Have you wondered what happened to the Fabled Fairies of Thanksgiving? They made an appearance several years ago, along with a Butterball turkey. Covid19 put a stop to family gatherings for a while, but now it’s time for the Fabled Fairies of Thanksgiving to come out of hiding and help us again!
Thanksgiving Dinner? No problem! I’ll call in the fairies. They’ll do everything.
The laundry fairy washes, dries, and presses the table linens, including the cloth napkins. If she’s feeling generous, the sheets and towels might get folded, too.
The turkey fairy will practice her specialty and make sure the bird is cooked and carved just in time for dinner. White meat and dark, it’ll all be juicy and savory and leave just enough leftovers for sandwiches and a turkey noodle soup.
The baker fairy will take care of pies, pumpkin and otherwise. He’s an expert on flaky crust, selected spices, and the perfect portion of whipped cream. Don’t let that Simple Simon guy get in the way; the kitchen’s too small for anyone who begs to taste the wares.
The brownie — the cunning little house elf — will clean the home thoroughly, put the leaf in the big table, and get the extra chairs out of the basement.
I wouldn’t dream of neglecting the wine fairy: the sommelier so tiny she only recommends, never lifts, a bottle. Her taste is impeccable. Now if we could stop her before she over-imbibes and falls asleep on top of the piano…
Did I mention the decorator fairy? She’ll fix the fireplace mantel with something tasteful and seasonal before she makes sure the couch and rocker are properly arranged for the annual holiday gladiator contests known as NFL football.
The ambiance fairy keeps the wood fire crackling in the fireplace, the aromas wafting deliciously through the home, and the family discussions neutral and apolitical.
The kitchen fairies: really, there must be a whole crew of these talented sprites. One to do the shopping early and avoid the crowds, another to make sure the cranberries are perfect (and local, of course), and a magical maestro with the potato masher. Then we’ll need a feisty fairy, one with attitude — yes, you, Tinkerbell, you can make the coffees.
Mom, you can send the fairies over to my house now that we’re hosting the annual family Thanksgiving dinner. Let them know that I’ll have their room ready and their favorite cookies baked. If they arrive on Sunday there should be enough time to get everything done.
Wait. What do you mean…they’re…not….real?
The NFL season begins as usual at the O.K. Chorale. We get together on Thursday nights to do our picks for the week. The menu for Eating the Opponent comes up for discussion, and we’re set for the weekend. Mostly.
With the routines in place, we gathered the ingredients to Eat Chicago with a home made deep dish pizza. Thick crust from my breadmaker, Italian sausage, peppers, onions, olives, pepperoni, home grown oregano, fresh tomato sauce from garden tomatoes – are you hungry yet? It was delicious and filling. We’ll have leftovers for lunch for a few days, too.
I’m drafting this post midday Sunday (That’s 3:35 in the NFL world), and Amigo is in the lead so far with picks. He has 7, I have 4, and Chuck and the visiting bunny are tied with 3 each. I keep repeating my script “it’s a good thing I don’t do this for money!”
Meanwhile, our Milwaukee Brewers are in the 11th inning of a cliffhanger with a score on 1-0 over the New York Yankees. Any minute now we’ll hear an update on whether they held the Bronx Bombers to a shutout and swept the series – or not.
Now it’s time to put the computer down and enjoy the Packers competing with their arch-nemesis, Da Bears. Go! Pack! Go!
I posted Treehugger’s suggestions for April 1 – 5, and then got lost in real life. Here we go; days 6, 7, and 8 of Earth Month’s actions.
From Earth Month Challenge: 30 Easy Actions:
April 6: Check for leaky faucets. One dripping faucet can waste a lot of water – treated water. This is an environmental and frugal action. Check the faucets and the toilets for leaks!
April 7: Cook pasta in its sauce, not water. This, again, is a water saving and money saving action. I’ll add my own suggestion: use homemade broth for cooking pasta – or rice. It adds a hint of flavor and uses a resource that’s available and created from potential waste products. At least, my broths are made from scraps that would otherwise land in the compost.
April 8, today: Skip meat and cheese for a day. This one is tougher. I can handle skipping meat or minimizing meat to a side dish portion, but cheese? I’m a true blue Wisconsinite. Cheese is everything! But since Chuck developed a lactose intolerance, we haven’t eaten as much cheese as we used to. I don’t top the spaghetti with parmesan and mozzarella automatically – just to my portion and maybe Amigo’s. And where do eggs stand in this challenge? I had leftover rice and beans with fried eggs for lunch. Delicious! I need to give this some thought.
Stay tuned for more eco-friendly actions throughout April – or go to Treehugger yourself!
We have a fun tradition in our home related to following our favorite NFL football team. We eat the opponent. Each week during the football season, we check our Green Bay Packers schedule, find out who our Packers will play, and then choose a signature food from the opponent’s home city.
