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Posts Tagged ‘Thanksgiving’

  1. ThanksGivakus

    November 9, 2015 by Barb


    “A fun adult imagination is a terrible thing to waste.”

    I’m not sure if that is really a quote but I guess since I just wrote it in quotes, I could be quoted for the quote.

    There are a lot of things I imagine. I don’t live in a world of make believe (or maybe I do and none of this is real.) I do like to mock adult realities that just seem to stress people out.

    I’m not saying I fantasize about the burly young men that have muscles that bulge as they lift my mulch into my car. (I don’t even use mulch. I just buy it and have stacked in my yard!)

    I also don’t look in the mirror and see myself as a supermodel in those underwear catalogues. (My husband DOES see me like that but then again I think he needs a trip to the eye doctor!)

    Those aren’t things I find fun to think about. My fictional world is much more random.  My imagination likes to make up holidays because who doesn’t like a holiday!?!?

    I don’t act on all of my holiday dreams. I’m realistic enough to know that Barb’s Day will never happen because let’s face it, we couldn’t contain all that is me into one day….I’m thinking a week is sufficient.

    The fun part of my holiday is that we wouldn’t need gifts but good food would be a must. You can go to bed early on my day and read comic books. Coffee would be the official drink and at least one of the days would require sushi. It would be a glorious time for all.

    One made up holiday that I do actually celebrate is ThanksGivakus. (Yes, the name is based off of the Seinfeld’s Festivus episode.) I never know how to explain the day.

    It is pretty stress-free and the meal can be whatever we want it to be. It doesn’t land on a particular day.  No one gets upset if there are no mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes with marshmallows. We don’t have to witness the relative on the couch with his pants undone and snoring.

    The best part of ThanksGivakus is that I can experiment with recipes. If they turn out perfect…GREAT!!! If they are a total flop, the meal isn’t ruined and no one badmouths you at future gatherings about how you desecrated the family table with your avant-garde side dishes.

    With that said, I thought I’d share this year’s ThanksGivakus menu. The recipes I tried were from miscellaneous magazines and webpages so I will include the links in case you want to have your own ThanksGivakus or mix things up at your own family table this year.IMG_1617

    ThanksGivakus Menu 2015

    Pear and Cranberry Salsa (I used a can of whole cranberry relish because I couldn’t find fresh, only half of the orange juice, 1 green onion instead of the red onion and no cilantro.)

    Roasted Butternut Squash (Simple alternative to sweet potatoes!)

    Blistered Green Beans with Tomato Almond Pesto (ABSOLUTLEY FABULOUS)

    Sage, Sausage and dried Cherry Dressing (This was one I’ll write about next week.)

    Creamed Leeks (Honestly, I never make enough of these!)

    Hasselback Potatoes

    My Good Gravy

    Herb Roasted Turkey (Okay, there was no recipe. I just slathered my bird with butter and herbs that were left in my garden and followed the cooking directions for time/temp per pound.)

    Pumpkin Pie with Gingersnap Cookie Crust

    The green beans were the star. I liked the smokiness of the paprika. It really paired nicely with all of the “traditional” flavors of this fall meal.

    My husband and I have celebrated this holiday for years (it has gone through some name changes but the theory behind it has remained the same.) We don’t have many made up holidays but given my imagination who knows what may come up in the next year!


  2. Bean Thinking About Thanksgiving

    November 23, 2014 by Barb


    Writing a food blog around Thanksgiving is really a funny thing. It is one of those holidays you just don’t mess around with because people are really set in their ways of what needs to be on the table.

    Do you only have mashed potatoes or is it okay to add some scalloped? Maybe you don’t want parker house rolls and you surprise your guests with a hearty whole grain roll. Heck, I’ve even known people who skip the turkey and just plop a chicken on the table. (I only went to that house once for Thanksgiving and then I never went back because frankly that sucked.)

    I’ve had this one recipe in my back pocket for a while and I have been scared to post it because I don’t want to ruffle any feathers. (I take that back, I guess turkeys will get their feathers ruffled no matter what when they are plucked each year.)

    I think it is a good alternative to the green bean casserole that is a common staple at a lot of holiday gatherings BUT I don’t want to freak people out with something new. (Okay, I am totally lying. I really like the occasional freak out at the holiday. It makes the day more interesting and provides some entertainment other than football or the annual family discussion of the difference between stuffing and dressing.)

