Health Bread

I first made this bread in 1988 when it won a ribbon at our county fair.  The recipe came from an old publication called Blue Ribbon Gazette, a collection of blue ribbon winning recipes from around the country.  It’s a nice, sturdy loaf that’s delicious fresh from the oven or toasted.  It’s good to have a loaf tucked away in the freezer to make grilled sandwiches or to serve with soup on a chilly, windy day.


  • Servings: Two 9-inch or four 7-1/2-inch loaves
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  • 4-½  cups all purpose flour, divided
  • 2 Tblsp. fast acting yeast*
  • 1 Tblsp. salt
  • ¼ cup buckwheat flour
  • 2 Tblsp. oat bran
  • 2-¼ cups buttermilk heated to 130 degrees F
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup sorghum molasses (or any strong flavored molasses such as Grandma’s)
  • 2-¼ cups whole wheat flour

*The “Instant“ or “Quick Rise” yeast is especially formulated to be used mixed with the dry ingredients and can withstand the hot water.  Rising time is cut in half.

Grease two 9-inch or four 7-½ inch loaf pans

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, combine 2 cups of all-purpose flour, yeast, salt, buckwheat flour and oat bran. Add 130 degree F buttermilk, oil and molasses.  Beat with a paddle beater at medium speed for 3 minutes.

Remove paddle beater and insert dough hook.  Add 2-¼ cups of whole wheat flour.  Beat a medium speed for 6-½ minutes, gradually adding remaining all-purpose flour until dough is smooth and elastic.  Don’t use more all-purpose flour than you need.  Dough will be a little sticky from the molasses.

Place dough in a greased bowl, turn, cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Use your knuckles to punch down and deflate the dough.  Form into two 9-inch loaves or four 7-½-inch loaves and place in prepared pans.


Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

Bake 9-inch loaves for approximately 45 minutes; 7-½-inch loaves for approximately 25 minutes or until bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.  Cool on a wire rack. 

Yield:  Two 9-inch or four 7-½ inch loaves


Sugar Cream Pie


In the 1970s, my young daughters and I loved a Sugar Cream pie that we could buy frozen at our local grocer.  As the years went by, the pie disappeared from the grocery store and several of my attempts to duplicate it failed.  Then in the 1980s, I adapted several recipes to come up with one that I thought was very close to our old favorite and it won a ribbon at the Ohio State Fair.  I made it again for the two daughters for this week’s Sunday dinner.


  • 1 cup whipping cream (1/2 pt.)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • dash salt
  • 1 cup half-and-half cream
  • 3 Tblsp. butter, melted
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 9” unbaked pie shell*

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

Place a piece of foil or parchment paper in the unbaked pie shell and pour in 2 cups of dry beans.  Bake @ 375 degrees F for 10 minutes to “blind bake”.  Remove foil and beans and let pie set on rack while preparing the filling.  Note:  I keep dry beans in a jar to use in blind-baking pie crust.  The beans can be used over and over again to blind bake, but don’t cook them for other uses.

Combine one cup whipping cream, sugar, flour, salt in medium bowl – whisk until smooth.

Whisk in half-and-half gradually, add melted butter and nutmeg.  Pour into blind-baked pie shell.

Bake @ 375 degrees F approximately 45 minutes.  Pie is done when knife inserted in center comes out clean.  Allow to cool on a wire rack.  Good at room temperature or chilled.  Chill leftovers.

6 servings 

*Click here for my favorite pie crust

My Fresh Peach Pie

I first made this pie in 1987 for the Ohio State Fair and it won 3rd place.  I call it My Fresh Peach Pie because at the time I used what I thought would make a good pie and later found it’s pretty much the basic recipe.  With ripe peaches from the local farm market, it’s simply delicious.


  • 5 cups sliced peaches (6-7 medium peaches, peeled and pitted)
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tblsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. almond extract
  • Pastry for 9 inch two-crust pie (Here’s my favorite recipe)
  • 1 Tblsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

To peel peaches easily and without waste, drop them into very hot water and let stand for about one minute.  Remove from water and let drain and cool for 5 minutes.  The skin will slide right off.

Peel peaches, remove pits and slice in ½ inch slices.

Place peach slices in a large bowl and add sugar, flour, salt and almond extract.  Let stand for 10 minutes or while preparing crust.

Place the crust in a 9 inch pie plate and fill with the peach mixture.  Dot with butter …

…and place top crust over filling.  Seal and crimp edges, brush with milk and cut small vents in top crust.

Place on a large flat pan to catch spills and bake @ 375 degrees F for approximately 45 minutes.  Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Servings:  6 to 8 

Brown Velvet Cake

I’ve been going through my big collection of cookbooks and recipes to find any that might have been enjoyed years ago and then forgotten.  This one is a good example.

