Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Infused Water

Just in time for summer, here’s a great way to keep you hydrated. Very few of us drink as much water as we should, and this is a way to make it easier. Using fruit in your water is so beautiful and so tasty, you’ll want to make sure you get ALL of your 6-8 glasses in a day. I’m not into detoxify this and flush that, I just know that I feel better and my brain works better when I get all of my water in. There are many, many, many recipes for this water all over the internet, but I tried 5 different kinds of Infused Water. Now I can’t decide which is my favorite. You’ll want to try them all, too!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Infused Water

You can make a pitcher of water at a time (or just a glass at a time) and let it sit overnight so the fruit can really make the water tasty.

Put 1 cup fruit or berries into a water pitcher or container.

Muddle, if desired, with a muddler or handle of a wooden spoon.

Let sit overnight.

The next morning, add ice and you’re ready to go with your daily water intake – and it’s tasty!

Here are the different kinds of fruit combinations I tried:

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Raspberry Lime

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Blueberry Lemon

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Pineapple Mint

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Citrus with Lemon, Lime, and Orange

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Strawberry Lemon

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Fill your glass with ice and the fruity water and let the hydrating begin!

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Try mixing and matching your favorites – the possibilities are endless.

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Hot weather is upon us and being dehydrated is not good. Water is good for your brain, for your digestion, and for your overall health. Plus – it’s pretty in the glass!!! Let’s be healthy, let’s be hydrated, and let’s do it together! Bottoms up!!

 

 

 

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Orange Rhubarb Pie

I love that Grandma and her sisters were so willing to try new and unique recipes to serve their friends and family. Speaking of those sisters, I found a new photo from the mid 1930’s of grandma and two of her sisters at her older sister’s wedding. I absolutely LOVE the look on Grandma’s face on this one (she’s the one on the right). This is a bit of a candid photo, especially for a wedding, and we know that they didn’t take candid photos very often. Usually these type of photos were fairly formal, but that’s why I love it so much! This shot was taken out the back door of the church they were members of their whole lives. Look at those glorious bouquets they’re carrying! I wonder if the flowers came from their own garden?

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They look like they’re having a great time and that they’re very happy for the sister getting married! They were a very close family and each wedding had to be a very exciting event. It wouldn’t be too long after this and Grandma would be marrying her handsome groom, too!

This recipe for Orange Rhubarb Pie is no exception to the sisters trying different kinds of recipes. It’s not like any pie I’ve ever made before, and I love it! My family loved it, too. In fact, my husband loved it so much that he declared it his #2 favorite behind Blueberry Pie. Now that’s really saying something!

Orange Rhubarb Pie

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This is a very delicious pie!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Orange Rhubarb Pie

Combine:

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

Stir together:

3 Tablespoons orange juice concentrate

1/4 cup butter, melted

3 egg yolks, slightly beaten

Add to the dry ingredients.

Stir in:

2 1/2 cups rhubarb

Beat to stiff peaks:

3 egg whites

Gradually add in:

1/4 cup sugar

Fold egg whites into rhubarb mixture.

Pour into unbaked pie shell (I used the pie crust recipe on my post Apple Pie with Old-Fashioned Pie Crust).

Top with:

1/3 cup walnuts, chopped

Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes, turn oven down to 325 degrees and bake 40 more minutes or until brown.

Cover edges with foil if needed.

Store in refrigerator.

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This is the unique part of the pie – folding in the egg whites instead of making a meringue.

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When I made the pie crust from the recipe noted above, I halved the recipe to just get one crust. Or you can do two crusts, freeze one, and have an extra one ready when you feel like making another pie. I had a bit of the filling left over so I put it into a small ramekin and baked that, too. See how puffed and golden brown the filling gets!

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This pie is perfect with a bit of softly whipped cream. That little bit of citrus in there is so good and unique!

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The pie was soft and light and eggy and absolutely delicious!

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This was the pie on the second day. You can see that it firmed up a bit and was still delicious! Putting it into the refrigerator was a great idea. I would do that before serving next time, just because it firmed up and I liked that better. You really should try this unique pie at your next family gathering! It’s a bit different, but that’s what you’ll like about it!

 

 

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Summertime Essentials

With the official start of summer happening this coming weekend, I thought I’d share some recipes from past posts that are essential for summertime. There are only so many weekends in the summer, and those of us who live in Minnesota and other northern climates need to take full advantage. We had a mild winter here and had a few warm days in early spring, but then the rest of spring was pretty cool. Now we’ve had a glorious week of beautiful weather and we know that FINALLY summer is upon us!! These Summertime Essentials would be good for any picnic, going to the cabin, taking with you on vacation, or for bringing to any summertime holiday celebration.

