Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Grandma Bridgie's Cake Recipe

This was passed down to me on Thanksgiving of 1989. I consider it an honor, because we have in a big family & I (debunking all in-law myths) was chosen to be gifted with this recipe..ok, and truth be told I am the only one who bakes!

It will always be called Grandma Bridgie's or Aunt Mary's Cake and I'd appreciate it if you would carry on that tradition should you add it to your recipe boxes. I've never shared this recipe before.
~ Life may end here on earth but we live on daily in the memories of others ~

Aunt Mary made this for years from memory so it was quite a funny task for her to convert her pinches and splashes to measurements for me, though they work.... so follow as directed.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees
One sheet pan or two loaf pans (with loaf pans you have more cake per slice, less frosting). We usually use the baking pan. I have made it as a layer cake but I feel it wasn't meant to made that way.

Small Bowl (then set aside)
2 C Flour
2 Tsp Baking POWDER
1/4 Tsp Salt

Large Bowl
1 Stick of Butter Softened
1 C Sugar
Cream together butter and sugar... THEN ADD 1C milk, 2 eggs and 1 Tsp vanilla.

Add ALL dry ingredients at once, and stir to moisten completely. Do Not Over Mix.

That's it... couldn't be easier. Add to PAM sprayed pan, and bake for 35 minutes.

The crumb on this cake is similar in texture to corn bread (tastes better than it sounds). It can easily be made into a smoother crumb by using hand mixer. The more you mix, the smoother the crumb.

Our entire family likes it the original way ~ BY HAND!

You can use any milk choc or semisweet chocolate frosting recipe you desire. The flavor comes from the cake.

Aunt Mary had begun using a BAKERS Choco-Bake at some point. I did that for years... though I can't find it anymore. Plz let me know if you come across it. It's in a yellow box, six individual packets of unsweetened liquid chocolate.

1 packet of Choco-Bake (it's unsweetened chocolate)
Tbls or more of butter
Tsp Vanilla
up to 1/2 box confectionary sugar
add water, a teaspoon at a time, for desired consistancy.

Cool, Frost, Serve (Freezes well, wax paper on frosting in zip lock freezer bag)

This cake NEVER gets to the table without someone in our house cutting a piece and eating it fresh from the oven. It's now accepted and assumed, all birthday cakes have a piece missing or a side gone!

Enjoy please post feedback here, I'd love to hear from you
Gob Bless & Continue Baking

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Peter Reinhart's Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (cake recipe to follow, as promised)

Hi All
My new friend Tracy is chomping at the bit to get cooking, she's awaiting this pizza dough recipe. As soon as I get this posted  I'll post Grandma Bridgie's Cake Recipe later today. Thanks for your patience.

The following recipe os for 100% Whole Wheat (though you'd NEVER know it) Pizza Dough, I'll also post the recommended adjustments if you'd prefer to make the bread which I haven't tried yet. (Photos will be posted later)

This recipe is taken directly from Peter Reinhart's book 'artisan breads every day' page 73.

I didn't change a thing.. and it was perfection! (He also lists a half wheat recipe for those transitioning from white breads)

*My personal notes are in italics

100% Whole Grain Rustic Bread and Pizza Dough
makes 2 to 3 rustic loaves (sounds yummy, especially if drizzled with honey while warm) or 5 good size pizzas

IMPORTANT: Ingredients are for both pizza dough and bread dough, though there are slight differances. The amounts of water and yeast for PIZZA DOUGH appear after the amounts for bread dough in CAPS  

~ 5 1/3 C (24 oz / 680 g) whole wheat flour (I use King Arthur 100% Whole Wheat)
~ 2 Tsp (0.5 oz / 14g) salt, or 1 Tbls course kosher salt (I used 2 tsp table salt)
~ 1 1/4 tsp (0.14 oz / 4 g) instant yeast; FOR PIZZA USE 1 TSP (0.11 oz / 3 g)  I used  Fleischmann's Active Dry Yeast
~  3 Tbls (1.5 oz / 43g) Sugar, or 2 Tbls of honey, or agave nectar (I used clover honey) 
~ 2 1/3 C (19 oz/ 539 g) water; FOR PIZZA, USE 2 1/4 C (18 oz / 510 g)
~3 Tbls (1.5 oz / 43 g) olive oil

TO MAKE PIZZA DOUGH FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS (PLEASE NOTE: different directions for bread, I'll have to post for instructions for bread later; running short on time here.)

