Posted by: marthabernie | July 7, 2015

Laurel Lee (Blake) McMenus – Age 6 months

scan0106aThis is my cousin, Blake McMenus, when he was six months old.  The photo states that he weighed 22 pounds.  His smile never changed throughout his life, and of course, he got the McMenus ears as well.  I didn’t meet Blake until 1997 when we discovered we had an interest in the family genealogy in common, but it was like we had known each other all our lives.  Blake was my second cousin on the McMenus side of the family (his grandfather and my grandmother were siblings).  We were also third cousins on the Massie side of the family (his great grandmother and my great grandmother were sisters).  Blake was born December 30, 1926 in Phillipsburg, MO, the son of Leo and Faydra Caffey McMenus.  His name was officially Laurel Lee McMenus, but one of his cousins started calling him Blake at an early age and it stuck.  More on Blake when I come across some other photos.

My mother never cooked with zucchini when I was growing up.  I am not sure why, but it was not something that they grew on the farm when she was a girl so it was not featured in her repertoire of recipes.  I discovered zucchini in my 20’s and have loved it ever since.  Here is a recipe from Food Network’s Chef Michael Symon which incorporates zucchini along with salmon.  It’s a great summer salad and can be grilled outdoors or indoors in your grill pan.  It is also low in fat and gluten free!


4 – 6 oz salmon fillets

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided

1 lemon

3 cups thinly sliced zucchini (about two small)

1/3 cup chopped fresh dill

1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Preheat grill or grill pan to high heat.  Drizzle fillets with one tablespoon oil.  Sprinkler fillets evenly with 3/8 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper (I also sprinkle lightly with white pepper at this point).  Arrange fillets on grill rack or grill pan; grill 5 minutes or until desired degree of doneness, turning once.

Grate lemon rind to equal 1-1/2 teaspoons; squeeze juice to equal 2 tablespoons.  Combine rind, juice, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, remaining salt, pepper, zucchini, and dill in a bowl; toss gently to coat.  Place one fillet on each of 4 plates.  Top each serving with about 2/3 cup salad; sprinkle each serving with one tablespoon almonds.



Posted by: marthabernie | July 7, 2015


Broccoli is not my favorite thing, and I prefer it raw to cooked.  However, I sometimes buy the shredded broccoli mix to add to cabbage for coleslaw.  Here is a recipe which uses sliced broccoli in slaw.


2/3 cup buttermilk

1/3 cup mayonnaise

3 tablespoons lemon juice

kosher salt, ground pepper

1 small bunch broccoli (about 12 oz.)

1/2 medium Napa cabbage, thinly sliced (about 6 cups)

2 scallions, thinly sliced

8 oz. sugar snap peas, thinly sliced

4 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, divided

Combine buttermilk, mayonnaise and lemon juice in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper, whisk to combine; set aside.

Using a vegetable peeler, peel broccoli stalks if skin is thick; halve broccoli lengthwise and then thinly slice crosswise, starting at crown.  Toss broccoli, cabbage, scallions, snap peas, 2 tablespoons chives and buttermilk dressing in a large bowl, season with salt and pepper.  Serve slaw topped with remaining chives.  Can be made ahead, cover and chill in refrigerator.

Posted by: marthabernie | July 6, 2015

Newtown Cove, Tramore, County Waterford, Ireland

scan0109This view of Newtown Cove, County Waterford, Ireland, looks southeast toward the other side of the bay.  It was taken in the 1930’s or 1940’s.

Posted by: marthabernie | July 6, 2015

McMenus and Bilderback Families – September 5, 1920

007bThis is a snapshot taken on September 5, 1920 in Phillipsburg, Missouri.  On the left is my great uncle, Eli Preston “Press: McMenus along with his two sons (in front), Warren and Billy.  Also in the back row are Press’ wife’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Bilderback.  I believe this may be the last photo taken of Great Uncle Press as he died on September 30, just 25 days later due to lung disease.  They took him to the hospital in Kansas City by train and when doctors operated, they found a watermelon seed in his lung that had sprouted.  However, without light, I doubt it had done more than sprout, and since he was a smoker all his life, I suspect the “abscess” they found was actually cancer.  His wife, Sadie Bilderback McMenus, wrote on the back of this photo, “This is the latest photo of Press that he had made.  It was September 5, 1920.  I made it late in the eve.  We had bin out for a drive, EP and the Boys and my Father and Mother.  It is good of EP.”

