Make Candied Nut Clusters

 Instructions for Gail & Clyde Martin’s Candied Nut Clusters

Things You’ll Need:

  • medium size cooking pan
  • chocolate or vanilla flavored almond bark
  • aluminum foil
  • small to medium sized nuts

Clean and sort the nuts. My husband used different strainers with different size grids, large and medium. The large grid let everything go through except for the largest pieces. Those worked great in the sugared nut recipe.


After that, he had lots of smaller sizes of nutmeats. Really just bits and pieces. So he shook them up in a strainer with a smaller size grid. The smaller grid lets the tiny pieces of shell and other debris fall through. Clyde dumps them into a white baking pan and searches for more shells that slipped through. Some tiny pieces of the shell stick to the nutmeat and can be removed with tweezers. Shaking in the strainers seem to bring out the oil in the nutmeats, making them shiny and tastier.

With the medium size nut meats, we make candied nut clusters. For this process, you need the following: medium size cooking pan, chocolate or vanilla flavored Almond Bark; aluminum foil, and lots of small to medium size nuts.


Break or cut the almond bark into chunks easier melting in the pan. Place it on a very low heat.

When melted, remove the pan from the heat and add the nutmeats. Keep stirring as you add them until all are coated.
 

Drop the mixture by teaspoon onto the foil. Let the clusters cool until the almond bark hardens.

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What’s Your Favorite Pie?

My sister Cindy said, “Pumpkin pie with whipped cream is one of my favorites for Thanksgiving, then cherry, apple or chocolate cream. Our dad, Clyde, enjoyed making pecan pie using the pecans he meticulous picked out of the shell. In the winter time, there was always a pan full of nuts and his picking tools next to his chair. When it came to walnuts he used his own method of cleaning the hulls off, then tossing them in the cement mixer to wash before cracking them open.”

pumpkin pie pixabay

Then my aunt, CJ, mentioned that a slice of strawberry rhubarb pie made by family friend, Tonda Alvarez might be the reason she’s feeling better today. I doubt that Tonda has found a cure for flu or colds, but strawberry rhubarb pie certainly perks up your taste buds.

tonda alvarez rhubarb pie - pic by CJ garriott

Tonda Alvarez’ wonderful strawberry rhubarb pie (photo by CJ Garriott)

My husband favors apple pie with a scoop of ice cream on top. I like that but in the fall, pumpkin pie is my first choice. How about you? What’s your favorite pie?

 

Stocking Up for Thanksgiving

Time to buy the turkey or ham and all the trimming for the holiday feast. I’m sure your list on the week before Thanksgiving includes cranberry sauce, stuffing, sweet potatoes, and other traditional foods. The Publix Supermarket that I use was so busy today, there were no shopping carts in the cart area. My husband hunted around the parking lot and returned triumphantly with one.

retro-1950 shopping pixabay

Shopping for groceries in the 1950s

Much of our Thanksgiving meal was homegrown in my childhood years. We didn’t raise our own turkeys but the mashed potatoes and the green beans came from our bountiful garden. Gail Lee Martin would have shopped at the local IGA market for the cans of cranberry sauce. We always had the jellied kind that you served in slices. Now, I opt for the whole berry, but still from a can.

The pies were homemade with Gail rolling out the pie crust in the farmhouse kitchen. There would be pumpkin pie and whipped cream to go on it. Someone would assemble the 5-cup salad with the luxury of mandarin oranges, tiny marshmallows, shredded coconut, pineapple, and a sweet creamy sauce tying it all together. So the shopping list would include those.

Gail wrote about the Thanksgiving meals from her childhood. The 1930s holiday didn’t necessarily include a turkey. Read the details at We Gave Thanks Prairie Style. The description shows how times change but the family gathering was still special.  The desserts included a gooseberry pie made from berries they picked along the Cottonwood River. Sometimes pumpkin wasn’t available so a faux pumpkin pie was made with other ingredients.

Clyde and Gail Martin just finishing Thanksgiving dinner_Shanno

Thanksgiving in the 1970s – Clyde and Gail Martin.

What special dishes are you serving this Thanksgiving? I hope you don’t forget any of the special ingredients while shopping.

 

I Found the Carrot Cookie Recipe!

I was afraid the carrot cookie recipe was lost. I’d found one recipe labeled Helen King’s carrot cookies, but I wanted Mom’s recipe. She started making these after we were all grown up. She had a batch of the tasty cookies ready when I visited one time from Baltimore. They became my new favorite cookie.

It turns out that I had a copy of the recipe all along. I found it as I cleaned out my over-full, seldom used recipe box. As I tossed dubious-sounding jello recipes and any baked goods that called for Bisquick, I found the carrot cookie recipe written in Mom’s handwriting.

carrot cookies

Gail Lee Martin’s Carrot Cookies

  • 1 cup finely grated carrots
  • 3/4 cup shortening or oleo
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix the ingredients, then drop by teaspoon onto a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. (She doesn’t mention greasing the baking sheet, but I’d recommend it)

Icing for the Carrot Cookies

  • powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup finely grated carrots
  • orange juice

Mix these together to use as a glaze. Wait for the cookies to cool first.

