Feb 092014
 

Probably the most versatile sauce for your recipe collection is a good spaghetti sauce.  I have been told by my kids and many others that mine is their favorite.  It is a simple recipe with nothing very unique or special.  Mostly, the ingredients are typical to any kitchen cupboard or pantry.

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So while I think it good enough to go on my blog collection of Only My Best Recipes, it is not particularly “sexy” or interesting.  (I never have understood why magazines will describe anything non-human as sexy.)

Anyway, it is just one of my most used recipes because it makes great lasagna or meatballs with pasta dishes.  Serve it over spaghetti noodles, atop toasted french bread or in your lasagna recipe.  Consider doubling it and freezing half for future use.  Or freeze in meal size portions for a quick meal when you are too tired, or too sexy for your cooking.  Or whatever.  Even if your aren’t tired or too sexy– it makes a wonderful Italian meal. Pair it with my Herb Bread and you will impress anyone.

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Let me know if you find it sexy.  I need to know why…

Italian Spaghetti

Ingredients:

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1 lb hamburger

1 lb Italian sausage

1 cup chopped onion (more if you love it)

1 clove garlic

1 cup water

1 t. salt

1 t. sugar

1 t. dried oregano leaved

3/4 t. dried basil leaved

1/2 t. dried marjoram leaves

1/4 t. dried rosemary leaves

1/2 t. red pepper flakes (if you like it spicy)

1 bay leaf

1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste

1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce

1 (15 oz) can stewed tomatoes

Cook and brown the hamburger and sausage with the onion and garlic in a dutch oven. Do not overcook, just cook until browned.
Drain well.
Add the remaining ingredients.

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Heat to boiling then turn down to simmer.

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Cover and simmer over low heat for about one hour. Stir occasionally.

That simple.  But, it still is good enough for  Only My Best Recipes.

 

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My Best (but not particularly sexy) Spaghetti Sauce

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

6 servings

Ingredients

  • Italian Spaghetti
  • 1 lb hamburger
  • 1 lb Italian sausage
  • 1 cup chopped onion (more if you love it)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 t. sugar
  • 1 t. dried oregano leaved
  • 3/4 t. dried basil leaved
  • 1/2 t. dried marjoram leaves
  • 1/4 t. dried rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 t. red pepper flakes (if you like it spicy)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
  • 1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
  • 1 (15 oz) can stewed tomatoes

Instructions

  1. Cook and brown the hamburger and sausage with the onion and garlic in a dutch oven. Do not overcook, just cook until browned.
  2. Drain well.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients.
  4. Heat to boiling then turn down to simmer.
  5. Cover and simmer over low heat for about one hour. Stir occasionally.
http://www.onlymybestrecipes.com/my-best-but-not-particularly-sexy-spaghetti-sauce/

 

 

 

 

 

Dec 072013
 

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Potica, Povetica, Poticia…

There are many different ways to spell  it.  My family spells it “Potica”.  Which confuses people into pronouncing it “POT ick ah”, instead of “pah TEET sa”.

No matter—they are names for the same Slavic bread.

A rich mixture of walnuts, honey and sugar spread across the thinly rolled sweet dough, this bread is often made for special occasions.  My mom would make it for Christmas and Easter.  Slavic communities will prepare it for funerals.  In the valley that I live in, where many immigrants came to work the local lead smelter, most everyone knows what this ethnic bread is.  And there are strong opinions on how it should be made.

Mine is a less “rich” version.  If I were to compete with those made in East Helena, I would have to double the filling so as to get the thick swirls of walnuts that characterize the samples that I have had at local funerals.  But given the price of walnuts, and the added calories that I always seem to be counting, I have a lighter version.

But having said that, it is NO DIET FOOD.  It is high in calories.  Which is why we eat it on holidays.  The time of year when you should set your scale back ten pounds…

Give it a try—I use my beloved bread machine to make the dough, and make it in about a third recipe of what my mom used to make.  The result is about a football sized loaf of pure love.

I have detailed the instructions so that anyone can make it—because most won’t attempt it without the tutoring of grandma or great aunt.  Don’t be afraid to prepare it for your next holiday.  Take notes for yourself.  It took me several tries to get the results that I was pleased with.  Not that it altered the taste that much, but the end product should be pretty if you are going to serve it to those people whose name ends in “ich” or “ic”.

But don’t be intimidated by a reputation—just go for it!  You just might score a touchdown with your family!  (or, make it and sell it—most people will pay a premium for it!)

Bread Dough:

Place into the bread machine:

¾ cup plus 1 T. warmed milk–  don’t warm it too much, just take the chill off of it

3 T shortening

2 ½ c. flour

2 T sugar

Scant t. salt

1 egg

2 t yeast

Run your bread machine on the dough cycle.  When done, place the dough onto a well floured countertop.  Allow to rest for 15 minutes (this is very important because it helps to relax the gluten so rolling out the dough is easier)

While your dough is going through the dough cycle of your machine (about 1 ½ hours), then prepare the walnut mixture.

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Grind walnuts in a food processor or hand grinder, checking diligently for any walnut shells that the factory missed.

1 lbs. walnuts

3 T butter or margarine

1/3 c. cream or half and half

Dash salt

1 t. vanilla

1/3. c. honey

1 c. sugar

2 ½ t. cinnamon

1 t. lemon rind

1 large egg, beaten

Add them to a 2 qt. saucepan.  Add the remaining ingredients EXCEPT THE EGG,  and stir over very low heat.

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The purpose is to warm the mixture so that it blends well, not to cook it. Once blended, leave it until the dough is rolled out and ready to prepare.

While to dough is resting, take a cloth dishtowel (not a terrycloth one) and “drench” it with flour.  This will serve as the surface onto which you will roll out the dough.  It should measure about 24” x 18”. (I have one that I use consistently for this purpose.)

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Once the dish towel is fully “floured” then place it on the countertop, placing your rested dough in the middle.  Now gently roll out the dough to the edges, flouring your rolling pin if needed.  Don’t worry if you get holes—it doesn’t matter if you do.  Do try to get a consistent thickness.

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Once the dough is rolled, carefully reheat the walnut mixture just until it is soft again.  Remove from heat and stir in the beaten egg, doing it quickly so that none of it “cooks” in the pan.

