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Almostgotit.com | recipes


So, kids are mostly raised & I've just gone back to work…

Archive for the ‘recipes’

Working Girl likes Hungry Girl

May 12, 2010 By: almostgotit Category: recipe, recipes 3 Comments →

Today, Hungry Girl (aka Lisa Lillien) made over my recipe for rocky road fudge (an old family friend, remember, dearest sibs?) The original has 226 calories per tiny piece: the new version (made with — Ta Da!  — pumpkin!) has only 73.

You can watch fun Hungry Girl videos on YouTube, too. She’s not an “all-natural” cook, which some complain about… but then, “all natural” can have just as many calories as any processed food. While she recommends eating fresh fruit and veggies, blah blah blah, what’s she’s really��about is “okay, this is the real-world” substitutes (or even FAKES!) for things — often fatty, fast-food, highly-processed, YUMMY CRAVE IT NOW things. Her breakfast egg mug recipes are GREAT! Very fast, tasty, and practically no calories at all.

I like her product reviews, too. So what if she earns money for them?  She certainly doesn’t pull punches when products are BAD!!

P.S.  — down 20 lbs and counting!  Yay, me!

Almost Perfect Strawberry Shortcake

June 11, 2009 By: almostgotit Category: Canadian cooking, Uncategorized, edna staebler, food that really schmecks, mennonite cooking, recipes, strawberries, strawberry recipes, strawberry shortcake, strawberry shortcake recipe 5 Comments →

Royalty-Free Image

It’s *strawberry season!*  And this recipe for strawberry shortcake is one of the best- ever- recipes- I- forgot- I- had.  My friend Plato reminded me of it a few weeks ago when she got out her Food that Really Schmecks Mennonite cookbook and made it for me. 

Remember Plato?  She’s the one who can see bluebirds when I can only see dead beetles.  But I own a copy of Schmecks now too.

I think Waterjay does as well!

This is my version of the shortcake recipe from Schmecks, and feeds a regular number of people: say, 8 or 9 of them. 

Doubled, it will feed approximately 5,000 visiting Mennonites.

    Almostgotit’s Almost Perfect Strawberry Shortcake
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening or butter
  • 1 cup “sour milk”* or buttermilk
  • Extra sugar
  • *NB: in some experts’ opinion, modern pasteurized milk doesn’t sour, it SPOILS.  I make mine by adding  a few drops of lemon juice or vinegar to regular milk.

    Mix dry ingredients together and cut in shortening or butter.  Mixture will be crumbly.   Add milk and mix just enough so all dry ingredients are moistened.  Dough will be loose and lumpy!  Spread dough in a greased 9×9 pan (or 8×8, we’re not picky) and sprinkle with extra sugar.  Bake at 400 for 20 minutes, or until done in the middle (test with toothpick or fork). 

    Serve warm with lots of sliced, sugared strawberries (or other fresh fruit.)

 This old-fashioned, sweet biscuit dough is much faster and better than the cut-out-circle version, even from a mix, and so moist and delicious there is no need to split or butter it, nor even to add whipped cream.  You can easily throw it together while the hamburgers are grilling.

The Easy-Bake Oven: magic, not gourmet

May 07, 2009 By: almostgotit Category: American Girls, Easy-Bake Oven, Mr. Hoffman, NPR, The Easy-Bake Oven Gourmet, Uncategorized, books, cooking, feminism, recipes, review 7 Comments →


It honestly didn’t occur to me until yesterday afternoon that there might be some connection between my love for Aga stoves and my earlier obsession with Easy-Bake Ovens.

Wow, and I call myself a feminist…

“Easy Bake Oven: Teaching girls their place since 1963″
Image: Ebaumsworld.com

I never did get an Easy-Bake Oven, no matter how much I begged for one. My exasperated mother told me I could just use the REGULAR oven if I wanted so desperately to bake something.

My mother just didn’t understand.

The clever artifice of the Easy-Bake Oven was an essential part of its charm for me: by the heat of an ordinary light bulb, one could produce a wonderful variety of cakes, cookies and pies, each a perfect miniature of the real thing. And actually edible, to boot!

The Easy-Bake oven was like a doll’s house come to life.

