Mondays & Memories of My Mom – To Blog Or Not To Blog

Thank God Its Monday and, as such, #HappyMonday to everyone! I personally look forward to all Mondays because they’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you!

#TheRecipeDetective

To blog or not to blog was something over which I pondered more than half a decade ago. Then the “meant-to-be” powers of fate took me and my inherited love for writing on this unexpected and incredible journey, “blogging” to honor my mom’s legacy, as the ORIGINAL Secret RecipesTM Detective.

Next Sunday will be the 5-year anniversary of my blog, Mondays & Memories Of My Mom. It launched on Sept. 17, 2018, with my first post, A Legacy Of Love. I’ve learned a lot about blogging since then and I continue to learn more, as I go along. For now, though, for me, blogging is a hobby since I don’t make any money from it.

Mom always knew she wanted to be a writer. Her passion for writing began when she was about 10 years old, after watching a 1946 Warner Brothers movie about the Bronte sisters, called “Devotion”. She was so inspired by one of the sisters, she started journaling daily, which amounted to over 71 years of chronicles – now that’s DEVOTION!

She also knew that she wanted to write for a living – as Mark Twain said, “Find a job you enjoy doing and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Mom dreamed of writing the great American novel someday. Instead, fate took her passion for writing in a different direction.

Her initial career, as a columnist, was very similar to blogging – but that was about four decades before home computers first became popular. Back then, her columns were printed in newspapers and magazines. She always claimed that she made a living with her writing but it was her writing that made living worthwhile.

Mom hungered for more than what the ordinary cookbooks were offering. It motivated her to design her own collection. Her cookbooks were not your run-of-the-mill, counter-top, recipe collections. She infused a lot of information, household tips, humor, food-for-thought articles, and food-for-the-soul acclamations between her food-for-the-table recipes.

She wanted her creations to be as much at home on the coffee table in the living room as they were on the kitchen counter. Mom’s books and newsletters were like no others on the market, putting her writings in a unique position to be noticed – and that they were!

Additionally, over the decades, Mom always offered a dozen or so free samples of her most requested recipes, starting with her “Original 200” collection. Over the years, times changed, as did the food industry’s offerings. She changed up her free samples, as newer requests became more popular from her national and international radio interviews.

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

Excerpts by Gloria Pitzer, as seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; January 2018, 1st Printing)

[A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition)].

A MEAL BY ANY OTHER NAME

FAST FOOD RECIPES were not published in the best-sellers – and these were the restaurants where families were apt to frequent if they wanted a meal that was affordable! [In the 1970s] Paul and I could take all 5 of the children to Capri’s, an Italian restaurant down the road from us, in Pearl Beach.

We could feed the whole family for less than $10, providing we ordered the large pizza with only pepperoni and cheese on it and one soft drink for each of us. It was not for substance that we ate out. It was for entertainment.

We could take the kids to McDonald’s, and it did the same thing for us that going to the movies did for our parents. It was an affordable pleasure. It was a diversion from meatloaf and pot roast and peas and carrots.

It was a treat. We looked forward to it. We felt good about the experience and even better after it was over. It carried us through a long week of paying the utilities, insurance, house payments and car payments and grocery expenses.

When we had to have our 10-year-old station wagon repaired, we had to skip eating out that week. If one of us had to see the dentist, it might be 2 or 3 weeks before we could afford to eat out again. We made do with what we had… (p. 295)

THE “ORIGINAL 200”

MY LIST OF ‘SECRET RECIPES’ had grown to 200 and we offered them, on 4×6-inch cards [that I printed on my mimeograph], at $.25 each or 5 for a dollar. It was quite a packaging process to fill the combinations of orders, so I put all those recipes into a book.

It was going to be our only book on the subject, since most of the recipes were fast foods – but, as it turned out, it was only the first in a series of five books. After ‘Book One’ took off and became a very good seller, I did a Bicentennial American Cookery book as a limited edition and was pleased when the Henry Ford Library at Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan ordered copies for their Bicentennial collection… (p. 296)

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

WE WANTED OUR CAKE AND WE WANTED TO EAT IT, TOO!

WE WANTED TO EAT OUT at a price we could afford; and, when we couldn’t afford to eat out, we wanted to dine-in as if we were eating out! At the time, there were few recipes for this kind of cooking.

