December 30, 2015

Three Rhubarb Pie Recipes With Rhubarb Trivia





While cleaning files I came across the following recipes for rhubarb—which my husband Monte likes but I don’t. Anyway, he’s the one that does the baking—bread and pies. Between the recipes are rhubarb trivia questions. Answers are at the end of the post.

  •  When did rhubarb appear in the United States?
  • How did it get here?
  • Where did it originate?


Pastry for double crust.

4 cups diced rhubarb

3 tablespoons flour

1  1/4 cups sugar

Dash salt

1 egg

2 tablespoons butter


Line a 9-inch pie plate with pastry.

Mix flour, sugar and salt.

Add egg to rhubarb and stir it in. Pour (more…)

July 10, 2014

11 Facts About Ice Cream Month (July)



Ice cream stand in Gouverneur, New York

Ice cream stand in Gouverneur, New York

 I scream

You scream

We all scream

For ice cream.

140711 IMG_2688E

 In 1984 that President Ronald Reagan established the 3rd Sunday in July (July 20,  2014) as National Ice Cream Day , and proclaimed July as National Ice Cream Month. Note that December is Ice Cream Day.

I invite you to toss aside your diet for at least one day this July and indulge in a serving of your favorite ice cream. I also invite you to discover how many answers you know to the following quiz on ice cream.

Before starting the quiz ponder on your favorite ice cream flavor? Let me know in the comment box after this article.

By the way, I think my is ginger ice cream, something I didn’t expect to like until I tried it.

140711 IMG_2690EQUESTIONS 

  1. Which US state once had a law that banned serving ice cream on cherry pie?
  2. Where and when was Ice cream was made available to the general public for the first time?
  3. How many gallons of ice cream were on the Titanic?
  4. Which U.S. president jotted down an ice cream recipe?
  5. What United States president doesn’t like ice cream?
  6. What dictator banned the sale of ice cream throughout his country and called the Italians “a mediocre race of good-for-nothings only capable of singing and eating ice cream”?
  7. Name the rock band and the rock star, each of whom had an ice cream flavor named after it?
  8. Why is it impossible for ice cream on that crosses the Rocky Mountains on a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream truck to taste the same after the trek as it does when it started the trek?
  9. When and in what publication did the first advertisement for ice cream appear?
  10. When and how was ice cream historically documented as being enjoyed in America?


How did the ice cream sundae get its name? Where was the biggest ice cream sundae ever made? How much ice cream did it contain?

Learn the answers by clicking on MORE: (more…)

December 9, 2012

Two Holiday Recipes: Hors d’oeuvres and Umble Pie




Holidays demand some simple, and sometimes some unique, food to serve to family and guests.


In reading the newspaper I came across the three following recipes I thought would be useful if I need to create some simple to prepare hors d’oeuvres1. Although my husband refers to them as horse’s dovers the French word means appetizers.


Roast sliced potatoes sprinkled with salt and pepper at 375-degrees ntil golden. Cool. Top with smoked salmon, low-fat Greek yogurt, and fresh dill.


Pour a bit of your favorite salad dressing into a shot glass and add a leaf of Romaine lettuce, a slice of pear, and a thin slice of Gouda cheese.


Cut roasted tenderloin on bias; place a few leaves of fresh arugula in the center of each slice. Roll up and secure with a skewer (or tooth pick).


Later, at a Westmoreland County (PA) Historical Society program on Christmas traditions in Southwestern Pennsylvania, I heard the term umble pie arose.

Huh? Isn’t it humble pie? We’ve all heard people being told to eat humble pie if they need to apologize for a misdeed.

No, it isn’t.

Umble pie is (more…)

December 6, 2012

How to Use Marshmallows



In passing, I heard a television voice state that marshmallow companies depend, like many businesses, on the last two months of the year to build their profit margin.

Erewhon-Best-croppedI couldn’t find any information on the Internet to support this statement but I did wonder that it was the Christmas season that financially makes the marshmallow business, rather than the Easter season.

While exploring the question I discovered the many surprising uses for marshmallows. Of course there’s the traditional uses that everyone is familiar with:

  • S’mores
  • Rice Krispie Treats or Squares: Melt about 1/4 cup of butter or margarine in a saucepan. Add one package of regular-sized marshmallows (about 40 marshmallows) and stir until melted. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in 6 cups of Rice Krispies. Place the mixture in a greased pan and cool, then cut into squares.1
  • sweet potato topping
  • toasted-over-the-fire marshmallows
  • marshmallow topping hot chocolate
  • fluffernutters (if you don’t know what a fluffernutter is click on )

Below are some of the other uses for marshmallows:

  • Marshmallow Pie Improves on the Classic Mallomar
  • Marshmallow Animals
  • Bourbon Marshmallows
  • Chocolate Covered Beer Marshmallows
  • Toasted Marshmallow Milkshakes

and a book: Marshmallow Madness!: Dozens of Puffalicious Recipes



Once upon a time, the only desserts I made were pies, and then it occurred to me that a repressed desire for a thick, rich filling was subverting my more recent cake obsession. So I figured, might as well go with it and make a pie with a marshmallow filling.

For some reason, I saw it with a graham cracker bottom crust and a chocolate top crust. Well, clearly another repressed desire was breaking through. This was basically the idea of the Mallomar, that over-the-top cookie that Nabisco produces only during the cool part of the year because the chocolate coating would melt in hot weather.