Nor am I the only person, nor even a member of the only sex, to suffer from an unrequited love for an Easy Bake Oven:

I cannot begin to tell you of the psychic agony of being a “sensitive” male child in the 60s (well maybe not sensitive just plain oddball) wanting and not being able to enunciate the X-Mas Love that Dare Not Speak Its Name: the EZ Bake Oven.

Five years ago, in celebration of the Easy-Bake Oven’s 40th anniversary, NPR ran a story featuring The Easy-Bake Oven Gourmet, a combination cookbook and retrospective written by David Hoffman.


With all due respect, Mr. Hoffman and NPR don’t understand, either.

Educational? Gourmet? Wild mushroom flan?

No, no, and GOOD HEAVENS no.

Easy-Bake Ovens, guys, are all about magic, Christmas, and multi-colored sugar sprinkles:

I’m 43 and I’ve just fulfilled a dream. As of a couple of weeks ago, I am the proud owner of an Easy-Bake Oven … Today, I pulled it out of my “tickle trunk” (bedroom closet) and showed it to my 4 year old nephew and informed him that we were going to bake Christmas cookies. His eyes lit up, and our day quickly shot up to a 10 on the excitement scale … I had my mini copper Christmas cookie cutters (which up until this point, had only been used with the playdough I made them — recipe off the ‘net) and sprinkles at the ready much to their delight. …Three batches later, I put the brakes on them eating anymore as their Dad would soon be here to pick them up and take them home for supper… Tomorrow for lunch, we’re going to try out the pizza recipe I found for Easy-Bake Ovens. The 4 year old is bringing some different sparkles from home for tomorrow’s afternoon session of Christmas cookie baking. Thanks for the memories Easy-Bake! Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night… :)   -Nadene, comment on beancounters.blogs.com

O, Sing It, Sister.

Write On!: Rules for Breaking into Writing

January 23, 2009 By: almostgotit Category: Emily Anderson, Getting paid for what you write, Uncategorized, professional writing, recipes, writers, writing 15 Comments →

Guest Post by Emily Anderson

Anyone with a gift for words and access to a pen or keyboard can be a writer, and anyone who is a writer will write. If by ‘break into writing,’ however, you mean ‘write and get paid for it,’ you’ll also need an alchemist’s brew of talent, humility, luck, and perseverance.


Creative Commons photo
Rita Banerji

If you’re serious about writing and getting paid for it, Rule #1 is ‘Don’t be so arrogant as to think you have all the good ideas.’ To break in, you have to be willing to try any number of genres you think you might be able to handle, then run with the ones that work, whether or not you’re particularly interested in them. If you have your heart set on sports commentary and someone offers you a job plotting Web murder mysteries, go for the mysteries. If you think biography is your forte and you get a chance to write television ads, write as many of those suckers as you can.

Why so callous an approach? Rule #2. The sad truth about writing is this: ‘If you’re not writing for pay you’re not likely to get paid for writing.’ You have to finagle your way into the field, then manage to stay here, all the while constantly cultivating your contacts. If you don’t know someone or know someone who knows someone who needs a writer, you won’t get the job. If you don’t know someone or know someone who knows someone with the power to get you published, you won’t get published.

There are a number of ancillary rules, of course, like ‘Don’t whine,’ ‘Never miss a deadline,’ ‘Never turn down a gig, no matter how slammed you are.’ In the end, though, it all comes down to this:

Writing, as Annie Savoy said of baseball in the Ron Shelton classic film Bull Durham, ‘may be a religion full of magic, cosmic truth and the fundamental ontological riddles of our time, but it’s also a job.’ And for a working writer, it’s the best job on earth.


Emily Anderson is the author of All-American Comfort Food and The Pursuit of Happy Results: Barry Spann and the Making of Twenty-Seven Landscapes.  Emily writes for television and the Web and is on the staff of Paris Notes.

Emily’s blog: The Rocky Road of Love and Other Great Recipes.


White Trash Cooking: I’m in love!

December 17, 2008 By: almostgotit Category: Ernest Matthew Mickler, Uncategorized, White Trash, White Trash Cooking, cookbooks, humor, photography, recipes, sweet potato, sweet potato pone, writers 8 Comments →

  white-trash-i.jpg        white-trash-ii.jpg

While trolling for spiral-bound cookbooks in my favorite section of McKay’s Used Books, I found Ernest Mickler’s White Trash Cooking II: Recipes for Gatherins, and had to find Volume I.  Had to order it from Amazon, in fact. 

