Lemon Shake-Up Recipe — A Refreshing Summer Drink

Bobbie says:

Ah, summer. The scorching heat, the overwhelming humidity. Fun times. Well, when life hands you lemons, shake things up a bit and make Lemon Shake-Ups. Depending where you live, you may have had these treats at a local fair or carnival. For the uninitiated, a Lemon Shake-Up is basically a freshly made individual lemonade. At the fairs where I’ve had them, it’s a big production: One person operates a big press to squeeze the bejeebers out of a lemon, into a tall, heavy glass. Another person adds sugar, ice and some water. A paper cup is turned upside down over the glass, and someone else shakes it all up to dissolve the sugar. The whole lot is dumped into the paper cup, water is added to fill, et voila – a Lemon Shakeup is served. You’d have to pay four or five dollars for this refreshing beverage and the opportunity to see it being freshly made in front of you.

I’d been reminiscing about this unofficial beverage of state and county fairs, but not about the hassle of actually going to a fair and the expense of paying several dollars for one beverage. For the cost fair admission and ONE Lemon Shake-Up at the fair, I could buy enough lemons to make shake-ups for the whole neighborhood.

Making Lemon Shake-Ups at home means I can choose my own sweetener. Most of the time, I use a stevia-based sweetener such as Truvia or Pure Via. (I like my lemonade on the tart side, so I usually use 3 packets.) Honey and lemon is a great flavor combination, but getting honey to dissolve well in the ice water is difficult, so it’s best to first melt the honey in a small amount of very hot water. Once the honey melts into the water, add the ice and lemon and proceed. (As always, do not give honey or anything prepared with honey to infants under one year of age.)

Whatever sweetener you choose, use an amount equivalent in sweetening power to ¼ cup sugar.

 

 

Lemon reamer

Personally, I prefer this handheld wooden kind,because I find I’m able to get more juice out of each lemon or lime. I used to have one made of shiny black plastic, which looked gorgeous but was too slippery to get a good grip, so I could hardly
squeeze anything out of the fruit. That tool wore out its welcome almost immediately.

 

 

 

One-quart jar with lid

If you use a wide-mouth jar, you can put the lemon halves right in for a more authentic shake-up. If not, you can cut the lemon into smaller pieces after you’ve juiced it thoroughly. Make sure it has a leak-proof lid. This replaces the potential disaster of the tall-glass-and-large-paper-cup shaking method used in the carnival and fair production.

 

Lemon Shake-Up Recipe

  • 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup sugar OR 3 tablespoons honey, maple syrup or agave nectar (OR equivalent amount of a sugar substitute – read package to determine amount – remember to dissolve thick syrupy sweeteners in a little hot water first)
  • 1 cup ice (crushed or cubes)
  • Cold water

Wash the lemon, and cut it in half. Juice the lemon into the jar using your method of choice. If you prefer your drink to be slightly less “authentic” you can remove the seeds.

Add the lemon halves to the jar. If you wish, you can cut these into smaller pieces first, but it’s not
necessary. Add the sugar or sweetener, ice and about a cup of water. Cover tightly and shake until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove the lid and add enough ice and water to make 16 ounces. Pour into a tall glass, or just drink it straight from the jar. I won’t tell.

 

 Bobbie Laughman is a freelance writer who thinks she’s normal. Don’t try to tell her otherwise.

Simple Scalloped Potatoes from Scratch Recipe

Bobbie sez

 

Bobbie says:

 

Lately, Home Ec 101 has been focusing on cooking basics, and in my opinion, Scalloped Potatoes are about as basic as it gets when it comes to side dishes. They go with practically anything, and with the right recipe, made-from-scratch scalloped potatoes are almost as easy as a boxed mix, so much better for you, and waaaay better tasting! And (lucky you) it just so happens I’ve got the right recipe.

While most scalloped potato recipes call for first making a white sauce, or using a can of condensed soup instead, this recipe is even better. Why? There is no white sauce to make and no canned soup with this Simple Scalloped Potatoes from Scratch Recipe. It makes its own sauce as it bakes! So, the hardest bit is peeling and slicing the potatoes, which you know isn’t really hard at all.

