Left-overs

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pummkinn! our favorite!

Left-overs.  We all look forward to the day after Thanksgiving – the day that produces the motherload of all left-overs!  Turkey sandwiches, turkey enchiladas, turkey soup.  And then there is sweet potato pancakes, potato balls and a lot gravy with a little mashed potatoes.  Cold stuffing, Cornbread stuffing, and just being stuffed.  Sneaking into the kitchen late at night to nab the last slice of pumpkin pie, hiding the treats and cookies from Malcolm,  standing over the kitchen sink feasting on dinner scraps rather than wash another dirty plate.

Each year, we swear on our full bellies, that the next  year we aren’t going to eat so much or drink too much.    Each year, we do anyway.  Each year, we swear we are going to cut back on the menu and each year we add another “must-try” recipe that becomes a staple for next Thanksgiving’s table.  Each year, we try to give away the left-overs to our friends and guests and each year we end up with even more left-over filled Tupperware freshly burped in the frig.

Dolce and Amore love the idea of left-overs.  As puppies, Dolce and Amore loved the left-over pumpkin  scraped out of the can not used in the pie.  Baking day still finds them at the edge of the kitchen hoping for some tasty morsel to land on the floor.  They know the rule, it falls on the floor, it’s theirs!  (Loaded with fiber, pumpkin is actually good for little puppy stommies and their digestion.)  When the chef is in the kitchen prepping for the Thanksgiving dinner, these two pray to the high heavens for dropped cheese crumbs, turkey scraps and potato peels.  They wish for an apple slice to fall, carrot chunks to plummet and diced celery to plunge off the chopping block and into their waiting jaws.  It is a contest between them which one snatches the left-over treasure first.

My favorite left-over is pecan pie.  Warm from the oven or cold for breakfast, pecan pie is my preferred holiday left-over dessert.  It’s the perfect midnight snack.  A little whipped topping, a dab of ice cream (if there is any left) and a sliver of pecan pastry.  Yummmm!

Here is my “must-try” recipe.  Enjoy!

WARNING:  Hide from husbands and dogs – will disappear off counter!

RUSTIC PECAN PIE

Crust

  • 1  3/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 3 tbsp. dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 4 tbsp. cold butter cut into small pieces
  • 1 tbsp. cold water
  • cooking spray

Filling

  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. melted butter
  • 1 tsp. Kahlua
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 cup pecan halves

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

To prepare the crust –

Prepare a deep dish pie pan with cooking spray and set aside.  Place the first 3 ingredients in a food processor, and process until finely ground (approx. 30 seconds).  Add butter and pulse or until combine.  Add 1 tbsp. ice water and pulse again until combines.  The mixture will be crumbly.  Press oat mixture into the bottom of a 9″ deep dish pie pan and up the sides.  Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.  Let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

To prepare the filling –

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.  Combine brown sugar and next 8 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring well.  Stir in pecan halves.  Mix.  Spoon filling into prepared crust.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until center is set.  Cool to room temperature on a wire rack.

 

 

The Buddy Gang!

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Shoulder to shoulder

Malcolm has a group of friends he has known since grade school – over 50 years of friendship and camaraderie.  Known among themselves as the Buddy Gang, their bonds of friendship has survived and grown throughout high school, college, marriages, kids, jobs and Saturday night poker games.  One or two members of the gang has moved out of the country, one or two has moved out-of-state.  Most have stayed in Atlanta, separated only by asphalt with yellow-dotted strips and  divided only by the Tech-Bulldog game. Game day is a bevy of phone calls, dog jokes and yelling at the television.   By 4th quarter, the Lipton Onion soup dip with Ruffle Potato Chips and the Pale Ale beer has been reduced to a messy bowl, an empty chip bag and several drained bottles. If Tech wins, it’s a good day in Santa Fe – when the Dawgs conquer, I get to hear about it for days, those bastards!

