Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Day 2014

Looks like I'm managing to get here once a month - maybe!  It's daunting to think back over the past month and think of the things I missed.  Oh, well.  There's today.

This week we drove down to Andalusia to get some pecans from Gunter Pecans in Gantt.

We bought five 3-1/2-pound bags for $20.  Last year, you could get 4 pounds for $20.  The reason being that due to the weather there weren't as many available, and those are smaller.  Each 3-1/2 pound bag is about 90% halves, 9% bits, and 1% waste and meal.  Mike has taken a great interest in the acquisition and processing of these pecans, so these are the important facts.  He's going to use the pecan hulls and meal to smoke pork - pecan-flavored pork - yum.

I'm just kind of taking dictation here.  "This information is given because provenance is obviously important." He remembers in the mid-50s his great aunts and great uncle - Minnie, Myrtle, and Bob - saying they preferred the taste of the very small pecans because they believed the flavor intensified after toasting.  I bet Minnie, Myrtle, and Bob could never imagine that their opinions would be expressed on a blog - or even what a blog was.

Mama wanted a bag for herself but finished hers and wanted a second one.  She loves nothing better than "picking out pecans" and watching the Thanksgiving Day parades.  Except this year, she was a little disappointed that the parades weren't like they used to be - "all kinds of dancing and stuff."

These will be wonderful for gifts and for cooking during the year.  Last year's batch is just now running out, so it's time to replenish.  I know some of the bags will go to Snoqualmie.  

So Thanksgiving Dinner almost didn't happen since it was just the 3 of us, Mike has not had an appetite, and Mama doesn't eat much of anything, so I didn't see any reason to cook anything special.  I guess all the talk of food around us made us think of dressing, so I thought I would cook at least that.  

While Mike was having his treatment, I went to do a few errands and ended up at Publix on Senior Day, the first day of the new specials, AND the day before Thanksgiving.  It was crowded, but Publix is invariably a nice place to shop.  People are friendly, and the shoppers for the most part look like they're enjoying buying groceries rather than doing the mad scramble in Wal-Mart (which I am guilty of every time Mama has to go in there.)

I had drawn up my game plan - had my lists, my coupons, my Cartwheel for Target, my Ibotta and Checkout 51 lists - and I took my time and kind of enjoyed it, especially in Target.  It was not very busy during the morning, so I took my time at the $1 section and got Graysen a couple of things for her stocking, looked at the toys leisurely and then zeroed in on the things I needed.  It's nice to just wave your phone at the checkout girl and have her take $5.36 off your total bill.  Same in Publix.  I just type in my phone number, and I usually end up having a little bit subtracted there.  A girl near the deli handed me a circular for $1 each off on cream cheese and chicken broth, both of which I was buying anyway.  

It's taking me longer to type this blog entry than it did to cook a whole Thanksgiving dinner.  So here are the pictures. 

I made the cornbread for the dressing last night and the congealed salad, then got up early and made the mushroom rice and the dressing.  

That was about it except for opening the can of cranberries and putting the turkey slices on a plate.

One of the best recipes of dressing I've ever made.  Emily and I are hit and miss on how it turns out every year.  She used to get mad with me because I couldn't give her an exact recipe, but now she understands.  Mike thought it was a little over-seasoned, but his opinion doesn't count lately because nothing tastes the same to him.

The brown rice is foolproof and always the easiest thing I cook - just dump 4 things in a pan with a little melted butter and bake.  And everyone loves it - although Mama did say it "didn't look good."  She did eat it though and liked it.

My plate - a little bit of everything.  Oh, Mike sauteed some fresh beans.  I'm not sure what's up with the deli turkey.  Looks like it's been cut with pinking shears, and it was nothing like "real" turkey!

We even had an apple pie thanks to a Buy 1 Get 1 free deal on Mrs. Smith's pies. 

Better than and much easier than anything I could have turned out this morning.  

Especially with a dab of ice cream on it while it was hot.

Perfect ending.  Enough clean storage containers for them all to match, and all the food fit neatly into a container for leftovers.

Dishes done and 2 out of 3 of us napping.

I still love the new countertops and sink a LOT.  We have to get busy on that gap between the counter and the backsplash.  We did go to a tile place and find out what we need.

Mike says he can do it now that we know what to buy.  He just didn't feel good enough last week to tackle it.  I need to remind him to do it before he loses the steroid high from yesterday.

I've done very little except to pull out things and try to make decisions on giving away, throwing away, or moving (if we get lucky enough to actually move).  Regardless, I need to get rid of so much clutter.  I went on a small embroidery spree this week and made Graysen some embroidered shirts and a pair of Christmas pjs.

This box has already been received, and I have a thank-your video for the Santa pajamas that I'll try to post.  I didn't make the smocked dress or the corduroy ones under it - just hemmed them.

I love all three of these.

I like to send things that are sort of festive but not so seasonal that they can't be worn all winter. 

This video makes me have a silly grin on my face for some reason.

We Skyped this morning, and it's so sad to see her trying to understand why she can't reach out and touch me.  She blows kisses so sweetly and points out Mimi and Papa, but there is just not a bit of snuggling allowed.  Emily says when she gets into the car, she always mentions me - since once I appeared when they picked me up at the hospital, and another 2 times I've appeared when they've picked me up at the airport - soooo maybe she thinks there's always a chance that I'll hop in the back seat again at any time.  Papa just lived with her for months, and now he's not in his room or opening the door to greet her in the mornings.  Makes me sad!

Speaking of planes, I'll be flying to Lubbock on the 12th to go to Elise's induction ceremony at Texas Tech on Friday morning and graduation that night.  Then a big happy dinner to celebrate all she's accomplished.  I wish Mike could go, but he can't risk getting around people and catching an infection at this point.  He needs to have this last treatment of the cycle next Wednesday and rest a week before starting the last 3, one on Christmas Eve and the last one on New Year's Eve.  We appreciate the nurses who work on the holidays and so grateful the Cancer Center is open, or we'd be spending a LOT of money if it went past January 31st.  We'd have to start over on the out-of-pocket expenses, and chemo treatments are not cheap.  

This has been a nice Thanksgiving, and we do have so much to be thankful for.  This year, for sure, we appreciate the caregivers in Seattle and Montgomery.  Cancer nurses and doctors and techs and volunteers - all of them have a hard job, but everyone we come into contact with has been reassuring, professional, and friendly.  We have friends who check on us with emails and phone calls and other sweet gestures.  A friend from church brought Mike over 2 hats she had knitted to keep his head warm this winter!  With this nice weather, I hope we'll be getting out and walking again before it gets too cold.

I hope I come back tomorrow with more pictures of our trip to St. George's  a week or so ago.  I have so many pictures in my picture file and on my camera.  Let's just see how long it take me to write again.

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