Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Rhubarb Pie #2

This recipe for Rhubarb Pie #2 is the one Grandma was famous for. It’s unbelievably delicious. I really should have made this rhubarb pie first so it could be #1, but I made another one in 2014, so that one is Rhubarb Pie. There are a couple of people in my family for whom this is one of their top 5 favorites, and that’s saying something. This pie is really one of those things that reminds me of Grandma. The smell of it, the look of it, and the memories of picking rhubarb in the shady garden down in the corner of the yard by the driveway at the farm.

I love this photo of Grandma with her two children: my mom and my uncle. It looks like a beautiful spring day and they’re all dressed up.

They’re so cute!

This pie has a custardy bottom layer that is divine with the tart rhubarb filled upper layer, and then there’s that heavenly layer of meringue over the top of it all. Oh my. Oh yes. Delicious. This card is one where we find the term “plenty sweet”. We just loved the terminology – that’s how “Plenty Sweet Life” came to be!

Of course, note the “V. Good” connotation on this one!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Rhubarb Pie #2

Have one pie crust prepared, in the pie pan, and ready to go. You can find several recipes in the “Pie Crust” category up the right side of this blog.

Mix together:

1 1/2 cups sugar (she used 1 1/4 cups and it was “plenty sweet”!)

3 Tablespoons flour

3 egg yolks (whites reserved)

pinch of salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup of Half-n-Half (she said to use 1 1/4 cups used a pint for making two pies – I tried using just 1 cup for 1 pie and it was fine)

Add:

3 cups rhubarb, cut up fine (I just sliced them – I know the pieces were bigger than she would have used, but we like it that way)

Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes, then turn down to 325 and bake another 40 minutes or until set (I had to bake it another 30 minutes or so).

Whip the 3 reserved egg whites to stiff peaks, adding 2 Tablespoons of sugar per white. Put the whites on top of the hot pie and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes or until browned.

The pie is delicious warm, but when chilled in the refrigerator, it holds it’s shape a little better and is still just as delicious!

I really can’t believe how big my rhubarb is this year – it’s huge! A bumper crop!

Just use any pie crust recipe to have one ready.

Before and after baking – I put the pie on a baking sheet just in case the filling would overflow.

Once the pie is baked, it’s time to put on the meringue. I baked it about 10 minutes.

This is one of the best Rhubarb Pies I have ever made. Period. It’s beautiful.

Just look at this beautiful pie! It tastes even better than it looks – if you can believe that! You’re going to want to try this pie if you have a bumper crop of rhubarb this year like me. This Rhubarb Pie #2 will become a staple in your family, too!

 

 

 

 

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Tapioca Salad or Dessert

The recipe for Tapioca Salad or Dessert is another incredibly easy and incredibly good one from Grandma’s files. This one definitely fits Grandma’s theme of very easy and very good. We’re heading into that time of year where there are innumerable graduation parties, bridal showers, family reunions, and picnics and I don’t know about you, but I really do get tired of bringing the same old dish all the time. Here’s a new one, that’s so fast and so tasty, nobody will believe you didn’t spend a lot of time on it. It’s just that good, and even better – you can keep everything needed to make it in your cupboard or pantry and be ready to make this at a moments notice. You will always be ready for anything with this one in your back pocket.

Note the “V. Good” connotation again on this one!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Salad #8

Drain juice from:

1 can of mandarin oranges (I used a small one)

1 can of pineapple (I used tidbits in juice)

Add enuf (ha! I LOVE that!) water to make 3 cups of liquid.

Cook fruit juice/water mixture with:

1 package of tapioca pudding

1 package of orange tapioca pudding (I didn’t find this at my store so I just used 2 packages of regular tapioca pudding)

Cook until boiling.

(I let the pudding cool a bit at this point before adding it to the fruit.)

Add fruits and let stand overnight or serve (I found that it thickened up a bit as it sat overnight).

I drain the juice from the can of fruit by putting the strainer right over the top of my big measuring cup.

When you’ve drained the juice from both cans, just add water to make 3 cups.

