Baking time is here

Yea, when I got up this morning to go to church, it was only 69ºF outside! Fall may be here anytime.
My week in Devine was truly a fun and exciting week. Not only did I get to spend time with my newest great-granddaughter and her precious big brothers, I got to see their Daddy also! I got there too late to have lunch with the family, but we had a great afternoon. There had been illness and fevers in my other great-granddaughters, so I didn’t get to see them until Thursday. My son and I had lunch at our favorite BBQ restaurant in Hondo. Friday morning before I left to come home, I went to LaCoste as my other daughter was in, as well as a friend of hers, so I got to see both of them. The house in LaCoste is looking great, she is painting it in colors that were prominent at the time it was built and it’s looking good. Her sister and the little one she keeps came over also and after her friend left, we went out to lunch. Truly a fun and happy time for me. Of course, I would have cheerfully done without the traffic coming home…it was not good. I was trying to figure out why there was so much of it, when it dawned on me that it was Friday evening…of course there was traffic. However, I made it home just fine without any problems.
One of the most delicious smells to have in your kitchen is the fragrance of cinnamon as it bakes into something luscious and tasty. Some of the things to bake that come to mind are such as an Apple Crisp, Apple Pie, baked apples and of course let’s not forget good, old-fashioned Gingerbread. Any type of oatmeal cookie usually has a teaspoon or so of cinnamon amongst the ingredients, snickerdoodles are rolled in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar before baking and molasses cookies are full of wonderful smelling spices.
Gingerbread is something that my family has always loved. My recipe is one that came from a cookbook that Mother used when I was growing up. It smells so spicy and wonderful when it is cooking and is really not difficult to make. Many years ago, when I was hostess for the bunco group I was in at the time, one of my substitutes was a young woman who had never tasted gingerbread in her life. Of course she was teased that she must have had a deprived childhood, when in reality, she simply had a mother who didn’t really like to cook!
Here are a few recipes for you to try, apples are pretty plentiful at this time, even though some varieties are pretty pricey, there are good tasting can be used in many ways.
Quick Homemade Apple Crisp
5 cups peeled, sliced baking apples (Granny Smith, Rome Beauty or any tart apple)
3 tablespoons sugar
¾ quick cooking oatmeal (not instant)
½ cup brown sugar (packed)
¼ cup flour
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
6 tablespoons butter
¼ cup chopped pecans (optional)
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Mix apples and sugar and place in a 2-quart baking dish. For topping: in a medium bowl, combine the oatmeal, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs; add pecans if used and mix to combine; sprinkle over apples in baking dish and bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until apples are tender and topping is golden.
Grandma’s Gingerbread
½ cup shortening
2 eggs
½ cup granulated sugar
2½ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon nutmeg or cloves
1 cup boiling water
1 cup molasses
Sift together: flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices; set aside. Cream together shortening, sugar and eggs until fluffy; and add sifted ingredients with the molasses. Add boiling water last and stir in gently, just until mixed. Pour into 9×13 pan and bake for 45 minutes or until done. If you like, sprinkle the top of the dough with a tablespoon or two of sugar before baking, or when cake is done, sprinkle with powdered sugar.

A bit about Brussel Sprouts

This past weekend was a fun weekend! Tuesday was as usual, time in the workshop making tray favors for our hospital patients, and then working in the gift shop. The only difference was that both of my window air conditioning units decided to quit working at the same time on Tuesday morning! I had the repairman come out and check the main one, on Wednesday after I got off from work at noon, and of course, it was the condenser. Since the unit was over nine years old, I was sort of expecting that to be the problem. Actually, I was surprised that it had worked as long as it has this summer. My son-in-law went on-line checked the stores in Victoria for me and couldn’t find the type of unit that was needed, (a 220, without a heater), and when the repairman came out, he started making calls and found one for me in a nearby town. My friend and I went and picked it up and he installed it on Friday for me. It works beautifully and my house is comfortable again.
On Saturday, my son and daughter-in-law came down and he brought a small unit to replace the other one that was out. This one only needs to keep my sewing room/spare bedroom cool enough for visitors, so again I’m home free on a cool room. After we had lunch, and he fixed some places that needed tightening on my cyclone fence, we went to the back pasture at my brother’s house and did some target practicing, I always enjoy this. We didn’t have an actual target, but I managed to hit the box we were using. It just takes practice and as the old saying goes: “Practice makes perfect”.
Every magazine I pick up these days seems to have articles and recipes about Brussels Sprouts and how good they are for you. One article I noticed today said, “Forget about the sprouts you knew as a kid, that were cooked to mush and tasted horrible”. Supposedly, they really are good for you and contain numerous vitamins and minerals, and today are cooked almost any way you can imagine other than boiling them!
According to my research on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, they belong to the Gemmifera group of cabbages, which is grown for it edible buds. Brussels sprouts are also in the same family as collard greens, kale (another vegetable that is in every magazine you pick up), broccoli and kohlrabi (a vegetable that Dad brought home for Mother to cook, frequently in the winter time). All of these vegetables belong to the Brassicaceae family and contain Vitamin A, C, folic acid and dietary fibre necessary to our health. They are believed to protect our bodies against colon cancer, because they contain sinigrin.
Due to breeding research in recent years in the Netherlands that focused on compounds called “glucosinolates”, that are found in the sprouts, has resulted in reducing bitterness and added health benefits.
In Continental Europe, the Netherlands produce 82K metric tons and Germany produces 10K tons. England has a production similar to the Netherlands, but do not generally export the sprouts.
In the United States, production began in the 18th century, with French settlers bringing them to Louisiana. It was during the 1920s that they were first planted in California with a large production beginning in the 1940s. At this time, several thousand acres are planted in the coastal areas of Santa Cruz, San Mateo and Monterey, which seem to offer an ideal climate year round. The majority of the production in the United States is in this location with a smaller percentage of the crop being grown in Skagit Valley, Washington and also on Long Island, New York. The total production in the United States is about 32K tons, and over 80% of that is for the frozen food market.
Once you have purchased your Brussels sprouts, cut off the excess stem and peel off any loose leaves, now they are ready to cook by steaming, grilling, stir frying or roasting. Most of the recipes that I’ve seen in magazines have you cutting them in half and cooking on the grill. They look appetizing, and as is stated above, they have been bred to lose some of the taste of cooked cabbage that is usually associated with them.
The Wikipedia article that this information from states that: “Roasting Brussels sprouts is a common way to cook them in large quantities that seems to bring out the flavour that school children can enjoy”. The article also states: “One school district served roasted and pickled Brussels sprouts to 20,000 children who reportedly enjoyed the food during a single day”.
Shredded Gingered Brussels sprouts
1 lb. fresh Brussels sprouts
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. minced fresh gingerroot
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp water
¼ tsp. pepper
Trim Brussels sprouts, cut in half lengthwise, then crosswise into thin slices.
Place a large skillet over medium-high heat; cook and stir sprouts 2-3 minutes or just until lightly browned. Toss with olive oil. Stir in onion, ginger, garlic and salt. Add water; reduce heat to medium and cook, covered 1-2 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat; stir in pepper.
Per serving 56 cal., 2g fat, (0g sat. fat), 0mg chol., 214 mg sodium, 8g carb., 3g fiber, 2g pro.
Brussel Sprout Salad
5 cups thinly sliced brussel sprouts
3 Tbs. olive oil
3 Tbs. lemon juice
1 cup toasted walnut pieces
½ cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup ricotta cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut brussel sprouts in half lengthwise and then thinly slice. Add lemon juice, walnut pieces, dried cranberries and ricotta cheese, gently mix together and toss with the olive oil.
Brussel Sprouts with Caraway Seeds
2 lbs. fresh Brussels sprouts
6 tsp. olive oil
1 large sweet onion
6 medium cloves garlic
2 tsp. caraway seeds
1 tsp dried thyme
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
¼ cup maple syrup (real maple syrup, not pancake syrup)
3 Tbs. sherry vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard

Trim and halve Brussels sprouts, place steamer basket in a large skillet with 1-inch of water. Place sprouts in basket and bring water to a boil. Reduce heat and maintain a simmer; steam, covered until crisp-tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and remove from skillet and kept warm. While sprouts are cooking, slice onions and thinly slice garlic cloves. In same skillet, heat oil over medium heat, add onion and cook and stir until tender, (4 to 5 minutes), add sliced garlic, cook 1 minute longer, stir in Brussels sprouts, caraway seeds, thyme, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Mix together syrup, sherry vinegar and mustard until well combined, pour over sprout mixture and stir until coated. Serve warm.

Tinda/Apple Gourd

This coming week will be sort of busy for me as I will be keeping my friend’s dog. He seems to love it here at my house, but since he’s now elderly and (just like old people) has lost a lot of his hearing and the vision in one eye, requires a little more care than he used to. Luckily, he’s been here often enough that he finds his way around just fine.
This past week, when I was leaving my local HEB, I noticed a different type of melon than I was used to seeing. It was close to the watermelons, but much closer to the decorative gourds. Of course, I had to stop and see what they were! The name of them turned out to be Apple gourd, so after thinking about it for a few days, I decided that they would be good copy for this week’s column. After typing “apple gourd” into my search line, I learned a few facts.
This is a small vegetable that appears to be a cross between a (very) large green apple and a pumpkin. The skin coloration is very similar to the small seedless watermelons that are available practically year ‘round, but the shape is looks as if it is actually an apple. Some of the ones pictured in the article were actually the size of a green apple, but the ones here in the store look to weigh about one to two pounds or maybe more.
According to the article, the taste, texture and seeds mostly resemble squash and it’s also called Tinda, in fact everywhere the name appears in the article it is Tinda/apple gourd. The following information that I gleaned in this article is below. I am quoting it as it appears.
“Tinda has a lot of health benefits to offer – read them below—

  1. Tinda/apple gourd has anti-bacterial properties.
  2. Tinda/apple gourd helps in maintaining digestive health by getting rid of gastric issues and constipation.
  3. Tinda/apple gourd helps in weight loss as it is 94% water.
  4. Antioxident properties of Tinda/apple gourd helps control blood pressure.
  5. Tinda/apple gourd leaves also help in controlling blood pressure.
  6. Tinda/apple gourd prevents cancer as it protects from free radicals which cause cancer.
  7. Tinda/apple gourd makes hair healthy and shiny.”
    They are also called Indian squash, round melon, Indian round gourd, apple gourd or Indian baby pumpkin.
    The recipes are mostly Indian in origin, being a variety of different types of curry dishes. They all seem to be long and involved and the ingredients are not listed separately as is usual with recipes. The apple gourds must not be too difficult to grow as there is lots of information and several places to order seeds listed if you desire to grow them yourselves. There are also lots of pictures of them decorated in various ways to use the gourds for decorating purposes, as well as pictures of them as bird houses, scoops and other items.
    Dee’s Chicken and Ro-tel® tomatoes
    Read instructions before beginning!
    1 whole chicken cut into serving size pieces
    ½ to 1 cup cooking oil (for frying chicken pieces)
    1 onion, chopped
    1 bell pepper, chopped
    1 Tbs. sugar
    Cajun seasoning
    Salt and pepper
    1 can Rotel® tomatoes with green chilies
    ½ to 1 can tomato sauce (8-oz can)
    1 can diced tomatoes, (large can)
    1 can sliced mushrooms
    ½ to 1 cup water
    Skin chicken and season on all sides with Cajun seasoning. Heat oil in heavy skillet and fry chicken until nicely browned; remove from pan and set aside. In same skillet, sauté onions and bell pepper; drain off excess oil and add tomatoes, tomato sauce, water and mushrooms. Add chicken to sauce; stir and add sugar and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; lower heat and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes or until chicken is done, and serve over white rice.
    The late Mrs. Bess Polk, who was in an Assisted Living home in Victoria at the time, sent me this Chicken and Rice Casserole which had appeared in her daily paper, The Victoria Advocate. About two weeks after she sent hers to me, a similar one appeared in the San Antonio paper, and it uses regular rice. I have made this many times and everyone seems to love it. The cream of onion soup was not available for a very long time, but I was able to find it again at a new Brookshire Brothers that is now in Cuero.
    Fiesta Chicken and Rice Bake
    1 can cream of chicken soup or cream of onion soup
    1 cup chunky salsa or picante sauce
    ½ cup water
    1 cup whole-kernel corn, drained (buffet size can, or I just used a well drained 15 oz can)
    ¾ cup regular long-grained white rice (uncooked)
    4 boneless chicken breast halves*
    ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
    Preheat oven to 375ºF Mix soup, salsa, water, corn and rice in 2-quart shallow casserole or baking dish. Top with the chicken and sprinkle with paprika. Cover with lid or foil. Bake about 45 to 55 minutes, or until the rice has soaked up all the liquid and the chicken is cooked through. Uncover, sprinkle with cheese and put back in the oven for a minute or so, until the cheese melts. *I use cut-up chicken or leg/thigh quarters instead of breasts, and I use 6-8 thighs and it works very well.
    If you want to double the recipe, use: 2 cans soup, 2 cups salsa, 1 cup water, 15-oz can corn, 1½ cups rice (uncooked), 12 to 15 pieces chicken, and to do this you will probably need larger pan.

