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I saw this recipe last year on a forum and tried it. They were easy to make and were delicious too!
In top of double boiler melt together:

2/3 c. of sweetened condensed milk (Eagle Brand)
1 1/3 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

Mix together until well blended then refrigerate for several hours. Roll into balls.

Melt 2/3 cups semi sweet chips and 2 tsps oil in top of double boiler until chocolate is melted. Use spoon to roll each piece in the melted chocolate until covered. I used the remaining chocolate to drip over the tops of the candy. Let the chocolate dry and enjoy!

Homeschooling is always full of surprises. This morning after breakfast, the kids had a little bit of free time before lessons, while they were waiting for me to finish something I was doing on the computer. While most of the kids were playing with the baby or dragging out every blanket in the house, Andrew, our oldest at age 11, decided to write some poetry.

I was quite surprised, since I never taught him to write poetry. In fact, we don’t really do any type of formal grammar lessons at all, except for the little bit that is included in his Latin lessons; we instead focus mainly on reading good literature, both aloud and each child on their own. We do plan to get to the more formal grammar lessons someday, lest you should think that I just don’t care about grammar at all, but, with several children to teach I have chosen to put off some of the more detailed lessons until more of the children are old enough to grasp them.

I was even more surprised after I read the poem. I thought that it was fairly good for a first venture. So, for anyone who is interested, here are the verses.

The Apple and the Blueberry
by Andrew H. Meng

How do you do Mr. Blueberry, Mr. Blueberry
How do you do in these days?
How do you do when the fruit grows ripe and
the harvest is near?
How do you do when the river is clear and
the garden is fair?

I do very well Mr. Apple, Mr. Apple
I do very well in these days.
I do very well when the fruit grows ripe and
the harvest is near.
I do very well when the river is clear and
the garden is fair.

He was definitely paying attention when we read all of those nursery rhymes when he was little.

Here’s our favorite recipe for brownies. It’s a recipe I came up with by using substitutions. The original recipe used baking chocolate and butter. One time I ran out of baking chocolate so substituted cocoa. Another time I substituted some Crisco in place of part of the butter. It turned out well so I still make it that way. A lot of people have asked me for my recipe. I’ll try to post a picture the next time I make it. Enjoy!

Brownies
Mix together the dry ingredients:
3/4 cup cocoa
1 1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder

In small bowl beat together:
4 eggs and set aside

In a large mixing bowl add:
2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
3 1/2 tsp water
9 TBSP + 1 tsp melted Crisco (over medium heat, watching closely) 150 ml mark in measuring cup
1/3 cup melted butter (5 1/3 Tablespoons)
nuts if desired

Melt Crisco and butter. Blend the melted Crisco and butter with the sugar, vanilla and water.
Cool enough to add the eggs and blend well. Mix in the dry ingredients. Because of the Crisco, it will become stiffer as it cools so try to stir in the dry ingredients quickly. If it gets too stiff to stir, you can put it in a warm oven for a few minutes then stir. Spoon into a greased glass 14″ X 9″ pan. Sprinkle top with broken nuts before baking, if desired.

Bake at 325 degrees for 30-35 mins or till toothpick comes out clean. Brownies will rise then fall
when done.

This is something I just made for company tonight and it’s always a hit. I served it with my chicken salad and homemade rolls. It’s a lot like scalloped potatoes. It’s so easy to make and is delicious. It’s also good reheated, unlike most potato dishes. My husband likes it the best when it’s crunchy on top from reheating. Sorry I don’t have a picture to post of it because I don’t have a digital camera. If some of my fellow bloggers want to make it and post a picture here, that would be great. I scanned my slice of bread in our scanner for the last post but I won’t try it on this. I had to clean the oil off it last time. I think the cheese would be a lot messier.

6 large potatoes, sliced into rounds
1/2 cup chopped onion
Boil the onion and potatoes and drain well.

In a saucepan, heat and mix together:
2 TBSP butter
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 can evaporated milk (3/4 cup)
1 and 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese cut in cubes (6 oz. = 1 1/2 cups)
salt and pepper to taste

Peel and slice the potatoes. Boil with the onion till tender. Drain. On medium heat, stir soup, milk, butter and cheese together till cheese is melted. Add drained potatoes to the sauce and pour into a glass 9 by 13 inch baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes at 325-350 degrees until the top is browned.
Serves 8.

