Pies and Pastries

Pies & Pastries

Did you know that “stressed” spelled backwards is “desserts”?

I love desserts.  Cherry and apple pie are at the top of my favorites list.

According to author, Janet Pittman, “Pastry has traditionally been a container for the workingman’s lunch.  Miners in England’s Cornwall left home every morning with a pastry-wrapped meat mixture in their pockets. The farmer in america came home at noon to chicken pot pie–a kind of chicken stew topped with a pastry lid.”

Restaurant chefs created puff pastries and across the Mediterranean travelers found flaky pastry sheets called filo or phyllo that were usually layered with dried fruits and nuts with lots of syrup.

Pittman states, that “a thrifty housewife in New England, trying to stretch her meager staples, discovered that a shallow pan needs less filling than a deep dish.  And that was the beginning of the basic round, shallow pie.”

Pies & Pastries will help the beginner pie/pastry maker in every way, from the equipment needed to making crust and how to decorate the top of the pie with a woven lattice design or how to flute the pie crust edge.  In a nut shell, this book is about the basics of creating pies and pastries.

No matter your ethnic background, there is something in this book for everyone.  There are recipes for Ratatouille Pie, Grandma’s Apple Pie, Pot Pies, Kulebiaka, Bacon-Tomato Rarebit, Calzones, Cornish Pasties, Pissaladiere, Empanadas de Queso, Sigaras, tarts, fruit pies, meat pies, Strudels, and much more.

Here is a recipe for “Baklava,” a Middle Eastern sweet.

3 cups finely chopped walnuts

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, if desired

About 3/4 cup butter

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 pound fresh or thawed frozen filo sheets

40 whole cloves, if desired

Honey syrup, see recipe below


Honey Syrup Ingredients:

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup water

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/3 cup honey


Combine walnuts and cinnamon, if desired.  Set aside.  Melt 3/4 cup butter and stir in oil.  Lightly brush a 13 inch by 9 inch baking pan with butter mixture.  Place 1 filo sheet in prepared pan, folding to fit in pan.  Lightly brush with butter mixture.  Repeat with 5 more filo sheets. Sprinkle the last sheet with a third of the nut mixture.  Place 1 filo sheet on top of the nut layer, folding to fit in pan.  Lightly brush with butter mixture.  Repeat with 3 more filo sheets.  Sprinkle the last shhet with half the remaining nut mixture.  Place 1 filo sheet on top of nut layer, folding to fit in pan. Lightly brush with butter mixture.  Repeat with 3 more filo sheets.  Sprinkle last sheet with remaining nut mixture.  Top with remaining filo sheets, folding to fit pan and brushing each sheet with butter mixture.  Press top layer firmly all over to lightly compact layers.  Trim any pastry that sticks above top layer.  Brush top with melted butter mixture.  If necessary, melt more butter.

Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C ).  With the tip of a very sharp knife, score a diagonal line from corner to corner.  Do not cut through layers.  On the same diagonal, score a line from the center points of adjoining sides.  Score a line between first line and second line.  Score another line between the second line and the corner.  Repeat on the other side of the first diagonal line.  Repeat all diagonals in the opposite directions to make 24 full diamonds and 16 half diamonds.

If desired, insert a clove in center of each piece.

Bake 30 minutes.

Immediately after placing Baklava in oven, prepare Honey Syrup.

After Baklava bakes 30 minutes, reduce heat to 300 F (150C ).

Bake 30 to 40 minutes longer until light golden brown.

Remove from oven.  Cut pastry on scored lines.  Pour Honey Syrup evenly over cut pastry.  Cool,  Makes 40 servings.


Honey Syrup:

Combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan.  Stir frequently over medium heat until mixture comes to a full boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.  Stir in lemon juice and honey.  Cool slightly.




Pies & Pastries, Appetizers, Main Dishes & Desserts

Published by HP Book, 1982

You can find this book on Amazon for the price of 1 cent to $133.

Comments Off

Filed under Authors, Books, Cookbooks, Recipes

Cynthia Helms

516jxvapkcl-_sy346_pjlook-inside-v2topright10_sh20_An Intriguing Life: A Memoir of War, Washington, and Marriage to an American Spymaster by Cynthia Helms with Chris Black (Rowman & Littlefield), 2012, 224 pages, $24.94; $14.95 e-Book. ISBN: 978-1-4422-2131-4.

About the book:

Rowman & Littlefield’s Fall 2013 catalog states,”From wartime England to Nixon’s America and beyond, Cynthia Helms was witness to some of the seminal events of our time–Vietnam, Watergate, and especially the demoralization of the CIA in the 1970s for political purposes.  Opening with her feminist ‘epiphany’ in 1968 that led her to end her first marriage of 24 years, this memoir reveals a world where appearances always had to be questioned, where rumors and gossip carried the weight of intrigue.”

