My table is set. I’m ready for Thanksgiving. How about you?
I like to prepare for the big day in stages, easing my way into it. I know I’ll be busy enough that day, with a myriad of things to do. Wrestling with the big bird comes to mind, having always disliked that part the most.
And unfortunately, I have now become the adult, with nephews and nieces that come to visit on Thanksgiving, occasionally with a friend or two. Since I’m the adult, I have to do the cooking of the bird. Makes me want to go back to California where I was part of the younger generation, and did not have to show up with a roasted turkey.
Oh, don’t get me wrong. Of course, I love my nieces and nephews, and even their friends. I would love to have them come visit me every day. They are funny to watch, these youngsters. And I always learn a few things from them every time I see them.
A few years ago, I added a couple of words to my vocabulary. Belieber and Swiftie. Earlier this year I learned what selfie meant. Had no idea prior to that. See, it’s good to listen to the young ones. They teach you important stuff.
I just don’t like wrestling with a turkey. I have a feeling I’m not the only one. So, the more I can do now, the less I’ll have to do on the big day. Didn’t you know I’m a smart woman? Here are a few things that I’ve made so far.
These are so easy to make, and cost almost nothing. Use whatever nature provides you with. Go to your backyard and pick up leaves, rocks, seeds, etc. Clean them first, of course. Then, either glue on a piece of paper with the name written on it, or write on the natural material itself, whatever it is. Just like what I did with the leaf.
Persimmon Pumpkin Cookies
If you can’t find persimmons, just use more pumpkin in its place. These are not as sweet as your normal cookies, but they’re equally delicious. You can certainly add more sugar if you prefer them sweeter. The dough can be made ahead of time and then frozen until you are ready to bake.
2 sticks (1 cup) of butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp agave nectar or honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup persimmon pulp
1/3 cup quick cooking oats
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1. Heat oven to 350° F.
2. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, agave nectar, and vanilla. Blend well.
3. Add persimmon pulp and pumpkin. Blend well.
4. Add oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix well.
5. Stir in nuts.
6. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheets.
7. Bake for 10-12 minutes for soft, cake-like cookies. Or leave in the oven longer (15 minutes) for crisper cookies.
Easy Sugar Glaze
2 tbsp powdered sugar
1 tsp milk
Mix sugar and milk until smooth. Use a spoon to drizzle glaze onto cookies. This is enough glaze for a dozen cookies.
Mini Dinner Rolls
I usually make buttermilk biscuits to go with our Thanksgiving meal. But I decided to try making rolls this year. I must be getting more confident about my bread-making skills. This is all Gerard’s fault!
I made 2 kinds of bread. A potato bread and an oatmeal bread. The potato bread didn’t turn out as good as I thought it would, even though I followed the recipe to a tee. It’s not bad, just not very good. Uh, Gerard, we’re in need of a good potato bread recipe! The oatmeal rolls were much better.
3 1/2 cups of bread flour
1 cup rolled oats (I used quick-cooking oats)
2 tbsp agave nectar or sugar
1 tsp salt
1 pkg active dry yeast
1 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup reduced fat sour cream
3 tbsp butter
1. In your mixer bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups of flour, 1/2 cup oats, salt and yeast. Mix well.
2. Place milk, water, butter, and agave nectar or sugar in a small saucepan. Heat over low heat just until butter melts (about 120° F). Stir in sour cream.
3. Add warm liquid to flour mixture. Beat with the paddle attachment at low-speed until moistened. Add the egg and continue to blend until well combined.
4. Replace the paddle with the dough hook, and add 1/2 cup oats and 2 cups flour.
5. Continue mixing at low-speed for about 2 minutes. Dough will be quite stiff.
6. Increase speed to medium and continue to knead for 3-4 minutes, and dough cleans sides of bowl.
7. Place dough in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover. Let rise in warm place, about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
8. Punch dough down and shape as desired. I made mine into mini rolls.
9. Place your rolls on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Cover and let rise until doubled in size.
10. Heat oven to 375° F. Uncover rolls, brush tops with egg wash (optional), and bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Makes 30 mini rolls.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
Harvest was sporadic throughout the last week and a half. Didn’t really have much chance to get to the garden. It rained and rained, everything was wet and muddy. On days that were dry, I found myself having other commitments taking me away from the garden.
The garden seems to be in a transition, but not in a good way. Spring crops are dwindling, but Summer crops have been slow to produce. So I’m left with not much to harvest. This really is one of the slowest years for me.
That’s why I’d rather be talking about this, also from the garden. Don’t you just love flowers from the backyard?
Haha … all kidding aside, I did dig up some garlic and a few potatoes. Is there anything more thrilling than digging in the dirt and finding these?
I only took a few and let the plants continue growing. I never did this before, but I learned from Granny that you could scrabble for a few new potatoes without uprooting the whole plants. Hopefully they’ll continue to produce more tubers.
Aren’t they beautiful? I need to plant more potatoes! They were steamed and dressed with a simple yogurt dressing, and we each had a little taste. Sabo and the kids were so impressed. I was even able to extract promises of help in the garden from the kids, as long as I plant more potatoes. But somehow, in the middle of the conversation, the subject of getting them a puppy came up again. So, as it stands now, a puppy = help in the garden. Am I getting bamboozled again? We’ve trained them too darn well!
Unlike the potatoes, the garlic on the other hand, was pathetic and failed to impress the family. They were probably not ready to harvest, but I was impatient. The small single bulbs were planted thickly in March from garlic that sprouted in storage, so I suppose they had no hope.
But I actually like these single bulbs. I think they’ll be beautiful in a jar, as pickles. I have a head of garlic that’s sprouting in the kitchen right now, so it will be planted. Hopefully in September I will be harvesting more single garlic bulbs.
There was also a bit of spinach, the last of it. It was added to a frittata, along with some gigantic scallions.
I also harvested lots of lemon balm, which I used in many recipes, including a Japanese steamed bun called “Mushipan.” It really turned out smashingly good! Give it a try, it’s a healthier version than muffins since it uses less sugar and no butter, just a drop of oil.
Then, there was always a handful of strawberries every now and then. Mostly the alpine strawberries. I’m happy to report that they are still putting out fruits. The Sequoia strawberries, on the other hand, are about done.
Can you see how rich the color of that yolk is?
Last but not least, there were eggs from a friend’s backyard. Thank you, Laurie! I keep telling her I would pay for these eggs, but she keeps refusing my money. These eggs are big and oh, so rich and so good, because they are free-range organic eggs. I have to turn them into something special. Stay tuned, I have something in mind.
All in all, it wasn’t bad, I guess. At least I was able to use something from the garden for a few meals, and that’s always a good thing, right? I can’t wait for the tomatoes and peppers to start kicking in. Seems like everything is slow this year.
In the meantime, enjoy this one more time, and then hop over to Daphne’s Dandelions to view more harvests, real ones!