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Vickie's This and That

February 16, 2018 - Good morning, setting here listening to the news and I am so sad for the families in Florida. So many people have opinions on how to fix this. My solution is to come to know the Lord as your personal Savior. As far as I am concerned, it is a heart issue not a gun issue. All I can say is pray for this nation and its people.

I hope today finds everyone doing better. I am so blessed to have missed the flu and I truly hope the flu season will soon be gone. So many have suffered from it this year. I am ready for warmer weather, sunshine and better days. It is gardening time in Shelby County, Texas and this makes my heart happy.

Recipes:

Granny Cake

1 1/2 cup sugar
2 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt (omit if using self-rising flour)
1 tsp. baking soda (omit if using self-rising flour)
2 eggs
1 (20 oz.) can crushed pineapple in its own juice (including juice)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 stick margarine
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix the sugar, flour, salt, soda, eggs and pineapple together and pour into a 9 x 13 pan. Sprinkle the top with one cup brown sugar and one cup chopped pecans. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Cook the milk, sugar, margarine and vanilla until mixture comes to a rolling boil.

AFTER THE CAKE HAS BAKED AND RIGHT OUT OF THE OVEN, pour the cooked milk mixture over the entire cake.

Different Chicken Noodle Soup

3 cups cooked chicken, chopped
8 oz. spaghetti noodles, uncooked (I broke the spaghetti into small pieces)
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
½ yellow onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
3 stalks of celery, diced
1 (32 oz) package chicken broth
1 (10.75 oz) condensed cream of chicken soup
1 cup of half-and-half
1 (1 oz) package of dry ranch seasoning mix
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions: Heat small amount of olive oil in large stock pot over medium-high heat and sauté onion, carrot and celery until softened. Season with salt and pepper.

Add dry ranch mix and cook for 1 minute, stirring until veggies are evenly coated, then add chicken broth and chicken soup.

Stir together and mix in spaghetti, bacon and chicken, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook 15 minutes, or until spaghetti is cooked and veggies are tender, then stir in cheddar cheese and half-and-half.

Cook for another 3-5 minutes, then serve and enjoy. NOTE: This is a new recipe for me that I tried and loved. Soup is thick and if want it to be thinner just add more half-and-half or milk. I didn’t add any bell pepper to this recipe, but I will next time. This recipe as all recipes is a guide and can be customized to fit your family’s likes.

Here is another new recipe I tried and like.

Kentucky Biscuits

2 cups flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
2 tablespoons sugar
dash of salt
½ cup of butter, grated and very cold
¾ cup buttermilk (I had to use more)

Instructions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix dry ingredients, cut in butter. Then add buttermilk and knead into soft dough (needs to a little sticky). Do not over knead! I used a square pan and put a little oil in the pan. Cut into serving size portions before you cook. You can also coat the top of the biscuits with melted butter. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

NOTE: biscuit standard kneading is 12 turns, more or less. Roll dough to shape of pan, cut with knife. Save time and eliminate need to re-roll scraps. Can freeze butter and grate with box grater. I didn’t but made sure butter was very cold.

December 21, 2017 - Good afternoon, yesterday was a beautiful day after a rainy night. The rain was needed. I can’t believe Christmas is almost here. Actually, my family celebrated Christmas Monday night as I had family coming in from North Carolina. I had everyone here except two and all 5 of the great grandchildren. The oldest is 3 ½ and the youngest is 1 year. They were on toy overload, but it was a blessing to see them enjoying their new toys. Boy, oh, boy could I use some of their energy. It is a shame we can’t bottle some of that energy and they take a little sip as we get older to give us old folks a much-needed boost.

Since Christmas is nearly here I wanted to share some holiday recipes and take this opportunity to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 2018 is nearly here.

Recipes:

Peanut Butter Ball Candy

¾ cup margarine
3 cups Rice Krispies
2 cups peanut butter
1 box powdered sugar

Mash all together very well (I use my hand, you need to get the Rice Krispies crushed but not powdered.)

Form into balls and place in freezer until hard, about 30 minutes. In a double boiler, place ½ bar of wax, 6 oz pkg milk chocolate and 5 regular Hershey candy bars and melt together being careful not to get any water into mixture or it will clump making a mess. Dip frozen peanut butter balls into chocolate to coat.

Tip: To make it easier to dip balls into chocolate, insert toothpicks into balls before freezing.

