Pecan Snowballs — Can this really be a vintage recipe?

   I have a whole bookshelf of antique and vintage cookbooks plus promo recipe booklets that I’ve collected over the years, including my grandmother’s domestic science textbook. It’s fun to look back at those books from the early 1900s and imagine what life must have been like during an earlier era.
     But when I pulled out one of my favorite cookbooks recently, it suddenly dawned on me that it could be considered vintage! According to, “Anything that predates the 1920's is considered an antique. Vintage items date from the 1920's-1980's. A great rule of thumb is 20-90 years old is vintage.”
     Barry’s sister, Lorraine West Hopkins, gave me TREASURED RECIPES from Members and Friends of the Victory Hills Church of the Nazarene for a shower gift in 1968 (it was published in 1967). For a while it was one of the few cookbooks I had so it received a lot of use. Now, it competes with a multitude of publications plus the Internet. Yet, each holiday season (since 1968) I go back to find the recipe for Pecan Snowballs.  They are one of Barry’s favorite cookies and a symbol of Christmas at our house.
     This recipe has been entered in the "White Christmas" Challenge.
Pecan Snowballs     Makes 40 to 44
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
2 cups all-purpose flour
Powdered sugar

1.  Preheat oven to 275°. I line cookie sheets with parchment or silicon liners.
2.  Cream butter, sugar and vanilla. Add salt, pecans and flour; mix until dough is cohesive.
The Beater Blade we purchased for our Kitchen Aid mixer does a great
job of mixing and scraping the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl.
3.  Form into balls the size of a walnut and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Ready for the oven.
4.  Bake at 275° for 30 minutes; increase heat to 375° and bake an additional 8 to 10 minutes – cookies should be light brown.
5.  Roll warm cookies in powdered sugar. Once they cookies are cool, I sprinkle with powdered sugar again.
Warm cookies go into a bowl of powdered sugar.
After cookies have cooled, I again sprinkle them with powdered sugar.

Wishbone Soup . . . leftover turkey soup

    One of the best things about Thanksgiving (besides the initial dinner plus the gathering of family and friends) is the leftovers.  Turkey carcass makes great broth and soup. Since the wishbone was still intact after Barry extracted the broth, he dubbed his creation “Wishbone Soup.”
     Use whatever veggies you have on hand (or even leftovers from Thanksgiving day). We had fresh turnips and kale in addition to our usual staples: onions, carrots and celery but potatoes would be a hearty addition as well. Of course, you could also use a chicken carcass or even forgo the carcass and use canned broth and leftover turkey or chicken.
Wishbone Soup
Turkey carcass
1 to 1½ quarts water
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (1 tsp. dried thyme)
2 teaspoons  Kosher salt
1 teaspoon coarse ground pepper
2 to 3 cups leftover turkey, cut into bite-size chunks
Veggies of choice, such as:
   1 large onion, diced
   2 to 3 carrots, peeled & diced
   2 to 3 stalks celery - including tops, diced
   2 turnips, peeled & diced
   2 to 3 large handfuls of kale* – remove stems and chop

1.  Put turkey carcass, water, bay leaves, thyme, salt and pepper in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil and simmer 1 to 1½ hours. Remove carcass and pick off any meat that has not already fallen off; return meat to pot (dispose of the carcass but keep the wishbone if you want to call this “wishbone” soup). Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
2.  Add veggies and simmer for about 30 minutes or until tender.
3.  Remove bay leaves before serving.

*Click on Kale for more info. on this leafy green and its preparation.

Berry Good Turkey Sandwich

     It's simple but oh so good! Barry first had this sandwich in Taos and we've recreated it after Thanksgiving ever since. It's a flavorful way to use up leftovers.
     Any cranberry sauce or bread will do but I've provided links to the homemade versions that we used.

