From my Grandmother's Recipe Box - Vintage Recipe: Homemade Grape Nuts

I explained in a previous post how I came to own an old metal recipe box that was my grandmother's.  I had this box in my possession for a few years before she passed away in the spring of 2017.  However, I hadn't used the recipes in it much as I didn't want to keep touching them and flipping through them as some are so brittle.

Some are 'newer' meaning; gathered in the 1970's but many are from the late 1940's and are handwritten - a couple in blobbed ink - and many are so faded I can barely decipher them.

I was going through them about 5 years ago (Fall of 2017 I think) and lamenting the fact many are ripped and edges breaking off the brittle cards - and it suddenly hit me; I need to take a picture of the card and type out the recipe on my site so they are 'saved' not only for me but for my three kids (all of whom love to cook and bake!).  

That is how and why I started to post some of my Grandmother's vintage recipes and photos of her recipe cards.  I've not continued this very often through the previous 2 years as... life... got in the way.  But I hope to keep adding some here and there throughout 2022.  Best laid plans and all that... ha.  



Homemade Grape Nuts

3 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup dark syrup
2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon salt

Mix well and bake in a slow oven.  Cool.  Cut in squares and dry in oven.  When it is good and dry, grind it.

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From my Grandmother's Recipe Box - Vintage Recipes: Salted Peanut Cookies

It's been a long time since I've pulled a recipe out of my (late) Grandmother's recipe box and posted.   I chose this one today for a couple reasons.  The first, I have salted peanuts in the freezer leftover from Christmas baking and I need to do something with them.

Second reason, I have oatmeal on hand (also leftover from Christmas baking) so I could kill two birds with one stone so-to-speak here.  These do call for sugar and brown sugar - which I would switch out for natural sweeteners like Lakanto and Swerve of course.  So, it's tempting.

The other reason I'm posting this one is the chance to smile and nod knowingly that so many, many old vintage recipes are simple like this when it comes to the directions because back then everyone had a bit of common sense about them and everyone basically knew how you would bake a cookie... so need to write that part out.  The important thing in this recipe was obviously just to make sure the baking sheet was greased (as compared to cookies that are baked on ungreased sheets).  So it would somewhat assumed you would bake these at 350 until done, which was probably around 8-10 minutes as most cookies are.

Salted Peanut Cookies

1 c white sugar
1 c brown sugar
1 c shortening
3 eggs, beaten
1 3/4 c flour
1 tsp soda
3 c oatmeal
1 c salted peanuts
1 tsp vanilla

Mix well and drop on greased cookie sheets

The name on the recipe card (and the handwriting) is of a friend of hers at the time.


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Homemade Chili - the best one I've ever found to give my regular 'go to' chili recipe a run for its money!


As I scoop the last spoonful into my mouth, I'm now immediately coming to the laptop to write down how I made tonight's chili, because it's the first time I've ever really liked a chili more than my regular "go to" chili I've made for years.  I still love 'my' chili but I love this one just as much - and that is something I've never said before about any chili I've had in almost 20 years.

Even though we are typically low carb and keto - when it's winter time, I crave chili once in a while and I absolutely love chili with beans.  L.O.V.E. my chili with beans.  Beanless chili is... fine I suppose but I'll pass it up for whatever other food item is available.  I love the texture and feel of a chili made with beans.  That is why even though we almost never have beans at other times; when it's December and January and I'm craving chili... I will make it with carby-chili beans and that's all there is about that!

Now, tonight I made a different version than my regular 'go to'.  I started with my general go-to, I used a couple ingredients from another chili recipe (Worcestershire I'm talkin' to you), and then improvised what I thought would be good in it.  Oh it is good.  So good that I want to make sure my young adult kids have the recipe at their fingertips if they want to make it.


Homemade Chili

4-5 slices bacon
1/2 lb. mild Italian sausage (crumbled)
1/2 lb. ground beef
2 medium onions
3 t minced garlic (fresh)
1/2 green pepper, diced
1 can medium green chilies, diced
2 t Worcestershire sauce
1 T chili powder
2 cans (15 oz.) diced tomatoes
1 can (15.5 oz.)  Bush's Black Chili Beans
1 can (16 oz.) refried beans
salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Cook the bacon in a pan until crispy and break up with your spatula.  Add the sausage and ground beef and brown it - adding the onion towards the end.  During the last 2 minutes of cook time, add the garlic. Turn off the heat and add the rest of the ingredients to a crock-pot or slow cooker of choice; or you can slow cook the chili on the stove all afternoon too.  Up to you.  But in the crockpot or a large pot, put the green peppers, green chilies, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, tomatoes and beans.  Add the meat and onion mixture.  Stir.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Slow cook all day or at least 3-4 hours if you can wait that long. 


