Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Farmer Boy Recipe - National S.O.A.S. Day!

What?  Yes, that's right boys & girls, it's "Something On A Stick Day"!  I don't know who thought that one up - probably someone who likes to visit those county fairs, where everything seems to be served up on a stick!  Anyway, it presented me with a challenge - to come up with something - and I did!

Farmer Boy Pinwheel Cookies
Ingredients: (makes about 2 1/2 dozen)
  • 3/4 Cup of butter, softened
  • 1 package of Cream Cheese (8 oz.), softened
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 1 Cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon of baking powder
  • 30 wooden craft sticks
  • 2/3 Cup of colored sugars
  • 30 candy-coated chocolate pieces (M&M's or other)
Directions: In a large bowl, cream the butter, cream cheese, and the egg yolk.  Combine the flour and baking powder and mix all together to form a dough.  Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Divide the dough into two and roll out each to about 9 X 15 inches.  Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 3 inch squares.  Place each square onto an ungreased cookie sheet, a couple inches apart.  Lightly beat the egg white.  Brush each square with the egg white.  Press a craft stick onto the center of each square.  Using a sharp knife, cut diagonally from each corner to within 1/2 inch of the center of each square.  Sprinkle the colored sugar on each.  Fold every other point in, toward the center, and press to seal.  Place a candy piece in the center of each, over the folds, pressing each in place.

Bake for 9 - 12 minutes. (Don't let them over-bake!)  Remove promptly and leave on the sheet to cool and firm up.  Then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

I'd think this would be a good project to do with children.  Besides, you'd have some help cleaning up afterwards ... well, maybe! :)
The only problem I've found with these cookies is, that these pinwheels don't spin!  :)

If you make these, please let us all know, by leaving a comment here.  And sign up as a follower of my blog & tell others too!  Thanks.  The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Farmer Boy Recipe for "National Waffle Day"

National Waffle Day is celebrated on March 25th, but these waffles are good any day!  This recipe is made with Sourdough Starter - if you need to know how to make that, I have a recipe in my blog archives for that.
Farmer Boy Sourdough Waffles

3 Tablespoons of cooking oil
2 eggs
2/3 cup of sourdough starter
1 cup of whole wheat flour
1 cup of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/4 teaspoon of salt
2 Tablespoons of sugar

Directions: Sift all the dry ingredients into a large bowl.  Add all the wet ingredients, including the starter.  Let them sit to come up to room temperature.  Add to the waffle iron according to the directions & cook till done.  It's amazing how something so simple, could be so great tasting!

Make sure you cook these long enough - the crisp crust is great!  You'll never want to make any other kind again, except sourdough waffles!
You can top the waffles with a little buter and then pour any of your favorite syrups over them.  If you would rather, you could use dust the tops with powdered sugar.  I personally like to top them with honey! 

If you make this recipe, please let us all know, by leaving a comment here. Thanks.

"Life was not intended to be simply a round of work, no matter how interesting and important that work may be.  A moment's pause to watch the glory of a sunrise or a sunset is soul satisfying, while a bird's song will set to music all day long."  Laura Ingalls Wilder

I hope you'll come back to my blog site for more!  The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Friday, March 23, 2012

I Heard it through the Grapevine!

Well, here we are into another spring and the next Grand Opening of Laura's "Sweet Memories" (the shop!).  And I've opened, just in time to celebrate "National Chocolate Covered Raisins Day"!

These are just one of almost a hundred of different candies that I have available this year in the shop.  I hope you'll be able come for a visit to see everything!
Be sure to take a look at my shop web site too! Thanks.
The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring arrives in Mansfield!

My Daffodils are in full bloom - it must be spring!  And surely the grand re-opening of Laura's "Sweet Memories" (the shop) can't be far behind the blooms! (I guess I'd better get busy!)

I just wanted to share these photos with you - these are my regular and double-headed Daffodils, which sit out in front of the shop.

The biggest trouble with Daffodils is that they just don't last long enough for me!  But, boy, the beauty when they are in bloom!
Maybe they'll still be in bloom if you visit my shop early this spring.  But, don't worry, they are many other flowers which should be in bloom after those have faded!

