Thanksgiving Leftovers

My friend, Frenchy, hates leftovers. I hear tell that he’ll eat an entire 5 pound pot roast will all the trimmings so as not to have to eat any leftovers. As for myself, I plan and live for leftovers. The Pickle Queen marvels at how I can take a few simple ingredients and have enough extra after we’ve eaten to throw together at least one more meal. If the leftovers look a little scant I’ll toss in another ingredient or two and ‘Presto’ it’s no longer leftovers. It a new dish. While going to SDSU and living off campus, my roommate and I concocted many a good meal. Maybe that’s where I came up with the ‘thriftyness’ in my meal preparation.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and it seems that everyone has leftover turkey, spuds, dressing, etc. Turkey hash can only go so far. It seems to me that ‘Sliders ‘ are the in thing. You pay big bucks for these tiny sandwiches at TGIF, Applebees, or any number of other places that want you to think that you’re getting something special. No matter how they present them, they are just a one bite sandwich, maybe two on a good day. Now is the time to plan on turkey size, pounds of potatoes and other sides for your Thanksgiving meal. You’ll want extras for this recipe for Turkey Sliders.

6 to 8 soft rolls, cut in half and slather with butter, mayo, or whatever
1 lb sliced or pulled turkey
1 c gravy
1 c smashed potatoes
1 c dressing or stuffing
1/2 c cranberry sauce (optional)
and if you’re from the South you’ll need some coleslaw

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the roll bottoms in a buttered casserole dish or other suitable buttered container. Place an equal amount of smashed potatoes, stuffing/dressing and gravy onto these bottom halves. Layer the turkey on top of the gravy and top with the cranberry sauce if you desire. Place the tops on the layered rolls and cover with foil. Bake for about 10 minutes. Remove the foil and let the sliders rest for a couple of minutes. If you are adding coleslaw, do so before serving. Have plenty of napkins available as these are a bit messy.

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Can You Hear Me Now?

The first episode of ‘The Big Bang” this season centered around Penny and Leonard re-doing their wedding vows for the benefit of their parents and friends. To show you how much attention I was paying, I can’t remember who the officiant was. If I had to render a guess, I would say it was probably Bernadette. But then, it really doesn’t matter who it was. What matters  is that when whoever it was asked if anyone had anything to say about the marriage, Sheldon stood up and said he had something to say to someone very important to him. Right away, Amy thought he was going to propose to her, which he didn’t. All this confusion and a story from Dusty Roads reminded me of another such wedding.

At a wedding ceremony, as is sometimes customary, the pastor asked if anyone had anything to say concerning the union of the bride and groom. It was their time to stand up and talk or forever hold their peace, (In my day, if was if someone knew why this man and this woman should not be joined together in matrimony, speak now or forever hold your peace. Like I said, it is just customary and no one expects anyone to make a comment.)

The moment of utter silence was broken by a young beautiful woman carrying an infant. She started walking slowly toward the pastor.

Everything quickly turned to chaos. The bride broke into tears and slapped the groom. The groom’s mother fainted. The bride’s father wished he had brought his shotgun. The groom, in his mind, was going through all the women he had ever been with,trying to figure out who she might be. The groomsmen started giving each other looks and wondering how best to help save the situation. The entire congegation began mumbling to each other.

After finally getting his wits back about him, the pastor asked the woman, “Can you tell us why you came forward? What do you have to say?”

The woman replied, “We can’t hear in the back.”

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On Getting Old (Can You Relate?)

To commemorate her 79th birthday, actress/vocalist, Julie Andrews made a special appearance at Manhattan’s Radio City Music Hall for the benefit of the AARP. One of the musical numbers performed was ”My Favorite Things’ from the legendary movie ‘Sound Of Music’. She received a standing ovation that lasted over four minutes and repeated encores. Here are the lyrics she used.

(Sing it!) If you sing it, it’s especially hysterical!

Botox and nose drops and needles for knitting,
Walkers and handrails and new dental fittings,
Bundles of magazines tied up in string,
These are a few of my favorite things.

Cadillacs and cataracts, hearing aids and glasses,
Polident and Fixodent and false teeth in glasses,
Pacemakers, golf carts and porches with swings,
These are a few of my favorite things.

When the pipes leak, When the bones creak,
When the knees go bad,
I simply remember my favorite things,
And then I don’t feel so bad.

Hot tea and crumpets and corn pads for bunions,
No spicy food or food cooked with onions,
Bathrobes and heating pads and hot meals they bring,
These are a few of my favorite things.

Back pain, confused brains and no need for sinnin’,
Thin bones and fractures and hair that is thinnin’,
And we won’t mention our short shrunken frames,
When we remember our favorite things.

When the joints ache, When the hips break,
When the eyes grow dim,
Then I remember the great life I’ve had,
And then I don’t feel so bad.

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The Dreaded Needle

I used to be one of the roughly 10 percent of people who fear (hate) a loaded syringe at any doctor’s office. Mind you, I still don’t like him/her coming at me with a shot, but I’ve learned to put up with it. Being a diabetic I check my blood at least four times a day and inject myself with insulin four times a day, so I poke a whole lot of holes in myself on a daily basis. This has helped get me over some of the fear of needles. I don’t recommend that you try to get diabetes to get over your fear of needles, but rather try one of these methods if you are in the 10 percent spoken about above.

