It's nice that once a month we all take the time to get together. I enjoy every minute of it. I decided to start out the meal with a homemade salad straight from the garden. First I had to pick a bunch of vegetables from my mother's garden to use. The vegetables I decided to use are romaine lettuce, baby tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, and carrots. I take the heads of lettuce and cut out the big chunky stem pieces. While I was doing that my mom diced the baby tomatoes, radishes, and cucumbers leaving the carrots for me because those are my favorite to cut.
After the lettuce is cut and washed I move on to the carrots. I like the small slivers of them so I grab the grater and start on the carrots. A bag later and finally everything is cut and washed. Now comes the really fun part. I toss everything in the bowl and grab the huge spoon and fork meant for tossing the salad. My mom spins the bowl while I toss everything inside. Everything is topped with bacon bits and croutons. That goes into the fridge until everything is done. Now I get to start preparing the actual meal. I walk to the spice cabinet and start grabbing things I will need.
I have to bring a basket with me to carry everything because the spice cabinet is in the upstairs kitchen. I toss the flour, olive oil, butter, the Marsala wine, chicken stock, salt and pepper, and dried chives. I walk to the fridge and grab the packages of chicken and the mushrooms. Once I get downstairs I grab a small bowl and mix the salt, pepper, and flour together. I put one teaspoon of oil in a skillet and put it on the stove and let it heat up slowly. I begin coating my chicken halves in the salt, pepper, and flour mixture, shaking off the excess.
Once the il is heated I add a tablespoon of butter and start cooking the chicken until each side is golden brown. Usually that takes 3 or 4 minutes per-side. Once it is all cooked I put the chicken it in a pan and place that in the oven so it all stays warm. After that I put another teaspoon of butter in the pan I used to cook the chicken in, and toss the entire package of mushrooms into it. Once those have cooked for a few minutes I add the Marsala wine and chicken stock. I let that simmer for a bit so it thickens up a little. Once that is done I place the chicken back in the pan and toss in a pinch of ried chives.
I let that cook on low heat for 5 minutes. I then grab out the plates and begin serving dinner. I place the big bowl ot salad in the middle ot the table and we all take turns putting some on our plates. After dinner is done and cleaned up my mom and I start making the dessert, pumpkin spice cupcakes! I once again head upstairs with my trusty basket to grab all of my ingredients. I grab the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, salt, baking powder, baking soda, white sugar, brown sugar, eggs, milk, eggs, cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, and vanilla extract.
I walk downstairs trying to avoid the kids that keep running up and down the steps. I preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease the cupcake tins. I sift together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, clove allspice, salt, baking powder, and baking soda and set it all aside. Next I Beat 1/2 cup of the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until it is all mixed together. I then add the eggs one at a time until they are all mixed in. After the last egg is added I stir in the milk and pumpkin puree.
Slowly, I add ombine the dry mixture until everything is mixed together nicely. Finally the oven is preheated and I start scooping the cupcake mixture into the wrappers then into the tin. After 18 minutes they come out of the oven and are perfect! I set them all on a cooling rack and start on the cream cheese frosting. I beat the cream cheese and butter together while adding small amounts of confectioners' sugar until everything is mixed together and smooth. Then I add in the vanilla extract and one teaspoon of cinnamon. I transfer the frosting into a piping bag and decorate the cupcakes.
Everybody rushes downstairs to get them while they are still warm. They smell amazing and taste even better. After everything was served and cleaned up we all sat down to relax and listen to my grandfather tell stories of his life growing up. Many of them we have all heard before, but none the less we sit and listen with intent. That one night a month is a day all of us look forward too. Family has always been important to all of us. These moments we all gather around the table to eat a home cooked meal, tell stories, and laugh are memories that I have and will always cherish.