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Thanksgiving thoughts

Thanksgiving thoughts

<h1>Thanksgiving Thoughts</h1>

 

I wrote this a few years ago…but thought I would share these Thanksgiving thoughts again!

As Thanksgiving week is coming to a close, I wanted to share some thoughts on success, as they pertain to Thanksgiving.

The first one is to remember that we become like the five people we hang around the most. Or:

“You can’t fly with the eagles if you continue to scratch with the turkeys.” – Zig Ziglar

Stay positive! Or: Focus on the good stuff (ing)!

Be true to yourself! Or, as Popeye would say “I yam what I yam”…

popeye i yam

Sometimes it feels like we are not special, or unique, but even if “It’s not easy Bean Green” (casserole) remember to love yourself!

Stay strong and determined to finish. Positive self-talk might be necessary; “I think I cran, I think I cran” (berry).

Following these thoughts on success, you will surely get your just desserts!

pies

Now, tomorrow is a new day, a new week, and a chance to get re-energized, re-connected, and restarted on your goals!

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Thanks – giving

Thanks – giving

This was shared with me a few years ago, and it tugged at my heart so much that I am sharing it with you once more:

Thanksgiving Day was near. The first grade teacher gave her class a fun assignment – to draw a picture of something for which there were thankful.

Most of the class might be considered economically disadvantaged, but still many would celebrate the holiday with turkey and other traditional goodies of the season. These, the teacher thought, would be the subjects of most of her student’s art. And they were.

But Douglas made a different kind of picture. Douglas was a different kind of boy. Was the teacher’s true child of misery, frail and unhappy. As other children played at recess, Douglas was likely to stand close by her side. One could only guess at the pain Douglas felt behind those sad eyes.

Yes, his picture was different. When asked to draw a picture of something for which he was thankful, he drew a hand. Nothing else. Just an empty hand.

His abstract image captured the imagination of his peers. Whose hand could it be? One child guessed it was the hand of a farmer, because farmers raise turkeys. Another suggested a police officer, because the police protect and care for people. Still others guessed it was the hand of a Higher Power. And so the discussion went – until the teacher almost forgot the young artist himself.

When the children had gone on to other assignments, she paused at Douglas’ desk, bent down, and asked him whose hand it was. The little boy looked away and murmured, “It’s yours, teacher.”

She recalled the times she had taken his hand and walked with him here or there, as she had the other students. How often had she said, “Take my hand, Douglas, we’ll go outside.” Or, “Let me show you how to hold your pencil,” Or, “Let’s do this together.” Douglas was most thankful for his teacher’s hand.

Brushing aside a tear, she went on with her work.

 

This story is one of more than simple Thanks Giving. This story speaks volumes as to the power each person has in his or her own hand. So many times we do not stop to think about how much our own touch can mean to someone else. How our own kindness is perceived by another person. Those simple little gestures may be the light in someone else’s day; a smile, a pat on the back, a sincere compliment. Never underestimate the power of a simple, kind gesture. The person you share it with may not even know your name, but they will always remember the gesture and the feeling that comes with it.

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Thanksgiving Slow Cooker Stuffing 2014

Thanksgiving Slow Cooker Stuffing 2014

Thanksgiving Slow Cooker Stuffing

This year’s Thanksgiving journey was laid back and easy. I wasn’t trying out a menu full of new recipes and I wasn’t trying to create an entire Thanksgiving meal to travel via slow cooker. The one new recipe I was going to make would be a slow cooker stuffing. The meal I cooked this year was on Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and it was for the girls’ school dinner.

I started feeling bad at the end of the week before Thanksgiving, when many people were talking about going to their children’s and grandchildren’s Thanksgiving dinners at school. Since my girls are home schooled they don’t get Thanksgiving dinner at school. I decided to remedy that. Daughter Number 2 would be home from college already, so it would be great. That way we would be able have 3 girls at school lunch and be able to go to moms for dinner on Thanksgiving. I would get to cook my own dinner and partake in hers.

As the day got closer I talked to Daughter Number One; she has been off work for several weeks due to a surgery she had. I didn’t know if she would be able to drive because of her recovery, but I asked. She said if she was feeling up to it, she would love to come for school lunch. Then, Daughter Number 2 asked if she could bring her boyfriend to our school Thanksgiving dinner. The more the merrier!

