Sunday, April 24, 2011

Thicker than Water

It was brought to my attention not too long ago that my definition of a friend is... shall we say, not exactly the same as how other people define what a friend is.  In our day of modern technology and communication the word friend is flippantly tossed around and with the younger generation I don't know that it means the same thing as it did to folks even 10 years ago.  The modern definition aside, I was a little surprised that my own definition isn't how some other folks see it.  To summarize, I think Gordon Lightfoot did a great job of defining a real friend in his song Rainy Day People.

It's really not all that complicated to me, a friend is someone who is there, who cares, listens, hugs, loves, encourages, defends, supports, cheers and cries with you when you need it.  They also tell you you're being a bonehead if you're being one.  They tell you that because they love you and don't want you to be a bonehead.  The place where I part company with other folks on what a true friend is, is in the details.  I don't think a genuine friend has to remember your favorite color, shoe size, kids birthdays or that kind of thing.  We've all got lives to live, kids, families, and enough details going on under our own roofs, that knowing every little thing about a friend isn't important to me.  Knowing that I have friends who genuinely care about me, the person, that's what matters.  Knowing they'll be those Rainy Day people is far more important than if they ever knew my favorite color to begin with.

Today I was thinking about "family" and realized that's another area where my definition deviates a bit from other people as well.  That old saying "blood is thicker than water" always meant (to me) that blood comes first no matter what.  NO MATTER WHAT.  I've come to realize over the years that for a lot of people that blood doesn't matter, and I find that unimaginable.  Many years ago my own sister and I were estranged for several years over a horrible misunderstanding and we didn't hardly speak at all during that time.  However, I know without question if I needed her she would have been the first one there, and the same goes for me if she would have needed me.  Despite not getting along so great for a time, we come from the place where blood truly is thicker than water and even during those heated seperations when the rubber hits the road, family ties, the ties that bind, do bind you tightly together.  Thankfully my sister and I are no longer estranged.  It was a most unpleasant time in my life and I'm so glad it's in the past.  I love her dearly, and even did when I was mad at her, as odd as that sounds.

I don't understand the mindset that says family doesn't matter. More specifically, the mindset that allows estrangement to come in and take root, and doesn't even care. I realize that these things happen but I don't understand it. When my own sister and I were in that place I was not a Christian who understood the utmost importance of reconcialiation but even then, I desired it because it was the right thing.  Those who don't desire it, don't care about it and can just write people off as easily as tossing out the daily trash... I don't understand them at all.  I'm sure in their own minds they've reasoned it out and it makes sense to them but it sure doesn't make sense to me. 

The other day the kids were watching a family sitcom where one of the kids said "family are the people you count on to love you even when you're really really stupid".  As blunt as that sounds, I completely agree with it.  You see, I've been that really really stupid person and no one in my family ever wrote me off.  Oh they had plenty of reason to, but they never did.  I don't suppose they know how truly grateful I am for that, but it taught me a tremendous lesson in love, tolerance, forgiveness, and what family really means.  I guess I'm just one of those people from a long lost generation that still believes blood is definitely thicker than water.

Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Lemony Goodness

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned on the blog before that I subscribe to Kraft Canada's What's Cooking newsletter. I LOVE this newsletter because it's always filled with tasty recipes, tips and other goodies. Over the years I've tried countless recipes they send me and there has only been 1 time that we didn't care for the dish. It was some kind of fruity pork chop dish and it just didn't turn out nearly as mouthwatering as the picture made it look.

In any event, today they sent out another with lots of great looking recipes including one for this lemon poppyseed cake.  Now, all of us here really love lemon poppyseed cake (and muffins) but the recipe itself is just loaded with fat & calories.  Here at Rolfeworld we've made a big decision to live healthier and eat healthier so I wasn't too impressed with the recipe for this cake.

So... instead of following their recipe I'm going to alter it just a bit and make it my way.  Here is the recipe with my revisions in bold:

1 pkg. (2-layer size) lemon cake mix
1 pkg. (85 g) Jell-O Lemon Jelly Powder (sugar free)
1-1/4 cups water
1/2 cup oil unsweetened applesauce
4 eggs
1/4 cup poppy seed
1/2 cup (1/2 of 250-g tub) (light or reduced calorie) Philadelphia Cream Cheese Spread
2 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 cup icing sugar, sifted
2 Tbsp. shredded peel and 1 Tbsp. juice from 1 lemon, divided 
*alternatively - use freshly whipped cream with a dash of lemon flavoring for the "frosting"

HEAT oven to 350°F. 

BEAT first 5 ingredients in large bowl with mixer until well blended. Stir in poppy seed. Pour into well-greased and lightly floured 12-cup fluted tube pan or 10-inch tube pan.
BAKE 50 min. to 1 hour or until toothpick inserted near centre comes out clean. Cool in pan 30 min. Loosen cake from sides of pan with knife. Invert cake onto wire rack; gently remove pan. Cool cake completely.
BEAT cream cheese spread and butter with mixer on low speed until well blended. Gradually beat in sugar and lemon juice. Spread over top of cake. Garnish with peel.

If you try this recipe I'd love to hear from you and see how you liked it with my revisions.  It's still going to be a fairly heavy cake but not *as* heavy with the revisions.  Slice it into small servings and you can still enjoy a fresh baked lemon poppyseed cake even if you're watching your fat/calorie intake like we are.

Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Zazzle Pat on the Back

I just received a real nice surprise in email. It seems two of my graduation accouncements have received a Graddy Award from the nice folks at zazzle:


I really love the opportunity zazzle affords me to create these things, and the awards they give out are really fun encouragement. Thanks zazzlefolk!

Graphic design by Carla Rolfe