Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Cleaning Week Is Here

Happy Monday and happy National Cleaning Week! I look forward to Cleaning Week as much as I do Mondays. And if you know me, you know I LOVE Mondays! They’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you!



Yesterday (the fourth Sunday in March) kicked-off National Cleaning Week! I’ve mentioned before that this isn’t something Mom would’ve celebrated. Dad might have, though. They always seemed to balance each other out! Mom joked about the impending disaster that would happen if she left Dad home alone with us kids.

However, before he met Mom, Dad was in the air force for a few years; and he was no stranger to cleaning chores when he was growing up, either. Dad taught me how to make my bed properly. He’d say, “a quarter should bounce on it!” Out of all the household chores, Mom hated making the bed, overall, and Dad hated “KP duty”. Again, they balanced each other out!

Even though there are calorie-burning benefits involved, Mom still didn’t like cleaning! It’s not that she didn’t do it – she just didn’t like it. My parents were, both, brought up in a generation that did what they “had to”, like it or not. Keeping a clean home was just something they were taught to do as responsible, civilized people.

When I was growing up, my siblings and I had to keep our rooms clean and our beds made. We earned an allowance, doing extra chores. My sisters and I helped Mom with the inner housework, while our brothers helped Dad with the yard and other maintenance projects, as well as taking out the trash. Back then, our 50 cents a week allowance went a long way at the penny candy counter of our neighborhood convenience store.

Before Women’s Lib developed in the1960s (and in many ways, still, today), cooking and cleaning were deemed “woman’s work”. Call me weird, but I actually grew to like cleaning. I feel a sense of accomplishment, in keeping a clean home.

I’m a little OCD – my family teases me that, in my case, it’s CDO because I like things alphabetical (and numerical) – so it’s no surprise that organizing is one of my favorite “hobbies”. Mom had her own system for organizing and I totally messed it up one time when I thought I was doing her a favor, organizing her desk. Afterward, she got the sign pictured below.


As seen in… “No Laughing Matter”; a syndicated column by Gloria Pitzer

(date unknown; circ. 1970s)


WITH ALL DUE RESPECT to Women’s Lib, I don’t think they can help me. I think they’ve done enough for me already! Frankly, I think I was doing alright before they came along. At least I could get a seat on a bus. Now I’m lucky if a man will offer to hold my packages for me.

I can also remember when cutting the grass was considered “man’s work”. These days my husband flips me two-out-of-three to see which of us gets the lawn mower and who will fix the iced tea and sit on the patio chair to watch.

Last week, I was visited by a new militant group of women in our neighborhood who are protesting the proposed 4-day work week for MEN. They advocated a simple test. If you cannot get through a two-week vacation and the Christmas holidays with a man who over-waters your house plants and alphabetizes your refrigerator then how can you get through a three-day weekend, 52 weeks out of the year?

For you must then decide if you have to run the sweeper [aka: vacuum] while he’s taking a nap, or does he have to take a nap while you’re running the sweeper. Arguing with a husband (especially when he’s your own), is like taking a shower/bath in a scuba outfit. But I have a theory!

There are some things in this liberated life, which a woman just cannot control. You have tasted instant failure when neither of you can agree on who gets custody of the only controls on the electric blanket; and if it’s fair that she who makes the garbage must also carry it out; and whose mother calls more – yours or his?

This is the same man who warned me not to go into labor on his bowling night and who, on Christmas, gave me a monogrammed tool box and a gift certificate from Sunoco for an oil change and lube job, and a can of Easy-Off in my stocking.

The liberating females of our society have missed the joy of knowing what it means to live with a man who claims he’s always out of socks, but YOU know there are two more pairs in the drawer and [of course] only YOU can find them!

