Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!


Have a blessed day!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Saturday, December 17, 2011


There's a reason these are called butter cookies. The buttery flavor is delicious and makes this one a favorite any time of the year, but especially at Christmas.


1 cup soft butter
½ cup brown sugar, packed
2¼ cups flour, sifted

Cream butter until it resembles whipped cream and slowly add the sugar, beating well. Add flour gradually and blend thoroughly. Wrap in waxed paper and chill for several hours. Knead dough slightly on floured board, form into a smooth ball. Roll to about ⅛ inch thick and cut to desired shapes. Place on ungreased cookie sheets and bake in moderate oven (350-f) about 12 minutes. When cold decorate with butter icing, candied fruit, etc.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Fruit Cake - you either love it or hate it.  And, if you love it, you probably have your own special recipe. This treat is The Swiss Colony Christmas Fruit Cake
and is available from

If you would rather try a homemade cake, there are plenty of recipes available.  This vintage recipe probably is not what you would normally think of when someone mentions fruit cake, but it is delicious.  I like to mix in some golden raisins and currants. It comes out similar to my Grandmother's Applesauce Cake. Do you have a favorite fruit cake recipe?


Place in mixing bowl

One-half cupful of brown sugar,
One cupful of molasses,
Two tablespoons of cocoa,
One egg,
One and one-half level teaspoonfuls of baking soda,
One cup cold coffee,
Three and one-half cupfuls sifted flour,
One and one-half teaspoonfuls cinnamon,
One teaspoonful nutmeg,
One cupful seeded raisins,
One-half cupful chopped nuts.

Beat to thoroughly mix and then pour in a greased and floured cake pan and bake in a moderate oven (350 degrees) for one hour.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Why I live in the country...

People often ask me why I live in the country, especially when something as simple as meeting friends for lunch turns into an afternoon because of the driving distance.  I'm fortunate to work from home now, but I spent years, make that decades, commuting.  It was a two hour round trip and, at times, I did consider moving closer.  In the end, it wasn't worth giving up the peace and quiet of country living.
I never get tired of sunsets like this one.  In fact, I've taken so many pictures of country scenes, I decided to make a calender for friends this year.  Take a look at the finished product here.  Let me know what you think of the pictures.  They're some of my favorite scenes from this year.
What's your gift idea this year?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Gift Ideas

How's your Christmas shopping going this year?  It seems like we have a few extra days, but it's just around the corner.  I've been doing a lot of research online this year.  I guess I'm trying to be a more savvy consumer.  Plus a little time spent online can sometimes give you some great gift ideas.
I was thinking about doing a gift basket for a really special caregiver and thought I'd add a couple of cotton scrub uniforms to it along with some hand lotions and sanitizers.  I wanted something useful, but also pretty.  I loved the selection I found at  It gave me so many color ideas that I almost wish I was doing more gift baskets!

What's your gift idea this Season?

Saturday, December 3, 2011


What's your favorite Christmas memory?  One of mine is baking cookies with my Mom.  Do you think she thought that we were making a lifetime of memories?  Probably not.  Like any Mother, she was busy.  With everything that Moms do for us, how could she not be overwhelmed?  Christmas is such a busy time of the year that it's easy to get caught up in the rush and miss the really important things.  I hope this year that you take the time to make a special memory with your little ones.


  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon soda

Blend shortening, sugar and molasses. Add beaten egg. Sift dry ingredients and combine. Mix well, roll out and cut in fancy shapes. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. When cool decorate with boiled icing.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Need Quick Dowloads?

Need Quick Dowloads?
The Author of this post is Delmar Bailey

After I moved a few months ago I was done with my internet service provider. I was sick of the sluggish and slow downloads and just needed a fresh start. I started doing some serious research on new internet service providers because I didn’t want to get stuck locked into a contract with sub-par service again. I came upon some clear internet reviews and was surprised to see that there was actually an internet service provider that wasn’t getting completely bashed in my town. The plans they offered were super flexible and I wouldn’t have to get locked into a contract. I also started asking around with friends and family who also recommended the service. Hopefully after this I won’t have to move for a while and I won’t have to switch any my broadband internet again. It’s really important for me to have fast internet because I like to download a lot of movies and they take a lot of bandwith. I’m sick of it taking forever just to download one movie! You would think that companies would have this down by now since our whole lives are on the net.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Turkey in the Hollow2

I hope you all have a blessed day filled with family, friends and delicious food.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Rainy November Days & Chocolate Soup

Rainy November in the Hollow
We’re having some rainy November days in the hollow.  Between the wind and the rain, the last of the leaves have fallen.  These are good days to put a pot of soup on the stove to simmer and then curl up with a good book.  What are you cooking and reading today?

I ran across this vintage recipe and thought you would enjoy it.  I believe that milk would be a good substitute for water in this recipe.

Put three tablespoonfuls of cocoa into a double boiler, and add gradually one pint of boiling water. Stir for at least five minutes over the fire. Add four tablespoonfuls of sugar, take from the fire and add a teaspoonful of vanilla. Turn this into one pint of cracked ice, and when the soup is cold, turn into the serving cups, and put on the surface a tablespoonful of whipped cream, and serve

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Angel Wings in the Hollow

Angel Wings in the Hollow
I know they’re just clouds, but they look like angel wings to me.  Remember looking for shapes in the clouds when you were a child.  We’d search the sky for hours picking out different animals or faces.  When is the last time you did that?  It’s a simple pleasure that is still free.  Take advantage of it today! 
Have a blessed day.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thanksgiving Day Menu

I thought you'd enjoy a vintage Thanksgiving Day menu and recipes.  Have a blessed day!

