Thanksgiving

A Thankfuller Thanksgiving

I've said it before, and I'll say it again...grateful people are happier, healthier people. And since we're stuffing our mouths with all kinds of foodie goodness this Thanksgiving, we might want to cut back in other areas. Say, take a fast from whining and complaining. Not only will we reap the benefits of our improved attitude, our friends and relatives and those gathered at our table will bask in our pleasantness.

In that gratitude mode, let me go visual on you:

I'm thankful that my husband, on a trip to the West Bank last week, is safely home. He also picked up this extremely awesome Palestinian nativity, complete with dividing wall and watchtower.

I'm so thankful that we finally got our front door fixed. The knob was all wonky, and we could barely get in and out of the house. We even joked that, if anyone broke the window, then reached through to turn the knob from the inside, it wouldn't have helped a bit. Ralph from Security Safe & Lock, you're our hero.

I'm thankful for family and friends and community. They keep us alive. If you don't think so, read this book:

When we connect, really connect, with our family or with a friend, we're doing ourselves good. We were designed for it. Maybe you're not looking forward to everyone who will be gathered around that Thanksgiving table--you be the one to listen to so-and-so brag about herself/complain unceasingly (even ask a few questions, as pure frosting!). You be the one to appreciate and encourage that person who is always trying to compete with you. What does it cost? Nothing. In fact, we get to let go of our own agenda and flit around, adding to others' enjoyment by seeing them and listening to them, instead of resenting them.

And, if you haven't been invited to a Thanksgiving dinner, host one! Invite those new neighbors or those co-workers. Food has always been my love language. And if I really love you, I'll make you something, using the best ingredients.

Have a happy holiday. (And look--I resisted putting in the link I saw, about how many calories we serve up on our Thanksgiving plate. Because who cares, really? Thanksgiving is about the Village Effect, not our diets.) Gobble gobble!

Buy or Make, It's the Last Market of the 2015 Season!

Oh my. We're headed for that long drought in fresh, local food called the Market Off-Season. Not only that, but Thanksgiving is only a week away!

Time to get your pilgrim on!

While I myself will be at a swim meet in Mukilteo all Saturday, I'll be thinking mournfully of the last Market and how I had no cash last Saturday to buy myself some Bloom Creek Cranberries. I even dragged my 12-year-old Sherpa with me through the rain to the BofA ATM, only to remember my husband had made off with my ATM card.

But you can be at the last Market. And you can fully prepare for your delicious feast. To help you out, I'm providing this Buy/Make Shopping List.

Bet our backyard squirrels would love to get their paws on these

Appetizers

BUY a Proven baguette and some Tieton cheese and smoked salmon. Or some Britt's pickles and Samish Bay smoked sausage for the relish tray.

Or...

MAKE some balsamic- and olive-oil roasted vegetables and some bread-machine focaccia, sprinkled with coarse salt

Salad

BUY some of the spinach or arugula or mixed greens and dressing at Growing Washington

And...

MAKE it into your favorite salad by adding your favorite fresh vegetables. I saw these sunchokes last week, which are crunchy like jicama and lovely in salad.

Turkey

BUY Hmm...hope you placed your order some time ago

And if you did, you'll still need to...

MAKE your roasted main dish. The New York Times offers these instructions.

Sides

Side dishes are the glory of Thanksgiving, in my opinion. And the Market is your source for side dish ingredients.

MAKE mashed or au gratin potatoes. Roast some squash and top it with your favorite sugar concoction. Grab some green beans or brussels sprouts. Don't forget to bring cash for your bag(s) of Bloom Creek Cranberries!

Dessert

BUY a pie. Heck--buy a few and freeze the extras. It is always handy to have a pie in the freezer. You never know when you'll be invited to dinner, and pies are the best way to win friends and influence people. I've never met anyone who didn't like pie. Oh--actually, I did meet one person and instantly distrusted her because how can a person not like pie?

Or...

MAKE your own pies. If there was ever a time to make an effort, this would be it. All those crunchy apples, just dying to be handed to the kids to be peeled and sliced, while you make the crust. Some folks like their apples still firm in the pie, but we like apples that get nice and soft. Ask our fruit farmers which apple is right for you.

And don't forget to grab a hostess gift! Fresh flowers or a box of toffee or a bottle of wine.

Remember, after this we're on our own until May, which means months of get-togethers where people wheel out the same Costco offerings over and over. If you just sighed, you are not alone.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Get Your Thanksgiving On -- Only Two Markets Left!

Has it been driving you nuts, all the Christmas ads playing already? As a major Thanksgiving fan, I don't need the stress of worrying about Christmas this early. Let's take our holidays in order, people. Which means I should acknowledge Veterans Day before I get on with this post.

Thank you, veterans. May you be celebrated with a home-cooked meal today, which in no way makes up for your service, but it's more than lots of folks get, nowadays.

If you don't happen to have any veterans in your life, here are a couple books I've recently devoured about our soldiers (and the hardships they've faced!):

Now onward to Thanksgiving. With only two Markets left, we have to plan ahead. So this would be the week to buy your usual favorite items, as well as ingredients for a couple make-ahead side dishes. Since we'll be headed over the Pass to see my in-laws, I'm in charge of several side dishes and hope to put a couple in the freezer this weekend: rolls, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce (which keeps forever in the fridge), and possibly the base for butternut squash casserole.

