Saturday, December 31, 2011


Pieces of Time

New years come and new years go,

Pieces of time all in a row.

As we live our life, each second and minute,

We know we’re privileged to have you in it.

Our appreciation never ends

For our greatest blessings: our family and friends.

Happy New Year!

~By Joanna Fuchs 

  This has been such a challenging year. 2011 was a year of loss for many around here. The floods were of biblical  and record proportions, changing the lives of many and affecting everyone, whether directly or indirectly. Crops and gardens and animals all suffered right along with their human counterparts. As I write this, we still have not had hard winter freezing yet, and the ground is still wet and mushy. 

So for 2012, I ask for just normal rain amounts, good gardens  and crops with high yields, healthy animals, and for nature to take pity on us and give us all a rest. I gain new hope daily as my favorite seed catalogs have started arriving, and I and others start eagerly planning gardens and hoping for a far better year. I have really enjoyed starting to explore heirloom seeds and am getting away from commercial seed. Lots of good outlets and nice to know I am not contributing to further GMO problems.

The new year also brings it's own rituals. Tonight, our family will have surf and turf at home, with new york strips, lobster and scallops, goopy potatoes (very cheesy yummy mashed taters) and a variety of salads and veggies. We usually also have a clam dip that I make that i will share here.

New year's day brings another tradition here, pork and sauerkraut. The reason we all eat pork on new year's day is because pigs root ahead, and we want good luck in "rooting ahead" into the New Year! The dinner is usually accompanied by mashed taters, corn, pepper cabbage, and dumplings. We always look forward to pigging out before being good in the New Year!


This is pretty common, but yummy!

  • 2 small packages (6 ounces total) cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 small clove of garlic, crushed and finely minced
  • 1 can (7 oz) minced clams, drained
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • dash ground cayenne pepper or hot pepper sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce


Clam dip directions
Mix the cream cheese, mayonnaise, and garlic together until smooth. Add minced clams and blend in with remaining seasonings. Chill clam dip thoroughly. Serve clam dip with chips, crackers, or vegetable dippers.

PORK and SAUERKRAUT DINNER--Crockpot Version
4 lbs pork roast, browned first with a little chicken montreal seasoning in butter
Put the roast in the crockpot and cover with roughly 2 lbs. of sauerkraut and then cover in chicken broth. Use silver floss brand for the kraut.
cook on low for roughly 10 hrs or until tender
For the dumplings, mix  two cups of bisquick with 3/4 cup of milk until there's a soft dough. Spoon the dough onto the pork and sauerkraut when it's done. Let it cook for about 15 minutes, and then put the crock pot (minus the heating unit, of course) in the oven at 450 for five minutes, until the tops get crusty and lightly brown. Make mashed taters and corn as sides, and further in my blog is the recipe for pepper cabbage.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christkindl Market

 This past weekend, Mifflinburg PA, hosted the annual Christkindl German Christmas Market. A few block of a couple of streets are turned into the traditional Christmas market with vendors, folk dancers, food, carolers, crafters etc. it is a fun time indeed. So here are few pictures from the day.

 This is the Tinsel Angel and her story is posted in another picture below.

Here are some antique and restored bells.

One of the pretty wreaths.

This is a German Pyramid. They have a neat history all their own and you can read about them at

I love folk art and loved these hand painted game boards.

The top picture and this are from the same Church in Mifflinburg.

Some German folk dancing!

Can't have a festival without food. I was eating brats with saukraut and Spätzle and Stollen and, well, you get the idea! Good sharp cheese and garlic balogna courtesy of RISHEL'S MEATSAddress: 701 Walnut ST, Mifflinburg, PA 17844

Another pretty wreath....and game board......

My best friend and I with Old World St. Nicholas. I was unable to get pictures of the beautiful nutcrackers, though.

Live nativity......

Great pickles, extra hot garlic! Courtesy of Peter Piper's Pickles, they ship!

Sign of Mifflinburg.

