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Today is my 69th birthday. Amazing. I never dreamed I would get to be this old! It is shocking when I mention to younger people I am getting older, and they don’t object to the idea.

My dad called; he gave me the best present ever. He told me when I was born, he would have mom laughing so hard. He would put my baby foot all the way in his mouth, and I would make happy sounds. I am so fortunate to have dad here to remember and share that.

Dad will be 98 on Nov. 24. As a special favor to me, would you think about sending this WWII vet and wonderful man a birthday card on that day? He loves mail and to talk on the phone.

His address follows: Clarence J. Majerus, 823 S. Jefferson St, New Ulm, MN 56073.

Thanks so much for making his day special — Linda

RICE CASSEROLE

1 cup rice, boiled in 2 cups water till dry

1/2 cup salad oil or butter (melted)

1 cup shredded cheese

1 tbsp dry parsley flakes

3 green onions, chopped (or 2 tbsp dry minced white onions)

1 egg

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Mix cooked rice, oil, cheese, parsley, green onions, egg, salt and pepper.

2. Place in casserole dish. Let stand 30 minutes.

3. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

4. Serve with cream of tuna (recipe below) over the top.

4 tbsp butter

4 tbsp all-purpose flour

Salt and Pepper to taste

2 cups milk

2 cans tuna

5. Melt the butter. Add the flour and a bit of milk, and stir to “cook” the flour; then add rest of milk and heat on medium, stirring constantly with wire whisk till smooth and creamy.

6. Add tuna (drained and flaked) and salt and pepper.

7. Serve over rice.

Serves 4

DIFFERENT TATER TOT HOT DISH

1½ lbs hamburger

2 tsp dried onions

1 can peas and carrots (see Linda’s note below)

2 cans cream of celery soup

1 large pkg tater tots

1. Brown the hamburger and the onions. Place in the bottom of a large casserole dish or 9x13 pan.

2. Sprinkle peas and carrots over hamburger. Cover this with the soup, and top with tater tots.

3. Bake at 350 degrres for one hour.

Serves 8

Linda’s Note: I think any “cream of” soup would work in this recipe. I also think any vegetable would work. Use the juice from the vegetables, too. I suggest mixing it with the soups till creamy and going ahead and sprinkling on the drained veggies first; then top with soup/juice mixture. If desired, add some black pepper and salt to soup mixture.

RUSSIAN TEA

1 cup Tang

1/2 cup instant tea (lemon or plain)

3/4 tsp cinnamon

3/8 tsp cloves

1 cup sugar

1. Mix well and store in covered jar.

2. To use, mix 1 to 2 tablespoons in a cup of hot water, and enjoy.

Linda’s Note: 3/8 tsp is 1½ fillings of a 1/4-tsp measuring spoon.

BANANA NUT MUFFINS

2½ cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt (optional)

6 tbsp butter

1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts

3 or 4 small, ripe, bananas

2 eggs

1/3 cup milk

1/2 tsp vanilla

1. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

2. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in nuts.

3. In a blender, on high speed, blend bananas, eggs, milk and vanilla for a few seconds till bananas are chopped. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture.

4. Pour into greased muffin tins and bake at 400 degrres F for 20 minutes. Remove immediately from the pan.

OLD-STANDBY GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE

2 cans green beans

1 can cream of mushroom soup, diluted with 1/4 can water

1 small can mushrooms, drained

French-fried onion rings

1. Mix green beans with soup mixture. Add the mushrooms. Pour into a casserole dish.

2. Add onion rings to cover top.

3. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes.

Linda’s Note: I use three cans of green beans, as they are not making the cans as large as they used to. I use some of the green bean juice instead of the water. I also put the whole shebang in my Crock Pot, as it saves oven space.

Some requests

Eugene Hruby is looking for a Christmas Fruit Cake recipe, like ma used to make. It was, dark, heavy and semi-moist. He thinks it is one of the old Bavarian German fruit cakes. There was no candy in it — maybe just dates and raisins.

Can you help in this? I have my Grandma’s Recipe and will print that and any you send in the first week of December.

He also wanted a good Oyster Stew recipe, one that is served with oyster crackers. Ours was milk, butter, a little flour to thicken and the oysters, to my remembering, but I will ask my Dad, as he made it. Can you share your recipe also?

Last, he would like a recipe for head cheese. He does not like the store kind, where they add “all but the kitchen sink” using big pieces of turkey, gizzards and even beef tongues.

It seems to me it was actually made with pork and was a very simple recipe.

Eugene is 90 years old, a veteran and has a house lady that will help him make this Christmas treat.

Next, Elsie Callows is looking for a recipe for Sweet Pickled Green Beans.

Last but not least, Kathryn Neitzel wants a recipe for Bloody Mary Mix. It can be spicy, and she wants to be able to can it.

Thanks to all who will be helping out. Have a great Thanksgiving! Linda

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