Friday, December 20, 2013

German Cookie Craving

                                                        GERMAN COOKIE CRAVINGS

 Due to Thanksgiving coming a week late this year and tons of overtime at work, my baking this year is nada, zilch, zero, nill...nothing. After the New Year, however, I plan on making up for it a little bit. This year, I have been craving two favorites from when I was a kid that our family made. Linzers and Molasses Thumbprint cookies. I have no idea why, maybe it's the jam! So here they are, something for you try if you aren't familiar with them. These raspberry almond linzers are a treat. the almond sugar in the cookie dough makes it a delicate treat.



2/3 cup almonds
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled, plus more for the work surface
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
1 12-ounce jar raspberry jam


Heat oven to 350° F. Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and toast, tossing occasionally, until fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes; let cool.

In a food processor, process the almonds and ¼ cup of the brown sugar until the almonds are finely ground.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and the remaining ¼ cup brown sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low and gradually add the almond mixture, then the flour mixture, mixing until just combined (do not overmix).

Divide the dough in half, shape into two disks, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours.

Heat oven to 350° F. 

On a lightly-floured surface, roll out each piece of dough to a ⅛-inch thickness. Using a 2- to 2 ½-inch round cookie cutter, cut the dough into rounds and place on parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing them 1 inch apart. Using a ¾- to 1-inch round cookie cutter, cut out the centers from half of the cookies. Reroll and cut the scraps as necessary.

Bake, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until the edges are golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool slightly on the baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Sprinkle the confectioners’ sugar on the cookies with the holes. Spread 1 teaspoon jam on the remaining cookies and top with the sugared cookies. Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

The Molasses Thumbprint Recipe here was my great Aunt Phil's, and I looked forward to them whenever we visited for the holidays. Mom always used maple syrup instead of molasses because her family grew up with a sugar shack in the family and home made maple syrup is just one of the best things on earth. Dye's Maple Syrup Company makes the best!

                                  AUNT PHIL'S MOLASSES THUMBPRINT COOKIES

Cream together -

 1 cup butter
 1 cup brown sugar
 1 cup dark molasses (I like Maple Syrup here)
 2 tsp baking soda dissolved in 1/2 cup boiling water

Sift together -

 4 & 1/2 cups flour
 1 tbsp ginger
 1 tbsp cinnamon

    Combine dry with wet ingredients until smooth. Roll out in circles, make a thumbprint and add your favorite jam in center. You can use any jam in the center, I like apricot, strawberry and raspberry, myself.  

Sprinkle with sugar and bake in a moderate oven (about 350) until just set, do not over bake.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Venison Season

                                                                   Venison Season

The week after thanksgiving here is a PA national holiday. For those not getting what that means, it's the first day of buck season for rifle! Archery is in a couple weeks before hand, but rifle season is long anticipated by all the hunters. We don't hunt anymore, mostly because we are fortunate enough to have family and friends who love to hunt but don't want all their meat and share with us. It's no longer fun to kill things, and I only ever hunted for the meat anyway. Never cared about antlers, I can't eat them. Besides, the older I get, I'm not overly fond of freezing my behind off and being in crappy weather to bag one, either. We just wrapped and froze some of the fresh venison from this week, and thought I'd share a couple ways I make it in various cuts. Our meat isn't usually gamey here. If it is, I soak the meat in milk in a gallon ziplock bag in the fridge overnight. It does two things, gets rid of the gaminess and tenderizes the cut.

Roast Venison

Above was a roast I did, sauteing onions and mushrooms and garlic in butter first, then searing the roast good on all sides to lock the moisture in before transferring to the oven or crockpot. I seasoned with rosemary, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper and deglazed after the sear with a merlot. Roast carrots, potatoes and lime beans and cinnamon applesauce will complete the meal. Venison is a fragile red meat, roast low and slow or it will dry out and be tough; I did this one for a couple hours  around 300-325. 

Another favorite for this cold weather is a nice venison stew.

Venison Stew

 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
 2 pounds venison stew meat
 3 onions, chopped
 2 cloves garlic, minced
 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
 1 bay leaf
 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
 1 tablespoon salt
 3 cups water
 7 small potatoes, peeled and quartered
 1 pound carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
 1/4 cup water
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In a skillet, deeply brown the meat in oil. Add onions, garlic. Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, oregano, salt, and water. Simmer, covered, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until meat is tender.
Add potatoes and carrots; cook until tender.

Combine flour and water. Stir into the stew. Remove bay leaf before serving.

