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Friends and family celebrated in 'Keeping Good Company' cookbook


Last updated 9/15/2006 at Noon

My birthday is this week. Yes, I am 39… one more time.

As you might suspect, more than one person over the years has given me a cookbook as a birthday gift. This year I received “Keeping Good Company” from my sister Carol, who lives in Missouri, with a note that “…authors are local ladies so it’s extra special.” I called my sister, asked for phone numbers and had the most delightful visit with Roxie Kelley, who is the recipe source for the book. Her collaborating illustrator is Shelly Reeves Smith. Together they’ve put together four unique books that are easy to recommend.

Perhaps even more than interesting and useful recipes is the heartfelt feelings of love and gratitude for family and friends that exude from the pages of Roxie’s writing and Shelly’s drawings.

It’s a personal book. A very personal book that celebrates extended family and lifelong friends through many shared memories that include special moments and intriguing situations including a potato salad recipe created at midnight, thus its name, “Midnight Moon Potato Salad,” or the testimony of the deep appreciation and friendship of Linda Shaffer, who volunteered to help deliver 1,000 breakfast rolls for the Secretary of State (Missouri) Inaugural Breakfast at 5 a.m.! Linda Shaffer is one of three to whom Roxie and Shelly give loving memory credits on their Thank You page.

After talking with Roxie I understand why this could not be an ordinary run-of-the-mill cookbook. She is an extraordinary person!

And she didn’t set out to become a cook, an author, a business tycoon… she simply followed her instincts, mustered courage when needed and seems to have appreciated every little bit of help along the way.

Her story is one to inspire women to aspire to achievement. I even predicted this might be the next chapter in her life which would bring her back full circle to where she started… as a teacher and a coach in a little town in Missouri on the well-known Lake of the Ozarks.

This week will be Part One and some recipes. Next week will be Part Two.

Right after college Roxie was a coach and physical education teacher in the town of Camdenton, MO. At that time tourists were more seasonal and at the end of the season there weren’t any of the nice cafés open for lunch. Enter Roxie, who said “why not?” and soon she had started a 25-seat restaurant, Peace ’n’ Plenty. It was successful enough that the wait for a table began to be an hour… or two. This became too long for local businesspeople. One prevailed on expansion and soon it was a nearby location with 65 seats. This hummed along for a bit. However, when her son Blake was 6 months old she found it impossible to leave him with a babysitter, so opened a bakery, On the Rise, hired a manager for the restaurant and created at the same time the first handwritten cookbook of recipes featured at the restaurant and sold at the counter of the businesses. The “cookbook” sold well… about 25,000 copies! The restaurant manager bought the restaurant business and Roxie, out of courtesy to her, did not reprint the cookbook. She did, however, keep a list of names of people who would be contacted “if we ever did another book.” Keep this in mind, as Roxie’s habit of list-making has served her well!

Enter into the story Shelly Reeves, a former student of Roxie’s, who began by helping her at the bakery even though her love and talents were of the artistic nature as she has a degree in fine arts from Drury College.

As they worked together at the bakery the twosome decided they’d develop a stationery business with greeting cards, calendars, etc. So they did… simple as that. The unrelated businesses were operated out of the bakery for a year. Then the bakery sold and both women worked from their homes. And people were still asking for another cookbook.

Roxie said she’d do a book if the restaurant ever sold again and if she and Shelly could use the book to showcase Shelly’s artistic talents. Brooke, Roxie’s daughter, was just turning 2 when the two “ifs” happened……… the restaurant did sell and the women were encouraged to make the $60,000 investment toward the publishing of the full-color hardback cookbook that would feature Shelly’s artwork. To ease the financial burden they relied on those lists Roxie had kept plus their growing network of stationery retailers to pre-sell the book. And, that’s what they did. They sold 8,000 copies in two weeks! Then came the reprints and they sold 20,000 copies. So, of course the next question was, “When is your next book?”

The answer to this and the continuing success story continues next week… stay tuned.