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Cabbage Slaw

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BBQ Sauce

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Baked Beans

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Chicken Salad

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Frozen Salad or Dessert

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Homemade Ice Cream and Root Beer Floats

There are many more summertime recipes to search for on Plenty Sweet Life, so feel free to explore and find some new ones or, who knows, you might find an oldie but goodie that you remember from years ago! Bring on summer – here we go! Happy Summer, everyone!!

 

 

 

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Rhubarb Cream Delight

This card had a bonus. The recipe for Rhubarb Cream Delight was on the top and on the bottom was a recipe that I shared last year called Rhubarb Crunch. The recipe for today calls for 4 cups of rhubarb (which is a lot when your plants aren’t so big) and since my rhubarb is a bumper crop this year, now is the time to do this one. I’m not sure why I have so much this year or why it’s so much bigger than it has been before, but I’m not complaining. I’m thrilled! This is a photo of one of my rhubarb bunches (I have 2!).

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I love anything made with rhubarb and I never seem to have enough of it. I did split the plant a couple of years ago and gave some to a friend of mine who also loves rhubarb. Maybe that helped with the growth spurt, or maybe it was our mild winter. I might have to try to split them again – maybe next year. But for this year, I’m going to enjoy the abundance and use it up!

Rhubarb Cream Delight

This dessert is ridiculously good!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Rhubarb Cream Delight

For the crust:

Mix together:

1 1/2 cup flour

3 Tablespoons sugar

3/4 cup margarine, softened (I used butter)

Pat into 9″ x 13″ pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

For the filling:

2 cups sugar

4 egg yolks, beaten, whites reserved

2/3 cup cream or evaporated milk

3 Tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

4 cups rhubarb, chopped

Cook and stir until thick (she has that you can use the microwave, too, but I wouldn’t – that’s just me).

Pour onto crust while hot.

Meringue:

the 4 reserved egg whites (I would maybe add 1-2 more egg whites because the meringue was a bit thin)

1/4 cups sugar

Beat until stiff peaks form.

Spread on top of filling.

Bake at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until browned on top.

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This crust is a bit tricky to get into the pan – I used my hands to carefully pat it in.

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The filling ingredients are so easy to just dump and mix.

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Here we go – all ready for the meringue.

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It seems strange to put the meringue onto a filling that isn’t baked, and there isn’t a lot of meringue, so spreading it was a little tricky. I tried to make peaks like you would if making a pie, but there just isn’t enough of it. Next time I’d just spread it out. That’s why I would add an extra egg white or two to give yourself a bit more. That may affect the baking time just a bit so I’d give it an extra 5-10 minutes if you do add extra whites.

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This crust seriously melts in your mouth and the filling is so luscious!

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Put this one in your recipe arsenal – it’s so delicious! I may not have a ton of rhubarb every year, next time I’ll beg, borrow, or yes, steal more from neighbors, friends, and family just so I can make this again. You’ll want to make this every year, too! Your guests will be glad you did!!!

 

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Chocolate Cookies

This recipe is another one from the tiny book I found at my sister’s in January. I know I say this every time, but I can’t believe all of the great recipes that have been made from that little book!! Those recipes all make a nice small batch, just right for sharing with friends. The funny thing is that I remember Grandma telling of baking day and how they would make all the bread and baked goods for the week ahead. I would think if most families baked that way, they would have wanted to get as much done as possible on that one day. Maybe that’s the beauty of these smaller recipes – they could make a quick, small batch for a small group coming or for at the last minute. Here is another delicious one for Chocolate Cookies. It makes such a delicious, dainty cookie, just perfect with coffee or tea.

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Here is the recipe as I made it:

Chocolate Cookies

Stiffly beat:

3 egg whites (not until dry)

Fold in:

1 cup powdered sugar, a little at a time

Then fold in:

1 cup graham crackers, crushed

1/2 cup pecans, chopped

1 teaspoon vanilla

Next fold in:

6 ounces of melted semi-sweet chocolate, after cooling slightly

Drop by spoonful onto buttered baking sheet (I used parchment paper and I was glad I did – after baking I just pulled the parchment sheet onto the cooling rack – they did stick a bit and are pretty fragile, so it was easier to peel them off of the paper than use a spatula).

Bake at 325 for 12-14 minutes.

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Again – this uses pretty simple ingredients that you probably have around the house.

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All the folding is key here to keep the batter as fluffy as possible. When adding the chocolate, keep folding!

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I made these pretty small, using just a couple of teaspoons.