"At evening still my fancy sees
The flash  of snowy wings,
And in my heart
The Meadow Lark
Still gaily, sweetly sings."
Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Monday, March 19, 2012

Farmer Boy Recipe for "National Poultry Day"

National Poultry Day is celebrated on March 19th!  Here is a recipe that could make you join in the celebration!  It is one that was handed down in my family for generations, with little variations.  I'm not sure who, in my family, was the first to prepare this meal, but I'm glad they all decided to pass it on!  The only changes that I could note, throughout the generations, were the so-called improvements made by using more "modern" cooking techniques or more readily available foods.  I have, in fact, made such adjustments to the original - as I'll explain in the directions.  I hope you'll enjoy this recipe!

The greatest challenge I had was deciding what to name the recipe; as the variations were made over the years.  Let's just say it started as "Chicken with Dumplings", but as vegetables were added, it became "Chicken Stew".  But I prefer to call it:
Farmer Boy Chicken & Dumplings
3 lbs. - Chicken parts (you can use any parts you'd like! - I prefer legs & thighs - but most of my family's recipes used either whole cut-up chickens or different parts than I use)
3 Tablespoons of oil (Peanut works best, followed by Olive Oil)
4 - 6 Carrots, washed & cut in half (or a dozen baby carrots)
1 yellow onion, cut into wedges
4 ribs of celery, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 teaspoon of poultry seasoning
salt & pepper
For the Dumplings: (This is something in the recipe that has really changed over the years! The oldest recipe I found, showed them as noodles. Others showed something that amounted to a drop biscuit.  But this is what I've ended up with.)
1 cup of mashed potatoes (you can use prepared, firm, instant potatoes)
1 cup of Bisquick (or other mix)
1 teaspoon of chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon of chopped chives (optional)

Directions: In a large stock pot, put enough oil to brown up the chicken. After the chicken is browned, cover it with enough water by 2 - 3 inches.  Cover and bring to a boil, then simmer for about 45 minutes.
Remove the chicken, keeping it covered in another pan.  Skin and de-bone, when it is cool enough to work with.
While the chicken is resting, place the veggies into the pot of hot water and continue to simmer for another 1/2 hour.  Before returning the chicken to the pot, while it is boiling, add about 1 - 2 Tablespoons of flour or corn starch, to thicken.
Season the chicken with the poultry seasoning & salt & pepper to taste, then place it back into the pot and cook an additonal 1/2 hour.
While the pot is simmering, mix the potatoes with the parsley & chives.  (If the potatoes are too dry, add a few drops of water - it should be the consistency of a loose paste.) Next, roll the potatoes into a ball, the size of a ping-pong ball.  Then roll the balls in the Bisquick.  Spoon this mixture, by Tablespoon full, onto the top of the cooking chicken & veggies. (Make sure it is boiling.) Cook for about 10 minutes. (The dumplings will puff up! They should become light, like biscuits.)
Serve warm.  I like to dish it up in a large soup bowl, topping the chicken & veggies with the dumplings.

This is one of my favorite meals, I hope it will become a favorite to you as well!  If you make it, please leave a comment here for all of us to enjoy. Thanks.  And while you're at it, if you haven't signed up as a follower of my blog, take care of doing that!  And if you would, please tell others about my blog. Thanks!
Happy National Poultry Day!

"To me, it is a joy that 'No man knoweth what a day may bring forth,' and that life is a journey from one discovery to another." Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Farmer Boy Recipe: Corned Beef & Cabbage

Here is an authenic Irish meal!  While I'm not Irish, I did have a long friendship with a great guy, who came directly from Ireland.  It was Michael who gave me this recipe.  It is a very simple meal to make.

I'm not sure that this was as popular in Ireland as it has been here, in the U.S. - but it is something that originated in Ireland.  The "Corned" part of the name refers to the corning process - the coarse salt used to cure and preserve the beef.  But since we have Corned Beef and cabbage readily available year 'round, we don't have to enjoy this meal only during a St. Patrick's Day celebration!  I make it when I have a taste for it! :)  This recipe serves about 4 people - or 2 very hungry people!  ;)

3 - 4 lb. Corned Beef Brisket
1 head of cabbage
6 - 8 new potatoes
3 - 4 carrots
peppercorns, celery salt, cloves, mustard seeds, 2 - 3 cloves of minced garlic, and 2 large bay leaves
Directions: Place the brisket in a large pot, cover with water.  Drop in the herbs (just about any amount will do!) - I use about 1/2 teaspoon of different peppercorns (green, black & whatever is on hand), a couple pinches of celery salt, about a half dozen whole cloves (cracked), about 1/2 teaspoon of mustard seeds, the garlic and the bay leaves.  Place the lid on the pot and bring to a boil.  Turn down to simmer for about 3 1/2 hours - till it is tender and reads 160 degrees F. on a meat thermometer.  Remove the meat to a platter to rest; covered in plastic wrap.  Skim off any grease from the top of the water and remove the bay leaves.

