Tag: thanksgiving food

Thanksgiving 2013

Happy Thanksgiving from this smiling girl!  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday with lots of yummy food.  I’ve had quite the busy day.   It all started yesterday when I flew to my parents house in Cali.  We had a full house so I am at the local Hampton Inn which I love.  Very comfortable room and it makes visiting my family more of a vacation than a family visit, which is good!

Then I got a kiwi crate and did a cute craft with my nieces (all 5 are here.  So fun!).  The craft was turkey namecards and they turned out very adorable.

Isabel punched out the craft real quick
Isabel punched out the craft real quick
Olive was the crafting queen
Olive was the crafting queen
One of these was done by my niece. One by me...
One of these was done by my niece. One by me…
Thanksgiving Kiwi crate
Thanksgiving Kiwi crate

Then this morning we continued the Thanksgiving festivities with the Folsom turkey trot 5k.  This is the 3rd year in a row I’ve done turkey trot (last year I did one in Utah, year before in Folsom).

I’m not much of a walker and even less a runner but its fun to get some energy out before the big meal, challenge yourself and help give back to the community.  This year I mentioned it early and we ended up with 11 of us attending- Me, Dad, Seth, Megan, Sam, Anna, Madi, Olive, Lucy, Nelle,Isabel.  All of the kids did great and everyone finished.

The girls ran together the whole way.  So cute
The girls ran together the whole way. So cute
Lucy doing a great job on the run
Lucy doing a great job on the run
Nellie running and smiling
Nellie running and smiling
My niece Olive
My niece Olive
Starting the race
Starting the race
A finisher!
A finisher!

My feet are pretty blistered and body was sore but I’m doing pretty well on the pain recovery.  I was feeling strong enough to help out with the kids and I decided to take them to the pool at my hotel to get them out of the chefs hair.  It was a lot of fun but I’m definitely very tired!

swimmer
A little fuzzy but here they are heading out to the pool

Once we got home from the swimming we got busy making a huge meal.  I was pretty tired but I made the mashed potatoes which you could say is my specialty. The secret is heating up the cream/milk and butter together so they become one liquid and mixing that with the mashed potatoes.  Its so creamy!

I'll dream about these for many months...
I’ll dream about these for many months…

We ended up with 21 people at thanksgiving dinner and it was quite the endeavor for my Mom and sister.  Here are some photos

spread

Seating for 21
Seating for 21

So it was a very Happy Thanksgiving at the Wagner house and I hope it was the same for all of you.  God bless you and your family and let’s have a wonderful Christmas!  Love you all!

 

Thanksgiving for One vs 2.0

So the guest post is here!  Check it out at http://littleferrarokitchen.com/2013/11/thanksgiving-1-guest-post-smilinglds-girl/ .  It is based on a post I did last year when I was home for thanksgiving and missing the food I was used to. Take a look at last years post and you will see how much better this one is (especially the photography.  Thanks Dad! https://smilingldsgirl.com/2012/11/25/thanksgiving-for-one/

I’m really proud of how everything turned out so please take a look and make some comments on Sam’s or my site.  Pass it on (especially to the singles that you know)

Last year I found myself facing a new predicament in life.  For the first time in my 32 years I was alone for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Now I had friends who had me over for meals and the like but for the season and for Christmas day I was alone.

This is a situation that more Americans are finding themselves in every day.   In his wonderful book, Living Alone, Eric Klinenberg says that “In 1950, 22 percent of American adults were single. Now that number is almost 50 percent. One in seven adults lives alone”.    One in 7 and yet our society is still built on the assumption of companionship. When I venture out to say a movie or a nice restaurant by myself it is a near social pariah.  I do it anyway but it is still definitely outside the norm.

So, where does that leave the single who is alone for even more family-centric moments such as birthdays or holidays?  If they cannot find an urban tribe, quasi-family to associate with then they are left to celebrate alone, a depressing prospect for most of us.

Well, last year I decided to change that.  I was going to be spending the holidays alone and I would make the best of it.  I did pretty well through Halloween and even Christmas but Thanksgiving proved particularly difficult.  I had a friend invite me to her place for the actual day which was lovely but it wasn’t the meal I was used to and I found myself feeling nostalgic for the flavors of my family.

The logical solution was to make Thanksgiving for myself but how can one make a feast for one?  It seems impossible?  Fortunately I am not the type who is left undaunted by challenges and I decided to give it a try and you know what I learned- you can do Thanksgiving for One!  It is not only possible but very enjoyable. 

