Food Archive

Soft Molasses Cookies

Posted August 15, 2014 By Ruth

I’m not sure how I never posted this recipe on here….its one of my favorites.  Bit of a pain to make, but the cookies are to die for!

3/4 cup shortening

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 large eggs

1/2 cup molasses

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon nutmeg


Cream together shortening and brown sugar.  Stir in egg and molasses and mix well.  Fold in dry ingredients and stir. 

Cover and chill till firm (1-2 hours).

Preheat oven to 350°.  Roll dough into small balls and roll in white sugar.  Place on lightly greased cookie sheet. 

Bake at 350° for 9-10 minutes. 

Leave on sheet one minute until set.

Makes ALOT of cookies!


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Canned potatoes

Posted August 12, 2014 By Ruth

I’ve been looking at alternatives for storing my potential crop of potatoes this winter.  I still want to try the modified fridge,  but I’m not having any luck finding a fridge in the general size I’m looking for (ie: a full size fridge thats not huge, that works, that doesn’t cost a alot).

I’d mostly decided on dehydrating the large majority of the potatoes.  And no matter what I’ll be dehydrating at least some of them.  But I just ran across the fact that you can pressure can potatoes too!  After reading a variety of blog posts on it I ran across this one, where one commenter stated that they did a cold pack of french fry cut potatoes……I’d mostly decided that at least SOME of the potatoes I was going to dry would be a french fry cut…..I might have to try that…..

Does anyone have any experience with home-canned potatoes?

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Tomato sauce 3

Posted August 11, 2014 By Ruth

Same recipe as last time, except I remembered the oregano this time, and I added a dash of red pepper flakes

2lbs 2ounces of tomatoes

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Home-made tomato sauce, try 2

Posted August 5, 2014 By Ruth

1lb 2.25 ounces of tomatoes

half the olive oil

2 cloves of garlic (Music, remember, small cloves this year)

twice as much salt

same pepper

simmer longer to reduce further

somehow still got 3 full half pint jars


Edit: forgot the oregano *sigh*

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Home-made tomato sauce, first try

Posted July 29, 2014 By Ruth

Ok, this is mostly for my reference.

Uncooked untrimmed, 1lb 3.5ounces of tomatoes (Black Plum).

Cut out stem ends and weird spots.

Pureed in food processor, skin and seeds on, raw.

Simmered on stove w/glug of olive oil (didn’t measure, gonna regret that), a clove of garlic (Music), a little salt, pepper and oregano.

Pureed again in food processor.

Returned to stove to simmer to a slightly thicker consistency.

 Not quite filled 3 1/2 pint jars, which is fine, I planned to freeze this batch rather than can it.

Haven’t tasted it yet, and I think I got a bit to much olive oil in it.  But it smells heavenly.  We’ll be doing home-made pizza tomorrow using it!

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Mustard update

Posted July 27, 2014 By Ruth

Original post here.

We’re still eating this mustard, much better than anything in the store.  The only issue is that I’m not always able to make up a new batch RIGHT as the last one goes off.  And sometimes when I can, we don’t need it right away.  We’re not huge mustard eaters, just like to have it in the house for occasional use.

So I did some poking around and discovered that the Ball Book of Canning discusses canning mustard.  A look at their recipe, and mine has as much or more vinegar. 

So last fall I canned up several 1/4 pint jars of mustard.  It worked perfectly except that I didn’t boil it down to the right consistency.  Not the end of the world, and easy enough to fix once you open it, but still annoying. 

So today I jarred up another batch, and remembered to be sure to boil it down far enough.  For those of you thinking about doing this yourself, multiplying the original recipe by 2, boiled down to the right consistency (which I did on the stove as its easier to keep an eye on), makes exactly 6 1/4pint jars.

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Chocolate ice cream

Posted July 22, 2014 By Ruth

So a couple days ago I posted about an easy home-made ice cream.

Yesterday I wanted chocolate ice cream.

And hey, what do you know, over the weekend I had bought a quart of Creamline Chocolate Milk as a treat for Husband.

I used the chocolate milk instead of cream, but still added the sugar and vanilla.

O.M.G. that is decadent chocolate ice cream.

When Husband got home from work I made him some to try.

Next weekend I have to buy some Popsicle molds and a gallon of Creamline chocolate milk, we both agreed that it would make the most decadent fudgicle Popsicle…..

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This was one of those things that goes around Facebook.  I mostly ignore them, but this one caught my eye.  Ice cream in a bag.

We’ve debated getting an ice cream maker but for various reasons haven’t, among others, would we really use it enough to make it worth while?

But at the same time there are times when I want ice cream and we don’t have any in the house, and I don’t want to run out to get some.  Plus some of the store bought stuff is less than stellar…….

