Burt Reynolds’ Beef Stew

Image from Gunsmoke. 1962

3 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
4 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 pounds boneless beef round, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (8 ounce) can beef broth

1 cup dry red wine
1 bay leaf
Pinch of thyme
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
3 potatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
6 to 8 fresh mushrooms, sliced

Cook bacon until crisp in a Dutch oven; reserve bacon fat, and drain bacon on paper toweling.

Combine flour, salt and pepper in a plastic bag; shake beef in flour mixture to coat completely. Brown beef in bacon fat, turning often. (Add a little more vegetable oil if needed.) Add onion and garlic; cook 3 minutes. Add tomato sauce, broth, wine, bay leaf, and thyme. Cover; lower heat, simmer 1 1/2 hours.

Add carrots, celery, potatoes, and mushrooms. Uncover and cook until meat and vegetables are tender. Sprinkle with reserved bacon. Recipe from http://www.Recipegoldmine.com

Serves 4 

Jean is old order Mennonite from New York State. Jean and her husband David and family live on a dairy farm, and travel their community using horse and buggy. She tells her story exclusively on Amish Stories.

   Thought I would answer some of questions this month:

          Please keep the questions coming.  

Yes, we do buy a lot of things in bulk and I do use coupons.  With three men and David Junior plus Susan and I, we go through a lot of groceries.  We grow as much as we can, but we still have to buy items from the grocery store.  Also, I try to buy at stores that have lower prices like Wal-Mart, Tops and more.  Monday morning, I go through the Sunday paper for any coupons on food products or home products that we need.  If buying the bulk price is less, but we won’t use it all in a reasonable time, we share with my parents or David’s parents and they do the same with us. 

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens –Bright copper kettles -and warm woolen mittens- Brown paper packages tied up with strings- These are a few of my favorite things.

I don’t know of any Old Order Mennonite that grow tobacco.  I’m not saying that there aren’t any, but not in our area.  Many of the Old Order Mennonite grew it, at one time, but since cigarettes, cigars, etc. have been found to be a health hazard, they don’t grow it anymore in our area.  Do any smoke tobacco?  Both religious wise and health wise tobacco is an evil and we should not use it.  My Grandfather though started smoking a pipe before it was found bad.  He use to smoke one all the time.  

Now, we can tell when he is upset because he lights up his pipe.  Most people do not smoke.  Maybe some smoke like my  grandfather, in the barn where most people can’t see him smoking.  He forgets though that my Grandmother can smell it on him when he comes into the house. It is consider an evil regarding our religion as it is a waste of money like liquor.  There are many places the money could be better used than in tobacco and liquor.  Also, both can lead you to do things that you wouldn’t other wise. 

Regarding the book “Fifty Shades of Gray” neither I or Marilyn have read that book so we can’t tell you about that book.  I take care in reading books especially novels.  I don’t want anything in my house that I would be embarrassed for someone to come into my home to read or see.  No violence, nothing that should be kept in the bedroom.  My feeling is if I wouldn’t allow Susan to read it – I won’t read it.  Many times I have started reading a book and stopped because I did not think it was presentable.  

I know that some Amish are stricter  than we are.  Some of them will not read books like Beverly Lewis and other authors because it is not a true story, it is not really a religious book in their eyes.  Again, I don’t know what others have in their home.  I can only tell about ours.  Michael and Edward get a little upset with David and I because there are certain books in the world that we do not allow them to read or bring into our home. World wide there is no problem, but in our home they are.
 Be With God,


           Make your own Homemade liquid Soap
                                                      From reader Renee
1 1/2 cups of boiling water
1 Tbs shredded bar of soap that has low suds (trust me learned this one the hard way) like castile, ivory, or homemade soap!
1 Tbs washing soda
1 Tbs vinegar
1/8 tsp of tea tree oil
a few drops of other essential oil (optional)

In a bowl add the shredded bar of soap, washing soda, and vinegar. Then pour boiling water over mixture and stir/whisk until everything is well blended and has dissolved. Let mixture cool on the counter stirring occasionally for at least 8 hours. After it cools add tea tree oil (since its an anti-bacterial, anti-fugal, and anti-microbial) and any other essential oils you would like. Transfer into an old dish soap container or a cute oil dispenser container.
Also you know those little pouches for dish washers, I have took one and put in an empty dish soap bottle, put in Hot water,let dissolve, and shake before each use  Works GREAT!,and you get a lot of refills out of one bag of those.
Martha and Joseph are old order Mennonites who live on a farm in New York state with their family, and like the Amish use horse and buggy when traveling.