My menu was going to be a traditional Thanksgiving dinner consisting of turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, dressing, homemade rolls, pumpkin pie, and raisin sour cream pie.

I told my mom I would make dressing for her Thanksgiving dinner, but she requested it be “plain”: no mushrooms, no nuts, etc.  found a recipe that I felt pretty confident would work, but wanted to try it with my family first. To avoid having to calculate timing my stuffing with everyone else’s dishes I chose to use a slow cooker.

The dressing was a huge success, and The Hubs and my mother both said that I needn’t try another recipe next year. This one was quite good.

Another success was the fact that I had written out a timetable for the school lunch and it worked out perfectly. I have never cooked a large meal that was so perfectly timed. The time that it took to create the timetable was well worth it! The meats and sides were hot, the cranberry sauce and pies were cold.

The last success was the use of my convection oven. It assisted me in getting everything done in less time, and expertly. I was able to cook all of my rolls at once, and cut the time for my ham and turkey. One lesson learned is that meringue topping for cream pies does NOT work in a convection oven!

Below is the time table for my meal, followed by the dressing recipe. I made the cranberry sauce the day before, so it is not a part of the timetable.

5 am – mix and refrigerate pie crusts

5:30 – mix roll dough

6 – roll and bake pie crust for raisin sour cream pie

6:30 – mix pumpkin pie filling

645 – roll out pie crust, fill, and bake pumpkin pie

7 – work bread dough, roll out for 2nd rise

8 – bake bread

830 – put together dressing

9 – put dressing in slow cooker

9 – remove ham from fridge

920 – glaze ham with cola

930 – put ham in oven

11 – remove turkey from fridge, season

1130 – remove ham, wrap in foil, place in cooler to keep warm

1130 – put turkey in oven

1230pm – add sweet potatoes to oven

1 – put Yukon gold potatoes on stove top to cook for mashed

130-remove turkey ( ensure it is thoroughly cooked)

135 – bake green bean casserole

145 – bake raisin sour cream pie, slice turkey and ham

150 – mash potatoes

155 – set table

2pm – Eat Dinner!

Perfection!

 

It was an absolutely wonderful school dinner, and I was delighted that all of my girls (and one boyfriend) were able to attend! Now, that is an awfully lot to be thankful for!

Slow Cooker Stuffing

  • 12 cups toasted (cubed bread)
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ½ cup onion (minced)
  • ¼ cup celery (minced)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried marjoram
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  1. Toast and cube bread to make 12 cups. Add cubed bread to a large mixing bowl.  

  2. Take 2 pieces of aluminum foil and roll them length wise, like snakes. Place the foil in the crease of the slow cooker to create a ring. Spray the inside of the slow cooker crock, including the foil, with nonstick cooking spray. 

  3. In a large skillet melt the butter over medium heat. When the butter has melted add the celery and cook for a few minutes, then add the onion. Cook until the onion is translucent. Remove from heat and add the herbs and spice. Spoon the butter and vegetable mixture over the bread in the mixing bowl. Toss. 

  4. In a small bowl, beat the egg. Add the chicken broth to the egg and mix thoroughly.

  5. Pour the egg mixture over the bread mixture and toss to coat. 

  6. Pour the dressing into the slow cooker keeping it inside of the foil ring, and pile into the center, keeping it away from the sides. 

  7. Cook on high for 15 minutes. Turn down to low and cook for another 2-4 hours until cooked through. Do not overcook.

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2014 in Recipe, Uncategorized

 

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What a turkey! – and slow cooker Noodle Kugel

What a turkey! – and slow cooker Noodle Kugel

As I did not make a turkey for Thanksgiving (thanks Daughter Number One) I missed having the copious amount of leftover turkey to eat following Thanksgiving day. So, I made a turkey the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Nothing special about the turkey I just roasted it in the oven. Oh, but the house smelled so amazing! I didn’t feel the need to do up all of the side dishes, since I had done that on Thanksgiving. I wracked my brain trying to decide what to make with the 15 pound turkey in my oven. Finally, it hit me. I was going to make Kugel – Noodle Kugel. In fact, I made slow cooker kugel.

