Mrs. John A. Logan's Home Manual

Civil War General and Vice Presidential Candidate John A. Logan is celebrate at the General John A. Logan Museum in my hometown ... Murphysboro, Illinois.  I serve on the Museum's Board of Directors and I really enjoy doing volunteer projects that support the goals of the Museum.  This summer, I'll be hosting a series of cooking classes entitled, "Contemporary Turns on the Foodways of Loganland"!  I've been working toward this for the last five years and finally I'm ready to share some neat vintage recipes that we've rewritten for today's busy home cooks!   In the process of preparing, I purchased a reproduction of a book that Mrs. John A. Logan prepared.  I don't use the word "authored", because she really just compiled the works of lots of other experts and authored just one small section.  Nonetheless, the book is filled with treasures of information about the way things were done in 1889, when it was published!

This past week, I found the real thing ... an original 1889 edition of Mrs. Logan's Home Manual and bought it for a small price.  While looking for that, I learned that the book has been reprinted again, and is available from Amazon.  If you are interested, search for it by title.  It is a part of a series of classics reprinted.   It is filled with information on thousands of topics ranging from how to make a bag to store shoe buttons ... to how to prepare food for the folks who are ill.  The reprint includes copies of the original illustrations, and if you like these kinds of historic works ... it is a bargain!

If you want to learn more about the General John A. Logan, take a look at their site!

General Logan's Reception!

I serve on the board of directors of a small community museum, the General John A. Logan Museum in Murphysboro, Illinois.   The General is a notable Civil War Union General who was later on the ticket as a candidate for Vice President of the United States.  He and I share home towns and I am delighted to work to preserve the history of the Logan family and the fact that Logan created Memorial Day.

I had the honor of catering a reception a few weeks ago and I'm sharing a few pictures from our event.  My daughter, Nicole ... and our friend Stephanie, who I claim as a second daughter ... prepared the food and hosted the reception.  We had about a hundred people attend ... and that is a really good number for our small town events.

I created a menu that showcased the foods of the Civil War era ... but made in somewhat contemporary ways!  The recipes will be in the next cookbook I publish!

 A variety of 
cheese wafers and cheese Spritz ... lots of bold flavors to go with local wines ...

 Sweet potato focaccia
topped with caramelized onions, pecans and almonds

Goat Cheese Balls
made with a combination of cream cheese and goat cheese, rolled in pecans.   

Tiny biscuits filled 
with chicken salad
made with
pineapple and almonds

Sweet potato hummus flavored with cumin and chili pepper ... atop a cucumber slice, garnished with a radish and cilantro

I like to send guests away with a treat ... even 
adults at a special reception!  So, we packaged 
jelly beans in cute little paper bags 
and tied them with twine ... here's why:

Springtime Appetizers on the Deck!

I can hardly wait to get on the back deck and start enjoying food!  We have ample opportunities to invite family and friends to stop by and enjoy a glass of wine and something good to eat.  These appetizers are fresh and simple to make.  I've combined some fresh vegetables, chopped in small bits and dressed with a vinaigrette ... scooped into  crisp leaves of Belgian Endive.  I used carrots, radishes, onion and celery, with plenty of chopped oregano and mint.
 On this platter, you'll see grilled chicken wings, which are so easy to do.  I just marinate them for about an hour in any one of my favorite packaged marinade mixes and if you use one of those wing racks on the grill,  you don't have to even take a second peek at them.  Just close the grill and let them cook!   The other quick recipe is to core the center/seeds out of a cucumber and fill the cavity with deli ham salad.  Slice and serve!
There is nothing easier than making a ball of cream cheese and topping it with your favorite honey or jam.   Sometimes, I pulse the cheese in the food processor and add a little bleu cheese to it ... or an even more tart Stilton cheese.   This one is topped with Lemon Jelly from Darn Hot Chili Peppers.  You can buy that online by visiting Rancho Bella Vista!  Right here in Southern Illinois, we have a fantastic pepper grower and he and his wife know exactly what to do with them, so they have several packaged items.  

We love celebrating springtime by entertaining under our fruit trees, sitting on the back deck and enjoying the smell of freshly mowed lawns, Lilac and Mock Orange blooming in the side yard.  Don't take too much time preparing food ... choose these easy appetizers that you can make ahead and assemble quickly.  Put those wings on the grill to cook as your guests arrive, and the smoky aroma will lure them in through the garden gate! 

Easter at Grandma Debbie's!

For a couple week,s Phoebe and I talked about baking some cookies for Easter and she declared that we should bake 105 cookies!   She is big on the number '5'!   So, I got out the trusty cookie shooter, knowing that one recipe would make about 100 cookies!   We made cute little oval shaped 'blue eggs' and dipped one end in simple white glaze.   We also baked a batch of cookies from the seasonal and new pink lemonade cookie mix.   I've gotten attached to some of the cookie mixes ... which is unusual for an old scratch cook like me!   Phoebe's job was to decorate the tops of the cookies with Easter sprinkles of green grass and colored eggs, but she went a little overboard on a few!  They were beautiful!

Here's a collage of our Easter tablescape.   I bought this china pattern that is delicate lilac colored pansies years ago to use at the Sunday afternoon party I had for my parents' 60th wedding anniversary, which is March 30th.  I get them out almost every year for Easter dinner and mix them with my collection of china odds and ends that feature paintings of tiny violets.

Thanks for stopping by!  Hope springtime is treating you well.  Today, I'll be spending lots of time in the yard and enjoying every warm minute of it!

February's Family Sunday Dinner

Christmas 2020

Mary Queen of Scots Dinner Menu Booklet

Grandma Debbie's Christmas 2018

Grandma's Blue & Green Pupkins!

Autumn at Grandma Debbie's