Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Leftovers Tip

Folks I stumbled upon another brilliant way to get rid of stuffing (IF you have any leftover!!!)  I always have it left over because it’s probably my favorite part of the meal besides gravy, and I make double the amount of stuffing to the amount of anything else I make!!

Fry up some breakfast sausage while you’re nuking your stuffing. If you would prefer, Italian sausage works beautifully as well.  Sometimes Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering  puts Italian sausage in our stuffing if I’m in that sort of mood for Thanksgiving.   Lay the sausage on top of the hot stuffing and top it with a fried egg.  Kind of like eggs ‘n toast but richer and BETTER!!!!   This should be accompanied by a steaming hot cup of coffee and a glass of freshly squeezed orange or grapefruit juice.  Just sayin’.   Happy coma, Lula

The Kindness of Strangers and Last Minute Shopping

 heifer-logo

If you have someone on your gift list that has everything and is very hard to buy for, consider Heifer International , a well vetted (by not only me but the charitable community) wonderful non-profit that helps people help themselves.  I’ve been donating in my parents name for several years.  The first year it was a goat (private joke – they never got it – but my mom used to call me a goat whenever my young adult choices were less than desirable to her).  This year I donated a “Flock of Hope” in their name – various chicks, goslings, etc. that will help a family or female (your choice) feed themselves and provide sustainable income.

‘Tis the season of Thanksgiving AND giving…though in reality that should happen all year. While traveling home from down south last Sunday on a trip that took almost 11 hours instead of 6, I was amazed at all of the “evil” drivers after surely, they were all coming from their bounteous tables of love, and heading home full of gratitude as well as stuffing…  I know I am grateful for the best meal I think I’ve ever had at Thanksgiving – it’s amazing how good it can be, as my brother says “when nobody plans and everybody just pitches in and brings what they love”.  I am grateful for being able to stay in my brother’s new house and for meeting his new girlfriend.  I am grateful for my sister making me laugh.  I am grateful for being able to see her “I just returned from Colorado and even though it’s 70 degrees and sunny,  I’ll be damned if I’m not going to wear my snow bunny outfit that makes me look so CUTE!”  I am grateful for my brother and sister in law’s good humour and generous spirit, and for being able to visit with their son, my nephew, and enjoy his charisma. I am grateful for my almost 16 year old Pug, Oscar, behaving like a 2 year old the entire week.  I am grateful for working not one, but TWO puzzles with my mom and dad!  The puzzles really had us feeling stubborn.

What I’m most thankful for, though, is the kindness of strangers.  I don’t share much in common with Blanche Dubois (well, maybe her flair for the dramatic and hopefully, her eloquence), but one thing we ALL share with Blanche is that we “have always depended upon the kindness of strangers”.   We all like to think we’re an island and we “can handle it” but make no mistake, the kindness of strangers, whether you’re aware of it or not, has helped you along your way.

I’m a dingbat, but I expect the best of people, and I’ve found that when you expect goodness, people deliver.  Twice this “season” (fall) I have either left my purse in the grocery cart or in a public bathroom.  Both were promptly returned to the register untouched and unharmed.  What amazed me most though, was leaving the scene of an unusually large catering for 170 (a favor for a good client) and KNOWING (hint hint, string theory) as I maneuvered the cart containing chafers, fuel, stands, platters, bowls, baskets, hot boxes,  tablecloths, bags, etc. that I was in over my head (or under the cart as it will soon seem).  I’m Wonder Woman right?  Why would it occur to me to have help there?

So I’m on the cobblestone area of a sidewalk moving toward the curb where my vehicle is parked, in a not so great, dark neighborhood in downtown Cincinnati.  I’m maneuvering slowly, the images and thoughts swelling in the back of my cortex…”this isn’t a great idea – I’m feeling the cart a little unbalanced, losing a little control…no no No NO NOOOOOOOOO! as it swerves away from me and all aforementioned supplies go flying off the curb and into the middle of the street.  Within TWO SECONDS I was swooped down upon – a man and a woman came running across the street, a car came out of nowhere and zoomed past my passenger side and zipped to the curb in front of me;  the driver flew out and I swear his feet didn’t hit the ground before he was gathering up all of my accoutrement and, along with the other two, was arranging it neatly in my cargo area.   I was so tired – my feet hurt so badly, had I NOT had the accident it would have taken me 10-15 minutes to load everything properly; with the fall and their help, it took all of 2.   Whooosh!  The Ninja Turtles disappeared.   Strangers, wherever you are, thank you!

