Thursday, December 31, 2015

Sauerkraut and Pork

This post is inspired by a prompt from Reflections of a Mother's Heart
The prompt was "New Year’s Traditions"

Pork and Sauerkraut

That’s pretty much what I think of when I think about New Year’s Eve.

It’s a German tradition which is supposed to give you blessings and wealth for the new year. At our house, it was eaten at midnight. I’m not sure that was part of the tradition or not.

What I do know is that we were blessed on the farm growing up. We may not have always had lots of wealth, but we had good friends. Friends that could be apart for a whole year, but pick up right where you left off when you got back together.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Program Stories

This post is inspired by a prompt from Reflections of a Mother's Heart
The prompt was "Have you ever been in a Christmas program?"

I feel like an upside down bumble bee!”

When I think of Christmas programs, I am often reminded of one from early on in my childhood. We attended Bethany UMC in North Canton. One small boy got up to say his part and promptly forgot it. What came out was, “I feel like an upside down bumble bee.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Almond Kringle

1 (12 oz) Solo almond filling   (or any preferred flavor)
2 C. sifted flour
1/2 teas salt
1 T. sugar
1/2 c. butter
1 pkg active dry yeast
3/4 c. warm water
1/4 c. cold milk
1 egg, beaten

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Cinnamon Rolls and Christmas Carols

This post is inspired by a prompt from Reflections of a Mother's Heart
The prompt was "Tell about a Christmas tradition"

My life centers around music and baking. These are two of the things that bring joy into my life. Ask anyone and they'll say, you could usually find me in the kitchen baking and singing... even in the college dormitory. And this is what makes Christmas the most joyful time of the year for me. 

I shared last week about baking cookies. To me there is nothing better than making cookies. It's just good therapy. It’s something I did every time I got a chance when I was growing up and  I don’t recall there being any complaints when I did. I still love to mix up a batch of cookies now and again.

The other divine delectable that I love to create is cinnamon rolls. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Cinnamon. There is nothing better than cinnamon. The smell. The taste. It’s just good .. Oh so good. And this is the Christmas tradition I want to share today. Cinnamon Rolls.

Just a few days before Christmas, we would begin the process of making sweet cinnamon rolls. Pans of them. Dozens of pans of cinnamon rolls iced and topped with green and red candied cherries for that Christmas-y look.

Swedish Tea Ring

from the kitchen of Elaine Dawson

Prepare one recipe of Basic Sweet Dough as directed.

When double in bulk, punch down & divide in half.

Roll out each half into oblong 14x12x1/4"

Brush lightly with melted butter.

Mix together
3/4 C. brown sugar
1 to 1/2 tea cinnamon
1/2 C. currants, raisins, or dates (if desired)

Sprinkle half on each oblong of dough.

Roll up lengthwise.

Place on greased baking sheet

Form into a circle and seal ends together. With water dampen each end & press together.

Cut 1 inch slices almost through with scissors.

Turn each slice partly on its side, pointing away from the center.

Decorate with red & green candied cherries.

Cover. Let rise til double in size

Beat together
1 egg
2 Tbs milk

Brush egg mixture on top of roll.

Bake at 350 degree for 30 minutes.

Ice while warm.


1/2 c. sifted confectioner's sugar
2 teas milk
1/8 teas vanilla

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Cinnamon Rolls

Elaine's Cinnamon Rolls

When double in bulk, punch down and divide into 3 parts.

Roll each piece into 14x8x1/4

Brush with melted butter

Mix together
2 C. Sugar
1 Tbs Cinnamon
3/4 C. raisins (optional)

Sprinkle 1/3 of mixture on each oblong

Roll up lengthwise.

Slice 1 inch thick & Place in tins


Let rise until double in bulk.

Bake at 425 degrees about 20 minutes

Ice while still warm.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Basic Sweet Dough

Elaine's Basic Sweet Dough  

Scald 2/3 c. milk

Add & stir in
1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 tea. salt
6 TBS shortening
1 tea. vanilla   
Cool to lukewarm.

