Adventures in Thanksgiving

A crazy busy week that began on Saturday before my birthday and culminated today in a marathon of cooking and experimenting.  It was great!

Reesie invited her ‘sweety’ over to have Thanksgiving with the family. He got to meet AJ and the pets… he survived the shock, ha ha.

One of the goals I set myself for this new year is to not just eat healthier, but to explore new possibilities. What better time to indulge than today?

First up, a departure from the sugar-laden sweet potato casserole with its marshmallow topping invitation to diabetes… instead I made sweet potatoes with coconut sauce and fresh coconut which provided natural sweetness and a surprising crunchy contrast to the creamier sweet potatoes.

This was yummy … next year I am going to find the purple sweet potatoes. That ought to add a nice pop! to the table ūüėÄ

Instead of traditional gravy I made a lovely gravy with vegetable broth, sage, and apple cider. It turned out great, even the kids loved it.

Cider-Sage Gravy

And green bean casserole with its mushroom soup and fried onion topping was replaced with wonderful fresh green beans sauteed with a touch of garlic, caramelized onion, mushrooms (in this case brown beech mushrooms for their lovely nutty flavor, shiitake, and oyster mushrooms for their ‘meaty’ texture), fresh ginger, and a splash of my favorite spicy szechuan sauce and sesame oil.

I took some new ideas, tweaked them to fit our tastes, and what was available, and had so much fun in the kitchen this year.  Truly another reason to be so thankful this year.

Can’t wait for the next special occasion to see what I can come up with next.

Hope your Thanksgiving was extra special too.

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Harvest, Halloween, and moving ever forward

Last day of October, another year fleeing before us, and the joyous laughter …and screams…of children at Halloween.

We didn’t have many crops to bring in this year, what with the move and all, but what we have had is always a blessing…right now it is sage, rosemary, hot oregano,

Image result for spicy oregano plant

the last of the lemons, salad crops, and kale.  Already I am dreaming of the next plantings, and wondering where we may be by the time I am ready to put them in.

After trick or treat with the kids, time for some grown-up dress-up and a trip to good ol’ Chipotle to get our ‘treat’ burrito bowls for coming in costume.¬† MMMMM…. the perfect ending to a gorgeous Halloween.¬†¬†Sofritas bowl with guacamole

 

 

 

Gardener–minus the Garden

It’s a hard thing for me to deal with this spring…yes, ¬†February is the beginning of our spring planting season here in the Lowcountry…and here it is March and I have precious little in the ground save the quickie crops…radishes, etc.

This spring…we are thinking we will be moving. ¬†If not right now, as soon as school ends, which is long before most crops will be grown and ready to harvest. ¬†How then to have a decent garden at a time when the uncertainty of the months ahead makes it ever more important to have my own source of vegetables? ¬†The pear tree is covered in blooms. ¬†If we are here long enough, there will be bumper crops of pears, blackberries and black raspberries. ¬†The blueberries are still in pots, I got them last winter on sale, and didn’t want them in the ground till I could be assured of no strange weather eccentricities. ¬†Now would be the perfect time to put them in…but…ya know, moving.

Herbs aren’t so difficult, they do well in planters as long as they have room to spread out. ¬†So this weekend, pots of Mexican oregano, tarragon, white sage, lots of new starts off my very old rosemary. I still need marjoram, cilantro, and basil (probably a couple of kinds, variety is the spice of life) as well as nasturtiums.

And then there is the entire issue of which crops to plant now, which I can pot and transport, which we will simply have to do without this season.  My much loved pod peas will be grown and ready to harvest in no time.  Things like cauliflower and broccoli?  Sigh.

The obvious alternative would be to see if I can budget a share in a CSA. ¬†This might be the best option…particularly in a transitional period where I will most likely need another year to get the garden itself ready for proper planting, and when our hectic lives are better suited to some crops than others, a CSA would provide a better range of produce. ¬†I am checking it out now and will let ya’ll know how it goes.