Friday, October 23, 2009


I love kitchen gadgets and I can be easily persuaded to purchase them. In my defense, I have purchased many that proved to be great time savers and performed as promised. And, my dear husband totally encourages me in this endeavor, as he looks hungrily at the pictures of the tempting food displayed on the box of the latest miracle gadget. However, not all can be winners, right? Who knew that the omelet pan that was divided in half, so that you could fold the other half over to make the perfect omelet could never be perfected. Oh yes, and there was the stove top pancake maker that closed so that you could flip the pan instead of having to flip the pancake. The problem with that was that it worked perfectly, but you could only slowly make one pancake at a time. I still love the boiled egg maker that is shaped like a chicken and clucks when the eggs are ready! And then there was the . . . well, you get the picture.

My husband is a huge breakfast person, but how many ways can you fix eggs? It can be quite a challenge. Frankly, I have just about run out of breakfast ideas, especially those that do not require hours in the kitchen. Besides the typical eggs and bacon, I've made every type of french toast, pancakes and muffins known to Southern cooks. Also, we have run the full gamut of cereals. I had to give up my Cocoa Cocoa Pebbles for Kashi and you know that is no fun! I have also made every variation of oatmeal and grits, and they are not the instant kind.

So, I was quite excited when I was at Marshalls, in Katy Mills, and came across this egg thingey. This new gadget cooks omelets in the microwave. I know, you are thinking, yeah right, but I decided to try it.

You crack two eggs in a bowl, mix them well with a fork and then add your favorite omelet ingredients. This was for my dear husband, who was watching this whole procedure with skepticism in his eyes. I then added cream cheese and fresh diced tomatoes, onions and cilantro. So far so good, as this is so easy and much faster than a traditional omelet. Last, you put the lid on and microwave for 2 minutes and 30 seconds. OK, I'm impressed.

Out of the microwave it came, off came the lid and well, I had what looked like an egg ball that had been deflated. At this point, my husband began slowly inching towards the cereal box, never mind it was Kashi with flax seeds and wheat germ. Oh ye of little faith! Let me at least dump it out onto a plate and get a closer look.

That was the secret. Once on a plate, you chop it with a fork and it magically unfolds to a full size omelet that is soft, fluffy, and absolutely delicious. Now granted, it is not your neatly folded kind, but it sure tasted like it. We were amazed. If you insist on the traditional folded omelet, just close your eyes while you eat it. You will never know the difference.

I am so glad that I had sense enough to buy two of these so that I could make breakfast for both of us at the same time and in only 5 minutes. My dear husband, who is known for dropping things, decided I should buy at least one more, just in case there was an accident. After all, it is shaped like a slippery egg with no handles, so we know it is just an accident waiting to happen. So, off to Marshalls I go and every other kitchen store. There are none to be found and it has been several months since I have been on this egg hunt. So, if you happen to see these, grab them. Oh and please pick me up at least one more.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Well, I just could not resist this one. Today's Forgotten Recipe is Tomato Soup Cake. This recipe came from a 1935 advertising booklet titled "Successful Baking" by Martha Lee Anderson. It is printed by Church & Dwight Co., Inc. which was established in 1846. Wow! That was before the Civil War. This booklet features recipes using Arm and Hammer or Cow Brand Baking Soda. I vaguely remember this cake when I was a little girl.

Tomato Soup Cake

2 cups sifted flour

1 1/2 tsp. Arm & Hammer or Cow Brand Baking Soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1 egg, well beaten

1 cup raisins, cut once

1 can tomato soup

Sift flour once, measure, add baking soda, salt and spices and sift together three times. Work butter with spoon until creamy. Add sugar gradually and beat after each addition until light and fluffy. Add egg; blend well. Add raisins. Add flour alternately with tomato soup, a small amount at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. Turn into two greased 8" layer pans and bake in moderate oven (350 degrees) 40 minutes. Frost with Boiled Frosting flavored with orange and almond.

Boiled Frosting

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

2 egg whites, stiffly beaten

1/2 tsp. vanilla

Cook sugar and water together stirring only until sugar has dissolved. Continue cooking until syrup spins a thread when dropped from the tip of a spoon. (238 degrees). Remove from fire. When syrup stops bubbling, pour in thin stream over egg whites, beating constantly. Continue beating until frosting stands in peaks. Add vanilla.

I know that tomato soup as a cake ingredient is a little strange, but remember that tomatoes are a fruit.


Thursday, October 15, 2009


I have decided to start a Friday series called Forgotten Recipes. I love cookbooks and have been collecting them for years. A few years ago, I decided I wanted to make Red Velvet Cake which was a favorite of mine when I was a little girl. I called my Mom and she couldn't find the recipe. I looked through all of my cookbooks and not one of them had a recipe for Red Velvet Cake. A search of the Internet provided a modern version, but I wanted the original, old fashioned recipe that I so fondly remembered my Mom making.

A month later, while I was at Canton Trade Days, I dug through a pile of old cookbooks laying on a dusty shelf in the back of a booth. I found a 1950's Red Velvet Cake recipe in one of the cookbooks, along with a trip down memory lane of the party foods of my childhood. Thus began my love for Vintage cookbooks!

I can spend hours in an Antique Shop looking through the bookshelves, on the hunt for my next vintage cookbook. Just ask Dorothy Kay! I really enjoy cookbooks from the 1940's, 50's,60's & 70's. I have found if they are any older than the 40's, the ingredients can be hard to find.
Some of the best recipes come from the recipe booklets that were included with kitchen appliances and the vintage pictures of old stoves, mixers, etc. are really great. I also like the Advertising Cookbooks that were put out by companies such as Jello, Nestle, and Pet Milk, just to name a few.

