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Tag Archives: thanksgiving
It’s Christmas Eve, the wee one is asleep and we’re finishing up the last of the presents. Time for a little midnight snack. This Cranberry Apple Crisp makes kissing by the Christmas tree taste so good!
3 organic granny smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced into 1/2 inch strips
6 oz fresh cranberries
1/4 cup organic sugar
3/4 cups organic brown sugar
1/2 cup organic all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup organic butter, softened
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Rub a pie pan with butter wax paper covers (I save them in the freezer for greasing baking sheets and pie pans and such). Add apples and cranberries to the pie pan. Sprinkle with sugar and toss until coated.
Combine brown sugar, flour, rolled oats, nutmeg, cinnamon and butter in a medium bowl until well incorporated. Sprinkle on top of the fruit.
Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
You can serve it hot with ice cream. I like it warm by itself on a cold winter night.
Roasting is my favorite way of making pumpkin puree. Not only is it the easiest way to do it, but oven heat also preserves the pumpkin’s sweet flavor.
A pound is equal to a cup of pumpkin puree. I needed 2 cups of pumpkin puree for my pumpkin cupcake recipe so I picked a 2 pound sugar pumpkin.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a baking sheet with butter. (Money-saving tip: I like saving the wax covers of butter sticks in the freezer. Whenever I need to grease a baking sheet, I get a wax cover out of the freezer and rub it on the baking sheet.)
Cut the pumpkin in half crosswise. Scoop out the seeds and strings. Save the seeds for roasted pumpkin seeds.
Put the pumpkin cut side down on the baking sheet.
Bake for 45 minutes. Check if skin can be pierced with a fork, then take it out of the oven and cool. Once the pumpkin is completely cooled, you can pull the skin off easily.
Tadaa! Homemade pumpkin puree!
Instructions from the book, Halloween Treats: Recipes and Crafts for the Whole Family (Holiday Celebrations) by Donata Maggipinto
This recipe was passed on to me from my husband’s grandmother, who sent us care packages of her special Pumpkin Cookies every Halloween. Mammie used Crisco Oil and it made her cookies very moist and last for weeks. I used organic canola oil as a healthier alternative, and this makes the pumpkin cookies moist, light and fluffy. If you like your cookies crispy on the surface, use organic butter instead.
This was previously posted at Pumpkin Cookies, but the way I had written it was confusing. I’ve revised the recipe to make it easier to follow. These Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies have become such a family favorite that I have a feeling I’ll be making several batches of it throughout the holiday season.
Mammie’s Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 cups organic sugar
1 cup organic canola oil (or softened organic butter – 2 sticks)
2 organic eggs
2 teaspoons organic vanilla
2 tablespoons raw organic milk
1 can organic pumpkin
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder, aluminum-free
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
4 cups organic all-purpose flour
1 large bag semi-sweet organic chocolate chips
Preheat oven 375 degrees F. Whisk sugar, canola oil, eggs, vanilla, milk and pumpkin together until well incorporated.
Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and stir slowly with a spatula or a wooden spoon until smooth. Add chocolate chips and mix.
Spoon rounds onto buttered cookie sheet (use wax paper covers to grease the baking sheet) and bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Take the cookies out as soon as they are showing a bit of brown around the outer edges.
We have just enough time to grow an edible garden for a Thanksgiving harvest. Last weekend we bought pots, potting soil, rocks and seeds: Carrot Scarlet Nantes Seeds, Pea Little Marvel Seeds and Spinach Correnta Hybrid Seeds.
I have little to no experience in gardening. The little experience I had a few years ago growing an herb garden was a failure. We lived on the coast of the Pacific Ocean, a mostly foggy zone. What was I thinking, growing an herb garden?
Now we live in a farm town. It seems the most natural activity for me to pursue gardening. At first I thought I was going to read up on gardening first and actually get my hands dirty in the spring, but the more I read, the more I learned that I could start an autumn garden. I just needed to pick plants that will reach maturity before the first frost. (Here in Northern California, the Farmer’s Almanac predicts the first frost on December 4.)