Thanksgiving for 1 (Guest Post by SilingLDS Girl} via LittleFerraroKitchen.com

Here’s what I learned:

        1. Plan ahead so you don’t have all the cooking in one day.  Both  years I have done thanksgiving for one I have made the desserts the day before.  You could also do the rolls the day before if that is important to you.   Since it saves well I make the cranberry relish or sauce in advance also.
        2.  Pick 2 sides and make them really well.  It is impossible to duplicate a huge thanksgiving meal for one person and if you did how would you eat it all (and let’s be honest you will be a little sad so tons of food and lonely person probably not good combo).  I chose to make mashed potatoes and stuffing.   Sweet potatoes are an everyday item and not that special for me, so I will leave them out.
        3. There’s no reason to make everything yourself.  I used canned rolls because rolls aren’t that important to my Thanksgiving but you could certainly buy them from a good bakery or your local market.  You could even buy the turkey already cooked (or a rotisserie chicken) and focus on sides.
        4. Pick a veggie that you can buy in small amounts.  For example a head of lettuce is often too much for me and goes bad.  Green beans are great because I can buy just a handful and not waste.  One ear of corn, a couple carrots, things like that save on time and money.
        5. Don’t forget little details like real whipped cream and cranberry relish.  If your family always has a pickle platter have pickles.  Or if you secretly hate the family jello salad don’t make it!  That’s the great thing about cooking for yourself you can do whatever you want.  If you want to make turkey curry go for it.  Want to try sugar free recipe, go for it.   Want to make collard greens or eat ham instead of turkey do it!
        6. Because you are cooking for 1 live a little.  Buy lobster or mussels, get the good french butter or be like me and get a massage while on break!  There will be plenty of your life when you are scrimping and saving every cent to pay for kids and retirement.  An occasional treat for a single’s dinner is highly worth it!  Plus, you can afford to go organic, get grass-fed meat, artisan bread.  Whatever excites you!
        7. Plan on ways to save meals and use components for 2nd and 3rd meals.  Like having turkey sandwiches or potato soup after thanksgiving dinner.  I make up these little TV dinners so they are ready to go when I’m in the mood for a little home cooking.To quote the amazing Judith Jones “Some say Why would I want to go to all that trouble just for me? My answer is: If you like good food, why not HONOR YOURSELF enough to make a pleasing meal and relish every mouthful.”  Cheers to me!

Menu

Turkey breast roasted with fresh herbs and gravy

Cornbread stuffing with maple sausage and apricots

Yukon gold mashed potatoes

Cranberry relish

Green beans with bacon vinaigrette

Rolls

No bake pumpkin cheesecake

Turkey Breast  

Thanksgiving for 1 (Guest Post by SilingLDS Girl} via LittleFerraroKitchen.com

  • Thaw bird completely before cooking.  Make a paste with fresh herbs and butter then rub the bird with it and put underneath the skin.  Check the label but it usually ends up being about 30 minutes for every pound at 350.
  • It should get to a temperature of 160 to be done.

Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes

  • Cook 4 yukon gold potatoes in the crock-pot under high for 6 hours (which saves time) and then mash with skins on.
  • Add 1/4 cup of cream/milk and 1/2 stick of butter and mix until most of the clumps are gone.
  • You can make it with as many potatoes as you like or just one if you want.
  • Season with salt and pepper, to taste

or you could just cook them regular on the stove.

  • Cornbread Stuffing with Maple Sausage and Apricots
  • Cook onion, celery, maple sausage until onions soft, sausage cooked.
  • Add cornbread stuffing cubes and 2-4 cups of chicken broth.
  • Add diced dried apricots and then put in oven at 350 for 45 minutes.Gravy
  • Take pan drippings and skim off excessive oil.  Then mix together a little water and flour until smooth.  My Mom even uses the blender for hers but I prefer minimal dishes.  Then you add the flour-water to the drippings and stir until the mixture thickens up.  Then add salt to taste.Cranberry Relish

    Thanksgiving for 1 (Guest Post by SilingLDS Girl} via LittleFerraroKitchen.com

  • In food processor pulsing blade finely ground 1 bag of fresh cranberries, 2 tbsp agave nectar or sugar, a whole orange cut into segments and a cup of nuts (I’ve made it with almonds, walnuts and pecans all good). Add more sweetener to taste.

