Thanksgiving 2020

Relief is probably the thought uppermost in most people’s minds–relief that this year is finally drawing to a close. Relief and hope that 2021 will be an improvement. Thanksgiving for our family is always an opportunity to remember our many blessings (and to eat lots of food). We feel fortunate that our extended families are healthy <knock on wood!> and that we are weathering the shocks cheerfully and with resilience (mostly).

Thanksgiving was a quiet one for us this year, but that did not mean the meal was going to suffer in any way. Here is our menu for the evening:

With a menu like that, prep sheets are necessary:

The meal turned out well. The smoked turkey looked especially beautiful this year:

The deep-fried turkey is generally the most popular to eat:

The velociraptor (aka the son) is always a fan of the gougères:

And the spread looked impressive, even for a small group.

No Thanksgiving is complete without dessert. We went with our traditional desserts this year. A chocolate-pumpkin cheesecake, representing the traditional pumpkin requirement:

An apple pie

And a blackberry pie (the blackberries are from Lewis County, Washington)

We hope your Thanksgiving was equally festive (in a pandemic, surreal kind of way). Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving 2017

We sat 41 people for dinner for Thanksgiving this year. Well, technically, 37 adults (if you include one 16 year old velociraptor) and 4 kids under 10.

The menu was as follows:
Thai pumpkin soup with gougeres
Smoked turkey
Roasted turkey with confit legs
Stock-braised turkey legs
Deep fried turkey
Roasted pork shoulder
Roast duck
Roasted beets with chimichurri sauce
Skillet roasted Brussel sprouts with mustard and brown sugar
Chickpea, arugula, and picked carrot salad
Sweet potato and star fruit chaat
Mom’s stuffing (that’s Jim’s mom, obviously)
Mashed potatoes
Orange cranberry sauce
Hawaiian dinner rolls
Chocolate pumpkin cheesecake
Blackberry pie
Apple pie
Pumpkin spice cake

If there is a term for exhausted and stuffed at the end of a meal (stuffausted? exuffed?), that’s what we were. Thankfully, Jim’s nephew, Robert, came to help cook, and Robert’s girlfriend, Victoria, made the pumpkin spice cakes. (We had two of each dessert.)
And since Thanksgiving is all about thankfulness, I would like to say that we are extraordinarily thankful for our family and friends, who celebrate with us in good times and sustain us in bad times.
We hope your Thanksgiving was equally festive!

Thai pumpkin soup

traditional day-after-Thanksgiving sticky buns



A Baking Frenzy

As those of you who follow me on Facebook know, I indulged in a frenzy of baking over the Columbus Day weekend.  I find baking to be quite relaxing, and it had been a rather stressful week.  And since it was a long weekend, I had the time to do it.  (Although I admit that I did feel like the witch in “Hansel and Gretel” fattening up the family.  Jim was *not* happy when he weighed himself Tuesday morning.)

The following items were baked:

Double Chocolate Muffins


Light Whole Wheat Bread


Chocolate Challah


Chocolate Chip Cookies (without nuts)

“Perfect” Chocolate Chip Cookies (with nuts)


Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting


A friend of mine suggested I put up the recipes on my blog (thank you for the idea, Joyce!).  So there is now a new tab on my blog, complete with recipes.  I will continue to add recipes as inspiration strikes.


Institute for Justice dinner

Jim is on the board of the Institute for Justice, and we had the board and almost everyone in the organization (approximately 44 people) over for dinner last night.  Robert, Jim’s nephew, came out and helped cook.  Without him, we would never have been able to pull this dinner off.

The menu was as follows (no photos, sorry!  when there are 40+ people in your house, you forget mundane things like taking photos of the food.)

  • Cheese & Charcuterie with Garlic Grilled Baguettes
  • Lamb Shanks with Rosemary Orange Gremolata
  • Oven Roasted Herb Shrimp
  • Moroccan Vegetables
  • Couscous
  • Tunisian Beet & Potato Salad
  • Pineapple with Lime Honey and Lemongrass
  • Tossed Salad
  • Fresh Berry Salad
  • Chocolate Pots de Crème

As with all meals, I was responsible only for the Chocolate Pots de Crème, cleaning up the house, and doing dishes during the day.  J  And the good news is that there are lots of leftovers, so I can continue to leisurely eat my way through this meal.

Jim has been on the board of IJ for over 20 years.  IJ was founded in 1991 and is a civil liberties non-profit.  They defend people’s rights relating to private property, economic liberty, free speech, and school choice.  In addition to being an incredible group of dedicated professionals, they are also really fun people to hang out with.  (As an example, within 60 seconds of arriving at our home, there was already a pool game underway.)

You can find out more about this extraordinary organization at

Snow Day Activities

While the MLK long weekend gave us sunny and even warm (relatively speaking) weather, Tuesday brought us 6 inches of snow.  For hardy Midwesterners and New Englanders, this amount might be a mere blip on the winter radar.  However, for the mid-Atlantic and for DC in particular, it’s enough to shut down the federal government and school systems in the area.  Our kids managed to get 2 snow days out of it.  While much of it was spent watching Dr. Who and Phineas & Ferb, there was also outdoor play.  A snowball fight, complete with snowball guns, was a requirement.  Unfortunately, the snow wasn’t ideal for snowball fights, being light and fluffy, but good fun was still had by all (2 kids + dog).  And when the snowball gun fails, a hand-packed snowball is a perfect substitute.

Marcus with the snowball gun

Marcus with the snowball gun

Jade making snowballs the old-fashioned way

Jade making snowballs the old-fashioned way

Meanwhile, the prerogative of the parent is to stay in the toasty warm house and indulge in baking.  I got a bread machine as a birthday present last year, and Tuesday was the perfect day to try out a recipe for chocolate challah.  I doubled the amount of chocolate chips the recipe called for (duh!), and the loaf received an enthusiastic thumbs up from the family.

Chocolate challah

Chocolate challah

The kids are now back in school (yay!) and enjoying their 2 day school week.