Wednesday, April 3, 2019

If you're in your 60's you will love this...

 Oh Mary Ellen, you just made my day.  If you want a walk down memory lane, just give her video a watch.  So many memories came rushing back as I watched this.  Enjoy…  ~ Jan

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer & Volumizer Review

This is hands down the BEST drying  tool I’ve used EVER!  Believe me, I’ve tried everything that’s out there, blow dryers, flat irons, curling irons, other brands of hot brushes, hot rollers in every size imaginable, but I’ve never found anything that works like this does.  Think about it,  no more trying to hold a round brush in one hand and a blower in the other hand, no flat iron, just a product that works.

You will look like you’ve had a salon blowout after you use this.  I read about it online and reviewers compared it very favorably to the new Dyson pricey $500 brush dryer.  I read over and over how good it was, I bought it and I was just amazed from day one.  Even long hair doesn’t tangle in the brushes, it gives your hair volume and shine, it’s a time saver, it just works.

I usually let my hair partially air dry, usually to about 80%, or if I’m in a hurry, I’ll blow dry it part of the way, then use this to finish.  I turn my head upside down and blow from the back starting at the nape of the neck first, then I blow dry it in sections.  Most people start at the back bottom and work up, for me it’s easiest to do the crown first, then flip the hair that I’ve dried forward and continue downward.  It’s just what works for you.  I loved this dryer so much I bought it for both daughters-in-law, they too think it’s wonderful.

So, if you want to give yourself a great gift for $60, the link is below.

Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer & Volumizer Review

This thing is holy grail, trust me on this.  ~ Jan

Below is the video I watched that convinced me I needed to buy this.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019



The year was 1978, I was in my late twenties, a foodie even back in those days and Cuisinart had recently introduced their line of food processors.  Of course, I was all over that like a hot potato, just the thought of a food processor was so exciting, the ease of preparation, the endless possibilities, but oh, the price.  I wanted the top of the line, the DLC-7 and it was $175.

Hubby and I had a young family, that was a lot of money to spend on a piece of kitchen equipment, but I just had to have that food processor.  We went to a department store in Cincinnati shopping one winter weekend with our friends, Charlie and Nisha, and there it was, front and center in a display.  I was drooling, and LC who had heard me talk constantly about wanting one bought it for me.

And here I am, forty years later, I still have the same food processor, I still use it weekly, and even though he’s asked over the years if I wanted to update it, I’ve always declined.  I bought all the attachments for it, I bought Abby Mandel’s Cuisinart Classroom Cookbook, I was off to the races and never looked back.

I’ve used it for countless meals over the years, I had to replace the work bowl twice, and once it locked up, we couldn’t get the bowl to release, so we mailed it to Cuisinart to repair, but it was one of the best investments I’ve ever made.  Of course I used it more when the boys were growing up, but it still has a special place in my kitchen, I’ll never get rid of it.

Thanks to that purchase, I’ve always been a strong believer that you don’t go cheap on workhorse kitchen equipment.  Even though it can be hard to pull the plug on expensive equipment, it will stand the test of time.

Which brings me to this afternoon.  It’s a cold winter day in Nashville, well not as cold as other parts of the country, but a good afternoon to just sit by the fireplace with my laptop browsing websites.  For some reason I thought about one of the staples I always made with my Cuisinart, their recipe for cornbread which was included in a recipe booklet that came with my food processor.  I haven’t made it for years, but thanks to the powers of Google, I found it easily and saved it, maybe I’ll try it again someday, just for old times sake when the boys and their families are visiting, even though it does use a lot of butter.  I always made it my 9" Le Creuset cast iron orange skillet, another one of those items that will never wear out, it’s still my go-to skillet for cornbread after all those years.

Here it is, the original recipe from 1978, oh it does make yummy cornbread.  ~ Jan

Cuisinart Cornbread

1½         cups yellow cornmeal
1½         cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
12           tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3             tablespoons granulated sugar
1½         teaspoons baking powder
½           teaspoon baking soda
¾           teaspoon kosher salt
2             cups buttermilk
2             large eggs

Steps

Preheat oven to 425°F. Grease a 9-inch round or square baking pan with the softened butter or nonstick cooking spray; reserve.
Put the butter, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in the workbowl. Mix on Speed 4 until creamy, about 10 seconds.
Add buttermilk and eggs and pulse on Speed 4 to just incorporate, about 5 pulses. Scrape down and pulse a few more times, if necessary.
Add the dry ingredients and pulse until in short bursts, just until combined – it is important not to overmix or the cornbread will be tough and dry.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.
Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Love My Pillow Revisited

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It’s been a year now since I purchased MY PILLOWS from Zuilly.  Hubby loved them from the start, I wasn’t onboard because I like flat, soft pillows, and these were not only lofty, but they were also too firm for me.  I will say they’ve maintained their loft, instead of most pillows that deflate in a few month, but because they were firmer I felt like I was sleeping at an angle which resulted in waking up with a stiff neck.  I think I ordered medium soft or medium firm, I can’t remember which, but I was never a fan like the hubs.  He kept telling me to order two more to replace the other pillows we have on the bed, we have king size bed, and always have four pillows on it, so last month they had a really good sale and they were available in SOFT, so I bought them.  They were really cheap, I think I paid $60 for them shipped to my door.