    The traditional green bean casserole is tasty but I have never been a fan of the goopy soupy base. (The same people who gave me the chicken for Thanksgiving made this dish too sans green beans!!! I swear it was like living in a Chevy Chase movie!)

    So this year may I suggest a new recipe? I made it this summer and really liked it because it was tasty and kind of pretty. I simply blanched fresh green beans, rolled them in some prosciutto and roasted them. Ta-dah. You can save your can of soup for the apocalypse (which ironically is what family holidays sometimes feel like to me).

    Green Bean Bundles

    (DISCLAIMER:  My picture is not great because it wasn’t taken until after dinner and not before….and they sat too long but use your imagination that this is VIBRANT green.)


    1 pound fresh green beans

    1 +Tablespoons of Olive oil (I needed a smidge more than just 1 Tablespoon)

    4 ounces of prosciutto

    Salt and pepper


    Preheat oven to 400°F

    Fill a large bowl with ice water.

    Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it generously.

    Add green beans and cook for 3 minutes and IMMEDIATELY add them to the ice water.

    Drain them and pat dry.

    Grab about 5-7 beans and wrap with a piece of prosciutto.

    Drizzle with olive oil and roast for 5-6 minutes and then flip and roast for another 5 minutes.

    The tips may get a little brown but that is okay.

    Sprinkle with a smidge of salt and pepper and serve.

    The only thing I will add is that since it is a holiday….I would garnish these babies with some fried onions or fried shallots. It will look nice and make you feel like you are eating the old school green bean casserole.

  3. Happy Thanksgiving

    November 28, 2013 by Barb

    Felt Like A Foodie

    Happy Thanksgiving!  I wanted to take a second and just thank you all for supporting Felt Like a Foodie.

    You have all touched my life in a way that you will never know.  Many of you know my story but for those of you who don’t, the Post Tribune was kind enough to publish a story about me this past Sunday.

    The response I have received has been overwhelming.  When I look back at the years when food was my biggest enemy, it seems surreal.

    Crohn’s disease has challenged my love for food for years and in all honesty challenges me on a daily basis.

    But writing this blog has given me such a wonderful sense of purpose that even on my some most painful days, I know there will be a day in my future where my love for food will overshadow the pain.

    I am so grateful for this opportunity and hope to share so much more with you in the future months.


  4. Duck Fat Pumpkin Pie Crust

    November 5, 2012 by Barb


    I can’t believe it is already November.  It is one of the busiest months of the year with the election tomorrow, Food and Wine Chef Showcase and CHILL next week.  (And for those of you who have asked which Presidential candidate I am supporting….I can only give you a hint…it is a man.)

    November is also home to the biggest food event of the season….Thanksgiving!!!!

    I love when people talk to me about this holiday.   Some people go into long history lessons about Plymouth Rock and the Pilgrims.  (I actually know some of this history because the Brady Bunch AND the Waltons did an episode on it.)

    Other people talk about how they are so lucky in their lives and are grateful for so many things in their lives.  (I know this is where the sentiment is supposed to be but it tends to make me a little gaggy.)

    I wish someone would just say what I believe so that I wouldn’t feel so shallow….it is about the FOOD!!!!  (I do have a lot to be grateful for but I am grateful every day!)

    There are very few people I know that skip the massive feast.  It is part of the tradition of the holiday.  (Another part of the tradition is complaining,,,oh wait, am I the only one who does that?)

    So as many of you know, MY tradition is to celebrate Thanksgiving-giving on the Sunday of the time change.  It is a great way to test new recipes, make some of your favorites that won’t be served at your mother in law’s house (first jab at MIL for the season if you are keeping track) and, most importantly, practice making gravy from scratch!

    My big recipe test this weekend was to make a pumpkin pie with a homemade, duck fat piecrust.  I had tasted a pie like this at Chicago Gourmet and have been craving it ever since.

    The challenge…there really aren’t a lot of recipes out there for duck fat piecrust.  (Another challenge is finding a duck that needs liposuction so you can render all of it’s luscious fat.)

