Shirley McMurtrie

Lemon no-bake cheesecake

How many "no-bake" cheese cake recipes do you have? Here is another one. The lemon Jello helps it set properly. No need for a srtingform pan. A 9 by 13 inch baking pan or glass casserole will do. Hope you like it.

I'll stick to real conversations and writing letters

With cell phones and the Internet, few people write letters anymore. Most would not know how to compose an interesting letter. They are so used to sending short blurbs. A detailed letter would almost be like writing a book for them. Another thing—very few people use cursive anymore. Printing is the norm.
I remember my grade school days. I could ace every subject except Penmanship. The old Palmer method was beyond me. Some days I couldn’t even read things I had written a few days before.

Smoke no more

I began smoking cigarettes when I was fifteen. It seemed like the sophisticated thing to do. Lord knows, I wanted to fit in. It soon became a habit. I would hunt for my glasses so I could find my cigarettes. I was noted for searching through the ashtray, sorting out the longest cigarette butts. It was hell to run out of cigarettes. We were living on Lee Road east of Michigan Center, Michigan. Extra money was hard to come by, trying to build our house. Every spare cent went into buying materials. Almost every cent, that is.

Tom's Cinnamon Sticks

Did you always like the lunch your mother packed for you during those long-ago school years? Did your classmates’ lunches look better than the same old boring stuff you pulled from your lunch sack?
If so, you were not alone. But there was a solution. Let me tell you what my son Tom thought up.
If Tom had paid as much attention to his schoolwork as he did in goofing off, he might have been a rocket scientist or at least the vice president. Not so. Goofing off was his specialty.

Dad and the pulp westerns

My father was a reader. But during the Great Depression books were hard to come by. We didn’t live near a library. Gas to go there was expensive when he only earned forty dollars a month working on a farm, doing the milking and field work. But there was some reading material available at a low price. The pulp Western novels, costing ten or fifteen cents, filled the bill. We couldn’t even afford a newspaper subscription.


What do you do when you need croutons for salad or a dressing? Do you shell out good money for toasted stale bread at the store? You don't have to do that. Croutons are easy to make. You can use any kind of bread you like. Let's face it, the bread you buy is at least a day old when you buy it. Open it and it's on its way to being too stale to use for anything other than toast or croutons. So you do have stale bread at home. Don't throw it out. Make croutons. You might add some dried spices for different flavors.

Chicken dinner

Back in the day, when we lived on the farm, if I wanted to prepare a Sunday chicken dinner, there was a lot of prep work to do. We only did this if we had company coming. We couldn’t go to Food City and select a package of chicken parts from the meat counter. Nope! Na! Na! No way! In fact, in those days the only chicken I might find at the meat market was a sorry looking whole chicken. Separately packaged breasts or drumsticks were far in the future. I prepped my own.

Corn flour tortillas

What can you do with the masa harina flour you see on the grocery shelf? I know mass farina flour is used to make tortillas, so that is what I do. It's different. Try it next time you need flour tortillas

Ice tea

I never drink a glass of iced tea that I don’t think of my brother, Russell Stimer. He passed away over twenty years ago. Gone, but not forgotten. Russ died of throat cancer. A doctor had told him not to smoke cigarettes, but that small cigars were ok. Not true.

Turkey Leftover Casserole

I have a number of leftover turkey recipes. If you have leftover chicken, that works, too. One thing about cooked meat is that it can be put on the table in a hurry. Most of the time in less than 30 minutes. I have a collection of quick supper meals.

Marinated vegetable salad

This salad makes a big batch. It keeps well in the fridge. I make it and much on it for several days. Very good..

In small saucepan, combine the sugar, vinegar, oil and salt.. Bring to a boil over medium low heat, stirring occasionally. Let cool to room temperature. Meanwhile, in large bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Add dressing. Toss to coat. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours. Serve with slotted spoon. Makes 25 servings.


Was your Thanksgiving dinner when you were a youngster different than what you celebrate now? Mine was. Mother and Dad are gone as are my two brothers. Back in the day that was it, just the five of us. We seldom had company during the dark days of the Great Depression. It was just the five of us and Banjo, our supposed Beagle.

Impossible turkey pie

Do you remember when Bisquick came out with several "impossible pie" recipes? They are super easy to do. However, I had forgotten about them until I was going through my recipe file a while back. I found this one. It's easy . I hope you'll try it.

Knob and tube electrical wiring

It you are much younger that my almost 95 years, you probably have never heard of knob and tube wiring. It was the early form of house wiring. Everything electrical back then was new. The easiest way to wire a house was surface wiring. There probably was only a ceiling fixture in a room.

Baked chili and crackers

Need to fix supper in a hurry? Try this recipe. Supper in half an hour.
Butter a 10 by 7 inch baking pan. Spoon a third of canned chili into bottom of dish. Arrange half of round crackers over chili. Sprinkle half of shredded cheese and seasonings over chili. Repeat layers. Top with remaining chili. Bake in preheated 400 F. oen for 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly.


Back a long time ago when I was much younger, I participated in a United Way phone survey. We had high hopes that the survey would yield good results. It helps to know where the emphasis should be for the most effective use of donated funds. A phone survey would be a good tool.
I was an active participant in the local United Way, working on the Speakers Bureau, for instance. When someone suggested a Phone Survey. I volunteered to head the project. That meant finding people to do the survey as well as formulate questions to be asked.

Hawaiian carrots

Carrots and pineapple go good together. What would we do without pineapple? It certainly gets along well with carrots. Try this recipe when you are looking for a change. It is good.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken Noodle Soup

When a cold west wind is swirling snow around the yard, I think of "Chicken Soup". You may think of skiing at Gatlinburg; I think of soup. There is no way I am leaving the house unless it’s going to church or I need groceries. If it can wait, I’ll get my groceries after church. I'll open the door only to feed the birds. Anne will drive down to the mailbox to get the mail rather than walk. That is more than I will do on a cold snowy day; but I will make soup. I have lots of soup recipes. Some take a while to make. Some are quick.

Grandma’s Chicken Noodle Soup

I remember my Grandma’s chicken noodle soup. It was delicious. I have made noodles all my married life. I think I’m pretty good at it, but Grandma had me beat by a country mile. Let me tell you about her noodles.
As a child, I would watch in awe as she performed her magic with the rolling pin and dough. I never saw her stir a batch together, just the rolling out and cutting process.