Mimi’s Special Breakfast

Fluffed Eggs-Mimi’s special breakfast:

Mimi's Fluffed Eggs

My Fluffed Egg

I can only remember my mom doing these a few times when I was young. We made lots of cinnamon toast, or just plain toast with all kinds of jellies that Mother made during the summer: watermelon rind preserves, tomato jelly, grape jelly and, especially, fig preserves. Daddy loved sweets.

Just for fun, I decided to try these fluffed eggs for Hud to see if he enjoyed them. Guess, I am a lot like Mother. The egg whites whipped up very fast and fluffed eggs are bound to be fun with the grandchildren once in a while. 🙂  My whites were a little brown by the time the yellow looked cooked, but Hud said it is a winner. Don’t forget to click on the recipe to enlarge it for reading. Make breakfast fun!

From Mimi to all of us.

OOooh! Look what I see!

The Swimming Hole

Summer’s about to fade. That is, I am hoping so.

Back in the days of my childhood, I was a very nice girl.

That is, most of the time. One of my best friends, Jill, lived out in the country with grandparents. Spending the night with Jill was one of my very favorite things to do. She had a twin brother named, of course, Bill. Bill and I never got to know each other very well. If you have read “A Rose…” below, you understand why. But most of all, we were both timid.

Jill also had lots of cousins, all boys, who came to stay for a short while and some who lived there with her grandparents for longer periods of time. Jill and I paid little attention to the boys, and they to us. We were in Junior High, and did not get wrapped up in the opposite sex as soon as young people today. Mostly, the girls did things together and the boys did things together.

One summer, there was a brother, Jack, and sister, Samantha, from Austin who came to spend the summer with their grandparents who lived not too far away from Jill’s. At some point one of the girls told me Jack had a crush on me. He was a year older, and I have to admit to being completely smashed, but too timid and shy to admit to it.

Time for school was drawing near, and that meant Jack and Samantha would be going back to Austin. All of the girls went home with Jill and me after church on Sunday. Jack joined Jill’s cousins and came too. After dinner the boys went off to the woods. We figured they would go across to Grady’s farm about two miles away.

We decided to go wading in the creek. The water was so cool it tickled our toes and refreshed us in spite of the hot Texas summer. As we went farther down the creek, we became more and more playful, splashing water on each other and soaking each other’s shorts and tops. About a half mile from the house, the water began to get deeper. Pretty soon, we came to a place where the creek widened and Jill warned us, “The water gets really deep around here, so be careful.” This was like her own personal swimming pool. Someone said, “Too bad we didn’t bring our bathing suits. Jill said, “Who needs bathing suits?” Everyone started giggling and splashing a lot more.

Jill went up on the creek bank, stripped and jumped in the water! We all stood aghast. She hit the water with a great big splash and said, “Try it, you’ll like it!”Well, one by one, each girl took her turn. Hitting that water was one huge shock. The water was so cold, the only way to survive was to stay in it. We splashed and laughed loudly just enjoying the chance to be cool.

Suddenly, it seemed that one of the laughs was way deeper than ours. We stopped and heard, “OOooh! Look what I see! Girlie panties! What is this dearie?” in falsetto while waving a bra. Up on the bank, the guys were holding our undies up as though modeling them. When they were sure they had our attention, they laughed until they almost split their sides. They started whistling, taunting us to come out. Several of us went under the water. Then the guys said, “Well since you girls don’t need these things, we’ll just be on our way.” Off they went with our undies.

We were so mad. Finally, Jill, the one who had to live with these ruffians said, “Oh, they wouldn’t do that. Grandma would kill them.” She climbed back up the bank and motioned for us to follow. There in the bushes at the other side of the bank were all our undies.

That night at church, I was too embarrassed to even look at any of the guys. One of the other girls kept smiling at Jack. Pretty soon, you guessed it, she had a new boyfriend.

So much, for my wild side. That, my children, was the first and last time I went skinny dipping. It is too bad that our world has changed so much that today’s children are not safe in an environment or fun activity such as the one I described above. We can laugh about yesterday, though.

Cry No More

Slicing an onion.

