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Saturday, October 29, 2016

Finnish Sauerkraut Salad



Served often at most of our Finnish dinners growing up and on Christmas Eve


2 cups sauerkraut, drain some liquid
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper (red pepper too at holiday 

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water

3 T vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt


  • Combine water and sugar in a small kettle and bring to a boil.   
  • Boil for approximately 5 minutes.   
  • Allow to cool some.   
  • Add vinegar and salt to sugar and water mixture and cool some more. 
  • Pour syrup over sauerkraut mixture.   
  • Stir well.   
  • Cover and chill for about 5 hours before serving.   
  • Easy one to make ahead of time. 
  • Keeps well if refrigerated.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Filled Blueberry Banana Brownies

Filled with Jam Water, Pudding Whipping Cream and Bananas
Taking a page from my mother's filled flag cake, I used the brownie recipe we grew up with to create Filled Blueberry Banana Brownies.  Why bananas?  Because our mother would serve us a square of these brownies topped with whipped cream and sliced bananas so I love the taste! It's how I usually serve them too.  But for fun, I decided to try these brownies filled and layered.

Once you slice bananas on top you need to eat them right away, so I went looking for our teens to taste it with me.  I was delighted to find them with a group of the neighborhood teens happily chatting on our lawn enjoying the summer night.  I wish I would have paused to snap a photo of them eagerly consuming my new creation.  It was a real compliment when I was asked the next day if I had more.

This is a milk chocolate fudge brownie recipe, so if you want darker brownies, add more chocolate or use your favorite brownies.  A mix will even work.

Mud pies vs. Brownie batter?
To make a filled cake you need two layers.  I could have used one batch and made squares or circles, but I wanted a full size cake so I made two batches and baked them in the same large cookie sheet.

Ha Ha! I bet my brother--who loves this brownie recipe--will worry I am tricking him and just making more of those mud pies I used to serve him when I was little!


  1. Spray the cookie sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Arrange two sheets of wax paper so they meet in the middle.  
  3. Bring the edges up enough to create a barrier.  
  4. Spray the wax paper with cooking spray. 
  5. Evenly divide the brownie batter on each side.  
Notice the sheets separating the batches.
Two batches bake up nicely in the same cookie sheet.
While the brownies cool, whip up the Jam Water and Pudding Whipping Cream and set aside.

Jam Water

  1. In a small bowl, dump out 4-5 Tablespoons of jam.  I used raspberry for this recipe. 
  2. Add 1 cup water.
  3. Stir briskly together until the jam is dissolved.
Choose your pudding flavor for its taste or color.

Pudding Whipping Cream

  1. In a medium bowl, empty the contents of one small instant jello pudding packet.  I used white chocolate for this recipe.
  2. Pour in 1 pint of unwhipped whipping cream.
  3. Just like making pudding, briskly whisk them together and let the pudding set up.
Unlike unpredictable whipping cream, this creates the perfect consistency for spreading or decorating with tips.  It holds its form nicely.  Remember to refrigerate the cake you decorate with it.

Once the brownies have cooled, it's time to assemble and fill the brownies.


It's easy to remove one at a time.
  1. Use a knife or spatulat to loosen the brownies. 
  2. Use both hands to gently pick up one half or layer of brownies.
  3. Gently turn the top side down on your base.
  4. Gently remove the wax paper.  This exposes the air pockets for your jam water to soak into.
  5. Spoon half the Jam Water over the entire layer.
  6. Cover with Pudding Whipping Cream. Save half of it for the top layer.
  7. Slice 2 large bananas around the layer.
  8. Next remove the other layer of brownies.
    Keep one hand close to the part you are peeling off.
  9. Gently place it top down over the bananas.
  10. Match it up as perfectly as you can to the bottom layer.
  11. Gently remove the wax paper.
  12. Spoon the other half of the Jam Water over the top layer.
  13. It may be best to stop here and refrigerate it for a few hours before you decorate it, so the Jam Water can soak in.  It doesn't soak in as easily or deeply as it does in the flag cake recipe.
  14. To decorate, spread the rest of the Pudding Whipping Cream over the top.  If it's been in the refrigerator as well, remember to stir it around first.  
  15. It's not necessary to cover the sides.  If you want to, you will likely need another batch of Pudding Whipping Cream.
  16. Arrange the slices of 2 large bananas across the layer randomly or in a design.  
  17. Also add ½ pint of blueberries to the top layer for more color and a fun flavor.
  18. And if you grew up in my home, you know to serve this on a beautiful plate, accompanied by a nice napkin and cold milk also served in a beautiful glass! 
I think I will arrange the bananas and blueberries like the Finnish flag next time. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Filled American Fourth of July Flag Cake

For the Fourth of July I made a filled American flag cake.  

For these  Cookie Sheet Sized Cake Layers I used my mother's bundt cake or sokkeri kakku.  Just pour batter into a large cookie sheet lined with greased, wax paper so the cake will come out.  I baked it for 18-19 minutes at 350 degrees.  I set it aside to cool.
When cool, I placed another empty flat cookie sheet over it to used as the base and turned it onto it. 
 I made strawberry water by putting 8-10 Tablespoons of strawberry jam with 2 cups of water and mixing it together.  I spooned it around the cake so it will soak in.  
When you remove the wax paper, it exposes holes in the cake so this can easily soak in.  

Next I made the whipped cream pudding that I use inbetween and on top of the cake.  Add 1 complete package of cheesecake or white chocolate jello instant pudding and stir in 1 pint of unwhipped whipping cream.  As you stir it, within 5 minutes it will have a perfect consistency to spread and frost with.  First cover the bottom layer completely with this mixture.  