Thank you for all your comments and questions on my past post’s.  I really enjoyed and appreciated them.  To answer your question-yes we still have quilting bees.  Most of the time quilting bees are held are in the fall or winter after all the crops are harvested and things have sort of settled down-but we do have one going now for the former teacher and her husband. 

As their marriage came as such a surprise to us without an advance notice-we are now making their wedding quilt. We hope to surprise them with it. Quilting bee is what the men call: “The ladies day out.”  We get ready ahead of quilting bee day so we get all chores done.  Also, we make sure that the men have a lunch ready for them at noon time plus a few snacks.  Also, we defrost and make up what we can for supper the night before so when we get home from quilting we can put it in the oven.  Us ladies also each bring a snack or finger dish to the quilting so we have something to snack on.

After we get our breakfast dishes done – we leave for quilting.  Those that have small children or babies bring them along.  One or two of the older girls watch the little ones while the rest of us quilt.  Our children are taught quilting at a very young age.  My girls are older, but like Jean’s Susan is age 6-learning how to do quilting. She still has a lot to learn but we let her put a few of her stitches in the quilt as it is her former teachers.  We are trying to let each of her former girl students that lives locally put in a few stitches-but I am getting ahead of myself.

At the quilting bee we can have as many as 20 to 30 ladies or as small as 3 to 4 ladies.  It all depends on who can come.  Right now we are getting about 5 or 6 ladies at a time.  With the planting, harvest, Farmers Markets, etc. some are really busy right now.  The quilt is laid out in one persons house. It stays there until we get it done.  When we first come, we sit and chat until we have a group of us there and start working on the quilt.  As we work, we chat.  

At mid -morning we stop for coffee or tea and part of our snacks-then continue on until lunch time.  The woman’s whose house it is at puts on lunch-after which we get back to working again.  In the afternoon, we have a mid-snack-then back to work.  We usually end working about 3 or 4 so we can get home when our children come home for school (which is not a problem now) and we can start dinner. 

During our current season-some of us come and go as we must because of harvesting, etc. that I previously mentioned.  As it is staying at this woman’s house-we bring snacks plus , sometimes, a dish to pass for lunch so she doesn’t have to do that for all the quilting’s.  We want her to enjoy our company and help on the quilt-not spending all her time making food for us. All of us have a really enjoyable time at quilting.  Some of us are better than others at quilting, but we all work together.  

Sometimes I have to take out what I put in and do it over as I haven’t done this as long as the other ladies have.  We all have certain things we are better at than others. Most of us are either Old Order Mennonite or Amish.  Once in a while we have a local lady join us who is an Englisher.  They either know the person who the quilt is being made for or they want to learn quilting. Canning is similar to quilting in some ways.  We all show up at whose ever house it is with our children.  

Again we have as many as 10 to 15 or as few as 3 or 4.  After a cup of coffee or tea with a roll or brisket – we start in. It looks like we have a lot of canning to do, but with us all together makes time pass faster.  Each person has a job to do and we get it done.  Also, we have our breaks and lunch depending on how much someone has to get done.  Sometimes we switch jobs after lunch so we aren’t doing the same thing all the time.  Once the canning is done, labeled and on the shelf-we plan whose house will be next and back home we go. 

Sometimes we do two canning’s at one house.  As Jean is not quite up to par yet-we did strawberry canning at Jean’s.  I also brought some of our strawberries over so we did her canning and mine at the same time.  We all bought a dish to pass and snacks so Jean’s maude (maid) didn’t have to prepare us lunch.  We all had a great time.  Now to the next house.

