Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Sugar Cookies

This recipe for Sugar Cookies comes from another one of Grandma’s old church cookbooks. You remember those old church cookbooks – where all the church ladies send in their very best and favorite recipe?!! Well, this is the kind of recipe that this one is – someone’s very best and favorite! I have made several kinds of sugar cookies here on Plenty Sweet Life: Brown Sugar Cookies, White Cookies, Orange Sugar Cookies, and No Roll Sugar Cookies. They’ve all been just a little bit different, but all have been heavenly. Sugar Cookies appeal to everyone, and this recipe is particularly melt-in-your-mouth delicious.

Another perk – this recipe is incredibly easy!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Sugar Cookies

Mix in order given:

1 cup shortening, part butter (I used all butter)

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Roll in balls and press with glass dipped in sugar.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes.

This batch of cookies was for a friend, so I made them a cheery pink and green.

I rolled the dough into balls and then rolled the balls into the colored sugar. The first sheet of cookies was just baked as is – I forgot to flatten them. The second sheet of cookies were flattened with the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar (I used my greasy hand to rub the bottom of the glass so the sugar sticks to it better).

You can see the difference here. The cookies on the left were flattened with the glass, and the cookies on the right were just baked as a ball. You can do it either way.

I ended up with these beautiful, delicious, and same-sized cookies. These really melt in your mouth – they are absolutely delightful! You have to try this great recipe for Sugar Cookies – maybe even share them with a friend!

2 Comments »

Ham Salad or Ladies Aid Spread

Ham Salad or Ladies Aid Spread was a staple at the ladies church group Grandma belonged to called Ladies Aid. The ladies would gather monthly at church for fellowship, a program – usually a musical piece or reading of some kind, and lunch which consisted of sandwiches – usually this ham salad or tuna salad, dessert or pie or cake or bars, and good old Swedish coffee. Once when Grandma was one of the people in charge of the program for the day, I was recruited to sing “Beautiful Savior”. I was about 8 years old or so, and I was paid one dollar! I was NOT a fan of singing in front of people, so I’m sure I needed to be bribed to do it. Ha! Singing that day is not one of my favorite memories! For some reason, even now when I have occasion to go into Grandma and Grandpa’s church basement, I still smell the sandwiches and coffee – even though that was years ago. This Ladies Aid Spread has become a staple for our family. I made it a lot when our kids had softball or baseball games or tournaments because it travels well. One time (when we had three children playing in games on the same nights), I just didn’t have the time to make it, so I sent my husband to the store to buy it ready made from the deli section of our grocery store. He seriously asked the girl behind the counter, “do you have Ladies Aid Spread?” Together they finally figured out that he meant Ham Salad. I don’t have anyone going to ball games or tournaments anymore, but I still make this a couple of times a month – just for me!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Ham Salad or Ladies Aid Spread

Mix together:

2 cans chopped ham

1/4 cup mayonnaise

3 Tablespoons pickle relish or sweet pickle relish

It’s easy to tweak this recipe to your own liking. Add more or less mayonnaise, or more or less relish, depending on how you like it.

I use a fork to break up the canned ham. Mix in the mayonnaise and pickle relish – that’s it!

This is a very simple, but tasty recipe. I try to keep it as healthy as possible, but if you don’t mind a bit of extra sugar – and it doesn’t add very much – use sweet pickle relish in this. My sister and her family have found that the best thing to put in it is Grandma’s Sweet Pickles that have been chopped. Oh yes – using those makes a pretty outstanding batch.

I like to put this on buns, but bread works just as well. Buns hold up best if you’re taking these on a road trip or taking these sandwiches for an outing like ball tournaments or picnics.

Most of my family likes the sandwiches just like this, but I’ve been trying to get more veggies into everything, so now I use lettuce as part of the sandwich.

This sandwich spread is great for having on hand, or for packing for a road trip. I will be making this for our summer road trip this year! We should really call it Ham Salad, but in our family we like to refer to this delicious sandwich spread as Ladies Aid Spread!