Maple Cream Pie (easy recipe to double) My family’s favorite new recipe

1 deep dish frozen pie crust
2 cups heavy cream
¾ cup of sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon maple extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt

Topping:
4 tablespoons salted butter
3 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until just lightly browned. Remove from oven and set aside. In medium saucepan over medium heat, melt 4 tablespoons butter and heavy cream together until butter is melted; then whisk in cornstarch and sugar, stirring continuously until thickened (6-7 minutes).

Stir in maple syrup, maple extract, vanilla extract and salt, if using, and whisk until incorporated. Pour into pie crust, then drizzle remaining (melted) butter over top. Whisk together remaining topping ingredients, sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle over filling.

Place baking dish in oven and bake 25-30 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and filing is bubbly. Center should be set, but still a little wobbly. Remove from oven and let cool, then refrigerate until set 2-3 hours.

Moist Old-Fashioned Pound Cake

3 ½ cups cake flour (sifted)
3 cups sugar
2 sticks butter or margarine
1 cup Crisco (shortening)
1 cup milk
5 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. lemon extract

Blend sugar, butter and Crisco together with mixer. Add flour and milk alternately blending mixture well. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix thoroughly. Add vanilla and lemon extract and mix again.

Grease and flour 9 inch tube pan, add batter and bake at 325 degrees for 1 ½ hours. DO NOT OPEN OVEN.

Chocolate Explosion Cake

nonstick cooking spray
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans 
1 package German chocolate cake mix
10 bite-size coconut candy bars, chopped, such as Almond Joy
One 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick butter), at room temperature
2 cups confectioners' sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13-by-9-by-2-inch pan with nonstick spray.

Mix the coconut and nuts and spread them evenly in the pan. Prepare the cake mix as directed on the box, but use 4 eggs instead of 3...and use MILK in place of water, and add 1 tsp. vanilla. Stir in the chopped candy bars. Pour the batter over the coconut and nuts. Combine the cream cheese, butter and sugar. Randomly drop tablespoons of this mixture on top of the batter; do not spread them.

Bake until the sides of the cake pull away from the pan, 40 to 50 minutes. Pour the warm Chocolate Pecan Glaze over the cake. Slice and enjoy.

Chocolate Pecan Glaze:

1/2 cup (1 stick butter)
1/4 cup milk (more if a thinner consistency is desired)
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 to 2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup pecans, chopped

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the butter, milk, cocoa powder and vanilla extract. Once the butter is melted, remove from the heat. Add the sugar and stir until smooth. Stir in the pecans.

December 6, 2017 - Good afternoon, I hope everyone is having a great day. The holidays are very near, and many will be in the kitchen cooking for those special occasions. The Frittata recipe is an awesome one for an early breakfast or even a brunch. It is one of my granddaughter’s favorite meal. All you need to do is cook a big pan of biscuits to go with the frittata. Serving fruit with it would also complete the meal. A long recipe but easy to make and it can even be made the night before and placed in the refrigerator covered until time to cook the next morning. I will be having our family Christmas the 18th and plan on serving this the morning of the 19th. Happy eating.

The other recipes are some of my mother’s she cooked in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. Hope you enjoy.

Frittata Recipe
3 cups of shredded cheese (mozzarella/Provolone)
1 cup sliced green onions
1 cup of thin sliced celery
1/4 cup of olive oil
1/2 medium red bell pepper or can use jar of pimento or ½ c. roasted tomatoes, chopped
1 jar sliced mushrooms, drained or fresh, sliced thin
1 pkg of diced ham
8-10 eggs
1 1/4 cup of Half-half
4 tablespoons butter
8 oz sour cream
3-4 med potatoes sliced crossways and cook until done but still firm
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp. marjoram
1/2 tsp. dried parsley
1/2 dried thyme
1/8 dried basil
Salt and pepper to taste

Place sliced peeled potatoes in salted water and cook until done but still firm. Melt butter in medium skillet over medium heat, add onions, bell pepper, celery and mushrooms, cook until tender. In large bowl beat eggs and add salt, pepper (to taste) and other spices, mix well. Add half-half and sour cream. In a spray 13x9 inch pan, layer potatoes and ham then vegetables (onions, bell peppers, celery, and mushrooms) on top; add 1/2 of cheese. On top of this add the egg mixture. Then sprinkle other half of cheese on top.

