Holiday Mirtha

Our Garden Gang   Presents...

My Home for the Holidays

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Mouseover Mirtha
to meet Bertha..

Dearest Gardeners:

Greetings!  Yes it’s the old decorating diva back with some more holiday ideas.  They can be used on a small scale or easily adapted for use in large penal institutions.  But first an update on my life here at “Camp Cupcake”.  

I am sharing quarters with a lovely woman named Bertha.  She is in here for allegedly murdering the “Hints from Heloise” lady.  It seems she didn’t like the bloodstain removal hints that Heloise provided!


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Turkey a la Bertha

Bertha has a yummy turkey recipe that I can’t wait to try!  Word has it that the kitchen staff here are going to make it for us for Thanksgiving – it will probably be a big hit! This is a sure-fire (and rapid fire...) recipe indeed.  

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Mouseover the turkey
to see popcorn stuffing


   One Turkey 
   1 cup melted butter 
   1 cup stuffing (Pepperidge Farm is good.)
   1 cup uncooked popcorn (ORVILLE REDENBACHER'S LOW FAT)
   Salt/pepper to taste.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush turkey well with melted butter, salt, and pepper. Fill cavity with stuffing and popcorn. Place in baking pan with the neck end toward the back of the oven. Listen for the popping sounds. When the turkey’s butt blows, the oven door opens, and the turkey flies across the room, it is done.

And her family says Bertha can’t cook!  Hah!

Ruth's Candied Yams

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Mouseover Camp Cupcake Dining
 Hall to see where Ruth went...

The place is really shaping up now that I have the other ladies convinced of the necessity of maintaining proper decorum. Sadly it has become my duty to train them on how to live on the inside. I have gathered up some ingredients from the kitchen once again - the kitchen staff doesn't know Saffron from demi-glace.  But, compared to the grossly over spiced dishes of hog jowls and turnip greens, they were ready and willing to try my Thanksgiving feast. 

How about another tasty treat?  The warden has so graciously provided us with a recipe for candied yams from a former inmate Ruth. It just must be included in any Holiday meal.  (Hey warden do I get my raise now?  I can’t do much with 35 cents an hour you know!)

Boil 6 yams with skin on in salted water for 20 minutes.  Cool.  Remove skins.  Cut in ¾” slices.  Arrange in greased casserole.  Make sauce:  1/3 Cup brown sugar (light), 1/3 C granulated white sugar, 1 Tablespoon cornstarch, dash of nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon salt.  Combine alternately in pot with 1 Cup orange juice, stirring constantly.   Lastly add 3 tablespoons butter or margarine.  Pour sauce over the yams and bake for at 375 F for ½ hour.

Sounds good to me even if I do say so myself and I just did!  

Spiced Brussels Sprouts

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Mouseover the sprouts
to see the effects...

We have a request from one of the Our Garden Gang ladies.  A sweet and outspoken member just loves brussels sprouts.  I don’t know why but she does! So here is one of the most requested recipes from the Camp Cupcake kitchens.  


    2 lbs ( 1 kg) brussels sprouts
    2 small or 1 large red onion or regular cooking onion
    3 tbsp ( 45 mL) butter
    1 tsp ( 5 mL) celery seed
    2 tsp ( 10 mL) ground cumin
    1/4 tsp ( 1 mL) hot red chili flakes
    1/2 tsp ( 2 mL) salt


1. Trim ends off sprouts. Cut a small "X" in bottom of each. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add sprouts and boil gently, uncovered, just until a fork can be inserted in base without a lot of resistance, from 6 minutes for small sprouts to 12 minutes for large sprouts. Immediately drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking. When chilled, drain well. If making ahead, store in the refrigerator in a resealable plastic bag for up to 2 days.

2. When ready to serve, peel onions, slice in half, then thinly slice. Melt butter in a large deep frying pan. Add onions, seasonings and salt. Stir often over medium heat, from 5 to 8 minutes, to sweeten onions. Then add sprouts. Cover and stir often until hot, from 8 to 10 minutes.

That ought to get your knickers in a twist eh?  

Deck the Halls!

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Mouseover to see the hall decor

I have been so busy here - this place has needed my decorating skills very badly. I have graciously donated my free time (while I am doing time!) to the beautifying of this edifice. Now it’s got the “Mirtha” touch!

Time to slow down a bit. I have learned about a unique tradition at this facility. On Thanksgiving afternoon, all the prisoners….er…guests dress up in Pilgrim and native American costumes and parade up and down the halls. I am looking forward to this, even though they won’t let us carry real tomahawks! Forget the Macy’s parade – this is better!

We also have a small garden here. Well compared to mine it’s small! The gardening ladies have been busy growing all sorts of squash and gourds and corn. In fact, we are using some gourds, Indian corn and small pumpkins on a display in a small basket on each table. The tablecloths are sheets from the laundry room decorated with a sprinkling of fall leaves over each one.

Bertha has come up with a great suggestion for place cards. She has been out on the property picking up the fallen pine cones. She says to insert a small card or paper in the spaces in each cone so each “guest” knows where to sit. Very inventive!

Well, I must run. I need to finish the buttonholes on the dress I'm wearing for breakfast. I'll get out the sled and drive this note to the Warden's office as soon as the glue dries on the envelope I'll be making. Hope my dinner guests don't stay too long - I have 40,000 cranberries to string with bay leaves before my counseling engagement at noon.

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Mirtha and Bertha



That's all from beautiful Camp Cupcake for now. I hope you all have safe and wonderful holidays!

Stuwort, #7775552, Camp Cupcake, Virginia  

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