Tuesday, December 18, 2012


I had some lovely white dish towels from the institute here at home a while back.  I decided to layer them in between the layers of biscuits that I baked here at home rather doing mighty battle with the ovens from, "you know where". Now what I had forgotten is how much fat was in those biscuits.  Those poor towels were such a mess but . .  I forgot when I washed and dried them.  Talk about nasty yellow stains.  They also developed a rancid odor, yuck!

So I brought them home again and thought about it for a week.  I noticed the box of Borax and thought It wouldn't hurt anything.  I also had a new bottle of a good degreaser(purple stuff from Sams Club but any good degreaser would probably work) to add to the mix.  Unfortunately, I didn't measure when I loaded the washer.

The Guesstimations are:
1--Enough HOT water to the small load level
2--About 1 1/2 qts. of the degreaser
3--About 2 - 3 cups of Borax.

 I agitated it for a few minutes to make sure it was all stirred up good and then let it soak for several hours.  then let it agitate for the longest cycle and put it through the extra rinse.

Everything came out very white, clean and smelling like  . .  nothing.  Now that is the true smell of  "clean"!  I had also added some real stinkers that had been waiting out in the garage including a table cloth that has been through several "war zones" trying to get some old, yellowed grease stains out of it.

Guess Grandma knew what she was doing!

* * * * I did a second load when I found some of those same nasty towels that had been kicked out of the way. Cut amounts in half and used warm water.  They still came out beautifully!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

JULIENNE POTATOES . . . Not" Funeral Potatoes"

I decided a long time ago that the infamous "Funeral Potatoes" were invented by the owners of funeral homes . .  just to keep their business booming.  With all the butter, sour cream, and cheese, it can give anyone a heart attack!  This is just as ooey, gooey and yummy as any other.

1 C. Morrison Country Gravy Mix
1 t. Lawry's seasoned salt
1-2 C. Unflavored Yogurt
2 lbs. frozen hash browns, thawed
1/2 # grated cheese1/2 medium onion, diced

1--Mix gravy mix with cool water until well blended and set aside.
2--Bring  3 c. water to a boil.  Add gravy mix slurry, blend well.  Cook until thickened.
3-- Add yogurt, seasoned salt (to taste) and blend.
4--Toss hash browns and most of the grated cheese until they are mixed up evenly.  Place in 9" X 13" baking
     dish that has been sprayed.  Add "slurry" and mix;  sprinkle left-over cheese.   Cover with foil.

Bake at 350 degrees until hot and bubbly.  Remove foil and continue baking until the cheese topping is browned slightly.

**If you would like to shave the calories some more, use low fat cheese and make sure that you have plenty of slurry.  It will melt and blend in nicely.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

My New Calling. . . . and Blessing

As a member of  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I received a calling last Fall as a service missionary in our local area.  Our university has a pretty large Institute of Religion where they have a $1 lunch each Friday for the students . . . and full-time missionaries and few other misc. staff and visitors.  It has been one of the greatest challenges/blessings I have ever experienced.  I love the "kids" (young adults) .  They are a great group of young people who want to make good choices, do good in this world and follow our Savior's example and commandments.  It makes for a lovely and loving spirit that can only lift those around them.

I have learned a lot!  With the strangest ovens I have ever had the "opportunity" to deal with (was that put tactfully enough? . .  they are a NIGHTMARE . .  ah hem) to what will please the kids, make them feel that for just a few minutes, they can enjoy the tastes and love of home and help them relax and enjoy each other's company for an afternoon and there are a couple of grandmas (Sister Hays and me) with a hug ready and waiting for whoever needs it ( a couple of gramps too).

We have had near disasters, some pretty funny experiences and some great triumphs (in spite of the ovens).  All add up to a new adventure each week.

My greatest practical lessons have been in creating yummy meals that can be done, from beginning to ready to eat in 3 - 4 hours. . .  for a crowd of anywhere from 130, last week to 170 this last week.  Never boring!

I thought I would share a lot of what I have learned on this blog while I wait to get together with my DIL so she can show me how to add tabs and organize it better.

Hope you find my adventures useful, convenient and tasty for your families.  My family has been my tolerant if not willing guinea pigs for many of the dishes I have served down there!  I will have family and group size recipes posted here.

Friday, January 20, 2012


Posse Stew             (for groups down below)

#401 Can of Pinto Beans
# 401 can of Hominy (I like to use yellow but the whole country seems to have gone white)
#401 can of Diced tomatoes
1 Dice onion
1 # ground beef, cooked
1 can of diced green chiles ( I use 1/2 can of green chiles that I dice myself)
Red chile powder or taco seasonings to taste.

**Equal amounts of beans, hominy and diced tomatoes.  I usually use beans I have cooked myself.

Dump (dumping is an important part of the technique here) all of the canned ingredients into a big pot; add seasonings and simmer while you brown the ground beef and onion until they are softened.  Add to pot and check your seasonings.  Simmer a while until the flavors are blended nicely and serve with corn bread, crackers or whatever sounds good to you.  This has always gone like hotcakes when I have served it!

When you have a big crowd, there will always be some that want it hot as hades.  I put a bottle of Tabasco or Frank's Hot Sauce where they can add it to their bowls.  Yesterday we also had a bowl of HOT diced green chiles that had been given to us that we knew we would never eat (wimps here).  The kids liked both.

Tonight I will post the amounts I used for about 75 people and the chicken soup as well.

