McClellan: Family and recipes | Barbara Mcclellan

Never start a piece with an apology. Well, just telling you today that I am going to talk about family. There will be recipes – family ones – but today I am going to bring you up to date on all those children you helped me bring into the world and into our family.

You have been supportive in so many ways through the happy and sad times, the marriages, births, the educations and, unfortunately, through the deaths of a husband and child. Your little notes of joy or sympathy, your sharing of memories, recipes, your family experiences mean more than you will ever know.

Let’s start with Jeff, the oldest surviving child. He and his wonderful wife, Donna, live here in Longview. They are so helpful to me. Good or bad, Jeff’s musical talent seems to have come down my Irish heritage line. His musical composing, keyboard and guitar skills, vocal and arranging skills far exceed mine. He has a son, Tito, daughter-in-law, Emily, and a precious little grandson (Vaughan), about whom he has written several songs. He is a minister of music with St. Michaels All Angels Episcopal Church and minister of communication and connection at both Trinity and St. Michaels Episcopal churches. So glad all that Greek and theology at Baylor paid off!

Jonathan (John) is a wonderful nurse in the Baylor / Scott White System and is a wound care specialist. He is the one who tries to keep a close reign on my health issues. Fortunately, he is “on call” for my every medical question or problem. He has been my personal nurse on two wonderful trips and has patience beyond belief with a wild woman for a mother. His greatest joy is being outside, hunting, fishing or just being “out,” just like his dad, Ken, who exposed him to these joys early in life. He’s like I am in loving to meet and visit with people. He is definitely a “people person” and interacts so well with his patients.

Katie (Kathryn Ann) is the youngest (as I was), and is talented in different ways from the others, as are all children, I guess. She is a multi-published, prize-winning author. Look her up – Katie Graykowski – and I will tell you, with no biased opinion, that her books are delightful. I cannot read one in a public place for risk of being asked to leave because of my raucous laughter. Her sense of humor is unequaled. I did not know she was writing until the first one was finished.

She is a superb cook, as is her wonderful husband, Paul. If you happened to call to ask a cooking question when Katie got to the phone or I was unavailable, she could, and did, answer your questions, and usually right on spot. When she was 5, someone called about problems with bread not rising. Without calling me to the phone, she answered, “You got the water too hot and killed the yeast. The temperature should not be hotter than a baby’s milk when you test it on your wrist. ” So, I guess they all got something (good or bad) from nature or nurture growing up in our home. They have our wonderful granddaughter, Karrie Anne, named for her Aunt Karrie who died at age 39.

Now, a recipe from each of them.

Jeff’s Cookies

1 cup baking mix (like Bisquick)

1 small box vanilla instant pudding mix

1 egg

1/4 cup cooking oil

1/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients except chocolate chips and roll into balls the size of a walnut. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and flatten with thumb. Place 2 to 3 chocolate chips in center. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Makes about 3 dozen.

John’s French Toast (came home from a friend’s house with this recipe when he was about 12)

2 eggs, beaten slightly

1/2 cup milk

4 slices bread

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Whisk eggs, milk and cinnamon in a large bowl with a flat bottom. Soak bread for 10 minutes. Have a griddle hot and add about 2 tablespoons butter. When butter is melted, add soaked bread one slice at a time. Cook about 5 minutes, then carefully turn with spatula. Serve with syrup, jelly or honey.

Katie’s Crispy Chicken

6 pieces of chicken (we usually used drumsticks and boneless breast filets)

2 cups Rice Krispies cereal

1 teaspoon salt

Wash chicken pieces and leave very damp.

Sprinkle with salt and roll chicken pieces in cereal and place on a cookies sheet which has been spread with foil and sprayed with Pam.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes until golden brown.

– Barbara Richardson McClellan is a longtime food columnist. Write her at [email protected] or in care of the Longview News-Journal, PO Box 1792, Longview, TX 75606.

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