Combine all ingredients in the mixing bowl (or stand mixing bowl). If using a mixer, use the paddle attachment (not dough hook) and mix on the lowest speed (which is 'stir' on my mixer) for 1 minute. If mixing by hand, use a large spoon and stir for about 1 minute, until well blended. The dough should be course and slightly sticky (my dough was very sticky, use of honey perhaps?). Let the dough rest for 5 minutes to fully hydrate the dough.

Switch to dough hook and mix on meduum-low (I used  speed 3 out of my 10 speeds available), or continue mixing by hand for 2-3 minutes, until the dough is smoother but soft, supple, and somewhere between tacky and sticky. (My dough was smooth and very sticky)

Spread 1 tsp of olive oil on a work surface (I used 1 Tbls on bread board), then use a bowl scraper to transfer the dough to the oiled surface. Rub your hands with oil on work surface, then stretch and fold the dough one time , reaching under the front end of the dough, stretching it out, then folding it back onto the top of the dough. Do this from back end and then each side, then flip the dough over  and tuck it into a ball.

Divide the dough into 5 equal pieces (I didn't have an accurate scale yet, ended up with 6 pieces) each should weigh about 8 oz (227 g). Form each piece into a ball, and place each ball into a spray oiled (PAM) sandwich size ziplock baggie. Seal and refridgerate overnight or for up to 4 days. I refrigerated for two days, used one dough ball and put the rest in a gallon size freezer bag in freeezer, can freeze for up to 3 months.

I always add notes to my cookbooks when I try a recipe for the first time. My notes on this recipe "awesome, made exactly as directed. Never BUY whole wheat dough again, this is too easy and there is no comparison in flavor. This was tender, had a great texture and was very tasty (without all the garlic I usually had to add to make the store bought whole wheat dough edible). I re-read the recipe to make sure it is accurate (good thing b/c I found a typo in not to worry this is correct)

Wishing you many days of delicious dough making!

Enjoy Tracy, keep me posted. And to whomever else comes upon this recipe or any others posted; please add your comments/feedback on any recipes or posts from our blog. We can all learn from each other.

~ Cathy (aka garden chef)

Coming tomorrow: 100 year old family recipe... (Actual Post Date: DEC 23, 2009)

Grandma Bridgie's Cake, as promised to my new friends at the !


I usually make this recipe sheet cake style though it can easily be made into loaves or layers. This was 1/2 sheet cake....even for birthdays it NEVER makes it to the table in one piece : ) I wish I could find the photo with the Tiffany's box inside the cake...she was so surprised!

my trusted recipe tester

aha... found the photo, I thought I was so clever:

the birthday girl had no had no idea,
 so it was quite a treat,
& grandma age 81
(Bridgie's daughter)
was with us that day!


~ every present moment, is a future memory ~

recipe to follow tomorrow

please feel free to leave comments after posts, we'd love to hear from you.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Hi All
Gardening Season in New England is just about over (a few herb plants left that I can use) and now onto Baking! We'll be focusing on breads for the next few weeks. Always happy to post recipes if anyone is interested, just let us know.

You'll see the profile photo of myself with my sweet apprentice! I'm thrilled she has expressed interest in good old fashioned home baking. There is NOTHING like baking from scratch. The aroma fills the house, everyone walks thru the door and can't help but smile and express interest in what that great smell is..and the loaves are magically gone!

We'll post photos along the way. Making Country White Bread at the moment. The family fav from way back when my oldest, now in college, was a toddler. I had gotten away from baking for some years with all the activities and fun family adventures that kept us very busy, I'm thrilled to be baking's is almost meditative.

I have so many stories to tell in future blogs. My mom-in-law has been a wealth of knowledge regarding the baking that her older sister and mother did back in the day. Will tell, promise.

God Bless and Merry Christmas...just around the corner now. I want to appreciate every moment of every day.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Close Out Sale 85% off every piece in our shop!

