Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Patience seems to be the predominant lesson for our entire family. The most obvious area of patience is with me, not just my being patient while "they" (the myriad of doctors and professionals) try and figure out what is causing so much pain, but also being more patient with my children and husband; with my children and husband being more patient with me, a grumpy mother who doesnt like being limited in any way imaginable; with Jeremiah learning patience with himself; Nicole having patience in begining her new season of life as she very shortly ventures off into the world; again, all of us seem to be learning patience.

I seem to be awfully testy lately. Not just with my back, but with presidential candidates; with the media who think I am more interested in Lindsey Lohan than the state of health care in the U.S.; with the unknown neighbor who is stealing my little pond gnomes; with the gnats buzzing around my doors cause I live closer to the lake; you name it, I seem to be annoyed with it. I thought, shoot, why is all of this bugging me! (sorry, no pun intended toward the gnats!)

Patience, yup, I have none, but more importantly, I have no peace. No peace in the moment. I am not being present. Okay, so you say, its kinda hard right now to not be frustrated. Gas is $4 a gallon, food prices are through the roof, we all know someone who is loosing their home, have lost their job; life looks pretty bleak. My back hurts! I cant do what I want to do, so we have a right to be testy, to be irritated, to be worried, to be impatient. We want things to change and we want them to change now. Then I asked myself, where is this getting me? I only get more frustrated, more angry, more restless, more irritated. Great. That's good. Makes for a lovely family environment (sarcasim there people). It gets me, it gets us nowhere.

What is this thing called patience? What is it that causes us to need to learn to be patient? What are we fighting against when we are fighting patience? I have thought a lot about that these last two weeks. For me, for my family and I think maybe for us all, when we are confined, limited, when we dont have access, cant control, feel helpless, we become impatient, frustrated. We want to change things and we cant. I have honed in on feeling confined, limited, frustrated and not in control. I want to change the circumstances now, but I cant. What have I not been doing, finding peace in being present in the moment. Wow, that sounds a tad bit like "patience".

What if I started being present, being peaceful. That old mantra of "the power of positive thinking". What would that look like? As for my back, well, pain meds are a good thing! They actually help. Politics, I have a choice, I have a voice. The man stealing my gnomes, I bought some more ($1.00 Walgreen ones) and am going to put a sign that says take these, the others are now bolted down! I look at my kids and think, you have the world at your feet, hurray, and so many choices. I have a job and one that I can even work at with the health problems I have. The hubby has a job for now and if not later, the skill to get a job and not be out of work. But most importantly, my faith. I have my faith. I know that I have been taken care of before, I have always been taken care of and I will continue to be taken care of, that WE will be taken care of. I remember that how He takes care of me has always been better than how I have taken care of myself.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Spaetzle is a staple in most German households, but in spite of my heavy German heritage, I did not learn to make spaetzle from my mother or grandmother, but from Eugenie Mayer Bolz. Mrs. Bolz was the granddaughter of Oscar Mayer. I was fortunate enough to spend a summer working for her as her live-in companion. I learned a tremendous amount from that amazing woman, not just about food, meats, but about her family, her history and her traditions. I later adapted this recipe, after trying spaetzle from a variety of wonderful cooks. This has become a staple in my home, with my children and I know will be passed on for generations.

2 cups of flour
4 eggs
2 t salt
8 T sour cream
Whole milk to thin out batter

Sift flour and salt. Lightly beat eggs and add to flour
mixture. Add sour cream and mix until incorporated. Add milk until
batter is the consistency of sticky dough.

Use a spaetzle maker to add to pot of boiling, salted water. Cook until noodles float to top. Drain. Heat nonstick frying pan. Add 2-3 tablespoons of butter. When butter is brown, add cooked/drained spaetzle. Fry until lightly brown, about 2 minutes. Serve immediately.
Can add noodle dough to soups as dumplings as well.

