Posts Tagged With: Thanksgiving

Holidays Without Our Parents

So,every adult child has to go through this at least once and some of us have to face it 4 or more times if you are married. It is the day you realize that you will not have a Mother or Father around for the holidays.That you are grown up and you have lost the one or two people in your life that you look up too.  This is the first full year after losing my Mother In Law and one of many years since Tom and I have both lost fathers. The Holidays feel different without them and we feel that we have lost the key to our holiday celebrations.

I think I was in shock last Thanksgiving.I do not even remember what we eat and even if we did  eat… some how I just blanked it all out from Oct 22nd to New Years day. I remember the tree and the kids opening gifts and making breakfast for my family but not much more. I was a stay at home mom then… what did I do for three months??

It seems that this fall the reminder of the loss is tangible. It is harder this year, I can’t call up and ask a questions about how to make stuffing, from the father who has been gone 25 years. The holiday craft making for Sunday School kids is just a distant memory. Christmas cookies and candy over flowing from my mother’s kitchen is no more and I wonder how we will continue as adults. Children suffer deeply with the loss of a grandparent or step grandparent,but I wonder if they feel the loss as long as the adults.The pain lingers for years as we share dinners, gifts and reminders that the person is gone. They are not replaced by thoughts of a new toy,an exciting movie or by the first boy friend or girl friend.

The reply to my heart-break most often is “make  your own memories and traditions” share them with the children. The logic seems to work until you realize how many of us do not have children or have only one.The family dynamic has changed and we don’t always have younger siblings or children share the traditions with.

In my case shopping at the mall is nothing compared to the years I spent making cookies with my mother in our kitchen.Tom still misses opening day of deer season with his Dad and Thanksgiving is not the same without having everyone together for dinner at his parents house. My husband and I still continue to share both of those traditions with our own children and try to pass down those memories to them so nothing is lost.

It is tough doing “Adult”sometimes.I guess we keep moving forward the best we can and at times just fall apart when we finally realize that times change and we can’t stop them.Loss is part of living and being a grown up is all we can do. As Dory says” Just Keep Swimming”.

I am finding it hard to be excited for the Holidays this year,even with the little ones around. I will do my best to make our home warm and inviting and we will have friends and family here.The kids will spend time together and we will eat well. But in my heart there will still be an empty chair at our table. I will spend a few minutes remembering and giving thanks for those we have been lucky to know and love,but Thanksgiving is going to be tough this year. empty-chair-at-thanksgiving

 

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Categories: About me, childhood memories, Colorado, Family, grandma, Thanksgiving | Tags: , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

I am Thankful for Pumpkin Pie!

I know, I am late…. Thanksgiving day is usually a very quite and reflective time for me. The boys hunt and I cook and everyone gets together for dinner around 5:30 and we spend the rest of the evening watching the little ones play and  talk shop. So I usually have the day to myself, and Tom the turkey, but some how this year it just did not happen. One reason was the new bread maker that I received as a birthday present earlier this month.  I will be posting what I made yesterday once I have mastered ” dinner rolls”  they tasted great but looked a little funny.

So, like most people I just ran out of time to share that I am thankful for Pumpkin Pie. 

Yes, I know it sounds a little childish but pumpkin pie is really what I was thankful for this year and I will tell you why.

It all started with a my husband Tom… He really is my hero in life and on my Barnwood Builder episode. He helped me till a small garden at the other house that we were living in last summer. In that garden Tom and Christopher help me plant 3 pumpkin seeds. From those seeds grew 13 pumpkins, I think, if I can remember correctly.

Wagon full of sliver moon pumpkins 2014

Wagon full of sliver moon pumpkins 2014

Christopher and Cody picking pumpkins and Paige on the way with the wagon

Christopher and Cody picking pumpkins and Paige on the way with the wagon

Then after a long summer I was so thankful that Cody my older son and my granddaughter Paige and daughter-in-law Jamie were able to come help us harvest everything in the garden including the pumpkins. It took hours to bring in everything that grow well that year. We had sweet potatoes to dig, pumpkins to pull and tomatoes and peppers every where. The baskets were full,the wagon was full and I had a lot of work getting these pumpkins ready to eat.