Meantime, the books they have created will be reprinted next year. If you want to get on Roxie’s list, send her a note at Keeping Good Company, 4834 Highway #54, Osage Beach, MO 65065. Or e-mail

From “Keeping Good Company:”

“I enjoy including recipes like this one in our books because it takes some of the fear out of experimenting in the kitchen. Since flexibility is one of the key ingredients in remaining young at heart, it makes sense to introduce it into our daily routines whenever possible. Preparing this recipe will be one of those experiences where flexibility will give you immediate gratification.” — Roxie Kelley, author “Keeping Good Company” cookbook, Andrews McMeel Publishing, Kansas City, MO

Create Your Own Muffins

3 cups flour

1 tsp. salt

2 ½ tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

¾ cup sugar or a combination of white and brown sugar in this amount

½ cup butter or margarine, melted or 1 ½ cups vegetable oil

1 cup milk or cream or orange juice

2 eggs, beaten


1 cup chopped nuts, berries, mashed bananas, mashed pumpkin, shredded zucchini, shredded carrots, chopped apples or applesauce

Combine all dry ingredients. Combine wet ingredients. Fold wet ingredients into dry and then add 1 cup of desired flavoring.

Scoop into paper-lined muffin tins (fill about ¾ full) and bake at 400 degrees for 16-18 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 18 muffins.

“One of my [daughter Brooke’s] favorite lunch box surprises… the prepared pie crust make this recipe a cinch.”

Apple Pie Pockets

1 pkg. refrigerator pie crust

3 apples (peeled and sliced thin)

1/3 cup sugar

2 tbsp. flour

½ tsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. nutmeg

2 tbsp. butter


¼ cup sugar and ½ tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut each circle of pie crust into four wedges. Combine sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Toss apple slices with flour mixture in a medium-size bowl. Place 6-8 mixture-coated apple slices on half (vertical, not horizontal) of the pie crust wedge, dot with a bit of butter and fold pie crust over top of the apples.

Seal around the open side edges with a fork dipped in milk. Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Slit top with a knife in a few places. Brush with a little milk and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Repeat with rest of pie crust pieces. Bake on waxed-paper-lined cookie sheet until golden brown or about 15-18 minutes. Great served warm with ice cream. Makes 8.

“A slight twist on a famous restaurant chain appetizer… the presentation is especially nice during the holiday season but tastes great any time of the year.”

Spinach-Artichoke Dip

1 (14-oz.) can artichokes hearts, drained

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (not in the shaker, please use the real thing)

¼ cup chopped red bell pepper

1 cup real mayonnaise

1 (10-oz.) box frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

1 clove garlic, minced

3 or 4 slices Monterey Jack cheese

1 jar of your favorite salsa

8 oz. sour cream

Tortilla chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coarsely chop artichoke hearts (a food processor makes this job easier) and blend with Parmesan cheese. Combine with the next four ingredients in a baking dish. Bake 20 minutes. Top with sliced cheese and return to the oven for an additional 2 or 3 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve with salsa and sour cream on the side. Pass the chips. Serves 4 to 6.

Roxie writes that this recipe comes from Ann Roam and that “wherever Ann has roamed (no pun intended), Ann and I have managed to stay close at heart. I have at least six different addresses for them in the directory I’m using now and I think I’ve eaten this tetrazzini at most of those places.”

Turkey Tetrazzini

1 to 2 ½ cups cooked diced turkey or chicken

1 (4-oz.) can mushrooms, undrained

1 tbsp. minced dried onion

¼ tsp. Tabasco

¼ tsp. marjoram

1 (10 ¼ oz.) can cream of chicken soup

1 (13 oz.) can evaporated milk

1 (8 oz.) pkg. spaghetti, broken into pieces, prepared according to package directions and rinsed under cold water

1 (4-oz.) pkg. grated Cheddar cheese

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Combine first seven ingredients and mix well. Divide spaghetti into 3 equal parts. Cover bottom of a greased 9x13-inch baking dish with layers of a third of spaghetti, half the turkey mixture and half the Cheddar cheese; repeat, ending up with a layer of spaghetti. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over top. Bake 30 minutes at 400 degrees or until hot and bubbly. Let set 10 minutes before serving. Can be made in advance. Serves 6-8.


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