26 November 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

There are only two ways to live your life. 
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle.
- Albert Einstein

Happy Thanksgiving!

NaBloPoMo Day #26

25 November 2015

Finished for Today

I am officially finished with the things I wanted to do to prepare for tomorrow.  There were not that many things for me to do, since I had actually cleaned pretty thoroughly last weekend (much to my surprise), so food-related things were what were left for tonight.

The Tim was busy the past few days.  He was off on Monday and Tuesday, and then he is working the closing shift tonight.  He did the cleaning up he wanted to do, plus A LOT of baking!

So today when I got home from work, this was waiting for me.

Pumpkin pies!  Yes, "pies" - three of them!  The Tim is a huge fan of pumpkin pie, so he makes two or three every year so he can get his fill.  (I of course help to consume said pies, because I am supportive like that.)

The other day he baked some bread.  And then today, he turned that bread into homemade croutons for our stuffing.

So good!

As of approximately a half hour ago, I finished making the stuffing, and earlier I tried a recipe I found for wine cranberry sauce.  The stuffing looks, smells, and hopefully will taste good.  I'll check in the morning, once the flavors have had some time to take hold, to see if it needs any tweaking.

The cranberry sauce *looks* good, but according to the recipe, it needs to sit in the fridge at least 12 hours for the flavor to "set."  I'll let you know if it is any good.  I do have to say it was easy.  We just usually get the canned cranberry sauce, but like I said, I saw this recipe today and we had some fresh cranberries in the fridge that we got as part of our farm share, so I figured I'd see how it tasted.  At least if it's horrible, we still have the other stuff as backup.  :-)

Besides the anticipation of Thanksgiving,  I think all of the food preparation and planning is fun.  We usually have the same menu for the most part, with occasional tweaks or additions, but it never seems boring to me.

I hope you are finding time to relax tonight so that tomorrow's festivities will be happy and fun.


NaBloPoMo Day #25

24 November 2015


This week for Ten on Tuesday, Carole asks us to list things that make us feel thankful - but then adds a twist by saying to list things making you thankful right now.

After some thought, here is my list of 10 Things I Am Thankful For Right Now:

1.  Thanksgiving itself.  It is one of my favorite holidays, and definitely the coziest one, in my opinion.  I love making food that I seldom/never make any other time of year.  I love watching parades, dog shows, stupid movies, and just existing.

2.  Four-day weekends.  I'll take it and enjoy every second!

3.  Knowing how to read.  Every now and then, I'm reminded that there are still plenty of people who have never learned to read, and I cannot imagine my life without reading.

4.  NaBloPoMo.  Truly!  It has made me think more, since a post a day is not the usual for me.  And I've enjoyed reading others' daily posts, and finding out that people are reading and commenting on my blog here.  It's been fun, if some days challenging.  :-)

5.  Safety.  I take it for granted, but at the same time, I also realize I have a pretty safe existence, and a WHOLE LOT better one than others.

6.  Health.  I'm doing pretty well, and that makes me happy *and* thankful.  Even though I think I might be coming down with a cold, it's OK as long as it's just a cold.

7.  Our house.  It of course falls into the larger category of thankfulness for shelter, but it is also appropriate here, because it is such a quirky little old row house, on a teeny street in Center City Philadelphia.

8.  Laughter.  If I didn't have the ability to laugh at myself and/or to be amused, I'm not sure I would find life very interesting or even worthwhile.

9.  Solitude.  I am for the most part happiest when I am left to my own devices.

10.  Train sounds.  I think I've said before that I have spent most of my life living someplace where I could hear trains.   Train sounds are the comfort food of my ears.

That's it for now.  This is one of those lists that are easy, but hard, and could also go on forever.  But these are my ten things.  Right.Now.

NaBloPoMo Day #24

23 November 2015

Turkey Tendon Redux

When I first started this blog (which now seems like a long time ago!), I shared a story about a particular Thanksgiving tradition in my family.  To this day, when I tell people the story, they are a) puzzled, b) amused, and c) confused.

In the last few days, I've been reading other blogs and a lot of people are writing about how they are getting ready for the big day.  So here is a version of the previously mentioned story, one of Thanksgivings Past, when one of the biggest highlights occurred the night before.  Now that I am a vegetarian, I don't miss having turkey, but I do kinda miss pulling turkey tendons ...


