sliced
Of course since I couldn't get Spry I had to use Crisco, their competitor.  I felt like a traitor.
Sift flour with baking powder, sugar and salt.  Cut in 1/4 cup Spry until mixture is as fine as meal.
I suggest you use the prettiest sifter you have.
As for cutting in, if you don't have the pastry blender from Pampered Chef, find someone who is selling it and buy it pronto.  It is the best!
Combine beaten egg and milk and add to the flour mixture, mixing to a soft dough.  (I added a teaspoon of vanilla too)  Melt 3 tablespoons Spry and butter together; add brown sugar, cinnamon and milk and mix well.  Pour into an 8x8x2 pan greased with Spry.
(I don't have an 8x8x2 pan so I used my cast iron skillet!)
Press apple slices into mixture in circles.  Spread dough over apples.  Bake in a moderate over (350) for about 45 minutes
I made a mess putting the batter in, but in the end it didn't matter.
Turn upside down onto a platter.
I used this old one with a photo of the capital of Virginia on it.  I suggest you find one similar for your state.
Look at the deliciousness! 
This cake is more like a coffee cake.  It is very light and the butter and brown sugar make a caramel that makes this taste like a caramel apple, only easier.  This was certainly a hit at our house and I will use this recipe again.  Thanks Aunt Jenny for such a delicious recipe.
Hope everyone has a great Monday!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Opps I did it again!

Isn't that a Brittany Spears song?  Good Frigid Morning!  T.G.I.F.!  It is a balmy 7 degrees with a wind chill of -13 here in SW Virginia this morning. It is 37 degrees in Fairbanks Alaska.  There is definitely something wrong with this picture!

So you are asking what did I do again?
Now technically these are not Pixes, but they are Kneehuggers.
I bought them from the most wonderful Etsy shop that happens to be owned by my Valentine Box Swap partner LindaLou who blogs at Lady Linda her Etsy button is on her blog and it has the most amazing items and very reasonable prices.  I just couldn't resist these Cowgirl Kneehuggers!

Look at those sweet faces.
So what is everyone doing this weekend?  I have some cabbage seedlings that need transplanting, (dreaming of Spring) and a lot of cleaning to do.  I will probably get outside some as we are supposed to have a heat wave tomorrow with temperature soaring into the 30's!  LOL!
Everyone have a great weekend!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Who's getting older"? Not me!

Good Morning!  I am sitting here watching the snow fall.  Big, fluffy flakes, though it was 50 degrees here yesterday, so it's really not sticking. Yet.  It is supposed to be 7 degrees tonight in Southtown!  Ridiculous! 

This weekend my sister and I celebrated our Birthday's together, like always!  She was born on the 20th and I was born on the 22nd, 5 years apart.
Neither of us really like cake, but I made one anyway, because the rest of the family does.  Together we are 101 years old! 
My sister also gave me some awesome gifts!
Yep!  That's exactly what I wanted!  It's almost time to get some seeds started in the greenhouse and I go through lots of potting soil!  That's me with my big mouth open and my sis beside me with her big mouth open.  Seems to run in the family.
Then I got the biggest surprise of all.
It was wrapped in the coolest paper.  She had cut out paper dolls and other adorable images and pasted them on the brown paper wrapping.  I just couldn't tear it.  I had to save it!
Inside was my sink!
The only missing piece to my pink kitchen set!
I have all the pieces now!  I am so excited.  I just need to find a place where I can display all 5 pieces.
I gave my sister some things that she had mentioned that were kind of boring, a crock pot, a teasing comb, a scary movie,  and the Pioneer Woman's Holiday cookbook.  I also made her some glasses cases that I had pinned on Pinterest and she had commented that she wanted these.
One had a dog and one had a cat.  You can find the instructions here:
They are quite easy to make and are just adorable.
I also went to an estate sale on Saturday and bought an entire box of vintage patterns.

I love the red, white and blue outfit on the left and am thinking that it's going to be my Easter outfit this year. 

Some I keeping, most I am going to try and sell on Ebay. 
The other thing I bought this weekend has me dreaming of spring
Lots of seeds!  Some like the leeks need to be started ASAP!  I already have some cabbage plants started and plan to get these leeks started this coming weekend.  Awww, spring dreaming on a snowy day!
Hope everyone has a wonderful Tuesday!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

I couldn't help myself

Yet one more Pixie to add to the collection.
Isn't he adorable?

Birthday Party goings on at my house today!
Busy, busy, busy!

More on this tomorrow along with details of yesterday's estate sale!

