Friday, February 28, 2014

Freda's Thoughts - "Challenges & Rewards"

I hope you enjoy reading "Freda's Thoughts".  If they have an impact on your life, please leave a comment to encourage her.  Thanks. The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Monday, February 17, 2014

BIG CHANGES for 2014!

Look for this sign!
This is a very big change for me to make, but I hope it be well received by all!  At this point, Laura's "Sweet Memories", is the only antiques shop, or sweets shop, or souvenir shop in Mansfield!  So, if any of those things, or all of them, are of interest to you; you'll want to stop and say "Hi!".  I'll do my best to help you bring home some "Sweet Memories" from Laura's hometown!  
Opening day is just around the corner - Come visit me! ~ The Old Man in the Bib Overalls   ~

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Farmer Boy Recipe for Mardi Gras

As we make our way through the month of February, we find ourselves in the midst of another Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Louisiana.  So, what does that have to do with Laura Ingalls Wilder?
Okay, here is the connection (without the long story surrounding it): Laura's husband was Almanzo Wilder. Almanzo had a sister, Eliza Jane.  Eliza Jane moved to Louisiana.  At some point, Rose Wilder (daughter of Laura & Almanzo), went to live with Eliza Jane, in Louisiana.
Now, for a short gastronomic history of Louisiana.  The original inhabitants were Choctaw Indians. When the people came from Europe, the first to come into Louisiana were the French.  They came with their bouillabaisse soup.  Next to arrive on the scene were the Spanish, coming up from the Caribbean.  They came with spices and changed the cuisine to their liking.  But, throughout these changes, those Choctaw peoples taught the new-comers how to thicken their soup with ground sassafras leaves, called "File'".  And thus was born what we know today as, "File' Gumbo".
Now, to get back to the present day story: here in Mansfield, (where Almanzo & Laura had their farm), you'll find an abundance of sassafras trees.  This has prompted me to put this recipe together to celebrate the Mardi Gras, right here in Mansfield!  And today I'm sharing it with you, so that you can enjoy it wherever you live!
This is a pretty basic soup. It may not be the long-winded version that they have in New Orleans, but it is tasty!
1 lb. of smoked sausage, (as Andouille) cut into 1 inch pieces
2 Chickens, cut up, skinned, and deboned
4 Tablespoons of peanut oil
4 Tablespoons of all-purpose flour
4 ribs of celery, chopped
1 sweet green pepper, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large can of crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon of thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon of poultry seasoning
pinch of ground cloves
pinch of ground all spice
1 teaspoon of chopped basil
2 Tablespoons of file' powder
2 Tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
1 - 2 teaspoons of Tabasco sauce
1 teaspoon of salt
pinch of black pepper
3 - 4 quarts of water or chicken stock
3 - 4 cups of cooked long-grain rice
Directions: In a large pot: heat the oil and brown the sausage.  Remove the sausage & set aside to add later.  Place the chicken into the pot & brown it.  Remove it and reserve it.  Add the celery, peppers and onions.  Heat through, till soft.  Add the flour to the pot, to make a light brown roux. (You may need to add more oil)  Add the file' powder and then the rest of the ingredients, along with the water or stock.  Put the chicken and sausage back into the mix.  Cover and cook on medium low heat for at least an hour.  (The longer it cooks the better the taste!)  
While this is cooking, prepare your rice.
Serve the gumbo in a bowl or over the rice, in a bowl.  Either way, you'll think you're in New Orleans, or at least some backwoods cabin in the heart of Louisiana! 
If you make this version of Gumbo, please leave a comment to let everyone know how it came out. Thanks.
The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Friday, February 7, 2014

Freda's Thoughts - "Promises & Considerations"

If you like reading "Freda's Thoughts", please leave a comment to encourage her. Thanks.
Today, (February 7th) we celebrate the 147th birthday of Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Next week, (Feb. 13th) is the 157th birthday of her husband, Almanzo.  And sandwiched in between those, (Feb. 11th) is Freda's birthday!  Freda is a cousin to Almanzo, but she is not quite that old, yet!  :)  Be sure to check back on her birthday, for a special posting!  
The Old Man in the Bib Overalls