Home grown white pumpkin carved for Halloween 2014

Home grown white pumpkin carved for Halloween 2014

I aged the pumpkins in the cool of our porch until Halloween came. I had my foot surgery just days before Halloween and I was off my feet when the holiday rolled in.  Again Tom help me out with the most important Halloween tradition of  carving at least one of our pumpkins.  Christopher and Tom spent one evening craving a couple of pumpkins and decorating the porch with them. I was so Thankful to see them and see the smiling face on my little Christopher’s face when he lighted them up.

bowel of pumpkin pie filling made in 2014

bowel of pumpkin pie filling made in 2014

From the rest of the pumpkins I made pie filling. So in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving I cooked and canned most of those pumpkins. The house smelled wonderful for days as I roasted on the first day and pureed the next. Finally I cooked and added spices to the mixture and put it in the jars with love. Thankful that Christopher had a school to go to and Tom had a job to work at, as the huge mess in my kitchen grew. 2 days and 6 hours later the jars sealed and I have jars of home-made pumpkin pie filling.

New House in Buckhannon, WV

New House in Buckhannon, WV

Then after moving our family over the long cold winter,we  stared working on the house.  I am so thankful for our new home. This was my first Thanksgiving in my new to me kitchen and the first time I drug out the good dishes and glasses in years. It was a wonderful reason to take out a jar of that pumpkin pie filling and make a pie to celebrate.

home made pies pumpkin and mock mincemeat

home-made pies pumpkin and mock mincemeat

Finally, I am thankful for every person who sat at my table, for every opportunity I have to spend time with them. I am thankful for those who are missing this year and the ones that are in heaven. I am thankful for the money to buy the meal we ate and most of all I am thankful for pumpkins and pies.

4 generations of the Powers family together for Tom birthday 2014

4 generations of the Powers family together for Tom birthday 2014.

Categories: Buckhannon West Virginia, canning, Christopher, Cody, Country life, foot surgery, gardening, Paige, pumkin puree', pumpkin, pumpkins, Thanksgiving | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

True Love is always found over Pie: My recipe for True Love Apple Pie

close up a green apples

close up a green apples

Every time I make apple pie I remember how just one slice changed everything between Tom and I. It was  Thanksgiving day in Baumholder West Germany ( at the time they were still East and West) my first holiday away from home and on an Army Base. A couple of us girls with off Post housing thought we would make dinner for our friends who were either single or home alone while their husbands were out in the field or doing other assignments.The food and company had to be better than dinner at the Mess Hall so the plans were set. We were a loose bunch of friends from the 363rd mechanized unit. Some were Gunners, Recovery Specialist, Mechanics, Tankers, Mortar Men, Radio Controllers, but  most of all, we were part of the United States Army family.We were brought together from all over the country. We had friends from small towns and big cities, from the green east to the sunny west from the cold north to the deep south. Our dinner party had a random mixture of accents, stories and colors of skin. We were all from the U.S.  and we all wanted to have a traditional American Thanksgiving even if we were thousands of miles away from home..

My friend Angie was the hostess that Thanksgiving, making most of the main course of the  dinner, the rest of us girls just helped out. I have always liked to bake and worked in a bakery for several years so I volunteered to make the traditional pies for the dinner two pumpkin and one apple. I made the same recipe that I still fallow today. Around 1 p.m. in the afternoon I walked the fresh home-made pies to Angie’s midsize two bedroom apartment. We lived only about 4 blocks away from each other in white stucco apartments. The crowd arrived and I think we had about 15 for dinner and the house was full. We ate sitting on the floor, on dinning chairs and on sofa arms . The food was great, the music was the 80’s metal bands and smoke-filled the room as dinner was over and deserts got cut. I help to serve pie, ice cream and cake. But what caught my attention that day was Tom. After a few bites of pie he returned to where I stood and asked me where I learned to make the apple pie. I said from my mothers old cookbook and we continued to talk. The talking never really ended.

granny smith apples sliced

granny smith apples sliced

That afternoon we spent hours talking about our families and that we both loved home cooked food and Christmas fudge that our families would send over to us from home. He talked about his dog and I talked about my cat. We eat another piece of pie and spent the rest of the evening sitting together in the living room playing Gun and Roses, Ozzy, White Snake, AC/DC  on the stereo turn table with Tom as D.J. Our friends moved in and out of groups of conversations and beer bottles hissed and dancing happened. We never moved from that old soft recliner where I sat on the floor watching him change albums. Hours passed, dishes needed cleared and beer bottles clanked in the trash bag as ashes got dumped in from a hundred cigarettes. We were still talking and cleaning and neither of us wanted it to end. Finally around 11 p.m. I had to walk home and Tom offered to walk with me. In the glow of street lamps, on the cobble stones we walked the 4 blocks from Angie’s apartment to mine where we said good night.

