Grandma Sue’s Sweet and Sour Sauce

My mom used this sauce on country style pork ribs. Her recipe specifies not to buy the shoulder cut because it’s tough. She browned the ribs in an electric skillet (my husband’s mom also loved to use an electric skillet. It must have been a 1960s thing) and then cooked them the rest of the way with the sauce on.

There were times when every window in our house was open in a, mostly, futile effort to rid us of acrid smoke when the ribs weren’t quite fully cooked but the sauce was already burning. Whether this was a consequence of a too-hot electric skillet, inattention, or a logistical planning mishap, I disenjoyed it so much that I fully cook my pork separately and add the sauce on later. It works for ribs, as a dipping sauce, or on shredded pork (leftover from a roast) served over rice. No burning or smoke involved!

My mom’s original recipe includes most of one side of an index card of cautions and caveats about evaporation, adding water, frequent checking, the variability of cook times, and methods for determining whether the pork was fully cooked (she never used a meat thermometer–who needs such fancy things?). ¬†That was my mom. She flew by the seat of her pants, even when she was cooking ribs. I loved her so. ūüôā Scans of her original recipe are below.

Grandma Sue's Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • Servings: n/a
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 5 Tbsp sugar
  • 5 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 tsp chopped garlic
  • pepper (white or black) to taste


  1. Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat and reduce sauce to desired consistency.
  3. Serve as a dipping sauce, or brush onto pork ribs 5 to 15 minutes before they finish cooking, or combine with pre-cooked shredded pork in a large skillet and brown-up over medium to high heat.
  4. Enjoy!


Sandee’s (Authentic 1970s Hippy) Granola

My parents owned a fabric store called the “Polyester Palace” in Redlands, California during the early 1970s, back when making your own clothes was still considered groovy and I was just a wee nipper. The gas crunch and spiraling cost of synthetic fabric production, among other factors, led to the demise of it and a sister store in Yucca Valley (how I hated the drive out to that hell-hole of a desert every day!). One of their customers, Sandee, and my mom discovered their mutual love of health foods and raw vegetable juices, so Sandee graciously shared her homemade granola recipe with my mom. Its sugar content was a wonderful change from my steady diet of raw veg juice, Ruskets, and whatever unsweetened cereal mom found in the Loma Linda SDA stores. I ate this stuff like ice cream because, well, there was no ice cream in our house.

I have been looking for this recipe for years and my daughter recently located it, tucked away in one of my mom’s metal tins. It ain’t like today’s convenient panoply of granola offerings that you can pick up at your local grocery store. It has a groovy, early 1970s, earthy aesthetic, but it sure brings back childhood memories for me.

Sandee's Granola

  • Servings: 8 servings
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 5 cups of rolled oats
  • 2 cups chopped nuts
  • 1 cup weat flour
  • 1/2 cup mixed flours (soy, rye, wheat germ, Brewer’s yeast, etc.)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup oil (I would guess at that time whatever passed for “vegetable” oil)
  • 3/4 to 1 cup water


  1. Combine dry ingredients.
  2. Add oil slowly mixing well.
  3. Add water [mixing thoroughly].
  4. Sprinkle mixture onto greased cookie sheet [or parchment paper].
  5. Bake 4 hours at 200′ or until golden brown.
  6. Serve dry as a quick snack or with milk or applesauce for a breakfast cereal.
  7. [Cool completely and then store in container or zippy bag until use].
  8. Enjoy!

Aunt Carol’s Lefsa

Norwegian lefse is probably one of those food items that has many variations and whichever one you grew up eating is the “right” recipe. Other recipes just don’t taste quite like you expect. My Aunt Carol toiled for days to make her holiday feasts and her lefse was the centerpiece that knit every other item together. This is her recipe, cut down for everyday use.

Aunt Carol's Lefsa

  • Servings: 8 servings
  • Difficulty: medium
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  • 3 cups of mashed potatoes
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter
  • 3 tsp heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup flour
  • salt to taste


  1. Combine all ingredients. Go easy on the salt. Knead to form a ball.
  2. Heat griddle to 400′ or cast iron skillet to medium-high heat (about 8 on electric stoves).
  3. Grab a ping pong ball sized ball of dough.
  4. Using a floured pastry cloth and roller cover, roll out dough ball to 1/8″ thick round.
  5. Cook on griddle until lightly browned spots appear.
  6. Place each cooked lefse on a barely damp cloth and cover with a barely damp cloth.
  7. Serve and enjoy!


Grandma Sue’s Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Grandma Sue's Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

  • Servings: 6 servings
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 20 oz can pineapple rings
  • maraschino cherries
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 Tbsp pineapple juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour


  1. Preheat oven to 325′.
  2. Place 1/2 cup of butter in medium sized cast iron skillet, dutch oven, or glass baking dish and place in oven until melted. Remove from oven.
  3. Add 3/4 cup brown sugar to melted butter and mix.
  4. Arrange pineapple slices in a single layer on top of butter and sugar mixture.
  5. Place maraschino cherries into holes of pineapple rings.
  6. Beat 2 eggs in a mixing bowl.
  7. Mix in 6 Tbsp pineapple juice.
  8. Mix in 1/4 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking powder, and 1 tsp vanilla extract.
  9. Mix in 2/3 cup sugar.
  10. Mix in 1 cup flour and thoroughly combine all ingredients in batter.
  11. Spoon batter into pan with pineapple rings and spread to cover fruit.
  12. Place pan into 325′ oven and bake about 45 minutes.
  13. Remove from oven.
  14. Let cool for 3 to 5 minutes, then invert over a large sheet of parchment paper placed atop a cutting board.
  15. Enjoy!

