Thanksgiving 2013

Thanksgiving is just over two weeks away; we have about a dozen guests coming, and my oven is broken.

AGAIN.

It’s bad enough my gas range is less than 10 years old and the ignition switch for the oven has died three times already (a better description would be “melted”), but when I called G.E. to schedule repairs I was informed they no longer service my zip code.

To say I’m angry is a bit of an understatement.  If their “goal is to ensure [my] satisfaction, while offering the highest levels of professional service,” they are FAILING MISERABLY.  Both my washer/dryer and refrigerator are going to need to be replaced within the next couple of years, and it will be a COLD day in hell before I purchase another G.E. appliance.

At any rate, I hope this explains why I have no recipe for you today.  Well, that and the fact we had both The G Man and The Young One this past weekend, and creative cooking wasn’t a real high priority.  Video games and Christmas shopping, yes, but not cooking.

However, it occurred to me that since Thanksgiving is just a couple of weeks away, many of us are busy planning our menus for The Big Meal.  Even these last few years when we’ve cut all of the processed crap from our diet, I tend to throw caution to the wind and keep several of our “traditional” dishes – my grandmother’s cornbread dressing and pumpkin pie, for instance – but I know a great many of you are interested in keeping your Thanksgiving menu as “clean” as possible.

Fortunately, I’ve got you covered – there are tons of holiday-worthy, paleo/gluten-free/real food recipes on this site.  Let’s take a look, shall we?

Starters

Chorizo-stuffed mushrooms

Shrimp Cocktail

Bacon-Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes This is one from the “old days” – it’s delicious and is perfectly fine for a “real food/paleo” Thanksgiving table as long as your bacon is “clean” and you make your own mayonnaise.

Crab Deviled Eggs

Savory Pumpkin Pie

Cauliflower Bisque

Main Course

The Turkey From Hell This has been my “go to” recipe for the last 15 years – it’s even better with a pastured, heritage turkey (we’ve begun brining it – to DIE for).  You can sub the AP flour with tapioca or arrowroot flour.

Perfect Prime Rib Because not everyone likes turkey.

Sides

Cranberry-Orange Chutney

Winter Squash Casserole

Honey-Roasted Butternut Squash

Maple Butternut Squash Soufflé

Vanilla Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Cauliflower-Celery Root Puree

Roasted Parsnips and Carrots

Balsamic-Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta

Lemon Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Golden Beets and Greens

Pan-Roasted Cauliflower

Butternut Squash and Sage Risotto Yes, it has rice, but hey – it’s Thanksgiving.  Walk on the wild side for a day; it’s till gluten-free.

Savory Almond Flour Muffins Because…bread.

Dessert

Apple Crisp

Lemon Chess Dessert

Chevre Cheesecake

Chocolate Pots de Crème

Dairy-Free Egg Nog

Leftovers

Turkey, Sweet Potato and Kale Casserole

Turkey and Sweet Potato Hash

Turkey Pot Pie ( the same as my Grain-free Chicken Pot Pie – just sub leftover turkey)

Creamy Turkey and Kale Soup

And there you have it: some of the many holiday-worthy paleo/gluten-free/real food recipes I’ve made in the past – and will continue to make in the future.

Are you cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year?  If so, what’s on your menu?

 

 

Tuesday Morning Conversations

Scene opens with Beloved in the kitchen making scrambled eggs when he hears incoherent yelling coming from the living room.

Beloved:  What??

Me (entering kitchen):  Oh, I’m just yelling at that stupid Botox commercial.

Beloved:  Why are you yelling at a Botox commercial?

Me:  Because all of the side effects are symptoms of botulism!

Beloved:  Why?

Me:  Because that’s pretty much what Botox is – botulism bacteria.

Beloved:  Really?

Me:  Yup.

Beloved:  What are the symptoms?

Me:  Basically it slowly paralyzes you until you can’t breathe and then you die.

Beloved:  Oh, that sounds fun.  Why would anyone willingly be injected with botulism?

Me:  Beats the hell out of me.

Beloved (going into sarcastic mode):  Gee, you think the FDA would make laws against something like that!

Me (joining him in sarcastic mode):  But dear, the FDA will never outlaw silly little Botox – if botulism becomes a problem, they’ll just make it illegal for us to can our own food.

 

Someone tell me I’m wrong.

 

The Summer of Our Discontent

It’s been a craptastic summer in a lot of ways.

It started with The Young One’s graduation from high school.  Which is not to say that I wasn’t (and still am) immensely proud of him, but the attendant activities were stressful and expensive.  The boy then spent the remaining summer months half-heartedly looking for employment, hanging out with his buddies, moping around the house and copping a massive ‘tude.

Understandable, yes, but exceedingly irritating.

This left Yours Truly to find/finalize any and all ways to pay for the upcoming college years, make sure the tuition was paid, find and purchase the books he needed, procure all the “extras” college students seem to need and get him organized.  One might argue that these thing were, by and large, his responsibilities and one would be 1000% correct.  One would also have to go back and read the last sentence of the second paragraph.  I just wanted him OUT. OF. THE. HOUSE.