Add your favorite herbs to the batter. Thyme, rosemary, basil, then tossed in olive oil make a wonderful noodle served with lamb. Pesto is another great addition. Experiment! It is a versatile noodle that will inspire your creativity!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Recipe of the week

Food or the sharing of food is a big part of our family. It is a major component in family tradition. Not that the food is the tradition, but the tradition somehow seems to conjure up memories of a particular food. My mom was a "foodie" before the term even came into existence. One of my fondest memories as a young girl/teen was helping my mother bake 12 loaves of bread a week for our family. She would do it on Fridays and the baking would go well into the evening. I started at about 7 years old, greasing all the bread pans and collecting all the ingredients. I eventually graduated to mixing the flour and finally got to turn out the dough and mix by hand. I remember the first time I got my hands into the dough. There was something amazingly therapeutic about mixing and kneading dough by hand. To this day, even with the invention of bread makers and mixers that knead, I still prefer to do it all by hand. What was my favorite part, no matter how old I got, was buttering all the tops of the loaves after they came out of the oven; and of course, since I helped from beginning to end, I got the first piece, cut while it was still warm, with butter melting on the tops and running down the slice! I think that's where I developed my addiction to carbs! It is not so much the act of making the bread that stands out in my mind, but the interaction with my mom. We had a large family and one-on-one moments were rare, but this was my moment. I remember her stories, rememberances of her mom and her grandmother; making bread, milking the cows; stories of her sisters and life on a farm. I wouldn't have heard those stories, had those memories to treasure, if it didn't involve the "chore" of making bread.

With my mother gone now for almost 5 years, my children and I really cherish those memories. She lives on in the messy pages of her pie cookbook, the one where the binding is literally in shreds and now sits in a Ziploc bag to hold it together; or the handwritten notes on the pages of her favorite cookbook, where she changed ingredients or even left notes in the corners to "remember" what worked or didnt work with the recipe. She was famous for her lemon meringue pie, with the meringue sometimes as high as 4" and perfectly brown. The lemon custard was sweet, but not overpowering. I still have yet to try it on my own, but I think this is the weekend I will finally do it.

Every week we will post a recipe, a family recipe. One of those recipes you make, that your mother made and her mother made. Today, in honor of Mom, we'll start with the lemon meringue pie. Enjoy!

Best-Ever Lemon Meringue Pie

Baked 9" shell
1-1/2 c sugar
1-1/3 c water
1/2 t salt
1/2 c cornstarch
1/3 c water
4 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1/2 c lemon juice
3 T butter
1 t grated lemon peel
4 egg whites
1/4 t salt
1/2 c sugar

Combine sugar, 1-1/2 c water and salt in saucepan. Heat to boiling.

Mix cornstarch and 1/3 c water to make smooth paste; add to boiling mixture gradually, stirring constantly; cook until thick and clear. Remove from heat.

Combine egg yolks and lemon juice; stir into thickened mixture. Return to heat and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture bubbles again. Remove from heat. Stir in butter and lemon peel. Cover and cool until lukewarm.

For meringue: Add salt to egg white; beat until frothy. Gradually add 1/2 c sugar, beating until glossy peaks are formed. Stir 2 rounded tbs of meringue into lukewarm filling.

Pour filling into cool pie shell. Pile remaining meringue on top and spread lightly over filling, spreading evenly to edge of crust.

Bake in slow oven (325 degrees F) about 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool on rack at least 1 hour before cutting.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Starting in the Middle

So we have succomed. Given in. No longer have we resisted the blogger world. With Nicole going away to school this fall and friends and family being scattered literally, around the world, its almost like its become a necessity. Besides, both Tom and I like to write, upload photos, connect with people, so why resist the obvious!

NICOLE GRADUATED! The middle child is now half-way out the door! She has worked hard and overcome much. We are incredibly proud of her. She leaves for Viterbo University in August. As I watch her get ready, I cant help but to go back 30 years. That excitment of finally feeling like everyone will treat you like an adult, being able to make all your own decisions, having this entire life ahead of you that you can create.

They all are growing up. Jeremiah will be the only one at home this fall. Its quiet a lot. I have more time for all those things I love. It feels strange, almost selfish. Tom and I are home alone more nights than we have kids at home. I am sure I will get used to it. No, I know I will get used to it!

So we move into a new season of life. Lots of unknowns and lots of can-do's. Sort of like what Nicole is looking ahead to. Gee, I guess change isnt so bad after all. The things we get to learn from our children!