Saturday, June 30, 2012

My Gladiolus

It took a lot of care this year to bring up the Gladiolus that I planted as bulbs, earlier this year.  But the work has paid off!  Now the work is begun to keep them healthy and blooming despite the servere hot weather.  Most of them are stressed - like I feel, trying to help them!  :)

If you had visited my shop just about a week ago, you would have been able to see them at their peak.  I hope you'll enjoy these pictures of them now.

Note: that is just the outside of my shop, the inside is just as interesting, if not more!  I hope to see you there soon.  Thanks. 
The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Farmer Boy Chocolate Pudding

Today, being "National Chocolate Pudding Day", I figured I'd post my recipe for Chocolate Pudding.  This is a recipe that I've made over the years and improved as I went. I hope you like it!

Farmer Boy Chocolate Pudding
  • 1/4 Cup of light brown sugar (packed)
  • 3 Tablespoons of cornstarch
  • 3 Tablespoons of Dutch-process cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 3/4 Cups of whole milk
  • 1/4 Cup of heavy cream
  • 1 Cup of milk chocolate chips
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Directions: In a large sauce pan, combine the sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt.   Whisk in the milk and cream, till smooth.  Over medium heat, add the chocolate chips and bring to a simmer.  Add about 2 Tablespoons of the warm mixture to the egg yolks and mix it to temper the egg yolks.  Then add this to the mixture.  Reduce the heat to medium low and cook, whisking it constantly.  It should thicken in a couple minutes and you'll see large bubbles appear on the surface.  Take it off the heat and add the vanilla.
Pour into 4 chilled ramekins, dessert cups or bowls.  Cover each with wax paper or plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator, chilling for about 4 hours.
Serve, topped with whipped cream.
I have to admit, I couldn't wait those 4 hours, so I put one of the filled ramekins in the freezer for about 20 minutes!  :)
I hope you'll try this recipe and then leave a comment here for all of us to see how it came out.  (Please don't leave any spam here, it is filtered out before published, so you'd be wasting your time!)
If you like my blog, please tell others about it, so they can become followers too.  Thanks.
The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Saturday, June 23, 2012

National Taffy Day

Today, is "National Taffy Day"! 
Taffy is one of our oldest forms of candy, dating back to the early 19th Century.  One of the main ingredients was molasses.  Because of this, it had to be pulled and stretched in order to soften it into an edible piece.  By the middle of the century, "Taffy Pulling" was almost a sport - spectator and something to participate in also.

Most people know it to be called "Salt Water Taffy".  It got that name in the later part of the century, when a storm hit the east coast of the United States.  Taffy was very popular on the Boardwalk, in Atlantic City.  And after the storm, the ocean waves had damaged many of the candy merchant's establishments causing them to close down.  One merchant decided to open a temporary shop.  When the people asked him if he had any taffy, he replied, "Yes, but it's Salt Water Taffy", joking about how the salty water had ruined business.  But the name stuck and became key to the sales.  But it is not made with salt water!

Old-Fashioned Salt Water Taffy is still very popular at Laura's "Sweet Memories", my shop in Mansfield, MO.
It is affordable on any budget and is available in many different, mouth-watering, delicious flavors.  I hope you stop by for a visit soon and purchase some.
Happy National Taffy Day!
The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

National Ice Cream Soda Day

June 20th is "National Ice Cream Soda Day".  The Ice Cream Soda was first created in 1874 at the Philadelphia Exposition, by Robert M. Green.   His creation took flight as drug stores added soda fountains and rose to meet the demand for this "New-fangled" drink.  Here is my recipe for the quintessential, old-fashioned Ice Cream Soda:
  • 1/4 Cup of whole milk
  • 3 Tablespoons of Chocolate Syrup
  • 2 scoops of Chocolate ice cream
  • 1 Cup of Seltzer water
  • Whipped Cream & Maraschino Cherry
Directions: Chill a 12 oz. soda glass.  Vigorously stir in the syrup and very cold milk.  Add the ice cream. (Keep the ice cream off to one side, against the inside of the glass.)  Pour in the Seltzer water, so that it foams up.  Top with the whipped cream and cherry.  Add a straw and a long-handled spoon.
If you prefer, you could use any other flavor of ice cream along with the corresponding syrup, but I suggest you try this one first, you may not see the need to go any further! :) It is yummy
These are not as popular these days since you don't find many soda fountains anymore, but as long as I can make my own, I'll be able to get along.

I hope you'll try this recipe and then let us all know, by leaving a comment here.  And if you haven't already, sign up to be a follower of my blog site.  Thanks. The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Friday, June 15, 2012

It's "National Fudge Day"!

Well, it's about time!
I don't know about you, but I've been waiting all year for this day :)  While I have almost a hundred different old-fashioned candies in my shop, fudge is still what most people stop in to purchase.  And I can't blame them!  These are just some of the luscious flavors of fudge I carry.  I hope you'll be stopping by soon to take some home for yourself.
Who could resist this mouth-watering fudge, handmade in the Ozarks?  Sorry, I don't have any "sugar free", you'll just have to jump in with both feet on these!  :)
The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Mary Ingalls - College Graduate

Mary, the daughter of promise for her parents, lost her sight at age 14 years after a severe fever.  She never regained her eyesight.  But she didn't let that loss keep her from living a fulfilled life.  She attended the Iowa College for the Blind, in Vinton, Iowa.