Venison Chip Steaks and Tenderloins

These are simple, tender and delicious and should never be overdone, in my opinion. I sear them quickly (they cook fast so be careful) in a little butter and usually with onions, a touch of garlic, slat and pepper. They just don't need any more then that and are so good.

Venison Steaks

I like to do these a couple ways. Some times just grilled and seasoned, be careful, they cook quickly.

Another way is to do swiss steak with them. They're great with creamed potatoes, brown rice or noodles


12 to 14 oz venison cube steak

1/4 c whole wheat flour

 1 medium onion, cut into wedges

 2 medium carrots, slices

1 quart stewed tomatoes

Dredge venison in flour and brown in large, deep nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Add onions, carrots, and tomatoes. If mixtures seems dry, add water or beef stock .Also add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to medium low. Cook until meat is tender, about 1 hour.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Kielbasa Loaf and Haluski

Gearing up for the holidays means a couple of dishes must be at the table for the holidays. Kielbasa Loaf and halsuki  are two of them. For folks not into cooking your own, some of the best kielbasa and kielbasa loaf anywhere can be ordered and bought from Kowalonek's  and Masser's  here in the heart of the coal region. Kowalonwek's has international fame as the best, but they duel every year, LOL. 

But for those that do like to cook, here it is. 

 Kielbasa Loaf:

2 1/2 lbs ground beef
2 1/2 lbs ground pork
3 tbs tender quick (cole's hardware has this here)
1 tbs garlic powder although i usually add more, lol
1/2 tbs black pepper
1 tbs mustard seed
2 cups ice water

Mix well, form into loaf on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for an hr.

Haluski is a great way to use up your fall garden cabbage and is always yummy. I always serve mine with a side of applesauce, but then, I eat applesauce with everything, LOL.


The quick version is this--

1 head cabbage
1 package wide noodles
Onions to taste
Salt and pepper

Variation 1: Cook wide noodles and drain. Cut up cabbage, onions, add butter and water. Cook until cabbage is done, making sure no water remains (5 to 7 minutes). Pour cabbage over noodles and mix well. Add salt and pepper.

Variation 2: Cut the cabbage up any way you like, do the same with the onion. Heat a large pan (I use medium-high heat on an electric range). When the pan is hot, add bacon grease (If you ever make bacon, always save the grease! It keeps a long time in the fridge.) or the 'grease' of your choice. When the grease is hot, add cabbage and onions and saute for a few minutes. Turn down the heat (medium) and cover the pan. Let this cook until the cabbage is soft. If you want the cabbage browned more, remove the lid and turn up the heat again. Add grease as you need it. Add the cooked noodles and serve.

Full version:

2 C flour
pinch salt
1 egg, well beaten

1 large chopped onion
2 tsp oil
1 medium head cabbage
garlic powder to taste

Cabbage part-- saute onion in oil, add chopped cabbage and steam /saute until tender.

Dough part-- Add enough milk t make dough stiff when mixed. Roll out thin (1/8 inch) on floured board and cut into 2 inc squares. Drop dough into boiling water and cook 3 minutes. drain, rinse and let dry for a few minutes. Add dough to to steamed cabbage and simmer around 30 minutes. The more butter, the merrier.

Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, Chag Sameach!

Hello again! I have been really missing in action this year with helping my Dad out all summer and into fall, but he's on track and doing well now and I can get back to this and what I love.

I have previous posts on Thanksgiving and the dishes. Our menu usually goes like this:

Roast turkey and ham
Goopy taters
Baked corn
Green bean casserole
Candied yams with marshmellows
Seven layer Salad
Apple cranberry salad
Red Beet eggs
Deviled eggs
Spinach and artichoke dip
Butternut Squash mash with butter, maple syrup and cinnamon
Apple, pumpkin pies
Rice pudding

It varies a little as folks will bring more goodies along but that's the main deal.
You can find some of the recipes here:

Also, today is Hanukkah, which hasn't fallen on Thanksgiving in over a 100 years. Another reason to be very super thankful and blessed. You can find ideas for this week's celebration in a previous post here:

So, now that we have those covered, my next post will be goodies coming on up into Christmas.


                                                           HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Giving Thanks

For the hay and the corn and the wheat that is reaped,
For the labor well done, and the barns that are heaped,
For the sun and the dew and the sweet honeycomb,
For the rose and the song and the harvest brought home --
Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving! 

For the trade and the skill and the wealth in our land,
For the cunning and strength of the workingman's hand,
For the good that our artists and poets have taught,
For the friendship that hope and affection have brought --
Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving! 

