My Crazy Birthday!

Life never goes according to plan. At least mine doesn’t, and that’s just fine with me. My life is never boring!
In honor of my 61st birthday Michael suggested I splurge on real eyeglasses to replace  my collection of readers. Once you get to a certain age you get the picture… A collection of inexpensive store-bought reading glasses, scattered throughout every room of the house, car, truck, etc..  I had noticed that both of my eyes didn’t need the same strength lens anymore, so biting the bullet for prescription lenses made sense, and off to the optometrist I went. I had visited an opthamologist a year or two ago, and at that point readers were adequate, so this visit brought quite a shock. Due to a cataract I’m legally blind in my right eye! Thanks to medical advances, corrective surgery is no big deal anymore but I have to wait till the end of December. What will I do when I can see? Anyone need a ride to the store?  I’m driving!  😉
My real birthday brought more surprises. Since the weather was unusually nice, Michael and I planned to ride up to Chattanooga, TN and visit a restaurant that we like there. Just as we were getting ready to leave the phone rang. Surprise! Aaron and his family were on the way up for a birthday visit. They have to drive a few hours to get here, so driving a couple more to Chattanooga wouldn’t be good. We decided on a local Italian place. My sister, Betsy, called with birthday wishes and she and her husband, Wendell, decided to meet us there as well. Another surprise! That restaurant decided to close early just for that one day. Plan B, anyone? Oh well, on to a chain resteraunt we all moved. Emily wasn’t expecting any of this to occur, but she and Kaij were able to meet us back at the house after dinner. I was glad I had some cheesecake stashed in the freezer. I guess I had a Surprise Party that was a surprise to everyone.

Whoops!  I thought I published this last week, but I guess not, so I’ll just continue from where I left off…

November is the start of holiday cooking season, and for me it starts early. First, there are the savory snacks that start with football season and carry through till New Years. I got started with Spicy Sausage Balls and Bold Party Mix
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After the snacking starts the cooking begins in earnest. Being the purist that I am, I have to cook a pre-Thanksgiving turkey so I will have plenty of turkey broth on hand for the big day. I just don’t care to use chicken broth for turkey dishes or gravy. I tried a new roasting method where you invert the bird, breast side down, for the first part of the roasting time. I didn’t like the way this turkey turned out at all. Face it, this bird is just ugly! I’m going back to my old recipe for Roast Turkey Breast.
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When ever I roast a turkey leftovers are sure to follow. One way I like to use leaftover turkey is in Thanksgiving Turkey Salad. The dried cranberries add a Thanksgiving flair that I really like.
Meatless Monday was treat. My sister, Betsy, brought me some fresh eggs from their own chickens. If you’ve never cracked a really fresh egg from a free range hen you would be amazed. Because  the chickens eat a natural diet the yolks are a truly beautiful bright color and have such a rich taste. We savored the flavor in Veggie Omlettes.
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Tuesday I took it easy. We just had White Chicken Chili out of the freezer, but I did make a pan of Iron Skillet Cornbread in preparation for Thursday.
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I always do a pre-Thanksgiving recipe test drive to make sure nothing needs to be changed, so a pan of Cornbread Dressing made it to the table, along with a green bean casserole recipe I’ve been tweaking, Green Bean Casserole – Without the Cans. I think I’ve just about got that right. My low threashold of boredom also inspired another new recipe, Raspberry Chipotle Glazed Chicken Breast. I think that one’s a keeper,too.
My new Apple-Cranberry Streusel Pie will probably be made again, as well.
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Friday was more freezer food, Saucy Shrimp with Whole Corn Grits, my kind of comfort food. I wish Michael had a broader palate when it comes to fish, but he says he doesn’t like anything “fishy”. That limits us to shrimp, crab, scallops, and sometimes tuna. Emily had us over for a belated birthday dinner (all good!) and served an excellent cod fish that I would like to have again, but it just didn’t work for him. Oh well, I don’t care for chicken livers. Wouldn’t it be boring if we all liked the same things?
Be thankful for what life gives you.

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