Oyster Soup

Crisp Oyster Crackers

Celery Pepper Mangoes

Roast Turkey

Bread Stuffing Giblet Sauce

Cranberry Jelly

Mashed Potatoes
Baked Hubbard Squash

Sweet Corn, New England Style
Creamed Onions

Spiced Pears
Hot Slaw

Thanksgiving Pudding
Drawn Butter Sauce

Pumpkin Pie
Apple Pie

FruitsNutsRaisinsStuffed Dates

Water BiscuitCheese

Café Noir
1 quart select oysters.
4 cups scalded milk.
1 stalk celery broken in pieces.
¼ cup butter.
¾ teaspoon salt.
1/8 teaspoon pepper.
Process: Place oysters in a colander; pour over one cup cold water. Take up each oyster with the fingers to remove bits of shells, reserve the liquor. Heat to boiling point and strain through double cheese cloth, set aside. Scald milk with celery, remove celery and add strained oyster liquor to milk. Plump oysters in their own liquor, take up with a perforated skimmer and lay over butter and seasonings, place in a hot soup tureen. Strain liquor into milk mixture and pour the latter over oysters. Serve at once with crisp, hot oyster crackers.
Select a plump, ten-pound young turkey; dress, clean, stuff and truss in shape; place it on thin slices of fat pork laid in the bottom of dripping pan; rub the entire surface with salt, sprinkle with pepper and dredge with flour. Place in a hot oven and brown delicately. Turn and brown back of turkey; then turn breast side up; continue browning and basting every ten minutes until bird is evenly and richly browned. Add two cups water to fat in pan; continue basting every fifteen minutes until bird is tender, which may be determined by piercing leg with small wooden skewer. It will require from three to three and one-half hours, depending upon the age of the bird. If the turkey is browning too rapidly, cover with a piece of heavy paper well-buttered, placed over turkey buttered side down. Remove the skewer and strings before placing it on serving platter. (Blog Notes - always follow package directions when cooking raw poultry and use a meat thermometer to determine your bird has reached the proper temperature)
Drain the liquid from the pan in which the turkey was roasted. Take six tablespoons of the fat, strain the latter through a fine sieve. Return the strained fat to the dripping pan and place on the range. Add seven tablespoons of flour, stir to a smooth paste and brown richly, being careful not to burn the mixture. Then pour on slowly while stirring constantly, three cups of stock (in which the neck, pinions and giblets were cooked). Bring it to the boiling point, and season to taste. Chop the giblets very fine, first removing the tough parts of the gizzard; then reheat them in sauce, and serve.
Remove the crust from two small baker's loaves; slice and pick in small bits; season with one-half teaspoon pepper, two and one-half teaspoons salt, one-half teaspoon powdered sage, and one medium-sized onion finely chopped; mix well, using two forks; melt two-thirds cup of butter in three-fourths cup boiling water; add to first mixture; toss lightly with forks; add two eggs slightly beaten, mix well, and fill well the body and breast of turkey. If bread is very stale, more moisture may be added. If a crumbly stuffing is desired, omit eggs.  (Blog Notes - always follow package directions when cooking raw poultry and use a meat thermometer to determine your bird has reached the proper temperature)
Pick over and wash one quart cranberries. Seed two-thirds cup raisins; add to cranberries; add one cup boiling water and boil twenty minutes. Rub through a sieve, and add to pulp two cups sugar and two-thirds cups scalded seeded raisins; cook five minutes, stirring constantly. Turn into a mold previously wet with cold water. Chill and serve.
Chop one can of corn or two cups of green corn fine. Add three eggs slightly beaten, one-half tablespoon sugar, one teaspoon salt, one-eighth teaspoon pepper, one tablespoon melted butter and two cups scalded milk. Turn into a buttered baking dish or into individual ramekins, and bake in a slow oven until solid or custard-like. Serve in baking dish.
Remove the skins from one dozen medium-sized onions, under water—to prevent the odor from penetrating the fingers—or grease the fingers before beginning to peel them. Drain, place them in a sauce-pan, and cover with cold water; bring quickly to the boiling-point and boil five minutes. Drain and cover with boiling salted water; let cook uncovered until tender (about one hour), but not broken. Prepare a thin cream sauce made as follows:
Melt three tablespoons butter in a sauce-pan; add three tablespoons flour; stir to a smooth paste. Add one and one-half cups hot thin cream or milk; season with salt and pepper. Reheat onions in sauce; turn in hot serving-dish, and sprinkle with one-half teaspoon finely chopped parsley.
Shave one-half head white cabbage as fine as possible, using a sharp knife. Serve with a dressing made of yolks of two eggs slightly beaten; add one-fourth cup each of hot water and hot vinegar, slowly beating constantly, four tablespoons butter, a few drops onion juice, one-half teaspoon salt, and sift in one-half teaspoon ground mustard and one-eighth teaspoon pepper. Stir this mixture over hot water until it thickens to the consistency of cream; add to cabbage; mix well; place on range, stirring constantly until mixture is heated throughout. Two tablespoons of sugar may be added.
½ cup butter creamed.
1 cup molasses.
1 cup buttermilk.
3 cups flour.
1 teaspoon soda.
1½ teaspoons salt.
1 teaspoon cinnamon.
¼ teaspoon cloves.
½ teaspoon allspice.
½ teaspoon nutmeg.
1½ cups seeded and shredded raisins.
¾ cup currants.
3 tablespoons flour for dredging fruit.
Process: Cream butter. Add molasses and milk. Sift flour, soda, salt and spices together; add gradually to first mixture; beat thoroughly. Mix raisins and currants; dredge them with flour and add to batter; mix well. Turn into a well-buttered tube mold; fill two-thirds full; place on buttered cover; set on trivet; surround with boiling water and steam three hours. Serve with
1/3 cup butter.
3 tablespoons flour.
1¼ cups boiling water.
1/3 teaspoon salt.
½ cup sugar.
¼ cup brandy.
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg.
Process: Divide the butter into two equal parts. Melt one part in a sauce-pan; add flour, and stir to a smooth paste; add boiling water slowly, stirring constantly; let come to boiling point. Remove to side of range, and add remaining butter in small bits; continue beating. Then add salt, sugar, brandy and nutmeg. Beat again, and serve very hot.
1½ cups steamed and strained pumpkin.
2 tablespoons flour.
1 cup soft brown sugar.
1 tablespoon rose water.
1 tablespoon brandy.
Juice 1 lemon.
Grated rind ½ lemon.
½ teaspoon ginger.
½ teaspoon salt.
¼ teaspoon cinnamon.
2 eggs slightly beaten.
1½ cups milk.
Process: Mix ingredients in the order given. Turn in pie-pan lined with pastry. Bake in a hot oven for the first five minutes to set pastry; then reduce heat and bake slowly twenty-five minutes.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Apple Superstitions

Do you remember the days when a waitress brought you glasses of water with the menus every time you went into a restaurant?  Tables were often already set with a upside-down coffee cup on the saucer.  And, you turned the coffee cup upright to indicate you wanted coffee.  I wonder if they still do that in some old-fashioned restaurants.  Mom always said not drinking all of the glass of water would mean disappointment.  I thought that was her way of getting me to drink more water, but it turns out this was an old custom.

With Halloween just around the corner, I've been thinking a lot about superstitions.  So many of them are handed down from our families and we often don't realize they are superstitions.  Every fall, Grandma and I would peel apples.  She was able to peel the whole apple without breaking the peel.  She told me that if you could do that, and drop it on the floor, it would form the initial of your future beau.  I often thought that was her way of getting me to be more careful.  Another apple custom was used when twisting off the apple stem.  With each turn of the stem, a letter was said aloud, starting with 'A' and continuing down the alphabet.  Once the stem broke, you were to say the first name beginning with that letter that popped into your head.  This would be the name of your future beau.  To this day, I still follow this custom when removing apple stems.  I mostly make it to the letter 'E', though, I've never dated anyone named Edgar!

I thought you might enjoy reading about some apple customs.  Let me know if you have any that you don't see here. 
A Hallowe'en mirror is made by the rays of the moon shining into a looking-glass. If a girl goes secretly into a room at midnight between October and November, sits down at the mirror, and cuts an apple into nine slices, holding each on the point of a knife before she eats it, she may see in the moonlit glass the image of her lover looking over her left shoulder, and asking for the last piece of apple

Apple-ducking is still a universal custom in Scotland. A sixpence is sometimes dropped into the tub or stuck into an apple to make the reward greater. The contestants must keep their hands behind their backs

The seeds of apples were used in many trials. Two stuck on cheeks or eyelids indicated by the time they clung the faithfulness of the friends named for them.

In a tub float stemless apples, to be seized by the teeth of him desirous of having his love returned. If he is successful in bringing up the apple, his love-affair will end happily.

An apple is peeled all in one piece, and the paring swung three times round the head and dropped behind the left shoulder. If it does not break, and is looked at over the shoulder it forms the initial of the true sweetheart's name.

On the stems of the apples which are to be dipped for may be tied names; for the boys in one tub, for the girls in another. Each searcher of the future must draw out with his teeth an apple with a name which will be like that of his future mate.

A variation of the Irish snap-apple is a hoop hung by strings from the ceiling, round which at intervals are placed bread, apples, cakes, peppers, candies, and candles. The strings are twisted, then let go, and as the hoop revolves, each may step up and get a bite from whatever comes to him. By the taste he determines what the character of his married life will be,—whether wholesome, acid, soft, fiery, or sweet. Whoever bites the candle is twice unfortunate, for he must pay a forfeit too. An apple and a bag of flour are placed on the ends of a stick, and whoever dares to seize a mouthful of apple must risk being blinded by flour. Apples are suspended one to a string in a doorway. As they swing, each guest tries to secure his apple. To blow out a candle as it revolves on a stick requires attention and accuracy of aim.