We've been busy, oh so busy and now we're having a Close Out Sale in our shop. Stop by today
All pieces have been reduced by 85%

Monday, June 1, 2009

Pizza Night To Satisfy All Tastebuds ~ Economical

Prepping food in advance can make your busy life so much easier, which in turn, I believe makes the cooking more fun, food tastes better and you have more time together as a family. Not many of us can spend hours in the kichen every day. I like to spend no more than 20-40 mins on any dinner we make.

The kids are home from school early, the sun is shining, it's a splendid 69 degrees in Boston! Always trying to think of new ideas for dinner, or a twist on a regular meal. Today would be a great day for grilling but the grill has to be cleaned for the season, a little behind schedule in the grilling department.

So, what's for dinner tonite? Something to please ever pallete in the house and that is no easy feat here! But not tonite..healthy homemade personal pizza's, breadsticks, and gooey iced cinnamon bread for dessert. Sounds like a lot of carbs I know. But, not to worry the tomato sauce is ALWAYS homemade, the herbs & veggies are fresh!

I have a fantastic ~ authentic ~ recipe from Italy that is so simple, ask us for recipe! You will NEVER buy sauce again! Email: for this recipe

The first pizza we'll make is pretty traditional, then I get gourmet for my tastes! In addition to the pizza's, I always make a separate cookie sheet of bread sticks: the kids like to dip into the red sauce (I sneak pureed veggies into sauce on occassion!) I'll use both white and wheat dough, I'm trying to convert my family to wheat, but haven't convinced them all can get creative with both white and wheat dough though. It is the freshness of the ingredients...dough and toppings that is key to a yummy healthy pizza

Ingredients I like to always have on hand...
~ Frozen 1 pound bags of white, and also wheat dough (I buy... or make.. and freeze a dozen at a time). $1.59/bag (each bag makes 2 large or 3 medium personal pizza's...less expensive if you make dough at home.
~ Mozzerella Cheese, I like PollyO Mozzerella in a 2lb block...freezes well (and slices so easily with a serrated edge knife when partially frozen). THE BEST PART...only $5.00 for 2lb block at BJ's (similar to Costco). I prefer the block because you can slice the cheese to your specification and It always seems fresher than the shredded! JMHO
~Homemade Red Sauce (I always have some in snadwich baggies in the freezer)
~ FRESH, always fresh, BASIL
~Vine Ripened Tomatoes
~Additional toppings: sliced sweet onions or caramelized onions (a little butter in satue pan with sliced onions on low/medium heat for 20 minutes), crispy sauted proscuitto (TIP: ALWAYS buy IMPORTED Proscuitto not domestic there is a significant differance in quality of taste. I buy 1 pound, chop before cooking, and saute. I then divide the sauted proscuitto into little ziplock baggies, you get about 20 baggies per pound... and freeze them as well. (you don't need a lot on a pizza, b/c it is salty but ooooh so tasy!

***With Proscuitto the price of the IMPORTED is up to $20/lb in a specialty store...though remember this pound will make 20 portions that freeze for months..therefore this adds $1 to each pizza. Though in this case it is worth the extra expensive compared to domestic.

I grill pizza dough on stovetop (both sides) before I top with personal choices for toppings. Using a long handled, oven safe, saute pan I place it in the oven to  broil the topping for a few minutes...voila....homemmade pizza.

Sorry to rush, more to follow on homemade pizza's in future blogs

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Food that tastes better and is better for you...

I'd love to use this blog to share RECIPES, GARDENING TIPS AND STORIES (gardening zone 6)...would really appreciate your feedback and tips too!

I look forward to SHARING RECIPES. Maybe some of you.. have found a way to de-carb (not really a word I guess) your family. I live with multi-generational, carbo-loading, lovers! White bread, white pasta and white pizza dough to be exact. I'm working toward changing that slowly and inconspicuously.

Anything to set us all on a healthier road to a longer life.

First up next time I write; I'll share a scrumptious recipe, I'll try to post photos of completed dishes, nothing fancy just to give you the general idea... today's photos (above) were my first attempt at cinnamon buns made from pizza dough, the best part is not just the simplicity but they taste great and even better... I have since switched over the wheat dough... and the kids still love them! YAHOO! Even grandma does and she is a adamant about not liking wheat anything.

