Archive for September, 2015

Saturday’s Simple Recipe Page 10 Jello Fruit Salad

September 26, 2015

When Troy, Michelle, and Thompson were here for a visit recently, we went through old photographs of my family. It was interesting to see history repeat itself. My daddy was six feet tall. That was tall for a man born in 1912. My mom wasn’t quite five feet tall.

Mom and Dad

Mom and Dad in Love

Troy, our younger son, is 6’3″ tall. Michelle, his wife, is not quite five feet tall.


Troy & Michelle in Love

I love family photographs and family traditions. For many years everyone in the family came to Mom’s house for Thanksgiving Day. It was not unusual for her to welcome thirty-six people in her home. My husband’s parents joined us the years they did not go to College Station for the A & M vs. Texas game.

Mom’s Red Jello Fruit Salad was always on the menu for Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. Our children grew to expect it for holiday dinners. When Mom moved from her home to independent living, we no longer celebrated in her home. It was time for me to make these holiday dinners for our family.

It’s rare now that we have Thanksgiving dinner in our home, as none of our family is here. Everyone does come together for a few days before Christmas for our Christmas dinner. Red Jello Fruit Salad is on the menu. One or more of our grandchildren is usually on hand to help me make it. Julie, Lindsey, and Tommy are the biggest fans of Red Jello Fruit Salad. They always have more than one helping.

Red Jello Fruit Salad


Following ingredients can be doubled easily to serve more than 8 people.

1  six oz. pkg. of strawberry Jello

1 can 15 oz. fruit cocktail (drained)

1 yellow banana (firm)

Cool Whip for topping


Jello Ingredients


Use the following speed method for making jello in a mixing bowl that is heat-resistant.

Dissolve gelatin mix in 1 1/2 cups of boiling water. Add 3 cups of ice cubes. Stir into jello until slightly thickened. Remove any  ice pieces that didn’t melt.

Fold-in drained fruit cocktail and sliced bananas. Pour into a pretty bowl.

Put  in refrigerator to congeal completely. When ready to serve, top with Whipped Cream. Mom made the real thing. My family is just as happy with Cool Whip added to their own helping.


Jello Fruit Salad

I made jello fruit salad for our dinner last night. Tommy grilled steaks and fixed everything else. He takes good care of me. I am so thankful to have him. He brought this heart home as a surprise for me recently. I hung it in my studio and look at it every day.


Brave Girl

Tomorrow will be a month since my last blood transfusion. In the last 6 months this is the longest I’ve gone without a transfusion. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that when I’m at MD Anderson for my weekly appointment on Tuesday, the news will continue to be good. When I saw my oncologist, Dr. Garcia-Manero, this month he said the chemo is working on my MDS. I see him again on October 12. I should start the sixth round of chemo that day.

The good news is I won’t be on chemo when I move downtown for Quilt Market and Quilt Festival on October 23. Will you be there? I would love to see you. I usually can be found on the third floor of the George Brown Convention Center. That’s where the classes, lectures, luncheons, and special events take place. Come by for a hug and a chat. Until we meet again, blessings to you and your family, Judy



Saturday’s Simple Recipe Page 9 Hershey Bar Pie

September 19, 2015

Surprise! Here I am visiting you on Saturday with the next page in my recipe book. For a change I’m not several days late. Yippee!

Today we’ve been to the A & M game in College Station and home again. The Aggies won, but the highlight for me was getting to see Madison, our oldest granddaughter. She and a couple of her friends met us for a little while in the Lettermen’s Club at Kyle Field. It was a hot, sunny morning so Tommy and I chose to watch the second quarter inside. After seeing the half-time and Madison, we headed home again.


Madison & I in the Lettermen’s Club

When Tommy suggested we leave the game early, I was happy to go. We gave our tickets to Madison and her friends so they could watch the game in seats better than the Freshmen receive. She said they were “Awesome.”

If you haven’t surmised by now, my family is so important to me. My daddy died of a heart attack when he was only 51 years old. I was 20. When I was 49 years old I started having heart problems. When I was 50 years old I had a single by-pass. My cardiologist said I was healthy otherwise, but I chose the wrong parent.

I wish I could have had more time to know my father. We don’t really know adults when we are children. It takes a little experience being an adult to understand our parents, I think. When Troy was here recently, he went through any Olafson family pictures I have and others my sister had. Troy’s middle name is Olaf, and he has named his company Olafson Creative. Suzanne and I think he looks like our Daddy.


Suzanne, Daddy, & Me

When we were children, our daddy loved to make us happy with small surprises. He was the one in charge of choosing the best and sweetest watermelon. He chose our Christmas tree and let it stand in sugar-water in the garage until the limbs were just right. He would bring a very large Hershey bar home from the grocery store and he, mom, and all 5 of us children would gather around. He would break the Hershey bar into segments and give each of us equal amounts as he grinned from ear to ear passing out chocolate to his giddy children.

When I received this recipe for “Hershey Bar Pie” from Susan Manning, I thought of Daddy and the big Hershey bar we shared. Holly loves this Hershey Bar Pie. When she was in elementary school and junior high school she loved to go to Susan’s small luncheon place in Victoria so she could have this pie. Many years after the restaurant closed, I got the recipe from Susan to make it for Holly’s 34th birthday. (Last week Holly turned 43 years old.) Lindsey helped me make the pie for a surprise for Mommy. I’m not sure why Lindsey made such faces when she unwrapped the big candy bar. The Hershey bars are not as large as they used to be. Imagine.


Lindsey Helping to Make Mommy’s Pie 9 Years Ago

Hershey Bar Pie


1 prepared and cooled pie crust (I make my own pie crust which I’ll share with you another day.)

