Sunday, January 5, 2014

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Paying Homage to My Mom

    Today as I welcomed the New Year I did so paying homage to my dear sweet mother. My mom passed away in 1997 and not a day goes by when she is not in my thoughts. My mother immigrated to this country with my then 3 year old sister from Portugal. She was coming to join my dad who had established his residency years before. They came to the country without speaking the language, without the support of nearby family, with only the dream to begin anew in this land we call home.
     As I do many times when I am cooking some Portuguese recipe my mother taught me I find that I am surrounded by her spirit. Today I was cooking some red beans for my mother's recipe of "feijouda' a dish of red beans and rice from her native country of Brazil. I always reserve some of the broth and beans to make a Portuguese soup called " Soupa de Coves" to make at a later date. My intention was to serve either of these dishes in the coming days as I return to work after the holiday break. Knowing that these dishes require time and pot watching I thought I was getting a head start.
    My youngest son, home from college, walked in the house and immediately said what's for dinner?   I asked him what he wanted and reminded him that the fridge was full of food from a week of home cooking. His response was, 'it smells like grandma's soup'. I smiled and asked if that's what he wanted and of course that's what we had, a little earlier than planned.
    It's funny how theses smells emanating from the kitchen can take us back in time and unite us with loved ones long gone. I channel my mom whenever I cook one of our Portuguese Brazilian dishes, she never used a written recipe but I have managed to remember what she taught me in the kitchen. My children love these dishes as do some new members of our family. I am certain that while I can never make things exactly as my mom did my efforts to try are met with her guidance and smiles from heaven. I love you mom and miss you still.

Enjoying Cabin Time

   My husband and I decided to spend a few days at our cabin in central PA after the holidays. For those of you new to my blog, it is a log cabin situated on a private lane in the middle of Bald Eagle State Park in Snyder County. That puts us just about smack dab in the middle of PA, an hour northwest of Harrisburg and about 35 minutes away from State College PA.
   It's quiet and peaceful, we are surrounded by mountains and wildlife, it's our home away from home. This afternoon we went out to enjoy the warm sun and get a glimpse of the last traces of snow before it all melted away. Just last week there were eight inches here and I am certain that more snow will fall during the coming months. As the sun began to set the chill returned and so we came in to enjoy the fire and have dinner.
    I love all the seasons here, each has it's own special beauty. The cold crisp air this evening has given us a clear view of our mountain and my husband and I will once again delight in seeing the deer return to feed in our back yard. They are daily visitors while we are here, we feed them and provide them a safe haven. Come dawn we will watch as the birds get busy at the feeders and the chipmunks and squirrels make a quick meal of any corn left behind by the deer.
   As we we sit quietly reading or in my case writing we enjoy the peaceful solitude this cabin provides. My wish for each of you is that you find your own peaceful haven to contemplate the beauty of nature that surrounds you, be it a stroll through a park, a walk on the beach or simply looking out your own window with new eyes and wonder.