Confession No. 68 — The stuff I’m truly thankful for

Around countless Thanksgiving tables this week, people will take turns giving examples of why they feel blessed. Most of them will make mention of God, family and country. Some will reference their jobs, while others will note their health.

No person over the age of 10, however, will go into detail.

Except me.

Indeed, I’m thankful for our children — especially when they are asleep or at school. I’m also married to the most patient understanding woman in the world. Not to mention, she looks fantastic without makeup and gives a great pedicure. Who wouldn’t feel beholden?

Still, when I wake up each morning, the first thing I think about is whether my chinos are ironed. When they are, I’m truly thankful. When our children are ready for school — and I’m not signing papers while driving through a school zone — I’m really appreciative.

I’m quite content when I’m not running a taxi service between twirling practice, robotics club, band rehearsals and drama rehearsal (like my daughter really needs drama practice). I believe I’ll be most gratified though if, during the holidays, our children also realize that it’s supposed to be a rest period for us adults too.

Want to see what being thankful really looks like? Come see me on any Sunday during the school year — also a supposed day of rest — on which I haven’t just learned about a major project being due the following morning.

I’ve found myself lately also being thankful for empty trash cans and being able to breathe in my home without inhaling a vinegar fly — because someone left a half-eaten apple on a credenza or hidden behind a couch. Of course, this is only due to my regular searches and emptying of said trash cans.

I feel almost indebted to my grandson when I sit to watch a movie in the red room (our living room) and neither images from ‘Mike the Knight’ nor ‘Power Rangers’ are burned into the large screen. Seriously. When I can watch something in high definition (a rarity) and not catch glimpses of Barney or Dora on the same screen as Mr. Blonde, Mr. Orange and the gasoline can, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude.

I’m also very thankful any day that I pull into our driveway and don’t see someone’s bicycle blocking my path; or smell burned popcorn as I walk through the door.

The little things
I’ve come to really appreciate my new hiding place. It’s where I keep my Lemonheads, spare change, blue ink pens and hair brush. I’m working on a larger space for things like tortilla chips and Big Cheez-Its.

I’m also thankful to the farmers who grow extremely hot peppers. I went away from them for years, in deference to my mild-mouthed family. But I recently incorporated them into the jar of dill pickles on my kitchen counter and, to my pleasant surprise, no one touches my jar. I’m considering adding hot peppers to other things that I don’t want disappearing.

Two hours went by this morning without a child asking me to spend hundreds of dollars on something. Such an unusual occurrence is something I’m really grateful for … especially since our current budget is geared more toward the December holiday and new tires for the family taxi.

And for that, my children should be very thankful. (We’ll see what they say on Thursday.)

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I’m thankful that I have a choice of what to eat this Thursday. Instead of the traditional turkey, I’ll be feasting on a boneless whole chicken stuffed with jalapeno crawfish cornbread dressing from Hebert’s. We’ll all eat pumpkin pie, since my version is the best in the history of Thanksgiving. On the day after, while everyone else is eating turkey & dressing sandwiches, I’ll be gobbling up fish tacos.

Fish Tacos

Fish Tacos

Fish tacos have Mexican roots — probably Baja California. Our California friends get most of the credit for the versions we eat today, often served with shredded cabbage and some sort of cream sauce.

1 lb. – Flaky white fish fillets (such as cod, grouper or tilapia)
2 tsp. – Chile powder (preferably ancho)
½ tsp. – Dried cumin
¼ tsp. – Dried coriander

¼ cup – Vegetable oil
Juice from small lime
Kosher salt to taste

Combine chile powder, cumin, coriander, lime juice and vegetable oil. Coat both sides of fish fillets and allow to marinate for 15-20 minutes.

Heat a large skillet to medium-high and add fillets. Cook 3-4 minutes on one side, then flip and cook 1-2 minutes on the other. (These instructions are based on half-inch thick fillets. You might need to cook fish more or less, depending on thickness.) Remove fish from skillet, flake with a fork. Season to taste with Kosher salt.

