Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Resolution Declarations

Thank God Its Monday again and, as usual, #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!



With the hustle and bustle of Christmas in the rearview mirror and in advance of New Year’s Resolutions Week, which starts next week, now is usually the time that many of us start focusing on our New Year’s resolutions for 2023 – what we want to stop, start, attain, or change about ourselves.

Do you have goals you want to achieve in 2023? You’re not alone. Almost everyone makes at least one New Year’s resolution each year. According to Wikipedia, making a New Year’s resolution is a more common tradition in the Western world than it is in the Eastern one.

Supposedly, the New Year’s resolution tradition originated over 4,000 years ago, when ancient Babylonians made year-end promises to the gods, so as to earn their favor in the coming new year. ‘Tis the season to contemplate this past year’s accomplishments and shortcomings and declare our resolutions for 2023.

The most common New Year’s resolutions are, more often than not, intended to be lifestyle changes – usually related to money or getting more healthy and fit. According to a report from, the Top 10 Most Common New Year’s Resolutions… (Dec. 30, 2021), for 2022, are as follows:

      1. Exercise more
      2. Lose weight
      3. Get organized
      4. Learn a new skill or hobby
      5. Live life to the fullest
      6. Save more money / spend less money
      7. Quit smoking
      8. Spend more time with family and friends
      9. Travel more
      10. Read more

That’s actually quite similar to every year’s most common resolutions. In fact, this kind of looks like my retirement to-do-list, except to quit smoking because I already accomplished that May 1, 2006 – thanks to a book Mom gave me, The Easy Way To Quit Smoking by Allen Carr (Sterling, Sept. 2004).

After years of failed resolutions to change this or that about myself, I finally realized when I stopped smoking cigarettes (and have not gone back to it since), that the best route to a successful lifestyle change must first happen in my mind! In other words, “mind over matter” is the first step!

I think Mom heard about Carr’s book when it was recommended by Oprah or Dr. Oz, on one of their shows. She went right out to our local “Barnes & Noble” retailer and bought a copy, read it, applied it, and stopped smoking, herself. Then, she bought 3 more copies for me and my two sisters; in hopes that we’d all join the “quit smoking band wagon”, with her.

Unfortunately, Mom didn’t stick with it and neither did my sisters if they even tried at all. In fact, when she gave me the book, I didn’t even want to quit smoking. I enjoyed it. I hadn’t even thought about quitting previously, except during each of my pregnancies, in which I only quit for those time periods. Afterwards, I always CHOSE to go back to it.

Nonetheless, I promised Mom that I’d, at least, read the book and think about it. After I finished reading the book, and while I was still thinking about it, I loaned the book to a girlfriend who was dealing with cancer and Chemo. She was struggling with the “want” of smoking over the “want” of quitting. The book’s thought process worked for her immediately and she hasn’t smoked a cigarette since. That was in March 2006!

‘Live up to the best you can see yourself to be, never compromising with excuses and examining every reason for not doing what you are capable of doing…If, every day, we find a way to contribute our best efforts in thought, in action and with no regrets, we’ll never have to fear the future.’ – Gloria Pitzer, This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 14)

Stress and anxiety often accompany lifestyle changes like stopping smoking or starting a new diet or exercise regimen. Thus, it’s so important to be in the right frame of mind, first; so you don’t lose it – whether it’ is your focus or your inspiration or your emotional stability – while you’re trying to lose “it” (which could refer to weight or some other health issue)!

How many resolutions have you made and broke? It might feel comforting to know that it’s extremely rare to actually keep a New Year’s resolution all year, let alone all Winter. In fact, according to The U.S. News (Dec. 29, 2015) …80 Percent of New Year’s Resolutions Fail by mid-February.

Breaking a plan down into a manageable series of short, daily or weekly steps and goals seems to help some people, in relieving stress and anxiety; thus, making it more simple to stay focused. It also offers more continuous motivation to reach each step and goal, while persevering to move on to the next one. One day at a time, one step at a time.

‘Having a goal gives us hope and it’s hope that keeps us going, enabling us each to meet whatever the world dishes out.’ – Gloria Pitzer [This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p.24)]

I’ve determined that every day is a defining moment, in which experience and knowledge influence our own personal evolutions. Thus, I think we need to seize those moments and do our best to make the most out of them! It really doesn’t matter when you start a resolution. The important thing is to see it through and commit yourself to its eventual success.

Most New Year’s resolutions are, more often than not, abandoned at the first sign of failure. There are no rules to the resolutions game. There’s nothing preventing you from changing the start or deadline dates, making new resolutions or reiterating resolutions you’ve already attempted, but from which you fell short.

‘Nothing worthwhile comes easily. Half effort does not produce half results. It produces no results! Work, continuous work and hard work, is the only way to accomplish results that last.’ – Hamilton Holt, Hard Work With Some Caveats (; May 21, 2018)

Believe in yourself! The important thing, for success, is to “get back on the horse.” According to Mom, it’s not a “will” power that leads to any resolution’s success, it’s a “won’t” power – such as, “I won’t stop”, “I won’t give in”, “I won’t give up”, and “I won’t quit!”

‘Success is not in never failing, but in never fearing to begin again.’ – Gloria Pitzer, This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 14)

‘Start Now! Good thoughts and good feelings reinforce each other…When you hold on to one good thought, the better you’ll do things that make you feel good about yourself…Nothing will work for you unless you work for it.’ – Gloria Pitzer [This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p.32)]


Positivity is believing that every day is a good day – some are just better than others. Therefore, as opposed to saying, “have a good day”, Mom would suggest saying, instead, “keep good thoughts”. She reasoned, “How can you not have a good day, if you’re keeping good thoughts?”

‘Keeping good thoughts is a healthy exercise all the way around; but, like any form of exercise, you do have to work at it. And, like any other exercise, the more you work at it, the better it works for you.’ – Gloria Pitzer, This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 32)


In honor of tomorrow, being National Fruitcake Day, here is Mom’s copycat recipe for “Fruitcake Nobody Doesn’t Like”; as seen on the front page of her December 2002 Christmas Card/Free Recipes sheet.


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


December observes, among other things… National Pear Month, National Write A Business Plan Month, National Root Vegetables and Exotic Fruits Month, National Safe Toys and Gifts Month, Worldwide Food Service Safety Month, National Human Rights Month, and Universal Human Rights Month!

Today is also… National Candy Cane Day, National Thank-You Note Day, and Canadian Boxing Day! Plus, it’s the start of… Kwanzaa (which is always celebrated December 26th – January 1st).

Wednesday, December 28th is… National Card Playing Day, National Pledge of Allegiance Day, and National Chocolate Candy Day! In honor of the latter, here’s a re-share of Mom’s famous “Recess Peanut Butter Cups” imitation.


Thursday, December 29th is… National Pepper Pot Day!

Friday, December 30th is… National Bicarbonate of Soda Day, Falling Needles Family Fest Day, and National Bacon Day! Plus, being the last “work day” of the year (for 2022), it’s also… No Interruptions Day! In honor of BACON, here’s Mom’s secret recipe for “Bacon Chip Dip”; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 282). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition)]!



Saturday, December 31st is… National Champagne Day, Make Up Your Mind Day, and New Year’s Eve! Plus, every year, from 11:30 p.m. on December 31st to 12:30 a.m. on January 1st, it’s the… Universal Hour of Peace! Let there be peace on Earth.

Sunday is January 1st, 2023, which is the start of a whole new month and a whole new year! Happy 2023 to everyone!


