Monday, January 15, 2018

Chicken Pot Pie

I tend to lean more towards making sweet dishes since they usually are a part of celebrating something.  Also I can get creative with tubs of icing unlike frozen peas.  Savory dishes are just so utilitarian.   But I can be down with a savory dish if it happens to also help me clean out my fridge!  
Chicken Pot Pie should be renamed Leftover Bits and Scrape the Pot Pie!

'Making Chicken Pie' courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book 1951. 

I like this recipe because it is fairly vague with measurements.  Toss in those leftover veggies, pluck off the bits from last nights rotisserie chicken, and then make up the rest of the bulk in lard laden gravy!  
I always keep a box of my trusty Jiffy Pie Crust on hand which topped my Pie off.

A  real pie bird is completely optional.  After baking, just roost whatever you have in the center of your Pie.  I think some little plastic dinosaurs with peas jabbed onto their hands, feet, and tails and then popping out of each serving would work.  That's as creative as I can get with boring ol' peas.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Feed Sack-a-thon

In the last post I wrote about going to a lecture about the history of feed sacks at a nearby rural library.  At the end of the lecture, I spoke with the presenter about tips on identifying the fabric and then went home to plunder through my stash of material.  I kinda had a feeling that the pieces Elizabeth had sent to me back in 2006 might be authentic and they were!  She sent me the top 4 pieces shown here. 

These next three pieces I picked up at a thrift store after the lecture:

This piece is complete and still has the stitching intact. It's still a bag! I picked this one up at an estate sale.

I picked these next two up at an estate sale as well.  Oh my word, it was amazing!  I happened to open up an old truck and it was completely full, 50+ uncut pieces, of feed sacks!!!!  Since I am trying to stay in the KonMari mind frame (only buy and keep items that bring you true joy) I only walked away with these:

This pattern is so amazing!  And I found two full pieces of it.

So now you may be wondering if there are any hidden gems in your stash as well.  Here are the hints I have to offer for identifying vintage feed sack material:

Here is an image of the chain stitched cording that holds the bag together.  That's kinda an obvious one if your fabric is still stitched in a bag form. 

But here is the real tell sign.  That thick stitching leaves a very noticeable track of needle openings.  It also will have a curved stitch in the bottom corner as shown here.  Another characteristic that is something that will develop is noticing the feel and look of feed sack fabric.  It's kinda thin and generally wrinkly yet also soft.

I have a hard time using vintage fabric because I would hate to mess up and waste it. That is why I still have those pieces from 2006.  I might look into finding some vintage patterns for using feed sack material.  I think I could then , maybe, use some of it.  

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Feed Sack Fabric Lecture

About a year and a half ago I attended a lecture at a rural library that was about the history of feed sacks.  The lecturer was a collector and also a curator for a rural local history museum.  I hadn't had much of an interest in feed sacks before because they are kinda like Pyrex to me.  Too trendy and over priced.  However I did love learning about the history and ingenuity people used with them.  The photo above shows a cute little chicken pot holder made from feed sack material along with a ball of the very durable cording that held the sacks together.  

The lecturer brought a bunch of samples of material from her own collection and from the museum.

Also a display of several aprons made from feed sacks.

Samples of quilting squares.

Children's clothing.


Even an uncut embroidery pattern for matching collar and cuffs.

The library has it's own mini museum dedicated to their local rural history.  In the general store area were these samples of feed sacks with paper labels attached.

This was one of my most favorite lectures given by the library system.  The lady doing the lecture was spunky, well educated on the subject, had a typed up pamphlet on the history of feed sacks for all the attendants , and had a question, answer and share at the end.  There were a bunch of ladies who had brought samples of feed sack material they owned and shared stories about how feed sacks were used in their homes while growing up.

I loved this piece of fabric that an attendant had brought to show.

Here's some feed sack material nutshell info:
 *The chain-stitched thread (as seen above top photo) was saved and used to crochet and knit with.
*Originally the company logos on the sacks were printed with water soluble ink which housewives would soak off to reuse the fabric.
*In the mid 1920s mills started adding patterns to the fabric along with paper labels which were easy to remove.
*You had bragging rights if you were a "two feed sack girl", which was the equivalent of wearing a size two dress.
*Wives would instruct their husbands to buy particular prints so they would have enough for certain projects.
*In addition to all over prints there were also border prints perfect for pillowcases and curtains.
*There were Disney and Gone with the Wind prints.
*Some sacks had patterns for doll clothing and stuffed toys.
*Magazine and pattern companies published patterns for feed sack usage.
*During WWII when fabric was rationed it did not apply to feed sacks since it was seen as an industrial textile product.
 *Feed sack material usage lasted into the 1970s.

I spoke with the lecturer at the end of the presentation about how to distinguish if fabric is feed sack which she explained a few physical things to look for along with just getting a "feel" for it once you've handled some.

