Classic Chicken Salad

As a mother and grandmother, one of my goals in publishing recipes is to pass along the best of what I have to offer from what I’ve learned over the years, not only to you but also to my kids! My daughter’s family was visiting recently, and one of her favorites is chicken salad, which can be made and served over a bed of greens (as above) or used as a filling for sandwiches. Either way, the recipe is the same, and it’s always a treat, but especially on a hot summer day like today (the Fourth of July)! Here is the recipe:

Classic Chicken Salad
(Serves 4)

In a large mixing bowl, combine:
1 large can chunked chicken breast (12.5 oz or two 5-oz cans;
press out most of the liquid before adding to bowl)
1/2 cup red grapes (chopped either in half or quartered;
can use fresh or dried cherries instead)
1/3 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup mayonnaise (or salad dressing if you prefer)
1/2 teaspoon Lawry’s seasoning salt (or whatever you like)
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Salt to taste (if needed; it may be salty enough as is)

Mix together thoroughly by hand with a spoon and divide into 4 equal portions (about 1/2+ cup each) to spread over bread or fill a croissant to make sandwiches (lettuce added is a bonus). The filling can be made ahead, but just before you make your sandwiches, add:
1/2 cup chopped pecans (or other nuts) to the filling. It makes a great, quick lunch!

For a lighter meal (lunch or dinner), spoon out the chicken salad filling over four plates prepared with lettuce greens, and then top each plate with 2 tablespoons of pecans (halved or chopped) just before serving.

For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13).



A Memorial Day Tribute

For anyone who’s feeling sad to miss being able to celebrate with friends and family this Memorial Day Weekend, I would like to remind us ( because I’m among this group) that Memorial Day was established as a day to mourn for and honor the valiant soldiers who have given their lives to keep our country free for the past 150+ years!

Memoirs of Omaha Beach Landing—so worth watching
for those of us who never lived through the horrors of World War 2.
Lord, deliver us from repeating our world’s past mistakes!

While exploring France a few years ago, we traveled to Cricqueville-en-Bessin, Lower Normandy, France so we could visit the Musée Mémorial Bataille de Normandie . . . the museum and monuments commemorating the battles of Normandy during World War 2.

I was born just five years after the war ended in Europe, but in America, nobody was really talking about the war. People were intent on trying to forget and rebuild their lives.

I think this was actually impossible, but because the war was mostly fought on foreign soil, and our guys were mostly buried overseas, the terrible scars and unending need for rebuilding was not as obvious.

Therefore, it meant all the more to me to be able to visit the Musée Mémorial Bataille de Normandie, with its vast storehouse of information about D-Day and the war to free Normandy, France from the Nazis.

The day we visited was immensely foggy and dreary . . . it couldn’t have been more somber or fitting.

Omaha Beach Memorial

If ever you’re tempted to start a war (even with your beloved family members), please stop and do a little research into the horrible effects and unforgettable sorrows you will inflict—not only on others, but also on yourself. There are ultimately NO winners in a war.

There will be the victors and the heroes . . . we actually got to meet one the day we visited. But, I feel certain that had I asked him, he would have wished the world had been able to contain and overcome the threat of world dictatorship without the terrible personal, national, and international losses.

However, I would also guess that until God causes wars to cease, people and nations will continue being willing to sacrifice their lives to fight for the freedoms they believe to be their God-given rights. It’s the ultimately difficult job, but I am grateful for every person who serves in our military—and for every military that protects the rights of their people to live peaceable, quiet, godly lives. Thank you, soldiers, and “Hats Off!” to my son and his family (serving in the military) as well. May God bless and protect you all.

Barbed wire still in place along Normandy Coast of France. Omaha Beach Landing

Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psalm 46:8-10). Oh Lord, we wait on you to bring an end to wars forever! “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20).

Five-Star Cream Puffs

Gabriel loved cream puffs. In fact, he loved them so much that he stole and ate an entire plate of cream puffs that I’d made for Aaron’s birthday party at school, then he licked the platter clean. Gab loved cream puffs so much that ever afterward, I made cream puffs for him every year on his birthday. Did I mention? Gabriel was our third German shepherd.

However, the kids also loved cream puffs, but I think after Gabriel died, it made me so sad to make cream puffs that I stopped until recently, when it occurred to me that I had the ingredients to make them. Usually I’m very chintzy about making desserts (being fattening and not really good for you, and all that), but during this COVID season, when so few of our normal joys (like seeing family) are possible, I’ve been making a dessert each week as a morale booster, and it definitely gives the home team something to look forward to for tea time! Here is my personal rendition, although I know there are lots out there.

