Posted in holidays, Reflections, Uncategorized

Thanksgiving: Memories of the Meal That Almost Wasn’t

So, folks, Thanksgiving is a day away, and we typically host the big day.  (We’ve had up to 18 regulars, including me, Hubby and “da boys.”) I’ve done this! I’ve almost got a routine worked out!

thanksgiving-2011-10

And yet, mishaps happen, no matter how prepared or experienced one is.

I’ve been married over 24 years and have had Thanksgiving at my home 23 times. A relatively small house fire pre-empted Year 12.) That translates into 22 successfully cooked turkeys, right?

We-e-e-ll… Lucky Year Number 13 had its share of errors. Turned out to be quite a comedy of them. That year…

(1) Hubby brought home a twenty-nine pound bird. (The man loves doing things on the grand scale.) We’re lucky we got that bad boy in the oven. (I mean, who measures the bird’s height at the food store?) Good thing my mother-in-law had recently given us a counter-top multi-function broiler-oven unit. Without it, there would have been no side-dishes that day—at least, none done in time to serve with the turkey.

(2) While stuffing this creature, bleary-eyed at 6:30 AM, a quick glance at the cooking times suggested roasting him close to seven hours. No biggie—until I realized the directions stopped at the twenty-four-pound mark. (Oh, and I’d already scheduled everything around a two-o’clock dinner time after putting the bird in at 6:45 AM. Good thing my mom brought those appetizers.)

(3) Of course this monster-sized critter’s foil pan needed to be supported underneath, so I placed it on a baking sheet—with a plastic market bag under it to keep raw turkey juices off the counter. About three hours into cooking I uh, went to baste that baby and noticed the Plastic. Was. Still. There. (How nothing smelled of plastic was beyond me, but I went with it, removed the bag and replaced the baking sheet with a clean one. The one from the oven was now coated with melted plastic. I tossed it. What else could I do?)

(4) A while later, I heard way too much sizzling coming from the oven—smoke, too. This bird’s drippings were beyond the roasting pan’s capacity to contain. Hubby lifted Tom out; we drained as much liquid as we could, had a good laugh and put the monster back in the oven along with a few sweet potatoes. (I piled them onto the side of the pan.)

(5) Fast forward ninety minutes later: I pull big-bird out to baste. The oven was way cooler than it should have been. Er, I’d forgotten to turn the oven back on after mishap #4. (Add praying no one ends up with salmonella to the to-do-on-Thanksgiving-list. At this point, poisoning by petroleum and/or food were both significant possibilities.)

Despite the potential for disaster, that holiday meal somehow came together. My kids, ages thirteen and eleven at the time, kept their four favorite little cousins (aged 7-3) entertained on the trampoline or with video games until dinner was ready—by 3:30.

Not bad for a near-disaster, right? While we waited, my mom and my brother did the Italian drive-each-other-nuts thing that everyone else ignores or laughs about. The turkey turned out incredibly moist, tender and delicious–no hint of petroleum there! 😉 My stuffing got its usual raves—and did I mention? I forgot to put one part of the basket assembly into the coffee maker. Did that once before and ended up with coffee all over the counter. That Thanksgiving, we were spared such puddling. Then again, once the counter is piled high with all the leftover food, who would notice brown liquid on the tan-n-brown-speckled counter?

Feel free to share your Thanksgiving memories here!

Wishing all of you a wonderful, peaceful holiday!

Joanne

©Joanne C Timpano, 2018 (content and images)

 

 

 

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Posted in holidays

Early Mother’s Day Wishes and Memories Too!

Here’s to all of you in the trenches of motherhood–who knew how crazy it would get sometimes? (Er…all the time?) 😉

I’m always cleaning and/or organizing something. A few weeks back, I decided to attack the “catch-all” basket at the base of my living room stairs.

