Betty Crocker’s potato salad & what we ate for dinner

There are hundreds of different variations to potato salad but today I’ll be sharing one specifically from my Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook; part of the cooking-through challenge.

Interestingly enough, the French Dressing I just happened to try a few weeks ago, so it was quite easy to whip up a batch.

Potato salad is such an easy make ahead dish and a great accompaniment to those summer barbeques.

As you know, I am trying to stay true to the ways things were done in that decade, so I went to my number one source, my Mom who was married in 1950, to find out if I am supposed to peel the potatoes after boiling or before.  I had vague memories of her peeling them after.  She confirmed that is how she did it, but it was no big deal to peel them before.

Potatoes are a much softer, floury consistency and the skins are quite thin here in Germany, I found it was easier to peel them before boiling.

Here is a picture of the potatoes  after mixing in the French Dressing.  I then let them chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours, like the recipe states.  They really don’t look “cubed” to me, I probably could have done a better job there but I was in a bit of a hurry.

I then added the salad dressing and eggs just before serving and of course garnished it with some parsley.

This particular evening I needed a quick dinner so I just served it up with some mini würtschen(frankfurters) and this is what our light, evening meal looked like.

Keep or Toss? Happily Mr. said definitely a keeper.

My Thoughts?  It had a nice creamy texture and the taste was very mild which is a switch from the vinegar taste of many potato salads in our region.

Thats it for this week!  Be sure to pop back in next week as I am going to attempt one of the more difficult salads in this cookbook.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Merken

Is there really such a thing as Salad Etiquette?

Why, yes there is!

If you have been following along this month,  you  might remember  that Salad is the category as we make our way through the Cooking-Through Challenge.

In the spirit of the 1950’s housewife, I am immersing myself into many aspects of this era.  As promised, it’s time to share with you a few of my favorite questions and answers according to  Mrs. Crocker’s thoughts on Salad Etiquette.

Q. Is a salad fork always necessary? 

A.  A dinner salad may be eaten with the same fork as the main course.

Q. How should I serve a bowl of mixed salad or a platter of salad?

A.  It may be passed; but he individual serving should be easy to remove.  Or the hostess may serve it onto salad plates and pass them around the table.

Q.  Should dressing always be passed?

A.  Some salads are served without dressing so that their beauty of arrangement will not be marred; these require the passing of dressing.

Just one more…

Q.  Should one eat the salad green?

A.  Yes, it is a part of the salad and is intended to be eaten.

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Whats coming up next on the blog? Well, last night I tried creating another new dish in the salad category that doesn’t have anything to do with lettuce.  I’ll be sharing that with you friday, so make sure to stop by to find out if my husband gave it a thumbs up or not.  😉

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Five easy cleaning tips for a happier home

I know, it’s a cheesy title but I am “Happily Mrs.” and those that know me, know that I like to clean.  For many, I know it is not something that you may enjoy at all and that’s okay.  Today, I want to share my top five tips that may be able to get you on your way if this is an area you really would like to “clean up”.

Funny that my number one tip has nothing to do with cleaning, but I feel it is the most important before starting the cleaning process.

