Giving Thanks for friends and family, good fortune and health is something we try to do each day. This time of year tends to make me think of my blessing even more than usual. Recently we have had the great fortune to meet so many wonderful new friends as we travel up the state of California in our RV. Some we have met as we camped along the way, some we met right at the dealership when we picked up our new RV, and one couple we met through an online group of RV-ing enthusiasts!
Mike and Donna happened to spot our post about our new Tiffin RV in RVillage; an online group of people who love to travel in their RV’s and stay connected to each other along the way. A kind of Facebook for RV people. They were interested in what we thought of our new Tiffin and our conversations grew. Then we discovered that they were from a town close to where I grew up and if we were ever in the area we should look each other up.
Funny how life happens. As we planned our trip up California, our conversations continued online with Mike and Donna. They asked if we were members of the Elks (Benevolent Order of Elks) and we said no, but were intrigued by the question. As curiosity will do, I had to check out the history of the Elks! When I read about how they started (a group of actors and their love of socializing) which grew into an organization that believes in things I believe in; helping Veterans, kids with disabilities, girl and boy scouts, giving back to the community and country, I knew we wanted to hear more.
Mike and Donna offered to sponsor us into the Modesto Elks. It has a sentimental meaning for me since I was born and raised in Modesto, CA! To say that Mike and Donna supported us through the process would be an understatement! They enlisted a few of their Elk friends to co-sponsor us, Donna wrote letters of introduction and Mike followed through with personal meetings on our behalf. All of this started because we became friends on RVillage.com.
But it didn’t end there. Mike and Donna invited us to park our RV on their beautiful 21 acre ranch, with full hooks up no less! For all you non RV travelers, a full hook up is a great thing when you are camping. It means you have access to water, electricity and sewer all hooked right into your RV just like home! But the greatest thing we were to discover was the friendship that was building between the four of us. We had so much in common and the conversations flowed with such ease, it felt as if we had known each other for years!
Mike and Donna are the most gracious, generous hosts a person could ever hope to encounter. They welcomed us from day 1 and went out of their way to do nice things for us. The weather was beginning to turn cold and Mike mentioned that we would want to have a relatively full tank of diesel so that condensation wouldn’t build up in the tank. David and my Dad, (Dad’s 1st ride in the RV) headed off to the gas station to fill up. Now filling up a 40 foot RV is nothing like taking your car to the gas station! And it had begun to rain! My Dad is a retired CHP Officer and is used to directing traffic so he was the perfect person to guide David into the gas station, past the branches of a large oak tree, in the down pour of rain!
When the guys returned from getting diesel, Mike ran out in the rain and hooked us back up to the power and sewer! I heard David yell from the back bedroom, “There’s an elf out there hooking up our sewer!” And Mike yelled back, “The Sewer Elf!” which cracked us all up! Of course we invited him in for wine and snacks!
Because we are on a ranch, there is dirt every where. And when it rains the dirt becomes mud! Little did we know the next morning we would have a plank walkway so that we did not have to get our feet muddy! Mike laid it out before we even got out of bed! Soon after he would lay out yards of gravel to replace the planks. Laughingly I told them, “If you guys don’t knock this off, we’re never going to leave!” What ever had we done to deserve all of this!?
We tried over the next few weeks to return the generous favors to no avail. Finally I told them I was going to thank them in the best way I knew how; to cook for them. How could they refuse? We had a mini turkey dinner as our way of giving thanks for this new and wonderful friendship!
Spinach Turkey Roulade
Saute the mushrooms and 1/4 cup onion in butter until lightly browned. Add the garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook 1 minute more.
Add the spinach and cook until wilted and combined with the mushrooms. Set aside.
Chop rosemary finely so you get little bits throughout the meat and not big chunks. A little bit of rosemary goes a long way toward flavor! If you aren’t a rosemary fan, leave it out. There are plenty of other flavors going on.
Crumble turkey into a medium bowl. Add mayonnaise, remaining 1/4 cup onion, rosemary, salt and pepper and combine ingredients.
On a sheet of waxed paper, pat turkey mixture into a 12-in. x 8-in. rectangle.
Spread with spinach mushroom mixture.
Layer with the Jarlsberg cheese slices. 3 slices will give you a little cheesy punch, 6 slices and you will have a nice cheesy layer. It’s up to you how cheesy you feel!
Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a short side and peeling waxed paper away while rolling. Seal seam and ends.
Place seam side down in a 15-in. x 10-in. baking pan coated with cooking spray.
Place in refrigerator and chill until ready to bake. Chilling will help set the soft turkey loaf.
Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 50-60 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 165°.
Cover and let stand for 5 minutes before slicing.
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1/4 cup Mayonnaise
- 1 small onion, finely chopped, divided about 1/4 cup each
- 2 tablespoons Rosemary leaves, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 4 ounces Cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1/4 cup onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Salt and pepper
- 8 ounces baby spinach leaves
- 6 slices Jarlsberg cheese, sliced
- Saute the mushrooms and 1/4 cup onion in butter until lightly browned. Add the garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook 1 minute more.
- Add the spinach and cook until wilted and combined with the mushrooms. Set aside.
- Crumble turkey into a medium bowl. Add mayonnaise, remaining 1/4 cup onion, rosemary, salt and pepper and combine ingredients.
- On a sheet of waxed paper, pat turkey mixture into a 12-in. x 8-in. rectangle.
- Spread with spinach mushroom mixture.
- Layer with the Jarlsberg cheese slices.
- Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a short side and peeling waxed paper away while rolling. Seal seam and ends. Place seam side down in a 15-in. x 10-in. baking pan coated with cooking spray.
- Place in refrigerator and chill until ready to bake. Chilling will help set the soft turkey loaf.
- Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 50-60 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 165°.
- Cover and let stand for 5 minutes before slicing.