Mona’s, September 2020 Food for Thought!

My friend Jack Capra and me.

Here we are again my friends.  What has changed, not much. We need to find humor and silliness in our lives and stay positive. Have you taken stock of yourself?  I have. I need people and family that care about me. Keeping busy is important and the ugly word exercise.

Well on with the blog. This month I am featuring two special salads Boston Inn Salad that was on the menu at the Atrium when my cousin Jack Williams owned it.

Let’s get this Party started!

Boston Inn Salad – found on page 112 of “Let’s Party” cookbook

This is a favorite with my family and friends. Yum!

Sweet or red onion
Shred spinach, cut lettuce. Slice onion thin. (Just before serving)
mix dressing as follows:
1/2 pint whipping cream (whipped)
1/4 C. sugar
1/4 C. vinegar
Mix vinegar, sugar and salt and fold into whipping cream
Serves 8

Salad #2 – May favorite taco salad!

Taco Salad

Lettuce, torn in pieces
Tomatoes, chopped
Taco chips, crushed (put in just before serving)

Fry 1 lb ground beef with 1 medium onion. When cool, add to lettuce and tomatoes. Melt Velveeta cheese and add salsa sauce to taste. When melted and hot, add taco chips and sauce. Toss and serve immediately.

For a good giggle, read my cookbook!

For Sale
Parachute – only used once, never opened.
Small stain.

I just had a physical.
The doctor said,
“Don’t eat anything fatty.”
I said,
“Like bacon and burgers?”
He said,
“No, Fatty. Don’t eat anything!”

Ok, now something for the sweet tooth!

From my 20 yr old friend, JoJo Iozzo.

If you like Heath bars you will love this!


1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter
1 cup granulated white sugar
1 Tbsp light corn syrup
3 Tbsp water
6 oz milk chocolate chips, melted
1 cup finely chopped almonds or pecans


1. Line an 11 x 7-inch pan with well greased wax or parchment paper.
set aside…
2. Melt the butter on low in a heavy saucepan. Stir in the sugar, syrup and water. Stirring constantly, use a candy thermometer and cook until the mixture reaches 305 degrees F.
3. Pour the hot candy onto the prepared pan. Spread the mixture to the edges. Allow to sit until the mixture is stable but still hot. Spread the melted chocolate chips over the top. Sprinkle nuts over the top of the chocolate and gently press in.

A recipe for our Gluten Intolerant friends!

Finnish Pancakes from my Finnish friend Duane Yuhala.

Gluten Free Krupsu

3/4 cup white rice flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs
Pinch salt
2 pie plates

Preheat oven to 410
Mix all ingredients except butter.
Add just enough milk to give a slightly thicker than pancake texture.
Place a large pad of butter in each plate.
Melt in oven
Pour half of batter in each plate

Bake for about 15 minutes. Until edges brown.
Remove from oven and immediately loosen from plate.
Sprinkle with sugar

Make a berry compote for top if you desire.

And with a smile, she said:
“Remember the five simple rules to be happy”.
1. Free your heart from hatred
2. Free your mind from worries.
3. Live simply.
4. Give more.
5. Expect less, & enjoy every moment.

Let’s be kind to one another and count our blessings. Until next month keep smiling.

Hope you enjoy these recipes and share this post! Sharing is caring!

To Purchase my Cookbook

Please share one of your favorites with us below in the comments area. I would love to hear from you.

So until next month, keep healthy and happy and keep smiling!

Mona Meittunen Abel
Recipe Diva / Former Go-Go Dancer


Mona’s, August 2020 Food for Thought!

Hello friends. My August blog is out. Enjoy Rita Charters famous Italian bread, Anita Raushel’s two easy recipes and my peach bread pudding and mango mango punch. Yum! 

Hope you enjoy these recipes and share this post! Sharing is caring!

I couldn’t resist ; )

To Purchase my Cookbook
Now for some serious bread making!

Rita Charters famous Italian bread

3 cups flour
1 3/4 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Yeast
1 1/2 cups water

Combine flour, salt, and yeast in a bowl. Add water and stir, until a shaggy mixture forms. Cover and let rise for 12-18 hours. ( I’ve let it rise for less time, but it does need at least 4 hours.)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place a covered Dutch oven in the oven and heat for 30 minutes.  

Flour the dough and shape into a soft ball. Place it in the heated Dutch oven, and bake it – covered –  for 30 minutes.  

Remove the cover and bake for 15 more minutes.

No need to grease the Dutch oven before baking.  This is best when served fresh/warm with good olive oil, coarsely ground black pepper, and a freshly-grated Italian cheese of your choice.  Ok….butter works, too!  Also, try it toasted! Yum.

Best served the same day. So crusty, use a good serrated knife.  If put in zip lock, it won’t be crusty the next day but great for toasting, using for crostini’s or cut into small squares and toasted for croutons. Use a very heavy Dutch oven with cover. 

To Purchase my Cookbook

Another fantastic recipe for y’all!

Peach Bread Pudding

Spray a 7 x 11” glass baking dish and beat 3 eggs and add 3/4 c of cream or half and half. I cut up three large Sunrise Bakery croissants (they are the best)and soak in mixture for at least ten minutes.

In a fry pan place three peaches or nectars cut up and add half of a stick of butter and 1/2 cup of brown sugar. Simmer until nectars are soft. Add to top of bread mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Great for breakfast and lunch or middle of the night!

One more scrumptious thirst quenching recipe
Mango Mango Punch 

One whole bottle of mango rum (great looking bottle), one large bottle of mango nectar and some orange flavored water. Yum!

A fun little tidbit for you!

Drum roll please!
Anita Raushel’s Easy Two Ingredient Donuts

1 cup self rising flour
1 cup of Greek yogurt (it can be full fat or nonfat, but you want a brand that is a thick strained yogurt) 

In a large bowl stir together the flour and yogurt until combined. It will be sticky and crumbly. 

Kneed it on a floured board.

Heat oil to 350 put dough in a storage bag and snip the corner. Pipe into hot oil till golden brown.
Now cover them with whatever you want!
Cinnamon sugar
Powdered sugar
Chocolate glaze 

PS this dough also makes a good bagel or pretzel 

One last scrumptious recipe for the road!
3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies by Anita Raushel

1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350′

Stir ingredients together 

roll into 1″ ball

Place on ungreased cookie sheet

Use a fork press down in one direction then the other

Bake 12 min 

Allow to cool on cookie sheet a couple mn before transferring to wire rack to cool

Sprinkle with with extra sugar if you want 

Hope you enjoy these recipes and share this post! Sharing is caring!

To Purchase my Cookbook

Please send me your favorites. I would love to hear from you.

So until next month, keep healthy and happy and keep smiling!

Mona Meittunen Abel
Recipe Diva / Former Go-Go Dancer


Mona’s, May 2020 Food for Thought!

I’m so sorry this is coming to you late!

So much is happening to everyone right now. I sincerely hope that you are able to stay stress free. I surely miss my family and friends.

This month I am going to share a couple of recipes.

  1. Curried Cheese Canapés (from my first Cook Book, “To Mom With Love”)
    I make this a lot and it will keep in the refrigerator for a month!

    1-1/2 C. Shredded Cheddar Cheese
    1 C. Chopped Ripe Olives
    1/2 C. Mayonnaise
    1 tsp. Curry (more or less as desired)
    1 C. Chopped Green Onions

    Mix all ingredients together on Triscuits or cracker of choice. Broil until bubbly.

  2. Strawberry Margaritas for 6 – also from my first cook book.
    Coarse Salt (Kosher)
    10 oz. Tequila
    4 oz. Triple Sec.
    3 oz. Lime Juice
    10 oz. pkg of frozen strawberries in syrup
    Crushed Ice

    Moisten rim of six glasses and dip in salt. Chill
    Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend.
    Pour into glasses and serve.

My friend Anita shared a recipe with me and I thought I would pass it on to all of you.

Ricotta stuffed Brussels Sprouts


Cooking spray1 lb. 

Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved1 c. 

ricotta 1/2 c. 

freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for sprinkling 1/4 c. 

Italian bread crumbs

Zest of 1/2 lemon

Pinch crushed red pepper flakes1 

clove garlic, minced

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling


  1. Preheat oven to 400º. Grease a large baking sheet with cooking spray. In a large pot of salted boiling water, blanch Brussels sprouts until bright green, 2 minutes. Rinse under cold water, then drain.
  2. Using a small spoon, scoop out insides of sprouts (reserve for another use), then transfer hollowed sprouts to a prepared baking sheet.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together ricotta, Parmesan, bread crumbs, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes, and season with salt and pepper. Spoon mixture into Brussels sprouts, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with more Parmesan.
  4. Bake until ricotta mixture is warmed through and Brussels sprouts are crispy, 20 to 25 minutes.

I asked my friend and contributor/supporter of my 3 cook books, Tami Chandler, if she would share some of her tips to help alleviate stress.

Tami’s Tips for Stress Reduction

  1. I believe the first, most important thing for me, is to eat a clean and nutrient dense “diet”. Lately this has been a real challenge for me since I have some new food sensitivities. STAY AWAY FROM PROCESSED FOODS and Sugar
  2. I know that when I get good sleep, I can function much better. There are so many ways to help you get a good nights sleep. What I find works for me, is to turn off electronic communications at least an hour before bedtime. Maybe take this time to reflect upon the day and do some form of “meditation”. I also incorporate a high quality-trusted essential oil to my bedtime regimen.
    You may visit for aromatherapy products.
  3. Herbal remedies such as, teas and essential oils. I use these on a daily basis.
  4. Exercise is so very important. I have struggled this past year with a lot of pain and lack of mobility. With that being said, walking and stretching are so very important and the body needs it to remain “healthy”. I use a fitbit to track my activity, sleep, pulse and food/water intake. I find this keeps me accountable.
  5. So thankful for my friends, family and pets! It is important to maintain some sort of communications with people and pets.
  6. Positive thinking. Be kind to yourself. Nobody will take care of your mental well being, so you MUST be diligent at keeping your thoughts under control. So very important!
This is my Friend Arthur and we both enjoy exercising together and eating a well balanced diet. We use aromatherapy as well and essential oils topically and internally. Again, must be a trusted company!

I use the following products as well as promote them. I have successfully incorporated these tips into my daily life and totally notice a difference when I omit or waver from the regimen.
Daily Regimen to help combat the bad stuff ! Plus so much more. I get pain relief and benefits from so many oils and Young Living Health Products.

As always, we need to keep our sense of humor. This is a very challenging time for all of us.

Until next month, Keep smiling!

Mona Meittunen Abel
Recipe Diva / Former Go-Go Dancer


Mona’s, January 2020 Food for Thought!

December was a blur for all of us, but we made it. Happy New Year to you all!

As I ponder my Christmas Holiday, I am grateful for the family that embraces me and friends that I cherish. It is about people not gifts or money, saying “I love you” and mean it. It makes you feel good. Don’t forget to laugh as much as possible, it is healthy and you live longer. I have noticed lately that I speak to more strangers than ever and it gives me much joy as I see their eyes light up. No, I don’t scare them and they say “here comes that lunatic again”. I truly love people, maybe some more than others.

