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Traditional farm living

By Staff | Sep 13, 2013

JUDI BRUHN said her fruit pizza is enjoyed by family and friends of all ages.

CYLINDER – “I am not a perfectionist,” said Judi Bruhn, who lives on a farm north of Cylinder in Palo Alto County.

However, Bruhn is not known for taking shortcuts either.

She was a 4-H member of the Fenton Forwards for nine years and said she received more blue ribbons than she can recall.

However, it is five or six red ribbons she received that she can remember and what it was that kept her from getting a blue.

It was her mother and the 4-H program that was instrumental in her cooking ability.

BRUHN SAID HER apple bars are requested as favorites of family and co-workers.

Her mother helped on the farm and decorated cakes.

However, that enjoyment of decorating cakes was not passed on to her daughter.

“All I can remember is washing dishes,” she said.

Bruhn has a garden and raises beans, peas, potatoes, pumpkins, gourds, tomatoes and onions. She cans green tomato juice and salsa.

With ready access to family raised beef and pork plus what they raise in their garden, Bruhn said her family lives much like a traditional farm of years ago.

Her favorite cookbook is the one from the church where the Bruhns are active members – St. Luke’s Lutheran.

Bruhn said she gets requests for her apple pie bars and fruit pizza.

Cooking on a grill is the first choice all year long for the Bruhns, whether it is beef, pork or chicken. In January, the grill is moved into the garage.

Bruhn likes to modify recipes, occasionally mixing two recipes to create something; she does admit not all of them are successes.

She has been a leader of the Fenton Forwards 4-H club for 22 years, a 30-member girls 4-H club that began in 1926, emphasizing responsibility and citizenship.

As a leader, she wants her members to learn life skills from the 4-H program.

“It’s what you learn while getting the ribbon,” said Judi Bruhn. “Life skills are the most important.”

Bruhn, who worked as a secretary at Sentral School for 12 years, has been married to Myron Bruhn for 32 years, living only seven miles from the beef cattle farm where she grew up.

The Bruhns had a dairy until 2002. In 2010, the barn was torn down and a new shop was built on the site.

Her husband custom feeds hogs with his brother, who is also his farming partner.

The Bruhns are parents to three children.

Daughter Tara and her husband Mike live on a farm at West Bend and are parents to five children; the most recent are 3-month-old twins.

Son Eric Bruhn and his wife LaTasha live next door. He is employed at POET Biorefining at Emmetsburg.

Son Trent Bruhn lives in Ringsted and works at Mid County Ag.

Cheddar bacon

chicken dip

1/4 cup bacon, crumbled, or use Real Bacon Bits

2 eight-ounce packages softened cream cheese

1 1/2 cups cooked white meat chicken, cut up

1/2 cup ranch dressing

8-ounce package shredded cheddar cheese, divided

Combine first 4 ingredients and half package of cheese.

Spread mixture in greased casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes until cheese is bubbly.

Serve with tortilla chips.

Rhubarb bread

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

2/3 cup oil

1 egg

1 teapoon vanilla

2 cups diced rhubarb

1 cup sour milk or buttermilk

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup nuts, optional

Combine sugar and oil, stir in egg, milk and vanilla.

Add sifted dry ingredients. Mix in rhubarb and nuts by hand.

Fill greased and floured bread pans – 2 regular or 3 small.

Mix with a mixer 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 tablespoon butter. Put on top of batter.

Bake at 325 degrees for 40-50 minutes, depending on pan size.

Apple pie bars

2 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup shortening

1/2 cup margarine

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 egg yolk

1 cup cornflakes

8 to 10 apples, pared and sliced thin

Combine flour and salt, then cut in shortening and margarine. Beat egg yolk in measuring cup, adding enough milk to make 2/3 cup liquid.

Mix well and stir into flour mixture. Roll half of dough into a jellyroll pan. Sprinkle crushed cornflakes on top of dough.

Combine sugar and cinnamon with apples and put on top of crust. Roll out remaining doughand put over apples.