Most husbands are generally quite liberal with their wives in spite of the ‘Lib Movement’… I’ll have you know that my husband has always allowed me to make all sorts of important decisions – like: ‘Does that child need a nap?’ ‘Should that baby have her pants changed?’ ‘Do you really need another new pant suit?’ ‘Must your mother call here every day?’ ‘Should we recognize Red China?’ ‘Will they find Howard Hughes?’

The only liberation I want is to get away from the kids once in a while, without having the school counselor label me as a parent who doesn’t care. When you cannot free yourself from the oven encased in molten lasagna and apple pie fossils, you know that liberation is but a piper’s dream in your soap opera saga.

On the other hand, my husband takes a realistic approach to my emancipation. He claims women have never had it so good… (What does HE know?) His trying to tell me about women’s rights is like trying to tell General Eisenhower about World War II. However, I look at it this way: ‘Either give me liberty… OR GIVE ME A CLEANING LADY!


If you don’t like to clean, as Mom didn’t, make it less intimidating. Break it down into smaller tasks, doing only one room at a time. Don’t forget to take personal breaks! I start by cleaning the ceilings first, especially around crown moldings, light fixtures, and fans. Then I move to the walls, door and window moldings, picture frames, shelves, and other decorations. I follow that by cleaning lamps, table tops, and other furniture; leaving the floor for last.

Plus, if the achievement, itself, isn’t reward enough; create something that is. Thirty minutes of doing various household chores, vigorously, can burn numerous amounts of calories. According to 20 Everyday Activities and the Calories They Burn, by the Editors of Publications International, Ltd. ( you can, in 30 minutes, burn 252 calories moving furniture, 153 mopping, 84 sweeping and/or vacuuming, 80 dusting, 74 making dinner, and 72 folding laundry.


Since today is National Something on a Stick Day, here are Mom’s copycat recipes for Corn Dogs & Fresh’s Mild Mustard; as seen in her last book… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, pp. 110 & 23). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition)].



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


March is still celebrating, among other things… Irish-American Heritage Month, National Caffeine Awareness Month, National Celery Month, National Craft Month, National Women’s History Month, and National Sauce Month! Moreover, it’s unofficially Maple Sugaring Month!

Today is also… National Black Forest Cake Day!

Tomorrow is… National Lemon Chiffon Cake Day, National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day, and National Nevada Day!

Wednesday, March 30th is… National Take a Walk in the Park Day, National I Am in Control Day, National Pencil Day, National Turkey Neck Soup Day, and National Virtual Vacation Day!

Thursday, March 31st is… National Bunsen Burner Day, National Clams on the Half Shell Day, National Crayon Day, and National Tater Day!

Friday is the beginning of April, which observes, among other things… National Month of Hope, Keep America Beautiful Month, Lawn and Garden Month, National Couple Appreciation Month, National Decorating Month, National Fresh Celery Month, National Garden Month, National Humor Month, National Soft Pretzel Month, National Soy Foods Month, National Poetry Month, National Pecan Month, National Volunteer Month, Scottish-American Heritage Month, and Stress Awareness Month!

Additionally, April 1st is… April Fool’s Day, National One Cent Day, and National Sourdough Bread Day!

April 2nd is… National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day and National Reconciliation Day! Plus, as the first Saturday in April (for 2022), it’s also…  National Love Our Children Day, National Play Outside Day, and National Handmade Day!

Sunday, April 3rd is… National Chocolate Mousse Day and World Party Day! Plus, as the start of the first full week of April (2022), it’s also… National Public Health Week!


…13 down and 39 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Tips For Branding Yourself

Happy Monday and happy spring! I look forward to Mondays every week, as they’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you!


There’s an endless list of advice and tips, on the web, for how to do just about anything. I recently learned about how to brand yourself, as well as your business. The branding concept, itself, isn’t new but the process has evolved. Most businesses began by getting people to know who they were, where to find them, and what they offered. Customer service begets customer loyalty.