Since Hanukkah started on Thanksgiving this year I thought that making this traditional Jewish food would be a great idea. No, we are not Jewish but I try to introduce other heritages, cultures, and religions to the girls. I even enlisted the two youngest in helping me make the kugel. It was great! I was so glad I chose to make the kugel. The girls really liked and so did The Hubs. One of the girls thought there were too many raisins in it, but it was otherwise a success.

I found this recipe at http://dinnerisacrock.com/2010/09/24/crock-pot-noodle-kugel/  and made a few little changes to it.

It seems that this was such a hit we may have to make it again! I think it would be a fantastic addition to a brunch!

Apparently the rest of the family was glad I made the turkey, too. We have had meals from the turkey all week! I made a homemade turkey soup with dumplings to warm the hands for The Hubs and girls Tuesday, since they decorated the outside of the house with Christmas lights and our big wreath. It must have been a combination of the seasonal excitement, the nip in the air, and the nostalgia but I thought it was the best soup I have ever made! I allowed myself two large bowls! The little girls liked it, especially the dumplings. The Hubs didn’t get to eat with us when we ate because he was finishing up a few touches outside. When he came in to have a bowl he told me that it was delicious…probably the best I’ve made.

The girls even asked for it for lunch the next day! The Hubs has been making turkey salad for sandwiches, too. Imagine my surprise when Daughter Number Four asked if I wasn’t going to make gravy with mashed potatoes to go with the end of our turkey! She doesn’t even like mashed potatoes! It seems that the turkey hit the spot with everyone. I might have to throw a turkey in the oven every 3 months, but then I wonder if they would get tired of turkey if we had it that often.

Do you make turkey at times other than the holidays? What some favorite holiday food traditions are in your house! We all have our own favorite foods of the season…which morsels do you look forward to?

Slow Cooker Noodle Kugel

  • 1 8- ounce package yolk-free broad egg noodles (NoYolks)
  • 5 eggs (beaten)
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 2 cups cottage cheese
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup raisins + ¼ cup water
  1. In a glass bowl or measuring cup combine water and raisins. Microwave for 30-45 seconds until warm. Let sit until raisins are soft. 

  2. Spray the crock of slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Mix all ingredients except noodles in crock pot until smooth. 

  3. Fold noodles into mixture gently. Cook on low for 4 hours. 

  4. Halfway through, gently stir to ensure the noodles are coated. 

  5. For last 15 minutes, position lid sideways.

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2013 in Recipe

 

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Slow Cooker Thanksgiving ~ 2013

Slow Cooker Thanksgiving ~ 2013

Last year I posted three days of the journey that was our Thanksgiving feast. This year, we had an actual journey on Thanksgiving day. We traveled the roughly 150 miles to Daughter Number One’s apartment to share Thanksgiving dinner with her and her boyfriend.

The Hubs and I told her that she would only have to be in charge of roasting the turkey and making pumpkin pie. We would bring the rest. I know this sounds like an extreme offering, but under the circumstances it was all for the best.

This would be her first turkey, and she was really nervous about it. She kept having visions of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, where the turkey literally dissolves in a puff of dryness. Having raised her, we also knew some previous cooking and baking episodes of hers, and wanted to be able to enjoy some of the Thanksgiving dinner. She will read this post, so I’m not talking behind her back. I am quite sure she remembers burning Velveeta in the microwave (I didn’t know it could turn black) and starting a small fire in the microwave because she didn’t know not to put aluminum foil in it. There are more, but we’ll save those for another day! (Love you)

Another thing we decided is that since I have been doing so much slow cooker creating that I would do a slow cooker Thanksgiving with the side dishes. I asked my girls what they thought were absolutes when it came to Thanksgiving sides. The answers were fairly similar: Green Bean Supreme, Stuffing (or Dressing since I don’t put it in the bird), Mashed Potatoes, and Sweet Potatoes (even though most of the girls don’t like them). They also put in their requests for the bread…cornmeal rolls; my dad’s recipe.

