Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cooking with Apple Cider, Making Corn Husk Dolls, Cast iron Cookware and more

Welcome to the Old Fashioned Living Newsletter

We hope you are enjoying the Old Fashioned Living newsletter! October is just about gone, that means that Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner. Here are some great recipes, fun crafts, helpful tips, and menu ideas. We welcome your feedback and comments, so please feel free to add your two cents at the end of this newsletter by clicking on the word "comment".

In This Issue

Kitchen: Cooking with Apple Cider
Crafter's Attic: Whimsical Corn Husk Dolls
Home and Hearth: Cast Iron Cookware
Tea Time: Apples and Honey Tea Party

Cooking with Apple Cider

Autumn not only brings the arrival of apples, but of fresh apple cider. Nothing beats a cool fall day treat of cake doughnuts and a tall glass of fresh cider. If you can't make it to a local orchard you will find cider in the produce section of your grocery store as well.

Don't miss out on this traditional autumn treat. Buy an extra gallon and save it for the following recipes!

Too see the recipes, please visit Cooking with Fresh Apple Cider on OFL.

Whimsical Corn Husk Dolls

Cornhusk dolls have been made by Native American girls and women for more than a thousand years, probably since the growing and harvesting of corn began. They in turn passed this craft down to the Colonial families.

It was a time when nothing was wasted and a purpose was found for everything. Today we can still make these whimsical dolls with our children!

Supplies you will need are corn husks, fresh or dried, string, cotton balls, or scraps of batting, scraps of cloth, cording or ribbon, beads, and buttons.

To get the instructions for these fun dolls please visit Whimsical Corn Husk Dolls 

Cast Iron Cookware

It has been said, over and over in fact, that there is nothing better than food prepared in a cast iron pan. Several dishes, including Mexican fajitas, Cajun seafood, sausage & eggs, and of course, cornbread, are hailed as delicious when prepared in these pans. Cast iron is also the cookware of choice amongst serious campers and hikers, but be sure to bring the pack mule, this stuff is heavy!

Why Cast Iron?

There are several reasons that people rave about this type of cookware, many won't use anything else. Besides being an ideal heat conductor, cast iron heats evenly and consistently, is inexpensive, and will last a lifetime with the proper care. When seasoned, a cast iron pan will be stick resistent and provide delectable meals every time.

To read the rest of this article please visit Cast Iron Cookware 

Apples and Honey Tea Party

Nothing welcomes autumn like apples and honey. Delight your guests with the scent and flavor of apple butter, an herbal honey tasting, and all the breads, cakes, cookies and tarts you can make with these wonderful ingredients. All of the recipes are here in the recipe index under the listed category. Please sign my guest book and let me know how you enjoyed this menu.

The Setting:

A bowl of beautiful fall apples on every table
A honey tasting, with apple slices for dipping
A game of "hide and seek" the honey bear for the little ones
A chance to enjoy the sweetness in life with good friends

To get the recipes visit Apples and Honey: A Honey of a Tea Party on OFL

Native Bounty of Autumn

Some of the wild bounty from the field and gardens of the Native Americans and early settlers included squash, pumpkins, and corn. From the natives, the Plymouth and Jamestown settlers learned to cook these foods and prepare palatable dishes.

Of course, these colonists from England created their own variations and came up with recipes that have become part of our American culinary heritage. Methods of cooking corn followed largely the Indian ways of preparing grits or hominy (rockahominy), succotash (misickquatash) and samp(nasamp) or corn meal mush.

Read the rest of this feature by visiting Native Bounty of Autumn on Old Fashioned Living

If you don't already receive our daily tips via email, check out Old Fashioned Tips to get something new 5 days a week!

If you need last minute Halloween ideas click here 

Please visit for all sorts of great tea recipes, crafts, gardening advice, home & hearth and plenty more! Our site has been recently redesigned, so if you have trouble finding anything or just have a comment, please click comments below and leave us a shout! :)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Summer Tea Menu, Old Fashioned Cakes, Fruit Salads, and more

Welcome to the Old Fashioned Living Newsletter

We hope you are enjoying the Old Fashioned Living newsletter! August is here, summer is in full swing, so we are sharing with you some great recipes, fun crafts, helpful tips, and menu ideas. We welcome your feedback and comments, so please feel free to add your two cents at the end of this newsletter by clicking on the word "comment".

In This Issue

Garden: Growing Beautiful Candytuft
Occasions: Old Fashioned Cake Recipes
Home & Hearth: Caring for Family Photos
Tea Time: Summer Tea Menu
Kitchen: Summer Fruit Salads

Growing Beautiful Candytuft

Candytuft, Iberis Sempervirens, is a low growing evergreen shrub that we often see in rock gardens. It can also be grown in borders, or containers with it's bright cheery blossoms in white, rose, purple, and shade of light purple. Candytuft is an old fashioned perennial that is drought tolerant, and it works wonderfully in stone wall crevices, as an edging, or a ground cover. There are two types of candytuft that are commonly available---I. sempervirens is known as evergreen candytuft and is a hardy perennial. Some of the varieties available are 'Alexander's White', 'Little Gem' (a dwarf), 'October Glory', 'Purity', 'Snowflake' and 'Summer Snow'.

