At my house, we like to eat our Thanksgiving dinner in the middle of the afternoon rather than at night.
But no matter how much I tell myself to save room for the big meal, my body still thinks it wants to eat at lunchtime. Obviously, the solution is appetizers! You cannot go wrong with these easy spice-candied nuts. I make them every year and they are a hit! My little ones love them, my adult friends and family love them—they are magical and delicious!
Friends, it’s time for some bitter truth about Thanksgiving. Hang on to your tri-corner hats.
I fell off the thankfulness train a little bit. And I’m going to climb back on.
But first, I have to tell you what happened to me last week:
The pediatrician told me I have to give up eating dairy, because Caitlin is most likely allergic to it.
Major sad face.
And just in time for the holidays! (Don’t worry, I still have lots of good treats planned for you, even if I can’t eat them all.)
I suddenly realize that I have not been as empathetic as I could have been toward friends and family who have dietary restrictions. Because even though I know a million ways to substitute and avoid dairy, it’s really sad to eat in a world where butter is off limits.
So here comes some thankfulness! I am thankful for all the wonderful people who have gone before me in feeling hungry and cranky after giving up something that they loved for the sake of their health or the health of a loved one. I am thankful for all the vegans in the world (seriously, thank you) for being delicious without dairy. I am thankful for all the friends who called me, texted me, and gave me hugs as I cried silly tears when I realized I couldn’t eat any of my favorite breakfast foods for the next several months. I am thankful for special friends who sent me recipe ideas after I whined about being hungry.
To round off this thankfulness, and in preparation for eating a *gulp* dairy-free Thanksgiving meal, I made some brussels sprouts. Because I just can’t get enough of brussels sprouts in the Fall.
There is so much to be thankful for!
Day 7: Thankful for new friends and birthday parties. Thankful for family visiting from out of town, for cuddles with Caitlin and s’mores around the fire pit.
Day 8: Thankful that my brother is home from his adventures in Africa!
Day 9: Thankful for the cool weather of Fall and the opportunity to eat fresh food seasonally, a blessing I know not everyone has. Thankful for Fall squashes.
Like the lovely delicata!
This month for the Secret Recipe Club challenge, I had the pleasure to peruse Culinary Adventures with Camilla, written by the fearless leader of the group B exchange. Camilla cooks recipes from all over the world, which I love! But this month I really wanted to focus on Thanksgiving fare, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try delicata squash, which Camilla says she cooks almost weekly when it’s in season.
This recipe combines two of my favorite things: a hint of warm, spicy cardamom, and sweet, starchy Fall squash. The end result is simple and basic, a perfect complement to the rich and saucy dishes that will litter the Thanksgiving table.
What is it about Thanksgiving that makes us gravitate toward casseroles and gratins? From the simple classics of green beans and candied yams, to some of my new favorites like kale gratin and scalloped potatoes, if it’s creamy and comes in a 9″x13″ baking dish, it’s sure to find a home on the Thanksgiving buffet.
People always ask me what I eat for Thanksgiving, since I don’t eat the turkey. But with a dish like this cheesy sweet potato and chard casserole on the table, how could anyone go hungry?
I hope it’s not too heretical to proclaim that this casserole would be my choice over candied yams any day! I have never been a fan of emphasizing the sweet character of sweet potatoes: it just seems like too much sweet in one place. I love hitting sweet potatoes with some savory and some spice, and this casserole, with the barely bitter greens and the mountain of Gruyère, does not disappoint!
I am trying to grow in gratefulness in my life. My husband has pointed out that I spend a lot of time moping about things that went slightly wrong rather than taking joy in all the ways I am blessed.
So let’s rumble, November: 30 days of thankfulness.
Day 1: Thankful for sweet friends who share deeply from their hearts. Thankful for cool weather and autumn leaves.
Day 2: Thankful for the bright, contagious smiles of my children. Thankful for the way Jake fake giggles at Caitlin to try to make her laugh (it’s so weird but so sweet).
Also thankful for Jacques Pepin and his butter-glazed carrots. These carrots put all other carrots to shame. They are so good—I really can’t rave about them enough.