With the menu set, I spent all day Wednesday baking bread and pies. Since D1 was making the pumpkin that meant I only had to make pecan and Raisin Sour Cream, in memoriam to my father-in-law. I also had to bake cornmeal rolls, and I chose to make a second dinner roll, just in case. For those I chose a great recipe for a light wheat roll. On Thursday morning I got up and put the stuffing together first thing. I was pretty sure it would take the longest. Then I put together the Green Bean Supreme (not just another green bean casserole), the sweet potatoes, corn casserole, and finally came the mashed potatoes.

It was decided that I would use the slow cooker to keep the cooked mashed potatoes warm, rather than cook them in it. I used a liner for the mashed potatoes, green beans, and corn. For the mashed potatoes, I chose to put water in the slow cooker before adding the liner. This kept the potatoes from getting dry on the edges. I have my boss to thank for that great idea!

Although I used my own Green Bean Supreme recipe, and just made it in the slow cooker on low, I did come up with some new recipes for the stuffing, corn, and sweet potatoes using the slow cooker.

In all we used 5 slow cookers to take our cooked side dishes to our daughter’s place for Thanksgiving. I asked all of the attendees for their feedback on the dishes. and did not get any negative feedback. The two changes I will make or read up on are the way the Green Beans and Corn both seemed to separate. I’m not sure if it was a travel related issue (slow cookers off and traveling for 1 and a half hours) or a cooking issue. Hopefully I will get it figured out before the next time I take an entire meal on a journey!

Now, to give credit where credit is due: The turkey turned out absolutely perfect! Daughter Number One did a great job! Her fears (and ours) were all for naught.

A huge apology for a big GOOF on my part, though: pictures. I was so busy cooking and trying to make everything work in slow cookers, cook at the right speed, make room for everything in my car, and the overall excitement, I did not get one single picture of my slow cooker Thanksgiving. However I did get picture of my pies and wheat rolls, though.

rolls

I hope your Thanksgiving feast was as amazing as ours!

Candied Sweet Potatoes

  • 5 sweet potatoes (peeled and diced into 1” pieces)
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows
  1. Spray the slow cooker crock insert with nonstick cooking spray. 

  2. Melt butter in a glass bowl or measuring cup. Add sugar and stir until smooth. Stir in vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. 

  3. Add sweet potatoes to slow cooker and pour sugar mixture over the top. Cook on low for 3-5 hours, until potatoes are soft. 

  4. Remove lid and add marshmallows to the top of the sweet potatoes. Cook for about 10 minutes with the top off, until marshmallows are melty and crisp.

 

Corn Casserole

  • 2 cans whole kernel corn
  • 1 can cream corn
  • 1 – 8 ounce cream cheese
  • ½ cup butter
  1. Place all ingredients in the slow cooker crock insert. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. You may need to stir once the cream cheese and butter have melted.

 

Slow Cooker Stuffing

  • 12 cups toasted bread (cut into 1/2” to 1” pieces (I used white, wheat, and sourdough))
  • ¼ cup butter (melted)
  • ½ onion (chopped)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sage (crumbled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 4 cups chicken broth (I used 2 cups vegetable broth, 2 cups chicken broth)
  • 1/3 cup roasted pecans or walnuts
  1. In the bottom of slow cooker insert, make a ring with aluminum foil, in the crease and about two inches up the side. Spray the insert and foil with nonstick spray. 

  2. Melt butter in a small glass bowl or measuring cup. Add spices to the butter and mix. 

  3. Pour the bread into the buttered slow cooker. Add onions. Pour the melted butter mixture over the bread and onions and toss to coat. Pour the broth over the bread mixture and toss so that all of the bread is coated. 

  4. Cook on low for 4 – 5 hours. 

  5. Toss in nuts and turn lid to crisp top for 15-30 minutes.

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2013 in Recipe

 

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Thanksgiving 2012 Desserts

Thanksgiving 2012 Desserts

If you have ever driven across the U.S., or even half of the U.S., or even just driven across Kansas you know how it feels when you are on the home stretch. You’ve come so far, yet you’re still not there. You’re tired and your legs and arms are sore and jelly-like.

