Fresh Eggs

John got the sign up today, advertising the fact that we have eggs for sale.

We’ve been selling eggs for quite some time. People stop by all the time and ask if we have any, and if we have enough excess, then we sell them. If you’ll recall, William decided some time ago that he should have an egg business – and so we ordered chicks to augment our flock this spring.

Said chicks have been laying – and getting their “sea legs” so to speak, starting with the cutest little tiny 1 ounce eggs, and most are now up to regular sized eggs. Most days we’re getting a dozen eggs. Today was a 15 egg day. We’ve got five dozen extra eggs in the fridge – and available for sale.

Wow – it’s actually happening!

The morning started off with a lady from the neighborhood stopping by to buy eggs. A good start!

Today as I was washing dishes and looking out onto the chicken yard, I was struck by the fact that our baby chicks are nothing of the sort any longer – in fact, they’ve grown into some really beautiful pullets. So, of course, I had to grab the camera and get a few pictures.

This one I’m excited about. This is the lone black Minorca that we have left. She is SO beautiful. I don’t know if you can tell at all – but she’s so black that she has an amazing green sheen to her feathers. I love the contrast between her feathers, her crazy floppy comb and wattles, and her white ears. Yes, she lays white eggs. It’s very difficult to get a picture of her – she’s pretty skittish. So I was pretty thrilled to get this one!

And I know I’ve said it before, but I just love the Blue Anadalusians. Here’s a not super clear picture of one – but I think this one is really a beautiful bird!

All of the Blues are, really – but the lovely deep hue of her plumage is really stunning.

I realized today that there really is no distinction – size wise, anyway – between the big girls and the 2009 chicks. When they’re out scratching around – you really can’t tell which is which, except for the breed differentials.

And great news! Crayon isn’t quite so naked any more. She’s getting her feathers in! She still looks pretty funky – but she definitely looks better!

And here’s a not very clear picture of Mystery – the black Ameraucana. She’s so pretty – and also very skittish – so it’s hard to get a picture of her.

On a different note – my Aero Garden is growing amazingly! Take a look:

See that? I’m not sure if you can – but those are little buds that are coming out!

It’s been so fun to watch these plants thrive and develop! It’s been nearly a month since they were planted, and they say we should expect tomatoes to eat in another month.

And amazingly – there are still a few flowers blooming in the yard. Not the best picture – but it’s still a beautiful little poppy! I’m definitely going to plant a whole bunch more poppies next year – I’ve loved them!

All in all – I’m adjusting to the fact that fall is here. It really is beautiful – even if it isn’t my favorite time of year! J

Fresh Apple Cake

…and today is Fight Back Friday!

It’s been particularly interesting – this whole food thing – during this season of my life when I’m allowed to eat or drink NOTHING. The fact of the matter is this: I love food. I also love drinking – my big addiction? Tea. I drink – normally, anyway – a boatload of tea daily. Mostly green tea – it’s a wonder Starbucks and Tazo haven’t folded during this six week NPO venture of mine!

At first it was pretty difficult for me to even be near the end of the house where cooking and eating was going on. But now that I’m four and a half weeks into my NPO experience, I’ve found some – well, I guess it’s relief – in getting into the kitchen and preparing things for my family.

A couple of weeks ago was when I got my feet wet with this. We had a family birthday party at our house, and being that we’re flat broke it was determined that we would make desserts for the event. Not like I can’t do that – I do have a degree as a professional baker, after all! It’s just that I don’t bake all that much anymore. I really do enjoy it when I finally break down and do it – but honestly, I love cooking – hands down – exponentially more.

One of the desserts that we prepared for that family birthday party is one that my Mom made for years and years. She would only make it when the new crop of apples came in – so it was always a fall treat. I think as a kid I thought it must be really hard to make since she only made it on rare occasion – but the truth of the matter is that it’s a total breeze to throw together – and the result is so wonderful, it’s a little bit criminal to restrict making it to just one season!

So let’s get baking!