For the homes that with purest affection are blest,
For the season of plenty and well-deserved rest,
For our country extending from sea unto sea;
The land that is known as the "Land of the Free" --
Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving! 

~Author Unknown

Proclamation of Thanksgiving

Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863

This is the proclamation which set the precedent for America's national day of Thanksgiving. During his administration, President Lincoln issued many orders similar to this. For example, on November 28, 1861, he ordered government departments closed for a local day of thanksgiving.

Sarah Josepha Hale, a 74-year-old magazine editor, wrote a letter to Lincoln on September 28, 1863, urging him to have the "day of our annual Thanksgiving made a National and fixed Union Festival." She explained, "You may have observed that, for some years past, there has been an increasing interest felt in our land to have the Thanksgiving held on the same day, in all the States; it now needs National recognition and authoritive fixation, only, to become permanently, an American custom and institution."

Prior to this, each state scheduled its own Thanksgiving holiday at different times, mainly in New England and other Northern states. President Lincoln responded to Mrs. Hale's request immediately, unlike several of his predecessors, who ignored her petitions altogether. In her letter to Lincoln she mentioned that she had been advocating a national thanksgiving date for 15 years as the editor of Godey's Lady's Book. George Washington was the first president to proclaim a day of thanksgiving, issuing his request on October 3, 1789, exactly 74 years before Lincoln's.

The document below sets apart the last Thursday of November "as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise." According to an April 1, 1864, letter from John Nicolay, one of President Lincoln's secretaries, this document was written by Secretary of State William Seward, and the original was in his handwriting. On October 3, 1863, fellow Cabinet member Gideon Welles recorded in his diary how he complimented Seward on his work. A year later the manuscript was sold to benefit Union troops.

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Project Eden Prattsburgh Cattle Drive

 Project Eden Prattsburgh Cattle Drive

We'd like to share a special project with you all. It impacts our family directly and those of fellow veterans. My father is the hospitalized veteran. Some of you know his physical struggles this past year. Despite that, he has still contributed sermons to this site and on facebook under God's direction. Daniel's story of how Project Eden got started is a heart wrenching one of loss and a new beginning for both him and other suffering veterans.

The purpose of Project Eden is to rehab and train PTSS vets on an organic farm, using a very rare herd of exotic miniature cattle. There is a timely need to purchase these cattle, to save a hospitalized veteran from losing his farm to tax sale. This gives the veterans therapy and new self sustaining skills for their new lives. Much of these homesteading skills are almost a lost art themselves and this is a rare opportunity to blend the needed with therapy.

         Project Eden Prattsburgh Cattle Drive

From battle fields to farm fields you can support America's finest by pitching in on Project Eden Prattsburgh's Cattle Drive!

Providing Futures
          My name is Daniel Hoaglin SSG/USA/RET, co-founder of Project Eden Prattsburgh, a branch of Johnny’s New Hope Inc.  I served just shy of 11 years in the US Army when I was wounded in Iraq in 2004, and subsequently medically retired.  I went several months unable to get work, and not receiving my compensation from the Veterans Administration.  Due to this “high level of care” I lost my home, my family’s belongings, and my self-esteem.  After going through several treatment facilities with very little improvement in my condition; my family and I turned to farming to help provide a future for ourselves.
          Project Eden Prattsburgh is located on a family farm set in the tranquil hills surrounding the Finger Lakes in upstate NY.  With the help of Johnny’s New Hope Inc., and Berkana Hill Farm we are making a community centered in agriculture and support for America’s warriors.
          With suicide rates among Afghanistan and Iraq war veterans peeking to 22 per day I needed to make a change.
          We looked for the perfect animals to place on our farm for the production of milk and meat for our veterans; however we were coming up short for most dual purpose cattle are large, unyielding. 
          THEN WE FOUND THEM!  A complete breading herd of miniature White Dexter, and Irish Jersey cattle.  Known for their high quality milk and great feed conversion these hand raised cows are a perfect fit for our cattle requirements to raise, and feed our veteran community.  What makes them so perfect is their docility, and size.  With our veterans coming home with multiple injuries, and difficulties it is important to have an animal that can be handled easily. 

