Thursday, November 28, 2019

Monday, November 25, 2019

Our Thanksgiving Menu 2019

Today I wanted to share our Thanksgiving menu with you, with links to the recipes we use. This menu has changed little over the years, if only to add another dish in years when I wanted to try something new. But it just wouldn't be Thanksgiving if these dishes were not on the table. The only diversion we are making this year is that we are having Cornish Hens in place of turkey. It's something I've wanted to do for awhile now, as I love the idea of everyone having their own little bird on their plate, so we're giving it a try! I've never had them before, but Bill loves them and according to him, they are much easier to deal with than a turkey, so, we shall see, I hope I don't regret it.

Our meal this year will be on Wednesday night, due to the fact that two out of three of us work retail. Bill actually managed to be off Wednesday and Thursday, but our Kate has to be at work at 2:30 Thanksgiving day, which would have rushed things. So our big meal will be the night before, and then on Thursday, since we won't have leftovers from the cornish hens, and you MUST have leftover Turkey!, we'll bake a small turkey breast for our meal on the big day, along with leftovers from the night before.

And so, here is a list of what you will find on our table this year;

Cornish Hens
Pilgrim Sauce
(see recipe below)
Deviled Eggs
Olives / Green Onions
Water / Sweet Tea / Wine

Chocolate Pie
Pumpkin Pie

Growing up, I never cared for canned cranberry sauce.  But for many years that opinion was based purely upon sight.  I don't care for anything "jellied", unless it's spread on toast, and just the sight of that jiggling, tubular red sauce made me dizzy! I was pretty sure it was plastic, and regardless of how "wonderful" others claimed it tasted, I wasn't taking any chances.

But then a few years ago by some twist of fate, a bit of it ended up on my plate, and in one small bite I was hooked! The only problem was, while I did love the taste, the texture still left a lot to be desired.

Enter, Pilgrim Sauce!  I came across this recipe in one of my Gooseberry Patch Christmas books shortly after that fateful encounter, and decided to give it a try.  Oh my goodness!  I could eat this stuff year round, it is just that good! It is a staple on my Thanksgiving menu now! It is so good with a slice of turkey! But my favorite way to eat it is the next day, in a turkey wrap!

This is a recipe I found on Pinterest. Once I had discovered the joy of fresh cranberry sauce, finding ways to use up the leftovers was important so that none of that goodness went to waste! The thing I love about these wraps is that I am not big on leftovers, so if I can find a way to create some variety using common ingredients, I'm all for it!  This recipe uses both leftover turkey and cranberry sauce and the combination of the almonds, celery, mayo and spinach wrap is just delicious!

I'm including the recipe for both of these today, but if you already have a tried and true recipe for cranberry sauce, or even if you like the canned stuff, just use what you have for the wraps!  Either way, you are in for a treat and it will help you use up some leftovers!

1 can frozen cranberry juice, thawed.
(I had a hard time finding this for several years, and I have used substituted cranberry juice in its place and it worked fine!)
1/3 cup sugar
12 oz. package of fresh cranberries
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3 Tbsp. orange marmalade
2 Tbsp. orange juice
2 tsp. orange zest
1/4 tsp. allspice 

Combine cranberry juice and sugar in saucepan. Boil, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves. Add cranberries and cook for about 7 minutes until fresh berries pop and dried berries soften. Remove from heat.  Stir in marmalade, orange juice, orange zest and allspice. Chill until ready to serve.

3 cups Turkey , cooked and shredded (or chicken)
1/2 cup almonds , whole or sliced
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 - 3 Tablespoons mayonnaise (or Greek yogurt), to taste
1/2 cup cranberry sauce (or dried cranberries)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 - 4 large tortillas

Combine all ingredients together in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon filling into tortillas and roll into a wrap.

This year to go along with our turkey wrap, I'm going to make up this broccoli salad.  One of the ladies at my first ever Friendsgiving that I attended last week brought this, and I tell you, I could have eaten my weight in it!

6 cups of broccoli, cut into small florets
1/2 of a red onion, chopped
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled (I use this method for making bacon, SO easy!)
1/4 c. sunflower seeds
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup white sugar
2 Tablespoons white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

In a very large bowl, mix the mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper until blended. Add broccoli, red onion and cranberries into the bowl and mix until coated. Add crumbled bacon and sunflower seeds and mix well.  Leave in the refrigerator for at least an hour, preferably two.

I also plan to set aside a small amount of the crumbled bacon, dried cranberries and sunflower seeds and sprinkle a little over the top before serving, just for some added color.

If you love cranberry sauce like I do now, you are sure to love these recipes!

Until then,

Friday, November 15, 2019

101 Things in 1001 Days: #4 Read 200 Books

I am including this post as a means of keeping track of the books I read during the next 1001 days, which began on November 11, 2019.

The fourth goal I listed was to read 200 books during that time frame, which ends on September 21, 2023. You can learn more about this and my other goals, here. My guess is I will read more than 200, but because there are 100 other goals on that list that I hope to accomplish, I wanted to make it do-able.

Naturally I'll be adding to the list, and though I don't know that I will review every book I read, if I do write one, I'll likewise link the posts here. If you're interested in following along on my reading journey, you can also find a link to this post in my right side bar directly below the graphic and link for 101 Things in 1001 Days. That being said, here are the books I've read thus far;

1. Mother Mason
by Bess Street Aldrich

2. The Little Ways of Ruthie Leming
by Rod Dreher

3. Miracles on Maple Hill - 
by Virginia Sorensen

4. The Practice of the Presence of God
by Brother Lawrence

Because I will never outgrow beautifully illustrated children's book, I am listing the ones I have read during this span of time, but not counting them as part of my 200 books.