Candytuft loves full sun, though it will adapt to partial shade. An average soil is fine, as long as it's well drained. Wet feet will rot the plants or cause disease. I consider it a low maintenance plant in the sense that you don't really have to fuss much with it. Deadheading and cutting it back after blooming will keep it looking nice and stop it from reseeding in unwanted places. Once established candytuft will spread about 2 foot across. It's hardy even in Zone 3, and can be grown from seed!

Too see the entire article, please visit Growing Candytuft on OFL.

old fashioned cakesOCCASIONS
Old Fashioned Cake Recipes

As a young girl I loved making cakes from scratch. The batter was light and smooth, and the cake was light and fluffy. Yes, it takes more time than a box mix, but it always seems a little more special when it's from scratch.
When baking from scratch always make sure you use quality fresh ingredients. It's especially important that your baking soda and baking powder are fresh and not out of date. Measure accurately and follow directions exactly. If it calls for sifted flour then don't skip that step. Sifting is important, especially with cake flour, which is fine and can get lumpy.

Always preheat your oven to the correct temperature and bake on the middle rack. Test your cake by inserting a toothpick in the center of the cake. If it comes out clean then it's done.

The following recipes are some popular and requested cakes that will get you started. Visit the links at the end for some more great resources and recipes:

To get the recipes for Red Velvet Cake, Cookies and Cream Cake, Pineapple Coconut Cake, and Apple Cake please visit Old Fashioned Cakes for All Occasions

Caring for Family Photos

caring for your photos
How do you protect and preserve your treasured pictures? Just remember, the most harmful agent in photo degradation is ACID because, over time, it will deteriorate the photo. Many plastics and papers, as well as "magnetic" photo albums, use materials that are not acid free. So you might want to "dig" out your wedding pictures and albums of family snapshots and make sure that they are stored in albums made from the proper materials.
Some preservation tips and suggestions:

Use albums that are archival quality, meaning acid free.

The paper you put the photo on should likewise be acid free and lignin free. Lignin is a substance found in wood fibers of untreated paper. Over time it breaks down into acids that will harm photos and documents.

Storage boxes, envelopes and the like should also be archival quality.

Do not store your pictures in high temperature or high humidity areas, as this can cause mold or fungi development and increase the chemical reaction in the photos. So avoid attics and basements to store your precious memories.

Water and fire can ruin an entire collection. Keep pictures away from fire places, dryers and the like. Avoid water damage by storing them up off the floor and not in a basement.

Avoid prolonged exposure to light to minimize fading.

Use tapes or photo corners that are acid free to mount them on pages.

Try not to write on the picture, especially the front, as I think it's a detraction. If you must write on it though, do it on the back with an acid free pen (don't press too hard or the pen indentation will be visible on the picture side). An alternative is to write on the paper next to the picture.

Have your pictures scanned and put on CD.

You may want to consider making a copy of the pictures you want to show most often. The copy can take all the wear and tear of handling while your original sits safely in its archival storage location.

Summer Tea Menu

Near the end of the summer, when it's just starting to cool off, is a lovely time to give a small tea party with family and friends. Pick a bouquet from your flower gardens for your centerpiece. If you have a vegetable garden, send some of your harvest home with your guests along with a small bouquet. The cherry recipes use dried cherries, but if you have fresh cherries in your area be sure to place some in a pretty bowl for guests.

On the Menu:
Herbed Quiche Appetizer
Mini Onion Tarts
Cherry Scones
Cherry Cheese Spread
Cherry Tea

To get the recipes visit A Summer Tea Menu on OFL

Summer Fruit Salad

summer fruit salad
I hate to heat up the oven in the summer time, but I love to take advantage of the fresh fruit in season. These are just a few fruit salad recipes you can serve this summer in place of dessert, on a buffet or for a luncheon treat.

Minted Fruit Salad:

1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup lemon juice from concentrate
1/3 cup water
1/4 tsp. peppermint extract
8 cups cut up assorted fresh fruit
Fresh mint leaves for garnish (optional)
In medium bowl, combine all ingredients except fruit; stir until sugar dissolves. Place fruit in large shallow dish; pour lemon juice over. Cover, chill 3 hours or overnight, stirring occasionally. Refrigerate leftovers.

Layered Fruit Salad


2 cups cubed fresh pineapple
1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
2 kiwi fruit, peeled and sliced
3 medium bananas, sliced
2 oranges, peeled and sectioned
1 cup seedless grapes
1 pint blueberries


2/3 cup fresh orange juice
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. grated orange peel
1/2 tsp. grated lemon peel
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

In a sauce pan, bring to boil all ingredients for sauce except vanilla; simmer 5 minutes. Add vanilla and cool. Meanwhile, in a large clear glass salad bowl, arrange fruit in layers in order listed. Pour sauce over fruit. Cover and refrigerate several hours. 10-12 servings.

See more recipes from this feature by visiting Summer Fruit Salads at Old Fashioned Living

If you don't already receive our daily tips via email, check out Old Fashioned Tips to get something new 5 days a week!