          THAT’S NOT ALL!  We found this herd by fate.  “How’s that?” you ask.  The herd is local to our region and is currently being raised by a veteran and his wife.  They have also fell into huge medical expenses and are about the loose their family farm to taxes.  The purchase of their herd will catch them up so they don’t lose the roof over their head. 
          I knew I needed to help, but I never realized how much I could actually help!  Now not only can your donations help our generation’s veterans, but it also helps the generations before us, and for generations to come by saving another of America’s hero’s family farm.
         These cows are one of the last surviving herds of miniature White Dexter cows in existence.  This herd holds great confirmation and excellent proportion. With our ability to breed these animals and carefully select our stock we can bring them back toward their early glory.
          We need to raise $20,000 by August 10, 2013 to ensure to continuation of this exquisite breed of animal!  With your help, Project Eden Prattsburgh, and Johnny’s New Hope Inc., we can not only save a herd of cows, but we can answer the prayers of the family selling them.  They pray the cows would sell to people whom will honor their work in breeding for perfection, and we can answer that prayer, but only with your help!
          100% of all donations to Johnny’s New Hope Inc., Project Eden Prattsburgh, and Project Eden Prattsburgh Cattle drive, go to the betterment of the lives of combat veterans!  We have no administrative costs, and we feel when you as a donator give to veterans, then every cent you donate should be used to help veterans in need.
          With your generous donation we can help raise money to purchase this lovely herd of cattle, and should these donations supersede our intended amount needed all other monies collected will go directly into combat veteran housing.
          Please if you cannot make a monetary donation don’t think that you can’t help us accomplish our goal.  Make some noise about this campaign, spread the word to your friends and family, or cry out in the streets if you must!  Or if that’s too much then you can check us out, and friend Project Eden Prattsburgh on facebook to keep up with our ever changing community.
          Don’t just claim to be a patriot, show your patriotism and give to an organization who actually gives back to veterans! 

TO DONATE--   This charity is a registered non-profit.


  Daniel J. Hoaglin SSG Ret
    American Legion Commander


    PO Box 112, 6387 Butts Rd.
    Prattsburg, NY 14873

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


This was in the paper today, and for folks who have never visited the Eastern State Penitentiary, you should. It is beyond cool.

Eastern State Penitentiary was once the most famous and expensive prison in the world, but stands today in ruin, a haunting world of crumbling cellblocks and empty guard towers.

Known for its grand architecture and strict discipline, this was the world’s first true “penitentiary,” a prison designed to inspire penitence, or true regret, in the hearts of convicts.

Its vaulted, sky-lit cells once held many of America’s most notorious criminals, including bank robber “Slick Willie” Sutton and Al Capone.

Philadelphia prison to serve visitors a tasting of inmate meals 

Special event will feature meals from the 1830s, 1940s and today, including dishes like broiled salted beer and Nutraloaf.


Plates of prison food at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia. On
left, Nutraloaf, presently served in Pennsylvania prisons as a “behavior
modified meal” and salt beef, with “Indian Mush,” an inmate dinner from the 1800s.

In a city that has become renowned for its hip and innovative restaurant scene, a local tourist attraction is offering decidedly different fare: prison food.
This weekend, Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia will serve visitors sample inmate meals from the 1830s, 1940s and today: broiled salted beef with "Indian mush"; hamburger with brown gravy and beets; and Nutraloaf - an unappetizing concoction currently served as a punishment.
Event organizers say the not-so-haute cuisine is a way to stimulate both the taste buds and the mind. The meals reflect the changing nature of food service at penal institutions and, in some ways, attitudes toward inmates, said Sean Kelley, the prison's director of public programming.
"We hope to have a discussion all weekend long about what these policies mean to accomplish and whether they're effective," Kelley said.
Director of public programming, Sean kelly displays a plate of Nutraloaf, presently served in Pennsylvania prisons as a “behavior modified meal,” at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia.


Director of public programming, Sean kelly displays a plate of Nutraloaf, 

presently served in Pennsylvania prisons as a “behavior modified meal,” 

at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia.

The quirky tasting menu will be available Saturday and Sunday at Eastern State, a defunct prison that once housed gangster Al Capone. The centuries-old facility was abandoned in 1971 but later reopened to tourists looking for an eerie glimpse of life behind its 30-foot-tall walls.
Food samples will be prepared offsite by Freestyle BBQ, a catering company based in Langhorne that happens to be owned by Pennsylvania corrections officer John Freeman.
Freeman, who works at an undisclosed state institution, started his food business on the side last year. When he heard that Eastern State needed a temporary cook, Freeman couldn't believe the serendipity - and neither could Kelley.
"Who knows prison food better than me?" Freeman said.
A plate of salt beef, with “Indian Mush,” an inmate dinner from the 1800s, at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia.


