The Only Handwritten Pen-and Ink Format Cookbook by a WWII Veteran

24/7 Press Release:   This book is not about dieting and depriving yourself of a scrumptious, tasty meal; it’s about enjoying natural healthy and easy-to-make homemade, delicious recipes with accessible ingredients and including detailed step-by-step instructions.

Whether you are a professional cook or you are clueless in the kitchen, The Ranch House Baking Mix Cookbook can be your greatest resource. This unique cookbook is presented to the reader in Bertha Reese’s own handwritten, pen-and-ink format with recipes dating from the 1920’s. In her own precise penmanship, Bertha Reese guides your preparation of meals from breakfast to dinner, including many between meal snacks. There is something for everyone with simple instructions clearly delineated and easy to follow even for the novice.

This collection is the answer to the busy homemaker and career woman who never seems “to have enough time,” for homemade meals and goodies. 

With simple easy to follow recipes with step by step instructions, you can make fluffy ranch-style biscuits, tender muffins, waffles, light thin crepes, a variety of cakes and short breads with that wonderful homemade taste, just like the ones country cooks serves to hungry ranch crews, families and friends!

Bertha also included an introductory section for each chapter where she explains the many variations, tools and measurements required for each recipe. She also provides “tricks” for packing, refrigerating, freezing time, heating and reheating to maintain that fresh taste. She makes suggestions for salvaging recipes that go astray and methods for enhancing the presentation of your hard work. Helpful hints such as how to prevent “crumbling” the cake or loaf of bread when cutting it, are included.

Bertha was an amazing woman with an endless wealth of practical solutions!

Bertha D. Reese. “Bea” (May 12, 1920 – Dec 16, 2010) was a graduate of Pacific School for Dental X-Ray Technicians and Assistants in San Francisco, Calif. Bea was a veteran of World War II. She served in the U.S. Navy W.A.V.E.S., Medical/Dental Corps, Sand-point Naval Air Station in Seattle, Wash. She and the dental assistant staff members at the Dispensary Dental Clinic were among the first contingent of W.A.V.E. volunteers to complete basic training at Hunter College in New York City. In commemoration of the occasion, then-first lady Eleanor Roosevelt honored the graduating class with a speech thanking the first contingent of volunteers. An honor that remains in Bea’s legacy.

She first got the passion for cooking as a child from her mom Amelia Toroni. When she left the country for city life as a young adult, to pursue a career in San Francisco, a copy of the family cookbook containing all her favorite recipes was tucked into her luggage before she left. Through the years, the well-used recipe book remained a faithful companion to her.

Bertha never had the opportunity to publish her book. On the last day of her life, at the Good Samaritan nursing home in Arizona, she spoke about the book which she wrote with such an incredible amount of detail in numerous folders, chapter by chapter, from A to Z and all in her clear and well formed handwriting.

The book is printed in two volumes. It is available at

It’s also available now at Barnes and Noble

The Ranch House Baking Mix Cook Book. What a great treasure to have at any home!

The Story Behind the Book. The Ranch House Baking Mix Cookbook

With over 380 recipes. Easy and simple. Perfect for the busy mom.

Save the Date. 3 Participants will get volume 1 and 2 FREE. (***)


“It is a food and beverage radio talk show” 

Station: KSCO 1080 AM.  

When: April 15, 2018

Time: 10:30 AM Pacific Time

Learn the story behind the book.

(***) First 3 callers will get Volume 1 and 2 FREE. Offer valid only in the USA.

“Chris” Rocky Road Fudge Cake

It was the favorite recipe of Bertha’s son. She used to prepared it once a year for Thanksgiving or Christmas Day.  Bertha named it “Chris’ Rocky Road Fudge Cake Recipe” and it is on pages 195-196 of the book.

One thing I have learned when it comes to cooking is that 2 people can have the exact ingredients and recipe but the results can be very different.

Enjoy this recipe. Bon appetite!

Rocky Road Fudge Cake Recipe. Click to download 

Easy and Healthy

For me cooking must be easy, fast and healthy.  I’ve learned to have a complete meal done each day in about 30 minutes max. I made my own version of recipes.

Today, I make Tabbouleh with quinoa instead of couscous. I added large pieces of chopped parsley and tomatoes.   Finely chopped onion, garlic clove, and a bit of jalapeno. Then, I added  olive oil, lemon juice, and salt.  This is a dish we can  accompany with a protein like chicken or fish and of course hummus. Measurements? Only for the quinoa. 1 part of quinoa / 2 parts of water. I add  a pinch of chicken bullion and olive. Bring it to boil, add quinoa, keep it uncovered until almost dry. Stir it up and cover. Lower heat to 2 for about 5 minutes. Turn it off and remove from the heat. Easy, Perfect and Crunchy.




The Common Sense Diet

Before 2005 or so, Hispanics were a slim people. In fact, there was a big guy in town and everybody knew him. The car was customized and it made him a very popular guy.  It reminds me the days when I was growing up and we never heard of a crime. The day there was a crime, it was big news and everybody bought the newspaper that day!  Well, no more… Now days we have gotten used to be also an overweight population.  But, what has happened? What’s different now?

