Tart Pastry Recipe

This tart pastry recipe is from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, which was originally published in 1896.

I was making following a cheese and bacon quiche recipe that called for a tart pastry.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Separate 1 egg and set aside the yolk. You won’t need the egg white for this recipe.

Mix 1 cup of flour and ¼ teaspoon of salt in a medium mixing bowl. (If you want sweet dough, add 1 ½ tablespoons of sugar. Since I needed for quiche, I did not add sugar.)

Cut 6 tablespoons of cold butter into small pieces. Then blend the butter into the flour with your fingers until it resembles tiny peas or coarse meal. (You can use a pastry blender if you like but I used my fingers.) This takes several minutes.

In another bowl, whisk the egg yolk with 2 tablespoons of water. Add it to the flour mixture. With your hands, work this dough together until smooth and it forms a ball.

Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 20 minutes. I gave it about 40 minutes.

The recipe says that this can be rolling with a rolling pin, but the cook suggested patting it, piece by piece, into place into a springform pan or pie pan with your hands. I used the latter method and a springform pan.

Take pieces of dough and pat it in place on the pan using the heel of your hand. Work it over the bottom and then up the sides. Try to get it even. It should be thick enough to hold the filling but not too thick around the bottom edge. This takes a few minutes.

Follow the recipe for the filling you will add from here. Or, after using a fork to add tiny air holes to the bottom, bake at 425 degrees for 12 minutes. If using a springform pan, remove the sides when ready to serving.

-Sandra Merville Hart


Revised by Cunningham, Marion and Laber, Jeri. The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, Alfred A Knopf Inc., 1983.



Before the Battle of Gettysburg-Rumors

View from Lutheran Seminary cupola, Gettysburg.

On June 12, 1863, Pennsylvania Governor Andrew Curtain warned citizens of his state to prepare for an attack. His warning fanned the fear of Confederates coming to Gettysburg.

Sallie Myers Stewart, who lived in Gettysburg, wrote that businesses stopped operating. Merchants sent their goods to cities like Philadelphia. Bankers sent money out of town. Folks stood on street corners in groups, talking about the danger. Any news attracted crowds.

Dread hung in the air as worry mounted among residents.

Sallie’s compassion went out to the town’s 300-400 black citizens. Many packed the possessions they could carry and fled to the north. They feared that staying meant risking capture by Confederate soldiers—and slavery in the South.

Townspeople hid their horses in the hills or near the Susquehanna River. A number of men left town, leaving their wives and daughters in Gettysburg. Fannie Buehler, whose husband was an editor and postmaster, packed a bag for him, believing him to be a marked man.

Some townsmen joined seminary and college students traveling to Harrisburg. They and others united to become the 26th Pennsylvania Emergency Infantry Regiment.

On June 20th, a Union officer came to town. He warned citizens to arm themselves.

The next day, groups of men carried axes toward South Mountain to chop down trees and block roads and passes.

Multiple rumors over the war’s duration were about to become reality.

The Rebels were coming.

-Sandra Merville Hart



Creighton, Margaret S. The Colors of Courage: Gettysburg’s Forgotten History, Basic Books, 2005.


Sheldon, George. When the Smoke Cleared at Gettysburg: The Tragic Aftermath of the Bloodiest Battle of the Civil War, Cumberland House, 2003.


Thomas, Sarah Sites. The Ties of the Past: The Gettysburg Diaries of Salome Myers Stewart 1854-1922, Thomas Publications, 1996.




Lillie Beth in Summer by Eva Marie Everson

A Southern Season: Four Stories from a Front Porch Swing

Allensville, Georgia, 1968

Lillie Beth McCall adores Granny—well, she’s not really her Granny, but her husband, David’s. Yet Granny had loved her more than her own Mama, right from the start. They grieved David’s death as a soldier in Vietnam together.  Lillie Beth, still a teenager, has known hard times all her life.

Then she meets the young widower, Dr. James Gillespie. Could he be the one Granny’s been praying for?

A story of grace, told with grace. I fell in love with the characters who gently invited me into their story.

Masterfully written. Highly recommend.

-Sandra Merville Hart




Beef and Corn Casserole Recipe

This recipe is from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, which was originally published in 1896.

I like making meat and vegetable casseroles for my family and this one did not disappoint me.

Chop 1 onion and set aside. Chop 1 green pepper and set aside. Peel and slice 2 firm, ripe tomatoes and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Saute the green pepper and onion in 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. (I used my cast iron skillet.) Cook, stirring often, until the onion is soft. Add 1 pound of lean ground beef, breaking it into small pieces. Cook meat in the onion until no longer pink.

Drain and return to the skillet.

To the beef mixture, add 1 can cream-style corn and salt to taste. (I used ½ teaspoon salt.) Mix well.

Prepare a 2 ½ quart baking dish with cooking spray and pour in the beef mixture. Arrange the tomato slices over the top.

The recipe calls for a topping of buttered bread crumbs. I used plain, store-bought crumbs and drizzled melted butter on top.

