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The People’s Exchange is an “advertising paper” serving the Amish communities in Northern Indiana and Southern Michigan. It has a circulation of 10,500. It’s printed every two weeks. And, it is FREE. 

In The People’s Exchange you can find a “Charming Spinner” to get your clothes “50 to 90% dry” or a “woman safe” driving horse. There are ads for “certified organic” Jersey cattle, for race ponies and for farms. Every issue also contains a “favorite” sent-in-by-reader recipe.

Last week they had  the best tasting cake recipe ever. It came out light, fluffy and moist with a wonderful sugary crust. Yummmmmmm…

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Last week, The Peoples Exchange had 136 pages.

AMISH POUND CAKE

1 box yellow cake mix (2 layer box)

4 eggs

8 oz. cream cheese

1/2 cup milk

1 pkg.instant vanilla pudding (The recipe didn’t say which size. I used the small box)

brown sugar

cinnamon

Mix together the cake mix, eggs, cream cheese milk and pudding. Pour batter into 2 loaf pans and top with brown sugar and cinnamon. (I was pretty generous.)

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Yes, the recipe does use mixes. But, you end up with a cake, fresh from your oven, that TASTES made-from-scratch.dsc01927.JPG
I wish I had some just “picked-from-the-garden” strawberries.

SUBSCRIPTION FORM FOR

    THE PEOPLE’S EXCHANGE

(courtesy of The People’s Exchange)

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This is my husband’s favorite dinner. Absolutely. No question about it.

The recipe is from Betty Crocker’s 1973 “Dinner for Two”, which was one of my first cookbooks. I own a LOT of cookbooks, but this is the one I’ve used the most.

Over the years, I’ve doubled the chicken recipe many times. It is foolproof.

 OVEN FRIED CHICKEN

1/4 cup shortening or salad oil (part butter)

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp paprika (I use more)

1/8 tsp. pepper

1 1/2 lbs. chicken pieces or 2-pound broiler-fryer chicken cut into quarters

 DIRECTIONS: Heat oven to 425 degrees. In oven, melt shortening in baking pan. Mix flour, salt, paprika and pepper in plastic or paper bag; shake chicken 2 or 3 pieces at a time, in bag until coated.

Place chicken skin side down in pan. Bake uncovered 30 minutes. Turn chicken; bake until tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

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1973 Betty Crocker “Cooking for Two Cookbook”

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This is a to-die-for recipe. It is rich but worth every calorie, in my opinion.

This gooey pumpkin butter cake is outstanding. It is based on a recipe from Paula Deen.

Cake: 

1 (18 1/4-ounce) package yellow cake mix
1 egg
8 tablespoons butter, melted

Gooey Topping:

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well with an electric mixer. Pat the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13 by 9-inch baking pan.

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Cake mixture has been patted into bottom of pan.

To make the filling: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter, and beat together. Next, add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and mix well. Spread pumpkin mixture over cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Make sure not to overbake as the center should be a little gooey.

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Mixing the pumpkin and cream cheese.

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Serve with fresh whipped cream.

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Dinner rolls minus one roll.

Last night I dug out my tattered original handwritten recipe, scalded, mixed and kneaded. I left the dough in a covered bowl overnight. This morning I shaped and set the almost finished rolls out in the warmest part of the kitchen to rise.

Buster watched.

When I came back into the kitchen later to check on my rolls, the towel that had been covering  the rolls was on the floor. A roll was missing. Buster was innocently sleeping on the rug in front of the stove.

He didn’t so much as blink when he saw me checking the rolls to see if any of those remaining were “obviously” licked or sniffed.

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Roll? What roll?

“Best in Show” Dinner Rolls

Along with homemade mincemeat and pumpkin pie, my grandmother and mother made these rolls for holiday dinners. As a teenager, I  entered them in the County 4-H Fair and won “Best in Show” in the yeast bread category. 

Warm 1/4 lb. butter, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 cup milk until lukewarm (scald milk, turn heat off, let butter melt then add sugar)

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Scalded Milk is milk that has come to a boil. There will be a skin on the top of scalded milk.