Sniff, sniff, sniffle. How can anyone eat this onion if I cry all over it? For years, I dreaded the awful task of slicing or dicing onion.

Now I always volunteer to slice or dice onions at the homes of family and friends. Why? Because someone gave me the best tip in the world. Even with my contacts, no tears. The tip came at a Pampered Chef Party, and I have no idea what the consultant’s name is, but if you are the one and read this, please let me know so that you can get credit.

It’s just this simple.

  • Cut the roots off first.
  • Slice from the base moving back towards the top.
  • No tears.

Before this, I tried holding bread in my mouth, putting the onion under water, everything anyone said do. Nothing worked. The opening scene from Like Water for Chocolate was lodged in my brain. No more. Happy slicing. Enjoy those hamburgers. Cry no more.

After writing this, a quick search showed me that while I know little about being a chef, the professional cooks do not know this secret. A chemist friend of mine explained once that two chemicals in the onion combine when it is sliced creating toxic fumes. One of the chemicals, I don’t remember which, is housed in the roots. By cutting the root off first, that chemical is never released to combine with the one in the onion. Apparently, the juice inside the onion is stimulated by slicing and creates a flow that activates the root system also when cut from the top.

 Here is a very good site showing the current standard in the cooking profession by Jennifer Clair from Home Cooking New York. And then there is an informative and fun article which explains the chemical reaction set off when slicing an onion at Lifestyle. The entrenched professional wisdom is: half the onion and cut very fast so that you do not get the full impact of the toxic fumes. 

Now the two links above give a pretty good repertoire of knowledge about slicing onions. Think I will stick with what works for me, besides that, I like a whole round onion slice on hamburgers, not a half.

Click on the Pampered Chef link. At their site, download a free celebrity cookbook and they will donate one meal to Feeding America.

The Price of Victory

The Most Memorable Kiss

Today is V-J Day, the sixty-fifth anniversary of WWII Victory in Japan. So kiss your friends and lovers, call a veteran and celebrate our freedom. But never, never forget that every victory is bought with a price.

…The thundering of running feet coming to Social Studies is still a cherished memory. Luckily, my room was at the end of the hall and other teachers cared little that these guys and girls were in a hurry once they passed their doors. These seventh and eighth graders could not wait. They hurriedly ran in, sat alert breathlessly waiting, not one wanting to be last. Placing a pencil in my gradebook after checking roll, laying it on the desk with a smile gave signal. Everyone crowded into the corner on the floor just leaving room for me to wiggle through with our treasured book.

John Hershey’s Hiroshima written first in 1946 and updated in 1985 gave us almost a face to face account of what it was like to live in Hiroshima when “the bomb” fell and afterwards. These students forgot that they were in Social Studies for the first fifteen minutes each day. They forgot that Japan was once our enemy. They eagerly learned all they could after each reading. They listened without moving and then asked ponderous questions.

I cannot answer the questions about the efficacy of that decision. I can rejoice that my dad came home. He saw the flag raised on Iwo Jima on February 23, 1945. We waited with great anticipation for each letter always wondering if he would return. We were lucky. He did. Some were not so lucky.

So here below are some scenes to help us remember.

Marines at Iwo Jima

Now let’s enjoy a look back at more folks at home on that day.

Seven Minute Icing

Well, folks this is really “the icing on the cake.” Mother could whip this up so fast when Daddy came home from WWII. It takes a little more practice for me, and even though I am not a pro, it’s a lot of fun. Hud loves this cake just about as much as my daddy did. Though Hud may love coconut more, the pineapple cake icing Mother made had no coconut in it. Remember to click on the recipe to enlarge it. Enjoy!

My Grandmother's Seven Minute Icing

Pineapple Cake

Maybe Hud will forgive me for telling… Two pieces of this cake remained in the fridge when we decided to  diet several days ago. This morning I noticed the empty cake plate on the drain. I might cheat ” just a little” on my diet, but I did not eat a piece of that cake after the diet began…BJ, “Hud, did you throw that cake away?” Hud, “Are you kidding, waste that cake?”

From Mimi’s Cookbook to all of you from BJ.

