Modern Retro Recipe: Festive Fudge

Festive Fudge SquaresA fudge recipe purporting to be good for you?  That’s exactly what this recipe clipping advertising skimmed evaporated milk is trying to get us to believe.  After all, it is 99% fat free! I doubt my grandmother believed it was a healthy alternative but it made me smile when I found it in her recipe box. I’ll admit, though, that I make it using the full fat evaporated milk.

This recipe is crazy easy to make and has replaced the recipe on the back of the creamed marshmallow jar as my favorite fudge.

Make sure you use a heavy pan and stir constantly so that the sugar and milk don’t end up getting scorched while you are boiling it.

Festive Fudge
Yields 30
This fudge recipe --found in my grandmother's recipe box--is crazy easy to make and has replaced the recipe on the back of the creamed marshmallow jar as my favorite fudge.
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  1. 2 cups sugar
  2. 2/3 cups evaporated milk
  3. 12 regular marshmallows
  4. 1/2 cup butter
  5. 3-4 grains of salt
  6. 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels
  7. 1 cup chopped walnuts
  8. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Mix sugar, milk, marshmallows, butter and salt in a heavy 2-quart saucepan.
  2. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat to a boil (bubbling all over the top of the mixture).
  3. Boil and stir 5 minutes more. Remove from heat.
  4. Add the chocolate and stir until completely melted.
  5. Stir in the nuts and vanilla.
  6. Spread in a buttered 8-inch square pan. Cool.
  7. Cut into 30 pieces.
  1. Make sure you use a heavy pan and stir constantly so that the sugar and milk don’t end up getting scorched while you are boiling it.
Adapted from Vintage Pet Evaporated Milk Magazine Advertisement Clipping
Adapted from Vintage Pet Evaporated Milk Magazine Advertisement Clipping
Modern Retro Woman

Monday Menu: Chocolate Chip Cookie-Bars {Vintage Recipe}

IMG_3080I loved going to my grandparents’ house on Saturdays.  My siblings and I would watch cartoons–in COLOR–on their television set.  But color TV wasn’t the only treat.  My grandmother always had a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies available for our enjoyment.  And we did!

I found this neatly typed recipe card in my grandmothers recipe box.  The first time I ate one of these chocolate chip cookie-bars, I was transported in time to my grandmother’s kitchen…even though this isn’t the recipe I remember her using.  My memory says that she probably used the iconic Toll House chocolate chip cookie recipe.

These cookie-bars don’t exactly taste like Toll House cookies.  They are different but they are equally good and ideal for taking to a cookie exchange or end of the school year party because they are so very easy to make.

1/2 cup sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon melted butter
2 teaspoons hot water
2/3 cup walnut meats
1 package semi-sweet chocolate chips



Blend flour, baking powder, and salt together.  Set aside.

Add sugar gradually to egg, beating thoroughly.


Add melted butter and water, then add nuts and chocolate chips, mixing thoroughly.


Add flour gradually, mixing well.

Turn mixture into an 8”x8” pan that has been greased and lined with parchment paper (for easy removal).



Bake in a 350ºF. oven for 25-30 minutes.

Cool, remove from pan and cut into squares.


Monday Menu: Hot Cross Buns {Vintage Recipe}

IMG_2917Until I read the notation in my grandmother’s cookbook that Hot Cross Buns were a Good Friday tradition, I never made the connection between the crosses on top of the buns and the symbolism of Good Friday.

The buns are delicious and fairly quick and easy to make thanks to Rapid Rise yeast.  Instead of having to wait through two rises of the dough, all we have to do is let the dough rest for 10 minutes before we shape it into the buns.

Generally speaking, currants used in baking are a kind of raisin.  You will find them next to the raisins and other packaged dry fruit at the grocery store.  But if you can’t find currants, go ahead and substitute regular old raisins.


1/2 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons melted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk scalded
1 envelope of Rapid Rise yeast
2 eggs
3 cups sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup currants



Combine flour, cinnamon, and yeast.  Set aside.


Add the sugar, butter and salt  to the scalded milk and let cool to 120ºF to 130ºF.

When the milk has cooled to the desired temperature, add ONE well-beaten egg.


Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients.


Add the currants and mix very thoroughly.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.


Shape into large biscuit shapes (hint: oil your hands for easy shaping) and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Let rise.


Use the remaining egg, lightly beaten, to brush the tops of the buns.

Cut a cross on each bun with a sharp knife.  Bake for 20 minutes at 400ºF.

Optional: Make cross out of frosting after buns have cooled.


Monday Menu: Corned Beef and Cabbage {Vintage Recipe}

IMG_2710Like many Americans, I had my first taste of corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day.  But here’s the deal, it is really more of an Irish-American dish rather than a true Irish meal.  No matter its origins, I love, love, love corned beef (I will never turn down a Reuben sandwich) and I love, love, love cabbage.  The two were just made to go together.

