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What Food Legacy Will You Leave Behind?

What food legacy will you leave behind? Fast food, microwave dinners, prepackaged meals, left overs? After being gifted with the talent to cook and bake basically anything I want, I have started considering the legacy that I WOULD have left behind if God hadn’t gifted me with such a talent. I have cooked most of my adult life, but it was really basic cooking. I still am no gourmet by a long shot (not that I would want to be). My legacy would have been one of super-sized menus and prepackaged meals.

Somewhat out of necessity, I started really watching what I purchased when grocery shopping. I made a rule for myself–buy only things that you have to cook yourself (and no, Hamburger Helper doesn’t count). Not only did I notice that my grocery bill dropped, but my cabinets and freezer were nearly always full. Add to that good news, a home that smells like “from scratch” cooking, and the combination is a little hard to beat. I can’t even remember the last time I purchased a “prepacked” meal. The only thing I buy that would even get close to that would be the meatballs that are already prepared for you. I like meatballs over hamburger meat fried out, and they taste good. The time investment in making them myself would cause me to avoid meals with meatballs, so I felt that one diversion was ok.

Magazine titles such as “Cook’s Illustrated,” “Cooks Country,” “America’s Test Kitchen,” and “Mother Earth News all played an integral role in my success as a home cook. While I haven’t studied them a lot, I have gleaned a lot of knowledge from their helpful pages. Now, I am not intimidated by those who cook well. The process doesn’t confuse me. I have organized my kitchen, so I know where everything is and it’s comfortable for me regardless of what dish I am conquering.

Now, the family heritage project. I have started a project encouraging people to write down the recipes of those meals they enjoy for the sole purpose to pass them along to the next generation. Yeah, it takes a little time to write it all down, but it is very much worth it. Not only are you leaving instructions to a memory they will likely want to relive again and again, you also helped to instill better eating habits (as long as your recipe isn’t how to heat a frozen pizza). 🙂 So here is the first card in my family heritage project.

My very own recipe for Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup.

My very own recipe for Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup.

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Old Soul, Obsessed with Food History

Along with my new found love for baking, I have a near obsession with recipes. Especially, vintage recipes. I will go pre-teen crazy over a vintage cookbook. One day, I decided to take advantage of having a little time to myself and checked out a local consignment shop (a perfect place to find such treasures). This particular consignment shop (an antique consignment shop at that) The Corner Market has a large selection (for this type of store) of books. Many of the books are more contemporary, but they did have a few vintage finds. I was truly in heaven.

Local, Vintage Cookbook 1951

Local, Vintage Cookbook 1951

I even think that the drawing for the cover really tells a lot about the time in which the book was created. This particular cookbook (as many are) was created by a local church. The page show extreme signs of use, wear, and age. I find myself with a dilemma. My respect for the history makes me want to not touch its pages and protect it to be able to share with future generations, but then again, that same respect for history makes me want to consume the recipes, language, and technique of the time. So what to do…what to do…

Take a look at the language used back in this day. It is a far, far change from today’s abbreviated LOL, OMG, text, Twitter society. The last paragraph really shows how they spoke in that time (which wasn’t all that long ago)…”To the business people who, by their generous subscriptions to the advertising pages have assured the success of this enterprise. We commend them to your good will and their products and service to your patronage.” Wow, I personally think that is beautiful and shows great respect.

So why don’t you take a little time off and find yourself an antique consignment shop or thrift store, and see what type of cooking history you can find. What you may find among the pages of those books could really surprise you. Be sure to share with me!!

Inside the Local, Vintage Cookbook dated 1951 (Read the Appreciation section if you can)

Inside the Local, Vintage Cookbook dated 1951 (Read the Appreciation section if you can)

Home Made Fondant

You will find out that I am a do it myself kinda girl. I love to get in the kitchen and make things myself instead of just going out and buying things pre-made. Although some pre-made things are pretty good they don’t always live up to something that is made by hand in your kitchen. Making from scratch may cost more in the long run but you cut out all the additives and/or preservatives that are added into the pre-made items to make them last longer sitting on a store shelf. Big companies also have the added benefit of being able to buy ingredients in bulk cheaper than what you or I can get just going to the local grocery store.
Today I decided to make some home made fondant for my cake decorating. Buying the fondant already made in a store is crazy expensive and although I have not tried it myself, I have heard that the taste leaves something to be desired. So me being me I decided to find a way to make my own. My first attempt is now sitting in the fridge ready to go on a cake. It is supposed to set overnight so I am still unsure of the taste as of right now. I am excited to see how it tastes and works on a cake. If it works out then it will be an amazing tool for my cake decorating. Not to mention the cost of making one batch (covers an 8 or 9 inch round cake) is about three dollars. To buy that amount of fondant in a store is about twelve dollars and up.

What’s for Dinner on Turkey Day?

Knowing that tomorrow will be busy with fun and family, I decided to go ahead and make my Thanksgiving post TODAY! I think it is funny that the world adopted the turkey for Thanksgiving. It’s truly amazing how long that particular tradition has been around and is even celebrated across cultures. There are some of us though who have veered a little away from traditional on the menu. So, my question to you is, “What are you having for dinner?” 

My family is having grilled ribeye steaks, pea salad, fresh baked bread, deviled eggs, maybe a potato dish of some sort, chocolate delight, toll house pie, and good ole’ southern tea. I’m sure the day will still involve vegging on the couch watching Paula Deen make sinful recipes, and there must be that couple of hour span of time when all is heard through the house is the varying sounds of people snoring.

Regardless of what is on your table tomorrow, I am sure the sentiments will be the same. WE ARE THANKFUL! I know that I personally have so much to be thankful for, and this year, part of that thanks will include the addition to our table–my son, Eli. We will miss the presence of my brother, but I am sure he will be giving thanks with his new family. He will be thought of–maybe even reminisced about. I may even be able to get a funny jab in there that he would appreciate if he was here. We are very thankful that he has a wonderful woman in his life. We are grateful to her for showing him love and kindness–it is all we have wanted for him for a long time.

So from my family to yours, we wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving Day! May I remind you that on Friday, you may engage in some festive Black Friday shopping. Don’t let all that you celebrated on Thursday be forgotten on Friday. Be kind, generous, and thoughtful to others.

Organic food @ cheaper prices?

USDA Organic Logo

The U.S. made an agreement with Europe to accept the guidelines for what is considered organic to be imported and exported starting June 1, 2012. I wonder if that will provide more supply, considering we will start receiving organic food from Europe, and lower the prices of organic food. I know that it is definitely a great move for our organic farmers.

organic food person, but when there is something that is comparable in taste and price to non-organic food, I do tend to make the (assumed) healthier choice and buy organic. Probably the biggest reason I don’t eat organic more frequently is price. It’s always been the rule that eating healthy is far more expensive than not. Although, I guess if you factor in the cost of weight loss and doctor bills for health problems of not eating healthy, you may find that is simply a myth.

European Commission Organic Logo

Fortunately, there was one exception to the guidelines. Sick animals that are treated with antibiotics cannot be considered organic (which is still practiced in some places in Europe but not the U.S.). I can’t help but wonder though, how do you “organically” treat a sick animal? Hmmm…maybe they just mean that the treated animal has to be sold in the general market and not organic section.

So, we may start seeing the organic section of our grocery stores grow in size. It will be an interesting development to keep an eye on.

For the full story, check out this link on NPR…the source of this info.

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