Archive for November, 2011

Dear Readers,

In the 1940’s and 50’s coal was delivered directly to our house.  It was burned in the stove to provide heat during the winter.  Each fall Dad would order at least a ton of coal and the truck would dump it onto the street near the curb.  Dad then had to fill a wheel barrel with the coal and empty it into the coal bin in the basement through a small window.  This whole procedure created lots of black coal dust.  My older sister loved to help Dad by picking up small pieces of coal laying in the street.  By the end of the day, she was covered with coal dust and had to spend a long time in the bathtub while Mom scrubbed the coal dust from her scalp.

The loud noise from the dumping of coal scared me to death.  Mom said I cried and cried.  I was so frightened as a toddler that for about three or four years, I spent the day at my grandmother’s house whenever coal was scheduled for delivery.

During the 50’s two different newspapers were delivered to our home daily.  In the morning we received the Courier-Journal and at 4 PM, the Louisville Times.  Every Friday night around 7 PM the paperboy came to collect money for the paper.  We had a payment card and as each week was paid for, he punched a hole in the card by the appropriate week.

Every other week Mr. Lawson, our insurance man, would visit our home and collect 25 cents for the life insurance policy my parents had purchased.  He would pencil in “paid” and the date in the line next to our name in a large, thick payment book that he carried with him.  Mr. Lawson told Mom that if she had a two dollar bill, she would never be broke.  I guess the reasoning behind that remark was that two dollar bills were pretty rare even then and that if you had one, you would never spend it.  When I recently asked my sister about Mr. Lawson, she informed me that she always carries a two dollar bill in her wallet.  Both her son and daughter do the same!

At the time, I guess we thought those home deliveries would continue forever.  Sadly they didn’t.  By the early 60’s, coal was no longer used for home heating, insurance bills were mailed out and the home delivery of bread and milk was no longer profitable.  But it’s awfully nice to remember those delivery people and what a big part they played in my childhood memories.

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

Today if we need milk or bread, we just hop into our car and drive to the nearest grocery or convenience store.  This wasn’t the case in the 1950’s.  These food items were delivered directly to your doorstep at least once or sometimes twice a week.  Let me tell you more about this great service.

Donaldson’s Bakery in Louisville, Ky. carried “Peter Wheat” bread and delivered it by truck door-to-door.  (My older sister remembers when their delivery truck was horse-drawn in the 1940’s.)  I can recall the Donaldson delivery man knocking on our door early Saturday morning with a large metal delivery tray of assorted bread and baked goods.  Mom always purchased a loaf of bread for making school lunch sandwiches.  In addition to that, we were allowed to choose something for Saturday morning breakfast.  There were sweet iced cinnamon rolls, streusel-topped coffee cakes and even tender doughnuts.  It was difficult to decide which baked goodie to buy.  Some Saturdays, Mom went out to the delivery truck to procure an iced layer cake or fruit pie for a special occasion.  My favorite was a yellow cake covered with creamy caramel icing.

Twice a week milk was delivered to our door in quart-size glass bottles.  There was a metal box on our side porch where the bottles were deposited.  It kept the milk cold until Mom could move the bottles into the refrigerator. The top two inches of the bottle contained heavy cream.  Mom would skim it off the top and beat it to produce real whipped cream for special desserts.  Empty milk bottles were also stored in the metal box for pickup by the driver.

Our milkman dressed in a uniform of white shirt, white pants and a white hat and was named “Duffy”.  I suppose that was his last name.  My younger sister and I would call him “Ducky”.  He always laughed at that and when Mom paid the weekly bill, he would give us old order pads to play with.  We used them for writing food orders whenever we played “grocery store”.  Each order sheet consisted of two different pieces of paper.  The top sheet was white with carbon paper on the back and the “customer copy” sheet was yellow.

We had the same mail delivery man for at least 15 years.  He was so kind and always waved “hello” to us.  Mail was delivered twice a day in the weeks preceding Christmas.  As soon as we heard the clank of the mailbox being closed, we rushed out to collect the Christmas cards.  By the way, stamps were three cents!

To Be Continued.

Keep smilin’!

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Gingered Chicken and Rice Soup

Dear Readers,

I clipped this recipe from the News and Observer newspaper in Raleigh, NC.  It is low in fat and calories and the ginger adds a little zing to the typical chicken and rice soup.

Gingered Chicken and Rice Soup

1 boneless skinless chicken breast, 6 to 8 ozs.

1 cup chopped carrots

1 cup chopped onions

6 cups water

1/2 cup long-grain rice

3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

3/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 egg

2 tablespoons 1% milk

Place the chicken breast, carrots, onions and water in a 4-1/2 quart or larger soup pot.  Cover and heat to a boil over high heat, and cook for 5 minutes or until the chicken is almost cooked through.

Reduce heat to medium, remove the chicken breast to a plate, and then add the rice, ginger, garlic, salt and pepper.  Dice the chicken and return to the pot.  Bring to a boil again, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pot and cook for 15 more minutes or until the rice is tender.

Stir together the egg and milk until well blended.  Uncover the soup and drizzle the egg mixture evenly over soup.  Stir well to blend and thicken soup, and serve.

Makes 4 servings.  Each serving contains 190 calories and 3 grams of fat.

Enjoy and

Keep smilin’!


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Dear Readers,

Recently during a rain shower, the sun appeared from behind the dark clouds.  Oh no! I thought.  The devil is beating his wife!  At least, that’s what my Mom used to tell us whenever it was raining and the sun was still shining.  It was one of her folk sayings handed down through previous generations.

