Fresh From the Oven

OK… maybe not so fresh from the oven but recently from the oven and then taken to the fair and judged.  LOL!

Here are our Grange Hall Results.


DSCF4407Pineapple Upside Down Cake – 1st place = $4.50

DSCF4409Brownies – 3rd place = $1.75

I also entered some Marigolds but they didn’t win anything.

Grange total = $6.25


DSCF4408Brownies – last year she and I went head to head on brownies with 2 different recipes.  Lydia took first, I took second.  This year we used the same recipe but I used dark and milk chocolate and Lydia used dark and semi-sweet chocolate.  She still took – 1st place = $2.25.   Next year, we are making the exact same recipe and we’ll see how the judges like that!!

DSCF4448Sugar Free Apple Pie – 1st place = $3.50  She may have been the only entry.

Lydia also did 2 decorated cakes but those either haven’t been judged yet or they haven’t posted the standings on them.

Grange total = $5.75


Esther took baking to new heights this week.  She entered 6 different items.  She knows that basically there is very little competition in the Junior Baked Goods and one of the competitors is a good friend of hers.

DSCF4447Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Icing – 2nd place = $4.00  Normally we leave all things to be auctioned off by the Grange Board (that is how they get the money for the prizes) but we did ask for this cake back so we could enjoy it over the weekend.

DSCF4446Buckeyes – 2nd place = $2.25

DSCF4442M & M Cookies – 2nd place = $2.50

DSCF4444Monster Cookies – 1st place = $2.75

DSCF4443Peanut Butter Cookies (using Great-Grandma Lois’ recipe) – 3rd place = $2.25

DSCF4445Pumpkin Pie – 2nd place = $3.75  since a can of pumpkin makes 2 pies, we do have a pumpkin pie to share over the weekend as well.

DSCF4410Additionally, Esther entered Marigolds – 1st place = $1.75

Grange total = $19.25

There are still a few things pending and a second showing of flowers…. final results and totals will be reported later.


What are your holiday foods?

We are preparing for the 4th of July weekend and making foods to enjoy.


Whenever we have a vacation or large family gathering my go-to snacks and foods tend to be:


Chex Mix (in fact, I sometimes feel used just for my chex mix – it is REALLY good and much better than the bagged stuff)

Puppy Chow (you know chex cereal coated in chocolate, peanut butter, and powdered sugar – how can you go wrong with that?)

Generally a pan of brownies (Lydia is experimenting this year with a new recipe because Brownies is one of the categories she can enter in the fair)

Rice Krispie Treats (the good kind – peanut butter with M&Ms)


Major Holidays (Easter or Christmas)  – might also see a pan of Baklava (it is too labor intensive to make for the 4th of July)


Lately, one of our favorites is a fabulous sweet vegetable dip for tortilla chips.  It has beans and corn and a light sweet teriyaki flavor.


My sister-in-law usually makes good things like:  Chocolate Eclair Cake (Wayne’s favorite) or Lemon Meringue Pie (her husband’s favorite) or sometimes that Pretzel Strawberry Salad and lately she makes a mean Trifle.


This year, I added a Pasta Salad to my menu.  I’m not usually a pasta salad fan, but this one is different.  In fact, it is even more different than the recipe I got from my other sister-in-law… because I amped it up a bit and added Feta Cheese and Spinach to it.   🙂     DSCF1885


We still have the Chex Mix to make and we are going to make a batch of cookies too.  But other than that, we are almost ready to celebrate.


Wait till you see all the food I make for the Graduation Party….  think Christmas Open house with a Summer ‘tude.   😉

Soup, it is what’s for dinner

Making “dump and pour” soup today… cleaning out the freezer a bit because I have pies coming from work on Wednesday and will need the room for those… priorities, right?  Make room for the pies by removing the vegetables!  😉

The beans have been soaked and the meat browned.  It was a yucky, half freezer-burned roast.


I cut off the fat and freezer burned portions, browned the rest and it will be fine in the soup.  The outside cats enjoyed the rejected portions.


Add some veggies.  Which include home grown tomatoes that were frozen this summer.


Add some salt, pepper, A-1, etc.  and soup is on.


Watch that I don’t burn my fingers on the outside of the crockpot.

I will, of course, make cornbread to go with this.  Can’t have soup without cornbread.  🙂

Crockpot Dilemma

So you see, I never really wanted to own a crockpot, but then again I never really wanted to work while the kids were still living at home either.  But… since I do work and some nights it means I’m not home at the dinner hour, I have a crockpot now so that I can be sure they eat something relatively healthy.  Though they did finish that bag of peanut M&M’s yesterday, so they got some protein.   😉

The crockpot I have had for several years is the one that I acquired from Camp Lycopodia when it closed.  I was the last troop to camp there and since my mother’s troop had provided a good portion of the cooking supplies when they re-did the kitchen for their Silver Award, I brought home most of that stuff and put it in my camping supplies.  That crockpot is a Rival crockpot, small, and the pot is permanent – cannot be removed for washing.  That is fine, I learned about the crockpot liners thanks to the Cloverleaf Band moms who used them in the crockpots during basketball concessions for sloppy joe.