The accessibility of internet for the masses has certainly evolved the methods for creating or building a brand. Especially in the last couple of years, due to the pandemic and an increase in internet usage for just about everything from shopping to working/schooling. With new social media platforms popping up, more and more people are branding themselves and launching their own home-based businesses. I’ve narrowed the consensus of tips I’ve found to “my favorite five” for here.


This is simply expressing who you are and what you stand for. It’s the new “first impression” people get when they “Google” your name. You are your brand. Just as my mom’s name, Gloria Pitzer, was synonymous with “The Recipe DetectiveTM”. That was how she defined her brand of investigating coveted, secret recipes for her copycat cookery concept.

Nowadays, the objective is to make yourself known to the masses through the internet; connecting directly and in almost real time, around the globe, with current and potential clients, colleagues, and friends – consistently building on these relationships.

Branding yourself not only keeps you current, which can open doors for you; but, if done right, it can also create a lasting impression. The question is: What do you want to be known for? Establishing who you are and how you come across to others are really important factors to successful branding.

Creating a personal brand is not a quick process. Goldie Chan summed it up well in her wonderful article, 10 Golden Rules of Branding (Nov. 8, 2018), as seen at She wrote: “Even Oprah Winfrey began by going through several style iterations on a small local show before defining her voice into one of the most influential personal brands in the world.”

Goldie also shared some great advice from Adam Smiley Poswolsky, the author of The Breakthrough Speaker (20s & 30s Press; September 2018), who she says took “it one step further when he’s advising speakers: ‘Carve a niche, and then carve a niche within your niche. The best personal brands are very specific.’” It’s a few years old, but I recommend the read!

In the mid-1980s, Mom made a new niche within her own ground-breaking, copycat cookery concept, when she came up with her own “short-cuts” concept, as well; using mayonnaise in place of oil and eggs, for example, or a cake mix in place of the many dry ingredients in cookies.

Mom’s 3-to-5-ingredient short-cut recipes for imitating some of her imitations became a whole new sensation! When my dad found out he was diabetic, Mom revamped her recipes, again, to accommodate those watching their sugar and carb intake but still wanting to indulge in their favorite dishes.


Follow a successful example. All the greats were inspired by someone else! An effective brand can go a long way with self-promotion, loyalty, consistency, and quality. In the beginning, try to avoid being a Jack-of-all-trades and focus on your specialty, first, whatever it may be.

With experience comes expertise. Mom always wanted to be a writer and journaled daily for over 70 years. However, she believed she was directed by a higher power to write about recipes and other homemaking topics. Faithfully, she did.


Build a consistent online presence on various social media platforms and through your own, personal, website and/or blog. Purchasing your full name as a domain name ( is a great way to do this. But it should be separate from your company’s website, including your picture, bio, email address, and links to other sites where you’re active (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.).

Mom didn’t have the advantage of the internet over 50 years ago, when she started branding herself and what she had to offer as a syndicated columnist (before she even started her Secret RecipesTM legacy). She mailed her “branding” promotions to various newspapers and magazines. Later, she branched out to radio and television “talk shows”.


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, pp. 38-39)


[CIRCA 1973] I ENLISTED THE HELP of the children. I was taking in ironing at the time, at about $5 a basket and sometimes I would earn as much is $50 a week. The money was supposed to supplement Paul’s paycheck, which – as soon as we found could make ends meet, discovered somebody had moved the ends.

So I took what money I could from the ironing earnings and kept the paper, ink and other supplies in stock in order to produce what was necessary to complete the newsletter. I cut the stencils on my typewriter, added the drawings and fashioned a literary ‘silk purse out of a sow’s ear’, as my dad would’ve said.

The utility room, which was in the back of the house and looked out over the yard and the long driveway to the road was a perfect position to be in when it was time for Paul to arrive home from work at the end of the day.

I would post the kids at the window to watch for Daddy so that I could be able to get everything put away and out of sight. I could not tell him what I was doing until I could assure him that it was paying for itself and that I was not going to lose money.

