Once In A Blue Raccoon: Part Two

I left you last week with the story partially told of “Once In A Blue Raccoon”. Since then, if you have seen a blue raccoon, it has been at my house. In my pond. Swimming or drowning… it’s up for debate. But make a mess he or she did!

I had gone to bed around 9:30 pm, on the evening of June 9th. I left the water fountain on. Fairy lights were on as well, which I think was the major attractant to the raccoon. As if to say “Come take a dip, wreck my fountain, pull out the hose and drain the pond, leave the pump running; please.” Sigh.

In the early morning hours, after making coffee, of course, I slipped onto the deck to read and reflect when I took note that I did NOT hear my pond fountain or turtle spitter. Hmm. But I did hear a strange hum. So I sprang from my chair ran down the flight of stairs and found my pond had only inches of water left inside. The fountain lay hanging outside of the pond, the pump running with no water being pumped. The hose from the turtle spitter was completely detached.

The Crime Scene

Image by Sascha Barth from Pixabay

I didn’t realize it at first, but I was walking through the evidence. I had rushed to the aid of my poor pond pump, ran right over the body outline, and shot across the door stoop to unplug the pump electrical cord. Had I been watching where I was going I would have seen it. But I was far too concerned that my pond pump was shot.

After unplugging the pump electrical cord, I reached into the nearly empty pond and felt the pump. It was warm, but not hot, so I felt reasonably confident the pump would survive. I picked up the spitter hose that led from the pump to the spitter and reattached it. Grabbing the garden hose I began to fill up the pond.

As the pond began to fill, I let out our dog Tucker. Tucker immediately was on the case and began to sniff and sniff around the yard. Up over here and then down over there. In circles, out of circles till it dawned on me that he was following the scent of the raccoon.

As I followed Tucker following the raccoon, I could see raccoon paw prints on the driveway. They were cute, blue paw prints with splishy splashy drops alongside the footprints.

The bigger picture began to unfold as I stepped back and saw the blue body outline on the deck cement landing. Ah-ha! This is where he got out! Bet he thought he was going into some raccoon swim pool. Probably told his friends to “Wait in the shallow end where you can sit.” Then he went to the deep and got more than he bargained for. Took one big dive and hit the pump box, got scared, and tangled himself in the turtle spitter hose. And that friends, is where “the wheels fell off”- total mayhem.

Help I’m drowning and I can’t get out

Image by Andreas Hoja from Pixabay

Once the raccoon entwined himself with the hose, he probably realized it was going to be “live or die”. I’m sure a frantic swim began with raccoon arms flailing, raccoon screams, and chittering. Yanking and pulling at the hose and the fountain. Till all was disassembled and his “friends” decided trouble was afoot as the water was quickly being drained and so they promptly left.

Then after realizing he could stand in the water (this probably has described a few of us at the lake-we’ll say no more), calm returned, and with some exhaustion, he pulled himself out and laid on the patio cement landing. Let’s mark this as Crime Scene one and two. Pond and patio landing.

Crime Scene three will be the wandering trail on the grass, as the raccoon contemplated his near fate and vowed to never swim in the pond again. Crime Scene four will be the paw prints on the cement driveway leading up to the stoop under the patio.

That leaves us with Crime Scene five. Crime Scene five is another place of rest. Foot paw prints on the driveway leading up to the stoop. This is where our miscreant sits and eats my cat’s cat food, as he realizes his fur is blue… BLUE?! How in heaven’s name did I get blue fur? Ah… life choices have a way of catching up to us, sometimes leaving a mark- or dye in this case.

Book’em Danno

Image by waldiwkl from Pixabay

I hope the raccoon community got a good laugh as he returned home to the tree. But as I am reading about raccoons, they, like opossums, live a solitary life; getting together for spring rituals and then parting company. We humans mostly see mother raccoons and their kits.

I imagine he hid till dark and then headed for the nearest creek to begin the vigorous fur scrubbing to get the blue out of his fur. I and the rest of the house got a good laugh out of my raccoon tale. It’s good to have something to laugh about when the stuff of the world is so serious!

Till next time friends! Here is to good food, good friends, and a good dye job!

Once In A Blue Raccoon…

You might be asking yourself, “Hmm… Once in a Blue Raccoon?” What kind of recipe exchange is this? Well, friends, today it is not recipes, it’s a story. And yes, it very definitely is about a blue raccoon. Truly, if you see a blue raccoon it belongs to me; rather it has been at my home.

How does a raccoon get blue? Well, for the most part, it was very easy for the raccoon’s fur to turn blue. But getting the blue out of his/her fur, well, that’s another matter altogether. But thankfully, I do not have to concern myself over getting the blue dye out. Trying to bathe a wild raccoon to rid him or herself of blue-dyed fur would probably prove to be a daunting task. I would be up for the said task. If you’ve raised children, then the relation to raccoons probably isn’t much of a leap. I say that chuckling because as I help raise my grandson, there are days I wonder if he isn’t a part raccoon.