Five-Star Cream Puffs
(makes 12-20, depending on size; I made 16)

Preheat oven to 425°F. and grease 1-2 cookie sheets
Pastry:
In a medium-sized sauce pan, boil:
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon salt

Once everything is melted, add:
1 cup flour and mix until it forms a ball (My dough was a little too wet, so I added another 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 cup sugar; I know I used to use just one cup of flour, so I don’t know if my eggs are now larger or if I was just uneasy about the dough seeming too flat. Experiment. Start with just a cup of flour, but if you think it won’t hold its shape well enough, add a little more flour. I’m also a sugar hawk, but traditional pastries do not have sugar.)

Transfer to a mixing bowl and add:
4 eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly until mixed
Spoon onto cookie sheets and bake in oven at 425°F. for 20-25 minutes or until golden and fully baked

Set on counter to cool completely. If you have any doubt about whether or not they’re done, err on the side of baking a bit longer. I usually place them back in the oven after the oven has mostly cooled down just to allow them to dry out a bit more. These turned out a little flatter, I think because of the sugar, although they tasted pretty much divine! 🙂

While they’re cooling, make the filling. This custard is a little thicker than a traditional custard you might serve by itself, but it needs to be thick so that when added to the whipping cream later, it still holds its shape well and looks and tastes “just perfect.”

Vanilla Custard for Cream Puffs

In a medium-sized sauce pan, add:
1 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup corn starch.

Mix thoroughly (this is an important step to keep the custard from getting lumpy)

Add 1/2 cup water. Mix thoroughly again


Add 2 eggs and beat with a whisk until thoroughly mixed


Add 1.5 cups milk and whisk again!

Now, turn on the heat to medium high and start whisking! The filling can get lumpy if it’s not handled right. Most recipes aren’t fussy, but cream puff custard is, so keep stirring (almost constantly). HOWEVER, cream puffs are really gourmet and so worth the bother! Some people use instant vanilla pudding instead (and you can do this too, with 1 cup of milk instead of what all the recipe calls for), but it’s really not nearly as good!

It takes about 5 minutes before it will start to thicken and bubble. When it does, add:
1 stick (=8 oz. or =1/2 cup) butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Whisk together until it’s completely smooth and pour into a quart-sized bowl to cool.

Chocolate Ganache Topping

Next, make a chocolate ganache in a small sauce pan. Add:
1 cup heavy whipping cream and heat until just before the simmer point.

Then add:
2 cups chocolate chips.

Stir until it’s completely smooth and glossy. Cover and set on back of stove to keep warm.

The last thing I do before serving dinner is whip the cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream with
1 tablespoon sugar. Whip until stiff peaks form. Cover and set aside in refrigerator.

I think cream puffs are best if assembled just before you serve them. They get soggy pretty fast and only keep well if the shells are not filled.

So, have your family clear away the dinner table or let your guests start to relax with a cup of tea or coffee for a few minutes while you put your masterpieces together!

To assemble:


Cut the tops off the cream puff shells (leaving the bottom shell larger)


Fold together the custard and whipped cream.

Stuff your shells. Don’t worry if they overflow.

People like things that are slopping over with yumminess! Replace the caps.


Spoon bountiful amounts of the chocolate ganache over the tops and serve up!!


And king Solomon gave unto the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, beside that which Solomon gave her of his royal bounty” (1 Kings 10:13). As a hostess, I love being able to share from our bounty with those who visit, as I’m sure you do too! May the COVID crisis end soon and our ability to fellowship with others resume!!

When to Wed?? Unasked-for Advice from a Busy Body

A few weeks ago one of our young friends married his beloved bride in his living room with family and friends watching online . . . formal reception to follow . . . whenever we get through the COVID crisis!

We have another young friend who’s paid for deposits for their planned June 13 wedding, and now she’s anguishing over what to do. Should they wait and hope it all works out, or cut their losses now and just get married with the reception to follow?!?

If you’re thinking about getting married but wondering how and when, I’d like to recommend a really cute “feel good” movie called Winter Wedding (the 2017 version also called Wedding Wonderland). It’s about a young couple trying to figure out if they should wait for summer and her “dream” wedding venue or get married in the winter. Of course, there are all the issues of trying to please everybody else, but in the final analysis, the message was: “Do what you two (the couple) really want to do!”

