Friday, September 26, 2008

Autumn Brownies with Frosting

A tangerine and russet cascade of kaleidoscopic
leaves creates a tapestry of autumn magic upon
the emerald carpet of fading summer.
~Judith A. Lindberg

The boys had friends over last weekend and I wanted to make a dessert that teens would like, plus I had the urge to bake. I had two boxes of store brand brownies. One box was suppose to fill a 9x13 pan, but I combined two boxes for extra thick brownies. I baked them according to directions, but about 10 minutes longer. While they were baking I looked through my old cookbooks and found a frosting recipe. This is from Magic Chef Cooking, published in 1933.

Butter Cream Frosting

1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 tablespoon cream
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 confectioners' sugar

Melt the butter and add the cream. Then add the salt, vanilla and sugar. Stir til well mixed. Coffee or lemon juice may be used instead of cream, but omit vanilla.

MY NOTES: First, I didn't have butter on hand so I used margarine. I also decided to try something different. I used my liquid creamer I had bought for tea and coffee instead of cream. It was the Pumpkin Spice flavor. I used 2 tablespoons of that and omitted the vanilla. It was really good! By the way, I did use a hand mixer instead of stirring. I also needed to triple the above recipe to make enough frosting for the big pan of brownies. I topped each brownie with a Brach's candy pumpkin (in the Autumn Mix that has candy corn too. See picture below.)I also sprinkled a little green colored sugar on them at the last minute.

This frosting would also make a good glaze if you increased the liquid.

The brownies were a huge hit as you can imagine they would be with teenage boys!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Household Hints From 1915

Indian Summer. The last warmth of the sun.
Chilly mornings and glorious warm afternoons.
The Harvest Moon. The Hunter's Moon. The
Rainy Season. Dry corn stalks clattering in the
wind. The touch of frost on grass and window
pane. The smell of burning leaves.
~Keith C. Heidorn

These tips are from the column Helps for Housekeepers in the October 1915 issue of Modern Priscilla:

Croutons for soup can easily be made in the corn popper! They will crisp in a moment. Cut the bread to desired size,place in the popper and toast over glowing coals.

A spoonful of flour added to a fruit filling for pie, or any other wet mixture will not become lumpy if mixed with the same amount of sugar before adding. The same is true of cornstarch in making desserts or gravies.

Aromatic Vinegars: Many a cook will serve mint sauce in the season when she can command the growing mint yet never think of preparing mint vinegar that will last all year. To prepare the vinegar, wash the mint leaves, shake them dry, and put into a large mouthed bottle. Fill the bottle with good cider vinegar and at the end of the month, strain off all the vinegar and seal it up in small bottles. For nasturtium vinegar proceed in the same manner, substituting the green nasturtium seeds for the mint leaves.

Preparing fresh coconut. Instead of using a grater, put the coconut through the meat chopper (grinder). It comes out light and fluffy and can be done in a few seconds.

Novel uses for the garden hose: Use the hose to rinse heavy articles. Blankets rinsed in this way are saved from wringing and dry without wrinkles, and so no ironing is required. The nap is uncrushed. Also rinse heavy counterpanes this way, and crochet and knitted spreads are especially soft and fluffy. Rug, scrubbed with a stiff brush moistened in diluted ammonia will look like new. Turn the hose on full force on garden shrubs every few days and all insects will disappear!

On OFL: Click here to learn the art of drying vegetables.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sharing Some Common Sense

September fattens on vines. Roses flake from
the wall. The smoke of harmless fires drifts to
my eyes. This is plenty. This is more than
enough. ~Geoffrey Hill

A few years ago one of my readers sent me a reprint by Oxmoor House of Common Sense in the Household by Marion Harland. It was first published in 1871 and is a fascinating read. I wanted to share a few of her tips today.

Boil a double handful of hay or grass in a new iron pot, before attempting to cook with it; scrub out with soap and sand; then set on full of fair water, and let it boil half an hour. After this, you may use it without fear.

To wash White Lace Edging: Have a quart bottle covered with linen, stitched smoothly to fit the shape. Begin at the bottom and wind the lace about it, basting fast at both edges, even the minutest point to the linen. Wash on the bottle, soaping it well, rinse by plunging in a pail of fair water, and boil as you would a white handkerchief, bottle and all. Set in the hot sun to dry. When quite dry, clip the basting-threads, and use the lace without ironing. If neatly basted on, it will look nearly as well as new-if not quite.

Dry ink stains can be removed from white cloth by lemon-juice and salt.

If china is rough to the touch, it is dirty. Hot, clean suds, a dry, clean towel, and quick wiping leave it bright and shining.

Glasses: Roll your glasses around in the water, filling them as soon as they touch it, and you need never crack one. A lady did once explain the dinginess of her goblets to me by saying that she was "afraid to put them in hot water. It ROTS glass and makes it so tender! I prefer to have them a little cloudy." Certainly not that a year's soak in hot water could make glass tender!

This is a fascinating article on OFL on doing laundry in the 1920's:


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hodge Podge Day

A few days ago I walked along the edge of the
lake and was treated to the crunch and rustle
of leaves with each step I made. The acoustics
of this season are different and all sounds, no
matter how hushed, are as crisp as autumn air.
~Eric Sloane

My newsletter readers always loved Hodge Podge Day where I would share their tips or things that they requested, so I had to have it on the blog as well. Today I have a few fall recipes to share. One is from Lor, one of my long time readers.

Molasses Popcorn Balls
From Yoder Popcorn

4 quart popped corn
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp. butter
2 cup molasses
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda

Boil the molasses, sugar, butter, and salt, stirring occasionally
until mixture forms hard ball in cold water. Remove from heat,
add soda and mix well. Pour over popped corn, stirring so that
each kernel may be coated. Form into a ball with well buttered
hands QUICKLY!

Chicken 'n Dumplins
This is a finger-lickin, rib-stickin, knee-slappin recipe!
It doesn't get much more Southern than this.

1 chicken, cut into quarters
You could use 2 chickens and a great BIG dutch oven!
1 tablespoon chicken(poultry) seasoning
*I like to add chunks of carrots, celery, potato and onion.
Oh, and don't forget the "garlic".

2 cups flour
3 tablespoons baking powder
1 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons lard or vegetable shortening
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon salt
*I add 1 Tablespoon of parsley flakes

Place chicken in a large Dutch oven. Add chicken seasoning
and enough water to cover chicken with at least 3-4 inches of
water. Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce heat and simmer,
covered, until meat can easily be removed from bones. Remove
chicken, leaving liquid in pot. Remove meat from chicken and
place meat back into pot. Bring back to a boil. Mix remaining
ingredients to form a dough and spoon into boiling chicken pot
liquid. Cover pot and simmer until dumplings are cooked, about
10 to 15 minutes I love this recipe and it's great for this time of
year! ~Lor

Buckwheat honey is a thick, dark honey that has a
stronger taste than lighter colored honey. It was very
popular in the 1930's, 40's and 50's when buckwheat
was more of a major crop in the U.S. It is becoming
popular again because of it's antioxidant properties,
which have been found to be higher than other honey.
You can be substitute it for molasses, and it is great
for baking. I found the following recipe:

From Dutch Gold Honey

Liquid Mixture:
1 egg, beaten
1 cup Dutch Gold Buckwheat Honey
1 tsp. baking soda
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp. Flour
2 cups boiling water
2 cups flour
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
2 - 8" unbaked pie shells

Mix crumb mixture first and set aside. Combine liquid
mixture and pour into pie shells; spoon crumbs on top.
Immediately put into oven. Bake at 325°F for 40-50
minutes or until set.

Try these wonderful apple harvest recipes!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Country Living Tips from 1946

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

Today I'm sharing tips from The Watkins Almanac Home Book, published in 1946. These are from a section entitled Farm Hints and Rules, but anyone in a rural setting could use these. Plus, they are a fun read!

To Clean a Post Hole Digger: Before using the digger, especially in heavy clay or gumbo soil (a fine-grained silty soil that becomes a very sticky mud when wet.), dip the blades in a bucket of waste oil at regular intervals.(Old car or tractor oil would work).

To Find the Value of Articles Sold by the Ton: Multiply the number of pounds by the price per ton, point off three places, and divide by two.

Pitchfork Holder: A couple of old shelf brackets form an excellent holder for the pitchfork. They could be nailed or bolted to the wall just far enough to allow the fork handle to slide in readily with the tines up. A rack of this kind will hold two or three forks. Proper care of this sort will often prevent injuries.

Moving Balky Cows: A simple and effective means of causing a cow to get up quickly when she lies down and refuses to be led or loaded into a truck is that of placing the palms of the hands over her nostrils with fingers under the jaw, tightly enough to stop breathing. It gets immediate action and is a humane way of getting results. (Ed. note: Of course they mean GENTLY, as to not hurt the cow. Being a former farm girl, I know farmers treat their animals with great care.)

Learn about autumn on the farm in this article I wrote for OFL: