Sunday, November 12, 2017

Pam's Norwegian Lefse

I grew up making lefse. I had a Norwegian father and a German Mother. My German mother was always on a quest to find the perfect lefse recipe so every year she kept trying a different one which led to a lot of failures. But she kept going till she got it right for my Dad. She used to rice the potatoes which is a big tiring messy job. She and I made lefse for years together. Since she passed away,  I have been making mine the same way and trying to perfect it. Some people think the thinner the better but I like mine a little moister and thats the way my family likes it so this is my own recipe. 


10 lbs russet potatoes
1/2 cup of salted butter 
1 cup cream (more or less)
2 tbsp sugar
2 teas salt 

5 cups of flour + more to roll out.... used the next day! 

I start my lefse by cooking ten pounds of potatoes in the crockpot the morning before I plan to make lefse.  That evening I mash the potatoes with my stand mixer in two batches using the above ingredients. Then I dump the batches together and chill the mashed potatoes in the refrigerator overnight. 

On lefse day,  plug in your grill and turn it to high to heat. Lay out towels to cool the lefse on after  cooking them. Then I measure 6 cups of chilled potatoes into the mixer bowl and add 2.5 cups of flour and mix together, just until mixed. Then using a 1/4 measuring cup I make balls of dough. To roll out I flour my rolling pin( I do this after almost every one I bake), and sprinkle the ball I'm going to bake with little flour on top and bottom. Roll it out the thickness of a tortilla. Don't use any more flour than you have to as it makes it dry and tough. 

Bake until brown and flip over to bake the other side. cool on a towel for a few min and then fold it up and move it to another set of towels you are cooling them in. This recipe makes about 30 rounds. after cooled place in a baggie and  refridgerate or freeze. 

Friday, October 6, 2017

Pam's Chicken Tortilla Soup

3 Large chicken breasts
1 ldg can of diced tomatoes
1 can whole kernel corn (2 if you really like thicker soup)
3 cans of black beans or one large and one small
3 cloves of garlic
1 large bunch of chopped cilantro
I large onion
2 Tbsp chicken soup flavoring ( I like the Better Than Boullion brand)
1 can of green chilis
48 oz chicken broth
2 cans of fiesta nacho cheese soup
1 large can of mild red enchilada sauce
1 Teas of pepper
1 teas salt

I cook it in the crockpot on high about seven hours and then shred the chicken with a fork and put it back in the soup. Then I add, five or six american cheese slices before serving and a couple TBSP of butter.

I garnish mine with tortilla strips ( I buy them in a bag but you can make them with tortillas sliced and browned in a lil olive oil). Also for other garnishes you can add:
  •  Sour Cream
  •  Diced Avocado
  •  Salsa Or Pico De Gallo
  •  Grated Monterey Jack Cheese
If you like it spicier, use rotel instead of diced tomatoes, and a hotter enchilada sauce, or even use some red pepper.  

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Grandma Ethel's Homemade Tomato Soup

28 oz can of peeled whole plum tomatoes
1/2 teas baking soda
3 cups whole milk
1/2 cup cream
1/2 teas salt ( this is to your liking too)
coarse black pepper to taste
2 tbsp butter

Open the can of tomatoes and puree leaving large chunks or no chunks of tomato whatever your liking is. Pour the tomatoes into the saucepan and add the baking powder stirring to mix. This looks a little frothy, and helps the milk from not curdling from the acid in the tomatoes. Turn on med heat and add the milk, cream, salt and pepper. (remember that pepper sinks to the bottom so don't just keep adding). Heat TO boiling but don't boil. Remove from stove and add butter to top of the soup while hot. Serve with crackers or better yet a grilled cheese sandwich.

* When Kathy and I were teenagers and we'd go shopping with Mom in Minot we would stop at Speedway, a restaurant on the way home and Mom and I would have tomato soup and Kathy would have macaroni salad. Kathy likes tomato too these days.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Pam's Sour Cream Raisin Pie

What’s your favorite pie? Pie came to America with the first English settlers. What kind of pie you grew up with depended largely on what are of the United States and where your ancestors came from. In the South pecan pies were popular with the many nut trees in the area.  Pennsylvania Dutch made molasses “shoofly” pies. Settlers in Florida, utilizing the plentiful local citrus, turned native limes into key lime pie. The Midwest, famous for its dairy farms, favored custard and cream pies. Massachusetts invented the beloved Boston Cream Pie, a hybrid pie-cake. This colorful variety of pies reflects the diverse tapestry of early American culture. If one wanted to, one could tell the story of our nation through pie. (

My favorite pie has always been Sour Cream Raisin. Mom and I would buy a Sour Cream Raisin Pie at the bakery in Stanley and we would enjoy it for a week! Over the years my favorite thing to have at Schatz’s truck stop in Minot is Sour Cream Raisin pie. I have only made it a few times because guess who eats it all? Me. No one in my family thinks its as good as I do. I have messed around with the recipe and made notes until I think I have it like I like it, so I’m sharing it with you. I hope you like it. I’d love it if you have a favorite to say what it is and share the recipe! 

