Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Tom is resting peacefully. His battle with cancer is over. Now he is just sleeping while he waits for his transport to Heaven. God Bless!

Monday, April 25, 2011


What do you post when a life hangs on the next breath taken? The only thing that seems to be in my head is a variation of an old Garfield The Cat cartoon saying, "Cats rule and dogs drool."

The ferocious beast that is cancer has come out of it's dormant state to ravage Tom. last Thursday our life was reduced to a hospital room. Cancer rules our life.

However Izzy would be incensed if someone said she drooled. For a little girl, she has a darling short beard and she would never walk around with drool on it.

WHen you face a situation that has become dire, you find out how little you really need in life. I find that all I really need, besides the clothes on my back, are a toothbrush, clean underwear and a shower, if possible.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I started typing my family cookbook at least 40 years ago.  I typed it on my 1960 Smith Corona non-electric portable typewriter that I had taken to college with me.  There was no spell check and white-out was the only way to get rid of mistakes.  There are at least 6 editions of the book as I started putting just the ingredients under the titles as I knew how to make everything and I didn't need directions. 

My Mom and I on my 10th birthday.

Then my son, Mitchell, said that the cookbook won't help him as there were no directions.  Then I decided to antidote each recipe, and on and on.  In the early 1980's I bought a used Radio Shack computer and started typing all over again and again.  There always seemed to be something to add.  My computer used the big disks so when the smaller disks replaced the bigger ones, Mitchell took my disks out to the missile fields to convert them to the smaller disks.

Mom's Brownies with one egg.

Mom's Brownies with two eggs.

This little history is because I am not sure if my Mom's wonderful brownies had one egg or two eggs.  I have all the editions in the basement in boxes but I really don't have the time right now to search through them all for the original recipe.

Some of my more modern Droste tins.

My Grand-daughter noticed that in the ingredients one egg was listed.  In the directions, it said to add the eggs.  I have now made the brownies both ways and they both taste marvelous.  The two egg version is more cakey and I think it is my Mom's original version but the whole family loves the version with just one egg too.

I probably haven't had my Mom's brownies made by her since the early 1960's so it is hard to remember just exactly which recipe is hers.  This recipe looks more how I remember them as they had more height than a regular brownie.  What I do remember is that she never used any cocoa for her brownies except Droste's.
1/2 c butter
1 c sugar
2 eggs
2 T cocoa mixed with 1/4 c water
1/2 t vanilla
1 c cake flour
1/8 t baking soda

Ingredients:  Cake flour, sugar, Dutch cocoa, baking soda, eggs, butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar.

In a bowl with an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs; beat well.  In a little bowl, gradually mix water into cocoa.  Add cocoa/water and vanilla to butter mixture; beat well.   With a spoon or spatula, mix flour and baking soda together; add to cocoa mixture and stir to mix.  Pour into greased or foil-lined 8x8-inch pan.  Bake in preheated 325 degree F. oven for 40 minutes.  Cool on a rack.  When cool dust with powdered sugar.  Cut into squares to serve.

I use non-stick aluminum foil to line my pans when I make bar cookies or brownies.

Line pan with non stick side up.  Leave "handles" on opposite sides of pan for lifting out the brownie for easy slicing.

Mix flour and baking soda together.  Gradually add water to cocoa, stirring to remove any lumps.

Cream butter with an electric mixer until fluffy.

Add sugar and beat well.

Add eggs and beat well.

Add cocoa mixture and vanilla.  Mix well. 

Stir in flour/baking soda mixture just until moistened and mixed.  Bake in preheated 325 degree F. oven for 40 minutes.  The two egg brownies take longer to bake than the one egg brownies.

Cool on wire rack.

Lift brownie out of pan.  Dust cooled brownies with powdered sugar.  Cut. 

Cut in opposite so you have 16 brownies.


I love these wither made with one or two eggs.

I feel my Mom's love.

Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, April 18, 2011


This picture was taken this morning, April 18th.  There is two inches of snow on the picnic table and it was still snowing.  We are not suppose to have Winter Storm Advisories in April.  That is extreme even for Michigan!!

Sunday, April 17, 2011


All the stress of the past few weeks, losing Katrinka, finding out I need two new knees, and Tom's hospitalization , I need my Mommy!!!  I want to sit on her lap and have her wrap me in a thick, fluffy, warm cotton blanket while I lay my head on her shoulder.  However, if my Mom was still with us, she would be 105 years old so I need to get my Mommy love with one of her special recipes.  I decided to make my Mom's special cake-like brownies with Droste's Dutch cocoa. 

Mom's love and comfort on a plate.

When I was young, Droste's cocoa came in these lovely tin boxes.  No one thought to save them as you had a new one every time you bought cocoa.  Then suddenly they disappeared to be replaced by cardboard boxes.

In 1975, I found these tins in a tiny shop near the hospital where my Dad was fighting cancer.  Since then they have been one of my treasures. 

Mom brownies call for cake flour.  Bread flour has the most gluten, the protein in wheat, while cake flour has the least amount of gluten which makes for tender cake.  If you don't have cake flour the substitution is:

1 cup cake flour =  3/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons cornstarch

Mom's brownies are cake-like with a powdered sugar topping.  They are not as heavy and rich as many recipes.  If available use Dutch cocoa, like Droste's, otherwise the brownies won't have the lovely intense chocolate flavor.  These are great with icy cold milk and a good book. My Dad would see me with my glass of milk, and brownies piled high on a plate as I headed for my favorite reading corner and quip, "Those will look good on you!"
1/2 c butter
1 c sugar
2 eggs
2 T cocoa mixed with 1/4 c water (Mom used extra cocoa if she couldn't get Droste's)
1/2 t vanilla
1 c cake flour
1/8 t baking soda

Ingredients:  Cake flour, sugar, butter, egg, baking soda, Dutch cocoa, and powdered sugar.

