“That Story Lady”

Angela Scott, Author – Storyteller – Ventriloquist

Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Category

Recipe For Hot Bread – If You Knead the Dough

December 22, 2009

 

My Aunt Bea lived in Asheboro not Siler City. She was actually my great aunt who could do anything great. Aunt Bea cooked, sewed custom clothing, told humorous stories about the kids at the school where she worked, and she loved me as much as I loved her.

Her house always smelled good on the Sunday afternoons when we used to visit her. The aroma of homemade yeast rolls was one of my personal favorites but it seemed too time consuming for me so I never asked her for the bread recipe until October 13, 1993.

My dad died in July that year and he was a master craftsman who taught me many things, one of which included a lesson on how to weave cane for seats in ladder back chairs.

It was not until after dad died that I realized one of my many mistakes; I had not asked for written directions or pictures of the process. Chair seats he crafted with cane by hand are located in my house but I quickly realized my need for a lot of instructions, which were no longer available.

After church I asked mom if she would record Aunt Bea on video as she prepared one of her masterpiece recipes. Mom readily agreed but Aunt Bea did not want to be the focus of the video. We smiled and told Aunt Bea we wanted the recipe because we wanted to make a memory.

Aunt Bea listened to my story and agreed to demonstrate her recipe while mom recorded the directions. Her words were clear, “You must follow the directions in the exact order listed.”

She began reciting the directions from memory:

(1) Mix in one (large) bowl the following ingredients:

One-half cup of Crisco shortening; one-fourth cup of sugar; 1 teaspoon of salt…

(2) [Boil water in a small saucepan] Pour ¼ cup of boiling water into the large bowl and mix well.

(3) [Boil water in a small saucepan] Pour ¼ cup of boiling water into large coffee cup. Pour ¼ cup of cold milk (2% is what I use) into the coffee cup filled with hot water. Add 2 ¼ teaspoons of Fleishmann’s Rapid Rise Yeast into this liquid mixture. Stir with a spoon and let it sit for 2 minutes.

(4) Beat two (2) eggs and pour into the bowl containing the mixture of shortening, sugar, salt, water. Mix well.

(5) Return to the mixture listed in Step (3) and stir until the yeast is dissolved in liquid mixture. Pour this mixture into the large bowl and mix well.

(6) Gently fold in and mix two (2) cups of Pillsbury’s Best All Purpose Flour into the mixture in the large bowl.

(7) Pour ¼ cup of cold milk into the mixture in the large bowl (I add milk one or two tablespoons at the time).

(8) Gently fold in one (1) additional cup of Pillsbury’s Best All Purpose Flour and mix well.

(9) Cover mixture with saran wrap (airtight – I use a rubber band around the bowl over the Saran Wrap) and place in refrigerator overnight.

(10) Melt butter in a small saucepan and let it cool for the next step.

(10) Prepare a floured board to roll out the mixture of dough. Use flour as needed to prepare dough for cutting into round shapes (I use a Tupperware scalloped edge round cutter) and dip inside half of round dough shape in melted butter. Fold the dough in half and place in baking dish side by side.

(11) Let uncovered bread dough rise at room temperature for approximately 3 hours.

(12) Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

(13) When bread dough is light and fluffy, bake in a 425 degree oven for approximately 15 minutes or until bread is golden brown.

Recipe yields approximately 32 dinner rolls (bake bread while dough is folded in half, thus the name Pocketbook Rolls).

Recipe works well when I double the ingredients. Family members love this bread as much as friends.

Confident I could successfully prepare and bake her “Pocketbook Yeast Rolls,” I returned home to bake bread but quickly realized I had not paid enough attention to her directions. We even returned to Asheboro to ask Aunt Bea if she could have forgotten to include a step because the bread I baked was hard as a rock.

“Did you follow the directions in the exact order…?” she asked. Reflecting on the bread baking process, I recited the ingredients I used and the order in which I followed the steps. After only two questions, I learned the source of my error.

It’s been over sixteen years since I first learned to successfully bake Aunt Bea’s “Pocketbook Yeast Rolls.” At family dinners, Aunt Bea’s “Pocketbook Yeast Rolls” are always requested for me to prepare.