 

 

 

Leave a comment »

Rhubarb Custard Pie

This recipe for Rhubarb Custard Pie was on the back of the recipe for Rhubarb Crumble. I’m really glad I turned it over and looked on the back. The rhubarb is just about gone for this year, but I still have plenty of recipes left to try next year. There are at least 3 more rhubarb pie recipes in the bunch, not to mention all of the other desserts, and I think there are several rhubarb recipes from Grandma’s sisters. We’ll have enough to keep us in rhubarb treats for years yet!

This pie is full of rhubarb!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Rhubarb Custard Pie

Combine:

1 pound of rhubarb, cut into 1/4 inch slices

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup flour

Spoon into pie shell.

Beat:

3 large eggs

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Pour over rhubarb.

Place pie pan on baking sheet so the pie doesn’t overflow and make a mess on the bottom of your oven.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.

Have a pie crust made and ready to go. I used Grandma’s recipe for Never Fail Pie Crust.

There are 2 parts to this filling – first the rhubarb with the dry ingredients, and then the eggs and sour cream mixture.

Before and after baking – you can see how it really does make a custard-like filling, and look at how loaded with rhubarb it is!

This is another beautiful and delicious pie to share with family and friends.

I have never made this one before, since I didn’t even know it was on the back of another recipe, but it’s easy and very delicious. The taste is less sweet than some other pie recipes, and the family liked that. The taste of the rhubarb really comes through because it IS less sweet. It’s very nice. Try this Rhubarb Custard Pie, and let’s continue to enjoy rhubarb season as long as we can!

 

 

 

3 Comments »

Limoncello and Freezing Lemon Juice

Making Limoncello was my daughter’s idea after she brought home those beautiful lemons from California last winter. We had a lot of lemons, and after making all of those wonderful recipes with them, I still had a bunch left over. Why not? I’ve never had Limoncello and it sounded delicious. I’m up for it.

See what I mean? They’re seriously beautiful lemons.

This is MY lemon tree. My kids gave it to me for Mother’s Day several years ago, and it has barely – and I mean barely – survived the winters in my kitchen where it gets the most sun in the house. The poor thing really needs A LOT more sun than it gets here. Let me add that in this picture, it is looking VERY good. I’m not even going to show a photo of what it looks like right now – a lot of blossoms, but yellow leaves that are falling off faster than summer is getting here. The tree has done well being out on our deck in the summertime, and it NEEDS to be out there. It’s done well enough to give me 2 whole lemons! Just enough to make myself 1 lemon drop cocktail!!! There are recipes all over the internet for making Limoncello, and that’s where I found the instructions to make it.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Limoncello

Wash and scrub 12 lemons (organic, if possible). Peel them with either a vegetable peeler or knife, getting the peel as thin as possible, without any of the white pith on it. The pith makes it bitter, so you could use a little knife and carefully cut or scrape off the white pith.

Juice the lemons, but don’t waste that wonderful juice.

I froze the juice in 1 cup amounts in zip top freezer bags. Freeze them flat and you can stack them in your freezer to take up less space. It’s also easier to break off what you need when it is frozen flat. Use this over the summer to make Lemonade, Lemon Meringue Pie, or Lemon Meringue Pie #2.

Put the peel into a jar with a tight-fitting lid and add one bottle of grain alcohol (which I couldn’t find) or 100 proof vodka (which is what I used).

Let it sit for 3 weeks and get all nice and lemony from the oils in the peel. I labeled it so I wouldn’t forget how long to leave it alone.

After 3 weeks, filter the peels out of the vodka. I used a coffee filter put inside my mesh strainer to do this. Press all the vodka out of the peel and filter. Don’t waste a drop!

Now you have the beautiful, fragrant vodka, but you need to add some simple syrup. Heat 3-4 cups of water and 3 cups of sugar until sugar is dissolved. Let it cool. Add the simple syrup to the lemon vodka and combine. Now you have your Limoncello.

I used a funnel to pour it into a bottle – we had a few clean, old plain glass bottles and that’s what I used. Top it with a cork and you’re done!

Here is the beautiful, yellow, lemony Limoncello. It had a mellower, less lemony taste than it might have if I had used regular lemons – these are Meyer lemons with a sweeter, milder flavor. This also makes a great gift – tie a pretty ribbon around it, add a gift tag, and you’re good to go!

