Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Strawberry Pie (Berry Glaze)

The recipe for today is really good. I think I must say that almost every day. But this one really is good. This is the time of year when berries are plentiful and oh so pretty. Strawberries just happen to be the berry I used in this pie. You could use any berries – even a mixture of berries in this pie. Maybe we should try raspberries next. That’s what my husband thinks we should do. I agree.

Berry Glaze

Note the “V Good” connotation here – and she ain’t kiddin’!!!!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Strawberry Pie (Berry Glaze – pie or pudding)

Mix together in a saucepan:

1 12 ounce can 7-UP soda

1 cup white sugar

4 Tablespoons cornstarch (5 T. if you are adding extra berries)

Cook until thick.

Add 3 ounce box of Strawberry Jell-O (or raspberry).

Dissolve well.

Cool.

Add berries (at least a quart).

It says it makes 2 pies but I only got 1 – I might have used a bigger pie plate.

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I used the same graham cracker crust recipe I used for Pumpkin Cream Cheese Pie.

You can find it here.

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The mixture does get really thick once it boils.

Adding the Strawberry Jell-O makes it a pretty color.

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Strawberry Pie just screams summer!!!

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This is an easy pie to make.

Give it a try.

Say “hello” to summer!

 

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Rhubarb Jam

I love spring. Spring is even more wonderful than usual this year because of the long winter we’ve had. It’s the time for green grass, for flowers like lilacs and lily of the valley, and spring is the time for things like prom. This picture is of my mom and dad before their senior prom in 1958. Don’t they look great?!! This is the only time I’ve seen my dad wearing a white coat – he was a jeans and flannel kind of guy. My mom is looking beautiful in that pink formal and crinolines. Check out the ’56 Ford sitting behind them (I know there are many stories about that car and some possible racing). I love this picture!

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Spring is also, as we well know, the time for rhubarb. I’ve been trying to share one recipe per week of this wonderful fruit/vegetable. Today’s recipe for Rhubarb Jam is an old family favorite. We have so much rhubarb this time of year and this jam is so good. I love it on toast. I love it on muffins. I love it on ice cream. You can put this anywhere because it’s just that delicious. It’s the easiest jam you could possibly make and the fact that you can keep it in the refrigerator is another plus. It maybe should be called Rhubarb Refrigerator Jam. We do have this written down but I found this recipe in the old church cookbook my mom gave me. This is the one we’ve used.

rhubarb jam

Man, I love this jam.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Rhubarb Jam

Mix together:

5 cups rhubarb, diced

3 cups white sugar

Let stand overnight (I let it stand on my kitchen counter but you could put it in the refrigerator if you feel better – it may not get as juicy).

Cook 20 minutes slowly – until it comes to a boil.

Add one 3 ounce box of Strawberry Jello.

Stir until dissolved.

Pour into sterilized jars with lids.

Store in refrigerator.

I would say it keeps for a month or two, but I have had it last for a year.

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I use old jars as long as they’re clean and have a screw on lid – they’re good for gift giving.

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This jam is great with butter on toast or English muffins – or even plain!

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What a fabulous way to use up more of your abundance of rhubarb.

This recipe is so easy and so good – it’s a bit of springtime in your mouth!

Give it a try!

 

 

 

 

 

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Baked Beans

This weekend is the official start of summer. That means we’re all going to have the usual festivities to both attend and give: picnics, parties, celebrations of all kinds. Some of us might even be lucky enough to be “going to the lake”. This picture is of one certain trip to Big Pine Lake that Grandma and Grandpa took the family on when my mom and my uncle were little. Mom’s grandma and grandpa, aunts, uncles, and cousins all went on this trip and it was a big deal. She still talks about it today. When taking part in these festivities, there is one thing that is absolutely essential – FOOD!

Big Pine Lake

There are few things as essential to the recipes you need in your back pocket as Baked Beans. They’re one of the mandatory summer food items that show up at just about every celebration. Yes – it’s easy to open up a can and doctor them up, but this recipe is so easy you may never open a can again. This recipe comes from another one of Grandma’s sisters. I think it’s the recipe Grandma used because I remember she baked hers in the oven, and that’s how these are done.

