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 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

Sexy Acorn Squash

I got your attention with the title, right? Can acorn squash be sexy?
acorn feature

Well just look at it.
Such a cute little shape – mimicking the tiny acorn nuts. But when you make it up with a few tasty accoutrements, you turn cute into…sexy. Lush flesh, a bit spicy with an earthy undertone. Irresistible. Such a great side dish.
acorn s

acorn prepped

acorn sprinkled

Acorn squash is considered one of the many “winter squashes” which always confuses me because it’s ready each fall. Yes, it can last in a cold storage for most of the winter, but the look of it screams fall. As in “bring on the pumpkin and bring on the squash.”

It’s a great addition to a weeknight meal because you can pop it into the oven with a lasagna, meat loaf or pork loin and dinner is ready in 30 – 35 min. Meanwhile, you can put your feet up – or deal with mail or the kids’ homework.

Directions to Fool Proof Sexy Acorn Squash
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Scrub the outside of the squash to remove any bacteria.
Cut off just the tip of the pointy side so that it will sit flat in a baking pan.
Carefully cut the squash in half.
Scoop out the seeds and strings.
Place the halves in a baking pan.
Cut slits about 1/4 inch deep in both directions of the bowl of the squash.
Dab with a bit of butter – 1 tsp each is plenty.
Add 1 tsp brown sugar or coconut sugar in each squash half.(or maple syrup, agave, or honey)
Sprinkle with cinnamon. (Nutmeg and ginger are also good.)
Pour 1 cup water into the baking pan, being careful not to get water on the squash.
Carefully place the pan in the oven and set the timer for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, if a knife goes into the squash easily, it’s done. If your squash is larger, it may take longer.

That is it, my friend. You can serve the squash half as either one or two servings. If there are left overs, put it in the fridge and warm in the microwave. A drizzle of maple syrup will perk it right up.
acorn bite

The flavors of fall – earthy and uncomplicated.