Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pug's Candy Crust Pudding

Last night I was watching the cooking channel on TV.  They were talking about cookbooks (old and new) and it was quite interesting.  They started out with The Joy of Cooking and showed all the older ones along with the ones I was familiar with.  Even the 1964 one had recipes and directions for a variety of wild game we don't even consider anymore.  They had like 3 pages with illustrations of how to skin a squirrel and cook it and on another page, how to cook a beaver tail!
Another lady showed how to make a fabulous (and easy) chocolate-strawberry trifle.  She gave a really good tip that I will use.  When you are making layers out of a cake, after you slice it horizontally and before you separate the layers, put a toothpick in the side of each layer one right above the other.  After you frost the lower layer you can put the layers together exactly how they were by matching up the toothpicks!  Pretty neat, huh? 

The show went on to talk about the 3 very first cookbooks in the US.  I was disappointed to learn Mrs. Rorer was not one of them, but she had to be one of the early ones for sure.  My dad had his grandmother's Mrs. Rorer's cookbook and used it often.  The real name of the book was The Philadelphia Cookbook.  My brother, Tip, has that book.  He made copies for Lynn and I and I love to refer to it.  According to the TV show, these old cookbooks were really manuals for being a good housekeeper as well as how to cook.  Mrs. Rorer even explains how to boil water!  I tried to find a date in my copy of the book but I think some pages were missing.  Mrs. Rorer was the principal of the Philadelphia Cooking School.

Another book my mom used a lot was The Settlement Cookbook.  I think it is another one like Joy of Cooking and has many editions.  Tip and Lynn , I think, both have copies of it.  I didn't get any cookbooks from Mom but I did get her whole box of standardized recipes!  I always have to check with Tip if I can't find one of Mom's favorite recipes.  Shortly before she died I did call her and ask for a lot of the recipes I really liked so I do have some of her spoken recipes.

I was going through a huge pile of hand written recipes I have from all the years I've been married and even some from when I was in college ( more than 50 years ago).  I found this recipe of Mom's for Candy Crust Pudding--a favorite when we were kids.  I even submitted it to a radio show where ladies called in and gave hints, tips and recipes.  The moderator always read one recipe each day and we all would copy them down.  That's how I got so many hand written recipes!  Anyway, at the end of the year the radio station printed a cookbook with all those recipes in it and Candy Crust Pudding made the cut!  It was read on the radio and then  printed in the book, too.

Here's Mom's (Pug's) recipe:

Pug's Candy Crust Pudding


1 Cup fine bread crumbs (I put dry bread in blender or food processor and grate it up)
1 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs, separated
2 Tbsp. white sugar
pinch of salt
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. grated lemon rind (when did they change this to lemon zest, by the way?)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
4 Tbsp. butter or margarine (1/2 stick)

Soak crumbs in milk, set aside.  Combine egg yolks, sugar,salt, lemon juice and lemon rind in another bowl.  Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry.  Combine egg yolk mixture and milk mixture together and then gently fold in the egg whites.  Pour into a baking dish.  Sprinkle the brown sugar over the top and then dot with the butter or margarine (Mom loved to dot all kinds of things with butter!).  Place baking dish in a pan of water and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until set.  To test put a knife in the center and if it comes out clean it is set.

 My fine bread crumbs

 Squeezing the lemon and combining ingredients

Beat egg whites until stiff

Sprinkled with brown sugar and dotted with butter

Set empty pan on oven shelf.  Set the baking dish in the pan and pour in water for best results.

Ready to bake

Set timer for 1 hour

Dip knife in center of the pudding to see if it is done

The knife came out clean so it is done

All baked and ready to serve warm or cold.  Store leftovers in the refrigerator

Afternoon coffee with another set of my dishes.  Enjoy this sweet, crusty, custardy, with a hint of lemon bread pudding!

Not fine china but I still like them a lot!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Video Clips from Our Aqua Fria Trip

I am still learning how to make movies with my video from my camera.  The first problem I have is that my camera does its movie mode in a .mov format that is not recognized by Windows Moviemaker!  Fortunately my new computer has Corel Videostudio x2 on it and it is an Apple product that recognizes .mov.  Kathi, my daughter-in-law, showed me how to use Windows Moviemaker and I think there is a tutorial for it on here too but I am fumbling along with the Corel one.  I always believe that you have to learn by doing so, although it is a long process, I know I will become proficient eventually.  The whole point of this discussion is that I am going to practice on all the video clips I made on our Aqua Fria adventure and then post them on this blog.  So here goes!!!

Well, I learned a lot while editing these!  I hope you enjoyed them.

Monday, June 28, 2010

A trip up to Aqua Fria

The columbines were at their peak!

JJ, Ozzie and Brent (the young man who lived with them his senior year in High School and is now 23 years old) came roaring in to the cabin on their motorcycles last Wednesday.  They had been to Illinois to leave Ozzie's Dad's ashes with his parents.  They were on their way home and decided to spend a few days here with us.  Brent is a huge "Woodsy Loresy" fan so was in "heaven" when he got here.

Erin had told him a lot about her adventures up here so, of course, one of the biggest recommendations she made was to go to Aqua Fria.  Bob was sure there was still too much snow on top (10,500 feet above sea level) and the lake would still be frozen so we shouldn't even bother trying.  Well, that was challenge enough for Ozzie so JJ, Brent, Ozzie and I took the 2 four wheelers and set off to see how far of the 6 mile trip we could make.  Ozzie and I were on the blue one and JJ and Brent took the red one.

JJ and Brent as we started out on our adventure.

JJ at the forest gate very near where we saw the bear later in the day.

We made it to the Helena Trail and then up to the first side hill with no problems.  Then, as all you who have ridden the red four wheeler know, it could not pull both of them so JJ did a lot of hiking!  We waited for them at the first big switchback and JJ got on the front of the blue 4 wheeler.

Ozzie, Me and Brent at the point over looking North Park.

The Forest Service has not maintained the road AT ALL and all the dirt has washed out around the rocks and it is a mess!  A truly tough bumpy ride!  We made it to the top without seeing a speck of snow.  Right on top I think I saw a small drift back in the trees but nothing on the road.

A view of how most of the road looks nowadays.  A real bumpy ride!

I informed Ozzie I would walk on the part going downhill right where the old road came in and he was happy to let JJ and I off to walk.  I videotaped Ozzie and Brent coming down that part of the road which is littered with boulders.

Coming down over the last part of the rocks.  The big ones were around that bend!  More video of the big ones on the way home in my next blog.

  We rode on down and never saw any snow until we got to the big dip just before you go up the hill and down into the lake. The snow drift there was so small it didn't even cover the whole road.  Again JJ and I had to get off and Ozzie picked his way down the rocky hill to the drift.  Brent did not attempt the hill but went around some trees and came down the side of the hill. The rest of the way was a piece of cake!

The only snow we had to deal with on the way up!

We made it to the Aqua Fria!  What a view!

We walked around, took pictures, ate a little trail snack and climbed around in the rocks down toward the falls.  Brent and JJ waded in the barely unfrozen lake.  They didn't last long and did some major whining about how cold it was.  We must have been up there about an hour and a half enjoying the sun and how nice and warm it was for June and not much wind, either.  A perfect afternoon!

Wading in melted snow.  It's a tradition.  Brrrrrrrr!

JJ and I posing on some of the big logs by the lake.

A big crack in the snowbank that is always right next to the spillway.

JJ and Brent climbed up a rock slide to sit in their little nook.  I have a video of their climb you can see in my next blog.

Me sitting on a BIG rock by the falls.  You can't see them but they are to my right and below the rock and snow.

Snowbanks on the shore of Aqua Fria.

A view out of the canyon into North Park in the distance.

Ozzie playing on the big rocks next to the lake.

We came home with 3 of us on old blue and Brent on the red one.  That road is REALLY bad!  We tried to go on the Helena trail over to Beaver Creek but a tree had gone down recently across the trail and we weren't prepared to clear it away. So we came on down.  Shortly before we got to the Forest gate, Ozzie pointed out into the trees.  I was looking for columbines  or a deer or moose but didn't see anything.  We all stopped and JJ and Ozzie both said at once "Did you see that bear?"  Neither Brent nor I did.  JJ saw it in a tree right near the road and then they both saw it running away!  Luckily it was away and not toward us!  Dang!  I really wanted to see a bear in the wild.  We had seen a lot of bear poop and now at least some of us saw the real thing.  Didn't get any pictures either!

The 3 of us on "Old Blue" I still am trying to figure out how to do some video stuff.  This is really a still picture!
We went over to the old yurt platform and took a few pictures--no wildlife, though.  Kenny saw a whole herd of elk there a week ago but not us!  The mosquitoes were vicious there so we didn't last too long and came on home.

At the Yurt.  The mosquitoes were so bad JJ had to put her hood on!

