My Grandmother’s Kitchen: Homemade Pancakes

I love the title for this month’s blog post. I had different relationships with both of my grandmothers. They each taught me so much in the precious time I had with them. After our family moved from the city, I used to spend a few weeks each summer with my Grandma Milem.

She lived in a cul-de-sac with other homes filled with folks much like herself; elderly, with grown children. There were very few kids my age living, or visiting in that semi-circle of homes; so I ended up spending a lot of time with Grandma and Grandpa. This is the place where I learned to sew, embroider, and watch Grandma cook. A favorite family memory: she loved to whistle while she worked.

There was always fresh produce on Grandma’s table. Tomatoes sliced on a plate, cucumbers bathed in vinegar, or swimming in sour cream with dill, and onion stalks with their greenery spilling out of the top of a glass of water. She taught my mother how to can the benefits from our garden, her bread and butter pickles were the best! We had jars and jars of corn, green beans and tomatoes. Grandma would take zucchini home and come back to visit with loaves of zucchini bread!

I have fond memories of holiday gatherings. Wonderful smells would fill the house. There were no store bought pies here, no sir. Everything was made by hand, and if you went home hungry it was your fault.

By the time I became a teenager, Grandpa had passed away and their home had been sold. Grandma called herself a vagabond; she lived from place to place. Mostly with her grown children in different parts of the country. She would visit us in southern California for a couple of months, she would then divide the rest of the year between Arizona, South Carolina, or Ohio.

In 1999, we were all called to my Uncle’s home in Ohio to say our good-byes. Hospice had advised that Grandma would be leaving us soon. A memory from that time, so precious to me  was when my Uncle’s home lost power, and there was no air conditioning. My cousins and I took newspaper and made fans. Then we went into the bedroom where Grandma rested and fanned her while singing hymns. If you listened real close you could hear her humming along.

When asking my cousins which recipe they remembered most from Grandma’s Kitchen our memories varied.  But we all think of her as a constant reminder of our childhood, and her great cooking abilities. I just found out recently that one of my cousins had  snagged her recipe box! Oh what a treasure! She then proceeded to send me a picture of all of those recipes. So, per her request, I am happily sharing Grandma Milem’s pancake recipe.

 

Grandma Milem’s Pancakes

1 Egg
1 1/4 cup Buttermilk or sour milk
1/2 cup of Baking soda
1 1/4 Cups of Flour
1 tsp. Sugar
2 Tbs. Soft shortening
1 1/2 tsp. Baking powder
1 tsp. Salt

Mix the dry ingredients together well. The shortening should be soft like butter at room temperature. Add shortening, and  buttermilk; stir well. Let batter rest for a minute or two before pouring on hot griddle.

Click to Tweet: My Grandma’s Kitchen: Homemade Pancakes #holiday #memories .@InspiredPrompts

Cleaning and Organizing the Pinterest Way

By Jennifer Hallmark

What is better than a clean, organized home? I can’t think of much. I love the smell of a freshly laundered, dust-free, and everything-in-its-place house. But with six grandchildren who enjoy visiting Mamaw and Papaw and a full-time job writing, who has the time? Or the money to hire someone to scrub and scour?

Betty has already shared the way she schedules her cleaning. If you missed it, check it out here. But maybe you’re like me and can’t seem to follow a schedule when it comes to cleaning. I’ll start with a schedule but then notice that something (not on the list) needs to be done that day and I just have to clean that item. Then I’m off schedule. Again.

So, what’s a person to do?

Pinterest.

I’ve found so many great ideas and tips to first organize, then clean. So I thought I’d share some straight off my page and maybe they can help you create that clean and organized living space. https://www.pinterest.com/jenlhallmark989/cleaningorganizing-tips/

Organize

  1. Tips for Organizing Your Home for Spring Cleaning- This article takes your house, room by room, and shares good tips for putting it back in shape.
  2. 22 Things to Get Rid of Right Now-I loved this simple list.
  3. 20 Mind-Blowing Organization Ideas-Good all-around organizing tips.
  4. How to Organize Your Entire House: A Ten-Week Plan-For you planners, here it is, all written out.

Clean

  1. 3 Genius Hacks For Swiffers That Will Save You Money-I loved this one because, well, I love my Swiffer and it saved me money. 😊
  2. How to Wash Walls in 5 Easy Steps-Simple tips for that normally hard job.
  3. 20 of the Most Popular Cleaning Tricks on Pinterest-And here are twenty tricks all in one place.
  4. How To Clean Your Microwave In 3 Easy Steps-Am I the only one who looks in the microwave and can’t believe the mess? Here’s your answer.

Try out some of these ideas and tips and let me know what you think by leaving a comment. I’ve got to go now. I’m in the middle of organizing and cleaning the “toy” room I’m creating for the grandchildren. Now where are my rubber gloves?

Writing prompt: Needed: Money to

Click to tweet: I’ve found so many great ideas and tips to first organize, then clean.

Mamaw Avon’s Pink Stuff

photo by Anna

Southerners love their “get-togethers,” especially if the holidays and food are involved. My husband Danny’s family is no exception. Though his mother, Mamaw Avon, now lives in her heavenly residence, her bright smile and recipes live on. Thanksgiving meant turkey, Christmas meant ham, and for both holidays, she made cherry fluff, or as we called it, pink stuff.

On Thanksgiving Day, we’d wake early to the smell of the turkey which had baked all night. “Dressing,” which is a southern-type of cornbread stuffing, was tasted and re-tasted to get the spices just right. Vegetables were cooked and the house filled quickly with family and friends bearing casseroles and cake plates brimming with delectable dishes. The pink stuff was mixed together and chilled before the start of our late afternoon celebration.

