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Managing a family and growing businessJennie’s Homeshed and Uptown owner merging two stores into one

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If you’ve been to Jennie Evans’s two stores in Cherokee and near Washta, (Jennie’s Homeshed and Uptown), you know that she is a wonderful decorator and a very creative person.

“We are currently joining our two stores into one location,” Jennie explained. “We purchased Danny’s Sports Spot (in south Cherokee on Highway 59); we’re starting from scratch and completely remodeling. Our kids are getting older so we needed to have one location. We are hoping that we’ll be there by mid-summer.”

Jennie mentioned that she began her business 10 years ago when she decided to stay home with their kids.

“I was teaching painting and craft classes inside our machine shed near Washta,” she remarked. “We had four open houses a year, for spring, summer, fall and Christmas. When Covid hit, I stopped the classes. Then I went in a different direction with the stores. I still try to make things and my husband Terry is the main wood worker in the winter for all the things we make for the store.”

Terry farms with Jennie’s dad, Jim Peterson, who lives outside of Washta with her mom, Julie. Terry is also in his second year of his drone spraying business with Jennie’s brother-in-law Brett Baldwin called “BT Ag Drones.”

Terry’s parents, Steve and Colleen Evans, live outside of Holstein.

The Evans started dating in seventh grade, when they were 13. They went to River Valley High School together then both went to Iowa City for college. Jennie earned her degree from Kirkwood and Terry graduated from the University of Iowa.

They have two daughters: Delaney, 14, is in eighth grade at Kingsley-Pierson and Alise, 11, is in fifth grade at River Valley.

“They’re in every sport they can be, including track and softball,” she commented. “We go from practice to the meets and games.”

Jennie said that the family likes to go camping and also vacations at her parents lake house in the Ozarks.

These are several of Jennie’s favorite recipes.

Slow Cooker Creamy Beef Stroganoff

2 lbs. stew meat

2 tsp. Italian Seasoning

Salt and pepper to taste

2 c. beef broth

1 c. fresh sliced mushrooms

2 tbsp. worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp. minced garlic

1 tbsp. dijon mustard

1 c. sour cream

6 oz. cream cheese (softened and cut in cubes)

4 tbsp. corn starch

12 oz. Short pasta (Cellentani are my favorite)

Lightly grease your slow cooker, then add stew meat and sprinkle Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper to taste over the top. Add mushrooms, beef broth, garlic, Dijon mustard and worcestershire sauce. Cover and cook on low for eight to nine hours.

About 30 minutes before serving, stir corn starch (or flour) into 1/2 c. beef broth and stir mixture into slow cooker. Add cream cheese and sour cream to slow cooker, then cook another 20-30 minutes on high, stirring occasionally until cream cheese and sour cream are incorporated and sauce is thickened. Taste, add salt and pepper to your personal taste if needed, and stir in cooked noodles.


One Pot Jambalaya

Terry's favorite recipe

3 tbsp. olive oil (divided)

1 yellow onion (chopped)

2 red bell peppers (diced)

3 stalks celery (diced)

5 cloves garlic (minced)

1 chicken breast (chopped)

1 lb. andouille sausage (sliced)

14 oz. crushed tomatoes (one can)

1½ tbsp. cajun seasoning

1 tsp. basil

1 tsp. dried thyme

1 bay leaf

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

3 c. chicken stock

1½ c. long grain white rice

1 lb. shrimp peeled and deveined

In a large skillet over medium high heat, add 1 tbsp. olive oil. Sauté the onion, peppers and celery until they begin to soften, about five to six minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one minute more.

Add the chicken and sausage to the pan (and up to two more tablespoons of olive oil if needed) and cook for five to seven minutes, until browned and no longer pink.

Stir in the crushed tomatoes, cajun seasoning, basil, thyme, bay leaf and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Stir in the chicken stock and white rice. Bring the pan to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes, until the rice is cooked and almost all of the liquid is absorbed. If the mixture becomes too dry, add an extra splash of chicken stock. Stir occasionally

Stir the shrimp into the pan and cook for five more minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Tortellini & Sausage Soup

My girls’ favorite

1 lb. Italian sausage (browned and drained)

2 (15 oz.) cans Italian diced tomatoes

4 c. chicken broth

8 oz. cream cheese (cubed)

1 bag of frozen cheese tortellini

3-4 c. fresh spinach

Add the browned, chopped and drained sausage, chicken broth, both cans of diced tomatoes, and cubed sour cream cheese to your slow cooker. Give it a good stir and cook on low for about four hours or until the cream cheese has completely dissolved.

Stir in the spinach and frozen tortellini and cook for an additional 30 minutes or until the pasta is done to your liking.


Sweet and Savory BBQ Meatballs

Meatballs:

1 onion finely chopped

1½ sleeves saltine crackers

2 lbs. ground beef

3 eggs

Salt and pepper

3 tbsp. honey mustard

1/2 c. ketchup

1 tsp. worcestershire sauce

Sauce:

1/4 c. ketchup

3/4 c. Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce

1 c. brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Chop the onion up into very small pieces.

Crush the crackers till very fine pieces. Could use a ziplock bag and crush with rolling pin.

Into a large mixing bowl place the cracker crumbs, ground beef, eggs, salt and pepper, honey mustard, 1/2 c. ketchup, and worcestershire sauce.  Get your hands in the bowl and mix all the ingredients together well.

Line two large cookie sheets with tin foil. Roll the meat into 2 inch balls and lay them evenly on the trays.

Bake them in the oven for 20 minutes.

While the meatballs are baking, combine the 1/4 c. ketchup, 3/4 c.Sweet Baby Rays and 1 c. brown sugar.

When the meat balls have a nice, crispy, dark brown exterior take them out of the oven and drizzle them with about 2 tsp. of the sauce over each one. Then put them back in the oven for about 15 minutes to allow the sauce to heat through. Cook time may vary a little depending on size of meatballs.

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