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Wednesday, 26 December 2012

ANASTASIA : Happy Birthday!


She’ll be driving six white horses when she comes, when she comes,
She’ll be driving six white horses when she comes!

Occasions of wonder and excitement – when my older sister came home.


Always dressed in the height of fashion!
(When Anastasia discarded this suit, my mother gave it to a neighbour who proudly wore it to church for years.)


Bringing us presents!
(the dresses, the Teddy Bears, and a police car with a flashing siren)

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1966 :  Anastasia gave me free Room & Board in Edmonton  and helped me find a series of summer jobs.  She took me camping with her family and we even climbed a mountain! 

About the free “Board” -- Anastasia was a “Foodie” before the term was ever coined.  She has a discerning palate and, after tasting something delicious at a restaurant would recreate it at home, without a recipe.

But I was so blown away by one of the simpler meals she served that I wrote down the recipe Anastasia had in her head:

ANASTASIA’S BAKED BEANS with MEATBALLS

Soak 1 lb white beans overnight in 8 cups cold water. 
Drain beans and put in large pot with 8 cups of fresh cold water.  Bring to a boil.

Add:
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp salt  (I added this after 4 hours of cooking) 
1 tbsp dry mustard
3 tbsp molasses (or ½ cup brown sugar)
1 onion (chopped and lightly sautéed)
½ tsp allspice (or more:  I used 3/4 tsp)
¼ tsp thyme (or more:  I used 1/2 tsp)
1/8 tsp cayenne (or more:  I used 1/4 tsp plus 1/4 tsp regular chili powder)
½ can tomato soup (or ½ cup ketchup)
Put in a ham bone and rind, if you have it.

Bake covered for 8 hours at 250 degrees.  Do not reduce the liquid.  More can be added if necessary.

When the beans are soft, add ½ cup vinegar and 2 tbsp bacon fat or lard.  (I omitted the bacon fat.)   

20 minutes before serving, add meatballs or bacon, or side bacon. 

* Anastasia said that more allspice, thyme, and chili could be added so that's why I used the extra amounts, and the beans tasted good, but it was probably not necessary.

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And we’ll all go out to meet her when she comes, when she comes,
And we’ll all go out to meet her when she comes,
Hi, Babe!