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Symbols of love

February 8, 2012
By Pat Jensen , Marshall Independent

While sitting in church waiting for the service to begin, I glanced at a woman seated in front of me and watched as she moved her arm to rest it on the back of the pew; thus exposing a number of rings on her fingers. Each band sparkled with diamonds. They were beautiful - no doubt gifts from her husband.

I remembered wearing a diamond ring many years ago. A magnifying glass was needed to admire the tiny diamond. At the time it was given to me, I was very much in love. The size of the diamond simply didn't matter. Years would pass. The marriage ended and later my former husband passed away. The symbol of lost love found a place in the back of a drawer.

I have since remarried and now wear a simple band of gold. I try to imagine what three to five gold bands studded with diamonds would feel like on my bony fingers. Probably quite heavy.

You've no doubt heard the phrase/song: Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend. I would have to disagree. I would much rather wear a plain gold band and spend time with my husband and family. They provide the real sparkle in my life.

As the organ music played, I counted my blessings and offered a silent prayer of thanks.

Do you frequently find yourself cooking for only one or two? Today's recipes are just for you.


On a large piece of heavy duty foil, place the following:

1 ground beef patty, seasoned to taste

1 or 2 onion slices

potato chunks

carrot sticks, 2-3 in. long

Add salt and pepper and 1 T. water. Enclose your dinner in foil, sealing securely. Place packet on a shallow baking pan. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.


2 pork chops

Salt and Pepper

1/4 cup + 2 T. uncooked long grain white rice

2 thick slices onion

2 green pepper rings

1 rib celery, chopped

3 oz. tomato paste (half of a 6-oz. can)

1-1/2 cups warm water

Lightly brown chops in skillet. Season to taste. Transfer chops to a greased baking dish - 8 x 8-in. Surround chops with rice. Top each chop with onion slice, green pepper ring and some celery. Combine tomato paste and water. Pour over all. Cover baking dish with foil and seal. Bake at 350, approx. 1 hour. Uncover and bake 15 min. longer if needed.

Notes: May freeze remaining tomato paste to use another time; remove paste from can and place in small plastic freezer bag or container. Green peppers may also be frozen.


4 pieces of uncooked chicken

6 ounces Cola

1/2 cup ketchup

Place chicken pieces in crock pot or slow cooker. Combine Cola and ketchup; pour over the chicken. Cover. I use the high setting for 1 hour and then reduce to low and cook for about four hours; or until tender. Serve with your favorite barbecue sauce.


1-1/2 cups cubed potatoes (uncooked)

Approx. 1 cup water (just enough to cover veg.)

1/2 tsp. dried celery flakes

1/4 cup sliced carrots, halved

2 to 3 T. chopped onion

1/2 tsp. dried parsley flakes

1/2 tsp. chicken bouillon granules

1/8 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

1 T. flour

1/2 cup milk, divided

2 to 3 oz. Velveeta cheese, cubed

1/4 to 1/3 cup cubed fully cooked ham

1 T. real bacon bits

In a 1-qt. saucepan, combine potatoes, water, celery flakes, carrots, onion, parsley flakes, bouillon, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until potatoes are tender - about 12 min. In a small dish, combine flour and 1/4 cup milk until smooth; add to soup. Add remaining milk and cheese. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 to 3 min. Stir in ham and bacon bits; heat through.

Note: May substitute finely diced fresh celery (1-2 T.) for the dried flakes.


1 cup diced unpeeled apple

1/2 cup diced celery

1/4 cup Miracle Whip

Combine the above. Add 1 T. sugar. Let stand a few min. Stir gently and enjoy!


2 T. mayonnaise

1 T. vinegar (white or cider)

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. celery seed

2 generous cups thinly sliced cabbage

Toss and chill before serving.


1 ripe banana, mashed


1 cup sugar (I use slightly less)

1 egg

1 stick margarine, softened

1 tsp. baking soda

1-1/2 cups flour

1 tsp. vanilla

pinch of salt

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Put mashed banana in measuring cup and add milk to equal 1 cup. Combine this with the remaining ingredients. Do not over mix. Divide batter equally among 12 paper-lined muffin cups. Bake at 350, 20 to 25 min.

Note: These freeze well.

Love and laughter ...

Lena met a lady at a church bazaar who was sporting a rather showy diamond ring. As Lena was admiring it, the lady remarked that the diamond was known as the Anderson diamond, and it came with a curse. "Uff Da," said Lena. "Vat is da curse?" The lady replied, "MISTER Anderson."

To love and be loved is the greatest joy in the world. Happy Valentine's Day.



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