I've determined thru experience wheat pastas and doughs can very easily be assimilated into the diet... but they need a lot more flavor, that is the key! Be it sugar, garlic, cheese, etc. Give it a try, we'd love your comments as well.

I also love to WRITE ESSAYS, used to have more time to do so but I'll never lose the passion. As you see from previous posts I will share them on occasion. Comments & followers always welcome

God Bless and HAPPY SPRING!

Check out our shop at for a wonderful selection of unique, quality vintage collectibles. Follow us on twitter as well.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Family Photos and Validation of Love

Where does the time go? My youngest and her mutually adoring dad...

I came across this photo today (behind another more up-t0-date photo in a frame).... and realized this was THE ONE, THE PHOTO I had written about such a long time ago.
Just thought I'd share, I'm sure many of you parents can relate.

A Moment in Time

Once again the photograph was face down, on a table in the living room. The first, and even the second time, I thought maybe it had fallen when one of the kids ran by. Now it is apparent, my youngest has done this intentionally. This particular picture was taken several years ago, when my oldest was only two. It’s is a close up of her with her dad.

Photography is a wonderful hobby, a profession for some. But once children come into your life, taking photos becomes a way for all parents to secure precious moments for a lifetime. Most people, even those with no interest in photography, feel compelled to take photos of their newborn. There is an innate need to document this momentous occasion, the day your son or daughter is born.

Parents have dozens of snapshots of their children… from the moment they were born, until the most recent end of school party. You click away, always looking for that perfectly composed picture. Or at least, to capture the moment before it is gone.

When your first child is born you take photos attempting to preserve every new expression, you never want to forget these precious moments. You develop the film immediately and diligently arrange each picture, just so, in the photo album. Many parents also manage to have up-to-date snapshots, in little photo wallets that they always carry with them. As the baby grows and other children come along, days became busier. You still manage to document special moments -birthdays, holidays- you even manage to develop the film in a timely manner, but you never seem to get the photos into the album. Instead, these photos end up in a drawer, a bin, or a box, to be arranged at a later date.

Before you know it, daily after school activities keep you running from one lesson or sport to another. Most parents still take the pictures, but at this point in life, the film often sits in a drawer, to be developed when you have the time.

My youngest daughter clearly noticed there are no newly framed photos in our house. In her young mind, she felt left out, but at three years old she could not find the appropriate words to express her feelings. She chose to solve the problem herself, by turning the picture face down on the table whenever she saw it. If you can’t see it, it doesn’t exist.

It took a few days before I realized what was happening. Once I did though, I promptly went searching through a bin of photos and found several of her. There were pictures of her alone, with her siblings, with me, with her father, and with her grandparents. I thoughtfully selected a photo of her with her dad and placed it, unframed for the time being, on the same table as the other picture.

Neither of us mentioned this new picture, but each day for a week, she quietly took the new photo of her and her dad, and placed it directly in front of the other one. It became a game that both of us were playing, without ever acknowledging it. At the end of each day I would separate the photos again. After several days of this I got around to buying a frame. For some reason that was all it took. Having a framed picture of her with her dad, prominently displayed, was enough. She hasn’t touched either picture since, she is content.

You have probably heard them over the years, the jokes, the comments from young adults, who were ‘the baby’ in their families: “I swear to God, there are no pictures of me anywhere” or “by the time I came along, my parents didn’t take pictures anymore”. This is not true, there are probably hundreds, or at least dozens, life just got a little too hectic. Organizing them in albums took a backseat to homework, baseball, soccer and dance…everyday life.

For most parents, there is at least some security in knowing there are photographs that have documented the milestones in their children’s lives. It really doesn’t matter, if these photos are organized or framed.

The day will surely come, when the house is ‘quiet’. That will be the time to sit and reminisce, mist-eyed for days gone by, as you arrange the beautiful, often funny, photos you have accumulated over the years. Remembering endearing expressions, now long gone, poignant moments captured forever…a family history in the making.

And from now on, I will always, have at least one photo of each of my children framed and displayed.. ~ August 2000

March 2009
Keeping in tune with the changing times we don't even store photos in bins anymore, nevermind an album. We have all digital photos stored online. And when I happen to think about it I copy them into my photobucket account as well... so these precious moments will always be with with us.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

After the New England Snow...

