Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Cabbage Salad

I was incredibly lucky to have 2 sets of amazing and very loving grandparents. My Gramp was the first to leave us, but not until I was in college, so I was able to enjoy all of my grandparents most of my growing up years. This photo is of my other grandparents and me when I was about 3 months old. We lived next door to them until we moved to the lake when I was 8, and I was at their house almost every day.

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The recipe for today is from this grandma. She made Cabbage Salad every time the whole family was all at their house for dinner. There were 12-16 of us when all of my aunts and uncles and cousins were there, and I’m sure this was just an economical thing. Also, this salad goes with absolutely everything. There isn’t really a card for this – I watched and helped her make this my whole life, so I just always knew how to do it. I’m going to try and write down what I do, but I have to admit that this changes a little bit from time to time, depending on what I have on hand and how I’m feeling on the day I make it.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Cabbage Salad

Shred :

1 head of cabbage.

Dressing:

(All of these measurements are approximate depending on how big the head of cabbage is. Feel free to taste and adjust the sugar and vinegar to your liking.)

1 cup mayonnaise

3 Tablespoons sugar

3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Blend.

Add to the shredded cabbage and combine.

Add:

2 sliced bananas

or

pineapple chunks.

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You can use a food processor to shred the cabbage, or hone your shredding skills with a knife.

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I used bananas for this salad, but grandma did occasionally use pineapple. Pineapple was probably for really special occasions.

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This is definitely an unusual flavor combination. Not everyone in my family liked this made with bananas.

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This salad is economical, it’s tasty, and it goes with any main dish. It brings back a lot of memories for me of dinners at Gramp and Grandma’s with the family around the dining room table laughing, telling stories, and being together. It was so much fun. Those are memories I’ll always cherish.

 

 

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Potato Salad

We’re big time into summer now. It’s time to make all the old summertime classics that our moms and grandma’s have made for years. They’re such an integral part of us and our summer memories. Speaking of memories, I had to share this photo of my mom and her cousin on a family trip to the lake from 70 years ago yesterday!!! I love this photo so much – I can’t stand it!!!  I love the old dock and the sand pail sitting there, and look at the old board going from the sandy shore up to the dock – no need for the adults to get their shoes wet! My mom is in the water, not wanting to get her hair wet. (Some things never change – she didn’t like to get her hair wet when we lived at the lake, either, but that was the 1970’s and the hair-do’s didn’t allow it.) Maybe they were told at the time to NOT get their hair wet! This photo looks like it could have been taken yesterday, even though my mom was 6 and her cousin was 5 (Oops! I’m giving away their age!)!

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These two cousins were more like sisters and had so much fun together! They’re just so stinkin’ cute!

The classic recipe we’re making today is Potato Salad. Every family has their own favorite potato salad with those special little things their mom or grandma did to make it taste so good and make it so memorable. Both of my grandmas made great potato salad, but today I’m sharing the one from this grandma. I’m going to share one of her big secrets with you – Grandma made this one with a secret ingredient – pickle juice! Now this may not be a big deal to some of you because you’re saying to yourself, “my mom or grandma did that, too!” Yes, that may be, but did they probably didn’t make it with this family secret in it – my grandma’s special Sweet Pickles and their juice which I shared in an earlier post. You CAN use regular dill pickle juice, but it just isn’t the same. If you’re interested in trying out this family secret – I recommend making a jar of Grandma’s Sweet Pickles first, and use those pickles and juice in a batch of Potato Salad. I have been making this my whole life, so I don’t have a card for this. I’ll just have to type it out.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Potato Salad

Peel and boil under tender, 6-8 red potatoes (I happened to have russets on this day, but I usually use red).

Let them cool and then slice them.

Boil 2-3 eggs, let them cool, and chop them.

For dressing:

1 cup Hellman’s Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip (I use mayonnaise)

2 Tablespoons yellow mustard

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon celery seed

3 Tablespoons pickle juice

Mix well.

Combine:

the sliced potatoes

the chopped eggs

1/2 of an onion, chopped

3 dill pickles, chopped (or if using Grandma’s Sweet Pickles, about the equivalent of 3 whole pickles)

2 stalks of celery, chopped

Add dressing and combine.

