T N T

T N T

Turkeys and Traditions

I love the Holidays! As soon as Thanksgiving hits, I am in full holiday swing!

To me “The Holiday Season” is so much more than the major blow out sales! Lets think about it… When you think of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years, what do you think of? The first thing that comes to mind, besides the Christmas music, obviously, are the traditions that go along with each of those events.

Growing up, these three were filled with family! My mom is one of five, and, dad, one of four. My parents are the only ones in either if their sibling groups to have only one child, so needless to say, holidays can get crowded.

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A day for stretchy pants!

Our Thanksgiving tradition requires heading to Philly. Over the years, my cousins have gotten married and have kids of theirs own, starting their own traditions. My earliest memory of our Thanksgiving dinner head count is somewhere in the mid 20s. Can you imagine three folding tables end to end from the front door to the kitchen in a row home living room??? Over the years, our head count has dwindled to somewhere in the mid-teens.

 

Despite the change of numbers, the menu remains unchanged. Each year we can expect to have mashed potatoes, succotash, sweet peas, both a ham and a turkey, cole slaw, stuffing, and giblet gravy, sticks of butter scattered throughout the table, and loaves of rye and black breads, and a basket of snowflake rolls! (My family doesn’t cook for the waist line.) And we always look forward to the most dense cheesecake you will ever eat.

Its funny that there are people who can’t stand the ends of breads, but to our family, its gold! My aunt/godmother and I usually sit next to each other and its a fight to the death for the butts of not just the black bread, but the ham! A fork belonging to each of us, sword fighting for the crisp glazed end!

Some of the nostalgia behind our meals, is that we do it our way! I remember the first time I ordered succotash at a restaurant and was completely confused as to what was delivered to me. We use sweet cream-style corn, rather than whole kernal corn, and you will not be sorry if you give this a try! Not a damn thing needs to be added to this corn and lima bean mix. Sweet and savory, wet and filling, and so much more.

Grandmom makes the stuffing the Tuesday before thanksgiving, and boy she means business! She has made it this way for so long that she doesn’t even know measurements. (Just imagine how hard it was for me to try to figure out the recipe, as her units of measurements are her palm and ziplock bags!) 

After she combines the hodgepodge of stuffing ingredients, she divides it amount countless aluminium loaf pans, then bakes them off. She makes loaves and loaves of stuffing. Not just for dinner, but then she wraps up the ten extra loaves, untouched by turkey day, and each family member gets a loaf to take home, which we slice up and freeze to eat throughout the year.

And I don’t know how many times I have tried to make her giblet gravy. I remember the first year I learned what it actually was. “I’m eating turkey neck?!” I exclaimed at the dinner table.

We all grow up looking forward to our grandma’s “something.” Like my grandma’s cole slaw isn’t your typical creamy slaw and she uses a secret ingredient that she confided in me a few years ago. (Sorry folks, a family secret is a family secret.)

Oh man! And that stuffing! The next morning, we slice it up, brown both sides and top it with cheese and an egg, over easy. Tradition baby! 

Compliments of Mom: There are two factors that contribute to our juicy turkey. The first, is the container in which we cook it. I’m not referring to the roasting pan. I place my turkey in a turkey-sized oven bag. Sprinkle a little flour in the turkey bag, shake it around, then slide in your turkey and tie up the bag. Here’s where I might lose you. The second trick is to bake your turkey upside down. That’s right, breast down. Don’t worry about that little popper in the turkey breast. Bake it upside down. All the juices that fall to the bottom, are now falling into the white meat to soak and infuse. And that little bit of flour that is added to the turkey bag coats the turkey and helps brown up the skin. (After much thought, as much as crispy skin appeals to me on such an indulgent holiday, I side with the juicy white meat.)

Grandmom was pretty darn sick in the hospital a few months ago. She still isn’t quite feeling up to par, and I can’t blame her. Since we live in a different state, mommom is going to my aunt’s house, so I will be hosting T-Day at home in Wilmington for anyone complacent on this holiday.

On our menu:

  • Turkey (duh!)20151126_161521
  • Succotash (creamy!)
  • Green Bean Almondine
  • Stuffing (Unfortunately, not mommoms)
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Sweet Bourbon-Swirled Spiced Casserole
  • Baked Bananas with a Spiced Cream

I can’t just leave you all without a little recipe.

Baked Bananas with Spiced Cream

  • bananas, medium
  • egg roll wrappers
  • cinnamom
  • fat free cool whip
  • pumpkin pie spice

Cut medium bananas in half. Sprinkle a bit of cinnamon over an egg rolls wrapper and wrap up a half of a banana in each. Lay your wrapped bananas on a sprayed sheet of parchment paper, seam side down. Bake at 350 F for about 15 min, turning half way through.

