Posted in Involving the Heart

Comfort Food

When life gets jumbled, it’s good to pull together.

 


Your day can go upside down in a hurry.  I know that from experience.  This past week, we were minding our own business when a little scent of smoke brought our attention to a large, black cloud directly south of us.  Before we knew it evacuation orders came and our pets, computers, and family photos were loaded into the tiny home on wheels—a.k.a. travel trailer— and we left.

When the smoke cleared our house still stood, but that was not the case for over a hundred families. Thousands of acres of land were devastated by a fire that moved so quickly, spreading in so many directions, it was impossible to fight. A very sad event in our community.

But in the midst of this terrible situation, a spirit of compassion was found in the form of hospitality. Businesses and churches provided comfort in the way of food to displaced families and travelers who were stranded due to road closures.  People came together in church kitchens to offer meals. Others donated what they could to ease the stress of the circumstance, while still others filled their spare bedrooms with tired individuals who had no place to go. My own family became the recipients of dinner and snacks as well as hugs from the people who delivered them.  It was a beautiful scene to witness.

After a few days, most of us had returned home to air out our houses and resume life. I had planned a dinner party with another couple before the fire had struck. It seemed right to continue forward and we kept the date. Sitting around the table, our conversation was dominated by our shared experience of evacuation and worry. Eventually however, we moved on to the normal stuff—future plans and stories from the past. It was comforting to spend the evening talking and eating. This ‘soul’ food is just what we needed.

“In poverty and other misfortunes of life, true friends are a sure refuge.”

Aristotle

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My dear friend, Danielle added her version Pretzel Salad to our dinner party menu. She said it was really a dessert, but because it had salad in its name, she could justify eating two servings. I wish I had taken a picture. It was beautiful and very yummy. In my opinion, this can stay on the Comfort Food List. If I am ever under the weather, don’t hesitate bring me some.

Pretzel Salad

  • 1 1/2 cups crushed pretzels (about 4 cups of mini twists equals 1 1/2 cups crushed)
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 heaping tablespoons brown sugar 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 (8 ounce) container whipped topping, thawed (I never, ever use this but always make my own whipped cream because it’s 1,000 times better that way)
  • 1 (6 ounce) package strawberry flavored Jell-O®
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 (10 ounce) packages frozen strawberries (I always use fresh fruit, usually strawberries and blueberries)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Mix together the pretzels, 4 1/2 tablespoons sugar and melted butter. Press into the bottom of a 9×13 inch pan. Bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Set aside to cool completely.
  3. In a medium bowl, beat the sugar and cream cheese until smooth. Fold in whipped topping. Spread evenly over the cooled crust. Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes.
  4. In a medium bowl, stir together the gelatin mix and boiling water. Mix in frozen strawberries, and stir until thawed. Pour over cream cheese mixture in pan. Refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 1 hour.
  5. Enjoy!

Danielle not only prepares a mean Pretzel Salad, she also happens to be a small business owner who specializes in goat milk soaps made fresh on her family’s small homestead farm. Check it out on Handcrafted Homestead on Facebook.