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Make Mine Mincemeat

Next week, my husband and I will travel to my hometown of Upper Sandusky, Ohio, (not Sandusky) to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family. This year’s gathering will be in a new location. My sisters have recently moved into a lovely new home and have offered to set the table for all sixteen of us.

Like all families and family traditions, ours have changed during my lifetime. Life’s circumstances bring in new faces and others are no longer with us. The place where we gather changes, too. The menu, however, remains almost constant so that each person’s favorite is included.  The turkey may be prepared by a new method, and we may or may not have a green salad or Grandma’s Frozen Fruit Salad. We have to have both mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes, as well as stuffing and rolls. When it comes to dessert, it’s OK to add delicacies, but NEVER to take away Pumpkin Pie with Cool Whip or Mincemeat Pie.

I confessed in The Joy of Chocolate Pie and Friendship that I rarely make pie except for baking pumpkin pie for family holiday celebrations. In recent years, I have become the designated deliverer of pies on the fourth Thursday of November. This stems from the fact that I live several hours away from home and can’t make and transport hot dishes easily. So, pies it is. I’m always reminded to make sure I bring a Mincemeat Pie (pumpkin is assumed).

I suspect that our family is in a small minority in America that even knows what Mincemeat Pie is, let alone looks forward to indulging in it on Thanksgiving. During my lifetime, I’ve only celebrated a handful of Thanksgiving Days without the option of Mincemeat Pie. One was in 2011, while my husband was hospitalized. The others took place while we were separated from family in the far away state of North Dakota.

I asked my mom yesterday about how this dessert tradition began. She remembers finishing Thanksgiving meals with Mincemeat Pie as a child visiting her grandmother, as do I. To her recollection, no one in the family ever made mincemeat from scratch. History about mincemeat from the  None Such website confirms that likelihood: Ready-to-use mincemeat, first offered in wooden buckets and crates, is one of the oldest American convenience foods. Mincemeat has been steadily marketed in the U.S. for more than 100 years.”

I don’t think we’ve used the Brandy and Rum type…

So, what is mincemeat? Again from the folks at None Such: Mincemeat is a combination of apples, raisins and citrus peel, blended with sugar and spices to make a delicious cooking and baking ingredient. Mincemeat is derived from old English recipes, and today remains one of the most popular holiday foods in England. The recorded history of mincemeat can be traced to the year 1413, when it was served at the coronation of Henry V of England. In the late 1600’s, mincemeat was served as a meat pie flavored with fruit and spices. These pies, with more fruits and spices and less meat, were served as desserts when mincemeat was brought to Colonial America.” According to Wikipedia, “In the mid to late eighteenth century, mincemeat in Europe had become associated with old fashioned, rural, or homely foods.” While the pie remains a Christmas tradition England, in the northeast United States it is often a part of the Thanksgiving meal. 

The first time I was required to bring a Mincemeat Pie to our gathering, I asked Mom how to make it, thinking it might be complicated. Her instructions were to pour a jar of mincemeat into a pie crust and bake it. I had success on the first attempt! The pie was delicious, however, I will admit that I’ve found it difficult to eat a whole slice after consuming my plateful of turkey and carbs. The richness of the somewhat heavy pie has given me a stomach ache on occasion. So, in 2015, I checked on Allrecipes.com for a different recipe. I was a little nervous to take my first Apple Mincemeat Pie to dinner and held my breath as loved ones tasted it. We all agreed that it was delicious. I’m not sure that it is preferred by the others, but I do like both the preparation and flavor of the pie. You can find the recipe HERE.

My pies from November 2015

I’ve purchased my jar of mincemeat and my apples and will be baking in a few days. This year I was delighted to see my grocery store also carry the condensed mincemeat again. I’ve used it in a delicious Mincemeat Cookies recipe and look forward to baking a batch, maybe for Christmas. If you like raisin cookies, you may want to print out the recipe I use and give them a try!

Mincemeat Cookie Recipe

 

 

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THREE GOOD MEN – PART 2

Part 1 of this series was written in September about my youngest son to honor him on his 27th birthday.  As the year 2016 ends, I celebrate by honoring my husband, David, who was born on New Years Eve.  I mention him often in my writing because we share so much of life together.  Describing what I love and admire about Dave in about 500 words is possibly impossible, but here goes.