  1.  Tidy (or straighten up) before cleaning.  Don’t confuse “tidying up” with cleaning.  They really aren’t the same thing.  I found personally that cleaning is actually enjoyable if we aren’t trying to dust around old newspapers lying around (or tablets and chargers tangled up), blankets crumpled on a couch or last nights snack remnants reminding me that I really should not have eaten that before bed.
  2. Assign one cleaning task a day.  I know that sometimes we just don’t have time in our busy lives for a designated “cleaning day” or that something of importance comes up on that cleaning day. Or, we are just overwhelmed with the idea of cleaning.  I have certain days assigned for dusting, vacuuming, bathrooms, floors, mirrors and glass, etc.  Honestly, it only takes 10 to 20 minutes a day. I only do them monday through friday.  I am just too busy on the weekends.  Another thing I do, if I will be gone most of the day or out-of-town, I will double up and do two tasks the day before, than I don’t feel behind or overwhelmed when I am back home.
  3. Clean by task, not by room.  Cleaning is so much quicker and easier when you pick up your dust cloth (and polish, if you choose) and start at one end of the house and only dust.  This is so much easier than toting a pail of products and tools around the house and cleaning everything room by room.  Same on the days I vacuum, it seems so much easier and quicker to do the whole house at once.  I always make the last room the one where I store the cleaning item or tool.  It really does save time, I find.
  4. Don’t overload on cleaning products.  You do not need as many as you think.  I used to buy every product and tool under the sun thinking I could clean better with designated products for designated areas.    These days with multi-purpose sprays and micro fiber cloths, it really is that simple. You may be surprised at the small amount of products I use for a person who enjoys cleaning.
  5. Clean-up and put things away right after you use something.  For example, it really only takes 15 to 30 seconds to hang up the towel and  wipe the bathroom mirror and sink after you are done getting ready in the morning.  Wash the dishes or put them in the dishwasher right after eating.  If you are consistent with doing these things, your home will always look clean.  Remember the words of Lucy Ricardo – “A place for everything and everything in its place.”

I realize I could go into so much detail about cleaning, routines and organizing.  I am by no means perfect at it I just love the outcome.  There are times my house is a bit messy and that’s okay, I just don’t let it pile up.

If we start small and dig deep to find the discipline to keep doing these formerly dreaded tasks, they will become a habit.  Set a timer for 10 minutes and see how much you can get done.  It may surprise you just as it surprised me.  I have actually found I have more time to do and enjoy hobbies I had forgotten about.

One last thing that could help, if you have children, make cleaning time fun.  Set a timer, hand them a cloth and let them follow you around the house dusting.   Or set the timer for a tidy-up time, they pick up their toys while you tidy up your things. They love doing this, it makes them feel grown up and a help to mom or dad!  Not only is it a huge help to you, it sets a good example and forms a good habit.

Do you have a cleaning tip or hack that works for you?  I would love to hear about it. Am I the only one who really does enjoy cleaning? Is that weird?

Merken

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The perfect salad topper – It’s as simple as French Dressing!

Last week, for the cooking-through challenge, I shared Betty’s version of the basic green salad.

Of course every salad needs a dressing and as I was looking through this section of the Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook (my book for the challenge), I thought, why not try the recipe on page 335 for French Dressing.  Typically, I am not a fan of it but… I felt like trying it this time.

My guess as to why I like it now, because it is a basic key recipe.  Nothing extra added to tweak it and most likely I don’t care for the taste of those “tweaks”?  I don’t know, I am making this up as I go along and it sounds right to me.

Anyways, on with the ingredients needed.

Sugar, salt, paprika, mustard, pepper, lemon juice, salad oil and onion juice.  I have a glass jar that I always use for dressings.  Funny thing, a creamy french dressing came in it and we didnt’ care for it, but I liked the jar.

Mix everything together and shake and voila!

You have a really tasty salad dressing!

Keep or Toss?  Another keeper!

My Thoughts?  I  definitely could have found a better way to photograph the dressing for you, now that I think about it!

Be sure to stop by Mary’s blog to see what recipes she is cooking up during this month.  She is using the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. 

 

A really quick coffee chat & tortes from Salzburg

Hello my friends… I know I haven’t shared anything yet this week.  Well… I had a quick visit with family from the U.S. & we were in Austria.  Salzburg to be exact.  My favorite city in all of Europe.  We headed down to Salzburg over the weekend to meet up with my cousin.  Had a whirlwind of a great time.

Here are a few of my favorite things.  (Yes, keep reading and you may see a theme here.)

The most delicious tortes and incredible coffee  at Cafe Tomaselli.

Yeah, I know I should have pulled the wrapping down so you could truly see all the layers, and probably used my camera instead of my phone, but at least I thought of you all for a moment while I was away.  🙂

For those of you who enjoy a certain movie that was filmed in Salzburg, you may recognize this house.

A hint, it is where “the hills are alive”.

with the Sound of Music.  We did the incredible sound of music bike tour (which I highly recommend if you are a fan), where we stopped at important spots and sang songs from the movie.  Yes, we really did that.  Also, learned alot from the movie we didn’t know and saw parts of Salzburg, I never would have gotten to see.  It was awesome!  I even felt inspired to find some “confidence” and climb the gate like Maria did in the movie.