Posse Stew for a Crowd---

This should make about 14 quarts of Posse Stew and serve about 28 - 30 people.

I just realized that this would be a little hard since I was using left-over beans and beef from our stake BBQ in November.  So I will figure it as well as I can.

# Ten cans hold 3 1/2 quarts of food.  Did you know that?  We always call them gallon . .  NOT!  So to fill young people, we get the big paper bowls that hold "20 oz." .  That will give you a little head room with a good sized bowl of soup or chile.  Keeping that in mind, here is how I start out the Posse Stew:

1 - #10 can of pinto beans
1 - #10 can of hominy
1 - #10 can of diced tomatoes
1/2 - # 10 can of diced green chiles  (at home I often chop up a #401 can of "Hatch whole chiles" that come
         in pairs at Costco)
2 # ground beef
1-2 diced large onions

Serve with cornbread, biscuits, grated cheese crackers . .  it's all good.

This should make about 14 quarts of Posse Stew and serve about 28 - 30 people.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Getting the Heat Out of The Kitchen!!!

It is that time of year again, I am NOT going to do much cooking in my kitchen.  It is in the exact middle of my house and even with the new stove hood, which vent the heat out, I don't want to do much cooking in there.

Today, the family is gathering for an early Memorial Week End BBQ.  We will of course have the standards, hot dogs and hamburgers, but I have secret surprise cooking for them.  BBQ Pork Spare Ribs ala Wonder Box.  I am about to put them on (9:30 am) and they should be absolutely falling off the bones by dinner time.  All I will have to run the stove is about 20-25 minutes and the rest will be done out on the patio, just o get the box out of the way.  Think of all the energy I will be saving.  Time will be saved to since I won't have to check them once they ore cooking.

I already have baked beans in one crock pot and the funereal potatoes will be going into another one as soon as the ribs are tucked into the Wonder Box.  The men can be manly and "man" the grill . . . not for me thank you very much!!

UPDATE:  As usual, I checked the temperature of the meat as soon as I opened the pot and bag.  They were still at 157 degrees, great !

The ribs turned out wonderful, in most respects, juicy and tender.  There was a little hole in the bottom of the bag, so some of the BBQ sauce leaked out and some of the water leaked in.  

Lesson learned:  Check for leaks in the baking bag!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Summer Weather and All of It's Fun is Here . . . .Early!

As I have been working  my little tushi off to get my belated garden in, I have been watching the news a lot.   In case you have missed it,  a lot of people have been losing their power, water  . .  and they are the lucky ones in some areas!  This was driven home when I read the following post on "Safely Gathered In". Click HERE.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Texas Sheet Cake, to Thrill a 5-Year Old

Years ago, I learned to decorate cakes and thought it would be so wonderful to do special cakes for my kids as they grew up.  My hot old hands (even when I was young) would melt the icing in those bags so quickly, so I had to resorts to other methods.  Wish I had figured out how to use this "pouring"  candy frosting a long time ago. 


Learn to roll with the punches, make it easy on yourself!  Creating special memories can be fun and easy!!Now I can just have the kids guide me and give them what they want.  It is often no where near as grandiose as we imagine.  I have adopted the motto, " don't impress the adults, thrill the kids,"  I had more than one question about how I made this cake.  Smart moms, smarter than I was!!  

Texas Sheet Cake  and Candy Frosting  click HERE  This will also show the cake I made last year for Garrett's 4th birthday.  

So anyhoo, here is the low down on the birthday of our big 5 year old boy!!

The cake started with talking about fractions with Gabriel ( 6 year old brother).  This is how his mother and my other kids were also introduced to fractions. . .  cooking.  The idea got mixed reviews from the kids, but Gabriel thought it was OK since he got to help me make the cake . . after which, I taught him the "fine art of scraping the bowl". That of course is a VERY important part of baking.

Next night, Garrett (birthday boy) got to help me frost the TX Sheet Cake.  He made the same mistake that I tend to do, and went over the same spot too many times.  Poor little guy looked up at me with such great big eyes full of panic.  he was so sure that he had ruined his own cake.  It was OK when I told him that we could put the requested island full of dinosaurs over it.  The light blue frosting was poured over a coat of white frosting that was blocking out some of the brown from chocolate showing through.  Garrett loved the spray that gave the "water" a little more dimension.  Garrett was shown the fine art of scraping the pan after making the candy frosting for the cake . .  also a VERY important part of baking.

The island needed to have some height so that there could be the requested water fall on it, so I made the second cake in various pans and bowls.  It was supposed to be light chocolate so that would look better under the "sand".

We made a second batch of the candy frosting, tinted it a bit to make it tan colored and poured it over the "island".  Garrett was getting pretty excited at this point as he could see his dream cake coming together.  It was his job to place all of the fishes in the water and dinosaurs on the island.  I did have him leave some space on that one area for a surprise shark that Gabriel had helped me find.  It was BIG!! and had great teeth.

Garrett is talking about volcanoes a lot these days, so along with the shark, and water fall, I added some hot lava . . .  he seemed excited when he first saw it over at the park, just before his party and then all of a sudden, got upset and wanted it "off right now"!  It was just too late and then the guests started to arrive . .  what to do, what to do.

He finally accepted and went to play with the rest of the kids.  Whew!!  You really can't tell, but there is a little Tiki hut on the backside of the volcano.  I had hoped to put the five little candles at the top like fire coming out of the volcano, but he wanted to have the "five" candle up there.  Oh well, it was his cake.