Posted tagged ‘Thanksgiving’

With Apologies to P-Dub

November 26, 2009

The Pioneer Woman dot com is a website that I have been following for a couple of years.  This ranching mom with her four kids and their cow poop, calf nut adventures  makes me feel SO much better about soccer game/practice grass stains.  She homeschools her children and has introduced me to some awesome websites to take my Technology students to.  And she has led me down several paths when it comes to the kitchen.  Thanks to Rachel Ray, I have EVOO in my cupboard and a whisk in the drawer but thanks to The Pioneer Woman I now stock fat free low salt chicken stock in my fridge.  And notrealbutter.  And I use it.  Alot.  I am always ready to consider something new in the kitchen.  Imagine my delight when I saw her recent post about what the Thanksgiving meal was going to look like at her house.  Wouldn’t it be fun to replicate that at my own?  Then I read her post.

Roasted Turkey – fresh and brined with her homemade concoction- Fresh?  Uh huh.  Did that route with a chicken from the Eastern Market once.  I found grass in its innards.

Mashed Potatoes – cooked the day before with cream cheese and butter

Cornbread Stuffing – my sister married a Southern boy and cornbread stuffing is all they serve on holidays.  My kids pass….every time.

Butternut Squash Puree – I would love it.  The rest of the family….not so much

Sweet Roasted Acorn Squash Wedges – see above.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce – I have my OWN beloved specialty for cranberries.

Whiskey Glazed Carrots – none of the key ingredient available in this house.  But will be making Pastor Ryan’s Roasted Carrots in the very near future.  Rosemary I can find.

Turnip Gratin – uh….right.  My kids would hang me from the rafters for even looking at  turnips at the market.  They still haven’t forgiven me for slipping parsnips into the pot roast a year ago.

Fresh Corn with Wild Rice – interesting dish but I know my kiddles would have been set off by ‘spoiling their corn’ with another ingredient.  They’re purist in that way.

Dinner Rolls – good recipe but we tend to prefer the frozen bread balls that you can set on the stove in a muffin tin and watch them rise during the day.

Pecan Pie – I DID try this.  I have never made a pecan pie and didn’t know until two days ago the HRH LOVES pecan pie.  Of COURSE he does.   Three kinds of sugar and nuts with whipped cream on top?  A no brainer.

Pear Crisp – I love the Pioneer Woman’s fruit dishes.  Apple Brown Betty is right up there at the top of the list for Sunday morning breakfast in this house.

Okay… I had a plain old frozen turkey from the Super Mart.   Cooked in a turkey bag.  We are foregoing mashed potatoes this year in light of other kinds of calories.  I have a pecan pie and a pumpkin pie cooling on the cupboard.  The Princess requested Sweet Potato Casserole (another recipe from my Southern Brother in Law).   The Prince wants Green Bean Casserole ( I am sure we all grew up with that one) and HRH is happy with anything.  I chopped up three heads of broccoli with 6 stalks of green onions and a handful of raisins for our usual broccoli salad.  I mixed in the slaw dressing and will toss in the crisp bacon bits after breakfast in the morning.  It always tastes better after it has been sitting in the fridge a while. Left overs rule!

I have had a life long love affair with cranberries.  I love the relish on top of cottage cheese or just plain.  I once made Apple-Cranberry Chutney and served it over a blocks of cream cheese with crackers for an appetizer for my theater group party.  Yum.   And I went through bag after bag every year when my Kindergarten students threaded them on florist wire with cinnamon covered apple slices as they made Math patterns.  The smell of that project drying into Christmas tree ornaments premeated the classroom, the Kindergarten centrum and the whole dang hall for weeks.  Talk about getting into the holiday spirit!  So, I have my own cranberry dish for the holidays.  It involves sugarfree orange jello, oranges, wholeberry cranberry sauce, cinnamon and walnuts.  It is a heavenly mix of sweet and sour and no one else in the family can abide it.  Too bad.  It’s all mine.  It’s ‘traditional.’