…52 down, another year to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Celebrate Mondays

Happy Monday everybody! 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!


For decades, my mom looked forward to every Monday, too; because that was the day of her weekly visits with Bob Allison on his radio program, “Ask Your Neighbor”, which, in its early years, was heard on Detroit’s WWJ Newsradio station.

In fact, the title of “Secret Recipe Detective”, which Mom later trademarked, was first bestowed on her in the mid-1970s by Bob Allison’s “Ask Your Neighbor” listeners because she could decipher what combinations of ingredients and techniques could be used at home to imitate many favorite restaurant dishes and fast food items; as well as packaged “junk foods” and other supermarket products, for which people were searching to duplicate.

Mind you, Mom never knew the real “secret recipes” of the “specialty” restaurants and food companies (except for a select few that actually shared their recipes with her). However, Mom had a knack for coming up with her own ingredient combinations and techniques, in developing her own recipes, which imitated the famous dishes and products that people craved! In those days, nobody else was doing anything like that – but many copycats soon followed the ORIGINAL “copycat cooker”.

Mom had appeared on some famous TV shows during the first decade of her recipes business. There was even a Jeopardy question made about her. However, radio was the solid cornerstone in the foundation of building what Mom often and lovingly referred to as her family’s cottage enterprise, a dining room table operation. And when it came to promoting her work through radio shows, Bob Allison was the first radio host to offer Mom that opportunity!


Why do people find Mondays to be the most difficult day of the week? It seems to be the most detested of all the days. People should have a more positive attitude about Mondays. Personally, I greet every Monday of each new week with energy, motivation, and freshness! Of course, it helps a lot if you love what you do on Mondays!

The most common reason people give for hating Mondays is simply because it follows their two days off of work, for enjoying freedom and fun; thus, they dread going back to their unhappy work lives. On the other hand, many other people know that weekends are not necessarily fun and freedom for everyone.

For people like me, the weekend, or any days off of work, are usually spent catching up on “chore time” responsibilities that get neglected because of my employment outside the home; such as yard work, housekeeping, laundry, cleaning the car, grocery shopping, fixing things around the house, and so on. Personally, I call those responsibilities my “domestic” or “non-paying” job.

However, according to an article by Influence Digest, Sunday is supposedly the most important day of the week. Why Sunday Is The Most Important Day Of The Week (Aug 29, 2017) claims, “It is the day that 99% of North American society wastes away but it is also the day that the 1% of society uses to prepare for the week.”

Truth be told, Mondays are marvelous! They’re more often thought of as “new beginnings” than Sundays! It’s a common day for setting goals, starting a new activity like exercising or dieting, or ending a bad habit like smoking. Many new businesses have their grand openings on Mondays. Here are some positive thoughts to keep in mind about Mondays.

Do things on Mondays that make you feel happy – listen to music, dance like no one’s watching, see a funny movie, watch the sun rise (and set), read a new book, or watch cute puppy videos on YouTube; which, by the way, was born on a Monday – February 14th, 2005!

Start your week off on the right foot and be positive! However, if you’re a “lefty”, start your week off on the left foot and be upbeat! At work, instead of bringing donuts in on Fridays to celebrate the coming weekend and TGIF, make Mondays “donut day” or some other kind of special treat day to celebrate being back together – TGIM!

Another reason Mom loved Mondays (at least, September through mid-June, when my siblings and I were young) was because we went back to school and got out of her hair so she could concentrate more on her writing.


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 55)


RADIO TURNED OUT TO BE the most appropriate way by which we made people aware of what we were doing. Again, my involvement with the wonderful world of radio actually came about without any specific intention of becoming a regular part of the broadcasting field.

For one thing, I didn’t know I had what is considered a ‘radio voice’. I had never heard my own voice, at least, recorded. Heaven knows, our five kids will, to this day, even in their adulthood, testify to the fact that, on occasion, during their upbringing, I have been known to discover conditions that would prompt me to accelerate vocally in a pitch that only dogs in the next county could hear!

My introduction to radio began with Bob Allison and [his] nearly 30-year-running [at that time] ‘Ask Your Neighbor’ show. I was folding diapers at the kitchen table, waiting for my favorite, daily segment of ‘My True Story’ to come on the air, when, instead, WWJ announced that it had been replaced with a NEW show.

This new show turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me. To this day [December 1989], almost every Monday morning I visit with Bob Allison and his neighbors, now [in 1989] heard weekdays at 10 AM (EST) over WEXL-radio (Royal Oak/Detroit, Michigan), 1340 on your AM dial.

When ‘My True Story’ was replaced by Bob Allison and his ‘Ask Your Neighbor’ show, weekday mornings, I was, at first, very disappointed. [Recipes,] household hints and problems around the house that you cannot solve yourself, seem like just too much homemaking information to please me.

I soon, however, became ‘hooked’ on the show; as almost everybody does, to the point that, on Fridays, when Bob would sign off and say he would talk to us again on Monday, I was spending the weekends, just looking forward to the show on Monday.

I called the show about two or three times a month for the first year or two to ask questions of Bob’s ‘neighbors’ that my newspaper column readers were asking me. When I could not find the answers from consulting other sources, I knew I could rely on Bob Allison’s ‘neighbors’ to come up with the right answers for me. In return, I would often than phone and an answer that I occasionally had in reply to one of their questions or recipe requests.

Bob did not recognize my voice as a regular collar until I had initiated the newsletter, however. He asked me where the recipe came from that I was giving in reply to one of his listeners requests, which is how his program has always worked. Nobody simply calls in a recipe because they like it. They must, first, be replying to a request made by another caller and, secondly, must have personally tried the recipe.

On rare occasions, Bob will accept a recipe that is NOT tried by the caller, providing it comes from a truly reliable source or has been asked for and not answered for a long time. They also cover services that people are looking for or products that they cannot locate. This is what has always made Bob Allison’s format so unique, when compared to others like it on the air.

In mentioning that the hamburger sauce recipe would appear in the next issue of my monthly newsletter, which I had given in response to one of his listeners previous requests, Bob reacted with great interest and curiosity. ‘You have a newsletter, do you?’ He asked. ‘Well, tell us about it and how much it is and where our neighbors can get it.’

That was all it took to get us well-acquainted with Bob’s ‘neighbors’ and, in no time at all, our subscription orders went from a few too many. Sight-unseen was hardly appropriate to ask people to buy a publication that they could not first examine.

So I spent all of one day and most of the next, thinking about and trying out a single page description with a few sample recipes from the publication that I could send out to interested in perspective subscribers. To this day, we still use the same procedure, and it has worked very well. We offer, for a self-addressed stamped envelope, 15 sample recipes and, on the other side of the page, all the [ordering] information on our books and newsletter.


According to, “When people have a more positive attitude towards Monday, they will be able to transform the rest of their lives by embracing change.” So don’t procrastinate or drag your feet. Jump up! Be thankful! It’s a new week! It’s a new chance to make a difference! Give Mondays your all!

But, if you’re still not pumped up yet about Mondays, then just remember this – it’s only four more days until Friday!


In honor of TODAY, being National Cocoa Day, here is Mom’s copycat recipe for homemade Hot Cocoa Mix; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 266). [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…


Some of December’s month-long observances include… National Write A Business Plan Month, National Pear Month, Root Vegetables and Exotic Fruits Month, Safe Toys and Gifts Month, Worldwide Food Service Safety Month, National Human Rights Month, and Universal Human Rights Month!

Today is also… National Violin Day and the U.S. National Guard Birthday!