Please visit for all sorts of great tea recipes, crafts, gardening advice, home & hearth and plenty more! Our site has been recently redesigned, so if you have trouble finding anything or just have a comment, please click comments below and leave us a shout! :)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Mother's Day, Cinco de Mayo & May Day

Welcome to the Old Fashioned Living Newsletter

We hope you are enjoying the Old Fashioned Living newsletter! May Day is May 1st, Cinco de Mayo is May 5th and Mother's Day is on May 10th, so we are sharing with you some tasty recipes, fun crafts, helpful tips, and menu ideas. We welcome your feedback and comments, so please feel free to add your two cents at the end of this newsletter by clicking on the word "comment".

In This Issue

Inspiration: Words of Wisdom from the Refrigerator Door
Crafter's Attic: Charming May Day Baskets
Holiday Kitchen: Cinco de Mayo Celebration
Kids: Personalized Mother's Day T-shirts
Kitchen: Special Beverages for Mom

Words of Wisdom from the Refrigerator Door

Every so often something comes along which prompts me to evaluate myself and my life - something which helps open my eyes to some of life's simple truths, and, in doing so, provides me with direction and inspiration. Many times these come quite unexpectedly and from surprising sources.

One such something came just the other day. Alex, our seven-year-old daughter, brought home an assignment she had completed at school. The assignment entailed picking someone she loved and writing down some of the reasons for her affection. Alex's paper was titled, "My Mom is the World's greatest Mom because..."

Too see the entire story, please visit Words of Wisdom from the Refrigerator Door on OFL.

Charming May Day Baskets

May baskets can be given to friends and family, as well as taken to elderly neighbors or nursing homes. While fresh flowers and candy treats are usually left in the baskets, you can put other things as well. I think fresh flowers, a few tea bags and some little tea cookies would be wonderful!

Below are the supplies you will need, please visit OFL for the instructions!

Supplies Needed:

An empty Tuna Helper Box (a cake box would work)
Leftover wall paper border-prepasted
hole punch or very large needle
leftover filler from a gift we had been given
Gifts for your basket

To get the instructions for this craft, click here.

Cinco de Mayo Celebration

Cinco de Mayo is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the Mexican and Mexican-American culture and heritage, even if your background is non-Hispanic. Cinco de Mayo parties and celebrations can be a whole lot of fun, but with the high prevalence of alcohol at these events, they aren't very family friendly. Here is a simple menu of Mexican inspired dishes that the whole family will enjoy that offers a taste of Mexico, without difficult to find ingredients. Best of all, it is kid friendly and many of the recipes are actually easy enough for your children to help prepare. 

Kid Friendly Margarita Punch

Don't leave the kids out of the Fiesta! Make this fun and festive punch for them and other teetotalers. It is a great all-purpose punch that works perfectly with Mexican menus, grilled food, and any outdoor gathering. This is a modernized version of a recipe we have used for years. It used to call for egg whites, but now we use meringue powder or just whites to make sure the punch is safe from any possible contamination with salmonella.

3 ounces frozen lemonade concentrate
3 ounces frozen limeade concentrate
1/4 cup powdered sugar
equivalent of 1 egg white
1 1/2 cups crushed ice
1/2 liter lemon lime soda
1 thinly sliced lime

Combine the concentrates, powdered sugar, egg white, and crushed ice in a large freezer proof container. Cover tightly and freeze for at least one hour and up to a month. Place the frozen mixture into a large punch bowl. Slowly pour in the soda and add the lime and lemon slices. Serve in chilled salt rimmed glasses.

Makes 4 servings. 

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Chilling Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Favorite Chicken Quesadillas

Quesadillas are quick and easy to make and fun to eat. Adults and children love them (although sometimes with different ingredients!) and they make great party fare. Serve them as a main dish or as a great appetizer. They also make wonderful snacks or light lunches.

2 tablespoons oil
1/4 cup chopped onions
1 small minced garlic clove
1/4 cup chopped bell peppers
2 minced chile peppers (to taste) 
3 chopped plum tomatoes
oil for frying
8 flour tortillas
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
11/2 cups cooked chicken
Sour cream

In a medium heavy skillet saute the onions, garlic, and peppers in the 2 tablespoons oil until soft. Add the chile peppers and tomatoes and simmer for a few minutes more. Add the chicken and stir well to combine. Heat a thin layer of oil in a heavy medium sized pan over medium low heat, Place a tortilla in the pan and sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese. Add about a quarter of the chicken mixture and top with another 1/4 cup cheese. Cover with another tortilla and cook for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Flip the quesadilla over and cook for an additional two minutes. Remove from the heat and cut into wedges. Keep warm while frying the remaining quesadillas. Serve with salsa and sour cream.

Makes 4 Servings. 

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Fiesta Chicken

This is truly a "no-brainer" meal. This is a favorite dish to make in just minutes, especially if you already have chopped green peppers, onions, and chicken pieces on hand. Many grocery stores sell fresh or frozen chopped onions and green peppers in the produce section, freezer section, or even salad bar. In addition, if time is really short, you can buy chopped chicken to save time. The only thing to watch out for when using these convenience food is the typically higher prices.