Funny you should ask if we have a canning workshop.  As I said in another post a while back, we have youth groups (Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, etc.) plus adults come to our home to see how we make apple butter, cider, pies, etc.  We also do this same thing at maple syrup time.  People have asked us if we have canning workshops.  In past years we haven’t-but are thinking of starting it this year.  

We thought we might try with a Girl Scout Troop first and see how it goes.  Also, we would sign up a group of maybe 5 adults for another canning group.  Then we could see how these work out.  If adults and young folks really like it, we may make it a regular every year.  Just so you know men adults have asked to learn as well as women.  Please feel free to ask me any questions.  I would be glad to answer them for you,
Be With the Lord, Martha

            Cinnamon Chip Pumpkin Snacking Cake    


3 1/2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon                  
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon maple flavoring
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup milk
1 cup cinnamon chips
4 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. If you are using a dark pan, preheat to 300 degrees.

1. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and allspice tighter in a medium bowl. Set aside.

2. Cream the shortening and sugars together. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each. Beat the mixture until light and fluffy.

3. Add the maple and pumpkin and combine.

4. Alternately add the flour in three additions and the milk in two, starting with the flour. (Adding the flour and milk in stages will better balance the batter.) Add the chips. Scrape the batter into a well-greased 8 1/2 x 13-inch pan.

5. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until the cake tests done. Cool on a wire rack.

6. For the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter together. Add the powdered sugar and continue beating. Add the vanilla and lemon juice. Add just enough water to bring the frosting to a spreadable consistency. Frost the cake after it has cooled. Recipe from http://www.recipegoldmine.com

1959 Admiral Portable TV original vintage advertisement. Admiral announces the world’s first portable TV with wireless remote control. Push a button – click – there’s your channel tuned perfectly from your easy chair. Admiral – mark of quality throughout the world.  Image courtesy of www.adclassix.com

Sloppy Joes

A recipe from the 50s!

1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 onion diced (optional)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
1 can Campbell’s Original Vegetable Soup

Sauté the beef with the onions, breaking the beef up. When it is almost done, add the garlic powder and pour in the can of soup. Mix together well. Let heat through. Serve on buns.

Makes enough for four, but can easily be doubled or tripled. Recipe from http://www.Recipegoldmine.com

Jean is old order Mennonite from New York State. Jean and her husband David and family live on a dairy farm, and travel their community using horse and buggy. She tells her story exclusively on Amish Stories.

Susan had her Birthday,  She is now seven years old.  This year we had a small party of family a few of her closest friends. 
Happy Birthday Susan from Amish Stories

Edward also had his birthday and turned 15 as Michael will in October.  As Edward did not want a large party, we had a party of his closest friends and another with the family.  Clothes was not a problem as he had them, but he did not have any activity items.  His friends gave him a fishing tackle box.  Michael knew it was coming so we added to what money he had to buy Edward a fishing rod and reel.  David and I got him a gift certificate for ice skates and snow skies along with boots, “etc”  From David Jr. And Susan he got a new chess game.  

My parents bought Edward a new rifle.  Michael told Edward you will get a lecture and my Dad did tell Edward about safety and use of a rifle-the same he gave Michael when he bought him his.  David’s parents bought him a year pass to Bristol Ski Resort like they will probably Michael on his.  Now let’s hope we get snow this year better than last year.

Edward wanted to go see his Mother’s grave so we let him and Michael take the bus into Rochester, New York where she is buried.  It took about half a day to go up there and back, but it was worth it because Edward felt better.  He also said, that he felt like a man without a country as he had no real home. 

David and I talked about this, and we had a family meeting.  We asked Edward if he would like to be adopted into our family.  David explained that means you are member of our family-through the good times and the bad times.  He gets chores like everyone else, but goes fishing, hunting, ice skating and more.  He was surprised, but said “yes, yes, yes”.  We asked the family if there were any negative reasons no.  No one had any.  If fact, Michael was thrilled.  We voted and all agreed.  

The only thing is Edward would like to keep his family name so say his last name was Jones and ours Smith (not our real names)-his new name would be Edward Jones-Smith.  We are just starting the adoption process.  Part of what is cutting red tape is our adoption is going through on Michael.  Social Services has sent letters to his relatives (aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.) explaining that we have applied for adoption.  So far they haven’t had any negative replies.

