Monday, March 30, 2009


Well, Laura Beth asked for some recipes.
That at least gives me something to write about. For my daughter I don't really have to put it in a blog - I can just email the recipes to her or call it out over the phone. So - 2 of the recipes were in the recent luncheon menu - and I had said I would provide those recipes in a post -
I never did, so here we go.
Chicken Tetrazzini
Whole Grain & Sticky Rice
Florence Northcutt Price
Deviled Peas Casserole
Vida Law Robinson
Congealed Salad
Edith Nelson Northcutt Wilkerson
All-Bran Rolls
Ella Henderson Northcutt
Individual Cream Pies
Chocolate, Butterscotch, & Coconut Cream
Edith Northcutt Wilkerson
Coffee, Tea, & Water
That was the menu for the luncheon - and within that menu are the two recipes that Laura Beth asked for - the Pastry and the All-Bran Rolls. She also asked for the Christmas Bread which was a tradition since the early 60's at my childhood home and continued when I married and had children. December 2006 was the first Christmas since Mother began making it in the early 60's(I think 63) that I haven't had Christmas Bread on Christmas morning. I ran out of steam that year. I just couldn't get it ready and decided it didn't matter if I "broke with tradition". I've made it again - but I broke the record in 2006. I didn't think we could have Christmas without Christmas Bread, but we did. My sister, Mary Ann, has Mother's original recipe from the magazine(I think Better Homes & Garden) and when I'm there and have the time, I'll look for it and take pictures of it for the post, and perhaps make the bread so I can take more pictures and then I'll share the recipe and it'll all be like a little fantasy I'm in, doing a magazine spread. Weird.
Back to the recipes LB asked for.
All Bran Rolls
1 cup crisco, 3/4 cup sugar, 1 cup All-Bran Cereal, 2 tsp. salt, 1 cup boiling water, 2 eggs, 2 pkgs. yeast, 1 cup lukewarm water, 6 cups flour.
Mix together Crisco, sugar and All Bran. Add boiling water. Mix well with electric mixer. Mix the lukewarm water and yeast. When this is well dissolved, add to Crisco mixture. Add 2 eggs well beaten. Sift flour and salt and add to this. Add enough flour to make dough to a consistency to handle. Place in large, clean, slightly greased bowl. Cover bowl with thin cloth or paper towel. Place in warmest spot (I place mine in laundry room) Let dough rise (1-2 hours) double and punch down. Let stand 30 minutes. Divide dough and roll and cut in the size roll you like. (I do the fold over kind and put a dot of cold butter in the crease before folding and pinching together.) Let rise and bake in 350 oven. When folding the rolls over, keep fingers free of grease and flour. Even moisten finger tips all along in a small glass of water, so you can get the dough to stick. Often my rolls will open up during baking, if I don't have them pinched together good enough.
This is a great roll recipe. My grandmother, Mom's mother, made it a lot as did my mom. Loved it always, still do. Sister Schubert has made good homemade tasting yeast rolls so easily accessible, that one is rather discouraged from making them at home. I like doing it, it's very satisfying and somewhat therapeutic - but when it gets down to it, I usually just buy Sister S. I also enjoy, now, using dough hooks. I used to think that was just WRONG, and part of the soul of bread was kneading by hand. But, the dough hooks knead so well and quickly, getting the dough smoother than I can, actually, that I now use dough hooks. They come with my mixer. I have arthritis in my hands, and it helps me a great deal not to have to knead.
Message to Laura Beth - I still think you and I just need to take the time to do this at my house, side by side, you at one end of the island, me at the other - just to talk through the little steps and nature of yeast - and just what do I mean by lukewarm and all the other little tips.
When writing out a roll recipe or a pastry recipe, the writing makes it all look a bit complicated, I think. It really is very easy and quick. The most time consuming thing about the rolls, is waiting for the rising and then the messiness when I'm rolling out the rolls. It takes a large surface and the little items, like the rolling pin, the roll cutter, other stuff, measuring cups - I don't know, the second stage clean up finds me a bit burned out.
It's good to have an empty dishwasher and just throw EVERYTHING in there.
Also, must have a good rolling pin. I have the one that was my grandmother's in Troy. I know that she always had a cook, and I remember one of those cooks in particular, named Willy. She was delightful, and always greeted us with gusto when we drove into Grandmother's backyard. She would come out the back door with a limp. She had a limp and it was so her. I loved seeing her and don't remember her without a smile. I know that it was she who used this rolling pin that I have. I also remember Willy when we would be eating in Grandmother's dining room. I sat in wonder as Grandmother would ring her little bell which sat next to her plate. And immediately in would come Willy through the swinging door of the dining room, with her limp, and with her smile. I remember Willy with a lot of respect, because that was in the 50's in South Alabama - Willy was hired help and I know her life away from 110 Murphree Street was, well, different from ours, to say the least. I was oblivious to the dividing walls of blacks and whites and I was just comfortable in my world. Willy appeared very happy. I wonder what she thought of all of us. She was very very kind to Mary Ann and me, and to Mother and Daddy - as if she was really excited to see us when we drove up.
Anyway, I love my rolling pin, and I never use it without thinking of Willy.
I imagine her in Grandmother's kitchen.
I'll do the pastry next post - perhaps later in the day.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Today's Second Post - This One is Pictures

I'm doing an update on my yard. You know, I was all into wanting spring to be here and I took those bleak photos when all was gray - just to emphasize winter and the desire for color and warmth - then I took those pictures of the earliest spots of color and the earliest little shoots coming up - and now I'm taking it all for granted. I don't really, but I don't post pictures on my blog - I just enjoy the color as is everyone else. So - with this blog being a journal of sorts - I did go out today - which is rather overcast and our yard has not be manicured - and I took these pictures of where the color is on this 28th day of March, 2009.
Can't remember the name of this shrub, but we HAVE to, MUST, keep it pruned if we want it to stay in this spot - otherwise - it will grow huge and cover up everything. I like it low and wide.
Those are what will be iris's - in the middle - not in the pot. I have several clumps of Iris all around my bed. Definitely must take pictures when those are blooming.

This white flower is Alyssum??? I always, in my mind, pronounce it Asylum, but it isn't that. I think it's Alyssum, but I could be wrong. Of course Hosta in the foreground and future coneflowers which are out of control. They are not supposed to be in and near the hosta. We have to pull those up.

thrift amongst the daylily foliage and in the background is oregano - to the right is lamb's ear.

Not a pretty picture, but I love this!! It's the early shoots of my beloved Peonies. I want a whole collection of Peonies. I have the earliest start of a collection. I love Peonies.

From my side yard. These shrubs did have white flowers, but they're turning to green leaves now. Across the street are my neighbor's yellowbells, and hanging overhead is my purple something. I can't think of the name of that tree.

My Wysteria which Charlie and I MUST keep pruned, or the city will do it for us in an unseemly manner. It grows right up against a power pole or whatever they call it. Utility Pole.

The green stage of my white snowballs. They will soon be very very white. I like them green and I like them white.

Yellow snow on the ground. What used to be my Yellowbells or Forsythia. I've pruned these from beneath, all through the years - creating a little playhouse of sorts. I started it before there were any grandchildren - but it was for them....and for myself....I know I would love to "play" under there. Ellie is just now starting to appreciate that little "underworld". She sat under it the other day and seemed to enjoy the feeling of a cave. None of the flowers had fallen so there was quite a bit of privacy under that canopy of yellow. Soon it will all be green leaves.

A pot of Pansies and Violas

And this little spring flower. He's called Andrew.

That little baby face.

Those are my pictures on this Saturday.
And folks, I want you to know, I "looked rough", outside taking photos. I've not cleaned up for the day - so I probably scared the neighbors - who also probably would wonder why I was in these contortions, taking photos of not the greatest yard in Scottsboro.
I surely gave someone a laugh.

Saturday Morning

Well - obviously I'm not blogging very much, still -

I returned from Auburn on Tuesday - went down to see Kate who has returned from China - she really liked being there and seems to want to be back there, still. Amazing. I think that I might have wanted to do stuff like that when I was her age - maybe - travel - see the world - but I don't remember that very much - I do love home. I love nesting and creating a spot. I love creating. so - enough of that.

I'm glad and grateful for Kate's one week and now as her mom, knowing she's had a taste of it and wants to be there, I won't feel the angst over her returning for a substantial length of time. I know that I had no right to that concrete sense of security - because, obviously, we are often called to "step out" into what we don't know - trusting God for His presence - Kate was willing to do that - I just was so wanting her to have a taste to see how it felt to her. Anyway - the kindness and gentleness of God gave me that, this time. Again, He'll call me to blind faith at another time - so - I'll trust Him.

My favorite things and what I like to remember.....