Add more mayonnaise or pickle juice depending on how moist you like it.

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Mixing up the dressing ahead of time helps in the combining later.

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Let the potatoes cool before trying to slice them or you will end up with very hot hands.

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Everything is chopped and in the bowl and the dressing is all mixed up – ready for the final combine!

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Oh my gosh, this brings back all of those summer memories of picnics and dinners at both of my grandparents houses and of summer at the lake!

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Make sure when you’re making your own summertime classics that you write down all of the steps so your kids can make them just like their mom and grandma’s did! The next generation needs to know all of those family secret ingredients! It’s so important to keep all of these traditions alive, no matter what time of year it is! This salad goes with anything from the grill, so make up a batch and head out to the lake!

 

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Marinated Carrots

I remember Grandma making these Marinated Carrots for holiday dinners. They are a bit on the sweet n sour side, and that’s being a bit adventurous for her. They’re a little different, but are amazingly delicious, and I’d say almost more of a relish than a side dish. This recipe makes a pretty large batch, but it’s nice that the card says they keep up to 6 weeks.

Marinated Carrots

I think I remember Grandma making these at Easter time.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Marinated Carrots

Cook about 10 minutes:

2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced

Add:

1 teaspoon salt

Cool.

Mix together:

1 can condensed tomato soup or tomato bisque (I used tomato soup)

1 cup sugar (gasp!)

1/4 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce (it said on the card that she once used 1 Tablespoon, so that’s what I used)

3 small onions, chopped

1/4 cup vinegar (she said she used 1/2 cup, so that’s what I used – apple cider vinegar)

1 teaspoon salt

dash of pepper

1/2 cup salad oil (I used canola)

1 green pepper, chopped

Heat, but do not boil.

Pour over carrots.

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What is with the teenie, tiny carrots they have right now? I hope this trend doesn’t continue. It’s ridiculous to try and peel these skinny things – it takes forever. What ever happened to the regular sized carrots they used to have in the stores? I don’t get it. I don’t like it. Just sayin’.

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This is another incredibly quick and easy recipe – the ingredients are pretty fast to pull together, but I did gasp – out loud – when it said to put in a cup of sugar. I think I’d try it with only 1/2 cup next time because it is – plenty sweet!

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It end up so pretty in the end. As pretty as a side dish can be.

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This is great with any main dish.

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Try this unusual side dish. It’s so good and is very tasty. Easy to make and colorful with that sweet n sour flavor – you’ll love it!

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Vegetable Casserole

This is Easter week and I just had to share an Easter photo of me from when I was about 5 years old. Back in the day, you had to have an Easter hat (although this one looks like a headband with silk flowers on it) and white patent leather shoes to wear to church. Too bad the dress is covered up and we can’t see what that looked like. I love the little spring coat – I wish I had one like that now!

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I loved Easter when I was a kid because there were arts and crafts involved: dyeing and decorating eggs, decorating an egg tree, and making paper Easter bunnies. There were things to bake like hot crossed buns and coconut cakes, cartoons to watch like “The Easter Bunny is Coming to Town“, movies to watch like “King of Kings“, amazing and incredibly fragrant Easter lilies to smell, and then there were the baskets that the Easter Bunny left for my sister and me to find on Easter morning. It was always so hard to wait until we got back from church to be able to eat the treats and have the big Easter dinner. Sometimes we would go to Grandma and Grandpa’s church, but the church we attended regularly made Easter morning special by having a sunrise service where they would black out all the windows, having a big black curtain across the altar hiding the cross on the front wall covered in white paper. Then when it was time for the church service to start, they would play a very loud ripping sound imitating the tearing in half of the curtain in the temple in Jerusalem when Jesus died (I hope I have that right), and there would be the white cross gleaming in the front of the church after the black curtain was pulled aside. It was very loud, very exciting, and very inspiring!

