Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Popcorn Cake

Twelve Days of Candy-Making — Day 12
Create memories your families and friends will savor for years to come

Popcorn Cake
(Rita Meyer)

1 (10.5 oz.) bag marshmallows (mini or large)
4 tbsp. butter
6 to 8 cups popped popcorn
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
1/2 cup M&M’s
1 cup gummy bears

Butter a bundt pan.

In large bowl, melt marshmallows and butter together in microwave (about one and a half to two minutes). Stir well. Mix in the next four ingredients. Spoon into buttered bundt pan.  Press down slightly.  

Let the mixture set before removing from the pan.

“Jujubes, red licorice bites or any chewy candy you like can be substituted for the gummy bears,” said Rita, who writes The Visitor’s ‘From the Home Front’ column. “It’s my sister Kathy’s favorite Christmas treat. I’ve made it since my high school days.”

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Anise Candy

Twelve Days of Candy-Making — Day 11
Create memories your families and friends will savor for years to come

Anise Candy
(Ruth Catherine Peters)

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
5-8 drops of anise oil
Red or green food coloring

Butter two cookie sheets.

Combine first three ingredients and cook until the mixture reaches 300°F (hard crack stage). Add the anise oil and food coloring. To make the hot mixture easier to remove from the candy kettle, tilt the kettle inside a stainless steel bowl. Drop the candy by teaspoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets. Work quickly. Remove drops when cooled. (Candy recipe can be doubled.)

 “This recipe for anise candy was given to my mother, Anna (Lodermeier) Schellinger by one of her nieces, Dorothy (Zurowski) Plantenberg, when I was a small child,” Ruth recalls. “My mother poured the anise syrup into a greased pan, then cooled, scored and broke it into pieces.”

Monday, December 20, 2010


Twelve Days of Candy-Making — Day 10
Create memories your families and friends will savor for years to come

Easy Divinity
(Jean Zwilling)

Photo by Sue Schulzetenberg
1 pkg. Betty Crocker Home Style® fluffy white frosting mix
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup boiling water
4 cups powdered sugar
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Combine the dry frosting mix, corn syrup, vanilla and boiling water in a large mixing bowl. Beat (at the highest speed) until stiff peaks form — approximately five minutes. Gradually blend in the powdered sugar (using a low speed). Stir in nuts, if desired. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper. When the outside of the candy feels firm, turn each one over and let them set for at least 12 hours. Store in an airtight container. 

Yield: approximately 60 to 72 pieces

“The recipe for this old-fashioned candy utilizes a frosting mix making it fast and easy to assemble,” explains Jean. “Occasionally I put a whole walnut on top of each piece instead of mixing into the candy.”

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Chocolate Mints

Twelve Days of Candy-Making — Day 9
Create memories your families and friends will savor for years to come

Chocolate Mints
(Cyndi Schulzetenberge)

1 lb. white almond bark
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
6 oz. chocolate chips
1 ¼ tsp. peppermint extract

Melt the first three ingredients over low heat. Add the peppermint extract. Spoon the candy into foil candy cups or into candy molds. Cool mints in the refrigerator.

“My only sister, Tina Eichers, gave me this recipe several years ago at Christmastime,” Cyndi recalls. “Tina, my three sisters-in-law, my stepmother, Doris Stalboerger, and I often made these chocolate mints together at our family Christmas baking day.” 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

English Toffee

Twelve Days of Candy-Making — Day 8
Create memories your families and friends will savor for years to come

English Toffee
(Ruth Catherine Peters)

1 lb. butter
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 cups raw almonds

Chocolate chips or dipping chocolate
Walnuts or pecans, crushed

To make this candy all ingredients should be at room temperature. You will need a flat bottom wooden spatula and a triple clad kettle — Ruth uses an old pressure cooker. Have buttered cookie sheets ready — Ruth uses three sheets to produce a thinner brittle.

Start the kettle on medium heat. Melt the butter and add the sugar, salt and almonds. Stir constantly. Do not touch the sides of the kettle but keep the bottom stirred. When the nuts rise to the surface and the syrup darkens, stir faster. Adjust the heat to keep the syrup bubbling — the faster the better. Pour out onto the buttered cookie sheets when the syrup has reached the hard crack stage (310 to 330°F).

