Category Archives: Appetizers, Beverages, Salads and Pickles

Recipes: Halloween Party Treats

These are fun!

The Swedish Farmer's Daughter


Entertaining is always fun, but somehow cooking for children on Halloween is really special.  With a little creativity, a really tasty yet gruesome Halloween menu can be pulled together to make a party or dinner before trick or treating a real scream.

Peel round red seedless grapes.

Infected Brains
Simmer a head of cauliflower in water tinted with red food coloring.  To top with warm pus…tint melted cheese green.

Splattered Brains
Serve your favorite tomato sauced spaghetti

Bat Wings
2-1/2 bounds of chicken wings…leave the wings whole

Marinade Ingredients:
1 cup of brown sugar
1 can of Coke
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons of soy sauce
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl combine marinade ingredients.  Add chicken wings. Push the chicken wings down until all of them are covered with the marinade.  Put in refrigerator to  marinade overnight.


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Recipe: The Day My Dad Shot Elvis…Four Roosters and Chicken Pasta Fruit Salad

This is a great salad to serve during the summer months, and who doesn’t like a great chicken story.

The Swedish Farmer's Daughter

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Once upon a time on my dad’s farm lived four young roosters who needed names. A good name can make or break a soul in this world so when dad called me at 8 the morning, while I was at work, and asked my assistance in selecting names for his roosters, I was honored.

Since I had never seen his new roosters, I asked him to describe them for me.

The first rooster was black, small for his age and the first to learn to crow. He really had a thing for the lady hens. His most distinguishing characteristic was the long feathers that hung down on either side of his beak like sideburns. We named him Elvis.

Then, dad explained he wanted his other roosters named after Civil War generals.  I am a Civil War buff, so he felt I would be the one to help him find appropriate military names. He stressed that the…

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What Is On My Mind Today? A Very Thoughtful and Delicious Gift


Last week a friend of mine sent me the most wonderful and thoughtful gift.  She knew that I am not a jam maker so she made jam from several family recipes posted on my blog and added a few of her own.  Then, had them shipped to me.

There was Rhubarb Orange, Rhubarb-Pineapple-Raspberry, Zucchini Freezer, Apple and just for good measure she included a jar of Blueberry pancake jam.

Last night my dad called and said that he and mom were coming for a visit today.  They would get here about a hour before noon. Like father, like daughter, my dad has always loved jam.  So, I told him that we would have a jam fest for lunch.

This morning I woke up early and made his Aunt Ida’s Two-Hour Buns recipe.  When you are going down memory lane you might as well go all the way.  Besides, I cannot imagine having homemade jam on anything less than warm bread right out of the oven.

Then it was time to find my last stick of butter in the house and set the table.

Our lunch consisted of milk and warm bread topped with Mary Cummins’ jams.  It really does not get better than that.

Mary, thank you!  You made my day and my parents.

God bless you for your thoughtfulness, and for sharing the products of your expertise jam making skills!  Delicious!


Recipes: Uncle Ing, Aunt Doris, Orioles and the Treasure Box ….Grandma’s Salad, Zucchini Freezer Jam and Kathryn Hepburn’s Brownies

bird oriole

My husband and I have lived in this home for over thirty years and for the first time I have Orioles at my bird feeder.  This morning I had both a male and female Oriole singing to me from my grape jelly feeder. Actually, I can still hear them singing.

Each time I see an Oriole, I always think of my Great Uncle Ing who was the first person to ever show me one of these gorgeous orange and black song birds.

Uncle Ing Kronbeck lived his whole life on the farm where he had grown up north west of Litchfield, MN.  He was the youngest in a family of six children. Esther the oldest was my grandmother, then there were Hilda, Anna, Ida, Victor and Ingvald.

Their childhood was one of hard work, poverty and a very sick mother.  My grandmother once told me that she was more of a mother to her brother Ing than her own mother.