So this year Michael will legally become our son-hopefully next year Edward will be an addition to our family.  Susan is happy that both Michael and Edward are coming big brothers, but still adds the next one we adopt better me a girl.
Be With God, Jean
Art Image by Amish Stories. Old order Mennonite buggy from Lancaster county.


        Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake

  Cream the sugar, butter and eggs until fluffy. Mix in the buttermilk. Combine the cocoa and coffee in a saucepan, adding the liquid very slowly to prevent lumping, then mix into the creamed mixture. Moisten the baking soda with the vinegar and stir in with the salt and vanilla. Gradually mix in the flour, beating until smooth. Pour into a greased and floured 13″ x 9″ cake pan. Bake the cake in a preheated 350° F. oven for approx. 45 minutes. Cool Ice with your favorite icing. 2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. butter
2 eggs
3/4 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. cocoa
1/2 c. boiling hot, strong coffee
1 t. baking soda
1 t. cider vinegar
1/2 t. salt
1 t. vanilla
2½ c. sifted all-purpose flour

Up-Home, Down-Home represents the cultural development of recipes from the most intimate, formal setting to the easy-going, spur-of -the-moment family dinner. Quick, easy to prepare dishes include many favorites from the Chefs at the Groff’s Farm Restaurant. Fully illustrated, some in color, 208 pages. Hard-cover edition. Betty Groff’s Up. To order Betty’s book please go to http://www.Amishshop.com

 Don’t miss a Special post from old order Mennonite Martha this Friday folks, as she discusses how she and the other old order woman get together to quilt and what goes into making one. With a recipe for Cinnamon Chip Pumpkin Snacking Cake 
1945 A & P Supermarkets original vintage advertisement. More and more women agree that A & P Supermarkets are the modern, time saving step saving food stores. For here, under one roof, they can shop for all their foods for every meal, be assured of fine quality and save money too. It’s time to turn to A & P!  Image courtesy of www.adclassix.com

This is the cake that the old A & P Grocery Stores used to sell.          

A&P Spanish Bar Cake

4 cups water
2 cups raisins
1 cup shortening
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup nuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Add water to raisins and boil for 10 minutes.

Add shortening and allow to cool.

Sift together sugar, baking soda, flour, spices and salt and add nuts.

To dry ingredients, add cooled raisin mixture and blend well. Add beaten eggs and stir well. Bake in two 13 x 10-inch pans for 35 minutes. Frost with confectioners’ sugar icing if desired. Recipe from http://www.Recipegoldmine.com

Next Friday a new post from old order Mennonite Martha!

               Potato Doughnuts

Scald milk, then stir in shortening, sugar, and potatoes. Cool to lukewarm. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp. yeast over 1/2 cup warm water and stir until dissolved. Add to first mixture; stir in eggs and vanilla. Sift dry ingredients, then gradually add. This is a soft dough. Let rise until double. Roll out to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut and deep fat fry in oil. Glaze with powdered sugar and water or roll in cinnamon and sugar mixture. Makes 3 dozen.

1¾ cups milk, scalded
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup mashed potatoes
2 beaten eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. yeast
1/2 cup warm water
6½ to 7 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. salt

When Norman and Marlena Miller, along with the entire Evart, MI Amish community, set out to compile their family favorites, they did so with a song and plenty of inspirations. And that’s exactly the recipe they used for Cooking With Praise. 

This cookbook has a delicious spread of Amish favorites: Potato Salad, Poor Man’s Steak, Tator-Tot Casserole, and Oreo Pudding, to name a few. Then there are the seven sections for those who watch their diet. Then like a good cook who adds a pinch of this and a dash of that, bringing the taste to perfection, the Millers have added hymns and inspirational thoughts throughout. 

 Cooking With Praise is ready for your table and your guests. 450 recipes. 254 pages. Spiral bound with laminated covers. Fully indexed.   cooking With Praise. To order this book go to http://www.Amishshop.com