A plate of salt beef, with “Indian Mush,” an inmate dinner from the 1800s, at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia.

While on prison duty, he eats the cafeteria food, which he describes as flavorful but low-grade. But flavorful is not how he describes the bland recipes he'll be making for Eastern State.
"It's going to be hard ... to cater something and basically not jazz it up," Freeman said.
He described the broiled salted beef as being like corned beef, and the Indian mush as basically polenta - cornmeal and water. Kelley, who tried making the recipe himself, noted the mush was actually "very good" because it's topped with a bit of molasses.
That meal would have been delivered to inmates on carts in an era of solitary confinement. Prison officials at the time were optimistic that well-nourished inmates would be "penitent," reflect on their offenses and become better people, Kelley said.
Nutraloaf, presently served in Pennsylvania prisons as a “behavior modified meal,” at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia.


Nutraloaf, presently served in Pennsylvania prisons as a “behavior modified meal,” at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia.

The hamburger-and-gravy meal comes from an actual Eastern State menu for the week of April 17, 1949, which will be on display. Inmates ate communal meals that were prepared on site by their fellow prisoners who used cookbooks, Kelley said.
Current prisoners also are trained to cook in the state prison system, said spokeswoman Susan Bensinger. A current sample menu from Graterford prison includes waffles, pork barbecue and poultry and gravy, with vegetarian options for each meal. But that's for well-behaved inmates.
Prisoners being punished get the food loaf often called Nutraloaf. The recipe varies by state, but in Pennsylvania it consists of rice, potatoes, carrots, cabbage, oatmeal, chick peas and margarine. It's nutritionally sound but prisoners across the U.S. have filed lawsuits over it, calling it cruel and unusual punishment. Many states continue to serve it.
Kelley, who also made a batch and brought in to share, said he was surprised at the number of co-workers who wouldn't taste it.
"I'm curious to see if visitors really will be experimental enough to try it," Kelley said.

Monday, June 10, 2013



This is not my normal subject matter, but it's certainly food related and I've been rather disgusted and dismayed as I searched for ideas and options on feeding the elderly. Decreased appetite often comes with older folks for several reasons. Decrease in physical activity so they never have a real full appetite, tastes change, and medical reasons are the most common.

My father is currently going through a rough bout medically right now, and so I've been looking at what is out there on this subject. In his case, he is perfectly fine mentally, actually, excellent. The past month, due to his condition, he is less active then he was but he was still completely independent. He has worked outdoors all his life and is in good physical shape, loves to garden and work on his farm. And he likes to eat.

The challenge came with certain medications he is on. They leave a metallic or bitter taste and in some cases, has totally changed his taste profile. Case in point, he hates tuna noodle casserole. My mom makes an awesome tuna noodle casserole. I made it the one night and when he asked what it was, I wouldn't tell him and just told him he'd like it, eat up. I make mine a bit different than mom's and it's good. He tucked in and ate 3 helpings! When I told mom, she couldn't believe her ears! But, that is just one example of a taste change. I know for my own self when on antibiotics, I don't eat the same and the normal foods don't taste as good. It takes some experimentation and seasoning, but it can be done. And, no folks, bland crap that I wouldn't feed my dog does not inspire one to eat. A Pox on those of you out there in the care management scene that somehow think so. Almost every article I have read on this subject felt demeaning and makes me dread the day I may need to go to a care facility. Not all places deserve this, of course, some are really truly good. But I'll cook to my dying breath.

My disappointment comes in the care industry and caregivers who are treating these folks like they are little children too dumb to tie their shoes. It's condescending and does nothing to help their appetite. Many times, they are not saying this to be difficult, they are saying it because it is real for them and an issue. I realize dementia patients present a different issue, and I concur with most of those decisions. But for a mentally competent person, removing their dignity in the most simplest of life's decisions is demeaning and discouraging for adults who have accomplished much in their lives and are still dynamic people. It takes more effort and profiling of new dishes sometimes, and also nutrient managing to ensure their dietary needs are being met. BUT it CAN BE DONE!

These issues with aging and health issues are depressing for anyone, but especially for dynamic adults who were used to being type A achievers. As they say, aging isn't for wimps. It's tough for any person to come to grips with the fact that you just can't do what you used to. And if you did a lot, it really feels insulting.

I think many younger folks in the field make this mistake unwittingly. It is not that they do not care, they do. But they simply have not lived enough life and dealt with enough people to have learned some of those life experiences that shapes us into who we become.