Today’s recipe is the kind of thing Grandma used to make a lot for holidays like Easter – a new and exciting vegetable dish, even though it’s basically frozen vegetables doctored up a bit. I think she was trying to make vegetables more interesting, but unfortunately, I still don’t think Grandpa liked them very much. This Vegetable Casserole is another really easy side dish that’s quick to make and easy to take to any gathering. You could even make it a day or two ahead and have it ready to go. It’s one of those dishes that’s great because it’s so nice and easy, and on a holiday there’s a lot to do to put on the big dinner. I know that’s what Grandma was thinking when trying this one for the first time.

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This is a good one!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Vegetable Casserole

Boil or microwave partially and separately:

1 bag of frozen crinkle cut carrots

1 bag of frozen chopped broccoli

1 bag of frozen cauliflower flowerets

Place in casserole (I lightly sprayed the casserole with non-stick spray for easy clean up).

Add:

1 onion, sliced

Mix together:

1 can cream of celery soup

1/2 soup can milk

1/4 cup sugar

Add to vegetables – I mixed them all together before putting into the casserole.

Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes.

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The sauce for this casserole is very simple. I had my doubts though – sugar? In vegetables?

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Putting it in the oven doesn’t really change anything expect the sauce. It makes a nice sauce in the bottom of the dish.

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It’s so easy, so good, and so pretty!

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I truly had doubts about the sugar thing, but it’s amazing how tasty it is! This is delicious! Try it! Save yourself some time and make this very easy, very good side dish. This one is so quick and easy, it will give you more time to enjoy things like Easter videos, Easter Bunnies, and chocolate eggs.

 

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Deviled Eggs

Everyone knows how to make Deviled Eggs, and everyone has their own recipe, but I’m sharing my recipe for them anyway. My mom made these at least once a week in the summer when we were growing up (that is, if she could get us out of the lake long enough to eat). We always ate on the deck in the summer. This photo is of me swimming the first summer we lived at the lake. That was it – we never came out of the water if we didn’t have to.

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I’m really glad we have this picture. Now that we’ve been away from the lake for a while, I realize that we didn’t take nearly enough pictures of us and/or the lake. I suppose that’s because we were all always in the water and didn’t have the camera handy!!

I know mom learned how to make deviled eggs from Grandma. Grandma made a lot of them in her day, and her deviled egg recipe and her potato salad recipes were so good. They both had the same secret ingredient – pickle juice! Both recipes are really special when using her Sweet Pickles recipe and putting THAT juice in them. My sister makes her deviled eggs that way, too! This particular batch of deviled eggs has my own secret ingredient – Old Bay Seasoning. Old Bay happens to be a particular favorite of my son, so I started incorporating it into our deviled eggs. I don’t have a recipe card for this one – I’ll just type it out here.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Deviled Eggs

Here is my technique for boiling eggs: Put 6-8 eggs into a pot and cover just to the top of the eggs with cold water. Put on heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover, turn off the heat, and let sit for 12 minutes. When 12 minutes are up, drain hot water and run cold water over eggs. Let eggs sit in cold water for 15 minutes or so, and then peel.

Cut the peeled hard-boiled eggs in half the long way, remove yolks and put in a bowl.

Set egg whites on platter or container you’re going to store them in.

Use a fork to smash yolks and mix them with:

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 Tablespoon mustard

2 large dill pickles, chopped, or 2-3 Tablespoons dill pickle relish

1-2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning

salt and pepper to taste

2-3 Tablespoons pickle juice (or in this case, dill pickle relish juice), or enough to get the consistency you want for your yolks

Dollop a spoonful of yolk mixture into the egg whites (you can be fancy and put the yolk mixture in with a piping bag, but these don’t last long enough for me to be that fancy).

Sprinkle top with a garnish of Old Bay Seasoning.

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I used relish for this particular batch, but I can’t stress enough how good these are when I use Grandma’s Sweet Pickles.

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Mix it all up and get ready to dollop.

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I like to put them in something that has sides so they don’t slide all over the place.

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These are such a summer staple for our family. Growing up, we never had dinner on the deck in the summer without them!