When I first moved to Philadelphia, a notice in the Food Section of the Philadelphia Inquirer caught my eye. They asked readers to submit a brief story about unique family Thanksgiving traditions. Three stories would be published on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. I knew I had something truly unique to send them.

My father, who grew up on a poultry farm, was the family expert on Thanksgiving turkey. The night before Thanksgiving was always a big night. After cleaning the turkey, it was time for the event of the year: tendon pulling! According to my father, if you pulled the tendons out of drumsticks before cooking, it made them easier to eat. We got the pliers out, and everyone got ready to take their turn. At the end of the drumsticks, there are often small holes, with pinkish-white tips sticking out. Those are the tendons. You take the pliers, hold the drumstick tightly, and try to pull the tendons out. It’s fun for the entire family!

I have never met anyone else who even knew about turkey tendon pulling, so I decided this story would be a perfect candidate for the “unique” Thanksgiving tradition the Inquirer was seeking. I figured if my story wasn’t chosen, the others that were published would have to be really unusual. So imagine my extreme dismay when I opened the Food Section on the Sunday before Thanksgiving and read the winning entries.

Story #1: A woman whose mother had been in the hospital on Thanksgiving had taken a complete dinner to her so they could have their holiday meal together. Her mother died shortly afterwards. Every year, she continues to take an entire meal to that hospital for any of the nursing staff that has to work on the holiday.

Story #2: A couple who were in the military and stationed in Germany one Thanksgiving invited their German neighbors to celebrate with them.

Story #3 (supposedly the best) was about a woman whose son had the flu one year during the week of Thanksgiving. The night before, to cheer him up, they had baked special pumpkin cookies together. Even though the boy was now 20-something, he still made sure he could be home the night before Thanksgiving to bake cookies with his mother.

These stories are heartwarming, feel-good stories; they may reflect lovely traditions. But am I the only one who doesn’t find them unique? The Tim suggested that maybe the Inquirer didn’t think my story was true, being "weirdly unusual."  Now really, could I have invented something that good? Maybe it was too unique for the Inquirer; they probably felt it would be more appropriate for the New York Post; right under a headline like “Family of Five Fancies Festive Fowl Fun!”


My memories of turkey tendon pulling are happy and fun ones.  Yes, it was gross, but we were all so focused, that was secondary.  I think that even if I *could* do it today, I would be completely grossed out, so it's probably better if it remains in my memory ... :-)

NaBloPoMo Day #23

22 November 2015

How About Another Recipe?

I have to tell you, I'm very proud of myself - I got a lot accomplished today! Granted, I'm really pretty tired, but it was worth it.  Other than eating dinner and washing the dishes (The Tim is the cook tonight), I have no other plans or things I have to do this evening, so the couch and my pajamas will have all of my attention.  :-)

Before we get to the yummy part of this post, I wanted to thank those of you who responded to my post yesterday, with my idea for honoring/celebrating my dad's 100th birthday.  If you didn't see it, and are curious, it is here; please feel free to let me know your thoughts.

Now on to the recipe.

This is a recipe I have had for over 30 years.  At my very first "official" job out of college, I worked at the library at the University of Notre Dame, while The Tim was in grad school there.  At one of our departmental Christmas parties, one of co-workers brought a plate of homemade candies that I had never seen before or heard of, but boy were they yummy!

It turns out that she was from Ohio, which is the Buckeye State, and I guess these are more or less a candy that everyone who is from Ohio knows about.  Over the years, I've seen various versions of the recipe, and I've tried them at various places, but the recipe I was given is still my favorite, both for the taste and the simplicity.



1 lb. powdered sugar
1 stick butter or margarine
1 ½ c. peanut butter (smooth or crunchy, whatever you prefer)
6 oz. chocolate chips or chunks 
2 tsp. shortening 

Mix first three ingredients completely, and then form into whatever sized balls you like (if they are small, you can eat more of them!).  Place on waxed paper and chill for at least 1 hour.

Melt chocolate and shortening.  Take a toothpick and take peanut butter balls and dip into the melted chocolate.  Place on waxed paper to cool.


Don't they look good?  I hope if you try the recipe, you'll let me know if you liked them.  I do have to warn you though - they are pretty addictive!  

NaBloPoMo Day #22