Venison, Ham and Bean Soup

If you have a pound of venison burger in the freezer calling out for you to use it, here is a possibility to consider.

1 lb venison burger
1 lb diced ham
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 lb bacon, cooked and diced
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp pepper
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 cans pinto beans, drained
1 pkg frozen vegetables
1 can V-8 juice

Combine all 11 ingredients in a large crock pot. Cook on high for 6 hours, stirring often Serve corn bread on the side.

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Genealogy Test Results

One sees advertisements for various genealogy DNA tests and which tests are the ‘best’ for you to choose. While doing ancestry research for quite a few years now, I have run across relationships that are hard to explain.  Here’s an example I’ve learned of. Any resemblance to your family history is purely coincidental.

Albert came home from college one weekend in tears.

“Mom, am I adopted?” he asked.

“No, of course not,” replied his mom, “Why would you think such a thing?”

Albert showed her his genealogy DNA test results. There was no match for any of their relatives, but strong matches for a family who lived on the other side of the small South Dakota county seat town in which they lived.

Perturbed, his mother called her husband. “Honey, Albert has done a DNA test, and… and… I don’t know how to say this… but he may not be our son.”

“Well, obviously!” he replied.

Sensing something was up, Albert’s mother asked, “What do you mean by that?”

“It was your idea in the first place,” her husband continued. “You remember, that first night in the hospital when the baby did nothing but cry and scream for hours on end? And you asked me to change him.”

She replied, “Yes, I remember.”

“I picked a good one I reckon. Ever so proud of Albert,” he replied.

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Garlic Peeling Hack

If you are looking for a fast, easy way to peel garlic, try this idea.

Before placing the garlic head into a wide mouth pint jar, remove the papery outer skin. After screwing on the lid, vigorously shake the jar for 30 seconds. Pour out the contents and sort through them. If any still have skins on them, place them back into the jar, cover and shake them for another 30 seconds.

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Massanutten Lumpy Soup

Back in the 40’s (the 1940’s) Americans didn’t have a lot of money to throw around, especially if they had a big family to feed. People of Eastern European descent (Hungary, Poland, Romania, Czech Republic and seven other countries) fed Lumpy Soup, an inexpensive and filling soup, to their families during hard times. The original soup consisted of  2 onions (finely diced), 5 cups beef or chicken broth, 2 Tbsp butter and 1 large diced potato. They often made spaetzle and used these tiny noodles in place of the potato.

My Massanutten Lumpy Soup is made of 3 onions (finely sliced), 1 can French Onion Soup, 1 can beef broth, 2 Tbsp butter and about 2 cups of left over spaetzle (because that’s how much I had left over).

Melt the butter and saute the onions until golden brown and soft. Add the soup and broth, salt and pepper to taste and simmer about 20 minutes. Add the spaetzle and boil about 5 more minutes. Pour into soup bowls. Place a slice of provolone cheese on top of the soup and brown under the broiler.

This soup reminds me of onion soup with spaetzl instead of croutons. 

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Think Nothing Of It

Friends of ours, a married couple, were in a terrible accident where her face was severely burned. The doctor told my friend that they could not graft any skin from his wife’s body as she was to thin. So, my friend offered to donate some of his own skin.

However, the only skin on his body that the doctor felt was suitable would have to come from his buttocks. He and his wife agreed that they would tell no one about where the skin came from, and requested that the doctor also honor their secret. After all, this was a very delicate matter.

After the surgery was completed, everyone was astounded at the wife’s new beauty. She looked more beautiful than she ever had before! All her friends and relatives just went on and on about her youthful beauty. One day, she was alone with my friend, and she was overcome with emotion at his sacrifice. She said, “Dear, I just want to thank you for everything you did for me. There is no way I could ever repay you.”

“My darling,” my friend replied, “think nothing of it. I get all the thanks I need every time I see your mother kiss you on the cheek.”

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Thoughts on Buying and Storing Radishes

It won’t be long and the rather empty radish space on the store shelves we be full again. With that in mind, I offer these thoughts.

