Traverse City Record-Eagle

October 12, 2008

Grandma's Kitchen: Dishes we haven't seen


These cool, snappy mornings put a spring in your step and whet your appetite for some of those great tasting and wonderful smelling dishes we haven't had for awhile. I think of a bubbling pot of spicy chili, or a favorite soup, and what smells better than a pot roast cooking with onions? Now we can enjoy turning the oven on for this and some tall buttery lighter than air biscuits! Are you hungry yet? I am -- grab your aprons.

I had a brain storm about 4 o'clock this morning which resulted in a plan. YOU are part of that plan! How would you like to help me do the Christmas holiday columns starting in November and running through mid-December? Just send me some of your favorite Christmas recipes and maybe the unforgettable experience surrounding it. You all send me such wonderful recipes it would be a shame not to share them. It would also be a way for you to get to know each other, Just e-mail or mail your recipes to me starting now and running through Dec. 1. Like the idea? I'll let you know when yours will be in. My mailing address is in the Traverse City phone book, and e-mail at the bottom of this column. I'll be waiting to hear from you, so get moving!

-- Big news in the Shaffer clan -- our new baby is here! I made sure we had a boy by buying a gorgeous PINK blanket! I don't think he would ever forgive me, he's a little football player. Helly Paul weighed in at 8 lbs., 4 oz., Saturday morning, Oct. 4. He's our 19th great-grandchild. He is so beautiful and perfect, and we are so thankful for him. He is the baby we celebrated with his mother at the Blessing Way, which you were all so interested in.

-- I thought some of you might find this information interesting from the September edition of National Geographic. This concept is the brainchild from a research center of Yale University. Thousands of stores will be posting quality index scores by foods, rating them from 1-100, based on nutrients and vitamins, sugar/salt, as well as their impact on your health. Now if you have been buying groceries forever like I have, this might not be important to you, but think of young homemakers wandering through a jungle of 45,000 food products in a supermarket! Believe me, they'll appreciate it.

To give you the idea, I'll list a few in descending value order. You might be surprised by some of them. I was....

100: Broccoli, blueberries, green beans, oranges

90: Cabbage, tomatoes, apples

80: Oatmeal, salmon, almonds

70: Shrimp

60: Tuna

50: Kidney beans

40: Yogurt, strip steak

30: Chicken breast, lobster

20: Hamburger, peanut butter

10: Dark chocolate

2: Regular cut bacon.

Surprised? You'll see if you check the Web site that sugar, salt and fats are the bad guys. No surprise there. It is fun to check the entire list.

-- I thought about giving you a recipe for Spoonbread but wasn't sure your Yankee palates would be thrilled. How about some hot nutritious soup for a cool fall evening? I've had this recipe tucked away all summer just waiting. It's from The American Institute for Cancer Research, but bears a strange likeness to the old Weight Watchers cabbage soup. I think I'll add a little brown rice to mine to thicken it a little. It's quick, easy and delicious.

Tomato and Shredded Cabbage Soup

1 T. olive oil

1 sm. onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 8-oz. bag shredded cabbage and carrots (cole slaw mix)

1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes, drained

4 c. vegetable broth (or chicken broth)

1/2 t. cumin

1 T. lemon juice

1 t. honey

Salt and pepper to taste.

In a soup pot, heat oil over medium heat.

Saute onions for about 5 minutes, add garlic and saute about 1 minute more, add cabbage, carrots and tomatoes and saute about 3 minutes more. Add broth and cumin, bring to a boil and reduce heat to low, simmer about 10 minutes covered. Stir in lemon juice and honey, salt and pepper to taste.

70 calories per serving. Serves 6.

And here's something for fun that's unbelievably delicious if you like lemon bars. It's from the Lake Ann UMW cookbook.

Easy Lemon Cookies

1 8-oz. carton Cool Whip, thawed

1 egg, beaten

1 Lemon cake mix (I used Pillsbury)

Powdered sugar for rolling cookies

Beat egg in mixing bowl, stir in Cool Whip, stir in the dry cake mix right from the box. Combine and mix well. Cover and refrigerate overnight. To bake: Drop by rounded teaspoons in a bowl of powdered sugar, roll into a ball. Place on sprayed cookie sheets (lined with parchment paper, works better) bake in a pre-heated 350 degrees oven for about 12 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet and cool on baking rack. Makes about 30 cookies. Can be kept in a closed container for a few days and freeze well.

-- Betty Wilkie

-- Parting shot: The most beautiful sight you will ever see is your child running to you with outstretched arms. -- Author Unknown

Edna Shaffer is a local mother, grandmother and great-grandmother who writes about cooking from the perspective of an older adult. She can be reached via the Record-Eagle at 120 W. Front, Traverse City, MI 49685; or by sending e-mail to: