Thursday, December 31, 2015

Julie's French Onion Dip

Taking a trip back in time to New Years long ago!

So we all joke that Julie Albright is basically the brown eyed, hip and happening Californian version of my mother. They're basically the same age. Julie has the clothes she wanted, an orange version of her skateboard, and even has a pet rabbit, although Nutmeg is a much more universally loved pet than Thumper was. They even both love Little House on the Prairie and The Brady Bunch!

Which yes, everyone did back then. But was everyone a spunky blonde ten year old with a tiny braid and a love for buffalo sandals?

This year, it was revealed that my mother had a special ritual she shared with her grandmother on New Year's Eve, and I decided what better way to ring in the new year than recreating that? Rediscovering a piece of family history sounds a lot better than twiddling my thumbs waiting for the ball to drop!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Grace makes Cookie Brittle & Elevator Lady Spice Cookies

Happy Holidays from A Peek into the Pantry!

Happy Holidays, everyone! Whether or not you celebrate Christmas, I hope you've had a good December so far and can get a kick out of hearing about some of my family traditions. I've had a chance to highlight a few of these in the past, but the recipes I'm sharing today are something I took charge of making this year, rather than learning from the original masters: my two grandmas!

It seemed only fitting that Grace be the host for this post. Grace's books center around her love of baking, which started because her grandparents run a successful bakery in town. She loves visiting them and helping them out in the kitchen, and turns to them for advice when she and her friends decide they want to start their own baking business! I don't exactly have a tradition of baking with my grandmas and we definitely don't own a family bakery, but I definitely do think of these recipes as "their" recipes. I hope you'll enjoy hearing about how to make them yourself!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Maryellen's Peanut Blossoms

A delicious cookie with a slightly depressing origin story. Prepare to be surprised!

After watching a couple different televised holiday baking challenges this year, I think it's pretty safe to say that just about any cookie can be a holiday cookie depending on your family's traditions. A flavor profile might not be appropriate for a summer or spring baking challenge, but just about anything can be a holiday cookie.

A staple of many holiday cookie platters is the peanut blossom, sometimes better known as "the ones with the Hersey Kisses in them". What a lot of people don't realize is that these were a creation that became popular in the 1950's (a decade full of delicious sweet treats, as well as all those horrifying gelatin concoctions), and actually weren't developed by the Hershey company! So how exactly did these wind up on the back of bags of Hershey Kisses?

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Emily's Wartime Eggless Christmas Cake

Doing your bit on the home front with carrots!

Now, there's no question that Christmas during the 30's and 40's meant slim pickings on the holiday table for most Americans, but Christmas in wartime England was no picnic either. As we've already discussed, rationing in Britain was a lot stricter throughout the entire war and so kids like Emily had to learn to make do without the traditional sweet treats most people expect around the holiday season.

But just like Molly and Kit had recipes for inexpensive Christmas cakes, the British government, professional chefs and home cooks came up with plenty of solutions to give people what they were looking for without using all their rations on one sweet treat.

How did they manage this without free access to sugar, eggs and milk?

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Caroline's Wassail

Here we come a-wassailing...

I'm sure there's many a person out there who's heard the by now famous Christmas carol "Here We Come A-wassailing" (or caroling, if you're into the more modern version of this mid 1850's song) who isn't even sure what wassail is, or where the term comes from. As a kid, I know I definitely wondered a bit, because it's sort of a funny word, and if it means caroling... why not just say caroling?

But like many random bits of pop culture we still enjoy today, wassailing actually has very long history, with roots going back well before the song, or even Caroline's Christmas in 1812! The drink we're making today might be a little similar to something she and her family might have enjoyed, though, whether or not they went singing door to door all over Sackets Harbor.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Molly & Kit Make FDR's Inexpensive Christmas Cake

A slightly weird, very authentic recipe from harder times!

I've been trying to make an effort to visit more local and semi local historical sites lately. I'm lucky to be in a place with a lot of cool history around me, and yet there are so many places I've never visited!

One I've always wanted to go to was Franklin D. Roosevelt's Presidential Library and home in Hyde Park, New York, especially after this recipe for a Christmas cake popped up in the cookbook I purchased while at the National Archives last year. Although there's no note in the book that it's Roosevelt's personal recipe for Christmas cake, the recipe is attributed to the FDR Presidential Library's archives. I knew I wanted to make the cake, and figured hey, sounds like as good a reason as any to go check the library out.