1 tablespoon canola oil 
4 chicken breast halves, cubed 
1/3 cup chopped green pepper 
1/3 cup chopped onion 
2 cups chunky salsa 
1/2 cup chicken broth 
1 cup quick cooking rice 
3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Heat a large heavy skillet over medium high heat. Add the oil and chicken and sauté until the chicken is lightly browned. Add the green pepper and onion and sauté until the chicken is thoroughly cooked. Add the salsa and broth and bring to a boil. Stir in the rice and mix well. Toss the cheese on top of the dish, cover, and remove from the heat. Let rest for five minutes to cook the rice and serve hot.

Makes 4 servings. 

Preparation Time: 5 minutes 
Cooking Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Corn with Chiles

This is a very easy side dish with a great color that is more savory than hot. Commercial canned green chiles are not hot at all. For those of you that like your dishes with a bit of zing, substitute hot pepper oil for the olive oil. If you cannot find hot pepper oil, use a dash or two of hot pepper sauce.

20 ounces frozen corn
1 bunch sliced scallions
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 ounces canned green chiles
Salt and pepper to taste

Defrost the frozen corn and drain. Sauté the onion in the oil for 2 minutes, then add the corn and peppers. Cook until the corn and onions are tender and hot. Add salt and pepper and serve hot.

Makes 4 servings. 

Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Mexican Sundaes

When I was little I only ate two types of ice cream, chocolate vanilla twist and Mexican sundaes. While my appreciation of ice cream has expanded to many other flavors and dishes, this recipe is still a very sentimental favorite. They are always a favorite with guests young and old and make a great summer treat. The chocolate-cinnamon sauce can be made in advance and just gently reheated before serving if desired.

3 ounces semisweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
Dash cinnamon
1 pint vanilla ice cream
2 small sliced bananas
1/3 cup Spanish peanuts
Whipped cream (optional)

Place the chocolate, heavy cream, and cinnamon in a medium heavy saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate melts and the sauce is smooth. Remove from the heat and cool for 10 minutes. Distribute the ice cream and banana slices among four dishes. Top with the cooled sauce and sprinkle the peanuts overtop. Add whipped cream if desired.

Makes 4 servings. 

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Cooling Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes.

Personalized Mother's Day T-Shirts

Why not make Mom a special shirt that is personalized with love? Give it to her first thing Mother's Day morning and she will feel like the World's Greatest Mom all day long! (This also works like a charm for Grandmas)

You will need:

Clean T-shirt in Mom's size and favorite color
Fabric Paint in several different colors
Stiff cardboard
Paintbrushes and sponges
coated paper or plastic plates

Wash and dry your shirt-even if it's new. Be sure to wear an old shirt while doing this project and lay down newspapers or craft paper on your work surface. Practice your design on paper and decide what you are going to do before painting on the shirt. You can draw Mom's favorite flowers or fun designs like dots and zigzags then place one of these sayings in the middle of your design on the very front of the shirt:

World's Greatest Mom

Coolest Mom in Town

World's Best Mom

We love you Mom!

My Mom is Fantastic!

You get the idea, so try coming up with one of your own! Leave room at the bottom of the t-shirt for your name, or if you have brothers and sisters, all of the names. Once you have your design and saying picked out and you have practiced, you are ready to paint your shirt.

Cut a stiff piece of cardboard the size of the shirt. Place it inside between the two sides of the shirt so the paints don't bleed through to the back.

Use the fabric paints with tips to write your saying in the middle of the shirt front. If you have time, let this dry for 24 hours, laying flat, before you paint the designs. If you can't wait, be extra careful not to smear the writing. Squirt fabric paint onto your paper or plastic plates, not mixing the colors. Dip your sponges or brushes lightly into a color and blot them on a piece of paper towel. Now make the designs on the shirt all around the saying.

When the shirt is finished let it lay flat for 24 hours. Turn the shirt inside out and cover with a clean cloth. Iron each section of the shirt using the warm setting. This will help prevent fading of the paint.

Special Beverages for Mom

Treat your mom all day by serving her these special beverages for breakfast, lunch, dinner and an evening treat! She will feel pampered from morning to night!

Mom's Morning Tea

2 cups boiling water
30 mint leaves
sugar to taste
1 tablespoon Earl Grey tea leaves
1 teaspoon English breakfast tea

Boil water, sugar and mint for about five minutes. Place tea leaves into coffee thermos and pour boiled mixture over the tea leaves and allow to infuse for 20 minutes, and enjoy for your morning treat!

Spiced Cocoa

1 1/2 cups sweetened cocoa
2 cups boiling water
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 cups milk
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp sugar

Combine cocoa, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar in a large saucepan, gradually stir in water, and then add milk. Heat slowly, be careful not to scorch. Serve the cocoa hot with marshmallows or whipped cream.

See more recipes from this feature by visiting Special Beverages for Mom at Old Fashioned Living

If you don't already receive our daily tips via email, check out Old Fashioned Tips to get something new 5 days a week!

Please visit for all sorts of great tea recipes, crafts, gardening advice, home & hearth and plenty more! Our site has been recently redesigned, so if you have trouble finding anything or just have a comment, please click comments below and leave us a shout! :)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Easter recipes, crafts, inspiration and more

Welcome to the Old Fashioned Living Newsletter

We hope you are enjoying the Old Fashioned Living newsletter! Easter is this coming Sunday, so we wanted to make sure to share some Easter recipes, crafts, tips, and menu ideas. We welcome your feedback and comments, so please feel free to add your two cents at the end of this newsletter by clicking on the word "comment".

