Shirley McMurtrie

Golden Banana Cake

Do you like bananas? I do and so does my daughter Anne. Since she does our grocery shopping nowadays, she has a method of choosing which bananas to buy. We have a friend from the Philippines who taught us how to select the best banana. She looks for bananas with thick fat ends, not pointy ones. She is right. There is more banana hiding behind the peel. She says they have a better flavor, too.

Almost - Shoney Cabbage Soup

My mother could put together a soup even when there didn't seem to be enough food in the house to make a meal. I grew up on soup, especially in the winter time. With a little meat to season it and the vegetables we had on hand, she could make a hearty soup for not much money. Cornbread goes well with most soups and goes well with this one.

The Trip Back Home and Beyond

We spent the night at that hilltop motel on U. S. 44 near St. Louis, Missouri. The next day my car was delivered back to the motel. They said the carburetor was packed with fibers. They didn't know where they came from. Removed, the car was ready for the trip back home. Since the car was still under warranty, there was no charge.

Hot Fudge Sauce

When I was in charge of my household, when I could get around better, when I was still driving, I tried to keep a well stocked pantry. It was too well stocked according to my daughter, Anne. I didn't shop every week. Once a month was more like it, when I got my Social Security check at the first of the month. Oh, yes we would run out of bread and milk, but that was about it.

Trip to Missouri

The year was 1981. My nephew, Chris Bouldry, had been attending Bible College in Springfield, Missouri. He came home for the Christmas holidays and decided not to return to school. That left one problem. He needed to retrieve his possessions from his room there. The second problem was how to make the trip. He didn't have a car or any money.

Fettuccine Alfredo

The Olive Garden is our favorite restaurant. A few years ago we celebrated my eighty-ninth and half birthday in July. (When you approach ninety, every day is a luxury.) We had an Alfredo dish. My daughter Anne had chicken and I had shrimp. We decided we could make a recipe at home that tasted just as good.

Double Chocolate Cookies

I have been hungry for cookies lately. Today I broke down and made some. They were from an old cookbook I found somewhere or other. What a disappointment. I have many tried and true recipes that turn out fine every time. Why, oh why, do I continue looking for new ones. Anne reminds me of that fact every time I have a cooking disaster.

Easter Egg Casserole

It's that time of year again: “Easter Egg Time.” What do you do with all of those colored hard boiled eggs?

I remember when my kids were of Easter basket age. After the drabness of winter (it had been a long time since Christmas), they needed some cheering up. With no birthdays since December, there had been little to celebrate. They were ready!

Baby Chicks

I remember when I was a teenager. We lived on a farm. World War ll was in full swing. It seemed that anything good was rationed, but chicken and eggs were not. Mother always raised chickens, even when we lived in town. But to sell eggs and have meat to eat took a larger number of chickens. Of course, she could let some of the hens “set.” They would be out of egg production for the duration of incubating their eggs into baby chicks and beyond. It was more profitable to buy baby chicks in the Spring.

Mowing the Lawn

Who mows your lawn nowadays? You probably don't. A whole new business has grown up around grass and the need to manicure the lawn. Everyone works nowadays. There are enough “honey do” chores for Saturdays without spending several hours doing lawn care.

How We Watched TV

How We Watched TV

Watching television back in the early days of TV was much different than what it is today. Of course, the screen was tiny, 12 inches, compared to those now available. Black and white it was. We could only imagine that the tree leaves were green and that pretty dress the star of the show was wearing was candy apple red. However, we had good imaginations. After all, we had our ears tuned to the radio for a decade or so. The sound effects of that era prepared us for the magic of black and white television. We could now see what before we had only heard.

Shamrock Cookies

What child doesn't like a decorated cookie? What mother likes to do the decorating? Some do. Some don't. If you have a couple preschoolers tearing up the house, the last thing you have time to tackle is decorating fancy cookies.

The word “COOKIE” has a magic sound to a child's ears. You might even get them to lie down for a nap, if you promise cookies when they wake up. I know. I used bribery as a parenting tool when mine were at that changeable stage between diapers and pull-ups. It works, if you vary the bribe.

My Holey Bucket

Can you sing? I can't. Does your bucket have a hole in it? Mine looks like it was used for shot gun target practice. Let me tell you about it. I was looking through an old photo album the other day and came across a picture of my youngest daughter, Elizabeth, singing with her high school chorale group. She even learned to read music.


It was in the fall of 1942 when my brother, Rod, approached me with an offer to take me hunting. “I will teach you how to hunt squirrel,” he said. Wait a minute! Where did he get off using such a big word? Rod could take school or leave it. He wasn't an educator. Not at all. I did figure I was teachable, however.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Do you like strawberries? Do you like rhubarb? I say yes to both questions. I learned how to make Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie just a few years ago. Previously, when I thought of Strawberry Pie it was the one with fresh strawberries in a baked crust, cover with strawberry glaze and piled high with Cool Whip. There was a serious gap in my pie repertoire.

Chicken Chow Mein


I like Chicken Chow Mein. It is a quick easy meal. I remember when I worked back in the late 70s with four kids at home and a hungry husband. I worked in a sewing factory. Sewing doesn't require much thinking capacity. Once you learn what the operations require, it was pretty much rote. I would plan my supper meal as I sewed.