Thanksgiving Vibes & Lost Causes

I seem to be losing a lot of things lately.

Last week, I lost two pairs of sunglasses. A pair of aviators, that were a Christmas present from my husband, and a pair of Wayfare-esque ones. I’m not sure where they came from. I could blame it on age, but honestly, I’ve always been somewhat forgetful and tend to lose things.

When they used a quote in the yearbook from my Cheerleading Squad to represent me, it was “Gina- did you forget anything?” because I was always forgetting something- pop-poms, my athletic letter, saddle shoes. I think I even forgot my bloomers once!

The Canes and the Dolphins lost last week, not a good week for Miami Football. Our tailgate for the UM game was successful, however. We had sausages and hot dogs with sauteed onions and Cole Slaw. Emma and Gui brought Argentinian Sausages, I brought Bratwurst and Kelley brought Hebrew National Hot Dogs. It was a “bring your own sausage” tailgate, or, as I called it, a Sausage Party.

Orange and green veggies (get my theme?) were appetizers with Three Layer Hummus and Pita Crackers. Pumpkin Cupcakes with orange frosting and green sprinkles were our dessert. Wyatt helped me make them when I picked him up from school Friday. I just used Yellow cake mix, but substituted some of the oil for pumpkin puree and added about a tablespoon of Pumpkin Spice. They were good! We decorated some for Halloween as well.

I like Tailgating, but it’s quite an effort to get the tent up, table and chairs out and set up, food spread out and drinks poured. Then, grilling the food, serving it, letting the grill cool down and packing it all up. By that time, it’s time to head into the stadium. Do I sound old?

We should’ve gotten their earlier, because I missed the team coming out of the smoke at the beginning- one of my favorite parts of the game. And, depending on the game, it’s sometimes absolutely my favorite part of the game. Not this game- it was exciting, but we just couldn’t pull it out in the end.

Going to UM football games always reminds me of my Dad, Butch Rice, who loved UM Football. He was a Dolphins season ticket holder, but gave up his tickets when they moved to Joe Robbie (now Hard Rock) stadium and transferred his football passion onto the University of Miami. He attended games at the old Orange Bowl, now they’re at Hard Rock. He died 20 years ago last week. While I knew October sixth rang a bell, I’d forgotten why until my sister Kelley reminded me.

We met for lunch at Amal, a Modern Lebanese restaurant in Coconut Grove. I’ve been dying to try it and had heard good things about it from friends and on Instagram. We toasted my Dad at lunch (we had fancy drinks, my Dad would’ve had a Coors Light) and had a lovely, Middle Eastern Mezze lunch. *Amal restaurant review coming in future Foodie in Miami.

Winner, winner Chicken Dinner

Last Tuesday was National Taco Day, but I actually had a craving for Roast Chicken, so that’s what we had. I served it with Stovetop Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans. I guess I was feeling Thanksgiving vibes. Sometimes, you just crave something and Publix Rotisserie Chicken saved the day; it’s an Empty Nester’s best friend. I used the leftovers to make my favorite Chicken Noodle Soup later in the week.

I went to Trader Joe’s this week for Tailgate supplies. While many people complain of not being able to find parking, I’ve never had an issue with it. The place was packed, however (don’t go at lunchtime) and they had an issue with their freezer sections, so there were whole sections missing food items. They didn’t have my little Hold the Cone Ice Cream treats. I did get my Mini San Marzano tomatoes; they are $2.99 at Trader Joe’s vs. $4 at Publix. I also got Pumpkin Ravioli, which I love!

For lunch on Tuesday I made a delicious salad with Trader Joe’s Dill Pickle (trending) Falafels, pickled red onion, pickled beets, lettuce, sliced avocado, shaved carrots and feta cheese. I whipped up a quick tahini dressing with tahini, lemon & beet juice (made it pink) and olive oil. It was delicious and the Falafels took the place of croutons, for crunch.

Delicious and Pickle-forward salad with Falafel.

