Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada – Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow Canadians! This year we’re heading over to my sister Dawn’s new place, to join her and her boys, my mom, my uncle and my cousin for s scrumptious non-traditional Thanksgiving feast.

A few years ago we all discussed the whole turkey thing and realized none of us really enjoyed turkey all that much. And as a result, our Thanksgiving feasts have been getting more and more non-traditional with each passing year.

This is what my sister’s planned for the menu (I took this directly from the group email she sent out – we started planning our family get-togethers via email and it works wonderfully):

  • Ribolita – twice cooked greens and white bean soup (starter)  (V)
  • Tofu marinated in poultry seasoning dust and fine sea salt. Pan roasted and glazed with a vegetable jus reduction infused with sage.  (V)
  • Braised bone-in chicken pieces with 40 cloves of garlic, herbs and lemon
  • Stuffing (with giblets and chicken stock) with chicken gravy
  • Vegan stuffing (V)
  • Mashed sweet potatoes  (V)
  • Kos salad with scallions (V)

“(V)” means the dish is vegan. Ward’s making the vegan stuffing, and last night he also made two pumpkin pies, one vegan and one non-vegan.

Dawn recently found the braised chicken recipe and tells me her two boys told her it was the best chicken ever when she cooked it on a test run a few weeks go.

I’m really looking forward to dinner tonight. My sister doesn’t have a table big enough for all of us, so we’ll get to sit on the sofa and armchairs – wonderfully informal. I envision a lot of talking and a lot of eating. My family doesn’t have very many expectations when it comes to our family get-togethers – as long as the food’s good, we’re all quite happy.

Feasting with family, great conversations, lots of laughing – to me, that’s the best kind of Thanksgiving dinner!

This post is my contribution to this week’s Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads. For more delicious posts from bloggers, head on over and check out all the links!

Thanksgiving Feast!

This year my sister Dawn hosted Thanksgiving dinner; yesterday, we went downtown to her place, armed with our own contributions to the feast (all courtesy of my husband Ward, since, as most of you know, I’m not the cook around here).

This year, with both my husband and my daughter going vegan, the Thanksgiving table was a little bit different. (No Tofurkey, though: one thing that happens when you get a vegan who really likes to cook is that you don’t see a lot of store-bought, processed vegan food on the table.)

Ward made pumpkin-sage soup, vegan dressing, and two versions of spiced-rum pumpkin pie (one vegan, one non-vegan). He’d prepared the regular spiced-rum pumpkin pie (plus a Scotch pumpkin pie) for last year’s Thanksgiving feast, and everyone had loved it, so he thought he’d make it again, plus experiment with a vegan version. He also roasted all the pumpkin seeds that were the side effect of preparing the pumpkin-sage soup.

My sister did her part by making most of the side dishes she prepared vegan, with the exception of the collard greens and the baby potatoes. She absolutely adores collard greens with bacon, so she made a vegan version, and a non-vegan version. The baby potatoes were also done in two versions – one with, and the other without, parmesan cheese. She also made an additional vegan gravy (mushroom), which was just spectacular on the two types of dressing.

The buffet table was set up with two sections. Here’s the meat section – we had ham, and roasted Mennonite chicken (Dawn took a poll and discovered what we all kind of knew anyway; we are all far more fond of chicken than we are turkey). One of the dressings (the non-vegan one) is at the front of the picture (all taken on my iPhone, by the way, so please forgive the quality). You can see the regular baby potatoes in the upper left corner.

Thanksgiving feast

The meat side of our feast

And here’s the vegan end of the buffet table (not that the rest of us non-vegans avoided this end – it just made it easier for Ward and Hayley to get their food without constantly having to ask, “is this vegan?”). Dawn made the most delicious mashed sweet potato and coconut (yes! coconut!) dish; Ward’s going to give it a try at home, because we all loved it so much. Ward’s vegan cranberry and chestnut dressing is on the right hand side of the picture; it was very delicious with the mushroom gravy.

