Beachy Thanksgiving

Beachy Thanksgiving

Welcome and Happy Thanksgiving

sunny chandelier_small

This Year we Celebrated our Thanksgiving in Indian Shores at the Condo

I can’t tell you how many men that I hear say that Thanksgiving is their favorite holiday.  My brother Johnny included. 

And gee, I wonder why?  Why would men love Thanksgiving so much? 

Is it because traditionally it is the women that cook for days to prepare what is probably the biggest feast of the year?  The most delicious foods that we have loved so much since childhood that we end up stuffing ourselves to over capacity every year, having to loosen the belt buckle a notch, or two after dinner?  The turkey, the gravy, the stuffing, (or dressing if your from the south), the mashed potatoes, the sweet potatoes, or yams, the cranberry sauce, Oh!  Let’s not forget the green bean casserole made with that rich and delicious cream of mushroom soup.  And of course, the dinner rolls. 

Then for dessert a big delicious pumpkin pie.

Yum!

So what else goes with such a huge banquet as that?  What else would it be the reason that men love the holiday so much?

Ah!  I know!  FOOTBALL!!!

I myself am married to a Carolina Panthers fan which I do believe they will be playing on Thanksgiving Day!

coral and crystal_small

Given the fact that most women will be cooking all day on Thanksgiving while the men lounge around drinking beer and watching football, is it any stretch of the imagination to realize just why men wouldn’t love the holiday so much?  🙂 

In my case Gordon does most of the cooking and I cannot tell you how many women have told me how lucky that I am.  Well, I know that!  Except that I don’t lounge around watching football.  I’m the one that preps, sets up, cleans up.  That’s our arrangement and I am not complaining one bit! 

But I do think that we should all remember the real reason of Thanksgiving and why we even celebrate the holiday. 

Thanksgiving is about coexisting with people that are different than us. 

It’s about helping and respecting, and about giving thanks for that help, and that respect that we have received from others. 

  It’s not about football.  It’s not about gorging ourselves until we’re stuffed.

It’s about coexisting with those that are different from us and respecting those differences.

So Happy Thanksgiving from Indian Shores, Florida.  First settled by the Seminole Indians.  The reason they settled here was because no hurricanes used to come up through the Gulf of Mexico.  Of course that was before global warming and the melting ice caps changing the flow of the ocean currents.

Regardless, I hope yours is very nice and festive wherever you may be.

coral with crystal_small

Love to you all,

Julie and Gordon

(He is my My Delaware Indian)

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beach cornicopia_small

My Beachy Version of a Cornucopia

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Ready for Thanksgiving dinner_small

Although Thanksgiving is based on a large celebration of different people coming together to feast and give thanks,  it has evolved to be a time of family celebration.   Gordon and I moved down to Florida in the early 2000’s and brought our two children with us.  We left all of our families behind us in Virginia and Georgia, North Carolina and Arizona, and even Ireland.  So, it is mainly just us two down here, what with our children moving on to with their lives.  For us holidays are more intimate.  This Thanksgiving being no different.

Gordon feast_small Our bttable_small Julie feast_small

Our Intimate Beachy Thanksgiving

lighting candles_small

Gordon lighting candles in our beachy Thanksgiving cornucopia.

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You know it really doesn’t matter where you are or what you do.  Sure it’s fun to go all out and decorate with the nicest things.  Using the nicest tablecloths or dishes or glassware that match to perfection.  Getting out the lovely silver or the nicest china dishes.  If you can do that then great, but if not then just use what you have and enjoy it!  Don’t sweat the small stuff.

You know at one point Gordon  and I were on food stamps when we were younger.  We were even the recipients of a free turkey dinner a time or two for Thanksgiving from charitable organizations in Hawaii. 

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In preparation for this wonderful meal Gordon and I had to run some errands and do some shopping. 

We didn’t want to eat a big lunch seeing as how we would be sharing this big feast so we ate light.  We stopped off at the Asian Supermarket and picked up some ready made savory pastries.  Light and delicious to take with us as we shopped.

lunch for Thanksgiving errands_small

We like to carry food with us wherever we go so as not to be dependent on something unhealthy that we have no choice in buying.

savory pastries_small

These little savory pastries with their onion and chives always satisfy us when we are on the run.

