Monday, April 30, 2012

Farmer Boy Recipe - Carrot & Raisin Wheat Bread

This is a recipe designed for a bread machine.  If you don't have a bread machine, you can still make this, but you'll need to do all the kneading, rising, shaping and baking by hand.  Maybe I'm getting too old or maybe I'm just too tired these days, but I like to have the machine do all that work!

Originally I was making this loaf to go with my "Farmer Boy Lamb Stew" (recipe in the archives) - it was to be "Carrot Wheat Bread".  But since this week is "National Raisin Week" I thought I'd change that!
Farmer Boy Carrot & Raisin Wheat Bread
  • 1 Cup of warm water
  • 1/2 Cup of shredded carrots
  • 1 Cup of bread flour
  • 2 Cups of whole wheat flour
  • 3 Tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons of dry milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 Tablespoons of butter
  • 2 teaspoons of active dry yeast
  • (optional - 1/3 Cup of raisins) (chopped nuts are also an option)
Directions: Place all the ingredients into the machine in the given order & let 'er fly!
If you are doing this by hand: mix all the ingredients in a large bowl.  Knead the dough for about 5 - 10 minutes.  Let it rise, under a kitchen towel for about a half hour.   Punch it down and knead for about a couple minutes.  Cover it again, and let it rise again for another half hour.  Punch it down a third time, shape it into a loaf or put it into a loaf pan.  Cover it again and let it rise for another half hour.  Bake it in a 350 degree F. oven for 40 - 50 minutes. (To test to be sure it is fully baked - tap with your fingers on the top - it should sound hollow.  Some cracking on top may occur, this is normal.)  Remove from the oven & pan to a rack to cool before slicing.

This bread makes great sandwiches too!  If you'd like, you could add some cinnamon into the batter to make it like a cinnamon raisin bread; which is great for breakfast!  I like to experiment with breads - adding different ingredients to a recipe that I already like.  Baking should be fun!  Start dreaming and see what you can come up with!  If you make this recipe or add to it or change it in some way, please let us all know, by leaving a comment here.  Thanks. The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

"Those who stop dreaming never accomplish anything." Laura Ingalls Wilder

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Farmer Boy Recipe - Hardtack

Hardtack is probably one of the oldest recipes known to man; going back thousands of years!  It was one of the staples of the pioneers as they journeyed across the prairies of America.  Laura wrote about baking it and how they would eat it along the way in their covered wagon.

Hardtack is the forerunner of our modern day soda crackers.  It was a simple food item that could be packed away for a snack or part of a whole meal without fear of it going bad.  But, it wasn't something that they would eat, "As is".  It is a hard piece of bread or cracker.  It is only palatable when sucked on and chewed or soaked in water or dipped in hot tea or coffee.  It might be used in a meal, if first soaked in water and then fried up with bacon drippings or covered with gravy.  It is not a gourmet food item - but if you need something to sustain you, it will keep you going till you can get a well-balanced meal!

Farmer Boy Hardtack
  • 4 Cups of all-purpose flour (Laura's family probably used whatever was on hand)
  • 4 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 Cups of water
Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  In a bowl, mix flour & salt.  Add the water and stir.  It will be stiff as you mix it.  Knead it a bit and roll out the dough (use a rolling pin or just flatten it with your hand) to a thickness of about 1/2 inch.  Cut the dough into 3 inch squares.  Place on an ungreased baking sheet and poke at least 4 holes into each square, using a clean, large nail or other sharp, pointed instrument.  Bake for 30 minutes on each side, till lightly brown.
The end result should be something hard and breakable.  Cool before eating or storing in a container. 
*Remember - don't try to bite into it without first soaking it to make it soft!  I wonder how many really hungry, anxious pioneers lost a tooth trying to eat it without soaking it!  :)
Now, the next time you read one of Laura's books or watch the TV show, you can snack on a piece of Hardtack and feel like you are part of the action!  (Don't throw out that popcorn just yet! :)

"I wish folks had to live for a little while like we did when I was young so they would know what work is and learn to appreciate what they have." Laura Ingalls Wilder

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

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

National Pretzel Day! 4/26/12

What a great day of celebration!
If you want to celebrate along with me, you could make your own pretzels, by going back to my post from 10/3/11 "My German Heritage Recipes - Soft Pretzels"!

