Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Friendsgiving Pie 1976 Style

A while back, in 2015, I shared the below memory with you of my young adulthood, when my spouse was in the Air Force, and we were spending our first military Thanksgiving, together with other people serving, away from home.  At that time, I couldn't find the recipe for my Memory Pie, which is a soybean pie (no, really, please keep reading) that tastes like a pumpkin pie.

But, thanks to a decluttering project, I found the recipe.  This was my second copy of the cookbook - I had worn the first one to shreds.

So what happened when I found the recipe?

I offered to make it, but my spouse took one look at the recipe, and said "no". When we went to our local supermarket, I couldn't even find dried soybeans.  So I am not going to bake a pie for you.

I will leave you, instead, with a link to the recipe, which is available online.

But I will not leave you with the pie.  Just a memory of what we called "having friends over since we were thousands of miles from home."  In modern times, it may have been called a Friendsgiving.

It was the mid 1970's and we were over a thousand miles from home.  It was my spouse's first Thanksgiving in the military.  He was undergoing technical training in Texas.  And he had friends in his class, all of whom were far away from home, too.

For the most part we were in our late teens or early 20's, but among us was a slightly older man.  Sgt W. was from Iowa and he was a soybean farmer.  As I recall, he had joined the National Guard and was training with my spouse's Air Force class.

Sgt W. had never eaten a soybean.  He had never sampled the crop he grew.

In the mid 1970's, soybeans weren't common the way they are today.  But I had become an on and off vegetarian in college, and I had fallen in love with a couple of books - Diet for a Small Planet and Recipes for a Small Planet.  As I wasn't working at the time, and my spouse was making the tiny salary of an airman, money was tight and we used the methods explained in this book to stay healthy.  We ate whole grain homemade breads, bean and rice casseroles, and even dishes made with the healthy soybean.

In one of these books was a recipe for a mock pumpkin pie made with pureed soybeans, pumpkin pie spice and other ingredients I can't remember (nor could I find the recipe in a long Internet search last night). 

My spouse invited several of his classmate friends, including Sgt W., to Thanksgiving dinner.  And, an idea hatched in my mind.  Why not make something with soybeans for him?

We had a turkey, and other items no longer remembered.  It was one of the happiest Thanksgivings I remember, because we were all away from home but not lonely, and I remember our companionship much more than I remember the food.

Except for one thing.  When I served my "pumpkin pie", Sgt W. dug in, and said he liked it.  So did everyone else.  I even liked it, and I don't like pumpkin pie.

So I admitted to him that his "pumpkin pie" was really soybean pie.  And he didn't seem to mind.

I wonder what he said when he returned home to Iowa when his class was over.  We never saw him again after that.

I don't know where Sgt W. lives today, or if he is even alive.  Sadly, I  know at least one of the young men at that dinner passed several years ago.  So I don't know if W. remembers the young woman he had Thanksgiving with, in an apartment near an Air Force base in Texas in the mid 1970's, and the soybean pie she served him.

If you are out there, Sgt. W, Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow to you and your family.

Tomorrow I will be participating in both the United States Thanksgiving and the twice monthly Thursday Tree Love meme. I'd like to wish all of my readers a Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Weight Friendly Heirloom Apple Crisp

Where I live in upstate New York is in apple growing country, and some of the apples grown here are heirloom varieties.

This is a rerun of several years ago (except for the photos) and an apple crisp perfect for a weight-watching Thanksgiving.

There is a farm near Ithaca, New York, that specializes in heirloom apples.  At least once a year, we visit their booth at the Ithaca Farmers Market to pick up some unusual varieties.

Ithaca, New York farmers market 2018
This was not the best apple year, due to above normal rains, but we were able to pick up some nice apples (even on their side, which this picture seems to want to do).
Frog Pond, Bainbridge, NY 2018
But even in our local apple stores in the Binghamton area, we can purchase heirlooms such as Northern Spy, a wonderful baking apple.

There are many more apple varieties than you can find in your average supermarket.  Many of the older varieties don't ship well, or don't keep well, or don't bear reliably year after year.  But if you can find them, they are worth the effort.

When you do buy an apple, you must ask yourself:  How do you intend to use your apple?

