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Archive for September, 2011

Mimi Is On Vacation

Dear Readers,

When you read this my husband and I will be in Spain enjoying all the sights and sounds.  It’s a country I’ve always wanted to experience but never got around to  visiting.  Hopefully we will be drinking lots of good Spanish wine and savoring all those delicious Spanish tapas.  My next post will probably be on Oct. 4.

Adios amigos!

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Puffy Cheddar Grits

Dear Readers,

So far this is my third breakfast recipe in September.  I guess I’m on a brunch kick!  Oh well.  These grits are grrrrreat and they can be prepared a day ahead of time.  The recipe came from a magazine.  I know not which one!

Puffy Cheddar Grits

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon salt

3-1/2 cups milk

2 cups water

1-1/4 cups quick cooking grits

8 ounces (2 cups) shredded cheddar cheese

1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

1/4 teaspoon pepper

5 large eggs

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  In a 3-qt. saucepan, combine butter, salt, 1-1/2 cups milk and 2 cups water.  Heat to boiling on medium-high heat and gradually stir in grits, beating constantly with a wire whisk to prevent lumps.  Reduce heat, cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  (Grits will be very stiff.)  Remove saucepan from heat and blend in cheese.

In large bowl, mix hot pepper sauce, pepper, eggs and remaining 2 cups milk until blended.  Gradually stir grits mixture into egg mixture.

Grease shallow 2-1/2 quart casserole.  Pour grits mixture into casserole.  ( At this point you can refrigerate casserole until next day.  Be sure to bring to room temperature before baking.)  Bake uncovered 45 minutes or until knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Makes 12 main dish servings.

Enjoy and

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

Here’s the final post on my September memories.

In September, 1982, my son, Andrew, started kindergarten.  Dollie, the Methacton School District bus driver, drove the little school bus up to our driveway to pick up my little student.  He insisted on walking to the bus all by himself.  As I watched him board the bus on that sunny September morning, I realized my youngest child was growing up and things would never be the same again.  We were entering a new phase in the life of our family.

Every September from 1974, when Jude was 5 months old, until 1987, my parents came to visit and stayed the entire month.  I loved having my family nearby and Mike enjoyed all the home repairs my Dad made during the visit.  We kept every weekend open for family fun.

There were day trips to the PA Dutch Country, where we feasted at family style restaurants, beautiful autumn walks through Longwood Gardens to look at the last blooms before cold weather arrived, and outlet shopping in Reading, PA where Mom purchased clothes for her two grandchildren in Louisville.  As the kids got older, we planned weekend trips to New York City, Washing, DC., the Pocono mountains and Baltimore.  We had wonderful times on these excursions, eating at special restaurants and staying in different motels.  One stormy Saturday night was spent in a couple of train cars in the Red Caboose Motel in a small town in rural PA.  My Dad remarked how cozy it was to hear the rain hitting on the metal roof of the train.  There was always plenty of good laughs together.  Those Septembers were golden and I wanted them to last forever.

The final chorus of my favorite song “Try To Remember” sums it up pretty well:

“Deep in December it’s nice to remember

Although you know the snow will follow.

Deep in December it’s nice to remember

Without a hurt the heart is hollow.

Deep in December it’s nice to remember

The fire of September that made us mellow.

Deep in December our hearts should remember and follow”.

Keep smilin’!

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Maryhelen’s Dutch Baby Pancakes

Dear Readers,

About four years ago we had the pleasure of eating brunch with our good friends in San Francisco.  Maryhelen served these pancakes and they were delightful.  The only thing better was the company with which we shared them.  Thanks to Maryhelen, I can share her recipe with all of you.

Maryhelen’s Dutch Baby Pancakes

3 eggs

1 cup milk

3/4 cup flour

Pinch of salt

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

A touch of nutmeg

2 tablespoons butter

Combine eggs, milk, flour,salt, vanilla and nutmeg to make a batter.  It’s easy to mix the batter ahead of time in a blender and then give it another whirl just before you pour it in the pan.  Put butter into a cake pan and place into a 425 degree oven to melt.  Pour batter into hot pan (with butter) and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes.  Try not to open the oven door so that it doesn’t fall.  Serve right away while it looks perfect with a variety of fruit, powdered sugar and/or syrup.

