A Special Thank You to Old Friends

A Special Thank You to Old Friends

It’s been quite a shockeroo getting older. Although I’m grateful to still be at the party, my feet really hurt from dancing. I’ve gained a bit of experience good and bad and that has led to many truths I now embrace.

One of the realizations I’ve come to is that despite time and distance, we need to care about and keep in touch with old friends.

The laugh laugh golden years are as scary a place to enter as the New York subway,. We seek comfort in this new uncharted world and one sure place to which we can turn for help is old friends.

Memories become so fickle when your brain becomes the arbiter of what we are able to remember. 

“Excuse me, brain what did I do last week?”

“Sorry, can’t compute right now. However do you remember when you were in high school and you went to that concert with your friends and drove to Canada and…?”

“No, Brain. I’m trying to recall what I did last Thursday not a hundred years ago.”

“Bossy bossy, don’t push your luck here. Take what you can get. Your request will take a few minutes to pull up, meanwhile here’s a fun gem from your sorority initiation.”

“Great, thanks, brain. Just what I need to cheer me up, a visual of me at twenty.”

As these older memories become more prevalent, old friends rise to the forefront of our minds. It somehow feels good to recall happy, carefree times and the friends with whom we shared them.

As we’re making an appointment for our knee surgery, it’s comforting to call an old friend that has survived that battle. And while you’re chatting good memories surface to dispel the unpleasantness of reality. 

I never thought I would have anything in common with Lindsey Wagner except being female, but now it seems we are both bionic.

The last few years have been brutal for most of us occupying planet earth. Locked down, shut in and unable to travel or see grandchildren has taken a toll on the happiness factor to which we all aspire.

Even the most optimistic of us can’t ignore or rebuff the realities of growing older. Taking ten minutes to straighten up from a chair when once we jumped up and ran. Marching into surgery centers to get replacement parts that are done with such automated precision General Motors is envious. Finding fat where muscle once occupied space in our bodies becomes apparent when a good wind perfectly directed at our underarms can turn us into the Flying Nun. The fun amusement park of growing older has more rides than Hunter Biden has drugs.

A friend admitted recently that she is now perfectly content to be home more. Where once she would seek to be active and out in the world she is content to be safe in her cocoon and needn’t travail the outside world as often. I could relate. 

Yet when we are home, despite all efforts to keep our minds busy with activities like, streaming, reading, cooking, chatting on the phone with friends, and how we failed to save the world for democracy, we have more time to think about “the good old days,” and those with whom we traveled that road. 

Shared memories can lighten the load of a difficult day. Remembering happy times brightens what might be a sad time when you learn a friend is ill or you lose someone. For just a moment while we are talking we become young once more and still filled with those awe-and-wonder feelings of youth.

Of course we all determine to keep busy and active. To make the most of every minute and live in a state of gratitude, thankful for our blessings, but when life throws us a curveball old friends are there to catch it before it hits you in the head.

I’m not in any way suggesting we live in the past, but let’s be real; the past contains a lot of years and a lot of memories. Moments that make us feel warm and cozy and contain laughter and the joys of youth. What a great feeling if even for a few minutes that young and carefree shared happiness returns and brightens our lives.

So many of us now leave the holiday cooking to our daughters or daughters in law to achieve. Standing in the kitchen has become a chore not so easily accomplished and we’re happy to pass the torch to our children.

Still those pre-holiday times remain a time of joyous memories. My friend Marsha and I would talk on the phone while preparing mashed potato dumplings. Chatting and laughing made the time pass quicker, and the task of cooking for thirty people less tedious. Now at holiday time speaking to Marcia brings back the happy feeling of the family all together again, parents, in laws and even husbands that are no longer here. For even a brief conversation everyone is once again alive and sharing a holiday meal.

Old friends can give this gift to us, the remembrance of a time when those who’ve left are once again at the forefront of our happiest memories. Places we haunted as kids, schools we attended and old neighborhood foods and faces return. 