  • If possible, purchase radishes with the greens attached. 
  • If the greens look fresh, the radish itself will also be fresh.
  • If you want to use the greens in a salad, they will remain fresh for 2 to 3 days.
  • Prebagged radishes, with the greens removed, should be firm and without cracks.
  • Remove the greens once purchased so that they do not draw the moisture out of the radish.
  • Avoid buying very large radishes as they may have a woody texture and hollow cores.
  • Store radishes separately, wrapped in paper toweling placed in a loosely closed container, compost bag or plastic produce bag, in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.
  • Radishes, properly stored, will last about 1 week.

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Faux Oysters

Seeing oysters in a grocery store the other day reminded me of the “oysters” my mother would make every summer. Here’s her recipe for sweet corn oysters.

1 egg, well beaten
½ c flour
Salt and pepper
6 ears grated sweet corn

Combine the corn, egg, flour, salt and pepper. Add enough milk to make a batter as thick as a pancake batter, and stir well. Melt a tablespoon of butter in a cast iron skillet and drop a spoonful of batter at a time into the hot butter. Cook until brown, then flip and brown the other side.

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My Thoughts on Exercising

  • My father started walking five miles a day when he was 60. He’s 97 now and we don’t know where in the world he is.
  • The only reason I would take up jogging is so that I could hear heavy breathing again.
  • I joined a health club last year, spent about $400. I haven’t lost a pound. Apparently you have to show up.
  • I have to exercise early in the morning before my brain figures out what I’m doing.
  • I don’t exercise at all. If God meant for us to touch our toes, He would have put them further up on our body.
  • I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me.
  • I have flabby thighs, but fortunately my stomach covers them.
  • The advantage of exercising every day is that you die healthier.
  • If you are going to try cross-country skiing, start with a small country.
  • I don’t jog; it makes the ice cubes jump out of my glass.
  • If you worked in an industry that used asbestos, it does’t pay to exercise. It’ll take 3 solid days to cremate you anyway.
  • It is well documented that for every mile you jog, you add one minute to your life. This enables you, at 85 years old, to spend an additional 5 months in a nursing home at $5,000 per month.

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Remember the Chilblains?

As a child, I remember listening to the old timers complain about the weather, the younguns, their ailings, and a few other things. Now, listening to some of the people complain about the cold weather reminds me that I am now one of those old timers. This was all brought about because I overheard one older codger tell another that he was afraid he’d get the chilblains with this latest weather front moving in.

We have had medical advances like immunizations that have improved the lives of most Americans by 1900. Before then, and in some of the hollows around here yet today, patent medicines and folk remedies were and still are popular. I’ve heard of Rattlesnake Oil, Dr. Bells and know first hand that if you get bitten by a bat, your ears and nose will not change places. Strong belief in folk lore and remedies along with patent medicines is alive and well is scattered parts of the country.

Besides the chilblains, how many of the other following old time miseries do you remember hearing about?

Cow Itch
Dew Sores
Falling Pallate
Snow Blindness
Train Sickness

I’m afflicted with a couple of these and hope not to come down with some of the others! I guess being an old timer is better than the alternative.

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Creamy Corn Soup

Last year we stumbled onto a Campbell’s soup, Sweet Corn Soup, that we really enjoyed. We were looking forward to enjoying it again this past summer, but to our disappointment, it was no where to be found. Here is our version of that soup that is most likely a lot more healthy and fun to eat.

1 can creamed corn
1 onion, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
2 c whole milk
Popcorn, popped

Cook the chopped onion in a little butter until softened. Add the corn and milk. Heat at a very low temperature for 5 minutes, but do not let it boil. We often used the freshly grated kernels off 3 ears of sweet corn along with the cob scrapings in place of the 1 can of creamed corn. To make it fun for the kids or us mountain men to eat, provide a bowl of freshly popped corn to sprinkle on the soup just before serving. Pop corn does get soggy real fast, so keep this in mind.

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