Pioneer Potluck: About that wind storm ...

I am sure everyone on the Peninsula has a story to tell about the wind storm that went through here. High winds, snow and cold. Then the lights went out and without electricity, it causes all kinds of problems — such as no heat, if you do not have a wood stove. We were so concerned about people without wood stoves and hoped they had a back up generator to take care of their families.  


We had just gotten three cords of wood split by the guys from Frontier Mission and an hour later we had no power. Good timing guys! It is much appreciated!

Of course you all know we heat with a wood stove. So I cranked up my by-gone knowledge of cooking on the top of the woodstove and cracked open the “Cookin’ on the Wood Stove” cookbook. Put on a pot of beans, fried up some hamburger and onions. Added a few ingredients and we had good chili for supper. Instant rice cooked very well too. I have baked bread in the Dutch oven with the lid on inside the woodstove, with the coals pushed around it. 

We had bottled water, thanks to Susan. We played Kings Corner, read books, laughed and told each other stories, by candle light. We love TV, but really got along pretty well without it. No phones ringing, no motors whirring, no clicks and clacks, just silence. The little LED tea lights that you put in pumpkins were our lights in the dark. I am stocking up on those! Also candles and batteries — we have to restock and we are ready for the next storm. I guess the only thing we had to complain about was the trips to the outhouse and how cold the seat was! I do know that my neighbor could not say enough about flushing toilets. Me either! 
More on feed sack and flour sack aprons

I had a lot of feed back from this story and one of them is a story I wish to share with you from my cousin, Jim Nelson in Kansas who is 85-6-7-? 

"In the past I worked in the feed mill in Westfall, Kansas, when I was 12, 13 and 14, preparing and grinding the chicken feed. We used the ‘printed’ sacks, and yes, men who came to buy, were instructed to what pattern to take home! I did all the mixing, grinding and filling the sacks to 100 pounds, then sewing the tops. The whole works. So your article brought forth a lot of memories. Imagine a 12-year-old boy working today for 12 hours a day for $1! Only because my uncle Ralph was the manager, did I have the job.” 

He also stated that he knew all about the “Perfection” Kerosene Ranges, like the one in the picture of my Grandma. Those stoves cooked a lot of turkeys and cookies — there was always a little hint of kerosene in the food, but we just thought that was normal! My sugar cookies NEVER ever tasted like my Grandma’s … I cooked with an electric stove — still do!

Stop and think about the old days of no electricity and the trip to town was once a month or once a year, or you made everything and did not have to depend on the store bought things that are so convenient for us nowadays. I hope your days this week were not uncomfortable and that you are back in a warm house and bed. We appreciate all the concerns about our welfare.
Thank you!

Fireweed Herb Garden and Gifts will host a Christmas Open House from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday with special guest Ann Berg on hand to sign her Grannie Annie cook books.

The “Grannie Annie” Cook Book Series includes: “Grannie Annie’s Cookin’ on the Woodstove”; “Grannie Annie’s Cookin’ at the Homestead”; “Grannie Annie’s Cookin’ Fish from Cold Alaskan Waters”; and “Grannie Annie’s Eat Dessert First.” They are available at Fireweed Herb Garden and Gifts in Kenai and M & M Market in Nikiski.

Cranberry Nut Bread

This is a recipe by our dear friend Paul Dickey,
from my new cookbook.  “Eat Dessert First.” 
Available at Fireweed Gifts and M and M Market in Nikiski. 
I made this yesterday and of course substituted things for the ingredientsthat I did not have.  It is very very good! 

1 cup shortening (I used 1 cup of butter)
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
3 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
2 cups fresh cranberries-chopped. 
(I used 1 1/2 cups of dried cherries, but Craisins would have done well also)
1 cup pecans-chopped
Cream shortening (butter) and sugar thoroughly. 
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. 
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. 
Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture alternation with milk, blending after each addition. 
Fold in Cranberries (dried cherries) and crushed pecans. 
Spread in greased and floured 10 in tube pan (I used 6 small foil pans, oiled) Bake at 350 degrees for one hour and 20 minutes in the tube pan.
35 minutes in the foil pans. 
Do not over bake. 
Test with a tooth pick. 

Cool and frost with the following frosting.
1/2 cups cranberries
1/4 cup water
1 tblsp lemon juice
1/3 cup butter
4 cups powdered sugar.-approx
Cook cranberries in water in small saucepan. 
Stir occasionally until berries pop –about 5 minutes. 
Blend in lemon juice and butter.
 Add powdered sugar, stirring constantly until spreading consistency.
For the small foil pans I used 2 cups powdered sugar, three to four tbsp lemon juice and two tblsp soft butter. 

Beat until smooth and shiny and frost the loaves.

Italian Sausage and Penne Pasta Casserole

From my sister Ginger

This makes 2 13 x 9 pans. 
Bake one, freeze one.
1 lbs bulk Italian sausage
1 1/2 lbs uncooked penne pasta
Cook Penna pasta according to directions on package
In a large skillet or Dutch oven, cook sausage until done, drain and set aside
In the same pan sauté in 2 tblsp olive oil:
1 large onion
1 lbs fresh mushrooms, sliced
Add: 6 garlic cloves minced
Stir in :
1 1/2 cups chicken or beef broth or a dry red wine
2 cans stewed diced tomatoes
1 15oz tomato sauce
1 more cup of beef broth or other liquid
Add the sausage
Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes
Spread 1/2 cup sauce into each of the greased 13 x 9 baking pans. 
Divide the pasta in half.
And spread into dishes. 
Top with 2 1/2 cups sauce each and top with 1 cup of the following cheese. 
4 cups 16oz shredded part skim mozzarella cheese - divided
4 cups 16oz shredded Fontina cheese-divided

REPEAT THE LAYERS and top with cheeses and sprinkle with Parsley.
Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. 
Uncover and bake 10 minutes until bubble and cheese is melted. 

Corn and Ham Chowder

Fry 4 slices of diced bacon in heavy soup pot-take out and reserve
1 cup chopped onion – cook until tender
1/2 cup chopped fine red bell pepper (optional)
1 tbsp butter and stir in:
3 tblsp flour until blended into butter and bacon fat
Slowly pour:
3 cups of chicken broth into flour mixture and stir constantly until smooth
Bring to boil and add:
2 cups scrubbed diced new potatoes with peel
Simmer until potatoes are tender – about 10 minutes
Stir in:
Crumbled bacon
1 can cream corn
1/2  can whole corn-drained
2 cups diced ham
1 can canned milk
Slowly heat DO NOT BOIL and add:
2 cups of shredded medium cheddar cheese (this is optional) Just as good without cheese.
Pepper to taste
Serve in bowls sprinkled with bacon and green chopped onions
Corn meal muffins go good with this.