Birdie treats

Last week was busy, but not just too bad! On Tuesday we had over four inches of rain which was badly needed. I worked in the gift shop as usual and as you can imagine, with a downpour going on, there weren’t many customers for me. Of course, the Dr.s offices were open and everyone who came in was pretty wet.
On Wednesday, there was a “meet and greet” occasion for our incoming CEO, it was very nice, and I found out, that like one of my grandsons and his wife, she is a Star Wars fan! After the party, I headed out to Devine for my usual bunco, and the visiting that I do each month, beginning with the time I now get to spend with my youngest grandson and his family. Those little ones are so cute and I have so much fun with them. The trip was not bad and there wasn’t much traffic for me to contend with, and I am always happy about that. That area did not have the amount of rain that we did and the only place you saw anything other than sere and brown in the countryside was where someone was irrigating, usually winter rye or something like that.
Bunco, that evening, was fun as it usually is and all of them said they had been in good health, and I got to catch up on everything that had been happening in the past month, and even won first prize! That always makes the evening more fun!
As always, Thursday was my fun day, no traveling for hours, just visiting, either on the phone in person with a couple of friends, and of course lunching with my son! And then, getting to see my great-granddaughters in Castroville.
Since it had dawned on me, during the night on Tuesday, I had a busy weekend coming up, I realized that I had to travel back home on Friday, rather than on Saturday and I met with my daughter and the little girls and had a delicious early lunch, before I went back to Devine for a hair appointment, so it was later than usual when I left, however, it was closer to dark than I like when I got home. No problems until I got to Floresville and hit some typical 5:00 p.m. traffic. Thank goodness it isn’t football season, then you really have traffic!
Saturday and Sunday were both busy with a fundraiser for one of the organizations at church, my sister and I are in charge of the cole slaw and Saturday we made six gallons of the dressing that we use and helped cut up potatoes that are part of the meal and Sunday, we made over 200 hundred pounds of cabbage into slaw. We work well together, and the guys did all the lifting for us. We both came home tired, had lunch together around 2:00 p.m. (the plates were “to-go” only), and then went our separate ways for the afternoon, with naps on the horizon for both of us. She is doing well but is still unable to drive due to neck surgery that was done on November 1. She is hoping the brace will be removed this coming week but is still unsure.
A couple of weeks ago, I gave you a recipe so you could make treats for the dogs in your life. Today, I’m going to include one to make for the precious feathered friends you may have at your feeders. Food for our winged friends is scarce at this time of the year, and my son-in-law gave me several similar recipes he found online for a treat for them. As he took it out of the freezer, I wondered what kind of treat he was planning to share with me, only to find out it was a birdie treat! He has a wonderful feeder set up that can be observed from their kitchen window and sometimes they have a large variety of birds there eating the grain he provides. Right now, however, all he has is an occasional ring-neck dove and lots of sparrows.
Version 1
1 part peanut butter (crunchy or regular)
1 part shortening
1 part flour
3 parts cornmeal
1 part cracked corn (chicken scratch grain is what he used)
1 cup black oil sunflower seeds
Mix all together and chill until firm.
Version 2
Homemade Peanut Butter Suet
1 cup shortening
16 to 20-oz crunchy peanut butter
Heat and stir together until melted.
Add the following:
1 cup raisins
1 cup black oil sunflower seeds
6 cups cornmeal
4 cups flour
Mix together with the shortening/peanut butter mixture and spoon into a 9×13-inch pan and chill until firm. Cut into chunks for suet feeders or do as he does and just cut the chunks and place on the feeder itself.
Now, here is a recipe for you to make for the family, it is simple enough that the children can help you. I made this and took it to the group working in the kitchen at our fund raiser and it was a big hit, everyone loved it, and I hope you do also.
Cinnamon Roll Delight
1 can Caramel Apple Pie filling
2 cans, (8-count each) cinnamon rolls (I use HEB brand)
Preheat oven to 375ºF.
Open the pie filling and pour into a bowl, cut the apples into smaller pieces.
Open the cinnamon rolls (set the frosting aside, you’ll use it later), cut each cinnamon roll into four pieces, when you’re finished, mix the cinnamon rolls into the pie filling. Place the mixture into a sprayed 9X13 baking pan or dish and bake 35 to 40 minutes or until the cinnamon rolls are done, it should be lightly browned on top. Cool for about 10 to 15 minutes and then use the reserved frosting pouring it as evenly as possible over the cinnamon rolls and apples. Serve warm or cool.

Cakes


This past week slowed down a bit by the time the weekend rolled around. My sister and I did a couple of things together, including having supper on Friday, with my niece and her husband. They had to leave early Saturday to return to their home in north Texas and we had a great visit. They had also invited my sister’s daughter and her husband; pizza was the order of the day and it was very good. My sister took fruit salad, her daughter brought a delicious chopped salad, and I took dessert. (Real simple, cake taken out of my freezer!).
Saturday was noodle making time at the Family Center of our church. Our ladies’ group, Catholic Daughters of the Americas is having their annual chicken fried steak fundraiser this coming weekend and we always have a “Country Store”, where we have baked goods, canned goods and homemade noodles. All the bags of noodles always sell quickly, if you are working there and want some, we all know to have them on hold until we can pick them up.
My sister and I with some help this year from others will be making the cole slaw, just as we have done for several years. It’s still hard for her to do some things, as she had neck surgery in November and has to wear her brace for another couple of weeks.
My personal biggest news is that I have a brand-new great-grandson! He was born early Saturday morning in Colorado, and when I spoke with my granddaughter, they had not yet named him!
This week will see me back on the road to Devine for bunco, I didn’t realize how much I missed bunco and seeing my friends until the pandemic hit us and now I think I enjoy it more than ever!
We have talked about baking cakes in the past but hopefully there are a few new readers who will enjoy this weeks column.
When is the last time, or have you ever baked a cake from scratch? When I was growing up, cake mixes didn’t exist. All cakes were baked from scratch. Cake mixes came out after WWII, with Betty Crocker bringing out a Chocolate Cake mix for the first time in 1947. The lady I talked with didn’t have any information as to whether they were the first to come out with a cake mix or not, but, I’d bet a nickel they were. Since I couldn’t find an 800 number for either Duncan Hines or Pillsbury, I couldn’t check any further.
A cake from scratch is not hard to make. It just takes a little longer than a box mix. My two favorite recipes were in my Betty Crocker Cook Book. There were two which Mother had also used and I learned to make them while I was still in school. The recipes in this book give you a choice of two ways to mix the cake, one by creaming the sugar and shortening until light and fluffy, and adding eggs, one at a time and mixing well, then adding the dry ingredients alternately with the milk; and the other by sifting the dry ingredients and then adding the shortening and eggs. Each page also has several variations of each cake, using the main recipe and then adding nuts or fruit to the batter.
The following two recipes are both from the Betty Crocker Cook Book, (ninth printing, first edition), which I received as a shower present before I married. The one is called Light Golden Cake and the other is called Rich Golden Cake, the main difference between them is the amount of eggs used.

Light Golden Cake
2¼ cups sifted Softasilk (cake flour)
1½ cups sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup soft shortening
1 cup milk
1½ teaspoons flavoring
2 eggs
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour two 9-inch round or square cake pans or a 9×13 pan; set aside.
Sift together dry ingredients. Add shortening and a little over half of the milk and flavoring. Beat 2 minutes. Add remaining milk and eggs. Beat 2 minutes. Pour into greased and floured pans. Bake until cake tests done. Cool. Frost as desired.
Rich Golden Cake
2¼ cups sifted Softasilk (cake flour or 2 1/8 cups Gold Medal flour)
1½ cups sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup soft shortening
1 cup milk
1½ teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour two 9-inch round or square pans or one 13×9 pan.
Sift together the dry ingredients, add shortening and a little over half of the milk and vanilla; beat 2 minutes. Add remaining milk and the eggs; beat 2 minutes. Pour into prepared pans; bake until cake tests done. Frost as desired.
Easy German Chocolate Cake
1 box German chocolate cake mix
3 eggs
1 cup water (scant)
1 carton sour cream (8-oz)
1 can coconut pecan frosting
Mix together cake mix, eggs and water, stir in sour cream. Pour into microwave safe tube pan. Drop frosting by spoons full into the batter. Microwave on High for 15 minutes rotating pan after first 9 minutes (unless you have a turntable). Cool about 3 to 5 minutes and then turn out onto serving plate.
German Chocolate Upside-Down Cake
1 box German Chocolate Cake mix
Eggs, oil, water to make cake
1 cup coconut
1 cup chopped pecans
1 lb. powdered sugar
8-oz package cream cheese
1 stick butter
Lightly grease a 9×13 pan. Cut waxed paper to fit pan and grease paper also. Sprinkle pecans and coconut into pan. Mix cake according to directions on package; pour over coconut and pecans. With mixer, mix together powdered sugar, cream cheese and butter. Drop by spoonfuls over cake mix. Bake at 350ºF until cake is done. Cool in pan about 5 minutes, turn onto serving platter. Peel off the waxed paper. Serve either warm or cold.
The following recipe was displayed as part of our hospital décor for fall. I have made it several times, and everyone always enjoys it.
Delicious Apple Pie Cheesecake
2 medium to large Granny Smith apples, peeled cored and sliced
(you may take steps to prevent the apples from darkening, but I do not feel it’s necessary) *
1/3 cup granulated sugar
½ to 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 package (8-oz) cream cheese at room temperature
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg (lightly beaten)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 prepared graham cracker crust (10-inch) **
1/3 cup quick cooking oatmeal (not instant)
Preheat oven to 375ºF.
Whisk 1/3 cup sugar and cinnamon in a separate bowl and set aside.
Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese ¼ cup sugar together in a bowl until smooth, add egg and vanilla and mix until evenly combined.
Place apples in the graham cracker crust, sprinkle sugar/cinnamon mixture over apples, sprinkle oatmeal over sugar/cinnamon mixture. Pour and spread cream cheese mixture overall. Bake in preheated oven until top is just beginning to brown, about 40 minutes. (If it seems to be browning too quickly, turn the heat down to 350ºF). Cool on wire rack for 1 to 2 hours, refrigerate until completely set, 3 to 4 hours. Also, if you rinse the apple slices with lemon juice/water or lemon-lime soda, be sure to drain them well before using. **I haven’t tried it, but I feel that a 9-inch crust would work just fine, because the apples settle a bit as they bake.

