Archive | October 2012

Waiting for election returns

Election night was always the best night to work at the newspaper.

It was like the Super Bowl or the Olympics for government reporters. The executive editor would order pizza and we’d dig in for a late night of dodging deadline. Typing in poll results from little towns in Missouri and Kansas made me feel part of the big picture of democracy. I had such a good run predicting election outcomes that one of the editors gave me a ribbon for “Grand Prognosticator.”

Election reporting was more exciting in the days before the internet. You could count on a equipment breakdown in some rural county and the whole newspaper would be held up waiting for them to get the machine firing again. I once called a county commissioner at home to get results from Holt County. On the night of the 2000 election between George W. Bush and Al Gore, we worked extra late waiting for results. We printed two copies of the newspaper while I was there and the one that arrived on my doorstep the next morning was different yet.

After that election, Missouri decided it didn’t want to be Florida next go-round, so the state invested in election upgrades. There hasn’t been a breakdown since. County clerks now post results on their web site and the general public knows about the same time the press does who came out victorious in the Clarksdale mayoral contest.

The last three presidential elections I covered live from the newsroom and I’ve been feeling left out this election season. I went to a local event two weeks ago where Mike Huckabee was speaking. He gave a great speech, but I was kind of jealous as I watched some my buddies from the media conduct interviews.

This Tuesday night, I’ll be at a writers retreat. It won’t have the hum of a newsroom, with last minute shouts to double-check agate, but it will be fun to be with friends. I’ll be checking results on the internet, just like the rest of the country.

No matter the results, I’m thankful we live in a nation so blessed that we get to the go to the polls without armed guards, that we face a barrage of campaign materials instead of a barrage of bombs, that our leaders duel in timed debates instead of street riots and the press is free to report it all.

God bless America.

~ Susie

Where will you be watching election returns?

Well I didnt have anything to say

It’s been one of those days. Cleaned my kitchen this morning. Had to, couldn’t find the dog. Wrote on my book all afternoon…unfortunately it was the chapter about why you should have a colonoscopy and mammogram… intriguing for sure. Couldn’t find the blog topic list. Still reeling from a rash decision to shut of my landline forgetting my email was attached. So  I am sitting here thinking of what to write that will enspire or at least entertain.

Guess I am like my four year old granddaughter who spent the day with me up at our little shop (the one that joins another business run by a friend). After being there a good amount of time, Jenny tells me that little Josie came up to her and said in her very grown up voice,” Have you noticed that I haven’t talked to you all day?” to which Jenny replied, “well, yes I did notice, why is that?” “Well,” says Josie, ” I didnt have anything to say,

Guess that’s me. Blessings anyway. Kathy

Fruit Cocktail Cake

This recipe is an old standby that is quick and easy. It’s a rather coarse cake, but nearly foolproof.

Fruit Cocktail Cake
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 can fruit cocktail, undrained
2 eggs slightly beaten
1/2 cup chopped nuts

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup nuts

Mix together well and pour into greased 9 x 13 pan. Top with nuts and brown sugar that have been mixed together.

Bake at 325 for 45 minutes.

Serve with whipped topping. (also good with ice cream)

Chopped walnuts are my favorite, but I’ve also used pecans and slivered almonds.

Hasn’t this been a fun week, with all the autumn recipes? Happy eating!!

Cinnamon Twist Bread

First, today is SUSIE MIRES birthday! Please wish her a wonderful and happy day! Happy Birthday, Susie!

I thought about making a birthday cake in honor of Susie, but I’ll admit even on my own birthday I’d rather not have a cake with icing. Instead I made cinnamon bread. Who wouldn’t like fresh, hot bread? Add a little cinnamon and sugar and you have a wonderful treat!

This recipe has been around for a while (that sounds better than old). I remember the first Christmas my mom used this recipe from her new Country Journal cookbook. Together we made small loaves for the teachers. I doubt there has been a year since that I haven’t made this recipe. Several years ago I took baked goods to the local farmers’ market. This bread was the first thing to go every week. The directions may look a little detailed, but stick with it. It’s really very simple and so worth the effort!

