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pumpkin pie

Pumpkin Pie No Longer for Christmas?

It was Thanksgiving and of course there were lots of pumpkin pies available for the big feast’s dessert.

I love pumpkin pie and it doesn’t even have to be homemade.  Ready made and store bought can be just as good.

But Tnanksgiving came and went and suddenly it was Christmas.

I planned to cook a ham dinner for Bill and me and friends.

And Bill asked, “What shall we have for dessert?””

“Pumpkin pie!”, was my immediate answer. I know I can make one from scratch, but just to save a little more time and effort, I felt lazy enough to add,

“We can just pick up a pumpkin pie

at the local grocery store.”

  • And there was the rub!
  • Alas!
  • There were no pumpkin pies available.

No such thing at our favorite grocery store or any other store a week before Christmas or even days before Christmas.

I cannot even blame it on small-town country living since we have three major grocery stores close by.  Maybe our small-town population is always hungry and bought up all the pumpkin pies.

At any rate, we wound up

having Key Lime Pie for dessert.

Not exactly Christmas Fare in my mind.

Perhaps we are trend setters?

The Key Lime Pie was good and went well with ham.

But here is my question:

Is this a new trend whereby pumpkin pie is now only acceptable at Thanksgiiving?

And my second question is:

Why?

Christmas Ham

Christmas Ham Dinner Minus Pumpkin Pie

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Vegetables

“What is your vegetable of the day?” we asked.  And our waitress answered, “A Melody of vegetables.”  ~ Dor

Our Day 3 Rule is not working!

That is a rule in our house whereby I cook for 2 days but on Day 3 we eat out.

To reinforce this, my meal planning and end results go like this:

  1. Day 1 – A fairly delicious healthy meal with protein, vegetables (a melody), a starch, and a fresh salad.
  2. Day 2 – Still almost passable.
  3. Day 3 – A no longer attractively displayed meal with a slightly unappetizing aroma, and no taste.  I don’t do this on purpose either.  It just happens.

And Bill knows we have to eat out!  Today is Day #3 but I think he has forgotten.

Saturday I went for MRI #5.

Good thing I handle the claustrophobia and loud banging noises well.  I always ask them to play DooWop music but they don’t really know what that is so they get “Oldies” which are never quite old enough.

Ah well.  But I am anxious for the results of this one because BigFoot is no longer Big!  Can this be a happy omen?  The swelling is waaaay down to an almost SkinnyFoot!

The trip for the MRI was also kind of fun since we found our way to a Roanoke, Virginia shopping center and had lunch at the Wild Flour Café.  Isn’t it nice that this old couple can still enjoy good food (not cooked by me!) and good conversation away from home?

Other happiness:

“Sleep perchance to dream.” from William Shakespeare’ s play, Hamlet.

Two weeks ago I had a Sleep Apnea Test (which they prefer to call a “study”).  I must say it was a tortuous experience but they called today to announce that “You do not have Sleep Apnea and your oxygen levels are fine.”  Ha! I have passed the Study! Hurrah!

I do understand why the dr. ordered it though.  He kept saying my tongue was too big for my throat or the throat was too small.

So we started with a finger test at home that didn’t look good but perhaps the finger was too small or the test thing was too big because they think it accidentally slipped off during the night.  No matter.  I sleep like a log – always have – and no snoring either.

The quote above about the Melody of Vegetables is true!  And isn’t this a grand and happy Melody of Meanderings?

 

 

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Three Gourmet Chefs

Three Gourmet Chefs Serve Dinner!

Our son and grandgirls arrived January 1st, 2016 to celebrate Christmas and to welcome in the New Year.

Testing a New Back Roll

Testing a New Back Roll

There was one hot political discussion.  Gifts were exchanged with lots of laughter,  there were giggles trying out a new exercise thing, and my Star Wars pet robot is now up and running and making R2D2 sounds while bumping into things. The grandgirls put that together since I am technologically challenged.

They were full of happy surprises too, and as I sat back, pampering the poor old Big Foot, I was amazed to watch “the kids” cook a whole meal for our family.  That was a first!