The home is now a dormitary for music students.

So, that is why I have been a little m.i.a.  I still have to find some sort of organization and balance with blogging as we do travel now and then.  I don’t care to or even have time to lug a laptop around. The 6 or 7 hours I have back at our hotel, I usually can only pass out!

I’ll be back tomorrow to share what my next recipe is in the cooking through challenge though.   No worries.

I have to run now, while I have a mountain of laundry to do and all that fun stuff that accumulates when you are away from home.

xo

 

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Basic Green Salad – “There can always be a salad!”

As I am cooking my way through the “Salads” category this month, I thought why not go back to the basics.  Today I am preparing a  green salad just as Betty Crocker suggests.  Although she states, “There can always be a salad”, meaning just by glancing in your refrigerator, cupboard, or garden, will convince you that you will always have the available ingredients.  Of course she is very considerate and gives the housewife a general plan on how to use what you happen to have on hand.

For this salad though, I took the amounts suggested for 3 people and used only the ingredients mentioned in the Amounts for Green Salads section, found on page 339 of the Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook.

Since I am trying to stay true to the recipes for this challenge, I used romaine and a little spinach.  Those were on the list of  “A Variety of Salad Greens gives interest to salads” list, found on page 337.

Before I show you my result, can I just add, I thought it was interesting that onion was not mentioned in the vegetable amounts for green salads and have never added celery before either.   I am learning so much  this month, even the proper way to wash and prepare lettuce, add the dressing and so much more.  Yes, I did say we will be discussing salad etiquette and don’t worry, we will as manners and etiquette are a favorite subject of mine.  Okay… I know, I can get chatty when I talk about something I enjoy.

Here is my very basic, Green Salad.

I chose to make French dressing to go on it and I will happily be sharing that adventure with you next week!

Funny thing, I can’t find my salad tongs anywhere!

I’m curious… Do you put onion in your green salad?  Or celery for that matter?

Merken

How to remove stains from white dishes

I finally discovered a way to remove dark stains and scratches from some old white dishes that I inherited.  They weren’t dirty, just marked from years of use.

I tried to photograph the stains, but the camera did not seem to want to focus on it.  This plate in particular was quite bad, brown stain over most of the plate.  I always kept this one on the bottom of the stack, although I only own five.

First I sprinkled some baking soda on the plate.

Rubbed fairly gently with a damp cloth.

The stains on this plate were so bad that I needed a little reinforcement, so I added just a dab of vinegar.

I’m not sure if this would be recommended, but I rubbed this plate again and it took the stains off and even some of the scratches.

Only one of the five plates needed this treatment, the rest came clean with a bit of baking soda and some gentle elbow grease.

I don’t know if this process would work on all white dishware.  These are about 30 years old and were made in West Germany.  It is good solid porcelain, so if you do attempt this way to remove stains from your dishes, do try a small area first.

I am so glad I decided to try this.  I didn’t want to have to buy new plates, just because these were stained, but I couldn’t keep using them when I had company over.

Sometimes, it’s just the simple things that make such a big difference.

In case you live in Germany and wonder what the equivalent to baking soda is – the proper translated word is Natron and you can find it sold in little packets in any grocery store and in a larger box (like Arm and Hammer baking soda size) in your local drug store.

 

Merken

A new casserole idea- asparagus, turkey, bacon & hollandaise sauce

We are well into our asparagus season here as you may know, if you read my “Not your mothers asparagus” post.  I love finding new ways to cook  seasonal vegetables other than serving them as a steamed or sautéed side dish, not that there is anything wrong with those.

I do have to give my husband credit for finding this new recipe in the paper.  It did not have exact measurements, just the ingredients and cooking temperature, that’s all.

So, kicking into creative cooking gear, I put on my apron and took a stab at making this casserole.

Here are my ingredients:  Turkey schnitzel, white asparagus tips, bacon, and hollandaise sauce and some water for half way through the cooking.

