Aunt Louise was one of my favorite aunts when I was a young girl, but all the adults called her “Cookie,” which fascinated me. I adored her because of her sweetness, but she was also very hip. She wore this gorgeous bun on top of her head like a Motown singer, buttered her toast on both sides, and collected owl logo EVERYTHING.
When my kids were in middle school, we drove the coast of California and stopped to see her and my Uncle Dom. I didn’t know I had Celiac yet. We had an early flight out at 6:00 am, so everyone was still asleep when we woke up at four, but there was a bag of the BEST homemade chocolate chip cookies waiting for us to take on the plane, and this very cute spice tin wrapped in with the cookies that read LOVE on the packaging.
A note from my Aunt read:
“I used this spice to make your cookies… be sure to use it whenever you make yours.”
I took the spice jar home, put it in my spice rack and noticed it often and would think Geez, I need to try that! And much to my surprise—as a busy mom—I overlooked the fact that it really wasn’t a spice at all! HA! It was actually an empty tin. And the message being that you’re supposed to make everything you ever make with love. Of course! How I missed this very special gift, I do not know. I am so happy I saved that spice tin and that she taught me the spice for living by her example… which is LOVE!
Now if I want something sweet instead of cookies, fruit is where it’s at! I typically don’t eat a lot of fruit because of the fructose (fruit sugar), which I avoid in my 80/20 rule, but who doesn’t love strawberries, watermelon or California navel oranges? I know it is considered healthy to have fruit, I just don’t indulge often.
Another one of my favorite cookie replacements are orange slices covered on one half with dark chocolate. They’re gluten free… and it’s a nice treat. I haven’t made my own but plan to soon. So whenever anyone gives me fruit for a special occasion—especially dipped in dark chocolate—it’s always a big deal.
This past Mother’s Day my sons gave me this yummy fruit basket. They totally spoiled me between this and the gorgeous flowers. I was feeling very blessed. Mostly though, I’m incredibly proud of my boys… even though they’re grown men. So be it cookies for those who love ’em, or fruit—plain or chocolate covered—we all need a little sweetness in our life.
On the back of the spice tin is The Story Behind Love:
“For many years, a man watched his wife take a locked box down from the cupboard. She would unlock the box, take a pinch, sprinkle it over whatever she was cooking, relock the box and return it to its place. One day, while his wife was away, his curiosity got the best of him. He went to the cupboard, took the box down and opened it. To his surprise, it was empty. He turned it over and on the bottom was written the word LOVE. Don’t keep your love locked up in a cupboard. Keep it within easy reach and use generously into everything you cook. So…
Though not in your recipe book,
Into everything you cook,
Put a big pinch of LOVE.”
Thank you Aunt Louise for teaching me how to add just the right amount of sweetness, and thank you to my boys for being my sweethearts… as the most satisfying sweetness is from the immeasurable love of our children. ❤