Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

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!

 

 

 

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Poppy Seed Buns

One thing I don’t have photos of, from the days of staying at Grandma and Grandpa’s farm, is the game playing. I really regret that because my sister and I played a LOT of games with them: Rook, Rack-O, Chinese Checkers, Old Maid, Rummikub, Checkers, Sorry, and card games. Sometimes we would play all night. Of course, we never wanted to stop when it was time for bed. It was a lot of fun, and Grandma especially, was very competitive. They never let us win – we had to win fair and square. There was none of this “everybody wins” type of Candyland. They also loved to play games with their great-grandchildren – board games and card games. One card game they always played with our kids when they were little, was Old Maid. We still have the cards, and they’re very well used, as you can see!

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There was one particular game of Old Maid that was played with my oldest daughter when she was about 4 years old. She and Grandma were the only two left holding cards. It was the end of the game and it was my daughter’s turn to draw a card from Grandma. She had only one card in her hand, and Grandma had two cards left in her hand: one was the Old Maid and one was the card to match my daughter’s card. Grandma put the Old Maid card up higher in her hand than the other card, thinking my daughter would pick that one and get the Old Maid. Well, my equally (and probably even more so) competitive daughter picked the lower card, got a pair because of it and won the game, leaving Grandma holding the Old Maid!!! Oh my gosh – first there was the look on Grandma’s face, then there was the screeching and howling of laughter from everyone when we realized what had happened, then there was the immense pride from Grandma about what her 4-year-old great-granddaughter had just pulled off. She told everyone she knew about that game for years. What a great memory – we’ll never forget it!!!

While we did have snacks when playing games, and the recipe for today would be a good snack for game night, I think it will also be a good addition to your Super Bowl party. You see different versions of this recipe all over the internet these days, and who am I to let a trend go untried? This recipe for Poppy Seed Buns comes from my mom, and I think she got it from someone she worked with, so they were ahead of the trend because she retired almost 25 years ago! I have never had these before, and I was pleasantly surprised at how good they were. You’ll want to try these!

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These buns are incredibly tasty and very easy to make.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Poppy Seed Buns

Slice and put in bottom of a cake pan:

24 dinner roll bottoms (I used King’s Hawaiian rolls, but they seemed a little softer than regular dinner rolls would be – I’d stick with regular dinner rolls next time – or maybe try a batch of Buns or 6 Hour Buns and just make the buns smaller)

Add:

thinly sliced ham

slices of Swiss cheese

Put tops of dinner rolls on.

Microwave until melted:

1 cup butter

4 Tablespoons brown sugar

2 Tablespoons yellow mustard

2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 Tablespoons poppy seeds (I only used 1 Tablespoon for this batch and that seemed like enough)

Stir sauce and drizzle over rolls.

Put into refrigerator until time to serve.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

There is a note on the card that says these can be made the night before – love that!

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Slice the rolls, put the bottoms in the bottom of the pan, and put on the ham and Swiss.

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I used deli ham and cut each piece in half.

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On go the tops and on to the sauce . . .

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. . . which is so darn tasty!

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Drizzle on the sauce and into the frig.

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I love it – another make ahead beauty!

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Get trendy with me – these will be great at your next game night or Super Bowl gathering!

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I used a sweet dinner roll for these and I think a regular dinner roll would have worked better, although both my husband and my son thought I was crazy. They liked the sweet rolls and told me to just leave it at that. I just want everyone to know – there ARE options. That being said, these are ridiculously delicious. That sweet and tangy sauce on top of a ham and cheese sandwich – so good! You can eat them with a fork, but your fingers work just as well. BTW – you WILL be licking every bit of that sauce off of your fingers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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Bunsteads

Grandma and Grandpa belonged to a travelogue group when I was growing up. Every Saturday night in the winter, they would go to a travelogue, which was a travel movie about different exotic destinations. These movies were shown on a big screen in the old high school turned office building in our town.

I LOVED to go to travelogues and often they would ask if I wanted to go with them. It felt like being transported to these destinations without ever leaving the snowy and cold state of Minnesota.

We can safely say that Grandma inadvertently influenced my love of cooking AND travel!!

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After the travelogue, the couples in the group would take turns having a lunch/snack/dessert and coffee at their home. Grandma made Bunsteads quite often along with a sweet dessert.

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Bunsteads are another comfort food that has acquired legendary status in our family. The name isn’t on the recipe and I think we just made it up!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Bunsteads

1/4 pound  American Cheese, cubed (I used 1 cup Velveeta, cubed)

3 hard cooked eggs, chopped

1 7 ounce can tuna

2 Tablespoons green pepper, chopped

2 Tablespoons onion, chopped

2 Tablespoons stuffed olives, chopped (I don’t use olives – this isn’t on the recipe I have copied down – there would be a revolt in the family if I changed the recipe now!)

2 Tablespoons sweet pickle, chopped

1/2 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing

6 hot dog buns

Mix lightly and fill split buns.

Wrap in foil.

Bake at 250 degrees for 30 minutes.

I got 8 filled buns out of the recipe.

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It’s a pretty mixture of ingredients.

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Don’t overfill the buns.

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Ready for the oven.

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The buns get crusty . . .

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and the filling is melty hot out of the oven.

One bite and I’m transported back to the travelogues.

Bon voyage!

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Pressed Sandwich

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

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Pressed Sandwich

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

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

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

Layer:

Salami

Smoked provolone cheese slices

Roasted red peppers, drained

Smoked deli turkey

Cheddar cheese slices

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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So pretty when you cut it open!

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

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