Posted by: marthabernie | July 6, 2015


I’ve had a lot of discussion recently with a friend about the potato salads that our mothers used to make.  It’s interesting how each recipe has a slightly different twist, though the basic ingredients are the same.  This recipe uses bread and butter pickles, and I am going to give it a try when I have friends over in a couple of weeks.  Cornichons are small pickled gherkin cucumbers.  Since gherkins are often pickled with dill, I think dill pickle can be substituted if gherkins cannot be found.


1/2 cup bread and butter pickle brine, plus 3/4 cup chopped pickles

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons olive oil

coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

2 pounds baby Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed

3/4 cup sliced cornichons

2 cups sugar snap peas (about 8 oz), trimmed and cut into one inch pieces

1/2 cup packed fresh flat leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup packed fresh dill fronds, coarsely chopped

Whisk together 1/2 cup brine, mustard and oil.  Add more brine to taste, if desire, and season with salt and pepper.  Dressing can be made up to a week ahead and stored in refrigerator; bring to room temperature before dressing potatoes.

Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with 2 inches of cold water.  Add 2 tablespoons salt and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender when easily pierced with a knife, about 18 minutes.  Drain.  Return potatoes to pot and let cool about 25 minutes.  You can peel potatoes or simply cut them in two.  Add last four ingredients to potatoes and mix gently.  Finally, add dressing and stir so that all potatoes are coated.  Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Posted by: marthabernie | July 5, 2015

ROOM WITH A VIEW – Philadelphia

philadelphia 1My grandson and I went to Philadelphia and other places a couple of years ago.  We flew to Philadelphia and stayed at the Omni Hotel, which is in the Old Town part of the city, right across the street from Independence Park and just steps away from the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.  Conor’s phone is an old one and does not take very good photos, so he was constantly using my new phone to take photos and send Instagram messages to his friends, chronicling our travels.  He took this photo out the window of the Omni Hotel one afternoon.  The building at the lower right is the old bank building that was the Second Bank of the United States (the first bank being a few blocks away).  This bank was chartered from 1817 to 1836 and was structured similarly to the first bank, which was designed by Alexander Hamilton.   Conor had studied about Andrew Jackson closing down the banks during his presidency, a period known as The Bank Wars, and this bank was one of them.  The building is now part of the Independence National Park and houses an art collection.  It is open to the public daily, free of charge.

Conor took the photo below as we were getting ready to board the airplane for Philadelphia at LAX.  You can see the LAX air traffic control tower in the background.  The U.S. Airways flight was direct but it was not a lot of fun.  Not only was their W-Fi service not working on the plane, they informed us that they have no inflight entertainment on domestic flights and haven’t had any for nearly ten years.  No audio, no music, no movies, no screens.  It was a very long 5-1/2 hour flight!  Won’t fly U.S. Airways again if I can avoid it!


Posted by: marthabernie | July 5, 2015

A View of Newtown Cove, Tramore, County Waterford, Ireland

scan0108A view of Newtown Cove, Tramore, County Waterford, Ireland.

Posted by: marthabernie | July 5, 2015

Joseph Wesley McMenus Jr’s Missouri Sauerkraut

My mother’s first cousin,  Millie McMenus Ikerd,  sent me this recipe that her brother, Joseph Wesley McMenus Jr., often made after he came home from World War II.  He lost an eye and one arm was badly damaged in the fighting, but he loved to cook and made what Millie termed “the best home canned kraut”.  The family called him Junior (and Joseph Sr., his father, was always known as Jode).


Chop enough crisp cabbage to fill quart jars.  Pack in jars until packed firm, press in with thumbs until about 2 inches from the top.  Add one teaspoon salt and one teaspoon sugar to each jar.  Fill jars with hot water.  Put on the lids and seal.  Sit jars in a cool place for 3 or 4 weeks.  There may be some leakage around the seals as it sours.  That’s OK.

Posted by: marthabernie | July 5, 2015


scan0090bHere is a photo taken in 1955 of my grandmother and her five sisters and one of her three brothers.  By this time, brothers Homer and Lawrence had passed away.  My grandmother was visiting Missouri during the summer of the Webster County Centenary celebration, which my family also attended.  From left to right in age order, they are Ida Ferrier Day, Victoria Ferrier Newman, John Ferrier, Pearl Ferrier Marlin, Dulcie Ferrier Marlin,  Nannie Lea Ferrier Marlin and May Ferrier Mikkelson.  Below is a photo taken that same summer of May, Victoria and my grandmother, Dulcie.


Posted by: marthabernie | July 4, 2015

County Laois, Ireland – 1998

scan0088bA view of the countryside in County Laois, Ireland – 1998.