They came in a little box, flat as a flitter like they always are, I tumbled them in the dryer, they looked flatter, felt softer, and I’ve slept on them for a couple of weeks now and I have to say I’m a big fan.  The soft ones are such an improvement over the firmer ones, you can scrunch them, they’re aren’t so lofty that your neck is at a odd angle, I really like these.

So, if you have any interest, it looks like they are in stock right now, if not, sign up and they will send you a reminder when they come available.  They’re a little pricier than what I paid, I had never seen them that cheap before, it was probably a holiday thing, but they are still worth paying more for, I would definitely do it again.

Here’s the link, these are Jan recommended and approved.   😘

Monday, December 10, 2018

Mammy's Blackberry Jam Cake

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A family tradition and a hilarious family story...

This is my great-grandmother’s recipe for Kentucky Jam Cake.  It was a family tradition, handed down through the generations, and my daddy made this every year.  It’s a wonderful, old fashioned cake made with lard and ground raisins, so many memories and a helluva good story as well.

First the story, then the recipe...

Daddy was getting older, his eyesight wasn’t that good anymore and he wasn't the cleanest with his cooking, but he still made Mammy’s Jam Cake and one year he made it and sent it home for us at Christmas in this rusty old cake tin. That cake didn't look right and I was afraid for us eat it so I sat it in the garage on the workbench. The boys were little, like, eight and eleven, and in the garage was a putty knife, we used it as a pooper scooper because we had a cocker spaniel that crapped on the garage floor and we would use that putty knife to clean up the dog doodoo. The boys were horsing around in the garage one afternoon and they cut a piece of that cake with that dirty pooper scooper and threw it in the floor for the dog.

And then hubby was going to work, he ran the company so everybody of course ate when he brought in food, so he grabbed that cake with the hunk cut out with the pooper scooper off he workbench and took it to work for the company Christmas pitch-in dinner. AND in the meantime, Daddy had called me and said "Janice, don't eat that cake, I think I doubled the flour and left out the sugar." OMG, can you imagine, him taking that nasty cake in that old rusty tin and all of those people trying to eat it. He was in SO much trouble with me!!! We have all laughed about it for years tho, it's a great memory...

And now for the infamous recipe that dates back to the early 1900’s, it really is a delicious Christmas cake.  It’s best made several days ahead and stored in a sealed container to age. ~ Jan

 

Mammy's Jam Cake

 

2 cups sugar 
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
6 eggs (leave out 3 whites for frosting)
2 tsp. soda
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. slt
3/4 cup lard (not shortening)
1 cup blackberry jam (if you make this I would buy a good quality of blackberry jam with seeds, nothing compares to the old days tho when it was homemade)
2-1/2 cups flour

 

Cream lard, sugar, add eggs and beat. Sift flour, soda, salt and spices together 3 times. Add alternately with buttermilk to mixture. Mix thoroughly, add jam and beat 3 minutes (do not use mixer).

Spoon into greased cake pans (makes 4 large layers) - Bake at 350.

Frosting

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 box raisins (ground)
3 egg whites stiffly beaten

Cook sugar and water until hard ball, add hot to beaten egg whites, stir in raisins. Frost cake between layers. 

Note: I remember eating this as a little girl, and it was a tall cake, I’m guessing those 4 layers would be 8” cake pans. Daddy always let this age a few days.


Tuesday, November 13, 2018

A Tip that is Truly Life Changing...

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You’re  probably thinking, oh come on Jan, aren’t you being overly dramatic.  NO, I’M NOT!!!!  Quit rolling your eyes, this is the best tip EVER, trust me on this, especially with the holiday season coming.

Okay, here’s what all of us do.  We buy something, we stuff the receipt in our purse, we stuff it in the shopping bag, we put it in our pocket and oops, when we need to return the item or check the price, we can’t find that receipt!  We spend forever searching our purse, the trash, even in desperation, pockets of clothes we haven’t worn in years becauae we paid a chunka change for something that just isn’t going to work and we’re frantic that we are going to be stuck with it.  You know the drill, we’ve all been there.