2 Hershey’s 4 oz. bars with Almonds (You can use milk or dark chocolate.)

1 sixteen oz. container of Cool Whip

3/4 cup toasted sliced almonds




Melt the Hershey Bars in a double boiler on the stove until stirable. Reserve 1/2 cup of Cool Whip and 1/4 cup of almonds.

Stir the remainder of almonds and Cool Whip with melted chocolate.

Mix well. Pour into pie crust.

Top with 1/2 cup of Cool Whip and the remaining almonds.

Chill really well and then serve.


Hershey Bar Pie

Tommy is on his way home from picking-up salads at Chili’s for dinner. The pie should be plenty cool by the time we finish our dinner. I’ll be sure to clean my plate so I can have dessert. Did you know desserts spelled backwards is stressed? So if you are stressed, make this pie, eat a piece and all your stress will go away. Try it. You just have to believe. Take care, sweet friends, until we meet again. Judy

Saturday’s Simple Recipe Page 8 Green Bean Bundles

September 15, 2015

Here it is Tuesday again, and I am sending your recipe for last Saturday. We have had our son, Troy, and his family here from Long Beach for a special visit. It was hard to do anything other than love our youngest grandson, Thompson. It was a joy to see him laugh, smile, talk and squeal. He was easy to please and liked looking around at all the colors and things in my studio. Of course I loved that.

Thompson in My Studio

Thompson in My Studio

We spent time with Todd and his family and Holly and her family when we could. Last Saturday, we all met for the Texas A & M football game in College Station. It was great to have all 14 of us together for a tail gate lunch before the Aggie win.

Huebners, Murrahs, Murrahs, and Murrahs

The Huebners, Us, Todd Murrah and family and Troy Murrah and family

It will be Christmas time before we are all together again. I will make all the things the family expects for our early celebration Christmas dinner including Green Bean Bundles.  A friend from our First Presbyterian Church in Victoria Sunday school class brought these to a pot luck Christmas party at our house. I made them for our family Christmas dinner that year, and they’ve been on our holiday menu ever since. Everyone in the family likes them including the grandbabies. These are so easy that anyone helping in the kitchen can make them.

Green Bean Bundles


3 cans whole green beans (Drain)

Package of bacon (Cut each strip in half and cut off excess fat.)

1/2 cup butter

¾ cup brown sugar (packed)

Minced garlic to taste (I shake in a LOT. My guess is a tablespoon.)


Melt butter, brown sugar, and garlic in saucepan. Stir until comes to a boil.

Loosely wrap 5-6 green beans with a half strip bacon. Place in rectangular Pyrex dish with small space between for browning bacon. Use all the green beans and bacon. Your dish will be full unless you use two smaller dishes.

Cover with all the melted mixture.

Bake in oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.


Brown under broiler for 10 minutes.

Beans Ready for Oven

Beans Ready for Oven

We are soon approaching Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas which are all fun holidays. I wish they were spread out a little more throughout the year. There’s very little sign of Autumn approaching in Houston, Texas. I’m looking forward to it getting here. I hope you have something to look forward to this fall. May you receive many blessings. See you again next week. Hopefully, it will be on Saturday. Hugs, Judy



Saturday’s Simple Recipe Page 7 Ginger Cookies

September 8, 2015

Here it is Tuesday morning, and I am just now getting Saturday’s recipe to you. Our son, Troy, came with his wife, Michelle, and baby Thompson for a two-week visit. The first week has been wonderful. We’ve had a great time on the go every day. Thompson is an unbelievably sweet, agreeable 3-month old baby. We take him everywhere, and he’s happy and content to be with us wherever we go. He laughs and coos and is intent on what everyone is doing around him. We love having all three of them with us.

Troy, Michelle, & Thompson Visit Grammy & Granddaddy

Troy, Michelle, & Thompson Visit Grammy & Granddaddy’s House

I made a batch of Ginger Cookies before they came last Tuesday. I know how much they both love them. My mom, Ruby Earl Olafson, made these cookies at Christmas each year. Several years after Mom died, Troy asked me to make the cookies. I found a recipe for “Crinkle Tops” in a cookbook I received when I married in 1966. I imagine one of my aunts sent the book to me because it came from St. Olaf Lutheran Church in Austin, Minnesota. Everyone in our family loves these cookies. The “little girls” love to roll them into balls and dip them into sugar for baking. They are so easy.

Sydney Huebner Helping Me Bake Cookies

Sydney Huebner Helping Me Bake Ginger Cookies

Ginger Cookies


1 cup shortening

½ cup butter

4 cups flour

2 cups sugar

½ tsp. salt

4 tsp. baking soda

3 tsp. ginger

3 tsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. nutmeg

2 eggs beaten

½ cup Grandma’s Molasses


Sift dry ingredients together. Add other ingredients and mix with mixer. Roll in 1” balls and dip in sugar. Place sugar side up on cookie sheet. Bake in 350 degree oven 8-10 minutes or until light brown and crinkled on top. Remove from cookie sheet after 1 minute and cool single layer on waxed paper.

Cookie Jar Half Empty

Cookie Jar Half Empty

Hope your day is full of love and fun things to do. Today I will go to MD Anderson for bandage change,  blood work and bone marrow aspiration. Hopefully my  PA  will say there is no need for a transfusion, and I’ll be home after review with her. Thursday I’ll be back at MDA for an EKG, more blood work, and appointment with Dr. Garcia-Manero, my oncologist. If all my counts are good, and he says the chemo is still working, I’ll start the fifth round that day. I take chemo by tablet, so I’ll be home the remainder of the days the Murrah family from Long Beach will be with us. I don’t want to miss a minute more than necessary being with them. Be with someone you love today. I wish you a happy day. Love and hugs, Judy

What Joy!

What Joy! My Happy Boy.




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