Now place the other cake on top upside down as well. It works better to lift them up together in a V because the cream will adhere itself.  After you peel off the wax paper, then add the strawberry water to this cake and allow it to soak in here as well. Cover it with whipped pudding cream. Spread it around the edges and smooth all over evenly.  Decorate with blueberries and strawberries.  

It is best to make it the day before and refrigerate it so the cake gets moist and the flavor sets in.  I used two of these cake batter recipes and I used 4 boxes of jello pudding and 4 pints of cream.  I used most of a pint of blueberries and most of 2 lbs of strawberries.  

Happy Fourth of July!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Quick Single or Double Pie Crust Recipe

Whenever I need pie crust, I just pull a cup out from the bulk Crisco pie crust recipe my Mother-in-law taught me and I keep on hand.  Today I needed a single crust and didn't have any more of the bulk on hand, so I searched and found Crisco's single/double recipe because I needed a single crust for my quiche recipe I made for breakfast today.  It's nice to have each recipe on hand  at home or when visiting someone else's home. 

  • 1 1/3 cups Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 stick well-chilled Crisco® Baking Sticks All-Vegetable Shortening
  • OR 1/2 cup well-chilled Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening
  • 3 to 6 tablespoons ice cold water
  • 2 cups Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 stick well-chilled Crisco® Baking Sticks All-Vegetable Shortening
  • OR 3/4 cup well-chilled Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening
  • 4 to 8 tablespoons ice cold water
  • 2 2/3 cups Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick well-chilled Crisco® Baking Sticks All-Vegetable Shortening
  • OR 1 cup well-chilled Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening
  • 6 to 10 tablespoons ice cold water


  1. BLEND flour and salt in medium mixing bowl.

  2. CUT chilled shortening into 1/2-inch cubes. Cut in chilled shortening cubes into flour mixture, using a pastry blender, in an up and down chopping motion, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some small pea-sized pieces remaining.

  3. SPRINKLE half the maximum recommended amount of ice cold water over the flour mixture. Using a fork, stir and draw flour from bottom of bowl to the top, distributing moisture evenly into flour. Press chunks down to bottom of bowl with fork. Add more water by the tablespoon, until dough is moist enough to hold together when pressed together.

  4. TIP
    Test dough for proper moistness by squeezing a marble-sized ball of dough in your hand. If it holds together firmly, do not add any additional water. If the dough crumbles, add more water by the tablespoonful, until dough is moist enough to form a smooth ball when pressed together.

  5. SHAPE dough into a ball for single pie crust. Divide dough in two for double crust or double deep dish crust, one ball slightly larger than the other. Flatten ball(s) into 1/2-inch thick round disk(s).

  6. TIP
    For ease in rolling, wrap dough in plastic wrap. Chill for 30 minutes or up to 2 days.

  7. ROLL dough (larger ball of dough for double crust pie) from center outward with steady pressure on a lightly floured work surface (or between two sheets of wax or parchment paper) into a circle 2-inches wider than pie plate for the bottom crust. Transfer dough to pie plate by loosely rolling around rolling pin. Center the rolling pin over the pie plate, and then unroll, easing dough into pie plate.

  8. For a SINGLE pie crust, trim edges of dough leaving a 3/4-inch overhang. Fold edge under. Flute dough as desired. Bake according to specific recipe directions.

  9. For a DOUBLE pie crust, roll larger disk for bottom crust, trimming edges of dough even with outer edge of pie plate. Fill unbaked pie crust according to recipe directions. Roll out smaller dough disk. Transfer dough carefully onto filled pie. Trim edges of dough leaving a 3/4-inch overhang. Fold top edge under bottom crust. Press edges together to seal and flute as desired. Cut slits in top crust or prick with fork to vent steam. Bake according to specific recipe directions.

  10. Two Methods for Pre-baking Pie Crusts (Cream Pies)

  11. Pre-baking without weights: Thoroughly prick bottom and sides of unbaked pie dough with fork (50 times) to prevent it from blistering or rising. Bake crust in lower third of oven, at 425°F, 10-12 minutes or until edges and bottom are golden brown.

  12. Pre-baking with weights: Thoroughly prick bottom and sides of unbaked pie dough with fork (50 times) to prevent it from blistering or rising. Chill or freeze for 30 minutes. Line pie dough snugly with foil or parchment paper. Fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake at 375°F for 20 minutes. Remove foil and weights. Reduce oven to 350°F. Bake 5-10 minutes or until edges and bottom are golden brown.


Serving Size (1/8 of crust), Calories 190 (Calories from Fat 110), Total Fat 12g (Saturated Fat 3g), Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 150mg, Total Carbohydrate 16g (Dietary Fiber 1g, Sugars 0g), Protein 2g; Percent Daily Value*: Vitamin A 0%, Vitamin C 0%, Calcium 0%, Iron 6%.
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Veggie Tails and Flowers for Fancy Veggie Basket

My Mother began making fancy cut veggie baskets for special occasions after I left home, so I didn't have the chance to watch or help her much. Veggie Tails and Veggie Flowers for Veggie BasketNow that she's passed to the other side of the veil I had to recall, search for photos of her vegetable basket and online to "see" how to make various veggie tails and flowers.  In addition I asked myself questions.  I began to get some inspiration of my own--possibly from her whispering suggestions in my ear.  I felt her nearby as I thought of her, which made for a priceless time.   
What follows is how I make radish roses, green onion tails and stems, carrot crinkles and flowers, jagged cucumber circles, celery tails and turnip flowers.