Archive | July 2011

Making a Family Cookbook

3 ring binder (opened)

Image via Wikipedia

I am in the process of making a family cookbook.  It is an ongoing process and really much easier than you might think.   I bought a three-ring binder during the back-to-school sales.  I also purchased some clear sheet protectors at that time.  I like to use these because I can take whatever recipe I am making right out of the cookbook to my work area.  Then I started adding recipes.  When I first started this several years ago, I just put my handwritten recipes in the protectors.  Now I use a program that I down I  downloaded for free: Regi Dean’s recipes.  There are also several programs you can purchase to help print your recipes.

At first I just kept adding recipes to the back of the binder.  As I started gathering more recipes, however, it took me longer and longer to find what I was looking for.   I then purchased some index tab dividers to organize my recipes.

I am in the process of going through my mom’s recipe box and adding all my favorites to my cookbook.  This has been a lot of fun for me and the kids.  It has also brought back some great memories!

So, if you like to cook and want to organize your recipes, give it a try.  Hopefully you will have as much fun as we have!


Jello Popsicles

Today Aaron and I made popsicles.  This is another recipe from mom’s recipe box.  We made them when we were kids.  Aaron and I had a great time making them this afternoon.  They’re very simple & a great treat for a hot summer day.  We used sugar-free jello & only added about 3/4 cup sugar.

Jello Popsicles


  • 1 3 oz package Jello (any flavor)
  • 1 package unsweetened Kool-aid
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 2 cups cold water


  1. Dissolve jello, kool-aid and sugar in hot water.  A
  2. Add cold water.
  3. Pour into containers
  4. Freeze

Yield: 18-24 popsicles, depending on size

I like to mix these in my 8 cup Pyrex measuring cup.  That way I can pour it right  into the molds.  I put the molds in the sink so if I spill I can simply rinse the mess down the sink.  Enjoy!

Sweet Pickle Relish

Today my mother-in-law and I made sweet pickle relish.  This recipe came from my mom.  I don’t know where my mom got this recipe, but she made it ever since I was a child.  It is really quite easy but it is time-consuming.  But, like most good things, it is definitely worth it. It is great on both hot dogs, brats and hamburgers and it tarter sauce.  I add it to ground bologna and potato salad as well.  Give it a try.  I bet you’ll never use store-bought relish again!

Sweet Pickle Relish


  • 4 quarts pickles, peeled & ground
  • 4 peppers, ground
  • 4 onions, ground
  • 2 TBS salt
  • 4 tsp mustard seed
  • 4 tsp celery seed
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 4 cups vinegar (white)


  1. Combine first 4 ingredients.  Let stand 2 hours; drain well
  2. Add remaining ingredients.
  3. Boil 30 minutes.
  4. Add green food coloring if desired.
  5. Can while still boiling hot.  It can  be processed in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.

It yeilds about 9 pints.

Have an abundance of zucchini?  You can substitute some or all of the pickles with zucchini.

Waldorf Salad

Waldorf salad

Image by huppypie via Flickr

This week was the start of a heat wave.  What better way to stay cool than to have a cool summer salad.  One of my favorites is Waldorf salad.  I love the stuff!  Here is a great recipe for Waldorf Salad thanks to Betty Crocker.


  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 TBS + 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 TBS + 2 tsp milk
  • 3 medium unpeeled red eating apples, coarsely chopped (3 cups)
  • 3 medium celery stalks, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped nuts
  • 1/2 cup raisins (optional)


  1. Mix mayonnaise, lemon juice and milk in a medium bowl
  2. Stir in apples, celery and nuts.
  3. Serve on salad greens if desired.
  4. Cover and refrigerate any remaining salad.

Fresh Garden Cooking – Zucchini Casserole

Summer is here and our gardens are starting to produce!  I thought I would add some recipes to help use up some of that fresh summer produce from our gardens (or the farmers’ market).  So hopefully this will be the first in a summer series.

Anyone who has planted zucchini in their garden knows that it can produce abundantly.  This recipe will help use up some of that delicious zucchini.

