Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Moms Are Inspirations

Happy Monday, once again, and happy March Eve! I love Mondays! They’re my 52 Chances, every year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!



March (2022) and National Women’s History Month starts tomorrow! There are so many famous women to recognize world-wide – Amelia Earhart, Margaret Thatcher, Mother Teresa, Madam Curie, Rosa Parks, Margaret Sanger, Princess Diana, Sandra Day O’Connor, Eleanor Roosevelt, “Rosie the Riveter”, Maya Angelou – the list goes on!

I want to include “moms”! I’ve been writing every week about my mom’s own amazing history, of being “The Recipe Detective”. Mom created the copycat cookery concept about 50 years ago, in the early 1970s – imitating fast foods, restaurant dishes, and grocery products at home.

Most of what Mom knew in the kitchen, when she first started what became her “Secret RecipesTM” business, she had initially learned from, both, her mom and mother-in-law. I think, in most families, the moms are probably the greatest sources of inspiration.

Let me tell you about the women who inspired my mom (and me)! Mom’s mom, Esther (Klein) Carter, “Grandma Carter” to me, taught her many cooking, baking, and presentation techniques. Pies were Grandma’s specialty, as well as, crafting skills (like sewing, knitting, crocheting, cross-stitching, etc.).

I don’t know much about Grandma Carter’s mom. Grandma’s family had immigrated to the Ohio/Pennsylvania area from Prussia when she was small. Her mom died after her youngest brother, Earl, was born. Grandma’s dad struggled with trying to raise them all by himself and find work, too.

Grandma and her seven siblings were then raised in a Catholic orphanage, even though they were Jewish, because there weren’t any places, at the time, that could/would take them. The nuns made sure the children stayed together (until they aged-out) and went to the synagogue down the road every week, for the Sabbath.

After starting to work as my Grandpa Carter’s secretary [circ. 1934], in his real estate business, they fell in love and married a few years later. Grandma became a member of Grandpa’s church (the Church of Christian Science). She also got her own real estate license, in spite of the male-dominated profession.

Grandma retired from realty when she was about 74 years old. However, she couldn’t be idol. She stayed involved in her church (becoming a Reader and a Practitioner). She volunteered in local civic organizations and sold her crafts. She also put together her own recipe folder/collection, to sell by mail-order, with a little of Mom’s help.

Below are some articles that Mom had saved over the years from the Royal Oak area’s “Daily Tribune” about my grandma, the first of which includes Grandma’s own secret recipe for Veal Olympic.


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 106)


MY MOTHER TAUGHT ME early-on that the best things in life aren’t things! I have tried to pass this on to my children as well. Feelings and thoughts and expressions of caring are more important to me, and I am not one bit surprised to learn from many of our newsletter readers, that they feel the same. We must remember to remove price tags from people. Everyone has worth; the excitement lies in the discovery of their value!


The quests for the loaves and fishes’, however, gives us a false sense of what is of value, and this is the notion that I’ve tried to convey in my writings. In spite of the real value of the intangible things in life, I do still have a few favorite things. These are simple belongings with no redeemable value to anyone but me.

There is, for instance, a set of all five of Elsie Masterton’s cookbooks from her Blueberry Hill Farm series of the 1950s. There is a cross in a crown on a necklace chain that I fashioned for myself out of an Avon tie tack [of a] crown and a drugstore crucifix, plus some Super Glue. I really enjoy wearing it. Wearing it reminds me to find a feeling of oneness with my Source, first thing every day.

On the wall of our bedroom, there is a picture frame containing photos of each of our five children taken a few minutes after each was born. On a shelf, in the kitchen, is a cookie tin that bears the picture of Wally Amos (Famous Amos of chocolate chip cookie fame), which he personally presented to me in February 1988, when he surprised me during the televised filming of the ‘Home’ show in Hollywood, with Rob Weller as host.

A letter from Pres. Ford, thanking me for the moral support I gave him after his first televised press conference, and the cookbook I had sent him, is another small treasure among my ‘things’. There is also a framed citation from WXYZ-Radio for having given an outstanding broadcast with them during the Republican Convention in Detroit.