Peanuts and other things

This past week was pretty quiet for me, with only one meeting and then workshop to finish the tray favors for the hospital patients that the Auxiliary provides each month. We were already over half finished with the ones we were working on and after we finished those, we started on something for October. I am not sure how they are going to turn out but can only tell if we try. Last week I gave you Diez y Seis, not realizing I was a week early, and that left me without something to write about this week! So, even though I’ve used it before, here’s how it was in the good old days. (This little verse is also what we used on our tray favors, which were shaped like a book with part of the verse on the outside and the other part inside).
The old song goes like this: “School days, school days, dear old golden rule days. Reading and writing and ‘rithmetic, taught to the tune of a hickory stick”. Those were the tough days of school for both student and teacher. Corporal punishment was the rule of the day, and if you were punished at school, you received an equal or worse punishment at home. The teacher was usually a man, as it was thought they had better control over a class. If a young lady taught, she had to be single, her contract stated she could not go out on dates, she usually had to live in the home of one of the school board members, and her deportment and dress at all times had to be above reproach. And, hopefully, she was lucky and go to live with a member who was good to her and didn’t expect her to live in an attic with no heat in the winter and treated her as one of the family instead of treating her as an indentured servant.
She taught in a one room schoolhouse, she was in charge of keeping the building clean, water had to be hauled from a well in a bucket, which stood in a corner of the classroom, with one drinking cup or ladle for all the children to share. In the winter, she had to be there early enough to build a fire so that when the students arrived it would be warm enough to start classes when it was time. The rest room was an outhouse and I guarantee it wasn’t heated, and probably with pages from the Sears® catalogue for paper! How many boys of that generation learned what women’s underwear looked like from those catalogues?
Most of the children either walked or rode horseback to get to the school. During crop harvesting time, many of the students were not in class, as they had to help with the crops. Anytime there was sickness at home, the oldest girl in the family would not be able to attend school because she would be helping her mother take care of the sick child, parent or grandparent.
Lunches were carried in tin buckets with lids, which had originally contained lard (shortening). There were no thermos bottles to keep milk cold from the time the children left home, usually before daylight to walk or ride to school. Cookies were always home made as was the cake or pie. If they were lucky, they had leftovers from the previous meal, which were eaten at room temperature. Homemade biscuits, bread, cheese, sausage or boiled eggs were common lunches, as was a big chunk of cornbread. Sometimes the sandwiches were simply bread and butter. There were no hot lunch programs in those days, and mama always made everyone eat a good breakfast. In most country families, that meant bacon (home cured, of course), ham or sausage with eggs, and either homemade bread or biscuits and sometimes grits and gravy.
Those children had outside chores, that could include milking cows and feeding animals, as well as inside chores, just as many children do today. After chores and supper came homework, which was done by lamplight or by candle. They needed a snack before beginning chores after a long walk or ride home from school. A little break for a handful of cookies or a sandwich and a glass of milk helped them relax before going on to the next part of their day.
Many of today’s students also have outside chores, especially the ones who are raising animals for a 4H or FFA project. These animals have to be fed, exercised and groomed each and every day. Other students have working parents and they have to help with the laundry and keeping the house clean, and if they are old enough, perhaps starting supper so it is at least on the way when mother and dad get home.
In the area where I live, as well as your area, the ride home from school on a bus can take an hour to an hour and a half. They get out of school around 3:00 or 3:30, and get on the bus, but by the time the children out in the country get home, it may well be close to 5:00. They too are ready for a snack.
We all know that lots of peanuts are raised in the Devine area, but have you ever given peanut butter a thought? It made its debut at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904. The original patent was given to Dr. John Harvey Kellog, who initially developed peanut butter as a meat alternative for his patients. However, George Washington Carver is considered by many to be the father of the peanut butter industry. He began his peanut research in 1903 and suggested to farmers that they rotate their cotton crops and cultivate peanuts as well.
Peanut butter accounts for about half of the peanuts grown in the United States.
All peanut butter is made by a similar process, first the raw, shelled peanuts are roasted and cooled, and then they are blanched to remove the skins. Some manufacturers split the kernels and remove the heart of the peanuts as well. The blanched peanut kernels are electronically sorted or hand-picked one last time to be sure only good, wholesome kernels are used in the peanut butter.
The peanuts are ground, usually through two grinding stages to produce a smooth, even textured spread. The peanuts are heated during the grinding to about 170ºF. Once the emulsifiers are added and mixed, the butter is cooled rapidly to about 120ºF or below. This cooling crystallizes the emulsifiers, thus trapping the peanut oil that was released by the grinding. To make crunchy peanut butter, the manufacturer will add peanut granules to the creamy butter. (Source: The Great American Peanut).
Homemade peanut butter is easy to make using an electric blender or food processor. The longer the blending, the softer the peanut butter will be. The peanut butter should be stored in a tightly closed container in the refrigerator. Stir to mix the oil before using.
Peanut Butter
1 cup roasted, shelled peanuts (with or without red skins)
1½ teaspoons peanut oil
1/4 teaspoon salt (omit salt if salted peanuts are used)
Place ingredients in a blender or food processor, and with the lid secured, blend until the mixture becomes paste-like or spreadable. If necessary, stop the machine and scrape the mixture from the sides of the container to put the mixture back in contact with the blades. Continue blending until the desired consistency is reached. For crunchy peanut butter, add 1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts after the blending is completed. (Makes approx. 1 cup).
Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup shortening
1 cup peanut butter
q cup granulated sugar
q cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2½ cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Beat together until very creamy, the shortening, peanut butter and sugars. Beat in the eggs, and then stir in the dry ingredients with a spoon. Roll into small balls, place on cookie sheets, dip the tines of a fork in flour and flatten the rolls in a criss-cross pattern. Bake at 400ºF for 10 to 12 minutes.
Peanut Butter Cupcakes
1 package yellow cake mix
Ingredients needed to make cake (oil, eggs, water, etc.)
½ cup chunky peanut butter
Mix cake mix according to package directions, adding peanut butter when you add the eggs and water. Spoon batter into muffin cups, lined with paper liners you have lightly sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Fill each cup about 2/3 full of batter. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until done. Cool thoroughly. Frost with the following:
1 can chocolate frosting
1/3 cup chunky peanut butter
Mix together the frosting and the peanut butter and frost each cupcake. Decorate with candy corn or one of the candy pumpkins if desired.
Hot Chile Nuts
1 pound (3½ cups) raw, Spanish peanuts
¼ cup peanut oil
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon red pepper
Combine dry ingredients and set aside. Place peanuts in a 13×9-inch baking pan and pour peanut oil over nuts, stirring well to coat. Place in a preheated 350ºF oven and roast for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove just before peanuts are the desired doneness; they will continue to cook as they cool. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle combined dry ingredients over peanuts and stir until well coated. Store in a tightly covered container.
Spiced Peanuts
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons garlic salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
2 cups pecan halves
1 cup Chinese rice noodles
1 cup raisins
Place butter or margarine in a 9×12-inch baking pan; microwave on HIGH until melted. Stir in seasonings and add nuts and noodles; toss gently to coat. Microwave on HIGH for 7 to 8 minutes, stirring after 4 minutes. Add raisins, stir and continue to cook on HIGH for an additional 2 minutes. Let stand until cooled, stirring often. Yield: 6 cups.
Candied Peanuts
1 cup sugar
2 cups raw peanuts
½ cup water
¼ teaspoon red food coloring (if desired)
2 to 3 drops cinnamon oil (if desired)
Mix all ingredients in iron skillet and boil until water is gone. (Stir frequently). Pour on cookie sheet; bake for 15 minutes at 300ºF. Pour out onto foil lined cookie sheet and allow to cool completely.