Can cover and refrigerate the night before. To serve, heat oven to 350 degree and bake uncovered for 55 to 65 minutes or until mixture is set and top is browned. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Can garnish with fresh red bell pepper and fresh parsley.

This version is more Italian; to make it Southwestern use: Mexican cheese blend, 2 cans chopped green chilies, 2 cups of milk, 2 tsp chili powder and 1 tsp of cumin. Omit celery, marjoram, basil, parsley and thyme; half-half and sour cream. Top with salsa, sour cream and chopped fresh cilantro.


Aunt Lib’s Devil’s Food Cake (Date of recipe 1953)
4 cups of sifted cake flour
2 tsp Baking soda
1 ½ tsp salt
1 cup shortening
2 ½ cup sugar
4 eggs
5 squares of chocolate, melted
½ cup vinegar
1 ½ cups sweet milk
2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour with baking soda and salt. Cream shortening until smooth. Add sugar gradually, creaming until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until fluffy after each. Blend in chocolate. Combine vinegar, milk and vanilla and add alternately with flour mixture, beating well after each addition. Begin and end with addition of flour. Turn into 3 greased 9-inch cake pans, 1 ½ inches deep. Bake in 350 degrees moderate oven for 30 minutes or until done. Frost when cool with Fudge Frosting.

Fudge Frosting:
6 squares of unsweetened chocolate
4 cups of sugar
¼ cup flour
¼ tsp of salt
1 ½ cups sweet milk
2 tsp vanilla
6 tablespoons of butter
5-6 tablespoons of cream

Melt chocolate in saucepan over low heat. Combine sugar flour ad salt with chocolate. Add milk gradually, blending well. Cover saucepan and bring to a boil slowly, stirring occasionally. Boil slowly two minutes. Uncover and boil to soft ball stage (232 degree), stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, add vanilla and butter. Cool frosting to lukewarm without stirring. Add cream and continue to beat until right consistency to spread. (for 2 8-inch layer cake, use ½ of this recipe).


Mandarin Orange Cake
1 box of yellow cake mix
1 cup of oil
4 eggs
2 cans mandarin orange slices, drained
2/3 cup of juice from oranges

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cut up orange slices, set aside. In bowl beat eggs well; then add to cake mix, oil, and juice from orange slices; Mix well. Then add orange slices. Pour into 3 greased 9-inch cake pans and bake till done. Mix frosting and spread on layers.

Frosting:
1 9-ounce cool whip
1 box instant vanilla pudding mix
1 15 ounce can of crushed pineapple, undrained


M & M’s Super Chocolate Nut Cookies (1978)
1-pound M&M’s Plain Chocolate Candies
2 ½ cups flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt 
1 cup of butter, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Chop 1 ½ cups of candies, save remainder for decoration. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt. Cream butter and sugars in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Add chopped candies and the nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoonful onto lightly greased baking sheets. Bake for 6-7 minutes; remove from oven. Put 3 whole candies on top of each cookie. Return to oven and bake 3-5 minutes or until light brown. Remove from baking sheet and cool on wire rack. Make about 5 dozen cookies.

November 27, 2017 - Hello, it has been a while, but I thought I would try to get “This and That” going again. For the next month or so I will only be sharing recipes. I would love for readers to share their favorite recipes with me. Your recipes can be emailed to martin.vickie.1@gmail.com.

As you can probably already tell, I love collecting recipes. Most of the recipes I post are old ones. I learned my love for cooking from my mother who was an awesome cook. Mother could take 5 porkchops and feed 12 people. I know this sounds impossible, but it is a true story.

One evening as the five of us were sitting down for supper, company drove up and mother quickly took the plate of porkchops – minus one as my brother had already started eating his. You need to understand that porkchops were a special treat for my family as chicken was our main source of meat. (Daddy raised chickens). Mother quickly diced the remaining porkchops into bite size pieces, added Lipton onion soup mix, and raw rice to a skillet and fed us and the company. While the rice was cooking, she then made a big pan of biscuits to go with it. I gave my brother a hard time for getting to eat his porkchop and the rest of us had to share. My point is mother could take very little, feed a crowd a good meal and often did.

Thanksgiving has passed and the Christmas season is upon us. Many will be celebrating with family and friends. This means many hours will be spent in the kitchen cooking and getting ready for company. Enjoy every moment as some of the love ones we have with us now may not be there next year. Remember your neighbors and the elderly and share the holidays with them.