January 2020
From Dawn 'Til Dusk  - 
- beautiful book about a young girl's life on a Vermont farm.  Takes you through the tasks and days of each season, highlighting what made each one of them special.
by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock  Illustrated by Mary Azarian

Autumblings (Amazon affiliate link, see disclosure below)
Poems and painting by Douglas Florian

Countdown to Fall - 
by Fran Hawk, Illustrated by Sherry Neidigh

Full of Fall
by April Pulley Sayre

Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn
by Kenard Pak

Fall Leaves
by Loretta Holland

In the Middle of Fall
by Kevin Henkes

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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Celebrating 58 Trips Around The Sun

Monday marked the beginning of my 58th trip around the sun, and due to conflicting work schedules, the celebration began Friday evening and continued on through yesterday.Pictured above is the sweet little pumpkin house that I made for the centerpiece for my birthday dinner celebration, which we enjoyed this past Friday night (November 8)

Bill, Kate and her boyfriend, Jacob, joined me for a cozy festive celebration. I made a pork roast and vegetables that filled the house with the most wonderful aroma, as it slowly cooked in the crock pot all day. I had planned to make a cake, but when I happened on to some chocolate cupcakes with buttercream icing at the grocery store, I knew that my time was at least worth the $3.49 price tag (marked down to half price!), and opted to go with them instead. I didn't like the decor they were adorned with, however, and removed it and garnished them with blackberries, golden raisins, cranberries and candied pecan pieces. In the end I was a bit disappointed with the taste, but I still don't regret the ease they provided. I ended up sending most of them to work with Bill on Monday, along with another dozen snickerdoodles, which his co-workers can't seem to get enough of! They are good, though.  I'll probably finish off the last two later today with my afternoon cup of coffee. Below, is my little pumpkin all lit up to keep me company after dinner on Friday!

Saturday I spent a quiet day at home, actually feeling a little under the weather. I've been troubled with two urinary tract infections in recent months, a problem I also struggled with for several months a few years ago. On Saturday I made myself a spot on the couch with a heating pad and flushed the pain away by drinking apple cider vinegar. 2 Tbsp. to 8 oz of water drank every hour for as long as you need or can stand it, will eliminate the burning and pain associated with a UTI within 4--6 hours. I felt waterlogged by the end of the day, but it didn't take long for the burning and pain to cease, so it was worth it.

So on Sunday morning the first order of business was a trip to the local urgent care facility, and for the first time in almost three years of periodically dealing with this, the doctor that saw me asked if anyone had ever suggested the possibility of a kidney stone? Apparently stones can "sleep" and you can go for years without an incident, and then one day, as she put it, "the beast awakens". This is the first doctor to suggest that possibility, and it's the first thing that has made any sense. She advised I give it a week and wait and see. She prescribed an antibiotic for the infection, and informed me that it might "go back to sleep", or it may continue to try to make an exit. If I get another UTI in the near future, I'll have to decide how to proceed from there. I had not considered a kidney stone because I've never had the excruciating pain that is typically associated with them, but according to her, the mild symptoms I am having could be the "calm before the storm", so we'll see. That being said, I was feeling well enough on Sunday for a little trip up to the parkway, since our plans to spend the day in Williamsburg were foiled. No bother though, Williamsburg will still be there so we'll go another time. 

Earlier in the week I had seen someone post the loveliest pictures on FB of a stop off on the Blue Ridge Parkway that was just about an hours drive from home. So with my prescription in hand, we took off.

The Yankee Horse Ridge Parking area is at milepost 34.4 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and marks the spot where a hard riding Union soldier's horse fell and had to be shot. It features a reconstructed spur of an old logging railroad that ran through the mountains in the 1930's, and a small but beautiful waterfall, Wigwam Falls. 

The sky was so blue in this last shot, it is just amazing. This is now one of my favorite spots on the parkway, along with the picnic area nearby that runs along Otter Creek, and not too far away, is a recreated mountain farm near Humpback rocks.  I'd love to take another trip up and visit all three of these lovely spots, but we only made time for this one on Sunday. 

On the way home we stopped off at a favorite cozy little restaurant near the apartment for a late birthday lunch. Bill had the reuben sandwich, but I gambled and went with the chicken salad on a toasted slice of jalapeño cheddar bread, and I'm so glad I did, it was delicious. Sadly, I forgot to take pictures, but then, not everything needs to be documented, right?

And finally, yesterday morning I made myself a warm bowl of oatmeal, and quietly lit the candles on our birthday candle ring. A beautiful moment alone to acknowledge the turn of another year of life. Later in the day I set to work on my 101 Things In A 1001 Days list, by attending my first water color class with a dear friend, and afterwards she treated me to lunch! I'll be sharing more on that in future posts.

Aside from not feeling my best, it was a memorable birthday, filled with all of the things I love! In addition to the Sunday drive and lunch afterwards, Bill is also taking me to see It's A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood in a few weeks, so you might say, the celebration isn't over!

I hope you've enjoyed reminiscing we me about my special day, and I pray that wherever life finds you (birthday, or not!) that today is special for you, as well!

"With mirth and laughter, let old wrinkles come!"

- William Shakespeare