Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Thanksgiving Day


As we do every year, we begin our Thanksgiving Day with a 5k race called Hot To Trot.  Some of us ran the race while others walked.  Each exercised in their own way so they could consume numerous calories throughout the day.  We complained as we always do about the early start to our day, but once the race is done, we are happy that it was finished early.  This was the first 5k race for Daniela.  Baloo and Speck also joined in this year.  

Hot-To-Trot 5k

Speck was very thirsty after the Hot-To-Trot 5k

Thanksgiving Tablescape

It wouldn't be Thanksgiving without some game time.

Michael injects his turkey with a Butter and Jalape├▒o Marinade, while Speck supervised.

 Jim injects his turkey with Roasted Garlic and Herb.

Malia and Delia joined their husbands in the cold and sleet while the turkeys were frying.  "That's what you call standing by your man."

First turkey, done!!!

The finished product...

Every year Michael has the honor of carving the turkey.

Family and friends, it doesn't get any better.

There was so much food it was difficult to know where to start.

 Daniela and Aurel enjoying their first Thanksgiving Day.

Delia and her Mama, Daniela.

No matter how full we are after our Turkey Dinner there is always room for dessert.  Delia, Daniela, Malia and I served it up.

Baloo and Speck enjoying their Thanksgiving treat.

Mother and daughter.
Potato Gratin "Boome-Style"
Serves: 4
1 pound baby new potatoes
2 cups grated gruyere cheese
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter 
1 teaspoon black pepper
Preheat oven to 375'.
Place baby new potatoes with skin on into a large saucepan of cold, salted water, place the saucepan onto medium heat and bring the potatoes to a boil.  Boil for about 15 minutes, until a knife can easily be inserted but potatoes are not falling apart. 
Drain potatoes and place them back into the pan.  Using a fork roughly mash up leaving nice big potato chunks.  Mix in the grated cheese, heavy cream, butter and black pepper.  Put into a small baking dish and in the oven for 20 minutes until the top is nice and golden brown.

Green Bean Bundles
servings: 4-6
2 (16 ounce) cans whole green beans, drained
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
bacon, cut in half
Wrap about 6 beans in a half of sliced bacon, securing with a toothpick.  Arrange bundles in glass baking dish.  Melt butter.  Stir in brown sugar and cook for a few minutes until smooth.  Pour over the green bean bundles.  
Bake at 350' for 30-45 minutes until desired doneness.  Plan on at least 2 bundles per person.

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy
Makes 5-6 cups
4-5 pounds turkey wings
2 medium onions, peeled and each cut into 8 pieces
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon salt divided
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper divided
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 quarts low sodium chicken stock, divided
2-3 sprigs fresh sage
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 celery stalks, each quartered
2/3 cups flour
Preheat oven to 400'.  Spray roasting pan with cooking spray.  Add turkey wings and onions.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Bake for 1 hour until turkey and onions are browned.  Flip over turkey wings, add garlic cloves and bake another 15 minutes.  Remove wings, onions, and garlic to stock pot.  Add 1 cup chicken broth to baking pan and whisk to loosen browned bits.  Add pan liquid to stockpot along with celery, herbs, and remaining chicken broth.  Simmer for 1 hour.  Remove solids from liquid stock.  Pour stock through wire strainer to remove remaining bits.  Remove grease from stock by using grease separator or chilling in fridge so that hardened fat can be scraped off the top.  For 5 1/2 cups of stock, make a slurry by shaking 1 cup stock with 2/3 cup of flour in a jar.  Heat stock in large saucepan until steaming.  Whisk constantly while gradually adding slurry to stock until desired consistency is reached. Cook on low for 10 minutes.  Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve right away or store in fridge no more than 3 days.  May be frozen for up to a month.  Reheat in microwave or on stove top; add water or chicken broth to thin it, if necessary.  
*To thicken gravy, for each one cup of turkey stock make a slurry of 2 Tablespoons of flour to 3 tablespoons of water or broth to shake together in a jar. http://www.theyummylife.com/make_ahead_turkey_gravy

Grandma's Holiday Dressing
2 (7ounce) package cornbread mix, I like the sweet.
2 (12 ounce) canned biscuits
2 (10.5 ounce) can cream of chicken soup
2 10.5 ounce) can cream of celery soup
1 (32 ounce) box chicken broth
pinch of sage
salt and pepper to taste
1 small onion
2 stalk celery
Preheat oven 350'
Bake breads according to package directions and crumble. I do this in a food processor or blender, or mixer.  Do not crumble real fine.  Saute' onion and celery in a little butter.  Mix all ingredients together.  Place in a 9X13" greased pan.  Bake until lightly browned.  May add chopped toasted pecans to the above.

