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thanksgiving

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BEST Pumpkin Pie {Recipe}

Ok, maybe I’m a little too excited about how this recipe turned out, but my whole family loved it and I was so pleased with the combination of flavours. This is a nicely savoury pie that is simply delicious with a big spoonful of sweet whipped cream on top. I made this for Boo, because he’s a huge fan of pumpkin pie, and I thought it was about time I made one from scratch.
When I say “from scratch,” I do not include pastry. I have made pie pastry, and I do a pretty good job of it, but it’s work I don’t enjoy. When there are such great frozen pie shells out there, I don’t see why I shouldn’t use them. For the record, I use Tenderflake.
I do not, however, use canned pumpkin. For any pumpkin recipes I either steam or roast pie pumpkins for the puree. I think it’s worth the extra step there.  Roasting, I think, gives the best flavour for pie. I steam for my cookies. One average sized pie pumpkin will give you enough puree for this recipe. Rinse the pumpkin outside, cut in half, and roast face down on a cookie sheet at 350 for approximately 30 minutes. Cool and scoop out the insides, then mash, and you’re ready to bake!

Best Pumpkin Pie

slice of pumpkin pie with whipped creamIngredients

2 cups pumpkin puree
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp vanilla
Single pie shell

Directions

Preheat oven to 425. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Pour into pie shell. Bake in middle of oven for 15 minutes at 425, then reduce heat to 350 and bake an additional 30 minutes or until set.  Cool and serve with a big dollop of fresh whipped cream.
Enjoy!
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Keep Good Food from Going Bad #GladFreshFoodChallenge

With Thanksgiving just passed, this is a great time to talk about leftovers and (not) wasting good food. If your celebration was anything like mine, whether large or small, it involved a whole lot of cooking and baking and eating. And possibly a fair bit of food gone to waste. Did it just seem easier to toss the rest of the potatoes? Or maybe you didn’t get the turkey carcass in the fridge within a reasonably salmonella-free time frame. Whatever the case, Thanksgiving dinner usually ends with a lot of leftovers because we tend to make too much. But, if we take care to store everything promptly and safely afterwards, those tasty remains can be re-purposed into tomorrow’s lunch or Wednesday night’s supper. (for instance, check out these tasty ideas for leftover turkey.) But even on a regular day, a lot of food goes to waste.
Did you know that the typical Canadian household spends $5572 per year on groceries, including $465 per year on fresh fruits and vegetables? And on average, 13% of all food gets thrown out. That’s about $725 worth of food in the garbage each year! These little tidbits were shared with me by Glad, as part of the #GladFreshFoodChallenge this month. Here’s some more info:
safe food storage, Glad
Click to enlarge
Glad sent along a package of their food storage products, along with a challenge to me to waste no food for two whole weeks, October 1-15. Of course, I am always up for a challenge, so I dove right in.
Glad food storage
 Some of the line of Glad’s food storage solutions, posing with seasonal decor.

The first step? Planning. My big downfall is heading to the supermarket without a list, or without a solid meal plan for the week. “Ooh! Look what’s on sale!” And suddenly I have way more veggies than we can reasonably consume before they go bad. It may mean more trips to the store, but buying smaller amounts of fresh produce at a time results in less of your purchases (and money!) going into the green bin.

Next, think storage. I like to buy certain things, like chicken breasts, in larger quantities. The “family pack” size is often cheaper per pound than a smaller package. But I won’t be cooking them all at once, so I re-package when I get home, using Glad freezer bags. Three or four breasts per bag, pop in the freezer, and I can grab a perfect portion for my family when I need. I do this with ground beef too. Steaks on sale? Pick up some extra and wrap them individually in Glad Press’n Seal to avoid freezer burn. In general, if you want your meats to taste great after a stay in your deep freeze, be sure to re-package them appropriately; the supermarket packaging doesn’t always stave off the burn.

