Monday, September 19, 2011

As I write, it is thundering and lighting.  The kind of storm we haven't seen since June.  It is so cozy in here with squash and porkchops in the oven.  September evenings growing up in North Dakota seemed so crisp with leaves everywhere.  Juicy red apples in boxes sat in our back room, jars of glistening peaches lined the canning room shelves.  They're just getting ready to celebrate Sauerkraut Day in the town I grew up in.  Those memories will be forever etched in my heart.  Getting out of school early to play in the band, getting plates of sauerkraut, sausage, mashed potatoes and a roll.  The Schiemeleski Brothers playing polka music and everyone in town gathering for a community meal and fun.  It's still an important part of that little community, whose numbers have dwindled and faces I remember no longer there.  If I remember right, the tradition began 86 years ago when a wagon rolled into town and the farmers in town were treated to a sauerkraut dinner in appreciation of all their hard work in the fields.  It's now grown to a full day of fun, crafts, food and community.  I still miss going and every year, try to fix a sauerkraut meal.  I made this recipe last year, with a few modifications to my german heritage.  It was amazingly good:

Sauerkraut 'n' Sausage
1 small onion, chopped
1 T butter
1 jar sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
1 pound fully cooked polish sausge, cut into chunks ( I used elk sausage... amazing)
3 1/2 c diced cooked peeled potatoes
1 C apple juice
1 medium unpeeled apple, diced
2 T brown sugar
2 T all purpose flour
1 T caraway seeds
3 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
In a large saucepan, saute the onion in butter until it's tender.  Add sauerkraut, sausage, potatoes, apple juice and apple.  In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour and caraway; stir into saucepan.  Simmer for 35 minutes while your mouth drools in anticipation.  Garnish with bacon.  It really doesn't need the bacon.  I could eat this right out of the pan.  Yum!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

It's a beautiful morning here in Montana.  Blue sky... cool.  I woke up this morning remembering the tragedy of September 11, 2001.   It was a beautiful blue sky morning that morning too.  There seems to be a lot of remembering this weekend in the media.  I remember crying in the library with co-workers as we watched the towers fall and praying for all those people.  I remember the first ball game after that, when we sang God Bless America before the National Anthem.  There was not a dry eye in the gymnasium.  I remember the fear I felt for my daughter, who was in San Diego at the time in the Navy.  My heart is still filled with pride for the fireworkers and the EMTS and those who just put their lives in danger to do what they could to help.  Our communities were changed forever that day and a new American pride made us stronger.  So I will take a moment this morning to grieve again, and then with a deep breath move on...  and continue to be thankful for all those who continue to fight for our freedoms and keep us save. 

Saturday, September 3, 2011


Aren't sisters wonderful?  I wonder if they remember what they were giggling at.  When we all get together, it's a beautiful symphony of voices and laughter.  We all live so far apart, it's difficult to gather, but when we do it's so much fun.  My youngest sister had the opportunity on the way to a family wedding to stop and visit our other sister and her family.  She got to meet the newest (for now) baby of the family and spend the day reminiscing and catching up.  This week on the playground, I sat down with a disgruntled girl who was upset with her sister.  She giggled when I told her stories about my bossy sisters and even told on myself about a time when I had been bossy.  I think I was an irritating child. I have a feeling my teachers thought so.  Luckily, I had older sisters to set me straight if I needed it.  I am grateful I have all of them to lean on if I need them.  We have a hilarious tradition in our family we call the Black Plate...  I will fill you in on that story in a later post.