Fresh eating? (my favorites are Honey Crisp, Autumn Crisp, and some of the eating heirlooms, especially the russets.)

Baking? (my favorite is Northern Spy but you can also try Rome and Cortland.)  And, Honey Crisps can be used in baking.

Tart Eating?  Empire is your pick. It used to be my favorite apple.

I, personally, am not a fan of Red Delicious or MacIntosh, but they have their fans.

Which brings me to one of my favorite desserts, apple crisp.  I've published a couple of different Weight Watchers friendly apple crisp recipes.  Here is one. 

I decided to experiment with adding frozen blueberries (which I picked from a U Pick farm in August).  At times, I've also put pears and/or blackberries into my apple crisps.  Yesterday, I decided to make an apple crisp with what I had on hand -  frozen blueberries.

Sorry for my friends outside the United States - you'll have to do your own conversions into metric, oven temperatures, etc.
20 ounce apple and leaves from my yard from a previous year
Fruit Crisp (9 inch square pan, serves 9)

2 pounds baking apples

4 tbsp brown sugar (you can also use 1 tbsp sucralose as an alternative)

2 tsp lemon juice

1 cup frozen blueberries (I didn't thaw them)

Peel and slice cored apples. Mix all ingredients together.  Place in a 9 inch square baking dish that has been oiled or buttered.

Top with topping.  Keep in mind this is an adaptation of a low-cal topping.  It may not suit you.


1 cup quick oats
4 tbsp brown sugar
4 tbsp light butter
1/2 tsp freshly ground allspice
1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix topping together and top.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes or until the apple slices are the consistency you want.  Let cool, unless you can't wait to eat it.

How did it do? The blueberries dyed the apples nearby purple, but it tasted good.  The topping was "OK" (I'm still experimenting with getting these lower calorie toppings moist.) I think this would be amazing with Northern Spy apples, and I plan to make this for Thanksgiving (November 22) this year.

Do you like apple crisp?

Monday, November 19, 2018

Thankful Music #MusicMovesMe

It's Monday and we all know what time it is.

It's time for another episode of Music Moves Me!

Who are the #MusicMovesMe bloggers? We are bloggers who blog about music each Monday and if you have music to share with us, you are most welcome to join!  Every other week we have a theme, and on alternate weeks, we can blog about any music we wish.  First, there is XmasDolly,   Her co-conductors are:  Callie of JAmerican Spice,  and ♥Stacy of Stacy Uncorked♥   Also, co-conducting  is  Cathy from Curious as a Cathy .  And finally, there's me. 

<!-- end LinkyTools script —> Our honorary co-host for November is Stacy of Stacy Uncorked.  Today, as this is Thanksgiving Week, our theme is songs of Thanksgiving or Thankfulness.

So, of course, the first song that pops into my mind is Andrew Gold's Thank You For Being a Friend, which also reminds me of this:

The Golden Girls!

Moving to the 1970's, how about the 1970's Guess Who hit, Share the Land?  How I love those lyrics of a vision of peace and sharing so different than what we run into today in our daily lives, it seems.
Pete Townshend - Give Blood.  I love this music, it can transport me to another world.
Wrapping up with two about Thanksgiving Day - first, Ray Davies and "Thanksgiving Day".
And finally, this 18 minute classic from Arlo Guthrie - Alice's Restaurant, about a particular Thanksgiving Day in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.   Years ago, when we used to travel for Thanksgiving, we would sometimes be able to hit a particular Hudson Valley station that would play this song at noon every Thanksgiving Day.  You'll never think of shovels and rakes and implements of destruction in the same way.

I wonder if they still play it.

You did know I was going to, didn't you, Stacy?

Have a happy Thanksgiving this Thursday (except if you are in Canada - you already had your chance but what the heck, you are welcome to do it again!)

Sunday, November 18, 2018

The Delight of Cauliflower (with a recipe)

Until recently, cauliflower was a much neglected vegetable. It wasn't even easy to grow - when the head started to form, you had to tie leaves over the little head so that it would self-blanch and turn out white.

Now, it is (for many) one of the most prized veggies.  It is a favorite in the paleo diet, as it can substitute for rice or even potatoes when prepared right.   And it even comes in colors now, like a rainbow.