Found this precious, made-at-school “coupon book” buried under blankets, photos, shorts and who-knows-what else:

Mothers Day coupon book cover

Older Son (who is now 18) made this for me in 2nd or 3rd grade. Some are fairly standard, and both boys have kind of divvied these coupons between them (i.e., Younger Son has taken over feeding the cats. Older Son still takes walks with his ma…)

Mothers day coupons

Some stood out:

Mothers day coupon--listen

I don’t remember Older Son always saying, “Mom.” Younger Son prefaces EVERY statement, question or phone call with “Mom” or “Yeah, Mom.” He even texts me, “Mom” prior to sending the actual message in the subsequent text.

This next one stands alone. (It’s my favorite). Older Son tended to be a tad active as a child. I’d say he was “lunaticking” in those high energy moments.

Mothers day coupon--lunatic

Here’s to a wonderful day to all, and especially to all the moms and those in mother roles. You deserve it! Go make some memories!

Joanne

©Joanne C Timpano, content and images. All rights reserved.

Posted in Exercise and fitness, fitness, holidays, mind and body, recipes, Uncategorized

Should “Healthy” Pancakes Taste This Good?

Yes, we will be doing recipes here, too. Something for everyone, right? And I’m thinking these might be a perfect addition to an Easter breakfast. 🙂

These past few weeks I’ve craved (diner) pancakes. Before I started cutting back white-flour products, I would order them on occasional breakfast trips out. Now, three bites gets me an instant headache from the flour AND the sugary table syrup.

I tried making a white whole wheat version, but they always felt heavy. They certainly didn’t capture that “diner flavor.” Then, shortly after Christmas, I picked up some woman’s magazine that talked about Paleo recipes. Almond meal came into my home and life changed—a little, anyway.

I found the original recipe here. I followed it exactly the first time, but I have this need to tweak every recipe I come across and really wanted to cut back the flour. Either way, the flavor—and even the texture—resembled those of the diner!

pancake ingredients
The (18-oz) jelly jar is holding about 1-1/2 cups of pre-mixed dry ingredients, enough for the 5 or 6 6-inch (?) pancakes pictured below.

Rather than list the entire recipe with my changes I’ll keep this short and note only the changes I made:

I cut back the white whole wheat flour to ¼ cup and increased the oatmeal to ¾ cup. (Next time I might add an additional ¼-tsp of baking soda too.)

I used ½ cup of plain Greek yogurt (b/c it’s all I had) and thinned it with ¼ cup of 1% milk (dairy or almond—both worked fine).

I ALWAYS add extra vanilla. 😉

I made some plain, added chocolate chips to a few, and even some dried coconut flakes. (I did blueberries last time, which I keep frozen.) They all worked.

pancakes (healthy)
Can y’all tell I’m a huge fan of green, especially that obnoxious lime version, lol? My dream vehicle is Jeep Wrangler in that shade–non-metallic, please. 😉

Rather than fry the pancakes in canola oil, I sprayed my griddle and cooked them the old-fashioned pancake way. Next time I make my tweaked version, I’ll let them cook a few minutes longer. I think oatmeal is a touch heavier than white whole wheat flour, so the batter has to cook a little longer to rise (?).

I transferred them to a spatter screen, to keep the bottom of the pancake from getting mushy from condensation. Once they’re cool I put them on a plate.

These keep well in the fridge for a few days. (The flavor gets better.) I’m sure they can also be frozen for a quick and healthy breakfast just before school. (I toss them in the toaster on low. Works really well.) Layer them with yogurt and fruit or maple syrup and a touch of butter. PBJ or almond butter and jelly are good too. (Yes, I’ve tried it.)

Are you constantly looking for healthier versions of comfort food standards? Do you follow a recipe ‘as is’ or are you compelled to put your stamp on it? Will your kids eat your take on their favorite foods?

(Images of my dream vehicle–just for fun. Parents and caregivers need some. 🙂 )

Happy Easter and Happy Passover to all who celebrate! Please take a moment to remember (and pray for, if you are so inclined) those who aren’t as blessed as we are.

Until next time,

Joanne