Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Ranger Cookies

Sometimes I wonder a bit at the ingredients used back in the day. Ranger Cookies are one of the recipes that has a somewhat unusual ingredient – Wheaties cereal. I know recipes that use oatmeal, Rice Krispies, and Special K cereals, but I have to say that I’ve never seen another recipe with Wheaties in it. Again – I should know better than to question Grandma’s recipes.

Ranger cookies

This is one of the REALLY old ones – written in fountain pen. There is neither a baking temperature or baking time on this one. These are things you are just supposed to know. Oh yeah – just bake til done! Ha!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Ranger Cookies

Cream 1 cup butter, 1 cup white sugar, and 1 cup brown sugar.

Blend in 2 well beaten eggs.

Sift together 2 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Add to creamed mixture.

Add 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Mix in 2 cups oatmeal (not instant), 2 cups Wheaties, and 1 cup coconut.

Drop by spoonfuls on cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 min.

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I found this little white milk glass dish at Goodwill for $.50!!!!!!!!!!

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Ranger Cookies are obviously good for you with all that fortified cereal in them. Good nutrition is so important! Enjoy!

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Pressed Sandwich

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Our daughters are moving into an apartment together. We all helped our oldest daughter move in over the weekend. The other daughter doesn’t have to be out of her current apartment until August 31st so will move things over the next few weeks. When my husband and I moved into our first and current house, it was our 10th move in 7 years, so we can’t complain too much about having to help our kids move  – we had a lot of help with our moves too. I kept trying to talk our son into the fact that it was a great workout but I’m not sure that worked too well after 10 truckloads of “workout”. So part of the bribe to keep everyone going was a family favorite in our house – a Pressed Sandwich for lunch. Originally, I think I saw a recipe for this in a Martha Stewart Living magazine years ago.My sandwich is a lot simpler and uses things I have around at the moment.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Pressed Sandwich

Cut open horizontally one whole unsliced round bread loaf (I used sourdough as it was the only kind I could find, and it wasn’t round – more like square.)

Pull out some bread on top and bottom to make more of a “pocket” to hold the fillings

Spread bottom with pesto (I used some I had made and had in the freezer – recipe for that to come in a later post.)

Layer:

Salami

Smoked provolone cheese slices

Roasted red peppers, drained

Smoked deli turkey

Cheddar cheese slices

Basil leaves (I happen to have pots of herbs growing outside our deck door so it was handy.)

Put the top of bread on and wrap in plastic wrap. Put in refrigerator and weigh down with something heavy I used a cast iron fry pan with some cans in it. You can use anything heavy – even a brick would work. Let it sit overnight and the next day it’s ready to serve. We cut it in wedges but you could do thick slices, too. This is one of those things where you can experiment and use any deli meat or cheese slices, roasted vegetables, other dressings such as mayonnaise or vinaigrette. Anything goes!

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My pesto out of the freezer. I put it in ice cube trays and then transfer them to a plastic bag for storage.

I drained the bottled the roasted red peppers on a paper towel. You can also roast your own if you have time.

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Sometimes its not so easy to find a round unsliced loaf. This one was more square.

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This is after the layering of pesto, salami, smoked provolone cheese, and roasted red peppers.

Then I added the deli turkey, cheddar cheese slices, and basil leaves.

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Wrapping is a two man operation. Try and get some help – one person to press the sandwich down and one to wrap in plastic wrap.

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So pretty when you cut it open!

A “mover’s lunch”! I hope these sisters love living together and stay in this apartment for a VERY long time. These “workouts” get tougher every time!

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Chair Cushion Re-do

We’ve had our deck chairs for a few years now and the cushions were showing their wear. They were VERY faded and gunky. Yes – I know you’re not supposed to leave the cushions outside all the time. We just don’t have room to do that – and it’s nice to have them out there ready when you are.

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I don’t have a “before” picture of the chair cushions but this is a matching lounge chair cushion that also needs recovering. The chair cushions were the same fabric but were actually in WORSE shape.

Off to the fabric store for new outdoor fabric to cover the cushions. That stuff is not cheap – $19.00/yard!

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My son helped me pick out this fabric. I needed 4 yards of fabric to cover the two cushions at $19.99/yard  They were having a sale at 50% off so we’re down to  $9.99/yard. Luckily I had another 25% off your total purchase coupon and that brought it down to $7.50/yard. After buying a spool of outdoor thread that won’t rot in the sun and rain, the total cost to cover the two chair cushions was about $30. No wonder new cushions are so expensive!!!

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They turned out great, look much better and are CLEAN. I’m inspired to finish the rest of our cushions – lounge chairs and chairs around the table. I’ll just add them to the list of recovering projects.

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Have a great weekend, everybody and thanks for reading this first week of Plenty Sweet Life!!!

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Chocolate Chip Cake

I can’t do the first week of posts without doing something chocolate – right mom? Here’s where it all began – my first experience with both baking and tasting! It looks like it’s something chocolate, by the way. Did I cut my own hair?

me baking

The recipe for today is Chocolate Chip Cake even though it should have something in the title that says “dates”. There are more dates in this cake than anything. The instructions give no size for a pan to put it in and when I saw how much batter there was, I decided to use a 9 x 9″ square pan and it worked fine.

This is another one of those “very good” recipes and it’s very well used, as you can see by the splatters all over the card. Grandma must have baked this cake a lot.

Choc chip cake

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Chocolate Chip Cake

First: Put 1 package of chopped dates, put in a bowl.

Pour 1 teaspoon baking soda over top of dates and add 1 cup of hot water over top of this.

Let cool.

