When the initial shock and disbelief of watching their beloved church building sustain extensive damage in a devastating fire March 31 wore off, the congregation of St. John’s Lutheran Church, rural Geneseo, did the only thing they knew to do — roll up their sleeves and get to work rebuilding their church building.

When the initial shock and disbelief of watching their beloved church building sustain extensive damage in a devastating fire March 31 wore off, the congregation of St. John’s Lutheran Church, rural Geneseo, did the only thing they knew to do — roll up their sleeves and get to work rebuilding their church building.

Pretty much from the start they knew, without a doubt, they would rebuild. And the rebuilding effort would definitely require some fund-raising projects along the way.
Since many church members are well-known for their culinary talents, one of the first fund-raisers being sponsored by the entire congregation of St. John’s church is a bake sale planned for Aug. 29 in downtown Geneseo. It will be held in conjunction with Geneseo’s State Street Flea Market.

The bake sale will begin at 8 a.m. and go until about 12:30 p.m., according to church member Janice Rasmussen, a chairman of the event.

“We’ll be on the sidewalk in the vicinity of the former Klavohn’s floor covering store on State Street,” Janice said, adding the bake sale will feature some of the best homemade goodies from members of St. John’s. “We have many, many wonderful cooks at St. John’s and this is something everyone can take part in. It’s not being sponsored by any one group at St. John’s, but by the whole congregation.”

Proceeds from the bake sale, Janice said, will go to the building fund with Thrivent Financial for Lutherans matching any funds received, up to $1,020.

“Pretty soon after the fire we voted that we are going to rebuild, but we will probably be rebuilding at a location a little bit north of the original church building,” Janice said. “We will tear down and clean up the burned building.”

The church’s building committee is currently in the process of interviewing and selecting an architect to draw up plans for the new building with a goal of beginning construction next spring.

Until the new building is completed, members of St. John’s are meeting for Sunday school and worship services at Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Colona. “The congregation at Beautiful Savior have been very good to us to let us use their facilities,” Janice said. “And we appreciate it so much.”

Janice said St. John’s is a hard-working congregation. “It’s a farm community and a rural church and that’s why we have so many good cooks,” she said, adding she was baptized, confirmed and married at St. John’s. “I’m a lifelong member and I’ve worked with these people a lot through the years. They are wonderful people.”

There will, no doubt, be many more fund-raising events as St. John’s begins and follows through with the building process. “This is an expensive project for us,” Janice said.

To the many great cooks at St. John’s, both present and future, one of the areas that will be an integral part of the new church building will be the kitchen. “We had a very nice kitchen in our church and the kitchen in our new church is very important to us,” Janice said. “We have a kitchen committee that is dedicated to designing and the building the best and most modern kitchen possible.”

Several of the  members of St. John’s Lutheran Church, rural Geneseo, share some of their favorite recipes.

Rhubarb crunch
Marjorie Maeltzer
Mix until crumbly:
1 C. flour
3/4 c. raw quick cooking Quaker oats
1 C. firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 C. oleo, melted
1 t. cinnamon
Press half the crumbs into a 9 inch glass pan.
Cover with four cups diced rhubarb.
Cook until thick and clear:
1 C. sugar
2 T. cornstarch
1 C. water
Pour over rhubarb.
Top with remaining crumbs. Bake at 325 degrees for one hour.
Note: “I double the batch for a 9x13 inch pan.”

Pasta corn bake
Lynne Johnson
1 can whole kernel corn, undrained
1 can cream style corn
1 C. spaghetti, broken or small pieces
1 C. Velveeta cheese, cubed
1 stick oleo or butter
Butter or spray 2 qt. casserole.
Mix all ingredients except oleo/butter. Cube oleo/butter on top.
Bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, and uncovered for 30 minutes.

Swiss chocolate bars
Ruth Erdman
2 C. flour
2 C. sugar
1 t. soda
1/2 t. salt
Sift together.
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 C. sour cream
1 t. vanilla
Mix together.
1 C. water
1/2 C. butter
1-1/2 square unsweetened chocolate
Melt together.
Mix all together. Bake in greased jelly-roll pan.
Bake 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
Frost as desired.

