Friday, September 23, 2005

Goodbye to Summer. A Recipe. A Chat with my Cousins.(all rolled into one)

I am sad that summer is officially over. Although the temperature today is in the mid 90’s with moderate Alabama humidity, the truth is, it‘s Fall! I meant to post this recipe way back in the summer, but other things (such as, parenting Stephen) took priority. This weekend, we, as a family will officially say goodbye to summer. Tonight, we're going to the County Fair, and tomorrow, we'll be attending a festival at our town Library. Stephen’s favorite part about the festival? The pony rides. My favorite? The used books sale! Yes!

A note about the following recipe, a little about my grandmother and a chat with my cousins about the family cookbook:

My Maw Maw was a fabulous old-time Southern cook, famous in these parts for her cobblers and other Southern specialties.  Unfortunately, Maw Maw took most of her recipes and kitchen secrets to her grave with her. This is why I encourage everyone to take part in my not-so-annual family cookbook. I haven’t updated our family cookbook since way before Maw Maw passed on. I started writing it in 1989 and Christmas 1990, I started my family tradition. My intent was to give this book to every woman in my family and update it every Christmas after that. I got a little sidetracked and didn’t continue the tradition until, I think 1995 and then one more addition in 1997. For those family members who keep up with this journal, get to typing and e-mailing! We have a few new cooks in this family now and we need to teach them the tricks of the trade! And, hey … let’s face it ladies, they can probably teach us, “old-timers” a thing or two. Did I just call us, old-timers? I digress. Getting back to the subject of the cookbook --- I speak for all of us when I say, I wish I had Maw Maw’s recipe for … I learned that if you wanted to know Maw Maw’s recipes, you had to hang around with her in the kitchen and make mental notes as she prepared the goodies. I don’t care how many times I asked her for a recipe, her answer was always, “Oh, I don’t know. I don’t really have a recipe. I just add a little of this and that.” One of my favorites was her cobbler. To the best of my recollection, this is her Peach Cobbler recipe. I added a few touches of my own. For example, Maw Maw would never use refrigerated piecrust! But, did they have prepared piecrust in stores in her day? I wonder if she would have taken a shortcut, had one been available? I somehow doubt it. I’ve tried quite a few of them and none compare to her hand-rolled, homemade pie crust. For the record, I can make homemade piecrust, but I don’t have time anymore. I must admit something here. I made this Peach Cobbler and it was very good. I just realized, I didn’t jot down the recipe as I made it up! (doh!) As you read the recipe in the You’ve Got Pictures album, you’ll see that I sound a little like Maw Maw without even trying.

Maw Maw’s Peach Cobbler Recipe (or, not) To The Best Of My Recollection

You will need:

*A basket of fresh peaches HINT: make sure they’re ripe and soft. Soft peaches, sweet peaches. Hard peaches, not so sweet.

*A stick of (real) butter

*Sugar to taste for sprinkling on the crust

* Refrigerated pie crust (or make your own if you wanna make me look bad)

*Vanilla or Almond flavoring, if you like.

Directions:

Peel and slice the peaches. Cover the bowl and put in fridge all day or over night. They will be very sweet and moist after this step, so don’t add your sugar just yet. To tell you the truth, I don’t think I even had to add sugar to mine.

By now, the fruit should be very moist in it’s own syrup. Taste the peaches (not to the extreme Stephen did. Be sure to save enough for everyone else) This is when you’ll add your sugar and flavoring. Almond flavoring goes better with peaches than vanilla flavoring, in my opinion.

Preheat your oven to 350°

Melt some butter in the bottom of your cobbler dish (about 2 tablespoons) and melt some separately, for brushing the piecrust with. Add about a cup of peaches to the butter and put a piecrust on top. Brush the crust with butter, sprinkle with sugar. Put this in the stove and watch it carefully, not to let it get too brown. You don’t want it to be very doughy. If you don’t brown the crust layers, it’ll be too doughy. This is one of the few things Maw Maw told me about it. After I asked, “Maw Maw, why are you doing that?” when I was about six years old, standing in her kitchen. Again, I digress…

By the time you have finished, your cobbler will have 2-3 layers, ending with the crust, of course. Best served with vanilla ice cream and a cup of Red Diamond® coffee, just like Maw Maw used to make!

 

In my whole life, I’ve never seen another cobbler done like this. Most others have one crust on the top. By the way, you really want those peaches to be syrupy for this recipe, or it’ll be dry. Just so you know ….

