Category Archives: Cynthia

Cynthia’s Ice Cream Dreams

i scream–  Ice cream and cake. AND cake flavored vodka? Who thought that up?  What a concept!  Here’s a suggestion from Cynthia (who else?) for some easy Ice cream drinkie winkies!  Its summer! Have at it!

Cynthia’s Orange – Whiskey Dream 

Seriously you can just get a dreamscicle from the spooky ice cream cart guy melt it and dump some whiskey over it and then re- refrigerate or refreeze. Sip with a straw spoon it up or just slug it back.  YUM!    bottlelarge_cake

Cynthia’s Cake Vodka Yummer.

If you must use the chi chi vodka thing well then take some orange soda and mix it up with your CAKE FLAVORED vodka then add a bunch of  ice cream and float away on an orange cloud.

rubyredcreamsicle7HEY you kids…! stop bothering that dog and bring Auntie some Black Bear Orange Soda!

Ruthie’s Culinary Clues: Add all the ice cream you want to the vodka treat. In fact, while you’re at it, add all the vodka you want, too! I tested this recipe with UV Cake Vodka that really added to the Dreamsicle flavor, but feel free to try it with whatever you might have on hand.



BEER-BQ Sauce!

wp dedoo– Well, it’s me, Cynthia…. and I just got back from visiting my favorite old codger down on lot 3.  He’s like 95 years old but he does KICK ASS barbecue and he STILL makes his OWN Sauce!  As he says: “None of that store bought high fructose crap for ME…. I just throw in REAL SUGAR!!!!!! and BEER.”  Beer?  I says.  YEAH BEER!   I traded a case of PBR for this vintage recipe from back when everybody grilled with charcoal – or maybe sticks….. Its a pipperooo!


  • 2 bottles 14oz. each ketchup or catsup whichever you prefer
  • 1 bottle 12oz chili sauce
  • 1/3 cup prepared mustard
  • 1 tbsp. dry mustard
  • 1 ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. coarse fresh ground black pepper     sauce on paintbrush
  • 1 ½ cup wine vinegar
  • 1 c fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup thick steak sauce
  • Tabasco to taste
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. salad oil
  • 1 can – 12 oz BEER
  • Minced or crushed garlic to taste

jean carmen



  • Combine all ingredients except garlic and mix well.
  • Pour into pint containers to store.
  • This sauce may be stored for several weeks in the refrigerator.
  • For longer storage you can freeze it.
  • About an hour before using the sauce add the garlic if desired.

Makes about 6 pints so unless you are grilling a side of beef or a whole hog….. get out the plastic storage containers and freeze what you’re not going to use . And don’t forget to cover up!  Whoosh!

Heres the printable:  BEER BQ Sauce

Cynthia’s Whiskey Snapple Fizz

download  –   In the mood for a fruity fizzy adult beverage?  Oh come on WHo ISN’T?

  • Put some ice in a container you can drink out of
  • Pour some whisky over it
  • Get you some Snapple or raid the baby’s apple juice stash.
  • Pour that over the whiskey/rocks to about 1/2 fill the container
  • Fill the rest of the glass with something fizzy – tonic water is my fave
  • Stir
  • Add a cocktail straw to make it look legit.

COCKTAIL TIME!  il_570xN.562437448_438f


Praise the Lard

praise-the-lard  –  Lard.  Its not just for breakfast anymore!  Neighbor Melly Sue just brought over the traditional pre lenten Pazckis… which, we all know, must be deep fried in LARD…. not Crisco – Not Shortening – LARD.



Few of you may realize that real LARD is a THING.  It is rendered, that is boiled off of – the fat IMAG0534(back fat) of our porcine friends.  Sorry Vegans.

Well when you deep fry something in lard…. you end up with a pot of melted lard and the conversation over coffee and Pazckis turned to what to do with the leftovers.  As we contemplated this dicey problem…. looking out the kitchen window at the chickadees – which are taking on a blue hue on account of the cold…. we chorused in unison.. SUET BALLS!

