Collecting Obama the latest fad

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Her family and friends know Barbara Beach Baker as Bobbi. She was reared on the Main Line and attended schools in the Lower Merion School District.

She came to the Phoenixville area after a divorce, settling in at St. Peter's Place.

A lifetime of physical disabilities kept her from working most of her life outside the house.

Through it all she has managed to rear one daughter and two sons with a total of five grandchildren. Her love of children has enabled her to become a special education assistant with the MOM House.

Bobbi comes from a musical family, as her father had a doctorate in music. Dr. Beach was a structured person. He groomed Bobbi to be a member of the Philadelphia Orchestra with the cello as her instrument. A cello is not a very easy instrument to play or lug away for that matter. He was very disappointed when she showed no real interest in going no further than the school orchestra. The entire Beach family played an instrument and all of her children play an instrument as well.

The Beach family spent their summers in Maine. Where Dr. Beach built the cottage they lived in with his own hands. We got on the subject of outhouses, on how today they are on a comeback. The new serge on outhouses is for decorative purposes or to store outside equipment. In Bobbi's days spent in Maine, they were used.

Today, she surrounds herself with a comfortable book-lined apartment and her lifetime of treasures. Her constant companion is "Felix," a blonde-colored gerbil, who resides in a large tank of pine chips that is on wheels. This enables Felix to move around.

Bobbi has many interests, but her addiction is her computer. She keeps in touch with family and friends and has rekindled relationships with old friends. The computer seems to have made life a little easier for her to keep in touch with others.

She likes creating recipes and never seems to make the same recipe twice. As she actually does not have structured recipes, the recipes she shares with us today took time to recreate from her head and put into the written word. She enjoys cooking for the Friday night supper those residents of St. Peter's Place share together.

The residents of the facility do not share daily meals, so this weekly covered-dish meal is a real treat for them.

Meatloaf Muffins

1 tube (10) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits*

1 pound lean ground beef

1/2 cup ketchup

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Separate dough into 10 flattened 5-inch circles. *Piecrust can be used. Grease or use cupcake liners in (10) muffin cups. Press each dough circle covering side and bottoms into each muffin cup. Set aside.

In a skillet, brown lean ground beef, drain. In a small bowl mix ketchup, brown sugar, cider vinegar, and chili powder. Stir until smooth. Add meat and sauce together, mix well. Divide the mixture among biscuit-lined muffin cups (about 1/4 cup for each.) Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for about 5 minutes before removing from tin and serve. Yields 10 servings.

Hamburger Soup

Crock Pot Cooking

1 pound lean ground beef

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon basil

1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt

1 envelope onion soup mix

3 cups boiling water

8 ounce can tomato sauce

1 tablespoon say sauce

1 cup sliced celery

1 cup sliced carrots

1 cup cooked and drained macaroni

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Crumble beef into crock-pot or slow cooking pot. Add pepper, oregano, basil, and seasoned salt; add dry soup mix. Stir in water, tomato sauce and say sauce; then add celery and carrots. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Turn control to high. Add cooked macaroni and Parmesan cheese. Cover and continue to cook on high for 10 to 15 minutes. Makes 5 to 6 servings.

Swiss Steak

Crock Pot Cooking

1 1/2 to 2 pounds round steak

2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons salad oil

16 ounces can tomatoes, cut up

1 large onion, sliced

1 stalk celery, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon thick bottled steak sauce.

Cut steak into serving pieces. Coat with flour, salt, and pepper. In a large skillet or slow-cooking pot with browning unit, brown meat in oil. Pour off excess fat. In a crock-pot combine all the ingredients. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or until tender. Thicken juices with additional flour dissolved in small amount of water, if desired. Makes 5 to 6 servings.

Meatless Country Chili

1 large chopped onion

1 chopped clove garlic

1 tablespoon melted margarine

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon dried whole basil

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon dried whole oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried whole thyme

1/4 teaspoon pepper

16 ounces can whole tomatoes, undrained and chopped

8 ounce can red kidney beans, undrained

Saute onions and garlic in margarine in a large saucepan, cook until tender. Add all the seasonings and spices into the onion/garlic mixture, combine well. Stir in tomatoes and beans. Simmer uncovered 10 to 15 minutes.

Best served hot. Serves six (2/3 cups).

Write to me at NEIGHBORHOOD KITCHENS, P.O. Box 1660, Norristown, PA 19404.

Life is a celebration, enjoy it!

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