    I dove right into making it yesterday morning (which is how I spent my extra hour) and must say I wasn’t disappointed in my results.  My pie will never win any beauty contests but as one of my friends pointed out to me…it is what is on the inside that counts!

    Classic Pumpkin Pie in a Duck Fat Crust

    Crust (makes 1)


    1 ¼ cups flour

    2 Tbsp rendered duck fat

    1 tsp sugar

    1/4 tsp salt

    6 Tbsp butter, chilled, cut up into small, small pieces

    2 Tbsp ice water


    In a food processor, pulse the flour, duck fat, sugar and salt until it looks like consistency of cornmeal.

    Add the butter slowly, piece by piece and pulse after each piece.

    Drizzle in the water …slowly..pulse until the dough comes together.

    If it doesn’t hold together, add a little more water.

    Pat the dough into a disk in plastic wrap, wrap it up tightly and place into the fridge for at least an hour.  (I put mine in overnight)

    On a floured surface, roll the dough into an EVEN 12 inch circle.  (The best way to pick it up is to flop it over the rolling pin so you don’t stretch it out.)

    Gently place the curst into a 9-inch pie pan.  There will be some overhang, which should be folded over and crimped.  (I fail miserably at this part.)

    Pierce with a fork, cover again with plastic wrap and chill another hour.  (All the chilling keeps the butter from breaking down.)

    Set stove for 350 and take crust out of the fridge.  Line the crust with foil and add some pie weights.

    Bake until edges are golden, 20 minutes.  Make sure you check on your crust so it isn’t burning or getting too brown.

    Remove the weights and foil and bake another 10 minutes.

    Cool completely.

    While the crust is cooling down mix the following filling and set aside…don’t over mix!

    1 15-ounce can of pure pumpkin

    1 ¼ cup heavy cream

    2/3 cup sugar

    2 eggs

    1 tsp cinnamon

    ½ tsp nutmeg

    ¾ tsp vanilla

    ¼ tsp salt

    (Optional: 1 egg and raw sugar for the crust)

    Ding!  The piecrust is cooled off. If you want a shiny crust edge, beat the one optional egg and brush on the crust edges.  Sprinkle with raw sugar

    Pour in the filling.  And back for 55 minutes.  The edges should be set and there will be a slight jiggle to the middle.  (Very slight!!)

    Set on a cooling rack and cool completely.

    I must say as a person who doesn’t enjoy baking….making this pie was a great experience!  I am glad that I did a test run before Thanksgiving to make sure the pie was all that it was “quacked” up to be!

  5. Repurposed Turkey Soup

    November 26, 2011 by Barb

    Leftover Thanksgiving Soup recipe by Felt Like A Foodie

    Thanksgiving is now behind us and I keep running across articles about “repurposing” your Thanksgiving dinner.  This makes no sense to me.  The purpose of the food is to feed you, right?  So why can’t people just call the food exactly what it is…leftovers.

    Apparently, this is the new “buzz” word that I can’t stand.    Are you familiar with this word?  It is in the same realm as “recycle”.  The best definition I could find is “The use of something for a purpose other than its original intended use.”  (And yes, that is a lame definition so I don’t want mail from all the English majors.)

    Let’s see how could we repurpose Thanksgiving dinner?  I guess if you used the mashed potatoes my mother-in-law made as caulk.  (Just kidding – Joke#1)  Or maybe you could use my sister-in-law’s biscuits as garden stones?  (Joke #2, I didn’t even eat those rolls.)  Or the hot dogs one of the guests brought as, um, something else.  (Joke #3 – Okay, that one crossed the line.  Blame it on the Tryptophan.)

    I wanted to be up on this trendy new word (because I am so hip) so I had to come up with part of the meal that HAS to be repurposed.  The best thing I could think of was the carcass. Unless you have that cool machine that made Frankenstein’s monster come to life, there is no way you are getting that bird to fly again.  (Do turkey’s fly?  I honestly never gave this a thought until now.)

    Technically, I did not host Thanksgiving so I did not have all of the “leftovers” in my house to reuse.  So I did what all good daughter-in-laws do, I sent my husband to his mother’s house to raid the fridge while she was out.  (And by “out” I meant, not home.  Not, “out” like passed out from a bender.)

