Driving by a playing field the other day and hearing the spirited cheers of children and parents, immediately turned my thoughts back to the times when, I, too, was one of those parents who shouted encouraging words from the chalk line.
It was November 1976, and my 7 year old son, Brian, was playing in his third year of organized soccer. The Pacific Northwest was experiencing an unseasonably cold autumn. Walking the field or huddling on the bleachers did nothing to quell the chill. It got colder as the season progressed and then the boys went into final play-offs. It was then that I decided to take action against shivering on the sidelines.
My plan of attack against the cold was to layer my clothing. On game day, I started layering with a top and bottom of wool, long-underwear. Next, I donned a bulky Fisherman’s knit sweater along with my heaviest long pants. Last I put on my down-filled, ankle-length winter coat. To this arctic ensemble I added a wool watch cap, wool gloves, wool sox and my insulated “Moon” boots, which were fashionable at the time. I couldn’t have been cozier! I felt confident that my teeth would not be chattering before the first off-sides were called.
My face began to flush around half-time, so I removed my knit cap. “Do you suppose I’ve over-dressed in prepping for the cold?” I said to my daughter, who at 9 seemed oblivious to the weather even though her tiny nose was as red as a Maraschino cherry.
Soon I began to perspire as though it was a July heat wave, and before long my whole body was enveloped in an unrelenting hot flash. I took off my coat, which gave me momentary relief, but I was too late. Droplets of perspiration began absorbing into my wool garments and I started itching.
I pondered my options.
My sweater and pants were the next items of clothing that needed to be removed however shedding those items would reveal my long johns. “I’m going to the car to take off my long underwear,” I whispered to my daughter.
Soccer players and numerous sports enthusiasts streamed past the station wagon as if they didn’t have a play-off game to watch. I remember being thankful for my flexibility as I removed my clothing in the back seat of our 9-passenger, 9-window fishbowl on wheels and then put back on my top layer of clothes.
Later that evening, everyone agreed that I’d earned my soccer Mom stripes after changing my clothes in the car rather than miss a spectacular play or an outstanding goal.
At the close of an exciting day, I surprised everyone by serving Chocolate Applesauce Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting. A favorite for kids of all ages, these cupcakes are always a welcome sight whether they’re served at home or on the sidelines.
Applesauce Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting
½ cup margarine, softened
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
2-4 tablespoons powdered cocoa (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 ¼ cups unsweetened applesauce
1 cup nuts, chopped fine
Preheat oven to 375°. Using an electric hand mixer, cream together margarine, sugar and cocoa; add eggs and beat for 1 minute. Add salt, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, flour (no sifting necessary) and applesauce, beat for approximately 2 minutes, or until ingredients are well blended. Stir in chopped nuts (peanuts are best). Fill cupcake liners ¾ full and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Frost cooled cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting (recipe below). Makes 14 cupcakes
Peanut Butter Frosting
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
1/2 cup margarine, softened
1 to 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Blend together first 3 ingredients in a medium-size mixing bowl until smooth and creamy; beat in vanilla. Makes frosting for 14 cupcakes or for one 11” x 13” sheet cake.