So my mom, dad, Kit, Molly and I got in the car, and went on a field trip.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Cécile's French Onion Soup

A time consuming treat, but totally worth while in the end!

One last thing before we head into the fun that is December and all the spice and seasoning of the holiday spirit! I've been wanting to try my hand at making French onion soup for a while, and like many of the things I want to make, I just haven't been able to get around to it. Until now! And let me tell you, it was worth every minute spent staring at the stove wondering what's taking these onions so long to cook?

But best of all, I didn't have to go out and buy special bowls to cook this in. The recipe I found suggests an easy way to get all that gruyere flavor without the hassle of finding just the right dish to serve it in. Always a good thing for my wallet and my cabinets!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Jane's Indian Pudding

A colonial classic that's become a bit hard to find!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Although Thanksgiving isn't usually my favorite holiday, I have a special extra long post for you today, featuring the comeback of a traditional family holiday dish and a trip to none other than Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Massachusetts! Hosting the post today will be Jane, my custom character from the 17th century.

Again, Jane is actually from Jamestown in about 1614, so she predates the Pilgrims by six years and probably would never have even thought to visit New England. But since I live here, I've been having a lot of fun going to different historical sites that celebrate and educate people about the very early days of European colonization of North America. And while we've got a lot of different places to visit, one of the best is Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Plimoth Plantation is much like Colonial Williamsburg and other living history museums, with costumed interpreters and regular staff members happy to tell you all about the early days of the Pilgrims and Wampanoag. I hadn't been since I was very small, and honestly all I really remember of it was speaking to a Pilgrim about... something in their garden, and being miserably, miserably hot. Needless to say, I was excited to see it from an adult perspective.

Of course, part of this trip was also to do a little bit of research into Indian pudding, a Thanksgiving staple of my mom's family that has, for whatever reason, fallen out of favor. But more on that in a little bit! First, we're taking a trip back in time...

Friday, November 20, 2015

Julie's Cheese Fondue

Just the thing to make dinner a little more interesting than usual!

Nothing says 1970's quite like a good cheese fondue. Don't believe me? It's so iconic to the period that American Girl actually used to make a fondue set for Julie, which now demands pretty frightening prices on the second hand market. Where's my BeForever reboot of that set, AG?

As a fan of things that involve hot, melty cheese (and you're going to be seeing another in a couple days, stay tuned!), I am unsurprisingly a fan of fondue, and a little bit bummed that it's less of a novelty people seek out in this day and age. I'm sure my waistline isn't, but making a pilgrimage to Melting Pot isn't always something I can work in, even if I do find myself craving it a lot.

But as the proud owner of an electric fondue pot, I can happily take a trip back to the days of the fondue party, and force the rest of my family to come along with me without getting in the car and heading to a restaurant! Everybody wins!

Except when it comes time to do the dishes, I suppose...  

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Ivy's Chinese Almond Cookies

Crispy cookies with tasty almond flavor!

When I was a kid, I definitely fantasized about making some of the food my favorite AG characters talked about making and enjoying in their books. I know I've talked about this before, so it's probably not news or especially surprising to my readers, but it really was a big dream of mine. Now that I'm an adult who doesn't need supervision in the kitchen (most of the time), I get to actually put those plans in action, and it's always fun when I have an official AG recipe to go off of to help make these creations.

Of course, sometimes those recipes haven't worked out that well for me in the past, so I always go in with a little bit of informed risk. Considering the way these cookies are presented in the books, it actually might have been appropriate to run into a minor disaster while baking them!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Felicity's Beefsteak Pie

Get in touch with our culinary roots!

A few years ago, one of my Australian acquaintances (who later became my lovely girlfriend) mused about how odd it is that Americans just don't have meat pies or pasties as a staple item on most restaurant's menus. They're very common in Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, and other former English colonies, but why not the US? This question has stuck with me, because it really does baffle me a little bit. We Americans are a very pie loving people, but for most of us, when we hear pie, we think of fruit pies.

Okay, okay, we do have chicken pot pies, and occasionally something a little more like a meat hand pie might show up on an American menu, but once upon a time, we used to eat meat pies just as much as our British cousins. Pies were - and are - a convenient way of preparing food, and early British settlers to the New World definitely brought their favorite recipes along with them. Although it's less common now, Felicity definitely would have enjoyed savory pies for main courses, and the recipe I made today is from her cookbook!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Molly's Moon Pie Mug Cake

Happy 92nd birthday, Eugene Sledge!