Vacations over

Last week, I promised you more about our vacation. The trip up and down the mountain on the ski lift was fabulous, and not the least bit frightening. The scenery was as spectacular as all the rest of it had been. Later this same day, we got to go out to the stables and see the beautiful Percheron horses that would be pulling the carriage that we would be going sight-seeing in. They are among the largest horses used for many things. The carriage had three bench seats and we were scattered among them. Everyone had a wonderful time, as our driver, a sweet lady named Nancy drove us around several back roads. We not only got to see some scenery, we also saw several deer and I’m not sure, but I think we saw an elk. When we finished the ride, she allowed the children on board to pat the horses and her assistant helped hold some of them up so they could see better. I know that the little young man who turned four that day is the only one who will remember it. It was a truly wonderful day all around! We went back to the house for the evening and started getting clothes ready to be loaded the next morning, only problem was, it began raining during the night the guys had to load all three vehicles as well as the trailer in the rain. It was not pleasant to say the least, they were all soaked. We all pitched in where we could from inside the house and tried to keep the more mobile of the little boys out of the way, sometimes it worked and sometimes not. Anyway, everything was finally loaded, including all the people and we went down the mountain. We stopped in the town of Angelfire and went into a really nice shop where we could buy souvenirs and such, everyone had a great time in the shop and the lady who was running it was friendly and helpful, and loved our stories about the bears. I got the impression she had heard various stories before and she added a couple of things herself. Soon we were back on the road and in about eight or so hours, we were back in Texas at my granddaughter’s home. We spent the night there and on Sunday, it was back to Devine, and on Monday, it was home for me to face a busy week. It culminated in having part of this same group at my home for a true birthday party for my four year old great grandson. He loved his presents and his birthday cake and ice cream. Thanks again, family, for a wonderful vacation!
This coming Monday is Labor Day. This is the only holiday that has always been on Monday, so therefore it has not fallen to the changes that some of our other holidays have. It is still celebrated on the first Monday of September, just as it has been for many years.
The Knights of Labor in New York City first celebrated Labor Day in 1882 and 1884. Labor Day is now a legal holiday throughout the United States and Canada. It is just about midway between July 4th and Thanksgiving, which is why the first Monday of September, was chosen as this holiday.
Labor Day has always signaled the official end of summer fun. In the past, school always began the Tuesday following Labor Day. This no longer holds true in most school districts, with some having begun classes on the 14th of August. Many families plan their last get-together of the summer, their last trip to the lake or coast, or their last camp out for Labor Day weekend.
In south Texas, we will have lots more weekends with good warm weather (hot, actually), however, we will still be having days of 85ºF to 90ºF well into November, and we won’t be surprised if we can wear shorts at Christmas.
Now, I know I’ve said this unlimited times, but, if you go on any type of outing and take food along, be sure to keep hot foods hot, and cold foods cold. Did you know that you could use your ice chest to keep foods hot? Pour a gallon or so of hot water into the ice chest, close the lid for a few minutes, then drain the water out. I always put several sections of newspaper in the bottom before setting hot casseroles or pots in to keep from damaging the ice chest. I have not tried this with anything other than the cooler type, not the foam; however, they would probably work just as well. Also, if you have casseroles and they are fairly flat on top, you can cover them with foil and then use your cake/cookie cooling racks to add another layer. This works well and I’ve done it in the past, I just forgot about it until I saw how my daughter brought us food this weekend.
Here are a couple of our favorites for picnics/get togethers that are good hot or cold. They’ve both been around for a long time. Enjoy!
Uncle Ben’s Baked Beans
5 to 6 strips thin-sliced bacon
1 can (32-oz) pork and beans
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
Cut bacon cross-wise into 1/4-inch pieces and fry until crisp, remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Pour beans, onion, bell pepper, sugar and barbecue sauce into a 2-quart casserole, stir to mix. Sprinkle bacon on top. Bake at 350ºF until thick enough to suit your taste.
Jo’s Baked Beans
3 cans (15½-oz) size
1 envelope onion soup mix
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
3 or 4 strips thin-sliced bacon
Mix beans, soup mix, brown sugar and mustard together in a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with bacon slices. Bake at 350ºF 30 to 45 minutes or until bacon is cooked and crisp.
Layered Spinach Salad
1 package fresh spinach
1 medium-size head of lettuce
8 green onions, sliced, including tops
1 box (10-oz) frozen peas
1 can chopped water chestnuts (optional)
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup salad dressing
1 cup sour cream
1 envelope Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix
8 slices, cooked crumbled bacon
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (not the kind in the green box)
Wash spinach and lettuce; drain well. Place spinach in large bowl. Shred lettuce and place on top of spinach, top this with frozen peas and water chestnuts (if used). Mix dressing ingredients together and spread over top of salad, all the way to edges of bowl to seal it. Just before serving, top with Parmesan cheese and bacon.

