Hi Readers,
August is a special month for me, especially this year, as I will be celebrating my 75th birthday. When I was twelve years old, I remember how I proudly touted to anyone who would listen, “My grandmother is 73 years old and she is still working!” Back then, at the golden age of 73, you were OLD! People looked old and felt old. Today, at 75, I do not look old, nor do I feel old (I thank you God), and the best part of all is I am still working, and will continue to do so, as long as “The Village Crier keeps me!”
Retirement is wonderful. Not only do you get to wake up, sleep, eat, and enjoy each day to the utmost, you do everything because you want to, when you want to. Not a bad deal, however, it can turn into a rut unless you see people, do for others, and extend yourself to do something you have always wanted to do. Retirement is the perfect time to learn more about a hobby you enjoy; find someone to give you instructions. Why not go back to school? I did, when I was 65, and I loved it. I was on the Dean’s List with a GPA of 3.85 and a member of Phi Theta Kappa Sorority. I am six courses away from a degree, as I had to leave to take care of my very ill husband. Someday, I will go back to college and get my degree, just because I know I can.
If you have health problems, now is the time to feel better. Help yourself by learning about your problem. How can you feel better? Now is the time to watch your diet, exercise, and follow doctor’s directions; absolutely quit any habit that is detrimental to your health. It’s time to take care of yourself. I have fibromyalgia and have had it for over thirty years.
When I came to Florida sixteen years ago, I was in such pain that I had trouble walking. I kept remembering the doctor’s advice, “If you don’t move, you won’t move.” I made myself move. Because I loved to garden, and our home needed landscaping, I joined a Master Gardener’s group, went to meetings, met new people who are still my friends today, and learned a lot about gardening in Florida.
I joined a woman’s group, met new people and made new friends. I joined any and every group that interested me. I learned, in the end, that I helped myself by being with people who loved what I did, laughed with them, and thoroughly enjoyed the sun coming up every morning to warm my tired, aching body. I got better, physically and mentally, and learned that you do, indeed, have to help yourself.
It is ironic that the recipes in my column today are for the slow cooker. Some days, I feel like I am a slow cooker, and those are my “Me Days.” I do absolutely nothing but relax and let the day go by, taking it slow and easy. Tomorrow is another day…God willing. PAT
In reply to your request for crock pot recipes, I am sending an easy recipe I use all the time.
I just put a pork loin in my crock pot and then add 1 can of pear halves, save juice. Add 1 can of apple pie filling. (I put pear juice in pie filling can and stir to get all the goodness out.) Pour over pork. Cook on low 6-8 hours, depending on how your crock pot works. I think you will enjoy pork prepared this way. A FAITHFUL READER
This soup is a family favorite. I hope you will like it, too.

Serves: 10
1 pound extra lean ground beef, browned and drained
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 cans (14 to 15 ounces) diced tomatoes with juice
1 can (14 to 15 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14 to 15 ounces) white beans, rinsed and drained
4 cups beef broth
1 jar (24 to 26 ounces) tomato-basil marinara or pasta sauce
1-1/2 teaspoons oregano
3/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1-1/4 cups dry pasta (I used fusilli, but shells or Ditalini pasta would work well), cooked separately according to the package directions.
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, optional for serving
Grated Parmesan, optional for serving
1. Stir together the cooked and drained ground beef, onion, carrots, celery, tomatoes, beans, broth, pasta sauce, oregano, hot pepper sauce, salt and pepper in a 6 to 7-quart slow cooker.
2. Cover and cook on LOW for 5 to 7 hours, or until the vegetables are as tender as you like them.
3. When ready to serve, stir the cooked pasta into the soup. Taste the soup and adjust the salt and herbs to suit your tastes.
4. Serve with grated parmesan and a sprinkling of fresh parsley if desired.
Dear Pat,
I have written to you before with very little results. I have Celiac Disease and I was wondering if you could ask for some gluten free recipes for me. I sure would appreciate it. I love your recipes and articles and I pass the knitting patterns on to my daughter in Tooele, Utah. Thank you so much for the great read. MARCIA TREBER

Dear Pat,
I really enjoy your column in “The Village Crier.” I, too, am an avid reader, and read the John Jakes books many years ago. Another author you might like is Catherine Cookson. I believe she passed away in the late 90’s, but her novels about England in the old days were very enjoyable. I also love the great recipes you publish. Thanks! CHRIS, SUMMERFIELD
NOTE FROM PAT: I, too, appreciate books authored by Catherine Cookson and have read many of her books. Thanks, too, for your nice comment regarding my column. Thanks for contributing!
Dear Pat,
I enjoy inspirational books and would like to suggest a few authors and books.

Mike Adkins “A Man Named Norman”
Lisa Wingate “Tending Roses”
Corrie ten Boom “The Hiding Place”
Donna Vanlier “The Christmas Shoes”
Kristen Hannah “Winter Garden”
Kathleen Valentine “Miracle at St. Cecelia’s”
Karen Kingsbury “Like Dandelion Dust”

I hope you like some of these and will publish some of your favorites. JAN
A very helpful website to assist with IBS is: There is a ton of info, as well as books and products. Good luck! ANONYMOUS
We just moved to the Inverness area and I need to find someone in the area to make a seating cushion for a bench in our kitchen…we hope you may know someone locally who can do this kind of work. We love it here and love the Village Crier! Thank you so much.

Hi Pat
I always enjoy your column when we are in Dunnellon. I remember reading a readers request for someone in the area to do basic alterations, hemming, etc. What I unfortunately did not see was a reply. Can you help me out? I think the article was in the spring possibly March. Thanks. JOAYNE
NOTE FROM PAT: The answer to the initial request by BONNIE appeared in my March, 2016 column. The answers were in my April, 2016 column. Readers, please see note from our Editor, Martha, below. My column is on our website and is available to all.
NOTE FROM THE VILLAGE CRIER EDITOR, MARTHA: All recipes & Patterns are individually posted on our website, VILLAGECRIER.INFO, under NEWS: Recipes & Patterns. I have had a few calls this month looking for old recipes…I found them 🙂
Roseanne (spelling) called to let you know she has made the Feathery Pineapple Angel Cake several times it turns out great and everyone loves it! An Angel Food Cake mix (it doesn’t have to be Duncan Hines, it can be any brand) and a 20-ounce can of crushed pineapple. That’s ALL. You don’t need eggs or oil or any of that stuff – just the mix and the pineapple. Please note: you MUST use the angel food cake mix that is a single packet. There’s apparently an angel food cake mix out there that has two packets you mix together. That WILL NOT WORK for this recipe. You should be able to tell whether there’s one packet or two by checking the directions on the back. Thanks go to TINA, who gave me the heads up on that little fact!

• 1 package angel food cake mix – the one with a single bag of mix, NOT the one with two bags that you mix together. The one with two bags WILL NOT WORK.
• 1 can crushed pineapple — 20 Ounce Can
1. Combine angel food cake mix and (undrained) crushed pineapple in large bowl.
2. Mix (you can use a mixer, but it’s pretty easy to mix by hand.)
3. Bake according to instructions on the back of the box.

Hi Pat,
Virginia who owns Alterations by Virginia in the Kingsland Plaza on State Road 200 (not too far from 484 from Dunnellon) did a great job of cutting and hemming pant legs several months ago. I will use her for any future needs. Have a nice day! VICKIE
This is good and easy. Try it!
Serves 4
1. 1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
2. 1 cup milk
3. 1 cup diced ham
4. 2 cups broccoli florets
5. 1 cup uncooked instant rice
6. 8 ounces processed cheese spread, cubed (such as Velveeta)
Place soup in slow cooker and gradually whisk in the milk until smooth. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on Low 3 1/2 -4 hours. If possible, stir mixture half way through cooking. A FRIEND
Dear Pat,
This creamy, delicious slow cooker rice pudding makes a delicious dessert or breakfast topped with any berry you love. Use brown sugar for butterscotch flavor or use 1/2 to 3/4 cup maple syrup and cut back on milk by the same amount for a rich maple flavor.

Cook time: 2 hours; serves 6
2 cups cooked rice
1-1/2 cups nonfat milk (almond milk works well too)
2 large eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
Optional possible additions:
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/3 cup raisins or chopped dates, chopped figs, chopped apricots or other dried fruit
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 – 2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
1. Ideal Slow Cooker Size: 1-1/2 quart slow cooker
2. Place the rice, milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and salt (and any optional additions) in the slow cooker and stir well to combine.
3. Cover and cook on LOW until the mixture is still thick but a bit fluid, 2 to 2-1/2 hours. (It will continue to cook as it cools.) Taste and add more salt and/or sugar if you think it needs it. Transfer the pudding to a bowl and let it cool at room temperature. If it gets too thick as it cools, stir in more milk to loosen it. JUST ME

Hi Pat,
Love to read the assorted info you provide. I have a use for different glassware. The idea has worked very well, especially when entertaining a large group, and particularly when alcohol is involved. I have purchased lots of lovely odd glasses in thrift, rummage and yard sales at very low costs! Every glass is different so each guest can pick one they like and remember. Some favor a fine stemmed glass, others tall, while others like those with special designs. Guests do not have to wait to write names, or lose drinks, or have them tip over. Each person feels special having their own glass. Most comment on what a great idea it is! Of course I have matching sets for sit down dinners! ? STELLA

Hi Pat,
Many free knitted dish cloths can be found on the Lion Brand website. You have to register with an email and password but the site is full of all types of free knitting and crocheting patterns. JUDY
Lucille Ball

Keep smiling!

Contributing is easy. Answer a request for someone who needs assistance, ask for assistance from the readership, share a recipe that brought raves, tell us about something you read about in a magazine that bears repeating, share your summer book author, let us know about a pattern for something you knitted or crocheted, tell us about an idea for an occasion or craft, let us know of a date for a happening… anything that sounds good to you is good for us. Send your contributions to Pat Gratton, Boomtown Media 11928 N. Williams St., Ste.3 Dunnellon, FL 34432 or email me at [email protected]