My sister Patti (Mona Jr.) went to a neighborhood party in White Bear Lake and she asked me if my ears were ringing. They talked and laughed about my cookbook most of the night plus Patti added stories of our adventures that aren’t in the book. Oh boy!

This month I have a couple of recipes not in the book and some reflexology tips.

Reflexology has been around for thousands of years and it works. My sister Patti sent me this chart. Try it and feel better for the New Year.

Gruyere Scalloped Potatoes 
A cheesey garlicy rich potato dish that is mouthwatering delicious!


3 pounds potatoes thinly sliced

1 head garlic peeled and crushed

4 tablespoons butter thinly slice

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon fresh thyme

2 cups Gruyere Cheese shredded

1 1/2 cup half and half or whipping cream


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish or a large round cast iron pan.
  2. Layer butter at bottom of pan.
  3. Spread about 1/3 of the potato slices on top of the butter. See notes below for cooking in round pan.
  4. Top with 1/3 of the crushed garlic and 1/3 of the cheese.
  5. Repeat two times with remaining potatoes, garlic, and cheese.
  6. Season the entire dish with salt and pepper.
  7. Pour half and half or cream over top layer.
  8. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  9. Remove foil and bake for an additional 20-30 minutes or until potatoes are tender and top is golden.

Here’s a quick recipe for Potato Soup made with left over scalloped potatoes

4 cups leftover scalloped potatoes
3 cups chicken broth, or as needed
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup cubed cooked ham (optional)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Place the scalloped potatoes into a large pot, and pour in enough chicken broth to cover the potatoes completely. Season with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Add ham if using. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to low. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Cousin Brian Collyard and fiance Anna from Alaska and Me.  He is a fish biologist and she is a whale biologist.  Perfect match! I took them for a tour of the Hibbing High School. (see below)

Our Tour of the Hibbing High School was guided by Bob Kearney, he is the best!

FACT: White House is 58,000 sq ft. and the Hibbing High School is a little less than 400,00 sq. ft.

Thank you Bob for all your shared knowledge of the our High School!

That is a lot of information so until next month, keep smiling.

Mona Meittunen Abel
Recipe Diva / Former Go-Go Dancer


Mona’s, December Food for Thought

Mona's Tree
My Christmas tree has been set up for over a month. Well, actually it is a palm tree I had on my front deck and just moved it into the living room when the weather was getting cold.

Memories of past Christmases keep creeping into my mind. Mom and dad putting winter clothes on and off as we went to Grandma and Grandpa Williams home on 5th Avenue East. Then back into the COLD car to Grandmas’ brother Erwin and family. Then to their son Richard’s family, back to COLD car to my aunt and uncle, Norma and Lester’s home next to our house. Finally, to our house. What excitement for kids. Adults. I don’t think so.

I have been making Bernie Borovac’s dressing for many years. My mom made great dressing using Jimmy Dean sausage. Pretty much the same as Bernie’s. This recipe is on page 104 of Let’s Party.

Other suggestions for the Holidays is the Crabbies by Marge Frider on page 22, Cousin Diana Rouse’s Brie Kisses on page 26, and you must try the Velveeta Fudge, yes, it calls for velveeta. This is on page 85.

I had a fantastic time in Sauk Centre, MN, lots of great people and silliness going on! This is a picture Of Ben from the Sauk Centre Herald. This is how a reporter should dress when he goes to an event!
Our family always has plum pudding with sweetened white sauce, very British.

Now for dessert…

But how about dessert and a drink combined? What is wrong with that? Page 43 Chocolate Pudding Drink. Yes, RumChata, Godiva Chocolate liqueur and chocolate pudding. Must I say more!?!

A facebook post from a friend!

I love my facebook friends!

The best of everything to all of my family and friends at this special time of the year. Try to keep your kindness going all year long. Health is the answer so is laughter and humor.

Keep smiling,

Mona Meittunen Abel
Recipe Diva / Former Go-Go Dancer


Grand Rapids Herald Review A silly cookbook

• By Emily Carlson Herald Review
• Nov 20, 2019

Mona Meittunen Abel of Side Lake is no stranger to sharing stories with others. Keeping up with a blog and writing two cookbooks is already on her list of accomplishments. Abel decided to add one more to the list with her third and last cookbook, “Let’s Party: Recipes, Stories and Silliness from Minnesota’s Iron Range Recipe Diva/Former Go-Go Dancer.”

Abel will be at the Village Bookstore in the Central Square Mall in Grand Rapids Saturday, Nov. 23 for a book signing from 12:30-3 p.m. The cookbooks will be available for $25 with $1 of every purchase going toward a scholarship at Hibbing Community College (HCC) for single women in need.

Abel decided to give back some of the proceeds in honor of a woman who helped her with technical issues as she wrote one of her previous books at HCC. At the time, the woman was a single mother going through some challenges. Abel still works with her today and was inspired to pay it forward with a scholarship.

“If I can help some other single woman who is going through a tough time, I’m going to do that,” Abel said.
The way Abel describes the book is simple.

“It’s not a serious cookbook,” Abel remarked. “It’s a silly cookbook and who has ever heard of a silly cookbook?”

She added that she wanted to write a cookbook that would make people laugh. Abel also includes history of the Iron Range and personal stories in the book, along with many recipes.

An excerpt from Abel’s cookbook reads, “Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.”


Mona’s, November Food for Thought

I still have not heard from the Jason Show. You will hear about it on Facebook.

I’m not a fan of fall, but October is great for two reasons….my birthday and Halloween. Of course, both require costumes.

