Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Morning Bread

I would have to say one of my favorite treats at Christmas is "Christmas Morning Bread" This recipe was from my Aunt Marlene. I am not sure where she got it from but she would give it as a gift for Christmas. My mom got the recipe and has been making it every year at Christmas for years now. I have since taken it over and make it every year. Peter (my husband) LOVES it. We call it "Christmas Morning Bread" because we eat it...Christmas morning with our coffee. BUT it could be eaten any time really. This is a sweet bread, not a bread you would make a sandwich with. I have toyed with the idea of using it to make french toast.

I love how this bread has become such a tradition. I think of my mom every time I make it. Today I talked to her and she was making her loaves. I love that it makes us connected 3000 miles away..ha that's powerful bread. And although the bread is awesome it's the memories that tie us.

This is our first Christmas without Gram. I can't even tell you how hard it is. I am clinging to the hope I have in Jesus that she is celebrating the true meaning of Christmas this year. The whole reason for the season...Jesus was born so that He could die. He was born to pay the price for our sins. He was born to hang on the cross. He was born to be buried in the tomb. He was born the conquer the grave and rise from the dead. He was born to give us the hope of eternal life. It is not a hope from a fantasy like believing in Santa Clause. It is a true and living hope. I know that one day I will experience all that Christmas should be when I meet Jesus face to face.

Fresh out of the oven.

2 packages yeast
t tsp salt
3 eggs
2 tsp cardamon
1 cup sugar
1 cup melted butter
2 cups scaled milk (bring milk just to a boil and cool)
8 cups flour or until dough is not sticky

Soften yeast in warm water
Beat eggs and sugar
add milk, salt butter, cardamon and yeast
add flour gradually
Kneed until smooth
Place in greased bowl until dough has doubled in size
Punch dough down
Divide into four portions
Cut each portion into three pieces
Roll into plaits and braid
lay on greased sheet and let rise 1 hour
brush with beaten egg
Bake at 325 for 1/2 hour or until golden brown on top and bottom
Frost with white Frosting, add cherries and chopped Walnuts.

One way to decorate it. You could spread the frosting on top, that is how we did it for years but I mixed it up a bit so you could see the braid. You could even shape the bread into a circle for a "Christmas" wreath and it makes it easy to find a container to put it in for gift giving.
Merry Merry CHRISTmas.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Peanut Butter Fudge

It's been a long time since I have posted another one of Gram's recipes. And it seems only fitting that Christmas is upon us and this next recipe was one of Gram's signature Christmas recipes. She made this fudge every year. My husband loved Gram's fudge, especially this peanut butter one.

I have a very sweet memory about this recipe. I tried making this to surprise my husband a few years back. It was a disaster. My fudge ended up the consistency of a thick soup. It tasted good, but looked awful. I called Gram all upset because it didn't turn out. She said "well you'll have to try it again" So I got out all the ingredients again and she walked me through it on the phone. She was confident I would get it right. I scribbled down the instructions on some piece of paper that has since been lost. But today when making it I remembered her little 'tricks' to getting it right.

That's one of the things I love about having memories. They can't be taken from you. It's so important to share life stories with those we love, write them down, preserve them for generations to come. Here it is recipes with stories, but yours might be trips that were taken, birthday that were celebrated, hardships you went through, or the story of God's faithfulness in your life.

I have so many amazing memories of Gram. This is our first Christmas without her. Her passing is ever more on my mind these past weeks. I found a sweet Christmas card she sent to my Hannah. It read "Merry 1st Christmas Little One...Bless you my little Hannah love Memere" That was just this time last year. It was this time last year she sent a beautiful Maine wreath to hang on my door because she knew how homesick I was. It was just last year she told me how proud she was of me for moving to Washington with my family. It was last year this picture was taken of her opening the gift card to CVS I sent her for Christmas.

As a child I loved waking up Christmas morning and opening gift after gift. I loved the sound of wrapping paper ripping. It was awesome. But my favorite thing about Christmas was after all the gifts were open and put away. My Gram would come over with my Aunt and Uncle for "Christmas part 2" Gram was always thoughtful and practical with her gifts. First up socks, new clean socks. Sounds crazy but I looked forward to getting those socks every year. The next part of her gift was more personal. It could be a favorite colored sweater or a snowman. One year she bought the boys soft fleece blankets. They loved them. We still use them today. Those blanket made me think of my Pa and now they make me think of both him and my Gram.