I’m glad I tried this. It’s delicious, and when you store it in the freezer, it’s nice and icy cold – you can even enjoy it with some sparkling water and/or over ice. Or try it over cake or ice cream. Try this stuff on anything. Limoncello is the perfect after dinner cocktail for a warm summer night.

1 Comment »

Rhubarb Upside Down Dessert

The card for this recipe doesn’t have a title, so I’m calling it Rhubarb Upside Down Dessert. I don’t know why,  but rhubarb recipes always remind me of Grandma, even if they aren’t from her. I wanted to share this photo today, of Grandma and Grandpa (on the left) and Grandma’s sister and her husband. Grandma and this sister had their birthdays on the same day, but 2 years apart. I just love this picture!

They look so young and so happy! These sisters were so close and such good friends, that I’m sure they spent many afternoons chatting over cups of coffee and some of these rhubarb recipes. This recipe is so easy and so delicious, that you’re ALL going to want to try this one!

This sounds like another weird one, but trust me, this one is really good!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Rhubarb Upside Down Dessert

Mix according to package directions:

1 yellow or lemon cake mix (I used lemon for this one)

Put in 9″ x 13″ pan.

Pour over cake mix:

5 cups chopped rhubarb

Then over that:

1 1/2 cups sugar

Pour over top of all:

1/2 pint whipping cream (I mistakenly bought Half-n-Half to make this and didn’t realize it until I was about to pour it on – it worked fine)

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Serve upside down with whipped cream (or ice cream).

This one takes a lot of rhubarb – that means a lot of chopping.

I know it sounds weird, but put the cake batter into the pan, sprinkle on the rhubarb, then on goes the sugar.

Pour the whipping cream over the top of everything.

After baking, it looks totally different. It’s ok – this is what it’s supposed to look like.

Don’t forget to put it on the plate upside down. You can see the how the rhubarb goes to the bottom of the pan and so do the sugar and whipping cream, so it makes a delicious custardy topping for the cake.

As far as I’m concerned, it’s delicious just the way it is, but Grandma always liked to gild the lily.

That means adding the whipped cream at the end. I used lemon cake mix instead of yellow for this cake, and it was delicious but a bit overpowering. I think the yellow cake mix lets the rhubarb flavor come through better. Either way is so easy and so tasty, that I hope you’ll all try this Rhubarb Upside Down Dessert.

 

 

 

 

1 Comment »

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you amazing mothers and grandmothers out there!

I just had to share this photo of my mom with me and my sister, and we’re all wearing the matching and very festive bright green polka dot mother/daughter dresses that mom made for us! This was about 1970, and it looks like it!!!

Enjoy your special day, all you moms and grandmoms, and thank you so much for stopping by! I appreciate each and every one of you and all of your support!

Thank you!

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment »

Angel Sponge Cake

This recipe for Angel Sponge Cake comes from the tiny book I found at my sister’s house. I haven’t had any bad ones from this book, however, this might be the first one. This one was kind of weird. I looked online to see if there were any recipes on there for Angel Sponge Cake that I could look at, but I didn’t find any. Not one. At any rate, I tried it, and I’ll share it, but I warned you. I wanted to have this cake on today so there would be a beautiful and tasty dessert for you to make for mom this weekend. Boo. I’m not so sure about this one. You might want to try some other recipes I’ve posted. The ridiculously delicious Prune Cake is a great one, or the Chocolate Rose Cake for the chocoholic mom, or even the luscious Lemon Dessert #2. There are so many desserts and cakes to choose from – go crazy and pick one!

I think they ran out of room to write out the recipe – it’s a bit confusing.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Angel Sponge Cake

Beat:

6 egg whites

1/2 teaspoon salt

Add:

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup cake flour

Put in bottom of 9″ x 13″ pan (I think – there’s no size listed).

Beat until light:

6 egg  yolks

Add and beat until light in color:

3 Tablespoons water

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

Sift together:

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

Combine with egg yolk mixture.

Pour over egg whites in pan.

Bake in slow (300-325 degrees – I had the oven at 325 degrees) 45-60 minutes.

Separate the eggs first – this recipe doesn’t take long if you have everything ready to go ahead of time. I used my big mixer, but I think it would have worked better with a hand mixer.

