Black Sheep Dancing

Why be like everyone else when you can be yourself?


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Me and Betty

IMG_5527This is my Betty…Betty Crocker Picture Cook Book. Copyright 1950, it was my grandmother’s. By the time I came around she preferred going to Amish Country for dinner as opposed to using the book. However, I remember hiding under the desk that held it and had a built-in book rack under it when we played hide and seek. It is fond memories of games and of her.

I pulled it out today to make a regular around here: pancakes. I have it memorized, but I still like to pull the actual book out. I love the photos and how simple the recipes were. For example, there is a base recipe for muffins and then it gives you a couple of other ingredients to make different flavors. So simple.

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Here we have today’s batch of Monkey Pancakes. It’s the basic recipe with some walnuts, bananas, and chocolate chips added to the batter. I like to double the recipe and freeze the extra for a nice warm breakfast on those busy mornings.

True story: In high school I went through a phase where I made chocolate chip pancakes nearly every day. That era was much more successful than my try at pole vaulting.

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Buffet

A few months ago I got it in my head that I needed to rid myself of any furniture that still screamed COLLEGE DAYS! Suspect No. 1 was my tv stand. It’s quite fancy really. A rectangular box with a couple of drawers I got at Walmart for $30. High end, I know.

To add fuel to my obsession, I have been seeing all kinds of cool things on that black void known as Pinterest. (You can follow my boards at the link at the top) So I also got in my head that I needed an old buffet and I would transform it to greatness!

So, I waited and I waited until at last a perfect candidate appeared on Craigslist. Score! So, I headed down to Circleville, loaded it up in my aunt’s van and headed home. This actually was a long endeavor as I had switched cars with said aunt and forgot to take the house key with me.

After finally getting back in the house I put the munchkin to bed and immediately started cleaning it up and got 2.5 coats on before crashing at 3 AM.

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The next day after work I came home and finished it up. SIX coats later.

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So here is the finished result. I have to figure out how to hide the cords, and I’ll probably get some baskets for underneath it for munchkin’s toys, but overall I think it turned out pretty well. I love how the green accents turned out. I just need that last drawer pull. Lesson learned – always check the little bags the pulls come in, even if they all came from the same drawer.


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The watermelon makes another appearance

So, remember the other day when I made these Watermelon Rind Pickles? I ended up with way too much watermelon for just the two of us, so I needed a way to use some of it up. After searching around the web I made another discovery. It turns out you can make pickles from the pink part too!

I found this recipe and this recipe, and kinda mixed the two together. Spicy watermelon? Had to try it.

Aren’t they beautiful? Just looking at them is good enough for me. They contain watermelon, pickle juice, garlic, hot pepper, bell pepper, dill heads, and a dash of cayenne pepper.

I did try them, and boy, are they spicy. I’m pretty much a weakling when it comes to spices though. I got a mixed reaction from others trying them. Many liked the taste, but not the texture. They don’t really retain very much of the watermelon taste. However, my spicy-food-loving-friends all seemed to enjoy them.

Will I make these again? Possibly. They are just so darn pretty.


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Watermelon Rind Pickles – Who Knew?

The internet is a wonderful thing. At times when I should be doing laundry or washing dishes, I can look up all sorts of yummy, delicious recipes. Thus, that is what I was doing this past weekend when I happened upon a recipe for watermelon rind pickles. Wh-what? I did a search and found many more recipes for this alien pickle. You can eat the rind? People WANT to eat the rind? Well, immediately I knew I had to try it.

So, this past weekend on a trip to Aldi’s I included one huge watermelon for only $2.99. I forgot how huge watermelons are. I set to work cutting it up and processing the various parts – some to eat plain, some I put in a blender and froze as ice cubes for future smoothies or cocktails, some were made into popsicles, and the rind was cut into chunks…maybe 1/4″. The recipes all said for 1″, but what can you do with that? I’m thinking this might be good on sandwiches or desserts or something. Well, at least I think that is what I am going to do.

Something is wrong with this picture.

It took a long while to cut it up. It was made even longer after cutting it all up and realizing I forgot to peel it before cutting it up, so after soaking in brine I carefully sliced off the green peel from EVERY SINGLE PIECE. Boy, did that take a long time.

Following the brine it was time for the syrup making and processing. It was supposed to make about five half pints, but I got two. I’m blaming it on the relish-like quality.