The silver ice bucket that our five children presented to Paul and me on our 25th wedding anniversary [June 1981] is but another favorite ‘thing’. Wealth does not equal worth and so the amount of money we could have earned, but turned down instead, as a result of keeping our publication at home, is not as important as the work itself.

My dad’s mom, Anise Knotts Pitzer, “Grandma Pitzer” to me, taught Mom about gardening and canning; plus, how to make her own grocery products at home, to save money. All of which Grandma learned from her own mom. Grandma Pitzer grew some great, prize-winning tomatoes! Mom learned a lot from her.

That’s when Mom and Dad lived with Dad’s parents, for a short time, right after they got married. Years later, Mom wrote a prize-winning story, about living with in-laws, for a magazine contest. In fact, Mom wrote many inspiring stories about Grandma and her mom’s West Virginia, backdoor bakery. I’ve shared some of her stories in a few previous blog posts, including Heirlooms (June 8, 2020).


This is the last day of February (2022), for observing the month’s national celebrations, such as… National Fasting February, An Affair to Remember Month, Black History Month, National Canned Food Month, National Creative Romance Month, National Great American Pies Month, National Bake for Family Fun Month, National Bird Feeding Month, National Grapefruit Month, National Hot Breakfast Month, National Library Lover’s Month, National Snack Food Month, and National Weddings Month! Do something special – learn something new!


In honor of tomorrow, being National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day, here’s Mom’s secret recipe for homemade, sugar-free Peanut Butter (with a maple option); as seen in her self-published cookbook, Sugar-Free Recipes (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Nov. 1987, p. 47).


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


Today, February 28th is… National Chocolate Souffle Day and National Floral Design Day! Plus, as the last Monday of February, it’s also the start of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week!

Tomorrow, March 1st is… National Dadgum That’s Good Day, National Fruit Compote Day, National Minnesota Day, and National Pig Day! Plus, as the day before Ash Wednesday (2022), it’s also… Fat Tuesday (aka: Mardi Gras), Paczki Day, Fastnacht Day, and National Pancake Day (per IHOP)!

March also observes, among other things… Irish-American Heritage Month, National Caffeine Awareness Month, National Celery Month, National Craft Month, National Flour Month and National Sauce Month!

March 2nd is… National Banana Cream Pie Day and, National Old Stuff Day! Plus, it’s… National Read Across America Day (Dr. Seuss Day) [NOTE: If the 2nd falls on a Saturday or Sunday, this celebration moves to the closest school day.] Additionally, (for 2022) it’s also… Ash Wednesday! This year, the season of Lent runs through Thursday, April 14th.

Thursday, March 3rd is… National Anthem Day, National Cold Cuts Day, National I Want You to Be Happy Day, National Mulled Wine Day, and Soup It Forward Day!

March 4th is… National Grammar Day, National Pound Cake Day, and National Sons Day! Plus, as the first Friday in March (for 2022), it’s also… National Day of Unplugging, National Dress in Blue Day, National Speech and Debate Education Day, and National Employee Appreciation Day! 

March 5th is… National Cheese Doodle Day! Plus, as the first Saturday of the month (for 2022), it’s also… National Play Outside Day!

Sunday, March 6th is… National Frozen Food Day, National White Chocolate Cheesecake Day, and National Oreo Cookie Day! In honor of the latter, here’s a re-share of Mom’s Oreo imitation, which she called Gloreos!

Plus, National Procrastination Week is the first two weeks in March, which is either the 1st-14th or (for the first two FULL weeks) the 6th-19th! Basically, you can put this observance off until whenever it’s convenient for you! Other week-long observances, starting on the 6th, include… National Read an E-Book Week, National Words Matter Week, International Women’s Week, and Girl Scout Week!



…9 down and 43 to go!

Spanish Bar Cake & Frosting, Like Ann Page


By Gloria Pitzer, as seen in… The Copycat Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; April 1988, p. 52)


20-oz can apple pie filling

4 large eggs

1 TB apple pie spice powder

¼ tsp powdered cloves

18-oz box yellow cake mix

1 cup raisins

1 cup chopped walnuts


Put pie filling in blender with eggs and spices. Blend until almost smooth, using an on/off agitation on high speed. Dump this into a 2-qt mixing bowl and thoroughly blend in cake mix powder with electric beaters on medium speed.

