Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Remembering Auntie Jan

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Six years ago, an amazing woman left this world way too early.  Her name was Janice and she was my aunt.  

Auntie Jan was always supportive of my love for writing, so I think it's appropriate that March 11th will forever be dedicated to remembering her.  So today I am putting aside all my creative posts to focus on celebrating her. 

Last year I wrote this particularly powerful post in remembrance of Auntie Jan.  It is easily the most heartfelt and personal post on my blog, but it is the one that I am most proud of.  I cannot read it without ending up in tears.  It is raw and emotional.  Please consider reading it before continuing to read today's post.

When I wrote about her last year, I mentioned that I have little hints of her hidden throughout my home.  Two of my favorite things that remind me of her are the ring she gave me before she died and her handwritten chocolate chip cookie recipe (pictured below).

Remembering Auntie Jan from And Next Comes L

I admitted that I did not remember the story behind the ring, but thankfully, my grandpa and his cousin Lloyd were able to fill in the gap.  The ring is a family heirloom.  Apparently, the ring can be traced all the way back to my grandpa's great grandmother.  For generations it was passed down to the youngest daughter in that family.  However, my Great Grandma Bing only had sons, so the ring was then passed down to the youngest daughter of her oldest son.  That daughter was my Auntie Jan.  Jan also had three sons and no daughters.  She was then free to pass the ring down to whomever she chose.  Jan had decided to give the ring to me as I am the youngest female in my generation.  My grandpa informs me that the ring is probably worthless in terms of monetary value.  However, it is a constant reminder of Auntie Jan, which makes it worth something, at least to me.

Another constant reminder I have of Auntie Jan is the recipe book she put together for a bridal shower gift.  More importantly, there's a handwritten recipe for her delicious chocolate chip cookies in the book.  Every March I whip up a batch of these cookies.  Okay, I whip up a batch on other occasions too, but I do make a point to make some every March.  It is my way of connecting with her, even if it's just through seeing her words written on the page.

In celebration of my Auntie Jan, I am going to share the recipe so that you can enjoy a cookie or two or three of your own.  Seriously, these are the best chocolate chip cookies ever.  They are moist, chewy, and so fricking good.

I have tried modifying the recipe in the past to make them healthier, but after protests from my husband, I now know not to mess around with Jan's recipe.  As my husband says, "If I'm going to have a chocolate chip cookie, then I do not want it to be healthy.  I expect it to be full of sugar."  

So here are the best damn chocolate chip cookies you'll ever taste, sugar and all.

Auntie Jan's chocolate chip cookies recipe from And Next Comes L

Auntie Jan's Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

Serves: one or ten (her words, not mine)

  • 2 squares of margarine - soften
  • 2 eggs - beaten
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups white flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup chocolate chips (I often do 1 1/2 cups!)
  1. Soften margarine in the microwave for approximately 40 seconds).
  2. Add sugars and eggs.  Mix well.
  3. Add flour, baking soda, salt, and chocolate chips.  Mix well.
  4. Drop from spoon on to greased cookie sheet.
  5. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes until very light brown.
  6. Enjoy!

Remembering Jan: More than the Disease She Battled

If you read this post, then you'll know that my Auntie Jan battled ovarian cancer.  Of course, I want her to be remembered for more than just the disease that took her life.  She deserves to be remembered for her love, her sense of humor, and her delicious chocolate chip cookies, which you can now enjoy anytime you'd like.  

However, I cannot carry on her legacy without educating others about ovarian cancer.  Breastfeeding can help lower your risk and it is just one of the ways that I hope to protect myself from the disease.  I will be celebrating 4 and a half years straight (or 54 consecutive months, but who's counting?) on March 13th.  Each day and month helps to lower my risk.  

So please educate yourself on the disease.  The faces of ovarian cancer are our mothers, grandmothers, sisters, daughters, and aunts.  

For more information on ovarian cancer and prevention methods, please check out these resources: