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Let’s Cook: Colorful Lessons

By Staff | May 21, 2015

The Danish Modern oval punch bowl is packed and ready to head west to Ray. It is difficult to believe, but our nephew, Tyler Norman Thompson, is graduating from Ray High School. We have enjoying helping several of our nieces and nephews celebrate their graduation day – most often by being in charge of the punch and other refreshments. The punch this year is being created from a batch of home canned apple juice – rose in tone and exceptionally balanced in flavor – letting one mastermind the mingling partners.

Some men bring their baseball card collections to the nursing home, others enjoy their toy tractors. Well, mine will be a collection of punch bowls! Even when I am bent and crooked like an old branch, down the hall I will voyage with my sandwich glass punch bowl complete with matching pedestal and cups to Harry’s 100th birthday party!

When Tyler arrived in this world, we had no children of our own. Naturally, we enjoyed spending all the time we could with him. I enjoy children at all ages but especially from the newborn stage to age of six or so because there is an undeniable chemistry of amusement, curiosity and delight. Tyler rang true to this and was always ready to be our constant companion. We played marbles, flew kites, picked chokecherries, rode bike, made sand castles, skied, and painted many, many tin cans in every color you can think of. It was an easy choice to devote our free time. He was consuming, exhausting which only made the enjoyment nobler. Besides, who could resist that white blonde hair, cute smile, and those chubby legs!

I have always been a great believer that our attitudes can imprison us or they can inspire us to enjoy so much of life. Granted, we were not his parents, but Jan and I realized that as his aunt and uncle we had responsibility to engage this child into our lives. At the time when Tyler was born, he became like a “son” to us. In a couple of years when his younger brother, Tanner, was born, it was now double the fun to be around these blonde boys. Each time we visited Ray or they came to Rugby, we had a plan for entertainment – and they knew it! I vividly recall my father-in-law telling us that the boys could barely contain themselves when they knew we were soon to arrive in Ray. They come to wait at Grandpa and Grandma’s house and run wildly from window to window looking and waiting for our arrival. Seeing was believing as we pulled into the driveway, the living room curtains moved as if 40 cats has just run behind them. But all we could see were two little blonde heads.

I so treasured the phone calls from Tyler when I would hear this little voice say, “Uncle Chuck, let’s list as many colors as we can think of today – like tractor green, highway yellow, hardhat orange, and your very favorite peony pink.” Maybe it was these first color conversations that started Tyler’s current hip wardrobe, and all with matching socks, no less! We know that color adds much to our lives; the Ray community certainly experienced this when we saw a gym filled with lime green bringing comfort and hope for a heartfelt tragic loss.

As you graduate and go out into the world, Tyler, may you continue to add color to your life, as well as to the lives of others. Here are some inspirations that will color your world with joy, peace and meaning.

Set aside quiet time every day, as this allows you to think. Nurture creativity. (Perhaps this will be best done from your “office on wheels” on the north quarter!)

Practice random acts of kindness. You already know this is a great way to get in touch with the joy of giving without expecting something in return.

Don’t rush into a serious relationship. Live, be independent, let yourself grow in this big world of knowledge. Remember you have forever to own your own garden hose!

Tell at least one person something nice each day and several each week-even to a family member.

Vow to continue to be a good driver; allow plenty of time to get where you are going and you will avoid becoming an aggressive and rude driver.

Laugh each day -it will keep you young and healthy.

Eat healthy and learn to cook something from scratch. Then invite your aunt, uncle and cousin for supper!

Strive to be a better listener; I have to admit, I am still working on this. We can learn so much from other especially our elders.

Take time to send a card or write a note. It may seem difficult at first, but go ahead. When you slow your pace to do this, remembering the many people in your life that care about you.

Remember the most powerful source in this world-prayer.

Congratulations on your high school graduation, Tyler. May the years ahead be like the kites we flew on the homestead quarter – colorful, yet seeking to ever move higher. Also remember when that kite comes crashing down, it teaches a lesson that to be uplifted, we must have the

power of another.

This is a vintage, but good, recipe. It uses yeast, which is seldom used in cookies. It came from the Grit newspaper years ago, and was in a collection of recipes purchased at a rummage sale. You can also make a thumb print in the cookie. After baked and when cooled, frost them with a frosting of your choice. You will see these at your open house-can you guess what color I will tint the frosting?

Coconut Canoes

1 1 /2 cups of butter

teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

teaspoon lemon flavoring

2 packages instant blend dry yeast

2/3 cup warm water (110-115 degrees)

cup quick-cooking rolled oats

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups coconut

Cinnamon sugar

Jam, jelly or frosting

Beat butter in a large mixer bowl until fluffy. Add salt, sugar, vanilla and lemon flavoring. Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add yeast, oats, coconut and half the flour to butter; beat 2 minutes on medium speed. Stir in remaining flour with spoon. Cover bowl. Refrigerate dough 8 hours and up to 24 hours. Stir down dough every 30 minutes for the first 2 hours of chilling.

When ready to bake, take one one-fourth of dough at a time. Shape into 1-inch balls. Roll in mixture of 1 teaspoon cinnamon and cup sugar. Place 1 inch apart on lightly greased baking sheets. Press thumb into center of each cookie; fill dent with teaspoon jam or jelly or frost after they have baked and cooled. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes. This makes 6 dozen.

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