Archive for March, 2010

Dear Readers,

As a kid growing up in the 1950’s, Easter was the culmination of a week in which many religious services were attended by my family.

Maundy Thursday, the Thursday before Easter observed in commemoration of the institution of the Eucharst, was a school holiday.  We attended an early morning service where we marched in a procession honoring the Blessed Sacrament.  The second and third graders wore Communion dresses and carried baskets of beautiful mixed spring flowers.  Later in the afternoon we returned to church for a Holy Hour of prayer and songs.  Each class in my grade school was assigned a specific hour of prayer.

Good Friday was a solemn day where the story of the passion of Christ was read.  The service usually took place during the hours of noon and 3 PM., corresponding to the amount of time Christ suffered on the cross before His death.  Many stores were closed during these 3 hours.  This day was a time of great solemnity and sadness.  We did not watch television at all on Good Friday.

But this was the night we dyed Easter eggs using Paas egg dye.  The tablets were mixed with white vinegar and boiling water which was poured into large, deep cups.  A different cup was used for each color.  The colors were brighter and more brilliant than they are today.  Our family dyed about 5 dozen eggs and the last egg, called the “Weickel” egg (Weickel is my maiden name) was dipped into every color with the same results every year; the egg turned out an ugly brownish gray color.  But it was tradition, so we always concluded with the “Weickel” egg.  Each egg was then carefully polished with a little shortening to make the shell shine.  The eggs were then returned to the carton in a rainbow arrangement.  Every year we commented that these were the prettiest eggs ever!

Be sure to read Part 2 to find out what my family did on Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday.  And remember to always

Keep smilin’!

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Lenten Salad

Dear Readers,

There are only a couple of Fridays left in Lent.  So instead of a meatless casserole, how about a main dish salad featuring tuna?  This recipe will be a winner with the family and there’s an added bonus – it is low in fat!

Tuna Pasta and Dill

8 oz. (3 cups) uncooked mostaccioli (tube-shaped pasta)

1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise or salad dressing

1/2 cup non plain yogurt

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill weed or 2 teaspoons dried dill weed

4 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 – (11 oz.) can mandarin oranges, drained

1 cup halved seedless green grapes

1 – (6 oz.) can water-packed tuna, drained and flaked

1/4 cup sliced almonds

Cook mostaccioli to desired doneness as directed on package.  Drain,. rinse with cold water.

Meanwhile, in large bowl, combine mayonnaise, yogurt, dill, sugar, lemon peel and pepper; mix well.  Add mostaccioli and all remaining ingredients; toss gently to combine.  Serve immediately.  Makes 4 (1-1/2 cup) servings.

Enjoy and

Keep smilin’!

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Moving is Messy

Dear Readers,

As I noted before, we have recently moved from a single family house to a condo.  The move was “messy” in many ways.  From a physical standpoint, the mess comes from all the packing and unpacking of numerous boxes, filled with newspaper and tissue paper used for cushioning fragile items.  But the biggest “mess” is in my mind; lots of angst, worry and confusion.  Let me fully explain this.

First there is the problem of picking out and purchasing a new home.  Will we like the neighborhood?  Is that small guest bedroom really large enough to accommodate infrequent guests?  Is the garage big enough for two cars and storage of belongings we can’t bear to part with?  How will our furniture look in new surroundings?

Then there is the ordeal of actually buying and negotiating a purchase price with the condo owner.  Many mornings my husband I woke up and wondered if we had a deal or not.  This painful process is also going on in connection with selling the old house.  Is it sold or not???

Well, we finally overcame both of these hurdles.  Yes, we had truly sold our house and purchased a condo.  You would think the “mess” is over,  No, it isn’t!   We have moved in and now getting used to new surroundings is “messier” than I could have predicted.  The bathroom medicine cabinet is located to the right of the counter instead of the left and I swear it doesn’t work as well when applying my makeup!  The kitchen has a big center island, which is nice but I’ve never had one before.  I have to learn how to navigate around it and how to incorporate it into my routine of meal preparations.

I know this all sounds pretty petty but we are all such creatures of habit.  Pretty soon I’ll get used to everything and the “mess’ will be eliminated from my mind.  Until then, I guess I’ll just take my own advice and

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

Ham has always been the traditional meat for our family Easter meal and potato salad is the perfect side dish.  Here’s a recipe for potato salad with a little different spin – the potatoes are roasted instead of boiled.

The recipe is from the makers of Miracle Whip Salad Dressing.