This recipe makes 3-4 servings.  It can easily be doubled for more servings.

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

This is a continuation of distinct memories of past Septembers.

In 1965 The Brothers Four recorded a hit song entitled “Try To Remember”.  The ballad began with these lyrics:

“Try to remember the kind of September

When life was slow and oh, so mellow.

Try to remember the kind of September

Where grass was green and grain was yellow.

Try to remember the kind of September

When you were a tender and callow fellow.

Try to remember and if you remember, then follow.”

I loved that song and the images it brought to mind.  Years later on a September trip to visit our daughter in NYC, she treated us to a performance of the musical comedy “The Fantasticks” where this melody was sung.  She had no idea how much I truly treasured this song and sharing it with her on a September afternoon.

In September, 1979 our daughter started kindergarten at Visitation BVM School in Trooper, PA.  Jude rode on a small school bus to and from school.  At the end of her first day, I waited for her at the end of our street.  I must have stood there for over an hour waiting for that bus. Fear started to well up inside me.  Where was the school bus and where was my little daughter?  Reluctantly I decided to leave my post on the street and return home to call the school.  (There were no cell phones in 1979.)

The school informed me that they had been attempting to contact me for about an hour.  What a feeling of relief; Jude was safe and sound waiting for me in her classroom.  Her teacher apologized profusely.  Jude had forgotten what her school bus number was and didn’t leave when her bus was called on the loudspeaker.  I’m surprised I didn’t get a speeding ticket as I raced to her school to pick her up.

More memories of other Septembers will be continued in Memories of Septembers Past, Part 3 to be posted on Tuesday, September 20, 2011.

Until then remember to

Keep smilin’!

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Healthy Back-To-School Breakfast

Dear Readers,

September is back-to-school month and the search is on for healthy breakfast ideas for those eager little students and the big ones too.  This is a delicious recipe and can be baking while you are getting the kids dressed and ready to go.  I copied it from a magazine but can’t remember which one.

Pumpkin Pie Baked Oatmeal

1-1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats

1 cup canned pumpkin

1-3/4 cups milk

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon vanilla

Pinch salt

Cooking spray

Brown sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a 5 cup (1/1/2 quart) baking dish.  Combine first 7 ingredients.  Spoon into baking dish; bake for 15 minutes.  Remove dish from oven and sprinkle with brown sugar.  Turn oven up to 400 degrees and bake for 10-15 minutes or until set in center.

Enjoy and

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

Having lived through 65 Septembers, there are distinct memories that stand out above the rest.  Let me share with you a few of these random impressions.

In September, 1951, on my first day of school, I remember walking to the first grade classroom with my fellow classmate and neighbor, Martha Connell.  We strolled to school under the watchful eye of Martha’s older sister, Kathleen.  During the 50’s the whole neighborhood would walk to school together, with the older kids looking out for the younger ones.  Our walk wasn’t very long; only about three blocks.  But the kids from Breckinridge Street stuck together.

Fast forward to September, 1953 when my sister, Nancy, started first grade.  Mom gave me the duty of watching and protecting my little sister and making sure she entered the correct classroom. Every day I gave her a hug and a kiss of encouragement before she stepped through the door.

On September 3, 1960 my sister, Martha, got married.  As a 15 year old, I had the proud honor of being her maid-of-honor.  My younger sister and I wore aqua dresses with a sheer white overlay embroidered with tiny white flowers.  A bouquet of dark red, yellow and purple flowers cascaded over our arms.  We even wore shoes dyed to match the dress.  September 3 was a very hot Saturday, the temperature was in the 90’s.  The noon reception was held at the Keswick Democrat Club, where a record number of kegs of beer was served.

There’s a cute little family story about the reception.  My Aunt Roberta did not want my Uncle Henry to drink too much beer.  So every time he took a glassful, she would sample a good amount in an attempt to keep him sober.  Well he stayed sober but at the end of the party Aunt Roberta was pretty tipsy; so much so that her hat sat cock-eyed on her head as she waved good-bye from the car.  We still laugh about that!

To be continued on Tuesday, September 13, 2011.

Keep smilin’!

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