Ice Cream In a Bag

1-quart sized ziplock

In it put:

1 cup of cream (or half and half, or even regular milk according to the comments on the recipe)

2 tablespoons of sugar

1/2 tsp of vanilla extract (or flavor of your choice)

seal the small ziplock (squeeze the air out best you can) and put it in:

1-gallon sized ziplock bag (I recommend a freezer bag, they’re sturdier)

with enough ice to half fill said bag (took about 2.5 trays for me) and

1/2 cup of salt (rock or other “chunky” salt works best, but I understand table salt works too)

Seal the gallon ziplock (you don’t actually want to squeeze all the air out, just some of it) and “shake it for 5 minutes”.  Since my hands are cold sensitive I basically just kept flipping it over and over and over.

At the end of 5 minutes pull the smaller bag out and rinse off the salt (don’t forget inside the lips of the seal!), I found it to be a bit soft to my taste for ice cream, but that’s probably perfect if you want to mix in chocolate chips or something.  Pour them into the ice cream back, seal it back up, and squish it around to mix them in.  I then put the ice cream bag into the freezer for 5 minutes while I cleaned up the mess from the ice, and refilled the trays.  After that point it was almost perfect, a bit firmer than soft-serve but not truly hard ice cream.

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Ok, so this  year I’ve got a decent sized garden.  No, its not big enough to truly support the two of us, but it IS big enough that we won’t be able to eat everything that it will (potentially) produce right away.

I don’t have a good place to store much of this.  Some can be frozen sure, and some can be dehydrated, and some jarred, but some is better kept fresh if possible.

I don’t have a basement to turn into a storage space, and the crawlspace isn’t an option, maybe if it was better insulated, but last winter proved its not insulated (much less sealed) enough to keep out the cold, much less the critters.

The garage generally stays at least a few degrees warmer than the outside air in the winter (and the reverse in the summer), but thats not enough insulation in a normal winter, never mind one like this past winter.  Ditto the breezeway.

In the winter the furnace stays set at 58-60 with the wood burning stove for when we want it warmer.  I planted thermometers around the house last winter and the only place that reliably stayed below 60 when we lit the stove was the master bath.  I’m not converting the master bath to food storage.  No where else came close, so even if we set the furnace to a lower temp as soon as the woodburning stove warmed up it’d be to warm.

Obviously this is a problem we’ll have to eventually remedy, we might be able to insulate the workroom on the back of the garage for example, but not this year.

Looking through storage requirements for the vegi’s we’re most likely to have the most of, most of them should be stored between 40-55 degrees.  Though humidity requirements vary a bit.

Doing some looking around, and old fridges and freezers are cheap on craigslist.  If I add an external temperature controller, I can control the temperature of the fridge or freezer to stay within the range I want.  Humidity is a bit harder, but I think I can cope.  And the fridge wouldn’t have to run nearly as hard as usual since it wouldn’t be having to cool as far below room temp (somewhere in the 45degree range likely).

Does that sound like a reasonable solution?  A fridge with a temp controller with me doing something to manage the humidity?  Or does someone have a better idea?

*the link to Amazon is via my Amazon Associates account, if you buy something after clicking through that link I’ll earn a few pennies.

Copycat Pepperidge Farm Cheddar Goldfish

Posted May 3, 2014 By Ruth

The other day I happened to catch the show ReWrapped on the Food Network.  I was bored, and they were playing around with the Cheddar Goldfish.  I love Goldfish crackers, so I had to watch.

The guy who won the first half (challenge: recreate the Goldfish crackers) was getting statements like “if I closed my eyes I’d never know the difference”.  So I had to try the recipe.

Ok, cause its me, I didn’t exactly follow his recipe.  Partially because I didn’t have 20oz of cheese on hand (seriously, a pound and a half of cheese??), I only had 16oz, so thats what I used.  Partially because I HAVE read the ingredients listing for the Goldfish crackers and I knew that they contained paprika and onion.

They turned out really good.  But they’re not “close my eyes and not know the difference” good.

I added a 1/4tsp of onion powder, and a bit less than 1/4tsp of paprika.

I only used 16oz of cheese instead of the 20 he calls for.

I didn’t make a goldfish cookie cutter, squares are just fine by me, plus it uses more of the dough.

Although he doesn’t say it I highly recommend chilling your dough before cooking.  I chilled it for half an hour, rolled it out, cut it into squares (1/2″ or so), and chilled the squares for another 15minutes or so while the oven finished pre-heating.  Pulled out enough for the first batch, and put the rest back in the fridge.  One, the chilled dough is easier to work with, and two since we’re not using yeast the only leavening is the butter, and that works best when its chilled going into the oven.  I might even try putting the cut crackers into the freezer next time.

When you’re cooking them make sure you space them out so that they aren’t touching each other.  With that much cheese in them they’ll melt together if they touch (yah, I did that with the first batch, the dogs loved them).

I cooked mine at 350 for the full 15 minutes.

I don’t know how well they’ll store, with that much fat in them.  None of mine lasted long enough for that to be an issue, but if you’re looking for something to make for snacks for the week I’m not sure this’ll work for you.

Over all I liked them alot, and will likely make the recipe again.  But I’m still looking for that ideal copycat Goldfish recipe!