We wanted to spend less time preparing the foods and less money on the ingredients and still serve a dish to those who shared our table…that would be equal to – if not better than – anything we could buy in a restaurant or from a supermarket.

For all of these reasons, I have pursued the investigations of the food industry with the greatest joy and the utmost care, translating into recipes, those secrets that I have been able to decipher. (p. 297)

For years, I wondered if I could make a living from home, blogging; like mom did, writing and syndicating her columns from home. Writing always made me feel close to Mom, as she was my biggest fan and always encouraged me in my creative and artistic passions.

In as much as I love to write, I hadn’t done any creative writing for many years, while I was busy working full-time. Then, when I started helping Mom rewrite her favorite cookbook, after Dad passed away (so it could be republished by Balboa Press for a new digital generation), the flame was rekindled in me.

Now that this blogging venture has kind of fallen into my lap, I love what I’m doing but I’m not making a living at it… Not yet! I’ve learned a lot about blogging, but there’s still so much more to learn. Nowadays, knowledge is instantaneously at our finger tips. But you need to be motivated to open the “pages” and read. Soak it up like a sponge and then apply it!

In my blogging notes, I wrote that the average speed at which adults read, depending on age and education, is about 200-300 words per minute; and a good blog should be readable in about 7 minutes (source unknown), suggesting optimal length as 1,400-2,100 words. Ideal blog lengths vary, depending on topic, audience, and a number of other factors.

It’s generally considered best to have about 1,500 to 2,000 words for most articles or posts, according to a recently updated editorial at Databox.com. However, SearchEngineJournal.com recently said that a HubSpot study from 2021 claims that 2,100-2,400 words is the best length – at least for SEO ranking purposes.

Optimizely.com explains SEO, as the art and science of getting pages to rank higher in search engines like Google. Search engines are the most popular way that people find websites. High rankings generally result in high traffic.

Regardless of my SEO, I write these blog posts in memory of my mom, posting entries every Monday since mid-September 2018. I try to stay in the 1,400-2,100 optimal range, fine-tuning it along the way. In the process, I continually learn new things. Pictured below is some of my notes for anyone else interested in blogging as a Hobby or Profession.

LAST THOUGHTS…

Mom never looked at writing as a “hobby”. To her, it was always a part of who she was – a reflex she did every day (like brushing her hair) for more than 70 years. Writing brought her so many blessings and she told me before she passed away that she’d do it all over again if she could. I wish she was still here with me, on this wonderful blogging adventure.

#NationalHoneyMonth

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

The month of September observes, among other things… Better Breakfast Month, National Blueberry Popsicle Month, National Chicken Month, National Courtesy Month, National Honey Month, National Italian Cheese Month, National Library Card Sign Up Month, National Mushroom Month, National Potato Month, National Rice Month, National Sewing Month, National Self-Improvement Month, and National Whole Grains Month!

Plus, as the second week in September, it’s… National Biscuit and Gravy Week and National Arts In Education Week!

Today is also… National Make Your Bed Day, National Hot Cross Bun Day, and Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance!

Tomorrow is… National Chocolate Milkshake Day and National Day of Encouragement! Plus, as the second Tuesday in September (for 2023), it’s also… National Ants on a Log Day!

Wednesday, September 13th is… National Kids Take Over The Kitchen Day and National Peanut Day!

#KidsTakeOverTheKitchenDay

September 14th is… National Cream Filled Donut Day, National Eat a Hoagie Day, National Live Creative Day , and National Virginia Day! Plus, as the third Thursday in September (for 2023), it’s also… National Pawpaw Day!

Friday, September 15th, is… National Cheese Toast Day, National Linguine Day, National Double Cheeseburger Day, National Creme de Menthe Day, National Online Learning Day, and Greenpeace Day! Plus, it’s the start of Hispanic Heritage Month (which is always September 15th to October 15th)!

September 16th is… National Play-Doh Day, National Cinnamon Raisin Bread Day, National Guacamole Day, National Step Family Day, and National Working Parents Day! Plus, as the third Saturday in September (for 2023), it’s… National Dance Day, National Gymnastics Day, Boys’ and Girls’ Club Day for Kids, Responsible Dog Ownership Day, and National Clean Up Day!

September 17th is… National Professional House Cleaners Day, National Apple Dumpling Day, Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, and National Monte Cristo Day! Plus, as the third Sunday in September (for 2023), it’s also… Wife Appreciation Day! Additionally, as the start of the third week of September, it’s also… National Farm Animals Awareness Week and National Indoor Plant Week!