 Green Beans with Bacon Vinaigrette

Thanksgiving for 1 (Guest Post by SilingLDS Girl} via LittleFerraroKitchen.com

  • Green beans with bacon vinaigrette. Cook bacon into bite sized pieces.  Remove most of the bacon fat from the pan leaving a couple of tablespoons inside.
  • Cook beans in boiling water (I’ve actually found the microwave does this quite well) add red onion, 1 tbsp of sugar to the bacon fat and then ¼ cup balsamic vinegar (you could use any vinegar you like.  I used an apricot balsamic from Sutter Buttes Olive Oil that I got in one of my subscription boxes.  It was great!  Combine beans with sauce and stir.  Top with crunchy bacon.  Yum!No bake pumpkin cheesecakes (recipe adapted by I Wash You Dry)

    Thanksgiving for 1 (Guest Post by SilingLDS Girl} via LittleFerraroKitchen.com

  • 1 box gingersnap cookies ground to fine crumbs
  • 3 tbsp butter melted
  • 4 tbsp sugar or other sweetener

For the Filling:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream (I accidentally bought light cream cheese but it worked fine)
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 ½ c marshmallows
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp sugar (I added more because I like things on the sweeter side especially for dessert)
  • 1 ½ ts pumpkin pie spice1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups heavy cream whipped.

For the Crust:

  • Mix together all ingredients press into bottom of molds or spring-form pan.  You can then bake it for 5 minutes to create a more solid crust but I don’t think that is even necessary.
  • For filling mix together cream cheese, sour cream, pumpkin, and sugar.   Heat up marshmallows and butter until cooked and bubbling.  Add to rest of wet filling mix.  Beat vigorously.  Add to molds.  Set overnight.  Top with whipped cream.

So those are the recipes I used.  Have fun cooking for one.  It will be a great journey for you!  Good luck and let me know how things go and what strategies work for you. 

Thanksgiving for 1

Ingredients

Turkey Breast
    • 1 Turkey breast with skin
    • Fresh herbs (variety)
Cornbread Stuffing
    • 2, 6oz bags Dried cornbread stuffing cubes
    • 1 cup onion, chopped
    • 1 celery, chopped
    • 1-2 links of maple sausage
    • 1/2 cup dried apricots, diced
    • 2-3 cups Chicken broth
Gravy
    • 2 Tb flour
    • Water
    • Salt, to taste
Green Beans with Bacon Vinaigrette
    • 1 cup Green beans
    • 1 slice of bacon (more if you want extra for salads)
    • 1 Red onion, chopped
    • 1Tb sugar
    • 1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
Cranberry Relish
    • 1 bag fresh cranberries
    • 2 Tb agave nectar or sugar
    • 1 orange, cut into segments
    • 1 cup nuts (almonds, walnuts or pecans)
Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes
    • 4 Yukon potatoes
    • 1/4 cup milk or cream
    • 1/2 stick of butter
    • Salt and pepper, to taste
No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake via I Wash You Dry
Crust
    • 1 box gingersnap cookies ground to fine crumbs
    • 3 tbsp butter melted
    • 4 tbsp sugar or other sweetener
Filling
  • For the filling:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream (I accidently bought light cream cheese but it worked fine)
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 ½ c marshmallows
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp sugar (I added more because I like things on the sweeter side especially for dessert)
  • 1 ½ ts pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups heavy cream whipped.

Instructions

Turkey Breast
    1. Thaw bird completely before cooking.
    2. Make a paste with fresh herbs and butter then rub the bird with it and put underneath the skin. Check the label but it usually ends up being about 30 minutes for every pound at 350
    3. It should get to a temperature of 160 to be done.
Cornbread stuffing
    1. Cook onion, celery and maple sausage until onions soft, sausage cooked.
    2. Add cornbread stuffing cubes and 2-4 cups of chicken broth.
    3. Add diced dried apricots and then put in oven at 350 for 45 minutes.
Gravy
    1. Take pan drippings and skim off excessive oil.
    2. Then mix together a little water and flour until smooth in a separate bowl. My Mom even uses the blender for hers but I prefer minimal dishes. Then you add the flour-water to the drippings and stir until the mixture thickens up. Then add salt to taste.
Green beans with bacon vinaigrette
    1. Cook bacon into bite sized pieces.
    2. Remove most of the bacon fat from the pan leaving a couple of tablespoons inside.
    3. Cook beans in boiling water (I’ve actually found the microwave does this quite well).
    4. Add red onion, 1 tbsp of sugar to the bacon fat and then ¼ cup balsamic vinegar (you could use any vinegar you like.
    5. Combine beans with sauce and stir.
    6. Top with crunchy bacon.
Cranberry Relish
    1. In a food processor, add the cranberries, agave, sugar, nuts and orange.
    2. Pulse until finely ground.
    3. Add more sweetener to taste.
Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes
    1. Cook potatoes in the crock-pot under high for 6 hours (which saves time) and then mash with skins on.
    2. Add 1/4 cup of cream/milk and 1/2 stick of butter and mix until most of the clumps are gone.
    3. You can make it with as many potatoes as you like or just one if you want.
    4. Season with salt and pepper, to taste
No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake via I Wash You Dry
  1. For crust- mix together all ingredients press into bottom of molds or spring-form pan. You can then bake it for 5 minutes to create a more solid crust but I don’t think that is even necessary.
  2. For filling mix together cream cheese, sour cream, pumpkin, and sugar.
  3. Heat up marshmallows and butter until cooked and bubbling.
  4. Add to rest of wet filling mix. Beat vigorously. Add to molds. Set overnight.
  5. Top with whipped cream.