For nine months I mimeographed, assembled and mailed out about 100 copies a month of my newsletter, the names of the subscribers having come from letters I kept from readers of my columns and from names and addresses given in other magazines where folks were looking for recipes.

I mimeographed my own business cards and, as I have already told you, had no qualities at all about cutting them out and inserting them into cookbooks in bookstores or department stores, leaving them in phone booths, in ladies’ restrooms in restaurants or wherever I might find a likely audience. You must take every opportunity when you start out. Some ideas work. Some don’t.

We tread a rather steep path when we attempt to wish on everyone what seems a solution to our own problems. It actually takes courage to think for oneself in a world which appears to have more than its share of profits of despair. I wasn’t listening to any of them. I had my listening thoughts tuned into Angel messages that were leading me in a happier direction. I was never willing to give up. I’m still not!

[SEPTEMBER 1974] All I was doing was breaking even when Dennis Wholley, at channel 7 in Detroit, received a copy of my September newsletter of that first year of publishing. He called, though, and asked me in the family to appear on one of his broadcasts of ‘A.M. Detroit’, which we did – and which also opened up a brand-new door to opportunities I did not dream of encountering so quickly.

Of course, then, I did have to tell Paul all about the newsletter, what I had been doing and why I could not confide in him, knowing how skeptical he would have been about it. He practically agreed with me that, yes, he would’ve doubted that it would have had a future for us. Today, however, he’s willing to see it quite differently.

When I sent Dennis Wholley a copy of the newsletter, I also sent a copy to Bob Hynes, who then was host for the afternoon movie with CKLW-TV, channel 9, across the river [from Detroit] in Windsor, Ontario. There was no response immediately from CK-TV, but the day after I appeared on Dennis Wholley’s program, Bob Hynes called and asked if we could visit his show on New Year’s Eve day [December 31] (1974) and bring the entire family too.

The movie that day, I remember, was ‘Tammy and the Bachelor’ with Debbie Reynolds. His guests for the intermission was Lynn Redgrave, who was there to plug her new movie, ‘The Happy Hooker’. When I introduced myself to Miss Redgrave in the studio that day, I said, ‘It’s a pleasure to meet you, Miss Redgrave. I understand you are the happy hooker. I’m the happy cooker!’

The Dennis Wholley appearance was November 14, our daughter Lori’s [10th] birthday. We had to be at the studio an hour before airtime and the drive there was over an hour, in a blizzard… All was well, however, when we arrived at the studio. We were sharing the Wholley show with the newly elected mayor of Detroit, Coleman Young.

It was amusing, to say the least, that somebody mistook Paul for one of Mayor Young’s bodyguards because of the rather obvious bulge in the pocket of Paul’s coat. Somebody behind us, in the studio hall, whispered to someone else (and I overheard), ‘That blonde fellow is probably carrying a gun. See his pocket bulging?’

What it was, in Paul’s pocket, was the autograph book that Debbie had given her dad to have signed for her, because she had to be in school and could not go to the studio with us. Probably the rest of Pearl Beach was gathered at the post office in front of the television set to watch us that morning. It was a thrilling experience… Then several weeks later, was the appearance on Bob Hynes show…

The appearances on both of these shows brought us so many subscriptions to the newsletter and as the response increased, so did the amount of time that Paul gave me for processing the orders. He could see that I could not do it alone. Every evening and every weekend and even his two-week vacation from his job at the sign company, were given to working on the recipe orders with me.


This can be accomplished by connecting, not competing, with other professionals in the same industry. You can also use social media networks, commenting on posts and blogs. Form relationships to grow your business and brand. Again, that’s not a new concept either but the manner in which it’s done has come a long way in the past 50 years.