The Grandgirls Cooking

The Grandgirls Cooking

Mongolian Chicken from an online recipe was the challenge that required dedicated chopping and mixing. I was stunned by the sight of the three working together so harmoniously in the kitchen – no longer babies but grown women.

“But, how good could this meal really be?” I wondered.  An hour went by and there were some delectable aromas drifting around.

Suddenly there we were having the most delicious family dinner!

How could this be?  How could they have grown up so quickly?

What happened to the babies who used to play jacks with me on the kitchen floor?

About the 3rd day we began to run out of “vittles” and planning a visit to the market.  “We’ll go,” the kids all chimed and son and the three first went running for exercise on the Chessie Nature Trail and then to the store to replenish the food stock.

We played Guesswork  for more howling and laughter and  watched four or five old Star Wars films to prepare for going to the newest release in town (Lexington, Virginia).

There was something about this Christmas delayed, combined with welcoming in the New Year, that is “one for the books” or in this case, one for the blog, to be remembered for a long time to come.

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Hurrah!  This is not about Germany, and of course we are back in Virginia.

In spite of falling asleep at odd times for close to a week, I am semi alert and almost fully functioning.

Next:  A Family Visit

And having emerged from tracking in the footsteps of the ancients, I am  now enjoying the excitement of a visit from our son and three grandgirls.

They are volatile, young, fun, and sort of tornadic.

Black BearA Bear Stops By for a Look

To add to the excitement, a bear came for a visit too and my middle grandgirl, Kendall, fearlessly dashed out on the deck to get a picture!  The bear admired her beauty for a minute and then headed for the woods.

Celebrating Birthdays

Two of the three girls share close together birthdays, so we are celebrating those too.  Their birthday dinner request is always for Hungarian Paprikash, a kind of stewed chicken with “knuckles.”

When my brother and I were little we could not pronounce the word  Nokedli (little dumplings) so we called them Knuckles, and that stuck (the word, not the dumplings). And I still cannot pronounce Nokedli.

On a sad note:

Our old friend, Buddy died while we were in Germany and today was his Celebration of Life.  Buddy did not want us to mourn but to remember him with happiness.  We loved him so and had so many years of grand laughter and shared kindness.  The memories are many and we are grateful for that friendship and to continue it now with his daughter, Pam and the rest of his family.

Bill and Buddy

Bill and Buddy

To the Drive-in Movie

This evening our son and grandgirls are headed for Hull’s Drive-In Movie Theatre.  Remember those?

Tonight’s weather prediction is for FROST!   I will stay home in a warm place for dozing and predict they will not make it through the first feature.

Virginia Safari Park

Virginia Safari Park

 

Safari Park

Tomorrow is dedicated to pumpkin carving and a traditional visit to Safari Park, where we have been going since the girls were little.  No visit is complete without high pitched screaming in the car when an emu or other big critter sticks its head through the window for a little more snacking!

The Shock and Awe of Silence

When everybody leaves our home and life returns to a normal routine, I may be accosted by the shock and awe of silence.  But for now, it feels like an extension of our vacation and a time to contemplate the joyful ties of family and friends.

 

 

 

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SilhouetteI have been on a “diet” most of my life and am always shocked at how many different approaches there are to achieving a slim profile.   I think my slimmest profile was probably at birth because the search for a foolproof diet has never ended.

Well imagine my delight when looking through a box of old memories I stumbled upon forgotten words of wisdom from my long-departed mother.  The yellowed crackly piece of paper inspired my imagination.  I had found a long lost treasure on how to lose weight.

Talk about excited!

I was so thrilled I immediately began retyping the whole thing – for you, my friends, who may also be in search of a diet with a guarantee. And I graciously accept your words of gratitude (in advance) for sharing this with you now.

A WEIGHT LOSS DIET GUARANTEED TO WORK

BECAUSE MY WISE OLD MOM ONCE TOLD ME SO:

Monday

Breakfast – Weak tea.

Lunch – One bouillon cube, half cup diluted water.

