A-to-Z Challenge Reflections Post

A-to-Z Challenge reflections post week. We were asked to “Share your pleasures, your pains, your setbacks, your gains..” (and more)

Many pleasures and gains – the joy of finally digging through one of the recipe boxes (still another one to go!) that my mom and uncles grabbed for me when my grandmother passed away. The thrill of seeing that people do actually read and like and comment on what you post and follow your blog. (thanks again to all!) The actions of putting this blog together after thinking about it for a while.

As for pains and setbacks – not too many to report here. I think this blog was easier to write content for than some of the others out there that I visited. Recipes is an easy topic for a challenge like this…find the recipe with the letter and type it up. I only had to scramble a couple of times with posts but for the most part I was able to get them all written ahead of time and queued up in the system. As for how long this blog would last on an A-to-Z challenge year after year…that could be the pain. I am not sure how long something like this would make it through all 26 letters after 2 or 3 times. I am not even sure where it goes from here…

I have to admit that I did not make it around to as many blogs as I should have to check out all the great content out there in the challenge. April got away from me and looking back on it, it was a good thing I got all the posts done ahead of time. Great job to all who completed the challenge!


A-to-Z Challenge Thanks!

A quick post to THANK all those who stopped by and left comments and followed this blog during the A-To-Z Challenge! It was definitely a good walk down memory lane sifting through one of the recipe boxes to see what my grandmother had written down. I hope this was as fun for the readers as it was for me envisioning my grandmother sitting across the table from me in her kitchen and handwriting all these treasures! And if some of you out there tried a recipe or two…even better!

Z if for Zucchini with Cheese

Wow…last day of the A-to-Z Challenge!

Zucchini is another one of those foods that is not very appealing to a child. I am not sure why…maybe it is the funny name or maybe it is because it looks like something that is healthy (and not tasty to a child). I have worked up my zucchini tolerance and enjoy it just as much as any other vegetable these days.

This is another example of a recipe written in paragraph form…which tends to suit my style as I tend to wing it in the kitchen. Here is what i see for Zucchini with Cheese:

Dice 4 zucchini into small pieces and cook over a moderate flame with a little water. Add 1/8 teaspoon salt and stir and cook. When tender drain. Add 1 tablespoon of butter and grated cheese. Add 1/4 cup cream. Stir. While cheese melts take off the fire. Add a lightly beaten egg yolk. Pour into a baking dish. Grate more cheese over the top the top. Top with butter and brown in a 400 oven.

I believe “grated cheese” here actually is what we call shredded cheese these days (at least in our house…not the small glass containers found on pizza place tables). The main quantity missing here is the amount of this cheese to use. You can probably start with 1/2 to 1 cup and take it from there. Also, with the wide variety of shredded cheeses these days you could experiment with different flavors to see what works. I would also imagine you can play around with some dried spices for extra taste and flavor.


Y is for Valentine PartY Cake

Lets put the Y in partY today! 🙂

Another stretch…but it is amazing how tough some of these letters are. I can’t really think of too many foods that start with Y besides Yams honestly. Anyway, i see this one dated from February 12, 1976. It is called a Valentine Party Cake:

  • 2 and 1/4 cups of sifted cake flour
  • 1 and 1/3 cups of sugar
  • 3 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 cup of cherry juice
  • 16 cherries (cut into lengths)
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 4 egg whites, unbeaten
  • 1/2 cup of nuts, finely chopped

Directions read “Add shortening, cherry juice, cherries and milk to a bowl. Beat with electric mixer on slow to medium speed. add egg whites and beat for two more minutes on medium speed. Fold in all the dry ingredients. Pour into two greased 8-inch pans. Back at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes. Frost with white icing and sprinkle with red crystals”

Who says you have to wait until February 14th to make your loved one a cake…do it now! 🙂


X is (a wildcard) for Vie

OK…I had to cheat here as “X”s are very hard to come by in the recipe box. So, today i will consider X to be the wildcard recipe…

There is a particular recipe I have been looking for…Ewan(s) or Wan(s). There were my grandmothers staple at any family gathering. People would actually look for them and then they would be devoured by the plateful. As it turns out she had this one written as “Vie” many times in the recipe box.

The way my grandmother served these was about as basic as you could get. She would take the cardboard bottom from a 24-pack of soda cans, line it with a brown paper bag, pile the Ewans on top of it, sprinkle with powdered sugar and then stuff it into another brown paper bag. This was carried horizontally and then the top bag was ripped open or removed and the feeding frenzy began. Honestly, it didn’t matter what these were served on…they were going to be eaten quickly!

Here is what i see for Vie from March 19, 1978:

  • 1/2 cup of beer
  • 3 cups of flour
  • salt (for taste)
  • 5 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 stick of margarine
  • 3 teaspoons of sugar

For directions i see “Mix the flour and margarine well with your hands. Then you add the 1/2 cup of beer. Then you add the beaten eggs. Then you add the rest and mix with a wooden spoon. Cut dough into 4 pieces and place under bowl for 1 hour. Roll out pieces really thin. Cut into strips and deep fry.”

As mentioned above, these were always finished off with a little powdered sugar on top.


W is for Wheat Pie

Another pie recipe coming your way today. As mentioned in previous posts this was another one of the pies we made for the Easter holiday. Here is what i see for the Wheat Pie Filling:

  • 1 and 3/4 cup of wheat
  • 3 cups of sugar
  • 1 can of ricotta (probably start with a small container)
  • citron
  • orange zest
  • lemon zest
  • 6 to 8 eggs
  • 1 and 1/2 cup of milk
  • 3 teaspoons of vanilla

For directions I see “1 and 3/4 cup of wheat let stand over night in cold water. Next day wash and cook it and add a little salt. Drain. Then you mix and bake in 300 or 325 degree oven for 1 hour or more.”

You could try and marry this one with the Sweet Pie Crust.


V is for Veal Scallopini Cubes

I do love Veal…it is a meat that we should put into our regular dinner options more often.

The piece of paper i found this one written on actually had 7 recipes crammed onto it. They all sound good and here is what i see written out for the Veal Scallopini Cubes:

  • 2 pounds of veal cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1/4 cup of oil
  • 1/2 cup of mushrooms
  • 2 onions sliced
  • 2 cups of brown gravy
  • 2 tables spoons of sherry
  • salt, pepper (for taste)

The directions read: “Dust veal cubes with flour, salt and pepper. Heat the oil. Brown the meat – add the onions and mushroom – and saute for a few minutes. Add gravy and sherry. Stir and cover for 6 to 8 hours.” (i am assuming on low here…keep in mind this was way before crock pots were invented)

It also says at the bottom of the recipe “If you like rice with it” …which is her way of saying you can make rice and serve this either on top of it or to the side.


U is for Steak with MUshroom SoUp

OK…another creative on like the letter K. There is a “U” in mushroom and soup right? 🙂

This one is dated April 5, 1975 on a (now) yellowish tinted 3″x5″ index card. It reads Steak with Mushroom Soup:

  • 1 and 1/2 pound of steak
  • 2 tablespoons of shorting (I am sure she meant shortening)
  • 1 cup of mushroom soup (most likely cream of mushroom)
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • 2 tablespoons of sherry
  • 1 garlic (assume a clove…but get creative)
  • 1 medium bay leaf

It says “Cook for 1 hour”. Then at the bottom of the card it has “If you add the Bean cook for 15 minutes more.” So, if you add a can of beans add a little more time.

I have to say as a kid I underappreciated soup. It seemed to be only something you ate when you were sick. As an adult I have come to really enjoy soup and on most days it is what I eat for lunch.


T is for Turkey Stuffing

Happy Monday!

This one is going to be like a choose your own adventure recipe. While I do see something for a Turkey Stuffing recipe…it is heavy on possible ingredients and light on measurements. Experimentation required!

  • Bacon, cut up
  • Sausage (1 to 2 pounds)
  • Bread, with chicken soup (most likely meaning soaked in chicken soup or broth)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Eggs (3 to 4)
  • Apples
  • Cheese
  • Parsley
  • Garlic

Taking it from the top…he would be some of my observations from making stuffing in the past:

  • Bacon – 6 to 8 pieces crumbled for starters. Everything is better with bacon!
  • Sausage – My grandmother said 1 to 2 pounds…and we listen to grammie! 🙂 Start with 1 pound and see if you think you have enough.
  • Bread – i have made stuffing with just one loaf of bread and usually feel like i don’t have enough. So, i would go with 2 loaves cut into cubes. As for the chicken stock – 2 to 3 cups to start.
  • Salt and pepper for taste
  • Eggs – 3 to 4…again, we are doing as told here!
  • Apples – 1 or 2 apples peeled, cored, chopped
  • Cheese – 1/2 to 1 cup shredded
  • Parsley – 1/4 to 1/2 cup fresh parsley chopped
  • Garlic – 1 to 2 cloves minces


S if for Sweet Pie Crust

By now it is fairly obvious that my grandmother loved to bake. There were all sorts of wonderful cookies, pies, breads, and various other baked goods coming out of the multiple ovens in that house.

One thing that always gets critiqued when eating a pie is the crust. Some seem to be underbaked, some are too hard, some fall apart…you get the picture. A good pie crust can go a long way to making that perfect pie. Also, each pie had a different crust and they could not be interchanged!

In the recipes i see one from March 24, 1979 for a Sweet Pie Crust. This one actually got a “very good” rating and the recipe is as follows:

  • 8 cups of flour
  • 1 and 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 5 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 3 sticks of margarine
  • 5 eggs, beaten

The directions are “Flour, sugar, baking powder, margarine, vanilla – mix all together. Add the eggs. Then you add the cold water and let it stand for 2 or 3 hours or more.”

You want to be careful with the cold water here (as an unknown quantity is given). Add a little at a time until a stiff ball of dough is formed. Once it has risen you can cut off some dough, roll it out, and make your favorite pie!