Zeke had brought a favorite bartender fresh tamales from Homestead and, in return, his Mom made us Cheese and Pork Tamales. She said to serve them with sour cream and Queso Fresca, which is what we did Friday night for dinner. I used my new Always Pan to steam them, which was super easy. They were delicious.

Sunday was a rainy all day, but the highlight was getting to see the grandkids- Wyatt and Phoenix. I went with their family to Spirit in Sunset Place (now a Ghost Town) to look for costumes. Unfortunately, they were out of Spiderman for Wyatt. Justin bought a Mullet wig and I got a red skirt for my costume. I watched the kids, while Justin and A.J. looked for a new couch in Restoration Hardware and Z Gallerie, but Z Gallerie is now gone.

Zeke used his electric smoker to smoke a fat Rib Eye Steak, Chicken Thighs, Argentinian Sausage and Baked Beans. I made Kentucky Fried Chicken’s Copycat Coleslaw (from Parade magazine) and Corn on the Cob (Wyatt’s favorite) as sides. Whipped Ricotta Herb Spread with Grilled Bread and veggies was our appetizer.

It was all good- the smoked sausage and baked beans were my favorites- but after all that cooking (outside in the rain, no less), we sat down to eat at 6 and by 6:15, we were all done. It kind of felt like Thanksgiving! A.J. decided suddenly, they needed to leave to go buy a couch before the store closed at 7. So, a short but sweet visit. I was left with a quiet, empty house… and the dishes.

I’m going to visit Chris and Courtney for Halloween in Tallahassee, later this month. Last year, the theme was Peter Pan (with Liam as Hook), this year its Scooby Doo, with Liam as Scooby. I’m Velma (very controversial). I have my wig, glasses, red skirt, now all I need is the orange turtleneck.

Hungry Post, a Foodie blog, went in search of the Best Croquettas in Miami. These are where they found the top three: 1) Tinta Y Cafe (Coral Gables) 2) Islas Canarias 3) Versailles. I’ve tried Versailles croquettas (delicious!), attempted to make Islas Canarias’s croqettas (complicated). I guess that means I need to try Tinta Y Cafe’s croquettas, since they were voted #1. A Book Club friend also recently recommended Tinta Y Cafe on Ponce de Leon, calling it a “hidden gem.” Foodie in Miami is all about Hidden Gems, so count me in!

Nothing to report on watching shows. I’m still plowing through Parks and Rec on Peacock Plus. My sister Elise recommended Blonde and Emma recommended Dahmer on Netflix. I started watching Dahmer, but when Zeke left me to go upstairs, I turned it off. A series about notorious, cannibalistic, serial killer Jeffery Dahmer is not something I want to watch alone.

I recently ended a relationship that wasn’t working for me. While I can’t say it felt particularly good– I don’t like confrontation- it did feel right, if you know what I mean. Speaking my truth, sticking up for myself and all that jazz. It’s only taken sixty-something years to get to this point.

People give the worst advice about lost things. Retrace your steps. Pray to St. Anthony. Think about where you last saw it. But that doesn’t apply to the things that matter. Those are right in front of you, except they can’t be found by looking for them. Only by looking at everything else.

Kristin Lepionka, The Last Place You Look

Wishing you a good week, with lots of delicious eating and not too many spooky surprises.

Up Next: The Best Chicken Noodle Soup

Published by gleeguilford

Born and raised in Miami, the daughter of a pilot and stay-at-home Mom, I love food in all forms. My great grandfather opened the first Italian restaurant in Miami in the 20's, The Boathouse on the Miami river. I love exploring my heritage and linking food and recipes to personal stories. I've been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Food and Love and wrote restaurant reviews and news as the Miami Dining Examiner for three years. I love exploring Miami's latest hot spots, hole in the walls and institutions. I'm always looking for innovative ways to use the plethora of tropical fruits and vegetables South Florida offers, especially from my own garden.

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