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candles with seashells on them_small

Thanksgiving at the Beach

daytime balcony table_small

I had it in my head how I wanted everything to look.  I wanted  to eat by the balcony, if not directly out there.  I wanted twinkling lights.  I wanted a good representation of both our love of Thanksgiving and our love of the beach, combined with our love of the condo and all the happy memories we’ve had out there with family and friends as well as just the two of us.

daytime beachy table_small

The sea shell chandelier above I made myself by spray painting an old gold light fixture a pretty white color and then hot gluing shells all around it.  Gordon rigged up the coral underneath it with some wire. 

The “tablecloth” is nothing more than one of the condo bedspreads. 

beach table_small pumpkin cocktail_small

Star Fish and Pumpkin Cocktails

For this cocktail I used 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree, 1 cup half and half, 2 shots coconut rum, 1 shot vodka, 1/4 Tbsp brown sugar, 1/4 Tbsp ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ground cardamon, 1/4 tsp ground cloves.  Mix all ingredients in a shaker with 4-5 ice cubes. 

TIP: You could substitute the coconut rum with spiced rum or cut some into the drink with the coconut rum to give the drink some extra spice.

To make the drink more like pumpkin pie, I rimmed the glass with ground gram crackers.  To get them to stick to the glass make a simple syrup using equal parts water and sugar and heat in a small sauce pan until the sugar dissolves.  Then simply dip the rim of the glass into the syrup and then into the gram crackers.

Beachy Thanksgiving Table_small nighttime chandelier_small

The Lighting Played a Big Role in Setting the Mood

It was a lovely table from afternoon until evening.

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TGThree-563x353_small

Ready for our Beachy Thanksgiving

Chandelier at dusk_small

It’s Dusk and Time for Dinner

Gordons Turkey_small

Gordon’s Ono Turkey

(Ono means delicious in Hawaiian)

The first thing you want to do is remove the neck and giblets package.  Thaw the turkey for about 48 hrs. in the refrig.  Message about 3/4 cup olive oil all over the turkey.  Season your turkey with herbs and spices including the cavity.  I like to use herbs like Marjoram, Sage, Thyme, Rosemary along with paprika, oregano, turmeric, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt and pepper.  These are most of the ingredients I put in my Ono spice rub.  Place a digital thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh.  Cook the turkey in a 400’F oven until the turkey’s temp hits 130’F then turn the oven down to 350’F until the turkey’s temp hits 158’F.  I cook it at this temperature because the turkey will continue well after removing it from the oven, and the heated juices of the turkey running back into the center of the meat will cook the turkey to 165’F.  Be sure to let the turkey rest for at least 20 min. before carving it.  Doing this will ensure you have a moist turkey.

TIP:  Be sure to let all proteins rest before cutting into them.

Banana leaf turkey_small

Turkey on Banana Leaves Seasoned with Gordon’s Special Poultry Seasoning

(What?  Don’t you serve your turkey on banana leaves?)

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Thanksgiving at the beach_small

A Perfect Beachy Thanksgiving

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The Menu

Beachy Thanksgiving Turkey_small

Gordon’s Ono Turkey on Banana Leaves

Brown Gravy

Tropical Stuffing (Cranberry and Macadamia Nut)

tropical dressing_small

Hawaiian Sweet Potato Casserole

Sesame Ginger Chinese Long Beans with Shitake and King Mushrooms

Chinese long bean casserole with mushrooms_small

Egg Noodles

Honnies egg noodles_small

(In honor of my Yankee great-grandmother Honnie)

Roasted Carrots and Parsnips

Eastern Shore Cornbread

Hawaiian Host Bread

Pumpkin Martinis

Eastern Shore Cornbread Hawaiian Sweet Potatoes and Tropical Stuffing_small tropical stuffing and carrots and parsnips_small

Beautiful Table

my little homage to the Native Americans_small

Excellent Dinner

etserve_small

Did you know that Benjamin Franklin wanted to make the turkey our national symbol?

