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Last October, I started a personal challenge for myself with my Cookbook of the Month series. Here is what I wrote one year ago:

I have realized lately that my stack of cookbooks is way too underused. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not that they don’t get taken off of the counter often to be read, and to have the pictures salivated over, but I don’t make a lot of recipes from them. I think it’s mostly because I end up planning on what I’m going to make for dinner while I am at work, and there is the internet filled with millions of recipes, and my cookbooks are sitting at home lonely. I went to Barnes and Noble on my birthday a few weeks back and bought a few new cookbooks, and it got me thinking. I have about 10 cookbooks on my “I want to buy right now” list, but I can’t justify it because I have not even been utilizing what I already have. So I have come up with a personal challenge – or my own personal “blogging event” if you will. I am allowing myself one cookbook purchase a month, but I have to make at least 3 recipes from that book in the month. At the end of the month, I will write my own personal review of the book. After all, you can’t adequately judge a book by making only one of the recipes and basing the whole book on that recipe. Now, I am not a cookbook critic by any means, but this will just be a personal opinion on the book. And to be honest, most of the books I want have already been raved about on other food blogs, so most likely, the cookbooks will get good reviews!

And I am proud to say that this series has been a personal success for me. 12 books completed, with at least 3 recipes – usually more – made from each of my featured cookbooks. I can’t say that I’ve stuck to the rule of only buying one cookbook a month (oops!) but between the Cookbook of the Month and my Cookbook Project, I have made it through quite a few cookbooks. And these days, I don’t feel so bad splurging on a few cookbooks, because I know they will now get used. I’ve also kind of given up on reviewing the cookbook – I’m just not a good reviewer! – but I hope the recipes speak for how I feel about each book.

I like to feature cookbooks not only so that I will get some use out of my books, but also to let everyone else out there know if I’m having success with the recipes in a particular book. I do share the recipes here to the ones I’ve tried, but I always encourage you to purchase the book if it sounds like one that you would really enjoy. I know there has been a lot of controversy out there about the printing of recipes, but I am one that truly believes that blogging about recipes and cookbooks actually make the sales of these cookbooks more successful. I know that if I see a cookbook that is getting lots of love in the food-blogging world, I will most likely buy it. In fact, just about every cookbook I’ve purchased since I started blogging comes from hearing about it from another blog.

But I’ve decided to change things up a little bit this month. This month’s cookbook is not one that you can go down to your local Borders and pick up. But these recipes each have their own charm, and I really wanted to share!!

There have been 3 family cookbooks printed on my mom’s side of the family. I love these cookbooks. Whenever I ask my mom for a recipe, she usually answers “it’s in the family cookbook!” I have gone to these cookbooks for inspiration, and also for family favorites. I decided to choose the oldest of these cookbooks for this month’s Cookbook of the Month.

This book was printed in 1983, and distributed at the 4th annual Goodman Family Reunion. I was only 5 years old at the time this cookbook was passed out, so needless to say, I didn’t get my own copy. A few years ago, as a Christmas gift, my mom reprinted this cookbook for each of us kids, and I have been grateful ever since.

The charm in these recipes comes from the way they were written. Instead of exact directions or ingredients, you get things like “1 can tomatoes” or “1 bag of butterscotch chips.” If this was from a regular cookbook, I would get frustrated and ask well, what size of can? What kind of tomatoes? But I love that these recipes are most likely ones that my mom and her parents and siblings have been making for years, so they just “know” how to make them. These kinds of recipes make me want to be the kind of cook that can just feel the recipes and know what they need.

As I make these recipes, I will probably adapt the instructions and ingredients as I make them so that I have exact amounts that I used to make it a bit easier, though. I’m looking forward to exploring some older family favorites!

Chow Mein Cookies
adapted from Goodman’s Galloping Gourmet

1/2 cup peanut butter
1 10 oz. bag butterscotch chips
2 cups marshmallows
3 cups chow mein noodles

Melt the peanut butter and butterscotch chips together either using a double boiler or microwaving on half power until melted together. Stir in marshmallows and noodles. Drop by spoonful onto waxed paper, and let sit until hardened.

12 months of Cookbook of the Month! See what I’ve made:

October 07 – The Bread Baker’s Apprentice
November 07 – Jamie’s Italy
December 07 – Candymaking
January 08 – The New Best Recipe
February 08 – The Gourmet Slow Cooker Volume II
March 08 – The Cookie Book
April 08 – The Pastry Queen
May 08 – Barefoot Contessa Parties!
June 08 – Vegetables
July 08 – Southern Living Annual Recipes 2007
August 08 – Modern Classics Book 1
September 08 – Quick Fix Meals

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38 Responses to Cookbook of the Month Recipe – Chow Mein Cookies

  1. The Mediocre Cook says:

    These sound really awesome and extremely easy. Plus I had never though to use Chow Mein noodles that way. For all your inspirational posts I have an award for you on my blog!

  2. Meeta says:

    congrats on completing the challenge deborah!
    when i read the title i of the post in my reader i was a bit skeptical. but this does sound great!

  3. RecipeGirl says:

    This cookbook is probably your most treasured of all! Family cookbooks are wonderful.

    I’ve seriously been enjoying all of your cookbook reviews. And I agree that one cookbook purchase/month is tough to stick to!!

  4. Smileygem says:

    This sounds like an odd combination – but I assume it works for you to have posted it.

  5. Maria says:

    I have had cookies like these before and they were delightful! Nice work on your challenge!!

  6. JennDZ - The Leftover Queen says:

    This is so cool! My mom and I have been talking about doing a cookbook of family recipes for years! Time to get cracking I say!

    I love these cookies – so cute!