Happy Sunday



Monday, January 13, 2014

Vintage Recipe Monday! Dutch Stewed Potatoes

Good Monday Morning!  A beautiful sunny, though chilly day here in SW Virginia.  Did everyone have a great weekend?  We went to the Home and Garden show in town and I was left wishing for Spring.  They had the most fantastic garden designs for ponds and patios.  I wish I had more time and more money!

Yesterday I got out this old Norge Cookbook that I bought at an estate sale last summer.  This book is gigantic and weighs a ton! 
It is by the Culinary Arts Institute in New York and written in 1948

I love this picture!
Lots of "odd" recipes in this cookbook, like a lot of gelatin type foods with un-gelatin type foods in them!  Like fish in Jello.  Ugh!
However I found one that I thought would go perfect with the meatloaf and peas that I had made for lunch and it was:
Dutch Stewed Potatoes
2 onions sliced
1 Tbls. fat, melted (I used Crisco)
1/2 tea. salt (I probably used a little more), dash of pepper
2 teaspoons of minced parsley (I didn't have any so I left it out)
2 cups diced, uncooked potatoes
1 1/2 cups boiling water
2 teaspoons flour
Cook onion in fat, 5 minutes.  Add salt, pepper, parsley and potatoes, cover with boiling water and cook until tender.  Thicken with flours which has been mixed with a little cold water.  For 4.
It actually was very good!  I did add a little butter at the end as well.
It tasted a lot like the scalloped potatoes my Aunt Clara used to make in the oven as it's really just boiled potatoes with a white sauce.  But it was very easy and quick and I will definitely be using it again.  Give it a try!
(p.s. How do you like my pink pyrex!  I collect the blue Amish Butterprint, but when I saw this pink one for $2.00, I couldn't pass it up!)


Friday, January 10, 2014

Happy Shelves- Valentines Style

Good Morning! TGIF!!!  It's a cool, rainy day here in SW Virginia, but fortunately where I live, it's too warm for the ice that's occurring in many parts of our state.  I am definitely not a winter person, so that suits me just fine.

This past week I put up my Valentine decorations in my Happy shelves and I also decorated my antique buffet.
I have most of my pink kitchen set on top of my cabinet.  I can't tell you how happy it makes me to see it every day!  I just added a few of my Peanuts figures and a Kewpie doll that I gussied up with a Valentines dress.
You can see my little green stove in the background!  I stuck a few vintage valentines in with my everyday d├ęcor and of course I have a Valentine's Pixie!  (I see a wayward rabbit that is photo bombing, he's jumping the gun on his season!) 
Another doll in her Valentine finery and there's Mr. Marty Mouse that I made last year.
A few more of my vintage valentines.  That guy with the red sunglasses is kind of creepy!
I put all the Valentines that I made or that someone else made and gave to me on my buffet.
I love these homemade Valentines!
This is my oldest Valentine!  It folds out to make this scene.
This is the date written on the back.  105 years old! 
Hope everyone has a great weekend!  I think DH and I are going to the home and garden show in town this weekend because there is supposed to be several plant nurseries there and I can hardly wait for spring.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Vintage Recipe Monday!

Good Monday morning everyone!  How's everyone surviving these bitterly cold days?  If it gets as cold as the weatherman says tomorrow we will be breaking a record that goes back to 1918! 

So what's good to eat that will warm you innards?  How about some Corn Meal Muffins, recipe right out of a 1920's recipe booklet from Snow King Baking Powder.  I have so many of these little recipe booklets and the other day I pulled them out and decided I was going to try some of these old recipes.  I am glad I tried this one!
Corn Meal Muffins
compliments of Mrs Herbert. L Richie of Concord N.C.
4 Tbls shortening
2 Tbls. sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 cups milk
1 cup flour
1 cup corn meal
4 tea. Snow King Baking Powder
1/2 tea. salt.
Cream shortening and sugar together until light.  Add well-beaten egg, then flour, baking powder and salt sifted together and mixed with cornmeal.  Add milk gradually.  Beat well and bake in a hot over in well greased muffin pans about 25 minutes in a moderately hot oven. 
At the bottom it says "This recipe won first prize for four consecutive years at Cabarrus Co. Fair!
Here is the deal with mine.  I add self rising flour only so I didn't use the baking powder or the salt.  I should have!  They didn't rise like they should have, but they were still delicious!
While these are baking I browsed through the booklet and I think it must have belonged to someone with a mischievous little one, because someone has colored all the cheeks red on all the ladies photos in the book!

These really do take 25 minutes to bake, I was worried it would be too long but they came out great!
Crispy on the outside and light and delicious on the inside.

This recipe is a keeper!
I can't really find any information about Snow King Baking powder on the internet other than they are no longer in business and tins of vintage baking powder cost about $50.00! 
Have a great day and stay warm!