Of course, Dave is not just my husband.  He was a son and brother for over 20 years before I met him, and he picked up his great work ethic, value of faith, and love of family from his farming parents and six older siblings.  I have great admiration for the way he helped and cared for his aging mother as she lived as a widow and experienced Alzheimer’s Disease.  His example certainly demonstrated to our school-aged sons what honoring a parent can look like.  It takes self-sacrificing commitment to be a good son, a good husband, and a good father simultaneously.

When Dave and I met, he was living at home and finishing an accounting degree, while I was already working and living on my own.  He was brought up in Catholic traditions, while I am from a protestant background.  Once we married and decided to have children, this 25 year old man began facing and making decisions about how to provide for and lead his own family.  I so appreciate the way he has considered my opinions and feelings in each step of our married life.

Dave and I shared the blessing of having had our mothers at home during childhood, so when we had our first child, we decided that I would stay home.  Dave took part in raising our sons by being available for doctors’ appointments and school activities, taking us to church, and leading the boys’ Cub Scout groups.  He put aside his love of farming for a career in newspaper publishing and passed along his strong work ethic by helping Eric and Kyle with paper routes.  He has rarely missed a day of work and has earned much respect from employers and co-workers, but has also been faithful to be home at dinner time and to spend weekends with us rather than at work or on a golf course.

Father’s Day 2008 at Eric’s graduation from Otterbein College

My husband has shown his love for me by supporting me in my volunteer work and interests.  When Eric and I were involved in the church praise band, Dave learned to run the sound board.  When I have come up with a creative idea, he has helped me track down the supplies and make it happen.  When Kyle wants to talk, his dad listens and encourages him.

I am so proud of what my husband has accomplished and so blessed by his strong Christian values that permeate every area of his life.  Dave has become a role model and mentor, not only for our sons, but for other husbands and dads and for people with whom he works.  He is at the top of my list of Good Men.  Happy Birthday, David!

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got kids? got respect?

My husband I are going to a Parenting Conference in a few weeks.  Even though our sons are already men, I can’t resist the opportunity to hear Dr. Emerson Eggerichs and his wife, Sarah, teach about Love & Respect in the Family when the event is only 1 1/2 hours away!  I also subscribe to the notion that you can teach an old dog new tricks and suspect that there will be some wisdom to be gleaned about parenting adult children.

You may know that I’ve been a fan of the Love & Respect teachings for years because they work!  The latest book from Dr. Eggerichs, “Mothers and Sons:  The Respect Effect”, points out that sons, as well as husbands, are motivated by respectful communication.  I expect a bit of this teaching to be included at the conference.

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But the basic topic is “Love & Respect in the Family:  The Respect Parents Desire, The Love Children Need.”  Having read the book by that title (which I hope to get autographed), I know that participants will learn about The Family Crazy Cycle.  You may have never have heard of it, but if you’ve got kids, you’ve likely participated in it, and if you don’t have kids, you’ve no doubt seen it play out in a mall or restaurant, or even at church.  The scene (cycle) goes like this:  a child feels unloved and reacts to a parent in a disrespectful way.  The parent, who now feels disrespected, reacts to the child in a way that feels more unloving, triggering more disrespect…

Someone has to break the spiraling, and, of course, it needs to be the mature person – the adult.  Eggerichs maintains that when children are loved in a biblical way, they are more motivated to show respect to their parents.  In the book, he follows the lesson on recognizing and stopping the Crazy Cycle with a series of guidelines for showing true love to a child.  They include Giving, Understanding, Instructing, Disciplining, Encouraging, and Supplicating in prayer, practices that can be implemented by either mother or father, but are most effective when both parents cooperate and work as a parenting team.

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Another family dynamic that most of us have witnessed is the ol’ divide and conquer tactic that kids try to use to their advantage.  Of course, the presence of a united mom and dad is truly most advantageous.  One of my prayers for families is that even if parents have divorced, they be willing to show respect to each other and work together for the good of their kids, never fighting in front of them or putting children in unfair situations.

The Eggerichs understand how divorce affects children since they both experienced it in their families, and they desire to help couples and families thrive in peaceful homes.  That is also one of my goals.

Perhaps you are interested in attending the Parenting Conference on November 11-12, 2016, at Spring Hills Baptist Church in Granville, Ohio.  Find info and registration form HERE.  You may also sign up for child care.

If you’d like to read or listen to the book, you can purchase it here and listen to Dr. Eggerichs explain the purpose of his Love & Respect in the Family teaching.  Other on-line booksellers also offer the books.

PLUS, the Love and Respect website  includes a lot of FREE insight and teaching about marriage and family challenges and success in the form of blog posts, podcasts, and videos. 

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