Dinner Bell: LeAnn Ferrell and Danny Helms

Wednesday, September 10, 2003
LeAnn Ferrell and Danny Helms.

This week's feature is a young couple from the area that is in the process of making wedding plans around their busy schedules.

LeAnn Ferrell of West Ridge and Danny Helms of Lepanto, plan to get married on December 20.

LeAnn is a 1999 graduate of Manila High School. She is the daughter of Roger and Judy Ferrell. This is her first year to teach Family Consumer Science (formerly known as home economics) in the Marked Tree School District.

Following high school LeAnn attended Mississippi County Community College and earned an associate degree before going on to Arkansas State University where she earned a degree in Social Science. She graduated in May.

She started her college career by receiving the Boe Adams Scholarship. She maintained her grades and went on to ASU on academic scholarships. She had several college hours when she finished high school. She lives at home with her parents and said she never had the desire to move to a dorm or an apartment.

"They have been very supportive through all of my life. It was nice to come home from college and have them there to ask about my day. I think it is nice to have people around you that really care," LeAnn said.

LeAnn has always been very close to her family. She has an older brother, Chris, who is also a teacher/coach. He is now coaching in Potts Camp, Miss.

Danny is the new youth minister at First Baptist Church in Leachville. He is the son of Danny and Joyce Helems of Lepanto. He is a 1998 graduate of East Poinsett County High School and a 2001 graduate of Mississippi County Community College. He is presently taking classes at the Blytheville campus through the University of Arkansas to earn a degree in Human Resource Management.

Danny surrendered to the ministry at the age of 16. He heard about the Leachville youth pastor position through a friend and has been there for two months. He is enjoying working with the young people. He said his goal to have the young people grow spiritually.

"I look more to spiritual growth than just a growth in numbers," he said.

They have about 15 junior and senior high students in the youth group.

LeAnn is loving her position in Family Consumer Science. She was very active during her high school years in FCCLA serving as chapter president, and district officer. She also participated in state STAR events.

"It is a blessing to be there in that position," she said.

She has 110 students every day with a ninth grade homeroom class. She teaches students in grades 7-12. She has five different lesson plans to do a day. She also serves as sponsor for the high school cheerleading squad. That will also keep her busy through football and basketball season.

LeAnn praised her own FCCLA teacher at Manila, Mary Smith.

"I never knew how much of her time I took up during my high school years until I started teaching. She did so much for me. She never made me feel like she was too busy to help me. She could have never explained it to me but I understand it now that I am a teacher," LeAnn said.

Both Danny and LeAnn enjoy working with young people. They are looking forward to their wedding which will be held at the First Baptist Church in Leachville.

The recipes she is sharing are some that she will be using in her high school cooking classes this year.

Chocolate Gravy

3 Tbsp. cocoa

1 cup sugar

2 Tbsp. flour

2 cups milk

2 Tbsp. butter

2 tsp. Vanilla

Mix the cocoa, sugar, and flour together. Add the milk, making sure it mixes smoothly. Heat (medium) and stir constantly until it thickens. This takes about 8 minutes. Take off of heat. Add butter. Stir until it is melted and mixed. Add vanilla and stir until mixed.

Serve hot over buttered biscuits.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

2-1/4 cups All purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 tsp. vanilla

2 eggs

2 cup Hershey's milk chocolate chips (11.5 oz. pkg.)

1 cup chopped nuts; optional

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. In large mixer bowl, heat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla until creamy. Add eggs; beat well. Gradually add flour mixture, beating well. Stir in milk chocolate chips and nuts if desired. Drop by rounded teaspoonsfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10-11 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.

Makes 6 dozen cookies.

Pan Recipe: Spread batter in greased 15-1/2"x10-1/2"x1" jelly roll pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely; cut into bars. About 4 dozen bars.

Banana Pudding

8 ounces cream cheese (room temperature), whipped

1 can Eagle Brand milk

1 large pkg. Vanilla instant pudding

3 cups cold milk

1 tsp. vanilla


Vanilla Wafers

8 ounces Cool Whip

Mix pudding, Eagle Brand milk, and cream cheese. Put half Cool Whip in pudding mixture and save other half for topping. Layer vanilla Wafers, bananas, and pudding mixture. Top with Cool Whip.

Fig-Strawberry Preserves

3 cup figs, mashed

3 cups sugar

2 pkgs. Strawberry Jell-o (3 oz. pkgs.)

Thoroughly mix figs, Jell-o and sugar in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and continue boiling for three minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour quickly into glasses and seal or cover with 1/3 inch of paraffin.

Fajita Pizza

1/2 Pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

1/2 medium green bell pepper, cut into thin rings

1 small onion, sliced

1/ 2 cup Salsa or Picante sauce

1-1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese (6 ounces)

Pizza Crust

1-1/2 cup Biscuit baking mix

1/ 3 cup hot water

Move oven rack to lowest position. Heat oven to 475 degrees. Cut chicken into strips, 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Heat 10-inch skillet until one or two drops of water bubble and skitter when sprinkled in skillet. Add oil and rotate to coat inside of skillet. Add chicken. Cook and stir three minutes. Add pepper and onion, cook and stir three to four minutes until vegetables are crisp tender. Remove from heat; stir in Salsa and set aside. Prepare pizza crust. Sprinkle 3/4 cup of the cheese over the crust. Top with chicken mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake at 475 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes or until crust is brown and cheese is melted and bubbly.

Pizza Crust

Grease a cookie sheet or 12 inch pizza pan. Mix biscuit baking mix and hot water; beat vigorously 20 strokes. Turn dough onto surface well dusted with baking mix or flour. Knead about 60 times or until smooth and no longer sticky. With hands dusted with baking mix or flour, press dough into 13-inch circle on cookie sheet or press in pizza pan. Pinch edge forming 1/2-inch rim.

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