Peas need a container at least 14 inches wide and deep. Carrots need a container at least 12 inches deep and 18 inches wide. Spinach need a container at least 8 inches deep.
peas spinach have sprouted! Peas Spinach germinate quickly, from about 7 to 10 days after it is planted.
The sweet potato wasn’t part of the original plan. My aunt had a sweet potato that sat too long in the kitchen, it had grown eyes and then sprouted right there. We just had to put it in dirt so it could live. Aren’t those sprouts beautiful?
I’ve grown basil before, and like my first herb garden, this was a transplant. One thing I’ve learned about basil is that it likes to be frequently harvested. Just pinch off the large leaves and leave the tiny ones to keep growing.
I’ll keep updating more as my plants grow. Every morning I check on my plants. I water them when the top soil looks dried out, which is almost every day. It brings me so much happiness to see my plants thriving and growing. I’m growing along with them.
Ever since I learned how to cook a traditional Thanksgiving dinner from my husband’s grandmother, I’ve been cooking and serving the same special meal my family looks forward to year after year. This year’s menu is no different. I keep it simple, but make everything from scratch.
The tricky part is organizing and scheduling which dish to make when, so that everything is served nice and warm on the table at dinnertime. Here’s what I did:
Set the turkey out to thaw the day before Thanksgiving. The night before Thanksgiving, roast a pumpkin and leave on the table to cool overnight. Also, make the stuffing and chill in refrigerator overnight.
3 sweet potatoes Peel and cut sweet potatoes into 1 inch slices. Steam for an hour, then mash. Transfer the mashed sweet potato to a pie pan and let cool. Top with marshmallows. I wait until the turkey is out of the oven before I put the Sweet Potato Marshmallow in the oven to heat. Take it out and serve once the marshmallows are browned slightly.
Sweet Potato Marshmallow
1 bag large marshmallows
3 sweet potatoes
Peel and cut sweet potatoes into 1 inch slices. Steam for an hour, then mash. Transfer the mashed sweet potato to a pie pan and let cool. Top with marshmallows. I wait until the turkey is out of the oven before I put the Sweet Potato Marshmallow in the oven to heat. Take it out and serve once the marshmallows are browned slightly.
Here it comes again, Thanksgiving Dinner. I have always been into this holiday more as a celebration of harvest and abundance than as a remembrance of the historical Native American/Euro-colonial interchange. Must come from my non-American-born roots. I knocked myself out learning the traditional dishes, spending the whole day churning out as many sides as I can do while basting the turkey in the oven every 15 minutes until it is perfectly golden done. I saw Thanksgiving as a ritual to invite abundance into our home throughout the rest of the year.
My mom raised me with an awareness of abundance rituals. She used to hang grapes at the windowsill on New Year’s Eve to bring blessings in our home for the coming year. Chinese chotchkies, gifts from my mother, face my front door to invite good luck and prosperity. I don’t think it’s as much the chotchkies that brought me luck but the awareness of it.
This year, as it was for the past two Thanksgivings, I’m making dinner for three – my husband, my daughter and me. I try to buy the smallest turkey I can find, but even the smallest one is still too much for the three of us. Two years ago, I bought just the breasts and that suited us just fine. We’ll see what I can come up with this year.
I’ve done this enough years now that I’m a little less ambitious with what I want to make, and more sane, I hope. It still feels like a cooking marathon, trying to make so many dishes in a day, but I think I’ll take it a little easy this year.
Thanksgiving Dinner Menu
Mashed Sweet Potato with Marshmallow Topping
Maple Cranberry Sauce
Pumpkin Raisin Cookies, which I plan on making today already so we can snack on it all week.
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 15-oz can pumpkin
2 cups heavy cream, chilled
1 tsp vanilla extract
Follow manufacturer’s instructions on how to prepare your ice cream maker.
