Category Archives: Traditions

18th Century Christmas Recipe Meets 21st Century Tech

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The Recipe!!

I have this recipe I collected from the mother of my mother-in-law twice-removed. When I was a very young mother, with very small children, my cooking repertoire was limited to easy, and then easier. This recipe kind of intimidated me.  It intimidated me  because it was a ‘steamed pudding’. Which is a yummy, slightly sticky cakey-like Christmas treat. I’ve only once eaten it at said mother-in-law, twice-removed, mother’s home … I loved it. Great-Grandma Mitchell served it warm, with a slightly caramelly sauce.  This card has been picked up time and again, carefully looked at every time I’ve opened my old recipe box for my raisin oatmeal cookie recipe, and then just as carefully placed back into the old recipe box.

Looking at the card you might think I made it all the time. It has turned brown with age, and has oily spots on it. The ingredients aren’t difficult to gather together; grated carrots, potato, and apples mixed with flour, sugar, nuts and spices. Very Christmasy. The hidden terror to my neophyte young mother’s brain was first it was cooked in a coffee can (which I never managed to save) and then the cooking method wasn’t baked, but steamed for two and one-half hours!

That cooking method and time required just totally overwhelmed me … so its yummy stickiness stayed just a memory and a maybe I’ll make that … some time, until this past week. I had the thought to make my favorite mother-in-law’s (twice-removed), Christmas memories for her Christmas gift.  The first memory was date-filled sugar cookies, and the second, of course, Grandma Mitchell’s Steamed Pudding & Dip (Sauce). The cookies took two tries to get them to look and taste as I remembered them. Then out came the daunting steamed pudding recipe. Since I still had no coffee tin (does coffee even come in a can), I opted for a large size vegetable tin (tomatoes or pumpkin pie filling sized). I mixed it up (fingers crossed since I had never seen it in its raw form) and then it was steam time.

My new best cooking friend! (Thanks Angie De)

Online I found many ways to steam foods, including puddings, but they all took the same time … lots of time. THEN I HAD THE ANSWER!! I’ll use my brand-new, only used once for ham & beans, Crockpot Pressure Cooker (which has a steam option!!). I had to read some other blogs and looked for cooking tips to figure how to adjust a 19th century recipe to a 21st century appliance.  After much sorting and hemming and hawing I decided 60% of the approximate 2 1/2 hours should do it.

I followed the steaming instructions from the how-to booklet, popped the can of pudding mix into the pot, twisted on the lid, pressed steam … set the time and pressed start. While it was doing its thing I cleaned up my kitchen … I am not a neat, nor terribly organized cook. I always have grand intentions to keep things tidy … then something happens and I’m  sweeping flour from the counter and floor. What is that sticky stuff?

The Results! Steamed Pudding via Crockpot Instant Cooker

Ding, time’s up. The cooker slowly cooled. Anticipation. When it was no longer steaming I timidly twisted the lid off and watched steamy water drops drip from the lid onto the pudding … not a good thing (hint to myself … put a foil cover on the can next time).  Using a hot pad I picked the can up, set it on a rack and let it cool a long time. It seemed like about 4 hours before it was cool enough to tip it from its tin.  Nothing happened. The pudding was stuck, even though the can was greased and floured. I tapped it, I shook it … nope. Stuck. Then I thought, it’s suction! I found a church key (can opener) and popped a tiny hole in the bottom. Voila! The pudding slid out and there it was standing on the cooling rack just like I imagined it might. I made an additional tiny pudding from the left-over mixture that wouldn’t fit in the cooking tin … it was as yummy as I remembered.

My first 19th century recipe, cooked, cooled, wrapped and dropped at FedEx for an overnight delivery. Hope she loves her box of memories.  Now that’s what I call a Christmas wrap!

Just so you know: (Great)- Grandma Mitchell passed at the age of 99 and some months (and that was like 20+ years ago) … the recipe was her mother’s if I remember the story right.

 

Create, Explore, Bring New into the World

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For what form of expression am I most grateful? Well, the answer to that interesting question would be Words. The written word and worlds that they create are my favorite form of expression.  I love to write … especially if I can keep the fierce critic in my head quiet. It’s always lurking, always judging, always comparing ready to offer its negativity to encourage me to stop trying.    I’ve named it Shrew and often yell at it as did Smeagol to his Gollum looking into his mirrored reflection … “Leave and Never come back”!

It does come back, but now that I’ve named it, and imagined its form as small and weak and powerless though it keeps trying to live by sucking life off of me … sort of like Voldemort’s weak succubus fed off of poor professor Quirrell … it is easier to dismiss, and make it be quiet.

Like any negative thought once exposed to the light the darkness flees.  So whatever or whoever your inner critic is,  kick it out of it power place, and let yourself go free to express your art, music, dance, design, cook, garden, or like me, write … Just let go, create, and send it out to the universe.  You know we are meant to create, to explore and to bring new into the world.

Sweet Awareness of Eternity

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For what moment this week am I most grateful is the sweet awareness of eternity  I had thinking of this question.  On Thanksgiving day, after a taste-bud popping dinner I stood snuggin’ with my youngest grand-grandson Konrad (1 month old) as his mother hovered next to me and then I looked toward my mom, the matriarch of our family. I saw in that moment a family line as long as men and women have been on the earth. Awesome!