Boy, now you can even find pretzels wrapped inside candies!  But, I don't carry most of those "new-fangled" candies in my shop - what I have available is "Old-Fashioned" candies.  (Not that some of those new ones aren't any good! :)  I get a lot of kids who have never seen Rock Candy, or Lemon Drops!  Their eyes usually "Bug Out" when they see all those old-fashioned candies - it's great!

"Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat.  In our mad rush for progress and modern improvements let's be sure we take along with us all the old-fashioned things worthwhile."  Laura Ingalls Wilder

Be sure to visit my shop's web site:  and, even better, stop by for a visit and see all those old-fashioned items!  Thanks.  The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Sunday, April 22, 2012

National Jelly Bean Day! (4/22/12)

Here's a good reason to celebrate -
Whether you like regular Jelly Beans or those special, Jelly Belly's, when you stop by my shop - they'll be waiting for you! 

I love tasting those special flavors of Jelly Belly's and trying to determine their flavor!
But it's still hard to beat one of the oldest of American candies - the original Jelly Beans!

Happy "National Jelly Bean Day"!
The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Old Man in the Bib Overalls Takes the Plunge!

Well, he finally went and did it!  The Old Man in the Bib Overalls, (Rev. Jim, aka James Kaiser - me!) has gone and got himself a Facebook page!

I wasn't sure it would ever happen, but it did!  Now you have another opportunity to see what's on my mind and see who cares!

(That's me on the left, with Doc Baker)
It's listed under "James Kaiser".  If you like it, let me know.  Thanks. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Farmer Boy Recipe - Hoe Cakes

I'd be surprised if the Ingalls or Wilder families didn't make these, even though I don't find any reference to them in Laura's writings.

I came across this recipe in my large collection of family hand-me-down recipes.  From what I know, "Hoe Cakes" got their name way back in the 18th Century, when farmers would stop their work in the fields and fry these up on the back of a hoe blade!  That's pretty creative!  Now, mind you, I didn't say it was very sanitary!  And I can't figure how they would have been able to get them to cook properly over an open fire or without all the ingredients in this recipe - I guess you'd have to be pretty hungry to attempt it!  But this recipe is just "modern" enough to attempt - even though it's probably just over a hundred years old itself! (And you don't need a hoe to make them!)
Farmer Boy Hoe Cakes
  • 1 Cup of Cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 Tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 Cup of boiling water
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 Cup of Milk
  • 1/2 Cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 2 Tablespoons of Butter, melted
Directions: Place the cornmeal, salt and sugar in a bowl.  Pour the boiling water over it. Cover the bowl and let it sit for 15 minutes.  Then, beat the egg in the milk and add to the cornmeal.  Sift the flour and powder into the mixture.  Beat in the melted butter.  Let the batter sit for a few minutes.  Then, with a medium hot spider (wrought iron skillet) with bacon grease or oil in it, ladle the batter, by about 1/4 cup.  Cook for about 1 minute on the first side, (till bubbles set on the edges) then another 1/2 minute on the other side.  (these cook a bit faster than regular flour flap jacks!)
Serve warm, as you would with regular flap jacks.
These are vesatile enough to use as a breakfast item, or as an alternative to cornbread or cornbread muffins as a side dish to any meal. 

Sister Freda, (Almanzo's cousin, who lives in my house) says she made these her whole life (she's 90 yrs. old now!) and she always enjoyed them served with a pad of butter and maple syrup poured on top!

I hope you'll try this recipe and then leave a comment here, letting us all know what you thought of them. Thanks.  The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

"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 sunset is soul satisfying, while a bird's song will set to music all day long." Laura Ingalls Wilder

Monday, April 16, 2012

An Uncle George Recipe!

This recipe comes by way of Sister Freda, (Almanzo's cousin). 

When she was growing up, her family raised sheep.  She says, her Uncle George did all the cooking at their sheep camp.  Uncle George was a real cowboy - punching cattle, herding the sheep, and doing the cooking.   There, in the sheep wagon, he would prepare their meals.  Usually it would be a meal made from what they had packed and brought with them.  But sometimes, they would come up with other ingredients to go with what they already had packed and brought along.  As Freda remembers, most meals had some kind of beans, along with other things.  When you're out doing hard work like that, you need a good, hearty meal to keep you going.  This recipe represents a typical meal that they ate, out on the praire.