This was supposed to have 3 bananas in it, but when I was ready to make the salad, the bananas weren’t ready to go yet – they were still very green. I just left them out (since I’m not a huge fan of bananas in salad).

After cooking the pudding, I poured it into a bowl to cool down quicker instead of leaving it in the hot pan.

After mixing the pudding and fruit, it seemed a bit loose, so I did what Grandma told me to do – add mini marshmallows. It seems weird, but it works. And I know this because I’ve used this trick many times. I don’t know if in this case it was because I left out the bananas, but I added about a half bag of miniature marshmallows.

Oooh – it looks so pretty in the glass bowl my mom got while in the hospital when I was born. Apparently it held fruit – how appropriate. It’s amazing the bowl is still in one piece! This recipe is V. Good, according to Grandma, and she’s never wrong. It’s a delicious salad (or dessert) that’s perfect for any springtime or summer occasion. The ingredients are easy to have in the cupboard and ready to use to make this salad. Make a batch of this Tapioca Salad or Dessert and be ready for anything!

 

 

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Rhubarb Cake with Orange Sauce

This recipe for Rhubarb Cake with Orange Sauce comes from one of Grandma’s sisters. Grandma and her sisters had a definite sweet tooth. This cake with the sauce is delicious, and “plenty sweet”. The orange sauce would be amazing on ice cream or angel food cake or even plain.

Rhubarb –  I’ve got a LOT of it this year. I can’t believe how big my rhubarb is!

It was big last year, and I might have made the same statement then, but seriously – the stalks are HUGE! It’s so fun! That means even more rhubarb recipes and maybe even another batch of Rhubarb Jam this year! I can’t believe it’s time for rhubarb, but here we go with the rhubarb recipes!

Wow – so good!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Rhubarb Cake with Orange Sauce

Rhubarb Cake

Cream together:

1/2 cup shortening (I used butter)

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

Add:

1 beaten egg

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk with 1 teaspoon orange juice or vinegar)

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

Stir in:

2 cups chopped rhubarb

Spread batter into a 9″ x 13″ pan.

Sprinkle on top of batter:

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

Serve with Orange Sauce.

Orange Sauce

Heat together:

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup orange juice

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup brown sugar

4 Tablespoons butter

Cook until mixture thickens (I heated it until it started to boil – it thickens more as it cools).

Rhubarb is just so pretty.

The batter is quick to pull together and it doesn’t take a lot of rhubarb.

Oh yum. How can you go wrong with an Orange Sauce that’s a bit like a caramel, but with the flavor of orange?

Go ahead. Pour it on. It. Is. So. Good. I’m not even kidding. This is one very simple, very quick recipe that you just HAVE TO try. You’re going have to trust me on this one. You’re going to love it and your whole family is going to love it and all of your friends are going to love this Rhubarb Cake with Orange Sauce.

 

 

 

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Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to all you mothers, grandmothers, and special people!

Enjoy this, might I say, adorable photo of me with my mom when I was about 6 months old.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

Love you!

 

 

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Streusel Cake

Today’s recipe for Streusel Cake came from one of my mom’s co-workers from years ago. She worked at one of the banks in town, and when someone would bring in a delicious treat to share with everyone, they would have to make obligatory copies of the recipe to give all of the co-workers. It wasn’t long after this photo of me and my mom was taken that she started working a the bank and met a lot of life-long friends who started out as co-workers. I think this must have been on our first Mother’s Day, because the writing on the bottom of the photo says 5 months. Since 5 months from my birth month is May, I’d guess that’s what’s happening here. I crack up every time I look at this picture and my face in it! I wonder what was going on behind the camera that made me look like that?! It must have been intense!

The dress mom’s wearing had large, orange-red flowers on it (the earrings matched). I loved it so much that when it wore out and she wouldn’t wear it anymore, I used the fabric and made a pillow out of it! It was so pretty and reminded me of mom. This is such an appropriate photo to share just before Mother’s Day!

This is definitely a special occasion cake, whether you want to have this for brunch or breakfast, or save it to have with your afternoon coffee.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Streusel Cake

For streusel, mix together and reserve:

2 cups graham cracker crumbs

3/4 cup chopped nuts

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon

3/4 cup butter, melted

For cake, mix together:

1 yellow cake mix

1 cup water

1/4 cup oil

3 eggs

(I just made the cake batter according to the instructions on the box I had because my cake mix called for softened butter instead of oil. I think you could do the same with any cake mix.)

Blend cake mix, water, oil, and eggs on low speed until moist.

Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes.

Pour half of cake mixture into greased and floured 9″ x 13″ pan.

Sprinkle on half of the streusel mixture.

Add the rest of the cake mixture and then sprinkle the rest of the streusel mixture on top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.

Yes – this is a LOT of streusel. It’s a pretty decadent recipe. I did say “special occasion”.

I used an offset spatula to spread the batter. Spreading the second layer is a little tricky. You may get some streusel mixed in to the batter, but it really doesn’t matter since the streusel will be sinking into the batter as it bakes.

Before and after baking – the streusel is basically like candy so it sinks in. How bad can that be? The first piece is tricky to get out because of this streusel, so don’t be surprised if it comes out in a couple of pieces. Oh well, you can’t let that go to waste. Someone has to taste it and make sure it’s good enough for mom. I’m just sayin’.

I wouldn’t hate a dollop of whipped cream on top of this cake. I did say “special occasion”, right? I think I said “special occasion”.

Mom will love this “special occasion” cake – with or without the dollop of whipped cream. It’s got the wonderful, sticky, candy-like streusel imbedded in that delicious cake. Wow. Mom will know how much you REALLY love her when you bake up this Streusel Cake!

 

 

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Omelets

My dad was the Omelet maker in our family. He always made them, but I was always watching so I’d know how to do it someday. I think you should give omelet making a try, too. How about trying to make some on Sunday? A regular Sunday would be great for making omelets, but THIS Sunday is Mother’s Day, and would be the PERFECT day to try making omelets. Mom would LOVE IT if you tried to make her an omelet on Mother’s Day. We all know that the most wanted thing by moms on Mother’s Day is to be waited on. She doesn’t want to do mundane things like cleaning or cooking or looking around for your dirty socks so she can get the laundry done before staring another busy week. So give her a break, will ya? Make her one of these omelets and make her day.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

omelets

Heat a nonstick skillet on medium-low heat.

Add:

butter enough to coat the bottom of the pan

Beat:

2 eggs (use 3 if mom is REALLY hungry)

Pour eggs into the pan and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan.

Sprinkle with:

shredded cheddar to your liking – about 1/4 cup per omelet

chopped ham, chicken, turkey, sausage

salt and pepper

I like to also add sautéed vegetables: onion, green pepper, red pepper, tomatoes, mushrooms.

When adding vegetables, I like to saute them first (in a little bit of butter) and have them ready to go.

First put the eggs into the butter coated pan. I like mine to be a bit browned on the outside so I have the heat turned up a bit. If you don’t like your omelet that way, keep the heat lower. In next are the shredded cheese and ham or whatever meat you’d like in it.

I put the vegetables on one side so when I fold it over, they’re going to stay right where I put them.

Flip one side over and slide the omelet onto a plate. I know there are some people who make 2 folds, but this is the way my dad made them.

It’s part of a healthy breakfast. Sprinkle a little chopped parsley or chives on top, some juice would be nice, and a piece of toast with jam. Maybe homemade jam!

Yes. Yes. Yes. Now THIS is what mom wants on her special day. She would like to NOT have to make breakfast – she wants YOU to make it. Try and make her an Omelet – you won’t be sorry you tried.

 

 

 

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The Easiest Nachos Ever!

In light of the fact that tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo, I’m sharing how I make The Easiest Nachos Ever! They’re easy to do and they’re easy to eat! When I was recovering from my winter of discontent (pancreatitis), this was one of the first things I craved and actually wanted to eat. It was scary to get back to eating normal food, and while I was still watching the fat so there wouldn’t be any more bouts of incredible pain, I was willing to risk it to eat something fairly normal. I hadn’t been eating much, I can tell you that, so we made a batch of these nachos, and wow, did they hit the spot! Deep breath, okay, here we go. Let’s try eating some of these bad boys. Hey – it didn’t go too bad. Not bad at all. There are a million ways to make nachos out there, and everyone has their favorite toppings to put on them, but this is our usual way of making them. Very easy. Very fast. Very good.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

The Easiest Nachos Ever!