Roasted Potato Salad

4 cups quartered unpeeled small red potatoes

1 cup Miracle Whip or Miracle Whip light salad dressing

4 slices Oscar Meyer bacon, chopped, crisply cooked

2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

1/4 cup sliced green onions

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Place potatoes on a 15 x 10 x 1-inch baking pan sprayed with no-stick cooking spray.  Bake 30 to 35 minutes; or until potatoes are tender and golden brown, stirring once.  Mix dressing, bacon, eggs, onions, salt and pepper in large bowl.  Add potatoes; mix lightly.  Serve warm or chilled.  Makes 6 servings.

I have tripled the ingredients using 5 pounds of potatoes when having a party.  Everyone loved it and I hope you will too!

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

Received this text message on my phone Tuesday, March 9 from my son:  “Margaret Ann was born at 4:06 PM, EST.  She weighs 7 pounds and she is precious!”  This message came straight from the delivery room in Raleigh, NC.  Mimi and Papa are overjoyed at the news of the birth of our second granddaughter.  She even arrived nine days early!

Maggie has been in my thoughts a lot lately.  Yesterday was her first Sunday and I wandered how she would spend other Sundays in her life.  I hope she enjoys the leisure time it provides.  That leisure time will take many forms:  Sunday brunch at the Morning Times; an excursion to the art museum; or maybe a Sunday matinee at the theatre or the movies.  Of course, she will have to be much older to enjoy these activities.  For the near future, Sundays will be a day of snuggling with her Mom, playing with her sister on the backyard slide or watching her Dad prepare a special Sunday dinner for the family.

She has her whole life ahead of her and I hope she can take the time to savor and enjoy each moment it brings.  One thing I know for sure – she is part of a big family that loves her very much.

Welcome Maggie!  And remember to always

Keep smilin’!

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Mimi is Moving

Dear Readers,

Mimi is in the midst of moving from a single family house to a condo.  Both my husband and I are excited about this move.  We’ve been renovating the condo for the last 6 weeks and it is finally finished.  I’ll have to write a blog about this adventure someday.

In the meantime all I do is clean and pack, and pack and clean – no time for anything else.  All this work does not keep my creative juices flowing.  It’s difficult to write when your mind is elsewhere.  Therefore, Mimi is taking a break until the move is complete and my computer is set up in our new home.  Take care and remember to always

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

If you like pound cake as much as Mimi does, here’s an easy recipe for it.  This has been a family favorite for about 35 years.  It originally came from the “River Road Recipes” by the Junior League of Baton Rouge, LA.  Lillian Marshall, the Food Editor at the Courier-Journal in Louisville, KY printed it in her “Kentuckiana Cooks” column.  I cut it out of the newspaper and the rest is history.

Bishop’s Cake

1/2 lb. (2 sticks) butter

2 cups sugar

5 whole eggs

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups sifted cake flour

Cream butter and sugar in mixing bowl.  Add eggs, lemon juice and vanilla.  Beat well.  Add sifted flour.  Bake in angel food cake pan that has been greased and floured for an hour and 15 minutes in a 325 degree oven.  Let cool before removing from pan.

This is an old-fashioned pound cake.  For variation, sprinkle crushed blanched almonds over top of cake just before putting it in the oven to bake.

Mimi likes to serve it with fresh sliced strawberries over the top.

Enjoy and

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

The “Ask Heloise” column in the November, 2009 Good Housekeeping magazine had a couple of interesting tips for homemakers.  The following is quoted directly from the article:

“Question: I’ve had it! How do I keep our bedsheets from balling up in the dryer?  They all come out in one bunch, and portions of the sheets aren’t dry.  What can I do? – Patti Berg, Spokane, WA.

Tangling occurs because most dryers only spin in one direction (newer models with a reverse-spin feature can be pricey).  Solution:  When you take the sheets out of the washer, particularly a top loader, shake each one out and untwist it before putting it into the dryer.  Then do a load of only the sheets, nothing else.  Stop the dryer about halfway through the cycle and shake the sheets to unbundle before putting them back in.  If the sheets are king-size, you may need to redistribute them twice during the cycle.

Question:  I burned tomatoes in a large pot – they now seem glued to the bottom.  How do I remove this awful mess?  – Seena Stern, Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Fill the pot with water, add a drop or two of dish soap, and mix.  Put the pot on the stove, bring to a boil, and turn off the heat.  Let it sit, with the lid on to contain steam, until it cools;  scrub away the burned-on gunk with a plastic or nylon scrub brush.  To boost cleaning, sprinkle the bottom of the pot (until it’s covered) with salt or baking soda, which will act like an abrasive but won’t scratch the pot’s finish.”

Hope you find these tips helpful.

Keep smilin’!

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