Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Spinach/Artichoke Hummus Grilled Cheese

Okay, so how does "The Old Man in the Bib Overalls" come up with a sandwich recipe like this?  That's a long story!  Here is the shortened version: My grandmother (on my mother's side), had a second marriage after having my mother.  The fellow she married was of unspecified ethnic origin.  He would never admit to any in particular, but what I could weasel out of the family was that he might have family in Turkey.

Now the second part of this story covers the fact that at one time he had a diner somewhere.  All this took place before I came on the scene, so details are all sketchy!

Growing up I had the opportunity to visit my Grandparent's home in another state a few times, during summer vacation times.  Grandpa always did the cooking (once a chef, always a chef, I guess!).  I always enjoyed the meals that he served.  Had I been older and wiser, I would have asked for his recipes!  As a result of all of this, I only have a few of his recipes, which were passed on to me through others in the family.

This is one of those. I have no idea if it was his invention or one of many recipes he collected and used while cooking in his diner.  But, with the use of Hummus, it seems likely that it was something that he might have had from his family.
Farmer Boy Spinach/Artichoke Hummus Grilled Cheese
Ingredients: (This makes enough Hummus for a number of sandwiches or for use in other dishes)
  • 1 lb. of Chick Peas, soaked and prepared (or use canned, drained)
  • 4 Cups of fresh Spinach, finely chopped, then gently cooked
  • 1/2 Cup of Artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon of Red Bell Pepper, finely diced
  • 2 Tablespoons of Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Sesame Paste (Tahini)
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
  • 2 - 4 Tablespoons of sharp Cheddar Cheese spread, or use shredded cheese (for each sandwich)
  • 2 Slices of bread (any variety)
  • melted butter
Directions: To prepare the Hummus: use a food processor.  Simply process the cooked peas.  Add the chopped spinach, artichokes, and peppers, along with the juice, garlic, oil and Tahini. (You can save the Hummus in a sealed container in the refrigerator to use in other dishes, if you'd like.)

Sandwich assembly: Lay out 2 slices of bread (I prefer using whole wheat bread), and spread both with cheese.  Next, place 2 - 4 Tablespoons of the Hummus on one of the slices of bread. Combine both slices to make a sandwich. Brush melted butter on top.  Place the sandwich onto a medium hot griddle or skillet.  Cook till lightly browned.  Brush the top with more butter and turn over to brown the other side.  Serve warm.

This is good served with a side of rice pilaf, made with raisins and nuts!  And a glass of apple juice, tops it off good too!
I occasionally  think back upon those times spent with my grandfather.  I remember how many schemes and dreams he talked about, that he either attempted or wanted to attempt in his lifetime.  Most of them were spurred on by his selfish ambitions.  And those were mostly unfulfilled or unsuccessful!  But I do believe it was his example of entreprneurship that most encouraged me to pursue my dreams.  But, being led by my relationship with the Lord, was what gave me the focus and not give in to selfish ambitions.

"Those who stop dreaming never accomplish anything."
"If we would not be satisfied until we had passed a share of happiness on to other people, what a world we could make!"  Laura Ingalls Wilder

I hope you'll try out this great recipe!  If you do, please come back here and leave a comment about it. Thanks.    And, if you wouldn't mind, share this blog site with some other folks too!
The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Good dog, Jack!

Today we celebrate "Bulldogs are Beautiful Day"!

Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote, in her books, about the family dog, named Jack.  Jack was a Brindle Bulldog.  He was the family dog as long as Laura could remember.  She felt very close to Jack.  He protected her family and was a good, loyal companion, especially to her.  He walked under their covered wagon, mile after mile, as they moved from one place to another.  Laura wrote a story about the end of Jack's life, in "By the Shores of Silver Lake".  According to the story, Laura was leaving on a train and had to say goodbye to Jack.  She spent the afternoon caring for him and telling him, "Good dog, Jack."  It was to be the last time she would see him.  This was a very sad time for her and all her readers, as they followed along with this story!  In Jack's honor I am posting this recipe during "Grilled Cheese Month".