Nowadays, for networking, you join and participate in virtual groups, in almost real-time; along with instant messaging and emailing. Way-back-when, Mom joined and participated in groups, live-and-in-person. Her favorite was the Michigan Federation of Press Women – of which she was a member for MANY years. Otherwise, you talked to each other through land-line phones or wrote each other, using the U.S. Postal Service (aka: “snail mail”).


This can be done at work, at home, in your neighborhood and local communities – anywhere you’re active. Ask those with whom you network what they think your best attributes and core strengths are – they could be honest, creative, funny, generous, etc. Promote and grow those qualities in your brand.


‘Building a personal brand is much bigger than building a business. The only exit strategy is legacy.’ – Blake Jamieson; artist at Blake Jamieson, LLC

Think about what kind of legacy you want to leave behind – because a personal brand is a lifelong project that constantly evolves and changes like life, itself. Both, the Recipe DetectiveTM and Secret RecipesTM, were Mom’s brands, as well as her legacy. I’m proud to share them with the “new” digital generations.


For National Flour Month and National French Bread Day, here are Mom’s tips for Flour Equivalents and her secret recipe for French Bread, including her homemade Cornstarch Glaze; all of which can be found in her self-published cookbook, Top Secret Recipes al’a Carte (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Sept. 1979, p. 23).




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




…12 down and 40 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Write Down Your Story

Happy Monday! Personally, I always look forward to Mondays because they are my 52 Chances each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!



Today is National Write Down Your Story Day! This is me – I’ve always loved to write, draw, and create/craft things (like Mom), since I was a young girl. Skills in the arts seem to run in my family’s bloodline. If there is such a thing as an artistic gene, my family seems to be blessed with it.

Art, writing, and creativity were always encouraged and nurtured by our parents, grandparents, aunts & uncles – whenever we created anything. Mom inspired me in so many ways…as a writer, artist, crafter, homemaker, cook, mother, teacher… The list goes on.

Except for a few of my teen years, when I thought I knew more than she did, I was always amazed at how Mom managed to start her own business and juggle all of those other responsibilities and hobbies; along with a husband, 5 kids, and a dog for which to care.

During the last few years of Mom’s life, I got to know her in a whole new way – one that I missed out on in my self-centered teen years. That was when I helped her re-write her favorite, self-published cookbook, Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (1982), so it could be re-published for a new digital generation, by someone else this time.

For decades, Mom didn’t want any of her cookbooks to be published by a company that wanted to change her creations. But times changed, lives changed, situations changed, and attitudes changed. After much research, the publisher we chose for the project (Balboa Press) didn’t want to change much of anything.

I had to edit a few illustrations (because of their likeness to KFC’s “Colonel”). That wasn’t an issue to Mom. However, they also wanted to change the book’s title (as it too closely resembled Betty Crocker’s title). At first, we thought this was going to be a deal-breaker.

I couldn’t get Balboa to understand that imitation was the premise of the whole book, including the title. They wouldn’t budge – so Mom and I collaborated on another title by simply re-arranging the words on the cover of the original book. That was close enough to a new imitation of the original imitation, so Mom was happy.

Additionally, I had to change the recipes’ layout a little bit because of the digital revolution and printed format we chose for the final product. Mom and I also decided to omit some parts of the original book due to outdated information or something else. Years ago, Mom would’ve said, “Never! I’m not changing a thing!”

Over the years she found that it’s better to go with the flow than swim against the tide. Re-reading Mom’s creative “Food for Thought” articles and discussing them with her during the re-write process, brought us closer together, in a whole new way. Mom’s favorite thing in life was to write. She also loved to mentor those who shared her love!


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over – And I Can’t Find My Mop (Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 75)


We embrace the challenge to inspire…The care and concern that an author has for their readers is part of the pleasure of presenting interesting ideas in either an entertaining way or in an informative way. I try to balance my own presentations between the two.

When I am broadcasting over the numerous radio stations around the country, sometimes around the world, I try to lift the listener to a new height of interest and enthusiasm, and I leave the serious side of nutrition to the experts, who have the medical background to support their claims.

