- Associated Press - Saturday, October 25, 2014

CAMP POINT, Ill. (AP) - Marilyn Stout rolls up a log of sweet roll dough filled with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon.

“Some people use white sugar. I use brown sugar. I think it’s tastier,” Stout said. “Some people put nuts in. I don’t.”

Quickly slicing the log with a knife, she leaves it to rise again before putting the breakfast treat into the oven.

Making homemade bread for breakfast, lunch or supper “is just a family thing I’ve always done. I don’t buy dinner rolls. I make them,” the Camp Point woman said. “Instead of making homemade bread or rolls for certain menus I make this whole wheat muffin.”

Stout cooks mostly from scratch for family, friends and community events at the Golden windmill or her church, St. Thomas in Camp Point.

Used to cooking mainly for her husband, Jim, their daughter, son-in-law and three grandchildren, she now helps with meals for crowds topping 200.

“I just love it,” she said. “I’m learning the bigger quantities.”

Back home, she’s likely to pull out a hand-me-down recipe, favorites from her childhood on the farm that she still loves to make.

Her soft sugar cookie “is an old-fashioned recipe, but I can’t let go of it. My mom made it,” she said. “You don’t have to ice them, but in my family, if I don’t ice them, they say, ‘There must be something wrong with grandma.’”

Or she’ll feature some of her fresh-from-the-garden produce as the key ingredient in dishes like sweet potato casserole or strawberry pie, a summertime favorite made with the same homemade crust her mom made.

“I usually have my own cabbage for cabbage casserole,” she said. “It’s a hand-me-down, something my family likes.”

She’ll follow the recipe, especially if it’s something new, and adapt dishes to her family’s taste.

“A lot of times I’ll make chocolate drop cookies and put in chocolate chips, but when my family gets together, they like the mint chips,” Stout said.

When heading to her daughter’s for a meal, Stout can’t go empty-handed.

“My son-in-law said you know what you’ve got to bring. He always says my pies are delicious,” she said. “My husband’s favorite is chocolate, and so is the youngest grandson’s.”

And she makes heart-healthy choices for her husband, keeping close watch on sodium levels in recipes and substituting a main ingredient in barbecue meat balls.

“For things with ground beef, I use ground turkey,” she said. “I don’t buy much ground beef. It’s ground turkey, turkey bacon, turkey sausage. It doesn’t have near the fat.”

Spending time in the kitchen with her mom introduced Stout to cooking, baking and canning.

“I learned from her,” she said. “It was something easy to take on.”

She still cans green beans, a favorite of her daughter’s family, along with tomatoes and tomato juice, and she freezes sweet corn. Part of that bounty goes along when the couple spends part of the winter months in Florida, but she also enjoys cooking with that area’s fresh produce.

“We eat a lot of soup. I make my own potato soup, my own chili soup,” she said. “You have to like to do it, have time to do it.”

Retired since 2001 when they sold a Quincy-based feed store, the couple keep busy with hobbies — her Swedish-weave handwork and his woodworking — along with volunteer work.

Stout also gets plenty of exercise, with daily 6-mile walks no matter where she’s at.

“It makes me have so much energy. It’s time for me. I can pray, talk to God,” she said. “I’m an early riser. It’s my favorite time. I tell my husband, ‘You don’t know what you missed, a beautiful sunrise.’ He’ll see some of it, but I’ve seen it when it’s just a different show than it is two hours later. It’s just gorgeous.”

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Source: The Quincy Herald-Whig, http://bit.ly/1rhWtNs

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