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Thanksgiving, already?

Well, way to go Jenn 😛  You forgot about Thanksgiving… oopsy!  Ok, so I didn’t actually FORGET about Thanksgiving, I knew it was coming up, I just didn’t realise it was coming up so quickly.  It seems I’m not the only one with this feeling, if I had a nickle for every person who has told me that this year Thanksgiving just crept up on them, well… I’d have a few nickels!!!  To be honest, I guess my heart just isn’t in it this year.  This is our very first Thanksgiving dinner  alone.  We haven’t made any new friends since moving, and the few family members we do have, scattered around this province are all busy with their own lives.  I miss my family and friends back home so much, and I find holidays like Thanksgiving hard because they remind me of how much I am missing.  I know I have a wonderful husband and daughter here who would probably love to partake in a scrumptious Thanksgiving feast, but it just doesn’t quite feel the same.  Oh well, there is nothing I can do about it, no point in feeling sorry for myself.  So to put me in the spirit I am dedicating this blog to all things  Thanksgiving!!!

Lets start with some decorations for the house!!!  The most special decorations around my house are the homemade ones.  Here are a few cute crafts I’ve come upon, to do with the family!

 I found these and other cute crafts at : http://www.hostessblog.com/2008/11/thanksgiving-fun-for-kids/

I love the yarn turkey, what a great way to have your kids display everything they are thankful for!!!  And every year you can change or add to the feathers!  My daughter and I will be working on this one for sure 🙂

Now for dinner!!!  I’ve been to quite a few Thanksgiving dinners in my day.  Every one of them is as unique as the people that host them.  Some dinners are elaborate feasts of course after course of Grandma’s secret recipe dishes!  Others are a modern spin on old classics, yet others may not use the classics at all.  There are really only 2 ingredients that every Thanksgiving dinner requires: food and family!  The type of food you eat, and the people you consider family is up to you 🙂  Personally, I’m a stickler for traditions, I like the dishes that I grew up with, but I’m not above adding some new dishes to the traditional ones.  Here is my Thanksgiving dinner for this year, if I was having one:

I’d start with some baked brie.  One of my favorite, EASY, baked brie recipes is to simply cut your brie horizontally, in half and smear some yummy cranberry jam, on the cut side of the halves then place them back together!  Next, wrap the brie in phyllo pastry, using a little melted butter (or water) in between the layers to make them stick together.  Lastly, brush melted butter all over the top of your package, then sprinkle some rosemary and pecans on top and drizzle with a little maple syrup.  You can make this the day before and keep it in the fridge.  When your ready to bake it, I recommend baking in a pie tin or baking dish with a bit of a lip in it, just to keep any of that warm, wonderful cheese that may melt out, from dripping into your oven.  I usually bake it for about 10-15 minutes at 350.  You can transform this recipe for any occasion.  Using a combination of sweet and savory flavours works so well with the brie.  Jams like raspberry and apricot are super yummy fillings for your baked brie, but the the possibilities are as endless as your imagination.  I usually serve a combination of crusty bread and crackers to dip into the brie.  Here is another delicious baked brie recipe I found that I can’t wait to try!   http://www.fortysomething.ca/2008/11/baked_brie_8_ways.php

Baked Brie with Cranberry Caramelized Onions

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1-3/4 cups finely chopped sweet onion (about 1 large)
Pinch each salt and pepper
2 tbsp packed brown sugar
2 tbsp wine vinegar
Pinch dried thyme
1 tbsp chopped dried cranberries
1 round brie cheese
2 tsp minced fresh parsley

In skillet, heat oil over medium heat; fry onion, salt and pepper, stirring occasionally, until light golden, about 12 minutes.

Sprinkle with sugar; cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Stir in vinegar and thyme, scraping up brown bits on bottom of pan; cook for 2 minutes. Scrape into bowl; let cool. Stir in cranberries. (Make-ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 48 hours.)

Spread onion mixture over cheese. (Make-ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours; let come to room temperature before continuing.) Place on small baking sheet; bake in 350°F oven until cheese is softened, about 10 minutes. Transfer to serving plate; sprinkle with parsley.

The three main components to my favorite turkey dinner is the turkey, of course, potatoes and vegitables.    We usually do a very simple turkey, rubbed in butter, and seasoned with rosemary and thyme, then wrapped in bacon.  I usually cut some onions and put some salt-free chicken stock on the roasting pan to help create a yummy basting juice and give the soon-to-be gravy some flavour.  Don’t forget the stuffing… MMMMM… so good and my favorite part of the whole meal!!!  I make a very simple, savory stuffing, using white bread, onions, celery, dried bush savory, chicken stock and egg.  I make enough to stuff the turkey and some extra.  

I can’t eat potatoes so on my table you will also find sweet potato.  We are always trying to liven up our mashed potatoes, so last year we mashed the potatoes with some cream cheese and sour cream, added chopped parsley and topped them with grated cheese and bacon!   It became an instant family favorite.  My classic sweet potato dish is also a mashed dish… I bake the sweet potatoes, then mash them with some orange juice, a touch of cream, a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg, then bake it all, topped with chopped walnuts, and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Next for the veggies!  Apart from a mixed salad, and maybe a pasta or brocoli salad, I like to serve some fall inspired veg.  The American classic seems to be green bean casserole, I’ve never tried it before, but I’m always saying I will, maybe this year 😛   I also like to serve up a mix of root veggies and squash; carrots, parsnips, butternut squash, acorn squash.  Then there is the brussel sprouts 🙂  I blanch them, then cut them in half and fry them in butter with bacon, yummo 🙂 

Last, but definitely not least, DESSERT!  My husband has requested apple pie this year, with pecan caramel sauce on top!  There will also be some pumpkin cheesecake cupcakes with cinnamon icing.  You know, writing all of this has me craving a real Thanksgiving dinner… hmmmmm I wonder if I have time to do some shopping tonight and get everything I need to make this imaginary dinner come to life?!!!  It will take a little work adjusting the recipes to make them more insulin-balanced, gluten-free and healthy, but it might be worth a shot!!!  I guess, you’ll just have to stay tuned to find out if this Thanksgiving dinner becomes a reality!  Until next time, HAPPY THANKSGIVING 🙂

ttfn, xo

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