Here’s what you’ll need: apples (these are from my uncle’s hunting partner, whose family owns a farm in Hood River – we are the fortunate recipient of apples, pears, plums – all sorts of wonderful fruit from their farm!), I’m using pecans this time cause it’s what I have on hand, sugar, eggs, oil, baking powder, flour, salt, cinnamon. That’s about it.

You need 4 cups of diced apples. Being the lazy girl that I am, I pulled out my handy dandy apple corer/peeler and went at it. I love this thing – it’s a total breeze to process apples in no time at all.

Dice the apples and put them in a medium sized bowl.

Now, dump the sugar on top – yep – all 2 cups worth.

And then mix it in thoroughly – you want every last little bit of apple coated. It’ll look something like this:

Okay – so set those apples aside. The next part I do in my 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup.

I should just interject here that I’m a really lazy baker. I almost always use my stand mixer for everything. I’m just not into doing a whole lot without it. But this recipe is so easy; it’s a waste of effort to pull out the stand mixer.

Okay, crack the two large eggs into the 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup, using a fork beat them pretty well – you want them pretty well blended. And yes, this is the same measuring cup that I measured my apples into – so you do see some apple residue on the side of the measuring cup. But who cares, right?!

Now I rough chop the pecans – I don’t want any huge chunks in there, this is pretty much what they’ll look like:

Add them to the egg and mix thoroughly. (Aren’t those eggs beautiful? The color on them is just gorgeous – our girls are such great layers – it’s just so fun to cook and bake with their eggs, because stuff is just so much better with them!)

Now add the 1/2 cup of oil and vanilla. By the way, I prefer the Safflower oil – it’s got a really neutral taste, and is so much better for you! Now blend everything together thoroughly.

Okay – now that you’ve got that all together, you’re gonna dump this on top of the apples. And, of course, you’ll want to mix it completely.

Here’s what it’ll look like when it’s all mixed in.

Okay – so just set the apple mixture aside.

Now it’s time to sift together the dry ingredients: 2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons each of baking soda and cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon of salt. When I have to sift salt I opt for sea salt as opposed to Kosher – the Kosher won’t fit through the sifter. I always sift using a strainer and over one of my flexible cutting boards. They’re great for this sort of thing!

Once you have everything sifted together, transfer the dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl.

Now add the apple mixture to the dry ingredients.

Mix thoroughly – but don’t overdo it. Everything will be moistened and incorporated, but you don’t need to beat it or anything. Takes maybe a minute to get it to just perfect.

I’ve decided today to bake these as muffins and mini loaves. I’m putting together a thank you package for C., my very generous nurse who gifted me with access to genealogy research a couple of weeks ago. She’s coming today to change my PICC line dressing, draw labs, and do a check-up. I figured I owe her big time! J

Note where my very favorite muffin pans came from! Yep! Sur La Table! I’m totally serious when I say they are the BEST pans I’ve got – anything that comes from Sur La Table.

Of course, grease and flour your pans. I cheat and buy Baker’s Joy spray. Love that stuff!

Here they are all portioned out:


Baking at 350° F – for these, it takes about 25 minutes to get them baked through. If you bake the batter in a 9″x13″ glass dish, it’s going to take closer to an hour. Watch it that last ten minutes, though – because of all of the sugars it can go from done to slightly burnt pretty quickly.

I turn them upside down when they’re cooling. They’re so tender and moist; the top is actually the safest place to have against the rack.

You can serve them as is. Sometimes I sprinkle them with a little powdered sugar. But honestly, they’re great just plain.


Fresh Apple Cake


4 cups

Apples, diced

2 cups

Granulated sugar

1/2 cup

Safflower or sunflower oil

1 cup

Nuts, your preference


Eggs, beaten

2 teaspoons

Vanilla extract

2 cups

All-purpose flour

2 teaspoons

Baking soda 

2 teaspoons


1 teaspoon


Preheat oven to 350° F.

