Tag Archive for 'Thanksgiving'

#thanks #giving

Photo Courtesy: IKEA

Photo Courtesy: IKEA

It’s easy to get caught up in the food festivities that surround the holidays. Traditional fare, too much of it, and an opportunity to hang out with ‘those’ relatives that often times create that intense and highly entertaining family drama you’ll eagerly recap at the water cooler at work come Monday. BUT what’s lost in this satirical depiction of Thanksgiving is that there are many families that can barely scrape by enough to provide this celebratory meal. Hunger in the United States is a reality that is not talked about often enough.

I would like to present you with the opportunity to change that reality. To give and provide something for others to eat. It takes but a moment and actually, if someone or a family is in need of a meal, they might very well be in need of more than just a Thanksgiving meal.

Annually I make this plight- I stop the foodie talk in hopes of opening up a very important dialogue. I am a supporter of No Kid Hungry. And as I sit down tomorrow I hope that my donation will allow others to sit around their table with family and friends enjoying some good food. It’s not that I have an abundance of cash lying around, it’s about making choices, and I’ll happily scale back on luxurious coffee drinks for a few weeks and share those funds where I can make a difference- giving to others. The impact $10 = 100 meals. Imagine what I can do in just a few weeks time.

And in light of all of the things I am thankful for today, I raise my glass to all of you – thank you for being my supportive blog family. You make the difference to me by feeding my soul.

Give Thanks – Give Hope

Give Thanks

I am looking forward to Thanksgiving, which I’ll spend at home cooking with my husband for our family and a few good friends. There is so much to be thankful for this time of year, including the lavish meal we will prepare for loved ones.

In my minds-eye, the table is festively set. Family and friends gathered Continue reading ‘Give Thanks – Give Hope’

Brussels Sprouts Persimmon & Pomegranate Mustard Salad

brussels salad finished shot.JPG

Three years ago I would have sworn to you that yoga was just not my thing. Over the years I had tried a class here or there but the thought of getting me to sit still for extended periods of time seemed impossible. My mind was always racing in a million directions. Continue reading ‘Brussels Sprouts Persimmon & Pomegranate Mustard Salad’

Almond Milk Pumpkin Pie with Chocolate Crust

This is the time of year to be thankful. Thankful for all that we have. Thankful for all of the wonderful people around us and for the lives we lead. And while I sit here to writing this post, I am also grateful for the time I have enjoyed with my Great Aunt Frances.
She passed away this week but has left behind a legacy of memories that I hold near and dear to my heart. She was blessed with a wonderful immediate family – three children, 11 grandchildren and 15 great-grand children (not to mention a full brigade of nieces and nephews AND great nieces and nephews). She was the last of her generation and while I am deeply saddened by her passing I am thankful to have been a small part of her life.

This classic pie, with a sexy chocolate twist, is for you Auntie. Thank you for all of your love and support over the years. Your style, grace and laughter will live on in my heart. >And as far as I am concerned there will never be a better Christmas Eve party than those epic nights we celebrated until the wee hours of the morning at your castle on the hill.< I will add my name to the long list of those who will miss you.

Almond Milk Pumpkin Pie with Chocolate Crust

Crust Ingredients

1 1/4 cups flour

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup confectioners’sugar

1 stick margarine, cubed

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Filling Ingredients

2 cups pumpkin puree

1 cup almond milk*

2 TBS lemon juice

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp ground cloves

6 TBS margarine, melted

* If making homemade almond milk, add 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1-1/2 TBS maple syrup or honey.

Directions

To prepare crust combine flour, cocoa, and confectioner’s sugar in a food processor. Pulse until combined. Add margarine and process until mixture is crumbly in texture and resembles sand. With food processor running, add vanilla and 4 TBS cold water. Process until smooth dough forms. Chill two hours.

On a well floured surface, roll out dough into an 11-inch circle. Press into a 9-inch pie pan. Chill for 30 minutes.

To prepare filling, in a small bowl combine almond milk and lemon juice. In another bowl, combine brown sugar, cornstarch, ginger, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and cloves. Whisk almond milk mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients. Lastly, add in add in pumpkin and margarine.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a fork, make holes in crust, top with parchment paper, and fill with dried beans to weigh down. Reduce heat to 350 degrees, bake crust 10 minutes. Remove parchment paper and beans, bake an additional 5 minutes.

Pour pumpkin filling into crust, decorate with sliced almonds, and bake 45-60 minutes, or until filling is bubbling in center. Pie should be firm when slightly shaken. If it appears to still be soft and liquid in consistency, it needs to be cooked longer. Cool completely before serving.

Snapping Ginger Punklin Pie

If you are looking for a way to celebrate Thanksgiving with a dessert that has a twist to it and avoids the traditional pumpkin pie concept, this recipe should win you rave reviews. My contribution to this recipe was a bit of tweaking, however Debbie is the genius behind the lovely mix of flavors!

With Thanksgiving immediately around the corner, I am both thankful for this wonderful amalgamation of flavors and to the people at Crosby and Taylor for treating me to this lovely pewter measuring spoon set. Each short handle is styled as a curling grape vine and each pewter bowl is decorated with grapes and leaves. The pewter stand matches the spoons, with grapes and grape-leaf spilling over the base. It is kitchen art at its finest.

