Couple goes back to their farm roots
IRVINGTON – Dennis and Jane Schrauth grew up on farms between Bancroft and Swea City in northern Kossuth County.
Married for 48 years in December, they lived in Bancroft until two years ago.
The Schrauth’s work at their flooring business in Bancroft, but missed the farm life they both remembered.
Dennis Schrauth admired a piece of land just west of Irvington next to the East Fork of the Des Moines River.
He especially was drawn to the numerous oak trees there.
Schrauth decided two years ago it was time to purchase the land and build a home there.
“I was actually against it,” said Jane Schrauth. “I said we’re too old.”
With two years of living at their secluded location, she said they have settled in and are happy with their decision to move.
Jane Schrauth was the third of 10 children. With that many children, everyone was expected to help provide and care for each other.
“We did everything,” she said. “We didn’t have a lot of money.”
Her mother made six loaves of bread every other day.
“We always had our bread,” she said.
Eating store-brought bread when visiting a friend was considered a luxury by Jane Schrauth.
Leftover bread dough was rolled into balls and dipped in sugar.
“That was dessert,” she said.
The family of 12 had chicken every Sunday and prepared vegetables for their meals the rest of the week.
“We lived on canning,” said Schrauth.
Her mother would put up 1,000 jars each year.
Her father would bring home a semi-load of potatoes after baling in the Dakotas.
Being self-sufficient is how the Schrauths live in their new location, growing much of their food.
“I like to cook. It’s my weakness,” Schrauth said. “I cook big and give it to the neighbors.”
Elderly residents of Bancroft are frequent recipients of Schrauth’s jam, jelly, baking and soups.
Garlic is a favorite ingredient and the Schrauths just planted 200 garlic bulbs to be harvested next August.
She tapped maple trees for the first time last winter and made her own maple syrup.
But it is the four hives of honeybees that receive the most attention and care, starting with one hive two years ago.
“I couldn’t live without our bees,” Schrauth said.
She planted a herb garden for the bees and learned about rewards of having fresh herbs a short walk out the kitchen door.
“I do a lot with herbs,” she said. “I encourage dandelions and white clover for the bees.”
She harvests only the surplus honey produced by the bees as they need it to over-winter.
This year, the hives produced 25 to 30 gallons of honey.
Another favorite product is the bees wax she uses as lotion and in candles.
The Schrauths have planted 400 bushes of various berries just for habitat.
Dennis and Jane Schrauth have a son who lives in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and a daughter who lives a few miles away in Titonka.
They have three grandchildren and three weeks ago became great-grandparents.
Bacon-wrapped, cream cheese stuffed chicken breasts
4 chicken breasts
8 strips bacon
3/4 cup plain low-fat cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons chives, chopped
Soften 3/4 cup cream cheese, add chopped chives and mix well
Pound chicken breasts until about 1/2-inch thick. Season it to taste.
Place 2 tablespoons cheese mixture in center of flattened breast. Wrap chicken around the cream cheese mixture.
Wrap two strips bacon around each chicken. Place in slow cooker on low for 7 to 8 hours.
Overlap ends of bacon so it stays tightly wrapped.
Honey-glazed snack mix
1 box Honey Teddy Grahams
1 cup miniature pretzels
2/3 cup local honey
1 package Chex cereal
1 cup pecan halves
2/3 cup butter
In large bowl, combine crackers, cereal, pretzels and pecans
Melt butter in the microwave. Add honey and use a whisk to blend.
Pour over mixture and stir well.
Put on two 10-by-15-inch baking pans or sheets.
Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.
Cool for 3 minutes, any longer and they are hard to remove from pans.
Turn out onto waxed paper to cool. When completely cooled, store in an air tight container.
Honey caramel corn
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
1/2 cup honey
6 quarts popped corn
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
Boil sugar, butter, honey and salt for 5 minutes. Add soda and vanilla. Stir into corn.
Spread on greased pan. Bake at 200 degrees for 1 hour.
Every 15 minutes turn over popcorn mixture so all sides dry.
Remove and cool slightly, turn on wax paper to cool completely.
Store in air tight container.
Bacon and cream cheese stuffed mushrooms
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
8 ounces bacon
1/2 cup finely minced sweet onion
1 clove garlic, minced
16 ounces white button mushrooms
4 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using scissors or a sharp knife, cut raw bacon into small pieces.
In a large sautee pan, over medium heat, cook bacon until crispy.
While bacon is cooking, remove mushroom stems from caps and chop stems into small pieces.
When bacon is done, remove from pan and set aside; reserve 2 tablespoons of bacon grease and pour the rest from pan.
Sautee onion until soft about 5 minutes, scraping up any brown bits on bottom of pan.
Add chopped mushrooms stems and garlic and cook a few minutes longer. Reduce heat to low.
Add cream cheese and Parmesan cheese and stir until cheeses are melted.
Add reserved chopped bacon and season to taste with salt and pepper.
(Mixture can be made, cooled, and stored, covered, in the fridge for up to two days.)
Remove mixture from heat and stuff each mushroom cap generously with mixture.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until mushrooms are soft and filling is hot.
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