This family worked together on their farm and survived World Wars, economic depression and contagion. Several of their family members contracted the flu during the deadly epidemic of 1918.   Aunt Ida told me she once spent an entire year lying in bed with an ice pack on her chest, due to an enlarged heart from an illness.  I do not remember anymore if it was the flu or Rheumatic fever.

Against all odds, all of the children survived to adulthood.  Not only that, but these strong people, while suffering through bouts of depression and sadness thrust upon them by the circumstances of life, always were steadfast in their faith in Jesus Christ and kept their sense of humor and wonderment of simple things.

Aviary Photo_130940619143877377
Uncle Ing holding his daughter Marion

Uncle Ing married Aunt Doris and they had two daughters Marion and Kathy.  What probably was more important to me at the time was that they had two amazing dogs Penny and Skippy.  Penny was the softest tri-color collie in the world and Skippy was a magnificent fetcher of a Springer Spaniel.

Penny                                                                Skippy

Not only were these dogs friendly….they were generous.  They had no problem with me climbing on on top of their dog house and pretending it was my pony.  At that age anything and everything became a pony.

Skippy’s favorite toy…a cow teat holder

In those days, Sunday’s were for church and visiting relatives.  For those of you that do not know what visiting is, it is actually taking time to be with the people you love.  You share stories, laughs and very good food.

Sometimes at Uncle Ing’s home, he’d play guitar and sing us songs in English and Swedish.

guitar Ing twelve string
      Uncle Ing played a twelve string guitar 

He would also let me sit at his “Seed Corn” sales desk and draw with his remarkable little pencils.  They came in a case that had bright colored advertisements on them.


To use the pencil and you had to pull the pencil out and insert its metal capped end into the back of the case.  They were dainty and delightful, and a perfect gift for a little girl who needed a pencil to fit into her tiny Sunday School penny offering purse.


Visiting Uncle Ing and Aunt Doris was one of my favorite childhood stops.  It sure beat visiting the Aunties in town as every child in our family knew that their house was dark, scary and haunted.  However, had I known then that both of my great grandparent had died in Uncle Ing’s house, I probably would have been a bit more jumpy when the back door would open and close on its own.

Cow Ing

Everyone else had black and white milking cows, not Uncle Ing, he had the only weird brown cow in the whole community. 

What I remember most was that Uncle Ing and Aunt Doris’ home was filled with happiness and peace.

On one Sunday’s visit Uncle Ing walked us kids to a big tree in his front yard and showed us the nest of an Oriole.  It was a funny looking bird’s nest. It hung off of the branch of the tree just like a beard hanging off the chin of a Mennonite.  There, too, in the tree sat a male Oriole. It was the very first time I had ever seen an Oriole.  He was beautiful! We stood silently and listened to its beautiful song.

bird nest

Beautiful memories like beautiful days and people are the real treasures of this life.  That is why I have a treasure box.  I do not think even my daughter knows about my treasure box. It is a very stained and tattered little cardboard box where I keep all of the handwritten recipes given to me by the greatly loved women in my life who have found their eternal rest in heaven.  One of those was my Great Aunt Doris.

My first year in college, I lived with my Aunt Doris during the winter months.  I had a great time.  One day we sat down at the kitchen table and she had me go through her recipes and choose which ones I wanted.  Then, in her own hand, she copied them for me.  They are in my treasure box along with Grandmother Helen Vacinek, Grandmother Esther and Great Aunt Ida’s handwritten recipes.

I get a kick out of the great interest in DNA ancestry tests.  A DNA test can only tell you what you are. It is family tradition, lore and heirlooms that tell you who you are.

When I think about it, I have come to the conclusion that it really is a shame that email and text messaging were ever invented.  It saddens me to think that future generations will not be able to take out a treasure box filled with handwritten notes, letters and recipes from the people that loved them.  The expressions of love and wisdom from past familial generations that provide comfort and strength will surely elude children of the electronic age for their communications will be no more.

