Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Czech Christmas Braid

This is another good recipe!! Is light and flavorful! I could have eaten by myself, but I did share with the family, what a treat. Wouldn't it be nice to find out where the orginal recipe came from, I mean who started the recipe and what date? Even I have changed this one, as to the closest ingredients that I had. Doesn't that just get you upset when you go to make something and don't have exactly what is needed. But that is how we become creative, with what's on hand!
Ok, this is what I changed, but please look up the one from Daniel Leader.
I changed the 2 egg yolks, to a whole egg, as I just can't throw away the whites.
I added about 1/2 cup whole-wheat sourdough starter.
Instead of slice almonds, I took whole almonds and toasted them with a little sugar and a little cinnamon and then crushed them. I think they look better than the sliced ones.
I did a 6-braid instead of 3-braid, just wanted to give it a try. It was fun to make.
Anyway, we all love this bread, even though it is not Christmas time.

Czech Christmas Braid
Svátečni vánočka

Ingredients for bread dough:
1/2 cup sourdough starter
¾ cup warm milk (75 to 85 degrees)
4 tablespoons butter
1 whole egg
¼ cup sugar
1 ¼ teaspoon dry yeast
2 cups bread flour, unbleached
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup raisins
(This is before I added the egg wash and nut mixture.)

Egg Wash:
1 egg
½ teaspoon sugar

¼ cup almonds, roasted and sprinkled with a little sugar and cinnamon.

Follow the instructions in the book,’Local Breads’ by Daniel Leader, page 315 or do as I did:
Put the dough ingredients in order and mix in a stand mixer for 5 minutes. The dough will be sticky, (don’t add extra flour). Keep mixing until the dough forms a ball and then add the raisins a little at a time until they evenly get distributed. Let the dough rise in an oiled 2-quart bowl for about 1-1 ½ hours. Shape the dough into a 3 or 6 strand braid bread and put on a greased baking sheet, or one lined with parchment paper. Let rise for about 30 minutes. Just before you put in the oven, brush with the egg wash and put the almonds on top.
There is a good video on this web site for the 6 strand braids:

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350˚, for 30-40 minutes. Use the toothpick method to make sure the dough is cooked in the middle before you take it out of the oven. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Yogurt Making

Yogurt is very easy to make, all you do is follow the recipe on the little packet of Yógurmet ́® (freeze-dried yogurt starter). You buy this usually in a health food store. I started making yogurt with ½ pint canning jars, then found a small yogurt maker at a garage sale and finally bought a ½ gallon size yogurt maker. If you want to know how to make it with the canning jars and plain yogurt, go to facebook and check out the ‘My Best Recipes’, I put it there. So here is the ½ gallon size way.

Start with a ½ gallon milk, doesn’t matter what kind. I have used powered milk to whole milk. I like the whole milk better, for the cream. It just makes a better tasting yogurt for me.

Heat the milk in a 3 quart pan until it reaches 82˚C or 180˚F, or bring to boiling point. Then let cool down to 42-44˚C or 108-112˚F. It is best to have a thermometer. Keep stirring so the milk will not scorch.

Dissolve 2 packages (5 g each) of starter with a small quantity of lukewarm milk in a cup, then pour back into the milk. Mix well.

(I just pour the packages in the pan of milk and whisk until dissolved.)

Pour all of this into the yogurt maker and let set or incubate 4-41/2 hours, or until yogurt has reached the desired firmness.

You also add about 2 cups warm water in between the 2 containers, as shown in the picture.

Refrigerate to stop incubation.

This keeps for about 2 weeks.

That’s it, now you have homemade yogurt without sugar or chemicals!

I like to add fresh fruit and some yogurt to a bowl and enjoy.

Can make smoothies or can bake with this yogurt. You can add sugar or honey to sweeten if you want.

You do save money from buying different brands and you know what it is made from and you will have some on hand when you need it.

We really enjoy this yogurt better.