Brown in a non-stick pan:

1 pound of lean ground beef (I used turkey here)

Add:

1 package of taco seasoning (sometimes I feel that a whole package is too much, so I usually use 1/2 of a package)

1/4 cup water

Cook until thick.

Put on a sided baking sheet:

a layer of tortilla chips – whatever kind you like

Layer on:

the ground beef (or turkey)

4-8 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese (I used about 4 ounces, but if you like more cheese, load it on!)

Broil for 3-5 minutes to melt cheese (watch closely so they don’t burn).

Add toppings:

black olives, sliced

sour cream

salsa

green onions, sliced (I had chives ready in my garden so I used those instead – it’s so exciting to be able to do that after a long, cold winter)

You can also use shredded lettuce, tomatoes, avocados, sliced jalapeno or any other toppings you like on there.

Start with a nice layer of tortilla chips.

On goes the browned and seasoned ground beef and shredded cheese. After broiling, you can see how melty and crispy they are.

Here they are with all of our toppings. Add whatever you want to make them just the way you like them.

These nachos are a great snack, lunch, or even dinner. I just leave them on the baking sheet and let everyone dig in.

Oh yeah, baby.

What can I say? You’re going to want to try these easy nachos this weekend. Make up a big pitcher of margaritas and enjoy them by celebrating with friends. (My friend Julie makes a mean margarita – they’re so good! I’ll have to share that recipe sometime!) You and your friends will love The Easiest Nachos Ever!

 

 

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Orange Raisin Bread

I’ve been looking through Grandma’s old church cookbooks lately, and I found another interesting recipe called Orange Raisin Bread. I had to try it. Well, it’s good. Very good. I like it better than banana bread. It’s that good. The fresh scent of orange and the fruitiness of the raisins makes a tremendous combination, especially in the springtime. I might say – and I know I say this a lot – that it’s one of my new favorites. You all might want to try this one. I mean, it’s really good.

Have I mentioned that this bread is really good?

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Orange Raisin Bread

Grind:

the rind of 1 orange (I just used my rasp for the orange rind)

1 cup raisins (instead of grinding them, I just chopped them)

Into a 1 cup measure put:

the juice of 1 orange, squeezed

fill to 1 cup with boiling water

Cream:

2 Tablespoons shortening (I used butter)

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat in:

1 egg

Sift together:

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Add dry ingredients and liquid alternately.

Blend in raisins and rind.

Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes.

Makes 1 loaf.

I love the scent of orange. It’s a day brightener.

I could have used my food processor, but this way was just as easy.

Before and after baking – isn’t it pretty?!!

This makes a beautiful loaf.

It’s beautiful, but as you can see, I didn’t exactly get the raisins thoroughly mixed in. I’m no professional. I just like to bake. Next time I will try and mix them in a bit more. You should try to bake a loaf of this bread. It’s absolutely delicious and your family will love it. Make this Orange Raisin Bread today!

 

 

 

 

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Date Bars

The recipe for these Date Bars is another one that comes from the tiny book I found at my sister’s house. There is just something about dates and nuts that reminds me of Grandma and her sisters and the old days. This photo is of Grandma and my mom before the wedding of one of Grandma’s brothers. It looks like it must have been about 1947 or so. My mom and her cousin were the flower girls and as usual, they were dressed alike.

The dresses were so pretty and look how cute my mom’s hairdo is! Love it!

I’m telling you – there is just something about the fragrance of dates and nuts baking . . . it almost makes me cry. It smells like Grandma!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Date Bars

Beat until thick:

2 egg yolks

1 cup sugar

Mix in:

2 heaping Tablespoons flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

pinch of salt

1 package of chopped dates, floured (I used about 1 tablespoon for this)

3/4 cup nuts, chopped (I used pecans but normally I would use walnuts in this)

Fold in:

2 egg whites, beaten

Pour batter into greased 8″ x 8″ pan. (There is no pan size given to use here, so I just guessed at it – something like a 7″ x 11″ would have worked better.)

