La Quinta, California: This fancy country club is so very oh-no-you-can't-have-a-RV-parked-in-front-of-your-house-for-more-than-24-hours, which we find so interesting because we have not seen a bus here that would have listed at much under a million dollars parked in front of a house (except ours, of course). Not like one of these coaches is tarnishing the value of the neighborhood. These RVs (and our 13-year-old RV) are obviously parked in front of a house only to load/un-load goods before returning to/from storage.
By planning ahead we were able to unload our bus and have Maricela's crew arrive to clean the interior (including carpets)... and get the local auto detailer to wash the exterior... well before the 24-hour cut-off. Whew! Our bus was returned to our rented storage unit at Luxtor, plugged-in, and we could now concentrate on 1) getting our boosters 2) prepping for Thanksgiving. I think my priorities are the same as your priorities? Did you get boosted? What are your Thanksgiving plans? Please comment below.
In my spare time, I prepped dinner for six the day after we returned home. Seriously. The party we had with old friends (in town for a few days) was epic. Great food. Great company. Great wine.
An easy focaccia was prepped. I used only rosemary, olive oil and Jacobsen Sea Salt as a topping. The bread was served with additional olive oil, with chopped fresh rosemary (from our garden pots) to accompany.
The main course was my grilled flank steak with kalamata salsa (this recipe will be posted ASAP). It is easy and make-ahead... except that someone (DT) needs to grill the meat just before serving. Roasted carrots, tossed in orange juice and zest, were served, as well as smashed potatoes roasted in duck fat. Key Lime Pie, using Sister Ginger's key limes. Everyone went home happy.
We had our Moderna boosters the next day. Having appointments with our health care provider - Kaiser - we arrived several minutes early only to find long lines spewing out both sides of the entry door. Approaching the door attendant, we were asked if we were here for a booster, if we had an appointment, and if we were Moderna people or Pfizer people. Seems the left and right lines were divided between drug companies. We took our place at the end of the Moderna line, but it quickly became a free-for-all with people recognizing who was in front/behind them in line as we all spread-out in search of shade. It was only 92 degrees, but I had not thought to apply sunscreen to my arms as I never imagine we would be outdoors except to go from the car to the health care center. Aged 66, I was probably the youngest person in the line. Thirty minutes later, the natives were getting restless - or at least dehydrated?
Finally, a nurse came outside with forms on a clipboard. We filled-in our information, showed her our vaccination cards and ID, signed-in and waited as a few patients at a time were called into the lobby of the building. After we broke-into the air conditioned inner sanctum things moved quite quickly, and within just a few minutes we had both been injected with a half-dose of the Moderna vaccine. (We received Moderna as our first two doses in February and March 2021.) The nurse administering our jabs placed a sticker on our shoulders indicating the time (15 minutes later) we could exit the lobby, where we had to wait just in case we had an allergic reaction of the vaccine. Another nurse cruised around the lobby checking on us and checking that our time was up so we could exit. It was wonderful to see so many children at the clinic receiving their Pfizer vaccination!
Neither of us fell ill after our injections, but neither of us felt 100% the next day. I had planned ahead and had meals ready-to-go, but we both felt well enough to eat. Two days later, I once again developed an itchy red welt at the injection site (same as I had one week after my second dose!), but this time it wasn't as red, wasn't as large, and wasn't as itchy... and three days later, is was gone.
Which meant we were ready to watch the Ducks v Cougars on television Saturday, accompanied by a platter of Buffalo Wings prepped in our new air fryer toaster oven (we bought it on sale at Costco for $159 last month):
And... drum roll please... the kids arrive Saturday for a week for Thanksgiving, so the cooking as already commenced. Leo requested pumpkin pie. (Duh, Leo, it's Thanksgiving.) Lenny requested pecan pie. (Duh, Lenny, it's Thanksgiving.) Then Lucile requested a S'mores Pie. (Huh?) Pie Week?
And it truly will be Pie Week because I am preparing a very special dinner on the Sunday prior to Thanksgiving (details later!), and will be baking another Key Lime Pie. Sister Gina gave us 66 key limes from their orchards and all 66 are squoozed and pre-packaged into frozen pie-recipe-ready portions. No one with scurvy in this house!
Anything that can be made or baked ahead of the holiday (and Hanukkah starts just two days after Thanksgiving this year) is already happening. Already in the freezer are eight adorable Apple Hand Pies. Not going to lie, Pillsbury pie crusts were rolled-out for this endeavor. I'm only one woman. (I used two entire packages due to the size of my apple cookie cutter.) Thanksgiving pumpkin and pecan pies will be prepared with my home-made all-butter crust, no worries.
I texted the above photo to Leo. He shot back immediately asking if I was still going to bake him a pumpkin pie. No kidding. Too funny.
Other than getting ready for our kids to visit, we have been exercising like crazy. The weather has been so perfect. High 80s-low 90s, requiring no air conditioner nor furnace. With the time change, we are waking with the sun and getting out there! Our neighbors are slowly returning and we are seeing more and more familiar faces on our morning walks, jogs, bike rides. The golf course is open again after the annual scalping and the greens look as perfect as Astroturf.
That's all the news around this island. Expect too many photos of my two favorite kidlets to be posted here soon! I hope all your Thanksgiving preparations go smoothly and that you can find plenty of cream at your grocer (it's always a struggle in this town for some reason).
Until my next update, I remain, your Busy Baker correspondent.