Archive | January 2012

Orange Zest and DARK Chocolate Chip Cookies

Orange Zest and Dark Chocolate Chip CookiesBesides the batch of rolls I had made on January 26th, I stirred up a batch of chocolate chip cookies. Yet, these were not your ordinary chocolate chip cookies. Yes, they started out as a basic recipe, but this time I tried something different.

I added orange zest, orange flavoring and DARK chocolate chips to my favorite basic chocolate chip cookie recipe.

As a little girl, I had little appreciation for the flavors of orange and chocolate together. I do remember that Mom liked the combination. I remember that I did not. However, as it so happened, my taste for flavors changed and I found myself liking the taste of chocolate and orange together. I REALLY like it. This combination must have to do with a woman’s maturity. I’ve spoken with friends about this and most have said they experienced the same. Mom already knew.

The combination of flavors in these cookies are so good, I’ll make them again. 🙂

Recipe for Orange Zest and DARK Chocolate Chip Cookies

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A Great Influence

January SunsetMom passed away on January 26, 2003 after a courageous battle with acute myelogenous leukemia. Yet, while she is physically gone, I know she’s still with me. She still is a great influence in my life. She still helps me, by her grace, to know what is the path for me, to be confident in my choices. By following her example, I know to do what is right.

There are times when I can feel her presence, know that she’s ‘here.’ Sometimes I feel a strong influence, I know she’s had some part in something that has happened in my favor, whether it is of good fortune or a lesson learned. Sometimes, things that I did not believe I could do or never really did all that well somehow turn out great, as if she were here with me, guiding me all the way through — as with the batch of bread rolls I made on January 26th. Other times, I see a butterfly wafting by on a breeze, I know Mom’s spirit is floating by with a gentle, ‘Hello… you’re doing great kid – keep it up.” Then there are times when I am in “the right place at the right time” to see a family member, meet up with a long lost friend, take in a beautiful sunset, experience life as its best, I know Mom’s had a hand in that. In fact, I am certain she brought me to a place that I could feel comfortable reaching out to some new person in my life — the man who became my husband. The man who Mom would have dearly loved to have in our family. The man for me.

Jeff and I were married on 9.10.11 with family and friends all around. I walked in Mom’s shoes throughout my wedding… the very same shoes she wore on her wedding day, fifty-six years ago. Those must have been magic shoes, she and Dad were married for forty-seven years and had been together for fifty-two. With that kind of influence Jeff and I will be fine.

Today, January 26

My mom, Helen. The compass of our family, a great influence on my life and the lives of so many others. I am happy to be her daughter.

Today, I had taken a day off from work.

Today, out of the blue, I had decided to make some bread. I got out my favorite recipe for bread dough, along with all the equipment and ingredients.

Today, I’d take the time to make a treat for my Dad and my husband. One pan of dinner rolls and a pan of cinnamon rolls (with orange zest, dried cranberries and walnuts).

Today, I’d spoil my family.

Today, again, I’d honor my wonderful memories of Mom, Helen.

Today, I’d do something she loved to do.

She was a good cook and quite a baker. More than that, she loved doing things for her family. She really loved her family. She guided us through or over or around many of life’s obstacles, shared in our joy of accomplishment and always helped us to succeed. She was the compass of our family, a great influence on my life and the lives of so many others. I am happy to be her daughter.

After being diagnosed in 2001, she battled leukemia with all her might, all the while keeping our spirits up and showing us how this battle was to be. She passed away on January 26, 2003… (just before the Super Bowl… We have always joked that she went to get a great seat… Mom, you see, was quite the football fan. Her team won that day.).

Each January 26th since then, I have done something creative to honor her memory and to take back the day, the best I can.  I usually do graphics or some art work all day. It reminds me of the times I’d be coloring in a coloring book (or on the wall) when I was a little girl and Mom was nearby. Always nearby. By doing graphics, working with my own photos I feel that Mom is nearby.

Today, besides the graphics projects I do on this day, I made bread.

Today, I made bread for my Dad and my husband… something she would have loved to do.

Today, my home was scented as if my Mom was in my kitchen baking.

Today, I channeled my Mom… you see, I’ve never made really good bread, let alone cinnamon rolls.

Today, Mom and I made some damn good rolls.