T N T

T N T

Turkeys and Traditions

I love the Holidays! As soon as Thanksgiving hits, I am in full holiday swing!

To me “The Holiday Season” is so much more than the major blow out sales! Lets think about it… When you think of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years, what do you think of? The first thing that comes to mind, besides the Christmas music, obviously, are the traditions that go along with each of those events.

Growing up, these three were filled with family! My mom is one of five, and, dad, one of four. My parents are the only ones in either if their sibling groups to have only one child, so needless to say, holidays can get crowded.

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A day for stretchy pants!

Our Thanksgiving tradition requires heading to Philly. Over the years, my cousins have gotten married and have kids of theirs own, starting their own traditions. My earliest memory of our Thanksgiving dinner head count is somewhere in the mid 20s. Can you imagine three folding tables end to end from the front door to the kitchen in a row home living room??? Over the years, our head count has dwindled to somewhere in the mid-teens.

 

Despite the change of numbers, the menu remains unchanged. Each year we can expect to have mashed potatoes, succotash, sweet peas, both a ham and a turkey, cole slaw, stuffing, and giblet gravy, sticks of butter scattered throughout the table, and loaves of rye and black breads, and a basket of snowflake rolls! (My family doesn’t cook for the waist line.) And we always look forward to the most dense cheesecake you will ever eat.

Its funny that there are people who can’t stand the ends of breads, but to our family, its gold! My aunt/godmother and I usually sit next to each other and its a fight to the death for the butts of not just the black bread, but the ham! A fork belonging to each of us, sword fighting for the crisp glazed end!

Some of the nostalgia behind our meals, is that we do it our way! I remember the first time I ordered succotash at a restaurant and was completely confused as to what was delivered to me. We use sweet cream-style corn, rather than whole kernal corn, and you will not be sorry if you give this a try! Not a damn thing needs to be added to this corn and lima bean mix. Sweet and savory, wet and filling, and so much more.

Grandmom makes the stuffing the Tuesday before thanksgiving, and boy she means business! She has made it this way for so long that she doesn’t even know measurements. (Just imagine how hard it was for me to try to figure out the recipe, as her units of measurements are her palm and ziplock bags!) 

After she combines the hodgepodge of stuffing ingredients, she divides it amount countless aluminium loaf pans, then bakes them off. She makes loaves and loaves of stuffing. Not just for dinner, but then she wraps up the ten extra loaves, untouched by turkey day, and each family member gets a loaf to take home, which we slice up and freeze to eat throughout the year.

And I don’t know how many times I have tried to make her giblet gravy. I remember the first year I learned what it actually was. “I’m eating turkey neck?!” I exclaimed at the dinner table.

We all grow up looking forward to our grandma’s “something.” Like my grandma’s cole slaw isn’t your typical creamy slaw and she uses a secret ingredient that she confided in me a few years ago. (Sorry folks, a family secret is a family secret.)

Oh man! And that stuffing! The next morning, we slice it up, brown both sides and top it with cheese and an egg, over easy. Tradition baby! 

Compliments of Mom: There are two factors that contribute to our juicy turkey. The first, is the container in which we cook it. I’m not referring to the roasting pan. I place my turkey in a turkey-sized oven bag. Sprinkle a little flour in the turkey bag, shake it around, then slide in your turkey and tie up the bag. Here’s where I might lose you. The second trick is to bake your turkey upside down. That’s right, breast down. Don’t worry about that little popper in the turkey breast. Bake it upside down. All the juices that fall to the bottom, are now falling into the white meat to soak and infuse. And that little bit of flour that is added to the turkey bag coats the turkey and helps brown up the skin. (After much thought, as much as crispy skin appeals to me on such an indulgent holiday, I side with the juicy white meat.)

Grandmom was pretty darn sick in the hospital a few months ago. She still isn’t quite feeling up to par, and I can’t blame her. Since we live in a different state, mommom is going to my aunt’s house, so I will be hosting T-Day at home in Wilmington for anyone complacent on this holiday.