#TGIM

https://nationaldaycalendar.com/national-thank-god-its-monday-day-first-monday-in-january/

…37 down and 15 to go!

COCONUT CONFECTIONS

COCONUT CONFECTIONS

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

INGREDIENTS:

3-oz pkg. cream cheese

2 tsp grated orange peel

1 TB chopped walnuts

¼ cup flaked coconut

INSTRUCTIONS:

Beat cream cheese with mixer on medium speed, using small mixing bowl, about 3 to 4 minutes or until cheese is creamy and smooth. Beat in peel and nuts. Use ½ teaspoon to measure and shape each spoonful into a ball. Roll balls in coconut. Chill in covered container. Makes 20 tiny candies.

[NOTE: Recipe may be doubled and you can use a teaspoon (instead of ½ tsp) to measure out mixture to shape into balls. You can also spread coconut on ungreased jelly roll pan and toast it about 6” from broiler heat, about 2 minutes – or until golden brown.]

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

See also…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Camping Michigan’s Great Outdoors

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Camping Michigan’s Great Outdoors

Happy June! Thank God Its Monday, again; and, as such, #HappyMonday to all! I personally look forward to each and every Monday. They’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you!

#TheRecipeDetective

#NationalCampingMonth

#PureMichigan

#GreatOutdoorsMonth

June is finally here, celebrating, among other things, National Camping Month and National Great Outdoors Month! Summer unofficially started last weekend but it’s a little more than 2 weeks until the official start – Summer [Solstice] Begins June 21st. It’s the longest day of the year.

Summertime is the best time for picnics, road trips, and going camping! A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I have a camping checklist, part of which I use for my picnic “basket”. Nowadays, my camping checklist is quite extensive. It’s grown and shrunk and re-grown over the years. I find that the older I get, the more conveniences I like to bring.

Worth repeating: “It’s better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it!” My husband and I have not yet advanced to a camper or motor home. I call our style of camping “Comfort-Camping-Without-A-Camper”. Motorhome or camper style “camping” is often referred to as “glamping”, particularly by those who camp in tents.

There was a 5-year span when we had a van, in which we slept, while using our dome tent as a “shed” for our “stuff”, instead. Now, we have a mid-size sedan, in which we pack everything we need and want – including a large, octagon tent AND 10’ x 10’ gazebo. Organization is key!

When I was young, our family always stayed in motels when on vacations. We never camped. “Roughing it” was when the power went out for a week (at home, in Algonac), during a winter/spring ice storm. We had to use candles for light and the fireplace for heat and a “stove”.

Mom and Dad started “camping” AFTER becoming empty-nesters. They invested in a motorhome and joined the Good Sam [RV] Club. They first learned about “RV-ing” and Good Sam from Mom’s older sister, Hazel, and her husband, Chris, who were members of Good Sam’s California chapter. Mom and Dad joined the Michigan AND Ohio chapters.

While on the road, Mom and Dad usually ate in local restaurants. Mom never stopped looking for different dishes to try and imitate when she returned home. Their camping friends often kidded Mom, about being the Secret Recipes DetectiveTM and never using the oven in their motorhome. She did do some microwave cooking, on occasion.

I learned about camping (in a tent) from some friends decades ago when my children were very young. It was an inexpensive way to vacation with kids. Through experience, came more knowledge. I often learned cool camping hacks from other campers whenever we went camping with a group. Camping with friends is so fun!

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 43)

YOU’VE MADE A FRIEND

A SMILE IS THE universal, unspoken language between us. Some people smile more easily than others, but a smile is as good as a hug. I just LOVE people who smile a lot! Even when I’m shopping or [when Paul and I are] walking around the campgrounds on one of our abbreviated ‘get-aways’ with our motorhome, I find myself smiling at people I have never seen before, and they smile back. It’s contagious!

People don’t smile as much as they should! I’ve noticed lately how seldom strangers smile at each other in shopping centers and restaurants and other places where average folks mingle or pass. It occurred to me that there was nothing to lose by smiling and nodding at people as I shopped or glanced across a restaurant to other tables.

A surprising thing happened! Grim looking faces spontaneously responded with smiles and nods, as if they were trying to place me or recall where we might have met before. It was just wonderful!