I also have a post on easy yogurt making:

Friday, January 23, 2009

Cheese Pennies Crackers

Cheese Pennies

8 ounces (2 cups) finely grated sharp cheddar cheese*
8 tablespoons (1 stick, 4 ounces) butter
1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
Paprika (optional)
Put all ingredients into a food processor with plastic blade and mix until the dough forms a ball.
Can use up to a tablespoon of water if the dough doesn’t seem to come together. Transfer the dough onto some wax paper or parchment paper, that has been dusted with flour. Roll it into a 16-inch log about 1 ½ inches in diameter.
Wrap the log in waxed paper or plastic wrap and chill it in the freezer for 30 minutes.
(If you want to freeze it longer, make sure to remove it from the freezer about 30 minutes before you want to slice it into pennies.)
Preheat over to 400˚F.
Remove the plastic wrap or waxed paper, and, using a bench or serrated knife, slice the log crosswise into 1/8-inch rounds. Place them on an ungreased or parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving only about ½ inch between; they won’t spread much as they bake. Sprinkle them with a bit of paprika, if desired.
Bake the cheese pennies for 12 to 14 minutes, or until they’re just beginning to brown. Remove them from the oven and let cool on the pan for several minutes before transferring them to racks to cool completely.

Recipe adapted from: King Arthur Cookbook
*Glenda’s Notes: I used medium cheddar, recipe also calls either sharp cheddar or fresh Asiago cheese.
I didn’t need to add any water. Didn’t have dry mustard, so used regular mustard.
We loved them! Next time I might add some different spices to give it a kick. Any suggestions!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Missing my blog

Just wanted to let everyone know, that I am doing family history and it is taking my time for now, will be writing soon.
Thanks for your patience.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

My friend Anne

We met Anne in Houston, when we lived there during 1972-1975. She and her husband, Bill invited us for dinner before we went and saw the last concert that Sonny and Cher put on. There were 3 couples and Anne only had a 1 pound roast for all of us. She was newly married and forgot that others were coming. She mention that she had another roast in the freezer, so I asked if she had a pressure cooker and I would get started. She did, it was still in the box as a wedding gift. We took it out and I went to work. (No microwaves then, unless one was rich enough to have one.) She peeled extra potatoes and within an hour a dinner was served to all! We enjoyed it and were quite full before we went to the concert. It was a great night! And yes, I was a little surprised by some of the costumes. There was a mini rodeo in between breaks. I can remember Cher wearing this Indian costume with a very long feather headpiece. The concert was at the Astro Dome. Many good memories from Houston!

Carrot Cake

Did try a new carrot cake recipe that has more fruit and is less calories, less sugar.
As I thought this would be great, it was drier and not as tasty, the first day. But today it did taste more moist, maybe because I put the cake into a plastic container and that gave it some time to moisten up over night. It also tasted better. I looked at a couple of recipes and decided to add the prunes and an apple, these are put into a food processor with some boiling water and pureed. Sounded very good, but just didn't give me the flavor I wanted, so back to the old.
I haven't baked a carrot cake in a long time and thought maybe the kiddies would like to remember what it taste like.
Anyway, here is the recipe I really do like. If Anne Cerny from 1974 who lived in Houston, during that time remembers me, this is still the best recipe I have tasted. Others are close but I really like this one. Thanks!

Carrot Cake
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon (I only use 1 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 teaspoon salt (I only use 1 teaspoon, sometimes I don't add the salt)
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil
small can crused pineapple, plus juice
1 - 10 ounce package of coconut (I only use 1 cup)
2 cups grated carrots
1 cup nuts (opt.)
Mix all ingredients well. Grease and flour 9x13 inch pan. Place mixture into pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes.
Also will put on the other recipe as you can decide which one you might prefer.
Carrot cake #2
1 cup pitted prunes
6 tablespoons hot water
1 apple, cut into quarters
2 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 larges eggs
2 egg whites
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cups grated carrots
8 ounce can of crush pineapple, thoroughly drained
1 cup coconut
8 ounce package Neufchatel cheese (reduced-fat cream cheese)
1 cup marshallow cream
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
To make cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 inch pan with non-stick cooking spray. In a food processor, combine prunes, apple and hot water, process until smooth. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk foul, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, egg whites, sugar, oil and the reserved prune mixture. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until blended. Stir in carrots, pineapple and coconut. Put into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
To make frosting: In a mixing bowl, combine Neufchatel cheese, marshmallow cream, and lemon juice; beat with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Frost cake.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Leaf Plate

