Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY! If you are a Mom, enjoy your day. Everyone in your family should be making certain that today is special for you. They should be taking you out to eat (no Mom should have to feed the rest of the family on her day!) They should bring tributes and gifts and happy attitudes and smiles to you for the care you give them. Diamonds and chocolates are nice, but a loving, restful day from the family adults and a crayon-drawn picture from the little ones can make a Mom just as happy, if given with love. If you still have your Mom, you are blessed, and if you had a wonderful Mom, you were, and still are, blessed. She will always be a part of you.

There are some folks who have a difficult time honoring their moms, for real or imagined reasons, but each person has only ONE biological Mom. If there are problems, one may never know what has caused them. It is normal for a mother to always have love for the child she has carried, and if that love has been interrupted, it is for some serious reason or problem. We go through life only one time, so there is no “second chance” to try to correct any problem one might have with Mom. No one can change the past, but one can forgive and/or forget — on either side — and are responsible only for their own feelings. One may not agree with her, but she is the only “blood” Mom you will ever have.

The Moms who step in for the ones who have no, or poor, “blood” moms should be honored and given many, many thanks for their love and help. We can, also, have many moms in a lifetime. Those who have enriched our lives and who have “adopted” us are special and we should always honor them. Those who adopted children as their own, giving them love, care and a family, are special Moms.

The hardest thing any mother has to face in life is the loss of a child. Remember that when you are tempted to text or talk on your cell phone while you drive if your mother is still alive! Whether it is a baby, young person or adult, it is never easy to bear. No matter what life dishes out, being a mother is the hardest job a woman can have, but it will bring about the happiest and, often, saddest times of her life.

If your Mother didn’t keep a journal, a nice thing for you to do with her is to write her life story. She will enjoy telling you the way life was when she was young, how she met your Father, family happy times and those not so happy. Relate how holidays were celebrated and include handed-down family recipes. Every family has lots of stories and oral history that should be recorded. Those future family members will appreciate what you record and she will enjoy the chance to talk to you about things that you may not have known. I speak from some experience as my Mom had started writing her journal before the dementia dulled her memory. Now, I will finish her story from what I know, but so many things are still mysteries. We think of things after it is too late too many times! Learn from my mistakes!

Mom was a teacher after getting her education from Ohio University and taught all her life. Her first school, as far as I can determine, was a one-room school on Whipple Run, back of Marietta. She boarded with her future in-laws and walked to school. She truly loved teaching and many of her former students have told me how much they liked her and what a good teacher she was. I was proud of her, but don’t remember ever telling her that. Children just don’t consider their parents as regular people and forget to say “Thank you, for what you are and what you do for me.” We did learn respect for all adults, authority, how to act in church, not to use “bad” words, how to work, not interfere with adult conversations, say the Pledge of Allegiance, and honor our country and our teachers. We knew there were “consequences” for crossing the lines! It is a different world today, and I am thankful Mom taught us to be good citizens.

Honor your mother today and tell her “Thank you for all you have done for me!” Hugs and kisses are the necessities for today for all the family. Remember those who keep us safe. Do a good deed each day and pray for family, friends, and those who govern us. It is time for Iced Tea and a sit in the swing. Be good to yourself — you deserve it!

God Bless!

***

SPINACH SALAD

1/2 cup pecan halves

6 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes

1/2 cup white wine vinegar

1 1/2 tablespoons white sugar

1 1/2 lb. (about) spinach, washed and patted dry

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Pinch freshly ground black pepper

Toast pecans on a cookie sheet for 10 t0 15 minutes or until fragrant in a 350-degree oven and set aside to cool. Fry bacon in a large skillet, stirring occasionally, until crisp and browned, about 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer bacon pieces to a paper towel lined plate to cool. Pour off all but about 3 tablespoons bacon drippings. Add the onion slices to the drippings and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Add tomatoes, vinegar, and sugar and simmer until liquid thickens a little and tomatoes are heated through, just 1 to 2 minutes. Put spinach in a large bowl and pour the hot tomato-onion mixture over, tossing quickly so that the spinach wilts. Season with the salt and pepper. Sprinkle the pecans and bacon over and serve.

