Blessed Bountiful Feast

04 Dec

All the planning, all the shopping, all the feasting … all totally worth it!  Such a warm and wonderful Thanksgiving and hope yours was too.  Not surprisingly, with all our veggie-heavy sides, there were LOTS of compost buckets filled to overflowing, but it’s easier to see that from a quick look at the pile:


Can you tell I was prepping this meal for DAYS?!  Here’s a close-up look at the individual buckets…


What you can see (clockwise from top):

  • pineapple core
  • lemon peels
  • dozen egg shells
  • onion ends & skins


What you can see (clockwise from top):

  • green parts of leeks (WHY do they sell leeks with all this greenery – NO recipe EVER calls for the dark green parts)
  • stem ends of leeks
  • celery stem ends (I already have enough celery re-growing in my garden for my occasional celery use or I would have planted this one too)
  • more eggshells


That is a sink full of the peels of ten pounds of organic russet potatoes.  Mashed potatoes could qualify as one of the major food groups in our house.


What you can see (clockwise from top):

  • more leek tops
  • tough collard green stems
  • brussels sprouts ends
  • onion skins

Shall I give you a quick peek at the menu for the feast?  It makes me hungry again to type all these dishes in, and I thought I could never be hungry again after that meal!

Drinks:  Apple Cider Punch & Cranberry Pomegranate Margaritas

Appetizers: Baked Brie with Spiced Cranberry Chutney

Main Menu:

  • Sweet Tea Brined Local Free Range Turkey  (This was a 20-pound Southern brute that we nicknamed “Benjamin” because he was in excess of that currency.  It was the most flavorful bird anyone ever tasted.  Really.  People went back for SECONDS and we are all about the sides in this house.  I left a FB message on the farm site telling them this was the best turkey EVER.)
  • Traditional Bread Stuffing (My sweet mom’s recipe with even more butter than she ever used.  Fabulous.)
  • Cornbread Dressing with Leeks (As much as I’d like to dig up a Southern relative, fact is I’m a northern gal.  Since I’ve lived in the South for well over twenty-five years, I think I’m entitled to create my own Southern recipes.  Besides, my kids were all born at Piedmont Hospital and you can’t get much more Atlanta that that.)
  • Grandma Buzzy’s Mushrooms (hot mushrooms steeped in vinegar, whole allspice, peppercorns and onion.  Can’t have Thanksgiving dinner without it.  It’s one of “those” recipes, but it’s delicious.)
  • Baked Sweet Potatoes (No casserole with marshmallows for us.  These were farm-share organic teeny-tiny gems and they were delicious straight from the skin.  We gilded the sweet potato lily with lots of butter and brown sugar just because we could.)
  • Corn Pudding (A Southern Living classic recipe that I’ve been making for over a decade.)
  • Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Shallots (NOT the soup and canned green bean recipe.  We used fresh ingredients and made them taste canned.  Not really, but that’s the idea!)
  • Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts (My kids can’t live without these.  They make the whole house smell like cabbage but since I love my kids I make these lots during sprouts season.)
  • Creamed Collard Greens (Another Southern goodie we love.  Cook collards with lots of fried onions in heavy cream and I dare you to say you are not a collard greens fan.  I’m even including a similar recipe so you will try it.)
  • Mashed Potatoes (See all the peels above, made with raw milk, homemade butter and cream just because.)
  • Pan Gravy (Hopefully your mom taught you take make gravy from the drippings.  Every year, every gravy required meal actually, I panic for a millisecond because gravy is supposed to be hard, then I whisk cream or butter or some cornstarch or flour into the pan drippings and present delicious gravy every time.  I think the gravy gods smile down on me.)
  • Spiced Cranberry Chutney AND Citrus Spiked Cranberry Sauce (Just because I love cranberries.)

Desserts:  I’ll be honest.  I was worried I might have more desserts that real food, but I pared the potential recipes WAY down.  These were all homemade and yes, I made my own pie crust and whipped my own cream for pies.

  • Apple Pie (Made with organic farm share Fuji and Pink Lady apples this was amazing.)
  • Classic Pumpkin Pie (I made this raw milk instead of canned evaporated milk and it was a bit less firm, but so delicious.)
  • Salted Caramel Pecan Pie (Oh. My.  Another Southern Living recipe and a total keeper!  My pie, made with local fresh pecans looked exactly like the cover photo.  If you are a fan of the chocolate coma I highly recommend.)
  • Pumpkin Roll (Made by my sister and there were basically no leftovers so does that tell you something?)
  • Brownies (Made by my best girlfriend because, really, is there anyone who doesn’t crave brownies?)

So that’s it… here’s hoping that you had a lovely celebration of your own!  And remember, Give Thanks, every day, not just on Thanksgiving!

give thanks 2013


(That’s me on the left.  My younger, thinner, more beautiful, not-twin sister on the right.)


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