Thursday, April 08, 2010

Gourmet Food, Love and a Recipe

The Easter holiday has come and gone. But oh! what a great, busy and joyous time we had.

We arrived late on Thursday...Graydon, my grandson, was in bed and close to Dreamland.  Brianna was celebrating an early Easter dinner with her father's family and came home shortly after our arrival. I never thought it possible that a girl could grow so much in only three months...but the young woman whom I cuddled close as a young child has surpassed me in height by many inches.

She bends down now to hug me. It's the oddest sensation...I have begun to feel as if I am a little, elder lady. It's  different  from when my daughters outgrew me...obviously I was much younger then, but that point it was cause for celebration. This time around, it feels as if Time is moving much too fast.

Graydon...ahh, our Graydon. I have long felt since I live so far away that the closeness I enjoyed with Bree could not possibly be the same with my grandson. But I was wrong.  When he saw me, early the next morning, his body shook with joy and his arms opened for a hug. I will remember his hug for as long as I live.  He wrapped himself around me, kissing my cheek, my mouth...wiping my tears away with his soft, pudgy hands. He said...Why are you crying, Nammy?

I could not speak...I had not expected such joy at my appearance from him, but thankfulness flooded my heart and the tears continued for just a little while.

My daughter, a middle school teacher, loves to cook.  Each meal was a delight.  She manages to cook like a gourmet, all the while keeping her home in amazing order, even with a three year old and all his accoutrements...even with a fifteen year old and all her diverse interests...even with Graham and I and what seemed like half the town visiting her home.

Bree, when she was a toddler, received a ride-on vehicle. She enjoyed it so much, I knew I would have to find something similar for my grandson. Now, Graydon does not easily accept new things...he is wary and takes his time in becoming familiar with whatever the new thing might be. But the Mighty Wheels which sat on the living room floor became an instant hit.

He's not so great at remembering to fact, he's not so great at even keeping his hands on the steering wheel, preferring to let me keep the toy vehicle on track. But his cousins, who are seven and four years of age, certainly had the knowledge required.  I have no doubt at all the next time I come, he will be able to drive it all on his own. Even at the highest speed, which is 5 km/hour.

That doesn't sound very fast, but when one is chasing it for an hour...that little vehicle seems really fast, indeed.

Bree was so happy with her little refurbished camera.  I believe she is a little like me in that she becomes attached to her cameras. I have almost every camera I have ever owned, from the Model D Brownie to the Canon I now own. 

The only problem was that I had forgotten to enclose the cable to download photos. Since I don't know what I've done with it, I ordered a new one upon my return home. A small glitch, which my granddaughter took very well. She's fifteen, after all, you know.

Bree worked on Saturday, the day of Graydon's birthday party. She works at Canadian Tire...when she arrived home, the battery on Mighty Wheels had run out, requiring a charge. She wanted to ride, her weight being well under the 135 lbs. limit.  But again, she took it in stride, only grumbling a little under her breath. She makes me laugh...I was only too happy to see the child in her who still loves to play.

My daughter had planned a string of appetizers for the Birthday party. Among at least a dozen others, there were these little squares of puff pastry with cream cheese, cherry tomatoes, olives and other ingredients which went down so easily, along with curried cheese squares...and my son-in-law's smoked Salmon.  I believe that smoked Salmon could win any cooking contest...I ate myself silly, knowing I would not have these tidbits again until my next visit.

By the time Easter Sunday rolled around, I was still full from the previous day. It was a day of lolling around, resting until the time came to make dinner, which consisted of the Easter Ham, three cheese scalloped Potatoes, creamed Succotash, Spring Asparagus in vinaigrette, and Garlic bread. I can't find the words for the taste favourite was the Spring Asparagus, and I know I will be making this dish very soon.

