Sunday, September 23, 2018

"Little House" Cracklin' Cornbread

You may say crackling...I say cracklin'.
What are cracklin's anyway?
Plain, unadulterated pieces of crispy fried pig skin rendered from the lard making process.

So now that we have that all cleared up....

Recently I shared that I was reading the book Prairie Fires by Caroline Fraser. 
Although the book shed a lot of light on many things (and some I would really rather forget),
I was left wanting to know more and more about Laura Ingalls Wilder.

I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I'd never read her "Little House" books until recently...
I finished them just last week and now I want to read them all over again!
I only became familiar with the fictional Laura when Little House on the Prairie came to TV.
It has been a favorite show since the 70s and I still record and watch them regularly.
I never grow tired of these wonderful stories, even if I do know exactly what's going to happen next.
And the books are even is it even possible that I hadn't read them all these years?
I especially enjoyed reading about all of the wonderful sounding food that Ma cooked daily.
That led me to finding and purchasing The Little House Cookbook.

Now that fall is really in the air, my thoughts go to making soup, specifically chili.
And what goes better with a steaming bowl of chili than cornbread?
So one recipe that sparked my interest right away was the one for Crackling (Cracklin') Cornbread.
I read about this first in Farmer Boy, book #2 in the series,
the story of Laura's own Almanzo Wilder when he was growing up.
This was a favorite thing that his mother made for him and so I decided to try my hand at it.
I am sure the cracklin's back in those day were somewhat different than what we get in stores today.

The ingredients and the recipe...

The recipe calls for stone ground cornmeal but I accidentally got self-rising stone ground...
I really don't think it made much of a difference but probably would not have needed the baking soda.

You add the melted butter to the batter right before placing it in the baking pan.
As you can see, I should have used my larger was!

I thought it might even out grow the pan...


I couldn't wait to try it and I did...just a few minutes out of the oven.
The cracklin's had softened quite a bit but they gave it a really good flavor
and along with the dense, rough texture of the stone ground meal....m-m-m good!
I do believe the next time around I will use the cracklin's from the meat department...
rendered right off the pig, not processed...more authentic for this recipe.
If you are used to a sweet, cakey-like cornbread, this may not be for you though.
It reminded me very much of the cornbread that Mom used to make when I was a little girl...
and I didn't even like it back our tastes can change, right?

So that little morsel that I sampled wasn't quite enough...
...and then a great idea popped into my head!

A couple of weeks ago, a sweet blogging friend sent me a little gift for my birthday...
...a jar of her yummy homemade raspberry jam.
Oh my goodness, can I just tell you what a wonderful combo this was?!
The salty cornbread...the sweetness of those berries...m-m-MMM!

That was yesterday and it was 86 degrees.
Last night, fall paid us a it hasn't gotten out of the 60s and it's cloudy and damp.
Perfect soup weather, I'd say...wouldn't you?
So here's my chili I just made this afternoon and here's Almanzo's cornbread.
No jam, just butter.

Pardon me while I dig in.

Have a wonderful first week of autumn,
 sweet friends!

Sharing at:
 Amaze Me Monday

Friday, September 14, 2018

When I'm Sixty-Four

When I get older, losing my hair
Many years from now
Will you still be sending me a Valentine?
Birthday greetings bottle of wine?
If I'd been out 'till quarter to three
Would you lock the door?
Will you still need me
Will you still feed me
When I'm sixty-four?

And most of you goes on and on.
When the Beatles sang this song back in 1967 I was in the 7th grade.
As I ponder that now, I remember thinking that it was so far in the future and almost unimaginable,
assuming that I would one day be sixty-four years old...I mean that's ancient, right?
Oh...the thoughts we think when we're young and foolish....

Oh...the thoughts we think when we're old and foolish.
Did I just call myself...O-L-D??

Recently, I had too much spare time on my hands (and I wonder why am not getting things done!)
and I found myself playing around with some of those crazy apps on Facebook... know, the ones that show you what you might look like as someone else.
So the "curious-as-a-cat" part of me clicked on a few of them but never shared them on my page...
...I was merely trying to entertain myself!
But just for fun, I saved the photos.

This one is my rock star alter ego coming out. 
And many times during my life, I have dreamed of being a red head.
A few years back I told myself if I lost 50 pounds, I'd go red.
I never did so I never did.

Yes? No?

Or how about me on the cover of a magazine...AARP maybe??
These days, the crazy features on our phones let us be anything we want!

A leopardess... alien from outer space...

These don't really look like bunny ears to me...

Carmen Miranda?

I have no idea who this is....somebody named Flo, maybe.

So tomorrow I turn the big SIX-FOUR.
In a year I get that lovely red, white and blue card to carry in my wallet 'til the day I die. 

Four years ago "Sixty is the new Forty" was my mantra.
So what will it be as I turn sixty four...or seventy-two...or eighty-nine...
...or if I am blessed to live as long as my mom, ninety-seven? 

 Seriously, y'all know this is just my feeble attempt to be funny.
I have never had a desire to be anything or anybody other than who I am.
Well, maybe the red head. 😉

At this stage in my life all that matters is living my life how God would have me live it,
admitting that I fail Him miserably in one way or another on a daily basis.
But He gives me grace to go on and His mercies are new every day!

The song in the video below is my mantra for as long as I have breath in my body.

So I think I'll just stick to what I know really matters.
I'm a child of God...YES I AM...

...a sixty-four (and counting) year old child of God.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

Happy Day After the Day After Labor Day!
September is here, at last... let's just hope the weather will take the hint!
We have been experiencing the most humid and muggy weather of the season here.
As usual, I am MORE than ready for cooler weather and fall leaves!

And that's not all.

I look forward to eating some of these every fall.
I actually saw them on the shelves a month ago...nothing like rushing the season.
So once more for old time's sake, here are the questions for this last Hodgepodge.
I, for one, am going to miss it but, Joyce, I totally understand!
Thank you for everything you have put into the Hodgepodge over the years,
 and creating such a fun way to share our lives and connect to new friends as well!

1. What has been the highlight of your summer so far? (It's still summer people!)

Our visit to the Cass Scenic Railroad in West Virginia in June was most definitely the highlight so far. I think about the experience often and would love to return one day. I highly recommend visiting there if you happen to live anywhere close...or whether you don't!

2. What do you wish you'd done more of this summer? Less of?

More of getting projects done, less of not getting projects done. 😏

3. Something you're looking forward to on your September calendar?

Although I am not really all that crazy about getting another year older, I will be doing just that on the 15th. In all seriousness though, I am very thankful to the Lord for every day and every year that He sees fit to let me breathe the air. I have scheduled a week off work that will include my birthday...a working week, I might add. No fun vacations, but dedicating most of the time to my #2 answer. Wish me luck!

4. Best/favorite book you've read this summer?

It took me a while, but I finally got through it. This book is big and thick...and packed with so much history about the country during the time (and before) the Ingalls Family were pioneering their way across the country and finally settling, again and again. Much of the book was about the relationship between Laura and her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, who was a best selling author in her own right. Their relationship was quite tempestuous, to say the least and I must say a little surprising to me. Some of it made my heart sink a bit. Although "Little House on the Prairie" had always been (and still is) one of my favorite shows, I had never read any of the books! Well, maybe you can guess what I'm currently reading. Better late than never, I always say!

5. Share something positive, encouraging, or uplifting here.

When a butterfly lands on your hand, how could it not be positive, encouraging AND uplifting?

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Joyce, once again I thank you for the Hodgepodge. I will be looking forward to any little surprises you may decide to toss our way!
So until next time, enjoy what's left of the first week of September!
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