Happy Thanksgiving! This is my favorite holiday and sometimes I just don’t know where to stop on the holiday dinner. I think if I had ‘subjects’/’diners’ I could prepare about 3 different holiday dinners and still keep going! I appreciate the fact that we’re looking at our blessings this week and not the gift giving factor. It’s all about being together with family & friends and rejoicing in how our cups runneth over.
I enjoy making this simple squash casserole. It can be adapted to be made using sweet potatoes or squash. The best part is it can be frozen. Often I’ll make two, one for now and then one for later. I’m a huge fan of crumble toppings and it’s like eating a pie without the crust, in my opinion.
Because my hours at work have changed during the holiday season I’m not getting home until 6 or after many evenings. This is good in that it makes me more compassionate with others who work late. You want to make a good meal for your family but it’s like you eat at 7 and then poof it’s time to go to bed! At least it is for this old gal. What I’m doing is meal planning. I have a weekly list on the refrigerator door and I try to stick with the plan. As we have talked soooo many times, this keeps us from grabbing a ‘fast’ meal out. Especially when you have guests in your home, it’s beneficial to know what you’re making and when. If I can make goodies before the guests arrive then I can spend time with them.
I enjoy making plans for holiday gift baskets. I find large baskets at a thrift stores and such, then I come home and wash & dry them. In the two months before the holiday I begin making yummies from my kitchen. I also look for good buys on hot chocolate packages, teas, coffee, crackers and fresh fruit.
This year I’m doing about 3 of these baskets and they’re going to include dry beverages, wine, tea, cocoa, smoked cheese by myself, homemade summer sausage, crackers & fruit. I’m sure a few other little surprises will also make their way into the basket. There are just times when you want to do something special for someone who has gone out of their way for you. I think this type of basket is enjoyed much more than any commercial pre-made gift.
Pick a theme for your gift baskets and go to work. If someone is hard to buy for consider a gift card for steaks, a bottle of wine, cheese & crackers. I know I would adore something like this. For senior adults who may live alone it’s nice to take casseroles, canned soups or stews. If a gift certificate is the main goal then tie it to a small gift that would accompany the gift certificate. For a massage gift certificate you could tie the card to a yummy body cream or hand lotion. It’s the little extra steps that we take that can make the gift so special.
Last week I had a guest ask me what I like to do when I have free time or I’m not working. I just started in: a good western romance book, good wine, tea or coffees, even a massage. Just spending time at home with my family is probably top on my list.
This week we are excited because Grandma and Grandpa Dance are spending about 5-6 days with us. And we have some cousins coming into town too. Thanksgiving Day will be well orchestrated allowing us to spend lots of time visiting and drinking good coffee, tea, eggnog, etc.
Breakfast for Thanksgiving morning is still out, in other words, I can’t decide! I generally lay it all out in the kitchen and let guests make whatever they desire. Usually there are only 2 meals on this special day and if you eat anything at night you make it yourself! About all the holiday décor is up on the inside of the house and if it would stop raining we would have the outside done. This week the tree goes up and the manger scene is placed and we can call it finished. Ut OH, I forgot the mailbox! I’m making a greenery piece to go over the mailbox using the same bracketing that you would use to clasp an arrangement on a cemetery monument. This could mean a trip to the woods to pick up fresh pine.
I am so very grateful as we enter this blessed season of Thanksgiving. The food and traditions are wonderful but counting our blessings is foremost. Embrace each and every moment. Simply yours, The Covered Dish. www.thecovereddish.com
Butternut Squash Casserole
3 cups butternut squash (cooked & mashed)
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix the above ingredients and spread in a greased one and a half quart casserole.
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup cold butter
1 cup chopped pecans
Cut the cold butter into the flour and brown sugar. Stir in the chopped pecans and sprinkle over the top of the squash. Bake for 30-45 minutes at 350 degrees. The can be mixed ahead of time and frozen. Thaw and bake. You could also use sweet potatoes for the dish instead of squash if desired. Serves 4-6 persons.