Monday, May 22, 2017

Mother's Day Blessings

My six blessings of being a Mother

Before I begin I must put the caveat out there that My sweet heart is my biggest blessing.  He is the person that keeps me grounded and recently has become my biggest cheerleader.  

But today is Mother’s day and I want to talk about the 6 wonderful blessing in being a mother.

#1.  My first born son.  Wow the beginning of Mother hood.  He is the best son a mother could ask for.  He gives me strength and the desire to continue on.  When I was pregnant with him I prayed he would be a boy.  (I knew my father in-law wouldn’t be happy until I had a son to carry on the family name.  That wasn’t important to me but I thought it would make life easier if the first was a boy)   I had a beautiful healthy baby boy.  He was a charmer and always worried about everything.   He was the favorite in nursery.  One time there was a girl crying and he said to the nursery leader, “Can I go get my mom she will know how to stop her crying?’  I love the faith he had in me at that time.  He has provided my life with so much joy.

#2 My first born Daughter.  When my husband held her for the first time he sang “You are so Beautiful to Me”.  It was love at first site for the two of them.  When my husband needed someone to help him fix something she was right there.  She had some difficulty with her development and we didn’t stop looking until we found answers and had the help she needed.   When you have a child that the Dr’s and experts label as handicapped you are willing to move the world for that child.  She has always loved children, animals and music.  She has always been able to manipulate her father into letting her have any pet she wanted.  I would say no and she would go straight to her dad and then we would have a new cat or Guinea Pig.   But she always took care of the animals.  I didn’t have to help  until she spread her wings and started leaving home.  She has done things that those first Dr’s said she never would.  She has soared.

#3 Oh every mother should have a second son.  It is so much easier than the first but don’t get cocky and think you know what they are up to.  My second son is a lover but he has a gruff exterior.  He has a hard time with contention and wants everyone happy.  It is a bit of an contradiction because he is a great big tease.  When my first son was in First grade he didn’t win a reward for reading and the second son cried all the way to the car.  He just wanted his brother to win.  My second Son wants everyone to be happy and to win but I’m not sure everyone sees that side of him.  This boy…Man now make me happy as I watch his Christ attributes shine.

#4 The baby girl I prayed several years for.  Where do I start.  I found out she was on her way and threw up for the next 8 months.  Then I paced the floor for the next 8 months after that as she screamed.  She has always been independent and a little stubborn.  She likes life on her terms.  When someone tells her no she announces that is exactly what she is going to do.   She has accomplished many things and done it with grace and ease.  She is beautiful and lights up a room.

#5  The baby that didn’t join our family.  I had a stillborn.  That is a sentence that breaks my heart.  I wanted to name him and have everyone acknowledge him but when you have a stillborn nobody knows what to do or say so they prefer you just let it go and move on. It has been over 21 years since he was born/died and every once in a while I still think how old he would be and what he would be up to.  How ever a couple of years ago I had a personal crisis and I really didn't know which direction I should take.  After many hours on my knees I felt the presence of this boy.  I felt that he was there to give me my answer.  I knew what I was supposed to do and over the course of the past couple of years I have felt him close and have felt his strength.

#6 The Grand baby!  WoW!  What a joy it is to have a Granddaughter.  She loves me unconditionally and always smiles when she sees me.  I don't see disappointment or disapproval in her eyes.  Just joy that she can hold my hand, give me a kiss or clap when I use the potty.  Sometimes she cries when her parents take her home and my heart sings.  The other day she took my hand, said "Grandma you are so cute".  She makes me feel so loved and I hope I can always make her feel the same unconditional love.

Since I have so much to be grateful for on Mother's Day.  My sweetheart and I prepared dinner for everyone that wanted to join us.


Caesar's salad
Grilled Lemon Chicken
Fettuccine Alfredo
Parmesan cheese rolls

Never quite got to Dessert.