Cinnamon Twist Bread

1 c milk, scaled                                          6 c flour

1/4 c shortening                                        2 eggs, slightly beaten

1/2 c.sugar                                                  1/2 c sugar

2 t. salt                                                         1 T. ground cinnamon

2 pkgs active dry yeast                             1/3 c soft butter

1/2 c lukewarm water                               1/4 c brown sugar


Combine scalded milk, shortening, 1/2 c. sugar and salt. Cool to lukewarm. Sprinkle yeast on 1/2 c. lukewarm water, stir to dissolve. Add yeast mixture, eggs and 3 cups flour to mixture. Beat with mixer or by hand until flour is mixed in. Add remain cups a little at a time to make a soft dough that leaves the sides of bowl and isn’t sticky. You may not need to use all six cups of flour. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Place in lightly greased bowl and grease top of dough. Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours. Punch down; cover and let rise again until almost doubled, about 30 minutes. Dough before dividing in half. Can also be divided into three or four mini loaves.

Turn dough onto table and divide in half (for gifts I will divide into three or four loaves). Round each half into a ball. Cover and let rise 10 minutes. On floured surface, roll each ball into a rectangle (2 – 12×7 inch rectangle).  Combine 1/2 c. sugar, 1/4 c. brown sugar and cinnamon in small bowl. Spread soften or melted butter on top of each rectangle and sprinkle generously with sugar/cinnamon mixture. Start at narrow end and roll like a jelly roll. Seal along edge and tuck under ends. Place in greased 9x5x3 inch loaf pans, sealed side down. Cover with clean towel and let rise until almost doubled, 45-60 minutes. Bake in 350* oven 35-40 minutes or until done. Coat top crust with butter while hot. Remove from pans; cool on racks.Now that the weather isn’t so hot, it’s fun to turn the oven on and bake! Try some cinnamon bread–I bet you’ll make more for Christmas gifts. For Susie’s birthday, I’ll stick a few candles in the top of the loaf and celebrate!


Do you have a baked gift that you give yearly?

Super Easy Pumpkin Cake Mix Muffins

This recipe is super simple, low-fat, and technically isn’t just a fall recipe.  But because you use a can of pumpkin in it, I often think of making them more in autumn.

1 cake mix (Spice or chocolate are especially good. Something that pumpkin will compliment, and not detract from.)

1 15- oz. can of pumpkin (Pure pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie mix.)

That’s it.  You mix the two together and spoon into paper-lined muffin cups. This is very thick batter.  You’ll want to smooth the top of the muffins if you care what they look like, since the batter doesn’t settle.

Bake at 350 degrees for 18-22 minutes. Check with a knife or toothpick.  Time may vary with your oven.

Whenever I’ve made these, they’ve gotten good reviews.

I haven’t made these recently, so I’m sorry I don’t have a picture for you.

Happy baking!

Susan Hollaway



From the Mires Family Cookbook – Peanut Butter Brownies

Several years ago, I led an initiative to create a Mires family cookbook. It was a lot of work, but well worth it. This is the one cookbook where I know every recipe is a winner every time.

So recently, when I needed to take a snack to Bible study, I thumbed through it til I found my cousin Marcella’s recipe for Peanut Butter Brownies. She was a cook at the local school and noted that the recipe was a favorite of the school district.

Peanut Butter Brownies
1 c. shortening
1 c. peanut butter
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
2 c. flour
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

Cream shortening, peanut butter and sugars together. Add eggs and vanilla. Sift together dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture. Nuts, about one-third to one-half cup, may be added. Dough will be very thick and will not spread. Pat into brownie pan. Bake at 340 degrees until lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Chocolate frosting is good on these. Cut while warm.