I don’t have a slow cooker (don’t ask) but I think this recipe would be ideal for tossing into the crockpot in the morning and then cooking the cabbage with about 3 cups of the cooking water when you get home.

Most corned beef briskets come with a flavor pouch.  You can discard it because you won’t need those seasonings for this recipe.

6 pounds corned beef brisket
1 small onion or 1/2 large onion
1 carrot
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
Head of cabbage (6-8 pounds)



Rinse corned beef and place in a soup pot.

Cover with water and add the onion, carrot, garlic, and bay leaves.


Bring to a boil, cover, and cook over low heat for 3 hours or until tender.  Add boiling water from time to time to keep meat covered.

Cut cabbage into wedges and add to the pot.  Cook until tender, about 15 minutes.


Drain well.  Slice the meat across the grain and serve.


Monday Menu: Lush Mush {Vintage Recipe}

IMG_2824I’m always on the lookout for fruit based desserts.  This recipe is from the same recipe clipping notebook as the lasagne recipe.  This dessert recipe is by Mrs. G.L. Holms of Bergenfield, NJ.  It was published in the February, 1948, issue of Better Homes and Gardens.

The recipe calls for drained fruit cocktail.  But you can use any fruit you want to use, really.  For the photo shoot, I used chunky mixed fruit.


1 Tablespoon (1 envelope) unflavored gelatin
2 Tablespoons cold water
1 1/2 cups orange juice
12 regular size marshmallows
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 1/2 cups fruit, drained
Maraschino cherries (optional)



Soften gelatin in cold water.


Heat 1/2 cup orange juice and marshmallows in double boiler until marshmallows are dissolved.  Add softened gelatin and stir until dissolved.


Add remaining orange and lemon juice.  Let cool.


Whip cream and gradually add the gelatin-juice mixture.



Partially fill bottom of tall parfait or sherbet glasses with fruit.  Pour gelatin mixture over fruit and chill.


Top with maraschino cherries, if desired.

Monday Menu: Chocolate Pinwheel Cookies

IMG_2891This recipe is from my grandmother’s well-worn-held-together-by-librarian’s-book-tape 1950s era cookbook.  And, these really are as good as they sound.  And look.  They go fast in our house.  And, yes, I’m the guilty party.

I use powdered baking cocoa instead of melted baking chocolate.  Just follow the directions on the side of the canister.  One thing to look out for is that this dough gets soft very quickly making it very hard to slice.  Make sure it is quite hard before starting to slice.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter
1 cup minus 2 Tablespoons of sugar
1 egg, beaten
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons milk
1 square baking chocolate, melted (or equivalent powdered baking cocoa)



Blend flour, baking soda, and salt together.  Set aside.


Cream butter.  Add sugar and blend thoroughly.

Add egg to the butter and sugar and blend thoroughly.

Add egg and beat mixture until it is light and fluffy.  Stir in vanilla.


Add flour mixture and milk alternately, beginning and ending with the flour.


Divide the dough into two equal portions.  Stir the cooled melted chocolate into one portion.


Chill both portions for at least 30 minutes.

Place each portion between two pieces of plastic wrap.

Pat or roll out the dough until each portion is about the same size and about 1/8” thick.


Remove the top sheets from each portion and carefully lay one portion on top of the other.


Remove the plastic wrap that is now on top and roll the two layers together as tightly as you can as if you were making a jelly roll.  Use the remaining sheet of plastic underneath the layers to help lift and roll the dough.


Wrap the dough log tightly in plastic wrap and chill until very firm.


When ready to bake, remove the plastic wrap  and make thin slices across the dough log using a sharp knife.

Carefully place cookies on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.


Bake in a 375ºF oven for about 10 minutes or until the cookies are delicately browned.

Makes a couple dozen cookies depending upon how thinly you slice the dough and how much dough you ate before it even made it into the refrigerator for chilling.


Monday Menu: Chili Con Wiener

IMG_1692 This is a tailgating, football watching testosterone extravaganza recipe. We especially enjoyed it while  watching the San Francisco 49ers rout beat the Green Bay Packers.  To tell you the truth, I almost didn’t try this recipe because it didn’t appeal to me and I wasn’t sure The Mister would like it, either.  Much to my surprise, he raved about it and said it was “man food.”  And, I must admit, it has kind of grown on me, too.  Put it in the slow cooker on game day and allow your guests to help themselves.  Be sure to provide plenty of napkins!

I prefer it with my homemade chili but it is pretty good with the canned chili, too.

PS: This recipe freezes quite well.  Make a double batch and stick half of it in the freezer in 1 or  2-cup containers (leave headroom for expansion).  Defrost, reheat, and serve over toasted hamburger or hot dog buns (The Mister even has it plain) on those nights you just don’t feel like cooking.  Easy-peasy!


1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 15-ounce can chili with beans or 2 cups homemade chili with beans
1/2 pound hot dogs, cut diagonally in 1/4 to 1/2” slices
1/2 cup chili sauce
1 can condensed tomato soup
1/4 cup chopped green peppers
8 hamburger or hot dog buns, split and toasted


Lightly brown ground beef and onion in a large skillet.