Meanwhile, blend room temperature cool whip and pumpkin pie spice. I mix 1/4 tsp spice to each cup of cool whip. Serve each wrapped, warm, caramelized, almost melted banana with a dollop if spiced whip.

Happy Thanksgiving!

May your day be filled with love!

 

 

 

Pregnant Combinations

Friday

WP_003977I reluctantly woke up this morning after a wrong night of sleep. Oddly enough, I began my morning with my (Not So) Split Pea Soup. I topped it with broccoli slaw and FF shredded mozzarella. Yum!

I have one, and only one, problem with the show Cupcake Wars. Every time I finish an episode, I really want to eat. Today was no different. I went to the kitchen around lunch time, knowing I wanted something to eat, something to hold me over until 7pm, but not knowing in the slightest what I wanted. I wound up nibbling on a few things, trying to find my taste. The concept of nibbling really gets to me! As soon as ate, I immediately was swamped with a heavy chest and anxiety. Ok, breath, relax, your fine. I tried to clear my mind and fall asleep.

I, again, could not sleep. I kept waking up and tossing. I woke around 530pm, reviewed my resume and cover letter with my mom, and somehow felt incredibly behind.

WP_003978Today is National Punch Day! Not exactly a significant food holiday, but nonetheless, I began my shift with a punch-inspired shake and a coffee, flavored with SF raspberry and SF white chocolate syrups. We had a ton of cantaloupe in the fridge and it needed to be used. I also had a jello mix that I’ve never even touch and felt this would be the perfect opportunity for it!

  • 2 scoops Vanilla shake mix
  • cantaloupe
  • 1 tsp sugar free fat free Strawberry-Banana jello
  • water
  •  ice

My manager asked me to a work a 12 tonight, which I gladly accepted. I packed myself a bowl of Split Pea Soup from the other night for dinner. I sat on 1:1 for my first 8 hours of my shift. I was pretty happy once 4am came! I ate my soup and topped it with salsa and mozzarella! Total genius! The more I eat this soup, the more I love it and the more I realize how filling it is! And the beauty, is that it keeps me full!

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I must say, I was kicking some serious butt at work. I love when I feel completely on point!

Saturday

WP_003982I stopped by the supermarket to pick up a few things for some upcoming recipes. When I got home, I finished my celery sticks that I was too full to eat at work. It was pretty funny. My mom and I, ever since I was a kid, have loved snacking on scallions. I bit into one this morning that rocked my senses! It was so strong! My eyes were watering and my nose was running!

Despite not sleeping well yesterday, and being at work for 12 hours, I wasn’t tired when I got home. I started unloading the dishwasher, and prepping for tonights dinner and tomorrows breakfast. Soon enough, Frank was up and I whipped him up a smoothie. I, then, gave my dad a call, and requested a favor. I’ve been working on some “manly” shake recipes and dad was more than game to be my guinea pig!

WP_003983I debated making myself a shake for breakfast, as well, and thought I deserved a switch up. I toasted a low fat Nutri-Grain Eggo, smeared it with Chocolate PB2, and mashed raspberries! The remainder of my morning was not how I imagined it would be. I never did go to sleep. I anticipate a full on crash later tonight. Mom and I spent like 2 hours listening to music, as I danced around the room and hula hooped. I hula-ed so hard my abs started to get sore.

We slept the rest of the afternoon running errands. Food anxiety only struck once today. Mom had gone to Panera for iced tea and came out with a baguette and my favorite cream cheese ever: Honey Walnut! I decided it was okay to treat myself and tore off the butt of the loaf and dipped it into the cream cheese, and there we went. Oh boy!

The good news, is that after I went to mass, which was the anniversary mass for my grandmother’s death, I was feeling much better. I headed home and created a dinner only pregnant chicks and myself could enjoy. Mom really wanted mashed potatoes and creamed corn, which is one of my all time favorite food combos! I tricked mom and made a batch of my Garlic Cauli-Mash, and topped each bowl with creamed corn. Delicious. I paired my bowl with a spinach salad with chopped roasted red peppers, pickles, and cucumbers, topped with salsa. It sound gross! And it sounds like a crazy combo, but somehow the saltiness of each produce played off each other. This started a frenzy, but in a good way!

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I actually got to 900 calories today, not that I was counting or anything…

I reignited my adoration for creamed corn! Oh gosh! I just love that stuff! I haven’t had in in, geez, probably a year. The night was filled with mother-daughter time, celery, the most crisp and fresh bell pepper I’ve ever eaten, some crackers, salsa, Jax (a snack I haven’t had in ages), and lots more produce. By the time I realized that a food coma would be evident, I was sort of painfully full! At least I had a great night with my mom, she was pleased to see me enjoy eating, and I didn’t freak out.

Like I said, with a complete lack of sleep and a full stomach, only an episode of Star Trek is in my near future. Good night, everyone! I hope your Saturday was as enjoyable and mama-filled as mine!