Vacation fun

This past week was a totally awesome week for me! Many, many thanks to my children for taking me on a mountain get-away week. My fun week started the morning of the 12th when I left my home to go to Devine to my family. The trip was uneventful, with some traffic but not so much that I was miserable. When I got to my son’s home, I found out that it was truly a family vacation, as my youngest grandson and his family were going to be with us also. There were a dozen of us in a gorgeous five-bedroom house located over 5,000 feet up a mountain. The trip up and down took about 30 minutes because of all the curves and also the speed limit of 25mph because of the up or down grade. Monday started out as a “Monday” with the power going off just after full daylight. We managed to get breakfast and everyone dressed, etc. Then it was down the mountain for us, some plans had to be changed as the power was out over the whole area! We were pretty flexible and worked around the problems and had a wonderful time together. That evening, back up the mountain, we were planning an evening of games. My granddaughter looked out the window and told her dad that someone was getting into our car. Turned out the “someone” was a bear who managed to get into and out of the car with no problem, after stealing the Sour Patch candy and a bag of cashews. Of course, all of this was caught on the trail camera my son had set up. Talk about exciting! The rest of the week, we went sightseeing, had a picnic, took a walk around a beautiful little lake, went horseback riding (not me!), my son, his wife and the younger couples with a couple of the small children went hiking to the top of the mountain, and had to be brought back by the bus they use up there, the ski lift was not functioning due to the weather. The weather interfered with our plans several times. On Wednesday night, a different car had a bear visit! This time none of us saw it, because it was the middle of the night, but the camera caught him and we saw it the next day on film. And it also began to rain intermittently, and this was absolutely beautiful, you could see the mountains and suddenly there were no mountains to be seen. Then Friday, when it cleared up for a while, we all went to the ski lift, rode it to the top, which was another 5K up in the air and a truly fun adventure, the view was spectacular, as were most of the ones we were seeing. Part of the group were playing Frisbee golf on the course that is marked off, and the rest were waiting for the zip line to open. I watched most of this from a beautiful deck at the very top of the mountain, yep, I’ve said “awesome” so many times that even though I tried to find a different word, I couldn’t. OK, my times up, I have a meeting at 1:00 and I’m not completely dressed. Next week, I’ll tell you more about my trip! Thanks again family for a wonderful week.
Chocolate Coca Cola® Cake
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 sticks (1 cup) butter
3 tablespooons Hershey’s cocoa
1 cup Coca Cola®
½ cup buttermilk*
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1¼ cups miniature marshmallows
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Mix together flour and sugar in large mixing bowl. Heat butter, cocoa and Coca Cola® to boiling and pour over flour mixture. Add buttermilk, eggs, baking soda, vanilla and marshmallows; stir together until combined. (This makes a rather thin batter, and the marshmallows will float to the top. Pour into a 9×13 pan and bake until cake tests done with a toothpick. * You can use whole milk, just pour about 1 to 2 teaspoons lemon juice into your measuring cup and add the milk to the ½ cup line, stir to mix and allow to stand a couple of minutes and it will thicken.
Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly as you make the frosting:
1 stick butter
3 tablespoons Coca Cola®
1 box (1 pound) powdered sugar
1 cup pecans
Place butter, cocoa and Coca Cola in a saucepan and heat just until boiling. Pour over sugar, add nuts and beat until creamy. Spread over cake.
Now, for those of you who can’t eat chocolate for whatever reason, here is a chocolate-free version of the Coca Cola® cake.
Chocolate Free Coca Cola® Cake
1 package yellow, butter flavor golden cake mix* (no pudding added type)
1 package (4-oz size) instant vanilla pudding
1 cup cooking oil
1 cup flake coconut
1 cup pecans
10-oz Coca Cola®
Grease and flour a 9×13 pan OR grease the bottom of the pan and line it with parchment paper and lightly grease the paper. Heat oven to 350ºF.
In the large bowl of an electric mixer combine cake and pudding mix, oil, coconut, pecans Coca Cola® and eggs. Mix well and pour batter into prepared pand. Bake about 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove cake from and cool thoroughly before frosting. *This recipe is from when cake mixes were 18.25 ounces. The new ones are 16.25 ounces, so you can add about 3 Tbs. baking mix (i.e. Bisquick or Pioneer Baking Mix) to the cake mix and this will give you about the same amount as the larger box of cake mix would be.
Cream Cheese Frosting
½ cup butter
1 package (8-oz) cream cheese
1 pound box powdered sugar (sifted)
In small bowl of electric mixer, cream butter and cream cheese together, continue mixing and gradually add powdered sugar, beating until fluffy.

School Time

The long, hot “dog days” of August are with us! It’s still hot and dry and almost no rain, other than the occasional shower. Most gardens in my area have either been plowed under or the wilted plants have been tossed to a compost heap, with the exception of a few okra plants left standing. Fresh tomatoes, squash and beans are just a pleasant memory, and we begin a new season. (Yes, it’s still officially summer, but…)

School is about to begin after what seems a really short summer break, so you need to remember the rules of driving in school zones. If you come up on a school bus and the lights are flashing, STOP! Do not pass a school bus that is loading or unloading students. Those flashing lights and that stop sign are a sure indicator that the bus is doing something important; it is either picking up children before school or delivering them home after school. Always remember, children don’t always look where they are going or what they are doing, so we, as adults, have to be more aware of what is going on, even if it is something unexpected.

Please, do not forget that 20-MPH is the speed limit in and around schools. The school speed limit on Windy Knoll exists from Park St. to just past Fay Ave. It is very well marked. On Hwy. 173, the speed limit is 30 MPH when the lights are flashing.

If you see children riding bicycles, slow down, they don’t always look before crossing streets or coming out from behind parked cars. And, last, but by no means least, always make sure everyone in the car is wearing their seat belt and small children are restrained according to their weight or height.

Here are a couple of light summer-time salads for you to try!