My hope is to present my recipes in such a way that cooking is a joy and never a job! I try to present these recipes with the same concern as I do giving a gift to a special friend. Each of our 5 children, who have grown up helping Paul and me with these recipes, have gone out into the world with this legacy of love and enthusiasm. We can only hope that they use what we have given them.

‘When you’re wishing for a happier, fuller life, a life with real meaning, there’s a need to remain steadfastly receptive to intuitions & inspirations that whisper to the listening thought of hope & courage.’ – Gloria Pitzer [as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Recipes Newsletter (St. Clair, MI; Issue 183, Nov-Dec 1997; p. 10)

I can only hope I’ve made Mom proud of what I’m doing with her legacy of love… especially regarding these blog posts, her website content, and her last cookbook. I’m trying to develop and promote them, in her memory and honor, with the love and passion that she inspired in me. I’ll be honest, though – while I love to write, promoting and selling are not my forte, as they were Mom’s.

One of my favorite and youngest memories of me & Mom is when she taught me how to write the alphabet and my name, from how to hold the pencil to how to draw the letters to how to form the words by putting those wonderful letters together.

Much like Mom, when I was growing up, I was always drawing, reading, and writing little stories, as well as a lot of poetry. English was also my favorite subject throughout school. I always loved the essay assignments the most!

Me and Mom

My road block, however, is promoting and selling; which is much more of a learning process for me, while it just seemed to come naturally for Mom. Luckily, I love to learn! Another one of the things Mom inspired in me is my passion to learn – she’d always say, “learn something new every day!”

Nowadays, knowledge is literally and instantaneously at our finger tips! For most of my life, I was a bookworm. I continue to love the hard copy in my hands; but now, I’m also a world-wide-web-worm! There’s so much out there from which to learn!

But you have to be self-motivated and self-inspired to grab the book or the computer and open the “pages” and just read, soaking it up like a sponge! Of course, you also have to be able to differentiate between what’s fact and what’s fiction; but that’s a discussion for another time.


‘In doing our best, we run into road blocks we hadn’t counted on; and it is not the falls we take that make the difference, but how well we recover and continue on that matters.’ – Gloria Pitzer, My Cup Runneth Over – And I Can’t Find My Mop (Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. xi)


In honor of TODAY, being National Potato Chip Day, here is Mom’s copycat recipe for Rough All’s Without Ridges, plus 2 chip coating flavors; as seen in her self-published cookbook… The Second Helping Of Secret Recipes (National Homemakers Newsletter, Pearl Beach, MI; July 1977, p. 5).


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


March observes, among other things… Irish-American Heritage Month, National Caffeine Awareness Month, National Celery Month, National Craft Month, National Flour Month, National Women’s History Month, and National Sauce Month! Unofficially, it’s also Maple Sugaring Month!

Additionally, National Procrastination Week is the first two weeks in March, which is either the 1st-14th or the 6th-19th (if it’s the first two FULL weeks)! Basically, you can put this observance off until whenever it’s convenient for you!

Today is… National Children’s Craft Day, National Learn About Butterflies Day, and National Pi Day! Plus, as the day after Daylight Savings Time Day (for 2022), it’s also… National Napping Day!

Tomorrow is… American Legion Birthday, National Everything You Think is Wrong Day, National Kansas Day, National Pears Helene Day, and National Shoe the World Day!

Wednesday, March 16th is… National Artichoke Hearts Day, Everything You Do Is Right Day, and National Freedom of Information Day!

Thursday, March 17th is… National Corned Beef and Cabbage Day and St. Patrick’s Day! Thus, here are re-shares of Mom’s Corned Brief and The Reuben According To Julia Lega!


Friday, March 18th is… National Awkward Moments Day, National Lacy Oatmeal Cookie Day, and National Sloppy Joe Day!