Bake until the crumbs are lightly browned, about 25 minutes.

I enjoyed this meal. The flavor of green pepper stood out, enhancing the whole dish. I like fresh tomatoes so I didn’t know how I’d like the cooked tomatoes on top, but I did. It worked well with the other ingredients. The only thing I didn’t really taste is the corn. Maybe add a second can of corn to the recipe.

This casserole is delicious. If your family doesn’t like to eat plain vegetables, I think it would also work to add another vegetable, such as peas, to the dish.

I’d love to hear if you try it.

-Sandra Merville Hart


Revised by Cunningham, Marion and Laber, Jeri. The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, Alfred A Knopf Inc., 1983.



Battle of Gettysburg-Railroad Station

The railroad station in Gettysburg had been completed in May of 1859. It had a covered platform for passengers to enter and exit the train. As was the custom of the time, women and children had their own waiting room and men had another. A large brass bell in the cupola rang when trains departed.

Soldiers used the train almost daily throughout the war. The 10th New York Cavalry used the second floor of the station while stationed in town during the winter of 1861-62.

Teenager Daniel Skelly remembered that the last train out of Gettysburg until after the Battle of Gettysburg reached Hanover about 5 pm on June 26, 1863. Residents had received advance warning that Confederate Jubal Early’s troops were headed to town. Revenue officers, clerks, and those holding government office jobs left on that last train.

Early’s troops burned freight cars and destroyed the Rock Creek railroad bridge.

The station was one of the first buildings to become a hospital as the battle raged on July 1, 1863. Wounded from the 6th Wisconsin, part of the famous “Iron Brigade,” were among those receiving care at the station.

Gettysburg women like Sarah Montford and her daughter, Mary, nursed those at the railroad station. Patients remained there during the Confederate occupation of the town. They were moved to other hospitals beginning July 4th.

Patients able to climb to the train cupola observed the fighting from there during the battle. Private James Sullivan, 6th Wisconsin, was among the ten to fifteen men on the station roof who watched the Union win after Pickett’s Charge.

Train service was restored on July 10th, but the government controlled the rail for six weeks. Inbound were medical supplies, folks coming to help with wounded, and family members searching for loved ones. Outbound trains held wounded traveling to large city hospitals. By the end of July, almost 15,000 injured soldiers had been transported away by train.

The U.S. Government controlled the station and railroad line almost exclusively for the rest of the summer as the aftermath of the battle continued.

-Sandra Merville Hart


Bennett, Gerald. The Gettysburg Railroad Station, Gettysburg Railroad Station Restoration Project, 2008.


Sheldon, George. When the Smoke Cleared at Gettysburg: The Tragic Aftermath of the Bloodiest Battle of the Civil War, Cumberland House, 2003.



Deadly Guardian by Deborah Sprinkle

Chemistry teacher Madison Long’s plans for the summer break quickly take a bad turn. Long walks with her dog beside the lake leave her looking over her shoulder. She’s being watched though she never spots the guy.

Detective Nate Zuberi helps her out of a sticky situation with an ex-boyfriend only to find the man dead hours later. Is Madison guilty of murder? Despite Nate’s growing feelings for her, he has to consider the possibility.

Danger mounts as someone continues to stalk Madison. Who is after her? And why is Nate in danger?

Readers are given no time to relax as Madison goes from one danger to the next. This intricately-woven suspense is Sprinkle’s debut novel. The author has written a spell-binding romantic suspense. I couldn’t put it down! I had to know what happened next.

I recommend this book for readers of romantic suspense. A page-turner!

-Sandra Merville Hart


Corn Pone Pie Recipe

This cornbread recipe is from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, which was originally published in 1896.

I remember my dad talking about eating corn pone pie so when I found this recipe, I was intrigued.

Chop 1 onion and set aside. Chop 1 garlic clove and set aside. (I used ½ teaspoon of chopped garlic.)

Melt 3 tablespoons bacon fat in a large skillet over medium heat. (Cast iron skillets work well for this.) Saute the onion until soft. Add 1 pound of lean ground beef, breaking it into small pieces. Cook meat in the onion until no longer pink.

Drain and return to the skillet.

To the beef mixture, add 1 can chili beans, the chopped garlic, 1 can (or 2 cups) diced or stewed tomatoes, and 1 tablespoon chili powder. Salt to taste. (I used ½ teaspoon salt.)

Reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

While the beef mixture simmers, prepare a topping of cornbread batter  and set aside.

Select a shallow 2 ½ quart baking dish and prepare it with cooking spray.

After simmering, pour chili mixture into the prepared baking dish. Spoon cornbread batter over the top and bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes.

This was delicious. It was similar to eating a bowl of chili with a serving of cornbread. I was surprised what a “comfort food” dish this turned out to be.

I will plan on making this for a family gathering soon.

I’d love to hear if you try it.

-Sandra Merville Hart


Revised by Cunningham, Marion and Laber, Jeri. The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, Alfred A Knopf Inc., 1983.


