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Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Thanksgiving Menu 2009

I’m attempting to scale back this year.   In the last few years, I’ve attempted to really make our dinner something spectacular.  I don’t think anyone but me noticed – so this year? Basics is #1.

  • Turkey – cleaned inside and out, buttered inside and out, sprinkled with salt and pepper - roasted on 250°F all night*.  By the morning, it will be done, the house will smell incredible.  This in itself is a tradition that’s been a part of my family history for decades.  Truly, it is NOT Thanksgiving for any of my siblings if we haven’t woken up to the smell of Thanksgiving. [low-fat option for me – eating the white meat instead of my REAL love of the thigh meat!]
  • Mashed potatoes – not boxed – REAL potatoes.  I peel and cut them into cubes and cover them in salted water the day before.  30 minutes before I’m ready to serve dinner, I place them on the stove, bring them to a boil and then time them.  10 minutes later, they’re done (usually).  I poke them with a fork to make sure.  Then I mash them with some canned milk and butter.  Canned milk (evaporated) just makes them SO creamy and delicious!  [low-fat option for me? None really – although I might try an old standby of mashing some with chicken broth instead. I dunno]
  • Baked mashed sweet potatoes – I wrap my peeled sweet potatoes in foil and bake them in a 350 oven the day before – typically when I also cook the corn bread for my next item. [low-fat option for me – I can eat these because I don’t put butter on them at all!]
  • A new favorite of mine – cornbread cranberry stuffing.  Corn bread, cranberries, almonds, ginger – it’s incredible.  I’ll post the directions for this soon.  [low-fat option for me – I can eat this if I scale back on the butter that the recipe calls for. This works out well, considering I’m the only one who eats it LOL]
  • Sausage stuffing.  Here’s another OLD family tradition.  Although I do not technically STUFF the bird, it’s stuffing.  It’s not DRESSING.  DRESSING is what you put on salad! ;) Another tradition involving this particular holiday food is being sure to include your kids in the tearing the bread into bite-sized pieces preparation that goes along with it.  My grandmother reminded me, every.singe.time I helped her make this stuffing to make sure “the bread isn’t too big or too small!” – just as she did with my mom – and now just as I do with my son (and soon, daughter!).  If I’m on the phone with my mom or sister and mention that I’m making the stuffing, they’ll chime in with “and make sure the bread isn’t too big or too small!” in loving tribute to my Nana.  [low-fat option for me? hahahahaha. NONE. I will have just a tiny bit, though – stomach be damned.]
  • The one thing I have made a concerted effort to do now is that NOTHING comes from a can on the big holidays.  My family deserves freshly made food.  So I’ll also include some corn and perhaps carrots – oooh, maybe some honey glazed carrots – as side dishes! [low-fat option for me – no brainer. I can eat all the veggies I want, as long as there’s no butter. ]
  • Home-made pan gravy.  Made from the drippings from the turkey, I add some addition broth (chicken broth, truth be told).  Brought to a boil, you just thicken it with some flour & water (mixed together).  [Be sure to use COLD water when mixing the flour & water.]  Whisk out the lumps and voila! YUMMY gravy not from a jar. [low-fat option for me? Kind of out of luck with that, but I’ll have a tiny bit.  JUST a tiny bit, though.]
  • Dessert.  I’m thinking maybe my apple pie, since it is such a crowd (read: all 5 of us) pleaser, and it’s easily made!  [low-fat option for me – MINE. ALL MINE!  oops.  I can have *some* – a small piece.]

That’s it.  No home-made orange cranberry sauce. No homemade rolls. No baked squash with apples. I have to live a low-fat lifestyle, so I won’t even be able to EAT most of what I’m cooking – or at least, not in the manner to which I have been accustomed to for the last 40(ish) years.

My new family tradition is when we all gather around the table and we each give thanks for something. Sometimes, it makes me cry, thinking about my grandparents and how much I miss them - but it makes me thankful that I've passed their memories on to my kids, and although 2 of my kids never even met them, they will know them in their hearts, always.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.


*Note: I KNOW that the way I cook the turkey isn't up to snuff with the turkey hotline people. I've TRIED the turkey hotline people's way for several years - and was paid back by turkey that I didn't enjoy. Turkey that I would even wind up throwing away because we didn't eat it all. Last year, I decided to go back to my mom's way of cooking it and we quite literally would have licked the bones, if there were any meat left on them! So please. I know. Ok? :)


Target & TwitterMoms wants to know what what your Thanksgiving traditions are. You could win too!