Heidi and my sister-in-law Katie made this lovely donut cake for my brother, who just graduated from State Trooper “boot camp” in South Carolina. She had such a lovely idea, and it was so simple that I thought I’d share. What kid wouldn’t enjoy a birthday cake shaped like a donut??

Just bake a bundt cake and round it out a little on the top. Frost it first with chocolate icing, including the inside of the hole. The overlay vanilla frosting like icing. Sprinkle and enjoy!

For a while I had been thinking of writing something about the connection between experience in homemaking and the difficulty or ease of hospitality, but before this weekend I felt wholly unqualified; we had only “had over” immediate family and maybe two friends on a handful of occasions, never for more than a couple of hours. When a good friend of my husband’s came on pretty short notice for a three-day visit last week, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed everything from the preparatory cleaning and planning to the visit itself. It was interesting; I was aware of being solely responsible (with my husband) for the comfort and well-being of his friend during his time here, and I thought I would have to restrain myself from excessive anxiety that he was uncomfortable due to some oversight on my part, because that’s one of the more charming aspects of my personality. Ha. It was likely due to the guest’s kindness and good nature that I was at ease instead, even when the chicken refused to finish roasting and I had to pull it out and poach the pieces separately…but that’s another story. Weirdly enough, sometimes I “forget” I am an adult, and married, and no one else is ultimately responsible for what goes on in our household. Having a house guest sort of made me feel like I was all grown up all of a sudden.

At the very least I now know experientially the relationship between showing hospitality “without grumbling” and having some level of general confidence and competence in keeping house. When you factor into normal routines the (probably inevitable) pressures when a guest is on his way, it is a huge advantage to know how to plan meals and to have some sort of mental checklist for preparing the guest room and rest of the house. I have only lately been aiming to keep our home close to “visitor-ready” all the time; not so much because we are apt to have unexpected visitors but because I realized that it’s just stupid to let some parts of the house get messy because no one sees them but me. Aiming for the standards I would have for a visitor helps—and I’m not sure what to think of the probable vanity underlying such a standard. I’m inclined to be pragmatic and say that if it helps me keep my house clean, welcome, vanity! Ahem. At any rate, the fact that I had begun implementing this in our guest/game/spare room about two weeks before my husband’s friend decided to visit helped quite a bit in my preparations. Sometimes I’m so used to seeing a pile of papers or books that need to be put away that my eyes simply begin to gloss over them. But it’s funny how your vision “improves” when you learn company is coming. The baseboards suddenly look dirtier, the relatively organized stack of coupons looks out of control, and you realize your dinner repertoire presents about three options for both guest-worthy and foolproof meals.

Simple thoughtfulness and application of the second great commandment—what would I like to have done for me and not done for me as a guest in someone’s home?—certainly go a long way. Without it a perfect host will be like a “clanging cymbal.” But unless I ever become wealthy enough to have maids and a chef to cook us fancy French dinners every night (which I’m not sure I would actually enjoy), I think it is right and worthwhile to expend effort improving in such mundane areas as cooking and cleaning. Are they really so mundane when they make me more ready and willing to serve my family and friends out of my home, and when they are a so large a part of true homemaking?


My friend Verna is 96, and we get together for tea at my house at least once a season. Today seemed the perfect time to celebrate spring as the Verna equinox, even if the actual equinox occurs tomorrow.

Also joining us was Sarah, companion of my youth. She came to me as a Christmas present when I was three, and a couple of years ago I overhauled her wardrobe with a new dress, panties, socks and shoes. The dress and panties were made by a doll clothier I connected with on eBay.

An almost unbelievably delightful time was had by all.

Here are a few of our family’s favorite Christmas recipes.

Pound Cake
I got this recipe from an Asheville NC cookbook my sister gave me called Mountain Elegance. I’m not wild about most pound cakes, but the cream cheese in this one makes it especially good. It would be very good for someone who’s trying to gain weight. The recipe is called Fuller’s Finest Pound Cake. I made a few minor changes to the original recipe. Note, there is no leavening in this cake so it feels pretty heavy. It’s good toasted for breakfast with some extra butter!
3 cups sugar
3 sticks butter, melted (original recipe has 2 sticks margarine, 1 butter)
1 8 oz Philadelphia Cream cheese, soft
8 eggs
1 tsp vanilla (original recipe also has 1 tsp rum flavoring)
3 cups flour

Cream butter and cream cheese together. Add sugar and mix well. Add the vanilla and blend in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour gradually and blend well. Grease and flour two bread pans. Bake at 225-250 degrees for 2 hours.