So, that is what I have been using for a couple years.  It works, it is just small-ish.  So, I don’t ever cook anything large.

My mother went to an auction recently and got me a LARGE crockpot.  A Wolfgang Puck crockpot.  The pot is removable.  It has a digital touchpad (instead of a dial) and is all modern and stainless steel.  Whoo-hoo.


So today, I try the new crockpot with a pork and bean recipe.  I’ll share that recipe later if we like it.   🙂

Problem with the new crockpot…. it gets hot!!  Very hot!!  The metal outer pot gets too hot to touch.  In fact the handles are almost too hot to touch.  It is only set on low but WOW!  I definitely cannot leave anything close to it on the counter.  The old, rinky-dink crockpot… cooked on the inside only, the outside did not get hot to the touch.  Not sure I’m happy about this.

I still used the liner because, let’s be honest, it is still easier to clean up and if you know how dishes work in this household, you know why I use the liners.    I am thankful that dishes are not in my realm of responsibility, so I don’t mind using the liners to ensure that I can cook again next week if the pot doesn’t get washed.

Campout – individuals or family style?

WE HAD BEAUTIFUL WEATHER!!  That doesn’t happen very often for me on a campout.    The weather was near perfect, the girls were fun, the hikes were refreshing… all in all a very good weekend.

We were in a building that is a split cabin – we were on side B.  Of course, if the camps lady had actually had a clue when I talked to her earlier in the week when I asked about a dad coming along and where he would stay, we might have been in our own cabin.  She said “everything is full.”  Well… that was NOT true there were several cabins not occupied.   Even the one smaller handicapped cabin, which I would have taken at the last minute since the number of girls I took camping was smaller than anticipated.


The neighbor group was fine.  They were a brownie troop.  They spent a lot of time in the cabin doing crafts.  We do crafts too but when the weather is nice we get our butts out and enjoy it.  Our only complaint about them was the squealing at 7am on Saturday morning.  We weren’t expecting to get up that early.  But we did … and had our bacon and french toast on the hobo stoves by 8:15.  If you have never cooked on a hobo stove, you don’t know what you are missing.   🙂     I remember cooking on them at Camp Wanake when homes-in-the-woods were actually in pine trees, and when your bacon fell off, you just rinsed the pine needles off in the fire bucket and cooked it again.  Well.. pretty much the same thing happened this weekend.  A few pieces of bacon jumped into the dirt and I told them to put it back on and “cook it off.”  They were good sports and they did!

After breakfast we worked on our jumpropes for a while.  I think I have figured out what the problem is with it being tight on one end and loose on the other.  I’m just not sure how to correct it.  Regardless, we had a great time making them and every one was different.  It took us almost all day to get everyone’s done in our spare time between hikes and meals.

We noticed the neighbor troop brought out wash basins and bags of dishes to the porch.  My girls were curious.  The conversation went something like this:

Girls:  What are they doing?

Me:  Washing their dishes.  Each girl has to bring and wash her own dishes.

Girls:  Why:

Me:  Because that is what leaders are taught.  We don’t do that though.

Girls:  Yeah, I like only have to do dishes once per weekend.

Me:  Exactly.  Isn’t it better wash dishes like a family instead of doing your own for each meal?

Girls:  (Mixed responses here range from:  Yes… to… I don’t like doing dishes… etc.)

Me:  I like that we camp more like a family.

We have even been congratulated by a site monitor (“camp coach” is the new term) for team work in doing dishes and other things.   I own all the dishes we need for a troop campout.  Why would I ask each girl to buy something that many of them cannot afford.  Team work and a Kaper Chart are great.  The girls know what to expect and they really do only have to wash dishes once per weekend.

The way other troops wash dishes:


The way we wash dishes:

IMG_1007  IMG_1065

We did our usual hike to the glacial rocks.  And, as usual, we saw no other troops taking advantage of the great exploring opportunity.   It is such a cool place to explore and climb and enjoy the wonder that is God’s creation and to marvel at the strength of glaciers to carry such large rocks.

One of my favorite things to do is to take a BEFORE photo:


And then an after photo of the girls on the rocks along the trail!


The rocks are massive and fun to climb and explore.   Yes, we were being careful AND had a first aid kit along just in case.


What makes me sad is that this sign was found by my troop in May and we reported that it was down so that it could be returned to its proper location on the National Park fence behind the cave area.  Was that done?  Guess not.  I reported it AGAIN.  Will it be done?  Probably not.