The Recipe

2 5 oz cans evaporated milk
2 cups sugar
1 stick of butter
16 0z (one big container) Fluff
2 tsp vanilla

Ok so here's the trick...melt all these together on medium heat. Keep stirring. Bring to a boil...a full boil, make sure it's not just air bubbles. Stir and stir and stir for at least 10 min. TEST take out a little bit of mixture on a spoon and let cool. If you can roll it into a firm ball then it's done.
Remove from heat
1/2 cup peanut butter
fold into mixture
pour into greased 9x11 pan

I divided into two pans but these creates a thinner fudge and Gram's was thick!
You could add nuts if you wanted too. Gram did sometimes.

It came out pretty good....if it was thicker it would look just like Gram's. It tastes just like it though =)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Chicken Noodle Soup

A very early picture of my Grandparents. I have this in a frame on my mantle, along with a wedding picture of my parents and a wedding picture of my husband and I. It's amazing to look at 3 generations of lasting marriages!!

So here's another classic. This recipe was given to me by my sister Christine. There are two reasons I made this recipe today. One my husband Peter isn't feeling well and nothing tastes better when you are sick than homemade chicken soup and the other reason is because Christine gave it to me and this Saturday is her Bridal Shower. She's getting married Oct 2 of this year.
Gram was so looking forward to Christine's wedding. It makes me really sad that she won't be there. She passed on so many things to the woman in our family (not just recipes) that even though she's not with us, she is.
One thing she passed down is how to love your husband. She loved my Grandfather. She enjoyed taking care of him. I know in today's marriages everything should be "equal", (whatever that means). But Gram took good care of Pa. (And he loved her) I think she really enjoyed doing things for him. She did lots of things like, ironing his clothes, preparing meals, and having the house in order. I enjoy taking care of my husband. I love making his favorite meal or folding his laundry just so. It brings me joy to be able to express my love in that way. I know it was the same for Gram. I am sure it will be the same with Christine. It may be old fashion but it's what Gram taught by example.

This recipe may not be exactly how Gram made it because as I've mentioned Gram rarely wrote her recipes down. BUT Christine has mastered Gram's soup in my opinion because after I made it and tasted it I was transported into Gram's kitchen. I was sitting at her little table with a bowl of hot chicken noodle soup that she just made. It's simple but tastes like it took you all day.

You need:
3large carrots
3 white potatoes
2 stocks of celery
1 small onion
2 chicken breasts
1/2 package of egg noodles
bullion cubes (gram used the powdered kind in the jar)
2 cans of chicken broth
parsley flakes
salt, pepper, 2 tbs butter

Melt the butter in the bottom of soup pot saute diced onions, chopped carrots, and chopped celery until the onions are translucent add the chicken broth and bring to simmer cut up chicken into bite size pieces and drop in the mixture cook until the chicken is done.Next add the potatoes (cubed)I let this simmer until the potatoes are almost done.You'll probably need to add a couple cans of water and 1 bullion cube per can you add. (I just taste it to see what it needs)add the egg noodles and let it cook until they are just about done. I add a little bit of parsley flakes for color and salt and pepper to taste.In later years Gram sometimes put cream of chicken soup in hers to make it a thicker broth.One time I made this at Mom's house and brought it over to Gram and she said it was pretty close! (she was probably just trying to make me feel good though!)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Whoopie Pies

Here are some very special people. My Aunt Rita (I always remember thinking Aunt Rita is so classy, and beautiful)and her husband my Uncle Twee (and seriously he looked so much like Pa, his smile always brought me comfort), my Aunt Jack, (who I have many memories of going to Cape Code to visit) and of course my Gram.

So this recipe is so "Maine". Living out on the West Coast when I say "whoopie pie" I get a lot of strange looks and "what is that?" I don't want to begin to count how many whoopie pies I have eaten if my lifetime. And now if I want one I have to make it myself. I did a little research on the Whoopie Pie and there is a debate between Mainers and those living in Pennsylvania, what do you call them? Pennsylvanians? Anyway, those in Pennsylvania claim Whoopie Pies are an Amish traditional dessert that somehow was brought to Maine. But do no tell that to any Mainers I know, because we all grew up on Whoopie Pies and they are as Maine to us as Lobstah!
So I think I posted awhile back that my Aunt Prissy and my mom found Gram's recipe box. In that box were many hidden treasures, one being this Whoopie Pie recipe. I've had it for awhile but just made them today for a very specific reason that you can read about this weekend on my other blog :

