Saturday, June 30, 2007

Fourth of July Celebrations

The Fourth of July was always a great time in my family. When I was young, every year we went to my aunt's home for a picnic. She lived in town and the parade went right by her house and with her big yard out front, we kids had plenty of room to run and play.

My aunt and uncle never had any children, so there weren't too many toys to play with, so we usually had to bring our own. Two things they did always have for us were a badminton set and lawn darts. My cousins and I loved lawn darts. Who knew back then how dangerous they were? We were lucky we didn't put an eye out.

Everyone usually arrived around noon to get things set up and wait for the parade, which never started on time. We knew when it was coming because the police car or fire truck that always lead the parade would blast its siren, then we could hear the band playing. We'd run to the end of the yard and get ready. Oh, but the best part was the candy. Almost every float would throw candy to those of us on the sidewalk. Of course, our parents panicked every time we ran out into the road to retrieve some.

After the parade, it was time to eat. Most of the people in town followed the parade to the fairgrounds where you could find just about any kind of carnival food you wanted. Instead of doing that, we all stayed at my aunt's and had a picnic.

That was 35 or 40 years ago and the small town no longer has a July 4th celebration. But, now that I have a family, we have our own celebration by inviting family and friends over and cooking out on the grill. My favorite is barbecue chicken and I have included my old family recipe for the sauce and also instructions for preparing corn on the cob for the grill.

Barbecue sauce

1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C. catsup
1/2 C. lemon juice
1/4 C. Worcestershire sauce
Garlic power, to taste

Layer ingredients in a large measuring cup in the order above. Sprinkle garlic powder on top and mix well. About twenty minutes before chicken is done, apply sauce to each piece. This makes enough sauce for about two chickens.

Grilled Corn on the Cob

There are several ways to grill corn. Someone told me that they put husk and all on the grill andwhen it's done, they pulled the husk away and the silk is so crispy that it just crumbles. I have never tried that. I have heard of pulling the husks down and removing as much of the silk as possible and then putting the husks back up, soak them in water and place on the grill. I prefer to clean the corn of all silk and husks and rinse in cool water. Spread butter or margarine over the corn and sprinkle with salt. Roll each cob up in aluminum foil and place on the hot grill. Turn frequently and cook them for 15 minutes.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Not-So-Perfect Cookie

Like so many other people, it seems like I'm always trying a new diet to lose weight. When the Low-Carb diets first became popular, I decided to give it a try. Being one who loves recipes, someone told me about a low-carb peanut butter cookie recipe. I immediately thought my diet problem was solved. I could eat the cookies to satisfy my sweet tooth and still lose weight. It might have worked, except for the fact that the cookies were terrible.

When I took them out of the oven, they looked and smelled great. But, when I removed them from the cookie sheet, they looked like they weren't going to stay together. I got them on the plate in one piece to cool, but later, when I tried to pick one up, it crumbled. So did the next one and the next one. I gave up trying to keep one together and tasted the crumbs. It was bad, so bad that I scraped the remaining cookies off the plate and into the trash can. That was a first for me.

So much for my perfect diet. I did lose weight on that diet, but it was without any desserts. I no longer have that low-carb recipe. I think it went into the trash with the cookie crumbs. Instead, I have included my favorite peanut butter cookie recipe; full of carbs.

Peanut Butter Cookies

1/2 C. shortening
1/2 C. peanut butter
1/2 C. granulated sugar
1/2 C. brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 t. vanilla
1 1/4 C. flour
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. baking powder
3/4 t. baking soda

Cream shortening, peanut butter, and sugar well. Add egg and vanilla. Beat well. Add shifted dry ingredients and mix well. Chill dough well. Then, form into small balls and place on cookie sheet. Flatten with a fork, making a crisscross pattern. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Our First Dinner Together

When my future husband, Steve and I decided to get married, he pointed something out to me, "I don't even know if you can cook."

He was right. I had never cooked for him. I was still in college and living at home with my mother. The need to cook for him had never come up. Steve and I always went out to dinner, usually for pizza and beer.

So, the challenge was on. My task was to prepare an dinner for him. On the other hand, I wasn't going to let this challenge be one-sided. He had to do something in return and my choice was that if he liked the meal, he had to do the dishes. He agreed, with an additional provision. He wanted a pecan pie for dessert.

While I didn't cook much, I did help my mother in the kitchen from time to time. One of the meals I liked to help prepare was baked chicken with mashed potatoes. It was easy and very little could go wrong. Unfortunately, I had never baked a pecan pie before, so I turned to mom for help. She had a wonderful recipe and I even took it a step further and planned on making the crust from scratch.

The following weekend was the test. I had everything finished when Steve arrived for dinner. He took a seat at the table and I brought the food over. It turned out beautifully and he enjoyed the meal. What he didn't enjoy was doing the dishes afterward, but that's a story. Below are the recipes that I used.

Baked Chicken

1 chicken, cut up
1 1/2 C cornflake crumbs
2 eggs
1/4 C milk

Preheat oven to 350º. Spray baking pan with cooking spray and set aside. Mix eggs and milk in a bowl. Put cornflake crumbs in a second dish. Dip chicken pieces in egg mixture and then roll in cornflake crumbs until evenly coated. Place on baking pan and bake for 1 hour.

Simple Mashed Potatoes

5 medium potatoes
1 stick butter or margarine
salt, to taste

Peel, wash, and dice potatoes. Boil in water until tender. Pour off water, and mash potatoes with butter or margarine until fluffy. To make potatoes smoother, add a little milk and stir well.

Pecan Pie

1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C. butter or margarine
1 C. light corn syrup
1/2 t. salt
3 eggs
1 C. chopped pecans

Cream sugar and butter; add syrup and salt. Mix well. Beat in one egg at a time. Add pecans. Pour mixture into an unbaked pie crust. Bake at 350º for 1 hour, 10 minutes.

Pie Crust

1 1/2 C. sifted flour
1/2 t. salt
1/2 C. shortening
4-5 T. ice cold water

Sift flour and salt together, then cut in shortening with a pastry cutter until pieces are the size of small peas. Add water one tablespoon at a time and combine with a fork. Once mixed, form the dough into a ball. Roll out on a floured surface to make crust. This makes one 9-inch pie crust.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


I love to eat and I love to write, so it only made sense to combine my two favorite things into a blog.

First, a little about me. I live in Indiana and am married with a daughter in college. In my day job, I am a manager for a computer company, but my dream career is writing. In addition to food articles, I'm hoping to publish romance novels and I have a little cookbook I am working on, too.

Like most of us, I need to lose weight. In my entries here, I will include some healthy dishes that could fit into most diets, but I won't forget the good foods either. I plan to also post recipes for high calorie desserts, high fat meals, and high carb dishes. Just remember to eat in moderation.

I'll try to post here at least weekly; maybe more, maybe less. Either way, I hope you like my articles and recipes.