Aver Family Favorites

You’re probably wondering “Who are the Aver’s?” Dana Aver was one of the children in the 2nd or 3rd-grade class my mother taught in Lakeland Schools during the 1969-1970 school year.

My mother had gone to school for teaching. Back then you only had to go to school for 2 years to get your teaching degree. County Normal Teachers College had you in a classroom within 2 weeks of the start of your first year of teaching college. I bet you knew right away if this was something you really wanted to do.

My mother’s favorite course was the handwriting course. This course was taught through the mail. My mom has gorgeous cursive penmanship as well. I love to look at the letters that she wrote to me. The swirls of her cursive penmanship were beautiful. Her print penmanship was cute, you could tell she was a teacher.

Schools out and Ms. Westra marries

Mom was finishing her teaching school year and would be getting married in a few months. The children in her class threw her a wedding shower and gave her some gifts. I had a few stolen moments to go through her wedding keepsakes and there in the box was a Crayon colored card on construction paper wishing her a good wedding. Someone drew a picture of a bride and groom and then the whole class signed it in their best penmanship.

There were several letters from her students (which were all invited to her wedding) thanking her for their invitation. Some were able to attend and others not.

The only gift that remains to this day is a recipe book with handwritten recipes from Esther Aver. The cover has a satiny feel with big blue flowers, green leaves and a gray background- it’s a gorgeous cover. It reminds me of the bedspread my Aunt Myrt Hoffman had on the guest bed in her upstairs farmhouse.

Inscribed on the inside cover is:

Ms. Westra,

Dana had a wonderful year. My sincere thanks and best wishes for a very happy future.

Esther Aver

The recipe book

Photo by Michele Bruxvoort

This is a tiny book and Esther’s cursive handwriting is narrow. The book starts out with generic “Cooking Terms” and then moves on to “A Brief Wine Guide”. Before Esther starts her recipes she does include another note stating that “The recipes are easily cut in half or less. Many of these recipes have been handed down over many, many years. Other recipes come from friends.” The note is closed by “Hope you find these recipes delightful and tasty.”

Over the next few weeks, I will pick out (from the fifty had written recipes) a smattering of recipes ranging from fish, desserts, bars, entrees, soup, and canning. This family loved tuna. A total of 5 tuna recipes in this small recipe book. Gives me a chuckle because I dislike warm tuna- there are no tuna casseroles here. Cold tuna sandwich spread is okay, as well as that tuna maccaroni salad, but that is where I drawn the line.

Here are some Aver family recipes. Enjoy!

Tuna Spaghetti Sauce

Image by WikiImages from Pixabay
  • 2 cans tuna (7 oz size)
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 tablespoons parsley chopped
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

Take a skillet and heat up 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Add to it the above and 2- 1 lb 7 oz. can tomatoes and 1 tsp oregano. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer about 30 minutes or till thickened. Serves 8.

Just to make-up for that interesting use of tuna in a spaghetti sauce, I thought I better give you this one.


  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 3 cups flour

Beat eggs well add salt, flour, and water. Stir to a smooth batter. Drop by spoonfuls into hot soup 10 minutes before serving. To keep the batter from sticking, dip the spoon in soup before the batter. Excellent with chicken soup.

Five Cup Salad

  • 1 cup fresh or canned oranges
  • 1 cup crushed or chunked pineapple
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1 cup whipped cream
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows

You could make this a “Seven Cup Salad” by adding 1 cup cherries and 1 cup walnuts. Combine the 5 or 7 ingredients, mix well, chill before serving.

Well, friends, I will briefly stop here and continue next week with some more Aver family favorites. As always, here is to good food, good friends, a SAFE election, and a good and free life.

About Michele Bruxvoort

Michele Bruxvoort is sure to draw you in with her delightful sense of humor and love for living life.   She enjoys reading, repurposing,  as well as remodeling the family home with her husband. Drawing from her life experience as wife, mom, and follower of Jesus, Michele brings you a very honest and real perspective on life.  When you don't find her writing, you can find her mowing lawns, stocking shelves, taking care of her grandbaby and tackling her latest life adventure. Wisconsin native and empty-nester, she now makes her home with her husband of 27 years in the South West Prairie plains of Minnesota.

View all posts by Michele Bruxvoort

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