COOKING

17 10 2012

I married very young. In fact, I had only been 18 a month when I married for better or worse, etc. And I meant every single word of it.  So did he.  It has lasted a long, long time.

But when I was first married, I was determined to learn to cook and cook really good.  Everyone else seemed to know how, so I would too. I had some new cookbooks and so I spent a lot of time reading through them picking out what I thought sounded really good.  And easy.  And impressive.  Of course.  I worked full time and didn’t have a lot of time for cooking, but I was definitely determined.

On this day, I had read about blanched spaghetti.  Now that sounded truly marvelous since I had never even heard of it. So I decided I would have that for supper.  Didn’t sound hard to fix either.  I just put a pan of water on the stove and cooked the spaghetti.  Then it said in order to blanche it, all you had to do was pour cold water over it  Even I could manage that one!

So I prepared all the rest of the dinner for my new husband and I and then prepared the blanched spaghetti.  We sat down, smiling at one another as usual.  I was so proud of everything new that I did.  We ate in silence.  But we both enjoyed the meal.  Then he got up from the table and said, ‘I never ate cold spaghetti before.’  I said, ‘I didn’t either.  But I don’t think I will fix that one again.’  He smiled and agreed and we both went on about our business.  It was awhile before I understood what I had prepared. Just spaghetti that had been washed so it wouldn’t stick together after cooking.

I don’t recommend fixing blanched spaghetti for your supper tonight. But it sounded good back then.  Life was wonderful and  I wouldn’t have missed those times for anything in the world.

Since then, I have learned a lot about cooking and how to feed all those hungry kids and make them think it is a really good meal.  But I never tried blanched spaghetti again.  Don’t think I could sell any of them on that.

I have a really good cookbook out now.  It’s called Bet’s Cookbook and has a lot of original recipes and some not so original in it.  It tells exactly how to put together really good meals that don’t cost much and are easy to prepare.  My kids loved all my cooking and that is the best recommendation I could ever have.   If you might be interested in buying one of my cookbooks, please send $12 including postage to BET, P.O. Box 2249, Benton, AR  72018.  I have other really great books, too.  Look me up on Amazon sometime.

But don’t fix blanched spaghetti.

 





STUFF

17 08 2012

When I was raising all my children and there were a bunch, my mother in law grew vegetables in her garden and gave them to me.  So I was obligated whether I liked it or not to can or preserve or do whatever I could to save all those vegetables for my family to eat.  I always wondered if I saved any money doing that, but I still had to do it anyway.

First, she would call me and tell me she had a basket of tomatoes or peaches or whatever else there was.  Of course I was most grateful for all this, but I hated getting the phone call.  First of all, I’d better get myself over there in a hurry because she had no patience for my not coming right now.  Those tomatoes might just spoil before I got there.  Well, of course I had a few dozen other things going at the time but that didn’t count.  Like, maybe I was running a load of wash and wanted to put them in the dryer or maybe I had to take some of the kids to the pool or to the barbershop or whatever.  No matter, hurry up and get that basket full of tomatoes.  So I did of course.  Makes for better family relations if I do it right.

Then after picking up the vegetables, I still have to take those kids wherever or whenever they are going.  Then get home and make all the preparations for canning.  Do you know what that means?  Takes a lot to can tomatoes.  Lots of washing and getting ready and setting up.  By this time, the children are ready for lunch so have to stop and do that.  Then it is time to put someone down for a nap.  Have to do that.  By this time, that load of clothes is through in the dryer so have to do that.  Finally, with a couple of hours before time to start dinner, I start canning.  And I canned and canned and canned fast as I could.

If you have time, read my blog entitled Jars.  You will really enjoy it if you have ever been faced with any of the above.  Just pure fun.  Might just as well laugh over it all.  But, I’ll tell you for sure, I was glad when she quit giving me those vegetables.  I was about canned out.  And I still wonder if I saved any money in the deal.  Guess I did, though.  It is in the papers now that the price of groceries is going to go up because of the drought.  If this is true, you might want to get a few jars and think about canning yourself.  Never know.  Those tomatoes are hard to beat.  Glad I had them lots and lots of times.  Read Jars and laugh!





