Saturday, March 19, 2016

Who Are These People?


I know this is my grandmother
Florence May Rachor (nee Dilks)
 
Over three generations of my family have maintained a pictorial and newspaper collection of their lives, interests, and fun times. I have spent many years slowly organizing and collating memorabilia,  newspaper articles, memory recounts from my mother, photo albums and of course Internet searches.

My mother was very conscientious about labeling pictures in her albums. When I cleaned her house out I found close to twenty albums dating back to the early 1900's through 2000 plus, miscellaneous tin pictures, letters, scrap books, and my grandmother's photo album. I think I have now scanned all the pictures, which total over a thousand. The last scans were from my grandmother's album that I had accidentally placed in my office closet and forgot I had it until this past week.

The pictures, I believe, are from my grandmother's late teens and early marital era. At the moment there  are many I can't identify because she didn't identify the persons in the photos. Therefore it will take me some time to compare faces with other photos and information to finally determine whom they might be.

I believe I'll be able to eventually identify this couple.



Childhood friends whom will never be identified

Some of the pictures, I'm sure, are those of my grandmother's classmates from Woodbury High School. I have a list of those person from my earlier blog Firecrackinmama's World: Almost 100 Years Ago. It would be something if the kids in the photograph above were her classmates.


It will take a bit to identify the men in the above photograph, but I believe I'll be able to determine some of them.

I think I know who this gentleman is, but I'll have to compare
 his face with others I have to be sure.


I think you get the idea that these pictures, as well as the many more I have to identify, that it's important for future generations that you identify your friends, family members, and locations. I've already misidentified one of my great-grandfathers' pictures. Unfortunately it was placed on geni.com and I'm having a difficult time correcting the error. 

If anyone reading this post had relatives living in Woodbury, New Jersey back in the early 1900's and can identify anyone within these pictures, please contact me.

Wish me luck!

Meanwhile have a Firecrackin Great Day!!!



Saturday, February 20, 2016

Granny's Pigs in the Blanket

My Granny's Pigs in the Blanket

My grandmother lived at the end of our street which intersected in a "T" shape. Her apartment on the second floor provided her with a view of our street from one end to the other. She existed on very little income, but somehow always had a few extra dollars when needed. Once in a while Granny would splurge and make her Pigs in the Blanket. They were and are nothing like the "new pigs in the blanket" which are little hot dogs wrapped in dough. No, these were the most delicious little morsels in gravy served over mashed potatoes. Yum!!

I make them for special occasions such as my mother's birthdays, when she was living, parties, and showers. Granny used shaved beef and wrapped pieces in bacon. I have spoiled my family as I use shaved prime rib meat. Well, a picture is worth a thousand words so here goes nothing!


I didn't want to insult your intelligence or waste space with pictures showing each step. Simply purchase about 1 1/2 lbs of shaved beef, or pork if you prefer, and a pound of bacon. I cut the strips of bacon in half, place the shaved meat on it, and roll. You can see I used toothpicks to hold them together. 

Brown the bacon to get a bit of crispiness. As you'll see it's almost a waste of time, but I do it anyhow. That way I can freeze them for a future date.



Next is the gravy -


 I cheat - after melting 2-3 tablespoons of butter and stirring in equal amounts of flour, I add 2 cans of Progresso's French Onion soup. Getting the consistency right takes some practice. 



Add the meat to the pot and let it simmer for a few hours to soak up all the taste.

The mashed potatoes can be done days in advance or whenever you have time as I freeze mine sometimes. I might add these aren't ordinary mashed potatoes -

Peel and cook 5lbs of potatoes as usual. When you're ready to mash them add 8oz of cream cheese and 8oz of sour cream. Turn the mixture into a foil pan - easier to warm up and clean up.



Add pads of butter and refrigerate until ready to serve. To warm the potatoes up, place them in a 350 degree oven for about an hour. That's if they've been refrigerated.

If you have leftovers - freeze them for another great dinner!

Granny

Have a Firecrackin great day!!!


Saturday, January 30, 2016

Creative Pizza

Firecrackinmama's Creative Pizza

Well, last Saturday dinner was up in the air and no one felt like going out or running out to get food. So what to do? I thought about it for a bit and then remembered I had gotten some Pillsbury pizza dough. After reading so many recipes on Pinterest using their dough to make a variety of edible delights, I broke down and bought it. In addition I had purchased pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese as well, so pizza was on the menu for the night's dinner.


I decided to get the pizza crusts set up while thinking about what toppings I could put on them. I popped the containers opened and to my surprise they were rather difficult to remove. As a matter of fact the dough became one long round object stuck in one end. The more I tried to pull it out the longer it got. Once out I found the perforated edge and started unrolling it. I finally got them in the pans...


 All right stop laughing. I definitely need to practice.


I didn't know which pizza sauce we would like so I used a different one on each pizza. In the end I think I preferred the Cento.

