Monday, December 18, 2017
 

Family Meals

pt 2 A Quiet Evening Supper

 forgot to say too about the baked beans and weiners..i wud often fix Jim
a baked potatoe to go with this.. This was after the children had married
and moved away and it was just Jim and i.. And i have written many times
about the Hamburgar Gravy i made for the Wild man.. i loved to be quiet in
the evening in my kitchen and make Papas coffee and stir the Hamburgar
gravy..Once you make the Gravey you gotta stand there and stir it or it wud
burn.But it was peaceful in my kitchen as the sun went down on another day
with my Darling Jim…Often i just felt locked in to our own world..We had
lived a life that no one cud hardly understand ..A life we tried to explain
..But at the end of the day we didnt have to explain anything more for that
day..Often we turned off the phone..and watched some show on tv..i wud get
out my sewing and quietly mend something..i loved to hand sew..it seems
there is a rythum of life in hand sewing that you miss out on when you use
a sewing machine..

pt 1 A Simple Evening Supper

Dear Mothers, Jim loved a simple quiet supper.. We wud be busy all day and
maybe upset about someting.. But by the end of the day Jim wud turn the
News on TV and i knew it was time to be quiet.. So i wud go out to the
kitchen and start Supper. One meal Jim loved in the evening was Baked
Beans with Weiners…I wud get out my big cast iron skillet and put a lil
oil in it …Then throw in the whole pkg of weiners and fry them.. You cud
use the turkey weiners if you like them better..After these are fried then
i wud get out a bowl and put in 3 cans of pork n beans.. drained..To this
i wud add about a forth cup of ketchup and a half cup of brown sugar and
a good squirt of mustard..sprinkle some salt on it and some black
pepper….Stir this up good .Then put all of this into the skillet with the
hot dogs..Stir this up..then put this in the oven to bake about 20 minutes
or until it bubbles..On the top of this i wud put a slice of green pepper
and onion before i put in the oven..Jim wudnt eat an onion or green pepper
but he liked them like this..Honestly Jim wud eat this meal for supper
and as a snack later in the evening..usually we had just bread and butter
with it..Just a Simple Supper..

Simple Meals

Dear Mothers, one of the simplest meals i fixed for my family when they were all home was “Goolash” ..Long after my son Dan was out on his own he wud come home for a minute to get something and he wud say “Mom do you have any leftover Goolash in the refrigerator?” He missed his Goolash..Well its really simple to make..Just fry up a pound of hamburgar and drain it..Then put a few cups of cooked macaroni in with the hamburgar..and put in a tall can of tomato sauce and its done..There are alot of variations in making this..You cud add a can of already made chilli..Or you cud add a bunch of onions and peppers and cook these in with the frying hamburgar..Maybe add cheese at the end when it is all cooked.. Sometimes i wud add a can of mixed vegetables or tomaote soup rather then tomato sauce..Or you cud even add a can of speghetti sauce instead of the tomatoe sauce..If you had any left over Goolash you cud spread it in an oiled baking pan..And just think of the goolash as a Pizza and pour tomatoe sauce on top and add some toppings like onions and mushrooms and lay a bunch of cheese on the top…. and bake it at about 350 degrees …for about 15 minutes………Love connie

Crock Pot Meals

Dear Kitchen Saints,

A few years ago, my kitchen stove about blew up. Well, the thermostat went out about a year earlier. So everything I baked I had to really watch as the oven temp went to 500 degrees in about 15 minutes. So to bake bread, I had to turn the oven on and off to keep a lower temp. Well, one day my dog died and I wasn’t watching the oven and it caught on fire. That was my second fire! What a deal it was as the house was so thick with smoke. I thought for sure I had finally burned the whole dang house down. Thank God I didn’t. Anyway, I was without a stove for about a month until we got another one. Sooo I cooked and baked in my crock pot. It was fun.

I baked bread in my crock pot. I had out two crock pots. So I would make a meal in one and bread in the other. Just make up your bread and let it rise. Then shape it onto a ball and put in the crock pot. I let it rise and bake in one shot. Put it on low until it rises then on high when it bakes. Put oil in the pot so it won’t stick. But it made good bread. It doesn’t brown on the top, of course, but it makes good bread.