 

 

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Calico Beans

The recipe for today comes from a cookbook that was made by a company that my sister-in-law worked for years ago. It’s kind of like the old church cookbooks, where everyone sends in their favorite and best recipes. This is one of my favorites from the book. There are a million recipes for Calico Beans, and everyone has their own way of doing it. I follow the basic recipe, but I still add a couple of different things to make it my own. Because this Sunday is Father’s Day, and we’re making something that has bacon in it, and since bacon reminds me of how much my dad loved it (and me!), I’ll share this photo of me and my dad. I don’t know why, but this one just cracks me up!! He was notorious for pretending he was a water monster and holding us under water when swimming with us, and that was NOT pleasant. Here we both seem to be having a lot of fun!

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The looks on our faces are just so funny! Me and my sister were “water babies” and we practically grew up UNDER water. It might have something to do with the fact that we grew up on the lake and were in the water EVERY DAY!!!! Dad passed away 26 years ago at the age of 49, and I miss him all the time, but especially in the summer when I miss the lake and those days of playing water monster in the lake.

I’ll just type this one out instead of photo copying the recipe out of the cookbook.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Calico Beans

Mix all together:

1/2 pound bacon, cooked, drained, and chopped

1/2 pound ground beef, cooked and drained

1 small onion, chopped

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup ketchup

1 Tablespoon yellow mustard

2 Tablespoons vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)

1/4 cup molasses

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 15-ounce can kidney beans

1 15-ounce can lima beans

1 21-ounce can pork and beans

(I usually use a large can of Bush’s Original Beans and then mix and match 3 or 4 cans of other kinds of beans: Black beans, pinto beans, butter beans, etc. – whatever you have on hand.)

Pour into a 2-quart casserole.

Bake uncovered at 325 degrees for 30 minutes, lower heat to 300 degrees and bake for 1 1/2 hours more (I always just put this in a crockpot 8 hours or so).

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I like to bake the bacon on a rack in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or so. All of the fat drips down onto the baking sheet.

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The great thing is that all of the ingredients can just be put into the crockpot.

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Mix it all up, turn it on, and leave it to cook away for the day.

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I probably make this bean recipe 10 times over the course of the summer. You can use this for Father’s Day, 4th of July, or any other picnics you’re taking a side dish to. It’s easy, it’s tasty, and the whole family loves it!

 

 

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Applesauce

Today I’m using up some of the apples that our friend, Sven, gave us. He has a big and very old apple tree that normally just gives fruit every other year, but it gave fruit last year AND this year. My husband took this photo of his beautiful old tree.

Sven's tree

I used some of these apples to make Apple Crisp a few weeks ago and you can read more of the story of his tree on that post. Grandma and Grandpa also had an apple tree when they moved to town, but when they lived on the farm, they would get apples from friends and then we would all help make pies, apple crisp, and applesauce. My kids LOVED this Applesauce when they were growing up, and I still make it every year if I can. They would never want to have to buy store-bought applesauce! It’s so easy to make that there isn’t a recipe card for it.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Applesauce

Stock pot full of apples, halved, quartered, or sliced

1/2 cup of water, to start, more if it gets too thick

1/2 cup sugar, to start, you can add more or less to taste

1 teaspoon cinnamon

dash of nutmeg

Cook until apples break down and become as smooth or as chunky as you like.

You can eat it as it is at this point, or can it like I do (I got 4 pints out of this batch) and save some for the winter.

I put it in sterilized jars, can in water bath for 25 minutes, and save it for a snowy winters day in February when you need a little summertime in a jar!

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Sven gave us a 5 gallon bucket full of gorgeous apples!

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My apple peeler won’t work on these apples, they’re too small. It’s cut and peel by hand for this one!

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I started out slicing the apples, but ended up quartering them – it took me awhile! 🙂

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Put everything in the pot and put the cover on and let it cook.

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Even though the applesauce is thick, a funnel helps to keep everything in there.

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Four of these beautiful, sweet jars doesn’t seem like enough. I may have to make another batch. Try this easy recipe for apple pie in a jar! It’s best served in the middle of winter when we’re tired of the wind and snow. Delicious.

 

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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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