Joining the Good Sam [RV] Club was among Mom and Dad’s most favorite experiences. It was a huge source of wonderful friendships and memories for them. Mom kept many scrap books full of photos and special keepsakes from their many trips with the Michigan and Ohio chapters of Good Sam.

Mom often wrote about those trips in her summer newsletter issues – from the new restaurant dishes they tried as they traveled (of which Mom imitated when they went home) to all of the great people they met everywhere they went.

Mom and Dad especially looked forward to Good Sam’s big “Samboree” events! Mom would sometimes give lectures at these events, regarding her copycat and short-cut cookery concepts, such as those published in her Mostly 4-Ingredients cookbook (and the recipe I’m sharing today is from that book).

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Recipes Newsletter (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Jan-Feb. 1988, p. 1)

GOOD SAM, GOOD EXAMPLE

ONE THING AMONG MANY that I have learned from Good Sam, the national RV organization, to which Paul and I have belonged for three years now [since 1985]; is that you should never ever withhold your enthusiasm for caring about others.

Never regret anything you do or say on behalf of the good it might bring to those [about whom] you care – for, if your motives are unselfish, and your intentions are to encourage or enrich or benefit others, you can’t lose.

You should jump right in, adding enthusiasm to whatever it is that you are doing that might appear to be just a passive condition when enthusiasm is needed. Try a little enthusiasm!

…Enthusiasm and optimism go hand-in-hand with happiness. These provide us with an emotional springboard from which we can dive quite smoothly, into deep and troubled waters, and still surface refreshed and invigorated.

During Michigan’s unofficial summertime [Memorial Day through Labor Day], tourism is on the rise. There’s so much to do in Michigan’s great outdoors! May through October is the best time for Michigan camping getaways. There are 1,190 licensed campgrounds in the state.

[Pictured below is my extensive camping check list, all of which fits in our Pontiac sedan (as pictured above). I am not paid to advertise for any companies but I am brand specific on a few things because, from my personal experience, they work the best – Dawn dish soap, SOS (soap filled steel pads), and Kingsford Matchlite charcoal.]

If you’re planning to go swimming or doing any water sports or activities along the shoreline surrounding most of the state, the warmest lake water temperatures are generally found July through September, depending on where you go. As beautiful as the Memorial Day weekend was, it was too cold to swim in Lake Huron – I know – I was there.

I’ve mentioned at least a few times, in previous blog posts, that Michigan holds the record for the longest fresh water shoreline in the United States, coming in at 3,288 miles. In fact, regardless of water type (sea or fresh), Michigan is only second to Alaska, in total length of coastline.

Over the next couple of weeks, kids will be getting out of school for their big summer break. Many families are planning their vacation times, now. Summertime in Michigan is also a popular time in which to plan events like company picnics, graduation parties, class/family reunions, and outdoor weddings.

There’s always something special to see and do in Michigan! Summer’s also the best season for car shows and cruises; outdoor concerts and music festivals; art, 4-H and county fairs; plus, other carnivals. Speaking of which, I love the hit Canadian show, Carnival Eats, with Noah Cappe! The food is always the best part of any special event.

Activities and entertainment venues vary slightly, by region – but usually, throughout the summer, you can often find, somewhere nearby, a botanical garden, flea market, farmer’s market, petting zoo, classic car shows; as well as thespian renaissance, art, craft, and/or music festivals.

Pools, beaches and water parks are now open for the summer season. Even though the big lakes’ temperatures are still a bit cold for swimming, Michiganders can’t wait to dip their toes in, at least. Additionally, you’ll find seasonal amusement parks, small-town carnivals, and big county fairs all over the state and nearby.

Some of the outdoor, summer sports and other such activities that Michiganders enjoy include baseball, softball, soccer, track, golf, disc golf, putt-putt golf, tennis, volleyball, and horseshoes (the game). Then there’s the backyard games like cornhole, ladder toss, washer toss, and so on.

Many table-top games have been made into large lawn versions for people’s backyard enjoyment (or to take them to a park or when camping). Many in-land summer activities include picnicking, camping, hiking, biking, motor sport racing, motorcycling, motocross, dirt biking, “4-wheeling”, “mudding”, dune buggy riding, horseback riding, and more.

Popular water sports and other such activities include kayaking, canoeing, sailing, boating, jet skiing, water skiing, parasailing, swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, and fishing – even building sand castles on the beach. Sand sculpting can be quite amazing!

