Thanksgiving Light

Thanksgiving Day was beastly here – rain, sleet, high winds . . . and that was just the warm up for Friday !

We were scheduled to have Thanksgiving dinner with brother and sister-in-law, but we postponed the gathering until Sunday.  This was a wise decision.

So the above was our dinner on Thanksgiving Day.  The Sunday Thanksgiving dinner was a bit more elaborate.

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Bowl o’ Rolls

Monday night I made some calzone using a new-to-me bread recipe.  The bread was great, but I made a rookie’s mistake and forgot to grease the pan.  I just put down some cornmeal on the insulated air bake pan.  They stuck down – not so badly that they tore on the way to our plates, but they weren’t bee-yoo-tiful, either, hence no photo.

I liked the crust and the firmness of the dough, and thought that it would be perfect for rolls for carting our sandwiches around when we are going to be out “on the town”, so to speak, during the day.  The recipe that I had been using makes a softer dinner-type roll, so these should hold up better to the task of keeping our sandwiches at the ready for gobbling.

I wanted to see how they could work out as dinner rolls, so I put a heavy helping of Italian herbs, and specifically Tuscan Sunset herbs, into the dough.  This brought out a bit of an “infusion” of herbiness; so much so that I didn’t even put additional butter and herbs on them when I reheated them to have with a bowl of a most delicious potato/broccoli chowder today for lunch.  And I could easily see them with a nice green salad at dinner.

In short, this turned out to be a quite nice, all-purpose roll recipe.  They look quite plain in their portrait, but I’m thinking of many ways to jazz them up, which is pretty much the fun of finding a new recipe!

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Shaved Parmesan and Fontina

“If you’ve ever seen how sweetly the town of San Gimignano sits atop its surroundings, you’ll know how perfectly this fine Parmesan and Fontina mix will grace the simplest dish.”

So sayeth Sartori (est. 1939) on the front of their bag of shaved cheese that sent us completely into orbit with its deliciousness.

This was a total Pick-Up Lunch, but turned out to be entirely swoon worthy.  The last of the penne regate, a smidge of asparagus, and a few shreds of red bell pepper turned itself into this fantastic treat.

I went really simple with the seasonings – this is solely Thyme.  I didn’t want to overpower the subtle deliciousness of the shaved Parmesan.  The result was 100% what I expected.

NOLA Boy had his own lunch of a sandwich of salami and Swiss cheese with red pepper, but parts of mine kept appearing on his plate.  This really simple lunch was immensely satisfying.

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One Bite Today Toast

Yes, there is a story behind that title!  ;->

About twenty years ago, when my mother-in-law was in her final days, and fighting dementia, her understanding of the relationship between time and food was “peculiar”.

Left to her own devices, there were sometimes multiple iterations of toast of one kind or another that appeared to have been nibbled at, but then abandoned at different places in the house.

This became known as “One Bite Today Toast”, as named by her other son, my brother-in-law, Bruce.

This morning, NOLA Boy requested French Toast for his breakfast, in celebration of his having successfully survived the second cataract surgery on Thursday.  There was still some egg mixture left over after having made his toast, so I quickly scarfed it up for myself, producing this lovely treat.

I prefer French Toast with just a bit of jam (Boysenberry here), rather than the whole works of butter, cinnamon, and maple syrup.  When I took the first bite out of it, and set it back down on the plate, the image brought memories flooding back, and this blog post pretty much produced itself!

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Yardley Bar Soap

Awhile ago, I embarked on a love affair with avocado oil, so of course the offer of this enticing bar soap for under a dollar was just too good to pass up.  I’m glad I heeded the siren.

Depending on one’s age, the “go to” hand and face cleanser had always been a bar of soap gunking up those little built-in ridges in the sink top.  Then came soap dishes that allowed the moisture to dry out.  Then the revolution of liquid soap dispensed from a tube stuck down in a bottle.  Then foam came out ready made – no need to exhaust oneself by rubbing together one’s hands.  ;->

Bar soap required some clean up on a regular basis, whether it was kept on the side of the sink, or in a container.  Pump soap was convenient, but seemed to spew a bit of its contents onto the counter for no visible purpose.  When traveling with a pump system . . . well, up and down elevations caused no end of grief with messy “spillages”.