Vegan feast

The vegan side of our feast

And, because I can’t resist (I’m getting hungry all over again), here are shots of some of the individual dishes (ie the shots that turned out okay enough to post):

Roasted pumpkin seeds

Yummy roasted pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin-sage soup

Pumpkin-Sage Soup

Chicken gravy

Chicken gravy on the stove top

Mushroom gravy

Mushroom gravy on the buffet table

Roasted Mennonite chicken

Roasted Mennonite chicken

(If you’re interested in the vegan recipes, I’m pretty sure Ward will be posting them on his blog in the near future, so you can keep checking there; he loves all your comments, by the way.)

It was such a great Thanksgiving dinner. My mom and my Uncle Joe also came, and my cousin Casey and his girlfriend Osana. And we had all the kids there; our three, Sean, Hayley and Dylan, and Dawn’s two, Julian and Cole. After dinner (I had two heaping plates and was so stuffed I could barely move), we watched the first two episodes of Outsourced, my sister’s latest television “find”, and ate pumpkin pie (with fresh whipped cream for most of us) with tea.

Absolutely lovely, and I was filled with such appreciation for this holiday; it’s nice to have a day set aside to officially give thanks for all that we have.

Happy Thanksgiving, Canada!

Thanksgiving Feast, The Beatles, and a Head Cold

We had the most delightful Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday; Ward brined and roasted a turkey (the very first time I’ve had a brined turkey), and because our daughter is vegetarian, he also made two kinds of stuffing (vegetarian and regular) and two kinds of gravy (vegetarian and turkey).

Accompanying these Thanksgiving essentials were French onion soup, garlic and chive mashed potatoes, sautéed Swiss chard with shitake mushrooms and homemade multi-grain dinner rolls. He also prepared an amuse bouche of asparagus mousse and crab-stuffed mushrooms as appetizers. (This is what happens when my husband takes charge of the menu. I usually pick the recipes, and I’m normally far more restrained in my choices.)

We also had family over, and while Ward slaved away in the kitchen cooked our Thanksgiving feast, the rest of us played Rock Band, the Beatles version, in the sitting room.

Since our kitchen is separated from the sitting room by an open counter, Ward joined in occasionally, so not to worry – he definitely wasn’t left out of events. I have to say one thing, though – when you actually read some of the lyrics for the more psychedelic-sounding songs, you’ve got to wonder exactly what the Fab Four were up to when they came up with the words. Just saying.

For dessert, Ward baked TWO kinds of pumpkin pies: one with spiced rum, the other with scotch. They were both really incredible, but the Jamaican spiced rum one won the taste test by a smidgen:

Pumpkin Pie

Eventually I’ll get around to writing up the recipes at our food blog (I’m trying to encourage Ward to take over posting there, as I’m not doing a very good job of it, I’m afraid – I’m promising that I will edit as he doesn’t trust his writing skills).

Update: My husband’s started blogging about his cooking! For those of you who are interested, here’s his post about pumpkin pies, including the recipes he used.

So all went well and fine for Thanksgiving. We had such a good time, and then after everyone left and we finished cleaning up the kitchen, we watched Dirty Dancing and both of us cried a little.

But then on Sunday, we got ready to go on a little outing to this steam train event (our little one, Dylan, is crazy about trains) – and we both got hit with a head cold thing. It snuck up on us, little by little, but by the time we were in the van ready to start the hour-long drive into the country to see the steam trains, we were both very stuffed up and not feeling particularly adventurous at all. So we came home instead, as the event will also be running this coming Sunday.

This head cold has been quite persistent. It’s Wednesday now and I think I’ve finally shaken it.

On the bright side (there always is one, of course), I got to lounge around on Sunday and Monday reading The Likeness in my special reading chair, all wrapped up in a warm fleece blanket, and on Tuesday, when the head cold really hit me hard, I spent the day in bed listening to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

And that’s what’s been happening around here: a Thanksgiving feast, Beatles’ psychedelic lyrics and a head cold!

I should be back to regular posting tomorrow …