My Kiss costume was painted on by Jeff Dougherty

BIRTHDAYS in our household were special and “special” is what I do each year. I don’t cry anymore… I’m just glad I’m still here!

Two years ago friends of mine had a huge party for me, no special age, just nothing to do in Side Lake at the end of October.

About 85 extroverts attended. The noise level was unbelievable. Well, I broke my ankle getting in my Uber car and didn’t go to the clinic until Wednesday. Yup, it was broken. I had to leave for Sauk Centre on Friday and fly to Florida with my daughter-in-law Sarah and friend Jackie. It took a lot of people to help me pack, fill the vehicle with gas, go to the bathroom, etc… I had a 4-1/2 hour drive without stopping. My wheel chair and crutches were in the vehicle. I made it and had a great time! I am a very careful walker now. The boot is not fun!

This year for my Birthday Costume I wore my fascinator , tux jacket with red bow tie & white gloves.

Picture is with my funny cousin Brian from Alaska. I’m cradling a large bottle of vodka.


Hull Rust Mine View
Hull Rust Mining Truck

Ready for a turkey, dressing or stuffing, or whatever you call it!?

I use Bernie Borovac’s Dressing Recipe every Thanksgiving! It can be found on page 104 of “Let’s Party“.
Great salads are my favorites! Wilted Lettuce and Boston Inn Salad on page 112. Wilted Lettuce is an old recipe probably from the 1940’s. Try them!

Have a great Thanksgiving and don’t overdo it. Learn to pace yourself like I do! HA!!

Keep smiling, Mona


Proudly Made In Pengilly Minnesota


Mona Meittunen Abel
Recipe Diva / Former Go-Go Dancer/Self Proclaimed Mayor of Side Lake


Mona’s, October Food for Thought

Well, here I sit at my lap top eating Dot’s and cream cheese (we need more protein in October) and thinking of the change of seasons. I am not a happy person. Some of you run around jumping in the air hollering “Yay, fall is here, crisp air and beautiful leaves”. Not me, I have my finger in the near empty, cream cheese container scooping it out. Stop it, I think…

Studies show our bodies change with the change of every season. Think pounds and inactivity – so lets change that into a positive. Give me suggestions!

LOBSTER MUSHROOMS… My traveling buddies came for the weekend in September and I mentioned something about lobster rolls on FB and friend Rick Christenson came over with these huge lobster mushrooms. I had never heard of them. They look like coral from the sea. We scrubbed them with toothbrushes and water, cut off black parts and cut into smaller pieces. Also, took out the slugs (ugh).
Lobster Mushrooms with Linda John, Eau Claire

Take a pan with lots of butter and minced garlic to taste, cook slowly for about 15 minutes. Add more butter and put in oven at 350 degrees. Add salt and pepper. They were excellent but I thought I was eating wonderful mushrooms with lots of butter.

To make Maine Lobster Rolls: The steamed lobster meat is cooled and lightly dressed with mayonnaise. The lobster salad is served chilled, piled into a grilled hotdog bun. Some spread mayo on grilled bun.

Connecticut Lobster Rolls are served warm. The lobster meat is dressed with drawn butter and mounded into a similarly prepared bun.

Anyone running to the store for lobster and hot dog buns? See….season change?

I had a soiree in September and did the Mini Beef Wellington on Pg 8 of “Let’s Party”

What a hit! No wonder – Filet Mignon’s?

Also, try cousin Diana Rouse’s Brie Kisses on Pg 26.

The Jason Show September 2019 – Jason WANTS Mona on the Show!
The Jason Show - Mona's Cookbook
The Jason Show – Mona’s Cookbook

Until next month keep smiling!


Now what is Mona up to!?

Just a few snippets from her following on facebook…

Anita Raushel

September 11 at 9:56 AM · 

So as I am one day back from Dallas and the good ol Dish TV is out and I’m waiting for the repair person to come out I decide to finish Mona Meittunen Abel cookbook. Now people that know and love me know I hardly ever follow a recipe. I’m always adding something never measure and go by the seat of my pants. So I didn’t actually buy the cook book for the recipes (though some good ones are in there.) I just pretty much laughed my ass off reading about Mona’s adventures and her being the super woman she is. Get the book peeps! It’s way more then a cookbook. It’s life adventures and good and not so good times. I hope if I ever get stranded somewhere I have a “Mona” with me !

Lois Collier‎ to Mona Meittunen Abel

September 9 at 6:35 PM · 

Thanks for sending your latest cookbook I purchased. Love the recipes and the stories. I heard you tell the story about Bob Dylan/Zimmerman’s appearance at the Hibbing High School talent show one night over adult beverages. Very interesting. For younger people it may help to understand the mentality at that time. When “The Twist” (1960) was popular by Chubby Checker, we were not allowed to dance the Twist at the Youth Center because it was too suggestive. Unimaginable by today’s standards. Jerry Lee Lewis was waaay out there for the conservative adults while we teenagers loved him. Notice I didn’t say what happened at the talent show to Bob Dylan. If you don’t already know, you’ll have to buy Mona’s cookbook or ply her with cocktails to find out. Bob had the last laugh all the way to Oslo. Love ya Mona!

Mona Meittunen Abel
19 hrs ·  September 14, 2019

As mayor, welcoming the Winona Accordian Club to Side Lake. Chris Kendall


Joanne Debelak Ilkka Good job mayor Mona!
Hide or report this
  · 16h

Karey Degnan Dang did they play last night?
 · 9h

Mona Meittunen Abel Karey Degnan yes. Lots of old songs. Great.
 · 6h

Karey Degnan Mona Meittunen Abel sorry I missed it. I love the accordion.
 · 3h

Mary Brandes Zaloker Way to go, Mayor Mona!