Tomorrow is… National Bouillabaisse Day and National Alabama Day! Plus, this day is also the start of… Christmas Bird Count Week[s] (which is a 3-week celebration that always starts on the 14th and runs through January 5th) and Halcyon Days (which is a 2-week celebration that always starts 7 days before the Winter Solstice and runs until 7 days after; being the 14th-28th, for 2021)!

Wednesday, December 15th is… National Cupcake Day, National Bill of Rights Day, and National Wear Your Pearls Day!

Thursday, December 16th is… National Chocolate-Covered Anything Day (see my re-share of Mom’s Reese’s imitation below)! Plus, this day is also the start of… Las Posadas, which is a 9-day celebration that always runs December 16th through the 24th!


December 17th is… National Maple Syrup Day. Plus, as the third Friday in December, it’s also… National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day and National Underdog Day! Plus, this day is also the start of… National Saturnalia Week (which is always the 17th-23rd)!

Saturday, December 18th is… National Twin Day, National Roast Suckling Pig Day, and National Wreaths Across America Day – which changes annually – December 18th for 2021)! This day is also the start of… Gluten-free Baking Week (which is always the 18th-24th)!

Sunday, December 19th is… National Hard Candy Day and National Oatmeal Muffin Day!


…50 down and only 2 more to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – You Can’t Please Everyone

Happy Monday to one and all! It’s the last Monday in June. I always look forward to every Monday, because they are my 52 Chances each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!



The month of June is still observing (for a few more days), National Candy Month, among other things. As such, I want to mention that Mom imitated a lot of different candy makers’ confections, as the Secret RecipesTM Detective. In fact, Mom’s first candy imitation (shared in her January 1977 cookbook, The Secret Restaurant Recipes Book) was for, as she called her version, “Recess Peanut Butter Cups”. It was among her “Original 200” recipes collection.

At first, the Hershey Company’s “people” were very upset about Mom, imitating their Reeses Peanut Butter Cup product and naming it too similar to their product’s name. However, unlike many other companies, they were willing to work with Mom; especially after she explained the meaning behind her title, using the word recess (as in a retreat). Mom also offered to only use (and promote) Hershey’s chocolate in her recipe.

Over the years, Mom imitated other candy too. In her July 1977 cookbook, Second Helping Of Secret Recipes, Mom covered a variety of confections by the Sanders Candy Company and some carnival treats like cotton candy. Mom’s following cookbook in 1978, Eating Out At Home, she had pages of candy imitations from Life Savers to licorice.

The following year, in her Top Secret Recipes Al’a Carte (September 1979) cookbook, Mom imitated another variety of sweet treats from Raisinettes to Milky Way. Every year there seemed to be a new variety of treats that Mom would develop so we could imitate our favorites at home. Below is a re-share of one of Mom’s versions for imitating Hershey’s famous Reeses Peanut Butter Cups at home!

Unlike the Hershey and Sanders companies, who were flattered by Mom’s imitations, there were some other food companies that were totally offended by a small-town homemaker, imitating their products in her own kitchen and naming her versions similarly to their products! Along with that, she was also sharing her recipes with the public, so they could also “eat out, at home!”

Many companies complained of copyright infringements and threatened her with lawsuits, but none of them actually took her to court. Mom never knew what any of their recipes actually contained, nor the processes they used. She just figured out, for herself, how to make the same kind of thing at home. One company, however, started an advertising campaign; using a 1970’s, stereotype housewife, the ad claimed that even she can’t make their product at home!

Stouffers’ and Orange Julius’ attorneys were among the worst of the top 10 complainers about Mom’s copycat cookery concept. Continuously, throughout the 1970s, the Orange Julius people threatened Mom with lawsuits regarding her version of their product. Mom called her imitation “Orange Judas”, as found (in 3 different versions) on page 6 of her self-published cookbook, The Secret Restaurants Recipes Book (Jan. 1977).

In fact, neither of the afore mentioned companies liked it when Mom and various media sources, like magazine and newspaper reviews and interviews, referred to her imitations as being anything like the original products, nor did they want her recipes’ names to even sound like their own products’ names. Yet, almost since they initially came out in the 1970s, generic brands had been doing basically the same thing.

Speaking of magazines, I just heard over the weekend that Richard Stolley passed away last week. He really made “People” magazine a household name, featuring “extraordinary people doing ordinary things and ordinary people doing extraordinary things”. After her first appearance on the Phil Donahue Show, I don’t know at to which group they considered Mom. Both – maybe!

After years of requests, following her first appearance on the Phil Donahue Show in July 1981 [NOTE: That was 40 years ago!], though afraid of the massive mail it would probably generate, Mom finally consented to an interview with “People” magazine in 1990.

Mom renamed her original “Orange Judas” recipe a number of times but still couldn’t appease that company! Regardless of their threats of lawsuits, Mom finally settled on the name of “Orange Brutus” for her copycat recipe. In a way, Mom turned a “lemon into lemonade”; because, as she promoted it, “Brutus was the one who ‘did in’ Julius!”

All of those companies, saying Mom infringed on their copyrights, just spurred her on all the more. She wanted to pursue her passion and the right to create her own homemade versions of famous foods from famous places, publish them, promote them and sell them!

Mom believed that, since all of those companies and their attorneys were so persistent in huffing and puffing and trying to blow her house down, she must have been on the right path! She also believed that she must have gotten pretty close with her imitations to have caused such a stir!

On the other hand, some food companies, such as White Castle and Sanders Chocolates, were honored by Mom’s efforts at flattery, by imitating their products. In fact, the General Foods corporation, like Hershey, happened to be a slight mixture of both.

At first, their attorneys wrote to Mom to cease and desist the use of her recipe title, “Shape & Bake”; because it too closely resembled their trademark name, “Shake & Bake”, as to cause confusion between the products. Then they inferred that a lawsuit would follow if she didn’t cooperate.

Mom worked with General Foods, as she did with Hershey; changing the title of her coating mix to “Shook & Cook”, with which the company was pleased. Mom had sent General Foods a copy of an editorial page from her newest cookbook (at that time), The Joy of NOT Cooking…Anymore than You have To (1983).

In the editorial, Simple Reproductions, Mom wrote about her recipe imitations and their effect on certain “big” companies, comparing her opposite encounters with General Foods’ attorneys and Stouffers’ attorneys. General Foods was pleased with Mom’s editorial compliments on their helpful approach and even offered Mom complete cooperation at any time with any of their products that she used as ingredients in her recipes.

As Mom said in her editorial, “now that’s a BIG company – big in spirit and in customer relations. I purchase all of their products as often as I possibly can to show my approval of their efforts not to alienate a customer.” Unlike Stouffer’s hammer approach, General Foods took a scalpel approach – they didn’t have a problem with Mom’s imitation of their product, they just wanted a different title for it to protect their trademarks and copyrights.


As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 215)

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

COOKIES AND CANDIES (section intro.)

COOKIES AND CANDIES really bring out the little child within us all. There is something almost rewarding about simple confections that the food industry has also been able to capitalize on the products of this division with great marketing success.

The first bakery marketing efforts in the American frontier days included delicacies of French origin, Danish breads and cakes, Austrian strudel and pies of truly colonial persuasion. The candies, which were originally for special religious observances, have been taken into the fold of a prospering industry and have continued, despite repercussions of the critics, skepticism of sugar and artificial sweeteners, to please the public.