Among the quieter tests some of the most common are tried with apple-seeds. As in England a pair of seeds named for two lovers are stuck on brow or eyelids. The one who sticks longer is the true, the one who soon falls, the disloyal sweetheart. Seeds are used in this way to tell also whether one is to be a traveler or a stay-at-home. Apple-seeds are twice ominous, partaking of both apple and nut nature. Even the number of seeds found in a core has meaning. If you put them upon the palm of your hand, and strike it with the other, the number remaining will tell you how many letters you will receive in a fortnight. With twelve seeds and the names of twelve friends, the old rhyme may be repeated:

"One I love,Two I love,Three I love, I say;Four I love with all my heart:Five I cast away.Six he loves,Seven she loves,Eight they both love;Nine he comes,Ten he tarries,Eleven he courts, andTwelve he marries."
A girl who sits before a mirror at midnight on Hallowe'en combing her hair and eating an apple will see the face of her true love reflected in the glass. Standing so that through a window she may see the moon in a glass she holds, she counts the number of reflections to find out how many pleasant things will happen to her in the next twelve months.

When eating an apple, snap it with the fingers and name it for a person of the opposite sex. Count the fully developed seeds (all of the others are kisses), and the last one must correspond to the following formula:—

One’s my love,Two’s my love,Three’s my heart’s desire.Four I’ll take and never forsake,Five I’ll cast in the fire.Six he loves,Seven she loves,Eight they both love,
[39]Nine he comes,Ten he tarries,Eleven he goes,Twelve he marries.Thirteen honor,Fourteen riches,All the rest are little witches.Baldwinsville, N. Y.

Some change the latter lines of this formula into

Thirteen they quarrel,Fourteen they part,Fifteen they die with a broken heart.

Similar rhymes commonly repeated in northern Ohio, after naming an apple and counting the seeds, are,—

One I love,Two I love,Three I love, I say.Four I love with all my heart,And five I cast away.Six he loves,Seven she loves,Eight they both love.Nine he comes,Ten he tarries,Eleven he courts,And twelve he marries.Prince Edward Island and Mansfield, O.

Lay in the hand four apple-seeds and have some one name them, then pick them up, saying,—

This one I love all others above,And this one I greatly admire,And this one I’ll take and never forsake.And this one I’ll cast in the fire.

A love divination by way of apple-seeds, much practiced when a number of young people were spending the evening together, or perhaps by grown-up boys and girls in district schools as they ate their noon-day lunch about the stove, was as follows:—

Two seeds were named, one for a girl and one for a young man, and placed on a hot stove or in front of an open fire. The augury, concerning the future relations of the young people was derived from the behavior of the two seeds. If as they heated they jumped[40] away from one another, the two persons would become estranged or their friendship die; if the seeds moved nearer together, marriage was implied; if the one named for the girl moved towards the other, it signified that the young woman was fonder of the young man than he was of her, and so on.

A common project in my girlhood was to place an apple-seed on each of the four fingers of the right hand, that is, on the knuckles, first moistening them with spittle. A companion then ‘named’ them, and the fingers were worked so as to move slightly. The seed that stayed on the longest indicated the name of your future husband.

Name apple-seeds and place on the lids of the closed eyes. Wink and the first to fall off shows the name of your future husband.

To name apple-seeds, put one on each temple, get some one to name them, and the one that sticks the longest will be the true one.

Name apple pips, put them on the grate, saying,—

If you love me, live and fly;If you do not, lie and die.
A Halloween custom is to fill a tub with water and drop into it as many apples as there are young folks to try the trick. Then each one must kneel before the tub and try to bite the apples without touching them with the hands. The one who bites one first will marry first.

On Halloween hang an apple by the door just the height of the chin. Rub the chin with saliva, stand about six inches from the apple, and hit the chin against the apple. If it sticks to the chin, you will be married, and your true love will stick to you.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Snow in October?

I think it's going to snow tonight.  I cannot believe the low tonight is supposed to dip down to freezing.  It's only October!  I haven't even planned Halloween or even thought about Christmas baking.  Well, okay, to be honest, I have thought about baking.  There is just something about colder weather that puts me in the mood.  Who can resist the aroma of cookies baking in the oven? 
Every year I think about how nice it would be to have a wall oven or a double oven for Holiday baking.  Comparison Shopper has such a wide range of products to review, it takes all the work out of looking for the right oven.  I love the idea of comparing them side by side so you can find the features you need for your kitchen.  Have you seen those cook tops with the extra large burners?  I have an old canner that I use for making big batches of chili.  The pot is huge because it was used to can half-gallon jars and it's too big for most burners.  Maybe Santa will read this and put one on the 'nice' list for me.  I have been very good this year!  And, it's never too early to drop a hint or two.
What are you wishing for this year?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Bridge Too Far?

You've often heard me talk about the benefits of country living, but there are some drawbacks too.  I had to laugh recently when a 'Bridge Out' sign was placed on a nearby road.  I don't think it's a good sign that the county decided to place a permanent sign that says Bridge Out.  I take that as a 'sign' we'll be using the detour route for a while yet to come.  Yes, it's a little wooden bridge and it does have a hole in the center where part of the plank gave way.  I've just been driving around the hole.  I guess someone didn't and caused more damage.  Can it really take so long to replace a bridge in this day and age?  It's been well over a month now already. 

As a child, I can remember several wooden bridge in the area.  One bridge crossed a pretty large creek.  When I was about six years old, the hole in the bridge had widened to three feet across.  Our school bus driver was afraid to cross the bridge with all of us on the bus.  So, twice a day, we'd all get off the bus and walk across the bridge.  Then, our brave bus driver would cross while we all watched wondering if she would fall into the creek below.  It seems like we did this for a couple of months before the county finally started replacing the bridge.  I can't help but remember that now and compare the two bridges.  

Lots of things have happened over the last few decades in the name of progress.  But, it seems that the more we strive to change, the more things stay the same. 

I thought you would enjoy this vintage recipe - especially the name!


One cup navy beans; four slices bacon; one No. 2 can of tomatoes; one small onion; one level tablespoonful salt; one-fourth tablespoonful black pepper. Soak navy beans over night, in morning put beans on to boil with a pinch of soda in water. When they come to a boil, pour off this water, return to stove, cover with clear water, add onion and bacon, let boil until tender. When tender strain through sieve, being sure to press all through, as far as possible. Next add the strained tomatoes and seasoning and lastly, thin with cream or milk to consistency desired.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Big Family Hobbies

Thanks to Darwin Barton

Being part of a big family means everyone’s doing something different all the time, usually. Not in my family! Everyone’s so into soccer I feel like that’s the only thing we all have in common and from playing it to watching it on TV it’s pretty much all we talk about when we get together. My brother Marco is actually an amazing keeper and he plays for the local intermural league. He broke his leg in high school otherwise I think he may have been able to go pro! We got HomeSecurityFamily.comsecurity for mom and dad’s house since they’re literally never home because they’re always watching a game somewhere and cheering some grandchild on from the stands. I don’t know if it’s because we’re a Latino family or just a big, sporty one but it doesn’t seem out of the ordinary to any of us that soccer rules our life! I wouldn’t change a thing about it because we get exercise, fresh air, and to spend a lot of time with each other out at games.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11th

I slept late.  I slept late because there was a sales meeting that day and I didn't have to be there until nine o'clock.  One of our agents came in late to the meeting and said a plane had just hit one of the World Trade Centers.  I remember thinking it was probably one of those little private planes again and how terrible it was for the pilot.  And, I also hoped no one was hurt.

By the time the meeting was over, we headed to the office and my first bit of 'official' news was from the radio.  Things were still sketchy at that point, but I remember crying.  Once in the office, I learned the other tower had been hit and realization dawned.  This was a planned attack.  I called my parents and they were at home watching it all unfold on television.  I wonder how many times I said 'I love you' that day.  Didn't we all?

I had a friend that was on a flight that morning and remember having no way to reach him other than e-mail.  The internet was my first sight of pictures.  It just didn't seem real.  I had a lunch meeting that day that could not be canceled.  The restaurant was deserted.  You see, I worked near Fort Campbell, and most everyone in the area was in or connected to the military.  My boss at the time actually made a joke about my being afraid, and I lashed out.  We were all thinking that we could be next.  Rumors were everywhere.  I was so thankful for the work day to end so I could go home to my family.

