How was your Mother's Day? I hope you had a good one. Remember, Mother's Day comes before Father's Day - I hope your spouse got the full meaning of that.
As this is written, the hilltop is soaking wet. Of course, that's good for the grass and flowers. They are really blooming very nicely, especially the roses. There are still several plants to get replanted to where they will spend the summer. When it is wet and a little chilly, the thought is they can just go on growing in their pots until the sun shines and they get a new home. One blessing - the gas tank was refilled this spring, so the fireplaces continues to burn and the teapot is still on.
One not so nice thing - I never catch colds and don't remember ever having a summer one, but one surely caught me this time. The time has been used to my advantage, though - warm fireplace, hot tea and the books I never seem to have time to read. Now, I would really be fussing if it was sunny and 75 degrees and, according to the forecast, it will be just that in a few days. So we will have nice weather to finish planting and enjoying the grill by today.
Time is winding down for the schools in the area. Locally ours will be out by next weekend. Seems like it just started, doesn't it? When one is young, it seems time moves at a normal pace, but as one gets older, it flies even when one grabs hold of every minute. Another strange thing, that "bucket list" keeps getting changed. What was so important some time ago just doesn't seem that important now.
A few days ago, I was working at my desk and looked out the window. Another surprise - there was one of the horses right outside the window, peacefully grazing away. You have heard me before saying that I don't do the horses, so I was so thankful that granddaughter Cassidy was here. She calmly went outside, got the halter he had somehow removed, put it on him and led him back where he belonged. We still don't know how he got out of the field. Old Red had better watch out - we got rid of the cows when they couldn't stay in the field where they belonged.
Molly, the barn cat, has had her kittens. We still haven't found them. The dogs love to bark at everything in the barn, so I would guess they are somewhere in the barn. I don't worry about them because Molly has shown her ability to put all of the other cats, as well as the dogs, in their places. I just hope she doesn't take them to the woods to become Coyote snacks.
Next weekend is Memorial Day weekend. You may have already been using your grill, but if you haven't, check it out, fill the bottle if it is gas or get the charcoal if that is what you need. Nothing is worse than the family wanting to grill and you aren't ready. Husband Norm likes the charcoal and I like the gas, so he got a grill that has both. No excuse for not grilling now. Everything seems to taste better grilled and eaten outside, and it does help on the kitchen clean-up. I like it because it gives me a chance to sit and talk to everyone while someone else does the cooking. Most side dishes can be made ahead, too, so it eases my work. I have found more and more ways to take things easy lately. Don't know why it has taken me so long.
Two of the granddaughters had their birthday party together and got some money and several debit cards - which they really liked. Of course, that meant going to the mall to use them, and they were afraid they would disappear if not used right away. So they talked me into taking them. But they didn't "need" me to help them find all the goodies they wanted. Baylee told me, "Grandma, see those old people your age over there. Go sit down in the chairs and make friends." I walked too slowly for them and they preferred to make their own decisions. She is turning 12 and her sister is turning 13 (both thinking that anyone over their age is ancient.) I intend to enjoy them as much as I can before they are completely grown up, even if it means to go join the "old folks".
It is time to have your plans for the summer pretty much set. Don't think you have to travel the world to have a nice vacation. There is plenty of enjoyment right in our own back yard and it doesn't take tons of gas money to do things. Don't panic, parents - they will be back in school in two-and-one-half months. Teachers, enjoy the rest while you can.
Finish up that garden now - the last frost should be behind us. Enjoy each day, even the rainy ones. Do something new this summer and do enjoy the little ones. They grow up too fast. Celebrate the Memorial Day weekend with the parades, picnics, cookouts and family time. Remember the reason for the holiday and keep our military and their families in your prayers.
Two bunches broccoli, cut into florets
One-cup honey roasted peanuts
Three-fourths cup raisins
One large sweet onion sliced thin and separated into rings
One-half cup chopped celery - optional
Sixteen slices bacon, fried and crumbled
Two cups mayonnaise
One cup sugar
One-fourth cup white vinegar
Two teaspoons salad seasonings (Kroger - must use this)
Mix dressing ingredients at least two hours before serving. Cover and refrigerate. Assemble salad ingredients in large bowl and pour dressing over and toss.
One pound ground chuck
One-half cup chopped green peppers
One-half cup chopped onion
One-half teaspoon salt
One-fourth teaspoon pepper
One-half cup ketchup
One tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Two tablespoons vinegar
One-fourth teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
Two cans (1 pound size) pork and beans
Brown meat and drain off grease. Add other ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Put into a 2-quart casserole and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or put into a grill-safe container and cook on the grill.
OATMEAL COOKIE MIX
Three and three-fourth cup flour
Two teaspoons salt
One teaspoon baking soda
One teaspoon baking powder
One-and-one-half cups vegetable shortening
One-and-one-half cups brown sugar, packed
One-and-one-half cups granulated sugar
Four cups uncooked, quick, rolled oats
Sift together flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder three times. Cut in the shortening with a pastry blender. Mix in the sugars and then the oats. Store in a sealed plastic bag at room temperature.
FOR TWO DOZEN COOKIES:
One-fourth cup milk
One-and-one-half teaspoons vanilla extract
Three cups mix
Lightly beat together the milk, egg, and extract. Add mix and beat well. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a greased cooked sheet, about two inches apart. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 10-15 minutes.
PICNIC FRUIT PIES
Unbaked pie crust for two 9-inch pies
Two cups of any fruit pie filling
One egg yolk
One tablespoon milk
Roll piecrust out to one-eighth inch thick. Cut dough into 6-inch squares. Place about three tablespoons of pie filling on the right side of each square, leaving a margin of the pie dough on all sides. Dot each mound of filling with a scant one-half pat of butter. Moisten the edges of the piecrust with a bit of cold water and fold the left side of the square over the filling on the right side. Seal the edges by crimping or with fork tines, just as you would do a piecrust. Prick the top of each pie triangle and place on a greased cookie sheet. Beat together the egg yolk and milk and brush this over the top of the pie. Sprinkle sugar over the top. Bake in preheated 425-degree oven for 15 -20 minutes. Reprick the crust halfway through baking. Cool on wire racks and package in sandwich bags. A drizzle of confectioners' sugar icing can be added for extra impact.
Patty Christopher is a longtime columnist for The Parkersburg News & Sentinel. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org