The names of the brands that we remember from our pasts and will recall of our present experiences with confections include Hostess Twinkies, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Mallow Cups, Cracker Jack, Niagara Falls and Mackinac Island fudges, Sanders Candy Company, O Henry bars, Baby Ruth, Mr. Goodbar, Life Savers, Tootsie Rolls, Goobers Chocolate Covered Peanuts, Archway, Pepperidge Farm, Oreo and Girl Scout cookies, Stuckey’s Pecan Brownies, Keebler Double Chip cookies, Chipperoos, Fig Newtons, and so many more.

When I compiled my favorite cookie and candy recipes for this section, I was really torn between what to keep and what to leave out. I wanted to share with you every single wonderful memory of a pleasing product, you could hopefully imitate in your own kitchen, as a compliment to the original. The array of recipes with which I’ve been working [since the early 60s], was so good that I had a difficult time deciding which would be the best ones to offer you here.

In cookie-baking, the spirit of “reward” is still there, as it was when we were youngsters, and remains a tradition – we will always find a place and a reason for having a cookie jar in the kitchen. The candy making recipes are, likewise, pleasing imitations of those products I have most enjoyed and those my readers have requested over the years. You will probably want to enjoy trying every one of these recipes – especially at holiday times and when ordinary days should feel like a holiday, too!


As I wrote about in Imitation, one of my early blogs, says the word means “something produced as a copy; resembling something else…”; while says, “to imitate someone is to pay the person a genuine compliment…” However, as I pointed out, in the beginning, not everyone takes it as such; because there’s a fine-line between imitation and plagiarism.

Mom often referred to herself as “the Rich Little of recipes”. Rich Little was a famous, stand-up comedian and an extremely impressive imitator of celebrity voices. Similarly, Mom was a comedic writer and cartoonist, as well as an imitator of “famous foods from famous places”!

Ever since Mom started her dining-room-table-family-run enterprise in 1973, so many people have imitated her copycat cookery concept. However, not all who’ve followed in her footsteps have given Mom the credit that’s due to her for being the ORIGINAL Secret RecipesTM Detective, sleuthing out and uncovering the supposed secrets of the food industry! Kudos to those who have given Mom the proper credit, though!


In honor of National Candy Month, here is Mom’s copycat recipe for imitating Mallow Cups!

As seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 233)

[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…


June is still celebrating, for a few more days… National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month, National Camping MonthNational Caribbean American Month, National Country Cooking Month, National Dairy Month, National Great Outdoors Month, National Iced Tea Month, National Papaya Month, National Pollinators Month, National Soul Food Month, National Rose Month, and National Turkey Lovers Month – among other things!

Additional observances this week include:

Today is… National Paul Bunyan Day and National Alaska Day!

Tuesday is… National Camera Day, National Waffle Iron Day, and National Almond Buttercrunch Day!

Wednesday is… National Meteor Watch Day and Social Media Day!

Thursday is the beginning of July! As such, some of July’s observances include: World Watercolor Month, National Baked Bean Month, National Culinary Arts Month, National Grilling Month, National Horseradish Month, National Hot Dog Month, National Ice Cream Month, Independent Retailer Month, National Blueberry Month, National Picnic Month, and National Peach Month!

Furthermore, July 1st is… National Creative Ice Cream Flavors Day, National Gingersnap Day, National Postal Worker Day and National U.S. Postage Stamp Day

Friday, July 2nd is… National Anisette Day!

Saturday, July 3rd is… National Fried Clam Day, National Eat Your Beans Day, and National Chocolate Wafer Day! Plus, as the first Saturday in July, it’s Hop-a-Park Day and National Play Outside Day (which is the 1st Saturday of every month)!

Sunday, July 4th is… of course, our national Independence Day, as well as National Barbecued Spareribs Day and National Caesar Salad Day!


…26 down and 26 to go!

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

Happy Monday and happy March to everyone! As for myself, 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!



March is, among other things, National Women’s History Month – which, according to, was “established in 1987 as a way to celebrate women across the nation and their efforts to make the country, and world, a better place for women of all ages and races.”

I’m especially joyful today, regarding sharing Memories Of My Mom, as Mom’s pioneering efforts to imitate America’s favorite junk food, fast food, and other famous restaurant dishes – in a roundabout way, making home a better place, first, and emulating that into the community, the country, and the world – most certainly SHOULD be celebrated as historical!

Unfortunately, Mom didn’t make “the list” of “Top 100 Women of History”, by Jone Johnson Lewis (updated July 3, 2019), as seen at; who used internet searches as a parameter. Likewise, Mom didn’t make “the list” in “Famous Firsts in Women’s History” (by editors – updated Feb. 4, 2021) either.

Nevertheless, many of Mom’s own mentors and idols were on those lists – great women such as Maya Angelou, Lucille Ball, Jackie Kennedy (Onassis), the Bronte sisters, Anne Frank, Julia Child, Oprah Winfrey, and Erma Bombeck! That brings to mind the hilarious rantings about famous people who “never got a dinner” by Red Buttons, as a frequent guest “roaster” on many of the old Dean Martin Celebrity Roast shows.

Mom never won a Nobel Peace Prize or a Pulitzer Prize, nor had she written the “great American novel”. But, for over 40 years, she was a journalist, writing and self-publishing hundreds of food-for-thought articles and newsletters; as well as over 40 cookbooks, unlike any others on the market! My mom was a pioneer in the food industry, being the first person (let alone, the first woman) to carve out the “copycat cookery” niche – but she “never got a dinner”!

Mom didn’t make great scientific contributions, like Marie Curie or Florence Nightingale; however, she was the FIRST to develop recipes that imitated many American’s favorite foods like KFC Chicken, McDonald’s Special Sauce, Wendy’s Frosty, White Castle’s Hamburger “Slider”, Famous Amos’ Cookies, and THOUSANDS more! Mom made countless meals in her lifetime that  tasted like we were “eating out at home” – but Mom “never got a dinner”!

Mom developed her own “secret recipes” for “famous foods from famous places”, right at home – and shared those secrets in her books and newsletters! Mom often gave away “free samples” of her work through the mail, on TV and radio talk shows, as well as in newspaper and magazine interviews – and “never got a dinner”!

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Mom wrote and syndicated her own columns for newspapers and magazines, geared toward the Women’s-Lib-Movement-fence-sitting-housewives-turned-homemakers (like herself). Starting in the early 1970s, Mom was imitating the coveted (yet taboo) fast foods, junk foods, and convenience foods – taking the “junk” out of the “so-called” junk foods – but she “never got a dinner”!

Mom wasn’t a women’s rights activist, like Susan B. Anthony or Elizabeth Cady Stanton. In fact, she often had a few choice words for Women’s Lib (satirically speaking)…


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?

Mom always felt that all of us could and should make the world a better place. It all counts – even in the smallest ways! Mom did it, herself, in all of her creations, through her comical cartoon panels, food-for-thought articles and food-for-the-soul inspirations; not to mention her very UNIQUE food-for-the-table recipes. My mom was a “creative guru” at whatever she attempted – but she “never got a dinner”!

She wore so many hats in our family – as cook, maid, chauffer, nurse, seamstress, counselor, mentor, teacher, and so on. Additionally, in her dining-room-table-based “family enterprise”, Mom was the recipe developer, author, illustrator, layout creator, publicist, promotion specialist, public speaker/lecturer and (again) so much more! She was a “Wonder Woman” – who “never got a dinner”!

As a semi-modernized, yet somewhat old-fashioned, working “housewife”-turned-“homemaker”, during the 1970s – amidst the Women’s Lib Movement – Mom felt extremely blessed to be able to do what she loved most, WRITE; while being able to do it from home, balancing and juggling her many hats as “Mom”, “Wife”, and “Business Woman”. Yet she “never got a dinner”!


