Family · Family Favorites · My Roots

Apple Roll Ups

My Mother was such a great cook and many of my cherished recipes came from her kitchen.  Apple Roll Ups is one of those recipes.  They are fantastic served warm but equally good left-over.  If you truly want to indulge, you can pour a bit of cream on the top of your Apple Roll.

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APPLE ROLL UPS

SYRUP:
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar

  • Boil for 3 minutes.  Cool.
  • Pour into ungreased 9×13 inch pan.

DOUGH:
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons shortening (I used unsalted butter)
1/2 cup milk
1 egg

  • Combine flour, baking powder, salt and shortening and blend well. Add 1/2 up milk and 1 egg. Mix well.
  • Roll the dough out on a floured surface into a rectangle shape about 1/4-1/2 inch thick.

FILLING:
1/2 to 1 cup sugar
1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 cups finely diced apple (I used Granny Smith)

  • Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon over rolled out dough. Add chopped apple.

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  • Roll up carefully and cut into 12 in slices.
  • Place in 9×13 inch pan on top of cooled syrup.
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

 

Family · Family Favorites · Home · My Roots

Halloween Memories

Halloween on the farm was a far different experience than my current city experience. Childhood costumes were simple, always with a hot plastic or rubber mask. Note our fancy trick or treat bags! We couldn’t run from house to house but instead our parents drove us to our neighbors farms.  We collected wonderful home-made goodies while our parents visited for a while.  At the end of the night, we visited 6 to 8 houses but came home with luscious home-made popcorn balls, cookies, caramel apples, and full size candy bars.

Halloween on the Farm about 1959

My children never experienced the wonders of home-made goodies, ruined by the scare of Halloween candy tampering.  None-the-less, they had a wonderful time running from house to house in our suburban neighborhood yelling ‘trick or treat’ and collecting their Halloween bounty. Masks were not a favorite (thank goodness) but costumes were pretty traditional and fun. Our AT&T office hosted a family Halloween party letting the kids gather treats at each office and cubicle. Good times!

Sarah Mom Megan Halloween 1990

Fast forward to 2015 and grandson, Evan’s, Halloween experience.  His favorite character today is from the movie FROZEN and we were fortunate enough to find the darling OLAF costume on Amazon.com.

Evan as Olaf

Evan has been to his first corn maze and is in awe of the amazing (and sometimes scary) Halloween decorations. He’ll be out gathering treats in the neighborhood and celebrating with his little friends.  As his little 3 year old girlfriend says, they’ll be out ‘Candy Tricking’.  Love this age!

Next Halloween we’ll have a baby girl in our family joining the Halloween fun. We’ll anxiously await the arrival of ‘lil pumpkin in November.

Wishing you all a safe and wonderful Halloween!

Family · Family Favorites · My Roots

Old Fashioned Ham Salad

Sunday Night meals, on the farm, were typically sandwiches enjoyed on TV trays in front of the TV watching Lassie, Ed Sullivan, and Bonanza. It was the only night of the week we ate outside of the kitchen but it was a treat. Often the sandwiches were a result of leftovers from the tremendous Sunday Dinner (noon meal) my Mother would make of Roast Beef, Roast Chicken, Pork Roast, Ham, etc.  She would often grind the leftover meat on her Universal Meat Grinder and add onion, pickle, mayonnaise.

old fashioned meat grinder
Ham Salad is still a favorite and I make it rarely but since it was a Sunday and I was reliving the Sunday Night Farm experience…I ate a Ham Salad Sandwich in front of the TV (sans TV tray) watching 60 minutes instead of Lassie. Oh, sweet memories!

OLD FASHIONED HAM SALAD

2 cups ground ham (I chopped mine in the food processor)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup dill pickle relish (or sweet relish)
1 teaspoon mustard
2 chopped, hard boiled eggs
1/2 cup mayonnaise

Combine all well.  Serve on good bread or roll and enjoy!

Family Favorites · My Roots · Vegetarian

Cucumbers and Onions–Mom’s Style

My Mother was an avid gardener growing lettuce, radishes, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, squash, green beans, peas, sweet corn, peppers, raspberries, strawberries, etc.  The rich top soil of Iowa made for  a prolific harvest each year. She would can and freeze vegetables and fruit for the family to enjoy all winter. Our farmhouse basement ‘fruit room’ was a treasure trove of pickles, canned tomatoes, relish, vegetables, soups, etc.

