Skip right to the desserts in the new year

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Cooking in the West

As the last of the Christmas goodies disappear and the tree comes down, most of us make a resolution to lose those pounds we have been packing on since the holiday season began back at Halloween (of 2000). Every year, I have a lot of resolve that dissipates quickly – pretty much as soon as the pain of exertion settles in. I remove the clothes from the treadmill/clothes rack and take it for a spin followed by a brisk sit, and I faithfully repeat this regimen for at least three days until my calf muscles seize up every time I roll over in bed. At that point, I declare a victory and declare that packing extra pounds is a good thing in the case of nuclear war or life threatening illness or attempted kidnapping.

Long ago in cyberspace I found a diary which validated that I am not alone in my annual three day journey towards fitness!

Dear Diary,

Monday: Although I am still in great shape since I was a high school cheerleader in the 70’s, my dear sweet daughter gave me a week of personal training for Christmas. My trainer, Belinda, is a 26 year old fitness trainer and model for athletic clothing and swim wear. It was tough to get out of bed at 6 a.m., but Belinda was waiting for me. She is a goddess with blonde hair, dancing eyes, and a dazzling white smile. She encouraged me as I did sit-ups; although my gut was already cramping from holding it in the whole time she was around. This is going to be a fantastic week!

Tuesday: I drank a whole pot of coffee, but I made it to the gym. Belinda made me lie on my back and push a heavy bar into the air. Then she put weights on it! My legs wobbled like Jell-o, but I made it a mile on the treadmill. Belinda’s rewarding smile made it all worthwhile. I feel great. It’s a whole new life for me!

Wednesday: The only way I can brush my teeth is by laying the toothbrush on the counter and moving my mouth back and forth over it. I have a hernia in both pectorals. Driving was ok until I tried to steer or stop. Belinda was impatient today. She insisted that my screams bothered the other club members. My chest hurt when I got on the treadmill, so she put me on the stair monster. Why would anyone invent a machine to simulate an activity rendered obsolete by elevators? Belinda explained how I would enjoy life more by getting into shape. She said a bunch of other annoying crap too!

Thursday: Belinda was waiting for me with her vampire-like teeth exposed as her thin cruel lips were pulled back in a full snarl. I couldn’t help being a half hour late – it took me that long to tie my shoes! She showed me a work-out with dumbbells. When she wasn’t looking, I ran and hid in the restroom. She sent another anorexic witch to find me. As punishment, she put me on the rowing machine, which I sank!

Friday: I hate Belinda more than any human being has ever hated another in the history of the world! Stupid, skinny, anemic, anorexic little cheerleader! If there was a part of my body I could move without excruciating pain, I would beat her with it. She wanted me to work on my triceps. I don’t have any triceps! If she didn’t want dents in the floor, she shouldn’t have handed me the barbells or anything that weighs more than a sandwich. The treadmill flung me off, and I landed on a health and nutrition teacher. Why couldn’t it have been someone softer like a drama coach or choir director?

Saturday: I lacked the strength today to use the t.v. remote. I ended up catching eleven straight hours of the Weather Channel.

Sunday: I am having the church van pick me up so I can go thank God this week is over! I am also going to pray that next year my daughter will choose a gift for me that is fun – like a root canal or a hysterectomy!

Although it might seem appropriate to run salad recipes with this column, I am going to run dessert recipes instead! My featured cook from the archives this week is Lorraine Valgamore of Springdale. Lorraine is a great cook and a been there done that ranch wife. Happy New Year!


1 C. flour

1 C. sugar

1 t. baking powder

1/3 C. shortening, cut in

1 egg

2 T. margarine

4 apples, peeled and sliced

Combine first three ingredients and then cut in shortening. Beat one egg and add to dry mix. Put 2 T. margarine in bottom of a 9 X 9 pan. Spread it around. Cover bottom of pan with peeled sliced apples (about 4) Spoon flour mixture on top of apples and bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream!



18.5 oz pkg. chocolate cake mix

3 eggs

21 oz. can cherry pie filling

Add eggs to cake mix, and stir until moistened. Add pie filling. Mix until well blended. Pour into a greased and floured 9 X 13 pan for cake type brownies or into a jelly roll pan for thinner brownies. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes for cake type and 25 to 30 minutes for thinner brownies. Frost if desired.



Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray it with Pam. Cover foil with soda crackers.

Bring to a boil and simmer 5 minutes:

1 C. brown sugar

1 C. butter

Pour syrup over crackers and bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with 12 oz. pkg. chocolate chips. Spread the chips as they melt, and then top with slivered almonds. Cut into bars.