Posted in Musings and Mutterings

And then, it blinked.

Every November families in the United States gather together to feast and be thankful.  In years past I too celebrated on the third Thursday in November by preparing a massive meal for my family, counting our blessings, and followed up by loosening the top button on my jeans because I ate too much.

Then the kids grew up and my job would get all crazy from the following week through mid-December every year. A holiday meal that close to December didn’t really work for everyone anymore. Combine that with conflicts of who would celebrate with whom and you’ll understand why we started having what my kids affectionately coined as “Fakesgiving” at the end of October. We’d go to the farm, choose and carve a  pumpkin and enjoy a typical Thanksgiving feast, although it had become Paleo/AIP based after finding out that the S.A.D. (standard American diet) had helped create a leaky gut and poor digestion.

Sadly, it wasn’t too many years before Fakesgiving became a thing of the past as all those who used to attend are now living out-of-state. So, what’s next?

This year, I suggested that Hubby and I scale back the menu, switch it up a bit and commit to nothing else. Since we’d gone to Vegas recently and I’d brought home a cold (don’t believe ’em when they say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas) I wasn’t in much of a mood to celebrate. Grabbing a Wegmans catalog from my pile of mail, I decided to create the perfect menu for Hubby and I.

For those of you who don’t have a Wegmans, I’m sorry. It’s a mega grocery store with the most beautiful display of produce and delicious foodstuffs. Maybe I’m biased since I love going grocery shopping, but I find Wegmans quite festive and fun around the holidays.

I’d decided on a menu: Roasted Lobster Tails with a side of cauliflower risotto, a goat cheese and apple arugula salad, prosciutto wrapped asparagus and a sweet potato, cranberry, bacon, spinach medley. As we’d gotten a gift card from Hubby’s work to buy the traditional turkey, (and now there wasn’t a turkey on my menu) I decided we’d use that money to buy lobster tails.

Except, the store we had the credit with didn’t have any lobster tails. Instead they had…


As I wandered over to the lobster tank I could feel it coming on. Those poor guys, just chillin’ in the water, antennae twitching, waiting for their death in a pot of steaming water. ACK! My lips pouted. Hubby noticed a sign.

“Hey look, honey, they’ll steam them for free, just like with shrimp!”

My eyes started to tear up.

“We can come back when they are open.”

I shuffled a bit closer to get a better look… and then… it blinked. It BLINKED! I didn’t know a lobster could blink!

That took care of it for me. I’d advance to full-fledged empathy for a prisoner waiting for his execution so I could dip him in butter and eat him. With tears streaming down my cheeks I looked at Hubby and said, “This is so embarrassing, but I can’t do it.” I couldn’t even leave the store until I’d had a minute to compose myself. What a wimp. I eat animals; plenty of them! What the heck was wrong with me?

Hubby put his arm around me and with an understanding, albeit disappointed voice, told me it was fine. We didn’t have to have lobster. We’d have plenty of food with the other menu items. But now we had a credit on the gift card that was to go towards a protein for a meal. Instead, I bought greeting cards for my family so I could let them know how grateful I am that they are in my life. Still, that left us with $2.55 of unused funds. I encouraged Hubby to look around for something to top off the total. I didn’t care what it was.

As we wandered the aisles, looking for a candy bar or beverage, my eyes fell to an item on an end cap. Eureka! I’d found the protein for our holiday dinner!

That’s right! I’m tossing the fancy holiday meal right out the window. I’m having gelatin from boiled animal bones and blue food coloring mixed with my favorite vodka. Mmm, mmm, good! Take that, Norman Rockwell!

Posted in Musings and Mutterings

Pigs, Pumpkins and Popcorn

It has become a tradition in my family to celebrate in late October what I had originally called Harvest Dinner, but has since morphed into being called Fakesgiving. In some ways, I think it’s a funny name and I get that it’s supposed to be a play on words since it does essentially represent a Fake Thanksgiving in timing alone, but in other ways I’m not too happy with the name.

Our typical celebration includes going to a farm to pick apples and pumpkins and then coming home to carve our pumpkins and sitting down to a dinner with all the typical Thanksgiving fare. Not only did I LOVE the idea of going to the place where we can relate to the earth giving to us from her bounty, but also celebrate in the harvesting.

It also doesn’t hurt that by doing this in late October, my schedule is more flexible during a busy work time and none of my grown children have to worry about which house they will spend Thanksgiving in. It’s far less stressful and normally the weather is good. Top that off with more time to shop before Christmas and it’s a bonus all the way around.

This year, we had 13 people join us for Harvest Dinner and we even set things up so the two kids living the farthest away could be with us via a Google hangout. One pair even had their meal set up to eat at the same time we were. That was a sweet touch.

There just is no way to really describe what a wonderful time we had, so I’m going to post photos with a little commentary, and hopefully, you’ll get the gist.

I mentioned popcorn, but didn’t explain.

Generally, at Thanksgiving, the thought is to say Grace and maybe share one thing that you are thankful for. During Harvest Dinner, my emphasis is that you probably have more than one thing to be thankful for at any given moment, and being aware of that is a special thing. To punctuate this, we started a tradition that has been lots of fun.

I place an empty bowl in the center of the table and give everyone some unpopped corn kernels in mini muffin papers. Then, at the beginning of dinner, I explain that whenever you feel thankful for something, you should take a kernel of corn and put it into the bowl. I prefer that you let us know what you are thankful for and frequently find that others will agree and toss in their corn kernels. All throughout dinner, you hear the “plink” of corn into the bowl and the constant running thoughts of gratitude. It’s a great way to watch the blessings grow, and usually turns into some hilarious reasons to be thankful.