One of my very favorite finds from getting to know my grandmother Lucie's recipes is this:
This is so versatile! Five ingredients, used in different ratios, can make four different recipes. Lucie kept her homemade recipe chart taped inside her cupboard door, where I imagine she could quickly glance at the measurements as she made a meal for her family of eight children.
You don't need to buy a box of expensive mix with added anti-caking agents when you can stock your pantry with the basics and go from there. The possibilities are endless: Strawberry Shortcake (we make if from frozen berries in the winter), Chicken Pot Pie, Biscuits and Gravy, Apple Dumplings.
I've been wanting to share this recipe chart with my readers for a while, and now it's ready, and for FREE. It's my thank-you for stopping by. Please share with a friend if you like, and happy cooking!
No post today, but I wanted to share with you that my writing will be published in the upcoming Remedy Quarterly Issue 16: Change, coming out next week. I'm so excited that this is my first "real" publication in a beautiful independent journal that's all about food and story. If you'd like a copy, you can preorder here: http://remedyquarterly.bigcartel.com/
Once upon a Friday it was 25 cent book day at school. I forgot to send money, so one child borrowed from her teacher, another bummed from a friend, and the youngest found a quarter on the floor for his purchase. I don’t know whether to be embarrassed or proud of their resourcefulness. Mostly I feel like I let those quarters slip through the cracks because we’ve been so busy these days.
Life has been hectic since we embarked on what I like to call The Double Income Trap Experiment. Because of the crazy busy, my large extended family has taken turns helping us cover the bases. It feels great to have help.
Wait a minute.
That last sentence was a complete lie.
I hate asking for help. Independence is my middle name, and my inner child is forever stamping her feet with crossed arms demanding “Do. It. My. Self!”
Asking for help requires me to admit that I don’t have all the answers and am incapable of handling it all. If that’s true, then I must rely on others, trust them not to disappoint me, and let go of my imagined control over every outcome.
But worst of all, accepting help evokes feelings of gratitude, which sits awfully close to guilt in my auditorium of emotions.
Let me tell you about Gratitude in my world. Gratitude is this little old lady, a slow mover with a cane who says “Thank you Dear” a lot. She really is sweet. But when she starts creaking out of her seat to speak, her seatmate Guilt jealously rushes the stage and steals the show.
Guilt is a diva.
Although she is entertaining, she is prone to creating drama and stretching truths in order to stay in the spotlight. When she steps ups to the microphone, Guilt announces (loudly, and with flair) that I shouldn’t need help. She lectures on and on that I should always be the one giving help, not receiving, and that if I had my act together I wouldn’t be a burden to others.
It’s seductive. When I give Guilt my full attention, she ekes out every second, well into the orchestra’s walking music, and only stops when the cameras cut to commercial.
By the time Gratitude climbs up on stage (assisted by Grace and Humility), Guilt has carried me off to the after-party along with her best friends Perfection and Control Freak for a night of bawdy bad decisions. Gratitude might deliver a beautiful speech, but nobody is there to listen.
When I do tell Guilt to stay parked and wait for Gratitude, this is what I hear:
Accepting help is not a weakness. It takes strength to be vulnerable and admit you don’t have all of the answers/skills/power.
Accepting help builds relationships and feeds our souls, if we let it.
And here’s the hard truth: Guilt is so seductive because she shines the spotlight on me.Gratitude requires me to focus on others.
I arrived home from work one day to my husband and daughter making Peanut Butter Cookies together for the school bake sale. Guilt started with a whisper:
“You’re the Mom, you should be the one doing this.
Cookies aren’t good enough—didn’t you see some other Mom bring in fancy decorated cupcakes last time?
If you didn’t work so much maybe you would have time for your daughter”.
But then I stopped Guilt in her tracks: I stretched out the shepherd’s hook, yanked her off stage, and kicked her out the backstage door. Gratitude came along and pointed out that my husband and daughter were happily bonding and I was off the hook after a long day. Besides, I stink at making cookies, you might remember, and these cookies were a thing of beauty.
And the auditorium gave the old lady a standing ovation.
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Cream the butter and sugars together. Stir in the egg, vanilla. Add the peanut butter and mix.
In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Add to the peanut butter mixture and mix thoroughly. Roll the dough into balls and place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten each cookie with a fork. Sprinkle with sugar, if desired. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes. Cool on sheet for 3 minutes, then remove from cookie sheet to cool completely.