I have many fond memories of my grandmothers, Marie Miller and Kathryn Barton. Grandma Miller lived on a farm in the country outside of Smithville. Grandma Barton lived on a circle street in the center of the village. They were near, as we lived just east of town. They were dear, because they were ideal grandmas. I hope to be one, one day.
Fun was always had on my grandparent's Egypt Road farm. There was lots of space to run; circles around the big farmhouse, up and down the barn bank, through the cornfield rows, on the wooded paths across the road. There were lots of places to climb; up the barn ladders, up roof high stacks of straw and hay, up perfectly branched climbing trees, and of course onto Grandpa's tractor.
Fun was always had at my grandparent's house on Eldorado Circle. There was an old Victrola we listened to as we rode broom and mop horses from one end of the basement to the other, There were neighbor kids to play with, sidewalks where we could take long block walks, and always a new coloring book and fresh crayons in the den desk drawer.
But the best of the best memories were the treats that our Grandma's always seem to have. Grandma Miller made the best chocolate chip cookies, with pudding in the mix. Grandma Barton perfected the Rice Krispie treat. Grandma Miller had plenty of Wrigley's gum flavors and Lifesavers in her kitchen junk drawer. Grandma Barton had a filled candy dish on the desk in the living room, one on the kitchen table, and one in the den.
Grandma Miller made the best homemade applesauce, best when eaten by the slushy spoon full; her cinnamon applesauce using Red Hot candies was awesome. Grandma Barton made the best chocolate pudding pies topped with Dream Whip; one beater for me, one beater for my sister. Her strawberry mini-muffins were gone in a heartbeat. Only one spoon to lick in that batter bowl, the other licked the spatula.
Grandma Miller always had her cellar deep freeze well stocked with ice cream treats and 1/2 gallons of many flavors, a box of sugar cones was in the cupboard. Homemade ice cream was made at every family event. Grandma Barton always had big box of Flav-O-Pops in in her garage deep freeze, and in the ice box there was always a big can of Hawaiian Punch or orange Hi-C.
Simple treats were often shared as well. Grandma Miller would hand us thick slices from peeling peaches or apples. Grandma Barton would hand us a chunk of raw potato on the end of her paring knife. One Grandma always had a box of Golden Crisp potato chips; the other always had a bag of Frito corn chips. And what was the common denominator here, why it was the Smith's French Onion Dip, of course. Reminiscent treats are indeed the best kind.
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Easy Luscious Dessert (Helen Vaught, New London)
1 (9 x 13 inch) cake pan
1 box yellow cake mix, baked according to package directions, and cooled
2 (3 ounce) packages of instant vanilla pudding
2 cups milk
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 (8 ounce) container whipped topping
1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
Mix puddings with milk and add cream cheese, spread on cooled cake, put drained crushed pineapple on top, then whipped cream.
Bec's Broccoli (Rebecca Rickabaugh, Toledo)
Big bunch, head of broccoli, cut into spears like "trees"
Microwave or steam with 1/2 cup water for 6 minutes or until tender.
2 to 3 tablespoons butter
3 to 4 green onions
Microwave 1 minute, and then add;
1/2 to 1 red pepper (1 cup), coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pepper, to taste
Microwave for 1 to 2 minutes; stir and pour over broccoli in serving dish. Colorful with red and green and is great for carry-in dinners.
Liver Lyonnaise (Corinne Rickabaugh, Shreve)
1 pound beef liver, sliced
3 to 4 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 to 4 tablespoons bacon drippings or oil
3 1/2 to 4 cups cubed potatoes, cooked in salted water until near done, drained
1 cup thinly sliced onion
1 (10 1/2 ounce) can cream of celery soup
1/cup milk or a bit more
Cut liver into 1 1/2 to 2 inch cubes, works well if partially frozen. Mix flour, salt, and pepper in a plastic bag or on a plate. Shake or roll liver in flour and brown in hot fat in heavy skillet. Do not overcook. Remove from pan. Fry onions and potatoes in same skillet until potatoes are tender. Place layer of potatoes and onions in a 2 quart baking dish. Add liver and layer of potatoes, etc. Combine soup, milk, and dash of pepper; pour over layers. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes. Serves 6.