1. Heat whole milk in a medium saucepan until it bubbles around the edges.
2. Whisk sugar and pumpkin puree into the heated milk.
3. Transfer to a medium bowl and let it cool completely.
4. Stir in heavy cream and vanilla.
5. Chill for at least 30 minutes
6. Churn the mixture in an ice cream maker for at least 30 minutes or until thickened into a soft-serve consistency.
7. Freeze for at least 2 hours if a firmer consistency is desired.
Around the beginning of September I start getting anxious about the coming holidays. In my family, it gets quite busy. October is my birthday, our wedding anniversary and Halloween. November is my daughter’s birthday and Thanksgiving. And then of course the mother of all holidays, Christmas!
Through all these holidays, I can’t help but think about making pies.
Back in Maine I had bought a beautiful ceramic pie pan at a local shop. I made apple pies in September, and pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving. I love that ceramic pie plate. It made my pies look so much more festive. God knows I need it. Before I got my ceramic pie plate, I made hideous pies. I love that ceramic pie plate so much that I decided I would leave it at our Maine cabin, for fear of breaking it in the mail.
Now here we are in California, approaching fall and I have no pie pan. Sure I could buy a simple pyrex pan, but I’m spoiled by my beautiful ceramic pie pan. I just can’t go back.
My sensitive husband understood my plight, and ordered me two of these exquisite Bennington Potters pie pans. These are part of the “Tavernware” collection, which is described as having “a tawny glaze on a mahogany clay body.”
Ironic, that I left my ceramic pie plate out of fear of breaking it in the mail, and here comes my husband just ordering a couple of them online and getting them delivered by mail.
Whatever! No time to think about that now that I’ve got these beauties in my kitchen safe and sound.
I love them! The edges are delicately fluted, handmade and handglazed. They look so rustic and old, it’ll make my pies look perfect for Thanksgiving dinner.
I finally got me a Mary’s Free Range Heritage Turkey, fed no animal by-products, no preservatives. A true Thanksgiving turkey that’s lived its life healthily with lots of room to run around in. You can really taste the difference between one of these free-range birds and one that’s been farmed pumped with hormones, antibiotics and cooped up in a tiny cage. A free range Heritage Turkey is definitely a celebration of good harvest, abundance and food that warms the heart.
Roast Turkey Recipe
(for 8 to 10 lb turkey)
extra virgin olive oil
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 apple, chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
3 cups bread cubes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1 teaspoon sage leaves
ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup chicken broth
1. Heat oil to medium low in a large skillet.
2. Saute celery, onions and carrots until softened, about 10 minutes.
3. Stir in apples, walnuts, bread cubes and toss lightly.
4. Sprinkle with all the spices and toss lightly.
5. Add chicken broth and mix until well blended.
6. Set aside to cool. Do not stuff turkey until stuffing cools off.
Filling a turkey with warm stuffing invites bacteria.
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
2. Rinse turkey well and pat dry. Stuff the cavity loosely and skewer
or string up tight.
3. Arrange a bed of celery, onion and carrot pieces in a large roasting
pan. Place the turkey on the vegetables and pour 2 cups of water into
4. Roast the turkey for 2 hours, basting with sauce (recipe below) every
15 minutes. Turkey is done when meat thermometer thrust into the breast
reads 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
5. Transfer turkey to a platter and allow to rest for 15 minutes to
let the juices cook the turkey further.
1. While turkey is resting, strain the pan juices into a saucepan.
Heat to a simmer.
2. Stir 1/8 cup flour in 1/4 cup water. Add to turkey juices. Let it
boil, then simmer for 5 more minutes until thick. Season with salt and
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon paprika
freshly ground black pepper to taste
Stir together all the basting sauce ingredients. Brush or baste the
mixture on turkey every 15 minutes.
Basting keeps the turkey moist as it roasts in the oven and gives the turkey that beautiful glazed crispy skin that graces the Thanksgiving Dinner table.
8 oz. cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup maple syrup
Combine all ingredients into a saucepan and bring to a boil under high heat. Turn heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.