Every Vote Counts Vote America

One of the most cherished moments in my life was becoming a U.S. citizen. It took over 10 years to pass through all the legal hurdles, but it finally happened just weeks before my 18th birthday. Had I turned 18, I would have had to start all over again since I was no longer a minor.

It was an exciting moment to finally become an American. Because of that, I don’t take voting lightly. I vote in every election because every vote does count. Even if you’re in a state that’s red/blue and you vote contrary to that state’s color, VOTE. It’s not a wasted vote if you stand up for what you believe in.
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Pecan Pie An American Tradition

One of the things my mother stressed when we were kids was that we should honor the culture and traditions of the Nation that had gifted us with Liberty and a wealth of opportunities we would not have had in our native land. Because of that, when it came time to celebrate American holidays, my mom went all out to bring to our family and friends those things that she thought were truly American.

Pecan pie was one of those things and my sister continues with this tradition every Thanksgiving. Sis is the one who does this fantastic American holiday while I do Christmas Eve with a meld of American, Cuban and Italian flavors.

So why is pecan pie so American? For starters, pecans come from a hickory tree that is native to South-Central North America. While that means there are some pecan trees in areas of Mexico, the pecan tree is really prevalent in most of the southern United States.

Did you know “pecan” was an Algonquian meaning that the nut required a stone to be cracked open?

As for the origins of the pie itself, there is some dispute about that. Some say it was first made in New Orleans when the French learned about the nut from the Native Americans. But recipes for the pie itself do not begin to appear in more well-known cookbooks until the 1940s. That could be because Karo Syrup made the dish popular in the 1930s.

My sister follows the Karo syrup recipe which you can find by clicking here. But the trick to make this really nutty and hearty is to at least double the number of pecans suggested in the recipe.

So instead of six ounces, use at least twelve or maybe even an entire pound bag of pecans. You will have to adjust the size of the pie plate to allow for the greater volume, but you will get a delicious, sweet, chewy, nutty pie with this variation.

You can also add some bourbon and/or chocolate to the recipe. Substitute 2 tablespoons of bourbon for the vanilla or add 3 ounces of semi-sweet chopped chocolate to the mix (or make it a combo of bourbon and chocolate!).

Pecan pie is wonderful served warm with a topping of either whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!

The American Promise Advertising Style

We all have commercials we love. They can be funny or sad. Sometimes the feelings the commercials evoke are so universal that the commercial passes into pop culture status, enduring long beyond it’s finished running.

Then there are commercials that rouse our emotions and wring them out. Make us remember things too important to ever forget. That’s the way I feel about these two commercials highlighting the promise of America. Vindicating its values and all that we believe to be good and true about this Nation.

The American Promise advertising style.

I’m glad to see them because it seems to me that lately too many of us are cowed by the media/politicians/celebrities into thinking that being patriotic is somehow rascist/stupid/hokey.

Well, I’m not afraid to say that when I see the American flag flying high or hear the National Anthem, my heart beats faster, my throat chokes with emotion and tears come to my eyes.

As I’ve said before and will say again, I’M AMERICAN AND DAMNED PROUD OF IT! Don’t be afraid to say it either.

For now, I’m sharing these videos with you that remind me of all that is good and possible in America.

If you can’t see the videos below, you can click here for the CHEVROLET Heartbeat of America commercial or you can click here for the Jeep Liberty commercial our cut and paste these links into your browser:
Chevrolet Ad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYThjgJZFwo
Jeep Ad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mi0SbrrGaiw


Thoughtful Thanksgivings!

ThanksgivingWe were having a wonderful discussion on the Dangerous Women Loop (you can click here to join!) about our Thanksgiving traditions and I thought I’d share mine with you and invite you to share yours.

Every Thanksgiving we go to my sister’s house for a wonderful gathering of friends and family. This photo is one I took a few years ago of the beautiful table my sister, Carmen, sets for Thanksgiving. We have a very traditional American meal of turkey with assorted stuffings and side dishes. Actually, two turkeys for this large crowd – one roasted and one fried.

Sis is an amazing cook and we spend the day chatting, sometimes playing board games, going for a walk after dinner if the weather permits and generally just enjoying being together and eating some amazing food. I usually prepare the breads, muffins and some side dishes. You can check the Cook’s Treat section for some of the recipes for that day. My sis’s favorites are the cranberry maple muffins and I always make a double-batch of those!

But Thanksgiving doesn’t end that day! The next day we visit my in-laws where we get to share good talk and good food with the Italian side of the family. My sister-in-law has taken over the reins of preparing the Black Friday meal and she always does a great job. We usually bring some pastries, wine or other goodies to add to the mix.

Through it all, we take the time to be thankful for those things we have in our lives. It’s important to remember that and appreciate how lucky we are to have homes, food, family and friends and the good health and Liberty to share all those things.

How about you? What are your traditions for Thanksgiving.