That was how I felt after making and eating Thanksgiving dinner, preparing to eat dessert. I knew I had come many, many miles but would not be done with the journey until I had eaten at least one serving of one of the desserts I had made. I was tired and my legs and arms were sore and jelly-like. Add on to that the fullness of the belly, and the task seemed almost daunting. However, I just knew that I had to do it, because I had made desserts. In fact, there were four desserts to choose from.

Let’s start with the one that I did nothing to prepare. I had ordered it from a friend as a fundraiser for one of the sports her daughter plays in. It was a chocolate mousse pie.  Done!

Next, was an apple pie. I used a store-bought roll-out crust for this one. Making pie crust is not my forte. My grandmother made excellent pie crusts. My mother did not. After years of psycho-analyzing my mother and her pie crust issues (which she passed down to me) I firmly believe that she had a self-limiting fear of making pie crusts, because her mother was so masterful at it. I could be wrong.

Making pie crust is an art. I usually buy the pie crusts in the red box that you unroll. Fabulous! I had a bag of pre-made apple pie filling that my mother had frozen during apple season. She had an over-flow of apples and her standard is to go ahead and mix up some apple pie filling and freeze. So, I took one of these. Her standard pie filling is apples, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and flour. After they thawed, I turned it into more of a caramel apple pie, by adding butter, brown sugar and heavy cream before putting it in the crust.

My third dessert was a pumpkin pie. The Hubs and D1 are huge pumpkin pie fans. It’s really not my favorite, but had to be done. It’s a tradition! So, I took a deep breath, and made up a recipe for pie crust dough. The Hubs had discovered this recipe a few years ago and has had much success with it. I figured, if he could do it, I could, too. Oh, and since it wasn’t my Grandmother’s recipe the old ghosts of pie crusts past would be exorcised!

My pie crusts were a success inasmuch as I did not cry and I was able to get 2 9-inch shells. One, I used for the pumpkin pie and the other I baked for a pudding pie.

I used the pumpkin pie recipe on the Libby’s can, and it turned out beautifully. I added a few pie crust leaves to the top of the pie, which everyone seemed to think was very fancy. (Thank you, Williams-Sonoma for your cute little cutters!)

The last dessert of our Thanksgiving feast was a Raisin Sour Cream Pie. I had never even heard of this kind of pie until I married The Hubs. At the first Thanksgiving I spent with his family, his step-father talked about the pie that he used to just love, Raisin Sour Cream. I made it my mission to come up with a recipe for this odd-sounding pie. With the help of my father I found one in a “Kansas” cookbook, but have since lost it. I came up with this recipe later and I make it every Thanksgiving in his memory. It has become a family favorite and we all think fondly of him when we eat it.

I chose the Raisin Sour Cream as my dessert, the end to my journey. It was a sweet and delicious ending to an amazing feast.

One of the great things about nearly any journey is not the end. Sometimes the end is bitter-sweet. It is the journey that makes the memories along the way…

“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” – Lao Tzu

Or in my case, it began with a lot of flour, cream and butter with a few vegetables and a turkey thrown in. Of course, I made fabulous new memories along the way during the making and eating of Thanksgiving 2012. Just think, Christmas is just around the corner. Many more miles to go!

Sour Cream Pie Crust

  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 5 oz. butter (room temp)
  1. Combine ingredients to form dough. Separate in half and refrigerate for 10 minutes. Roll out into 2 9-inch pie shells. You may add ½ teaspoon vanilla for fruit pies.

Raisin Sour Cream Pie

  • 1 cup raisins
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 3 eggs yolks (beaten)
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 egg whites
  • 6 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  1. In a small covered sauce pan, cook the raisins with the ½ cup water until boiling, and the liquid is absorbed. Set aside.
  2. Combine sugar and flour in a heavy bottomed sauce pan. Add beaten egg yolks, sour cream, and vanilla. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture is thickened. Add in raisins. Cool slightly and pour into baked pie shell.
  3. In a large glass or metal bowl free of oils (I use my K.A.) beat egg whites, gradually adding sugar until they form stiff peaks, but are not dry.
  4. Spread meringue gently over raising filling. Bake at 350 degrees until meringue is lightly golden, about 12 minutes.

Store uneaten pie in the refrigerator.