In This Issue

Quotations: Easter Quotations for Inspiration
Crafter's Attic: Doily  Baskets
Holiday Kitchen: Light & Festive Easter Dinner
Kids: Silly Easter Bonnets
Kitchen: Aunt Grace's Easter Cake

Easter Quotations for Inspiration

"Let the resurrection joy lift us from loneliness and weakness and despair to strength and beauty and happiness."

~ Floyd W. Tomkins

Do you have any wonderful Easter quotes? Send them to us to add to this piece!

Too see more inspirational quotes, please visit Easter Quotations for Inspiration on OFL.

Doily Baskets

This makes an adorable basket for placing your decorated Easter eggs, candy or as an Easter Basket for children.

Below are the supplies you will need, please visit OFL for the instructions!

Supplies Needed:

Doilies (cotton or other material)
Fabric Stiffener
Plastic wrap
Bowls, varying sizes for molds

To get the instructions for this craft, click here.

Light & Festive Easter Dinner

Traditional dinners at the holidays are wonderful, but sometimes it's nice to change the menu and surprise your guests with something festive and light. Fresh and dried herbs add an elegant touch to the following menu that is just perfect for Easter Dinner. Be sure to bring out the nice dishes and a spring tablecloth for the occasion. A simple centerpiece of daisies and daffodils will add that extra touch to cheer your guests.

Shopping List:

3-4 pound pork roast
dried rosemary
dried thyme
black peppercorns
fresh or frozen corn
olive oil
8 oz. sour cream
2 lbs. potatoes
Parmesan Cheese
Pineapple Cake Mix
orange gelatin
2- 8 ounce packages of cream cheese
whipping cream
1 can (11 ounces) Mandarin orange segments
one orange

Herbed Pork Roast

3-4 pound boneless pork roast
2 tsp. black peppercorns
2 tsp. dried rosemary
2 tsp. dried thyme

Peppercorns need to be crushed using a grinder, or by simply crushing on a cutting board with a heavy pan. Combine pepper with the herbs. Coat the outside of the roast with herb mixture by rubbing it into the meat.

Place the roast in a shallow pan in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours or until temperature reaches 155 degrees on a meat thermometer when it is inserted into the roast. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing to serve. Note: You may also use a combination beef/pork roast. Serves 6.

Mediterranean Style Corn

2 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
4 cups fresh or frozen corn
1/2 tsp. fresh thyme or rosemary
pepper and salt to taste

Combine oil and garlic in a small skillet. Heat over low heat just until the garlic begins to sizzle. Add the corn and stir to blend and heat through, about 1 minute. Add thyme or rosemary and pepper to taste. Serve at once. Serves 6.

Garlic and Cheese Mashed Potatoes

2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/4 cup chopped scallions
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds potatoes; peeled, cubed and cooked
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese

In large saucepan melt butter or margarine. Add scallions and garlic; cook until tender. Add hot cooked potatoes, sour cream, milk and cheese. Mash until smooth and well blended. Serve. Garnish with chopped chives if desired. Serves 6.

Orange Cheesecake

1 package Pineapple Cake Mix
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted

1 4 serving package orange gelatin
1 cup boiling water
2 tsp. grated orange peel
2 8 ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup sour cream
1 can (11 ounces) Mandarin orange segments, drained

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. For crust, combine cake mix and melted butter in large bowl. Mix at low speed until crumbs form. Lightly press into 9 inch springform pan so crust is 1 inch up the sides. Smooth remaining crumbs on the bottom of pan. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Cool. For filling, dissolve gelatin in boiling water in small saucepan. Add orange peel. Refrigerate until thickened. Beat cream cheese until smooth in large bowl. Gradually beat in thickened gelatin. Beat whipping cream until stiff in large bowl. Fold into orange cream cheese mixture. Pour into cooled crust. Refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours. Drop teaspoonfuls of sour cream around edge of cheesecake. Garnish with drained orange segments.

Silly Easter Bonnets

This is a darling and inexpensive craft that kids can make while you are busy preparing dinner or entertaining family.

You will need:

one Styrofoam plate
one Styrofoam bowl
hole punch
various supplies: paint, glitter, streamers, pompom, silk flowers etc.

Staple the bowl to the center of the plate and carefully cut out the middle underneath the bowl-where top of head will fit. Paint the entire "hat" one color or sponge paint many pastel colors.

Be creative! Glue little pom-poms (you can buy a bag of premade colors) all along the rim. Use streamers to hang from the back for girls, or glue artificial daisies around the hat. The sillier you want it to be, the more you should decorate!

To tie on the hats, punch one hole on each side of the hat and tie a piece of ribbon to each (8-10 inches or so) and tie under their chin in a bow. (do not knot, so it unties easily).

Guest Recipe: Aunt Grace's Easter Cake

One of our readers, Michele Taskin writes: "This cake from my Great Aunt Grace in Aberdeen, SD is traditionally served on Easter Sunday - it is absolutely yummy!"

