I sent a package of brownies and apples from our tree to my son and daughter-in-law who live on the east coast. For their 6th wedding anniversary in December, I created a cookbook of my son’s favorite foods and family recipes. It’s a project I intended to present to them as a wedding gift, but it took a bit longer than that to complete! I added lots of pictures from their childhood and throughout the past six years. I titled it Mommy Love. Best Loved Foods of Most Loved Angel Boy. This is the cover photo:
Here’s the brownie recipe; it’s one of my most requested! I usually make a simple cocoa-based frosting but I was out of butter, so I spread a thin layer of Nutella over the top and sprinkled chopped raw almonds so when I packed them for mailing, they wouldn’t stick.|
½ cup vegetable oil (you can use part melted butter)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp each vanilla and cold coffee
1/3 cup cocoa
½ cup flour
¼ tsp baking
Grease 8×8 or 9×9 pan. Whisk oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla/coffee. Combine dry ingredients, add, and mix well. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes, until edges pull away from pan. Don’t bake too long or they will be dry.
These are great plain or try my easy Nutella topping!
Our fruit trees are doing great this year; lots of apples, strawberries, and mulberries. It is a never-ending pleasure to go outside and pick apples just a few steps away from the back door. The mulberry tree was a volunteer; I didn’t actually plant it, but it bears a lot of fruit. The only disappointment is the plum tree–take a look at the $25 plum (the only one on the tree!) I planted the veg garden late this year, so my MM would be able to enjoy it all. Last year, he was gone the entire summer and missed it. When I got back from my son’s graduation, I planted cucumbers, tomatoes, chard, kale, spinach, zucchini, peppers, and 3 different kinds of lettuce. Everything sprouted, including dill, cilantro, basil, fennel, and sage.
But garden bounty isn’t the only thing my MM misses—there are birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, Mother’s/Father’s Day. The first few special days that he wasn’t home for were gloomy and depressing, but his solution to that is to make up for it all when he comes home, so we just plan delayed celebrations, and that is fine with me! I haven’t talked to him since last Saturday but he was able to call today, and we had a brief conversation that lasted exactly three minutes. He didn’t remember that it was Father’s Day, but he is actually a day ahead, so it is Monday for him. I think it makes everything a lot easier all the way around to be or to become flexible and not get upset about little things.
Hello Kitty…I am not sure if I can pinpoint the exact moment when I first became aware of Hello Kitty. With a son, it was never really on my radar as he was growing up. Shelves full of dinosaurs and skateboards were the aisles we aimed for at Toys R Us. I guess it was more of a gradual appeal; a (grown-up) friend wore a Hello Kitty watch and I was drawn to the Swarovski crystals surrounding HK’s face, I walked by a Hello Kitty display at Target (great point of purchase placement)– or maybe it was always hovering in my subconscious, fermenting and fomenting—until one day I succumbed. I was hooked. I fell in love with that adorable face. One watch led to a ring and to a matching bracelet and then slippers, and OMG the cutest hat with an anchor! (!!!! had to have it, right? It was a nautical theme) OK, most people associate HK with little girls, but did you know that there is a secret society of adult women who collect HK? More often than not, when I wear my HK t-shirt, I’ll be approached by women I do not know who will ask me if I “collect”. It’s like the Skull and Bones society intended for women “of a certain age.” Haha. An ADULT COLLECTOR OF HK. I was recently at the Baltimore Airport during a layover and a Southwest employee saw my HK watch and struck up a convo about her collection, which includes the HK toaster, which I really need to get. We were whispering, “Are you one of us?” “Yes, tell me what you have” and we each listed the items in our collection. There we were, two college educated women of adult children, I am not kidding. It was surreal. I mean, who wants to talk about the depressing economy or the upcoming election? BORING!!! Hello Kitty is a sweet, innocent diversion that makes us happy. Since I am relatively new to the whole HK phenomenon, and I really can’t for the life of me understand the appeal, I wanted to explore the psychology of adult women who are drawn to HK and thought someone should write their dissertation about the marketing genius of this huge pink kitty head with a bow. And sparkles. And I just now found a blog on WordPress that seems to be a dissertation,check out http://hellokittydevotee.wordpress.com/dissertation/
BTW, HK is worth about $500 BILLION yearly in licensing. And finally the ultimate…did you know that HK teamed up with one of Taiwan’s biggest airlines? What a great experience–a Hello Kitty extravaganza; from meals to mascots to boarding passes. Here’s pix of my very small collection: