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Sweet & Spicy Pickle Relish

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Sweet & Spicy Pickle Relish

4 c. finely chopped pickling cucumbers
1 c. finely chopped jalapeno pepper
2 c. finely chopped onions  
1 c. finely chopped red bell pepper
1/3 c. Kosher salt
3 ½ c. granulated sugar
2 c. apple cider vinegar
1 T. celery seed
1 T. mustard seed


      Place chopped vegetables in a large bowl. Add salt, and cover with cool water. Mix to dissolve salt, cover and let stand for two hours. Drain thoroughly and squeeze out excess water. 

       In a large pot, add sugar, vinegar and spices. Bring to a boil and add drained vegetables. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes. 

       Turn heat off, ladle into sterilized jars to within half an inch of the rims, add sterilized lids and rings. Do not tighten all the way. Place in a large pan with water up to the necks of the jars. Bring to a boil, and process for twenty minutes. Allow to cool. Remove to cooling rack, tighten rings, and check that each jar has sealed. If any don't seal, they should be reprocessed or refrigerated and used within two months. 

      This recipe made me a relish lover. My daughter made this about 8 years ago, and I've been making my own ever since. This is an essential ingredient in every tuna, chicken, turkey, egg, or ham salad...macaroni salad, cole slaw, and deviled eggs. And when I make potato salad, it'll be in that, too. 

      If you like heat, add the seeds and membranes from the jalapenos. This is where the heat is. A few years ago, I used them and the relish won 2nd place at the Ohio County Fair. But Mom said she thought it was a little too hot. This year, I'm leaving them out and we'll see what happens at the fair. 

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     I place the vegetables on a large dish towel to wring out the last of the water. 
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     I capped 'em and put 'em in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes, up to their shoulders [obviously, at different times], and then listened to the summer music of the popping of sealing canned food. It may seem like a lot of work for a small amount, but this lasts me a year, and I even give a jar away once in a while..
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Comments (6)


Chicken Rice Soup

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Chicken Rice Soup 

1/4 c. turkey or chicken schmaltz, or butter 
1 c. diced carrot
1/2 c. diced celery 
1 c. diced onion 
6 sprigs fresh thyme, or a few dashes of ground dried thyme, to taste 
2 fresh Bay leaves, or dried 
1 container Knorr Chicken Stock Concentrate 
1/2 t. Sriracha, or Tabasco, sauce 
4 c. water 
3/4 c. medium grain rice 
2 c. chopped cooked chicken 
Fresh ground pepper

     As you dice the vegetables, add carrots, celery, and onion, in that order, to the fat simmering in a 1 1/2 quart saucepan over medium heat. Add thyme and bay leaves and let them bloom. Add chicken stock. and stir to dissolve. Add water, chicken, and rice; bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 15 minutes. Check after 10 minutes, and add more water if needed. Check that the rice is cooked and simmer longer, as needed. Remove sprigs of thyme and bay leaves, and add pepper to taste. 

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Comments (2)


2014 Yard getting Started

     Buying the plants is the fun part. Planting and mulching aren't as much fun, but the long chilly spring seems to be over. The new plants are ready. 
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     I move things around here all summer long. I never get it perfect. The plants continue to grow, changing the landscape. 
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     The caladiums from previous summers are always the last to grow, so their pots look empty for a long time.....
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     Getting the succulents slowly acclimated to brighter sunshine over these first few weeks...11 photo 012800x600_zps2e4a4106.jpg

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     Dave's been mulching and trimming since about 8:30 AM. I get to drink coffee while watering. 
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     Dave likes "his flower bed" in neat rows. This is where he sits and watches the humming bird wars. The shrubs had to be cut back in front of the porch, so things look pretty sparse there. I think the porch needs more container beds. [I think I just heard Dave groan.]
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Comments (5)


Pecan Pie Muffins

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Pecan Pie Muffins

1 c. brown sugar
½ c. all-purpose flour
¼ t. salt
2 c. chopped pecans
2/3 c. butter, softened
2 eggs, beaten

     Preheat oven to 350 degrees; grease muffin, cupcake or mini muffin pans.

     Combine brown sugar, flour, salt and pecans and set aside.

      Cream butter; add eggs. Blend dry ingredients with a spatula until combined. Batter will be thick. Fill cups two-thirds full. Bake 16-18 minutes for the large muffin pans; centers will be loose. Cool 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the muffins and pop them out onto a cooling rack to cool completely. 