Raccoons equal mischief…

I told you way back, many articles ago, that I helped my DNR Wildlife Rehabilitator friend raise two batches of raccoon kits. I’ve had some experience feeding raccoons and you can always count on the following :

  • It will be very messy
  • Lots of reaching, grabbing, patting
  • Chewing with mouths open
  • Eyes looking everywhere else but their plate
  • Dumping over of all dishes
  • Touching someone else’s food
  • Growling

There. Have I not described what happens when you teach a baby through early toddler years to eat? Maybe not such much the growling. That comes from the adult supervisor- grr! Well, we have to laugh, don’t we? Life gets pretty serious and we must find our humor in everyday life and living it.

Here is the part where we enter the story of “Once In A Blue Raccoon”… not to be confused with the movie “The Blue Lagoon”. There is no Brooke Shields in my story, just some mischievous raccoon who was temporarily turned blue for his indiscretions.

Pipestone County Sherriff’s Report

Photo by Michele Bruxvoort

You won’t see this story listed under the “Pipestone County Sherriff’s Report”, but it should have. The offenses?

  1. Trespassing
  2. Criminal Mischief
  3. Indecent exposure
  4. Vandalism

First, you must know that last year we installed a small pond under our patio. A very nice little pond with a turtle spitter, fountain, hosta’s, rocks, and various other flora. A nice windchime and this year’s new addition… solar fairy lights. All very peaceful and relaxing.

In order to stop having to drain the pond every 3 weeks to scrub the walls and clean off the water tubbing and fountain to free them of algae, I found this handy product called “Nature’s Blue Pond Dye“. Note it said “Pond”. It acts as a shield, preventing the light from penetrating and growing the algae. After receiving this dye I read the directions. Okay, this is concentrated. I need to be careful. Done.

Carefully leaning over the flora, I turned the cap off and tried to gently… GENTLY pour just a little when SPLASH! Out came a good fourth of a cup. NUTS! In seconds the pump pulled the blue dye into the fountain and like a Fourth of July color salute, my fountain shot out the most intense patriotic blue. My eyes quickly switched to the turtle spitter and he too began to spit forth a stream of patriotic blue! I gave a quick salute to the color show. It was Memorial Day weekend, so I felt justified in my patriotic display of blue.

And now, the rest of the story

I had gone to bed at 9:30 pm, on the evening of June 9th. I left the water fountain on. Fairy lights were on as well, which I think was the major attractant to the raccoon. As if to say “Come take a dip, wreck my fountain, pull out the hose and drain the pond leaving the pump running please.” Sigh.

Okay, friends, I will have to leave you in suspense! Till next time. Here is to good food, good friends and interesting life!

On My Way to Strawberry Galette

Bonjour my friends! Today I am on my way to Strawberry Galette. And lucky you! You are going to join me on this little food adventure. So buckle up and enjoy the ride. Here, hold the whipping cream, and don’t spill it, we are going to need it later!

Strawberry Galette. I found a great recipe for strawberry galette in the 2021 April/May edition of Cooks Country. Seriously friends, if you can get a subscription coupon for 40% off this is an excellent magazine to put some spark into your cooking and baking! Give it a try.

Matthew Fairman was the recipe author and article writer of the “Strawberry Galette” article. I would have like to have given you a link to the recipe as it is copyrighted, BUT… not only do you have to pay for the magazine subscription, but in order to access it online, you must pay for that too. Sniff, sniff… so sorry. But I will link you to another recipe close to it that you can use with great success!

What is a galette?

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

“What in the world is a galette?”, so glad you asked me! First and foremost it is French. Oo la la! A galette is pronounced gǝ-let’. Be sure to practice that well and get some Parisian hat and wear that to coffee. They will be talking a great deal about the new you… or at least your “look” and snooty dialect.

A galette is a flat French pastry made of pastry dough or bread. It can take on many forms from a thin pancake-like galette to a thick pie-looking galette. The fillings can range from fruit-filled to meat, but the galette is mostly known for being served around the celebration of Epiphany. Epiphany commemorates Jesus’s birth and his meeting with the three wise men. The galette has traveled the world and Mardi Gras has adopted it as their “King Cake”.

Here we go

I thought that the recipe from Cook’s Country was relatively simple, and I like simple. That’s why I thought I’d give the recipe a try. I will enclose a link to a Land O’ Lakes® here. It was relatively close to the Cook’s Country. Remember I told you to hold the whipping cream? If you haven’t spilled it, make some Tangy Whipped Cream here. That’s to put on top after the galette has baked and cooled. YUMMY!

The pastry dough was fun and simple to make. I like dough recipes. For most dough recipes, you get to take out your frustrations on the dough by kneading and smooshing. It’s like physical therapy and counseling all in one. You get to talk and squeeze the daylights out of dough instead of the person or situation. Plus, you’ll stay out of jail and that’s always a good deal! This recipe called for a food processor to help “process” your ingredients, which was fun as well. My grandson found it entertaining but a bit loud.