The challenges of getting older seem easier when shared. As any difficult task many hands make quick work and it’s comforting to know those whom you trust have the audacity to face Father Time head on. 

Putting up a sukkah with friends was quite an occasion each year and now the feel of autumn while talking to Yolanda brings those memories close. An over abundance of food, the smell of the branches, watching in my mind’s eye as my children, now young again, place the leaves on the walls as the crisp autumn air encircles them in a blanket of laughter and love.

I was lucky to have so many friends I cared and still care about. Although my childhood friend Nancy is in Florida a Facetime call brings her into the same room to laugh and gossip about our crowd. Okay, and good practice at ignoring the now-evident wrinkles.

I suppose I’m the overly sentimental type but I know when I speak to old friends time slips away like a curtain and pictures of wonderful times reappear.

I imagine we all wonder what it would be like to pick one moment to relive once again, yet all of these times are available by simply sharing them through a phone call or Facetime. Perhaps this is the universe’s gift to us and as far as I can see it seems to be working just fine. 

My Grandparents Myself

My Grandparents Myself

Reading the tweets on Twitter about the NBC show Baking It on which I was privileged to be a judge, I was really taken by how many favorable responses us granny judges received. Living in the Hollywood area for so many years I’ve been brainwashed to believe that no one wants to see old people on television, or on the streets for that matter. And I must add that in this town old is considered anyone over fifty.

So you can imagine my surprise when young people were writing so many positive things about we judges, and I assure you fifty is well in the rear view mirror for many of us.

Then it dawned on me that perhaps it isn’t really so surprising after all.

Should I assume that I am the only person that adored her grandparents and had an unbelievable relationship with them, especially her grandfather?

My grandfather loved children so as the first grandchild I commanded all of his attention until my brother was born.

When I was a year old he made me an inner tube out of an old truck tire with a seat attached so he could push me around in the ocean. When we were older he took my brother and I fishing in the everglades and I even remember going to the movies to watch Some Like it Hot with him when he wanted to see his old friend George Raft. He made the best dill pickles and his laugh lit up a room, and in every picture together he looked at me like I was a banana split.

Too many of us are castigated for living in the past and told we must be in the present and looking toward the future. Dwelling on the past is a futile effort and waste of time when we could be living in the now…but is it really?

I say poppycock. That’s right. I said, poppycock.

Some days I drive myself to the Santa Monica Pier and sit admiring the ocean remembering the wonderful times with my grandfather.

Do I feel that these moments are a waste of my time? No indeed. In fact it’s rather the opposite. It’s as if I’m back in Miami Beach laughing and kicking my feet as he pushed me along the waves. I can smell the salt air and feel the sun beating down on me and these memories light me up inside even on the darkest days. How can feeling good possibly be bad?

The grandparent/grandchild relationship is incredibly special and to believe that only old people would want to see older people speaks to an inability to connect with the world and see people for who they really are.

I strive constantly to create memories I hope my grandsons will carry with them their entire lives.

When my grandson was four years old and collecting bugs I was on my hands and knees on the sidewalk helping. Although the sight of a bug made me jump five feet into the air under normal circumstances, when he asked me to secure them for him, my fears floated away on a cloud of pure joy at sharing something together. Although now when I ask if he remembers my fearless bug collecting, the recollection seems to have faded.

Yet I know from experience that many of the memories once lost ultimately reappear in time and although I can’t remember for what reason I called a friend by the time I’m finished dialing the number, my earliest memories of Miami Beach as a young child come back into focus whenever I smell the ocean.

So why are these moments of recollection so important as we get older?

In a study at Cambridge University in 2019 researchers found that “recalling specific positive memories and happy life experiences during adolescence may help teens fortify their resilience and reduce the risk of depression later in life.”

All one has to do to verify this thesis is look on Facebook. Every community has pages of memories from their old elementary or high school and the city where they lived as children. These pages are filled with pictures and images and allow users to share stories and reminiscences from their past.