                      Pam’s Sour Cream Raisin Pie


      1 1/2 cups dairy sour cream
              1/2 cup whipping cream
      1 cup sugar
              pinch of salt
              Couple shakes of nutmeg
      3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
      3 egg yolks
      1 1/3 cup raisins (plumped)

              4 egg whites (notice:you need one more egg white than you           need egg yolks)
      1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
      1/2 cup sugar
      1 teas vanilla
      1 baked 9-inch pie shell
              1.5 tbsp cinnamon and sugar mixture

1.    Separate three eggs in bowls. Yokes in one, whites in one, add one more white to the bowl of whites making it four egg whites. Let them sit to become room temp. Next, pour boiling water to cover the 1 1/3 cups of raisins in a bowl and let that sit while preparing the filling mix.

        2.   For the pie filling, in a heavy medium saucepan stir together the sour cream, the heavy cream, 1cup sugar, flour, the 3 egg YOLKS, and the drained raisins. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. 

3.   For meringue, place the egg whites in the mixer and beat till looks foamy. Then add the cream of tartar. Beat with an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high speed about 4 minutes more or until mixture forms stiff glossy peaks (tips stand straight). Add vanilla(clear if you have it so meringue stays nice and white). Mix just enough to mix in.

4.   Pour warm filling into baked pie shell. Spread meringue over filling. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 15 minutes or until the meringue is lightly browned. Remove and sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar mixture. cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Chill 3 to 6 hours before serving; cover for longer storage.

nutrition facts
(Old-Fashioned Sour Cream/Raisin Pie)
Servings Per Recipe 8, chol. (mg) 101, sat. fat (g) 9, vit. C (mg) 1, carb. (g) 87, Fat, total (g) 21, calcium (mg) 81, cal. (kcal) 545, pro. (g) 7, vit. A (IU) 486, iron (mg) 2, fiber (g) 1, sodium (mg) 125

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Rock, Paper, Scissors

                 It’s the first day of school. For many, it brings up a whole cauldron of feelings all mixed together, bubbling away, with scary, sad thoughts permeating our wellbeing. I’m not talking about just the nervous kids either, but many parents as well. 

                 I remember standing in the dining room window, tears streaming down my face,  watching Brendon walk to school with the Erickson kids like it was yesterday, back in Berthold, some 35 years ago now. I felt like I missed my last chance at something I couldn't get back, but couldn't put my finger on what. I told myself he’s ready and on to new great things, playing with friends etc… but without me (sniff). Ok stop Pam, that’s selfish! So I moved on to guilt. Guilt that I shouldn't have gotten mad at him as many times as I did. I should snuggled him more, and whatever else I could beat myself up about…To say I was overwrought was an understatement. It’s scary to think you aren't the only one now, that’s now going to be molding your child. You hope and pray other kids will be nice and include them. You're slapped in the face with the realization that they need you a little less with every passing year. For someone who sunk my whole identity into parenting, it was really rough. 

I’m thinking today of my teacher daughter, Shelbey, driving her 2 month old, and her 2 year old, to day care - hoping the caretakers are trustworthy and responsible in spite of all the scary stories we hear these days. She knows nobody could love these kids like she does, and longs  to stay home with them. To top it off, childcare is costing her 1700. a month. The thought of staying home with them is cut short when reality kicks in, because she knows she has to work to take care of them. She loves teaching music, so that helps her push past her sadness and  look forward to the day the boys can go to school with her.  She must put on a brave happy face, keep Briar fired up about playing with friends, say goodbye with a smile on her face, kiss Asher goodbye and forge on to school, breast pump in hand.

              For all the parents taking their first day of school pictures, this day puts last year, one more year further in the rear view mirror, and looking at their growth is bittersweet. In black and white we can see how fast they grow and change, and how fast the years are flying by! Looking forward to new teachers and new experiences but theres still a little fear of the unknown, mixed with the knowledge that life is now officially on fast forward for one more year. 