So make an effort to give them decision making, still have some control in their lives over something they like.  Help give them something to look forward to and to be involved in. It's really not that difficult.

My father loves going with me to the garden, the produce stands and farmer's markets and help pick out the week's menu. He then has dishes he is looking forward to. While you all cannot do that, you can still do it in some form.

One of my dad's favorite meals is meatballs in red sauce with mashed taters and asparagus and strawberry shortcake for dessert. (He's not a big pasta guy.) With all the fresh summer produce coming on, please look at your elderly relative or patient as a whole person and not a baby to be fed. You wouldn't like it or thrive with that attitude and neither do they.

Speaking of  strawberry shortcake and the strawberries coming on in our gardens now, here is a wonderful true shortcake from Mike's grandmother. While I like making biscuits and strawberries in syrup, I like this more and this shortcake is good on it's own as well. As it is an iced cake, that is what gives the sweetness to the berries, although fresh local usually don't need any sugar. Mike likes to drown his in milk as many do here, but I like milk on the side!

BTW, a shout out to the amazing nursing staffs at Geisinger Medical Center at Danville, PA, especially on SCU and HFAM, and the ortho folks as well. You all rock, and sometimes that encouragement or smile you share can turn the whole day around for someone. Thank you all.

Grammy Motto's Poor Man's Cake (shortcake)

Beat together until creamy-
1 1/2 C sugar
2 eggs
Beat in
1/2 C  Crisco or butter
1 1/2 C milk
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
3 C flour- enough to make real stiff
1 tsp vanilla

Pour into a greased floured pan and bake, a 9x13 takes about 35 minutes at 350 degrees


2 tbs soft butter
10x sugar
1 tsp vanilla
and enough milk to make creamy

Sunday, May 26, 2013


                                  HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY!

While this weekend seems to be known to most of today's folks as a long weekend to picnic and party and indulge, the real meaning of remembering our soldiers and veterans seems to have been lost for the most part. So lest you forget, the reason we can celebrate and share a nice picnic with family and friends without fear is thanks to our service men and women, past and present. Freedom isn't free.

Del "Abe" Jones

A time for picnics, time off work -
Vacations and the "Indy" -
A holiday, too often times
We forget what, it should be.

A time to pay respect to those
Who rallied to the battle cry -
Who gave their lives for liberty -
Those freedoms for you and I.

Such a waste of brave young souls -
Some still struggling through their youth
Who faced and fell willingly
Before wartimes' awful truth.

So as we share this holiday
With our friends or family -
Take a moment to give thanks to
Those who died so we'd stay free.

Let us strive for world peace -
For the end of greed and hate -
For next time, after "the war"
It just may be too damned late.
OK, now for the food part.  I am working this weekend, but I and my 
co-workers still found a way to not miss out. So, we made host sausage 
sandwiches with peppers and onions in tomato sauce with fresh 
rolls from Dalo's Bakery ( 1201 freas Ave., Berwick PA), baked beans, 
macaroni and cheese, coleslaw, watermelon and red beet eggs.

I am also going to share some recipes here from one of my Favorites, 
The Amish Cook. Today's feature is a Memorial Day menu with BBQ
 chicken, dutch potato salad etc.  Kevin runs an awesome blog and  could 
use some support, please hop over there and give him a hand.


2 c water
1 Tbsp garlic (or to taste, less can be used)
1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
4 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp pepper (or to taste)
1/2 c butter
1 Tbsp salt (or to taste)

Heat together in a pan until butter melts. Allow to cool. Soak chicken in this overnight in a baggie in the refrigerator. Grill until done.

1 medium head cabbage, cored and shredded
 1 medium onion, finely chopped
 1 cup white sugar
 1 cup vinegar
 1 teaspoon salt
 1 teaspoon celery seed
 1 teaspoon white sugar
 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
 3/4 cup vegetable oil

 In a large bowl, toss together the cabbage, onion, and 1 cup sugar. In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar,
 salt, celery seed, 1 teaspoon white sugar, mustard and oil. Bring to a boil, and cook for 3 minutes. Cool
 completely, then pour over cabbage mixture, and toss to coat. Refrigerate overnight for best flavor.


4 slices bacon
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped green pepper
¼ cup vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
3 hard boiled eggs
⅛ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1 egg
1 qt. hot, cubed, cooked potatoes
¼ cup grated raw carrot

Dice bacon and pan fry. Add chopped onion and green pepper. Cook 3 minutes. Add vinegar, salt, pepper,
 sugar and beaten egg. Cook slightly. Add cubed potatoes, grated carrot and diced hard-cooked eggs. 
Blend and serve hot.


