Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Granny Hasty and the Great Pork Roast Rescue!

Granny Hasty and the Great Pork Roast Rescue
I moved away from home when I was 20 and started keeping house as the old timers would refer to it.  As a kid, I hated being in the kitchen and as a result never learned to cook.  My mom was a decent cook overall, but a really good cook when it came to traditional dinners.  She could whip up a mean country fried steak dish or a baked ham that would put Honey Baked Ham to shame.  Mom would also make a Blondie cookie bar that was to die for, but only on special occasions.  More than not, we had chunky soup over rice for dinner.  And oh my goodness....I ate toasted tuna fish sandwiches every Sunday after church.  This is not a dramatic statement, we seriously had toasted tuna every Sunday until I was about 13 and my parents divorced.  Some good things came out of that situation : )!  You will NEVER find a can of tuna or chunky soup in my kitchen.
Granny Hasty's cooking was a whole different story.  She had a few dishes that she did well, but she really loved her pepper.  Granny would make a dish called "Sweet Spaghetti".  It was like someone had dumped 3 cups of sugar into the sauce and poured it over noodles.  YUCKO!  I will say she made great fried chicken and an awesome chocolate pound cake.  But that's about it.  Despite her lack of cooking skills, I loved my Granny to the moon and back.  I could talk to her about anything.  I remember that she played with us and walked me to school everyday when I was in 1st grade although it put great strain on her back.  It's no wonder when I set up housekeeping, she was the first person I called when I ran into trouble.  And so the story really begins....
I became brave one weekend and wanted to cook a roast for my husband for dinner.  I went to Kroger, purchased the roast and followed the recipe I had.  My mom had made me a recipe binder with recipes from all of the women in our family.  I still have that binder and treasure it even more 20 years later.  I followed the directions to a "t".  The house smelled wonderful and I was so excited to show off my cooking skills to my new husband.  As I pulled the roast out of the oven I noticed that the meat was white and not reddish/brown like I remember eating growing up.  Yep, you guessed it...I bought a pork roast. 
In a panic, I called my grandmother.  I wanted to make my roast the same color as the familiar ones I had as a kid.  The only thing I could think of was to add red food coloring to the meat and let it soak to absorb the color.  When I proceeded to ask my grandmother if she thought that idea would work, she burst out laughing.  Not just a little, but for several minutes.  When she finally got her breath back, I remember her saying how crazy I was and then started laughing again. We did decide that if I really felt like it needed something, I could add barbecue sauce.  I mixed up ketchup and mustard  and smeared it on top of the roast.  It tasted horrible and I did not have anything else to add to it at this point as we were really poor back then.  I did not have the heart to call my granny back again knowing that my barbecue recipe may send her over the edge in another laughing fit.
So, as I am taking butternut squash cheese souffles out of the oven today I am thinking of my Granny Hasty.  I've come along way baby!  Wish you were here to taste test and I hope that I did you proud.  Thank you for being there for me during the hard times growing up as a kid and laughing with me during the crazy ones.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Addicted to Busy

I have started my day as usual.  I wake up with my husband at 4:30, we have coffee and pray we don't wake the baby as every step we take through the house would put a ballerina toe dancer to shame.  I hand him his lunch on the way out the door, get my good bye kiss and I watch the morning news. 

Within 30 minutes, I hear faint whimpers and I know the princess is summoning me for her morning bottle.  My mind is already swirling with the day's to do's.  Sophie and I watch the 2nd round of the same disheartening stories from the headlines that I saw earlier with my honey.  If I'm feeling lazy, I'll log on to Facebook and update our Red Gate Farm page or browse Pinterest.  Anything to delay washing dishes or having to do laundry.  I have learned in my transition from corporate manager to stay at home mom, that laundry and dishes multiply as you are washing them.  GRRR!

In my previous life, I was a schedule and to do list freak.  Tom and I usually had a schedule of activities booked a month in advance at any given time.  In my quest to slow down, I have realized that I was addicted to being busy.  It actually gave me some weird high. My job required me to travel the country and do the work of 3 people.  I volunteered at church, worked in the community and could not say no.  The more I could be a part of, the more I could cram in the day, the more successful I felt.  Truth was....I was withering away on the inside. 

I am so thankful that the farm stirred something in me that craved a slower life.  There was a long unfulfilled need to just "be still" that I had not paid attention to.  One of my favorite "be still" moments is watching wildlife.  Before we built our house on the hill, I commented to my husband that I would miss watching the wildlife from the kitchen window.  The cattle would come down every day and socialize around the barn, which was in direct view from the window.  I could watch the chickens peck around the yard and the baby goats jumping in the air as they began to find their legs.  The occasional bluebird would land on the electric wire that draped from the light pole right in front of the kitchen window.

When we built our new house, one of the first things my husband did was clear out the woods behind the house.  The kitchen faced the woods now, so I did not have much a view through the trees.  Little did I know what would await me in my new wildlife watching post.  I am so thankful that he did not want me to miss something that gave me so much peace. 

My husband keeps a pile of corn in the woods in front of the new window.  He takes such pride in the fact that he does this for my benefit.  I watch a herd of 5 deer each day come to the pile and take turns eating.  Birds fly back and forth through the woods all day long.  There are several types of woodpeckers that come in as well as cardinals, crows, blue jays and sparrows.  While watching the deer this morning, I had an overwhelming feeling of being blessed in that very moment.  I am reminded of Psalm 46:10...Be still and know that I am God.  His magic and wonder was all around me, even in the thickest part of the woods.

Too many times, we glorify being busy.  We forget to be still.  We forget that we need to energize our souls.  There is so much medicine in the act of being still and living in the moment.  I hope you can carve out a little time today to slow down.  There's an entire world we miss in the act of being busy.

(images taken from