'What's Cooking with Ruthie' carries on grandmother's legacy

Ruth Armstrong gives her grandmother, Louise Connolly, a hug while they are working together in the kitchen. Connolly had her own 1960s cooking show on KBOI called "What's Cooking with Louise." Armstrong follows in the family tradition and has "What's Cooking with Ruthie" as a blog and on Facebook. Courtesy Photo

PLEASANT GROVE -- Ruth Armstrong believes her love of cooking came from the time she spent with her grandmother in the kitchen.

Her grandmother is Louise Connolly, who had a 1960s television cooking show on KBOI in Boise, Idaho. The name of the show was "What's Cooking with Louise."

Connolly died in 1994, but Armstrong has followed in her grandmother's footsteps, creating a successful blog and Facebook page called "'What's Cooking' with Ruthie."

Since starting the blog, Armstrong has shared more than 66 recipes. The recipes have pictures of each step taken, which she feels is helpful to those in particular who are just beginning to cook.

Along with her blog, Armstrong was contacted by Macey's Food Store in Pleasant Grove to start teaching a cooking class; her first class is on Jan. 6. The first thing she remembers cooking with Connolly was Christmas candy. Recipes included caramels, English toffee, fudge and peanut brittle. To this day, candy making is still Armstrong's favorite task in the kitchen.

"When she was cooking, she would say one should add a dollop of this and a dollop of that. I've been able to figure out a dollop is about one and a half tablespoons," Armstrong said.

She would go to her grandmother's home for a quick lunch when she was in high school. Both watching and participating, she loved her time cooking with Connolly, who retired to the Salt Lake Valley.

After having several friends and family encourage Armstrong to formally share her recipes, she obtained some books on how to create a blog. She started the blog in August and said the experience has been a lot of fun. She is working with a friend to index the recipes, as well as making it more user friendly in printing them. Armstrong also said her family, including aunts and uncles, have enjoyed the memories many of her grandmother's recipes bring back.

"Grandma would be proud," one of her aunts said after seeing Armstrong's blog.

It brings memories and moments to Armstrong too. Her 12-year-old son Jake regularly comes into the kitchen to cook with her, much like she did with Connolly.

Armstrong said that her mother, Mariann Andrus, was an excellent cook who gave her an additional base to her cooking talents.

"When you cook for a family, proper nutrition is very important," Armstrong said.

As her children have grown and gotten into varied activities, their time as a family is at a premium. She and her husband, Drew Armstrong, makes sure the family spends several nights a week together to keep in touch. She believes the glue to these meals is the familiar as well as the new recipes she makes for her family.

Recently Armstrong put several leftover sirloin steaks, along with water and other ingredients, in a slow cooker. She then served it to her family and asked everyone what she should name the dish, as it turned out so well. The kids came up with several funny names, but Jake simply said, "This is the best dinner, ever." The dish is now named "The Best Dinner Ever."

Armstrong's blog is whatscookingwithruthie.blogspot.com.

'What Cooking with Ruthie'

Turkey Cranberry Wreath

2 packages (8oz each) refrigerated crescent rolls

1/2 cup low fat mayonnaise

2 Tbsp. honey Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper

2 cups chopped cooked turkey (I use a chopper)

1/2 cup sliced celery

3 Tbsp. snipped parsley

1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries

1/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped (can omit)

1 egg white

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Unroll crescent dough, with wide edge to the center of the pan, take 8 pieces and form a circle, corners overlapping about 1 inch. Remaining 8, match the wide edge on the inside, slightly over lapping. Seal center seem using small rolling pin or fingers.

Mix mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, pepper, chopped turkey, celery, parsley, cranberries. Scoop mixture into the center of the dough making a circle. Sprinkle chopped walnuts on the mixture. Beginning in the center, lift one dough triangle across filling mixture. Then bring the outer triangle to overlap, tuck under. Continue around the wreath. Brush egg white over the dough. Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Serves 10.

See what people are talking about at The Community Table!