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You are ready now to spread the walnut mixture onto the dough.  Place spoonfuls as pictured.  Using a spatula ( I like to use one like the pros use for frosting a cake), gently push the mixture across the dough, (do not let the spatula touch the dough – this will make it drag the dough with it) all the while going to all the edges except one of the narrow ends.  Aim for a consistent thickness.  Try not to push hard. It is quite helpful to have the walnut mixture ever so lightly warm so that it spreads easily.

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Now, starting at the short end where you have spread the walnuts all the way to the edge, begin to roll towards the other end, using the towel to make it roll.  If it sticks, don’t worry, simply take a knife and cut it away from the towel.

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Once to the end, pinch the dough so that the roll is sealed.  Then press the round ends of the roll together so that the filling does not push out.

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Now turn it so that the sealed length edge is on the counter and then pull into a loop as pictured.

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Place in to a WELL GREASED 3 qt. enamelware pan.  (This is the small roaster size.)

Now shake latterly until the dough settles a little. Then shake up and down a bit also.  Cover with your floured towel  or clear wrap and place in a warm spot in your kitchen.  Allow to double, about one hour.

Once doubled,  place into the center of a preheated 325 degree oven.  Check at 45 minutes and cover lightly with a sheet of aluminum foil.  Finish baking.  Crust should be nicely browned.

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Once done, place on a cooling rack and run a steak knife around the edges.  Wait ten minutes and then invert onto another cooling rack (make sure you have the rack on top—don’t just dump it out.)  Next, turn it back over using another rack so that the rounded side faces up.  Rub with butter to soften the crust.  Allow to cool.

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Makes a 3 # loaf.  Freezes really well.  I often cut into two pieces and freeze separately.

Keeps well on the counter—no need to refrigerate.  Serve with butter, or not.  Now call yourself a Bohemian princess—you have made Potica!

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Potica, Povetica, Poticia…

Potica, Povetica, Poticia…

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup plus 1 T. warmed milk-- don't warm it too much, just take the chill off of it
  • 3 T shortening
  • 2 1/2 c. flour
  • 2 T sugar
  • Scant t. salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 t yeast
  • Filling recipe
  • 1# walnuts
  • 3 T butter or margarine
  • 1/3 c. cream or half and half
  • Dash salt
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1/3. c. honey
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 1 t. lemon rind
  • 1 large egg, beaten

Instructions

  1. For full pictured instructions go to: www.onlymybestrecipes.com/potica-povetica-poticia/
  2. Run your bread machine on the dough cycle. When done, place the dough onto a well floured countertop. Allow to rest for 15 minutes (this is very important because it helps to relax the gluten so rolling out the dough is easier)
  3. While your dough is going through the dough cycle of your machine (about 1 ½ hours), then prepare the walnut mixture.
  4. Grind walnuts in a food processor or hand grinder, checking diligently for any walnut shells that the factory missed.
  5. Add them to a 2 qt. saucepan. Add the remaining ingredients EXCEPT THE EGG, and stir over very low heat.
  6. The purpose is to warm the mixture so that it blends well, not to cook it. Once blended, leave it until the dough is rolled out and ready to prepare.
  7. While to dough is resting, take a cloth dishtowel (not a terrycloth one) and “drench” it with flour. This will serve as the surface onto which you will roll out the dough. It should measure about 24” x 18”. (I have one that I use consistently for this purpose.)
  8. Once the dish towel is fully “floured” then place it on the countertop, placing your rested dough in the middle. Now gently roll out the dough to the edges, flouring your rolling pin if needed. Don’t worry if you get holes—it doesn’t matter if you do. Do try to get a consistent thickness.
  9. Once the dough is rolled, carefully reheat the walnut mixture just until it is soft again. Remove from heat and stir in the beaten egg, doing it quickly so that none of it “cooks” in the pan.
  10. You are ready now to spread the walnut mixture onto the dough. Place spoonfuls as pictured. Using a spatula ( I like to use one like the pros use for frosting a cake), gently push the mixture across the dough, (do not let the spatula touch the dough – this will make it drag the dough with it) all the while going to all the edges except one of the narrow ends. Aim for a consistent thickness. Try not to push hard. It is quite helpful to have the walnut mixture ever so lightly warm so that it spreads easily.
  11. Now, starting at the short end where you have spread the walnuts all the way to the edge, begin to roll towards the other end, using the towel to make it roll. If it sticks, don’t worry, simply take a knife and cut it away from the towel.
  12. Once to the end, pinch the dough so that the roll is sealed. Then press the round ends of the roll together so that the filling does not push out.
  13. Now turn it so that the sealed length edge is on the counter and then pull into a loop as pictured.
  14. Place in to a WELL GREASED 3 qt. enamelware pan. (This is the small roaster size.)
  15. Now shake latterly until the dough settles a little. Then shake up and down a bit also. Cover with your floured towel or clear wrap and place in a warm spot in your kitchen. Allow to double, about one hour.
  16. Once doubled, place into the center of a preheated 325 degree oven. Check at 45 minutes and cover lightly with a sheet of aluminum foil. Finish baking. Crust should be nicely browned.
  17. Once done, place on a cooling rack and run a steak knife around the edges. Wait ten minutes and then invert onto another cooling rack (make sure you have the rack on top—don’t just dump it out.) Next, turn it back over using another rack so that the rounded side faces up. Rub with butter to soften the crust. Allow to cool.
  18. Makes a 3 # loaf. Freezes really well. I often cut into two pieces and freeze separately. Keeps well on the counter—no need to refrigerate. Serve with butter, or not. Now call yourself a Bohemian princess—you have made Potica!
http://www.onlymybestrecipes.com/potica-povetica-poticia/

Oct 122013
 

I love granola—but have always been too cheap to buy it ready made.  And when I discovered how easy it is to make it at home, I swore I would never buy it at the store.  Still haven’t.  Take a try at this recipe.  It is sooooo, so  easy that  you will likely convert to my way of thinking.

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Oh, and don’t be afraid to make changes to suit your favorite flavor!

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Easy Home Style Granola

Simple, common ingredients you can always have on hand
Simple, common ingredients you can always have on hand

6 cups regular oats (you can use quick oats, but I prefer the regular)

2 cups shredded coconut

1 – 2 cups chopped nuts

1 cup honey or maple syrup (or pancake syrup)

or

1 cup brown sugar, packed

½ cup canola or coconut oil (or melted butter or margarine)

3 t. cinnamon

1 1/3 c. raisins or other dried fruit

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In large bowl, combine dry ingredients.

