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My sister Brenda and I were born 15 years apart, with just enough time in between for her to be like a second mama to me.
I’m sure my birth caused her much grief and embarrassment because she had to help change diapers, pick up toys and chase after a precocious little toddler. I’m sure I was a real help to her when she started dating!
When she got married at the age of 19 she wanted me to be her flower girl, but I was too shy and fell asleep in the pew instead. Later she was amazed (along with the rest of my family) when I became a performer who was very comfortable in the spotlight.
My sister and I began our journey of true sisterhood and friendship when I used to spend the night with her when I was around 11 years old. We would ride around town in her yellow Volkswagen bug singing, “I’m Popeye the Sailor Man, toot-toot,” and toot-toot became her nickname for me.
She was my confidante, partner in crime, yard sale negotiator, and most of all, my encourager.
Her sudden death in 2000 from a heart attack at the age of 53 changed my life forever.
I remember the phone call.
The rush to the hospital.
Hearing the news she was gone.
Staying strong for her daughter and my parents.
Giving the eulogy.
All a blur but I remember.
It was a defining moment in my life.
The 15 years she’s been gone have held many moments of heart wrenching grief but many joys as well.
My sister’s daughter Jennifer, is one of my closest friends. We share life and faith as well as love and family together.
Brenda passionately decorated her home, reading every magazine she could find. She would have been one of the biggest cheerleaders of this precious piece of real estate called Marty’s Musings.
I will never forget how she empowered me by believing I could do anything and I’m so grateful for the years we shared together.
Brenda used to make Mexican Wedding Cookies every year for her husband’s Christmas work party and I was always hopeful I would get a leftover crumb or two. That’s usually all that was left because they were irresistibly good!
When she passed away I continued her family tradition of Cranberry Apple Casserole at Thanksgiving but I never incorporated these cookies back into our family life.
This year I decided it was time to pull out the recipe and see if I could make cookies as delicious as I remembered.
Of course I shopped my favorite store Big Lots for all the ingredients I would need.
Many years ago my sister gave me an insulated cookie sheet and I have used it to pieces. I decided to buy a new one this season to use for my special cookie recipe. I can’t tell you how excited I was to buy a similar one at Big Lots! It’s the simple things for me!
I’m the same age my sister was when she passed away and I’m trying to eat healthier. Big Lots has a terrific selection of Bob’s Red Mill products and prices that can’t be beat!
I decided to veer from the traditional recipe and try the whole wheat pastry flour instead of all purpose flour.
The cookies turned out as perfectly as I remembered! They are a delicious sweet for Christmas parties, church fellowships, school functions and anywhere you need a light treat.
I’ll be enjoying mine out on our deck with a cup of Instant Russian Tea while counting my blessings this year.
Have you tried any of the Bob’s Red Mill products at Big Lots?
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup finely chopped pecans
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- In large bowl beat 1/2 cup powdered sugar, butter and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. On low speed, beat in flour, pecans and salt until dough forms.
- Shape dough into 1-inch balls. On ungreased cookie sheets, place balls 1 inch apart.
- Back 13-17 minutes or until set but not brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool slightly, about 10 minutes.
- Place 3/4 cup powdered sugar in small bowl. Roll cookies in sugar. Cool completely, about 15 minutes. Roll in powdered sugar again.
- Cookies can be kept in an airtight container and frozen up to 3 weeks. After cookies are thawed reroll in powdered sugar.
- Cookies are delicate so take care when rolling in powdered sugar. If necessary, dip them in powdered sugar instead.
- Do not overbake.