April- In my kitchen…

April in my kitchen is actually tomorrow.

But I’m putting this up today because I’m tired from baking

all morning and want to sit down and yet feel productive.


In my kitchen is a marvelous branch of orchids that my

sister brought me from her house (she accidently broke it off!)

In my kitchen…


are these delicious brownie bars I made last week from my mother’s old recipe.

In my kitchen…


is this versatile bowl/pan cover (silicon lid) that sticks fast to smooth surfaces-

003forming a tight bond to keep out oxygen AND

can go in the oven, fridge and freezer.  Plus it is really pretty!

In my kitchen…


is a pot of broth cooking up a couple of beef soup bones and all the veggie

parings and peels that  I generally toss when I am in a hurry.  I’m planning on making

some French onion soup with this broth!

In my kitchen…



are these coconut lime skewers. I love to thread chicken

breast onto these and grill them- the taste is like a marinade

from the inside out!

In my kitchen…


is my lap top- I was Skyping with my grandsons last night and

Aidan said,”Take my picture, Grandma!  I’ll make a real good face!”

I used it there to remind me of a recipe earlier,too, so it is rather floury right now!

In my kitchen…


is fresh bread for toasting next week and


fresh made bread wraps for lunches for Jordan.

Also in my kitchen is a sinkful of  bowls and pots that I need to go and wash.

If you are interested in seeing what is in kitchens all around the world- go to

Celia’s blog Fig jam and Lime cordial and check out all the other blogs, as well

as hers!   What’s in your kitchen today?

Recipe cards and passed down memories


I was looking for the recipe for my mother’s cocoa brownies yesterday and I found it!

Going through the recipe box always brings me to tears.  This one is written in Robin’s writing- and has

been accidently dipped into a bit of the batter many years ago.  The tears aren’t because of the messy

card- but because of the treasure of memories my sister’s handwriting brought me.

The tears were quickly followed by a smile, though- because on the flip side of the card-

003                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         was a notation of the calories in one 32nd of a piece of brownie.  Robin was a great calorie counter.

Here is the story my mother always told of these brownies.  A friend had given her the recipe, but when

my mom made it, she thought it might be too rich, so she substituted margarine for the butter, and then

made it in a jelly roll pan rather than a 9×9 square pan.  And then it was too thin so she added icing- the

icing she used for the postom cake.   To dress up the brownies, she added melted chocolate on top and

it got a very distinctive design when cut whilst it was still warm.   She had company over one day and

the husband of our visiting couple really loved the brownies.  He kept saying, “Get the recipe for these

brownies, Sophie, they are the best I’ve ever had.”

Sophie, his wife, was the friend who had given my mother the original recipe for these brownies!


Here’s the recipe for Cocoa Brownies with cooked icing.



1 1/2 cups AP flour

2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup dark cocoa- I used Hershey’s

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup soft butter

4 eggs

2 tsps vanilla

1 cup chopped nuts

12 oz bag of choc chips

Sift together the dry ingredients.  Sift them because the cocoa will have some compacted balls and REALLY need

to be sifted.  Set aside.

Beat the butter , eggs and vanilla together and add the dry ingredients  about a cup at a time. Mix well, add nuts by hand

and spread in a greased jelly roll of cookie pan with sides.  Bake at 350 degrees F for about 22 minutes- do not overbake,

these burn easily since they are so thin.  pour 1/2 cup choc chips on to hot top and let melt.  Skim the chocolate over the top

and allow to cool completely.

Now to make the cooked icing.

I was going to take pictures of each step- but this goes pretty fast and needs to be tended- so no pictures, sorry,Sad smile .

Put one cup of milk in medium cook pan and stir in 4 rounded Tablespoons of flour and stir for about 10 minutes over

medium heat until the mixture is the consistency of mashed potatoes. Stiff mashed potatoes.

Take off heat and stir in 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup sugar.  Beat until creamy and ice cooled brownies in tray.

Melt 3/4 cup of chocolate chips in microwave and drizzle on top of icing.   Using a sharp knife cut the brownies into about 32



These are soft and chocolatey- it is hard to eat just one!

Secret Recipes- Peanut Butter Fingers


When I was a little girl, my family would go to Family Night Supper once a month at church.

The ladies would bring a wonderful dish that they had perfected- usually the same dish, time

after time- because everyone loved and expected it!