apple pie filling is ready to bake

apple pie filling is ready to bake

He never kissed or  hugged me at that old wooden door. He only said  he was happy that I was safe at home and that he loved my pie. He turned and started to walk up the steep cobble stone hill in front of my apartment building. I watched as he reached the crest and he turned and waved good-bye to me on his 2 mile walk back to the barracks. I spent to rest of the night wondering what in the world was so good about that pie and how he would have to get up in just a few hours and go to work. I was happy to see him the following evening after he got off work so we could talk more over a beer or two.

I never did understand why that pie was so good. I never did forget that walk home in the misty night. I am just thankful that I can still make it for him. Today I am preparing for a fruit pie contest at the 4-H fair. I have made other things for the fair but this will be the first time I have made a pie. So I am making a couple of TEST apple pies today and want to share the recipe with you just because this pie is why my husband and I are still in love.  Hope you enjoy them as much as I do making them.

Apple pie ready for the oven

Apple pie ready for the oven

My True Love Apple Pie ( deep dish)

1  Double Pie crust… store-bought or home-made.

5 to 6 large Granny Smith Apples ( 2 pounds),peeled, cored and sliced very thin.

1/2 half cup packed dark brown sugar

1   tablespoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 cup salted real butter

add lots of love.

Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes until filling is bubbly. Always put pie on cook sheet to prevent juice from running over into oven.Cover edge of pie crust for about the first 20 minutes with tin foil.

True Love Apple Pie

True Love Apple Pie

Categories: Apples, cakes and family deserts, family memories, friends, Memories, nostalgic, Pie, Thanksgiving | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

5 Reasons to Plant Silver Moon White Pumpkins in the Garden Next Year.

carved white pumpkins for Halloween

carved white pumpkins for Halloween

This year is the first time I have had any success growing pumpkins and just for the fun of it we chose to plant white ones just to add some fun to our Halloween display. It was a bumper crop and here are my five top reasons I will plant these pumpkins again next year. They met and surpassed all of my exceptions for home-grown pumpkins.

First they were very prolific. I planted only one hill of the Silver Moon Hybrid pumpkins, with only three seeds. I purchased the seeds from a Henry Field’s catalog 4 years ago. Sadly these seeds had been in storage for all those years. From those(to old to use) seeds I ended up with two healthy plants and ended up with 12 pumpkins.We were shocked and over joyed that most of the pumpkins were actually carving size ( 5 to 10 pounds) and I ended up with only two that were so small I could not even make them into pie filling.

white pumpkin on vine in garden

white pumpkin on vine in garden

The second and main reason I planted the pumpkins was how beautiful they are when carved. They range in color from snow-white to a pale green with white stripes. So for carving we chose to use the brightest white ones. As you can see from the above photo the pumpkins are white on the outside but have bright orange pulp with a wonderful green rind and when lit they are just so wonderful to look at indoors and out.

inside view of a Silver Moon Hybrid pumpkin

inside view of a Silver Moon Hybrid pumpkin

The next best reason to plant these pumpkins is, no matter their size, have very thick pulp. Making these very easy to turn into puree’ and pie filling. I only got to process 4 pumpkins before my foot that is still recovering from surgery said that I was standing to long. So With just 4 pumpkins I was able to get 10 quarts of pie filling that I will be using next week for Thanksgiving dinner.