(You can serve with bread and butter or cornbread.  Tonight I served with sugar free keto coffee cake muffins; the muffins with a bit of cinnamon in the topping paired perfectly with the chili.)





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From my Instagram: Sugar Free (keto) Meringue Sprinkle Cookies



I had wanted to make meringue cookies at Christmas time to go on the holiday cookie platters but this past Christmas had us dealing with so much 'on our plate' so to speak, that baking took a back-seat on the priority list.

I still was craving the meringue though.  I finally got around to making these this past weekend.

As with many sugarfree recipes there are some important notes.... 

The first note is the sprinkles.  If you want your meringue cookies to be sugarfree, you have to use sugarfree sprinkles.  Granted, there are so few sprinkles on each cookie, if you aren't cutting sugar because you have to, but simply because you want to cut down a little in your everyday foods, then you could certainly use regular sprinkles.  But if you can't do sugar at all; then you must use sugarfree.

I normally use the  Good Dees brand just because they are easiest to find and I can order them online from various sources.  But I received the SuperFat brand sprinkles as part of a Christmas gift so that is what you see in the photos below.  There is a bit of a color difference in the sprinkles but other than that they are basically the same.  (I'll link to the Good Dees brand from Amazon below as I don't know that they carry the Super Fat brand that I was given.)  

Another note:  if it's a humid or wet day where you live and are making these, the egg whites are a bit cranky and might not want to whip up quite as well as they do on dry, hot, sunny days.  You can add cream of tartar to help, and use room-temperature eggs to help overcome this.  If all else fails and you have some meringue powder in the cupboard, add a tablespoon of that to your egg whites.  They will whip right up after that.

There are a couple more important little notes but I'll talk about those below in the recipe.

Admittedly... I don't actually use a recipe when I make these.  You don't really need one, because the basic idea is about 2 egg whites to each 1/3-1/2 ish cup of sugar or sweetener.  That's it. 

You can add vanilla or almond flavor (the two most used) if you wish.  But because egg whites can be a little temperamental, you can help them whip up to a nice stiff batter by adding a little cream of tartar, and it helps to whip them at room temperature - not straight from the refrigerator.   You can leave them out on the kitchen counter overnight if you want to make these in the morning.
Keto Sugar free Meringue Cookies
4 large egg whites 
1/4 t cream of tartar* 
little dash of salt - optional
3/4 c sugar free powdered sweetener*
1-2 t flavor extract of choice* 
Bake these on parchment paper.  In a bowl, with an electric hand mixer, beat the egg whites until they are frothy.  Add a bit of the cream of tartar and/or salt if you are using it to help the meringue whip.  Add your flavor extracts of choice (more on that below) and add the powdered sweetener by sprinkling as you continue to whip or mix, until stiff peaks form.

Spoon the mixture into a piping bag with any large star tip or if you don't have one, you can just put into a bag or baggy and cut the end off to pipe little circle mounds.  Pipe little stars or mounds until the batter is used up. Sprinkle the tops if you wish.  (You can also add a bit of food color to the batter if you want them colored or striped or even tie-dye.) 

Bake at a very low temperature (from 170 - 220 degrees but no higher)  for about 40-50 minutes depending on how large your little mounds/stars are. You can 'test' them by gently lifting a couple off the parchment.  They might be a tad bit moist in the center yet but basically will lift off the parchment easily.  If they are sticky or don't lift at all, give them another 5-6 minutes and check again.

When they basically lift off for you, just turn the oven off and prop open the oven door to vent, and just let the meringue cookies cool in the oven.   After about an hour you can remove them from the parchment and place them on a rack to cool completely.  They can be stored in an airtight container on the counter after that.
*if you want to use a meringue powder instead of cream of tartar that works great too.   Just add a tablespoon of the meringue powder (without sugar added) to your egg whites and beat stiff.  

