Archive | June, 2012

Knowing Your Roots: A Grandfather’s Gift

27 Jun

So, my blog is not like everyone else’s blog. Yes, I like to talk about fashion, recipes, home renovations, my puppy dogs and more. But I also like to talk about my roots, my values, my love and my heart. And this posting is very dear to my heart because it is years in the making.

When I was a little girl, I used to spend at least a weekend every month at my grandparents’ home. It would be a long drive down an old, stinky country road, followed by hours spent with my cousins playing games and climbing trees. At night, we would gather in the living room to watch “Golden Girls” and “Empty Nest” while we patiently waited for my grandpa’s famous homemade chocolate milkshakes to be ready.

My grandparents used to take us all camping quite a bit during the summer, and we all loved it. My cousin Ashley and I even competed in a dance recital at Twin Mills one year, and I’m sure my grandparents still have a video of that somewhere. I spent so many warm summer nights on my old bicycle, riding around the campground having so much fun with my sister, brother and cousins.

Enter Grandpa into the story. My grandfather is a strong, quiet man. A veteran of the Korean war, my grandfather is not the type that will talk your ear off. You’ll only hear his gentle voice when he has something important to say or if he wants to get your attention. My grandfather has always showed he loved me by with a simple gesture … an arm around my shoulder, a kiss on my forehead, a high five and a delicious homemade milkshake.

Fast forward several years later … PoppaNut and I told my grandparents that we were about to purchase a home, and they mentioned that old bicycle again. It wasn’t in the best condition and it had been painted green, but I could have it if I wanted. Me being in love with all things vintage, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on that bike.

But with any home closing, your mind is so overwhelmed with the insurance estimates, closing fees, realtor drama and more that you forget all about what you’ll fill your house with and instead, focus on the list of things you must do today to actually get the house. So the bike discussion completely flew out of my mind, and I focused on the closing.

Just two months after the closing, I received a text from my grandpa with a photo. No words, but just one picture of a vintage yellow bike that looked a whole lot like that one I had as a child. And it turns out, it was. My grandfather had completely taken apart my bike, restoring each piece and renovating it to its former glory. And in that one text, I was 10 years old again with my grandfather handing me my homemade shake. I didn’t need the words to know what he was saying. To anyone else, you would have just seen a yellow bike. But to me, that text said “I love you and I’m proud of you” in the same way my grandpa would convey his love when he made me one of those famous milkshakes.

I’m so honored that my grandfather spent time restoring my old bike. And I’m be thrilled to have it at my home as a reminder of the kind of childhood I had, the value of my Indiana upbringing and the importance of beautiful gestures my grandfather has always shown me.

MommaNut

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Campfire-Inspired Dessert: S’mores Bars

25 Jun

If you haven’t been watching the news, you’re blissfully unaware of the tropical storm that has taken up residency right above my home. With flooded streets and down trees, it is easy to get a bit antsy once the DVR is void of any new shows. So, I fired up the oven and got to work.

This s’mores bar recipe is really easy and super delicious. And most of the items are probably already in your pantry!

 

Ingredients

1 pouch (1lb. 1.5oz.) Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

1 cup butter, melted

3 cups milk-chocolate chips

4 ½ cups miniature marshmallows

Directions

Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, stir together cookie mix and crumbs. Stir in melted butter until soft dough forms. Press into ungreased 13×9-inch pan.

Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until set. Immediately sprinkle chocolate chips over crust. Let stand 3 to 5 minutes or until chocolate begins to melt. Spread chocolate evenly over crust.

Set oven control to broil. Sprinkle marshmallows over melted chocolate. Broil with top 5 to 6 inches from heat 20 to 30 seconds or until marshmallows are toasted. (Watch closely; marshmallows will brown quickly.) Cool 10 minutes. For bars, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows. Serve warm. Store any remaining bars tightly covered.

These are so filling that it doesn’t take much to satisfy your sweet tooth. Wishing you knew the recipe for a similar cupcake recipe? Here you go!

And that’s life in a nutshell. Don’t the let rain get you down! See it as a GREAT excuse to pull out your recipe book and create something amazing!

MommaNut

Easy Dessert: Scotcharoo Family Recipe

5 Jun

When I started college, I was pretty homesick. I had never really been far away from home, and Indiana University was nearly four hours away from my familiar stopping grounds. My birthday is in September, just a few short weeks after my freshman year had started, and I was in desperate need of something from home. And my sister being the most wonderful sister in the world, she must have known that, because a homemade recipe book made its way to my new address.

Inside, my sister had documented all of our family recipes inside. With a handwritten inscription, my sister brought me to tears with her words. And I have held on to that recipe book with dear life every since. It has accompanied me to my first apartment after college, to my apartment with my cousin Ashley, to my first place with PoppaNut, and now to our beautiful home. I’ve added my favorite recipes over the years, and I consult is each and every time I’m in the mood to make something new.

My favorite entries are the ones in my grandmother’s own handwriting. Her famous Texas sheet cake, which my cousins hid each Thanksgiving in Indiana in order to save the most for themselves, is documented inside, along with her peanut-butter balls, her scotcharoos and more. The only one missing is her famous strawberry jam, which I hope to learn to make someday as well.

So, with my recipe book in hand, I flipped through the familiar, recipe-stained pages for just the right thing to make. Scotcharoos it was! Now, if you haven’t heard of scotcharoos, it is basically Rice Krispy Treats with chocolate and butterscotch chips melted over the top. However, I made a few adjustments of my own.

Ingredients

3 Tbsp. butter

4 cups of mini marshmallows

Six cups of Rice Krispy cereal

Bag of chocolate chips

Bag of butterscotch chips

Directions

Melt butter in a medium saucepan on low heat. Then, add in marshmallows, and mix until well-blended. Add in cereal, and mix well.

Pour into a rectangle pan, and place wax paper over the top. Then, press down and carefully remove wax paper.

In a microwave-safe bowl, add in chips (I actually used chocolate chips and peanut-butter chips). Place in microwave on high on 30-minute intervals, stirring each time, until all chips and melted and blended together. Pour over the top and place in fridge to set. Serve with a tall glass of milk!

I sure hope you enjoy them. My little Cashew literally stretched out and watched me make them. I think he was hoping I might drop some so he could sample it too!

And that’s life in a nutshell … making scotcharoos not only satisfies my sweet tooth but it warms my heart thanks to the family tie.

MommaNut

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