Posted by: bree1972 | April 22, 2010

No One Who Cooks, Cooks Alone 4/23/2010

 I found this great quote by Laurie Colwin that sums up what I feel we all think about when we are in the kitchen cooking for our families:  “No one who cooks, cooks alone.  Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers.” 

Sitting down to type this last “Recipe of the Day” post brings with it a little jolt of nostalgia.  Over the next three weeks, I will begin to make a transition, and on May 6 (a week before we leave for the island), I will close this Lake Blackshear blog down and switch over to Bree’s Mackinac Island Blog. 

A friend asked me not long ago if I would continue the lake blog next winter.  I smiled, and told my friend that if I had to make that decision right now, I would say no.  As I told my friend, writing from the lake has been a whole lot more like work than writing from the island, and the reason is this.  There are many days in both places that I will awaken not having a clue what to write about.  On the island, I know that all I have to do is throw my camera in my pocket and take a walk – the story will be waiting just down the street, or in town, or on a trail in the woods, or on the ferry dock.  There is always a story waiting to be told.  The uniqueness of Mackinac Island is a story in itself, whereas the lake is simply . . . . home. 

So, I won’t make decisions about next winter right now.  I do know that after the winter we had here in the south, my urge to return up north is a little less pressing than last year.  The warm (sometimes even cool) spring we are having – filled with sunny days on the ri’vah – have been a blessing.  And because we are not sweltering yet (as we were this time last year), my urgency to get packed hasn’t switched into high gear – not yet anyway.  Having said that, even today I found myself making calls to order dog supplies we will need to take with us and rewriting the list I checked off last year before we left (last year’s list was 57 items long, so far 6 items longer than this year’s list – but the month isn’t over yet).

I think most of you must have already sent in your favorite recipes in each category, because there were only a few emailed in this week.  I have loved doing the Recipe Day, not only for the yummy dishes I have added to my notebook, but also because I have gotten to know several of you so well through your loyal contributions each week.  It’s been great fun!

MOM B’S FROSTED RAISIN BREAD (Submitted by Diane Swihart-Elkhart, Indiana)

From Diane:  “This is one of my favorite bread recipes that takes me back 31 years ago to when I was dating my husband.  His mom did not really care for  me, and showed it every time he would invite me over to his house.  So I asked my mom what would be something nice I could make for Christmas to give her, as it was December, and she suggested I make up her raisin bread and put it in a nice basket with a pretty new dishcloth to cover it.  So I made it up and gave it to her for Christmas.  A few days later, Dave called me to say his mom had told him she was starting to like me, and she told him, ‘that girl comes from good stock to make homemade bread like that.’   Whew!  Was I relieved.  We have had our ups and down over the years, but we love each other dearly, and every time I make up the raisin bread I think of when I made it for her years ago.  My hubby and sons love that it makes 3 loaves up – which are usually down to crumbs by the end of the day.  As soon as they open the door and smell the cinnamon and yeast, they are looking for the knife to cut a slice, or 2, or 3!”

  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees)
  • 2 packages yeast
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 8 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tblsps. cinnamon
  • 2 Tblsps. butter, melted

Frosting Ingredients:  2 sticks softened butter, 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Warm up the milk until it starts to get bubbly, then remove from the stove, and let cool until it’s lukewarm.
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water, wait until it’s frothy, then mix in the eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup butter, salt and the raisins.  Stir in the milk. Add the flour gradually until the dough gets stiff.
Knead the dough for a few minutes on a lightly floured counter.  Place into a large greased bowl and turn to grease the dough. Cover with damp dishcloth (a clean one mom always said- ha!).  Allow the dough to rise until double.
Roll out the dough on the floured counter until you make it into rectangle shape.  Brush with 2 Tblsps. melted butter.  Mix together the ¾ cup of sugar and the 2 tablespoons of cinnamon, and sprinkle this on top of the dough.
Roll up the dough. Cut into 3 pieces. Place the loaves into 3 greased (or Pam sprayed) 9″ X 5″ pans.  Lightly grease the tops of them.  Let them rise again for about an hour.
Bake at 350 degrees until they are light brown on top and sound hollow when you thump them.  Remove from the pans, and let them cool.
Frosting:  Put  2 sticks softened butter, 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar, and 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract in a bowl and stir it up.  Then frost the tops of the loaves. Any extra frosting you can put on your slices of raisin bread, like mom let my sisters and I do  – yummy!


From Patty:  “The Banana Cream Bread recipe came from the Service League of Bartlesville cookbook, ‘Taste of the Territory’.  According to my husband Buz, it too is ‘World Famous!’  Years ago, I prepared the German Chocolate Upside Down Cake recipe for a July 4th all-church picnic.  It became all the buzz, as everyone was wondering who had brought it to the picnic.  Needless to say, it made the front page of our church newsletter for all to enjoy!   It is to die for!”

BANANA CREAM BREAD (Submitted by Patty Wierick-Bartlesville, OK)

  • 1 1/3 cups oil
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 6 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 ½ tsp. soda
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups chopped pecans


  • sugar
  • chopped pecans

Combine oil, sugar, eggs, bananas and sour cream in a large bowl.  Blend until smooth.  Mix together flour, salt and soda.  Stir into the banana mixture and add vanilla and pecans.

Pour into two large (9″ x 5″) greased and floured loaf pans – or 6 mini-loaf pans.  Sprinkle top with sugar and chopped pecans.  Bake at 325 degrees for 1+ hour for large loaves (or 40 minutes for small loaves), or until loaves test done in the center.


  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1 box German Chocolate cake mix, prepared according to directions (do not bake)
  • 1 stick melted butter
  • 1 (8 oz) cream cheese
  • 1 box powdered sugar
  • 1 well-beaten egg 

Grease 9″ x13″ baking pan.  Place a sheet of wax paper on bottom and sides of pan and sprinkle with pecans and coconut.  Pour prepared cake mix over the top.

Mix butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar and egg together.  Drizzle over top of cake, leaving 1 1/2″ from edges. Bake at 350˚ for 50 to 60 minutes.

Let cool;  turn out on a serving tray.  Peel off wax paper.  Top with Cool Whip.  ENJOY!


(Corrected Copy) 

BROCCOLI AND MUSHROOM SALAD (Submitted by Jill Sawatzki-Lansing and Mackinac Island, MI)

From Jill:  “My mom thinks this recipe came from a neighborhood Boy Scout Pot Luck.  Today those Boy Scounts are 45 and 53 years old!  It’s been a FAVORITE easy dish for me to bring.”

  • 1 head broccoli (flowerets only)
  • 1/2 lb. pkg. mushrooms (sliced)
  • 2 finely chopped green onions
  • 1/2 cup sugar (extra-fine sugar, if you can find it) 
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp celery seed
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup vinegar w/tarragon

Make marinade (everything but broccoli and mushrooms) several hours or a day ahead.  Keep stirring and  blending well, and make sure all sugar is dissolved.  Marinade does not have to be refrigerated, but it is ok to refrigerate.  Two to four hours before serving, pour marinade over broccoli and mushrooms and mix well.  Put salad into a container with a tight lid and refrigerate.  Every 30 minutes or so, shake container so marinade coats all the veggies.  Serve cold.


RED CAKE (Submitted by Charlotte DeBroka-Mishawaka, IN)

From Charlotte:  “This is a cake my Mom made when we were kids.  I know around here there are lots of stories about where the recipe came from. The one I’ve always heard is a lady ate at a big department store in New York City.  For dessert, she had a slice of red cake.  After eating the cake, she asked the waitress if she might have a copy of the recipe.  When she was given the recipe, she received a tab for $100.00.  Liking the cake so much (and having the extra $100 with her), she paid for the recipe.  Arriving back in town she started giving copies of the recipe to all of her friends.  I’ve also heard it called the $100 Red Cake.  We just call it Red Cake.  While I worked, my best friend always asked me to bake my red cake for her birthday (for mine I always asked for her cheese cake).”

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 scant tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 Tblsps. cocoa
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 ozs. red food coloring
  • 1 tsp. vinegar
  • 1 tsp. soda

Cream shortening, sugar, and eggs.  Make paste of cocoa and red food coloring, add to creamy mixture.  Add flour, salt, buttermilk and vanilla.  Beat well.  Fold in vinegar and soda.  Don’t beat.  Pour into two greased 8-inch cake pans.  Bake at 350 degrees 30-35 minutes.

Note from Charlotte:  “When putting them together, Mom always used tooth picks to help the layers stay together. Those getting a toothpick didn’t have to help with dishes that meal.  Of course this was before every house had a dishwasher.  I still continue putting the toothpicks in because it reminds me of Mom.”

