Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Musings and Meatballs

Something just feels different about Christmas this year. Last Saturday I attended a ladies Christmas brunch at our church. During the devotion, we were asked how our perspective has changed over the past year. I realized that there have been some defining moments and encounters that have truly changed my perspective. Bear with me as I'm struggling to put this all into words..
As many of you know, I write about women on a regular basis. Many of them have experienced great sorrow, loss and pain. But they all have one thing in common--they are forever changed in the way they look at life and have managed to find purpose and meaning in their loss. I see it in their eyes, hear it in their voices and feel it in the simplest gestures.

My life has changed. Mom has lived with us for a year now. I am a caregiver. Sometimes I'm really good at it and sometimes I suck.

I haven't done any shopping yet and my house isn't decorated.
It doesn't really feel like that big of a deal.
Because the other night, Mom and I made meatballs.
And it made Mom happy.
And that made me happy.

We used Marie Neslund's recipe. She was sister Verla's mother-in-law who passed away more than 20 years ago. She was beautiful, fun and a great cook. The recipe is from a family cookbook I put together in 1987. I left the recipes in their original form which makes them even more precious now. I think I'll share a few more favorites with you over the next couple days.

Here's the recipe--

Here are the meatballs (obviously I'm not a food stylist) along with a the oyster stew we enjoyed during last weeks snowstorm. I'm not sure if Marie would approve, but I de-glazed the  pan with that Paul Newman cabernet in the photo which made a yummy sauce for part of the meatballs.I  froze the rest.

They could also be baked in the oven--and I didn't have any dried ginger so I substituted about a half tsp of freshly grated ginger.

Mom is at her house with my brother for the next few weeks--I should say I miss her, but so far today I've already talked to her three four times. She just called to find out if I just called her.


  1. I love this post. I was the care giver of my mom's sister, my Aunt Annie, and later after my Aunt passed away in our home, we moved mom in. Mom's been gone almost 10 years now and not a day goes by that I don't think of both Aunt Annie and mom. You describe perfectly how my Christmas is going--even though I'm not care-giving now, I have over the years deliberately and assertively slowed the holidays down by refusing to get sucked in to world's way of dealing with them. And in doing this, we've found the fun and peace. On another note: meatballs: I blog about organizing and especially how to work smarter in the kitchen so we can get the family back to the dinner table (a custom lost in America right now). I make boatloads of meatballs ahead, partially bake, then freeze. "Make-aheads" make it much easier to get the family dinner on. Keep up the good work. This is a very nice blog!

  2. Sounds like you have your priorities arranged correctly. This was a good post to read. Thank you.

  3. Happy Birthday Sistie! Wish I could be with you guys today! Meatballs and Oyster stew sound good to me - it is a very blustery day. We use your cookbook all the time - Last week I mixed up 4 double batches of Ethel's famous sweet rolls and the girls made them for a bake sale in their neighborhood to earn for "Angel Tree" Christmas presents. Thanks so much for all you are doing -love you!

  4. Thanks for the nice comments. Alice, would love to follow your blog--if you read this, leave a link