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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Deer Season Open This Weekend

If you are not from a hunting family or community you may not know that this weekend is Deer Season. Our Southern Illinois has our  share of woodlands and deer. We welcome hunters and many members of our own families hunt as well. With all this in mind many may think that it may not be fair for the deer. Yes,, Sadly that may be true but it is needed to thin the ever thriving community of deers. This weekend we will enjoy a parade and festival directed towards the deer weekend If you are hunter happy weekend and be safe out there.

Did You Know....... Worlds Largest Pumpkin Pie

Have you ever wondered how big was the largest pumpkin pie ever created?? Well wonder no more as the largest pie so far was baked on September 25, 2010. The pie was 3,699 lbs in size and 20 feet in diameter. It defeated the previous record of largest pie at 2,020 lbs. New Bremen Ohio was the location that this pie was prepared.

Make a Pumpkin Pie in a bag

Early American settlers would use pumpkin shells to make up pumpkin pies. Slicing off the top of the pumpkin the seeds were removed The pumpkin was then filled with milk, spices and honey The pie was baked in hot ashes of a fire place It may have been the pumpkin pie at the Thanksgiving table but it was yummy and was a pumpkin pie of sorts. You can make a pumpkin Pie as well in a different manner. Why not try this pumpkin pie in a bag

Pumpkin Pie in a Bag
Pour 1 1/3 c of cold milk and 2-4 oz boxes of vanilla pudding into a ziplock bag.  Remove air.  Have the children squeeze and knead the bag for one minute or until everyone has a turn.  Add 1-15 oz can of pumpkin, 1 t cinnamon, and ½ t ginger. Remove air, shut the bag and knead again until blended or 
everyone has a turn.  Set aside.

Put Graham crackers into another ziplock bag and crush them with a rolling pin.  Give each child a small Dixie cup.  Have them put 1-2 T of crushed graham crackers into their cup.  The adult them 
needs to cut a hole in the corner of the pumpkin/pudding mix and squeeze some into the cup, on top of the crackers.  Put a dollop of whipped cream on top.  ENJOY!!  I recommend using top 
quality ziplock bags for this activity.

Pumpkins Valuable Resource

Pumpkins are technically a type of squash. Native Americans have grown pumpkins along side corn and beans. The three crops of corn, beans and pumpkin were considered sisters of agriculture. Pumpkins were one of the earliest food crops in America. Native Americans would dine on both pumpkin flesh and seeds. Some Mexican tribes thought pumpkin seeds offered exceptional energy and endurance to those who ate them. They would grind pumpkin seeds into flour and mix it with corn meal to make breads. 

Pumpkin strips would be roasted over camp fires and dined on. Native Americans would use pumpkins to make it through the long cold winters. The flesh of the pumpkin would be used in many ways including roasted, baked, parched and dried. Pumpkin seeds were used as medicine as well. Pumpkin blossoms were added to stews and dried pumpkins could be stored and ground into flour. 
The pumpkin was dried and the shell would be used as bowls and containers. Grains, beans and seeds were stored within the pumpkin canister. The pumpkin flesh could have been pounded into strips that were wove into mats and used for trading purposes. 
Native Americans shared pumpkin with the pilgrims at the first Thanksgiving. The pilgrims learned the importance of the pumpkin as a sustainable crop. Pilgrims learned many uses for pumpkins that stretched from uses that the Native Americans taught them to pumpkin beer and a mold for cutting hair. 

Pumpkin Bread
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use a narrow loaf pan to cook thoroughly and avoid the sticky middle.
½ cup vegetable oil, safflower or corn
1½ cup sugar (or substitute  equivalent sweetener)
2 eggs
1 cup puréed, cooked
pumpkin or canned
1¼ cup flour
¾ cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder
? cup water
½ cup raisins
½ cup nuts (walnuts, pecans, pine nuts, or other)
½ teaspoon each: allspice, cinnamon, ground clove, nutmeg
Mix sugar, oil, pumpkin, eggs and water in a large bowl. In another large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together. Add the wet mix to the dry mixture and stir until well moistened. Pour into greased loaf pan and bake for one hour. Be sure the top has a characteristic crack down the middle which means it is cooked through. Move to a rack to cool.
Dale Carson, Abenaki, is the author of three books: New Native American Cooking, Native New England Cooking and A Dreamcatcher Book. She has written about and demonstrated Native cooking techniques for more than 30 years. Dale has four grown children and lives with her husband in Madison, Connecticut.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Have a Happy Thanksgiving

Having a Happy Thanksgiving can be up to you. It starts early that day and continues through out the day. Remember you matter and keep that smile on your face. 

To start with eat a good breakfast. I know many of us will think that we will not eat until the big meal itself. The problem is that we of ten "overindulge" at meal time. It is much better to eat a good low calorie breakfast to fill up and feel better than to eat lots of high cal food at the special dinner. 

Get involved with the day's going on. Call the host up and see what if anything she needs for you to do. Perhaps she just needs a conversation to brighten her day. If there is anything she does need that you can do volunteer to get it done. 

Is there a part of the meal that you struggle with?? Is it conversation at the table, fighting the sweet tooth, or the drinking?? Whatever it is make it your personal goal to try to do all you can to avoid the issue. Don't stress over the situation as it is a day for all to be happy together. 

Participate in some physical activity. A walk in the morning or after the dinner will be nice. Often families may enjoy a quick game of toss the ball or other activity. 

If the worst does happen and you get off your diet just a bit don't let it get the best of you. Relax, tomorrow is a great day to get it all back under control. 

Allergy Free Potatoes and Gravy ### Recipe

Allergies are very serious and should be thought of when preparing food for any group. Thanksgiving is a time when many get together and the last thing that anyone wants to happen is to have a food allergy. I hope I can help with a potato and gravy recipes from Eating with Food Allergies

This potato recipe does not contain heavy whipping cream or butter. They still taste great and are better on the diet plan as well. If you struggle to find dairy free margarine at your grocery store you may substitute olive oil. Don't care for or can't find rice milk then use dairy free milk such as soy or almond milk.

6 medium yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup gluten free chicken broth
3/4 cup rice milk
2 tablespoons olive oil or dairy free margarine
Salt and pepper to taste

Place the potatoes in a large stock pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Drain the potatoes and add the broth, rice milk, oil or margarine and salt and pepper. Mash until light and fluffy. For lump free potatoes, put them in a food mill or ricer before adding the other ingredients.

Makes 12 (1/2 cup) servings.

Roasting a turkey, chicken or roast:
remove it from the roasting pan to a cutting board to rest before cutting. Remove as much fat from roasting pan as possible. Save back 1/4 cup fat to use lateer.
De-glaze the pan by placing the roasting pan over two burners on medium heat. Add 1/2 cup water, stock or white wine to the pan and cook stirring constantly and scraping the bits on the bottom of the pan. Pour the liquid into a measuring cup. Add enough chicken or turkey broth to the mixture to equal 4 cups.

((If you are not roasting a turkey, chicken or roast you can start here:))
In a medium saucepan, heat 1/4 cup reserved fat or canola oil (or a combination of both). Add 1/4 cup wheat free all-purpose flour. Whisk together and cook until the mixture is smooth and yellow in color, about 1-2 minutes. Whisk in the 4 cups of chicken or turkey broth and stir constantly until mixture bubbles and thickens. Pour into a gravy boat and serve.

Fridge Gets Thanksgiving Make-over

My grand-kids have been busy again. With their mom's help my fridge got a make over for Thanksgiving. The turkeys are very pretty love the pilgrim suits of color. The leaves were colored by the kids. I know this picture does not do it justice but our names were placed on each leaf and they asked each member of the family to think of what they were thankful for. What a great way to get the whole family involved.

Cranberry Fluff Salad

1 lb. fresh cranberries, washed and drained 

1 15¼ oz can crushed pineapple, drained
¾ - 1 cup of sugar
1 pint whipping cream, whipped
½ lb mini marshmallows
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Whirl cranberries in a food processor. Depending on size of food processor you may have to do this more than once. After chopping pour into bowl.

Mix crushed cranberries, pineapple and sugar.

Mix it all together. Whip whipping cream til fluffy. (((Save time by purchasing tub whip cream))

Stir in marshmallows.

Chill both mixtures separately for 2 hours. Combine both mixes after chilling time

Add nuts and it is ready to serve

Try a bit of Wendy's History and a copy cat chili recipe

Wendy's is one of my favorite places to dine at. It is an American international fast food restaurant. Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy's , started the business November 15, 1969 in Columbus Ohio. Fast Track to 2017 and you can find more than 6,500 + locations. Most locations are in North America. The menu at Wendy's consist of burgers, chicken sandwiches, french fries and beverages such as the famous "Frosty".

Wendy's serves up those square burgers, sea salt fries and a frosty to boot. Dave Thomas was the inspiration behind the square burgers. Thomas's home town Kalamazoo Michigan had a burger joint named Kewpee that sold square burgers and thick malt shakes.

While there are many great recipes at Wendy's I can recall my grandparents purchasing the chili there. This copycat recipe will tempt your taste buds when you can not  head to the restaurant and enjoy

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Tips for the Thanksgiving Host

Hosting a big holiday meal can become expensive quickly. This does not have to happen and it can still be great even if you use some financial wisdom to cut a few corners. The most important part is to serve a wonderful meal without spending a fortune. The tips I share today are great to use during the holidays or anytime. 