Mimi’s Pineapple Cake

Mimi's Cookbook Cover

Home on furlough from WWII, our dad had his favorite pineapple cake every day. Even though little, my brother and I gave him lots of help when it came to eating. Mom too, she hoarded ration stamps to have enough sugar and pineapple for this grand visit.

Upon finding Mimi’s 1918 handwritten recipe book, I learned the recipe was hers. Here it is for all to enjoy.

Daddy’s Favorite


Daddy  wrote home about the pineapple cake often while he was serving in the Pacific during World War II. Mother saved her ration stamps for months. When it was almost time for Daddy’s furlough, Mother put my little brother in our red wagon. While she pulled, I traipsed as fast as my short legs could go all the way to the grocery store more than a mile away.

 Mr. Griswald was taken back when Mother asked for so much sugar and canned pineapple. He scratched his head and said, “I don’t know, Lela, that’s a lot of sugar and pineapple for one family.” Mother showed him the ration stamps. He looked up with a sheepish grin on his face, “Somebody mighty special must be coming home soon.” Mother beamed from ear to ear and reached to wipe away fresh tears, “You know it, Sal.” Mr. Griswald helped her load the wagon and get my little brother back in. Then we made the trip home.

 I remember the day Daddy walked up to the front screen. A beautiful pineapple cake sat waiting for him on the table. He let us help just a little bit, even though he had a terrible sweet tooth. Mother made sure that pineapple cake was ready every day until time for his leave to end. When today’s cake had only three or four pieces left, another one went into the oven. 

Story told to me many times by my mother. Click on the recipe to enlarge. Frosting tomorrow.

Bullock: Blinded by Love

Hope Floats. Sandra, you float. The role that won Oscar for Best Actress stands eclipsed by the real life drama we watched since that auspicious night Sandra Bullock stood in shimmering gown holding the Hollywood honor of honors, husband Jesse James by her side. Walking the red carpet, glowing above the gown, smiling for photographers, we were awed.

Suddenly, the unthinkable: beauty, glamour, artistry, not enough. Just as suddenly disappearing from public eye, we wonder, “Is she living out the drama she played when a ludicrous scene in a movie gone by left her shocked before the world and bereft of will to rise?”

Not this Sandra, not this place, not this time. Blinded by love. The cries and giggles of  new life sustain her and move the mother protector inside. Not as though, she didn’t struggle. Together with Louis, her son, she will. She will rise and stand: compassion and dignity. No “Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song” for Sandra. Let the others play that tired song.

 Welcome, Sandra to new life. Welcome to new love.  Thank you for continued grace and style. Thank you for giving us the joy of sharing yours.

From BJ to Sandra.

Kate, I Hope You Dance

Kate Gosselin, I Hope You Dance! You and Toni Dovolni ROCK!

Kate-Promo picture for DWTS

Enough. This media Hate-Kate stuff bores me. Who made them god to judge? 

“Might as well, can’t dance,” our mantra in the Bible Belt where I grew up. Then my son married a Czech-American girl. The mantra in their town, “Polka ‘til you drop!” Two weeks before my daughter-in-law’s brother married, I took my first polka lesson, hoping to “polka ‘til I dropped.”

Two weeks later, I held on so tight, I nearly tore the arm off the only gentleman who asked me to dance. But I was hooked. A move to the mountains of North Carolina where ballroom dance is king And queen changed my life. Soon I was dancing three to five nights a week and feeling ecstatic.

“Center of gravity,” “frame light,” “little steps…little steps” “head high, boobs up” “suede soles,” “glitzy gowns,” Wow! No one, no one can know what is required of ballroom dancing until–they dance ballroom. It looks so glamorous. It is so much work! Yet, the best aerobic and psychic booster.

Ballroom dancing takes old women from sick beds of depression to life again. Ballroom dancing lets young men and women feel like stars, and older men and women feel young again.

How many of us get to dance like we were born to it? Mastering it takes months, years of discipline and commitment. Kate did well. To come from a novice in this amount of time?…Of course, she looked uncomfortable. She was. Only a very special coach waltzed her past the first night on Dancing With the Stars. They both have my greatest respect.

