Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Family Heirlooms

Every family has its favorite holiday recipes. Here are some of mine, a little worse for the wear after 30 years. These recipes were given to me by my former mother-in-law: Cheese Blintzes, Russian Teacakes and Iced Brownies. There is never a special occasion that goes by in my home that they are not served. When I visited my married daughter last month, she was also serving them as part of her Christmas celebration.

Recipes. The gift that keeps on giving. Just like family. My former mother-in-law, R, also gave me so many other gifts during the years she has been in my life. I was raised in a family whose picture must accompany the definition of "dysfunctional" in the dictionary. So, I spent many years watching R. From her I learned to entertain, decorate and nourish long term friendships. She influenced me in the really important things (raising my children), the small but important things (give thick, luxurious white towel sets as wedding gifts), and the immensely important small things (Frango mints from Marshall Fields in Chicago.)

Some of my favorite possessions were gifts from her. Two beloved nativity sets I carefully unwrap and display each Christmas. A necklace she purchased on a long-ago vacation when my grandfather passed away. And the Cheese Blintz recipe that I've entered in so many contests I should be embarrassed. But it always won!

Recently, she had to have some serious surgery. She is a very determined woman and I have no doubt that she will emerge as strong and as gracious as ever. And I'll bet she managed to have the same desserts on her holiday table, even post surgery.

Thank you, R. You are truly a God-given gift to my life.

Ruby's Cheese Blintzes
2 loaves square shaped white sandwich bread
2 large packages soft cream cheese
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 sticks margarine
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 1/2 Tbsp. cinnamon

Remove crusts from bread. Roll thin with rolling pin. Mix soft cream cheese, egg and 1/2 cup sugar. Spread on bread slices. Roll up and press ends. Melt margarine. Dip bread roll in margarine, then in sugar and cinnamon mixture. Freeze on cookie sheet and store frozen.
To serve, remove from freezer amount needed. Do not thaw. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

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