This, I think, is sterling advice for any of you thinking about marriage sometime in the not-to-distant future! Of course, I’d better think so, ’cause that’s just what Alan and I did 47 years ago when our dream plans for an April Easter wedding (back in 1973) were falling through! If you’re interested in the details (which you probably aren’t), they are here:

https://kathrynwarmstrong.wordpress.com/2012/10/06/the-armstrong-archives-1-wedding-in-just-one-day/

Suffice it to say, we had a “Winter Wedding” (or a “Wonderland Wedding”) in just one day. It wasn’t nearly as glamorous as the wedding in the movie, but neither of us have ever been sorry we didn’t wait those extra two months. The plot of this film may seem ludicrous for some of you, but Alan and I just smiled at each other and held hands!

I will say, if you’re asking for my advice (which I know you’re not), “Ask God! Pray about it! He’ll know how to make your wedding just perfect!!” And, one other bit of unwanted advice from the Peanut Gallery that I’ve learned over the years: “Orchestrating your wedding truly is a challenge…but it seems like nothing compared to conducting the rest of your life! (if I may say so myself).” 🙂

His God instructs him and teaches him the right way. All this also comes from the Lord Almighty, whose plan is wonderful, whose wisdom is magnificent” (Isaiah 28:26&29 NIV).

Creamy Ham and Potato Soup

If you have a fetish for using up leftovers the way I do, then you’re probably always on the lookout for a new idea for how to turn the remains of a big dinner into something a touch more novel than “leftovers for the third night in a row.” This idea struck me during the last Christmas holidays after serving a big ham dinner for our family one night. It turned out well, so I prepared this recipe ahead, thinking some of you might enjoy trying it over the Easter holidays. Little did I know back then that none of us would be having big gatherings over Easter!! However, if you happen to serve a large roast (and that could be lamb, ham, beef, or whatever) for your Easter dinner, you might enjoy trying this recipe when you tire of traditional leftovers.

Creamy Ham and Potato Soup

Cubed ham (whatever you have leftover and haven’t frozen in bags for breakfast later)
All the gelatin left in the bottom of your roaster after baking the ham (fat skimmed off)
All the leftover mashed potatoes, or even cubed roasted potatoes, or scalloped potatoes
1 finely chopped onion (optional, be we love onions in everything; if you go this route, saute the onion for about 5 minutes in a little butter before adding all the other ingredients)
2 cups milk
2 cups water
1/2 cup flour (I add this after mixing it in a shaker with the water so it’s not lumpy)
Pepper to taste (you can also add parsley or other seasonings to taste, but beware of adding any more salt, because the ham and gelatin are both very salty. Test it first!)
Heat on the stove top until piping hot, about 10-15 minutes, stirring often so nothing sticks on the bottom. If you’ve used a lot of ham and potatoes, add more water as needed to make the soup a pleasing consistency, although it can be anywhere from pretty thin to almost stew-like.

Serve piping hot in bowls with grated cheddar cheese on top and maybe a side of garlic bread. Next time, I’m going to add a little sour cream on top too. Hope you enjoy!!

(As I said, this recipe was written up BEFORE COVID hit. It could be made with any type of roast with leftover juice and potatoes. If you’re out of fresh milk but have a little powdered milk, that can work too! If you’re out of onions but have onion powder, that works fine! Right about now, I haven’t been shopping in a month, and if that’s your situation as well, then forget the fresh garlic bread, cheese and sour cream! We don’t have an Easter egg or chocolate bunny in our house—first time in 70 years as far as I can remember. But, it brings us back to the basics: “Having food and raiment, let us be therewith be content” [1 Timothy 6:8].)



Good Friday Reflection: How the COVID Grinch Hopes to Steal Easter

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been so focused on the COVID crisis that I haven’t really been meditating on the passion of Christ—his last week of life here on earth—the way I usually do. With church services being cancelled, commuted, or online, and all hope for family gatherings gone, somehow I’d been unconsciously allowing the COVID Grinch to steal Passion Week. However, I was deeply moved by reading Amy Carmichael’s thoughts on the last act of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Do you know the last thing Jesus did before his hands were tied? He healed: “And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear. And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him” (Luke 22:50-51). “Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him” (John 18:12).

