Judging a cookie contest is hard work!
I first became aware of the Partners Card 20 years ago when my children were young. At the time, I understood it to be a great shopping perk, using the 20% discount at many popular retailers as an excuse to kick off the holiday gift-buying season. My friend that introduced me to the Partners Card also invited me to the first Chi Omega Christmas market that I ever attended. Shopping with girlfriends became a new, fun pastime, one I hadn’t really ever enjoyed.
It wasn’t until a couple years later that I really read the literature and learned that Partners Card is the signature fundraiser for The Family Place, the largest family violence agency in Texas. And that 100% of each Partners Card purchase goes directly to supporting survivors of family violence. Over 100 women are killed by their domestic partners each year in North Texas.
The Family Place provides tremendous support for women who cannot escape the violence brought on by those they trust, and that’s why I buy a card every year. It seems like a small contribution but $70 pays for 1 night in a shelter for a woman to hide from her attacker. My hope is that the number of domestic violence deaths can reduce to zero thanks to the work that this organization is doing in the community.
This week, to coincide with Partners Card sales, Butterfield Gourmet will donate 10% of all sales to The Family Place. If you are interested in purchasing a Partners Card to help end domestic violence, visit their website for the available retail locations.
It's Father's Day, another made-up Hallmark holiday that actually has turned into a worthy occasion. After all, without a card company to tell us that we need to celebrate the special someones in our lives, would we ever get around to telling them how much they mean to us? Maybe we would, maybe not. But I'm going to use this excuse to share with you about not a father figure in my life, but my husband, the father of my children.
In case I've never really said it, JB's kind of great. He is patient, sweet, funny, generous, intelligent, and ambitious. He has adored his children from the first moment he held them in his arms as infants. He also imparted his Faith to our children, raising them to seek God and follow His ways. JB preaches tough love to his kids but then worries about them incessantly. He loves to laugh with them, and to make them crack up. He looks forward to golf outings with his sons more than any other humans. He enjoys sharing what he knows about life, travel and business with his family, teaching them as much as he is able. All of these things make him a really great Dad.
But there is one thing that JB especially does well that makes him an all-star father: He loves his kids' mom. In our house, we believe that the Marriage is the foundation on which the family is built. So we have always tried to put our relationship as the top priority. Not to say that the children are excluded from the inner circle, but that they are outer rings that form the family with parents that love each other at the core. So on Father's Day, I am so grateful to this man that has adored, protected and loved me like I never knew was possible. His commitment to "Us" is steadfast and true, and there would be no family without his dedication to all of us. Life is not perfect. But I am blessed beyond measure to be walking this imperfect life with the man that is The One for me.
On the lighter side...when our children were young, my husband was highly skilled at playing what came to be known as the "daddy game." It's a very simple game--someone starts to tell a story about their day and invariably, Dad repeats a part of the story back to the teller, but mispronounces one of the names as though he misheard. The storyteller corrects his mistake and he acknowledges but then continues to repeat the incorrect usage until finally, the child wises up and realizes that Dad is doing it on PURPOSE. It is a father's right to tease and torment his children, don't you agree? BTW, JB answers to many names in our circle: there's Dad, Pops, and Daddy; also JB, Loverboy, Butterman, Master of the Universe, Captain Obvious and lastly, Johnny B, when he speaks of himself in 3rd person, usually after performing a signature dive into the pool.
Hope you all have a wonderful Father's Day filled with laughter and good food. Be sure to hug your daddy or your children's daddy or someone who likes to be called daddy. Hugging is always a good thing.
Confession: I am quite proud of my Asian heritage. I love being a "halfie" -- Dad is Anglo (white boy) and Mom is of Asian descent. My brother, sister and I grew up very aware of our "difference," teased by our American cousins, treated as a novelty by Taiwanese relatives, adored by members of our father's church. Our mother, too, was so proud of her halfie children. She grew up poor in Taiwan, of mixed race herself (Japanese/Chinese), and adored anything Western (American). She wore poodle skirts in the 50s, and watched every Jimmy Stewart, Elizabeth Taylor, Clark Gable and Grace Kelly film that made it to the screens in Taipei. It was purely chance (an act of God) that brought she and my father together and she immediately swooned over his movie star good looks - tall and thin, with hazel eyes and shiny white teeth. He was so good looking, she thought he would never find her attractive. But he adored her petite, exotic beauty, and then gave her the best gift ever -- three halfie children!
I grew up hearing pride in my mother's voice as she declared mixed-race children to be the most beautiful of all offspring and lacking in flat feet, flat noses, and possessing superior intelligence. Lol. Ring familiar? Every mother swells with delight over their progeny. For me, her pride led to a fascination and appreciation for my heritage, and especially the cuisine. We did not live in Taiwan long but I do remember fondly some of my favorite foods from that short time.
