Friday, September 19, 2008

Friday's Vintage Recipe: Muffins

In the garden, Autumn is, indeed the crowning
glory of the year, bringing us the fruition of
months of thought and care and toil. And at no
season, safe perhaps in Daffodil time, do we
get such superb colour effects as from August
to November. ~Rose G. Kingsley

I've been trying out various muffin mixes and muffin recipes to find something the kids would like for breakfast and snacks. I found this one in my copy of Culinary Art Institute Encyclopedic Cookbook, edited by Ruth Berolzheimer, published in 1950. This is a huge 979 page, plus index, cookbook, so I'm sure I'll be sharing from it again. Before I give you the recipe and notes I have to share one of the rhymes the book uses to teach the proper cooking technique for muffins.

If the oven is too hot, all the good mixing has
gone to naught. Muffins turn out poorly shaped,
full of holes, and are often tough.

These rhymes are throughout the entire cookbook and make it fun to read, as well as use. Here is the recipe, and my notes follow:

Caramel Cinnamon Muffins

3 tablespoons butter (I used stick margarine)
2/3 brown sugar
2 cups sifted flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 egg
1 cup milk (I used 2%)
2 tablespoons melted shortening (Microwaved 50 seconds)

Grease the muffin pans and place 1/2 teaspoon butter and 1 teaspoon brown sugar in each muffin cup. (See the picture below) Sift flour, baking powder, salt and the cinnamon together. Beat egg; add milk, shortening and remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar. Add this to the sifted dry ingredients, stirring only enough to dampen all the flour. Fill the muffin tins 3/4 full and bake in a hot oven (425 degrees F.) for 20 minutes. Makes 18. If desired, chopped nuts or raisins may be added to the butter and brown sugar in the bottom of the cups.

Everyone liked these muffins, but they didn't have a cake-like texture. They were more like a coffee cake. A couple of things I may have overlooked and would change next time: I only sifted the flour once with the dry ingredients. I think sifting it once alone, and once more with the dry items may make it lighter. I also did use margarine instead of butter, which may have changed it slightly. Since margarine costs MUCH less then butter, and this is an everyday recipe I'll stick with it. Also, whole milk was probably used instead of 2%, which may have made a little difference too. I really liked these muffins and would certainly make them again.

I also think it would be yummy with a little brown sugar sprinkled on the top before baking. This is the finished muffin:

I just want to end with a reminder about muffins. Do not over mix. That's why it calls for the egg and wet ingredients to be mixed BEFORE adding to the dry. Those you mix well, but once it's combined you want to gently mix to moisten all the flour, then stop. Hmmm...wonder if that should have a rhyme?

If you don't want to end up in a fix,
Be sure you never over mix.

Maybe I should just stick to the baking:)

On OFL I have a page of muffin recipes here:


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Tips From The 1903 Ladies' Union Cook Book

Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor,
summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic
of them all. ~Stanley Horowitz

I love this cookbook, but it's in pretty rough shape since I've thumbed through it repeatedly. It was published in Detroit, Michigan in 1903 and has 113 pages of recipes and tips. Today I am sharing a few of the household tips.

Hot, sharp vinegar will remove paint spots.

Leather chairs can be brightened by being rubbed with a cloth which has been dipped in the white of an egg.

Keep flowers fresh by putting a pinch of soda (baking soda) in the water.

Moths dislike cedar, cloves and rhubarb, all pulverized and mingled in equal parts. The mixture is agreeable to humans but odious to moths. Little bags of cotton in which the powder has been sprinkled will keep drawers and closets fragrant and insect proof. Note: I'm guessing they mean dried rhubarb leaves which are toxic. If you do this be sure to keep the dried leaves away from kids and pets. You could dry them in a shed by hanging or placing on a screen.

Sun purifies and whitens wool blankets; they should be frequently hung out in the sunshine, which will also raise the pile on them.

