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



Things to Ask Your Grandparents Before They Are Gone

It’s human nature to take your family for granted, but once they die, you realize there were many things you don’t know about them. Don’t let the time get away from you. Your grandparents won’t be here forever.

grandma gail

Gail with a granddaughter and 2 great-granddaughters

Here are things to find out before it is too late.

Names and Dates of Their Parents and Grandparents

Find out the full names, nicknames, places they lived, and dates of their birth, marriage, and death. These are the links to your ancestry, so don’t miss the chance to get this information. Too many people just know their own parents’ names and grandparents. Asking your grandparents for details about their own parents and grandparents takes you back four generations. This can be a huge help if you try to piece together your ancestry later.

Favorite Recipes

If you love your grandmother’s chicken and noodles and the way your grandfather slow-cooks beef brisket, ask now. Write the recipes down and try them out, then ask for clarification and tips if the results aren’t as good as theirs. Sometimes, it’s hard to get the same ingredients like farm-fresh eggs so your cooking effort may not taste just like your grandma’s.

recipe carrot cookies

Family Illnesses

Do certain kinds of cancer show up again and again in the family? Maybe there’s a pattern of heart problems. Find out what caused the deaths of your great-grandparents. Such knowledge helps you take preventive steps and make lifestyle changes.

Family Secrets

If there is some topic that the family tiptoes around and never discusses, ask the grandparents. What really happened to Uncle Billy who disappeared? Why do two cousins never speak to each other? Why did the family leave the Old Country?

Their Memories of a Bygone Era

What was it like during World War II? Find out details about their daily life as a child and how times have changed. Try to save these memories by writing them down or videotaping your grandparents. Get out the photo album and ask questions about the people in the pictures.


Gail’s uncle, Albert Vining in World War I

Halloween in the Good Old Days

Back in the 1920s and 1930s when Gail Lee McGhee was growing up, Halloween was celebrated in a simpler way than today. Since she lived in an oil field camp in the Flint Hills of Kansas, there was no door-to-door trick or treating. A community Halloween party was held at the Teterville School with adults and children wearing costumes.

Gail wrote about her clown costume that her mother made for her and her sister and about the fright she had when she saw her mother and father in gypsy costumes. The party games included bobbing for apples. You can read her story of that 1930 Halloween on the Our Echo website.

Bats and Girl Halloween CardBats and Girl Halloween CardView DetailsVintage Little Witch and Black Cat Halloween CardVintage Little Witch and Black Cat Halloween CardView DetailsGhost Jack O Lantern Pumpkin Child PostcardGhost Jack O Lantern Pumpkin Child PostcardView DetailsJack O Lantern Pumpkin Ghost Child PostcardJack O Lantern Pumpkin Ghost Child PostcardView DetailsHalloween Retro Vintage Children's Costume Party PostcardHalloween Retro Vintage Children’s Costume Party PostcardView Details

Decorations from the time included carved pumpkins and black cats. There was none of the zombies and gory costumes that are seen today.

Retro Black Cats Can Be Scary or Cute

Many people collect vintage Halloween items. They make great decorations for a Halloween party or for the Halloween season. They show up on eBay and if you’re the lucky bidder, you can decorate with Halloween cats too.

The designs have been reproduced on tote bags and t-shirts as well. I’ve collected a sampling of the best here for your review.

Vintage Halloween CardVintage Halloween CardView DetailsHalloween Greetings Card Cat with PumpkinHalloween Greetings Card Cat with PumpkinView DetailsSalem Witch & Black Cat CardSalem Witch & Black Cat CardView DetailsBoy Wizard Halloween Costume CardBoy Wizard Halloween Costume CardView DetailsMoon and Girl in Halloween Costume CardMoon and Girl in Halloween Costume CardView DetailsA Jolly Halloween, CardA Jolly Halloween, CardView DetailsOld Paper Invitation PumpkinOld Paper Invitation PumpkinView Details

A Collector’s Guide to Vintage Halloween Items

There are many Halloween collectibles dating back to the early days of the 1900s. Besides black cats, I’m partial to the sturdy cardboard jack-o-lanterns. Once in awhile you’ll find some of these at an estate sale or maybe in your grandmother’s attic. Check out the background on these and the value with these books.

Halloween Collectables : A Price GuideHalloween Collectables : A Price GuideView DetailsVintage Halloween Collectibles -Third EditionVintage Halloween Collectibles -Third EditionView DetailsHalloween in America: A Collector's Guide With Prices (Schiffer Book for Collectors)Halloween in America: A Collector’s Guide With Prices (Schiffer Book for Collectors)View DetailsTimeless Halloween Collectibles: 1920 to 1949, a Halloween Reference Book from the Beistle Company Archive with Price Guide (Schiffer Book for Collectors)Timeless Halloween Collectibles: 1920 to 1949, a Halloween Reference Book from the Beistle Company Archive with Price Guide (Schiffer Book for Collectors)View Details

Making Flint Hills Cheese Soup

flint hills cheese soup pixabay meme gail
This recipe was shared by Gail Lee Martin on the eHow website some years ago.
This cheese soup is a great way to use lots of garden vegetables. Get some at the farmer’s market, if you don’t grow your own. It’s really a lovely soup with the cheese in it. Serve the soup with warm, home-baked bread.

Flint Hills Cheese Soup

* 1 stick of butter
* 1 quart of milk
* 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
* 2 tablespoons of butter
* 6 tablespoons of flour
* 1 teaspoon of salt
* 2 cups cubed cheese
* 1/2 cup chopped onions
* 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
* 1/2 cup chopped celery
* 1/2 cup chopped carrots
* 2 cups chicken broth
Cut the cheese into cubes. I use an American cheese like Velveeta, but you might prefer another kind.
Wash and chop the vegetables.
Make a rich cream sauce by melting 1 stick of butter in a 4-quart saucepan stirring constantly. Add 1 teaspoon of salt, 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, 2 cups of cheese and the 6 tablespoons of flour.
Gradually add 1 quart of milk, stirring constantly. Set aside (off the burner) when thick.
Sauté the chopped vegetables in the 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the chicken broth and cook very little. The vegetables are best a little crunchy. Combine this with the cream sauce.
Flint Hills Cheese Soup Recipe Postcard
Flint Hills Cheese Soup Recipe Postcard
Here’s the recipe on a postcard that you can order and sent to your friends


My Little Notebook Fetish

I’m procrastinating on preparing a presentation for Tuesday. Something like that gets me started tidying my desk. Lurking here and there on my desk and in the cubbies are lots of small notebooks.

small notebooks

I wasn’t kidding — I have a lot of notebooks

I’ve turned up 14 so far. Of course, I have to check inside to see if anything valuable is in each one. I found notes from a trip two years ago, some self-development exercises I’d still like to try, some outdated computer passwords, and a list of books to read someday.

I don’t have time to act on any of these right now, so I’ll bundle the notebooks together and stash them away again. I’ll never run out of things to do in this lifetime. If I should, I can just grab a notebook and flip to a random page.

This behavior seems to run in our family. Mom had quite a collection of little notebooks too. How about you? Do you have a stash of notebooks too?

(Originally published on Bubblews, January 2015 – by Virginia Allain)