“Cynthia Helms, (90 in 2012; today she is 93), has had a remarkable, if not, strictly speaking, an intriguing, life. If there’s any person of note she hasn’t met on either side of the Atlantic, it’s not obvious from her book, co-written with Chris Black.”  (The Washington Times)

“Helms…emerges as a pioneering woman who seized her destiny at a time when women were slowly beginning to transcent expectations placed upon them to meet the fresh demands and challenges of a new era.” (Publishers Weekly)

About the author:

Cynthia Ratcliff Helms is the widow of Richard M. Helms, the ex-director of Intelligence for the United States.  Chris Black is a wirter and communications consultant.



Comments Off

Filed under Authors, Books, Memoir

Rubery Book Award

The Rubery Book Award is the longest established book award based in the UK for independent and self published books. The key to our success is having a keen eye for quality from distinguished and reputable judges.

Deadline – April 30, 2015

For more information visit:

Comments Off

Filed under Authors, Awards, Books, Self-Publish

Dining on a Dime

51anxmjvlll51egubibaplDining on a Dime Cookbook by Tawra Kellam and Jill Cooper, (Temple, TX: T&L Group), 2004 was formely published under the titled, Not Just Beans.

On page 3 the authors tell you how to save money throughout the year by giving up something.  For instance, in 2004, if you gave up one pizza delivery each week (they say the cost is $20) that you could save $1040 over the course of one year.

Page 8 “Basics of Frugal Cooking” are suggestions to help you spend less on your grocery bill.  For instance, “Drink water with your meals.”  You will save on the amount you spend on milk, juice or soft drinks.

Plan your meals in advance.  That way when you go shopping you buy only what you need.

This book has tips on how to eat better and spend less, to make your own baby food, how to save on herbs, and it even has a shopping list that you use.  There is a “Freezer Guide” that tells you which recipes freeze well, the foods that do not freeze well, and several freezer tips.

No cookbook would be a cookbook without recipes.  And this book is packed with recipes for even the most pickiest eater.  And the recipes are simple and the instructions are easy to follow.

Here is a Ham and Bean recipe that will warm you up this cold winter.

2 cups dried lima or great northern beans, washed well

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

2 cups ham, cubed in pieces

Soak beans overnight in 6 cups of water.  Drain and put in pot with 6 cups fresh water.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add ham and simmer over low heat for 2 to 3 hours or until beans are tender.  Serves 6 to 8.

If you serve a bowl of this ham and bean with corn bread you have a low cost hearty meal that keep you warm while the weather outside is either cold or swirling with snow.



Comments Off

Filed under Authors, Books, Cookbooks, Recipes

Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Vegetable Soup

When I was researching Dwight D. Eisenhower and his hometown, I came across some of his favorite recipes.

Here is “Recipe of Dwight D. Eisenhower for Vegetable Soup”

“The best time to make vegetable soup is a day or so after you have fried chicken and out of which you have saved the necks, ribs, backs, un-cooked.  (The chicken is not essential, but does add something.)

“Procure from the meat market a good beef soup bone–the bigger the better.  It is a rather good idea to have it split down the middle so that all the marrow is exposed.  I frequently buy, in addition, a couple pounds of ordinary soup meat, either beef or mutton, or both.

“Put all this meat, early in the morning, in a big kettle.  The best kind is heavy aluminum, but a good iron pot will do almost as well.  Put in also the bony parts of the chicken you have saved.  Cover it with water, something on the order of 5 quarts.  Add a teaspoon salt, a bit of black pepper and, if you like, a touch of garlic (one small piece).  If you don’t like garlic put in an onion.  Boil all this slowly all day long.  Keep on boiling till the meat has literally dropped off the bone.  If your stock boils down during the day, add enough water from time to time to keep the meat covered.  When the whole thing has practically disintegrated pour out into another large kettle through a colander.  Make sure that the marrow is out of the bones.  I advise you to let this drain through the colander for quite a while as much juice will drain out of the meat.  (Shake the colander well to help get out all the juice.)

“I usually save a few of the better pieces of meat to be diced and put into the soup after it is done.  The rest of it can be given to your dogs or your neighbor’s chickens.  Put the kettle containing the stock you now have in a very cool place, outdoors in the winter time or in the ice box; let it stand all night and the next day until you are ready to make your soup.

“You will find that a hard layer of fat has formed on top of the stock which can usually be lifted off since the whole kettle full of stock has jelled.  Some people like a little bit of the fat left on and I know a few who like their soup very rich and do not remove more than about half of the fat.

