Grandma’s chicken in corn bread

I’m cleaning up some papers (picture a laundry basket with paper of all types piled in it, odd items (like a bike lock) interspersed throughout, and lots of dust and dog hair). This recipe for Grandma Elma’s chicken in corn bread surfaced. The dish was common in my childhood, especially for special events like the Fourth of July picnic on the farm. The chicken in cut into pieces, with skin and bone left in place, and baked. About half way through the baking, a corn meal batter is poured over the chicken. This recipe calls for the dish to be prepared in a 2 quart casserole, but I remember it in a 9″ x  13″  aluminum cake pan.

3 lb chicken, cut into pieces
1/4 c four
2 T oleo

Coat chicken with 1/4 c flour. Place 2 T oleo and chicken in 2 quart casserole and bake at 350 F for 30 minutes.

2 T oleo
1 c chopped celery
1 c chopped onion
1 T flour
1/2 t salt
1/8 t pepper

Sauté 2 T oleo, celery, and onion. Blend in 1 T flour, salt, and pepper. Place around chicken.

1/2 c flour
1/2 c corn meal
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 t sage
1/4 t thyme
1/8 t pepper
1 T oleo
3 eggs, slightly beaten
3/4 c milk

Combine dry ingredients. Blend in oleo, eggs, and milk.  Spoon this topping over chicken.

2 T chicken soup base
1.5 c water

Dissolve soup base in water. Pour over topping. Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown. Serve hot or cold.

Enjoy this rich and savory dish under the shade trees while the sun shines above. Pair with watermelon and volleyball on the lawn.

Yes you can…

…have too much candy. Although the 2.25 cups of corn syrup and 2 cups of sugar should have tipped me off, Martha’s delicate picture of nougat threw me off.


Especially when the candy isn’t cooked quite as long as it should be. It isn’t ready to share with anyone who isn’t leaning over the pan with a spoon. Now that we have both overdosed on nougat, it has been wrestled into the freezer. Ask for some when you stop by. We have had enough!

Oatmeal and flax chocolate chip cookies


3/4 c butter
1 c brown sugar
1/2 c granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 t vanilla
1 c flour
1/2 c ground flax
1/2 t baking soda
1 t salt
2 1/2 c rolled oats
1 c chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325 F.
Cream together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar.
Add eggs and vanilla to the creamed mixture.
In another bowl, mix flour, ground flax, baking soda, salt and rolled oats.
Blend together the dry and cream mixture. Add chocolate chips and mix well.
Using a tablespoon, scoop batter separated about 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown around edges.

If you are like me, the 325 F oven provides lots of forgiveness to forget the last cookies in the oven, start a blog post, and then remember the cookies without having burnt them. However, Grandma Siggie and I agree that only cowards cook on low.

Recipe adapted from Ellie’s Whole Grains.
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike

Making food

I freely admit that George does most of the cooking, canning, and baking at our house. He likes it and is good at it. I appreciate it. Very much. As a result, when I do actually put more than two ingredients together, I want everyone to know. (Cold cereal, milk, and banana doesn’t count.)

Purple cone flower

Jenny shared a purple cone flower for our garden

The tuna salad was pretty good. I used bread and cucumber strips rather than pitas to hold it all together.

I made treats for a canoe trip. George seemed a little annoyed that I would make food for canoeing, but not at home.

Jessie’s Peanut Butter Balls

1 c peanut butter (adding more will increase moisture)
1/2 c nonfat powdered milk
1 c rolled oats
1 t cinnamon
1/2 c ground flax
1/2 c honey (adding more will increase moisture)

Combine all ingredients and shape into balls (large marble size or smaller). Keep refrigerated. Will stay fresh and moist for over a week.

Kathy’s Traveling Cupcakes

4 squares of semi-sweet chocolate
1 c of butter
1 3/4 c pecans, chopped
1 c flour
4 eggs, beaten lightly
1 t vanilla
mini peanut butter cups

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Melt chocolate and butter in a heavy pan over low heat. Add nuts and stir until well coated. Combine sugar, flour, eggs and vanilla in a separate bowl. DO NOT BEAT. Add chocolate mixture to flour mixture. Fold in but DO NOT BEAT. Line muffin pan with paper liners. Fill to 2/3 full. Press a mini peanut butter cup flush to top of batter in the center of each cupcake. Bake at 325 F for 25 minutes. Makes 2 dozen. These are called traveling cupcakes because they don’t need any frosting and travel well.

