Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Tuesday Afternoon Tea - November 23, 2021

Good Tuesday morning, my friends, and welcome, in this case, to TUESDAY MORNING COFFEE TIME! A bit of a diversion from my regular afternoon tea posts, but in light of all that must be done over the next few days in preparation for Thanksgiving, I knew that if I didn't attend to this post early, that it most likely wouldn't happen at all. I'm sure you understand!

I've featured the little cup and saucer I've chosen for today before, I call these my "breakfast dishes", as that is primarily when I use them to add a lovely little element to the start of my day. But years before this, these were the dishes that my girls and I often used for our own Tuesday Afternoon Tea during our homeschooling days, so they hold a lot of sentiment and memories.

Since this is a breakfast "tea time", my drink of choice for today is Cinnamon Vanilla coffee with Cinnabon Creamer, so good! Not really good for you, but sugar isn't something I have completely eliminated from my diet, especially this time of the year. I do try to consume in moderation, but unfortunately I'm allergic to almost every sugar substitute on the market, so rather than eliminating sugar, I focus on eliminating preservatives and ingredients that I can't pronounce. That being said, coffee creamers are loaded with preservatives, so I consume it in moderation so that I can indulge! :)

As for my treat, this is a gouda pastry that I picked up in the bakery clearance section at Walmart yesterday. I discovered this when we were in the van and needed quick, easy breakfasts from time to time. I think they are normally around a dollar, but this one was marked down to fifty cents. Knowing that the next two days are filled with baking and cooking and preparing for Thanksgiving, breakfast was the one meal I didn't want to have to think about, and this filled the need. Slathered with a bit of the cranberry orange compound butter I made yesterday (recipe coming soon!), it's the perfect treat!

And now lets move on to our weekly topics for conversation, which are some of my favorites!

OVER THE RIVER AND THROUGH THE WOODS: THANKSGIVING MEMORIES

The familiar song, often heard around this time of year, Over The River And Through The Woods is derived from a poem written by Lydia Marie Childs. I'm not certain before today that I ever knew that. For me it was just one of those songs that I picked up somewhere along the way in my childhood.  Such a catchy tune, I have a vivid memory of laying in the back seat of my dad's Ford Pinto with my brother and singing this song at the top of our lungs. And we were indeed headed to my grandmother's house for Thanksgiving, though we were far removed from woods of any kind, and nowhere near a river.  Back then it felt like it took at least a half of a day to arrive, but when I returned home several years ago , I was shocked to find that it was less than fifteen minutes. 

My memories of those holidays at my grandmother's house are warm and inviting. I've spoken of my paternal grandmother before, and of the house she lived in. My grandparents were not poor, but they never had much, as far as material wealth. Their house was old, and so was the furniture in it, but my grandmother had a knack for making things look and feel warm and inviting. My father had two sisters, and they each had grown children, and we all gathered, snug but comfortable into that little house every year at Thanksgiving. The long table in the kitchen was set with a clean white tablecloth and loaded to the brim with turkey, ham and all the trimmings. My grandmother was an excellent cook, and made the most wonderful cakes and pies. 

Some years we spent Thanksgiving with my maternal grandparent's as well, though if my memory serves me well, it seems to me that our main Thanksgiving meal was almost always with my paternal grandparents and Christmas was with my mom's side of the family. Of course we always made our way to visit with both sides of the family at some point, and would typically have dessert or just a small serving of leftovers. I was closer to my maternal grandparents, and I had cousins close to my age, as well, so naturally as a child I preferred it. But the older I've grown the more I've come to love and appreciate my paternal grandparents and wish that I had spent more time, asking more questions and getting to know them better. I hope we hold our memories of our lives on earth when we reach heaven. Scripture says that we will know one another, and if that's true, I might set aside a hundred years or more just to be with my grandmother, and to be honest, I've got my fingers crossed that there will be gardens in heaven, too, because that's likely where she'll be.

