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Cooking is all about family

By Staff | Feb 17, 2012

Ruth Helmers slices into a piece of pie in her Sibley home. With her husband’s diabetes,. Helmers said eating healthy does not always mean changing the food, but the way it’s prepared.


Farm News staff writer

SIBLEY – For Farm Cook Ruth Helmers it’s all about family.

She and her husband, Wendell, have been married for 62 years. Through those years they have made their living in grain and livestock farming, but more importantly rearing four boys.

Though the couple has been retired several years, Helmers said she still enjoys cooking breakfast for her three sons and grandchildren involved in the farming operations.

Helmers prepares a diabetic treat for her husband, Wendell Helmers.

“They all stop out and I really enjoy making them their favorite dishes and visiting with them each day.

“Today was my grandson Kendall’s birthday.” she said “He loves grandma’s chicken and noodles, so that is what he got.”

Because Wendell Helmer’s health has been poor, these visits are important to him, as well, she said. “We really love and appreciate our family.”

And so it goes, this farm cook aims to please with old family favorites that sometimes have a surprising twist.

Because of her husband’s diabetes, the Osceola County cook has had to make certain alterations to some of the family’s favorite recipes.

“Often the kids are not even aware they are eating light.” —Ruth Helmers Sibley

“I have needed to change the ingredients in some of my recipes,” Helmers said. “Often the kids are not even aware they are eating light.”

Helmer said grocery stores are offering more light versions in cake mixes and gelatins. There are some good sugar substitutes as well. These items used in her favorite recipes make for a healthier option for everyone.

She also finds that freezing her summer garden produce keeps her well-stocked with home grown “good-for-you, side dishes.”

When asked about a family favorite meal, she said she can’t go wrong with roast beef and mashed potatoes.

“I don’t think you have to change what you fix to eat healthy. You just need to learn how to fix it differently.”

Certainly, in this case, being in the company of those one loves, makes all the difference as well.

Diabetic glorified rice

1/2 cuprice, uncooked (not instant)

1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple, in own juice

1 3-ounce package favored gelatin

1 cup boiling water

1 cup pineapple juice, drained from can

1/4 cup maraschino cherries

2 cups Cool Whip

Cook rice according to package directions. Drain, set aside. Drain pineapple, reserving 1 cup juice. Dissolve gelatin in 1 cup boiling water. Add juice.

Stir in well-drained rice, the cooked rice will absorb the color and flavor of the gelatin. Mix well and chill until thickened, but not quite set.

Add drained pineapple and cherries, if desired. Fold in Cool Whip. Chill.

Sugar free strawberry

chiffon pie

1 3-ounce package sugar-free strawberry gelatin

3/4 cup boiling water

1 1/4 cups cold water

1 cup frozen reduced-fat whipped topping, thawed

2 1/4 cups sliced fresh strawberries, divided

1 reduced-fat graham cracker crust (8 inches)

In a large bowl, dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Stir in cold water.

Refrigerate until slightly thickened. Fold in the whipped topping and 2 cups of strawberries. Pour into the crust.

Refrigerate for three hours or until set. Garnish with the remaining strawberries.

Yield:8 servings.

Oatmeal bread

2 cups of boiling water

1 cup of oatmeal

Mix and let stand 30 minutes

Dissolve 2 packages of yeast in 1/4 cup of warm water

Set aside


2 tablespoons. melted oleo

1 tablespoon salt

1/2 cup honey

Add yeast and oatmeal mixture.

Add 5 to 5 1/2 cups of flour. Mix well.

Let rise; punch down, let rise again and then put in pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Contact Robyn Kruger at obranger.com.

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