Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Oatmeal Cookies #2

The recipe for today comes from the tiny book I found at my sister’s house last January. This seems like an old-fashioned recipe that is very old. I’m not really sure why I think that, but that’s my impression. My psychic sense just tells me that. Ha. It might be because they aren’t “plenty sweet”. I have to say that these aren’t my favorite cookies, basically because they aren’t really sweet, but they may have been really good back in the day. Maybe it’s because there is no time or temperature for baking again on this one. Ugh! Come on! Ok – stay calm and just keep checking until the cookies look good and feel done. It’s time to make some fall type cookies – something with cinnamon in them. These Oatmeal Cookies #2 are perfect. Of course, as you know if you’ve been following this blog, I had to rename these Oatmeal Cookies #2 because there is already one oatmeal cookie recipe from Grandma’s file.

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These cookies do have a lot of goodies in them!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Oatmeal Cookies #2

Cream together:

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

Add:

1/2 cup milk (I’m not sure what sweet milk is, maybe just that it’s not sour?)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 eggs

2 cups oatmeal

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup chopped raisins and walnuts (I wasn’t sure what this meant, so I added 1 cup of each)

Bake at 375 degrees for 13-15 minutes.

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This really uses the old chopping skills. Raisins are tricky to chop!

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It makes the usual dough.

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I used my trusty scoop and got 44 cookies out of this recipe.

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They didn’t really get too golden brown, but they were done.

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This is my first touch of cinnamon in a fall recipe for the year!

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These delicious little cookies are just loaded with goodies: oatmeal, raisins, and walnuts! They’re so good and so easy to make – make a batch and be ready for the first leaves to fall. This is just the start of the cinnamon and pumpkin spice season! Here we go . . .!

 

 

 

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Vegetable Salad #2

The recipe for today comes from a family friend and I’ve been making it since the 1970’s. This friend’s husband was my dad’s best friend, and we were together with them quite often. Here is my dad’s graduation photo.  I know those boys were best friends since this time, or even earlier than this. I know they were in the same confirmation class at their church, so they may have been best friends since they were 8th grade or so. There are stories galore about how much trouble these guys were. I’m not allowed to elaborate on that, but trust me – there are stories. So many stories.

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How handsome is this guy? I’ll refrain from any comments about how much he looks like James Dean.

We would go to these friends’ house for dinner on weekends or they would come to our house. The “girls” (they were girls at that time – probably in their 20’s, even though they were moms) would sit at the kitchen table and talk and the “boys” would be down in the basement or in the garage talking and preparing for the next hunting season. In the early years, I was the only kid around and I would bring books or coloring books to work on while we were at their house, or I’d hang around and listen to the ladies talk or hang around the men and help refill shotgun shells or something. Eventually my little sister came along, these friends became her godparents, and then they had 4 kids of their own. The first time I remember having this Vegetable Salad #2 was at one of our famous 4th of July celebrations (when you live on a lake, your house is where everyone goes for the 4th of July), but we had this salad quite often over the years. I love this salad so much. It’s tasty and can be conveniently done ahead of time.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Vegetable Salad #2

Mix together in a large bowl:

1 head of cauliflower, broken up into florets

1/2 of a small head of red cabbage, shredded or chopped

1/2 of a red onion, chopped

1/2 pound bacon, fried and crumbled

Dressing:

2 cups salad dressing (I used mayonnaise)

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Mix dressing into vegetables.

Let stand 4 hours or overnight.

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It’s time to sharpen those shredding and knife skills. I shredded the cabbage for this salad, but I do remember having it with chopped cabbage.

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There is a lot of chopping, shredding, and floret separating to do, but it really does go fast.

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Mix up the vegetables and mix up the dressing.

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Put it all together and that’s it!

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This is one of my all time favorite salads. I just love the flavors in this one – onion and bacon – how can you go wrong with that? Delish.