Two months ago, I told you all about John Basilone, Medal of Honor recipient and one of my favorite historical figures from World War II. Today, I'm going to introduce you all to my favorite historical figure from the 40's... who also happens to be a central character in HBO's The Pacific. Which I swear was a coincidence! Sledge and I actually go back to before I'd watched the miniseries, in the early days of the avalanche of enthusiasm for all things 1940's I've been caught up in over the last few years.

Obviously this is not a wholly authentic recipe from World War II, or even Sledge's childhood, but it is inspired by something that's a staple of Southern food culture: Moon Pies! They're harder to find up here, but this mug cake means we can all get a taste of one of Sledge's favorite snacks regardless of where you live.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Nellie's Barmbrack

A traditional Halloween treat, and that's no trick!

Happy Halloween, everyone! And a blessed Samhain too, if you celebrate today as the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter. Although many people think of Halloween as a very American holiday because of the popularity of trick or treating in the States and Canada, it actually traces its roots back to Ireland and Scotland, and the Pagan holiday Samhain! Irish and Scottish immigrants brought many of their Halloween customs and traditions over to North America in the 1840's.

Today, we're going to talk about - and make! - some of those traditions. Okay, we're only making barmbrack, but I found out a lot of interesting information while I was doing research for this post, and I'm excited to share it with you!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Caroline's Burnt Sugar Cake

Is it more salted caramel, butterscotch, spice cake without the spice...?

Burnt sugar cake? What is this, Gwen, some kind of recipe gone wrong?

Nope! It's actually a very interesting, allegedly quite historical cake that - while a little labor intensive to make - surprised and pleased everyone who tasted it. Although we did run into some speed bumps, this was a big enough hit that I would definitely be happy to make it again for an enthusiastic audience. There was some debate about what flavor cake everyone thought this was, but I promise, it's not quite like any cake you've ever tasted before.

... Unless you've had a burnt sugar cake before.

So, what's this about allegedly historical?

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Kaya's Pumpkin Cookies

Delicious, fruity cookies, perfect for October!

Something about this fall has just been totally lovely. It's the first one where I've really felt like I've gotten to enjoy it in a long time, probably because I'm not living in a city or working crazy retail hours. Or, I don't really know what happened last year, honestly, but whatever. This fall has been great! And it wouldn't be fall without doing something with pumpkin. Obviously.

Yes, I'm one of those people who can't get enough of pumpkin products in the fall, sue me. And while pumpkins weren't really something Kaya would have enjoyed snacking on in 1764 Oregon, they are and have been a staple - along with other squashes - of the Native foodways of New England for generations. Since Kaya's been living with me in New England, it seemed like a good idea to spend some time talking about food history on the other side of the continent.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Addy's Chicken Shortcake

Not quite chicken pot, chicken pot, chicken pot pie!

One of the things I've always wanted to do was work my way through the American Girl cook books, and whenever I'm home by myself, I find myself turning to them to try and find something quick to feed myself for dinner, while also getting something new and exciting to feature on the blog.

Of course, I don't always follow through on this. I'm one of those people who loves flipping through cookbooks, but often winds up never actually cooking any of the things I say I want to. Even though I love cooking for the blog, I'm lazy when it comes to feeding myself when I'm home alone. This past weekend, I decided to buckle down and throw together something that seemed like it would be easy, filling, and still a fun look back at how one of my favorite fictional characters ate back in 1864.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Jane's Cranberry Crumble

A taste of New England!

This post has a bit of an eclectic theme. I'm introducing you to a new character for the Peek into the Pantry gang, taking you on a quick field trip and cooking something that's so New England themed, it's almost painful. Bear with me, I promise it'll be fun. Or at least interesting? I hope?

Fall is my favorite season, October is my favorite month, and Halloween is my favorite holiday. You all know by now that I have a lot of love for my  home region of New England, and I think it's safe to say for a fact that we really know how to do fall up here. People from all over come up to take a look at our leaves and get into the spirit with us. But the place that people flock to during October specifically is Salem, Massachusetts. The whole town dresses itself up for the Halloween season, playing up the history of the Salem Witch Trials with costume contests, haunted houses and ghost tours. It can be a bit of a zoo, but it's something most people say you should try to go see at least once.