During Graydon's nap, that Easter Sunday, my daughter, granddaughter and I watched the movie New Moon. Bree is a huge fan of the Twilight series; I've watched the first movie, read the first book and am on the second.  I am enjoying the granddaughter loves them. She knows each line the actors speak and has very strong opinions about the story. I made the huge mistake of disagreeing with her about the outcome of the movie.  I was told I could not possibly make up my mind about New Moon until I'd read the whole set of books. A clash of strong minds and wills...but she and I never forgot the respect and love we have for one another.

Spring has arrived on the Island. I was able to wander outside to find Flowers to grace the house...a thing I have yet, this season, to be able to do in the Cariboo. I had a huge hankering to help myself to the neighbour's pink flowering Japanese Plum Tree...but I resisted that urge, to my family's relief.

I will remember the beauty of the green Grass, yellow Daffodils, many-coloured Tulips and the heartwarming shades of the pink-flowering Trees...until such time as the Cariboo bounces with its own Spring loveliness.

I know it will only be a month or so. Plants and Trees are beginning to show the luminescence that occurs just before full leaf growth. And some of the perennials in my garden have returned, making my anxiety over them and the cold Winter weather superfluous. And it will not be long before I have my own pink Crabapple blooming beautifully...

We had a long trip back.  We left my daughter's home, amidst much hugging, kisses and promises of a return visit very soon, at nine AM.  After visiting son Scott's new surfing store and a cup of Tea with Graham's mother, we caught the noon ferry to the mainland.

We arrived home at eight PM. There were a few times during the trip where I did not believe I would ever be able to walk again.  Our small commuter car is not made for comfort during long trips, especially for one who has problems with chronic pain.

There were no piles or puddles from the Dogs...we arrived and they toddled sleepily towards us. Dogs grow old, as well as humans, and seemingly they did not feel the need for bathroom duties during their long incarceration in the house. I believe our dog sitter Faye keeps them busy while she's here, possibly busier than they are accustomed to, and sleep was very welcome for Lucky and Nate that last day...

Just as it was for me and Graham.

But today, after two days of rest and sleep, I am already planning for my family's  visit in a few short months. I am looking forward to repaying all the visits to the Island, where we are treated like royalty.

Tiredness, pain and Summer heat notwithstanding, I know it will be a very extraordinary, loving time...and who could not look forward to that?

Besides, did I tell you my daughter loves to cook?

Recipe for Three Cheese Scalloped Potatoes

2 Tbsp. butter
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 minced cloves of garlic
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 3/4 cups whole milk
1 1/2 lbs. potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
3/4 cup shredded smoked Gouda cheese
3/4 cup shredded old cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 F. For sauce, in a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic, cook until tender.  Stir in flour, salt and pepper. Add milk all at once, stir and cook until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat.

Place half of the sliced potatoes in a greased 1 1/2 quart baking dish. Top with half the sauce. Sprinkle with smoked Gouda and cheddar cheese. Add remaining sliced potatoes and remaining sauce.

Cover dish with foil. Bake for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or more until potatoes are tender and golden. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, about 5 minutes more or until cheese is golden. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.  

Taken from Best Comfort Food~~Better Homes and Gardens


  1. your trip sounds wonderful marion, and so happy you had fun. love all your family photos too! precious! :)

  2. What a wonderful happy holiday, worth every painful sitting moment in the car. My grandchildren recently outgrew me (not hard to do) and I got some fun hand me downs. :)

    I will definitely try the recipe now that you have identified all the cheeses.

  3. I'm so glad you had a happy Easter.

    "I have begun to feel as if I am a little, elder lady."

    And when we were kids, didn't we believe that little elderly people had always been that way, or that if they hadn't, their youth had been almost too long ago to comprehend.

  4. Marion, I love the photo of Graydon and the cake! I wonder what he's thinking.

    Thanks for the recipe, my mouth is watering just reading it. I will definitely try it.

  5. Marion: I'm so glad to hear you are home safely & that your trip was so blissful! Your account of Graydon's welcome brought tears to my eyes - children just don't forget the feelings. What a joy!

    You are lucky to have the chance to experience two "Springs" this year! One thing the Cariboo has over the Coast is that you can watch Spring slowly unfolding itself - it is magical ... although sometimes I feel restless with that, i must admit.