In December of 1988, I had clipped a recipe for Brown Velvet Cake but didn’t get around to making it until the summer of 1990.  The family enjoyed the cake so I made it again to enter in our local Harvest Home Festival, an annual Labor Day event.  There were always a lot of wonderful entries and I felt lucky to win a third place ribbon.  Then, I forgot all about the cake until the recipe surfaced last week in one of my binders.  I have a note, “My favorite chocolate cake”.


The Cake:

  • 1 cup of chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate)
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2  cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs plus 2 egg whites
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or 1 Tblsp. white vinegar in a standard measuring cup with milk to equal one cup)

To Make the Cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease well and lightly flour two 9″ round cake pans.

Combine the chocolate chips and boiling water.  Let stand, stir and cool.

Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and peanut butter.  Gradually add brown sugar and granulated sugar, creaming well.

Add 2 unbeaten eggs and 2 unbeaten egg whites, plus vanilla and cooled chocolate mixture, mixing well.

Add dry ingredients to this batter alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.  Blend well after each addition.

Turn into the two greased and floured 9″ cake pans.  Bake @ 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes until a tester inserted in the center of a cake comes out clean.

Let cakes rest in pans on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then remove from pans and let cool on the rack.

The  Filling:

  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 Tblsp. cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup undiluted evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts
  • 1 Tblsp. creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla

To Make the Filling:

In a medium pan, combine the brown sugar and cornstarch.  Add evaporated milk, water and egg yolks.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick and mixture begins to bubble.  Remove from heat, stir in all but 2 Tblsp. of the chopped peanuts, the peanut butter and the vanilla.  Set aside to cool.

The Frosting:

  • 2 Tblsp. butter
  • 2 Tblsp. creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 4-5 Tblsp. evaporated milk, undiluted

To Make the Frosting:

Cream together the butter and peanut butter.  Add the melted chocolate chips and vanilla.  Blend in the confectioners’ sugar alternately with the evaporated milk to spreading consistency.

To Assemble the Cake

Place one cooled cake layer on a plate and spread the top with the filling.

Place the second layer on top of the filling and frost the top and sides of the cake.

Sprinkle the reserved 2 tablespoons of chopped peanuts over the top of the frosted cake.

This makes a tall (3-1/2 inches) impressive cake …. and it’s delicious.

The Next Best Thing to Robert Redford

In 1984, I participated in a recipe exchange by mail and this is one of the recipes I received.  There are a lot of versions of this dessert with a lot of names, but since Robert Redford still looks good to me, I’m keeping it.  This is an easy dessert to assemble, should be made ahead of time and chilled, and is very rich and delicious.



  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup butter, cut in small cubes
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped


  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 8 oz. carton of Cool Whip whipped topping, divided
  • Small package of instant vanilla pudding (four 1/2-cup svgs.)
  • 1-1/2 cups milk, divided
  • Small package of instant chocolate pudding (four 1/2-cup svgs.)
  • Block of Hershey chocolate bar or Ghirardelli milk chocolate bar
  • Pecans for garnishing

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

To Make the Crust:

Mix the flour, butter and pecans well.  Press mixture in a 9×9 baking pan.  Bake @ 350 degrees F for 15 minutes until lightly brown.  Cool

To Make Filling and Assemble:

Layer 1: Beat cream cheese and sugar until fluffy.  Fold in 4 ounces (half of an 8-oz. carton) of whipped topping.  Spread over cooled crust.

Layer 2: Mix vanilla pudding and 3/4 cup of milk until thickened.  Spread over Layer 1.

Layer 3: Mix chocolate pudding and 3/4 cup of milk until thickened.  Spread over Layer 2.

Layer 4: Spread remaining 4 oz. of whipped topping over Layer 3.

Grate the block of milk chocolate over the top of the dessert and garnish with whole toasted pecans.

Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving. 

This dessert won a ribbon at the Hamilton County Fair (Cincinnati) in 1984 and has been a favorite dessert in our family ever since.

I’m so glad I took part in that chain mail recipe exchange.

“Redford”, as we call it, was our dessert today when my daughters and grandchildren returned from swimming at Boomerang Bay (Kings Island, Mason OH).  We had another old favorite for lunch – Mom’s Tuna Melts.

Best of Show Raspberry Cherry Pie

In 1983, I had won our big County Fair Pie Contest (Hamilton County/Cincinnati) and really didn’t want to push my luck by entering the following year, but my oldest daughter insisted it was my duty to defend my title.  So, I looked around my country kitchen, crowded with fresh produce, and decided to make a Raspberry Cherry Pie, using our home-grown black raspberries and tart red cherries.  I baked it on a hot Saturday morning, took it to the fairgrounds and when the contest was over, was told I was the first one in the history of the contest to win two years in a row.  I got a blue ribbon, best of show rosette, an engraved silver bowl and a half-bushel of apples.

