A Taste From Heaven

The saying is, “a taste of heaven,” but these cookies are a taste, “from,” heaven.

Even with the trend being the 3 ingredient Peanut Butter cookies there’s only one recipe for me. It’s my Dad’s, hence the, “from,” heaven.

While growing up store bought desserts were rare in our house. Mom worked two jobs, raised five children, kept a spic and span house, sewed some of our clothes, and still every day there was homemade goodies to enjoy. How she did all this became even more a mystery once I became a mom. 

I definitely baked more when our kids were young and at home. These days if I make a homemade pie, it’s a ready to bake pie shell filled with Jello instant pudding, and topped with Dream Whip from a package. Tasty, but homemade might be an exaggeration?

My talent is more cookies or squares. Actually, I only recall making pie crusts a couple times, and breads, those are scary, I leave them to experts like mom.

Dad cooked meals on occasion, and not always one special dish, but when it came to baking, I only remember his “Peanut Butter Cookies.”

The history behind the recipe died with my parents years ago. Was it a cherished one from dad’s childhood? Was it just a stumbled upon one? Maybe it was really one from mom’s side and dad just enjoyed making them? I’ll never know the answer, but at least every time I make these cookies they bring on fond memories.

Dad would be thrilled that I’m sharing this recipe.

Peanut Butter Cookies

Cream Together

• 1/2 Cup Margarine

• 2/3 Cup Brown sugar (not packed)

• 1/3 Cup White sugar

• 1 egg

Then Add

• 1 1/4 Cup Flour

• 1/2 teaspoon Baking soda

• 2/3 Cup Peanut butter

(This recipe also does well doubled.)

Roll into walnut size balls (I use a melon baller) press lightly with fork.

Bake at 350 for 9-10 minutes.

A thought came to me while writing this post. I’m going push past the intimidation this winter and make a pie crust and a loaf of bread from scratch. I’ll let you know if they’re eatable.

Do you have a recipe that triggers fond memories?

Do you make the three ingredient, Peanut Butter Cookies?

If you try this recipe let me know what you think.

The Old Stove

old-stoveThe children had scurried up the basement stairs coughing and wiping their watery eyes.

In the kitchen, I filled a tray with food and cooking supplies. Their clothing reeked of smoke as they passed and before their mouths opened to explain, I knew what had happened and what needed doing.

I hurried down into the landing. With a loud click the deadbolt released and I twisted the door knob. A gust of freezing winter air rushed inside, but I had propped the back door open anyway.

Next, I had trotted downstairs to help Mister, who had been abandoned and could be heard muttering unkind words to the stove he knelt before.

While he had crumpled and put more paper in the fire box I cracked open windows, then began waving whatever was handy and big enough to create a breeze.

Most times, the kids were on my heels and helped with the air clearing efforts.

That was a glimpse from some past Christmas mornings.

You see, we had a grand, old, wood-burning stove in our basement family room. Many times after unwrapping Christmas gifts, Mister would fire it up and make his tasty fried grits, eggs, and potato breakfast. The problem was the above scenario often occurred because the old stove could be temperamental to start a fire in.

If really cold or windy outside, a window needed to be cracked open. Crumpled newspaper and kindling needed to be shoved way back in the fire box, right to the base of the chimney, and we tried to never light the paper when the house furnace was running. Something about its air intake, up-drafts and down-drafts. I don’t know the science of it, I just know, smoke didn’t go up the chimney if you missed any of these steps.

Mister rarely bothered to stand on the couch to open the window, and so breakfast was sometimes delayed.

There was always lots of joking and giggling while we three cleared the room of smoke, and Mister got the fire roaring.

It took awhile to heat the cast-iron top enough to cook on, and the chilly room also had to be warmed from having windows and the door open, but soon the cooking began.

These mornings hold fond memories for our family.

Last year, we hosted the Christmas sleepover at the lake for our daughter her husband and their fur child and the son and his girlfriend. This year, the son and his girlfriend hosted, so Mister and I slept at their house.

Before we could leave our place in the morning we had to dig out from under about a foot of fresh overnight snow. That and road conditions delayed our day, but we made it to their place safe and sound.

After a simple Christmas eve supper, the son drove us around the city to look at Christmas lights.

Christmas morning after a joint effort the turkey and ham were put in the oven to cook. Then Mister made one of his grits and egg breakfasts, but because he used the electric range, it was smoke free.

Living only minutes away, our daughter and her husband didn’t sleepover but they came for the afternoon, the feast, and the gift exchange. We enjoyed another wonderful get-together. Little can beat a day like that.

One thing was missing.

Since Mister and I moved three hours from the city where the oldest daughter and family live it seems harder for them to visit.

As children grow, marry and start families, Christmas and other special occasions are when having a blended family becomes difficult. It means an extra set of parents, plus in-laws, etc. to spread time between, so we couldn’t catch up with them this year.

We understand their spare time is limited, and their life’s are busy and full with other family.

We make the trip and attend functions they invite us to, but we miss spending time with them.

We hope they know they are always in our thoughts and hearts though.