Since the arrival of this set it has adorned my kitchen counter and received numerous compliments. In the spirit of giving, one lucky reader that comments will be randomly selected to win a set of their own. Tell me what you are most thankful for this Thanksgiving holiday season.Oh and did I mention, that this item is a Paula Deen favorite and was featured in her magazine as well as on TV?

Snapping Ginger Punklin Pie

Note: This recipe should be prepared 8-24 hours in advance to allow time to set-up.

Ingredients

10 oz (2 cups) ginger snaps

1/4 cup sugar

6 TBS unsalted butter

8 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

½ cup heavy whipping cream

caramel ice cream topping

1 gallon pumpkin ice cream, softened at room temperature for 15 minutes

1 heath bar candy, crushed

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Remove ice cream from freezer, remove lid and set on counter.

In a food processor, add ginger snaps and pulse until crumbled. Set aside in a medium bowl, add sugar and stir. Melt butter and add to bowl; combine well. Coat a 10-inch spring form pan with non-stick cooking spray, press cookie mixture into pan in a very thin layer, going slightly up the slides. Place in oven and cook for 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Place chocolate in medium microwave-safe bowl and stir every 30-45 seconds. Once melted, add heavy cream, stirring until completely mixed. Spread chocolate ganache over crust then coat with caramel sauce. Place ice cream in pan, and smooth with a bit of texture.

Place heath bar in food processor and pulse until crumbled. Sprinkle over top of pie and then drizzle a little more caramel sauce. Place in freezer and chill for 8-24 hours. Before serving remove from freezer for 10 minutes.

The pumpkin pie alternative – get chilly with it!

I am a huge fan of the orange festive squash (AKA pumpkin); and this fall I’ve been developing new recipes to spawn the alternative to pumpkin pie. While I always enjoy the traditional pumpkin pie, and wouldn’t dream of a November with out a slice (or three!) of it, I adore the look of surprise my guests display when I serve my this versatile vegetable as ice cream. This dessert can be prepared up to four days in advance.

(Note: Be sure to read over the entire recipe as there are two ingredients lists and two sets of directions.)

Pumpkin Ginger Semi-Freddo Ice Cream

Pumpkin Ice Cream Ingredients

1 small pumpkin, approximately 1 lb
4 TBS lime juice
2 pieces crystallized ginger, chopped
4 egg yolks
2/3 cup light muscavado sugar
1 cup heavy cream
pumpkin seed brittle (directions to follow)

Pumpkin Ice Cream Directions

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Cut pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds and fibers from the center of the pumpkin. Place the pumpkin seeds, and any of the fiber that clings to them, in a bowl and cover with water. Using your hands, squeeze the pulp until the seeds separate from the fiber and rise to the surface. To clean any remaining fiber from the seeds, rinse them through a colander. Drain seeds on a paper towel. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly sprinkle with oil. Transfer the seeds to the baking sheet, forming a single layer. Bake for 30 minutes, remove from oven and set aside to cool until it is time to prepare the brittle (recipe below).

There two options for cooking the pumpkin, however I have opted for the quicker of the two methods. For those that wish to roast the pumpkin, directions are provided below.** Cut the pumpkin into wedges and place skin side up on a microwave safe plate. Microwave on high for 15 minutes, checking occasionally, as the time will vary with size. The pumpkin is ready when it is soft to the touch and the plump can be easily scooped away from its skin. Allow to cool.

Remove the skin and chop into 1-inch pieces.

In a blender or food processor, puree the cubes of cooked pumpkin with the lime juice until it becomes a smooth puree. Add the ginger and blend briefly to combine.

Place the egg yokes and sugar in a bowl and set over a pot of simmering hot water. Whisk the mixture until thick and creamy, then add in the pumpkin puree.

In a medium-size bowl, whip the cream until it is firm and has soft peaks. Fold the whipped cream into pumpkin mixture until well combined. Place in a container and freeze for 6-8 hours or overnight.

To soften ice cream before serving, transfer the ice cream to the refrigerator 45-60 minutes before serving.

Pumpkin Seed Brittle

Pumpkin Seed Brittle Ingredients

1/4 cup water
3/4 cup superfine (or Caster) sugar
2 TBS white corn syrup
1 1/4 cups pumpkin seeds, toasted

Pumpkin Seed Brittle Directions

In a medium size pot, add the water, sugar and corn syrup. The best way to test candy is with a heavy gauge candy thermometer. They are not very expensive and make the job a whole lot easier. To cook the candy, it is important to stir continuously, until the thermometer reaches 290-300 degrees. (If you do not have a candy thermometer, the next best method is the cold water test. It is a little more tricky, but easy enough once you learn how it works. Testing candy with this method requires patience. It is necessary to test the sugar consistency every 2-3 minutes until it reaches a Soft Crack consistency, which is when the syrup will separate into threads that are hard but not brittle.) Immediately remove from heat and pour the syrup over the seeds. Allow to set for 1 hour.


Once the brittle has set, break into pieces. Scoop ice cream and serve with pumpkin seed brittle.

Serves 6-8.

** If you wish to roast the pumpkin in the oven, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a foil lined baking sheet, place pumpkin cut side down. Roast until soft, approximately 35-45 minutes.