Berry Good Turkey Sandwich
2 slices of bread (we used toasted Wild Rice Bread)
Cream cheese, softened
Cranberry sauce (we used Cran-Raspberry Sauce)
Leftover slices of turkey

Spread one slice of bread with a thin layer of cream cheese; spread the other with a thin layer of cranberry sauce. Add turkey and lettuce. 

Nutty Pumpkin Granola

  Heidi Stohs sent this recipe with rave reviews. And, since I had 1/3 cup pumpkin left from her recipe for Pumpkin-Pecan Cookies with Browned Butter Frosting, it seemed only fitting to give it a try. She uses it atop her Greek yogurt and also suggests it as a green salad topping. (It’s good for snacking, too.)
     The recipe that Heidi sent was an adaptation of one from Ellie Krieger who is well known for her healthy cooking and emphasis on nutrition. So, it should not be a surprise that this granola has NO added oil and is full of healthy ingredients. I made a few additional adaptions and here is my version . . .

We buy oats, spices & other basics at
Glens' Bulk Food Shoppe in Pleasantview,
6405 W. Morgan Ave.,
Hutchinson, KS 67501.
Nutty Pumpkin Granola     Makes about 3 cups of granola
1½  cups rolled oats

¼ cup chopped raw or slivered almonds

¼ cup chopped walnuts

¼ cup pepitas
(pumpkin seeds)
¼ cup sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons flax seeds
1/8 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

1/3 cup pumpkin puree
 (plain w/out added sugar or spices)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ cup blue agave syrup (see below) or 1/3 cup pure maple syrup

1/3 cup dried cranberries

1.     Preheat the oven to 300°; spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray.
2.     Mix together the oats, nuts, salt, and spices. Then, stir in the pumpkin puree, vanilla, agave or maple syrup and cranberries. Be sure everything is well combined.
3.     Spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crisp. The granola will crisp up a bit more after it’s out of the oven, too. (I baked mine just a bit longer . . . until it was fairly dry.)

About Agava . . .
·      Agava nectar or syrup is a sweeter from the agave plant. It is sweeter than honey and most other syrups and sugars . . . so you can use less to get the same level of sweetness. There are actually several types of agave plants yielding light colored to dark colored nectar; blue agave is most common.
·      Agava nectar scores a 30 or less on the glycemic index; 55 or below is classified as low glycemic. It provides natural sweetness without the typical blood sugar spike resulting from other sweeteners.
·      While agave (pronounced ah-GAH-vay) is best recognized as the plant from which tequila is made, it has also been used for thousands of years as an ingredient in food. The nectar made from the plant is known in Mexico as aguamiel, or "honey water."

Also on this site: Everyday Healthy Granola

Yummy Yam Rolls

After coming out of the oven, I
brushed the rolls with soft butter.
     Technically the title for this recipe should be Sweet Potato Rolls. However, Yummy Yam Rolls is just such a catchy title that I’m leaving it as is. (For the differences between a yam and sweet potato, check out the reference at
     When I interviewed Jeanne Freeman for my December 2003 column, she shared this recipe. The rolls sounded so good that instead of going home and starting on the article, I got out the flour and yeast, baked a couple of sweet potatoes and made rolls. 
     During the interview, I discovered that her rolls earned the “Sweepstakes Award” in the 1990 cooking contest sponsored by the Abilene Reflector Chronicle.
     True to their name, these rolls are indeed “yummy”, and they will be again be on our holiday menu.

Yummy Yam Rolls   Makes about 1½ dozen large rolls
1 cup mashed sweet potatoes (about 2 small to medium sweet potatoes)
2 tablespoons butter
1 (¼ oz.) pkg. active dry instant yeast (or 1 scant tablespoon)
1¼ cups warm water (105 to 115°)
5 cups all-purpose flour (can substitute at least 1 cup whole wheat flour, if desired)
1 egg
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons salt

1.     In a large bowl, blend the sweet potatoes and butter.
2.     In another small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water.
3.     Add yeast to the potatoes; add part of the flour (2 to 3 cups). While beating, add egg, sugar and salt. Stir in remaining flour (more or less as needed to obtain a dough that is not sticky). Knead 5 to 10 minutes until dough becomes smooth and elastic. 
Kneading the dough in the Kitchen Aid and . . . .
finished it on a marble surface.
4.     Place dough in a greased bowl turning to grease top;
Dough has been added to a greased bowl
      Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let rise 1 to 1½ hours or until double in bulk; form into rolls and let rise about 1 hour or until double in bulk.

