Grandma Huey’s Brown Bread

I don’t remember my mother’s mother well.  She did not live close by, and she passed away when I was still quite young.  I have some things of hers, though, that help me know her just a bit:

A few photosmom's family

Some treasured pieces
GCG dishes

Hettinger crazy quiltGCG Burgess book


Her hand-written recipe bookGCG recipe book








I can tell which recipes she used over and over by the spots and stains on those pages.  So many of them have notes on them: “delicious!” “Good for sandwiches” “Flora’s best!”  My own mother has told me that the Cranberry Ice in Orange Cups was a favorite tradition for Thanksgiving.  And, I like to make Grandma’s Brown Bread.  It’s quick and moist, hearty enough to make a meal with a pot of baked beans, yet can stand alone on a pretty plate for a ladies’ tea.



½ cup molasses

1 cup sour milk

1 egg

½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. soda

¼ cup white flour

1 ½ cups whole-wheat flour  (Grandma’s recipe calls for “graham” flour)

1 cup seedless raisins (optional)

If you don’t happen to have a cup of sour milk on the counter, add 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar into your liquid measuring cup, then fill with milk to the 1-cup mark.

GCG souring milk

Let this stand for about 15 minutes; you’ll see it begin to curdle and “sour”.

Mix the molasses, sour milk and egg together, then add to the combined dry ingredients. GCG dry bread ingredients

Mix until evenly moist, add the raisins, spoon into greased pans and bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes.GCG mixed bread ingred



Greased round cans, filled just a little over half full, make lovely slices. This recipe will fill two round cans and a small bread tin, or one large bread pan.

GCG breads cooling

Here’s what I can tell you about my grandmother…

Family was important.  You can tell this by the way she is looking at her baby girl in the photo, the carefully kept quilt, and the well-used recipes for daily meals.She loved pretty things and special occasions.  Look at the beautiful glass serving bowl, the delicately painted plate, and remember the recipe for “Cranberry Ice”.  Note the number of places she’s marked her recipes –“served at Elizabeth’s wedding” or “nice for tea sandwiches”.She had friends (“Hattie’s favorite!”) and loved nature. The pages of the Burgess book are marked with a bird’s feather, a pressed rose, a single fern leaf.She was thrifty—using the milk that had soured, molasses for sweetener.

And, one final thing—I did not know my grandmother well, but I realize she’s given me more than a great recipe for brown bread.  She’s given me a heritage that includes what is important to me, too: family, friends, a love of nature, thrift and conservation and yes, pretty things and special occasions!brown bread


This recipe for Grandma Huey’s Brown Bread is shared as part of the Bread Bake Off on the FARM CHICK‘s site.  Hop over there for more delicious bread recipes!

This post was shared on The HomeAcre Hop ,Farm Girl Friday Blog Fest #17, and is part of “Tasty Traditions“.

Passing It Along–Happy Thanksgiving!


This day before a holiday is traditionally a busy one for homemakers.  As we remember all we are thankful for, remember the ladies from years past who donned their aprons and spent days making pies and rolling pie crusts, peeling squash and potatoes, drying bread and gathering herbs and spices for stuffing, grinding, cooking, baking, and rising early to prep a huge turkey for their family and friends.  

In honor of this day, in fact, the day before Thanksgiving has been declared by Chase’s Calendar as “National Tie One On Day“– a day to give back a little of what we have to someone else by wrapping a homemade gift in an apron and passing it along to someone else.  Read HERE for all the details and information on how to participate.

Several years ago, I found a little poem that reminisces about all the ways an apron can be used.


The strings were tied, it was freshly washed, and maybe even pressed.
For Grandma, it was everyday to choose one when she dressed.
The simple apron that it was, you would never think about;
the things she used it for, that made it look worn out.

She may have used it to hold some wildflowers that she’d found.
Or to hide a crying child’s face when a stranger came around.
Imagine all the little tears that were wiped with just that cloth.
Or it became a potholder to serve some chicken broth.

She probably carried kindling to stoke the kitchen fire.
To hold a load of laundry, or to wipe the clothesline wire.
When canning all her vegetables, it was used to wipe her brow.
You never know, she might have used it to shoo flies from the cow.

She might have carried eggs in from the chicken coop outside.
Whatever chore she used it for, she did them all with pride.
When Grandma went to heaven, God said she now could rest.
I’m sure the apron that she chose, was her Sunday best.

—Tina Trivett      (Read more of Tina Trivett’s poetry HERE)

Do you have a favorite apron that you wear for holidays or baking?  Is it, perhaps, one you made yourself, or one you found at a thrift store or estate sale?  Or, it it perhaps one that you keep with your memories of your grandmother?

