Sticky Date Nut Roll

Today would have been my mom’s 79th birthday. She’s been gone for many years, and I still miss her every day. 

Mom was a Christmas person. She didn’t do a great deal of baking during the year, but at Christmas she pulled out all the stops. She baked cookies and made candy and sweet breads. She made a sticky date nut roll that either came out perfectly or had to be peeled off the wax paper in gooey chunks. But she made it every year, always hoping for the best.

I haven’t had that date nut roll in years, but I’ve been going through my recipes this week and reminiscing. Wouldn’t it be great, I thought, to make Mom’s date nut roll, to see if I could make it come out perfectly, in her honor. Alas, I can’t find it. Maybe I never had that one. 

I turned to Google and came up with this one, though:

Date Nut Roll

Ingredients 

3 1/2 C. Sugar
1 C. Milk
1/4 C. Butter or Margarine
1 16 oz. pkg. Pitted Dates
1 C. Chopped Pecans
1 Tsp. Vanilla extract
Powdered Sugar

Directions

-Combine sugar, milk, and butter in a saucepan. Stir until sugar dissolves.
-Cover and cook over medium hear for 2-3 minutes to wash down sugar crystals from the sides of the pan.
-Uncover and continue to cook without stirring until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage (240°).
-Cool to lukewarm (110°).
-Add vanilla.
-Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until the mixture thickens and cools.
-Sift powdered sugar on a linen towel.
-Divide mixture into two portions and shape each portion into two rolls, each

    1 1/2″ in diameter.
    -Wrap in towels.
    -Let stand until set, then cut into 1/2″ thick slices.

    As far as I can tell its Mom’s recipe; although, I don’t think she used a candy thermometer, and that probably explains why it only turned out perfectly about 20% of the time.

    Will I give it a go and try to make this Christmas treat? I kind of feel Mom urging me to do just that.

    Mom as a teenager.

    Snapshot #66

    When our first child was born in May of 1978, the mother of one of my closest friends created this ornament for him. I loved her like a second mom, and although she passed away several years ago I feel her presence every year when I place this ornament on our tree.  

    I call this one, “Sweetest Memories.”

    Snapshot #65

    Once upon a time I took hours decorating our Christmas tree. I agonized over which ornament looked best in which spot. I longed to achieve a tree that was worthy of gracing a design magazine. 

    My need for the perfect tree took all the fun out of decorating for my kids and Studly Doright, and soon the task of hanging all of the ornaments landed squarely on my shoulders. Like a big old vacuum I sucked all the fun out of what should have been an enjoyable family activity.

    Nowadays, few people other than Studly and me even see our tree, and I’ve finally learned that Christmas trees don’t have to be perfectly decorated to be perfect. So I’m calling this one, “The Perfect Tree.”

    Notice Scout in the foreground. She worships our Christmas tree. Seriously. 

    Parachute

    I am having a love affair with country singer/songwriter, Chris Stapleton. Now Chris isn’t aware of this, but Studly Doright is, so nobody’s feelings are in danger of being hurt. 

    Every morning Chris serenades me while I shower and dress for work or play. His music keeps me company as I complete chores around the house or sit out on the screened in porch. 

    I own two copies of his Traveler cd, one for the house and another for my car, and his is the first name up on my Pandora playlist. My favorites off the cd are Tennessee Whiskey and Traveler, but Parachute comes in near the top these days. 

    I’m especially fond of the chorus:

    You only need a roof when it’s raining
    You only need a fire when it’s cold
    You only need a drink when the whiskey
    Is the only thing that you have left to hold
    Sun comes up and goes back down
    And falling feels like flying till you hit the ground
    Say the word and I’ll be there for you
    Baby, I will be your parachute

    Maybe you should listen:

    https://youtu.be/7ub9jYLcb0Y

    Peace, people.

    Pretending for Grownups

    Before I began blogging on WordPress occasionally I’d write what I called “Pretending for Grownups” posts on Facebook. My Facebook friends would read them and declare, “Oh! You should write a blog!” Ironically, very few of those who urged me to blog actually read my blog–but I blame (and thank) them for my addiction to blogging.

    Today Facebook resurrected one of my “memories” which happened to be an early Pretending for Grownups. I thought I’d share it with you. Ah, the good old days…


    Studly’s Big Birthday Adventure, Part 2

    On our way home from New Orleans where we purchased parts for a motorcycle Studly Doright is building (see Tuesday’s post) we stopped to tour the USS ALABAMA, a decommissioned battleship that saw duty from August of 1942 until 1947. Since January of 1965, the ship has been the centerpiece at the USS ALABAMA Battleship Memorial Park east of Mobile.

    I highly recommend a visit to the park where, in addition to touring the battleship one can also tour the submarine USS DRUM, and an aircraft exhibit. 

    Below are just a few of the photos we took during our tour:

    Does this propeller make my butt look big?
    View of the ship from the gangplank.
    Part of the deck was made wooden planks.


    GUNS AND MORE GUNS!
    Compass
    The ship’s chapel in the photos above and below.
    Medical isolation room–gave me the creeps!

    Talk about a fearsome sight!

    The ALABAMA earned nine battle stars, and shot down 22 enemy planes during World War II. She’s a beautifully fearsome ship. 

    More than ever, peace, people!