Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sunday Salon: A Farmer’s Daughter by Dawn Stoltzfus

Photo By Hotblack
Days are getting shorter, there’s a nip in the air and another week has slipped away. It’s time once again for Sunday Salon. Time to relax, enjoy a good book (or two), visit with friends, and of course, partake of your favorite stemming beverage as you settle down to unwind.

Cool weather always makes me think of comfort food. With that in mind I have a wonderful new cookbook to share that is filled with not only delectable dishes, but inspiring tidbits too.

As we mature, our likes and dislikes change somewhat. I find myself reading more cookbooks so I’m always on the lookout for new and unique ones.

coverA FARMER’S DAUGHTER: RECIPES FROM A MENNONITE KITCHEN by Dawn Stoltzfus caught my eye for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it contains delicious and wholesome recipes that are easy to prepare. More on those in a minute.

The background of the author was interesting. Stoltzfus was raised on a Mennonite dairy farm. Her family enjoyed fresh home-grown ingredients for the dishes her mother prepared. Stoltzfus went on to start her own deli and catering service using recipes she learned growing up.

Nestled among the more than 200 recipes are charming stories from the author’s Mennonite upbringing. She also includes tips and tricks for making meal planning easier, along with ideas that will add flair when serving. Almost every recipe comes with a bit of history how the dish came into her family or how the dish can or did relate to an inspiring experience.

The recipes are divided into chapters including: Appetizers, Dips, and Beverages; Breakfast and Breads; Spring Salads and Dressings; Summer Sandwiches and Winter Soups; Garden Fresh Veggies, Comfort Food, and Sides; Main Entrees; Desserts; Cookies, Cakes, and Bars; and Simple Do-It-Yourself Recipes. 

Among one of the simple dishes I discovered a unique way to make the ever popular comfort food, Mac and Cheese. While my version usually comes from a box, I decided to be a bit different and give Creamy Baked Macaroni and Cheese a try. 

It’s a yummy change from the box and is a new favorite at our house. It’s quick and easy to prepare. But if you’re pressed for time after a long day at work, there’s also a version that can be prepared in a slow cooker so it’s waiting on you when you get home. 

Here’s the oven version I tried:
3 Tbsp. salted butter
2 ½ cups macaroni, uncooked
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
½-¾ cup American cheese, diced
1 cup Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese, shredded
1 egg, slightly beaten
4 cups milk

Preheat oven to 325°F. Melt butter and pour over macaroni in baking dish, tossing to coat. Add salt, pepper, cheese, and egg. Stir in milk. Bake uncovered for 90 minutes. Do not stir while baking. This comes out of the oven golden brown and creamy. Serves 4-5.

I used ¾ cup American cheese and cheddar instead of Monterey Jack. It was delicious with a crispy brown topping. The slow cooker version is a bit different and takes about 4 hours to cook. However, it would be a welcome sight waiting for you to enjoy after a long day at work or shopping.

In her introduction, Stoltzfus talks about how she came to realize food has a way of bringing people together. That caused me to reflect on how food is a staple part of our lives, especially in the South. Aside from the fact we need food to live, we also use food to celebrate happy occasions, share food when a loved one is sick or passes away, enjoy a friend’s company or renew a friendship over food, and begin new relationships while sharing a meal (some even end relationships this way).

A FARMER’S DAUGHTER: RECIPES FROM A MENNONITE KITCHEN is a charming and useful cookbook that will become a favorite among your collection. It will also make a delightful gift to novice and expert cooks alike. This cookbook contains no photographs to tempt you with, but the content more than makes up for the lack of artwork.  

Author Dawn Stoltzfus’ website is

Available October 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. 
A Farmer’s Daughter: Recipes From A Mennonite Kitchen by Dawn Stoltzfus, Revell, @2012, ISBN: 978-0800720919, Paperback, 224 Pages

FTC Full Disclosure - I requested this book and it was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.
Do you enjoy cookbooks that share more than just recipes? Thanks so much for stopping by today. Have a wonderful Sunday.


  1. Hi, Mason! I like cookbooks that include stories about the author's family life. It adds a personal touch to the book. Other than no pictures, it sounds like an interesting cookbook.

  2. Mason - What a great idea for a cookbook! Those recipes that are handed down through the generations within a culture can be priceless! Thanks for sharing.

  3. I'd love to check out the cakes and cookies! Mmmmmm!


  4. Sunday Salon....what a great catch phrase! It really invites you to stop and ponder what really is important for a Sunday! Thanks for the positive review!


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