Indiana, PA - Indiana County

Woman's love of baking centers around family

by DEBORAH GERTZ HUSAR The Quincy Herald-Whig on April 15, 2013 11:00 AM

BURNSIDE, Ill. — A sign in Angie Ufkes’ kitchen makes it clear that what happens at the farm stays at the farm.

Except for much of her cooking, which she shares anywhere and everywhere.

“I love to bake,” Ufkes said. “I was always that mom that was the room mother, that always made treats for the football team, the basketball team, the volleyball team. It’s just something I really enjoy doing.”

Ufkes might whip up a best- selling crumb coffee cake for a church brunch, bridal shower or other event.

“It’s just an all-around favorite,” she said.

Baking cookies is another favorite activity for Ufkes, and the most important ingredient in any cookie recipe “is just the love that you put into it,” she said.

Grandson Holton likes to help make his favorite, chocolate chip, and another family favorite is the simple, sweet raspberry almond cookies.

“I take them to a lot of different events,” she said. “They’re really pretty.”

Making sure a dish looks as good as it tastes is important to Ufkes.

“Appearance is very important in cooking, how you display it, the dishes you make it in,” said Ufkes, a part-time hairdresser at the Hairport in Carthage.

Ufkes admits she didn’t cook much growing up, but that changed after her marriage.

“I married into a farm family. Cooking was just a way of life — hearty meals, taking cookies to the field,” she said. “We raise beef, so usually our menus consist of something with beef in it.”

Mashed potato meatloaf definitely fits the meat and potatoes style favored by her husband, Brent, and their three children — Ashley, who teaches at Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing; Austin, a senior at Western Illinois University; and Addison, a senior at Illini West High School.

“I take it to a lot of potlucks,” Ufkes said. “It’s one of the kids’ favorites.”

So are Lil Sammies, ham and Swiss sandwiches on Hawaiian bread.

“They are scrumptious,” Ufkes said. “People always want the recipe for those when I take them somewhere.”

The corn and noodle casserole recipe came from Ufkes’ mother-in-law.

“It’s always expected at every family dinner,” she said.

“She’s turned it over to me to make.

“She said I make it better than she does.”

Family dinners can be a challenge with everyone’s busy schedules.

“I try about once a week to get everybody over here for a family dinner.

“I always try to make everybody’s favorites,” she said. “Some people really don’t enjoy cooking, but it’s at the top of my list.”

Especially nice are make-ahead recipes like baked French toast.

“You make it the night before,” she said.

“It’s got a really good praline topping.”

Taco soup helps warm up winter days, and sombrero pasta salad offers more Mexican flavor.

“It’s a little different than a normal pasta salad — with green pepper, onion and black beans,” Ufkes said.

A favorite appetizer features a creamy dip served with chunks of egg bagels. Bagel dip “seems to be a good combination,” Ufkes said.

“People enjoy that in the summertime when we go to pool parties.”

Another summer favorite, buster bar dessert, “is nice and cool,” she said.

“It’s an Oreo crust with an ice cream center and a fudge topping. It’s always a big hit.”

Summertime finds Ufkes working in her flower gardens and spending time walking.

She clerks some sales for her auctioneer husband, and the family is active in Trinity Lutheran Church in Carthage.

“We have a program there every Tuesday where we supply meals for the shut-ins,” she said.

“I’m called once in a while to make food for that. They really enjoy it.”

Spending time with family, especially the grandkids, is important.

“I usually go by the recipe, but sometimes I ad-lib, add a little of this or that, whatever it takes,” she said.

“I love to share recipes with friends and family, and I love it when they share with me.”

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