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In a 2 cup liquid measuring cup, combine the oil and the honey (or syrup or brown sugar).  Stir well.

Add to the combined dry ingredients and mix well.

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Oil two large cookie sheets and divide oat mixture between the two pans.

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Lightly salt and then place in oven.  Bake 10 minutes, then switch cookie sheets and cook another 5 minutes.

Remove from oven.  Before allowing the oats to cool, loosen from pan with a metal spatula.  Allow to cool.  Top with dried fruit. (Or use chocolate chips if you are a chocoholic.)  Keep in an airtight container.  Serve with milk or eat as a snack.

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Hide it from yourself if you made it for the rest of the family.  Simply too tasty to pass up.

Makes about 10 cups of granola.

Easy to make Home Style Granola

Easy to make Home Style Granola

Ingredients

  • 6 cups regular oats (you can use quick oats, but I prefer the regular)
  • 2 cups shredded coconut
  • 1 – 2 cups chopped nuts
  • 1 cup honey or maple syrup (or pancake syrup)
  • or
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup canola or coconut oil or melted butter or margarine
  • 3 t. cinnamon
  • 1 1/3 c. raisins or other dried fruit

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In large bowl, combine dry ingredients.
  3. In a 2 cup liquid measuring cup, combine the oil and the honey (or syrup or brown sugar). Stir well.
  4. Add to the combined dry ingredients and mix well.
  5. Oil two large cookie sheets and divide oat mixture between the two pans.
  6. Lightly salt and then place in oven. Bake 10 minutes, then switch cookie sheets and cook another 5 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven. Before allowing the oats to cool, loosen from pan with a metal spatula. Allow to cool. Top with dried fruit. (Or use chocolate chips if you are a chocoholic.) Keep in an airtight container. Serve with milk or eat as a snack.
  8. Hide it from yourself if you want it for the rest of the family. Simply too tasty to pass up.
  9. Makes about 10 cups of granola.
http://www.onlymybestrecipes.com/easy-to-make-home-style-granola/

Aug 272013
 

My mother in law makes this recipe– I think she got it from her mother.  It is one of my favorites!  Simple, easy, quick , no fancy ingredients to buy– in fact, if you have pork chops in your freezer, you probably have all the necessary ingredients right now!

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(Note– I added craisins because I like them– they add a surprise bite to the dish– but you may omit them if you don’t love them.  If some of your family likes them, go ahead and throw them in.  Those that don’t can navigate around them.)

I actually had this recipe  published, like 25 years ago — it won the recipe award for a Sperry New Holland magazine.  My first claim to fame regarding food.

This recipe is mostly low fat (if you trim your chops well) and you can add more veggies (broccoli and cauliflower are good!) to make it more healthful.

Now to warn you– measurements are open to adjustments, depending on your taste.  Play with it, allow yourself extra time to cook to get the results that you want– especially if you add more veggies.

 

 

 

10 – 12 cups torn stale bread– try to use less dense breads that are dry. (I even leave it out to dry, or dry it an oven)
1 1/2 cups diced onion
1 1/2 cups sliced celery
1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley, if you have it. Dried parsley is okay, too– use 2 T.
1/4 to 1/2 cup craisins (optional)
1 1/2 t. salt
1 t. pepper

1 can cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup ( chicken is better)

1 can of warm water

4 – 6 pork chops, trimmed

 

Combine the bread, onions, celery, salt and pepper and craisins. Add soup and water.

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Combine these ingredients, tossing gently so that it does not compress. Add more water only if it is too dry to combine well.
In greased 9 x 13 inch pan, lightly press the stuffing evenly.  My pictures show a smaller pan– it is better to use the bigger pan so the stuffing will crisp up.

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Trim your pork chops well, salt and pepper both sides and place on top of the stuffing. You can place as many as you want on top, but know that unless the stuffing can breathe a bit, it will be soggy. If you like crisp– then allow more space around the chops. If you like soft, crowd the pork chops and leave the fat untrimmed.

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Bake 1 hour at 400 degrees, longer if you like it crispy. If you use a shiny pan, it will not brown. I like to use stoneware (as pictured). Remember, darkened pans cook and brown anything faster!
Allow to sit for a few minutes before serving. This recipe will freeze well both before cooked and after cooked.
True comfort food. Bet your man will love it.

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Pork Chops and Stuffing (not to be confused with stuffed pork chops)

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

4-6 servings

One chop and 3/4 cup stuffing

Pork Chops and Stuffing (not to be confused with stuffed pork chops)

Ingredients

  • 10 - 12 cups torn stale bread-- try to use less dense breads that are dry. (I even leave it out to dry, or dry it an oven)
  • 1 1/2 cups diced onion
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced celery
  • 1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley, if you have it. Dried parsley is okay, too-- use 2 T.
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup craisins (optional)
  • 1 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 t. pepper
  • 1 can cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup (better)
  • 1 can of warm water
  • 4 - 6 pork chops, trimmed.

Instructions

  1. Combine the bread, onions, celery, salt and pepper and craisins. Add soup and water.
  2. Combine these ingredients, tossing gently so that it does not compress. Add more water only if it is too dry to combine well.
  3. In greased 9 x 13 inch pan, lightly press the stuffing evenly.
  4. Trim your pork chops well, salt and pepper both sides and place on top of the stuffing. You can place as many as you want on top, but know that unless the stuffing can breathe a bit, it will be soggy. If you like crisp-- then allow more space around the chops. If you like soft, crowd the pork chops and leave the fat untrimmed.
  5. Bake 1 hour at 400 degrees, longer if you like it crispy. If you use a shiny pan, it will not brown. I like to use stoneware (as pictured). Remember, darkened pans cook and brown anything faster!
  6. Allow to sit for a few minutes before serving. This recipe will freeze well both before cooked and after cooked.
  7. True comfort food. Bet your man will love it.

Notes

Freezes well!

http://www.onlymybestrecipes.com/pork-chops-and-stuffing-not-to-be-confused-with-stuffed-pork-chops/

 

 

Aug 052013
 

 

class reunion

 

What is it about class reunions that take us down a nervous, funny, sentimental and retrospective pathway?