I also learned to make crock pot mashed potatoes. Just put water in and raw potatoes and let them cook. Then when done just drain the water out and mash with milk and butter and salt. I loved doing the potatoes like this when we had company. It keeps the potatoes hot and fresh.

I made a lot of crock pot soups, of course, and stews. Jim was pretty easy to cook for as he liked meals like this.

It is dang cold this morning here in Iowa. I guess below zero. It’s a good day for a crock pot meal. I just put some home canned deer meat in my crock pot. Also I put in a beef gravy mix and some cream of celery soup. Some potatoes, carrots and celery. Lots of black pepper, salt, tomatoes and onions. I will add spices and herbs as the day goes on and as I taste it all. I put in a whole quart of meat which will be too much but I will freeze whatever is left and then add more vegetables.

You can make a good crock pot meal by basically just putting in a few cups of meat like chicken or beef whatever in your pot. Cook the meat first for a few hours so it will be sure to get done. Then add the veggies… any kind. Then add some soup or gravy and herbs and spices. You can put a whole small chicken in your crockpot and I pour over this a bottle of the Italian dressing? The oil and vinegar one with the spices in it? This way the chicken will marinate as it bakes. This is a delicious way to fix a beef roast, too, in the crock pot. Then you can just make a vegetable dish separately.

I put my crock pot on top of my chest freezer and light a little candle beside it. Every time I write about candles on here, I know Aunt Toot holds her breath. I am more careful with explosives than I used to be. To most people, candles aren’t an explosive but to me they could be! But I pray the Lord protects me and especially when Annie and Kim come to visit as I don’t want a reputation for blowing up my guests.

Anyway, happy baking and cooking.

Love,
Connie

Feeding Big Families

Dear Sisters of the Kitchen,

Ya know, when I was a young mom with six children, I didn’t have that much food to cook with. Yet I always made sure that I had plenty of potatoes. I made a lot of potato soup and lots of mashed potatoes. If I ran out of cereal for breakfast, I would just make up a pan of fried potatoes in my big cast iron skillet.

One thing I tried to cook on my stove about once a week was a big canner of potatoes. I would put the canner on the stove and just add about 5 pounds of potatoes and water to the top to cover them. I just put them in whole and would boil them while I was in the kitchen doing dishes. Then after they are done and cool you can use them for quick meals. Just peel and use for hash browns or for potato salad, etc. We would got through these potatoes pretty fast. The advantage is that the potatoes are all cooked and ready to go for a quick meal. Store them in a cold place if you aren’t planning on using them right away.

Another thing I would do also for breakfast was the following. If I was fixing scrambled eggs and was short on eggs, I would put in about 2 slices of bread and fry it with the eggs. The bread will scramble up good and the family will never know the difference. Also, to make the eggs go further, I would make fried eggs in a frame. You take a slice of bread and cut out the middle with a biscuit cutter or the sharp end of a tin can. Then put your buttered bread on the skillet and drop an egg in the middle and then fry it on both sides. Served with another piece of toast, it makes a filling breakfast.

Sometimes for breakfast, too, I would just make baked apples very simply. Then have pancakes, too. Just core the apples out with your paring knife and stuff the inside with butter and brown sugar. Put these in a pan and bake them for about 45 minutes at 375°. Just test to see if they are done or if they are soft. Each brand of apple would be different. And you can cook any apple like this. It doesn’t have to be a so called cooking apple. Just any apple would work, even a softer, sweeter apple. So the juice at the bottom of the pan of apples we would use for syrup for the pancakes. I would just serve the pancake with a baked apple in the plate.

Apples were pretty easy to come by around here and cheap like potatoes. Often I would bake a big pan of apples with another rack full of baked potatoes for supper. Then I would fix maybe poorman’s steak to go with it. Just flatten hamburger in a 8 by 13 pan and bake it with salt and pepper. As it is getting done, it will shrink from the sides of the pan. Just cut it in squares and drain it. Then just add a few made up gravy mixes over the top. I told my children this was steak. Well, it is Salisbury steak. Jim and I would say stuff at the table like, “Boy, this steak is really tender. It must have been a good cut.” Or “This is a nice break from having hamburger.” But, ya know, when you have a big family, it is hard to think in terms of those little mixes at the store. Ya gotta be creative, huh?

Makin’ Noodles & Holiday Soups and Stews

Dear Kitchen Saints,

Yesterday I made homemade chicken noodle soup. It’s really easy to make the noodles, and you can use whole wheat flour to make them, too, if ya wanna. I would do half whole wheat and half white. I usually just use the white all purpose flour.

For a couple batches of noodles, get out a big pan to put salted water in, and let this water start to boil as you make your noodles. You could add onion slices or green pepper slices. So let the water start to boil as you make your noodles.

I just take a bowl and put in 4 eggs for a double batch of noodles. To the eggs, add a bit of salt and start out with a cup of flour. Stir this up good and begin adding flour to make a dough. When the dough is getting stiff, roll it out on a floured tabletop or cutting board. Just roll the dough thin and cut in slices with a pizza cutter. You can use a sharp knife, too, if ya wanna. But, boy, does a pizza cutter work good.

And I mean take control of your dough, show it no mercy. If it is sticky, it won’t roll out good, so make sure you use a good dusting of flour. So then, as you roll them out and you have a handful, throw them in the boiling water. Then cut up another handful and throw them in, etc. Stir them lightly in the pot. Don’t throw all the noodles in at once because they will stick.

Some ladies like to dry their noodles. I did that once and it was nice to have the dried noodles to use later. Just cut them and dry them on a cookie sheet that has flour on it. Don’t let them stick to the pan. Anyway, just put the pan in an out-of-the-way place and let them dry. When they are dry completely, you can store them in a paper bag. I mean, it would take a few days to dry them. And make sure they are real dry, because if they ain’t and you package them in plastic, they will mold. What I do, though, is I just cook my extra noodles and then put them in the fridge to use in a few days.

These noodles are really good with spaghetti sauce and Parmesan cheese on them. I have also made the lasagna noodles. Just cut them wide like the lasagna from the store. You can use these noodles for anything.

Also, if you are going to store your noodles in the fridge for a few days? I would put olive oil on them to make sure they don’t stick to each other. I don’t think I have ever frozen these, but I guess you could, if you use the oil to keep them from sticking to each other. Just put in some nice dried herbs and oil and let them set for a while in the fridge, or freeze them to use for later.

When the children were all home, I would make a big batch of noodles in my tall silver spaghetti pan and then, on the stove, I would have the veggie soup. I fixed it all separate. The kids would scoop the noodles in their bowls and the soup over the top.

About 3 days ago, I had the kids over for spaghetti. Then we had big bowls of salad and bread. I fixed a bowl of lettuce and then I had the tomatoes in another bowl and onions, radishes and green peppers. So the next day (yesterday), I decided to make homemade chicken noodle soup. I cooked some chicken down and then put that in my pot along with all of the leftover veggies from the spaghetti dinner the night before. It was a lovely soup. I also added a can of cream of chicken soup with it to give it that rich golden color. Then, with the tomatoes and green peppers and white noodles, the color was very stunning. I also use the coarsely ground black pepper.

Also, to my delight, I found Soup Greens at the store put out by McCormick Spices. I got a big bottle marked down for a buck. I got 2 bottles of them and I am havin’ a ball makin’ soup. I throw in a few Tbs when my soup is simmering then stir them up. They are just dried flakes of carrots, celery and other colorful greens, like spinach, etc. They make the soup look so festive with all the colors dancing about.

HOLIDAY SOUPS AND STEWS

Mercy, Kitchen Saints! The holidays are almost upon us. During these busy times, I make a lot of soups. I make them early in the morning so that I can have the day to make cookies and breads for the holidays. You can just keep your soup on the stove for the day. Then feed the family samples of all of your bakings to go with the soup. If you don’t know the housewifery art of soup making, I hope you will learn it. It is fun making something out of nothing.

Just start by cooking some meat in your cast iron pot with the bail handle. If ya don’t have one of these pots, just pretend you do. (I pretend I am in a cabin in the woods and I am cooking on a wood stove.) Anyway, just bake some chicken in the pot in the oven, or cook up some hamburger or bacon for a potato soup, to get your pan good and flavored with some sort of frying meat. You can fry on top of the stove with cast iron or put it in the oven. Anyway, get a good meat flavor going on in your pot.

Then add some water and onion and salt and pepper. Then begin adding veggies and some dried herbs. Maybe a combination of potatoes and carrots and celery. Papa has to have potatoes, so I put potatoes in all of my soups. OK?

Don’t forget: “Good cooks are always fat and jolly and are ALWAYS tasting their soup.” So get your aprons on and have a ball.

OK, if your chicken soup is a bit drab, add some cream of chicken soup from the store. And, if ya don’t feel comfortable yet about making homemade noodles, just throw in some chicken noodle soup. But at all costs, make sure the soup tastes good and is colorful. I would have never thought of adding tomatoes to my chicken soup. But, oh, the tomatoes are just what chicken soup needs.

Also, if you have left over pumpkin, just peel it and cut that up in small pieces and put this in your soup. Pumpkin in soup takes on the taste of the soup. It’s like zucchini? But the bright orange is so lovely in homemade soups. Save all of your celery leaves to use for your soup kettle. You can just cut up the leaves and put them in the freezer to use later. Also, green peppers freeze very easily and are nice to have for cooking.

Baking powder biscuits are fun to have with soup. Or it’s so easy to make up a pan of cornbread. Muffins are so easy to stir up to have with your soup. Or just use store bought crackers.

But ya know, if ya have leftover chicken from another meal, just make chicken soup. The more color you can get into your soup, the more vitamins this represents. If the family is sick with colds, then you may want your chicken soup to be more brothy with many herbs. But, ya know, I have made chicken soup with so many greens that the whole batch of soup was an ugly army green? Cant have that. It may be healthy, but the kids won’t eat it and husband won’t, either. So be sure you get a lot of orange in there, like carrots or pumpkin, along with all the good greens.

Make sure your soup is a work of art before you serve it to the family. I mean, this is just practical writing. It may not be good to use store bought in your homemade soup. But it makes it look pretty and the family won’t eat it if it ain’t pretty. I mean, let’s face it, our husbands are out there in the world, and they are used to some sort of flavors. They do compare our cooking with the local restaurants. And if our soup looks army green and sickening? They ain’t gonna eat it. So do what ya gotta do to make a soup that is gorgeous.

I have even thrown a beef gravy mix in my homemade beef and noodle soup. Or start out with a soup starter and add your own meat and veggies. I have never used this but I would if I didn’t know how to make soup. And, oh, wow! My family loves chili. I put in a package of taco seasoning mix and they love that. I just throw it in. Also with my noodle soups, I put it in the oven. And the noodles float to the top, so in the oven, they brown on top.

Chicken Broth

Kelly was asking what to make with an uncut-up whole chicken. They are 49¢ a pound in her local store. Well, that is such a good price, I would buy at least two if you can afford it.

To bake it, I just take the paper off, wash it, and put it in a big pan and bake it. I put mine in frozen without a lid. Well, heck, I always cook things frozen. I mean if it is thawed out, then that is better. But I would just put the oven on about 350º to kill it. I mean if it’s frozen, it will take a while to bake it. I would put it on about 350º for about an hour. Then at about 200º for about an hour. Well, it depends on how stubborn the bird is and how big. But put the bird in, upside down, with the breasts down in the pan with some water. When it is done, cut the breasts off … OUCH! Ain’t that barbaric! Oh, well! Anyway, then you could use the white meat for whatever you usually use it for.

Then you have the rest of the bones and meat. So just put the carcass in a big pot on the stove and cover it with water. Cook this meat on the stove until all the meat falls off the bones. You are making a soup stock or broth and this can be used just like the cans of broth in the store. To the chicken water, just add herbs and spices. Put in about a tsp of salt and black pepper. Some onion and carrots or green peppers. Maybe some garlic or celery. Cook this about an hour or simmer it for the day.

When it is all done, get out your strainer and a big bowl. Pour this soup, with the bones and chicken and veggies, into a strainer with the bowl underneath. The broth that comes through is just plain broth like you get in the store. Now in your strainer will be hunks of meat. Just pick the meat out and use it for casseroles or for soup or whatever. The rest of the stuff in the strainer, I would throw away. I would feed it to the cat, if Peggy or Chance would eat it, but they won’t.

The broth can be frozen and used for making gravy or soup or stew.