Konrad … 1 month old

One month ago Konrad was in the spirit world anxious to arrive and begin his journey in mortality. My mother is 87, she occasionally says she’s ready to continue back through the veil to be reunited with my dad, her eternal companion, with her parents and family and friends who’ve gone ahead. And I’m on the other side of the middle watching the lines of my posterity spread before me and I envision all the generations to come and I also can feel the eyes and hearts of the generations that came before.

Kyiv Ukraine Temple Sealing Room (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)

How grateful I am for the wisdom and love of our Heavenly Father and his plan for us to gain mortal bodies and experiences. Grateful for my agency that throughout my life I may choose Him, choose keep His commandments, and know Him. That through the divine atonement of his son, Jesus Christ, through His grace we may be saved and gain eternal life.

How grateful I am for the sealing power of the restored priesthood and for my knowledge that Families Can Be Together Forever. That we may be married in God’s temples for not only time, but for all eternity; with our families sealed together generations beyond generations … as part of the eternal family of God.

What an extraordinary moment.

 

Temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are dedicated to the Lord. Each temple carries the inscription House of the Lord * Holiness to the Lord and most are topped with a golden Angel Moroni heralding the restoration and preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ for the last time in this the last dispensation before the second coming of Jesus Christ.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fall: sweetness of summer & gateway to winter

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Fall Hike with Mala

For what season am I most grateful? Fall. Fall … all of it and in Fall I include late summer and later Indian summer and no snow early winter. I think that covers the stretch.

Fall … Fall Harvest. The mid-morning sun that beckons me out for the final garden day.  It’s that day, that day to pull on my favorite garden gloves and pick and dig up the final products of summer.  Then I grab those plants by their tenacious roots; tug and twist until the root ball pops out into the air hanging tightly to the soil. I shake the dirt briskly off into the garden and then toss the now limp and wilted plants in the compost pile (or trash).

Fall … Fall Hikes … with air just cool enough for a jacket, not cold enough for boots. Leaves and twigs littering the ground and branches newly bared standing majestic in their bones. Fall sun … rosier, softer and more intimate having shed its blazing summer intensity.

Fall Bike Ride … Visions

Fall … Fall Smells … soup on the stove, fruit bubbling into jam, spices added to pies and cookies, dusty leaves crackling to broken bits as they’re kicked up the sidewalk a step at a time.

Fall … Fall Sounds … laughs that float a bit more clearly across the street, wind skittering leaves across the lawn, zippers before the door opens, geese exploding in clouds from disturbed fields chased by smiling bird dogs.

I sometimes feel like Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music, when I stop and think of my favorite things and the list goes on and on. Fall is my favorite time because it still holds the sweetness of summer and is the quiet gateway to winter; trees, and bushes, and plants and sometimes the sky bursting into blazing color and smells like the explosion of fireworks on the 4th of July. It is the downshift from summer that is why Fall is the season I love the best. 

Say Fromaggio!

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Again today’s question for what sight am I grateful is almost a no-brainer for me … a smile on the face of my Sweetie when either he walks in the door toward me or when I walk into the room; especially when we’ve spent a few days apart. Or the smiles on the faces of my family when I walk through their doors after months apart.  The sight of opening arms for that long embrace when some times I can’t really see ’cause my eyes are filled with water.

If you’ve not figured it yet, family and friends are my greatest blessings and I am anticipating “that smile” when Sweetie pulls into the drive Friday night after a week of elk hunting 600 miles away. And anticipating Thanksgiving day when blooming smiles surround our tables with plates piled with, of course, family favorites.

An aside … I’m grateful to sit here and think about the smiles on the faces of those I love. It has put a smile on my face …

Daughter 2 & Daughter 1 Together after a almost a decade

That’s right! That’s the gaggle 🙂 or part of it at least

Grandson weekend … still smiling from that trip

Making this mama’s heart sing … my kids, minus 1.

 

Feed my Body & my Soul

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This morning began in earnest the planning and divvying up of food assignments for Thanksgiving. Spread it out over 15 people and it doesn’t seem so overwhelming when you’re hosting (not me, I’m just showing up with my stuffing and pies). I’m so grateful for the traditions of Thanksgiving; the food is “just like this” and if it isn’t well the fam has No Problem letting the offender know they’ve breached protocol trying something new. (The finger is pointed directly at me folks – message sent — message received).

I am grateful for the tradition and time we take at Thanksgiving to be aware of all of our temporal blessings. When food and each other and all the blessings we receive from God are the only thing we have to concentrate on. Blessings beyond measure.

Mary at the open tomb of our resurrected Lord & Savior Jesus Christ

Then the other side of my For what holiday am I most grateful is Easter. The celebration of the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and His supernal gift of forgiveness and eternal life. He lived, he died for us, and was resurrected the third day, and He Lives! Easter represents the greatest of spiritual blessings that turn our hearts toward eternity and away from the world. Gifts and blessings to our spirits to fill us with hope and faith and turn our hearts to Him.

For what holiday(s) am I most grateful?  Thanksgiving & Easter; they feed my body and feed my soul.

Count your blessings;
Name them one by one.
Count your blessings;
See what God hath done.
Count your blessings;
Name them one by one.
Count your many blessings;
See what God hath done.
(Chorus from Count Your Blessings