When humor goes, there goes civilization

Puttering around my world


Reuben Soup

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     I did this on the fly. It was a chilly, rainy fall day, and I had the ingredients left over. It was a real hit.  

Reuben Soup

2 T. butter
1 c. chopped onion
1/4 c. flour 
Beef broth, as needed to get the thickness you want
2 c. chopped cooked corned beef 
1 c. sauerkraut, drained
1/4 t. Sriracha sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 c. shredded Gruyere cheese 

Sweat the onion in the butter until translucent. Add the flour and stir for 3-5 minutes; add about a cup and a half of good beef broth and stir until the mixture thickens. Add the corned beef, sauerkraut, Sriracha sauce. Taste and add salt and pepper to your liking. 

Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently and adding more broth as needed. 

While that's cooking, butter a couple of slices of rye bread and place in a 350 degree oven for 5-10 minutes until they're hot and crunchy.  Allow to cool and slice into croutons. 

Right before serving, add the cheese to the soup, stir, and serve with the croutons. 

Note: If I'd had any, I might have added a dash or two of caraway seeds. I looked for them...

Comments (6)


Passion or obsession

   All the plants have been brought inside, deloused, and made presentable for the house. This has taken the better part of a month, and as I watered them all this morning, I began wondering if I have a passion or if it's an obsession. 

     Some people probably think I lead a boring life. When asked what my hobbies are, I reply "reading, gardening, crocheting and counted cross stitch." Sounds like a boring old lady, huh? And to some it probably is. But I've learned to not even start down that road where I talk about life with my babies, because I've watched that interested look fade to incredulousness, and then the eyes begin to dart back and forth looking for an escape, any escape from this mad woman. 

     I don't even show all the plants I have anywhere. Ever. 

     This is most of them. I will say that. And you have the advantage of being able to close this window when you hit that point of overload.  

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     When a leaf falls off and lies there on the dry soil long enough, chances are roots are going to begin to develop. 
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     And then, before you know it, you have a nursery or three.
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     Okay, so I have an obsession. I think about them often, check them every day or so, know each one's name and likes and history and consider each one a child of sorts. I'm also constantly rearranging them. But with plants, I get to throw them away when they get out of hand. ;-D

Comments (13)


Evelyn's Elegant Edibles

The order arrived just now along with a note from Evelyn! Now, I have to find a cause to cook for. 

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Ham & Potato Soup

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     The title of this really should be, "Confessions of a Food Snob." As a child of the 50s, when cake mixes and "instant" foods first came on the market, I loved them at first. I remember those terrible homemade pizza mixes. We made them on Saturday nights before "Saturday Night at the Movies" and thought they were wonderful. Of course, this was long before we could pick up the phone and have a hot pizza delivered, so any pizza was wonderful. But I digress..

     Twenty some years ago, I decided that nothing was ever going to be as good as homemade foods from scratch, the way Mom used to make it. For years, I didn't buy any pre-processed food kits and so I haven't kept up with the new technology and the new revolution that came with it. My loss. 

     I've been seeing those bags of instant homemade soups and dips and sauces at fairs and festivals, and I scowled at them. Maybe they're okay for the masses, but the masses didn't know what they were missing, huh? But I was intrigued. They just looked so inviting. 

     This past weekend at Oglebayfest, one vendor had samples of Evelyn's Elegant Edibles soups. Dave loves potato soup, and the one he had displayed looked so yummy. So, I forked over $7.50 for a package. A few minutes later, I ran into a friend who's a class or three above me in intelligence, wit, kindness, sideline deserved snarkiness about others to friends, and everything else funny and real. She noticed the bag containing EEE's Creamy Potato Soup, poked it with a well manicured finger and said, "That stuff is great!" 

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      That sealed it. I made the soup, but like everything else I poke around with in the kitchen, I had to tweak it, but not very much. I used chicken and ham broth to reconstitute it, instead of water, threw in some smoked ham shank meat, and added a teaspoon of Sriracha sauce, of course. It's very, very good soup. 

     Bottom line?  This stuff is really good, and so what else have I missed? 

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Comments (5)


Fall garden Plants

     In many ways, the end of the season is as busy as the beginning. As I walked around and said good-bye to some of the plants that I can't bring indoors, I decided that, overall, we had a pretty good season.

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Comments (16)


Cream Cheese Filled Banana Nut Bread

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Cream Cheese Banana Nut Bread

1 c. mashed bananas [usually 2-3 bananas]
½ c. oil
1 ½ c. granulated sugar
¼ c. buttermilk [or ¼ t. lemon juice in ¼ c. milk]
1 t. vanilla
1 t. banana flavoring
3 eggs
1 ½ c. all-purpose flour
1 t. baking soda
½ t. salt
1 c. chopped nuts

Cream Cheese Filling:
2 large eggs
1 t. vanilla
8 oz. cream cheese , softened
½ c. granulated sugar
6 T. all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place bananas on foil covered cookie sheet and bake until they’re black, about 25 minutes. Cool, cut open and squeeze bananas into a bowl; add the liquid from the cookie sheet. Mash the bananas. Often, two bananas aren't quite enough and three bananas is a bit more than a cup. I add them anyway. A little extra mashed banana makes it better.  

Combine filling ingredients and set aside.

Increase oven temperature to 350 degrees. Grease or spray two 9" X 5" loaf pans and dust with granulated sugar. 

Combine the bananas, oil, sugar and buttermilk in a large mixing bowl, and mix thoroughly.  Add the vanilla and banana flavoring. Sift dry ingredients; add to wet ingredients, and mix just until blended. Add nuts. Mix just until the nuts are incorporated. Add ¾ of the batter to the two pans. Gently spoon cream cheese filling over the batter. Then gently spoon the rest of the batter over the cream cheese filling

Bake at 350 degrees F for 55-60 minutes or until tooth pick comes out clean. 

Cool for 10-15 minutes, then run a knife around the edges of the pans and turn the bread out onto wire racks to cool completely. 

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Comments (5)

  • Aug-24 - Bud (BLorimer)These look very good good.
  • Aug-13 - Linda (LRuthers)I'm so glad you like it, Jill!!
  • Aug-13 - niteowl410As soon as I saw this, I knew I had to make it. Thank you for the inspiration. This is so good!
  • Aug-12 - Linda (LRuthers)Dave and the kids and the grandkids thought it was really special. The Bacon Tomato Pie? Not as...  Show Full Comment
  • Aug-12 - KidmagnetNeat idea -and it looks so interesting!

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)

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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