I hope you enjoy these recipes. I have shared them as written by my Great Aunt Doris.

grandma's salad

Grandma’s Salad

1/2 cup salad dressing (mayonnaise)
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon lemon juice – blend these and add
1 cup crushed pineapple well drained, so it’ll be a firm salad

2 cups cottage cheese
1 cup small marshmallows
1 cup grated carrots
Stir only to distribute evenly


Zucchini Freezer Jam

6 cups grated zucchini, peel, add water to cook for six minutes. Drain well.

6 cups of sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon or orange juice
6 ounce can crushed pineapple with juice

Boil six minutes, take off stove and add
2 3-ounce packages of apricot jello. (Or, one each of lemon or orange jello.)

Pour in jars

Keep in freezer.


Kathryn Hepburn’s Brownies

This is just the way Hepburn did it

First melt two squares of unsweetened chocolate and 1/4 pound butter in a heavy saucepan. Stir in one cup sugar, add two eggs and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and beat like mad.

Stir in 1/4 cup flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 cup of chopped walnuts. Not all mashed up you know, just chopped, good sized pieces, now mix all that.  

Butter an 8 X 8 inch pan and dump the whole thing quickly, stuff into 325 degree oven for 40 minutes. Cool awhile and cut into one and a half inch squares and dive right in.

Editors note, tested in the kitchen of Ladies Home Journal and is delicious because of the 1/4 cup flour they have a pudding like texture.  Pat, I’ve also made them. (No baking powder or soda) 



Recipe: Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam Followed By A Good Punch!

Considering how late our spring was,  I was thinking that everything would be behind schedule. Not the case at all.

The blue-bells in Southern Minnesota are in full bloom.  This picture was taken by my daughter-in-law last weekend.

blue bell

Some of the corn on the farm is already sprouted and proudly standing up in rows.


And my neighbor just informed me that when he was in northern Minnesota by Ely fishing this weekend, the water temperature was 10 degrees higher than expected. Sadly, they did not catch any fish as their bait was too big.


Yes, here in Minnesota rhubarb patches are already producing, so it is time for a few more rhubarb recipes.

This excellent jam recipe comes from the home of Terri Knowlan, and is a great way to combine the end of the rhubarb season with the beginning of the strawberry season.


Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam
from the kitchen of Teri Knowlan

4 cups fresh strawberries washed and stemmed
2 cups chopped rhubarb
¼ cup lemon juice
5 ½ cups sugar
1 package — 1.75 ounce powdered pectin

Crush strawberries. Place in a large saucepot. Combine chopped rhubarb with strawberries then add lemon juice and pectin. Bring to rolling boil over high heat. Add sugar then return to rolling boil. Boil hard one minute, stirring constantly. Pour hot strawberry/rhubarb mixture into hot jars. Leaving ¼ inch headspace. Adjust caps, and process 10 minutes in boiling water bath.

Makes 6 half-pints.

rhubarb punch

Rhubarb Punch

6 cups of rhubarb, chopped fine
6 cups of water
2 cups of sugar
one, 6-ounce can of frozen orange juice
one, 6-ounce can of frozen lemonade
2 quarts of lemon-lime soda

Put rhubarb and 3 cups of water together and boil until rhubarb is cooked.  Strain rhubarb to separate the rhubarb mush from the juice.  Drain well, you might want to press down on the rhubarb mush to get all of the juice out. Boil the juice again with the two cups of sugar.


To the cool rhubarb juice mixture, add orange juice and lemonade, 3 cups of cold water and lemon-lime soda.

Serve in punch bowl with ice.

Recipes: Minnesota May, Open Windows, Open Houses and Graduate Gifts…Wisdom and Chewy Chocolate Brownies.


Winter 2018 was a very long one.  First there were months of cold and then, just when a person would think spring was on the way…April blizzards.  One right after another.

This morning is beautiful! The grass is getting green, birds are singing, and there is a mama and papa wild duck couple waddling around just outside the fence of my backyard.  Color, joy and romance have returned to the great state of Minnesota. It is finally warm enough to throw off the winter blankets and throw open the windows.