Not the prettiest in jars, but everyone who has had these say they are totally awesome. I’m a wee bit weary, but again, here’s to trying new things!

Adapted from a Food.com recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 4 lbs watermelon rind
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cupswater
  • 4 cupssugar
  • 3 cinnamon sticks, cut in half
  • 1 teaspoonwhole cloves
  • 1 teaspoonsliced, fresh ginger
  • 2 Tbs lemon juice
  1. Cut up melon rind, peel off the green part, and remove all pink portions.
  2. Cut rind into 1 inch pieces for pickles, smaller for relish.
  3. Weigh
  4. Soak rind overnight in enough bring to cover all pieces, made by dissolving 1/4 cup salt in each quart of water
  5. Drain rind, wash in fresh water and drain again.
  6. Combine remaining ingredients, with the spices in cheesecloth, and boil together 5 minutes.
  7. Add rind a few at a time so it doesn’t spash and cook until rind is clear.(simmer about 30 Min.). Meanwhile, prepare jars.
  8. Remove cheesecloth and put in bottom of prepared jars evenly.
  9. Pack rind on top of spices in hot sterilized jars.
  10. Cover with boiling syrup, remove air pockets, and process in a hot water bath for ten minutes.

I’ve also discovered recipes for the pink part along the way, so I might have to try that next. Again, I haven’t opened these yet. I think I’m going to wait a few weeks and then give it a go.


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Blueberry kind of morning

This morning was a classic pancake morning. Not just any pancakes, but I made the classic Betty Crocker pancakes from my grandmother’s 19__ copy. Half with blueberries. Half with apples and pecans. Mmmmm.

 

 

I’m not one for sweet foods. I don’t like to eat cookies or cake, but I do love me some pancakes. My senior year of high school I did post secondary enrollment, and I had extra time in the morning so for a whole year I made chocolate chip pancakes nearly every weekday for breakfast. It was awesome. I even had the recipe memorized.

 

Here’s the recipe:

 

 

I always add in vanilla extract and cinnamon as well. Now, what I find interesting is how recipes were written. Throughout the book they give you the basic recipe, and then variations on a theme. Some of the recipes also have terms that I really don’t know what it means. Luckily, it is usually in reference to meat, so they aren’t recipes I would try anyways.

 

I made a double batch, so we have breakfast tomorrow covered too!

 


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Ship Wrecks and Pears

Tonight’s dinner was compliments of $5 Dinners. I have been obsessed with her blog lately, and was able to make a couple of her recipes for tonight’s dinner.

 

The Ship Wreck Casserole I made this past weekend and instead of one big dish, I split it between two and froze them both forĀ  later, which was perfect for tonight’s dinner. I also vegetarianized it, using fake beef instead of the real thing. I really like the idea of making things ahead, and love that it is a vintage recipe.

 

 

While it was baking, I made the Gingered Pear and Blueberry Cobbler. I actually had no eggs, so looked online and read somewhere you can substitute cornstarch for eggs. Not quite the same, but it still turned out super yummy, and really, cobblers are so easy. I wish I would have had some whipped cream or ice cream to go with it.

 

 

Both dishes were delicious, easy and cheap. So, go ahead, head on over to theĀ  $5 Dinners and check out these and some of her other recipes.


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Depression Cooking

When I was younger I lived with my Grandmother for a year of high school and for some of college so I could go to the university by her house. She loved to feed me, and one of her quick menu items I made for breakfast today, although it is just as good for lunch or dinner too. Her fried potatoes are easy and quick and good for you.

 

Of course I always enjoy my potatoes like this:

Grandma’s Fried Potatoes

3-4 potatoes, either sliced or cubed
1 small onion, diced
3-4 eggs
1 Tbs oil
salt, pepper to taste

  1. Warm skillet to medium high, add oil when pan is ready
  2. add potatoes. While potatoes are cooking dice onions and add in, cooking until both are tender. Add in salt and pepper to taste
  3. wisk eggs and add to skillet, cooking everything until done.

Now, you can add to this recipe if you want. You could also use veggie dogs cut up, or for you meet eaters, hot dogs or sausage or something. You could also use additional spices such as rosemary, but I like it with just the pepper and salt.

 

I also found this Youtube video a few months ago that is essentially the same thing, and Clara is just the cutest! She has an entire series of Depression Era cooking. What a great way to track oral history!