A bit about beets

To say this past week was hectic would be a bit of an understatement! For a couple of days, I felt as if I were a dog chasing his tail. The funeral for my brother-in-law was on Thursday, with the rosary service the evening before. Everything was beautiful and very well organized, as my sister and her daughters did a wonderful job, even with a few obstacles being encountered. There was not a whole lot I could other than be there for some moral support.
Friday was our Hospital Auxiliary annual awards banquet, I had plenty of help, and luckily a lot of things were already finished beforehand. Several of us went to the meeting room we were using at a local church and started covering tables and working on centerpieces, and as the old saying goes “many hands make light work”, we had it finished in plenty of time. And, of course, as with anything of this type, we had a couple of glitches that worked out just fine. The food was catered by a nearby restaurant, and as always it was very good.
When is the last time you ate beets? Have you ever eaten beets; did you like them? Most of us never think of whether we like beets or not, right? We just look at them in their cans on the shelf and think, “they’re sure a pretty color, but what would I do with them?” Or, if we see them on a salad bar, we just ignore them because we have never tried them and probably don’t want too! They seem to be either increasing in popularity, or either they’re just being advertised more, as they are one of the featured items in my current issue of Cooks, Illustrated®. Their recipe is for borscht, a soup very common in the Ukraine. It looks interesting; however, it also looks as if it is quite a bit of work!
Since I was raised during the WWII years, with grandparents who had gardens and a Dad who worked in a grocery store, I learned to eat beets. They do taste good if they are fixed correctly, even if they come out of a can. Just straight from the can, they don’t taste very good and when you look at them in the produce aisle at the grocery store or a farmers’ market, you thought is “how on earth would you cook something like that?” So, today, to clear up a little of the mystery about beets, I will tell you a little bit about them.
My information is from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
There are many varieties of beets that include the leafy varieties called chard and spinach beet, the beetroot or garden beet and also the sugar beet that is used to make table sugar.
All of the cultivated varieties are in the subspecies Beta vulgaris subp. vulgaris, while Beta vulgaris subp. martima, the common name for the sea beet, is the wild ancestor of these.
The history of the beet goes back to the second millennium BC. It was probably domesticated along the Mediterranean, and later spread to Babylonia by the 8th century BC and from there as far toward the east as China by 850 AD. Evidence shows that the leafy varieties were most widely cultivated for much of its history. However, much later they lost some of their popularity with the introduction of spinach.
Beets became very important commercially in the 19th century in Europe, after the development of the sugar beet in Germany, when it was discovered that sucrose could be extracted from them. This discovery provided an alternative to the tropical sugar cane and to this day, beets remain a widely cultivated commercial crop for producing table sugar.
To cook beets at home after purchasing them from the store or from a farmers’ market, you scrub them well, place them in a pot, cover them with water and cook them until they are done. The peels will slip off just as the peels from peaches and tomatoes come off when they are dipped into boiling water. After they are cooked, they can be eaten as a hot dish with butter, they can be pickled and chilled and eaten cold as a condiment, (and this is the most common way they are eaten in our areas), or they can be shredded raw and eaten as a salad. The pickled beets are a traditional food of the American South and believe it or not, according to the information I have, in Australia and New Zealand, it is common for sliced, pickled beets to be served on a hamburger.
A traditional dish of the Pennsylvania Dutch is to use the left-over pickling liquid and place hard cooked eggs in it and store in the fridge until the eggs turn a deep pink/red color.
While I was in this site, I also looked up “beet recipes” and many were for salads with the addition of feta, blue or goat cheese. Many of them also had lime, orange or lemon juice as an addition, along with arugula, water cress, shallots, apples and the list goes on and on. In checking through cookbooks, I found recipes using beets in cakes and cookies, which seems a really sneaky way to get you family to eat a dish they might tell you they don’t like. As for myself, I have eaten them prepared with a thickened sauce, (Harvard beets), as well as just plain with butter, salt and pepper, but my favorite, if I am going to eat beets, is pickled.
When I lived in Devine, especially when the children were small, my grandma and aunt from La Coste and I would can beets. We cooked the beets, peeled them and cut them into chunks or slices, made up a hot mixture of vinegar, sugar and the liquid from cooking the beets and placed them in quart jars, sealed them shut and I truly don’t remember if we processed them or not, as too many years have gone by. Also, in later years, a friend, who had a big garden, would pick the leaves of the plants when they were small and cook them just as you would cook spinach. They were good served this way.
Pickled Beets
2 or 3 cans sliced beets (can use the cut pieces or quarters if desired)
Equal parts, sugar, vinegar, liquid
Open the cans and drain the liquid from the beets and set aside. Place the beets in a bowl and set aside. Measure out 1 cup sugar, 1 cup of the beet liquid or water, and ¾ to 1 cup vinegar, place in a pot and heat until the sugar is completely dissolved and then pour over the beets in the bowl. Chill thoroughly before serving. This is how my grandma made her pickled beets. Many cooks do not heat the mixture, they just stir until the sugar is dissolved and pour it over the beets, and still others add pickling spices to the mixture; it truly is a matter of personal preference.
Harvard Beets
2 cans sliced beets, drained and liquid set aside
½ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons corn starch
¼ cup vinegar
¼ cup beet liquid
2 tablespoons cooking oil
Combine sugar, cornstarch, vinegar, beet liquid and oil and bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the beets and cook at simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Now, I know I mentioned a cake made with beets, and, I found recipes for sauerkraut cake, poppy seed cake, carrot cake, potato cake, wacky cake, pork cake, watermelon cake and all sorts of other cakes using vegetables and/or fruits but could not find the one using beets. It was called, of all things, “Beatnick Cake”, but without spending several hours going through cookbooks, I can’t find it this morning! Believe it or not, here it is ten or twelve years down the line, and I decided to use this column about beets again, and in the cookbook made by the women of the Moore Library Committee, I found the “Beatnik Cake”! The ladies on the committee were Octavia Jones, Chairman; Alice Terry, Betty Gentry, Wanda Salzman and Ann Wofford.
Beatnik Cake
Laura Petri
1½ cups ground beets
½ teaspoon baking soda
1½ cups sugar
1¼ cups cooking oil
1 7/8 cups flour
¾ teaspoon salt
3 eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla
6 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon lard
Cream sugar, egg, and oil. Add beets, cocoa, lard, flour, baking soda, salt and vanilla. Bake in a loaf pan. Ice with favorite icing.
(It does not say whether the beets should be cooked or not. However, since I’ve been seeing recipes using beets recently and they are shredding them raw for salads, that could be the way you would use them. I can’t quite see grinding a cooked beet, the texture is similar to cooked carrots).