 

 

The OMG-SO-Good apple pie, revisited

DSC_5429 Apple pie is like the official mascot of Fall, isn't it? Once the apple trees are laden with their beautiful babes, we start thinking of pies, crisps, crumbles, cakes and more.

I, of course, am one of those people. Just this last couple of months, I've followed and created so many delicious apple recipes, my family have been VERY happy with me.

One such recipe that I had to come searching my own blog for was my apple pie. Of course, things had changed and I had a different kind of apple, but it turned out even better than I remembered!

You will need:

  • 7 Macintosh YORK apples or other similarly tart apple
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 2 Tbls. butter
  • 2 Tbls. flour
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 Ready-to-use pie crust (the kind you unroll)
  • an extremely helpful 6 yr old named Libby
  • Deep dish pie dish is helpful.

First things first, I put the bottom pie crust into my glass pie dish and threw it in the oven while I prepared the apples. I poked the bottom of the crust with a fork several times, though I have no idea what that did for it LOL

Thanks to AMAZINGINLY fast shipping from Amazon, I peeled my apples in record time with my new apple peeler and then cored and chopped them into chunks.

My daughter mixed the sugars, flour, cinnamon and salt in a separate bowl.

Once the apples were chopped into bite-sized pieces, we tossed the apples into the bowl with the sugar mixture and made sure every single apple piece was coated!

Next, we layered the apples into the pie dish, being careful because it's hot now. We cut the butter up into small chunks and placed it around the apples.

Next, we placed the top crust on to the pie, pinching the pie crust closed along the edges. We cut a couple of ventilation holes on top and then rimmed the edge of the crust with aluminum foil to prevent it from burning. I painted some scrambled egg white on top of the crust to help encourage that golden brown..ness.

Into the 375 degree oven (on a cookie sheet to prevent messy, burning spills). I baked ours for about 45 minutes or so - it really depends on the apples you use. The firmer the apple, the longer in the oven. But don't let them get TOO mushy. My suggestion for after the pie is done is to let it sit for a little while - an hour is good. That lets the juices settle and of course, the pie cools down from the molten lava stage. Top with some GOOD vanilla ice cream and you're in HEAVEN!!!!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

SUPER Easy Poached Tilapia

poach

–verb (used with object)

to cook (eggs, fish, fruits, etc.) in a hot liquid that is kept just below the boiling point.

 

When I originally went in search of “poached tilapia”, I was looking for the definition.  However, I ran across dozens of recipes for it instead, and they were all much more involved than mine.  Mine was sitting on the stove, already finished & waiting to be devoured by my family.  So that’s why I named this SUPER EASY Poached Tilapia, because seriously, how much easier can you get than this?

I’ve written before about one particular ingredient that I keep in my pantry.  I’m sure there may be other more expensive, more “gourmet” options, but if I find something I like, I tend to stick with it. 

Such is the case with the Goya Salad & Vegetable Seasoning . I've used it for years now, but I'd never tried it on meat. After all, it DOES say salad & vegetable! But I decided to be a rebel.

Here’s all you need:

1 c. water

1 packet Goya Salad & Vegetable Seasoning

You choice of fish – preferably thin fillets

In a skillet, dissolve 1 packet of the Goya Salad & Vegetable Seasoning in the 1 cup of water.  Bring it to a boil, then lower the heat to medium.

Place fish filets in a single layer in the pan and cook until the fish are flaky with a fork.  Seriously – that’s IT.  10 minutes, your dinner is ready!!! 

I’d taken photos of the recipe, but honestly – they just show fish in a pan. LOL

Don’t boil the fish – just cook it slowly.  Serve with a salad and some kind of yummy vegetable and call it a night!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Baked Squash w/Apples

As I’ve mentioned a time or three before, I LOVE Fall squash season!  There’s just so many varieties of squash and ways to cook them, and they’re all SO YUMMY!

squash1I recently took advantage of some great sales on Delicata squash, which some call the sweet potato squash.  They’re small, delicious and easy to handle and cook quickly.  I’d also bought a bushel of apples (York) and the two just sort of came together.

I began with 4 Delicata squash and approximately 4-5 apples, some butter.