Found this plate at Wal-Mart during Thanksgiving and waited and waited until it would go on clearance. It didn't so I bought it for the $5 and finally got around to using it. It has ridges and I thought I could make a nice loaf of sourdough bread with it. (I can't afford a bannton yet, so I thought this might work.)
I made the French Country Boule from the book, "Local Breads", by Danile Leader. The ingredients I changed were the whole wheat and rye flours, I used some spelt. I didn't want to take the time and grind up some more wheat and the spelt was already done. 
With a bannton, you use a linen tea cloth and dust with flour, so I did with the plate. Problem was that the ridges didn't show through, so next time I will just grease the leaf plate and put the dough on to see if I get the design I want. It is such a pretty plate. I had extra dough so just made a long slim rope and let it bake. The two doughs were too close on the baking pan, so they fused together. End results was still delicous bread! Crust was hard on the outside and soft on the inside, just the way I like it. Another thing is that I didn't put the doughs on a baking stone, as I just finished baking the cheese and date bread, so by letting them bake on a baking sheet the bottoms baked a little browner than usual.
Did love the bread and I love baking from this book, as you can tell.

Also because of so much baking, my neighbors got the rewards and said they loved the different breads. Yeah!!!
Enough baking for 2 days, but still want to try my new friend, Elizabeth's date bread and cheese crackers. Then I will decide what recipe will go on to the BBD#16. 

Friday, January 9, 2009

Sourdough Date Loaf

½ cup starter

1 ½ cups unsifted flour

1 cup undiluted evaporated milk

2 tablespoons sugar

¼ cup butter

¾ cup brown sugar, firmly packed

1 cup chopped dates

½ cup chopped walnuts

2 eggs, beaten

½ cup quick-cooking rolled oats

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon each soda and salt


The night before, combine starter, flour, undiluted evaporated milk, and sugar; partially cover and leave at room temperature overnight. The next day, cream butter and brown sugar. Add dates and nuts; set aside. Combine eggs, rolled oats, baking powder, soda, and salt; stir into the sourdough mixture with date mixture. Turn into a greased loaf pan (5”x9”) and let rise about 1 hour. Bake in moderately hot oven (375˚) for 1 hour. Cool for 10 minutes in pan, then remove from pan to cooling rack. Serve warm or cool.

Makes 1 loaf.


Recipe by: The Sunset Cook Book of Breads 1963


It says in the cookbook, “that it is a moist date loaf, the subtle tang of sourdough blends with the sweetness of sugar dates.”

*Glenda’s notes: I felt it was a little dry but tastes good with the cream cheese, pineapple spread. I liked this recipe because I wanted to try a date bread with the oats and canned milk. Here is a picture of the two types of date bread with the cream cheese pineapple spread. Simple to make: just use 8 ounces of cream cheese to 1/2 a can of crushed pineapple (8 ounce size), mix in a food processor, add a little of juice from pineapple if not thin enough for you and spread on bread.

BBD#16 Cottage Cheese Bread

I enjoy using my baking talent through the BBD (Baking Bread Day),  and this month is cheese breads. There are so many recipes and that I decided to try out 3 different types. One being the date breads with pineapple cream cheese spread, cheese breads and cheese crackers.