Local Author Publishes Her Third Cookbook

By Marie Tolonen Chisholm Tribune Press

SIDE LAKE — Mona Meittunen Abel isn’t holding anything back in her newly published cookbook, “Let’s Party! Recipes Stories & Silliness.”

Book cover

The latest publication from Abel, referred to on the cover of the cookbook as, “Minnesota’s Iron Range Recipe Diva and former go-go dancer,” is her third and supposedly final cookbook.

“I’m not planning on going anywhere soon, but it’s my last cookbook,” Abel insisted in a recent interview with the Tribune Press. “I put every story I know in my book.”

When Abel’s friends heard she was planning on writing her final cookbook, they offered up some advice.

“They said, ‘just let it rip Mona— just tell it like it is,”’ she recalled.

Along with recipes for hors d’oeuvres, beverages, Abel has included “day after” recipes to be served at a brunch or breakfast. Treasured recipes, including porketta, potica and from her first two cookbooks, “To Mom With Love” and “To Dad With Love,” are included as well. “These are some basic recipes that we need to preserve,” she said. Her personality shines through her cookbook. “There’s a lot of silliness and silly stories,” she continued. “A lot of pictures — colored pictures.”

Abel’s stories contain life experiences from various things she’s been involved in and people she’s met on the Iron Range. There are some stories from the time she spent at the former Ironworld, now known as Minnesota Discovery Center, and experiences she’s had at Side Lake.

Mixed in with the “silliness” are stories of people made a lasting impression on Abel.

Life stories of a serious nature are also included in this latest compilation, including the story of Abel’s parents loss of their first child.

“It’s a story that needed to be told,” Abel said.

A trend setter in the 1970s, Abel said she has a photo of herself wearing hot pants and white go-go boots. But was she really a go-go dancer? “I’m sorry, I can’t talk about it,” she said, laughing. It was the same answer she gave to a broadcaster years ago on the subject. “We can’t take life too seriously — if we can’t laugh, we may as well give it up.”

To launch her new book, Abel is planning book signings at the following dates and times: 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14, at Riverside Inn, Side Lake; 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15, at Valentini’s Supper Club in Chisholm; 11 a.m. Friday, Aug. 16, at Sunrise Bakery in Hibbing; 4 – 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 21 at Mike’s Pub in Hibbing, and from 4 to 6 p.m., Friday, Aug. 30 at the Side Lake Lounge.

Cookbooks are $25 each (includes tax) plus $4.50 shipping.
One dollar ($1) from the sale of each book will go toward a scholarship for single women attending the Hibbing Community College. Purchase Now.

If you prefer to order thru “snail mail”, please send a check or money ($29.50) order to:

Mayor Mona Meittunen Abel
13039 Memory Lane
Side Lake, MN 55781

Please include a note of how you would like me to sign the book. Of course, I’ll need your mailing address.

The entire article can be read at:

Mona’s, October 2020 Food for Thought!

Welcome my friends to October.  As many of you know this is not my favorite season.  Its my birthday month (Ugh). However, Halloween I love! 

This picture of me as KISS was taken a few years ago.  My makeup designer was Jeff Dougherty

Me on Halloween . Makeup by Jeff Dougherty
Me on Halloween . Makeup by Jeff Dougherty

Hopefully we are holding our attitudes positive and laughing a lot and smiling.  People wonder what you are up to.  Of course, with masks on they can’t see you smiling.  But your eyes tell all. 

I found these great words of wisdom…

“Age is irrelevant. Ask me how many sunsets I’ve seen, Hearts I’ve loved, trips I’ve taken and concerts I’ve been to, That’s how old I am.”

So this month I’m featuring two Italian recipes…one from Judy Rappuchi Nordvold of Arizona and Italian Paul Martella from Florida, Hibbing High School Cafeteria Sloppy Joes (no chicken gumbo soup) and Marge Frider’s “Crabbies” Recipe from my cookbook , found on page 22.

Please email me your favorites.

This recipe is from Judy Rappuchi Nordvold’s grandmother Candelora. Her husband, Norwegian Dick, loves this. He probably serves it with lutefisk…

Pasta Fajole (Fah joel)
An EXCEPTIONAL Iron Range Soup Supper!

1- 16 oz can of Pinto Beans w/liquid
1/4 C diced onion
1 large clove garlic finely chopped
6 Cups water
1 C small elbow macroni

Saute’ onions in oil until transparent. Last minute add garlic
Add beans/liquid and water and bring to boil, then simmer for 2 hours
Add macaroni and serve when done. (about 12 minutes)

Serve with various cold-cut sausages, cheeses and crackers.

This has been a Rappuchi family favorite for generations! You can’t believe
how good this is! (That comment was made by a Norwegian!)

Serves 4

Just a little help from your friends! SMILE 🙂

Italian Paul Martella’s favorite recipe. His Finnish wife Alice Saadi probably is eating Mojakka!

Italian Paul and his Wife Alice

Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Shells


3 Cups your favorite tomato sauce
24 jumbo dried pasta shells
2 Cups cooked shredded chicken
15 oz ricotta cheese
1 C grated parmesan cheese
1 large egg
1 Tbsp dried Italian seasoning
1 clove garlic , minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 C Italian breadcrumbs
1/4 C melted butter
1 C shredded mozzarella cheese

Italian Paul Martella’s favorite recipe. His Finnish wife Alice Saadi probably is eating Mojakka!


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
Pour the tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking dish
Cook shells for 6 – 7 minutes – Drain Pasta
Mix ricotta, parmesan cheese, egg, Italian seasoning, garlic, salt and crushed red pepper in a bowl. Then stir in chicken. Spoon the ricotta mixture into the shells. One a t a time, dip the top (open side) of each jumbo shell in melted butter, then roll the top in bread crumbs. Place the shells bread crumb-side-up in the baking dish.