Jiaozi, or Chinese dumplings. My mother and grandmother would make hundreds at a time, using triple stack bamboo steamers. After steaming, my father could wolf down dozens in one sitting, dipped in a simple sesame oil-soy sauce-ginger mixture. I preferred them pan-fried after steaming, with a crispy bottom. Spicy Diced Chicken with Green Peppers. In my mind, this was my mother's signature dish. A lot of preparation went into each of her courses; dicing the chicken into exactly the same size cubes, ditto with the bell peppers, hot peppers and slices of fresh ginger, marinating, double wok-frying and finally, sauced and brought to the table. Spring Rolls, not the Vietnamese version with rice paper but not Egg Rolls either with a thick doughy wrap. My mother's spring rolls had thin, crispy skins and were stuffed with lots of hand-shredded cabbage, shiitake mushrooms, strips of lean cooked pork and tender baby shrimp (if she felt like splurging). We didn't ever dip them in Sweet & Sour Sauce and only in simple soy sauce.
So with the advent of Chinese New Year, I have occasion to celebrate my heritage! Although I no longer have children in the house on which to bestow red envelopes as I received from aunts and uncles in Taiwan, I am able to stuff myself with Chinese cuisine. Chopsticks up!!
Side Note: Our family is obviously Christian so we don't really follow or believe in the Chinese Zodiac calendar as a true indicator of personality and one's future. But just for grins and giggles, my family has 2 Rats, 2 Dragons, a Horse and a Snake. You can find out which sign pertains to your year at this site, and feel free to try and guess which is my sign!
We all have family traditions, some that you've cherished for years, can't remember when they began, and are automatically a part of every celebration. Then there are the special things you might do one year because you read about another family's participation or felt inspired and you try it out on your group and they love it so you add it to the annual festivities. No surprise, our family's traditions usually have something to do with food!
A few years ago, our Christmas eve dinner became a seafood meal. We had some Italian-American friends that introduced us to the concept, rooted in Catholic tradition that involves fasting from red meat on major religious days as Christmas Eve leading into Christmas day is such. The Feast of the Seven Fishes came into being to allow for a meal that would abstain from meat and of course, seven is a big number in the church!
So for a number of years, when we are fortunate to host our family or friends on Christmas Eve, I have attempted to serve SEVEN fish courses. Some years I have managed only 5 but last year was a winner...
Christmas Eve 2016
Smoked Salmon with crostini
Clam Chowder Shooters
Tuna Tartare with wonton crisps
Mini Crabcakes with Remoulade
Endive & Goat Cheese Salad
Shrimp Scampi & Angel Hair Pasta
Seared Swordfish Steaks on Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Chocolate Cake Roll
For 2017, I am planning to scale it back a little (maybe 4 or 5 fishes) for several reasons: 1. the meal follows a church service which limits time to prep. 2. there will be only 5 people at the table, so why overdo it? and 3. Christmas day dinner involves a complicated potato dish, a huge rib roast and a cream puff tower. Regardless, Christmas eve will be filled with laughter, spirits, fishy courses and family...I could not ask for more.
What are some of your family traditions for the holidays?
The past two weeks are a blur. I do remember baking a lot of pies. And sides. And buttered rolls. And we entertained a crowd…not unmanageable, but still a crowd.
It was a lovely Thanksgiving at our house, with three of the Butterfield boys and their families gathered to talk food, sports and life. I had a fantastic crew in the kitchen—my daughter, daughter-in-law and a brother-in-law were all huge helps and I could not have managed the meal alone. It was an ambitious menu with so many sides…
2 Roasted Turkeys with Hard Cider Gravy
Mashed Sweet Potatoes with brown sugar crumble
Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes
Mashed Potato Casserole
Maple Glazed Carrots
Skillet Green Bean Casserole
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cornbread Croutons
Brussels Sprouts & Cauliflower Gratin
Traditional Bread Dressing
Mushroom & Parmesan Savory Bread Pudding
Kale Salad with Butternut Squash & Pumpkin Seeds
Cranberry Citrus Relish
Buttered + buttered rolls
Thankfully, the clean-up team did not disappoint either. There were cousins running every which way to clear the table, wash and dry dishes and take out the mounds of recycling. (so many bottles!)
What a blessing to be surrounded by people you love at any time of the year! It was so nice and I hope that each of you had your own version of Thanksgiving joy around the table.
Because Thanksgiving came early this year, I have one last weekly menu before the holiday crush. Once December arrives, my team and I will be madly baking, boxing and mailing gifts across the country for orders. We would love to fulfill your gifting needs as well so be sure to get your orders in as soon as possible. Gifts are online now!