Chicken casserole
Lois Goetz
2-1/2 C. chicken, cubed
1 can cream of chicken soup (undiluted)
3/4 C. mayonnaise
1 C. celery, diced
1 C. cooked rice (2/3 C. water, 1/3 C. rice)
1 T. onion, grated
1 T. lemon juice
1/2 t. salt
2 hard boiled eggs, diced
1/2 C. mushrooms (canned or fresh)
1 C. buttered Corn Flakes, crushed
Mix all ingredients together, including eggs.
Crushed Corn Flakes are mixed with butter and spread over mixture.?Put in greased 8x8x2 inch casserole.
Bake at 375 degrees for 1/2 to 3/4 hour.
A double batch makes a large glass 9x13 inch dish very full.

Hannah’s coffee cake
Margo Schillinger
3 env. dry yeast
1 C. moderately hot water
1/4 C. sugar
3 C. milk
1-1/2 T. salt
1 C. sugar
3/4 C. shortening margarine
3 C. flour
3 eggs
additional flour (about 8 C. all together)
2 C. raisins
Dissolve the three envelopes of dry yeast  in the moderately hot water and sprinkle about 1/4 C. sugar over yeast.
Heat milk. Combine with salt, 1 C. sugar and shortening. The shortening will melt if the milk is just hot enough.
Add this mixture to the dissolved yeast. Add about 3 C. of flour and mix until smooth. Add three eggs and beat well. Keep adding flour (about 8 C.) and mix until you can  handle the dough. Add raisins and mix well again.
Knead about five minutes or until it’s no longer sticky. Let the dough rise about 1/2 hour. Punch down and let rise again another 1/2 hour.
Divide and shape as desired into coffee cakes and rolls. Place into tins and let rise until ready to bake, about 1/2 hour.
Bake coffee cake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, rolls for 15 minutes.
Makes four coffee cakes.
Variations: Dough may be patted out and apples, cinnamon, sugar and nuts sprinkled over, and rolled into a large roll. Combined fruit or apricots may also be used.

German potato salad
Shirley Dahl
6 medium potatoes, cooked with skins on, then peeled and sliced
8 slices bacon, cut in small pieces
1/2 C. bacon grease
3/4 C. onion, chopped
1/2 C. cider vinegar
2 T. flour
3/4 C. water
3-1/2 T. sugar
Cook bacon and drain.
Saute onion and add all ingredients except potatoes and bacon.
Boil mixture one minute and pour over bacon and potatoes. Serve hot.

Italian zucchini quiche
Joyce Dodge
1 can (10 oz.) refrigerator crescent rolls, separated
3/4 C. sliced almonds
3 small zucchini, sliced 1/8 inch thick
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/8 t. pepper
3 T. butter
1 pkg. (2.5 oz.) dried beef
3 eggs, well beaten
1 C. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 t. dillweed
Press dough over bottom and sides of a 9 inch pie plate. Seal dough well. Sprinkle almonds over dough.
Saute zucchini with garlic and pepper in butter in skillet until zucchini is tender. Layer zucchini and beef over almonds. Pour eggs over beef. Top with cheese and dillweed.
Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes or until edges are golden brown.
Yield: 8 servings.
Note: “I often use a regular pie crust dough instead of the crescent rolls. Just roll out to fit pie dish and crimp edges.”

Triple chocolate cake
Marilyn Woods
1 pkg. Duncan Hines devils food cake
1 (3-1/2 oz.) pkg. devils food instant pudding and pie filling
1 (6 oz., 1 C.) pkg. Hershey’s Special Dark chips
1-1/4 C. water
1/4 C. vegetable oil
2 eggs
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients until moistened. Stir batter vigorously for one minute.
Spread batter in lightly greased 9x13x2 inch pan. Bake until top springs back when touched lightly in center, 40-45 minutes. Cool.
Note: “This is a very rich cake! This is a great recipe for fund-raisers, auctions and potlucks. I might make it as cuupcakes to sell at St. John’s bake sale during Maxwell Street Day.”