My mom told me the story of how her and her friend Judy would make these whoopie pies and the whole counter was full of the "cookies or cakes". And how Gram would make these for the kids and put them in their lunches. Seriously? It amazes me how quickly I by prepackaged "treats" for my kids when homemade is by far better! Gram had it right! Make it yourself and with love.
Another interesting thing about the Whoopie Pie is there are so many different recipes. The ones you can buy at the local corner gas station in Maine are "ok" but they are full of preservatives to make shelf life longer and they are in my opinion just way too big. As I compared and read lots of Whoopie Pie stories and recipes the filling of Gram's recipe caught my attention because it calls for 1 stick of BUTTER. After reading many people agree that the original recipe for the filling called for butter...and over time as been omitted for various reasons. So I couldn't remember what Gram's filling tasted like...hmmmm yeah it's amazingly awesome. The "cookie or cake" recipe is perfect. Put them together and it's a party in your mouth.
Even if you have your own Whoopie Pie recipe, I think you should give this one a try because you will not be disappointed.
As I do every day I miss my Gram. I know it sounds like I am being repetitive but I am just being honest. The other day on my run I passed like 5 little white haired ladies and it took every ounce of me not to burst into tears. I wondered if these ladies had people in their lives who love them, treasure them,and take care of them. I hope they do. I thought of my own family and how much a desire us to be whole again. Because this life is so short, we are but a vapor, we should love each other deeply from the heart. A day should not go by that we don't tell each other "I love you, you are important in my life" Again I am so thankful had that with my grandmother....but I miss hearing it from her. I replay it often in my mind "Love You Beth" She said it so often it's easy to close my eyes and "hear it" "Love you too Gram, miss you , see you soon!" I ALWAYS said back.

The Recipe:
2 Cups flour

1 teas. Baking soda

1/4 Teas. salt

1/3 Cup cocoa

1 Cup sugar

1 egg

1/3Cup shortening

3/4 Cup milk

2 tsp Vanilla

Mix well and drop onto greased cookie sheet try 2tbs per "cookie" bake 350 about 10 min until done. Completely cool

1 Cup powdered sugar

3 tbs fluff

1/2 Cup Crisco

2 teas. Vanilla

1/3 Cup sugar

1 stick of butter

Beat until very fluffy take 2 "cookies and spread filling about 1/2 inch thick to edges and put top on. These can be individually wrapped in waxed paper or stored in air tight container. These went so fast we always doubled the recipe! ( I did double the recipe, but if you are thinking of sharing I would TRIPPLE it)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Molasses Bars

Here are some good looking men! These are my uncles!

Here is Gram's original recipe in her own handwriting. It's not showing up very big on this blog but that's ok. My mom and Aunt Prissy found Gram's box of recipes the other day while going through here things. Jackpot! What a treasure! So this was one of the recipes in there. There are so many more recipes to come. I can't wait to make them.

I had never had these molasses bars until I JUST made them. I love anything molasses, gingerbread, spiced anything. I don't know it reminds me of fall my favorite time of year. So I didn't know what I was in for when I made these. First let me say SO EASY. I literally just threw all the ingredients in a bowl and mixed. The baked so fast. Then it was time to taste, awesome. They are so good. On a cool fall day with a cup of tea...perfect.
Speaking of Gram always cracked me up when she made a cup of tea. She would only let the tea bag sit in the hot water for a short time. She once told me "three dunks, that's all I need" She then proceeded to dip her tea bag with a spoon three times in her hot water. What I wouldn't give to sit down and have a cup of tea with her right now. I thought that as time went on missing her would be easier. But it hasn't been. I think of her everyday. Sometimes it's something so small. Like the other day when the census person came to our door, and they asked for my name, including middle name. "T" for Trudy ..I miss my Gram. Or it's the big things, like planning our trip back to Maine and overwhelmed with sadness that she won't be there.


6 TBS margarine

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup molasses

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

2 cups flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

Mix all ingredients well. Bake 20-30 min. Then spread with topping when still warm.(use general frosting recipe)

So it didn't say how hot to make the oven I guessed 350 and it was just right. The frosting is just powered sugar and milk and vanilla.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Saturday Baked Beans

Thanks Mom for giving me the recipe!
Add Video From my Mom:
Pa had to have these every Sat night when we were growing up, and I mean every Sat night no exception that was bean night. It was served with steamed hot dogs& rolls usually red, and brown bread and homemade cold slaw. Some of us kids did not like the beans so we had the hot dogs. We never had to eat anything we did not like.

