Once shy, Verlene likes to visit

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By Betty Street

Verlene Aman

Verlene Aman

“I used to be really bashful when I was in school and never said anything,” said Verlene Aman. When asked what major event cured her shyness and gave her poise and confidence, she said, “I sincerely don’t know what changed my life, but I enjoy talking.”
And she does. Since that time, Verlene immensely enjoys talking with and listening to other people. Warm and friendly, interested in what you have to say, it’s easy to talk with Verlene.
Verlene also enjoys trying new things and taking new steps. One time at the Old Chicago Restaurant in Sioux Falls, she ordered the jalapeno dip; and for that, she said, “you had to have an asbestos throat and mouth.”
The waiter said this would probably be the last time she would get their jalapeno dip because they were taking it off their menu. Therefore, Verlene asked for the recipe … which the chef brought to their table!
The chef said Verlene would have to cut the recipe proportions down, which she said was not a problem. Verlene’s cut-down version makes about two-and-a-half pints, which she puts into half-pint jars and shares with grateful family members who all have flame-proof mouths and throats.
Verlene does actually follow that one recipe. She said she “loves recipe books and loves reading them.” However, she generally doesn’t use them. She mostly zigs or zags in the middle of a recipe and goes another direction with what she has on hand. Sometimes she comes back to the recipe, she said, and sometimes she doesn’t.
Being an offspring of the Great Depression, Verlene doesn’t like letting anything go to waste, and it bothers her that so many people nowadays seem to waste so much. She purchased a Depression-era cookbook that includes stories from those days telling how people lived and did without and how they made do. So much depended on the attitude of the parents.
Verlene’s parents, Otto and Lydia Berreth of Herreid, moved the family to Mobridge when Verlene was 15 years old. From her mother, Verlene learned to be a happy person. She said, “Life is too short to be ‘woe is me.’ Wake up in the morning and be happy!”
Verlene laughed as she said, “If I wake up in the morning, I get up and do something. If I wake up and nothing hurts, I’m staying in bed because I’m dead!”
For 29 years, Verlene worked in the dietary department at Mobridge Regional Hospital. Now retired, her time is filled with crocheting, embroidery, computer games, crossword puzzles, reading, visiting with friends and family, and traveling as time and resources allow.
Some of the crocheting includes intricately detailed and beaded Barbie doll dresses and accessories. One dress has 2,000 tiny beads on it. Verlene doesn’t sell the dolls, but she has given some away. She said, “Oh, it’s just something I do.”
Verlene said, “I don’t have a lot, but I have enough. I have what I need.”
Only a very wise woman would know contentment in today’s world.

VERLENE AMAN’S RECIPES

Stuffed French Toast
3 eggs, beaten
½ cup milk
3 Tbsp. sugar
Cream cheese
Sliced strawberries
Sliced bananas
Bread slices
Beat eggs and add milk and sugar; set aside. Spread cream cheese on two slices of bread. Top one slice with layer of strawberries, then with layer with bananas. Put second slice of bread on top and use a little pressure to make the slices of bread stick together. Dip sandwich in milk mixture and then fry until golden brown on one side. Carefully turn over and brown on the other side. This gets a little messy but it’s worth it! Serve with syrup and Cool Whip.
7 Layer Casserole
Arrange in layers in 2-quart casserole:
1 cup rice, uncooked
1 cup canned whole kernel corn, drained and sprinkled with salt and pepper
Pour 1 8-oz. can Hunt’s Tomato sauce and ½ can water over first two layers.
½ cup each onion and green pepper, finely chopped
¾ lb. uncooked hamburger seasoned with salt and pepper
Pour second 8-oz. can Hunt’s tomato sauce plus ¼ can water over all.
Cover with four slices bacon, each slice cut into fourths.
Cover casserole and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Uncover and bake another 30 minutes. Serve.

White Chocolate Party Mix
1 10-oz. pkg. mini pretzels
5 cups Cheerios
5 cups Corn Chex
2 cups salted peanuts
1 lb. M&Ms
2 21-oz. pkgs. white chocolate chips
3 Tbsp. oil
Mix first five ingredients together and set aside. In microwave-safe bowl, heat chips and oil until melted and smooth. Pour over dry mixture and mix well. Spread onto three wax-paper lined baking sheets. Let cool and break apart. Store in airtight container; yields five quarts.

Saturday Nite Special Sandwich
1 lb. hamburger
½ cup chopped onion
1 Tbsp. catsup
2 Tbsp. mustard
1 can chicken gumbo soup
Brown onion and hamburger and add remaining ingredients. Simmer 45 minutes. Serve hot on buns.

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