Measure into a separate bowl
2/3c. lukewarm water
2 TBS sugar  
Sprinkle or crumble in 2 pkg of yeast

Let stand until dissolved (5-10 minutes)

Add lukewarm milk mixture.

Add and stir in
3 eggs, beaten
3 C. all purpose flour
Beat until smooth.

Add an additional
3 C. all purpose flour
Turn dough onto lightly floured board.


Place in greased bowl & brush top lightly with melted shortening.

Cover with clean towel.

Let rise in warm place until doubled (1 1/2 hour)

Form into one more shapes. (Tea rings, cinnamon rolls, etc)

Friday, December 11, 2015

Cream Cheese Mints

Cream Cheese Mints

3 oz Cream Cheese
3 C. powdered sugar

paste or gel coloring
oil peppermint flavoring to taste

Roll into a small ball.
Roll in sugar
Press into design mold or press down with a fork.

Let dry.

These are good covered in chocolate as well.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

How to Get a Proper Sugar High

This post is inspired by a prompt from Reflections of a Mother's Heart
The prompt was "Share a favorite Christmas recipe"

It’s hard to choose just one favorite recipe; so, I have been sharing recipes all month. But having to do with holiday recipes, one of my favorite traditions is Christmas Cookie Baking Day.  {TWEET THIS}

It went something like this. I've left some links along the way.

1. Choose the best day.
For our family the best day for a sugar high is the day of Thanksgiving. This day was reserved for kicking off the Christmas season with decorating for Christmas, but most of all for making Christmas cookies.

2. Gather your family and/or best friends.
We invited all the aunts and our girls cousins to the farm. I specifically remember that Mom’s sister and her girls, (my cousins) would come to the farm and we would start to work.
Being in the ministry now, we were usually far from family. Many times I invited girls from the church to come over to help. We had a great time together.

Cathedral Windows

Cathedral Windows

1/2 c. butter
12 0z semisweet chocolate chips

Melt in microwave - careful not too hot

Cool a bit.

Add 10 oz  colored mini marshmallows

Wrap into saran wrap shaping into a log.


Slice 1/4 to 1/2" slices to serve.

mmm. mmm. good

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Pecan Tassies

Pecan Tassies


Cream together:
3 oz cream cheese
1/2 c. butter

ADd 1 c. Sifted flour

Chill 1 hour

Shape into 24 - 1" balls
Place in mini muffin tins (ungreased)
Press dough to the sides and bottom


1 egg
3/4 c. brown sugar
1T soft butter
1 teas vanilla
dash of salt
Beat until smooth

Divide 1/3c chopped pecans evenly among tarts
Add the egg mixture

Top with another 1/3 c. chopped pecans

Bake at 325 degrees
25 minutes until filling is set


Remove from muffin pan.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Butter Balls

Butter Balls

Submitted by Kandy Chimento

1 c. soft butter
1/4 c. sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 c. flour
1 c. chopped nuts (I like pecans, others like walnuts)

Combine ingredients.

Roll into 1" balls

On ungreased cookie sheet

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes

Cool slightly & roll in powdered sugar.

Makes about 40.

I never made them chocolate before. But I notice she has instructions for that too ...
decrease butter to 3/4 c.
add 2 oz unsweetened cocoa
add addtl 2 T sugar

Monday, December 7, 2015


"Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls"

Mix together

1 stick of butter
1 # powdered sugar
2 c. peanut Butter
1/2 teas vanilla

mix well.

roll into nut size balls


cover with chocolate, leaving a round portion open so that they look like a buckeye.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Refrigerated Cut Out Cookies

"Sugar Christmas Cookies"

Everyone loves these! Here is Mom's (Elaine's) Recipe
NOTE: This is a large recipe.