Uncle George's Cowboy Meal
  • 3 Cups of dry Pinto beans
  • 1 gal. canned hominy or about a qt. of dry corn kernals
  • 1 Cup Walnuts, ground up
  • 1 Cup Corn meal
  • 1 Cup pumpkin or sweet potato, cubed
Directions: If you are using the dry corn kernals: Put the corn kernals in a dutch oven 3/4 of the way full of clean water.  Place the dutch oven over your hot coals or wood ashes of your camp fire.  Boil for about a half hour.  Wash the kernals and remove the skins.  Put back in the pot and boil again, till soft. (Maybe about an hour - increase your time, if you are in the high country!)  Once the corn is soft, add the pinto beans, uncooked.  Cook with a lid on the pot, for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, till tender. 
Place the shelled Walnuts in a flour sack and pound with a good-sized rock or mallet.  Mix the Walnuts with the corn meal.  Add this mixture to the corn and beans.  Bring to a boil.  (Add more water as needed.) 
Finally, throw in the pumpkin or sweet potato.  Cover and cook, till tender.

You may wish to add some salt & pepper and maybe even some nutmeg & sugar.  Again, this was a meal made on the fly - so use what you have and what you like!  "Yippee, Tie, Yi!"

Freda says they would lead the sheep for months from hill to holler and take them to market and do shearing and all that stuff!  Just imagine eating three meals a day at a camp fire all that time!  I know I'm spoiled - when I prepared this meal for her I made it with store bought beans and hominy!  But she said it tasted just like one of Uncle George's meals.  (Hope she wasn't just saying that to make me feel good :)

If you get the chance, come by my shop and visit with Sister Freda - she'll be happy to share some of her experiences with you.  (She has plenty of them to share - being 90 years old now!)
"The true way to live is to enjoy every moment as it passes, and surely it is in the everyday things around us that the beauty of life lies."  Laura Ingalls Wilder

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

Friday, April 13, 2012

National Pecan Day! (4/14/12)

What could be better than Pecans?  Well, Chocolate Covered Pecan Clusters, that's what!  :)

You'll find these and other Nut Clusters at Laura's "Sweet Memories" (the shop).
There are also: Chocolate Covered Peanut Clusters & Cashew Clusters!

All these candies are handmade, right here, in the Ozarks - and are reasonably priced too!
I hope you'll stop by soon and take some home with you - well, you'd better buy some extra to eat on the way home too!

Let's celebrate "National Pecan Day"!
The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

National Licorice Day! (4/12/12)

At Laura's "Sweet Memories" (the shop) we celebrate Licorice every day that we are open!

Black Licorice Candy is made from the extract of the roots of the Liquorice Plant, along with a few other ingredients to make it sweeter.  It contains a natural sweetener, glycyrrhizin, which is 50 times sweeter than sucrose.  It also has some medicinal benefits; with a history going back to ancient times - some was even found in the tombs of pharaohs!  But, who cares? - it just tastes great! :)

It made its way to America, where it became a popular candy, around 1914; known as vines or twists.  Now, America's licorice is rated as some of the world's best! 

If you visit my shop, be sure to seek out my Black Licorice.  I have a few varieties, as shown here:

Let's all celebrate "National Licorice Day"!
The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Famer Boy Recipe - My Easter Meal

Here, in Mansfield, celebrating with Sister Freda (Almanzo's cousin), I made a special stew today.  Sister Freda was born into a family who raised sheep & she was also a shepherdess.  So, I wanted to please her with some past memories and made a Lamb Stew.  What better meal to celebrate that special day, when we celebrate the raising from the dead of our Great Shepherd, the Lamb of God?
Not wanting to sound sacrilegious, but after eating this meal, one can't help but say, "Worthy is the Lamb"!
Farmer Boy Lamb Stew
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium sized onions, chopped
3 - 4 lbs. Lamb stew meat, cut into about 1 to 2 inch cubes
2 teaspoons of thyme
2 medium sized red potatoes, sliced
3 - 4 cups of water, or chicken & beef stock (combined)
1/2 teaspoon "What's This Here Sauce?" (Worcestershire Sauce :)
8 to 10 Fingerling Potatoes (nice variety)
1 lb. of carrots, sliced into 1 inch lengths
4 ribs of celery, sliced into 1/2 to 1 inch lengths
1/3 cup of Barley, pearled
1/3 cup of cream
salt & pepper
chopped fresh parsley
Directions: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  In a Dutch Oven, over medium heat, saute the onions till soft.  Add the thyme and meat.  Lithtly brown the meat, but do not cook it through. Mix in the sliced potatoes. Cover with the liquids.  Add the Fingerling Potatoes, cut in half.  Cover the pot and place into the oven to cook for 1 hour.
After an hour, add the carrots, barley, celery and the cream.  Cover the pot again and return it to the oven for cook for about another 45 minutes.  When cooking is completed, sprinkle on some chopped parsley.  Serve hot with some rolls.