Perhaps it’s simply the innocence we all crave as we get older, the need to believe the world is still that comfy cocoon we once nestled inside filled with play, fun, holidays and grandparents.

Grandparents signify unconditional love, a safe harbor in an often times turbulent ocean. A place to climb back into arms that may not be as toned or strong as they once were, but feel safe against any invader or frightening force.

We need happy memories to ward off the unpleasant ones that have a tendency to surface unwanted and uninvited. A way to reinforce the belief life is beautiful and things do work out in the end; even when they don’t.

Grandparents are the guardians of our memories. They contain all that is good about our youth, a path toward believing and sustaining hope and forcing us to forge ahead even in most difficult times.

It may be as simple as the smell of grandma’s apple pie in the autumn made with fresh apples you picked for her, the sight of your grandfather’s favorite tree you helped him plant or an old television show you watched together. You didn’t get the jokes, but you loved watching him laugh just the same.  

So I must offer kudos to the producers of Baking It who truly “get it,” and despite the Hollywood hype about the whole 18 to 49 age restrictions on television and movies, they knew better.

When we can look at television or the movies and see something that makes us feel warm and fuzzy it’s a no brainer we need more of it, and that happily includes all of us grannies.

We Must Tell Our Grandchildren

caramelmakemehappy-e1594154802642.jpg

We Must Tell Our Grandchildren

Embracing evil and negativity cannot lead to a positive outcome, but only weave a fabric of unhappiness. We as grandparents need to ensconce our grandchildren in a cloak of optimism and love woven from the memories of our childhoods.

We all really enjoy sharing happy times with one another, but in these turbulent times it seems imperative we leave a memoir behind with our grandchildren for safekeeping.

Words of those who seek to bring down America can’t provide the solutions we need at this moment to achieve that more “perfect union.” Our generation opened the door to freedom and justice and the next can finish what we began.

Now indeed answers are essential, but should be offered up on a platter of peaceful dissent and positive dialogue. Perhaps we can never be the same America, but we can be an improved one. Our grandchildren can build a more perfect union only by using past positives as a framework.

I believe this is an excellent time to be reminded that history is not always spread most effectively through books, but also by stories and memories handed down through generations. Tales told by parents and grandparents become an integral part of our values and color our lives.

Now more than ever I feel compelled to tell my grandsons about what it meant to grow up in 1950s and 60s post-war America.

With so much negative energy spewing about at this moment I’m horrified to think children are engulfed in an atmosphere of incivility and rage thereby believing this is the true measure of our nation.

Although so many young people today assume baby- boomer America can no longer exist as a feasible entity, I submit that without a clear understanding of the past, our grandchildren cannot imagine a blissful future. Is the vision of an America providing a peaceful, happy environment now a dinosaur or an impossible dream?

If you don’t understand history, you can’t relive the best of times or create new, improved ones.

Living in this moment when all that is spoken about this country is disparaging and critical, our real soul and DNA is being buried under a sea of resentment and despair.

I’m sad that our grandchildren are hearing appalling stories about who we are as a people when it’s simply not true. Incivility and injustice are a cancer, but one that can be cured.

I can only compare current times to a divorced couple where one parent assumes control and only espouses hateful and cruel things about the other. The children will eventually absorb only a dark portrait of a parent, who although flawed might also possess good qualities worth emulating. Perhaps a talent never unearthed under a barrage of angry ranting and hated. If those children had known about their inherited potential it may have enhanced their success and future happiness. Thus it is with America.

The accusations being shouted in no way reflect a country filled with good and charitable people who spend their lives working hard, caring for their families and neighbors, and feel fortunate to have been born or emigrated here.

Back when our grandparents or great grandparents came to this country the phrase one heard so often was “the streets of America are paved with gold.” Now they are paved with fury, exaggerations and too many seeking to harm this nation in irreparable ways.

Our grandchildren can only visualize and achieve a greater future if we inform them about the best of the past. To dispute the naysayers we can regale them with tales of a childhood filled with fun, laughter and innocence.

