Hello Hesperia,

Happy New Year to everyone. The snow a few weeks ago was absolutely beautiful, and we couldn't get out of our driveway for two days, so I got a lot of my Christmas baking done and took a lot of pictures. I remember 30 years ago a snowstorm almost this cold.

This month, I am honoring the board members of the Hesperia Unified School District. They were so kind to share their favorite recipes with me. Thank you all very much.

Next month is "sweetheart" month, so don't forget your favorite ones.

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Robert Kirk's family got this recipe from some good friends in 1977 while teaching at Oklahoma Baptist University. They have been making it ever since and say it always tastes better the second day, if any is left.

The Kirks have lived in the Victor Valley since 1986 and moved to Hesperia in 2005. They have two sons and two grandchildren.

Robert's Chopped Apple Cake
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups finely chopped apples
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoons nutmeg

Cream sugar and shortening, add eggs then sifted dry ingredients. Add spices. Fold in apples. Pour into a greased and floured 8-inch square pan. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 40 minutes.

Icing
1 8-ounce package cream cheese
1 stick butter at room temperature
3 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Blend cream cheese and butter in mixing bowl. With mixer, blend cream cheese and butter with powdered sugar for about one minute. Add vanilla then increase the mixer speed to medium and blend the frosting until fluffy.

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"The high destiny of the individual is to serve rather than to rule." - Author unknown.

Lee Rogers has lived in the High Desert since May of 1943. She has called Hesperia home for the past 16 years.

Lee got this recipe when she was 14 years old from a craft booth in Victorville. She was the family cook. Her niece was allergic to nuts so she used pretzels instead of nuts. Lee and her husband have six children, 13 grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, plus two on the way.

Lee's "You Got To Be Kidding Me!" Surprise Dessert
1 1/2 cups pretzels, crushed
1 stick butter
1/2 cup sugar

Mix and bake in a pre-heated 400 degree oven for 7 minutes.

Mix together:
1 8-ounce package cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple

Mix with cooled pretzel mixture and chill. Add one large container Cool Whip to mixture just before serving.

Yummy!

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"Even a mistake may turn out to be the one thing necessary to a worthwhile achievement." - Author unknown.

This recipe is from Hardy Black. It was given to him by his daughter-in-law Eva Black, and it's now a family favorite. Hardy and his wife, Cleone, have lived in Hesperia since 1969. They have 16 children and 43 grandchildren (so far).

Hardy's Sweet Potato/Yam Crunch

Peel and dice 3 or 4 jumbo yams or sweet potatoes. Place in large pan and cover with water. Add 2 teaspoons salt. Boil until tender, drain and mash.

Add to cooked potatoes:
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup evaporated milk (optional - may be added for creamier texture).

Topping:
1/3 cup butter or margarine (melted and cooled)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)

Mix together and crumble on yams/sweet potatoes. Bake in a 350-degree oven until heated and topping is lightly browned.

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"Gratitude is the sign of noble souls." - Aesop

Chris Bentley and his siblings grew up on this tasty dish in the 1960s. The recipe is from a Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, hospital auxiliary cookbook. Now his kids and their friends love it, too. Chris says it's a great inexpensive meal for a busy family on the go like his family is.

Chris and his wife have lived in Hesperia since 2000. They have a 10-year-old son and a set of 8-year-old triplet girls.

Chris' Spoonburgers
1 pound ground chuck
2 tablespoons oil
2/3 cup diced onion
1 can Campbell's chicken gumbo soup
1 tablespoon catsup
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup water
Hamburger buns
Fritos

Brown meat in oil, add onions and brown until golden. Drain fat. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for at least 30 minutes. Serve on hamburger buns. Be sure to also have Fritos on hand to scoop up any spoonburger that might fall off the bun: the final meal will be sloppy, like Sloppy Joes!

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"Modern beings have forgotten their beautiful and simple natures. The only way to live is by living fully. We should create our lives into a festival of growth and permanent creation." - Chamalu, a Wuechua Indian mystic.

Anthony Riley is sharing this great tasting recipe which he acquired from a trip to India in March 2008. He's a bachelor and doesn't cook much. The one exception is this Indian dish - he loves Indian food! Anthony has lived in the Hesperia area for 10 years (Oak Hills included) and is excited about his new position.

Anthony Riley's Chicken & Tomato Balti
4 tablespoons corn oil
6 curry leaves
1/2 teaspoons mixed onion and mustard seeds
8 medium tomatoes, sliced
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic pulp
1 1/2 pounds of chicken, skinned, boneless and cubed
2/3 cup of water
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
cilantro
 
Heat oil in a deep round frying pan, add curry leaves, mixed onion and mustard seeds, stir well. Lower heat and add tomatoes.

While tomatoes are cooking, mix the coriander, chili powder, salt ground cumin, and garlic on a bowl. Tip spices onto tomatoes.

Add the chicken and stir together. Stir fry for about five minutes. Chicken can be cooked or boiled separately, then added to main frying pan. Pour in water and continue stirring until sauce thickens and chicken is cooked thoroughly.

Sprinkle the sesame seeds and cilantro over the dish and serve.

"Life is like a ladder. Every step we take is either up or down." - Author unknown.