The Daffodils an Essay

Two ill-mannered teenagers didn’t realize the heartache they would cause. To them it was a game; snap the stems and hold the bouquet.

To the gardener who has been waiting through the sunless days of winter for the appearance of the first leaves and watching each day as they continue to grow…this simple, selfish action is disheartening.

The woman parked in my driveway, got out of her car and chased two girls through a backyard. A few moments later she came back, breathing heavily from running after the two girls. She was near tears and so angry. All the while, she apologized for using my driveway to park. She explained that the two girls had walked up to her doorstep and picked all of her daffodils. To some it may seem ridiculous to get upset about such a thing but I knew exactly how she felt, for any gardener would feel the same way.

After the cold gray days of winter, everyone looks forward to the beginning of spring. But to the gardener- this is a time of renewal. The emergence of green leaves from the little bulbs that were planted the previous fall is a time of excitement. Not many people look forward to planting bulbs, but the promise of beautiful blooms in the spring push us forward. So each fall we dig, in the earth that has begun to harden with the cooler temperatures. On our hands and knees, we prepare the soil, check the bulbs to make sure they are healthy, add some bulb food and refill the hole. As an extra precaution some go as far as sprinkling cayenne pepper on the patted down soil, in hopes that the squirrels will not dine on the bulbs…our future flowers. After mulching for winter protection, in essence, putting the garden to bed until spring, the wait begins.

Through the holidays not much thought is given to the garden but once the dull grayness of January descends upon us, and the bulb catalogs begin to arrive in the mail, the gardener’s mind begins to wander- to the bright, cheery days of spring.

At last, sometimes as early as mid March, the green of spring pokes through the ground. A daily inspection of the garden begins. In late March when the buds begin to form, the gardener cannot help but smile while passing by. By early April the first of several long awaited daffodils is in full bloom. This sight gives the gardener a renewed energy; thoughts form on the garden plan for the coming months. One after another, the buds open up to the sun and display their magical beauty.

One day, years from now, one of those girls may develop a love of gardening. If she remembers this incident, she may feel a tinge of regret, and only then will she understand how the woman felt that day in my driveway.

To some gardening is a chore, to others it is a profession, and to the faithful gardener it is therapeutic. Even after this incident, peace and solace will surely surround this woman in her garden. ~April 2000

Friday, March 13, 2009

Gardening and Cooking

At Footbridge Cove we have many interests that go beyond collectibles and antiquities...

Our typepad blog focuses on the shop and this blog will be more personal a way to share some ideas common interests and stories with others who may interested. The whole world ' blogs ' now it seems. I haven't written much, well at all, since October 2007 (more on that later). But Spring time in New England has a way of rejuvinating the soul. I am so excited at this point in my life (I've decided 44 is the age to be from here on) to live each day to it's fullest, savor each taste of a home cooked meal shared with those I love.

And I love love love to write so I thought ....well, the rest of the world is blogging, I shall too. I would love to get a blog group together. Not sure of how all this works but I am willing to learn as I go. I want to share ideas regarding gardening in my area - zone 6 - just south of Boston. I'd also like to share recipes and news ideas for healthy meals. So I shall do that here too. I may be writing a journal to myself if no one finds this blog, but that's therapeutic I guess.

I love Home efforts this year will be focused on growing a bountiful crop of produce (mainly a KITCHEN GARDEN: Tomatoes, Basil, etc)....for our multi-generational family. I love saying that, it sounds so old fashioned!

I'd love to start a message board here with tips from others in our area. Growing Zone 6.

PLEASE JOIN ME. Living like old the land, as best we can. Cutting back in many ways and finding great joy in doing so. A higher quality of life!

AND I LOVE COOKING... an art form in itself. The colorful dishes, bursts of flavor, the aroma's: nothing like walking thru the door to the smell of fresh baking bread. I hope to get the family involved creating healthy meals that even my toughest critics (three teens and my live in mom-in-law small feat!) My husband, an Irish-American 'meat and potatoes' type of guy is set in his ways, but he's always willing to try new entrees. And my oldest is also one to explore the unknown with new tastes. Great flavors, certainly healthy, but not too crunchy granola if I want to pull this off, meals for all to enjoy. I'm determined to convert them all.... by maximizing flavor and utilizing freshness of ingredients.