I have just experienced a very unusual afternoon. (I write this on Sunday night, so I am talking about Sunday past.) I had absolutely no obligations, even though there was much that could be done. However, anything that could be put off until tomorrow certainly was — remember what Scarlet O’Hara said: Tomorrow is another day.

So, what I did with this free time sort of involves you, dear readers. I dug out scrapbooks of columns as early as 1970 — the first column having been Feb. 11, 1970.

So many of you are mentioned, and so many of our dear friends and family who shared recipes with us are no longer here. Though it’s a little sad, it gives me joy to remember people through recipes and their cooking skills.

I started off looking for cool summer recipes but had the good (or bad) luck of finding a recipe I had been looking for in all the wrong places.

This recipe was given to me by my friend Sharon Bindler, the wife of one of my school buddies from Tyler High School before it was renamed John Tyler High School. Donn will be sure to tell you he is a year younger than I!

Anyway, the recipe is easy and tastes like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

Though Donn and Sharon have been gone from Longview (in Dallas), they still have many friends who know and care about them here.

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cake

2 1/4 cups flour

2 cups firmly packed brown sugar

1 cup crunchy peanut butter

1 stick butter, softened

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 cup milk

3 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 cup peanut butter chips

1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, sugar, peanut butter and butter. Blend at low speed until crumbly. Reserve 1 cup mixture for topping. To remaining mixture, add rest of ingredients. Except chocolate chips. Batter should be slightly lumpy. Pour into a greased or sprayed 9-inch x 13-inch pan. Sprinkle with reserved crumbs and chocolate chips. Bake for about 40 minutes. Test with toothpick (coming out clean) for doneness. Makes 12-16 servings.

One of my friends had such a strong presence in my life, it is still hard to believe that I will not answer the phone and hear my sister/friend, Mary Hall, say, “Barbara Ann, what are you up to?”

She lost a hard-fought battle last October as the results of a stroke 11 years earlier. Her husband Harlan and son Dale have become like a brother and nephew to me.

They are willing to try recipes of all sorts — some winning, some not so much.

This rice salad of Mary’s is one that we served at many caterings she and I did over a 20-plus year catering business.

Oh, what stories we had to tell about events that happened during those hectic but wonderful years.

Mary Hall’s Rice Salad

1 1/3 cups instant rice

1 1/3 cups water

Cook According to package directions, using rice and water only. Remove from heat and add while hot:

3 tablespoons chopped onion

2 tablespoons cooking oil

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

3/4 teaspoon curry powder

2 teaspoons salt

Chill for at least 3 hours. Cook 1 package (10 ounces) frozen English peas, according to package directions and chill.

Mix cooked, chilled rice, peas1 cup chopped celery

3/4 cup mayonnaise

Chill until ready to serve. May serve on a lettuce leaf individual servings or from a clear glass bowl. Makes 6-8 servings.

Remember, I am always on the lookout for good, easy recipes. You can reach me at the address at the bottom of this column.

— Barbara Richardson McClellan is a longtime food columnist and has written three self-published cookbooks. Her column appears in the News-Journal’s Taste section each Wednesday. Write her at bayrm12@gmail.com or in care of the Longview News-Journal, P.O. Box 1792, Longview, TX 75606.