All of the food made can be up-sized or downsized. If you would like less turkey buy a smaller breast or only 2 potatoes instead of 4. Use half the cranberries and make less relish.

Thanksgiving for 1 (Guest Post by SilingLDS Girl} via LittleFerraroKitchen.com

Thanksgiving for One

So yummy and doesn’t it look pretty? I think I got the table setting right.

As I mentioned in my last post this Thanksgiving week has been a little different for me.  For the first time in several years I didn’t go to California to visit my folks and for the first time since my mission I didn’t see any family.  I must admit, I had moments of sadness throughout the weekend but I tried to look at it as an opportunity for growth.  There aren’t many new experiences that come my way at 31 so why not take advantage of the one’s that do? (Blowing out my back at the 5k didn’t help much!)

In the months proceeding the week I thought I’d be having thanksgiving day meal alone and I looked up and down the blogosphere for someone doing a thanksgiving for 1.  Is it even possible to make a feast for one or is the idea oxymoronic? Could it be done?  I decided to take up the challenge and I’m here to tell you it can! (went to my friends house for actual Thanksgiving day meal which I was grateful for)

Here’s what I did:

turkey, 2 kinds cranberry sauce (love!), mashed potatoes, stuffing muffin, crescent roll, turkey, gravy

Week before- purchased all ingredients so no stressful holiday grocery shopping.  Next time will get smaller turkey breast but leftovers never hurt anyone.

Tuesday- Made cranberry relish-  Wagner family classic very simple.  In food processor or blender pulse cranberries, whole orange rind and all cut into chunks, 1/4 c sugar, 1/2 pecans/walnuts.  You can make it without the nuts but it makes it healthier and cuts the sweetness.  You can add more sugar if you like it sweeter.   I made a big tub because it lasts forever and I love it. I actually used agave but you could use any sweetener.

Wednesday- Made

pecan and pumpkin tarts

chocolate pecan tarts- 2/3 c sugar, 1/3 c butter, 1 c corn syrup,  3 eggs, 1 c pecans, 1 lindt salted dark bar chopped into small pieces.  Mix all together put in keebler mini graham cracker tart pans. Bake 350 25 min or until fork comes out clean.  Top with REAL whipped cream

Friday- Make pumpkin tarts- 3/4 sugar, 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 large eggs, 1 15 o can pumpkin, 1 15 o can ev milk.  Mix together put in keebler mini graham cracker tart pans.  In this case I actually prefer the graham cracker crust.  It doesn’t get soggy like pastry.  Mix 1/4 brown sugar, pumpkin bar mix, pecans for topping sprinkled on top.  Bake 350 20 min or until knife comes out clean.  Top with REAL whipped cream

The pumpkin tart may be the find of the project.  Really yummy and with the smaller size it makes for easy portion control.  Always nice for thanksgiving!

Saturday I was going to do more to prepare but my back had gotten blown out from the 5k on Thursday and shopping was all I could get through.  (I did way too much shopping this weekend but it was a lot of fun!)

Sunday- This was the big day.  Rubbed turkey with butter and put it in the oven before church.  Stuffed it because I forgot to get citrus/herbs for cavity.  (The one thing I did make too much of was stuffing).  I also put the yukon golds in some water in the crockpot before church.

turkey breast is smaller and I mainly like white meat anyway.
yukon golds in the crockpot! Perfectly done when  I came home from church!