I modified the recipe to use powdered cocoa instead of semi-sweet chocolate and black cocoa. Normally to substitute powdered cocoa for chocolate squares requires adding oil. These cupcakes have enough butter in them already to make the transition without it. I used 1/2 c cocoa powder and 1/4 black cocoa instead of 4 squares of semi-sweet chocolate. To be fair, I also added extra butter, but think it was a little heavy on the butter. Imagine that!

Mary made some of my favorite orange cranberry snack mix. I’m not sure if she used the Betty Crocker recipe or not, but it seems like a similar one.

If you want to see some of the activity that these snack’s powered, see Jessie’s blog post.

Old oak tree

Old oak tree

We had strong straight-line winds and nearby tornadoes  on Tuesday/Wednesday night. The only damage we had was to an old oak along the lane. We are fortunate.

Vacuuming, dish washing, organizing, and weeding wanted to be done yesterday afternoon. Instead George and I paddled from J’s farm on Highway 54 on the South Branch of the Little Wolf to P’s farm on County Road B on the Little Wolf. To say that we are not a well matched team in the canoe is fair. Meg, the dog, was with us and shook most of the time. We were trying to decide if she was terrified or laughing at us. There were several portages for trees across the river and insufficient river depth. We still had lots of fun portaging downfalls on the South Branch, chasing turtles, and spotting plants, birds, and fish. My favorite was the blooming blue lobelia. We’ll probably do it again!

Tammy, the cow

Tammy says hello

Zucchini and other things that grow

The zucchini is here! I am sampling another zucchini bread, this time zucchini gingerbread. It took me quite a while to learn that there is something special about letting a quick bread rest in the pan for 10 minutes after it comes out of the oven. Let it rest nine minutes and the middle of the loaf sticks to the pan, leaving a giant hole in the bottom of the loaf. Rest for 11 minutes, and the loaf is cemented to the pan. Ten minutes = magic. It can’t be explained otherwise.



The sale plants at the store were too much for me to resist today. I planted a Van Houtte Spirea (Spiraea x vanhouttei) in the front yard. George planted two Chandler blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum ‘Chandler’) in the east yard. I am hoping that the “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” theory works for these perennials since they have been in pots in the parking lot since spring.



It’s rhubarb time!

Rhubarb transplanted this spring

Rhubarb transplanted this spring

It is time for rhubarb cake made from a recipe used by George’s family. He thinks it may have been one used by Lena.

Rhubarb Cake

1 yellow cake mix
1 c water
1/3 c oil
3 eggs
4 c rhubarb, chopped
1 c sugar
1 pint whipping cream

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Mix cake mix, water, oil, and eggs together to form a batter. Pour into greased 9″ x 13″ pan. Sprinkle rhubarb evenly over batter and sprinkle sugar on top. Pour whipping cream over all. It will look very lumpy. Bake 50-60 minutes at 350 F until a toothpick comes out clean.

The lumpy mess

The lumpy mess

The baked mess

The baked mess


No mess at all

There was enough extra rhubarb to freeze a four cup bagful. This is my favorite way to freeze, a little bit at a time. Our newest kitchen gadget, the baggie rack, was used for the first time. It doubles as a drying rack for the dish rag.



Pride goeth before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18 I don’t quote the bible often, however it seems fitting for my experiences with feeling smug.

This is a reminder to myself: If I feel smug, I should look around twice and figure out what is going to go wrong.

Remember: Smug can be a pleasant feeling, but it always leads to repercussions.

Remember: I have felt smug before and it never ends well.

The washing machine was moved into the house early in May. I requested and received one of those shallow plastic tubs that sits under the washing machine and catches leaks, should they occur. A day after installation, I heard a distinct drip, drip, drip sound. One of the water lines leading to the washing machine wasn’t seated firmly and water was dripping down, into the pan. I was smug. The tub saved time and trouble! Very smug. George and I tightened the fitting. Fixed. I started the first load of laundry the next day, when I could be at home to monitor for any other trouble.