The filling was simple as well. The Cook’s Country recipe had you cut up your strawberries, add some sugar, and let them sit. This sitting allowed time for the berries to make a juice which you will use to make the filling. The Land O’ Lakes recipe did not do this. The Land O’ Lakes had you make the filling by boiling the ingredients and Cook’s Country has you throwing the filling ingredients together into the pastry dough and letting the oven do the thickening.

End results?

Photo by Michele Bruxvoort

While the galette was baking it smelled delicious, but thinking about warm strawberries was hard to get past. I’m used to cold strawberries on Angel Food, ice cream, hot shortcake, and so on. This probably led to me disliking the taste of the galette filling. However I had to remind myself that my American taste buds are set for sugary sweet and this galette is NOT so sweet, and that is very okay. We all need to cut back our sweets anyway.

After cooling the galette I tasted a slice. I liked the flaky crust, and the filling wasn’t sugary or overly thick; almost jam-like consistency. The whipped cream added a tangy spark. I like the galette even better the next day, cold from the refrigerator. It was something very different from my “Midwest usual” and I would try it again. Maybe a rhubarb galette!

Till next time! Here is to good food, good friends and a good life.

Strawberry Season Sensational Recipes

My sister-in-law from Illinois takes a daily trip to her garden to pick strawberries. I told her I wished I lived next door so that I could jump the fence and come pick a bucket full. She unintentionally acquired this strawberry patch through the neighborhood birds… I’ll say no more. With that, I give you strawberry season sensational recipes!

First up we have Charlotte Vande Zande. Char is from the Boyden, Sheldon, Iowa area. She met Calvin Vande Zande while he was a student preaching in that area and eventually married him. Had to get you your Dutch Bingo fix. Char was our daughter’s Pre-School teacher as well as a second-grade teacher. WONDERFUL teacher and person!

Fresh Strawberry Pie

  • One 9 inch baked pie shell
  • 1 quart sliced fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons Strawberry Jell-O®


Mix sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan. Add water and cook until thick and clear. Remove from heat and add Jell-O®. Stir. Cool. Place strawberries in a baked pie shell. Pour sauce over top. Chill and serve with whipped cream. FRESH RASPBERRY VARIATION: Substitute fresh strawberries with fresh raspberries. Substitute strawberry Jell-0® with raspberry Jell-O®. Mix according to the above directions.

Frosty Strawberry Squares

-This recipe comes from Lilian Schouten… okay, let me back up the truck for just a moment. ALL these recipes come out of the Randolph Christian School, 2012, Celebrating 100 Years Cookbook! On one of my trips to Wisconsin, I pick up one of these centennial cookbooks for Faith DeKam. Faith attended the Randolph Christian School and had lived just down and around the corner from where I lived in East Friesland, Wisconsin. There, now you got two games of Dutch Bingo in. You are set. I believe Lilian attended Northwestern for her teaching certificate. Lillian taught at RCS for 30 plus years.


  • 1 cup sifted flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 10 oz. frozen strawberries, partially thawed
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup whipped topping


Stir together flour, nuts, brown sugar, and melted butter. Spread evenly in a shallow baking pan. Bake in 350° oven for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle 2/3 of these crumbs in a 9 x 13 pan. In a large bowl, combine egg whites, sugar, strawberries, and lemon juice. Whit electric beaters, beat on high speed for about 10 minutes or until very stiff. Fold in whipped topping. Spoon over crumbs. Top with remaining crumbs. Cover and freeze for 6 hours, cut and serve. Can be stored in the freezer for up to two months.

Next up we have Shirley Schueler. I gave you the 411 about Shirley a couple of articles ago. You can catch her other recipes here.

Jeanie’s Strawberry or Raspberry Dessert


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup margarine or butter- I SAY BUTTER!-M
  • 1/3 cup chopped nuts

Mix and press into a 9 x 13 pan. Bake 325° for 20 minutes. Cool.


  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1/8 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup Cool Whip®

Mix together and spread on cooled crust.


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cup 7-UP®
  • dash of salt
  • 1 package strawberry or raspberry Jell-O®
  • 1-quart berries
  • Cool Whip®
  • Chopped nuts- optional

Cook sugar, cornstarch, water, and 7-UP® until thick and clear. Add Jell-O® and stir until dissolved. Add 1-quart berries of your choice. When cool, spread over cheese filling. Top with Cool Whip® and chopped nuts, if desired. Chill until ready to serve.

Strawberries In The Snow

Image by RitaE from Pixabay

This comes from Chandler Medema. I’m sure his mother Marin told him he “had” to have a recipe in the 100th Year Cookbook, to which he probably rolled his eyes. He was the 99th graduating class at RCS.