  • 4 Delicata squash
  • 4-5 apples – peeled, cored and chopped
  • 2 Tbs. flour
  • 2 Tbs. butter, melted
  • 2 Tbs. brown sugar
  1. squash2 Begin by washing the outside of your squash. It has, afterall, been living in the ground for the last 5-6 months or so.  Once they’re washed, take the tip of a sharp knife and pierce the side of the squash.  CAREFULLY, split the squash lengthwise.
  2. Use a spoon to scrape out the inside pulp and seeds. 
  3. Poke holes into the flesh of the squash but try not to pierce all the way through to the outside.
  4. In a separate bowl, the apples with the flour just to coat them.
  5. squash5
    Sprinkle the brown sugar over the mixture, and then add the melted butter to the mix – toss again (gently). You should guard against unauthorized taste-testing – it can be hazardous to your dinner!
  6. squash6In a foil-lined baking dish, place the squash cut side up. Spoon the apples into each half of the squash and then sprinkle with cinnamon.
  7. Bake at 350°F for 30-40 minutes or until you can easily sink your fork through the squash.
  8. Enjoy!

squash7 

*Note: The final photo does not do this delicious dish justice!  The beautiful squash melts into a gorgeous color, the apples actually crisp up – just fabulous!!!

This dish is perfect to make beforehand for the upcoming holidays.  You can do this the day before, then just keep them covered until the big day – just throw them back in the oven or microwave!

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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Holiday traditions – giveaway!!!

Gobble Gobble,

The holiday season conjures up many feelings - joy, nostalgia, sentiment, and the desire to carry on past traditions and create new ones.

Often times, holiday hosts will adorn their Thanksgiving tables with treasured family heirlooms like Great-Grandma’s gravy boat, Papa’s Silver Carving Platter, or China received as a wedding gift – each with its own precious memory. 

Yet, many hosts also want to infuse their own unique personality into their celebrations and look for creative ways to make guests feel just as warm and welcome as the celebration itself.

MyPunchbowl.com, the leader in start to finish party planning, offers FREE online Thanksgiving invitations that will immediately engage the recipient and generate such excitement and anticipation, they’ll think they can already smell the turkey roasting!   And remember, the etiquette pros always say to send invitations out a month in advance!

Here is just a small sample of the FREE online invitations for Thanksgiving:

invites

I love the turkey one!  But they also have tons where you upload your OWN photo to include on the invitation. Being a photography LOVER, that’s a great feature.

Who wouldn’t love to receive a warm, welcoming online Thanksgiving invitation to join in the celebration?

A MyPunchbowl.com membership is absolutely free and offers a huge array of standard invitations templates and eCards for any celebration or occasion.  They have everything you need from online invitations to party supplies, personalized favors and much more.

And online invitations save times, money, the environment, and, let’s face it, your writing hand!!

And of course, because this IS a recipe blog, some recipes!  This first one isn’t going to wait for Thanksgiving Day, I’ll tell you!

muffins

Cinnamon Apple Muffins for Thanksgiving Day Breakfast

Muffin or cupcake liners
1 ½ cups flour
1 ½ tsp. of baking powder

¾ cup of sugar

1.5 tsp. of baking powder

1 tsp. of ground cinnamon

½ of a cup of whole milk

1/3 of a cup of melted butter

1 egg

1 cup of peeled, cored and diced Granny Smith apples

1 cup of cinnamon chips

To make: stir the flour, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon together in a medium-sized bowl. Add the milk, butter, egg, apples and cinnamon chips next, stirring together until the mixture is smooth. Fill each muffin liner about 2/3 full, then bake in a 365 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Allow the muffins to cool for at least 5 minutes before serving them.

punch

Non-Alcoholic Thanksgiving Cranberry Punch

2 Bottles of chilled cranberry juice
2 Containers of lemonade or orange juice concentrate
1 Bottle of chilled Sprite, Ginger Ale or seltzer water

punch2

Cranberry Pomegranate Thanksgiving Punch

2 bottles of cranberry pomegranate juice
1 container of orange juice concentrate
1 bottle of flavored seltzer water
Vodka, Grain Alcohol or Rum to taste
Garnish: slices of fresh fruit oranges, lemons and limes

What’s your favorite holiday tradition?

One lucky reader will receive a PREMIUM MEMBERSHIP UPGRADE!  All you do to enter is:

  • Tell me your favorite holiday tradition.  Be sure to include your email address so I can contact you!
  • If you’d like extra entries, tweet up this post. Use a seperate comment to let me know you’ve done it.
  • Buzz me!  Visit my Food Buzz profile (click on that button up on the right corner) and view my recipes there. Buzz up the ones that you like :)
  • Become a fan on Facebook, a follower on here, subscribe to my feed.  You know the deal :)  Just be sure to leave an entry for each thing that you do.
  • ENTRIES THAT DO NOT INCLUDE EMAIL ADDRESS WILL BE DISQUALIFIED.

Winners will be chosen by random.org on November 13th!

I’m a Foodie Mama!

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