                                                            The story of the Tinsel Angel.

                                                         One of the many pretty trees......

                                         One of the pretty houses and decorations....................

                                                                     Last wreath..................

Christmas Cookies!

Christmas is only a week away. I am always amazed at how quickly the year (and years) pass by. I am often swamped this time of year because I often have to work a lot of overtime hours November and December which makes it really tough to do the things I love to in this season which is cook, bake, and craft.

I do always decorate though and try at least get some baking in. Every family has their favorites. I won't post all mine today but will share a few for you to try this week.

My father loves thick soft sugar. Our family recipe can use any number of different extracts. Most commonly I use lemon or almond or vanilla for these but have used others as well. So it can be a really nice versatile cookie for you as well. And iced, they are show stoppers!


4 C sifted flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 C shortening/butter
1 1/2 C sugar
2 eggs beaten
1 tsp vanilla ( or other extract flavors like lemon and almond)
4 tsp milk (approx)


Sift--- flour, baking powder, salt sifted 3 times-- set aside
Mix--butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla until light and fluffy
Alternate mixing dry ingredients into wet (if you want to add food coloring, here is the place to do it)
Chill dough in freezer to cool quickly, or make into ball and leave in fridge overnight
Heat oven to 400 degrees F
Roll dough to 1/2 inch thickness
Cut out with flour dipped cutters
Bake on lightly greased sheets until bottoms look golden, tops will still be pretty light and soft looking, let cool.

Another favorite here that Mike likes are my Oatmeal cookies. You can vary these as well depending on whether you like to add chocolate chips or nuts or whatever to them.


1 1/2 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 C butter
1 C sugar
1 egg
2/3 C buttermilk
2 C rolled oats


Sift------flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
Mix-----Cream butter, add sugar in 2 portions and cream. Beat in egg until fluffy.
Add----- flour mix and buttermilk alternately in 2 or 3 portions until smooth after each. Stir in rolled oats.

If you want to add chips or nuts, just cut back on the flour by 1/4 C.

Bake----on lightly greased sheets at 400 degrees F for about 10-12 minutes.

Another one I often bake here are spritz cookies. These are a butter cookie used with a cookie press. Like the sugar cookies, you can use any flavor extract you like. I do these in almond and vanilla, amaretto and chocolate, and like the sugar cookies, can be colored as well with food coloring's.


2 1/2 C flour
1 C butter = 1/2 lb
3/4 C sugar sifted
3 egg YOLKS
1/2 tsp almond extract OR 1 tsp vanilla


Mix--cream butter until shiny , add sifted sugar gradually.
Beat- add egg yolks until fluffy. Add flavoring and color.
Stir--in flour in 3 or 4 portions

Press onto cold ungreased sheets and bake at 400 degrees F about 8 minutes.


Follow same as above except after creaming butter and sugar, immediately add  1 1/2 squares melted unsweetened chocolate melted and cooled, and use 1 tsp vanilla for the flavoring.

We also like no bake cookies. These things rock!


In a 2 QT saucepan in over medium low heat, melt and mix

2 C sugar
1 stick butter
1/2 C milk
4 heaping tsp cocoa
pinch of salt

Whisk to blend, when it comes to a full boil, boil 1 minute.
Take off stove and then ADD;

3/4 C peanut butter
2 1/4 C quick oats
2 tsp vanilla

Mix well and drop on 2 greased cookie sheets and cool in the fridge.

Keep checking back this week as I will be adding more Christmas recipes and also
Hanukkah which is this week!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

And We Give Thanks......

                                                  HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

                   Thanksgiving to me has always been truly about giving thanks and family. Of course, food traditions certainly play a part in these memories. But growing up in northeastern PA on a dairy farm, all the family came home to the farm for Thanksgiving. I always looked forward to this. My parents now have a farm in NYS, and with the way we work, holidays like today included, those days of the big thanksgiving on the farm are not the same anymore. My significant other's family has a lovely family gathering though and it is just next door at his sister's so it is still in the country, where I feel it should always be.

