Monday, July 27, 2009

Firsts and Lasts

This morning was the first Trial Run of the our 28-year old baby moves to Ecuador experience we are pretending not to think about. Abby’s third and last field season in her PhD program will officially end on Thursday and on Friday morning she will be heading back to Lincoln for her last semester. She is excited for all the firsts she will experience in her life after nine years of college but my mental countdown of lasts is beginning...and life with a daughter living thousands of miles away in a new country with language, customs and experiences completely foreign to us” will be beginning before we are ready.

Before Leslie and Ryan moved back here, whenever they left to go back to Colorado, our floor would be littered with toys and reminders of their visit. Dean and I coped with the emptiness by distracting ourselves with shopping. Then we’d come home with purchases we didn’t really need, I’d cry as I picked up all the toys, and we’d mope around for the rest of the day. It was very sad.
Abby's visits have involved alot of cooking and baking so we could send her back on Sunday afternoons with a cooler of food. This also involved alot of us eating the cooking and baking we were doing in order to fill her cooler. Instead of shopping to distract ourselves when she's gone, I see a continuation of cooking and baking. That would be okay except for the resulting eating. My time at the gym has been replaced by working on the BFD and I have begun to fear a larger me in my future. It would be very, very sad…and ugly. It's just a darned good thing Leslie and Ryan live in the same town or we'd be fat and poor.

This final summer weekend we were all so busy with an Emerson and Myra sleepover,

a backyard swimming party, playing with kids,

and the all important activity of shopping at the mall, we didn't have time to do much cooking, which meant Abby left from her last summer weekend home with no cooler of food. We tried to make up for it by going out to breakfast this morning before she hit the highway. I knew I was going to have to change my ways soon or I would be attending my first weight watchers meeting so I resolved this morning that this past weekend was the last of eating way too much and I would only eat an apple for lunch. Some lasts are good. However, our restaurant of choice for breakfast is known for its home baked breads. Not only did I request a "cinnamon roll to take with me, please" but when I was asked if I “would like the butter sauce with it” I said, “sure, why not?” Guess which one I ate for lunch?

Even though I know most of these firsts and lasts would happen whether Abby was moving to Ecuador or Kansas, it doesn’t make me any less sad or make me miss her any less. But I also know many of these firsts and lasts will be exciting and offer all kinds of adventures…being an entomologist living in a country filled with tropical insects—how cool is that?...or Dean and I taking our first trip to Ecuador. Can you see us...skinny woman with reddish hair and skin so white it reflects light and a bearded bald guy wearing sandals with socks. Do you think we'll stick out?

If the cinnamon roll looked tasty (and I can guarantee you it was!) and made you hungry, here are a couple of recipes for a couple of the things I’ve made for Abby over the summer.

Flour Tortillas

7 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
2/3 cup shortening
2 1/2 cups water

I made these for our recent camping trip. It takes about 1 1/2 hours to make one batch of approximately 24 medium-size tortillas. I never seem to be able to get a nice perfect circle but they’re tasty and oh, so much easier to make now that I have a functioning gas stove. Pre-kitchen remodeling I used to try and make them on our ancient 2-burner electric stovetop. Now and then the tortillas would seem to stop cooking so I’d turn up the heat of the burner. When it still didn’t seem to be heating I’d turn it up higher. Even then the skillet still wouldn't be hot so I would lift up the skillet and bang it down on the burner, which would would kick the burner back on. However, by then I would have forgotten I’d cranked the temperature way up and the tortilla would burn. I would say some words I shouldn’t know, throw out the tortilla, turn the heat down, start again, cook a few, the burner would quit working , and again I would turn up the heat, bang the burner, burn the tortilla …

  • Blend dry ingredients and shortening together until shortening is incorporated into the flour.

  • Slowly add water to the dry mixture to form the dough.

  • Knead dough for several minutes until well mixed.

  • Shape dough into small balls and roll out flat.

  • Cook tortillas on a seasoned and heated cast iron skillet on the top of the stove until there are small bubbles on the top. Then flip the tortilla and cook on the other side.

    Pita Pocket Bread

    6 cups flour
    2 tsp. salt
    2 tablespoons sugar
    1 tablespoon yeast
    2 cups warm water

  • Preheat oven and a heavy cast iron pan on the bottom rack to 500 degrees.

  • Mix ingredients together to form a soft dough.

  • Let dough rest 10 minutes on a floured surface.

  • Shape dough into small balls and roll out to about 1/4 inch thick.

  • Let rise another 10-15 minutes.

  • Place pitas on the heavy pan and cook until the pita bubbles up. Bubbles will inflate so the whole top is raised. Turn pita over and cook until bottom side is done.

  • Cool pitas before use or freeze while they are still warm to keep them soft.

    I think/hope they were good. I don’t know. Abby took a bunch and Leslie took the rest.



abby rose said...

I LOVED the tortillas and pita bread! I am looking forward to no more weekends home full of eating, and eating, and eating and eating and eating! But I am going to miss the weekend get-aways in Wyoming...especially when I am neck deep in writing.

Leslie said...

I've enjoyed the food too, but maybe a break from all that eating will be a good thing. :)
But I'm going to miss Abby and so are the kiddos. :(

Al said...

Ever make any bread you don't have to fry?