Bake for 20 minutes in the center of the oven. (If the bread crumbs aren’t turning brown by the 15 minute mark, turn the broiler on high for the last 3-5 minutes.) Remove the baking dish from the oven. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over each shell. Then bake at 400 degrees for another 5 minutes to melt the cheese. Serve warm with a nice salad and bread. Enjoy!

Here’s another great thought!

“I am doing what makes me happy. I am responsible for my happiness, and I owe it to myself. Happiness is a choice. You can be happy at any time, just choose to be!”

Recipes from the 1985 Hibbing Bluejacket Marching Band Cookbook

First Recipe submitted by 1985 Hibbing Bluejackets Marching Band Members:
Amy Alexander, Flag Girls and Dean Carlson, Trombone Player

ELEPHANT STEW – Serves the ENTIRE Marching Band for One Week


1 large elephant
2 medium rabbits
10,000 gallons water
100 pounds salt

Bone elephant and cut into bite size pieces. Pour in salt, vocer with water and boil for 4 days over very high heat.
If marchers are extremely hungry, add rabbits. But do so only if necessary, because most people don’t like hare in their stew!

Here’s a winner for everyone with a taste for nostalgia!

Hibbing High School Sloppy Joe Recipe

2 lbs extra lean hamburger
1 C celery , diced
1 C onion , diced
1 can tomato soup
4 Tbsp brown sugar
4 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
8 Tbsp Ketchup
8 Tbsp butter

Brown hamburger and then add all other ingredients.
Simmer for one hour.


Here’s another Italian Recipe for your taste buds!

Paul and Alice Martella


2 tsp of EVO
1 C of chopped onion
3/4 cup red dry wine
1 Tbsp of sugar
6 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp chopped FRESH basil
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 each 14.5 oz cans crushed tomatoes (TuttoRosso)
2 Tbsp chopped FRESH parsley

Heat oil in pan, sauté onions and garlic for about 5 min

Stir in wine, sugar, basil, red pepper, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, black pepper and tomatoes. Bring to boil, reduce heat, simmer uncovered for about 15 min.

This Next Recipe, provided by Marge Frider
Out of my current cookbook, “LET’S PARTY”



1 (6.5 oz) crab meat
1 (5 oz) jar Kraft Old English cheese spread
1/2 C. softened margarine
1/2 tsp mayonnaise
6 English muffins

Mix all above together except for muffins
Spread mixture on toasted English muffin
Broil 4-6 minutes until bubbly. Cut each into quarters for serving.

Let’s be kind to one another and count our blessings. Until next month keep smiling.

Hope you enjoy these recipes and share this post! Sharing is caring!

To Purchase my Cookbook

Please share one of your favorites with us below in the comments area. I would love to hear from you.

So until next month, keep healthy and happy and keep smiling – through your masks!

Mona Meittunen Abel
Recipe Diva / Former Go-Go Dancer

Mona’s, July 2020 Food for Thought!

No parades, no concerts, no big gatherings, but we will get through this together. We are alive and healthy so thank the lord. We must stay safe and above all keep our sense of humor. So read my silly cookbook. This month I am featuring some great tasting recipes.

We will start with this yummy,

Grab a Mason jar and a couple of simple ingredients, and you can whip up delicious ice cream in no time.

This is such a simple yet delicious recipe. If you haven’t made this recipe before, you’re totally missing out. This recipe is also KETO friendly!

My 12 year old grandson is going to help me make this over the 4th. Shake, shake, shake.


Here’s how to make this recipe: ⁣

1 cup heavy whipping cream ⁣
2  ChocZero Peanut Butter cups ⁣
2 tbsp ChocZero chocolate syrup⁣
1 tbsp Splenda Naturals ⁣
1 tsp Mexican vanilla extract⁣
Sprinkle of cinnamon powder⁣
Sprinkle of real (like pink Himalayan) salt⁣⁣

Directions: ⁣
Crumble PB cups & add all ingredients to jar.⁣
Shake for 3-5 mins, until mixture thickens.⁣
Place in freezer for 2-3 hours until ice cream sets.⁣
Top with whip, crumbled PB cups & whip cream. Enjoy.!

This next recipe come highly recommended by my friend Joe Iozzo

Baby Back Ribs

Yes the recipe shows 1/4 cup of black pepper and 1/4 cup of paprika. If you want, use less. Skewers are needed. They were very good.
Makes my mouth water just reading the recipe!

Orange tapioca salad from my friend Judy Williams. If you have forgotten how good tapioca is, this is a recipe for you.

TIP: Make it easier on yourself. Buy Kozyshack tapioca pudding in a carton at Walmart (located by the yogurt) add equal amount of cool whip, one small can of drained mandarin oranges and one pkg of dry orange jello. Tastes great.)

Below is Judy’s recipe from the past. The Tapioca pudding has not been prepared yet.

Blast from the Past!


My good friend Renee Mattson from Duluth gave me this tasty recipe. Anything with sauce makes it good.

Pork Chops in Lemon-Caper Sauce

Thanks for reading my blogs. Pass it on to your friends. If you have a recipe you want to share, please comment on the blog. Have a great 4th and be safe. God Bless America.

So until next month, keep healthy and happy and keep smiling!

Mona Meittunen Abel
Recipe Diva / Former Go-Go Dancer

Mona’s, June 2020 Food for Thought!

Hello my friends. Hope you are all healthy and safe. I spent two months in Arizona during the beginning of the pandemic. That was a very quiet vacation for me, but cheap. No bars, shopping or restaurants. What a way to save money!

