June 27, 2005
June 27, 2005
Grand Canyon, Arizona
It's no secret that I love shells and anything beach related. I wanted to show you my collection of shell shaped serving pieces. The pictures didn't turn out very well but they are all blue and cream colored and have embossed shell images on each piece. The thing I love about them the most is that each piece is microwave, freezer, and oven proof! I use them so often in the summer months I don't even bother putting them away. I just leave them out on my hutch and bakers rack. I use a theme related centerpiece when I use the serving pieces. I use a large round glass cylinder container and a blue candle with shells embedded inside. Then I surround the candle with shells I've collected myself and mix in a few glass marbles and disks. I put the cylinder on a plate with shells embossed on it. It looks very pretty at night when the light shines through the shells and marbles.
We're off to Disney World in Orlando Florida! My husband and I have taken our kids there almost every summer since they were babies. Now we look forward to a family trip with our daughter, son-in-law, our two granddaughters - 4 years old and 10 months old, and our son and his fiance. We say every year that it could be the last year we all go together, but so far we've all been able to be together for at least part of every summer vacation. Next year our son and future daughter-in-law will be on their honeymoon so we will have to beach without them. I doubt they will miss us as much as we will miss them!
As for this trip, we will be visiting Disney World for three days, then we're off to the beach for two weeks. If any of you have leaned anything at all about me, you know the beach is my favorite place in the world to be! I have scheduled some posts for automatic delivery to my blog so I hope you will keep stopping by Mimi's Garden while I am sitting in the sun admiring one of God's most amazing and beautiful creations - the sea.
Miss Sandy of Quill Cottage who is hosting the I Remember Laura Blog-A-Thon has directed us to share family recipes this week. I am going to share two of my maternal grandmothers personal recipes and one from my paternal grandmother.
The first recipe is Sweet Potato Balls. My mother said she can remember being the appointed child to sit with grandmother and roll the marshmallows inside the sweet potatoes from the time she was very little. Grandmothers name was Mary Ethel.
Sweet Potato Balls
Wash and peel 5 or 6 fresh sweet potatoes. Cut them into big chunks and cover with water. Add a bit of salt. When water comes to a boil, turn temperature down to low and just let them simmer until tender. Boiling too hard will make them mushy. When they are fork tender drain them very well in a colander. Mash the potatoes with a mixer until fluffy, then beat in a little hunk of butter, a dash of both cinnamon and nutmeg, and a tablespoon or so of sugar. Cover and refrigerate. You can do all this the day before you serve them.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Butter or spray a glass 9x13 inch baking dish. Pour out a big bag of miniature marshmallows and a big bag of coconut on separate plates. Spoon out about 2 tablespoons of the cold sweet potato mixture into the palm of your left hand and a marshmallow in your right hand. Push the marshmallow into the potatoes and mold the potatoes into a ball around the marshmallow. Roll the sweet potato ball in the coconut and place each ball in the prepared pan. Do not bake until just before serving. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and bake the sweet potato balls for 5 minutes uncovered.
NOTE:They should be lightly browned and the marshmallows should be getting puffy and gooey, but not totally melted. You can check them by poking one with the point of a knife. If you bake them too long they will have a hole in the middle with no marshmallow!
The next recipe from my maternal grandmother is Oatmeal Cake with Broiled coconut topping. Mother says her mother had it waiting lots of days when she came home from school. I remember my mother doing the same thing for us. It's a great, simple cake for breakfast, dessert, or just a snack.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, pour 1 ¼ cups hot tap water over 1 cup raw oats and let stand. Cream 1 cup white sugar, 1 cup packed brown sugar, and 1 stick softened butter. Beat 2 big eggs into the mixture. Then add 1 1/3 cups of plain flour in, and ½ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and a generous teaspoonful of cinnamon and mix well. Add oatmeal from the small bowl to mixture and beat well. I add 1 cup of finely chopped pecans, but this is optional. Just stir them in by hand if you want to add them. Pour batter into a well greased and floured 9x13 glass baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes or until done. While cake is baking make up your topping.
¾ stick butter
1 tablespoon cream or milk
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 ½ cup flaked sweetened coconut
1 ½ chopped pecans
Melt butter in a saucepan and add cream or milk; then mix in brown sugar and let it boil for 1 minute. Take off the heat and add coconut and pecans. Spread carefully on top of the baked cake and put under the broiler to brown lightly. I leave the oven door open while broiling - watch it carefully or you will burn the frosting. This cake is delicious served warm but it is almost as good served cool.
The next recipe was one my paternal grandmother made for her children. Her name was Tiny Violet because when she was born she weighed two pounds and her "bassinet" was a shoe box!
Fried Apple Pies
11 ounces dried apples
1 ¼ cups sugar
2 cups water
2 pinches salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg, optional
Put all but the spices in a heavy pan, simmer for 2 hours stirring occasionally. When fruit is done add 1 big teaspoon of cinnamon and a half spoon of nutmeg if you like it. Mash fruit up, leaving it a bit chunky.
4 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup lard (recipe is revised to use Crisco)
1 cup iced water
granulated sugar and cinnamon to dust on fried pies
Mix flour and salt; cut in shortening. Add iced water. Stir until it forms a ball. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out pastry. Cut out 6 inch circles with the top of a shortening can or by cutting around a 6 inch plate. Put a good sized tablespoon of fruit in the center of the circle, dampen the lower edge of the pastry. Fold pastry over in half and seal with a fork. Fry in hot grease until golden brown. Drain on brown paper or paper towels. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.
On Sunday over Memorial Day weekend my husband and I went to the Toledo Zoo with our daughter, her husband, and their two baby girls. We had a delightful day. Usually when you visit the polar bear exhibit the bears are pretty lazy. Your lucky if you see one lift his nose from the faux ice! This time, however, was different. The bears were putting on quite a show. I believe one was the mother and two were her babies. The babies were so playful and entertaining, diving in the water repeatedly, rolling around in a tug of war over the "baby bear toys". I was mesmerized by their beauty. I stood practically nose to nose with the bears as they curiously observed their admirers. Seriously, it almost made me cry when one of the babies came to the window where I stood with my hand on the glass and touched his nose to my palm through the glass. His young, still snow white fur glistened and shimmered in the water. He blinked his eyes, I was convinced right at me, then swam on to play with his sibling. It was just a really sweet experience.