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     The recipe makes enough for 6 large muffins, but they're really too rich for such a large portion. Next time, I'll make them in a cupcake pan. 
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Comments (5)


Cherry Cheesecake

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Cherry Cheesecake

2 c. graham cracker crumbs
6 T. butter, melted 
1/4 c. sugar or Splenda

Filling: [Have all ingredients at room temperature or softened]
24 oz. cream cheese
1 c. sour cream
4 eggs
1 c. sugar or Splenda
1 t. vanilla vanilla bean paste or 2 t. vanilla extract
3-4 drops of LorAnn Bavarian Cream Essence oil, optional


     Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Fill a roasting pan that is large enough to hold a 9 inch Springform pan about one-third full with hot water and place it in the oven.

      Pulse graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a food processor a couple of times; add the butter and pulse until combined. Press mixture evenly onto the bottom and up the sides of a greased 9 inch Springform pan.

     Wrap the Springform pan in one large sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil, just to the top edge, and refrigerate it while preparing the filling.

     Whip the cream cheese until it’s smooth. Add the remaining ingredients, and mix thoroughly. Pour the batter into the chilled Springform pan and carefully place the pan into the hot water – roasting pan. Bake for one hour or before top begins to brown and while the center is still a little loose.

     Remove the roaster from the oven and carefully remove the Springform pan. Allow to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate.  

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     Top with one can of cherry pie filling which has been mixed with 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon almond extract. 
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Magic Cake

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Magic Cake


4 eggs (separate yolks from whites) at room temperature
1 t. vanilla extract
¾ c. sugar
½ c. butter, melted
¾ c. all-purpose flour
2 c. milk, lukewarm
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting cake


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease an 8 x 8 inch baking dish.

Separate eggs. In a small bowl, beat egg whites until they are stiff. Set aside.

Beat egg yolks with sugar until light. Add butter and vanilla extract; beat two minutes. Add flour and mix until fully incorporated. Slowly add milk and beat until well mixed. Add egg whites, a third at a time and gently fold them in using a spatula, repeat until all egg whites are folded in. Batter will be very loose. Pour batter into baking dish and bake for 40 minutes until the top is lightly golden. Cool completely; Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.

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     The yolks rolled down the sugar and got coated with it. I love the way they look 

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     This is not really a cake. It's a thin crust with a custard filling and a cooked meringue top. It's very good. 

     The recipe comes from a link in this blog. The blog is for the chocolate version, but Dave gave up chocolate for Lent. So, I made the original version. This is VERY easy to make and is special! 

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Comments (4)

  • May-11 - Linda (LRuthers)LOL Thassa!! I've heard that the chocolate version is especially tasty!
  • May-11 - Thassa (doedoggg)lol I didn't even see that you had made this when I posted at Cooks! Its very yummy!
  • Apr-23 - Linda (LRuthers)Oh, yum! Peanut butter frosted brownies sound scrumptious to me, and Dave is a freak for cherry...  Show Full Comment
  • Apr-22 - Cats (NancyMI)I find it interesting how different everyone's cake turns out. You call the top layer a meringue...  Show Full Comment

Tennessee T- Cakes

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     These incredibly moist and buttery confections aren't a cake or a cookie. They're crunchy topped chewy, butterscotch-y heaven, and they're so easy to make.  

     In Nashville, where they were born, they're often served with iced sweet tea, but they're even better with coffee, hot tea, or milk.

Tennessee  T- cakes

1 ½ c. packed dark brown sugar
½ c. white sugar
1 c. salted butter, melted and hot 
2 large eggs
4 t. vanilla
1 ½ c. all-purpose flour
Powdered sugar, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Add the brown sugar and white sugar to the melted butter and set aside (some of the brown sugar will melt). In mixer with paddle attachment, gently mix the egg and vanilla. Add the butter and sugar mixture to the egg mixture and beat on low until mixed well. Add flour all at once to mixer.  mix well until ribbon-like.

Bake in 24 paper lined cupcake cups for 22 minutes, turning at 11 minutes.

Dust well with powdered sugar when cooled.

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Comments (5)


Perfect Rump Roast & Horsey Sauce

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Perfect Rump Roast

     Allow the rump roast to come to room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Cut 4-5 small slits in roast and insert half a garlic clove in each slit. Salt and pepper all over. Rub with rosemary, thyme, or other herbs, if desired, and place on a rack over a metal pan. 