 

 

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Cheese Board

Grandma liked to make a Sunday night supper of cold meat and cheese. I never understood it until having a family of my own and then I got it – by Sunday night supper you need a break from cooking big dinners for the family. You just want to have something easy to throw together. She would have big plates of different kinds of sliced cheese with several kinds of (lunch) meat, ready to make into sandwiches or have on crackers. When the garden was available, there would be big slices of ripe tomato and cucumber ready for a deluge of salt and pepper or topped with poppy-seed dressing. Dessert was some kind of frozen treat like Eskimo Pies, Ice Cream Sandwiches, or Drumsticks. I want to carry on this tradition by keeping Sunday night supper easy but tasty. This is perfect for a Sunday night supper, for snacking during the football game, or for any kind of entertaining. There really isn’t a recipe for this, it’s just putting together different things that go well together. I love a good Cheese Board. I just love cheese. There are people who are particular about what cheese goes with what fruit or cracker. When putting this board together, I kind of used what I had on hand, and the family absolutely loved it.

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We had several cheeses after a weekend trip to Wisconsin with a stop at a little local cheese shop. There should also be crackers and a sliced baguette to put the cheese on. After setting up the board, I realized that slicing the cheese BEFORE putting it on the board would have been beneficial. It’s not so easy to slice once it’s nestled in there amongst the other goodies.

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I made some Rosemary Pecans for an extra little nibble. Just saute until roasted, pecans, almonds, cashews, or walnuts (or a combination of all of them) in a tablespoon of butter, add salt and pepper and a couple of tablespoons of fresh rosemary (from my herb pot on the deck) at the end. Delicious!

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You’ll want some fruit on the board. I used red grapes, strawberries, and slices of apple. In addition, I also added a bowl of green olives and a bowl of yellow pear tomatoes from our garden (cherry tomato size). Incidentally, the tally for those garden yellow pear tomatoes – 415 (yes – we keep a tally of how many we pick)!!!

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Add your favorite wine or have a wine tasting with several kinds. Can you ever really have too many kinds of wine? I think not. This is my own added touch – Grandma would not have added wine.

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This really is one of my favorite meals. It’s a nice way to not have to work too hard, yet it’s still pretty impressive whether it’s Sunday night supper or entertaining. I intend to do this a LOT from now on – especially since you can get such a nice selection of cheeses at your local grocery store now days. A lot of this you can have in your pantry and just pull it out at the last-minute. Perfect.

 

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The Fall Garden

It won’t be long and we’ll be all white with snow here in Minnesota, so let’s enjoy The Fall Garden for as long as we can. Today I just have to share the few beautiful, blooming flowers that are still in my garden. We were hit with a late frost and then hail in June, so the it hasn’t looked so great this year. I’ll take what I can get for now, but next winter I may have to read about the flowers that have come out of my past gardens!

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Bees of all kinds really work over the Sedum this time of year. They leave me alone and I let them take whatever they want!

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We’ve had extra bee, squirrel, and bird activity for about the last month. They seem to be working extra hard for what’s to come in the next couple of months. Yikes!

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We have had a lot of rain, also, for the last month, so the plants are a bit tangled.

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These Black-Eyed Susan are one of the longest lasting flowers I have in my garden. They’ve been blooming and beautiful since the first part of August.

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They’re just such a happy flower!

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I planted these Purple Dragon Flowers when we first moved to our house and they’ve been prolific bloomers ever since. They don’t bloom until the end of the summer and they are so pretty.

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Bees really love these, too!

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The Hydrangea didn’t get to the size of a dinner plate like they did last year, but there will be enough of them to dry for an arrangement.

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This one is in the shape of a heart!

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These plants are a type of milkweed and the monarch butterflies love them! They lay their eggs and then the caterpillars eat the leaves before making their chrysalis. However, they do make the garden look a bit ragged (they’re tall and lanky), so we’ve made the decision to pick the pods before they let go of the seeds and let them fly down the road (in a wild area that can hold a lot of milkweed) so we’ll still be planting milkweed for the monarchs, but just not in our garden. It’s so important to grow milkweed so the monarchs have food and a place to lay eggs. We’ve still had a few of them around, gearing up for their long journey to Mexico. Looks like I’d better pick this pod before it’s too late!

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This is a shot of rose hips on my rose bush. The bush was from a sucker on my friend’s bush, and it has hot pink blooms in May and June. You can see the holes from the hail storm, which incidentally, totally made all of our Hosta look terrible all summer.

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I have two of these flower pots in the corners of our back deck. The sweet potato vine overtook the flowers in the middle of the summer, but now the flowers are coming back a bit and are orange, yellow and purple, so I’ll leave them for fall until it freezes. You can see that my chair cushions are holding up and still looking good 3 years after I recovered them and posted about it here. I love my solar “fairy lights” that are stuck in the pots and light up the deck at night.