Oh sure, there are still piles of snow here and there, and it will be sometime before any of the flowers that survived the April 2018 rabbit scourge bloom, but if one tries as hard to ignore the remaining snow drifts as one does those extra insulation pounds…it looks like spring, smells likes spring, feels like spring and sounds like spring.

The month of May in Minnesota sends gardeners to their knees, farmers to the fields, hikers to the woods, and friends and relatives to graduation open houses.

Most graduation party menus include more that just salads and sweets.  There is usually a meat entree, beans and a couple of fruit or vegetable appetizers.  To wash all the great food down or just stay hydrated on a hot afternoon–a tangy cold beverage or punch recipe is always greatly appreciated by party goers.

I hope that these kitchen-tested recipes for salads, meats, bars, cookies and beverages make hosting an open house for your loved one easy.

Salad Recipes

 Coleslaw with Lemon Dressing

– Stairway to Heaven and Luscious Lemon Jello Salad

– Four Roosters and Chicken Pasta Fruit Salad

– Chicken Pasta Fruit Salad

Easy Sweet and Sour Cabbage Salad

An extra large bowl

1 green bell pepper finely chopped
3 packages of fresh coleslaw mix

3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup oil
3/4 cup vinegar
1 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a medium-sized saucepan bring sugar, oil and vinegar to a boil.
Poor over the cabbage and chill over night.

This recipe comes from the home of my mother-in-law Lois Turgeon.

Italian Pasta Salad

A extra large bowl

1 box of tri-color Rotini pasta, cooked
3/4 cup of onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup of celery, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 cup of ripe olives, drained and sliced into thin circles
1/2 cup of pimento stuffed green olives, drained and sliced into thin circles
1-1/2 cups of red cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 head of fresh broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 package of sliced pizza pepperoni, cut slices in half

Pour one 16 ounce bottle of Kraft Tucson House Italian Dressing over the salad ingredients. Gently toss together until evenly coated with dressing. Chill overnight.

Rhubarb Salad

This is rhubarb season in Minnesota and when I saw this recipe for a rhubarb salad in the Trinity Lutheran Church from my hometown of Grove City, MN,  I had to include it.  While this recipe gets rave reviews in the cookbook, I have never made it, so you are on your own.

2 cups of chopped rhubarb
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
One 3 ounce package wild strawberry jello
3/4 cups chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
One 3 ounce package of softened cream cheese

Simmer rhubarb, sugar and water until rhubarb is tender and cooked.  This takes about 10 minutes. Stir in jello, cool.  Add celery, nuts and softened cream cheese. Pour into gelatin mold.

Chill until set, un-mold and serve.

Chinese Coleslaw

An extra large bowl

1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup slivered almonds
2 Tablespoons oil
1/2 large head of cabbage shredded or chopped
8 green onions, finely chopped, include the green tops
6 Tablespoons RICE vinegar. (not use rice wine vinegar)
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup oil
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 packages of chicken-flavored Ramen noodle soup mix.

In a skillet, brown sesame seeds and sliver almonds in the two tablespoons of oil. Set aside.

In the large bowl combine the chopped or shredded cabbage and 8 green onions. Set aside.

In a small bowl mix together the rice vinegar, sugar, salt, oil and pepper.  Stir in the flavor packets from the two Ramen noodle soup mix packages.

Pour dressing over the cabbage mixture and gently toss together until the cabbage is evenly coated. Refrigerate overnight.

Just before serving break up the Ramen noodles and add to the salad with the toasted sesame seeds and almonds for

Bar and Cookie Recipes

– Grandmother Esther’s Fabulous Lemon Bars

– Apron Protocol and Pineapple Bars

– Stuck in the Mud Fudge Bars

– Grandma’s Melt in Your Mouth Sugar Cookies.  (Roll the cookies in sprinkles that match your school colors)

Butter Cookies: A Century Old Recipe from a Century Old Farm ( Cut out the shape of your school mascot and frost cookies in your school colors.)