One more reminder to my cousins: Be thinking about your favorite recipes and send them to me, please. As a bonus, let’s all, to the best of our recollection, share Maw Maw’s recipes we were able to pick up from watching her.

For everyone else in J-land, sorry to bore you with the family announcement. But do try the recipe!



Friday, September 16, 2005

Husbands. You Gotta Love'em

Those who have me on alerts, sorry for any editing I have to do. Can anyone tell me why, when I copy and paste from MS Word, the paragraphs get all jammed up after I save to my journal? I always have to go back and "fix" it after it's been saved.   On with the story ...

The hubs had to be on the job-site a little early this morning, so his alarm clock woke us up sometime after 5:00.  My alarm always chimes in at 6:00 on the dot. This morning, however, I got up when his clock radio went off and I stumbled to the kitchen to turn my coffee on. When he noticed that I was awake, he says, "honey, it's only 5:30. Why don't you go back to bed till your alarm goes off? You don't have to get up just because I am up." Sounds good to me. I was more than happy to do so. A few minutes went by and although I think I am dreaming, I realize I'm not ..  he's asking me a question ....

Him: Hey, have you seen my phone?

Me: No. Look on the desk.

Him: (yelling from the living room, which is close to Stephen's room) It isn't there!

Me: Maybe it's in your truck.

Him: Huh?

Me: MAYBE, IT'S IN YOUR TRUCK!

Him: (Comes in the room) Where?

Me: ::sigh:: Why don't you dial your number and listen for it?

Him: Dials the number. (Can't hear it anywhere in the house.)

Him: Oh, I bet I left it in the truck.

Me: (beginning to feel like I'm in an, "I Love Lucy" episode)

Him: (Goes outside, comes back in.) Hey, it was in the truck.

Me: ::sigh:: You don't say!?!... (with just a hint of sarcasm) 

We say our goodbyes.

A few minutes go by ...

Him: (coming back in the house) Hey! Do we have any bandages? [all joking aside, the poor thing got a nasty burn at work last night]

Me: (I can't believe this!) YES!!!

Him: (coming back in the room) Hey, do we have any bandages?

Me: Yes.

Him: Where are they?

Now, he's lived here just as long as I have. Why doesn't he know where we keep things like that?

Me: The medicine cabinet! (as I throw the blanket from myself and jump to the floor, thinking, "Oh-My-Gosh!!! Are you kidding me?")

I opened the medicine cabinet, hand him the box of large bandages and walk back to the bedroom.

Him: (I swear, really he did) Do we have any tape? (just as I was getting back under the blanket)

Me: LOL! (I'm laughing in a semi-crazy, lunatic sort of way by now. I don't know whether to laugh, cry or cuss.)   

I got up, knowing we didn't have any of "that kind" of tape. I walked over to the drawer where we keep the tape, batteries, etc. and found some painter's tape. and gave it to him. I explained this is all I could come up with and I hope it'll work.  

Him: (He bandaged himself up, walks out and sees me drinking my coffee and watching the morning news.) Honey, what are you doing up? Why didn't you go back to bed?

Me: A blank stare as a million ugly words come to my mind but I didn't say any of them.

After all, seriously - the man got hurt at work last night, didn't complain as much as I would have with a burn like that. He's been working literally from daylight to dark for weeks. What do I have to complain about?

[anyone who personally knows us, will understand that statement]    

I'm not sure when ithappened, but somewhere along the way, we have started "growing up." The old me would have pitched seven duck fits in a row.  ... And he wouldn't have cared (or known) what time I got up.

Still taking it one day at a time ...

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I'll be back soon with some helpful links