What variety to use? Some say only red. Other say definitely yellow. While I do like both of those varieties, I prefer white potatoes in this recipe. It’s up to you, really. My honest opinion, based completely in practicality, is this: use what you have. Or what’s on sale. Seriously, I’ve tried scalloped potatoes using different varieties, and they all end up delicious. Don’t fret.

You’ll see the recipe calls for onions. I prefer yellow, but use what you like — even scallions would work, and give you a bit different flavor. If you’re tempted to omit onions because some family members are Not Onion People, please don’t. It’s really an essential part of the flavor here. Instead of sliced onions, though, you could use a smaller amount of finely minced onion.

Simple Scalloped Potatoes - 6 Versatile Side DishWhile I served these golden-browned, creamy scalloped potatoes with a pan-fried ham slice and peas, they’ll pair well with chicken (roasted or fried or even boneless breasts browned in butter), steak, roast beef, burgers, pork roast or chops, turkey — pretty much any non-pasta entree. And easy? Oh yeah, this one is a piece of cake. (Only, much easier than cake - for me anyway. I’m really not a baker.) Once they’re assembled and in the oven, little attention is required. They’ll bake while you work on the rest of the meal. Or read a book. Or, you know….write one.

Simple Scalloped Potatoes from Scratch Recipe

2 1/2 cups whole milk
4 Tablespoons cold butter, plus more to grease pan
2 pounds white or yellow potatoes (about 6 medium – enough for 4 cups of sliced potatoes)
1/4 cup thinly sliced onionSimple Scalloped Potatoes - 1 from simple wholesome ingredients
3 tablespoons flour (unbleached all-purpose)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Choose a 2-quart baking dish, preferably no more than 2 to 3 inches deep. If you’re not sure it’ll hold 2 quarts, try filling it with 8 cups of water. Seriously, if it won’t, you’ll be cleaning the oven after baking this dish. If it holds a bit more than 2 quarts, that’s probably even better. Make sure it’s big enough, then rub the inside with butter.

Start heating the milk — you can either microwave it, or do it on the stovetop in a small pan. Do not boil it, just get it very hot. Once it’s hot, set it aside.

Wash the potatoes, scrubbing them if they’re very dirty. Peel them using a potato peeler or a sharp paring knife, and remove the eyes, if any.

Cut potatoes into slices between 1/8 and 1/4 inch. Don’t sweat it. If they’re around that thickness, more or less, you’re good. Make sure you’ve got about a quart, or 4 cups, of potato slices.
Simple Scalloped Potatoes - 2 slice potatoes thinly

Make a layer of one-fourth of the potatoes, about a cup, in the casserole dish. Top that with one-fourth of the onion, 1 tablespoon flour, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and a dash of pepper.

Now we’re going to “dot with butter.” Here’s how: take 1 tablespoon of the butter and cut it into a dozen or so small bits, then distribute those more or less evenly over the potato/onion/flour layer.

Simple Scalloped Potatoes - 3 dot with butter

Repeat 2 more times, making a total of three layers of potatoes, onions, flour, salt, pepper and butter.

Now, do one more layer, same as the previous ones, except with no flour.

Pour the hot milk over the potatoes, then cover tightly with foil.

Place in preheated oven, being careful not to spill the liquid.

Bake 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake until potatoes are tender and the top is golden brown, about 45 minutes longer. If you chose a deeper casserole dish, it may take up to another 20 minutes.

Carefully remove from oven – the sauce will be on the thin side right now. Let stand about 10 minutes for sauce to thicken before serving.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Simple Scalloped Potatoes - 5 golden brown

 

Bobbie Laughman is probably just a figment of her own imagination, but if you like figments, consider following her on Pinterest or check out her blog, Gruntled, Sheveled, Whelmed.

 

Slow Cooker Smoked Sausage Potato Cheese Soup Recipe

*plus an unrelated note from Heather at the end*
Bobbie says:

“So, is it cold enough for ya?” I don’t think I’ve made it through a winter in my entire life without hearing this lamest of questions at least once. I just smile and nod at the crazy person as I move along.  “Cold enough” implies that one looks forward to frigid temperatures. Anyone who’s spent more than five minutes with me during the winter knows I detest cold and snow, and probably thinks I’m less than sane for living north of the Mason-Dixon line my entire life, despite the weather. I couldn’t really argue with that.