In a discussion completely unrelated to the NFL, more along the lines of Hey, Honey, What’s for Supper, we realized that pizza fills our needs for several of the Packers’ regular opponents. Detroit style pizza – from Jett’s, of course – is our go-to for eating the Detroit Lions. We’ve had Chicago style pizza for the Bears, Cowboy pizza for, well, you know, and occasionally even New York style pizza for the Giants or the Jets. Chicago style and Cowboy pizza both come from one of my other favorite sources, Papa Murphy’s. Do they have a pizza we could call New York style? I may need to look through the menu again the next time our Packers play a team from New York.
We do have other options, including molasses cookies for Detroit and steaks for the Cowboys. Since the Jets and Giants actually play their games in New Jersey, we’ve been known to get Jersey bagels for those occasions, too. But it’s nice that we can fall back on pizza for just about anyone our team may face. Pizza is always welcome on my table.
It’s a typical fall day at the O.K. Chorale. Mostly typical, that is. Temperatures were warm – reached 70 this afternoon! – so we raked and mowed and swept leaves. I did look up at the neighbor’s maple and think “We’re not done yet,” but it still felt good to get a lot of this chore out of the way. We dumped some of our leaves on the pile in the street for the public works department to pick up, and we dumped a few tarps full in the garden to insulate the soil for the winter.
The not-so-typical piece? It’s November. We haven’t had a true killing frost or major overnight freeze yet. I’ve been turning the heat off by day because it’s plenty warm without it. And we wonder – is this our new normal?
Halloween was a wonderfully warm evening for trick-or-treat. Amigo sat on the front porch and handed out candy for most of the four hours. He’s very friendly, and he enjoys interacting with everyone who comes along and says “Trick or Treat!”
The local college sent out students, mainly student athletes, to collect for a food drive. Soccer players stopped at our house. We introduced ourselves as alumni, gathered a few boxes and cans, and handed them a few extra bags in the hopes that they’d be able to fill them.
After a successful Halloween night, one in which we did not run out of candy, I took a look at the leftovers. To me, the bowl of tiny peanut butter cups shouted, “Cookies!” Oatmeal cookies, to be exact, but with chopped peanut butter cups instead of chocolate chips or raisins.
Perfect. An unseasonably warm day, followed by cookies made from leftover candy. Readers, how is your weather? Are you concerned about climate change, too? And what did you do with your leftover candy?
Remember the baked oatmeal with apples? I needed a banana for that recipe – one, count ’em, one banana. While the boys (Chuck and Amigo) were out running other errands, I stopped at the convenience store for a few bananas. As often happens, I found myself at the back of the store mixing up a strawberry lemonade, too, because – why not? Stay hydrated, support local business, and so on. And I had my banana.
When Chuck and Amigo came home from the grocery store, Chuck handed me a bunch of rather-ripe bananas and said, “There’s a story here.” It seems the bananas at the store were “so green they should have still been on the tree.” He’d grabbed a bunch that was mostly yellow, knowing I needed one for my recipe. Well, oops. I already had the necessary banana.
We spent the next few days enjoying bananas. Half a banana with lunch, sliced banana on cereal for breakfast, and eventually banana bread made an appearance. But this weekend, we didn’t buy bananas. Not at the convenience store, not at the grocery. I think we’ll wait a little bit before we dive into bananas again.
Subtitle could be Urban Foraging or Scavenger Skills or even Free Food. When my online school moved into a new office, we discovered an apple tree in the front yard. No one seemed to be actively picking the apples, so Chuck and I decided to dive in, er, climb on. We brought big buckets and a stepladder and gathered seven or eight buckets of ripe apples.
The first season, I made applesauce and apple butter and apple pie filling and even apple jelly. Then Chuck got to thinking and bought the me (well, the family) a cider press. We pressed a batch or two of cider and filled the freezer. We took the cider production angle seriously after buying a quart from a farmers’ market and realizing that hey, ours was better.
This year was typical. We picked a little early, so not all the apples were fully ripe, but they were tasty enough for cider. I took to keeping a small box in my car and picking up the windfalls as I left work for the day. These windfall apples added up, and we had apple bread pudding, apple crisp, a Russion apple cake, and even baked oatmeal with apples. We scavenged another bucket of apples in early November, but then I got sick (not Covid!), so the apple pie filling and the strained jelly I’d hoped to make were not likely. After I regained my health and energy, I took the easy way out and made more applesauce.
If I ever retire, will I still have access to that tree and its apples? Technically, it’s on a public school’s property, so anyone could pick. Just to be sure, though, I should stay on good terms with my boss. That’s not a problem. In fact, I could even bribe her with fresh cider. Mmm, cider. From free apples. Works for me!