Bake at 325 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

No time or temp was give, and I thought a slow oven was 325 degrees. I should have researched that a bit first as I have since found that it should have been 300 degrees. I also thought the first ingredients made it seem very dry, so I added an extra egg yolk and egg white. After the bars were baked, that made them VERY tender, and they seemed to fall apart easily. Adding the extra egg wasn’t necessary. I should have known better. Just follow the original recipe.

This is why I thought this needed an extra egg. It said to beat them until thick, but it was very dry.

I used about 1 tablespoon of flour into the chopped dates. Mix them up and they won’t sink to the bottom of the bars.

Here is how dry the batter looked with the dates and nuts mixed in. Next is folding in the egg whites. Everything did mix in just fine.

Before and after baking – the bars rose up and smelled heavenly.

I’m not sure why, but this is what happened after cooling. I maybe could have used a bigger pan, but the bars would have been a bit thin.

These bars are very tasty, even thought they were a bit weird to make.

They’re chewy, sticky, and full of dates and nuts. Yum. This recipe is a good old-fashioned one that is fairly easy to make and is absolutely delicious. Try this recipe for Date Bars out on your friends and family – they’ll love it!

 

 

 

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Cherry Cha Cha

Todays recipe for Cherry Cha Cha comes from my other grandma. I think this was another one of her tasty, but quick to make bowling night desserts, a lot like her Layered Pudding Delight that I’ve posted before. I used to love being at Grandma and Gramp’s house on Thursday nights when Gramp went bowling. The ladies would stay at the house of whoever was hosting to gossip and knit or crochet projects to be used for later Christmas gifts or given to lucky grandchildren to wear. When Grandma and Gramp were hosting, Grandma made sure that I always had some needles and a bit of yarn to work on, too. It made me feel like I was a part of the group and I’d sit and listen to the ladies talk and work on my project while they worked on theirs. When the men were done bowling, they’d hurry back to the house for coffee and a tasty dessert made by the hostess, where there would be the roar of laughter and even more talking around the dining room table or in the living room. When I think of it now, it seems like those must have been late nights for those still working. The laughing and the coffee and the desserts seemed to go on all night.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Cherry Cha Cha

Combine:

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup margarine, melted (I used butter)

3 Tablespoons powdered sugar

Reserve 2 Tablespoons for topping.

Press rest of mixture into an 8″ x 8″ pan (Grandma wrote to put it into an 8″ x 13″ pan, but after putting the crumbs into it, it seemed way too big – I think she meant 8″ x 8″).

Chill.

Whip:

1/2 pint heavy whipping cream

Add:

4 cups miniature marshmallows

Carefully out half of this mixture on top of the chilled crust (I used a large spoon to put dollops on top and the spread it very gently over the top).

Put on top of this:

1 can cherry pie filling

Put on top of this:

the rest of the whipped cream mixture

Carefully spread it over the top of the cherry pie filling.

Top with rest of the graham cracker crumb mixture.

Refrigerate overnight.

Don’t forget to keep out a bit for the topping!

The miniature marshmallows go in looking like marshmallows, but after sitting overnight, they seem to meld into the whipped cream and make those layers firm up.

I used a small offset spatula to spread the layers. You really do have to be careful or you’ll dig into the layer underneath.

This has to be the right size pan – a bigger one would have made the dessert pretty thin.

It’s a pretty rich dessert, which means it’s perfect with a cup of coffee.

While it’s rich and full of whipped cream and pie filling, it still seems like a nice, light dessert. It’s delicious and is such an easy recipe with relatively few ingredients. Call up your group: sports team, friends, family, co-workers and have them over for a nice dessert and a cup of coffee. They’re sure to appreciate your offer of this Cherry Cha Cha with a chance to laugh, talk and gossip!

 

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