We’ve actually had a rather mild winter in the Gettysburg area so far, but it’s still been cold enough to warrant some hearty, comforting soup to warm the bones as well as the soul. This simple Smoked Sausage Potato Cheese Soup is perfect  for busy, chilly days. Peel a few potatoes, chop a carrot and toss everything in the slow cooker in the morning and let it cook all day, then finish the last step just before supper time. Pair with a tossed salad and maybe some crusty rolls for an easy-peasy winter meal. Simple, yet satisfying.

Cheesy Smoked Sausage Potato Soup - Easy Comfort Food

My potato preference for this is Yukon Gold, but any kind will do. Any fully cooked sausage can be used, and you can also use a different cheese. I think bratwurst with swiss cheese sounds really good, but I haven’t tried it yet.  Reheats nicely, if you’ve got any left over – keep in the fridge and use within a couple days. Freezing not recommended – texture will be affected.

 

Smoked Sausage Potato Cheese Soup Recipe

makes about 4 quarts

1 pound fully cooked smoked sausage
8 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 to 3/4 inch chunks
1 large onion, peeled and diced
1 1/2 cups frozen sweet corn
1 1/2 cups peeled carrots, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
pinch of dried thyme
1 large or 2 small bay leaves
4 cups chicken or pork stock, preferably homemade

1 cup evaporated milk
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Halve the sausage lengthwise, then slice about 1/4 inch thick.

Combine everything except the evaporated milk and cheese in a 6-quart slow cooker.

Cover and cook on HIGH for 5 to 6 hours, or on LOW for 8 to 9 hours.

Remove the bay leaves. Cheesy Smoked Sausage Potato Soup - gently stir in cheese

Stir in evaporated milk.

Sprinkle cheese over top of the soup. Stir gently until the cheese melts into the soup and mixes well throughout.

Serve hot. Refrigerate leftovers promptly.

 

 

 

 

 

Bobbie Laughman is a part-time elder caregiver, part-time administrative assistant and part-time dreamer of warm toes. She cooks and writes and bundles up well in the Gettysburg, PA area. Follow Bobbie on Pinterest,  subscribe to her blog or send a message to Bobbie@Home-Ec101.com.  

Heather says:
I’m very grateful that Bobbie sent this over last night. I didn’t want to not post this week, but the kids and I were rear-ended yesterday afternoon. We were all checked out at the ER and other than being extremely sore and cranky, we’re all okay. I want to thank the extremely nice staff at N&D Wireless, a local business, for letting the kids and me wait in their store while everything was sorted out. The ambulances (not for me or the kids and as far as I know, the other people are okay, too) and police took up most of their parking lot for a good hour. They helped entertain my shaken up kids and were just generally kind. They didn’t have to let my wound up kids go nuts in there for as long as they did, but that kindness meant a lot, I was pretty rattled. I’m going to be a complete slacker this weekend and hopefully attack Monday with all of my usual spite and enthusiasm. Have a good weekend and hug -yes, hug- those you love.

Not Remotely Amusing: The Broken Car Remote

Bobbie sezBobbie says:

I love my car-unlocker button thingy.

Car Remote. Keyless entry. Key fob. That plastic bit with buttons on, that hangs off your key ring and unlocks the car for you miraculously while you’re still walking to it with your arms so full of shopping and children that you can’t possibly manage keys, but you can certainly push a button to open the stupid door. Whatever you call that thingy.

I did some research to find out what everyone calls it, so I could connect with my audience.  And by research, I mean a brief and thoroughly unhelpful survey on Facebook.  It was an attempt at Scientifically Gathering Data, without actually being, you know….scientific*. I wanted to find out what to call this doo-dad so people know what the heck I’m talking about. Because, I call them The Buttons. Not even kidding. And I love The Buttons.

Well, I did love The Buttons, that is, until The Son Who Shall Remain Nameless (TSWSRN) managed to break it off the keyring.

TSWSRN has a crazy key ring with a house key, a key to my husband’s pickup and one for the 1999 Explorer that TSWSRN and I share. Three keys and an irrational number of non-key items.