  • 1 angel food cake
  • 2- 8 ounce packages cream cheese- softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 12 ounce Cool Whip®
  • 2 pound fresh strawberries- sliced
  • 16 ounces strawberry glaze

Beat the cream cheese and sugar in a medium bowl until light and fluffy. Fold in the whipped topping. Set aside. In a bowl, combine the strawberries and glaze until strawberries are evenly coated. Slice the cake into thin slices and lay 1/2 in the bottom and of a 9 x 13 pan. Spread approximately 1.2 of the cream cheese mixture over the cake slices and top with approximately 1.2 the strawberry mixture. Repeat layers. Chill until serving.

The word meter tells me I am out of space. Tune in next week for some more strawberry season sensational recipes. Till next time! Here is to good food, good friends and a good life.

What Is That Smell?: Part Two

When I last left you, I was assembling an arsenal of dishwasher-nook-and-cranny scrub brushes. “What Is That Smell?”, had me on an adventure trying to figure out how to get the scum cleaned out of my dishwasher. I was madly working at getting it removed from every space and place it clung to.

It took a great deal of elbow grease and tenacity to stick to scrubbing best I could in the nooks and crannies of the dishwasher. The bottom of the door presented an interesting challenge. I was very afraid if I began to take out the screw and then remove the door, to get at the bottom where the clips were, I wouldn’t get it reassembled and that would make my husband nervous.

Take this handy baby bottle cleaner

Reaching for the skinny baby bottle cleaner I began running it and to the hole. As I pulled it back out, the bottle cleaner was full of a gelatinous rust color gunk. Gross! But, I kept at it. In and out of every hole till each hole stop producing gunk.

I then followed the same procedure with the floor drain filter. Scrubbed in and out of each little hole. Rinsing on and off with vinegar. Grabbing a circular scrubby I made another final attempt to clean it well. I had brought items to the bathroom for their soak and scrub in the tub and it felt like I got it all cleaned.

Reassembling everything back into the dishwasher I opted for the three-hour forty-five-minute super wash with sanitizing feature and heat drying. There. Good. And later, after the lengthy wash was completed, I opened it and gave it a sniff. SNIFF! Hmm. I think I can still smell it. Hmm. Well, maybe I smelled it so much while cleaning it just is stuck in my nose?

Nice try

I was proud of my exploration, cleaning workout, and reassembly. My complete narration of events to Brad seemed to bolster what I saw was a success… but not so fast. Two weeks later I began to smell sulfur again. AGAIN! Blast this dishwasher back to Maytag.

Hopping onto the computer I searched for articles, chat posts, and videos about this “problem”. I found a great article that talked about the rust color scum. As I kept reading they walked me through what a dishwasher does. I needed a reminder that a dishwasher RECIRCULATES the dirty water as it cleans, just like you do when you hand wash.

All that food gunk, grease, and particles get tossed around the dishwasher and find their way into nooks and crannies. Over time, if it’s not rinsed away or cleaned, it builds up and begins to rot. Hence the smell and colored mold appearance. GROSS! Here is a cool YouTube video on what goes on inside your dishwasher during a cleaning cycle. You can link to it here, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HI9dLMW4BWk.

And then there was light

The best help. The most comprehensive tutorial on taking apart your dishwasher to get at the real reason, the real cause of the smell, was this YouTube dishwasher video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ERyNzfn0SE. Absolutely watch it, especially if you have a Maytag from 2017.

I watch this video two times. Once at my desk and then I loaded it up on my phone and I began to take my dishwasher apart. My husband was eating lunch as I began my crusade. My gagging and words caught his attention and I gasped as I pulled apart and lifted off part after part. The scum was everywhere.

But the grossest, vile and disgusting gunk lay below. I was working madly to get at the drain basket and the filter and as I turned over the drain filter there it was.

Photo by Michele Bruxvoort

IS THAT NOT THE GROSSEST GOB OF GUNK EVER?! It was so thick, I could sink my fingers into it and scoop it out with a cupped hand. You can see the “fingers” of gelatinous goo just handing there. GROSS! I face-timed my sister to show her and she recoiled in disgust. “Where is that from?” and “What is that?”, was all she could manage to say. With a wrinkled-up nose and a look of horror she shook her head and said she had to go.

I carefully cleaned out the gunk into the garbage can and then washed the drain basket in hot soapy water, scrubbing each and every hole as well as the filter box. I also wash every part I had pulled out and pulled apart. And then lastly I looked and found an additional strainer/drain and that had hair and gross gelatinous scum clinging to the strainer.

Photo by Michele Bruxvoort

Slowly but surely everything was cleaned and reassembled back in its proper place. Once again I set the dishwasher for the three-hour-plus cleaning program, loaded it with Cascade™, and awaited the clean results. A few hours later I opened up the dishwasher to find a sparkling clean, great smelling, and happy dishwasher. I guess in the future I will have to do a monthly inspection and pull out some of the drains and strainers and give them a good cleaning. You might want to do that too!

Till next time friends! Here is to good food, clean dishwashers and a very good life!

What is that SMELL!?