I’m well aware that innocence will be difficult to achieve with the Internet and non-stop television news constantly pointing out our faults and flaws, and yes, of course there are problems to fix. Yet far too many want to throw out the baby with the bathwater and ignore what is good. We have corrected our flaws before and can again. The information highway our grandchildren travel flows two ways and blame is not the vehicle to drive.

Am I being a bit idealistic in your eyes? Perhaps, but that is the result of growing up with access to idealism, something we are withholding from our children. How can one achieve greatness without witnessing and recognizing its true nature?

How can our grandchildren aspire without champions to emulate?

Can they believe all is achievable when only bombarded with allegations that America is no longer the land of opportunity?

Can they feel safe if we succumb to lawlessness and no longer possess respect or regard for authority or those who teach them?

This is not a political issue, but one of character and the ability to live one’s best life. This goal should be important to everyone no matter the politics, color or religion.

Growing up in Detroit I saw things from both sides. When young there was such a sense of safety and security fear was a stranger. Then came the new normal when crime became bigger than life, and trepidation was a constant companion.

I personally felt the impact when I lost a member of my family to street violence, so I know first hand the horror.

Negativity and condemnation won’t allow our children to build a kinder and gentler nation.

Nothing born in such fury can come to good and embracing hate is a recipe for disaster.

Of course out of chaos can come order, but who restores that order is now of major concern.

We lived in a positive and happy time despite discourse, why shouldn’t future generations?

Although our childhoods consisted of numerous negative events, we could learn, grow and move on. Today negativity has woven itself into the fabric of our reality and seems inescapable. I guess I’m calling for all of us who have been fortunate to rip away that cloth and reweave it with love and peace for our children and grandchildren.

When we leave our historical memories will be buried and never spoken again.

We cannot go gently into that good night and take all the good with us. Sharing our childhoods and swimming in the comfortable sea of nostalgia has been cathartic, but why stop with just us if these precious reminiscences inspire our loved ones to achieve wonderful lives?

Telling our stories to those little faces we love so dearly is the greatest inheritance we can pass on and one that will remain to always warm their hearts.

Caramel Make Me Happy Surprises

This easy treat will help cure those Pandemic Blues!

1 bag (approximately) of any flavor of Hershey’s kisses unwrapped

1 bag of Kraft caramels (you can make your own if you wish)

Melt caramels in the microwave or in a double boiler and pour caramel out on a sheet of parchment paper or a cookie sheet until slightly cooled and pliable. Cut the caramel into squares and place a kiss on each. Enfold the kiss inside the caramel and create a ball shape. Roll in chopped nuts or coconut and drizzle with melted white or dark chocolate.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

Bring on those dirty little Hands—Microfiber is the new plastic cover

asiansoup-e1563402306469.jpg

           “Bring on those dirty little Hands—Microfiber is the new plastic cover.”

Anyone of a certain age understands life’s close relationship with enormous irony.

One that I recently discovered was the Grandma Décor Dilemma.

Every mother knows when babies become mobile, a serious redecorating effort occurs.

Glass is replaced with wood or Formica and all tabletop items are wrapped for storage or placed on higher shelves. A great cover up is afoot to save at least a scintilla of worldly goods.

But now we have microfiber.

Ah microfiber! No, not micro greens, the new word for lettuce scraps on your plate. A new miracle fiber that battles chocolate, peanut butter and sandbox residue lurking on adorable, busy little hands.

A new practically indestructible fabric that vaguely resembles suede, resists stains and was definitely designed with Grandmas in mind.

I am smiling just remembering the past when valuables were secured and safely ensconced in high-placed locked boxes more inaccessible than a Kardashian’s IQ.

The more mobile the baby, the greater the makeover. Toddlers reaching for tabletop items can be swift and sure and move like lightening. As is often the case you hear the crash before you see the move. The living room becomes an urban jungle fraught with danger at every turn.

Sure that crystal dish looked innocent enough when Aunt Rosie gave it to you for your wedding shower, but now it is suddenly a sparkly missile crashing toward earth as two innocent little eyes delight in the power they possess to make that “funny” crashing sound.

Minimalist décor became the code word for “oops there are babies in the house, better clear those spaces and prepare for the charge.”

I recall the tumult of more toys than Santa’s workshop covering every inch of floor space, while I daydreamed of house beautiful.

Perusing home magazines with a sad sigh, wishing for a time when I could actually consider a white sofa and glass tables once more.

A place when I could display my crystal and fine pieces openly and free them from their storage prisons.

Lalique, Daum, Waterford would dance across my dreams carrying rainbows of champagne and canapés onto regally appointed tablescapes.

As the years flew by, and as we know they do fly, my children grew to adulthood.

My first post little-ones-on-board home was filled with white sofas, glass tables and matching towels in the guest bathroom. Ah, all those forbidden fruits of décor. What fun!

The years passed in a haze of entertaining with “good” china still bearing the flakes of sawdust from its original shipping container, crystal glasses and silver flatware. I felt like the Queen of England.

Ah, but then the tide turned once more. Suddenly a new arrival signaled the end of all that opulence, splendor and elegance.

“He” had arrived, my first precious grandson. Suddenly it was all about Sesame Street plastic dishes and tippee cups, organic cloths and toys, and green smoothies with unknown ingredients for a healthier lifestyle.

The packing boxes appeared once more. Bubble wrap and bubble bursting filled quiet moments between emptying tables and glass shelves filled with delicate chachkees.

Once again my life was rife with toy-filled corners, empty tabletops and baby stepstools.

My friends and I now discussed how to make room for storage cabinets and redo a bedroom with a toddler theme. New colors and design that were the rage in babyville replaced the latest fashion, new boutique opening, vacation spot or Pilates injury.

Our Iphones overflowed with the latest photos of smiling faces in Halloween pumpkin costumes, petting zoos and hugging grandma pics.

Our car backseats sported baby car seats and books and toys were shoved into seat pockets.

Some friends hired designers to do a special theme. Airplanes, Shimmer and Shine, Paw Patrol and Bubble Guppies were hot. We discussed singing groups like Yo Gabba Gabba recalling how our parents had laughed at our obsession with the Beatles.

Rainbows, unicorns and computers were also on board as décor stalwarts.

A new vibe was apparent at our regular lunches.

Toys, pictures and brilliant baby quotes took center stage and things had definitely changed. It was toddler town now and we were all proud residents reveling in our new roles.

We wore the name grandma as proudly as a woman wears couture and shamelessly bragged while repeating baby stories ad nauseum.

Our computer screen savers were full-size pictures of partially toothed grins that changed with each new development.

It had finally happened—we were grandmas—and our homes had gone from high style to safety zones.

I found a few fun tips for decorating a grandchild’s room I‘d like to share.

 

Since storage is not as crucial, there is more room to be creative with space.

Painted dressers in themes can be made from unfinished furniture cabinets or an old chest found in a resale store. Two or three smaller cabinets can be put together and painted on the front.

Pop-up books opened and attached in a line make great cornices over a blind. Or they also can be used in shadow boxes to hang as pictures.

Garage sales glean an endless assortment of toys to fill a toy box or use as décor.

Fabric stores often offer the latest cartoon or television characters in fabric that can be used to sew on bath towels or sheets for a personalized flair.

Wrapping paper can be a great source for the latest pop art characters.

Cutting cartoon figures out of the paper and hanging them on the wall as a mural or border is an inexpensive and fun way to add your grandchild’s favorites to the décor.

In the end it’s all about making our little darlings feel safe and comfortable at Grandma’s house. And isn’t that what every Grammy wants?

So until the day I can once again pull out the good china and glass nick knacks from their bubble wrapped boxes, I shall be quite content to fill my world with the joys of childhood once more.

