This picture of the Rupipers was taken at “The Farm” last summer. Family members include, in front row, Pat and LeRoy Rupiper. In second row (from left) are Paula Blackledge, Jeannine Muhlbauer, Julie Fay, Denise Glass and Lori Schon. In third row (from left) are Kevin Rupiper, Renee Werden, Lisa Loeffelholz, Rick Rupiper and Brian Rupiper.
This picture of the Rupipers was taken at “The Farm” last summer. Family members include, in front row, Pat and LeRoy Rupiper. In second row (from left) are Paula Blackledge, Jeannine Muhlbauer, Julie Fay, Denise Glass and Lori Schon. In third row (from left) are Kevin Rupiper, Renee Werden, Lisa Loeffelholz, Rick Rupiper and Brian Rupiper.
Monday, February 7, 2011

When it comes to family get-togethers for the Rupiper family, it’s the more the merrier. Lots of delicious food and plenty of family fun are guaranteed at a Rupiper gathering. LeRoy and Patricia Rupiper, of Carroll, raised 10 children in the 1950s and 60s. It may have been a challenge, but these parents were experts at figuring out creative ways to feed their family. Stretching a dollar was second nature to them.

LeRoy was a farmer and sheep shearer who later went to work at Garst in Coon Rapids and also worked in railroad salvage. He still works today in grain salvage and railroad ties sales. Patricia was a busy homemaker for many years until she went to work at JCPenney in Carroll and is now retired. She enjoys serving on the Carroll County Election Board.

The 10 children of LeRoy and Patricia Rupiper are Rick and wife, Debbie, of Honey Creek, Jeannine and husband, Rich Muhlbauer, of Carroll, Lori and husband, Dale Schon, of Willey, Denise and husband, Paul Glass, of Carroll, Kevin and wife, Diane, of Roselle, Brian and wife, Michelle, of Collierville, Tenn., Lisa and husband, Danny Loeffelholz, of Omaha, Neb., Julie Fay, of Omaha, Renee Werden, of Carroll, and Paula and husband, James Blackledge, of Omaha.

LeRoy and Patricia are very proud parents to their seven girls and three boys, all Kuemper graduates. Not to mention 33 grandchildren ranging in age from 2 to 37, 23 great-grandchildren, 2 step great-grandchildren, and 2 step great-great grandchildren. The family stretches from Iowa to Nebraska, Colorado, Arizona, Texas, and Tennessee.

The Rupiper family grew up on a farm west and south of Roselle. In 1982, Kevin and his wife, Diane, and their two sons moved to the farm after LeRoy and Patricia moved to Carroll. The family still loves to gather at “The Farm” to reminisce and share stories.

The Rupipers have many fond memories of family dinners together. A typical Sunday dinner was fried chicken. With such a large family, the chicken was made in shifts using three frying pans to fry the chicken on the stove. The chicken was placed in a roasting pan to keep warm while the potatoes, gravy, and vegetables were prepared.

All meals were made at home. The house had a large table, but it didn’t seat twelve, so the family had to improvise by utilizing bread boards that pulled out of the wall. There was also a wooden bench that served as part of the seating area that would seat three or four kids. The bench is still at the family farm today. Kevin restored it as a precious keepsake. Those who were left handed (there were three “lefties” in the family) were assigned a special place to sit. A high chair for the baby completed the dinner table.

The family describes mealtime back then as usually chaotic. It seems someone always spilled something and the baby usually fell asleep before the meal was over. The family ate plenty of meat and potatoes, as well as casseroles. With twelve mouths to feed, came plenty of dishes to wash. Each claimed a job – washing, drying, or putting away the dishes. All of the children pitched in to help in the house and on the farm to do whatever was necessary to keep things running smoothly.

Every Friday night was popcorn night. 10-ounce bottles of soda were a real treat. Each child had a cup and the soda was evenly divided among the cups. The kids savored each drop of soda and hoped none of it spilled.

All of the seven daughters became very skilled in the kitchen watching and helping their mother. Today, all love to cook and bake and each has their own specialty. The wives of the three sons are also good cooks. It seems the women are constantly swapping recipes.

The family’s main gathering is at Christmastime.

There are about 90 people in attendance each year.

Each year there is someone new for the family to meet. Two of the siblings are assigned to plan the gathering each year. Those two siblings are in charge of the date, time and place.

The location alternates between Omaha and the Carroll area. It is always held in a parish hall, since it’s the only place large enough to accommodate everyone. The family needs plenty of space for food and family members. All the food is served buffet style. Five different soups are served, along with plenty of other goodies. At all family gatherings, the adults love to play cards. There is always a game going and if someone has to get up from the table, there is surely someone to take their place to keep the game going.

The Rupiper family has experienced great success in life, as well as in the kitchen. They enjoy passing their family traditions on to their children and grandchildren. Many memories are made at each family get-together. They are proud to come from such a big family and can’t imagine it any other way.