Funny, but everyone always laughs at that and I don’t see why?  The turkey is a beautiful bird.

big turkey_small

Which brings to mind my children’s Thanksgiving song from school.

The turkey is a fu-unny bird,

his head goes wobble, wobble.

The only word that he can say is,

Gobble, Gobble.

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Carving The Turkey

Once all the ooh’s and aah’s are over it’s time to carve the bird so that the feasting can begin. 

first remove the wish bone_small frtw_small

You first want to remove the wishbone.  The turkey will be easier to carve if you do.

You can find the wishbone by cutting away around the neck portion.

use your knife to cut around it_small

Just use a sharp knife to cut the wishbone out.

next remove the legs_small

Next is to remove the turkey legs.

carving into the turkey_small

Then start to carve into the breast cutting slices as you go.

slicing the turkey breast_small sttb_small

As you slice then place the portions of turkey onto a platter.

I don’t think that anyone expects perfection, I think all anyone really wants is to start eating. 

the turkey sausages Gordon inserted before cooking_small

Turkey Sausages

It was my idea for Gordon to stuff the turkey with some turkey sausages that we had in the freezer.  He had put his spice rub inside the turkey as well as all over the outside and I wondered what the blending of flavors would taste like?  Turns out it enhanced the flavor.

Our turkey portions_small

Now, the Turkey is Ready for Consumption

(You needn’t put everything on the platter, just a nice amount.)

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Eastern Shore Cornbread

Eastern Shore Cornbread Hawaiian Sweet Potatoes and Tropical Stuffing_small

The Eastern Shore cornbread is sitting at back, left.  This recipe is from Gordon’s mother, Sarajane Whann.  I first ate it with Gordon’s family when we were dating and it is a favorite of the Whann family.  Unlike regular cornbread this batter is very ‘liquidy’.  It is a very sweet cornbread, more like a dessert actually.  You also slice it the way you would a batch of brownie’s, in little squares. 

out of the oven cooling_small

Eastern Shore Cornbread Straight out of the Oven

We made extra to give as edible gifts and to one we added pumpkin puree for a new taste.

Recipe:

Eastern Shore cornbread ingredients_small

-2 cups milk

-1 cup water

-2 eggs

-1 1/2  cups yellow corn meal

  • 1/2 cup Crisco Lard (we substituted with corn oil instead)
  • -2 teaspoons salt
  • -2 cups sugar (we used the Splenda fine sugar)

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Here are the directions written by my mother in law:

“Place milk and water in a sauce pan on top of the stove. 

Cook until LUKEWARM.

  Test with finger – DON’T BOIL – STAND OVER IT & WATCH.

Add corn meal and cook until thick.

heat ingredients on a stove top_small

STIRRING CONSTANTLY.

beat some eggs_small thicken on the stove top_small

(You want to whip your eggs before adding them to the mixture.)

REMOVE from heat and add remaining ingredients.  Beat well.  Use whisk or electric beater.  Pour into GREASED pan. 

spoon some of the liquid into a large measuring cup_small pour into a greased baking dish_small

(To avoid a mess ladle some of the liquid batter into a large measuring cup and then pour into your baking dish.)

Bake at 400* until good + brown.  maybe 1/2 hr. 3/4 hr. or more. 

Use a Pyrex 9 x 13 pan for better visual testing.  Will still be moist”.

(She even screams on her recipe cards.)  🙂

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This year I got the idea to add some pumpkin puree to the mixture for a more ‘Thanksgivingy’ taste.  Gordon liked the idea, but suggested we just spoon some into the mixture and not mix it totally.

adding a pumpkin puree_small dont mix just swirl_small

It came out GREAT!

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Eastern Shore Cornbread Edible Gifts

Eastern Shore cornbread with pumpkin_small E Shore cornbread shapes_small

Keep refrigerated.  This cornbread is nice hot or cold.  I got a little creative and used some Thanksgiving cookie shaped cutters to cut out a Native American, a pumpkin, an acorn and a turkey.

