Monthly Archives: November 2014

Kerrian’s Notebook, p.128 “Thanksgiving is a time to…”


Chestnut-Sausage Stuffing

Pumpkin Mookie









We love to celebrate Thanksgiving in the USA. We travel for hours by train, bus, car, and plane to spend the day with relatives and friends. We Skype, jam the phone lines and cell towers with calls to people we won’t get to see in person that day. We buy exotic foods we’ve never eaten before, and try out new recipes to dress up the green beans.


Food shopping becomes an event to be feared. Will the store have enough cranberries/pie crusts/sweet potatoes?  Will they have a big enough/small enough turkey? Did we leave anything off the list that we’ve been adding to for days? We load the grocery carts as if we’re stocking up for the entire neighborhood for a month and are willing to stand in line, even if at any other time, we would not have the patience to do so.


For some, Thanksgiving is a time to eat out and avoid the challenge of roasting the bird. For others, it’s the highlight of cooking for the year – who can forget Aunt Edith’s food extravaganza for fifty cousins and assorted strangers in 2009? I have no idea what some of that food was and I stuck to the stuff I recognized.


On Wednesday evening, Sheila and I will help our church deliver cooked turkeys and the trimmings to needy families in the area. The next day, the Kerrian household will celebrate Thanksgiving with a sit down dinner, including the chestnut-sausage stuffing and pumpkin mookies. There will be eight of us this year. Yup, just eight. All the kids are grown, with families of their own and obligations of their own with their own in-laws and we don’t try to gather the crowd that day. Then, on Friday and Saturday, we plan to make the rounds at houses of other branches of the family, eat leftover turkey, hug the new babies, and have a slice of pie.


Thanksgiving is a time to say thanks for:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Good health
  • Enough food to eat
  • Enough money to pay the bills
  • A sound roof over our heads
  • Heat
  • The freedoms we enjoy
  • The fabulous Kerrian’s Notebook community that now stretches to four continents. We are so grateful to have been able to share the stories with you during the past three years and hope to share more in the future.


 Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!



*Photos and recipes by Patti Phillips











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Kerrian’s Notebook, p.127 “A Visit to Arlington National Cemetery”



Arlington National Cemetery, the most famous of the USA’s military cemeteries, turned 150 years old on June 15, 2014. Special ceremonies were held from May through June to commemorate the anniversary. “Honor the Tradition, Remember the Sacrifice, Explore the History,” written in the cemetery brochure, was/is a thoughtful reminder for all who walk through the hallowed grounds.


We had a chance to visit on a misty day in October, picked up a map from a helpful guide in the Welcome Center, and spent several hours in the peaceful 624 acre landscaped rolling hills. As we passed the thousands of headstones – over 400,000 active duty military service people and their families – we were struck with the size of the place. The stats on the website didn’t prepare me for the reality of the graves that stretched to the hilltops and beyond, or the hush that settled over everyone. There were no loud voices, no running children or barking dogs, even with the hundreds of fellow visitors all around us.


The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was on our list to see.




This memorial contains the remains of unknown servicemen from WW1, WW2, and the Korean War. 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Regiment keep vigil. The changing of the honor guard is scheduled for every hour.







We hadn’t realized it, but members of the public can participate in wreath-laying ceremonies at the Tomb. We had the privilege of witnessing two groups. The website provides information about how to arrange to do this – anywhere from five weeks to six months ahead of time.




Full Military Honors

The quiet was broken by the sound of guns in the distance. Our brochure told us that Arlington National Cemetery conducts between 27 and 30 funeral services Monday through Friday as well as several on Saturday. Our path took us closer to an apparent salute in progress.

All the visitors were safely behind ropes and fences while the guns were going off. And they were loud! My camera jumped (a LOT) the first couple of times I tried to get the photo of the guns in action. There was a long time between each boom and we found out that about 45 minutes before the service of higher-ranking officers, the cannons/guns/rifles will begin firing. This signals attendees that they should gather at the graveside while the casket is traveling through the cemetery.


Then once the service has been completed, the appropriate number of shots will be fired again, in quick succession.


Commissioned and warrant officers buried at Arlington receive standard military honors, and can also have an escort platoon and a military band. When we saw the horse drawn caisson carrying the flag-covered casket on the road above us, accompanied by a good-sized band, we figured the deceased had to have been pretty important. We kept track of the initial rounds and knew there had been fifteen.


Here are the rules for numbers of shots fired:


  • General/flag officers of the Army, Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Corps may receive a cannon salute (17 guns for a four-star general, 15 for a three-star, 13 for a two-star, 11 for a one-star), if available.
  • Minute Guns may be used for general officers/flag officers of the Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Corps.
  • The President of the United States is entitled to a 21-gun salute, while other high state officials receive 19 guns.