Baked Liver (Corinne Rickabaugh, Shreve)
1 pound liver, sliced
1 onion, sliced, optional
Dry bread or cracker crumbs
Salt and pepper
Beat egg in shallow dish. Dip liver in egg and then in crumbs. Season to taste. Fry in butter or oil on both sides, about 2 to 3 minutes. Place in baking dish. Sauté onion until tender, and add to liver. Add a little water to fry pan; scrape up brown bits. Pour over liver. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.
Marlin's Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies (Marlin Oberholtzer, Willard)
1 cup butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons water
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup nuts
Cream butter, sugars, vanilla, and water; add eggs and beat again. Add dry ingredients. Beat real well. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.
Elyse's Family Pierogi Recipe (Donna Lortcher, New London)
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup butter, softened and cut into small pieces
Extra butter and onions for sautéing.
Mashed potatoes, cheese, & onion for filling
Mix flour and salt. Beat the egg and add it to the flour mixture. Add 1/2 cup onion, sour cream and softened butter. Work the dough until it's not sticky anymore, about 5 to 6 minutes. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate 20 to 30 minutes or overnight. Dough can be refrigerated up to 2 days. Will make 12 to 15 pierogies. Roll the dough on floured surface 1/8 inch thick. Cut 2 inch circles of dough for small pierogies with drinking glass. Place 1 tablespoon mashed potato onto dough circle and fold over into semi-circle. Press ends together with fork. Boil water and put pierogies in water for 8 to 10 minutes. They will come to the surface when cooked. Drain. Sauté onion in butter. Serve with sour cream.
Cream of Asparagus Soup (Donna Lortcher, New London)
2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups milk
3/4 to 1 pound fresh asparagus
Salt and pepper, to taste
Make the white sauté; melt butter in a saucepan over low heat. Blend in flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Stir until smooth. Add milk; cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and begins to bubble. Set aside. Wash asparagus, trim woody ends, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Cook the asparagus in a small amount of boiling water until tender, for about 5 minutes. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid. Set aside a few of the asparagus tips for garnish. Mash or blend remaining asparagus, set aside. Add enough boiling water to cooking liquid to make 1 cup; add white sauce and pureed asparagus. Heat thoroughly; season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with the reserved asparagus tips. Serves 4 to 6.
2 pounds beef bottom round, trim the extra fat
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup bacon drippings
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 cups beef broth
Cut the meat into 1/2-inch thick slices; season both sides with salt and pepper. Place the flour into pie pan. Dredge meat through seasoned flour on both sides. Tenderize the meat using meat mallet, until each slice is 1/4-inch thick. Dredge the slices on both sides once more and set aside.
Add bacon drippings or vegetable oil to just cover the bottom of a 4 to 5 quart Dutch oven; set over medium heat. Heat oil; add the steaks to pan, leaving cook space between pieces. Cook until golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Repeat until all of the steaks have been browned. When steaks are browned and set aside, add the onions, garlic, and celery. Sauté for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir to combine. Add the tomatoes, paprika, oregano, Worcestershire sauce and beef broth; stir to combine. Return the meat to the pot, set into the liquid. Cover the pot. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until the meat is tender and falling apart.
1 whole raw chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1 pound thin spaghetti, broken into 2-inch pieces
2 1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar
1/4 cup finely diced green bell pepper
1/4 cup finely diced red bell pepper
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 (10 3/4 ounce) cans cream of mushroom soup
1 medium onion, finely diced
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add chicken pieces to boiling water; boil for a few minutes. Turn the heat to medium-low and simmer, 30 to 45 minutes. Remove the chicken and 2 cups of the chicken cooking broth from the pot. When chicken is cool, remove the skin and pick out the meat (a mix of dark and white) to make 2 extra full cups. Discard the bones and skin. Cook spaghetti in the chicken cooking broth until al dente. When the spaghetti is cooked, combine with the chicken, 1 1/2 cups of the cheese, the green peppers, red peppers, seasoned salt, cayenne, soup and onions, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir in 1 cup of the reserved chicken cooking broth, adding an additional cup if needed. Place mixture in a 9 x 13 inch casserole pan and top with remaining 1 cup cheese. Bake at 350 degrees until bubbly, about 45 minutes. If cheese on top starts to get too dark, cover with foil.