Rolls have just been shaped and are ready to rise for about 1 hour.
Notice in the photo below that they have doubled in bulk right before they go into the oven.
5.     Bake in preheated oven at 375° for 10 to 15 minutes or nicely browned.
Rolls are in the oven and ready to bake.
A check for roll doneness — When the baking time is up, remove a roll and tap the bottom. It is done if it sounds hollow
Click here for additional Yeast Tips.                                           

Holiday Relishes - Grandma Richardson's Pickled Peaches

     Grandma Richardson’s relish trays almost always contained pickled peaches that were made from canned fruit. Relish trays were an essestial part of her family and holiday meals. Other offerings, beside pickled peaches, included olives, pimiento cheese stuffed celery, and pickles. Although these trays were sometimes labor intensive to prepare, everyone looked forward to her relishes.
     Her tables were always “pretty” – she’d set her china and silver on a white tablecloth and add  a seasonal centerpiece. Relishes went into crystal dishes and as soon as they were placed on the table, the grandkids began sampling . . . despite warnings from our mothers! 

Grandma Richardson’s Pickled Peaches      Yield:  12 to 16 servings (depending on actual number of peach halves per can);  allow at least 1 peach per serving. 
This recipe can be made several days in advance. 
2  (1 lb. 13 oz.) cans peach halves in heavy or light syrup 
3  whole cloves for each peach half (about 36 to 48)
1  cup granulated sugar
½  cup Cinnamon Imperials (also referred to as “red hots”)
1 cup reserved peach syrup
1 cup water
1/2 cup white distilled vinegar

1.     Drain peaches, reserving the juice. Place cloves in peach halves and set aside. 
2.     In a saucepan, mix together the sugar, Cinnamon Imperials, peach syrup, water and vinegar; stir and simmer until candies are dissolved. Add peaches and simmer for 10 minutes.  
"Red hots," sugar and liquids in a saucepan. 
Peach halves have been added to the "red hot" syrup.
Notice -- I have turned them upside down so they absorb as much syrup as possible.

After 10 minutes of simmering on the stove, I have removed peaches to a
plastic container where they will "bathe" in the syrup (in the fridge) until they are ready to serve.
May be prepared several days in advance and refrigerated. If desired, remove cloves before serving, or let guests remove their own.       

Not Your Usual Cranberry Sauce -- Cran-Raspberry Sauce

     My sister, Marla Newell Payne, made this tangy cranberry sauce one year for Thanksgiving. It was delicious and a little unusual.
     It is on our Thanksgiving menu this year, and  it can be made up to one week in advance.
     Also a great Christmas sauce and, I have poured it over a block of cream cheese and used it as an appetizer offering.
Fall 2014 Update — Check out my story about this recipe on MyAbileneKansas webpage -- Campaign for Cranberries.

Cran-Raspberry Sauce
1¼ cups granulated sugar
½ cup raspberry vinegar -- if you can’t find it, use ½ cup white or rice vinegar (rice vinegar is a it sweeter) + add about ¼ cup frozen raspberries to the sauce
¼ cup water
12 oz. package cranberries
1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon thin orange peel strips from a fresh orange

1.     Combine first 3 ingredients in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves.  Mix in cranberries, cinnamon stick, and orange peel.  

      Reduce heat.  Cover partially and simmer until berries burst, about 10 minutes. 

2.     Remove from heat. 
3.     Cool completely (sauce will thicken as it cools). Discard cinnamon stick. 
4.     Refrigerate.