***

ROBBIE’S HOT CHICKEN SALAD

4 cups cut up cooked chicken

2 tablespoons lemon juice

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups chopped celery

4 sliced hard-boiled eggs

3/4 cup cream of chicken soup

1 teaspoon finely minced onion

2 small jars pimentos, cut fine

1 1/2 cups crushed potato chips

1 cup grated cheese

2/3 cup finely chopped toasted almonds

Combine all ingredients except cheese, potato chips and almonds. Place in a large rectangle baking dish. Top with cheese, potato chips and almonds. Let stand overnight in the refrigerator. Bake in preheated 400-degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes.

***

STRAWBERRY MERINGUE CAKE

1-2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1/2 cup egg whites at room temperature

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 cup superfine sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar

1 quart fresh strawberries

2 tablespoons kirsch

2 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

Lightly coat the bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan with the oil and set aside. In an electric mixer bowl (fitted with a whisk if you have it) beat egg whites and salt until very soft peaks begin to form. With motor running on high, add the superfine sugar, a tablespoon at a time, until all the sugar is absorbed and the mixture is stiff and shining. Beat in vinegar. Spoon mixture into the prepared pan and rap on a hard surface to eliminate any air bubbles. Smooth top with a spatula. Bake in preheated 325-degree oven for one hour. Remove pan from oven and let cool on a wire rack. The middle will sink as the cake cools. Do not remove sides.

No more than four hours before serving, prepare filling. Set aside 10 whole berries for the garnish. Hull and thinly slice the remainder of the berries. Toss with the kirsch and set aside. Combine the creams in the bowl of an electric mixer. With the mixer set on high, beat in the confectioners’ sugar and continue to beat until the mixture forms soft peaks. Remove the bowl from mixer and fold in the berries. Spoon into the meringue cake sunken middle and smooth top with a spatula. Decorate with the reserved berries and refrigerate until serving time. Just before serving, carefully run a sharp knife between the cake and the sides of the pan to loosen any part of the meringue that may have stuck there. Remove the sides of the pan and serve .

NOTE: This meringue cake can be filled with chocolate mouse or raspberries and cream or lemon mousse – the combinations are endless. Once you have mastered making the meringue cake base, you can have a fantastic company dessert any time. Just plan ahead.

NOTE: No superfine sugar? Just put regular sugar into the food processer and beat the sugar into submission!

***

STRAWBERRY-RHUBARB PIE

4 tablespoons cornstarch

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

2 cups fresh rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced

Pastry for 8-inch double crust pie

Combine cornstarch and water in a saucepan. Mix until smooth. Add 1/2 cup of rhubarb and 1/2 cup of strawberries and bring to a boil. Boil for three minutes. Remove from heat and stir in remaining rhubarb and strawberries. Line an 8-inch pie pan with pastry and pour filling into the pie shell. Roll out top crust and place on pie. Seal edges and crimp. Brush top with cream or milk or egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar and cut slashes in top. Bake in preheated 400-degrees oven for 20 minutes or until crust is browned.

NOTE: Since I have trouble with pie crust, I often cheat and buy prepared pie shells and sometimes add a crumb topping instead of trying to get a pretty top crust! By the way, I saw local fresh rhubarb in the grocery store!

***

STRAWBERRY PIE WITH CREAM CHEESE

1 graham cracker crust

1 quart fresh berries

1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese

1/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup whipping cream

1 package strawberry pie glaze

Whipped topping

Wash and hull strawberries and cut into halves or smaller if berries are large. Let cream cheese come to room temperature. With electric mixer, beat cream cheese, sugar, and lemon juice. Add cold whipping cream and beat until light and fluffy. Spread in pie crust. Top with strawberries, then the glaze. Frost pie with the whipped topping, using a decorating bag with a large star tip, if available. Keep chilled.

Patty Christopher is a food columnist for the Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

COMMENTS