     Sear in oven at 500 degrees for 20 minutes at 500 degrees. Add 1-2 cups beef broth and a large, sliced onion to the pan, lower the temperature to 275 degrees, and roast for 20 minutes per pound until temperature in the thickest part of the meat is 125-130 for rare or 135-140 for medium rare. 

     Strain the drippings for au jus.

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Creamy Horsey Sauce

1 1/3 c. sour cream
6 T. prepared horseradish
1 1/2 t. Dijon mustard 
2 t. fresh lemon juice 
1/2 t. sugar 
1/2 c. whipping cream, whipped to soft peaks

Combine sour cream, horseradish, mustard, lemon juice and sugar. Gently fold in whipped cream. Cover and refrigerate at least 60 minutes to allow flavors to mingle. 

Comments (2)


Chocolate Covered PB & Nutella Crackers

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     These are so easy to make and so addictive. The university's basketball team is in the final four, so the PCM luncheon tomorrow has a tailgate theme. Their colors are black and gold, so I came pretty close. 

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Nutella Crakers

3 sleeves Ritz crackers 
1 small jar each creamy peanut butter and Nutella 
2 bags Wilton Milk Chocolate Candy Melts

     Gently melt chocolate wafers over a double boiler, stirring occasionally. Spread half the crackers thinly with PB and the other half with Nuttella, and place them together. Using chopsticks or forks, dip crackers into melted chocolate and place on waxed paper; decorate to suit your tastes or a theme. Allow 1-2 hours to harden completely. 

     Store at room temperature in an airtight container. 

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     If you plan to take them anywhere, do not taste them first. Most of them won't make it to their destination if you do. 

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     If you have any leftover chocolate, which tastes AMAZING on it's own BTW, dip individual crackers in it for another tasty treat. 

Comments (3)


Crochet Bridal Shawl Pattern/Directions

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     I fell in love with this shawl and the crocodile stitch, but the directions were so frustrating for me. They were redundant and confusing and I was tearing my hair out trying to figure out how to do this. THIS is my version of this shawl, or the closest I could come to it. If you aren't familiar with the crocodile stitch, Mikey's YouTube video showed me how to do it. It took several tries and stopping and starting the video several times for me to get the basic idea. Mikey's crocodile stitch isn't exactly like the one in the pattern, but the video will show you how to do it. 

Bridal Shawl


2 Crocodile stitches = about 4 in. (10 cm). I used a J size hook for most of the shawl.

When you match the gauge in a pattern, your project will be the size specified in the pattern and the materials specified in the pattern will be sufficient. The needle or hook size called for in the pattern is based on what the designer used, but is not unusual for gauge to vary from person to person. If it takes you fewer stitches and rows to make your swatch, try using a smaller size hook or needles; if more stitches and rows, try a larger size hook or needles. 


ch = chain

st = stitch

yo = yarn over

sl st = yo, draw yarn through designated sts and the yarn on the hook

Edc = extended double crochet

rep = repeat

To do an Edc, yo, insert hook in indicated st, yo and draw up a loop (3 loops on hook), yo and draw through 1 loop on hook, yo and draw through 2 loops on hook twice

To do a V-st, Edc, ch 1, Edc in indicated stitch

Crocodile st: worked around a V-stitch. Rotate piece one quarter turn right, work 6 Edc on the left Edc, ch 1, rotate piece one half turn to work 6 Edc around the right Edc. [See photos]


1. Shawl is worked from lower center point [a single Crocodile st] upwards in alternating rows.

    a. Crocodile st rows: Alternate Crocodile sts with Edcs, beginning and ending with Crocodile sts. Crocodile sts are done in the V-sts from the previous row and slip stitched to the Edcs from that row.

    b. V-sts rows:  Alternate V-sts and Edcs. Sts are increased on each side to create a triangular shawl. This is  done by crocheting a V-st on the ends of the far right and left Crocodile sts from the previous row. V-sts are done in the sl sts from the previous row and Edcs are done in the center of the Crocodile sts from that row..

2. The shawl is worked with the right side (RS) facing you at all times. V-sts rows are worked right to left and crocodile rows are worked left to right, rotating the shawl clockwise and counter clockwise as needed to do the sts.

3. The shawl can be as long or as short as needed; the top edging and finishing sts are not dependent on the shawl being one certain length or the final rows being a certain number of sts. It’s very flexible.

Beg at lower back point of Shawl, ch 6; join with sl st in first ch to form a ring.

Row 1: Ch 3 (counts as first Edc), (5 Edc, ch 1, 6 Edc) in ring (Crocodile st made); do not join.  