– Spring Calves and Buttery Caramel Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies

–  New Tried and True Cookie Recipes: Chocolate and Caramel-Filled Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies, Rum Raisin Oatmeal Cookies, Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies and Rollo Candy Double Chocolate Pretzel Bites

– Church Ladies Critique and Chewy Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Cookies


Whether is is a pork,beef, lamb, chicken or turkey graduation meat entree’s are usually sauced, shredded and served on a bun.  The key to getting the meat tender enough to shred with a fork, is to cook it at a low temperature slowly over a long period of time. Barbecue grills, smokers, ovens and crock pots can all be used to slow cook meat.

Poultry needs to be cooked at a higher temperature than beef, pork or lamb.  I slow bake poultry at about 300 degrees until the juices run clear and the meat easily pulls away from the bone.

A three to four pound roast will make about eight large sandwiches or 16 mini-sandwiches or sliders. To prepare Beef, pork and lamb in your oven season the meat, cover it and at 250 degrees for about eight hours. The roast should be basted  frequently with your favorite sauce.

Barbecue sauce:

1/4 cup vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 Tablespoon yellow mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 thick slice of lemon
1 onion, finely diced
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup ketchup
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons liquid smoke

In a large saucepan combine vinegar, water mustard, pepper, cayenne pepper, sugar, salt, lemon, onion and butter.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.

Stir in ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and liquid smoke.  Bring to a boil.  Remove from the heat.  Use as a baste or sauce for pork, beef, lamb, turkey or chicken.

Yield: 2 cups which is enough for 3-4 pounds of meat

Easiest and Best Barbecue Sauce Ever

2 jars of Heinz chili sauce
1 3/4 cups of concord grape jelly

In a medium-sized sauce pan combine the chili sauce and grape jelly.  Cook over medium heat until grape jelly is melted.

Sauce is great with meatballs, chicken wings, chicken, turkey, beef and pork.

Yield: about 4 cups and is enough for 6-7 pounds of meat.


Three-Bean Salad 

1 can, 16 ounce, green beans
1 can, 16 ounce, yellow wax beans
1 can, 19 ounce, kidney beans
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup onion, finely diced
1/2 cup white sugar
2/3 cup vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Drain and rinse beans. Combine beans in a large mixing bowl.  Add red bell pepper and onion.

In a small mixing bowl whisk together sugar, vinegar and oil.  Pour over beans.  Season with salt and pepper. Toss ingredients together until evenly coated. Chill overnight.

Yield:  8 servings

Three-Bean Bake

This recipe can be made in either the oven or a crock pot.

Preheat over to 300 degrees.  Grease 9 X 13 X 2 inch baking dish

1/2 pound of ground beef
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 pound of bacon, diced, fried and drained
1/2 cup ketchup
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 Tablespoon cider vinegar
2 cans (16 ounce, each) pork and beans
1 can (15 ounce) kidney beans
1 can (15 ounce) butter beans

In a large skillet, brown beef and onions. Drain off fat.  Stir in ketchup, brown sugar, salt, mustard, vinegar and fried bacon bits.  Simmer for about 10 minutes.  Next, add all of the beans.  Mix together well.

Pour mixture into the prepared baking dish and bake for 1 1/2 hours or until bubbly.  If you are using a crock pot, cooking times will vary depending on if you use the low or high hear setting.

Yield:  8 servings

Crock Pot Vegan Baked Beans

2- 28 ounce cans of vegetarian baked beans
1 onion, finely diced
1 Tablespoon molasses
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/3 cup ketchup

Add all of the ingredients into a large crock pot. Mix together thoroughly.  Cook for at least an hour or until onion is tender   Keep warm in crock pot until ready to serve.


Dip for Fresh Strawberries

1 cup of sour cream
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup powdered sugar

In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine sour cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, and powdered sugar. With a electric hand-mixer beat until light and fluffy.

Serve with fresh strawberries for dipping

Yield: 1 1/4 cups.