    Repurposed Turkey Soup

    Ingredients for your soup base

    1. 8-10 cups chicken broth (or mix of chicken and vegetable broth)
    2. Turkey carcass stolen from Thanksgiving hostess, broken down into smaller pieces to fit into your purse.
    3. 1 onion, rough chopped
    4. 2 carrots, rough chopped
    5. 1 stalk of celery, rough chopped,
    6. 1 clove of garlic, smashed
    7. 1 Bay leaf
    8. Salt and pepper to taste.

    Directions for soup base:

    1. Place all ingredients into a large stockpot and bring to a boil.
    2.  Simmer, covered, for about 2 hours.  Check on it every half hour to make       sure that it isn’t reducing too much.
    3.   Skim off any fat off the top. (I forget the is step when there isn’t a lot of fat.)
    4.   When the time is up, remove all large pieces and strain into a large bowl.  DO NOT “REPURPOSE” THE VEGGIES.  THE FLAVOR IS GONE!

    Ingredients for Soup

    1. 1 cup onion, chopped
    2.   1 cup celery, chopped
    3.  1 cup carrot, chopped
    4.  2 cloves garlic, minced
    5.  3 small red potatoes, peeled and diced
    6.  2 cups of leftover turkey, chopped into bite size pieces
    7. 4 sage leaves, minced
    8. Salt and pepper
    9. 1 cup of leftover stuffing rolled into balls (like meatballs or dumplings); if they are too sticky add some breadcrumbs or panko.

    Directions for soup

    1. In your wiped down stockpot, heat up olive oil.  Sweat your carrot, celery and onion for about 10 minutes over medium/low heat.
    2. Add garlic and cook an additional minute.
    3.  Add potatoes, cook about 2-3 minutes.
    4.  Slowly add the prepared soup base.
    5.  Bring your heat back up and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.
    6. If you have any precooked veggies that you want to toss in from your holiday like green beans, asparagus, or Brussels sprouts add them now.
    7.  Right before serving, raise heat up to a slow boil.  Gently, drop in your stuffing dumplings.
    8. They will start to float after about 5 minutes, which tells you the soup is just about ready.
    9. Add the cooked turkey, add sage and taste for seasoning.  When you ladle up the soup, make sure you are gentle.  The dumplings are very fragile.


    This is a great way to use up the remains of your feast.  I hope everyone had a great holiday.  I had a wonderful time with my in-laws especially my nieces, nephews, and favorite brother in law (he reads the blog so I have to mention him.)  I look forward to doing it all again next year.  (I’m a glutton for punishment.)









  6. Thanksgiving Post #6: A Grateful Heart (and Belly)

    November 24, 2011 by Barb

    Happy Thanksgiving to all of my friends, family and faithful readers of my blog.  I get all choked up when I start to think of things I am thankful for in my life.  The challenges that are presented to me on a daily basis due to my complications of Crohn’s disease have made me view the world in a different manner.

    I am thankful for the obvious things like a roof over my head, plenty to eat, and some wonderful people in my life.  You probably don’t know how grateful I am for the love and support I have received over this blog.  The food community has welcomed me with open arms (and mouths).

    Writing about food has given me a new purpose in life and that fills my heart.  So as I sit down to my dinner at my in-laws (Thanks Emom for being such a good sport with all my teasing this month) this afternoon, I will take a moment to think of all of you who have given this Foodie and extra helping of gratefulness!

  7. Thanksgiving Post #5: Brian’s Song

    November 20, 2011 by Barb

    Sweet Potato Streusel Thanksgiving Side Dish by Felt Like a Foodie

    As Thanksgiving approaches, I get kind of sentimental about thinking of all of the people in my life that make me thankful.  As I am going down my list, there is one name that sticks out, Brian.  Who is Brian, you ask?  Well to my brother in laws disappointment, I am not talking about him for once.  I am talking about the guy who introduced me to my husband.

    Brian and I worked together as chemists when I first got out of college.  (Seriously, I was a chemist.  This isn’t just a cute way to talk about a “home” lab.)   He intimidated me the first time I met him by his knowledge (and good looks).  So much that I wouldn’t put down my lunch box for the first part of the day.  (Yes, I carried a lunch box in my twenties. It is not like it had Snoopy on it, I wasn’t that cool. ) 

    Brian was my project manager and we spent countless hours together.  We would share stories about our lives as we waited for our reactions to complete. During all of this time together, Brian and I became very good friends.  (That was before people did the friends with benefits thing, dang it!)