I told my little sister Patti that I thought I was normal. She reminded me that I had never been normal. We have to stay positive and still laugh at ourselves and with others. It helps!

This month I will be featuring three Side Lake gals recipes.
Rita Charter’s vegetable casserole. You can put any kind of veggies in it. She crushed pretzels and put in a pan with some butter for a few minutes. So good!

Par-boil or steam 2-3 broccoli crowns, broken into florets ( or use a bag of frozen broccoli)

Cube 1/2 cup of American cheese or Velveeta

Make 1 recipe of white sauce, using 3 T. Butter, 3 T. Flour, 1/4 tsp. Salt, 1 c. Milk or more, depending on how thick you want the sauce, a dash of onion powder and garlic powder to taste.

Melt the butter over low heat in a saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook that mixture over low heat, stirring until it is smooth and bubbly. Stir in the milk and heat to boiling. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the seasoning and the cheese. Remove from the heat and stir the cheese in, until it is melted and the mixture is smooth.

Place the broccoli in a buttered baking dish and pour the cheese mixture over it. Top with buttered Panko bread crumbs or crushed Ritz crackers or finely crushed pretzels. Bake for about 45 minutes at 325.

Next is Marie Pogorelc Erickson’s recipe for a Brie dip. This is addicting. Marie worked with me at the Interpretative Center while in college the summers of 1983 and 1984. We are still friends. Ask her about Bobby Vee. She is very special to me.


Sugar and Nuts – Glazed Brie

1/4 C Brown Sugar
1/4 C Chopped Pecans
1 Tbsp Whiskey or Brandy
14 oz Brie Round (1)
Mix the first 3 ingredients
Place Brie on oven proof platter and bake @ 500 degrees for 4-5 min.
Sprinkle sugar mixture over top of Brie and bake an additional 2-3 min.
It should be heated through but not melted.

Jean Jaranson made at a social distancing soirée. A great hit.

Strawberry Shot Glasses

Clean and pare out center of large strawberries. Dip them in melted chocolate. Let harden. Put in an empty egg carton. When ready to serve fill with Amaretto and cover with Reddi Whip. One gulp! Delightful.

I am so proud of my grandson Cedric Abel who graduated from Sauk Centre high school. He is going to Concordia in premed and theatre. This kid has a voice on him that you cannot believe!

Cedric graduated with high honors and two scholarships !

So until next month, keep healthy and happy and keep smiling!

Mona Meittunen Abel
Recipe Diva / Former Go-Go Dancer

Mona’s, April 2020 Food for Thought!

My April blog will be short. We need to be strong and stay safe. Pray for those that are helping the sick.   

Pray for those that are helping the sick.
Renewal and rebirth in Az. It’s going to be okay

Two simple chicken hors d’oeuvres for you. Recipes found on page 3 Buffalo Wing Dip and page 9 Orange Chicken.

  1. Buffalo Wing Dip pg 3
    Iozzo’s (Mary and Joe) used 1 cup of Frank’s red-hot sauce, where as a Finnish/English person, I would probably use one teaspoon…

    1 C. Frank’s red-hot sauce (try 1/2 C. if you have a sensitive stomach)
    2 pkg. of 8 oz cream cheese
    2 or 3 boneless chicken breasts, poached and shredded.
    1 C. grated cheddar cheese

    Melt the cream cheese over low heat, add hot sauce, blue cheese dressing and chicken. Add cheddar cheese and melt. Serve hot in crock pot with crackers or chips.

  2. Orange Chicken pg. 9

    1 C. of BBQ Sauce
    1 jar of sweet orange marmalade
    2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
    4 Chicken Breasts

    Cube the chicken and saute with sauce mixture. Serve with toothpicks.

    “I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific.” ~Lily Tomlin
Me in my martini top. Pretending I’m at a party
From a friend of mine, it made me laugh!

We need to keep our sense of humor. This is a very challenging time.

Until next month, Keep smiling!

Mona Meittunen Abel
Recipe Diva / Former Go-Go Dancer

Mona’s, March 2020 Food for Thought!


Reporting from Arizona a little late.  My adventure started the end of February at the  Abel household in  Sauk Centre. I have  included  pictures of  my 4 grandsons. Picture  #1 is 22 year old Grandson Gunnar , handsome and eligible! Picture #2 is  Cedric the 18 year old senior accepting a  $500 scholarship at the Turkey  Federation  Banquet. The 3rd picture is Dieter and  Sig at church in Alexandria. They are all exceptional young men!

22 year old Grandson Gunnar
Cedric the 18 year old senior accepting a  $500 scholarship at the Turkey  Federation  Banquet.
Dieter and  Sig at church in Alexandria

Thursday, March 19th is a big day for me and a lot of other Finnish folks in the Northland as it is ST. URHO’S DAY! The origin of St. Urho’s Day in 1956, credits a department store manager in Virginia, MN, namely Aini Rajanen, who started it as a joke. It is now an officially declared holiday in 50 states.

Did you know on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, folks awaiting the return of St. Urho, camp overnight in rutabaga patches? Others celebrate by taking saunas, playing snowshoe softball, and spinning stories of the “saving of grapes”, probably nude. Celebrants dressed in purple and green wander from tavern to pub searching for St. Urho, consuming purple beer along the way.

St. Urho’s feast is supposed to be celebrated by wearing the colors Royal Purple and Nile Green. Other details of the invented legend also changed, apparently under the influence of Dr. Sulo Havumaki, a psychology professor at Bemidji State College in Bemidji, Minnestoa.