I recently went to my 40th class reunion.  I graduated from Helena High School in 1973.  We had about 580 plus classmates—one of the largest for our school before the school district added another high school.

David and I both graduated from the same school and the same year.  There are others like us, but typically, there are couples that leave a spouse home  (who likes to spend the evening being an outsider to stories and relationships that you were never a participant?) Or those who drag their “foreign” wife or husband who have to pretend that they are having a good time hearing about an historically irrelevant event that has everyone choking in laughter or tearing up in sappy sentiments.

Now for David and me, we ran in different crowds.  He, a farm boy with small town “East Helena” roots, me, a “city girl” whom David often frames as coming from “IN CROWD”.

 

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No matter—we cross over one another’s friendships with mutual ease.  Having been married 38 years has meant that we have shared most of one another’s history and know one another’s childhood and adolescent events.  Not many unshared secrets or mysteries between us.  We have fun poking one another about past relationships and enjoy complete security in our marriage.

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David and me at the Saturday night buffet

But, having said all that, I still have to admit that for me, the days running up to the first event were variously afflicted with anxiety and excitement.   We make ourselves commit to go, then begin the preparation for the initial entrance for the first slate of fun.

So, why the anxiety?

Who doesn’t wonder about whether they will recognize their classmates?  (Thank God for nametags) Or, will they notice that I weigh 10 pounds more than I did on that last day of your senior year?  Or how will I face my ex-boyfriends?  Or will my senior English class members recognize me, will they make conversation with me even though we were not friends in 12th grade? Will they notice my wrinkles and varicose veins and the “cheesecake” appeal that has turned into “cottage cheese”?  Which glasses will I wear, the ones that see the distance across the room, or the reading glasses that allow me to read the name tags on an unrecognized person’s chest?

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I do weigh more—I’m okay with that.  Thankfully, a health scare involving the “C” word put me through a week of trepidation that burned off about 4 lbs. Read my post about my Brush with the Pink Path here. Not a fun way to lose that extra fat, but hey, if there is a silver lining to a $3,000 biopsy, then I’ll take it.  Thankfully, the worst part about the biopsy is having to pay for it.  Maybe I will take off the other 10 lbs. worrying about how to pay it off.

But I must admit: I found myself upset about a broken fingernail and fact that my tan had faded (like I could be Jillian Michaels because I lost 4 lbs and had my nails done with a pearlescent coral!)  And then the adult acne that had been absent for years reappears the day before our debut on Friday night.   Good grief.  Stupid obsessive vanity ruled my emotions, only to be outdone by my fear of rejection and insecurity about making conversation with people unseen for 10 years.

Finally, I made peace with myself after an hour of two of foolish debate.  What difference does it make?  I am okay with who I am and how I look.  Not to my own credit—I know it’s my good genes and mostly clean living.  I have all my original parts and pieces.  I have great health, still have never met a stranger, and really want to reconnect with past school mates.  I want to know what and where people have been and experienced. I want to hear about where life has taken these class mates that I spent three years with during those tempestuous and formative years that we all call high school.

So why go?  Me? I want to reconnectAnd the truth is: I hate surface chatter. I don’t want to just go through the motions and keep it surface.  I want to know what is below the “hello, you look great or, how many kids do you have? and where do you live now?” questions.

Unfortunately, class reunions can be full of pretense, disguise, or omissions of the dark details of hurt, illnesses and financial failure.  It’s not that I want to dig up dirt, or find out how much they paid the IRS last year.  Not at all.  I DO want to know about kids, grandkids, jobs, siblings, parents. Say the word “grandkids” and see the same unashamed smiles wash across our faces.

So it is not the dark detail that I want–but I hate small talk. I want substance, what matters-to-you and what-has-happened to you. Discussion about spiritual condition of our lives.

And so I must tell you that I learned one truth long ago about how people relate to David and me.  They eagerly open up about their health issues, scares, and diagnoses.   I listen often about their trials of treatment, frightening prognosis and good or bad outcomes.  We have faced difficult symptoms, some treatable, some not.  We were even a part of a successful drug study and now are spokespersons for a drug to treat one of the symptoms of MS called Pseudobulbar Affect.  More here— you may know someone who could be helped!

I theorize that it is because our physical trials are readily apparent.  Who can ignore the wheelchair?  No one can pretend that nothing has happened to our lives.  The chair is a tangible reminder that catastrophe  has visited our lives. (read more here) But the wonderful part of what sounds like a complaint is this:  It becomes a conduit to whiz past the surface stuff and get to what people have lived through.  So it becomes a valued accessory for my strategy to get below the surface.  It makes conversation meaningful and creates bonds.  I get to:

  • hear why one class mate is so slim—not because she went to Weightwatchers (like I did) or because she popped pills to stop her hunger (like a friend of mine did)—it is because she lost her husband to an unknown illness and she faced a life choice:  alcohol or exercise.  And she chose exercise.
  • Or how Karen and Frank nearly lost a son to suicide, and instead of hiding the pain from the world, took on a vision to help others in a tangible way—Out of the Darkness Walk and internet website to help others facing life and death emotional or physical pain.
  • Or how a casual friend was diagnosed with MS and seems normal to all those around her, but undoubtedly knows the fear and uncertainty that the doctor’s words cannot define nor the drugs that they prescribe can limit or eliminate.
  • And then the swimming team friend who was wrongly diagnosed with MS and then persisted until she got the correct name for her symptoms.
  • Or the woman who read my blog about my breast biopsy and private messaged me on Facebook to say her experience came back with different results.
  • Or the guy who told David about losing a large part of his lower colon to cancer…
  • Or the class standout whose cancer diagnosis may mean he will NOT see the next reunion.
  • And then there is the alcohol.  Every reunion seems to have the alcohol component that helps many to relax the fear of rejection or smooth the nervous conversations. The “social lubricant” if you must.  Don’t get me wrong—I am not a teetotaler.  But sadly, one cannot ignore the visible signs of those whose faces reveal years of addiction.   Though we think it to be self – inflicted, the sadness and fallout are still real and pervasive to them– and to those who love them also.

I would share names—I suspect most would not mind, but it is not my call to make.  Unlike us, their trial is not readily advertised by an orange wheelchair.  Their story is made public only because they choose to tell it, or because someone like Arlene Diehl is probing to find out what life have brought their way.