Toni Dovolni, you are the best. Kate, I hope you keep dancing…dance with your kids…Bon Voyage.

From BJ to Kate and Toni.

Ben and Katie in Haiti

Dr. Carroll's, Live From Haiti

                       What does it mean to really make a contribution? Ask Katie, she will tell you:

11/16/2009 Ben and Katie, newlyweds announce to their bosses and the world, “We are moving to Haiti?”

11/23/2009 Katie blogs, “I feel a strange power when I window shop, when I see a commercial – I can’t buy anything even if I want to. It’s really cool.”

12/29/2009 Ben and Katie leave DFW for Port-au-Prince. They dream of making a difference. Of course, they also are enamored with the vast and contrasting beauty of this new home to which they journey.

Katie remembers well the words of C.S. Lewis in Chronicles of Narnia, “Make your choice, adventurous Stranger; Strike the bell and bide the danger, Or wonder, till it drives you mad, What would have followed if you had.”

Ben and Katie did. Little knowing what awaited their advent.

1/12/ 2010 Ben and Katie feel the first tremors rapidly becoming the catastrophic 7.0 magnitude quake.

1/20/2010 Katie, back on her blog, “I know disaster is disaster and pain is pain, but there’s something incredibly creepy and psychologically upsetting about earthquakes, and aftershocks…. the GROUND is MOVING. I feel them all the time, even when they’re not happening.”

Later she posts, “Every person you can see is missing something. But there were 3 physical therapists at Espoir yesterday, praise God, and so the hard work of getting moving again is beginning.”

From: benandkaitieinhaiti

4/11/2010 A bunch of kids played with a well-loved and broken-down chalkboard.

     If you dare, go to: www.benandkatieinhaiti.com  Warning: You may never be the same. 

4/17/2010 “…to be free is dangerous and the act of making us free is dangerous.” Kat

Thanks for this true story to my friend, Gayle, and Kaitie’s amazing blog.

Mimi’s Rules

Uh…arg…oh my gosh,

Oh…Mimi…What rule is this?

     Freckled faced, handsome in spite of his pug nose, thirteen-year-old Carl stared blankly at me across the bar that separated the kitchen and the family room. One, maybe both of us, mouths suspended, said nothing. What rule was it? Our rules suddenly so cumbersome neither could conjure a guess.

     Carl shrugged; his pause stole the urgency. Then off to the solace of his room and whatever game currently captured his attention. Betty followed to hers, pleasingly content that her brother had not exactly won their latest squabble.

     Sinking back into the comfort of an easy chair now molded to the contours of my body from long hours of reading, grading papers and pondering, I asked myself, “What rule is it? How many rules do we have anyway? There weren’t always so many.”

    My freshman year in college our orientation teacher explained that rules are made because someone’s boundaries are not respected. Right on! So when children learn responsibilities and boundaries, how do we define them? Are ten enough? Do we need as many as, say, Congress? 

      Are rules made to help, or rule? …Sobering…

      Nightfall came. The questions nagged and gnawed at my brain.

     Finally morning dawned. Ahh, mornings. Everything looks brighter with yesterday in the backdrop. Settling into my chair before the kids began another cacophony: “Get out of my room!” “Why don’t you mind your own business?” “I’m bored.” “Do I have to?” new thoughts emerged. Quickly penning a note with squigglies and smiley faces, the new sign on the fridge read:  

      Take care of yourself.

      Take care of your space.

      Make a contribution.

      Easy rules to follow. Umm, well…sorta.

     The kids figured the first two out pretty fast. The third one was a kicker. Three teens and one almost, tried quickly to map out the shortest and easiest possible contribution. After all, biking in the park and running with their friends was lots more important. 

     “Not so fast, what one person feels is a contribution may not be so to another.  A contribution is a compact! We both agree,” I chided, deciding we could get to Random Acts of Kindness later.

     Well, we stuck by those simple rules. Now they have wings. Little one’s of their own occupy new hopes and dreams.

     Bon voyage! From this Mimi, BJ, to four very special grandchildren.

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