The days are cooler

It is with a feeling of sadness that I sit down to write my column this week. My beloved brother-in-law passed away this past Saturday. The last several years have been really hard on him, as due to truly poor circulation, he had lost both his legs and was pretty much confined to a motorized wheelchair. He usually had a great outlook on life, knowing how closely he had come to losing his life several times. He found a hobby in making bird houses for all of us, and then he began making miniature ones for us to use in our plants. He also loved using the word-find puzzles and went through one book after another of those. He was able to move around the house on his scooter and could do a certain amount of cooking and wait on himself to a great extent. And, most of all, he kept his binoculars at hand so he could keep an eye on the deer that frequented his yard. He was a dedicated hunter in his younger days and always worked hard at being a good sportsman, and that included going to the coast and fishing, as well as hunting turkeys, and just being outdoors. He spent twenty years in the Army Reserve and retired three or four years ago with a good rank. (He just told me what it was last week, but I don’t remember!) He was a veteran of the Army as well and loved our country, our flag and his church. He never missed going to church on Sunday, unless he was confined to bed and couldn’t attend. These last several years, they have had a vehicle that he could drive his wheelchair into, be fastened down and he and my sister would go, not only to church but occasionally to the grocery store and to Victoria or even to the doctor in San Antonio if necessary. Until recently, she was able to drive them anywhere they wanted to go, but she finally needed neck surgery, so for the past couple of months, they’ve had two caregivers, as well as help from their daughters when necessary. At one time when she had a health problem, I even managed to get him where he needed to be for an appointment or whatever was needed. He will be missed by many, many people! RIP, Bob Jungman, you were a good man and a good friend to all who knew you.
We are almost through our first month of winter, however, most of the time it has still seemed like summer, other than a couple of weeks ago when we had a spate of freezing weather. I was totally glad when it was over! Now, believe it or not, Saturday and Sunday both brought us rain…there was a thunder storm going on when I was ready to retire Saturday evening and it quit during the night, only to come around again this morning when I was dressing for church.
Have you ever given a thought as to how soup got started as such? Was a housewife making stew and she forgot to thicken the broth? Did she add too much water to the stew and make soup instead? There is nothing in any dictionary or encyclopedia that tells anything about the origins of soup. According to the Webster dictionary, soup is, “A liquid food made by simmering vegetables, seasonings and sometimes meat or fish”. A chef who had a hard time getting a joint or a tough old hen tender probably started it.
In stories from older times, you read of people taking a nice pot of broth or soup to a neighbor who was unwell. Chicken soup has long been touted as something to be eaten if you are ill. Believe it or not, it really is supposed to have some curative powers.
Soup was even the basis of a children’s story called “Stone Soup” which was featured on every child’s favorite show of the time, Captain Kangaroo! It was actually a story that taught children about sharing with others.
Following are some of my all time favorites, including Caldo de Res, that you will find in colder weather at many of the restaurants that feature Mexican food.
Caldo de Res
2½ pounds beef shank, sliced 1-inch thick, bone in
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1½ cups beef stock
1 can tomatoes (if you use whole tomatoes, cut or mash them up, or use the diced, canned tomatoes)
4 ears fresh corn
4 medium sized russet potatoes
2 zucchini
6 carrots or 12 to 14 baby carrots
¼ cup chopped cilantro
Water to cover
1 small head cabbage
1 lime, cut into wedges
Sliced jalapeños, for garnish
Cut each piece of beef shank into three or four pieces, being sure to leave some meat on the bone. Sauté the beef chunks with the onions, salt and pepper. When beef is browned, add the beef stock and the tomatoes. Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for about one hour, or until the beef is very tender.
Wash the vegetables, cut each ear of corn into four or five pieces, cut potatoes into quarters and the carrots into equivalent sizes, or if using baby carrots, leave them whole. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise, and then cut into 1-inch chunks. Add the vegetables and the cilantro. Add additional water to cover the vegetables and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Cut the cabbage into 8 wedges, leaving the core intact and then place cabbage into the mixture and simmer for an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until cabbage is tender.
Cheese Soup
¼ cup butter or margarine
½ cup each, finely chopped carrot, celery and onion
½ cup flour
1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
4 cups each, chicken stock and milk. (Canned chicken broth can be used
1 pound shredded cheese (1 cup cheddar, 1 cup Velveeta and ½ cup American)
Salt and pepper to taste if desired (salt may not be necessary if you used canned broth).
Sauté together the butter or margarine, carrots, celery and onions. Stir in the flour and cornstarch; cook and stir until bubbly. Add the stock and milk. Cook and stir until smooth and thick. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Potato Soup
3 or 4 large Russet potatoes
Water (I had chicken broth and used that to cook the potatoes, very good)
2 to 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 onion, chopped
¼ cup diced celery
1 to 2 cups milk or half and half or a combination of both
Salt and pepper to your taste
1 cup shredded or diced cheese (optional)
Salt and pepper to your taste
Parsley (optional)
Peel potatoes and cut into small chunks, place in pot and barely cover with water. Cover and cook until tender. While the potatoes are cooking, sauté onions and celery until onions are transparent. Set aside. When potatoes are tender, use your potato masher and lightly mash them leaving some un-mashed. Stir in onions and celery, add milk, and bring just to simmering. Add cheese if used. Heat gently until cheese melts, stir in parsley if used. (I had potato soup at a restaurant several weeks back, when we were in Victoria and it had either chopped up sausage or ham in it. I have tried this at home using diced ham, and it is delicious). (When I made this soup this past weekend, I had diced cheese and some shredded and not much of any of them, so just mixed it up and put in about 1½ or more cups).
The following recipe is called “Grandma’s Chicken Mulligan”. It is as much a stew as it is a soup, and the recipe is aptly named, as my Grandmother and Mother made it regularly in the wintertime when I was growing up. Of course, Grandpa had to go to the hen house and catch a hen, butcher it and clean it before Grandma could make this! It really tastes best when made with a stewing hen, but you can use a broiler/fryer instead if that is what is available to you.
Grandma’s Chicken Mulligan
1 cooking hen (4 to 6 pound) or use large broiler/fryer, or chicken parts if desired
1 to 2 tablespoons salt
1 or 2 onions, chopped
1 pint home canned tomatoes, or a 16-ounce can, whole, broken or cut into pieces
2 teaspoons chili powder
3 or 4 medium size red potatoes, cut into chunks (Grandma always had her own, garden grown red potatoes). Russet potatoes can be used, but they tend to break up and get mushy when cooked in this recipe, so the red are really best.
1 can cream style corn
Thaw hen; cut into serving size pieces. Place in a large pot and cover with water. Add salt and cook until chicken is tender. Remove the chicken, set aside and pick meat from bones if desired. Add the onions, tomatoes, potatoes and chili powder; cook until potatoes are done. Return chicken to pot, add the corn and simmer about 20 minutes. Serve in bowls with crusty rolls or corn bread. (I made this recently and it was a delicious as I remember it being.
Super-easy 5-can Soup
1 pound ground meat
1 package taco seasoning mix
1 can Ro-tel tomatoes
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 can shoepeg corn
1 can Ranch Style Beans
1 can mixed vegetables
Brown meat in a large pot with taco seasoning mix; then add all cans of vegetables without draining them. Bring to boil and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes to blend flavors. You can brown your meat and then transfer everything to a crock pot and keep hot on low temperature if desired.
(Instead of the ground meat, I used 1 qt. vegetable broth, the taco seasoning, 1½ cups frozen mixed vegetables, and 1 cup frozen corn).

A new year is upon us!