Alfredo Sauce

1 cup Butter
2 8 oz Cream Cheese
2 cups Milk
2 tablespoons Flour
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp garlic powder  (I prefer fresh minced garlic)  
1 tsp basil
1 tsp Oregano
2 Tablespoons Vinegar

Mix and heat on med heat until melted and hot.  Serve over Fettuccini  noodles.  Then save the left overs for a great white Pizza sauce.  It would also make a great dipping sauce for chicken Calzones.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Forgotten Cookies

This is a favorite recipe of mine.  It is incredibly easy and yet you have to plan ahead.  For the cookies to be really good they have to sit in the oven over night.  Thus the name Forgotten Cookies.

Forgotten Cookies

2 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2/3 cup superfine granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or finely chopped semisweet chocolate

1 cup chopped freeze dried Raspberries
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until fluffy but not at all dry. (Be careful not to over beat.) Add the sugar gradually, about 3 tablespoons at a time. When 1/2 of the sugar has been added, add the vanilla extract. Continue beating and adding remaining sugar in batches, until all of the sugar is dissolved and the meringue is very shiny and tight. Gently fold in the chocolate chips and chopped Raspberries. Working one teaspoon at a time, push a teaspoonful of meringue from the tip of 1 teaspoon with the back of another teaspoon onto the lined baking sheets, leaving 1-inch of space between cookies. Place baking sheets in the preheated oven and turn the oven off. Leave the cookies (undisturbed) in the oven for at least 2 hours and up to overnight, or until cookies are crisp and dry.

*These are tasty with nuts added instead of the raspberries.  However the process for cooking isn't enough time to cook the nuts.  So if I'm adding nuts I chop them and toast them in the oven then let them cool before adding to the cookies.

** I've seen several pins on pinterest using the meringue to make Christmas trees.  Just add some green food coloring and pipe the meringue into trees.  For Halloween I have shaped them into ghost.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Pecan Squares

My Grandma Prince made the most wonderful Pecan Pie for Thanksgiving.  She would leave it sitting on the cupboard and I would sneak in and eat the pecans off the top.  She never got mad at me so she must of understood how wonderful and tempting they were.  I have a tradition of making pecan pie for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  (I still like to steal the pecans off the top.)  When I smell the Pecan Pie baking at Thanksgiving I wonder why I only make pecan pie twice a year.  The answer is easy.  I make Pecan Squares when ever I have a good excuse and they are yummy.

Pecan Squares

2 cups flour
1/2 cup powered sugar
1 cup butter

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 package  Bits of Brickle
1 cup pecans

 Combine flour and powdered sugar in a medium bowl.  Cut in butter with a pastry blender until crumbly.  Press evenly into a greased 13 x 9 inch pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.  Combine sweetened milk and next 4 ingredients: pour over crust.  Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool: cut into squares.  Yield: 4 dozen

Pecan Pie

Pastry for 2 crust pie (I always use Pillsbury Premade Crust)
4 large eggs
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons butter melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2  teaspoon salt
1 cup pecans

Prepare pastry dough and arrange it in pie pan (I use a deeper pie pan)

Preheat oven to  350 degrees.

In medium bowl, beat eggs slightly; stir in corn syrup, brown sugar, sugar, butter, vanilla and salt;  Stir in pecans. Spoon into pie crust bake pie 40 minutes.

Cool pie on wire rack before serving.

(I bake this pie the night before Thanksgiving.  However sometime a piece will disappear before dinner..)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Donuts the real thing.....

My Aunt Lucille was an amazing cook.  She was also a fantastic seamstress and taught me pretty much everything I know about sewing.  I was her favorite niece at least I thought I was.  When she died I was so sad at the lost and then shocked when her daughters asked me to speak at her funeral.  I have included a copy of my talk.

