It’s been awhile since I posted to this blog even though I have a million ideas a day of what to write and share with you. For some reason, now does not seem like the right time to post recipes and divulge home ideas. I’m going to take a break to see how I can make this blog better and fun again. Don’t worry. We’re not “breaking up.” I just need a break. Really, it’s me not you.
I’m going to start calling you Keyser Söze - “And like that, poof. He’s gone.” All that work and drama just ended like it never happened. Well, may be I won’t go that far because I still have things to clean up and put away.
It was quite the mad dash in the kitchen yesterday. While the hubby was fervently getting the smoker to maintain the right temp, I was busy fixing up the sides. It’s times like these when I wish for a bigger kitchen and double ovens. The feast was quite the success and the hubby reaped all the accolades to a perfect, juicy and flavorful turkey. My sweet potato casserole didn’t quite turn out as well I hoped since I had use a different recipe than my original. To make up for it, my spinach gratin won everyone’s vote as best side dish.
We had more food than man should be allowed to have in one meal. Although, we hardly have any leftovers. Some got packed up to go to home with various guests and I took some for lunch today.
Thanksgiving, you served us well. I can’t wait to do it again next year. Now my only concern is what are we going to have for dinner tonight. Please don’t say leftovers.
I can’t believe how quickly you encroached on my holiday festivities. This will be my last day of sanity before the madness begins. I feel like the calm before the storm. Sure I have grocery shopping to do, cookies to bake, foods to prep and a house to clean, but I’m feeling good about everything right now.
May be because I’m still gaga over my menu for Thursday. I cannot wait to dig into that spinach gratin. Oh and that sweet potato casserole with that streusel topping has my mouth watering. I might be filling myself up on baked brie before the turkey is even done cooking because I cannot restrain myself when it comes to good cheese products. The smoked turkey is sounding better and better with each passing day.
Thanksgiving, I owe you a big amount of gratitude for inspiring me to produce such an awesome feast. If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t have gumption to put everyone in a food coma.
I will always be an advocate for the All Chocolate Kitchen's motto of “eat dessert first” especially when you put a flakey pastry that's filled with chocolate in front of my face. Since I have a mortgage to pay and living expenses to take care of, I can't spend my entire paycheck on cheese pillows and pains au chocolat at the All Chocolate Kitchen. Bless my lucky stars for frozen puff pastry. While my baking skills continue to be subpar, I can still make delectable treats good enough to be in a pastry case.
When you make your first batch, you’ll be stocking up on puff pastry and European milk chocolate so you can make these on a daily basis.
Before we overdose on turkey next Thursday, there are other ways to get protein in your diet. Here is a great list of suggestions when you want to go meatless for a day.
I’ll preface this by saying I’m not a nutritionist or a vegan, so make sure you consult one or your physician about your diet. I am, however, a lazytarian, who often omits meat from her diet because she can’t be bothered to cook it. However, this topic comes up in conversation often. I have a number of friends who are either vegan or vegetarian, and they have no problems with carbs in their diets, but protein is a whole different matter. Their doctors/personal trainers/etc. ask them…so how are you getting protein in your diet?
Our bodies need the building blocks of protein, better known as amino acids - to perform metabolism, build muscle, and fuel our activities for long periods. To make it easy, the body needs a combination of fats, carbohydrates, and protein in order to live. On the surface, protein makes you feel fuller, longer, and helps sustain energy throughout the day.
Our bodies create 11 amino acids, but there are nine other essentials ones we have to get from food. Plants do provide protein, but the amino acids are in varying degrees. So if you do not consume animal-based protein, you have to work a little harder to make sure that you are getting all nine essential amino acids.
Here’s a short list of plants that have complete, or near complete proteins:
- Chia (yep, the stuff you grow on a Ch-ch-ch-Chia pet)
Other plant based sources do not have a complete protein in themselves, but in combination with a grain, they create a complete protein. The theory of consuming a complete protein in one meal is obsolete, but our ancestors knew what worked to keep them going through long laborious days. Some familiar examples are:
- Beans with corn
- Lentils with rice
- Soy with rice
- Nut butters on bread
OK, enough with the science and here’s a list of vegan recipes that pack protein.
- 101 Cookbook’s Ultimate Veggie Burger
- Mexican tostadas - omit the cheese
- Chocolate tofu mousse
- Chia Granola
- Three bean salad - I use lemon juice instead of ACV, and no sugar
- Vegetarian chili (you can add quinoa too)
- Kitchen sink quinoa salad (thanks to @josnowsyrups for the idea - basically cook your quinoa and throw what you have left into it)
- Lively Up Yourself Lentil Soup - this is my most favourite recipe from 101 Cookbooks and I make this often with whatever is in the house.
- Amaranth polenta with mushrooms
- Buckwheat porridge - I also do this with quinoa and almond milk
- Garlicky Greens - add a can of rinsed cannelini beans to it
- Moroccan Chickpea Soup
Avocado toast: This is everyone’s favorite, but do it the British way - classic beans on toast, then slices of avocado on top instead of cheese. Have a cuppa tea.
Smarter PB&J: Smear a nut butter of your choice on whole grain toast and top with fresh berries for fiber and protein in a quick meal.
Tastier everyday oatmeal: add frozen berries and a handful of nuts to your instant oatmeal and zap it in the microwave.
Instant lunch: box of roasted red pepper/squash soup + prepared lentils + sliced avocado = yum! Quick and easy.
Pesto is your friend. Make your own from a variety of greens (spinach, basil, kale, chard), nuts (walnuts, pine nuts, blanched almonds), and oils (grapeseed, olive). Add garlic or not. Toss with your favourite grain (quinoa, pasta), veggies, and add some more nuts for crunch and protein. Or beans for softness and protein. YAY.
Oh and before I forget - hummus. Make it at home - it’s so easy. Edamame works just as well as cannellini, chickpeas, or the mild tasting bean of your choice. Add an oil of choice (I prefer olive) and lemon juice and go! Use the hummus as a dip, spread, or a binder for creamy salads. I like to spread mine on toast for sandwiches.
Hope this helps my vegan friends and those looking to eat less meat.
I cannot wait for you any longer (considering I just ate microwaved chicken nuggets for lunch). Making this menu made me realize you’re going to make me
wait suffer a good three weeks before I can enjoy any of this deliciousness.
I’m sure you’re going to tell me that I don’t have to wait. That I can make sweet potato casserole with sweetened condensed milk covered in a streusel topping on just any old weekday. I’m sure you’ll give me permission to roast a turkey for breakfast just so I can rip into the crispy skin.
As much as I love you Thanksgiving, I’m going to resist your temptations and just stare at this menu until my eyes burn holes in the paper.
Thanksgiving, we have some newbies to the list but we also have our mainstays like the spinach gratin. How can you go wrong with something smothered in melted Gruyere cheese? This menu satisfies my standards and expectations. It’s the waiting part I have a hard time dealing with.