Easter Memories

I can’t believe that we are at the end of March and preparing for Easter weekend again! Last year 3 of my 4 kiddos were able to be with us for Easter. It was a special time with all three of the grands together for the first time! This year I will have only 2 of them plus a sweet daughter-in-law and 2 of the grands.

Recently I found a few pictures taken during my college days…senior year to be exact. I was a Home Economics major, and at the time, we had to spend 6 weeks in the Home Economics Residence. I happened to be assigned during the spring…including Easter. This picture was taken on Easter Sunday 36 years ago! I have been able to reconnect with 2 of my housemates through social media! We all got along very well and have lots of happy memories of those 6 weeks!

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If you’ve been ready this blog for any length of time, you will know that I got my love of baking from my dear mother. I also was the recipient of many of her small kitchen gadgets when she decided she needed to give up her own kitchen. I know that kitchen gadgets are not meant to last very long. They are items we often receive as gifts for bridal showers and are often replaced before too many years of marriage have passed. However, I do still happen to have a few items that belonged to my mother years ago. They were very well made way back then (early 1970s) and have withstood the test of time. Mom bought these two particular items from a very dear friend of hers who was a school teacher during the year, but needed work during the summer. At least one summer she sold kitchen items…Pampered Chef, perhaps?  I have no idea what company made these amazing tools, but they have lasted and lasted and lasted…like the Energizer Bunny, maybe? It is time for me to replace them, though, because they are finally wearing out. You can see the crack in the spatula to the left and the broken handle on the one on the right.

IMG_2831 For several years, our Easter dessert has been pavlova. This year will be no different! I have all the ingredients written on my grocery list! You can find the recipe here. Be sure to give it a try! Your family will love it!

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Peppernuts and Christmas Memories

As many people do, I become very nostalgic during the Christmas season. It is the time of year that I miss my parents, especially my dad, more than any other time of the year. My dad absolutely loved Christmas! He loved having all the family together around the table, the food, the fellowship, and the giving of gifts. My dad was a giver. He loved giving to others without ever expecting anything in return. He was a great example to me of giving!

When we lived in New Jersey, we always had Dad’s two oldest daughters and their families over to our house for every holiday. When all of us got together it was fun…noisy, but fun! After dinner, we kids would all go up stairs and play tag, freeze tag or upset the fruit basket. We didn’t rely on the adults to entertain us!

This picture  from the mid-1960s shows my grandmother (my dad’s mom) seated in the middle with her daughter, daughter-in-law (my mom), grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I am assuming my dad was the photographer for this one!

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Here is a picture of my parents in the early 1980s.

 

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As my dad got older, his taste buds changed, and his desire for sweet things increased. Mom and I often speculated that he could taste only sweet things, but we really didn’t know. Anyway, one of the treats he loved most at Christmas were small cookies called Peppernuts. They are actually a German cookie called Pfeffernusse. My oldest sister, Sybel, married a man of German heritage, and his mother had the recipe. My mother would make these for my dad. He would often fill his pockets with them every morning after breakfast and have them to munch on throughout the day! I always thought they were rather hard and loved dipping them in hot tea to soften!

I have searched and search for the original recipe, but I can not find it anywhere! I am so disappointed! However, thanks to the internet, I did find a recipe that is pretty similar. This recipe calls for anise seed, but ours called for anise oil. Mom also made the dough into long ropes and cut them into bite-sized pieces instead of making the dough into balls.

Kitchen Tools Old and New

While working in the kitchen yesterday, cutting up veggies for the hubby’s evening salad, I realized that my knives needed to be sharpened. I am so thankful for this vintage electric knife sharpener that was my mom’s.

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I have no idea how old it is, but it still works famously for sharpening knives! I love it! The only problem that I do have with it is that it was made for a right-handed person. I am left-handed, so I have to do the “cross over” move to use it!

The immersion blender that Sam gave me for Christmas has become my new favorite kitchen tool.  It is amazing!!! I have no idea when this handy-dandy little gadget was invented, but I sure do wish I had had one a long time ago! It is such a time-saver!  Seriously!! I can whip up eggs for omelets in less than 15 seconds! And when I need to blend the veggies in my broccoli cheddar soup, I just stick it in the pot and mix! It’s done in seconds!  No more pouring the soup into the big blender, blending, and then returning it to the pot and repeating the process until the entire batch is done.  And you know what else? Clean-up is a breeze, and the hubby loves it, too! He mixes his own protein smoothies after every workout!  You can read about the one I have here.

Welcome to 2015!

January 1, 2015! It’s the first day in a new year! I can say that 2014 was full of new things for us as a family! All four of our kiddlets gave us something to remember in the year: a wedding; our first grand baby; important college events; and a BMT graduation, and the hubby and I took an unforgettable trip around the country. I can honestly say it was a pretty amazing year!

I don’t think that we will have the same excitement in 2015, but I know there are a few exciting things in store for us.

You readers were pretty amazing in 2014. I had hoped to reach 15,000 views by December 31, but made it to 16,019 instead! Many, many thanks to all of you!

Barbi and I are planning to revamp the blog this year, hopefully very soon. You should already see a few changes. You can now go directly to the blog by going to http://www.cookbookexperiment.com.  And hopefully, you will see some great new recipes that are helping the hubby and me stay on course with a healthy diet.

So, from my kitchen to yours…Happy New Year!

Memorial Day, 2014

The “rest” phase of the May Marathon is just about over. This weekend we head to Alabama for the wedding of my nephew. Unfortunately, we have to return after the wedding in order to be here for Sunday…my youngest son’s last Sunday in town until January. He leaves for BMT on June 3.  I will be one sad mama.

I had a great time chatting with The Best Aunt Ever this morning about all the military men in my family.  I rediscovered how blessed I am to have had so many ancestors who have served in the military of this great nation.  Here is what Aunt  remembered:

I have 2 great-great grandfathers who served during the Civil War (or War Between the States or War of Northern Aggression depending on where you are from).

I have 2 great-uncles who served in WWI and 4 uncles who served during WW II. There were also 4 of my mother’s cousins who served during WWII.

I have one uncle and three of my mother’s cousins who served during the Korean War.

I have 3 cousins who wore the uniform between the Korean and Viet Nam wars.

I have 5 cousins who were serving during Viet Nam.

I have at least 8 of my cousins’ sons who have either recently worn the uniform or are currently wearing the uniform of this wonderful nation of ours.

These men served in or are currently serving in the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, or National Guard.  Several of them saw combat. Some of them stayed stateside and worked as mechanics. At least one was injured.  But ALL came back to their wives and families, or to marry and rear a family!!!  Yes, that is correct. They ALL came back.  As Aunt and I were talking about this, we realized that we can attribute it to just one thing: the grace of God upon our family military members.  My dear grandmother was a godly, praying lady.  Aunt remembers seeing Grandma praying. Grandma prayed for the safety of her brothers-in-law, her sons, her grandsons, her cousins as they were in the military.

This list does not include the female members of my family who have married military men. There are quite a few of them as well, but dear Aunt couldn’t remember them all.  Neither does this list include my sons and son-in-law, my husband or those on his side of the family who served or are serving.

Today as I remember the military men in my family, I rejoice that all came home. But I also remember those who gave their lives for this nation and those families who did not get to welcome their loved ones home.  They gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we can have the freedoms that we enjoy.

I do not know what the future holds for my sons and new son-in-law as they proudly wear the uniform of the USA, but I do know that, like my grandma, I will be praying for them as they serve, whether here or abroad.

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