Custard Cake

8 egg whites
1/2 t cream of tartar
4 egg yolks
1 1/4 sugar
1 cup cake flour
1/4 t salt

2 1/2 cups milk
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 envelope Knox gelatin
4 T milk
1 pint whipped cream

Beat 8 egg whites until foamy. Add 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar. Beat like angel food. Add 4 egg yolks. Beat until lemon colored. Add 1 1/4 cups sugar gradually. Then fold in 1 cup cake flour and 1/4 tsp salt. Line cake pan with waxed paper. Bake 30 min. @ 350. When cool, split cake and frost with 1/2 the filling. Place top layer on and frost with rest of custard - sprinkle generously with coconut.

Custard filling:

2 1/2 cup milk. Heat, then add 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup flour(mixed together). Dissolve 1 envelope Knox gelatin in 3 or 4 T milk. Add to above. Cool and add 1 pint of whipped cream and 1 tsp vanilla.

See our Easter section for several other recipes and craft ideas.

If you don't already receive our daily tips via email, check out Old Fashioned Tips to get something new 5 days a week!

Please visit for all sorts of great tea recipes, crafts, gardening advice, home & hearth and plenty more! Our site has been recently redesigned, so if you have trouble finding anything or just have a comment, please click comments below and leave us a shout! :)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring Ideas, Recipes and Crafts

Welcome to the new Old Fashioned Living Newsletter

We hope you are enjoying the Old Fashioned Living newsletter! March 20th marks the official first day of spring, so we thought we would share some springtime recipes, crafts, garden tips, tea party and luncheon ideas. We welcome your feedback and comments, so please feel free to add your two cents at the end of this newsletter by clicking on the word "comment".

In This Issue

Tea Time: Celebrate Friendship with a Spring Luncheon
Crafter's Attic: Victorian Lace Milk Jug Covers
Gardening: Grow Easy Annuals from Seed
Kids: Whimsical Tea Party for Children
Kitchen: Freezing Cookies & Cookie Dough

Celebrate Friendship with a Spring Luncheon

A spring luncheon is the perfect way to celebrate friendships and rejuvenate our spirits. You can take the old fashioned idea of a simple tea and lunch and modify it to reflect the personalities of your dearest friends. These dishes can be prepared ahead and served at the table starting with soup and tea bread and ending with dessert. You can also set it up as a small buffet, and scatter rose petals and candles among the dishes on a table where guests serve themselves.

This would also make a wonderful baby shower buffet. Finally, you can gather your ingredients and recipes, then invite your friends over for a hands on luncheon where everyone pitches in and you visit while cooking! Regardless of how you serve the dishes at your luncheon, the end result is an afternoon of relaxation, accented with the beauty of herbs and friendship.

Tomato and Herb Soup

2 1/2 pounds ripe plum tomatoes
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups chopped onion
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
extra basil leaves, whole
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups milk

In a large pot of boiling water blanch the ripe tomatoes for 10 seconds. Cool slightly and peel off the skins. Cut tomatoes in half, remove seeds and chop. In a large saucepan, cook the onion in the olive oil until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 more minute. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, pepper, and chicken broth. Simmer for 30 minutes, uncovered. Spoon 3/4 of the mixture into food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Return to pan, add the basil and milk. Simmer until JUST heated through. Stir in chives and divide into bowls. Garnish with a fresh basil leaf. Makes 6 servings.

Thyme-Rosemary Tea Bread

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour, salt, and baking powder. Mix in the thyme and rosemary and set aside. In large bowl, mix egg, sugar and oil with a wooden spoon or electric mixer until combined. Add in milk and blend well. Add flour mixture and mix until smooth. Pour into a buttered 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. Bake 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when tested.Brush with melted butter, remove from pan and serve warm with additional butter.

Too see all the recipes with this feature, including Herbed Chicken Salad, Orange Iced Tea & Sponge Cake with Raspberry Sauce, please visit Spring Luncheon on OFL.

Victorian Lace Milk Jug Covers

Queen Victoria liked garden tea parties, but did not like flies in the milk jug (what we call a creamer, but they called a milk jug because you serve milk, not cream in tea). In order to alleviate this problem, lace doilies, weighted down with beads were the outcome. They are placed over the "milk jug" to keep flies and other unwanted items out of the milk.

Below are the supplies you will need, please visit OFL for the instructions!

Supplies Needed:

6" 100% ecru or white cotton lace doily (99 cents at Michael's)
Various beads (seed beads, pearl beads and tear drop beads)
Matching cotton thread (clear beading thread is too stiff)
thin beading needle

To get the instructions for this craft, click here.

Grow Easy Annuals from Seed

Gardening is a wonderful family project for children of all ages. If you don't have very much space that is fine, you can plant in pots or wood boxes or small sections of soil. To be able to plant a small seed and take care of the ground around it while it grows will teach children patience, nurturing and science!

Let's start with flowers that are very easy to grow from seed. We'll cover flowers such as Nasturtium, Calendula, Thumbelina Zinnia, Bachelor's Button, Borage and Moss Roses.
Read more details on Easy Annuals From Seed here

Whimsical Tea Party for Children

Tea Parties for children give us a chance to have some quiet fun with our kids, as well as create some very special memories. Don't forget to invite the teddy bears, and Grandma if she can attend, for when giving a tea party, the more the merrier!