Well, for now - still - my favorite things are the warmth of the sun in this season. Except this whole week has been on and off again rain, but with afternoon sun - so that's good. Still, cool mornings and nights - and I know I haven't posted any pictures showing what I'm enjoying. I don't have a professional yard, but it's mine and I love the "shabby chic'ness" of it - it reminds me of old yards - I like that - cottage yards - I would love better grass, but not perfect grass that I can't touch and walk in - not grass that makes me fret if one weed shows up - I don't want my yard to own me - although it is a responsibility, just having it. Anything we own is a responsibility - like my house and the space that I have - and making the best use of it.

This week I cleaned out my laundry room - I do that all along, like my bedroom closet - both are "hotspots" for clutter and stashing - and I do(stash, I mean) - and it stresses me as it gets out of control - not to mention the lint pileup in the laundry room - I've pulled out so much stuff to get rid of and I am so glad about it. I'm excited about the extra space I'll have, just organizing and throwing away.

Following this project I plan in the next week or so to deep clean the 3 bedrooms upstairs - getting the horrid dust that builds up under the beds. I wish that I never had to use the space under the bed for storage - and that everytime I, or Charlie, vacuum, we would get "under the bed".

Which is why I prefer hardwood floors - one cannot deny the dust when there are hardwood floors - on the other hand, it's easy to pretend it's not there with carpet. Maybe someday I'll have my hardwoods.

Obviously I'm stalling, because I can't think of a thing to write about. I can't imagine anyone being interested in whether I'm writing or not but if there is some random person out there with a question of what it's like to be 57 or what it's like to raise 4 girls or what it's like to trust Christ for 41 years or what it was like being a child in the 50's and a teenager in the 70's and a young adult in the 80's, well - ask - I'm just having a hard time thinking of anything to say - but I do enjoy blogging and posting and going on about something.

Maybe later I'll find something interesting to post - Anyone need a recipe for anything? I've got thousands - well - probably not thousands - but I have a lot.

Until later......

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thursday and Spring Has So Arrived!

Good Morning!

Today is Thursday and the weather is beautiful.

I have realized I need to refresh my photos, add color and make my blog page wake up the way all the trees and other foliage are waking up. The colors in the yard are getting ahead of me - Charlie and I(mostly Charlie) have been doing a bit of early spring yardwork, but we need to do still more. The grass needs cutting again - actually it's the weeds that need cutting - but I'm grateful for those green weeds - they cover my lawn, and when the lawn mower goes over them - well - it all looks neat to me.

When I came home from South Alabama I found all the YellowBells in bloom - so pretty - and the Bradford pears have bloomed and are starting to leaf out - I have a snowball bush that is getting ready to bloom, but some of those frosts got one side of the bush - so it's not going to be completely full - :-( I'm just glad to get some blooms - because year before last I had none due to a very late frost. Also my little purple flowers, can't think of their name, not hyacinths, but look like miniature hyacinths - I'll show pictures and maybe someone can refresh my memory.

Ada and Laura Beth left yesterday for McDonough. I miss them already. Ada is so tiny and Laura Beth said that when she saw her daddy, she hugged him so, and wrapped those little arms around his neck. She had missed him so. I can just see her little curly red head and those tiny arms all around him.

I have pictures of her visit and I will take pictures of my yard and post all of that and then try to think of random things to write about - or not - Just as stuff comes to me - things I remember or things on my heart. Spring hasn't totally "sprung", but it's almost at its peak - we made it folks! through another hibernation period. YAY!!! Lord, sorry I complained - sorry I mumbled and grumbled. :-( Isn't it wonderful to break out of the indoors and enjoy the outdoors? Still a bit cool at times, but that's okay.

This morning I was having my coffee in the living room on the couch and I heard the swallows in the chimney. It's the Hotel Chimney on Byron Road for all those swallows. I called Charlie upstairs to ask if he'd closed the damper. We have had a bird or 2 get in our house. Ugh. I think I would prefer a mouse. I don't know. They're both unwanted in my house. He had not, but came down and closed the damper. Our chimney is a bird resort during the spring and summer. We never do get around to putting a screen up there - that's just so us to not get that done.

I have a bit to do and will post pictures later on.

Have a wonderful spring day!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Back in Scottsboro

Well, I had my week in Evergreen. I loved it all. My emotions were a bit unstable as I drove out of town - but so anxious to get back to family. I really wasn't planning to return until Monday morning - but hurriedly packed my car so I could leave on Sunday afternoon following the Tea which I had planned to attend. It was for the same cousin, MH, who is getting married, of course. I was packed and ready; and left about 2:45.