We were told later that the deceased had been a Vice-Admiral.



One of our stops during the visit was at the graves for President John F. Kennedy and his family. It seemed to be a popular memorial, with a eclectic mix of visitors. International tourists were curious and took selfie snapshots; Americans paid their respects to a President assassinated while in Office; a teenager got a history lesson while standing next to a senior citizen; a group of the Vice-Admiral mourners stopped and chatted quietly before moving on. Many had tears in their eyes and one older gal openly sobbed. It’s hard not to be affected once you round the corner and see the eternal flame.


There are dozens of monuments erected to honor the dead throughout the cemetery. There are only two Presidents interred at ANC. This is a list of ten representative memorials, with more information about each (from the ANC website).


·       3rd Infantry Division Monument

·       Argonne Cross (WW I)

·       Battle of the Bulge Memorial

·       Confederate Memorial

·       McClellan Gate

·       Pan Am Flight 103 Memorial Cairn

·       Pentagon Group Burial Marker

·       President William Howard Taft Monument

·       Robert F. Kennedy Gravesite

·       Spanish-American War Memorial



Arlington National Cemetery is operated and managed by the Department of the Army. ANC Explorer is a mobile app that can be used by visitors to locate gravesites and/or conduct self-guided tours. If you travel to our nation’s capital, Arlington National Cemetery should be on your must-see list, and the app will help explain some of our history not always covered in school.


Thank/help/employ a Veteran. Their sacrifices have helped to keep you free.





*Photos by Patti Phillips








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Kerrian’s Notebook, p.126 “75 Second Mookies”


I’ll admit it. I’ve got a sweet tooth. That’s not a secret, but the doc says I should drop ten pounds and that means cutting back on calories. No more eating a dozen cookies in one evening, or having two of those amazing chocolaty chocolate muffins for breakfast, or several of the Vegetarian Detective’s super brownies at one sitting. I could have gotten away with extra helpings of everything before I got sidelined from my very active job, but no more.


We plan a pretty balanced menu, with lots of fruits and veggies, but it’s the extra potatoes and slices of pie that do me in. Exercise burns some of it off, but pushing away from the table is the best diet plan out there.


The Doc and Sheila and I came up with a way to help me lose the weight and it’s mostly about reducing the desserts. She promised not to bake batches of three dozen cookies/muffins at a time and I promised not to hound her or sneak out to the bakery. The Doc admitted that I might feel deprived if I gave up dessert completely, so the new plan could include a daily ‘something’ for my sweet tooth – just not five daily ‘somethings.’ He hinted that fruit between meals might change my cravings, but I’m hedging my bets on that.


So, here’s what Sheila came up with: single serving cookies. That way, there won’t be yummy leftovers calling me from the kitchen, tempting me. She tells me the idea has been around for a long time, but she never had a reason to try it before.


I call them mookies, because to me they’re like a cross between a cookie and a muffin. So simple to make, not a lot of cleanup involved and I can make one myself. All you need is a microwave and a few ingredients and in less than ten minutes of prep and cooking time, you’ve got a dessert. 


Chocolate Chip Mookie









Ingredients for Chocolate Chip Mookie

1 Tablespoon butter or margarine

2 Tablespoons brown sugar

1/8 teaspoon Mexican vanilla extract

pinch sea salt

1 egg yolk

4 Tablespoons King Arthur’s cake flour

2 Tablespoons Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips



Pumpkin Mookie











Ingredients for Pumpkin Mookie

1 ½ Tablespoons butter or margarine

2 Tablespoons light brown sugar

1/8 teaspoon Mexican vanilla extract

pinch sea salt

1 egg yolk

1 ½ Tablespoons organic pumpkin puree

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

4 Tablespoons King Arthur’s cake flour

2 Tablespoons Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips

(Topping is frozen vanilla yogurt and a sprinkle of cinnamon)



Double Chocolate Mookie










Ingredients for Double Chocolate Mookie

1 Tablespoon butter or margarine

2 Tablespoons brown sugar

1/8 teaspoon Mexican vanilla extract

pinch sea salt

1 teaspoon Ghirardelli unsweetened cocoa powder

1 egg yolk

4 Tablespoons King Arthur’s cake flour

2 Tablespoons Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips



Preparation for all varieties

Use a medium sized glass or ceramic mixing bowl.

Melt the butter for 20 seconds in the microwave. (Doesn’t have to be completely melted)

Add all ingredients for the chosen mookie to the melted butter.

Mix thoroughly using a fork.

Transfer mookie dough to a ramekin or other cup-sized glass or ceramic dish.

Place in microwave and cook for one minute + 15 seconds (75 seconds).

Serve immediately in the ramekin.

The ramekin will be hot, so handle with care.





*Photos by Patti Phillips




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