Monday, May 30, 2011

The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave

Memorial Day is all about our honoring the brave veterans who protect the freedoms that we hold so dear.  Today, I'm sharing a video that moved me.  If you haven't heard about this, apparently Newsweek included Grand Rapids, Michigan in a list of dying American cities.  The people of Grand Rapids had a thing or two to say about that!

I love this video.  It represents the very best of America -- the men and women who live here and their indomitable spirit.  No matter what happens in Washington, no matter what the gas prices do, or how many natural disasters hit us, no matter political beliefs or heritage or religion, we are America, the land of the free and the home of the brave.  We will endure. 

But wait!  I haven't forgotten about food.  After all, you need something to eat today whether you're having a picnic, the first cookout of summer, lounging by the beach, or staying home with a great book.

Sometimes, if you're having an easy cooking night and planning to simply grill a steak or burgers, the easiest way to perk it up a little bit is with a quick and easy topper like onions cooked in red wine.

I had a lovely bottle of sweet red table wine sitting on my kitchen counter, and I was determined to use it.  This recipe is so easy that it qualifies for lazy day cooking, but it packs a punch when it comes to flavor.  I happened to have sweet red wine on hand, but a dry red wine would work just as nicely.  We ate it on bison burgers and it was exactly the right touch.

Red Wine Onions

1 onion, sliced in rounds
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup red wine
salt to taste (optional)

Saute onion in oil until translucent.  Pour in red wine and simmer until the wine is almost gone.  Serve as a topper on burgers or other meats.

If this isn't quite up your alley, we have a few other suggestions that might do the trick!



While we're enjoying family and friends today, our troops are spread around the world, longing for a taste of home.  Remember Mary Kennedy, author of the Talk Radio Mysteries, who sends fabulous care packages to our troops?  She's collecting again!  If you would like to contribute books or other goodies to show your appreciation, the links below will tell you how., or

To our veterans, to our fallen, to our heroes --
we honor you.
Thank you for your service.
Happy Memorial Day


  1. Happy Memorial Day, everyone! These onions look like the perfect touch to a backyard burger. :) And thanks for all the other ideas from our crew, too!

  2. Krista, what an absolutely lovely tribute. Love that we can share books with the troops. And love how you put together an entire meal plus photos for everyone on our blog. Those, too, brought back memories of a successful year. Hugs to all and may we find world peace in our lifetime. (No, I was never an aspiring Miss Whatever...I just want world peace.)


  3. As a long-time genealogist, I know the military histories of a lot of my American ancestors (the Irish ones mainly fought amongst themselves). One of the earliest fought in King Phillip's War in the 1600s (badly, since his men mutinied twice!); others in the Revolution (13 that I know of), the War of 1812, and the Civil War. My New Jersey grandfather was too young to fight in WW1, and had a heart condition that kept him out of WW2, although he grew green beans for the Army. My father was in the Navy, although he never left the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Whatever your opinion of individual wars, they are a part of our shared history.

    I think Mary is doing a great job. But tell me: do soldiers and sailors read cozies? Or do we go for harder-edged books?

  4. Enjoy a fun day with your family, Elizabeth! I bet it's lively at your house today.

    Avery, isn't it odd that a phrase like "world peace" could have become a cliche? I had fun putting together suggestions for Memorial Day meals. If it's as hot everywhere else as it is here, I think Cleo's Frappucino will be the most popular!

    ~ Krista

  5. Thanks for this, Krista. It's a lovely moving tribute and some great food too. I love carmelized onions and this red wine version looks easy and tasty. Glad you included so many other keepers from MLK.

  6. Sheila, thanks for sharing about your ancestor whose men mutinied! That's the best story. LOL! Seems like everyone always has perfect ancestors who saved the day.

    As for reading cozy mysteries, I bet they read anything that reminds them of home. Sometimes when you're far from home, a taste of it is what you crave the most. I'm sure a lot of our service men and women are from small towns like the ones we write about.

    ~ Krista

  7. Mary Jane, your lemon mousse is so elegant and festive! It makes me want to reach into the computer screen and grab one.

    I think you'll like the red wine onions. They're full of flavor!

    ~ Krista

  8. Krista - Thank you for such a moving tribute to our country and our troops. I watched your Grand Rapids video from start to finish and had tears in my eyes by the end.

    I grew up in a steel town outside of Pittsburgh, PA, at a time when unemployment in many of our small towns rose as high as fifty per cent. We were part of the great Rust Belt. Like Grand Rapids, we were pronounced dead, too. We were down then but far from out. With visionary leadership, Pittsburgh made a turnaround and is now one of Forbes magazine's most livable cities, a center for medical and computer science research, and a lively hub for culture and art. Even the disused steel mills have been repurposed into multimedia art centers.

    So three cheers to Grand Rapids and so many American towns just like it. You said it best, no matter the adversity we face, we live in a country with a long history of people who have found a way to endure. God bless our troops. God bless America.

    Happy Memorial Day, everyone!
    ~ Cleo Coffeehouse
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  9. Nice video and expression of American spirit.

    Of course Newsweek couldn't do an article on dying magazines, I'm pretty sure they would rank near the top, they probably didn't want to appear boastful ......

  10. Wow, Pittsburgh is a wonderful example of a city that turned things around. Grand Rapids obviously has a lot going for it, so I'm sure they'll thrive.

    Happy Memorial Day, Cleo!

    ~ Krista

  11. LOL, Christi! Oh that's so funny!

    ~ Krista

  12. God did bless America with its veterans.

  13. Liz, you are so right!

    ~ Krista

  14. Chiming in late here... Wonderful post, Krista! I absolutely loved it. I'll have that song and their spirit in my heart for a long time. Thank you so much for sharing, Krista! And for all the wonderful recipe reminders! Plus those onions look fabulous! Thank you!!