That night I was able to see the total devastation on the networks. When President Bush addressed the nation, I remember thinking how thankful I was that he was President.  I didn't always feel that way in the years to come, but it changed the way I looked at our leaders forever.  Our world changed forever, and we all knew it.  Historians can judge our actions in the months and years to follow, but at that moment, we came together as a nation.  Don't we always?  That's something those that stand against us can never understand.  We are one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.  God Bless America!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

People Watching

Back in the day, Mom and I took a lot of road trips visiting relatives.  She always said that you could tell a diner had good coffee if there were a lot of semi-trucks outside.  That's probably still true today, but I have another way to tell.  If there are a lot people in nursing scrubs, it's a sure way to tell there's some good food and coffee to be found.  I was at a little coffee shop near the hospital the other day and was really surprised at how many workers were coming in and out wearing hospital uniforms.

Do you like to 'people watch'?  It's fun if you have the time to kill.  As I watched everyone come and go, I noticed how many different kinds of uniforms they were wearing.  It made me wonder where to buy medical scrubs.  Since the coffee shop had free wi-fi, it was pretty easy to find and check out the latest styles.  Don't you just love shopping on the internet?  I could have driven all over town trying to find out where to buy scrubs that looked that cute.  Instead, I found them in a few seconds of searching online. 

What's your favorite way to shop?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

….from a tiny little seed

Back in February I started some heirloom tomato seeds in  old yogurt cups.  I carefully watched them grow throughout the remainder of the winter until it was time to transplant them outside.  I set out 3 plants in pots and only one plant produced tomatoes.  And, finally, one grew big enough to pick.  It seemed to take forever for it to ripen.  Was it worth the wait?  Yes and no.  Yes, because it’s great to eat something you’ve actually grown yourself. And, nothing beats the flavor of something homegrown.  No, because it took forever and I don’t want to wait until August for a fresh tomato.  So, next year, I vow an earlier start if the weather cooperates. 
What did you grow this year?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Watching the Phantom movie after the play

Guest post written by Ruth Bridges

I was so excited for us to go and see the Phantom of the Opera play while we were in New York for vacation this summer! It really was so great and I was so impressed with it! But it was way more better than I respected because the movie was OK but just did not even compare to the actual play!

They talk about movie making magic, but I think Broadway has way more magic than that. I went online to rent the movie again from Netflix to watch right before the play. While I was online browsing DVDs, I came across the site After I looked at it some, I decided to sign up for a heaing aid test. So I did and got settled in with some hearing aids.

I felt so much more confident when we went and saw that play and I was so glad for it! I guess that until I go and visit Broadway again, I'll just have to watch the Phantom movie instead to get my Phantom of the Opera fix

Friday, July 8, 2011

Lost in the mail?

I freely admit that I'm a creature of habit and have always been a little fanatical when it came to paying bills. Maybe it was growing up poor, but I've always tried to pay things on time even before I had heard of a credit score. Plus, I really hate late charges. It's one thing to pay a late charge because you just didn't have the money available to pay on time. But, to pay a late charge because you forgot the bill? It's like throwing a pile of dollar bills in the floor and setting them on fire. It really irks me and I never really understood it until it happened to me.
I don't remember what was going on in my life at the time, but I remember totally forgetting to make a payment on an installment loan. This was years ago before you could even get a free credit score. I ended up calling the company and they waived the late charge for me. I don't think companies are as understanding with their fees these days. But, it's always worth a try. I've had a few payments lost in the mail. No, really, they were lost in the mail. Of course, I didn't know until the next bill came in with a big fat late charge. Let that happen on a credit card these days and you'll end up with 24% or higher interest. It's just easier to pay the bill online.
After years, and I do mean years, the due date changed on my electric bill. Before I even had a house of my own, I'd go with Mom to pay our bill. So, that due date has been in my head since I was a child. They changed it because they were going to centralized billing. Really? Couldn't the central computer use the same due date? So, here I am trying to remember if this is the week the bill comes in the mail. Hopefully it won't get lost in the mail.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Is it the heat or what?

It's Summer and the living is easy. Right? Maybe it's the heat, but tempers seem to be a little short everywhere these days. I was waiting in line at the pharmacy the other day and they forgot me. So, my wait turned into several minutes. Honestly, I kind of 'zoned out' and didn't realize how much time had passed. At least I didn't notice until the clerk kept apologizing to me. I kept saying it was no problem and also thought, hey, if that's the worse thing that happens today, then it will be a good day. Almost immediately afterward, I was a victim of road rage. It happened so quickly that I didn't have time to be scared, but afterward, I kept wondering what had happened. I still don't know what I did and though I had obviously upset a guy in a pick-up, he never honked his horn.
So, in the span of a few minutes, one stranger was apologizing to me for something that I wasn't even upset about and another was chasing me down for some unknown slight. What's up with everyone lately? Can't we just take a step back, take a deep breath and relax a little? Do we always have to be wound so tightly that when the slightest thing goes wrong, it's a disaster? Well, waiting a few extra minutes in line is not a disaster. If you've never lived through one, you've definitely seen a disaster on television. And, I betting if you take a step back, you can see the difference.
Yes, we're all under a lot of pressure - family, work, finances - but you know what? The key words there are 'we're all under a lot of pressure'. Not just you or me, but everyone. We all have our own set of problems and you never know what might be going on in some one's life. You've been of those days where if one more thing happens, you'll either snap or be reduced to a puddle of tears. Just one more straw and it'll break your back. Don't be some one's straw today, and maybe someone will give you a break too. It is summertime after all.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Star Spangled Banner

Oh! say, can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming—
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous flight,
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming!
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
Oh! say, does that Star Spangled Banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
On that shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, now conceals, now discloses!
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected, now shines on the stream;
’Tis the Star Spangled Banner, oh! long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave;
And the Star Spangled Banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Oh! thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation,
Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto—“In God is our trust”—
And the Star Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Don't you work here?

I think that I wear 'normal' clothes. But, I cannot count the times that I have been in a store and another customer asked me for help thinking that I worked there. One time, a lady became down right upset with me when I didn't know where the product she was looking for was located. She actually said "Well, don't you work here?". She was shocked and a little embarrassed when I said no. I spent a few hours wandering the hospital while a family member was in surgery several years ago. I guess my mauve top looked a little too much like nursing scrubs. Everyone was asking for directions! I learned a lesson that day to be careful of what I wore when going anywhere near the hospital.
Maybe it's the Christmas in July sales that usually come around every summer. Or, it could just be that with the end of June, half the year is gone already. Where does the time go?
These days, with cool websites like shopping for uniforms was never easier. And, it's never too early to start thinking about Christmas! What are you giving your favorite medical worker this year?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Pickle Juice & Summer Salad Recipes

Can you believe it's June already? I don't know where the days go. One of my favorite things about summer in the hollow has always been salads. Mom would make up big batches of potato salad and slaw almost every week. I was talking with Sunflower Sue the other day about saving pickle juice. You know - the juice left over in the pickle jar? Mom always saved it and used it in her potato salad. In days when every drop counted, Mom knew how to get every bit of salad dressing (we're talking Kraft here, not mayo) out of a jar. She'd pour a little pickle juice in the jar and shake it up. And, just like magic, there would be this wonderful 'dressing' she'd use to spice up the potato salad. Or, sometimes we'd use it in a bottle of store bought dressing that didn't have enough left in the bottle to get through dinner that evening. If there was no pickle juice on hand, then a little apple cider vinegar worked just as well.
To this day, I still save pickle juice. These days, I'll use it as a base for a homemade salad dressing as I don't make potato salad that often. But, it's little things like this that really helped stretch the budget back in the hollow. So, the next time you are about to throw out an 'empty' bottle of salad dressing, try the pickle juice trick.
Here are some vintage salad recipes I ran across in a cookbook from the late 1800's.