This week I am sharing some of my favorite old standbys. Enjoy

Recipes:
Tater Tot Casserole
2 lbs. extra lean ground beef
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 16oz Sour Cream
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (or more!)
1 pack frozen tatter tots
Salt and pepper according to taste

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees. Grease 13x9 inch pan. Brown meat adding seasoning as preferred, drain well. Layer the beef on the bottom of the pan, set aside. In a med mixing bowl add sour cream and mushroom soup and mix well. Then layer the mixture on top of the beef, then add cheese. Top with tatter tots. Bake covered for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 minutes longer, adding extra cheese here if desired. Once cheese is melted you will have one fabulous meal. This is an all-time favorite.

Incredible Baked Meatballs
1 lb lean ground beef
2 eggs, beaten with 1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 cup panko or bread crumbs
1 small onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup minced fresh basil (I just used dried as I don't always have fresh)

Mix all ingredients with hands. Form into golf ball sized meatballs. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Great to use with spaghetti or egg noodles. (Great recipe to use as an appetizer.)

Easy Peach Cobbler
2 lb frozen peaches or 2 16oz can of peaches (if you like cobbler to be a little soupy don’t drain)
1 box yellow cake mix
1 can diet 7up or sprite (regular drink works also)

Directions: Spread frozen peaches in Pam sprayed 13x9 pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix over peaches. Pour 7up/Sprite over cake mix. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Uncover and bake for 40 minutes.

Tips

How to Make Bigger Cakes from Mixes: Add 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 egg, 1 tsp. baking powder to the boxed mix.

Place a plastic bag over your hand to easily grease a pan without the mess.

Start pasta by boiling water. For a quicker boil, simply cover the pot. (Use about six quarts of water for up to one pound of pasta.) Salting the water just before adding the pasta enhances the flavor of the pasta and also helps it absorb sauce. When pasta is done, rinse it only if you're not saucing and serving it immediately, otherwise the starch that clings to the strands (giving it good taste and texture) will be lost.

To keep meringue from shrinking–Use correct proportion of sugar and egg whites–2 tablespoons to each white. Add sugar gradually. Beat until mixture is very smooth. Bake meringue slowly. Allow 10 to 20 minutes. Meringue will always stand up high and perfect if you use a generous pinch of baking soda while beating whites.

March 3, 2017 - Good afternoon, the weather was gorgeous Thursday with all the nice sunshine. The wind was a little cool but other than that it is a wonderful day. March brings with it the promise of gardening and warm, sunning days. I think East Texas can say “Spring is here!” There is usually a cool spell near Easter but I truly hope we don’t see any cold weather again for the year. I think the prediction for the rest of the week is sunny with showers Saturday, Sunday, and Monday with highs in the upper 70’s and lows in the high 50’s and low 60’s. Perfect for this time of the year.

Take the opportunity to drive around the county and see nature at its best. This time of the year is just beautiful with nature proudly showing off all its colors.

If you haven’t planned your spring garden yet now is the time to start. There is nothing better than garden-fresh vegetables and you will be amazed at the flavors, so difference from what is in the grocery stores. Now is the time to get the tomatoes, squash, peppers, cabbage, lettuce, broccoli, and zucchini in the ground. Oh, don’t forget the potatoes. I get so excited this time of the year but I promise I am not planting a big garden, just basic stuff.

Recipes:

Tea Cakes recipe was shared by Merle Howard (They were great!)

Tea Cakes

½ cup buttermilk – let set to room temperature
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp Baking powders
Pinch of salt
1 ¾ cup sugar – I add about 2 Tablespoons more to measuring cup
1 cup of real butter
2 eggs
4 cups of flour

Instructions: Mix the buttermilk, soda baking, baking powders, and salt and let stand and rise. Blend the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add the eggs 1 at a time to butter/sugar blend. Begin to add the flour and buttermilk alternately to the butter/sugar mixture. Start and end with flour. Mix well and pour into container and let stand in refrigerator for a couple of hours.

To cook, preheat oven at 350 degrees. Spoon some of the cookie mix onto floured surface. At this point you want to level and flatten the dough some. Kneading is not necessary but you may want to use the rolling pin to level.

Cut out cookies and bake. You will adjust your cooking time to the size of the cookie. Set timer for about 9 ½ minutes and see what you think. The tops should not be brown but you should see a little browning at the edge. For crisper cookies let the tops brown slightly.

Crock Pot Meatloaf

Ingredients:
2 lbs ground beef
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 C milk
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 slices bread, crumbled or torn into small pieces
1/2 C diced onion
1 envelope dry Ranch Dressing mix
1/2 C ketchup

Directions: Mix eggs, milk, salt, pepper, and bread crumbs. Allow to soften (about 20 minutes). Combine this mixture with ground beef, onion, ranch pack, and ketchup. Mound in a greased crockpot. Cover the top of the mixture with additional ketchup. Put the cover on and turn crockpot on high for 15 minutes, then reduce to low and cook for 7 hours.

Parmesan Upside Down Baked Potatoes

Ingredients:
7 red potatoes, washed and cut in half
2-3 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
garlic powder
sea salt or preferred salt

1). Preheat oven to 400F. Melt butter in the bottom of a 9×13 glass pan. 2). Sprinkle Parmesan cheese and seasonings over butter. Place potatoes cut side down and sprinkle more seasonings on top of potatoes. 3). Bake for 40-45 minutes or until cooked through. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before serving.

January 28, 2017 - Hello, I know it was been a while since I have written Vickie’s This and That. Life gets busy and I must admit I have just gotten lazy in my golden years. (That’s my excuse and I am sticking to it for now). I am now a great-grandmother 5 times, 2 girls and 3 boys. I always thought that nothing could beat being a “grandmother” but I now believe being a “great” is even better. Of course, the babies just get cuter, sweeter, prettier, and smarter each generation. 

The weather this winter has been so different. Christmas was in the 70’s and then the two days of 15-degree mornings follow. And living in East Texas after these cold morning it was again 70-degrees. It looks like out winter cold will be all within a week’s time. February is nearly here and our coldest temperatures are usually in that month. I guess I will just have to wait and see if that happens this year.

Tips:

When removing a cake from a pan, it may be easier to use two wire racks, placing one upside down on the top of the cake, and flipping the whole thing over, eliminating any worry of dropping the cake.


Baking Powder: Expiration is 12 to 18 months or expiration date listed on container. Be sure to store in a tightly covered container in a dry place. To test to see if baking powder is good mix 1 teaspoon baking powder with 1/3 cup hot water. If it foams vigorously, it still has rising power.

Gardening isn’t far off. Now is the time to get your gardening spot ready. I am not planting a large garden this year. I promised my children this ---- and they said “Sure, Mom, you have said this before and it never happens.” I am going to fool them for a change; however, I do see several rows of green beans in my future. And a few tomatoes, peppers, squash, cabbage, broccoli, and potatoes. Wait a minute, I am getting carried away again. 

Recipes:

Tuna Fish Casserole
2 cans of tuna fish, drained
1/4 cup diced onions
2 cans of cream of mushroom soup
8 oz package of egg noodles
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
1 can drained English/green peas
1/2 - 1 teaspoon black pepper (to taste)

Cook noodles per package directions; drain and rinse with hot water. In 3 quarts baking dish, mix tuna, onions, mushroom soup, English peas and 1/2 cup of cheese together. Add cooked noodles and stir well to blend. (if casserole looks dry, can add a little milk). Top casserole with remaining cheese and bake uncovered in 350-degree oven for 25-30 minutes. Can also top with bread crumbs if desired.

Incredible Baked Meatballs
1 lb lean ground beef
2 eggs, beaten with 1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 cup panko or bread crumbs
1 small onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup minced fresh basil (I just used dried as I don't always have fresh, just smash it a little in your hand before adding)

Mix all ingredients with hands. Form into golf ball sized meatballs. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes

Great to use with spaghetti or egg noodles topping with favorite sauce.

September 5, 2016 - Good evening, I heard through the grapevine that many have been missing Vickie's This and That. I have just been lazy. That is the only excuse I have. Life has been busy and I have just been enjoying each day basically doing nothin'. I planned to do 'This and That' this spring but I got so discouraged by my garden; my heart just wasn't in it.

I did plant, replant, and replanted again. The rain just came and came. It seemed that every time I said the word "garden" more rain fell. I finally just let it go and boy it didn't take long for the weeds to get waist high.

I did find a patch of purple hulls peas that was free; you just had to pick them yourself. I did pick them on 2 separate occasions with the help of my youngens'. I was able to can 34 quarts. 