None of us live in a rose garden, and no one, not even Jesus Christ promises that the garden with roses will be available to even the most devoted and diligent human being.  There are days when I ask the why questions, and go to my bed or pillow with tears of searching for peace in order to face the sorrow and sickness that I see.  It could be a life shattering piece of news that drives me there, or simply the worries that being a mom present because your children trust in you enough to share their fears, disappointments and questions.   Being a “below the surface” person makes you vulnerable to hear the joys and sadness that this side of heaven present to us.  But it gives you the opportunity to enlighten others that there is a peace that passes all understanding–The peace that I found through Jesus Christ.

So if the last sentence was jarring, or made you think me “religious”, then file this blog post under irrelevant or maybe, offensive to you. If you aren’t  getting what I’m saying, file this for future need. Life may throw you a curve and you may find the need to investigate.

But the truth is that making Jesus Lord of my life has made my life liveable.  My husband fights the disease that my father fought and lost– the fight that Multiple Sclerosis won, year by year, day by day, until the summer of my graduation from high school, August 20th, 1973.  Many, if not most of my classmates never knew, for I was the surface person that found it painful to share my pain. I did not look for someone to share it with. Only a few knew—mostly my friends who had visited my home and saw his bedridden state.  For my intelligent, moral and loving dad died at 45 from a disease that, 40 years later, still has no cure.

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My father, before Multiple Sclerosis began

 

It is because of that sad event that I started my journey to follow Jesus Christ.

So I… we… press on.  David, who never feels sorry for himself; me, who am thankful that my self-pity is kept at bay by a relationship with a loving God who has sustained me through David’s many scary health events.

 

So for sure, we look forward to the 50th reunion.  And we will likely lose more of those who walked the halls of HHS in 1973.  Many of the same conversations will repeat, and surely a new question will arrive:

How many great-grandkids do you have?

But a reality of life is, none of us know who will have passed into eternity between now and then.  But as for me, my intention is live a life and leave a mark that cannot be erased.  That is why I go below the surface to hear the hearts of those who live this side of heaven, and just what they plan to do before mortality arrives at the doorstep of life.

 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” John 3:3 (NLT)

I hope you will consider doing the same.  Your eternity hangs in the balance.

And just so you know, this side of heaven won’t be so bad if you start today.

http://www.harvest.org/knowgod/  is a good place to start.

Questions? Try this:

http://www.harvest.org/knowgod/frequently-asked-questions.html

Love,

Arlene

 

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Jul 202013
 

20130717_172353 (1)Just a short post about  the pink path:

It has been about a month since I had my stereotactic breast biopsy.  I wrote about it last week and have received many comments.  Thank you to all who rejoiced with me in regards to a clean bill of health.

My sister Kathy rejoiced with me (as you might imagine).  She had informed me that the plastics factory that she works at manufactures the “needle” that they use to retrieve the suspect tissue.  Just today, I mentioned to her that I was pretty sure that “needle” was not a very accurate description, since it seemed that they actually used an auger to get the sample that they wanted to look at.

My sweet sister agreed – telling me that it was far from what we think of when we talk needles.

Today was the first time I Googled the procedure that I had.  I’m glad that I did not do that before the adventure.  Watching it afterwards made me squeamish, if not downright nauseous.  However, given that it is relatively non-invasive, I am still very glad that I have access to a hospital that can perform it.  And glad that the recovery is quite quick.

If you are curious, check it out here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EeP3fBh6JKc

 

Now, my next nausea will  come when I get the bill…

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Jul 172013
 

So no, I have not fallen off the face of the earth. 20130717_185335 (1)

It has been over a month since I posted anything.

It has been one of those… well you know, one of those months.

Busy, crazy, a bit scarey and sick.  First off, I now know the fear that a woman faces when the doctor calls to tell you that there is something that needs checking.  For me, it was an abnormal mammogram.  I got called back for further pictures, and I knew that when the radiologist followed the technician into the room, that I was not going to leave with relief that day.  Without sounding alarmed, he explained that there were some calcifications that were misshapen (as if they must conform to a certain size and shape) and that there were a group of them hanging out in my left breast.  Basically, he explained that it was “suspicious”.  A word that my brain would try to interpret in a thousand different ways….

I was a bit dumbstruck.  I expected that all would be normal.  I always do.  So I walked with the technician to speak with to Pam, the nurse navigator who would explain how I would have a stereotactic biopsy that was minimally invasive and done under mild sedation, if I liked.  But first they would inform my primary doctor and then I could wait for her to schedule my visit with the surgeon (even though it was the radiologist that would perform the procedure).

So I followed the proper channels, asked my nurse daughter to accompany me to see the appointment with the surgeon.  Because she understands all the medical jargon.  David will stay home and pray for me.

Except before I did that, I had to see the cardiologist.

My other health crisis was a nagging irregular heartbeat (that I have had for over 10 years) that now became more that a bit nagging.  A bit concerning.  My doctor agreed, so off I go for tests, Holter monitor (to track what my irregular heart was doing) a visit with the doctor and his stethoscope that revealed a heart murmur that I never knew that I had.  So an echocardiogram reveals that yes, I have a floppy valve, but nothing to worry about and news that a change in prescription would help.  Sigh.  Relief.

So the biopsy was scheduled on the day that we were supposed to leave for Wisconsin for my nephew’s wedding.  But I made the adjustment and went ahead with the schedule offered me.  I accept the offer of a mild sedative—only because, well because.  With a heart rate that has been so uncooperative, I decided that the sedation might tame it for the procedure.  Again, I call my nurse daughter to come along for the adventure.  I still have the sense that all is well, but better go through with the test to be certain.

Stereotactic biopsy is done using radiology technology to locate the exact position of the “suspicious” area so as to guide the radiologist’s needle to the area that they want to suck out and give to the pathologist.  Sounds simple enough.  They use a modified massage table (not really) that has areas that allow your, um, breast, to hang into the area that allows the radiologist to photograph and then guide a needle into the “suspicious” area.  I’m glad I couldn’t see the picture of me in that position.  While staying as still as I can, I compose a letter of the valuable input for the designers of this “padded” table.