Don’t be fooled by the name “glazed carrots,” people, because these are not mushy or overwhelmingly sweet like so many carrots by that name. They have just the barest of buttery, gingery sauces, with a hint of fresh garlic and grassy parsley and a crisp but not crunchy bite. The word that comes to mind is luscious.
Bring these to Thanksgiving and they will definitely be a hit!
A few weeks ago, a friend told me about this amazing way to eat corn on the cob.
At first, I was only half listening…unlike most people, I don’t get too excited when ears of corn start to overflow from farmer’s stands or grocery store aisles. It’s just corn.
But, as she told me about this corn, my ears perked up. You put mayonnaise on corn? What? (You know how I always like things that sound too weird to be true…)
I got just curious enough to buy a few ears and let them sit in the fridge for a week. But my grill is not currently at my house. And it’s always raining anyway. And mayonnaise on corn can’t be doing anyone any nutritional favors.
Finally, mostly in an effort not to waste the corn I had already bought, I decided to “grill” my corn on a cast-iron pan on the stovetop. As I licked the spoon after stirring together what turned out to be the. most. delicious! sauce in the whole entire world, I knew I would never be satisfied with corn any other way.
Make this corn. There are no more excuses. You must make elotes.
Have I mentioned to you that my brother is working in Africa for the summer? This has nothing whatsoever to do with gribiche or purple potatoes, except that in his absence, his excellent girlfriend decided to get to know the family better (!).
So last week, she came armed with books to read to Jake and very graciously and happily entertained him while my mom cuddled Caitlin and I made lunch.
I fretted quite a bit over what to serve her: it had to be something simple but interesting (because someone mentioned that I was a good cook…thus knocking PB&J out of the running…), and of course it had to be wheat- and dairy-free for my mom! For days I pondered what to make, hemming and hawing until I thought I would have to serve grocery-store-salad-bar salad, and then I whipped out my copy of Super Natural Every Day and I was saved by the first recipe I saw!
This simple dish of roasted veggies and eggy dressing was delicious! It is a full meal all on the same plate, with protein, carbs, and veggies all mixed together. We basically licked the serving plate clean. I know I will be making this salad again and again.
(And lest you think I am an overachiever for trying a new recipe especially to impress, let me just admit that I served five kinds of random leftovers for dinner, so I am not really earning any A’s for Effort here….)
It’s almost St. Patrick’s Day! So I made you colcannon.
Normally, I am not a huge fan of potatoes, but I definitely must make an exception for colcannon. This was incredibly easy to make, and with the addition of leafy greens I actually felt like I was giving my body something nutritious along with all that starch and butter. Mmmm.
Apparently I unwittingly made a more “traditional” version of colcannon (which is one of the many Irish variations on mashed potatoes) when I decided that kale was a better choice than cabbage.
At least, that’s what Darina Allen tells me.
I had never seen colcannon with anything other than green cabbage mixed in, but when I stumbled across a recipe that used kale, I knew it was the one for me. Later, after gobbling down a huge mountain of buttery mashed potatoes speckled with dark green kale, I looked up colcannon in my Irish cooking bible and discovered that I had not, as I feared, completely abandoned the spirit of the Irish dish.
So. Happy St. Patty’s day! Make some potatoes. Make them with kale. Your mouth and your stomach will thank you.
I know I was right in the middle of sharing the saga of making a wedding cake…but then I remembered what time of year it is. That’s right. Thanksgiving is coming.
And during the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, I like to focus on delicious side dishes and breads and pies…because let’s face it: vegetarians often get short shrift on Thanksgiving. When the big day is all about a big bird, and half of your relatives can’t live without bacon in their stuffing, sometimes the bountiful table in front of you doesn’t quite translate into a feast.
(I should, however, offer some thanks to my own relatives, who are super gracious to me even though I am the lone veggie in their meat-loving midst.)
Because Thanksgiving is fast approaching, and I, like many of you, am scouring recipes and cookbooks for the perfect things to bring to the table, I definitely want to share some easy meatless side dishes with you! That way, on Thanksgiving, no matter what your palate prefers, you can do what my family always does: LOAD UP.