Friday, May 21, 2010

Wash Day Dinner ---Beans and Rice and whatever else is leftover

Remember the tea towels that our mothers taught us how to embroider, the days of the week, our chores to be done…Monday was wash day, Tuesday was ironing day, Wednesday sewing, Thursday shopping, Friday cleaning, Saturday baking, Sunday was a day of rest. Not only did we learn to embroider the days of the week we learned the childhood nursery rhyme “Here We Go ‘Round The Mulberry Bush" by singing it as we played a game imitating the actions of the days of the week.
Since Monday was laundry day and there was always so much of it, the “Wash Day Dinner” was and is still today a traditional southern dish with many variations. Brown beans or red beans, ham or hamburger, rice, whatever was left over in the refrigerator.

My sister Mary remember with fondness those Monday night dinners but it has been a long time since my mom had a busy household with children running in and out at all times; and with an automatic washing machine, the usual doldrum chores go much faster leaving more time to read cookbooks, magazines with recipes, and expand the traditions of past.

I went home to California to spend a nine days with my mom and celebrate mother’s day with her. I spent one afternoon with my sister helping her spring clean her closets. We called my mom late in the afternoon to let her know we would be coming home soon and asked what was for dinner or did she want us to pick something up on the way. “No!” mom said, she would have dinner ready when we got there. We asked “what’s for dinner” but mom wasn’t telling, just said dinner would be ready when we arrived.

To our surprise mom had fixed “Wash Day Dinner” to the best of her relocation. What a nice surprise for my sister and me. And while it was not “Monday”, dinner that night tasted wonderful and we thoroughly enjoyed it along with the homemade apricot pie.

Be sure to make a pan of cornbread to serve with the wash day dinner because they just seem to go hand in hand.


1 ham bone, ham hock, leftover chicken, cooked hamburger, sausage cut into bite size pieces or roast beef chopped up
1 pound dry red kidney beans or leftover cooked brown beans
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
5 stalks celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 bay leaves
Optional – a few dashed of Tabasco sauce or chili powder
Salt & pepper to taste
2 tbsp. olive oil or butter
4c. water
4 c. chicken stock
Leftover corn can also be added
Leftover potatoes cut up can be added
1 large tomato diced or a 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
Brown or white rice cooked

Rinse bean and remove all foreign particles and soak overnight covered with water. Drain and rinse the bean and set aside.

In a large pot, sauté onion, celery, garlic, green peppers, and carrots in oil or butter until soft. Add water, meat, beans, tomato, tomato paste, and spices. Simmer on low for at least 3 hours (you can use your Crockpot), the flavors get better as it simmers.

Add the rice fifteen minutes before serving to soak up the flavors.

Here We Go ‘Round the Mulberry Bush’ Nursery Rhyme

Here we go 'round the mulberry bush,
The mulberry bush,
The mulberry bush.
Here we go 'round the mulberry bush,
So early in the morning.

These are the chores we'll do this week,
Do this week,
Do this week.
These are the chores we'll do this week,
So early every morning.

This is the way we wash our clothes,
Wash our clothes,
Wash our clothes.
This is the way we wash our clothes,
So early Monday morning.

This is the way we iron our clothes,
Iron our clothes,
Iron our clothes.
This is the way we iron our clothes,
So early Tuesday morning.

This is the way we scrub the floor,
Scrub the floor,
Scrub the floor.
This is the way we scrub the floor,
So early Wednesday morning.

This is the way we mend our clothes,
Mend our clothes,
Mend our clothes.
This is the way we mend our clothes,
So early Thursday morning.

This is the way we sweep the floor,
Sweep the floor,
Sweep the floor.
This is the way we sweep the floor,
So early Friday morning.

This is the way we bake our bread,
Bake our bread,
Bake our bread.
This is the way we bake our bread,
So early Saturday morning.

This is the way we get dressed up,
Get dressed up,
Get dressed up.
This is the way we get dressed up,
So early Sunday morning.

Here we go 'round the mulberry bush,
The mulberry bush,
The mulberry bush.
Here we go 'round the mulberry bush,
So early in the morning.

Friday, May 14, 2010

California for Mothers Day

Tuesday 5-4-10 3:15 AM

It’s dark, it’s really, really early, I’ve only had one hour of sleep because of a sinus headache, and slept only because I took an Ibuprofen, drank hot tea, ate dark chocolate, and turned up the fireplace and crawled under a warm blanket.

It is still cold and dark outside as we take off into the sea of clouds, headed for California (well, Seattle, enroute to California). When I open my eyes it is almost time to land and the morning light shows that we are floating above the clouds as we slowly descend allowing glimpses of city lights as Seattle is waking up and beginning to move. I knew there was at least one “LEO” (law enforcement officer) on the plane to Seattle, but it wasn’t until we started to disembark that I realized that there were two, maybe three, on board.

A Starbucks tall caffe latte, a walk through the Fireworks store, my favorite shop in the airport, and then the tram to the “N” gate for the next leg of the trip to CA to see my mom, my son Jim, and others of my family.