So here is the Cottage Cheese Bread:

The recipe:2 cups warm water (105˚)

2 packages active dry yeast

1 cup sourdough starter

2 cups creamed cottage cheese

2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar or Longhorn cheese (8 ounces)

½ teaspoon baking powder

2 tablespoons dill seeds

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons sugar

2-3 teaspoons salt

6 ½ to 7 ½ cups all-purpose flour


Warm a large bowl. Pour water into warmed bowl. Sprinkle yeast over water. Set aside to soften 5 minutes. Stir in sourdough starter, cottage cheese, shredded cheese, baking powder, dill seeds, oil, sugar and salt. Beat in 6 to 7 cups flour, ½ to 1 cup at a time to make a stiff dough. Beat well after each addition. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Clean and grease bowl; set aside. Knead dough 8 to 10 minutes, adding remaining flour if necessary. Place kneaded dough in greased bowl, turning to grease all sides. Cover with a cloth and set in a warm place free from drafts. Let rise about 2 hours or until doubled in size. Generously grease two 9”x5” loaf pans; set aside. Punch down dough. Shape into 2 loaves and place in prepared pans. Cover with a cloth and set in a warm place free from dra

fts. Let rise about 2 hours of until doubled in size. Preheat oven to 375˚F.  Bake 40 minutes or until loaves sound hollow when tapped with your fingers. After 30 minutes, if loaves are golden brown, cover with a tent of foil to prevent further browning. Turn out of pans. Cool top side up on a rack . Makes 2 loaves.


Recipe from Sourdough Cookery

**Glenda’s notes: I did use Cheddar cheese, didn’t use dill seeds.

As I was kneaded I didn’t let it get stiff, as I would have used way too much flour. So I let it rise sticky and it still made 3 loaves of bread, all of which were good!

Moist bread, maybe I could of let it bake another 5-8 minutes.

I did let it bake for 45 minutes.

I thought what was interesting is that the cottage cheese turned dark on the outside and still white on the inside.

Kids loved it. 

Let it cool before slicing, otherwise it falls.**


Date-Nut Bread

Looks like fudge when you cut into it!

¾ cup (6 ounces) boiling water

1 ½ cups (8 ounces) chopped dates

1 tablespoon butter

¼ cup (2 ¼ ounces) brown sugar

¼ cup (2 ¾ ounces) molasses or corn syrup

2 large eggs

1 cup (4 ¼ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup (4 ounces) chopped walnuts

 the batter....

Preheat oven to 350˚F.

In a medium bowl, pour water over the dates and butter. Stir and let the mixture sit until lukewarm. Purée one-third of the mixture in a food processor or blender to make a paste, then stir it back into the date mixture. (This step can be left out, but it really adds to the texture of the finished product.) Add the brown sugar, molasses, eggs and nuts. Stir until everything is thoroughly combined.

In a separate large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.. Make a well in the center and pour in the date mixture. Mix until all the ingredients are combined. Pour the batter into a greased 9x5-inch loaf pan. Bake for 60 to 65 minutes; loaf is done when the top has risen and a cake tester inserted in the center will have some dates clinging to it but no batter. You’ll also see the loaf start to pull away, just slightly, from the sides of the pan. Don’t overbake or you’ll lose the gooey factor. Remove the bread from the oven and cool it on a rack for 10 minutes before turning it out of the pans to finish cooling.

 Here they are out of the oven.

Recipe: King Arthur Cookbook

**The only thing I changed: I didn't add salt and did use the molasses.  I did make it all in one bowl, and I baked in two smaller bread pans. I have found out when I use smaller bread pans for nut or tea breads, they are not as dry in the middle of the bread or burn on top. I really liked this date bread, very moist and taste like what I remember from Bullock's, yummy!!!!**

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Bullock’s Pasadena

Last evening I was wondering what kind of cheese bread I could bake for the new bread baking day. The subject is bread with cheeses. I didn’t realize how many recipes there are for cheese type breads. As I was contemplating on it, I remembered the cheese bread we used for making a special avocado cheese sandwich at Bullock’s.  A lot of memories of Bullock’s came back to me and so I thought I would reminisce a bit on my blog.

1967 is the year that I started my very first job and it was at Bullock’s Pasadena. It was the ‘Macys’ of California back then. I had just turned 16 and they hired me, at $1.25 an hour and by the time I left in 1969, I was up to $1.35 an hour. Big money…..

