My friend Carolyn and I were having a post-holiday luncheon and catching up. This was the first Christmas when everyone could make it home in quite some time. Old memories were re-lived and new ones made.
As we ruefully admitted to the need to begin un-decorating the house for the season, she laughingly told me her mother kept the tree up all year. It was always in the same corner, but the decorations changed with the season. A banner for the birthday person graced the tree on their special day. Valentines hung there in February. Little flags were tucked in on the 4th of July.
I realized this was before the days of big craft stores where one could no doubt keep such a tree in glorious apparel year round. It was a mother’s creativity that wrought such a nice memory for her children, using what she had, and looking for ways to work with her hands as Proverbs 31 encourages us to do.
One year my mother jokingly hung a little elf ornament from the mouth of a stuffed pheasant that was hung on the living room wall. She and Daddy had taken a once only hunting trip together to South Dakota to bag some pheasants. I think she shot her gun once, then Daddy got his limit and hers, too.
The best thing from that hunting trip was the time spent together, the memories that stuffed wall decoration evoked, and a pheasant and rice recipe Mother got from someone in South Dakota. They also learned hot tea, not cold sweet tea, was the favored drink in the North. They found they enjoyed the experience, the people, and the tea.
For years after, that little elf placed in the pheasant’s mouth signaled the beginning of our holiday season. We still smile over this. Isn’t it amazing how one little act can evoke such warm fuzzy memories?
Today I share a recipe for Fluffy Rice and Chicken. You can substitute pheasant if you happen to have it on hand. — Confectionately Yours, Sue
Fluffy Rice and Chicken
1 (10 3/4-oz.) can cream of chicken soup
1 jar mushrooms, sliced with liquid (opt.)
1 soup can milk
1 (1.4-oz.) envelope onion soup mix
3/4 c. white rice, uncooked
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Heat oven to 350°. Mix chicken soup and milk. Reserve 1/2 cup of the mixture. Mix in the onion soup mix, rice, and mushrooms.
Pour into un-greased baking dish. Place chicken breasts on top. Pour the reserved soup mixture over chicken.
Cover with foil and bake one hour. Uncover and bake 15 minutes longer. Yield: 4 servings. Add a little extra chicken broth at the end of cooking time if needed.
Sue Murphy is a Xenia resident may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her Christian radio segments share about her journey and her passion for baking. Find other recipes and more at www.Confectionatelyyours.info. Find her cookbook at Parker’s General Store on the courthouse square in Xenia.