This is Marcella’s recipe, and I wasn’t sure how big her brownie pan was. I used a 9×13 cake pan, which made a wonderful thick, chewy brownie. You could use a bigger pan for a thinner brownie for a big crowd. The batter is very thick like peanut butter cookie dough. I didn’t have chocolate frosting, so I pressed some chocolate chips into the dough before I baked them and it worked perfectly.


~ Susan

Have you made a family cookbook?

Fall Recipe: Rustic Plum Galette

Rustic Plum Galette with raisins and walnuts

This week we are sharing our favorite fall recipes. I’ve chosen a plum galette. Technically, it is a late summer dessert when using plums, but the beauty of this dish is that can you can put any kind of filing inside – sweet or savoury. There are many variations of this recipe which may use summer fruit to zucchini and ricotta. I made this plum galette a few days ago when it was cool outside, the fall colours were vibrant and the house smelled so inviting.

The term galette is broad in its definition, depending on where you’re from. In this instance, it’s more like a rustic, free-form tart.

I recommend this pastry crust (pate brisee) found at Simply Recipes(r) because it is more firm than a standard pie dough. When shaping your galette, it’s important to avoid tears which will cause your filling to leak.


  • 6-8 tart plums, pitted and sliced
  • 1/4 cup raisins (preferably golden)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans, walnuts or slivered almonds
  • zest from one lemon
  • juice from half a lemon
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 recipe pate brisee pie crust


Preheat oven to 375 F.

Gently mix the first 7 ingredients together.

Roll out dough to 13 inches in diameter.

Place parchment paper on a baking sheet (or lightly butter sheet) and place dough on top.

Pour plum mixture in the center, leaving a 2 inch border all around.

Fold the edges of the pie crust up, leaving a large portion of the inside exposed. Try to seal the seams and avoid tearing crust.

Brush edges with an egg wash or milk and sprinkle with granulated sugar or decorative sugar.

Place in oven on the middle rack for 40-50 minutes until crust is browned and filling is bubbly.

Cool before serving.

Cherie GagnonEnjoy!

– Cherie

What are some of your favorite fall desserts?

Microwave Carmel Corn

Yummy!Microwave Popcorn
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 quarts popped popcorn
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup margarine
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Place the popped popcorn into a large brown paper bag. Set aside.
2. In a 2 quart casserole dish, or other heat-proof glass dish, combine the brown sugar, margarine, corn syrup, salt and vanilla. Heat for 3 minutes in the microwave, then take out and stir until well blended. Return to the microwave, and cook for 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from microwave, and stir in the baking soda.
3. Pour syrup over the popcorn in the bag. Roll down the top once or twice to close the bag, and shake to coat the corn. Place bag into the microwave, and cook for 1 minute and 10 seconds. Remove, shake, flip the bag over, and return it to the microwave. Cook for another 1 minute and 10 seconds. Dump the popcorn out onto waxed paper, and let cool until coating is set. Store in an airtight container.

This is a recipe we used to make lots in the winter months.  Rarely made it to the airtight container.  I use butter, not margarine.

Blessings and happy snacking,


Open My Eyes, Lord…

A cloudy, autumn morning on our cove…a touch of dampness–the kind of weather that beckons a bonfire, a cup of coffee and the time to watch the leaves dance their way to earth.

On the way to hubby’s timber retreat, watching intently for snakes beneath the leaf covered path to the timber, I found a jewel….

You may have to click on it, to make enlarge it enough for you to see it, also…but it does make me wonder how much beauty I miss because I have chosen to hurry to a destination instead of embracing the journey.

How often I focus on the ‘what if’ and miss the absolute joy of ‘what is’.


Elementary Art

With all three boys going to school I decided to volunteer one day a week. I was thrilled when they asked if I’d like to teach art classes during that time. This volunteer job is shared with one other mom so I teach second, fourth, fifth and sixth grades.

2nd grade scarecrows

idea from

2nd grade chalk pastel sunflower

Both sunflower ideas from

4th grade oil pastel sunflower

5th grade reflection on water

Fall landscape/reflection idea from

The kids are doing a great job and I’m so blessed to get to teach them!

Thanks for letting me share!