    Our relationship was kind of a big brother/little sister thing.  He would tease me relentlessly about being a dork and I just looked up to him for being so great.  (Maybe we were a little bit more like Greg and Marcia from the Brady Bunch except some of the joking was a little inappropriate for siblings!)

    We spent so much time together that I knew the people in his life without actually ever meeting them.  They were all characters in a novel that eventually turned into the movie of my life.

    One Valentine’s Day weekend, Brian and I went to the movies and met up with his friend Earl (oh and Earl’s date!)  It was fun meeting this character that Brian had told me so much about and putting the name and face together.  (This is where that whole friends with benefits thing would have made that Valentine’s Day weekend much better!)

    Anyhow, months passed and Brian invited me out again with him and Earl.  (This time Earl was single, Boo-yah!)  We went bowling and like any good big brother, Brian had to point out to Earl that I was checking him out as he threw his ball.  (Yep, that was embarrassing.)

    The next morning at work, Brian gave me Earl’s phone number and said the infamous words I’ll never forget “Leave me out of this.”  Like a self-respecting woman of the 90’s, I waited a few hours before I called Earl and the rest is history.

    When I started thinking of my time with Brian, I remembered a dinner we had together early on in our friendship.  It was just simple barb-b-q but Brian wanted dessert.  (Yep, he was talking about food, no euphemism there.)

    The dessert he wanted was a mashed sweet potato streusel. At that time, I was still a picky eater so I was less than thrilled at sharing this with him.  I didn’t want to give him ANOTHER excuse to tease me, so I told him that I would try it.  (In my head saying “be gentle with me, this is my first time….eating sweet potatoes.”)

    The dessert was fabulous with its velvety texture and natural sweetness.  The streusel on the top put me over the edge (YES! YES! YES!).  I have replicated this dish over the years as one of my favorite “savory” Thanksgiving side dishes.

    Streusseled Sweet Potato Casserole


    5 pounds of sweet potatoes, cubed

    ½ cup half and half

    ½ cup maple syrup

    1 tsp vanilla extract

    ½ tsp salt

    1 egg, beaten


    ½ cup flour

    ½ cup brown sugar

    ½ cup pecans, chopped

    ¼ cup butter, chilled & chopped


    1. Preheat oven to 375
    2. Boil a large pot of water.  Gently add potatoes and simmer for about 12 minutes covered, until they are fork tender.
    3. Mix half & half, syrup, vanilla, salt and egg.
    4. Add to the cooked potatoes and beat with a hand blender until smooth.
    5. Spoon into a greased 13 x 9 pan.

    Directions for the topping

    1. Add all ingredients to a bowl and with a pastry cutter or fork, blend them all together until you get a crumbly mixture.
    2. Sprinkle on top of potatoes
    3. Bake the dish COVERED for 15 minutes and then uncover it and cook another 25 minutes.


    This dish is a great match (or addition) to the sweet potatoes and marshmallow dish that is popular on Thanksgiving tables.

    Me, Brian and Earl at Brian's wedding.

    I sing Brian’s praises because he really is a great guy.  He used to “make me” thank him every week for dating one of his best friends.  He didn’t let me off the hook until Earl and I got married.

    Brian found me the perfect match and he will never know how much I will always love him for this gift he gave me.  So Thank you Brian, you changed my life.


  8. Thanksgiving Post #4: Work On Your Timeline

    November 16, 2011 by Barb


    Thanksgiving is only a week away.  Are you ready?  Some of my readers (okay, it was only two people) have emailed and asked me to help them organize their timeline for the Super Bowl of dinners.  (This is where the OCD people take out their lists and the unorganized people start to roll their eyes!)

    So given my dinner is only with my imaginary friends and husband, this is how I would plan my next week.  (And yes, seeing a therapist for my issues is on the list.)

    One week away:  Start organizing your recipes and your cooking times.  I always copy my recipes so I don’t have to have stacks of books and magazines cluttering my countertop.  (Anyone who has been in my house knows I clutter my table with books and recipes, not my counter.)

    Make sure when looking at your recipe that you don’t need to have everything in your oven at the same time.  It is also nice to find a couple things you can make ahead of time.  (Turkey is not one of those things you can make early; I don’t care what the experts say.)

