Sunday, June 17, 2012

Spinach Dip

Grandma Barb's Favorite Spinach Dip

Many people in this world knew my Grandma, Barb Ford, for her chicken and dumplings (a recipe to come later), but there are numerous "staples" that our family could always count on during every her family gathering. Some were unique, others were not as much - but in either case, they became favorites.

One such recipe was her appetizer - Spinach Dip. Something many have probably had or tried, but it was new to us when I was in grade school - and I was not so sure of it. It looks a little suspicious, and plus, it has spinach in it. How many 10 year olds love spinach?? Well, I eventually gave in and tried it...and of course, loved it. Grandma knew we would! Soon my mother was taking it to our family gatherings on the Heape side, taking it to pot-lucks and other parties with the Holtgrewes and Krupps. And now, I too make it for social gatherings and family functions. It is always good, and so simple! Looks great in a cute bowl, even if it has spinach in it ;)

Again, not completely uncommon as I think it can easily be found on the back of vegetable mixes, but an oldie and a goodie as Grandma Barb would say! Another great recipe that you can easily alter by adding additional veggies or flavors to make your own.

Spinach Dip 

10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
16 oz sour cream
1 cup Mayonnaise
1 package vegetable recipe mix (we use  Knorr® or Lipton®)
8 oz. water chestnuts, drained and chopped

The easiest recipe....just combine all the ingredients, and chill for two hours. Serve with crackers, veggies, etc.

Not the prettiest dip, but so good!


Monday, June 11, 2012

Lucy's Chocolate Cake & Icing

Parker Family Favorite

For my birthday this year I had a request - Lucy's Chocolate Cake! Which Lucy Parker called Hand-Me-Down Chocolate Cake. Growing up, we always knew that when we went to visit our grandmother, Lula Heape, in DuQuoin, IL, that we would most likely also get to see our cousins' other set of grandparents, Harold and Lucy Parker.

I'm not sure when my mom actually got the recipe, but I believe that Lucy gave it to my Grandma Lula who then passed it to mom - because my Aunt Sandy doesn't even have this recipe! My mother and aunt remember that the cake itself was often present at Parker family events, and even if it wasn't the centerpiece....there it was on the dessert table, a favorite stand-by. My Uncle Lou always said he'd eat this chocolate icing on anything...and if you know Lou at all, you can imagine the kind of things he might mention!

If you love chocolate, or even like it a little - give this a try. A real cake recipe, not from a box - yet not too hard. And OH so delicious. Not to mention, the icing is crazy easy and the combination is outstanding!


Lucy's Chocolate Cake with Icing 

(Hand-Me-Down Chocolate Cake and Icing)

3/4C softened butter
1-3/4C sugar
3/4C Hershey's cocoa
2 eggs
1-1/4tsp baking sode
1/2tsp salt
1tsp vanilla
2C flour
1-1/3C water

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, beat one minute at medium speed. Combine flower, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add alternately with water to creamed mixture. Pour batter into two greased and floured 8-inch cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Cool to room temperature, and frost with chocolate icing -placing one layer, icing the top of this first layer. Then place second layer on top and ice the entire cake.


Easy Chocolate Icing

3-1/2C powdered sugar (add additional sugar to get to desired consistency)
1/3C cocoa
1tsp vanilla
3/4C softened butter
1/2C milk

Combine ingredients into mixer and beat until smooth. Add additional powdered sugar to get to desired consistency. DONE!

Tick, tock.....

Layer one, then put down a layer of icing before adding
the second cake. Then ice the entire thing....

My mom made this for my birthday,
and failed to take photos while icing. Boo.




Friday, June 1, 2012

Old-Fashion Spaghetti - Good by Any Name (Four Generations & Counting)

Old-Fashion Spaghetti - Ford Family Recipe 

This is a family favorite - and oh-so-easy! Not to mention, fairly low-fat. It has become a favorite in the Stamps house, and has been loved by the Ford family for over four generations. The way my dad tells it, is that this recipe was his Grandmother Ford's recipe - but unfortunately, we don't know if it was something she created or was handed down to her. Great-Grandma Anna (Miller) Ford was my Grandpa Bob's mom, from New Memphis Station, IL - close to the Kaskaskia River.

This woman made the most of everything since she had a family of 12! We imagine she liked this recipe because it uses a cheaper cut of meat, and since she canned summer tomatoes and had onions from the garden - it went pretty far for a big family dinner.  She taught it to my grandmother, Barbara (Kuhn) Ford, after Barb married my Grandpa, Robert Ford. My Aunt Debbie said it was obviously one of their favorites as Grandma Barb made it often, but she called it "Beef and Spaghetti" instead.

Apparently Great-Grandma shared it with all of her children and grandchildren, because we know that the recipe is used and loved by many of our cousins - but we all call it something different! Amazing how the same recipe can be passed down and evolve differently in the same family. Some of our Ford family cousins call it "Loose Spaghetti" and my Great-Aunt Doris's family calls it "German Spaghetti" - just goes to show that no matter what you call it, several branches and many generations of our family enjoy this recipe.

Light, yet hearty, this dish is good any time of year! Plus, it is an easy recipe to alter by adding additional veggies or flavors to make it your own.

A Bowl of Memories!

Old-Fashion Spaghetti

1-lb beef, stew meat cubes
1-16oz or quart diced canned tomatoes
1-Lg yellow onion, chopped
2-32oz boxes of beef stock
8 oz water (if desired to stretch it even further)
1-lb spaghetti

Simple Ingredients Reflect a Simpler Time

1. Brown meat in stock pot, as the meat begins to carmelize, add chopped onion and allow to soften
2. Add in diced tomato, beef stock and water - let simmer for 1-2 hours to allow meat to tenderize
3. When you near dinner time, add in spaghetti and cook 8-10 minutes - salt and pepper to taste!

Serve with bread and salad!

Allow the Meat to Simmer on Low to Tenderize

We Keep it Traditional - but Add Your Own Spin!