Norma Daniels
1 C. sugar
1/2 C. butter
Add and beat:
4 eggs
1 regular can Hershey’s chocolate syrup
1 C. flour
pinch of salt
1 T. vanilla
1/2 C. nuts
Mix all and pour into jelly roll pan.
4 oz. cream cheese
1/4 c. sugar
1 egg
Swirl over brownie mix already in pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
1/2 C. butter
1-1/2 C. sugar
1/4 C. milk
3/4 C. chocolate chips
Bring all to boil slowly and boil for 1/2 to 1 minute. Cool a little until consistency to spread. Spread on top of brownies.

Blueberry crumble ice cream topping
Liz Neumann
3 C. fresh or frozen
3 T. sugar
1 T. cornstarch
1/3 C. oatmeal
1/3 C. packed brown sugar
2 T. chopped almonds
1/8 t. cinnamon
3 T. cold butter
vanilla ice cream
Combine the sugar and cornstarch and mix into blueberries. Place the mixture into a greased 9 inch microwave safe pie plate. Cover and microwave on high for 7 to 8 minutes or until thickened, stirring twice.
Combine the oats, brown sugar, flour, almonds and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles course crumbs. Sprinkle over the blueberry mixture.
Microwave, uncovered, on high for 2 to 3 minutes or until butter is melted.
Serve with ice cream.

Jimmy Carter peanut dessert
Joyce DeFauw
2/3 C. dry roasted peanuts, chopped
1 C. flour
1 stick margarine
First layer:
1/3 C. peanut butter
1 C. powdered sugar
8 oz. cream cheese
1 C. Cool Whip
Second layer:
1 small pkg. instant chocolate pudding
1 small pkg. instant vanilla pudding
2-3/4 C. milk
1 C. Cool Whip
Hershey chocolate bar, shaved
dry roasted peanuts, chopped
Blend flour and margarine, add peanuts. Press into 9x13 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool.
Cream peanut butter and cheese. Add sugar. Blend in Cool Whip and spread over crust.
Mix pudding mixes with milk with mixer on low for two minutes. Spread over first layer.
Top with Cool Whip.
Shred Hershey bar and chopped peanuts on top for garnish.

Pumpkin bread
Karna Hollatz
3-1/2 C. flour
2 t. soda
1-1/2 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
1 C. cooking oil
4 eggs
2/3 C. water
2 C. pumpkin
3 C. sugar
Mix all ingredients well with mixer.
Pour into greased loaf pan.
Makes three loaves or 7 mini loaves
Bake at 350 degrees until done.

Oatmeal dinner rolls
Janice Rasmussen
1-1/2 C. boiling water
1/2 C. margarine
2/3 C. brown sugar
3/4 t. salt
1 C. quick cooking dry oatmeal
In a large bowl, pour boiling water over above ingredients and allow mixture to cool to lukewarm.
1 pkg. dry yeast
2 C. flour
1 beaten egg
2 more C. white or wheat flour
Stir the yeast into the lukewarm mixture. Add 2 C. flour and beaten egg. Beat to blend well. (“I use bread hooks and an electric mixer.”)
Add 2 more C. flour. Knead well. Let rise once, punch down and let rise second time. After the second rising, form into about two dozen rolls and let rise until doubled in a well greased baking pan.
Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Iowa ham balls
Wanda Rahn
2 lb. ground ham
2 lb. ground beef
2 C. graham cracker crumbs
2 eggs
1-1/2 C. milk
Combine all and form into meatballs using 1/2 C. mixture. It will fill a 9x13 inch baking pan.
2 cans tomato soup
3/4 C. white vinegar
2-1/4 C. brown sugar
2 t. dry mustard
Mix well and pour over meatballs.
Bake uncovered in preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour 15 min. (until slightly browned).