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Busy hands = happy hands

By Staff | Dec 21, 2012

VON EHWEGEN cuts the cinnamon rolls to be placed in the baking pan. She makes cinnamon rolls often to send in care packages to her grandchildren in college. She said they love to receive them, and she enjoys baking and sending the rolls.



TERRIL – To say that Glenda Von Ehwegen likes to be busy is like saying that the ocean has a little water in it.

“I like to stay active,” she said. “I’m not ready for the rocking chair yet.

“I always say that busy hands are happy hands.”

AMONG THE THINGS Von Ehwegen enjoys the most in life these days is cooking, baking and preserving garden goods for her family. She is shown with one of her favorite cookbooks, this one from Immanuel Lutheran Church in Terril.

Von Ehwegen has kept her hands plenty busy over the years rearing four children with her husband, Don Von Ehwegen, and helping him with the farming when they lived on the “home place” south of Terril where she grew up.

“I grew up working in my mother’s garden and helping her to do the canning. We washed eggs and helped outside, and helped our mother clean the house. That’s how I learned to work,” she said.

Von Ehwegen said she used to raise a big garden on the farm. Although her in-town garden isn’t as large, she still enjoys preserving foods including tomatoes, green beans, dill pickles and sweet corn.

She cans more than 100 quarts of tomatoes each year, she said, along with dozens of jars of other garden produce for family.

“It’s fun to see the kids’ eyes light up when they get those things,” she said.

CINNAMON ROLLS are one of the delights that Von Ehwegen especially enjoys making. She has simplified the process by starting with frozen dough, which she thaws and then rolls out as usual.

Among her favorite things for her family are cinnamon rolls.

“These days I cheat, and start with frozen dough,” she said.

Other things she likes to bake include chocolate chip bars, chocolate chip cookies, toffee bars and chocolate cake, with no eggs, but she uses oil and vinegar.

“It’s so moist and delicious,” she said.

Von Ehwegen said that when her guys are harvesting, she takes hot lunches out to them because they need something substantial after putting in such long days in the fields.

She always likes to bake something sweet to take along with her, because she remembered how wonderful it was when her own mother did that.

“Mom used to make a lot of bread,” Von Ehwegen said, “and when I was helping my dad in the field, she used to make cinnamon rolls for us.

“When she came to bring us lunch in the afternoon I knew what was in the car.”

Some of Von Ehwegen’s favorite entrees to cook include scalloped potatoes and ham, hot beef sandwiches with mashed potatoes, potato and hamburger casserole, and beef stew. She said her two daughters and two daughters-in-law are wonderful cooks, as well.

Von Ehwegen’s most-used cookbooks sport the names of the two churches in town-Immanuel Lutheran and Terril United Methodist. They have papers stuffed within them, writing on the pages and even pages falling out. The covers are tattered and worn.

“They’re my favorite cookbooks,” she said. “I also cut a lot of recipes out of magazines and (farm newspapers), because the recipes are down to earth and are recipes you would use in everyday life.”

One of her discoveries this fall was a recipe she found in a newspaper for apple pie filling, which she had never done before. It was a success, and she plans to try to use it to make apple crisp.

Her Thanksgiving favorites to make for her family include turkey and dressing, pumpkin pie, Heath cheesecake and caramel corn for snacking.

Von Ehwegen also bakes for her grandchildren, often sending “care packages” to her college-bound grandchildren, featuring her homemade cinnamon rolls with a bit of frosting in an enclosed plastic bag.

“They love getting it at school, and I love doing it,” she said.

Von Ehwegen said it’s special to her having her children close.

“When you have family doings, they can all come,” she said. “There is plenty of food and lots of fun.”

While on the farm she did it all – cultivating corn, chisel plowing, mowing hay, baling, running the corn picker, plowing corn stalks and helping with the hogs and cattle they raised. The Von Ehwegens farmed for 43 years and married for 58.

“It was hard to find reliable people to help on the farm,” she said. “I started working outside with him and didn’t mind at all. I enjoyed it.

“The only thing I wouldn’t run was our old Case combine. I thought it was too difficult.”

The two of them mowed the cemetery in town for 13 years, and she was a cook at the Terril Community School for seven years. Today Von Ehwegen remains active by cleaning the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Terril, which she has done for the past 16 years; doing a lot of food preservation for themselves and their children; and singing in the church choir with her husband.

Chocolate chip bars

3/4 cup white sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 sticks margarine, melted

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 1/4 cups flour

1 12-ounce package semi-sweet chocolate chips

Mix sugars together. Add margarine and vanilla and mix well.

Add and mix eggs, then dry ingredients, followed by chocolate chips.

Place into lightly-greased jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Do not overbake.

No-egg chocolate


1 1/2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons cocoa

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 teaspoons vinegar

6 tablespoons oil

1 cup cold water

Mix dry ingredients, then add liquids.

Pour into cupcake liners (or may use and 8-by-8-inch pan, greased).

Bake at 350 degrees. Test with toothpick for doneness. Yields 15 to 16 cupcakes.

Grapes salad

3 pounds grapes (red and green; rinsed)

8 ounces cream cheese

8 ounces sour cream

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat cream cheese and sour cream with brown sugar and vanilla until smooth.

Pour over grapes.

Toffee bars

1 cup butter or margarine, softened

1 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

1 6-ounces package chocolate chips

1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla. Add flour; mix well.

Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Press into ungreased jelly roll pan (15.5-by-10.5-by-1-inch). Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until brown.

While still warm, cut into bars.

Cool before removing from pan.

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