When I started taking dishes to Sunday dinners as an adult, it was with a different group of

people and often they would bring new food- something they wanted to try out- and sometimes

it was wonderful, sometimes not.  But it was always an adventure.

Back in my childhood, however, the very repetitive nature of the food was comforting.

Someone would bring sausage and sauerkraut, there would be chicken, hot buttered noodles with

sauteed breadcrumbs, cucumbers in vinegar, and oh- the desserts!

Glazed yeast doughnuts, brownies, postum cakes, strudels, rice krispies treats, and always, always

– peanut butter fingers- sweetened peanut butter lying thick over a dark chocolate layer and then a

oatmeal cookie base.  I always looked for them and they were always there, thanks to Katherine Nemcheck.

I don’t know how my mother got her recipe- I think it was an even exchange- the peanut butter fingers for

my mother’s cocoa brownie bars with white frosting ( although the recipe was originally Sophie’s! Smile  )

I’ve been making these for years, although I changed them up a bit , and I’ve never shared the recipe before.

I kind of thought it wasn’t really mine to share.  But lately, with all the uproar over bloggers and recipes that

the cookbook writers are trying to keep OFF the internet, I’ve been thinking of sharing some of these old

recipes that were handed down so discretely from mother to daughter, friend to friend.

And besides, some friends on facebook said the magic words, asking for anyone who had shared those

wonderful treats from years ago whether they had the recipe.  So in memory of wonderful evenings of food

and fellowship and with a curtsy to Katherine Nemcheck, I give you the recipe for Peanut Butter Fingers.


1/2 cup margarine or butter (my recipe says oleo- my mother always called it Oleo-margarine)

1/2 cup white granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1 egg

1/3 cup peanut butter

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup plain flour

1 cup rolled oats

12 oz semi sweet chocolate chips

1/3 cup peanut butter

1 cup powdered sugar

2 Tbs milk


Cream together butter and sugars, add egg and peanut butter and vanilla.  Beat all together until smooth


Add dry ingredients and mix well.  Smooth into 9×13 pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 12 minutes.


Remove from oven and sprinkle choc chips over the top.


Allow to melt and then spread over the top.  Cool slightly.

018In the meantime,

mix the peanut butter, powdered sugar and milk until very creamy.

Add enough milk so that it will drizzle from the fork.


And then slather the top with the sweetened peanut butter icing and

slice the bars.


You will get a pattern as you slice.



Let them cool so that the icing sets and then enjoy!

One meatless meal a week

My husband is a meat man.  He likes potatoes- but for him it is all about

the meat.  Not fish, not pasta, not veggies.

But really- he needs less red meat.

So I’m going to try one meatless meal a week.


Tonight it was homemade ravioli with mushroom and onion, sauteed in browned butter

and crumbled sage.  I got the recipe for the  sauce and kind of used the noodle ingredients-

you know, flour salt and eggs? – here. It is an Alton Brown recipe from off of Food Network.com.

But he had a sausage center, and this is supposed to be meatless, so I substituted the filling

for a mushroom and onion mix that I sauteed onions and mushrooms and added salt and a sprinkle

of sage.    After it cooked down about 10 minutes, I added a half cup of plain yogurt and 1/4 cup

of Romano cheese.


3 cups flour

3 eggs

3 Tablespoons water

1 teaspoon salt

1 good slug of olive oil (about 3 Tablespoons )

Put the dry ingredients in a bowl, create a well, and whip up the eggs and the other

wet ingredients in a measuring cup and pour into the well.  Mix the flour into the

egg mixture, a little at a time, until your dough is holding well together.  Then dump the

entire mess onto your counter or bread board and knead the lump of dough for 8 to 10

minutes until it is smooth.  You may not use up all the flour, but that is fine.   Flatten

into a disc , put into a plastic bag and leave in the fridge for about an hour.

Then, spread flour on your counter and roll out VERY THIN!


And in a rectangle- make sure it is very thin.


Now cut into small squares.

011Make up a egg wash-whip an egg up with some water and

spread onto one line of squares.


Place a small amount of mushroom filling- about a teaspoon- in the center of the eggy square.

014Place the square in the next row on top and smooth around the

filling and then seal the  edges as you push the air out from the center.


You can leave the edges plain or use the tines of a fork to help seal the edges.


Have a pot of salted boiling water ready on the stovetop.