Hello my name is  Lucinda Nielson and I have had the honor in life to be one of Aunt Lucille many nieces.  When I was born my parent’s choice to name me Lucinda and Aunt Lucille insisted that they start to call me Cindy immediately so I wouldn’t be called Lucy.  She hated it if someone called her Lucy and wanted to protect me.   I was only days old and she already loved me…
Within the church we often talk about forever families and in my childhood I often associated that with a mom, dad and child but as I’ve matured I’ve  learned the more complete  definition of family and I’m happy to say that the eternal family is comprised of children, parents, grandparents, uncles & aunts cousins and various other relatives.  These  relationships  are not accidents but a gift from our Heavenly Father .  Our heavenly father has placed us in families that will help us grow, help with the pain of life and celebrate the joys of life.  It is this knowledge that makes times of death bearable.  The knowledge that Uncle Sheldon along with grandma and grandpa were able to greet Lucille on Friday and that they are together again gives us all comfort.
My first memory of Aunt Lucille was one summer when my family was living in a trailer house next to Grandma and Grandpa’s on the desert.  She made us donuts.  I can vividly remember everything being spread out and the smell of the donuts cooking in the oil.  The perfect donuts on the rack with frosting dripping off and the taste.  Oh the taste.  No one could make donuts like Aunt Lucille.  This is an experience I was lucky enough to experience several times in my childhood.  Of course you couldn’t be with Aunt Lucille eating donuts unless Uncle Sheldon was there telling you nuff now.  I’ve spent years looking for a donut shop that could make donuts as good as Aunt Lucille’s needless to say I haven’t found one.
One of my favorite traditions when I was growing up was putting puzzles together with the Aunts at Christmas time.  Putting the puzzle together was the activity but what really happened was the conversations and time.  My wonderful aunts truly listened to what was happening in our lives and talked to us during the process of putting puzzles together.  Aunt Lucille was so patient and attentive to us.  She also liked to play cards with us.
There is an African proverb that states; it takes a villege to raise a child.  The African villages often comprised of what we would refer to as extended families.   I have always felt the influence of Aunt Lucille because she taught me how to sew.  Sewing is such a part of my life.  It is a way I define my life and Aunt Lucille was the person who took the time to teach me and along with the sewing skill she instilled a belief in myself that I could make anything.   She was an amazing teacher and was always willing to teach and share.  I am so grateful that she was my aunt and was always there to help and teach me.

 Aunt Lucille's Donuts
4 Cups Warm Water
1 Can Evaporated Milk
3 Tablespoons dry Yeast
1 cup Sugar
1 cup melted Butter
1 Tablespoon Salt
1 cup Potato Flakes
5 Eggs
About 10 cups flour to make a soft dough.
Mix together water, milk, yeast, sugar and salt.  Let sit until yeast begins to bubble to the top.  Whip in 6 cups flour.  Let sit until sponge rises. 
Mix in remaining flour Knead to make smooth dough.  Place in greased pan.  Cover,  Let rise until double in bulk.  Roll out on floured pastry cloth, to about 1/2 inch thick.  Let rest a few minutes.  Cut with round cutter.  Place on lightly greased cupboard or cookie sheets to rise.  Let rise until surface is smooth.  Cook in hot grease.  Drain.  Dip in glaze and hang on wooden spoon over bowl until glaze stops dripping.
Mix powdered sugar with enough hot water, added a little at a time, to make sugar look milky but not runny .  Add 1 teaspoon Vanilla.
I made these last Christmas and they turned out good but they really are better when your favorite aunt makes them. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

It's a girl! Let's party

My daughter in-law is having a baby girl, we are so excited and we're having a party!. (We already have 2 wonderful grandson's that live in another state and thus I didn't get to attend a shower let a lone host one for the new mother.)  My youngest daughter is on a mission and doesn't know about the new niece.  She comes home on July 30 and we are having the shower on Aug.2.  It is going to be a crazy couple of days.  The return missionary will meet her sister-in-law for the first time and will immediately know she is getting a new niece.


Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Gazpacho Cold Soup

Fresh Fruit Tray

Broccoli and  Bacon Salad
Oriental Noodles Chicken Salad

Lemonade Slush Punch

Strawberry and Vanilla Ice Cream

Crescent Rolls for Sandwiches

4 Tbs. Yeast
1 Cup Warm Water

Mix and let sit while preparing the remaining ingredients.

1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Oil
6 Eggs
4 tsp salt
1 1/2 Cup Water

Mix and then add Yeast mixture.

9 Cups Flour

Add flour and mix well.  Set  dough aside and let rise until double. (dough will be soft)

Mix dough down with a spoon and cover and put in refrigerator.  When cold enough to handle, shape the dough and let the rolls rise again.

Bake at 400 degree's for 8 to 10 min.

I will make these a week ahead and freeze after baked.  When I freeze Bread I like to double bag it.  Since I was planning this party and knew I wanted to freeze food ahead of time.  I defrosted the freezer and cleaned it good.  That will prevent the new food from picking up any off tastes in the freezer.  

(When I hear someone complain about food tasting like it came from a freezer I wonder when was the freezer defrosted and cleaned.  Should be yearly at a minimum.  When I was catering I would clean the freezer monthly.  Also food can pick up taste from your fridge when it isn't clean or you have strong foods in the fridge uncovered.)

Chicken Salad

4 Cups cooked Chicken cut into small pieces.  (about 6 lbs raw)
1 can Olives
2 bunches Green Onions
1 cup Pecans
1 cup Mayonnaise
1 cup Sour Cream

Mix above ingredients.  Chill until ready to serve.

I will make this the night before shower.

Gazpacho Soup

3 lg. peel and chopped Tomatoes
1 Green Bell Pepper, Chopped
1 Cucumber chopped
1/2 cup chopped Green Onion
4 Cups Tomato juice
5 tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
4 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 teaspoons Salt
1/2 teaspoons Pepper

2 Avocados, Chopped

Mix all ingredients and chill.  When ready to serve add Avocados.  Garnish with Sour Cream.

I will make this the night before shower.  Then add the Avocados in the morning.

Lemonade Slush

2 cups Sugar
2 Cups Water

Boil for 5 min.  Then add 2 cups Water and 3/4 cup Lemon Juice.

Mix and Freeze.

When ready to serve mix with Sprite.  I like to add Frozen Blueberries, sliced Bananas and some Pineapple.

The Slush will take several days to freeze.  (3 times the batch will fill 5 qt container.


Friday, June 14, 2013

Pork Chops, Pork Chops another double meal

I always think of Pork Chops as being a special meal.  However it seems that Pork has become an affordable alternative.  For Sunday dinner we love Fried Pork Chops, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy.  Of course a hot roll adds to the comfort food.  Over the years I have taken up frying twice as many as we need for one meal so I can make a simple casserole for another night.

Fried Pork Chops

Pork Chops (as many as you want)
about 1 cup of Flour
1/2 t. Salt and 1/4 t. Pepper

Take a large frying pan and generously cover the bottom with Oil.  Heat to a medium heat,  While heating mix flour with Salt and Pepper.  Then dredge each pork chop in the flour mixture before putting in Oil.  Be patient and watch the top of the Pork Chop to see the color start to change before turning over.  The goal is to only turn once.  Because I cook so many I turn the oven to 180 degrees to keep the first chops warm while the remainder cook. 

Pork Chop Gravy (3 Cups)

6 Tablespoons of oil drippings from cooking the Pork Chops
6 Tablespoons of Flour (I use the flour left over from dredging the Pork Chops)
3 cups Milk
Salt and Pepper to taste

Using warm frying pan from cooking the pork chops. Leave the oil from cooking the chops in pan.  Mix flour and Milk well.  Make sure there aren't any lumps.  Slowly add the Milk mixture to the oil. Heat to a full boil, stirring constantly.  Season with Salt and pepper.  (When you make the gravy with the dripping from the Pork Chops you should see pieces from the Pork Chops and the gravy should have a light brown color to it.  If the Gravy looks too white you can add some Chicken Bullion for flavor.)

