There’s nothing like time away from home to give me fresh perspective. Being away from the ordinary give-and-take of daily life never fails to sharpen my focus.
When I looked around after I got home from my vacation and saw all the things I’d gotten along without very well for 10 days on the road I knew a deep spring cleaning was in order. I expect to be spring cleaning well into summer.
My plan is to look things over as a stranger (or at least a distant relative) would. I expect sentiment will get in the way at some point. After all, we’re talking about me, the Queen of Sentiment. But you can bet on the fact that a lot of clutter is going away in the next few months. I’m looking forward to a definite sense of relief.
Now, for a few guidelines.
The best excuse to toss edibles is the well-known expiration date. Look on cans, bottles and bags. Be brutal. If you haven’t used it in the last two to three years, chances are you aren’t going to. It may not make you sick, but flavor and color both fade with time.
Was it mom’s? Your favorite aunt’s? Finally, do you like it a lot? If not, repurpose it and make someone else happy.
Is it just taking up space and catching dust? Sell it or donate it.
Piles of paper about to smother you? That’s what a shredder’s all about. Recycle.
My mother saved all sorts of odds and ends, mostly because of sentiment. I find that it’s photos, family stories and her recipes that I cherish most. I’ll pass those along to my children maybe along with a few knickknacks.
Here’s a keeper of a recipe for you and yours. The original came from Delish.com — I embellished. It’s short, easy and delicious — perfect to whip up for special occasions like Mother’s Day. Have a great one.
2 cups cream cheese, softened
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 large, fresh strawberries, bottoms and tops sliced off, hollowed out
Crushed graham crackers for garnish
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese 2 to 3 minutes. Add heavy cream and powdered sugar and beat until fluffy.
Transfer mixture to a piping bag (or a plastic bag with a corner cut off) and pipe into strawberries. Crumble graham crackers on top.
Use the insides of your strawberries to make strawberry shortcake, or add to poppyseed dressing for a topper for fruit salad.
Linda Conway Eriksson can be reached at email@example.com.