Spicy-Sweet Roasted Fall Vegetables
2 carrots, cut into 1" pieces
1 garnet yam, cut into 1" pieces
1/2 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
2 cups brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1 red onion, cut into 1" pieces
1/2 teaspoon ground ancho chile pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 325'.
Place the cut vegetables in a large bowl and toss with the ground peppers, brown sugar, olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Stir gently with a wooden spoon until the vegetables are evenly coated, then transfer to a 12" cookie sheet or shallow baking dish.  Roast on the middle rack, stirring occasionally, for 20-30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender and browned.  Serve immediately.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Makes: 2 1/4 cups
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
12 ounce package fresh or frozen cranberries
Bring water and sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Add cranberries and return to a boil.  Reduce heat and boil gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Pour sauce into a bowl, cover and cool completely at room temperature.  Refrigerate until reserving time.  Recipe from: http://www.oceanspray.com/Recipes/Corporate/Sauces,-Sides-Salads/Homemade-Whole-Berry-Cranberry-Sauce.aspx

Pumpkin Pie
Ingredients For Pie Filling:
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 can (15 ounces) Libbys 100% Pure Pumpkin (Not Pumpkin Pie Filling)
1 can (12 ounces) carnation evaporated milk
Ingredients For unbaked 9" deep-dish pie shell:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 cup sugar
1 cup butter flavored or plain crisco
1/2 cup HOT tap water
Ingredients For Cinnamon-Sugar Blend:
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1 Tablespoon cinnamon

Pie Crust Directions:
Mix together flour, sugar, and salt until it looks like small peas.  Then add hot tap water until dough comes together, careful not to over mix.  Place dough ball into refrigerator for a few hours.  I usually make this the night before and refrigerate until ready to use the next day, or wrap well and freeze. When ready to use roll out, sprinkle with Cinnamon-Sugar Blend.   Roll up like you would for cinnamon rolls.   Slice into 1/2" rounds.  Spray a 9" tin pie pan with non stick cooking spray. Begin by placing pie crust rounds into pie pan so that they are touching each other.  Press the pie crust so that all gaps are closed.  Try to make the crust all the same thickness. Use a knife to trim up edges when done.  Place in refrigerator while you are preparing the filling.
Pie Filling Directions:
Mix sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in small bowl.  Beat eggs in large bowl.  Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture.  Gradually stir in evaporated milk.
Pour into pie shell. 
Bake in preheated 425' oven for 15 minutes.  Reduce temperature to 350' bake 40-50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean.  Cool on wire rack for 2 hours.  Serve immediately or refrigerate.  Recipe from: https://www.verybestbaking.com/recipes/18470/libbys-famous-pumpkin-pie/

Delia made her first Key Lime Pie.  It was so good and the first dessert to be devoured completely.

Two-Layer Key Lime Pie
1/2 c. chopped pecans, toasted, or not adding pecans is optional.  I do.
2 c. graham cracker crumbs
½ c. butter, melted
¼ c. firmly packed light brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350’.  Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 8-10 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Stir together graham cracker crumbs, next 2 ingredients, and ½ c. toasted pecans until blended. Press crumb mixture on bottom and up sides of a lightly greased 10” deep-dish pie plate.  Bake for 10 minutes.   Cool completely, about 45 min..

2 (14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk)
1 c. bottled key lime juice
6 large egg yolks
Whisk condensed milk, lime juice and egg yolks in a bowl to blend.  Pour into the pie crust. Bake 20-25 min. The center will not be firm, but will set up as it chills. Cool completely on a wire rack, about 1 hour. Cover and chill 4 hours.

Top Layer:
1 (8oz. pkg. cream cheese softened to room temperature
½ c. sweetened condensed milk
¼ c. key lime juice
2 T. sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, condensed milk, lime juice, sugar and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Pour over the cooled baked layer. With a knife, spread evenly and smooth out the top. Cover and refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours. 

Stabilized Whipped Cream:
1 pt. heavy whipping cream
1 T. Jello instant vanilla pudding mix, dry
1 t. vanilla extract
1/3 c. confectioner’s sugar
Put all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix on low speed until ingredients are combined. Mix on high speed until soft peaks form, scraping sides of bowl often. Decorate top of pie as desired.

Slice one lime to use for decoration, may use some zest also for decoration.

Abby Gail's Peanut Butter Pie
1 chocolate graham cracker crust
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed cream
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tbs lemon juice
1/4 cup + 2 tbs mini chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups cool whip
Mix sweetened condensed cream, peanut butter, lemon juice, and 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips in a large bowl.
Fold in 1 cup of cool whip
Poor filling into chocolate graham cracker crust.
Spread remaining 1/2 cup of cool whip on top and sprinkle with remaining 2 tbs of mini chocolate chips.
Freeze overnight.

Banana Pudding
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
dash of salt 
2 1/2 cup low-fat milk
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free sweetened condensed milk
2 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 Tablespoon butter
3 cups sliced ripe bananas, divided
45 reduced-fat vanilla wafers, divided
Top with whip cream, if desired
1.Combine flour and salt in a microwave safe bowl.
2.  Gradually add milks and yolks to the above; stir well.
3. Cook in microwave until slightly thicken.  Cook 2 minutes, stir. Cook 2 more minutes, stir again.  Cook 2 more minutes, stir.  Cook 2 more minutes and stir. Lastly cook 30 sec.
4. Remove from microwave; stir in vanilla and butter.
5. Arrange 1 cup banana slices in bottom of a 2 quart baking dish.
6. Spoon one third of pudding mixture over banana's.
7. Arrange 15 wafers on top of pudding.
8. Repeat layers twice, arranging the last 15 wafers around the edge of dish.
9. Place banana pudding into refrig.  Place a piece of saran wrap directly on top of pudding.  When cool, top with whip cream if you like.
Yield: 10 servings
Banana Pudding may be a bit soupy when you first remove it from the microwave.  Refrigerate it.

These beautiful flowers were a gift from Aurel.  A peace offering from the previous night of Romanian "Spring Water" celebration.   Honestly, I should be giving him something, Aurel, Stone and Abby Gail provided the evenings entertainment.