*Amount of sweetener is up to you.  You can taste test and add more if you wish.  A cup of sweetener to 4 egg whites is great, but use less if you don't like your meringues very sweet.  Also - the kind of sweetener makes a difference in not only taste but how they whip up.  Using allulose doesn't work as well as powdered erythritol.

*The two favorite extract flavors for these are usually vanilla and/or almond extract.  I used a bit of vanilla, a bit of almond and a tiny smidgen of 'cake batter' flavor.  I didn't care if my meringues turned out a little yellowish so I used regular vanilla and not the 'clear' that I would have if I cared.  Also, the 'cake batter' flavor is yellow so that made the finished baked meringues a little yellow tinged too.


If you skipped the notes above - my finished meringues turned a bit 'yellow' because I didn't care if they were white after baking (they were just for us to munch on) so I didn't bother using up my good "clear" vanilla extract on them... Ha ha. 

I also added a touch of 'cake batter' flavoring which is yellow and makes the finished product a bit yellowish because of it.  

 Just in case you are interested in some of the products related to this post, available through Amazon;


Good Dees Low Carb Rainbow Sprinkles, No Sugar Added Keto Sprinkles with All Natural Coloring, Diabetic, Dye-Free, Dairy-Free & Gluten Free 




  Swerve Sweetener, Confectioners (Pack of 2)


Meringue powder

McCormick Cake Batter Flavor, 2 fl oz

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Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Feta Cheese - Pasta Sauce

 Feta Tomato Pasta with roasted tomatoes, feta cheese served over pasta 
If you follow me on Instagram, then you saw I was using up leftover milk to make homemade feta cheese this week.  Yesterday I saw a package of frozen cherry tomatoes in the deep freezer waiting for some attention.  A sauce was born.
Now, apparently there was a 'thing' online on social media (TikToc) during Covid quarantines the past 18 months that everyone was making called feta pasta or feta tomato pasta or something like that.  I have no idea because I don't care about social media much at all and rarely even use Instagram except to try to remember to post a few food photos every day or two... or three.  Or a week.   

So I've never in my life seen or heard of this except I saw one tiny blurb on a story post on Instagram a few weeks ago and it caught my eye because I LOVE FETA CHEESE.  Like... eat an an entire container of it plain, with my fingers, right out of the brine love it.
I mentally noted they used cherry tomatoes (meh) and a block of feta, olive oil and salt and pepper.  
That's what was thinking about when I saw one of my little blocks of homemade feta and the food sealed package of cherry tomatoes I had froze a couple months ago before they went bad from not being used.
We are low carb so the 'pasta' I used in this dish was low carb macaroni and Palmini spaghetti mixed together because it's the only two low carb pastas we had in the pantry at the time.  I finished the meal by using some keto buns to turn into cheesy garlic bread.

Oh my.  It was good.  Very good.

Feta and Roasted Tomato Pasta Sauce

2 pints cherry tomatoes
1 small block feta cheese (about 6-8 ounces)
Olive oil (I used avocado oil)
Salt and fresh cracked black pepper
Fresh minced garlic
Dried red pepper flakes
Dried basil or fresh basil
Pasta of choice (we use low carb and keto pastas)

In a cast iron skillet I used about 1/3 cup oil, added the cherry tomatoes and roasted them in a 400 degree oven until they were starting to crinkle but weren't yet brown.  At that point add the block of feta cheese to center and return to the oven to roast until the tomatoes start to turn golden brown on the edges.

Add a dollop of fresh, minced or chopped garlic and salt and pepper to the feta, return to the oven for a few minutes to roast the garlic a bit.  Then sprinkle the rest of the spices on top and mash the tomatoes with the back of a spoon as well as smashing the cheese, all together to form a sauce.  I debated using a stick blender to blend it a little more but I liked the rustic sauce as it was.   

Boil and drain your pasta, top with the sauce and serve with your favorite garlic bread and a side salad.

feta pasta sauce, roasted tomates, feta cheese
Adding the feta cheese and returning it to the oven

 Feta Tomato Pasta with roasted tomatoes, feta cheese served over pasta




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Birthday Cake Pinata Cookies - mini birthday cake looking sugar cookies with a surprise sprinkle and tiny marshmallow pinata filling

Birthday Cake Pinata Cookies

I was going to make cookies for a family birthday this weekend (because I am pretty well 'sweeted out' after all the holiday goodies and knew a cake would mostly go uneaten).  I was doing a random internet search for birthday cake cookies when I stumbled upon little cookies that looked like birthday cakes, but had the pinata idea going on as well; with mini M&M's in them.  