 

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2012 in Baking Recipes, Dessert Recipes

 

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Thanksgiving Dinner – Part 3

I feel a little bit like The Muppets on their journey in “The Muppet Movie”. Moving right along (dooga doon dooga doon)… I can’t speak for the Muppets but I was going to have delicious food including cornmeal rolls on my journey.

Moving right along on the Thanksgiving 2012 journey today I’ll cover the Cranberry Sauce, Irish Brown Bread, and Cornmeal Rolls. Let me tell you now, this is a bit of a journey in and of itself.

So, the cranberry sauce is just one of those things that is “traditional Thanksgiving fare”. I made it.While I love cranberries I hate that gelatinous jelly that comes out of cans.  So, for the past few years I have been making homemade cranberry sauce. It is so easy and takes such little effort that it’s something I can squeeze in while working on other things. Which is another reason I make it.

Just wash a bag of fresh cranberries and put them in a heavy bottomed sauce pan. I add a scant 2 cups of liquid and ¾ cup granulated sugar. In the past I have used a combination of water and juice (pomegranate once and orange once) and this year I just used a cran-pom blend. Stir it all together and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Watch out so you don’t get burned by bursting berries! I just love when those little babies start bursting and popping in the pan! Ok, you caught me. This is the real reason I love making cranberry sauce. It’s so much fun!

If you remember from Day One of our journey, D4 said that she wanted me to make Irish Brown Bread like we had in Ireland. Of course I scanned the internet for recipes and found one that I liked. I thought it seemed fairly straightforward and not too time consuming. The only thing that I didn’t have on hand was buttermilk. When I started to make my own, using milk and lemon juice I remembered that I had some heavy cream in the fridge. I would see if D4 wanted to make some buttermilk with me, by shaking the cream in a jar until it separated! She was game.

We had a blast doing this, and it was awesome to serve the butter later, too! It was almost like magic happening, when the yellowness separated away! I have attached a link to the Irish Brown Bread recipe that I used. I have to admit that somewhere I must have had a mis-step. It was very dense and not quite what I was going for. Or, as The Hubs put it during dinner; “this bread just wicked every bit of moisture out of my mouth”. Hmmmm. I will try again another day, to see if I can be more successful. http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/irish-brown-bread

Now, to the cornmeal rolls. Ah, cornmeal rolls. Back story…My father worked as food editor for a local newspaper in the 80’s and during that time he had the opportunity to judge a few food contests. The recipe that has become a mainstay for family functions and has even been given to a couple of my nephews as part of their birthday gifts (per their request) was the overall winner of the breads portion of one such food contest. I am sharing the full fat version of the recipe, although it can be made with much less butter (about half) and only one egg.

 

These are delicious served with butter, or used as sandwiches for the leftover turkey and fixin’s.

Wow. We are really making progress through our Thanksgiving 2012 road trip! The dinner portion has all been covered and we are ready to move on to dessert! That’s what you have to look forward to tomorrow! Desserts from Thanksgiving 2012…buckle up. This could get wild!

Cornmeal Rolls

  • 2 cups milk
  • 2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 stick butter or margarine
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs (beaten)
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 1 packet instant dry yeast
  • 6 cups flour
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

  2. Combine milk and cornmeal in a large glass bowl. Microwave on high for one minute, stir well, microwave another minute, stir, and continue until cornmeal is mushy and milk is absorbed.

  3. Remove from microwave oven, add butter and cool to warm stirring occasionally. Add sugar, salt, eggs, and water. 

  4. In a separate bowl add yeast to cups of the flour and stir well; add to cornmeal mixture. Beat for 200 strokes. Add more flour, a cup at a time, and stir in until mixture forms a soft dough. Let rest a few minutes, then knead for 10 minutes. 

  5. Let rise in greased bowl, covered, until doubled. 

  6. Cut into circles with a 13-ounce coffee can or large glass; rework trimmings, roll and cut again, continuing until all the bread is in circles.

  7. Let rise, covered, on greased sheet pans until light.

  8. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes until golden brown.