March 19th is… National Certified Nurses Day, National Chocolate Caramel Day, National Let’s Laugh Day, and National Poultry Day! Additionally, as the third Saturday in March (for 2022), it’s also… National Quilting Day! Plus, as the first Saturday of March Madness, which changes annually [March 13th-April 4th (2022)], it’s also… National Corn Dog Day!

[NOTE: March 19th is also the 31st anniversary of Mom’s SECOND appearance on ABC’s “Home” show (in 1991), with Carol Duvall!]

Sunday, March 20th is… World Flour Day, National Proposal Day, National Ravioli Day, and Spring Begins (for 2022)!


…11 down and 41 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Maple Madness

Happy Monday and happy March to all! Every week, I look forward to Mondays because they’re my 52 Chances each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!




March is Maple Sugaring Month! It’s not an official, national observance; however, making maple sugar and syrup is a big event that Michiganders enjoy, along with other mid-west and eastern states. Unfortunately, the proverbial sugaring window is only open for a short period of time (4-6 weeks).

Sugaring is a process of collecting maple sap and boiling it down into a sugar and/or syrup form. [NOTE: This is NOT the hair-removal process by the same name!] As the official start of spring gets closer, the nights are staying at or below the “freezing point”, while the days are warming-up to about 40°F or so. [That’s warm to Michiganders in March!] These are the ideal conditions required for the maple sap to flow well.

Once the trees start to bud, the sap is no-longer good for sugaring and the season is done. A few years ago, on my local morning news show, there was a great segment by Jill Washburn [aka: “Jill Of All Trades” (March 26, 2019)] about collecting maple tree sap; plus, a simple way to cook down a small batch (2 gallons) for a day or so in a slow cooker, until it renders a thick syrup. I highly recommend watching it!

Two gallons of sap only yields about a half cup of syrup, when all’s done, but there’s such a great feeling of accomplishment in being able to say, “I made it, myself!” Jill Washburn used to do a lot of these wonderful “how to” segments on my local news show. I miss them – she has a great way of making everything seem so easy and simple.

There’s also a terrific article about the longer, traditional method of sugaring that I recommend reading, at the Michigan State University’s Extension’s website, called March Is Maple Syrup Season In Michigan.


As seen in…

The Secrets of Homemade Groceries (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Sep. 1979, p. 1)


MANY PEOPLE FEEL THAT life is uphill all the way. They fail to look at the things that are good, enjoyable, and worthwhile. They are conscience only of the climb. No road is ever uphill forever! We should soon learn the importance of being able to also come downhill without fear and be able to notice the scenery along the road, too.

Going through life without noticing the scenery and trying to see some of the beauty that is there – waiting to be recognized – reminds me of running helter-skelter up and down the supermarket aisles without seeing the ABUNDANCE that is there.

Just take a moment to look at the heart-breaking plight of starving people in many parts of the world and, then, take a good look at the aisles and aisles of food available in this country! We have so much available to us here…many people fill their backyards each spring with flowers and shrubs, when they could easily plant food-seeds instead, thus cutting something off that weekly grocery bill!

Mom wrote, illustrated and self-published about 40 books (+/-) and penned hundreds of her own newsletter issues. Equally as well, she also wrote and syndicated thousands of columns across the country and for local newspapers during her long writing career.

However, Mom is best known for pioneering the copycat recipes movement back in the early 1970s! When times were tough and we were on the edge of another recession, Mom created the concept of “eating out at home”! It was not only for her own struggling family, but also, for all the others for whom she knew were struggling and looking for answers too!

One of my own personal favorites is called The Secrets of Homemade Groceries (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Sep. 1979). This book is no longer in print, but I’ve seen used copies on eBay and Amazon. This book taught me how to make some grocery products at home, and how to stretch/extend other products, saving me quite a bit of money on my monthly groceries expense!