Now simple it may seem, but let me tell you, not simple to remain in the same position with your arms and shoulders pressed against padded plastic while your breast is sandwiched between two plastic vise grips.  My jaw is pressed against the table in such a way that I can barely answer the questions that the “audience” poses.  The temptation to move is overruled by your strong desire to cooperate so that the task can be completed.  After 2 hours and three tries (they do numb you, but not enough, so I ask for more), they were able to capture the “suspicious” little calcifications that we wanted the pathologist to peer at under his trusty microscope.  I must tell you—if they were going to have to make a fourth try, I’m just not sure I had it in me to “hang” in there for another “stab” at my “chestalarea”.  Thankfully, I did not have to “press” through.  The nurses were so very supportive, compassionate and affirming.  The mammography nurse, Patti, did inform me that I would be “quite bruised.”  Epic understatement. I am sent home with small pink gel packs to control the swelling.

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Since we were headed to Wisconsin, I had made the follow up appointment for the day AFTER we returned.  Getting a call while 1,000 miles away was not going to change anything, so I asked NOT to be called so that I could be home and able to act, should I have to face any more action.

But I did get a call.  A call during another call, so I did what I never do—call the unrecognized number to see who was trying to get me.  We were in a poor cell reception area, so all I heard was the receptionist answer and identify the surgeon’s clinic name as the call’s origin.  It was the surgeon’s office!  So now I cannot find out why they called when I had asked NOT to be called.  My mind raced—did they not get the memo that I was 800 miles away on a trip and did not need to hear bad news that would disrupt my week, my entire vacation, and my life, for that matter???  I went back and forth.  Maybe they had good news and wished to dispel my fears.  Or, maybe they just got it mixed up in the office and were just doing the usual routine:  call the women when they need to schedule a lumpectomy or mastectomy.  Just do the job they way they always do it.  Or, they needed

to change my appointment because there was a conflict??  For about three hours, I had this silent debate in my head.  Finally, I tell David that I need him to pray for me.  My solid peace has just disappeared like the water that swirls down the drain at my kitchen sink.  My stomach is in knots, my head in overdrive.  So pray we did.  Talk we did.  And process I did.  If I had to have more done, then I would find that place of peace that Jesus and I have together in spite of all that David and I have been through.  I know that place, I trust His Face.  He has never let me down. I would wear pink on my pathway to health if my news was not good.

We continued on the drive through North Dakota until my cell phone rings again.  I recognize the number this time.  It is the clinic.  They are calling to tell me… to tell me that the biopsy was normal, nothing to worry about, all is well.  They simply wanted me to know so I would enjoy my trip.

I asked the nurse if she could hear the relief coming from this side of the phone.   She certainly could.  Suddenly the fear slipped away as quickly as it arrived, my stomach regained hunger and my heart, well, my heart raced with joy.  I had spent about 3 hours arguing with my speculations and was near to the place of peace that I knew and have known for so many years, making my mind up that no matter what, His grace and love would carry me wherever I would go.

And now life was carefree once again.  Those visions of wearing the pink scarf and walking the hard path have vanished.  I privately condemned myself that a few sentences from the surgeon’s office would so quickly bring peace when my personal faith had struggled so hard to achieve the same peace on that highway between Bismarck and St. Paul.  Why did I have to take that journey through the “what ifs?”  “how bad?” “and where to next?” when faith would have spared me all the wrenching speculation?  I don’t have the answer for that, but I do have a new compassion for those who get the calls with bad news.  For several hours, I lived in their bodies, their minds and felt their fear and anxiety.  It was real for me and I will never forget what those minutes and miles were like.  Though my news was reassuring, many do not get that assurance that life will continue normally.

So I am past the heart scare, the breast biopsy, the 2,400 mile trip in 6 days, and company with eight kids for almost eight days, and the consecutive bout with a respiratory bug that brought fever and aches while I trudge through.

I will overcome, I say to myself.  Living with David, who has faced all sorts of life’s obstacles and illnesses, I have learned courage and faced down my enemy, self-pity.  His example has made me know that I can appropriate what David has owned, that peace and solidity that his faith in Christ has brought to him.  If David will overcome with the help of our Lord, then I will go look for it also.  Because for about three hours of interstate highway between Bismarck and St. Paul, I know that was it there for me because I sought it.  But seek it, you must.

It has been said that people don’t follow Christ because Christians have not made their faith attractive to unbelievers.  I reject that philosophy—rather, I hope that your need, whatever it is, will take you to that road where you seek the One who brings the peace that passes all understanding.

Because ultimately, this life will have its sorrows, sicknesses and disappointments.  If you have not been attracted to that peace that He offers, then it is you that I bear sorrow for.

So now you know, I have not fallen off the face of the earth.  Just distracted by life in general, and faced with a deficit of time to type out my journeys.  I hope to have a bit of boredom for a while—like the moment a few days ago, when I realized that my house was quiet and clean for the first time in about three weeks.  I just wondered for how long… and how long it would be before I wished for the chaos of a houseful of family and grandkids to pick up after.  For I know me, and clean and quiet will suit me for only a just a little while.  Because believe it or not, a week where I run my dishwasher only twice, is a week of too much quiet and clean.

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20130717_172353 (1)

 

 Posted by at 7:37 pm
Jun 032013
 

IMG_0295Years ago I decided that I was craving some pork ribs.  I baked the ribs, drained off the fat and realized that I was running really late.   I needed to get the sauce made and then get out the door to who knows whatever reason, so I re-engineered the recipe.  I read over the ingredients, rounded them up or down and concluded that my empty tomato paste can would be my measuring cup today.  After all, Rachel Ray doesn’t seem to measure anything, so why can’t I?

I wasn’t too certain as to how my experiment would work.  I wasn’t very brave then. I hoped for the best. I have to say, though, it was liberating to toss the can into the trashcan when I was done.  A quick spoonful of the final product tasted fairly good, but this was BEFORE it was on the ribs. I would wait with baited breath.  Whatever that means…

So I dumped the truncated recipe onto the already cooked ribs and tossed them back into the oven.  Said a prayer, probably, and then headed out the door. returning an hour and a half later, I was not disappointed.  In fact, quite ecstatic!  My Rachel-esque experiment yielded a wonderful sweet/sour/spicy rib that pleased both me and my David.  And all this with minimal time and clean up.