    If you order your turkey, you should have done it last week!  (Sorry, I don’t know many people who order a turkey or would have given you heads up.) 

    You should also have all of your guests invited by now.  (Seriously, don’t wait until the last minute.  People like to know where they are going.)  Delegate some of the side dishes, appetizers and desserts to your guests when they ask if they can bring anything.  (Don’t ask them to chip in on the turkey….that is rude.)

    Four days away:  Start Cleaning and pulling out your special serving pieces.   Get the house picked up so you don’t freak out at the last minute when your Aunt Thelma (yep, still talking about my mother in law) starts running her finger over the mantle for dust.

    As for the serving pieces, get them washed and organized.  I write recipe names on a sticky note and put it on the intended plate..  (More smiles from the OCD people.)

    Three days away:  Check on your turkey.  If it is frozen, you should have it in the refrigerator thawing.  A 16-20 pound turkey can take up to 3-4 days to thaw out!  Please don’t EVER thaw the turkey at room temperature!  You will risk giving your guests food poisoning!  (Even my imaginary friends don’t like an upset tummy.)

    Two days away:  Get your linens ironed and start some of your food prep work.  These are little things that will make Thursday go a lot smoother.  This is also a good time to know how you want to set your table.  Are you a formal person?  Or maybe just go simple with some leaves in a bowl?  Just do what comes naturally.

    I would go shopping now too.  The store will be crazy the day before the holiday.  In addition, it gives you a chance to go over your food inventory before the big day.  (There is always something you forget.  Right?)

    One day away:  Finish up any early prep work (pie dough’s, veggies, brine your turkey) and get your table set.  This is also a good time to yell at your husband.  You don’t have a reason to yell at him; you just do it because you are stressed out!  (Mine is a good sport and takes it like a man.)

    This is the also the day to review your timeline.  Make sure you know what time everything needs to go in the oven.  It will be nice to have things spelled out when your company starts arriving and you get distracted.  (If you have multiple timers, make sure all the batteries are fresh so you don’t accidently burn anything.)

    Turkey Day: Wake up and take a deep breath!  It is just a dinner, no need to freak out.  Pull out your timeline and get to work!  After you pull your turkey from the fridge, put your drinks in its place.  Prepare your stuffing and do not put it into the bird until right before you roast it!  While your turkey is roasting, you should be working on your sides.  Don’t forget to put your guests to work!  (Unless they are a bunch of lazy freeloaders.)  And remember when your turkey is resting (it MUST rest) make your pan gravy!

    Finally, enjoy your meal!!  Take a moment to think about all the people who are around you that make you thankful.  (And then look around and be thankful you only have to do this once a year!!  Just kidding, you’ll do it again at Christmas!)  Ha ha!  : )


  9. Thanksgiving Post #3: Good Gravy It’s Less Than Two Weeks Away!

    November 11, 2011 by Barb

    A thanksgiving foodie recipe for gravy

    Choo!  Choo!  All aboard for the gravy train!!!  Thanksgiving is in less than two weeks and there is one thing I demand be made by scratch and that is the gravy!!  It is one of the easiest things to make and one of the tastiest!  It can revive a dry turkey, enrich the flavorless potatoes, and hide that weird mystery dish covered in Ritz crackers your Aunt Thelma brought.  (And no, Aunt Thelma isn’t just a fake name for one of my aunts.  It is the fake name for my mother in law! ) 

    The first stop for the gravy train is your roasting pan.  Think of the roasting pan as your locomotive, your gravy won’t go anywhere without it.   Everything in that pan would be the fuel to get this train running.  (I now have the Doobie Brother’s “Long Train Running” in my head).

    You need to measure out how much fat you have in the pan so the drippings must be poured into a large measuring bowl.  (Everyone has one of those Pyrex glass-measuring cups.) Don’t forget to remove the cooked turkey first so you don’t derail this whole thing by dropping it on the floor!  (This will be your turkey’s resting time so put it on a platter, cover it, and set it aside until your gravy is ready.)

