tl-thanksgiving-2016-11-12-thru-11-24HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!!  Obviously, today I am very thankful for…  FOOD!  Yes, family and friends make it all taste better…  but today is the day that is all about the big meal.  The day I allow myself to eat a hot roll and mashed potatoes.  I will – and I’ll enjoy every bite, thank you very much!

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice.   – Meister Eckhart

Let’s say a prayer of thanks for our meal today:a-poem-prayer-for-thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude.  – E.P. Powell

Of course I’m thankful for so many things…  so is Lucinda!


What we’re really talking about is a wonderful day set aside on the fourth Thursday of November when no one diets. I mean, why else would they call it Thanksgiving?  – Erma Bombeck, “No One Diets on Thanksgiving,” 26 November 1981

I wish for you today fullness in a physical sense, of course, but also a spiritual sense of fullness.  I wish that you will not just see the blessings before you – food, friends, family, furbabies, shelter, warmth, love…  and yes, card tables.  But may you also literally feel a sense of thankfulness to God for all of it!  Have a lovely and blessed Thanksgiving!  🙂




Last night I got such a sweet present from Lucinda Berry Hill.  Thank you, my friend!  You’ve made turning the ol’ double nickel so much better!  🙂  I love that basket heart too – don’t you???


God has blessed me with another year of life!  Today I am the ol’ double nickel…  old enough to receive a senior citizen discount at most restaurants and I could join AARP (but that will never happen because I am not a fan…).  I am a fan of good health, happiness, faith and joy.  I’m thankful for every day God gives me to begin again and do better with His help.

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved,  compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and,  if one has a complaint against another,  forgiving each other;  as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.  – Colossians 3:12-13

Of all the things I could pray for, today I ask God to give me more compassion for everyone and everything around me.  I want to be more relatable than ever because it’s what God wants for me.  He wants all of us to be more gentle and kind with one another.  I KNOW I need to have more patience and compassion for those young drivers…  Lord help me with road rage!

Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.  –  Albert Schweitzer

You are not going to believe this, but shortly after I wrote this post, Lucinda sent me a poem to design.  As I read it – the little blurb about compassion just reached out and slapped me!  I have to share it today.  I love how God guides both of us to write – but it’s especially cool when we’re both directed to write so similarly!  I just got chills when I read this.12571279_1738613263049803_574237969_n

Yes – I will make an effort to bring calmness where I walk, to show kindness and compassion, and pointing all to God.  SEE why I got chills up my spine???  WE LOVE HOW GOD WORKS

Love you, my sister in Christ!  ❤

My husband gave me a a 3.5 qt. Dutch oven.  Of course I’ll be trying it out today.  So, let me share the recipe with you.  Just one more thing…  if you are not a vinegar fan, you may want to add a couple of packets of Splenda or Truvia to this.  It’s got a pretty strong vinegar flavor.  😉

Vinegar-Braised Chicken & Onions (serves 6)


2 lbs. pearl onions

Kosher salt

3 Tbs. olive oil

8 oz. pancetta (Italian bacon), cut into 1/4″ pieces

4 cloves garlic, peeled & crushed

5 lbs. chicken pieces (I use thighs & legs)

Freshly ground black pepper

3/4 c. balsamic vinegar

3/4 c. red wine vinegar

2 c. low-sodium chicken broth

1/2 c. golden raisins

2 bay leaves


  • Cook onions in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender, 5-8 minutes. Drain and let cool. Trim root ends; peel.
  • Meanwhile, heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add pancetta to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered and pancetta is brown, 8-10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to a large bowl.
  • Add onions to same pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 8-10 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer onions and garlic to bowl with pancetta.
  • Season chicken with salt and pepper. Working in batches, add chicken to pot skin side down and cook, turning, until browned on all sides, 10-15 minutes per batch; transfer to bowl with onions.
  • Carefully drain fat from pot and return to medium-high heat. Add both vinegars to pot and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pot. Add broth, raisins, bay leaves, and reserved chicken, pancetta, onions, and garlic to pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, until chicken is fork-tender, 35-40 minutes.
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken and onions to a large platter. Skim fat from cooking liquid and discard. Remove bay leaves, and season sauce with salt and pepper. Spoon sauce over chicken and onions.

For dessert we will probably have some fresh sliced strawberries with whipped topping.  Sounds like a great birthday dinner to me!  🙂



On the last day of NATIONAL FIG WEEK, let’s take a look at the possibilities when we pair figs with the big bird – the TURKEY for Thanksgiving!  I know every woman in America has her own special way to do the bird, but if you’re looking to change it up – here’s a little spin on traditional Thanksgiving cooking.


serves 8


1 12-15 lb. turkey

1 gallon apple cider

5 C. chicken or vegetable stock

3 Tbs. balsamic vinegar

fig, pear and balsamic compote

1/2 C. olive oil

1 large red onion, diced

2 C. dried figs, chopped

1 Granny Smith apple, cored and chopped

1 ripe pear, cored and chopped

Grated zest and juice of 2 oranges

1/2 C. balsamic vinegar

2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. pepper


Two days before Thanksgiving, rinse and pat dry defrosted turkey.  Place in roasting pan and fill pan with as much apple cider as it will hold.  Cover and put in refrigerator, periodically rotating turkey during the two days so all parts soak in the cider.