Cut the cabbage into wedges, leaving them attached to a small section of the core.  Cut up the carrots into bite-sized pieces (or use about a dozen baby carrots).  If your potatoes are small enough, you can leave them whole - otherwise, cut them in half.  Drop all the veggies into the pot and simmer for about 20 minutes - till fully cooked.

Remove the veggies from the pot and place them on the platter with the meat.  Serve hot.  *Note: be sure to slice the meat against the grain.
If you are celebrating St. Patrick's Day, you may wish to add Irish Soda Bread to this meal and play a CD of Irish Bag Pipe music to really get into the mood. :)  Celebrating different cultural or ethnic meals can be fun!

Corned Beef makes great sandwiches too!  It is one of the basic ingredients in a Reuben Sandwich (not Irish!) - one that I crave every few weeks!

If  you make this meal, please let us all know, by leaving a comment here.  Thanks.
The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Farmer Boy Recipe - Sugar Free Oatmeal - Raisin Cookies

Here is a recipe that Sister Freda* contributed!  This was originally a regular cookie recipe, made with sugar. But, since she is a type 2 diabetic, I changed the ingredients to make it a sugar free recipe.  And she loves them!  I hope you will too!

1 cup of raisins (I use both regular & golden)
1 cup of water
1 cup of shortening
1 cup of Sugar Twin
2 eggs
2 cups of all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
1 1/2 cups of quick Oatmeal
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves & ginger

Soak the raisins in hot water.  Drain, reserving 5 Tablespoons of liquid.  Let the raisins cool to room temperature.  Cream the shortening and Sugar Twin.  Add the eggs and mix.  Stir in the 5 Tablespoons of liquid, along with the vanilla.  Sift the flour, soda and salt together and add them into the mix.  Stir in the oatmeal and raisins, along with the spices.  Mix well.  Drop by teaspoon full onto a lightly greased cookie sheet.  Flatten each slightly.  Bake at 375 degrees F. for 10 - 12 minutes.  Makes about 5 dozen.  (Be sure that you don't bake them too long - or they will get too hard! When they come out of the oven they should still be soft and only lightly browned on the bottom.  They taste good warm too!)

* note: Sister Freda is a cousin to Manly (Laura's husband).
If you make these, please let everyone know, by leaving a comment here.  Thanks.  The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Thursday, March 8, 2012

New addition to my shop!

I have been working all winter to make improvements to my shop.  One unexpected improvement or addition has surfaced!  Beginning with the spring opening of the shop there is an extra, added attraction - a real, live cousin of Almanzo Wilder!

In February I took in a house guest, a long time friend - she is a 90 year old widow, who I've been caring for (driving around & helping her do her shopping and seeing after her health care, etc.) for some 14 or 15 years now.  She had some health issues come up and could no longer live alone in her apartment.  I have prepared a bedroom for her and she and her cat are living on the first floor of my house, where the shop is located also.  She has enjoyed sitting in the shop the last couple of years, when she would come by for a visit.  Now she will be able to do that on a regular basis.

We didn't know, until we investigated, that she is actually a cousin to Almanzo, (Laura's husband).  Special thanks to Sue Francis, who helped discover the family tree!  (Sue is a cousin to Laura.)  So now, if you come to visit my shop, you can meet a living relative of the Wilder's!

She is a very cheerful, knowledgeable, and alert lady - for someone who just turned 90 years of age!   And I believe you'll enjoy meeting and visiting with her.  She is also a writer (unpublished at this point), mainly writing poems and inspirational prose.  I have convinced her to write her memoirs; which are very interesting!  And we may make some of her poems and other thoughts available in the shop.  She is a fellow Christian, and I call her "Sister Freda".
This year there will be new things to see on the "Wall of Memories" and some addtional antiques in my displays as well.  I have also come up with some great new "Old Fashioned" candies for the shop and some new handmade souvenirs, too!

So things are really shaping up for a grand re-opening season of Laura's "Sweet Memories" in the spring.  As the date approaches for the opening of the shop for the season, I'll post it here as well as on my shop web site.

