ENCOURAGEMENT SENT TO THE EMPTY NEST

With Mother’s Day a week a way, we started tossing ideas around, thinking of an appropriate post.  That we were even thinking about posts at all is in a large part due to something we’ve received from our children:  encouragement.

It may have started when Louisa came home and made a roast chicken.  Not the roast chicken I made with stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, but a chicken with lemon under the skin,  sprinkled with sea salt and fresh rosemary,  stuffed with a sweet onion.  It was divine.  Denise had been honing her cooking skills as well-tomato pie made with summer tomatoes.  It was the best tomato pie on the East Coast I might add.  The seed of an idea formed-Gourmet Sundays.

As shopping and cooking became more of a ritual, we shared it with the kids by email, on the phone and on their plates when they were home.  We didn’t know if they were really listening but our excitement must have been contagious because it started something.  Louisa sent the website for the Smitten Kitchen blog, the source of many of our first meals.  Matt bought Lodge cast iron pans for me for Christmas and showed me how to care for them.  He gave me ideas for things to cook in them.  Erin made Denise ceramic tomatoes and avocados for the basket on her kitchen table and bought her cookbooks and books on the garden.  Erin is home with Denise getting ready to go to med school.  She is our inhouse taster and our critic.  Christmas and birthday presents are now shiney new measuring cups, a good bread knife, cookbooks, books on cooking, books on canning, canning jars, a juicer.  The first thing Leah says when she comes home from college is “What have you guys been cooking” and she’s sincerely interested.   They listen to us talk of recipes and field trips and laugh when we talk about making the perfect BLT this summer-our bread, our bacon (yes, we’re going to make bacon and yes, we have health insurance), tomatoes and lettuce from our garden and maybe even homemade mayonnaise.  We receive from them tangible and intangible signs of encouragement and we are deeply touched.

We had been talking about doing the blog for about a year.  The kids encouraged us and encouraged us and encouraged us until we finally felt confident enough to give it a try.  Matt helped us set up the site.  I think he ignored some of our emails asking for help because he knew we could figure it out once we stopped being so afraid of  “hitting the wrong button”.   He helped us find our style and encouraged us to be patient while we found our voice.  He sent us “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield (If you’ve never bought a so called self help book, and we hadn’t, this is a book you should buy.)  Louisa sent her camera from Australia so we could learn to take better pictures-the only criticism from our beloved peanut gallery.  Erin patiently, and we do mean patiently, uploaded the pictures from the camera to the computer and showed us how to download them on to the post while we sat there silently thinking “like that will ever be in our skill set”.  I left Louisa’s camera in Melbourne, despite her urging me to take it home with me.  Yesterday a new, easier (read: older model with not so many buttons) showed up on the porch.  Rory will do caricatures of us and what we’re doing when he comes home from grad school this summer.  We can not wait to post those.  They read the blog every Sunday and every Sunday we hear words of praise and encouragement.

We have stressful jobs and we are underpaid and overworked.  We are in debt.  We have yards we’d like to cement over and call it day.  We have bills expected and unexpected.  It would have been easy in the beginning to say it was too hard to find the time to do a blog. Too tired.  Too busy.  The shopping and the cooking and the field trips were enough, right?  But we realized that not only would we be letting ourselves down, we’d be letting the kids down as well.  They were proud of us.  They are proud of us.  We weren’t too tired or too busy, we were just a little scared and a little unsure.  Their encouragement kept us moving.   Thinking about the encouragement we’ve received from them made us realize it was the same encouragement we had given to them over the years.  It had come full circle.  Maybe we did know what we were doing as mothers after all and that felt very good.

So for that and for so many other things, thanks guys.  We love you.

THE MENU:  steaks on the grill,  pasta tossed with goat cheese & asparagus, grilled baby Vidalia’s, salad with arugula and lettuce from our garden, banana pudding

Pasta with Goat Cheese and Lemon

  • 1 lbs. rotini
  • 1 8oz. log goat cheese
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • lemon juice to taste
  • 1 lb. asparagus cut in bite sized pieces

Cook pasta according to package.  Three minutes before pasta is cooked, place asparagus with pasta.  Drain pasta and asparagus.  Save 1/2 cup pasta water.  In large bowl, break up goat cheese, add olive oil.  Mix together, add hot pasta, asparagus and mix.  Add pasta water, add lemon juice to taste.

Banana Pudding

  • 1 box of vanilla wafers
  • 6 bananas sliced
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1-5 oz. box french vanilla pudding
  • 8 oz. cream cheese softened
  • 1 14 oz. sweetened condense milk
  • 1/2 pint heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp. marscapone
  • 2 tbsp. sugar

Line bottom of 13x9x2 inch dish with vanilla wafers.  Layer bananas on top.  In a bowl, combine milk and pudding mix, blend well using a hand held mixer.  In another bowl, combine cream cheese and condensed milk together until smooth.  In another bowl, whip heavy cream, add marscapone and sugar, whip until the consistency of whipped cream.  Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.   Then add this mixture to the pudding mixture and stir until well blended.  Pour the mixture over the cookies and bananas and cover with a layer of cookies on top.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

 

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3 Responses to ENCOURAGEMENT SENT TO THE EMPTY NEST

  1. Our kids did similar things. One set us up and then went back to school, saying you are on your own. Another has made graphics for the site and another talked us through Twitter. We are so glad you started your site. Your culinary abilities are beyond our capability, but we love looking at your posts and your wonderful photos—hats off to your kids, and ours!

  2. So Kind of you to say. Just glad that we have met online!

    • i was thinking the same thing. encouragement comes from places you never imagine and your first comments gave us the encouragement do another. you really are a lovely writer.

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