Betty Crocker Bake-It-Easy 2 BC-1692 bread machine instruction manual and recipes

Here is the instruction manual for the Betty Crocker Bake-It-Easy 2 BC-1692 in pdf format.

Betty Crocker Bake-It-Easy 2 BC-1692 bread machine instruction manual 

And here is a scan of the Betty Crocker Bake-It-Easy 2 recipe book in pdf format:


I inherited my mom’s bread machine, but misplaced the instruction manual. I spent a few hours trying to locate a copy online to no avail. While searching I noticed that other people were also looking for the manual. My daughter located the manual and the recipe booklet in one of my mom’s tin boxes, so I decided to scan the manual in for posterity.

I read in a comment elsewhere that General Mills was the manufacturer of this bread machine and might still have a few old copies of the manual they might be willing to send out. You may want to try contacting them by phone if you want the original manual.

If anyone wants the accompanying recipe booklet scanned in as well please let me know here in a comment.

Happy bread making! ūüôā

Snappy ginger cookies

Snappy ginger cookies

  • Servings: 10 servings
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup dark molasses
  • 3 Tablespoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon white (or black) pepper
  • 2 to 4 teaspoons cardamom
  • 4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups flour


  1. Add all ingredients except flour into a large bowl and combine until thoroughly mixed.
  2. Add in the flour one cup at a time and thoroughly mix.
  3. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Using a butter or cookie scoop or melon baller (easiest and cleanest) or spoon (messy) drop cookies onto parchment paper at least one inch apart.
  5. ¬†Bake at 350′ for 12 to 14 minutes or until cookies are browned and no longer gooey in the middle.
  6. Serve.
  7. Cookies may be kept in refrigerator for a week or so, but should be allowed to return to room temperature before eating.

Actual bananas custard

When my husband was an toddler¬†his pediatrician forbade¬†his mother from feeding him any more¬†bananas, due to unexpected¬†weight gain. I guess he really never lost his taste for¬†bananas. And, really, has never looked happier than I saw him tonight dipping my “Too-damned-many-bananas banana bread” into this banana custard. Oh sure, maybe when a kid or two were born and possibly our wedding (I don’t honestly know about that¬†personally because I was on the verge of passing out with terror the whole time, but I’ve seen photos), he may have looked happier. He described the experience as “bananatopia.” I think that says it all. Anyway, so far, our general practitioner hasn’t pulled me aside and insisted I deprive him of bananas.

Actual bananas custard

  • Servings: 8 servings
  • Difficulty: medium
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  • 6¬†ripe bananas
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground vanilla bean (or vanilla paste¬†or¬†extract)
  • 3¬†eggs


  1. Peel 6 ripe bananas and liquefy in a mixer or food processor.
  2. Add in 2 cups of milk and combine.
  3. Strain resulting mixture through a medium or fine strainer into a pitcher or large bowl.
  4. Discard remaining banana pulp in strainer.
  5. Return banana and milk mixture to mixer or processor.
  6. Add in 1 cup of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons vanilla and thoroughly combine.
  7. In a separate bowl, whisk together 3 whole eggs and set aside.
  8. Place banana mixture into a medium or large saucepan.
  9. Constantly, or at least frequently,¬†stir over medium heat (6.5 on my electric, ceramic top stove)¬†until mixture reaches at least 170′, or boils. Use a cooking thermometer to check temperature.
  10. Reduce heat to low.
  11. Spoon about a cup of the hot banana mixture into the bowl of eggs and combine. Now pour the egg and milk mixture into the saucepan. Tempering the eggs with the heated banana and milk mixture keeps the eggs from instantly cooking into appalling egg blobs or streaks when they hit the hot custard. Adding eggs now, rather than at step #6, probably prevents the eggs going grainy or lumpy, but you could live carelessly.
  12. Cook over low heat, stirring often, possibly constantly, for about 5 minutes or until the custard begins to thicken. Do not cook above 180′. Over 185′ the custard may curdle.
  13. Pour into individual serving cups or large bowl.
  14. Serve warm or chilled.

Notes: This recipe was adapted from a number of sources; however, the two most influential recipes were “Jen’s Favorite Cookies” Banana Pudding recipe and “Epicurious'” Creme Anglais recipe. ¬†“Crafty Baking’s” Custard Problems and Solutions was invaluable for determining that, no, I really did not want to mix cornstarch and eggs in a banana custard. You could use 5 or 6¬†egg yolks instead of the 3 whole eggs. I didn’t because a) I wanted a more jelly-like custard, ¬†b) I am incredibly lazy, c) I am shockingly cheap¬†tight¬†thrifty¬†economical, and d) if I tried to store egg whites in my fridge there is a 100% likelihood that they would spill everywhere even if I put them in a hermetically sealed jar, inside a locked pirate trunk, and I swallowed the key.