About Nana Clare

Cookie baker, brownie maker for 50 years. Mom to three, Nana to five. Married to Mr. Right for 36 years. I'm also a sister to seven women - no brothers - and daughter to parents who have been together for 64 years. I love to bake breads, cookies, muffins, rolls, bars and did I say cookies? I make all kinds of jams and jellies and have a killer hot fudge recipe that goes back several generations in my family. Paired with my husband's homemade ice cream it's always a winning combo. Oh Yes! I also enjoy making soups, stews, stir fries and other munchies. I worked full time when my children were young and discovered many short cuts so that I could still provide healthy meals (most of the time). Catholic for life and loving it. BA in theater and speech, costuming/ Broadcasting school graduate/ MS in journalism and mass communication, emphasis in public relations/ Graduate of the Institute for Children's Literature - beginning and advanced classes - yes, I love to learn. And a graduate of many decorative painting schools. See my page on decorative painting in my home.

Food Facts from World War II

As you may know, I am hip deep into writing an historic fiction work that is based on a true story. The working title is: Mending Helen’s Heart. Much of the story takes place in the 1940′s so naturally, I’ve been researching World War II facts, like what people ate and wore and that sort of thing.
Of course the food rationing was much worse in England than it was in the US, but we still had rationing of things like gasoline, sugar, coffee and many other items were just difficult to find.



I’m not trying to throw ice water on our Thanksgiving food fest plans this week, but it may give you pause to see what the adults lived on in the 1940′s. I was stunned. Of course, if they had a scrap of yard, they often raised chickens to supplement their meager rations. And rabbits or squirrels that ventured near them were captured and put into a stew.

If you are interested in reading more, this was a valuable site: http://cookit.e2bn.org/historycookbook/20-97-world-war-2-Food-facts.html

Pumpkin pies just out of the oven

Pumpkin pies just out of the oven

On another site, they showed the typical food for one WEEK for an adult in England during the food rationing:
A typical ration for one adult per week was:

Butter: 50g (2oz) Bacon and ham: 100g (4oz) Margarine: 100g (4oz)

Sugar: 225g (8oz). Meat: To the value of 1s.2d (one shilling and sixpence per week. That is about 6p today)
Milk: 3 pints (1800ml) occasionally dropping to 2 pints (1200ml).
Cheese: 2oz (50g) Eggs: 1 fresh egg a week. Tea: 50g (2oz).
Jam: 450g (1lb) every two months. Dried eggs 1 packet every four weeks. Sweets: 350g (12oz) every four weeks

No wonder they were so thin. The fashions of the day were also cut skimpy to save on fabric and even on buttons and other closures.

On Thanksgiving, wear your elastic-waisted pants and knit shirts. Enjoy the day. We have so much to be thankful for.

Food Facts From the Depression

Yes, I’m writing away on my novel, which I’m calling “Mending Helen’s Heart.” (Who knows what a publisher will call it.) I start the story while our heroine is 10 and it’s 1935 – heart of the depression. She lives in Iowa and I’ve found some interesting food facts while researching this time period:

+ Sometimes poor men only had potato peels in their lunch bucket. Just raw potato peels. Not the roasted and salted ones. Cold slimy peels.
Not the yummy baked fries we make today:

baked fries

baked fries

+ When the price of corn dropped to 9 cents per bushel, it wasn’t worth selling, so many farmers mixed the corn with coal and burned it in their cook stoves.
+ Cook stoves were often the only source of heat for a home.
+ A pound of hamburger was supposed to make 8 – 10 servings in a casserole.
+ When potatoes were plentiful, the children would bring a raw potato to school. There was a large potbellied stove in the corner of the one-room school house. The kids could put their potatoes on the top of the stove and it would cook so they would have it for lunch. No butter or sour cream – just a warm potato.
+ There was so little food that people hunted squirrel and rabbit. If they found a wild turkey, they were very fortunate.