Seal edges and cut slits in dough.

Beat egg white until foamy and brush on top of crust. Bake at 375 degrees for 50 minutes.

Combine powdered sugar and milk and drizzle over top.

Easy biscuits

2 cups flour

1 tablespoon sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

2/3 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cups butter

1 egg, beaten

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt; cut in shortening.

Combine egg with milk and add to flour mixture.

Knead dough lightly about 20 times and roll to 3/4-inch thickness.

Cut with circle cutter and place on baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 to 14 minutes.

(NOTE: These can also be made as drop biscuits without kneading the dough.)

Beef dip

1 loaf Italian bread

8 ounces cream cheese

1 small can chopped green chilies

4 packages BuddigBeef, cut up small

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1 bunch green onions

Hollow out bread, cutting the pieces up for dipping. Mix the rest of ingredients with mixer and put in bread bowl.

Wrap in foil and bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour.

(NOTE: Can also use tortilla chips for dipping.)

Berry-rhubarb jam

8 cups rhubarb

2 cups strawberries, cleaned

1 cup raspberries

8 cup white sugar

2 packages red Kool-Aid

2 package red Jell-o

Combine all ingredients except for Jell-o.

Cook slowly over medium heat for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and add Jell-o.

Fill jars to 1/4-inch from top and seal.

Place in a boiling water bath and process for 10 minutes.

Makes 12 pints.

Cheesy carrots

Cut and slice up 4 cups carrots and cook until tender. Place in casserole dish.

Melt 1/4 cup butter and 1/2 cup onion together and saute.

Blend 1/4 cup flour, salt and pepper into 2 cups of milk.

Cook until it thickens, then add butter, onions and a jar of cheese spread.

Pour over carrots, then top with crushed Rice Krispies.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Broccoli salad

1 head broccoli, cut in small pieces

1/2 cup bacon, cooked and crumbled

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup sugar


1/2 cup raisins

1 cup mayonnaise

Mix mayonnaise and sugar. Stir into other ingredients.

Refrigerate for a couple hours before serving.

Baked beans

3 cans pork and beans

8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

1 small can tomato sauce


1 teaspoon liquid smoke

1 cup white sugar

Combine all ingredients in 2-quart baking dish.

Bake at 300 degrees for 2 hours.

Chicken hot dish

Put 2 1/2 cups cubed chicken in 2-quart baking dish.

Prepare one box of stuffing mix for chicken as directed on package.

Put on top of chicken.


1 can cream of chicken or mushroom soup

1 can milk

2 T. chicken bouillon or Watkins seasoning

Mix together and pour over chicken and dressing.

Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Pizza burgers

1/2 pound hamburger

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce

1/2 cup spaghetti sauce


1/4 teaspoon oregano

1/2 cup mozzarella cheese

Brown hamburger, onion, and seasonings.

Add sauces and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese.

Cook until cheese melts.

Spoon onto top of 1/2 hamburger buns. Top with more cheese and broil in oven, watching closely to avoid burning.

Cheesy potatoes

1 package frozen hash browns

1 can cream of chicken soup

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1/4 cup melted butter

1 pint sour cream

2 tablespoons onion

Salt and pepper to taste.

Bake for 1 hour in 350 degrees or crockpot for 2 hours.

(NOTE: Can melt 1/4 cup butter and 2 cups crushed cornflakes for topping.)

Black bottom pie

2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/2 cups margarine

Combine in 9-by-13-inch pan and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool.

Soften two packages of gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water.

Mix the following:

2/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 1/2 cups milk

3 egg yolks, beaten. (Save the whites)

Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a slow boil.

Remove from heat and measure 1 1/2 cups of custard into bowl. Add to that mixture 2 squares melted unsweetened chocolate.

Stir, then pour over crust. Cool.

Add softened gelatin to rest of custard and stir. Beat 3 egg whites and 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar with1/3 cup sugar until stiff peaks form.

Fold into cooled custard mixture and pour over set chocolate. Chill.

Cover with whipped cream and chocolate curls.

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