Sunday, November 14, 2010

No (Turkey) Soup for You!

Thanksgiving for my family means birthdays. We have 3 members of my immediate and extended family (families?) who have birthdays, so in addition to the normal Turkey Day fare, I have to work in birthday cakes and ice cream. Trust me, the kids, especially, don't complain. They never were big on pumpkin pie, and while they didn't used to like my homemade apple pie, they've started to. Hubs always put in requests for cherry or blueberry pies, so we already have enough deserts (the extended family isn't that big!). Toss in THREE birthday cakes, and we might as well forego the turkey and all the trimmings.

This year, that's what we're going to do. But we'll forego the birthday cakes, too.
This year, we're doing something different.

My children have been lucky enough to grow up in a good neighborhood, with nice things, tons of friends, lots of support, good schools. All the things you want for your kids, and we're glad to give them.

But it's sort of blinded them to what else is out there in the world. They see MTV's Cribs, or the lavish lifestyles of the Real Housewives or Bam Margera's high-priced antics and rarely get a dose of reality. I do love watching Extreme Home Makeover with them, to show them how blessed they are and what it means to give back.

So that's what we're doing this year. We've found a local charitable organization that can use volunteers for the holidays and we signed up. The kids, as teenagers are wont to do, would rather lounge around and pick at turkey legs and three birthday cakes, but they're good kids and are willing to listen to mom.

I've always said I was going to do this, but never made the time--and with my deadline and working full time, I still don't have the time. But I'm making it. And while we're there, we'll sign up for more dates because it's the right thing to do.

[And because my thighs don't need three cakes' worth of calories. ;) ]


My homemade apple pie recipe. I beat out my cooking teacher who taught me how to bake the pie with this recipe - which is the one she gave me and entered!

Judi's Apple Pie

Preheat oven to 350

Crust: 2 C flour
1 t salt
2/3 C + 2T shortening
4-5 T ice-cold water

Toss salt with flour. Cut shortening in with a pastry blender until it forms small pebble-sized clumps. Add 3T of the ice water, toss with a fork. Work dough with your hands, adding more ice-water as needed. Depending on humidity in the air, you might need more or less water or flour to form a large ball of dough. Separate into 2 balls, cover with a damp paper towel and let sit.

Pie Filling: 6 apples, peeled and sliced thin
3/4 C sugar
2 T flour
1/2 t cinnamon
dash salt

Mix sugar, flour, salt and cinnamon in bowl with a fork. Add apples, gently tossing with fork. Allow to sit while you roll out the crust.

Make Pie:
Roll out one dough ball into thin crust, big enough to cover the pie plate. Fill with apples. Roll out top crust and place on top. Seal edges. Poke holes decoratively in crust, and an "X" in the center. Bake 45 minutes.


  1. How nice, Judi!!! My daughter's birthday is right after Thanksgiving. I mentioned doing the birthday/Thanksgiving together. NO way. LOL But we don't get much celebrating to do, just the 2 of us now. So we're celebrating!

  2. That is awesome ... Bless your hearts for your selflessness (how's that for a word?) Love your apple pie recipe. Reminds me of a student of Mr. B's who asked me how to make an apple pie and I went through the whole thing with her. (We were in the grocery store aisle) She nodded right along that she'd done it just like I said UNTIL I said something about hating to peel the apples. I had my finger on the 911 buttons before she started breathing again ... the pie was for her boyfriend's momma and sisters to show that she could cook and she had NOT peeled the apples.
    My daughter's birthday is Nov. 25 ... and she was born on Thanksgiving. It doesn't matter when Thanksgiving is her brother thinks her birthday is Thanksgiving Day. Guess he remembers because she ruined his perfect little world in 1971!
    This year she wants homemade Boston Cream Pie!

  3. Shine on you, Judi! There's a local businessman who puts on a feed for the homeless here every year. He's observed that everybody who participates, the volunteers and the homeless, takes sustenance from the experience. Sometimes it seems we're almost as self-conscious about having something to give as we are about needing to be given to.

  4. I like your Thanksgiving plans, Judi. There can be no truer expression of gratitude for one's blessings than to pass the blessings on to someone else.

    I can't tell you how many clients I've seen over the years whose real problem was that they had only the dimmest understanding of what it meant to be grateful.

    Whether they had a lot or a little of this worlds goods, they were emotionally poverty-stricken. Their relationships were hollow and they lived with a nameless, nagging hunger that nothing ever filled.

    You are showing your children where one of the wellsprings of joy lies. And proving the great mystery that the giver benefits from what is given more than the receiver does.

  5. Great idea, Judi! That reminds me of one Christmas when my mom gave my kids each a "goat" - goat was for a child in a foreign country to have milk. And then when my kids were each excited by the idea, my mom then gave each of my kids a big gift of their own because they hadn't groused or complained, because they understood the real meaning of giving. It was a cool Christmas! (And the surprise on their faces when they realized they'd gotten a goat from the their grandmother was pretty priceless. ;-)

    Enjoy your holiday, Judi, and your family!!

  6. My birthday is December 25, so I know holiday birthdays can be fun. You always get to spend the day with family.

  7. Great idea, Judi! And the pie looks great!

  8. What a lovely thing to do! I'm sure you'll have a wonderfully memorable day, the kids will learn an important lesson, you get out of cooking and you'll help countless people.

  9. I think that's such a wonderful idea, Judi. I know someone who does that and she said it's so rewarding. Kudos to you!!

  10. Hi guys! Busy day here, thanks for stopping by. I'm really looking forward to NOT cooking a turkey this year. ;)

  11. Sounds like a wonderful idea to me, Judi! Be sure to let us know how went.

  12. That's a great idea, Judi.

    One of our local restaurants has free meals for people and many of the regulars show up to help serve. It's become a great tradition.

  13. A wonderful idea, Judi! Please post again and let us know how your volunteering went.