    The hardest part here is separating the good brown liquid to the luxurious fat.  When you pour your juices out, let them settle a bit and you will see a natural separation.  The fat will be on top and the savory liquid will be on the bottom.  You can separate them with a spoon or a gravy separator by skimming the top.  Don’t worry if it isn’t perfectly separated, you aren’t being graded.  (Unless I am eating your food and then I will eventually talk about you in my blog.)

    Before you get rolling, get your ingredients measured out.  The math is simple.  You need 2 Tablespoons fat (butter or turkey fat) and two Tablespoons flour to every 1 cup of liquid (drippings, stock, broth.)  This will be equivalent to one cup of gravy.

    Let’s say your turkey did not leave a lot of cargo to make gravy.  You don’t need to jump off the train and use the store bought bottle you’ve had in the cabinet since 1998, just substitute butter for the fat and broth for the liquid!

    Once you have things measured out, the train is ready to leave the station.  Take your roasting pan with all it’s brown goodness stuck on the bottom and get it back on the stove over medium-low heat.  (The brown stuff is technically called fond.  It is delicious and will add great depth to your gravy. )

    Add your fat back to the pan and let it get hot.  With your whisk in hand, slowly add your premeasured flour.  Whisk it in while pulling the fond off the bottom of the pan.  (Think of the fond as the luxury car of your train.  You don’t HAVE to ride on it but it sure makes the trip nicer.)A thanksgiving foodie recipe for gravy

    Next stop; make sure your flour gets cooked.  It should be getting slightly brown and have a nutty almost pie scent.  The color should deepen.  This usually takes about 5 minutes. A thanksgiving foodie recipe for gravy

    All aboard, next top liquid!  Raise your heat a smidge and SLOWLY whisk in your broth.  The liquid will deglaze (remove all your brown goodness from the bottom of the pan) and your color will deepen even more.  Don’t be scared of the lumps, think of it as train graffiti.  It gives your gravy some character.  The important part is not to have huge flour clumps.  (I’ve been known to have a bottle of wine next to my gravy station for the deglazing.  Some of it actually gets into the pan.  CHEERS!)

    Your gravy should look a bit liquidy at this point.  Keep stirring it over the medium heat until it thickens up.  (This is a good activity to ask your brother in law to do with his big strong muscles or in my husband’s family his sister, who has bigger biceps than all the men.  I’m not being snitty…she’s got some guns!)

    Final stop for this train is the seasoning.  You can’t reach your destination without some good seasoning.  Taste your gravy.  What does it need?  Salt?  Pepper?  Love?  Whatever it is, add it.  I like to also add some of the seasonings that are on my turkey like sage or thyme.  Remember you want to compliment the turkey, not overpower its flavor.

    So did you enjoy the ride?  Do you now think you have the ticket to ride the gravy train?  Just so we are clear, here are some important points:

    1. 2 Tablespoons of flour, 2 Tablespoons of fat, 1 cup of liquid will equal 1 cup of gravy.
    2. Remember to whisk while you are adding your liquid.  It will result in smoother gravy.
    3. If you really are worried about someone (Aunt Thelma?) will criticize you about lumps, just strain it!
    4. If your gravy is too thin, just let it cook longer.  Don’t be tempted to add more flour or cornstarch.  You will end up with a clumpy mess.
    5. If it is too thick, just add some more broth.
    6. Put some love in it and everyone will think it’s great!


    Speaking of trains (gotta love my obvious segue ways), if you are getting a little batty from the weird fall weather why don’t you take a TRAIN to Chicago and check out the new brunch at WAVE, located at 644 N. Lake Shore Drive?  I mentioned in a previous post that they were starting a new amazing brunch and I wasn’t lying. I was sent their press release this morning and I know I’ll be planning a visit soon!

    Here is the scoop:

    “Get a taste of Chicago with Chef Subido’s neighborhood-inspired selection, including Hand-Rolled Ravioli with Stewed Tomato Sauce, Italian Cured and Dried Sausages, Cheese and Marinated Vegetables (Little Italy); Gourmet Taco Bar, Chilaquiles with Housemade Chorizo (Pilsen); Mini Banh Mi Sandwiches and Dim Sum (Chinatown and Little Vietnam); in addition to brunch standbys, like Omelets, Eggs Benedict and Brown Derby Cobb Salad.  Get your sweet fix with our selection of Coffee Cakes, Cupcakes, Fruit and Mini Yogurt Smoothies.