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I ended up with 31 cookies. Good thing I didn’t use my trusty scoop – I only would have gotten a dozen!!! Using the parchment paper really helped them come off the baking sheet easily.

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These are dainty all right – and a bit fragile. I suggest you just go ahead and eat them all right away. They get a bit crumbly when stored.

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I’d say that these cookies have just the right bite of chocolate. If you have to store them, they don’t really keep so well, so yes, I think it’s best to eat them. All of them. Go ahead and make these and see if  you don’t agree with me!

 

 

 

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Eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict is another one of my family’s favorites. I’m posting this recipe because I know my kids will want to know how to make this. It’s so good, but so ridiculously easy to do. When my husband and I were dating, we went to a certain restaurant once in a while to have their Eggs Benedict. The hollandaise sauce was so good, we asked how they made it. Did they make it from scratch? Nope – it was a mix and the server told us what the mix was!! This is actually a bit of a cheat, but the mix is Knorr Hollandaise Sauce Mix. I don’t have a recipe for this, so I’ll just tell you how to make it.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Eggs Benedict

Make hollandaise sauce according to the package instructions. For a little extra flavor, I do add a couple of teaspoons of lemon juice to it. You can certainly make your own hollandaise sauce from scratch, but I have to say I don’t really know why you would. Using this mix is easy and delicious.

Poach 6-8 eggs.

Toast as many halves of English muffins as you have eggs.

Have 6-8 slices Canadian bacon or ham ready.

Now you just assemble:

Start with the toasted English muffin halves on a plate (I usually serve 2 per person).

Next lay on a slice of Canadian bacon or ham (I usually don’t heat these up – you can warm them in a fry pan first and I have done that – it adds more flavor when the Canadian bacon is a bit browned, but I think the hot eggs and sauce warm them up just fine, and honestly, they aren’t on your plate long enough for it to matter much).

Then the poached eggs on top of that.

Top with the delicious hollandaise sauce and a sprinkle of paprika (I also used chives on this day).

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It really helps to have the sauce and everything else ready so you can just assemble and serve. It takes a bit of timing to have everything hot and ready to go, but you’ll get it. It’s really not that hard. That just means you’ll have to keep making this until you get the assembly right. Oh well, you gotta do what you gotta do! If that means having this every weekend for a month or so, so be it.

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Believe it or not, I have a specific pan just for poaching eggs. It’s an old fry pan and for some reason, it just seems to work really well for this. Bring the water just to a simmer – not boiling – and add a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to help the whites hold together. I break the eggs into a small bowl and slide them slowly into the simmering water and let them go until the yolks are of the desired firmness. I use a slotted spoon to remove the eggs from the water and then use a folded paper towel to dry it off a bit (leaving the egg on the spoon – just tap the bottom of the spoon gently onto the paper towel). If you’re particular about how the eggs look, you can also use the edge of the spoon or a table knife and trim off the ragged edges of egg white. You can also poach eggs earlier or even the day before and then warm them up again in more simmering water. I’ve never done that, but I’m sure it would be a bit of a time saver.

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Here is one with the first 3 layers ready to go: English muffin half, Canadian bacon, and poached egg.

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Just add the hollandaise sauce and garnish on top and that’s it! All stacked up and ready for serving! It’s so stinkin’ good and so beautiful and such an impressive breakfast or brunch dish. I have to also say that I was more than excited to use my own chives that are growing in my garden, and actually survived the Minnesota winter out there!!! Try this delicious breakfast/brunch dish – it’s not as hard as it looks. You’ll really be glad you did – and so will your family!!!

 

 

 

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Lemon Bread

This recipe is from my other grandma. She was a great cook and baker, and she loved to do both! I’m sharing this photo today of what might be their wedding photo – they sure look dressed up! That’s Grandma and Gramp in the middle and Gramp’s brother on the left and Grandma’s sister on the right, and I think they were part of the wedding party. I love this one!

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Their hairdo’s are what struck me. It looks like the girls have just had their hair done with not a pin curl out of place, and the boys look like they have the hair cuts of today! They all look so incredibly young!

The recipe for today is for Lemon Bread and I have to say, this is the best lemon bread I’ve ever had. It has a glaze that’s put on last, and that makes all the difference.

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This one is so good!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Lemon Bread

Combine:

1 package lemon cake mix

1 package lemon instant pudding

1/2 cup salad oil (I used canola)

1 cup water

Add:

4 eggs

one at a time beating well.

Mix in:

1 cup nuts, chopped (I used walnuts)

Put in two greased loaf pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

Glaze:

1/2 cup sugar

Juice of 2 lemons

Before removing from the pans, spoon the glaze over the loaves.