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

LAST THOUGHTS…

Here, again, are four basic tips for planning road trips that I’ve shared a couple of times, previously…

    • Always bring a hard copy roadmap, as there are places that may not have cell or wi-fi service for miles.
    • Allow extra time and gas (or electric charge – whatever the case may be) for spontaneity. In case you decide to take a detour or two to other map dots along the way!
    • Stop frequently and take breaks – “smell the roses”, photograph the memories, and talk to the locals.
    • Pack a cooler with some drinks and snacks, even if you plan to eat at restaurants along the way. You know what they say about the best laid plans…

IN CLOSING…

In honor of June, being National Candy Month, here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for Coconut Confections; as seen in her self-published cookbook… Gloria Pitzer’s Mostly 4-Ingredient Recipes (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; April 1986, p. 6).

#NationalCandyMonth

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

The month of June observes, among other things… National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month, National Caribbean American Month, National Country Cooking Month, National Dairy Month, National Iced Tea Month, National Papaya Month, National Soul Food Month, National Rose Month, and National Turkey Lovers Month!

Starting the first Saturday in June and running through the second Saturday (June 3rd-20th for 2023) it’s… International Clothesline Week and National Fishing and Boating Week! Starting the first Sunday in June (4th-10th for 2023), it’s… National Gardening Week and Community Health Improvement Week!

Today is also… National Gingerbread Day and National Veggie Burger Day!

Tomorrow is… National D-Day, National Gardening Exercise Day, National Drive-In Movie Day, and National Applesauce Cake Day!

Wednesday, June 7th, is… National Chocolate Ice Cream Day, National VCR Day, and National Oklahoma Day!

Thursday, June 8th, is… National Best Friends Day and National Upsy Daisy Day!

Friday, June 9th, is… National Donald Duck Day and National Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day!

June 10th, is… National Egg Roll Day, National Ballpoint Pen Day, National Iced Tea Day, National Black Cow Day, and National Herbs and Spices Day! Plus, as the second Saturday in June (for 2023), it’s also… National Rosé Day!

June 11th, is… National Making Life Beautiful Day, National Corn on the Cob Day, and National German Chocolate Cake Day! Plus, as the second Sunday in June (for 2023), it’s also… National Children’s Day; and the start of… Men’s Health Week [the second Sunday in June through Father’s Day (11th-18th for 2023)]! Additionally, as the start of the second week in June, it’s also… National Little League Week and National Flag Week, which is always the week of [June 14th] National Flag Day (11th-17th for 2023)!

#TGIM

https://nationaldaycalendar.com/national-thank-god-its-monday-day-first-monday-in-january/

…23 down and 29 to go!

BANANA BUNDT CAKE

BANANA BUNDT CAKE

By Gloria Pitzer, as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Mostly 4-Ingredient Recipes (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; April 1986, p. 66)

INGREDIENTS:

18-oz box yellow cake mix

1¼ cups thinly sliced, ripe bananas

1 cup buttermilk

¼ cup cold black coffee

2 eggs

1 recipe of our Blender Icing [aka: Thin Vanilla (Blender) Icing]

INSTRUCTIONS:

Grease a 12-cup Bundt pan with solid shortening. Preheat oven to 350°F (325°F for colored Bundt pans). Beat ingredients well [as listed] with electric mixer on high speed [for] 3 minutes. Pour into prepared pan. Bake at 350°F (325°F for colored Bundt pans) for 50 minutes or until [toothpick] inserted in center of the cake comes out clean.

Cool upright, in pan, on wire rack about an hour. Loosen edges with tip of knife. Invert onto serving platter. Drizzle cake with our Blender Icing [aka: Thin Vanilla (Blender) Icing]. Refrigerate leftovers to serve within a week. Freeze to serve within 3 months.

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

See also…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Celebrate Writers

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Celebrate Writers

Thank God Its Monday! Happy Monday to everyone! I love Mondays because they’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you!

#TheRecipeDetective

#EncourageAYoungWriterDay

Today’s National Encourage a Young Writer Day, among other things. Mom loved mentoring anyone (young and old, alike) who shared her love for writing! She was also my mentor – in writing and so many other things, from being creative to being a mom.

Mom’s love for and devotion to writing began when she was a young girl. The writing seed bloomed into a legacy, as the Secret Recipes DetectiveTM. Mom loved talking about how writing made her a worthwhile living, but it especially made living worthwhile. She loved to help others find that joy, too.