Remember about 8 years ago when donkey Pinata cookies became a thing?  Cookies filled with mini M&Ms' or other little candies or sprinkles?  And soon everyone was making them and in all different shapes?  Like that.

I hate M&M's so THAT wasn't happening, but I liked the idea of the birthday cake cookie and decided I would use whatever I happened to have on hand in the cupboard.  

I used a regular sugar cookie dough recipe (here is one of my favorites), some leftover royal meringue icing I had in the freezer from decorating Christmas cookies, some sprinkles and mini marshmallows from the pantry and topped them off with some wax birthday candles from the cupboard.

I loved them... but also loved how incredibly quick and easy they came together.

Roll and re-roll scraps to cut out round cookies.  You need 3 cookies per 'cake'.

My round cookie cutter in the photo is one I made years and years ago by cutting a tin can in half and using a pair of pliers to smooth down the top edge.  I have a lot of other round cookie cutters but this one gets the most use.


After baking, while your cookies are still hot, use a smaller sized round cookie cutter to cut a circle out of the center of one of the 3 cookies that will form each birthday cake cookie.

I saved the little cut-outs and made them into tiny cookies as well. 
You can save them, use them or eat them.

I used a plastic straw to cut a small circle out of the top and final layer of each of the birthday cake cookie tops.

I usually see mini M&M's used in pinata cookies but I don't like chocolate and hate M&M's.  I've seen Skittles used - which is TOTALLY my kind of filling but it's a good thing I don't have Skittles in the house because I'd eat the entire bag.  Even if it were a 1 lb. size bag.  I'd eat it.  So no... we have no Skittles in the house.

Besides, I knew I wanted to use sprinkles or multi-colored jimmies anyway to go with my birthday cake sprinkle theme.  However, I did spy my itty bitty mini marshmallows in the cupboard (bought for Christmas cookies I never got around to making) so I used those too!

Any meringue or royal icing would do but I had 2 bags leftover from Christmas cookies in the freezer.  A light blue and a white.  So those became my color theme. 

Lay the bottom layer of your cookie down and pipe the icing around the edge, topping with the second layer; which is the one with the hole cut out.  Let this dry for about an hour so the sprinkles in the filling don't stick to the icing.

When the icing is dry to the touch, I filled them with some jimmies, sprinkles and marshmallows.

Then I carefully piped another round of icing and topped the 'cake' with the final cookie. 

I didn't have to worry about hiding the icing like I did on the donkey pinata cookies, as you want the icing to show on these; it looks like a layer of filling between your cake slices.

I let the cake cookies sit while I got out the little wax birthday candles and cut the ends off of them to make them a little bit shorter and more to the size of the tiny 'cakes'.

I just snipped them off with scissors.

I piped a bit of icing around the base of the candle, and inserted it into the cookie top.
Then I used a decorators bag with the end snipped off to top the cookie with royal icing, letting it run down the sides a bit.

After about 2-3 minutes of letting it set up a bit, I sprinkled some little rainbow sprinkles and multi-colored jimmies on top.

When you are done, let them dry overnight so the icing hardens.  This makes them fabulously portable.

Today I simple stacked them on a metal cake stand and we were ready to with the birthday girl a happy birthday!




If you enjoy visiting An American Housewife, please consider using this affiliate link if you are planning to shop for anything (seriously, anything!) at Amazon - As an Amazon Associate I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases. -- American Housewife at Amazon




12 Pieces Round Cookie Biscuit Cutter Set,Graduated Circle Pastry Cutters,18/8 Stainless Steel Cookie Cutters And Donut Cutter Ring Molds 

120 Spiral Birthday Candles 60 Pastel and 60 Spiral Brights



Sprinkles | Rainbow Sprinkle Mix | 8 ounces | Cake Sprinkles | Manvscakes





Chefmaster Deluxe Meringue Powder for Baking & Decorating, Certified Kosher Meringue Powder for Buttercream, Royal Icing, Meringue Toppings, Meringue Cookies, and more! 5 oz. Ready to Use Meringue Mix




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