When I was going to school in Boston, every year, people would talk about going to Salem to celebrate Halloween and every year, my plans to do it would fall through. This year, I finally managed to get myself out there, and I dragged Jane and my grandparents along with me.

Who exactly is Jane, you ask?

Monday, October 5, 2015

Rebecca's Rugelach

A tasty rolled pastry that just might need to be a staple at my house!

You know me: I love baking, dessert and cookies! And pastries. Whichever. For every savory idea I have for this blog, I've probably got about ten sweet ones to match it, and it's difficult to find a good balance most of the time. Rugelach have been something I've been wanting to try for a long time, and this weekend, I finally decided the wait was over. Nothing was going to get in my way!

No seriously, there's no catch this time. Everything turned out really great! And now I'm left wondering what else this dough can be turned into, because even without the yummy filling, the dough was pretty delicious. I'm definitely on the market for more interesting flaky treats to make with it.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A Nutting Party with Samantha

Featuring no actual nutting, but plenty of food!

When I was a kid, I used to love looking through birthday party planning books. They always seemed like they had such fun ideas for recipes, party treats and events that all followed a theme of your choosing, and while I don't think I ever followed a book's suggestions to the T, I still enjoyed browsing.

The American Girl Party Book is no exception, especially considering the photography is pretty solid and I happen to be overly invested in the topics it covers. Shocking, I know! Each character has two party theme suggestions beyond just throwing yourself or someone else a Samantha or Molly themed birthday party. Sam's suggestions were a painting party, or a nutting party, and as we headed into actual fall, I decided I wanted to try my hand at some of the recipes that went along with this theme. I've often wondered if the shorter recipes are any easier to make than the fully written out, largely from scratch recipes, and decided now was as good a time as any to give it a shot.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Kirsten's Swedish Pancakes

Not your average pancake!

Almost every culture has some version of a pancake, whether they be soft and puffy, or thin and eggy. They're a perfect vessel for almost anything, from jelly to meat to cheese to savory spreads, and everything else in between, which means you can enjoy them almost any time of day or night!

Swedish pancakes - or pannkakor - are yet another dish with a slightly obscure history. Although they or similar dishes have probably been enjoyed by Swedish families since ancient times, the first reference to them in text comes from the 1500's, and as it isn't a recipe, we aren't too sure what kind of pancake this was, exactly.

The ones featured in Kirsten's Cook Book are fried, and usually eaten on Tuesdays for dessert after a dinner of pea soup. Originally, frying the pancakes was a tricky business because before wood stoves, doing this over an open fire meant you were at a pretty a high risk of burning yourself! Once you were less likely to give yourself third degree burns making dessert, the dish got more and more popular, and probably would have been something the Larsons brought with them to America to remind them of home.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Spaghetti and Meatballs with Molly

An Italian American dish in honor of an Italian American hero!

This year, September 20th is a holiday that I'm going to go out on a limb and say most of my blog readers aren't familiar with. Every year in September since 1981, the town of Raritan, New Jersey holds a celebration in honor of their hometown hero from World War II: Gunny Sergeant John Basilone, the only enlisted Marine to be awarded the Medal of Honor and the Navy Cross during the war. But John Basilone is a significant figure in American history for more than just that, and it's for reasons that many modern Americans wouldn't even consider.

Since I couldn't convince anyone to come down with me to New Jersey this weekend, I had to make do with finding my own way to pay tribute to one of my favorite historical figures. What better way than with a dish that's got some connections to Italy, but is actually uniquely and deceptively American?

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Josefina's Green Chile Stew

A tasty, simple stew that's perfect for a fall evening!

Fall is officially here! A little earlier than we'd like, considering we've already started to lose a fair amount of our leaves in my neck of the woods, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't love those sort of cool mornings where all you want to do is stay curled up in bed and enjoy your warm blankets for another couple minutes.

When you don't have that, at least there's simple stews like this one. Although it only has a handful of ingredients, this green chile stew is quite tasty and has enough heat to make you feel nice and warm, if not scald the inside of your mouth! I've had some hit or miss experience making recipes from American Girl cookbooks, but this one was pleasantly simple and was a success with my taste testers, so I'm considering it a success! Hopefully you will too, if you give it a shot.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Maryellen, Chris' Cold Pie & the Winner of Our Anniversary Sweepstakes!