Using cookie cutters_small Edible gifts 2015_small Julie cookie cutter fun_small

Delicious Thanksgiving Take Home Gift

Eastern Shore cornbread shapes_small

A Big Hit at the Kiddie Table

Julie cookie cutters yummy_small

Tastes Good Too!

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Thanksgiving One_small

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Turkey and Dressing

(The two were meant to be together.)

Turkey and Dressing everyones favorites_small

Tropical Stuffing (Cranberry and Macadamia Nuts)

tropical dressing_small

We wanted something tropical and this is it!

We came across this recipe a few years ago and gave it a try and loved the fact that it was different from our usual stuffing/dressings. 

The sweet dried cranberries and the nice crunch from the Macadamia nuts added great texture.

dressing ingredients for tropical dressing_small chopping the celery and sweet onion_small

All the Ingredients for this Tropical Stuffing Recipe

Ingredients:

1 1/2 loaves of Kings Hawaiian Bread cubed

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped sweet onion

1/4 cup butter

1 Tbsp dried Sage

1 Tbsp dried Thyme

1/2 Tbsp dried Rosemary

1/2 Tbsp dried Marjoram

1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 -3/4 cup chicken broth

Salt and Pepper to taste

sauteeing the onions, spices and celery_small

Cook the celery and onion in butter on medium heat in a large saute pan until tender. Stir in the herbs and cook a few minutes more.

Kings Hawaiian_small

slice breads into small pieces_small preferable stale bread_small

Stale-ish Bread is Best

You want to chop this up into small bite sized chunks.

small chunks of bread_small

Place the cut bread into a large bowl and add the herb, onion and celery mixture, along with the cranberries and nuts.

adding the dried cranberries_small mix together and put into a greased baking dish_small

It is best to chop your Macadamia nuts, Gordon didn’t.  I didn’t like the big chunks of them, but with any recipe there is always experimentation.  Now add 1/2 cup of the chicken broth and stir to moisten all the bread adding salt and pepper to taste.  If needed add the rest of the chicken broth.  Taste the stuffing and adjust the seasonings.  Place the stuffing in a medium sized baking pan which has been sprayed with a non-stick spray.  Bake stuffing at 350’F for about 35-40 min. until golden brown.

Carrots and Parsnips

Microwave Oven Style

carrots and parsnips 2_small carrots and parsnips_small

Here, I kept the ingredients rustic and didn’t peel them.  I did give them a good washing though!  Now, cut them to about even sizes and add about 3 tbsp of butter with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook them in a covered dish in the microwave for about 8-10 min.  I used the microwaves vegetable setting a let the microwave cook them for me.  When done, keep them covered and they will stay warm longer.

carrots and parsnips_small

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Gordon slaving away_small

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Hawaiian Sweet Potato Casserole

 Gordon combined two different recipes for this one recipe. 

we combined the recipe from two different recipes_small

I found these two books at library book sales when we were living in Hawaii and we’ve found the recipes quite tasty. 

Hawaiian Sweet Potato Casserole Ingredients_small

Ingredients:

4 sweet potatoes peeled and diced

2 Granny Smith apples diced

2 bananas sliced into discs about 1/4″ thick

3 Tbsp fresh ginger minced

1 can coconut milk

1 can cream of coconut

1 can pineapple chunks and liquid

1 cup macadamia nuts left whole or chopped

1 cup roasted coconut shavings

1 1/2 tsp ground Cardamon

1 tsp Cinnamon

6 Tbsp Butter

peel your sweet potatoes_small chop into small bite sized chunks_small

Start by peeling your sweet potatoes and chop them into small bite sized chunks.  Place them in a microwave safe bowl with 2 Tbsp butter and cover.  Cook for about 8 -10 min. or until the potatoes are mostly cooked.  Doing this cuts down on the total baking time of the dish.

softening the sweet potatoes in the microwave_small drain the water out_small

Then drain off the liquid into the sink.

adding the chopped ginger and the coconut milk_small add chopped apples and bananas_small

Add the rest of your ingredients (except the roasted coconut) into a large bowl and mix well.