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

There is nothing more comforting than chicken noodle soup and the Rupipers have vivid memories of their grandmother, Carrie Rupiper, making her special soup. Today Denise carries on the tradition of making her grandma’s chicken noodle soup.

3 hind quarters of chicken
1 chicken breast
3 cans chicken broth
Add 2 packets of seasoning from chicken flavor ramen noodles. Remove chicken from broth and dice meat.

Add to broth:
1 1/2 cup diced carrots
1 1/2 cup diced celery
1/8 cup diced onion
salt and pepper to taste
splash of yellow food coloring
3 cans cream of chicken soup (use a whisk to blend)
Boil 1-1/2-2 cups noodles (bow tie or whatever kind you like) in a separate pan. Drain. Add to the chicken, veggies, and broth. Simmer about 20 minutes and serve.

Italian Beef

This recipe has become a family favorite and is made by all seven sisters. It can be made a day in advance to have on hand for family get-togethers. The next day the meat is sliced and kept warm in its own au jus in the crockpot. It also makes a very tasty sandwich — the beef is tender and juicy.

1 (4 to 5 lb) rump roast
1 can of beer (not light)
1 tsp oregano
3 bay leaves
3 garlic buds
1 tsp sage
1 tsp pepper
½ of a large onion (chopped)
tops of a large bunch of celery
10 beef bouillon cubes
Place all ingredients in a Dutch oven. Add enough water to cover roast. Boil and simmer for 3 ½ hours. Remove meat and cool. Wrap in foil and put in refrigerator for 24 hours. Strain broth and chill in refrigerator. The next day thinly slice beef and heat though in juice. Put in crock pot until ready to serve. Serve with hard rolls and au jus.

Oyster Stew

Not only is oyster stew a Christmas tradition, it’s also LeRoy’s favorite. Oyster stew was a special holiday treat. It can be made in larger quantities to feed a crowd. There are always two crock pots of oyster stew at Christmas.

1/3 c butter
1 gallon milk
salt and pepper to taste
fresh oysters (drained)
Melt butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add oysters and simmer. Pour milk in Dutch oven and add butter and oyster mixture. Do not boil the milk or overcook oysters. Can be put in crock pot and cooked slowly.

Creamed Dried Beef

This is an easy dinner to prepare and a family favorite that was served many times on the farm in Roselle.

1/2 lb dried beef (available at deli counter)

1/2 cup butter

1 cup flour

4 cups milk

Melt butter in saucepan. Stir in flour and whisk well. Reduce heat and slowly add milk. Continue stirring until thick and smooth. Shred dried beef and add to milk mixture. Serve over toast.

Shepard’s Pie also known as “Denise Casserole”

This was a casserole made quite often for dinner in the Rupiper household. It was a meal well liked by all.

2 cups corn
2 cups mashed potatoes
1 ½ lbs ground beef
diced onion

Brown hamburger with onion. Layer corn, mashed potatoes and hamburger. Top with either tomato soup or cream of mushroom soup. Bake at 350°F degrees for 45 minutes.

Banana Bars

These bars are frequently made by sister, Denise, for family gatherings. They are always a favorite treat and never last very long.

1/2 c margarine
1- 1/2 c sugar
2 eggs
3/4 c buttermilk
2 ripe bananas (mashed)
2 scant cup flour
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 c nuts
dash of salt
Cream together margarine and sugar. Add eggs and buttermilk. Add remaining ingredients - bananas, flour, soda, salt, and vanilla and thoroughly mix. Pour into a greased 10 x 15 pan. Bake at 350°F degrees for 25-30 minutes.
Frosting for Banana Bars 

Mix together: 
1 -1/2 cups powdered sugar 
1 teaspoon vanilla 
2 tablespoons softened butter 
2-3 tablespoons milk 

Spread over cooled bars.

Cinnamon Knots

When the Rupiper clan got home from school, they were always ready for a snack. Their mom’s homemade cinnamon rolls were one of their favorite after school treats. It was a very good day if the house smelled of fresh cinnamon rolls baking in the oven as they walked in the door. This recipe is made by some of the Rupiper sisters and is similar to their mother’s rolls.

12 Rhodes Texas rolls, thawed but still cold
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
In a bowl mix cinnamon and sugar. In a separate bowl, melt butter. Roll each Texas roll into a 9-inch rope. Roll each rope in melted butter and then into the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Tie into a loose knot. Place each knot (side by side) into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let double in size. Remove wrap. Bake at 350°F for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and frost.


1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon melted butter
2-3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Maple Nut Ice Cream Pie

This simple ice cream dessert made by Patricia was an extra special treat. Once it was served, it rarely stuck around long enough for leftovers.
graham cracker crust
softened maple nut ice cream
Spread ice cream over crust. Place in freezer. Cut into squares when ready to serve.