This picture includes the original Trail Riders of Cowboy Church. Left to right: Steve, Dee, Ron, Pam, Rich, Dusty, Kenny and Big Slim.

This won’t be my usual Cook of the Week article. Big Slim, the leader of the Frontier Trail Riders of the Cowboy Church at Faith United Methodist Church, has helped in the writing of this article. Now if you have ever been to “Cowboy Church” you already know there is some laughter amongst the song and ministry that touches our hearts so you already know that Big Slim isn’t always “ALL SERIOUS”! I have, however, insisted that when we got to the recipes that they be real and not road-side kill as he really wanted to give me things sounding like “Opossum Stew” and stuff like that. When it came to that, I put my foot down. I wonder if Santa even bothered to come down his chimney this year!?! Big Slim, aka Gary Ehrle, has given me a little bit of history about Cowboy Church and also gave me a little background on the individual ‘trail riders’. I have called upon some of the trail riders for a recipe also, as Big Slim only gave me one recipe.
When I asked Big Slim where they drifted in from, he replied, “On a normal cattle drive that started in Abilene, Texas, and ended up somewhere near Humboldt County, Iowa.” I asked if that had been a hard journey. Big Slim said, “ After months of push’n a mangy herd of cattle, the boys would relax around an evening meal which may have consisted of a skillet of ‘Big Slim’s’ famous Wild Prairie Chicken Lips and Gopher Tails sautéed over an open fire. Fur (not a typo – this is the way this cowboy talks!) dessert they may have had bacon fat on a stick and river slough coffee to wash it all down.” Big Slim continues, “Today, however, we’ve become just a little more accustomed to the city folks’ style of cook’n (like they do in Humboldt)!”
One of the more colorful characters to hit Humboldt County, has been ‘Big Slim’ of the famous Frontier Trail Riders, arriving here in the year 2012. This extraordinary individual kept pushing the boundaries and finally succeeded in establishing the singing cowboy’s outreach ministry at Faith United Methodist Church, today branded as ‘Cowboy Church.’ Reaching the Un-Churched and the Churched alike with a ministry that intertwined the Gospel with the Wild West Cowboy, through music, laughter and a message that touched folks’ hearts in a slightly different way, the cowboy way.
This rowdy bunch followed the rivers and crossed great plains, in order to find a new adventure in themselves. Often, they faced struggles as they made their way through uncharted worship programs that Slim would arrange for them. But not weather or starvation, rugged terrain, nor numerous other perils could hold back the Gang from providing the best Country Gospel outreach ministry in Iowa.
I visited with Big Slim about the individuals making up the Trail Riders and some of their talents. I’ve been warned by some of the other trail riders that not all of this may be the actual facts. I do know that Big Slim likes to tell BIG stories along the way. I also know from watching and listening that these people sing from their hearts and give the glory to God for the work that they are doing. They don’t take the credit themselves for any of their wonderful talents! To quote any one of them, “It is all GOD GIVEN!”
Out of Big Slim’s mouth comes information about the trail riders: Remember he isn’t always talking sensibly! Know that part of everything he says has to be taken in fun! With that said, here is a short quip of each ones uniqueness. Too much cattle dust may have contributed to this!
RICH LINDAMAN is a master craftsman and teacher and instrumental enthusiast who can sing the old bluegrass songs of yesterday. He became famous after his depute as lead guitarist for the Trail Riders.
STEVE STAMPER is the First Trailblazer to grow a beard and never hung around cattle rustlers or whiskey peddlers but became civilized at a young age. He is also known for his Johnny Cash likeness!
DEE COLEMAN is someone that never became a millionaire but continues even today in her pursuit of the dream. An earlier Country Western Hall of Fame inductee, Dee still sings with that golden voice that has made her famous!
RON SMITH is one of the leaders that became trapped in the early winter snows of Humboldt County, but with persistence he became the main bass electric guitarist for the Trail Riders.
PAM STALPES never discovered gold in Humboldt but continues to survey the areas of her backyard in search of the undiscovered treasures that could possibly be just below her feet. (Editor’s Note: I love to hear her sing.)
JEFF HALVERSON is steel guitarist and Co-leader of the ‘Back Porch Swing Group’. He joined the Trail Riders in 2015 after failing in his attempt in drilling for oil on his land for numerous years.
MIKE WILLIAMS, Co-leader of the ‘Back Porch Swing Group’ and electric guitarist, is also an accomplished song writer and singer who never realized that the guitar had five strings and not four as he first thought.
BOB JOHNSON, an accomplished mandolin player and electric bass guitarist felt a setback after never being recognized as being a tall slender man.
DEB TILTON, a former scout and guide for the ‘Back Porch Swing Group’, mandolin player and first woman to cross the Great Plains and cross the wild untamed rivers of Humboldt to join the Frontier Trail Riders. (This message received from Deb is that she started playing with Cowboy Church since she already played with ‘Back Porch Swing’ with her brother, Bob Johnson, and friends, Mike Williams and Jeff Halvorson and Wayne Lehman.)
KENNY VORLAND’S big dream of becoming governor never materialized but eventually he became the Trail Rider’s best known and loved Harmonica player.
“The Cowboy Church ministry idea originated through prayer, creativity and obedience. God sometimes has a funny way of touching people and I think this is one that He enjoys what we do as much as we enjoy in putting it all together. I think sometimes I can even hear Him singing with us,” said Big Slim.