A pie from the happiest place on Earth, which turned out to be a bit of a disaster!

Hello again, everyone! Thanks to everyone who entered our anniversary sweepstakes and provided feedback for what they'd like to see in the coming year. I really appreciate my readers and always like to hear your thoughts about where to go next. It sounds like most people are really looking forward to a horrible savory gelatin! I'll have to see what I can dig up to make that happen.

But for Maryellen's first official post, I turned to a different source of inspiration. 2015 marks the 60th anniversary of Disneyland opening! And while this event isn't referenced in Maryellen's books - much to my disappointment - I'm a big enough Disney geek that I wanted to not just showcase Maryellen, but also pay tribute to the opening of the park that revolutionized the theme park industry, along with many other aspects of American pop culture, business, technology and society. What better way to do so than to make Walt Disney's favorite dessert?

Unfortunately, the pie didn't really turn out the way we wanted it to, but that's okay! Hopefully, it'll at least make an interesting story. And don't forget to read on to find out who won the sweepstakes!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

It's Our Second Anniversary!

Welcome to Year Three, everyone!

And we're celebrating with the skillet cookie and a giveaway! That's right: for the first time ever, there's free stuff involved. As a thank you to our loyal readers, I wanted to host a small sweepstakes, and because mailing you all a skillet cookie would be a little messy, I decided to do something a little different.

Readers who enter the sweepstakes will have a chance to win a $15 e-gift card to King Arthur Flour, a 225 year old company that specializes in baking and cooking equipment. They're where I bought my ice cream machine!

For sweepstakes rules and more information, please click "Read more" below!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Mini Grace's Report from Munich

Hello from Germany!

A few weeks ago, my parents, younger brother and I went on a trip to Munich, Germany. While I didn't have access to a kitchen and probably wouldn't have done a blog post there if I did, I did want to share some of our adventures with my readers, and so I brought along a little friend with me.

Say hello to mini Grace! Who unfortunately is always going to be promoting her love of Paris no matter what because I lack the ability to make her a mini Munich t-shirt. She was a fun pocket sized travel companion, and we got to see a lot of interesting stuff!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Kit's Cobb Salad

A midnight snack turned delicious entree!

As much as I love baking cakes or cooking rich, delicious dinners, every once and a while, I feel a little guilty for not making more food that's health conscious. I know I have readers who are doing their best to eat healthier, and since this started off as an attempt to force myself to learn how to cook, I'd like to be able to get more experience making food that fits our modern understanding of what makes a healthy, well rounded diet, and not recipes from an era that assumes you're going to be out plowing fields all day and thus need the extra calories. One of the simplest solutions to this would be to find some interesting salads to make right?

Well, sort of.

Unfortunately, as I've discovered, our idea of what actually makes a salad has changed a lot over the years. Generally speaking, Americans (and parts of Europe, I won't speak for the rest for the world because I'm not as familiar with their foodways) haven't really had a great history of preparing vegetables in a way that's actually good for you. We've boiled them until we basically stripped the nutrients, slathered them in honey and brown sugar, and smothered them under thick sauces, or lots and lots of anchovys. Our definition of salad once (and still does, in some communities!) included genuinely sugary gelatin molds on top of a measly leaf of lettuce! That's not exactly what I was looking for, guys!

As far as I can tell - based on my admittedly cursory research, I won't pretend to be a salad historian here - one of the first really modern dinner salads that we're still eating today dates back to a midnight snack first enjoyed in 1937, and has been showing up on people's tables almost ever since. Where did I find out about the history of the Cobb salad?

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Lemonade with Nellie

Some experiments in homemade deliciousness!

I am a huge fan of lemonade. I'm actually drinking some right now! Even though I indulge with it year round, everything about it just says summer, and it's always a refreshing treat to have when it's way too hot outside.

But I have to admit, homemade lemonade isn't really something I've tried before, even though it's pretty simple to do once you know the trick, and I've been looking for an opportunity, inspiration or reason to go ahead and give it a try for myself. I found that in a slightly surprising place, and brought Nellie on a trip with me to go check it out.

Where did we go?

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Molly's Pinwheel Peach Cobbler

A historical recipe that might be redefining cobbler topping for me!