The year of our Lord, 2022 is over and we are beginning a new one. It feels strange to write the numbers 2023, doesn’t it? This is my first time to use it as I write my very first column of a new year, and I am thankful that I am still around to do it, each day is a blessing to me.
On Friday, I attended the funeral of a very dear friend. She was buried on what would have been her 83rd birthday, and in the early hours of Friday morning, a new great-grandchild was born to one of her grandsons and his wife! The Lord works in wonderous ways!
My Christmas, even though broken into parts was wonderful. This year, on the day after Christmas, all four of my children were here in my home, along with two grandsons, (one of whom is in the service and had not been stateside for Christmas in 10 years), their spouses and children, as well the mother of one of the spouses, making for a total of 20. The great-grandchildren attending, ranged in age from not quite eleven down to six months, and yes, we got a few pictures, they were all so cute and loveable!
My youngest daughter and her husband came in on Christmas Day, and she helped me get some things done, (she also stayed an extra day and helped me clean up). We were having our favorite meal, Mexican food. My son-in-law brought all the fixings for both beef and chicken enchiladas, and they were delicious. His Chile sauce was wonderful, he used guajillo peppers, as well as a couple of other types and die a great job with all of it. Another daughter brought a gigantic bowl of guacamole, that is different than the usual recipe, (that I had requested), and as always, it was delicious, and we really enjoyed it. She also brought a great dessert, as well as other things. The other daughter brought tamales as well as numerous types of cookies and desserts, a grandson and his wife, brought a big bag stuffed with all sorts of sweets the children would like, my daughter-in-heart came in with a big casserole of Mexican style rice, which almost all disappeared, and both she and my oldest daughter came in with tables and chairs. We were able to seat some of the children in the kitchen and others in the living room and still others of us at the dining room table. It was a full house and we all enjoyed ourselves immensely. The grandsons had their children outside playing and shooting the fireworks that one of them brought in the middle of the day….it was so much fun. We had TV trays set up in my bedroom for desserts, and while we didn’t have one for each member of the family, we had lots! We added to our fun by opening our Christmas gifts, and I made out like a little bandit!
This coming Friday, January 6 is the feast of the Epiphany. This word is from Greek and means appearance. It is also called the Feast of Lights, Feast of the Three Kings and Twelfth Night. It concludes the period allotted in the church calendar to the Feast of the Nativity. In the West, Epiphany commemorates the visit of the Three Kings, or Wise Men, to the infant Jesus. It is a major Christian feast commemorating the appearance of Christ. The Nativity itself was celebrated on this day, but, in the fourth century A.D, it was assigned to December 25. What began as a most solemn feast, Twelfth Night became a time of revelry, especially during the sixteenth century in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I of England.
It is the Feast of the Three Kings and Twelfth Night of Christmas that we are interested in, for this column!
Officially, the Carnival Season can be short or long, depending on when Lent and Easter fall in a given year’s calendar. The start of Mardi Gras, however, is always Twelfth Night (12 days after Christmas), which commemorates the visit of the Three Wise Men to Bethlehem. The Spanish give gifts on Twelfth Night instead of on Christmas. Amongst the French, it is Petit Noel (little Christmas), on January 6th, when balls are held. The ending is the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, which is February 22, this year.
The opening celebrations took place in private homes and culminated in the eating of the Gateau du roi (King’s Cake), that was made of brioche batter. Hidden away somewhere in the cakes was either a small bisque or china doll, or a bean, usually a red bean and sometimes covered in silver or gold leaf. Tradition says that the person who chose the piece of cake with the doll or bean inside, would become king or queen of the ball. He or she was then held responsible for hosting the next ball in the next week. The balls continued until Mardi Gras itself. Among the wealthy, actual gold and diamond jewelry was sometimes substituted for the bean or doll.
The cake is frosted and then sprinkled with colored bands of sugar. Purple represents Justice, Green represents Faith and Gold represents Power.
The doll has come to be used almost exclusively because of the danger of someone biting down on the bean before they realized it was in their piece of cake.
When I first baked the King Cake, I used the dough setting on my bread maker and this seems to work really well. After taking the dough from the bread machine, it is rolled and shaped into a 14-inch circle. The baby (we used the same one several times), is inserted in the bottom of the cake, so no one can tell where it was placed. The circle is then baked, cooled and frosted with a light powdered sugar glaze. After you have the glaze on, you sprinkle purple, green and gold colored sugar in 2-inch-wide stripes onto the frosting. Cakes can now be purchased at a lot of the grocery stores in San Antonio. (HEB handles them here, and I think it has sort of become standard that most larger grocery chains handle them).
The following is the simplest of several recipes for the cake that I found on the Internet. Personally, I prefer just to use the recipe for sweet dough in my bread maker cookbook, adding the nutmeg and lemon rind when the bread maker ‘beeps’ for additions.
Mardi Gras King’s Cake
½ cup water, (105ºF to 115ºF)
2 packages active dry yeast
3½ to 4½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
½ cup lukewarm water
3 eggs
4 egg yolks
½ cup softened butter
1 egg (lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon milk
1 ovenproof figurine
3 cups powdered sugar
¼ lemon juiced and strained
3 teaspoons water (more if necessary)
Green, purple and yellow sugars
Soften yeast in water. Combine flour, sugar, nutmeg, salt and lemon rind in a large bowl. Make a well in the center. Add yeast mixture, eggs, egg yolks and combine completely. Beat in butter until dough forms a ball. Place on floured board; incorporate more flour if necessary. Knead until smooth and elastic. Place dough in a well-buttered bowl, turning over so all surfaces are covered. Cover with a towel and let rise 1 ½ hours or until doubled in bulk. Dough is doubled when you can gently poke two fingers in the dough and the holes remain. Brush baking sheet with butter and set aside. Punch dough down on lightly floured board. Knead lightly, then roll and pat into a 15-inch cylinder. Place on baking sheet, and form into a circle, pinching edges together. Press figurine into bottom of dough, so that it is hidden. Set aside, covered with a towel to rise 1 to 1½ hours. Before baking, brush top with the egg milk mixture. Bake in a preheated 375ºF until golden brown. Cool on wire rack. Beat icing ingredients until smooth and spread over top of cake, letting it drip down sides. Immediately sprinkle sugars in alternating, 2-inch-wide stripes of purple, green and yellow. Have fun!
Hope your New Year is a very good one, with lots of blessings!