In this feature we will give you ideas for preparing the tea, tasty recipes for Vanilla Milk Tea, Coconut Cookies, and Lemony Tea Bread. We'll share some whimsical childrens' songs and books for story time. Be sure to read more about having A Whimsical Tea Party for Children.

Freezing Cookies and Cookie Dough

Whether it's holiday season or bake sale season, you are wondering how you're going to get all your baking done. The solution? Consider freezing your cookie dough or fresh baked cookies ahead of time. When the event gets closer you can get that last bit of shopping done or last fundraiser organized instead of spending all your time in the kitchen.

Freezing Cookie Dough

Cookie dough will freeze well for 4 to 6 weeks. Rolls of dough should be sealed tightly in plastic wrap (chill in refrigerator first before freezing). Other kinds of dough should be stored in airtight containers. Drop cookies (unbaked) may be frozen on cookie sheets and transferred to freezer bags. Let stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before baking.

Don't try to freeze soft meringue-type cookie dough. Chocolate chip, brownies, peanut butter, and sugar cookie dough (or anything similar) freezes well. Let the dough defrost in the refrigerator (about 2-3 hours). Make sure to label the container with the date and type of cookie dough.

Freezing Baked Cookies

Almost any baked cookie freezes well. Let cookies completely cool before freezing. Wrap cookies individually in plastic wrap then store them in a ziploc freezer bag or storage tin (coffee cans or holiday tins work great). You can also just layer the cookies between layers of waxed paper in the container, but the individually wrapped ones will store longer. Freeze frosted cookies uncovered first until they are firm. Then pack them in airtight container lined with plastic wrap or foil. Make sure to label the container with the date and type of cookies. Unfrosted cookies can be frozen up to 6-12 months (frosted, about 3 months). Frozen cookies thaw in about 10 minutes at room temperature (if you can wait that long). If cookies should be crisp when thawed, remove them from the container before thawing.

Thanks for joining us for our first issue. Please visit for all sorts of great tea recipes, crafts, gardening advice, home & hearth and plenty more! Our site has been recently redesigned, so if you have trouble finding anything or just have a comment, please click comments below and leave us a shout! :)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Irish Recipes, Tea and St. Patrick's Day ideas

Welcome to the new Old Fashioned Living Newsletter

This is the first official issue of the Old Fashioned Living newsletter and we hope to bring you some fun ideas and tasty recipes for St. Patrick's Day as well as Irish-American Heritage Month. We welcome your feedback and comments, so please feel free to add your two cents at the end of this newsletter by clicking on the word "comment".

In This Issue

Tea Time: Irish Tea Traditions
Crafter's Attic: Irish Blessing Wall Hanging
History: St. Patrick - Patron Saint of Ireland
Kids: St. Patrick's Day Fun
Recipes: Irish Cuisine

Irish Tea Traditions

In Gaelic "cupan tae" mean cup of tea, and the Irish make it a strong cup. Irish tea is blended to be mixed with a lot of rich milk-up to 1/3 of the cup for some. The custom is to add the milk to the tea cup first, then pour in the tea. Irish breakfast tea is often a strong blend of Assam and Ceylon and most people would only drink it for breakfast, though the Irish love it strong and would use this blend all day long. Even during the traditional Irish wake, after a family member has passed away, it's expected that a pot would be continously boiling to make tea for company.

Irish tea is served generally three times a day; 11:00 in the morning, 3:00-5:00 for afternoon tea and a high tea at 6:00 pm, serving as the evening meal. Many think of high tea as formal or fancy, but it's actually a working man's tea that serves as a meal. Afternoon tea is the more "fancy" of the three teas-the one with scones, breads, jam, curds and other dainties.

Irish Shortbread

(8 ounces)1 cup butter
(4 ounces) 1/2 cup caster sugar (superfine/baking sugar)
(8 ounces) 1 cup all-purpose flour
(2 ounces) 1/4 cup cornstarch

Cream the butter and sugar. Add the flour and cornstarch. Roll out and cut into squares or rounds and bake in a slow (300 degree) oven until done.

Drop Tea Scones

2 cups all purpose flour
1 level teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1 level tablespoon caster sugar (superfine/baking sugar)
1 level tablespoon golden syrup or corn syrup
1 egg
1/4 pint milk

Sift the flour, soda, cream of tartar and salt into a bowl. Add the sugar. Beat in the syrup, egg and milk to form a smooth batter. preheat a lightly greased griddle or thick frying pan. Drop medium spoons full of the mixture and cook at medium heat until bubbles appear-much like cooking a pancake. Turn and cook on the other side. Remove and place in a clean tea towel or cloth until ready to serve. Serve with butter, honey or jam. Makes 15.

Too see all the recipes with this feature, please visit Irish Tea Traditions on OFL.

Irish Blessing Wall Hanging

St. Patrick's Day is just around the corner. With that in mind Mary Wilkins shares this little wall hanging with us. It makes a wonderful welcome to your home or a very thoughtful housewarming gift for someone else.

Below are the supplies you will need, please visit OFL for the instructions!

Supplies Needed:

14" square of plain cream colored fabric or muslin
14" square fabric for backing
14" square of batting
4 strips of co-ordinating fabric for binding each 2" wide
Scrap of green fabric for shamrock
Scrap of black or brown fabric for stem
5 brass buttons
1 ribbon rose for middle
Fusible web
Black permanent fine tip marker

To get the instructions for this craft, click here.

