Food to enjoy at Memorial Day weekend celebrations

How was your Mother’s Day? The sun was great, but old Mother Nature had to show us some rather chilly breezes. If any of your family didn’t treat you in the manner you deserved or wanted, remember, pay backs are not so nice! I hope you had a good day and all your family appreciated you, as they should every day.

We were invited to join one branch of our family for a picnic. Even though, it was rather chilly, everyone decided to just dress warm and go anyway. We went to Fort Boreman Park just outside of Parkersburg. After reading the markers and looking at the view in all directions, folks started to freeze out, so we traveled back to Waterford and had our picnic at my sister-in-law’s house. There was a house full, but we all had a good time as we ate and visited and ate and ate and talked and ate some more.

If you have never been to Fort Boreman Park, do visit it. It was built by Union soldiers and completed in 1863, the same time West Virginia was pulling away from Virginia and becoming a state. It was named for the first governor of the new state. It is a good history lesson, especially this year as West Virginia celebrates its statehood. The park overlooks the valley – Parkersburg and Belpre, too. The view is fantastic. There are two shelters that can be reserved for picnics. There is also a playground for the kids and lots of hiking trails. You can look it p on the internet for more information and it is a really nice place for a group gathering. With such a sunny day and such great views, it really was a shame the breeze was too brisk to enjoy eating outside. So that is another place right here at home where you can have a vacation day. It is off Martown Road and easy to get to by the new U.S. 50 bypass.

After eating enough for two weeks worth of calories, we spent the rest of the afternoon with husband Norm’s mother. She will be 99 in a few weeks, and really seems in better physical health, except for not being able to walk, than we are and actually was able to talk fairly coherent for a couple of hours.

We have certainly been through a series of Ohio River Valley weather this past week. We do need rain, but not lots of rain. The sunny, warmer days have been beautiful, but the chillier days – when we worried about late frost – caused us to grab some of that warmer clothing we were putting away. One older, successful farmer told Norm not to put anything in a garden until June 1. He said the ground was warmer then and the plants would take right off, whereas before that time, the soil was not yet warmed up and the cooler, chilly, cold spells would set the plants back. I guess his garden was always ahead of everyone else’s and he planted his later than others did. Of course, I never wanted to believe that when the first warm days came around. I thought I had to get everything done early.

This coming week is the winding down of the school year here in this district. Next Sunday is hgh school graduation day for Austin, one of our grandsons. The years have gone so fast. His sister, Cassidy has “promotion” into high school on Wednesday of this week. It is a tough time for the kids as the reality of their Dad’s recent death is becoming real to them as they are preparing for these important school milestones.

The Alumni Banquet for Waterford is on Saturday, and then another school year here is over. My class is getting together for lunch on Saturday also. None of us can believe our own graduation was 60 years ago. I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. A person’s mind still believes one is a kid even though the body tries to tell us otherwise.

Granddaughters Cassidy and Baylee are headed to state level in the National American Miss competition the end of June, so the days are hectic right now. We are working on some projects to help pay for this opportunity for them. It helps us all to keep busy right now. Two other granddaughters, Amanda and Jessica, are busy preparing for Amanda’s wedding in the fall. Life does go on even when we think we can’t handle the happenings in our lives. Family, friends and faith can get a person through anything.

Memorial Day weekend is almost here. We think of it as the real start of summer. That holiday brings us together for food, fun, remembrance and thankfulness. Fly the flag if you have one and watch the parades. Make that trip to the cemeteries where your loved ones lay and think of them and the memories they have left with you. Say a prayer of thanks at the graves where a flag is placed as that is where one who was prepared to give his own life to protect the freedoms you enjoy now lies in peace. Don’t be ashamed to shed a tear when you hear TAPS.

After you have paid your respects to those who have gone before you, go to be with the ones who are still with you and have a happy time, eating and talking and relaxing. Don’t ever forget to tell folks how much you love them and how much you appreciate them. Life is too short to fuss with anyone, especially family.