4 slices lean bacon
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 cup hot water
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoon boiled dressing
1 tablespoon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 cups diced, hot, boiled potatoes
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1 teaspoon finely chopped chives
Additional heavy cream (optional)
2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced

Cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove and crumble. Drain off all fat except 1 tablespoon, 
return to medium heat, add onions and celery. Stir in flour to coat the vegetable. Add water, stir and 
cook till thickened. Remove from the heat and blend in the cream, boiled dressing, vinegar, salt, and 
pepper. Pour over the potatoes in a large bowl. Add the parsley and chives. Mix well to blend flavors. 
Add more cream if desired, taste, add salt if desired. Sprinkle crumbled bacon on top and garnish 
with the sliced hard-boiled eggs.


2 cups raw spinach, finely chopped
1 thinly sliced peeled cucumber
4 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup sliced radishes
2 cups cottage cheese
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons fresh or bottled lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Paprika, to taste
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley

Wash the spinach the day before, then wrap it in a cloth and refrigerate it overnight.

Chop the spinach, add the cucumber, onions and radishes, then toss lightly. Arrange in a wooden salad
 bowl and place a mound of cottage cheese in the middle.

Blend the sour cream with the lemon juice, salt and pepper and pour over the salad. Sprinkle the paprika
 in the middle and the parsley all around. Toss when ready to serve.

3 eggs, beaten
 1 cup sugar
 1 1 /2 cup melted margarine
 3 /4 cup sweet milk
 3 teaspoons baking powder
 2 cups flour
 1 teaspoon vanilla
 Pinch of salt
 2 cups rhubarb
 1 cup sugar
 1 cup boiling water
Cut and put rhubarb on bottom of pan.  Put sugar over rhubarb and then pour boiling water over rhubarb. 
Do this first then mix cake batter and pour over rhubarb. Bake at 350. Serve warm with milk and sugar if 
not sweet enough.


1 cup all-purpose flour
 1 /2 cup nuts
 1 stick margarine

 Mix well and spread in a 9 X 13 inch pan.  Bake for 15 minutes at 350 and cool.

 1st layer:
 1 cup Cool Whip
 1 cup powdered sugar
 1 8 ounce cream cheese

Cream together and spread over crust

2nd layer”

2 cups well drained crushed pineapple
 4 or 5 sliced bananas
 3rd layer
 12 ounces Cool Whip
 Chopped nuts on top of Cool Whip
 1 can Cherry Pie filling
 Hershey’s syrup drizzled over top

Refrigerate 24 hours before serving.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

How the Herb Festival Went and Einstein's New Gals


The Halcyon Herb Festival held at halcyon farm at Campbell, NY on the 18th was wonderful. I was delighted to be invited to speak, and gave a presentation on Backyard Chicken Basics to a nice sized group. The weather was great for the event also, which always helps! My Mom and Dad went along for the day as well, which is a rare treat for all of us to be together for something fun!

Yvonne's Halcyon Bed and Breakfast is just lovely, situated in green fields with gardens and an old harness house that houses her herb shop and antiques. There is something for everyone. Many of the fruit trees were in full bloom and those are the blossoms at the top of the page here.

The day started with Eat What's Under Your Feet. Plant walk with Matthias and Andrea Reisen of Healing Spirits Herb Farm, and was very informative on everyday plants and their uses. You can visit and learn more about them here-

Then I was up with  Backyard Chicken Basics with Helga Loncosky. A starter guide to raising your own poultry for eggs and meat. So, here is Buffy and Red, Einstein's two new friends! He is now a completed rooster! If anyone wants what the course covered, let me know, I'll share.

Next was Yoga for Gardners with Sue Pirozollo, and she's in the third photo down. She gave some nice instruction and you can visit her at

The treat of the day for me however was next, the Dance Troupe from Ithaca Community School for the Arts. They performed for an hour with an interactive program with belly dance to traditional and contemporary themes. It was WONDERFUL. I will add that the 4 who came range in age from early 60's to a kid, and they were all amazing. I even got video of the Samhain Dance which is totally worth watching. I'll share the still first. 