  1. Combine apples and sugar, set aside.
  2. Mix together oil, eggs, nuts, and vanilla. Add to apple mixture.
  3. Sift dry ingredients together. Add to the other ingredients, mixing thoroughly, but not over mixing.
  4. Pour batter into a greased 9 x 13″ pan. Bake for about 1 hour – until a cake tester comes out clean from the center. Allow to cool before serving.


This always turns out better when baked in a glass baking dish. If you bake it in anything else be prepared for it to turn out VERY dark. It’s just the sugar caramelizing, of course, but if you use glass – not so dark!

You can use pretty much any kind or mixture of different kinds of apples to vary the taste and texture of this cake. They’re all delicious! It has one character with walnuts added, another entirely with slivered almonds, and yet another with pecans. There’s lots of room for experimentation here!

What a surprise!

This morning I was out in the yard checking the nest boxes for eggs. It was pretty early. Early enough, in fact, that I was still in my PJ’s and carrying around my TPN backpack.

Honestly, it was a little early to be checking for eggs. Our girls seem to wait until after 9am or so before they get serious about laying. But I kept hearing a chicken carrying on like she was about to lay an egg the size of a watermelon or something – they can really get loud, the pullets, when they first come into lay.

Of course, the 2009 chicks started leaving us the cutest little eggs quite a few weeks ago – must have been late August or early September. Over the weeks since then the egg size has standardized and the number of eggs collected has increased…

But not that much.

On a banner day we’re getting ten or maybe 11 eggs.

We have 30 laying chickens.

We’d wondered if some of them were just late bloomers. Or maybe some of the breeds less inclined to lay daily. We wondered if our expectations were too high.

We have seen quite a few of the 2009 chicks on the nest over the past weeks – an encouraging sign that they’d figured out the whole how and where to lay an egg thing.

So – this morning, I went out to check for eggs earlier than normal. When I was at the East end of the coop I realized the squawking was coming from one of the Blue Andalusians – and she was over by the Cedar trees that the girls like to hide out under.

I thought, “Great, I hope she’s not going to lay under those trees – I’ll never be able to get under there to retrieve an egg!”

We have found an occasional egg in a really weird place…. Under trees and bushes (just a couple of eggs), in one of my flower planters (1 egg), in the chicken run (2 eggs), and early on quite a few on the floor of the coop – typically UNDER the nest boxes.

So I felt pretty sure there was a good chance that I would have to get the boughs of the cedar to check it out.

However, the Blue – rather than ducking under the cedar – turned the corner and ducked into the lean to. We have this strange little lean to that we believe was originally used to store firewood. It’s actually pretty good sized, but it’s very dark inside, and has a dirt floor. Right now John stores his excess lumber and building supplies there, along with the rototiller, and lawn mower. I followed behind the Blue and way in the back was one of the Delawares, nosing around. The Blue was still carrying on, but it didn’t seem like she was going to lay right then and there, so I headed back for the house.

I had a lot of things I had to do today – it was a pretty busy schedule, and I’m still kind of a wuss when it comes to energy expenditure. I did mention to John we should check out the lean-to to see if one of the girls did eventually decide to lay an egg back there.

Shortly before John got home from work, William and I grabbed a flashlight and decided to check out the whole lean-to thing.

What we found astounded us. See for yourself:


All in all – 36 eggs found. All of questionable age, of course, and there was the distinct odor of rotten egg back there.

So, when John got home we showed him, then collected them, and then promptly disposed of them.

So…. More of the girls are laying – lovely eggs I might add – than we suspected.

John quickly got to work and tacked up chicken wire over the opening to the lean-to so they can’t get back in. Here’s hoping they figure out that laying on the nest is WAY more fun than under a tree or bush somewhere. It’s getting to be that time of year and I really don’t want to have to go egg hunting in the wind and rain all winter long!

Crazy chickens!

Wow! What a gift!

A little over a week ago I was the recipient of a very generous gift.

[My great-great aunt, Nancy Kitchens Overby, on the far left. Isn’t she pretty?]

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve made a goal of doing a better job of passing along the information that I’ve been the very fortunate recipient of regarding our family history. I have kids, nieces, and nephews, in-laws – not to mention cousins, aunts, and uncles – all of whom have expressed an interest in knowing more about the treasure trove that I have housed on the hard drive of my computer and the filing cabinets in the pantry.

I had every intention of making a weekly post to this blog on this very topic.

Then I got sick. Really sick. Like months long sick.

Funny how the best of plans are so easily derailed.

I had mentioned previously, as well, earlier in the year I had a 14-day free trial subscription to – giving me access to some really incredible research records. John and I had this secret hope that we might be able to somehow scrimp together and come up with the $30 a month we’d need to pay for an actual subscription to the level of service that we’d need/want to be able to continue to access international records (which we’d like to be able to do since his grandfather was born in Scotland) – but we just couldn’t do it. Not in good conscience anyway. So, the combination of my illness and lack of quick and easy access to research tools pretty much sidelined my intentions.

[Earnest Sylvester Barrett, my great-grandfather, with my great-aunt and uncle.]

When I was finally sent home from the hospital, almost a month ago, I was sent home with home nursing care, since I have a PICC line, was doing IV antibiotic infusions, and am NPO and on TPN for 6 weeks – requiring weekly blood draws, etc. It’s so nice to have the nurses come to my home and take care of all of the things that need taken care of! What a blessing!

The nurse who is in charge of my case is a really sweet lady. We share a common faith, are interested in many of the same things, and have both traveled internationally quite a lot. Then we found out we shared an interest in genealogy! I was laughingly telling her about my 14-day free trial and how many hours of sleep I did without in order to cram as much research time in while I could, when she got the most interesting look on her face. She picked up a piece of paper, wrote two things down on it, handed it to me and said, “Would you like to share my Ancestry account?”


“Are you kidding?” I asked her.

“No – I don’t get as much time researching as I’d like to, and I’d love to have you be able to share in using it. This is the user name and password. I hope you have great success and enjoy it.”


What a blessing!

Thank you so much C! You are amazing!

[Christine Barrett Courtney, my paternal grandmother.]

To be honest, I’m a little blown away. What a kind, generous, thoughtful gift! I am so excited to jump in and move forward with research.

Right now I’m formulating my plan of attack. What to start with!

I’ve been online nosing around a bit, trying to determine where to start, and I’ve got to be honest – it’s easy to lose huge chunks of time to this pursuit. I’ve got to be wise about time management, as well.

John thinks I should set an appointment on my calendar to block time out for research. I think he’s one of the smartest guys on the planet. I think I’ll do just that.

So I’m excited.

I’m getting healthier. I have a little more stamina. And I’m beginning to heal up.

I can’t promise a once a week genealogy-themed blog post quite yet, but that’s my goal for when I’m all healed up and not such a wuss on the energy exertion front.

In the meantime, I’ll start digging out those juicy details to lure the kids in with again! Gotta get them sucked into genealogy, too! [mwaaa haaaa haaa….]

Malin’s Home Made Crisp Bread

…and it’s Fight Back Friday!

Today I’d like to share a recipe from my friend Malin, who lives in Norway. I had the great pleasure of meeting her in February 2003 when we both were in Spain. She’s an incredible artist, a beautiful woman, and has wonderful taste in food!

Malin has recently been focusing on a high protein/low carb diet – and is enjoying it quite a bit. She mentioned that this bread has been a great option to have on hand as she’s been making this transition.

I should tell you that when she sent me the recipe, it was in metrics, so I’ve converted it to the best of my ability to US measurements. The baking temperature was 200° C – the conversion for that works out to 392° F – so I’ve rounded up to 400° F. So I urge you to keep a close eye on the oven toward the end of the baking time!

Malin’s Home Made Crisp Bread

1 1/3 cups Linseeds (Flax Seed), chopped
3/4 cup Hazelnuts, chopped
2/3 cup Almonds, chopped
3/4 cup Walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup Oat bran
1/3 cup Sesame seeds
2 teaspoons Baking powder
2 teaspoons Sugar
1/3 cup Heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup Butter, melted
10.5 ounces Cottage cheese
6 large Eggs

Preheat oven to 400° F.

  1. Combine all of the dry ingredients together in the bowl of your mixer.
  2. Whip the heavy cream and butter together, set aside.
  3. Using a hand mixer, blend the cottage cheese and eggs until thoroughly incorporated.
  4. Add cream mixture to dry ingredients until just incorporated.
  5. Now add cottage cheese mixture, mixing thoroughly.
  6. Spread the dough onto parchment lined baking sheets.
  7. Bake at 400° F for 35 to 45 minutes. When they are fresh out of the oven, use a pizza wheel to cut into pieces.

Notes: I recommend processing the first four ingredients on the Pulse option of your Food Processor. As you can see from the photo below, this is not a completely smooth dough, but leaving some texture with the nuts is preferred by some.

This recipe comes from my friend Malin, who is Norwegian. She swears by this bread, and recently shared the recipe and her picture of it with me. Thanks Malin!

Malin's Crisp Bread







If you were to portion this out to 12 servings, each serving would have 8 grams of fiber (13 grams of carbs), and 15 grams of protein!

This bread freezes well.

My Garden is Growing

Have I ever mentioned that I have a decades-long addiction to Sur la Table? It’s true. It started when I was in Baking School (1980 whatever) and I learned that I could have a 20% discount on all of the equipment that I needed to purchase for school anyway.

This was when I lived in the Seattle area and so whenever I needed something for school, I’d hop a bus, head down to Pike Place Market, pick up an apple or orange to eat from the corner fruit stall a block or two down the way from Sur la Table.

I’d make my way into the door of Sur la Table and what – by all rights – ought to have been a 10 minute visit, typically would turn into a two or three hour visit! Yeah, they knew me by name there! Well, they ought to have – I spent thousands of dollars there – WITH my discount!

Over the years I’ve had to exercise extreme measures of discipline when in any sort of proximity to Sur la Table. The fact that they have an online store is dangerous enough! I just pretend they don’t – it serves me well.

However, on occasion I really and truly do need to purchase something for the kitchen and of course, Sur la Table is where I typically start my search.

A couple of years ago I was in the Sur la Table in the Pearl District.

I’d found the item I was actually looking for within about 30 seconds of entering the store, of course. I was just taking “a few minutes” to look around. I particularly love their clearance racks. One can find amazing treasures there. As I was heading toward the clearance racks I saw a display with the most curious little garden growing.

I liked it.

I liked it a lot.

Yes, I have half an acre in which to garden – but dang, wouldn’t this be cool to grow some veggies or herbs during the winter?

I casually mentioned it to my wonderful husband. Of course, this Aero Garden was not cheap, so I didn’t expect it to magically show up.

Fast forward to December 2008. I have a December birthday. So, being the kind, considerate, wonderful husband that he is, my husband bought me my very own Aero Garden (just like the one above) for Christmas and Birthday.

What a cool gift!!!

I was determined to get it set up before my ankle reconstruction in March. Didn’t happen.

So I was going to do it while I was home recuperating after my ankle reconstruction. Didn’t happen.

I thought – well, maybe fore we get the garden outside planted. Didn’t happen.

Then I got sick… and stayed sick… and was in the hospital… and was wiped…

But FINALLY – September 27, 2009 – I got it set up.

I chose the cherry tomato kit – I’ve got several to choose from. It has two heirloom red cherry tomato plantings, and one heirloom yellow cherry tomato planting.

There are spacers between the three plants so that the plants – as they grow – have enough air circulation and room to grow. Smart, huh?

I need to dust, huh?!

Isn’t that a lovely hearty little plant?!

The plant on the far right was the last to germinate – but it’s doing a good job of catching up.

All in all – I’m very pleased with my little garden! J I’m excited about getting tomatoes from it in the winter!

And now – on a totally non-related theme – except for maybe the fact that this little one probably had a good share of eating our garden outside….

This is what we were greeted with yesterday morning as William and I were leaving. Not the best quality photo – being that it’s through the car windshield!

But I was amazed how long he/she (???) stood there and just checked us out while we were madly scrambling for the camera.

It’s funny how annoyed we get with the deer – who consider our garden to be one of their favorite places to come and eat. But when we see one we all ooh and ahh – cause they’re so stinking beautiful!

Anyway – I couldn’t close without including one of the photos that I didn’t know was on my camera when I downloaded photos this morning.

Jessica and Jonathan – guess what their school colors are!?

Okay – off to do a load of laundry.

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Poor Crayon!

A few days ago I noticed a bunch of feathers in a couple of different spots around the yard. More than a few feathers. Got me curious.

A couple of days ago I thought, “Gosh, Crayon looks a little weird.” Not sick weird, but just – well – different.

A couple of the older girls have gone through molting in the past weeks – it seemed as if they’d lose tail feathers, or bunches of other feathers – but nothing drastic.

Here’s a good definition about molting from Wikipedia:

Molting simulates the natural process where chickens grow a new set of feathers in the fall, a process generally accompanied by a sharp reduction or cessation of egg production. Natural molting is stimulated by shortening day lengths combined with stress (of any kind). Before confinement housing with artificial lights were the norm, the fall molt caused a fall scarcity of eggs and high market prices.

We didn’t know a whole bunch about molting when we got into this whole chicken addiction stuff. Gosh, the stuff you learn!

But day before yesterday, I walked out and realized, “CRAYON’S NECK IS NAKED!” William exclaimed, “She looks like a Turken!” He hates turkens, they scare him! Can you see that naked neck up there? Poor Crayon!

Last evening when I looked out the kitchen window, there was poor Crayon, huddled up – nearly naked! – in the corner of the chicken yard. It was getting cool out – and she has almost no feathers left! Poor thing!

Doesn’t she look sad and pathetic?

You can kind of see that she has new feather’s working their way in. But what’s she going to do when it gets colder and rainier nest week? So sad!

Jessica and I decided the best way to see what she looks like is with a little bit of video. So here you go:

One’s gotta wonder if she’ll end up completely naked before it’s all over!  Isn’t that sad – just one little old tail feather left!  LOL!

They’re Growing Up!

Nearly all of the 2009 Chicks are laying now. It’s hard to believe how quickly the time has flown – they were just little fluff balls the other day – and now they’re getting to be big girls!

I went out in the yard last afternoon to try and get some pictures – I must provide the disclaimer that I’m still pretty weak after having been sick and my hands shake a bit – so my pictures aren’t the clearest – sorry! But this will give you an idea!

Remember this? Aren’t they adorable?

Here they are now…

This is one of the Delawares. I think they’re so pretty! Interestingly enough, they lay brown eggs.

This is one of the Speckled Sussex.

Here’s one of the Cuckoo Marans. They are HUGE. Well, so are the Delawares, but the 2009 Cuckoo Maran chicks are even bigger than BB!

In the foreground one of the Blue Andalusian girls. Isn’t she just stunning? And yes, the Blues lay white eggs. Slightly behind her is the Buff Minorca. She’s the last Buff Minorca – her sister was the first to die – didn’t handle the transit well here in April. The other Buff that we ordered was a roo – and he went to live on a farm this summer.

This is Mystery, she’s an Americauna – it took us the longest time to figure out what she was because she looked so different from her sisters.

This is Scarlet. She’s our special needs chicken. Her top beak got ripped off pretty short, and has a long bottom part of her beak. She’s learned to adapt pretty well, but I do try to give her her own special treats so she doesn’t have to fight for them. She also has the most interesting coloring of all of the Cuckoo Marans. We’re wondering if she’s a copper Cuckoo Maran.

And here’s one of the other Americaunas. We can’t tell these ones apart, so they don’t have names. But they are kind of golden and brown colored, and very inquisitive. I don’t think they’re laying quite yet, either.

I couldn’t for the life of me get a picture of the Black Minorca – she’s so skittish! But she’s SO beautiful. She’s jet black with a green iridescent sheen to her, with white ears, and a bright red comb and wattles. We originally had two Black Minorcas. In recent days we’ve realized the second, less dominant one, has simply disappeared. To be honest, with all of the girls who sleep up in the Willow tree, we’re having a hard time even knowing exactly how many chickens we actually have! Probably close to 30, I think. Maybe 28 or 29. I’ve got to find a way to get a head count!

On the egg front, we’re averaging about 10 eggs a day – we’ve had as many as 14 in a day. So things are definitely improving in the egg production world. There were times not that long ago – when the heat was so bad – that we’d have three or four egg days. It will be interesting to see what kind of tally we’ll have when everyone is producing.

We continue to have people stopping and asking to buy eggs, so we’re getting ready to start doing that. We have casually in the past, but we have a real sign now and everything, so that should be an interesting transition!

I’ll close this with a picture that I took a few days ago – I love the coloring of it!

Grammy’s Gingerbread

…and it’s Fight Back Friday!

When I was about 25 years old my Grammy gave me a gift. It wasn’t brand spanking new or anything. In fact, it was pretty old and sort of falling apart and definitely tattered. It was her high school Home Economics cookbook. She was born in 1912, so I’m trying to figure out when exactly she would have gotten this – maybe the late 1920’s or early 1930’s? It’s entitled “The New American Cook Book” – and unfortunately it doesn’t have ANY copyright or publisher information. Bummer.

Now – if the truth be told, Grammy was not the greatest cook. Much like my Mom, she had a few things she did remarkably well – and other stuff – not so much!

Grammy definitely was a frontrunner on the whole Health Food movement. The stuff she’d eat! And then make us try to eat! EGAD! One day it would be peanut butter loaded with all sorts of herbs and wheat germ. The next she’d make the most amazing bar cookies with butterscotch, chocolate, and peanut butter – totally decadent! I think she WANTED to be good, but sometimes the love for the decadent won over more often than she liked! But really, the thing she was striving for was food that was good for you and tasted good, too. Aren’t we all? If that isn’t at the heart of being a Food Renegade, I don’t know what is!

One thing that I will always remember fondly is the fact that she and I had a somewhat secret love of gingerbread. I don’t think it was really supposed to be any sort of big dark secret – it’s just there weren’t any others around who gave a rip.

One day she said, “Let’s make Gingerbread.” Which might sound pretty normal for a Grammy to say. But my Grammy believed in doing stuff herself – so much so that my Mom knew how to do NOTHING in the kitchen by the time she got married! So that invitation to bake with Grammy was a big deal! Out came her high school Home Economics cookbook, and we made a truly wonderful batch of gingerbread. I can still remember the smell, her kitchen in Burbank – before the remodel, and the smile on her face as we took the first bites. Gosh I miss my Grammy.

So when I was 25 and Grammy gave me said cookbook, I was pretty moved. She’d been using that thing for a lot of decades! I still consider it a treasure, and guard it carefully!

Grammy would have been 97 this month. I’m sharing our Gingerbread recipe in her honor. She’d have really loved it if you enjoyed it as well!

Grammy’s Gingerbread

2 cups All-purpose flour, sifted
2 teaspoons Baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Baking soda
2 teaspoons Ginger
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/3 cup Butter
1/2 cup Granulated sugar
1 large Egg, well beaten
2/3 cup Molasses
3/4 cup Buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350° F.

  1. Sift flour once, measure. Add baking powder, soda, spices, and salt and sift together three times.
  2. Cream butter thoroughly, adding sugar gradually, continuing to cream until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  3. Add egg and molasses to creamed mixture.
  4. Add flour and buttermilk alternately to the creamed mixture. Beat after each addition until smooth.
  5. Pour into a greased pan or a ring mold.
  6. Bake in a moderate oven (350° F) for 1 1/4 hours.


This recipe was one my Grammy liked to make – and I love to eat! It has lovely flavor and is nice and moist. It comes from “The New American Cook Book” which unfortunately has no copyright information in it. Grammy was given it when she was in high school so I’m guessing it’s from the late 1920’s or early 1930’s. It’s a BIG book, and has seen quite a few miles – but there are some real gems therein!