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Daily Archives: January 5, 2012

Love is groceries

I remember Mom saying this when I was a child and I never understood what she meant.

We always had enough, we might not have had what we wanted but we had enough.

She reminded us of that. And often.

Oh we knew how good we had it what with a huge garden, fruit trees, fresh beef, chicken, turkeys and pigs. We had no doubts where our food came from; we’d been introduced.

We felt such empathy for those poor town kids who didn’t have land and kitties and baby calves and foals in springtime. We thought everyone’s Mother baked bread from scratch and made things like butterhorns and crumb cake to welcome them home from school.

I remember asking Mom what she meant by the words “Love is Groceries” and all she’d ever say was “you’ll see.”

And then I did.

I married and had a son at 22.

And at 26, I was a single parent, far from home with no child support, just a job and a car that ran .. most of the time.

I got it. I finally understood.

Packing lunches, stretching meals, making it work.

Going without but getting it done.

He had supper; I had … popcorn.  Any mother worth her salt would do the same .. then and now.

I understood what she meant was this:  flowers  and gestures are great, but food on the table gets it done.

I remembered the look in her eyes when Dad came from town with a few extras… just because.  Special treats like juicy Florida oranges or Ruby Red grapefruits that we’d peel and make last for hours on end.  Sometimes there might even be a package of “Dad’s” oatmeal cookies tucked in. Not a surprise, given the sweet tooth he had. And being spoilt rotten farm kids, we were used to home-made.  We longed for store-bought. Dad’s cookies were a rare treat.  (Oh how foolish we were).

Dad's cookies; so simple .. so yummy

Talking with my oldest boy recently, he  calmly commented how hard he was working to save money. He was proud to pack his lunch and use the Stanley thermos I’d bought him at Christmas.  But it was when he said, “and when we can afford food, it’ll be a lot easier,” that I stopped in my tracks.

As a mother, that haunted me.

I don’t care how old you are – or how old they are – any mother worth her salt will lose sleep over the thought that her kid – or grandkids – might be going without.

Today, I packed my lunch again, just like I’d done years ago.  I used my lunch time hour to buy larder supplies like rice, pasta, soup, pudding, peanut butter, canned vegetables and fruit cups. I stopped again and bought beef and chicken, milk, carrots, celery, potatoes and onions. I topped it off with bananas, apples, oranges, bread and fun snacks for the kids’ lunchboxes.

I called him and asked, “What time do you and the kids get home?”

And then I made it a point to deliver love … with groceries thrown in for good measure.

Once a parent .. always a parent.”  – My Mom.

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Categories: Attitude, Determination, Family, Home, Personal, Relationships | Tags: , , | 37 Comments

Opally delicious

When I was home with my mom in September, one of my goals was to write down a few time-tested recipes.  And I did.

I gave this one a try last night.

Hubbs loves him some caramel. Or Carmel. Or however you say it.

He’s not a big fan of cake, but if pressed he’d claim his favorite as “just a white cake with caramel icing.”

Smiling, I remembered I had absconded with Opal Sandvold’s recipe for “quick caramel icing” from my Mother’s recipe books.

The Opal, more than any other gemstone, is distinctly an individual. (www.gemselect.com)

An icing so good it deserves its own mention.

An icing I remember pouring over warm cakes as a teenaged baker. An icing so delicious I recall watching grown men scrape their plates looking for more.

Mrs. Sandvold was Mom to Penny, my sister’s grade-school friend.  She contributed to the community recipe book as did Mom and Aunt Irene. You can’t go wrong with a name as feminine and unusual as a rare gem. You can’t go wrong with some of her quick caramel icing, either.

Here’s how to make it:

  1. Combine 1/2 cup of margarine  or butter (1 stick) with 1 cup of brown sugar in a saucepan.  Stir over low heat until combined (about 2 minutes).
  2. Pour in 1/4 cup of milk (I used 2%) and stir into butter/sugar mixture; continue to stir about another 2 minutes on low heat, stirring steadily until it comes to a boil.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool.  (Your cake should be baking at this time)
  4. Lastly, stir in  1 3/4 cup powdered (icing) sugar.  Stir well then beat mixture using rapid stirring motions until the texture is smooth and lump-free (about 1-2 min).
  5. Pour over hot cake and enjoy.   I baked a white cake but this is also good on chocolate or spice cake, donuts or cinnamon rolls.

Thanks Opal!

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Categories: Beauty, Food, Home, Life, Recipes, Share, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , | 29 Comments

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