 

 

 

 

Asian Chicken Soup

 

4 cups of chicken broth

2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

½ teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 cup chopped chicken or chicken drumettes

1 cup uncooked shrimp shelled

1 can sliced water chestnuts

1 cup cut up fresh bok choy

½ cup bean sprouts

½ cup mushrooms (optional)

 

Add chicken to broth and cook until tender

Add rest of ingredients except shrimp and cook until veggies are slightly softened

When everything is cooked through add shrimp and cook a few minutes longer until shrimp turns pink and is done.

Serve over crunchy noodles or crunchy fried brown rice and enjoy!

To get crunchy fried rice, place rice in a hot frying pan with oil. Flatten rice so it is in a single layer and fry on one side until crispy then turn and fry other side.

 

 

 

Growing Old Has Some Compensations

stuffed eggplant.jpgA wise person once said, “Grandchildren are God’s way of compensating us for growing old. ” True words indeed. I should like to add my own thoughts and say that grandchildren are the icing on life’s cake, and calorie free. So it isn’t really so odd that after the initial shock, screams of joy and crying jag that ensued when my daughter informed me she was pregnant, I would immediately attempt to find a way to capture forever my ultimate Hallmark moment.

I was certain it would take the entire nine months to cross over into Grandmaland, just as it had to absorb the reality of my own impending motherhood.

Therefore, these words will serve as my personal contribution to the grandma experience, because, thank goodness, this time it won’t be me screaming obscenities in that delivery room.

Now at long last, I shall share that most precious of all Mommy moments as my grandchildren are embroiled in a full-blown tantrum, I can finally say to my beloved daughter—“Don’t complain, you were worse.”

For I am Baby Boomer Grammy, BBG, the coolest Grammy generation.

Aging gracefully as we rush downward dog into our golden years. We are brazen broads who burned our bras, created friends with benefits, and happily set out on our own when, after given a choice, the remote or me, our husbands opted to remain couch bound.

As most Moms I have waited patiently, quite a feat indeed, as my daughter rolled her eyes or sighed when I reached out to touch or hug her a moment longer. Still, I smiled silently at the knowledge that indeed my day would come.

That moment when, as she stared blinded with love for her offspring, she would finally bite from the tree of parental knowledge and whisper, “Do you mean this is how much you love me?” Ah, at last comes the dawn.

But although my son and daughter are the sun, moon, stars and all the heavens to me, I have decided that this book shall be all about us: the Grandmas and their new loves. Now possessed of all that is joyous and wonderful in a lifetime, “The” child to spoil, hug and kiss to our heart’s content.

A tiny person who will light up when I enter the room, won’t care if my nail polish is too red, I gained five pounds or my new hairdo is “so eighties.” I can do no wrong for I shall be “Grandma.” Giver of unconditional love, teller of fairy tales, baker of the best cookies, a port in the rocky storm of parent/child relationships, and always at the ready with the best chicken soup to cure all ills.

Now, at last I shall finally complete the journey I began as a teenager, when after reading Somerset Maugham’s The Razor’s Edge, I envied Larry Darrell as he achieved Nirvana. I shall envy him no more.

Never one to underestimate the volatility of the human psyche, I am certain my current feelings of rapturous joy shall morph into a cornucopia of mood swings that will make menopause seem like a Girl Scout cookie sale.

Even now I am possessed with an aching desire to climb the stairs to my rooftop and scream the news to the world. But alas, the mother-to-be has imposed strict sanctions against my announcing the life-changing information for three months.

This poses a great challenge and some exhaustion as I am literally bursting with this news. The extent of this feat was quite obvious the other evening at a party when my girlfriends all discussed their grandchildren and my lips puffed up like Angelina Jolie’s from biting them so hard.

There is a small modicum of release when driving in traffic as I yell out the window to no one in particular, “I’m going to be a Grandma.” Living in Los Angeles there is certainly no danger anyone will pay the slightest attention to these occasional rants.