Bullock’s to me was magical and I loved working there. It was a four story building, the first three stories were the department store part and the fourth, the big offices. The third floor is where the restaurant was and that is where I did work. I started out as a bus girl and then worked in the bakery, sandwich and dessert and salad departments, mostly the bakery. Back then we made most foods from scratch, stirring the blueberry muffin mixture in the huge mixers and folding in the blueberries by our arms, no gloves back then. We baked all the cakes, pies and muffins. But we didn’t bake the breads.

The one sandwich we sold a lot of was the California Avocado Cheese. It was 3 slices of cheese toast with avocado slices  between 2 of the slices and bacon,lettuce and tomato between the 3rd slice. I didn’t care for it as I don’t care for avocados, but sure made a lot of them. The other thing that I did like was the little sandwich appetizers made with nut breads and usually spread with some sort of cream cheese filling. My favorite was date bread with cream cheese and pineapple spread. I haven’t found good date bread since. It was dark because it was made with coffee. I don’t do coffee and so have not found something close; I tried cocoa but not the same. I do make these little appetizers, without the coffee, when I entertain as they surprise people.

Back to the magic! Also on the fourth floor is where we had a huge locker area for the workers, to change into our heavy starch uniforms. Men and women each had their own sides. There was also a big room for just relaxing with cots for napping and a patio balcony you could go out and see Pasadena. I felt like I was in the movie, “Miracle on 34th Street” (old version with Maureen O’Hara). The part where Santa is in the locker room. Bullocks was beautiful during the holidays, it was decorated to the fullest. This is where Lucille Ball would come shopping during Christmas time and eat in the restaurant, it was fun to see her, usually with friends. From Oct until Jan 1, the Rose Parade queen and court would come and parade around. We had a special room,  inside the Coral Room Restuarant  where the queen became the Rose Queen. A lot of fancy dresses. We would have fashion shows and other special occasions in that part of the restaurant.

On some Saturdays, I and my friend (Chris) would have splits. This is where we would work four hours and two off and then come back and work another four. He had a motor cycle, so we would take off and tour Pasadena and near by sites, what fun we had! We did have a few dates together and always had fun.  Every Christmas time, Bullock's would put on a big party for the employees and one year, Chris and I went.  It was at the Bullock's Wilshire building in Los Angeles. I thought I was special as most dressed as if we were movie stars.  Chris and I  went to my senior high Christmas dance, here is a picture of the two us, don’t we look young?

Here I am now in the mid-west and have met a church friend who also worked during the same time I did at Bullock’s. She worked in the candy department, right next to the restaurant and we didn’t even know each other, small world…

Oh we did pranks and got into trouble every now and then as teenagers do, but for the most part we worked hard and everyone there was like family, we loved it! The hardest thing for me was to get off for my high school graduation, as you were suppose to be 18 to work there and of course, I was not. We didn’t have to show proof of age then. But anyway they let me off and so I graduated, yeah!!!! And I did leave there with many good friends.

Thanks for remembering with me.

The picture of Bullock's above is couresty of google search. You can google, Bullock's Pasadena and see many pictures and read of stories that have been written, pretty cool.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Riggs side of Family

Here is a couple of pictures of my great-grandfather and some of his children. Are any of you, Riggs? I am still working on this side of the family and am happy to say I have found many generations back. 
This picture is of William Emerson Riggs (great-grandfather), Denver (my uncle) and (Ted another uncle).
Denver's real name is William Denver Riggs born in 1896 and Ted's real name is Bernie Miller Riggs, born in 1904. 
I knew Uncle Denver and Uncle Ted as we had many family picnics together when I was little with my family. They are my grandmothers' brothers. We had such fun picnics at different parks throughout southern California.  The food, games and lots of visiting with relatives. 
I never got to meet my great-grandfather as he died before I was born. But his wife, Emma Elizabeth Dilbeck Riggs lived until my junior year in high school. I only saw pictures of her, as she lived in Oklahoma, and we didn't vacation there. 