Fruit Pizza
Make the glaze first as it has to be completely cool before you put it on the fruit. 

3/4 cup water
1-1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup unsweetened orange or pineapple juice
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar

In a medium-sized saucepan, on medium heat,  while stirring constantly to prevent scorching, boil the glaze ingredients together until thick.  Cool and paint over fruit with a pastry brush.

2 sticks of butter or margarine
2 cups of flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar

In a medium-sized bowl mix ingredients together with your clean hands.  Press dough evenly into to bottom of a pizza pan.  Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.  Crust should just start to brown. Cool completely.

One 8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Mix together with an electric mixer until smooth. Spread evenly over cooled crust.

Artfully arrange sliced fruit and berries over cream cheese filling.  Fruit can include: strawberries, blue berries, raspberries, grapes, kiwi, pineapple, peaches etc…

Use a pastry brush to cover fruit with glaze. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

To serve cut into wedges or squares like you would a pizza.


One 12-ounce can of chickpeas
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
1/3 cup of lemon juice
1 garlic clove, fresh
3 Tablespoons of water
Olive oil

In a food processor puree chickpeas. Add lemon juice, sesame oil, garlic and water. Pulse a couple of times to combine.

Transfer hummus to a small serving bowl.  Smooth out with knife, and add just enough olive oil to cover the surface. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Stir in oil just before serving.  Serve with pita bread triangles.

Yield: 4 servings

Vegetable Pizza

Two, 8-ounce packages of refrigerated crescent rolls. (16 count)
Two, 8-ounce packages of cream cheese
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1 package of Hidden Valley Ranch dry dressing mix
6 cups of assorted fresh vegetables, finely chopped
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, finely shredded

To make pizza crust, unroll crescent rolls, press seams together and pat into a 15-1/2 X 10-1/2 X 2 inch baking pan.  Bake at 350 degrees  for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool. Set aside.

The pizza filling is made by stirring together the cream cheese, mayonnaise and dry dressing mix in a small bowl. Spread filling evenly over the cooled crust.

On top of the filling sprinkle the finely chopped fresh vegetables. Vegetable options could include: broccoli, cauliflower, green, red, orange or yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped tomatoes, thinly sliced green onion, black olives, green olives, celery or shredded carrots.  Try to pick vegetable of different colors to make pizza more colorful.

Top with the shredded cheese and refrigerate until ready to serve.

To serve cut into squares.

Yield: 32 appetizers.


Rhubarb Punch

6 cups of rhubarb, chopped fine
6 cups of water
2 cups of sugar
one, 6-ounce can of frozen orange juice
one, 6-ounce can of frozen lemonade
2 quarts of lemon-lime soda

Put rhubarb and 3 cups of water together and boil until rhubarb is cooked.  Strain the mixture to get the juice.  Boil the juice again with the 2 cups of sugar. Cool.

To the cool rhubarb juice mixture, add orange juice and lemonade, 3 cups of cold water and lemon-lime soda.

Serve in punch bowl with ice.

Sherbet Punch

This recipe is easy, tastes great and you can change the color of the punch by just choosing different flavors of sherbet and sliced fruit or berries.

1/2 gallon of lemon or lime sherbet.
2 quarts of Sprite
Lemon and lime slices

Fill punch bowl 3/4 full of cold Sprite. With an ice cream scoop add 1/2 of sherbet.  It will float and become foamy on top. Stir gently 3-5  times.  Add fruit slices on top of the punch bowl. Serve

Yield: Serves 24. (enough for two bowls)

Methodist Champagne

Two, 46-ounce cans of pineapple juice
1 quart ginger ale
1 quart sparkling white grape juice
Two, 6-ounce cans of frozen lemonade concentrate

Chill  pineapple juice, ginger ale, and white sparkling grape juice.  Combine chilled juices and ginger ale with thawed but cold lemonade concentrate. Stir until combined and serve in punch bowl with ice rings.

