Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Harvey and Lori Ferguson Ch. 11 Christmas Day Pt. 2

When it was time to eat everyone oohed and ahhed over the buffet tables; a sumptuous feast was laid out there. Melora made the roast turkey with sage and onion stuffing and Lori again made her crown roast of pork with apple pork stuffing and these were the two centerpieces. They were surrounded by fluffy mashed Yukon Gold potatoes, savory turkey gravy, sweet apple-cider gravy, candied yams and fresh green beans from John's greenhouse. Grace brought her personal favorite; a winter fruit salad with lemon-poppy seed dressing. There were flaky herb crescent rolls and a sweet homemade cranberry sauce brought by Barbara. 

All manner of desserts were on hand, Lori brought Ambrosia cake, and a California Harvest pie, brimming with plump raisins, and Chelsea made two loaves of pumpkin bread. Rounding all this out were the sweet Christmas sugar cookies and, of course, Melora's famous Chocolate Oatmeal Icebox Cookies. This was a family recipe she had been making since 1964 when she was a young girl. The secret that made these cookies different from all other chocolate-oatmeal cookies was the peanut butter, not too little and not too much, just 1/2 cup.

"I always use Jif," Melora told Chelsea, "You can't be chintzy with your ingredients; it can make all the difference."

Grace's Winter Fruit Salad with Lemon-Poppy Seed Dressing


•    1/2 cup white sugar
•    1/2 cup lemon juice
•    2 teaspoons diced onion
•    1 teaspoon Dijon-style prepared mustard
•    1/2 teaspoon salt
•    2/3 cup vegetable oil
•    1 tablespoon poppy seeds
•    1 head romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
•    4 ounces shredded Swiss cheese
•    1 cup cashews
•    1/4 cup dried cranberries
•    1 apple - peeled, cored and diced
•    1 pear - peeled, cored and sliced

  1. In a blender or food processor, combine sugar, lemon juice, onion, mustard, and salt. Process until well blended. With machine still running, add oil in a slow, steady stream until mixture is thick and smooth. Add poppy seeds, and process just a few seconds more to mix.
  2. In a large serving bowl, toss together the romaine lettuce, shredded Swiss cheese, cashews, dried cranberries, apple, and pear. Pour dressing over salad just before serving, and toss to coat. 

Melora's Chocolate Oatmeal Icebox Cookies


2 cups granulated sugar 
1/2 cup whole milk 1/2 cup Hershey's cocoa
1 stick (8 tbsp.) of butter or margarine
3 cups Quaker QUICK Oats (do not use instant or slow-cooking)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract (or Melora prefers almond extract for an elegant touch)

In a medium saucepan on medium heat, combine the sugar, milk, cocoa and butter and bring them gradually to a slow-rolling boil, stirring all the time. As soon as the boiling begins, set your timer to let it boil for two minutes, still stirring the whole time. After two minutes, remove the pan from the heat and quickly add the peanut butter, Quick Oats and the extract. Mix quickly together until the oats are evenly moistened and the peanut butter is mixed in but no longer than that, do not over-mix. Quickly drop by teaspoonfuls on to waxed paper using cookie sheets, baking pans or platters. Refrigerate immediately. 

They're better if made the night before, but can be ready to gobble in few hours. Serve them cold. You cannot believe how good these are, so when making them for parties, make an extra batch for home use!


Lori's Ambrosia Cake

1 box yellow cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. oil
1 sm. can mandarin oranges, un-drained
1 tsp vanilla
(Or ½ tsp vanilla and ½ tsp orange flavoring)
Mix all ingredients, including liquid from oranges. Pour into 13 X 9 greased pan. Batter will be thin. Bake 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool. Don’t worry that the cake doesn’t rise really high. This lower half of this will be cake and the upper half the frosting and fruit.
Super Easy Frosting:
1 lg. can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 box instant vanilla pudding
1 lg. container Cool Whip
1-1/2 cups flaked coconut
Mix pudding, pineapple and pineapple juice until set. Add Cool Whip. Frost the cake. Sprinkle coconut on top. You must keep this refrigerated. Harvey guarantees it's to die for.