I hope you'll enjoy this as much as we did!  It is a great meal anytime of the year!
If you make this, please let us all know, by leaving a comment here. Thanks. 
The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Farmer Boy Recipe:The best meal I ever had!

Taste and see - the Lord is good!

Ephesians 2 : 8,9
The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Farmer Boy Recipe - Stuffed Cabbage

This is another one of my handed-down family recipes.  I'm not sure how it got into my family, since I'm aware of it as being a Polish dish and none of my ancestors were from Poland.  Yet, here it is!  The Polish name for this is "Golomki".  The preparation is a bit involved, but the outcome is certainly worth it!

Ingredients: (makes 6 - 8 rolls - about 3 - 4 servings)
  • 1/2 Cup of short grain rice (Raw!)
  • 1/2 lb. ground Chuck Steak (twice ground works best)
  • 1 1/2 lb. ground Pork (twice ground)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Hungarian Paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 medium Yellow Onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 egg (slightly beaten)
  • 1 small can Tomato Paste
  • 1 medium can (14 oz.) Tomato Sauce
  • Kitchen string (or toothpicks)
Directions: In a large pot, boil about a dozen large cabbage leaves for about 60 minutes. (They need to be limp enough to roll up, with the meat mixture inside of them.)  In a large bowl, mix the meats, raw rice (don't worry, it will cook up!), salt & pepper, onions, and egg. (If you use your hands to do this, be sure to wash them before touching anything else!) In a bowl, combine the tomato sauce & paste and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Prepare 11 X 13 inch baking dish, by filling the bottom with 1/2 inch of water.  Place a fire-proof trivet in it.

To make the cabbage rolls: Lay out a prepared leaf (outside down), place about 2 - 3 Tablespoons of the meat mixture in the center.  Beginning with the fat end of the leaf, roll it up and over the meat.  Tuck in the sides, like you would for a burrito.  Tie the roll with the kitchen string or secure it with a couple toothpicks.  Dip each roll into the tomato sauce & paste mixture.  Place each roll on the trivet, seam down.  Cover the rolls with the remaining tomato sauce and any leftover leaves.  Then loosely cover the whole pan with aluminum foil.  Place into the oven and cook for 2 - 2 1/2 hours.   Check occasionally to replace the water, if it has gone dry.  Remove from the oven and let rest a minute, cut the strings or remove the toothpicks, and discard the extra leaves.  Any extra sauce may be poured over the top as you serve them up.

Just smelling this cooking, brings back so many childhood memories for me!  I remember smelling it when I was outside playing.  I'd burst into the kitchen and ask, "Is it done yet?"  All I heard back was, "No, go play!"  After doing this a number of times, the answer finally came, "Yes, come sit down at the table."  What a lesson in patience!  I can't remember that it was served with any other side dish - this made the meal for me!  (But mashed potatoes or rutabaga goes pretty good, if you think you need a side dish.)

I hope you'll try this recipe and then leave a comment here.  Thanks.  The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

"The object of all education is to make folks fit to live." Laura Ingalls Wilder

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Farmer Boy Recipe: PB&J

April 2nd is "National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day"! 
Now, over my lifetime, I've tried all different combinations of PB&J's - but these are two that I'm stuck on. (Pun intended!)
I've found that Pita Bread makes a great bread to make a PB&J sandwich.  You just cut it in half and then open it up and it becomes something like a pocket to hold the ingredients!  You can fill a Pita loaf with anything, but my favorite is PB&J. 
Pictured here is a PB&J made with regular peanut butter and another made with Chocolate peanut butter.  The jelly flavor I like best is Strawberry, followed by Concord Grape, or Black Raspberry, or Blackberry, or - well I guess I like all flavors of jelly or jam! :)
I think there is some unwritten natural law that says that you have to serve a PB&J with a glass of milk, but don't quote me!  And I think a person could survive starvation by eating nothing but these!  Anyway, I hope you'll join in the celebration and have a PB&J!  If you do, let us all know by leaving a comment here about what you ate.  Thanks.  The Old Man in the Bib Overalls