Gray hair and lack of hair is the beta test for growing older, wrinkles and beer bellies are now the norm.    Not only are their jokes locational and generational…. ERGER!  The repeated stories of their glory days and youth have grown longer and a bit more fictional.  On occasion, an old girl friend’s name rises to the surface of conversation, classmates are remembered, past teachers are read about in the obits.  Hot chicks and cold beer have been replaced with chicken wings and a slighty chilled Chardonnay, a night out at the pub has become less expensive, arriving home earlier in the night,  wire-rimmed 1.50+ readers adorn their foreheads instead of headbands and Malcolm’s rockin’ Volkswagen bus is now a Toyota Prius.  Life has brought a multiple of changes to each one and yet, their friendship remains intact, solid and strong.  Unbreakable.  Undeniable.

Birthdays bring a round of emails and drinks full of best wishes and good cheer.  The youngest member of the gang reminding his elders of which they will always older.  A death in the family brings a shoulder, a hug, and a reality check to all of what matters most.

Emails and Skype connect the distance in their lives – phone calls and visits bring them together.  On the rare occasions when they are all together at one time, the conversation is reminiscent and loud… really loud!  An outsider would never know they hadn’t seen each other in months, or in some cases, years.  They pick up right where they left off, months and years later, pounds heavier.  Even with miles and time between them, there isn’t a doubt in any of their minds that the others are there for them and each other. A lifetime of friendship.  A friendship that lasts a lifetime.

Nelson, Murrey, Josh, Michael, Ken, David & Malcolm –  Shoulder to shoulder, the buddy gang will be friends for life.

 

 

 

 

Hell bent for leather!

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Hell bent for leather!

Amore loves to run.  She runs just for the hell of it.  And, when she knows it walk-time, she is besides herself with excitement.  She knows she’ll get to run.  Amore knows when we put on our hiking boots, its run time.  Amore and Dolce are out the gate and into the car in three seconds flat.  They can cut the load-up time in half if the tailgate on the SUV is already down and the truck is backed up to the gate.  We like to take the girls out to the Galisteo Basin for their daily walk.  There are some great hiking trails and the two love to chase jackrabbits and cottontails.  It’s quiet, not a lot of people know about the preserve and we’re able to let them run off leash without worrying.

Of the two, Amore is our scout when on the trail.  She’ll run ahead of us, looking for movement of any kind.  Birds, lizards, horny-toads, she is off like a shot when her attention is grabbed. She gets about 50 yards ahead, looking back at us to ensure we’re still a comin.  A couple years ago, we started training them to return at the call of a whistle.  We would reward them with a treat when they hustled back to us, making them sit before they received their prize.  Amore picked up on the game quickly – knowing there was a treat to be had, she would run full throttle back (without being called) and sit at our feet waiting for her treat.  If we didn’t give her the goods, she would stand in front of us and not let us pass, determined to get her nibble.  One time, just as we were starting out on our hike,  Amore ran past us up the path. looped around a Pinon tree that was  only 10 yards ahead and came back in a hurry.  She sat down and gave us that look that said, “see-how-good-I-am-now-give-me-my-treat”!

Now Dolce, she is smarter and wiser.  She usually trots behind us, letting Amore get a ways up the trail.  When we blow the whistle, she is already in place, siting on her haunches, waiting.  She has figured out she has a 50/50 chance she just might get an extra bite in before Amore arrives back.  And, smart dog that she is,  she usually does get that extra treat!  Dolce is our sniffer.  She likes to lollygag her way through our trek.  She’ll stop to smell who’s been by, sniff every low hanging branch and leaf, check out what wildlife has been through and leave her scent on every weed and bush.  She is especially crafty when it comes to eating something she’s not suppose to.  She’ll hang back just far enough that she’s able to nab a horse apple before you can call her on it.  Horse crap on a dog’s breath is NOT pleasant!

Malcolm and I pay the price on those weather-ridden days the girls don’t get their walk.  Two dogs, full of energy,  cooped up in a house is not a good scenario.  Shoes go missing, toilet paper gets shredded, rugs are in disarray.  Then the sumo wrestling starts – body slamming and tail-chasing is not an indoor sport.  Leap frog is the next entertainment and the competition is fierce.  Dolce has the lead in jumping.  Amore wins hands down on speed.  They are two for two for most creative crashes.

Like those parents who tote their children to sports practice at 5:00 in the morning, we drive our “kids” to the basin for their walk.  In the snow, cold and wind, (I won’t walk in the rain) we bring the girls to their special spot of nature and let’em run and sniff to their heart’s content.  The happiness in their eyes is worth it.