Farmer Boy "Good dog, Jack"
Ingredients: (for each sandwich)
  • 1 large hot dog, cooked and split to fit the bread
  • 2 slices of bread
  • 2 slices of Pepper Jack Cheese
  • melted butter
Directions: Place one slice of cheese on a slice of bread. Place the split hot dog on top of that.  Cover with the other slice of cheese and then the other slice of bread.  Brush the top with melted butter.  Place the sandwich upside down on a griddle or skillet, over medium heat.  As it cooks, brush the top with butter.  When lightly browned, turn it over and cook the second side.  Serve warm.

If you make this and enjoy it, please leave a comment here. Thanks.
The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Friday, April 26, 2013

Freda's Friday

If you enjoy Freda's thoughts, please leave a comment here. Thanks. The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Farmer Boy's "Lucy, the pig"

If you've read the Laura Ingalls Wilder book, "Farmer Boy", then you probably enjoyed the story about Lucy, the pig!  Keeping with my celebration of "Grilled Cheese Month", I have designed this sandwich in honor of Lucy.
Farmer Boy's "Lucy's Apple/Cheddar Griller"
Ingredients: (for each sandwich)
  • 4 or more slices of bacon, cooked
  • 1/2 of a medium-sized apple, sliced thinly
  • 2 - 4 Tablespoons of Cheddar Cheese, grated (or you can use "Cheez Whiz" or the like)
  • 2 slices of bread
  • melted butter
Directions: Lay out 2 slices of bread. Coat one slice with the cheese.  Place the cooked bacon on top of that and the sliced apple on top of that.  Cover with the remaining cheese and the other slice of bread. Brush the top with butter.  Place the sandwich upside down on a griddle or skillet, over medium heat. As it cooks, brush the top with butter. When lightly browned, turn it over and cook the second side.  Serve warm.

I'm reminded of the story about the discussion had between the chicken and the pig.
It seems the chickens on the farm went to see the pig, in his pen.  They were bragging about how the chickens were the most important animals on the farm. "We give the farmer and his family eggs for his breakfast every day" they bragged.  The pig thought about this for a moment and then said, "Yes, that is important, but your contribution is small compared to that sacrifice which I make to contribute to that breakfast meal!"   This is so true - the eggs were a sacrifice, but could be replaced the next day.  But the pig would have to give up his life to provide the bacon!

I guess the moral of this story is for us to keep in mind our committment to causes.  Are we just wishing others the best, letting them do all the work towards success, or are we putting forth full effort ourselves to make the endeavor a success?  We should always do our best; and that, not just for acclaim!

If you make this recipe, please leave a comment here. Thanks.
The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Celebrating "National Chocolate Covered Cashews Day"!

Now, this is a favorite of many!  I try to keep a good stock of Chocolate Covered Cashews on hand in my shop!
Tomorrow is "National Jelly Bean Day"! Here again, is something of which I try to keep up a good stock! Jelly Beans have been around for about a century! And they are still very popular!

I hope you'll drop by soon to pick up some of the "Old Timey" confections that I carry at Laura's "Sweet Memories" in Mansfield.

The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Friday, April 19, 2013

Next installment of Freda's thoughts

Please leave a comment to encourage Freda. Thanks.
The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Farmer Boy Recipe - Not a BLT, but a BCT!

Still celebrating "Grilled Cheese Month" here!  So this is my next recipe to help with the celebration:
Farmer Boy BCT (Bacon, Cheese, Tomato)
  • 2 Slices of bread
  • 1 Slicing tomato
  • 4 - 6 slices of bacon, cooked crispy
  • 2 - 4 slices of American cheese
  • 2 dollops of Thousand Island Dressing
  • melted butter
Directions: Lay out your slices of bread.  Spread dollop of dressing on each face. Place the cheese on top of the dressing.  Slice the tomato and place that on one slice of dressed bread. Arrange the bacon on top of that. Combine the 2 slices of bread.  Brush the butter on top.  Place the sandwich, upside down onto a medium hot griddle or skillet. While the first side is cooking, brush the top side with more butter. When the bottom is lightly browned, turn it over and cook the other side. Serve warm.

