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Lillian and the Sunbeam mixer - 1952

Lillian and the Sunbeam mixer – 1952

In 1952, I was working at Procter & Gamble’s corporate offices in downtown Cincinnati.  I was a secretary in the Radio/TV Advertising Department and worked for the two department heads plus three young members of the staff.  On May 31, 1952, early in the morning of the day I was to be married, a special delivery letter arrived.  It contained a cute page made up by my co-worker, Bert Berman, had the signatures of the rest of the men in the department  and  informed me that I was going to be receiving a SUNBEAM ELECTRIC MIXER.

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I was completely surprised since Mr. Smith and Mr. Craig had already sent beautiful sterling silver pieces, but there was nothing I wanted more than an electric mixer.  The manual/cookbook that came with the mixer was my baking bible for the next ten years at least.  It’s in tatters now with the cover and a couple of pages missing.

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I made a lot of good food with that Sunbeam and manual.  This is a picture of my older daughter and son, waiting for me to start mixing his first birthday cake in 1957.
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One of the family’s favorites was an easy recipe for brownies.  I named them my “Best Brownies”, copied from my recipe binder below.

BEST BROWNIES
¾ cup sifted flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 cup sugar
½ cup shortening or margarine (started using Imperial margarine in 1989)
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs, unbeaten
4 tablespoons cocoa
2 cups chopped nuts

Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar.
Add shortening, vanilla and eggs.

Beat one minute, then add the cocoa and nuts.
Beat ½ minute longer.  

Pour into greased 8×8 pan.  Bake @ 350 for 30-35 minutes.  Cut while still warm.

Old 1950s recipe from original Sunbeam mixer cookbook.  Have made a thousand times.

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Saying that I have baked these brownies 1,000 times over the past 60 plus years isn’t too much of an exaggeration.  I made up a batch today just for old time’s sake.
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My Sunbeam  mixer lasted 30 years until 1982.  By that time, I was doing a lot of bread baking and wanted a very strong unit along with dough hooks.  I chose a Kitchen Aid mixer which is still working beautifully 33 years later.  It has served me well, but has never given me the surprise and thrill of that first old Sunbeam.

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We love Clementines but always seem to lose our enthusiasm before finishing the last few.  This is one way to enjoy the Clementine flavor in an easy pudding, using three Clementines.

CLEMENTINE CHEESECAKE PUDDING

3 Clementine oranges, processed (see below)

1 egg
¼ cup granulated sugar
Dash of salt
2 Tblsp. cornstarch
1 cup milk
4 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 cup frozen dairy topping (Cool Whip), thawed

Wash and dry Clementines, remove stems and place in a microwave-safe dish.  Cover Clementines with cold water, put a lid on the dish and microwave on high for approximately 10 minutes.  Clementines should be quite soft and look something like fresh, ripe apricots.  Let cool in microwave – be careful, they get very hot.

Cut the Clementines in half and process as finely as possible in a food processor or blender (remove seeds if necessary but, yes, process both rind and flesh).

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Makes about ½ cup.  Set aside.

Note:  Clementines can also be covered with water and boiled on the stove top for two hours.  Clementine puree can be frozen.

In a medium saucepan, place egg, sugar, salt and cornstarch.  Whisk until blended, add milk and whisk until smooth.  Place on medium-high heat and whisk constantly until mixture begins to bubble.  Lower heat and continue whisking for one minute.

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Remove from heat and stir in processed Clementines.

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Whisk in softened cream cheese until smooth.

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Set aside to cool to room temperature, then whisk in thawed dairy topping.

 

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Makes 4 servings.

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At Christmas time last year, I had embroidered pillow cases for two friends who live out of state.  I wanted to enclose the cases in something that could be mailed in a padded envelope and that might be useful after the gift was opened.  I designed a flat bag with a deep pocket to hold the gift and the bag could be used to store many items throughout the year.