I was smuggly sweeping the floor when I heard water gushing in the basement. Not dripping, but gushing. The smug plastic tub was overflowing because neither of us had thought to put the drain line back into place after tightening the fitting. Smug was flushed away and sopped up by hand, with many thanks to C.P. for her help and moral support.

Speaking of laundry, here is the recipe that I use for homemade laundry soap. I’m starting a new batch today, without any smug feelings.

Searching for iced coffee

After spending way to long searching for my iced coffee concentrate recipe, I’ve decided to post it here, where I first looked for it. It was in a spreadsheet where I converted the Pioneer Woman’s Perfect Iced Coffee concentrate from 1 lb coffee grounds in 2 gallons of water to  1 cup coffee grounds to 1.5 quarts of water. The smaller quantity fits in my refrigerator much more easily. I use the coffee filter in my coffee maker to filter the mix rather than cheesecloth.

Coffee Concentrate Recipe

1 c coffee grounds

1.5 quarts water

Stuff wants to be kept

I have stuff. George has stuff. It all wants to be kept.

We have lots of books. We acknowledge that we could fully insulate our small house with them, only if we could keep them on the shelf instead of in stacks and piles everywhere. It is pretty shocking to see what this librarian does with books. The library work is good for me though. I don’t need to own every book. Some can be borrowed physically. Some can be accessed digitally. Still, we have too many books. Especially the ones that George wants to keep! Do we really need to keep that c.1979 Biological Paths to Energy Self-Reliance by Russell E. Anderson Ph.D? There must be something more relevant that we can borrow and return anytime.

I suggested that we send Bentley Farm Cookbook by Virginia Williams Bentley (c.1974) on to a used book sale. George likes to read and re-read cookbooks. Reading for entertainment and education is good. But Bentley Farm actually spends a lot of time on the shelf. George responded with he was keeping it for this recipe on p. 267:

Never-Fail Pie Crust

(Enough pastry for a 9-inch, one-crust pie)

Be sure to have waxed paper on hand!

2 c all-purpose flour (I use King Arthur unbleached flour.)

1 t salt

1/2 c corn oil

1/4 c cold milk

Stir ingredients together, lightly, in order given. Form into ball. Flatten and shape into a circle on a piece of waxed paper. Cover with another piece of waxed paper and roll out, with a rolling pin, to desired size. Peel off the top piece of paper. Place pie plate, upside down, onto the pastry. Holding pastry and plate together, turn plate right side up. Gently peel waxed paper off pastry. If pastry tears, it is easily mended. Press pastry firmly into plate with fingers and fork. If you are going to bake shell with nothing in it, prick it all over with a fork so that the pastry will not blister.  Otherwise, do not make holes in pastry, for the filling will hold it down. Make a nice, rippled , upstanding edge with your fingers, and then push edge inward a bit, so it is not stuck to the rim of pie plate. This holds the filling in better, so it doesn’t run over, and also keeps edge from browning too fast. A good pie should not be stuck to the pie plate anywhere after it is baked. Ideally, it should slide around in the plate. This makes for easy serving. This recipe is a little more than enough for one pie, so you have plenty of pastry to play with to make a good high, thick collar.

Warning: Never chill this pastry before rolling. Chill it all you want after it is arranged in pie plate. In fact, I always place the pie plate in the refrigerator while preparing filling.

For baking pie shell alone: Bake in preheated 475° F oven for about 10 minutes. Cool on rack for maximum crispness.

George has written the following note in the book: Add 2 T oil and water to make 1/4 c. 2 T sugar. He is not as descriptive as Virginia as what to do with these ingredients.

Perhaps that this recipe is now here for him to access, he will be able to pass the book on to someone else. Would you like it?

Another post that I want to write is about junk and recyclables that want to be kept. I can support my favorite school, prevent breast cancer, and encourage the troops by gathering, distributing, and/or entering codes from the products I buy. But, I’m in a good mood now and want to spare you from that diatribe.