Mashed Potatoes

Take one potato for each person and then add one extra.  Peel and cut into pieces.  Put in Crock pot and cover with water.  Cover the Potatoes but don't add extra water.  Water doesn't boil out in Crock pot.  Then Salt & Pepper.  I also like to add some garlic.  If I have a can of chicken broth, I will add that to the water.  Cook on low for 3 1/2 hours or until done.  Drain, add some Butter and Milk  and mash.  Leave in Crock until ready to serve.

This Pork Chop Casserole recipe was given to me by a good friend in Stillwater.   She would keep extra cooked Pork Chops in the freezer for a quick dinner to give away when needed.  Our family was the receiver of this casserole more than once and we were very grateful.

Pork Chop Casserole

Pre-cooked Pork Chops
1 package Pork flavor Stove Top Stuffing (can substitute Chicken flavor)
1 can Cream of Mushroom Chicken
1 cup Milk

Prepare the Stuffing according to the directions on the package.  Then spread it in a 9 x 13 baking pan.  Place Pork Chops on top of stuffing mixture.  Then mix Milk & Soup and carefully pour over the top.  (My Friend would put full Pork Chops on top.  Over the years I haven't always had enough Pork Chops so I have gotten in the habit of cutting the chops into bite size pieces.)  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Petit Fours

My Mother had a catering business/Reception Center when I was young.  I worked in the floral shop but there were times when she was making a labor intensive dessert everyone had to help.  My favorite was Petit Fours.  I loved them and liked making them.  When my mom sold the Cameo Room she went back to college and that was the end of the decadent desserts.  After I was married and moved to Oklahoma I decided that I could make the Petit Fours myself, however I didn't have the recipe.  I new the most important thing was the consistency of the glace.  I had helped dip hundreds of Petit Fours so I knew how it had too feel and how thin it needed to be.  So that is how I started making Petit Fours.  My family will never let me quit making Petit Fours.  They love them.

I made Petit Fours for Nathan's 8th Birthday celebration and when it was over he laid his head on my lap and announced that 26 Petit Fours make you sick.  Apparently you should never eat more than 25 at a time. 

Petit Fours

Make a white cake mix using only the Egg White recipe on the box (I use Betty Crocker Cake Mix)
Bake in mini cupcake pan with cupcake liners.  Be careful not to brown too much.  When cool put in an airtight container and freeze for a day or two.  An hour before you are ready to dip take the cakes out of the freezer and remove cupcake liners.  The cakes will be fragile.

I don't have a recipe.... I just make it.  Here are the directions.

Make a Thin Frosting:

Powder Sugar
1/2 lb Butter
Pinch of Salt

After I make the thin frosting I put it in a Crock Pot on the warm setting.

Melt 1 lb of White Chocolate (I use White Chocolate chips) and add to frosting.  If it is too thick add some warm milk.  This is the tricky part.  If it is too thick it will tear the cakes apart.  If it is too thin it will slowly drip off and won't cover the cakes(the cakes will also absorb too much). I usually have plenty of glace because I get it too thick and add milk.  Then I get it too thin and have to add more powdered sugar.

When the glace is just right I set up cookie sheets with cooling racks on top. (the frosting that drips off the cakes can put back in the crock and used again.)

Dip the cakes in the glace and let them sit on the racks until the frosting is set up.  I usually decorate them with a frosting flower on top.

Then carefully move to an airtight container to store until ready to serve.  I often use dress shirt boxes then wrap them completely in plastic wrap.  I have frozen them at this point for several weeks.  In one aspect the cakes are pretty resilient but at the same time they are fragile.  I have sent them off on many a car ride to far off places in a ice chest so they don't melt.  With the instruction not to tip them.