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Love it, modify it, or toss it

By Staff | Mar 18, 2016

TRACIE EDEN said her banana bread is a family favorite. There were four slices on the plate minutes earlier, but with four sons it disappears quickly.



WODEN – When Tracie Eden serves her version of a recipe to her family, if husband Gene tells her to “keep practicing and to not share the food,” that’s actually a compliment.

“If he doesn’t say anything, that’s a problem,” Eden said.

However, the judging does not stop with her husband. She has a panel of four sons who also give their opinions of what their mother is serving.

IT MAY NOT look like much, but this is where Tracie Eden goes to first for a favorite recipe. It represents years of cooking and baking going back to her grandmother.

The Edens are parents of Caleb, 14; Riley, 12; Cooper, 11; and Trevor, 8. They are students in the West Hancock School District.

Her source of recipes starts with a well-worn and dog-eared notebook of handwritten recipes gathered from her grandmother, mother and aunts. She also uses Pinterest as another source of recipes.

“I bake better than I cook,” Eden said.

She enjoys experimenting with both old and new recipes.

“We either modify it or throw it out,” said Eden.

Tracie Eden said this banana bread recipe is from her aunt. Eden modifies it by using yogurt, or to fit her mood, or use whatever she has on hand.

She has fun cooking and sees baking as stress relief. Decorating cakes for her son’s birthdays is another favorite task.

The boys help in the kitchen.

“I can have too much help,” she said of her panel of young judges. “Trevor has been chopping vegetables for me for a long time.”

Her son Caleb’s class in school was told to come up with a pizza. They made oriental chicken pizza which came in second in a competition with other schools.

The family has a cabin in Deer River, Minnesota, where they cook with cast iron. The boys have made pizza over a fire and used a Dutch oven.

Eden said she started cooking in grade school when she would babysit during the summer.

It was when she worked 11 years as a nanny in New Jersey with one family that she started to enjoy cooking.

The family would use cookbooks as a starting point.

“They threw things together,” Eden said.

She used this approach in creating the pizza recipe she contributed.

The banana bread recipe is from her aunt, which Eden altered with yogurt. She said she may adapt it to her mood or what she has on hand.

The maple cream recipe is her grandmother’s and has been passed down to where it is a family tradition served at Christmas.

Her grandmother stored the maple creams in large circular tins used to hold movie film. She still uses those same tins.

Eden is the oldest of three children and grew up five miles from where she now lives – the Eden Century Farm.

Her father was an electrician and her mother and aunt did taxidermy. Her mother introduced her to cooking.

In 2012, she graduated from Iowa Lakes Community College, in Emmetsburg, in the nursing program. Eden continued her education online with Briar Cliff College to receive her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing.

Eden works full time at the diabetic center at Mason City. Her first two years she worked in pediatric home care.

“I have wanted to be a nurse since age five,” she said.

She credits her family for their support while she was getting her nursing education.

“Cooking lets me give back to the family,” she said.

But Eden said she doesn’t eat what she cooks.

“I’m too busy,” she said.

Banana bread

1/2 cup butter

1/3 cup milk

1 cup sugar

1 container of vanilla yogurt

2 eggs

2 cups flour

1 cup mashed bananas

1 teaspoon soda

1 teaspoon salt

Cream softened butter and sugar together until fluffy.

Add eggs one at a time, scraping down sides of bowl. Add bananas and milk.

Add soda, salt and flour. Place in greased and floured bread pans.

Bake at 350 degrees until center is done by testing if a knife comes out clean.

Makes two loaves.

Homemade pizza

1 tablespoon yeast

1 tablespoon sugar

1/4 cup warm water

Mix yeast, sugar, and water in a mixing bowl and let work until foamy, about five minutes.

Add 1 cup warm water

1 tablespoon oil (vegetable or olive, but Eden said she likes to use sunflower)

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 cups flour (bread or all-purpose)

Mix all above with a bread hook if available, until dough pulls away from sides of bowl. Then mix on high for about three to five minutes.

Cover bowl with tea towel and let rise until to top of bowl.

(Note: Dough can be used immediately for thin crust.)

Roll out and cover with sauce, toppings and cheese.

Bake at 400 degrees until satisfied with doneness.

The crust can also be used for breadsticks. The Edens make cheese bread sticks with string cheese wrapped in the dough and brushed with melted butter and garlic salt.

Maple creams

1/2 cup butter

3 cups powdered sugar

3/4 teaspoon maple flavoring

1 tablespoon cream

1/2 cup chopped nuts optional (may need more cream if these are added)

Mix together and chill. If using food processor, do not over mix and may not need the chill stage.

Spoon out and roll into balls. Now chill. Dip in melted chocolate to cover.

Mashed potatoes

5 pounds potatoes

1 8-ounce container of cream cheese

1 stick butter

Garlic powder and salt to taste depending on number of potatoes

Peel and cut into small pieces. Boil with salt and chopped garlic added to water.

Drain and mix with a hand mixer with cream cheese, butter, garlic powder and salt.

(Note: Go light on garlic powder at first because it can go strong fast and a little bitter.)

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