St. Patrick - Patron Saint of Ireland

Since many stories and legends have been told regarding St. Patrick it is difficult to separate the facts from the myths. Here are some of the facts:
  • Patrick was born around 387 AD in Roman Britain
  • He was of noble birth
  • At 16 he was carried off by a band of Irish raiders and was made a slave in Ireland
  • After six years, Patrick was set free and allowed to return home
  • Upon returning home he prepared himself to become a priest
  • In 432, now a Bishop, set out for Ireland as a missionary
  • He taught that it was wrong to worship creation rather than the creator
  • Explained the Trinity using a shamrock- with one stem and three leaves, the Trinity is one God in three persons
  • Patrick also founded schools, colleges, and monasteries

Read more details on The Patron Saint of Ireland here

St. Patrick's Day Fun

If you're looking for some cute and simple projects to make with your little ones, we have a few for you! From a little man puppet, shamrock puzzles, and leprechaun mischief, we have some fun in store for your kids. Check them all our here.

Irish Cuisine

Whether you are Irish or not, it's fun to celebrate with those us who are by serving Irish fare on St. Patrick's Day. Irish cooking is traditionally hearty and simple, reflecting the way of life most Irish folk lived in the past, and still today.

Shamrock Salad

1 can (16 ounces) pear halves
1 package lime gelatin (3 ounces)
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tsp.. powdered sugar
1/2 cup chopped nuts
Lime slices

Drain pears, reserving 1/2 cup syrup and 3 pear halves. Dice remaining pears. Dissolved gelatin in boiling water. Stir in cold water and reserved pear syrup. Pour 3/4 cup of the gelatin in a one quart mold . Arrange pear halves in shamrock shape in the bottom of the mold. Chill until almost set. In the meantime, chill remaining gelatin until it is thick like egg whites. Whip cream, adding powdered sugar, and fold into the gelatin. Fold in diced pears and nuts. Pour over the layer of pears in the mold and chill until firm. Unmold the salad on a platter and garnish with lime slices. Serves 6-8.

Irish Lamb Stew

2 tablespoons flour
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 pounds lamb, cut into 2" pieces
2 tablespoons oil or bacon fat
1 garlic clove, minced
1 bay leaf
1/8 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 cups water
1 large onion chopped
3 carrots, cut into 1" slices
2 peeled, cubed potatoes
1/2 cup light cream
1 tablespoon flour

Mix 2 tablespoons flour, salt and pepper; Roll meat in mixture and brown in hot fat, add onions to brown lightly. Add herbs, garlic and water. Cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours. Add carrots and potatoes. Cover and cook 25 more minutes until vegetables are tender. Combine cream and 1 tablespoon flour; stirring until smooth; blend into stew and cook until thickened, stirring well to avoid lumps. Remove Bay leaf. Makes 4 servings. Note: You can substitute good beef stew meat, or a nice cut of roast cut into cubes. I also like to use baby carrots in place of the regular carrots. Don't be afraid to substitute!

Irish Champ

8 medium potatoes
1/2 cup milk
5 tablespoon butter
one bunch scallions or green onions, chopped

Peel and cube potatoes and boil in salted water until tender. Drain and mash slightly. In a small pan, heat milk and butter until butter is melted. Add chopped scallions. Fold mixture into the potatoes until well blended. Potatoes will be still be somewhat lumpy. Makes 6 servings.

Irish Potato Pie

6-8 potatoes, peeled
6 bacon strips
3-4 leeks
one cup grated Cheddar cheese

Cook the potatoes in boiling water until tender. Drain. In skillet, fry bacon until crisp and drain on paper towels. Trim leeks so that you have the white part and a small amount of green. Wash well, and slice thin. Add leeks to pan, and saute over medium heat until soft. Slice the boiled potatoes, and arrange half in the bottom of a pie plate.Season with salt and pepper. Layer with bacon, leeks and one half of the cheese. Cover with remaining with remaining potatoes and season again. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes until top is browned and cheese is melted. Makes 6 servings.

Irish Scones

1/2 cup butter
4 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup milk

In a bowl, combine butter and flour with pastry blender or fingers. Add baking powder, salt and sugar. In another bowl, beat egg and stir in milk. Mix into dry ingredients to make a dough. Turn onto floured surface and roll to one inch thickness or pat carefully with hands. With a cookie cutter cut dough into 2 inch rounds. Place on greased cookie sheet, about one inch apart and bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Makes about 18 scones. You can also add raisins, dates or other dried fruits to the dough.

Still want more recipes?

Here you'll find Soda Bread and Colcannon.

Our friends at Annie's Recipes have a few to share as well:

Corned Beef and Cheese Rolls
Corned Beef and Hot Slaw on Rye
Corned Beef and Cabbage

Alicia's has a few too!

Thanks for joining us for our first issue. Please visit for all sorts of great tea recipes, crafts, gardening advice, home & hearth and plenty more! Our site has been recently redesigned, so if you have trouble finding anything or just have a comment, please click comments below and leave us a shout! :)

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Coming soon!

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