Apron of Memories

apron

This apron is how I bake with the kids now that they’re grown and no longer living at home. It’s made from scraps left over from things I sewed them when they were young.

Whenever I wear it I think of them.

This is what I accomplished today. It really doesn’t look like it should have taken all day but it did. With the way my morning started though I’m just glad they are eatable.

cookies

 

Curiosity Solved

experiment

For fairness, I brought equal amounts of water in identical plastic bottles, the cooler and insulated bag to room temperature. A necessary step because some came from our cold storage room. Wait, that sounds like we have a climate-controlled room, what I meant is I had to bring the hard-sided cooler in from its unheated storage room to warm up.

The afternoon temperature outside when I got this experiment underway was -20 C. Almost balmy for this nasty cold spell.

With a bottle of water inside, I placed the hard cooler, the cooler bag, and just a bottle of water, side by side so none were in sunshine and all would chill at the same rate.

Two hours later the temperature had dropped to -25 C outside. The exposed bottle’s water had froze solid but both in the coolers still hadn’t even crystalized yet so I let them be.

My next intention was to check the waters temperature from both cooler bottles to see if one was warmer then the other. I hadn’t planed ahead how I would do this though, so a search began for a thermometer.

Logical place to look first, the bathroom. Bought years ago and still in its package, I found a new digital style thermometer. I read the directions. Battery seemed good so into my mouth for a reading it went. Great news, I had no fever. Before I disturbed the experiment water I tried one more test with a cup of ice water. Umm, I found out it only reads if tip has contact, like under a tongue or in armpit, drats.

Perhaps a meat thermometer? Nope, don’t have one, it probably wouldn’t work in water, anyway. Now, I’m curious about that though.

On our fridge is a decorative magnet with a mercury temperature gage, so it got submerged in a cup of cold water. Keyword, decorative, the red line didn’t move. Funny, I’ve never noticed before that it didn’t work.

Mister joined the search. The only other portable thermometer inside the house is a weather station used to monitor the crawl space which houses our water pipes. This unit has a sensor on a wire, and it is old, almost the first of its kind.

We seldom check it anymore, and on inspection it’s no surprise to see it no longer displayed a reading. Mister took the back off and pushed reset, my job was to locate the tiny screw which dropped to the floor. Reset did nothing, he tested the batteries and changed those.

By this time supper in the oven was on the verge of becoming overlooked so we ate.

At 8:30pm, after 4 and 1/2 hours outside the water in the coolers had started to freeze. The insulated bag one only slightly more than the regular cooler. Not sure the accuracy but when tested the hard cooler water was .2 degrees warmer than cooler bag water.

Results were pretty predictable, but I was curious how much longer groceries would keep from freezing if insulated and if it mattered which we used, a hard or soft cooler.

In minus 20 degree temperatures water took an extra two and half hours to freeze if kept in a well insulated container.

With this knowledge, from now on, our lettuce should make it home safe.

Have you ever wondered how weather effects food delivered by big trucks? A lot more planning goes into this then you may think.

The son works in transportation for a large food distribution company so I asked him.

For transporting frozen and refrigerated goods reefer trailers are used. In extreme cold they can also heat the air so it is warmer inside then outside, keeping cargo at an ideal temperature.

They have 1-3 different temperature areas which can be divided by portable insulated walls. In extreme cold, produce and other sensitive goods, are sometimes wrapped to keep from freezing if they’re placed near doors.

Delicate things like ice cream cakes are put in insulated bags along with being in the freezer section just to make sure they don’t thaw.

Next time you buy groceries, you can now appreciate the work that goes into getting items to the store.

Did you learn anything from this post? I did.

 

Family Time

thanksgivingWorking up an appetite

The weather remained warmer than usual. It was into October and snow had yet to appear. Pictured above is us years ago taking advantage of a pleasant fall day. It didn’t matter to the family what date was on the calendar. We worked, we laughed, we got the job done.

Spreading aged manure, turned fertilizer, may not be an average, Thanksgiving activity, but we were together and had fun. By days end we appreciated satiating our hunger by filling our belly’s with a tasty meal. What more could we wish for?

I have no classroom certificates stating I understand how a mind works, but I speak from life experience.

Goals and achievements vary as much as people themselves.

Focusing on your positives rather than envying what others appear to have, is a vital step toward happiness.

If you’re ever having a rough day, or feeling down, take a moment to list three things you are Thankful for. Don’t simply say the usual or big items, really think about your choices. Let’s say, you drive an old vehicle not the one you desire, you might say you can’t be thankful for the piece of junk. Well, if it’s getting you from place to place it deserves thanks.

If you don’t think the small things are important, the bigger things won’t be as valued either.

My mother always said, “Somewhere there’s someone who would love your cast-aways, no matter what shape they’re in.”

Here are three things I’m thankful for at this moment. The company I had this weekend. The hot coffee I’m enjoying this morning. My comfy chair faced where I can view the coming sunrise.

 

tg-food

Thanksgiving Supper

“Happy Thanksgiving” to everyone reading this.

 happy-thanksgiving

I’m fortunate and forever grateful for my family and friends.