Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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TBT–Granddad’s Garden

Whenever I think about Grandmother and Granddad, there’s usually food involved. Delicious, wonderful, fantastic food.

Grandmother and Granddad

Grandmother and Granddad

One of my first memories is of Granddad Ray’s garden there in Old ‘Ford on the other side of the garage. For as long as I can remember, Granddad always had a garden. Or three. Once, I got in trouble for picking his green tomatoes.

“Honest. All I did was look at the thing and it came off in my hand.” (Not sure they believed it.)

Sometimes in the summertime, we’d get to go to the farm and work with Granddad, and that usually meant we’d go to his garden. That was the best job ever, because Granddad usually took sweet lemonade (actually, a sweet orangy-lemon drink) and we got to eat a watermelon or two if they were ripe. Fresh, warm tomatoes, right off the vine, made lunch delicious!

We lived next door to Grandmother and Granddad in C-Town (and in the same house with them in Old ‘Ford) and had lunch with Grandmother most days.

Grandmother and Granddad, a few years later

Grandmother and Granddad, a few years later

Granddad didn’t just raise lots of food, he shared the veggies with the whole family, and very lucky friends.

I loved it in the spring when he dug new potatoes. Grandmother would boil them, slip off the peels and then fry the whole boiled potatoes! She’d also cook new potatoes in with the green beans Granddad raised. Bacon drippings gave it the best flavor! Spring onions and a bowl of those green beans was a meal that would make your tongue lap your brains out! (That’s a Daddy/Granddad saying.)

Sometimes, Grandmother would fry the mountain of squash that Granddad brought in. She’d cut up a crookneck in thin slices, soak them in salt water, coat them in flour and fry. YUM-MY! Better than potato chips. (Grandma Reeves wouldn’t eat squash because she said it was “poor folks’ food.” Made me glad to be poor!)

 

Notice, there’s a theme here. Fry it or add bacon drippings to it (or fry it in bacon drippings) and no matter what you’re cooking, it’ll taste great! (And your grandchildren will have very happy memories about the time they spent with you.) Might not be the healthiest eats in the world, but it made me feel very loved.

Do you have foody memories of your grandparents? What’s your favorite?

 


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Breakfast Pizza WITH CHOPPED GREEN CHILIS, Anyone?

Every Tuesday, our field guys have a safety meeting. Brother Jeffrey is usually in charge, which means he gets the speaker (or does the speaking) and the food. I don’t know about the speakers, but I know the food is great. The office gets the leftovers, and we put them away! YUM!!!

In the time honored tradition of Granddad Ray, Brother Jeffrey is a great cook.

Sometimes he makes whomp ’em or frozen cinnamon rolls, but usually he makes biscuits and gravy, piggies in a blanket or breakfast pizza.

I assisted in the breakfast pizza prep this week, so I’m going to share what I learned with you. 🙂

breakfast-jeffrey

Here’s what you need:0

  • 1# sausage. (He used hot.)
  • 8 eggs. (He likes extra large.)
  • 6 slices white bread
  • a squeeze of mustard.
  • 1 CAN CHOPPED GREEN CHILIS (sorry, I left this out earlier.)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese.
  • 1/4 tsp salt.

Brown the sausage and drain on a paper towel.

breakfast-brown

While the sausage is cooling, beat the eight eggs and cut the bread into 1/2 inch cubes. Mix the eggs and bread, stirring well. Add sausage, salt, mustard and cheese. AND CHOPPED GREEN CHILIS (that I forgot earlier)

breakfast-stir

When everything is well mixed, put in a prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until the eggs are set.

breakfast-bake

Top with salsa and yum!

If I were making it for G-Man and me, I’d be tempted to add mushrooms to the mix, and maybe a few green onions, just to layer a little more flavor. 🙂

It’s even better when you add the CHOPPED GREEN CHILIS.


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All Welcome Cafe

Okay, I didn’t do what I thought I would do yesterday, but I almost did.

Here’s what happened. Sunday, Sister Debbie (gorgeous, isn’t she?)

debtold me she’d volunteered, but mentioned as far as she knew, she’d be on her own.