On Thanksgiving Day, remove turkey from marinade and discard all but 2 cups of cider.  Set aside reserved cider to use for basting.

Rub compote mixture under skin of marinated turkey, especially covering breast meat.  Season turkey exterior and cavity with salt and pepper.  Place on rack in covered roasting pan.  Roast at 350 degrees F. for 4 – 4 1/2 hours, using pan juices and reserved cider for basting.  You don’t need to use all the reserved cider.

Uncover turkey the last 45 minutes of roasting.  Turkey is done when a meat thermometer inserted into the thigh registers 185 degrees F.  Make sure thermometer doesn’t touch the bone.  Remove turkey from oven and let rest, covered, while preparing sauce or gravy.

Combine pan juices with 5 cups chicken or vegetable stock and 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar.  Simmer until reduced to 2 cups liquid, about 15 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  For a thicker consistency, mix 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 1/2 cup stock and slowly whisk into stock.  Simmer until thick, about 5 more minutes.

Heat olive oil in medium saucepan.  Add red onion and cook over medium heat just until beginning to turn brown, about 8-10 minutes.

Add remaining ingredients and simmer, covered, until almost all liquid has evaporated, about 20 minutes.  Cool completely.

 If you are not hosting a Thanksgiving dinner for an army, you can use this same compote with turkey cutlets.  I’ve done that and cooked the cutlets in a skillet – it is still just as moist and tasty (there just are not as many leftovers).  🙂

Figs are fabulous!
Figs are fabulous!

I hope you have enjoyed NATIONAL FIG WEEK!  If you like these recipes, please leave me a comment below.  Thanks!  🙂



This week we are celebrating the FANTASTIC FIG!

Here’s an interesting FIG FACT…  Many believe it was figs that were actually the fruit in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve, not apples.  That makes sense in my mind – after all, it wasn’t apple tree leaves they used to…  um…  “cover” themselves – was it???

Plain bran muffins can be a bit dry, but these are moist and delicious because there are figs in them!



2 1/4 C. All-Bran original cereal

1 1/4 C. whole wheat flour

2 Tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

2/3 C. packed Splenda brown sugar

3 Tbs. MILD molasses

1 Tsp. vanilla extract

6 Tbs. unsalted butter (3/4 stick), melted and cooled

1 3/4 C. plain whole-milk yogurt

1 C. dried figs, stemmed and chopped into 1/4-inch pieces


Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray standard-sized muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Process half of bran cereal in food processor until finely ground, about 1 minute. Whisk flours, baking soda, and salt in large bowl to combine; set aside. Whisk egg and yolk together in medium bowl until well-combined and light-colored, about 20 seconds. Add sugar, molasses, and vanilla; whisk until mixture is thick, about 30 seconds. Add melted butter and whisk to combine; add yogurt and whisk to combine. Stir in processed cereal and unprocessed cereal; let mixture sit until cereal is evenly moistened (there will still be some small lumps), about 5 minutes.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and gently mix with rubber spatula until batter is combined and evenly moistened. Do not over mix. Gently fold figs into batter. Using 1/3-cup measure or ice cream scoop, divide batter evenly among muffin cups, dropping batter to form mounds. Do not level or flatten surfaces 
of mounds.

Bake until muffins are dark golden and toothpick inserted into center of muffin comes out with a few crumbs attached, 16 to 20 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking. Cool muffins in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Grab a cup of coffee and a hot muffin for breakfast.  Sounds good, doesn’t it?  🙂




How cute is that? I especially like it when little brother looks over at big brother for cues – when he forgets the words… LOL!!! ❤

Sometimes when I’m alone in the house and I fix a simple little meal like, say, a turkey bacon, iceberg lettuce and succulent vine-ripened home-grown tomato sandwich on whole wheat, I’m tempted to eat without saying grace first. Before you start giving me mean glances over your glasses, hear me out.

Now, it’s not that I am not grateful for my meal. I was actually “checked” about it and I did go ahead and pray. It was not a prayer that lasted more than a few seconds, but I prayed over my meager meal.

An event happened a long time ago that made me think twice about praying:

Our youth group was at a pizza parlor after church one Sunday night. We were getting ready to eat when of course the youth leader told us to bow and pray. When we finished praying, a stranger walked up to our table and said, “I’m so impressed to see young people praying before they eat nowadays and to encourage you to pray more often, I’m going to pay for your pizzas!”

Well, of course that made all of us very happy! I’ve never seen anyone do that again, but I’ve heard others tell similar stories of how meals were paid for as a sort of “reward” for praying. It is just one of those situations that happened, but impressed me for life!

 It is a comely fashion to be glad; Joy is the grace we say to God.  – Jean Ingelow

No one should ever pray hoping their bill at the restaurant gets paid! That’s not a proper motivation to pray! We pray because it’s the right thing to do. If you are in doubt about whether it’s silly to pray over a little BLT sandwich or not, just do it. It’s better to pray when you don’t have to than to skip the prayer and get indigestion. I’m kidding, if you don’t pray you won’t get indigestion. Our youth leader used to tell us our food would not digest well if we didn’t say a blessing over it. I don’t know, there may be a bit of truth in that statement.   🙂