Wednesday, November 24, 2010

How Sweet It Is: Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie

"How sweet it is!" I have heard this exclamation from the lips of my father countless times whe he savors the sight, smell and taste of a favorite dessert. Savor is the word. Never have I seen my dad gobble, he can make a slice of pie last 15 minutes. Enjoying each bite, celebrating each tasty morsel and the company of those around him. In this, and in many things, my dad shows us how to live the journey.

Tomorrow we will gather around the table with some new things. New family members, new jobs, and for my father a new diagnosis: brain cancer. Sporting a serious scar and 24 staples in his cranium, Dad is still embracing the moments and savoring the gifts therein. So much is unknown about what lies ahead. Sitting at the head of the table, digesting the information from websites and doctors' reports, Dad suggests we take it one phase at a time. So we will. Celebrating the sweetness to be found in each moment: love, warm hugs, good doctors, soup from friends, prayers offered and a most holy presence lying deep within the soul. Glory Be.

Here is a recipe I want to share for a variation of pumpkin pie. It was found in the margins of Grandma's cookbook. I had to assume or make up some of it as Grandma's instructions were somewhat abbreviated. I hope whatever desserts you enjoy for your Thanksgiving feast taste are thoroughly enjoyed, one bite at a time.

Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie

1 cup pumpkin
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 qt ice cream

Mix above ingredients and pour into graham cracker crust. Freeze until 20 minutes before serving.

With a grateful heart,

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Happy Happy Birthday: Whoopie Pies

Oh my, the whoopie pie. As much fun to say as it is to eat. I made these to celebrate my youngest daughter's 18th birthday. It is a bittersweet occasion. I am happy to celebrate her 18 years of life, love, and health while facing the truth that I have no more children. I am still a mother, yes, but I have young adults who call me mom, madre or mother, depending on the moment. I am not anyone's mommy. And sometimes I miss it.

When we were young we would sometimes laugh and be surprised at how my grandma, who lived in Ohio, would forget how her grandchildren, residing in Kansas, had grown up. One year, she sent my brothers toy trucks for Christmas and it was well past the age where they played with such things. When we would go to her house after not seeing her for awhile, my mother would smile when she would replace the little child's cup or plate Grandma had set for me with an adult sized one. Well, let me say, I get it now.

Even as I planned to make these whoopie pies, I imagined my daughter's joy will be the same as it was when I made them for her 9th birthday so long ago. But it can't be. Her world is much larger now. She will smile and be grateful but it will mean more to me, her mom, who wants to hang on to her with one hand and escort her to the edge of the nest with the other.

When my children were young, I knew they went to bed at a good time, with clean ears and teeth and three bedtime stories. I knew they said their prayers and were safe and sound. I went bedside every night before my own repose, laid my hand on their backs and listened to the sweet sound of their tiny breath. I realized the miracle of being a mommy was an honor like no other. Some days, as my grandma did, I want to pull out a childhood remnant and say, "Look, honey, Goodnight Moon. Do you want me to read it to you?" I miss dyeing Easter eggs, trick or treating, driving the carpool.

I am so grateful my children are growing, developmentally on target, smart and funny. There is some relief in the knowledge that they, not me anymore, are responsible for their future. But I still miss the days of backyard soccer, snowcones and cookie decorating. I wouldn't trade a day. I might do some better if I could but I can't. I loved them well and I still do.

So, Happy Birthday Little One, Baby Avery, 18 year old young woman. I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always. As long as I'm living, my loved one you'll be. As you used to begin your childhood prayers, "Thank you God for this wonderful day." You were born this day. It is indeed, a wonderful day.

And now, the recipe for Whoopie Pies:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup margarine
1 egg
2 cups flour
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sour milk
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup hot water
Cream sugar and margarine. Add egg. Sift together flour, cocoa, and salt. Add to creamed mixture alternately with sour milk. Add vanilla.
Dissolve soda in hot water and add last. Mix well.
Drop by rounded teaspoonful onto greased cookie sheet. Bake at 400 for 9 minutes.
Fill with your favorite vanilla frosting.

I use margarine, milk, vanilla and powdered sugar to make butter frosting of spreading consistency. I don't measure this too accurately. I start with about 3 T of butter, 2 T of milk and add 1 tsp of vanilla. I pour in powdered sugar until it seems right.

Happy celebrating,