Plain Salad Dressing is admissible with nearly all salads. It is composed of oil, vinegar, pepper, and salt, and nothing else. Many who do not care particularly for oil, use equal quantities of oil and vinegar, others one-third vinegar to two-thirds oil; these proportions satisfy a large class, but four parts of oil to one of vinegar are about the right proportions, provided the vinegar is of the best.
The plain dressing is made in two ways, either mixed in a bowl and the salad added to it, or as follows: Take a tablespoon and put in it (holding it over the salad) one saltspoonful of salt, one-fourth this quantity of freshly ground pepper, and a tablespoonful of oil; mix and add to the salad. Add three more tablespoonfuls of oil; toss the salad lightly for a few seconds; lastly, add a tablespoonful of sharp vinegar; toss the salad again, and serve.
Beef Salad.—Cut into neat pieces, an inch in length, half a pound of boiled fresh beef. Take two heads of crisp lettuce, reject the outside leaves, wipe the small leaves separately, place them in a salad-bowl, add the beef. Chop up a sweet Spanish pepper, add a tablespoonful to the salad. Prepare a plain dressing, pour it over the salad; just before serving, mix gently.
Breakfast Salad.—Scald two ripe tomatoes; peel off the skin, and place them in ice-water; when very cold, slice them. Peel and slice very thin one small cucumber. Put four leaves of lettuce into a salad-bowl, add the tomatoes and cucumber. Cut up one spring onion; add it, and, if possible, add four or five tarragon leaves. Now add a plain dressing and serve.
Chicken Salad.—The average cook book contains a good deal of nonsense about this salad. Nothing can be more simple than to mix a little nicely cut cold boiled chicken and celery together, with a tablespoonful or two of mayonnaise. Put this mixture into a salad-bowl, arrange it neatly, and over all add a mayonnaise. Garnish with celery tops, hard-boiled eggs, strips of beets, etc. Use a little more celery than chicken. Or, tear a few leaves of lettuce, put them in a salad-bowl, and add half a cold, boiled, tender chicken that has been cut into neat pieces; pour over it a mayonnaise; garnish neatly, and serve.
For large parties, and when the chicken is apt to become dry, from having been cut up long before it is wanted, it is best to keep it moist by adding a plain dressing. Drain it before using. Put on a flat side-dish a liberal bed of crisp lettuce. Add the chicken, garnish neatly, and, just before sending to table, pour over it a mayonnaise.
If in hot weather, arrange the salad on a dish that will stand in a small tub or kid. Fill this with ice, place the dish on top, pin a napkin or towel around the tub to hide it from view. Flowers, smilax, etc., may be pinned on this, which produce a very pretty effect.
In ancient times the fairest and youngest lady at table was expected to prepare and mix the salad with her fingers. "Retourner la salade les doigts," is the French way of describing a lady to be still young and beautiful.
Cucumber Salad.—If properly prepared, cucumbers are not apt to interfere with digestion. They should be gathered early in the morning and kept in a cool place until wanted. After peeling, slice them very thin; sprinkle a little salt over them; let stand ten minutes, and add cayenne, and equal parts of oil and vinegar. If allowed to remain in salt water any length of time, if oil is omitted, or if their natural juices are squeezed out of them, they become indigestible.
Orange Salads.—Peel and slice three oranges that have been on ice. Remove the seeds, arrange the slices in a compote, cover with powdered sugar, and add two tablespoonfuls each of maraschino, curaçoa, and brandy. Let it stand an hour in the ice-box before serving. Or, arrange in a dish a neat border of cold boiled rice. Peel and divide into sections three Florida oranges; put the oranges in the centre; dust powdered sugar over all, and set the dish in the ice-box. Just before serving pour over the salad two wineglassfuls of arrack. A plain salad dressing is served with orange salad in some places in the East, but would not suit the American palate.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

They're Back!!!

Little red eyes and enough noise to drive you crazy...cicadas are back! This is the 13-year swarm in Tennessee. And, boy are they loud! I can even hear the roar above the air conditioner. I know some areas are not as loud as not everyone is surrounded by trees. This one posed for a long time on the porch.

Different types of cicadas actually swarm every year, but the big swarms occur with the 17 year and 13 year cicadas. Want to know more about them? Check out Cicadas bring back the buzz or Cicadas.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Fried Potatoes

Fried potatoes are a guilty pleasure. They didn't used to be. Once upon a time, they were a staple at the supper table. But, over the last few years, the potato, particularly fried, has almost become a four letter food. These fried potatoes found their way unto the breakfast table too. Often the leftover potatoes found their way into a sandwich if meat was scarce. I had forgotten about those long ago sandwiches until I read these recipes. This is exactly how I was taught to prepare fried potatoes in the Hollow. Hope you enjoy them!

Thin Fried Potatoes.

Pare and cut raw potatoes very thin, with either the vegetable slicer or a sharp knife. Put them in cold water and let them stand in a cold place (the ice chest is best) from ten to twenty-four hours. This draws out the starch. Drain them well. Put about one pint in the frying basket, plunge into boiling lard, and cook about ten minutes. After the first minute set back where the heat will decrease. Drain, and dredge with salt. Continue this until all are fried. Remember that the fat must be hot at first, and when it has regained its heat after the potatoes have been added, must be set back where the potatoes will not cook fast. If the cooking is too rapid they will be brown before they have become crisp. Care must also be taken, when the potatoes are first put in the frying kettle, that the fat does not boil over. Have a fork under the handle of the basket, and if you find that there is danger, lift the basket partly out of the kettle. Continue this until all the water has evaporated; then let the basket remain in the kettle. If many potatoes are cooked in this way for a family, quite an amount of starch can be saved from the water in which they were soaked by pouring off the water and scraping the starch from the bottom of the vessel. Dry, and use as any other starch.

French Fried Potatoes.

Pare small uncooked potatoes. Divide them in halves, and each half in three pieces. Put in the frying basket and cook in boiling fat for ten minutes. Drain, and dredge with salt. Serve hot with chops or beefsteak. Two dozen pieces can be fried at one time.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Vintage Game Recipes

Cute and cuddly, but also tasty. Wild game can be an acquired taste, but in the hollow it was a way of life. Here are some vintage game recipes from a late 1800's cookbook.


They are cooked similar to rabbits, are excellent when broiled or made into a stew, and, in fact, are very good in all the different styles of cooking similar to rabbit.

There are many species common to this country; among them the black, red, gray and fox. Gophers and chipmunks may also be classed as another but smaller variety.


A very close relationship exists between the hare and the rabbit, the chief difference being in the smaller size and shorter legs and ears of the latter. The manner of dressing and preparing each for the table is, therefore, pretty nearly the same. To prepare them for roasting, first skin, wash well in cold water and rinse thoroughly in lukewarm water. If a little musty from being emptied before they were hung up, and afterward neglected, rub the insides with vinegar and afterward remove all taint of the acid by a thorough washing in lukewarm water. After being well wiped with a soft cloth put in a dressing as usual, sew the animal up, truss it, and roast for half or three-quarters of an hour, until well browned, basting it constantly with butter and dredging with flour, just before taking up.

To make a gravy, after the rabbits are roasted, pour nearly all the fat out of the pan, but do not pour the bottom or brown part of the drippings; put the pan over the fire, stir into it a heaping tablespoonful of flour, and stir until the flour browns. Then stir in a pint of boiling water. Season the gravy with salt and pepper; let it boil for a moment. Send hot to the table in a tureen with the hot rabbits. Serve with currant jelly.


Clean two young rabbits, cut into joints, and soak in salt and water half an hour. Put into a saucepan with a pint of cold water, a [Pg 103]bunch of sweet herbs, an onion finely minced, a pinch of mace, half a nutmeg, a pinch of pepper and half a pound of salt pork cut in small thin slices. Cover and stew until tender. Take out the rabbits and set in a dish where they will keep warm. Add to the gravy a cup of cream (or milk), two well-beaten eggs, stirred in a little at a time, a tablespoonful of butter, and a thickening made of a tablespoonful of flour and a little milk. Boil up once; remove the saucepan from the fire, squeeze in the juice of a lemon, stirring all the while, and pour over the rabbits. Do not cook the head or neck.