Stuffed Pumpkin – 1812 era recipe

     This heritage recipe dates back to 1812 and comes from one of the fabulous Gourmet Get Away events that the Kansas 4-H Foundation sponsored for several years. My high school catering students added it to the pre-Thanksgiving turkey dinner we prepared for the faculty for several years.  I even included it in a family Thanksgiving meal one year. However, in the past few years, I’ve served it as an entrée for an autumn evening meal.
     This dish makes me think of what life in 1812 must have been like. And, it is a great topic for conversation! Plus it is quite tasty -- the savory flavors of the pumpkin infuse with the other ingredients as they all bake in the oven.
      I’ve scaled down the recipe below to use with a medium-sized pumpkin. For us, I prepared the filling as directed below but just used half of it to fill a 2 lb. pumpkin. (I pulled out half of the cooked sasuage mixture and rice to use in soup.)

Stuffing in a Pumpkin  4 to 6 servings
1 lb. mild bulk sausage
2 to 3 large celery stalks, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
About ½ cup water
½ teaspoon salt
½  teaspoon ground pepper
About ½ cup walnuts, chopped
1 ½ teaspoons fresh sage, finely chopped or use about 1 tsp. rubbed sage
6 oz. box wild rice mix – cooked according to package directions (I used Uncle Ben’s® w/ a chicken flavored pack) cooked brown and/or white rice (cooked in chicken broth)
About a 4 lb. pumpkin
Butter or oil; salt, pepper & garlic powder for seasoning pumpkin cavity

1.     Preheat oven to 350°.
2.     Over high heat, crumble and cook sausage until well browned. With slotted spoon, remove sausage, and in remaining drippings, cook celery and onion until tender; adding a little water, if needed near the end to deglaze the pan.  Remove from heat and add sausage, rice, walnuts, and seasonings; mix well.
3.     Cut top from pumpkin, creating a hole big enough to add the stuffing. Remove fiborous interior and seeds (I used a grapefruit spoon as a scraping tool.) 

      Rub the inside with oil or butter and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. 

      Fill cavity with sausage and rice filling; place lid on top.
4.     Set pumpkin in a baking pan; add about an inch of water to pan (if you have extra sage leaves, throw them in the water). Bake for 1 hour +  (depending on size or pumpkin), or until dressing is warmed thoroughly and pumpkin is tender. Note: Consider lining pan with heavy duty foil that overlaps pan – after baking, you counld then simply lift out the cooked pumpkin.
5.     Carefully transfer to a platter; serve out of the pumpkin at the table being sure to scrape out some cooked pumpkin along with the sausage and rice mixture.

Addition: 1/2 cup raisins or craisins adds a great flavor to this dish espccially if you are using it as a side dish.
Variation: For individual servings, use mini pumpkins and adjust oven baking time

Fall Flavors: Kale, Sweet Potato & Sausage Soup

     While in KC this past weekend we bought all sorts of fall veggies from a farm stand. Since I had home-grown sweet potatoes on hand, kale and sweet potato soup seemed like a likely combination. Barry requested that I add a little meat so I thought sausage would add complimentary flavors.  Below is a run down of the soup I made but I think it would be easy to make a vegetarian variety by leaving out the meat and using vegetable stock.
Kale, Sweet Potato & Sausage Soup
About ¼ lb. ground sausage
1 large onion, finely diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
5 to 6 cups chicken broth or stock
3 to 4 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoon paprika
1 to 1½ teaspoons dry mustard
Dash cayenne pepper
Coarse salt & pepper to taste
2 to 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
½ to ¾ lb. kale

1.  In a large stockpot, set on medium-high, brown the sausage. Stir in onions and garlic and continue to sauté under they are tender.
2.  Add bay leaves, stock, tomato paste and seasonings; bring soup to a boil.
3.  Wash kale; cut or pull the leaves from stems and finely chop (it will look like a lot but will cook down). Add to the soup and cook about 20 to 30 minutes.
Cut away the  stem or simply pull the leaves away it. 
Looks like a lot but, due to its high water content, it cooks way down.
Allow sufficient cooking time -- the kale softens as it cooks.
4.  Add sweet potatoes and cook about 30 additional minutes until potatoes are tender and kale is completely soft and wilted. Taste and adjust seasonings accordingly. Remove bay leaves before serving.