                                                       You can view the dance at 


Here are some stills from the day with them, and I also want to share about Zajal, who was the instructor. Her bio alone is amazing and I have already looked up her works. Treat yourself and read her work. She is on the right. You can also watch her dance at

Katharyn Howd Machan 
Katharyn Howd Machan, born in Woodbury, Connecticut, in 1952, is the author of 30 published collections, eight of which were selected in national competition, most recently Belly Words: Poems of Dance (Split Oak Press, 2009), When She's Asked to Think of Colors (Palettes & Quills Press, 2009), The Professor Poems (Main Street Rag Publishing Company, 2008), Flags (Pudding House Publications, 2007), Redwing: Voices from 1888 (FootHills Publishing, 2005), Greatest Hits (Pudding House Publications, 2004), and Sleeping with the Dead (Finishing Line Press, 2003).
She has lived in Ithaca, New York, since 1975 and since that time has actively coordinated the Ithaca Community Poets’ reading and workshop series while teaching at Tompkins Cortland Community College and then Ithaca College, where she is now a professor in the Department of Writing. In 2002 she was named Tompkins County's first Poet Laureate.
More than 1,300 of her poems have appeared in magazines (Yankee, The Writer, Nimrod, Runes, English Journal, The Hollins Critic, etc.) anthologies (Early Ripening: American Women's Poetry Now, The Poets' Grimm, Tribute to Orpheus: Poems about Music and Musicians, etc.) and textbooks (The Bedford Introduction to Literature, Perrine's Sound and Sense, Literature: The Human Experience, Gender Violence: Inter-disciplinary Perspectives, etc.)
In 2000 Dana Gioia selected her poem "Tess Clarion: Redwing, 1888" to receive the Ann Stanford Poetry Prize from the University of Southern California, in 2001 she received the ByLine Literary Award for her poem "Les Salles du Gardon," and in 2006 her poem "Gingerbread" was awarded the Luna Negra Poetry Prize from Kent State University.
She holds a B.A. in English from the College of Saint Rose, an M.A. in English literature from the University of Iowa, and a Ph.D. in interpretation (performance studies) from Northwestern University. Every March she offers “Writing in the Garden” as artist-in-residence for the Mana Project, Inc. in Key West, FL. As poet and belly dancer (Zajal) she serves year-round on the faculty of the Community School of Music and Arts and, in summers when possible, for the Greek-island holistic Skyros Centre based in Great Britain.

Here is another shot with the youngest member of the group, she was amazing as well. 

We then moseyed to do some wine tasting which set a nice tone to the afternoon with Gene Losey of GCP Liquors will provide the perfect wines. Artisan Herb Cheeses were paired with the Perfect Wine. Yvonne demonstrated recipes that showcased Spring flavors with the addition of artisanal cheeses.

From there, we watched Honey and Honey Bees with Kathy Halm of Leo's Honey House. She had wonderful raw honey and honey products and gave a crash intro to bee keeping course. You can visit her site here--


I only got to see a little bit of the next part, but looked awesome.

Meet Jen Maffett of Lucky Dog Farm. Jen will be one of our speakers at the Seventh Annual Halcyon Herb Festival on May 18. Jen's session, "Finding Real, Fresh Food through CSAs and Other Options" will begin at 1:30. 

Life at Lucky Dog Farm:
We are two corporate refugees from the DC area who decided to escape that life to live more sustainably. Having always grown things on a small scale, our original intent was to grow food only for ourselves. But we discovered an anemic local food shed here and decided that we had both the energy and the obligation to grow food for other people too. So we jumped into it. We have sold our produce at farmers markets, through CSAs and also at restaurants. Our specialties are gourmet salad greens and herbs but we grow lots of other things too.

I am a certified health coach (and I'll confess, a bit of a foodie) and the process of growing into a farmer while studying what helps people maintain their health has opened my eyes wide open to the extreme benefits of putting real, fresh, local food on our plates. So as a Real Food Advocate I help people discover the amazing taste opportunities of fresh and locally grown food and work to provide better access to fresh food for everyone."

I also visited a couple vendors, and I don't make recommendations lightly. But the following vendor had some amazing stuff, including probably the BEST body butter I have ever tried, and completely natural and herbal. And reasonable. Give her a try!   Balance Aromatherapy.

Lest you think i came away from this empty handed, you'd be wrong. I brought home from 
Helena's Organic Garden-Nature's Apothecary the finest hand blended olive oil infused with meyrs lemon you have ever tasted. OMG, heavenly. She has a full line as well and you can visit her site at             


Here are a few pics of Yvonne's herbs and herb shop and the antiques. I totally wanted that dry sink to come home with me.

                               And last, but not least, a shot of my folks enjoying the day out.

                  So, put the Halcyon Herb Festival on your to do list for next year, you won't regret it.