Mix in a large bowl and set aside

2 T. lemon juice
1 teas soda

in a separate bowl, mix together

3 1/2 c. confectioner's sugar
1 lb of butter
4 eggs
4 T milk

Add alternately,

lemon juice mixture (above) and
4 c. flour (a little more if using large eggs)

Refrigerate over night.

Roll out dough to 1/4" and cutout desired shapes.

Bake at 375 degrees. 8-10 minutes

Decorate if desired.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Peanut Butter Spritz

Christmas Tree Spritz

1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teas vanilla
1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 teas baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teas salt

  1. Cream butter and peanut butter in large mixing bowl
  2. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well
  3. Combine flour, baking powder. baking soda, & salt in separate bowl
  4. Add to peanut / sugar mixture in three additions; mixing well between each addition. dough should be stiff
  5. Press cookies on ungreased, uncoated baking sheet
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F for 8-12 minutes or until golden around the edges. Do not over bake.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Chocolate Spritz [Press Cookies]

Chocolate Spritz

These are favorites at our place. Growing up we quadrupled the recipe

Preheat oven to 375*

Cream together:
1 C. Shortening (we used real butter)
2 C. sugar

Add in:
2 eggs
1 TBS. almond extract (optional)

sift together
4 oz. baking chocolate (if using liquid or paste add this to butter mixture above)
3 1/2 c. All purpose flour
1 tsp salt

4 T. milk
Combine dry ingredients alternating with milk

Press dough onto an ungreased baking sheet.

Bake for 8-10 minutes

Cool on sheet for 5 minutes and remove.


What is your favorite cookie recipe?

Friday, November 27, 2015

Grandma's Chocolate Covered Cremes

YOU NEED A DRY AIR DAY for good success. Cool crisp day is best.

3 cups of sugar
1/3 c. White Karo syrup
1 c. Water

Stir in sauce pan until sugar melts.

Be sure there are no sugar crystals on the sides of the pan. Grandma always wiped the sides with a paper towel. 

Cover& cook on medium until mixture spins a thread. 

Let cool.

Beat 2 egg whites until stiff.

 Add by whipping into the cold mixture. Grandma whipped this by hand. 

Set aside to cool. Grandma set it outside, but southern weather may not permit this. 

Roll into balls and dip in chocolate

If too soft to roll, add a little confectioners sugar


add pecans or a cherry to center of candy

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Guest Post : Thank God for Farmers

My cousin, Mandy, asked me to post on her blog, about growing up on the farm. We went to the dairy farm to visit our cousins on weekends or holidays.

My memories of Thanksgiving are of large family gatherings around several tables in the immense country kitchen. Mary, the hired help, was the kindest person I had ever met. Mary was Amish or Mennonite; she wore a dark dress with straight pins instead of buttons and was so soft spoken. She was willing to let the kids help any way we could, always teaching us something as we helped in the kitchen. The children sat at our own table, where we could giggle and visit with our cousins.            .

                After lunch on Thanksgiving, we often went out to play in the snow, and the adults would gather around the piano to sing, while my aunt played the piano.  Then my uncle would go take a nap, before it was time for the family to get back out to the barn for the next round of milking.

I always felt so bad for my cousins. They had to get up early in the morning, go out to help milk the cows, or feed the calves. They had more chores than I could ever imagine – many of which had to be done before school or visiting with company. On occasion I got to help feed the calves, which was fun for a change, but I was grateful I did not have to do this every single day.

I did not grow up on the farm, rather, I grew up in the suburbs; close enough to walk to school in less than 5 minutes, to ride our bikes to the community pool or drive our car the mall in 10 minutes. Additional reasons to live in the suburb include; not having to drink warm, whole milk, right after the cow milking was done, or drinking homemade Root beer – with no carbonation.

                I am delighted to say, all my cousins grew into fine adults, and all the chores did not appear to harm them. LOL.   I truly Thank God for the farmers, they keep our nation fed. God make us all uniquely wonderful and awesome. He loves us all. Remember, others may judge you, but God is a loving, forgiving God, and he is Always ready to forgive our sins and Loves us more than we can hope or imagine.

