Saturday, March 1, 2008

Our Only Grocery Store Just Closed!

One week ago today, our last grocery store closed. This is what Wal-Mart is doing to our country. Why do we allow them to do this to us???????????????

We were a small 'one horse' town and we liked it that way. Then Hardee's moved in. In the beginning, they took business from our local mom and pop greasy spoons. Some of the small restaurants closed. Then we got McDlonalds, then Taco Bell. More of the small restaurants closed. Now, almost no one eats at the chain restaurants, but our smaller, good restaurants have already left us. This leaves us with only the very few restaurants who were able to stick it out through the new chains.

Last year Wal-Mart moved in. Most of the local citizens were against it. We know a few council members who voted for it and we have given them their opinions. Wal-Mart came anyway. Most of our small stores couldn't afford to remain in business. Now, our only real grocery store has closed it's door.

We have a Sav-A-Lot if you don't mind junk brands. Other than that, there is only Wal-Mart. I refuse to shop there and must drive more than 50 miles each way to a real grocery store.

Why are we letting this huge company, the number one employer in China, to take over our country? We cannot allow this to happen!

I know that I am only one small person, but I intend to fight Wal-Mart at every opportunity!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Ruth Ann's Famous Dinner Rolls

This roll recipe was handed down from my favorite aunt to me. I have made some improvements in measurements over the year - she didn't measure anything, but the recipe remains basically the same. I raise my dough and rolls on the kitchen hearth. Truly the fragrance of home!

4 packages yeast

4 tablespoons sugar

2 cups lukewarm water

2 cups boiling water

2 cups sweet cream butter, no substitutes

3/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons salt

4 eggs, well beaten

8 cups bread flour

1 pound sweet cream butter, no substitutes, melted

Dissolve yeast and sugar in 2 cups lukewarm water; set aside. In a very large mixing bowl, pour the boiling water over two cups butter. Add sugar and salt. Stir until butter is melted. Stir in 4 eggs. Add as much flour as possible while dough is in the bowl. Turn dough onto work surface and knead in the rest of the flour. Dough should be slightly sticky. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, but do not add more flour. Place bowl in a warm draft-free place and allow to rise until doubled in bulk. Punch dough and allow dough to rise again until doubled in bulk. Spread work surface sparingly with flour (the remaining cup should be sufficient for rolling out rolls). Roll dough to about 1/2” thickness. Cut rolls with 2-3” round cutter. Totally immerse each roll in melted butter. Fold each roll in half and place in pan. By the time the pan is full it will be floating in butter – do not remove butter. At this time the rolls can be sealed in bags and frozen. When ready to bake allow rolls to rise until doubled again. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake 15-20 minutes until rolls are golden brown.

This recipe is taken from my book "Afternoon Tea Recipes". You may order your copy - 318 pages - for $19.95 + shipping and handling by contacting .

Our book is also now available at

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Mr. S. and I have been married almost 33 years. We spent the first several years of wedded bliss in searching for the best chili recipe. We attended cookoffs, purchased recipe books, and searched the Internet for THE perfect recipe. We came across perfection quite by accident when a friend gave us a packet of Carol's Brown Bag Chili Mix. We made the pot of red by the recipe and then started our own trials. The recipe shown below is our final outcome. We still try out new seasonings and recipes, but we always come back to this:
The Perfect Chili Recipe.

Begin with 2 pounds of ground beef. I use the 83% lean because the leaner beef results in dry meat. Brown the meat until it begins to give up it's juices.

The ingredients!

Carol's Brown Bag Chili Mix

As the ground beef begins to brown, open the brown bag and all of the little packets inside. They are salt, chili seasoning, mesa, and ground hot pepper.

When the ground beef starts to look really yucky and give up its juices -

It's time to stir in the seasonings. Stir them directly into the beef. Watch the meat carefully as you stir in the seasoning because sometimes it will try to stick. Putting the seasonings directly into the meat not only gives the meat a great flavor, but will prevent the mesa and seasonings from the possible clumping that would occur if you made them into a slurry and then added them to the liquid. It also does a finer job of seasoning the meat.

Stir the seasonings into the meat really well.

Remove your peppers from the freezer so that they thaw just a bit. Since I made this batch of chili for wimpy guests, I cut way back on the peppers that I used.
For this recipe I used only 1 red habenero, 2 green jalapenos, and 4 dried peppers of unknown extraction.

I use only Bush's Chili Beans in my chili. Other brands don't have the same flavor. I formerly used Bush's Chili Hot Beans which were more flavorful, but apparently Bushs no longer manufactures them. I am only able to find Bush's Chili Beans in Hot Sauce. They are good, but don't taste quite the same. These beans are NOT hot, but have a wonderful taste. I add 3 cans. You can add more if you like chewy chili.

Put the beans in directly on top of the ground beef.
Now, add 3 quarts of diced tomatoes. If you add the tomatoes first, the beans will splash into the tomato juice and onto your shirt.

Add the peppers as desired. The easiest way to chop the peppers is when they are partially frozen. Use a pair of old scissors to make about 8 slits lengthways through the pepper, then dice using the same scissors. Do not remove the membrane or seeds.
The peppers that I use depend on what I have at the moment and who is coming for dinner.
At various times, I've used Tabasco peppers (don't use the sauce because you can taste it!), bird's eye, serano, chipotle, etc. Whatever else I use, I always add habeneros and jalapenos.

Stir in the peppers and allow the soup to simmer for several hours.
Chili is always better after the flavors have been allowed to marry; so, if you have time, prepare the chili the day before you plan to serve it.

Dish the chili into individual serving bowls.
Place dishes of sour cream, grated cheese, tortilla chips, more chopped peppers, etc. on the table and allow your diners to garnish their chili as they wish.

Serve with milk to cut the heat! The feast above is shown on our
Mug Mats
which are available from

Monday, February 11, 2008

Deer Haven Manor

This blog will offer you our favorite recipes from Deer Haven Manor. We are a country family, in a country home, in a country town, with a country grocery store. No gourmet groceries are available here. Fancy ingredients must be purchased when visiting other towns or ordered through a catalog or via internet.

Our local restaurants are a fantastic place for gathering to learn all of the local news. (Some would constrew this to be gossip.) They are not places for lovely and inspiring dinners.

When we want a fine meal, we either cook it ourselves or go to a friend's home for dinner. The finest meals are served at the local churches for "dinner on the ground" during a revival or community singings. Every cook brings out her finest recipes for these occasions.

My favorite meals were served by my Aunt Kate whose invitation was always "Come have a bean". She loved to collect recipes, but rarely made any of them except for parties and teas. Her best recipes were the plain country cooking that she learned from my grandmother.

It is to this fabulous woman that this blog is lovingly dedicated, so

Come have a bean!
Ruth Ann