Sweet Things

Today, Mother’s Day, has been full, full.  Several sweet things stand out:

1.  The picture my four year old drew as a mother’s day gift for me at kindergarten.  It’s four for four:  every one of my kids at this age has drawn my hair with the black crayon, like every other child in their class.   I guess we all look alike.  I like my happy eyes in the picture.  (The message says:  thank you always!)

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2.  My husband.  Even though we had worship and a wedding celebration after that (saving this for another blog!), he and the kids made me feel really special today…. many times over.  Owen went with Eric last night and picked up a really fun scarf (and hat!) for me… they bought a beautiful white rose plant… Eric made my favorite dinner… and they gave me my favorite dessert – macarones!  Each of the kids shared after dinner what they love about mommy.  That was the best part.  Today, on numerous occasions, I just felt flooded with thankfulness for four such amazing children.  (Even when they draw me with black hair!)

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3.   I’ve had twenty five mother’s days since my mother has been gone – and every one has been tough at some point of this day — even really busy ones.  Today an amazing friend gave me an amazing package. At the end of the wedding celebration I received it — a special gift in memory of my mom.   I sat in the car and cried – both for my mom and for a friend who would understand and show so much love.

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Mother’s Supreme

Last night I made my mom’s Chicken Supreme for dinner.  It’s been a long time, in part because I can’t get the Pepperidge Farm Seasoned Stuffing mix here in Japan.  But it had been too long, so I decided to try my own substitution (see recipe below).  My kids didn’t remember having it before (though they have) – so they viewed this new recipe with great suspicion until delving in.  Alas!  They all loved it!  Owen said he wants it for his birthday dinner (coming up soon in December…) And our friend Yasko who was over loved it as well.  We even wonder if the Japan version may be better than the Pepperidge Farm original ….

Whenever I do make this recipe, it brings back warm recipes of my mom.  She’s been gone for twenty-one years, but her recipes, and her legacy, lives on.  Of course I had to serve it with corn and rice — Plumb family style… and I thought about the countless dinners we helped her serve with countless number of guests around our dining room table.  But at the time our guests didn’t feel countless, I don’t think…They each felt special and a part of the Plumb family.  She was so good at including people into our family and our lives.  Our house didn’t need to be perfect (for sure one thing I inherited from her, for better or worse)… often guests came at short notice, but she and my Dad worked well together in sharing a heart for hospitality and loving people.  I love it when I call one of my sisters and they are preparing for guests to arrive any minute… or the generous hospitality that each of them show to my family when we come home.  I know who they learned this from – even if the recipes are altered and our styles of entertaining all reflect our own personalities, how thankful I am today for my Mom’s legacies and her daily, loving investment in her four daughters.  I love it that I can keep learning from her. (Below- family portrait :)… and Mom and my sister Allison in her kitchen, which holds such great memories for many of us):

Today in church we read a wonderful verse that I want to add to my kitchen sink verse collection:

Proverbs 14:26  “He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge.”  How incredibly thankful I am for the refuge that our parents were to us.  My Mom was an amazing woman whose confidence in the strength of the Lord allowed many to find a sure refuge.

If you haven’t tried Dottie’s Chicken Supreme, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!  Here it is (from memory, of course).

Preheat oven to 350.

3 C cooked chicken breast, cut up (I boil 2 quarts water in pan; add raw chicken and bring the water to a boil again; cover pot, turn off heat and let the chicken sit for 45 minutes.  Gives you perfect, moist chicken!  This cooking technique is from Eric’s mom.  Save the broth for later!)

Spread in 13 x 9 or casserole dish.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Mix together and spread on top of chicken.

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 C sour cream (hard to get/expensive in Japan — I make my own using one container of plain yoghurt, poured into a paper coffee filter – let water drain out for several hours and voila! – sour cream)

On top of cream mixture, spread 2 or 3 C Pepperidge Farm seasoned bread crumbs.  (To make your own version:  3 C panko bread crumbs mixed with:  1 teaspoon parsley; 1 teaspoon sage; 1/2 teaspoon onion salt; 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt; 1/2  teaspoon oregano).

On top of crumbs pour:  1 stick (1/2 C) melted butter & 1/2 C chicken broth

Bake for 40 minutes in 350 oven until bubbly.

Plumb style:  serve with corn and rice!

Tonight, to end a nice Mother’s Day, Owen really really wanted to make a cake with me.  (Our friend Luke had just sent us some clothes for Owen, including the Ratatouille apron and chef’s hat that he’s wearing in the photo – this is what inspired the cooking today!).  So, we made another great Dottie recipe – Dump Cake.

Our home right now has an aroma of my mom… and our kitchens look equally not-neat in these two photos above… I pray that over these years God will give me the grace and wisdom to allow our home to be a fortress to our family and a refuge to many.  Thanks, mom.  Twenty one years and I still miss you a ton.