Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Memorable Memorial Day

We had our big family weekend over Memorial Day, with us split in two gorups for most of it. Mama and Bud headed to his annual kung fu tournament near Philly on Saturday morning. The competition was on Sunday, all day, so they spent Saturday at the aquarium in Camden, NJ with the penguins and hippos.  Pictures of Bud show just how happy he is around penguins--huge smile on his face.  They also enjoyed seeing the hippos fed--caretakers just chucked cantaloupe into the enclosure so dangerous are the animals.  There was even a tunnel of sharks that you could walk through.  They had cheesesteaks for lunch and dinner and settled in to rest before the big day.

Bud competed in Tong bei (a fist form) and straight sword.  In Tong bei, he received a bronze . . . at least until they realized they'd put him in the group with the 16 year-olds!!  When they put him in his age group, he got gold!  Though, the excitement was tempered because he was the only one in his age group; still, I'd say earning bronze against the really big kids (almost twice his age . . . and size!) is also an achievement!  He then got gold in straight sword, beating 10 other kids in his group.  We are very proud of him.  Mama said the whole team stayed together as best they could (i.e. when not waiting for their own events), rushing over to each area when a teammate was competing so they could cheer.  It was a great (but long) day.

Meanwhile, Sis and I lounged around the house; she was still under the weather with heavy allergies. We watched a lot of tv--mainly "Switched at Birth" and "Saddle Club."  We did rouse ourselves to make a delicious chocolate chip pie, which I got off FB.  It was excellent with ice cream.  Otherwise, we made crock pot chicken and had a few take-out meals.  I crocheted and tangled; she played some video games.  

At one point, we took ten of my crocheted afghans outside to photograph them.  Our neighbor, the soldier, came over and invited us for some brisket.  And what Texan can refuse brisket?  He was born in Texas and stationed there later, too, and made a great meal, smoking the brisket with a rub of salt, pepper, brown sugar, and garlic only, and then adding a sauce afterwards.  So good, best I've had up here, reminded me of home, which pleased him because he said I was the only one up here who could understand and appreciate it (and I'm not exactly a connoisseur, having not been to the best Texas bbq places.)  We both agreed we needed Mrs. Baird's white bread and some banana pudding. He invited us to stop by on Memorial Day and even said Sis could come over to eat anytime she saw him outside cooking.  He mentioned chickens, fried turkey, and even homemade french fries--she was in!

So yesterday, the kids and I wandered over to our neighbor's, taking my homemade banana pudding with us.  He was so excited to see the pudding, knew exactly what it was before I said because of the 'nilla wafers.  Though we didn't discuss it, it was interesting to spend time with a soldier on Memorial Day--he's the only active military soldier I've ever known.  On that note, he and his family ask to spread the word about courteous use of fireworks on all patriotic holidays; the loud bomb-like ones are really hard for many soldiers to take.  My neighbor has PTSD and hates how people celebrate what should be his day with such awful noises.  

 It was late in the day when we showed up and we missed the main meal, which was fine, but the kids had Klondike bars, pasta salad, potato salad with capers, hummus, tabbouleh, and that good old strawberry pretzel salad!  Then I hung out with the adults while they wandered around with the 2 1/2 year old, looking at their chickens.  And while it sort of felt like a gathering from my childhood, with beer and food and lawn chairs and curse words* and adult stories, there were major differences.  See, half of the people were Israeli and so a lot of conversation was in Hebrew; while I don't have any Hebrew, enough of it was translated that I got the gist. None of them had ever heard of much less had banana pudding--and they liked it (and compared it to an Israeli dessert, though not with bananas.)  And our neighbor wants to have more gatherings, introduce some Southern hospitality up here, he said (so he asked for my hush puppy and also barbecue chicken recipes.)  I told him I'd bring ramen salad to the next party!  By the time we left, there was no more banana pudding.  