On our menu:

  • Turkey (duh!)20151126_161521
  • Succotash (creamy!)
  • Green Bean Almondine
  • Stuffing (Unfortunately, not mommoms)
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Sweet Bourbon-Swirled Spiced Casserole
  • Baked Bananas with a Spiced Cream

I can’t just leave you all without a little recipe.

Baked Bananas with Spiced Cream

  • bananas, medium
  • egg roll wrappers
  • cinnamom
  • fat free cool whip
  • pumpkin pie spice

Cut medium bananas in half. Sprinkle a bit of cinnamon over an egg rolls wrapper and wrap up a half of a banana in each. Lay your wrapped bananas on a sprayed sheet of parchment paper, seam side down. Bake at 350 F for about 15 min, turning half way through.

Meanwhile, blend room temperature cool whip and pumpkin pie spice. I mix 1/4 tsp spice to each cup of cool whip. Serve each wrapped, warm, caramelized, almost melted banana with a dollop if spiced whip.

Happy Thanksgiving!

May your day be filled with love!

 

 

 

La-La-Leftovers

So its almost been a week since Thanksgiving, and all of the leftovers are gone. My sweet potato casserole, made with butternut squash, is a huge hit so I make two trays every year. This year, I didn’t go to my grandmothers house like usual, but I made two trays nonetheless. I started thinking What should I do with this leftover casserole???

Then it hit me! Pancakes!  Mom brought me home some fresh cranberries and I figured those would be the perfect addition.

Sweet Potato PancakesWP_007393

makes 1 serving

  • 1/3 cup sweet potato/butternut squash casserole (I’m sure pumpkin would work, too)
  • 1/3 cup Bisquick
  • 2 Tbsp liquid egg substitute
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 packet Splenda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
  • cranberries or pecans (optional)

Combine all ingredients well. Dollop onto a heated skillet sprayed with non stick cooking spray and cook until batter begins to bubble. Flip and cook through. Serve with some sugar free maple syrup.

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I made these for dinner last night and then again this morning for breakfast and I’ve never seen someone clean a plate as quickly as my friend Brett did! Record timing!

I really enjoyed the rich flavor of the batter, and how the tart cranberries were matched by the sweet syrup.

I always love re-purposing foods and creating something new! Its been so long since I’ve posted, but boy does it feel good to write to you guys again!

DDDD

Yesterday was a Vitalicious- sort of day. On night shift, we had pizza, and all day I was craving more pizza. I never crave pizza… ever! Glad I keep this baby in the freezer:

Tomato and Cheese

Tomato and Cheese

What I like about this VitaPizza is that there is a very thin crust, so it crisps nicely in the toaster oven, theres a thin layer of sauce and tons of diced tomato and garlic!

Today is, what we in the Bundo house call, “Daddy-Daughter Date Day!”

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I had to wake up early this morning to drive to the hospital where my clinics rotation is to gather information for my patients this week. After that, I picked up the father and we headed to Philly. A few months ago, on my way to visit some family in Philly, I saw a billboard for the Titanic exhibit t the Franklin Institute. Dad and I have always had a fascination with the Titanic. We used to watch documentaries every Sunday morning on the Discovery channel. Luckily, through my recycling rewards points, I had a “buy one get one free” ticket for the museum.
We had a great time! At the beginning of the tour, you get a boarding pass with the name of a passenger. At the end of the tour, you find out if you survived the event.
Dad was 44 yr old, Mr. William Harbeck of Paris, traveling 2nd class to NY. He was a filmmaker, hired by White Star, to film Titanic’s maiden voyage. He did not survive.

I was Ms. Marie Grice Young, a 36 yr music instructor, to Teddy Rossevelt’s daughter, from NY, in first class, on my way to DC. I made it.
Some of the artifacts were amazing. They had light bulb! Yes, a light bulb, they pieced back together! It was neat to read little bios on some of the passengers and see some of their recovered belongings, including clothing, letters, business cards, and stationary. There was also a live “iceberg” for you to touch to understand how cold the water was. They recreated main rooms of the ship, like the stair case, bedrooms, and hallways. It really sucked you into the period. The only bummer, was that we could not take pictures. I did manage to snag a few though. Shhhhh… it’s a secret.

beautifully recreated doorway

beautifully recreated doorway

the coolest picture of the day!

the coolest picture of the day!

