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Children enjoy homemade cooking

By Staff | Mar 11, 2011

Eileen Butz, of Clear Lake, serves an afternoon snack after nap time for the children at her day care to, from left, Dylan, 4; Eileen's great-granddaughter Avery, 3; Leah, 3; and Alyssa, almost 2.

By CLAYTON RYE Farm News staff writer CLEAR?LAKE — Eileen Butz grew up on a farm in Hancock County, southwest of Forest City. She recalls easily what it was like on a farm she described a self-sufficient. “We ate everything we raised,” she said. The youngest of five children, she had to contribute to get everything done each day. Besides the gardening, there were chickens, dairy cattle and a few hogs to care for. “You were expected to be working,” she said. Eileen Butz helped mainly with the 1,200 chickens the farm raised each year from chicks. During the summer, the family filled orders they received for fryers so butchering chickens was a routine job. “It was a good life,” she said. As to the farm work, she said, “I didn’t know anything different. I didn’t resent it. I had a wonderful childhood.” Today, Eileen Butz lives in Clear Lake where she and her husband, Marlin Butz, moved to after leaving their own farm north of Clear Lake. She has been widowed for the past 17 years due to cancer. She started a day care service in her Clear Lake home in 1990 that she continues to this day. Each week she has 16 or 17 children she watches over. Her day begins when the first little one arrives at 6:30 a.m. and ends when the last one is picked up in late afternoon. She watches five children through the day and has seven more arrive after school. She learned the importance in preparing good food and lots of it on the farm and it is a practice she uses today both at day care and for family events that include a son, two stepsons, three daughters-in-law, 20 grandchildren, and a few great grandchildren. Her day care children enjoy her homemade food such as fresh baked bread and all cookies. Eileen Butz said she has had children cry when they have to leave before something that is in the oven is not quite done. She serves what she calls “kid-friendly food.” That means items such as chicken nuggets, hot dogs, and spaghetti. Food kids like to eat. In short, “Common food and plenty of it,” she said. The children who arrive after school come looking for their snack as soon as they come inside and “it better be ready,” said Eileen Butz. Food is a part of making the children feel needed and a part of you is her attitude towards providing a safe and secure day care for her pint-sized charges. Some of the first children she cared for so many years ago maintain contact with her. Family gatherings with a table full of children of her own over several generations take up the rest of Eileen Butz’ life. The recipes she has contributed are family favorites served up at gatherings throughout the year. The breakfast dish and banana bars are personal favorites of Eileen Butz from friends of years ago. The other recipes are served to her family frequently with the peanut butter balls being a request sent to grandchildren at college.


Breakfast dish 16 slices sandwich bread with the crust removed 8 slices of cheddar cheese 8 slices of ham or use the chopped (just make sure the bread and cheese are covered) Place 8 slices of bread in a greased 9-by-13-inch pan. You can cut to make the slices fit the pan. Cover with the ham and cheese Top with the rest of the bread Beat 6 eggs well and add 3 cups milk and 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon mustard. Beat well. Pour over the bread. This can be made the night before. In the morning sprinkle with crushed corn flakes and melt 1/2 cup margarine and pour over the top. Top with Baco chips and bake for one hour at 350 degrees.


Banana bars 1 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 cup margarine 2 eggs 2/3 cup mashed bananas 2 cups flour 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon soda 1/2 cup of milk 1/2 teaspoon allspice 1/2 teaspoon cloves 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon Mix all together and put in a greased bar pan. Bake at 350 degrees until a toothpick comes out clean. When cool, frost with the following: 1 pound of powdered sugar 1 egg 1/2 cup margarine 1 tablespoon milk


Overnight macaroni salad 1 box of ringed macaroni (cooked) 1 can crushed pineapple 1 can fruit cocktail 1 can mandarin oranges 2 cups of Cool Whip 1/2 pound of miniature marshmallows 2 eggs beaten 1/2 cup sugar 1 tablespoon four 1 package lemon jello Drain all fruit. Heat. Add the flour, sugar and egg. Cook until the mixture is thick. Cool. Add the cooked macaroni, fruit, marshmallows and Cool Whip. Refrigerate overnight


Grilled citrus chicken 6 boneless chicken breasts Place in a shallow dish or gallon-sized Ziplock bag Combine 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup vinegar, 3 tablespoon lemon juice, 3 tablespoon lime juice, 3 tablespoon Dijon mustard and 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder. Pour over chicken and refrigerate for at least for hours. Drain. Grill: turn off after 15 -18 minutes.


Peanut butter balls 1/4 pound margarine (melted) 1 16-ounce jar peanut butter 1 pound of powdered sugar (about 3 1/2 cups) 3 1/2 cups Rice Krispies Mix together Make into round balls and chill. Melt in a double boiler: 1 large plain Hershey bar, 1 6-ounce package chocolate chips, 3/4 bar paraffin wax. Dip the balls into melted chocolate and cool.


Contact Clayton Rye at crye@wctatel.net

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