Light Chicken Salad

3 or 4 chicken breasts, cooked and diced

1 large Granny Smith apple, chopped

2/3 cup finely diced celery

1/3 cup sweet pickle relish

1 cup toasted walnuts, chopped

2 to 3 tablespoons sunflower seeds

Enough light mayonnaise to moisten

Cook chicken breasts in water seasoned with salt and a small amount of onion and celery, cool until you can handle the meat, remove skin and bones and cut into small pieces.

Wash the apple, and cut it up, and add to the chicken, add remaining ingredients along with enough light mayonnaise to moisten. Serve with crackers, Melba toast or bread rounds.

Cinco de Mayo Chicken Salad

3 cups cooked, diced chicken,

4 sliced green onions, including tops, ( 2 sliced green onions or 1½ Tbs. chopped sweet onion)

½ cup diced green bell pepper, (¼ C.)

1 avocado diced and tossed with lemon juice to prevent discoloration, (1/2 avocado)

½ cup bottled chili sauce (Hunt’s, DelMonte)*, (¼ C.)

4 tablespoons mild picante sauce, (2 Tbs.)

½ teaspoon dry mustard, (¼ tsp.)

½ teaspoon black pepper, (¼ tsp.)

1 teaspoon chili powder, (½ tsp.)

Combine chicken, onions, bell pepper and avocado in mixing bowl. Combine chili sauce, picante sauce, dry mustard, black pepper and chili powder in a bowl and mix well. Pour over chicken mixture until coated thoroughly. Serve with tortilla chips. Garnish with additional avocados if desired. *This is found in the aisle with the ketchup and the store brand (if they have one) is OK also. (Measurements in ( ) are for ½ recipe).

Tortilla Bites

1 package (8-oz) cream cheese at room temperature

½ cup sour cream

½ cup chopped or sliced black olives (drained well)

1 can diced green chilies, (drained)

1 to 1½ teaspoons grated onion

1 tablespoon Gebhardt® Chili Powder

2 cups shredded cheese (can use a mixture of cheddar, Colby Jack, Mexican blend and pepper Jack, depending on how much heat you like). Most people just use cheddar or half cheddar and half pepper Jack.

6 to 8 flour tortillas*

Beat cream cheese until smooth, and blend in sour cream until combined, beat in the olives, chilies, onion and chili powder and mix well. Beat in the cheese until well mixed. Spread the mixture on flour tortillas, to the edge at the top and sides and about ¾ of the way to the bottom. Roll up, place on a plate, seam side town and finish rolling remaining tortillas. Cover and chill thoroughly, then cut crosswise into slices about ½ to ¾-inches thick. (Taste the mixture and if you feel you need a little more ‘bite’ add a couple splashes of Tabasco® or a finely diced fresh jalapeno pepper, before spreading on the tortillas). *How many you use depends on how thickly you spread the mixture!

For a slightly different version, leave out the green chilies, olives and onion and substitute ½ to ¾ cup French onion dip for the sour cream.

Lets have some sugar-free desserts

OK, folks, we’re back to the “same-old, same old”, there isn’t a measurable amount of rain, just a couple of quick showers today. I was working at our church picnic and realized some folks were coming in with their shirts wet….yep, it rained a little. When I came to Devine a couple of weeks ago, all you could see was dry land and still more dry land, the only green things around were several cotton fields that are irrigated, and not too many of those. The prickly pear cactus have red tunas (pear apples?), on them, but the cactus themselves are as flat as they can be and obviously need water.
The picnic was great, I worked in the “country store”, which is really more of a jumble sale than anything else, we had all sorts of stuff, as well as our 100 bags of the noodles we made a couple of weeks ago, they all sold before 1:00 p.m. The food was good, I just still have a problem with picnic stew, sausage, sauerkraut, seasoned green beans and potatoes, rather than BBQ, pinto beans and potato salad! (Please italicize: Prunus persica and also P. Persica. My computer won’t let me do that!)/
Have you been noticing nectarines in the produce section of the grocery store? What do they look like to you? Do you know what they are? Since I had been noticing them in the store and purchased them a couple of times, I decided to find out what they really were. Someone had told me they were a peach/plum combination, but I never knew for sure. They taste pretty much like a peach as far as I am concerned! The following is what I was able to find on the Internet. After checking out several sites that all gave me pretty much the same information, I sort of combined several articles to get this article.
Basically, according to what I was able to find, a nectarine is a peach without fuzz! They are not a combination of a peach and a plum as some folks think. Nectarines have juicy, peach colored flesh and the seed is very similar to that of a peach but without the “fuzzy” complexion. You can tell peaches and nectarines are similar because peaches are of the genus Prunus persica and nectarines are P. persica. They most probably originated in China over 2,000 years ago and were cultivated in ancient Persia, Greece and Rome. The word “nectarine” means sweet, as nectar, and this is probably the obvious origin of the name.
Nectarines can be eaten out of hand just as you would a peach, they can be cut up and used in fruit salad, cooked, dried or however you want to serve them. According to one of the sources, they are delicious in ice cream and sorbet, as well as cakes and pies. There are about ten varieties that are widely grown for market. If you purchase nectarines, look for fruit that is firm but not hard, with a bright deep coloring. Avoid fruit with wrinkled skin or spots that could show evidence of decay. Hard nectarines will ripen at room temperature, to speed the process, place them in a bag with an unripe banana.
To peel them, cut an X in the bottom end and dip the fruit in boiling water, just as you would a peach or a tomato. Their smooth skin is edible, but most folks would probably prefer to peel them.
I know the following desserts have absolutely nothing to do with nectarines, but since I don’t have any nectarine recipes in my files, I decided to give you something else instead and just hope you will enjoy all of them.
This recipe was in my files and since someone just asked about diabetic recipes and said she was craving sweets, hopefully it will help her a little bit.
Diabetics Delight
1 box yellow cake mix (now that sugar-free cake mixes are available, you might consider trying one in this recipe)
12 oz. diet soda (Sprite Zero® or your choice)
1 can crushed pineapple (16-oz size) (divided use)
1 large tub Cool Whip®, sugar free
1 large box of sugar-free vanilla instant pudding
Empty cake mix into large bowl, add diet soda and mix well. Then add ½ can of crushed pineapple and stir well. Pour into 9×12 pan that you have lightly sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake as directed on package. While the cake is baking, mix the Cool Whip®, the remaining crushed pineapple and the pudding together and stir well. Chill thoroughly. When the cake has finished baking and has cooled, spread the Cool Whip® mixture over the top. Cut into squares to serve. Makes 12 to 15 servings.
Recently, for a get-together here in Yoakum, I served my version of a cake that was served at our bunco in Devine a sometime ago. It was a beautiful and colorful cake of three layers, each one with a different flavor of gelatin in the batter and was really delicious. The original recipe called for three boxes of white cake mix, but since I wanted a smaller cake, I used only two boxes, and rather than white cake mix, I used yellow because I felt the color would be more intense, and, since there are several diabetics in my group, I wanted to make it as sugar free as possible so they could enjoy it also
The rest of the story is that this week, when we went to the venue where we have our meeting, the clerk asked me who had made the dessert a couple of weeks before, since I had shared with the staff. After admitting I had made the dessert, she told me it was absolutely wonderful, which of course made me feel pretty good! When I told her it was almost totally sugar free, she didn’t want to believe me at all and kept telling me “He is not going to believe this at all”, meaning the owner of the venue. So, here is the recipe for y’all to try.
Joyce’s Fruity Jell-o® Cake
(Read all instructions before beginning to make cakes)
2 boxes Pillsbury®, sugar free yellow cake mix (16-oz boxes) (I think 15.25 is now standard and that is fine.
Ingredients as required for making both cakes
1 small box, sugar free lime-flavored gelatin
1 small box, sugar free lemon-flavored gelatin
1 small box, sugar free orange flavored gelatin
food coloring (if desired)
flavoring (if desired)
1 carton (8-oz) sugar free whipped topping, thawed
1 small box, sugar free instant vanilla pudding
¾ cup shredded coconut
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
If you have three 9×13 pans, prepare them by greasing and flouring each one. If not, you will have to bake each layer separately. (Leave the unused dough in the bowls in the fridge as the previous one bakes).
Prepare cakes according to package directions, one at a time. Mix dough together in the mixer bowl and then divide into three equal portions, placing two in medium sized bowls and the last one back in your mixing bowl. Add a box of gelatin to each portion and stir well to mix it in. If you want a more intense yellow or green, add a little food coloring, also, if you have orange and lemon extract, it is fine to stir it in also. Pour one batch of batter into the prepared pan and bake according to directions on the box. Since it is a smaller portion of dough, it will bake in about 20 to 25 minutes, rather than the 30 to 35 listed on the box. Remove cake from pan and allow each layer to cool completely.
Mix together the whipped topping and the vanilla pudding, and stir in the coconut.
Use a cookie sheet (covered with foil if desired), and place one cooled layer on it, top with 1/3 of the frosting mix, add another cake layer, top with 1/3 of the frosting, add the third layer and top with the remaining frosting. It does not matter in which order you layer the cakes. Trim off the edges so you can see the beautiful layers and it is ready to serve. Store in the fridge. It will keep for several days in the fridge and the addition of the pudding to the whipped topping seems to stabilize it and keep it from disappearing.

