Family Traditions – following my grandma’s footsteps

IMG_1063 Growing up, we spent most Thanksgivings with my mom’s family. They are incredibly fond memories for me and my brother. The food, the fun, and the family. Up until recently, I didn’t participate in the preparation of our family Thanksgiving dinners. My grandma did most of the cooking with some help from my mom and my aunts.

IMG_3142About eight years ago as my grandma started getting older, I began helping her prepare her pies. Mostly, I peeled, cored, and sliced the apples for her, because it bothered her hands. I wasn’t ready for much more than that. I could barely boil water at the time. So I watched and learned and participated in the process. After a few years I began to feel comfortable with the whole process. And little by little, I began to partake in the pie making process. And now, I do most of the work and have been for about four years now. So every year, the day before Thanksgiving and on Christmas Eve, I go over to my grandma’s house for a morning of pie making. We have a big family, so we make a total of six pies; blackberry, apple, and pumpkin.

I really enjoy these days with my grandma. We spend a lot of the time talking. I get to hear stories from my grandma about her childhood and her family. Things I didn’t know before and wouldn’t have learned if I didn’t spend these days with my grandma. Our pie tradition has many benefits; two of which I feel are the most beneficial. First, I am learning a skill from my grandma that I can pass on to my daughter and so on. I’m keeping the tradition alive. And second, I am learning about family ancestors I never had the chance to meet or know well. It’s great. Something I look forward to the day when I get to do it with my granddaughter. Hopefully later than sooner, it you know what I mean.

     

Banana whaat?

IMG_3760Planning my wedding was one off the funniest things I have ever done. Trying to plan a magical and memorable day both my husband and I would always remember. I am not afraid to say that I made most of the decisions about what we would do and have. In the beginning I would ask my husband for his opinion, but in true guy fashion, he never seemed all that enthused about the decisions. Which bummed me out a little, because I needed him to be as excited about it all as I was. So I started to make the decisions on my own with the help of my mom and my friends. But after a while, I started to feel guilty for cutting him out of the process all together. So I came up with a plan (that at the time seemed ingenious) that would allow him to be apart of the process without raining on my parade. I would do all of the research on food, music, the cake; and come home knowing what we should decide. Then I would present our options to my husband and ask him his opinion. This seemed to almost always backfire, because for some reason, he always picked the opposite of what I had already decided on. Figures, right? So eventually I scrapped the whole thing and just made all the decisions on my own.

Finally I came up with a way to let him be involved, that doubled as a special surprise for him. I decided that we should do a Groom’s Cake. I had it all worked out in my head, I was going to have the baker make a replica of his track jersey and medal from the Olympic Trials. I knew he’d love it. All I needed was for him to do was select the flavor of the cake and the frosting. Easy, right? A very harmless decision. Or so I thought. What flavor does he pick, but Banana with a banana cream filling! My jaw practically hit the floor. “Banana what?” I ask. And he was so serious. He wanted an entire cake made in a banana flavor. He was so proud of himself. And all I kept envisioning was all this leftover banana cake, because nobody would eat any. So once again, I vetoed his decision. Or at least a kind of a compromise. The majority of the cake was chocolate with a peanut butter filling. Delicious. And the replica of his medal was made in his favorite banana nut cake with a banana filling.

Groom's Cake

So most of you might be thinking that I am a total control freak, and that’s okay. You may be right. But I will tell you that He only ate one piece of that cake and the rest got thrown out. And I can tell you that I have not lost any sleep over my decision. So this leads me to my share for the day. My husband’s very favorite Banana Bread recipe. I hope you like it.

 

Curious George’s Banana Bread

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 lg. Eggs, Beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups Bananas, mashed (5 Bananas)
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Canola Oil
  • 1/4 cup Walnuts, crushed

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Grease and lightly flour a 9 x 5 x 3″ loaf pan.  Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
  4. Make a well in the center of your flour mixture.  Then set aside.
  5. In a medium bowl, combine eggs, bananas, sugar, and oil.  Mixing well until smooth.
  6. Pour egg mixture into your well all at once.  Stir just until moistened.  Your batter should be lumpy.
  7. With a spatula, fold in your nuts.
  8. Spoon batter into your prepared pan.
  9. Bake loaf for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  10. Cool pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Remove bread from pan and cool on wire rack.

A Daddy’s Legacy

IMG_2374So far I have gone on and on about my transformation from an Auntie to a Mommy, like I’m the only one going through changes. When the truth is, lots of lives have changed since Aaliyah was born. My husband’s life has changed almost as much as mine has. And I do mean almost as much. That wasn’t a slip of the tongue. And like me, there are things that he really looks forward to sharing with our daughter. One of his greatest wishes is to introduce Aaliyah to the wonderful world of dirt bikes and quads. He’s been taking about getting her a little starter quad since I was about 5 months pregnant. And he gets so excited when he talks about it. It’s kind of cute.

IMG_2319So this weekend, we took Aaliyah out to Glamis for the very first time. Her Dad’s favorite place to go. It wasn’t only her first trip, but it was also her Grandma and Grandpa Angel’s first trip too! A huge milestone for all of us. Aaliyah was a little too young to really enjoy herself, seeing that she is only 2 1/2 months old. But we did discover that she travels well and can survive camping out in the desert. And as a bonus, my parents loved being out there as well. So it looks like we’ll have some company out on our future trips! The weather was beautiful, and we spent most of our time hanging out on Grandpa’s patio listening to his playlists.

 

IMG_2353George did most of the riding, but Aaliyah did get to sit in the RZR for a bit. She wasn’t quite old enough to go for a ride just yet. But you’d never know it listening to her dad. He’s already seriously talking about the Quad he wants to buy her when she’s two. It’s cute. We even got Grandma and Grandpa Angel to go riding through the dunes in the RZR. John even went through the big dunes over to Olds and on over to Ghecko. I think he really enjoyed it!

It was a very peaceful first trip. Aaliyah loved hanging out with her grandma and grandpa. And George and I loved having some family out there. I think that we are going to have to continue the tradition, especially since Aaliyah enjoyed herself so much. Looks like we might be making another trip for New Years! So thank you Grandma and Grandpa for making Aaliyah’s first trip to the sandbox a great one!!IMG_2334