It’s Friday

Birthday party atmosphere, spirit enhanced by snow

We’ve had a grandchild born in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016. That means our youngest just turned one. Madalyn Grace (MG) is the spitting image of her red-headed daddy, except that she has huge blue eyes, and it’s yet too early to tell if her hair will be curly like his. But for sure she has his friendly smile and sweet disposition. So we celebrated this past weekend. In south Louisiana.
DW and I left out Thursday afternoon, headed to Vicksburg to spend the night. That would cut our trip in half and get us to Lafayette about lunch time on Friday. DW suggested supper at Rusty’s in Vicksburg’s historic downtown, right on the river front. As we walked up to the door, he noted that Rusty’s has pie. Evidently, he’d eaten there a few times before.
The night was blustery and getting colder by the minute but the restaurant was warm and the food was as good as its reputation or better. After a crab cake, fried shrimp and grilled grouper I indulged in pie, coconut cream. DW suggested a Tums. He’d definitely been there before.
To bed early and out the door by 7 a.m. was our plan. But at 7 o’clock the ground and DW’s truck were covered with three inches of fluffy white snow. The good kind. The Jackson (MS) television stations were listing closings and broadcasting nonstop as the fat flakes fell. It was breathtaking and totally surprising. We’d expected maybe a few flakes or a good dusting but predictions of accumulations were right.
The snow kept falling and we delayed our start. I took pictures of snow on the palm trees in the hotel courtyard. But, luckily this surprising winter wonderland wasn’t affecting the roads, so we headed south down Highway 61 to Natchez. I suppose we are among the very lucky few who have ever seen pretty Port Gibson under snow.
I couldn’t stop commenting on the beauty of it all as we drove on into Louisiana. We continued taking the scenic route south with the river levee to our left and the Louisiana delta to our right. All covered with a blanket of snow. DW turned up the Christmas music. Oh, what fun it was as we drove along in our one truck open sleigh!
School was out everywhere. Kids and grown-ups were outside sledding, throwing snowballs, and making snowmen. We could have made a pretty good sized one on the hood of DW’s truck, too. The snow continued to the south and even gave Lafayette a good dusting. School on Friday had been canceled. Even if the roads had gotten treacherous, which they didn’t, I can’t imagine trying to maintain order when there’s snow on the ground in a classroom of children who usually only get hurricane days off.
The plans that were made…. The birthday party, planned weeks ahead of time, was no less than a winter one-derland for Madalyn Grace. Mom Kathleen planned a winter wonderland themed party because they never have winter weather down there. The house was ready for Christmas so she added winter accents of glistening snowflakes, ice icicles, and snowy colors. She made a snowman’s face cake with a pink toboggan for MG. and on the menu, of course, snow balls, snowmen noses (carrots), melted snow (water), dirty snow (tea), Polar punch (blue punch with vanilla ice cream), pigs keeping warm in blankets, and a hot chocolate bar complete with snowman marshmallows, crushed peppermint, and snow cream (whipped topping). Just delightful on a cold snowy day.
And Mother nature provided the party favors. No one ever dreamed there’d be snow on the ground for MGs party. The little guests and their parents came. MG’s silver leggings sparkled under her white snowman top as she walked…toddled… around in her winter one-derland! She loved her party, eating cake by the handful and all the excitement that comes when you’re the belle of the winter one-derland ball!

Recipe of the Week

Coconut Cream Pie
Serve this pretty pie on a festive winter wonderland dessert bar!
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 egg yolks, beaten
3 cups low fat or whole milk
1 ½ tablespoons butter, or margarine
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 baked 9-inch pie shell
¾ cup whipping cream
1/3 cup sifted powdered sugar
½ cup flaked coconut
¼ cup flaked coconut, toasted

Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in heavy saucepan. Stir well. Combine egg yolks and milk; gradually stir into sugar mixture. Cook over medium heat. Stir constantly until mixture thickens and comes to a slow boil. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, stir in butter, vanilla and coconut. Immediately pour into pastry shell. Cover filling with wax paper. Let cool 30 minutes, chill until firm. Beat whipping cream until foamy. Slowly add powdered sugar, beating until soft peaks form. Spread whipped cream over filling. Sprinkle with toasted coconut. Chill. (The pie depends on the flavor of the vanilla, so be sure to use real vanilla extract.)

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