There are plenty of aprons that hang on the clotheslines at Green Circle Grove (we’ve even made them!), and we use them for many things (including soapmaking), but our favorites are those we put on when we’re cooking for our families.  Happy Thanksgiving from Green Circle Grove!

You can enter an apron give-away, too, over at the Farm Chick Chit Chat website. They are celebrating National Tie One On Day by sharing with you!

Jars of Memories

Boxes and boxes of canning jars.  When my husband helped his family clean out his grandmother’s old farmhouse, that’s what we found in the basement.  Grandma Burdick always had a huge garden, spending many hours planting, hoeing, harvesting and preserving.  She loved the outdoors and the farm life, and I’m sure must have felt a great sense of accomplishment when she gazed at the glistening shelves of canned goods.

Grandma Burdick and the foot long carrot!

 These jars were the older type with the metal bale—the ones that took jar rubbers.  The many years of re-filling had caused most of the bales to no longer fasten tightly, the glass on the edges of jars and lids was nicked, and in many cases jars and lids didn’t match up.  Like Grandma Burdick, though, I hate to throw out anything that might possibly be useful. So…a big box of old canning jars came to live at my house, along with various other items like a bottle-capper (and a nearly full box of bottle caps), several odd sizes and lengths of stove pipe, some gardening tools and a big tin of buttons.

I love buttons.  When I was small, I entertained myself for many hours with my mother’s button box.  There were some big, colorful buttons that just begged to be strung on yarn and worn as a fancy necklace.  There were smaller, sparkly buttons that could be used for rings and tiaras.  Sorting, counting, pretending to be a princess –I still remember what fun I had.  I thought of having a “button box” as a sort of rite of passage, I guess:  I would know I was a grown-up when I had my own button box!

Years went by, and I wasn’t nearly as careful about hanging on to buttons as ladies of my mother and Grandma Burdick’s generation.  They carefully removed buttons from shirts and coats when they were to be discarded, usually stringing like buttons together before adding them to the assortment in a box.  These women sewed for their families and often went to the button box for a decorative touch on a child’s dress, a replacement for one lost on a cuff, or just simple fastenings to add to an everyday shift.  I sewed a few things for my children when they were small, but often used snaps so I wouldn’t have to make buttonholes—and if I needed a replacement button, I would either buy a card of them, or I would put the item at the bottom of the pile and eventually take it with others in like disrepair to a rummage sale.

Until I saw that big tin of buttons….

First, I poured them all into a huge wooden butter bowl, and just set them on the coffee table.  What a conversation piece! Visitors would sort a little, and then exclaim how they remembered similar buttons on a favorite coat, their grandmother’s sweater, or their dad’s Sunday white shirt.  Stories were told and memories revived.  Button boxes also hold other items, and so old garters were laughed about, delicate single earrings were admired, and interesting questions were asked about long tufting needles encased in narrow needle cases.  Some of the buttons from this tin were old buttons made from bone – and when I realized that was why our family dogs also liked to sort through the bowl, I moved the bowl to another, less convenient spot.

Our oldest granddaughter came to visit for a few days. Emma was about six years old, and looking for some fun things to do on a snowy winter holiday.  I remembered the buttons, poured them out onto a quilt and gave her some yarn.  Just as I had at about the same age, she strung big buttons into necklaces and hairpieces, created imaginative stories, and sorted colors, shapes and sizes.  As I watched her categorize the pieces, I thought of the connections between this little girl and me, her grandmother.  My mother (her great-grandmother) had given me her button box to play with once upon a time.  And now this six year old was playing with buttons that had been handled by her great-great Grandma Burdick.

I remembered the old glass canning jars.  With Emma’s help, I washed and carefully dried them, and filled them with the buttons.  We filled jars with like colors and sizes, covered them with lids and lifted the bale.  It doesn’t matter if they are a bit loose or nicked on the edges. 






When we finished, we put them on a shelf in my sewing room, and stood back in admiration.  The colored buttons shone in the light on the shelf nearly as brightly as a shelf full of jars of preserves.  And…isn’t that what we did?  Preserved those memories of another day and another time?


I use the buttons in my sewing now, too.  They are right where I can see them, so I can find a replacement button easily, if needed.  I often use them on the totes and purses I sew, too, for a special decorative accent.



Buttons on a purse flap!









And, I’ll confess, sometimes I’ll just spill out a jar full of buttons onto a table or quilt to see what’s there.  Buttons from a baby’s dress… a single oval with a painted flower in the center…a monogrammed orb of gold…memories, dreams and imagination preserved in a jar.

Look closely…what can you find?


This post is shared with Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop 112!

%d bloggers like this: