Day 333–Thanksgiving Lessons Learned

I know Thanksgiving was almost a week ago and we are all moving on to the winter holidays, but I’ve taken time to assess several “teachable moments” I had over the holiday and thought I would share them with you. Ready? Here goes…

Freezing and canning mountains of produce in the summer is totally worth it. While we are still making a dent in the food we put up this summer, it is so nice to just go to the freezer or to my canning shelf to grab pasta sauce, roasted pepper ketchup, jam or whatever we need instead of running to the grocery store, especially when we’re planning a big meal like Thanksgiving! And it tastes way better, too.

I need real knives. I’ve probably cooked more this year than I have in my entire adult life. You know what? I really like it! All the vegetable chopping, however, has taken a toll on my cheap-o knife set. This was brought home to me as I was hacking away at our lovely turkey. What we served didn’t look all that pretty, but my knives are shot. Thanks, mom, for being Santa Claus and making that happen.

Real food tastes better. Ok, I didn’t just realize this over Thanksgiving, but it did remind me that fresh food tastes far superior and it doesn’t get any fresher than local produce and meat. And when it tastes better, everyone’s hungry for leftovers. That = less food waste.

Why does anyone buy cranberry sauce? One pound of berries, 1 cup of orange juice and 1/2 cup of sugar. Combine, bring to a boil, stir, refrigerate. Voila. And you control the sugar. Voila-la!

I need more glass food containers. We switched from plastic to glass food containers this year and while our supply is good, it could not keep up with the level of leftovers generated by Thanksgiving! Yes, glass can break (I haven’t experienced that yet) and yes, it is heavier than plastic. Do a taste test though. Microwave something in plastic and do the same in glass. I’m highly subject to suggestion, but I do believe there is a remarkable taste difference. Worth. It.

So Santa, you’ve got the list, right? Knives and glass food containers (well, knives are taken care of 🙂 Oh, and if you can slip some Trader Joes pumpkin ice cream into my stocking, that would be appreciated, too.

 

Day 322–Our (mostly) Locavore Thanksgiving

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I am really excited about our Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow! And I am thankful that I am not doing all the cooking! Thanksgiving dinner just makes me happy all over–the incredible aroma of a roasting turkey, setting a lovely table, having my family around me and, yes, a weekend of football. You can have the Black Friday shopping, I’ll be sitting on the sofa with a turkey sandwich. And maybe my laptop so I can do some online shopping during commercials…

This year, I am thankful for so many things and I thought I would share some of them:

  • I am thankful that my family is all happy, healthy and that we can be together
  • I am thankful for my farmer friends and all their hard work that brings local food to our table
  • I am thankful for my warm house, my little garden and my snuggly pets
  • I am thankful for everyone who reads this blog and even more so for those who respond with questions or ideas
  • And I am thankful that I live in a country where, even though we don’t always get it right, we keep trying

Here is our menu for Thanksgiving (you can also see it on our chalkboard wall above). We are featuring a heritage breed turkey raised by a wonderful local farmer. I’ve never cooked a heritage breed turkey, so I’m looking forward to the experiment and will report back!

  • Roasted turkey (Bourbon Red heritage breed) from Homestead Harvest Farm with rosemary butter
  • Honey mustard glazed boneless mini ham from Mae Farm
  • Sausage pecan foccacia stuffing (sausage from Mae Farm, homemade chicken stock, NC pecans)
  • Roasted Brussel sprouts with onion and bacon
  • Mashed sweet and white potatoes with maple syrup
  • Carrots glazed with local honey and thyme
  • Deviled eggs with local farm eggs
  • Great Harvest Bread Company Virginia rolls with local honey butter and homemade jam
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Salted caramel and pumpkin ice cream pie (not local, but Trader Joes pumpkin ice cream is crazy good, so I hope it makes a good pie!)
  • Buttermilk and chocolate chess pies

Get ready for lots of locavore leftover recipes! And everyone, please have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving holiday!!!