Saturday, May 10, 2014

Leader Enterprise - May 7, 2014 - Honoring Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all moms and grandmas! In honor of those women who have impacted the lives of anyone, young or old, I wanted to share this lovely story about the difference one person can make in the life of a child. And even if you weren't blessed to ever give birth, but gave yourself away to others, thank you to each of you for sharing your wisdom, love, joy, and support for those who have been blessed to know you in any way.

From Chicken Soup for the Mother's Soul. The author's name is Mary Kenyon. 


"There must be something pretty special about a mother who can raise a daughter oblivious to the poverty she lived in. I didn't even know I was poor until I was in the second grade. I had everything I needed; nine brothers and sisters to play with, books to read, a friend in a handmade Raggedy Ann, and clean clothing my mother skillfully mended or often made herself. My hair was washed and braided by my mother each evening for school the next day, my brown shoes polished and shined. I was blissfully happy at school, loving the smell of the new crayons and the thick art paper the teacher handed out for projects. I soaked up knowledge like a sponge, earning the coveted privilege of taking messages to the principal's office one week. 

I still remember the feeling of pride as I went by myself up the stairs of the school to deliver that day's lunch count. As I returned to my classroom,I met two older girls going back up the stairway. "Look, it's the poor girl," one whispered to the other,and they giggled. Face flaming red and choking back tears, the rest of the day was a blur.

Walking home that day, I tried to sort out the conflicting feelings that the girls' comments had wrought. I wondered why the girls thought I was poor. I looked down critically at my dress and for the first time noticed how faded it was, a crease at the hem visibly announcing that the dress was a hand-me-down. Despite the fact that the heavy boy's shoes were the only kind with enough support to keep me from walking on the sides of my feet, I was suddenly embarrassed that I wore ugly brown shoes.

By the time I got home, I felt sorry for myself. I felt as if I were entering a stranger's house, looking critically at everything. I saw the torn linoleum in the kitchen, smudged fingerprints on the old paint in the doorways. Dejected, I didn't respond to my mother's cheery greeting in the kitchen, where she prepared oatmeal cookies and powdered milk for a snack. I was sure the other girls in school didn't have to have powdered milk. I brooded in my room until suppertime,wondering how to approach the topic of poverty with my mother. Why hadn't she told me, I wondered. Why did I have to find out from someone else?

When I had worked up enough courage, I went out to the kitchen. "Are we poor?" I blurted out, somewhat defiantly. I expected her to deny it, defend it, or at least explain it away, so I wouldn't feel so bad about it. My mother looked at me contemplatively, not saying anything for a minute. "Poor?" she repeated, as she set down the paring knife she'd been peeling potatoes with. "No,we're not poor. Just look at all we have," she said, as she gestured toward my brothers and sisters playing in the next room.

Through her eyes I saw the wood stove that filled the house with warmth, the colorful curtains and homemade rag rugs that decorated the house, the plate full of oatmeal cookies on the counter. Outside the kitchen window I could see the wide open space of country that offered so much fun and adventure for 10 children. She continued, "Maybe some people would think we are poor in terms of money, but we have so much." And with a smile of contentment, my mother turned back to preparing a meal for her family, not realizing she had fed far more than an empty stomach that evening. She had fed my heart and soul". 

This lovely cake begins with a box mix, and ends up being a very special dessert. No mixer needed. Older children could make this for mom!                                           

1 (18 ozs) yellow cake mix 
1(4-serv.size) instant (sugar free) pistachio pudding
3 eggs
1/4 c. sour cream (or Greek yogurt)
1 c. (1%) milk
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 tsp. vanilla (or almond) extract
1 c. (unsweetened) shredded coconut
1 c. chopped pecans, or your favorite, toasted 

Preheat oven to 350. In large bowl, mix pudding and cake mix with a wire whisk. Add eggs, sour cream/greek yogurt, milk,pineapple, vanilla, coconut and nuts. Mix well. Spray a 9-inch bundt pan or a 9"x 13" baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Bake 45 - 50 minutes, checking just before 45 minutes..and every few minutes after. Cool in pan for about 15 minutes,turn out on plate. Drizzle with a simple powdered sugar/milk glaze or frost with your favorite frosting. 
It won't be long and we'll be enjoying rhubarb. This lovely'makeover' recipe reduces sugar/fat/calories. De-Lish!

1/2 c. sugar
2 Tb. cornstarch
2-1/2 c. sliced fresh (or frozen/thawed strawberries)
2 c. diced fresh or frozen rhubarb
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tb. sugar free strawberry jello,dry
2/3 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. quick-cooking oats
1/4 c. brown sugar blend(Splenda)
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 c. cold butter
reduced-fat whipped topping or reduced-fat strawberry  or vanilla ice cream, optional

Preheat oven to 350. Spray an 8" square baking dish with cooking spray. In a large saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Stir in strawberries and rhubarb until blended. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 - 2 minutes or until thickened.  Remove from heat; add vanilla and stir in jello until dissolved. In small bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar blend and cinnamon; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over fruit mixture. Bake 25-30 minutes or until filling is bubbly and topping is golden brown. Serve with whipped topping or ice cream if desired. Yield: 6 servings

One serving without topping = 210 calories, 6 gr.fat (4 saturated), 45 mg sodium, 37 carb, 2 fiber, 2 protein

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