Being organized is very important and can help you save money in most anything you do. Holidays can be very stressful but with a few easy tips they can stay organized. First, create a menu for the meal. You will know what dishes you are planing to serve and be able to create a list of needed ingredients. This will help to easily create a master shopping list. Knowing how many guest will be there will help out as well. Knowing how many will be present will help you know how many you are feeding as well as where you will place everyone around the table. Knowing how many guest and what you will serve will help you define a budget. 

Know time to do some shopping. Check out the sale bills as there are normally some great deals out there. The turkey is most likely the ingredient with the largest price. While there are great deals out there on the market I was lucky enough to find a great deal at a local restaurant. They will prepare my turkey and have it ready for a great price. This will help me in many different ways most of all the turkey is not something I will have to prepare this year. My mother in law would never have gone for this as she loved to bake her own but for me as I am not sure if I will be working or what will be going on this is one area I loved saving time and money. Thanksgiving is still a week away but it is the perfect time to go ahead and purchase needed ingredients. Next year you may even consider purchasing such as canned pumpkin, whipped cream, potatoes and other ingredients even earlier as they go on sale. 

Remember that as the host you do not have to feel as if you must create the entire meal. Allow anyone that asks to help to do just that. Guest who love to cook will love to help out. Our family has our own special dishes that we make each and every year. 

One area that many disagree on is to use or not to use disposable products. Plates, cups, silverware are available in plastic as well but do not allow them to break the budget. They make clean up much easier but depending on the cost it may be wiser to use real products. The choice is yours just make it a smart one. Keeping it simple can be done either way. I can recall my moms and her sisters sitting around the kitchen washing dishes together and gossiping while they  helped each other

Yet another way to save money is to keep the menu easy. There are members of our family that do not like turkey so I will have to have a small ham as well. If your family is like ours what is it that you do?? There is no need to serve turkey, ham, and chicken, three different potato dishes, a few different veggies , several drink choices, and the list may go on and on. Make the menu what you want it to be. It is your choice as it is your party. Making large amounts of classic Thanksgiving dishes is often much more cost effective. Your guest are there to have a great time not judge you for what you serve or do not serve. 

If you like to decorate then go ahead just be smart about it. Decorations can be expensive and not always needed. With all the plates and dishes on the table all ready there may not be any room for decorations there. Fall decorations around the room would be awesome. You can find some in nature such as small pumpkins, gourds or pine cones. Thanksgiving decorations can be found at the dollar store for a great price as well. 
Be smart, have fun and enjoy your time with your special guest. Thanksgiving may pay you back with extra leftovers. Use these wisely as well. 

Thanksgiving Loaf ----- Vegetarian style using Farro

Thanksgiving can be created in a vegan style. This recipe from the Ordinary Vegan offers a bit of protein yet accomplishes that Thanksgiving feel as well. This recipe is made with the use farro. Farro is a grain that is easy to find and healthy as well. The recipe comes close to the taste of stuffing. 

3 cups cooked farro*
1½ onions, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons of vegetable broth, vegan butter or olive oil
1 cup walnuts
½ cup chopped pineapple
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
4 flax eggs (4 tablespoons of ground flax seed whisked with 10 tablespoons water - leave in refrigerator for 15 minutes or more to thicken)
1 teaspoon of poultry seasoning (poultry seasoning isn't made out of poultry - it is a dried combination of seasonings of ground sage, marjoram, nutmeg, thyme & rosemary)
¼ cup of fresh chopped sage, thyme and rosemary (equal amounts)
¼ cup of fresh chopped parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
sprinkling of red pepper flakes (optional)
½ - 1 cup of vegan bread crumbs (or more if needed)
Brown Sugar Mustard Glaze
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard

Cooking Farro
Rinse and drain 1½ cups of organic farro. Place in a pot and add enough water or vegetable stock to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for approximately 25-30 minutes. Drain off any excess water.

Thanksgiving Loaf
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat the vegetable broth or vegan butter in a large saute pan. When hot, toss in the onions and celery. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic, salt, pepper and herbs and cook for another minute. Add more vegetable broth if sticking. Remove from heat.
Place the walnuts in a food processor and process until crumbly.
Place the pineapple in a food processor and process until smooth. There will still be a few overy small pieces.
Place the farro in a large bowl. Add the cooled onion mix, walnuts, pineapple, dijon mustard, salt, pepper, herbs and flax eggs. Add a light sprinkle of red pepper flakes if using. Combine with your hands. Taste for additional seasonings. Start adding the bread crumbs until it holds together. Adding more bread crumbs if necessary. Place the mixture in a loaf pan. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove and brush with glaze and cook for another 15-20 minutes. Serve with mashed potatoes and gravy.
Whisk together the brown sugar, vinegar and dijon mustard.