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Archive for July 7th, 2009

Two Good People, One Good Day

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

7/7 is the birthday of two of the most important people in my life. Brother Eric Oscar, and friend April, both are to be celebrated on this day.

My brother Eric is such a special man it is hard to talk about him in mere words. I’ve known him all but 1.5 years of my life. I don’t know how to think of myself without him as part of the big picture. He is thoughtful, a good listener, patient, hard working, truth-seeking and fair.

He knows me and loves me so deeply, that sometimes when I can not figure out what my mind is needing to know, I spill it all to him. Then he will ask me one question, and I’ll know what I needed to know all along.

He does not tell me what to do, but he helps lead me to my own answer. If I ask a direct question he will give me a direct but kind answer, no fudging and no fluff. Very few people have a friend that real. I don’t take it for granted.

Eric was my “Dude of Honor” at my wedding. Mom said… “Eric’s your best friend… he should stand up for you.” At that point we were breaking a lot of the normal rules of a wedding, and this one had more reason to break than the rest. So Eric stood up for me. And we are all glad of it.

I don’t get to see my brother this week, but we did have a bit of a phone chat. We will get together later this month, probably for a combined Eric/Mom birthday event (her birthday is in August).

My friend April also has a 7/7 birthday. She and I have danced together for years. She lived across the street from me for 3 years, and I’m still bummed that she moved.

April’s daughter Isabel is the joy of my life, often. I spent several hours with her on 7/7 so that her mom could have a little date and some down time sans child-caring tasks.

Of course, this just plain worked great for everyone. April and her husband had some time to chill, I got to recharge the joyful part of me that still is a kid inside, and Isabel got to do some special things she does not often get to do.

That child is sunshine itself, and any time I think my life is not going well, just a short time with her can turn my attitude around. I love her so much I could burst. How kind of my dear friend, to bear and raise “my kid” for me. I had two godchildren her age at one time (they are in their 20’s now)… and I always joked that my friend had my children for me. Now I get to do it again with a newer generation. How lucky is that?

aprilandisabelsquare11.jpgBut my relationship with April started before she had Isabel. This is the friend who brought me Benadryl when I was having an allergic reaction and did not feel well enough to go out. This is the friend who figured out all my multitudes of food allergy ingredients, so she could make me homemade cookies that I could actually eat. And this when Isabel was only 1 year old, and April was working the overnight shift to make ends meet.

April is also the friend who helped me get started with letting go of things I did not need to keep in my life. She spent a full day with me, helping me toss and give and store items in my way, when she could have spent that time a million other ways. She paid a babysitter to help me out for half a day. She is a real friend.

I would say this is one good day, to celebrate two great people. Happy birthday, Eric and April!

Perfect July Dessert

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

It can not get much simpler than this. Fresh, organic strawberries and organic whipped cream.

strawberrieswhipcream400.jpg

This is gluten free, wheat free, grain free, no nuts, no egg. I am allergic to long lists of foods, and this one works for me.

It is not dairy-free, low cholesterol, low sugar, low calorie or low fat. Some can’t eat strawberries, where for me it’s in the half dozen fruits that do not give me trouble. Nothing works for everyone, but this is really luxury stuff for yours truly.

The Formula

I use 1 cup of heavy whipping cream and 3 Tbsp of light brown sugar, poured into a quart canning jar. I whip it with my little Braun wand mixer‘s beating/whipping attachment (looks like a wire whisk). I do sort of tilt the jar a little to make air enter the cream a little faster, but it happens in minutes.

I used a large box of strawberries. I think that’s about 3 cups?

I’m rather decadent and adore the whipped cream (with no current heart/cholesterol or sugar issues). So I was able to get three bowls of dessert out of one large box of strawberries and one cup of whipped cream.

I layered the cream, then berries, then more cream, then berries, then the last bit of cream. It is even more beautiful in a clear stemmed wine glass, like a parfait.

Yes, it’s simple but clearly decadent. I was on Weight Watchers in 1977 but lost about 50-55 pounds and have kept my weight off since 1980.

Ironically, now my problem is getting enough to eat, given my food allergies. So right now, this is not excessive for my current situation. For others, a dollop of the whip might be more balanced. It would still taste like heaven. I can do dairy, but my brother could do “Hip Whip” which is dairy free and made of relatively healthy ingredients. I maintain that real whipped cream has no substitute, but sometimes our bodies insist on something else.