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

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!