I went home and went through my fabric stash and lo and behold....
That's in the next post! 

Friday, January 05, 2018

Pyrex Deep Dish Apple Pie with Candied Crust

Most things I either bake, cook, or craft I only do once.  Did and done and moving on!  However today I am sharing one of  my few "repeat offenders"....Deep Dish Apple Pie with Candied Crust!

I got the recipe off of a little paper insert that originally was part of a vintage Refrigerator and Oven Set of Pyrex baking dishes.  I found it stuck in a vintage cookbook I picked up at a library book sale.  

My most favorite part of this recipe is it's made from things I always have on hand....except for cake flour, I just use regular...and I use cinnamon instead of nutmeg.  So maybe I shouldn't say I have the ingredients on hand but have stuff to easily substitute on hand!  Mr. Husband Sir has a reoccurring habit of "wanting something sweet" (said in a very pitiful sad tone).  Instead of my usual suggestion of him taking a spoon to the sugar canister, I decided to try out this recipe.  He loves it, I love it, and even the picky kid loves it!  

I don't have the proper baking and serving vessel required (a Yellow Pyrex Dish) , but I do have a yellow Westinghouse baking dish!

I know it's not much to look at but it is quite yummy!  I have made this dish so many times now I can't count.  I have even gotten to experimenting some such as tossing in blueberries or coconut cream and this weekend I am going to try it out using cherry pie filling instead of apples.  It's a perfect recipe for substitutions and using up "leftover" fruit or dessert type stuff.
Tip: To cut down on prep time I don't peel the apples.

This is the back of the paper insert.
As you can see, the "Deep Dish Apple Pie with Candied Crust" is best served at a Luncheon...but I haven't had the Pyrex police busting my door down at after dinner dessert time just yet.

I really love this little piece of paper, so beautifully designed.  During my recent kitchen decorating I placed it in a frame which also gives me easy access to the recipe!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Peanut Whirligigs

From the second Grand National Pillsbury Bake Off 1950 Peanut Whirligigs by senior winner Mrs. May Kendrick, Akron, Ohio.

"Fresh roasted peanuts and cream cheese flavor this cooky dough.  It's spread with melted chocolate, rolled like a jelly roll, and sliced to make pinwheel cookies."

For some reason I made all these cookies in the order of how they appeared in the gift box (see below), from left to right.  After making the first cookie, Cherry Winks, and then the multi stepped brownies I started to rethink making all 6 cookies.  I decided to revise my plan into just making three or at most four of the options.  This was getting to be too much.  Since I didn't think I was going to be making the Whirligigs, I used all of my chocolate on the tops of the brownies.  I went on to make the spirtz cookies because normally these are pretty quick and easy.  Then I said "Done."  I couldn't help thinking about how the set was not complete though.  I had wanted so much to take on the challenge and bake the whole box of "satisfaction".  I had to complete the set! So I pushed forward with the Mad Hatters but the Peanut Whirligigs had some improvising because I was out of chocolate. And there was no way I has going to any grocery store on Christmas eve.  I don't do crowds and I knew all that would be left on the shelf would be the fancy Ghirardelli expensive stuff, which is not happening.  What else did I have in my pantry?  Nutella! These cookies were a pain to make because of doing the jelly roll thing and then "tying them off" with string trying to get the pinwheel look to show clearly on each one and hold a circular shape.  I think the only thing going for them is the nutella and I would not make these again...But if you are a completest as I am here is the recipe:   

Recipe Peanut Whirligigs:

So just one last look at how amazing the cookies looked all together with the packaging.  

The fam loved them and oohed and ahhhed! I was really proud of how they turned out.  Even though the Cameo Tea Cookies and the Whirligigs were bland at least they weren't fruitcake!
{These cookies are Grand National Pillsbury Bake Off winners that I baked for Christmas gifts as shown in this Good Housekeeping magazine ad from December 1951.}

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Mad Hatter Tea Cookies

Mad Hatter Cookies from the second Grand National Pillsbury Bake Off 1950 by Junior winner Frances Chunko, Washington, Pennsylvania.

"These cookies really look like hats.  You can decorate them as you choose-with gumdrops, nuts, and confectioner's sugar frosting."

  I decided to decorate them in a Christmas theme rather than the spring bonnet deal they originally had going on (see photo on the very bottom of post).  I made a mini batch of cream cheese icing (cream cheese left over from making the Peanut Whirligig Cookies) and decorated them in holiday sprinkles.

Mad Hatter Tea Cookies Recipe:

These are one of my favorites in the box.  They should have won a big cash prize.  I would definitely make them again but will have to come up with a more fun hat design.   These are just too Easter bonnet for me. Mr. Husband Sir thought they kinda looked like UFOs so maybe I can work with that.