              Some hind sight suggestions I have are: first of all, try not to over think it like I did. Always try to look at the positive, knowing that life is moving as God intended. Children were given to us to nuture and guide to adulthood. Stay positive and look to the positive.  Secondly, make a plan to help out at school where you can and be involved. Your kids will remember you being involved and supportive of their teacher. Teachers need more support these days than ever. The key word there is support…if you are there to fault find, save it. Being a teacher is no easy task. Be helpful. On the other hand stand up for your child when you have to (they remember that too). Third, be sure you document the year. Just a week or so ago, Brendon, my son who trudged off to school 35 years ago, and his wife had the best time looking through all the stuff I kept and documented… cute stories, pictures and clippings. It takes time but it’s totally worth it. Even if its just an accordion pleated box, save some things and jot down some funny stories. Fourth, get ready to hear some new things about your child, as they are molded into school life. Like the old saying take it in, wheat and chaff together, and take what can make your child better and blow the chaff away. 

              So lots of special prayers today for students, parents and teachers as they start a new year. Lets not forget the parents of special needs students too,  who have so much to deal with as their child starts school. Hugs to all today!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Happy Mother's Day!

“The noblest calling in the world is that of mother. True motherhood is the most beautiful of all arts, the greatest of all professions. She who can paint a masterpiece or who can write a book that will influence millions deserves the plaudits and admiration of mankind; but she who rears successfully a family of healthy, beautiful sons and daughters whose immortal souls will be exerting an influence throughout the ages long after painting shall have faded, and books and statues shall have been destroyed, deserves the highest honor that man can give.”
– David O. McKay

Mother’s Day. It brings so many thoughts of so many different times in my life. When Grandma Bruhn,(my Mom’s Mom) was alive yet my Mom would go to see her towards the end of the week, so she could spend Mothers Day with us. Grandma had seven children so she always had people around. Grandma didn't go out much and fun wasn't in her vocabulary that I remember, so Mom always brought something she'd probably buy herself anyway like groceries or something frugal.  Then on  the Sunday of Mothers Day, we would have a picnic or something with Mom and she would do most of the cooking ( something you don't think about till you are her age yourself). 

When my kids were small and we were still in North Dakota Mom would take them shopping to buy something for me. Brendon always picked out jewelry. When he was in third grade I watched him in the mall with his little friend. He was in Riddles, a fine jewelry store with his little friend in the same grade. Pretty soon he came out looking for me and I was sitting under the clock, visiting with a friend and keeping an eye on him, which he hadn’t realized. He excitedly ask me for a little bit of money to add to his, but what he wanted it for was top secret! I gave it to him and he ran off, and soon proudly came back with a package. He didn't give it to me, just smiled like a cat who swallowed a canary. I didn't ask what he had, because he looked like he’d love to tell me, with a little coaxing. On Mothers day, he proudly handed me a little spring loaded box, with a pair of black tiger eye posts. I still have them, and look at them often. They are special, but so is the vision of him in the jewelry store, that I cherish. Another of my favorite gifts from Brendon,  is this little guardian angel pin and note Brendon left me, and he was probably a freshman in high school or there about. He bought me a stereo once with his busboy job when he was a sophomore in high school too which I could hardly accept but meant the world to me,

Shelbey always wanted to go to Home of Economy and buy a piece of sparkling crystal under those special lights that could make a coke bottle look good! She always knew what she wanted, and Mom took her which was a special memory for them, to shop for me. My favorite gift from her was memory jar she made and had the other kids too put in memories. I’ll share one of them with you that she wrote. I just pulled a random one, and thought it was funny. 

When Sydney got a job as a teenager she bought me my first Brighton’s set of jewelry. She knew I loved it and only had a piece or two because as a parent you always have too many things the kids need to buy much for yourself and thats kind of something I gave up to stay home with the kids and do odd jobs over the years. I lived by the poem 100 Years From Now. It goes:

One Hundred Years From Now
One hundred years from now
It won't matter
What kind of car I drove
What kind of house I lived in
How much money I had in the bank
Nor what my cloths looked like
The world may be a little better
Because, I was important
In the life of a child. 

Therefore I took that literally and I drove and old car, and we didn't own any name brand clothes or any thing that cost much. Garage sales were my fun.  When I opened that first gift from Sydney I had such mixed feelings of accepting something that was 100+ dollars from a teenager. Since then I have gotten so many pieces from her, and now she calls Kerry and says, “Dad I'm getting the necklace from me, and the earrings from Easton so you can get the bracelet”, and he does! Cha ching…score for me! My favorite gift from her is a little book she made me. Sydney keeps her feelings close to her heart, so for her to finish something like this book, was really special. 

So many Mother’s Days have flown by! One day you’re a young Mom and the next your a Grandma it seems! I say to all the young Moms, enjoy every day as a Mother, at the stage you are in. As a Grandma, enjoy every day and remember how blessed we are to be here and in the kids lives. Some people never get there. 

Thank you to my kids for sharing their lives with me on a daily basis. I know how blessed I am!  I am forever grateful for the life God blessed me with, then and now, because life is a  winding journey with many ups and downs and twists and turns! Enjoy them all! Happy Mothers Day!