Sugar Free Dill Pickles

Steve likes his hamburgers with thin sliced dill pickles.  And we both like whole pickles at any picnic.  As I had grown up on a truck farm where we raised lots of fresh produce I never did see any sense in buying dill pickles. My most favorite and easiest pickle recipe I got from my home where my mother got it from her mother. It is called …

Saccharin Pickles

Now don’t get excited as it is hard to find saccharin on the store shelves any more. So I substitute the packs of sugar substitute that I can find. So here goes!

3 cups of 5 vinegar

6 cups of water

Bring the brine to a boil.

Add washed and cleaned cucumbers to the boiling brine. Watch them till they change color to a dull green.

In a clean and sterile pint jar put:

1/2 teaspoon of dill seed or a sprig of dill weed

pack  in the hot cucumbers

add 1 heaping teaspoon of salt

1 packet of sugar subtitute.

Fill Jar with the hot brine

Put a clean hot ball or mason lid on the full jar and screw on the ring.

Let it set for 24 hours so the seal can set. Check the lid if is not sealed refridgerate it and use it. If it is sealed it will keep in a cool dark place for a year…unless you eat them!!

Home Canned Red Beet Pickles

Home Canned Red Beet Pickles

4 quarts red beets  – cleaned, cooked, and peeled and set aside

2 cups brown sugar

3 teaspoon salt

dash of pepper

1 1/2 cups vinegar

1 1/2 quarts water

Mix and boil the last 5 ingredients . When boiling carefully add the cooked and peeled red beets. Bring to a full rolling boil. Put hot red beets into clean sterile  home canning jars. Fill with the slowly simmering red beet brine and seal.

Nothing beats good home canned red beets! A church picnic, red beet eggs, a family reunion, or just a vibrant color to add to your table! ‘They” say the natural iron in red beets is good for you and gives you a quick pick-me-up!

Last evening my 10 year old neighbor girl came to my house to experiment with a new recipe. Actually this recipe is an old favorite of my family. It is a tricky but interesting candy recipe!

As we started she said, “with my family of 12 I am used to making BIG recipes.”

As we were working she said, “Oh, this is making more than I thought it might!”

Recipe of the Month – May 1, 2010


1/2 cup of cold mashed potatoes with no butter or milk added.

Slowly add 1 cup of powdered sugar. Stir well. Yes it will get very runny!

Add 3 more cups of powdered sugar  – 1 cup at a time.

Stir until it needs to be kneaded a bit. You may need to add a bit more powdered sugar. Put this ‘dough’ between 2 layers of wax paper. Gently press it down with your hand.till it is slightly flattened.

Then roll it with a rolling pin to 1/4 inch thick.

Remove the top layer of wax paper. If it sticks you will need to add a bit more powdered sugar.

When the top paper is removed – spread a generous layer of smooth peanut butter over the dough.

While holding the edge of the bottom wax paper slowly roll the dough and peanut butter together while removing the wax paper!

Place the finished roll in the refrigerator to chill.

Slice and eat!! – ( sometimes we dip this in chocolate too!)

What an interesting combination!!

I have always enjoyed working with yeast dough. Here is a basic Homemade White Bread Recipe that I use. Of course I make changes to it depending on what we or our friends are hungry for!!

I mix this in my 5 quart kitchen aid mixer. Or for a double batch I mix it by hand.

3 cup lukewarm water

2 Tablespoons dry yeast ( or 2 1/2 packets)

1/3 cup white sugar —  mix these three items together and let set for about 10 minutes or until the yeast is working and it is all bubbly.

Then add – 1/3 cup shortening

1 1/2 Tablespoons salt

Then keep adding approx. 2 1/2 pounds of all purpose flour.

Use the dough hook that comes with your mixer or if mixing by hand stir well. Do not add all the flour at one time … after adding the first 2 pounds of flour,  just add about 1/2 cup at a time … as you don’t want to add too much flour. You will want the dough to not be too sticky when you touch it… neither do you want it to be tough feeling. Knead it for 5 minutes if making by hand or at least 3 minutes by mixer.

Put it in a well greased bowl and set it in a draft free warm place to raise until doubled in size.  Divide the dough into 4 dough hunks. Work with your hands until a nice loaf is formed. Then put your bread dough in greased bread pans. Let it rise again until doubled and the bread pan feels lighter when you lift it. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Bake your bread for 20 to 25 minutes until it is golden brown. Remove it from the oven. Remove it from the pans. Place the loaves on a wire rack. Brush butter on the tops. And let cool!

Now here comes the fun part!!

Other Suggestions:

Instead of water use cooked potato water, coffee, tomato juice or whey

Instead of white sugar use: brown sugar or honey or molasses

For the shortening use: butter, crisco,  margarine, oil, chicken grease, lard,

For the white flour use up to 2 cups of : whole wheat flour, wheat bran, cornmeal, buckwheat flour, oatmeal softened in water(precooked), rye flour, flax seed meal, whole flax seed, caraway seeds, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, cocoa, cooked brown rice.

I have found my own concoction of the above that we like the best!!

For wheat and flax bread  – 1 Tablespoon of flax seed, 1 heaping teaspoon of flax meal, and whole wheat flour.

For raisin bread add cooked raisins – ground or whole and cinnamon.

For poppy seed bread one Tablespoon of poppy seeds.

For cheddar cheese bread add 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese.

For tomato bread use tomato juice for instead of water and add italian seasoning and parmesan cheese.

For rye bread use rye flour,cocoa, coffee, and caraway seeds.

