Thankful for Magic

Does anyone else believe that pecan pies are magic? The first time I baked one, many years ago, I mixed all the ingredients and wondered if I was supposed to arrange a layer of pecans on top. The recipe said to stir them in, but all the pecan pies I’d ever had featured a lovely layer of pecans sitting atop the ooey goodness of the pie filling.

In spite of my misgivings I followed the recipe and didn’t add the extra pecans. Lo and behold, those wonderful nuts rose to the occasion and my first pecan pie was as perfect looking as any I’d ever seen.

Over the years I’ve baked a few pecan pies that weren’t perfect–usually because Studly Doright was supervising and he believes in baking them until they surrender to the heat, shrinking the filling and rendering it almost leather-like in texture.

The trick is always to cook them when he’s otherwise occupied. Tonight I have him running hither and yon on meaningless errands. Oh, and to have a glass of wine or two during the baking process. Then, even if it doesn’t turn out picture perfect, I don’t really care.

Peace, and happy Thanksgiving, people! I’m so thankful for you all!

Update: This pie turned out beautifully; however, Studly found its hiding place and helped himself to a generous slice on Wednesday evening. Sigh.

Planning the Thanksgiving Meal

Do you ever wonder how Pilgrim women managed to plan and prepare a dinner party for 30 guests or more without the benefit of a grocery store and modern appliances? Yeah, me neither. It’s difficult for me to wrap my head around such concepts, so I don’t even try.

Heck, I struggle to plan and execute a big meal for two people, and I’ve got easy access to several grocery stores, a microwave, a double oven, and a refrigerator/freezer. God certainly knew what She was doing by placing me in this century. I’d have made a lousy pioneer woman.

Nevertheless, I have gathered all of the ingredients necessary to have a turkey dinner with each of Studly Doright’s favorite side dishes. The cornbread for our dressing will need to be baked on Wednesday, as will the pecan pie. Then I’ll need to hide the pecan pie for a period not less than 24 hours or Studly will consume it all before Thanksgiving dinner has even been served. I know this from previous experience.

I’ll rise early on Thursday morning to get the turkey in to bake and then try my best to get all of the side dishes ready to serve when the turkey is done. Since it’s just the two of us for dinner this year I expect everything will turn out perfectly. No one will believe I cooked a stellar meal even though Studly will sing my praises for months. They’ll think he doth protest too much. Maybe he doth.

Peace, people.

There’s a Nap in My Future

I had everything and nothing to write about this morning. The whole world is a story, but I was having difficulty scraping off a little piece for myself.

Should I write about Studly arising before sunrise to play golf and not realizing until he’d already had a second cup of coffee that his clock was wrong and his golf match wasn’t set to start for another two hours? His parting words were, “I’m going to need a nap this afternoon.”

How about my disorganized trip to the grocery store to buy Thanksgiving dinner supplies? My list was sort of complete, but standing in the middle of the dairy aisle I realized I’d forgotten to plan for a dessert. Thank goodness the Karo syrup bottle has my pecan pie recipe printed on the label.

Should I write about how darn cold it is and how I’m curled up on the couch under three blankets with a hot cup of tea in my hand watching the arguably forgettable film, Pacific Rim?

I believe I’ll just write something about not knowing what to write. And then I’m taking a nap with Studly.

Peace, people.

Too Pooped to Post

Folks, my trip to Houston and back over the weekend has worn me out. I’m taking the day off. Maybe two days, but before I go I’ll leave you with this cute kitten picture:

And how about this adorable puppy in a teacup?

Or this turkey couple?

Which reminds me of a picture my youngest grandchild created in her kindergarten class:

Can you guess what this is?

It’s a turkey in disguise. I’d say this bird should escape the axe this Thanksgiving. Now, y’all have a great day. I’m taking a nap.

Peace, people!

Cooking for Studly: Thanksgiving for Two

Those of you who are new to my blog might not realize that I have a life outside of bashing our president-elect, but I do! I live with my husband, Studly Doright, and our two feline supervisors, Scout and Patches, in our own little piece of paradise that I like to call Doright Manor.

We have two perfect children and five absolutely superior grandchildren (funny how that works, seeing as how Studly and I just barely peek over the average range), but they live far away from our home outside of Tallahassee, Florida.

Studly and I were high school sweethearts in Texas, and in forty years of marriage we’ve moved 14 times, lived in five different states, and I’ve lost count of the number of homes we’ve shared. We aren’t retired yet, but it’s number one on our bucket list.

Studly married me thinking I’d turn out to be a great cook like his mom (Saint Helen) or my mom, (Gingymama), but I had neither the aptitude nor the attitude to develop into much more than a mediocre heater upper. Poor, poor Studly.

Twice a year, though, I focus all of my energies into cooking a kick ass holiday meal. I plan and prepare and check ingredients off of lists and shop and preheat–all the necessary stuff. Sometimes, it all turns out perfectly. Other times we pretend. Wine helps.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day here in the US. So today I’m baking a pecan pie, hard boiling eggs, and making cornbread. Doright Manor smells amazing. I’ll arise early tomorrow to prep and roast a turkey, make cornbread dressing, a fruit salad, and deviled eggs, along with Studly’s favorite green bean casserole (ugh!) and cranberry sauce. With any luck neither of us will need to pretend that it tastes great. Again, wine helps.

It’s just going to be the two of us for dinner, well and the cats, but I’m thankful that we are healthy and have each other. I’m most thankful that at Christmas we’ll get to see our kids, grandkids, and Saint Helen, when we congregate in Nashville, Tennessee, for a family holiday extravaganza.

