So thankful


Here’s the starting lineup during today’s feast for anyone who is interested:
Two turkeys – roasted using Chef Michael Symon’s cheesecloth method. Total weight: 31 pounds
One ham – cooked in the infra-red deep fryer – 20 pounds
Root vegetable stuffing (gluten-free!)
Orange-cranberry sauce
Creamy mashed potatoes
Gravy
Green beans and bacon
Herbed creamed broccoli bake
Corn and Cauliflower bake
Sweet potato casserole
Watergate salad
Green tossed salad
Deviled Eggs
Macaroni and cheese
Cucumber and cream cheese canapes
Cotton Pickin’ Cake
Ice cream cake
Pumpkin pie (regular crust and gluten free graham crust)
Pecan Pie (see above)
Apple Cranberry Tart
Cheesecake
White chocolate cheesecake

Twenty family members and close friends gathered together, prayed together, ate together, and then laid around on the couch wishing for yoga pants. We were joined by five others for dessert. It was a spectacular day and evening where we enjoyed full bellies and fuller hearts.

Oh and that win by my Washington Redskins was the best dessert ever.

I hope your Thanksgiving nourished you as well – body and soul.

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Storm Prep

Hurricane Sandy is going to batter the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast over the course of Sunday night/Monday/Tuesday…so I had to do some storm prep in advance. Would you like to know how I prepare for a huge storm that is likely to knock out power and keep us housebound for 48 hours?

Well spouse and I put the deck furniture away, and moved the grill close to the house. We made sure to have two full propane tanks, and moved the generator into the garage, having it filled up with gas. Extra gas cans are at the ready. Cars are fueled up, phones are charged, and I pulled out the emergency kit with flashlights, LED lamps, batteries, candles, and glow sticks!

We also went to the store… we always have cases of bottled water, but we made sure to add a few just in case the power goes out (no power = no pump from the well) and we stocked up on supplies.

Chips, dip, brownie mix, popcorn, soda, bread, lunch meat, wine, and toilet paper.

RIGHT. Storm time = junk food time here at the casa…I need to at least have mindless eating to take the place of worrying about flooding and high winds. Currently I have a pan of “everything” brownies in the oven. That’s gluten free brownies studded with caramels, marshmallow, and almonds… I’ll sprinkle some coconut on the top just before they’re done. Basically, these brownies have everything left over from my other dessert projects added to them. If it’s sweet and yummy and mixes with chocolate, it’s going in there.

Because if I’m going to be housebound with my children, I need fuel.

Tonight we had roast chicken, parsley potatoes, and sauteed cabbage. I swear I LOVE sauteed cabbage. I used bacon grease, and thinly sliced ribbons of cabbage in skillet. I seasoned those ribbons with a little mustard powder, onion powder, salt, and half a lemon before finishing it with parsley compound butter (the same stuff I put on the potatoes and under the skin of my roasted chicken). Dinner was delicious, satisfying, and if we have no power, I can make cold chicken salad, and a skillet bubble and squeak on my gas stovetop.

Now I’m just relaxing, praying for my friends up and down the coast, and hunkering down with the spouse, the kids, and the pooches. I’m confident that our preparations will see us through the worst of this storm.

Because NOTHING wards off a hurricane like “everything” brownies. Stay safe y’all!

My daddy raised a cheapskate

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After my visit to the produce auction on Friday, I came home and started cleaning out the fridge. As I’ve stated, I hate wasting ANYTHING, and I had a few things in the fridge that were at the “cook me or toss me” stage. Of course I chose to cook!
I had eggplant, yellow squash, leeks, mushrooms, broccoli, peppers, yellow cherry tomatoes, and half an onion that all needed my immediate attention. So the leeks got paired with potatoes for delicious leek and potato soup. Some of the eggplant was planked and grilled with Italian herbs for a quick side dish, or a panini sandwich later. A few of the yellow squash were charred in a cast iron skillet and tossed with roasted almonds in a turmeric and honey glaze before being finished off with fresh parsley. The rest of the eggplant and squash were roasted (along with some carrots) in the oven and then combined with those cherry tomatoes, broccoli, and some fresh green beans into a big pot of vegetable soup. The mushrooms, peppers, and onion all got sauteed in olive oil and garlic until caramelized and soft. It will end up being an amazing condiment/topping for hamburgers or steak in the next few days.
The eggplant planks couldn’t be easier. Slice in thirds, salt to draw out the water. Pat them dry, and then brush with olive oil. Sprinkle on Italian seasoning and pop into a grill pan. Turn them over once you get those awesome marks, and then finish with a drizzle of garlic infused oil at the end.
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I modified the squash from Aarti Sequeira’s recipe on the Food Network. I didn’t have hazelnuts, and I had more parsley than cilantro. PLUS butter isn’t Paleo, so I used coconut oil. It turned out delicious and beautiful!
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My leek and potato soup recipe is from my man Alton Brown. Again, I skipped the dairy since it isn’t Paleo, and you know what? I didn’t miss it at all. I added thyme to my potatoes and leeks, and when I fired up my immersion blender, the soup ended up perfectly creamy and smooth. I didn’t miss the cream or the buttermilk at all.
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I built the base of my veggie soup by sweating onion, garlic, and celery until soft, and then adding those yellow cherry tomatoes and salt until the tomatoes “popped”. I then used the immersion blender again (reason number ONE THOUSAND why my husband is the best ever… I LOVE my immersion blender) and made the base smooth. I added a quart of organic, free range chicken broth, a can of diced tomatoes, a bay leaf, thyme, and some salt. I had cubed and roasted some yellow squash, eggplant, and carrots in a 400 degree oven until they were a little tender and browned a bit. I added them to the soup broth along with the broccoli and some fresh green beans. Simmered on the stove until the veggies were all soft… the soup is really flavorful and sweet. It’s like a little bit of leftover summer in a bowl!
So, now my fridge is a little cleaner, I didn’t have to throw out anything, and I’ve got food prepared that I can heat up quickly and eat while on the run. Plus, my wallet is happy! No waste, and no need to pay more than I have to by eating out. My dad is going to be so proud when I tell him. Of course he’ll want to come over for dinner and that’s fine too.