When cooled, frost with melted chocolate chips or dipping chocolate. Sprinkle crushed walnuts or pecans over the chocolate. When the chocolate sets, flip the toffee over and repeat the process.

Store the candy in between layers of waxed paper.

“This recipe for English toffee requires candy-making skills, patience, endurance and strength of character,” said Ruth Catherine (Schellinger) Peters. “The recipe was given to my mother (Anna [Lodermeier] Schellinger) in 1950 by Nora (Bernauer) Donohue who lived across the street from our family on 14th Ave. S in St. Cloud. Nora was an employee at Jones Candy Shop on St. Germain in St. Cloud. The Schellinger family were members of St. Mary’s Cathedral in St. Cloud.

A note from Carol: Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pa., Walter C. Jones learned the art of making candy in his hometown. As a young man, he worked for wholesale food companies and observed candy makers in Fargo, N.D.; St. Louis, Mo.; Peoria, Ill. and St. Paul before settling in St. Cloud in 1897. That year he opened Jones Candy Shop — a small confectionary — at 522 St. Germain where, in addition to making and selling candy, soft drinks and ice cream sundaes were also served. Ten years later in 1907, he constructed a brick building at 510 St. Germain, which is still in use today. There he opened a larger store by the same name, which was in existence until his retirement in 1941. Jones died at the age of 78 in 1948.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Popcorn Balls

Twelve Days of Candy-Making — Day 7
Create memories your families and friends will savor for years to come

Popcorn Balls
(Jean Zwilling)

7½ qt. popped popcorn

Syrup for popcorn balls:
2/3 cup light corn syrup
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2/3 cup boiling water
2 tbsp. vinegar
1/3 tsp. cream of tartar
Pinch of baking soda
1 tbsp. butter, melted
Food coloring, if desired

Cook the corn syrup, sugar, vanilla, water and vinegar until the mixture reaches 250°F.  Then add the cream of tartar, baking soda, butter and food coloring. Carefully pour syrup over popped corn; mix quickly. Grease hands with butter or margarine and form into popcorn balls.

Yield: approximately 24 to 30 medium-size balls

A note from Carol: Jean uses air popped popcorn for this recipe. If you use microwave popcorn, do not use the buttered variety as the syrup may not stick to it as well.

“When I grew up in Freeport, the Christmas sweets made in our house were fudge, divinity, popcorn balls and rolled molasses and white cut-out cookies,” Jean recalls. “Making popcorn balls is one of my favorite memories because it was a family event where my dad, Lawrence, would get involved because he could pack them so well. This recipe from my mother, Josepha (Sapha) Steinemann Kerfeld, is the one that our family used when I was a child and I still use to this day.”

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Peanut Brittle

Twelve Days of Candy-Making — Day 6
Create memories your families and friends will savor for years to come

Matt’s Peanut Brittle
(Ruth Catherine Peters)

2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
½ cup water
¼ cup butter
1 ½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 cups raw peanuts

Butter two cookie sheets.

Cook sugar, corn syrup and water until the mixture reaches 230°F. Add the peanuts slowly, and then the butter and salt. Stir often and cook until the candy reaches 297°F. Remove from the heat. Add the baking soda quickly. Stir well and pour onto cookie sheets. Work quickly to thinly stretch the candy with two forks or wooden spatulas.

“This recipe was adapted by my son, Matt,” Ruth explains. “It’s important to have all the utensils and candy ingredients ready before you begin. To make candy you will need a triple clad kettle, similar to a pressure cooker. You might find one at a thrift store — or if you are lucky — in your grandma’s attic.”

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Twelve Days of Candy-Making — Day 5
Create memories your families and friends will savor for years to come

(Jean Zwilling)

Photo by Sue Schulzetenberg
1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 can sweetened condensed milk

Generously butter a 9 x 13 x 2 inches pan.

Mix all ingredients together in a heavy three-quart kettle. Bring the mixture to a boil — continuing to stir until well blended. When it comes to a rolling boil, lower the heat but keep the mixture boiling. It is not necessary to stir it continually — but it should be stirred frequently, at this point. (The temperature on the candy thermometer should remain at 245°F for about one-half hour.)