It was funny to see Sean, Kevin, J.J. and Scott picking peas as the grass was high and with stickers too boot. They finally appreciated all the hoeing and plowing done in my garden. I never liked a grassy garden as I wanted to see what I was picking and where my feet were stepping. I never wanted any unpleasant surprises, especially the crawly kind. 

Next, I brought some pinto beans and put up 19 quarts. Then bless the Lord, I found a wonderful company whose vegetables were fresh and flash frozen but most of all in great condition. I ended up canning 16 quarts of cream peas and 20 quarts of zipper peas. My stash is good for another year and I have already been enjoying the fruits of my labor.

One thing I did discover this year is my health/strength isn't the same as it was two years ago. I think a big garden is out of the question. It was more a chore and not a pleasure working the garden as it usually is. To the joy of my children, I think, I have planted my last big garden. Next spring it will be only cabbage, string beans, tomatoes, squash, and peppers. They are not nearly as hard to work.

I am trying to get the grown grandchildren interested in canning their veggies. I want them to know how as so many of that generation doesn't have a clue. I don't want the art to be lost. As for now, I will probably not be sharing any of my gardening tips and I will go back to posting recipes. Be sure to let me know if this is working.

Peach Cake
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoon of fat (Crisco)
1/2 milk

Mix flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in fat with knife. Mixing with knife, slowly add milk. Spread mixture in greased shallow pan. Cover with peaches

Peaches
2 cup of peaches
1 cup of sugar
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves

Mix ingredients and spread on soft dough. Bake 20 minutes in moderate oven (350degree) until set. Cut in squares and serve fresh. Cream or hard sauce can be served with this dessert. (This is an old recipe from the 30's).

Surprise Drop Cakes
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
2 2/3 cups of flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup crushed pineapple

Cream butter and sugar together. Add milk, extracts, salt, flour, and baking powder. Blend well; then add eggs beating 2 minutes. Half fill greased muffin pan Insert teaspoon of pineapple to each muffin tin space. Bake in moderate (350 degree) oven for 15 minutes. (From the 30's also)

March 19, 2015 - Good morning, at least it isn’t raining right now. The weather is cloudy and it is windy. If we are lucky and don’t have any more rain today, with this wind my garden may just dry out. I checked it yesterday and it doesn’t look good. I may be able to save the cabbage and onions. Everything else is watered logged. When it is dry enough to plow, I will probably just start over.

Oh, the life of a farmer! Farmers have to be willing to start over and deal with what Mother Nature hands us.

Green Beans

Tip of the Week:

How to Make Bigger Cakes from Mixes: Add 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 egg, 1 tsp. baking powder to the boxed mix.
Dust the holder or platter with a bit of confectioner’s sugar before placing the cake on it, this will help keep it from sticking to the bottom.

Next best days for planting above ground crops, especially peas, beans, cucumbers, and squash will be March 26th-28th and April 5th-7th.

Some of the most popular pole beans are 'Kentucky Wonder', 'Blue Lake', and 'Scarlet Runner'. 'Early Contender', 'Blue Lake 274', and 'White Half Runner' are very popular bush green beans.
Bush beans (whether you call them string beans, snap beans, or green beans) don't mind being crowded.

Try not to grow beans in the same garden bed two years in a row as they are susceptible to several soil-borne diseases and rotating your crops will help prevent a build-up of these diseases.

To plant the beans, dig out a shallow trench in the middle of the row with the edge of the hoe, mix in your fertilizer, stirring to blend into soil then drop seeds 3-4 inches apart and lightly cover with about 1 inch of soil. I like Kentucky Wonder Bush and Early Contenders Bush. Beans should be ready to harvest in about 57-60 days.

Until next week!! I would enjoy hearing from anyone else on gardening tips or your favorite recipes. Email tips to info@shelbycountytoday.com (Attn: Vickie's This and That.)

This week's recipe: Tator Tot Casserole

2 lbs. extra lean ground beef
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 16oz Sour Cream
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (or more!)
1 pack frozen tatter tots

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees. Grease 13x9 inch pan. Layer the beef on the bottom of the pan, set aside. In a med mixing bowl add sour cream and mushroom soup and mix well. Then layer the mixture on top of the beef, then add cheese. Top with tatter tots. Bake covered for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 minutes longer, adding extra cheese here if desired. Once cheese is melted you will have one fabulous meal. This is an all-time favorite.

