Bringing Family Stories to Life

Family history sometimes gets a bad rap.  It can be viewed as one of those hobbies people pick up when they’re old and don’t have anything else to do.  This reputation is unfortunate because the fact is that we all need our history.  We all need our stories, and we all need our family stories.  Stories connect us, give us strength, and help us realize our place not only in the world but in OUR little world of influence.  What would change if you wrote down your own story?  What would you learn if you wrote down your family’s story?

Family Heirloom Recipe: Iranian Cucumber Salad

A recipe seems to be one of those things that families hang on to, not just because it’s traditional, but because it is tried and true.  One family recipe that is sure to become an heirloom recipe in our family is– believe it or not –Iranian Cucumber Salad.  (No, I’m not Iranian.)

When I was a baby, my father taught English as a Second Language at a university in Iran.  My mother learned to make several Iranian dishes during the two years we lived there.  For years and years when I was growing up, my parents would periodically invite friends over for Iranian Night.  They would show slides and talk about what it was like to live in Iran in the 1970s.  And my mom would make her Iranian dishes.  I loved Iranian Night!

One of my favorite dishes was, and continues to be, Iranian Cucumber Salad.  It’s very simple to make, although you need 24 hours to do it.  It’s healthy, and the cucumber-dill combination is absolutely delicious.  My kids LOVE it and always wish we had leftovers.

“I Can’t Believe They’re Not Brownie’s” Cookies

I am a big fan of brownies. They are chocolaty and gooey in the middle, and they just taste, well, heavenly. But sometimes they are just a mess to eat… In general, my go to dessert is cookies. They make the perfect individual serving sizes, and somehow I don’t feel as bad when I eat two cookies as I do when I eat two brownies. I’m not sure about my logic there, but hey, it works for me!

This recipe is the best of both worlds. You get the gooey chocolaty goodness of a brownie in the easily transportable, snackable cookie form. Voila, “I can’t believe they’re not brownie’s,” cookies.

Your Family History in a Recipe

Did you know you can find your family history in a recipe?  It’s true.  Since a family history is just a family’s story, recipes, meals, traditions, and celebrations are part of that story.  From simple comfort food to fancy holiday dishes, you can find family history in a recipe.  Cookbooks and recipes are one fun, creative way to share and enjoy your family’s story.

Praline Sweet Potato Bake

As my mom can attest, I kind of have a thing for sweet potatoes. They are just fabulous, especially when you add brown sugar! This Praline Sweet Potato recipe is on my to make list every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

This is also a great make ahead recipe. Bake the sweet potatoes in their skins the day before and put them in the fridge. When they are cold, the the sweet potatoes shrink in their skins which makes them super easy to peel. Believe me I have burned my fingers trying to peel sweet potatoes more than once before. It’s totally worth baking them the day/night before, plus it saves prep time the day you are cooking your meal.

Grandma Betty’s Cheese Ball

As we approach the holiday season I always get nostalgic for my Grandmother’s recipes. This particular cheese ball recipe my Grandma Betty made for Thanksgiving and Christmas every year. The holiday’s just don’t feel right without it.

While there is no reason to only serve this during the holiday’s, I always crave it this time of year. Whenever I make this I am reminded of wonderful memories with my family, my amazing Grandma, her great food, and the feeling of love.

Pumpkin Pancakes

Fall is such a wonderful time of the year. The temperatures cool down, the leaves turn colors, and it’s time to break out pumpkins!

I always stock up on canned pumpkin now while it’s available, and pull it out throughout the next year. You can totally make your own pumpkin puree, but this is one thing that I find isn’t worth the effort to make at home. Canned pumpkin is readily available and cooks/bakes very nicely.

Mini Cherry Pies

... in a Jar

When I lived in Virginia, my cute neighbor’s husband was at the store one day and saw some Mini pies on a stick, and asked me to make some for him.  Specifically cherry.

It sounded like a fun idea, but I wasn’t feeling confident enough in my abilities to make pie on a stick that wouldn’t go all over the place and become pie on your lap… Small individual pies I could do, pie on a stick, not yet. Maybe I will come back and tackle that project another day…