I put the turkey in the bottom and I did spray the dish first with a little vegetable oil, peeled the asparagus of course and wrapped them in the bacon strips.

Next, I added the hollandaise sauce.

I then baked it in a 180 C degree oven (or 350 F) for half an hour. At that point,  I added about 1/3 cup water over the top, covered it in foil and baked 20 more minutes.

I served it up with some rosemary baked little potatoes and you know what?

It was absolutely delicious!  The turkey tender, bacon crisp and asparagus very tender.

We decided to add this recipe to my growing card file of recipes.

It is so nice when a recipe actually turns out not only edible but tasty too!

My first recipe in the Chaotic Cooking-Through Challenge! (Fancy Chicken Salad)

I am thrilled to share my first recipe in Mary’s Chaotic Cooking-Through Challenge!  If you aren’t quite sure what I am talking about, you can read all about it here.  Basically, she choose’s a category each month and we have to cook or bake recipes from that category for the entire month.  The amount we choose to make is up to the participant.  I plan on sharing a recipe weekly.  Oh, I almost forgot!   The category for this month is Salads &  Salad Dressings. I knew you would want to know!

To refresh your memory, I chose to cook from the Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook (1950).

As soon as I found out what the category was, I started reading the section on salads.  Did you know there is even “Salad Etiquette” according to Mrs. Crocker?  Who would have known!  I will share many of the extras I have been learning throughout May as well.

Okay, enough chatter!   On to the recipe I chose to cook today.  From page 316 of the cookbook, Chicken Salad.  Also considered “An All-American favorite.”

I absolutely love chicken salad in the summer but never made it from a recipe before.  So let’s get started… it seems easy enough.

My ingredients, ready to mix.

Next, I decided to be as authentic as I could to serving the chicken salad as the recipe suggests.

Yes, I actually served this for my husbands lunch!  He loved it by the way.  I have to admit, I wasn’t sure about making the tomato flower but it worked and I even had fun “playing with food” creating a nice presentation.

Here is a closer look at the chicken salad.

Keep or Toss?  Definitely a keeper.  I’ll be adding this recipe for chicken salad to my regulars, although, I can’t say I will display as such every time.

My Thoughts?  I think this would be a great recipe to serve at a ladies luncheon in the summertime.  You can make it up a few hours ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to serve.

See you next week with a new recipe from the Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook.


Anyone can join the cooking-through challenge!  You don’t have to have a blog, you can follow along at home.  Please feel free to link your recipe or share your cooking experience in the comments and don’t forget to head over to see what Mary is up to, the original source for this fun challenge!

If you would like, you can also follow along on Twitter @Happily_Mrs #chaoticcookthrough.

 

Merken

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I tried it! – (No-Bake Chocolate Cookie Dough Truffles)

I am one of those people who will read a post or see a video about a recipe and think, Oh I want to make that, but sadly, never do.  Thanks to my daughter urging me to try pinterest, I found it is so easy to save those recipes and not forget about them.  So, this is my first “Tried it!” recipe ever.

Need I say more?!  As a lover of cookie dough, chocolate and truffles, this was a win win recipe for me.  I found it on the blog, Diva’s Can Cook.  

Love this gals recipes, and her videos are so easy to follow.  You know, this is not the first recipe I tried from her, come to think of it.  Her Buttermilk Pancake recipe is the one I use most of the time.

Back to the truffles.  I should mention, they are eggless and  that I had to find alternate ingredients as usual.  Luckily, thanks to a friend of mine, I did have chocolate chips on hand (they aren’t a german thing) But for the melted chocolate, I find this amazing product.

You just warm it in very hot water for 10 minutes and you have a perfect melted chocolate and it is very good milk chocolate.  Although, if you are in Germany and you make this recipe, you will need 2 packages of this.  I only had enough to coat half of the cookie dough balls, but…. I added the rest to vanilla ice cream, hence, making my own chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.  My husband raved about that!

I will definitely be adding these truffles to my christmas baking as well, I think they will make a nice addition to my arrangement of baked seasonal goods.

Hopefully, I will continue to try more recipes that I have found through blogs.  At least now, I can keep them organized on pinterest when I find them.