I try to write something every day, now, myself. Since starting these blog posts, over 4½ years ago, writing has become very therapeutic for me, just as it was for Mom. Like Mom, I’m most happy and content when I’m writing and creating something, artistically. I just wish I could make a living with my writing, as she did with hers.

I can feel her angel hugs, even now, as I’m typing this; and she’s whispering, in my ear, “be patient”. Mom believed that fate was a “meant-to-be” moment. She put her faith in fate and followed where it led. As a result, she became the ORIGINAL Recipe DetectiveTM!

For 40 years, Mom wrote articles, recipes, newsletters, and cookbooks but she never thought of it as work (even though it was). Like the old adage says, “find a job you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

Excerpts by Gloria Pitzer, as seen in…

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

ON PATIENCE…

SOMETIMES, WE FORCE ourselves into making hasty decisions; when, it turns out, this can be a misguided attempt to try to shape an event that just isn’t ready to be shaped yet! Encouragement to be patient and consider all of the options was always one of the supportive ways that my parents tried to see me through the rough times, when I was growing up.

No matter what the problem, the emphasis was always on being patient; on letting my listening thought be receptive to new ideas, right ideas. I was never disappointed when I waited. I might have been a little impatient, but the more experiences I had with waiting, the easier it [became]. (p. 20)

ON JOURNALISM…

JOURNALISM IS A PECULIAR profession to follow. I’ve been a serious journalist [since 1954]. I’ve worked among writers who wrote to live, while the rest of us lived to write. We had to communicate to reach out to someone with ideas, with thoughts, with reasonings and [remembrances].

Somehow, we had to make a difference, touching others with some good – like the single stone tossed into the still waters of a shimmering pond, the ripples begin, as they always do, where the stone touched the water’s surface and responded around and around, until the widest circle touched the grassy edge [of the shore], again and again.

While I live to write, I must consider that others do not. Writers never retire – not if they are truly writers. Editors retire. [Even] reporters retire from their work at some given point. But old writers never die, they just run out of words.

There is great joy in an exchange of ideas, specifically when you have something of value to share. When that exchange of ideas flows from a mutual appreciation of the good in human life, there is no doubt that the abundance of good continues to unfold around us from only one Unlimited Source.

We don’t think too much about that Source until we’re in real trouble. Then, we’re willing to reach out because, after all, what have we got to lose? Too bad we don’t tap that Source when everything is going well and exercise our ability to think [and be grateful], which is something very few people take the time to do. (p. 22)

Similarly, fate’s “meant-to-be” influences have taken me and my own inherited love for writing on this incredible learning journey, blogging about Mom and her wonderful, ground-breaking creations. Before the copycat recipes, Mom wrote several series of articles about a variety of topics she thought would interest other people like herself.

I try to do the same in my blog posts, mixing Mom into a variety of topics that might interest other people like us; as well as, to honor her legacy as a writer and influencer. Creative writing has always made me feel close to Mom. She was always my biggest fan, encouraging me throughout my life.

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 43)

HOW TO LAUNCH A NEWSLETTER

WHENEVER I AM ASKED by somebody wanting to launch a newsletter of their own, how to get started, I wish I could just send them a blueprint or a floor plan, like you would when you build a house or a garage.

With newsletter writing and marketing, it’s all based on individuality, and experience being the best teacher and then having a responsive audience. It all begins with the sale. You have to know to whom you will be directing your material and how you will be meeting their needs. Nobody can tell you HOW to do that.

You either know how or you don’t! If you don’t know how to talk to your reader, you’re like a lighthouse without a light! You have to let your light shine and part of the preparation for communicating with your reader is to know HOW to talk to them, what they need from your newsletters that will enrich them or make their lives better.

 There’s a powerful wisdom we don’t understand. It comes down to believing…to having faith. – Gloria Pitzer

AGAIN, MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, pp. 47-48)

THE BEGINNING OF THE FAMILY ENTERPRISE

I HAD USED A RECIPE in one of my newspaper columns at the Port Huron paper for a sauce like McDonald’s used on their hamburgers. It was such a hit with the readers… It seemed so obvious… Repeat the recipes that were so popular at the paper for those few weeks, only this time putting them into my own newsletter.

I couldn’t wait to get home and get started putting together all of the recipes I could find that had anything at all to do with fast food restaurants or franchise eateries. Nobody, but nobody had done that yet.

There were cookbooks on how to do it the way the gourmets did and recipes from famous inns and restaurants with wine stewards and parking valets, but never from a hamburger palace or a pizza carry-out! Those were considered SECRETS. One thought led to another and soon the whole format was taking place on the paper in front of me.

HOW TO SELL IT – RADIO

The request for more and more came almost as immediately as the recipes would circulate, mostly through Bob Allison’s [radio] show, but as well through our newsletter, which was then growing to a circulation of nearly 1000.

The idea soon developed to put these famous secrets on index cards and sell them as, I explained earlier, we did prior to the first series of books. One step led to another and each step came from having absolute faith that failure was impossible.

When you unselfishly search for something to do, something to share, I have learned from first-hand experience, you never come away disappointed. I wasn’t looking for the rewards or gratification – only the service for the product. That, I believe, is why it all worked out so beautifully.

One of the first radio affiliations that I had, other than my regular visits with Bob Allison and his ‘Ask Your Neighbor’ [radio show], was with Warren Pierce at WJR in Detroit. In those early interviews we talked with Warren’s listeners, answering questions about imitating famous foods and one of the most often requested recipes on that show was for hot fudge like Sanders (Fred Sanders Confectionery Company).

It was right after I had given the recipe on the air and immediately after Carol Haddix had printed my recipe for that ice cream topping in the Detroit Free Press that a letter came from Jack Sanders, Chairman of the Board of Sanders and great-grandson of the company’s founder.

At once, I looked at the envelope and imagined trouble because I had come so close to the original with my recipe. But quite the contrary!

It was an invitation to Paul and me and our family to visit the Sanders’ plant and headquarters in Highland Park (Michigan) and to see, he wrote to us, ‘if it doesn’t spoil your fun’ how their products were really made.

We became good friends after that exciting tour and in our ‘Fast Food Recipe Book’ I give you some 16 pages of information and history, plus recipes that have been inspired by Sanders products.

Writing a newsletter is not as easy an endeavor as it may seem. Obviously, like blogging, it requires a regular production schedule and a long-time commitment to it. For success and longevity, it also entails devotion, duty, and dedication – call it “the 3-D effect”.

It takes so many little steps – literally and figuratively – to get where you want to be – in life, in love, and in livelihood. I’ve taken many little steps, myself; especially after helping Mom re-write her favorite, self-published cookbook – Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (as she couldn’t do it again, herself).

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

LAST THOUGHTS…

After the book went to print, I needed to learn the “ins & outs” of using social media and blogging, to promote it and Mom’s legacy, as the ORIGINAL Secret Recipes DetectiveTM. I’m still learning new things, as I go. It’s a slow process since I’m not tech-savvy.

Regardless, I love blogging, whether I’m doing it for a few people or for thousands of people. I don’t even know how many people read my posts but I keep writing them, nonetheless. I love getting emails and messages from those who’ve come across my writings and happily remember my mom and her Secret RecipesTM legacy.

IN CLOSING…

In honor of Saturday, being National Banana Day, here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for “Banana Bundt Cake”; as seen in her self-published cookbook, Gloria Pitzer’s Mostly 4-Ingredient Recipes (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; April 1986, p. 66).

#NationalBananaDay

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

April celebrates, 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

Today is also… National Cinnamon Crescent Day! Being the start of the second business week in April, it’s also the start of National Library Week! Special days within this special week include… National Library Workers Day (Tuesday) and National Bookmobile Day (Wednesday).

Tomorrow is also… National Cheese Fondue Day and National Pet Day!

Wednesday is also… National Colorado Day, National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day, and National Licorice Day! 

Thursday, April 13th is… National Make Lunch Count Day and National Peach Cobbler Day!

Friday, April 14th is… National Gardening Day and National Pecan Day!

Saturday, April 15th is… National Glazed Spiral Ham Day!

Sunday, April 16th is… National Eggs Benedict Day! Plus, as the beginning of the third full week of April (for 2023), it’s also… National Volunteer Week! Likewise, it’s… National Volunteer Month!

#TGIM

https://nationaldaycalendar.com/national-thank-god-its-monday-day-first-monday-in-january/

…15 down and 37 to go!