One family member commented, “Those rolls are so good you don’t even have to bite them; they just melt in your mouth.” Although I receive the culinary compliments, Aunt Bea earned them.

Mark Twain said, “I can live two months on a compliment.” Aunt Bea died several years ago but she will live forever in my heart. The culinary compliments are blessings that will last me a lifetime, as well as continually remind me of Aunt Bea and her love.

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All writings here are copyrighted by Angela Scott. You may not use them without written permission but you may link to the posts or give out a link to the posts.

Recipe For Fun – How to Make Popcorn Cookies

December 3, 2009

Eating popcorn and a brownie during a concert intermission last week, I remember commenting to my friend about how much fun it was to eat fresh popped popcorn. That’s when I remembered a cookie recipe one of my neighbors shared with me just a few months ago. A woman sitting at our table smiled while my friend and I spoke. With a smile, our new friend asked for the recipe I had spoken about, popcorn cookies.

When I first heard the name, “popcorn cookies,” it sounded like a recipe for fun. Listening carefully for the specific list of ingredients, I made a mental note to self, “This is important.”

The four ingredients are: Cap’n Crunch’s Peanut Butter Crunch, Kellogg’s Rice Krispies, Planters’ Unsalted Dry Roasted Peanuts and Almond Bark.

“Just melt the almond bark in the microwave. Then remove from the microwave and stir in the other ingredients. Afterwards, drop the cookie mixture onto waxed paper to cool,” she said confidently with a smile.

I remember thinking, “That’s it?” Only four ingredients were needed to make a crunchy sweet and salty snack to whet our appetites before dinner. After eating a few samples of the popcorn cookies, I had complete confidence I had heard one of the best cookie secrets ever shared.

Determined to stir up a batch of popcorn cookies for the holidays, I went to the grocery store with my recipe in hand as well as my digital camera. Just thinking about the ingredients triggered multiple recipe variations using the popcorn cookie concept.

The first batch of popcorn cookies I make will be for those who like to eat peanut butter and the second batch can be altered for those who are not able to eat peanut butter. Of course, there are other snack items that can be substituted for the peanut butter flavor. The possibilities are unlimited.

Author John Ortberg said, “If you want to walk on water, you’ve got to get out of the boat.” Pour your ideas out onto a piece of paper just like you pour cereal into a bowl. You might be surprised when you realize unique ways to think outside of the boat and the cereal box.

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All writings here are copyrighted by Angela Scott. You may not use them without written permission but you may link to the posts or give out a link to the posts.

How a Temporary Sign Makes a Permanent Impression

November 26, 2009

 

Last summer I saw a large sign on wheels with a message that caught my attention. Displayed on the lawn in front of my grandparents’ church, the sign stated, “You may have a heart of gold but so does a boiled egg.”

Reading the sign several times while sitting in my car, I noticed another sign in the background. It was a permanent sign made of cement, which was quite the opposite of the sign on wheels.

The temporary sign displayed a message which could be changed merely by moving the letters or changing the words. Information on the permanent sign was static. Intrigued by the two different messages, I stared at the message on the temporary sign rather than the permanent sign.

When I stepped back to photograph the temporary sign, the permanent sign looked like a rectangular shaped Lego kids’ toy with information for adults. I guess the information on the temporary sign was for kids because that is what caught my attention. After taking three or four photographs of the two signs, I drove away. It has been over four months since I first saw that sign but after reflecting on the temporary message, I finally understood the meaning, which made a permanent impression in my mind.

Just one month later while attending a convention in July, I walked through a maze of hallways looking for a workshop I wanted to attend. My eyes stopped when I saw an abbreviated Bible verse displayed in large black letters on a rather large wall in the Wellness Center of the university. It was a bright day with lots of sunshine, so the ten words were easy to read. “…be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. ” (Ephesians 6:10)

The wall appeared to be constructed of cement blocks connected with deep lines, similar to the latitude and longitude grids of the earth. Reaching for the camera in my pocketbook, I centered the words in the screen of my digital camera and pressed the button for only one picture.