Kale is a large dark green leafy vegetable similar to collards or mustard greens; it is quite tough, but softens when cooked. Considered to be a "super food,” kale is packed with vitamins not found in many other vegetables. It is also touted as having both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.

Fall Flavors: Pumpkin-Pecan Cookies with Brown Butter Frosting

      There’s something about fall that makes me hungry for pumpkin . . . and these pumpkin cookies have all of the quintessential flavors of the season! The recipe came from Heidi Stohs, who is a fabulous cook and baker. The cake-like cookies are packed with flavor; kind of remind me of moist and tender pumpkin bread. And, the frosting really takes them over the top! 

Pumpkin-Pecan Cookies with Brown Butter Frosting   I used a 2 Tbsp. measure and 21 cookies.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup canned pure pumpkin (without added sugar or spices) or pumpkin puree
½  cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
½  cup copped pecans, toasted  

1.  Heat oven to 325°. Line baking pan with parchment paper; spray lightly with pan release. 
2.  Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl.
3.  Beat eggs and sugar in a large bowl at medium-high speed 1 minute or until combined and lightened in color. At low speed, beat in pumpkin, oil and vanilla until blended. Beat in flour mixture just until blended. Stir in ½ cup pecans. Note: At this point the dough seemed to me to be more like a quick bread batter . . . I went back and read the recipe again . . . I’d measured correctly so did a baking test and all was well!
4.  Drop  dough on prepared baking sheets. I used a 2 Tbsp. dipper and put 8 to 9 cookies on a cookie sheet.

5.  Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on pan on wire rack 10 minutes. Place cookies on wire rack and cool completely.

Frosting  I increased the amounts just a bit in order to have sufficient frosting for each cookie.
3/4 stick (6 Tbsp.) butter, softened
2 to 2 ¼  cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 to 3 tablespoons milk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
¼ - ½  cup chopped pecans, toasted

1.  Melt butter in small skillet over medium heat 4 (to 6 minutes) or until butter has a nutty aroma and small brown flecks form on bottom. 
Butter will begin to foam as it melts.
After several minutes, the butter browns
and the milk fat solids settle on the
bottom of the pan and begin to brown.
Do NOT over-brown!
2.  Pour browned butter over powdered sugar in medium bowl. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of the milk and the vanilla until smooth. Add additional milk if necessary. 

3.  Spread over top of each cookie; sprinkle with chopped pecans. Heidi suggested dipping each cookie into the nuts for better coverage.
Following Heidi"s advice,  I put the chopped nuts
on a plate and turned the frosted cookie onto them. 

Wild Rice Chicken Salad

Barry grilling the chicken
breasts for this salad.
   This is a great hot dish chicken salad that I’ve used for catering.  I included it in  The Kirby House Cookbook and this is what I wrote as a recipe header, “A great salad for a luncheon or take it to a covered dish dinner. This salad is so versatile--see ideas for variations or be creative and make your own substitutions or additions.”

