MOTHER’S DAY IN THE EMPTY NEST

Mother’s Day.  The first Mother’s Days were a joy just to have the children.  They were so excited and couldn’t stop themselves from giving us hints about what that Sunday would bring.  Tiny treasures from tiny hands.   Crooked writing that started out big and then got smaller and smaller as they tried to stay on the page.   Everyone has a box of those cards and gifts-the thing you know you’d grab if there was a fire.   Then the tween and teenage years arrive.  Those years when hormones transport your sweet children to a parallel universe where you are a source of aggravation and embarrassment.   Mother’s Day lasted an hour and then it was back to “Can I have money for the movies?”, and “What do you mean I have to be home for dinner?”.  Age appropriate behavior in our opinion.  Let’s face it, at that age being told that this day is the day you HAVE to be nice to your mother ALL DAY is a recipe for disaster.   And let’s be honest, we all stood at the sink cleaning up from our breakfast in bed or doing a load of laundry needed for school on Monday, muttering “Mother’s Day my foot”.   The real Mother’s Day moments occurred throughout the year and they meant far more than the obligatory card or a gift on a certain day in May.  That’s the other box you’d grab in the event of a fire.

As they began to leave,  there would be heartfelt messages written in a Mother’s Day card or something special said in a phone call; something as simple as: “I’m glad you’re my mom”.  They start to see more of the person you are in the mom you were, just as we did with our own mothers.  The best Mother’s Day card we ever saw said simply:  “Thanks Mom for reading us more than the riot act”.   We both had that kind of mother and we think we are that kind of mother as well.

This Mother’s Day we will do what we love.  We will pick strawberries, do our shopping and cook something we’ll love to eat.  Maybe we’ll have strawberry shortcake as our whole meal-it does cover all the major food groups.   Whether we hear from our children or see them is irrelevant, because lucky for us, with this crew, almost everyday is Mother’s Day.

THE MENU:  Grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, potato salad (recipe in The Garden blog), baked beans, homemade strawberry ice cream (we picked the strawberries)

BAKED BEANS

  • 1/2 c. chopped onion
  • 3/4 c. barbeque sauce
  • 1/4 c. dark beer
  • 1 tbsp. light molasses
  • 1 tbsp. dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp. dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. flaked chilis
  • 2 cans great northern beans drained

Add first 8 ingredients to a bowl and whisk to blend.  Whisk in chili flakes to taste, add in the beans.  Transfer bean mixture to glass baking dish.  Bake uncovered till bubbling and slightly thickened about 1 hour at 350 degrees.  Cool 10 minutes and serve.

STRAWBERRY ICE CREAM

  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1 c. heavy or whipping cream
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries hulled and sliced
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/3 c. sugar

Combine strawberries, sugar and lemon juice in a mixing bowl.  Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.  Whisk the eggs in the mixing bowl until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes.  Whisk in the sugar a little at a time and continue whisking until completely blended, about 1 minute more.  Pour the cream and milk, whisk to blend.  Add the strawberries to the cream base.  Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze following the manufacturer instructions.

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