This is just a starting point! You can always change the variety of bread, cheese, or dressing.  I used a wheat bread here.  I enjoy a BCT, using Blue Cheese dressing too! If you desire, experiment, and then come back here and leave a comment on that. Thanks.  If this is your first time viewing my blog, please on to be a follower. And tell others too!  Thanks.
The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Monday, April 15, 2013

"The Hole in the Wall Gang"

Still celebrating "Grilled Cheese Month"!  This time the inspiration for this grilled sandwich comes from the hideout of the notorious Old West gangs of thieves and robbers.  This was an opening in the mountains of Johnson County, Wyoming, where people like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid would hide from the authorities.  They used this hidout for decades - from the 1860's, on into the first part of the 20 Century. It was called "The Hole in the Wall" or "Robbers Roost".

This makes a great breakfast sandwich!
Here's how to make it:

Take 2 slices of bread (any variety you'd like) and place slices of American Cheese in between them.  Using a biscuit cutter, cut a hole in the middle of both slices and the cheese. Then brush the top with melted butter. Place this upside down on a griddle or skillet, set on medium low temperature. Next, break an egg into the hole.  As you see the egg begin to fry up, when it has reached a desired firmness (depending on how you want your egg cooked - hard or soft), butter the top and then turn it over.  Cook the rest of the way.  Serve warm.

Of course you could eat this grilled sandwich any time you'd like; it doesn't have to just be for breakfast!

And there is a serendipity also!  You can use the cutout center to make a finger sandwich!

As far as "The Hole in the Wall Gang" is concerned - you can ask Freda (my 91 year old houseguest - who is also Almanzo Wilder's cousin).  She has visited the site of the hideout.  She also had a relative who was associated with "The Wild Bunch", Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. (Ann Bassett - or was she Eta Place?  You'll have to sort that one out yourself!)  But you may have to wait till Freda completes her memoirs for those stories!  ;)

I hope you'll try this recipe and then leave a comment here. Thanks.  And be sure to spread the word about my blog site too!  Thanks. The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Friday, April 12, 2013

Announcing: "Extra Special Posts"!

This is the very first post that I am placing on here from Freda! She is my houseguest.  If you have been following my posts for any time now, you'll know that Freda is a cousin to Almanzo Wilder. 

Freda is 91 years young!  She has some health issues which keep her under the doctor's care and my oversight.  But she is quite a special lady!  Not only is she related to Almanzo, but she has a long, long list of ancestors, that reads like an unbelievable wish list of ancestors!  Among that list are wives of U.S. Presidents past, movie actors, founding fathers, notables of all sorts and a number of authors.  Some of the authors are: Clement Moore, Emily Dickenson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, O Henry, John Stienbeck, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Robert Frost.  Some of those talents must be passed on in genes, because Freda loves to write too!

As long as she is able, she will be giving me some of her little verse to post here.  She likes to write poems and inspirational prose.  If you like those type of things, be sure to look for this special blog postings.  I hope to post one each week.  Here is the first:

This may not seem like much, but even a mighty mountain began only as a bump!   Look for more and greater things to come.  
I also have complied some of her writings in a page that I have available for puchase in my shop.  And I am working with her to write her memoirs. Much of her upbringing and even adult life, parrelles the Ingalls and Wilder families; making her memoirs very interesting!  This is a long process and will not be ready for publication any time soon.  But I'll let you know when it is available.   Thanks for looking!
The Old Man in the Bib Overalls 

Celebrating "National Licorice Day"!

Licorice candy is not as popular as it once was in my childhood.  And I before I was born, it was even more popular. 

I can remember, as a young fellow in grade school, running home each day after school.  I'd usually stop at the corner candy store on the way.  My usual purchase was about nickel's worth of licorice!  Back then 5 cents went pretty far!  These days, as Yogi Berra said, "A nickel ain't worth a dime anymore!"  But I still have licorice available in my shop for nostoalgic purposes, if not for any other reason!  If you enjoy licorice, now you know where you can find some! Hope to see you in the shop soon!

Of course there are other "Old Timey" candies in the shop, along with handmade souvenirs related to a visit to the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home & Museum, here in Mansfield.  And I even see some kids in town who stop in after school.  So some things don't change!

The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Personal "Sweet Memories"

Today is "National Cherish an Antique Day".