I also have tips on removing watermarks from furniture here:

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

October Party Ideas from 1937

The leaves lay like hands upon the ground.
When the wind rustles them, they applaud
softly. ~Laura E. Stevens

Rural Progress Magazine from 1937 has many neat ideas for October parties. The headline reads "October is the Month for Parties"! The article is rather long but I have here some of the ideas and menu plans to share. The emphasis is on keeping expense to a minimum and making food from scratch with what is in season.

If your house is small, plan a yard picnic and cook part of the food over an open fire, even if it is only coffee to go with cake or doughnuts. A fish fry is a good way to entertain a large group of friends or neighbors, providing you live where fish abound. We might also borrow an idea from our neighbors down-south and have an outdoor barbecue. Then there is steak fries and hamburgers. A
slight flavor of wood smoke improves food immeasurably.

This being the month of apple and pumpkin harvests, we
can think of other good ideas for entertaining!

Sweet Cider Party: serve apple cider or fresh apple juice
and fresh baked doughnuts.

Apple Pie Supper: serve apple pies, homemade ice cream
and plates of cheese.

Pumpkin Pie Supper: serve pumpkin pies, fresh homemade
whipped cream, new harvest of black walnuts, and pots of

Buffet Supper Party: serve baked ham and/or fried chicken,
scalloped potatoes, salad using endive, lettuce, raw cauliflower,
green pepper, tomato with French dressing. Also serve rolls or
muffins and a seasonal dessert such as angel food cake with
orange icing.

To have a successful party it is important for your guests to
participate in activities or games. One popular game is
Popcorn-on-a-string. Thread a darning needle with a yard
length of string. Pierce a large piece of popcorn with the
needle and slip to the middle of the string. Allow one string
for two players. Give one end to each of the players and
instruct them to eat their way to the popcorn. First there
wins a prize!

(I had to read this FOUR times and still don't quite understand. I'm guessing they are suppose to gather the string into their mouths until they reach the popcorn piece!)

On OFL I also have an article on Halloween party ideas from 1915. You can read it here:

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tips From Farmer's Wife 1928

By all these lovely tokens September days are
here, with summer's best of weather and autumn's
best of cheer. ~Helen Hunt Jackson

These tips are from an issue of Farmer's Wife from 1928. My dad gave me several issues of this magazine and I will share them.

To repair a leak in a bucket, paint over the hole, and stick a piece of cloth over it. After the paint is dry, apply two more coats of paint.

An easy way of preparing grated cheese is to press it through an ordinary tea strainer. It is much quicker than grating. Boiled eggs can be treated the same way.

Apply iodine to scratches on mahogany furniture and then rub with a good furniture polish.

Felt hats can be well cleaned by rubbing them with a rubber bath sponge.

Houseplants do not get such tall, watery stalks and stems and they seem to blossom more fully if wood ashes are stirred into the soil once in awhile during the indoor season.

In preparing pumpkin it's much easier to cut it in half,remove the seeds and place it in the oven upside down. When it's done, remove the pulp from the shell and rub through a sieve. This is much quicker than cooking in a kettle.

One of the best things to clean glass baking dishes, granite ware and milk pails, is very fine sandpaper. Always keep a few 2 inch squares in the kitchen cabinet.

Professional cleaner Mary Findley shares her tips for speed cleaning your home on OFL. Read here:

Monday, September 15, 2008


In this first issue of Old Fashioned Tips Blogger Edition I have tips on roasting pumpkin, sunflower and squash seeds. I always receive many emails asking questions about roasting seeds. The following should give you plenty to do in the kitchen with your harvest! The picture is from my dad, who grew these monster sunflowers this summer. The largest one is already cut and hanging in the shed to dry.

I noticed the recipe for Pumpkin Seeds. Do you know how to do sunflower seeds from home grown sunflowers? I tried one year but I did something wrong as most all of the seeds got mold on them shortly after I got them out of the head. Maybe I cut them off the plant too soon.~Ruth

The University of Minnesota Extension Service advises that seeds are ready to store or eat when the disk at the back
of the flower has turned dark brown. Remove the seeds by
rubbing two heads together, or by rubbing your palm over
the seeds. Store raw seeds within a cloth bag in a place with
good air circulation. Airtight containers such as jars or tins
encourage mold development.