The dining room was full of good cheer, good food, and people who loved each other and were happy to be together.

After the meal Grace helped her mother with the dishes and cleanup. David and Barbara sneaked back to the now deserted library for a little private one on one time. Melora and Chelsea started a video game in the living room. The others moved upstairs to the entertainment room where Harvey and Trey began a game of pool.

Only one person was not filled with comfort and peace of mind at the moment. For Lalique was at it again, moving sylph-like through John's thoughts right while he sat next to his oldest daughter. He had always considered himself a responsible man with a will of iron and complete control over his emotions, but at the moment he felt like a randy old goat. If Melora ever guessed what his subconscious was doing he knew she would smack him into the middle of next week and then burst into tears. 

Watching Trey and Harvey playing pool and joking around John reflected how young and healthy they were with the world before them. When he was their age he had not yet met Melora. How had time slipped so quickly through his fingers? What he really wanted was to be young once more and do it all over again. Start his contracting business with his father, and fall in love with Melora once more. And he wouldn't change a thing, just live their life together a second time. But, of course, that was a crazy notion. He would never be young again.

Melora was still with Chelsea in the front room.

"Yes, I expect any moment to hear that David and Barbara are getting married," she told Chelsea and gestured toward the room behind them, "I know they're in the library right now making out like high school kids."

Chelsea laughed.

"I just hope they won't run off to Vegas the way Grace and Devon did," Melora teased, "You and Trey, too. I forgive all of you, sweetie, but I can't help hoping for one more wedding besides Lori and Harvey's. Well, we'll just have to wait and see. Anyway, she's a lovely girl and I'd be very happy if she was his choice. Otherwise, I fear he'll never settle down."

When her father happened to step under the mistletoe Grace caught his hand and pointed above. She'd always kept him on a pedestal her whole life and nothing had changed about that. Giving John a Christmas kiss on his cheek she said warmly,

"Merry Christmas, Daddy--you're the best!"

Lori took Harvey to her girlhood bedroom to see the desk she wanted him to move to their house after Christmas.

"Ahh, I finally make it here to your virginal sanctuary after all these years," he spoke softly in her ear, "So this must be where you had all your girlfriends over for pajama parties. And I bet you all gossiped, watched scary movies and did your nails?"

"You forgot ordering pizza. We always ordered from Pizza Shack; it was an unwritten rule. Oh, yes, and we ALWAYS talked about boys."

"I see. I hope I was included," he grinned and then his eyes went over the huge desk again, "Sure, honey, I can get Gareth over here with his truck and we'll get that big mother out of here. And we won't let your dad lift a finger--I promise."

Lori kissed his cheek,

"I knew I could count on you, m'lad. And, yes, you were very much in the conversation."

Of course, she didn't mention that Brian Ottomas had figured even more prominently. It just wasn't necessary--it was time past.

By the time they all left to go their respective homes it was quite late. The snow glittered in the moonlight and crunched underfoot and they called out "Merry Christmas" to each other as they went on their way either by car or by foot, depending on the distance.

For the moment the Lassiter family was peaceful and happy, but trouble was brewing, in more than one way.


Sim Girl said...

OooooMah Goodness. I just ate and you are making me hungry!! Mmmmm that stuff sounds good.

Great chapter over all, but the food - best ROFL I so much love the way you are writing about the families being together

Lorelei said...

Yeah, writing out the recipes was fun :) I may not know much but Family get-togethers I do know about, I'm the oldest of six kids with 15 cousins on one side of the family and 30+ cousins on the other side. :D

Vee said...

Those cakes look delicious! I am looking forward to reading about the impending trouble. Sounds juicy!! :D

Brianne said...

What a cliff-hanger! I love the recipes you include. :)

Lorelei said...

Thanks, Brianne! I'm making the Winter Fruit Salad at my sister's for Thanksgiving, in fact. :D

Lorelei said...

And the chocolate oatmeal cookies really are a family recipe that I began making at 13-14 years of age and anyone who ever tries it is hooked lol My baby sister is the main one who makes those for the family now. Well, she's my baby sister and I'm 13 years older than her, but she's 48 now that I think of it! lol