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Grandma Farrell’s Apple Dressing
I have taught myself to cook by experimenting on my loving and patient family, with values that are important, such as utilizing whole foods, avoiding additives or anything artificial and eating the rainbow on your plate. So in this blog, I’ll share a fave from my experience in the kitchen and in life. I have has taken many family recipes and converted them to be a bit more pure, healthier + full of whole foods and nutrition, filled with love. This is one of those treasures.
When my grandma was at the end of her life I went to the nursing home quite a lot to visit her. My daughter was very small, maybe 3. Most kid would be super freaked out in that environment, as this was not a post retirement home, it was a state run facility. no one there seemed to care at all. Grandma was German English with an Irish temper. Sassy and funny as heck. As she aged she had to be moved from Colorado to Texas to be cared for by my father. She was in a posh facility in Bedford at the time. As her dementia progressed she became very hostile at times, and that temper flared. One day she socked the nurse right in the eye. Really. So, hence this is how she ended up where she was.
Music~Joan Baez Blowin’ in the Wind
My daughter and I went to visit her before Thanksgiving, the year before her passing in 2007. I know that I wanted her to teach me this recipe she made for apple dressing. Now whenever my dad or sister visited they came away stating that Grandma was totally out of it, making no sense etc. But when I visited she was ALWAYS clear. I also made sure to visit in the mornings, when they are clearer. So I arrived and my daughter ignored all the craziness that you witness in a state facility as we made our way to her room. She jumped down our of my arms and RAN to Grandma’s bed, wrapped her tiny arms around her great grandma and they looked eachother in the eyes, the same brown eyes, both of them. Ah. So we laughed and talked about Iowa, and her life up to about 8th grade, again.
The next visit I came alone, with all the ingredients in a bag, a bowl, two knives and a mission. This time we were going to make apple dressing like we used to do. I woke her up, and she smiled. I wheeled her out into the patio stoop. They had no place for the residents to enjoy the outdoors, so crappy, so we sat on the porch. She was able to get around ok. We found a spot without nurses watchful eyes and I handed her a knife, got out the apples, bowl and we went to work. I was scared for just a second, for handing her a knife, but trusted my intuition, and of course she began slicing and chatting as we filled the bowl. I was in heaven. She and I sat and visited until we had the recipe completed. She shared some tips I would not have known if it was simply written down. She really had fun, yes, fun! I was a tiny bit surprised that she just instinctively still knew what to do. Of course she did. The dementia was not there when she had a mission. Interesting correlation to my reality, when my vision is clear nothing stands in my way. Perhaps this is a quality I learned from her. Yes, it is true. My father would agree for sure. That and the sassyness, and the temper. Who me? I am Irish, so yes. I don’t put up with B.S.
She accepted what life gave her, as a farm girl from Iowa would, without expectations. As a yogi, I have recently began to learn so much from her memory. She is my angel and comes to my dream life frequently. Last night, in fact, I was dreaming of walking with her, but had so much to wrap up, she left ahead of me. I wrapped up two to three other things before leaving, as usual (this is why I am late frequently). After I finished flitting around I saw her walking slow and steady, moseying, actually. She barely went anywhere and I had been buzzing around like a bee. In my dream I thought, ‘Wow, that pace of life is almost non-existent anymore.’ This is a very direct message to me.
I will make an effort to slow down more, and think, and even mosey. Maybe I need to build a labyrinth. But that is another blog all together.
So, to share with you an all time fave recipe from my sweet Angel Grandma Edna. This sweet and tasty recipe is from day old bread, which back in the old times no one wasted! So my Grandma made this dressing, it a staple on the plate with Thanksgiving, Christmas + Easter meals.
Grandma Farrell’s Apple Dressing~
14 slices Whole grain white bread. Let it sit out in a bowl for a day, rotating top pieces a couple times to dry a bit.
4 cooking apples- Jonagold,. Cameo, Rome Beauty; washed
½ C Organic sugar
1 ½ tsp Cinnamon
¼ C Organic Milk
2 sm organic eggs
5-6 Tbsp organic butter, cut into 1Tbsp pads
2-5 Tbsp water to add during cooking, if needed.
Preheat oven to 350. Using a large mixing bowl, tear bread into bite sized pieces. Use apple slicer and cut/ core all apples, then chop into 1/2” pieces. Beat egg and milk, add to coat bread and apples lightly. Add sugar and cinnamon. Mix well. In a 3 Qt casserole, spray with organic non stick spray and add dressing mixture, dot top with pads of butter. Cover. Bake 2 hours stirring several times the last hour, if it gets dry, mix well and add water 1 Tbsp at a time to soften. Uncover and serve with the Holiday meal.
Take time this season to slow down and enjoy what life has right in front of you, not later, NOW. Life is happening NOW. Be present NOW.
In light and love,