Meanwhile I had thought of some toppings. A few weeks ago I had made non-round meatballs. In other words I was too lazy to form the nice round balls and cook them. Instead I threw the meat in a frying pan and added all the ingredients normally used in the meatballs. I never added the spaghetti sauce to the meat. I froze the leftover meat. So I had one topping solved.



We had had the chicken fajitas the night before. Naturally I over estimated the onions and peppers; therefore they would be perfect as a topping. Oh, and I had some leftover mushrooms! Problem solved!!


Done! Into the oven for about 15-20 minutes and dinner would be ready!



They didn't look too bad nor did they taste bad. Rather good we decided. I noted a couple of things. The crust was too thin, but tasty. Therefore the next time I'm going to use


Well, have a Firecrackin great day! Oops, another Saturday. I wonder what we're going to have for dinner tonight?

Friday, January 29, 2016

What's For Lunch - Spring Rolls???

Firecrackinmama's Chicken Teriyaki Spring Rolls



Wow! Between all the food blogs, Pinterest, and the food television shows, there are thousands of assortments of food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Oh, and for snacks, parties, and for any eating occasion you may want to create.

I've gotten to the point that the old saying "Keep it simple, stupid", works for me. I love to cook and try new things, but there's a limit to the amount of time and ingredients needed to create a good meal. We love oriental foods. So in order to save money calling out all the time, I resorted to making our own. So far, so good. 

A great deal of time has been spent researching how to make sushi, spring rolls, and General Tao's chicken. I was taught by my youngest daughter how to make spring rolls on New Year's Eve. We had a make-your-own sushi and spring roll party.
We made chicken teriyaki spring rolls by deep fat frying them. They were great, but really high in points (my family is on weight watchers) and calories, not to mention the oil. Therefore, I went to Pinterest first in search of another way to cook them once together. The first thing I saw used in place of a deep fat fryer was an air fryer, but I didn't want to spend the money. With further research I found that a convection oven can actually do the same as an air fryer. Well, how about that - we just remodeled our kitchen and got a convection oven!

So here goes:


They're egg roll wraps, leftover chicken teriyaki, bag of coleslaw and more teriyaki sauce - note lower sodium.



I put a tablespoon of butter in first added the coleslaw, garlic, ginger (I'm not peeling and mincing a root) and added the scallions. Cook over medium heat.


Once it's cooked, you're ready to go! It doesn't take long. I cut the chicken into smaller bits. I always used Pam on my pans, however the last time I used a spray olive oil. That didn't work very well. The spring rolls stuck to the pan. As you can see place the slaw mixture with chicken in the wrapper diagonally. The picture on the egg roll wrappers shows you to fold the wrap like an envelope. I used a dab of water (in the bowl in the background) to seal the roll. Take a sip of wine and start the next one.


Once they're all in place spray the top of the egg rolls with Pam. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and cook them for approximately 7-8 minutes. Remove turn the egg rolls over and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes. Keep checking them as all ovens are different and there's nothing worse than a burned spring roll.


Now for the best part - the dipping sauce - great with sushi and spring rolls!!!




Use a nice small bowl and add 8 Tbsp of Gyoza dipping sauce (I like this better than soy sauce)
1 Tbsp of ginger,1 Tbsp of garlic, 3 Tbsp of rice vinegar, 1/2 tsp of sugar and thinly chopped scallions. Stir it up and enjoy!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

What's For Dinner?

Chicken Fajitas

I'm tired of trying to figure out what's for dinner every night. I've been doing that job for over 40 years. I often wondered where was the Amish Market was when I was teaching full time, raising three kids and married. Their prepared food is great, but expensive.

I'm retired now so the Amish Market won't do once more and I'm still tired of trying to figure out dinner and the same old things in rotation. However, hello Pinterest, The Chew, and Rachel Ray! Oh, yeah plenty of good ideas there.

Did I mention that my husband and I take care of our grandson every day, so once again the dinner decision is problematic. After nine hours of running around with a 14 month old dinner better be a quick fix. So over the summer and this past Fall I've found some pretty good ideas that have been modified and simplified of course.

The best idea over the summer was chicken fajitas and the grill. It was so simple using McCormick's Skillet Fajita Sauce.



Just slice up the chicken breasts into strips place in a bowl and mix with the Fajita sauce. I have to add it's the best sauce I've had yet. The local Shop Rite use to carry it, but no longer. I did find it in Walmart.

This may not seem so special but I cooked the onions and peppers right on the grill without any oil. 



Nothing like taking a few minutes to enjoy a glass of wine or some beer while you cook these on the grill. However, I preferred my homemade Mint Julep!



Once the onions and peppers have softened, it's time to complete the meal.



Finish cooking the marinated chicken with the onions and peppers and it's done. Warm up some tortillas, add some salsa, sour cream or whatever completes you fajita. Enjoy!!

Have a Firecracking Great Night!