Back to School

Seems like every other post on my Facebook feed is another adorable back to school photo of a friend’s child. It got me thinking about my first days of school. Even at a young age I would obsess over what I was going to wear or how I was going to fix my hair. Some things never change with kids.

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My first day of kindergarten

There was that part of every first day of school that was either the social highlight or, depending on the year, the most anxiety inducing hour of the day. Lunch period. My mom fixed my lunch on most days and I would buy my little carton of milk for a dime. The contents of my lunch were very healthy. Usually it was a half of a ham sandwich on wheat bread with yellow mustard, and some form of a fruit and vegetable. No chips and no candy.

Regardless of the contents, my lunchbox was always in vogue. Luckily, my uncle worked for Aladdin in Nashville. He was able to outfit me every year with the latest in lunch box trends. If I only had that collection now, I’m sure I could sell them to collectors for a pretty penny. I’m sure that tin Strawberry Shortcake number would fetch a buck or two.

These days, my lunch hour is spent running errands or grabbing a “healthy” bite from the fast food place down the road. But what I would really love is a ham sandwich with a side of raw broccoli florets especially made by mom. 

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Breakfast Love

I made my husband’s favorite breakfast this morning. The recipe isn’t a new concept but the result of a happy accident. To get the full picture, I have to go back to the very beginning, a very good place to start.

Saturday morning breakfast was a pretty big deal growing up. We were all together, with our untamed hair (even dad had one or two out of place) and morning breath. My sister and I puttered around in one of my dad’s old T-shirts as a make shift gown.

Most Saturdays it was muffins from a mix or peanut butter toast and scrambled eggs. But some Saturdays mom would pull out the big guns and make cinnamon rolls. Made with a basic biscuit recipe, it was filled with all the goodness she could concoct, raisins, pecans, sugars both dark and white, cinnamon and butter- no recipe is ever made the same way twice in my mama’s kitchen- that’s how she rolls.

My sister and I would stand on either side of her, holding our breath as she carefully and evenly rolled the dough, keeping all the insides where they belonged. And then she sliced them, baked them, and we devoured them.

Fast forward to my college years. I shared an apartment style dorm with three other girls. There were no mothers around to make us cinnamon rolls, so I attempted to replicate all the steps. Surrounded by my roommates, I rolled the dough while they held their breaths. The most nerve wrecking part of the whole process is transferring the cut rolls to the baking pan. Raisins get lost every time. The roommates had captured their breath by now and had moved on to more important things… like homework. So like any college kid would do, I thought, what’s the easiest way to do this? And thus, the log of love was born.

I took the rolled dough and shaped it into a doughnut shape. The ends did not quite meet so I tucked them into the center and Walla! A heart shape cinnamon roll! I baked it, drowned it in glaze, and suddenly my roommates appeared ready to share in this sweet breakfast treat. We sat around our small table with untamed hair, morning breath and wearing our boyfriend’s old T-shirts, comforting ourselves with tastes and love  of home.

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There’s no guarantee that the roll will come out looking like the perfect heart shape, but isn’t that the chance you take on love?

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Scrambled Eggs

I learned most of what I know about cooking from my mother. She started me on the basics- scrambled eggs. While she would be getting all the other things ready for breakfast I was in charge of stirring the eggs. So there I stood on my little strawberry shortcake stool, spatula in hand making sure there were no crusty bits on the edges and that they didn’t stick in the middle. So much to manage at such a young age.

I remember fondly my early breakfasts in our little blue house. Wheat toast- made in the oven- with a pat of butter all melty in the middle and scrambled eggs, stirred by me. On Saturday mornings we would have some bacon or maybe some crunchy (only crunchy) peanut butter on the toast before dad would go to work that morning. We would hold hands around the square drop leaf table, as Dad would say the blessing. Without fail before the Amen, he would always say, “God thank you for the food and bless the hands that prepared it”. And in my little heart I knew that I had stirred the eggs and God was blessing me for doing it. 

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