Friday Food, Sunday Dinner

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July is one of those months – aren’t they all, though? We had a graduation, July 4th, the Supreme Court disasters, two funerals, and my husband’s birthday, and I am finally able to sit at the computer and write this belated post. What I’ve decided is to reach into the archives and share with you some of the best summer recipes that I’ve previously posted. Enjoy and Bon Appetit!

Ambrosia Salad – one of my favorite desserts as a child and so easy to make a child can do it!

Fruit with Sour Cream – refreshing, easy, perfect for a summer’s day.

Summer Salad (with chicken) – perfect for lunch or dinner. Put the dressing on the side and bring it for a picnic.

Food for Travel – With the kids out of school and the warm weather across the country, summer is a great time for travel. How do you keep your kids satisfied on long car trips? Here’s one way.

Home or away, whatever your family is doing this summer, no need to cook everyday. Eat healthy, eat fast, eat easy. Have a great July!

Friday Food. June.

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My family has made meatballs since I was small-ish. In time, I was expected to mix and cook the meatballs (and meatloaf) which my mother made with jar sauce. It’s okay – we’re not Italian. Her recipe is relatively simple (for either or both although I’ve changed up my meatloaf recipe cooking for my own family).

When I read Stanley Tucci’s 2021 book, Taste, I was a little astonished with how he described his family eating Friday night meatballs (his third favorite meal on Friday). In addition to his spices and bread, typical for his Southern Italian palate, they were rolled in bread crumbs, fried and eaten without sauce. That’s right. NO SAUCE. His family would add a green salad and crusty Italian bread with butter, and that was dinner.

Of course, they made many more meatballs than they needed for that dinner so they had plenty to add to Sunday’s sauce (ragu).

Fried meatballs with salad, no sauce, and Italian bread. Hmm. Okay, I thought to myself (and who else would I think to), maybe we’ll give that a try. And we did. My family wasn’t used to nude meatballs, as Stanley Tucci refers to them in his book, so we added a tiny, just a little bit of sauce for dipping, and they were happy. We’re planning on it again soon,

Our version of Stanley Tucci’s meatballs served with a small slice of leftover baked ziti. Delicious.
(c)2022

Other food things to enjoy:

The Kitchen Survival Guide by Lora Brody. I got this the first year I was married, and it was a lifesaver for someone who was a novice in the kitchen. Now that I’m a bit more advanced, I still use her recipes for perfect white rice, homemade cheesecake, cornbread, and other awesome and easy recipes. Ten out of ten would recommend.

Are You Hungry, Dear?: Life, Laughs, and Lasagna by Doris Roberts with Danelle Morton

And of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t recommend The Fresh Market‘s Big Little Meal. It is a full meal that feeds a family of four for $25. A great deal that we avail ourselves to often.

National Pretzel Day

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Whether hot or cold, soft or hard, tiny twists or sticks, I think my favorite snack is the pretzel. With a dill vegetable dip, mustard (yellow or deli), beer cheese, or melted cheddar, it doesn’t matter – the pretzel is the main attraction.

My go-to brand is Rold Gold, but there is nothing like a soft New York pretzel with mustard. In fact, when we needed to use something quintessentially identifiable for our state for our team photo for GISH, I chose a soft pretzel with mustard while sitting at the Erie Canal.

I want one today!

(c)2022
(c)2022

Friday Food. The Last Soup Delivery.

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Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good,

and delight yourselves in rich food.

Isaiah 55:2b (NRSV)

I had a quick Friday Food, and then I went on retreat yesterday. Let me explain about the retreat first and give you some interesting background as we enter into the last days before Holy Week (on the Christian calendar). It was a look at The Last Supper and the day began with Mass where we ate of the Eucharistic bread. Then a look at The Last Supper in each of the four Gospels, how they were similar and not.

We ended with a beautiful lunch of open-faced turkey sandwiches. I only mention this because of the base of bread that held the rest. The songs chosen for the mass were perfect, the homily was perfect, and everything reflected the entire day’s subject. We were fortified in so many ways: intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, and nutritionally. We were a week ahead of Jesus as we shared in the meal with our friends, some of whom we hadn’t seen in the past two pandemic years save for Zoom. In fact, one of the women I encountered I didn’t recognize with her mask on since I’d almost only seen her on the computer!

One of the other huge joys of yesterday was the amount of familiar faces that I did see. Every time I turned in a new direction, I was met with a wave from someone new, and someone I knew, and who I’d known for years, but hadn’t seen in several, again due to the pandemic.

There was also a hug, unexpected but welcome and it lifted me. Such joy shared. When it ended we prolonged it with another deep embrace, and coming so soon after mass, it just set my day in the right direction.
I was open to possibility, to upcoming knowledge and history, and continuing my faith journey, and doing it especially among friends.

All of this occurred one day after my weekly sustenance from our parish soup delivery. Every week during Lent (during the pandemic since before covid we shared a soup meal in the parish hall), my parish has prepared soup and bread and delivered them to parishioners. My son, who recently began to work, looked forward to Wednesday when he came home to a delicious bowl of soup for snack prior to dinner. This week was the last week, and it is what I call a legacy soup.

The woman who created the recipe was a friend of mine and she died last year. At the very beginning of the pandemic, she left a voice mail for me, expressing that Father Jerry asked her to call and to check on our family and see if we needed anything. It was so typical of this woman and my priest, and the entire parish that I belong to. (Our school district did the same thing regarding school lunches and internet access. We are well and truly blessed.)

The soup is similar to chicken noodle but no noodles. It’s been called Mary Lou’s Famous Chicken Pot Pie Soup and it was brought with homemade pie crust crackers. It is the most unexpected taste in a cracker, and eaten with the pot pie soup it is a perfect blend of joy and faith in the mouth. I love that this is the last soup of the season, and as I ate it, I thought of Mary Lou and her always positive greetings and cheer. She was one of the first people I saw in church in that long ago March of 2020, both of us wearing homemade masks (I in my folded bandana) and nodding at each other. It was one of the things that kept me going and kept my faith from deserting me. In fact, it was also my parish that kept my faith from deserting me.

Food is foundational. Before the pandemic, my church had a community Holy Thursday dinner before the Mass. At the Thanksgiving mass, we are given a small loaf of bread to bring our church into our family meal. During the pandemic, we held online cooking classes from a parishioner who is a professional chef. Food is central to our being, and as I’ve found, to the church family.

Food nourishes, and replenishes, and gives us a banquet of sharing with our families, and as the presenter expressed it yesterday, a table of fellowship, spreading our personal news and sharing the Good News.

What also connected it for me, was two of the links she provided as resources that I am excited to share with you:
1. Food and Drink in Luke’s Gospel (website)
2. Eating Your Way Through Luke’s Gospel (book)

As this Holy Week begins, I hope you’ll find friends and family around your table, breaking bread together and remembering the first Eucharist demonstrated by Jesus at The Last Supper.

Friday Food. Lent and Leftovers.

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Friday night Lenten meal.
(c)2022

It’s hard to find food for Fridays in Lent. Our family doesn’t eat fish at all. My son and I will enjoy a fish fry during Lent, but the rest of the family still needs to eat something so we’ll usually go with a pasta or pizza and my son and I will hit the church’s fish fry at least once. Cracker Barrel also at least once.

Last week was an off-pay week, so we were being frugal, and it was leftovers on the menu. The problem for me was that leftovers was pork loin. My daughter didn’t want the pork and decided to make eggs, so I asked her to make some eggs for me. I like my eggs well done scrambled.

She and I divided the leftover over white rice, which I microwaved. I added butter to mine with peas and a couple of leftover packets of duck sauce and then mixed in the hot scrambled eggs.

It was such a simple meal, and it was very satisfying and delicious. I feel like having it again sooner rather than later, although to be honest, tonight will probably be pizza.

What are all of you eating for your Lenten Fridays? And if you’re not observing Lent, what is your favorite simple but delicious go-to meal for a Friday night?