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Hopefully the fact that these guys are busy as . . . well, you know, won’t mean we’re in for a nasty winter. Let’s just ignore that possibility and focus on how cute they are as they go about their business.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed this little fall garden tour. We can look at the garden again this winter when all of these guys are sleeping and waiting to come again next year! Don’t forget to get some spring bulbs planted so next spring can be colorful, too!

 

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Another After School Snack – Graham Crackers With Frosting

These treats were something that my other grandma made me for a snack when I was growing up. We lived right next door to my other grandma and gramp for the first 8 years of my life and I would go to their house after school from kindergarten through second grade. She would make these for me for an after school snack while I watched the cartoons “Yogi Bear” and “The Flintstones”.  She taught me how to make them and eventually I made them for all of my kids after school while they were growing up. There really isn’t a name for these, so we’ll call them Graham Crackers With Frosting. All three of my kids grew up having these as an after school snack all throughout their grade school, middle school, and high school years. My son says they’re absolutely necessary, even though they really were a special treat because there was usually the obligatory graham crackers and peanut butter to snack on while watching the “Garfield and Friends” cartoon after school. And if it’s at all possible, he’d still like the people in charge to bring back that cartoon. He’s an adult but he’d still watch that show every day if it was on somewhere out there in TV land.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Graham Crackers With Frosting

Combine for frosting:

1 1/2 – 2 cups powdered sugar (depending on how thick you want the frosting)

1/2 teaspoon almond extract (or vanilla, peppermint, lemon or any flavor you like)

2 Tablespoons milk

Stir and spread on graham crackers.

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These cracker snacks really are incredibly easy to make.

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Mix up the frosting and spread it on the crackers. Done. You could also try different kinds of graham cracker for this. Chocolate or cinnamon would be nice.

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You can make the frosting as thick as you like by adding more powdered sugar. Just remember – the longer they sit, the thicker the frosting gets.

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These are even fun to make open-faced. Add mini chocolate chips, colored sugar (Minnesota Viking colors here), or sprinkles to match an appropriate holiday (Halloween is coming).

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This may be a simple snack, but they sure are good! I hope you give these a try. They’re a GREAT after school snack – even for grown ups. Turn on some cartoons, pour a big glass or milk, and munch on a few of these with your kids!

 

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Great Grape Salad

The recipe for today is very fancy – fancy enough for a very special occasion. Fancy enough for the fancy occasion depicted in this photo. The lovely woman second from the left is my great-great grandmother. I’m not sure what occasion they’re celebrating here, but it sure looks fancy to me!

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Ya gotta love those hats! Yes – those are indeed very fancy.

This fancy recipe comes from my sister. She makes this Great Grape Salad a lot and people just love it. In my opinion, this is another one that should really be categorized as a “dessert salad”. It’s very decadent, and perfect for a special occasion. This salad would be right up Grandma’s alley since she has had a lot of salads in her recipes that I would consider a “dessert salad”.

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This makes a very large and very fancy salad.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Great Grape Salad

Wash and pat dry:

2 pounds red seedless grapes

2 pounds white (or green) seedless grapes

Combine:

8 ounces cream cheese

8 ounces sour cream

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix until light and creamy.

Add grapes and mix well.

In a small bowl, combine:

1 cup pecans, chopped

1/2 cup light brown sugar

Top the grape mixture with the brown sugar and pecans.

Cover and chill at least 6 hours before serving.

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You start out with 4 pounds of beautiful grapes. If I had known how much salad this made, I would have made a half batch.

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It looks a bit strange when all mixed up.

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I didn’t think all of the brown sugar and pecans would actually fit on top, but somehow I made it fit.

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Since we were being fancy, I used my prettiest bowl for this, forgetting that the bowl is heavy and then I put 4 pounds of grapes in it! I could hardly lift it!!!

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This is a delicious, decadent, unusual salad that’s fit for the most special occasion. Get yourself some fancy duds and call some people over and have them wear THEIR fancy duds. Have a party – a fancy party – and serve this very fancy “dessert salad”.