Serve in warmed corn (pictured) or flour tortillas with:

  • Finely chopped cabbage
  • Fresh cilantro leaves
  • Sour cream (or mayonnaise)
  • Salsa roja or verde
  • Pico de gallo
  • Avocado slices
  • Shredded Queso Quesadilla
  • Lime wedges


  1. Although I currently live in central Arkansas, I’m a Californian born and bred and THIS is how we eat fish tacos.

  2. I need new tires too and I hate turkey! I’ll be putting some peppers in my pickles today!

  3. Loved your Thanksgiving “thanks” – I remember feeling almost exactly the same when you, your brother and sister were at the ages of your two now. Only thing I can say is, one day your “thanks” will be the opportunity to gather as a family, having them ask if they can bring something, and then help with the clean-up. At least that’s how is happened for me. We eat fish tacos regularly and always grill the fish which we like but am anxious to try your way. I am not a good “fryer” so avoid those recipes that call for it. I make a broccalli-cilantro slaw with mayonnaise, lemon juice, and Tony’s. Quick, easy and inexpensive supper and especially good after eating turkey and ham. Happy Thanksgiving! PS I am thankful for my “middle child problem” who answers my cooking questions and overall is good husband, good father, and an honorable man. PPS The ribs turned out great finished with the broiler.

  4. Very funy! And a wonderful recipe 🙂

  5. Excellent “thankfuls” as with good goals, “thanksfuls” should be specific. You really have a safe hiding place? My hat’s off to you!
    And I am thankful to you for your charming comments to my daughter on her first blog.
    Now that pumpkin pie – would that be your pumpkin cobbler or will you be posting your secret recipe? I was trying to find it but only saw the cobbler which sounds pretty good to me.

    • Diane – That cobbler is really good! I invented it for a campfire Dutch oven back in my Scouting days. The pie? I wish I could truly claim it as my own. It really is the best ever, though. The link in the intro to the recipe will take you to Confession No. 20, in which I trash talk turkey. You’ll also find the pumpkin pie recipe there. Congrats to your daughter, by the way. Are you two going to swap posts? Or is she eventually going to have a blog called “Diane’s Daughter’s Kitchen Table?”

      • Ah, thank you I found the pumpkin pie & I’d say that sounds like a winner. By the way I agree w/you on the turkey. Not a fan of it & certainly not of all these things like turkey bacon, turkey burgers – what’s up with that?
        I’d love to have Niki do more blogs, but I’m sure you understand what life in PR can be like so although I hope she can contribute often, her schedule is crazy (not just the PR, but being in her 20’s, living in Boston…well you must remember those days too). I would love her to narrate some of the photos she took while in Italy. She has a great eye & I love her photos – the header for my blog is one of hers. I just love that girl… I like Diane’s Daughter’s Kitchen Table but we’ll probably have to go w/DDKT.

        • Ah.. Yes. PR. I’m a guy in PR. But my PR comes after more than 20 years in newspaper and radio … and other PR gigs. Being in my 20s? Wow. I’ve forgotten what that was like. Do not skip that pumpkin pie. I’m seriously not a huge pumpkin pie person, but that pie is in my top 5 pies of all time. Again, I wish I could take the credit for it.

  6. Those fish tacos look delish. And as usual, a great read.

  7. I’m coming to your house this year. I hate turkey (even though I’m going to be cooking a whole bird this year) & I’ve never had fish tacos.

    • C’mon, Rachel. I’m planning to get filled up on a boneless stuffed chicken from Hebert’s. I’ll share. If we get hungry later, we can whip up some fish tacos. 😉 Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. I’m cooking a whole bird too. Brining it as we speak.

  8. I love the hot pepper trick. Fish taco recipe looks great. Use care with the lime juice, or ceviche happens.


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