Wild Rice Chicken Salad        Yield:  6 to 8 servings
1 (6 oz.) pkg. long grain and wild rice (chicken flavored)
2½ to 3 cups cooked, diced chicken (poach, grill or slow cook it in the crock pot)
2 cups finely chopped celery
1½  to 2 cups thinly sliced mushrooms
½  cup sliced green onions
¼  cup diced red bell peppers (the jarred kind work well too)
½ cup sliced almonds, toasted
Lettuce leaves

½ cup vegetable oil (canola)
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
½  teaspoon black pepper

1.  Prepare rice according to package directions and set aside.
2.  Prepare chicken and chop veggies.
Grilled chicken breasts - can be cut into chunks or sliced and placed on top of salad.
Chicken could also be poached or even slow cooked in the crock pot.
3. Whisk dressing ingredients until well blended.
4.  For a warm salad: In a large bowl, combine rice, chicken and veggies; add dressing and toss. Pour into a serving bowl lined with lettuce leaves; garnish with toasted almonds.
To make ahead: Prepare all ingredients and store separately in refrigerator. Warm rice and chicken before serving and then combine as described above.
For a cold salad: In a serving bowl, toss prepared chicken, rice and veggies. Chill. Toss with dressing right before serving. Garnish with lettuce leaves and toasted almonds.

·  Add water chestnuts and/or rice noodles (such as China Boy®) for added crunch and flavor. 
·  Substitute other cooked meats (pork, turkey, etc.).
·  Instead of cutting the cooked chicken into bite-sized pieces, grill one chicken breast per person. Cut into diagonal slices and arrange atop a plated salad.
·  Experiment with other flavored vinegars in place of the red wine vinegar. 
.  Use chopped tomatoes in place of the chunked red pepper

Cooking for Two – Pot Roast in the Slow Cooker

    Chuck roast was on sale last week so I bought one  -- thinking I would cut it in half for two separate meals.
     Meal one involved a pot roast with potatoes and carrots. Barry’s sister seasons her roast with a package of dry soup mix, which is a quick way to add loads of flavor and creates a very fragrant aroma as it cooks. I adapted her recipe to the slow cooker. Amounts are variable depending on whether you are cooking for two or ten.
     As I remember Lorraine (Barry’s sister) omitted the dredging and browning of the roast and just stuck it in the oven with water and the soup mix. And, I used to do the same when I had less time to spend in the kitchen. However, now I have the time so added the dredging step as it imparts even more flavor. Besides, the flour on the meat (and the extra I mixed in with the water) creates it’s own gravy as your meal cooks.

Pot Roast
I cut the roast in half for us; one piece
went into the slow cooker, the other was
cut up for stew meat.
Chuck Roast
All-purpose flour seasoned with salt, pepper and paprika
Oil (we prefer olive)
1 oz. pkg. of onion soup mix (I used about ¾ of a pkg. for a small roast so increase according for the size of your roast and your taste buds)
Optional seasonings: bay leaf, rosemary sprigs
Water (I used about 1½ - 2 cups for a small roast)
Potatoes, peeled and quartered
Carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
Additional salt and pepper if needed

1.     Dredge (coat) roast in seasoned flour.

2.     Drizzle oil in skillet and heat until hot (medium to medium-high temperature). Add the dredged meat and sear on both sides.

3.     Meanwhile, add a few tablespoons of remaining flour (that was used for dredging) and the soup mix to slow cooker; gradually whisk in water (to avoid lumping). Add additional seasonings of your choice, if desired.
4.     Add seared and browned meat. Set slow cooker on high and cook for a few hours; then add veggies about mid-afternoon; add additional salt and pepper if needed – I turned the slow cooker to the automatic setting at this point. (During my teaching days, I added the meat and veggies to the slow cooker in the morning – set on low.) Add additional water or even broth if needed.

Despite cooking just a small roast, we ended up with leftovers. Hot roast beef sandwiches are good, but we opted for Beef Hash w/ Poached Eggs. Barry simply cut up the remaining roast, potatoes and carrots and sautéed them in a skillet with a little olive oil. He threw in a little frozen corn (peas are good, too) and the leftover gravy and then added a poached egg and some chopped parsley for a delicious supper dish (also great for breakfast) . . . and a wonderful way to recycle last night’s meal.

Even though this half of the roast made two meals, we still have the other half to use. I have a recipe in mind so check back later for Beef Stew over Polenta.