OK, back to Chapter 13. Please wish me well. This story haunts me and I feel compelled to finish it. Peace, Clare

Ps – don’t forget this great recipe for Sweet potatoes and pecans

sweet potato side dish

sweet potato side dish

Na No Wri Mo

I have a secret to tell you.

Deer visitor

Deer visitor

I’m writing a novel. I never expected to write one and haven’t really wanted to. I’ve always suspected I would write a nonfiction book at some point. Yes, I’ve written for various publications, magazines, newspapers, etc.
But there is a story that won’t leave my brain.
I met a little old woman about five years ago and she shared some of her life story with me. And in spite of living through a vile childhood, she has emerged a gracious, faith-filled woman. She’ll be 90 this week and I’m so touched that she has given me permission to write a novel, based on her story. Yes, I’ve called her and listened to her stories at length. And I’ve researched the time period when she was young – through the Great Depression and the Second World War.
I’ve got a story outline. So where is this going? I’m joining the National November Write Your Novel challenge. I certainly don’t expect to accomplish it all in a month, but I’m going to take a running leap.
So why am I telling you this?

Because I won’t be baking cookies,

mocha fudge truffle cookies

mocha fudge truffle cookies

or making peanut butter balls,
Perfect dessert

Perfect dessert

or muffins
blueberry nut muffin

blueberry nut muffin

or cakes in a cup.
chocolate cake in a cup

chocolate cake in a cup

I’ll be writing. I’ll make big pots of soup and my hubby will learn to love them.

Ken said they were "delicious!"

Ken said they were “delicious!”

But I won’t be blogging about new recipes. Sorry. I do love to experiment in the kitchen and take pictures and write about the whole process.
But I’m setting it aside to focus on this goal.
But please remember this: There are nearly 300 recipes on this site. So if you need a brownie fix, or a new cookie idea, they are here. Dig in and enjoy.

And please wish me well. Because my brain is elbow deep into this and I’m moving along at a determined pace.
Except for the title. Still working on that.
Peace all.

Sleek Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

Frozen Yogurt sounds like summer. And with fall bearing down on us, I want to hang onto summer – at least the tastiest parts.

As I was strolling through the frozen food section of my store, trying to understand the logic frozen toast (really! an entire section of it), I noticed that we now have frozen Greek Yogurt offerings. Greek yogurt – the thick yogurt with the high protein hit. And now it’s offered in desserts. Cool!

Slushy fro yo

However, the store stuff had an ingredient list that was a question mark, so I thought I’d see if I could concoct my own, minus the unpronounceable ingredients. And YUM! It’s doable and delicious. And very quick. If you have ten minutes, you can whip up a few quarts of dessert that will delight your senses.
I naturally experimented with different ways to make this treat. The first time I made it I put the simple syrup, and all the ingredients, including the strawberries into the food processor. It was good, but I wanted it to have the feel more of frozen yogurt – with added strawberries, rather than strawberry sorbet with a bit of yogurt. Not sure this makes sense to anyone else, but the pictures show the difference. The first picture looks more like a slushy frozen yogurt, which was still wonderful. But in the end I wanted chunks of strawberry frozen into my fro yo and check it out! Looks and tastes fabulous.

The next time I made it, I folded in the chunks of strawberries at the end and then froze the tasty treat.
cut berries

Ingredients for Strawberry Greek Frozen Yogurt
4 cups strawberries, washed and hulled and cut into bite sized pieces (Sure, frozen are fine.)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup sugar substitute of choice
1 cup water
3 six-oz pots of lowfat Greek yogurt, no flavors or sugars added
1/2 tsp lemon
1 tsp vanilla
add yogurt

blender or food processor

blender or food processor

Start with a Simple Syrup just like Maddy, my clever granddaughter taught us with her Strawberry Sorbet.
fold in berries
Mix the sugar and sugar substitute with water.
Bring it to a boil and boil one minute. Remove it from the heat.
Add the yogurt and whisk to blend.
Add lemon and vanilla.
Fold in the strawberries and pour into a freezer container.

Ahhh, this is summer in a bowl.Frozen yogurt