Always up for an adventure, I said I’d help. 🙂 So I went to work early, then an hour and a half later, I took off and ended up parked here.

manna-crossThose red notes nailed to the cross are prayer requests.

manna-outreach

This is the door into the Manna Café.

“All are welcome. All are welcome!”

Manna is a place in C-Town where anyone can eat, and there’s no charge. Age, job status, lifestyle, bad attitude, no matter.

Everybody really is welcome.

When the volunteers get there, they look at this.

manna-menu

to find out what they’re preparing. Everything is there, and the volunteers run with it.

manna-chickenYesterday’s fare was fried chicken (might have been oven fried, but it looked delicious!) mashed potatoes with REAL potatoes, gravy and salad.

And dessert? The cutest cake you’ve ever seen.

manna-cakeIsn’t it adorable? Someone spent some time decorating that cake, and it was donated to The Café.

Sister Debbie (the clown on the right)

deb clownwas mistaken though. She had lots of partners volunteering at the café.

manna-workersPreachers’ wives, homeschooling moms, homeschooled kids, retired people and even someone I didn’t know (imagine that!) all showed up to help out.

The kitchen is professional in every way. I’d love to have a gorgeous stove and oven like theirs in my home! Except I’d have to do way more cooking than I do if I had it. Twice a year big-deal-meals just wouldn’t be enough.

The part of the café where the patrons eat is beautiful, clean and very welcoming.

manna-kids  This is a volunteer, not a partaker. Nice kiddo, too!

manna-servingThis is on the wall in the kitchen. Love it!

The really sad part? They didn’t need me. 😦 There were so many volunteers, I was extra baggage.

So I went back to work, where I tried to talk my co-workers into going back for free lunch, but I got no takers.

I got to help cook at work, though. I’ll tell you more about that, and add a recipe, another day.

Anyone remember what manna is, who ate it and what it tasted like? BTW: The answer doesn’t have to be from personally experiencing it. LOL!


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Lock Your Doors!

Marilyn Pappano, whose newest book, In the Enemy’s Arms, is on shelves now–and it’s fabulous, tells a joke about being from a Small Town World where the only time you lock your doors is during zucchini season. Guess what?

It’s time! 🙂

Most of my family LOVES squash. I remember eating it as a kid with ketchup, but I got smarter after that.

Grandma Reeves wouldn’t eat it at all. Mama could fry up a big platter, and Grandma would just pass it along. “I don’t eat squash. It’s poor folks’ food!”

“Then I’m a poor folk.” Daddy grinned big. “Pass that squash over here.”

We told our kids it was grown up food, and they couldn’t have any. Funny how that makes them beg for it! (It worked until they figured out what we were doing.)

I like straight or crook neck (yellow) ever better than zucchini, but I don’t quibble if someone else cooking. IT’S ALL GOOD.

You know how they tell you in church that you can’t out give God? You can’t out give a squash plant, either. It’s the gift that just keeps on giving. You can batter and fry the blossoms or eat the whole fruit.

The squash itself can be fried, baked, stuffed, boiled, broiled, sautéed or made into a casserole or dessert bread. (There’s not much better than zucchini bread. Yuuuum!) I’ve read you can even put leftover stewed squash in white bread, but I’ve never tried it.

When G-Man and I were first married, we were very successful at growing squash. (Hey, if you water it, it will grow.) We cooked that stuff every way we could think of. And we froze it.

If you freeze squash, don’t let your dog unplug the deep freeze. Bags of frozen squash left to defrost and sit a few days before you find is a real mess. (Blech.)

My absolute favorite way to eat squash is fried. Yuuummy goodness.

Here’s how Mama taught me–

First you slice the small fruit into a bowl of salted water.

 Keep the slices thin.

Dredge the slices in salted flour. (I’ve found that just salty water, the way Mama did it, isn’t enough seasoning.)

 Shake off the excess flour and fry the slices in oil. I use Cannola Oil, but any vegetable oil works. I don’t deep fry my squash, but you could.

Then you just set them on the table and watch them disappear. If they make it to the table. Sometimes it’s a toss up–will we leave any to serve with dinner? 😉

So–that’s my favorite way to prepare squash. Please–someone share their favorite zucchini bread recipe with me. I’ve never baked it. 🙂

My hibiscus–just for fun.


