Hello and Happy New Year!
I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday. As you may remember, we drove clear across the United States to visit with my mom, our son, some of Tony’s family and celebrate Christmas. We were able to stay for 11 days and even squeezed in an overnight trip to Walla Walla, WA to visit with Tony’s sister and her family.
But the time just sped by much too quickly!
I filled my mom “bank” with lots of Brandon time and hugs and kisses and as much following him around, sitting next to him, and talking as he would tolerate. Which he did very well, by the way. He was very patient with that weird mom need to drink your child in and imprint everything about them on your brain no matter how old they are. That mom account never stays full for long though when you live 2700 miles from your child.
The trip was certainly an adventure. The drive was actually not that terrible on the way there. Of course, you’re always excited when you’re headed toward your vacation destination.
The drive there went very smoothly, unless you count the 1500 miles it took us to figure out the heater in the rental car.
Honestly, who makes a car heater so complicated! We didn’t notice it was necessary until we left Chicago and started heading toward North Dakota. Once the temperature dipped below 5 degrees, we were freezing!
All through North Dakota and Montana the temperatures at night were well below zero so I was so thankful when I woke from a cat nap (who knows where we were) to find I was hot. Tony had spent the quiet time figuring out how to work the heater.
Somehow he was able to figure out that the air conditioning button needed to be on in order for the heat to work.
We drove from our home in New Hampshire to Chicago, from Chicago to Billings, Montana, and from Billings to Spokane, Washington. The roads were pretty good and the total time for the trip to Washington state…43 hours of driving.
Now the trip home, that was a different story.
I didn’t keep track of the driving hours. We, well I say we but I mean Tony, had to drive home in a blizzard.
A blizzard that was so scary that I kept my eyes closed or had my face buried in a book and my foot on my imaginary brake for at least 2,ooo miles. We went from Spokane to Bismark (944 miles around 2:00 AM) where it started snowing heavily and continued to snow throughout the night. The next morning (still snowing and 12 below zero) we packed up at the hotel and made it through the ongoing blizzard to Toledo, Ohio (1084 miles 2:30 AM), then from Toledo to home (701 miles 12:30 AM).
On the way, there were cars off the road, semi trucks jack knifed and off the road, a few horrible car wrecks that were cause for immediate prayer for whomever was involved, a traffic jam that lasted an hour, and lots and lots of trying to pass semis and plow/sanding trucks in big clouds of billowing snow that made it impossible to see.
The most dangerous part of the blizzard started in Wisconsin and didn’t stop until we were parked in our garage. We came home to at least a foot of snow in the driveway. Needless to say, we were quite happy to arrive home safely, eat a piece of toast, and crawl into our own bed.
I’m sure I will be hard pressed to get Tony to do a trip like that again any time soon.
In fact I think when we finally got home, I may have heard out of his mouth the words…never again.
However selfish it may sound, the only thing I cared about was filling up my mom bank account.
Which I did, so it was worth it!
Maple Nugget Cornbread with Maple Butter
1 Gluten Free Pantry Yankee Cornbread & Muffin Mix
1/4 Cup Pure Maple Syrup
1 1/3 Cups Almond Milk plus 2 Tablespoons of Fresh Lemon Juice (this makes “buttermilk”)
1 Large Egg
6 Tablespoons of Melted Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
Maple Nuggets (You can call him here to order: 802-489-2286)
Dairy Free Butter (I use the Soy Free Earth Balance)
Extra Pure Maple Syrup
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Measure the almond milk in a glass measuring cup and add the lemon juice. Set aside. Pour the mix into a medium sized bowl. Add the maple syrup, egg, and melted coconut oil. Add the almond milk mixture. Pour and spread into an oiled 8×8 square baking dish. Sprinkle with the maple nuggets. I probably used about three Tablespoons.
Bake for 17-22 minutes. Do not over bake or the cornbread will be dry. Remove from oven and set aside.
For the Maple Butter: For two people I fork whisked about 3 Tablespoons of dairy free butter with about 1 Tablespoon of Pure Maple Syrup until it was combined. Then I spread it in a nice dish and drizzled with more maple syrup.
Top cornbread with the Maple Butter and drizzle with Pure Maple Syrup. Serve warm.