So we fired up the old laptop and got THIS gem from the old Farmers Almanac:

670px-Making-Bird-Food-Suet-Cakes-7Suet Cake

  • 2 parts melted fat (bacon fat, suet, or lard)
  • 2 parts yellow cornmeal
  • 1 part peanut butter

Mix all ingredients together and cook for a few minutes. Pour into small containers (tuna fish cans are good), and refrigerate or freeze until needed.  As it cools you can add some bird seed mix or not – its good either way.  Mixture can also be stuffed into 1-inch holes drilled in small logs to hang from trees. The recipe can be made all year long as long as you accumulate fat. Fasten containers securely to trees or feeders.  suet300x285

You can buy a suet cage at your local hardware store.  Or recycle net bags from onions.  If you can keep the squirrels out the birds will love you for it!


Spinach, BEET & Goat Cheese Pizza





–  Over at the Starchak trailer, Winter is getting old.  We need some comfort food to BEET the Winter Blues.  (HA HA) So I made this up and ran over to Ruthie’s with a bottle of cheap red. Not only is it deeellishous…  It’s a great way to enhance a dull and boring frozen pizza.  Seriously, its like a silk purse from a sow’s ear as they say.  And of course if you discard all packaging your guests will believe you made it from scratch.  Like Ruthie says, ….. its not a lie if you had to open more than one package.



  • essential-everyday-beets-sliced-175520Cheap frozen cheese pizza. (it is against the Starchak  code if you spend more than $2.99)
  • Can of sliced beets – REGULAR NOT PICKLED
  • Package of steam-able chopped spinach (steam-able chopped is easier to thaw.  Also it has less water in it so your Za wont get soggy).
  • Goat cheese log
  • Shredded mozzarella












  • Put the beets in a colander and rinse – drain well.
  • Open the steam-able package of spinach and put a few handfuls in a microwave safe bowl. (re close the package you can use the leftovers later).
  • Microwave to thaw.
  • Top the pizza with 4 or 5 rounds of beets – theres enough beets in the can for three so if you are only making one you will have leftovers – Store them in the fridge for later.  Beets are good and good for ya.
  • Put some goat cheese rounds between the beets
  • Spread spinach over and top with a few handfuls of shredded mozzarella.
  • Bake in 375 oven till crust is nice and golden.
  • Switch to broil and broil the top so everything is nice and crusty.  


  • YUM!





Cynthia’s Pumpkin Cranberry Nutty Bread


– When friends get together for breakfast its always good to have something home baked that goes well with a little morning “pick me up”.   Ruthie and myself are partial to a warm loaf fresh from the oven and some nice coffee generously spiked with brown liquor.

This is one of my all time breads and it goes great with Irish Coffee or a mimosa.  I use my stored up frozen cooked pumpkin.  Also each fall, you can buy fresh whole cranberries in the produce section.  I buy them in bulk and freeze them in ziplock bags.  You don’t have to do anything to them just bag ’em and pop them in the freezer.  They will last till next October!  But you’ll make this bread and other goodies so often, I guarantee unless you have a grecranberriesat big freezer you’ll run out long before next year.

You can freeze the bread in slices too and then warm it up in the microwave and slather with butter or cream cheese.


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • A generous shake of pumpkin pie spice like a couple tablespoons
  • 1/3 cup water or milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, softened, or 1/3 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup sugar plus 1/ 3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup cooked or canned pumpkin
    • If you use frozen cooked – be sure its nicely thawed and mashed up or pureed.
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
  • A nice handful of fresh cranberries or craisins…. Those raisin style cranberries. If frozen be sure to thaw before you add.


  •  Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.
  • Blend in a small bowl:
    • flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ground cinnamon, and your pumpkin pie spice
  • Combine in a large bowl:
    • butter, sugar, brown sugar & vanilla beat till fluffy
    • Then beat in eggs one at a time.
    • Add pumpkin and beat on low speed just until blended.
  • Add the flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with milk, beating on low speed or stirring with a rubber spatula until smooth and scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  • Fold in your nuts and cranberries
  • Pour into the prepared pan and spread evenly.
  • Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 5 to 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on the rack.



Click here for the printable:  Cynthia’s Pumpkin Cranberry Nutty Bread

Cool Cocktails for Hot Nights

cocktail graphic  – Well it’s been a while.  I was doing some work on the trailer – but hey… theres always time for a cocktail ain’a?  Now, anyone can throw some gin into a glass of lemonade and call it a Summer Breeze…. but I strongly advise you to try some classics.

NOTE: You just gotta have a cocktail shaker – but that could be a jelly jar (with top) and something to strain the liquid out without the ice.  If you are a serious cocktail mixer, it’s not the equipment per se…. it’s your technique that is key. Here are some tips and recipes from my treasured 1936 edition of “Burke’s Complete Cocktail and Tastybite Recipes”


  • Even though I tend to improvise Burke says, i you must measure with care…. “too much or too little of any ingredient may  cause you to miss your mark”.


  • GLASS = 2 ounces
  • Jigger = 1 ounce
  • Dash = 3 – 4 drops


  • Use a shaker filled with ice
  • Always pour the ingredients OVER the ice – this sets up an immediate chill

THE ETERNAL QUESTION:  Answer: sometimes you shake, sometimes you stir….  either way your technique is key.  When shaking:

  • Never fill your shaker more than 3/4 full
  • Do not shake vertically
  • Turn the shaker on its side and shake from side to side.
  • A SHAKE = is each single stroke – so there are two strokes for each shake.

Now for the good stuff – Here’s a couple of Brandy goodies from Burke.  For these – you should chill the glasses

Brandy Alexander – Classicba 2

  • 1 oz Brandy
  • 1 oz Fresh cream
  • 1 oz Creme de Cocoa

Don’t over ice this one- fill your shaker about 1/2 full with ice  – 40 shakes – strain into chilled glass and serve.

Garnish with a shake of nutmeg or grated chocolate. This is the classic.  There are some more modern variations for the adventurous:

  • Alexander’s Sister: Substitute crème de menthe for the crème de cacao.
  • Gin Alexander: Blend equal parts gin, white crème de cacao, and heavy cream.
  • Parisian Blond: Blend equal parts rum, Curaçao, and heavy cream.
  • Velvet Hammer: Substitute triple sec for the brandy.

Between the Sheets – Gin VersionCocktials_390x703_0029_between-the-sheets

  • 1 oz brandy
  • 1 oz dry gin
  • 1 oz curacao
  • 2 dashes lemon juice

Pour ingredients over ice in shaker – 25 shakes – strain into chilled glass and serve.

Garnish with lemon twist.

Between the Sheets – Rum Version

  • 1 oz brandy
  • 1 oz rum
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • 2 dashes lemon juice

Pour ingredients over ice in shaker – 25 shakes – strain and serve

Garnish with lemon twist

Heres the printable: Cool Cocktails for Hot Nights

Resurrection Cake a la Ruthie & Cynthia

stressedt is



– Here is a favorite of ours – Its a variation of everybody’s favorite dump cake. (or if you are so inclined – a fruit tea cake). Whatever! It’s a great, easy cake for a potluck or just because.  Add Cynthia’s special sauce and its also guaranteed to raise the dead – or at least cure what ails you. (Hence the term, resurrection). Sauce not suitable for youngsters or anyone who has recently taken the pledge.



  • A boxed cake mix of your choice and whatever you need to add make the cake
  • 16 ounces of canned fruit – (not pie filling) also your choice (you can use fruit cocktail too.)
  • butter
  • sugar

Special Sauce

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 sticks of butter…. yes I said 2 STICKS – thats 1/2 lb.  After all,  this is Wisconsin
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup of Jack Daniels Black Label or other nice robust whiskey – Again – yes I said 1 CUP.
  • A pinch of salt



  • Heat oven to 350
  • Make the cake mix according to the package directions  dump cake
  • Pour the mix into a deepish, well greased cake pan
  • Pour the fruit over the top of the cake mix
  • Cover the fruit with pats of butter and sprinkle with sugar
  • Bake 30 – 40 minutes or until the cake mix rises up over the fruit (another resurrection reference) and gets nice and brown.
  • Without the sauce its really quite innocent.

drink dinnerCynthia’s Special Sauce  *not for the faint of heart, youngsters or the recently rehabbed* NOTE: you are NOT baking or boiling or otherwise reducing the alcohol in this icing. It’s totally like ingesting the real thing.

