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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Candied Almond Salad

My whole life, we have had a sailboat named Cracker Jack that we keep at the Fort Worth Boat Club.  In May of 2005, I was leaving dinner at the Boat Club with my parents when they suggested that we drive down to the waterfront where the cabanas are.  We had always admired the cabanas from afar- right on the water, on club grounds, and only a thirty minute hiatus from town.  We pulled up to the blue and white a-frame that we had talked about before, and my parents stopped the car.  Thinking we were just going to walk around, I hopped out of the car and heard the jingle of keys in my dad's hand.  "Surprise!" they both said together.  They had bought the a-frame lakehouse from Jim Sundberg, former catcher for the Texas Rangers.  I. was. stoked.

The lakehouse/cabana has changed in so many ways over the past 6 years.  We put up white wooden blinds, built a tough shed, replaced the couches (twice), moved the twin beds to make room for futons, replaced said twin beds with white bunk beds, put in all new master bedroom furniture, pulled up the carpet and installed hardwood floors, replaced the remaining carpet with new carpet, white washed the front wall, replaced the dock, built a kayak rack, replaced both the downstairs and upstairs air conditioners, put in new cabinets, pulled out the stove, put on a new side door and screen door, installed an alarm system (unfortunately due to a break-in), replaced the fridge (twice), AND installed new counter tops.  Phew! That was a mouth full.  Needless to say, our little gem has come a LONG way.

Easter Eve 2011

My Granny Poirot, from who I inherited many of my cooking abilities, absolutely loved the lakehouse.  Specifically, she loved the sunsets at the lakehouse.  No matter what we were in the middle of doing, when the sun started to set, Granny called everyone out onto the porch or down by the water.  For 15-20 minutes, we stopped.  We stopped cooking, renovating, replacing, worrying, and stressing.  We stopped planning, organizing, cleaning, texting, talking, and we watched.  "Have you ever seen anything so beautiful?" Granny asked me once.  "God is good, Katherine, He knows we're making memories."

Easter Sunday 2011

When Granny's heart started to give out for the final time in November of 2008, I curled up in her hospital bed with her, squeezing her hand as tight as I could.  Even in as much pain as she was, Granny turned and looked out the window of the Cardiac ICU.  "Wow, Katherine, look at that sunset," she said, "God is good sweet girl.  I love you."  My eyes welled up with tears as I told her that I loved her more than anything in the world.  My Aunt Rhonda's text to let loved ones know read, "Gertie left with the sunset this evening."  Her obituary read "Gertie Poirot went home to be with her heavenly Father at sunset."  What a perfect ending to her wonderful story, and not a sun sets without our family thinking of our amazing, funny, loving, optimistic, selfless, faithful Granny.

Granny watching the sunset
This past Easter weekend, my parents, their friends, Mike and Sondra Cochran, and Andy and I all had dinner out at the lakehouse.  It was fun being together, but no holiday at the lakehouse is the same without Granny.  We had her/my mom's Candied Almond Salad, ham, and chili rice casserole.  Although Granny wasn't there to remind us on Easter night, we all still gathered on the porch, like we do every night when we are at the lakehouse, and stopped.  For 15 minutes, we stopped doing, and we made another memory and watched the sunset, just like Granny would have wanted.

Granny and me watching the sunset, July 4, 2008

Candied Almond Salad
Granny Poirot & Carolyn Poirot

  • 1 c sliced almonds
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 4 little green onions, thinly sliced (yes, they're really called "little green onions")
  • Honey mustard dressing (available in light)
  • 15 oz mandarin oranges, drained
  • 6 c lettuce, washed
  1. Melt butter in a pan on the stove
  2. Mix in sugar and almonds
  3. Stir frequently until browned (careful not to burn them)
  4. Combine lettuce, onions, oranges, and candied almonds in a large salad bowl
  5. Add dressing as desired, or leave dressing off for each person to put on his/her own- this can always help avoid soggy salad

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