Hearth & Home

Hearth and Home by Daphne Ross

I heard birds singing this morning

When I stepped outside this morning, I heard birds singing. No snow was falling, no wind was blowing, the sun was bright, the sky quite blue; there was happiness in their tune. They fluffed their feathers as I tromped by the naked orange blossom bush in our yard. Their choir didn't scatter, however they did turn up the volume and they did a little bush branch hop. There was joy in their dance.

I spotted a fat, red squirrel, he squirrely-ed across the back field from a grand walnut standing in our yard at field's edge to an old cherry across the way. His bushed-out tail shivered and shook; I must have disturbed his meal settling meditation. His chatter seemed scolding, but there was a happiness in his message. By his appearance he must have stored plenty of sustenance away for the winter. Though interrupted, there was joy in his scurry.

Every morning as I leave for work I enjoy discovering yet another fresh deer trail through the snow, leading up to the lane, crossing over to the west, always more crossing to the west than to the east. If they cross our farm path in the early evening, and I spot them out my kitchen window, they seem to have a playfulness pulling them over to the other side. There is happiness in their frolic. And while their snort echoes through the woods, as we break snow at dusk, there is a joy in their get>away deep into the trees.

At this point in time, some twenty plus days until spring, if someone were to ask what I love about winter, I wouldn't have much to say, other than I love the capture of a beautiful winter thru photography. But if you were to ask me what I love about spring, I would speak endlessly, in a fast pitch chatter much like a squirrel, much like a chirping bird whose song never ends.

The weatherman knows, the farmer in the almanac knows, and all the critters know, spring days will come, and it will bring the green of new birth, the color of fresh blooms, and the fragrance of sweet petals. This winter has indeed been a trying time for so many folks; the extreme negative temperatures, snowfall measured by yardstick; don't need to list more, we already know, and wr know it all too well. Old Man Winter is struggling, too; he's dragging his boot covered feet through the calendar pages. Hopefully he will trip while on his statewide trail, and fall into a deep sleep slumber. If he comes knocking again too soon, please don't answer that door.

Fresh food recipes require fresh produce. Send your favorite recipes to: Hearth & Home, 5973 Blachleyville Rd., Wooster, Ohio, 44691. Emails are always welcome: thewritecook@sssnet.com

Three Layer Lemon Pudding Pie

2 cups cold milk
2 packages (4-serving sizeeach) lemon instant pudding
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 (6 ounce) graham cracker pie crust
1 (8 ounce) tub Cool Whip, thawed, divided
2 1/2cups miniature marshmallows, divided
2 tablespoons cold milk

Pour 2 cups milk into large bowl. Add dry pudding mixes and juice. Beat with wire whisk 2 minutes or until well blended; mixture will be thick. Spread 1 1/2 cups of the pudding onto bottom of crust; set aside. Add half of the whipped topping to remaining pudding; stir gently until well blended. Spread over pudding layer in crust. Place 2 cups of the marshmallows in large microwaveable bowl. Add 2 tablespoons milk; stir. Microwave on high 1 1/2 minutes or until marshmallows are completely melted, stirring after 1 minute. Stir until well blended. Refrigerate 15 minutes. Gently stir in whipped topping; spread over pudding mixture. Refrigerate 3 hours or until set. Top with the remaining 1/2 cup marshmallows just before serving. Store in refrigerator.

Hamburger Steaks in Gravy

1 pound ground beef
1 small onion
1 tablespoon ketchup
2 slices toast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Soften toast with water. Mix with other ingredients. Add beef to mixture. Place in frying pan with 1 tablespoon cooking oil. Brown on both sides; remove from pan. Place in baking dish. Slice small onion over meat.


3 tablespoons flour
2 cups water
2 tablespoons ketchup
Salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Stir flour in pan meat was cooked in. Stir until brown. Add water, catsup, black pepper. When gravy thickens, pour over meat. Cover and bake in oven for 30 minutes at 375 degrees. This can also be cooked in the crock pot on low overnight.

Mashed Potato Cakes

2 cups chilled mashed potatoes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour, for dredging
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Divide the mashed potatoes into 8 equal portions. Use your hands to form 1/2-inch thick patties. Heat the oil with the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Mix the flour with the salt and pepper in a pie plate. Coat the potato patties in the flour mixture. Add the potato cakes to the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook until they have formed a golden crust, 15 to 20 minutes. Peek for browning before turning.) Turn and cook the other side until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Season; serve hot.

Love Them Fried Pickles
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
4 drops hot sauce
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
3 1/2 cup flour
1 quart sliced dill pickles
Oil for deep frying
Combine first 5 ingredients, stirring well. Set aside. Combine 3 1/2 cups flour, salt and pepper, stirring well. Dip pickles in milk mixture and dredge in flour mixture, repeat process. Deep fry in hot oil, 350 degrees until pickles float to surface and are golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

Canned Fruit Salad
2 cans (16 ounces each) fruit
cocktail, undrained
1 can (20 ounces) unsweetened
pineapple tidbits, drained
1 can (11 ounces) mandarin
oranges, drained
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 package (1 ounce) instant
vanilla pudding mix
2 medium firm bananas, sliced
In a bowl, combine the fruit and lemon juice. Sprinkle with< the pudding mix. Stir gently for 1 minutes or until mixture is thickened. Fold in bananas. Refrigerate until serving.


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