  • Blend sugar, butter and vanilla
  • Add the whiskey a little at a time
  • Mix until you have a nice creamy sauce – the sugar will be grainy
  • Pour it over the cake – but not the part you are serving to the kids or those among you who do not imbibe.

Click here for a printable copy: Resurrection Cake with Special Sauce

Cynthia’s Schnappsy Icing/Glaze

yoda cook crop  –  Do what works!

Now you can have your schnapps and eat it too.

Here’s a recipe for a  tasty-schnappsy icing/glaze that you can add to your home made (or purchased or home baked from a mix… or whatever) pastry.  And if that 3 tablespoons isn’t enough for you  (It certainly isn’t for me) – just dump some more into your coffee and enjoy!



  • Confectioners (powdered) sugar
  • 3 tbs schnapps to match the fruit in your scones or muffins or what have you ….  (i.e.) peach with peaches…. I’d go whiskey with pears or cherries… well thats not schnapps but what the heck….. give it a try.
  • You can try other strongly flavored alcohol (like whiskey or rum) or other schnapps flavor /fruit combinations – I just love to experiment in the kitchen don’t you?  3


duetFor glaze like effect

  • Stir together the schnapps and enough confectioners sugar (a few tablespoons usually does the trick nicely) until it forms a thick, shiny syrupy goo.
  • With a pastry brush, coat the top of each pastry with the syrup and let dry.
  • Your pastry will now be shiny and taste fruity.

For a more icing- like drizzle

  •  just add more powdered sugar until you have the consistency you want.  scone

Enjoy your pastry with tea, or coffee – add more schnapps to your beverage for more fun!

Cynthia Says:  if you want to cheat or need a fast fix – go buy some regular scones or muffins or whatever and add the icing on your own.  HA! Your Mother in Law or those pesky neighbor ladies will NEVER know.

welder grill


Cynthia does not stand on ceremony in Ruthie’s Bitchin’ Kitchen…. do what you want… do what works.  There is no kitchen KGB. (Don’t tell Ruthie)

Steak & Mushroom / Whiskey Sauce

–   This recipe has every thing we love – MEAT and WHISKEY.  Refer to Ruthie’s meat chart, get yourself a couple of nice porterhouse steaks…. crank up the grill get out the whiskey and enjoy!


  • 1-2 Porterhouse steaks  (Click to see the chart: Cuts of Beef)
  • salt and pepper
  • cooking oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon grainy mustard
  • 2 tablespoons whiskey (or bourbon)


  • Fire up the grill
  • Season the Porterhouse on both sides with salt and pepper. Let steak rest at room temperature for 15 minutes. Rub both sides with cooking oil.

While the steak is resting make your whiskey sauce (… and yes – the cook is allowed to sip – Go for it right out of the pyrex measuring cup!)

  •  Heat a saute pan over medium-high heat with the whiskey cake 019
  • When the butter starts bubbling, add in the mushrooms and the onions.
  • Stir and cook until onions are fragrant and softened.
  • Pour in the chicken broth, mustard, whiskey and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Turn heat to low and let simmer for 2 minutes.
  • Keep warm while steak is grilling

Grill the steak – you all know how to do this but just in case you need instructions:

  • Cook on one side until you see juice.
  • Flip steak and cook some more.  Timing depends on thickness of steak and how you like it.  I prefer RARE. – That is – passed over the heat for a little and then flipped for a bit more just to make it warm and juicy.
  • However you like it done – Don’t let flames from the juice shoot up and sear – if needed use a spray of water to put out the flames.
  • If you must you can test internal temp. But come ON this is meat country …. It’s not an official Milwaukee wedding without a side of raw beef and onions…… Steak Tartare.  Just go with it.  – Make a slice in the center and eyeball the redness of the meat till you get it how you like it.

Internal temps for doneness (for the faint of heart):

  • 125-130F = rare
  • 130-140F = medium rare
  • 140-150F = medium
  • 150-155F = medium well
  • 160-212F = well-done

Serve with Ruthie’s Spinach Berry Salad (click for link) and/or some sort of potato: baked, boiled or roasted.  Roasted tomatoes (cut in 1/2 drizzled with olive oil and roasted in foil – Mac and Cheese…. what have you.  And a nice whiskey sour.

Printable PDF: Steak and Whiskey Mushroom Sauce