After the rabbit has been thoroughly cleaned and washed, put it into boiling water, and let it boil ten minutes; drain it, and when cold, cut it into joints, dip into beaten egg, and then in fine bread crumbs; season with salt and pepper. When all are ready, fry them in butter and sweet lard, mix over a moderate fire until brown on both sides. Take them out, thicken the gravy with a spoonful of flour, turn in a cup of milk or cream; let all boil up, and turn over the rabbits. Serve hot with onion sauce. (See SAUCES.) Garnish with sliced lemon.


This pie can be made the same as "Game Pie" excepting you scatter through it four hard-boiled eggs cut in slices. Cover with puff paste, cut a slit in the middle, and bake one hour, laying paper over the top should it brown too fast.


After skinning and cleaning the rabbits, wipe them dry, split them down the back lengthwise, pound them flat, then wrap them in letter paper well buttered, place them on a buttered gridiron, and broil over a clear, brisk fire, turning them often. When sufficiently cooked, remove the papers, lay them on a very hot platter, season with salt, pepper and plenty of butter, turning them over and over to soak up the butter. Cover and keep hot in a warming oven until served.


This is a nice mode of serving the remains of roasted game, but when a superlative salmi is desired, the birds must be scarcely more than half roasted for it. In either case, carve them very neatly, and [Pg 104]strip every particle of skin and fat from the legs, wings and breasts; bruise the bodies well, and put them with the skin and other trimmings into a very clean stewpan. If for a simple and inexpensive dinner, merely add to them two sliced onions, a bay-leaf, a small blade of mace and a few peppercorns; then pour in a pint or more of good veal gravy, or strong broth, and boil it briskly until reduced nearly half; strain the gravy, pressing the bones well to obtain all the flavor; skim off the fat, add a little cayenne and lemon juice, heat the game very gradually in it, but do not on any account allow it to boil; place pieces of fried bread around a dish, arrange the birds in good form in the centre, give the sauce a boil, and pour it on them.


To prepare a haunch of venison for roasting, wash it slightly in tepid water and dry it thoroughly by rubbing it with a clean, soft cloth. Lay over the fat side a large sheet of thickly-buttered paper, and next a paste of flour and water about three-quarters of an inch thick; cover this again with two or three sheets of stout paper, secure the whole well with twine, and put down to roast, with a little water, in the dripping-pan. Let the fire be clear and strong; baste the paper immediately with butter or clarified drippings, and roast the joint from three to four hours, according to its weight and quality. Doe venison will require half an hour less time than buck venison. About twenty minutes before the joint is done remove the paste and paper, baste the meat in every part with butter, and dredge it very lightly with flour; let it take a pale brown color, and serve hot with unflavored gravy made with a thickening in a tureen and good currant jelly. Venison is much better when the deer has been killed in the autumn, when wild berries are plentiful, and it has had abundant opportunities to fatten upon this and other fresh food.


Venison steaks should be broiled over a clear fire, turning often. It requires more cooking than beef. When sufficiently done, season with salt and pepper, pour over two tablespoonfuls of currant jelly melted with a piece of butter. Serve hot on hot plates.

Delicious steaks, corresponding to the shape of mutton chops, are cut from the loin.


Wash the saddle carefully; see that no hairs are left dried on to the outside. Use a saddle of venison of about ten pounds. Cut some salt pork in strips about two inches long and an eighth of an inch thick, with which lard the saddle with two rows on each side. In a large dripping-pan cut two carrots, one onion and some salt pork in thin slices; add two bay-leaves, two cloves, four kernels of allspice, half a lemon sliced, and season with salt and pepper; place the saddle of venison in the pan, with a quart of good stock boiling hot and a small piece of butter, and let it boil about fifteen minutes on top of the stove; then put it in a hot oven and bake, basting well every five minutes, until it is medium rare, so that the blood runs when cut; serve with jelly or a wine sauce. If the venison is desired well done, cook much longer, and use a cream sauce with it, or stir cream into the venison gravy.

Venison should never be roasted unless very fat. The shoulder is a roasting piece and may be done without the paper or paste.

In ordering the saddle request the butcher to cut the ribs off pretty close, as the only part that is of much account is the tenderloin and thick meat that lies along the backbone up to the neck. The ribs which extend from this have very little meat on them, but are always sold with the saddle. When neatly cut off they leave the saddle in a better shape, and the ribs can be put into your stock-pot to boil for soup.


The neck, breast and shoulder are the parts used for a venison pie or pastry. Cut the meat into pieces (fat and lean together) and put the bones and trimmings into the stewpan with pepper and salt, and water or veal broth enough to cover it. Simmer it till you have drawn out a good gravy. Then strain it.

In the meantime make a good rich paste, and roll it rather thick. Cover the bottom and sides of a deep dish with one sheet of it, and put in your meat, having seasoned it with pepper, salt, nutmeg and mace. Pour in the gravy which you have prepared from the trimmings, and a glass of port wine. Lay on the top some bits of butter rolled in flour. Cover the pie with a thick lid of paste and ornament it handsomely with leaves and flowers formed with a tin cutter. Bake two or more hours according to the size. Just before it is done, pull it forward in the oven, and brush it over with beaten egg; push it back and let it slightly brown.


Cut the meat in nice small slices, and put the trimmings and bones into a saucepan with barely water enough to cover them. Let them stew for an hour. Then strain the liquid into a stewpan; add to it some bits of butter, rolled in flour, and whatever gravy was left of the venison the day before. Stir in some currant jelly, and give it a boil up. Then put in the meat, and keep it over the fire just long enough to warm it through; but do not allow it to boil, as it has been once cooked already.


Cut a breast of venison into steaks; make a quarter of a pound of butter hot in a pan; rub the steaks over with a mixture of a little salt and pepper; dip them in wheat flour, or rolled crackers, and fry a rich brown; when both sides are done, take them up on a dish, and put a tin cover over; dredge a heaping teaspoonful of flour into the butter in the pan, stir it with a spoon until it is brown, without burning; put to it a small teacupful of boiling water, with a tablespoonful of currant jelly dissolved into it; stir it for a few minutes, then strain it over the meat and serve. A glass of wine, with a tablespoonful of white sugar dissolved in it, may be used for the gravy, instead of the jelly and water. Venison may be boiled, and served with boiled vegetables, pickled beets, etc., and sauce.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Same Time Last Year

 Bridge over Tennessee River Paris Landing May 2011

I never thought that I would be posting flood pictures again this year.  While Nashville was spared this time around, West Tennessee has been hit hard.  This is a view of the Tennessee River at Paris Landing.  Normally you can drive all the way down to the end of the trees.

Paris Landing Boats May 2011

Another view of Paris Landing. 

Tennessee River Paris Landing May 2011 Flood 

This is the picnic area at Paris Landing.

Paris Landing Swamp May 2011

This reminds me of pictures I’ve seen of Reelfoot Lake. 


Paris Landing Picnic Area May 2011

Another view of the picnic area.  Those are actually picnic tables almost covered by the river.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Chicken Feathers

'If we have chicken again, I'm gonna grow feathers!' That was a favorite saying in the hollow and and pretty much true. Back then chickens were cheap as you raised your own. I still think the reason we have so much trouble with ticks now is because we don't have a yard full of chickens taking care of the bugs. While not for the squeamish, it doesn't get much fresher than dressing your own chickens. I thought you would enjoy these chicken recipes from a late 1800's cookbook.

Rub the chicken on the inside with pepper and half a teaspoonful of salt; place in a steamer in a kettle that will keep it as near the water as possible, cover and steam an hour and a half; when done, keep hot while dressing is prepared, then cut up, arrange on the platter, and serve with the dressing over it.

The dressing is made as follows: Boil one pint of gravy from the kettle without the fat, add cayenne pepper and half a teaspoonful of salt; stir a tablespoonful of flour into a quarter of a pint of cream until smooth and add to the gravy. Cornstarch may be used instead of the flour, and some cooks add nutmeg or celery salt.


Cut up two young chickens, put them in a stewpan with just enough cold water to cover them. Cover closely and let them heat very slowly; then stew them over an hour, or until tender. If they are old chickens they will require long, slow boiling, often from three to four hours. When tender, season with salt and pepper, a piece of butter as large as an egg, and a little celery, if liked. Stir up two tablespoonfuls of flour in a little water or milk and add to the stew, also two well-beaten yolks of eggs; let all boil up one minute; arrange the chicken on a warm platter, pour some of the gravy over it and send the rest to the table in a boat. The egg should be added to a little of the cooled gravy before putting with the hot gravy.


Dress a full-grown spring chicken the same as for roasting, seasoning it with salt and pepper inside and out; then fill the body with [Pg 88]oysters; place it in a tin pail with a close-fitting cover. Set the pail in a pot of fast-boiling water and cook until the chicken is tender. Dish up the chicken on a warm dish, then pour the gravy into a saucepan, put into it a tablespoonful of butter, half a cupful of cream or rich milk, three hard-boiled eggs chopped fine, some minced herbs and a tablespoonful of flour. Let all boil up and then pour it over the chicken. Serve hot.


Boil four chickens till tender enough for meat to fall from bones; put meat in a stone jar and pour over it three pints of cold, good cider vinegar and a pint and a half of the water in which the chickens were boiled; add spices if preferred, and it will be ready for use in two days. This is a popular Sunday evening dish; it is good for luncheon at any time.


Mince up finely the remains of a cold chicken together with half the quantity of lean, cold ham. Mix them well, adding enough white sauce to moisten them. Now have light paste rolled out until about a quarter of an inch or a little more in thickness. Cut the paste into pieces, one inch by two in size, and lay a little of the mixture upon the centres of half of the pieces and cover them with the other halves, pressing the edges neatly together and forming them into little rolls. Have your frying pan ready with plenty of boiling hot lard, or other frying medium, and fry until they become a golden-brown color. A minute or two will be sufficient for this. Then drain them well and serve immediately on a napkin.


Mince up fine cold chicken, either roasted or boiled. Season it with pepper and salt, and a little minced parsley and onion. Moisten it with chicken gravy or cream sauce, fill scalloped shells that are lined with pastry with the mixture, and sprinkle bread crumbs over the tops. Put two or three tiny pieces of butter over each, and bake brown in a hot oven.


After dressing and washing the chickens as previously directed, split them open through the backbone; frog them by cutting the cords under the wings and laying the wings out flat; cut the sinews under the second joint of the leg and turn the leg down; press down the breast-bone without breaking it.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper, lay it upon the gridiron with the inside first to the fire; put the gridiron over a slow fire, and place a tin sheet and weight upon the chicken, to keep it flat; let it broil ten minutes, then turn and proceed in the same manner with the other side.

The chicken should be perfectly cooked, but not scorched. A broiled chicken brought to the table with its wings and legs burnt, and its breast half cooked, is very disagreeable. To avoid this, the chicken must be closely watched while broiling, and the fire must be arranged so that the heat shall be equally dispensed. When the fire is too hot under any one part of the chicken, put a little ashes on the fire under that part, that the heat may be reduced.

Dish a broiled chicken on a hot plate, putting a large lump of butter and a tablespoonful of hot water upon the plate, and turning the chicken two or three times that it may absorb as much of the butter as possible. Garnish with parsley. Serve with poached eggs on a separate dish. It takes from thirty to forty minutes to broil a chicken well.


Prepare the chicken as for fricassee. When the chicken is stewed tender, seasoned, and the gravy thickened, take it from the fire; take out the largest bones, scrape the meat from the neck and backbone, throw the bones away; line the sides of a four or six quart pudding-dish with a rich baking powder or soda biscuit dough, a quarter of an inch thick; put in part of the chicken, a few lumps of butter, pepper and salt, if needed, some cold boiled eggs cut in slices. Add the rest of the chicken and season as before; a few new potatoes in their season might be added. Pour over the gravy, being sure to have enough to fill the dish, and cover with a crust a quarter of an inch thick, made with a hole in the centre the size of a teacup.

Brush over the top with beaten white of egg and bake for half to three-quarters of an hour. Garnish the top with small bright celery leaves, neatly arranged in a circle.


Wash and cut up a young chicken, wipe it dry, season with salt and pepper, dredge it with flour, or dip each piece in beaten egg and then in cracker crumbs. Have in a frying pan one ounce each of butter and sweet lard made boiling hot. Lay in the chicken and fry brown on both sides. Take up, drain it and set aside in a covered dish. Stir into the gravy left, if not too much, a large tablespoonful of flour, make it smooth, add a cup of cream or milk, season with salt and pepper, boil up and pour over the chicken. Some like chopped parsley added to the gravy. Serve hot.

If the chicken is old, put into a stewpan with a little water and simmer gently till tender; season with salt and pepper, dip in flour or cracker crumb and egg, and fry as above. Use the broth the chicken was cooked in to make the gravy, instead of the cream or milk, or use an equal quantity of both.


Make common batter; mix into it a cupful of chopped tomatoes, one onion chopped, some minced parsley, salt and pepper. Cut up young, tender chickens, dry them well and dip each piece in the batter; then fry brown in plenty of butter in a thick-bottomed frying pan. Serve with tomato sauce.


Put a cup of cream or milk in a saucepan, set it over the fire, and when it boils add a lump of butter as large as an egg, in which has been mixed a tablespoonful of flour. Let it boil up thick; remove from the fire, and when cool mix into it a teaspoonful of salt, half a teaspoonful of pepper, a bit of minced onion or parsley, one cup of fine bread crumbs, and a pint of finely-chopped cooked chicken, either roasted or boiled. Lastly, beat up two eggs and work in with the whole. Flour your hands and make into small, round, flat cakes; dip in egg and bread crumbs and fry like fish cakes in butter and good sweet lard mixed, or like fried cakes in plenty of hot lard. Take them up with a skimmer and lay them on brown paper to free them from the grease. Serve hot.


Take any kind of fresh meat or fowl, chop very fine, add an equal quantity of smoothly mashed potatoes, mix, and season with butter, salt, black pepper, a little prepared mustard, and a little cayenne pepper; make into cakes, dip in egg and bread crumbs and fry a light brown. A nice relish for tea.


Beat up two eggs in a deep bowl; roll enough crackers until you have a cupful of crumbs, or the same of fine stale bread crumbs; spread the crumbs on a large plate or pie-tin. Have over the fire a kettle containing two or three inches of boiling lard. As fast as the croquettes are formed, roll them in the crumbs, then dip them in the beaten egg, then again roll them in crumbs; drop them in the smoking hot fat and fry them a light golden brown.


Clean and cut up your chickens. Stew in just enough water to cover them. When nearly cooked, season them well with salt and pepper. Let them stew down until the water is nearly all boiled out, and the meat drops easily from the bones. Remove the bones and gristle; chop the meat rather coarsely, then turn it back into the stew-kettle, where the broth was left (after skimming off all fat), and let it heat through again. Turn it into a square bread pan, placing a platter on the top, and a heavy weight on the platter. This, if properly prepared, will turn out like a mold of jelly and may be sliced in smooth, even slices. The success of this depends upon not having too much water; it will not jelly if too weak, or if the water is allowed to boil away entirely while cooking. A good way to cook old fowls.


Cut a young chicken down the back; wash and wipe dry; season with salt and pepper; put in a dripping-pan and bake in a moderate oven three-quarters of an hour. This is much better for traveling lunch than when seasoned with butter.

All kinds of poultry and meat can be cooked quicker by adding to the water in which they are boiled a little vinegar or a piece of lemon. By the use of a little acid there will be a considerable saving of fuel, [Pg 92]as well as shortening of time. Its action is beneficial on old tough meats, rendering them quite tender and easy of digestion. Tainted meats and fowls will lose their bad taste and odor if cooked in this way, and if not used too freely no taste of it will be acquired.