Remove from the heat and pour into the prepared pan. (Even if some of the caramel has become hard, spread that into the pan as well.) Cool overnight. Then, cut the caramels with a knife and wrap the individual pieces with wax paper.

“This caramel recipe is from Bonnie Schulzetenberg, a very dear friend of mine who attends St. Louis Parish in Paynesville. It’s really yummy as it is but you could also add nuts if you desire,” Jean relates. “I always pray that who ever looks at or eats the food that I have prepared will become closer to Jesus. This is true, of course, of all the cookies and other treats I make every Christmas.”

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Butterscotch Drops

Twelve Days of Candy-Making — Day 4
Create memories your families and friends will savor for years to come

Butterscotch Drops
(Ruth Catherine Peters)

¼ cup light corn syrup
½ cup butter
1 tbsp. vinegar
2 tbsp. boiling water
½ tsp. vanilla

Butter two cookie sheets.

Combine first four ingredients and cook until mixture reaches the hard crack stage (300°F). Add vanilla. To make the hot mixture easier to remove from the candy kettle, tilt the kettle inside a stainless steel bowl. Drop the candy by teaspoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets. Work quickly. Remove drops when cooled.

“My mother taught me my candy-making skills,” Ruth says. “Now, all four of my sons have candy kettles. You have to work fast when making candy. Keep your fingers nimble and quick to avoid hot strands. Hot syrup is to be respected.”

Monday, December 13, 2010

Walnut Caramel Treats

Twelve Days of Candy-Making — Day 3
Create memories your families and friends will savor for years to come

Walnut Caramel Treats
(Cyndi Schulzetenberge)

2 tsp. plus 1/3 cup butter, divided
2 (11.5 oz.) pkgs. milk chocolate chips, divided
4 tbsp. shortening, divided
2 (14 oz.) pkgs. caramels
¼ cup water
3 cups walnuts, chopped

Line an ungreased 9-inch square pan with foil and grease the foil with 2 tsp. butter; set aside. In a microwave or heavy saucepan, melt one package of chocolate chips with two tbsp. shortening and stir until smooth. Pour into prepared pan. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

In a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the caramels, water and remaining butter. Cook and stir until caramels are melted and the mixture is smooth. Stir in the walnuts. Pour over the chocolate layer. Refrigerate for 45 minutes.

Melt the remaining chocolate chips and shortening in the microwave or in a heavy saucepan and spread over the caramel layer. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours or until firm. Using the foil, lift the candy out of the pan. Discard the foil and cut the candy into squares. Store in the refrigerator.

Yield: approximately 4 lbs.

“This is my husband Mike’s favorite candy,” says Cyndi. “I got the recipe from one of the Country Woman Christmas books. It’s important to use butter and shortening where called for in this recipe — no substitutions. And, the treats have to stay cold — otherwise the caramel becomes too soft and it loses its shape.”

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Twelve Days of Candy-Making — Day 2
Create memories your families and friends will savor for years to come

(Jean Zwilling)

Photo by Sue Schulzetenberg
5 cups sugar
12 oz. can evaporated milk
1 lb. miniature marshmallows
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
8 oz. Baker’s® German chocolate bars, chopped         
¼ cup butter
1 lb walnuts, chopped (optional)

Generously butter a 9 x 13 x 2 inches pan.

Bring the sugar and evaporated milk to a boil and continue boiling for five minutes. Fold the marshmallows, both chocolates and butter into the first mixture and stir until all ingredients are dissolved. Add most of the nuts, if using, reserving larger pieces to decorate the tops of the fudge. Pour into the prepared pan to cool and harden. Cut into squares when fully cooled.

“I obtained this recipe shortly after my husband, Virgil, and I were married,” Jean recalls. “I was working as a nurse at the St. Cloud Hospital and caring for my sister’s mother-in-law, Charlotte Hockert, from Albany. Her sisters-in-law, Benedictine Sisters Nicholas and Harvette Hockert, originally from Freeport, came to visit and brought her some fudge. Charlotte offered me a piece. It was so good that I asked for the recipe and I have been making it every Christmas since. The original recipe called for ‘butter the size of an egg’ so I know it has been around for a long time.”

Saturday, December 11, 2010

‘Sweet’ dreams can come true

Twelve Days of Candy-Making — Day 1
Create memories your families and friends will savor for years to come

Young Clara in E.T.A. Hoffman’s Christmas tale “The Nutcracker and the King of Mice” has a deliciously lovely dream where her beloved nutcracker — a gift from her godfather Herr Drosselmeyer — turns into a prince who takes her on a journey to the Land of Snow, an enchanted forest wonderland where they are welcomed by dancing snowflakes. As her dream progresses, the prince escorts her farther to the Kingdom of Sweets where the Sugar Plum Fairy reigns as queen.

Mmmmmm. What a scrumptiously delightful impression the story conjures — creating visions of ambrosial treats that we can see in our mind’s eye and savor with the taste buds of our imagination. There’s only one thing better than stepping into such a delectable fantasy — that is making your own yummy holiday sweets and, in the process, creating equally sweet memories for your families and friends.

Three candy-makers from the St. Cloud Diocese — which has recently welcomed “dancing snowflakes,” literally, and become a “Land of Snow” — share “enchanting” recipes and “sugarcoated” wisdom to help you assemble your own “Kingdom of Sweets.”

Ruth Catherine Peters, a member of St. Boniface Parish in Cold Spring; Cyndi Schulzetenberge, a parishioner at St. Michael’s in Spring Hill; and Jean Zwilling, a member of the Five Parish Faith Community of parishes in Opole, St. Anna, St. Wendel and Holdingford, have provided a candy-making recipe feast fit for a king or queen (and all of us in the St. Cloud Diocese.)

Here are a few suggestions for candy makers:

• Use a heavy saucepan — one that is larger than you think you will need.

• Use a candy thermometer, if possible. Always make sure the thermometer bulb is in the boiling mixture, but does not touch the bottom of the pan.

• If you don’t have a candy thermometer, consult a chart for cold-water tests to determine the approximate temperature of the sugar syrup.

• Flat wooden spatulas are good for stirring. Do not touch the sides of the kettle with them, only the bottom.

• Watch candy carefully, especially during the last few minutes of cooking — temperatures rise quickly at the end. Medium heat is a good choice — it can be lowered or raised slightly to adjust.

• For best results, don’t double a recipe or make ingredient substitutions.

• Allow yourself plenty of time when making candy — it often takes a long time to cook and requires a great deal of stirring.

A note from Carol: This entry and many of the upcoming recipes were originally published in the Dec. 13, 2007, edition of The Visitor as part of my Breaking Bread column titled “Sweet Treats and Holiday Traditions.” Visitor staff writer/photographer Sue Schulzetenberg took the picture of Jean Zwilling’s delightful tray of Christmas goodies. (By the way, even though their names are spelled differently, Cyndi Schulzetenberge is Sue’s aunt.) 


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Commemorating Perham’s St. Stanislaus Parish

The parishioners of St. Stanislaus Parish, Perham, Minn., celebrated the first service in their new church on Thanksgiving Day 1922, with their pastor Father Stanislaus Kuzniak presiding at the Mass. Long before that special day, the Polish Catholic population of that area, desiring their own place of worship, founded the St. Stanislaus Society. That was in 1876 under the leadership of John Karsnia. In 1881 the group decided to erect a frame church and saw their dream come true in 1883 — that building served their needs for nearly 40 years.

St. Stanislaus Parish closed its doors Oct. 4, 2009, after celebrating the final Mass with Bishop John Kinney and its current pastor, Father Joseph Herzing, concelebrating. A time capsule, placed in the church’s cornerstone in 1922, which included newspapers, medals and photographs, was opened in honor of the occasion. About 150 households belonged to St. Stan’s at the time; most of them have now joined St. Henry Parish in Perham or other neighboring churches.

St. Stan’s parishioners Fran Johnson and Jean Falk republished the parish’s 1985 Centennial Cookbook to commemorate the closing of the church. A limited number of the cookbooks are still available for $11 plus shipping and handling. To obtain a copy, call Fran Johnson at 218-346-4466.