To make a chicken gravy:

Just get out your big cast iron skillet and put some grease in it, about a Tbs or 2. Then put in about a fourth cup of flour and mix it good with the grease. Then throw in about 3 cups of the homemade chicken broth. Stir constantly until it bubbles. If it gets too thick, add some milk to thin it down to a gravy. Just add salt and pepper.

Now, this gravy can be used just like canned cream of chicken soup. I would make up some baking powder biscuits and have biscuits and gravy. Just serve this with mashed potatoes or a few cans of vegetables to make a nice hardy meal for a large family.

Bein’ Frugal

Good Morning! I wanted to write down some more meal ideas. You got the ones yesterday, right? The ones about cooking ideas for large families?

I was talkin’ to Jim yesterday about some of the big meals we used to have when all the children were home. Jim said he still loves hamburger gravy. I would fix this gravy and have peas and mashed potatoes. Mary, our youngest, tells me that my ground beef tastes better than any she has ever had. She says that’s my specialty … fried hamburger. I will have to have that put on my gravestone if I get rich enough to buy one.

Here is how ya make hamburger gravy. Just get out your cast iron skillet and fry a pound of hamburger. (By the way, that is a good way to season your new cast iron if ya need to. Just fry hamburger in it.) Anyway, just crumble the meat up with your spatula. You could add onions or whatever and fry it together. Put on some black pepper and salt. And drain the meat if you have tooo much fat … but leave a bit in there. Then, after it is fried up good, just start adding flour to the meat and goosh it up with your spoon. Add like a fourth cup of flour. Then slowly pour in about 2 or 3 cups of milk or water, and start stirrin’ like a hound dog. Stir the gravy until it bubbles and thickens.

I have always loved makin’ Papa’s gravy in the evening for supper. It’s a quiet time to stand at the stove and just take my time and stir the gravy. Our kids always loved this gravy, too, and heaped it on mashed potatoes, and then they put the peas on top of it all.

And, ya know, when Jim and I first married, I didn’t drink much coffee. But even though we didn’t have much at times, I always made sure Papa had coffee. I just always wanted to make sure that I had this for Papa. I just wanted him to feel comforted. Now, over the years, I drink more coffee than he does. But, ya know, I just had coffee on the stove and it warmed a lot of my guests in the cold weather. Old friends would stop and we would have coffee. I mean, nothin’ fancy, just the “Whatever was on Sale Special.” And if the pot got low, and I was needin’ to save what fresh coffee I had for Jim’s breakfast, I would just add water to the pot and keep on visiting.

Jill and I used to add water to everything. Her daughter, Shelly, never had soda pop without water in it until she was about 16. Jill would add water to the milk until you could see through it. She added water to anything and everything. To the shampoo, the conditioner … well, if she reads this she will give ya a list of stuff she added water to.

Hair conditioner was expensive. We didn’t have the stuff for a buck like today at the Dollar Store. I remember getting a sample bottle of fabric softener in the mail when the kids were little, and I used it for hair rinse. It worked so good. Folks asked me if I had used a new hair conditioner … my hair just glowed. Of course, I only had to use a few tablespoons. That sample bottle lasted a good long time.

MORE FRUGAL IDEAS

In the cold weather, I would make a lot of soups. I made homemade potato soup and vegetable hamburger soup and chili. Also, a lot of chicken vegetable soup with homemade noodles or dumplings in it. Usually, when I made soup on a winter evening , I had a homemade bread to eat with it. And often, just for fun, I would make a big dishpan of popcorn to put on the table to eat with the soup. It made the meal festive and fun. Then the family would snack on the popcorn for the evening. I would cut up apples for the table, too. On the nights I would make homemade pizza, I would make popcorn, too, to go with it. And we didn’t eat the microwave popcorn — we ate the kind ya make on the stove.

Jim makes good popcorn — better than mine. We don’t like air popped pop corn. The pioneers used to eat popcorn with milk on it in a bowl … probably with honey on it. In the evenings for a snack, Jim will take homemade bread, tear it up in a bowl, and eat it with sugar and milk over it. Like a cold cereal. You need crusty homemade bread for this, as store bread would gum up.

Also, I used to make an Italian dish with homemade noodles. I would make my own noodles with eggs and flour. I would cook them up, put cooked hamburger in them, and put spaghetti sauce on them. Then, of course, fresh herbs from the garden. Then I put parmesan cheese over them when I served them. I would make my own lasagna noodles, too. I made whatever I could so I wouldn’t have to go to the store. I didn’t make all of my own noodles, but I made a lot of ’em.

