Friday, May 2, 2014

hello May.

I've been absent a long while. Sorry about that.

Today, I feel a little lonely without social media.
By way of explanation, I deactivated my Facebook account back in July, and some months ago I got rid of pintrest too - my account kept getting spammy. And largely, I've been perfectly happy without the influx of useless information….ah, but today, today, I was wax nostalgic and wish I could see some pictures of my far-away friends' new babies and what life has been like lately for them. I wonder if I'm falling way behind the trends without pintrest to guide me (but that's completely out of character because I've never been one to follow the trends anyway, though I guess I like to at least know what the trends are). And maybe, just maybe, I have a little crafting quota I need to meet….probably by way of spray painting some cardboard boxes to make them more appealing storage.
All this started at the park.
The girls and I did a little shopping (so many gifts to buy this time of year!), and were happily headed to the park. The weather here is still gorgeous - low humidity, breezy, temps in the 70s - and we haven't had time to go to "our" park in a while. But then I saw that it was a little crowded, and there were mom groups. Sigh. Something about groups of moms at the park really makes me feel lonesome. If the moms just there with their kids, I don't have any qualms about making small talk, and etc, but when the other moms are in groups - oye! That makes me wish I had a group of moms to go on play-dates with, but I don't….and thus all the lonely thoughts and longings for social media.

I know what our mamsie would tell me. She would say, "Have you taken your PLUS?" And I'd have to say "No" because I can't remember to take those things for anything. {btw, PLUS is from Mannatech, it supports your endocrine system with herbs and such}.

Anywho, that's today's story.

I've been thinking for the last few days about culinary journeys. Not the travel around the world kind of journey, but the journey of where you started cooking and how things have changed over the years.

My journey started with Martha White, $.88 bags of muffin mix, complete with little pellets of fruit flavor and maybe even chocolate -if my dad was feeling liberal. One bag made six muffins - which is a shame when you {I} really wanted to eat four of them myself. And there was virtually no way to mess them up. I remember being in 4th or 5th grade and making muffins by myself. And I loved it.

Of course, when I was much smaller, my mother would get out her wooden biscuit bowl with self-rising flour always in it.  And she'd make a well in the flower and add a handful of shortening and some milk and make biscuits, and she'd always save my brothers and I a few scraps of dough to eat…but I never made biscuits like that on my own until I was in middle school and my parents were divorced.

From muffins, I'm not sure where I progressed to exactly, probably boxed cakes and brownies. It was a step up from the muffin mix because you had to add eggs and oil or water. The muffins you only had to add milk - I think. And then biscuits, from scratch. I messed them up at least one time so badly that they were inedible, but my dad choked one down for my sake. You've got to watch whether you're measuring baking soda or baking powder, and I had gotten them confused. Eventually, I made some cakes from scratch, pound cakes usually because they Dad's favorite.
I'd make various baked items to take to church in my teenage years, but never anything worthy of a main course. I preferred baking, but I didn't feel at liberty to use any of the meats anyway to take to a church dinner that my parents weren't attending…and consequently, I didn't get much practice in main dishes before I left home.
After high school, I moved to Maryland to work in an assisted living which was owned by some good friends of ours, and before long I found myself appointed to be a cook solely because I was Primitive Baptist and from the South ---these facts apparently ensured I COULD cook….though I would only go so far as to say that I could follow a recipe. So I cooked dinner for about 20 every night, and got some decent practice in, but mostly I made things that were frozen or came out of a box with canned veggies - there wasn't too much imagination in it, but at the same time, I didn't dare try anything out on my 20 very particular residents, or I was sure to hear about it for as long as they could remember.
After 8 or 9 months in Maryland, I married prince charming and all of the sudden had to learn how to be gluten free. Talk about a learning curve. I had been used to making whole bread - grinding the wheat and everything - and I really really had to weigh in the balance of whether I wanted to give up bread to marry Emery. Of course, I chose Emery in the Long run.
It took me about a year to build up enough confidence to start baking gluten free items from scratch. Gluten free is tricky. Some of my cook books have recipes that I've never been able to make turn out correctly. Oh well. Live and learn and sometimes scratch out a recipe.
Somewhere along the way, I got comfortable enough in the kitchen that I stopped measuring things. It's a little harder to ensure things will for sure turn out right, but it's worth it not to wash extra dishes to me!
Down the road of life a little further, we had to remove dairy from our diet. That was a HUGE shift. I'm still mourning that one some days. But we've made adjustments, found new recipes that suit our needs and our taste buds and move forward.
I hope I'm not done learning. I hope I get better at learning which cuts of meat to buy and the best ways to cook them. I hope I find a way to get enough protein in my diet without dairy - especially when/if we get pregnant again. And I hope I can do a better job of letting my girls help in the kitchen where they can, even though it's often more of a hassle - it's worth it.

Oh, and speaking of pregnant, I want to be! A friend of ours just found out they are having twins, and I found myself a little jealous. Maybe I'm crazy, but twins sure does sound fun….yes, that must be the hormones talking.
BUT Adele still nurses too much at night (uh, and she wants to EVERY time I sit down during the day), for my body to consider hosting another human being. So, you could pray for Adele to start sleeping through the night - if you wanted to - I wouldn't mind that prayer one bit! {Though I can't say that I've ever minded having folks pray for me.}

Hattie's months of anticipation about her birthday are drawing to an end. We're in the single digits on our count-down and she's elated. "I'm going to be 3 on my birthday!" And when I ask her what she might like for her birthday, she usually replies forks and plates ---which we've already bought to have cake and ice cream after church on Wednesday night.  I sure do love my almost three year old!!

If you've had enough fortitude to stick around to the end of this post, I admire your effort. Thanks for putting up with me -my long silences and habitual rambling.

Welcome May. I'm glad you're here.

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