Is This Anything? Family Plates

David Letterman used to do a sketch called “Is This Anything?” The curtain would rise on an individual or group performing an unusual stunt, then Dave and Paul Shaffer would discuss whether the act was “something” or “nothing.” I can imagine my children playing a version of this sketch as they go through the contents of our home sometime in the future. To help them with this task, I will randomly select something in our home and answer these questions: What is this and is it a family thing? Then they can decide if it is “something” or “nothing.”

My mom and step-dad received these plates as a wedding gift. They document the date of their wedding and the creation of a new family – which included me.

The adults are represented on the large plates and I am represented on the smaller plate. We don’t look anything like these representations – me with blond hair and dad with no mustache nor that much hair. Mom looked the most like the picture that represented her.

I see now that I put the plates out of order when I took the photo. Oops!

Someone made these for us. The people and clothes are cut from fabric and lace and glued in place. Details are painted on, as are the date, names, and border. Unfortunately, the crafter did not sign their work.

I don’t remember in what house these were hung (we moved several times), but I’m guessing at least our first home. The painted borders have some scratches from the plate holders. I keep thinking these would be cute hung over the bay window in the breakfast nook, but I haven’t done it.

Is this a family thing? Yes, I think they qualify as a family thing.
Are they something? I think they are cute and appreciate a wedding gift that acknowledged me. But ultimately, I guess whether they are something will be decided by our kids.

Family Recipe Friday – Refrigerator Muffins

After spending time with my dad(Jim) and sisters a couple of weeks ago, I was still longing for some of the foods that Mom often cooked for us. I’ve been wanting to make these muffins for a while, but had a hard time finding wheat bran at the grocery stores where I usually shop. I think I finally found some in the bulk foods at Whole Foods and my dad says he goes to the health food store. Anyway, I had purchased the wheat bran before I left and couldn’t wait to make them when I got home.

I don’t know where mom got the recipe – probably a magazine. I think she started baking them in the late 70s – isn’t that when whole grains gained traction in the food world? Whenever it was, these muffins became a staple in Mom’s kitchen.

As you can see, my recipe card is well-used too! Mom almost always added raisins to her muffins and so do I. I have also made them with added cinnamon, grated carrots, or nuts. And I have made them with some substitutions:
reducing the sugar by 1/4 cup
substituting 6 egg whites for 4 whole eggs
decreasing the salt to 1/2 teaspoon
replacing half of the vegetable oil with applesauce.

As you can see, my variations have followed certain guidelines for healthier eating as they came and went over the years. The best, of course, is the original recipe. And that is what I made and have been enjoying all week!

Refrigerator Muffins

5 cups whole wheat flour                   2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cups wheat bran                      4 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons baking soda                  1 cup oil
2 teaspoons salt                                1 quart buttermilk
raisins, if desired

Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
Add eggs, oil, and buttermilk, and mix until blended.
Batter may be stored in a covered container in refrigerator for as long as four weeks.
Bake, as needed, in lightly greased muffin cups (or paper liners) filled 2/3 full.
Bake in 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.
Makes 3 1/2 dozen.

As you can see, the batter discolors a bit when left in the refrigerator. Just stir it up until it is all the same, or stir just a bit for a swirly pattern. 😉

They also freeze well. I have about a dozen in the freezer right now.

Sepia Saturday – Thinking of Mom

Today would have been my mom’s birthday.

Mom was born during the Great Depression into a coal miner’s family. She knew what it meant not to have much in the way of material things and to rely on government assistance during hard times.

Against the norms of the day, she made a difficult decision when I was two because she believed it would mean a better life for the two of us.

Mom and me

Mom valued family and devoted herself to our well being. She would have done whatever she believed necessary to protect her children.

I never remember a time when Mom wasn’t involved in the lives of children – as a Sunday school teacher, a Girl Scout leader, a second mom to her kid’s friends. Her actions and love of children taught me that there are no other people’s children.

I can’t give her a present today, so in honor of her example, I’ll be gifting Austin Region Justice For Our Neighbors – a United Methodist immigration ministry (mom grew up Methodist).

If you are so inclined, I hope you will consider giving to this organization or another of your choosing that serves immigrants, migrants, asylum seekers, or separated families in need of compassion and assistance.

This is my offering for Sepia Saturday. Please visit other participants, sit at the table, and enjoy the stories they have to tell.

Sepia Saturday Theme Images – 426 7th July 2018