This Saturday, we will have a booth at the Jesuit Christmas Bazaar from 9am – 5pm. Please stop by and say hi! We are working hard to have lots of product to sell on the spot. We’ve come up with some not-to-be-missed specials just for the Bazaar and it’s all live on the ordering site and effective through Saturday only, so check it out here.
For all of my rambling about being organized, I must confess that I have not yet planned the menu for our family feast. It will take a little time for me to review what I’ve served in years past and which things I want to repeat and the new dishes I want to introduce.
But what are you serving? That’s the real question. If you’d like Butterfield Gourmet’s help with pies or sides, please visit the online store to order, asap. I would love to have your orders by Thursday at 5pm but the absolute deadline is Friday at noon.
If you were not able to stop by one of our tasting events, let’s talk pie! Our all-star options include, but are not limited to:
- Salted Caramel Pie is a decadent dulce de leche in a graham cracker crust and pretty piped whipped cream on top. – Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Praline takes the tried and true one step further with a sweet topping. (best seller) – Chocolate Custard Pie belongs on every Thanksgiving buffet because someone always needs a bite of chocolate. – New Mexican Apple Pie brings a savory note to piles of apple slices with green chile and pine nuts. Want to bring something different? This is your pie. – Chocolate Pecan Pie with Salted Caramel is almost too beautiful to eat but don’t miss the dark chocolate filling studded with toasted pecans.
See the rest of our goodies online and place your order today! (Please.)
For this week’s dinner table, I have all favorites planned for you. Making menu items that I know you all love and that I have made many times will ease my team’s transition into preparing Thanksgiving sides and pies for the coming week. Because of the busy days ahead, I’m asking that all menu orders be placed by Tuesday at noon, even if you are not picking up until Thursday. Thank you for your cooperation!
Check out the menu here (pickup times are listed on this document as well). Order online here. Please order Thanksgiving items separately from the week’s menu. Call me with questions at 214-675-1932. I am thankful for each of you! But…I gotta run now, I have a menu to plan!
Today is Honey’s birthday. An honorable day to be sure! 8 people years/ 56 dog years and still holding strong.
November was once my favorite month because of my birthday; in my childhood days, I looked forward to this month because I could not wait to turn another year older. Ha! Stupid, youthful, Ruth—you never dreamed you would begin to hate gaining another year! But these days, I love November for a whole new set of reasons.
Firstly, my married children (3 out of 4) have all wed individuals with November birthdays. I often joke that I hate sharing my birthday month (you know, celebrations all month long—it’s a thing) with them but it just makes these 30 days all the more special.
Second, the weather will definitely turn this month. Cool, almost cold nights and crisp mornings that smell like damp leaves, cozy sweaters, fireplaces burning, warm cider simmering on the stove, pies baking in the oven, all of the senses are involved in the changing of the season.
Third, Thanksgiving is one of my all time favorite holidays. We host a crowd at our house and eat So. Much. Food. Card games are played (Oh Heck is a family tradition) and puzzles are assembled. We’ll take pictures, trying to secure the Christmas card image. Oh, and the Turkey Trot is definitely happening. It’s all family goodness packed into a couple of days. And it’s all about giving thanks because we have so much to be thankful for in this country.
Let’s do this, November! I’m ready.
Thanksgiving items are available to order online. Please order these items separately from your weekly menu items. Also making their debut at the online site are the Holiday goodies. Feel free to add these at any time, but keep in mind that for the gift boxes & platters, we may need more notice than 24 hours.
We have a great soup on the menu this week and breakfast is available to order through Sunday. I am here for your questions – Ruth 214/675-1932.
The holiday season is peeking around the corner…
Events start moving fast in October—for our family, we celebrate two wedding anniversaries in mid-month, sweet Penny’s and Jack’s birthdays and then we roll right into November with four more birthdays followed by Thanksgiving. We are only 4 weeks out from Turkey Day! I am not trying to stress you out. Rather, I want to encourage you to steal a moment of peace through the madness.
Try to be present for each and every celebration in the coming months without dwelling on where you have to be next or your to-do list or your “haven’t done” list. Yes, it’s easier said than done. But take deep cleansing breaths and focus. You’ll only be there in that specific moment once.
Halloween is here and I would love to see the costumes your children/grandchildren/neighbors/nieces & nephews and godchildren are wearing. Will you send me some pictures? So much fun. I have such fond memories of my kids trick-or-treating in our neighborhood, even into their high school years! Somehow it became a tradition to eat chili dogs on Halloween night (might have to blame Sonic for this one) but I’m offering a delicious, savory chili with mini-cornbreads for you to pick up for a quick meal before your kids head out or for you to enjoy when you settle in to answer the door.
Invitations going out this week
November 3, 4-7pm Sip & Sample
Pies, sides, nibbles, wine
November 4, 11-2pm Tasting Event
Pies, sides, nibbles
Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church