I STILL WANT IT BACK!!!

16 06 2012

I wrote yesterday about things I wanted back in my world.  And then I remembered I also want my food left alone.  I want my tomatoes back!  I used to just love those wonderful tasting fresh tomatoes we got from the backyard every year.  And everyone I knew grew a few of those in their backyard or bought them at the farmer’s market.  Sometimes even a neighbor would give you one or two of those huge, almost split in half tomatoes from their garden.  My mother-in-law grew the most wonderful tomatoes ever.  She would throw her coffee grounds on the tomato plants every day and they grew like mad.

Well, anyway, I want my tomatoes back!  These things they sell nowadays have no taste except sour sometimes.  They are not pretty.  They have no good smell anymore.  And do you know why?  Because someone messed around with the seeds and they took all the acid out of the tomatoes. Now I don’t know how that was supposed to help the environment or whatever it was they were helping. Probably something weird like all that other stuff is.  But they ruined the tomatoes. You cannot buy the old type seeds anymore and so we are all stuck with this made-up tomato that isn’t worth eating.  Even a BLT doesn’t taste like it used to.  And I used to just love them.

I used to can a lot of tomatoes every year, too.  But if you want to can tomatoes nowadays, you have to add acid to them in the form of lemon juice or some such thing. Absolutely and positively ridiculous!  Over and over again.  Ridiculous!

I still want my food back.  Quit messing with the food in this country.  Leave it alone.  If I choose to be unhealthy, that is my choice.  If I choose to be fat and ugly, that is my choice.  If I choose to be healthy, then that is also my choice.  But leave the food alone.  Quit fixing everything for everyone. It is my responsibility to care for myself.  Not someone else’s.

God made the food. God provided just exactly what He wanted us to have and He didn’t need for it to be fixed or altered or changed in any way.  This is His world.  This is His plan for us.  Everything was provided for us, period.  He had his reasons for putting the acid in the tomatoes.  He had his reasons for doing each and everything regarding the foods.  So quit fixing everything for us.  Leave it alone.

Thank You, Dear God for everything you have provided for us forever.  Please take care of us.





GREAT CAKE!

5 12 2011

Was texting with my daughter today and told her I was making Rum Cakes.  These are not for Christmas giving just yet although I will make some for that, too. But at our house we have four birthdays to celebrate next weekend, so I made four cakes as gifts for Happy Birthday!  Took me less than 2 hours to make all four cakes.  I will be making 8 more of these for Christmas next week.

Anyway, my daughter suggested I blog about the cake as it is absolutely and positively delicious.  Also very easy to make and everyone just loves the cake.  In fact, they ask me to make them another one  next Christmas.  One year, I made 25 because so many people kept asking for them.  Don’t do that anymore, but will probably make a dozen or so.

So here is the recipe for that delicious, scrumptous Rum Cake.   Combine in a mixing bowl – 1 yellow cake mix, any kind will do.  In fact, the cheaper ones usually make the best cakes.  1 small package vanilla pudding mix.    4 whole eggs,    1 cup water,   1/2 cup vegetable oil,  1/2 tsp Rum Flavoring.  Mix all together until smooth, then beat slightly.

Grease tube cake pan.  Pour mixture into pan and bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes to 1 hour.

Make icing while the cake is cooking.  Mix together in small pan – 1 Cup Sugar, 1 Stick Margarine, 1/2 Cup Water and 1/2 Tsp Rum Flavoring.  Boil about 1 minutes.

When cake is done, leave in pan and prick all over with toothpick.  Then pour about 1/2 hot icing mixture over hot cake.  Let sit for a minute so cake can absorb all the mixture.  Then turn cake out upside down onto large sheet of aluminum foil.  Prick again with toothpick.  Pour rest of mixture over cake.  Wrap tightly with aluminum foil.  Wait about 4 days before slicing cake.  Delicious!

This recipe is extremely easy and makes you look like one great cook.   Enjoy!

If you like this recipe, you will really like my cookbook entitled Bet’s Cookbook.  It has 120 pages of easy, cheap, delicious recipes to wow everyone you know. Also has lots of tips that make cooking ‘easy as pie.’