Leftovers…. made over!

This past week was a busy one…aren’t they usually? Monday evening, I was invited to a bunco club my sister belongs to, as they needed a substitute. It was a lot of fun as I knew almost everyone there, however, even though I didn’t win, the lady had gifts for all of us and I got a really awesome wallet! I need a new one but haven’t been able to find the type I wanted, so this is great for me. Tuesday was my afternoon for duty in the hospital gift shop. It wasn’t very busy, but I did have a few sales, (at least half of them were things I bought), but sales are sales. Wednesday morning, I headed to Devine and had an awesome time with my little great-grandsons and their new baby sister who now live in that area. We visited, had lunch and read Pete the Cat books. They loved it and I enjoyed myself immensely. That afternoon, I went to the next town, where my daughter was with two of her granddaughters and had some more fun interacting with them, and that evening, we went to bunco. Yep, got lucky, all three of us family members won prizes. Thursday my daughter and I went back to visit a little more with the two great-granddaughters and then on to lunch with my son in Hondo. I came home on Friday, and sort of relaxed that afternoon and evening; and then on Saturday, helped make noodles at church that will be sold at our picnic that is coming up soon. There were about 18 to 20 of us working at various stations, as there are several steps, and we used a case of eggs as well as another ten or twelve dozen, and about 90 to 100 pounds of flour. Now, it’s Saturday evening and quiet time for me. The ‘busy’ week was wonderful, and I enjoyed every minute of it, especially the time I got to spend with the great-grandchildren.
One night when my company was with me, we had hamburgers. I had a package of the pre-made patties in the freezer and we cooked them, then, the leftovers went into the fridge and the next meal we made something else, as we are prone to do. A couple of days later at lunch, I decided to do something a little different with the patties; they had been seasoned lightly as we have several members of the family who go very easy on the salt, and these patties don’t always taste great reheated, so, I cut them into pieces and following the directions for a pepper steak that is served with noodles instead of rice, used them to make the dish. Everyone said it was good and that I had a winner. If desired, you can use the pre-cooked frozen patties and prepare everything the same way. This is delicious also.
Another way to use the patties is make them into Salisbury Steak. Leave them whole, put a little oil into a skillet and slice a medium sized onion into the oil. Cook until the onion is transparent and then using a package of Pioneer® Brown Gravy mix, follow the directions on the package and make the gravy in the pan with the onions. When it has thickened, add the patties, turning them to coat with the gravy. Heat them over medium heat and when they are heated through, stir in a well-drained can of sliced mushrooms. This is served over either cooked rice or mashed potatoes and is delicious as well as being quick and easy to do.
Following is the recipe for the pepper steak that is served with noodles.
Pepper Steak with Cheesey Noodles
2 to 3 Tbs. cooking oil
6 pre-cooked hamburger patties cut into 6-pieces each
1/2 cup sliced onion
2 medium green bell peppers cut into julienne strips
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 can tomatoes (16-oz) whole tomatoes, broken or mashed up
1 beef bouillon cube
1 Tbs. cornstarch
2 Tbs. water
2 Tbs. soy sauce
1 to 2 teaspoons sugar
3 cups cooked, wide egg noodles
1 cup shredded cheese (your choice, American, Cheddar or Colby Jack)
Cut each patty into 6 pieces; set aside. Heat oil in a large skillet and add peppers, onion and garlic; cook and stir for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the meat and cook for 2 to 3 minutes; add the tomatoes and bouillon cube; simmer, covered for 5 to 10 minutes. Mix together cornstarch, water, soy sauce and sugar; add to meat mixture, stirring constantly until thickened. Cook an additional 5 to 6 minutes. Cook noodles according to package directions; drain well and stir in the cheese until melted. Serve the meat mixture over the hot noodles.
The following cookies are fun to make with children or grandchildren, or, in my case, great-grandchildren, they really enjoy helping roll these. The first time we made them, we used chocolate fudge cake mix and stirred in about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of mini-chocolate chips.
1 box cake mix (any flavor you like)
1/2 of an 8-ounce carton whipped topping (thawed)
1 egg
Powdered sugar to roll the cookies in.
(No amount was given, but you can start with a 1 cup or 1½ cups).
Break egg into a bowl and beat with a fork to mix it up. Using a knife or a rubber spatula, divide the carton of whipped topping in half and dump into the bowl with the egg. Add the box of dry cake mix and stir to combine, this will be a very stiff dough; roll into balls the size of (unshelled) walnuts. Then roll the balls in the powdered sugar and place on ungreased cookie sheets and bake at 350ºF until done, about 12 to 15 minutes. Since I made these the first time, I’ve learned to line my cookie sheets with parchment paper or foil and when the cookies are done, I just pull the liner off the cookie sheets onto cooling racks. As I mentioned, about 1/2 to 3/4 cups of mini-chocolate chips works well with chocolate cake mix. If you use lemon cake mix, add about 1 teaspoon of lemon extract to the eggs and follow the directions. Chopped nuts can be added if desired, as you’re mixing the dough.