As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 295)


FAST FOOD RECIPES were not published in the best-sellers – and these were the restaurants where families were apt frequent if they wanted a meal that was affordable!

Paul and I could take all 5 of the children to Capri’s, an Italian restaurant down the road from us in Pearl Beach, and 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. We could make the most of what we had. In the 50s and 60s and early 70s, this is the way parents raised their families, budgeted their earnings and allowed for their pleasures.

Things changed, as well they should. Women went out to work. If they weren’t working to supplement the family income, they went to work for their own satisfaction. Whatever the reasons, families changed. Eating at home became less and less appealing – and less and less convenient. Homes were built with smaller kitchens and bigger bathrooms. Microwave ovens were more affordable – and defrost and heat became more popular.


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 with us 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.


As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 141)


BREAD-BAKING has filled my house with the most delicious aromas – on those occasions when I have ventured into the catacombs of conscious cookery. I was taught by a grandmother who believed that the way to a man’s heart was through his stomach; and, if you kept your man well-fed and loved and listened-to, everything else would fall into its proper place in perspective. Well, we can’t all be right all the time. Grandma tried.

Bread-baking was not the Elmer’s “Glue-All” of my marital bliss and stability. In fact, on occasion, it might have threatened our harmony – considering that, before I learned a few chosen shortcuts to better baking, I could (at the drop of a hat) clutter the countertops with every bowl, dish, spoon, pan and ingredient possible! This, of course, necessitated having to “eat out” on those nights when there was no place to prepare a deserving dinner at home.

It reminded me that somewhere there should be a clause in every cookbook warning young wives with old-fashioned morals about marriage that there are some things Mother never told us… Or if she did, I just wasn’t paying attention!

In any case, I recommend cooking as being thoroughly therapeutic! Bread-baking includes the energetic kneading of the dough – which enables one to work off pent-up emotions that one cannot otherwise rid themselves of verbally.

Whenever I had problems to work out (which was like every other minute or so) I would either be in the kitchen, cooking something, or at the typewriter, writing about cooking something! Kneading a large batch of yeast dough is a great way to unwind and relieve tensions.

Of course, it didn’t always solve my problems, since most of them were directly related to my finding my utensils, which I had to locate before I could start relieving myself of unwanted tensions. I’ll bet I was the only woman on the block who had to sift through the kids’ sandbox before I could set the table or bake a loaf of bread!


If you missed my visit last week on WHBY’s Good Neighbor” show, with Kathy Keene, you can listen to the podcast recording here:

I’ve also created a list of links to all of our monthly WHBY “Pitzer” Podcasts, thus far, including Mom’s recipes that I’ve shared with Kathy’s audience. See the “Media Friends” tab on this website, as I will be updating the list monthly with more links and recipes of our radio visits.

[Our next visit is scheduled in four weeks – Monday, March 29th!]



In honor of National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day, today, here is Mom’s “secret recipe” for Peanut Butter Pie like that of Ohio’s Goody-Goody Restaurant; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 239)

AND HERE’S AN ENCORE of Mom’s “secret recipe” for RecessTM Peanut Butter Cups, as seen in her “free recipes” offerings – also, part of her “Original 200” collection!

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


March is also…

Irish-American Heritage Month, National Caffeine Awareness Month, National Celery Month, National Craft Month, National Flour Month, and National Sauce Month!

Furthermore, one of the many celebrations for this whole week is aimed at National Procrastination Week – which is actually celebrated during the first TWO weeks in March (or whenever it’s convenient)!


Today, March 1, is… National Dadgum That’s Good Day, National Fruit Compote Day, National Minnesota Day, and National Pig Day!

Tuesday, March 2, is… National Banana Cream Pie Day, National Old Stuff Day, and National Read Across America Day (Dr. Seuss Day)! 

Wednesday, March 3, 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!

Thursday, March 4, is… National Grammar Day, National Sons Day, and National Pound Cake Day!

Friday, March 5, is… National Cheese Doodle Day; and as the first Friday in March [2021] it’s also National Day of Unplugging, National Dress in Blue Day, National Speech and Debate Education Day, and National Employee Appreciation Day!

Saturday, March 6, is… the kick-off of International Women’s Week [which starts the first Saturday in March]! It’s also National Frozen Food Day, National White Chocolate Cheesecake Day, and National Oreo Cookie Day! In honor of the latter, here is Mom’s famous imitation of the famous sandwich cookie:

Sunday, March 7, is… National Flapjack Day, National Be Heard  Day, National Cereal Day, and National Crown of Roast Pork Day! It is also the start of the 1st FULL week in March (7th-13th for 2021), which celebrates National Girl Scout Week, Words Matter Week, and Read an E-Book Week (see below)!



…9 down and another 43 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Cover it in Chocolate!

Happy Monday! Today is December 16th and time to celebrate National Chocolate-Covered Anything Day! Although there is no history to be found about the who-when-and-why of the holiday’s origin, it’s still a wonderful concept to celebrate – especially during the coming holidays!

There are many national holidays that celebrate chocolate – and why not? It’s probably the most enjoyed flavor of all-time! You can make just about anything, food or drink, taste better by adding or covering it in chocolate (bacon, too – but, that’s another celebration.)

Stress wouldn’t be so hard to take if it were chocolate-covered. – Origin un-known

Nonetheless, it seems like it’s only during the winter holidays that you can find the really good “specialty items” that are covered in chocolate and ready for unique gift-giving (even if it’s only to yourself) – spoons covered in fancy chocolate designs (for stirring into your hot coffee or cocoa); pretzels, crackers, cookies and fruit to name a few examples that are dipped into special chocolate-coatings that harden as they cool.

However, we don’t have to wait for the holidays to enjoy anything that’s covered in chocolate. You’d be surprised at how easy and quick some of those “specialty”, chocolate-covered treats are to make – thus, maybe, add some to your homemade holidays (as I discussed in last week’s blog entry – of the same name!) They make great gifts for friends, neighbors, co-workers, teachers, care-givers and so on. Again, as I did in that blog entry, I highly recommend Pinterest for a wide-variety of great ideas and inspiration from which to unsheathe!

Michiganders know all about the creamy, luscious, milk chocolate covered delights that are created by Sanders’ Chocolatiers! If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a dozen times – Mom was a big chocolate-lover! Especially, when it came to the confections made by Michigan’s finest chocolatiers at Sanders Candy! The official Sanders story can be found at

Way back when… during Mom’s radio show interviews across the country, as the Recipe DetectiveTM, she often heard requests for Sanders’ treats from listeners who were re-located Michiganders that couldn’t enjoy Sanders Candy where they were now living. Of course, nowadays, we have the internet and 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.

Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get. – Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump)

I’m sure everyone has some childhood memories of special chocolate delicacies, which tickle them with feelings of love, content and comfort. According to an article by Richard Davies, called 10 Amazing Facts about Chocolate, it is widely believed that chocolate consumption releases a chemical into your body, which is very similar to what is produced when you’re in love.

Other fun facts I found about chocolate, in that article, include…

Did you know that…

…chocolate is lower in caffeine than tea, coffee and Coca-Cola?

…chocolate contains antioxidants which may help prevent cancer and heart disease?

…the shelf life of a bar of chocolate is approximately one year?

For some more fun facts, I found the following information, below, in an article, called 10 Fun Facts about Chocolate, at However, I didn’t see an author listed for whom to give credit.

