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Comfortable in the kitchen

By Staff | Nov 18, 2011

Joyce Galvin folds whipped topping into orange juice and milk, while her daughter, Jill, 11, waits to add mandarin oranges. After the oranges are folded into the mixture, it will be poured over a Ritz cracker crust. This salad is a favorite of Jill Galvin's, as well as her father, Tom, and brother, Andrew.


Farm News staff writer

HOLSTEIN – It’s apparent that Jill Galvin, an 11-year-old fifth grader, is comfortable with her mother in their rural Holstein kitchen.

Making a mandarin orange salad, Joyce Galvin, pops a mandarin orange in her mouth with an ease that says this is just part of the daily routine.

After all, it didn’t seem that long ago that Joyce Galvin was helping her own mother with baking and canning, while growing up with her six sisters and brother.

Jill Galvin, 11, and her mother, Joyce Galvin, present their finished mandarin orange salad.

“My mom, with our large family, seemed to be always cooking,” said Galvin. “It wasn’t unusual for us to be picking something from the garden and getting ready to can hot dog relish, green beans or dill pickles.

“She also was big at baking. There were always cookies on the kitchen table.” Dill pickles are the favorite of Galvin’s son, Andrew, 22.

And, like her mother, Joyce Galvin finds herself making the most of what her farm’s garden provides to can and make desserts. “I’m always looking for ways to use the raspberries from my garden,” Galvin said. “I make a raspberry apple pie that goes over well.

“Some years, I get more raspberries from the garden than I can use. I find myself looking for people who can use them.”

Son Joey, 27, points to his mother’s raspberry parfait pie his favorite.

Unlike many Iowans, Galvin seems to have little trouble using her garden’s zucchini. “My older daughter Erin, (24), enjoys my chocolate zucchini cake, and Jill likes the chocolate zucchini bread,” said Galvin. “I have quite a few recipes for zucchini and my family doesn’t seem to tire of it.”

On Thanksgiving, Galvin said she will have the hostess role at her mother-in-law’s home where her own mother will also be in attendance.

“Most of our family likes my sweet potato casserole,” Galvin said. “It’s become a staple at either Thanksgiving or Christmas each year, much like my mashed potatoes with cream cheese.”

Husband Tom nods in approval. It’s clear that Galvin is comfortable preparing such an important meal for her extended family and the woman who made her as at home in a kitchen as she has her own kids.

Thanksgiving isn’t the only time of the year, however, that Galvin shines in the kitchen.

“One of my most fun baking activities is when friends and I get together to make Easter cookies for church,” said Galvin who attends Our Lady of Good Counsel in Holstein. “Each Easter, I bake about 250 egg-shaped cookies, we decorate them, and then give them away at the end of that Sunday’s church service.”

Galvin has been the director of religious education for 15 years, a position that requires her to devote 20 to 25 hours per week on average.

The Galvins have been married 28 years, living on their immaculate Holstein Century Farm. The couple raised hogs until 1996 and cattle until 2010. Now they crop farm exclusively. Since moving to their home in 1983, Galvin has taught piano lessons each year to approximately 18 students, adding roughly nine hours of practice time to her active farm life.

Mandarin orange salad


60 Ritz crackers, crushed

1/4 cup sugar

1 stick margarine, melted

Mix crumbs and sugar. Stir in melted margarine and press into the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch pan.


1 6-ounce can frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed

1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1 8-ounce container Cool Whip

2 11-ounce cans mandarin oranges, drained

Blend orange juice and milk. Fold in Cool Whip and oranges. Pour over crust. Refrigerate or freeze.

Sweet potato casserole

with praline topping

A Thanksgiving or Christmas meal with family is not complete without this dish, Joyce Gilvan said.

5 pounds fresh sweet potatoes, boiled, drained and mashed

3 large eggs

2/3 cup sugar

2/3 cup melted butter

1/3 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon allspice

Mix together and place in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.


1 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup flour

1 cup finely chopped pecans

1/3 cup butter cut in small pieces

Blend ingredients with a pastry blender. Sprinkle over potatoes. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes at 350 degrees until top is brown and bubbly. Remove and garnish with 1/2 cup pecan halves.

Raspberry apple pie

The blend of the raspberry and apple gives this pie a delicioius flavor, Galvin said.

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca

3 cups coarsely chopped, peeled, tart apples

3 cups fresh or frozen raspberries

2 tablespoons butter

Double pie crust

In a large bowl, combine sugar and tapioca. Add apples and raspberries and toss to coat. Let stand for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, make your crust.

Spoon filling into crust, dot with butter. Place top crust over filling. Cut slits in pastry. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 55 minutes.

Zippy meatballs

This is a great choice for a potluck, Galvin said.

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

3/4 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup milk

1 egg

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine and form into balls.

Place in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.


1 cup ketchup

1/2 cup vinegar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup water

Combine and pour over meatballs. Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour.

Crusty hot biscuits

These are best fresh out of the oven and piping hot, Galvin said.

2 1/4 cup sifted flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cream of tarter

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar

1/3 cup shortening

2/3 cup milk

Sift together dry ingredients. Cut shortening into them to make coarse crumbs.

Add milk, then egg. Mix with fork until dough cleans side of bowl.

Roll out and cut with biscuit cutter or drop onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Yields 16 medium biscuits.

Contact Doug Clough at douglasclough@gmail.com.

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