    Thank you for posting the recipe as well ... I looove scalloped potatoes, and those sound amazing.

    Happy Spring ~ Nicole

  6. Sounds like a wonderful trip and a very special time spent with your family, especially little Graydon. Precious memories, Marion!

  7. Alison,

    The kids are growing so fast, I'm glad I was able to get photos this time around. I think Bree took something like 146 of them...there were lots of photos from which to choose!


    There's a good way of looking at it...especially hand-me-downs from the grands! That's clothing which would be a little more up-to-date than what I own at the moment.


    Oh yeah! In high school, I remember thinking my teachers were ancient and ready for retirement; imagine my surprise when they were still there when my children went to school.

    It still feels strange, though, when I'm on the receiving end of that thought...guess I'll get accustomed to it! There is little else to be done, lol.


    Oh! That cake was amazing! I don't usually eat sweets, but I had a little of this one. Graydon ate his portion in about a second; boys really do eat better than girls! I'm discovering the differences between the two genders, since I grew up with only girls in the family and then I had two more girl babies. Having a boy is very new to me.

  8. Nicole,

    Graydon's hug was a moment I won't forget...he's an adorable little boy!

    How about that Snow that arrived yesterday! I couldn't believe my eyes when I looked out and we had a few inches of Snow on the ground, with that strong Wind as well. Time's marching on...we'll be back into the Winter season before we've even experienced Spring or Summer! I read somewhere we have 186 days from Spring equinox before Snow flies again...


    Yes, they were precious memories, indeed. I only see the family four or five times a year...I am always amazed at the changes that occur between visits!

  9. marion, what an uplifting happy time!!! this of course makes me so happy for you.

    i work with kids of all ages these days, including high school ages, and i wonder sometimes how they see me. i am 'older' but honestly i don't feel that way most of the time.

    it's the price we pay for wisdom, marion, right?

    your family is awesome. and that car....!!!!

    love you, marion,my friend

  10. I'm so happy you had such a wonderful Easter with your precious family. Your grand-ones are beautiful, as is your daughter. I'm stealing the recipe for my recipe file. It sounds so yummy. Thank you for sharing it. Love & Blessings!!

  11. kj, I discovered a great thing the other day. My hair has been gray for a long time, now I have the wrinkles and such to go along with the gray. I look much older than just a few years ago. But you know what...there is a great deal of respect out there that I get now, just because of my age and how I look. People are very attentive, polite and courteous, even teenagers. I must look like everybody's grandmother, heh. This is a huge change from when I looked younger.

    The fact that I still feel like a young person is great...I get to reap the rewards of an elder and still have the urge to act silly and playful!


    I should have labelled the photos...I thought about it,later, lol. The young lady in the photo with her cousin is my granddaughter.

    We had such a great time. It will have to last a few months until the next reunion!

    Enjoy the was beyond good!

  12. Sounds a wonderful trip Marion and we can feel the enjoyment in your writing. Families are wonderful.

  13. Coming here to read is like sitting down with an old friend and catching up. I like your family a lot and I don't even know them except through the love that pours from every word here. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Davem,

    Families are wonderful, for sure. And I love every minute when we visit. I surprised myself, I think, when I moved so far away from them and I'm still not sure why I did. Everything has a reason behind it. If I'm patient I'm sure I'll find the reason for this long hiatus away from the kids.


    I feel so comfortable when I visit your blog, as well...I feel as if I know your garden, your place and how it bounces in the Spring and changes with the seasons. Blogs are great, aren't they, we don't know one another in the flesh, yet the connections made are as strong as any real-life relationship and sometimes even stronger.

  15. Great photos of your grand children. Can't get over how big Graydon has got, seems only the other day he was born.

  16. I like the recipe and love that you saute the garlic and onion in the butter of the white sauce. I have recently learned that method by trial and error, in my cooking.
    And the last baking uncovered makes the chewy edges of potato, with cheesy crunch.
    This will be on the table tonight, you betcha!