Aunts and Uncles are a bit like Grandparents. They get to spoil the nieces and nephews, shower them with affection and love, and leave when they are amped up on sugar and fun. It’s a good gig! I was an Aunt at age 7 and grew up with my niece and two nephews. It was wonderful having playmates and helping out my older sister and brother. A highlight of every year was when they came to stay with us and go to Bible School at the rural Carlton Brethren Church, a half mile from our house. There were sticker charts, ice cream, indoor picnics, dress-up (sorry Jeff and Duane), and so many stories!
After college I moved out-of-state and was always sad not to be closer to my family but treasured each of the visits back to see everyone. I was very fortunate to have wonderful Aunts and Uncles as well. Not all of them lived close but my siblings and I always knew we were loved with the hugs/kisses that went with their visits.
At this state of my life, I have 3 Aunts and 1 Uncle. Uncle Jack will be 90 this month and planning a big celebration. Aunt Joyce (Jack’s wife) turned 86 in February. Aunt Lora (also my Mother’s BFF in school) turned 94 this year. Aunt Wilma will turn 100 next June. From these wonderful people I learned the importance of family/loyalty, laughter, music, traditional dishes prepared for holidays and family gatherings.
Several years ago, when camcorders were new to the market, we traveled to Iowa with our newborn daughter to celebrate Christmas. Christmas Eve day several of my family members were visiting at my Mother’s House.
We turned on the camcorder asked our family members ‘what is your favorite Christmas memory?’ I tear up just thinking about it. The heart-warming, loving, funny, and sarcastic stories were great at the time but are true treasures now.
This holiday season let’s spend our time BEING PRESENT and sharing stories for our children and grandchildren to treasure. Break out the smart phone and make a video, perhaps the best PRESENT of the season!
My Czech roots are precious to me and this week I enjoyed a hearty stock of Sauerkraut Soup. This recipe was one of two recipes my Mother made and she was given this recipe by our dear Bohemian friend, Blanche.
I understand that many families serve a Sauerkraut Soup as a traditional Christmas Eve meal but I enjoy it anytime!
After the rich, sweet treats of the holidays, the hearty sauerkraut soup was a welcome change allowing me to walk down memory lane once again.
1 pint sauerkraut (add extra caraway seed if desired)
1 cup finely diced ham
1 quart cooked and drained diced potatoes
1 quart Milk (more or less)
1 egg yolk
1 heaping tablespoon of flour
salt and pepper
dill weed garnish (optional)
Put enough water on sauerkraut to simmer slowly with ham.
When tender, pour milk over and a chunk of butter. Salt and pepper to taste.
Break egg yolk into small bowl and whisk.
Add flour and mix together.
Drop small pieces of the dough into the soup until cooked through, 10-15 minutes.
Add cooked, drained potatoes to the soup.
Heat until low boil. Serve or cool to serve next day. The flavor is even better the next day!
Potato Bacon Chowder is a favorite that my sister, Carolyn, shared with me a few years ago. She has often served this on Christmas Eve. It is wonderful for a quick lunch or dinner giving us that warm, cozy comfort food we crave this time of year. So simple, so good. Enjoy!
POTATO BACON CHOWDER
8 slices bacon (cut up)
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 cups cubed potatoes
1 cup water
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup sour cream
1 3/4 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash of pepper
2 tablespoons parsley (chopped)
Fry bacon until crisp in a 3 quart saucepan; add onion and sauté 2 to 3 minutes. Pour off fat.
Add potatoes and water. Bring to boil; cover and simmer 10 to 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
Stir in soup and sour cream; gradually add milk. Add salt, pepper and parsley.