A Tale and A Treat

A Tale:

Family Reunions Take Time

Every year I make a pilgrimage to Upper Michigan for a reunion with my Husband’s side of our family. And, every year the participants change. Some of our members are unable to make the trip anymore due to health issues. Some are too busy. Some are broke. Some have a rotation with their other relatives and this is “not the year” to visit with us. So, every year is a new dynamic.

This summer was no different. My husband’s eldest brother was unable to make the voyage and since he is the patriarch, and the funniest of his seven siblings, David K. was sorely missed.

This year we did have an addition to our party. I’ve been married to my husband, the very same man, for 28 years, and this is the first time I have ever laid my eyes on our great-nephew’s face; for the first time I had the privilege of getting to know the grandson of my brother-in-law, Daniel, his wife, and their five year-old daughter. My pilgrimage only took about five to six hours to drive by car. Their journey from California took a few flights across the country and a rental car—plus, of course, time.

My husband’s last memory of Daniel was as a baby stretched out on the dining room table with a cloth diaper underneath him and one on top as he was being changed. Sometime in life choices and circumstances can cause family members to drift apart, add to that many years of maturing, and decades can fly by between reunions.

In the second title in the Texas Trail series, Captive Trail, the Morgan family longs for a reunion that in the end involves flights (on horseback), nuns, shotguns, life circumstance, and is many years waiting. The story opens when Taabe Waipu flees from her Comanche village on the eve of her wedding. She sets her course for the south on a horse she stole from her dowry. She heads home—even though she doesn’t know exactly where that is or who she really belongs to.

Ned Bright spots a lifeless body by the side of the road as he delivers letters, packages and people for The Butterfield Overland Mail Company: a white woman in native clothing. He delivers the injured Taabe and his unusual passengers, a group of Ursuline nuns returning to their mission station near Fort Chadbourne.

Traumatized, weak, dehydrated, and feverish, Tabbe recuperates at the mission while Ned and the Sisters try to find the family she was kidnapped from as a child. She lives in constant fear that the braves will return to take her back to her Comanche village before she can remember her Christian name and the dangerous language she drove out of her memory. 

Just as she is set to reunite with her family, the brave she was destined to marry descends upon the mission with shotguns and torches. Tabbe must make a choice. Give up and return to the native village or risk the lives of her friends, Ned and the Sisters. The nuns pray. Shots are fired, torches are thrown, and at least one person is caught in the fight.

Captive Trail is filled with adventure against the backdrop of Texas history. More information is to come from the author, Susan Page Davis. So, keep checking our blog as the launch in September draws near.

~Deb

A Treat:

When I think of Texas, I think of chili and barbecue, but mostly chili. Man, do I have a phenomenal recipe for chili. I use ground turkey, black beans, plenty of mushrooms, and a can of spicy Rotel for added flavor. I love chili in the fall and winter. As much as I hate to admit it, fall is right around the corner. It is such a great 1 pot meal.

Ingredients:

1 ½ lbs ground turkey

1/8 cup chili powder, or more to taste

2 tbsp tomato paste

1-2 red peppers, chopped

1-2 green peppers, chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 carton mushrooms, chopped

1 14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes

1 14.5 oz can Rotel (diced tomatoes with chilies)

1 14.5 oz can tomato puree

1 14.5 oz cans tomato sauce

2 14.5 oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed

2 cups brown rice, unprepared

Sour cream

Cheddar cheese

Tortilla chips

Directions: Brown the ground turkey in a Dutch oven with the chili powder and tomato paste. Add the chopped vegetables and then the tomatoes, puree, and sauce. Add the beans, and let the entire dish simmer for 45 minutes to an hour. While the chili is simmering, prepare your rice by following the directions on the bag.  When the rice is done and the chili is warmed through start serving it up by scooping rice into a bowl and topping it with chili. From there, add cheddar cheese and sour cream. I don’t even use a spoon, I just use tortilla chips to eat the whole bowl.

Enjoy this recipe as the weather starts to inevitably cool. Maybe enjoy it while you are reading the latest book in the Texas Trails series.

~Brittany

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