When I was 11 years old, I decided to become a vegetarian. We were a very meat-and-potatoes kind of family, but my mother respected my decision and took the time to adapt her recipes so I could follow my special diet…which I did until I graduated from college.
That’s typical of my mom, Sherry Smith. She has always put family first. I have fond memories of bringing the best homemade goodies to school for birthdays and bake sales. Her willingness to cook and bake for my events (and those of my sister, Stacey, and brother, Craig) made me feel special.
A few years ago, I found Mom’s list for cooking at Christmastime. It included a dozen cookies and candies, seven side dishes and an entree. Seeing that list made me appreciate how hard she worked to make the holidays for our entire extended family so special.
One of Her Best
The five of us—Mom; my dad, Jeff; and us kids—ate dinner together every night, and she was the sole chef. As I got older, she’d let me help. Of all the scrumptious dinners she has prepared, I think one of her best is Grilled Sirloin Roast, Sour Cream Potatoes, Berry Tossed Salad and Coconut Pineapple Cake.
Her saucy grilled roast is always a hit, especially at summer gatherings. It’s easy to put together and doesn’t require a lot of attention.
With their mild garlic-herb flavor, Sour Cream Potatoes go so well with the roast. This rich, tasty side dish is real comfort food!
A creamy raspberry dressing highlights Berry Tossed Salad, a pretty combination of strawberries, kiwifruit, red onion, feta cheese and almonds. It fits in nicely at sit-down holiday dinners as well as casual backyard barbecues.
Coconut Pineapple Cake is a delight with chunks of pineapple, chopped walnuts and fluffy coconut frosting. Sometimes my mom will leave out the walnuts, particularly when she’s taking the cake to a function, where someone might have an allergy.
Mom stayed at home while raising her three children but still did the bookkeeping for my father’s business. He recently retired after 43 years as a financial adviser. They live nearby, in Fort Collins, Colorado.
My husband, Nick, is also a financial adviser. We have two daughters—Evelyn, 3, and Nora, 1. I’m pursuing a master’s degree in counseling psychology and also do freelance writing.
I’m not much of a baker, so every year my mom makes Christmas cookies with my daughters, who love that special time with their “nana.”
Mom, who grew up in Wisconsin, has baking in her blood. Her father was a baker, and she often cooked with her mother.
My mother, sister and I share a special bond through cooking. We often call and E-mail each other with new and interesting recipes. (Stacey and her family live in Illinois; my brother and his family are in Wisconsin.)
When Stacey and I had our babies, Mom came to our homes to help, making sure we had home-cooked dinners. It was a lifesaver! She’s always there for us, whether she’s taking care of my daughters so I can attend class or flying to Illinois if my sister needs her.
She and Dad are active in their church, and you might say Mom “ministers” with her cooking. Anytime there’s a special occasion or event, she bakes delicious goodies to share.
I’m happy I could share this menu with you and hope your family enjoys it as much as our family does.