Let sit in pan 10 minutes.

Cool on rack.

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Lemon cake mix, lemon pudding, lemon juice in the glaze. No wonder this bread is so delicious.

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Don’t forget to leave the loaves in the pan so the glaze can soak in with all its lemon goodness.

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It seems like a lot of glaze, but go ahead and use it ALL!

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The loaves come out of the pan easily and are so pretty.

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Since there are two loaves, you can share one with someone special. Just wrap it up and put a ribbon on it!

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This bread is so lemony and so good – it has a very true lemon flavor. The glaze over the top really makes it so special. Make up these two loaves and share one with a friend. They’ll be a friend for life!

 

 

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Happy Mother’s Day 2016

Happy Mother’s Day to all you mother’s out there!

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My main reason for doing this blog is to commemorate both of my grandma’s and my mom’s nurturing, comfort, and love. They have all been so special to me and meant so much to me in my life, and I hope I can continue to do the same for my children and (someday) grandchildren. They have all helped to mold me into the person I am today and I’m so grateful for that. Today I want to thank them all for their love and support! I love you guys!

Thanks for reading Plenty Sweet Life!

 

 

 

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Rhubarb Crunch #2

It’s rhubarb season and here is the first rhubarb recipe for this year. This recipe is for Rhubarb Crunch, but since I have already made a one called Rhubarb Crunch, this one will be called Rhubarb Crunch #2. I’m amazed when I think about how many rhubarb recipes Grandma has in her file, because I do remember her rhubarb plant and it wasn’t that big. There is the possibility that she had more plants at one time, but I can’t imagine how she made so many recipes from that one plant. It was down by the driveway in the garden that you passed as you came into the farm and it was a kind of shady spot. The stalks on that rhubarb plant were big, and the leaves on the stalks were gigantic. Maybe it WAS big enough to make all of those recipes.

My plant is much bigger this year than it has ever been. I started it about 12 years ago and it was pretty small for a long time. I complained about it to Grandpa once, and he told me to pull some of the stalks out toward the end of the season. I tried it and it worked! Of course it did – you want something to grow better? Ask the farmer what to do!! I think that poor little plant just needed to breathe and get more air and sunshine! Hmm – that sounds like good advice for all of us!

Rhubarb Crunch 2

This makes a nice, small dessert just right for using those first of the season stalks. You know – the ones that you just can’t wait to use!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Rhubarb Crunch #2

Combine:

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup flour

1/4 cup powdered sugar

Mix until fully combined and pat into 8″ x 8″ pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes and remove from oven.

Beat together:

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

3 Tablespoons flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Stir in:

2 1/2 cups rhubarb, chopped

Pour over baked crust.

Put back in oven and bake for 35-40 minutes.

Cut into 9 squares and serve hot with vanilla ice cream.

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I used a fork to even out the crust after patting it into the pan.

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Into the batter goes the beautiful rhubarb and onto the baked crust.

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It doesn’t look like much when you first pour it on.

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Then it’s baked and it turns into a 3 layered wonder: crust, custard, and fruit.

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I think you could also serve this with a dab of whipped cream, but the recipe says to serve it hot with vanilla ice cream. Who am I to argue?

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Ok – the ice cream is perfect. Absolutely perfect. This dessert is so simple and SOOOOO delicious. Amazing. Truly amazing. Make it this weekend and use your first stalks of the season!

 

 

 

 

 

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Tulips

I know I showed you my tulips last year, but we just suffered through 6 straight days with rain last week, and the other morning when the sun was out, I had to get out to the garden and take some shots of them for this year. They’re at their peak right now, and they’re such a day brightener, I just had to share.

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They do open up during the day, but it was still pretty cool when I was out there this particular morning.

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I could see every dew drop and rain drop.

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They sure are bright and cheery in the otherwise pretty drab garden this early in the season. Those are daisies behind these tulips.

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You can see my peony bush behind the tulips here.

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Our gigantic flowering crab is blooming. I thought maybe the rain and wind would hamper the bloom this year, but it seems to be taking it in stride. You can see more of this tree blooming on the Plentysweetlife Facebook page or find it in a post from last year here.

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Here is my sedum popping out already. They look like teeny tiny green roses or baby cabbages when they first come up. I’ll have to wait for fall to enjoy them in all their glory.

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I have never had my rhubarb be so big and prolific! One stalk was 14″ long! That’s never happened before! Get ready for this year’s rhubarb recipes coming soon!

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You can see my hosta coming up behind these tulips.

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These tulips really are the beauties of the moment. They’re just such a day brightener! I hope you’ve enjoyed this little tour of my spring garden!

 

 

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