Mix yeast in lukewarm water.

Beat 3 eggs.

Mix milk and eggs and add yeast.

Gradually add 5 cups flour and 1 tsp. salt.

Let rise overnight in a covered bowl.

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The dough is ready to be rolled or shaped and set out to rise again.

In the morning knead a little. Shape your rolls. Let rise until evening.

Bake at 350-375 until golden brown.

Besides bringing dinner rolls I am also bringing a Sour Cream Apple Pie and Paula Deen’s Gooey Pumpkin Butter Bars to our family’s Thanksgiving dinner.

NOTE: If Buster had managed to snatch more rolls, it could have been fatal. According to this article,, a dog’s stomach is a nice warm, moist environment, so, unbaked dough can expand to many times its size when ingested. With Christmas just around the corner and holiday parties in full swing, keep in mind any four-legged family members, who might be waiting for “opportunity”, and take care not to leave “people” food out the way I did.

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These bar cookies are not only delicious, they are FOOLPROOF. The recipe is my daughter’s. When she was a teenager she liked to bake and made these cookies often.

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DH’s grandmother Helen’s Dream Cake recipe from her hand-written cookbook. The recipe is similar to my daughter’s bar cookie recipe.

OLD FASHIONED HOLIDAY BAR COOKIES

Crust:

½ cup butter

½ cup light brown sugar

1 cup sifted flour

Filling:

2 eggs

1 cup light brown sugar

1 tsp. Vanilla

3 tablespoons flour

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts

1 can (3 ½ oz.) coconut

Preheat oven to 350. Mix butter, sugar and flour until smooth. Pat into bottom of 13x9x2-inch pan. Bake 10 minutes or until golden. Cool.

To make filling: beat eggs until light; gradually add sugar. Add vanilla, flour, salt and baking powder. Stir until combined. Add coconut and nuts. Spread evenly over crust and bake 25 minutes or until golden. Cool slightly.

Cut into bars while still warm.

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The crust is patted down on the bottom of the pan, baked and ready for my “flourless filling”.

“Noooo,” I shrieked like a shrew. 

My poor husband was trying to help. But, he was instead further ruining the treats I was making for him.

I didn’t realize until AFTER I spread  the filling over my cooled cookie crust that I had forgotten to include flour in the filling.

DH said it was not a problem, he could stir the flour in with a fork. I was afraid the fragile crust might break up and get in the filling…my daughter’s recipe specifically called for a crust.

But, DH seemed confident, so  I sprinkled about a tablespoon of flour over the cookies.  DH got a fork and started stirring. Vigorously, he stirred the crust right INTO the filling.

Which was reason I made enough noise to scare our animals out of the kitchen.

My scream also stopped DH from doing more cookie damage.

I put the cookies in the oven and hoped for the best. 

Fortunately, the best was fantastic. The cookies were wonderful.

The recipe is FOOLPROOF.

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Sour dough pancakes with sausage and hot real maple syrup.

It is cold today…40 degrees, with wind and rain.

But, I’m ready. My  sour dough starter has been upstairs by the radiator for 48 hours. It’s yeasty and bubbling and fermenting and smells pleasantly alchoholic. It is a family tradition too. I got the starter that is starting my starter from my mother who has been making the recipe since 1988.

This morning I used some of it and surprised my husband with sour dough pancakes. He loved them. They were light and tasted as good as I had hoped. Which inspired me to dig through my recipe drawer to find recipes for sour dough biscuits, cakes and bread.

The weather is miserable. But, I’m happily inside, wallowing in domesticity. I’m encasing my favorite recipes and some I want to try in plastic and organizing them in a 3-ring binder. I’ve made up menus. I’ve done a grocery list.

Meanwhile, my sour dough ferments and gets better. It will last for as long as I keep feeding it.

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When your starter is ready it should be bubbly and have a pleasant yet slightly sour aroma.

MOM’ SIMPLE SOUR DOUGH STARTER
(Can be left unattended for 3 weeks, no problem.)

