Friday, May 29, 2009

Food From Scratch

I was lucky enough to nab this book at a yard sale some years back. It is a book once published by the University Of Maine At Orono Cooperative Extension Service, revised in 1972. It contains many recipes that call for lard or oleo, corn syrup or canned meat--ingredients that do not appeal to me or I subsitute. However, what I do like about the book is that there are many good recipes requiring few, inexspensive and basic ingredients that help stretch the family budget--true to it's title, Meals For Thrifty Families. The pages are stained and thumbed and there are notes in pencil that were made by a school or institutional cook as I'm certain I won't be making anything with 55 cups of water or a gallon of milk. I like that someone before me left useful notes (the crossed out recipe for Peanut Butter Ginger Snaps with the note "no good" next to it saves me steps, which I appreciate.)

One recipe I really like to use is the Chocolate Pudding Mix. I never purchased pudding mixes because they are exspensive and full of junk. With this recipe, however, I can make up the mix (using organic ingredients) and have a very rich chocolate pudding ready in 15 minutes. I like to double the mix recipe, mixing in a large bowl first, which I then put into a large jar.

Chocolate Pudding Mix

1 1/3 cups flour

2 tsp salt

2 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups cocoa

2 cups dry milk

Combine ingredients and sift together three times. Label and store in a covered container. Makes enough for 24 servings.

Chocolate Pudding (Using Mix)

2 cups chocolate pudding mix

3 cups water

2 Tbsps butter

1 tsp vanilla

Combine mix with the water. Stir well and cook in pot on medium heat, stirring constantly. Add butter and vanilla after pudding is cooked (15 minutes, until thickend). Chill. Makes six servings.

Today I baked for the first time the Peanut Butter Bread. I buy all natural peanut butter by the 9 lb bucket, so I always have some in the pantry. This bread is hearty, creamy and tastes great with fruit. I think it would make great pb&j sandwiches, just don't spread peanut butter. We enjoyed some for breakfast.

Mix together:

1 3/4 cups flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/3 cup sugar

Add with a fork or beater on low until well blended:

1 cup peanut butter

Add to dry ingredients, stirring just enough to mix:

2 eggs

1 1/4 cup milk

Pour into well-greased loaf pan. Bake at 350F about 1 hour. Makes one loaf. (Of course I double the recipe.)

My favorite Gingerbread is from this book, alas, no photo this time. As usual, I like to double the recipe for a 11 x 17-inch pan. This cake is really dark, spicy and is just like I remember my grandmother's gingerbread to be. Perfect for fall and winter.

Gingerbread (batter will be thin)

1 cup molasses

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cloves

1 tsp ginger

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup butter, melted

2 eggs, well beaten

2 tsps baking soda

1 cup boiling water

2 1/2 cups flour

Stir molasses, sugar, salt and spices together; add melted butter, then eggs and beat well. Add soda to boiling water and add alternately with flour to creamed mixture. Bake at 325F in a 10 x 13-inch greased pan and cook 35 to 40 minutes or until browned and springy to touch.

I'm still working my way through recipes in this book, and I will likely never, ever make Bologna-Cheese Spread. I think I will try the Date Squares next. It's always nice to have a yummy snack for those days at the beach. Happy cooking from scratch!


  1. wow, i'm totally trying out that chocolate pudding!! thanks for sharing!



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