Some notes about ice!

Well, I could use last week’s column for this week, because not much has changed! The weather is still stiflingly hot, the highs for the day are usually 103ºF to 104º and this is at 3:00 and 4:00 in the afternoon. It’s Saturday, and twice today the sky has clouded over, the wind has picked up and it looked as if we could get some rain…not a drop so far.
My week was quiet, compared to what it has been lately. I only worked the one day in the gift shop and wasn’t too busy, but I did have a pretty good day. My little four-legged friend is visiting for a few days, he always wants either in or out! I am getting plenty of exercise walking back and forth to the doors.
This week, I’ve found out I’m going to be great grandma for the 18th time, and that was just one of the high points of the week. The other on is that I’m going to get to go on a vacation with part of my family and go to NM! I haven’t been in that area in many years and am really looking forward to the trip.
This morning, a group of us that attend the country church, got together and cleaned the pavilion as we will be having breakfast there tomorrow morning after church. We do this on a monthly basis, but this month is special as it is in honor of the saint the church is named after; “St. Ann”, the mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Prior to the pandemic, we usually had Mass in the afternoon and then served chili dogs or some such thing. Now, we will be doing breakfast, and serving various and sundry casseroles, kolaches, fruit, cake, and other brunch foods. I made a ‘Southern Pecan Praline Cake’ for our meeting last week, and it went over well enough that the president of our group requested that I bring it! Luckily, it’s a pretty simple cake to make. Also, I’ll be making a casserole using shredded hash browns as a base with a really delicious sausage sauce over it, as well as some mini-cinnamon rolls. If it turns out as usual, we’ll have enough food for a small army, hope lots of folks decide to come to early Mass!
According to World Book Encyclopedia, the tiniest snowflake or particle of frost imaginable weighs less than a tiny bird’s feather.
The weight of a glacier is in the billions of pounds.
Glaciers, snowflakes, frost and hail stones are all ice and are formed the same way when the temperature of water and moisture in the air falls below 32ºF, or 0ºC.
Salt, sugar, and alcohol added to water lower the temperature needed to freeze it. This is why alcohol is used in anti-freeze to keep car radiators from freezing.
When frozen, the volume of the water increases by 1/11. This is why ice floats in water and also why jars of liquid in the freezer or water pipes burst when frozen.
Five to ten million dollars of ice is sold in the United States annually.
Most of this ice is made in ice plants where pure water is frozen in vats in blocks weighing 300 to 500 pounds.
In some areas of Canada and the northern parts of the United States, ‘natural ice’ is cut from rivers and lakes and stored in ice houses which are made especially for this purpose.
In or around 1800, ice was first shipped from New York City to Charleston, S.C., and during this time clipper ships carried it to many parts of the world including the West Indies.
The first commercially successful ice making machine was used in Florida in 1851.
An ‘artificial ice’ plant was first set up in New Orleans in 1868, and during this same year, refrigerated railroad cars were built; which meant that more areas of the country could have fresh produce and fresh meat.
I’ve given you various ice cream recipes over time, so I’m not including them today, (other than the one for Big Red Ice Cream) but wanted to remind you how wonderful an old-fashioned Root Beer Float would taste on these hot days, also, we’ve also used Big Red to make the same type of float…have fun, stay cool.
Root Beer Float
1½ cups vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt
1½ cups cold root beer
Put two scoops of ice cream in a tall fountain glass and pour in enough cold root beer to cover. Add two more scoops and top again with root beer. Serve with a spoon and straw.
Do you remember the days of going to A&W drive in on Nogalitos St. in San Antonio, and having root beer floats served in frosted mugs? How about the Black Cow on Broadway near Pearl Brewery? Their root beer float was called “Black Cow”, and was also served in a frosted mug. Weren’t those days fun? You can make a Big Read Float this same way, using red soda in place of the root beer! It is delicious.
In case you want to try something different, here is a recipe for Big Red Ice Cream.
Big Red Ice Cream
4 eggs
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can (large) evaporated milk
1 cup granulated sugar
1 small box (cook type) vanilla pudding mix
1 bottle (2-liter) Big Red soda
¼ teaspoon salt
Mix together eggs, condensed milk and evaporated milk. Stir in sugar and pudding mix and mix well. Add Big Red soda and stir just until mixed. Pour into freezer container and churn until frozen.
This is a fun and slightly different cake to make, my friends and family have always enjoyed it.
Earthquake Cake (aka-German Chocolate Up-side Down Cake)
(Read all instructions before beginning).
1 box German Chocolate cake mix, (along with ingredients to make according to directions)
1 cup coconut
1 cup chopped pecans
4 cups powdered sugar
1 block cream cheese (8-oz)
1 stick butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Lightly grease the bottom only of a 9×13 baking pan. Sprinkle pecans and coconut over pan. Mix German chocolate cake according to package directions and pour over coconut and pecans. With mixer, mix together powdered sugar, cream cheese and butter and vanilla. Drop by spoonsful over cake mix. Bake at 350ºF for 30 minutes.