Mother’s Day Special

She loved you, held your hair back when you were sick, comforted you through break ups…no, not your college roommate. I’m talking about your mother!

This Mother’s Day will be like no other. I won’t be with my kids. I won’t be with my own mother. Yes, we call and we FaceTime, but that’s hardly a substitute for being in the same room together (which hasn’t happened for over three months now).

This pandemic has taught us many lessons, particularly that nothing is certain. So, I hope you’ll make a special effort to let your mother know what she really means to you. Some people are uncomfortable expressing their emotions. I should know because I am one of them. I tell my husband that he’s the luckiest man in the world because he married a woman who doesn’t like to shop and doesn’t like to talk about her feelings. But, set that discomfort aside and tell her what she means to you and why.

That said, I’d like to share just a few of my memories about my mother and why I appreciate her so much.

Misty

When I was five-years-old, out of the blue, my mother brought a little gray kitten home. This is one of the few times I remember her being spontaneous. She saw it, all alone by a garbage can, and decided to give it a home. I could not believe my eyes. Neither could my father when he came home from work. Misty, the name we gave him two seconds after meeting him, could not stay, my father said. Well, this was a pretty smart kitten, because when my father sat down to read the evening paper, Misty mewed at his feet until dad picked him up. It was that easy. We kept Misty and loved him until the end of his days. And I loved my mother for taking the chance on bringing him to us.

Hostess With The Most-ess

Some of my favorite childhood memories revolve around one holiday or another. It seemed like my mother was the designated hostess for most of them. She did Christmas, Thanksgiving, Fourth of July, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day…you name it. Everyone would gather from our very large extended family. The food was amazing and my grandfather’s homemade wine would flow. When it wasn’t an official holiday, our house was still party central, especially in the summer. Since we had a swimming pool, we had a constant stream of guests during hot weather months, with barbecues every night. I loved those times. Everyone hung out, everyone was welcomed. Now that I’ve followed in her footsteps, I’ve come to realize what went into all those affairs and appreciate her even more.

Playing Hooky

There is a hazy memory in the back of my mind, when my mother took me to a pediatrician appointment and then, rather than bringing me back to school, we went to a movie. Such lawlessness was not her style, which made it all the more fun.

And speaking of the pediatrician…

After weeks of begging, badgering and cajoling, my mother finally agreed to take my sister and me to the pediatrician to have our ears pierced. That’s where you had it done in those days, unless you had a friend you trusted to poke you with a sewing needle (we did not). My sister, Diana, went first. One, two, three and it was done. Then it was my turn. Nothing to it. Then Dr. Laquadera turned to my mother, “What do you say, Alice? Are you game?”

My mother blanched, “Oh, no. I couldn’t!”

My sister and I started pleading with her to go for it. The doctor helped us egg her along. And that became the day we all had our ears pierced together. Just us girls.

Becoming a Mother

When I gave birth to my first child, I was bound and determined to breastfeed. “What could be more natural?” I thought. I’d read all the books. I listened to my friends extols the virtues of their lactation consultants (which, to be honest, still makes me roll my eyes). So when the time came, I felt ready and informed. My son, however, had other ideas. He was not on board. He would not latch on. My mother was in the hospital room with me and could see I was growing frustrated – which, by the way, all the books said not to do. Like you can control that. The floor nurse strolled in, for one reason or another, and started trying to coach me. At one point, she actually roughly grabbed my nipple and tried to force my son to take it. He started to cry, as did I.

My mother stepped in, dismissing the nurse. “We’ll take it from here,” she said, lifting my son into her arms and rocking him.

After we had both calmed down, she handed him back to me and said, “Just let him find it.”

Eureka! Success! Mother does know best.

Tattoo Parlor

When a daughter is determined to get a tattoo, sometimes her mother will insist on accompanying her. This is not uncommon. However, I never thought I’d be on the flip side of that equation. Yup, you read that right. My mother was determined to get a tattoo, and I accompanied her. You can read about it in a past post titled “Ladybug“.

Breakfast In Bed

I don’t ever remember serving breakfast in bed to my mother on Mother’s Day. In fact, I can’t remember a childhood Mother’s Day that didn’t involve my mother making breakfast for us like she always did. This year, I wish I could. She and my father are in isolation and they’re 300 miles away. But if I could, I know just what I’d make for her – baked French toast.

If you’re lucky enough to be with your mom tomorrow, you can make it for her.

Baked French Toast

This will be one of the strangest and, in many ways, most difficult Mother’s Days for many of us. And as if things couldn’t get any weirder…it snowed today.

Slump

The weather outside has been frightful; cold and rainy with a thunderstorm to beat the band. Poor Fluffy is strapped into her Thunder Shirt which, to be honest, doesn’t fully alleviate her anxiety during storms.

My husband and I don’t need comfort garments, but some comfort food would be just the ticket on a day like this. Nothing, I thought, would hit the spot more than a chicken pot pie.

Now, I don’t know about you, but it seems I’ve been on some sort of unending rotation throughout this isolation period: Cook, clean the kitchen, cook some more, clean again, and so on…

I enjoy cooking, but sometimes I don’t feel like dirtying every pot, pan, rolling pin, food processor, etc. just to whip up a single meal. So, creating pasty dough for a chicken pot pie was not in the cards today. However, finding shortcuts is kind of my thing. If there’s an easier way to do something, I’ll find it. That’s when I was struck by inspiration.

During the summer, I make super simple fruit “pies” that don’t require crust per se. Why not use the same method to make a pot “pie”?

So I did just that. And if you’d like to learn how, just click here for my super simple Chicken Slump!

SNORK Chicken Slump

Preheat oven to 375

Filling:

1 onion, diced

1 tablespoon oil

1 tablespoon dried rosemary

4 cups cooked, diced chicken

1 can condensed mushroom soup thinned with 1 can-full of milk

2 cups frozen vegetables (thawed)

Topping:

1 cup flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons Bell’s Poultry Seasoning*

3/4 cup milk

2 tablespoons melted butter

Method:

In a medium sauce pan, heat oil and rosemary over medium heat.

Add onions and sauté for 3-5 minutes until soft

Add condensed soup mixture, vegetables and chicken

Pour filling into a baking dish In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, seasoning, salt and baking powder

Add milk and melted butter

Stir until combined into a batter

Pour batter over filling and smooth evenly

Bake for about 40-45 minutes or until the topping becomes golden brown

Let cool for 15-20 minutes before serving

*You can substitute Bell’s Poultry Seasoning with 1 tablespoon of your favorite herbs/spices or the following mixture: 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger 1/2 dried sage