    Get an extra boost with Remedy’s Medicinal Tea Bowls, touting dangerously delicious flavors, spirits and “remedies,” including calming, antioxidant and digestive varieties.   Or check out the Bloody Maria Bar, where guests can choose their preference in hot sauce and garnish for a completely customized cocktail.  And engage in some music therapy during your meal as you enjoy the beats of local DJs all day long!

    Remedy: Cure for the Common Weekend will be offered from noon to 8 p.m. on Sundays starting this Sunday, November 13.   For $29 per person, guests receive access to the brunch buffet, as well as one complimentary Bloody Maria.  For more information, visit WAVE’s Web site. “




  10. Thanksgiving Post #2: Side Dish or Super Squash Star?

    November 8, 2011 by Barb


    In the midst of all my foodie fun, I have got to talk more about my imaginary Thanksgiving dinner.  Let’s face it; the turkey is the star of the show but what about the supporting cast of characters?  You know who they are….the side dishes.

    The side dishes don’t get enough credit for the role they play in Thanksgiving dinner.  Do you ever see an inflatable bowl of mashed potatoes in the Macy’s parade?  NOPE.  How about a Thanksgiving card featuring the sweet potatoes with marshmallows? NOPE. 

    But let’s get real here, who goes to dinner and fills up on Turkey?  Not me.  All that will get you is a good nap!  (Or worse…it will put the cool relative’s to sleep and then you get stuck watching your uncle’s slideshow of his vacation alone.)  So today’s post will be one of many about Thanksgiving side dishes!  (I’m sure you figured that out by now but I have to spell things out for some of my relatives readers.)

    I decided not to go down the path of the “normal” side dishes.  Everyone has a family favorite and they don’t seem to stray.  (Although there are some dishes I would rather not eat again.  I think my dinner animosity is starting to show.)

    Today I want to talk about the beautiful butternut squash!  I like this ingredient because it is readily available in pretty much any market you go into during the fall.  When roasted properly, it has the nuttiness of eating pumpkin but the mild sweetness of a yam.

    The other nice thing is that it is versatile.  The butternut squash can be used in soups, casseroles, breads or roasted alone.  (I like foods that are multifaceted.  It makes cooking more exciting.)

    NOTE:  Butternut Squash is a fruit not a veggie…that whole seed controversy comes up again.

    For today’s recipe, I roasted my squash.  There are couple of nice ways to do this for a Thanksgiving feast.  One roasting method is to skin the squash, seed it, and then cut it into chunks.  This is nice but not so pretty in my opinion.  I also think it is harder to decide how much squash to make.  I’m sure there is some cool math I could do to help you calculate a yield on your product but you’ll be doing enough math on that Thursday figuring out turkey cooking times etc.

    The way I made it was to trim off the top and bottom, seed it, slice into quarters or eighths and roast it with some seasoning.  I love this method because the prep work is minimal which is something to look for when preparing your meal.  It also looks very pretty when plated and looks are important.

    Roasted Butternut Squash
    Recipe type: Side Dish
    Serves: 8
    • 1 medium size squash (Mine was about 2 pounds)
    • 4 Tablespoons of butter, divided into half tablespoon portions
    • 2 tsp of cinnamon
    • 4 Tbsp brown sugar
    • Salt and pepper
    • Optional: chopped sage
    1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
    2. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper.
    3. Trim off the top and bottom of your squash and slice lengthwise down the middle.
    4. Using a spoon, scoop out seeds.
    5. Carefully, cut each side into four pieces giving you a total of eight pieces. (I did do the math for you there!)
    6. Lay each piece skin side down on baking sheet.
    7. Slather each piece with a half tablespoon of butter. You could melt the butter and brush it on but I like a good slather.
    8. Sprinkle with cinnamon, salt and pepper.
    9. Roast in oven for about 30 minutes and then sprinkle with the brown sugar.
    10. Roast another 15 minutes or until the squash is fork tender.
    11. I sprinkled mine with a little fresh sage to pull all of the Thanksgiving flavors together.

    My goal is to get a couple more side dishes posted before the actual holiday in case you want to have a dress rehearsal before your actual meal.  Maybe if enough of us complain Macy’s will have a float next year devoted to the real stars of the meal!