And don't forget the vanilla!!!

I like to use non-stick foil to line my baking pan for easy slicing the brownies, and easy removal from the pan.

Line an 8x8-inch pan with non-stick foil with handles sticking out on opposite sides.
In a bowl with an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs; beat well.  In a little bowl, gradually mix water into cocoa.  Add cocoa/water and vanilla to butter mixture; beat well.   With a spoon or spatula, mix flour and baking soda together; add to cocoa mixture and stir to mix.  Pour into greased or foil-lined 8x8-inch pan.  Bake in preheated 325 degree F. oven for 35 to 40 minutes.  When cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar.  Cut into squares to serve.

I like to mix the flour and baking soda in a small bowl.  Gradually stir the water into the cocoa and have the other ingredients measured and ready to go.

Cream the butter.  Add sugar and beat until fluffy.

Add egg and beat well.

Missed a picture:  Add cocoa/water mixture and vanilla.  Beat well.  Add flour mixture and stir with spoon or spatula to combine.

Ready to put in the pan.

Put batter in pan and spread to smooth out.

Bake in preheated 325 degree F. oven for 35 to 40 minutes.  Cool on a rack.  Lift foil out of pan with the side handles.

See how clean the pan is in the left corner.  Sprinkle top of brownies with powdered sugar.

Ready to be cut.  Press foil down from around the sides and cut brownie into bars.

Place on a plate and enjoy!

If I was young, I would put even more brownies on my plate than just 7 before I disappeared into my reading corner.

So GOOD!!!

Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!!!!

See off easily the brownies lift off the non-stick foil!

Friday, April 15, 2011


I didn't really know what Cavatini was so I looked it up on the web.  I found that it usually refers to a menu item at the Pizza Hut from the 1970's.  The dish was made of three different shaped pastas, covered with pizza sauce, and topped with cheese.  I didn't find any recipe that resembles Nana's New York-style Cavatini. 


Warm sauce, melted cheese over a pasta salad.  Enjoy!!

Nana's Cavatini is like the best of two worlds.  There is a pasta salad on the bottom of the dish with pasta and spaghetti sauce on top with it all covered with melted cheese.  Nana served it with meatballs or sausage and extra sauce for a little touch of heaven.  I used my meaty spaghetti sauce and found that the cavatini really didn't need anything extra.

I find this time of year onions, even sweet ones, are more pungent and sharp.  To remove the harsh flavor chop or slice the onion and soak it in ice water for a short time.  This tip is good anytime of the year when you want a raw onion flavor, but
you don't want the onion flavor to over power all the other flavors.  It works especially well with onions in pasta salads or salsas.  Soaking or rinsing the onion removes the sulfurous compounds in the cut onion.

Chop or slice onions.

Soak for a few minutes in ice water and then drain.

Or put chopped or sliced onions into a colander and rinse with cold water.

Nana always uses canned mushrooms in this recipe.  She and I agree that some recipes are better with canned instead of fresh.  I would like some chopped red bell pepper in this too. 
3 kinds of noodles:  shells, spirals and rigatoni, cooked and drained
Raw onion, chopped
Green pepper, chopped
Black olives, sliced
Canned mushrooms, drained, sliced
Pepperoni, thinly sliced
Spaghetti sauce
Mozzarella cheese, grated or sliced, optional
Provolone cheese, grated or sliced, optional

Ingredients.  Three different pasta shapes, raw onion, green bell pepper, black olives, canned mushrooms, pepperoni, spaghetti sauce, Mozzarella cheese, Provolone cheese.  I used my homemade sauce but you can use jarred sauce.

Cook pasta according to package directions.  I mixed three that had about the same cooking time.  I used spirals, penne, and creste di gallo pasta.  Put cooked and drained pasta in a bowl.  Add onion, green pepper, olives, mushrooms and pepperoni. (I will cook the pepperoni next time before I add it to the salad.)  Mix well.  Put in a large oven-proof casserole.  Lightly cover pasta mixture with spaghetti sauce and top with cheese.  Broil until cheese is melted.  (I put the pan into a preheated 325 degree F. oven and baked for 20 minutes or until cheese was melted.)  Serve with extra sauce and meatballs or sausage, if desired. 

Three shapes of pasta mixed together.

Every since I had a sandwich with the pepperoni cooked I really don't like it cold anymore.  See this post for cooking pepperoni.

Mix pepperoni, mushrooms, and black olives.

Spray baking pan non-stick cooking spray.

Chop green bell pepper.

Chop onion.  Soak or spray onion to remove harsh flavor, if desired.

Mix the onion, green pepper, black olives, mushrooms, and pepperoni together.  Some red bell pepper would be good too.


Cook pasta.


Mix drained pasta with onion mixture.

Put pasta mixture into baking pan.

Cover the pasta mixture with spaghetti sauce.

Original recipe called for grated Mozzarella. I had sliced Mozzarella and Provolone so I used them both.  I like the flavor. 

Top sauce with Provolone.

Top with Mozzarella.

Recipe said to broil until cheese is melted.  I put the pan in a preheated 350 degree F. oven for about 20 minutes or until cheese is melted.  I have a tendency to burn things when I broil them. 

Let set for a couple of minutes before serving. 


Pasta salad with warm sauce and melted cheese.

The onions and green peppers are crunchy.  Delicious and interesting to eat.

Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!!!