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Gardening helps her keep active

By Staff | May 30, 2014

MARGARET TRCA cuts a slice from one of her strawberry rhubarb pies.

HAYFIELD – Margaret and Anton Trca were milking 100 purebred Holsteins daily when they decided to quit the dairy business in 1985.

In addition, they were showing cattle at local, district, state and national shows.

But even though the dairy part of the farm had ended, they still had the dairy farm work ethic.

“It is a void in our lives,” Margaret Trca said.

Anton Trca went to work in the tool supply business, owned by his sons near Cedar Rapids. He covers a 100-mile radius of Hayfield, similar to a franchisee, and continues to do so.

MARGARET TRCA said she was pleased with the appearance of the edges of this pie, but the appearance had nothing to do with the wonderful flavor.

Margaret Trca went back to work as a registered nurse, a job that she left to take care of the Trcas’ growing family.

Margaret Trca, 80, is now retired from nursing but remains active.

A list of her characteristics would not include sitting still.

The Trcas spend winters in Arizona, but return to Iowa to plant their garden in the spring.

Their garden has an emphasis on tomatoes and burpless cucumbers.

MARGARET TRCA said she uses the entire tomato when canning to keep all of the health benefits. Her jars of tomato juice resemble tomato soup and do not separate after sitting for long periods of time.

Their tomatoes are planted in a deep trench where fertilizer has been placed in the bottom; Margaret Trca said the tomato plants will grow 8 to 10 feet tall.

The tomatoes are made into tomato juice using everything from the tomato, skin and all.

She is proud of her canned tomato juice. It doesn’t separate after sitting for a long period, and has all its healthy nutrients, she said, because she uses the whole tomato.

“It looks like tomato soup,” she said.

Margaret Trca also processes apples, preparing 40 quarts every year that all end up in pies.

“I make everything from scratch,” said Margaret Trca. “I render my own lard.”

Growing up in Clarion, she was sixth of seven children. Her father passed away when she was 2.

Her mother raised her seven children with her daughters all making it to college.

“She did that when there was no support or anything,” said Margaret Trca.

After graduating from high school in 1952, Trca completed nursing school at St. Joseph Mercy School of Nursing in Sioux City in 1955.

The Trcas are parents of three sons and three daughters, all living in the Midwest, mainly in the Cedar Rapids area and all within driving distance from the farm home east of Hayfield. They have 10 grandchildren.

Potato salad

5 pounds potatoes, red is best

18 large eggs

Onion to taste

1 quart Spin Blend salad dressing

2/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

3 teaspoons mustard

1/8 cup vinegar

Setout eggs to come to room temperature.

Then, boil potatoes until tender. Peel after they are cool. Then cut potatoes into small cubes.

To cook eggs, cover with water and bring to a boil. Boil 10 minutes. Cool and peel eggs immediately.

Chop eggs. Refrigerate potatoes and eggs overnight.

The dressing can be made a day early. Mix together salad dressing, sugar, salt, mustard and vinegar for the dressing.

On the day of serving, mix the potatoes, eggs, onion and dressing.

Store potato salad in the back of the refrigerator where it is colder. Keeps about one week.

Pie crust

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon sugar

1 1/2 cup lard

1 egg slightly beaten

1/2 cup cold water

1 teaspoon vinegar

Sift dry ingredients. Blend in lard.

Add the vinegar to the water, and then add water and beaten egg to the dry ingredients.

A food processor works well for mixing this pie crust dough.

Makes 4 single pie crusts.

Strawberry rhubarb pie

2 cups strawberries

2 cups chopped rhubarb

1 1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons quick tapioca

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 pie crust recipe

Cut strawberries and rhubarb into small pieces. Mix fruit together, and then add sugar, tapioca and salt.

Pour into pie crust. Dot fruit with butter. Top with second crust.

Bake at 375 degrees for 50 minutes.

Baked beans

for a crowd

4 64-ounce cans of pork and beans

2 pounds brown sugar

46 ounces catsup

8 ounces mustard

1/2 cup dried onion flakes

2 pounds bacon

Brown the bacon and crumble.

Mix all the ingredients in an electric roaster.

Simmer for two hours, stirring frequently.

If they are too juicy, remove cover from roaster and let the steam escape.

Enough beans for 100 people.

Chocolate pie

2 small packages chocolate instant pudding (sugar free works)

3 cups milk

2 pouches of Dream Whip (will be four pouches in box)

1 container whipped topping

1 baked pie shell

Mix the chocolate instant pudding and milk in a bowl. Let set up.

Use two pouches of Dream Whip mixing it up according to package directions.

When pudding is set up, put in 1 1/2 cups of Dream Whip with the pudding, may stir it in or mix it in with a beater.

Left over Dream Whip may be added to the whipped topping.

Put chocolate pudding in the baked pie shell, put whipped topping on top.

Refrigerate.

Zucchini muffins

3 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

2 cups grated zucchini

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

Blend the eggs, oil, zucchini and vanilla.

Sift together the dry ingredients, then stir into the wet ingredients.

You can add nuts, raisins, flax seed or aronia berries to make these extra healthy.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes.

Peel and grate extra garden zucchini and freeze 2 cups per bag so you can make muffins during the winter.

Makes 24 muffins.

Buttermilk bread

dough for rolls

1/2 cup warm water

4 tablespoons dry yeast

2 tablespoons sugar

2 cups buttermilk

2/3 cup sugar

2/3 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon salt

4 room temperature egg yolks

6 to 7 cups Better for Bread flour

Mix 1/2 cup warm water, yeast and 2 tablespoons sugar. Let raise.

Combine buttermilk, 2/3 cup sugar, vegetable oil and salt and mix with yeast and gently warm in microwave.

Mix in egg yolks. Add 6 to 7 cups flour.

Put into bread machine and let raise. This would be the dough setting on your machine.

Take dough out of bread machine and knead. Let raise again.

This makes soft dough for crescent rolls, cinnamon rolls or kolaches. Form and bake as desired.

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