 

 

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BLT Sandwiches

This is a classic for this time of year when tomatoes in our gardens are at their peak and you can just go right out there and pick a red beauty for a sandwich. BLT Sandwiches are one of my favorites and I wait all summer for the tomatoes to be ready to make them! The tomatoes I used for these particular sandwiches actually ARE from our garden (we took out 4 trees in our back yard and now there’s more sun in our garden to grow more tomatoes)!! I think most people know how to make these, and probably do every summer, but it can’t hurt to be reminded about this delicious sandwich. You can use fancy bread and fancy bacon for these, but my family just likes the good ol’ regular bread, bacon, tomatoes, lettuce, and mayonnaise. I love making these for a Sunday night supper, or any night supper, for that matter. This time of the summer, I think we could have these several times a week and never get tired of them! As my daughter said, “whoever came up with this combination was a GENIUS!!” I have to agree.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

BLT Sandwiches

Toast:

2 slices of your favorite bread

Spread with mayonnaise or salad dressing.

Add:

Tomatoes, sliced and topped with freshly ground pepper and a bit of salt to taste

Lettuce, broken into leaves

2 slices fried bacon

Cut in triangles (according to my family).

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The simple ingredients for these sandwiches are absolutely beautiful!

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I like to put a little freshly ground pepper on the tomatoes – what can it hurt? I do occasionally use a bit of salt, but usually the bacon is salty enough to flavor the tomato.

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It looks like there’s not a lot of lettuce on this sandwich, but I have found that the more lettuce you put on, the more slippery it all becomes. Put a toothpick in it if it helps to hold it all together. These can get a bit messy, but it’s soooooo worth it!

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Oh boy, I love these sandwiches. They’re a great way to end the summer using your own tomatoes (and lettuce, if you have it!). Don’t forget to make these for supper and use up your tomatoes before it’s too late!

 

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5 Back to School Snack and Treat Ideas

Here are 5 Back to School Snack and Treat Ideas to help get the kiddos back into the swing of things this fall. You wouldn’t want to make these for EVERY day after school, but sometimes things happen that need a bit of a celebration and these recipes make a nice treat to come home to: maybe someone did well on a test, maybe someone had a rough week and it’s Friday, maybe someone won a game or audition. These are oldies but goodies, they’re all easy to make, and there’s not a bad one in the bunch!

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Peanut Butter Cookies

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S’mores Snack Mix

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Creamy Lemon Popsicles with Blueberries

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Choc-Toffee Bars

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Old-Fashioned Graham Crackers

Have a great school year!

 

 

 

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Brownies #2

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For some reason, this time of year I remember the smell of Brownies baking in the oven at our house. I seem to remember this mostly on Saturday afternoons when I was growing up, the scent of chocolate wafting through the house, driving me crazy until they would be done and we could indulge in the warm, gooey, chocolatey deliciousness that is the Brownie. Obviously this was before our family got hooked on Chocolate Chip Cookies and other baked goods containing chocolate. If you read this blog regularly, you know that my mom is famous for her love of chocolate, and nothing but chocolate. I’m sure that her little issue has something to do with this memory I have of chocolate in the air every weekend! (Ha! Thanks, Mom!) This recipe does come from my mom, and is very similar to a recipe I’ve posted on here called Brownies. It’s not exactly like this recipe, but they are close. This one obviously has to be Brownies #2 because there is more than one brownie recipe card. This is a tried and true classic recipe and it’s absolutely delicious. These brownies are chocolatey and full of walnuts – exactly what you want when you need chocolate. They would make a nice addition to a school lunch, be a great after school snack, or make an extra special treat for someone who deserves one.

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Wow, are these good!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Brownies #2

Melt:

1 cup shortening (I used butter)

3 squares unsweetened chocolate

Cool.

Add gradually:

2 cups sugar to

3 beaten eggs

Combine with chocolate mixture.

Add:

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 cup walnuts

Spread batter in a 9″ x 13″ pan (I lightly spray with cooking spray).

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

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These brownies are loaded with delicious chopped walnuts. Nuts are so good for you, these brownies must be good for you, right?

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Even though there are several steps in making this recipe, it goes pretty fast to make these.

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After adding the dry ingredients, they’re almost done.

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It makes a nice, thick batter that looks good enough to eat!

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Brownies are such a great, classic treat. Your kids will love them. You’ll love them. Your whole family will love them. Your friends will love them. Everyone will love them. My mom loves them. Make a pan of these delicious chocolate goodies for someone special today. Is it snack time yet?

 

 

 

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