Leftovers happen, even with great planning. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Just be sure to get them wrapped, bagged or boxed promptly and into the fridge or freezer. There were only our of us for Thanksgiving here, and I made two pies. Yes, I know. But first I promised pumpkin pie, and then we went apple picking. What could I do?! The remains of both pies are currently in my fridge, carefully protected by Glad Cling Wrap – keeping out any odours they could pick up, and keeping in the freshness and moisture. I portioned out the leftover turkey and froze it in the freezer bags, ready to be defrosted and added to soup, quesadillas, or whatever. Wrap leftover steak, then slice and add to a green salad or a healthy and protein-rich lunch the next day. Mashed potatoes can be formed and fried into delicious patties for a side to accompany a later dinner. The key is to safely store the leftovers and then get creative! You can even designate one night each week as”Leftover Night,” and make a conscious effort to work through what you have on hand to make sure it doesn’t go to waste.

How did I do with the challenge? Well, not perfect, but pretty good. I had a bunch of tomatoes from my garden that I should have canned, but I got busy and left it too long. So they went to waste.  And there was quite a bit of leftover pasta that found its way to the bin as well. (Boo eats a lot of pasta, and we tend to have at least one container of cooked pasta in the fridge at any given time.) I did stay conscious of what I was buying, and I made sure I had an imminent purpose for each fresh item that went in my cart. And I even froze my over-ripe bananas, as suggested in the infographic up there. Banana bread coming soon!

With a little planning and the right tools, you can save a lot of money over the course of a year and really get a bang for your grocery buck. Do you have any tips for food storage? Or a great way to use up leftovers in a new meal? Please share your ideas in the comments below!

Disclosure: This post has been brought to you by Glad. All opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own.

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5 Ideas for All Those Turkey Leftovers {Round-Up Post}

roast turkey on table
image from Kozzi.com
This weekend Canadians will be gathering with family and friends to celebrate the annual Thanksgiving Day feast. All families have their own traditions, but for most the occasion is marked with a delicious meal centred around a huge roast turkey. I’m drooling a little just thinking about it, to be honest. 
Now, turkeys are not small birds to begin with, and no one wants to run out of the delicious meat at the dinner table. So we generally buy a bigger bird than we need, and we generally end up with lots of leftovers. Leftovers of delicious turkey just waiting to be transformed into family meals for days to come. Yummy!
In my family there are two essential leftover meals – turkey soup, and hot turkey sandwiches served with homemade French fries. I make the soup on the fly and have never had a recipe. I promise to take notes as I put it together this time, and I’ll post my recipe next week. 



Hot Turkey Sandwich
A hot turkey sandwich is simple as can be, and oh so satisfying for the gravy lover. (Me!) Warm slices of leftover turkey in the microwave and place on a slice of bread on the serving plate. Add a big spoonful of stuffing. Spoon gravy over top. You can add a second slice of bread with more gravy, or cut down on the carbs by leaving your sandwich open-faced. I always serve mine with home-cut fries, extra stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce. A classic, and a no-brainer.

My go-to leftover uses are, as you can see, pretty basic, and given the size of the bird I bought yesterday I thought I’d ask some blogging friends for their favourite ways to re-package the Thanksgiving turkey. As expected, they did not disappoint. Here are my 5 top picks from their suggestions, in no particular order. I hope these help you with your leftovers! Let me (and them!!) know if you use any.
Looking for a little spice? I love a Tex-Mex Meal, so this one’s a definite pick for me. Made with few and simple ingredients you probably already have on hand.
That’s right folks, the whole turkey dinner experience goes in these, not just the turkey. Veggies, cranberry sauce, it’s all good and combines for the full turkey dinner taste experience in a single bite.
Julia adapted this recipe from a Company’s Coming Slow Cooker cookbook. Since it also includes ham, this would be great for those really big family meals where you serve both ham and turkey. Say, for those extended family Christmas gatherings.
Send the kids back to school on Tuesday with these yummy wraps and you’ll not only be using up your leftovers, but adding some healthy variety to their lunch as well. Quick and easy in the morning; cook some extra bacon for your breakfast too! 
I think these ideas will do the trick. No turkey will be wasted in this house! I just won’t have it. Special thanks to Julie, Brandi, Julia, and Sheri for sharing their recipes. Please head over to their blogs and check them out!