Second: Cream 1 cup butter and 1 cup sugar. Beat in 2 whole eggs.

Mix second with first. Then add 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, 2 Tablespoons cocoa, and 1 teaspoon salt.

Pour into 9 x 9″ pan.

Over this put 1/2 cup walnuts and 1 cup chocolate chips.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 min.

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This is the dates, baking soda, and hot water.

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Next is what it will look like when you add the second part to the first part. It looks weird, I know, but it will come together when you add the dry ingredients.

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Before baking. (Where I also learned to be careful that the background of the photo doesn’t look just like the item being photographed – camouflage.)

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After baking.

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I’ll be using this recipe a lot in the future – very quick and easy to make.

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Frozen Lemon Pie

Today’s recipe sounded good last week when the weather was so hot here. It looks like it was one that came from Grandma’s sister, who would have celebrated her 102nd birthday on the same day as Grandma would have celebrated her 100th birthday. Note that Grandma wrote “V Good” in the upper right corner of the recipe card. That’s a big indicator that yes, this will be a great recipe to try.

Frozen Lemon Pie 1

Frozen Lemon Pie 2

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Frozen Lemon Pie

3 1/2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs

1 stick of butter

Mix together and put in bottom of 9 x 13″ cake pan and one pie plate.

Separate 6 eggs (use pasteurized if you’re worried about problems with this).

Beat 6 egg yolks.

Add one large can frozen lemonade concentrate that has been thawed.

Add 2 cans of sweetened condensed milk.

Beat until light and fluffy.

Add one pint of whipped cream.

Pour over cracker crumbs.

Beat egg whites with 1/2 cup sugar to make meringue.

Put on top of lemon mixture.

Brown under broiler.

Put in freezer and take out several minutes before serving.

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She wasn’t kidding when she wrote that it burns easily!!! This was under the broiler for just over a minute and it did get a bit dark.

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I was a bit concerned that the meringue wouldn’t be so great coming out of the freezer.

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It was perfect. Never question Grandma’s recipe. She wrote “V Good” and she was right!

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First Garden Harvest of the Season!

The garden was so late getting planted this year because of all of the rain we had in the spring. I was a bit worried that it wouldn’t catch up. I think it’s catching up. Here is what it looked like about 2 weeks ago.

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It has exploded since then. Here’s what it looks like today.

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On Sunday night we finally picked our first harvest of green beans, cherry tomatoes, one jalapeno and an onion.

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We’ve already picked more green beans and had them for dinner last night. So good.

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The name of the cherry tomatoes is Sweet 100 and I have them in the pot between the two beds.I highly recommend  . My husband calls them candy. Delicious.

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First Blog Post and Prune Cake!

Today is the day! I’m launching Plenty Sweet Life! The idea came when my grandma passed away and we were left with her HUGE stack of recipes collected over her 89 years of church functions, family dinners and entertaining friends. I’ve talked about doing a blog for awhile and as my daughter and I were looking through the recipes one day, we had an “aha” moment when we came across a recipe for her amazing Rhubarb Pie and read where she had cut back on the amount of sugar for the filling, declaring the new amount of sugar “plenty sweet”. That’s it – the name for the blog!!

plenty sweet original

The way these recipes are worded is so cute – I have to share that part with you as well. So here I go – off and running. The launch today is in honor of what would have been her 100th birthday last Saturday, July 20th. She was a special person to our whole family and we all miss her terribly. I loved her VERY much. She was a great influence in my life.

baby me and g and g j - Copy

I’ll be sharing her recipes as well as those from other family members, some crafts, some DIY projects and some other surprises along the way. My daughters will be helping from time to time and my son is helping me with the photography until I learn more.

So to honor Grandma, the birthday girl, what better way to start than with a cake. It had to be Prune Cake. My kids have laughed at that recipe over the years so I’ve never made it but I do remember having it at family functions years ago. As my mom said, “Oh, I LOVE that cake!” Here is the original recipe.

Prune Cake

Notice the changes up the left side to double the recipe. When I asked my mom about it, she said, “They didn’t do small pans in those days. It would have been a full cake pan.” So I used the double amounts and it made a full 9 x 13″ cake pan.  There is no time for baking written on the card so I baked it 45 min. As it says on so many of these recipes – bake til done!! Ha!

Here is the actual recipe as I made it:

Prune Cake

2 cups sugar

1 cup butter

4 egg yolks

1 cup prune juice mixed with 2 teaspoons baking soda

1 cup prunes, cut fine (they’re not called prunes anymore – they are now dried plums)

1/2 cup milk

3 1/2 cups flour

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 teaspoon salt

Mix in order given. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 min.

I also remembered that it was made with fluffy white frosting so I used the recipe for Seven-Minute Frosting in the Fanny Farmer Cookbook. Here is that recipe:

Seven-Minute Frosting

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 egg whites

1/4 cup water

2 teaspoons vanilla

Mix sugar, cream of tartar, salt, egg whites, and water in a pot or bowl over simmering water. Beat steadily over low heat with a rotary or electric hand beater until the frosting stands in peaks, about 5-7 minutes, no more. Remove from the heat and continue to beat until thick enough to spread. Add the vanilla before spreading.

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I baked the cake in Grandma’s cake pan, too!

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And it had to include a cup of coffee!

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Oh yum! Smelled amazing while baking, too! Yes. Delicious.

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This is a lovely gift from my aunt and uncle in honor of Grandma’s 100th birthday that really jumpstarted this whole thing. I’ll tell the story of that another time. Happy Birthday, Grandma!

So there you are. First post – check!

Thanks for reading!

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