While in St. Cloud, a friend, Judy Williams home, she made her famous chow mein. It is the best!

Judy Williams great chow menu recipe.

2 chicken breasts from rotisserie chicken, chopped in pan.
Add 1/4 c of sesame oil,
1 pkg of chicken seasoning packet from Ramen noodles,
2 c water stir well and warm.

Chop 1 lb of carrots,
6 stalks celery chopped,
1 medium onion sliced,
1 or 2 oz sesame oil,
1/4 C. oyster sauce.

Simmer until carrots are tender. Add drippings from rotisserie chicken. Add 1 can of water chestnuts sliced.  Warm equal parts of soy sauce w water about 1/4 c water heat until smooth.  

Add to vegetables. Add chicken.

Topping. 8 oz slivered almonds,
1 pkg Ramen noodles crushed,
1 T seams oil.

Can add sesame seed.

Warm oil with Ramen noodles.
Add rest.
Serve over chow menu.

How about a Vodka Grasshopper recipe!

  • ¾ oz. vodka
    ¾ oz. green crème de menthe
    ¾ oz. white crème de cacao
    3 or 4 ice cubes

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and stir well. Strain into a cocktail glass.
Serves 1

Have a great March and keep smiling!

Mona Meittunen Abel
Recipe Diva / Former Go-Go Dancer

Mona’s, February 2020 Food for Thought!

Aaaaw… February, the month of love and chocolate! Well, I guess I will be buying chocolate.

Vegas with Marcia Boubon in The Bellagio Conservatory. Chinese New Year Exhibiton. AWESOME, all fresh flowers!

Before I get into February, I want to tell you my January adventure of being a “vagablonde”. I flew into Las Vegas (I haven’t been there for over forty years) and went to see my old friend Marcia Boubon and her two grown kids that went to school with my kids. Scott, I heard some new stories to share with you! I visited the Bellagio and Caesars Palace, I was very impressed. I lost $2.00 in the machine…

Left for Lake Havasu, and met with friends Donelle & Gregg. We ran into the Strukel’s from Side Lake at the first bar we hit! I didn’t know that Johns nickname was Apple, (apple strudel) only on the Iron Range! The next morning Marcia drove home and Donelle and Gregg drove me to the Sundance RV Park by Parker Arizona where friends Brian and Rachel are living in a motor-coach. I had four nights at the Bluewater Casino, which is about 15 minutes away from Brian and Rachel’s place.

Everyday was an adventure going to the Desert Bar (an outpost in “nowheresville”, on an awful dirt road), where you are looked at in awe if you have been there before, ha!

Trying to impress the Grandchildren, this Grandma went “razoring” in the desert! That didn’t work so well, just sayin…

Picture of Me after my Terrifying ride in Brians’ Razor!

A razor is a very expensive four wheeler that seats 4 and has Bose speakers, a/c, etc… Maybe I’m exaggerating a little. I’m wearing a white jacket (dress for success) and off we went! We crossed the highway and headed to the dunes! They looked like mountains to me, so I kept my eyes closed. I had forgotten that I don’t like heights and I don’t even like ferris wheels. I thought I was going to race across the flat desert like Lawrence of Arabia. NO! Brian goes straight up in the air and tells me the machine is so heavy it can’t flip! We stop at the top of the mountain (Rockies?) and Brian tells me to come over and sit in the drivers seat for a picture, I said, “Brian, if I step out of this machine, my foot would go down a 1000 ft. embankment”. Well, my expensive adventure lasted six minutes with my eyes closed and I loved every minute of my adventure and thank everyone for being so nice to me!

Now for February and Chocolate!

Kooking with a Kook! (yes, that’s me…)

The Aztecs and Mayans were the first to recognize the potency of chocolate, celebrating the harvest of the cacao bean with festivals of wild orgies. (Okay, let’s not go that far.) The Aztec ruler, Montezuma, reportedly drank 50 cups of chocolate each day to better serve his harem of 600 women. Obviously a tried-and-true staple for lovers, chocolate now has backing from the scientific community. Besides the jolt of caffeine served up in a piece of cholcolate, this candy also contains PEA, or phenylethylamine, the very same molecule that courses through the veins of one who is in love. So, let’s hear it for chocolate and love!

Here’s 2 Loved Chocolate Recipes for y’all

Recipe #1 Chocolate-Stuffed Crescent Rolls

2 oz bittersweet chocolate
1 (4-count) package crescent rolls
1 egg yolk
1 Tbsp milk
2 Tbsp sugar

Cut chocolate into 4 pieces (about 3″ long. Unfold the crescent rolls
Place 1 piece of chocolate at the wide end of each piece of crescent roll dough and roll up. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet.

Mix the egg yolk, milk and sugar in a small bowl. Brush on the rolls, then bake according to the package directions. Cool for 15 minutes before eating.

Recipe #2 – Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles

4 oz bittersweet chocolate
3 – 1/2 oz almond paste
1 Tbsp strong hot coffee
1 Tbsp hazelnut liqueur
2 Tbsp cocoa powder

Chop the chocolate in a food processor until finely ground. Add the almond paste and process until smooth. With the motor running add the coffee and liqueur. Process until the mixture forms a soft ball. Roll mixture into 3/4″ balls. Sprinkle with the cocoa powder. Place the ball in small paper cups and chill.

Enjoy these recipes and have a great valentines day! Even if you are alone, be grateful for everything you have including life.

Chocolate Fountain in Vegas

When you are downtown Hibbing, MN, you must check out Johnson’s Floral. They have great gift ideas and wow, the Turtles are awesome!

That is a lot of information so until next month, keep smiling.

Mona Meittunen Abel
Recipe Diva / Former Go-Go Dancer