Recipes, memories and random thoughts from my kitchen
Monday, November 20, 2006
Thanksgiving Traditions 2
Well, Thanksgiving is coming up on Thursday in the U.S. I've been thinking a bit about our traditions as a family -- most of them, like place card making, are sort of sporadic, but we do have a few traditions nonetheless.
One of the most longstanding for many years, when all of the kids were home, has been our church's Praise & Thanksgiving Service, the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving. The kids could attend this even during their boarding school years, because they had a Thanksgiving break and could be home for it. Of course, that changed during the college years.
This service is always such a blessing. It's an evening of just praising God for all that He has done in the year just past. Even small children are encouraged to share a testimony of something they are thankful for, and we have lots of singing as people choose their favorite hymns for the group to sing together. To me, this is the real Thanksgiving, much more than the big dinner on Thursday. It's been good, because often on Thanksgiving Day itself we have a houseful of very diverse relatives and it's not the most conducive circumstances in which to thank and praise God. (Although certainly we are to be giving thanks in every circumstance, so I'm glad we have the evening before to get my thoughts into the proper perspective.)
This year, thankfully, our Thanksgiving table will only be set for 5 or 6 adults and 2 little ones. I'm looking forward to a quieter, saner day.
As for food traditions, we don't have a lot of those, because so many different people ordinarily contribute to our meal. This year, my daughter and I are preparing most of the food and there are a few things we simply must make -- foods that have become our tradition over the years.
Carrie's famous Honey Rolls is one such treat. These homemade rolls always go fast. I can't share the recipe here because I don't have it. But maybe Carrie will.
My sister-in-law always brings her Broccoli Casserole, and even though she won't be with us this year, her casserole will be. We decided it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without it. Here's the recipe:
DAWN'S BROCCOLI CASSEROLE
1 16-oz. pkg. frozen broccoli cuts, cooked Chopped onion to taste Shredded cheddar to taste 1 roll Ritz (or similar) crackers, crushed 1 stick (or much less) margarine, melted
If using onion, saute´it in some of the margarine. Make layers of broccoli, onion, and shredded cheddar in a casserole dish. (1.5 quart would be fine, maybe even 1 quart.) Combine the crushed crackers and melted margarine and spread over the top of the vegetables. Bake at 350º for 30 minutes.
My son-in-law is a huge fan of sweet potatoes, so a few years ago I tried this recipe. Even though it's not quite as good as his grandma's recipe, he enjoys this -- and so do the rest of us!
SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE
2 large cans cut yams, drained and mashed* 1/4 cup margarine, melted 1/2 cup sugar 2 eggs 1/3 cup evaporated milk** Pinch of nutmeg Topping: 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup flour (may use whole wheat) 3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts 1/4 cup softened margarine (may use 3 Tablespoons oil instead) Mix the first six ingredients in a large bowl; beat with electric mixer until well combined. Pile into a 2-quart baking dish. In another bowl, stir together topping ingredients. Sprinkle over top of potatoes. Bake the casserole at 325º to 350º for 35 minutes. Makes 6 to 8 side-dish servings.
May be made ahead and frozen for future use. Simply thaw overnight in refrigerator and bake as directed.
* Or substitute about 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, cooked, and mashed.
** Or substitute evaporated skim milk or fat-free half & half.
This recipe is one I adapted from the Cook & Tell recipe newsletter (see link in sidebar).
One more traditional recipe I simply must share is this:
PUMPKIN LAYERED DESSERT
Crust: 1 cup flour 2 T. sugar 1/2 cup margarine, softened 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Mix together ingredients and pat into a 13x9-inch pan or dish. Bake at 350º for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool.
2nd Layer: 8 ounces cream cheese, softened 1 cup powdered sugar half of a 12-oz. tub frozen whipped topping, thawed
Beat cream cheese and sugar well. Fold in whipped topping and spread on cooled crust.
3rd Layer: 16-oz. can of pumpkin 2 small (3.5 oz. I think) pkgs. vanilla instant pudding mix 1 cup half & half cream (or use evaporated milk or even regular milk) 1 tsp. cinnamon 1/2 tsp. ginger 1/4 tsp. cloves
Beat these ingredients together and spread the pumpkin mixture over the cream cheese layer. Chill for 1 hour.
4th Layer: remaining 6 ounces of whipped topping (from the 12-oz. tub mentioned above) Chopped walnuts
Spread the remaining whipped topping over the pumpkin mixture. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
This wonderful dessert has been a favorite at our Thanksgiving dinners for 10 years! In 1995, my youngest daughter's best friend, Emily, spent the Thanksgiving break with us, and the two of them made this dessert together. It was a new recipe to us then, but it quickly became a tradition. God took Emily home to heaven in the summer of 1996, so this tradition is doubly sweet to us as we remember her and the wonderful Thanksgiving we spent together.
Well, those are our traditions, such as they are. What about you? Does your family have some favorite Thanksgiving treats and traditions?
I live in scenic northern New England with my handsome husband. We're empty-nesters with a bunch of adorable grandchildren. We love (tent) camping and traveling, but don't get away as often as we'd like to.