Monday, May 19, 2008

Fun Monday-Our Collections

This week our Fun Monday host is Mariposa's Tales, and she wants to know about the stuff we collect. Hubby is really the collector in our family. He keeps EVERYTHING. He's what we call in these parts a pack rat. He likes antiques, old garden tools and old wooden furniture. He has a gazillion McDonald's toys and displays, all in their original packaging. His biggest collection is probably his antique toys. Here is just a sample.
I, on the other hand, have started to shed a lot of my "stuff". Every time we've remodeled a room in our house in the last few years, I've eliminated a lot of the what-nots, nick-nacks and dust catchers sitting around and pared down the furniture. The older I get the more I am compelled to live with less stuff. I do have a few things I collect, though. I have an ankle bracelet from every Caribbean island I've been to. We have more music in this house than a stray dog has fleas. I'm addicted to clothing, and I have quite a few kitchen gadgets. By far, my biggest collection of any one item is my cookbook collection. I have so many of them, I can't even show all of them to you. I've had to box up and store most of them in the attic, rotating a few dozen of them in and out of my dining room hutch every so often. I haven't counted them in a while, but I easily have 300-500 cookbooks. Most are well worn and splatted with butter, oil and cocoa residue. Here are a few of the different kinds of books I have.
There's the standard Betty Crocker book that started my cooking addiction. I got this one as a wedding gift, but I cut my teeth on mama's old Betty Crocker book when I was a young girl with pony tails and skinned up knees. It was just like this one. I have a few nice coffee table cookbooks, like the Paula Deen book in this picture. SuperCop bought me that one for Christmas. Pssst! He's going to be a daddy. We're very excited. We'll dish more about that in a later post. Back to the subject at hand. I have just about all of Paula's books, including her autobiography. I just love her cake recipes. I have a ton of those little recipe books by Pillsbury and other companies that I plucked from a rack near the checkout counter at the grocery store. Two years ago, a relative of mine put together a collection of recipes from the 2708 members of my dad's family. It contains a few recipes from my grandmother and my great aunt Nellie. That's a special book.

Most of my recipe books are the small, community books that schools, churches and clubs put together as fundraisers. The contributors to those books want to put their best foot forward, so I have found that the recipes in those books are usually very good, very easy and staples for potluck, shower and reunion dishes. Hubby bought me a huge box of those kinds of books at an auction on day, and I was so excited I promised him...umm....marital relations, as my mama would say. The box contained a lovely surprise. Amidst all of those books were two put together many years ago by my current church. The recipes were from ladies I know now as senior citizens but were young women when those books were compiled.

My collection contains one less book today. I finally mustered up the courage to give Mama J. her cookbook back. You know, the one I've been mulling over since last week's Fun Monday post. I handed it to her yesterday afternoon with some Gladware bowls I needed to return and said, "Look what I found in my hutch. It was there after all." I braced myself for the worst. She smiled a big "I told you so" smile BUT didn't SAY it. "Well, good," was all she said, and we headed out the door to Cracker Barrel. Whew! Thank goodness that's over. I can sleep at night now, and I'm not borrowing that dadgum book again.

I thought it would be nice to wrap this up with you a couple of my all-time favorite recipes from some of my favorite books. One is my favorite chocolate cake, and the other is my favorite apple pie. These two are outstanding. If you need a little sugary fortification, just whip up one of these, eat a slice or four and you'll feel better immediately. They're also great for potlucks. The chocolate cake is so moist it sticks to the roof of your mouth, and the creamy layer in the apple pie is a nice surprise for your taste buds. You'll need to run ten miles and do 500 stomach crunches after eating them, though. Enjoy, and as Paula Deen says, Best Dishes! (If you have any questions about the recipes, just email me at


2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 stick butter or margarine
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon soda
1 cup water
4 Tablespoons cocoa
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Stir together sugar, flour, soda and set aside. Put the water, butter, oil and cocoa in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and pour over dry mixture. Stir well. Set aside. Mix together buttermilk, eggs and vanilla; add to chocolate batter. Pour into greased and floured 9 X 13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Make the icing while cake is cooking.