 It arrived two days ago.  And what a gorgeous thing it is.

So gorgeous that the author of To Kill A Mockingbird, no less,  wrote of it:

I have never seen a sociological document of such beauty — the photographs are shattering.  I shall treasure it always… Now that it’s harder than ever to identify the genuine article on sight — with two generations of prosperity white trash looks like gentry — we’ve long needed something other than the ballot box to remind us of their presence:  White Trash Cooking is a beautiful testament to a stubborn people of proud and poignant heritage. - Harper Lee

It is funny, oh yes: Mock Cooter Stew.  Russian Communist Tea Cakes. Mama Leila’s Hand-Me-Down Oven-Baked Possum.  But the humor is the best kind of all, stemming from a deep and genuine affection — and yes, even respect — for the mamas and aunties who did the best they could, mostly with very little indeed. 

Never in my whole put-together life, writes the author,

Could I write down on paper a hard, fast definition of White Trash… But the first thing you’ve got to understand is that there’s white trash and there’s White Trash. Manners and pride separate the two. Common white trash has very little in the way of pride, and manners to speak of, and hardly any respect for anybody or anything. But where I come from, you never failed to say “yes ma’m” and “no sir,” never sat on a made-up bed (or put your hat on it), never opened someone else’s icebox, never left food on your plate, never left the table without permission, and never forgot to say “thank you” for the teeniest favor. That’s the way the ones before us were raised and that’s the way they raised us in the South.

… But rather than runnin’ around willy-nilly telling stories (which I could do all day long), it might be quicker to get to what I mean by White Trash cooking if, as Betty Sue says, we go straight to the kitchen and “get it did.”

While the Almostgotits aint got much call for fried squirrel in our own Southern household, here’s a coupla good recipes from the book, just in time for the holidays.  If you want more recipes than these, though, you’ll have to order your own copy of White Trash: Amazon sells ‘em used, too!

Plain Ol’ Potato Pone

  • 1 cup milk

  • 3 medium-size sweet potatoes

  • 1 cup of molasses

  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

  • 3 eggs

  • 1/4 stick of oleo

First bake your sweet potatoes, or use some left from supper. Take off the skins and mash them up.  To the potatoes, add all other ingredients.  Mix well and put in an iron skillet and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.  Now this is a real pone.  Dig in and make yourself at home — if you ain’t, you oughta be. This is another one of Betty Sue’s favorites. (from White Trash Cooking)

Fancy Sweet Potato Pone

  • 4 cups raw sweet potatoes (grated)

  • 1 cup syrup

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1 cup milk

  • 1/2 cup butter

  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts

  • 1 cup raisins

  • 3 eggs, well-beaten

  • 1 teaspoon allspice

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Add well beaten eggs, sugar, spices, and nuts to grated sweet potato. 

Melt butter in heavy iron frying pan; add potato mixture; Stir all on top of stove until very hot.  Cook in same pan in moderate oven for 45 minutes, stirring from bottom several times.  Serve with whipped cream.

Raenelle said: ‘This is my recipe but Betty Sue added all the extras, so it’s hard to tell it’s the one I gave her.  She’s always changin’ things.’  (also from White Trash Cooking)

Ah, Dark Winter —

December 04, 2008 By: almostgotit Category: British food, humor, recipes, tuna and sweet corn, working at home 6 Comments →

The days are short and dark.  Knoxville is unusually cold and we’ve had days of drizzle, making everything even darker and colder than ever.

It’s like living in Seattle again.  Or England.  This time of year in Oxford, the sun was already low when the kids came home from school at 3:30, and no one turned the heat on, just huddled in wool sweaters looking at their brochures for a Winter Holiday in the Canary Islands. 

Plus also drinking pot after pot of hot tea.  Better than sticking your head in an oven, I guess.

I couldn’t stand to stay at home today, so went out to lunch with friends and then lingered over errands, including a trip to Kroger where, in honor of the day’s drear,  I bought the ingredients for an easy British supper tonight: baked potatoes with tuna and sweetcorn.*

There are several ways to make this, but basically you simply mix a can or so of tuna with another can of corn, add a tiny bit of mayo to moisten plus lots of black pepper, and stuff in a baked potato.  That’s it. 

