Friday, October 3, 2008

Fall Recipes from The Parlor

There is no season when such pleasant and
sunny spots may be lighted on, and produce
so pleasant an effect on the feelings, as now
in October. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

I started the forums on Old Fashioned Living, which we call The Parlor, many years ago before my daughter Emily was born, and I have made lifelong friends there. The recipes below are some tried and true fall favorites from our members, and as always, are keepers.

My sister gave me this Recipe and it is wonderful and makes a lot. ~Karen, OFL Desserts & Baking Moderator

Pumpkin Bars & Frosting

1 can pumpkin (16 oz.) or 2 cups
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter or margarine melted
2 Cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon (or a little more to your liking)

Butter and flour a jelly roll pan. Preheat oven to 325* F. degrees. Mix together the eggs, sugar, pumpkin and butter. In separate bowl mix together: flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Add the dry ingredients to pumpkin mix. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

1 block cream cheese softened
3/4 cup butter or margarine
1 tsp. vanilla
1 TBSP milk
3 C. powdered Sugar

Mix all together and frost pumpkin bars. These always disappear from the serving platter as soon as I put them out.

This is my favorite recipe for apple bread. It works well with fresh apples or with frozen apples. ~LeAnn

LeAnn's Apple Bread

2 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup sour milk (add 1 teaspoon vinegar/lemon juice to milk)
1 teaspoon soda
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups chopped apples
1 cup walnuts (optional)

Mix together all ingredients. Divide batter between two greased loaf pans. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees (at times I have to bake the loaves for 10 or 15 minutes more until they feel set when tapped). Note: Batter will be stiff.

I found my favorite shortbread cookie recipe and I wanted to share it with you. These are one of my favorite cookies and everyone seems to like them. I hope you do too...~Mary

Mary's Favorite Shortbread

1 cup butter...softened
3/4 cup light brown sugar...packed
2 tsp.. lemon extract or fresh lemon juice
zest from a whole lemon
(I don't like to waste anything)
2 cups sifted flour

Preheat oven at 325 degrees F. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar with electric mixer, scraping sides of the bowl. Add lemon juice and zest and mix thoroughly on low speed. Shape level tablespoons of dough into logs on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 15 to 20 minutes until cookie spreads and is very lightly browned. Cool. Cookies may be dipped in soft lemon frosting on one end.

Since I LOVE apples we have pages of apple recipes on OFL. Start with this page and follow the to the others:

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Throat Soothers for Cool Weather

Over all like butter on warm bread; And the harvest moon will this night unfold The streams running full of molten gold. Oh, who could find a dearth of bliss with autumn glory such as this!~Gladys Harp

Fall is here, and so are the scratchy, dry throats. My readers always share the best tips, and today's will hopefully sooth any throat woes you may have during cool weather.

We stumbled upon a terrific throat soother a couple of years ago that I thought I'd pass on: heat up a mug of Minute Maid Lemonade or(better) limeade! It can be sweetened with a honey, if needed, but the hot, acidy drink cuts through any and all of the congestion and annoying dripping in your throat, soothes overworked vocal chords, and calms a sore throat. I use it when I get that continuous, nasty feeling of congestion sliding down the back of my throat...yuck! We've tried it with fresh lemonade, but it's not the same; maybe too much water or something going on. We have found that the Minute Maid 2-liters are great to have in stock during cold and flu season, just as much as your Tylenol and tissues! ~Liz

As soon as cold season rolls around my husband heats up a mug of Tang orange drink. I suppose it does the same thing as the hot lemonade with the acid cutting through mucus but he prefers the orange taste. If Tang went to the moon why couldn't it cure (or help) the common cold? ~Melissa B.

I read with interest the article on the throat soother. For years I have: put about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of honey in a HUGE mug with enough water to then it out. I then heat it briefly in the microwave then add a whole sliced lemon and fill to the top with water. Heat in the microwave until very hot. You can discard the lemons or eat them. Works so very good! My family loves this! ~Diane

Another tip along the same lines as the ones that have been sent (for throat soothers) in is with vinegar. Almost a cup of water, with honey to sweeten to your taste and about 2 Tbsp.cider vinegar. ~Cheri

For throat soothers and colds "Friendship Tea" is
wonderful. ~Sue

1//2 cup instant tea powder
1 cup sweetened lemonade powder
1 cup orange-flavored drink mix (Tang)
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

In large bowl, combine all ingredients. Mix well and store in an airtight container. To Serve: Put 2 to 3 teaspoons of mix in a mug. Stir in 1 cup of boiling water. Adjust to taste. This tea makes great gifts also.

On OFL I have recipes for soothing herbal teas here:

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Modern Priscilla Tips from 1924

October's poplars are flaming torches
lighting the way to winter. ~Nova Bair

The tips today are from the Modern Priscilla Cook Book, published in 1924. It was a special subscription edition in hardcover. I like the tips about substitutions, mostly because I find it fascinating, but also because we can use them today in our own recipes. Remember, they didn't have a Walmart around the corner with spices, extracts or the other things we take for granted!

One often finds oneself without certain flavorings, but it is sometimes possible to imitate them. Vanilla and almond give pistachio. Orange and lemon peel may be used in place of the extracts. In steamed pudding or fruit cake, orange marmalade will take the place of candied peel.

Mushrooms are often unavailable and are always a luxury. Cooked celery cut in small pieces maybe used very successfully instead. Dried celery leaves as well as the salt and seed may furnish the celery flavor to cooked mixtures. It is an excellent plan to save the best leaves of every bunch of celery, dry them thoroughly and pulverize. The powder may then be kept in a salt-shaker and used in place of celery salt.