                God Bless

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Guest Post: The Icy Front Steps

So, my Mom asked me to do a guest post with memories of my first Thanksgiving on the farm. Here goes nothing.

It was November of 1989.  She and my Dad were to be married a month later, and I'd never really been outside of Georgia, much less in Wisconsin in late November. My first experience at the farmhouse was slipping on the icy front steps and falling flat on my rear end.  Add to that the stress on a nine-year-old kid who'd experienced the most traumatic year of his life of meeting a house packed with strangers who were family-to-be, and you had an interesting scenario, to say the least.

There's a picture floating somewhere in existence of about 872 people (that might be a mild exaggeration) seated around the dining room table that Thanksgiving day, with me at the end, trying my best to mask my deer-in-the-headlights look with a smile.

So, to summarize my first Thanksgiving at the farm, I bruised my tailbone and felt awkward. Doesn't exactly make for a heartwarming holiday post, does it? :-)

But, honestly, my fondest thoughts of the farm actually have nothing to do with the farm.

Throughout my lifetime, from the day I was born, I've lived within the reality of what many would call a "blended family." The people I knew from the start as my older sister and brother were adopted; I knew that, but I also knew that it didn't matter. There was no prefix or qualifier to our relationship. They were just my sister and brother, as far as I was concerned.

Still, though, that was all I'd ever known. It's a different story and a different lesson when you're suddenly thrust into the unknown.  When your mother and sister have been killed in an automobile accident, the family you'd known all your life forever altered, and mere months later, you find yourself clear across the country seated around a table full of strangers, it's hard to imagine that table full of strangers actually becoming family.

But, that's exactly what happened.

And, it wasn't a marriage license that made it happen; it was love--love that a lady showed in marrying a widower with two sons, and simply claiming them as her own; and, love that her family showed in staking that same claim on me.

If you were to ask my grandparents right now how many grandchildren they have, they'd simply answer, "thirty, and six great-grandchildren." No steps. No halves.  No difference.

You see, the farm is where I first really started to learn what's become a defining lesson in my life:  blood may be thicker than water, but love is thicker than blood; and family isn't defined by bloodlines or legal documents. Family is what you make it to be through the love that's given and received.

In the years since then, my family has grown even more. I've gained siblings and nephews, aunts and cousins I never would've imagined.  But, it all began in that crowded farmhouse on that snow-covered Thanksgiving. Maybe the front steps were a bit icy, but they led into the warmth of home and family.

--Brian Farmer

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Guest Post : Gettin' Back to my Roots ...

Gettin' Back to my Roots...

I have been invited by my sister to contribute to her blog, "Raised in a Barn".  Being raised on a farm just seems like normal to me, cause that was my normal!  I do remember feeling sorry for my friends who lived in "town" because they only had a house and a small yard, and omigosh! we had acres and acres of living space.  Turns out, we weren't as wealthy as I thought we were!  Our parents made us feel like we never lacked a thing.  As an adult, I realize how blessed we were; though not necessarily in physical things.  We were blessed to have a Christian heritage that was passed down through many generations.  We grew up in a household where there was no yelling and fighting between our parents (well, maybe some between the siblings, but it was probably Mandy who started it!)  We thoroughly enjoyed Sunday afternoons, playing with our cousins and uncles. Holidays were a blast, with people everywhere!  To this day, I feel like we have to have lots of people around at holidays.

One thing that I never enjoyed was having to do chores before school, and before we could go anywhere in the evening.  But I even look back at that and am so glad that our parents taught us a good work ethic.  We also learned the art of hospitality.  My parents opened our home to many types of people - missionaries, inner-city youth, foreign exchange students, and foster kids.  We learned that our home could be a haven and a blessing.  This continues to be a love of mine - to entertain and open our home to others.

My husband and I have recently decided to downsize.  We sold our home in "town", bought some acreage in the country, and put a home here.  It is decidedly smaller than our previous house, but seems much easier to manage.  We plan to plant a garden, get some chickens and other livestock, and live off the land. Though it is a further drive to work, we are enjoying it immensely.  There is much work to do, but that's half the fun, right?  We have already be able to entertain here and have plans to make our place a place for God to use.

I thank God for the family he placed me in, for my siblings who are now scattered around the country, and for the blessed heritage I enjoy.

Thanks for letting me share!!

Mandy's Big Sis,

Kandy Chimento
Gettin' Back to my Roots
Liberty Hill, Texas


Thanks to my big sister for guest blogging for me today. Just be sure not to believe "everything" she says!

And, oh, go visit her blog at Gettin' Back to my Roots

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Thanksgiving on the Farm

Finally! It's November! And Thanksgiving is coming!

 I think Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It really is that one holiday that brings family together. And the memories are so precious to me. Memories of huge tables set up with what seemed like miles of food, grandma's candied sweet potatoes, and the day after ...making tons of Christmas cookies.

 I've decided to ask some other family members to share a Thanksgiving on the Farm story this month. You'll be hearing from my sister, Kandy; my son, Brian; and hopefully a cousin or two.
And then I'm thinking I could share a few recipes along the way.

I'm looking forward to hearing about things from their point of view. I know that it is going to make the days even more special to me.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Halloween Adventures

"Rocks and splintered glass flew across the bed ..." 

I’ve never been that fond of Halloween.

If  you were to ask a psychologist, they would probably say it has to do with an incident just after my birth. I was only a few days old when Mom and Dad brought me home from the hospital. It was Halloween or the day before.

Uncle George's Place
We lived here when I was born.
My bassinet was at the end of Mom and Dad’s bed which was placed under a large window in the master bedroom. We lived way out in the country. Out where young boys loved to go and play pranks.

On this particular night, the boys decided it would be funny to throw rocks through the windows of farm homes.

It happened just after Mom lifted me from the bassinet. Rocks and shattered glass sprayed across the bed. And the rocks flew across the end of the bed just missing the bassinet.

I don’t remember any of this, so I doubt that this is why I am not particularly excited about Halloween.

A better reason could be because I don’t like being scared, or maybe cause I don’t like to dress up. As a child, I never liked dressing up in anyway that required a mask. Since I can’t see a thing without my glasses, they had to be worn. But glasses under a mask steam up so, then, I couldn’t see for that reason.

Now this doesn't mean that I never enjoyed Halloween. I have some fond memories of Trick or Treating back in the day. 

We didn’t visit every home in town like they do now. We only visited the families that we knew and vice versa. I remember mom driving us to the neighbor friends, especially the elderly couple up the road (Yoder, I believe). I liked them best because they bought the large candy bars and let us choose which kind we liked.

One thing I miss now-a-days, is the fun of guessing who is behind the mask. The kids just come to the door and many times don’t even say trick or treat, they just hold out their bags for the goodies.
I remember the Deckerd family, nearby farmers. I believe they had three boys. But their dad loved dressing up, though it was usually just a sheet over his head like a ghost. He was a big tease. It was always a hoot when they arrived trick-or-treating. And it didn’t take much to guess who it was!

It look something like this
I recall a few times when the youth or 4-H would have a Halloween party. I got creative so that I wouldn’t have to wear a mask. Once, I took a large box and created a large die.

I thought that was pretty creative, but I didn’t even win a prize. Dave Barber won Most Creative. He came as a tube of toothpaste. Ugh!

It looked a lot like this

Another time, I took my dad’s overcoat and closed the neck above my head. Then stuffed paper in the shoulders to be a headless horseman. That was pretty fun. No one could guess it was me.

How about you, any favorite Halloween adventures on your part?



Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Yellow Truck

This post is inspired by a prompt from Reflections of a Mother's Heart
The prompt was "Have your ever had a car accident?"

I never liked that truck anyway.

It was school bus yellow and flat out ugly. It had a standard transmission, the kind with the long gear shift. And worse, it smelled of the farm. Suffice it to say that I did not enjoy driving it when I had places to go. What teenage girl would?

The first time I drove it, I was sixteen and I only had my learner's permit. I’m not sure why, but everyone was gone somewhere. My brother, Alex, was out in the fields working and I was at the house. 

The phone rang. It was Alex.

“You have to come get me down at the blue barn.”

“No one is here to go. Everyone is gone but me and I don’t have a driver’s license.”

“Well, you have to come get me. One of the wheels fell off of the tractor.”

“The only vehicle here is the truck. I don't know how to drive it.”

“Do you know how to start it and get it in gear?”


“Just put it in 2nd and come.”

It was only a mile down the road and we lived way out in the country on a lonely country road, but that didn’t ease my mind. I was sure that the cops would be along any minute. .. Especially when they heard the truck engine blaring down the road.

I arrived safely and found Alex. He offered to drive home which I would hear nothing of because He was only 12. (We'll ignored the fact that a 12 year old, knew more about driving than a sixteen year old who was just about finished with Driver's Ed)

“Just tell me when to shift.”

And off we went again. I was never so glad to arrive at the house.

Maybe that experience is why I didn’t particularly like the truck. I don’t think it had to do with the standard transmission. After all, I later loved driving my sister’s 3-speed Mustang and when it came time to buy my own car, I insisted on purchasing a car with a manual transmission.

 Well … the question of the week is 
Have I ever had a car accident?

Ok. Ok. Stop laughing. I can hear the laughter from here.…. There are several stories I could share on the subject. But we’ll stick with the yellow pickup truck.

Let’s see, by now I was 17 or maybe 18… My little sister, Marcy and I were on our way to piano lessons one Saturday morning. 

Yes… in the yellow truck. 

Man, I hated that truck.

Now our farm was up on a hill, so you know, we had to descend the hill to get to a highway. It was a bright winter day. But cold. The road was covered with black ice.

Black ice is the type of ice on the road that one doesn’t see or realize that it is there until it’s too late.

This particular road is a short road. It’s just drops down the hill to the highway below. Across the highway lies the marshland. About halfway down, I applied the brakes to slow for the stop sign.

 And that’s when it started….

The truck begin to slide about. We dropped off the pavement to one side, so I counter-steered to make the adjustment. We popped back up on the road and on over to the other side of the road.

I counter steered again only to go right back across the road. All the time, we’re approaching the bottom of the hill. 

I counter steer again 

and again.

This time, I didn’t know what else to do and as the truck went into the ditch, I’m told I said,

“Here we go!”

Into the ditch, up and over. I think it only rolled to it’s side, but I felt like someone had thrown me into a clothes dryer as we toppled over.

When we came to a stop on the driver's side, I looked up to the passenger seat. My sister was no longer there. Since we didn’t have seat belts, she obviously was thrown around and down towards me, I think she landed above my head.

Someone happened by on the highway below, saw us, and came to our rescue. We weren’t hurt badly, but my leg was stuck between the steering wheel and the door. The man pulled up on the steering wheel and helped us out.

He took us back up to the house.

Now the scary part … 

Telling my parents.

I guess all teenagers think that parents will burst into a fit of anger when told that you wrecked their truck, but with knees knocking and probably tears flowing, I got the news out.

My parents were gracious and only seemed to be glad that we were safe and sound. Of course the truck was totaled, but we did get a “new” Ford truck out of the deal.

Just the other day, Dad accused that he would still have that International truck today, if not for my accident! Ha Ha!

Okay, siblings. I know you want to .. so go ahead and share your side of the story!

By the way, 

I'm having a GIVEAWAY for my BIRTHDAY. 

But you have to go read the Farmer's Place Blog to enter.
(I've been blogging every day in October about my journey with chronic pain.)