Posted by: marthabernie | July 4, 2015

ELFRETH’s ALLEY – Old Town Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

scan0093Two years ago, my grandson and I went to Philadelphia, Cooperstown NY, Hershey PA. Lancaster County PA, Gettysburg and Pittsburgh.   I took this photo with my phone, and it took some doing as there were cars and people all over the place, even though it was only about 8 in the morning.  I had to run down to the end of the alley and asked people to not walk down for a minute or two, which they really did not mind.  One lady stayed there and kept others, including a group of Japanese tourists, from starting down the alley.  This wasn’t exactly the shot I wanted, but it’s the best of those I did get.

Anyway,  Elfreth’s Alley is off 2nd Street in the oldest part of Philadelphia, not far from where we stayed for a few nights.  The street is supposed to be the oldest street in the U.S. that still has its original houses, owned by descendants of original residents.  Some of these houses are as old as 1690.  Most of the houses were purchased by Jeremiah Elfreth and his family in the early 1700’s and I guess the Elfreth family still lives in many of them.    Note the Union Jack flying across from the Stars and Stripes.

Posted by: marthabernie | July 4, 2015

My Father – Early 1914

scan0096This is an early photo of my father, Ray J. Marlin, when he was about a year and a half old.  As near as I can estimate, it was taken during the winter of 1913-1914, and the family had moved to Aledo, Illinois.  It looks like some sort of shed that he is standing in, and the wooden building appears to be built on a foundation of rock and stone.  Below is a close up.


I love coleslaw but don’t like a lot of stuff added to it; however, this recipe with the apples sounds delicious!

Apple & Red Cabbage Coleslaw – i bit You’ll fall in love with it!.

Posted by: marthabernie | July 3, 2015

Charentais Melon Salad

Another idea for a 4th of July picnic or BBQ:

Charentais Melon Salad.

Posted by: marthabernie | July 3, 2015

Irish Countryside, County Laois – 1998

scan0088aI think this photo is self-explanatory.

Posted by: marthabernie | July 3, 2015


scan0096bThis is a photo of my mother’s first cousin, Reba McMenus taken sometime around 1904-05, I think.  Her father, John Francis McMenus, was my grandmother’s older brother.  Her mother was Margaret Moore McMenus, and they lived in Phillipsburg, Laclede County, Missouri all their lives.  Uncle Johnny was stationmaster for the Frisco Line Railway that stopped in Phillipsburg for many years.  Reba married Clarence Harrill, the local barber, and had four children.  Through posting on this blog, I have been able to make contact with some of Reba’s grandchildren.

Posted by: marthabernie | July 3, 2015

Snickers Brownies

Just in time for a 4th of July picnic:

Snickers Brownies.

Posted by: marthabernie | July 2, 2015

Munch into Crunchy Herbed Biscotti…

A savory alternative:

Munch into Crunchy Herbed Biscotti….

Posted by: marthabernie | July 2, 2015

BULLOCH HARBOUR – Dalkey, County Dublin, Ireland – 1998

scan0100I’ve posted other photos of Bulloch Harbour, but this is one of my favorites.  The tide was out.

Posted by: marthabernie | July 2, 2015

MARLIN HOME – Webster County Missouri Circa 1908

scan0096aI got this photo from a Marlin cousin, Ron Marlin, who got it from the collection of Axie Florence Tiller Marlin.  I am not sure where this branch of the family split from my branch of the Marlin family, but they all lived relatively close together between Marshfield and Conway and Forkner’s Hill.  The photo is dated about 1908 and shows, left to right, Frank Marlin holding the dog, Elbert Marlin (another Elbert, not my grandfather), Luther Marlin, Gus Marlin (who married my grandmother’s sister, Pearl Ferrier), Isobelle Peck Marlin, Effie Marlin and “Bud” Marlin.  Isn’t it a great old photo?

Posted by: marthabernie | July 2, 2015

Guest Post: Christy – Baked Chicken Caprese

I have never made Chicken Caprese, but this recipe has motivated me to give it a try!

Guest Post: Christy – Baked Chicken Caprese.

Posted by: marthabernie | July 2, 2015


Here is a festive recipe for a 4th of July picnic in the park!


Cooking spray

1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter

2-1/4 cups packed light brown sugar

2 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

pinch of salt

3/4 cup pecans, chopped

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup toffee pieces

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees F.  Spray an 8 inch square baking dish with cooking spray and line the bottom and side with parchment paper.  Spray the parchment with cooking spray.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat; add the brown sugar and stir until melted.  Let cool 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.  Toast the pecans in a medium skillet over medium heat, 6 to 8 minutes; remove to  plate.  Stir the eggs, one at  a time into the cooled butter-sugar mixture, then stir in the vanilla.  Add the flour mixture and stir until combined.  Fold in the toffee and toasted pecans, the batter will be very thick.  Spread the batter in the prepared baking dish.  Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out lean, about 45 minutes.  Let cool 15 minutes, lift out of the pan and cut into pieces.