It was another great time.  I feel so blessed to live here in "God's Country" and that I am still able to do these fun adventures with my family!

Check out my next blog to watch more videos and pictures of our trip!

Click on the pictures to make them bigger and hit the back button to get back to the blog.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day Rhubarb-Strawberry Pie Recipe

 *click on the pictures to make them bigger and hit the back button to get back to the blog.

 The rhubarb has gone to seed, how beautiful it is!
I decided to make a Rhubarb-Strawberry Custard pie for Father's Day, but I had a dilemma.  Bob has a memory of a rhubarb custard pie that Uncle Albert's friend and sometimes cook, Gracie Gamber, used to make.  I have tried all sorts of recipes;  my mother's, and many other ones but none of them "taste like Gracie's"!  Along the way, I have gathered many delicious (in my opinion) recipes.  So today I combined several of these recipes and, of course, added a few modifications to make a pie that may not be like Gracie's but I'm hoping will still be very delicious!  Because I was combining recipes, it made too much filling so I put the leftover filling in custard cups and made a couple of custards, too.  The results turned out to be yummy, just like I thought.  The real name of this creation should be Rhubarb- Strawberry Sour Cream Custard Pie with Grandma's Special Crust but I've shortened it down to Meemo's Rhubarb-Strawberry Pie.

The pie and two custards, which we ate while I was writing this blog!  Deeeelicious


For the crust:
 3/4 Cup butter
1 1/2 Cups flour
1 Tbsp. white sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and lightly grease a 9- 10 inch pie plate.  Blend ingredients in an electric mixer until fine crumbs.  Press into and up sides of the pie plate.  You may have some leftover since this recipe was for a 9x13 inch cake pan.  I try to make the crust about 1/8-1/4 inch thick.  Bake for 15 minutes until set but not brown.  Set aside to cool a bit.  (I don't do this but that's what the recipe says.)

For the Filling:
4 Cups chopped fresh rhubarb ( I use frozen and will discuss time of cooking later)
3 Cups fresh strawberries cut in half or sliced depending on size.
2 eggs
2 Cups white sugar
1 1/2 Cups sour cream
1/3 Cup flour (I think I may use 1/2 Cup with frozen rhubarb but I do like my pie a little juicy so maybe not).

Turn oven up to 450 degrees F.  Whisk together in a medium bowl, the egg, sugar, sour cream and flour.

Spread rhubarb and strawberries in the pie plate and then pour the sour cream mixture over top of the fruit.  I think you could just mix the fruit into the sour cream mixture and fill the crust.  Then if you have too much you can put the rest in custard cups* to bake with the pie--that's what I did.

For the Topping:

1/2 Cup flour
1/2 Cup brown sugar
1/4 Cup melted butter

In a small bowl mix flour and brown sugar together and add enough melted butter to make mixture crumbly.  Sprinkle over the top of the pie (and custards if you have enough--I made more for them).  

Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350F. and continue to bake for 40** minutes, or until edges have puffed and topping is golden.  The center may still be slightly jiggly.  Mine was very jiggly so I cooked it about 15-20 minutes longer because of the frozen rhubarb. I tested the pie doneness by putting a knife in the center and seeing if it came out clean, too.  About an hour and 15 minutes total.  Let cool completely before slicing and serving.  
*I put the custards in the oven after I reduced the temperature and cooked them for about 50 minutes.
**may need to cook longer if using frozen fruit

Well, it looks tasty

 Ready to dig in!

By the way, I have never found a Rhubarb pie recipe that tasted like Mom's either!  Even the one she claimed to use!  I guess our memories include more than the taste.  Maybe Lynn has the right recipe.  I hope she will try this one so she can eat rhubarb pie for breakfast in France!  That is one of my memories.  Lynn and I and, I think Mom, even, eating rhubarb pie and exclaiming on how much better it tasted the next morning for breakfast.

  One last memory goes back to when we were quite young, sometime in elementary school.  We, the neighborhood gang that was around my age, would sneak into the rhubarb patch and each pick a stalk of rhubarb to eat raw out of the garden.  We would put salt on it and carry on about how good it was.  I hated it but didn't ever admit it to anyone.  It was way too sour and made my mouth dry and puckery!  I wonder if any of the other backwoods kids thought that too???? Sue? Ned? Tom? Tip? Lynn?

Afternoon Coffee Break

I got out my Limoges china to take my pie pictures so I want to post them because I love this china! 



Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Fishing at the Pond

Well, now that the internet is back on I can get caught up on all our adventures!  We've had quite a few of the relatives and some friends come out to help when the water was high and then to relax and go fishing, 4 wheeling, camping, watching it rain, rhubarb picking, and working on the puzzle.  Today I am going to concentrate on the fishing!

About 2 weeks ago Kenny, Toni and Levi came out to do a little 4 wheeling and some fishing.  Levi got a new little 4 wheeler for Christmas and was all set to go on an adventure.  he was so cute on his little 50 I had to try to video him!

As you can tell I haven't got the film editing down very well yet!

After they 4 wheeled for awhile they went fishing at the pond and caught some very nice fish.  Levi caught "a big one" so we had to take pictures.

As always, click on the picture to make it bigger and hit the back button to get back to the blog.

Levi shows off his fish with his mom!

Levi's big fish!

After seeing those nice big fish nothing would do except I needed to get over to that pond the next day and see if I could catch some for dinner!

Just right for our dinner that night.  I did them on the grill.  Yummmm!

The next weekend Carla and Jim came up to help with the irrigating in high water.  That will be the subject of another blog, but in order to help, they got some new irrigating boots.  Carla needed to test them out for fishing and so I went with her and here were our results:

Carla shows off our fish. Hers is the one in front.

Carla is the winner!  15 inches long and at least 2 lbs.

All these fish were caught in the pond with a Super Duper lure.  The river was still too high to try fishing in it but now the water has receded a lot so I may have to see how the fishing is down by the beaver dam. The rains seem to have slowed down and the wind is up so maybe some worm fishing is in order!  A few days ago I did get this picture after an afternoon rain storm.

Both ends of the rainbow.  The middle was still shrouded in clouds.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Picking Rhubarb with a Delicious Recipe to go with it!

As I mentioned yesterday, I decided to walk up to the rhubarb patch to see if there was enough there to do some baking.  When I got there I was surprised to see at least 8 seed pods already coming up out of the patch!  Mom always said that meant the end of rhubarb season so I decided I better get to picking!

The Rhubarb Patch.  Can you spot the seed pods?

I had brought a paring knife with me plus a garbage bag to put the stalks in.  I trimmed the leaves off so it wouldn't take so much room and wouldn't be as heavy either.  I really thinned the patch and when I tried to carry the bag (about a mile or so) it was too unwieldy and heavy.  I laid it in the shade and walked back home.  I got the 4 wheeler out and zipped back to the patch before some cows came along and trampled it.  Not very likely but who knew--Harvats were moving cattle out to the summer pasture.

  My bag of rhubarb with the leaves trimmed off.

I trimmed off the other end of each stalk.  Chopped them into bite sizes, put them in the colander, washed them,

 Chopping up the stalks

Ready to wash

bagged them and finally got them in the freezer about 11:30 PM!

 All bagged up and dated

 Of course I cooked dinner, ran up to check the ditch, took pictures of the high water and watched 3 movies before I really got going on the project!

Today I decided to make my favorite dessert with rhubarb.  Even those who don't particularly like it, love this recipe.  It goes by several different names, is quick and easy to make and has many variations but this is the one I love.



  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package moist yellow cake mix
  • 2 cups diced rhubarb
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 pint (2 cups) whipping cream
*I use lemon cake mix sometimes and 3-4 cups rhubarb if you really like rhubarb.  Raise the sugar amount if you raise the rhubarb although some people like the tartness of the rhubarb.  


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan. Prepare cake mix according to the package directions. Pour batter into prepared pan.  *Be sure to make high altitude adjustments if you live up here in the mountains!
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the rhubarb and sugar. Spoon the rhubarb mixture over the cake batter. Drizzle the whipping cream over the top of the rhubarb.
  3. Bake 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cake cool completely before turning it out onto a serving dish. Serve with whipped cream on top of each serving if desired.
  * if you use frozen rhubarb let it thaw and pat it with paper towels!  I didn't thaw it and it still turned out good. 

Other suggestions include sprinkling strawberry jello over sugar and rhubarb mixture, use raspberries instead, and add more cream if you like the custard and bake a little longer.

This recipe came from and was called Maryann's Upside Down Rhubarb Cake

This is 1/2 recipe made in a 9x9x2 inch pan.  Bob and I can't finish off a full recipe!

Yummy, I ran low on cream so made it with half and half but could have used a bit more for more custard!  I used a lemon cake mix.  Also, I didn't have enough for whipped cream on top but it sure is moist and good!