It’s over for another year

The weather this past week has been a doozy. I went from mild and balmy to totally icy in just a couple of days, and Texas isn’t in nearly as bad a shape as many of the northern states. The temperature here at my house was a very cool 17ºF, on Friday morning. None of my pipes were frozen mostly due to all the work that was done a couple of years ago. The only problem I encountered was that I had hot and cold water all over the house except the kitchen, it had only hot water! That worked OK as the RO system was working fine. Finally, around 3:30 in the afternoon when the sun was on that side of the house, the pipe thawed out and I had water again. I went out and checked and the pipes were well wrapped. Needless to say, on Friday night, that faucet stayed on with just a fine trickle of water.
This Christmas started out as being a very quiet one, that didn’t last for long! We are actually celebrating on Monday and what began as a small get-together mushroomed into being about 15 to 18 people! As it turns out, I will probably have all four of my children and their spouses, two or maybe three of my grandsons and their families and several friends of the family. We will be serving Mexican Food, as it’s something fairly simple and goes a long way.
Saturday evening, I will go to church in town with my sister and her husband, and then we will go to her house for supper and exchanging of gifts. It will be just the three of us and it has become our tradition, as we have done it almost every year since I’ve been here! We enjoy it so much. For several years, we went to the little country church for Midnight Mass, but since Covid, all Christmas Eve Masses are in town.
Are you planning a get-together, open house or party for New Year’s Eve? If you are, here are a few recipes for dips and some cheese balls if that is what you care to serve.
Italian Dip
2 blocks cream cheese (8-ounce size)
½ cup sour cream (if desired)
1 package Good Seasons® Italian, Zesty Italian or Garlic dressing mix
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Beat cream cheese until smooth, beat in sour cream (if used), add dressing mix and Parmesan cheese. Stir together until well mixed.
Chalupa Dip
2 cans (16-ounce size) refried beans (your choice, with or without jalapenos)
1 package taco seasoning mix
3 large avocados (or a package of ready made guacamole)
1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
1 clove garlic, very finely minced
2 cups sour cream
¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup picante sauce (mild medium or hot)
3 to 4 cups finely shredded lettuce
2 small tomatoes, diced and drained well
4 or 5 green onions, sliced thinly, including tops
1 can sliced ripe olives
2 cups shredded Longhorn style cheese or Monterrey Jack cheese
Mix taco seasoning into the refried beans. Spread into a 9×12 clear glass baking dish or onto a large sandwich tray with sides (10 to 12-inch glass cake plate with sides about ½ inch deep). Mix together the avocados with the juice and garlic to make guacamole or spread the package of ready-to-eat guacamole over the beans. Mix together the sour cream, mayonnaise and picante sauce, spread over the avocado mixture. Top with remaining ingredients in order listed. Chill before serving. Serve with tortilla chips
Hidden Valley Ranch Cheese Ball
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup milk
1 package Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix
8-ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 package cream cheese (8-ounce)
Toasted almonds or pecans, very finely chopped.
Mix together milk, mayonnaise and dressing mix. Set aside. Have cheese at room temperature for at least one hour. Beat cream cheese thoroughly with electric mixer until smooth. Beat in shredded cheese and dressing mixture. Pack into small bowl which you have lined with plastic wrap. Chill in freezer for 30 minutes. Lift out of bowl with plastic wrap and shape into ball. Roll in chopped nuts.
French Dressing Dip
1 package (8-oz) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup Kraft French Dressing
2 tbs. catsup*
2 tbs. mayonnaise
2 teaspoons very finely chopped or grated onion
Beat the cream cheese until smooth, and then beat in the French dressing, catsup, mayonnaise and onion until well mixed. Chill before using to allow flavors to blend. Serve with chips.
This is a very good basic dip that also makes a great shrimp dip. *For shrimp dip, I added about a teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce and in place of the catsup, I used an equal amount of the bottled chili sauce and added a couple of teaspoons of prepared horseradish. For shrimp dip, drain and rinse a small can of shrimp, dice finely and stir in with the rest of the ingredients.
Dill Pickle Cheese Ball
1 package (8-oz) cream cheese, softened
¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided use
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
¼ cup finely chopped dill pickle, or ¼ dill pickle relish
1½ teaspoons pickle juice
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon salt
Coating:
4 to 5 slices bacon cooked and crumbled (thin sliced bacon)
¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh dill
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth; then add the remaining ingredients until well combined and shape into a ball.
In a shallow bowl or plate, mix the bacon, cheese and fresh dill, and roll the cheese ball in this mixture until well coated. Chill before serving.
(Make ‘mini’ cheese balls, about ¾-inch in diameter; roll in the mixture and use a pretzel stick in each one to serve. (They need to be one-bite size, I made mine the size of a walnut and they were too big and my friends ended up having to spread them on chips).
Here’s wishing all my friends and readers a very healthy, happy and prosperous New Year. God bless you and be safe if you’re traveling!

It’s Nearly Here

By ANTON RIECHER
The Devine City Council held two closed executive sessions during its regular meeting Dec. 13 – one to discuss a possible settlement regarding city efforts to condemn three Devine Municipal Airport hangars and another to review applications for city administrator.
No action was taken following either closed session.
In November the council voted to condemn hangars 8, 8A and 10 by means of eminent domain. The formal motion refers to acquisition for “the Public Use of Designing, Developing, Constructing, Enlarging, Extending and Improving the Devine Municipal Airport.”
More than 27,715 square feet of hangar space is involved in the action.
The council also voted in November to advertise in professional publications for a new city administrator. City Administrator John Vidaurri resigned effective October 22, 2021, leaving city secretary Dora Rodriguez to step into his vacated role on an interim basis.
The city is seeking candidates with five years’ experience as a city manager or administrator who also hold a bachelor’s degree and degrees in public administration, management or business.
In other action, the council asked city attorney Thomas P. Cate to draft an amendment to the city’s alcoholic beverage ordinance based on the discussion among the council members.  The draft motion was made by District 4 council member Josh Ritchey and seconded by District 5 council member Debbie Randall.
Mayor Cory Thompson said the current ordinance restricts alcoholic beverages within a 300-foot radius of schools and church. However, downtown Devine is all but officially dry due to an overlap of these radiuses often surrounding churches that are no longer in use.
“I’m often getting requests from business owners who want to sell alcohol but are located within these zones,” Thompson said.
City staff has been unable to find any official reason why the council chose to enforce a standardized 300 foot radius for these locations back in 1976, he said. Whereas modern minutes record the council’s action in detail, older minutes tend to be brief and uninformative, Thompson said.
Today, the ordinance is often not enforced 100 percent, particularly during events such as the Fall Festival or October Fest. Thompson noted that the Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter is within 100 feet of school property.
“For the most part I would like to see the ordinance go away but there are certain points I’d like to keep,” he said.
In particular, the mayor wants to keep the official closing time at 1 a.m. He also wants to continue requiring application for city permits to serve alcohol.
An addition that Thompson proposed to the ordinance is no glass bottles on public property. Alcohol would be allowed but containers must not be obviously displayed.
“Places like Marble Falls or parks in Travis County alcohol cannot be visible,” Thompson said. “If the beer can is in a coozie no one has a problem. On the other hand, no one wants to see an open ice chest.”
Noting that the ordinance had previously been amended in 1981 and 1990, Thompson said it has always been an “ever evolving document.”
“We can always readdress this,” he said.
In other discussion about ordinances, the council tabled action on fence restrictions under consideration by the planning and zoning commissioners. In particular, Randall expressed concern about fences that obscure traffic by being too tall, too close to the corner or opaque.
Some board fencing makes it impossible to see the cars waiting at stop signs at certain intersections, Randall said. Ritchey said he would like to see any new ordinance focus on safety factory rather than the style of fencing.
“Lots of stuff in their now is not palatable to a lot of folks, including me,” he said.
The council also discussed new code requirements regarding the collection of solid waste. Randall said she was in favor of requiring homeowners to promptly collect their waste containers after trash has been collected. 
She said an impromptu survey via Facebook that she conducted found that most people would support rules to get the containers out of the street and off the curb. However, some folks simply replied “just let people be,” she said.
Thompson said leaving the containers in the street often restricts the flow of traffic on narrow residential streets. Also, maneuvering around the containers can make exiting driveways more hazardous.
The council took no action but asked Cate to draft changes for a future vote.
Misty Thompson of Thompson Houston Real Estate addressed the council about obtaining an extension on master plan approval at the 13.71-acre Cactus Flats subdivision. The council granted a three-year extension.
“We were not aware there was a time limit,” Thompson said. “Approval was only good for three years.”
To date only four houses have been built in the subdivision.
Also regarding subdivision development, the council approved a $103,693 road construction project for Shaver Street between West Davis Avenue and Kempf Street. The council voted 4-0 to approve based on a motion by Ritchey.
The council voted to make a correction in an earlier proclamation in honor of National Wreaths Across America Day on Dec. 17. Among the 3,702 participating locations across the country Devine was represented by the Devine Current Events Club, not the Devine Garden Club.
Business woman Brittany Sullivan-Ott offered the city council a deal during its regular meeting, offering to pay to repaint two sadly faded “Welcome to Devine” signs.
“It’s very faded in my opinion,” she said. “I’m tired of driving by it.”
Repainting the signs will cost $1,500 apiece, she said. Her only stipulation was to add the logo of her two businesses – C&R Grill and Alamo Truck Accessories – to the refurbished signs.
Other than that, Sullivan-Ott asked only for help installing the replacement signs. Both signs are located on Devine ISD property.
The motion by District 4 council member Josh Ritchey, approved 4-0 by the council, puts a four year limit on the new signs. Once expired Sullivan-Ott can replace them again or turn the honor over to some new willing entrepreneur.

