Category Archives: Food & Recipes

Fall break is over – now, what to do with that turkey?

Well, it’s time to go back to work, and that’s not all bad. It just…the fall break and Thanksgiving holiday have been so relaxing, fun, and full of uninterrupted time with my sweet family.

Some days we did not leave the house or leave our pajamas. It doesn’t really get any better than that.

My mother-in-law returned from her trip (a visit to her hometown) on late on Saturday. She didn’t say it, but I think she was thrilled to be home – back to our multigenerational home. She was smiling a lot and verbally reflected on how different she felt about her hometown (no negative feelings – just different and changed).

My kids were overjoyed to rediscover their grandmother on Sunday morning. Not to be so cheesy, but it really did warm my heart. The joyful squeals of happy children are very high on my “awww” list.

And now, as we get back to our regular schedule of living and work schedules until winter break – what are we going to do with all that turkey? (Did I throw you for a loop? Not intended at all.)

Even though the four of us (sans grandma) went out to eat for Thanksgiving, we did prepare a turkey (small turkey).

Here are the top recycled turkey recipes we love – and some we’ve already had since Thanksgiving:

Turkey quiche

Turkey quesadillas

Turkey pot pie

Turkey chili

Turkey noodle soup


Photos: turkey quiche, turkey quesadilla, turkey pot pie, turkey chili, turkey noodle soup

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Last minute Thanksgiving- quick and easy recipes to help you get ready

It’s Thanksgiving eve and some folks are just getting around to planning their menu, creating their shopping list, and thinking about decorating.

Nope, no judgment from us, we want to help. We believe in working smarter and not harder, and sometimes, if it weren’t for the last minute, not much would get done.

My multigenerational family is always up for trying a recipe that is easy to moderate in difficulty. We have spent this fall season trying out all kinds of tasty fare.

Many of the cooking projects involved a three and eleven-year-old helping out. I only mention this to amplify the fact that all cooking is not hard or scary. It can actually be fun and relaxing, even when you are pressed for time. (Trust me…I didn’t even know how easy it was to make homemade whipped cream before I met my husband. I thought the only choice was Cool Whip or the aerosol stuff. I know, I know!)

We have created a list of recipes that are simple, elegant, and hard to mess up. You can take comfort in trying out some of these recipes and knowing the food will taste and look great. Your family and guests will think you spend a lot of time planning for Thanksgiving.

It’s all right if you want them to think that, but as I have mentioned before, the holiday season should not be filled with stress. Ask for help and support. What a great opportunity to spend quality time together – cooking and sharing a lovely meal.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with getting online or picking up the phone to make dinner reservations for Thanksgiving. (Just saying.)

Hubby comments:

Preparing the Thanksgiving meal just requires confidence.  If you don’t have confidence start by acting like you do and follow the success tips below.

  1. Plan a menu but keep it simple.
  2. Simplify the meal by reducing the number of items prepared – this will help out when the oven gets full and additional items are waiting for space in the oven.
  3. If you are just starting now, you are too late for a frozen turkey.  Pick something else that is simple (e.g. turkey breast or ham). Both are easy and only take a fraction of the time to prepare.
  4. Use an oven bag for turkeys.  They work wonderfully – shorten the cooking time – and provides a nice juicy main course.
  5. Make desserts and cranberry sauce this evening.
  6. If you must have every possible side dish, either cook the turkey in an electric roast, fry the turkey or get some accessories for your oven to stack side dishes.
  7. Try at least one thing different on the menu – something that might not be considered traditional Thanksgiving faire.
  8. Involve everyone living in the house – tasks can be distributed to even the youngest kids, grandparents, men, and even guest staying overnight.  Think of this as a sharing opportunity that all will appreciate. (Provide aprons!)
  9. If you are cooking a turkey – ignore the temperature from other recipes.  Most side dishes require the same temperature or are forgiving if you use anything between 350°F and 425°F.
  10. Secret tip: use a ramekin to prepare a small sample for tasting especially if you prepare anything the day before – it pays to be the cook.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Cranberry Sauce

Macaroni & Cheese

Candied Yams

Desserts

Sweet Potato Pie

Pumpkin Praline Pie

Pumpkin Spice Cake

Cranberry Bog Cocktail


cranberries, mac & cheese, candied yams, sweet potato pie, cranberry bog

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Comfort food {thanks mother-in-law}

The weather had changed, the sun is setting earlier, and it’s time for some hearty meals. I’m not saying the weather and time change sanctions putting on your “winter layer”, but seeking out comfort foods is just so fitting at this time of year.

November is a busy time for me in my work-life. Lots of deadlines, reports, and conference calls fill my days and it can be draining. In addition to this, hubby often has longer work-travel and that just adds to the intense nature of our November.

Hubby’s extensive work-travel was a major catalyst for my mother-in-law moving into our home. I’m not embarrassed to admit that I was freaked out by the idea of managing my two children, my career, and my real-life while my hubby would be away on extended work-travel.

And so this month, my hubby was away on 5 ½ day work trip, and my mother-in-law was right there to help me keep our multigenerational family moving on the right track.

The kids were getting to school and their activities. I was arriving at work at a decent time and fairly well rested. Things were moving along at a semi-regular pace and by day 4, I hit a wall.

Nothing major happened. My energy was low and my smile wasn’t constant; I was tired.

In my mother-in-law’s sometimes quiet observational mode, she noticed my exhaustion and addressed it. She didn’t come right out and say, “Wow, Kanesha. You look tired and a bit crazy. Pull it together girl!

Instead she suggested we have a comfort food evening. She offered to make Hungarian beef stew and suggested the two of us share a bottle of wine. That was one of the best things I could have heard on the morning of day 4.