Ice Ring:
Use a ring shaped jello mold and fill 2/3 full with water.  Add colorful fruit such as cherries, blue berries,raspberries, strawberries or citrus slices.  Freeze.  Unmold and add to punch when it is time to serve.

Easy Classic Red Punch

2 large cans of Hawaiian Fruit Punch
1 quart of ginger ale
1 quart of Sprite

Mix together and serve in a punch bowl with ice.

Classic Red Punch

4 packages of orange or cherry Kool-Aid
8 quarts of water, cold
Two, 46-ounce cans of Hawaiian Punch, chilled
Two. 46-ounce cans of pineapple juice, chilled
1 can, 6-ounce frozen lemonade

In a very large container mix together punch ingredients.  After well mixed  and right before you serve add 2 quarts of ginger ale.  Add ice and serve your large crowd.

Pineapple Raspberry Punch

5 cups of pineapple juice
1 quart of raspberry cranberry juice
1 pint of raspberries, fresh or frozen
1 lemon, thinly sliced

Chill all of the ingredients.  Combine in a punch bowl with ice.

My gift to this year’s graduates is a little advice and this recipe for chewy, chocolaty, fudge brownies.  Successful adulting often requires less beer and more chocolate.

Chewy Cocoa Brownies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Lightly grease a 9 X 13 baking pan.  Line the bottom with parchment paper.  Set aside.

1 cup butter, melted and cool
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1-1/4 cups white sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup salt
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1-12 ounce bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine the melted butter, oil and sugars.  Beat with electric hand mixer until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla.  Beat until the mixture is smooth and becomes a lighter shade of yellow. This takes just over a minute or so.

In a small bowl sift dry ingredients together: cocoa, flour and salt.  With a mixing spoon or rubber spatula foal dry ingredients into the egg and sugar mixture. Mix until JUST combined.  Over mixing will make your brownies more cake like and less chewy.

Fold in chocolate chips.

Spread the batter evenly in the 9 X 13 inch pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until the center of the brownies is set to the touch.  The middle will still be soft and if you check with a toothpick at this time it was come out covered in batter.  Remove brownies from the oven and cool.  Dust with powdered sugar, cut into squares and serve.

Congratulations to all of this year’s graduates! May your future be as bright and colorful as this morning’s sunrise! 

Blogger’s note:  Food poisoning is a very real hazard during any potluck or party, however the heat of summer greatly increased the likelihood that you or your guests could be come very ill.  To a cancer patient such as myself with a compromised immune system, food poisoning can be deadly.  Be sure to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.  Take extra precautions when handling raw meat or poultry.  Always wash your hands, any surface you are working on or any utensils you use when working with raw meats.

Also, remember that some of your guests may have food allergies or are on medications that require them to avoid certain foods. Nuts, shellfish and for heart patients grapefruit juice come to mind.  Know what you are serving and accurately share all of the ingredients with guests who ask for that information.  A little bit can make a person very ill and in some extreme cases food allergies and drug interactions can be deadly.

Then, too, if you are serving alcohol at your event, do not and do not let your guests drink and drive.

Recipe: Christmas Trivia and George Washington’s Eggnog

The Swedish Farmer's Daughter

Santa thumbs up

You cannot beat a nicely spiked cup of Eggnog on cold winter days such as the ones we are experiencing.

Then, too, Christmas Trivia is always a good read.

Christmas Trivia:

George Washington crossed the Delaware River on Christmas Day 1776.

It was in 350 A.D that Julius I, Bishop of Rome chose December 25 to celebrate the birthday of Jesus Christ.

The first Christmas tree decorated in the White House was during the Franklin Pierce Administration.

Calvin Coolidge in 1923 lit the first Christmas tree on the White House lawn.

When it pays to send the best… The first official White House Christmas card was sent by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. He asked a friend, Joyce. C. Hall, the founder of Hallmark Cards, for help. Hallmark has supplied the official presidential holiday cards ever since.

The first tinsel was made in 1878 and distributed in Nuremberg, Germany. These icicles…

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