The View from My Kitchen Window

view-from-my-window

The View from My Kitchen Window

Originally posted October 2013

Sometimes, The View from my Kitchen window, I see grass that needs to be cut, a dog to feed, a porch to sweep… in other words… responsibilities.  There are times, too, when I look at life as a whole in that same way.   It’s all drudgery and responsibilities.  I focus on all the things that are not working exactly as I planned.

Today is a beautiful almost-Fall day in Mississippi.  After a few cooler days, the temperature is back up to the low 80s, but there is a constant breeze and just enough clouds to keep the sun’s heat at bay.

On days like this, I am ashamed of the times I see only the bad.  Everywhere I look today there is something and something else and something more to make me thankful.  I am truly an imperfect child of God who is blessed and has absolutely no room to complain.

Cooking, for me, can go this way too.  There are times that it is pure drudgery and other times that I love every minute of cooking – particularly for my family.  I come from a long line of cooks.   When I think of childhood, I think of gravel roads, wood burning stoves, the smell of wood as my Daddy worked on one thing or another, and my Mom in the kitchen.  I think of Granny Sis (my Mom’s Mom) and her seven-layer chocolate fudge cake.  I remember Big Ole Mamaw (my Dad’s Mom) and a big pan of homemade biscuits. These are the things that make me smile.

Will Nicholas (my 14-year-old) have these same fond memories of eating at home with family?  I really don’t know.  But he recently gave me a very good memory.  One of Nic’s favorite meals is ham steak with red eye gravy, scalloped potatoes, and yeast rolls.  One day this week, I made chicken salad for supper which he doesn’t really like.  So, I had left-over ham steak and served him that with some left-over macaroni and cheese plus sliced cucumber with a little cup of ranch dressing for dipping… such a simple meal.  And his simple response, “Mom, you are awesome,” made my heart soar.

Today, when I look out my kitchen window, I see hope.  A beautiful 30-foot tall gum tree blowing in the wind, sunshine that seems to light each leaf individually, and wide open spaces… all this gives my heart a reason to remember the good things.  Lord, I pray, that I can see more of the good in every single day, every single person, ever single situation, for You told me, “all things work to the good of God’s chosen.”  With that, there is no room for complaints.

Red Eye Gravy – Is more of a method than a recipe.  Basically, once you cook the ham steak, use some left-over black coffee to deglaze the pan.  Pour over steak.  (Some people add butter and water or beef stock; I find that totally unnecessary!)

Scalloped Potatoes

5 medium red potatoes
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350°.   Wash potatoes well; peel and slice thin.  Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat; stir in flour.  Add milk and whisk well.  Continue to cook until thick and bubbly.  Layer ½ potatoes in a 3-quart glass baking dish separating potatoes.   Season to taste with salt and pepper and cover with ½ sauce.  Repeat layers.  Bake covered for 40 minutes.  Uncover and make another 15 to 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Note: When I’m in a hurry (when am I NOT in a hurry?), I boil the potatoes until they are just slightly soft, but not cooked through.  Then I slice them with skins for this recipe.  It cuts the cooking time by about 20 to 25 minutes.