You can order direct from me at P.O. Box 2249, Benton, AR  72018 for just $10 in check or money order.  Any three of my books are only $25.  Look up my books on booksbybet.com





EATING WITH KIDS

28 09 2011

I saw an advertisement today that pictured a child refusing to eat his vegetables.  This brought up memories in my mind from times long ago.  Fancy that!  Anyway, in my family when I was growing up, there were several picky and I do mean picky eaters.  Too bad as far as I was concerned.  I was in the middle of my family and got to see all sides because of that position.

My mother had cooked a good meal every day for many, many years.  No matter the temperature nor the temperaments, she still hung in there and we had a great 3 meals per day.  My father worked nights so we ate a nice breakfast every morning while he was asleep.  Then we had a big lunch because he would be going to work at 3.  Then we had a nice supper because we had good leftovers from that big lunch.  So I knew all the food was very good.  I was never a big eater, but I enjoyed all that we had.

We would sit down to eat and one of those picky eaters would say, ‘what are we having that for?’  or ‘you know I don’t like this or that’.  Or  maybe it would be ‘do we have to eat that?’.  I got sick and tired of hearing that when I was growing up and told myself I would never have that at my house whenever I had a family.  And sure enough I never did.

I raised a big family and cooked all those meals, too.  And I never, ever had anyone sit down at the table and say they didn’t like anything that was offered to them.  They were good eaters and although some of them might not like something, they never complained.  I made it quite clear early in their lives that we did not complain about our food.  And so we did not complain about our food.

Just as I had done, they learned to eat turnips and squash and pickles and tomatoes, and different kinds of breads and meats.  Never hurt them one single bit just like it had never hurt me.  Sometimes, they would even say, ‘boy this is really good, mom’.  And their father taught them to say, ‘that was a good meal,’ or ‘thanks for the dinner, mom.’

Just like money, nice dinners don’t grow on trees.  Your children should be taught to be open to trying all sorts of foods and you should be making a decent meal every night or every day or whenever you can.  Teach them to appreciate whatever they have.  And that brings up all sorts of issues for another blog sometime.  Like clothes and furniture and cars, etc.  Just teach them to appreciate you and what you do for them and all the other blessings in their lives.





BIRTHDAYS AT MY HOUSE

20 09 2011

Hi again:  We have a lot of fun with birthdays at my house.  We also have a good time celebrating Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and all other necessary celebrations.  There are a lot of people in my family and so we really enjoy the visits with one another.  Everyone has such a good time just laughing and teasing and talking and visiting about everything from politics to old times.

We only celebrate birthdays every 3 months.  And it doesn’t have to be any particular time during that three months.  We might have it on the first weekend or the last weekend.  Never know.  We just try to do it when the most of us can come.  And then comes the presents.  And those are some presents, too.  We trade gifts back and forth.  I usually give the kids some money, but it isn’t much.  Then everyone usually gets some candy or treats of some kind.  After that, it is ‘hold the buggy, betsy!’  You just never know what might be in that sack.

For instance, one of my daughters and I trade a cheap, ugly statue back and forth, so we are going to get that if it is our turn.  That’s for sure!  Another child and I have been trading an ugly puzzle that no one could possibly work.  It is all in shades of black and gray and not even a good picture.  He originally got it at the dollar store, but we trade it every birthday.  Then, one son gave me a bag of plastic balls and said, ‘have a ball’.  Another time, I got a gold brick.  I have also received a stimulus check in the amount of $2 million.  I am still trying to cash that.  It came from one of my grandsons.

So, as you can see, presents are just for fun.   There is no great expense to this.  No one has to spend much money.  Sometimes they even make their own birthday cards with cutouts from magazines.  Always fun stuff.   We don’t usually put a limit on the money for birthdays.  No need to.  No one is going to spend much anyway.  And it is well known that not everyone has to get a gift for everyone.  Sometimes we have a lot of birthdays and there is no reason for anyone to be obligated.  It is all just for fun anyway.

