March 17, 2014

Gingerbread Recipe

It's Saint Patrick's Day today.... along with the corned beef, carrots & potatoes and oven roasted cabbage wedges, I'm making gingerbread! I decided to see what my "Favorite New England Recipes" cookbook (copyright 1972) had for choices....  there were two gingerbread recipes to choose from, I love the history story that goes with it, but the last line is the reason I picked this one to try!!
This recipe was passed down through six generations to Dorothy Hale Wires of Rockport, MA. She writes that during the War of 1812 "the little settlement of Sandy Bay, now Rockport, was in constant fear of attack from maurauding British privateers then prowling Cape Ann waters. In the early days of the War many families planned escape through the woods to the larger settlement in Gloucester, some five miles away, which provided better protection. My great aunt Lucy Hale Knutsford, known to all as 'Aunt Lute', used to tell me many stories which in turn had been told her by her mother, Betsy Tarr Hale, who having been born in 1800, thus was 12 years old at the time of the War. During the anxious days when fears of raids were uppermost in the minds of Sandy Bay residents, Betsy's mother used to keep ever in readiness clothing and food so that her family could quickly leave their home to follow woodland paths to the Gloucester settlement. Every morning she baked a fresh gingerbread for food along the way, should it be necessary to go. Aunt Lute always cherished this recipe and our family has enjoyed it for six generations. This is it just as given to me by Aunt Lute." ~Doroty Hale Wires~
Take 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup molasses, 1/2 cup melted shortening, 1 egg, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ginger. To this add alternately 1 cup flour to which has been added 1 teaspoon soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 cup boiling water. More flour should be added, if necessarty, to make a fairly stiff batter. Then lastly add 1/2 teaspoon vinegar. Bake in moderate oven until a straw comes out clean, or until it doesn't sizzle on holding the pan to the ear.  (325* for about 35 minutes)

Isn't that an awesome find!?! The best part is that I can hear my mother in law or Pete's aunt's voice giving me these baking instructions too!

GUESS WHAT???!!! The cake REALLY did sizzle when I took it out at 35 minutes!!

March 9, 2014

40 Bags in 40 Days

I stumbled on this blog White House Black Shutters and they have this awesome idea of ridding oneself of all the 'stuff' that accumulates in life!

My first thought was REALLY??? I don't know if I could really do this. I mean, we already downsized tremendously when we moved here 12 years ago! Can I really come up with that much stuff to get rid of? The answer is a resounding YES!!! After RE-reading it, this family does it ANNUALLY! What a freeing feeling that must be to be lighter in load ... and to think, 40 bags year after year! :)

I had thought I 'should' use all the big black trash bags, but that isn't necessary. A big bag, box or small bag as long as it is going OUT is a good size! A plastic bag from the grocery store filled with a dozen books to donate is awesome! A small bag of holey socks to dump gives me more room in my sock drawer! :) AND... think of all the odd ball things in the junk drawer...  (awe come on, you know you have at least one of them!!) they've been there this long without a purpose... it's time to let go of some of it!!

The author of the above blog has a systematic way of going through room by room, corner by corner and filling a bag to donate, repurpose or toss out!! Here's a chart to help in the process. Check it out!! Take the challenge! I know I am.... but, I'm going to change my goal up a little bit! At least 40 bags by the end of summer!!