Mother’s Day Gifts for Moms in Assisted Living

phalaenopsis_orchid_plant

It can be difficult to find a wonderful Mother’s Day gift if your Mom is in Assisted Living. Space is at a premium in Assisted Living rooms, so extra “stuff” is out. Here are a few ideas I’ve come up with since my Mom has been living in Assisted Living:

Photo books. I’ve made several photo books using iPhoto. The process is made ridiculously easy, and Mom is able to enjoy wonderful memories at her leisure. I’ve never used Pinhole Press, but they are also supposed to be very good. You can also just go to a gift, art or photo shop and purchase an album,and fill it with your favorite photos and include your memories about what made each moment so special.

A tablet. We bought my Mom an iPad several years ago and she loves it. It is small and compact so it doesn’t take up much space. Social connection is so important, and she stays in in touch with her friends and family. My Mom has always loved technology, but even for people who aren’t tech-lovers, today’s tablets are easy to navigate. The options are endless, making them a great source of communication and entertainment.

A calendar. My brother has been making a homemade calendar for our Mom for several years, and she treasures each one. Most photo stores have websites that make putting a calendar together easy, and Walgreens is one of many good options.

Cards. Of course a Mother’s Day card is essential. If you can pull it off, have your kids or nieces and nephews (in my case since I don’t have kids) make cards by doing drawings,  paintings, or their own personal messages. If that isn’t an option, you can do it yourself. Nothing beats homemade in my book.

Flowers. My Mom has a beautiful room with a long, deep window sill, and she also has a terrific green thumb. I love giving her flowers or plants, and she gets endless enjoyment from them. A phalaenopsis orchid is always one of my favorites to send because their impossibly beautiful blooms last for several months, and in the right conditions, they will rebloom.

Candy. See’s Candy is my Mom’s favorite, and she loves their Nuts & Chews. Of course, if your Mom is diabetic, or on a restricted diet, candy may not be a great idea. You could consider fresh fruit or another gourmet snack from Harry & David. Be sure to order by May 4 to take advantage of their free shipping offer!

Your time. Of course the best gift of all, is spending time with your mother. I am heading home to spend several days with my Mom in Wisconsin, where I grew up and she continues to live. I hope you are able to spend time with your Mom this Mother’s Day.

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Lemon trees bursting with fruit at Trueheart Vineyards in Sonoma, California. Lemons. Trueheartgal.

Damp Lemon and Almond Cake

 

Our Myer lemon trees are laden with fruit. Lemons. Trueheartgal.

It’s citrus season here in Northern California, and orange and lemon trees are heavy with fruit. We picked our Myer lemon trees (see them bowing down under the weight of all their fruit above) a few weeks ago. I am always looking for new recipes to use them in, and then I found Nigella Lawson’s Damp Lemon and Almond Cake from her How to Be a Domestic Goddess cookbook and I knew I found my nirvana of flavor combination. Almonds? Oh yes. As a kid, I used to walk miles to a candy store that carried marzipan. And I love the fresh, biting sweetness of lemon. Together they are so surprisingly nice. The cake is not too sweet, and very, very moist.

Our Myer lemon trees are laden with fruit. Lemons. Trueheartgal.

The recipe is so easy, I hope you’ll try it and let me know what you think.

A few links from the web you might enjoy:

Ridiculously obscure fun facts.

Top 10 movies of 2015 by a Slate reviewer I really admire.

Nurturing long-term loving relationships.

I’m still obsessing over the Oscar outfits, and here’s a look at the least boring among them.

A palliative care doctor’s thank you letter to David Bowie.

I never get tired of hearing Man of Constant Sorrow.

Great list of 15 Things I Learned in My Fifties.

A pilot’s-eye view of life in the sky.

Here in Sonoma, we have been getting loads of much needed rain, and flowers are blooming everywhere (including our camellias, below). They are predicting more rain on the way. Hope you have a wonderful week!

Camellia flower at Trueheart Vineyard. Lemon. Damp Lemon and Almond Cake. Trueheartgal.