I’m sharing two recipes from that cookbook today that might help readers use some of their Thanksgiving leftovers. Former St. Stan’s parishioners — now members of St. Henry’s — Verna Dulski and Donna Scheidecker — submitted their recipes for Butternut Squash Bread and Cranberry Bread for the original 1985 cookbook. Consider giving them a try! CJK

Butternut Squash Bread
(Verna Dulski)

2/3 shortening
2 1/3 cup sugar
4 eggs
2 cups butternut squash, baked and mashed
2/3 cups water
3 1/3 cup flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cloves
2/3 cup nuts, chopped
2/3 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 9 x 5 x 3-inch or three 8 1/2  x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2-inch loaf pans.

Cream shortening and sugar until fluffy, stir in eggs, squash and water. Sift dry ingredients together. Blend into squash mixture. Add nuts and raisins.

Pour mixture into pans and bake at 350°F for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Remove to a rack, cool completely.

Cranberry Bread
(Donna Scheidecker)

1/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup orange juice
2 cups sifted flour
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. grated orange peel
1 cup fresh cranberries, ground
1/2 cup nuts, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan.

Cream shortening and sugar until fluffy, stir in egg and orange juice. Sift dry ingredients together. Blend into creamed mixture. Add cranberries and nuts, if desired.

Pour mixture into pan and bake at 350°F for 1hour or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Remove to a rack, cool completely.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

BeadforLife: Ending poverty in Uganda

Yesterday I shared information about BeadforLife, a program near and dear to my heart. BeadforLife is part of an international grassroots movement working to end extreme poverty in Uganda. 

According to their website, since September of 2004, when BeadforLife was founded, the organization has trained 883 beaders to make beads and earn regular income; built a village on 18 acres of land with 132 homes, two wells and abundant gardens; launched a vocational education program for impoverished youth and developed a grant program to fund other organizations working in poverty eradication.

BeadforLife has graduated 621 members from its program into self-sufficiency and reached an estimated 10,000 people who were living in poverty. Women, who lived on less than $1 per day, are now earning almost $7 a day, or over $2,400 a year. BeadforLife paid nearly $1 million to the jewelry makers last year, resulting in a total community development expenditure of 1.4 million dollars.

Volunteers around the world who wanted to make a difference have held over 6,500 bead parties — an estimated 90,000 people attended those parties and are now proudly wearing paper beads. The beads that were rolled out of trash paper have now become income and hope for a better life.

Consider hosting a bead party yourself — the program could be as simple or elaborate as you choose. As I mentioned yesterday, Nikki and I served sugar peanuts, Ugandan kabobs with yogurt dipping sauce and Ugandan plantain cake at our event. As promised, here are the other two recipes. CJK

Ugandan Kabobs with Yogurt Dipping Sauce
(Bead for Life)

Dipping Sauce
1 cup plain yogurt
4 tsp. salt
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
3 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

3 slices whole wheat bread
3 eggs, beaten
3 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 cups dried breadcrumbs
1 cup French fried onions
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. fresh ginger root, minced
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. coriander seed, coarsely crushed
4 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1 large jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced  
2 lbs. ground beef
3 cups vegetable oil for frying

Dipping Sauce
Mix ingredients together and set dipping sauce aside.

Moisten bread slices with water. Crumble bread into a large bowl and mix in eggs and Worcestershire sauce. Mix in dried breadcrumbs, fried onions, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander seed, parsley, and jalapeno. Add ground beef, and work in with hands until well mixed.

Roll mixture into meatballs the size of walnuts.

Heat oil in a large, deep frying pan until hot, about 375° F. Cook meatballs a few at a time in hot oil until brown and crispy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from oil using a slotted spoon, and place on a plate lined with paper towels.

Insert a toothpick into each meatball for serving. Serve hot or cold with dipping sauce.

Notes from Carol:
I used a small ice cream scoop to measure the amount for each meatball and then formed them by hand. I did not “deep fry” them in three cups of oil, but probably used about one-half inch of oil in a large frying pan.

