Roast turkey breast (Honeybaked Ham Co.)
Butternut squash soup
Roasted vegetables (purple onions, zucchini squash, fennel) served in a pumpkin pot
Cranberry conserve (from Ina Garten)
I am remembering Robo’s last Thanksgving, our last Thanksgiving together. I recently spoke to a friend who is going through a rough patch with a dying relative. She told me, I keep thinking of things in terms of “last” as in last birthday, last Thanksgiving, last Christmas, etc. I told her not to thinnk of them as the last, but the best or the most cherished. And that is what Thanksgiving 2011 is to me, and always will be.
Thanksgiving was always Roberto’s favorite holiday, for reasons you can imagine: Food and football, a license to pig out and overdose on sports on TV? It doesn’t get better than that if you are a guy!
The menu was fairly simple. We were hooked on Giada DeLaurentiis and her cooking shows, so a lot of the dishes were Giada-inspired. For starters, I made a berry strada. Followed by tomato and green bean casserole. I also made cornbread with creamed corn and jalapeno peppers, rich and creamy. I had found a fresh turkey breast at the grocer and roasted that on my own (later I would come to rely on precooked turkey from Pappas and Honey Baked Ham Co.). Dessert was the traditional Chess Pie that he loved so much.
I couldn’t know then, when I was happily cooking for the man I loved that it would be a short two weeks later that he would be gone. I couldn’t know then that the Thanksgiving we shared in 2011 would be our last together. That no other Thanksgiving since then could ever compare, with him not around.
So this Thanksgiving, when you are gathered with your loved ones, don’t hesitate to hug them and tell them how much they mean to you. You may not get another chance next year.
Make THIS holiday the BEST one ever, whether it’s the last one or not.
In a conversation with Robo today, I was reminded of how badly an office birthday party went some years ago. I was working at a law firm in San Antonio at the time, for a female partner who had a reputation of being a real perfectionist and a task master, both with her staff (me) and the attorneys she worked with. (Okay, when they hired me, they told me I’d be working for the “firm bitch.” — but it ends up nothing was farther from the truth.)
We were working on a case with the hospital district who was defending a sex discrimination lawsuit by a nurse. Our defense was that the nurse was a certified nut job. We even tried to claim she had Munchausen’s Syndrome. In examining her medical and personnel records, it was discovered that she, too, was born on July 13. And since her case bore so much resemblance to the case of Genene Jones, the infamous Baby Death Nurse of South Texas, I soon discovered that Genene also shared a birthday with me and our mischievous plaintiff, July 13.
My boss, not being someone generally taken with mirth or game-playing had decided to go out on a limb for me that year. She had the bakery inscribe the following words on my birthday cake:
Happy birthday, Joni, Genene and [Plaintiff’s first name]
And left the cake in the office kitchen. Whereupon it was discovered by a quite naive, but well-meaning young female associate, Kathleen. Kathleen lifted the lid of the box, saw the message and freaked out. She told the other associate with her that if my boss saw that, she would be livid. The bakery had obviously made a huge mistake. This cannot be countenanced. So Kathleen, well-meaning and misguided soul that she was, grabbed the nearest butter knife and began performing surgery on the cake. She ever so carefully removed the two offending names. She did such a good job that if I hadn’t seen the original text with my own eyes, I’d be hard-pressed to believe it was ever there. When she was done, the cake read:
Happy Birthday, Joni
Clearly, now all is right with the universe. Until my boss came in, of course, saw what Kathleen had done, shrieked in horror, and slapped the knife out of Kathleen’s hand. Me? I just smiled and shook my head and told Kathleen, “See? You lawyers can’t pass by anything without REVISING IT!”
Despite the cake SNAFU, a good time was had by all.
Tonight, I’m making one of Robert’s favorites. It’s a dish copied from the Alonti Deli in downtown Houston, and made better by me (at least according to Robert, but maybe that’s because he likes sleeping indoors!). It’s very easy to fix, start the salted water boiling for the pasta while you prep the vegetables. By the time you’ve melded the sauce, the pasta is ready to drain and dinner is served, in under 30 minutes.
Since both Robert and I are diabetic, I devised a quick and easy dessert that tastes good and is sugar free. It requires obtaining a sugar-free lemon pound cake, which I have found at a local grocer, Seller Brothers. If you can’t find such a cake in your location, I suggest angel food cake as it is the lightest cake you’ll find other than this.
I’ve been spending this quiet, cold, rainy Saturday afternoon cleaning out my email inbox and doing some major house work. Found this, kinda cute.
Seven New York City bartenders were asked if they could nail a woman’s personality based on what she drinks. though interviewed separately, they concurred on almost all counts. The results:
BTW, if you were wondering … I’m a kamikaze kinda gal myself.
Joni Mueller lives with her cat and shoe collection in a bucolic old section of Houston called Idylwood. For some strange reason, Joni likes to refer to herself in the third person. When she's not working on web design, she's ordering lawyers around. And blogging about it. Or both. Read More…