Talk to the shooter – Tell who ever comes after you with the syringe how needles make you feel. They may let you lie down to help with the wooziness.

Go to your happy place – We all have a time or place in the past where we were truly happy. Close your eyes and breath deeply while you re-visit your happy place. Listening to your favorite music may also help.

Try a distractant – Chew/eat a piece of gum or candy or anything else that may be sweet to distract you from the unpleasantness of the needle.

Avoid coffee – Or any other caffeine source prior to your doctor’s appointment. Caffeine can make you feel anxious for up to 6 hours before the visit.

Ask for a security blanket – Or something else that would lessen your fear. The weight of the blanket makes you feel safer just like the blanket people put on dogs during a thunderstorm.

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Pot Pie Squares

Walk through the pasta section of “English” grocery stores and you will find a vast number of different types of ‘noodles’. Walk through the pasta isle of an “Amish” bulk food store and you will find fewer types, but one of the choices will be Pot Pie Squares. These are thin, square (about an inch and a half) pasta dough. You are also beginning to see these in your local grocery and may need a recipe for their use. Here’s a good basic recipe.

3 quarts broth, (ham, chicken, beef or your choice), may be diluted with water
1 lb Pot Pie Squares
3 large potatoes. diced
1 lb meat cubes to compliment broth, canned or browned if raw

Bring broth to a boil and slowly add squares and meat. Cook for 30 minutes. Add potatoes and cook for an additional 15 minutes before serving. Makes 6 servings.

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Apple Variety Descriptions

Apple season is here and so is learning more about various varieties of apples available here in Virginia. You have to think of apples as a wine where there are good years and there are great years. Every apple variety will have a different taste, texture and juiciness. Also, remember that the flavor of any single variety may vary from season to season. Mother Nature has a big say as to what each year has to offer. For instance, this year, due to the summer weather we’ve experienced, the apples are maturing around two weeks earlier than normal. Here are descriptions of 15 apple varieties. The first 5 are yellow fruit color while the last ten are red fruit color.

  • Caville Blane fruit are the perfect choice for tart aux pommes. Its spicy aeromatic flavor makes it one of the world’s top culinary apples.
  • Ginger Gold was discovered as a chance seedling growing near a Golden Delicious orchard in Virginia in the 1960s. The color, shape and distinctive long stalk all identify it as a relative of Golden Delicious, yet it has a much earlier season – ripening in mid/late August. Unusual for an early apple, but again reflecting a Golden Delicious parentage, it is a good keeper and will last several weeks in the fridge. The flavor is fairly mild, and a bit sharper than Golden Delicious but still sweet for an early variety.
  • Goldrush is a modern disease-resistant apple variety related to Golden Delicious, with crisp hard flesh and a good sugar/acid balance.
  • Pristine apples are picked in July. They are a sweet yellow apple with a glossy skin and are good keepers for early apples.
  • Shizuka is a sister apple to Mutsu (Crispin) but with a sweeter flavor.
  • Arkansas Black is a long-keeping apple from Arkansas that goes almost entirely black during storage.
  • Cameo are a firm crisp sweet and aromatic apple.
  • Crimson Crisp are medium sized apples with a sweet/tart taste and a very crisp texture. It stores very well.
  • Crimson Gold apples are a medium in size apple with a sweet tart flavor. Stores very well.
  • Day Break Fuji is an early ripening sport of Fuji. Matures six to eight weeks before conventional Fuji and has the same taste.
  • Gala is one of the most widely-grown apple varieties, with a sweet pleasant flavor and good keeping qualities.
  • Spitzenburg is one of the great American apple varieties, thought to be Thomas Jefferson’s favorite. Noted for its spicy flavor, and for its susceptibility to any and every disease that affect apples.
  • Stayman is an old American dual-purpose apple variety and is popular in Virginia. Descended from Winesap and in most respects an even better apple.
  • Winesap, often known as Virginia Winesap, a tart small apple, and like many US heirloom varieties, keeps well in storage. It can be eaten fresh but is primarily a culinary apple, also popular for juice/cider production.
  • WineCrisp apples are medium to large apples with a deep purple-red color. The flesh is very firm and juicy. Sweet, tart and spicy flavor.

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Cabbage Soup

Our fall cabbage crop is doing great and it looks like we’ll add about 10 heads to those we already have in storage from our spring planting. We ate a lot of steamed cabbage growing up and still enjoy it every so often as well as other cabbage dishes. Here’s a recipe for cabbage soup that is popular in Amish country.

1 tsp butter or margarine
1 tsp vegetable oil
5 c coarsely shredded cabbage
1 c carrot slices, 1/2″ thick
3/4 c thinly sliced onions
1 small turnip, cut in pieces
1/2 c celery, sliced
1 c potatoes, cubed
4 c water
2 c chicken or turkey broth
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp dried marjoram leaves

In a 4 to 6 quart saucepan, heat the butter and oil over moderately high heat. Add the vegetables. Cook 4 to 5 minutes until the cabbage begins to wilt. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Stir, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 40 minutes.

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