                  After all, we are thankful to God for the harvests and what we have been able to reap with His blessing. So at the farm where the abundance of produce is plentiful makes sense. It also makes sense in being surrounded by the natural beauty of the earth.

                  This holiday has so many food traditions from house to house and region to region, that it could be celebrated every day with a totally different array of food at each meal! So, I thought I would share a few dishes from around my region with you. 

                  My mother's menu often looked like this:

Roast turkey with herbed filling
Mashed potatoes and gravy
Mashed butternut cinnamon squash
Corn Pudding (which is like a bread pudding)
Green Bean Casserole
Candied carrots
Apple cranberry salad
Fresh dinner rolls and bread
Her apple and pumpkin spice pies

I am here to tell you that the squash and corn pudding I will often make at other times as well, and that salad cannot be beat! They are also simple to make. Another staple here in this part of Pennsylvania is potato stuffing. I love both, can you lose! So I will share that first!



  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 to 3 celery ribs, finely chopped
  • 6 tablespoons butter, cubed
  • 2 slices white bread, torn
  • 3 cups mashed potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley


  • In a large saucepan, saute onion and celery in butter until tender. Remove from the heat. Stir in the bread, potatoes and parsley. Spoon into a greased 1-qt. casserole.
  • Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 45 minutes or until top is lightly browned. 


This is actually more of a slaw.

   1 lb bag of fresh cranberries washed
   7-8 fresh apples
   orange zest
  1/4 C sugar (can add more to taste)


  • wash and shred in food processor or hand grater the cranberries and peeled and cored apples
  • zest a bit of orange rind
  • add the sugar to taste
  • combine and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving

Cinnamon Squash Mash

   1 butternut squash
   3 tbs butter
   1/4 C brown sugar
   1/2 tsp cinnamon


  • cut squash lengthwise and bake face down on a greased cookie sheet at 375 degrees about an hour or until tender.
  • after pitting seeds, scoop flesh out in large bowl
  • add the butter, sugar and cinnamon 
  • mash and serve


(Lizelia Augusta Jenkins Moorer)

Let us give thanks to God above,
Thanks for expressions of His love,
Seen in the book of nature, grand
Taught by His love on every hand.

Let us be thankful in our hearts,
Thankful for all the truth imparts,
For the religion of our Lord,
All that is taught us in His word.

Let us be thankful for a land,
That will for such religion stand;
One that protects it by the law,
One that before it stands in awe.

Thankful for all things let us be,
Though there be woes and misery;
Lessons they bring us for our good-
Later 'twill all be understood.

Thankful for peace o'er land and sea,
Thankful for signs of liberty,
Thankful for homes, for life and health,
Pleasure and plenty, fame and wealth.

Thankful for friends and loved ones, too,
Thankful for all things, good and true,
Thankful for harvest in the fall,
Thankful to Him who gave it all.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Tree

                                                              I am studying a tree.

                                                          I don't think it had a name.

                                                                  I gave it one.

                                                         It is the Rush Baptist Tree.

 I have been taking pictures of my tree for almost a year now, in differing lights and seasons. Why? I have no idea except that this lone tree atop Rush Ridge speaks to me. Maybe it's because it sits atop the ridge, silhoutted against the sky and surrounded by 200 year old tombstones that murmur of times gone by in a differing era of rural life. Off to the side sits the quintessential little red country church, that still holds services rain or shine or snow or bitter cold and that all the local old farming families still attend.

Perhaps it is that this stately tree reminds me so much of the tree of life. Symbolic in so many ways to Christ, of life and the life cycle. Perhaps it is that I feel God's presence here among the residents of the cemetery  whom the tree seems to watch and preside over, like a preacher to his congregation on a sunny Sunday morn.

Whatever the fascination, I love my tree. And I'll continue to photograph him in case that day comes that through the ravages of time he is no longer there to comfort me, or his other patrons. You must admit, trees like this are so regal and are symbolic of so much in life.