My children had to help with the chores so I could cook, and they did … they were always good helpers.

Meals for Large Families

All day yesterday, I was thinking of all the meals I used to make for Jim and my children. I was thinking of some of you trying to feed big families. So here is my beef roast recipe. It was a hoot!

For our big family, I would take a pound of frozen hamburger and put it in the middle of my roaster. Bake it a bit and then drain it. My roaster is a speckled blue and white pan, oblong with a lid. Anyway, after putting the frozen hamburger in there, I would then peel potatoes, cut them in chunks, and set them around the meat. Then carrots and an onion … cabbage, if I had it. Then I would put a gravy mix or mushroom soup over this. Then I would pepper it good with black pepper and some salt. I would bake this with a lid in a slow oven. I would put a little water in the bottom of the pan. It would smell so good, the family thought it was a nice roast. When it was all done, I would slice the hamburger in neat slices, put them on each plate as if it was expensive meat, and then I put the veggies around the meat. Heck, the kids didn’t know the difference and thought we were having a wonderful meal. Jim liked it, too.

Then another idea was Salisbury steaks. Ya just take a large 9 by 13 pan and flatten hamburger in it. Cook it a bit in the oven and then drain it. Salt and pepper it good and lay onions in rings on the top. Then cut it in squares, because it will have shrunk from the sides. Then put a can of mushroom soup over it, maybe mixed with beef gravy mix. Add water to make it the consistency of gravy. Add, like, about a can of water to the soup and gravy mix, mix it up good, and pour it on the half cooked hamburger. Then put it back in the oven to bake. I would fix this with mashed potatoes and a veggie. Jim and I would sit at the table and say, “Wow, this steak is tender — must be a good cut.” The kids thought we were having an expensive meat dish.

Then I would make Swiss steak. I would make this in a big skillet. Just make hamburgers in patties and fry them, put on salt and pepper. Fry them half way or enough so you can drain the fat off. Then I would put on a can of tomato soup, diluted with about a half can of water … ya want it thick. Then I would cut up carrots and some onion chunks to put around the meat patties. I usually made the potatoes separate. But sometimes, I would add them with the carrots and onions. The family loved this dish and I still fix it for Jim.

And, ya know, you can do a lot with just taking the baking pan and pressing hamburger in the bottom. Just cook it a bit so you can drain it. Then you take some cream of something soup and mix it with green beans or whatever, maybe peas … add a half can of water and mix it up. Put this as the second layer on the meat. Then, on the top, lay tater tots and bake it all up like this. If you are using a 9 by 13 pan, you would want to use 2 pounds of hamburger and 2 cans of soup.

Another idea is to bake the hamburger and drain it, and then put chopped up cabbage mixed with onions, green peppers and maybe some tomatoes on the top. Salt and pepper it good. And over the top, just pour a can of diluted tomato soup … well, in a big pan, use 2 cans of tomato soup. Then just cover with tin foil and bake this in a slow oven (about 250°) for about 3 hours. I mean, you could bake it all in about 1 hour at 350 degrees. But I liked these oven meals to bake a long time, as I thought it mingled the flavors good.

In the middle of the winter, I would take my biggest turkey roaster — almost couldn’t get it in the oven — it was a big one. Anyway, I would take this pan and heap it with vegetables. Mainly potatoes and carrots, and usually cabbage. Then I would fry up hamburger in a pan, mix it with a few cans of tomato soup, and make a vegetable soup. I would add water to cover the vegetables and meat. Then I would add a lot of herbs. Baked this on low all night. Kept the house smellin’ good and warm. Ok, with the big roaster of vegetable soup, I would take it out after it was mostly done, drop homemade baking powder biscuits on the top, and then put it back in the oven and let the biscuits brown on the top. Or I would make homemade noodles to put in the soup. And sometimes I would make homemade noodles and then make biscuits, too, separately. This was such a good meal, and I long for it even now. I was just telling Jim that I would love to have this meal again for the now grown kids this winter “Just for old time sake.” I often made this meal in the saddest of times. We would be so without groceries and would eat this soup for several days “Mama cooks it all night,” the kids would tell the neighbor children. And then, of course, they wanted to try it. One little boy would say, “I wish my mama would home school me and cook like this.”