Now, the smoke alarm hasn’t sounded even once this morning, so all is well at Doright Manor. I’d best go, though, and open a bottle of wine. Just in case.

Peace, and Happy Thanksgiving, people.

Leftovers

turkey on wheat bread
cornbread dressing stuffed bacon
cold pie for breakfast

   
   

some foods get better
on the second time around;
leftover heaven

Studly Doright isn’t a big fan of leftovers except when it comes to turkey and dressing and pecan pie. The man loves cornbread dressing and won’t cease eating until he’s scraped the pan clean. It’s embarrasingly endearing.

I can’t say that I’m any better. After having three generous pieces of pecan pie yesterday I might be the first person in history to have overdosed on the gooey dessert. My stomach spoke to me in angry tones all night long in a way that was anything but endearing, yet quite embarrassing.

It seems that leftovers, like everything except possibly hundred dollar bills, are best enjoyed in moderation.

  
Peace, people!

Easy Livin’

Our covered, screened-in porch is the perfect place to relax on a mild November evening. There’s a family celebration in full force across the lake, fairy lights and lilting voices twinkling on the calm water.

  
I’m sipping a Shock Top Raspberry Wheat Ale and tapping my toes in time with the guitar music drifting across the pond. Whoever’s playing isn’t very adept at their craft, but they’re quite enthusiastic. I like that in my musicians.

The man I adore, Studly Doright, is inside the house heating leftovers from yesterday’s Thanksgiving Day meal. I’m not a bit hungry, having already eaten two pieces of pecan pie, an avocado, bacon, and cheese omelet, and a ham sandwich today. The ale is my dessert. 

Life is good here at Doright Manor. There’s a black and white cat winding around my ankles and a black cat snuggled down for a nap in the chair next to me. No, it’s not an exciting life, but it is filled with peace and love.

  
Peace, people.

(im)Perfection

My mom was a kitchen perfectionist. She had precise ideas as to how most things had to be done, and I never quite was able to live up to those ideals. I never stirred correctly, never measured properly, never quite made anything to Mom’s specifications. I’ve always blamed her for my not learning to be a better cook, but truthfully I never enjoyed kitchen tasks.

Every year as Thanksgiving nears I wish I’d paid more attention to Mom’s directives. Even though I’ve now successfully prepared two dozen or more holiday dinners on my own I still have at least one hiccup in the preparation stage every single time. One year I almost forgot to buy a turkey. Another year I accidentally prepared sweet cornbread as the base for my cornbread dressing. That’s a definite no-no! No amount of sage or pepper could counterract the sweetness. There’s no telling what will happen this year. You see, I’m a bit of an imperfectionist.

On Thanksgiving morning I can always imagine my mom looking down from her perch in heaven shaking her head and saying, “Oh, sis, not like that!” But she’s also probably beaming in amazement that I manage to pull the whole thing off, and that so far no one’s been rushed to the emergency room after one of my meals.

Studly Doright and I wish each of you a Happy Thanksgiving. May your heart be filled with love and gratitude and your belly filled with good food.

Peace, people!

Thanksgiving Day at Doright Manor

Roast Turkey

Cornbread Dressing

Green Bean Casserole (Studly’s favorite)

Grape Salad (from Chicken Salad Chick-my favorite)

Cranberry Sauce

Deviled Eggs

Yeast Rolls

Pumpkin Pie

Wine

  

 

 

The Day Before Thanksgiving

Studly Doright, the love of my life, is a bit of a horse trader. He doesn’t trade actual horses (dear Studly harbors an unnatural fear of farm animals, large and small); instead, he trades cars, trucks, motorcycles, basically anything that is motorized transportation.

On Tuesday he informed me that he’d bought a pickup truck. I nodded and smiled. “And, by the way,” he said casually, “We have to pick it up on Wednesday.”

Again, I nodded, like the dullard I must be.

Studly cleared his throat and I looked at him expectantly. “Um, it’s in Orlando….”

Normally a proposed trip to Orlando would have me jumping up and down like a small child. Universal Studios, DisneyWorld, tacky souvenirs, oh joy! But on the day before we are to host a Thanksgiving meal in our home? Nooooooooooo! For one thing  I knew there’d be no dawdling. We’d drive four hours south, in holiday traffic mind you, then turn around and drive four hours back to Doright Manor. But I had no choice. Studly can be an awful bully, I mean, awfully persuasive. 

The trip down was enjoyable. In addition to his gifts in persuasion Studly is always entertaining. Once again we drove right by the Cafe Risqué, Florida’s all nude cafe, even though we have a series of running jokes about what’s on the menu. Trust me, you don’t want to know the jokes. 

Traffic was interesting. One seriously aggressive driver came lane surfing around us, easily going 20 m.p.h. above our rather sedate 75. (Speed limit was 70.) As we neared Orlando we passed her after she’d hit another car. I’d have cheered, but she ruined someone else’s weekend. 

Once we arrived at the car dealership Studly took a test drive while I stretched my legs and looked at cars. The dealership had a gorgeous red BMW convertible that could’ve come home with me if I had just a few more (thousand) dollars in my bank account. After he returned, smiling like an idiot, Studly told me I could start for home while he finished making the deal.

I’ve officially been home now for an hour, and put together another pecan pie that should be done in 10-15 minutes. Studly got caught in a holiday traffic jam on the turnpike. I’m enjoying a Shiner Bock and the Thanksgiving classic Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. Studly is probably cursing at rude drivers. Who knows, he might actually get to check out the menu at Cafe Risqué.

  
Peace, people!