“Monster Cookies”

My mind is on Halloween now, between planning for the third grade party and all the themed things in the stores. But I am also thinking about winter. My writer’s group, the Windy City RWA, hosts a writers’ retreat every couple years. Next year it will be 3/3 – 3/4, and I am helping coordinate it. Have you every wanted to get away and get inspired to work on those books you started but never finished? Take the time for yourself. The early bird rate covers meals, a workshop with Barbara Samuel, and a lot more.

But back to now. Enjoy another recipe from the 1983 church cookbook I keep finding treasures in: Monster Cookies.

2 C. sugar

2 C. packed brown sugar

1 C. shortening or butter

6 eggs

3 C. peanut butter

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

9 C. oatmeal

1/2 lb. M&Ms (plain)

4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 C. chocolate chips

1/2 C nuts (optional)

325F  12 – 15 minutes

Mix all ingredients together by hand. Drop on greased cookie sheets and bake.

“Serves an army! Very nutritious!” I’m not kidding. It says those things. :)

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Popcorn Cake

It feels like fall around here, and we took the boys out to a local pumpkin farm last week. What are your fall rituals?

I think this recipe would be fun for a Halloween party. It’s from the same 1983 church cookbook I’ve been blogging from recently.

Popcorn Cake

1/4 C. oil

3/4 C. butter

1 lb. marshmallows

(also popped corn)

Melt first three ingredients in double boiler. When melted, pour over 4 quarts popped corn placed in buttered bowl. Stir well to coat evenly. Place into greased tube pan or any size pan desired. (May add mixed nuts, gumdrops or M&Ms).

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Easy Pumpkin Cake

My son Owen’s dream  for the last couple of years has been to grow a pumpkin. Last year’s crop didn’t make it past July. This year, one hardy pumpkin is holding on. You can see we put chicken wire over it to keep the eager possums and squirrels away.

This cake recipe is much easier than growing a pumpkin. It’s another from the 1983 Faith Evangelical Church cookbook I’ve been perusing lately. I love this as it’s a cake mix recipe.

1 large can pumpkin

1  13 oz. can evaporated milk

4 tsp. pumpkin spice or 2 tsp. cinnamon & 1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1 C. sugar

3 eggs

2 tsp. salt

Yellow cake mix

3/4 C. butter or margarine

9×13″ cake pan   350F   50 minutes

Mix and pour first 7 ingredients into (ungreased) pan. Pour yellow cake mix over that. Melt butter and pour on top of cake mix. Bake.

Be sure butter or margarine covers all the dry cake mix.

 

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Molly MacRae’s Chocolate Oatrage Cake

Molly MacRae returns with an amazing and interesting cake in between book deadlines. Her next book, Plaid and Plagiarism is coming December 6. Can’t wait! Oh, and Molly? I’d rather have bear than prunes! -AA

Chocolate Oatrage Cake

Last month I turned in the manuscript for a book, my ninth, and celebrated by ignoring other commitments, like sending a post to Amy for this blog. I hope this recipe makes up for it. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of the finished product because by the time I remembered to take one, we’d eaten the cake. How was it? Delish.

Chocolate Oatrage is an old standby. It’s quick and easy and requires no special ingredients. It’s my family’s version of a recipe for Oatmeal Cake found in the 1976 edition of the More-with-Less Cookbook: suggestions by Mennonites on how to eat better and consume less of the world’s limited food resources, by Doris Janzen Longacre. As you can see by the notes, subtractions and additions, at this point it’s almost a handwritten recipe. You don’t even see the part of the recipe for making a topping because we’ve never topped the cake with anything.

You might ask why, if I’m referring to the cake as Chocolate Oatrage, does the recipe say Chocolate Stoatrage? There’s a perfectly sensible answer. My children liked to edit recipes and food packages so that it appeared we ate more adventurously. Fat became bat (and low fat became low bat). Black beans became black bears. Oats became stoats. Mmm. Nothing like a steaming bowl of stoatmeal for breakfast or a spicy black bear burger for supper.

Here’s the recipe (as we make it). I hope you like it as much as we do.

Chocolate Stoatrage Cake

Serves 16-18

350º

30 minutes

Preheat oven to 350º.

Combine and let stand 20 minutes.

1 ½ c. quick oatmeal

1 ½ c. boiling water

Cream together until fluffy.

½ c. shortening

1 c. dark brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

Add oatmeal mixture. Beat well.

Mix together.

1 c. flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt (if using unsalted butter for the shortening)

1 ½ c. chocolate chips

Add to creamed mixture and beat well. Pour into greased and floured 9×13” cake pan. Bake 30 minutes or until tests done.

Cut when cool.

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Apple Harvest Cake

It’s definitely apple picking weather and we had a quick trip last weekend to pick some. Josh lifted up Owen to reach the high ones.

So I have apples on the brain. Here’s another gem from a 1983 church cookbook in my collection: Apple Harvest Cake. You don’t find too many vintage recipes with whole wheat flour, though this still has a lot of sugar.

1 1/4 C. flour

1 C. sugar

1 T cinnamon

1 tsp. salt

3/4 C. oil

3 eggs

1 C. chopped nuts

1 C. whole wheat flour

3/4 C. brown sugar (packed)

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. soda

1 tsp. vanilla

2 C. peeled and chopped apple

Tube pan, greased and floured

325F  50 – 65 minutes

Blend together all above ingredients until moistened except apples and nuts. Add 2 cups peeled and chopped apples and nuts. Mix well. Bake until toothpick comes out clean. Glaze with 1/2 – 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 tsp. vanilla, 3 – 4 tsp. milk (add more if needed) mixed, drizzle over cake. Serves 10 – 12.