1 stick butter
4 Tablespoons cocoa
6 Tablespoons milk (I use buttermilk)
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 box confectioner's sugar

Place butter, milk and cocoa in saucepan. Bring to a boil. Do not scorch. Add confectioner's sugar. Beat well. Add chopped pecans if desired. Pour over warm cake.


Place 1 refrigerated pie crust in a 9" pie pan. Put filling in bottom of crust.

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup butter or margarine
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 Tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
In medium saucepan, combine sugar, 1/2 cup milk, whipping cream and butter. Cook over medium heat until hot and butter is melted, stirring occasionally. In small bowl, combine cornstarch and 2 Tablespoons milk. Blend until smooth. Add to mixture in saucepan and cook until thickened, stirring constantly. (It WILL burn if you're not careful.) Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Put in crust.
Apple Layer
2 tart baking apples, peeled and cut into thin slices
1 Tablespoon flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

In medium bowl combine apples, flour and cinnamon; mix well. Arrange apple mixture evenly over filling. Top with a second refrigerated pie crust, seal and flute edges. Cut slits in top crust. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes, until golden brown and apples are tender. Cool 30 minutes.

1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1 Tablespoon milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon softened butter

Combine all glaze ingredients in a small bowl. Blend until smooth. Pour over warm pie. Refrigerate pie 1 1/2 hours before serving. Store in refrigerator.


mjd said...

Thanks for the yummy recipes. I had my mother's old Betty Crocker cookbook, It finally gave up the ghost. My mother collected cookbooks too. However, my father did the day-to-day cooking (usually without recipes.) My mother saved her expertise and cookbooks for company.

Jenny, the Bloggess said...

I'm in love with the picture of the antique cars.

Mama Mia said...

I KNEW you could do it!! Kinda like ripping a band-aid off : )
Good for you Debra!

Cruise Mom said...

Hmm... I have a small cookbook collection too. Do you have "Fifth's Favorites" from 1976?

oreneta said...

We put bookshelves over the doorways in the kitchen in TO, we have only four doorways and I am tall enough to reach them...that dealt with a lot of cookbooks.

Jo Beaufoix said...

Fabulous, you have soooo many. And I 'm glad you gave that book back, hee hee.

Sayre said...

I, too, feel the need to declutter my life as I get older. Of course, with SuperCop's little bit of news, you're gonna be collecting a whole NEW brand of clutter!

ChrisB said...

yay the book is back where it belongs and you can sleep easy!

Meg said...

I think I collect everything but cookbooks. Cookbooks make me want to cook, which makes me want to eat, which adds to my collection of weight!

If you'd like to peak at some of my collection, stop by and check out my header. It's fat-free!

Yura said...

I really like the recipe

Rachel said...

The recipies look too yummy! I cant believe how many cars you hubby has! that is amazing!

IamwhoIam said...

Dye Cast toy it looks like some are in great shape and so intresting to look at.

Tink *~*~* said...

Best cookbook I ever came across is the Southern Living cookbook. The carrot cake recipe in there is to die for. SO fattening, but SO yummy!

My collection is sea shells.

Tink *~*~*
My Mobile Adventures *~*~*

Alison said...

thanks for sharing those recipes..they sound delicious!! I am glad you gave the book back, don't you feel better now??

Faye said...

Didn't we all start with Betty Crocker or Better Homes. I laid mine on a burner and branded it. In these parts, we call your chocalate cake Texas sheet cake--cake and icing has to be equal height.

And that Patience is so wise, isn't she?

Mariposa said...

Sorry for the late comment. Still not feeling well. Thanks for joining my Fun Monday. Have a great week ahead. :-)

Pamela said...

The only thing better than those recipes... is if you would have baked and then let us sample everything. yum.

My cookbooks are all in a cupboard and I forget I have them.

Hallie said...

It's nice.... but I'm most excited towards your recipe books collection.