Dinner – One pigeon thigh, 3 ounces prune juice (gargle only).

Tuesday

Breakfast – Scraped crumbs of burnt toast.

Lunch – One doughnut hole without sugar, one glass dehydrated water.

Dinner – One fish egg – shad or sturgeon (minced).

Wednesday

Breakfast – Shredded egg shell skins.

Lunch – Belly button from navel orange.

Dinner – 3 eyes from Irish potatoes (diced).

Thursday

Breakfast – Half ounce strained unflavored jello with one peeled grape.

Lunch – Half dozen poppy seeds.

Dinner – Bee’s knees and mosquito knuckles sauté with vinegar.

Friday

Breakfast – Two lobster antennae.

Lunch – One guppy fin.

Dinner – Fillet of soft shelled crab claw.

Saturday

Breakfast – Four chopped banana seeds.

Lunch – Broiled butterfly liver.

Dinner – Jellyfish vertebrae a la bookbinder.

Sunday

Breakfast – Pickled hummingbird tongues.

Lunch – Prime ribs of tadpole and aroma of empty custard pie plate.

Dinner – Tossed paprika and clover leaf (one).

Notice:  All meals to be eaten under microscope to avoid extra portions.

Good luck with this diet my friends.

You have now met my Mom, whose sense of humor was one of her most remarkable traits.

She is long gone to her better place, but comes back to me in strange and wonderful ways.

Silhouette of successful weight loss figure from www.fatlossmentality.com .

 

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20141223_204414

It was the night before Christmas Eve and friends came over bearing the gift of life – homemade bread!

Flashback:

Our jolly friend who answers his phone with a hearty “Ho Ho Ho,” loves to bake.  In fact, according to his jolly wife, he went on a Baking Binge this holiday.

And he did.

I know this because they gave us two kinds of scones and some fancy little cheesecakes featuring raspberry tops.  Oh heavenly bliss!  They were delicious.  And all this was made by himself, Pete.

So good was Pete at baking delectable offerings that he became slightly conceited.   “I remember this special bread I had once at a wonderful Virginia Bed and Breakfast,” he said.  “It was the best bread I ever ate and I talked the chef into giving me the recipe.  If I can find all the exotic ingredients, I will make that specialty bread. I am determined to do this!”

And he did.

And it was the eve before Christmas Eve (is it called Christmas Eve-Eve?) and as I said, our friends arrived on this magical night bearing another gift – Pete’s magnificent experiment/obsession– homemade bread!

Can you guess which bread in the picture is Pete’s offering of the staff of life?

Flash Forward:

Hints

  • The bumpy loaf bread in the lower screen area is pumpkin bread made by Dor from the recipe of a favorite blogger, Cindy Knoke!  It is fabulously delicious.  Thanks Cindy!  I saved the recipe from one of your blog posts way back when!
  • The long lovely loaf at the top is a homemade gift from my friend, Peg.  It’s an almond bread I dream about all year.
  • Now look closely to the right of these two perfectly beautiful loaves.  You see those tiny brown things?

There was a lot of laughter this Christmas Eve-Eve over a loaf of bread that would not rise.  Nevertheless, I am supposed to taste it tomorrow morning.  “It might be o.k. with butter,” said Pete,  maybe a whole lot of butter.”

“Oh, and  I was going to cut the bottoms off, but you might want to do that too.”

Now I wonder if there will be dental bills involved as a result of experimentally chewing a rock hard little loaf!   Maybe coffee dunking would help.

I do admire Pete for trying however.  I would advise him to keep trying and trying again since “practice makes perfect,” but that could be self defeating if I have to taste all his future attempts.  Uh!  No, not unless I can find him a taster who never gets indigestion.

But Thank You Pete!  You did your best.

And even if your miniature loaves are just a tad inferior,

your real gift to us this Christmas Eve-Eve

is the gift of laughter,

and that my friend is the happiest gift of all.

Pete's Slow Rising Bread

Pete’s Slow Rising Bread

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rumballs10Grandma’s Bake-a-thon.

Sheryl from the wonderful blog called A Hundred Years Ago (taken from her Grandmother Helena’s diary) will be ending that blog after Christmas.  In honor of her grandma, Sheryl has organized an on-line Bake-a-thon!

Directions:

To participate in the Bake-a-thon, make an old family recipe,

and share the story of why this recipe holds special memories for you.

Rum Balls hold special memories for me.

My mother was a terrible cook.  She preferred to read a book.

Once there was a television commercial that reminded me of Mom. Maybe you remember it. The wife would be reading (like Mom) when hubby would come in shouting, “I’m home!”  She would jump up and splat flour around her face and begin banging pots and pans to look busy as a housewife should be (that was in the old days of course).

Those were the days my family suffered burnt pork chops and charred cookies.  Oh there were some good things we looked forward to like BLT’s or “Beefaroni” – or rum balls.

When it came to holiday delicacies, Mom was the Queen of Rum Balls and I still love them.

The recipe is simple so I love the recipe too

You see, I hate to cook.   Must be genetic.

Here is Mom’s easy, no-bake recipe for all hate-to-cookers out there:

FAMOUS RUM AND BRANDY BALLS 

Quantity – about 40

1 Regular size vanilla wafers (a box)

¼ lb. chopped English Walnuts

¼ lb. chopped Black Walnuts

¼ cup Honey

1/8 cup Brandy

1/8 cup Rum

Powdered Sugar 

*******

Crush the wafers. 

Chop the nuts finer. 

Mix all ingredients.

Roll into balls and then roll in powdered sugar.

Stack ’em for an elegant presentation during the holidays! 

Now if you are serving minors, you may want to forego the Brandy and Rum, but I seem to remember the adults saying, “Not to worry.  The alcohol evaporates.”   Hmmm.

Photograph from Webicurean.com .

 

 

 

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TJefferson Cook BookI have a new cook book!

Actually, it is an old cook book revived.

I just received it as a gift for no real reason from Steve and Viv (my terrific brother and sister-in-law).

Thomas Jefferson’s Cook Book was written over 200 years ago and is a collection of his “historic recipes discovered.”

A Virginian accustomed to  traditional ham, fried chicken, Brunswick stew, greens and batter bread, Jefferson acquired a taste for more exotic fare in France.  He was sent to Paris in 1785 as Minister Plenipotentiary to the court of Louis XVI.

Plenipotentiary?  Huh?  I had to look that one up.

The definition is:

A diplomatic official of the highest rank, sent by one sovereign or state to another as its resident representative (ambassador extraordinary).

Anyway, while TJ was in Paris, he spent a great deal of time studying the culinary arts and writing down recipes.  And he brought his notes back home.  His little granddaughter, Virginia Randoph, carefully copied the recipes as well as his favorites from Monticello and the White House and the collection became a family treasure-book to be handed down through the generations.

Isn’t it amazing that the first American recipe for ice cream is in the writing of a president of the Unites States?

Well, here that treaasure-book  is again in my eager hands.  They say the dishes are as good today as yesterday and adapted with permission of the family to modern use.  Yes! I can just imagine inviting guests to a dinner party “via Thomas Jefferson.”  The problem is, I hate to cook.

“But if it’s simple I can make it.” That  has always been my brave mantra when it comes to cooking.  How complicated could a 200 year old recipe be anyway?

So I flipped the pages and stopped at any random spot, kind of like throwing darts.    The first hit was was “Potatoes” under his notes for handling vegetables.

O.K., I’m not that great with potatoes.  In fact, even though Bill raves about my mashed potatoes, he has forgotten they are of the microwave variety.  So I can use all the help out there for cooking potatoes – even if it’s from as far back as the 1800’s!

Here’s what Thomas Jefferson said:

“Potatoes may be wrung in a cloth after they are boiled.”   Huh?

“This is good when they are small or indifferent.”  Indifferent potatoes?  Does this mean they just don’t care?

“When” they are small, several can be wrung together.  They may be mashed, with milk and butter added after they are boiled.  Serve them thus, or form into cakes, and fried like salsify.”  Now I know some of my erudite blogger pals will know what salsify is but I am turning the page to a more understandable recipe!