Isn’t that incredible? If I were about to be murdered by a band of outlaws, I’m pretty sure my mind would be focused on how to escape, not on healing one of the men set on killing me . . . and in the chaos of someone having his ear sliced off, I’m afraid my gut reaction would be to try to make a run for it—like you see the “good guys” do in the movies. Instead, Jesus was totally at peace and resolved to do his Father’s will, which was to suffer crucifixion. He didn’t run for it. He asked the soldiers to let his companions (disciples) go free and willingly surrendered himself to the will of these merciless men—because he knew that this was all a part of God’s plan for him. Instead of protecting himself, he healed someone who was hurting.

As we ponder Good Friday and head into this weekend, let’s make sure we don’t allow the COVID crisis to absorb all our attention. I need to refocus on my precious Lord! My guess is that the lion’s share of our concern over COVID is “What if I get sick and die?” Well, Jesus knew he was about to die, but it didn’t distract him from continuing to live exactly as he always had—obediently loving God and caring for others! Listen to these encouraging words from Amy Carmichael: “Our Lord Jesus spent much time in healing sick people, and in the natural course of events, it happened that the last thing He did with His kind hands was to heal a bad cut. (I wonder how they could have the heart to bind His hands after that.) In this, as in everything, He left us an example that we should follow in His steps (1 Pet. 2:21). Do the thing that this next minute, this next hour brings you—faithfully and lovingly and patiently: and then the last thing you do, before power to do is taken from you (if that should be), will be only the continuation of all that went before” (—from Amy Carmichael’s devotional book, Edges of His Ways, for April 7th).

Let’s not let the COVID Grinch steal our Easter! We may have to hold hands “virtually” and call on the phone or email our friends to say, “He is risen!” “He is risen indeed,” but may the world join together in singing and praising God for resurrecting our Lord Jesus Christ! Yes, Jesus died on the cross for us, but God raised him from the dead, and now Christ “is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him” (1 Peter 3:22).

Do we need to fear what may happen to us and our loved ones during the COVID crisis? Not if we belong to Jesus: “The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth” (Psalm 46:7-9). No, we don’t have to fear: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea” (Psalm 46:1-2). God is with us, as he was with Jesus, who told the thief on the cross, “Today thou shalt be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). If we have believed in Jesus, the “worst” thing COVID can do is kill our body, which will release our spirit to be forever with God. What’s to fear in that?!

Passover Prayer

Have you ever thought of praying for the Lord to “pass over” your family as the tidal wave of COVID sweeps our world? I know some people don’t believe COVID is a significant threat, since many people are asymptomatic and 80% of those who get infected are able to recover without hospitalization. Others believe the whole pandemic is really some sort of conspiracy to take over the world and destroy human rights and freedoms, citing the officers in Colorado who handcuffed a 33-year-old man who was playing T-ball with his six-year-old daughter.

I don’t look at COVID as trumped up hype or conspiracy. I look at it as something akin to the plague nearly 3,500 years ago when God sent his Death Angel to kill the firstborn in every family throughout Egypt except those families which had smeared the blood of a lamb on the doorposts of their homes, as God had directed them to do: “And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt” (Exodus 12:13).

Last night began the week long Passover festival to commemorate God’s deliverance, which faithful Jews still celebrate today. I know God has not told us to pray for God to “pass over” us today concerning the COVID-19 plague, but I also see no reason why we can’t ask if he will! Maybe he will be gracious and deliver us, as he did the Israelites so long ago.

On the other hand, God absolutely tells us to apply the blood of the Lamb to the doorposts of our hearts so that we will be delivered from spiritual death and receive eternal life. If you read through both the Old and New Testaments, you will see that God tested Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his son, although at the last minute, God provided a ram instead: “God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering” (Genesis 22:8).

About four hundred years later, God told the Israelites to sacrifice lambs so that the Death Angel would pass over them. This “Passover” was a literal reality which saved them from literal, physical death, but it also occurred to teach a greater spiritual truth to the entire world—the necessity of a blood sacrifice to save us from spiritual death. It wasn’t until Jesus died on the Passover about 1,500 years later (2020 years ago) that God revealed to the world that he was willing to sacrifice his “uniquely begotten son”—God in the flesh, our Lord Jesus Christ—as the perfect substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of the world. As John the Baptist exclaimed, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

Do you think the stories about Jesus are trumped up hype and his resurrection just some sort of conspiracy theory, or have you beheld the Lamb of God? I am praying for people to recognize the true plague that sin is and acknowledge its power to kill us. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 3:23). Unlike COVID, sin will cause the death of 100% of us. Have you asked Jesus to take away your sins and deliver you from spiritual death?