The years went by and I was always baking something new for our Sunday dinner – never got around to making the prize-winning pie again.  Then, my husband was ill with Alzheimer’s and we had to leave our country home and the raspberry bushes and the cherry trees, so it has been over 25 years since I first made this pie.

A month or so ago, my online friend, Darlene, blogged about a dessert she had made using frozen tart cherries from Meijer.  I hurried to the store, picked up a bag of cherries and some red raspberries, and came home to bake an old favorite.  It was just as good as I remembered it.


  • Pastry for double crust 9″ pie (click here for my favorite recipe)
  • 1 cup tart red cherries (I used frozen)
  • 3 cups fresh raspberries
  • 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3 Tblsp. fast-acting tapioca
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 Tblsp. butter
  • 1 Tblsp. milk

Preheat oven @ 375 degrees F

Measure one cup of cherries into a large bowl.  If cherries are frozen, they will thaw by the time the pie is completed.

To the cherries, add the raspberries, sugar, salt, tapioca and vanilla.  Toss to mix well and let stand for 10-15 minutes.

Stir fruit to distribute sugar and turn into a pastry-lined 9″ pie pan.  Dot with butter, add top crust and crimp to seal.  Cut vents and brush with milk.

Place on a flat pan to catch spills and bake @ 375 degrees F for 45-50 minutes until top crust is golden brown.

Cool on a wire rack. 

I probably took a little more care in preparing a fair entry, but not much.  To me, the idea was that it should be one of my normal Sunday pies – with all its little rough spots and bubbling over.

In 1987, when we went to the fair, my daughter told me that one of her entries was going to be my birthday present.  When we got to the Hobbies & Crafts Department, I found she had made a miniature model of the Hamilton County Fair Pie Contest, correct down to the tiniest detail with ribbons, trophies, a table full of pies and baskets of apples.  It won a Best of Show Rosette for her.

Every year, I display the model during the county fair season and remember all the good – and hectic – times we had at the pie contests.

State Fair Blackberry Pie

In 1986, my oldest daughter had been entering needlework in the Ohio State Fair for several years.  She kept nudging me to enter something in the food division but I was hesitant after seeing all of the beautiful entries that come in from all over the state.  Finally, I gave in and decided to enter a blackberry pie to use up some of the buckets of wild blackberries we picked every day in a thicket on the far edge of our property.  I used a recipe from a book by Susan Purdy that my daughter had just given me (unfortunately, I lost the book and I’m not sure of the title*) and made the long trip from Cincinnati to Columbus to enter the pie for judging.

I was pleased to win a third place ribbon on my first Ohio State Fair entry.

We no longer live in the house with the blackberry thicket but there were some beautiful blackberries at my farmers’ market in Loveland, Ohio (Blooms and Berries) and the pie turned out great.


  • Pastry for a 9″ two-crust pie (click here for my favorite recipe)
  • 4 cups fresh blackberries
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cider vinegar
  • 3 Tblsp. cornstarch
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. water
  • 1 Tblsp. quick cooking tapioca
  • 2 Tblsp. butter
  • 1 Tblsp. milk

Preheat oven @ 375 degrees F

In a heavy pan combine the blackberries, sugar, vinegar, cornstarch, salt, and 2 Tblsp. water.

Mash fruit very slightly with wooden spoon to start juices flowing.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, just until mixture nears boiling point (3-4 minutes).  Remove from heat and cool completely.  Stir in tapioca.

Pour into unbaked pie shell and dot with butter.  Fit top crust over fruit, sealing well.  Brush top crust lightly with milk and cut vents.

Place on flat pan to catch spills and bake @ 375 degrees F for 45-50 minutes until crust is golden brown.

Cool on a wire rack. 

The flavor of this pie is so delicious – even the leftovers the next day were good.

*UPDATE:  I was able to identify the book – As Easy as Pie by Susan G. Purdy and found a nice hard-cover 1984 edition on  I feel better now.  That was the only cookbook that I have ever  lost and I’m happy to have a copy to complete my collection.

Black Walnut Lemon Bread

For Mother’s Day in 1985, my son and daughter-in-law in St. Louis sent me a cookbook that I loved.  It was called Elsah Landing Heartland Cooking and was just full of good recipes like this one that I adapted for Black Walnut Lemon Bread.