Oh. My. Gosh! What is that smell? This is like the 3rd time this week. Every time I run the dishwasher I can smell this sulfur-like smell. This is the last straw. Generally when I say “This is the last straw!”- look out! Luckily I had some free time, so I began the dishwasher investigation. Little did I know this was about to lead me on a quest to get my dishwasher clean.

Having acquired our very first dishwasher through a finance company repossession. Yes, you read that right, it was a repossession! We got it for the amazing amount of fifty dollars! That was some big money for 1994 broke, newly married, and just bought our first home newbies!

Brad installed this magnificent whirlpool dishwasher and we were off to the dish cleaning races. I seldom rinsed a dish, just scraped off the big stuff, and let the dishwasher do what a dishwasher does- WASH! Good ole piping hot water and some Cascade to keep them clean and streak-free! Never once did I get build-up, or bad smells.

This ain’t your mammas dishwasher

Photo by Michele Bruxvoort

Somehow, somebody decided that everything needs to be more “efficient” and “environmentally friendly”. I am of the strong opinion that the words “efficient” and “environmentally friendly” have no semblance of their meaning when it comes to home appliances.

I’m not interested in a three-hour cleaning or washing cycle that wants to use less water at a lower temperature all with less electricity, and then to think I’ll be happy with a “lower” electric bill? Umm… NOPE! Give me some hot, soapy water with some superpower sprayer that can wash and rinse my dishes CLEAN in under 30 minutes and I will be fine letting them air dry- thank you very much!

Now that you know how I really feel, you’ll understand my disdain for these “new” dishwashers. I would take back Celia’s old Whirlpool dishwasher in a heartbeat, and I won’t care it doesn’t match the rest of my kitchen appliances. Celia’s dishwasher was awesome. It never gave me trouble. The dishes were always clean and no crazy sulfur smell.

Oh my gosh!

Photo by Michele Bruxvoort

So, here we are back at my dishwasher. I am on my knees, bent inside my dishwasher and I am in total inspection mode. I am looking, sniffing and then I see it… this putrid rust-colored, sulfur-smelling scum and it is EVERYWHERE scum can safely cling. It’s in every nook and cranny of this dishwasher. I mean EVERY NOOK AND CRANNY!

Gagging a bit, I managed to keep my stomach contents in my stomach. As I took out the lower rack, I noticed all the rust-colored scum on the inside of the rack’s wheels. They were full of scum, so I ran it to the bathtub for a soak and then tried to figure out what I had that would help me clean. Hmm…. what is small enough, flexible, and rugged for cleaning? Ah-ha! I reached for my set of baby bottle cleaners. YES! This will do it.

I’ll just say right here if I could have gotten my husband’s pressure washer in the house and ran it I would have. But that would have woke up my grandson, which was not an option. Slowly I began pulling the dishwasher apart. Taking pictures as I went so that I could find my way back to a fully assembled dishwasher. I knew I had to work fast because if my husband caught me doing this he’d probably get mightly anxious I’d be able to reassemble everything.

Along with my baby bottle brushes, I employed the use of a circular scrub brush, vinegar, and Dawn dish soap. I began to see some fun when huge chunks of the scum (which, by the way, is grease and food broken down) started to fall out of cracks and crannies as I brushed in and out. SO GROSS!

Okay, friends… this is going to be my cliff-hanger of sorts. Stay tuned next week to see how it all turned out!

More Pie Plant Recipes

If you tuned in last week, I treated you to a few “Pie Plant” recipes from my “Pie Plant” article! Tut, tut if you didn’t take time to read all of the EE last week. For those of you reading this virtually on my blog, it means Edgerton Enterprise. Like Jen Psaki, President Biden’s press secretary, we’re gonna “circle back” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yI7uqL6yclg to the recipes and give you some more pie plant recipes!

First up is my favorite rhubarb recipe to make for my husband. I only make rhubarb recipes, I do not eat rhubarb. Long story, you can catch that story here, with additional recipes from last year’s article/post, just in case you didn’t read that either. To which I am now giving you “the look” and tapping my toe in disapproval. You can easily redeem yourself by clicking on the articles and catching up. 🙂

This recipe comes from the Randolph Christian School “Homemade With Love” Cookbook, circa 2000. My old boss (old as in 1989 the year), Shirley Schueler who was and IS STILL a fabulous cook/baker; she was the head cook/dietitian at Continental Manor in Randolph, and I was a kitchen-waitress-dishwasher girl. Phew! Didn’t think I was going to make that sentence end … anyway, this recipe is from Shirley; short, sweet, and simple. You can’t go wrong with Shirley’s recipes… enjoy.

Rhubarb Crunch


  • 4 1/2 cups rhubarb chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 3 T. flour

Mix together and put in a sprayed 9×13 inch pan.


  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • Mix together and crumble over the top of the rhubarb. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes to an hour.

Here is another great recipe from “The Kitchens of Family and Friends”, 100th Anniversary cookbook, 1st CRC Edgerton. Hildred Blom gave us:

Rhubarb Cake

Image by Ulrike Leone from Pixabay


  • 3-4 cups cut-up rhubarb, cut FINE
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar

Mix sugar and rhubarb together and set aside.

