Thursday, December 30, 2010

Aunt Ruth and 2011

I am very grateful that Aunt Ruth will continue to teach me in 2011.    Photographing her for loving aunt ruth has been an education ranging from life in the Depression to organizational tips for kitchens, pantries, and closets.  New recipes have been added to my file and a deep appreciation for family, faith, and friends grew in ways that I didn't know possible from listening to the importance the 3 "f's" play in her life.

Aunt Ruth is now 91-and-a-half, as she likes to say, and she is the most social person I know.  As I write this blog, she is preparing for another New Year's gathering of lifelong friends.  Real friends.  Lately, I have found that my friends are more often than not contacted when I pick up my Blackberry or click the mouse on my Mac.

For 2011, I resolve to be more like Aunt Ruth.  Here is her wish for 2011:

If you would like to send yours to Aunt Ruth, please leave a comment here, or send it to my email address:  Aunt Ruth enjoys hearing from you!

Happy New Year from Aunt Ruth and Me.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Maya Angelou and Aunt Ruth

Aunt Ruth served our country in various jobs.  As part of the "greatest generation," there was a lot more service than there is today, and Aunt Ruth's involvement impresses and humbles me.  She drove military vehicles, worked as an accountant during the war while her husband was in London.  Her accountant's job was to  ferret out inappropriate naval expenses.  During the Carter administration, she was one of two women chosen for a 12-person committee to review applicants for federal judgeships in the state of Ohio.  She had a reputation from her years of work in the Women's Auxillary of the Ohio Bar Association.

Yesterday, I asked her which of her achievements gave her the most pride, and without hesitation, she said, "when I read resumes for the federal court.  That is a lifetime appointment, and while on the committee, I noticed a common pleas judge who had said he had never been divorced on his application.  He lied.  I knew his first wife!  I reported the lie knowing that if he was dishonest about his marital status, he was not someone who should be a federal judge!  He never got over being rejected, but I like to think I saved a lot of people from rulings handed down by a dishonest man."

Maya Angelou says, "People show you who they are the first time."  Aunt Ruth says that she never met Maya, but I wonder....

Thanks, Aunt Ruth for standing by your principles.  (we could sure use her now!)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Home for the Holidays

I have come to rely on Aunt Ruth for recipes and rules by which to live what Oprah would refer to as "my best life."  Holidays can find me quite reflective about the past, so I spent a sumptuous Sunday with my favorite mentor and asked her just how she lives life with optimism, determination, and humor.

Here's what she told me, and it is our joint offering for a life lesson and a wish for a joyful holiday:

"I have faith.  I get comfort from my religion, but most of all, I understand that life is not easy.  You must have a will to live, and that will comes from loving people.  Otherwise there wouldn't be much sense in living."

with love from Aunt Ruth and me....

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Baking with Heart

The table is set for a party, and you will note that the cookies are marked "sugar free" to insure having a sweet offering to those who need to avoid sugar.  Aunt Ruth cooks the way she lives; thinking of others, and today, I was sitting in her kitchen with a menorah behind me talking about Christmas cookies.

Aunt Ruth grew up in a neighborhood that didn't have any other Jewish families, and her mother baked delicious Christmas fare to deliver to everyone.  My grandmother's home was kosher, so you might not imagine her to be cutting out cookie dough with Christmas tree cutters and stars.   My grandmother loved all people, and she taught Aunt Ruth and her sister, my mother, to feel the same way.

In the spirit of the holidays, compassion, and cookies, Aunt Ruth offers her favorite cookie recipe on the blog that doesn't use eggs in case someone needs an eggless delight!  She says they are delicious and passes this onto all with her sincere wishes for your good health, happy holidays, and her appreciation for your interest in her.

Cookies without Eggs for Any Occasion
2 C flour
8 heaping teaspoons confectioner's sugar
2 sticks of margarine
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/2 C walnuts, finely chopped

Put all the ingredients in the processor EXCEPT the nuts.  You'll add those at the last minute.  For the dough into a ball and refrigerate for 1/2 hour.   Add nuts and roll into little balls.  Press them with a fork to make a criss-cross pattern.

Bake at 375 for 13-15 minutes

When cool, sprinkle with sugar in red, blue, green, or any holiday color!  That is the point!

If you have any questions or requests for Aunt Ruth, please leave your comments here, on Facebook, or email directly to me at

See you in the kitchen!