The large crowd would be quieted before we’d give thanks to God for His abundant goodness, then to the feasting. Most of us ate our pink stuff with the meal, but a few would save a bowlful for desert later. The left-overs brought us all together for several days thereafter and the fun would begin all over again.

Do your holidays have enjoyable food traditions or memories?

 

Pink Stuff

1 can cherry pie filling

1 small can crushed pineapple, drained

12 oz. Cool Whip

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 cup miniature marshmallows

½ cup pecans, finely chopped

 

Mix all ingredients in large bowl; mix well. Pour in decorative bowl and refrigerate for one hour.

 

Today’s writing prompt: Sandra emptied the pecans she’d chopped into the faded hand-painted bowl as a tear slipped down her cheek. Her mother’s bowl…

Mom’s Twice Published Recipe-Chinese Pepper Steak

 An oft requested recipe in our family is Mom’s pepper steak. When we lived in Missouri, our neighbor invited us to eat one evening and served pepper steak. Mom copied the recipe and we’ve enjoyed it since then.

Years later, she sent the recipe to Southern Living magazine and they published it. I passed it on to a local magazine who also printed it in the recipe section of their magazine. 

What is the steak in pepper steak? Round steak. A round steak is a steak from the round primal cut of beef. Specifically, a round steak is the eye of round, bottom round, and top round still connected, with or without the “round” bone (femur), and may include the knuckle (sirloin tip), depending on how the round is separated from the loin.

 This is a lean cut and it is moderately tough. Lack of fat and marbling makes round dry out when cooked with dry-heat cooking methods like roasting or grilling. Round steak is commonly prepared with slow moist-heat methods including braising, to tenderize the meat and maintain moisture. The cut is often sliced thin, then dried or smoked at low temperature to make jerky.

Mom’s recipe calls for the steak to be cut in thin, short strips to keep it from becoming dry and tough.  I believe I’ll run to the market afterwhile and gather up the ingredients to make my family pepper steak and rice.

 

Chinese Pepper Steak

Yield: 4 servings

1 (1 ½ pound) round steak, cut into thin strips

2 tablespoons oil

Salt to taste

1 green pepper, cut into strips

1 onion, diced

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon cooking sherry

¼ or less teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

2 tablespoons cornstarch

3 tablespoons water

1 tomato, diced

Hot cooked rice

 

Quickly brown meat in hot oil; add salt, green pepper, onion, soy sauce, cooking sherry, garlic powder, and ginger. Cover and cook over low heat for ten minutes.

Combine cornstarch and water; stir until cornstarch is dissolved. Add this to meat mixture; cook, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened.

Add tomato; cover and simmer about ten minutes. Additional water may be added, if needed. Serve over rice.  Below is a different take on pepper steak…
 

Today’s writing prompt:  Ted unwrapped the brown paper parcel in front of him, wondering what his mother had purchased at the meat market. Round steak. Great. And with Linda…

 

 

 

Common Household Items – Modern and Future

Confession time – I have a favorite appliance in my kitchen. I know you shouldn’t show favoritism, but it’s my Tassimo single-cup coffeemaker. I know it’s an extravagance, but I love coffee and I always hated throwing coffee away when I made too much. So now I make a single cup and I can even make lattes and specialty coffees if I have them on hand. Other than that, my kitchen is ordinary. We are not really high tech in other areas of the house either. If it works, why replace it? 

I do have dreams. When I began researching this article, those dreams expanded. Yes, I would like this television set and that beautiful modern lighting. If you watch HGTV, you see so many new and innovative additions to kitchens and bathrooms it’s difficult to keep up. But writers must stay up with the new gadgets if our writing is going to be modern for the next couple of years. 

For your convenience, I have inserted links in this article. Just click on the item to see the original article and/or photo.

Appliances & Gadgets – Among my favorites, advanced lighting, a self-cleaning, restocking refrigerator, a “green” glass, robot security and what I like to call the “super” bed. Just imagine a bed that does everything for you. But there are many more gadgets out there, designed to make our lives easier. However, some of them are costly and are not energy efficient right now, like the Kohler Numi toilet.
We already have music that follows us everywhere, electronic books, ipods, ipads, iphones, and laptops. These are constantly evolving to keep up with the ever-changing technology. Even our automobiles are evolving into highly technical machines with touchscreens that allow us to route our journey, raise and lower the heat and sound and even talk on the telephone. 
& Televisions – Our present-day television boasts high-density picture quality that is at times unsettling, if the screen is a large one. You almost feel you’re there. Anyone remember the old color TV’s? Those first ones to hit the market? We’ve come a long way. The screens of the future look a little different. There are holographic TVs in the works and the solid glass screens are already out there. You think you’re looking at a mirror or a glass panel until you touch the remote and turn it on. Cool.
These new gadgets will be powered by solar, wind, biodiesel and nuclear energy, according to several articles I found, especially one from National Geographic. But that’s another subject for another day.
There is a wealth of information out there to help you populate your futuristic novel with cool gadgets and appliances. If you have deep pockets, you can even invest in a few to add that touch of realism to your story. If your work in progress is set in the present, just be aware that your cutting-edge technology will be out of date by the time your book is published. 
Thank you for reading our posts this month on Common Household Items. I hope we have helped fuel your imaginations. Please join our blog or follow our facebook page to keep up with future posts on interesting writer-inspiring subjects. And take a few minutes to finish one of our story prompts. Enter the monthly contest to win a $10 Amazon gift card and be featured in our last post of the month. Hey, it’s free advertising. 
This week’s prompt: Lucy was awakened by a trilling alarm. Bimbo, her security robot, had detected something. She pushed a button in the headboard to activate the security channel on the TV. Her heart nearly stopped as the screen revealed the intruder…
Research