Hello Hesperia,

I am delighted to share this month with three wonderful couples from Hesperia. I've know Jean and Merle for 30 years, Janet and Doug many years, and Jeanne and I are on the HARD Foundation Board for Hesperia Recreation and Park District. I love the pictures they gave me. I know you will enjoy them also and of course the recipes too.

Happy Valentines Day everyone and remember that love can conquer anything. See you next month.

vvv

Merle and Jean Johnson first met when Merle went to college in 1948 in Rexburg, Idaho. Years later when he came home from his church mission in Sweden he went back to college and there was Jean. They were married in 1955 and continued with schooling. After Merle became a dentist they moved to Hesperia on January 1, 1966.

The Johnson's have five sons who now are married with families of their own. Merle and Jean have 22 grandchildren. Three of their sons have become dentists. You might have noticed their new building south of Main Street on "I" Avenue. They hope to occupy it in March.

Jean's daughter-in-law, Heather, gave this recipe to her.

Chocolate Ecstasy
1 22-ounce package Betty Crocker's brownie mix (follow box instructions)
1 12-ounce tub Cool Whip
2 envelopes Dream Whip Whipped Topping mix
2 3/4 cups cold milk, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 packages (4-ounce serving size) Jell-o instant chocolate pudding mix
4 Skor or Heath bars, chopped
1 cup pecans, chopped

Mix together brownie mix. Prepare as directed on package. Pour in a 13 x 9 pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 28 minutes. Cool and break into bite sized pieces.

In large bowl beat whipped topping mixes, 1 cup milk and vanilla. Beat with electric mixer on high for 6 minutes or until topping thickens and forms peaks.

Add remaining 1 3/4 cups milk and pudding mixes. Beat on low speed. Beat on high speed for two minutes scraping bowl occasionally.

Layer the dessert by starting with half of the chocolate mixture, half of crumbled brownies, half Cool Whip, candy and nuts. Complete layers with remaining chocolate mixture, brownies and Cool Whip.

vvv

"The door to the human heart can be opened only from the inside." - Author unknown

Doug and Janet Johnston met the day after Christmas in 1955 on a blind date. Janet was 17 and working as a telephone operator. Doug was 21 and stationed in the U.S. Army at Fort Bliss, Texas. Doug had a week's leave. Their first date was at a drive-in. They saw the movie "Artist and Models" with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. That was the beginning of their 53 year love story. After that first night they saw each other every night. Several letters were exchanged before Doug was discharged in June 1956. In November 1956 Doug and Janet were married.

Today they have 3 children, 8 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.

Janet's No Peekie Chicken
1 cup rice
1 chicken, cut-up
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 soup can milk
1 envelope dried onion soup mix

In a 9 x 13 baking dish sprinkle 1 cup rice. Arrange cleaned, cut-up chicken over rice. Mix together and pour over chicken soups, butter and milk. Sprinkle dried onion soup mix over everything. Cover tightly with foil. Bake in a 325 degree oven for 2 1/2 hours. Do not peek!

vvv

"I married her because we have so many faults in common." - Author unknown

Gene and Jeanne Helsley met on a tobogganing trip at Big Bear. Both had different dates but switched their dates to be together. They dated for a few months before going their separate ways. Both married and divorced others. However fate intervened three years later. Jeanne was in her front yard playing with her son when Gene drove by. Jeanne knew he was serious when he sold his convertible for a family car. Gene proposed by tell Jeanne her son needed a brother or sister - so they got married. They were married in March 25, 1950.

They raised three children and now have 6 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren.

Jeanne's Lobster Quiche
3 eggs
1/2 cup cream
1/4 cup prepared tartar sauce
2 green onions with tops
1/2 pound lobster meat
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
9-inch pie crust
Cayenne pepper

Beat the eggs with the cream and tartar sauce. Mix the sliced onions, lobster meat, and the cheese. Put this mixture in the pie crust; add the egg mixture, and top with the cayenne. Bake in a 350 degree oven for one hour or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

vvv

"Success in marriage is much more than finding the right person; it is a matter of being the right person." - Author unknown

Janet Johnston's Swirled Gelatin Fruit Salad
2 packages strawberry gelatin
2 cups boiling water
2 10-ounce packages frozen strawberries
1 1/2 cups crushed pineapple with juice
2 large ripe bananas, finely diced
1 cup sour cream

Dissolve the gelatin in boiling water. Add berries, stirring occasionally until thawed. Add pineapple and bananas. Pour half of mixture in an 8 x 8 pan. Chill until firm. Spread sour cream over firm gelatin. Pour remaining gelatin over sour cream layer. Cut into squares to serve over lettuce. Garnish with dollop of sour cream and strawberries.

vvv

"One joy dispels a hundred cares." - Confucius

Jeanne Helsley's Stuffed Green Peppers
4 green peppers
1 cup mushroom soup, undiluted
1 package Uncle Ben's wild rice mix
1 pound lobster, shrimp or crab
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Prepare the rice mix as directed; add the mushroom soup and the seafood. Cut the peppers in half. Clean the seeds and veins; fill them with the rice mix and lay side by side in a loaf pan or square casserole. Cover with the grated cheese and bake in a 350 degree oven for one hour.

vvv

"Love is the most important four letter word in the world." - Author unknown

Jean Johnson's daughter-in-law Heather brought this pie for Jean's birthday, back in March 1999. She got the recipe from her sister Kendell.

Sour Cream Lemon Pie
2/3 cups sugar
3 tablespoons corn starch
1 cup milk
3 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind (zest)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 cup non-fat or low-fat sour cream
Pie shell (regular or graham cracker)
Whipping cream or Cool Whip

In a large pan add sugar and corn starch. Whisk in milk, followed by egg yolks. Add lemon rind, lemon juice and butter. Whisk 5 to 7 minutes over low heat, barely bringing it to a boil. Turn off heat and continue to whisk for another minute.

Pour into bowl and cover with plastic wrap on top of filling so as not to form a thickness crust on filling. Cool to room temperature.

Remove plastic wrap and then whisk in sour cream. Pour into prepared and cooked pie shell. Add whipping cream or Cool Whip. If desired garnish with thin slices of lemon.

Pie tastes better if cooled in refrigerator for up to 6 hours. Will keep up to two days.