As seen in…

The Secrets of Homemade Groceries (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Sep. 1979, p. 4)


SUPERMARKETS AND GROCERIES have come a long way in 80 years – but, perhaps, it hasn’t all been that wonderful, considering that food continues to increase in cost and quality is being sacrificed for production, promotion, and distribution overhead [costs]. We are not only paying more for the packaging but also for the advertising of a product – more than we are for the item, itself…


We can begin making homemade groceries by taking a personal inventory of what our particular preference is when [we] shop for groceries. If you buy quite a few boxed mixes, your food bill is probably 40% higher than it would be if you made your own.

Most of the popular food mixes on the modern-day market are kissing cousins of the same family, beginning with powders that can withstand a short shelf-life or be refrigerated for a longer period and frozen up to a year.

A freezer will be like a family bank vault, in keeping homemade groceries at a savings; and it should be used just as a bank account would be used, making regular deposits toward a future time when the withdrawal is appreciated and needed.

There are so many groceries that you can make at home – especially if you plant the seeds and grow it, yourself! In the past few years, homesteading has found a new revival movement, as health and wellness are coming back to the top of the fundamental “priorities list”.

More and more people are regaining interest in making their own food and OTC health and beauty products. Many even starting new online businesses to sell their homemade products to those who don’t have the time or talents for it, themselves. Of course, nowadays, with the internet, we can order just about anything we want, from just about anywhere, and have it all delivered to our doorsteps! But, sometimes, homemade is just better.

Additionally, there’s also a renewed movement to make a lot of things at home because stores are struggling to keep shelves stocked, due to supply chain problems. Another major reason for making your own mixes and such is that you can control the ingredients and save money, too – that is, as long as you don’t add the value of your time into the equation!

That is, basically, what first inspired Mom to create her copycat concept. Like I mentioned the other week, it was my Grandma Pitzer who first taught Mom about going back to the homemade ingredients concept, in order to save money in the household food budget.


Since it’s also National Flour Month, here’s a re-share of Mom’s imitations for homemade griddlecakes AND syrup (without sugaring) like she once had at a Pancake House.



In honor of March, being National Sauce Month, here is Mom’s secret recipe for Rum Sauce; as seen in her self-published cookbook, Secret Knock-Off Recipes (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; June 1997, p. 19).


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


March observes, among other things… Irish-American Heritage Month, National Caffeine Awareness Month, National Celery Month, National Craft Month, and National Women’s History Month!

Additionally, National Procrastination Week is the first two weeks in March, which is either the 1st-14th OR the 6th-19th (if it’s the first two FULL weeks)! Basically, you can put this observance off until whenever it’s convenient for you! Other week-long observances, for this 2nd full week in March, include National Girl Scout Week, National Words Matter Week, International Women’s Week, and National Read an E-Book Week! Speaking of which…


Today is also… National Flapjack Day, National Be Heard Day, National Cereal Day, and National Crown of Roast Pork Day! 

Tomorrow is… International Women’s Day, National Oregon Day, National Peanut Cluster Day, and National Proofreading Day!

Wednesday, March 9th is… National Barbie Day, National Crabmeat Day, National Get Over it Day, and National Meatball Day! In honor of the latter, here’s a re-share of Mom’s imitation for Wind Shooter’s Meatballs!


Thursday, March 10th is… National Blueberry Popover Day and National Pack Your Lunch Day!

Friday, March 11th is… National Johnny Appleseed Day and National Oatmeal Nut Waffles Day!

Saturday, March 12th is… National Baked Scallops Day, National Girl Scout Day, and National Plant a Flower Day!

[NOTE: Mar. 12, 1991 – is also the anniversary of a story in Woman’s World, by Una McManus, about Mom, being the Recipe DetectiveTM.]

March 13th is… National Good Samaritan Day, National Coconut Torte Day, and National Open an Umbrella Indoors Day! Plus, as the second Sunday in March (for 2022), it’s also… Daylight Saving Time Day!


…10 down and 42 to go!