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Grandma’s Russian tea, cranberry valentine cake


ears to be in store for Odessa residents. Sore throats, colds and a bit of flu have kept many indoors for days at a time. Russian Tea is an old-fashioned and comforting citrus-infused beverage, “good for what ails you,” as the saying goes. Popular recipes from the 1960s relied on powdered orange and lemon mixes quite high in sugar content.

Recently a member of a closed Facebook quilting group I belong to shared her grandmother’s recipe using fruit juices. The recipe has been adjusted to accommodate modern packaging sizes.

Grandmother’s Russian Tea

4 family-sized tea bags

2 quarts boiling water

3 quarts tap water

12 whole cloves

2 cinnamon sticks (each

about 4 inches long)

1 can (46 ounces)

unsweetened pineapple


1 cup granulated sugar

1 can (12 ounces) frozen

lemonade concentrate

1 can (12 ounces) frozen,

unsweetened orange

juice concentrate

1 tsp ground allspice

Steep tea bags in boiling water 4-5 minutes or until desired strength (you want it pretty strong).

Combine remaining water, cloves and cinnamon together in a large kettle; bring to a boil. Stir brewed tea, juices and granulated sugar into the boiling mixture and add the allspice. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Serve immediately or keep warm at a low simmer until ready to serve. Yield: about 1 1/2 gallons.

Note: refrigerate any leftovers to reheat as needed. Also, you may use decaf tea if you like, but artificial sweeteners are tricky to substitute in this recipe. It is best to add just what you need after you fill your cup and the drink has cooled a bit. This will prevent a bitter aftertaste.

Over the past year various recipes have circulated for turning candy corn into a Butterfinger-type confection. Most of the recipes called for five pounds of candy corn. Since candy corn (and it must be Brach’s) is my favorite candy, I was not willing to sacrifice five pounds of this treat to test drive a recipe.

My sister, Billie O’Mack, shared a recipe for Butterfingers Candy she got from her friend Sharon Mallow of Snohomish. This recipe makes a smaller batch and, garnished with valentine sprinkles, would be perfect for the fast-approaching sweethearts’ day.

Butterfingers Candy

2 cups candy corn (I used


1 1/4 cups creamy peanut


12 ounces semi-sweet

chocolate chips or choc-

olate melties

Place candy corn in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high 90 seconds. Stir every 30 seconds, until completely melted and smooth. Stir in peanut butter, mixing until smooth. Drop in log shapes onto a waxed-paper-lined pan and freeze for 15 minutes or until firm.

Melt chocolate chips in a small bowl in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until smooth. Dip chilled candies in chocolate, turning with a fork to coat evenly. Return to waxed paper, add sprinkles if you like and chill again to firm chocolate. Depending on size the yield is 20 –25 candies.

Merleen Smith shared the recipe for Sausage Corn Chowder she made for a recent seniors luncheon. The recipe is gluten free if you use care in product selection. The recipe comes from A Taste of Home publications.

Sausage Corn Chowder

1 pound bulk sausage

1 cup coarsely chopped


4 cups 1/2” cubed, peeled


2 cups water

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp marjoram

1/8 tsp ground black pep-


1 can (14 3/4 ounces)

cream-style corn

1 can (12 ounces) evapo-

rated milk

In a Dutch oven or heavy kettle with lid, cook sausage and onion over medium heat until no longer pink; drain off accumulated fat. Add potatoes, water, salt, marjoram and black pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until potatoes are just tender. Add corn and milk; heat through. Yield: 10 servings.

Cranberry Christmas Cake, a recipe floating around Facebook this winter, could easily be re-titled Cranberry Valentine Cake. This easy recipe is delicious served plain or you may ice with a simple glaze for a sweeter dessert.

Cranberry Valentine

(Chistmas) Cake

3 eggs

2 cups granulated sugar

3/4 cup butter, softened

1 tsp vanilla or almond


2 cups all-purpose flour

12 ounces fresh or frozen

cranberries (at room tem-


1 1/2 tsp fresh orange zest

(don’t leave this out)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 13x9-inch baking pan and set aside.

With an electric mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar until slightly thickened and light in color, about 5-7 minutes. The mixture should almost double in size. The eggs work as the leavening agent in this recipe, so don’t skip this step. The mixture will form a ribbon when you lift the beaters out of the bowl.

Add the butter and vanilla and mix two more minutes.

Gently stir in the flour until just combined, don’t over-mix.

Toss cranberries with a tablespoon of flour (this prevents them from sinking to the bottom). Gently fold into batter along with orange zest. Spread batter in prepared pan. Bake 50-60 minutes or until very lightly browned and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Let cool completely before cutting into slices or squares.

You may make a glaze of 1 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and 1-3 tbsp milk and drizzle over cooled cake before cutting to serve. Yield:15-24 servings depending on size.

Note: If cranberries are frozen, thaw them before tossing with the flour and adding them to the batter. Cold berries will make the cake rise poorly.

Share your favorite recipes by sending them to: Welcome to My Kitchen, c/o The Odessa Record, P.O. Box 458, Odessa, WA 99159, email or drop them in the Welcome to My Kitchen mail tin in The Odessa Record office.

Keep that trickle of water running in an indoor faucet to keep water lines from freezing.


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