Blessings in Disguise—A Thanksgiving Blog

Kathy Shay asked me to post this for her.  (Let me know when you are ready for quality assurance testing.)

Blessings in Disguise—A Thanksgiving Blog

Usually, I’m well organized and I don’t leave too much to do on one day. But this year, for a variety of reasons, I found the Monday and Tuesday before we left home on Wednesday packed with things to do. I got up at 6:00 on Monday, made Italian biscotti, went to physical therapy for my knee, volunteered at the soup kitchen to serve 200 people Thanksgiving dinner and spent the afternoon out on an excursion with my sister. When I returned home, I found on email that I owed a promotion website information for a book promo, did that, and then…collapsed. But I got up this morning to start the process all over again. 6:00 and I was out of bed, because today I have a hair appointment at 10:00 then I work for a few hours at the battered women’s shelter then I’m having dinner with one of my BFF’s.

So I made Anise cookies and while they baked, decided to whip up the frosting for the yesterday’s biscotti. I put a cup of coffee in the micro wave to heat for 20 seconds, and turned to the frosting. I was using the electric mixer when it came unplugged. Bending to the side for the outlet, I plugged it back in. And…the mixer was on.  Sugary white crystals flew everywhere–on my pajamas, in my hair, on a bill I’d just paid and had left on the counter, all the way down the cabinet, all over the floor, just missing the dog.

When I heard a noise behind me, I turned and saw I’d set the microwave at 2 minutes, not 20 seconds, and the coffee in the cup was bubbling wildly. When I opened the door, coffee covered the entire interior–roof, walls and puddled on the bottom.

The dog made a mad dash for the frosting on the floor. After I scooted her off, I sat down and looked at the mess. I could be angry and let this start my day off badly. Or, I thought philosophically, I could be grateful for this mess. After all, I have a microwave—and a pretty neat kitchen—to be baking in today. I’m doing all this because I’m traveling to Ohio to spend Thanksgiving with my extended family and I always bring cookies. And I have coffee to make every single day.

I ate an Anise cookie and decided to see this incident as a blessing in disguise. It made me think about all I have to be grateful for this Thanksgiving. I have a wonderful husband, son, daughter and sisters and brother. I have great friends. I had a terrific teaching career and I’m enjoying my writing career so much now that I’m retired. I belong to a super church, which gave me the volunteer opportunities I do. My little dogs are cuddled up on a pillow sleeping right now, adorable as all get out. And we all have our heath, which is precious.

Okay, now I’m going to preach. Honestly, what’s a little spilled coffee and runaway frosting this Thanksgiving?  We all have so much to be thankful for and in the stress of the preparations for the holidays, we forget about that. But I was reminded in a very interesting way this morning that it’s important to enjoy the good things and not sweat the small stuff.

I left the table and began to clean up the mess with a much lighter heart and better outlook. That’s what I wish for all of you as 2012 comes to a close. Happy Thanksgiving!

Oh, and my recipes are included below. I thought I’d take ten more minutes out of today to gift them to you.

Kathryn Shay

ITALIAN BISCOTTI (the Ruocco—my family—way)

1 stick of butter
¾ cup of sugar
6 eggs
Pinch of salt
1 TBL of vanilla
2 TBL baking powder
2-4 cups of flour

Cream sugar and butter. (Make sure butter is softened.)

Add eggs and vanilla. Add salt and flour.

When you have firm dough, knead it for about 2-3 minutes.

Cut in chunks off the end of the dough, roll into a two inch long piece (like a cigar) and then press into a knot. (The cookie should be about 1 inch in diameter as a knot and as thick as you want.

Place on a floured cookie sheet and bake 10 minutes.

Makes about 3-4 dozen.


1 stick of butter
2 tsp vanilla
Milk (determined by consistency)
Confectioner’s sugar (determined by consistency)

Soften the butter, add two teaspoons of vanilla, and start with a half cup of milk and a cup of confectioner’s sugar. Mix with electric mixer until blended. Keep adding milk and sugar until you get the desired amount for the number of cookies you made. Make sure it’s thick enough.

Frost cookies and shake colorful sprinkles on them.

(Sorry this is so vague. I don’t really have a recipe for it.)


5 eggs
1 ¼ cup sugar
3 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup oil
1 TBL anise

Combine dry ingredients and make a well in the center.

Into it put eggs, oil, extract. Mix till blended.

Spray a 13×9 baking pan (approx. size, just a big rectangular one) with cooking spray and pour in batter.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

When slightly cooled, cut into 3 equal columns. Then cut the columns on a diagonal.

Remove from pan and place all the diagonally cut cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake at 400 for 10 minutes. Watch these as they tend to burn on the bottom. Middle rack in oven is best.

Cool, and eat with some dark magic coffee!



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2 responses to “Blessings in Disguise—A Thanksgiving Blog

  1. such a lovely blog–and yummy recipes!
    thanks for the thought provoking blog

  2. K.L. Gore

    Thanks for reminding us of all we should be grateful for, even in times where life is messy!

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