The luncheon was on Saturday morning. Mary Ann and I spent the week getting ready - it was all fun. She had had someone come in and do basic cleaning, but then we had to go even further and clear out the daily clutter which hinders our "party look". We did that, milled around town, getting fresh cut flowers and some from Copes Flower Shop which has been in Evergreen forever. Copes is the local funeral home, too, so it was fun being there for happy stuff, instead of "sad". On Thursday we also went to an antique/flea market there in downtown E'green - all of that was fun. All week there was silver being polished, china and crystal being washed, more linens being ironed. Just a few napkins. I had taken care of most of that in Scottsboro, before traveling. Friday was mostly cooking ahead for the luncheon and arranging flowers in M.A.'s house. Sarah arrived on Friday night, the only one of my girls able to attend - remember Ann's back at home with the new baby, Laura Beth is there helping her, and Kate's in China - so, Sarah was my representative daughter. :-)
So, below are pictures from the luncheon. And then I'll give the menu. All the recipes were from the past, belonging to family members which were our favorites that they made. I made menus with recipes and placed them in vellum envelopes - so those were the favors. We also made several copies of old pictures that related to Mary Hamilton, especially - They were on Mary Ann's mantle, piano, and a side table. So - pictures ....

This first one is Mary Ann's dining room table, set for the luncheon.

Closeup because I "overtake" pictures of the same thing.
Below is Mary Ann's living room from the dining room. We set up 3 card tables for 9 ladies. In the background is the mantle with the family pictures.

An arrangement of pale yellow lilies with a small white flower, can't remember the name.They were our favorite, the lilies. And more family pictures on this table.
In the background of this picture is Mary Ann's piano with the other pix.

Azaleas on the mantle, with dogwood and other cut blooms.

Pictures of the old photos, enlarged. Below each picture I'm explaining who it is.

First picture: Our grandparents and Mary Hamilton's great grandparents, Ella and Elbert, in the thirties or forties. Next Picture: Mary Robinson, Mary Hamilton's grandmother at about age 5 or 6, with my oldest cousin, Bert, Mary's first nephew.

Picture on the far left: Mary Robinson aiding my sister, Mary Ann, in walking. Mary Ann was about 1, Mary was about 17 or 18. Next is Mary and John Law Robinson's wedding picture as they are going in for the reception. I've described this house and "playing 'under the house" in a much earlier post.

First Picture: Receiving line for Mary and John Law's reception. That is Vida Law Robinson and Ella Northcutt, the two mom's, MHamiltons great grandmothers. Second Picture: On the couch is my sister, Mary Ann and my cousin Suzanne, sitting at the reception of Mary and John Law.

My grandmother, Ella, July 14, 1955. The next picture is Melissa holding Mary Hamilton as a baby.

Melissa's sister, Mary Claire, on her wedding day. Standing with her is Mary H. and John Law Robinson III, Mary Hamilton's cousin. The color picture on the right is Mary Hamilton as a little girl at her grandmother's sink.

Another table setting.


In Mary Ann's den we served coffee and dessert.

Hydrangeas, which I love these too.

The lilies.

The Robinson ladies eating.

My aunt, Florence with her back to the camera, looking at her menu.

Everyone eating. All family members, cousins, sister, daughter, aunt, cousins-in-law.

So here was a bonus. On Saturday night, Martha Robinson(married to my cousin, John, and also friend of mine from high school - I've told about her) and Mary Claire (my cousin - Melissa's sister) spent the night at Mary Ann's. We'll do anything to keep from staying at a motel in E'green. Not the finest of the fine. I apologize to the hotel folks there, but we're a bit picky.

Mary Ann did get up and dressed for church, and so did Mary Claire - but not Sarah, Martha nor myself. We had coffee and visited - all of us until M.A. and M.C. had to leave for church. We even called Val Carrier to come over and join us. Martha called her and woke her up - got her out of bed. Val lives in B'ham and had ridden down with Martha and was having a weekend visit with her mom. I have also written about Val in the same post when I explained who Martha was. Anyway, we all had fun and laughed and talked and analyzed. It's what women do. I guess men do it too.

But I was anxious to see Ada who was at my house - and I don't get to see her very much - so I hurried and loaded my old Corolla and went to the tea at 2:00 and left for North Alabama.

Good to get back - but I miss everyone down there. I wish I was wealthy enough to own a second home down there - so I could just have my spot there....and here. :-)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

It's Been a Long Time

(warning - I haven't proofread this post - as I discover typo's when I go over it later, I'll change them - any reader will need to be forgiving)

February 25 was the last time I posted. Sad.