And now,  this is the only method that I use to make BBQ sauce. It’s delicious with beef round steak, chicken and beef ribs, too.   And to make another confession, I have even used some as a tasty add-in to soups that lack pizzazz.  (Hint: save  what’s leftover in the pan, add bit of the meat and add some vegetables to some canned stock)

I often make it up in double batches and keep it in the fridge for a second meal assembly.  After all, it takes more time to get out the ingredients than it does to measure and clean up (I mean toss) the mess.

And as you know, it fits my recipe objectives:  it is simple and uses common ingredients.   Rachel would be proud. I think.

Simple “Can Do” BBQ Sauce

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4-6 lbs. of cooked ribs, chicken or beef*  (see cooking directions below)

1 6 oz. can of tomato paste

1 can water

1 can brown sugar

1 can ketchup

3/4 can white vinegar

1 can chopped onion

2 T. prepared mustard (or, two dollops if you don’t want to measure)

1 1/2 t. salt

1 clove of garlic or 1/4 t. minced garlic (from a jar, because I never use up fresh garlic  before it spoils)

1 t. (about) of red pepper flakes (optional)

Start by roasting the meat, which takes about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  While the meat is cooking, open the tomato paste can.  Empty the paste into a medium mixing bowl.  Next, measure one can of water, add to the bowl.  Next, measure the brown sugar, then the ketchup, then the vinegar.  Chop the onion (about a can’s worth) and add it to the bowl.  Now finish with the mustard and seasonings.  Stir well.

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Pour over pre-cooked spare ribs, short ribs, chicken or round steak.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 1/2 hours.

*To cook the ribs, chicken or beef, place in a roaster pan or stoneware (as I have done).  Salt and pepper.  Cover loosely with foil, poke holes into the foil to allow steam to escape.  Roast meat for 2 hours or until mostly cooked.  Remove from pan and drain off fat.  Replace the meat into the pan and generously cover with the sauce.  Return to the oven and cook for another 1 to  1 1/2 hours at 350 degrees.  Check  periodically and remove if the sauce gets too browned.  Cut into serving pieces and serve with plenty of napkins.

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A BBQ sauce that anyone CAN master. (Hint, if you can open a can of tomato paste, you CAN make this)

A BBQ sauce that anyone CAN master.  (Hint, if you can open a can of tomato paste, you CAN make this)

Ingredients

  • 1 6 oz. can of tomato paste
  • 1 can water
  • 1 can brown sugar
  • 1 can ketchup
  • 3/4 can white vinegar
  • 1 can chopped onion
  • 2 T. prepared mustard (or, two dollops if you don't want to measure)
  • 1 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 clove of garlic or 1/4 t. minced garlic (because I never use up fresh garlic before it spoils)
  • 1 t. (about) of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 4-5 lbs roasted meat-- ribs, round steak or chicken

Instructions

  1. For detailed directions and pictures, go to: [http://www.onlymybestrecipes.com/a-bbq-sauce-that-anyone-can-master-hint-if-you-can-open-a-can-of-tomato-paste-you-can-make-this/]
  2. *Start by roasting the meat, which takes about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  3. While the meat is cooking, open the tomato paste can.
  4. Empty the paste into a medium mixing bowl.
  5. Next, measure one can of water, add to the bowl.
  6. Next, measure the brown sugar, then the ketchup, then the vinegar.
  7. Chop the onion (about a can's worth) and add it to the bowl.
  8. Now finish with the mustard and seasonings. Stir well.
  9. Pour over pre-cooked spare ribs, short ribs, chicken or round steak. Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 1/2 hours.
  10. *To cook the ribs, chicken or beef, place in a roaster pan or stoneware (as I have done).
  11. Salt and pepper the meat.
  12. Cover loosely with foil, poke holes into the foil to allow steam to escape.
  13. Roast meat for 2 hours or until mostly cooked.
  14. Remove from pan and drain off fat.
  15. Replace meat into the pan and generously cover with the sauce.
  16. Return to the oven and cook for another 1 to 1 1/2 hours at 350 degrees.
  17. Check periodically and remove if the sauce gets too browned.
  18. Cut into serving pieces and serve with plenty of napkins.
http://www.onlymybestrecipes.com/a-bbq-sauce-that-anyone-can-master-hint-if-you-can-open-a-can-of-tomato-paste-you-can-make-this/

 

 Posted by at 2:34 pm
May 282013
 

IMG_0121

I have a dog-eared index card in my recipe box that I received over 35 years ago.  It was one that was given to me by David’s Aunt Patty.  It is called “Sweet and Sour French Dressing.” I have it in her writing, and next to it, in my handwriting, a quadrupled version of the ingredients that yields 2 quarts.

I don’t like it.  David does. It is sort of similar to Catalina dressing, I think.  I say, “I think” because I am positively NOT a fan of French dressing and so I really cannot tell you if they are the same.  I will take David’s word for it.

French dressing?  I just don’t love it.  It just seems so wrong to put ketchup on your salad (and now that I said that, you agree, right?)  And since I am a mustard person, and most French dressings have ketchup in them, you now understand why I sidestep them.

But since David has a strong preference for the French—I build this one often.  It is simple, uses common ingredients, and, although I am not a fan, many of my guests love this one.  I must admit, IT IS pretty.  Especially atop a spinach salad—the contrast between the dark green leaves and the reddish glisten of the (ketchup) and green onion –a delight to the eyes.

BESIDES—it is so inexpensive to make your own salad dressings! Besides,  I am NOT fond of forking over several dollars for a small bottle of what I can mix up in a blender is less than five minutes.

So, I said two dressings—here’s the deal– Yesterday, when I was making this recipe, I paused before adding the ketchup (like it takes courage to add this to the beautiful blend of ingredients.)  It struck me—maybe this recipe is delectable WITHOUT the ketchup!  So here’s what I did:  I saved out half of the mixture before adding the ketchup and voila’! Two recipes for the effort of one!  I served our salads for lunch, David’s with the French, mine with the French minus the ketchup.   It works.  The taste of both—sweet and infused with that green onion freshness, his with the ketchup, mine without.  Definitely a pleasing discovery—one that I will pass on to you.  Maybe next time, I will add mustard to mine, because I am definitely a mustard girl.

I will get back to you on the mustard idea.  I will have to wait until my fridge door has enough room to house all the condiment jars that I try to fit into those narrow cubbies.  Ahh… the limitations of the inspirational cook.