Sitting at my gate watching the air traffic come and go, I saw what appeared to be a large passenger plane, except it had no windows, was painted a flat white, and absolutely no marking of any kind to identify it. Strange!!!

One of my new favorite things to pack in my carryon bag is Gold Bond hand sanitizer; a non-alcohol based sanitizer, so my hands don’t feel rough and dried out--and it smells good.

I am ready to go…ready to get to CA…ready to sleep on the plane…ready to quit waiting.

When I woke we were about fifteen minutes out of Oakland. The sun was shining and I had a clear view of the waves lapping at the CA coastline to the west and the green hills to the east (they are not golden brown and parched but green because of the unusually large amount of rain CA has had this year), low tide leaving the bay flats looking like a receding hairline and a ferry heading to Vallejo.

I can see highway 4 going east to the hills heading to Antioch and Pittsburg; the mothball fleet squatting like old grey soldiers in Suisun Bay, Martinez where I grew up, and it all makes me thinks of the song “On A Clear Day You Can See Forever”. When there is no smog you really can see everything from 10-15 thousand feet up. Briones Park, Tilden Park, now it is a 180 and we are almost ready to land.

Mary picked me up and we stopped at BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse at the mall for lunch. Mary recommended the BBQ chicken salad with extra crunchies on top. Moist chick with a sweet bbq sauce, chopped lettuce, cilantro, tomatoes, black beans, and corn, with a southwestern creamy dressing topped with thin French fried onion rings--I now have a new favorite salad. Kelly called while we were eating lunch and when I told her where we were having lunch, she said she was mad at me; BJ’s is one of Kelly’s favorite restaurants in Las Vegas.

Richard was at my mom’s gardening when we arrived and he showed me my new birdhouse decorated with pearls (real pearls), beads, candy wrappers, a watch, rhinestones, and lots of love. Thank you Richard, the birdhouse will be treasured and I am thankful to have such talented friend.

Kelly called again right before dinner and said she was jealous I was having grandma food. She will be here in July and can feast then.

Mom and I checked out her garden in full bloom. Mexican sunflowers, Iris, lambs ear, roses, geraniums, roses, hollyhocks, and daylilies all growing in the wonderful warmth of the sun.

Wednesday 5-5-10

Mom had raisin bread for breakfast and I had hot coffee. Mom went to work in the garden and I went to Home Depot. Paint for the picket fence in the front yard, wasp spray for the nest in the garage attic, and a plant for the garden. Happy Mother’s Day mom.

Next stop Safeway to buy groceries to fix dinner. Tonight it is going to be pork chops, rice, and vegetables seasoned with sweet chili sauce. Thursday night we are having Greek pasta salad with chicken.

Mom laughed when I returned home carrying a plant in my hands. She was sitting on the patio with a cold drink, taking a much deserved break from her morning gardening chores. I asked her if she thought I could walk into Home Depot without buying a plant and she said no. I bought her a ruby pink double flower Australian Tee Tree shrub. Now we just need to find the right place to put it.

I worked on painting the fence in the front yard (I did not complete this job because of the rain and cold, so Richard will need to finish for me). And bend and dip and stretch and brush…oh my legs are going to get a workout today.

Mary came for dinner and we watched a little TV before we got down to business playing canasta. I won a game! They must have taken pity on me and let me win. It was a good day.

Thursday 5-6-10

Up early to take mom to get blood work done (just routine). We picked up Mary and went to breakfast at the Copper Skillet Courtyard in Martinez. Good food, good portions, good prices.

Back to the house for a short nap after a big breakfast. Four hours later I woke up. I have a really bad sinus headache and it has just zapped me of my strength this afternoon.

Mary came for dinner and mom fixed an apricot pie for dessert. A little TV and then we played one game of canasta. I was in bed by 11:00 PM trying to sleep off the rest of the sinus headache.

Friday 5-7-10

Two migraine pills for the headache and I was ready to go. I’ve switched to southern sweet tea instead of the coffee, and a piece of mom’s raisin bread. Mary came and we all went to Lowe’s to check out their garden department.

Later that day…163 bulbs (ooops…I planted Mary’s bulbs in mom’s garden), 16 plants, and 2 packages of seeds and I am dirty, tired, and ready for dinner. Mom’s garden is going to look wonderful when all these plants come up and start blooming. Dinner plate dahlias, iris, snap dragons, rhubarb, red astabile, hydrangea, and gladiolus in red, yellow, pinks, purples, and reds.

Back to BJ’s for dinner (thank you Mary).

We watched mom’s favorite TV shows--wheel of fortune and jeopardy--and then we played canasta.

The best part of the whole day was getting my very first happy mother’s day grandma card in the mail: “Grandma Marrs from Kyler and his mom and dad.” I love it.

Saturday 5-8-10

Larry sent a text message saying he sent mother’s day flowers to Kelly and cottages to mom, Mary, and I. Cottages? Maybe a plant in a cottage style planter? Oh and the end of his message said, “I bought a Droid phone.”

Well the cottages arrived a short time later. Corsages is what he meant, not cottages. What a nice surprise.