If you are visiting the Wilder Museum, here in Mansfield, I hope you'll stop in to my little shop for a visit also.  Everything in the shop is reasonably priced - and the economic conditions of the country have not caused my stock to suffer in quality or value.  Everything in my shop is either hadmade in the Ozarks, or made in the United States!  And I haven't raised my prices since last year!

I hope you'll come by for a visit and even tell others about it!  And I hope, if you like what you see, you'll leave some nice comments on this blog site from time to time!  Thanks.

The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Farmer Boy Recipe - Country Cabbage Soup

Here's a comforting soup that will ward off winter, or help relieve that springtime cold!  This is an "Age Old" remedy for keeping a cold in check.  And it is simple to prepare!

  • 1/2 medium-sized onion, finely chopped (any variety)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 quarts of chicken broth (or water with a couple bouillon cubes in it)
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/2 of a medium-sized head of cabbage, chopped or shredded
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) of Stewed Tomatoes, drained & diced
Directions: In a large pot, add enough oil to saute the onion, garlic, and the cabbage.  Add the stock, salt and pepper to taste.  Add the shredded cabbage and cover the pot.  Bring to a boil.  Then turn the heat down and simmer for about 12 - 15 minutes.  Then add the tomatoes.  Cover and simmer for an additional 20 - 30 minutes.  That's it!

The only improvements I could think of giving this soup would be to top it with grated Parmesan cheese.
If everyone in the house eats this, it should be okay - if not, well... burn a candle & use mouthwash before you kiss!  And, Vampires, beware!

If you like this recipe, please leave a comment here.  Thanks.  The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

"When we recover from a serious illness, just a breath drawn free from pain is a matter for rejoicing."  Laura Ingalls Wilder

Saturday, March 3, 2012

A special note to "Anonymous"

Sending me comments which are actually SPAM - is a waste of your time!  They will not be read or downloaded!  Get a life!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Laura Ingalls Wilder & the Girl Scouts of America

Would you believe there is a connection between Laura and the Girl Scouts?  No, she wasn't a Girl Scout!  She was 45 years old when the Girl Scouts organization was founded.  And her daughter, Rose, would have been about 26 years old at that point.  But there really is a connection, trust me!

When I first went looking for the connection, I thought I might find it with Rose.  Turns out: Rose was a good friend of President and Mrs. Hoover.  Mrs. Hoover was, twice, a president of the Girl Scouts.  She served two terms: 1922 - 1925 and 1935 - 1937.  But I researched to see if Rose was a Girl Scout troup leader or had helped Mrs. Hoover, and came up empty!

Here was an organization for girls, teaching them just about all the skills that both Laura and Rose had lived firsthand, and yet there was no interaction between them!   But there's still a connection!

What had prompted my research, was the fact that the Girl Scouts of America are celebrating their centennial year this year, beginning in March!  So I wanted to say, "Happy Anniversary, Girl's!"   So I looked further for a connection and finally found it!

But the connection wasn't there in the beginning.  It wasn't until Laura's books had gone on to be world famous that a connection was made!  The connection is this: A program for the girls to earn a "Laura Ingalls Wilder Patch"!

As I understand the subject of patches and badges; they vary in design from state to state and individual troops, and even the requirements for the Laura Ingalls Wilder Program will vary.  But the basics are:
  • Read at least 4 "Little House" books and give a report
  • Learn about life in a covered wagon and possibly make a model of a covered wagon
  • Bake bread from scratch or cook a meal over an open campfire
  • Hand sew a sunbonnet or apron
  • Visit a Laura Ingalls Wilder historic site
Others include: making a craft item, like Laura might have made, write a repoet on Laura's life, and playing games that Laura would have played as a child.

I can't think of a better role model in history to emulate!  And learning about history this way is always a good thing to do!

As I researched, I foung that I have a connection to the Girl Scouts too!  My great grandfather was a stamp collector.  Among his collection I found this envelop and special stamp:
I hope the Girl Scouts of America will keep their focus and high ideals for training girls to become well-rounded young women - women who will make a difference in the world around them.   So, now I can say, "Happy Anniversary, Girl Scouts of America!"

"Women have been privileged to look on and criticize the way the world has been run. "A man-made world" we have called it now and then, implying that women would have done so much better in managing its affairs. The signs indicate that we are going to have a chance to remake it nearer to the heart's desire. I wish I might be sure that we would be equal to our opportunity." Laura Ingalls Wilder

Your comments about the GSA 100th year celebration are welcome here. Thanks. The Old Man in the Bib Overalls