Baked Beans

I have to admit that I had never done baked beans from scratch before, but I loved the ones that Grandma used to make and so I was all for giving it a try.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Baked Beans

Soak 2 cups of dried navy beans overnight (I didn’t get going soon enough so I did a quick method that I found here).

Drain.

Cover beans with water and cook until tender (this took me about a half hour or so).

Add:

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

3 Tablespoons molasses

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1 medium onion, diced

2 Tablespoons ketsup

1/3 pound salt pork or bacon, diced (I used bacon)

Boil 1/2 hour more.

Put beans in casserole (I also covered them with foil) and bake at 300-325 degrees for 4 hours.

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This is after mixing everything in but before boiling for 1/2 hour.

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After boiling for 1/2 hour, things are starting to look mighty good.

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When the baking time is done, the bacon is crispy and the beans have plumped up and the whole thing has almost caramelized.

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I have to say these are some of the best baked beans I’ve ever had.

This is the way they should be done.

Give this one a try – you’ll be glad to have these at your next summer celebration!

 

 

 

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Spiced Tea

We’re finally having warm weather here in Minnesota, so now’s the time to start making those great summer recipes. Today’s recipe is one for Spiced Tea that I found in an old church cookbook that my mom gave me. Those church cookbooks have the BEST recipes – all tried and true. This iced tea is so refreshing that I have already tagged it as one of my new favorite summer drinks. It’s another very easy one to make and you all need to give it a try.

Spiced Tea

It’s great how so few ingredients can make something so tasty.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Spiced Tea

3 tea bags of your choice (you could use powdered or leaf tea, too)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 cup sugar (I would try any sweetener you want: stevia, etc.)

2-3 lemons, juice only

Steep the tea in 1 cup of boiling water for 5 minutes.

Add extracts, sugar, and juice.

Combine with 2 quarts of cold water.

Serve cold.

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I like having only 1 cup of hot water to cool down instead of steeping a whole pitcher of tea.

What a great idea!

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You just have to dress it up and make it fancy with a sprig of mint, a slice of lemon, and the obligatory red striped straw.

So pretty!

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The lemon in this tea is so refreshing and the extracts make it so tasty.

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Get out those old church cookbooks and start trying some of those great old recipes.

This really is my new favorite!

Give it a try!

 

 

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Rhubarb Torte

Both of my grandmas grew rhubarb in their gardens. They would bring out their huge array of pie, dessert, muffin, and jam recipes in the spring. My grandpas both like it cooked with a little sugar to make “sauce” but didn’t mind the other recipes, either, I’m sure. As kids, we would eat it raw, pulling those big red stalks out of the ground with a “pop”. The technique was to lick the end of it, dip it in a cup of sugar and take a bite! Yikes! It was SO sour and hard to bite or chew! We’d end up with a frayed end of rhubarb that was really just a vehicle for licking off more sugar with the essence of rhubarb on it. And don’t forget to stop before you hit the leaf end – it’s poisonous, you know. 🙂 You can find out more about rhubarb, how to grow it, and what parts of it to eat or not eat, at Rhubarb- Central.com here. Rhubarb is so pretty and is the definite harbinger of spring.

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Those of us who grow rhubarb start to have an overabundance of it right now. This recipe uses some of it in a most delightful way. Wow – this Rhubarb Torte is good. It tastes a lot like rhubarb pie, but it’s easier to make.

Rhubarb Torte

Rhubarb Torte 2

I can just never get enough rhubarb.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Rhubarb Torte

Mix together:

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 Tablespoons white sugar

1/2 cup butter, softened

Put into 9″ x 13″ pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1/2 hour.

Then mix together:

5 cups rhubarb, chopped

2 cups white sugar

4 or 5 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

6 egg yolks

1 cup heavy cream (I used Half-n-Half)

Pour on hot crust and bake another 60 minutes at 350 degrees.

Beat:

6 egg whites

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

6 Tablespoons white sugar

Bake another 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

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This is a three-step process: crust, filling, meringue.

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The meringue puffs up at first but will deflate in a few minutes.

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This is so pretty, so easy, so good!!

I love rhubarb!

 

 

 

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Chocolate Pudding

The recipe for today comes from Grandma’s sister and it looks like a really old one.

This Chocolate Pudding really didn’t take much longer than it does to make the pudding from a box, with just a few ingredients and none of the extra chemicals.

But there are no cooking instructions and no measurements for the butter and vanilla.

We should just know this stuff by now.

Chocolate Pudding

Again – so quick, so good, so easy.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Chocolate Pudding

Mix in a large saucepan:

2 cups white sugar

6 Tablespoons cocoa

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Add:

4 cups milk (maybe they used whole milk back in the day but I used skim)

Whisk it all together and then use a wooden spoon to continuously stir until the mixture boils.

Let it boil for 1 minute until it thickens.

Remove from heat and add 2 Tablespoons butter and 1 Tablespoon vanilla.

Stir and cool a bit.

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I used a whisk to mix the dry ingredients together and then when adding the milk to prevent lumping.

Bring this to a boil over medium heat – watch out for scorching.

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The pudding was so thick, creamy, and cocoa-y when done cooking.

You can eat is warm (that’s the way I like it) or place plastic wrap right on top of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming.

If you like the skin that forms on top – go for it.

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It might make a nice chocolate pie, too.

This recipe makes quite a big batch – I got 8 1/2 cup servings.

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It feeds a crowd, and grandma’s family would have qualified as a crowd – there were 8 kids!

This is definitely an old-fashioned dessert that’s really easy to make.

Topped with whipped cream and some chocolate shavings – it’s delicious.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Easy Chicken and Rice

The recipe for today is from my other Grandma.

My mom was working when I was little and Grandma was my babysitter.

We lived in an apartment right next door to Grandma and Gramp so it was pretty handy.

She also taught me about crafts – quilting, knitting, crocheting, embroidery.

We did a lot of projects together.

I’m not sure what I’m trying to do in this photo, but I still make that face today!!

Grandma D and me

So funny – again – what’s with those bangs?!!!!!

I’ve had this recipe for years and never made it – so it’s about time.

This Easy Chicken and Rice IS really easy and so tasty.

Easy Baked Chicken

It’s a lot like another recipe I have posted for Baked Chicken that you can find here.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Easy Chicken and Rice

1 envelope dry Lipton Onion Soup mix

3/4 cup white rice

1 cut up chicken or chicken pieces of your choice

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can cream of chicken soup

1/2 can of milk

1/2 can of water

Sprinkle dry soup mix into 9″ x 13″ pan.

Wash rice and place over top of soup mix in pan.

Next put on the chicken pieces.

Then pour over top the soups mixed with milk and water.

Bake 2 hours at 325 degrees.

Cover with foil for the first 1 1/2 hours and then uncover and bake for last 1/2 hour.

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You just layer all the ingredients into the pan.

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Before and after baking you can see that the soup ends up being a great, creamy sauce for the rice.

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I love these dishes that let you get it into the oven and forget it until it’s time to eat.

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Hungry families should give this a try.

It is really fast food.

Put it into the oven and when the times up, you have a flavorful, moist dish that’s ready to go.

So good.

 

 

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American Krispies Cookies

(Note: I didn’t realize that I made a mistake on yesterday’s post until last evening.

Please take a moment to also take a look at that post if you missed it!

I’m still learning this blogging stuff!!!

Thanks!)

 

My dad was in the Army and stationed in Turkey when I was born.

He kept pictures of me and my mom in his locker while he was there.

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This picture of him looking longingly at us was taken because he had just gotten a new camera and he and his friends were playing around with it and figuring out how to use it.

I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for him to be so far away and not to be able to be here when I was born.

We didn’t meet until I was 6 months old.

My mom recently gave me two of the first letters that he wrote when I was born.

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house!

They’re pretty special and I’m so grateful to have them.