The last activity of note:  I gave away my loom.  A local friend who weaves and is active in the historical society traded me basket, soap, and candle-making supplies and equipment for my 16-heddle loom and brand new warping board, plus all my weaving magazines.  I had come to the realization that I was just not a weaver, especially because it's hard on my back . . . and that's okay.  I know she will use and enjoy it--she's already planning a complicated 10 heddle colonial overshot pattern.  And I am looking forward to trying soap and candles.

All in all, a great weekend.

(*Ah the cursing!  How come they didn't curse in Hebrew??  When I curse, the kids get 15 minutes of extra screen time and so I laughing said they could have the same deal; they racked up an hour and 45 minutes really fast (and I stopped counting at that point.)  But that's fine. Hearing occasional cursing never hurt anyone--and they've never listened to adults chatter so quietly and intently!)

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie Recipe from Nestle
1 unbaked pie crust, homemade or store bought
2 large eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup butter softened
1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325
Beat your eggs in a large mixer until foamy.  Add flours and sugars, then butter. Stir in chocolate. Pour into unbaked pie shell.  Bake 50-55 minutes.  Cool before eating.

Banana Pudding

 It’s not traditional banana pudding—with the cream cheese—but I like the not-so-sweet rich texture.

12 oz. vanilla wafers
tub of Cool Whip (large)--I used 1 1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream, whipped
package of cream cheese (large)
package of Jello Instant Vanilla pudding (large)
5 bananas, sliced in rounds

            Line the bottom of the dish with wafers
            Make the pudding. Make the whipped cream. Add cream cheese, beating with mixer, and fold in the whipped cream.  Add bananas and more wafers and stir very gently.
            Spoon pudding mixture on top of wafers.  Cover with remaining wafers.
            Refrigerate and serve.

Mommy Hungry

Strawberry Pretzel Jello Salad
2 c. crushed pretzel sticks
3/4 c. melted butter
3 tbsp. sugar
8 oz. cream cheese
1 c. sugar
8 oz. Cool Whip
1 (6 oz.) pkg. strawberry banana Jello
2 c. boiling water
2 (10 oz.) pkgs. frozen strawberries, partially thawed

Mix first three ingredients and press in bottom of a 9"x13" pan. Bake at 350 degrees (metal pan) or 325 degrees (glass pan) 8 minutes. Let cool completely. Beat 1 cup sugar and cream cheese. Fold in Cool Whip. Spread over pretzels. Mix Jello and water until dissolved. Add strawberries. Stir into Jello, then set aside for 10 minutes. Pour over cheese mixture. Chill.

from Cooks.com

Aunt Janie’s Hush Puppies

A staple of bay fish fries!  And Aunt Janie’s are the best ever.

2 ½ cup cornmeal
2 cup flour
1 ½ tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoon sugar
1 cup grated onion

Add milk until stiff.  Fry.
Aunt Janie

Mr. Campbell’s Barbecue Sauce
Very tart but real BBQ sauce, from Grandad's good friend, Mr. Campbell.
I remember the green-handled wire brush and the bay leaf floating in the saucepan on the stove where Mom kept it warm between bastings at the old Weber kettle.

1 quart vinegar (apple cider)
3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon Coleman mustard
2 tablespoon paprika
salt to taste
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 Bay leaf
1 lemon sliced
¼ cup worcestershire
red pepper
1 tablespoon black pepper

            Simmer for 30 minutes.  Add ¼ lb. butter or oleo; cook until melted.  Can be frozen. 
            Brush on chicken before and during barbecuing.
                                                                                                            Mr. Bill Campbell

Ramen Salad

2 packages ramen noodles, crumbled
1 large package broccoli slaw
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 cup sunflower kernels
1 cup toasted sliced almonds
½ cup oil
½ cup sugar
½ cup rice wine vinegar
seasoning packets
Combine noodles, slaw, green onions, seeds, and nuts. Mix oil, sugar, vinegar, and seasoning packet together. Pour over salad and toss. Note: this makes a ton; you can cut the recipe in half.
Mr. G

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