Sunday, January 31, 2010

Snow in the Hollow

 Simple Cookery Snow in 2010

Well, we didn’t get as much snow as expected, but it was still a decent amount.  And, it was enough for a ‘snow day’.  Remember them as a child?  Remember being so excited that school was closed.  I can remember being huddled in front of the television at night waiting for the Snow Bird report on WSM.  Fingers and toes crossed that our county would be filled with snow and closed the next day.  As adults, we don’t get too many snow days.  Saturday was one for me.  I spent most of the day curled up with a new book.

I tend to look back on growing up in the hollow through rose-colored glasses.  I know times were hard, but I prefer writing about the happier times.  When I heard about the new novel, Everything Will Be All Right, I knew it was something that I would want to read.  It’s a true story of Douglas Wallace and how he overcame poverty mingled with abuse.  Wallace tells his often painful true story with a strong love of family and Tennessee.  It’s a quick read, but still caused me to shed tears along with laughter as it sometimes came too close to home. 

Everything Will Be All Right is more than a book.  It’s a glimpse into a generation not too far removed from today.  It will give you hope, and we can all use a little more hope in today’s world.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


I'm a little skeptical about the weather forecast. The last time snow was predicted, we didn't get much. Now, they are calling for significant accumulation. Well, in middle Tennessee that is probably about three inches. It could also be a mixture of rain, snow, sleet and freezing rain. Oh my! I feel the need to fill all available containers with water. I must go to the grocery store and stock up on bread and milk. If you end up with an abundance of snow, check out my recipe for Snow Cream. Stay safe and warm!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Is this January?



Last week I was so cold I thought my toes would freeze.  This week we’re having thunderstorms and tornado warnings.  It must be January in Tennessee.  Still, I feel blessed.  Blessed to be living here and not in the devastation in Haiti.  My thoughts and prayers go out to Haiti and all of the families and friends of the American’s caught up in this terrible disaster. 

Friday, January 15, 2010

For The Birds

In the Spring I spend a lot of time listening to birds, but in the Winter I spend a lot of time watching them.  How about you?  They are so cute.  I’d love to take some up close pictures of them, but my feeders are quite a distance from the windows.  I’ll usually use binoculars.  I bet the neighbors think I’m watching them!

This Winter the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology are conducting a bird count from February 12th through February 15th.   You can record your findings at  This site will also give you info on how to identify the birds and how to count them.  I’m thinking there will be a little more info than black birds, red birds, little birds, etc.  But, it sounds like a fun project and a way to help out our wildlife.  Happy counting!

Sunday, January 10, 2010




Finally after several cloudy days filled with snow flurries, the sun came out this morning.  I’m finally warm!  That’s hard to believe since it was down to 4 degrees last night.  That qualifies as cold for any place, but in Tennessee, it’s down right miserable!  It’s a good thing we didn’t get a lot of snow or we’d be stuck in the Hollow until Spring.  Hope you’re staying warm wherever you are today.  Here’s a quick vintage recipe to keep you cozy.


2 & 1/2 tablespoons Minute Tapioca

Salt & Pepper to taste

Dash of paprika

2 cups cooked chicken, diced

1 cup cooked vegetables (use your favorite)

3/4 cup milk

1/2 cup chicken stock

2 tablespoons melted butter

6-8 unbaked canned biscuits

Combine Minute Tapioca, salt, pepper, paprika, chicken, milk, stock, vegetables and butter.  Mix thoroughly.  Turn into greased casserole and bake in hot oven (425 degrees) for five minutes.  Stir well and bake another five minutes.  Stir again and place biscuits on top of chicken mixture.  Continue baking 12-15 minutes or until biscuits are browned.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Commodity Cheese

If you grew up poor and in the country, then you are quite familiar with commodity cheese, sometimes referred to as government cheese.  To this day, my friends and I still talk about this wonderful cheese.  I’m sure the government handed out other food products, but the cheese stands out in my mind.  It came in huge blocks so it’s no wonder that we found lots of uses for it. 

I ran across this recipe in a vintage cookbook that gives a week of uses for cheese sauce and thought you’d enjoy it.  I think I will give the recipe a try, but will omit the massive amount of added salt!


2 pounds processed cheese, cubed

1 and 1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon prepared mustard

3 tall cans of evaporated milk (probably 12 oz.)

Mix cheese, seasonings and milk in a heavy kettle or in a saucepan over boiling water.  Cook slowly over low heat, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes until cheese is melted.  Remove from heat and beat with rotary beater until smooth.  Put in bowl, cover and cool.  Keep in refrigerator overnight before using.  Makes 8 cups.


Cheese spread for sandwiches

Mix 1/2 cup cheese mixture with 1 pound cooked cabbage

Heat 1 and 1/2 cups with 1 pound cooked macaroni

Mix some sauce with diced cooked ham and spread on sandwiches

Mix with cooked vegetables and cooked chicken for a quick casserole

Melt cheese over cooked broccoli

Spread as topping for crackers

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Living in an Instant World

I think January is the official diet month.  We all start the New Year with the grandest of plans and usually fizzle out by February.  Experts say (don’t ask me who) that small changes can make a big difference in the long run without making you feel deprived.  That is sometimes easier said than done when you’re living in an instant world.

Just check out your local grocery store.  There’s an abundance of pre-packaged meals and instant products that greatly out number the fresh produce.  Whether you have health issues or are just trying to eat healthier, your best bet is to stick with the outer areas and stay away from the isles.  Think about it…all the fresh produce, meats, dairy products are usually around the edge of the store. 

Do we really need instant potatoes and powdered cheese?  Well, sometimes.  I’m guilty of using short cuts too.  I love using cream soups in casseroles.  I saw a blog post recently for homemade cream of mushroom soup.  It made me want to hit myself upside the head.  Not only are homemade versions fresher and healthier, but it’s a great way to cut down on the sodium content.  And, does anything taste better than homemade soup?  Yes, it takes time.  It takes chopping.  It takes planning.  In the long run you have a delicious meal.  I know what you’re thinking.  There’s only one or two of you and you don’t want to eat soup for a week.  Well, what are you using your freezer for?  Most any kind of soup will freeze well giving you a quick meal weeks down the road.

So, here’s my New Year’s challenge to you.  The next time you are making out your grocery list, pick out one pre-packaged or instant item.  It can be instant potatoes, soup, oatmeal or anything else.  Next, think about this item and how you would prepare the same dish totally from scratch.  Then, adjust your grocery list with the ingredients needed and give it a try.  Don’t worry about making it healthier right now, just try making it fresher.  Let me know how it turns out and remember, small changes can make a big difference.

Here are some vintage recipes to get you started:


6 cups sifted all-purpose flour

2 & 1/2 tablespoons baking powder

1 & 1/2 teaspoons salt

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup shortening

Sift dry ingredients together; cut in shortening, using a pastry blender or two knives, until mixture resembles meal.  Store in covered jar in refrigerator.  This makes about 7 cups or enough for three dozen 2-inch muffins.  Add in 1/2 cup dried fruit and you have a great breakfast muffin. 


2 large eggs

2 tablespoons melted butter

1 & 1/4 cups milk

1 & 1/4 cups muffin mix

Bet egg yolks; combine with milk and melted butter.  Add to muffin mix and stir until blended.  Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry and fold into batter.  Bake in hot waffle iron.  Serve with brown sugar, syrup or molasses.


2 cups canned, sliced peaches

1/4 cup peach juice from can

1 tablespoon butter

dash of cinnamon

1 medium egg

1/4 cup milk

1 cup dry muffin mix

Place peaches and juice in a greased 1 and 1/2 quart casserole.  Dot with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon.  Combine beaten egg and milk and add to muffin mix, stirring only until dry ingredients are dampened.  Drop batter from spoon onto the fruit.  Bake in a moderate oven at 375 Degrees for about 45 minutes.  Serve hot.