Frosting for Red Cake

  • 3 Tblsps. flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup butter (1/2 lb.)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Mix flour and water.  Boil until thick, stirring constantly.  Set aside and cool.

Cream butter and vanilla together.  Beat until fluffy.  Add cooled mixture.  Beat lightly.  Frost cake.

From  Charlotte:  “I love this frosting also on German Chocolate Cake.”



From Irene:  “I meant to get you this last week, but my schedule got crammed.  This is one of my favorite recipes because it’s so easy to make.  If you notice, except for the vanilla, raisins and wheat germ, there’s no measuring involved.  Originally it was two cups of white sugar and two of brown, but I tried it once with just the box of brown, and – no more measuring!

I sometimes make them big (4 in.), but when I make them for church social hour, they are closer to 2 in.  OH, and sorry about the title, but that’s what we call them  – because they contain everything but the kitchen sink!”

Beat until creamy:   

  • 1 jar of peanut butter (18 oz.)
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 box light brown sugar


  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Stir in:   

  • 1 box “old-fashioned” oatmeal  (18 oz. , I think – the regular box, not the huge one)
  • 2 1/2 tsps. baking SODA
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 bag (6 oz.) chocolate chips

With a spoon, drop onto cookie sheet about 4 inches apart, and press flat with a fork.

Bake at 350° for 10 to 12 min.  Remove from cookie sheet and let cool on a wire rack.




From Brenda:  “This is just a fancy name for Fried Shrimp, but it is Ted’s absolute favorite fried shrimp – and mine too.  I found this recipe years and years ago.  The batter is VERY light.”

  • 3 lbs. raw shrimp, shelled and deveined (with tails left on)
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 Tblsps. baking power
  • 1 tsp. garlic salat
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup water
  • Oil for frying

Mix all batter ingredients until well blended.  Grasp shrimp by tail, and dip in batter mixture until well coated.  Deep fry at 375 degrees until golden brown.  Remove, drain on paper towel, and serve with tartar sauce and lemon wedges.


From Brenda:  “This only serves TWO, so multiply ingredients as needed for extra servings.  My beautiful step-daughter Julie shared this recipe with me after she served it while we were visiting in Arkansas.”

  •  2 (8 oz.) salmon fillets
  • 2 Tblsps. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup carrot, finely grated
  • 1/2 cup tomato, finely chopped
  • 3 Tblsps. chopped green onions
  • 3 Tblsps. mayonaisse
  • 2 Tblsps. cream cheese, softened
  • 2 Tblsps. minced fresh parsley
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper

Arrange fillets in baking dish; drizzle with lemon juice.  Combine carrot, tomato and green onions in a bowl.  Mix well.  Stir in a mixture of mayo, cream cheese, parsley, and pepper.  Mound veggies on each fillet, covering completely.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until salmon flakes easily. 

Note from Brenda:  “You can prepare this one day in advance, cover, and refrigerate overnight.  Bake the next day.”


From Brenda:  ” Well, of course I had to end the whole thing with CHOCOLATE!!  This is granddaughter Jordan’s absolute favorite BeBe dessert.”

  • 1 (18 1/2 oz.) pkg. Devil’s Food Chocolate Cake Mix
  • 3 (3 1/2 oz.) pkgs. instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 2 cups milk (for making pudding)
  • 2 cups whipping cream (the REAL stuff)
  • 2 Tblsps. sugar
  • 1 cup pecans, lightly toasted
  • Chocolate sauce, or chocolate syrup, for garnish

Prepare cake mix and bake in 13″ x 9 ” pan according to pkg. instructions.  Let cool thoroughly, then cut into cubes about size of walnut.

Prepare chocolate pudding according to pkg. directions.

In medium bowl, whip the cream with sugar until stiff.

To assemble:  In trifle bowl, layer half the chocolate cake cubes, pudding, whipped cream, and nuts.  Repeat, layering remaining ingredients, ending with whipped cream and nuts.

Drizzle decoratively with chocolate sauce or syrup.  Serves 20 – a great party dessert!

The header is Lana’s version of Shrimp Creole (an utterly delicious version, of course), and can be found at, Lana, for allowing me to brazenly steal from your blog every week.  By the way, our friend Ed made your Outrageous Chocolate Cookies last week, and he and Sally almost made themselves sick eating them – they were THAT GOOD.  I can attest to that because he brought Ted and I some samples, and we both ’bout fainted from the yummyness!