I started my life, growing up in the house of my Great Grandparents.  As a child, I saw this dresser set every day on the dresser of my Great Grandmother.  Now that I have inherited these pieces, those childhood memories of Great Grandmother are present each time I see them.

Saving items like this, from one generation to the next, is a good way to keep alive the memories and legacy of our ancestors.  Each item holds its own cherished memories.  Whether those items be expensive or inexpensive, large or small; they still carry memories. If you don't have antiques to pass on, you can begin with any personal possession and one day it will be an antique!  An accompanying written history, or "Provenance", will provide a history with each item.  A story going along with them will keep alive the memory of those who first owned the items.  I hope you have some cherished antiques in your family.

"The world is the beautiful estate of the human family passing down from generation to generation, marked be each holder while in his possession according to his character." Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Sunday, April 7, 2013

"No Housework Day"

Now here is a day that many would like to see!  But, if everyone participated in this day, there would be a price to pay!

It seems these days, we see a lot of people who shrug their responsibilities already, without encouraging them by giving them this excuse!

Now, I can't say that I really enjoy, with great anticipation, my housework.  But, without my doing it, it would not get done!  I don't have a wife, nor the means to hire someone else to do it for me.  And, when I think about it, even if I did have those available to do my housework, would it be the right thing to have them do my housework?

I'm reminded of the gal who always swept the dirt and debris, which accumulated on her floor, under her rug.  One day that became an embarrassment, as a visitor tripped over the rug, exposing the mess underneath! She learned her lesson the hard way!

But it is no different than any other of the things which people try to avoid doing or covering up.  Once a week on my radio, I catch a segment on my favorite station.  It is called, "Bozo Criminals of the Week". In this they tell about the stupid mistakes that criminals and would-be criminals make.  Most of these are costly mistakes, but are avoidable, if they had any sense to begin with!  But when someone is focused on making life easier on themselves, without paying the price of following the rules, or putting forth their best efforts, they end up in a position that makes them look foolish. (or worse!)

Housework is what is called, "A necessary evil". Unless you want to get sick from accumulated germs, dust mites and droppings of a variety of vermin, cleaning a house on a regular basis is of utmost importance!

I appreciate how the Lord instituted houseswork into His plan for people. Once a year, during the feast of Passover, there is a purging in the house of all leavening (which is associated with a growth of yeast or festering of other things, like sin).  But if you wait to do that only once a year, you'll be up to your neck in it! But how often do we find ourselves deep into sin without even noticing it? And then how difficult it is to change that habit!  I've heard that it takes at least three weeks of constant replacement of actions to break a habit. Considering that we don't know if we have another day given to us by the Lord, we could be in big trouble!  Unconfessed sin separates us from fellowship with God.  As Christians, we have the promise in God's Word, that nothing can separate us from His love. But we can't use that as an excuse for not taking responsibility for our actions.

So, we must clean our spiritual house as well as the house in which we reside. This takes a daily inspection of the house.

As Christians, the Bible says that our body is the residing place of the Holy Spirit.  This is why we must keep that house clean, free of all sin.  The Holy Spirit, is just that, "Holy"!  When we sin, we grieve Him, we chase Him out of the house!  He cannot reside where sin lives on a regular basis.  If you go so far as to sin willfully and never confess your sin to the Lord, (as 1John 1:9 says we are to do) then we are blashpheming Him and face a terrible judgment!  And the Lord calls that "The Unpardonable Sin"!

So, I urge you to do your housework on a regular basis and sweep all that mess out of your house and your life!  Spring cleaning is good, but without doing housework all the time, you will be in trouble!  It is my prayer that you and I, at all times, be found serving and honoring the Lord in all that we do, say or even think!

"To be sure there are limits to the lessoning of work. I could hardly go so far as a friend who said, 'Why sweep? If I let it go today and tomorrow and the next day, there will be just so much gained, for the floor will be just as clean when I do sweep as it would be if I swept every day from now until then.' "  Laura Ingalls Wilder

As the pioneers build this land, the motto was, "Go ahead!"  Let's keep that motto today and move ahead, doing what we know is right!