Ten Days…. not much time left

This week wasn’t particularly busy for me…I didn’t get a lot of personal stuff done, but I attended/helped with a funeral, and a friend came by and helped me get some yard decoration up and running. Several years ago, my daughter gave me one of the “Star Shower” light displays, and we set that up and it’s looking great…great enough, in fact that I decided that two of the families on my Christmas gift list would be getting one as a gift. I managed to get to Cuero Saturday and shopped at HEB and WalMart and got quite a bit done, and then Sunday I went the other direction to a Walmart and got a little more finished. Monday, I will head to the bank and get cash for gift cards for a few more on my list. Meanwhile, I got to talk to one of my daughters and we settled what I would be doing on Christmas Day! She and her husband will be here with me. Since we no longer have Midnight Mass at our little country church, I will be able to go to early Mass and we will have the whole day together. It has been quite a while since we’ve been able to do this, and I am really looking forward to our visit.

Continue reading “Ten Days…. not much time left”

Get ready –
Get set – Bake…

This, my first column of the last month of this year, is actually going to be in the paper on the 81st anniversary of one of the worst days of infamy our country has known, and like the day of airplanes being flown into the twin towers, it will never be forgotten. This day, of course is December 7, 1941, when Japanese bombers began strafing Pearl Harbor and destroying so many of our war ships and the base where these planes were stationed. It also took an almost uncountable number of lives. The battleship Arizona is one of the most awesome places that I have ever visited. When I went to Hawaii several years ago, each time we went off or onto the Island we passed that museum. We did a tour of it one afternoon and I still get chills when I think of the horror of what went on at that time.
It is time to start thinking about making cookies for Christmas. If you have the time, it is really fun to make cookies with your children and grandchildren! The simplest way to do that, I have found is to make up the dough one day and then have them over the next to cut out and bake cookies. Most of these recipes can be rolled into balls the size of unshelled walnuts before putting them on the cookie sheets; they then will come out pretty much all the same size. When I want to make cookies, I usually will make up three or four batches of dough on one evening and then bake cookies the next evening. This seems to work really well, at least for me. In fact, you can then bake as many or as few as you want, you don’t have to bake up the entire batch of each dough, and then, you have fresh baked cookies when you have company coming over for coffee!
My son and daughters remember very well when my grandmother would come over and “spend” with us a few days, especially at Christmas. She would help me make ‘anise’ cookies and we would always have a very good time!
Applesauce Spice Cookies
1 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
2 eggs, beaten
3½ cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup thick, unsweetened applesauce
1 or more cups of mixed candied fruit
¼ cup flour
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Cream shortening and sugar together. Beat egg, add to creamed mixture and blend well. Sift flour, cinnamon, cloves, salt, baking soda, and baking powder together and add alternately with the applesauce to creamed mixture, with flour being added first and last. Dredge the candied fruit in the ¼ cup flour and stir into the dough. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto well greased cookie sheets. Bake 375ºF for 12 to 15 minutes.
This recipe goes by many names, including Ranger Cookies and a couple of other ones as well. They are always delicious, and this recipe is from my Mother’s aunt. It is written out just as she had it in a small cookbook that a group put together for one of our family reunions.
Good Cookies
1 cup shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 cups oatmeal
2 cups crisp rice cereal (i.e. Rice Crispies)
1 cup coconut
Preheat oven to325ºF. Cream shortening and sugar very well, add eggs, salt and vanilla. Beat well until blended. Add flour sifted with soda and baking powder. Fold in oatmeal Rice Crispies and coconut. Make a ball about the size of a large marble. Place on greased cookie sheet and flatten with glass dipped in sugar*. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. *Lightly spray glass with nonstick spray or rub a light coat of cooking oil on it, then dip in sugar, flatten a couple of cookies, dip in sugar, repeat until all cookies on baking sheet are flattened.
Delicious Oatmeal Cookies
¾ cup butter or margarine
½ cup granulated sugar
1½ cups brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1½ cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2½ cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup pecans
1 cup coconut (optional)
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Cream butter and sugars thoroughly; add eggs and vanilla. Sift together the dry ingredients and stir in until well mixed. Add the oatmeal, pecans and coconut (if used). Drop dough by spoonfuls on lightly greased or sprayed baking sheets. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Cool thoroughly, store in tightly covered container.
Snickerdoodles
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
Mix together and set aside
2 cups shortening (I use 1 cup shortening and 1 cup margarine)
.3 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
5½ cups flour
4 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Thoroughly cream together the shortening, sugar and eggs. Combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Mix into the shortening mixture. Mix well and chill dough overnight. Shape into walnut sized balls; roll each one in cinnamon/sugar mixture. Place 2-inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350ºF until lightly browned, but still soft. They will puff up and then flatten out.
The following sugar cookie recipe is really great as it does not have to be refrigerated before cutting and baking. To decorate, use the cookie paint recipe and paint the cut out cookies before baking. If desired, sprinkle colored sugar to match the paint.
Sugar Cookies
1 1/3 cups shortening
2½ cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
6 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Thoroughly cream together shortening, sugar, eggs, milk and vanilla. Add combined dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Roll out 1/8 to ¼-inch thick on lightly floured* board and cut with cookie cutters into desired shapes. Place on ungreased cookie sheet, sprinkle with granulated sugar (if you did not previously paint them,) and bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.