A few weeks later when writing a thank you note, the idea struck me that the picture of the message on that wall would make a great illustration to accompany my handwritten note. Although the 4″x6″ picture was larger than the envelope for my thank you note, I was determined to remedy the obstacle. I stopped at a store with an instant photo kiosk to reduce the size of the 4″x6″ picture to a wallet size.

As I looked at the reduced picture, I saw a contrast that I had not seen when I originally took it. The closer I looked, the more I realized the difference. The portion of the wall with the Bible verse and reference was strikingly light while the lower portion of the wall was dark like a dense fog at night. I gasped when I remembered that the darkness was not distinguishable on the wall when I took the picture.

Recently, I remember seeing a picture in the newspaper that showed a dog watching television. Even though I don’t remember the product advertised, I do remember the sub-title. “It is not what you are looking at… it is what you see…”

A Malian proverb states, “Those who accomplish great things pay attention to little ones.” Learning to look for extraordinary things in ordinary moments is my focus now. When I take a deep breath and slow down, I am able to appreciate what I had been too preoccupied to see.

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All writings here are copyrighted by Angela Scott. You may not use them without written permission but you may link to the posts or give out a link to the posts.

A Simple Math Education in Common Sense

November 18, 2009

A few years ago I registered for a class that promised to teach coupon clippers how to save more money. One of the first lessons taught in the class was to be observant and search for bargains in the back of the store. The instructor said, “Begin your search at the lowest rack on the shelf and finish with the top shelf after you’ve scanned all of the shelves.”

I remember those words of wisdom. Just a week ago I was shopping for office supplies and scanned the clearance shelf for hidden treasures at bargain prices. My eyes stopped on a box for custom stamps. The retail price was $19.99 and the clearance price was $11.50. As I read the contents of the kit and the directions, I was struck with the question, “Why are these stamp kits on the clearance shelf?”

My decision to purchase one box of twenty stamps was out of curiosity. Twenty stamps for $11.50 seemed like a reasonable price for 1st class postage. Instead of 44 cents per stamp, the cost would be 58 cents. It was a small price to pay for custom stamps where I could select one of my own photos as the face of the stamp.

With my laptop and stamp kit, I immediately went to work after I arrived home. When I typed in the promotional code for the kit and proceeded to the checkout page, the final price due was zero. The stamps I ordered were 44 cent stamps even though the kit indicated 42 cents. That’s when I realized why the stamp kits were in the clearance section. Apparently a quick decision had been made to clear out the old products and restock the shelves with new products.

Today when I mailed a package at the post office, I saw the same stamp kit for 20 stamps but this kit sold for $24.95. The only difference in the packages was the picture which represented 44 cent stamps instead of 42 cent stamps. It was the same product but twice as expensive as the first kit I found on the clearance shelf.

Needless to say I returned to the office supply store and immediately walked to the clearance section. I found five packages exactly like the package I purchased last week so I took immediate action and purchased all five packages. It was as if I had seen something that other people had overlooked.

You may be wondering why I would be willing to pay 58 cents for stamps when I can buy them for 44 cents. My reason is simple. The stamps I order will be my choice rather than standard post office stamps. I saw the idea and opportunity to create a unique product for a minimal investment.

Just a few days ago I read an article in a local newspaper, Words of Wisdom. One of the quotes caught my attention and my hope is that it will also cause you to think.

“Some people dream of success, while others wake up and word hard at it.” It seemed to be a generic statement upon first glance, however, as I thought about it I realized a deeper meaning.

Ideas and dreams are catalysts for opportunities. The question that remains is this one. Will you take the next step beyond where you are to think for yourself or will you be satisfied to let others think for you?

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All writings here are copyrighted by Angela Scott. You may not use them without written permission but you may link to the posts or give out a link to the posts.

Morning Confession About the Danger of Reading at Midnight

November 4, 2009

 

I read a lot, especially late at night when my mind races with ideas and opportunities. My college Chemistry professor recently sent a Christmas card to me so I called her. We had not spoken in over a year.

She told me about a book she thought I would enjoy reading. After she shared the author’s name, she told me the title of the book. I knew I’d never seen the book she recommended and I admit I wouldn’t have been interested in reading it based upon the title but she had captured my curiosity.