I’m sure he missed good old American food when he was there (some of that army food had choice names) because his mother, his mother-in-law, and his wife were all good cooks and bakers.

I’m not sure why these cookies are called “American”.

They have Corn Flakes Cereal in them and of course, Corn Flakes are very American.

I couldn’t find any cookies online that has the name “krispies” in the label without having Rice Krispies Cereal in them.

These American Krispies Cookies are very good, no matter what they’re called.

I added the “Cookies” label so you’ll know exactly what they are.

American Krispies Cookies

American Krispies Cookies 2

There are a lot of ingredients and this recipe made about 6 dozen.

Here is the recipe as I made them:

American Krispies Cookies

Mix:

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup oil (I used canola)

1 cup butter

1 egg

Add:

1 cup crushed Corn Flakes Cereal

1 cup oatmeal

1/2 cup coconut

1/2 cup nuts, chopped (I used pecans)

1 rounded Tablespoon sour cream

3 1/2 cups sifted – flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup chopped raisins (I don’t know why she has to add to just half of the batter. I added them to the whole thing.)

There are  no baking instructions again here.

I baked them at 375 degrees for 12-14 minutes.

I did use my ice cream scoop to make the balls – the dough seemed a bit soft to try to roll into balls.

Before baking, I did flatten the balls with a glass dipped in sugar, but not powdered sugar.

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This is my shiny new ice cream scoop – works great!

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I did one pan of the cookies without flattening and they were just fine.

I flattened the rest and they were just fine also, but maybe a bit more krispy.

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LOVE the scoop – they’re all the same size.

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The cookies come out krispie and delicious!

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I had a little problem staying away from these.

It was necessary to put them into the freezer FAST!!!!

They’re VERY good!

 

 

 

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Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you wonderful mothers out there!

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I want to share a story about the most special mother’s day I ever experienced.

Our son Matthew was born on Mother’s Day, May 11, 1986.

We were so excited to have him be born on Mother’s Day – how special is that?

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Today would have been his 28th birthday.

He died the next morning after living for 16 hours.

He was a big, beautiful 9 pounds 12 ounces and he just wasn’t meant to stay with us for long.

He’s been a wonder, a teacher, an inspiration, an important member of our family and we miss him.

Our other three children have been the light of my life.

I’m so grateful for them.

My heart just overflows when I think of them – each and every one of them!

I have LOVED being a mother!

We’ve had SOOOOOOO much fun!

Give all those wonderful children and grandchildren of yours an extra big hug today – no matter how old they are!!!

We’re so lucky to have them!

Happy Mother’s Day!

 

 

 

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Rhubarb Bread

It’s that time of year again.

Our gardens are chock full of those ruby red stalks with the humongous green leaf on top.

Last Thursday my rhubarb was only about 3 inches high.

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Monday I went out there and it was growing like crazy.

This is what it looks like now!

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Time to bake something with it!!

So today’s recipe is a very quick and easy one that would be just right for your Mother’s Day brunch.

Rhubarb Bread

Rhubarb Bread 2

You get 2 loaves out of this recipe – one for your brunch and one for the freezer.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Rhubarb Bread

Mix together:

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

2/3 cups salad oil (I used canola)

1 egg

1 cup sour milk (I make this using 1 cup milk and 1 T. vinegar)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 cups diced rhubarb

Pour batter into two greased loaf pans.

Mix together and sprinkle over batter for topping:

1/2 cup white sugar

1 Tablespoon butter

(I’m not sure if the butter is supposed to be melted, but I used softened butter and this made a nice crusty topping.)

Bake at 325 degrees for about 60 minutes.

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This recipe makes 2 loaves or 1 big loaf and 3 small loaves.

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The smaller loaves are great for gift giving.

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The larger loaf shows the bits of diced rhubarb in the bread and there’s the crusty sweet sugary topping.

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Rhubarb has a million different uses and this is a very easy way to use it.

Go ahead – shock your mother.

Make this bread and serve it for your Mother’s Day brunch.

She’ll appreciate it.

It’s delicious.

 

 

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