My version won a 2nd place ribbon at the Hamilton County (Cincinnati) Fair that year.  I’m the only one in the family who likes black walnuts, so I chose this week while my daughters are on vacation to make myself a batch.  I like to bake quick bread in mini loaf pans (about 3×5″ measured across the top).  I started making bread in small loaves to take to work for coffee break or lunch.  This size pan makes two reasonable servings or one very generous serving.  Using 6 pans results in a bread about 2″ thick, 4 pans would make a thicker bread and, of course, the bread could be made in a standard 9″ bread pan.


  • Servings: 9-inch loaf
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The Bread:

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/2 Tblsp. lemon peel
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup chopped black walnuts

The Syrup:

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tblsp. lemon juice
  • 2 Tblsp. water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Grease/flour 4 or 6 mini loaf pans (3″x5″) or one 9″ bread pan

To make the bread:

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter.  Add sugar gradually, mixing well.  Add the egg and lemon peel, beating to blend.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.  Add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture – beating well after each addition.  Stir in black walnuts.

Pour into prepared pan(s).

Bake @ 350 degrees approximately 20-25 minutes for the 6 small pans, 30-35 minutes for the 4 small pans or 45 minutes for the large loaf.  Loaves will be a pale golden brown and will test done when a tester is inserted near the center of the loaves.

While bread is still in the pan(s), brush with the warm syrup.  It looks like too much syrup, but keep going back and brushing – the bread absorbs the liquid – use all of the syrup.

Keep in the pans on a wire rack until bread has cooled, although I have been known to steal a loaf while it’s still warm and, wow, is that good!

Remove loaves to rack.  Serve immediately or wrap and keep at room temperature for a couple of days.  Loaves can also be well wrapped and frozen.  When eating a cooled loaf, I like to warm it for a few seconds in the microwave to activate all that lovely lemon syrup flavor.

Since nobody else likes the black walnuts, I guess I can just eat all I want and not worry about saving any for the vacationers.

Favorite Banana Cake


I found the recipe for this cake  in a magazine in 1986 and the cake became a family favorite.   I have a note in my recipe binder, “Excellent.  Won Blue Ribbon at Hamilton County Fair (Cincinnati).  Took to work and Matt (my boss) said it was an ‘exceptionally good cake’ – about the best anyone could get from him.”


  • 1 cup plus 2 Tblsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup shortening (Crisco)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. banana extract (actually, banana flavoring)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk*
  • 1/2 cup mashed banana

*A substitute for buttermilk:  Place 1 Tblsp. of white vinegar in a liquid measuring cup.  Fill with milk to the 1/2 cup line.  Allow to stand for 5 minutes before using.

Grease and flour an 8″ cake pan.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

In a small bowl combine mashed banana and milk.  Set aside.

In large bowl of mixer, cream shortening and sugar.  Add the egg and beat in the vanilla and banana extracts.

Add the dry ingredients alternately with the banana mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients – beat well after each addition.

Pour into prepared pan and bake @ 350 degrees  F for 30-35 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.


Frost with Banana Cream Cheese Frosting:


  • 3 oz. cream cheese
  • 3 oz. butter
  • Approx. 2 cups  confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. banana extract (flavoring)

In mixer bowl cream butter and cream cheese.  Add extract and then add confectioners’ sugar a small amount at a time, beating until smooth and of spreading consistency.

frostedYield:  6 pieces of delicious cake.


Apricot Cheese Dainties

I found this recipe in 1990 in a publication called Blue Ribbon Gazette, a collection of winners from county and state fairs all over the country.  The lady who submitted the recipe cautioned that Solo apricot filling should be used, not jam or preserves, to keep the filling from seeping out too much.  I can attest to that, since I tried other products and found Solo to be the best.

The cookies won a ribbon at the Ohio State Fair and a Blue Ribbon at the Hamilton County Fair (Cincinnati) in 1990, and have become a favorite of my daughters for every holiday – Christmas, St. Nick, Valentine’s Day, birthdays.


  • Servings: 1-1/2 dozen cookies
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  • 1/2 cup margarine (I like Imperial)
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tblsp. ice water
  • 1/2 can of Solo Apricot Filling

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Cream the margarine and cheese until smooth.  Add flour and salt, mix together until blended.  Add water and stir with a fork until the mixture forms a ball.  Divide dough in half,  roll one portion 1/8″ thick (like pie crust) on a lightly floured surface and cut with a floured 2″ cutter.

cutterPlace cutouts on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Place 1/2 tsp. of apricot filling on each circle of dough.

fillingRoll the remaining portion of dough 1/8″ thick and cut into 2″ circles.  Place the circles on top of the filled cutouts, press together lightly and prick with a fork around the edges.

Bake @ 375 degrees F for approximately 10 minutes until cookies are golden brown.  Cool slightly and then remove to a rack.


Makes about 1-1/2 dozen cookies. 

Note:  These cookies are like pie – best the day they are made.