After reading the article "Up Your Gratitude," by John Kralik, I decided to adopt his life-changing advice.
In 2008, Kralik vowed to send a thank-you note to a different person every day. He succeeded, although it took him more than 365 days. I embarked on this same endeavor but did not reach one a day. I have, however, become more mindful of showing gratitude on a daily basis.
I enjoy making people feel good; it makes me feel better. More than that, showing appreciation makes a difference.
I was at a Subway once and one of the employees did not seem to want to explain the sandwiches to me. Worse, she seemed to think I was wasting her time. But another employee there was so helpful that I called the manager to tell him about the favorable employee, making sure I did not mention the one who was unfavorable. I told the manager that the employee's attitude made me want to come back.
Another time, I was heading to Washington, D.C., to celebrate my husband's 80th birthday. When I told my friend about the trip, she relayed the message to her daughter, who sent the message to her children. What a surprise it was when the brother-sister team planned the entire weekend for us, making the birthday celebration even more special. We were very grateful for this above-and-beyond act of kindness.
There are times when I do not send a thank-you note, such as when a former student invited her former teachers to a dinner at her home, or the time I arrived home and found that a former student had left collards and sweet potatoes on our doorstep. I owe thank yous to many people, including the readers of my column.
There are times when readers request recipes, and I search to find just the one that will satisfy their appetites. In spirit of gratitude, let's make it our mission to pass on good feelings to others.
SWEET POTATO PIE
Note: This recipe does not call for butter or margarine.
2 medium sweet potatoes
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place sweet potatoes on baking sheet. Bake for about 1 hour. Do not turn off oven. Cool sweet potatoes for 10 minutes. Peel by pulling strips of skin away from the flesh with a sharp knife. Mash potatoes in medium bowl with potato masher or fork.
In large bowl or large mixer bowl, combine potatoes, brown sugar, eggs, half-and-half, cinnamon, salt nutmeg, ginger, and cloves.
Beat at medium speed until smooth. Pour into pie shell. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until filling is set and a knife inserted in center comes out clean. If crust edges turn brown pie is done.
Recipe from "Southern Plantation Cooking"
OLD-FASHIONED GINGERBREAD WITH LEMON SAUCE
Makes: 9 servings
For the gingerbread
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup molasses
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup hot water
for the Lemon Sauce
Grated rind and juice of 2 lemons
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/2 cup water
To make the gingerbread: Cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy; add egg and molasses, beating well. Combine flour, soda, spices and salt; add to creamed mixture alternating with water, beating after each addition.
Pour batter into a greased 9-inch square baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Cool in pan on rack.
To make the Lemon Sauce: Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, over low heat until the mixture thickens. Serve with gingerbread.
Southern Living's "The Dinner & Supper Cookbook"
3 cups zucchini, shredded coarse
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup sharp cheese, shredded
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 cup biscuit mix
Combine zucchini, eggs, cheese, onion, and biscuit mix; use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to pour batter. Fry slowly in a little oil or butter. Place on paper towel when done to drain. Serve hot.
"Recipes by Remembrances, Warrenton, N.C., Woman's Club" by Cynthia Dickinson