I'm actually in Evergreen, AL right now - I travelled down on Monday, leaving Charlie with all the Scottsboro stuff. Sarah arrived in Scottsboro yesterday for her spring break which doesn't really begin until next week, but all her classes after Tuesday were cancelled.

Kate leaves for China tomorrow.

Laura Beth and Ada are travelling to Scottsboro today. The Laura Beth trip was planned several months ago when I knew I'd be away during this time and unable to help Ann during this new baby stage. The plan was for LB to be there to help her. Ada will spend time with her other grandmother who lives not too far away. So - that all works out.

So - here I am. I've written in my blog that I grew up here in Evergreen, with many cousins who were like siblings to me. We've all scattered and have aged quite a bit. When, however, we were very young adults, our parents were all living, and also our grandmother. In those early years Evergreen was still the gathering place for holidays and weekends - giving all of our children opportunity to know each other.

One of my cousins, Melissa, the older daughter of my mom's youngest sister, remained in Evergreen - so her daughter grew up here amongst her great aunts - and in the same church that I've written so much about and even included pictures. When my girls would visit Evergreen with me, they would play with Mary Hamilton who is 2 years younger than Laura Beth - and then I had Sarah and Kate - so Mary Hamilton is sandwiched in between my two "daughter sets". We still call Mary Hamilton by her very long, beautiful double name, but I understand that her friends from college and young adult life now have shortened it to Mary. In this post I'll just type MH as I sometimes do for Laura Beth by typing LB. MH is getting married on April 18th and we all will have the pleasure of being in our beautiful home church where so many memories will be replayed. An additional fun thing for me is - Ellie(my oldest grandchild) has been asked to be the flowergirl. The two sons of MH's oldest cousin will be the ring bearers together. So - we're now into the 3rd level of cousins participating in this family event.

Back to this week and this weekend.

On Saturday Mary Ann and I are hosting a luncheon for MH. It's here at Mary Ann's house and all the female family members are invited. Of course not all can attend due to distance and schedules, but we do have 16 coming. Even with my having 4 daughters, Sarah is the only one who can be here and even that might not happen - but it should be a very pleasant day and event - and I am having such a good time getting ready. I've been polishing silver, which I really enjoy. I've washed napkins and ironed them - I enjoy that - and today I am washing the china that we'll be using. We're using Mother's old china which she inherited from my grandmother in Troy. It is so very old - white with handpainted gold edge and the monogram "W". We are also using some of my china which I selected, when I married, to blend with Mothers. It, too, is a creamy white(offwhite) with gold edge. And we'll be using mine and mother's stemware.

The menu consists of old family recipes with which we are all familiar. The theme is family and reunion and what we've known for so many years. I'll post the menu with recipes after Saturday. Don't want to reveal secrets before the luncheon.

I'm enjoying this rare opportunity of spending 7 or 8 days here in Evergreen - I've written that Mother and her oldest sister, Lucille, have passed away. But Florence and Mary are here. Of course, it's Mary's granddaugher who is getting married - so the "Robinsons" are all into the whole wedding thing right now. Mary Ann and I visited with (cousin) Melissa and (aunt) Mary on Tuesday and we couldn't stop talking about everything - so fun -

I think this afternoon Mary Ann and I will go over to Florence's and see her. We've been rather busy and haven't had much visiting time. But I want to see her before the luncheon to get in all of our visiting - because one on one will be difficult to do on Saturday with everyone here.

I brought my camera and tool for downloading - so I expect to post pictures following the luncheon. Perhaps before the luncheon. Time permitting.

That's my update.

Why haven't I been posting? Brain just went into a fog - during those final dreary winter days - I needed sunshine and warmth to clean out the cobwebs, I suppose. I don't know - didn't even email much - Mary Ann said she was concerned about me, because I was not emailing at all. She and I do email quite a bit - we prefer that to lengthy time on the phone. Finally, we'll just call each other and get so tickled.

I remember in my last post I said I'd type those special passages from God's word, when I couldn't think of anything on my own to write. I didn't even do that. It never works for me to say "what I will post" - because I don't usually follow through. It's always spontaneous for me in this blogging project. By the way - isn't blog an odd word for this thing we do? I don't think it is a very pretty word and would prefer another - but I don't know what it would be. Who thought of blogging? Weird. But a nice concept in our age of computers and cyberspace.

I have to go and wash more China.