1 pkg. dry yeast

2 cups warm water

2 cups flour.

Mix flour and yeast in 1 1/2 qt. container (glass or earthenware). Use wooden spoon. Add water. Cover with cheesecloth or towel. Leave in warm room for 48 hours. Stir 2 to 3 times. It will ferment, bubble and accquire a slightly sour smell. Makes 3 cups. Refrigerate. To use, stir then pour off as much as the recipe requires. Then add equal parts of flour and water to the remaining starter in the pot. Stir & let stand a few hrs. until it bubbles again before covering and refrigerating.

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Part of the batter is mixed and set out the night before you want to have sour dough pancakes.

MOM’S OLD-TIME SOUR DOUGH PANCAKES

1 cup starter

2 cups flour

enough warm water to make batter

Make batter using the starter, flour and warm water. Set in warm place until morning. In the morning, stir up the batter a little. Not too much.

While the griddle is heating add:

1/4 cup dry skim milk

1 to 1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. sugar

1/3 cup melted shortening

2 eggs beaten

Dissolve 1 tsp. baking soda in a little warm water and add just before spooning batter onto griddle.

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Turn your pancake over when the top is covered with bubbles. This pancake is just starting to bubble.

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The bottom of the pancake browns quickly. Keep a close eye.

MOM’S QUICK SOURDOUGH BREAD

1 tsp dry yeast

3 tbsp. warm water

2 cups starter

3 tbsp. sugar

1 1/2 tsp. salt

3 tbsp. non-fat milk powder

2 tbsp. shortening or vegetable oil

3-4 cups flour

Generously grease a 9×5 loaf pan, set aside. In small bowl sprinkle yeast over warm water. Set aside to soften – 5 minutes.

In large bowl combine yeast mixture, starter, sugar, salt, milk powder & shortening or oil. Beat until blended. Gradually stir in enough flour to make a medium stiff dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead dough for 8 – 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Add more flour if needed. Shape into loaf and place in prepared pan. Cover with cloth and set in a warm place free from drafts. Let rise 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until double in size.

Preheat oven to 350. Bake 50 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped with your fingers. If after 30 minutes loaf is golden brown, cover with a tent of foil to prevent further browning. Turn out of pan. Cool on a rack.

MOM’S SOURDOUGH BISCUITS

1 1/2 cups flour

3 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. shortening

1 cup starter

Mix dry ingredients – cut in shortening. Stir in starter & knead 20 times on floured board. Roll 1/2″ thick and cut with biscuit cutter. Place on floured cookie sheet and let rise until double. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes.

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I made these this morning. Most of them are gone already.

MY BLUEBERRY SOURDOUGH MUFFINS

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 oil

1 cup sourdough starter

1 cup white or whole-wheat flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup blueberries

Preheat oven to 425.

 Combine dry ingredients in small bowl. Stir in blueberries. Combine wet ingredients in a larger bowl. Add dry ingredients to wet ones. (I sprinkled a little sugar and cinnamon on top of my muffins)

Mix quickly and spoon into greased and floured muffin tin.

Bake at 425 for about 20 minutes.  

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Tomatoes and cucumbers from the garden have become part of our kitchen decor.

Horse manure!

DH brags about the power of his horse manure compost as if he invented it and got a nobel prize for the invention. “George Washington swore the secret to good farming was horse manure,” says DH.

“You just wait,” he said last summer, “George Washington knew his stuff, you’ll see.”

We added dried manure to our compost pile of grass clippings and shredded leaves last fall. This spring DH tilled it into our garden. Then we used more grass clippings and shredded leaves for mulch on top.

I was hoping the mulch would prevent unwanted plants from popping up, resulting in a no till, weedless garden. That didn’t happen. We had weeds. But, DH was so right about horse manure producing garden miracles. Our one cucumber plant has produced 60 cucumbers…so far.

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Our onions shortly before they were pulled up and cured.

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The first watermelons we found. There are at least 15 on that plant now.

