Monthly Archives: August 2012

Grandma’s Legacy

I’ve been trying for days to write a tribute to Grandma. Searching to put my thoughts and my heart into words.

Grandma’s visitation and funeral was a bittersweet time. Much laughter. Many tears.

It was sweet to remember the Grandma that was – the one that lived a few miles away and always had Frosty root beer, Schwans ice cream and Ding Dongs. Who loved having her grandchildren there and knew the best toys to have around – a wooden swing in the tree out front, a cedar chest full of dress-up clothes, and hay bales to jump on.

She was the grandma who would take you berry-picking, let you help make lunch for the hay crew and ride beside her in the old brown Rambler to deliver it to them in the hay field.

She was the grandma who bedded you down on homemade comforters when you spent the night, who fed you ice cream when you were home sick – even though home was only 5 miles away, and sent you a letter every week when you were at college.

Letters filled with farm news – how many pigs Grandpa worked, how many loads of laundry she did, who was there for coffee, and most importantly – what she made for lunch. Letters that made you both homesick and hungry.

She was the grandma that knew your favorites and when the mashed potatoes ran out before she thought you had enough – she went in the kitchen and made you more.

She was that grandma.

Grandma and momBut as I listened to the memories shared at visitation – I realized that she was so much more than just the wonderful Grandma I remembered.

She was the thirteen year old girl who lost her dad to pneumonia. Who worked her way through college, taught in a one room school and eloped with a younger man (my Grandpa) when her mother wouldn’t let them get married.

She worked beside Grandpa for 72 years.  Together they were a strong team – she helped with farm work and chores, he did the dishes after the meal and swept the floor.  They loved each other and weren’t afraid to show it.

Together they raised four kids, milked cows, raised pigs, sold eggs, put in crops, baled hay, and weathered storms.

Grandma had a zest for life – a determination to not miss out.

She was capable – cooking meals from scratch for years. She served a meal to anyone and everyone that Grandpa invited in – from the feed salesmen to the neighbor stopping by.

She made clothes on a treadle sewing machine – including her daughter’s wedding dresses. And beautiful wool rugs that are still in use today.

As this picture of Grandma grew more clear – another thought surfaced.

All of those things that I can say about Grandma – her zest for life, commitment in marriage, hospitality, homemaking skills –  I could also say about my mom.

The loving environment my mom created for her grand kids – full of dress-up clothes, homemade chocolate sauce on ice cream, laughter and acceptance  – she learned from Grandma.

The many and varied guests around our table growing up – she learned that from Grandma.

Her love and faithfulness to my dad – and not being afraid to show it – and working beside him and with him no matter what job needed to be done – she learned that from Grandma.

The home cooked meals, the home made clothes,  the hard work, and even that zest for life – were all learned from Grandma.

I can see it so clearly now – Grandma’s richest legacy to me was much more than being a wonderful Grandma (and believe me – she was!)

Her greatest gift to me was my mom.

Thank you Grandma.

Fudge Brownies with Cookie Dough Frosting

My friend, faithful blog reader and fellow foodie Ellene recently sent me the most amazing recipe!


Are you ready for this one – Monster Cookie Dough Frosting!

Hello! That was brilliant! Now why didn’t I think of that! Who doesn’t love monster cookie dough?!

The original recipe from Living Simply called for a peanut butter cupcake to hold this amazing frosting – but you know me. It’s all about chocolate here.

So Angel Girl switched up the cupcake for our favorite Fudge Brownie.


We took it to the church potluck yesterday and brought home an empty pan. Good thing Angel Girl set a few aside for a picture before we left!

Fudge Brownie with Monster Cookie Dough Frosting
Adapted from Tisha Sledd at Living Simply

Fudge Brownies

1-1/3 cup flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup oil
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, and salt. In a separate bowl combine the oil, eggs, and vanilla.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Stir till just mixed. Spread in a greased 9 x 13 inch cake pan.

Bake 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Cool completely.

Monster Cookie Dough Frosting

1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup butter (softened to room temperature)
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1-1/2 cup oatmeal
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 cup plain M&M’s
1 cup chocolate chips

Cream the butter, peanut butter, brown sugar, and white sugar together. Add the oatmeal, powdered sugar, milk, M&M’s and chocolate chips. Mix well.

Spread over cooled brownies.

Cut the brownies into small squares ’cause this stuff is rich!


Life Lessons

We started school this week.

All the curriculum came out. The books got dusted off and the pencils sharpened.

But I find it interesting that the most important lessons learned this week didn’t come from any books – they came from life.

Lessons like responsibility.

When you are the one responsible for getting up and feeding the pigs – and you happen to oversleep – pigs don’t like it.

They bend the fence in order to get out and run around the yard in search of food.

Your mom and your sister are not very happy when they have to help you get them in – and then figure out how to keep the fence together until your dad comes home.

Over an hour of the day is lost.

And your dad is not pleased with the bent fence.

“A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man.”                   Proverbs 6: 10-11

Or generosity.

That sacrificing the time to run to town for extra ingredients so you can work in a hot kitchen to make meals for those who just got out of the hospital makes you feel good.

Especially when you see the looks of appreciation on the faces of the recipients.

That taking the time to sit and down and visit when you delivered the meal was just as important as the meal itself.

And that by the time you left – you felt just as blessed as the ones you brought the meal to.

“A generous person will prosperous, whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:25

This is what I would call real education.

There are some things in life that just can’t be taught in a textbook.


Mocha Java

Mocha Java CoffeeDagmar’s been in the kitchen again.

She’s experimenting.

With coffee this time.

And chocolate.

Maybe that’s why she’s smiling?

And has so much energy?!

Today’s winner – a Starbuck’s look-a-like – Mocha Java.

Mocha Java

1 cup strong coffee
2 Tablespoons semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 half & half

Brew 1 cup of strong coffee.

Add the semi- sweet chocolate chips and sugar. Stir together. Pour into a mug.

Slowly add the half & half, stirring carefully if you want to make a barista design on top.

Grip the mug with two hands.  Drink slowly with a smile on your face.


Got Grease?

GreaseA quick laundry tip today – because the weather is much too beautiful to be inside either writing or reading  blog posts! 🙂

You know those nasty grease stains that end up on your clothes after cooking – or the ones you kids create when they spill supper?

The fastest and cheapest way to deal with them is too use the waterless hand cleaner that is used to get grease off your hands.

Just pour a little on the stain and rub it in. Don’t add any water. Let it sit for a minute and then launder as usual!

I’ve been doing this for years and it’s never failed me yet!

Any brand will do – I picked up a cheap bottle at the dollar store today. Just don’t get the ones with pumice in it – they are a little hard on clothing!

Happy laundering!