The gnarled bare branches heading into winter reminded me, of all things, my grandmother's hands. They were bare and gnarled in her elder years, but had accomplished much. They were the hands of an amazing dynamo of a tiny woman who gardened, sewed, canned and loved.

Yesterday, as I visited my parents, I sat next to my mother. My mother was busy laying out goodies to eat (something we both love), and as she sat next to me with her hands resting upon the table, I noticed that her hands were starting to look like my grandmother's. The arthritis that has made the joints larger, the finer skin, the callouses from being a ranch woman and working outdoors so much. Beautiful hands that cook the yummiest things and create the most beautiful pictures of animals and scenes in pastels, and that can write comforting words of counseling and wisdom and just pure beauty to a soul.

I then looked to my own hands, hands starting to show the midlife age wear and tear with a little arthritis starting, callouses, finer skin etc, just like my mom's. And I thought to myself that I have a preview here, and that if I'm lucky, one day, my hands will be as beautiful as my mother's and my grandmother's. Just like my bare winter tree, with it's gnarled and bare but ever so strong and comforting branches encompassing its silent congregation on the ridge.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Peach Harvest is in full swing in my area, and I adore fresh peaches. So today while home I made one of my favorite peach crisps. I make this a little healthier by using  Splenda's brown sugar instead of the regular brown sugar. Still tastes great!


  • 6 cups fresh or frozen peach slices, peeled and pitted
  • 1/2 cup  Splenda brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup unbleached flour
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • 3/4 cup Splenda brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup rolled oatmeal
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) butter, cold, cut in 8 pieces

How To Make Peach Crisp

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Butter a 9" X 9" glass baking pan or 2 quart stoneware baking dish. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, toss peeled and pitted ripe peach slices with 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 flour and lemon juice and arrange in prepared baking dish. Set aside.
  4. Combine 1 cup flour, 3/4 cup brown sugar, oatmeal and cinnamon in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until blended.
  5. With the food processor running, add cold butter a few pieces at a time. Pulse until the butter is incorporated and looks like coarse meal.
  6. Spread topping ingredients evenly over the peaches and bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until peaches are bubbling through and the topping is starting to brown. Remove from oven and cool for 15 minutes or more before serving.
  7. Serve warm with Sweetened Whipped Cream (below) or your choice of ice cream!
  8. Refrigerate any leftovers if there are any left!
  9. Serves 6.
This Peach Crisp Recipe can be jazzed up by adding blackberries, raspberries or cherries for color, sliced almonds and almond extract for taste or pure maple syrup for sweetness. ( For a really yummy twist, add blueberries. ) Experiment with different fruits and spices. Substitute apples for the peaches and voilà! Apple Crisp! 

Sweetened Whipped Cream

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. In large mixing bowl, whip heavy whipping cream until almost stiff.
  2. Add confectioners' sugar and vanilla and whip until stiff. Do not over whip cream.

Read more at Suite101: Peach Crisp Recipe Made With Fresh Peaches: Recipe For Fresh Peach Crisp Topped with Sweetened Whipped Cream |

Saturday, September 10, 2011

9/11--10 Years

We all remember what tomorrow is. My thoughts and prayers to all the
family and friends affected. In my memories are the victims, the plane
crews and passengers and all the victims and rescuers and those
affected. If you are like me, you can remember exactly where you were
when it all started going down. Here is an excellent piece from a food end about that day.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Spring and Strawberries

Well, I got very busy in April, so did not get a chance to post for Easter and Passover as I had hoped. Ahhhh well, there is always next year! Something for you all to look forward to then! Here is a nice picture of my May flowers that the April showers brought. Rhubarb will be in my next post, another springtime favorite.