What is lurking in your recipe box? Take a look to see if some heirloom recipes are there. Treat your taste buds to a trip down memory lane.

 

retro fifties foods pixabay

Graphic from Pixabay

 

More about Pie Crust Scraps

Yummy Pie Crust Scraps.

Did your mom ever make these?

My sister started me thinking of these, when she said, “Tonight I’m remembering the cinnamon and sugar pie crust scraps Mom used to make for us.”

kk pie dough scraps

The pie dough scraps ready to go into the oven. (photo by Karen Kolavalli)

This is a follow-up of an earlier post here on my mother’s memory blog, Discovering Mom – Pie Crust Scraps. If you like nostalgia and memories of the good old days, nip back to read this one and other posts.

It inspired quite a discussion among my friends on Facebook, so apparently, Sis and I are not the only ones with fond memories of pie crust scraps.

 

pie crust pixabay

Fitting the crust to the pie pan. Looks like some will be leftover. (photo from Pixabay)

 

Here are the memories generated among my friends:

Peggy – “Oh yeah. Mom rolled them up like little cinnamon rolls. Yum!”

Nan –  “and I’ve made them for my kids (and me)”

Shirley – “My grandmother and mom made them as little crispy cinnamon rolls too. I still make them. Those, and the family pickle recipe, and jam. I try to keep the family recipes alive to pass down but unfortunately, I think they’ll end with me.”

When I suggested that she make a little recipe book to save these for the grandkids someday, Shirley said, “I have the recipes saved. I just think there’s something special in passing the recipes down through sharing the process itself. I remember making root beer in a big new Rubbermaid trash can with my mom when I was young. That’s the stuff memories and legacies are made of.”

My aunt, Cj commented too, “Indeed, I enjoyed them as I was growing up. Mother would brush the pieces with butter (that we churned from our own cows), then sprinkle on the sugar and cinnamon. No throwing away any left-over crust! I always wanted her to make just the pie crust strips, and forget the pie!”

My second cousin, Cheryl said, “I don’t particularly remember my mom making them, but she must have because I got the idea somewhere when I became a mother! I always made them when had leftover pie dough! Kids loved them and so do I!!!”

How about you? Did your mother make these pie crust scraps?

 

apple-tart pixabay

Here’s another way to use the leftover pie crust. Add apple slices to make little apple tarts. (photo from Pixabay)

 

Pumpkin Drop Cookies

Several of Gail’s daughters and a number of grandchildren like to cook. Here’s a recipe invented one autumn day by her oldest daughter who had a craving for cookies. If you love pumpkin flavors in the fall and want an easy baking project, try this recipe.
pumpkin spice cookies

Susan’s Easy Pumpkin Drop Cookies

1 yellow cake mix

1 can pumpkin

2 eggs

1/2 t. cinnamon

1/4 t. nutmeg

1/4 t. allspice

1/4 t. cloves

Mix all together and drop by teaspoon onto greased cookie sheet.  Bake 350 degrees until when touched doesn’t leave an impression.

 

Susan shared this recipe via email and I’ve saved it for 9 years. I’m getting that fall craving for pumpkin-flavored foods so I might have to get out the spices and a mixing bowl to give this recipe a try.

cookie-pixabay

Pumpkin Drop Cookies (photo from Pixabay) – You can add macadamia nuts or craisins, but those aren’t really necessary.

She said that she was taking the cookies over to the folks so she wouldn’t have them around the house tempting her. Mom and Dad enjoyed visits from their daughters and looked forward to their daughters’ cooking and baking binges.

“Sister Karen must have been in the same mood as she took them beans and ham. It is hard to cook for one.”

meme pumpkin drop cookies

Remembering Pies from the Good Old Days

My sister and I both commented when a friend posted a recipe for raisin pie. She called it a funeral pie.
Here’s what Karen had to say, “First, I’ve never heard the expression “funeral pie”! Raisin Pie was probably my least favorite as a kid, but it’s a favorite now (with vanilla ice cream). I like to try out old-fashioned pie recipes–so I’ve tried vinegar pie (my Dad supervised–said his Mom used to make it when he was a kid), chess pie, buttermilk pie, and something called Osgood pie, which is sort of a buttermilk pie with nuts and raisins. I think it’s a Texas recipe.”
More recently, Karen wrote about transparent pie on her Kentucky Day Trips blog. That’s an old-fashioned pie for sure and a good “make-do” kind of recipe.

blueberry pie

My comment was, “You never could tell how my mom’s baking would turn out. With six kids underfoot, she was a distracted cook. We ate the results, good or bad. My favorite part was the leftover pie crust. She would cut it into strips, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon, bake them, and we got to eat those while the pie cooked.” We already shared here how to make cinnamon pie crust strips.

The pie above reminds me of Mom’s. She would flute the edges like that. The few times that I made my own pie crusts, I made my edges that way too. You just put 2 fingers on the edge to hold the crust in place. Then with your other hand, use 1 finger to indent the edge between the 2 fingers. Continue on around the whole pie.

Mom used Crisco to make her pie crusts. Further back, our grandmother’s used lard, I’m sure, to get the flaky crusts that tasted so good.