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Thanksgiving

KN, p. 205 “Thanksgiving Is the BEST Holiday!”

 

What could be better than family and friends gathering together around a table heaped high with scrumptious, mouth-watering food? I can’t think of much. We’ve been more than fortunate over the years. We’ve been blessed.

 

We’ve got a roof over our heads, heat in the house, and always great chow, but we are well aware that not everyone is as fortunate. We came up with a list of what to do to make this Thanksgiving more comfortable for those living in challenging situations in our town.

 

  • Spend some time helping in the community during the Thanksgiving weekend.

 

  • Help at a soup kitchen this weekend or next.

 

  • Ask if the soup kitchen personnel would be willing to hand out a book along with the food (we provide the books).

 

  • Donate clean, warm jackets to a local shelter.

 

  • Visit an older friend or relative living in a Senior Center. Write a letter for them and/or read to them.

 

  • Arrange to have the church choir (or talented friends) sing to the residents at the local nursing home.

 

  • Donate books to a shelter.

 

  • Run an errand (or two) for a neighborhood shut-in.

 

  • Plan a visit to the hospital to see a sick friend, drop off a greeting card, call them.

 

  • Call a friend that lives alone and is unable to travel to see their family. 5 minutes of our time is all it takes to make someone smile.

 

Hug the family, be thankful for the blessings you enjoy, and have a great Thanksgiving!

 

 

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KN, p. 157 “Kerrian’s Favorite Butternut Squash”

 

Butternut SquashIMG_4845_2

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. There. I’ve said it.   🙂

All that fun food brought by people showing off their best recipes? The outrageously delicious pies? How could it not be a foodie adventure?

 

But, wait, you say… remember Lola’s food puzzle dish? Unrecognizable in any food group that we could figure out? That’s why it’s an adventure. You never know what will turn up.

 

Last year, we were invited to dinner at a college pal’s house. (Translation – we go waaay back) Everybody brought a side dish and the butternut squash was one of the standouts. I happen to love butternut squash, but at home we usually have it whipped and buttered. Mary’s version is so much more interesting. She added chestnuts and rutabaga and now it’s the only way we serve it.

 

Mary told us the secret ingredients (she cooks creatively and doesn’t always make a dish the same way twice) and Sheila and I went to work on crafting a recipe that could be shared. Well…Sheila cooked and I tasted, to make sure the balance of flavors worked. I did do some wicked peeling, chopping, and scooping though. 😉

 

Ingredients

4-5 cups cooked Butternut Squash (4 pound squash yields 5-6 cups)

1 teaspoon olive oil, extra virgin, cold-pressed

1 teaspoon Sea Salt + 1 teaspoon Sea Salt

2 Tablespoons water for baking squash

2 cups cooked Rutabaga, rough mashed or pureed (1 medium rutabaga)

3 Tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon Nutmeg

2 Tablespoons heavy cream

1 dozen Chestnuts, cooked and peeled, for garnish (Gefen sells a package of recipe-ready chestnuts – already peeled and cooked)

Pepper (to taste)

 

Preparation:

Start the prep of the squash first, then after it is in the oven, start the rutabaga prep.

Squash:

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Place whole squash in microwave. Prick 2-3 times with cooking fork. Microwave on high for 4 minutes to make it easier to slice.
  3. Remove from microwave and cut in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds and place both sides face up on baking sheet.
  4. Lightly coat with olive oil and 1 teaspoon of the sea salt.
  5. Place 1 Tablespoon water in each of the bowls of squash, place tray in oven and bake for 30 minutes.
  6. Turn the butternut squash face down in the oven and cook for another 20 minutes, or until tender.
  7. Remove the squash from the oven, scoop out all the meat, place the meat in a standing electric mixer, and mix on high for 1 minute.
  8. Slow to medium speed and add butter, nutmeg, and cream. Mix until well blended.

Rutabaga:

  1. Peel the rutabaga and slice into 1/4 inch thick pieces.
  2. Add 1 teaspoon Sea Salt to 2 quarts boiling water. Add rutabaga slices to the pot (Water should cover the rutabaga).
  3. Boil until tender enough to break apart when pierced – about 40 minutes.
  4. Drain rutabaga.
  5. Rough mash with spoon if you’d like a dish with texture or put through a food processor if you want a creamy mashed potato texture.

 

Add rutabaga to squash in the mixer bowl and whip on high for 3-4 minutes or until mashed potato consistency, adding salt if needed and pepper to taste.

 

If you are making this ahead of time, place the finished mixture into a large bowl suitable for reheating.

Garnish with chestnuts and serve.

 

Prep time: 40 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Serves: 6

 

*Many thanks to Mary Gerrard for the delicious addition to the Thanksgiving table.  🙂

*Photo by Patti Phillips

 

 

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Kerrian’s Notebook, p.128 “Thanksgiving is a time to…”

 

Chestnut-Sausage Stuffing

Pumpkin Mookie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We love to celebrate Thanksgiving in the USA. We travel for hours by train, bus, car, and plane to spend the day with relatives and friends. We Skype, jam the phone lines and cell towers with calls to people we won’t get to see in person that day. We buy exotic foods we’ve never eaten before, and try out new recipes to dress up the green beans.

 

Food shopping becomes an event to be feared. Will the store have enough cranberries/pie crusts/sweet potatoes?  Will they have a big enough/small enough turkey? Did we leave anything off the list that we’ve been adding to for days? We load the grocery carts as if we’re stocking up for the entire neighborhood for a month and are willing to stand in line, even if at any other time, we would not have the patience to do so.

 

For some, Thanksgiving is a time to eat out and avoid the challenge of roasting the bird. For others, it’s the highlight of cooking for the year – who can forget Aunt Edith’s food extravaganza for fifty cousins and assorted strangers in 2009? I have no idea what some of that food was and I stuck to the stuff I recognized.

 

On Wednesday evening, Sheila and I will help our church deliver cooked turkeys and the trimmings to needy families in the area. The next day, the Kerrian household will celebrate Thanksgiving with a sit down dinner, including the chestnut-sausage stuffing and pumpkin mookies. There will be eight of us this year. Yup, just eight. All the kids are grown, with families of their own and obligations of their own with their own in-laws and we don’t try to gather the crowd that day. Then, on Friday and Saturday, we plan to make the rounds at houses of other branches of the family, eat leftover turkey, hug the new babies, and have a slice of pie.

 

Thanksgiving is a time to say thanks for:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Good health
  • Enough food to eat
  • Enough money to pay the bills
  • A sound roof over our heads
  • Heat
  • The freedoms we enjoy
  • The fabulous Kerrian’s Notebook community that now stretches to four continents. We are so grateful to have been able to share the stories with you during the past three years and hope to share more in the future.

 

 Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!

 

 

*Photos and recipes by Patti Phillips

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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