Remove beaters and stir in raisins and nuts. Pour evenly into greased and floured 9”x13”x2” pan. Bake at 325°F for 50-55 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan, on wire rack, for 30 minutes before applying Bar Cake Frosting [below].



By Gloria Pitzer, as seen in… The Copycat Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; April 1988, p. 52)


8-oz cream cheese, very soft

¼-lb (1 stick) margarine

1/3 cup dark corn syrup

1 TB bottled, grated, orange peel

3½ cups powdered sugar

¼ tsp powdered cloves


Beat cream cheese and margarine together until smooth and creamy. Add corn syrup and continue to beat until [everything is] incorporated.

Beat in orange peel. Add powdered sugar and cloves. Spread icing over cold cake.

Cut cake into 4 equal [large bars]. Wrap and freeze what you won’t be using within a week. Cut remaining portions into serving-size pieces.


*I also shared this recipe in June 2020, on WHBY’s Good Neighbor” show, with Kathy Keene!

See also…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Twinkie Day Eve

Thin Vanilla Icing


By Gloria Pitzer, as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Mostly 4-Ingredient Recipes (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; April 1986, p. 100)


2 TB milk

1 tsp vanilla

1 TB butter or margarine

10 TB firmly packed powdered sugar


In small bowl, briskly whip ingredients together, using fork or wire whisk, until smooth.

Makes enough to ice 2 loaves [of bread or a Lemon Chiffon Cake].


See also…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Spring Cleaning Time

Lemon Chiffon Cake


By Gloria Pitzer, as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Mostly 4-Ingredient Recipes (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; April 1986, p. 67)


4-oz pkg. instant lemon pudding [powder]

18-oz box yellow cake mix

4 eggs

1 cup water

4 TB oil


Stir together dry ingredients. Put other 3 ingredients in blender , on high speed, about half a minute or until smooth. Pour over dry mixture. With electric beaters on high speed, blend until batter is very smooth.

Pour into greased and floured, 10-inch, tube pan. Bake at 350°F for 55 minutes or until tester inserted into [center of] cake comes out clean.

Cool upright, in pan, on rack for 45 minutes. Loosen [sides] with tip of sharp knife. Invert onto platter. Drizzle with thin vanilla icing. Serves 8-10.


See also…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Spring Cleaning Time

Ham-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes, West Virginia-Style


By Gloria Pitzer, as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s The American Cookery Cookbook – written and published by Gloria Pitzer (Happy Newspaper Features, Pearl Beach, MI; July 1976, p. 39)


4 large, sweet potatoes

2 cups fully cooked ham, chopped

1/3 cup cranberry-orange relish

¼ cup raisins

2 TB brown sugar

½ tsp salt

4 TB butter or margarine, softened


Bake potatoes at 425°F for 40 minutes. Cut a slice [lengthwise] from the “top” of each potato and scoop out the insides. [Set the shells aside.]

Chop the potato [meat]. Combine [the rest of the ingredients]. Fold in the chopped potato. Spoon mixture into the potato shells. Place stuffed potatoes on baking sheet.

Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Bake potatoes for 15 to 20 minutes more, or until they are heated through. Serves 4.


See also…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Spring Has Sprung!

Irish Soda Bread


By Gloria Pitzer, as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 174). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).]


½ cup Club Soda

1 egg

1 ½ cups biscuit mix

½ cup sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla

dash of nutmeg


Using electric beaters on medium speed, combine ingredients, as listed, until dry particles are well moistened, but do not over-beat.

Pour into a greased, 1-quart, casserole dish. Place on center rack of a 400°F oven. Bake 20 minutes; then, turn heat to 350°F for an additional 12 to 15 minutes or until it tests done.

Cool in baking dish on a wire rack for 10 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate. Serve warm, cut into pie-shaped wedges, with butter and honey on the side.

OR slice into strips about ½ inch thick and toast under the broiler. Spread the slices with cream cheese while still warm.


See also…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Americanized Irish

Girl’s Scoot Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies


By Gloria Pitzer, as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 224). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).]