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Designer Chicken House

Chickens

When was the last time you were in a chicken hen house? Unless you gathered eggs just this morning, I’ve got you beat! I was in one yesterday. 🙂

Technically, it’s not a chicken house yet since it hasn’t had any chickens in it. (Except me.) It’s a gonna-be CH. That’s G-Man up there, putting a vent in the roof so the chickens won’t melt in the hot weather.

And, no, it’s not a chicken mobile home so it won’t always have wheels. It’s on a trailer because it’s going to my dad’s house sometime in the near future so he and his wife (and kids, I’m hoping!) will have organic fresh, fresh, fresh eggs.

One of the things I like best about Dad’s wife is her healthy way of feeding my dad. She likes organic and fresh and healthy. Smart lady! So she’s thrilled to have fresh eggs in the near future. (I’m hoping to cash in on a few eggs myself.)

My man was hard at work (hence the serious look) but he stopped for a moment so I could take his picture.

These are the chicken boxes (nests) and roosts. If you were a chicken, wouldn’t you want to live here? I would!

I’m thinking I might campagne for a potting shed made out of one of these buildings. With G-Man’s carpenter skills, it could be perfect!

This is the front door. The one the humans will use.

The little hole at the bottom is the door for the chickens. And the picture window is so they can see the lake. 😉 Not really. It’s so they won’t smother in the summertime. (They’ve made sure it’s breathable in there.)

  It’s a good-sized picture window, isn’t it? I hope the chickens enjoy their designer house, because I plan to enjoy their eggs.

When I was a little kid in Old Ford, we had chickens that lived in a house out behind our yard, but it wasn’t nearly as nice a chicken house as this one. There were several little brown hens and one big, mean rooster that lived there.

I stayed far away from that rooster because he liked to flog humans if he could.

Once the bad boy just smacked me on the knee with his wing and it felt like I’d skinned it on the sidewalk. It hurt!

Then one day, Grandmother was outside hanging out clothes on the line and the silly rooster snuck up on her and started the flapping-kicking-pecking-attack-thing he liked to do.

The next day we had chicken and noodles for dinner–courtesy of Mr. White Rooster. 🙂 Grandmother made the best noodles in the world! (Click on best noodles and it’ll take you to her recipe.) And Whitey wasn’t so bad himself.

Have you ever been in a chicken house? Did you ever chase your grandma’s chickens to see if they’d lay square eggs?

Want to compare notes?

 


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Three F’s

For as long as I can remember, Grandmother and Granddad had their family over for Christmas Eve. We’d eat homemade candy, desserts and goodies and open the gift the G’s had for us. Then we’d watch while they open our gifts.

After they were gone, that tradition had to change. It was decided that we’d combine the office Christmas party and the family party. Since much of the family is part of the business, that makes a lot of sense.

This year, we got together again. And, no surprise, we had a great time. (At least I did.)

 This is the pair who does all the planning and worrying, and they send out the invitations. (And we haven’t been disappointed yet!)

The food is always DELICIOUS. (And we’ve been a bunch of places over the years.)

And this was to keep us from starving BEFORE we got our steaks. (Talk about yum!)

 We get to visit with people we love and don’t get to see often enough. And we get to wear our Christmas sweaters. There’s never enough Christmas sweater time.

Everybody who possibly can makes it a point to be there.

Young , , ,

And not quite as young. (Except at heart.)

We have fun

Fun!

 FUN!

Food, Fun and Family. What could be better than that?


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Breakfast is Ready!

A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. Proverbs 31:10-11.

Those verses describe my mom exactly!

The article below was published in C-Town’s paper, THE CLEVELAND AMERICAN, back in 1986. I have it laminated and keep it on my desk at work.

It has several of Mom’s favorite breakfast recipes. Try a few. You (and your family) will be glad you did!

Lori Lucas, the coordinator of the article, is the author of the blog, “I’ve Got a Big Story to Tell.” Take the time to go visit. She grew up in C-Town, so you know she’s good people!