"Over the River and Through The Woods" is the theme I've chosen for our Thanksgiving tablescape this year, and I can't wait to share pictures with you later in the week!

Before I close out this section, I want to direct you to a video I found on You Tube,  Anthology: The Story of Thanksgiving from November 21, 1954. Anthology, was broadcast from New York. The show presented "A selections of readings from poets, past and present and the music to accompany their poetry." Bing Crosby, Helen Hayes, Frank Lovejoy, Lynn Fontanne and Alfred Lunt, Orson Welles, Agnes Moorehead, Walter Huston, and many more stars were recorded at the show as the poetry readers. In this episode, Agnes Moorhead, of Bewitched fame, reads Over the River and Through The Woods.

The link I've provided above features a selection of short stories and poetry with a focus on Thanksgiving, and is delightful to listen to.  If you enjoy nostalgic things such as this, as I do, you can find more here.

FAMILY RECIPES

I mentioned that my paternal grandmother was an excellent cook, but I think my mom may have surpassed her when it came to baking. Baking was my mom's specialty and the thing she enjoyed most and thankfully she passed down all of those recipes to me. But there is one recipe that in my book that is the best by far and surpasses anything else she ever baked, chocolate pie! I've shared the recipe with family and friends for years now, but like my mom, changed a few of the ingredients to give us an edge on flavor. But I've decided that I'm past all of that nonsense now, and today for the first time I'm posting the recipe as my mom and I make it. This recipe is so good that it deserves to be shared with the masses and enjoyed! If you like a rich, chocolate pie once you make this one you'll never look back, it is the absolute best!

MOM'S CHOCOLATE PIE
2 c. sugar
2 c milk
3/4 c. flour
3/4 c. cocoa powder
5 eggs yolks (yes, you read that correctly, this is what makes it so good!)
1/4 c. oleo
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix first four ingredients in a large sauce pan. Add milk and mix until well blended.  Cook over medium heat until thickened.  Add a small amount to egg yolks and mix well, add egg yolks to mixture and cook until further thickened. Remove from heat and an add oleo and vanilla, blend well.  Fill a 9” baked pie shell that has been cooled. Once set, serve and enjoy! 

My mom always made meringue for this pie, but I have never cared for it, so I don't make it, but its certainly an option if you prefer it.

TRADITIONS

As far as Thanksgiving traditions, we almost always watch The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Since we don't have cable there have been a few years that we haven't been able to find it, but this year I'm considering paying $4.99 for a subscription to Peacock, which is a streaming app for NBC.  They do offer free content on their website, but to stream the parade live you have to have a premium subscription which starts at $4.99 a month, so that's what I'm opting to do. I'll probably cancel it as soon as the parade is over, because I have zero interest in anything else on main stream TV these days.

The other tradition we have is that we always have sausage balls for breakfast on Thanksgiving and Christmas morning. Everyone in our family loves them, and it makes for an easy morning for me. I typically make them up the night before and then pop them in the oven the next morning. So easy, and so good!  I've been making sausage balls for years, but a couple of years ago I stumbled upon Paula Deen's recipe, and I've found that its the best, especially with the dip, it's a game changer.

Some years, including this one, I've also served a Hash Brown Casserole using a Cracker Barrel copycat recipe.  I've tried a few over the years with varying results, but last year I happened upon this one and I think it comes to the closest to mimicking Cracker Barrel, so if that's something you crave, give this recipe a try!


And now my friends, we've come to the end of another lovely tea-time. I want to end this post by wishing you and yours a happy and blessed Thanksgiving day!  I've enjoyed spending time with you and hope you'll join me here again next week when our topics for conversation will be a few of my favorites, and I'm so looking forward to sharing with you!

 A Homemade Christmas * Oranges * Pleasant Pastimes

Remember everyone who participates will be entered in a drawing for a COZY WINTER WELLNESS KIT which I'll send out mid-January. You'll find all the details here.  

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