Here is the angel food layer in the pan first. Looks harmless enough.

The recipe doesn’t have everything in the instructions. Sift ALL the dry ingredients for the sponge cake layer together first.

Here is the sponge cake layer poured on top of the angel food layer. Ok . . .?

I thought maybe the two types of cake would assimilate and mix together more. Instead, there are definitely two separate layers with two totally different types of cake. Weird.

Whipped cream and fresh berries make anything delicious AND beautiful!

The cake is good – just a bit strange – and kind of tough. Not my favorite and possibly the first recipe from that tiny book that isn’t so great. Maybe I missed something here, I don’t know. Anyway, if you try this Angel Sponge Cake, let me know how it turns out for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment »

Rhubarb Crumble

Rhubarb Crumble is one of Grandma’s recipes that doesn’t seem to make sense. I think it’s more of a cake than a “crumble”. When I think of a “crumble”, I think of more of a “crisp”, but this recipe makes more of a cake. In fact, I’d say it reminds me of more of a coffee cake. It’s perfect for a Mother’s Day brunch or afternoon coffee. The recipe is a bit mixed up, so I had to figure out what to do with this one. Let’s get started and you’ll see what I mean.

This delicious crumble/cake is loaded with rhubarb.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Rhubarb Crumble

Topping:

Mix together and set aside:

3 Tablespoons, melted butter

2/3 cup flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts (I used pecans)

Mix together in order given:

1/3 cup margarine (I used butter)

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup orange juice

2 Tablespoons grated orange rind

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2-1/3 cup self-rising cake flour (I never have cake flour OR self-rising flour in the house, so I had to go to Google and find out how to make a substitute: 2-1/3 cups flour, 1/2 heaping t. salt, 2-1/2 heaping t. baking powder – whisk together and sift 5 times to make it light.)

The recipe also calls for adding 1/4 cup chopped nuts into the batter, but I left them out in this one.

Fold in:

1 pound rhubarb, cut into 1 inch pieces

Spoon into greased 9 inch springform pan.

Add topping.

Bake at 350 degrees for 60 to 65 minutes.

I didn’t see the part about the rhubarb needing to be in 1 inch pieces until I had already cut it into 1/4 inch pieces. It was just fine.

You can see how full of rhubarb the batter is, and that bit of orange in there is really tasty.

The crumble topping goes on top and then after baking, it makes a delicious crumb top.

Not only is this a delicious cake – it’s beautiful! I put it on the glass plate pedestal I made a few years ago, and you can find the instructions for how to make that here.

The springform pan makes it easy to cut the pretty pieces, but I think you could also bake this in a 9 inch x 9 inch pan.

This beautiful and delicious crumble/cake would make the perfect brunch dessert for Mother’s Day. It would also be perfect for your afternoon coffee. Serve this Rhubarb Crumble with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream and mom will be so glad – and proud – that you baked!

 

 

 

8 Comments »

Chocolate Cake (Cupcakes) with Chocolate Buttercream

The recipe for Chocolate Cake (which I decided to make into cupcakes) comes from the tiny book I found at my sister’s house. It was time to make my son’s birthday cake and he decided that this year he wanted chocolate. Well, are we glad I tried this recipe from that book! This is one of the family’s newest favorites. The front page of that little book said that the recipes were “tested” and I would have to say they did it right. All of the recipes from that tiny book have been absolutely delicious, and this one is no exception. I made this recipe for a birthday, but it would also be great for Mother’s Day, or any other celebration – especially if your mother is as much of a chocoholic as my mom is. In honor of the upcoming day to celebrate mothers, here is a photo of 3 generations: my mom, my grandma, and her mother – my great-grandmother.

It must have been a special occasion – they’re all dressed up and Grandma has a hat on! So let’s get back to the business at hand – Chocolate Cake!

This recipe is quick and easy to do – just the way we like ’em!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Chocolate Cake

Mix in order given:

1/2 cup shortening (I used butter)

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

2 small eggs

1 cup buttermilk or sour milk

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon (heaping) baking soda (add to the flour)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup cocoa mixed with enough boiling water to make a paste

Bake at 350-375 degrees for 40 minutes (I baked the cupcakes at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes).

Chocolate Buttercream

2 sticks butter

4 cups powdered sugar

1/2-3/4 cup cocoa (depending on how cocoa-y you like it)

2-3 Tablespoons vanilla

3-4 Tablespoons milk

Blend well with a hand mixer, adding more milk if necessary to thin to perfect piping or frosting consistency.

This is what the cocoa paste looks like – nice and creamy.

Here’s before and after baking – very chocolatey.

I don’t think you can see it here, and I’m not sure why, but these cupcakes had a nice bit of a crust on top – it was delightful and we all loved that part.

I piped on the buttercream, but you can frost them with a knife also. The buttercream is delicious on these and it WAS a birthday – there HAS to be sprinkles.

This my new favorite recipe. They were just delicious. I use that word a lot – delicious. But they were – absolutely delicious. The whole family agreed. Try this recipe for Chocolate Cake for your chocoholic – it’ll be their new favorite, too!

 

 

1 Comment »

Rhubarb Bars

I can’t believe it! It’s finally here! Rhubarb season! Time to make the first recipe of the season – Rhubarb Bars. My plants are as big as they’ve ever been, and while I know I say that every year – this time I mean it!

Rhubarb is one of those things that my grandmas used to help them survive the Great Depression. They planted rhubarb, and while it still took some sugar to bake with it and to eat, it was a fruit they grew themselves and it was free – they didn’t have to use their limited resources to buy it. I’m sure friends and family gave each other parts of the plants they grew – just like sharing perennials – so they didn’t originally have to BUY the plants. That’s probably why Grandma and her sisters had so many recipes for delicious treats like Rhubarb Cinnamon Coffee Cake, Rhubarb Bread, Rhubarb Muffins, Rhubarb Cream Delight, Rhubarb Crunch, Rhubarb Crunch #2Orange Rhubarb Pie, Rhubarb Jam, Rhubarb Torte, and Rhubarb Sauce. When I planted my first rhubarb plant many years ago, I did buy it because neither grandma or my mom still had rhubarb for me to get a piece of. I put it on the south side of our garage and it grew pretty well, but only had pencil sized stalks. I was telling Grandpa about it and he told me to pick almost all of it before it froze in the fall, so it had to grow new stalks every year. Well, I shouldn’t have been surprised that the old farmer knew what he was talking about – it’s grown bigger every year (I’ve since split it into two clumps and even given some pieces to friends) and this year the stalks are about an inch wide. This is so exciting! More rhubarb to make more recipes! Let’s get started.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Rhubarb Bars

In a saucepan, dissolve in 1/4 cup water:

2 Tablespoons corn starch

Mix in:

3 cups cut-up rhubarb

1 1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Cook until thick.

Cool.

Mix together until crumbly:

1 1/2 cup oatmeal

1 1/2 cup flour

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup shortening (I used butter)

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

Pat 3/4 of this mixture into 9″ x 13″ pan.

Pour in the cooled rhubarb mixture.

Top with remaining crumbs.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

I didn’t press the crust in too hard, just patted it in. Next goes on the delicious and jammy filling, which seemed like it didn’t thicken up enough, but was just fine in the end. I almost would have suggested an extra tablespoon of corn starch because of that, but I soon realized why it wasn’t necessary. After baking, we couldn’t wait to try the bars. We cut them while they were still warm and they were really crumbly and soft. My advice – WAIT until they’re totally cool and they’ll be more like a bar and easier to cut.

This is before and after baking. These are almost like a jam bar with that filling in there.

Oh wow – these smell so delicious while they’re baking – and aren’t they pretty?!!

Get out to your garden and start picking those beautiful stalks of rhubarb. Then start your rhubarb baking and try these bars. They’re so delicious – just like Grandma used to make! You’re going to love these Rhubarb Bars!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment »

The New Vintage Kitchen

A Vermont innkeeper's collection of vintage recipes, reimagined for today's cooks.

Bernadine’s Corner

Recipes * Lifestyle

Convivial Supper

Recipes from the Past

Cooking Without Limits

Food Photography & Recipes

Mrs. Twinkle

My Wonderful Little World

eASYbAKED

a collection of recipes