entering the boiler room

entering the boiler room

After the exhibit, we explored the remainder of the museum. One of my favorite parts ever since I was a kid is the Giant Heart! Its a huge heart that you can walk through. It takes you through all the parts of the heart through a maze of stairs, meanwhile you hear a heart beat to enhance the effect.

getting ready to head inside the heart

getting ready to head inside the heart

playing in the kids area

playing in the kids area

cheezeing it up inside an artery

cheezeing it up inside an artery

My absolute favorite area, besides the observatory, is the planetarium. Astronomy has always been a passion of mine. (Guess who owns the seasons of “The Universe?” This chick.) In fact, up until sophomore year of high school, my plan was to attend Cornell for Astronomy or the AFROTC Aeronautical Nursing program. Any way, we saw a film about black holes. Black holes give me the chills. I’ve always been fascinated by them and have written several papers on them throughout my schooling.

having an 80 yr old Singer sewing machine, I appreciate the beauty of this one

having an 80 yr old Singer sewing machine, I appreciate the beauty of this one

a fancy old music box

a fancy old music box

The museum has rooms focused on different areas of science: trains, planes, space, electricity (duh, Ben Franklin… Franklin Institute), engineering, and IMAX, and 3D theatre, a giant pendulum, any much more! So many of the staple exhibits have been there since I was a kid. It was so nice to revisit them. Plus, your inner child pokes out its head in all of the interactive “Please Touch” exhibits and games!

I turn Ben on. (get it? cause its a light switch?) *knee slap*

I turn Ben on. (get it? cause its a light switch?) *knee slap*

who needs travelocity?

who needs travelocity?

old school

old school

My father, Cpt. America, saluting USAF

My father, Cpt. America, saluting USAF

Chug-a-Chug-a Choo-Choo

Chug-a-Chug-a Choo-Choo

I'd kill for this telescope!

I’d kill for this telescope!

After a few hours in the museum, dad and I walked through the atrium to find the most adorable little girl getting her face painted! This is probably one of the cutest kids I’ve ever seen! Her mom let me snap a shot of her.

the most beautiful tiger i've ever seen

the most beautiful tiger i’ve ever seen

We said, “peace out,” to Big Ben (the guy, not the clock) and headed for one of my favorite Wholefoods. Its on Pennsylvania Ave. in Philly. Dad and I wondered around in there, grabbed a few cookies and bagels for the week, and of course, picked up this beautiful fruit salad:

Goodbye, Ben!

Goodbye, Ben!

Hello, fruity deliciousness!

Hello, fruity deliciousness!

After seeing all that food, we drove  around downtown Philly until we headed for South St. We couldn’t decide what we were in the mood for, but my dad said we should go to Maoz. (I was giggling like a little school girl, inside, because I wanted to go there all along but didn’t want to force vegetarian food on him). I explained how the ordering worked and he was willing to give it a try. Dad and I usually love anything with a topping bar. We split the #1. This is a falafel pita with hummus and eggplant, served with Belgian fries and drink. We upgraded to the sweet potato fries, then stuffed our falafel stuffed whole wheat pita with vegetable salad (tomato, zucchini and cucumbers), reed cabbage salad, cilantro sauce, sweet peppers (a must), grilled cauliflower, and later some garlic sauce. Maoz is the only place I will ever eat beets so I grabbed a little cup of that. Dad was so funny! “This is really good! I wish I had one around work. I’d get this for lunch at least once a week! Do they sell this in stores? Let’s get some.” Luckily, I can make it at home! Dad told me we are going to the grocery store to pick up falafel ingredients tomorrow after class! lol This was a really delicious meal. What made it even better, was seeing how much my dad enjoyed it! Perfect size for the two of us to split!

MMMMM... Warm falafel loaded with veggies in every bite!

MMMMM… Warm falafel loaded with veggies in every bite and sweet potato fries!

When I got home, I snacked on a Gnu Brownie, smeared with some Low Sodium Better n’ Peanut Butter. Then I completed some paperwork for clinical for Monday, and put on some jams and danced around the living room to do a little cardio.

Wow! What a fantastic day!

RIP to a Philly favorite: Sally Star!