Mary and I did a quick shopping trip to Costco and the lunch buffet. Every other aisle had samples, way too many sweets. The best taste test was the chili and cheese tamales and the Kinders bbq sauce on beef trip tips. I bought several bottles of bbq sauce for Larry because that was his only request when I came down.

Mary dropped me off and went home and I went to Lowe’s for garden mulch and to Sears to fix a low tire.

We fixed pizza for dinner and played canasta.

Sunday 5-9-10

Mary picked us up for church and we wore our corsages, Mary has a green rose and white orchid, I had a green carnation and white orchid, and mom had a white gardenia.

It never rains in CA…haha. To the east it is dark rain clouds, to the north it is dark rain clouds, to the south it is grey skies, and from the bedroom I can’t see what it looks like to the west, but probably not sunny.

In church they gave all the mothers a pedometer to measure how many steps a mother takes in a day. Any guesses?

Michael left a happy mother’s day song on my cell phone. I tried to call him back but couldn’t reach him.

James, mom, Mary, Jim, Heather, Poncho, and I celebrated mother’s day with bacon cheese hamburgers, fresh strawberries, chips, brownies, cupcakes, and southern sweet tea. James barbequed the hamburgers; the really big hamburgers, dinner-plate size hamburgers.

Poncho had flowers for Mary, mom and me and Jim and Heather arrived with flowers for each of us also. (I did make it home with my flowers from Jim and Heather)

I had small gifts I made for mom and Mary. Mary gave me a bottle of Secret Obsession Parfum by Calvin Klein, and Marc Jacobs perfume and lotion. Score!

Kelly called to wish me a happy mother’s day. I heard from all my kids, so it was a really good day, a great mother’s day.

After everyone left, mom, Mary, and I played canasta till 11:30 PM.

On the way home mom said “this was a fun day,” and that is what mother’s day was all about--making my mom happy.

Monday 5-10-10

It’s just another day in paradise…or so the song goes. It’s cold, it’s windy, and the rain is on its way. Mom and I spent a quiet morning talking, reading, the paper, and watching TV.

I went to Mary’s in the afternoon to clothes shop in her closet. Mary is a clothes gourmet so when she cleans the closets I love it and Haley loves it because Haley gets her shoes.

Mary’s friend Sid gave her a little book of friendship sayings and he teased her about reading it and said I should read it to her. So right before our canasta game I read the little book to Mary which made her smile and laugh and she could then tell Sid she read the book…sort of.

We checked in on all the relatives since they were on tornado watch, and everyone is okay.

Tuesday 5-11-10

I bought a box to ship home my new wardrobe and assorted gifts. We stopped at FedEx and then mom and I went to Mary’s.

I checked in for my flight on Wednesday, downloaded some music (note to self: bring a bigger memory flash drive next time). Sid came over to help hang Mary’s vintage print in the living room. So how many holes does it take to hang a picture? Two to hang the picture and three more to fix the mistakes. We measured across, down, measured the picture, checked for level, cross hatched marks to mark the spot--ready to hammer in the hooks. Wrong hooks. Sid and I walked over to the hardware store and got the right hooks and now we were ready. No; let’s check it one more time with a level and a square. That meant getting them out of the truck and we had to wash them before we could use them. Measure Twice, cut once is what my dad always said, but this is measure, measure, measure, and one more time to make sure. Okay, now we were ready. But the picture is crooked and not centered. This doesn’t make sense. We checked the marks and everything is evenly spaced on a level line. A new hole to make a correction only it doesn’t work. Again with no success…we don’t know what the problem is. Sid has me help him take the picture off the wall and as we do he notices that one part of the wire is sitting on top of the hanger not caught on the wall hook. Now it is straight. Just don’t look behind the frame or you will have to patch and paint the mistakes that really weren’t.

We had lunch at the buffet, and the back to mom’s to play canasta. We snacked on pepper jack cheese and chips for dinner.

I’m all packed, packed again, and again, I think I can get it all in.

Wednesday 5-12-10

Mom made sure I was up early. We had our morning tea and raisin bread. Mary is bringing another bag of clothes to go in my suitcase….hope it fits. My carryon now holds my birdhouse Richard made for me, my camera, my bottle of perfume from Mary, my aprons mom made me and that is about all that it will hold…oh, I forgot the lemon bars.

Mary arrived and we are off to the Oakland airport. I look a little strange lugging an overstuffed 50.3 pound suitcase, my small carryon that also has my mother’s day flowers from Jim and Heather tucked into the strap, and my new long black suede coat that Mary gave me. I look like I am heading to Alaska…well it is Bellingham.

I cleared security and now I will walk the airport terminals until it is time to board at 12:10 PM. There is always an art display in the Oakland airport and this time it was about bicycles. 

There are no flights out of Seattle to Bellingham when I arrive so I will have a three hour layover arriving home at 6:20PM. A long day filled with a sad heart leaving my family and a happy heart to see my husband. Maybe Larry would move to Sacramento????

Well God was watching over me and the 2:35PM flight from Seattle to Bellingham was delayed and I was going to get home early even if my luggage arrives later.

Thursday 5-13-10

No sleep because I had a 7:30 AM board meeting for GRADS.
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