Our Thanksgiving Menu

2011NOVthanksgiving

Thanksgiving the year our oven died and we grilled the turkey for the first time.

Since changing the way I eat to control my pain levels, the holiday season is going to look a little bit different.  While I want to make sure I follow a more plant based diet, hubby and son want fairly traditional holiday meals.  So with that in mind, here is my tentative Thanksgiving Day Menu:

Turkey – For quiet a few years now, the men have been responsible for the Thanksgiving turkey.  It goes back to the days when we celebrated our Thanksgivings with good friends and the men folk decided to try a garbage can turkey.  Their job ever since.  Several years ago the oven died and they needed an alternative way to cook the turkey.  Hubby grilled it and we’ve done it that way every year since.  Spatchcocking the turkey helps it grill more evenly and gives it a beautiful color.  Seasoning is simple…salt and pepper.  What is spatchcocking?  Is that really a thing?  Yep.  Go here for more info.
Stuffing – It’s been my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner (next to the pie) since I can remember.  I’ve used my Grandma’s recipe since I moved out on my own.  When we started grilling the turkey, we stopped stuffing the bird and went to dressing.  Same stuff, just not inside the bird.  This year instead of using Grandma’s recipe, I will be making a rice dressing.  It will include the traditional carrots, celery, onions and sage that we’re used to, only instead of bread we’ll be using rice.  It’s essentially a Thanksgiving rice pilaf.  I have no idea what I’m doing, so it may or may not come out.  If I end up using a recipe (I’ll probably search for hours and hours to find the right one) I’ll post it.
Potatoes – Much to my own disappointment, I won’t be making mashed potatoes this year.  But I’ll be making masked sweet potatoes.  No need to add extra seasonings other than salt and pepper and no reason to add sugar…they are sweet potatoes.  Yummy mashed sweet potatoes.
Salad – Big.  Like main dish big.  A big salad of yummy greens with some other veggies thrown in for color.
Green Beans – A must for Thanksgiving in my book.  But not drenched in canned soup, I just don’t like it that way.  We’ll be having some fresh green beans roasted with onions, garlic, salt, pepper, oil, and balsamic vinegar.  No recipe, I just toss it together and roast until they look done to me.  So good.  So.

Two things I’m not adding.  One is dinner rolls.  I don’t really have a grain free alternative.  So if my guys really want bread with their dinner, we have, well, regular bread.   The other is cranberries.  We like them, but every time I make them we all have some and the rest goes to waste.  So I’m just not making them this year.  That doesn’t mean you have to skip them….here is the recipe I had planned to use:  https://wellnessmama.com/3392/cranberry-sauce-recipe/

Last, but not least, it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving dinner without a yummy dessert.  Hubby’s sister (and her two daughters) are gluten free so a few years ago I made a gluten free (for her) dairy free (for me) crustless pumpkin pie.  I could have eaten the whole thing by myself.  (https://glutenfreeeasily.com/best-pumpkin-pie-ever-and-its-crustless-gluten-free-and-dairy-free/)  Top your warm pie with dairy free whipped coconut cream.  (https://minimalistbaker.com/how-to-make-coconut-whipped-cream/)  Now, make a second pie and eat it for breakfast the next day.  Just thought I’d share my little tradition.

There you have it.  My menu plan for Thanksgiving day.  It might change.  I may just throw in the towel and demand to go out to eat.

What about you?  Do you have your Thanksgiving dinner planned out?  Or are ya planning to go out?  I’d love to hear what you are going to be doing!

Psalm 7:17 – I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High.

Until next time – live simply and love abundantly!  Grace and peace…

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Recipe: Pumpkin Bread

2014-10-08pumpkinsa

Baking local grown pumpkins to make puree.

I’m not a fan of pumpkin spiced everything.   I do, however, like homemade pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread. My Aunt who recently passed away gave everyone pumpkin and banana breads every Christmas.  I looked forward to that every year.

Quite a few years ago when we were going through some hard times and money was tight, I took that idea and started baking Christmas gifts including pumpkin bread. I even shared my homemade honey wheat bread and Amish white bread with my Aunt at our family Christmas. But pumpkin bread is one of my favorites and is a favorite of several in our family.

