501 Life Magazine | A celebration for mom
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A celebration for mom

The celebration has spread to more than 150 countries.

My mom was really a “trip!” She was an artist, a floral designer, a wonderful cook, and (other than not able to sing a note) was a very talented lady. She could also “think outside the box.” To this day, among the cherished memories of Mom are those centered around her management of money – how she and Dad could stretch the dollar, be conservative when it was “the right thing to do,” and be creative in the day-to-day operations of the house!

Before Mom took my “frailty” on as a project, I was a normal size kid. Today’s normal would have been “sickly” in Mom’s opinion — so she set out on a “mission” to make sure I was healthy. As gluttony would have it, her plan backfired and I became much more “healthy” than a horse — perhaps a hippo might be a better estimation!

Dear Mom — I really can’t blame her for my portly years — but she did make it more creative in the following way. My appetite was sorely lacking and, Mom, knowing I had a propensity toward the dramatic and colorful, decided to add food coloring to things to enhance my participation in the culinary offering of the day. I was enraptured with pink and blue cornbread, egg-yolk yellow mashed potatoes, green milk…the list goes on and on.

I’m happy to report her plan was successful, and I began to eat — and eat — and eat! Oh, woe is me. Only in the later years have I become a bit more disciplined. Thanks, Mom — this is only one of the many ways you have “paid-it-forward” in my life!

Another memory I have of Mom is still quite vivid in my imagination. Our house was rarely without fresh floral arrangements, flowers from the outdoor plants, and greenery from the farm lands. Nothing was too difficult for Mom when it came to creating a masterpiece of the simplest of greenery and flowers!

I have tried to glean from this, the joy of having, at least, one focal point in our home that enables us to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation as we celebrate the normal processes of life. Containers are myriad and readily available and there is no need for exotic floral imports — the natural landscape provides a great tribute for mom!

Try your hand at these simple centerpieces for mom, or if you are really industrious, cook a meal. Mother’s Day Potluck is a favorite at our house — what a privilege it is to celebrate mom!

Boter Koek

Mix:   
2 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/3 cup margarine or butter

Add:
3 cups flour
1 1/ 2 teaspoon baking powder

Divide batter for two large pie plates (greased). Press into pie plates; beat one egg and spread over both. Pour off excess. Bake for 40 minutes at 325 degrees.

Chicken a la Scampi

1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/ 4 cup butter
1/ 4 cup olive oil
Juice of one lemon, strained
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into half-inch pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1/ 2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1/ 4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 (12-ounce) package fettuccini, cooked

In a skillet, saute green onions and garlic in butter and olive oil until tender. Add lemon juice, chicken and salt and pepper.

Cook, stirring constantly, 8 to 10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Add tomatoes and parsley and cook, covered, 5 to 6 minutes, or until tomatoes are heated through.

Serve over hot buttered fettuccini. Also good with rigatoni (a large, grooved pasta). Makes 4 to 5 servings.

Blueberry Muffins

1 cup of oatmeal
1 cup of orange juice
3 cups of flour
4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of olive oil
3 eggs
3 cups blueberries

Topping:
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup walnuts chopped

In a small bowl, mix orange juice and oatmeal. Let stand.

In a large bowl, mix flour and all dry ingredients, beat in oil with eggs and mix with dry. Stir in oatmeal and juice mix and fold in berries. Fill 3/4 full in greased muffin cups. Top with topping and bake. If berries are frozen, flour them first.

Layered Sun-dried Tomato
and Basil Spread

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
2 (3 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened and divided
1/3 cup tomato paste
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 cups firmly packed fresh basil
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Vegetable cooking spray
Garnishes: Fresh rosemary sprigs, sun-dried tomatoes
Crackers or baguette slices
Beat 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, butter, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Set aside.

Process dried tomatoes in a food processor until chopped. Add 1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, tomato paste, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; process until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Spoon into a bowl, and set aside. Wipe food processor container clean.

Process garlic and next four ingredients in food processor until chopped. Add parmesan cheese, remaining 3 ounce package of cream cheese, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt; pulse just until blended, stopping to scrape down sides.

Spray a 6-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Spread 1/2 cup butter mixture evenly on bottom of springform pan. Layer with half of tomato mixture, 1/2 cup butter mixture, and half of basil mixture; top with 1/2 cup butter mixture. Repeat layers with remaining tomato mixture, 1/2 cup butter mixture, and remaining basil mixture. Top with remaining butter mixture. Cover with plastic wrap; chill at least 8 hours.

Run a knife gently around edge of pan to loosen sides. Remove sides of pan and place layered spread on a serving tray. Garnish, if desired. Serve with crackers or baguette slices.
Low Country Fish Stew

1 cup cleaned, sliced, fresh carrots
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced white onions
(See directions for additional ingredients.)

Saute vegetable mixture in 1/4 cup olive oil.
Add four cups stock (beef stock, chicken stock, tomato stock or any combination).

Add two cups diced, canned tomatoes.
May strengthen stock with chicken bouillon cubes, but adjust any salt addition.

Optional: Add white wine.
Optional seasonings: salt, pepper, basil, oregano, thyme, parsley, garlic.

Cook to reduce to desired consistency: Stir in fish of choice (catfish, cod, shrimp, flounder, salmon), continue to poach until fish is tender, flakey and cooked through.

Optional additions: Sliced turkey links, sliced sausage links, and squashes.

Ladle in bowl and serve with Herb Bread Stix and Salad.

Fudge Upside-Down Cake

Cake:   
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
3/ 4 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons cocoa
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/ 4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/ 2 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sauce:   
1/ 2 cup granulated sugar
1/ 2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 cup milk
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
1/ 2 teaspoon almond flavoring
1/ 2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a large cast-iron skillet or 13-by-9-inch pan.

To prepare the cake, melt butter and pour into a large bowl. Add sugar and cocoa; mix well. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add to butter mixture, alternately with milk. Add walnuts and vanilla. Pour into pan.

To prepare the sauce, combine sugars, cocoa, butter and milk in a saucepan. Heat. Add chocolate; stir until chocolate melts and sauce is smooth. Stir in almond flavoring and walnuts. Pour over batter.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes. Cool slightly. Invert cake onto platter. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream. Serves 10.