And drop the ravioli into the water one at a time- don’t overfill the pot- and let them

cook for about 7 to 10 minutes.  Have a skillet with browned butter(1/4 cup) next to the pan of boiling

This is my very favorite part of the whole recipe!!!


Because right after you brown them a little- your meal is ready to EAT!!!

AND-Frank said he liked it. 

He didn’t love it- but he liked it- and that is pretty amazing.

Irish Soda Bread- traditional recipe


I’ve made a lot of Irish soda bread.  My youngest son loves it and I got the recipe from

a friend of mine of Irish heritage- so I thought I was making a traditional recipe.

Turns out- no.  Irish soda bread does not contain sugar, or currants or any kind of dried

fruit whatsoever.

So I’m sharing a recipe I got from a couple of websites on Irish traditional cooking.

A couple of the websites were pretty adamant about what WASN’T in soda bread that

they neglected to give the recipe.  And a few more wrote about putting together flour,salt,

soda, and buttermilk without any instructions.  So I pieced together the information and used

my own experience and made a marvelous loaf whilst in Chincoteague.  It is like a biscuit-y tea

loaf- delicious with butter and orange marmalade- wonderful with a slice of corned beef!



4 cups plain flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

14 oz (1 cup 3/4 ) buttermilk


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Grease and flour round cake pan.

Whisk or sift together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Add butter milk and stir to a sticky dough.

Dump onto a heavily floured surface and knead lightly- just for a minute or so- you don’t want to

release too much of the leavening gasses in overkneading.

Shape into a large round and cut a cross into the top.  Cover pan with another the same size- to keep

the bread moist and steam as well as bake.

Bake for 30 minutes and then remove top pan and bake for another 15 minutes.

The crust is a lovely thick brown when done and will sound hollow when thumped.

Cool with a damp tea towel on to top to keep it moist.

035It smells heavenly!

038Try to wait till it cools before cutting.


Although it is very tempting – still try to wait – or the knife will crush the crumb.


Add braised cabbage, skillet fried potatoes, and corned beef and have a wonderful

St. Patrick’s Day feast!

A little bit of Island fun…

Chincoteague Island fun, that is!



First- there’s the beach.


And then there’s the ocean!


Yesterday there was a wonderful family on the beach.  When they saw Aiden, the

First thing they said was,” Hi, do you want to play?”

And the second thing they said was,” We have sand toys!”

The heavens opened up and Angels sang in Aiden’s ears!

He ran off with the kids and only looked up once to see if we were still there.


The ocean, sand, six kids, and toys is as good as it gets in a four year old’s life.


We also had a good visit at the Refuge Center and saw cool models of ships,

and museum quality and hands on stations of the birds, animals, and sea life

in the Refuge.  And live video of a resident bald eagle and her cygnets in their

nest.  Very cool.


And then Aiden walked the boards on the deck outside.

“Very Dangerous!” he informed me.


And there has been some very good food.  We ate most of it before I remembered

to take pictures.  But the bacon and asparagus quiche was quite fine.


And the Kale and Pepperoni pizza was fantastic.


Really, really, really good.

We have today to play (and do some cleaning)  and then we are leaving tomorrow.


It has been a very good week!

Book and craft- (maybe even, ART!)


 I found this book at our local used book shop/funding literacy campaign.

It was torn and they were going to toss it, but I loved the illustrations- needlework with antique

fabrics, sequins and felt.

So I rescued the book, cut out the torn page( thankfully it didn’t affect the story) taped two pages

together to make it whole, and then I made the two felted sea horses to go with the story.



When I began felting my wool pieces some years ago, I wanted

to try out the process and used a pair of gold wool slippers I had

knitted but was not fond of- and they became a very small pair of

gold wool slippers that I had no real use for anymore.   But I didn’t

throw them away, because I like the texture and the reminder of

how much wool shrinks when felted.

So I rummaged through my old fabric trunk, came up with some sheets

of yellow felt and appliqued the seahorses onto the slipper.


Then I added some identifying stitches, an eye and sequins.

I used the pictures from the book to make the pattern for the

Sea horses- I wanted them to add to the fun of identifying the

hidden or Secret sea horses throughout the book.

We sent them off on Monday to Oyster Bay- I’m hoping the little boys

enjoy the book in person as much as they did when I read it to them on Skype.

020 And then – because I had gotten rid of a pair

of slippers, I made another pair.


I crocheted some faux fur on the edges- they remind me of lions.

