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“Thank you, Dear Heart”

When she heard that endearing comment from a resident, Stephanie Johnson knew she’d made the right pivot in her culinary career. Last January, Stephanie accepted the cook’s position at our Alexandria, MN community, Vista Prairie at Windmill Ponds.

The phrase reminded Stephanie of her mother, who passed away a couple years ago. “My mom always called me ‘Dear-heart,’ nobody else ever did,” Stephanie recalls. Even before that confirmation, she realized she was in the right spot. “You just don’t know until you try, but I’ve loved it from day one.”

Stephanie was the co-owner of a bar and café southwest of Alexandria in Kensington, MN. While she loved the cooking and earned a reputation for her chicken wild-rice soup, she prefers her setting now. “The bar scene isn’t my thing,” she said. “Coming here, you feel more like you’re making a real difference in someone’s life, and that is a big thing to me.”

In a few months, the residents have taken notice, at both Windmills Bonds and the nearby Community Behavioral Health Hospital, which contracts with Windmills Ponds to deliver meals each day. Stephanie says her pizza has become a popular menu item, and her homemade cakes.

And what’s her favorite meal to prepare? On the second Tuesday of the month, she prepares a made from scratch farmer’s breakfast. “This past Tuesday we did a Norske Omelet. It was eggs, sausage, hash browns and a little bit of cheese. You roll it up in Lefse and cover in Hollandaise sauce. They loved it!”

Call Cally at 320-244-0533 if you want to snag a breakfast invitation on some Tuesday. And click here if you’d like to join Stephanie on the staff. Windmill Ponds offers assisted living in 65 one-and two-bedroom apartments, designed for seniors who enjoy an active social environment and expect high quality care.


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