Spanish Eating Table
Eating Healthy

For starters, we ate natural. Our meals were fruits, vegetables, chicken and lots of fish. Back then, fish used to be the cheap meat, the one the poor ate.  That’s not the case anymore. It was very common to see some source of fruit and vegetable trees in the back yard with some chickens around.

In the past, a regular diet used to be something like this:


Children would have a cup of coffee (3/4 milk x 1/4 coffee)

Fresh squeezed orange juice

1 boiled egg

1 toast

1 slice of white cheese

Sausage (once a week or so)

Some left over meat from the day before


(A choice of)


Green plantain with cheese (patacón) at  the time this was also made at breakfast, instead of bread

Bocadillo (a sweet guava snack)

Empanada (could also be a breakfast or dinner on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday night)


Mango with salt


Nuts in their shell (pealing them was the fun part)

Cookies, chocolate, sweet stuff.

Some source of fruits like “corozo” and “mamón” typical from the area.


Soup and rice… always both

“A respectable soup always has cilantro” we used to say.

All kind of soups, from vegetable to creams, but always natural creams.

Beans on top of the rice or the rice made with bean. All kind of beans.

A meat (chicken, fish of beef)

Yellow plantain

Fruit juice


Same as lunch but usually without soup.

The whole diet, for the ones who could afford it, has a combination of the recommended meals during the day. The ones that did not have the means for meats replaced it with beans, vegetables and fruits from their own back yard.

Best of all, we were a very active population. Always playing with friends, neighbors and siblings. We also took turns to grind corn and to ground the beef.

We never counted calories. At the grocery store food was natural. Never any extra vitamins added.  The butter in many cases was even homemade as well as the yogurt. I remember those days. Parents had the time to make this extra effort. Many mothers were stay at home moms. Sure, chores at home were and still are lot easier in Hispanic countries. We don’t need to be rich to have a maid helping at home. 6 or 7 days a week! Believe me… that’s a tremendous advantage.  But let’s see what we can learn from it.

  1. Natural is better.
  2. Eat a portion of each category each day.
  3. Do not eat the same thing every day. Just as we need “muscle confusion” to achieve fitness, we also need different vegetables, beans, meats, fruits and grains to provide the body with the enzymes needed to metabolize food.

Common sense

  1. As we age, we need fewer amounts, so we need to reduce the portions. We don’t need the same at 15, 30, 50, or 90.  We don’t need to consume only water at 90 either, but we don’t need to eat what we cannot burn. We always need to keep in mind the activities we do, the fuel they need to keep us going on and how much energy we burn during the day.
  2. Before we eat, we need to stop as ask our self:
    1. What did I have for breakfast? Did I ingest meals with too many carbohydrates? Proteins? Fats? Cholesterol? Sugar? Sodium? What?
  3. Respond to your question:
    1. If I ate too much carbs and sweets for breakfast; then, I need compensate with vegetables and proteins for lunch and another small portion of carb and protein for dinner. The carb will help with hunger. We need carbs. Good carbs.
    2. If I ate too much cholesterol and fats during breakfast; then, I need to compensate with some vegetables, fruits, soups, beans, etc.
    3. If I ate too much sodium; then I need lots of liquids to flush it out.
    4. If I’m going to a BBQ on Saturday and I plan on eating everything; then, I prepare my body during the week with few proteins, carbs and sweets and the day after the big day, I do the same… I compensate.
    5. If I’m going to eat out, I also prepare myself to order what my body still needs for that day.
    6. If I’m going to do groceries; then, I stop and think of something I didn’t eat the week before. Different vegetables, different fish, etc.
  4. Getting use to having a hot milk or hot tea with 1/2 toast with almond butter before sleep helps to not get hungry and stabilize the sugar in the body. Even a couple spoons of yogurt are great before bed time.
  5. Add to the water you drink ‘something.’ The “Chinese” cucumber water is great. Chop it and boil it for about 3 minutes in a cup of water. Pour this strong flavored water into a jar and fill it with fresh water. It’s great for about everything: from replenishing the body with mineral, to stabilization of blood pressure, reducing cancer and kidney problems, to helping with diabetes and even weight loss.
Chinese Cucumber
Bitter Melon

The same is true for the parsley water and the eggplant water. It’s another way to eat what you don’t like and replenish your body with minerals.  Remember, the kidneys tend to fail as we age. We need to take care of them. They are the filter of the body.

In summary… If we use some common sense when it comes to eating, it would help us to have better weight and health.



Cheese Biscuits Vs. Cheese Ranch Style Biscuits. Yes, they’re different!

I was looking at some simple cheese biscuits recipe but I got two.  To me cheese is cheese. Bertha has a regular cheese biscuit recipe and the ranch version as well. 

My husband says that the Ranch Biscuits are delicious. I’m not friend of the Worcestershire sauce but I guess I can try and see.  I will update my post after I made them.

If you would like me to publish one of her recipes, please, write it in comments. I’ll do my best to upload it.

To see the two recipes, click in the link.  Cheese Biscuits pages 10-11