Food & Dining

Thanksgiving Day 2022

The Holiday Season is upon us again and we are rapidly getting in the mood to celebrate with all the accompanying festivities. The first order of our holiday festiveness is to celebrate Thanksgiving Day with all the appropriate feasting and borderline gluttony. We are currently preparing the Smoked Breast of Turkey entrée and several side dishes for today’s dinner.

We are thankful on this day for our feast and for the hands that prepared it. We are thankful for those who serve and are on duty on this day. We are thankful for our neighbors, our family and our friends. We are thankful for those who read these words. May the Lord bless and keep them all in His grace.

So, if you’re celebrating and feasting, enjoy! Happy Thanksgiving!

UPDATE: Thanksgiving Day Dinner

Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner comprised of Smoked Turkey Breast, Dressing, Mashed Fauxtatoes, Gravy, Green Beans and Baked Squash. Ice Cream over a Pumpkin Muffin for Dessert.

Lemon Harvest Coming Soon

The Lemon Tree with HUNDREDS of Lemons needing to be picked

Our Lemon tree (probably the “Lisbon” lemon variety) is nearing that time of year when we need to start harvesting the fruit. This year, the lemon crop appears to be much larger than in previous years (we have had this tree since 2012) and we may have to invest several days harvesting an estimated one thousand lemons. Last year, we filled the wheelbarrow twice with an estimated total of 600 lemons. There are many more than that on the tree now.

As we begin the lemon picking, we will be doing the usual thing with them, that is, giving them away to neighbors, the food bank, the senior center and anyone else that we can convince to take a bag home. Of course, we will reserve some for our annual Limoncello production.

We still have a little time before any frosty weather happens; the forecast for Thanksgiving week should be highs in the low 70’s and lows well above freezing. That’s still cool enough to layer up on the clothing, but will be OK for this variety of frost-tolerant lemons for the time being.

Our plan for Thanksgiving dinner is going to be similar to the past couple of years when we had a Keto-friendly menu featuring some of Damsel’s homemade goodies. We’re looking forward to the dinner, but more on that in a later post.

Samhain Celtic Cross-Quarter Feast

Samhain is the cross-quarter day that marks the halfway point between Autumnal Equinox and Winter Solstice. The day was traditionally considered to be the “end of summer” by ancient ancestors in northwestern Europe and the British Isles. Samhain is observed worldwide by Wiccan and Pagan cultures*.

Damsel and I both have had our DNA tested by two of the popular on-line Genealogy entities and their conclusions are that we both have significant branches in our family trees that trace back to the areas where this holiday and other cross-quarter events were and are celebrated. We have traces of DNA from other parts of the world, but our European ancestry is very much in the majority.

So, since it is a feast, then feast we shall. Our “feast” consisted of traditional corned beef and cabbage with turnips, brussels sprouts and carrots. “Traditional” in the case of this meal means that it traces back to our Irish American ancestors; the dish would have been pork, potatoes and soda bread with trimmings back in the old country. I read that pork was too expensive for poor immigrants and that corned brisket filled the entrée role. We choose turnips rather than potatoes because of the lower carbohydrate count. I don’t notice the difference.

So, wherever you are and whatever your traditions, we hope you enjoyed the weekend and maybe got to feast a bit.

Image excerpt above taken from the Archaeoastronomy website.

* Disclaimer — we are neither Wiccan nor Pagan but celebrate the feast because of our heritage. Of course, we celebrate Christian events as well when they come up.

Mid-Week Run for Staples

When we have to travel down to the west valley for supplies, one of the perks is that we pass through a scenic section of the Arizona Desert. The (clickable) image (courtesy Damsel) shows the desert between US 60 near Morristown, AZ and a craggy peak up in the mountains to the northeast that I call “Castle Hot Springs Peak,” so named (by me) for the nearby historic resort. I have no idea what the actual name of the peak might be, but then my moniker is suitable enough for our purposes here.

We embarked on the shopping venture today to stock up on certain staples needed for our fall and winter seasons. Note that trips to the valley involve more and more traffic the closer we get to the holiday season due to the influx of part-year residents (a.k.a. Snowbirds). So, before the big rush, we wanted to get some things that we can’t usually get in our little town’s stores.

We had a list of items to procure which we were mostly able to obtain at the large warehouse chain store (starts with W and ends with T). We also scored some bonus items including Keto Culture Hot Dog and Hamburger Buns. Since Damsel and I started our diets in late 2018, we haven’t been able to have a decent hot dog or hamburger on a bun until today. I can honestly say that after eating a couple of those beef franks with mustard and relish that I was not able to tell the difference between the 1 net carb buns and the old 20 plus carb buns.

We also found a nice 5 pound boneless Prime Rib Roast (at $12/lb) which is now in our freezer with the intention of having it for Christmas Dinner. It has been a long time since we’ve had prime rib and we’re eagerly anticipating enjoying it when the time arrives.

Damsel also picked up a few sundries and other items that we don’t usually see in town. We can order some of the stuff on-line, but there is the factor of holding items and inspecting them before buying that is satisfying.

So, we’re done with trips down to the west valley until after the new year unless something really urgent comes up. Meanwhile, we’re cozy in our little abode with the provisions we need for the season.

Labor Day Weekend 2022

Our weekend is going to be about feasting, as usual. And, with the extra Holiday, we’ll be doing three meals! In the (clickable) image above, we show a beef tenderloin steak and salad from a previous holiday that is likely to be served on the holiday, but can change on a whim – hold on a second . . . OK, speaking of whims, I’ve just been notified that there will be a substitute side dish with the steak, to wit: Lobster and Bacon Mock* and Cheese. Sounds delicious.

* Instead of Macaroni it uses Chopped Cauliflower

The meals for Saturday and Sunday will be in keeping with our quest to find new and interesting recipes as well as bringing back some of our old favorites. We’re going on three years now of adhering to the low-carb and low-sodium diets, so all of our recipes, new and old, conform to those guidelines (mostly – we’re not above cheating now and then). Regardless of the constraints, Damsel finds some pretty tasty recipes for preparing what should be taboo dishes while conforming to the diet rules. Think “pizza-topped chicken.”

Many in our country equate the Labor Day Holiday with end-of-summer and that was true for us when we lived in PRK* but after migrating to Arizona, summer keeps on going for a while after the first weekend of September. We love the climate here and look forward to real seasons as opposed to the coastal area where we lived before where the seasons were cool, cooler, overcast and smoke.

* Peoples Republic of Kalifornistan

We wish all of you who celebrate the holiday to have a good one and to those who are on duty or otherwise unable to enjoy the festivities, God speed.

UPDATE 09/05/2022: This is the actual meal we enjoyed today – Grilled Filet Mignon Steaks and Lobster/Bacon Mock and Cheese. Click on the image to enlarge.

Lughnasadh – Gaelic Cross-Quarter Feast

Although our ancestors and some of todays Wiccan/Pagan communities may have celebrated the first harvest feast on the first day of August, according to Archaeoastronomy.com, the actual cross-quarter of Lughnasadh occurs on August 7th of this year. Therefore, Damsel and I will be feasting on the actual cross-quarter day, August 07, 2022. A traditional Irish dinner is planned with Corned Beef and Cabbage and some Irish-inspired sides.

Disclaimer: We celebrate these festivals because of our ancestry (which is partially traceable to Ireland, Wales, England and Scotland, among others) and not that we are Pagans or Wiccans – we are of the Christian Faith and are patriotic to the Republic of the United States of America. It’s the Gaelic tradition and novelty that interests us (as well as the Feasting).

There is more about the Lughnasadh feast at Wikipedia:

Lughnasadh or Lughnasa is a Gaelic festival marking the beginning of the harvest season. Historically, it was widely observed throughout Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. In Modern Irish it is called Lúnasa, in Scottish Gaelic: Lùnastal, and in Manx: Luanistyn. Traditionally it is held on 1 August, or about halfway between the summer solstice and autumn equinox. In recent centuries some of the celebrations have been shifted to the Sunday nearest this date.

Lughnasadh is one of the four Gaelic seasonal festivals, along with Samhain, Imbolc and Beltane. It corresponds to other European harvest festivals such as the Welsh Gwyl Awst and the English Lammas.

Lughnasadh is mentioned in some of the earliest Irish literature and has pagan origins. The festival itself is named after the god Lugh. It inspired great gatherings that included religious ceremonies, ritual athletic contests, feasting, matchmaking, and trading. Lughnasadh occurred during a very poor time of the year for the farming community when the old crops were done and the new ones not yet ready for harvest.

In other news, we have been having some work done on the RV. I’ll post about that later. Also, I found a WordPress blog theme that will work for us (with some mods). I will be bringing that theme online within this week, so be prepared for those changes evolving over the next few days/weeks/months.