10 jars of home made pumpkin pie filling

10 jars of home-made pumpkin pie filling

The fourth reason I like these pumpkins over the average orange ones is for storage value. They are a short squat pumpkin much more akin to a squash shape. So when storming them I could actually stack the pumpkins on top of each other on a shelf. That is never going to happen with a large round orange pumpkin.They also have less of an air space inside making them less prone to rot.

wagon full of white sliver moon pumpkins

wagon full of white sliver moon pumpkins

 

Then finally they have seeds, not for planting (being hybrids) but for eating. These pumpkins have a wonderful snow-white seed that are large for a 5 -6 pound pumpkin. They are thickly packed into the small cavity in the thick pulp. I was so surprised that we roasted several batches with salt and cinnamon sugar for a nice snack.

seeds hiding in the thick pulp of a small white pumkin

seeds hiding in the thick pulp of a small white pumpkin

It has been so much fun trying out new seeds in the garden and letting my sons enjoy every part of the activity. I can’t wait to serve a home-grown chemical free pumpkin pie to my family and friends this year at Thanks Giving. This is one seed that I will plant again and again, just to see the joy on Christopher’s face when Tom helps him carve his very own pumpkin.

Tom and Christopher with a home grown Jack-o-Lantern

Tom and Christopher with a home-grown Jack-o-Lantern

Categories: canning, food storage, Jack-O-Lanters, organic food, Pie, pumkin puree', pumpkin, Thanksgiving, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Memories of Grandpaw P. and Mock Mince Meat Pie

  As I finish up making my Thanksgiving Turkey I want to share with all of you some thing that I love…. it is the tradition of MEAT FREE, Mock Mince Meat at our Thanksgiving table. Toms Dad made the filling from his garden every few years. Home made pie and filling was one of his many specialties. The recipe came from his mother  who made it before “Grandpa Powers” birth in 1918. Making this pie over 100 years old. I miss him at this time of year more than any other. My own father passing away when I was five made my relationship with him very sentimental. He only lived a few years after Tom and I married but his importance to my family lingers around the holidays.

mock mincemeat, pumpkin pie and chocolet cake

mock mincemeat, pumpkin pie and chocolate cake

    He is the one who inspired all the canning and gardening that Tom and I do. His gardens were huge in comparison to anything that I have ever tried and he was able to keep a family of 9 or more at times, well feed and well stocked on fresh vegetables and fruit from his trees. He knew his way around the kitchen and shared my love of food and having family all around. I only wish that I had more time to pick his brain. He had so much knowledge in his head that I could still use today.

   So when I make and fill my pies today I think of him and all the years his hands worked so hard to take care of all of us.The bushels of apples and green tomatoes that he had to be picked to fill just one jar of spicy goodness. The hours of time it takes to make the filling stirring every few minutes to make sure it does not scorch and the money spent on the spices and pounds of sugar. The steam from the canner as the quart jars rise out to cool on the kitchen table. It is him that I see and hear when I open the jar of my frist batch of that Mock Mince Meat… he stands beside me as I roll out a crust and pour in the filling. He whispers to me that I should have cooked down the filling just a little bit more, but the flavor is right. He reminds me to check the oven and not burn the pie and reappears when we slice each piece.

He is here with us for Thanksgiving because we fallow a tradition that means nothing to anyone but us. The pie will be with us until I can no longer make the filling from our garden and trees. It will then pass to my sons who already  have the recipe and are learning about the huge amount of time and love all went into one very simple pie.

thanks giving table with food 2013

thanks giving table with food 2013

 The following is the actual recipe that we fallow to make our MEAT FREE MOCK MINCE MEAT pie filling.

  Mock Mincemeat

  • 15 lb green Tomatoes
  • 15 lb Apples
  • 3 lb Raisins
  • 1 cup Cider Vinegar
  • 12 cups Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Table spoon Cinnamon
  • 2 Table spoon Allspice
  • 2 Table spoon Cloves
  • 4 Table spoon Salt
  • 1/2 pound beef fat from butcher

Wash, core and chop unpeeled green tomatoes… grind or finally chop in food processor. Drain through colander lined with cheese cloth into shallow pan. Measure juice after draining and discard. Place tomatoes in large stainless steel kettle with 2 tablespoons salt adding small amount of water to keep from scorching. Bring to boil, strain hot tomatoes again and remove excess juice.Again add 2 tablespoons salt and water boil again strain and remove excess juice.Wash, peel, core and chop apples, chop up beef tallow into tiny chucks, add apples raisins, vinegar, sugar, cinnamon, allspice, cloves. Cook together until thick. (1 to 2 hours) stirring frequently, mixture will be thick and sticky. Ladle into hot sterilized quart jars leaving 1″ head space. Process 20 minutes..in boilng water bath.

Categories: cakes and family deserts, cooking, family memories, gardening, Pie | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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