Mary serves Daddy the cake
Oct. 15. 1923, was a pretty important date in history. My Daddy, Leman Iven Rudeseal, was born in Alto, Georgia.
I don't think they called him Leman Iven -- according to his baby Bible, given to him by my great grandmother, he was Iver Leman. Somehow it got changed around. As long as I've known him, of course, he's been Daddy. That's almost 51 years. But his initials were L.I. and always, people called him "Rudy." For years, my Mama was "Mrs. Rudy." The Rudy, I have always thought, came from the Navy or from the Georgia Power Company. The only people who call him Leman are other men whose last name is Rudeseal, and Mary, his longtime partner in love and life.
Saturday night, we threw a brthday party for Daddy at his home in Atlanta. His best friend from college, the spry, chipper, 81-year-old Harry P. Johnson.
Rudy and Harry, bringing new meaning to BFF!
So was my "sister" and college best friend Susan Goggins,
Susan and me, still crazy after all these years
and Daddy's neighbor, Gretchen Cannon, also came over. We heart her so much.
Harry and his lovely lady, Martha, were there.
I decided to cook Daddy a dinner of his choice and make him a gluten-free coconut cake. We talked on the phone this week about one of the dishes my Mama used to make he really liked -- Countryside Chicken Bake. I decided to make it -- it's GF, with only a small adaptation. We also had salad, bread, and carrots. AND CAKE! Mary set a beautiful table for everyone to enjoy, and we all sat around, drinking margaritas and nibbling on cheese, crackers and green beans. It was great fun.
The dinner was fine (once we got the chicken in the casserole cooked -- how embarrassing for me). But the cake, it was really delicious. No one would have known it was a gluten-free cake, had I not told them.
The blessing part of this, of course, is that at 84 my Daddy is still healthy and happy at home, surrounded by people he loves, and still blessing people all the time. I know Gretchen counts on him for fatherly advice, and to Susan he might as well be here other father. He's been around her for 31 years! Randy loves talking to his father-in-law, and he came up from Tampa for the party, even! For Jeffrey, well, there is no one more important to him than his Papa, They are best friends on such a deep level.
Jeffrey and his Papa
For me, it's a blessing that I have been so lucky to have someone to guide me to who I am today. He gave me my sense of humor and sense of justice -- sadly, I wish I had his math skills -- and he has given me so much more,
My Daddy is a great story teller, and my love of story telling has come from him. I hope one day I'm as good as it as he is. I just love to sit back and listen to him talk about things. One of things I'd love to do is have time all alone with him, just him and me, to talk -- about when I was little, about when he married my Mama, about life.
So. Here's to my Daddy, and many many more happy birthdays with gluten-free coconut cake (and Countryside Chicken Bake).
Much love, and Daddy, I love you!
Countryside Chicken Bake
We dug into the Countryside Chicken Bake
Six chicken breast halves, boneless and skinless.
3 cups cooked rice (we use Minute Rice)
1 cup celery
2/3 cup chopped onion
2 T. chopped dried parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 T. Mrs Dash Herb and Garlic
2/3 cup Italian Dressing (our traditional is Kraft Italian)***
2 T. Butter or Margerine, melted
I can Health Valley Cream of Mushroom soup.
Mix rice, veggies and spices and place in a large baking dish. Top with chicken breasts. Top with dressing, marg and soup.
(When my Mama cooked this the first time in the early 1970s, to her, "salad dressing" meant Kraft. Not Miracle Whip, which is probably what the author meant -- Italian dressing. Guess what? It's great that way!"
Bake at 350 degrees hour until chicken is all but cooked through. Top with cooked mini carrots, sprinkle with paprika, and heat 15 more minutes.
Serves about six people. Double for a crowd as I did, but for goodness sake, crank up the heat some and leave it in til the chicken is cooked!
GF Coconut Poke Cake
Gf Coconut Poke Cake
1 package GF cake mix, white or yellow (I used Bread of Life) make to directions, sustituting
•In place of milk or water in the cake mix, use light coconut milk (about 1/2 cup)
•Add 2/3 cups shredded/flaked sweetened coconut
•Add 1 t. Coconut extract
Make cake by directions on box til done when a tester inserted comes out clean.
Take a fork and poke holes in the cake all around the surface, til it is covered.
Mix one can sweeted condensed milk with 2 t. coconut extract and pour on cake while the cake is still warm. You can also pour on a can of Coco Lopez Cream of Coconut (NOT MILK). Whichever's easiest. Coco Lopez is in the drink aisle of the story.
Refrigerate this overnight at least, or a few hours. Cake will be cool.
Take one can of heavy whipped cream and cover the top of the cake with it, then spread on a thick cover of flaked coconut.
Take cake out of fridge about an hour before cutting.