Mary was an exemplary student and excelled in most of her studies.  She completed her studies, graduating on June 12, 1889.  As part of her graduation exercises, Mary wrote and recited an essay entitled, "Memory".

"After graduation," Laura explained, "Mary lived happily at home with her music, and raised print and Braille books. She knitted and sewed and took part in the housework."  Mary wrote poetry, corresponded with blind friends; using Braille, and she even wrote letters to sighted friends using a grooved slate; which controlled the writing on the page.  She also contributed to the household income, when needed, by selling some of her handmade items.

Mary was never to get married, living with her parents.  After her father's death, she stayed on with her mother.  They cared for each other as best they could.  As her mother died, Mary was cared for by her sisters, Carrie and Grace, until the time of her death in 1928.

Mary proved that just because a person looses their sight, it doesn't mean that they won't lead a long, happy life making a contribution to those around them.  Mary was an inspiration to Laura.  Mary was a contibuting factor which helped Laura's writing career.  Laura's skills of observation were sharpened as she took on the task of describing life around them as young girls. Without those unique skills, Laura might not have developed into such a great writer.  Life has a way of working out for the best, when you live a life of hope.

The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Recipe for "National Chocolate Ice Cream Day"

Boy, give the guy who thought up this day a medal!  Of course, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to make some homemade ice cream! 

I don't think the Ingalls family ever made this, but if they had the means, they probably would have!

Farmer Boy Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream
This recipe is for a small batch, about 2 1/2 to 3 quarts.
  • 1 Cup of sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 Cups of whole milk
  • 1 egg & 3 egg yolks, beaten
  • 3 squares of semi-sweet chocolate (1 oz. each)
  • 2 Tablespoons of Dutch Chocolate powder
  • 2 Cups of heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla
Directions: Combine the sugar and salt in a pan.  Over medium heat, stir in the milk.  Cook till it begins to simmer, stirring constantly.  Slowly add about a cup of this to the beaten eggs, so that they temper, but don't cook and become scrambled eggs.  Then add all of that back to the pan, stir and continue to cook.  This should cook for about 2 to 3 minutes and thicken.  Then, over low heat, stir in the chocolate squares and then the powder.  Lastly, stir in the cream and vanilla.  Cover the pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  Freeze as directed on your ice cream maker.
To be honest, I don't know if I followed this recipe completely at the time I took this picture, because each time I make it I tweak the recipe a bit.  But this is my basic recipe for chocolate.  I'm not opposed to adding things to this, like nuts or chocolate chips or Jalepenos!  Remember, working in the kitchen should be fun - so do it your way and see what happens.
If you make this, please leave a comment here, to let us know about how it came out. Thanks.  The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Recipe for "National Soul Food Month"

The term "Soul Food" has become synonymous with the African American culture, but it seems to me that every ethnic culture has their own version of "Soul Food".  These type of dishes come from a desire to comfort the eater.  They also come from the fact that supplies are meager because of the lack of ingredients available or the financial means are lacking.  This reminds me of the old saying, "Necessity is the mother of invention."  This is exactly what Laura wrote about in her "Little House" books.  Her family, sitting on the poor side of life, made meals from what was at hand - that was their "Soul Food".

Throughout the years I have experienced similar conditions effecting my meals.  By definition, "Soul Food" is food prepared to satisfy, not only your hunger or appetite, but to give you comfort having eaten it.  That is what I've tried to do in concocting this recipe. This recipe is simple and made from those ingredients at hand.

  • 2 - 3 slices of day-old bread
  • 1/3 Cup of buttermilk
  • 1/3 Cup of sliced onion (may be rough chopped)
  • 2 Tablespoons of cooking oil
  • 1 can (10 oz.) Stewed Tomatoes
  • 1/2 Cup of Okra (fresh or frozen - breaded or plain)
  • dash or so of hot sauce
Directions: Lightly toast the bread and then cube it.
Place the bread in a bowl and cover with the buttermilk.
In a pan, add the oil.  Over medium heat, saute the onions.  Add the Okra and Tomatoes (with all the juices).  Cover the pan and heat thoroughly. (about 5 minutes)  Stir the bread and buttermilk into the mix and hit it with a little hot sauce, to taste.  Heat through and serve immediately.
This recipe makes about 2 servings.  I made some chicken-fried steak fingers to go with this, but you could use any other dishes you'd like, or just eat it by itself - whatever satisfies your soul!  :)  After eating this, I thought that it could be improved by adding some crumbled bacon on top! (Bacon always comforts my soul!)

The trouble I had was to come up with a name for this dish.  If you make it, perhaps you could suggest a name, please include that here, in a comment.  Thanks.

I have other recipes in the blog archives which could be classified as "Soul Food" - I hope you'll look at those as well.  And be sure to sign up as a follower of my blog, if you haven't already done that.
Thanks!  The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Saturday, June 2, 2012

National "Rocky Road" Day!

This is National Rocky Road Day.  It is a very distinct flavor; usually associated with ice cream.  But at Laura's "Sweet Memorims" it is a flavor of mouth-watering, delicious FUDGE!  But its name is changed here, to "Rocky Ridge" Fudge, in honor of the Rocky Ridge Farm of Almanzo & Laura.  It is a very popular flavor of fudge, with its mini-marshmallows and pecan pieces wrapped in milk chocolate fudge.  When you visit the shop, be sure to take some home with you! (Well, maybe it will make it home, if not eaten before you get there!) - You will certainly be making some "Sweet Memories" by eating this flavor of fudge!
The Old Man in the Bib Overalls