The next time I make them I would try baking them in the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil and lightly grease the foil. Bake the meatballs in the preheated oven until they are no longer pink in the center — probably about 30 minutes. (An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 160°F.)

The wide range of ingredients in these meatballs provides a perky, unique flavor. I think they would also be great with spaghetti or in other dishes that utilize meatballs.

Ugandan Plantain Cake

(Bead for Life)

This recipe is traditionally used as an accompaniment to meat dishes.

2 ripe plantains, peeled, halved and cut into strips
2 tbsp. oil

1 cup cottage cheese
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tbsp. sugar
3 eggs, separated
1 tbsp. dry breadcrumbs
 4 tbsp. olive oil

Fry the plantain strips in oil until they are well browned on both sides.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Mix cottage cheese, cinnamon and sugar together in a bowl.

Beat the egg yolks until fluffy. Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold the egg whites into the egg yolks.

Grease a baking dish and sprinkle the base with the breadcrumbs. Add a quarter of the egg mixture into the dish, and then add a layer of plantains. Cover with a third of the cottage cheese mixture and a little olive oil. Repeat layers until all ingredients have been used. You will finish with the egg mixture.

Bake at 350°F for 40 minutes.

Notes from Carol:
I baked this plantain cake in a 2-quart casserole and used a large spoon to serve it. It could also be baked in an 8 x 8-inch baking dish and cut into squares to serve. The finished product is more like a coffeecake than a cake that would be served for dessert.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Eradicating poverty — one bead at a time

In October Nikki Rajala, a colleague of mine, and I hosted a BeadforLife party for an organization we belong to. Not only did we have a lot of fun planning and preparing for the evening but also it truly was a privilege for us to share the BeadforLife story with members of the group.

BeadforLife is a non-profit organization providing destitute Ugandan women an opportunity to lift their families out of poverty by making beautiful beaded jewelry — necklaces, bracelets and earrings — out of recycled paper from calendars, posters or print overruns. The women, who roll each bead with their own hands, are able to turn their beads into income, education, and even bricks to build a home.

In the program’s latest initiative, at least 500 women in Northern Uganda gather shea nuts and press them into shea butter for cosmetics and soaps. In addition to selling the fair trade beaded jewelry, BeadforLife now offers organic shea butter soap, created with lavender and lemongrass, and peppermint lip balm.

The program’s goal is that members are independent of BeadforLife within 18 months and able to support themselves within the Ugandan economy.  To assist members in launching their own small businesses BeadforLife provides entrepreneurial training, facilitates savings accounts, and makes business funds available. In rural areas their program focuses on agricultural development.

Additionally, BeadforLife sponsors community development projects in health, affordable housing, business development and vocational training for impoverished youth. These projects are financed with the net profits from the sale of the beads and shea butter products and support not only BeadforLife members, but also other poverty-stricken people living in Uganda.

Hosting a “party” is easy. Register online to host an event (you’ll need to give a credit card number for the package that you select), invite people to attend and plan what you want to do at your party.

Your bead party package will include approximately 275 jewelry items, an inspirational DVD about the BeadforLife program and the beaders themselves, a CD with original Ugandan songs and music, educational materials and biographies of some of the beaders, African recipes and a pre-paid return label (so you can return — free of charge — what you don’t sell).

Nikki and I served sugar peanuts, Ugandan kabobs with yogurt dipping sauce, Ugandan plantain cake and ginger iced tea at our party. Here’s the recipe for the sugar peanuts. (Please check in tomorrow for the recipes for Ugandan kabobs and plantain cake.)

And, more importantly, please visit the links I’ve provided to BeadforLife and consider hosting a party. I guarantee you’ll like the affordable jewelry and shea butter items. But, far beyond that, I can guarantee you’ll love the connection you’ve made with Ugandan women to help lift them out of poverty — literally one bead at a time! CJK

Sugar Peanuts
(Bead for Life)

Nuts are popular in many countries in Western and Central Africa. Any town large enough to have bars, cafes, and restaurants will also likely have vendors selling roasted nuts and sugared peanuts. Often the vendor is a girl or woman, balancing her wares in a tray on her head.

