14 April 2018

Femininity Friday: Vintage Cooking--Apricot Nut Bread

Courtesy of Microsoft

Dear Ladies,

One of my hobbies is collecting and cooking from vintage cookbooks, and I have amassed about fifty or so over the years.

I find it somewhat humorous that the cookbook from which I learned to cook--Betty Crocker's Cookbook, 1969 edition--is now considered vintage.  The feeling is akin to hearing a pop song from one's teen years playing on the "oldie" or "classic rock" station.  

But I digress.

This past week, as I continued culling and reorganizing my belongings, I found one of my smaller collection pieces tucked into a box of general books.  Simply...Good Cooking: 101 Recipes to Enjoy and Share was part of a sub-genre of vintage cookbooks published by product companies, which heavily featured the foods manufactured by the company in the recipes.  The booklet lacks a copyright date, but my guess would be late 1950s/early 1960s.  Fair use is claimed as the booklet has been out of print for at least fifty years and because the recipe is being used as instruction and critique.

Over the next few weeks, I plan to share one recipe each Friday, one from each section of the cookbook, along with my update of and commentary about the recipe.  I hope that you enjoy my humble effort and that my "little woman-to-woman ideas" help you.

Agape always,

The Original Apricot Nut Bread

3/4 cup boiling water
1 cup dried apricots, chopped
3 cups unsifted white flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (brand name) margarine
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup (brand name) light corn syrup
1 cup chopped nuts

Grease and lightly flour 9" x 5" x 3" loaf pan.  Pour water over apricots and let stand 15 minutes.  Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt.  In a large bowl, stir margarine, beat in sugar, eggs and corn syrup until smooth and well blended.  Mix in apricot mixture and nuts.  Gradually mix in dry ingredients.  Pour into pan.  Bake at 350 degrees F. oven about 1 1/4 hours or until cake tester inserted in center of loaf comes out clean.  Cool in pan for 10 minutes.  Remove from pan and cool on rack.  Serve with jam or jelly, if desired.  Makes 1 loaf.

Cynthia's Apricot Nut Bread

3/4 cup hot water
1 cup dried apricots, chopped
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder, preferably without aluminum
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 cup apple sauce
1 cup chopped nuts

Method:  Rehydrate apricots in hot water for fifteen minutes; drain off excess liquid.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spray a 9" x 5" x 3" loaf pan with cooking spray or grease and flour the loaf pan.  Sift together dry ingredients and set aside.  Cream together the butter and sugar, whipping until fluffy.  Combine the eggs and apple sauce into the butter and sugar mixture.  Stir in the dry ingredients by the half cup until fully incorporated.  Add the chopped nuts.  Place the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake in the preheated oven for one hour and fifteen minutes or until golden brown and a knife inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.  I don't perceive that the bread needs a topping, but softened cream cheese or butter could be used.  

Comments:  I updated the ingredients to improve the overall nutrition of the bread without compromising the taste and texture.  Whole wheat flour, no-aluminum baking powder, sea salt, butter, and apple sauce: these ingredients positively contribute to health for most people.  I felt that the sugar could be cut by a third without negatively impacting the sweetness of the bread and that the apple sauce would be an improvement over the corn syrup.

03 April 2018

April's Fascinating Days

Courtesy of Microsoft
April’s Fascinating Days

1 Pascha - Thank You, Lord!
2 Bunny and Egg Fun Day
12 Drop Everything and Read Day - We need no encouragement in this observance!
14 Poem in Your Pocket Day - Memorize and recite a short poem
17 Haiku Day - Read several examples with the youngsters and write a few of our own
22 Earth Day - Enjoy a picnic lunch at a park that we have never been to before
23 Shakespeare Day - Enjoy Chess Pie and perform a speech
30 Eeyore’s Birthday - Have some fun (Poohsticks, perhaps?) with a family member of melancholy temperament (We don't celebrate naughtily: Austin, Texas, I'm looking at you!)