(Most of the recipes I will be sharing are recipes from the 40s,50s, & 60s that were my mother's)

Good morning, I hope everyone is having a nice day. I am so ready for this weather to be either hot or cold. Hot one day and cooler the next just isn’t working for me. Ok, Mother Nature, make up your mind; it is December so cold weather would be the correct choice. A little snow around Christmas would be perfect as Christmas is only 3 weeks away.

November has ended and December has begun for the year 2014. Our day of Thanksgiving is over but may we always be thankful for the blessing God has given us. The sun comes up, clouds gather, wind blows, flowers grow and wilt, people come into our lives, people may stay for a while and then leave. These are just some of the things we take for granted.

Life is high gear for most everyone but me. I am still in slow motion. While I was having back problems, I was using a walker and my grandson, Austin, told me I needed a sticker. When I ask him what kind of sticker, he said handicap because I was on a walker and I would be able to park closer to the stores. That boy is trying to make me old before my time (I think old age may have just caught up with me).

Until next week!! I would enjoy hearing from anyone else on gardening tips or your favorite recipes. Email tips to info@shelbycountytoday.com(Attn: Vickie's This and That.)

Good morning, I have enjoyed the cooler weather this week. Now we just need a little rain to go with it. Fall is definitely here and I am very glad. Sorry "This and That" is a day late but I just couldn't seem to get around to it yesterday. Granddaughter has not been feeling well this week so I have been giving her lots of TLC . I cooked her 2 pots of homemade potato soup. My mother did this for me and it always made me feel better.

I hope everyone enjoyed the fajita luncheon, Doo Dah parade, and chicken cooking contest Wednesday. Congratulations to all the winners. I was lazy and didn't make them this year. First time in a long time that I haven't participated. The Poultry Festival is upon us before we knew it. See you there.

Last week I shared how to prepare vegetables by freezing them. I did this method for many years but I now prefer canning to freezing. Canning is more labor intensive but I think in the long run - well worth it. This week I will share how to preserve/freeze some vegetables that you may not know you can freeze.

Freezing Vegetables Continued:

Potatoes: Irish - Select new potatoes directly from the garden, peel/scape and wash. Blanch for 3 to 5 minutes, cool then package, seal and freeze. For French Fries - wash and peel mature potatoes. Cut into 1/3 inch by 3/8 inch strips. Rinse in cold water; dry thoroughly. Deep fry in hot fat (360 degrees) for about 5 minutes until tender but not brown. Drain and cool. Package, seal and freeze. To serve, heat in a 475 degree oven until golden brown.

Cabbage - frozen cabbage is suitable for use only as a cooked vegetable. Select fresh, solid heads. Trim coarse outer leaves and cut into medium to coarse shreds or thin wedges. Water blanch for 1 1/2 minutes. Cool promptly, drain and package, leaving some head space. Seal and freeze.

Green onions - green onions may be chopped and frozen without blanching but they will not be crisp. I use them in dressing, casseroles, and soups.

Sweet potatoes - baked. Wash, trim and heat potatoes in oven at 350 degrees without peeling until slightly soft. Cool, remove peel and wrap individually in aluminum foil. Place in plastic bags and freeze. To eat, bake in a 350 degree oven until heated and soft, leaving potatoes wrapped in foil. To use potatoes for casseroles or pies, cook until almost tender and let cool at room temperature. Mash sweet potatoes (to keep from darkening add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice for each quart of mashed sweet potatoes). Pack into containers, seal and freeze.

Some vegetables that are easy to freeze: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, peas, peppers, spinach, squash, corn.

Until next week!! I would enjoy hearing from anyone else on gardening tips or your favorite recipes. Email tips to info@shelbycountytoday.com (Attn: Vickie's This and That.)

*****
Most of the recipes I will be sharing are recipes from the 40's,50's, & 60's that were my mother's.

This week's recipe:

Incredible Baked Meatballs

1 lb lean ground beef
2 eggs, beaten with 1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 cup panko or bread crumbs
1 small onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup minced fresh basil (I used 1/2 tsp of dried as I don't always have fresh)

Mix all ingredients with hands. Form into golf ball sized meatballs. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Great to use with spaghetti or egg noodles.

Start pasta by boiling water. For a quicker boil, simply cover the pot. (Use about six quarts of water for up to one pound of pasta.) Salting the water just before adding the pasta enhances the flavor of the pasta and also helps it absorb sauce. When pasta is done, rinse it only if you're not saucing and serving it immediately, otherwise the starch that clings to the strands (giving it good taste and texture) will be lost.