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The ingredients– simple and common

Two in One:  Green Onion Sweet and Sour Dressing and Sweet and Sour French Dressing

½ cup white vinegar

2/3 cup sliced green onion (use the green parts)

1 cup oil

2 t. salt

2 t. pepper (fresh ground or course ground is preferable)

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup ketchup—for the French version.

Measure all the ingredients except the sugar and ketchup and place into a blender.

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Blend very well (about one minute).  While running the blender on low speed, add the sugar slowly for about one minute.  Stop the blender and pour off half of the mixture. This is your Green Onion Sweet and Sour Dressing.

Now add the ketchup to the other half, blending for another minute.

Pour into jars and refrigerate.  This recipe keeps very well if kept refrigerated.  Makes 1 cup each version.

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A Tale of Two Dressings—one on purpose, another by chance.

A Tale of Two Dressings—one on purpose, another by chance.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • 2/3 cup sliced green onion (use the green parts)
  • 1 cup oil
  • 2 t. salt
  • 2 t. pepper (fresh ground or course ground is preferable)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup ketchup—for the French version.

Instructions

  1. For detailed and pictured directions, go to: [http://www.onlymybestrecipes.com/a-tale-of-two-dressings-one-on-purpose-another-by-chance/]
  2. Measure all the ingredients except the sugar and ketchup and place into a blender.
  3. Blend very well (about one minute).
  4. While running the blender on low speed, add the sugar slowly for about one minute.
  5. Stop the blender and pour off half of the mixture. This is your Green Onion Sweet and Sour Dressing.
  6. Now add the ketchup to the other half, blending for another minute.
  7. Pour into jars and refrigerate. This recipe keeps very well if kept refrigerated. Makes 1 cup each version.
http://www.onlymybestrecipes.com/a-tale-of-two-dressings-one-on-purpose-another-by-chance/

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May 192013
 

 

Soon after I posted my blog about the  wonderful phenomena of the bread machine, I attended a presentation at the Montana Historical Society  titled “A Taste of the Past: What We Can Learn from Historic Cookbooks.”  The topic of cookbook evolution fascinates me, and before your click to go read something else, please hang with me while I tell you how lucky we are to live when we live.

Everyone has struggled with a recipe that was sloppily written, or missing important elements necessary for a successful dish.  Or, maybe you have a grandmother’s recipe with unconventional vernacular, like: “add a teacup of sugar,” or “place in a hot oven.”  Obviously, we have come a long way and most of us have no clue what it was like before we had the standardized recipe format from Fannie Farmer–  or experienced what it is to bake without the convenience of the electric oven.

Back to the presentation:  The Historical Society has a collection of cookbooks that go back to the 1880s.  The oldest in the collection was “The Montana Cook Book” that with a compendium of recipes “adapted to the Rocky Mountain region.” The “Crumbs of Comfort” cookbook dated 1893, and tells how to make a lettuce sandwich.  Lettuce sandwich?

The early cookbooks took much for granted.  No, OODLES for granted. There was major assumption as to how much skill a cook possessed.  Clearly, most girls were tutored by a mother or grandmother on the basics of food preparation. Most postmodern high school graduates might mistake these recipes for a grocery list.  Many recipes seemed only to list what went in, in what order, and voila’, a finished culinary creation appeared! Or, not.

And clearly, they did not have ready access to the variety of staples that we take for granted.  If a recipe called for butter, one did not buy it at a nearby Costco or Sam’s, but likely milked the cow, skimmed the fat and churned the cream.  Imagine that?  Or, baking that cake meant stoking the wood stove and testing the heat by “placing a bit of flour on a sheet and waiting until it was browned!”  Sounds more like a science experiment to me.  (And to think how often I opt for the boxed cake mix so to avoid the “tedious” measuring.)

Another point of interest are those with pictures of the pioneer kitchen.  Oh dear.  It wasn’t even apparent that the room pictured WAS a kitchen!  A stove, yes, but counter or cupboards?  No, I wondered how well I might have fared, since I felt deprived because it was 30 years of marriage before I had the convenience of an in-sink garbage disposer.  And speaking of a sink?  Did not exist in these pictures.  And I am ashamed to think of my own dismay that I neglected to include a pull-out cutting board for my new kitchen!   Nowadays, we are infatuated with stainless steel appliances, ice cube makers and granite countertops.  A decadent and pampered generation of cooks, we are.

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Perhaps the most detailed and well- written cookbook in the Montana Historical Society’s collection is one titled “Manual for Army Cooks” (Prepared Under the Direction of the Commissary General of Subsistence, 1896.)  Though not of any particular Montana significance, it does describe the best way to gauge the temperature of your stove  and  how to dispose of garbage “so as to not attract flies” — A skill still yet to be conquered – I still miss those fabulous “No Pest Strips” that I used in the 90’s.  (For those who don’t know abut those amazing hanging slabs of insecticides—they were a fab invention that killed those pesky flies from the corrals.)  The only disturbing aspect of this wonderfully detailed cookbook is that its author was most likely a man.  I guess that tells you I am that most definitely gender biased.

100_1974And yet, while I admire the determination and solid work ethic of the pioneer cook, I am abundantly thankful that our technological advances have freed up women for other pursuits, like helping professions, Bible studies and volunteer work, not to mention, Zumba dancing, spray tans and gel manicures.   And to think, Martha Stewart has made millions by teaching us how to master these pioneer domestic activities!  Who’d have thunk it?  She has re-established homemaking as a hobby, yes,  an artistic and vogue pursuit even.  (I’d like to know if Martha makes a lettuce sandwich?)

Finally, a clear indicator that we now speak a different language of political correctness—one of the collectibles featured was “The Montana Federation of Negro Women’s Club Cookbook”.  Published in 1925, they boasted that theirs was a superb publication because “they make their living by cooking.”

It was an interesting night.  I appreciated the history lesson and reflected happily how grateful I am for my microwave, 5 burner gas stove and my ever-so-wonderful bread machine.  Sometimes it only takes an hour long peek into our past to celebrate the timing of our birth into this world.  And though I am intrigued by Martha’s reinvention of our domestic opportunities, I’ll stay comfortable with my level of energy and commitment in the kitchen.  I have far too many other pursuits (a job, gel nails and Bible Studies) to fill my days!

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 Posted by at 8:23 pm
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