Well, search no more, I started doing this a few years ago and it’s truly WONDERFUL.  Buy this inexpensive little cancelled check file, then when the clerk gives you a receipt, don't put it in the bag, don’t put it in your purse or your pocket, just clutch it in your fist and as soon as you get to the car, immediately retrieve your cancelled check file and file that receipt alphabetically under the store you purchased it from.  I store mine in the side pocket in the door and never again do I have to search for those missing receipts, many of which for me used to be gone forever. I can’t tell you how many arguments hubby and I have had in the past over missing receipts.  We were experts at playing the blame game, he would swear I had it, I would swear he had it, we would both be so frustrated.  So this is just one hassle in life you can eliminate!

Is the light dawning?  Are you remembering the frustration of not being able to find that damn receipt?  Life Changing, yep, it really is...

Here’s the link, go for it!  And think of me and smile when you need a receipt and you can actually find it… ~ Jan

Thursday, October 25, 2018

The Autumns of my Childhood...

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I changed my Facebook Cover photo today using the photo above, and the childhood memories just started flooding back.  We had so many trees in our yard and it was a huge job, raking those leaves into the road and burning them.  Oh, what fun though, burrowing in the piles, and the smell of those burning leaves was magic.  Since I was an only child and we lived in the country there were no kids to play with, so my playmates were dogs and cats.  The dogs would run through the leaves with me, I can still see it all in my mind.

Fall was such a busy time at our house.  I’ve blogged before how mother and I would trudge through the muddy popcorn fields in our rubber “galoshes," dragging a tow sack which we would fill with popcorn that was left in the field after the combine had picked the corn.  Sometimes the mud was so deep it would suck the boots right off my feet and I would be left with wet socks to stuff back in them.  We would spend evenings in front of a coal stove, shucking that corn and emptying it into quart Ball jars to store for the winter.

Late in the fall we would go to the pecan groves, where tractors would bump the trees so the pecans would fall and we would gather coal buckets full of nuts to be weighed and paid for.  We also gathered black walnuts, messy nuts whose hulls would stain our hands and my favorite hickory nuts.  Hickory nuts were so hard to crack, and it took many hours to pick the nuts from the shells.  We would gather sticky persimmons to make persimmon pudding, always picked after the first frost, they were bitter if you didn’t wait and we would crack open the kernels because we believed persimmons predicted the winter weather.

If the kernel was spoon-shaped, you could expect plenty of snow to shovel.  If it was fork-shaped, plan on a mild winter with powdery, light snow.  If the kernel was knife-shaped, expect frigid winds that “cut” like a blade.

By mid-November the temperatures were cold in Southern Illinois and my uncles would butcher hogs.  Sometimes we had our own pig that we raised to butcher, other times they would give us hams and bacon.  Mother would sugar cure them with salt, brown sugar, spices and pepper, and hang them in a gunny sack from the rafters of our outbuilding.  We hung them so that the mice wouldn’t get to them.   I never cared for the cured meat, the flavor was too salty and strong for a little girl, but I spent many nights, racing to the outbuilding in the dark to retrieve those hams for mother to slice off pieces with a butcher knife and fry in an iron skillet for dinner..

At Thanksgiving she would make a hickory nut cake.  I have so many of her recipes but that one escaped me.  She also made black walnut divinity, always on a dry sunny day, for Christmas and she would store it in tins that she saved year after year.

She always made a fruitcake the week after Thanksgiving, chocked full of candied fruits and our pecans that we had shelled.  She baked it in an angel food pan and would put it in a tin with a wine soaked dishtowel surrounding it and a brandy soaked towel in the center so it could age for Christmas.  I never liked them as a child, and she would only give me small very thin slices because they did have alcohol after all and I never liked the taste. I probably would think they were wonderful now.

Fall always brought a new load of coal to be stored in the coal house for our winter heat.  I wish I still had her old receipts, it would be interesting to see how much it cost.  Coal was sold by the ton and we would get a couple of tons to last us through the winter.  The delivery man would dump it in the driveway and we had to carry bucket after bucket to the back coal shed. The house was always cold when we got home in the evening, mother would fill the coal buckets to build a fire and It was always my job to empty the ashes in the driveway ruts to help us keep from getting the car stuck.  We lived on a road that wasn’t graveled, so getting our car stuck in the mud was something that occurred on a regular basis.

We always put plastic on our windows to keep out the winter cold, usually nailing it on the windows on a cold blustery Saturday and it was a big job to unroll the plastic and cut it to fit the windows. The walls of our house weren’t insulated, only the attic, so it was always really hard to keep it warm.   She always made me new flannel pajamas with big buttons in the fall and I slept on a feather bed piled high with quilts.  Looking back I wonder how she managed to do all of that.  She worked from 8-5 at the drug store five days a week, Daddy didn’t live with us, he worked in Northern Illinois, so it was just a woman and a little girl, doing the best they could with absolutely no luxuries at all and nobody to help them.  No bathroom or running water, for years we didn’t have a pump, just a well and a bucket, but we managed and I have happy memories of my childhood.

