Getting Ready For Thanksgiving

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Once Halloween was over, my thoughts immediately turned to Thanksgiving. There’s so much to do, but I knew where to start.

I began by opening a large cardboard box, the word Thanksgiving scribbled with a black Sharpie on the top flap. As always, when I packed up last year I deliberately put Percy Pilgrim on top so that he would be the first item to greet me when I looked inside. I was actually looking forward to seeing him (it doesn’t take much for me).

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Years ago granddaughter Anna made him from a toilet paper spindle and black felt. A Thanksgiving without Percy would be like forgetting the cranberry sauce.

Seeing Percy reminded me of the pumpkin seeds…let me tell you about the pumpkin seeds. When grandson Trey was about five years old I asked him to save the seeds from his jack-o-lantern so that we could plant them and grow our own pumpkins. His mother helped him label the seeds. We never planted them because my heart just melted when I saw all the work he’d put into printing ‘pumpkin seeds’ (I knew he’d started over a dozen times. Okay, maybe I overreacted, but he was only five and had blonde curls all over his little head.) That jar of pumpkin seeds has been on a kitchen shelf wherever I’ve lived the last seventeen years. I get it out every fall and use it as part of my autumn décor. Continue reading

Somewhere between summer and winter

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Every tree and shrub here in the panhandle of Florida is as green as Kermit. Are the leaves beginning to turn where you live?

Having lived most of my life in the mountains of north Alabama, I get homesick when September rolls out the red carpet for autumn. Here fall isn’t announced by changing leaves but by a change in the air.

Take a deep breath. You know what autumn smells like. You know what I’m talkin’ ‘bout. There’s briskness in every breeze with just a hint of colder weather sure to come.

As the season changes, so do our cravings for food. No more summer barbecues until next Memorial Day (thank goodness). It’s time for chili and soup and stew. My family has always been huge lovers of anything with a rich broth that provides sopping juice.

I only cook for my husband and myself these days, but I often prepare a big meal at the beginning of the week, and we graze on it until we’re ready for something new. Usually by day three any leftovers become remakes. Leftover roast and veggies become beef stew. Leftover soups may end up in the blender to become a coulis for the next meat dish later in the week.  Continue reading