Enjoy flavors of fall

Last weekend, we had the wonderful experience of attending the wedding of our eldest granddaughter, Amanda Christine Cunningham, as she married the love of her life, Cody Venham. They had planned everything by themselves ,and it was such a beautiful wedding and a joyful reception. She is such a beautiful girl, so it couldn’t have been anything but a beautiful wedding.

Attending a grandchild’s wedding is special. As a person gets married, they are concerned that everything will go OK and as they planned. As parents, one must face the fact the little child they loved and cared for is now a grown adult and starting a new family life, and, of course, thinking about how much all of this has cost. But as grandparents, we can just watch and enjoy as we relive in our memories of the family we started and that now is going into the third generation. The tears one might see are tears of happiness and pure joy as we watch our beloved grandchild become the beautiful bride of the person she loves and with whom she wishes to spend the rest of her life. We are very fond and proud of our new grandson. He is a good-looking and happy person, (and gainfully employed – an important thing in the eyes of parents and grandparents).

My oldest grandson, Seth Cunningham, looked very much the handsome young man he has become as he escorted his Mana, Amanda’s mother, to her seat, and then took his place in the front of the church. He seems very close to his new Dad, Cody. Congratulations and love to this new family!

Husband Norm enjoyed the wedding and reception, too. He isn’t much for weddings (or funerals), but he even dressed up and had a good time. He has always had a soft spot in his heart for Amanda and wouldn’t have missed this first wedding of a grandchild, and especially Amanda, for anything.

Now, it is back to the grindstone to get all the fall things done before winter sets in. We have had some warnings as that chilly weather has slipped in now and then in the past several days. It always seems strange to have the heat come on in the night, then the AC come on in the afternoon. One dresses in layers during these transitional days. Guess it is time to finish checking out the wardrobe for the coming months. It is also time to get some holiday plans done and things started as we all know how the time will race from now until the New Year. Just ten more weekends until Christmas – doesn’t seem possible.

The “tasting” part of the cookbook contest is in 10 days. Are you ready, finalists? That day is one of my favorite days of the year, and I am honored to be there. It is not an easy task to decide which entry will be the winning one for the grand prize since each category is different. Good luck to all of you who will be cooking for us that day. All the recipes will be printed in a special section of the paper on the Sunday before Thanksgiving so everyone will know who the winners are and have a chance to try the recipes submitted. Not all recipes can be included in the final tasting stage, so try all the recipes in the cookbook as there are many, many great cooks in our valley. I keep each year’s cookbook and often go back a few years to check out a recipe I remember.

In the “Stone Age” when I was a kid, fall was a very busy season as a farm family got ready for the winter months. Most families burned wood for heat, and the wood cutting had to be done as soon as the crops were harvested. I remember helping Grandpa saw wood with a two-person saw, one on each side of a log. I thought I was really helping, but I am certain Grandpa did more “sawing” than I did as I pulled the saw to my side of the log. He made me feel helpful and needed, and that means a lot to a kid. I remember going for a load of coal at a local mine with my dad, riding in an old Ford truck, wooden cab, no heat, a blanket over my legs and a hot brick that had been wrapped in an old towel at my feet. Wish we had that old truck today.

By this time of year, the apples would be in a bin in the basement. All the vegetables had been canned or made into sauces and jellies (or in the barrel for cider and wine!). The corn was in the barn, waiting for time to shuck the ears – another “helpful” job I liked. As soon as the weather got colder, the butchering of a hog or two and a beef would be done. The meat was either canned or cured and smoked. The winter clothing was made ready for the cold nights and days everyone knew were coming. Homemade Christmas gifts were being worked on in the evenings and mincemeat for winter desserts and holiday dinners was being cooked and put into jars and crocks. The jars of canned food were neatly lined up in the basement so we knew we had good meals coming as the weather got colder.