For the next few months, plan some easy and summery meals. Use that outdoor grill a lot; your kitchen will be cooler. Usually, the male in the family will think he is the grill master, so encourage that feeling. He will do a LOT of the cooking for you while you sit and enjoy a lemonade if you tell him how great he is doing. Get out your favorite recipes for sauces, marinades and salads and do the prep work for them. Here are some suggestions for easy summer meals. Here are some of my stand-bys.

Keep the lemonade jars and iced tea pitchers filled. Don’t go out in the heat of midday (if it ever gets here.) and sit in the swing under the shade tree with a frosty glass of a cold drink. Enjoy each day -it won’t come back this way again. God bless.

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(An old refrigerator standard that can be kept on hand for summer meals.)

One can cut green beans

One can yellow wax beans

One can kidney beans

One can garbanzo beans

One-fourth cup finely chopped green bell pepper

One medium red onion, sliced very thin

One-half cup cider vinegar

One-third cup salad oil

One-half cup sugar

One teaspoon salt

Pinch of pepper

Drain beans, rinse with cold water and drain again. Add green pepper and onion to beans. Mix other ingredients and add to bean mixture. Mix well (but gently) and let sit overnight in the refrigerator.

NOTE: Add any other beans you like, or take out any of the above you don’t like. This keeps well in the frig and is a good salad to keep on hand for a quick side dish, or just a dish of cold bean salad. Enjoy.

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Two bunches broccoli, cut into florets

One cup honey roasted peanuts

Three-fourths cup raisins

One large onion, sliced thin and separated into rings

One-half cup chopped celery

16 slices bacon, fried and crumbled


Two cups mayonnaise

One cup sugar

One-fourth cup white vinegar

Two teaspoons Kroger salad seasonings

Mix dressing ingredients at least 2 hours before serving. Cover and refrigerate. Assemble salad ingredients in large serving bowl and pour dressing over. Toss

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Two cups sifted all-purpose flour

Three teaspoons baking powder

One-half teaspoon salt

Three tablespoons sugar

Six tablespoons shortening

Two-thirds cup milk

Sift together dry ingredients. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Stir in milk to make a soft dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly. Divide dough in half. Roll, or pat, each half into a 9-inch circle. Place one half on an ungreased baking sheet. Dot with pieces of butter. Place second half on top. Bake in preheated 450-degree oven for 10 minutes, then cover loosely with foil to keep top from browning too much and continue baking time to about 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. If you like crusty shortcake instead of soft in the middle, you can bake the halves side by side; just adjust the total baking time to about 15 minutes. For individual shortcakes, cut dough with a biscuit or cookie cutter and bake as for biscuits.

Place bottom layer of shortcake on a serving plate and cover with half the sugared berries. Add second layer and cover with remaining berries. Cut as for a pie and serve each piece in a bowl so you can add cold milk. Of course, you can add whipped cream and/or ice cream instead.

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One quart fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced

One-half cup sugar, or to taste

Combine and let set while shortcake is cooling. Put shortcake(s) together just before serving.

Try fresh peaches for a shortcake. Just add about one-half teaspoon almond extract to either the shortcake or the peaches, but don’t forget the whipped cream. Use slices of Angel Food Cake instead of the biscuits for a fancy (and quick) treat.

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One-half pound butter

One-half pound shortening

One-half teaspoon baking powder

Five eggs

Three cups flour

Three cups sugar

One cup milk

One teaspoon vanilla

One-eighth teaspoon salt

Cream butter and shortening. Add sugar and continue creaming until mixture is light and fluffy. Add whole eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift dry ingredients together and add, alternately with milk to the creamed mixture. Blend thoroughly. Add vanilla, scrape down bowl, and beat one minute longer. Turned into greased and floured 10-inch tube pan and bake in preheated 350-degree oven for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.

For a nutmeg cake, add one-half teaspoon nutmeg to the dry ingredients. For a Rum cake, use one-half cup rum and one-half cup milk instead of all milk.