Big Slim’s Western Style Meatloaf
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix the following in a large bowl:
1-1/2 pounds ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1 can (8 ounce size) tomato
sauce (save 1/4 cup for
2 cups soft bread crumbs
2 tablespoons prepared
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 medium onion, finely
2 eggs, slightly beaten
Spread mixture into ungreased loaf pan 9 x 5 x 3 inches.
1/4 cup reserved tomato sauce
from above
1 tablespoon packed brown
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
Mix reserved tomato sauce, brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon mustard together and spread over loaf. Bake uncovered until done, 1 to 1-1/4 hours. Cover loosely with aluminum foil; let stand for 10 minutes. Remove from pan, slice and enjoy.

Dee’s Filled Coffee Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup salad oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 can pie filling
sugar and cinnamon mixture
Blend sugars, pour in oil, vanilla and beaten eggs. Beat until smooth. Blend in the flour and baking powder until smooth. Spread half of the batter into the bottom of ungreased 9 x 13 inch cake pan. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Spread 1 can of pie filling over the top (peach, apple, cherry, blueberry, apricot, etc.) Top with balance of batter. Sprinkle top with sugar and cinnamon. Bake 45 minutes to 1 hours, depending on your oven. Insert toothpick to be sure batter is done! Serve warm with cool whip. Can also be served at room temperature!

Cowboy Caviar
15.5 ounce can black beans,
15.5 ounce can black-eyed
peas, drained
14.5 ounce can diced
tomatoes, drained
2 cups frozen corn kernels,
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/4 green bell pepper, finely
1/2 cup chopped pickled
jalapeno peppers
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 cup Italian salad dressing
3/4 cup chopped cilantro
Mix beans, peas, tomatoes, corn, onion, bell pepper and jalapeno peppers in a large bowl. Season with garlic salt. Add dressing and cilantro; toss to coat. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Black beans absorb other flavors so try to leave this for at least 20 minutes before serving to allow the different flavors to meld.

“Dale Evans” Cookies
(Roy’s favorites!)
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon soda
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted
butter, at room temperature
1-1/2 cups white sugar
1-1/2 cups packed light brown
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
4 cups semisweet chocolate
3 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
2 cups (8 ounces) chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or line with a silicone baking mat. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, soda, cinnamon and salt; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually beat in the sugars and continue to beat until light and fluffy, scraping the bowl as necessary, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture, mixing until just combined. With a wooden spoon or large rubber spatula stir in the chocolate chips, oats and pecans. For each cookie, drop 1/4 cup dough onto the baking sheets, spacing them about 3 inches apart. Bake until the edges are set but the middles still look light and puffy, about 12 to 15 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through. Cool cookies on the baking sheets before removing. Yields 3 dozen large cookies. If making smaller cookies, watch the time. You probably won’t need to bake quite as long.

Quacker’s Favorite
Lemon Bars
Be sure to come to Cowboy Church to see if Quacker will there on the 31st!
1 (1 Step) angel food cake mix
1 can Lemon Pie Filling
Mix together gently until all is mixed.
Put in ungreased 8 inch by 8 inch pan and bake approximately 20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees. (These are just ducky!)

Holiday Shrimp Dip
Dee Coleman
The boys and girls in the Bunk House love this one!
Soften 8 ounces of Philadelphia Cream Cheese.
Mix with:
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup chili sauce or shrimp
1 teaspoon Worcestershire
2 to 3 teaspoons milk
1 can tiny shrimp
This can be eaten with crackers or veggies!

