Chilly Mornings and Cinnamon Toast

Recently someone on Facebook shared a link an article by Pioneer Woman about how to make the Cinnamon Toast the right way.  You can read it for yourself here on Rhee Drummond’s Pioneer Woman website: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/the-right-way-and-the-wrong-way-to-make-cinnamon-toast/

Of course, I already knew the right way to make cinnamon toast but I followed the link anyway.  Now I admit, in a pinch I have been known to toast a piece of bread, butter it, and add cinnamon and sugar. That isn’t cinnamon toast-it is toast with cinnamon and sugar.  It’s tasty, but nothing like the taste of REAL cinnamon toast.

When I was a little girl, admittedly life was simpler.  We lived in a tiny town…village…whatever you call a collection of about 15-20 houses.  Our front yard was large and was often filled with the neighborhood children as we  played games like Red Light/Green Light, Mother May I, and Red Rover.  I am blessed to have 5 brothers and sisters, so even if the neighborhood children were not around, we still had plenty of kids to share games, secrets, chores and fun. Being one of the youngest, I got a lot of hand me down clothes and I was proud of that.  I still remember the beautiful mint green dresses my sisters had.  If I remember correctly they had butterflies on them.  I couldn’t wait until they would be passed down to me.

We weren’t wealthy and I’m glad.  We had a huge garden, which probably helped me develop my own love of gardening.  (That and the fact that I never liked to do the dishes and would rather work outside.) Our meals were not fancy, but I thought they were the most wonderful meals on earth.  Looking back, I know that Mama and Daddy put a lot of love in the family to make everything stretch. I’m not sure how they did it, but I never felt deprived in any way.

Back to the cinnamon toast.  Every so often mama would make hot chocolate and cinnamon toast.  Six or eight slices of bread would fit on her cookie sheet.  She spread each slice with butter, and then sprinkled the cinnamon and sugar on the bread.  After a few minutes in the oven, we were treated with the most delicious REAL cinnamon toast I have ever tasted.  For an early breakfast or a rare bedtime snack, there was nothing better. The oven warmed the kitchen and the toast warmed our heart and set the tone for the day.  I don’t know where mama learned to make cinnamon toast the right way…maybe from her mama.  Of course now that I am thinking back, I don’t remember us even having a toaster back then.

So when that Facebook link was posted, it immediately took me back to fond childhood memories of chilly mornings and cinnamon toast. I would write more about the subject, but I’m busy. Its a little chilly and  I think I have earned a cup of hot tea and cinnamon toast!

Death of a Garden

It is hard to accept the fact that my gardening time might be over.

This morning I woke up at 3:15 a.m. thinking it surely must be time to get up.  It wasn’t.  I laid there for a while, tossed and turned for a while, checked in case anyone else who couldn’t sleep had sent me a message.  My tummy grumbled that it was hungry but I tried to ignore it completely. Finally I saw the fingers of dawn tap on my window.  Dressing hurriedly I walked outside thinking I could put in some major garden time.  We’ve had tons of rain, so it pulling weeds should be a snap.  My feet aren’t working so well today, but I thought a short time in the soft soil shouldn’t hurt too badly.

A few feet from the garden I stopped in dismay.  Weeds were clearly the healthiest plant growing. Because of the weather it has been a few days since I had been in my quiet spot.  Extreme heat and humidity kept me out of the garden most of the days, and rain kept me out most of the mornings. This was a disaster!  I felt so overwhelmingly…well…overwhelmed!  If the ground hadn’t been so damp and standing up from a flat position so difficult, I would have sat down in the midst of the garden and cried.  I’m not permitted to use a tiller, and the cultivator attachment hasn’t been replaced on my wheel hoe yet, so I knew the only way those weeds would leave my garden is by one tug at a time.  I just couldn’t face it.  In all likelihood, this will be my last garden of any size which already saddens me.  Now this.  After a feeble attempt at pulling the weeds in my little patch of ornamental corn, I gave up.  It seemed to me the garden had died…and it wasn’t even July yet.

Looking around, I decided to at least pick the zucchini.  It was a new kind for me to grow…golden zucchini.  Now I have heard people say don’t plant too much zucchini or you will have so much you can’t give it away.  Hah!  My first year growing zucchini i planted 2-4 plants and had 1 zucchini.  No, that is not a misprint.  1 zucchini. Really. The next year I did a bit better, but still had a very small crop.  This year I planted only golden zucchini- 4 plants.  Wading through the weeds I checked my plants and behold I had 8 zucchini with many more that will be ready in a few days.  Plucking them from the vines, I looked once more around my garden and said a silent goodbye.

Trudging back to the house, I carefully washed the zucchini and thought about what I should do with them.  While I was thinking I decided to clean out the fridge and start some “refrigerator soup” meaning I take any appropriate leftovers and make a vegetable soup.  My starter for the soup is a container from the freezer that I put leftover veggies in when we clean up after dinner.  You know, that tablespoon of peas that you hate to throw away but it is too small an amount for another meal.  Then I found some cabbage in the fridge along with a few other tidbits.  I even found a small container of homemade chili in the freezer…in it went.  While the soup simmered, I pulled out a recipe for zucchini pie someone had given me at church camp last year.  I still hadn’t tried it and figured today is as good a day as any.  While the zucchini was simmering to get tender, I pulled out my bread maker.  It hadn’t seen the light of day in a while!  Soon I had zucchini bread in the machine and it started to do its thing.  There was just a little shredded zucchini left, so naturally it went into the soup.  By now the chopped zucchini was tender and I could finish assembling my pie.  My husband came through the kitchen and saw the bowl of pie filling.  “Hey, that looks good,” he said with a gleam in his eye.  Don’t you DARE tell him it is zucchini.  It looks like apple chunks. That was a few hours ago.

Now I am sitting here pleasantly full.  Zucchini bread is smelling pretty good. The pie is out of the oven.  The soup has finished simmering so of course it had to be tasted.  And while I was cleaning the fridge…oops, I mean while I was making refrigerator soup, I found a small package of sausage links with a few silver dollar pancakes in the freezer left over from a grandkids sleepover.  So I browned the sausage, warmed the pancakes and put some of the leftover zucchini pie filling over the top.  It was SO tasty.  I can’t wait to taste the pie.

Now that I have had a bit of exercise…I mean a few minutes weeding, a load of laundry, making soup, pie and bread all by 8 a.m. is definitely exercise…and my tummy is pleasantly full, I think it is time for a nap.  I’m going to pull the curtains tightly closed, snuggle in my bed, and peacefully dream about next year’s garden.