“Put the stock back into your kettle and you are now ready to mak your soup.

“In a separate pan, boil slowly about a third of a teacupful of barley.  This should be cooked separately since it has a habit, in a soup kettle, of settling to the bottom and if your fire should happen to get too hot it is likely to burn.  If you cannot get barley use rice, but it is a poor substitute.

“One of the secrets of making good vegetable soup is not to cook any of the vegetables too long.  However, it is impossible to give you an exact measure of the vegetables you should put in because some people like their vegetable soup almost as thick as stew, others like it much thinner.  Moreover, sometimes you can get exactly the vegetables you want; other times you have to substitute.  Where you use canned vegetables, put them in only a few minutes before taking the soup off the fire.  If you use fresh ones, naturally they must be fully cooked in the soups.

“The things I like to put into my soup are about as follows:

1 qt. of canned tomatoes

1/2 teacupful of fresh peas.  If you can’t get peas, a handful of good green beans cut up very small can substitute.

2 normal sized potatoes, diced into cubes of about half-inch size

2 or 3 branches of good celery

1 good-sized onion (sliced)

3 nice-sized carrots diced about the same size as potatoes

1 turnip diced like the potatoes

1/2 cup of canned corn

A handful of raw cabbage cup up in small pieces

“Your vegetables should not all be dumped in at once.  The potatoes, for example, will cook more quickly than the carrots.  Your effort must be to have them all nicely cooked but not mushy, at about the same time.

“The fire must not be too hot but the soup should keep bubblings.

“When you figure the soup is about done, put in your barley which should now be fully cooked, add a tablespoonful of “Kitchen Bouquet” and taste for flavoring, particularly salt and pepper and if you have it, use some onion slat, garlic salt and celery salt.  (If you cannot get “Kitchen Bouquet”, use one teaspoonful of Lee and Perrin’s Worchestershire Sauce.

“Cut up the few bits of the meat you have saved and put about a small handful into the soup.

“While you are cooking the soup do not allow the liquid to boil down too much.  Add a bit of water from time to time.  If your stock was good and thick when you started, you can add more water than if it was thin when you started.

“As a final touch, in the sprintime when nasturtiums are green and tender, you can take a few nasturtium stems, cut them up in small pieces, boi them separately as you did the barley, and add them to your soup.  (About one tablespoonful after cooking).”


This recipe was found while researching at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library, Abilene, Kansas.  It was such a long time ago, that I have lost the box and file number of the original document, yet, I wanted to be sure to give the library credit for this recipe.




Filed under Recipes

Combining my Sites

I have more than one blogging site and have decided to combine them.  I will also be including some of my writing on this site.  Things will be lumped together and to find them you will need to search the categories.

Stay tuned.

Comments Off

Filed under Uncategorized

What Casts the Shadow?


Title: What Casts the Shadow (The Edge of the Known, Volume I)

Author Name: Seth Mullins

Author Bio:Seth Mullins writes visionary fiction, stories that seek for a marriage between the invisible inner landscape from whence our dreams and deepest inspirations come and the waking world, the world that we call ‘the real’, which sorely needs those life-giving forces. The result is fiction that seethes with surface drama and conflict while at the same time revealing aspects of the deeper mysteries of reality and of our own souls. The Edge of the Known series, his most recent project, is also inspired by years spent as a songwriter and performing musician. Seth has spent part of his life in Connecticut, New Mexico and Oregon, and currently lives in Vermont.

Author Links –
Website (Humanity’s Way Forward)
Twitter @SethMullins1

Book Genre: Visionary Fiction

Publisher: CreateSpace

Release Date: January 4, 2014

Buy Link(s): What Casts the Shadow? (The Edge of the Known, Volume I) http://amzn.to/1rkhffS

Trust in the Unseen (The Edge of the Known, Volume II) http://amzn.to/UBw3bw


Book Description: When an altercation outside of a performance venue nearly proves fatal, Brandon Chane begins What Casts the Shadow frontto realize how far his life is spinning out of control. His efforts to channel his pain, frustration and thwarted loves into his music may not suffice to save him. Then he meets Saul, a crisis counselor with the soul of an ancient medicine-man, and a far-reaching journey of healing – one that may teach him how to steer away from the very edge of the Abyss – begins.







Excerpt One:

All right,” Saul said with a wry smile. “I’m going to ask you for a memory. Go back as far as you can, to when you were a little kid. Tell me one phrase that you just hated, something that people would say that really provoked you.”

The answer came to me immediately: “Earth to Brandon.”

Why? Why did that piss you off so much?”

Because people act like they’re saying that to get your attention, but really it’s meant to put you in line. ‘Get with the program’ expresses the same thing. Think like us. Get on board with our agenda. Set your own imaginative life aside and accept what we say is real!”

All right,” he said. “And now, who did you hear this from?”

Teachers, mostly. Sometimes my parents.”

Saul stared off into space for a while, his chin resting on both his fists. When he finally spoke, he enunciated slowly, as if he was relaying a message that had come from a ways off.

So we’ve isolated quite a few things right there – some beliefs that have probably benefitted you a great deal and some others that have no doubt been detrimental. And they’re all woven together so that it’s hard to distinguish one from another.”

I gaped in incomprehension, shook my head. “What beliefs?”

Well, first off, you trusted yourself at a young age,” Saul said. “You knew that you were unique, as every person is. You thought of your individuality as something precious that you wanted to preserve and protect. And you believed that it needed protection from the world. That’s where we get into the territory of more harmful ideas that were clumped in with the beneficial ones. So tell me this: Why wouldn’t you want to get on board with whatever their program was?”

Oh, let’s see, Saul. They’re trashing the planet; they might blow it up with one of their bombs any day now. They lie to justify starting wars. They persecute people because of their skin color. Huh, I wonder. Why wouldn’t I want to jump on that chain-gang? Beats the hell out of me! Maybe I didn’t get the program because they hadn’t managed to implant one of their computer chips into my fucking brain!”

Saul took this all quite calmly. “O.k.: That’s plenty to work with for now. So you see what we’re up against, right? You start out with this strong sense of yourself, this belief in your own insights, and yet there you were about to enter into a world that you didn’t trust at all. You have been seeing and expecting the worst in humanity; and that put you in a real conundrum, because you’re just as much a human being as anyone else. Your own distrust is destined to rebound and bite you. And probably, underneath that, you fear that you’ll become like ‘them’ no matter what you do, that it’s inevitable.” He screwed his face into an expression of mock brutality. “But you’ll resist. You won’t give an inch of ground willingly. It’s no wonder you’re a fighter.”

I glared back. “So are you trying to tell me that people don’t do these things?”

I’m pointing out that your idea, that people are nothing but short-sighted, greedy and violent cretins, has not served you well. The human race commits all kinds of harm through its own lack of consciousness. I’m not denying that. But it has also been responsible for a great many wondrous things – things that you don’t focus on nearly so much as you do the negative aspects. You could just as easily admire people for a whole set of different reasons.”

I raised a dubious eyebrow.

Well, you look up to me, don’t you?” Saul challenged.

I shrugged. “Yeah. I guess so.”

Saul leaned forward as far as he could. His voice dropped to an almost conspiratorial whisper.

Maybe they were scared. Maybe they said ‘Earth to Brandon’ because they didn’t know where you were going to and they weren’t sure whether or not it was a safe place. Maybe they wanted you to get on board, to join in the circle, so that they could feel safer. The point is that we’re run by any of a million possible motives. You could give people the benefit of the doubt, instead of assuming that every time you get a directive it’s coming from somebody who wants nothing more than to blow up the world or turn you into a mental slave.”

Saul offered me a bottle of water out of his little cooler. He must have known that I needed a minute to absorb all of this. Fooling around with black magic and dipping into psychology books is nothing alongside the challenge inherent in really looking at yourself. I would soon be finding that out.





December 7 – Introduction at VBT Café Blog
December 8 – Guest Blogging at Mythical Books
December 10 – Spotlight at BK Walker Books
December 10 – Spotlight at Indy Book Fairy
December 12 – Spotlight at IndieWriterReviews
December 15 – Author 2 Author Marketing at BookIt BK Walker
December 17 – Interviewed at Bikers With Books
December 19 – Spotlight at Black Lilac Kitty
December 22 – Interviewed at Ghost Rider Book Promotions
December 24 – Interviewed at BK Walker Books Etc.
December 26 – 5 Things I Know For Sure at CAT Magazine
December 29 – Spotlight at My Life, Loves and Passions
December 31 – Guest Blog at Lori’s Reading Corner
January 1 – Reviewed at Tea and Book
January 5 -Guest Blogging at Debbie Jean Blog
January 7 – Review & Guest Blogging at Platypire Reviews
January 9 -Spotlight at Black Lilac Kitty
January 13 – Reviewed at Paranormal Romance and Authors That Rock
January 13 – Spotlight at 4 Covert 2 Overt A Place In The Spotlight
January 13 – Spotlight at Books & Tales
January 19 – Reviewed at BK Walker Books

1 Comment

Filed under Authors, Fiction