Looking for even more ideas? There’s a Pinterest board for that!
Note: Recipe images are the property of the recipe developers and are used with permission.
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Decorating for Thanksgiving {#CBias #shop}

disclosure #cbias #shop

It’s almost October, which means harvest time and Thanksgiving right around the corner. I’ve already harvested most of my garden and am busy canning what I am able and taking full advantage of local farmers’ markets. It’s a delicious time of year!

Growing up, Thanksgiving was an important occasion for a big family meal. Actually, most any holiday was seen as an excuse to cook a big turkey and get everyone together to eat and laugh and enjoy each other’s company. Family time is important, especially when you can get multiple generations together around the table. Family stories and histories, favourite jokes that keep coming back at every get-together – these are the glue that holds us together and creates the wonderful, loving memories of childhood.

I try to keep that sense of family tradition going in my little family today, and am already planning our meal. This year’s big excitement will be the Teen coming home for the long weekend from college!! We can’t wait to see him and hear how his first month away at school went. We miss him a lot, and I’m finding it hard to reconcile the fact that he’s pretty close now to flying the coop for good. We’ll be spending some time around the table talking about all that we have to be thankful for, including having him with us!

So, we’re going to make this Thanksgiving dinner a great one. Little Boo has requested pumpkin pie, so that will be on the menu. I know the Teen loves my mashed potatoes, so they’ll be there as well. Asparagus for Hubs, delicious turkey and gravy for me. MMMMMM. And, I think a little festive decoration will add to the whole experience.

Little Boo really enjoys making crafts, and he can be pretty creative when he’s in the mood. It’s fun to make things with him and to see how his sense of style comes out in his creations. We chatted about some options of things we could make for Thanksgiving, and decided to decorate our mantle with a centrepiece and garland. I headed out to my favourite source of all things crafty, Michaels Arts and Crafts Stores , to see what kind of supplies I could find, and to get some inspiration. They never disappoint, and I ended up leaving with way more stuff then I needed, as usual.

turkey foam craft #shop
Because I’m not nearly so creative and imaginative as my child, I appreciate the availability these days of pre-made kits. I found this great foam set that makes 24 turkeys with googly eyes and sparkly bits. It’s all self-adhesive, so it was really easy for a kid to work with. There was a picture to follow, but really, you could add the sparkles whatever way you wanted, or not at all. We discussed adding some extras, like real feathers, but Little Boo opted to stick with extra sparkles from the kit. 
Here’s his special turkey for the central spot in the garland.
To make the garland I picked up a roll of an orange-y, metallic-edged ribbon, and we strung on some turkeys, tying knots to secure each one in place. Super easy, and by using knots I created an opportunity for him to practice his knot-tying skills.
We finished the mantel with a couple of wooden pumpkins, wound around with a short length of the same ribbon from the garland plus a berry garland, again from Michaels. I added a pick of fall flowers in a white vase and a couple of pumpkin scented candles.  Of course I had to leave my two handsome boys up there as well.
What do you think? Quick and simple, but very festive. I can almost smell the turkey roasting in the oven!
Food, Recipe

Best EVER Pumpkin Cookies

Just finished icing (and taste testing) my favourite cookies, and thought I’d share the recipe here. It’s the recipe I get asked for most often, and I can take no credit for it. It came to me from a friend in grad school. She got it from a woman I think was a friend of her mother’s. So without further ado, here is the recipe for what I (and many others) think are the best pumpkin cookies ever.

 

Makes about 3 dozen
1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup pumpkin
1 egg
Cream together & add 1 teaspoon vanilla. Mix.
Add in 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt
Drop onto ungreased cookie sheet and bake @ 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
Frosting:
3 Tablespoons butter
4 Tablespoons milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
Mix & boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly
Let cool slightly, then add 1 cup icing sugar & 3/4 teaspoon vanilla.
Beat well, and frost cookies.
Enjoy!