Cheese Cake

As Sarah likes experimenting …so she decided …for her own birthday treat… she would make herself a Cheese Cake..She tried 3 different recipes…. AND decided this was her favorite…

Sugarless  Cheese Cake

2  packages (8 oz each) cream cheese (lower fat cream cheese works just fine too!! :)

12 packets  Nutra Sweet

3 large eggs

3 Tablespoons lemon juice

1  1/2  teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 cups fat free sour cream

preheat oven to 350 degrees

Beat all ingredients together well.

Put in a greased 9 inch pie pan.

Bake for 45 minutes. Turn off oven and let cool for 1 hour.

Remove from oven and let cool to room temp about another hour.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate  overnight.

Serve with a thickened fruit sauce.

No Fry Donuts

Sarah also sneaks food experiments to their church carry-ins. She over-heard three ladies who were clustered around a beautiful patter of what ‘looked’ like cream -filled donuts  trying to figure it out!

No Fry Creme Filled Donuts

Just In time for Donut Day !

1 1/2 package yeast

1/2 cup warm water

2 cup mashed potatoes

1 cup sugar – Mix the above 4 ingredients and let stand for 1 hour

Add 3/4 cup shortening

1 egg

1 cup of potato water

1 teaspoon salt

7 cups of bread flour – mix altogether well.

Let the dough rise till it doubles. Then roll it out 1/2 inch thick on a floured surface. Cut with a round cutter. Put on greased cookie sheets to rise until doubled again. Bake @ 350 degrees for 15  minutes or until nice and brown! When removed from oven spray the tops with a butter spray, or grease lightly with butter. Place on a rack to cool. When cooled cut in half and put your favorite icing  in the center. Replace top for a lid. Roll in powdered sugar right before you serve them!

This recipe is another ‘keeper’ ! I also use it for dinner rolls or cinnamon buns!

My Cast Iron Lamb Cake Mold

It has been a family tradition to have a Lamb Cake Mold to bake a Lamb Cake for special occasions in our family. But growing up with four sisters , well not all of us could inherit Moms Lamb Cake Mold. So when my hubby and I decided to stop in at an antique mall in Missouri … Guess what I found! You guessed right! I could hardly believe my eyes! A Cast Iron Lamb Cake Mold in very good condition! Well, since I had a little bit of $$ burning a hole in my pocket, I decided to remedy it! So I  bought it!

Spice Lamb Cake

3/4 cup shortening

1 1/4 cup brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

3 eggs

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

3 cup flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

3/4 tsp nutmeg

3/4 tsp cloves

Mix altogether very well. Pour 1/2 of the batter into a very well greased and floured mold in the face side down . Put the other half on top for a lid.  Bake it in a preheated 375 degree oven for 25 minute.  Flip the mold over and continue baking for 25 more minutes. Take it out of the oven and let set for 10 minutes. Very carefully remove the back of the lamb mold. Let it set for 10 more minutes. Gently dump the lamb cake out of the mold. Set it up on its ‘feet’ . You may need to prop it so it won’t fall over. Let it cool completely then put icing on it and sprinkle it with coconut to look all woolly! Add chocolate chips for its eyes. Add a red strip of licorice for its mouth.  Enjoy!

With Steve’s and his beagles hunting skills and Sarah’s cooking ability the Millers butcher, work up, and cook whatever is brought home after a hunt!   And as January is a good rabbit hunting month we eat our share of…

Rabbit Scrapple

Bring 2 quarts of broth or water to a boil in a 4 or 6 quart kettle.

Add 1 quart of cooked and chopped very fine or ground cooked meat.

Add 1  1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper ( I use 4 teaspoons of black pepper! – to make it spicier!)

In another bowl mix 3 cups whole wheat flour, 1 cup buckwheat flour and 1 cup course ground corn meal.

Slowly and 1 quart of water or broth to make a mush.

Slowly add this mixture to the boiling broth and meat mixture.

Cook slowly for 30 minutes.

Pour into 3 bread pans to mold.

When cold slice into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices. and fry in hot fat till crispy and crunchy on both sides. An iron skillet can fry the scrapple to a crisp – that’s the way we like it!

Eat with fried eggs, morel mushrooms, and toast!

It is also good with lots of molasses or pancake syrup drizzled over the top!


I have used all kinds of meat in this scrapple recipe – rabbit, squirrel, venison, beef, pork, chicken,and turkey!

I think my favorite is using ground ham ends!

This rabbit scrapple recipe can also be made gluten-free by omitting the wheat flour and using 4 cups of buckwheat flour with the 1 cup of cornmeal. Follow the directions as with the regular recipe. This gluten free scrapple actually hangs together better than the scrapple made with the wheat.

Sarah’s favorite pass time in her growing up years was experimenting in the kitchen! To this day her family still asks “Is this a real recipe or did you make it up?” Her sisters are keeping an old family saying alive by announcing if something is a ‘keeper’ or not!

Gingerbread Men

½ cup butter
¾ cup brown sugar
¾ cup molasses
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon salt
4 cups flour
Blend butter, sugar, and molasses with the egg. Add spices, soda, salt, and flour to the butter mixture. If dough is too soft to roll out chill it or add a bit more flour. If too stiff to roll out add a bit of water. Roll out on a floured board 1/8 th inch thick. Put on ungreased cookie sheet. Put on raisins, nuts, or dried fruit before baking for the eyes and buttons. Sprinkle on white sugar. Bake at 350° 8 to 10 minutes. Makes 18 to 20 figures 5 inches tall.

This recipe is revised from one I got out of an old 1700 collection of recipes. It is a ‘keeper’!