As a kid, we didn’t realize all the work that went into the preparation for the winter months. We just hoped for snow, deep enough for sledding and an occasional bowl of “Snow Ice Cream.” As we look back, we have fond memories, and thankfully we tend to forget the things that weren’t so nice (like the winter trips to the outhouse before indoor plumbing and electricity came our way). I do remember hating those heavy, ugly old brown stockings I had to wear to keep my legs warm – girls wore dresses back then.

But, as farm kids, we learned a lot about life and how to treat other folks, mind our manners and have respect for our elders. Even siblings had to learn to get along with each, at least a little. Good memories, from another age.

I hope you have good memories of when you were a child. Remember the good and forget the not so good. Enjoy the colorful fall in our valley, pick some fresh apples and be thankful for our way of life. Take care, and God Bless.


Three eggs

One cup sugar

Two-thirds cup pumpkin puree

Three-fourths cup self-rising flour

One teaspoon cinnamon

One teaspoon nutmeg

One-half teaspoon ginger

One-fourth teaspoon ground cloves

One-half cup powdered sugar

Beat eggs for five minutes. Gradually add sugar. Mix in pumpkin. In a separate bowl, combine flour and spices. Add to pumpkin mixture. Pour into a greased and floured 15x10x1-inch pan (jelly roll pan). Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for 15 minutes. Sprinkle a kitchen towel with the powdered sugar. Turn cake out onto the towel and roll up. Let cool.


One 8-oz. package cream cheese

One cup powdered sugar

One stick butter or margarine

One-half teaspoon vanilla

Mix cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla until spreading consistency. Unroll cake and spread filling on cooled cake. Roll up and place in refrigerator to chill. It’s better the longer it sits. Slice to serve.


One (4.6-oz.) box instant vanilla pudding mix

Two cups cold milk

One cup canned pumpkin

One teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

One cup frozen whipped topping, thawed

One baked pie shell

Whipping topping for garnish

Chopped pecans for garnish

Mix pudding mix with milk. Stir in pumpkin until smooth. Add spice, then whipped topping. Beat on low one minute. Pour into pie shell and chill until set, at least three hours. Garnish with more whipped topping and chopped pecans.


One teaspoon olive oil

One-half pound ground beef

Three garlic gloves, minced

One (15-oz.) can Italian-style stewed tomatoes-chopped

Two (10-1/2-oz.)cans beef broth

One-half cup white wine, divided

One (15-oz.) can kidney beans with juice

One (15-oz.) can Great Northern or navy beans, drained and rinsed

One tablespoon dried basil leaves

One-half teaspoon black pepper

One-fourth to one-half teaspoon red pepper flakes

One cup small elbow macaroni

One-fourth cup grated Parmesan cheese

Salt to taste

Brown and drain ground beef – set aside. In Dutch oven, heat oil and add garlic. Cook about three minutes – don’t let garlic brown. Add beef, beans, tomatoes, broth, one-fourth cup wine, basil, pepper flakes and ground pepper. Simmer 30 minutes. Add macaroni and cook additional 10-12 minutes, until pasta is tender. Add remaining one-fourth cup wine just before the pasta is tender. Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed. Pour into soup tureen and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. (Or dip into soup bowls and top each serving with cheese.)


One pound ground beef

One onion, chopped

One tablespoon oil

One cup rice, uncooked

Two (5.5 0z.) cans tomato-vegetable juice

One (8-oz.) can tomato sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

One medium head cabbage, coarsely chopped

One tablespoon lemon juice

One (15-oz.) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

One-half to one cup shredded cheddar cheese

Brown beef and onion in oil in large skillet. Drain. Add rice to skillet. Add one can tomato-vegetable juice, tomato sauce, beans, salt and pepper. In casserole dish, layer cabbage, then meat mixture alternately, ending with meat mixture on top. Pour remaining can tomato-vegetable juice and lemon juice over all. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven, covered tightly, for one and one-half hours. Uncover and sprinkle with the shredded cheese, then put back into oven until cheese melts.

Contact Patty Christopher at jkoenitzer@aol.com