Master Grocery List

Having a Master Grocery List may sound like a very picky thing to do, it does make quite a difference when you go to the store. And with the cost of food about to sky-rocket it also helps to keep to the list instead of that impulse buying. Here’s how it works:

On paper, breakdown sections of food groups like Produce, Non-Edibles, Dairy, etc., Under each heading you list things such as lettuce, onions, bananas. Here’s an example of mine:
Lettuce, asparagus, bananas, onions
potatoes – white, yellow, apples, celery, etc.
Vegetables, tater tots, breads, etc.

Circle what you need to buy that week and keep blank lines or spaces for add ons. I do this for several sections of the grocery store. Some things are just no-brainers for me, like milk & half-n-half, things I cannot do without.

Remember, this is a blueprint for you to adjust it to your needs. Good luck!

Nielsen-Massey Vanillas

Go from tailgate to luxury box with quality vanilla from Nielsen-Massey.

Grills are fired up and ready to go in Parking lots across the nation for the great American sports tradition: tailgating. Every year, thousands faithfully don their team’s colors and venture out, rain or shine, to cheer home a winner. Sports fans and home cooks alike can be the reigning champions of parking-lots with tailgating recipes from Nielsen-Massey Vanillas.

Since 1907, Nielsen-Massey has been dedicated to creating the finest vanilla in the world. The vanilla beans are hand-picked for perfection and go through an exclusive cold extraction process, which slowly, gently draws the delicate, distinctive flavor from the vanilla beans.

Nielsen-Massey products compliment both sweet and savory dishes, so hungry Football fans can be fed this season with hamburgers and chicken wings dressed with Smoky Vanilla BBQ Sauce or Apricot Mango BBQ Sauce from Nielsen-Massey.

Smoky Vanilla BBQ Sauce
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon canned chipotle chilies with sauce, chopped
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup catsup
1 tablespoon dark molasses
1 tablespoon Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract or

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan. Add garlic and sauté until soft. Add remaining ingredients and simmer, stirring occasionally, 45-60 minutes. Makes about 1 ½ cups.

Apricot Mango BBQ Sauce
1/2 cup medium diced canned apricots, drained
1/2 cup medium diced fresh or jarred mangoes, drained
1 (4-ounce) can mild chipotle chilies
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 whole garlic cloves
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract or Paste
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

Combine the apricots, mangoes, chipotle chiles, brown sugar, garlic, olive oil, tomato paste, vanilla extract, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, cumin, salt and cayenne pepper in a blender container and purée. Store in the refrigerator. Makes about 2 cups.

From daybreak to overtime, hearty finger-foods flavored with Nielsen-Massey Vanillas can provide an extra kick to fans’ favorite tailgating cuisines.

My Thanksgiving Meal – 2009

Here’s what we’ll be having for our Thanksgiving meal. No soup this year, and the desserts will be simple. But what never changes is the turkey recipe, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving in the DVD player and the Christmas music – gotta have it. Good cheer to all!

Divorce Court Turkey – (See Poultry Category)
Mashed potatoes- (See Vegetables Category)
All American Bread Stuffing – (See Holidays & Special Occasions Category)
Corn and broccoli
Cranberry Sauce – (See Sauce Category or use the canned)
Rolls – (Fresh from the bakery section of our local grocer)

Taste of Heaven – (See Desserts Category)
Best Apple Pie – (See Pies Category)

Bread Machines

I use my bread machine quite a bit, but I don’t always like the weird loaf-like shape the baked bread becomes. To eliminate that – when I just don’t have time (or want) to knead dough – I use only the dough setting on the machine, then I take the dough out and shape it into either rolls or a loaf, or whatever it is I’m baking. Then I bake the bread in my preheated oven.  Use this method for any dough you can make in a machine, which by the way is just about all of them.



This year (2008) is my first year having a garden, albeit a tiny one and I’m keeping it simple; just tomatoes and a few herbs. We all gotta have herbs. Here is a picture of my new “offspring” – I’m so excited! I really do feel like a new mom. If you haven’t tried growing something, I urge you to do so. It’s so exhilarating.


I’ve been reading cookbooks for years. Like most people read novels in bed before retiring, I peruse cookbooks; lots of cookbooks. I collect cookbooks, and then when they’ve had their “say”, if it doesn’t strike just the right chord in my heart, I pass them on or donate them to my local library. Some of the best recipes you can find are in old, tattered pamphlets. Owning this website has also helped me put together my own treasure trove of recipes to pass on to my daughter, then one day the grandkids.

When poking around at yard or garage sales, I immediately stake out the kitchen items table or boxes then I hunt for the crate of cookbooks. Everybody has them, and so many don’t even care. How sad for them. There is such history, tradition, and fabulous meals awaiting if you’d open them and read. Lots of the old books don’t have pictures, and if they do, the prints make the food look fake and way too moist. Yuck! But try to get past that and play through the preparation in your mind. Sometimes they don’t work out at all, but more often than not, you’ll walk away with a delicious new foodie item that you’ve re-created for your family and friends.

Happy hunting!

Some Measurements

A few popular measurements to help you along.

Dash or Pinch = less than 1/8 tsp.

3 tsps. = 1 Tbsp.

4 Tbsp. = 1/4 cup

8 Tbsp. = 1/2 cup

16 Tbsp. = 1 cup

1 fluid ounce = 2 Tbsp.

1/2 pint = 1 cup

1 pint = 2 cups

1 quart = 4 cups or 2 pints

1 gallon = 4 quarts

4-5 cups grated cheese = 1 pound

Wheat Pasta

Okay, I keep seeing those new yellow boxes of wheat pasta on the shelves at my grocer so I thought I’d try one. I bought Penne Plus Wheat Pasta by Barilla. I cooked it according to the package directions, then used it instead of my regular Barilla for my Macaroni Salad. Here’s the result:

On a scale from 1 to 5 with 1 being yuck and 5 being delicious, I must say that the pasta tasted a whopping 5. I really was expecting something totally different, but to my happy surprise, it really tasted good.

I don’t know that I’d try it with tomato sauce. If I do, I’ll let you know; if you have, please let me know. Thank you.


BJ’s Wholesale Club is now selling Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee by the 2.5 lb. bagful, which I blend with my regular brand. My “Beverages” category can assist you in making a really good pot of coffee.

Thanks for stopping by!

9/20/07 – Just found out that all the folks in Upstate New York have been able to buy Dunkin’ Donuts coffee at the Food Network’s Award Winning #1 Grocery Store, Wegmans! This fantastic store has grown from a small hometown grocery store to a small village! Wegmans has now expanded into New Jersey and Pennsylvania. If you are able to shop there, consider yourself a very lucky person.

No Buttermilk?

In a 1-cup liquid measuring cup, place 1 tablespoon of either lemon juice or white vinegar. Then fill with milk (not skim). Stir and let sit for about 10 minutes. There you have 1 cup of soured milk. Double for 2 cups.