The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Friday, April 5, 2013

Farmer Boy Recipe - "Apples 'n' Onions Grilled Cheese"

This is "Grilled Cheese Month", and I hope to share a number of grilled cheese recipes to celebrate.
This one would probably be the favorite of Almanzo Wilder!

If you plan on trying this recipe, you'll need to go into my blog archives to find the "Farmer Boy Apples 'n' Onions" recipe.  After you make a batch of that recipe, you'll use that to make this grilled cheese sandwich.

Farmer Boy Apples 'n' Onions Grilled Cheese
Ingredients for each sandwich:
  • 3 - 4 Tablespoons of the "Apples 'n' Onions"
  • 2 slices of bread (I prefer to use Sour Dough Bread - you'll find a recipe to make that in my archives. Rye Bread also goes good - or use any variety you'd like!)
  • Butter, melted
  • 3 - 4 Tablespoons of sharp cheddar cheese spread (I use Merk's, but Cheez Whiz works good too.)
Directions: Spread the cheese onto one side of each of the matching slices of bread. 
Spread the "Apples 'n' Onions" onto one slice of the bread.  Put both slices together.  Brush melted butter onto the top.  Place this upside down on a hot griddle. Cook till lightly browned. As it cooks, brush the top with melted butter, then turn it over to cook the second side.
Serve warm.

Almanzo made a success of his farm by overcoming his disabilities and getting down to work.  He followed the Biblical example, set forth in Proverbs 16:9, "A man's heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps."  If you would also hope to succeed in this world, you might consider to do likewise.  Some people will tell you that, "Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, he can achieve."  But if you approach it that way, where is God in that equation?  How do you think you can do something worthwhile without God's permission and blessing?  But, once you get those, go out and put in the hard work behind it!  And if you took the time, in the first place, to allow God to inspire you and then teach you, you can't go wrong!  Laura Ingalls Wilder, (Almanzo's wife) had this to say, "We must first see the vision in order to realize it; we must have the ideal or we cannot approach it. But when once the dream is dreamed, it is time to wake up and 'get busy'. We must 'do great deeds, not dream them all day long'. "

You may really be surprised at what you can accomplish, if you give God all the credit!
Long ago, I made Proverbs 3:5,6 my life's verses to live by.  Try it for yourself, see if you won't live a more content life!  You may not accomplish every dream you dream, because God may not want that for you. God with the flow of God's Will! He knows what is best for you!

If you make this sandwich, please leave a comment here. Thanks. The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

"National PB & J Day"

Today, being "National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day", I decided to provide this recipe.  It isn't the usual way that I make a PB & J sandwich, but it is a recipe that I hold in my arsenal of recipes.

You may use any brand of peanut butter that you'd like and any flavor of jelly or jam that you'd like, and even any variety of bread, for this recipe!  What's left?  Well, let's see...
Here are the basics:
Farmer Boy PB & J
Take 2 slices of bread for your sandwich and lay them out on your workspace.
In a bowl, mix together 2 - 4 Tablespoons of your peanut butter, with the same amount of jelly.
(I've found that this seems to give it a more velvety taste!)
Smooth the mixture onto one slice of bread.  Place the other slice on top.
Brush the top side of the sandwich with melted butter.
Lay the buttered side down on a medium hot griddle or skillet. Cook till the bottom is lightly browned.  Brush the exposed top with melted butter and flip the sandwich over.  Cook till the second side is lightly browned.  Serve warm - or cold - (If you refrigerate it for a few minutes, it won't ooze out so much!)
Oh, and don't forget: a glass of milk goes good with it!

This time I chose to use rye bread and blackberry jelly. For an extra treat, you could top the sandwich with a dollop of whipped cream - but then you'd want to eat it with a knife and fork!

As I hinted before, my usual way to make a PB & J, would be to use a Pita bread, (cut in half and opened up) and fill it with this combination of peanut butter and jelly.  I just like the way the pita makes an envelope for the filling.  :)

Did Laura Ingalls Wilder eat PB & J's growing up on the prairie?  I don't think so, because peanut butter wasn't invented until around 1890; and not put into mass production till a decade or two after that time.  But, Laura, Manly and Rose may have included it in their menu when they lived in Mansfield!

If you make either sandwich, please leave a comment here. Thanks!

The Old Man in the Bib Overalls