Additionally, did you know that…

…chocolate comes from the beans of a fruit tree?

… each cacao tree produces approximately 2,500 beans?

…it takes about 400 cocoa beans to make one pound of chocolate?

[FYI – that equals 6.25 pounds of chocolate produced per tree.]

… a farmer must wait four to five years for a cacao tree to produce its first beans?

… chocolate has over 600 flavor compounds?

What you see before you, my friend, is the result of a lifetime of chocolate. – Katharine Hepburn

When Mom developed her first copycat version of Sanders’ Hot Fudge Sauce, in the mid-1970’s era, it was part of her “original 200” copycat recipes that launched her career as the Recipe DetectiveTM. Sanders was one of a handful of companies that were flattered (rather than infuriated) by Mom’s imitations and she became great friends with the Sanders family, in the process.

A secret Mom discovered, in replicating the creaminess and flavor of Sanders’ hot fudge sauce, was to use Nestle brand milk chocolate, as no other brought the same taste and texture that she was trying to achieve. I’ve shared a couple of Mom’s copycat versions of Sanders-Style Hot Fudge Sauce in the “Recipes” tab on this website. Her hot fudge sauce was always one of our family’s top 10 favorite treats from her homemade copycat creations!


You can use the hot fudge sauce to cover ice cream, brownies or pies – to name a few. Likewise, you can dip cookies or chunks of fruit into the sauce, like a fondue! It all sounds like the makings for a party to me! I wish I could indulge in the real thing. I probably miss Mom’s hot fudge sauce more than any other treat that she made.


I have a lot of great childhood memories of when Mom created her homemade, copycat versions of Sanders’ special treats for our family – and it was especially fun to help her make the hot fudge sauce! I remember, as well, when I made this treat with my own kids, when they were small – and it was a big treat for all of us to have Sanders style hot fudge sundaes! In honor of National Chocolate-Covered Anything Day, here is Mom’s favorite make-alike version of their hot fudge sauce:


By Gloria Pitzer

[Recipe Number 1my own favorite!]


14-ounce can Eagle Brand milk

14 ounces light corn syrup (use EB milk can to measure)

¼ pound butter*

(*per the “free sheet” directions; the cookbook – as it was written in 1983 – calls for ½ pound)

12 ounces Nestlé’s milk chocolate candy bars – Do not substitute on brand of candy!

a few drops vanilla extract


In top of double boiler, over simmering water, combine all ingredients as listed, stirring about 15 minutes until smooth and melted. Cover and continue cooking for at least 30 more minutes, stirring about every 10 minutes. Cool and put through your blender in small portions, using on/off agitation on high speed until mixture is satiny-smooth. Makes 1 quart. Keeps refrigerated up to a month – reheat in top of double boiler over simmering water. Freezes well up to 6 months.


As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 252-254)

SANDERS’ HOT FUDGE [SAUCE] was one of the nicest experiences I had in working with imitations of the famous recipes, for John (Jack) Sanders, the grandson and president of the company founded by his grandfather, Fred, was one of the sponsors of Warren Pierce’s [Detroit area] radio show. Imagine my reluctance to share, with his listeners, my version of Sander’s hot fudge.

I had previously had so many threatening letters from food company lawyers that I didn’t know what to expect if I heard from the Sanders people! To my amazement, the letter we anticipated did arrive only 2 days after I gave my version of their hot fudge [sauce] to Warren’s listeners. The letter, however, said – if it wouldn’t ruin my fun in trying to duplicate these famous dishes, would Paul and I and all the kids kindly accept an invitation from Jack Sanders to tour their Oakman Boulevard Bakery and Confection plant and meet their Head Chef, Edy Mader.

It was the beginning of a beautiful relationship, between my Secret Recipes and Fred Sander’s products and, I learned, encouraged many out-of-state orders for their products whenever I talked about them during my frequent radio visits around the country. As the slogan for Sanders’ Restaurants, Bakery and Candy company said, ‘When it’s from Sanders, even a little is a big, big treat…’

When it’s from Sanders, even a little is a big treat. – Sanders’ Candy Co.

As I said in my blog entry on July 1st, “Sanders doesn’t just create chocolate delights – while they do have a large variety of products – the best things that they create are the memories!” Here is another memory from Mom about the Sanders family, as seen in her last cookbook, Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 256).

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 256)

All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt. – Charles M. Schulz

From song to movie to soap opera titles, we’ve heard how “love is a many-splendored thing.” Oddly enough, many people find love and happiness in chocolate. Mom often demonstrated how to make her version of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, when she appeared on various talk shows over the decades, because it’s so quick and easy – and one of her most requested recipes.

As with her fudge sauce imitation, Mom determined that Hershey’s brand chocolate (of course) is the best chocolate with which to re-create their peanut butter cups at home. In fact, this is another one of our family’s top 10 favorites of Mom’s homemade treats and it, too, was part of her “original 200” copycat recipes!

First 5 books of the Secret Recipes Collection

As I mentioned earlier, only a handful of companies, like Sanders Candy, were flattered by Mom’s efforts at imitating their products… In fact, the Hershey corporation happened to be a slight mixture of, both, frustrated and flattered. At first, their attorneys wrote to Mom to cease and desist the use of her recipe title, “Recess Peanut Butter Cups”, because it too closely resembled their trademark name, Reese’s, “as to cause confusion between the products”, they said; inferring lawsuits would follow if she didn’t cooperate.

Then, Mom explained to the Hershey corporation the meaning behind her title and the use of the word recess (as in a retreat). She also offered to only use and promote Hershey’s chocolate in her recipe. The Hershey corporation was agreeable to, both, Mom’s explanation and offer…and they lived happily ever after!

So, with National Chocolate-Covered Anything Day and the up-coming holiday celebrations in mind, I’d like to re-share with you Mom’s make-a-like version of the famous peanut butter cups that she called “Recess Peanut Butter Cups”; again, asking only for proper credit if you care to share it.

Caramels are only a fad. Chocolate is a permanent thing. – Milton Hershey


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

The Christmas pie (above) would taste even more awesome covered in chocolate! PLUS…


Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective is available for sale, at $20.99 each, through the publisher, Balboa Press, at; it’s also available in eBook form, for $3.99, at

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Great Recipes Need to be Shared!

Happy Monday and, of course, happy National Chocolate Day!


According to, today is National Chocolate Day and was created by the National Confectioners Association. There are other chocolate celebrations throughout the year – just five weeks ago, I discussed the celebration of National White Chocolate Day.

As I mentioned in that blog entry, “Let us Celebrate Chocolate” (Sep. 23, 2019), Mom LOVED chocolate! And who doesn’t? I love chocolate, myself; but, it doesn’t bode well with my limited, daily, carbohydrate allowance. However, like Mom, I investigated ways I could imitate one of my favorite chocolate treats, no-bake cookies, with limited amounts of carbs.

I remember when I was just a little kid, maybe 4 or 5 years old, I liked to call them “mud puddle cookies”! Now, I can enjoy these treats once again – in moderation, of course, at 3 grams of carbs per 1/8-cup-sized cookie. I call my recipe “Heavenly Low-Carb No-Bakes” and I’ll share it with you at the end of this blog; as this website is sub-titled and as Mom liked to say, “Because great recipes need to be shared!”