{These cookies are one of six Grand National Pillsbury Bake Off winners that I baked for Christmas gifts as shown in this Good Housekeeping magazine ad from December 1951.}

Friday, December 29, 2017

Cameo Tea Cookies

Cameo Tea Cookies from the second Grand National Pillsbury Bake Off 1950 by Miss Ester Potenburg, Pasadena, California.

"Tender white cookies with a pretty cameo of chocolate on top.  And you mix only one batch of dough."

These cookies have a fun look to them and in theory should be easy to make.  They are just Spritz Cookies but I had a hard time getting the small chocolate designs onto the white cookies to make the 5 dozen it promised, which certainly did not happen. It's also hard to see if the chocolate cookie design (my cookie apparatus has several designs on one disk) is centered well over the white cookie and working on a cookie sheet with an edge adds an additional strain. I only was able to get maybe 3 cookies to look halfway decent and at some point gave up and marbleized the chocolate and white dough together and made mini cookies instead.
I have a couple of other spritz cookie apparatuses that do single designs which may be easier to see around but their design is much larger...I doubt if I would try this one again.  Also the flavor is bland.  And I am not buying a special edge-less cookie way.

They do look really neat if you can get it to work right.  Here's a couple of fun ideas I just pulled from my brain: a red background cookie with a green spritz tree on top or a white background with a blue snowflake on top.  Or make a batch using the odd camel pattern on the top in any colors.  What was that one even intended for?!  I guess camels were a popular animal during the mid-century.  Two of my three spritz contraptions have a camel cookie setting.

{These cookies are one of six Grand National Pillsbury Bake Off winners that I baked for Christmas gifts as shown in this Good Housekeeping magazine ad from December 1951.}

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Starlight Mint Surprise Cookies

The second place prize winner of $10,000, Starlight Mint Surprise Cookies from the first Grand National Pillsbury Bake Off 1949 
 by Miss Laura Rott of Naperville, Illinois

"The idea for this cooky came to Miss Rott when she was given a package of chocolate mints.  A solid chocolate candy wafer flavored with mint is baked right in the cooky itself.  The cookie dough is wrapped around the wafer, and a big walnut is pressed into the top.  Looks just like a plain cooky-but what a luscious surprise when you take a bite!"

These are the high dollar cookies in the box and they really are good, especially warm from the oven!  The original recipe called for Rockwood Milk Chocolate Mint Wafers, which are not around anymore.  The Pillsbury site suggests using Andes mints.  I decided to use mini York Peppermint patties.  They are small, round, and cheaper (a bag of 20 for 1 buck at dollar tree).  I have an ad promoting this "cooky" from Family Circle December 1950 which shows the package of Rockwood Mints: 

The recipe in the magazine suggests using either a walnut or pecan, so I went with pecans!  They are a little bit cheaper than walnuts and I needed pecans for the Mad Hatter cookies also!  I am a thrifty multi-tasking kinda gal!

Starlight Mint Surprise Cookies Recipe
These are one of my favorites in the set.  Possibly my favorite because they were the easiest to make and are quite yummy as well.  The "hardest" part was having to make the dough in advance and refrigerating it.  The only thing I don't care for is the cookie becomes a little bit too firm for my liking a couple of days after baking. I guess the best thing to do is eat them up in the first 12 hours!

{These cookies are one of six Grand National Pillsbury Bake Off winners that I baked for Christmas gifts as shown in this Good Housekeeping magazine ad from December 1951.}

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Missouri Waltz Brownies

Best of Class Senior $1,000 winner Missouri Waltz Brownies from the second Grand National Pillsbury Bake Off 1950.
By Mrs. Natalie Townes of Kirksville, Missouri

"These brownies were favorites of Mrs. Townes when she was a child.  The double frosting of creamy peppermint and melted chocolate make them as rich and good as candy.  Children love them!"

Of all the treats in the box, these are the ones I took the most detours on with the recipe.  As I was realizing the work I had taken on with making 6 different treats I started to think what could I shortcut.  The brownies were the easy volunteer to be made from a mix...but I did use a Pillsbury one!  I made the icing in the middle as directed, almost.  Instead of using peppermint flavoring and green food coloring, I added pulverized candy canes and let it be pink.  I did do the whole candy thermometer thing though with the icing which was a first for me. The other alteration to the recipe I did was putting crushed candy canes on the top, which was an improvement, both with flavor and from a visual aspect.

Missouri Waltz Brownies Recipe

Of all the treats in the box I have gotten the most compliments over the brownies.  They are one of my favorites in the set also.  I am a bit bummed I wasn't able to get the side slice look with the separate layers like the photo on the top.  My icing was a thinner layer and kinda collapsed under the heft of the chocolate on top.  Luckily the crushed candy cane prettied it up!
{These cookies are one of six Grand National Pillsbury Bake Off winners that I baked for Christmas gifts as shown in this Good Housekeeping magazine ad from December 1951.}