  9. Cool on a wire rack.

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Thanksgiving 2012 part deux – Green Bean Casserole

Now, back to the journey of our Thanksgiving Dinner 2012. This is where we make the very best Green Bean Casserole, aka Green Bean Supreme, and a dressing recipe. I’ve taken you through the turkey, mashed potatoes, roasted root vegetables, and the gravy. So without further adieu let’s move on to a Thanksgiving tradition and family favorite.

Green Bean Casserole in my family is called Green Bean Supreme. It was dubbed this by my youngest brother. He asked for it one Thanksgiving about twenty or so years ago. I found a recipe for it, but thought it was lacking. So I created this one and it has become the standard, to which all other Green Bean Casseroles pale.

Now let’s move on to the stuffing. When I was talking to the girls pre-Thanksgiving about “must-haves” and “wants” they all said that stuffing is a “must-have”. I found this to be very strange because I couldn’t recall them eating stuffing (dressing) in the past. When I asked them what kind of stuffing they like they unanimously declared that they like the kind without celery. My mom’s has celery.

I asked what some other pre-req’s for stuffing are. That was really it. Daughter Number Three said that she would like a stuffing to have apples and pecans in it. Do not ask me from where she pulled that, but that is what she said. Of course I started searching for a stuffing recipe. I found one (to go inside of a pork crown roast) by Tyler Florence. I adapted it slightly, trading the sourdough for white bread. While I think the sourdough would have been better, I didn’t have any.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/apple-pecan-stuffing-recipe/index.html

The Hubs liked the new stuffing recipe and D3 was more than thrilled that her choice had turned out so well! I don’t know that D2 or D4 tried it at all. Oh, well…more for us! I will definitely be adding this recipe to the repertoire.

Did I mention that I did not seek out “healthy” options for Thanksgiving this year? This year was all about taste. It succeeded in being tasty! I will probably need to throw in some extra workouts to get back to my pre-Thanksgiving weight (BMI, blood pressure, cholesterol level) but it was all worth it.

I’m looking forward to getting back on the road with you tomorrow, for more of our Thanksgiving 2012 journey! See you soon!

Green Bean Supreme

  • 4 cans cut green beans (drained)
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 pound Velveeta (cubed)
  • 1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
  • 1 can French Fried Onions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

  2. Combine sour cream, Velveeta and mushroom soup in a glass bowl and microwave at one minute intervals until smooth. 

  3. Pour the drained green beans into a large casserole dish and pour melted sauce over beans. Mix gently. 

  4. Bake for 20 minutes. 

  5. Top with onions and heat 5-10 minutes until the onions are browned.

I like to throw a few of the onions in with the green beans and sauce before baking for added flavor.

Apple Pecan Stuffing

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (plus extra for finishing)
  • 1/2 bunch fresh sage
  • 1/2 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 large Spanish onion (thinly sliced)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 Granny Smith apples (peeled and diced)
  • 1 1/2 cups raw pecans
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 5 cups  sourdough bread  (crusts removed, hand-torn into 1-inch pieces)
  • 1/4 bunch fresh flat leaf parsley (roughly chopped)
  1. Set a large saute pan over medium heat and add olive oil, sage and thyme sprigs. As the oil heats up the herbs will crackle and fry, infusing the oil. Remove the sage and thyme and set aside on a paper towel to drain – these can be as a garnish, if desired. 

  2. Add onions to the pan and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes until caramelized. Season with salt and pepper. Remove onions from pan and add apples. Crush the pecans and add to the pan. Add more oil, if needed and season with salt and pepper. Gently saute until pecans are lightly toasted and apples are just cooked slightly – about 3 to 5 minutes. 

  3. In a large mixing bowl whisk together egg, cream, chicken stock, and salt and pepper, to taste. Add torn sourdough, caramelized onions, apples, pecans and chopped parsley. Using a wooden spoon, mix the stuffing until well combined.

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2012 in Side Dish Recipe

 

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Thanksgiving 2012

Roasted Root Vegetables aka Irish Vegetables

Yesterday was the best Thanksgiving I can remember. Instead of going out of town to visit relatives or driving hundreds of miles to a destination, we chose to stay at home. The five of us who reside in this house chose to spend Thanksgiving together, watching the parades and enjoying a relaxing day.

I chose to cook a big Thanksgiving dinner for the five of us. When I asked The Hubs what he wanted and his only request was a BIG turkey, so that there would be plenty of leftovers. I think the 20.43 pound bird that I chose suited his requirement.