When TSWSRN drives the Explorer, he takes my sensible key ring, which has the mailbox key (so he can get the mail) and The Buttons, because if you want to  open the hatch, you need them. If you accidentally set off the Very Sensitive Alarm (which is especially easy to do if you use an actual key to open it) you need The Buttons so you can turn the wretched thing off. ** The car remote is absolutely essential to the sane operation of the thing, so I wasn’t about to just stick it in a pocket once the key ring loop broke off. Much too easy for me or The Son Who Shall Still Remain Nameless to lose.

Broken Car Remote - hazardous key ring

 

He then attaches my sensible key ring to his crazy one with a carabiner clip, resulting in this twisted monstrosity. And the breaking off of the key fob.

 

Can’t imagine how that happened. Go figure.

 

 

 

So, I decided to channel my inner MacGyver and see if I could fix it with toothpicks and chewing gum wrappers, or other odds and ends we had lying about. It’s amazing what one can come up with in a pinch.

After nixing rubber bands and paper clips and duct tape, I came up with cable ties.Broken Car Remote - cable ties case

They’re also called zip ties, wire ties or tie-wraps. They’re mostly used to bundle wires together tightly and permanently, but they’re sometimes used as handcuffs in law enforcement. We happen to have a lot of them around here, because of my husband’s computer/technology business, but you can buy them in smaller quantities in a hardware or electronics department, or at a home improvement store.

I looked at my remote and decided I needed to use two cable ties. A larger one around the upper part, just above the buttons, and a smaller one to make a loop to connect to the key ring. Car remotes vary widely in design, so your placement may be different. Just figure out where you can get a secure hold without covering any of the buttons.

Broken Car Remote - 3 zip ties cable ties wire ties

 

 

 

You’ll need pliers and a way to cut the ends off the ties when you’re done. I found needle nose pliers to work best for me. Mine have a built-in side cutter. If you don’t have side cutters, a sturdy pair of scissors can be used, but be very careful.

Broken Car Remote - 4 pliers with sidecutterI made a loop from the larger cable tie, put it around the upper part of the remote, then pulled the cable tie just until it stayed in place.

Broken Car Remote - 5 loop zip tie around remote

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slipped the smaller tie under the large one on the back side, fastened it into a loose loop.

Broken Car Remote - 6 slip second cable tie thru first

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Using the pliers, pulled the loose tail on the cable around the remote, and made it as tight as I could. I used the needle nose pliers and grabbed it right next to the slot and twisted, leveraging it to get it tight enough that it won’t slip off.

Broken Car Remote - 7 tighten with needlenose pliers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adjusted the hanging loop to an appropriate size, then cut the tail off both ties.

Broken Car Remote - 8 trim with sidecutters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ready to roll. I did this a few months ago, and it’s held up extremely well. I could probably buy a replacement for more money than I want to spend, but seriously – the new remote would probably outlast the vehicle, so why bother?

Broken Car Remote - 9 Not like new but serviceable

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
*Survey results: Although a lot of people call them Key Fobs, most people don’t call them anything. All these poor car-button-thingies being ignored and taken for granted. No wonder they break off — they’re trying to run away from home.

**We bought it second- or third- or quite possibly seventeenth-hand. It has its foibles, but it’s at least it’s not possessed by an Electrical Demon like its predecessor. That was like being in a Stephen King movie, but with less dying.

You can stalk Bobbie Laughman on Pinterest, or go see if she’s up to anything at Gruntled, Sheveled, Whelmed.

Plato’s Potato Salad Recipe – The Requisite Summer Cookout Side Dish

Bobbie sez:Bobbie says:

Am I the only one who thinks a summer cookout just doesn’t seem right without potato salad? Whether you’re planning a barbecue for the July Fourth Independence Day here in the states, or planning a small family picnic; this easy potato salad recipe will round out the menu nicely.

I had a fear of making potato salad for a while. When I still lived at home, my parents had a friend, who was a very nice lady; but a rather dreadful cook. Her chili was thin and watery and I doubt a single chili pepper in any form was ever anywhere near it; and her potato salad was crunchy. Not from crisp, fresh bits of celery or onion, or even bacon. It was the potatoes. My husband has a similar story, of a beloved relative whose potato salad was spoken of only in hushed tones so as not to hurt her feelings. I did not want to be THAT person.