So . . . let’s try Method Foam in a lovely, fresh, light fragrance (I usually prefer unscented) called Sea Minerals.  Ding, Ding . . . we have a winner.  We went through a bottle each and liked it, so I purchased a refill bag.  Nice not to need to toss out the original bottle.

But then, Yardley resurged right before my very eyes, and I am now happily using their bar with its extremely light fragrance and creamy suds.  Strangely enough, I am finding that the suds produced by friction are creamier and more luxurious than those that I was formerly using.  It is somehow satisfying to slip/slop the suds around on one’s hands for just a bit longer.  The chemicals in skin products tend to disagree with my own outer covering, but I luxuriate in these bubbles.

I didn’t have a soap drainer, so compromised the elegant look with a saved shallow plastic bin that had once held whipped cream cheese spread.  Trés élegant, no?

So I was thinking about how many people alive today did not have the usual experience of bar soap growing up?  Had it always been pump soap?  I can’t recall when the pump became so ubiquitous, but it seems like a long time ago.

Since everything old becomes NEW again, I am waiting for the advertising to come out touting the benefits of “solid liquid” soap as the latest thing in cleansing!  ;->

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Black Beans Deluxe

NOLA Boy loves beans of any color, so I rotate them, but try to keep a supply on hand at all times.

The InstantPot has made beans so very easy, it is nearly criminal not to enjoy them to the max.  No pre-soaking routine and then remembering them the next day.  Just put ’em into the pot with an appropriate amount of water, and push the BEAN button.  Find something else to do for about 90 minutes (or longer – they will stay beautifully warm), and then serve them forth.

A pound of beans costs about a dollar if you buy them in five-pound lots; a bit more if you have pound-sized bags, but the amount produced is unbelievable.  I keep half in the refrigerator and freeze the other half.

I usually buy a pound package of Italian sausages and cook them up all at once, using some for our dinner that night, and then freezing the rest of them.  They freeze well, and are amenable to a few minutes of gentle microwaving to bring them to a useful temperature.  They complement just about any of the bean varieties and really make them more appealing.

If you want to feel really good about serving beans frequently, just browse about on the net for the copious healthy reasons to eat beans as often as possible.

And, yes, the last of the cranberry beans will team up with some ground meat to make chili con carne tonight.  Spinach, rice, and cornbread are also on the menu.  Four hours and counting!

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How Do I Love Thee, Almond Milk

I’ve been making the tapioca pudding lately with half almond milk and half whole milk.  At this concentration, it is indistinguishable, at least to me, from having used all whole milk.  Even when using ALL almond milk, there is not a lot of difference.

But the difference in calorie count is astounding!  Whole milk is 160 calories a cup and almond milk is thirty.  Add in the caloric value of the tapioca itself (1/3 cup is 180 calories), and the two eggs (approximately 150), and nearly a QUART of this delicious dessert is right at 500 calories.  If I use all almond milk, the calorie count would be an astoundingly tiny 370 calories, or about 100 per cup of finished pudding.

I checked out the calorie count in a Starbucks Latte, and noted that a 16-ounce size, made with 2% milk, is 190 calories.  So these two treats are very close in calorie count.  I drink my share of coffee, but I think I’d rather have the nutrition involved with the milk and eggs in the tapioca than an extra cup of coffee from Starbucks.

Every time I make this delicious treat, I hold back about a quarter of a cup –  strictly for experimental purposes, you understand – as I pour it into the refrigerator container!  Today I added a generous spoonful of orange juice concentrate and a tiny sprinkle of coconut sugar, and gave it a taste test!

YES!  it was like a liquid Creamsicle!

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