I dedicate this post to my friend Jeanette from Starting Over. On Monday, I got an email with some heartbreaking news- Jeanette passed away on Christmas morning.
Jeanette and I became friends in early 2010. She found this blog and emailed me to tell me that she loved and trusted the recipes I shared. You see, Jeanette was in a car accident several years ago and suffered some brain damage that affected her olfactory gland, which in turn meant that she could not taste or smell. She enjoyed textures and she ate for health, but she couldn't really enjoy food like you and I do. She relied on the people she cooked and baked for to tell her how something tasted. When she received requests for recipes, then she knew it was a keeper. One day she emailed me to say "You know because I can't taste I always come to your blog for new recipe ideas. I never worry about how things will turn out...you just don't know how much I appreciate you and your recipes. This is the first time since I lost my taste and smell that I am not afraid to try new things for my friends and family." That means the world to me.
This fall, Jeanette went in for back surgery to repair some ruptured discs. When she went home she was filled with nuts, bolts and screws holding her all together. She was in pain. Over the next few weeks, she returned to the hospital for more surgeries- a total of 6, I believe. Then she had a stroke which affected her speech. She was on bed rest and pumped full of drugs. All through this, she was still upbeat and positive. I was not there, I have never met her in person, but we communicated via email quite a bit, or when she was able to. I considered her my friend. She's still my friend though there will no longer be emails shared between us. I will miss that.
She was a kind soul and a symbol of strength. I don't know of anyone else who has been through so much and still had a smile on her face. She still laughed and joked and shared stories with me. She told me about how she would make costumes for her rabbits and dress them up as other animals. She told me about her pot belly pigs- Hamlet and Yam Yam and how when they were little she tried to sneak them into WalMart. And how she bakes them cornbread on their birthdays. ha! More recently she took her dogs to the drug store to get their passport photos taken, just because she wanted decent photos of them. She told the people there that her dogs were famous and they needed passports to travel outside the country. She was a hoot! She loved animals and had several dogs to keep her company and love on.
Jeanette shared with me memories of her late daughter Jenee', which I was more than happy to read about, honored really. I don't know why Jeanette's life was cut short. I don't know many details of her death except for that she is no longer here. I do know that she loved her husband and her family with all of her heart and she'd do anything for them. She had a big, generous heart and I will never forget her. I believe there is a Heaven, and that Heaven is anything you dream it can be. I believe in my heart, that in her Heaven, she no longer hurts. And that she joins her daughter, her father and her dogs, Keelie and Ning.
In her Heaven, there will be scramble dogs and soft chocolate chip cookies and she will not only eat them, she will taste and enjoy them! These two recipes came from her blog. The scramble dogs are basically chopped up chili dogs in a bowl with the added crunch of oyster crackers on top. The chocolate chip cookies are thick and soft and a favorite of her husbands. We ate them and felt like she was sitting down with us for dinner. I hope you'll make them and feel the same.
Aunt Nette's Scramble Dogs adapted from Starting Over
- 1 hot dog bun, toasted and chopped
- 1 all beef wiener, cooked and chopped
- chopped onions
- 4 dill pickle slices, chopped
- shredded cheddar cheese
- oyster crackers
Toast a hot dog bun and cook your wiener. Chop both into bite sized pieces and set aside.
Place your chopped and toasted hot dog bun in a bowl. Scatter the wiener on top of the bun and pour chili over it.
Top with shredded cheddar cheese, diced onion, dill pickles slices, and a squirt of mustard. Top scramble dog with a handful of oyster crackers. Dig in!
- 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together the flour and baking soda, set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Beat in the instant pudding mix until blended. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips and nuts.
Drop cookies by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Edges should be golden brown.
Makes approx. 3 dozen.
NOTE: I used a medium ice cream scoop to portion out the cookie dough. I got 32 cookies and baked them for 13 minutes on parchment lined sheets.
Please, please please, take a moment to visit her blog and leave a note for her husband, Doug. He is stationed in Saudi Arabia for work and is trying to make his way back to the States to be with his wife. I'm not sure if he's made it home yet, but prayers for him would be much appreciated. I wish him peace and blessings.
Jeanette you will be missed.