Painting by Yongsung Kim, used by permission of Havenlightministries.com

Will you behold the Lamb of God and pray with me? “Dear God and Father, I understand that you are the Almighty God who has created heaven and earth, and all that is within, including me. I acknowledge my sin and ask you to forgive me based on the sacrificial death of Christ, who was and is the perfect, sinless Lamb of God. Christ died for the sins of the world, and for all who will believe in him, he freely offers spiritual rebirth. I accept this gift, knowing that I therefore become your child—a child of God—and possess eternal life through Jesus Christ, my Savior and my Lord. Thank you for saving me from spiritual death. I also ask you to save my family! I am asking today—on this Passover—almost 3,500 years since the first Passover—that you might pass over my home and family and deliver us from death via COVID-19. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the Lord will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you” (Exodus 12:23).

And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints” (Revelation 15:3).

Blessings for St. Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I prepared this post before Covid-19 took the world by storm and I was thinking I’d be in Texas, so it may seem a little too lighthearted for the mood of our world, but then it occurred to me that we all we could all use a little cheer. Also, I’ve been sick with a wretched cold/flu (thankfully, probably not Covid-19), so I don’t have quite the umph to prepare a serious blog, although my hope is to begin sharing soon some ideas for what to do while we’re all confined. However, today I am praying over each of you who reads this some of these sweet blessings!

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“The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace” (Numbers 6:24-26).

Classic Carrot Cake

Carrot cake is another family favorite, particularly for Alan.

He rarely misses an opportunity to try a slice wherever it’s served,

whether at home, or abroad,

or anywhere at sea!

Carrot cake was made especially famous after our grandson, Samuel, started requesting his mother’s amazing carrot cakes (along with bowling parties) for his birthdays!

You know a cake is extra special when a youngster asks for it starting at age two (decorated like a ball, of course) and keeps wanting it again and again!

Absolutely everybody looks forward to Brianna’s carrot cakes (and Samuel’s birthday parties). However, with the corona virus crushing cruises and vacations, I’ve developed such a hankering for a carrot cake lately that I decided to learn how to bake my own!

I consulted with Brianna but made up my own rendition, which passed muster with Sammy (and his grandpa) last weekend, so I’ll pass it along to you today, just in case you—too—have a penchant for this rich, moist, vegetable . . . I mean cake! 🙂

Classic Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Grate 2-3 large carrots (enough to make 4 cups)
Pulverize 2 cup walnuts or pecans (depending on which you like better)

In a mixing bowl, combine:
2 cups white sugar
1 cup softened butter, and whip until airy and smooth, then add:
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla and beat until well blended.

Next, add:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice and whip in mixer until completely smooth.

Then add:
4 cups fresh, grated carrots
1 cup crushed nuts (I used pecans, but walnuts are also classic; use 1 cup in the batter, and the other cup goes on top of the frosting later)

Divide evenly into two 10-inch well greased and floured cake pans.

Bake for 45 minutes at 350°F. or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Set on the counter and allow them to cool, loosening the edges with a knife after about 10 minutes to help keep the sides from sticking.

Cream Cheese Frosting for Carrot Cake

While the cakes are cooling (or while they’re baking), make the frosting:
In your mixer, add:
8 oz softened cream cheese
1/2 cup (4 oz) softened butter
6 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons light cream (or milk)
Whip until completely smooth and a bit airy.

Turn the first cake upside down on a platter and frost.

Add the second cake upside down on top of the first and frost.

Next, completely cover the tops and sides.

Press the last cup of crushed nuts around the edges, and whatever falls off, sprinkle on top at the end.

Voilà! A rich, super moist carrot cake fit for a king or a prince and versatile enough to be popular on cruise ships and bowling parties!

Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties” (Genesis 49:20, spoken by Jacob while blessing his children before he died. Oh, that everyone in our world were able to enjoy “royal dainties”! I believe that someday, when the Messiah returns to rule the earth in righteousness and peace, there will be no more corona virus or other plagues, and there will be plenty for all. I wish He would come today! Even so, come, Lord Jesus!)