And yes, white.

As Thanksgiving is coming up, how about some cauliflower "mashed potatoes" as a treat? This is a recipe my spouse, the family cook, makes occasionally.

Cauliflower "Mashed Potatoes"

One Head cauliflower, cut up into the florets.  Of the various types, spouse likes the orange best. (I wouldn't use the purple kind.  White works, though.)
Light butter, to taste
Parmesan Cheese, to taste


1. Cook cauliflower in microwave or steam until fork tender.  Microwaving preserves nutrients. Spouse does not use chicken broth - rather, he uses water.

2 Puree in blender until smooth, adding just enough cooking liquid so it will come out as a thick puree. As you puree, add 1 tbsp light butter in to taste, along with 2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Salt to taste.

4. Warm in microwave before you serve it.

5. And that's it. Enjoy!  I won't give suggested number of servings.  That is up to you.

Not only that, it is simple enough, if you have time and a food processor, to make "cauliflower rice".

Some people even make pizza crusts with cauliflower, and these crusts can be purchased commercially.

Have you fallen in love with cauliflower?

Tomorrow is my MusicMovesMe post, but I'll be back Tuesday with another recipe suitable for Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Sustainable Saturday - Mixed Messages

Friday, November 16.  Nature doesn't quite know what to do.
Just a week ago, everything was so beautiful.  But now, there's confusion.

Snow rests on rhododendrons.

In my back yard, nearly a foot (0.0003048 km) of snow sits there, with yellow leaves still on some of the trees.

And in downtown Binghamton, New York, trees stand, saying to themselves, wasn't this a bit early?

What a mess.

The snow is slowly melting with cloudy skies and temperatures in the low 40's (5 C right now). 

But it's only the beginning.  And soon enough the mixed messages will be gone.
Burning Bush November 12

It will be all winter all the time.  Fall will be a distant memory.

Goodbye, fall.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Birds on a Wire #SkywatchFriday

Today, in upstate New York, we recover from our first true snowstorm of the season.

But not all drama is on the ground.

I don't know why birds cluster like this in mid November and then fly around.  I think these are starlings, but I am not a birder, and I am not sure.  They were even doing it in yesterday's snow.

I just know they eventually alight on utility wires, here near the Oakdale Mall in Johnson City, New York.
We were stopped for a red light, and I whipped out my cell phone.
Nice view of a hill called Carpathian Hill.

As the light turned, and my spouse prepared to drive away, I took one last shot.

Join Yogi and other bloggers who watch the sky each Friday at #SkywatchFriday.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day November 2018 - Keiki Momma

Welcome to Garden Bloggers Bloom Day!

It's the 15th of the month, and we are under our first winter storm weather warning today, for upwards of five to nine inches of snow with a changeover to sleet and freezing rain before it turns back to snow.  My zone 5(b) upstate New York garden is done for the season.

We've had our freeze and our first snowflakes.  Now we are about to get our first snowstorm.

But inside, the weather is delightful (as long as our heat stays on!) and that is where you will find my flowers.  These are mostly plants I bought in (which will or won't survive the long winter) plus a couple I am trying to root.
Double flowered kalanchoe.
White sunpatien.
Pink sunpatien.
Thanksgiving cactus.
Pink geranium.

Red geranium.
Flowers on a coleus I am trying to root in water.

Last, but not least - my pride and joy. It's not a flower but, rather is a baby.  It's called a keiki, and it is a on one of my phalaenopsis.  In another six to twelve months, it will have its own roots, and can then be separated from the plant and rooted. 

A keiki is a small plant growing from one node along the flower stem of a couple of different types of orchids, including phalaenopsis.  This was a Mother's Day gift to my mother in law a couple of years ago, but she knew she would be unable to care for it and gave it back to me after enjoying it for a month or so.  It hasn't rebloomed, and this is the first time any of my orchids have given me a baby.

As an expectant orchid mother, I am so excited! 

Thanks go out once again to Carol at May Dreams Gardens, who is responsible for this monthly meme.  Why not go to other sites that have linked to her, and check out what is blooming all over the world?

Tomorrow - Skywatch Friday, and it's for the birds.