Happy VJ Day, everyone! On August 15th, 1945, Japan announced their surrender, thus finally ending World War II. Like VE Day, many people around the world went nuts, rushing to places like Times Square or their town centers to throw parties and celebrate that the war was well and truly over. For many servicemen and women, this was the day they had been waiting for anxiously since VE Day. Troops in Europe had been expecting to be demobilized to join the forces already in the Pacific to spearhead an invasion of the Japanese home islands, and this finally took away the anxiety that they would have won the war in Europe only to get killed trying to end the war in the Pacific. This meant that many of them could finally, finally return home to their families, and were eager to get on the first boat home they could get.

Troops in the Pacific were similarly elated, especially the Marine and Army divisions that were still recovering from rough fighting on Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Although it would still take a long time for many people to return home - both European and Pacific troops needed to participate in occupation duties if they didn't have enough "points" to return home - they began to think a lot more hopefully about what the future held and of course, that included soon being able to indulge in comfort food they hadn't been able to have since shipping out.

For that reason, I decided the best thing to make today would be an old fashioned peach cobbler, something soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines no doubt fantasized about on nights where they were feeling homesick and would soon get to enjoy once they got home. Although this is a little different from other cobblers I've made, I can safely say this was tasty and definitely worth bringing to any VJ Day parties you might be planning yourself.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Felicity's Raspberry Flummery

Who said molded desserts were just from the 1950's?

August is usually my least favorite month of summer. Everything gets soupy and humid, and historically, August was the month of scrambling to get your summer homework assignments done before the first day of school. These days, it's more the heat than anything else that gets frustrating, but so far, our last month of summer (September doesn't count, okay) has been relatively cool.

But for those of you who aren't as fortunate, we tried out an interesting dessert that doesn't show up on many banquet tables after the early 19th century. Although a dish called flummery gained popularity in Australia after World War II, this colonial version is pretty different, and has more in common with a molded gelatin than a mousse. I wasn't quite sure if I was going to like it or not, but it turned out to be a pleasantly simple, tasty treat to enjoy on a warm afternoon, and probably would have felt even better if I was wearing the outfit Felicity's got on!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Cécile's Lemon Cake

Making me appreciate how much easier baking cakes has become!

I've often talked about how before the 1850's and the introduction of commercially available baking powder, baking a cake was a lot more difficult than it is today. All that being said, I don't think I've actually made a historical cake without baking powder before. I've made a cake without eggs, of course, but I've been wanting to try and tackle a really authentic, no baking powder cake for quite a long time. It seemed like an interesting challenge, and after doing a lot of thinking about it, I finally found a recipe that seemed like a good beginner's cake.

And it was, and it wasn't. I say that for a couple reasons which you'll find out about in a bit, but I just want to say this up front: I would definitely give this another try now that I'm a little more comfortable with the recipe, so don't lose hope! You too can make an authentic cake from the mid 19th century with relatively little fuss.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Grace's Ice Pops

Nothing beats a home made frozen treat!

Since 1993, American Girl Magazine has been publishing bimonthly magazines full of articles aimed at eight to fourteen year old girls. While originally the magazine had slightly more of a focus on history and the doll line sold by the company - several short stories about the older characters like Molly and Samantha were first published in the magazine before being released as small hardback books - it eventually became less connected specifically to the doll line and the historical characters, and now mostly focuses on the experiences of average, modern girls.

One thing that hasn't changed is their enthusiasm for sharing easy recipes for kids to make themselves, or with the help of a parent. What we're making today are two recipes I remember from an issue of the magazine I read sometime around 1997 and have never been able to get out of my head. Amazing what some decent food photography can do to keep something floating around like that!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Rebecca's Ambrosia

A decadent, historical fruit salad featuring my favorite fruit!

This is apparently the summer of fruit salads for me, or at least the summer of fruit. It seems like most of the recipes I've made this summer have featured fruit in some way, and this one is no exception.

Ambrosia might be best known to people as either the food of the Greek gods, or a fruity, creamy dessert that's a stable of Southern get togethers, but this isn't quite that. If you're familiar with what most people think of as traditional Southern ambrosia, you might be surprised at how simple and light its earlier ancestor was.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Addy's Ice Orangeade

A refreshing historical treat that's perfect for the middle of summer!

I promised this wouldn't be the last you saw of my ice cream maker, didn't I? After waiting to use it for so long, I'm trying to make up for lost time by actually experimenting with it. The freezer bowl has become a permanent resident of our freezer, and I keep getting ideas and suggestions for bigger and better things to make with it.