In this case I used some pretty Amish fabric for the outside of the bag and assorted scraps for the pocket and lining.

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For Easter, I made dishtowels with an appliquéd bunny.  Once again, I turned to the flat bag design for a nice gift bag, using orphan blocks for the outside of the bags.

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This is an easy bag to put together, can be done in a short amount of time and makes good use of scraps, embroidered pieces or orphan blocks.

Here is how I made the bags (my example finished at 7-½ x 7-½ inches.  It’s easy to change the dimensions to fit whatever item is going into the bag – flat items like books, Cds, DVDs, towels, pillow cases, etc., work best.

You will need:

A piece of focus fabric, quilt block or embroidered piece the size of the gift plus an additional 1-½ inches to width and length.  (Example:  gift is 7 inches square.  Front piece = 8-½ inches square.
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A piece of fabric for the back of the bag that is the same size as the front plus ½ inch lengthwise.  (Example:  Cut back fabric 8-½ inches wide by 9 inches long.)

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Sew the front panel to the back with ¼ inch seam, joining at the top of the front panel.

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Press the seam toward the front panel.

Cut a piece of fabric for the lining that is the exact size of the joined front/back panels.  (Example:  8-½ inches wide x 17 inches long.)

Place lining and front/back panels right sides together, pinning from just below center seam on front/back panel, along side, across bottom of front/back panel and down other side to just below center seam, back-stitching on each side.

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Cut ½ inch from edge just below sewing at center seam on both sides and trim corners of sewn portion.

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Turn sewn portion and press.
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Cut pocket fabric the width of fabric and the length doubled.  (Example:  8-½ inches wide x 17 inches long).

Fold pocket fabric in half lengthwise and press.  Line up fold of pocket with clipped sides and raw edges on the lower part of the front/back panels.  Pin in place or baste.

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Beginning at the folded edge, sew ½ inch seams down the side, across the bottom and up the other side, back stitching on each side.  Trim corners and trim the clipped pocket portion on a diagonal.

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Turn pocket portion and press.  Top stitch 1/8 inch from edge around piece …

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…and fold in half to form flat pocket bag.

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A couple of weeks ago, I hosted a birthday lunch for my younger daughter at Bucca di Beppo restaurant in Cincinnati.  I ordered three of their (large) desserts for the six of us to share:  cheesecake, cannoli and Italian Cream Cake.  I expected the Italian Cream Cake to be the one I’m familiar with that has pecans, coconut and a cream cheese frosting.  The cake here was light-textured with a mascarpone/cream cheese filling/frosting and a drizzle of raspberry sauce.  It seemed to have a very light touch of lemon either in the cake or in the filling.

It was delicious but especially memorable because my 15-year-old grandson loved it so much.  He said he was in heaven when he tasted a piece of this cake – this from a boy who will eat no kind of pie except apple.

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I knew I had to try to duplicate the cake.  I could find no copycat recipes  and spent time looking through recipes for cream cakes, mascarpone filling and raspberry puree to come to this adaptation.

Italian Cream Cake with Raspberry Puree
2 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1-½ cups cake flour
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Grease and flour a 9-inch square cake pan or round pie pan.  I used a vintage tube pan and increased the baking time about 10 minutes.

In a large mixer bowl, beat eggs, sugar and vanilla, beating well.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt.  Add the flour mixture alternately with the whipping cream to the egg mixture, beginning and ending with flour and beating well after each addition.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

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Place on wire rack to cool for 5 minutes.  Run a knife around the edges to loosen and invert onto a rack.  Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes, then lift the cake pan off and allow the cake to cool completely.

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When cake is completely cool, separate into layers by placing cake on a piece of parchment paper and inserting toothpicks at the midpoint of the sides of the cake, leaving 3 inches or so between toothpicks.

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Resting a serrated knife on the toothpicks, carefully slice around the cake.  Go around a second time cutting toward the center until cake has been cut in two.

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Place the bottom of the cake on the serving cake plate.