 

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Molly MacRae Monday: Overthinking Cake Names

Molly MacRae brings us two wonderful cake recipes today. Lazy Daisy cake goes back to the Depression Era at least, and this looks like an update. It is a favorite of my Mom’s. And really – can you ever have enough chocolate cake recipes? I wish a Chocolate Cake Express would pull up to my house – regularly! -AA
I’ve been overthinking about the names of a couple of cakes. But names and labels are important. They influence how we think about the named entity. More subtly, they can influence how we think about ourselves. Here are two recipes from Reader’s Digest Quick, Thrifty Cooking, published in 1985. Both are quick and easy to make. But why is one “lazy?” Why can’t they both be “express?” Or how about “efficient?” Or how about “for when you’re procrastinating but want to feel like you’re not wasting too much time?” Both cakes are great. They turn out better than most box mixes and you’ll feel like a baking superstar when you serve them.
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Pineapple Cheese “Salad?”

Another delightful recipe from the same 1983 church cookbook where I was blogging from earlier in the week. I don’t know if we can call this salad. It’s a take on Hawaiian Salad and Frozen Fruit Salad, both vintage cookbook staples. I wonder about the addition of the cheese. Any cheese?

1 -16 to 20 oz. can pineapple chunks

1/2 C sugar

1 T cornstarch

2 beaten eggs

1 C miniature marshmallows

1 C. diced cheese

Drain pineapple; add water to juice to make 1 cup. Cook together with sugar, cornstarch and eggs until thick. Add marshmallows, pineapple and cheese. Chill.

What are you cooking this weekend?

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Blueberry Dessert

I’m still doing some fill in at the library in the midst of a busy summer teaching an online grad school course, working for AuthorRx, giving talks, working on a couple books coming up, and trying to spend time with my wonderful boys.

When I go in to the library to cover a desk every few weeks or so I usually have a cookbook from a reference librarian friend who spots funny donations he thinks I would enjoy. This one is an absolute gem. It’s a 1983 church cookbook and the excellent selection of no-nonsense easy recipes is fantastic.

Here’s Blueberry Dessert:

15 crushed graham crackers

1/4 C. melted butter

1/4 lb. (about 20) marshmallows

1/2 C. milk

1 C. whipping cream, whipped

1 can blueberry pie filling

9×9″ pan

Combine graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Put 1/2 of crumb mixture in bottom of 9×9″ pan. Over low heat, melt marshmallows in milk; cool. After cool, add whipped cream to marshmallow mixture. Put 1/2 of cream mixture on crumbs in pan. Top with blueberry pie filling and then remaining cream mixture. Sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture. Refrigerate. Serves 9.

Make the night before or several hours before using. Can also use cherry pie filling.

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Molly MacRae Monday: Fire Crackers

Molly MacRae gives us a fun recipe to enjoy for this holiday. How are you celebrating? -AA
 
Happy 4th of July!
Parades, picnics, and evening fireworks are all more exciting plans than reading a blog today, so I won’t keep you. But here’s a great recipe from a great friend who
shared it with me in the late 70s. Cold, refreshing, and pretty to look at, these Fire Crackers stand the test of time. Enjoy a fabulous – and safe – 4th!
Fire Crackers
1 small can frozen orange juice
1 small an frozen lemonade
32 oz. jar cranberry juice
4 shots of rum (more or less)
Mix together and freeze (the rum will let keep it from freezing solid)
Mix equal parts slush and 7-Up
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Molly MacRae Monday: But is There Room for This?

Molly’s June post takes us to some Jello cookbooks. How can she not like Jello? :) These are always among the favorite in my collection – prunes aside! -AA 

Two dear friends gave me a couple of cookbooks they bought at an estate sale recently. They found one and thought it was kind of fun. A little later, they found the sequel to the first one, and they knew they couldn’t leave either of them behind. They were pretty sure I’d like them. Were they right? Absolutely. How could anyone not love The Joys of Jell-O and The New Joys of Jell-O?

I don’t like Jell-O and never have, but these cookbooks are such a charming snapshot of popular culture from 1963 and 1973. And the first one includes “The Story of Jell-O . . . And Why It Grew.” Grew? Ew, but I read the story and loved it from the very first sentence: “Jell-O Gelatin first grandly shimmered its way into American dining rooms in 1897.” What a great image. I like almost anything that shimmers. Then there’s this sentence a little further along: “And it’s easy to fix all kinds of ways – some we’ll wager that have never entered your mind.” They’d win that bet, all right.

I only have two quibbles with these gems. One is that although there are wonderful photographs of some of the creations, and many that look as though they glow in the dark, there aren’t pictures of all of them. I might not like Jell-O, but I do like staring at pictures of it. Here’s one of my favorite. These kids are “enjoying” their Jell-O. They are? Really? My other quibble is that the second book does something I didn’t think possible; it ruins prune whip.

Amy thinks it’s the prunes that ruin prune whip. We’ve agreed to disagree about that (until I give her some in a blind taste test and she’s blown away by a spoonful of prune whip as it’s meant to be). But I’ll wager we give identical answers to this question: If there’s always room for Jell-O, is there room for Jellied Prune Whip?

Answer: Noooooooooo!

 

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