Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Homesteading

Happy Monday to all! Mondays are my #52Chances each year! So, #TGIM – because it’s another chance for me to share “Memories of My Mom”!

Homesteading was a big part of our roots. Do you think it will be a big part of our future, too? Over the past century, we’ve all experienced some hard times in our lives at some point, or the fallout from it. Especially our ancestors, who lived through the eras of the 1918 influenza pandemic and the 1930s’ Great Depression, just to name a couple.

These are unprecedented times for us. Everywhere, people are being asked to work from home if they can and consider social distancing, if they can’t; plus, thorough hand washings, often, among other recommendations… No more non-essential travel, gatherings or activities are becoming the new norm for us, while toilet paper and cleaning products are being hoarded beyond need!

We are a society of gatherers and we’re used to our freedom to do so. We take our freedoms for granted, making it so difficult for so many of us to physically separate ourselves from others. However, at least now, we have the internet and things like “Facebook Live” and “Face Time” to continue interacting with others. So, we’re all alone together!

My area, recently, had a run on bread that was quickly followed by a run on yeast, as people are resorting more and more to making their own. Given our current circumstances, I think we’re all going to be trying to learn more about old-fashioned “homesteading” skills now. That’s why, last week, I shared my homemade disinfectant recipe with you, as disinfecting sprays and wipes were also becoming a rare commodity – and, as Mom would say, “because great recipes need to be shared!” (Asking only for proper credit if you do!)

Gloria Pitzer, Recipe Detective

This week, if you want to make your own bread and can’t find yeast, I have one of Mom’s wonderful copycat recipes for you at the end of this blog entry. It’s called “Beer Bread” and it’s from page 152 of Mom’s last book, Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press, Jan. 2018). The element of yeast is already in the beer and the alcohol content evaporates with the cooking process, creating an awesome bread! (Again, asking only for proper credit if you share it!)

Who would’ve thought that Mom’s original ideas, back in the 1970s, about duplicating famous dishes in our own kitchens and “Eating Out At Home”, as well as creating “Homemade Groceries”, would be so popular, yet again, as restaurants across the country have been closing their dining rooms in an effort to help squash the spread of the Covid-19 virus through gatherings in their establishments.

First 5 books of the Secret Recipes Collection


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 4)


WE ALL EXPECT life to be good to us – most of the time. That isn’t too much to ask, now, is it? But when things don’t work out the way we had planned or [as we had] hoped… the tendency is there to feel [that] life gave us lemons. The best experiences often come out of the biggest disappointments. So, when life gives you lemons, you have to make lemonade – turning a ‘let-down’ into a ‘set-up’…

Norman Vincent Peale once said that God never closes a door that he hasn’t opened a window. But the opportunities that are available to us aren’t always the most obvious when we’re in the throes of self-pity or weary from overwork… You certainly won’t hear opportunity knocking at the front door if you’re in the backyard, looking for four-leaf clovers.

To seize every opportunity to express your very best effort is the kind of motivation with which I grew up and have passed on to our five, now-adult, children. When they all lined up for this Memorial Day snapshot [in 1969 (below)], before we left to march in the big parade in beautiful, downtown Algonac; little did we know how beautifully our [lives] would tun out. How little did we know what big challenges would tempt us to give up [and] to succumb to defeat.

Photo by Gloria Pitzer (1970-ish)


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 40)

‘We must not let the snags overcome us and render our lives a misery instead of a blessing.’ – Gloria Pitzer

THE MIRROR OF LIFE reflects much more than we see. Writer, David Meisel, said, ‘Life itself is a story that only God knows in its entirety.’ In living our own personal story, each one of us must see the need to minimize fear and magnify hope, to minimize anguish and magnify patience. Truth, in its simplicity, proves that we are best served by periodic self-examination – our thought, our internal rules, our face in the mirror; and what we each believe to be true, what we perceive is life lived for good – for others’ good as well as our own.

My mom was a groundbreaking innovator, starting the COPYCAT/HOMEMADE fast food, junk food and famous restaurant dishes concept. She also taught her readers how to stretch food & reinvent leftovers; plus how to make a lot of their own groceries! Her critics thought it was a passing fad that wouldn’t last.

Not only did it last but it also grew by leaps and bounds! Mom created a movement of people wanting to make their own fast food, junk food and grocery products at home. The concept was so contagious that there were many copycats who were copying the ORIGINAL copycat – some were even to the point of plagiarism!


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 70)

BACK IN 1976, when The Guinness Book of World Firsts included my discovery of re-creating fast foods at home, it was encouraging. They were most concerned about my version of the Colonel’s ‘secret spices’, McDonald’s ‘special sauce’ and Arthur Treacher’s fish batter, which were among the first recipes that I attempted to imitate. I had been warned, however, early on, by critics, skeptics, newspaper reporters who wrote articles about us and even food experts who contacted us, that my ‘Secret Recipes’ would probably be a short-lived venture, as would the fast food industry itself.

