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Planning meals in advance

By Staff | Sep 12, 2014

MARY BELTMAN SERVES a slice of French silk pie. She said this dessert freezes well and is one she likes to have made ahead when her family comes to visit. Her mantra is stenciled onto her kitchen wall: “Talk much, sit long, eat well.”



SIBLEY-Mary Beltman loves it when her family comes to visit. Though she may not mind the extra cooking, she said she doesn’t want to spend all of her time in the kitchen.

“There are 25 of us when our family is all together,” said the mother of five and grandmother of 13. “There’s a lot of food going on, but I like to keep things as easy and simple as possible.

“I don’t want to be busy with it while they’re here-I want to be visiting with them or playing games with them.”

MONSTER BARS and French silk pie are favorites of the Beltman family. Mary Beltman said she only uses butter in recipes instead of margarine, because the kind of ingredients used in baked goods makes a lot of difference.

Beltman said she remedies that issue by using her freezer and her slow cooker as much as possible.

“It’s surprising how many things you can freeze,” she said. “I’ve found that a lot of desserts freeze very well.

“I also cook a lot of roasts. They’re so good and so easy to make and serve.”

Beltman grew up on a farm near Sanborn and learned to cook from her mother. There was a lot of cooking to do back in the day.

“Those were the days when you had breakfast, lunch, dinner, lunch, supper and lunch,” she said with a laugh. “Families worked hard and ate a lot and baked a lot.

RECIPES ARE A BIG thing on both sides of Mary Beltman’s family. Both sides of the family get together often, and have shared so much food that the extended families created their own cookbooks. Above, Beltman looks through the Beltman family book, while her Krikke family cookbook sits next to it. She said they’re both the “go-to” books when people need good recipes.

“It was a big part of their lives. There were a lot of good cooks in the family. They took pride in that.”

She remembered one of her first experiences of making meatloaf around the age of 10.

“The recipe said (to include) 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, but the “1” was missing from the paper,” she said, so into the recipe went 4 teaspoons of pepper.

“Dad ate it anyway,” she said.

The Beltmans get together monthly with their extended families. Everyone brings something to the table. In time, as recipes were shared, it led to creating two heirloom cookbooks – one for each side of the family.

The Krikke family cookbook (Mary Beltman’s family) was printed in 1995, while the Beltman family cookbook came to life in 1996.

Both are thick, large, spiral-bound books, complete with numerous family recipes, including recipes in the original handwriting of women of past generations.

The cookbooks feature family photos, poems and writings about the pleasures of family and family life. One includes a genealogy.

“They’re the books we go to when we need recipes,” said Beltman. “They’re the recipes we grew up on, and they’re such treasured keepsakes.

“Our kids all have these cookbooks. We also use our local Christian school cookbook a lot.”

Of her own cooking, Beltman said, “I only use butter in recipes – I never use oleo. The quality of your ingredients can make quite a difference.

“Our family enjoys eating, and I like to prepare ahead. We’re so blessed. Our kids come home a lot, and they like to be home.

“Everything we do centers around our family – and our faith.”

Beltman and her husband, Darwin, raise row crops and hogs. She said choosing to live her life on the farm was the right choice for her.

“It’s such a great place to raise kids,” she said. “It was something we could all do together as a family.

“The kids have so much to do, and there are wide open spaces.

“Now our grandkids love coming out here, too because we have the toys (such as ATVs) and the room to use them.”

French silk pie

1 8-inch pie crust, baked

1/2 cup butter, softened (not melted)

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1-once squares of unsweetened chocolate, melted

2 cups whipped topping

2 eggs

In mixing bowl, cream butter. Gradually add sugar, creaming well.

Blend in chocolate and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating 3 to 5 minutes after each.

Fold in whipped topping and spoon into pie shell. Chill 2 hours.

Garnish with whipped cream, mini chocolate chips or chocolate curls.

The dessert freezes well. The recipe can be doubled for large crust.

Monster bars

2 cups oatmeal

1 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup melted butter (not softened)

Combine dry ingredients and mix in melted butter.

Reserve 1 cup of this mixture and pat remainder into 9-by-13-inch pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 9 minutes.


1 can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup peanut butter

Pour over crust when it comes out of the oven. Sprinkle on 1 cup chocolate chips and 1 cup of M&Ms.

Top with reserved oatmeal mixture and pat down gently.

Bake 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Hamburger cheese dip

2 pounds hamburger, browned with onion, peppers to one’s liking.

1 2-pound box Velveeta cheese

2 cans Rotel tomatoes (drain one can)

Salsa to taste

Combine and heat through.

Serve with tortilla chips.

Party mix

1 stick butter

1 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup Karo light syrup

Dash of salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 box Crispix cereal

2 cups peanuts

Microwave first four ingredients for 2 minutes and stir. Microwave 2 more minutes and stir in vanilla and baking soda.

Pour over one box Crispix cereal. Place in brown paper grocery bag and shake well.

Microwave 90 seconds. Shake.

Microwave an additional 90 seconds and shake.

Add peanuts, shake, and microwave 30 seconds. Shake again.

Place into bowl to cool. Could add M&Ms after mix is cool.

One may double the coating ingredients if large box of Crispix is used, or if a thicker coating on the cereal is preferred when using a small box.

Texas caviar

Drain and rinse:

1 15-ounce can great northern beans

1 15-ounce can black beans

1 15-ounce can whole kernel corn

Chop into small pieces:

2 or more jalapeno peppers

1 zucchini squash

4 ribs celery

2 red peppers

1 large onion

Mix together:

1 cup sugar

1.2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup oil

Stir all ingredients together and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight before serving.

Serve with tortilla chips. This recipe keeps for days, Beltman said, if it lasts that long..

Chicken/pasta bake

1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese

4 cups chicken, cooked and diced

1 cup cooked ham, diced

1 2-ounce jar diced pimentos

2 teaspoons dried parsley

1/2 cup sliced black olives

1 1/2 cups milk

4-6 tablespoons chicken broth

2 cans cream of celery soup

2 cans cream of chicken soup

6 cups prepared spaghetti (1 pound of thin spaghetti makes about 7 cups)

Toasted, slivered almonds for garnish

Reserving 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, combine all ingredients and place in lightly greased 9-by-13-inch pan.

Sprinkle reserved cheese over top. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Garnish with almonds. Serves 12 to 16.

(Note: Beltman said she uses a large, heavy pan, so places tin foil over the pan and cooks it about one hour.)

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