The next hit was a recipe for Gumbo:

“Put 2 tablespoons of fat in a skillet and stir in gradually 1 tablespoon of flour, 1 teaspoon of chopped parsley and 1/2 an onion minced fine.”  So far, so good.

“When the flour is brown, add 1 fowl which has been disjointed, and let it brown.   Wait a minute!  Disjointing a fowl sounds like cruel and barbaric punishment!

Then he goes on to say, “add sassafras leaves, dried and pounded according to the amount of liquid in the pot.”  Sassafras leaves?  Where will I find them? And if I do find them will they already be dried and pounded?

Uhhhhh.

I will get back to you on this.

Meanwhile,  here is an invitation to dinner as Thomas Jefferson would have penned it:

Th: Jefferson presents his compliments to Dor and her favorite blogger friends,

and requests the favour of his company to dinner

on Saturday next at half after three o’clock  The favour of an answer is requested.

The menu?

Your guess is as good as mine.

Note:  I’m sure there are other fabulous recipes in this little gem of a book – like many for custards!  The darts just didn’t land there.

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Mandarin-Salad-Recipe-Pic

Here is a spectacular salad that always gets rave reviews!  I hope you like it as much as I do.

The basic recipe works for approximately six people.  Amounts are pretty much guesswork based on your own preferences, but follow the erratic instructions below for instant success!

Ingredients:

Fresh Romaine Lettuce and Spinach (You decide how much)

Can of Dill Green Beans OR Jar of Three Bean Salad (drained)

Slivered Almonds or Sunflower Seeds (for crunch)

One onion sliced in rounds

One can of Mandarin Oranges, drained

Some fresh dill (if you have it)

Ranch dressing

 

Combine the Romaine Lettuce and Spinach in a large bowl.

Gently mix in the Dill Green Beans or the jar of Three Bean Salad.

Sprinkle in the almonds or sunflower seeds – enough just to add some crunch.

Then on top of the salad arrange the sliced onion rounds and the

Mandarin Oranges.

Add some dill and good sized dollops of Ranch dressing here and there.

Serve in a pretty salad bowl and mix at the table.

 

P.S.  If you want to make it a more hearty salad, add chicken pieces!

I’ve seen this salad with a combination of mandarin oranges and strawberries too.

Optional:  Add celery chunks, walnuts, feta cheese, or serve with just spinach or just romaine.

It’s like the proverbial “little black dress.”  You can dress it up or down.

Happy Summer!

 

 

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Baked Fruit

Baked Fruit

My Dad used to proclaim, “This will stick to your ribs and put hair on your chest!” He called on those old sayings when he made something in the kitchen that was particularly hardy.

And I believed him about the hair thing until I discovered I grew up to be a girl.

Even so, when the weather turns icy and the birds puff up their feathers and look forlorn, I crave hardy stick-to-your-ribs stuff usually beginning with pork and accompanied by apples and cinnamon.

This is not a recipe for pork but for a complementary side dish.  It works for just about any hearty winter meal and may also be a perfectly fine dessert, makes a great leftover, and is ridiculously easy to prepare.  It is also guaranteed to impress the most discriminating guest.

Don’t you love the mouth watering scent of baking cinnamon?  Well, this combination of fruits and spices will sell your house if it is up for sale and tastes as good as it smells.  And it’s another Homeplace Recipe that’s easy-does-it, has very few ingredients, and takes less than 15 minutes to prepare. I make it over and over again because everybody loves it, especially in winter.

COUNTRY SPICED FRUIT

A HOMEPLACE RECIPE

1 – 16 oz. can apple pie filling

1 – 16 oz. can chunk pineapple (in own juice)

1 – 16 oz. can tart cherries

1 large can (or 2 – 16 oz. cans) sliced peaches 

Drain all but pie filling. 

Place all fruit in a baking dish with 1 tsp cinnamon and ½ tsp nutmeg. 

Sprinkle ½ cup of brown sugar on top.

Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour.

Enjoy!

 

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