FOR THE PAST 17 years [1973-1989], not a day has gone by without a generous amount of mail or phone calls, expressing an enthusiastic interest in what our family has been doing with the recipes we’ve developed and published, as a kitchen table enterprise. Under the able direction of my husband, Paul, and his full-time management, we have gone from a hand-operating mimeograph machine in our laundry room, to a full-fledged office – staff and all – back, again, to the simplicity of [home and] a two-person operation.

We like it best this way, and we’ve had it all – the sophisticated and expensive means by which we would distribute and publicize our books and newsletter to the exclusiveness of working with radio. I have been invited to do videotapes for TV and VCRs but the filming of our recipes, I have learned, is not as essential to the success of using them, as the critics have insisted. This is proven true through our lending our work, without charge, to the Braille Institute and Books for the Blind, Talking Books. The conversational way in which our recipes are presented, makes a picture unnecessary!

Mom always felt blessed for being able to work from home, doing what she loved most – writing! She often said that she made a living from her writing, but it was the writing that made it all worthwhile! Whenever I sit down to write anything for this blog, I have to say, it certainly feels like the best part of my day!

I love that I can do this blog from home (or anywhere, for that matter)! Unfortunately, it doesn’t make a living for me – not yet, at least. Meanwhile, my “paying job” is considered part of the “essential services” workforce that has been allowed to remain working because it provides a service for the grocery and pharmacy stores’ support systems.

My work takes me all over, to various stores in my county; thus, when I have to work, I remain conscious of my surroundings and practice all the recommended hygiene and disinfecting guidelines. I also try to keep my social distance from others and stay out of close/confined public areas, whenever possible. I don’t want to contract the virus, nor be a carrier of it. But, unfortunately, the bills don’t stop coming in because of this 2020 virus pandemic and they still need to be paid.

BEER BREAD By Gloria Pitzer

As seen in Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press, Jan. 2018; p. 152)


2 cups self-rising flour

3 tablespoons sugar

1 egg, beaten

12-ounce can Busch Light beer


Mix the flour and sugar together with a fork and set aside. Beat the egg and beer together in an accommodating cup. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the liquid. Mix it only until all dry particles have been moistened, like a muffin batter should be mixed. Do not over-beat! Pour into a greased and floured 9-inch loaf pan. Bake at 350°F for about 30 to 35 minutes or until you can insert a thin wooden skewer through the center to the bottom of the pan and remove it without any traces of wet batter. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Wipe top of loaf with melted butter and dust lightly with sugar. Slice when cooled.

NOTE: If the bread appears to fall or sink while cooling, it means you didn’t bake it long enough. If it’s heavy and moist, it means you over-beat it. If it turns out dry and crumbly, it means you didn’t beat it enough – so don’t be fooled into thinking that just because the recipe has only 4 ingredients that you can slap it together and have it turn out beautifully. Combine ingredients with care!

Illustration by Gloria Pitzer

P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…

#NationalStressAwarenessMonth & #StressAwarenessMonth

April is just around the corner and it’s considered National Month of Hope & National Stress Awareness month! Why not “Spring forward” and start observing it today – because, as says, “this month, we are all challenged to keep our stress levels low, and our peace levels high.” The website also lists 5 great ways to “de-stress” if you find yourself overwhelmed by your current situation with this pandemic or some other situation.

Shout out to at, for their uplifting article, “7 Ways To Stay Strong When Everything Goes Wrong”, that really applies to these current, troubled days that we’re all facing! I found the following excerpt from it especially inspiring:

Remind yourself that everything in life is temporary. Every time it rains, it stops raining.  Every time you get hurt; you heal.  After darkness there is always light – you are reminded of this every morning… So if things are good right now, enjoy it.  It won’t last forever.  If things are bad, don’t worry because it won’t last forever either.  Just because life isn’t easy at the moment, doesn’t mean you can’t laugh.  Just because something is bothering you, doesn’t mean you can’t smile.  Every moment gives you a new beginning and a new ending.  You get a second chance, every second.  You just have to take it and make the best of it.”


REMINDER: suggests that we… “Stop shaming Monday and look at what Monday has to offer… 52 CHANCES to see a beautiful sunrise… share your talents with the world… teach someone a new skill that will better their lives…” For me, it’s 52 CHANCES to tell Mom’s story and, hopefully, ignite happy memories for others; while re-inspiring love in the kitchen, in the home and family, throughout the neighborhood and around the world. 12 down, 40 to go!

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