Here are a few other sayings:  It’s bad luck to rock an empty rocker.  If you drop a spoon, a fool is coming to visit.  If you knock over the salt shaker, there will be an argument at the table.  If the palm of your hand itches, you’ll soon be receiving money.  Step on a crack, break your mother’s back.  If the hem of your dress is turned up, spit on it and you will receive a new dress.  It’s bad luck to rock an empty cradle.

I find myself uttering these same sayings to my family.  I’m not sure where or how they originated but they sure do make life interesting.

My other random thought concerns the value of a smile.  I walk almost every day and one of the best parts of taking this daily stroll is being greeted by a smile from a stranger.  It feels so good to connect with another human being in this manner.  It lifts my spirits and brings an extra spring into my footsteps.  Just think, smiling doesn’t cost a dime but the benefit it bestows is priceless.  So the next time you spot an ole lady wearing silver sneakers striding down your street, give her a big smile.  You might just be smiling at Mimi!

Keep smilin’!

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Spicy Beef Chili With Apples

Dear Readers,

November is chili time and this recipe includes apples as part of the ingredients.  The recipe is by J. M. Hirsch and came from the Associated Press.  The recipe sounded intriguing so I tried it this week.  It is very tasty and low in fat since I chose to prepare it with ground turkey instead of ground beef.  Mr. Hirsch advises “to briefly heat the spices in oil.  This helps bring out their most intense flavors, mimicking the depth of flavor you’s expect from a more slowly cooked dish.”  My husband also advises to enjoy this chili with a cold bottle of beer!

Spicy Beef Chili With Apples

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

2 teaspoons chili powder

2 teaspoons cumin

2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 pounds ground beef

2 large cooking apples, peeled, cored and diced

1 large yellow onion, diced

6-ounce can tomato paste

3 cups chicken broth

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the paprika, chili powder, cumin, oregano, garlic powder and cinnamon.  Cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds.  Add the beef and cook until browned, about 6 minutes.

Add the apples and onion, then saute for 5 minutes.  Stir in the tomato paste, broth and vinegar; then bring to a simmer.  Cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.

Makes 6 servings.  As usual, this chili tastes much better the second day.

Enjoy and

Keep smilin’!

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Happy Birthday Nancy!

Dear Nancy,

Happy Birthday!  It’s pretty special to celebrate a birthday on the eleventh day of the eleventh month in the year 2011.  It’s also special that you were born in the llth hour and weighted 9 lbs,-2 ozs. which adds up to 11.  I guess 11 really is your lucky number.  Celebrate!

Love from you big sister!

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Dear Readers,

When I write “women make great preachers”, I’m not referring to the “preaching” we do to our spouses and children such as “pick your socks” or “clean your room”.  I’m talking about spiritual preaching – the advice we receive from clerics that aid us on the road to eternal salvation.

During the past month I’ve had the privilege of listening to two female preachers.  The first sermon came from an Episcopalian minister named Georgine, who presided at a Sunday morning service in the Episcopal Home where my sister lives.

Her sermon was interesting, dramatic and very thought-provoking.  She spoke of God in a soft voice but her words were very powerful.  A number of residents at the home had died in the week preceding the service, so she gently reminded us that many times the people in our lives are only here “on loan” to us and we should seize the opportunity to make the most of our time with them.  That phrase “on loan” really resonated with me.

My second experience with a female preacher came this week, in of all places, a Catholic church.  The celebrant of the Mass was Hispanic and could only read phonetically the English words of the prayers.  A young female missioner (not a nun) was enlisted to read the gospel to the faithful and then deliver a short homily for All Souls’ Day.  (The entire Catholic Church traditionally prays for the dead on this day.)

The young woman instructed us not to worry too much about the trials we face in this life because our reward in heaven will be wonderful.  The manner in which she described the joys and delights of heaven along with the enthusiasm in her voice was like a booster shot-in-the-arm for my faith.  I was once again excited about the prospect of spending eternity in heaven.

Both of these reverent ladies gently stoked the fire of my faith with an approach best expressed by a woman.  Their choice of words and even the inflection of their voices invited me to listen and reflect.  I could completely identify with the truths they were uttering.  Their sincere feelings and emotions drew me closer to the softer side of God.

Sadly, I must ask:  Will the Catholic Church ever realize the treasure they are squandering by not permitting fervent women to preach the word of God as ordained priests?  I certainly hope so!  In the meantime try to

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

This hummus has a  lighter flavor and texture than the traditional hummus made from chickpeas.  It’s a healthy appetizer for your next party and can be served with a platter of fresh veggies.  The recipe is from the “Southern Living Christmas Cookbook” being sold by Dillard’s Department Stores to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities.  The price of the cookbook is only $10 – quite a bargain for such a beautiful book.

Minty Green Pea and Butter Bean Hummus

2 cups frozen petite peas, thawed

2 cups frozen baby lima beans, thawed

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 large garlic cloves

1/2 cup fresh mint leaves

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Pita chips

Place all ingredients, except pita chips, in a food processor or blender; pulse until smooth.  Cover and store in refrigerator.  Serve with pita chips.

Makes 3 cups.

Enjoy and

Keep smilin’!

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Carrot-Apricot Mash

Dear Readers,

Here’s another recipe from “Southern Living Christmas Cookbook” being sold at Dillard’s Department Store to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Carrot-Apricot mash

2 lbs. carrots, peeled and sliced

1/2 cup apricot nectar

1 cup chicken broth

2 garlic cloves, sliced

3 tablespoons grated orange rind

1/4 cup butter

3 tablespoons whipping cream

1/2 teaspoon salt

1.  Combine first 5 ingredients in a large saucepan; bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until carrots are very tender.

2. Process carrot mixture in batches in a food processor until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides as needed.  Return mixture to saucepan; add butter, whipping cream and salt.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until warm.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Enjoy and

Keep smilin’!

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