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Happy 2020 graduation

This is the time of the year when so many students are looking forward to their graduation day where they can finally celebrate by changing the hat tassel and throwing their hats in the air.

However we must start with the graduations starting when the child is in elementary school going into junior high school, which is a big excitement for the students as it also was for our granddaughter, Athena, who was looking forward to the graduation ceremony. This year they did not have a graduation or end of the year activities as they usually do.

Worse than that, we have three granddaughters Nadia, Kiki and Eleni that were finishing the eighth grade junior high school looking forward to entering high school in August that were disappointed also because not being able to purchase their favorite prom dress due to the fact all the proms were canceled this spring, not to mention the special graduation parties and events that usually took place this time of the year, plus any yearly trips that they had planned.

Unfortunately, this is something that has taken place all over the country affecting many thousands of students all due to the virus, although I can understand their disappointment and feel bad for them because those years will never return.

However, as we tell our children that we all must think positively and remember that there are many better days and good times ahead of us.

High school graduation is very important, but also think of the many college students that have spent four or more years earning a degree and not able to take part in their graduation ceremony from the college or university.

The difficult thing is as to how you reply or answer them when they say, “why does this have to happen to us now that we are excited and eager to celebrate and face the next step in our lives”?

I feel and agree with them but we have not choice.

GRADUATION

Graduation is a huge excitement and achievement for each student and something that is looked forward to and even though hampered this year, will return hopefully next year.

I have a niece in Hollis, N.H., Athena, that just graduated from college that went on a senior trip to Jamaica and she was lucky enough to return to the states just several days before our borders closed do to the virus. The university has delayed the graduation ceremony in hopes of holding it the last of July. Here she is now with an engineering degree and job ready to start, but has to remain at home like many millions of us are doing.

My prediction to everyone is that life will be back to normal soon. Keep your faith, spirit, stay busy and remember life is beautiful.

Things are slowly opening soon, but we all still need to be careful and not take things lightly. We use to have our freedoms of going and doing as we please plus traveling, going to work with no fear of bring something home to our families and hopefully all that will end.

***

Baked French Toast

1/2 cup butter

1 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons molasses

8-10 slices sturdy white bread

peanut butter, optional

5-6 eggs

1 1/2-2 cups milk

1 teaspoon cinnamon

In a saucepan, heat butter, brown sugar and molasses together until sugar is dissolved and butter is melted. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. When melted and blended together, pour into a 9×13 baking pan. If you wish, spread peanut butter on one side of each side of bread and then lay the bread on the syrup, peanut-butter side down. If you don’t include peanut butter, simply lay the bread in a single layer on top of the syrup. In a mixing bowl, mix eggs, milk and cinnamon together, and then pour on top of bread. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes or until browned.

***

Light Buttermilk Pancakes

1 cup flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon oil

1 cup buttermilk

1 egg, beaten

Combine dry ingredients in mixing bowl. Combine oil, buttermilk and egg in a separate bowl. Add to dry ingredients, stirring just until flour mixture is moistened. Fry on griddle until bubbly on top. Flip and continue cooking until bottom is lightly browned.

***

Fluffy Waffles and Cider Syrup

Waffles:

2 cups flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, separated

1 2/3 cups milk

6 tablespoons butter, melted

Syrup:

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

2 cups apple cider

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 butter

To make waffles, mix flour, baking powder, sugar and salt together in a medium-sized bowl. In a separate bowl, beat together egg yolks, milk and melted butter. Add to dry ingredients and mix well. In a third bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. Gently fold into above mixture. Bake in waffle iron. To make syrup, mix sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg in saucepan. Stir in cider and lemon juice. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute or until slightly thickened. Blend in butter and warm.

***

Oatmeal Breakfast Scones

1 1/4 cups flour

1/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons cold butter

1 cup regular or quick dry oats

1/4 cup dried fruit

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/4-1/3 cup milk

1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water

confectioners sugar

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into large bowl. Stir well. Divide cold butter into 1/4-inch cubes and mix into flour mixture with pastry blender or fingers until mixture becomes coarse crumbs. Stir in the oats and the dried fruit, if you wish. Beat together 1 egg and milk and add to dry ingredients, mixing until just moistened. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead 4-5 times into a ball. Gently roll out to a 6-7 inch circle and cut into six pie shaped wedges. Place slightly apart on parchment-lined cookie sheet. Brush tops with egg/water mixture. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar, if desired. Bake at 400 for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm with raspberry or your favorite jam.

***

Grits Casserole

1 cup quick-cooking grits

4 cups water

1 teaspoon salt

1 stick butter

1/4 pound sharp cheddar cheese, grated

2 eggs, beaten

Cook grits in boiling, salted, water for 5 minutes. Add butter and cheese. Stir until well mixed. Cool. Add beaten eggs and mix throughly. Pour mixture into a greased pan or casserole dish. Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve hot.

***

New Guinea Granola

3 cups dry quick oats

3 cups dry regular oats

1/2 cup dry oat bran

1/2 cup dry powdered milk

2/3 cup honey

2/3 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

cinnamon

3/4 cup slivered almonds

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

3/4 cup craisins and/or raisins

Mix all ingredients, except cinnamon, nuts, seeds and fruit, together in a large mixing bowl. Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake at 325 for 20 minutes. After the first 5 minutes of baking, stir in slivered almonds, sunflower seeds, craisins and/or raisins and continue baking. Continue stirring every 5 minutes. Cool, stirring every 10 minutes, breaking up granola into the size chunks you like. When throughly cool, stir in an airtight container.

***

Peanut Butter and Banana Roll-Up

1/4 cup applesauce

1/4 cup peanut butter

2 teaspoon honey

4 8-inch to 10-inch flour tortillas

2 firm medium-sized bananas

In small bowl, combine applesauce, peanut butter and honey. Mix well. Spread tortillas with mixture to within 1/4-inch of their edges. Peel bananas. Cut each banana in half lengthwise. Place 1 banana half at edge of each tortilla. Roll up jelly-roll fashion. Serve.

***

Kiki Angelos is a food columnist for the Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

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