I instantly became relaxed when I entered the house and the stew’s aroma hit my nose. The house smelled like warmth, love and peace. The stew was divine and eased my tension. (I supposed the wine helped too.)

The following day I was upbeat and feeling renewed. Hubby soon returned and my regular rhythm was restored.

As I think back to the days that led up to me becoming jammed up, I know I should have slowed down and asked my mother-in-law for a bit more help.

I’m still learning.

photo source

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Sugar and spice

I spent one afternoon baking sweet potato pies with my daughter. Honestly, she didn’t even need me. I was pretty much there as her sous-chef, which was fine with me because we were spending time together.

Once the pies were in the oven, I went to have a phone chat, and my mother-in-law kindly started to clean up the kitchen. My son decided to help her as his new motto is, “I’m a good helper, so I can help you.

I returned just in time to see them putting the dry goods away. My son, for whatever reason, decided to ask my mother-in-law about the different sugars. He wanted to know why we had different sugars, what they were used for, and how to spell the different sugar names.

I stood in the corner and watched my mother-in-law entertain his every question. She explained we use white sugar the most, and that mommy (me) likes the raw sugar for coffee. She told him why we put the bear in the brown sugar (to keep it moist) so that it sprinkles well over oatmeal (which my son devours…the oatmeal AND brown sugar). She talked about using powered sugar to make icing for cookies and to shake over pancakes and brownies.

The conversation continued with the two them discussing the names of letters and their sounds. Who knew cleaning up could be so educational?

It was a very sweet moment to observe and I’m sure there will be many more.

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Multigenerational vacation – the family reunion

Here is a recommendation for your next family reunion – make it about the food – the food from your youth, the stuff that brings back memories. 

[slideshow]

I just got home from the mother of all multigenerational experiences – my family reunion.  We stayed in 2 locations: the families with little kids shared a massive house in Scottsdale (8 adults and 8 kids between 2 and 11) and the others were at the Boulders Resort. 

At any point in the day, we were in the pool, eating, reading, eating, playing games, eating, watching movies, cooking, and eating and oh yeah, drinking.  The initial jaunt to the grocery store resulted in three large carts and a $428 bill – and we made 2 more trips during the course of our 4-day stay.

As the five cousins cooked and prepared food through out the holiday, we talked about the fact that our grandfather never met a meal nor a snack that he did not like.  The man stood 6’4” tall while my grandmother was 5’4”.  She ate like a bird most of the time and as a result, I think my grandfather munched his way through a day…  popcorn, peanuts, pretzels, cheese and crackers, chex mix…  Resisting the inclination to grab a handful of whatever snack lies on a counter goes against our family DNA.

I think we did him proud…  During our vacation, the kids were caught sneaking my mom’s brownies, we made no less than 4 servings of the sour cream/onion mix dip, went through 5 bags of Ruffles (2 were low fat – like that mattered…), mowed through untold numbers of Frescas and diet cokes, devoured 7 pounds of salmon, 10 pounds of pasta, 10 racks of ribs, and drank mojitos, margaritas, beer and wine.  Really, does anyone need anything else?  (Maybe a cabana boy to deliver drinks to the pool?)   Thank goodness we are all back in the real world the other 361 days a year…

The last evening we were together, we savored baby back ribs from Michael Chiarello and fresh coleslaw.  Chas was the first to finish a rib and with a clank of the cleaned bone hitting a bowl, the eating commenced.  We ate and ate… and with 14 adults sitting around the dinner table, we celebrated one birthday, told and re-told old family stories and toasted my grandparents and our heritage.  And only 3 of us got weepy… a minor miracle.

Planning for summer 2011 is already underway… and I am sure the first thing on our grocery list next summer will be sour cream and onion mix – taking us right back to that familiar place of our past.  Thankfully, some things do not change.

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Tantalizing fare for the month of June

I mentioned on some previous posts how this multigenerational family loves to eat and try out new recipes. We also have to make some adjustments to many recipes to support my son’s allergy avoidance diet.  Some readers asked me to post the recipes we tried out in the month of June.

I’m posting the top seven…

Click on the pdf link for the recipes: June Recipes 2010

Grilled salmon on cedar plank with wild rice. (Spinach salad with strawberries - not pictured)

Hubby made this dinner for the two of us when we had our mini-honeymoon. Divine!

Red Pepper Chicken with Noodles

It was a super hot day and my mother-in-law made this dish for the four of us (hubby was on travel). It was quick and easy and did not heat up the house too much. On this particular night, we sat in the living room and watched Jeopardy while we ate. I think I even managed to get final Jeopardy that night. Dinnertime fun!

Grilled Chicken Cobb Burgers

Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Lime and Cilantro

My daughter and I had fun making this meal together. Hubby was getting ready to leave for a two-week work trip and we wanted to do something special for  him. We often watch the Food Network and we keep track of the recipes we want to try out (yes, we make recipe lists!). We all stuffed ourselves that night because the food was so good!

Three-Grain Salad with White Beans, Tomatoes and Parmesan

I decided to make this salad after I read yet another article (this time in Fitness Magazine) that said I needed more fiber in my diet. It was delicious and tasted like REAL food (not cardboard). The fresh basil was aromatic and added the perfect flavor to this salad. The family was pleased.

Blueberry Pie

Because my son is allergic to eggs, dairy and most nuts, we try to make dishes that are “allergy-friendly” and still taste good to rest of us. My mother-in-law decided to make this pie with my son after the characters on Word World made a pie. He wore his little apron and everything.

What are you cooking this summer?

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