I didn’t have a mother that played with me, I don’t ever remember her playing board games or reading to me.  She had no time, she was always working because she had to do all of the chores herself.  There was no television in our house until I was twelve years old, I listened to the radio in the evenings and played the piano (badly).  I was always an avid reader, probably more so because there wasn’t that much to do in the country in the cold weather.  No neighbors to talk to, no kids to play with, but if it’s all I knew, and it was okay.  I’ve always admired mother for all the hard work she did.  She didn’t complain or feel sorry for herself, and she worked from early morning until bedtime to make a home and put food on the table.  She really was a strong woman.

The older I get the more nostalgic I am.  My childhood stories are of a difficult life, but it wasn’t a sad life, I was a happy child, I was fed, clothed and loved and I was grateful for the things I had and proud of the accomplishments of daily living.   I miss those days and go back often in my mind.  Some of this you may have read some of this before, as I’ve talked about my childhood in my blog quite a bit through the years, but it’s always good to reminisce, to once again remember the way it was and to be reminded of how lucky I am to have the life that I have now...

 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Hamburger Press

 

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So you all know I’m the gadget queen, right?  So, when I saw this hamburger press, I was all over it like mayo on white.  It’s such a simple thing, but oh I do love this.  I use two sheets of wax paper sheets that I buy in a pack, one under the patty, one on top so it keeps the press clean, and you have perfectly formed patties every time.

Quit rolling your eyes, this thing is a game changer.  I make multiple patties at once to freeze or put in the fridge for another meal, it’s quick, fast and with the waxed paper, cleanup is easy breezy.  Don’t cheap out and not use the waxed paper, it would be a pain in the patootie to clean without them.

It’s not expensive, $20 and change, you spend that much for one meal at a fast food joint.  Just buy the darn thing, trust me, it’s so worth it.  ~ Jan

Here’s the link, go for it...

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And here are the squares, it’s a big pack, they last a long time.  

Here’s the link for the squares

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Parchment Paper Liners for Muffins

 

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 I love all things to do with cooking, and I have a feeling I’m a little late to this parchment paper game, but last month when we were visiting Ryan and family, we went every morning for breakfast at The Dixie Diner, a great little restaurant not far from their house and every morning I had a Jumbo Blueberry Muffin (don’t judge me) in a parchment paper liner like this one above.  I was intrigued, the muffin didn’t adhere to the paper like it does with a regular muffin liner and it was so darn cute.  It’s all about the presentation for this old(er) girl.

So I did a little research and it’s a pretty simple thing to do.  For jumbo muffins or cupcakes you need 6” parchment paper squares and for regular sized muffins or cupcakes you need 5” squares. Now you could cut your own, but seriously, who wants to do that when you can buy them precut already.

If you want the tulip effect like the one above, it does take a little work, but they look so good they are totally worth it.

Muffin liner

It’s pretty simple really, just pleat the muffin around an overturned glass the same size as the muffin tin and then plop them in the tins.  I suppose you could just pleat them inside the tin itself, but this is much easier.

You can buy these liners, bleached or unbleached.  I’ll do easy links for you below.  AND since yours truly, who buys everything kitchen related just realized that I don’t have jumbo muffin tins, I’m going to remedy that today by ordering them.  Oh, I am a sucker for Amazon Prime, but aren’t we all.

So, here are the links, happy baking, and now your muffins will look just like the ones in the bake shops. 😋
 

Brown

 

The ones I ate were in these unbleached liners, which looked great.  Here’s the link for the 5” ones

And the 6” ones, are actually marketed to use as squares between hamburger patties, which brings up a whole other subject that I will address in another post.

Here’s the link for the 6” ones

And now for those jumbo muffin pans, Wilton sells them on Amazon for $11.99 Prime.  Here’s the click

 

Pan

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Not your typical "Grannie Panties"

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Thongs, bikini panties, boy briefs, well those days are long gone, thank goodness.  So what’s an old(er) girl to do.  

I’ve tried a lot of panties over the years and I haven’t found any that I like better than these.  They’re really comfortable, they aren’t ugly, they’re not hot, they wash well and don’t give you muffin top, it’s a total win-win. They have just enough spandex to give you light control and they are made of silky fabric, so your clothes glide on smoothly.  If you don’t like the neutrals they also come in brights.

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These are a super everyday panty, trust me on this one.  ~ Jan

Here’s the link, check them out for yourself...

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