“Holiday Thanks to YOU (and Bojangles)!”

Happy Holidays everyone!  Just a week ago I was able to spend a minute or two with family in South Carolina for Thanksgiving.  Since the holidays are my busiest season, it’s particularly hard to make this visit at this time, but this year my mother’s health was failing and a Christmas visit  looked like a “no-go”.  So, once again, Over the River and Through the Woods I went.  Amazingly, this was one of the most pleasant drives I have ever had.  I had some of my favorite CD’s to sing along with (or screech along with, these days), and I had the thing that I am absolutely the most THANKFUL for right now…my 2000 Toyota Avalon with 200,000 miles on it.  She’s not as pretty as she once was, but she’s aging gracefully and in tip top shape (must be the trips to Jazzercise).  She can turn a mean corner and she sometimes sprouts wings.  She’s got great cup holders and her dashboard can be used as a buffet when necessary.  On this trip she served Bojangles Country Ham Biscuits, Bo-tatos and milk.  One of the things on my “look forward to” list for this trip.  I indulged both coming and going!

There are things I have looked forward to over the past 33 years regarding this trip (550 miles and so NOT worth it to fly with today’s rates/schedules – it takes as long to fly as drive!), and things I DON’T look forward to – in particular the drive itself.  One never knows whether there’s going to be snow or an ice storm or a wreck backing up traffic in the mountains for HOURS.  Over the years I have had to turn around and cancel the trip, I have had to pull off and stay the night in the only not so savory hotel available (that’s another blog and a gross one at that), and I have had to sit in a thankfully tanked up car for hours while wrecks are cleared.  I have even driven on solid sheets of ice (this happened in another Toyota – a Celica) in the “pull-over” lane to make up for lost time and get home to SC.  Ah, youth.   I am thankful I have never been a victim (my family would insist perpetrator) of a crash, but I have had to bear the consequences of other’s misfortune.

I promised Gordon I would be careful, and I was..I can be very careful at 75mph.  I am extremely watchful and always know what’s going on around me.  But the cars kept cruisin’ on by so 30 minutes into the trip I just said “screw it” and went with the flow…250 miles in 3 hours and 10 minutes.  You do the math.  Honey, please don’t ever mention this to me.  I was wearing my seatbelt.  Be grateful.  It’s that time of year.

I swear in 33 years I’ve never seen a highway patrolman until I hit the SC line, and then suddenly there are 10 laying in wait before I exit to my parent’s house.  This trip was a reversal, but the universe was with me.  The first gauntlet was in Kentucky north of Lexington, 7 sets of blue lights within 5 miles.  The second gauntlet was in Tennessee with 5 “blue light specials” within 2 miles.  Thankfully, I survived both.  With Cake in the CD Player and nary a thought of inventory, to do lists, chopping or stirring, I began to relax for the first time in months.  With relaxation, comes a drifting of the mind…and I was suddenly at a Barbra Streisand concert (a lifelong dream) and tearing up at simply the prospect of breathing the same air that she would breathe…stop rolling your eyes please.  I’ll just BET you have a secret weird fantasy.  I shivered at the thought of her brilliance and passion for life and the sheer genius of her being.  I thought to myself, “if only we all committed to ourselves and our passions the way she does”, and I realized, in one “a ha” moment (thank you Oprah) that I was slipping a little bit in my own life.  I swore once, about 10 years ago after a period of professional burnout, that I would NEVER allow myself to lose the love for what I do again.  I would NEVER allow myself to become so enmeshed in the idea of success, or more, or the thought of the next great opportunity, that I would lose my passion for what I do, and THAT is cooking for YOU.