One name in chocolate that Michiganders know well is Sanders Candy. The official Sanders story can be found at When Mom developed her copycat version of Sanders’ Hot Fudge Sauce, one of her original 200 copycat recipes (from the 1970s) that launched her career as the Recipe DetectiveTM, a secret she discovered was that Nestle brand milk chocolate was the key ingredient in replicating it’s creaminess and flavor, as no other brand brought the same flavor and texture that she was trying to achieve. I’ve shared a couple of her Sanders-Style Hot Fudge Sauce imitations in the “Recipes” tab on this website. It was always one of our family’s top 10 favorites of Mom’s copycat creations!

Sanders Candy logo


As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 192)

ONE OF THE MOST FAMOUS BAKERIES of our time is, of course, the Fred Sanders’ Company. What they’ve created for Detroiters, in the decades of their thriving popularity, have made lasting-memories. Each time I visit with a radio station, anywhere around the country, a displaced Detroiter will certainly always request a recipe that would be for one of the Sanders’ products that they can’t find in their new area. It is, indeed, a complement to a company that they’ve remained a popular favorite over many years.


As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 252-254)

When memories visit you, years from now, you will probably recall among the famous ice cream places were Dairy Queen, Baskin-Robbins, Howard Johnson’s, Sanders and Friendly’s restaurants – as well as the famous specialties like Sander’s hot fudge topping, Eskimo pies, Spumoni (with chunks of cherries, almonds and pistachios included) – [plus], creamy, thick malts and milk shakes. These will remain favorites of an adoring public of loyal fans, despite the critics and experts who would have us replace all these with bean sprouts, alfalfa and carob products…

SANDERS’ HOT FUDGE [SAUCE] was one of the nicest experiences I had in working with imitations of the famous recipes, for John (Jack) Sanders, the grandson and president of the company founded by his grandfather, Fred, was one of the sponsors of Warren Pierce’s [Detroit area] radio show. Imagine my reluctance to share, with his listeners, my version of Sander’s hot fudge.

I had previously had so many threatening letters from food company lawyers that I didn’t know what to expect if I heard from the Sanders people! To my amazement, the letter we anticipated did arrive only 2 days after I gave my version of their hot fudge [sauce] to Warren’s listeners. The letter, however, said – if it wouldn’t ruin my fun in trying to duplicate these famous dishes, would Paul and I and all the kids kindly accept an invitation from Jack Sanders to tour their Oakman Boulevard Bakery and Confection plant and meet their Head Chef, Edy Mader.

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 256)

It was the beginning of a beautiful relationship, between my Secret Recipes and Fred Sanders’ products and, I learned, encouraged many out-of-state orders for their products whenever I talked about them during my frequent radio visits around the country.

‘When it’s from Sanders, even a little is a big, big treat…’ – historical slogan for Sanders’ restaurant, bakery and candy company

Another delicious, chocolate creation from Mom’s original 200 recipes (again, from the 1970s), which started her Recipe DetectiveTM career, was that for an imitation of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Mom called her copycat version “Recess Peanut Butter Cups”. As I’ve mentioned before, some food companies, like Sanders, were honored by Mom’s efforts of flattery through imitating their products; while most others threatened her with lawsuits!

The Hershey corporation happened to be a slight mixture of both, threatening and flattered. At first, Hershey’s attorneys wrote to Mom to cease and desist the use of her recipe title, “Recess Peanut Butter Cups” because it too closely resembled their trademark name, “Reese’s”, as to cause confusion between the products; inferring lawsuits would follow if she didn’t cooperate. But, instead, Mom explained to them the meaning behind her title, using the word recess (as in a retreat); she also offered to only use (and promote) Hershey’s brand chocolate in the recipe. The Hershey corporation was agreeable to, both, Mom’s explanation and her offer.

I’ve previously shared Mom’s copycat versions of these yummy chocolate delights (mentioned above) in my blogs and you can also find them in the “Recipes” tab on this website. When it comes to chocolate treats like Sanders-Style Hot Fudge Sauce and Recess Peanut Butter Cups, both were always among our family’s top 10 favorites of Mom’s original copycat creations – and they were also top favorites among Mom’s many fans and followers! So, here they are for you again (see below)!




Almost 32 weeks ago, on the first day of spring, I adopted a low-carb lifestyle based on the “Atkins Diet”. Having hypoglycemia and being at least 55 pounds overweight, I felt 20 years older than I should have felt. I had a lot of joint pain, sciatica and arthritis problems. Thus, I decided to make a life-style change, like I did when I quit smoking cigarettes over 13 years ago. I chose to commit to living without most carbs – like bread, pasta, rice, potatoes and sugar – you know, all the good stuff!

I looked at the Keto diet, but it was too high in fat for me, as I don’t have a gall bladder anymore to filter such things. Those types of carbs that I mentioned above messed with my blood sugar levels, even when I switched to whole grains (though not as much then). In addition, because of my metabolism, it messed with my weight and overall health, as well! I realized that I was only cheating myself whenever I made bad choices on what I ate for meals and snacks. So, I came to terms with the release of most carbs in my life in the same way as I released tobacco from my life-style.

I had to mentally accept that this is a permanent change for me – not just until I reach my goal because, if I go back to my old life-style, then I also go back to my obese weight. I’m done with that! Now, I just continue to make wiser choices regarding what I consume; as well as how much because even if something is “carb-free”, it’s not necessarily free of calories or other content. I find that “everything in moderation” is the best rule by which to live. Below are some comparative pictures of me from last year and today.

After starting out at a 20-gram-carb-limit per day, for a few weeks, I raised my carb-limit to 25 grams a day and have kept it there, for the most part, ever since. So far, for me, that seems to be the magic number at which I feel my best and not regain any of the weight that I’ve lost. However, I know, with a regular exercise routine, I would be even healthier; but, I have yet to make the mental commitment to it. I need to go through the same mental process for exercising that I did for the other healthier life-changes I’ve made – I need to mentally see it as a priority in my life. But, honestly, for now, it is just another goal for which I need to commit and set my “start date” to just do it!

I miss Sanders chocolate, on this low-carb lifestyle. By the way, sugar-free chocolate is not the same as real chocolate! Though, while I miss chocolate (and other carbs), I don’t miss the 50 pounds that I’ve lost so far! I also don’t miss the back pains and joint pains in my hips, knees and feet – all the parts that had to carry all of my extra weight.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, I created a low-carb, no-bake cookie that I can enjoy as much as I did my favorite high-carb version that was, my friend, Karen’s recipe. I don’t know from where Karen originally got her recipe, but they were sinfully good! Unfortunately, my friend Karen passed away from cancer over four years ago. I miss her dearly and I cherish the wonderful, sweet recipes that she shared with me before she left this earth. But, now, I have to revise them to fit my new low-carb life-style.

Karen Leverich Ladd (1964-2015)

My next challenge is Karen’s recipe for homemade Peanut Brittle. Again, I don’t know if she developed it herself or got it from another source, but it’s another incredible recipe that I want to enjoy again, especially during the coming holidays! First, I need to come up with a low carb version of corn syrup. That’s where my mom’s talents come in handy, as she has a lot of recipes that she developed for imitating grocery products at home, including a homemade version of Karo’s light syrup product. I will have to experiment with it to create a sugar-free/low-carb version that will be able to be substituted for the real thing and still create the same or similar result in the final product.

For the time being, I was determined to make a copycat version of Karen’s no-bake cookies that was low enough in carbs for me to enjoy again – in moderation, of course. I call my version (below) “Heavenly Low-Carb No-Bakes”…and, as always, asking only for proper credit if you care to share it…

Heavenly Low-Carb No-Bakes by Laura (Pitzer) Emerich

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

October is still, among other things, National Book Month & National Reading Group Month & National Cookbook Month!