Crumbs of all sorts may be used to advantage for part of the flour in dark breads, steamed puddings, cakes and cookies. This substitution, by the way, furnishes an excellent opportunity for using the crumbs that always seem to accumulate in distressingly large amounts.

Cereals are excellent for thickening soups and gravies, the proportion depending on the kind of cereal and whether it has been previously cooked.

Cocoa plus fat equals chocolate, a fact which makes substitution very simple. Two tablespoons of cocoa and a teaspoon of fat will give approximately the food value of an ounce of chocolate. The flavor is almost duplicated.

Liquid substitutions: Potato water gives a moistness in cake and bread that is desirable. Rice water is often available and good in soups and gravies. Fruit juices may be used in cakes with very pleasing results as to flavor if the acid is neutralized with a little (baking) soda. (Usually 1 tsp. to a cup of juice will work.) Coffee is delicious in cakes, muffins and in place of part of the milk in desserts.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Tips on Feeding our Feathered Friends

Two sounds of autumn are unmistakable, the
hurrying rustle of crisp leaves blown along the
street or road by a gusty wind, and the gabble
of a flock of migrating geese. Both are warnings
of chill days ahead, fireside and topcoat weather.
~Hal Borland

Many of us love feeding the birds, especially during the winter. Today's tips will help you to get started feeding our feathered friends. Remember to think outside the box when it comes to bird feeders and supplies. I just bought a large pot tray at the store on clearance for .50 and I'm going to drill a couple holes in the bottom and use it as a tray feeder.

Store your seed in a heavy container with a tight lid, especially if it's in the garage or anywhere mice might get to it. When we lived in the city, I had the squirrels chew right through a plastic garbage can I was using!

Birds have a tough time during cold, harsh weather, especially when the snow is covering their food and the insects are dormant. Now is a good time to prepare for feeding them. Start with washing your feeders and planning out what food you would like to offer them this year before the harsh weather hits.

The first thing to do is wash your feeders with a stiff brush and a solution of one part bleach to nine parts warm water. Rinse well afterwards and dry. Wet seed can really clog your feeders and it can grow bacteria. Another note on old seed-in the spring be sure to rake or sweep up the old seed and add it to your compost or waste pile. Once your feeders are clean it's time to fill them with seed and put them up.

Feeders that are on poles or stakes should be at least 5 foot off the ground and not too near trees, bushes, fence etc. They should be 8-10 foot from any surface that would provide a place for cats or squirrels to jump from. Though you should have some type of bushes, trees or evergreens beyond that 8-10 foot area that the
birds can use to safely perch. Provide a few different feeders and you'll have a nice variety of birds to watch.

Seeds that will really provide the best nutrition for the birds and a good selection of birds for you to watch will be black-oil sunflower seeds, cracked corn, millet, niger (thistle) and suet. If you want to limit what you buy, go with the black sunflower seeds. They'll attract woodpeckers, blue jays, goldfinches, purple finches, titmice, nuthatches and chickadees. Cracked corn and seed on the ground, or a seed table/platform that is lower to the ground, will attract the mourning doves, juncos and bobwhites. If you have a tree stump you can put on a plastic pot tray, securing it with a screw or nail, and use that for a feeding platform. It's always neat to try many different types of feeders to observe which ones are used the most and what birds are attracted to them. Make simple feeders out of milk jugs, bleach containers, soda bottles etc. Always make sure they are washed and rinsed well before using.

To attract birds with plants you can leave the seed heads on black eyed Susans, coneflowers, sedums, sunflowers, calendulas and teasel. If you have ornamental grasses leave those up too. Two other unusual plants to leave for birds are cardoons and globe artichokes.

Remember, the birds have a lot of food currently with the seed heads, berries and other fruits, so they may not go to your feeders as often, but you want to make them available so they know they are there before the harsh weather begins.

Fall Garden Tips

Everyone must take time to sit and watch
the leaves turn. ~Elizabeth Lawrence

Before the onset of cold or cooler weather, you should clean your garden and landscape. It's better to do this now during the cool, refreshing days of fall, then wait for spring.

Look over all your trees and shrubs carefully and prune out the dead or diseased branches. They are easier to see while the healthy ones are green and flourishing. Be sure to give all of your trees and shrubs a good, deep watering before the first heavy frost.

Removing any diseased or insect-infested plants from your garden is very, very important. Take a Saturday or another day you have to spare and make a project of it. Either burn or discard these plants and other debris.

Cleaning carefully will give your plants a fresh start in the spring. Rake up leaves as well. It's also a great time to pick out any broken stakes, garden art, bricks, cracked pots,nursery tags etc. If it doesn't belong, get rid of it. You will appreciate this in the spring when you don't have to wade through soggy plant stems and muddy flower beds. Don't get too carried away with the chopping though. Some plants like sunflowers, black-eyed Susans, and ornamental grasses can be left for the birds to snack on. Some other plants like calendula, snapdragons, cosmos, gem marigolds and others can be allowed to reseed themselves if you leave the seed heads on the plants.

Many readers have concerns about tent worms this time of year. Every year we snip off the branches that have tent worms and throw them in a fire. They are harmless to us, but can cause damage to trees or shrubs. You can also use gloves and pull the "tents" off the trees or shrubs then dumb them in a bucket filled with water that you've added a little bleach and dish soap.