Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving approaches and so does the storm

Early afternoon at the little house in the big woods.  It is snowing. The storm started, ever so slowly, when the dog and I were on our walk, and by the time we came home, Liam’s back was wet with snow.

As far as preparations go, everything is right on track. The green bean casserole, minus the butter-crumb topping, is ready. (The butter-crumb topping will be sprinkled on top just before the casserole goes in the oven.)

Green bean casserole, made with Farmer Kev's frozen beans
Green bean casserole, made with Farmer Kev’s frozen beans

The sweet potato casserole—complete with a brown sugar, butter, flour, and nut topping—is ready.


And so is the gravy, cold and solid now from having been in the refrigerator. But it will heat up to a lovely consistency, and how nice to have this piece of Thanksgiving done ahead of time.


To further add to Thanksgiving convenience, Shannon has borrowed an electric roaster, which she will use for the turkey, thus freeing the oven for the various casseroles and dishes that need to stay warm. I’m not sure it would be worthwhile to buy an electric roaster—most meals during the year don’t include so many different side dishes—but the roaster certainly makes life easier on Thanksgiving.

I have several more items on my to-do list: make homemade bread, vaccuum the house, and make peanut butter balls—Clif will help with these when he gets home. Have I planned too much? I usually do.

Finally, Dee was unable to change her travel plans. She anticipates no problems on the train from New York to Boston. The touchy part will be with the bus from Boston to Portland.  To hedge her bets, she’s booked a seat on the Downeaster, which for some crazy reason doesn’t offer any trains between 5:40 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. What’s up with that?

Now, if only Dee can make it safely to Maine.

Happy Thanksgiving to all, and I hope those who are traveling reach their destinations safely.


Thank You, Farmer Kev

Frozen vegetables and a Farmer's Cookbook
Frozen vegetables and a Farmer’s Cookbook

Thanksgiving might not be here yet, but yesterday felt like Christmas at the little house in the big woods. Our own Farmer Kev has started a winter CSA (community supported agriculture) program, and we received our first delivery yesterday. Oh, the vegetables Farmer Kev brought—garlic; micro-greens and arugula; bean sprouts; romaine lettuce;  broccoli; squash; potatoes; frozen green beans as well as other frozen vegetables. He even included a Farmer Kev cookbook.

Such an abundance, and all grown in the Winthrop area, only miles from where I live. And, to top it off, Farmer Kev delivers.

Last night, Clif and I had fresh salads made with Farmer Kev’s greens. There was such a variety of greens that aside from the bean sprouts and some sunflower seeds, no other ingredients were needed.

I’m going to be honest—Clif and I had to scrape to come up with the money for the winter CSA, but yesterday’s delivery confirmed that this was money well spent. Not only are we getting vegetables that are fresh, fresh, fresh, but we are getting them close-by from a region not plagued by drought.

Best of all, perhaps, is that we are supporting a hard-working young farmer who is trying to make a go of it. Farming is not an easy way to make a living, and the high price of land makes it especially difficult for young farmers. With climate change bringing many, many challenges to this country, to this world, Maine needs a lot more farmers like Kevin.  In the years ahead, they might be instrumental in feeding the state.

Farms and farmers don’t spring up over night. They take years to develop, and along the way, those farmers need our support. Our own contribution may be small, but Clif and I are doing what we can to help local farmers.

This Thanksgiving my gratitude goes to Farmer Kev, to his parents,  and to everyone else who has picked, weeded, cleaned, and frozen.

Fresh lettuce and other veggies
Fresh lettuce and other veggies

All Things Pumpkin

IMG_7006Yesterday, I baked two of the sweetest pumpkins I’ve ever cooked—thank you, Farmer Kev—and have enough pumpkin to make a couple of loaves of quick bread for Thanksgiving as well as a soup for our supper tonight. The bread will go in the freezer, which is too bad. However, with all the other cooking I have to do, there just won’t be time to make the bread close enough to Thanksgiving so that it will be fresh.

This year, Shannon will be hosting Thanksgiving at her home in South Portland. Along with the pumpkin bread, I’ll be bringing the gravy, a sweet potato casserole, and a green bean casserole. All these recipes are oldies but goodies in our family, and in the green bean casserole there will be no cream of mushroom soup or canned onions.  I promise.

One of the happiest recipe finds in my life has been Julia Moskin’s make ahead gravy. It is a long process, but the hands-on time is small, and it is more than worth it to have an utterly delicious gravy made ahead of the big day. This, too, goes in the freezer and comes out Thanksgiving morning.  This gravy can be made a week ahead, two weeks ahead, even a month ahead, and if you do this, there will be one big worry eliminated from your Thanksgiving list.  I post this recipe every year, for new readers and for those who might have overlooked it. The only changes I have made are to use chicken legs instead of turkey legs—chicken gravy goes just fine with turkey—and I also use more butter and flour for a thicker gravy.

Gravy is all very well and good, you might be thinking, but what about those pumpkin seeds? Never fear! They are spread on a baking sheet, where they will dry for a day or two, and after that I plan to roast them with butter, soy sauce, a little garlic powder, and kosher salt. I’ve never roasted them this way before—salt and a little oil are what I have used—but Dee has been raving about roasted pumpkin seeds and soy sauce, which she gets in New York. So this year I thought I would roast them with soy sauce and see how they turn out.

Somehow, I have a feeling that the problem will be to refrain from eating all the pumpkin seeds before Dee comes home. Therefore, I plan to put the roasted pumpkin seeds put into a jar and tuck them in a cupboard where I can’t see them.

This should do the trick. Out of sight, out of mind really does work at the little house in the big woods. Now, all I have to do is remember to bring the pumpkin seeds with me to South Portland  on Thanksgiving Day.