WHITE MOUNTAIN MUFFINS

WHITE MOUNTAIN MUFFINS

By Gloria Pitzer, as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Mostly 4-Ingredient Recipes (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; April 1986, p. 101).

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups self-rising flour

2 TB sugar

1 cup milk

4 TB mayonnaise

INSTRUCTIONS:

In 1½-qt mixing bowl, stir the self-rising flour with the sugar; and, in a cup, whip the milk and mayonnaise together, until very smooth. Pour over flour mixture, stirring briskly until all of flour has been completely dissolved. Whip with mixing spoon or use [electric] mixer on lowest speed.

Divide batter equally between 12 paper-lined cupcake tin wells. Bake at 350°F about 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pan, on rack, for 10 minutes, before serving. Makes 1 dozen [muffins].

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

See also…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Homemade

GOURMET FUDGE CAKE

GOURMET FUDGE CAKE

By Gloria Pitzer, as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Mostly 4-Ingredient Recipes (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; April 1986, p. 66).

DUE TO THE DIRECTION of dialogue from the unfriendly quarters of those who lean toward the gourmet cuisine, I’ve found some changes of thinking, reflected in their critiques. We are suddenly faced with the willful annihilation of long-held beliefs, which, to me, border on the sacred. Word is that the color of the wine no longer has to be compatible to that of the food it accompanies. Now, tell me – what kind of wine does one serve with Fudge Cake and a Big Mac?

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup buttermilk

½ cup oil

3 eggs

2 boxes (3¾-oz each) [Cook & Serve] chocolate pudding (NOT instant)

2 cups Bisquick

1 recipe Fudge Icing

INSTRUCTIONS:

Beat all ingredients well, as listed, on high speed of electric mixer about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl often. Spread [batter] evenly over bottom of a greased and floured 9-in-sq baking pan. Bake at 350°F for about 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted through center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 30 minutes. Apply Fudge Icing to slightly warm cake. Refrigerate cake for about 1 hour, before cutting it into nine 3-inch squares. Freezes well.

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

See also…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – The Kitchen

FUDGE ICING FOR GOURMET CAKE

FUDGE ICING FOR GOURMET CAKE

By Gloria Pitzer, as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Mostly 4-Ingredient Recipes (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; April 1986, p. 66).

INGREDIENTS:

4 TB (1/2 stick) butter or margarine

1-oz square unsweetened, solid, baking chocolate

¼ cup dark corn syrup

1 cup confectioners (powdered) sugar

INSTRUCTIONS:

Melt butter (or margarine) in 1½-qt saucepan, over medium heat, adding chocolate and stirring until completely melted and smooth. Add corn syrup. Stir constantly until it comes to a boil [and continue] only for 1 minute, stirring persistently.

Remove from heat. Beat in powdered sugar until smooth. Apply warm icing to slightly warm cake. Refrigerate iced cake, before cutting.

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

See also…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – The Kitchen

APPLE BREAD

APPLE BREAD

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

INGREDIENTS:

3 eggs

21-oz can apple pie filling

2 tsp apple pie spice

18-oz box Applesauce-Spice cake mix – dry*

[*Or substitute yellow cake mix and 4 tsp apple pie spice (instead of 2).]

Thin Vanilla Icing

INSTRUCTIONS:

Beat eggs and pie filling in large mixing bowl, with mixer on medium speed, breaking up the apples, in the pie filling, into bits. Beat in spice and drop in dry cake mix (right from the box), b eating only until completely dissolved and moistened. Do not overbeat or bread will be heavy.

Divide batter between two  8½” Pyrex loaf dishes, each sprayed with Pam and dusted with flour. Bake them at 350°F for 45-50 minutes, or until [toothpick] inserted in center comes out clean. Cool bread in dishes, on [wire] rack for 10 minutes and then drizzle top of loaves with [my] Thin Vanilla Icing.

Cool 1 hour. Remove from baking dishes. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 4 hours, before slicing. Makes 2 loaves.

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

See also…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Passion To Profit

ENGLISH BREAKFAST

ENGLISH BREAKFAST

By Gloria Pitzer, as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Mostly 4-Ingredient Recipes (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; April 1986, p. 101).

INGREDIENTS:

English Muffins, split and toasted

Butter to taste

Tomato slices

Sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

INSTRUCTIONS:

Toast & butter split, English muffins. Add tomato slices and shredded cheddar over each. Broil only until cheese melts.

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

See also…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Autumn Comforts