Broccoli Corn Bread
3/4 cup oleo (1-1/2 sticks)
1 medium chopped onion
1 cup cottage cheese
10 ounce package of broccoli,
4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
Mix above ingredients gently together.
Stir in 2 boxes of Jiffy dry corn bread mixes until just moistened.
Bake at 350 degrees in a 9 inch by 13 inch greased pan for 20 to 25 minutes.
The Cowboys might even fight over the last piece of this!

Root’n Toot’n Beans
Smoke adds a distinctly campfire taste to this frontier classic. Throw in leftover smoked pork, ribs, or brisket for a more substantial dish. Make sure the pot you choose will fit under the cover of your grill, or cook the beans in a fire pit or over a campfire, (Cowboy Style). Alternatively, you can cook the beans on the stovetop. Serve as a side dish with plenty of grilled bread for mopping up the sauce.
1/2 pound thick-cut smoked
1 small yellow onion, diced
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 pound dried Great Northern or small white beans, picked over, soaked overnight in water to cover and then drained
1 cup basic bbq sauce
½ cup ketchup
¼ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
¼ cup molasses
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon dry mustard
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon chili powder
If cooking the beans on a grill, prepare a medium fire in the grill.
In a large, heavy-lidded pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp and the fat begins to render, 8 to 10 minutes. Discard the fat, leaving a few tablespoons in the pot. Add the onion to the pot, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the beans, bbq sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, molasses, vinegar, Dijon mustard, dry mustard, garlic powder and chili powder. Add enough water to just cover the beans, up to 2 cups, and stir well. Place the pot on the grill rack over the hottest part of the fire. Or, keep the pot on the burner over medium heat. Partially cover the pot and simmer the beans, stirring occasionally, until deep dark brown in color and thick, about 1 ½ to 2 hours. Serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8 cow hands, depending on how hungry they are, maybe more, maybe less!

Ranch Stew
1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 small green pepper, chopped
15 ounce can whole kernel
corn, do not drain
15 ounce can diced tomatoes,
do not drain
15 ounce can ranch style
beans, do not drain
1 teaspoon chili powder
(adjust to taste)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
Brown the meat with the onion, green pepper and garlic. Do not drain. Add undrained vegetables and add seasoning. Simmer a minimum of 20 minutes.

Steve’s Mother’s Hot Milk Cake
Beat 4 eggs until beaten well.
Add 2 cups sugar
Then add alternately dry ingredients with milk ingredients.
Dry ingredients which have been sifted together:
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
Add alternately with dry ingredients.
1 cup scalded milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Bake in 9 inch by 13 inch pan in a 350 degree oven for 35 minutes.
6 Tablespoons butter, melted
4 Tablespoons canned milk
10 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup chopped walnuts
Spread on top of cake and bake 6 to 10 minutes. Makes a yummy taste.

Deb’s Potato Soup
2 to 3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons chopped celery
2 tablespoons chopped onion
Melt the butter and cook until the onion is clear and the celery is tender.
Remove from heat and add 1 Tablespoon flour. Add salt and pepper to taste. Next add 2 cups water and 1 ½ to 2 cups of diced potato, cover and bring to a boil, then cook on low to medium for approximately 15 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Then add milk to fill pan and bring it to just boiling, being careful not to scald the milk. Enjoy! This is a simple and basic recipe but a family favorite this time of year, especially using our garden potatoes.

Grandma Lindaman’s
Potato Salad
6 potatoes cooked with skins
on, boiled in salt water
6 hard-boiled eggs
1 medium onion
3/4 cup boiled dressing
3/4 cup Miracle Whip
salt and pepper to taste
Boiled Dressing:
1-1/2 cups vinegar
1-1/2 cups water
Boil, then add to flour mixture.
Flour Mixture:
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
4 or 5 beaten eggs
Add sugar, flour and egg mixture gradually to hot water/vinegar mixture. Mix and cook until thick. Add 1 or 2 teaspoons prepared mustard. Refrigerate what you don’t use for potato salad this time.

The COOK OF THE WEEK 3rd Edition Cookbook is available. Cost per copy is $10.70, plus $4.80 shipping/handling. Order a copy today by sending a check or money order, along with name and shipping address, to: Humboldt Independent, 512 Sumner Ave., Humboldt, IA 50548.

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