If you have to go all American or whatever you can add some dill weed, or even some cheese, but isn’t life hard enough? 


* ”Corn” is a generic word for grain in British English, so “sweetcorn” (or maize) is what they call the yellow stuff we sometimes eat off the cobb. 

Butternut squash gnocchi for the impoverished & unemployed

October 09, 2008 By: almostgotit Category: Uncategorized, butternut squash, butternut squash gnocchi recipe, butternut squash recipes, gnocchi, mushroom sauce, recipe, recipes, squash recipes 6 Comments →

Well, I guess the good news is I’m feeling a lot less lonely in my semi-employment these days.

Even better news is that I’m cooking at home more.  Hell, I even marinated something earlier in the week. 

Plus also, I made real live gnocchi totally from scratch!

My sister sent me this wonderfully autumnal recipe she adapted from Sunset Magazine (that’s Southern Living for Northwesterners, yo) and it is just as easy and tasty as she said it is. 

Nor could anyone in my family detect any nasty squishy squash component in these, only delightful, noodley-gnocchi-ness.

Butternut squash are not only very healthy — lots of vitamins and fiber – but also dirt cheap. Next year, I might even try growing some in my whiskey-barrel garden.

Butternut Squash Gnocchi

Serves 8 as a side dish, 4 as an entrée.

  • 1 butternut squash (2 lbs)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp each ground white pepper (we used black) and nutmeg
  • 3 to 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese or other hard cheese such as asiago.
  • fresh black pepper

1.  With a fork or sharp knife, poke holes all over squash; microwave on high 10 minutes.  Let sit until cool enough to handle.  Halve squash and scoop out seeds.  Flesh should be tender when scraped with a fork.  If it isn’t, microwave on high (cut side down) in 1 minute intervals until tender.  Let sit until cool enough to handle.  Scrape out flesh and mash until smooth.

2.  In large bowl, combine 2 cups squash, 1/2 tsp salt, white pepper, and nutmeg.  Stir in flour, 1 cup at a time, until a dough forms  (it will pull away from side of bowl).

3.  Turn dough out on a generously-floured surface.  Knead dough 10 or 12 times.

4.  Divide dough in half and cover 1 batch with plastic wrap.  On floured surface, roll other batch into a 3/4 inch thick rope and cut into 1/2 inch long pieces.  Put pieces on a floured baking sheet and set aside.  Repeat with remaining dough. 

5.  Bring large pot of salted water to a boil.  Boil gnocchi until they rise to surface, about 4 minutes.  Cook 30 seconds longer and then lift out with slotted spoon.  Gently toss with melted butter and cheese!

286 calories, 21% from fat, 9 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber.
I doubled the recipe and froze some: I put them on two floured cookie sheets as I sliced them and put the extra  cookie sheet in the freezer.  Once the gnocchi were frozen, I transferred them to a ziplock bag.

Serving Suggestions and Variations:

  • Butternut squash loves pepper, onions and butter.  Try adding some minced garlic to the gnocchi dough, or toss with sautéed sweet onions along with the butter and cheese.
  • Gnocchi also goes well with marinara sauce, or pesto.
  • Borrowing some ideas from epicurious.com’s recipe for Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Duck Confit and Swiss Chard, I plan to serve my frozen batch of gnocchi tossed with quickly stir-fried swiss chard, chopped chicken, and onions. Plus also garlic, because I *love* garlic.
  • How about serving squash gnocchi with this mushroom sauce for gnocchi, also from epicurious.com?  This recipe suggests the gnocchi be made ahead (including the boiling part) and then heated through in the sauce.  Maybe I should have cooked mine before freezing it?

Cross-posted at Blogher.com

Friday Favorite: Stolen Pumpkin Bread Recipe

September 12, 2008 By: almostgotit Category: Friday Favorite, TITSNOB, The Institution that Shall Not be Named, Uncategorized, autumn recipe, humor, pumpkin, pumpkin bread, recipes 2 Comments →

It may still be in the mid-nineties out there, but according to farmer’s markets all around Knoxville it is officially Autumn.   The first home football game this weekend clinches it.