1 cup water
2 cups sugar
4 cups raw peanuts, shells removed (skins can be removed or left on as desired)

Preheat oven to 300° F.

Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar is dissolved to make clear syrup. Add the peanuts. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring regularly until the peanuts are evenly coated and most of the syrup is absorbed. 

Pour contents of the saucepan onto a baking sheet. Bake at 300°F between 30 minutes to 1 hour. Gently stir the peanuts a few times while baking. Remove from the oven once the syrup is almost dried and place peanuts on paper towels. Let cool, and store in airtight containers.

Notes from Nikki:
Grease the baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray or line it with parchment paper. Scrape as little of the sugar syrup as possible onto the baking sheet with the nuts. It only took 30 minutes for the peanuts to roast.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Harvesting a Heritage of Charity: St. Hedwig’s celebrates 100 years

St. Hedwig Parish in Holdingford celebrated its centennial “Harvesting a Heritage of Charity” Sept. 12. The parish — named after a Bavarian princess, married to a Polish prince, who dedicated her life to charity — was founded in 1910 to minister to Polish immigrants in a German-speaking community.

A rendition of traditional hymns preceded the Mass celebrated by Bishop John Kinney. A chicken and ham dinner was served and the event included live music, a silent auction, bingo, rides and games for children, crafts, quilts and tours of the church. Polish specialty foods and refreshments were on sale throughout the day.

Debbie Binsfeld, Rene Harlander, Patty Kotzer and Lois Schmit, the centennial book committee, compiled and published a 257-page hardcover, spiral bound book, illustrated throughout with several photos. It features a number of historical articles, Polish prayers, priest biographies and 80 pages of recipes. Parishioner John Binsfeld painted the book’s front and back cover illustrations of the church and an angel from the parish’s shrine built in 1942 to honor soldiers. It even comes with a laminated bookmark featuring a prayer to St. Hedwig.

The centennial book titled “Harvesting a Heritage of Charity” is available for $18.95. Call Debbie Binsfeld at 320-746-2426 to order a copy.

Of course, one chapter of the cookbook section is dedicated to Polish recipes. Today I’m sharing Art Harlander’s recipe for Polish Mushroom and Potato Soup from those pages and Debbie Binsfeld’s Dutch Apple Bread from the Breads, Rolls and Muffins category. Enjoy! CJK

Polish Mushroom and Potato Soup
(Art Harlander, Jr.)

5 tbsp. butter, divided                                   
2 leeks, chopped                                   
2 large carrots, sliced                                   
6 cups chicken broth                                   
2 tsp. dried dill weed
2 tsp. salt                                                                                   
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
2 lbs. potatoes, peeled and diced
1 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced                       
1 cup half and half
1/4 cup all purpose flour
Fresh dill weed for garnish (optional)

Melt 3 tbsp. butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Mix in leeks and carrots and cook 5 minutes. Pour in broth. Season with dill weed, salt, pepper and bay leaf. Mix in potatoes. Cover and cook 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender but firm. Remove and discard bay leaf.

Melt the remaining butter in a skillet over medium heat and sauté the mushrooms 5 minutes until lightly browned. Add to soup. In a small bowl, mix the half and half and flour until smooth. Stir into soup to thicken. Garnish each bowl of soup with fresh dill weed before serving.

A note from Art: After a cold winter’s day of chores, this excellent soup will take away the chill. It should be served hot and steamy with a side of your favorite wild game sausage and red wine. (Don’t forget to pray!)

Dutch Apple Bread
(Debbie Binsfeld)

1/2 cup margarine or butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup baking apples, chopped
2 cups sifted flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tbsp. sour milk or buttermilk

2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°F and grease loaf pan.

Cream margarine or butter with sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add apples, flour and salt and mix well. Combine baking soda with sour milk or buttermilk and add to mixture. Place in loaf pan. Mix topping ingredients together and sprinkle over bread mixture. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes at 350°F.

A note from Debbie: I got this recipe from dear friends about 25 years ago. Both early fall apples or those that taste better after a frost work well for the recipe. Our kitchen smells so good while this bread is baking — the cinnamon and apples are a wonderful combination. The bread freezes well, too.