Posted by: marthabernie | July 1, 2015

Chicken and Potatoes in one Pan

A great one pot meal!

Chicken and Potatoes in one Pan.

Posted by: marthabernie | July 1, 2015

NEAR GRAFTON STREET – Dublin, Ireland – 1998

008This is one of the streets that is off Grafton Street in downtown Dublin.  As you can see, the pavement is wet…it had just rained a few minutes earlier.

Posted by: marthabernie | July 1, 2015

REBA McMENUS & FRIEND – Phillipsburg, Missouri

007bOn the left is my mother’s first cousin, Reba McMenus, the daughter of John Francis and Margaret Moore McMenus.  John Francis McMenus was the brother of my grandmother, Inez McMenus.  This photo was taken about 1918 in Phillipsburg, Missouri.

scan0033In 1992 we took a trip to Canada and spent several days on Vancouver Island in Parksville.  We stayed in a lodge type hotel called Tigh Na Mara (Irish for House by the Sea) which had self-catering rooms facing The Straight of Georgia.  Here is a photo I took one morning when the tide was out.  The water was very shallow even when the tide was in.  You could walk for at least a hundred yards or more without going in any deeper than your waist.  One day we went out and found a few clams in the sand.

scan0101This is a very early image of Killiney Hill, County Dublin, Ireland, looking northeast toward Dalkey, Sorrento Terrace and Dalkey Island.  Click on the image from an enlarged view.  You can see Dalkey Island on the upper right, and the vague outline of the terrace houses at Sorrento Terrace immediately to the left of the island.

Posted by: marthabernie | June 30, 2015

A Visitor to Room 1102 – Monterey, California

scan0042aThis photo was taken in the early 1990’s at the Monterey Plaza Hotel in Monterey, California.  The first time we booked into a room in the wing that extends out over Monterey Bay on pylons, we quickly figured out that we had a great view of all the local critters.  The sea otters swam by morning and evening, seals and sea lions swam by all the time, and we could attract as many seagulls as we wanted with something as small as a piece of cracker.  The one was very bold. landing on the balcony and waiting for something to eat.  Look at his webbed feet!


Posted by: marthabernie | June 30, 2015

My Father in July, 1933

007aThis photo was taken in the summer of 1933 in and around Conway, Missouri.  My father, Ray J. Marlin, was turning 21 years of age in November and the following February he married my mother, Anna Shank Marlin.  He appears to be standing in front of some sort of little garden and he is holding a small dog.  Note the hat and the striped pants!

Posted by: marthabernie | June 30, 2015

Dr. Price’s RHUBARB PIE – 1887

Here is an old 1887 recipe for Rhubarb Pie.  No real measurements, but it’s a typical old fashioned recipe which is just fruit, sugar and lemon juice.  Rhubarb takes a while to cook, so that’s the reason for the slow oven.


Strip off the skin and cut into thin slices the tender stalks of the rhubarb plant.  Line pie plates with pie crust, put in the rhubarb with plenty of sugar; to each pie a teaspoon of extract of lemon; cover with a good crust well joined at the edges, and pricked holes in the top crust to prevent breaking at the sides; bake about an hour in a slow oven; quick baking is apt to spoil them.

Posted by: marthabernie | June 29, 2015

Peanut Butter Balls – NO BAKE

I have added this recipe to my Christmas file:

Peanut Butter Balls.

Posted by: marthabernie | June 29, 2015

One last view of the GIant’s Causeway – 1900

004One last stereoscope photo of the Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland.

Posted by: marthabernie | June 29, 2015

Warren McMenus – Phillipsburg, Missouri

005This is my mother’s first cousin, Warren McMenus, sometime around 1908-09, I would guess.  He was the first son of Eli Preston McMenus and wife Sade Bilderback McMenus.  His father, E.P. McMenus was an older brother of my grandmother, Inez McMenus Shank.   My second cousin Blake McMenus was younger than Warren by about twenty years, but they both grew up in Phillipsburg, Missouri in Laclede County, and Blake always said that whether the photo was of Warren as a baby or as an older man, you always knew it was Warren.  He had one of those faces that stayed the same throughout his life.

Posted by: marthabernie | June 29, 2015

Blackberry Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Icing

A good use for blackberries this summer:

Blackberry Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Icing.

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