And now I’m going to knit a couple of hats- I found a pattern I can follow

and like- and am going to teach my niece to make a knitted hat over the

next week.   We are going to Chincoteague for a couple of days so that

will be our evening project!

Sunday. and it was snowing.

Funny thing, that.  We have had so much snow this winter-

but it is usually here and then gone in a day or so.

Sunday morning it started snowing-


I decided to make some bread- toasting bread and bread wraps.

They both turned out good- and the bread wraps made a

great dinner.



The toasting bread has been wonderful this week!


But back to the snow.

It kept coming down- all day and by evening, we had at least 3 or 4 inches.

016020and icicles, too!

By Monday morning it was really quite pretty.


And by tomorrow- with 60 degree F temps it will all be gone again, until the next snow.

If you haven’t tried making your own bread wraps yet, I urge you to try.

It helps if it is snowing out, because it is a long  process cooking them on the stove top-  I made a

dozen wraps Sunday, and only have 2 left.

Tiddely Pom by A.A. Milne

The more it snows (Tiddely pom),
The more it goes (Tiddely pom),
The more it goes (Tiddely pom)
On snowing.
And nobody knows (Tiddely pom),
How cold my toes (Tiddely pom),
How cold my toes (Tiddely pom),
Are growing.

In My Kitchen- March 2012

Just putting up the title made me think of myself

as a child.  By 2012 I would have imagined a fully

automated kitchen- like something out of Star Trek-

with replicators and requesting a gourmet meal from

the computerized oven.

But – right now- I have nothing like that in my kitchen!

Here’s what I do have…


In my kitchen there is honey- lately I’ve been liking the thick and very

flavorful honey that Meredith sends from Australia.  Not sure if their bees

are just better at making a dense and thick honey or if it’s in the way they

process it- but it makes our American honey seem more like a weak syrup!

I not only have honey in my kitchen- but all kinds of honey kitsch.

013Like Pooh nesting dolls…

018A hive of measuring cups…

017a couple of honey pots, and this little

honey bear bee doll that is made of a chenille bed cover.

In my kitchen…


is a pan of brownies.

Not Dan Lepard’s sweet potato brownies- in fact- not anyone’s famous

brownies.  Just an old favorite recipe that I’ve used most of my life.

Honestly, brownies are made up of sugar, eggs, butter, chocolate and flour.

And they almost all taste really yummy.

Here’s my tried and true recipe that you are free to use and share-


2 cups sugar- I use  cup brown and 1 cup white granulated

1 cup flour- I use AP/plain flour- but feel free to use Whole wheat or graham flour

4 large eggs

pinch of salt

1 tsp vanilla- I use my homemade vanilla- use whatever you have and like

4 squares unsweetened chocolate- or 8 oz. choc chips- or a bar of good dark 85% chocolate

1 cup butter- or margarine, melted


Grease and flour 9×13 pan.

Melt chocolate and butter together in microwave or in sauce pan- be careful not to burn it.

Beat eggs and sugar together until thick and light-colored, making sure that sugar is dissolved.

Add chocolate mixture to egg mixture- beat until well mixed.

Mix in flour salt and vanilla (I add 1 cup of chopped walnuts at this time, as well.)

Bake until tester comes out clean.  Cut while warm, then remove from pan when cool.

Baking temperature :350     Baking time :  35 minutes.


In my kitchen….


is a stash of coffee from all over the globe, Sumatra, Hawaii, Ethiopia, and where ever

Gevalia gathers it Smile – and a wonderful cast iron coffee grinder.


I have used the grinder many times- but not always for coffee.

The last time I used it was to grind up the rhizomes for orris root to use in potpourri.

I don’t think orris root is dangerous, but I’d like to clean out the grinder before I use

it for anything meant for human consumption again.


In my kitchen are these little candies I made up with white chocolate disks, yellow

m +m’s and bits of pretzel sticks.  I made them as a joke, because my husband

ALWAYS wants bacon and eggs in the morning.  But they are really tasty and easy to

make up quickly.  I am going to get some more m +m’s to make up a whole batch!

And in my kitchen…


is this potato salad that I made to trick myself into thinking that winter is over.

It’s not over.  But potato salad is such a favorite summer time treat that I was

longing for something different.

This is part of a series started by Celia at fig jam and lime cordial-go there to see

other kitchen posts.   And join us , if you’d like to share what is in your kitchen!