I buy a cake at WalMart and put everyone’s name on it  Then we all sing, Happy Birthday to Everyone.  After that, we enjoy visiting some more and have our ice cream and cake or ice cream cones or whatever all those kids want at the time.  We have colas or tea or coffee to drink.  And a great time is had by all.

We do this same thing on other holidays.  Only we usually have a limit of $5 for gifts.  When my own children were younger, there was a limit of $1 for presents for Mother’s Day.  No reason to spend more.  I didn’t want anything anyway.  I usually got typing paper or envelopes or something in that range.  One year, my daughter who had grown up and was working went to get me a present for $1.  She saw a mirror that stood up in the bathroom.  It said, ‘Hi Gorgeous’ so that was what she wanted to buy for me.  When the clerk took her money, my daughter was laughing and saying that she was buying it for her mother for Mother’s Day.  This made the clerk mad and she said my daughter had no respect for her mother and made my daughter feel really bad.  I thought that was truly ridiculous.  Since when did the amount of money spent for a gift have anything to do with respect.  I treasured that mirror for many years.  It was always one of my favorite gifts.

So, next time you are thinking of giving a family party, you might want to bring out some of these ideas and use them.  Makes for a lot of fun and a very close family.  Have a Happy Birthday and make it fun this year.





SALADS

17 09 2011

As usual thinking about times long ago.  Although to me, it isn’t long ago at all.  People just assume that everyone ate salads forever.  That is not true.  It was the early fifties before salads became popular.  It was then a popular thing to say about salads,  ‘I’m not a rabbit, you know.’    There might be a mixture of lettuce and tomato on the table now and then, but usually it was just sliced or cubed tomatoes as a side dish – and that’s a new phrase, too.  But there were no salads at all.  Then someone came up with the bright idea that we could combine some of those greens and lettuce and tomatoes and all that other good stuff and we would call it a salad.

My mother had been cooking for a good many years by that time.   So she gave this salad business a try.  Worked out pretty well, too.  Almost everyone seemed to like having a salad with our dinner.  Then it became the thing to do to have the salad before the meal.  So we did that for awhile.  There were only two kinds of dressing.  We could either have white – which was mayonnaise or white salad dressing sold in the grocery store.  Or we could have the yellow which was the only kind of salad dressing available to buy at the grocery store that was actually a salad dressing for actual salads. I really think it was a form of french dressing or perhaps thousand island.  There were a couple of off brand type salad dressings but we ate this on crackers or bread as a snack before salads came along.

We ate a lot of tomatoes that were locally grown and they were really really good.  Not like the ones of today.   Someone told me that all the acid has been taken out of the tomatoes of today and that is why the taste is gone.  Don’t know that is true, but it makes sense to me because the tomatoes definitely do not taste like they used to.  That someone also said that is why the tomatoes don’t rot as fast.  And also why if you are canning today, you have to add some sort of acid to the tomatoes you are canning or they will not can properly.   I didn’t know that one either.  Things sure have changed since my canning days.  Oh, I hate canning.  That was such a chore and kept me in the kitchen for days at a time. (You might enjoy reading my blog about jars, jars everywhere) My mother-in-law grew vegetables for me.  Then it was up to me to come get them, prepare them and can them.  And I always said very nicely ‘thank you’.  She was a wonderful gardener and could grow absolutely anything.  But I sometimes wished she hadn’t been so good at it.  I had all those babies to take care of and canning was not exactly what I wanted to do every day during the summer months.   But you should always be grateful for anything you have, so I was properly grateful and meant it properly too.

But getting back to whatever I was writing about before the tomatoes came along, I think it was salads.  It is very nice nowadays to go to the local store and pick up a package of salad to have for dinner or lunch.  I have never found any problem with any of the packages yet.  Just grateful and properly so for them also.  Glad someone else is doing the picking and the washing and the preparing these days.  And also glad there is such a good variety of salad dressings in the grocery store.  Whole shelves full of them.  How fortunate we are in this country.

Well, that brings up something else to write about another day.  I went to Russia one time and we are so very fortunate every day wherever we live in this marvelous country.  Will write about that one.  Also will write about dieting before diets became popular.  Have a good evening.