Here’s to all the cooks – past and present.  We thank you for teaching us and making sure we are never alone in our kitchens.


I just have a couple more things to share tonight.  One is this photo my friend Samille sent today of a bird nest in one of her flowerpots.  I think mama bird is blocking our view of the eggs (or the babies).

AND – on Monday I will be sharing all the darling dogs and cuddly cats you sent in after Bear asked for photos of your four-legged babies.  WOW!  What a landslide of action THAT request caused!  They are all adorable, and I can’t wait to show them off for you!

In preparation for that, I’m posting below a group of photographs a friend sent me of a piglet that was adopted by a very special mom.  This little doxie mama could be Maddie’s twin, and I think you will find this too precious for words – so I won’t add any!








Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you back here Monday morning with the “cutest” blog post ever!  God bless.



  1. Another bunch of wonderful sounding recipes to try!!
    Oh that little pink pig is so cute!! And the doxie mamma looks like she is taking such good care of her extra baby 🙂
    Happy Friday!!

  2. What a life lesson from that sweet dozie mom…to be so accepting of others who are not exactly like us.

  3. Sorry…doxie

  4. Those pictures of the baby pig are adorable! She fits right in with the rest of those puppies 🙂
    Gee Brenda, ,maybe not writing from the lake next year? I don’t know what I would do not having your blog to read. Since I found the Mackinack Island blog, I haven’t missed one of your entries either from the island or the lake. I might not always leave a comment but I always read.
    I’ll be looking forward to your writings from the island again soon and when I go to the island this year I will see it in a whole new light.
    Have a great weekend!

    • Make sure you let me know when you’re going to be on the island, Hilde. Let’s have lunch or coffee while you’re there!

      • I certainly will 🙂

  5. Wow, great recipes. The dessert lover that I am, I can’t wait to try your Chocolate Delight. The raisin bread sounds yummy. At this rate I won’t be able to walk when I get to Mackinac.

    The little pig and the puppies is so cute. As Joan said the doxie is teaching us a lesson in accepting.

  6. Again, I had forgotten all about recipe day! There are a few recipes I can’t wait to try. I hate to think that you might not blog daily from the lake in the fall (how about one every week or so??). I spend time during my day still catching up on last year’s island blog…I can see how it would be easier to blog there than at home. I look forward to see what you are blogging each day! 🙂

    • Thanks, Kristi, for the nice words. Haven’t ruled out the lake blog completely for next winter – we’ll see.

  7. Brenda,

    I want to thank you for the recipes. I tried the raisin bread from Diane of Elkhart, but I have to tell you a story about that.

    I’ve heard and read many times that when it comes to baking, exact measurements are very important and the directions should be carefully followed. Well, I’m here to tell you, “It ain’t necessarily so!” I saw that the recipe makes three loaves. There are only two of us, so I didn’t think I needed three loaves. Two would be fine. Ever try to divide a recipe in to thirds? Half it? Quarter it? No problem. But to figure 2/3 of a recipe was difficult for me. Anyway, I did the best I could and proceeded to make the bread, but for some reason when I mixed in the flour (gradually, just like the recipe said) the dough would not hold together. Oh well, it was supposed to be stiff. The recipe said so. I told myself to just dump it out on the counter and maybe I could squeeze it together. No way! Was I going to have to thow it away? What a waste. So I turned on the faucet, ran water over my hands, sprinkled it on the dough and kneaded it in. I did that a few times until the dough held together. Then I sprinkled more flour on it and put it into the greased bowl to raise. Uh oh. There sat the milk on the stove top. I had forgotten to put it in. I poured it into the mixing bowl, put the dough in the milk and did my best to incorporate some of it into the dough. Then I poured the rest out and added a little flour so I could at least handle the dough. Plopped it back into the greased bowl and proceeded from there.

    Believe it or not, it turned out great. Thank you Diane for the recipe and Thank You Brenda for posting. However, I think it would be better if one of you would come to our house and make it next time. Then again, maybe next time I’ll try one of the other recipes.

    Say, Brenda, I’ve heard about dogs mothering kittens and cats mothering puppies, but never a dog mothering a pig. Those pictures sure told a nice story. I’m wondering what that dachshund mother did when her baby piglet ended up weighing a few hundred pounds more than his mama.

    • Great story, Lowell! I have been laughing for five minutes imagining your kitchen after you finished with that bread!

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