Spring is finally here, and it's always amazing to me how God designs us, or at least me, to go with the seasons. Already, I no longer crave the heavier-stick-to-your-ribs fare that I instictively start coooking when  I feel the fall season change. Now it's the reverse, craving the lighter foods of salads and veggies and fruit, more fish and poultry. Just what we need to do well in the warmer weather and to be able to take advantage of all the spring lettuces, spinach, herbs and spring peas also. Mother's Day was also just here, and one of my favorite dishes was on the menu and a real treat anytime, great for breakfast, brunch or lunch and good for vegetarian friends as well. As soon as strawberries come in season here the end of the month, you'll be ready with a few of my favorite recipes heres.

Strawberry Crepes

My basic crepe recipe is:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted


Sift together flour, sugar and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, beat eggs and milk together with an electric mixer. Beat in flour mixture until smooth; stir in melted butter.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 2 tablespoons for each crepe. Tip and rotate pan to spread batter as thinly as possible. Brown on both sides and serve hot
Now comes the fun part of stuffing them! Several variations to choose from.
Strawberry and cream:
Lay the crepe out  and in the first 1/4, spoon whipped cream or sour cream across in a line, then top with fresh sliced strawberries or strawberries in syrup. Fold the first part of the crepe over and continue to roll like a jellyroll or rollover. Sprinkle the top with strawberry syrup and powdered sugar. 
Pineapple and cottage cheese:
Lay out as above and instead of whipped cream, spoon pineapple cottage cheese in the center, roll up, drizzle with pineapple juice and powdered sugar. Just 2 of my favorites, but you can use about anything you desire, just about any mild or sweet cheese and fruit are awesome.

Strawberry Shortcake here is not the lackluster stuff from the store. There are 2 versions, depending on how PA Dutch you are. My other half loves the very PA Dutch Version of actual shortcake. My father loves the biscuits version. I'll give you recipes for both.

2 C sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp lard
pinch of salt
1 C milk
2 1/2 C flour
2 tsp baking powder

Beat sugar, eggs, lard and salt together and then add alternately the milk and flour and baking powder. Bake in a 9x11 or 2 rounds, sprayed with cooking spray, 350 degrees for about 40 minutes.
Now, to top it off, put a nice cream cheese or cooked icing on top. Then serve with sliced strawberries in a light syrup. He then likes to drown it in milk. But this cake is so yummy, I often eat it alone.

Shortcake Biscuits
These are basic drop biscuits, but they are light and fluffy with a slight crust and perfect for strawberries.
2 C sifted flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
6-7 tbs shortening
2/3-3/4 C milk
SIFT flour, baking powder and salt. KNIVE in shortening. HOLLOW OUT and add milk, for dough. Either bake in a 8x8 dish or drop by spoons on greased tray. BAKE at 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes.
When ready to serve, crumble in a dish and top with sliced strawberries in syrup and whipped cream.

Another yummy thing this time of year is my

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

This dressing is good on any kind of salad, although better with peppier greens and a good marinade for chicken and fish.
Slice fresh strawberries and toss with spinach, ( 1 qt strawberries and about 10-12 oz spinach). Add 1/4 C slivered blanched almonds.
Poppyseed Dressing
2 tbs sesame seeds
1 tbs poppyseeds
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C olive oil
1/4 C distilled white vinegar
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs minced onion

I mix the above in a small blender and pulse until blended well and then chill for an hr. if it can sit overnight it is even better. Take and drizzle over salad and toss. Refrigerate for about 15-20 minutes before serving chilled.
I also love good fresh tuna steaks. As you heat up the grill for summer and want something yummy to go with the salads, try this tuna steak marinade before grilling. It is devine. 
In a large glass dish/pan, combine
1/4 C orange juice
1/4 C soy sauce
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs lemon juice
2 tbs fresh parsley
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 tsp fresh oregano
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
4  4oz tuna steaks

Mix the above ingredients except for tuna in the glass dish. Add the steaks, cover with plastic wrap or put in a zip lock baggie and refrigerate for 1/2 hr to 1hr. Take steaks out and grill like normal and discard marinade.