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Mascarpone Filling
1-½ cups heavy whipping cream
2/3 cup powdered sugar, divided
8 oz. mascarpone cheese at room temperature
½ tsp. lemon extract

In the large bowl of a mixer and using whisk attachment, beat whipping cream and 1/3 cup sugar until stiff peaks form.  (Don’t whip too long to form butter.)

In a separate bowl with whisk attachment, beat mascarpone cheese, 1/3 cup sugar and lemon extract until creamy and smooth.

Fold the mascarpone mixture into the whipped cream.

Spoon the mascarpone filling generously on the top of the layer on the plate.  This makes a lot of filling, so you can be generous.

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Place the top layer, cut surface up, on the bottom layer and continue to spoon filling on the top of cake.

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If there is filling left over, it can be placed in a bowl and served along with the cake or refrigerated in a covered container to use as topping on pudding, Jello, etc.  The mascarpone will keep the whipped cream stabilized for about a week.

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Refrigerate the cake until ready to serve and refrigerate any leftovers.

Serve with just a drizzle of raspberry puree.

Raspberry Puree
Two 12-oz bags frozen unsweetened raspberries
2-4 Tblsp. granulated sugar (to taste)

Remove berries from bag and allow to defrost in a strainer over a bowl for 6-8 hours (or overnight).  Microwaving them will take away some of the flavor.

Press with a wooden spoon and then force through a fine sieve to remove seeds.  I used a food mill first and then pressed through a large fine sieve.

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Stir in the granulated sugar, cover and refrigerate.  I like to remove the puree at dinner time and let it set at room temperature until dessert is served.  This makes about 1-½ cups of puree.  Place in a pretty pitcher to drizzle over the cream cake.

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The puree is very strong-flavored and intense, so a drizzle is just right to complement the cake and filling.  Six to eight servings.

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The cake was delicious, although not exactly like Bucca di Beppo’s, but the important thing was that my grandson loved it just as much and asked to take some home with him – I sent him off with the remaining half-cake.

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Red Brolly is offering a free pattern for a really cute, easy-to-make mug carrier and mug rug.  http://www.red-brolly.com/2015/03/butterfly-mug-bag-have-you-made-yours/

The bag is designed to hold a medium sized mug about 6 inches tall x 3 inches diameter …

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and has a pocket for some teabags.

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There is an accompanying mug rug which folds up in back of the mug bag.

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I have made four versions of the bag to use as gifts.  I made this one as an Easter gift for my granddaughter.

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The fabric is from scraps of an Easter dress I made for her in 2011, back before she became a sophisticated going-on-12 lady who doesn’t wear pretty lace-trimmed dresses any more.

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Instead of a mug, I’m using an 8-oz jar of jelly beans in the bag and will be putting a gift card in the pocket.

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For my two daughters, I’ll have the mugs filled with candy and will have gift cards in the pocket.
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I made one bag/rug to have ready to give to a good friend from Chicago who visits during the summer.
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In her case, I made an embroidered mug rug that shows a painter because she’s a gifted artist.

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I enjoyed making these bags and rugs out of scraps, including using up a lot of small batting pieces.  I included a snap and vintage button on each one.  It’s a pleasant afternoon’s project with just a bit of hand sewing.

Red Brolly’s post has some beautiful bags made from her pattern by other readers.

Click on pictures to enlarge.

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Last week, when I completed my Sew Sweet Simplicity BOM blocks and made them into kitchen curtains, I said I would post pictures of the curtains as soon as a non-snowy and sunny day came along.  Well, there are still some small hills of snow around, but the sun is bright and the sky is blue – so, here are the curtains.   The top picture shows the bay window area and this is the panel over the sink.

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I tried several approaches to making the blocks into curtains and decided to use a simple, streamlined method of using the blocks with sashing and borders to make panels which are very much like wall hangings with a sleeve on the back rather than regular curtain casings.  I wanted the panels to hang similar to a blind without any gathers.