The difference is that 1) this was a pie that I could slice into pieces of any size I liked, and 2) I could make it any time of year! A triumph over the limitations of eating guilty pleasures seasonally! You probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry all the time….

Marshmallow Pie

Serves 8-12

For the crust:

10 graham crackers

2 teaspoons sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

2 to 3 grindings nutmeg

5 tablespoons butter, melted


1. Put the crackers, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a food processor and process until fine, about 20 seconds.

2. Pour in the melted butter and pulse about 10 times, until just amalgamated.

3. Pour the crumb mixture into a 9-inch pie pan and, pressing with your (more…)

August 21, 2012

Peach Cobbler, Brandy, & Political Preserves



Prunus persica: scientific name for the peach, a sweet, juicy summer treat. 1

Each year, throughout Western Pennsylvania, the peach is celebrated—an appropriate activity in August, which is National Peach Month.

A peach festival will be held 3-7 pm Saturday August 13, 2011, at Hilltop United Methodist Church in Madison (PA) 

A peach festival is planned for 4-7 p. m. (August 18, 2012) at Lebanon United Methodist Church, on Old Forbes Road in Ligonier Township. Supper will be available along with various peach desserts and other baked goods.

Even politicians recognize the value of peaches, as demonstrated by Rick Santorum, former U.S. senator and GOP presidential nominee wannabe who went “peachy’’ in Iowa in an attempt to appeal not just to Iowa Republicans’ hearts, but to their stomachs, too…Republican presidential candidates offer something special to draw supporters to the Ames straw poll in the run-up to the Iowa caucuses. This election cycle’s straw poll will be held Saturday (August 13, 2011).

So what special something is Santorum offering in Iowa?…He told a small Iowa gathering that he and his wife, Karen, have some fruit trees back home. He said the family harvested about 600 early peaches, which he and the kids peeled and made into peach jam at their house, along with about 40 jars of peach preserves that the Santorums are bringing to the straw poll.

Everyone is expected to get a sample of what Santorum referred to as “Pennsylvania Presidential Peach Preserves.”2


No wonder the peach is king. It is low in calories, have virtually no fat, and are high in vitamins C and A, dietary fiber, potassium and niacin.

Sweet, juicy summer treat originally thought to have originated in Persia, but now believed to be native to China, most likely brought to the Mediterranean by Chinese traders and to the Americas by Spanish explorers.

Peaches are grown in more than 60 countries; the U.s.—particluarly Georgia and South Carolina—is a major producer…1


Santorum wasn’t the first American politician who recognized the value of peaches. George Washington, best known as a general and president, could teach Santorum about (more…)

February 17, 2011

What Vitamins & Medications Do You Unknowingly Take?




     About two out of five adolescents have tooth streaking or spottiness because of too much fluoride, a surprising government study found recently. In some extreme cases, teeth can even be pitted by the mineral — though many cases are so mild that only dentists notice it…(the condition) fluorosis—is unexpectedly common in children twelve to fifteen years old. And it appears to have become much more common since the 1980s… The problem is generally considered cosmetic.*

     Only cosmetic? The article later points out that A scientific report five years ago said people who consume a lifetime of too much fluoride — an amount over EPA’s limit of 4 milligrams — can develop crippling bone abnormalities and brittleness.

     Although I don’t take fluoride supplements, as many people do—nor do I use store-bought toothpaste , as most people do, I’ve often wondered just how much fluoride has been added to my diet through the use of store-bought foods. I also wonder how much unknown vitamins, minerals and medications I’m taking simply by eating these store-bought foods and drinking from the community water supply.  

     Peruse the labels of items you purchase from the grocery shelves and you will notice (more…)

November 22, 2010

My Husband’s Pumpkin Pie Saga



     I might as well tell it like it is, like my husband Monte tells people: I don’t tend to prepare foods I dislike—like lima beans and pumpkin pie.

     Monte really likes pumpkin pie. I do not. So in defense, in 1985 he began making pumpkin pie.

     We were living in New Castle, Pennsylvania, in the Emmanuel United Methodist Church parsonage where Monte had his first appointment with the Western Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church. Being a pastor was his second career—he’d spent nineteen years as a physics professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo, and Slippery Rock University in western Pennsylvania.

     As he dabbled increasingly successfully at making pumpkin pies, he had a brainstorm: why not (more…)

October 27, 2009

Ghostly white pumpkins of the Lunar variety



Pumpkins have become the Christmas trees of fall festivals, the Easter bunnies of Halloween. From jack-o’-lanterns to the formal centerpiece, pumpkins are a focal point of autumn.*

     The discerning autumn bride doesn’t decorate her reception table with just any pumpkin. She places intermixes floral arrangements with traditional orange pumpkins and the Lunar pumpkin, which delight and intrigue her wedding guests.

     If you’ve never seen the Lunar pumpkin you will probably (more…)

February 12, 2009

CANDIED VIOLETS: Remembering My Mother on Her Birthday

     While living in the home we built in Slippery Rock, in the midst of seventy acres, part of our experience is what many would describe as “back to earth.” We gardened, canned, kept chickens. We also had lots of violets that bloomed in the spring and in the fall. (click to view photo: )
     It was the early seventies when I discovered that one could make what was considered a delicacy: candied violets, a violet blossom preserved by (more…)

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