This year I made some old standbys and some new recipes’. It was hands down the best Thanksgiving dinner I have ever prepared, and maybe the best I have ever eaten. It all just worked perfectly and was timed out like a well-choreographed dance.

The menu was planned by all of us and Daughter Number Four wanted to have traditional Irish food (she’s still really fixated on our trip to Ireland and all of the good food that we ate). When I asked her what that meant to her she explained that we had to have mashed potatoes (a given), vegetables, and Irish brown bread.

In addition to those items I had input from Daughter Number Two to make Green Bean Supreme. Her input on the potatoes consisted of “buttery”. Daughter Number Three wanted me to make a stuffing (or dressing as it didn’t actually go into the turkey) that didn’t have celery or sage. When I asked her what she would put into stuffing that would make it awesome she said pecans and apples. So, I found a recipe that called for pecans and apples and modified it slightly. I came up with the rest based on my likes and wants. Here is the menu, and the reasons they made the cut:

<h2>Menu</h2>

  • Oven Roasted Turkey – per The Hubs (20.43 pounds)
  • Mashed Potatoes – D4 (buttery per D2)
  • Gravy (required Thanksgiving fare)
  • Roasted Root Vegetables (D4)
  • Green Bean Supreme (D2)
  • Apple Pecan Stuffing (D3)
  • Homemade Cranberry Sauce (required Thanksgiving fare)
  • Irish Brown Bread (D4)
  • Cornmeal Rolls (my father’s recipe and tradition)
  • Pumpkin Pie (RTF)
  • Apple Pie (RTF)
  • Raisin Sour Cream Meringue Pie (The Hubs step-father’s favorite pie, which we make every year in his honor)
  • Chocolate Mousse Pie (no thought here, I bought it for a fundraiser)

Rather than make this post 12 pages long, I will break the creation of the meal into several days. I hope you enjoy the journey!

I oven roasted the turkey in a low oven for 5 ½ hours. After washing and patting dry I rubbed the cavity with Kosher salt, cracked black pepper, thyme and bay. I coated the inside and outside with butter and had The Hubs lift the bird into the oven. Damn, she was heavy!

I found a recipe for the potatoes and Root Vegetables on a website for the Ireland Food Board – bordbia.ie. I used Yukon Gold potatoes for my mashed, and learned that a “knob” of butter is a piece about walnut size. Still I used a total of a stick of butter as per the request of D2.  For my roasted root veggies I used sweet potatoes, carrots, turnips, parsnips, and a red onion. I drizzled them with olive oil and sprinkled with a little bit of thyme and sea salt.

Gravy. Ah, gravy. In case I have not mentioned this in prior posts or in case you missed the headlines: I Love Gravy. (It’s a very close tie with cheese. I Love Cheese.) I grew up on homemade gravy and it is truly one of the best parts of life, in my opinion. Both of my parents made gravy and were quite good at it. My mother would make gravy with fried chicken, pork roast, beef roast, and other meats. My father, who loved cooking and experimenting with food, made red-eye gravy, hamburger gravy, turkey gravy, and most every gravy recipe he came across.

In Junior High I spent part of a summer with my maternal Grandmother, and she made gravy (for me) at almost every meal. I have eaten gravy on meat, potatoes, rice, bread, French fries, rolls, pancakes, and countless other foods.

Yesterday, I made milk gravy out of the turkey drippings. This turkey made the most wonderful drippings. I poured off about ½ cup of fatty juice from the turkey pan and heated it in a heavy bottomed skillet. Then I added ½ cup flour a little bit at a time whisking thoroughly to prevent lumps and make a smooth gravy. I added milk to the roux and continued to whisk thoroughly while it cooked over medium heat to a nice thickness. This was phenomenal gravy! I seasoned lightly with salt and black pepper.

I hope you have enjoyed the first part of our 2012 Thanksgiving Dinner! The excitement is high to share the rest of this incredible food journey with you! Oh, and as for orts left on our plates after dinner, there were none! Every single one of us cleaned our plates. Some of us more than once!

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2012 in Side Dish Recipe

 

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