As I sit down to write I often wonder what other writers think about as they try to hit upon a topic.
Getting to know so many of you over the last five years has been a real plus. Sometimes I just feel like this is a personal thank you for being so faithful. You've enriched my life in so many ways. I love hearing about your grandson catching his first fish, or your graduate winning a scholarship. I cry with you when your mother goes to a nursing home, or you've discovered your grandchild is autistic. I like it when I hear you've tried a recipe, or want me to find one for you. I appreciate the recent birthday cards and sweet notes, and the many ways you continue to share your life with me.
We've all heard that music is good for the soul, but did you know it's also good for your blood pressure? The study I read says to listen to 30 minutes of classical music daily, hopefully rhythmic, while doing a slow, controlled breathing exercise. After a month your blood pressure should drop three to four points.This is NOT a substitute for medication. Continue to restrict the salt and alcohol. Above all, avoid stress (unless you are married to it!). I feel better when I do this every day. It's very calming.
My Mother's Day this year was different and very special. Daughter Molly invited me to her home for dinner. When I arrived, she poured our coffee and led me to the living room and informed me that her husband Ray was cooking our meal.
While we relaxed and enjoyed our coffee he really had some wild odors filling the air. He knows how to produce a feast. He sautéed wild leeks and green peppers to top off our grilled brats, and cooked salt potatoes and delicious golden breaded morels. To finish off the northern Michigan banquet what else but a thick slice of cherry pie.
Every bite was a treat. I felt spoiled and pampered. It was a great finish to a wonderful day and Ray gets a five-star rating.
I had answered some of your questions about the safety of plastics in the last column, and much of it was omitted, so I'll try again.
Read the numbers on the bottoms of the plastic food containers. They are recycling codes and run from 1-7. Nos. 1, 2, 4 and 5 are supposed to be safe for food packaging, however I don't heat or cook (microwave) any food in them. Heating can release toxins. Some containers say "microwave safe." That simply means they won't melt in the microwave, not that they are safe for cooking food. The terminology can be very misleading. We are also warned not to microwave in plastic cling wrap. Use microwavable waxed paper. It is on a roll alongside the regular waxed paper and labeled as such. Some plastics contain PVCs, and have chemicals that can cause birth defects. Never use a baby bottle with a #7 recycling code. Play it safe and reheat/microwave in glass. Please recycle all plastic with Nos. 1 through 7. The landfills will thank you for a thousand years, and the the plastic will be reused.
I had promised to give you Cathy's recipe this month but forgot to get the measurements straightened out. I love casseroles so I hope you will like this one.
There is a dear friend from the Pickford church that used to invite us for meals, and she always had a big bubbly casserole in addition to the huge meal. I could not wait to see what she had hidden in that bowl. No matter what she put in, it was always delicious. In the '80s, this casserole graced every potluck table in the U.P.
Broccoli and Cheese Casserole
1 (16 oz.) bag frozen broccoli flowerettes, thawed
1 (10&3/4 oz.) can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 c. milk
2 t. prepared mustard
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 c. dry breadcrumbs
2 t. melted butter
Mix soup, milk and mustard in a 1&1/2- 2-quart bowl. Stir in cheese and broccoli. (You can add an optional two cups of cooked rice here.) Stir breadcrumbs and melted butter together in a separate bowt and sprinklee on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until brown and bubbly. Serves 6.
Parting Shot: It is more important to be humble in the eyes of God than to try to be sophisticated in the eyes of men.
Edna Shaffer is a local mother, grandmother and great-grandmother who writes about cooking from the perspective of an older adult. She can be reached via the Record-Eagle at 120 W. Front, Traverse City, Mi 49685; or by sending email to: email@example.com.