On my way home from work, I stopped by my favorite bookstore and ordered a copy of the book she had recommended.

It arrived in the mail on Friday last week and after dinner, I tore into the package. After reading only a few pages, I knew it was a good find.

Reading a chapter or two each night encouraged me, especially when sleep was elusive for me.

Only one night later and just a few minutes past midnight, my husband was either dreaming, talking in his sleep or he accidentally woke up.

“What are you doing?” he asked. I paused and swallowed hard. “How can I answer that question now in the stillness of the night while reading Living Successfully with Screwed Up People?” I silently thought and waited.

Once again he asked, “What are you doing?” This time he demanded a direct answer. “I’m reading a book,” I responded. Apparently dissatisfied with my response he asked another question. “What book?” Shocked at the coherency of his question in the middle of the night, I gulped.

“Oh, it’s just a book my Chemistry professor recommended for me to read.” Interested to complete the chapter, I returned to my book.

“What’s the name of the book?” he asked. Once again I swallowed with a gulp. “How could I tell him the name of the book I was reading?” I silently thought to myself. “How will he respond?” I confess. I would have gladly ignored his question so I paused once again.

Sitting in silence for an eternity of at least a minute or two, he asked again, “What’s the name of the book?” With great reluctance I mumbled, Living Successfully with … Screwed-Up People. Waiting for his response, I held my breath.

Silence returned as he dozed back to sleep. I wondered why he was so interested in knowing the name of a book I was reading, especially late at night. It’s routine for me to read several books simultaneously without being interrogated. But, never before had he been that interested in knowing the specific name of my reading material, especially when he was asleep.

I’m thankful I listened. He never mentioned the conversation and I didn’t bring up the topic, but I did finish reading the book.

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All writings here are copyrighted by Angela Scott. You may not use them without written permission but you may link to the posts or give out a link to the posts.

Confession of a Highly Effective Shopping Event – The Art of Using Coupons to Save Money

July 31, 2008

It surprised me when I walked into the office supply store. The sign screamed “15 cents” as I read the fine print indicating the limit of 5 packages of notebook paper per person. “Hmm,” I thought silently, “another opportunity to save a few dollars on school supplies. This is fun and yet I must confess I am addicted to saving money.”

As I reviewed the sales flier, I noticed the announcement which stated the door buster sales were only valid on Sunday and Monday. “Report portfolios, 1 penny each, a savings of 38 cents per report cover with a limit of 10 per customer.” Practical and extremely economical, the thrill of the hunt for the next bargain guided me as I walked through the aisles in the store.

Walking toward the cashier with my $3 coupon in hand, I realized I had only spent 85 cents before sales tax was added. The fine print on the coupon clearly stated, “$3 minimum purchase.” Turning to my husband, I said, “I have to check on some additional items.” After all, this shopping surprise was now an addicting challenge.

“Crayons, 25 cents per package, limit of 5 packages per customer,” I nodded my head in agreement and mentally totaled my expenses. “$1.25 for crayons, 75 cents for notebook paper, 10 cents for report portfolios with a grand total of $2.10. With only a momentary pause, I knew there had to be something else on sale, which would be practical as well.

That’s when I saw it, “1 inch 3-ring notebook binders, 50 cents each, limit of 2 per customer.” Smiling as I walked toward the cashier, my arms held 5 packages of notebook paper, 5 packages of crayons, 10 report covers, 2 notebooks and the $3 coupon, of course.

Watching as the cashier entered each amount into the cash register, she said, “Your total, after tax, is 11 cents.” I could hardly believe my ears but yet I knew I had followed the guidelines to use the $3 coupon. I maximized my coupon savings in an exponential way.

This is the second attack of coupon crack, which caught me by surprise. My dog puppet, “Miss Kitty,” summarized the first story about coupon crack. However, this time Miss Kitty was in the middle of an afternoon nap at home so this is my story of strategically saving money, by accident.

“Look at all of the school supplies I purchased for 11 cents,” I announced with a grin to my husband. “How did you do that?” he asked. But, then he paused. When he understood the reality of this highly effective shopping event, he nodded his head in agreement.

