July already! What’s happened to the time passing so fast? It seems like only last week when I was in high school and thought it would never end. Now here I am on the down side of middle aged, and I’m not liking it. But, as they say, (whoever “they” are) it beats the alternative. Yeah it does.

Let me tell those of you who have not reached your “golden years” yet, you better toughen up baby. You will have to gut it up and go with it, whatever that might be. Not to depress you or anything like that, but this period of your life called your “golden years” is not exactly what I dreamed they would be. So, like I said, “Gut it up, baby!”

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If you are having company and feel rushed to get a meal together, Becky sent in this recipe for you to make ahead. Anything you can do ahead is a winner in my book.

You know, I know about these things because I know where my stove is and I look at it when I’m in the kitchen. But I swear I see this warning on it that says, “DO NOT USE. FOR LOOKS ONLY!” No one else can see it; go figure, I find that strange.

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes with Cream Cheese

Ingredients

5 pounds baking potatoes

2 (3-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1 (8-ounce) container sour cream

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened

1/2 cup milk

2 teaspoons onion salt

Paprika or chopped fresh parsley for garnish.

Directions

Peel potatoes and cut into 1-inch cubes. Cook in a medium saucepan in boiling water to cover 15 to 20 minutes or until tender; drain and place into a large mixing bowl.

Add cream cheese and next four ingredients; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy (do not overbeat). Spoon into a lightly greased 13-by-9-inch or 3-quart baking dish.

Bake covered at 325 degrees for 50 minutes or until thoroughly heated; garnish, if desired.

Note: Unbaked mashed potatoes may be chilled up to two days. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes and bake as directed.

Thank you, Becky!

How you find time to cook and go to all these beautiful places you go I don’t have a clue. Becky and John have a motorhome and they use it. They send me the most beautiful pictures they take that are framable art.

Mashed potatoes are so good and such a basic to a good meal. Let me tell you who makes the best mashed potatoes since my mother; that would be my sister-in-law, Cathy. One reason they are so good is she makes hers just like my mom did. Nothing but the basics. Instead of milk out of a carton she uses Pet milk. I knew there was something different from mine. Then one day she told me. That was my “ah-ha” moment. Sometimes she put cheddar cheese on the top and melts it. Either way they are so good!

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This recipe also comes to us from Becky. This recipe I love. When I did cook, I made this a lot. The only difference is I left out the mustard and the sugar. And instead of cutting the potatoes in rounds, I mashed them before I added any of the ingredients. Of course, it’s a little more tart without the sugar. It is so good served hot.

German Potato Salad

Ingredients

2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes

1/2 pound thick-cut bacon

3/4 cup finely chopped onion

1/3 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons minced chives for garnish.

Directions

Place the potatoes in a medium-size pot and cover them with enough water to extend 2 inches above the surface of the potatoes. Salt the water and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Continue cooking until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and slice into 1/4-inch rounds.

Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once crisp, place on a paper towel-lined plate and crumble into small pieces. Pour off the rendered fat, reserving 1/4 cup in the pan. Turn the heat to medium and add the onion. Cook until translucent and just beginning to brown, about 4 to 5 minutes.

Whisk in the vinegar, sugar, mustard and salt, and stir until thick and bubbly. Add the sliced, cooked potatoes and toss to coat. Top with the crumbled bacon and garnish with the chives. Serve warm.

Let me tell you, when you add the vinegar be prepared to have your sinuses opened up. You won’t believe how good this method of adding the vinegar in the hot bacon grease is. The vinegar will be hot, of course, thus doing your sinuses a favor.

Thank you so much for sharing with us all of your favorite recipes Becky. Even when traveling you find the time to think of us. You are so sweet! Wish I was just half as sweet as you are.

If you have recipes or tips to share, or a request, send to Conversations with Gin, P.O. Box 334, Clute TX. 77531, or ginscolumn@hotmail.com.

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