The second picture is of my great-grandfather with more of his children. This picture must have been taken around 1909, as that is the year my grandmother was born, and that is her in the carriage or chair. Her name is Leona Catherine Riggs. I could guess on the others, but it would only be a guess. 

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A Tribute to my Husband – James Paul Staples (1951-2003)

James at age 3.
James just before his leaving on a mission to Mexico.
Our new family on our wedding day, 1986.
Our Christmas picture for 1992.

This has been awhile in coming, as I just couldn’t seem to write the words down.

James was one of the very intellectual people on this earth, who had a very spiritual intelligence.  He graduated from BYU and then onto chiropractic schooling. He graduated from Palmer Chiropractic School and chose that as his profession.

He could sing, play the piano, write music, did drama in high school, gardener, and had many other talents. He loved his children and was a great father and grandfather.

We got married in 1986. James married all 3 of us, me and my two daughters from a previous marriage. James and I have 2 children, giving us 3 daughters and 1 son. We also have thus far 5 grandchildren.

When we first were married I moved with my daughters from Los Angeles area to Lompoc where James had a chiropractic business. We loved Lompoc and our son was born there. James next job landed us in Salinas, California, so moved up there. I liked Salinas to see how vegetables were grown and bought to market. Our youngest was born there. Our oldest daughter got married, her husband was in the Army and they moved to Kansas. When they had our first grandchild, we thought it would be nice to live close by to have the fun of being grandparents.  Second daughter graduated from high school and lived with my sister, due to a scholarship in that area, so we moved. We have been in Kansas ever since.

In August of 2002, James had two great jobs. One was teaching at a local college and one at the local airport, as a TSA person. In October we went to our doctors to see if he had pneumonia, the doctor came back after a chest x-ray and told us James had two weeks to live. He had Adenocarsanoma, lung cancer. James never smoked, so that really shocked us. We were grateful that James made it through the holiday season to be with us. At the end of December we thought he was getting better as more x-rays, showed improvement. He also had over 15 tumors in his brain and they were dissolving during the 2 months of treatment. He never had chemo, but did have radiation treatments for his lung and brain. We decided together to try natural treatments and they seemed to help especially with the pain, but the cancer just took over his body everywhere. The many doctors we went to, were surprised at how much James knew on what was going on with his body. I think he might have taught them a thing or two on his treatments. A couple of them told me at the knowledge he had.

We looked at all the test results and x-rays. James and I both agreed that even though cancer destroys the body, it was interesting to look at the x-rays and see what’s inside.

In our wedding book there is a page that asked a question of “Will you marry me?” Since James was kind enough to answer that for me, I will write down why I married him.

James and I dated for almost 2 years.  He was at the time dating 3 women and he chose me, who knows why, but I am glad he did.  I really enjoyed talking to him. Especially about church and spiritual things, we had many great conversions about this, even to the end. I miss our Sundays of coming home from church and discussing what we had learned. And of course, I thought he was cute. He said I was cute in “a kinda sort of way.” Go figure that one, as I never did, but am glad he said I was his Miss America at our wedding. I realized that after he was gone we really did compliment each other.

We were married for just a little over 16 ½ years, things were not always “rosey”, but we knew we wanted to succeed in our marriage and be an eternal family someday.  We would have had six children, but I had 4 miscarriages, so we are grateful to have the two healthy children we do have. I am so glad James got to be a grandfather before he passed; his grandchildren loved him so much. We went to his gravesite every Sunday after church and one of our grandchildren, looked down and asked, “Grandpa, are you still down there?” Children are so innocent. We don’t go as often anymore, but do remember him everyday; he will always be in our hearts. I strive everyday to live to be worthy to be with him again.

James died 6 years ago today.

I miss you JP……

If you are wondering, what church we belong to, it is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. One thing that I can say that I have succeeded in is that being a member of His church for 35+ years. Go to to find out more information, it is a cool site.

Thursday, January 1, 2009