From Orio to Whitton

Hello from downtown Whitton. Hope everyone is staying cool in this "fall" weather. We get excited the first time it cools off, pull out all our winter clothes, then we have to get the shorts back out when it's near 100 degrees again. Such is life in Texas.

I forgot to mention last week that the fire department is having their garage sale Oct. 26, 27, and 28. We will take donations starting next month. It would be best if you could drop your donations off at the station a few days before the sale, but we will do our best if you need to schedule a pick up.
Chief Fretwell mentioned the dry weather conditions again and grass fire danger. He said, "Don't light it if you can't fight it!"


The Inspired Cook

Spaghetti squash saves the day!

Lately, I’ve heard a lot of talk about spaghetti squash. Did you know that many people substitute its flesh for pasta noodles? Well, they do.

For those following a low-carbohydrate, vegan, grain-free, or gluten-free diet, spaghetti squash saves the day by allowing those individuals to enjoy pasta dishes once again. With my recent Hashimoto’s Disease diagnosis and subsequent gluten-free directive, I was eager to try my hand at preparing it.

Little did I know just exactly how difficult it is to cut one into halves. I struggled for about five minutes before I succeeded. Maybe I need to sharpen my knife.

The next step was to remove the seeds and stringy bits. I used a spoon to do this. Since I knew the flesh turns to noodles after it’s cooked, I wasn’t sure exactly how deep to scrape.


Cross country runners, a life-changing secret

It is fall in East Texas. Bands practicing, homecoming parades, mum buying and Friday night football is in full swing.

At 7 a.m. in the Walking Capital of Texas, there were 40 school buses parked across from First Monday grounds. Unloading from those buses were junior high and high school students preparing for a cross country meet. The 650 plus teenagers had already put up their school tents, were stretching, jogging or just hanging out doing their own pre-race routine. The varsity boy’s race would begin at 8 a.m.

This batch of runners were out of bed before 5 a.m. on a Saturday morning, dressed, fed, loaded on a school bus and had arrived from all over North Texas.


This Week in Canton History

Canton Herald, Sept. 28, 1961: Announcement was made Wednesday by Mayor Sam Hilliard that sewage fees will be raised 50¢ per month effective with the October bills being mailed out by the city of Canton. This announcement was made at the time of the new bond issue voted on to increase the city limits of Canton by the city Council and its action is only of follow-through of the body’s intention and need. City Secretary Ardenia Steed reminded dog owners of Canton that it is now time to renew the city tags for all dogs. Dogs must be vaccinated and certificates taken to the city office for city tags. All dogs under six months of age must be chained are confined in order to evade the city dog pound.

Citizens of Canton will have the opportunity to view two new 1962 model automobiles Friday, Sept. 29, with the simultaneous showing of the new Ford and Chevrolet at local showrooms. Canton Motors and Culwell Chevrolet are the two local firms.


The Inspired Cook

Fall weather reinvigorates creativity

Fall is my favorite time of year. Upon its arrival, I happily say sayonara to those sultry sticky days that have zapped my energy and squelched my desire to go outdoors. For me, fall quenches those dog days of summer and washes over me like a brisk cool shower, leaving me refreshed and revitalized.

My newly found energy inspired me to create some new dishes a couple of years ago. Today I’m sharing one of those recipes with you.

My inspiration for formulating this recipe appeared with the opening of a door: The frozen chops lay lifeless inside my freezer, yearning for warmth. So, I breathed new life into them and transformed them into a mouthwatering stew. By adding southwestern seasonings to the pot, my stew exploded with flavor. Voìlá! My south-of-the-border pork stew was born.


Some say it takes a village

“Happy First Day Back to School,” I chirped to my 6-year-old daughter Zoey as I met her at school as we headed to her first-grade classroom Aug. 21. My enthusiasm was not returned. In fact, it was met with a “Mama, don’t hug me in here,” response.

Sunday, the night before the first day, I had to drop Zoey off at her father’s house. In the back of my mind I was worried about her first day outfit and how her hair would be fixed. She would be staying with her father for the first week of school.

The first day is all about first impressions, and I was worried that her dad wouldn’t meet the standards that I envisioned for her first day to be like. Zoey’s dad and I are “co-parenting,” and raising this little girl has been a joint effort.


The Inspired Cook

Homemade spaghetti sauce, that’s amoré

Do you have a favorite ethnic food? I certainly do. Other than good ol’ down-home, country cooking, my favorite types of food are Italian and Tex-Mex. In fact, these cuisines have been my favorites since I was a teenager.

I simply adore the seasonings that comprise their flavor profiles. You may have noticed that I frequently incorporate them into my food creations.

My passion for Italian food began in 1968, when my aunt Merle first prepared a delectable spaghetti dinner for my family. To accompany it, she served a green salad drizzled with Italian dressing and toast made of thickly sliced French bread slathered with butter and sprinkled with garlic salt.

Yum! I can taste it now!

Almost every time we went to Dallas to visit her and my uncle, my sister Beckie and I would request this meal. As a dutifully devoted aunt, Merle always granted our wishes.


The Inspired Cook

Necessity is truly the mother of invention

Recently, I began to gathering together needed ingredients for a casserole that I planned to prepare for dinner. Disappointment set in when I realized that I only had one can of cream of celery soup instead of two.

This may not be a problem for some people who simply would drive to the grocery store to buy another can. Since I live in the country, driving 17 miles for one can of soup just isn’t feasible.

Instead, I traveled the information superhighway to resolve my dilemma. Within a few short minutes, I discovered that I could make a homemade replacement for cream soup. Using a few recipes as guidelines, I formulated my own recipe.

Since I needed a celery-flavored soup, I had no bouillon or broth with that flavor profile. In fact, I don’t believe there is a commercially manufactured one. So, I made my own thereby salvaging my casserole and dinner that night.


Squashing our garden’s bounty

Most gardens produce an overabundance of vegetables each year, leaving gardeners wondering what to do with it all. Many people freeze or can their harvests while others eat what they can and give away the rest. In addition, some sell their bounties at roadside stands or farmer’s markets.

Last year, Charles, my better half, created a garden that exploded with squash, yellow Crookneck and zucchini, forcing me to delve deeper into my cookbook collection for new recipes.

Today I’m sharing a newly formulated recipe inspired by my need to reduce our squash supply. I discovered the original recipe in an old church-compilation cookbook but have tweaked it to fit our particular tastes. Maybe it will suit yours, too.

Doubly Cheesy Squash Casserole


2-2 ½ lbs. (5-6 medium) Yellow squash, thinly sliced

3 T. Dehydrated onion flakes

1 c. Panko bread crumbs, divided

2 T. Butter, cubed

¼ c. Butter, melted


This week in Canton History...

Canton Herald-Aug. 3, 1961:

The Van Zandt County Genealogy and Local History Library try to preserve all the information we possibly can by archiving the Newspapers.

Sometimes, however, things get lost and that is what has happened to the Aug. 3 and Aug. 10 papers for 1961.

When the papers were sent to be micro filmed many years ago, somehow, these two editions were not captured.

I hope you will enjoy this edition and next week’s edition as they will be from the 1927 and 1928 era…My how things have changed as to what is published in the papers from then till now.

Jan. 7, 1927-The Sunshine Motor Lines, Riter Bros., Proprietors, of this city, will put in a bid to carry mail over the new star route line to be operated out of Wills Point to Canton, Ben Wheeler, and Tyler, beginning February 1, next year.


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