Here is the recipe I use.  It isn’t my Aunt’s recipe, never as good as hers because of all the love she put into it, but this is my favorite recipe to use and it makes delicious bread.  It makes three loaves and I think it tastes even better when you use fresh pumpkin puree.  It isn’t hard and you don’t have to use pie pumpkins.  You can use any good pumpkin.  Just cut it in half, clean out the pumpkin guts, and bake in a 350 F oven until tender.  You can find my post on making your own pumpkin puree here.

I’d love to hear what you think if you try this recipe, or if you make your own puree.

Genesis 8:22 – While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.

Until next time – live simply and love abundantly!  Grace and peace…

Ann’Re

 

Ingredients

3 cups canned pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
4 cups white sugar
6 eggs
4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease and flour three 9″ x 5″ loaf pans.

In a large bowl mix together the pumpkin, oil, sugar, and eggs. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves then stir into the pumpkin mixture until well blended.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake in a preheated oven for 45 minutes to one hour. The top of the loaf should spring back when lightly pressed.

Pumpkins! Puree!

pumpkin1We may not celebrate Halloween, but I do love pumpkins. I like to decorate the house for fall with them and then use them to make puree. I think fresh pumpkin tastes much better than canned…and it isn’t hard to make. I think once you try making and using fresh puree, it’ll be hard to go back to canned.

First you need a sugar pumpkin…or two. They are the smaller, darker orange pumpkins. You can use the bigger carving pumpkins, but they are more stringy instead of meaty. I’ve used carving pumpkins to make pumpkin bread and it tasted just fine but if you want to make a pie it is better to use a sugar pumpkin. A 4 pound pumpkin will give you about 1 1/2 cups of puree.

Wash your pumpkin, cut the top off and cut your pumpkin in half, then clean the guts and seeds out. Save the seeds as they make a yummy snack too! I choose to bake the pumpkin instead of boiling it. I think it retains more flavor and nutritional value. They contain Vitamin A & B and potassium. Pumpkins are also a source of protein, dietary fiber and Vitamin E.

So bake it cut side down in a 375F oven with about a cup of water for about 1 1/2 hours or until soft. Cool, then scoop the pumpkin from the skin and mash it by hand or use a food processor.

Because pumpkins are 90 percent water, the puree will be watery. You will want to drain it in cheese cloth overnight before you use/store it. It can be stored in the fridge for about 3 days or frozen for up to six months (but I used some that was in longer and it was fine).  I like to freeze mine in one cup portions so that I can easily take out just what I need for a recipe.

There you have it.  Don’t waste the pumpkins, use them!  Pumpkin puree in the freezer will give you yummy pumpkin treats all winter.  Let me know how you use your pumpkins in the comments below.

Luke 10:2 – And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.

Until next time – live simply and love abundantly!  Grace and peace…

Ann’Re

 

 

Black and White Challenge

The challenge is to post seven black and white photos about your life.  No people, no explanation for seven days.  Well, I’ll admit that I’m not good at things like this…I do two or three days and *pretty shiny thing* get distracted and never finish.  So, here is mine.  All seven days at one time.  ‘Cuz that is how I roll the best.

Have you done this challenge?  If not, I challenge you!  Seven black and white photos for seven days…or if you are challenge challenged like me, seven days rolled up into one.  Leave a link in the comments so I can check our your black and white challenge!!

Here are mine:

bw20140716_084615bwbuggy    bwcanningbwchickens    bwcoffeebweggs    bwonions

Psalm 51:7 – Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Until next time – live simply and love abundantly!  Grace and peace…

Ann’Re

Happy Home Anniversary

13 years ago we closed on our first house.  This was HUGE for us.

It was a fixer upper, and there were a few things that needed to be done before we could actually move in, but we carried in a Thanksgiving dinner anyway.   We moved in the next weekend.

One of the first things we did after we moved in was to add this door knocker.

Joshua 24:15b “…as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

joshua

Until next time – live simply and love abundantly!  Grace and peace…

Ann’Re

It Hasn’t Even Snowed Yet…

2015june13garden7…and I’m thinking about spring gardening.  How about you?

