Thanksgiving Breakfast

If I had my choice, I would celebrate every holiday with breakfast. This was the best Thanksgiving we have had in a long time. Everyone was healthy, and happy and for that we were all thankful.

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Breakfast was a great way to start one of my favorite days. Before the dressing, pecan pie and football, we paused and gave thanks for the year that had passed and asked for blessings on the year ahead.

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I pulled together things I already had around the house for my table setting. Some shiny pumpkins and deer horns littered the center of the table. I tried to keep the colors neutral with pops of metallic.

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 I got ahold of a sharpie and crafted a table runner for the day. I think it matches the monogramed paper mache pumpkin just fine. I love craft paper and hand lettering. It’s one of my favorite things.

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What did we eat, you ask? Turkey Sausage of course! We also had biscuits, cranberry pecan crackers, pumpkin muffins, and yogurt in granola cups, rosemary pecans and hot apple cider.

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I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving with people you love the most. May we give thanks all the year through, especially over breakfast.

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Mush Mash

I grew up a few streets over from my grandparents and that meant lots of sleepovers or afternoons spent scooter pootn’ (Scooter poot’n is a southern term that simply means running errands and seeing what needs to be seen.) On those Saturday mornings after our Friday night sleepovers, my grandfather would greet us with a small juice glass filled with orange juice and he would gently scratch our back to help us wake up and start our day. My sister and I would then get out of bed and turn the corner from the guest room right into the kitchen. Breakfast was usually a piece of toast, a canned biscuit, or a frozen waffle.

My grandfather was an inventor at heart. He was always coming up with something new in his shop in the basement. But long before I knew about any of those things, I knew that he had “invented” the most wonderful tasting breakfast condiment. Mush Mash.

Papa’s voice sounded like the texture of his stubbly facial hair. Once we were all seated at the small table that filled the tiny kitchen- you couldn’t open the fridge and unload the dishwasher at the same time- He would ask us, “Hey, you want some mush mash?” Who could say no to those puppy dog brown eyes and the buttery sweetness that was to come? A little pat of butter, a little squeeze of honey or molasses, He would add one or the other until  the mixture was just right. Eventually the two simple ingredients would be transcended into perfection. A good slather of Mush Mash would make any day better and a morning spent with my grandparents perfect.

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In the balance

Food we share isn’t always passed around an actual table. There’s tailgating, picnicking, and some eat while driving, walking or standing. There’s an element of balance and coordination utilized when an old fashioned table is not involved. These are qualities that don’t come naturally to me. This weekend I was reminded of one of those situations. One I’ve been practicing ever since the first time I saw a bride-to-be unwrap a crock-pot.

The ladies in my church live for a baby or wedding shower. They plan every detail, flowers that coordinate with tablecloth, that go with the matching paper napkins. Then there’s the food. They thoughtfully plan a menu of chicken salad croissants that balance the sweet fruit skewers and accent the herbed cheese ball and crackers. And don’t forget about the cheese straws. Note- if you don’t know about these southern delicacies, make some or buy some, you must get them in your belly. Usually there is something sweet at the end of the long table of silver platters. Cupcakes are the latest circulating trend and that’s fine with me.

So, I’m at a church shower the other afternoon and I have my plate of goodness, my cup of punch and my purse and thankfully I’ve already dropped my gift off at the overflowing table of generosity. As I’ve already mentioned, I’ve been practicing this balancing act for years. I sit, ankles crossed, and holding the plate, cup and paper napkin with my left hand hoping that a grape doesn’t roll off my plate and trip a cane up.  I look over and an older lady says, you’ve got this down, don’t you? I smile and think to myself, this might be the only time in my life I look like I’m semi-coordinated. I guess it takes practice.

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SKYKING

They say, home is where the heart is. I believe the heart is where the table is.

Tonight, my husband and I were planning on sharing a table at a new restaurant in our small quaint town right outside of Nashville. Small southern towns have their big charms, but not often do they have amazing brick oven pizza.

The newest restaurant in town, we had been planning this for a while. I had been hoping for a decent pizza restaurant since I moved here three years ago. We were tired of driving into the city for a pie. When my husband came down with a summer cold, I decided that we were going to have pizza whether it was at our table or theirs. I went in, found a seat at the bar and ordered two 13 inch pies to take home. Margherita for me and pepperoni for the man. The service was fast and friendly. I felt like the place had been there forever.

I love a good Friday night in and it might happen more now that I can share my table with a pie and my love. ImageImage

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Napa Cabbage

I would never compare my maternal grandmother to a traditional southern cook. You know, the “granny” type. She didn’t make biscuits from scratch, fry chicken in a cast iron skillet or snap green beans on the front porch. She had her arsenal of recipes in her back pocket and if she found one that worked well, she held on to it as long as we would let her.  There was the shepherd’s pie phase, the spaghetti phase (that one lasted my mother’s whole childhood) and the water chestnuts in the green beans phase (not a favorite of many). But the phase that was my favorite was the year that Grandma came home from her annual three month Florida vacation with the Napa Cabbage Salad recipe.

My Grandparents went to Florida every year in the winter for a three-month stay. They packed up the camper, tied everything down and began their trek down from Tennessee. The joke was that all they did down there was eat, sleep and tell lies about their grandchildren. I’m sure all their friends at the campground just thought all four of us were intelligent angels. And who’s to say she wasn’t right. Most years Grandma would come back with a recipe she had learned from one of her friends. Crab dip and mixed bean salad to name a few. But the year of Napa Cabbage, now that was the best.

Every summer I get the taste for this crunchy salad. I hope you enjoy the texture that is quite different from a traditional lettuce and not as hard to chew as a plain cabbage. The cabbage has the perfect little vessels to carry the light vinaigrette to your mouth. The “crunch” as Grandma called it, is good on just about anything so don’t give making a double batch a second thought. I’ve been known to top my ice cream with this stuff or just eat it by the spoonful.

I was just a kid when I first tasted this wrinkly lettuce and every time I make this salad, I’m brought back to that tiny dining room at my Grandma’s house. Grabbing the hand next to me, saying the blessing and sharing the table with a party of ten.

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For the Salad

  • 1 head of Napa Cabbage
  • 5 green onions

Crunch

  • 1 package of Ramen Noodles – It doesn’t matter what flavor because you will toss the flavor packet
  • 2 ½ oz. of almonds
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup sesame seeds
  • 2 Tbls. olive oil
  • 2 Tbls. butter

Dressing

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbls. sugar
  • 3 Tbls. soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar

Chop the cabbage and onions. Cover and chill.

Melt the butter into the oil and add the crushed Ramen Noodles. Sauté till brown. Add the nuts and seeds till brown.

Mix the dressing ingredients

Serve the dressing, crunch and salad mixture separately so that each person can build their salad to their liking. If your family is like ours, the crunch will be the first thing to go.

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The Inherited Table

There’s something that has been consistent in my life. Eating around a table. In my family, we sat around an inherited table from my grandmommy. It was the hub of our home. We laughed and cried and fought around that table. We always said grace before dinner. There have been other tables in my life, ones i shared with my college roommates, dinner parties with my friends in my first house and the one I now share with my husband. In this blog I hope to share some of those memories, recipes, and the lifestyle that surrounds sharing a table with the ones you love. 

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