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Lemon trees bursting with fruit at Trueheart Vineyards in Sonoma, California. Lemons. Trueheartgal.
Damp Lemon and Almond Cake
Print Recipe
An easy recipe with lemons and almonds and little else.
Servings
6 - 8 people
Cook Time
50 - 70 minutes
Servings
6 - 8 people
Cook Time
50 - 70 minutes
Lemon trees bursting with fruit at Trueheart Vineyards in Sonoma, California. Lemons. Trueheartgal.
Damp Lemon and Almond Cake
Print Recipe
An easy recipe with lemons and almonds and little else.
Servings
6 - 8 people
Cook Time
50 - 70 minutes
Servings
6 - 8 people
Cook Time
50 - 70 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cream together the butter sugar until almost white. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding a quarter of the flour after each addition. When all the eggs and flour have been incorporated, gently stir in the ground almonds, then the almond extract, lemon zest and juice. Pour the mixture into cake pan and bake for about one hour. (Ovens vary so widely, the cake may be done after 50 minutes, or it may take as long as an hour and 10 minutes.) After about 30 minutes you may need to cover the cake with foil to prevent it the top from burning.
  2. The cake is ready when the top is firm and a toothpick comes out cleanish. The cake will be damp, but not battery goop. Take the cake out and let it stand for 5 minutes or so in the pan. Turn the cake out on a wire rack and allow it to cool.
  3. Then, wrap the cake in tin foil and leave it for a couple of days. Push some powdered sugar over the cake through a fine sieve when serving.
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Soup: Grandson eating a fresh garden carrot. Trueheartgal.

A Simple Carrot Soup

Soup: Grandson eating a fresh garden carrot. Trueheartgal.

My sweet husband flew back to Missouri to visit his mother for a week and returned with a miserable cold. He always enjoys a yummy bowl of homemade soup, but when he is even the slightest bit ill, he yearns for soup like it is a magical elixir.

Enter California-based Heidi Swanson. This one woman whirlwind of creativity is a cookbook author, photographer, website publisher, shop curator and bestselling writer. She won a James Beard Award for Super Natural Every Day: Well-loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen. Near & Far: Recipes Inspired by Home and Travel, her latest book, was published last September.

I have a glut of cookbooks, some of which I rarely open, others which have stained and dog-eared pages of favorite recipes I return to often. I subscribe to Swanson’s blog, 101 Cookbooks, and it has become one of those favorite spots I turn to when I am looking to cook something easy, wholesome and luscious.

So, when I was looking for an easy soup to make for my ailing husband, I found this one, using carrots, red curry paste and coconut milk. I am trying to cook vegetarian meals more and more often. Eating a vegetarian diet is healthier for both of us, it is healthier for the planet, and I disagree with the idea of killing animals. I still eat chicken every now and then, and I eat lots of  fish, but I am working to limit those as well.

A bunch of Farmer's Market carrots. Trueheartgal.

Soup: Grandson eating a fresh garden carrot. Trueheartgal.
A Simple Carrot Soup
Print Recipe
A very simple, easy, silky and delicious soup using very few ingredients.
Servings Prep Time
4 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Soup: Grandson eating a fresh garden carrot. Trueheartgal.
A Simple Carrot Soup
Print Recipe
A very simple, easy, silky and delicious soup using very few ingredients.
Servings Prep Time
4 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. In a large soup pan over medium-high heat, add the coconut oil (or butter) and onions. Stir until the onions are well-coated, and allow to sauté until translucent, a few minutes. Stir in the curry paste, and then the carrots. Allow to cook another minute or two, and then add the coconut milk, salt and water, adding more water to cover if needed. Allow to simmer until the carrots are tender, 10 - 15 minutes, and then puree using a hand blender until the soup is silky smooth.
  2. The next part is important (with any soup) - make any needed adjustments. Add more water if the consistency needs to be thinned out a bit (I didn't need to do anything). After that, taste for salt, adding more if needed.
  3. Add a great big squeeze of lemon or lime juice. Serve topped with whatever you have on hand. Heidi suggests adding something crunchy (almonds) and a lot of something green (micro greens and chopped cilantro). I only had cilantro on hand, and it was wonderful.
Recipe Notes

I can't wait to plant carrots in our garden this spring and make this soup for our grandkids after they pull up their sweet and tender harvest.

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