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An 11 pound zuchini that came from a volunteer plant on our compost pile. We didn’t find it until it had grown to this size.

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A basket full of Yukon Gold potatoes. I had no idea potatoes could be so good.

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Browning the meatballs and simmering the tomato basil sauce.

Dinner tonight featured home grown tomatoes and basil.

MY MEATBALLS

Soak in milk, water or stock;

1 slice of bread, 1 inch thick

 Beat:

2 eggs

Add eggs to:

1 1/2 lb. ground meat/I used ribeye

Saute until golden brown:

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

Add to the meat. Wring the liquid from the bread. Add the bread to the meat and then add:

3 tablespoons chopped parsley

1 1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. paprika

1/2 chopped clove garlic

3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

1/4 tsp. oregano/I’ve used Italian Herbs

Mix and form into balls. Brown lightly in:

2 tablespoons butter

 Cover your frying pan and simmer on low until the meatballs for 1/2 or until the meatballs are firm and no longer pink in the middle.

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Cooking down the sauce.

SPAGHETTI SAUCE WITH FRESH TOMATOES AND BASIL
6 peeled, seeded and cut up tomatoes
2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
 garlic, minced to taste or pinch of garlic powder
1 tablespoon white sugar
2 tablespoons fresh basil (more or less to taste)

DIRECTIONS
In a large skillet or saucepan combine the tomatoes,  tomato
sauce, garlic, sugar and basil. (Other herbs may be added. I really like basil and prefer just that with tomatoes.) Stir all together and simmer over low heat until thickened. More sugar and a tablespoon of butter may be added if the sauce is too acidic. Flour (1 to 2 tablespoons) may be added if you prefer a thicker sauce. Stir frequently to prevent burning.

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Homemade spaghetti sauce with fresh tomatoes and basil over meatballs & spaghetti. It was sooooooo good!

HOW TO PEEL TOMATOES

Put the tomatoes, a few at a time in a large pot of boiling water for no more than 1 minute (30 – 45 seconds is usually enough)

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then….

Plunge them into a waiting bowl of ice water.

 

 

This makes the skins slide right off of the tomatoes!  If you leave the skins in, they become tough and chewy in the sauce…not very pleasant.

 

 

 

 

After you have peeled the skins off the tomatoes, cut the tomatoes in half. 

Now you need to remove the seeds and excess water. Wash your hands then squeeze each tomato and use your finger or a spoon to scoop and shake out most of the seeds. You don’t need to get fanatical about it; removing just most will do.

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Toss the squeezed tomatoes into a colander or drainer, while you work on others. This helps more of the water to drain off. You’ll end up with a thicker spaghetti sauce in less cooking time!

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Peaches ripening in a sunny window.

After a couple of days in a sunny window the peaches, saved from the beetles, were ripe and ready. I had enough to make a peach cobbler and a peach pie, plus some for the freezer. 

I love peach pies, crisps and cobblers, BUT with freshly ripened organic ones, this dessert is one of my favorites. Especially topped with vanilla ice cream.

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SOUTHERN PEACH COBBLER FOR TWO

(Can be doubled)

FILLING:

2 cups peaches

1/2 tsp. lemon juice

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tsp. cornstarch

TOPPING:

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons flour

2 tsp. sugar

1/4 tsp. baking powder

Pinch of salt

Pinch of cinnamon

Pinch of nutmeg

1 tablespoon butter cut into pieces

2 tablespoons whipping cream

dsc00227.jpg DIRECTIONS:

Grease small casserole dish with butter. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel & cut up peaches. Mix peaches and lemon juice. Mix cornstarch, brown sugar and cinnamon with peaches and put peaches into greased casserole dish.

 In another bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt. cinnamon and nutmeg. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Add the cream and toss with flour mixture just until the dough is combined.

 Turn the dough out onto a flour surface and knead a few times to smooth it. Then roll it out into the shape of the casserole dish. Place the dough over the filling and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. of sugar. Bake until the top is golden and the juices are bubbling. 25 to 30 minutes.

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 The cobbler is ready to eat.

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