Next prepare a yellow or white cake mix as directed on the box. Pour into a greased 9 x 13, take the rhubarb, and spread it out over top the cake batter BEFORE baking. *Take two cups of whipped crème or Half and Half, and pour over the cake batter and rhubarb. Bake 350° for 50- 60 minutes.* As I am reading the recipe from the cookbook, I feel like the creme should go over the batter and rhubarb. I even called Kathy Walhof to ask her opinion. We both agreed that it should go over the batter and rhubarb. Now I have to make this just to see how it turns out! Not sure if I will get to it before this article is due. Fingers crossed!

Here’s a delightful, quick, rhubarb recipe. Taken from “Table Blessings 100th Anniversary” 1st RC of Randolph. Florence Brouwer shares the following:

Rhubarb Dessert Cake


  • 1 white cake mix
  • 3 cups rhubarb, chopped fine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3oz package strawberry or cherry Jello

Make cake mix as directed. Put in greased 9×13 inch pan. On top of the cake batter put rhubarb, sugar, and Jello. Bake for 35 minutes at 350°.

Last up, we have a great recipe from the “Jung’s Centennial Cookbook” from Jung’s Seed Company, Randolph Wisconsin. Barb Zondag, Grand-daughter-in-law of J.W. Jung, Wife of Richard Zondag. There, you can go play “Dutch Bingo” from there!

Rhubarb Crunch

Image by rachel1754 from Pixabay


  • 1 cup sifted flour
  • 3/4 cup quick oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 4 cup cut-up rhubarb
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla


Mix the flour, oatmeal, butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon until crumbly. Press half of the crumbs into a 9-inch square baking pan, or a 7×10- whatever you have. Cover with rhubarb. Combine and cook cornstarch, sugar and water, and vanilla until thick. Pour over rhubarb. Top with rest of crumb mixture. Bake 350° for 30 minutes.

There you have it, friends. A bunch of great rhubarb recipes and I am going to have to stop right here with the recipes. I am drinking Pepto-Bismol just to finish this article; so upset is my stomach having to write the word rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb … uff!

Till next time, here is to good food, good friends and a great life!

Camping Campfire Cuisine: Dessert

It’s time for camping! We did own a pop-up camper when we lived in Wisconsin. We enjoyed camping, especially Brad. I had a hard time with all the stuff that had to “sit out” in the camper and sometimes drove myself a little crazy constantly picking up and trying to find room for everything. But I did enjoy some great camping campfire cuisine and wanted to share a few recipes with the dessert theme.

Our most memorable camping was done at Indian Trails in Pardeeville, Wisconsin. If you have the chance to wander with your camper, go check out Indian Trails campground here. Lots to see and do. Indoor and outdoor pool, lake swimming, license-free lake fishing, kayaking, paddle boating, walking trails, and more. Not too far from Wisconsin Dells, this campground is pretty quiet early week and bustling on the weekend. Famous for their Saturday and Sunday donuts as well as their themed weekends!

Let’s get to some great campfire dessert recipes!

Campfire dessert!

Image by 4924546 from Pixabay

A little commentary here- this first recipe grossed me out at first. Warm banana! Who wants a warm banana? But after trying the banana boat, I was hooked. Fun for adults and little kids! And it’s a fruit, so everyone can check that off their list for the day! Great opportunity for EVERYONE to help make banana boats.

Banana Boats

  • one banana per person
  • bag of mini chocolate chips
  • bag of mini marshmallows
  • tin foil
  • spoon for scooping out some of the banana
  • bowl for the banana that was scooped out
  • knife for cutting back banana peel

STEP ONE: Take a banana a make to cuts length wise from the banana stem to the stalk on each side, top center of the banana- wide enough so you can dig out some of the banana with a spoon.

STEP TWO: Pull back the peel from the stem to the stalk BUT DO NOT remove the peel from the banana.

STEP THREE: Take a spoon and dig a trench in your banana by removing some of the banana flesh from the stem to the stalk and eat it or save it in a bowl for pancakes or muffins.

STEP FOUR: In the trench of your banana place mini chocolate chips- as much as you desire. I take a spoon and sprinkle them.

STEP FIVE: On top of your mini chocolate chips add mini marshmallows and then take the attached banana skin and put it back over the filled banana trench.

STEP SIX: Wrap in tin foil and carefully place on top of campfire coals for 5 minutes. Carefully remove from the coals with tongs, open tin foil, and remove banana, place in a bowl, and enjoy!

Orange Cakes

More commentary- this recipe is a mainstay with the Scouts! It’s ridiculously fun to try and the flavor will surprise you! A bit more digging out of the fruit to make a bowl. Be careful with how hard you dig, don’t poke a hole in your cake bowl! Have fun!