 

One of my favorite summer side dishes was my Mother’s cucumbers and onions. The recipe is simple, not written down, but made from memories in that Iowa farm kitchen.

CUCUMBERS AND ONIONS–Mom’s Style

Peel and thinly slice cucumbers and sweet onion.  Soak in cold, salted water for 30-45 minutes.  Drain.  In a separate bowl, mix mayonnaise, dash of milk, salt and pepper. Pour dressing over cucumbers and onions and serve immediately.

Family · Family Favorites · My Roots

Old Fashioned Roast Beef Dinner

I was spoiled rotten, at least food-wise, growing up on the Iowa farm.  Much of the meat my Mother cooked was either raised on our farm (chickens, ducks, hogs) or purchased from local farmers or butchers (beef).  We had a large chest freezer at the farm-house and it was always well stocked.  My Mother probably had a year’s supply of meat, vegetables, fruit, home-made breads and cookies.  She was ready, at a moment’s notice, to whip up a wonderful meal for friends and family that may drop by.

Roast Beef was a staple at our house and usually prepared in a cast iron dutch oven. The beef was local, flavorful and tender, always served with mashed potatoes and brown gravy (never from a can or box).  This week, I was craving Roast Beef and was anxious to try a Chuck Roast I purchased from a small, local market.

The beef lived up to my tough Iowa beef standards.  It was so moist and tender, you could cut it with a fork.

ROAST BEEF WITH BROWN GRAVY

  • In a large skillet or Dutch oven, add two tablespoons olive oil and brown a 3-4 pound roast on all sides until brown.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add 2 cups of water and reduce heat.  Cover tightly and cook on low heat for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until tender.  Add water, as needed, to prevent the roast from sticking.
  • When the roast is tender, remove to platter and cover to keep warm.

  • In a covered container add about 1/4 cup flour and 3/4 cup water.  Stir or shake until flour is dissolved.  Pour the flour mixture into hot skillet with roast drippings.
  • Quickly whisk to blend the drippings with the flour mixture.  Cook until bubbling.
  • Add water from boiled potatoes to thin the gravy (or tap water).  Simmer for 3-4 minutes, adding additional liquid as needed.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with mashed potatoes and a vegetable or your liking.

So yummy…just like Mom (or Grandma) used to make!

Family · Family Favorites · My Roots

Kumla…not your ordinary dumpling

My Mother was very adventurous in her rural Iowa kitchen.  She loved to cook traditional Bohemian dishes from my Father’s family; German, Dutch and Norwegian dishes from friends and family.

I don’t know where my Mother discovered Kumla but it is a hearty dish that will warm the cockles of your heart.  A mandatory nap following consumption of Kumla may be appropriate.  It all begins with homemade ham broth.  Potato dumplings are made from raw, grated potatoes and boiled in the broth.  Traditionally, the dumplings are dipped in a dollop of butter.

While I have eaten Kumla for 50+ years, I did not know the history.  After surfing the web, I learned it is a traditional Swedish/Norwegian dish often served during the holidays with butter or with lingonberry.

KUMLA

peeled potatoes, ground with fine grinder
salt
1 egg
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
flour

  • Place ham in a large pot and cover with water.  Bring the water to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer the ham about 2 hours. Remove the ham, and skim any foam off the broth.  I like to cool and the refrigerate the broth overnight and skim off any fat before proceeding.
  • Finely grate or grind potatoes. Sprinkle well with salt and work through potatoes. Let set 5-10 minutes. Press moisture out by placing potato mixture into a sieve to remove the starch. Discard starch.
Kumla–grating the potatoes
  • Add egg and baking powder. Work in all the flour that you can until firm and not sticky.
Kumla–roll into small balls
  • Drop by teaspoon full in boiling ham broth in heavy metal pot. Cook on low heat for 45 minutes to an hour. Test Kumla by cutting one in half.
  • Serve hot. Traditionally we dip dumplings in butter. Even better when they are warmed up!

Perhaps Kumla will become a favorite for your family!  If you are already a Kumla lover, what is your story?