  7. kat says:

    Good for you making it through all 12 months. I have a cookbook of my Grandmother & Grandfather's recipes. Then when we got married a friend compiled recipes from family members on both side for us. I recently made one for my sister for her birthday…family cookbooks are the best

  8. Prudy says:

    So true about those charming cookbooks, especially the RS ones from church. One small hershey bar for example.
    On another note, we’ve made these before with chocolate and they are crunchy-yum!

  9. Gretchen Noelle says:

    What an accomplishment to have gone thru a cookbook a month for a year! Great job!

  10. Ryley says:

    I am that way with ward cookbooks or neighborhood cookbooks too! My grandma is an amazing cook and her neighborhood in california did a cookbook. It’s my favorite one since so many of the recipes are her’s! Same goes with my mother-in-law and her ward cookbook! I was so glad she bought me a copy since she had submitted so many recipes and now I have everything my husband loves to eat in one little book! Plus it’s “real” food. Not fancy food! Love it…
    You should get around to making a family website where all of the recipes are listed and you can all add others as you remember them! That would be cool… Right??

  11. Paula says:

    I am a cookbook addict. There. I said it publicly (well, sort of publicly). I LOVED this post. How wonderful that your mom printed a copy of that cookbook for you! I like how you challenged yourself, too, to utilize the cookbooks you have. And, I got goosebumps when I saw your recipe because, I kid you not, I was just thinking about these cookies this morning and was thinking I’d have to search for the recipe! I love it when things like this work out for me! 🙂

  12. Mrs. L says:

    As someone who started her own blog a couple of years ago so that I would start using the myriad of cookbooks I own, I so understand! And somewhere in my pile of boxes that holds most of my cookbook collection, I too have some family recipes I’m waiting to find to try. You inspire me to keep on going! (though my resolve to not by new cookbooks until I had cooked from at least four a month from my collection went by the wayside, but I’ve come to terms with that 🙂

  13. Jenny says:

    Cute cookies and what a fun challenge! Great post!

  14. kimberleyblue says:

    i like the sound of these cookies – sweet and crunchy!

    i also love this year-long challenge you set for yourself. it’s something i should consider doing myself!

  15. Laurie says:

    I just found your blog, thanks to the mediocre cook. What a great project! And how special to have your family cookbook. My mother made a cookbook for me and my brothers a few years ago and I adore it. I started my blog to force me to write down recipes for a family cookbook for my kids.

    I’ll be back!

  16. Peabody says:

    You have done a great job of going through cookbooks…it was definitely a success for you.

  17. hot garlic says:

    Good for you for keeping up with it! That is great that you so treasure your family cookbook. I think these cookies are the kind of thing that I would be skeptical of from the recipe, but if I were at a party I’d be downing them wondering what the secret ingredient was!

  18. miriama says:

    Garlic because I can make garlic bread, add it to salads, pastas, all my meats.

  19. April says:

    oohh, I love these!! Congrats on completing your challenge!!

  20. Birdie says:

    What a great way to use up those chow mein noodles. These sound really easy and delicious.

    Only one cookbook a month? How are you ever going to stick to that, I know I couldn’t

  21. Half Baked says:

    Thanks for the recipe Deborah. Mom used to make these when I was a child but I’d completely forgotten about these little cookies. I loved them as a kid.

  22. Big Boys Oven says:

    One look, I just adore them, so creative way of using chow mein!

  23. Patsyk says:

    Those look yummy!

    I have enjoyed reading each of your reviews and comments on the cookbooks. I need to work on using each one of my cookbooks more often!

  24. noble pig says:

    I have always loved this style cookie, so crunchy and perfect for dessert.

  25. Katie says:

    What unique cookies. I have never heard of putting noodles in cookies before, but I love their appearance.

  26. Michelle says:

    can you believe that I’ve actually made these before? yes, that’s right….I’ve made one of your cute little recipes before. My grandma has made these every Christmas since I can remember…so last Christmas when I made people treats, I sent these out. I love them. So yummy, and easy! (that’s the way I like it)

  27. Michelle says:

    oh yeah, we call them “haystacks”

  28. Joe Horn says:

    That is so cool. I think I have one recipe from my grandmother handwritten and the rest have disappeared with her. Very, Very Cool

  29. veron says:

    fantastic! Love chow mein, so I bet I would love these!

  30. Cynthia says:

    That’s so innovative using chow mein noodles to make cookies. Must be crunchy and nice.

  31. FreyaE says:

    Wow, what an unusual use of chow mein noodles! We can only get soft ones here but I imagine if you fry them off, you’d get the same effect?

  32. Grace says:

    this is the only way i’ve ever eaten chow mein noodles, and frankly, i think it’s my favorite home-made candy of all time. i rarely make them because i can never pace myself and end up gorging. 🙂

  33. eatme_delicious says:

    Wow how awesome to have family cookbooks like that. =) I bet these cookies are delicious.

  34. ~~louise~~ says:

    I just popped in via Coco Cooks in search of recipes to celebrate Apple Month in October. I am so delighted that I did. What a wonderful idea especially since October is also Cookbook Month! I may just have to devote a day to do the same or something similar. Thank you so much for sharing and for the inspiration!

  35. Mochachocolata Rita says:

    wow! super creative! i loveee it!

    just brilliant! i am veryyyy partial to anything golden brown ^_^

  36. Sophie says:

    This cookies are really fun, I made something similar to these for a project once, but never knew where the recipe came from :). I have so many vintage cookbooks but I’m almost afraid to try out the recipes…what if food from back then tasted funnier :D.

  37. william says:

    I’ve made Chow Mein, once before, and the additional veggies and chicken made this dish very good, and very kid friendly. I try to sneak as much veggies as I can into my kids…sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t. Tonight they weren’t much into the veggies, but -s and I really enjoyed the dish!
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  38. Mo Mo says:

    These look really good.

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