Thanksgiving – a few of my favorite things – and only a week away!
I’m so ready for Thanksgiving – it’s my favorite holiday. Usually in Oklahoma, we will get lucky with a beautifully crisp fall day on Thanksgiving. Definitely football weather. Jump in the leaves weather. Eat a turkey weather.
Sad that we only set aside one official day to give thanks, so I make the most of it. Many friends have been posting daily on Facebook things for which they are thankful – and I think that’s an awesome idea. It’s fun to read and reflect, “I’m thankful for that TOO!!”
Of course, it’s about the food. An excuse for a cooking contest and everyone makes their specialty dish.
My husband is making the turkey this year, and he uses Alton Brown’s recipe. He brines the turkey, then slow roasts in the oven. He stuffs the turkey with fresh rosemary, cinnamon sticks and a few apples – the aroma is awesome, and the turkey is oh so tender.
We’re having Thanksgiving this year at my Mom’s girlfriend Mary Kaye’s home. We can’t all have large family gatherings together, so we’ve joined forces with other wayfaring friends – and it’s just as much fun.
Food you must have at Thanksgiving includes turkey, mashed potatoes and GRAVY, green beans, sweet potatoes, stuffing and bread. That may be in the Oklahoma State Constitution somewhere.
However, as we become a little more health conscious and creative, I’ve come up with some alternatives. I found a recipe for turnip and garlic mashed potatoes – I think the turnip is a neglected vegetable and should be integrated into our soups and side dishes more – mashed potatoes seem the obvious place. Winter squashes – I’ll take butternut squash over sweet potatoes any day of the week. I wrote a blog post about how to clean butternut squash and included my favorite recipe for that winter blessing. You might get by with substituting spinach or asparagus for the green beans, but I think it would be sacrilege to skip the dressing or gravy.
And of course, I’ve been collecting recipes on Pinterest – the image to the right is crepes filled with pumpkin – easy, peasy to make and yum.
My stuffing recipe is a combination of several recipes that I like. I do use Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix as the base, add sautéed and drained sage sausage, lots of fresh herbs and spices – then add chopped red and yellow bell peppers, carrots, mushrooms, celery and onion. One year, I added diced hearts of palm and artichoke hearts.
Cooking is good for my soul – it brings me a lot of joy and is very therapeutic.
We don’t really have any Thanksgiving traditions other than watching football and NAPPING after the big meal. This year my husband Demetrius is making individual cakes in ramekins to be taken home as a party favor – and a gesture to remind everyone that we’re thankful for their friendship. Everyone loves his karidopita, which is a Greek walnut cake flavored with cinnamon and topped with a honey syrup. So, off to the Dollar Store to buy ramekins and wrapping paper.
My husband was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes this year, so I’ll be hunting for some low sugar dessert recipes. He WILL eat my Mom’s cherry dump cake – he’ll just have to run two miles afterwards to make up for it! I’m experimenting with the recipe for pumpkin filled crepes shown above and trying to figure out how to make it more diabetic friendly. And I found a recipe for marscapone mashed potatoes – wonder if I could use turnips in that?
Now, a gift for the hostess. I can assure you I’ve been shopping on Pinterest for that – a lot of cool ideas for centerpieces and such. If I don’t come up with something clever before the big day, we’ll buy her a bottle of Kahlua – can’t go wrong with that.
Wishing you and yours a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving Day – and may you be reminded of the history and reason for the holiday. We all have so much for which to be thankful. Plus the food!!
Please pass the gravy!!
Content written and published by Lori Cain.