Oh, and actually moving him?  TONS of fun. </sarcasm>

I don’t talk much about work here, for what should be obvious reasons, but this summer my role in the company shifted – in an entirely good way, trust me.  This shift, however, has left me incredibly busy.  Some days I simply haven’t had time to do anything but work, and as a result we’ve eaten out far more this summer than is our norm.  The decline in the quality of our diet has left its mark, doing nothing to help with the stresses and irritations of the summer.  In a desperate attempt to do something about this, I rashly decided to participate in another Whole30 in August.

Bad idea.  Just…a bad idea.  I won’t say anything else, but I can pretty much guarantee it will be my last attempt.

As the season has progressed, our annual Preserving Of The Food has begun.  We have decided to can less and freeze more – an absolute necessity or we’d end up killing ourselves, but we still spent 17 straight hours cleaning, dicing, slicing, bagging and otherwise preparing food to be frozen this last Saturday alone.  Sunday we rendered lard and I made a huge batch of ketchup which still needs to be canned (along with some lacto-fermented watermelon pickles; if they turn out well I’ll post the recipe).  Next Saturday we’ll likely do the same, as well as making and canning a huge batch of bone broth on Sunday.

Chief among the craptastic things that happened this summer that I can tell you about (so much is unbloggable) was the declining health of Scooter.  Over the last few months, he just got worse and worse; in the end the only thing that could have prolonged his life was surgery that would have left him unable to control his bowels and medication that would have robbed him of his energy for the few years he had left.  This seemed far more cruel to me than the alternative, so on Friday, August 16, I took him on his final car ride and had him put to sleep.

People keep asking me when I’m going to get a new dog, and I just want to smack them.  (Will I get another dog?  Almost certainly.  But it won’t be tomorrow, or the next day, or next week, or even next month.  Please give me time to mourn.  PLEASE.)

This is just what I can tell you about (although I received a particularly devastating piece of unbloggable news the very day Scooter died, making it the most craptastic day of the craptastic summer), but it should give you an idea why the cooking/blogging has been so intermittent over the last couple of months and why I was completely absent last week – I just needed the time off.  I had hopes the majority of the stress was behind us, but after the events of the last few days, I just don’t know.  We’ll see.

At any rate, my apathy for cooking has passed and I have lots of great recipes coming up in the next couple of weeks; let’s hope the trend continues.

Have a great Tuesday, y’all.

Happiness Is A Welcoming Doormat

This week’s Spin Cycle is “Happy Happy Joy Joy.”  Gretchen tells us, “Considering we tend to be a cynical bunch around here, this one might be tough. Or not.”

Well, alrighty, then.

So, as my contribution, I give you a Father’s Day gift that made me happy as the gifter, and Beloved very happy as the giftee:

Doormat

Our new doormat.

What can I say?  Being cynical IS what makes some of us happy…

(Receiving influx of “unsubscribing” emails in five…four…three…two…)

A Marigold’s Tale

The subject of this week’s Spin Cycle is “Best and Worst.”

I can do that.

Okay, so you know Beloved’s we’ve gone off the deep end with our back yard gardening.  Not surprisingly, this has turned out to be a mixed blessing.

Best:  Sprouting our own seeds, replanting them in the back yard and knowing they’ll likely survive.

Worst:  The back yard garden has begun to take over our living room.

This has engendered some interesting conversations, though.

The G Man, as he hangs over the back of the love seat:  “What’s wrong with the lids on the plants?”

The Young One:  “It’s called ‘condensation.'”

Best:  Nurturing all of our plants, knowing they will eventually be blog fodder dinner.

Worst:  What – I need to water and weed AGAIN??

It should be noted that I am not the most trustworthy person to weed; I often cannot distinguish between the seedling of something I’m really going to want to eat later, and the weed I won’t.

Best:  Loving the Spring weather in Ohio even more.

It amazed me when I first moved here that you could practically just throw stuff in the ground and it would grow like gangbusters.  We had a beautiful ornamental garden in our back yard in Texas, but due to the searing heat 7 months of the year, we had to be very careful about what we planted, and tend it vigilantly.  Up here, we plant stuff, water it occasionally and that’s it – we have a gorgeous bed of impatiens in our front garden all summer long every year.

Worst:  Learning to HATE The Weather Channel.

The same Weather Channel that promised our over night low would be 38 F.  He Of The Green Thumb was out of town, leaving Hopelessly Inept Gardener on her own for the week.  Hopelessly Inept Gardener thought it would be safe to simply water the garden, rather than covering it, before retiring for the night.

You don’t know terror until you’ve left your husband’s precious garden uncovered all night, only to wake up at 5 a.m. and realize it’s 31 F degrees outside.

Best:  Having He Of The Green Thumb declare that the damage isn’t as bad as you thought; all of the cold/cool weather plants (lettuces, peas, collards, carrots, parsnips, beets) are fine and he shouldn’t have transplanted the peppers, squash, okra and tomatoes outside so soon.

Worst: The realization that the marigold your precious grandson started from a seed at preschool, and which was on the verge of blooming, was one of the items that had been transplanted outside too soon.

You have never seen two people search for a marigold at the local gardening centers quite as frantically as Meema and Papa.

the Marigold

Fortunately, three-year-olds have a limited grasp on the fact that marigolds don’t grow so large quite so quickly.