When I was an elementary school student in Smithville I was a Brownie, my mom was one of our Scout leaders. There was Paula's mom, Katrina's mom, and Daphne's mom; they were great leaders, perhaps a lost breed.
I go back to those times of my early Scouting days when it's Girl Scout cookie time. The old favorites Thin Mints, Savannahs, and Trefoils seem to remain unchanged, even while different cookie bakers have been contracted by the Girl Scout organization over the years. This year one box of cookies cost $4.00 a box; I remember taking cookie orders for 50 cents a box, a few long years ago.
There was an anxious excitement to get that clean, blank cookie order form filled up. Dad took the form to school, he was the principal; the staff ordered cookies. Of course I presented my cookie selling speech to my grandparents and all my aunts and uncles. I was the oldest grandchild they all ordered cookies from me, as did their neighbors.
My cookie selling days was during a time when it was safe to be given a one mile radius and ride my bike around the country roads, going door-to-door, everyone remembered me from the year before, they all ordered cookies. One year the church near our house got a new preacher, the preacher's wife didn't order cookies; her granddaughter was a Brownie. Eventually that order form became a bit frayed on the edges, sometimes flew out of my hand and landed on the wet ground, but no order was ever lost.
Taking the orders was the easy part, the fun part, but delivery was a different story, no bike could carry the number of boxes that I had sold. It was always a race to beat your sales from the previous year and of course any friendly competition within Brownie Troop 58.
The Troop cookie order was taken to our meeting room in the historical Church of God across the street from our school, the order division commenced quickly. Even though customers were told when their cookies would arrive they still called to ask.
Delivery day was usually on a Saturday afternoon, when mom was free to drive all around the township, and a few miles beyond. That's when she realized we had gone outside our one mile cookie selling radius.
Our family car, a Country Squire station wagon was packed and stacked with wonderful boxes of cookies. I felt they all belonged to me, at least for a short while.
Mom drove dirt road miles, up and down farm lanes, and she repeatedly backed in and out of driveways on village streets. Some boxes went to church; some went to Dad's school, and some boxes we just took to Grandma's house when we went for Wednesday dinner. Of course some boxes were for sharing with my own family, I don't remember if they ever made it to freezer storage, one box didn't last long even in a family of five. Those cookies were magic, they disappear quickly, and they still have that same magic in my own house today.
Bring the best of spring to the Hearth & Home table; send recipes to Hearth & Home, 5973 Blachleyville Rd., Wooster, Ohio, 44691. Emails are always welcome: firstname.lastname@example.org
Chocolate Bunny Cookies (Michele Purdy, Norwalk)
1 (21 ounce) package chewy fudge brownie mix
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/3 cups pecan halves, 96 count
Vanilla milk chips
1 container dark chocolate fudge ready-to-spread frosting
Combine brownie mix, egg, water, and oil in large bowl. Stir with spoon until well blended, approximately 50 stirs. Drop by 2 level teaspoons 2-inches apart on greased baking sheets. Place two pecan halves, flat side up, on each cookie for ears. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until set. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheets. Cool completely. Spread dark chocolate fudge frosting on one cookie. Place vanilla milk chips upside down on frosting for ears and nose. Dot each eye with frosting using toothpick. Repeat for remaining cookies. Allow frosting to set before storing cookies between layers of waxed paper in airtight container.
(Michele Purdy, Norwalk)
10 tart apples, cored, peeled, and sliced
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons butter, cubed
Place apples in a 2 to 2 1/2 quart microwave-safe bowl lightly sprayed with non-stick vegetable spray; set aside. Combine sugar, cornstarch and spices. Sprinkle over apples and toss to coat. Dot with butter. Cover and microwave on high setting for 15 minutes, or until apples are tender, stirring every 5 minutes. Serves 6.
Easy Pudding Milk Shake (Michele Purdy, Norwalk)
3 cups cold milk
1 package (4 serving size) Jell-O instant pudding and pie filling, any flavor
1 1/2 cups ice cream, any flavor
Pour milk into blender container. Add pudding mix and ice cream; cover. Blend on high speed 30 seconds or until smooth. Pour into glasses and garnish as desired. Serve immediately.
Herb Roasted Potatoes
(Michele Purdy, Norwalk)
1/2 cup Miracle Whip
1 tablespoon each dried rosemary, garlic powder, and onion powder
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 tablespoon water
2 pounds small red potatoes, quartered
Mix dressing, seasonings, and water in large bowl. Add potatoes, toss to coat. Place potatoes on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 8 servings. May substitute dried oregano for dried rosemary.
1 large angel food cake
For the custard:
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 ounce) container Cool Whip, thawed
For the glaze:
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons strawberry Jell-O, dry mix
1 cup water
2 cups fresh strawberries, cut in half or quartered if large
Whole fresh strawberries for garnish
For the glaze:
Slice cake, horizontally into 3 equal layers. For the custard:
Mix together cream cheese, condensed milk, and whipped topping in a bowl; set aside. For the glaze: In a medium saucepan, stir together sugar, cornstarch, and gelatin; add water. Cook, stirring over medium heat until thick. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Fold in strawberries.
For assembly: Place 1 layer of cake in a large clear bowl. Top with a layer of glaze, followed by a layer of custard mixture. Repeat layering in this order for remaining cake, glaze and custard. Top cake with strawberries, sliced or whole.
Strawberry and Spinach Salad
1 (10 ounce) package baby spinach, rinsed, dried
1/3 cup toasted sliced almonds
1 pint strawberries, hulled and quartered
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, diced
Juice of half a fresh lemon
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds
In a large salad bowl, add the spinach, almonds, strawberries, and cucumber; toss together. For the dressing: Combine the lemon juice, vinegar, sugar, oil, and poppy seeds. Whisk in bowl or shake in jar. Drizzle and toss just before serving.
Sweet Onion Bread
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups diced onions
4 eggs, separated
1 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup apple juice
1 teaspoon minced ginger
3 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
Grease a 9 x5 inch loaf pan. In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil. When the oil is hot, caramelize the onions for about 10 minutes. With an electric mixer whip the egg whites until stiff. Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each yolk. Add the apple juice and ginger. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper, together. On low speed, alternate adding the flour with the milk. Do not over mix the batter. Fold in the stiff egg whites. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and invert onto a wire rack. Allow the bread to cool for 5 minutes before slicing.
Farmhouse Kitchen Quiche
1 pound ground pork sage sausage
1 teaspoon baking powder
20 grape tomatoes, sliced in half and sprinkled with salt
6 large eggs
10 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, grated (about 2 1/2 cups)
Salt and pepper
Two (9 inch) unbaked frozen pie shells, thawed
In a large skillet, cook the sausage until browned. Remove sausage to paper toweling to soak up drippings. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the baking powder, tomatoes and eggs together. Add the cooked sausage and the cheese to the egg mixture and stir together with a large spoon. Add salt and pepper and divide the mixture between both unbaked pie shells. Bake at 350 degrees until the filling is set, about 30 minutes. Serve warm.
Country Kitchen Chicken Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
6 cups water
1 chicken, quartered
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 cup small egg noodles
Heat oil in large heavy pot. Cook onion and celery until translucent. Season chicken pieces liberally with salt and pepper. Place chicken skin side down in pot and brown, about 5 minutes. Add carrots and cover with water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1 hour. Remove chicken from soup and let cool. Remove meat from bones and shred, discard skin. Return meat to pot and stir in parsley and noodles. Cook for another 20 minutes.