Add chili, hot dogs, soup, chili sauce, and green pepper.

Heat thoroughly.  Serve over toasted buns.  Garnish with additional cooked hot dog slices (if desired).

Menu Monday: Mulled Cider {Recipe}

There is just something soothing about the fragrance of mulled cider in Autumn. This recipe comes from a 1939 New England regional cookbook and has become my husband’s favorite Autumn-time hot drink.

The original recipe calls for 7 whole allspice but I can’t seem to find it anywhere. I substituted the equivalent amount of ground allspice without any negative consequences. I simply use a tea towel when straining the cider so that the spice is removed (Note: It will stain your tea towel, so don’t use an heirloom towel when doing this!).


1 quart apple cider (not apple juice)
10 whole cloves
1/4 cup sugar
6 sticks cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon salt

Combine ingredients in the order given and bring to the boiling point.  Simmer for 15 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow to stand for 12 hours.

Strain and serve hot.

Serves 5.

Monday Menu: Ham and Bean Soup

I love having soup for lunch when the thermometer starts dipping below 70F.  And it has been, here in Central Illinois, for a couple of weeks now.

The cheapest place to buy soup on campus charges $3.00 for a cup.  And it has an institutional flavor to it even though it is a whole lot tastier than canned soup.  Using my trusty Thermos, however, enables me to have a nice, hot, homemade  soup for about 50¢ a serving.

A few weeks ago, the butcher had a big ol’ ham bone next to the ham hocks for about $5.00.  I had a 1-pound bag of navy beans and another 1-pound bag of long-grain brown rice in my pantry.  All it needed was an onion and some water!  Easy!  Nothing fancy about this soup but, boy, is it good and it made over 10 cups of soup!

One thing I’ve noticed with cookbooks published in the United States prior to the 1950s is that the ingredient list is usually quite simple.  Between The Great Depression and war rationing, homemakers had to “make do” with simple ingredients.  I love that this is a very simple recipe, is budget friendly, and could probably be put into a crockpot and cook all day (I say “probably” because I haven’t replaced the one that was “donated to the arts” a few years back so this soup hasn’t been tested in the crockpot).


1 pound package of dried navy beans
1 Ham bone cut crosswise by butcher
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups uncooked long-grain brown rice


Soak beans according to package directions.

Add ham  and onion to the rehydrated beans.  Add enough water to cover.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook until beans, are tender and the meat is falling off of the bone, about 2 hours.

Remove meat from bone, chop and return to pot.

Add  rice and continue cooking for another hour, adding water as needed.


From The Archives: The Ultimate Turkey Leftovers Recipe: Turkey Glace

We will be celebrating Thanksgiving here in the United States next week.  This Turkey Glace recipe was originally published on December 9, 2008.  It really is a great “what do I do with all of these leftovers” recipe.  And it is easy to tweak, too, depending upon the amount of leftovers you have.  Enjoy!

The Ultimate Turkey Leftovers Recipe~Turkey Glace

If I had known how wonderful this recipe was, I would have given it to you the Monday before Thanksgiving. As I was testing it, I realized it is The Ultimate Recipe for what to do with leftover turkey/stuffing/gravy/cranberry sauce. I’ll provide the official recipe below, but the “quick and dirty” recipe is as follows:

While clearing the table, get out a shallow baking dish, 13 1/4 x 8 3/4 x 1 3/4 inches. Line the bottom of the baking dish with leftover stuffing, about 1 1/2 inches deep. Cube about 6 cups of turkey. Spread that over the stuffing. Pour and spread leftover gravy on top of that. Cover with aluminum foil and save for the next day (or send home with a guest with cranberry sauce). When ready to serve, bake in a 350* oven for 20 minutes. Spread 2 cans worth of cranberry sauce over the top and bake another 10 minutes. Serves about 12.

Here is the “official recipe:”

Turkey Glace
Ladies’ Home Journal Cookbook

6 cups cooked turkey cut into about 1 1/2 inch pieces.
6 cups day-old bread cut into 1/2 inch cubes (no crusts)
3/4 cup butter
3 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup flour
2 cups turkey or chicken broth or part broth and part turkey gravy
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 (1 lb) cans whole cranberry sauce

Saute’ the bread cubes in a frying pan with 1/4 cup butter. Season with 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon thyme and 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning. Spread on the bottom of a shallow baking dish, 13 1/4 x 8 3/4 x 1 3/4 inches. Spread the cooked turkey over the bread cubes. Saute’ the chopped onion in 1/2 cup butter; add the flour and the turkey or chicken broth or part broth and part gravy, seasoned with 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning and the copped parsley. Pour this over the turkey and bread cubes. Bake in moderate oven, 350*, for 20 minutes. Then take it from the oven and spread the top with the cranberry sauce. Bake 10 minutes more. Twelve servings.