Strip the meat from the bones of a cold roast fowl; to every pound of meat allow a quarter of a pound of butter, salt and cayenne pepper to taste; one teaspoonful of pounded mace, half a small nutmeg. Cut the meat into small pieces, pound it well with the butter, sprinkle in the spices gradually and keep pounding until reduced to a perfectly smooth paste. Pack it into small jars and cover with clarified butter, about a quarter of an inch in thickness. Two or three slices of ham minced and pounded with the above will be an improvement. Keep in a dry place. A luncheon or breakfast dish.

Old fowls can be made very tender by putting into them, while boiling, a piece of soda as large as a bean.


Divide a fowl into joints and boil till the meat leaves the bone readily. Take out the bones and chop the meat as small as dice. Thicken the water in which the fowl was boiled with flour and season to taste with butter and salt. Fill a deep dish with alternate layers of bread crumbs and chicken and slices of cooked potatoes, having crumbs on top. Pour the gravy over the top and add a few bits of butter and bake till nicely browned. There should be gravy enough to moisten the dish. Serve with a garnish of parsley. Tiny new potatoes are nice in place of sliced ones when in season.


Prepare young chickens as for fricassee by cutting them into pieces. Dip each piece in beaten egg, then in grated bread crumbs or rolled cracker; season them with pepper and salt and a little minced parsley. Place them in a baking pan and put on the top of each piece a lump of butter, add half of a cupful of hot water; bake slowly, basting often. When sufficiently cooked take up on a warm platter. Into the pan pour a cup of cream or rich milk, a cupful of bread crumbs. Stir it well until cooked, then pour it over the chicken. Serve while hot.


Broil the usual way and when thoroughly done take it up in a square tin or dripping-pan, butter it well, season with pepper and salt and set it in the oven for a few minutes. Lay slices of moistened buttered toast on a platter; take the chicken up over it, add to the gravy in the pan part of a cupful of cream, if you have it; if not, use milk. Thicken with a little flour and pour over the chicken.

This is considered most excellent.

Monday, May 2, 2011



I Would Live in Your Love

I would live in your love as the sea-grasses live in the sea,
Borne up by each wave as it passes, drawn down by each wave that recedes;
I would empty my soul of the dreams that have gathered in me,
I would beat with your heart as it beats, I would follow your soul
as it leads.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Grandmother's Quilt

I can remember my Grandmother showing me some of the older quilts handed down from her Mother. She would point out pieces of fabric and say 'this piece here came from brother's shirt, and this one from the twins'. She could point out the origin of almost all the pieces smiling as she spoke. I wish I had listened more back then, but I suppose I listened as much as most. Life always seems to get in the way of living. We all loved and knew we were loved, so there are no regrets there. But, there are questions I'd like to ask. Though Grandma has been gone for several years, it seems I get closer to her as I grow older each year. I think back on our conversations and I'm thankful for those stolen moments.
I'm not sure who wrote this little poem as it has been around for years. But, it sums up what quilting in the hollow meant to all of us. Quilts were more than warmth on a cold winter's night. They often told a life story and became their own work of art.
Grandmother's Quilt

Why, yes, dear, we can put it by. It does seem out of place
On top of these down comforts and this spread of silk and lace,
You see, I'm used to having it lie so, across my feet,
But maybe I won't need it here, with this nice furnace heat;
I made it? Yes, dear, long ago. 'Twas lots of work, you think?
Oh, not so much. My rose quilt, now, all white and green and pink,
Is really handsome. This is just a plain, log cabin block,
Pieced out of odds and ends; but still—now that's your papa's frock
Before he walked, and this bit here is his first little suit.
I trimmed it up with silver braid. My, but he did look cute!
That red there in the centers, was your Aunt Ruth's for her name,
Her grandmother almost clothed the child, before the others came.
Those plaids? The younger girls', they were. I dressed them just alike.
[Pg 186]And this was baby Winnie's sack—the precious little tyke!
Ma wore this gown to visit me (they drove the whole way then).
And little Edson wore this waist. He never came again.
This lavender par'matta was your Great-aunt Jane's—poor dear!
Mine was a sprig, with the lilac ground; see, in the corner here.
Such goods were high in war times. Ah, that scrap of army blue;
Your bright eyes spied it! Yes, dear child, that has its memories, too.
They sent him home on furlough once—our soldier brother Ned;
But somewhere, now, the dear boy sleeps among the unknown dead.
That flowered patch? Well, now, to think you'd pick that from the rest!
Why, dearie—yes, it's satin ribbed—that's grandpa's wedding vest!
Just odds and ends! no great for looks. My rose quilt's nicer, far,
Or the one in basket pattern, or the double-pointed star.
But, somehow—What! We'll leave it here? The bed won't look so neat,
But I think I would sleep better with it so, across my feet.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Turkey in the Hollow


Turkey in the Hollow2

You know it's Spring when a wild turkey is out struttin'. Isn't he beautiful?




A fine dashing beau,
By his fuming and strutting,
His pride you may know.


Turkey in the road


Turkey and rose bush

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Nights

But Not to Me

The April night is still and sweet
With flowers on every tree;
Peace comes to them on quiet feet,
But not to me.

My peace is hidden in his breast
Where I shall never be;
Love comes to-night to all the rest,
But not to me.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Evening Rain


Evening Rain

Rain fell so softly, in the evening,
I almost thought it was the trees that were talking

     - John Fletcher - 1918

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Every March

It seems like every March I get sick with some sort of fever and head cold. This year it's a sinus infection. I tried a new walk-in clinic this weekend for treatment. It was located inside a well known pharmacy. As I was waiting, I noticed almost everyone behind the pharmacy counter was in scrubs. A couple of workers behind the consultation counter were in lab coats. I can't really explain why, but I was comforted by this. It made me feel like they really took their job seriously and with a sense of pride.

These days everyone is so much more casual. Your doctor is as apt to come in wearing jeans and tennis shoes under the lab coat. It is probably more of an attempt at a better beside manner. A few years ago, I would never have noticed. But, as I get older, those things stand out to me. In stores, it's hard to tell the clerks from the customers sometimes. I have even had customers ask me questions thinking I worked there! Maybe it's time we went back to wearing more than a name tag. I'm not saying everyone should wear a uniform, but something that says 'yes, I work here and I would be glad to assist you.' Aren't those workers and clerks the first line of their company's representation?
In case you're nursing a cold this Spring, here are some vintage recipes from a late 1800's cookbook:
Chicken Broth for the Invalid

Procure a dry-picked roasting chicken; cut it in halves; put one half in the ice box; chop the other half into neat pieces; put it into a small saucepan; add one quart of cold water, a little salt and a leaf of celery; simmer gently for two hours; remove the oily particles thoroughly; strain the broth into a bowl; when cooled a little, serve to the convalescent. Serve the meat with the broth.

Chicken Soup

Take three young male chickens; cut them up; put them in a saucepan with three quarts of veal stock. (A sliced carrot, one turnip, and one head of celery may be put with them and removed before the soup is thickened.) Let them simmer for an hour. Remove all the white flesh; return the rest of the birds to the soup, and boil gently for two hours. Pour a little of the liquid over a quarter of a pound of bread crumbs, and when they are well soaked put it in a mortar with the white flesh of the birds, and pound the whole to a smooth paste: add a pinch of ground mace, salt, and a little cayenne pepper; press the mixture through a sieve, and boil once more, adding a pint of boiling cream; thicken with a little flour mixed in cold milk; remove the bones, and serve.

Chicken Soup

Cut up one chicken, put into a stewpan two quarts of cold water, a teaspoonful of salt, and one pod of red pepper; when half done add two desert spoonfuls of well washed rice: when thoroughly cooked, remove the bird from the soup, tear a part of the breast into shreds (saving the remainder of the fowl for a salad), and add it to the soup with a wine-glass full of cream.