Those bits of information that come by way of friends and family we promise not to divulge are, of course, sacrosanct, but when the best of all bests is happening, how shall I ever contain my joy?

I elected a promise from my daughter that she would tell me the second she revealed the news to her brother, hopefully very soon, so that I can experience speaking the words out loud to someone else on this planet. Verbalizing makes it all the more real, don’t you think?

Conversation has become a feat as I seek frivolous, inane subjects that will avoid any temptation to spill the proverbial beans.

I am also wondering if the incidence of phone calls will increase with my daughter’s girth.

Will she call and ask, “Mom how much weight did you gain at this week or that, how long did you crave oranges and what the heck is happening to my belly button?”

The soreness of the boobs, I’m certain will be a premier topic and arise early on.

I am trying desperately to ignore the ongoing shopping spree in my head as I wonder what toys to buy or what colors of clothing to stock in Grandma’s stash. But here’s the cool part, my daughter is going to find out the sex early on. No waiting around and guessing none months for this generation. No generic yellow or green baby rooms or sleepers, and what a joy to know that although the usual taste issues will arise, the color choice will at least be perfect.

I don’t remember the first time I realized the frequency with which I heard the phrase, “when I was little I used to cook with my grandmother.” Yet one day as I watched yet another celebrity chef interview, it hit me like a bolt from the blue how many times I had heard chefs credit their grandmother’s for their interest in cooking.

I was struck by the way they mentioned this fact with the flash of emotion only the most powerful and happy memories can elicit.

It is abundantly clear, “everyone loves their grandma and grandpa, and cooking with them is a treasured memory that lasts a lifetime.

Grandparent love surpasses any other love and blossoms into a safety net woven together with strings of precious childhood memories spent inhaling the sights and wondrous kitchen smells of Grammy.

Their eyes gleam with a special light and they look at you like you are a banana split.

But today is a new world of cold-pressed, organic, environmentally correct child eating and rearing. What is a Baby Boomer who grew up on Hershey Bars, Big Boy onion rings and Dairy Queens to do to pass muster on the kitchen front?

I did attempt to improve my children’s diets in lieu of the free love generation’s desire to return to the earth. My daughter wasn’t allowed soda pop or cookies until she was four years old.

But alas, as with all things life relaxes the rules, and by the time my son was born all bets were off. It became a pizza, Colonel Sanders and Ben and Jerry world.

There was usually a plateful of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies awaiting my children and their friends after school. After all, I grew up watching Ozzie and Harriet and Donna Reed. What did I know about real life, or dieting for that matter? My own weight had ballooned up 100 pounds as I did my daily imitation of a human garbage disposal.

And that is the conundrum, for now I need to get busy learning today’s yeas and nays food wise for new rules now apply.

So, in order to keep the peace and refrain from damaging my precious grandchildren, I have taken it upon myself to “get schooled,” in a healthy lifestyle. I set about to revise and revamp old recipes into new more child-friendly versions.

I am a new grandma in this new world. So as I journey through grandma land, I invite you come along and share the fun, knowledge, tastes and perhaps at times humorous exploits this trip entails.

Okay so this can be made organic and it does include vegetables so I’m getting there!

 

Lamb and Eggplant Bake

 

1 pound of ground lamb

1 cup of brown or white rice

1 ½ cups crumbled feta cheese

1 ½ teaspoons Greek seasoning

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 cup of tomato puree

2 cups chicken broth

4 cups cut up eggplant

1 cup of panko crumbs mixed with 1 teaspoon of Greek seasoning and salt and pepper

 

Spray casserole dish. Salt chopped eggplant and drain in colander until water is out. Season lamb. Mix together puree and chicken stock and add Greek seasoning. Place eggplant, lamb, rice and feta cheese in casserole dish and pour liquid mixture over all. Cover and bake in 350-degree oven for one hour or until rice has absorbed all liquid. Remove cover and sprinkle panko crumbs on top and bake another ten minutes until crumbs brown up. Serve with Greek salad and pita for a delicious lunch or dinner.