What is life if it is not passion and love?  It’s mere existence.  It’s taking up space and breathing valuable air.  It’s amazing what taking a little break and a little time away from the things (and people!) you love will do for your commitment to those things.  In my case, 7.5 tiny little hours. So…in closing, I’d like to thank the participants of my 2014 Turkey Day (which happened the day after so I could actually GET there):

My sister Angela (aka Angie; Gigi) – a fabulous meal.  I want the Asparagus recipe.

My daddy Franklin – moist turkey, creamy EPIC whipped potatoes, and DUKES  (oh, and biscuits & gravy J )

My mom Margie – for being just foggy enough to allow daddy to have a dog, and to LOVE him (no WAY!)

My brother Gerry – for his stillness, his kindness, his “warmth” and his Larceny.

My brother Michael (woops, Mike) – for his white knuckles (and his density – he won’t get that), and his re-“fine” ment.

My sister in law Susan – for being the loveliest Southern Belle I know.

My nephew Michael – for his humour.  “Howdy”, Michael.

My clients and friends (this year someone cooked for ME, YAY!)  – I carry you with me in my heart.  Why else have a heart?

Honey – I missed you, and it felt good.

An Intimate Thanksgiving

After I’m through cooking for others this week, my best friend and I (that would be Gordon) will be sitting down to share our quiet, personal Thanksgiving, after he gets off work on Thanksgiving Day.  We have decided to fly in the face of convention, and make the things that sound good to us this year.  So I’m off to market to buy a couple of rabbits (his dad will want leftovers sent  to him!), and we’ll be making a menu of: French Onion Soup Au Gratin, Rabbit braised in white wine and mustard over caramelized onions, truffled fingerling potatoes sauteed in duck fat, roasted brussels sprouts,  sauteed Tuscan Kale w/pine nuts, parmigiano reggiano and pancetta.  Gordon will then serve his warm, homemade Winesap Apple Pie w/Vodka Crust.  We will be washing this all down with a dry Traminette that we found in of all places, INDIANA!!  It is a spectacular well balanced white.  With every bite, I’ll be mindful and grateful of the love and bounty in my life – as I try to be every day!

Turkey Refrigerator Casserole…Back by Popular Demand!

                                                         Lula’s Turkey Refrigerator Casserole

Rice, 1 cup

Salt, 2 tsp

Water, 2 cups

Butter, ½ tsp

Bring all but rice to boil, dump in rice, cook according to package directions.  Brown rice is a fabulous healthy alternative in this recipe.   While the rice is cooking, dice your veggies and shred your meat.  When done, dump rice into 1.5 or 2 quart casserole dish.

Bite size leftover turkey, 2C , Layer on top of rice.

Onion, diced, ½ C

Green Pepper, diced, ½ C

Celery, diced, ½ C

Mushrooms, sliced, ½ C

Broccoli florets, chopped small, 2 cups OR

Green Beans, fresh, 2 cups OR any combination of any
vegetables you have leftover or canned or frozen such
as corn, etc..  I wouldn’t try Brussels Sprouts, though!

Mix all together and microwave in separate dish 8-10 minutes, depending on your microwave.  Your largest vegetable should be cooked through.  Then dump all of this on top of the turkey. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream/Celery Soup, 2 cans

Sour Cream, ½ C

Cheddar Chs, shredded, ¾ C

Dijon Mustard, 1 tbs

Worchestershire Sauce, 1tsp

Cayenne pepper, ¼ tsp

Yes, I said canned soup.  Sometimes Lula must return to the south.  Mix all of this together and dump on top of veggies.

French Fried Onions

As many as you want, dump on top of casserole and bake uncovered until bubbling – appx 30-45 minutes.  If you are one of the rare households who doesn’t have these onions around during holiday time, crush a sleeve of Ritz or butter crackers and mix with ½ stick of melted butter and spread on top.

Lula wishes for your tastebuds delight!