Row 2: Ch 4 (counts as Edc, ch 1, Edc in same st as origin of the ch 4 ), ch 3, Edc in center ring, ch 3, V-st in top of beginning ch 3. [You'll have a V-st on either side with one Edc in the center.]

Row 3 (Crocodile st row): Ch 1, *Crocodile st around V-st, ch 1, sl st in single Edc, ch 1. Rep from * Crocodile st around last V-st.

Row 4 (V-st row): Ch 4, Edc in top of last [far right] crocodile st, ch 3, *Edc in sp at center of Crocodile st, ch 3, V-st in next sl st (between the Crocodile sts), ch 3. Rep from *; V-st on left side of the first crocodile stitch of row 3.

Row 5 (Crocodile st row): Ch 1, Crocodile st around first V-st, *ch 1, sl st in single Edc between V-sts, ch 1, Crocodile st around next V-st; rep from * across.

Row 6 (V-st row) Ch 4, Edc in top of last crocodile st, ch 3, Edc in sp at center of next Crocodile st, *ch 3, V-st in next sl st (between the Crocodile sts), ch 3, Edc in sp at center of next Crocodile st; rep from * across, ch 3, V-st on left side of the first crocodile stitch of previous row.

Rows 7-58: Rep Rows 5 and 6 until you have the last row of 30 V-sts, 29 Edc, and 58 ch-3 sps at the end of Row 58.

Row 59: Rep Row 5; you should have 30 Crocodile sts. [See Note 3.]

Do not fasten off, continue on to work top edging as follows:

 Top Edging

Row 1: Ch 4, 3 Edc in top edge of far right crocodile stitch, 2 Edc in crocodile st space, 4 Edc in top of left side of the crocodile st. , *4 Edc ch3-sp behind Crocodile st, 2 Edc into sp at center of Crocodile st, 4 Edc into second ch3-sp behind same Crocodile st; rep from * across.

Side Edging: Use an F size hook.
Ch 20, sc in top of 3rd Edc of next Crocodile st, *ch 20,  sc in top of 3rd Edc of next Crocodile st; rep from * to the first Crocodile st at lower back point of shawl [i.e. the first crocodile st of the shawl].

Ch 20, sc in 4th Edc on the other side of same Crocodile st, **ch 20, working up other diagonal side edge, sc in 4th  Edc of next Crocodile st. Rep from **  to Crocodile st at top right side of the shawl. Tie off.

This is a V-st row.

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Rotate work one-quarter turn right to crochet the left side of the crocodile stitch. 

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Then rotate it one half turn to crochet the right side of each crocodile stitch.

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This is the neck edging.

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The neck edging is crocheted in the center of each crocodile st and in the ch 3 areas on either side behind each crocodile st. 

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I switched to a smaller hook for the trim. The original pattern called for ch 30s for the trim - in two directions. It's your shawl. Do what you want or leave it off completely. 

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     Writing these directions wasn't as easy as I thought. I hope the photos help clarify things, but ask any questions, and I'll try to help. 

Comments (4)

  • Mar-22 - Linda (LRuthers)It's really not hard to do, once you understand how to do the crocodile stitch, Lenore. It was fun.
  • Mar-22 - GardenGal (LENORE37)Wow - Linda! That looks difficult but beautiful. So intricate. Good job!
  • Mar-21 - Linda (LRuthers)I'm making a smaller, less dramatic one in blue, Linda. It's a really pretty stitch.
  • Mar-21 - DEDA DAWN (dedadawn1977)That is a beautiful shawl. Thanks for taking the time to go over the directions. I just love to...  Show Full Comment
About the Author
Linda (LRuthers)



     I'm convinced that there are many more bad recipes than there are bad cooks. The problem is that sometimes decent cooks use bad recipes and then believe that the poor results are their fault.

     When people print recipes in cookbooks, magazines, etc. or when they post them online, they seldom tell the pitfalls or the little tips needed to make the recipe turn out well. And, too, quite a few printed recipes contain typos!

     I search for recipes that are good. Dependable. I'm not a chef. I'm a mother and grandmother who's been cooking for >45 years.

     I believe that any recipe posted for the general public should be one that I can master. If not, there's something wrong with the recipe.

     I post my successes and my failures, and tell what I learned when following each new recipe. I learn more from my mistakes. I don't know what that says about me.

     The very best recipes are the ones that are inexpensive, delicious AND easy. And there are a lot of those.

     Sometimes, I spend a little more and work a little harder for a recipe that seems to be one that will make people really happy.

Thanks, Linda

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