While I’m harvesting seeds for next year, pulling out finished plants and even planting fall and winter tolerant vegetables, I’m also starting to think about the spring garden.  Fall is a great time to add compost and soil amendments while you let it rest until spring.  As your compost breaks down, it recharges the soil beneath it with minerals and microorganisms that works it’s way down.  If you till, fall is a great time to plant cover crops that will be tilled into your soil in the spring.   Radish is really popular here.  We were slowly working toward raised beds so that we wouldn’t need to till, but I am starting to consider permanent 30″ flat beds instead.  Still no tilling, but no wood frames to worry about.

Growing up I learned from my grandfather to cover the garden and perennial plants for winter.  For us this meant raking the fall leaves onto the garden and around perennials.  In the spring we would turn them over into the soil.   I still do this, except I am getting13-11-08snowaway from digging or tilling.  Using a mower will shred them nicely, and if you have a bagger you won’t need to rake them.  Some people will cover their gardens/beds with straw or wood chips, still there are some who actually use tarps or other weed barriers.   A little work in the fall will greatly impact your garden in the spring.

 

Fall is also a great time to plan for garden expansions.  Covering areas you want to expand with compost materials and a tarp over the winter will choke out the vegetation under it and make your spring work a little easier.  I have a couple areas I’m considering expanding so I want to get the materials ready.

One area some might forget is cleaning up and caring for your tools.  This might mean things like applying boiled linseed oil to wood handles, sharpening, sanding, oiling metals so they don’t rust.  In the spring they’ll be ready to go when you’re itching to get out into the garden.

IMG_20161230_085416Another great fall prep is writing your thoughts down about this season into your garden journal.  (Of course you have a garden journal…any notebook or notepad will do.)  Give a summary about how things went, what worked well and what didn’t, what improvements or plant varieties you might like to try, weather challenges you had, pest battles, you get the idea.  This are things you can use as you start planning and prepping for next years garden.

A bit of work in the fall will get my spring garden going much quicker when the weather breaks.  I can’t wait!

Job 37:9-10 From its chamber comes the whirlwind, and cold from the scattering winds. By the breath of God ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen fast.

Until next time – live simply and love abundantly!  Grace and peace…

Ann’Re

Homemade Snack Bars

It is getting colder quick. Today’s high here in Northern Indiana was only 38F/3C. Brrr.  Tomorrows high will be a bit warmer at 45F/7C.

bars1Since I’ve been changing the way I eat to help control my pain, I have worked to eliminate processed sugar. I’m not a sweet snack person but more of a salty snack person. Eliminating processed sugar was a bummer, but not really that hard. Eliminating chip and crackers?  Tough.  But I do like sweets once in a while and when I came across LÄRABARs, they were perfect.

I was looking at them the other day and I thought “Hmmm…dates and nuts. Bet I can make that.” I happen to have dates and cashews…so that’s what I set out to do.

I had no idea what amounts to use, so I winged it.  I tossed a few handfuls of cashews into the food processor and spun them around some.  Then I added pitted dates until I guessed they looked like the right consistency.

bars2Once it looked right, I spread the date and nut mixture onto some plastic. It is a plastic zip freezer bag that I cut open and use when making tortillas or sticky things like date and nut snacks. I shaped it into a rectangle-ish shape and cut it into bars. I guess they were just under a half-inch thick. I ended up with 16.

I had some snack sized zip bags that I thought would work well, but the bars being sticky wouldn’t be easy to get in or out. So I wrapped each piece with wax paper before I put them into the zip bags.  And being frugal…I’ll just wash and reuse the snack bags.  Yes I will!

bars3How cool is that? Of course I had to taste test one, so I actually packaged up 15. I tossed all the snack bags into a gallon zip bag and put that into the refrigerator.

The whole process…including pitting the dates and stopping to sample one of the bars…took maybe an hour.  Wrapping and bagging the bars took the longest.  I don’t know if I saved any money, but it was nice to make my own snack.  I’m hoping to test out some different flavors with other nuts and dried fruit.

Have you tried making a homemade version of your favorite treat?  Leave a comment below and let me know.  If you have a link to a blog post or a recipe, I’d love to check it out!

Psalm 16:11 – You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Until next time – live simply and love abundantly!  Grace and peace…

Ann’Re