For years, I have collected community and fund raising cookbooks, especially when I travel, as that is the best way to get regional recipes. I consider it my souvenir. So, when I find a vintage one, I feel like I have hit the jack-pot. Of course, no one is probably surprised that I snatch up all of the vintage French Cookbooks. I don't have very many of those, but there is always tomorrow.

To me, vintage cookbooks are like history books. They give you a glimpse of the life and culture of another decade. Throughout time, most important events, holidays, and family occasions are celebrated with meals. Reading cookbooks that describe those long ago meals and celebrations is like stepping back in time. So, if you have any old cookbooks lying around that you want to get rid of, please send them my way. I will give them a good home and you might even get a chance to sample something that I have made from them.

Red Velvet Cake was and still is most common in the South. Due to the red food coloring that is used in the cake, it became very unpopular in the 1970's when red food coloring was linked with behavior problems in children. Despite the fact that red food coloring formulas were changed, the damage was done and red velvet cake virtually disappeared. It began to gain popularity again after a red velvet cake was featured in the movie Steel Magnolias. The armadillo shaped red velvet cake served as a groom's cake for one of main characters. In recent years, it has become so popular that you can find it on many menus and in bakeries. Since my search for Old Fashioned Red Velvet Cake started my love for vintage cookbooks, it is only fitting that the very first Friday post pay honor to it.


For the cake:

2½ cups cake flour

1½ cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs

1½ cups vegetable oil

1 cup buttermilk

2 tablespoons (1 oz.) red food coloring

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar

1.Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa, and salt into a medium bowl.

3. Beat eggs, oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla, and vinegar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until well combined. Add dry ingredients and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.
4. Divide batter evenly between 3 greased and floured 8″ round cake pans.

5. Bake cakes, rotating halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean, 25-30 minutes. Let cakes cool 5 minutes, then invert each onto a plate, then invert again onto a cooling rack. Let cakes cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 pound cream cheese, softened

4 cups sifted powdered (confectioners') sugar

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or with a hand-held electric mixer in a large bowl, mix the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and butter on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to high, and mix until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. NOTE: Occasionally turn the mixer off, and scrape the down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
Reduce the speed of the mixer to low. Add the vanilla extract; raise the speed to high and mix briefly until fluffy (scrape down the bowl occasionally).
Store in the refrigerator until somewhat stiff, before using. NOTE: May be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days.
Makes enough to frost a 3 layer (9-inch) cake.

Put 1 cake layer on a cake plate, level off with a serrated knife, and spread one-quarter of the frosting on top.

Set another layer on top, level, and repeat frosting.

Set remaining layer on top, level, and frost top and sides with the remaining frosting.

Tip: after leveling cake, turn it upside down to reduce numbers of crumbs. .
Chill for 2 hours to set frosting.
* There are many icings that are associated with red velvet cake. When I was very small, Mom made a 7 Minute Icing, which is a white fluffy icing that reminds me of marshmallow cream. However, she began making the cream cheese icing when I was older and it is my favorite, so that is why I have included that icing recipe.
**To make this even more delicious, I add a layer of chocolate ganache to each cake layer. Remember to let the ganache dry on the cake before spreading the cream cheese icing. Also, I love cupcakes and recently have been making red velvet cupcakes instead of the layer cake. Again I put a layer of chocolate ganache and then the cream cheese icing. For a recent bridal shower, I baked a chocolate kiss in the middle of the cupcake to give it that chocolate punch and I think I like that even better.


It is October, mid-October, and the weather, my allergies and my blog still think it is summer. I was so happy because I had no allergies during my usual time of late spring to Sept. Of course, I realized that it was because of the drought which kept the Johnson grass from blooming. However, I thought that Johnson grass had a season to bloom like wildflowers. If the Bluebonnets have a bad year due to drought, it is over until the next year. Apparently that is not the case for Texas Johnson Grass, but I didn't know it.

I happily spent all spring and summer traveling and doing outdoor activities, instead of writing on this blog. I was free from allergies and asthma. Free to enjoy the outdoors. I was so excited when Sept. came and thought I was home free. After all, Fall and Winter are my allergy free seasons. However, between the rain and heat in September, the Johnson Grass came forth like there was no tomorrow. The bad side of this is that I haven't felt like doing anything for the last 6 weeks because I can't breathe. The good side is that I have cleared out lots of space on the DVR so that Sonny can record his hunting and fishing shows.

Apparently the weather in this area does not know that summer has ended either. We have only had two cool days so far. The high for today was 91 degrees and the "feels like" temperature was 101 degrees. Don't you just love these fall days in the Houston area.

Also, my blog doesn't know summer is over because I have a back up of summer time postings. Here are a few of the summer happenings below:Cousin Day in Chappell Hill at Jeremy's and Aunt Victoria's.
Notice that Victoria and I are smiling because we are about to have lunch at a wonderful Italian restaurant in Brenham.

Papaw with Ethan, Jeremy and Emma.

Notice how he is smiling and looking so rested in this picture. He took all of the Goode grandchildren swimming at the Blue Bell Aquatic Center, by himself. He didn't look as rested when he returned from an action packed day of swimming, McDonald's and soccer practice. He was still smiling!

We also celebrated Ryan's birthday in late August. We had fun but missed Matt and Jenny.

Ryan usually requests a homemade cookie cake for his birthday. Of course, Mom always makes him one. These are the pictures that I took before anyone arrived. However, I did my usual thing of laying the camera down as soon as the first person arrived and never picked it back up. So, I have no pictures of the other food or the guest of honor. I hate it when that happens.