Pioneer Potluck: About May baskets

1940’s on a farm


North of Fort Collins,


May 1 was a big day for all us grade school kids. We spent the last week of April making May baskets out of construction paper - weaving them into a mat and then bringing up on the sides and pasted (Elmer’s Paste) the sides . The last was the handle for the basket. We would paste it on then the teacher would staple it for strength..

We would carefully bring them home after school on May 1st with bits of candy and flowers - usually dandelions - to give to our Mom’s. We always made one for our neighbor and one for Grandma who lived a mile north of us in the cherry-apple orchard. Those baskets were filled with lilac blossoms after we asked permission to get a lilac branch off Moms wonderful French lilac bush. Then we put in one of Moms’ cookies or a cupcake. We got in the car and Mom drove us to Mrs. Aranci’s. We hung the basket on her door knob, knocked on the door and ran for the car. We ducked down and told Mom to hurry and get out of the yard because you were not supposed to be seen delivering the baskets. If they saw you, you would get kissed.

Then we went to Grandma’s and Mom parked in the lane and we crept up to the door that went to the stairs and down into the basement house they lived in. I smile now because Grandmas kitchen window was positioned above the kitchen sink and she could look up and see who was at the door and Grandma was always in the kitchen! We would hang the baskets, knock and run as hard as we could. We got in the car and hide again. Mom would back out and head for our house. It was the most fun I had with my Mom when I was little.

This tradition has sadly stopped through the years, as the Communist Party adopted May 1 as their day of celebration.

I am still plan on making a May basket or two - just to see if I still can!! NO lilacs blooming and I am not sure there will be a dandelion, but this Grandma always has a cookie or two on hand to fill the baskets. Not telling who will get one either!!


Be kind and smile, you never know who needs a special kind word or your friendly smile.


Go make a May basket!


2 pounds of ground beef

1 cup chopped onion

2 cups water

1 can refried beans

1 can chili beans - do not drain

1 can kidney or red or black beans-drained

1/2 can whole kernel corn, drained

1 can stewed tomatoes-diced

1 8 oz can tomato sauce

1 cup mild chunky salsa

1 envelope of taco seasoning

1 2 oz can sliced ripe olives- drained

1 cup of shredded cheese of choice

In a large soup pot, cook beef with onion until done and drain. Stir in water and reaming ingredients except the cheese. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Serve in large bowls and pass the sour cream, chopped onions and cheese.


Get out the grill - Spring is here!

2/3 cup prepared Ranch Dressing

3 tblsp Worcestershire sauce

3 tblsp olive oil

2 tblsp each dried basil and dried rosemary - crush first to bring out flavor or use fresh - chopped

2 tblsp apple cider vinegar

2 tblsp lemon or lime juice

1 1/4 teaspoon each dried oregano and honey

Garlic salt and pepper to taste

6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves

In a large Ziploc bag combine the first 11 ingredients. Flatten to 1/2 inch thickness and add to bag. Seal and turn to coat. Ready to grill iafter 30 minutes to one hour. Drain chicken and discard marinade. Prepare grill lightly coating with oil. Grill chicken on low heat for 4 to 6 minutes on each side until thermometer reads 170%. Good sliced on a large salad, or in warm tortilla’s adding your favorite ingredients.


1 Pkg white cake mix

1 small box instant vanilla pudding

5 eggs

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup orange juice

1 Tbsp almond extract

2 Tblsp poppy seed

1/2 cup oil

Mix all ingredients together and beat with electric mixer, 4 minutes

Grease angel food cake pan and coat with cinnamon-sugar. Pour in batter evenly and bake 305% for 35 to 45 minutes. When slightly cool, run thin knife around edges, turn out of pan and sprinkle with powdered sugar and a shake of cinnamon. Skip cinnamon if not desirable. Just coat pan with sugar.


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