Table for Two.

Sometimes we have a house full of people.  Sometimes we have a couple of people over.   Sometimes we take the feast to the boat.  This year it’s just Monte and me, at the house.  And two birds.  Well, three if you count the turkey.   Monte said this may be the only Thanksgiving dinner photo on the internet without people in it.  🙂  Use your imagination!

Cheers!  Hope you had a very Happy Thanksgiving.  🙂



Monte and I spent the morning at ground zero for Kyle’s Challenge. There were a dozen or more smokers and grills cooking up about 50 turkeys at a time. Sides and desserts were being stockpiled as they arrived. They’ll keep this up through the night till everything is cooked and ready to be plated tomorrow.

God bless these good people.

Pie day.

Today was a baking day. I signed up to bring two pies to Bill & Yvonne’s house tomorrow. They are in the seventh year of organizing and executing a massive community effort to cook turkeys and all the fixings for Annie’s Way Thanksgiving, providing a couple thousand meals to families in the community.  This year their goal is to cook over 150 turkeys tomorrow, to be packaged up and delivered for Thanksgiving Day. They call it Kyle’s Challenge, which the Austin American Statesman featured a story on here. It’s quite a commitment.

All set!

All done. That third pie in the back is for Monte. 🙂

Getting into the spirit.

Last night Monte and I met Joel downtown.  He’s been a friend of ours for about as long as we have lived in Austin, and he has enjoyed (?) some of our most exciting moments sailing on Lake Travis.  And,  he STILL wants to hang out with us!

We bumped into a couple of our friends, and Joel bumped into a couple of his friends, and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.  Enjoy yourselves, and enjoy the friends and family that you are blessed to share it with.




I joined Laura and Ann downtown tonight to help serve an early Thanksgiving dinner tonight for homeless Austinites and others in need of some extra care.  We dished up over 400 plates of food before our shift was over.  There were many more that were served before the night was through.

The event was lovingly orchestrated by Mobile Loaves & Fishes.



It’s not much.  Just a tiny drop in the sea of need to help our brothers and sisters.  But I hope it brought a bit of cheer and fellowship.

Peace to you and yours.


Tower o’ sprouts.

Look what I found at HEB.

We hit the grocery store early today with our Thanksgiving shopping list:  turkey: check….potatoes: check…green beans: check.  Then I spied this spire and couldn’t pass it up.  So we’ll have 2 green veggies on the table this year.  🙂 I love brussels sprouts and found this recipe from earlier this year.   I tried it once…with pork chops i think, and it was delicious.

Dijon-Braised Brussels Sprouts
Serves 4

1 lb brussels sprouts
1 T unsalted butter
1 T olive oil
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup broth (chicken or vegetable)
2 to 3 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 T heavy cream
1 T dijon mustard (or more to taste)

Peel several of outer leaves off each sprout and halve lengthwise.  In a large, heavy 12-inch skillet heat butter and oil over moderate heat.  Place sprouts in skillet, cut sides down, in one layer.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste.  Cook sprouts, without turning, until undersides are golden brown, about 5 minutes.  If sprouts don’t fit in one layer, brown them in batches, then add them all back to the pan, spreading them as flat as possible, before continuing with the shallots, wine, etc.

Add shallots, wine and stock.  Once simmering, reduce the heat to medium-low (for a gentle simmer), cover the pot and cook the sprouts until they are tender can be pierced easily with the tip of a paring knife, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove the lid, and scoop out sprouts (leaving the sauce behind).  Add cream and simmer for two to three minutes, until slightly thickened.  Whisk in mustard.  Taste for seasoning, and adjust as necessary with more salt, pepper or Dijon.  Drizzle sauce over brussels sprouts and serve immediately.

A Perfect 10.

My other beer goes to 11.

We had a crowd-sourced Thanksgiving meal today.  Monte and Tom provided 2 delicious grill roasted turkeys.  Kate and Glenn brought green bean casserole and Kate whipped up the best mashed potatoes (and peas!) that I’ve ever tasted.  Doray and Sandy made their sweet potato baked cup thingies.  Sue & Marty brought delicious, home-made cranberry sauce, squash, and irresistible bourbon balls.  I baked up some dinner roles,  made gravy from the drippings of the birds and whipped up a pink-jello-whip-cream-cottage-cheese-pineapple dish in honor of all our favorite aunts.  Everything was DELICIOUS!  Laura joined us after dinner, too.

The picture above is of one of the brews that Glenn opened.  He got it part way down before someone noticed the foam on the inside of the bottle formed a perfect number 10!   Pretty funny.   The poor guy wasn’t able to finish this beer for a while, for all the excitement it caused.   But it was a good omen for the day… it was perfect.

I wish all of you a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving Day.

Stopping to create posts on this blog every day (or so) has caused me to pause long enough to reflect on things in my day and life.   I have so much to be thankful for.

Got pie?

Smells so goooood!

Thanksgiving Eve preparations.  Tidy up the house.  Tidy up the yard.

We are having enough people over tomorrow that we needed a bigger table.   But, no folding card table for us!  Monte went into the shop and whipped up a free-standing shaker-style table the exact width and height of the dining room table, long enough to seat another couple of people.   🙂   After throwing on a tablecloth, it looks like one long table.

After dinner we whipped up some of the things that we could make ahead of time for dinner.   I made the traditional pies.    Here’s my recipe for apple pie:

Crust (makes 2: one for top and one for bottom)

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
6-7 Tablespoons cold water

Mix flour & salt in food processor (w/ plastic blade, not knife).  Add butter cubes slowly while mixing.  Mixture should be dry with pea sized chunks.  Add water, 1 Tbsp at a time while mixing.  Dough should start to roll into one large ball.

Turn dough out onto floured surface and divide into 2.  Shape each ball into a hamburger shaped patty, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 mins.

Take out, let soften for a few minutes, and then roll each crust out.

Apple Pie filling:

6-8 tart apples
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup sugar
dash of nutmeg
2 Tablespoons flour
1 Tablespoon butter

Peel and slice apples.  Mix together with cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg and flour.   Place in pie crust.  Dot with butter.  Add top crust, seal and cut slits to let all the magic in.  You might want to put a cookie sheet under the pie while it’s cooking to catch drips.

Bake at 400 degrees for 50 minutes.

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