These beans are amazing. NOT too sweet, like in the can (Bush's beans have nothing on these) but just right. I remember our own Saturday night beans growing up. I know this may sound really gross, but my favorite thing in the whole world to eat is these baked beans mixed together with Gram's potato salad. I love to take a fork with some the potato salad and dip it into the baked beans. YUM
I was surprised how easy these were to make. I love them....and no one else in my house will eat them. That was until Hannah tried them and she loves them. So we will eat them together.
I wish my Gram had the chance to meet Hannah. I know she loved her. She talked about her all the time. When we last talked I told her I would teach Hannah how to say "Meme"(Meh-May) Hannah is saying lots of things "mama, dada, nahnah,cawcaw" so Meme is right around the corner.

Beautiful Hannah! (She actually did eat baked beans this day this pic was taken)

1 bag of navy pea beans
Soak 1 bag of beans overnight
Beans that have been soaked overnight
1/2 C Grandma's molasses
finely chopped onions 1/4 cup
1 small whole onion
2-3 slices bacon
2 teas onion salt cover
Rinse beans well and place in bean pot( you can use a crock pot but the traditional way is in the bean pot). Add molasses,chopped onions and water to cover beans, then add whole onion and bacon and onion salt. Put in oven at 350 for an hour then turn oven down to 250 and bake all day. Check every so often to make sure that the water is still covering the beans.

cold slaw:
1 cabbage shredded thin and then chopped
3 carrots peeled and cut up fine.
1 good sized onion chopped fine about
1/2 cup mayo enough to coat cabbage then sprinkle with celery salt.

The beans that have soaked and all the other goodies added in.
Beans hanging out in the oven all day. The smell is amazing!

Yum they are finally ready to eat.....

The perfect companion....cold slaw!

So the only thing missing from this picture is a steamed red hot dog. But since I live in Washington State now, I could not get my hands on such a treasure. The people on the west coast have no idea what they are missing.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


WOW I love this picture. My Grandfather was so handsome! And the smile on Gram's face...perfect.

This recipe is so special to me. This is a treat I remember having at Gram's so many times. They are my favorite sweet treat that she made. I always called them "homemade poptarts" but they are lovingly called "Rondalettes" The reason this recipe is so special to me is because it has a very special memory to go with it. Not just we ate it and it was good kind of memory but a very personal one. Years back I wanted this recipe. I asked Gram if she would give it to me and she said "oh well I don't know it to tell you, I just make them" I laughed because I had heard that answer before. So she said "next time you come over we will make them and you can write down what we do" And that is exactly what we did. "About this much of this" she would say "Wait what was that? How much of that?" I asked back. So we made a couple batches of these "rondalettes" and I wrote down the recipe. We had so much fun that afternoon. We laughed and talked about memories. She loved it when I told her things I remembered about Pa and she would ALWAYS fill in the blanks. I remember talking a lot about Pa that day. I wish Gram was with me making these "rondalettes". I am so thankful that she took the time to show me how to make these and that I wrote it down. I am more thankful that for that afternoon in her kitchen. I knew where she kept everything. We danced around, grabbing the sugar, oil, and choosing the jelly. My Gram was a very little lady, I towered over her and I am only 5'4. But her heart was BIG. She loved BIG. It's been almost 3 months since Gram passed as I write this, but it's still doesn't seem real. The void in my life without her is just as big. Life does go on when those we love are gone, but it's different. I miss her so much. "Love ya Beth" I keep hearing in my ears. I am thankful for each memory I have of my Gram like cooking this recipe together. I only wish I had more.


4 cups of jiffy mix or Bisquick is fine (Gram always used jiffy products)

1 egg

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup veg. oil

1 1/2 cups milk

jelly (your choice, we used strawberry that day but raspberry would be good too)

Frosting (simple milk and powered sugar)

Mix all ingredients until blended well.

Form rounded drops by the tablespoon and make a "well" in the middle of each one. Add jelly to fill the "well"

Bake at 350 for 15-20 min

cool and frost
This recipe makes almost 3 dozen

I did one Tablespoon of batter and 1/2 tsp jelly. Make sure your little "well" doesn't show the bottom of the pan or when they are cooked the jelly will fall through.

Notice how the frosting isn't perfect? That's the way Gram did it. I suppose if you wanted to be fancy you could put the frosting in a zip lock back and pipe it back and forth. But personally this is the way I like them.