  • An orange per person
  • 1 box of a cake mix flavor of your choice, pre-made so the batter is ready to go!- chocolate and orange are good, but so is French vanilla and orange! Decisions, decisions…
  • bowl for the orange fruit to eat or save for a fruit salad or breakfast treat
  • spoon for scooping
  • knife for cutting open the orange
  • tin foil
  • tub of store-bought frosting or powdered sugar

STEP ONE: Cut off the top 1/4 of an orange, scoop out the orange fruit from the inside of the orange. Be careful NOT to poke a big hole in the peel. 🙂

STEP TWO: Take prepared cake mix batter and pour into the orange peel bowl till 3/4 full. Replace the top orange peel cap.

STEP THREE: Wrap in tin foil. Keep your orange cake in an upright position and place over good coals. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes. Turn once or twice.

STEP FOUR: Remove from coals and enjoy by topping with store-bought frosting or powdered sugar.

Eat and enjoy!

Friends! I ran out of room… stay tuned for more Camping Campfire Cuisine next week!

Pie Plant!

What the world?! Pie plant?! Yes, that’s right, you read that right, pie plant. It’s a plant you make a pie out of. How rhubarb got to the United States is a bit of a mystery. The story goes that a Maine gardener acquired some rhubarb seed from Europe. And twenty-five years later it had gained popularity enough to be sold in local markets and used in pies- pie plant.

Rhubarb is thought to be a fruit, but I hate to break it to you, it’s NOT a fruit. Rhubarb is a vegetable. Wait! What? I know! You’re probably as shocked as I was. Rhubarb is a vegetable… just let that set in. Man! But let’s not let that bit of news set us back. This veggie sure has made its way into a variety of yummy recipes, particularly desserts, sauces, muffins, cookies, and slush.

Rhubarb roots

Image by Myshanah from Pixabay

Right now as I type, I can look out my north living room window and I can see knee-high rhubarb. This rhubarb is a transplant from my grandma Syens’ rhubarb patch in Wisconsin. Last week it was ankle length; the sun is magic!

Also noted out my window is some asparagus trying to skip ending up on my dinner plate. I better write myself a note and go pick it quick- scribble, scribble. There! I’m sure I’ll misplace this note and thus the asparagus bush will grow.

Sidebar- Within the last 6 months, I’ve started getting mail; fan mail of sorts. Which has been really interesting because cousins I have never met have been secretly playing “Dutch Bingo”, trying to figure out who this “Michele” from Edgerton Minnesota is, and “how” and “to who” was she related to folks in Friesland, Wisconsin. Hmm.

So from M. Stiemsma in IA who sent an article (I wrote about life in Friesland, Wisconsin) to the rest of the gang in CA; they finally figured out who I was. BINGO! That was fun, and yes my grandma Jennie Syens was an Alsum, whose mother was a Stiemsma. Sadie Stiemsma.

Rhubarb recipes

You’re probably curious to see how I am going to tie together my relatives finding me and this rhubarb article. Well, one of my newly found relatives sent me a recipe called “Pie Plant”. TADA! Thanks, M.S. for this interesting recipe.

Pie Plant- Recipe book from 1925

Once full cup pie plant cut fine, 1 cup sugar, 2 lbs.. flour, 1 egg, 1 tsp butter. Beat egg, add sugar and flour, and then butter. Line a pie pan with a good pie crust, turn the filling in and bake. When done cover with frosting. 1 egg with 2 lbs. sugar. Put in oven and brown. Very Good.

  • My cousin’s wife noted that she could not quite comprehend the “2 lbs. of sugar and 1 egg” for frosting. I can imagine that either!

Next up, a rhubarb slush recipe. I have never tried the slush recipe, but this year I am going to give it a shot! Betty Huisken gave me this recipe last year and it didn’t make it into the paper, but here it goes- Thanks Betty and Jean TeBrake.

Rhubarb Slush

  • 16-20 cups rhubarb chopped- cover with water, cook unit soft- this should take 15 minutes. After cooking, strain. Measure 9 cups juice. Heat this juice to boiling and remove from heat.

Add and stir:

  • 1 – 3 oz. package strawberry jello
  • 3 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 – 6 oz. frozen orange juice
  • 1- 6 oz. frozen lemonade.

Cool and put in plastic ice cream bucket and freeze. Stir occasionally while freezing to keep everything from separating. Serve 2 parts slush to 1 part 7-Up, ginger ale or similar white soda.

Streusel Rhubarb Dessert Squares- Mary Buys original recipe VIA Betty Husiken

Image by Michael Kauer from Pixabay
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup margarine
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Combine and use a pastry blender or fork to mix until crumbly. Press into bottom of 9 inch, ungreased, square pan. Bake in preheated oven 350° for 15 minutes.

  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 3 cups sliced rhubarb

Combine and blend well. Pour over partially baked crust.

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon ( Mary and Betty say they use more)
  • 1/3 cup margarine

Combine ingredients using pastry blender or fork; mix until crumbly, sprinkle over filling. Bake at 350° for 45-55 minutes, or until the top is light golden brown.