But little did the children know that many of these old time meals came out of a night in prayer. “Lord, you gave me these children and now what will I feed them?” Yes, we had little, but the Lord spoke to me of duty and dignity and not runnin’ out on my job. The store bought soups, I know, weren’t all that good for any of us, I don’t suppose. You know with all the dye in the soup? But we had so little meat, and the canned soup would give the meals the taste of meat and made the casseroles, etc. look pretty. And, of course, I diluted so much of the store soup that we barely got any of the chemicals, anyway.

I mainly ministered to the family’s soul. I made my home a place of rest and joy. A place where guests were welcome to sit at my table. Well, because the Lord always gives us more than we can think or ask. The next day, as I fed my family and maybe we had a guest for supper, I would smile, knowing that Jesus had given me exceeding and abundantly more than I could think or ask. I had enough for my family and to give away.

Some of the poor mothers about me stood with idle hands, wringing them and worrying over what they would feed their children. They would scream at their children, “Don’t eat this — we have so little groceries” or “Don’t ask for seconds.” They scared their children and made them cry. I hated seeing this. I hated seeing children trying to sneak food out of a stingy Mother’s kitchen. I vowed I would never have a home like that. I learned to make crackers and many cookies out of simple things, like flour and sugar and shortening. I can safely say I made a million sugar cookies in my day. And often, I would make bread sticks, and the children loved them and snacked often on them.

I expected to suffer and to work hard for what I believed. I expected to take on suffering as a good soldier in my home for Christ. Often, I would be up in the night, praying and asking the Lord what to do to feed our children. And yet, as the morning dawned, I would awaken to the Lord’s provisions. I needed courage and stout heartedness, wit and wisdom to make it. I usually had a little money for groceries but not near enough. But each morning after a night with Jesus, I would wake up with new ideas birthed in the night through the Holy Spirit.

We were the working poor … like so many of you today.

Ya know, almost every day, I made bread. Either I made cornbread or biscuits or muffins. And usually, we had pancakes for breakfast. Often, I made my own syrup, as I ran out so often. And I made a lot of my own mayonnaise in the summer, as I needed so much of it. I would often mix it with store bought. But I didn’t think about the work of it all. I just wanted to make a home, ya know?

The Lord would tell me to make a home that was full of provisions. I was always collecting food containers to put food in, but had so little that I never even used them. But I walked by faith and not sight. I was in the college of womanhood, and God was directing my steps and making me mete for His use. I learned to care for my family in the furnace of affliction.

HAPPY FAMILIES

And, ya know, I used to tell folks “Heck, I could go out and work like you all do. I am able bodied. But I feel I am needed at home a lot more.” The extra money I would have brought in would have kept us poor, as I wouldn’t have had time to pray and cook as I had. So many of the stay at home mothers I have seen in the churches don’t work at home and are not honorable women. We should work, too … not just sit around and watch TV.

And, ya know, my Jim always worked after he got saved. He worked at whatever he could. And the lord told me, early on, that I was just to be thankful for whatever he gave me. To not say a word about needing more grocery money. Jim had bills to pay and was faithful to pay them. It was my job to make a home and to make what I needed. Be it soap or whatever. And still, when Jim gives me money, I stop and make it a point to say, “Oh, thanks, Honey, I appreciate this money.” Often I will be right in the middle of something like kneading bread. And wild man will give me a roll of bills out of his tips. And the Lord will tell me, “Now, Connie, stop and go wash your hands and receive with praise and thanksgiving what Jim has given you.” Well, we aren’t poor anymore and Jim has paid off the house. But, still, it is just good manners to appreciate what your husband gives ya.

I am especially thankful now, as I have proven myself as a wife and keeper at home. Papa trusts me and, even now, doesn’t expect me to work outside the home. He values my place here still. Often, a woman has to earn that trust of a man to earn her right to stay home. A lot of women are not honest about their work at home, and they waste money and their time going to hen parties they call Bible Studies.

Taking care of Baby Rose is a lot of work. And still, I try to cook and bake from scratch and keep things going. I still have a place here, and some days I run a lot faster then I did when I was young. Like yesterday when Mary, a new wife and mother at age 20, called and was talkin’ to me about Baby Chloe Faye, who is 2 weeks old. (Mary is our youngest daughter.) Lil Rose noticed Gram was busy on the phone and she got into everything she could. Grandpa tried to distract her and play with her so I could be on the phone with Mary. But little Rose cried and cried and wanted Gram and no one else. Jim tells me, “I couldn’t do anything with her.” I finally had to ask Mary to call me back. Lil Rose picks up on what I say and often will say, at 22 months old, “Oh Mercy!” She says it in baby talk and it is so cute. But yesterday was an “Oh Mercy” day.

We are potty training her … me and Tiff, her mother. Rose loves to flush the toilet and use the toilet paper and wash her hands. But often without pottying. What a riot! Oh Mercy!

Well, better go for now … duty calls.

Homestead Writings

I know some of my homestead writings to some of you lately are over the top. And yet I feel a real calling to write this stuff. I feel such a calling to leave something behind … my footprints in the sand, I guess.

I know that I am a cook who moves by inspiration and not usually by a recipe. But the pioneer mothers didn’t have all the right ingredients all the time, either. In the summer I used to go out to my garden at supper time, and whatever I had a lot of, that was supper for the night. Once Jim grew these carrots that were fat as sweet potatoes. I had to take an ax to ’em to get them cut in half, but once boiled, they were good. I mean, a girl has to do what a girl has to do.

Well, I raised six children, and they were all well and healthy and still are. All of them are on the thin side and Jim is, too. So when I write about the Pioneer Mothers some of the writings are a lot “me.”

I don’t write recipes I have never tried. Well, I don’t write recipes, anyway. When I first learned to cook as a young bride of 19, I used the recipes. But over the years, you learn how to cook and then you know what you can do with a recipe. When I had all of my children at home and little groceries, I just decided I would make it, one way or the other, and I did.

And my children will tell you the funniest stories you ever heard about some of the meals I put together. Christian Joy loves to tell about bringing her boyfriend home for supper. I had just one can of green beans for a vegetable. So I just put three beans on David’s plate … he was about 7 or 8. So he ate his beans. I mean, I had a lot of other food out, too. But, anyway, he asks if he can have more beans and I said yes. And he went in the kitchen and got three more beans. But, like I said, we had a lot of other cheap food out, too. But Christian’s boyfriend didn’t know this and will never forget it. Christian Joy and I love to laugh. And I think she just brought friends home to supper so she could laugh later at their expressions.

Also, I had a friend I went to school with, Janice. She came from a family of seven children. They were having company, and so the mother told the children not to ask for seconds, as she didn’t want to be embarrassed about not having enough. So after the dinner was over, the children licked their plates. The mother, of course, was embarrassed to pieces. She was a dear old Catholic mother and was mortified that her children licked their plates.

But, ya know, we as mothers have to learn to laugh at ourselves and our problems and go on. Yet a lot of what I write is serious and may help some dear mother in the by and by, long after I am happily dead and on to my reward.

The family joke, too, was that Mom started out every meal with a pound of hamburger and went on from there. I remember once Christian Joy inviting someone to dinner and she ran out in the kitchen as I am frying the hamburger. As she looked into the fryin’ pan, she says, “I hope this is goin’ somewhere, Mom. I really do.” And I said, “It is, Christian Joy, don’t worry.”

Sometimes the kids would be embarrassed at what I put on the table, especially if we had company. But then, often, we would all break out laughing and it was a meal we never forgot.

Jim would get sick of all of us and he would bang his fist on the table and yell “Eat!” Dan loves to tell the story now that when Papa yelled “Eat,” their milk glasses would rise into the air about a foot and the children learned to catch them in midair.

Sometimes I had to pretend I had dropped something under the table so I could hide my laughing face.

One time, Mary had a friend over for “Tuna Casserole.” Patty said she loved Tuna Casserole. Well, I forgot the tuna or I didn’t have any to put in … I cant remember. And later Patty said, “That was good Tuna Casserole but it didn’t have any tuna in it.”

And so go the tales … in the life here at the Hultquist Homestead.

 
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Happy Housewifery teaches wives and mothers how to make Godly homes and encourages them to love their husbands and children in trying and difficult circumstances.

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