A few weeks ago I found an interesting quote in a book written by Dr. David P. Campbell, “If you want something to happen, make a space for it.” Waiting patiently, I am making a space for the 3rd attack of coupon crack as I ponder when and where the next opportunity will develop.

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All writings here are copyrighted by Angela Scott. You may not use them without written permission but you may link to the posts or give out a link to the posts.

Baptism of a Cell Phone in Dirty Water

January 5, 2008

It did not begin as a baptism. I mopped the kitchen floor before work and scurried around the house tidying up a few things before going to work. As I walked past the doorway, I noticed I had not plugged my cell phone into the charger the previous night. I felt it was best to let the cell phone charge while I worked a few more minutes.

Walking into the kitchen and admiring the shiny, clean floor, I saw that I had not emptied the dirty water in the bucket. “Oh my, I must take care of this now,” I remember thinking to myself. As I reached for the device to squeeze the excess water out of the mop, I saw and heard something drop in the dirty mop water. “What was that?” I wondered.

I guess you know what happened next because the mysterious item which dropped in the dirty water was my cell phone. I gasped and yanked the phone out of the water in a split second, gingerly placing it on a towel to dry. Finishing a few more things, I saw the phone die in front of my eyes; it was not a pretty sight.

Since I have been accustomed to carrying a cell phone, I began my search for a sturdy and durable replacement. The sales associate at the cell phone company recognized me when I walked in the door. I smiled sheepishly and admitted I needed help. As I explained the incident, the sales associate smiled and reassured me he had heard worse disaster stories about the demise of cell phones.

Today, I returned to the store because I had purchased too many cell phone accessories. My mom sat beside me as I recounted an abbreviated version of the “death of a cell phone” to the sales associate. I said to my mom, “It’s kind of like a baptism because all the old stuff is gone. I just wish I had remembered to record a list of my contacts on that phone.”

This is when I saw the smile develop on the face of the sales associate. She remarked, “That is quite an interesting and accurate analogy. I have not heard anyone else describe it quite the way you did.”

Thinking about what I had just said, I realized I had accidentally baptized my cell phone… in dirty water. All of the old information was gone. A real baptism is conducted in clean water and is symbolic of our sins being washed away, similar to a clean slate like my new cell phone.

I learned a valuable lesson from this unfortunate incident. Water and cell phones do not mix, and night owls need to remember that their brilliant ideas usually develop late at night instead of morning.

Angela Scott

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All writings here are copyrighted by Angela Scott. You may not use them without written permission but you may link to the posts or give out a link to the posts.

Art Lesson on Saturday With Monet

September 27, 2007

“You can’t sketch the Monét paintings,” the docent told me. She did not realize what a true statement she had spoken. Shocked for a moment, I replied, “No problem. I can’t even draw a straight line with a ruler.”

Pausing, I told her I only wanted to write the names of the paintings in the museum we would view that day. I remember we had a designated appointment time to tour the museum, however, there were so many other people there I don’t know how anyone could have known who was on time or not.

The only east coast exhibition of Monet’s art, a once in a lifetime opportunity and thanks to the generosity of a friend who purchased my ticket as a gift for my birthday, we both enjoyed our art lesson on Saturday.

Carrying my notebook close to my side, I quickly wrote the names of each painting because I wanted to remember a few highlights of the day at the museum.

After almost a year had passed since we visited the Monét exhibit, I decided to review my notes and count the actual number of paintings we had seen. Imagine my surprise when I realized the total number was fifty. When I see paintings now by Monét, I remember glimpses of those paintings we saw in the Raleigh, North Carolina Art Museum last year, which connect other thoughts of creativity, art and life.

Collecting books, quotes, comics, compact discs, and movies, I happened upon one of Audrey Hepburn’s quotes, “Living is like tearing through a museum. Not until later do you really start absorbing what you saw, thinking about it, looking it up in a book, and remembering – because you can’t take it all in at once.”

Audrey Hepburn is right. Immersed in the Monét exhibit, I felt I had visited and learned about other parts of the world through the eyes of this impressionist. However, the realization of what I experienced in the art museum over a year ago is stronger today than it was in November last year.

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All writings here are copyrighted by Angela Scott. You may not use them without written permission but you may link to the posts or give out a link to the posts.