Friday, May 31, 2013

Freda's thoughts of peace

Thanks for reading.  If you like this thought for the day, please leave a comment to encourage Freda. Thanks. The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Freda's Friday

Thanks for looking!  If you like reading these thoughts from Freda, please leave a comment to encourage her. Thanks.  The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Chilly for the end of May!

Oops!  I meant, "Chili"!   Well, actually, it should be "Chili Sandwich" for the end of May!  :)

This is what I like to do with that small amount of left-over chili (with beans) - simply make a sandwich with it!

You may rather make this sandwich with a soft tortilla, but I like it with a couple slices of toasted bread.  Anyway, it's just that simple - just place the cold chili in there and off you go!

Now, you may want to be a little more creative and add some shredded cheese in there and maybe some sour cream.  So, just consider this the start!

As for the weather at the end of May: it seems to have gotten over being cold here!  And now we are experiencing some summer-like weather.  (I welcome that!)  :)  The Old man in the Bib Overalls

Friday, May 24, 2013

Something from Almanzo's cousin -

Thanks for looking - if you like "Freda's Thoughts" please leave a message that I can pass on to her. The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Birth of Grace Pearl Ingalls

Grace Pearl Ingalls was born on May 23,1877, in Burr Oak, Iowa.  It was a small town, just over the border from Minnesota.

The Ingalls family had been living in Burr Oak, Iowa following the death of "Little Freddie", the only boy born to Charles and Caroline.  Charles Frederick (Freddie) Ingalls had only lived a little over nine months.

Charles had made a deal to manage the Masters Hotel in exchange for room and board for his family.  But, being next to the town saloon, the accommodations didn't suit the family.  Also, the deal went sour, when Charles didn't receive the money he was promised for his work.

So, the family found better living quarters over the grocery store. But, even that was too near the saloon to make for quiet and peaceful living.  The owners of the grocery lived on the first floor.  One night Charles was awakened with the owner yelling and arguing below, in his quarters with his wife.  He was drunk and was threatening to burn the building down!  Charles was able to calm him down, but it lead to the Ingalls family seeking new living arrangements.

While staying at the hotel, they had met Mr. Bisbee, a border.   He taught Laura to sing with musical scales.  This connection with Mr. Bisbee proved providential.  The family was finally able to find a more suitable home, when Mr. Bisbee offered them rent in a red brick house at the edge of town.  It was there that Grace was born.

It was a wonder that Grace and her mother came through the pregnancy without ill effects!  Just months after Grace had been conceived, there was an outbreak of measles in the town!  Mary, Laura and Carrie were exposed to it by playing with children in their home.  But, it seems that there was no trouble for either Caroline or Grace.  Perhaps this was a contributing factor to the naming of Grace.

Charles had started a feed-mill.  He used his team horses to operate the mill stone.  But there wasn't much money to be made in the small town.  As as result, he longed to move again.

In Charles and Caroline's minds, Burr Oak had turned out to be a "Less than desirable" place to raise a family.  For them, Grace's birth was about the only good thing that they took away from their time in Burr Oak.  Shortly after Grace's birth they moved again; this time they returned to Walnut Grove, Minnesota.

The family owed money to the doctor and were finding it difficult to pay the rent to Bisbee.  Charles tried reasoning with his creditors, but they were callus and demanding. He told Bisbee that he would relocate and then send him the money for the owed rent.  But Bisbee refused the offer.  When Bisbee threatened to have the law take Charles' horses, that was all it took for him to make a quick decision. So, he packed up the family in the middle of the night and left town in the morning.  Charles, being a man of his word, knew that he would send the money owed to Bisbee.  I'm sure he was relieved to put the whole experience behind him!

In Laura's "Little House" books, she didn't give much detail of the time her family spent in Burr Oak.  She did, however, hold some sweet memories of those days, despite what trouble her parents had there.  In correspondence, she later spoke fondly of her school days there.  She would always remember the loud, lawlessness of the town saloon and the time it caught fire.  She simply remembered that time as part of her growing up and the birth of her sister Grace.

The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Farmer Boy, "Chickens in the Orchard"

If you have ever raised chickens, then you'll understand the importance of keeping them from getting into the vegetable garden or even the orchard!  They have a tendancy to peck and eat those things that they shouldn't!  Even "Free Range" chickens need to be fenced in, away from crops!

Evidently Laura knew how to keep her chickens in line!  When she and husband, Almanzo, came to live on their farm in Mansfield, she was so successful at raising chickens that she was known here as "The Chicken Lady"!  In just a short time, she supplied almost all eggs for the town!