The entire month is Autism Awareness month.  I have been learning more about Autism, and I encourage all of you to learn more, too.  I have been concentrating on books; however, the Wikipedia page on Autism will give a helpful overview.  If you know a mother who has a child or children with Autism, why not do something kind for her?

April’s Reading:

The FBI Nobody Knows - Fred J. Cook
Always and Forever, Lara Jean - Jenny Han
Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew - Ellen Notbohm 

I am happy to report that the major causes of my health problems have been identified.  Please continue to pray for us as I will be searching for an appropriate and safe place for us to live.  I pray for all my gentle readers every day (even a certain ex-boyfriend visitor who is not a fascinating woman, let me tell you!).

Hugs and love!

Agape always,


30 March 2018

Femininity Friday: Forgiveness

Courtesy of Microsoft

Dear Ladies,

I hope that you all are feeling well, doing good, and sharing your joie de vivre with others.  This week, not without reason, I have been pondering the concept of forgiveness.

We would be lost without forgiveness.  We all do things every day--usually unintentionally, but sometimes very intentionally--that transgress the word of God and that hurt other people.  Doing so just seems to be human nature.  We blunder through life, and we sin every day.  The key is to seek forgiveness from God and from the people we have offended (if doing so would be safe and appropriate), and we must also learn to forgive.

Learning to forgive those who have hurt us helps us to grow in charity and humility and love.   Does forgiving others mean what they did was acceptable?  I don't believe so, no.  To my way of thinking, when we forgive those who have offended us, we release ourselves from bondage to whatever act hurt us, lessening the likelihood that our spirits will be embittered.

Good Friday is the day when Christians the world over commemorate the Crucifixion of Jesus, whom we regard as our Lord and our Savior.  For  His sake, I beg you to forgive me for anything I have written or done that upset you in any way.

As always, I hope that my little "woman-to-woman" ideas have helped you.

I wish you and yours a blessed Paschal Triduum.

Agape always,

22 March 2018

Wondering Wednesday (on Thursday): "What Can I Do about My Poor Character?"

Courtesy of Microsoft
Dear Ladies,

I received the following question from a Yahoo! group member: "I feel that my character is so bad that nothing can improve it.  [She went into some personal details that I won't share.] What could I do?"  This following is the answer I shared with the group:

My woman-to-woman, not-a-professional suggestion to improve character would be to look at the traits Mrs. A gives in the character chapter in her book and rank the worst (the one that challenges you the most), the second worst, etc., until all of them have a rating from worst to best.  Next, start with the most challenging character trait and work on improvement (remember, we look for progress, not perfection) for a month; move to the second most challenging and so on until you have worked through all of them.  Doing so will take you about a year, but at the end of the year, you should be able to look back and see improvement.  Work on the rest of Mrs. A's teachings as you go along to improve your self-esteem, which, in turn, will help you to realize your worth as a woman and make it less likely that you will make unwise choices.  As always, I hope that my little woman-to-woman ideas have helped.  

In the venue of my blog, I would add that I encourage everyone who can do so safely to read The Holy Bible each day for fifteen minutes.  Do so even if you are an atheist.  The Holy Bible, if nothing else, is chockablock with ancient wisdom that, for millennia, has helped people to improve their lives and the way they treat others (but that's just my opinion).  

Agape always,

21 March 2018

Embrace and Celebrate the Now

Almond Blossoms - Vincent van Gogh - Public Domain

Dear Gentleladies,

Today is the first full day of spring or autumn, depending on where you live.  What could you do to embrace and to celebrate the wonder of the season?  

Dreaming about the future or ruminating about the past seems to be the human tendency.  However, the past is over and the future never seems to play out the precise way we expect.  Whatever season of life we are in, whatever our circumstances, embrace and celebrate the now.  Enjoy being a single woman, or a mom, or a wife, or whatever stage of life you are.  Enjoy where you live.  Love your home, whatever it might be, trying to appreciate it, to improve it where possible, and to thank God for it.  

I know that's what I intend to do.

Agape always,