The recipe I'm featuring today I stumbled upon almost by accident. Although there are a lot of options out there for Civil War era food, I was having a difficult time finding anything really summery that wasn't strawberry shortcake - and nothing against that, honestly, but I wanted to do something a little less obvious - and then discovered this archive of Civil War era recipes on American Civil War Story for ice orangeade. What's ice orangeade you ask?

A tasty, citrusy sorbet that's really not that hard to whip up in your own kitchen!

But before we get into that, we're going to talk a little bit about the history of ice cream makers.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Molly's S'mores Brownies

It's summer. That means it's time for s'mores!

Blog devotees may remember that one of my favorite things in the entire world is a nice, tasty s'more, but most of the rest of my family doesn't share my enthusiasm for them. This isn't to say they hate them, but they're not as on board for them as I am at all times of year. It also means I need to get a little more creative in how I sell them on them, which meant when my girlfriend pointed me in the direction of a tasty looking s'more themed brownie recipe, I just couldn't say no.

That's definitely one of the dangerous parts of having a significant other who bakes: you give each other way too many ideas for fun things to consume.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Caroline's Vanilla Ice Cream

A lot easier to make than you might think!

Happy Independence Day, everyone! Hope your 4th of July is going well, and boy, do I have a treat to share with all of you.

Homemade ice cream is always something I've been interested in making, but never had the means to try out until last year. I bought a Cuisinart ice cream maker for my birthday last year, and... promptly didn't get around to using it until this summer. Oh well, better late than never, right? And it turns out, this is an easy, extremely tasty treat that's way easier than I ever imagined it being.

I know this is the second year in a row where I haven't done a Felicity post on the 4th, but I've been dying to give homemade ice cream a shot. Some American Girl enthusiasts might be wondering why I'm not introducing ice cream with Addy or Samantha, since ice cream makers play a part in both their birthday stories and came with their birthday treats sets, but I promise, there's a really cool reason Caroline's getting featured in today's post.

What is that reason, you ask?

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Kailey's Box Lunch Tuna Rollwich

Trying to recapture one of my favorite parts of summers past!

When I was a kid, I had the good fortune of visiting my grandparents and other extended family up on Cape Cod. We'd go up for at least a few days every summer and enjoy the beaches, hiking trails, mini golf, local shops and - especially - the food. There's nothing like getting some fried fish after a day on the beach, or going to a lobster pool on the water where you can watch the sun go down over the marshes!

Unfortunately, my grandma sold the Cape house after my grandfather passed away, and it's been a while since I've gotten to enjoy some of my favorite Cape Cod treats. But as much as I miss the ice cream and fried shrimp, there's one thing I crave over everything else, and any attempts at recreating it just don't do it justice.

I'm speaking, of course, about the wraps at Box Lunch.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Ivy's Chinese Fruit Salad

Looking for a way to spice up a fruit salad?

Is there anything more refreshing than a fruit salad? Probably not, especially when the fruits are in season. And summer is definitely the time to enjoy most of my favorites, whether it be in pies, cobblers, or just eaten immediately after getting home from the grocery store. Summer can also be a difficult time of year for fruit, though - my mom always complains about fruit rotting before we can eat it because of the humidity and temperature - so it's good to have a couple tricks in your back pocket to make sure you're using your fruit creatively!

I've found a couple different fun recipes that can be a good way to feature some of your favorite fruits, but this was the one that excited me the most. With a perfect combination of interesting fruits and just the right amount of extra sweetness and spice, this is a lot more exciting than your average fruit salad. The fact that it used a lot of my favorite fruits was sort of just an extra bonus.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Felicity's Chocolate Cupcakes

Historically accurate flavor, not quite historically accurate recipe!

I'm making good on a promise I made a couple months ago. Does anyone remember the post I did about Heritage Chocolate? Well, I finally got around to baking with some of the chocolate I brought home from Williamsburg, and it turned out to make very tasty cupcakes. So tasty that even people who don't like the chocolate sticks on their own liked them! I figure that's a good sign - or maybe they just need to give the sticks themselves another chance!

You may notice that Felicity definitely isn't posing in my kitchen or somewhere around my house, and the truth is, she's not! Obviously, I think you probably would have seen any giant statues I've got sitting around in my front lawn by now. We'll get to our field trip after I tell you a little about the cupcakes.