Black Friday and More Eagles

Yesterday was Turkey Day except at our house…where it was Pork Chops with Cranberry, Wine, and Cream Sauce Day. Connie headed off early to sing at Mass at Saint Therese…when she got home we had a little snack of Melon and Prosciutto Ham with Sherry Vinaigrette dressing. We discovered that dish in Italy many years ago and it’s been a go to appetizer/light lunch for us for years. After that we watched football in the afternoon then about 1700 Neil got up and cooke. We had a couple of thick bone-in pork chops that he sautéed until done. Then he made a sauce that was a mixture of whole berry cranberry sauce, orange zest, chopped apricots, wine, and heavy cream…let all that reduce and then poured it over the chops. Mighty tasty. We had baked sweet potatoes along with it, some rutabaga for Connie and a couple slices of garlic bread made on Challah Bread that she brought home from the bread exchange at Mass. Along with a couple glasses of Missouri Red Wine from the Stone Hill Winery in Branson MO and it was a delicious dinner. Afterwards we went outside and Neil built us a campfire in our fire ring. We have these fire starting sticks called Fat Sticks…they’re pine or fir or something with a lot of sap in them (Neil says it smells like pine sap) that light easily and burn long enough to get the logs going. We sat around the fire for a couple hours until it burned low (we ran out of wood) and it started getting too cool for the light jackets we had in; so we headed in for dessert which was Not Pumpkin Pie.

Neil sort of made up this recipe…one of Connie’s biking buddies told her about it and the recipe was “use a pumpkin pie recipe, add an extra egg, substitute Maple Syrup for the sugar and bake without a crust. With that as a guide he found a recipe for pie we’ve used before and modified it a bit. This is really, really good. The maple makes it much better tasting than a normal pumpkin pie and the extra egg makes it more like a soufflé or flan type consistency rather than heavy like a pumpkin pie would be.

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 c or so of brown sugar (we used the Splenda blend to keep the calories down)
  • 1/2 c of Maple Syrup
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 1 t powdered ginger
  • 1/2 t ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 t ground cloves
  • 1 t maple extract (if you have it, skip if you don’t)
  • 2 oz bourbon
  • large pinch salt
  • 2/3 c half and half or heavy cream
  • 1 c pumpkin (although you could use 2 c or a standard can if using canned pumpkin
  • pecan halves for decorating
  • fresh ground nutmeg to sprinkle on top (fresh ground is better here but you can use powdered if it’s all you got…Neil keeps whole nutmeg in his spice cabinet and ground it with a microplane grater

Whisk the eggs in a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients down through the cream. Mix well and then stir in the pumpkin. Ladle into buttered or cooking sprayed ramekins or custard cups (this made 4 full 8 oz ramekins for us).

Float the pecan halves on top and sprinkle with freshly ground nutmeg.

Bake at 375 for 45-60 minutes or until a butter knife comes out clean. 

Let cool and refrigerate overnight before eating this…like most pumpkin pies it’s a lot better the second day. Neil warmed it up a bit in the microwave to take the chill off and served it with whipped cream. Quite yummy.

This morning we got up and after breakfast Neil headed off to see if he could get a few nice eagle pics for you. Here is a nice flight sequence of Ozzie the male leaving his post in the dead tree about a hundred yards from the nest and circling around over near the river.

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After that he picked up a stick and brought it back to the nest where he and Harriet placed it where they wanted.

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Then they had a brief conversation atop the nest…that’s Harriet on the right.

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Right after that Ozzie hopped down inside the nest to roost the eggs and Harriet took off on a nice flight sequence first to the tree that Ozzie had vacated a few minutes before and then down to the pond for a drink.

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Neil met a fellow bird watcher while getting these shots who told him about the Venice Rookery about an hour north of here near Sarasota. He said it’s one of the best heron and water bird rookeries in southern FL and the nesting sites are only 20 or 30 yards away from the camera areas so getting nice closeups is easy. Given that…I think we’re going to change our previous plan and instead of taking the 2+ hour drive over to Shark Valley next week we’ll head up to the Sarasota area and visit the rookery followed by a repeat visit to Myakka State Park…we got a lot of really good pictures there last year so hopefully we’ll get some decent shots…I know you must betting tired of All Eagles All the Time…but that’s all we can find close. Now that Thanksgiving is over and Connie has her choir choice finalized we ca get out and have a nice hike at some other locations.

The remainder of the day Neil spent doing laundry (Connie helped since she wasn’t working this long 4 day weekend) and then we sat out in the recliners under the awning with the computers, podcasts, and internet. Dinner was leftover pork chops from yesterday…and we’re having more Not Pumpkin Pie for dessert…although after eating a whole one each yesterday evening we decided that they were too rich so we’ll split one instead tonight…that way we’ll save calories and have one more to eat tomorrow or the next day.


About Gunther

The full time RV travels and experiences of Gunther the Bear and Kara the Dog…along with their human staff neil and Connie.
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2 Responses to Black Friday and More Eagles

  1. Pam says:

    Your fabulous cooking inspires me. Definitely going to try the pumpkin dessert recipe.

    What amazing eagle photos! How could anyone ever tire of these. Looking forward to your visit to the rookery.

    • Neil Laubenthal says:

      Thanks for the compliment. Feel free to experiment with the not pie! it’s almost impossible to mess up. With 4 eggs and a little cream it will set no matter what combo of remaining ingredients or spices you use. Like it less sweet, use less sugar. More Cinnamon or nutmeg, go ahead. I actually wanted I use dark spiced rum instead of the bourbon but the liquor store didn’t have any small bottles.

      I never get tired of the eagles either, the flight sequences are wonderful…but we are looking forward to the rookery and Myakka next week as well, we got really good photos there last year.

      The sauce wasn’t as good as we thought it would be…I would use regular cranberry, keep the orange zest and skip the apricots the next time


      The three kinds of stress…nuclear, cooking and a&&hole. Jello is the key to the relationship.


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