Monday, September 12, 2005

Week Two After Katrina

With my friend, Brenda's permission, I am posting a message at the bottom that she mailed out to the LISTSERV (the other day. Sorry it's taken me so long to do this) Stephen's dad and I have been so shocked and confused till our brains were a little foggy about what we can do to help. Last Sunday, our church took up a collection to help one of our fellow-churches in Mississippi that was hit very hard. Some of the members were still missing and they were waiting to hear about them. Some of the members have come to the B'ham area till they can figure out what to do next. But we still felt we'd done nothing. From the time we became aware of the mass destruction, our hearts went out to everyone. But there is another family that we are a part of, and that is families of disabled children. What's a parent to do when something like this strikes? The stress involved when you have typical children is hard enough. Now, imagine you have a child (or adult family member) with special needs. Who is nonverbal. Who cannot function when their routine is upset in the least. I can only fathom so much and then my mind just won't let me go there. Everyday life under "normal" circumstances is hard enough, but when that routine is turned upside down and shattered ... So - instead of allowing myself to dwell on the negative to the point of a breakdown, I decided to get active. What would "we" need in a situation like this? What are some things that Stephen must have daily in order to not only remain healthy by taking his meds on time but his emotional health, His parent's emotional health. Stephen is not the type of child who can mingle with other children and play games or color in a coloring book in a corner. He needs his own world. his own way. Things that wouldn't even enter another childs mind are things that Stephen strives on. Spoons, for example. Stephen thinks he must have several metal spoons and a container to sort them in. (stimming, we call it) Each child is different. Children with autistic-like behaviors although alike in many ways, are so different and unpredictable. Thinking of my brothers and sisters in the Gulf area makes me want to do all I can to help them and their children. So, if anyone from the LISTSERV is directed to this journal through Brenda/Magnolia Angels, please E-mail me about your special child and let me help. Our church is a very generous congregation who loves children. Stephen's school is full of compassionate parents and teachers. I'll do all I can to get the message out and send supplies, etc.

 

Now - Brenda's message and her list of ideas.

 

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I really appreciate the e-mail and all the prayers and support. We are in good shape here. We have our electricity and phone service. It may be forever before we have cable which in our area means no television. Jonathan is watching movie after movie.   Groceries are starting to come back but shipments are sporadic and the shelters are in need as well. I believe there will be a continuous need for help but that many needs will not be realized until weeks or months from now. Everyone has been great. Companies are helping their employees when they can. Churches, organizations and individuals are all doing as much as possible. Communities out of the disaster area  are adopting communities in the disaster area.  I appreciate all the efforts from the list and the individual families. I have personally received many e-mails and phone calls. This has been a tremendous blessing.The emotional and inspirational support is just as important. It has a far great impact on a family for years to come.     Many of you want to know how you can help. I may make a few suggestions Dry goods Non-perishable items Hygiene products( hair & tooth brushes, deodorant, tooth paste, wipes,  hand sanitizer etc.) Books, crayons, puzzles. board games, bubbles. etc. Things to entertain that do not require electricity.  School supplies Relaxing, pick me ups etc, that parents will not have the money or time to go buy or even think of right now. Journals and pens Gift cards( food or dept. stores) Disposable cameras Stationary and Postage stamps Every day items that you would use but may not think of  or miss until the item is needed * For those getting mail send a card saying hello. This can be kept and reread. Some people may have children with birthdays coming up.  ( Grandparents Day is Sunday. Halloween is close. We will still be in disaster mode at Thanksgiving and Christmas)   Another important thing you can do for all of us and each other is pace yourself. Take care of yourself.  This isn't a short term  problem and as the days pass they will have stories to tell, questions to ask and will need support and advice.Some will live in new communities and will have new doctors or school systems etc. They will be  need your help then too. Thanks so much.  Brenda   ----------------------------------------------- Brenda, if you read this, we are shopping for pullups, wipes and ointment again tomorrow. Please forward that address to me (again) I've lost it in the clutter of mail I have printed.   Keeping all in our prayers,   Mia and family ~   ps ~ I'd appreciate any good vibes and prayers you could send my way. Most of you know, Stephen is more than half my size and I pulled my back out last night, somehow. He's very ambulatory and keeps me running, and redirecting him. Picking him up, a lot of the time. Not sure how I did it, but I did it again. thanks!  

Friday, September 2, 2005

We're Okay

I apologize for not posting this sooner. I've responded to most everyone's e-mails to let you know we're okay. (I'll get around to each of them soon) But in case you're still wondering ... We're doing fine. We only lost our power and cable tv, and only for a short time at that. We were actually out of town, on our way back home. We managed to stay about 2 hours ahead of the storm. It was getting bad as we were leaving out of Mississippi on Monday. We didn't get home in time to prepare for very much. We did stay at my parents for a short time but Stephen doesn't do well when we're not home and he's not in his own surroundings. (unless he's in a hotel. The kid LOVES hotels. Go figure.)

I'll try to come back to my journal and post some helpful links for those of you in the B'ham area. I know of a few churches who are taking needed items to the gulf, our church included. Please e-mail me any news from your church/organization and I'll pass on what I can. Thanks for all of the prayers and helpful offers. Our prayers are with those who are in need at this time.

 

Mia and Family ~