TO ROAST SUNFLOWER SEEDS: Spread them in a single
layer on a baking sheet, and toast them in a 350 degree F
oven for about 10 minutes. When the seeds start to swell
and the hulls crack, they're ready. Cool and salt to taste.

To roast fresh pumpkin seeds, pick out most of the pulp from the seeds and rinse. Don't worry about getting it all. A little pulp actually adds to the taste of the seeds. Pat the seeds dry, and toss with 1 tsp. of olive oil (or vegetable)per cup of seeds. Add salt and place in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Roast in a preheated over at 250 degrees til golden brown and dried. I shake them every so often to move them around on the pan. You can add spices when you add the salt if you wish.

One of our readers, Deb, also sent in her method of roasting pumpkin seeds:

When I saw the recent request for roasted sunflower
seeds, I thought you might like my recipe for Roasted
Pumpkin Seeds, too. This recipe is for "crunchy"
and "salty" pumpkin seeds:

After removing the seeds from the pumpkin, wash them
thoroughly--getting all the slippery, slimy pumpkin "guts"
off the seeds. Keep rinsing and manually removing the
"guts." When you're satisfied that you have as much off
as possible, put the "clean" seeds in a colander inside a
large bowl, cover with water and LOTS of salt (like a cup
or more). Stir it in and let it sit overnight. Stir it again in
the morning. Then either drain and spread on cookie
sheets OR (as we do) let them marinate in the salt for
another day. After draining, spread the seeds out evenly
on the cookie sheet(s) in the oven at about 250
degrees and let them dry out for several hours. I never
timed it, I just take several seeds out and munch on them
until they have the right "crunch." ~Deb in Wisconsin

Can you dry squash seeds and eat them just like pumpkin
seeds? Do you have to shell the pumpkin seeds and or
squash seeds like you do sunflower seeds? I have a lot
of squash and would like to save the seeds for eating or
baking. ~Beverly

What a great question! I looked it up and found this recipe
from Mother Earth News:

"First wash the seeds and pat dry with a paper towel.
Then place them in a single layer on an oiled baking
pan, season with salt and/or herbs and spices, and
let them sit for an hour. Put the pan into a 325-degree
oven for about 30 minutes, stirring after about 15
minutes of baking. Watch carefully so they do not
burn. You want them to be crunchy and easy to eat,
but not fibrous."

You may use squash seeds in recipes as a substitute for pumpkin seeds!

We have ten pages of pumpkins tips and recipes on Old Fashioned Living. One can NEVER have too many pumpkin recipes! Start here: and at the bottom of this page are the links to the other pages.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Welcome to Old Fashioned Tips

For over 5 years I've been sending out Old Fashioned Tips to visitors of my website, Old Fashioned Living. I've always said I have the best and most loyal readers out there, which is why I am switching to a blog format in place of the newsletter. For a year and a half I've been receiving complaints that my newsletter hasn't been arriving in my readers' inbox. I've exhausted all my avenues of research to find out why it's happening, and finally decided the answer was to discontinue the email format and go with a blog.

I will blog five days a week, just like I did the newsletter. Readers can read it online or subscribe to the blog by email or in a reader. Because it's sent out FOR me (by Feedburner, which is owned by Google), chances are it will arrive in your inbox without a hitch. You will be happy and so will I. The newsletter has over 15,000 loyal readers and I appreciate every one of you!

You'll see a box over on the side to subscribe. You can sign up to have it delivered daily. The first official blog will post tomorrow morning.

I've missed my readers, and I'm hoping this will help us to keep contact MUCH better than the email newsletter did. Feel free to leave comments, email me if you want to share a tip, or if you just want to chat. I'm not going anywhere:) OFL is ten years old now, so I'm in for the long haul.