Something that we enjoy looking at and pondering is why the swimming pool (from when my mother was a camper here) was at the bottom of a huge hill down by the creek?  Someone has taken the time to excavate a corner of the pool so you can see that it really was a swimming pool by the blue walls, not just from the square indent in the ground in the woods.



Then there was our hike to find the clay in the creek down the trail behind the pond.  That was part of our “Dirt and Mud” badge.  The Dirt and Mud badge was a “make your own” badge created by my #2 daughter’s troop several years ago when we camped in January to do our Frosty Fun badge but it was 60º and muddy.  I had to order the badges in quantities of 50, so I ordered 50 and am now on my 3rd troop to do it.  I might be left with a few but it is a cool and fun badge.  Playing in the creek and with the clay/mud was fun.    I had a hard time convincing them they only needed their cup full of clay.  Some of them wanted to bring mounds and mounds of it back.  I finally relented and they could bring back a cup that looked like a single scoop ice cream cone – NOT double or triple scoops!  Then they got to create with it.  We started them drying by the fire.  They didn’t dry out completely at camp, so they took them home to dry there.  The ones that came home with me are dry now.

IMG_1087   IMG_1104

We found this new friend, I think they named him Bobby Turtleton, at the pond.  He came swimming right up to us on the dock.  I’m sure he thought we would have some bread or something.  I never even thought about taking some with us.  He has to be quite old, based on the amount of seaweed growing on his shell.


As always, gathering around the fire at night is fun.  The girls were playing a game.  We made “cones of awesomeness” and enjoyed the fire for a while.

IMG_1109 IMG_1110 IMG_1111 IMG_1112

We then let the neighbor group use our fire to make s’mores while we went inside to finish some badge work, make some more jump ropes and get ready for bed.

Cleaning chores before leaving are not a big deal for my troop.  They all know what to do and they take care of their assigned areas.  My own daughter is always leading the way with the bathrooms.  We offered to clean the whole of the latrine for the neighbor troop.  They asked that they be taught.  So my girls (4 of them) took some of their girls to the latrine in the morning and taught them how to clean it.  Sweep down the walls, the floor, whatever you can reach with the broom.  Wipe the toilet seats completely with a clorox wipe.  Clean up any trash all around the building.  When the site monitor came to check us out.  She asked who taught the other troop to clean the latrine.  My girls tentatively raised their hands.  She said:  “Good Job!  That is the best I’ve seen a latrine cleaned in a long time!”  WOO HOO!!    I’ve got a great FAMILY of girls!

Next campout is in January – hopefully to do that Frosty Fun badge!  Then we will camp in April as well.  Fun things to look forward to!

Miner’s Chicken

Yesterday on Facebook I mentioned that I served my family Miner’s Chicken in the crockpot.  Here is the recipe.


5 lbs mixed chicken pieces.  I just used boneless chicken – usually breasts and probably only 2 lbs.  This time I used the precooked chicken diced tenderloins from Market Day to skip step 1.

5 oz Worcestershire Sauce

1 TBS garlic powder

Large onion – chopped

8oz French dressing

12 or 16 oz jar of APPLE jelly

3 cups minute rice (though in the crock pot, next time I will use long cooking rice, because the rice got really mushy after 8 hours)

2 cups water

salt & pepper to taste


dutch-ovenBrown the chicken and onions.  Put them on the bottom of the dutch oven (or whatever cooking dish/crockpot you are using if not doing it on the fire).  Mix everything else together and pour over the chicken.   Cook for 6-8 hours on low in crock pot, 20 minutes or so if in the fire – however long it takes for the rice and chicken to be done in the oven.   If you think you need to add more water for the rice to absorb, do so.  The original recipe only calls for 1 cup, but that is not enough for the rice to cook properly.


Looking at my recipe it is officially titled “Miner’s Rescue Chicken” and has a story about a boy scout being rescued and eating this every night to ensure safety.  I’m not sure I could eat this every night, but it is tasty and great for campouts.


My girl scouts made this at a campout once and my co-leader had a friend who was camping with his boy scouts.  She sent him a photo because it was so yummy and impressive.  The boys were eating broasted chicken from the grocery store and the girls were cooking awesome meals on the fire!  Go Girls!!   🙂



Ah Pickles!

We made refrigerator dills today.  Didn’t take very long but we will have pickles in a few days.  We’ll see if we like them.


Here is what we started with.

IMG_0803yes, I bought some of those long skinny ones so we could make Hamburger dills, since I knew my cucumbers were going to be too fat and seedy.

IMG_0804 Packed in the jars with dill, some onion, a dash of clove, and some garlic.

IMG_0805Pour on the brine (vinegar, water, salt and alum) and they are ready to sit for a few hours then take up residence in the frig.


I made pickles once before… loooooooooong time ago (BC)… hope these turn out yummy!