#NationalBookMonth #NationalReadingGroupMonth #NationalCookbookMonth

‘A cookbook should be as exciting as a good mystery!’ – Gloria Pitzer

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective is available for sale, at $20.99 each, through the publisher, Balboa Press, at; it’s also available in eBook form, for $3.99, at

Recess Peanut Butter Cups, a Make-Alike Version of Reeses

Recess Peanut Butter Cups

By Gloria Pitzer, from Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; May 1982)

The development of this recipe grew from a request made by a local group of parents whose children followed the Feingold diet to arrest hyperactivity. It became one of my most popular recipes across the country – and when I heard from the people at Hershey’s, in Pennsylvania, they were quite upset with my having such a recipe. I assured them that the name ‘Recess’ was drawn from the dictionary definition of the word, meaning ‘a hidden or secret place’ – quite in keeping with the theme of my series. And, because Hershey’s makes the famous product by a similar name (of which there are many in various industries, such as Goodyear and Goodrich both making tires), naturally, I recommended using Hershey’s chocolate in this recipe. I have had recipes sent to me by those who also try to imitate the famous product, but they each contained powdered sugar and were more like a cookie than a candy. I detected no powder sugar in my samplings of the famous product – so I didn’t include it in my imitation.


  • 1 8-oz Hershey’s milk chocolate candy bar
  • 3/4 C peanut butter
  • 4 TB butter or margarine (or 6 tablespoons melted paraffin – optional – but I use it, adding it to the chocolate when I melt it with the peanut butter. It’s up to you!)
  • 3/4 C additional peanut butter


  1. In top of double boiler, over HOT but not boiling, water, melt together the 1st three ingredients, stirring well.
  2. Put ¾ cup additional peanut butter in top of another double boiler over simmering water – or in a heat-proof bowl in a shallow pan of simmering water. Let peanut butter melt just to a pouring consistency.
  3. Have 24 miniature paper liners placed inside cupcake or muffin tin wells. You can place them side-by-side on a cookie sheet, but I like the support that the cupcake tin wells give the papers while the candy is “setting”.
  4. Next, divide HALF of the chocolate mixture, equally between each of the paper liners.
  5. Then, divide ALL the melted peanut butter between each of them, spooning it over the top of the chocolate.
  6. Finally, divide the remaining chocolate over the top of the peanut butter.
  7. Let it stand, at room temperature for 2 hours to “set”. Keep them refrigerated in a covered container up to a week. They’ll keep frozen for months – if they even last that long!
  8. NOTE: if you don’t want to bother with the cups, grease a 9-inch square pan, spreading half of the chocolate mixture evenly over the bottom and then the peanut butter over that and finely the remaining chocolate mixture over the peanut butter layer. Let it set until firm to the touch and cut into neat little squares. Makes about 36 pieces, depending on the size of your squares.
SPECIAL NOTE: The “Recess Peanut Butter Cups” imitation has had a few revisions over the years since Gloria first printed her make-alike version in her cookbook, The Secret Restaurant Recipes Book (Nat’l Homemakers Newsletter, Pearl Beach, MI; Jan. 1977, p. 32); when it originally called for Nestle’s milk chocolate candy bars and noted “do no substitute”. After a few discussions with the Hershey’s company, maker of the original product she was duplicating, Gloria offered to only use, and recommend, Hershey’s chocolate instead.


Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Happiness Is…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Happiness Is…

Hello, Everyone! If you haven’t been here before, my name is Laura Emerich and Gloria Pitzer, the ORIGINAL “Secret Recipe Detective”, is my mom. I started this weekly blog series last month to carry on her legacy through my memories of her; as well as, through the memories others have of her. This week’s subject is “happiness”! As Elbert Hubbard said, “Happiness is a habit cultivate it.” 

If true happiness is acquired through persistence and patience, it would be like the fable of the elderly Chinese profit who asked for a needle when none could be found. However, somebody offered him a crowbar and a file. He was pleased and assured his friends that it was only a matter of time before he could produce the needle he wanted. [a Food-for-Thought entry on page 304 of “Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective”; published by Balboa Press (January 2018) – a re-write of her famous, self-published book, “Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook” (May 1983, 3rd Printing)].

When I was feeling depressed and frustrated, miserable about life in general, Mom told me that happiness is not in what you want or what you get, but in who you are! True happiness comes from within us. It’s not about what you have in life, but what you get out of life, that counts. After all, it’s the journey, not the arrival, that matters the most.

Yet, there are those who truly believe, in their heart-of-hearts, that their level of happiness is in direct proportion to their level of success, which is in direct proportion to how much money they earn or have. However, success “levels” (if there really are such things) have nothing to do with how much money one has acquired; and, thus, has no correlation with a “level” of happiness. Mom believed that real success was found in how well we lived our lives – for the good of ourselves, as well as for the good of others. Thus, we should always do something that will make a difference for the good of others.

We all expect life to be good to us – at least, some of the time. But, when things don’t work out the way we plan, or hope, there’s an overwhelming tendency to feel that all life gives us is lemons. Everyone knows the old saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” (Also, a quote from Elbert Hubbard.) However, you need a lot of sugar to make a good lemonade. Whether the sweetener comes from self-love or from inner-happiness, we need to pour that sugar all over it!

One of Mom’s favorite “happy” and “feel good” movies was always The Sound of Music, in which Julia Andrews’ character was constantly bombarded with life’s “lemons”; but, like mom, she never lost her faith. She always found a way to turn it into lemonade. One of mom’s favorite references in the movie was from a scene in the Abby when Julia’s character was told, “When the Lord closes a doorhe opens a window.” Similar to Mom’s favorite Norman Vincent Peale quote: “God never closes a door that He doesn’t open a window.”

Photo of Gloria Pitzer, taken by Laura Emerich, March 2013

Mom believed that life’s best experiences often came out life’s biggest disappointments by, simply, turning “a let-down into a set-up” for something else – something better – something out there, through the opened window. She also believed that every new day was a turning point and that each experience (good and bad) eventually contributed in some way to our growth and happiness. For that she was always grateful. Since these life-lessons continue on a daily basis, we should be learning something new every day. After all, we are always growing and evolving – mind, body and soul. Mom once wrote, “…the opportunities that are available to us aren’t always the most obvious when we’re in the throes of self-pity [or rejection], or weary from over-work… You certainly won’t hear opportunity knocking at the front door if you’re in the back yard, looking for four-leaf clovers.” [“My Cup Runneth Over – And I Can’t Find My Mop”, written and self-published by Gloria Pitzer, Dec. 1989; page 4].

Photo taken by Laura Emerich at a Michigan State Scenic Turnout along M-25, Oct. 2017.

Because of the happiness Mom taught me to find within myself first, I can also enjoy the happiness I find in the colors of a Michigan fall, the happy-go-lucky smile of my grandchild, the nuzzles and purrs of my cats (and husband), the sparkling sun reflected on the magnificent blue waters of The Great Lakes, the cheerful sounds of the birds and other wildlife in my backyard, the aroma of a slow-cooker Sunday meal – and in so much more! Where do you find your happiness?

Some people find happiness in chocolate. So, with that and the up-coming Halloween celebrations, I’d like to share with you Mom’s make-a-like version of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, which she called Recess Peanut Butter Cups; asking only for proper credit if you care to share it.

An alternate, 1983 version, can be found on page 234 of her last book, “Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective” [published by Balboa Press (January 2018, 1st Printing) – a re-write of her famous, self-published book, “Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook” (May 1983, 3rd Printing)].