Zucchini Casserole


  • 1 lb Zucchini unpeeled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 box Stove Top stuffing
  • 1/2 margarine, melted


  1. Cook squash and chopped onion in boiling salted water for 5 minutes.  Drain
  2. Combine soup, sour cream and shredded carrots; fold in drained squash and onions
  3. Mix Stuffing with margarine.
  4. Spread half of the stuffing into a 9 x 13 pan.
  5. Spoon vegetable mixture on top of stuffing.
  6. sprinkle with remaining stuffing.
  7. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Making Yogurt without a machine

Today I decided to make yogurt from scratch – without a machine.

I  used equipment that I already have at home:

  • heavy sauce pan
  • quart sized mason jar with lid
  • 2 quart sized jars with lids
  • towel (optional)
  • cooking thermometer
  • cooler


  1. 1 quart whole or 2% milk
  2. 1/4 cup plain yogurt as starter (Make sure it has active cultures)
  3. 1/3 cup nonfat dry milk powder (optional)


Step One:  Sterilize your equipment

  1. Make sure everything you are going to use to make yogurt is extremely clean!
  2. The easiest way to do this is to run everything through the dish washer with the heated drying cycle
  3. Alternatively, wash everything in warm soapy water and let air dry
  4. Fill the containers with boiling water and let them sit until you are ready to fill them with yogurt.

Step Two:  Heating your milk

Even if you use pasteurized milk, it will require sterilization due to the bacteria it contains.

  1. Heat the milk & powdered milk over medium low heat until it reaches 180 F.     Do not let the milk boil.
  2. Remove from heat and let cool until the milk is 105-110 F.  Cover so a  skin will not form.  You can simply let the milk cool, or you can place it in the sink with cold water to speed up the process.

Step Three:  Add the Culture

  1. Place the starter in a small bowl and allow to come to room temperature
  2. Add about 1/2 cup of the milk.  Stir until well blended
  3.  Add this back into the pot of sterilized milk
  4. Cover the cultured milk.  I poured it into a quart mason jar

Step Four:  Incubate the Bacteria

Incubating the beneficial bacteria in your yogurt is the trickiest part of the whole procedure. If the temperature of the milk mixture is too low, the bacteria won’t grow enough to produce yogurt. If the temperature is too high, however, it will kill the bacteria. There are a few methods you can use to regulate the temperature of your milk mixture as it turns to yogurt.  I chose to use a cooler.  Here’s how it worked:

  1. I filled 2 quart jars with hot water: 140-150 degrees F
  2. I placed these 2 jars in a cooler, along the outside edges
  3. I placed my jar of cultured yogurt in the middle of the cooler
  4. I closed the lid and did not disturb for 6 hours.

Step Five:  When the Yogurt is Done

  1. After the incubation time is up, check the milk to see if it has turned into yogurt.  The longer the yogurt remains warm and still, the thicker and more tart it will become.  It will continue to thicken as it cools.
  2. Place the yogurt into sterilized storage containers.
  3. Cover each container with a tight-fitting lid or plastic wrap.
  4. Store in the fridge for up to 10 days.
  5. I take out 1/2 to reserve as culture for my next batch.  I am going to put this in the freezer until I am ready to make yogurt again.
  6. Add any flavoring, sweeteners and fruit you wish.
  7. Have fun!


It sure has been warm the last couple of days. Today wasn’t as bad as yesterday, though. I haven’t gotten much done in the house, but we sure have gotten a lot done in the garden. We got everything hoed and weeded. We also planted some radishes, green beans, kohl rabbi, and late cabbages. The girls helped, too, especially Rachel. The four o’clocks that they planted didn’t grow; not a single one. They were disappointed, so we took some seeds from their marigolds & cosmos and planted those. I hope some of them grow. They are really proud of their little end of the garden. Soon they will have tomatoes from their plants. Their pepper plants are in blossom also.
In the past the radishes from our garden are always so hot that no one can stand to eat except Brian. Then the other day Rachel was dipping them in ranch dressing and eating them. I couldn’t believe she could stand to eat those hot radishes. She said they didn’t taste so hot with the ranch dressing on them so I tried it. The ranch dressing took the heat right out of them! We can’t believe it! Now they all love radishes & gobble them right down (me, too)!
Brian made a deal with the kids. If they helped pull the volunteer corn out of the soybeans, he would pay them $20 each. I also told them I would take them to see Cars 2 when they were finished. We thought it would take them a few days. I guess they want their $20 because they finished it all today! They all pitched in & no one complained. I am proud of them. Also I guess we are going to see Cars 2 tomorrow!