All is right in my world; at least the big stuff. The small stuff is irrelevant. My Firstborn is home, safe and sound. Well, mostly. She acquired some variant of the common cold (I hope) while helping interpret at a medical clinic in Nicaragua; says that the first small child she met there sneezed right in her face. Imagine that. My own daughters are capable of nothing but the most ladylike behavior when it comes to germs. (Snort.)
I met her at the airport in the middle of the night. (Really it was only 1:00 a.m., but the last time I was awake at that hour, I was begging for an epidural, so I would really rather be asleep.) I had never driven to this particular airport before, and MapQuest directions aren’t much help if you can’t read in the dark, so I got lost both coming and going, but it was so worth it.
She was a mess when I picked her up, and not just because she was crying because she was happy to see me. Actually, she was crying because her ears wouldn’t ‘pop’ on the plane’s ascent or descent, she was sleep-deprived and hungry, and she hadn’t had a shower in days (which is why she also smelled slightly unpleasant, bless her little heart).
I ignored all of that and told myself and everyone within earshot that she was crying because she was so happy to see me, her favorite Mom in the whole entire world. I hugged her like no boy better ever hug her, and led her out of the airport by her hand.
The first day home she stayed in bed, sneezing and sleeping, while I did her small (they traveled lightly) pile of damp, stinky laundry. As I told a friend, I hadn’t been so happy to do her laundry since she weighed about eight pounds.
Today she is up and at it. She isn’t quite back up to snuff, as evidenced by her willingness to go catch a movie with her Dad and little sisters. When she will no longer give them the time of day, I’ll know she’s 100% recovered.
I asked her what she wanted for dinner, and she asked for five things. This is quite a stretch for me since it is not often that my family can convince me to prepare more than two components of a meal (including drink). She wants my Cornflake chicken (so ridiculously easy that there are not enough ingredients to constitute a real recipe), cauliflower with homemade cheese sauce (I just make the sauce from Jeff’s Macaroni and Cheese Recipe), fresh berries and squash from our garden, and Grandma’s Molasses Cake Bars. Now that last one, I can share.
Grandma’s Molasses Cake Bars
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup sweet dark molasses (I use McCutcheon’s Blackstrap Molasses because they’re local, and good)
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp instant coffee powder (if you don’t have it, you don’t have to use it … I don’t)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
Cream the shortening and sugar together, then add egg and beat well. Mix in molasses and water. Sift together the remaining ingredients and stir them into the batter. Pour into a greased 13x9x2 inch pan. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.
Take the cake out of the oven as soon as the 25 minutes are up, because it over-bakes so easily. Sprinkle confectioner’s sugar over the top (or make a glaze with it), and serve. It is best warm, but my girls and I will eat it any time.
This is a simple and unpretentious dessert, and it makes my daughter happy.
(And it smells a whole lot better than she did when she got off that plane.)