Fannie May Fudge

A friend shared this fudge recipe with me. It’s supposed to be the original Fannie May Fudge recipe. It’s very easy to make and is wonderful. Many people have asked me for the recipe. I don’t make it every year anymore, but my boys loved to “help” when they were little and would carefully count out all the marshmallows for me. Be careful during the boiling stage because it splashes and can burn you.
4 cups sugar
1 cup milk
1 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
13 oz. milk chocolate chips (I use an 11 1/2 oz bag for both)
13 oz. semi sweet chocolate
2 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
25 large marshmallows
(3/4-1 cup pecans or walnuts if desired)

Melt butter, add sugar, milk and vanilla. Then boil for two minutes. Remove from heat. Quickly add marshmallows and then baking chocolate. Stir well. Add in the other two bags of chocolate chips. Apply heat if necessary to melt chocolate pieces.
Pour into a greased 9 by 13 glass pan. Cut when slightly hardened.

The following recipe is from Joy of Cooking. I substitute a little more white sugar for some of the brown called for in the original recipe because the full amount of brown sugar turns almost to taffy around the edges and it is harder to put the icing on. Joy of Cooking calls them Pecan or Angel Slices. She says “One fan says her family is sure these are the cakes St. Peter gives little children at the Gates of Heaven to get them over the first pangs of homesickness. Her family has dubbed them Angel Cookies…” We call them “Angel Bars”.


Angel Bars

First you make the pastry layer.
Cream together:
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup white sugar
Beat in:
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
Add in:
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
Press into a 9 by 12 glass pan, adding more flour if necessary. Bake 10 minutes at 325.

Mix together:
2 beaten eggs
1 1/4 brown sugar (Joy of Cooking has 1 1/2 cups brown and no white)
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup flaked coconut (3 0z)
1 cup chopped pecans
2 TBSP flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
Mix all ingredients together. Pour over the pastry. Bake at 325-350 for 20-25 mins.
When cool ice with:
2 cups confectioners sugar
enough lemon juice from fresh squeezed lemon(s) to make a spreadable icing. Let icing harden before slicing and serving.

’tis Heidi’s birthday week, and I have prepared a birthday tea in her honor. Since she is in the Midwest and I am in the Pacific Northwest, it is the concept, not the reality, that matters.

What we are having is an avocado topped with Gorgonzola cheese and nuts, and dates stuffed with Gorgonzola. I can eat Gorgonzola cheese with the help of a couple of Lactaid; I am not sure whether Heidi could or not, but in any case, reality prevails this time, and I am the one who will partake of her lovely birthday tea.

I chose mango-passionfruit tea for the occasion because I like the color, and because its flavors evoke warmth of place and warmth of heart.

Happy birthday, dearest Heidi!

Mrs. Young, a lady I clean house for gave me these wonderful nuts one year as a Christmas gift. Our whole family enjoyed them so much that I asked her for the recipe. She got the recipe from an old magazine she had saved for years. It’s a healthy snack and would also be good to serve at a party.

2 egg whites, whipped

In another medium sized bowl, Mix together:
6 TB dark brown sugar
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
optional 1-2 tsp garlic salt (I used 1 and 3/4 tsp)

Add: 2 10 oz. cans Planters Mixed nuts (about 4 cups) or dry roasted peanuts

Whip the egg whites until soft peaks form. It’s easier if you let them warm up a bit at room temp. Add spices to the whipped egg whites. Add the nuts. Stir to coat well. Spray large cookie sheet with Pam. Spread nuts evenly on the cookie sheet.
Bake at 300 degrees for 10 mins.
Turn nuts over then bake 8 more minutes.
Cool on wire rack. Store in airtight container. I had to break the nuts up a bit after they cooled.

Mrs. Young mixes the cooled nuts with small pretzels, M&Ms and raisins, sort of like a Chex mix. They’re also very good plain.

August 2017
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