Hawaiian sweet potatoes ready for the oven_small HSP ready for the oven_small

Then add the mixture into a baking dish which has been sprayed with a non-stick spray.  Bake this at 350’F for about 35-45 min. or until the liquid is thick and the apples are cooked.  Pour the casserole into your serving dish and top with the roasted coconut.

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Chinese Long Beans with King and Shiitake Mushrooms, Purple Pearl Onions and Caramelized Shallots

delisious green bean and mushroom dish_small

Chinese long beans_small

Ingredients:

1 bunch of Chinese Long Beans

1/2 cup sesame seed oil

2 Tbsp sesame seeds

1 bag Red Pearl Onions

5 Shallots thinly sliced

6 King Mushrooms

8 Shiitake Mushrooms sliced

1/2 tsp Garlic powder

Salt and Pepper to taste

Start by washing the long beans well and cut off the dry stems.  Pat them dry with some paper towels and place into a large bowl with the sesame seed oil and sesame seeds.  Mix them well.

Now, boil the Red Pearl Onions for about 8 min. then drain and cool with cold water.  Cut off the root end and squeeze out the onion and set aside.

boiling the purple pearl onions on the stove top_small boiling pearl onions in their skins_small

Boiled Purple Pearl Onions

beautiful purple pearl onions_small

Cute, aren’t they?  The skins have been removed.

pcsb_small perfect Chinese sting beans_small

Seasoned Long Beans in a pan ready to roast.

king mushrooms for green beans_small

Saute the King Mushrooms over medium heat in olive oil with salt and pepper until cooked through… about 4 min. on each side.  Place on large roasting pan with long beans.  Place the Long Beans and King Mushrooms on a sheet pan in a 350’F oven for about 45 min. or until the green beans are cooked tender. 

Saute the sliced shallots using the same saute pan and olive oil until well caramelized.  Set aside in a bowl for later.  Lastly, saute the Shiitake mushrooms in the same pan using more olive oil if needed until tender.  When the Long Beans have finished cooking, place all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix well.  When mixed well, place them into your serving bowl as the heat from the beans will warm the other ingredients.

roasting in the oven with the mushrooms_small

Long beans roasted in the oven with the mushrooms.

pearl onions skitake mushrooms and carmelized shallots_small

Pearl Onions, Shiitake Mushrooms and Caramelized Shallots were then added to the roasted Long beans.

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Making Gravy

Gordon making the gravy_small

Ingredients:

~2 Tbsp Flour

~2 Tbsp Butter

2 cans Chicken Broth

Rosemary, Thyme, Sage, Marjoram

Salt and Pepper to taste

Making gravy is an easy process if you just understand a few things.  First, you have to have equal parts fat (butter, Turkey fat drippings, or Olive oil for a healthier version) to flour making what is called a roux.  Then, the more you cook the flour the less absorption of liquid or thicken power the roux has.  Cooking the flour lightly makes a light roux for a light gravy.  Cooking the flour more to light tan, tan, red, and dark brown makes a nuttier tasting gravy.

Start by melting/heating your fat/butter then add equal parts flour.  You can do this by simply lightly spreading flour over the fat/butter ensuring neither is more than the other.  Mix both together using a whisk or bamboo spatula and cook for about 3 min. on medium low heat.  You can now add the herbs I mentioned above which are mainly used with poultry.  Now add about 3/4 can of chicken broth and mix well… now you have made a Veloute Sauce.  The broth will be quickly absorbed by the flour and once done, add more broth until you have the thickness you desire. Taste the gravy for the seasoning and thickness and adjust as needed.

TIP:  As you continue to cook the gravy or Veloute sauce the mixture will thicken and probably need more broth to thin it out again. 

TIP:  To make Giblet Gravy, Cook your turkey neck, giblets, and gizzards in water, then remove the meat from the neck and chop the giblets and gizzards.  Adding these ingredients when you add your spices in the recipe above, makes a great Southern style gravy.

Leftovers

Turkey Salad

Thanksgiving Leftovers

It is said that the reason we all gain weight around the holidays is because of all the leftovers we eat.  Just eating one large meal is not going to cause very much difference in our weight, but eating one large meal after the other for days will.  So, we tend to turn our leftovers into a lighter fare.  For example, my turkey salad.

delicious turkey salad_small

Delicious Turkey Salad

Instead of doing a lot of chopping by hand, I like to put everything in the food processor, so it will be chopped very fine.  However, when I went to drag out my food processor I couldn’t find it.  That’s when I remembered I had thrown it away last year, because it was old and had cracked.  So, I dragged out this teeny little chopper instead.

teeny little mixer_small chopping the eggs_small

My half sisters and their mother gave this to me years ago and it ended up saving the day.

chopping the chicken_small making my turkey salad_small

I wanted to turn this turkey salad into more of a spread so that it would go nicely on crackers as well as bread for a sandwich.

pickle relish_small

I do use pickle relish, but it still needs more sweet than that.

I am told that I make some of the best salads.  The secret ingredient for any salad in the south is pickle juice.  Our Great-Great-Grandmother’s used it, our Great-Grandmother’s used it, our Grandmother’s used it, our parents used it, I use it and I’ve passed the tradition down to my own daughter and son.

So whether you are making chicken salad, turkey salad, egg salad, deviled eggs, ham salad, potato salad and even tuna salad, always sweeten with a good flavored pickle juice.  I must have used half a jar in this batch.

MY special ingredient is Tabasco, that I put in all my salads.

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A Day of Shopping and Errands

Now that Thanksgiving is officially over with, except for all the leftovers we still have stocked in the frig, it is time to really tackle Christmas head on.   Now comes the shopping and errands.

taking turkey salad with us_small Turkey Salad to go_small

Turkey Salad to Go

Still eating that turkey.  But this time I’m taking some to my daughter and her boyfriend for their lunches.  This is too good to just throw away and we can’t eat it all.

I always take food with me wherever I go so that I am not dependent on whatever is out there.  I also tend to eat really light for lunch.  Lunch to me is very casual and I tend to eat it standing up.  Just a quick bite.

eating turkey salad_small lunch at Veronicas_small

At Veronica’s House

Oh, someone asked me for my turkey salad recipe and I cannot begin to give you any measurements as I just throw it all together but it includes:

Turkey Salad Recipe:

(and my chicken salad for that matter)

Chop Everything:

turkey

onions

celery

pickle relish

hard boiled eggs

Then add your:

ground black pepper

mayo

yellow mustard

Tabasco sauce (a few dashes)

pickle juice to sweeten

Most of the time I prefer eating it on really nice crackers instead of making a sandwich out of it.

Turkey crackers_small

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Ending the Thanksgiving weekend with Gordon’s homemade Russian tea and a good book.

Gotta have some Russian Tea_small

To learn how you can make this tea just check out the:

Delicious Christmas Gifts

Russian Tea Gift Jars_small

It does hit the spot on a cool or cold day.

The Last of the Mohicans book box_small Ah The Last of the Mohicans_small

A Book Inside a Book

The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper

I love the names in the book, Chingachgook, Hawkeye, Uncas, and my favorite, Ongewasgone. 

Hawkeye and Cora are one of my favorite couples.

Don’t have time to read the book?  Then just watch the movie.

The Last of the Mohicans

1992

Last of the Mohicans cast_small

Great movie, great cast.

Daniel Day -Lewis

Madeleine Stowe

Eric Schweig

Jodhi May

Russel Means

Wes Studi

Alice and Uncas_small

Alice and Uncas

My favorite couple that never got together.

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Thank you so much for joining us this year for our ‘Beachy Thanksgiving’. 

We hope yours was nice as well.

Oh, don’t forget your Eastern Shore Cornbread.

Edible gifts E S Cornbread_small

Take care!

Julie and Gordon

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Oh, one more thing. 

Now that the feasting is over with and a few pounds have been added to our waistline, it’s time to trim down before we do all the Christmas feasting.

So, might I suggest the following:

 

light dinner_small light dinner part 2_small

Cheeses, Crackers, various Mustards, and some Turkey Sausage

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Gobble, Gobble