Friday Food – Super Bowl Snacks

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Whether you’re watching the Big Game or the Commercials, a big part of your Super Bowl Sunday afternoon is food. In our family, we always have snacks and appetizers for dinner with the occasional pizza now and then.

Some years we’ve done a nice selection of homemade snacks like pigs in blankets, waffles and chicken, soft pretzels, deep dish loaded mashed potato pizza, and mini cheesecakes.

This year our primary caterer will be Trader Joe’s. The following is our menu for this year’s Super Bowl Sunday.

  • Dill Dip to go along with pretzels, chips, and veggies as well as cheese and crackers. Our favorite veggies are cucumbers, sugar snap peas, raw green beans, baby carrots, grape tomatoes.
  • Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken on toothpicks.
  • Hebrew National Mini Hot Dogs in Blankets with mustard.
  • Pork Gyoza Pot Stickers (from Trader Joe’s)
  • Vegetable and/ or Chicken Tikka Samosas (from Trader Joe’s)
  • Chicken Spring Rolls (from Trader Joe’s)
  • Mini Beef Meatballs in Teriyaki sauce on toothpicks.
  • Cupcakes for dessert.
Super Bowl Sunday Snack Foods. (More pics on Sunday.)
(c)2022

National Hot Tea Day

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Hot Tea Day. (c)2022

As regular readers know, I don’t need a national day commemorating tea to drink tea. Tea is a staple as much as water and air. Hot tea is good for a cold, a sore throat, a mental health pick me up. There are so many varieties to choose from, not to mention the tisanes (herbal “teas” that don’t use actual tea leaves). In the above photo is my most recent cut of hot tea and two of my favorite flavors. With these two in particular, I add two teaspoons of sugar and a little bit of milk. The PG Tips takes especially good this way. If you want to complete the British tea experience, add a cucumber sandwich with marscapone. However you prefer your tea, drink up, but be careful: it’s hot!

Friday Food. January.

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Kellogg’s Luxury Muesli. (c)2022

We happened upon this lovely speciman while we were on vacation last summer. It was one of the choices for breakfast at our hotel in Quebec. I had to laugh at its ‘luxury’ adjective even as it gave me flashbacks.

Thirty-five years ago this month, very close to this day in fact, I was traveling with my college roommate throughout the British Isles between the fall and spring semesters. We were traveling by foot mostly with trains, buses, and hitchhiking interspersed where necessary. We stayed in hostels the whole time except for one bed and breakfast in Warwick. Except for that bastion of civilization that included a delicious English fry-up and a bathtub, we carried and prepared out own food. On any of the two night stays we were able to procure eggs and milk or other refrigerated items to use.

On the other days we breakfasted on mueslix. Not this luxury variety from Kellogg’s, but a no-name baggie of oats and other grains, almonds, and raisins. Mixed with hot water, it was….vile. Maybe I should have added milk and butter as if it were oatmeal, but we never had milk or butter at our disposal; only water that we could heat. Sometimes we ate it cold.

At least the tea was good.

I fully intended to try this ‘luxury’ branded muesli, but I never got past my aversion filled flashbacks to try it. I tried to get one of my kids to eat it so I could taste it, but they wouldn’t succumb to the pressure. It was as if they could read my memory.

Muesli. Ugh.

Friday Food. December.

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Tis the Season.

December is a time that many foods return. The first photo is my favorite at this time. It is usually my birthday treat.

Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher with my substitutions and a Cranberry Bliss Bar, both from Starbucks. (c)2021

This second photo (below) was an impromptu family day I organized for us. It was the last night of Chanukah and the first night of Advent, we had just put up the tree, and it still needed the lights. In addition to offering sugar cookies with sprinkles, I made hot chocolate with marshmallows. We then proceeded to watch Fiddler on the Roof, something I haven’t seen since childhood, and something that my kids have never seen. Overall, the day was a success!

Sugar cookies with sprinkles, hot chocolat with marshmallows. (c)2021