Frankenmuth: The Birthday Club and Historical Society Roots Tour

I wrote about Frankenmuth eight years ago as a sort of “Christmas Present” event, where Alan and I enjoyed the Christmasy ambience of this historic German community, complete with an afternoon of shopping at Bronner’s, the world’s largest Christmas store, which houses over 50,000 gifts in an area nearly the size of two football field.

I’m sure I’ll write about Frankenmuth again as a “Christmas Future” event, because Frankenmuth now sports two waterpark hotels where several of my children and their children love splashing around for a weekend on adrenaline-pumping rides like the Super Loop Speed Slide or the Tantrum Twist Raft Ride (or . . . the warm kiddy pools). 🙂

Today, however, I want to write about my “Christmas Past,” outing last week with the Birthday Club, where we concentrated more on the historical aspects of this charming village, which has even more to offer than great food, shops, and joy rides.

Just a few historical “fun facts” for would-be tourists! There are absolutely NO parking meters anywhere in town, so parking (where available) is totally free! How’s that for German hospitality? Also, the oldest neon sign in Michigan stands in front of Zehnders (which is also probably the oldest, most famous restaurant in Michigan).

Frankenmuth is also home to Michigan’s oldest continuously operating woolen mill.

This was the first stop on our list of tours, although faaaaar from the last!

The Frankenmuth Woolen Mill has been in operation for 125 years.

Anyone can still have their own sheep’s wool cleaned, carded, and batted!

Even though it’s a working mill, they have windows where you can observe some of the processes when they work.

Also, if you call ahead, they will arrange personal tours for groups of ten or more.

However, if you don’t have ten in your party or don’t come at the right time, there is a constantly running, short but very informative video that explains the process, and the clerks are hospitable and willing to answer questions.

As you might imagine, the store is full of wonderfully pleasant woolen products . . .

and other fun stuff, sure to make you smile! (Susan made us pose for this one! 🙂 )

There is also a historical museum, although it was closed the day we were there.

All the shops were open, though, including this fabulous old fashioned market that seemed straight out of my childhood, complete with a big pickle barrel. Huge dill pickles are sold for $.49 or a whole gallon for only $7.00!

For those of you who long for a day to experience the past in all it’s present glory, Frankenmuth is hard to beat!

Another fantastic shop is the Cheese Haus, which brought back memories of Alan and my visit to Edam in the Netherlands a couple of years ago . . . a wonderful store full of amazing cheeses, many of which can be sampled on the spot! (Tourist alert: Come hungry to Frankenmuth and pace yourself!!)

Of course, the culinary highlight of the day was experiencing one of the city’s historically tastabulous chicken dinners. Frankenmuth has two restaurants that were begun over 160 years ago by two German brothers. They have identical menus.

The first and most famous is Zehnders, which was just announced as one of 6 recipients of 2020 James Beard Foundation America’s Classics Award. Zehnders seats 1,500 in their ten dining rooms. It was one of 10 largest restaurants in America in the 1980’s, and I believe it still has the largest seating capacity of any restaurant in Michigan, serving about a million chicken dinners annually.

However, in honor of Susan (who has German roots) and me (who has a German daughter-in-law), Cindi opted to eat at the brother restaurant right across the street, where everything is just as wonderful, albeit with Bavarian ambience rather than Zehnder’s colonial American decor.

Needless to say, we were totally charmed and completely pleased by our dining experience at the Bavarian Inn!

If you go to Frankenmuth, be sure to walk around to the side of the Bavarian Inn in time to see the wonderful glockenspiel and hear the 10-minute performance about the Pied Piper.

Although it’s done in a rather cheerful manner, the moral of the story is somber and clear:

Pay those to whom payment is due, be fair, and don’t lie, or you will be very sorry in the end!

Well, like so many travel posts, this one is way too long already, but I want to encourage you to save time for one more historical site if you visit Frankenmuth.

This utterly charming community was begun by fifteen German Lutherans who had a heart to share the gospel with the Chippewa Indians in this area (back in 1845).

Across the street from the present day church, there is a replica of the original church.

Except during services, visitors are welcome to ring two ancient “church bells in the forest!”

There is also a fascinating cemetery filled with gravestones and expressions of faith.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Lorenz in Frankenmuth, Michigan

This historic church is alive and well today, open to the public and sharing the Gospel!

Inscription on the wall of St. Lorenz

To Susan, Cindi, and me, it was the crowning touch to a completely warm and wonderful day!

Thank you, Jesus!