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This project worked out well for me and at a distance and in the right light, the panels look almost like stained glass windows.

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I’m posting a repeat of three recipes from 2008 that my family thinks make the best Lenten meal.  I make this every Friday during Lent (7 Fridays in a row) and although I like more variety in my meals, my younger daughter loves this lunch so much that I go through the one-hour prep time so the two daughters and I can enjoy Our Favorite Lenten Meal:  Salmon Patties, Macaroni and Cheese, and Scalloped Tomatoes.  These three items just seem to go together so well.

Mom’s Salmon Patties

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I make these patties the way my mother used to make her “salmon” patties, which were actually mackerel.  Mother didn’t have the money for the expensive salmon and I think mackerel was about 10 cents per can back in the 1940s.  Although I loved her version and didn’t have a very big food budget when I married, I always made the patties with salmon and used her method of adding only crackers, onions and seasoning to the mix, no egg (my mother used as few eggs as possible in every dish).  My family prefers them this way and they are never as crispy on the outside and moist on the inside as when they are fried in Crisco.

MOM’S SALMON PATTIES

  • 1 Tblsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • One 14-15 oz. can Alaskan pink salmon
  • 12 saltine crackers, crushed
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Crisco for frying

In a small skillet, heat oil and saute onions on low heat until they are soft but not brown.

Drain salmon and remove any bones.  Place salmon in a bowl and add the sauteed onions.  Add the crushed saltines and a grind or two of black pepper.  The saltines add enough salt for our taste.  Mix together and form into 6 patties.  The mixture should hold together but still be slightly moist.

Melt Crisco in a large skillet and add the patties, browning/cooking about 5 minutes on each side.

Shannon’s Macaroni and Cheese

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I’ve used several good macaroni and cheese recipes through the years, but this one has become my favorite because, with the use of lower fat ingredients such as milk, cheese and cottage cheese, it is not too bad cholesterol-wise and is still delicious.

SHANNON’S MACARONI & CHEESE

  • 3/4 cup dry macaroni
  • 3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 2 Tblsp. dried onion
  • 3/4 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. yellow mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 2 slices bread, processed into crumbs (about 2 cups)
  • 3 Tblsp. Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a 9×9″ pan with non-stick spray

Cook macaroni in salted boiling water for approximately 8 minutes.  Drain.  Place in large bowl, add cheese and onion.

In a blender or food processor, blend cottage cheese, milk and mustard.  Pour over the macaroni mixture.  Add salt and pepper.  Pour macaroni into prepared pan.  Sprinkle bread crumbs on top of macaroni and add a sprinkling of the Parmesan cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes @ 350 degrees F.

Yield:  6 servings

Old Time Scalloped Tomatoes

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This dish has been a family favorite from over 25 years ago when I had a lot of tomatoes at all times.  My husband had every variety in large amounts in his garden and I spent a lot of time canning and freezing them for use all through the year.

Old-Time Scalloped Tomatoes

  • 1 Tblsp. oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • One 14-15 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, drained
  • One 14-15 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 Tblsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • Dash of salt and a few grinds of black pepper
  • 2 cups soft bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

In small skillet, heat oil and saute onions on low heat until soft.  Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.

In 8×8″ baking pan place tomatoes.  Roughly cut up the whole tomatoes.  Add the sauteed onions.

In the same skillet used for the onions, melt the butter, stir in brown sugar until dissolved.  Add to tomato mixture and stir to blend.

Sprinkle crumbs on top of tomato mixture and bake @ 350 degrees F for approximately 20 minutes until tomatoes are heated through and topping is browned.

Yield:  6 servings

Serve everything piping hot.

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The salmon can be made into patties ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to serve.  The two side dishes can also be made earlier in the day and then baked at the same time, adding 10 minutes if the dishes are cold.

You may not want to eat this meal 7 weeks in a row but it would make a delicious Good Friday supper.

 

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