The other night while watching the TV series “Blue Bloods”, which is not only a cop show, but tells the story of a close-knit family, I wondered if many families these days dine together; or are the kids and parents too busy with their heads buried in various devices.
When my now late brother and I were little, meal times were important, and were always spent at the table. Sunday lunches, after we’d been to Sunday school, were major events. Dining together, at the table, might, to some, seem to be a little thing, but it’s not. It’s very important. Doing so is necessary in the development of children; of their mind and their behaviour.
A while back I had difficulty working out how to operate an air pump to inflate my deflated car tyres. I muttered a few appropriate words. Fouling the atmosphere didn’t solve the problem, so I threw my hands in the air. My hands are attached to my arms, and didn’t come to grief.
Fortunately, Sir Galahad, disguised as a fuel tank driver, came to the rescue of this old dame in distress. In swashbuckling style he leapt from his trusty steed aka tanker. The thoughtful gent approached, offering his assistance. Accepting his considerate offer, I felt less of an idiot when he, too, at first, had difficulties operating the damn pump; but with the patience of Job he got the job done. His help meant a lot. His kindness was no little thing. I’d still be there doing battle with the pump, with hot air floating around everywhere, but into my car tyres!
The same morning of the above adventure more unexpected drama unfolded.
When I was pushing my loaded trolley towards where my car was parked, my Iced Coffee Milk ‘bottle’ decided to leap free from the trolley. As it began to roll downhill, my spontaneous, swift reaction surprised even me. Somehow, I managed to block its escape with my foot. The next problem I faced was stopping the errant trolley from rattling off with my purchases, crashing into, and destroying other cars on its way. The trolley was doing its best to skedaddle.
A second complication I had to conquer was being able to bend down to pick the renegade milk coffee up off the ground without my falling head over turkey, thereby making a real goose out of myself.
Struggling to not fall over, similar words to those muttered under my breath a little while earlier were mumbled in the middle of IGA’s car park. A young woman who had begun to pull out from her parking bay, turned off her car motor; got out of her car, and rushed to my aid, just as I, ungracefully, with a firm grip on the delinquent trolley, managed to pick up the milk. A major calamity was avoided.
The young lady’s thoughtful gesture meant a lot to me, too. There are many nice folk around. I met a couple of them that morning. Both might have thought their actions meant little, but, to me, they meant a lot.
A spoonful of Crunchy Peanut Paste, aka “Peanut Butter”, is a little pleasure that means a lot to me. I love digging deep into a jar of Crunchy Peanut Paste, and often do. Not a very lady-like habit, I know, but I won’t be gracing Buckingham Castle’s dining tables anytime soon. However, don’t knock it until you try it! Forget the spoonful of sugar….apologies to Mary Poppins…a spoonful of crunchy peanut paste all the way every day!
Frequent serenades at my screen door by my neighbours, Mr and Mrs Magpie, and their kids, as well as the Butcherbirds might seem minor, but to me, their joyful presence means a lot.
Small gestures of kindness; a smile; encouraging words; taking time to listen, to understand; shared laughter…thoughtful behaviour is welcome, always, amidst the daily turmoil…genuine expressions of goodwill. Little things do mean a lot. Generosity of spirit…to quote Anne Frank; “No one has ever become poor by giving.”
Crispy Peanut Paste Biscuits: Preheat oven, 177C. Combine 3/4c Crunchy Peanut Paste, 1/2c unsalted soft butter, 1/2c brown sugar and 1/2c sugar. Cream, about 4mins, scraping down sides; add 1 egg and 1tbs vanilla; beat well; add 1/4tsp salt, 1-1/2c plain flour and 1tsp baking soda. Mix at low speed until flour is worked in. Up mixer speed to full for last 2secs. Scoop about 28g of mixture onto paper-lined baking sheet. With a fork, tap on some of the dough left in bowl to moisten; dip in sugar; create crosshatch pattern on biscuits, tamping fork in sugar after each press. Bake 12-14mins, just until top and edges begin to turn golden.
Crispy Peanut Balls: Put 1/2c Peanut Paste (crunchy or smooth) in bowl; stir to loosen. Stir in 1/4c maple syrup. Add 1c rolled oats, 1/4c desiccated coconut, 1tbs chia seeds, 1-1/2tbs unsweetened cacao powder and pinch of salt. Stir until combined. Pick up small chunks of dough; roll between your palms to form balls; gently press dough together to compress it. Place in air-tight container; store at room temp for up to a week.
Easy 3-Ingredient Chrissy Cake: Combine 1kg mixed dried fruit and 600ml iced coffee flavoured milk in bowl. Cover and place in fridge overnight to soak. Remove bowl from fridge; set aside 30mins to come to room temp. Preheat oven 180C/160C fan. Grease a 22cm round cake pan; line base and side with baking paper. Stir 300g S.R. flour into fruit mixture until just combined. Pour into pan. Smooth surface. Bake 1hr 30mins or until a skewer inserted into centre comes out clean. Set aside in pan 3mins to cool slightly before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.