From the title of this posting, you might wonder where this is going.  This is not a story about how the chickens got out of their yard and into the orchard, nor is it a "How To" on raising chickens.  But it is actually a recipe that I've called, "Chickens in the Orchard"

Ingredients: (for each sandwich filling)
  • 2 Tablespoons fo cooked chicken, diced
  • 2 Tablespoons of chopped Pecans
  • 2 Tablespoons of chopped, peeled and diced Apple
  • 2 Tablespoons each of: sour cream and mararine or softened butter
  • 2 slices of bread
Directions: Simply combine the chicken, pecans and apple.  Mix together the sour cream and butter.  Mix all these together.  Spread onto the slices of bread.  *You could also use a Pita Bread, opened up.  (I used some homemade Sour Dough Bread here.  I have a recipe in the blog archives for the Sour Dough Bread.)

Some people, (like Laura) get inspiration to write poetry or stories.  I get inspiration to write recipes. (Well, actually I do get inspired to write other things too!  Watch for those on my blog from time to time also.)
If you make this sandwich, please leave a comment here about it. Thanks.  The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Friday, May 17, 2013

Freda day!

If you like Freda's thoughts for the day, please leave a comment here, to encourage her. Thanks. The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The "Melting Pot" of my youth

This recipe is one from my childhood, and is one from the old neighborhood.  Looking back, I guess I was blessed by living in a large city, with all the different ethnic foods available to me.  It certainly broadened my culinary appetites and skills!   But, right now, I'm glad I don't live in a big city anymore! (Way too much stress associated with that!)

Farmer Boy Italian Meatball Sandwich
  • 1 lb. ground round steak
  • 1/4 Cup of finely chopped onion
  • 3 Tablespoons of seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 Tablespoon of Italian flat parsley
  • 2 Tablespoons of grated Romano Cheese
  • 1 - 2 Tablespoons of water
  • pinch of salt & pepper
  • 1 egg
  • Pasta sauce (or, as the local Italian Americans called it, Gravy!)
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced or chopped
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, sliced into 1/2 inch strips
  • Sliced Provolone cheese
  • shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • Hard Rolls or Hoagie Rolls
Directions: In a skillet, over medium heat, saute your Red Pepper and yellow onions; set aside.   In a large bowl, combine the ground meat, chopped onions, bread crumbs, parsley, Romano cheese, and salt & pepper; adding a little water as you go, for the right consistency.
With olive-oiled hands, form into balls, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.
In a medium hot skillet, braise the meatballs all around.
Slice open the roll.  Place the roll on a sheet pan, ready to go into the broiler.
Place a slice of Provolone cheese on each open face of the rolls.  Place in a hot broiler, only long enough to melt the cheese.
Take out of the broiler.  Place your meat balls on top of the cheese, then smother them with the gravy, followed by the Red Peppers & sliced onions.   Top this with some shredded Mozzarella.  Place the sandwich back into the broiler to melt the cheese.  Serve warm.  Makes about 4 sandwiches.

Finisci di mangiare! (Eat up!)

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

Friday, May 10, 2013

Laura Ingalls Wilder on Mother's Day

The relationship that children share with their mother is unique, to say the least.  Laura's relationship with her mother was no exception.  They spent countless hours together as they lived together with the rest of the family on the prairies of America.

Later in life, after she lost her mother, Laura reflected on that relationship as she wrote these words:
"Reading a message from my mother, I am a child again and longing unutterable fills my heart for Mother's counsel, for the safe haven of her protection and the relief from responsibility which trusting in her judgment always gave me."

"When to realms of boundless peace, I am waiting to depart
Then my mother's song at twilight
Will make music in my heart.
"Hush, my babe, lie still and slumber;
Holy angels guard thy bed."
And I'll fall asleep so sweetly, Mother's blessings on my head."

Happy Mother's Day to all!

May you be blessed with sweet memories of your mother.  The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

As Freda thinks, May 10, 2013

If you like reading these thoughts of Freda, please leave a comment here. Thanks. The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Monday, May 6, 2013

Christmas in May?

Laura Ingalls Wilder's book, "The Long Winter" was first published in 1940.  This was nearly 60 years from the time that the actual event took place.  It was October 13, 1880 when the first blizzard hit the town of De Smet, in the Dakota territory.  Laura was about 12 years old at the time.  Her sister, Mary, had been blind just over a year and a half. 