2 cups biscuit mix

2 eggs

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

5 TB peanut butter

1 TB vanilla


Beat [ingredients] well & make 6 dozen marble-sized balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheets and flatten each with the bottom of a glass, greased once and dipped in sugar. Do not re-grease the bottom of the glass but do dip it into the sugar with each cookie flattened. Bake at 350°F for 6 to 8 minutes or until set, but not over-baked. Cool completely before filling with peanut butter icing (below.)




1/3 cup milk

1/3 cup dark corn syrup

½ cup packed brown sugar

2/3 cup peanut butter

1 cup powdered sugar.


In a small sauce pan, bring to a boil, milk, corn syrup, and brown sugar. Stir constantly for 5 minutes on gentle simmer. Remove from heat and, at once, stir in peanut butter and powdered sugar.

Blend with electric beaters on medium speed until smooth. Next, spread ½ teaspoon frosting on flat side of half the cookies. Press frosting flat with flat side of a second cookie, sandwich style.

Makes 3 dozen sandwich cookies.


See also…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – The Legacy Effect

Peanut Butter Pie, Like Goody-Goody’s

PEANUT BUTTER PIE, Like Goody-Goody’s

By Gloria Pitzer, as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 239). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).]

Like Goody-Goody Restaurant – one of Dayton, Ohio’s popular places for great food!


9-inch, partially-baked, Butter Crust pie shell

3 tablespoons butter or margarine

1/3 cup peanut butter

2 cups packed brown sugar

¼ cup milk

2 medium-sized eggs

2 teaspoons vinegar


Prepare the pie shell per recipe directions, baking partially. While pie shell is in the oven, beat butter and peanut butter until creamy, adding sugar a little at a time, until fluffy. Beat in remaining ingredients and pour into warm, partially-baked crust.

Place pie pan on a cookie sheet on center rack of 350°F oven and bake for almost an hour or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool before cutting to serve 6 to 8. Garnish each serving with sweetened whipped cream and chopped peanuts.


See also…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Who Never Got A Dinner!

Lindy’s-Style Strawberry Pie


As imitated by Gloria Pitzer, in her self-published cookbook, The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; June 1997, p. 29)


1 cup sugar

3 TB cornstarch

10-oz 7-Up or lemon-lime soda

2 TB strawberry Jell-O powder

1-qt whole strawberries, hulled

9-inch baked pie shell

1 cup thick, strawberry preserves

½-pint heavy whipping cream, whipped stiff & sweetened a bit


Combine sugar, cornstarch, and pop/soda in saucepan and cook on medium-high heat, stirring constantly until thickened and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in gelatin powder until dissolved [about 2 minutes]. Set aside to cool.

Drain any juice from berries and very carefully fold them into the cooling Jell-O mixture. Coat berries well and then spoon them carefully into the pie shell, hull-side-down. Arrange into single layer, spooning remaining Jell-O over the berries and filling in any spaces.

Melt preserves over hot water and spoon it over the filled pie shell. Refrigerate pie several hours or until set. Pile the top with whipped cream. Keep refrigerated to cut and serve within a week. Serves 6-8, reasonably.


See also…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Radio Is Like Family

Milwaukee Cheese Soup, Like Sanders’


By Gloria Pitzer, as seen in… The Joy Of NOT Cooking – Any More Than You Have To (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Nov. 1983, p. 71)

When I last tried this at Sanders’, where the hot fudge topping was originally made famous as an ice cream accompaniment, I was surprised that it was a ‘white’ cheese soup, as opposed to the traditional yellow cheese mixture that is basically served Canadian-style, in most restaurants.

So, without imposing on my friendship with Jack Sanders, now [1983] Chairman of the Board of the company founded by his grandfather, Fred, I went home to try my hand at a quickie, can-opener, gourmet version.


10-oz can cream of celery soup

10-oz can cream of potato soup

½ cup coffee cream, light (or Half & Half)

¼ tsp pepper

½ cup crispy, fried bacon (crumbled) – NOT artificial bacon

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

3 TB butter


In top of double boiler, over simmering water combine [ingredients, as listed]. Stir until smooth over the simmering water. Serve piping hot to 4 – maybe 5 – people.


See also…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Culture Of Kindness