And when I finally decided to give it a go, guess who I turned out to be? Yep. The crunchy-potatoes-potato-salad-maker person. Fortunately, it was only for my own household, no guests, and it was only some of the potatoes that were a bit not un-crunchy. So, mostly edible. I kept working at it, trying different methods for getting the potatoes just right, and tweaking the dressing based on family input.

I was certain I’d finally perfected my potato salad on the day my husband referred to it as “Plato’s Potato Salad.”

We’d both had to take the same religion & philosophy course long ago at Grove City College, so I knew exactly what he meant. You’ve heard of Plato, that wacky ancient Greek philosopher? Well, he had this notion that things in the physical world were only cheap knockoffs of perfect things that existed only in the realm of thought. (No, seriously. It’s called Plato’s Theory of Forms. Look it up.) That chair you’re sitting on, comfy as it may be, is nowhere the ideal of perfect chair-ness that exists in your mind. So, when my husband called this Plato’s Potato Salad, I knew he liked it…

A lot.

Now that we’ve gotten the involuntary Greek philosophy lesson out of the way, on to the actual food discussion. I think it’s time for a picture.

Potato Salad - better and cheaper than the deli, with my lame atttempt at garnishing.

And there it is. I’m presentationally-impaired, so forgive my lame attempt at a garnish.

This is a pretty simple recipe, with only four chopped ingredients tossed with a non-sweet dressing. If you prefer yours on the sweet side or with – as we say at our house – “lots of stuff in it” then you might want to check out the potato salad recipe that Heather posted in 2009. That recipe also uses a different method of cooking the potatoes, which of course you could use here, as well. When I try it that way, I tend to end up making mashed potatoes and trying the potato salad again at a later time. It’s probably just my inability to pay attention to a timer beyond setting the thing. My method still uses a timer, but it’s slightly more forgiving in the paying-attention department.

 

Plato’s Potato Salad Recipe

  • 2 pounds medium potatoes (5 to 6) – enough to end up with 4 1/2 cups cubed, cooked potatoes
  • 6 hard cooked eggs, peeled
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion (yellow or purple)
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Wash the potatoes, scrubbing well with a brush if they’re very dirty. You want them completely free of dirt before cooking to avoid simmering the potatoes in muddy water. That wouldn’t be conducive to tasty tater salad. Get ‘em clean, kids.

Choose a pot large enough to hold all the potatoes in one layer, and make sure it has a lid that fits well. Fill with water to a depth of 1 inch and bring to a boil. Add the whole, clean and not-peeled potatoes. Cover tightly and return to boiling. Reduce heat to a high simmer and cook 30 to 35 minutes or until tender. If you can push a table knife (not a sharp knife) easily through to the center of the largest potato, they’re done. Drain and allow potatoes to cool until you can handle them enough to peel.

While the potatoes are cooking and cooling, combine the mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, salt, sugar and pepper. Set aside. Oh, and if you haven’t cooked your eggs yet, git ‘er done.

Here’s how I peel the cooked potatoes: take a sharp, non-serrated paring knife and use it to scrape the skin right off. I hold the knife so the blade is perpendicular to the surface of the potato. It comes off rather easily.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cut the potatoes into bite-sized chunks, or smaller if you prefer. Chop up the eggs into bite size or smaller pieces. I like big chunks of egg, but others may not. If you want to garnish with egg slices, cook an extra egg or two, then peel and keep in the fridge to slice just before serving.

 

Put the potatoes, eggs, celery and onion in a large bowl.

Pour dressing over and gently mix until all pieces are coated well.

 

 

Transfer to storage container or serving bowl and cover. Chill a bare minimum of two hours, but preferably several hours or overnight. Salad should be stirred gently before serving (or before adding your garnish if you’re doing that)

Recipe makes 3 1/4 pounds, or about 14 half-cup servings

Bobbie Laughman shot a man in Reno just to watch him die. You could report her, but you know they’ll just laugh at you. Besides, you know he had it coming, so instead you should go check out her blog Gruntled. Sheveled. Whelmed. Send questions to Bobbie@Home-Ec101.com