Soups and desserts for spring days

The April showers have arrived to jump-start our spring. Let’s hope they don’t get too ambitious and cause flooding this year. And the cold winds and snow can just stay away north of us. Of course, we take whatever weather Mother Nature gives us – no choice of that for us. One part of being content in life is accepting that which we can’t change. We still can complain about it, and scream and yell (if we live in the country) that life isn’t fair and our plans are being disrupted. Doesn’t do any good, but sometimes we feel better. The spring flowers are doing their best to keep us content with their beauty. There are red tulips along the walk at the office and people (I won’t mention who) tried for years to dig them all out but failed. They are blooming tall and proud and so pretty like they are saying one can’t keep a good tulip down.

On the top of the hill this past week, the “war of the roses” raged loud and clear. I planted climbing roses all along the garden fence. Some of them had grown extremely tall and had thick and strong stalks. When they needed to be trained along the fence instead of growing straight up for ten to twelve feet, I didn’t get them tied down and the Garden Fairy didn’t appear to do it for me. When I was growing up on that farm, we had many climbing roses and never clipped them back. They were full and beautiful. The other person who lives in my house (I won’t mention any names) said my roses could not be climbing roses and get thick stalks like that, he didn’t care what the package said when I bought them! He said his landscaper at the office said all roses should be cut back to six to eight inches from the ground every early spring and he knew more about raising roses than I did. I won’t say he never said that about climbers because I wasn’t present at the rose trimming at the office. Anyway, the ones with thick stalks and tall growth got cut away back. I could hear them crying as they got chopped off. If they grow back thick and pretty, as I was told they would, everything will be OK. If not, the war will continue.

I have made arrangements for friends of mine to plant my garden this year. They plant pretty much what I do so I will just steal a few tomatoes and peppers and they can have a ball doing what they enjoy. (They are younger, too.) My grandmothers used to check the almanac when planting their gardens and they both always had fantastic gardens. Maybe there is something to it. By the way, did you know that a “blue moon” was the second full moon in a month? Doesn’t happen too often.

Taste of Home Cooking School visited our area this past week. One can always pick up a new idea or inspiration from them and it is a good place to see friends who have the same interests. I never have any luck winning things, but it is fun to see others get excited when their name is called.

This was a busy weekend with the cooking school last Thursday, great-grandson Seth’s birthday party on Saturday and granddaughter Cassidy’s spring choir concert today. As we get close to the end of the school year, we all need to take our vitamins since it is such a busy time. If you have a class reunion or alumni banquet, do attend and catch up on what your school friends are doing. Our class will be the 60-year group this year – where did those six decades go? The grade school I attended in Stanleyville, Ohio, still has a reunion. The building has been gone for years, but the former students still get together once a year (this year, it is May 11). If you went there or have friends who went there, do come out and join in the potluck dinner. We like to remember while we still can!

Mother’s Day is May 12, so plan for it now. Remember, you have only one mother and you will miss her terribly when she is no longer here so if you still have her, make her day special and always let her know how much you appreciate her. Same way with all your family, including the siblings you fought with growing up.

The Food Network on TV is an interesting show to watch. There one can get ideas, too. I have noticed more and more that even the cooks on them are doing things a little easier than our grandmothers did. Not too many folks care to be pioneers these days. The sauce mixes, like Bearnaise and Hollandaise, are so much quicker to mix than the recipes and taste just as good, so that is what is in my cupboard. Homemade mixes are a real time-saver and can be put together when one has a quiet or lazy day. If there is nothing worthwhile on TV, just go into the kitchen and put together some mixes. Mixes for cookies, cakes, biscuits, muffins, puddings, etc. help you have great food with not so much time spent getting a meal together. I even make up meatballs and freeze them – a quick meal, especially when you have unexpected dinner guests. There will be a couple of mixes in the recipes today. There are also recipes given me by a friend for you to try.

Thank you for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers. May God bless you all.



(I haven’t tried this yet, but it sounds interesting!)

One-cup water

One-pint beer

Salt and nutmeg to taste

Two eggs – separated

One-tablespoon sugar

One-tablespoon flour

One-cup milk

Add water to beer and bring to a boil. Season with salt and nutmeg to taste. Beat egg yolks well. Combine sugar and flour, and then beat into egg yolks. Add milk and stir until smooth. Stir all this mixture into the hot beer mixture and bring almost to a boil. Beat the egg whites well and fold into the mixture. Serve at once with toasted bread cubes.



Four slices bacon, fried crisp, drained and broken into small pieces

One-half cup ketchup

One-fourth cup vinegar

One-half cup white sugar

One small onion, chopped

One quart green beans, drained

Put beans in baking dish and sprinkle bacon over them. Combine ketchup, vinegar, sugar and chopped onion in a saucepan. Cook for 20 minutes. Pour over beans and stir well. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 30 minutes.



(I didn’t ask where this came from!)

One small jar peanut butter

One jar or can cake icing (chocolate is best.)

Mix together and heat in a microwave until melted together (watch closely). Pour onto a plate and let cool. Cut into serving-sized pieces.



One-and-one-half cups plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

Three-and-one-fourth cups granulated sugar

One-and-one-third cups cornstarch

One-half teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Stir with a wire whisk until evenly distributed. Pour into a 6-cup container with a tight-fitting lid. Leal container and label with date and contents. Store in a cool, dry place and use within 3 to 4 months. This makes about six cups mix.



One cup chocolate pudding and pie-filling mix

Two-and-three-fourths cups milk

Two tablespoons butter or margarine

One-and-one-half teaspoons vanilla extract

Combine mix and milk in a saucepan. Cook and stir until mixture thickens. Remove from heat, stir in butter and vanilla. Pour into 6 dessert dishes and cool.



Single piecrust, baked

One cup chocolate pudding and pie-filling mix

Two-and-one-half cups milk

Two tablespoons butter or margarine

One teaspoon vanilla extract

Two cups sweetened whipped cream or whipped topping

Bake piecrust and set aside to cool. Combine mix and milk in a saucepan and cook and stir over medium heat until mixture thickens and starts to bubble, about 3 to 5 minutes, then cook and stir for one minute longer. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and butter. Cool slightly, then pour into piecrust and cover the pudding with plastic wrap to keep from “skin” forming. Refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours. To serve, top with the sweetened whipped cream.

NOTE: The real cream whipped and sweetened is better than the whipped topping but that will do if you are in a hurry or don’t have the real whipping cream on hand.

NOTE 2: Try putting sliced bananas in the crust, then the chocolate pie mix for a Chocolate-Banana Pie. Ripe raspberries are good, too, in this pie. For a Black Forest Pie, pour a can of cherry pie filling over the chocolate layer, then the whipped cream.



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