Cookie Paint
Evaporated milk
Liquid or paste food coloring
Plastic egg carton
Small, inexpensive craft paint brushes
Decorative sugars, nonpareils, etc.
Pour about 1 to 1½ tablespoons of the milk into each of several of the cups in the egg carton. Add a few drops of coloring or paste to each on until desired color is reached. Paint unbaked cookies, decorate as desired and bake in preheated oven. Remove from sheets and cool thoroughly.
Molasses Crinkles
3/4 cups soft shortening or margarine (our grandmothers used lard for this recipe)
1 cups brown sugar
1 eggs
1/4 cup molasses (Grandma’s brand, Steens brand, unsulphured)
2¼ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ to 1 teaspoon ground ginger
Cream together the shortening, sugar, eggs and molasses. Mix dry ingredients and stir into shortening mixture. Stir together until well mixed. Chill overnight. Shape into balls the size of small walnuts. Dip tops in sugar. Place sugared side up on lightly greased baking sheet. Dip your finger into some water and press down lightly on each cookie. Bake at 375ºF until cookies are just set. Remove from pan immediately. They will be puffed up and then will flatten out. The pressing down with the wet finger will give them a crinkled top.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Our month of November is well over half finished, as is our year. We are at the point where there is only around forty days until we begin a new year. This year has definitely been better than 2020 and 2021. We are still having outbreaks of the virus here and there, but not too much where I am. In fact the last few times I’ve delivered papers to the patients, I’ve been told I could go to all rooms. While the pandemic was going on, the papers were delivered to the nurses’ station and they took care of it for us. Last year, there were several times that I could go to the rooms on one hall, but not the other. Thanks to the Lord for taking care of all of us, and sympathy and prayers to the families of those who were not so lucky.
Let us give thanks…for our families; our friends; our homes; our schools and their teachers; our churches and synagogues where we worship freely; for the service men and women who are so far away from home this Thanksgiving, trying to keep our country free for us; for the fact that we live in a country that is still free; and last but by no means least; that we have lived to celebrate another Thanksgiving. For many of us, there will be faces missing around the table this year due to the Lord calling them home, or because they are serving our country in another lands. We are thankful that He gives us the strength to go on with our lives even though it is difficult.
Just as He is the “reason for the season,” at Christmas, THANKS is the first word in the name of the feast we are celebrating today.
For some of you, Thanksgiving is a fond memory, for many of you, who were able to get your paper on Wednesday; you still have to face it! I have a certain amount of my stuff done due to the fact that I will be heading to Devine early on Wednesday to be with my family. The cornbread is made for the dressing and the bread is torn up and drying a bit. All the ingredients are gathered together for my sweet potatoes and apple casserole, as are the ingredients for the pies I will be making.
Here are a few more recipes that can even be prepared on Thursday morning if necessary.
Broccoli Casserole
2 or 3 bunches fresh broccoli
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
½ of a small bell pepper, diced
¼ to ½ cup butter or margarine
1 can cream of mushroom soup*
1 can cheddar cheese soup
2 cups cooked rice
Salt and pepper to taste
Clean broccoli, cut into flowerets, peel and slice stems thinly. Parboil broccoli, drain and rinse with cold water to help retain the color. Sauté onion, celery and bell pepper in butter or margarine until onion is transparent. Mix together the two soups, add the broccoli and rice and mix together. Pour into 9×12 pan, top with grated cheese if desired. Bake at 350ºF for 35 to 45 minutes.
Jo’s Cherry Delight
1 can lite cherry pie filling
1 can (8-oz) crushed pineapple in juice
1 can low-fat condensed milk (not evaporated!)
12-oz carton whipped topping, thawed
Mix all ingredients together and chill before serving. Weight watchers – 2 points per 1/2 cup.
Mrs. Haass’ Pink Stuff (This recipe is in memory of Mrs. August Haass. She used to bring it to our Christian Mother’s Christmas Luncheon)
1 can (20-oz) cherry pie filling
1 can (20-oz) crushed pineapple in juice
1 can Angel Flake coconut
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1 can condensed milk (not evaporated!)
1 carton (8-oz) whipped topping, thawed
Mix all together and chill before serving.
Cornbread
1½ cups cornmeal
½ cup flour
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg
1 cup milk
¼ cup oil or melted shortening
Mix dry ingredients together in bowl. Mix together egg, milk and shortening, add to dry ingredients and mix well. Pour into lightly greased 8×8 or 9×9-inch pan and bake until golden brown. Cool before using.
You can make this several days ahead of time, and when it is cook break it up and store it in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
Cornbread Dressing
4½ cups crumbled corn bread
2½ cups day old French bread, cut into ½-inch cubes
1 medium chopped onion
1½ cups chopped celery
1/3 cup chopped parsley
½ cup butter or margarine
2 lightly beaten eggs
2 to 3 tablespoons poultry seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
2 to 3 cups broth or milk*
(Turkey giblets and neck, or 1 pack chicken giblets and hearts, or ½ pound ground meat or pan sausage optional)
Boil giblets, etc., until done. Chop or grind and set aside. If using ground meat or pan sausage, cook well in skillet until nicely browned, drain well and set aside.
Make corn bread (if desired) to your favorite recipe, (or use one or two of the packages that need milk and eggs added to them) and bake according to directions in an 8×8 or 9×9-inch pan. This can be done several days ahead of time. When cool, crumble and place in bowl in fridge.
Allow bread to dry out slightly, crumble and add to cornbread. Add giblets or meat (if used) Sauté onions and celery in margarine until tender. Add to cornbread mixture. Add parsley and seasonings. Add beaten eggs and broth and mix well. If it does not seem moist enough, add more broth or milk. Place in baking pan and bake at 350ºF until golden brown and set. If it looks dry while baking, add more broth or milk. Canned chicken or vegetable broth can be used if you want to save the broth from cooking the giblets for your gravy. *If you use canned broth, be careful not to use too much salt in the dressing as the broth is already salted.