So is our sage dressing.  For years and years I have been making sage dressing according to the way my mother taught me.  And she learned from her mother… we thought.  About eleven years ago we spent the Christmas holidays at  my parents’ home in Florida .  EVERYone was there.  My mother and I were chatting and watching while my Grandmother made her sage dressing.  Our mouths dropped when we saw her plop a saucepan full of mashed potatos in with the bread crumbs and onions and celery.  Potatoes?  I think GG was a little put off by the fact that we made such a big deal about it.  She put potatoes in her dressing because her mother put potatoes in her dressing.  Didn’t we know that?  All of these years we were missing a key ingredient to the family recipe?  Go figure.  But it has actually been kind of liberating.  Since it’s not actually the family recipe, I can slip other things into the dressing.  Chopped apples and raisins were tossed in one year.  My kids are now suspicious of anything small and black in their food.  Another year I had a can of water chestnuts that I hadn’t used for a recipe and Princess deemed them too wierd for the Thanksgiving canned goods drive at school.  I chopped them up and tossed them in.  Now my children are suspicious of anything crunchy in their food.  But I keep trying.  HRH’s rule of thumb is that anything can be tolerated with enough gravy.

So, P-Dub, thanks for giving me some other options to think about this year.  But I think I’ll stick with the tried and true.  The pecan pie is new this time.  Maybe I will tackle a mincmeat pie for Christmas.  Oh wait….doesn’t that have those small, black, hideous raisins??  Hmmmm.

And so it begins….

November 27, 2008

It’s late.  It’s snowing outside.  The house is quiet with sleep.  The dish washer is humming.  I am sitting here sipping on a huge mug of steaming spiced tea with a nice sense of satisfaction.  I have washed my mixing bowl three times tonight.  (One of the real pleasures of being a minimalist when it comes to available cooking supplies and utensils is that the ‘end’ clean up is a breeze.)   The broccoli/raisin/green onion salad is chilling in the fridge waiting for the addition of it’s bacon bits after tomorrow’s breakfast.  The green bean casserole is prepared and ready for it’s topping and the oven.  The spiced cranberry jello thing that I love is chilling in the fridge.  The ingredients for the pumpkin trifle – a new addition this year as we are already pumpkin pied out – are ready to be assembled.  Potatoes are cleaned and waiting to be peeled.  Celery and onions and a new bottle of sage await an early morning onslaught.  There is a bag of Hummingbird cupcake wannabees on the counter.  I tried a different recipe tonight and they came out more like…polynesian muffins….so tomorrow’s breakfast is ready!  My family are not sweet potato or squash eaters so I have opted to wait until Christmas at my sister’s for those delicacies.  Can’t quite replicate my brother in law’s sweet potato casserole anyway.  And the turkey is….well…..still thawing. 


We are staying home tomorrow….alone….just the four of us.  Probably won’t even make it out of our pajamas….and that’s okay.  We have a stack of holiday movies to watch…..and plans to pick a series to slog through.  Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Star Trek….whatever.  HRH is fighting a cold and wants to do nothing but sleep.  The Prince is working on a special project for Economics.  He has been online furnishing an ‘apartment’ and buying clothes for his new ‘job’…all within a budget.  He is ‘shopping’ at IKEA!  Hee.  The Princess has been…well…enjoying the snow.  She is SO true to her Siberian heritage this time of year.  So much so that she has put herself to bed at 7 pm for the last two nights.  Completely exhausted.  She and I are planning to decorate the front porch of our elderly neighbor tomorrow afternoon.


Hard to believe that it’s November.  Hard to believe that with tomorrow’s parades and football and food fest, the holiday season is already upon us.  And after that is the Inauguration to look forward to.  Can’t wait.  So let it begin.  Have a good one, friends….and family!  Whether you be in Florida, New York, Nebraska, Indiana, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Arizona, Boston or MIchigan….we will be thinking of you.