Laura's father, Charles Ingalls, had the family move into his store front building in town for convenience and safety from the approaching winter.  But, little did they know that the winter would be so snow-covered and last into the month of May!

As they experienced blizzard after blizzard, the snow piled up all around them.  They were literally trapped in that small town.  The railroad train, that had been their life-line, servicing them with food and necessities, was not able to get through.  Soon the whole town was suffering and near starvation! 

Laura, wrote about that ordeal close to 60 years later.  Obviously it was a tramatic experience!

If you haven't read the book, I suggest you put it on your reading list.  I won't go into too many details here; I don't want to spoil it for you.  But, the ending of the story tells of how the first train finally came through on May 8, 1881.  It was a supply train for the railroad, with only a limited amount of food.  But the next day the train that they were waiting for arrived.  In it was all the items, stuffed in a barrel, which they had purchased for their Christmas celebration.  Since they didn't have the items in December, they decided to hold off the celebration till the train arrived.  So, once the train was in, they planned a big celebration for the next day!

Can you imagine, going through such an ordeal?  I wonder what Mary thought, not being able to see how deep the snow had become!  It was probably a bit of a blessing for her though; being shut in together just after she became blind, caused the family to become even closer knit.  It came at a good time to encourage her.

Here, at Laura's "Sweet Memories", we celebrate "Christmas in May" every year out of remembrance of the Ingalls family experience.  This year the celebration will take place on this Friday & Saturday.  There will be a Christmas tree and special sales in the shop.  If you have the opportunity, I hope you'll stop in to join in the celebration!

Today, because of our weakened economy, we also have some hard times.  But, being a bit of an optomist, I'd rather keep trusting the Lord, as Laura and her family did back then. Laura wrote that they had their Christmas in May and ended up singing a new song, accompanied by Pa's fiddle, "Then what is the use of repining, For where there's a will, there's a way, And tomorrow the sun may be shining, Although it is cloudy today." And she concluded saying, "And as they sang, the fear and suffering of the long winter seemed to rise like a dark cloud and float away on the music. Spring had come. The sun was shining warm, the winds were soft, and the green grass growing."

Merry Christmas!   The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Friday, May 3, 2013

Cinco de Mayo

Here we are again, celebrating the Mexican culture with a taditional recipe.  I'm not sure where or when I got this recipe.  I think it may have come from a fellow worker, way back when.  That fellow gave me a number of recipes that he brought with him from his homeland of Mexico.  His recipes may have reflected the town where he grew up and not neccessarily the whole country.  He said that most of the home cooking did not have really hot, spicy dishes.  This recipe is like that; but if you want to make it hotter, you can add more chili powder or crushed red pepper flakes.

Farmer Boy Chicken Fajitas
  • 1 lb. of boneless, skinless chicken (cut into 1/2 inch strips)
  • Marinade made of: 2 Tablespoons of Lime Juice, 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon of ground cumin, 1/4 teaspoon of Mexican Oregano, 1 teaspoon of celery salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of crushed Red Pepper flakes
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper & 1 Yellow Bell Pepper (seeded & cut into 1/4 inch strips)
  • 1 white onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
  • a small bunch of Cilantro leaves, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon of minced Garlic
  • Flour Tortillas
  • 1/2 Cup of shredded Mexican Cheeses
Directions: Marinate the chicken in a bowl, placed in the refrigerator, for at least a half hour. (You may wish to sear the marinated chicken on a grill, to give it some extra flavor and those nice looking grill marks.)
Then, in a sauce pan, over medium heat, saute the meat in the oil, along with the onions and peppers, till they are limp and cooked through. (About 5 minutes)  Combine all this, with the Cilantro leaves, garlic, and shredded cheeses and place into the middle of a flour tortilla.  Roll the tortilla up.  Serve each, topped with a dollop of sour cream.  Side dishes of Black Beans, Salsa, Spanish Rice, and Guacamole with Tortilla chips make for a great meal!*  (If you wish, you may also toss the tortilla in the oil for a few seconds to saute it a little, before filling it.)  You should be able to make about 4 servings with this recipe, depending on how much you stuff into each tortilla, and what size torilla you use. 
*Hint: if you are going to make this whole meal, as suggested, you'll want to prepare the side dishes in advance to the fajitas.  It is easier and better tasting to keep those warm, rather than try to keep the fajitas warm while preparing the sides.

I hope you enjoy this meal on Cinco de Mayo!  If you make this recipe, please leave a comment here. Thanks. The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Freda Friday

If you enjoy Freda's Thoughts, please leave a comment here. Thanks. The Old Man in the Bib Overalls