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 SpƤtzle 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!