Fall means pumpkins, those round bundles of love that I have a positive fetish for.  The plumper and rounder the better.  Probably some latent lesbianism on my part, or maybe they just remind me of sweet little babies, so fat and yummy…

Anyhoo, for your weekend pleasure, I have snagged a top-secret recipe from none other than The Institute that Shall Not be Named (TITSNOB)

And heavens, it’s yummy, too.

TITSNOB Pumpkin Bread

  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 can (1 lb can) mashed pumpkin
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 2/3 tsp cloves
  • 2/3 tsp nutmeg
  • 2/3 tsp allspice
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla flavoring
  • 1/3 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour two loaf pans.  Mix together sugar, oil, pumpkin and eggs until well blended.

Add all dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture and blend thoroughly.  Add vanilla and water, mixing until all ingredients are well blended.  Pour into prepared pans.

Bake at 35o degrees for one hour.  Remove from oven and place on cooling racks for 1o minutes.  Carefully remove loaves from pans and allow to cool before slicing.

TITSNOB actually sells these.  So let’s pretend this is like that  Neiman-Marcus Cookie Recipe , and that it cost me, like, several jobs to get my hands on it, and thus as my bitter revenge I’m now passing it on to as many people as I can. 

Go bake pumpkin bread.  That’ll show em!

Nova Scotia Oatcakes

August 14, 2008 By: almostgotit Category: Nova Scotia Oatcakes, Uncategorized, cookies, empty nesting, going to college, parenting, recipes 3 Comments →

My son was born in Canada, and not long after we’d brought him home from the hospital, another graduate student baked a tin of these and brought them over to our apartment to celebrate.   They’ve since become an Almostgotit family staple, and my son has always loved them.  Sometimes he’s even asked for these in lieu of a birthday cake, and I’m baking them for him today.

Nova Scotia Oatcakes

3 cups quick rolled oats
3 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cup shortening
2/3 – 3/4 cup cold water

In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients together.  Cut in shortening. Add enough water to form a rather stiff, pastry-like dough.  Roll 3/8 ” thick and cut into circles.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes on a greased baking sheet.  Makes enough to fill your cookie jar with enough left over to send with your son to college.

  • Variation: one may sneakily substitute 1/2 cup apple sauce (one of those single-serving cups is just right) for the same portion of shortening and I guarantee no one will notice; bolder folk may substitute even more applesauce and the recipe will change a bit but still work fine. 
  • You may need to go to the store for more oatmeal before making these.   While there, you might pick up these optional ingredients:  fingernail clippers; first-aid kit; ear plugs; an electric kettle; instant oatmeal, cream of wheat and hot cider mix (to go with kettle)

Christmas in July: Sugarplums

July 15, 2008 By: almostgotit Category: Clement C. Moore, Godecookery, Uncategorized, food, plum cobbler, plum recipes, plums, recipes, sugarplums, writers 1 Comment →

Today is Clement C. Moore’s birthday.  The “Night before Christmas” guy? And you were just wondering what a “sugarplum” was.  

Come on, I know you were.

And I was eventually going to tell you about the website, Godecookery.com anyway.  I ordered medieval cookies from them for a big university party once, and they were a terrific hit.  It also so happens that the Gode Folkes at GodeCookery have a late 16th-century recipe for sugarplums, which actually calls for actual plums. 

Clement C. Moore, writing about sugarplums in the early 19th century, most likely just meant sugar candy, which is how Wikipedia defines sugarplums, too.  But sugarplums made out of plums sound a lot more fun, and –Ta Da! — July is the season for plums. 

Here’s a yummy-looking recipe for sugarplums, using dried fruit, that would be nice for actual, December-style Christmas.  As would, yum, this Sugar Plum Pudding Cake. 

For Christmas in July, though, you can use this season’s fresh plums in a salad, or in main dish even, with one of these fresh plum recipes.  I might call you a Christmas- In- July- Spoil- Sport if you do, though.   Sugary plum-ness is part of the deal, here, so bake me a wonderfully-Southern Fresh Plum Cobbler with Oatmeal Dumplings, or Plum Cobbler with Cinnamon Biscuits, and I’ll love you so much I’ll want to marry you.