Cincinnati Reds’ Palace of the Fans

When fire destroyed League Park’s main grandstand and pavilion in 1900, Red’s owner John T. Brush wanted a new and different ballpark to lure more fans to the games. Architect John G. Thurtle gave it to him.

Inspired by the Chicago’s World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, Thurtle designed the Palace of the Fans. It served as the Reds’ ballpark from 1902-1911.

The Palace’s hand-carved Corinthian columns—22 of them!—had intricate details on the top.

At the center of the covered grandstand was a triangular top containing the word “Cincinnati” and flanked by the American flag on either side. Nineteen opera-style “Fashion Boxes” lined the front, 3 rows deep, where wealthier fans sat. The boxes accommodated about 15 in each box.

Underneath the grandstand were carriage stalls, enabling the wealthy to leave their carriages only a short walk from their seats.

All this was quite fancy for ballparks of that day, unlike any before or after it.

Unfortunately, the detailed attention to the Greco-Roman ballpark didn’t extend to the players. There were no dugouts, no clubhouses, and no dressing rooms. Players sat on benches underneath the Fashion Boxes during the game.

Standing room for fans was also located below the Fashion Boxes. Those in “Rooter’s Row” stood near enough to players to hear and respond to their conversations. Waiters served beer to those in this section.

A weakness of League Park, the former baseball park, was that it faced the afternoon sun, so home plate had been moved to correct this problem.

The new ballpark was built on the same site as the old one that had burned, League Park, a former brickyard. It bordered 4 streets: Western Avenue (northeast), York Street (north), McLean Avenue (west) and Findlay Street (south).

Right-field seats were part of the League Park that had not been destroyed by fire. The stands held about 6,000 fans. Thousands more could stand in the outfield to observe the game.

Thursday, April 17, 1902, was Opening Day for the Season and for the Palace. About 10,000 fans attended the game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Chicago Colts (later known as Chicago Cubs) that Chicago won, 6-1.

The grandstand required major repairs after a few short seasons. Damage from a fire sealed its fate. Palace of the Fans lasted only 10 years.

Interestingly enough, the last game the Reds played at the Palace was against the Chicago Cubs on October 12, 1911.

-Sandra Merville Hart


“Crosley Field,” The Online Book of Baseball, 2019/03/23 http://www.thisgreatgame.com/ballparks-crosley-field.html.

“Palace of the Fans,” Ballparks.com, 2019/03/22 https://ballparks.com/baseball/national/palace.htm.

“Palace of the Fans,” Baseball-reference.com, 2019/03/22 https://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/Palace of the Fans.

“Palace of the Fans,” Digitalballparks.com, 2019/03/22 https://digitalballparks.com/National/Palace7.html.

“Palace of the Fans,” Wikipedia, 2019/03/23 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palace of the Fans.

“Reds Ballparks,” Reds.com, 2019/03/23 http://mlb.mlb.com/cin/history/ballparks.jsp.

Suess, Jeff. “Red’s legendary Palace of the Fans symbol of baseball’s growth,” Cincinnati.com, 2019/3/22 https://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2017/04/05/reds-legendary-palace-fans-symbol-baseballs-growth/100063096/.


Libby’s Cuppa Joe by Rebecca Waters

Sonja Parker’s dreams are about to come true. She’s purchased a vacant coffee shop in a small Wisconsin town. There’s a lot about the coffee business she’ll need to learn before the shop reopens. Libby, the first owner, has passed away and her husband, Joe, lives nearby.

Libby’s Cuppa Joe, which has a great reputation in the community with yearly summer visitors, requires a lot of repairs. Since her new business requires so much of her time, she doesn’t find a church home in the area. God hasn’t had a big place in her life for some time.

She takes a job out of state in a friend’s coffee shop and becomes an experienced barista. She also meets Damon Evans, a ski instructor, and falls in love with him.

With lovable, believable characters—and at least one that readers will love to hate—a sweet coffee shop, and a lovable community, this book is an enjoyable read. I got caught up in the story early on.

There are several twists and turns in the story that I didn’t see coming. Each one added another layer. There are a few threads and they captured my interest.

I will look for other books by this author. Recommend!

-Sandra Merville Hart

Libby’s Cuppa Joe by Rebecca Waters

Cornbread Recipe

This cornbread recipe is from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, which was originally published in 1896.

I was making a corn pone pie recipe and it called for a cornbread batter topping.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare an 8×8 square baking pan with cooking spray.

Mix together ¾ cup yellow cornmeal, 1 cup flour, 1/3 cup sugar, 3 teaspoons baking powder, and ½ teaspoon of salt in a large mixing bowl.

Add 1 cup milk, 1 beaten egg, and 2 tablespoons of melted shortening or bacon fat. Mix well.

Pour batter into the prepared baking pan and bake about 20 minutes.

Since I was using this batter for another recipe, I didn’t bake it. I set it aside until needed. It made a delicious topping for the corn pone pie.

-Sandra Merville Hart


Revised by Cunningham, Marion and Laber, Jeri. The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, Alfred A Knopf Inc., 1983.