Put on a pot of coffee or get some hot water for tea. These are great recipes to try out this rhubarb season! I’d stay away from the “pie plant” frosting with 2 lbs. of sugar- diabetes guaranteed! Man… I think I need a new pancreas just talking about it!

Till next time, here is to good food, good friends and a very rhubarb filled life!

My Swedish Death Cleaning Experience: Part Two

This week we continue on with: My Swedish Death Cleaning Experience: Part Two….

The linen closet was by far the most fun. Sorting through all the old bedding, comforters, and sheets. I took stock of what I did need for guest beds and then I brought the rest downstairs to the giant rummage pile.

This is what I did, methodically going in and out of every room, closet, and drawer till my basement began to tell me I had enough for a rummage sale. Brad said he would give $100 to NOT have a rummage sale, but I waved him off telling him “It’s the last one!”

Ready or not!

It would have been very smart to do cleaning as well. I was well into the basement before I realized and said to myself “DUH! Why aren’t you cleaning too?” I guess I got so caught up in the success of the death cleaning, which really should be renamed “Swedish Death Sorting”. Oh well. I was having great success, why put a rumple in it all?

I finished the upstairs by sorting through my kitchen and bathroom cupboards. Some of the items I encountered, especially in the kitchen, have a tendency to be used seasonally, as well as a great once in a while, so that made some of my decisions harder to make. I leaned towards the thought if I haven’t used it in 3 years it’s out! Watch, I’m gonna need it in 2 weeks.

The bathroom/laundry room cupboards didn’t have too much of a haul. Mostly expired over-the-counter medications, half-used bottles of stuff I don’t use anymore, and items that were displaced found their way back to their original “home”. I did find an old cast for my hand, which I broke chasing the dog up the hallway. That’s a story for another day.

Basement here I come

Image by Deedee86 from Pixabay

This was the final frontier in my Swedish death cleaning. I knew this was to be less work than upstairs, but I still was having a great deal of fun. I started with the box of kids’ toys. Sorted through and left a smattering of toys for different ages that were in general gender-neutral. Next was the dolly box. Sorted out my Cabbage Patch Kid, clothes, bottles, and miscellaneous toy baby stuff. Left two babies, some clothes, and a bottle and put them in a storage tote.

I went to the utility room and sorted through old lawn chairs, golf clubs, kids’ outdoor toys, and almost 30 years of private papers and alike. Luckily, First State Bank Southwest had the shredding truck in town. I loaded a large storage container full and with great glee brought it to the shredding truck! YAHOO!

The next stop was the fruit cellar. That proved to be a bit of a challenge. I stared for quite a bit thinking about what I should tackle first. Hmm, canning? Or, maybe coolers and lunch boxes?. Well, maybe seasonal decorations? No. Outdoor gardening stuff? Yes! So I sorted through all the plastic seedling containers I kept from having bought plants at greenhouses. Sorted through my seeds for spring planting. I got rid of a bunch of tree tubs and 5-gallon buckets. Cool!

Back away from the hunting closet

Feeling accomplished I headed into the basement entry foyer where I tackled the dresser full of caps, winter hats, mittens, scarves, and work gloves. Sorting through I kept what was necessary and what wasn’t in that great of shape I threw out and the rest went to the rummage/thrift box.

The last closet left was the hunting closet and the outdoor work clothes closet. Outdoor work clothes were sorted and most of what went left for the burn pile. Onto the hunting closet, but it was here I met a bit of resistance from Brad. I was looking at his multiples of things:

  • Hunting boots- 3 pairs. Hmm, guys really are like girls; a different style for different occasions sometimes in the same color. Noted!
  • Hunting jacket/coats- S E V E R A L. Some for spring turkey hunting, some for deer hunting, some rainproof for turkey hunting, some rainproof for deer hunting. Insulated deer hunting coat. This is valuable information.
  • Hunting vests-4. One even had a seat pad built into it; that’s interesting, hmm. Pheasant hunting vests with different types of pockets for storing dead pheasants. He better not send that through the wash!
  • Warm seat pads- M A N Y. I guess he learned his lesson when he sent the last one through my washing machine. It exploded in the washing machine, and then I exploded when I found he washed it. It was like “52 Pick Up”, except try a million tiny ball pick up. So not funny.

Burn baby burn

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Having quite a pile to burn I knew that I had one more item that needed to be added. I grabbed our old high school yearbooks and tossed them on. There! The pile was complete. Now for a match to light the pile. With the pile lit, I felt a sense of relief watching stuff burn and letting go. Stuff that held me, that served no purpose. Stuff that clogged up my home, sometimes my heart and mind.

Memories are good to keep in your heart and mind. Having a physical item as a memory can be a blessing but it can also be a curse. It was fun to sort, to reminisce, and then to let go. People are not in the “things” we possess.

Till next time friends. Here’s to Swedish death cleaning and the release you’ll find in letting go of your “stuff”.