I also made the stuffing.  It was a lot of fun making something different than my family would make.  It was a cornbread stuffing with turkey sausage, celery and onion. I just used a boxed cornbread stuffing cubes but not stovetop.  Cooking it in the muffin tins helps with portion control and makes it easy to freeze for cooking for one.

stuffing muffins

Once I got home from church I sliced the turkey, mashed the potatoes, heated up the stuffing, made the gravy (probably hardest part!), heated up crescent rolls from the can and made salad dressing.  The sale was simple arugula with a pomegranate blood orange vinaigrette (blood orange juice, cider vinegar, pomegranate seeds (which kind of have a cranberry feel to me.  Love them!) and agave, very simple!).  The combination of the sweet, tart and spiciness of the arugula was awesome!

salad was another winner. fresh arugula with blood orange pomegranate vinaigrette. (no oil and you did not miss it at all)

With a glass of apple cider everything was perfect!  It all tasted great and I didn’t end up with tons of leftovers.

leftovers.

I also rewashed and reused pans and other equipment along the way so I only used 1 load of dishes and it took me about 45 minutes to clean up from the whole meal. Awesome!

Here’s some things I learned from the experience:

1. To quote the amazing Judith Jones “Some say Why would I want to go to all that trouble just for me? My answer is: If you like good food, why not HONOR YOURSELF enough to make a pleasing meal and relish every mouthful.”  Cheers to me!

2.  There seem to be people from a certain generation that have a hard time with spending time alone.  Someone said to me this week “You went to the 5k alone”. My friend piped up and said “Rachel does lots of things alone…”.  I felt proud that I am challenging stereotypes and expectations for single women.  I hope I never stop! (Goodness knows I’m buying a house alone I should be able to eat thanksgiving by myself.

3.  As far as the meal itself pick 2 or 3 sides to make from scratch (I chose mashed potatoes and stuffing, my favorites).  The rest was more assembled like the salad or cranberries.  The rolls aren’t super important so I didn’t make those from scratch.  I eat sweet potatoes all the time on my diet so to me they don’t seem that special so I opted out of those.  Whatever you like.

4.  Then plan it out over a couple of days so that you aren’t so overwhelmed both with prepping, cooking, and most importantly cleaning!  Make the dessert the day before or buy those from a good bakery (or the rolls, or whatever you have that’s quality.  You could even buy the turkey and then focus your efforts on cooking sides.

5.  Don’t forget little details like real whipped cream and cranberry relish.  If your family always has a pickle platter have pickles.  Or if you secretly hate the family jello salad don’t make it!  That’s the great thing about cooking for yourself you can do whatever you want.  If you want to make turkey curry go for it.  Want to try sugar free recipe, go for it.   Want to make collard greens or eat ham instead of turkey do it!

6. Think of phase 2 recipes for leftovers. I’m already thinking of all the way to use up leftover mashed potatoes and turkey.  Cooking everything in smaller containers like the tarts or muffin tins makes them easy to freeze and eat later if you get sick of the leftovers.  Come January a turkey dinner may hit just the right note!

7. Because you are cooking for 1 live a little.  Buy lobster or mussels, get the good french butter or be like me and get a massage while on break!  There will be plenty of your life when you are scrimping and saving every cent to pay for kids and retirement.  An occasional treat for a single’s dinner is highly worth it!  Plus, you can afford to go organic, get grass-fed meat, artisan bread.  Whatever excites you!

8. It is a lot of work and goodness knows I too often shirk the responsibility of cooking for myself but I promise you (and need to tell myself too) that it is worth it.  It is always more satisfying than the flimsy mediocre alternative.

9.  I did little things throughout the meal to make it a little bit healthier.  For instance, I used milk instead of cream in the potatoes. I used turkey sausage in the stuffing, the salad had no fat and used agave for sweetener, no pastry made the tarts lighter (and I think better), agave in cranberry relish and not much of it.  Again, those are the kinds of individualization you can do when cooking for yourself that are hard with family that are used to things the same way.

Again from Judith Jones:

“There is something about going home at the end of the day or giving over a quiet Sunday afternoon to cooking- smashing the garlic, chopping an onion, getting all those good cooking smells going, stirring and tasting mindfully, and then adjusting the seasonings- that makes us feel creative.

It is a comforting form of relaxation- something that is needed in our busy lives.  I always love the moment of drama, too, when everything comes together and I quickly dish up my handiwork arranging it pleasingly on a warm plate and then take it to the table where I set a place for one with a cloth napkin in a family napkin ring.  I light the candles, turn on some music and give thanks.

I wouldn’t miss this pleasure for anything!”

Me either!

10. Cheers to doing one more thing on my own, even feasting!

Apple cider toast. Cheers to one more milestone and a delicious meal!