If you've been invited to a friend's and only have to bring beverages, consider some fresh cider from Martin Family Orchards, or a bottle of Washington wine. And don't forget that hostess gift! Maybe some toffee or a pie? Definitely flowers.

Here--I've made your shopping list for you:

apples (I might just get a whole box. The ones in the store are so not crisp.)

pumpkin (for the daring among you. I imagine you could whack it in half and cook it on LOW in the slow cooker, just like I do for butternut squash. Super easy.)

winter squash

green beans

onions

cranberries (hoping we'll see Bloom Creek...)

wine

cider

baked goods (if you don't like to make your own rolls or pies. Buy now and freeze.)

eggs (I'm getting a couple dozen, at least. Eggs keep forever in the fridge, although we blow through them at our house. I'll miss those thicker egg whites all winter!)

And with all the preparing for Thanksgiving, you might be too tired to make your own dinner, in which case I recommend some of the delicious prepared food. See everyone Saturday!

Blast From Leftovers Past

It's been nearly a week since Thanksgiving--do you still have leftovers in your fridge?

We sure do. The inventory: cranberry sauce, stuffing, turkey, and mashed potatoes. Then there's the turkey carcass my mother-in-law bequeathed me, which I already turned into two gallons of broth.

The carnage [pic credit: whatscookingamerica.net]

Therefore, it's time for the annual what-to-do-with-the-leftovers post, in which I link to oldie-but-goodie suggestions from posts past.

First off, the turkey. We've already made these recipes for Turkey Tortilla Soup and Turkey Enchiladas this week. Then there are the Fancy Turkey Sandwiches that have gone into lunchboxes. With my last few cups of meat I'm thinking of this Turkey-Wild Rice Casserole adapted from my Betty Crocker's Best Christmas cookbook:

And this would be Betty's pic of it

Turkey-Rice Casserole (cuz the kids hate wild rice)
3 cups cooked rice
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1-1/2 cups turkey or chicken broth
2-1/4 cups milk
8 ozs mushrooms (I mince these in food processor to disguise)
1 2-oz jar diced pimientos, drained
3 cups chopped, cooked turkey
1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease 13x9 dish.

Melt butter in big pot over medium heat. Stir in flour, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in broth and milk, then heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Mix in cooked rice and remaining ingredients and transfer to baking dish.

Bake uncovered 40-45 minutes, or until center is hot.

Variations: add leftover french-fried onions, frozen peas, or bell pepper.

******
Then we have the cranberries and mashed potatoes. Check out these suggestions from a few years ago. That post also included the link for this Stuffing Frittata, which I was looking for just yesterday.

Hey! Robin Miller's kitchen looks exactly like mine, and I look like Robin Miller!

And finally, supposing your roasted an enormous butternut squash for Thanksgiving, and only used half the pulp for that candied-topping recipe, so you still had roasted squash puree in the freezer. May I recommend this recipe, which I adapted from a Deborah Madison one in an old magazine?

Curried Butternut Squash and Apple Bisque
About 2 cups roasted butternut squash
1 Tbsp butter
1 peeled, chopped apple (I used a Collins Honeycrisp)
1-1/2 cups thinly sliced onion
2 cups water
1 cup apple cider (I used Martin Family)
4 cups turkey broth
2-1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 cup whole milk or cream

Melt butter in large pot over medium-high. Add apple and onion and saute 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Add squash, water, cider, broth, and spices. Bring to a boil; partially cover, reduce heat, and simmer 40 minutes.

Blend in blender in batches, or use an immersion blender to make it smooth. Add milk or cream and reheat on low until thoroughly heated.

Mind you, this soup is luscious. I paired it with a chard frittata, but it'd go great with that Stuffing Frittata above. The kids wouldn't touch it, naturally, but that just meant more for me!

A Few Things to Be Thankful for at 2014's Last Bellevue Farmers Market

The original teacup squash, grown by the hub

Alas, we have come to the end.

And there's not even any time to mourn properly because Thanksgiving and Decembermageddon will shortly be upon us. At least my 11YO daughter reminded me to put out the Thanksgiving decorations, for their brief stint before the Christmas bomb goes off in the house. (Exhibit A: my favorite tablecloth [right], all but buried under three computers and truckloads of papers, homework, and other crud.)

If your mind is desperately trying to get a head start on the season, let me help you out. Whether you have to put the whole meal together, or someone just assigned you one dish, the Market has what you need.

Your holiday Market shopping list:

  • Cranberries for sauce. It's fine to make it now--all that sugar keeps it indefinitely.
  • Salad greens. Chard, kale, spinach, mixed greens. Thanksgiving meals can be so starch-heavy that you want your salad to perk up the palate. The flavorful greens go well with Holmquist Hazelnuts and Tieton Farm and Creamery Cheese. Toss in some thin apple or pear slices!
  • Soup. Make your own with some butternut squash or pick up some quarts to go from Got Soup? Everyone just needs a teensy cup of flavorful soup, to prepare them for the heavy-duty eating ahead.
  • Bread and rolls.
  • Cider and wine.

 Martin Orchards has mouth-watering apple and pear flavors. Drink them straight, heated with mulling spices, or splashed in with sparkling water for your own "sparkling cider." We bought a half-gallon of the pear, but my children have been complaining because we've had to ration it. This visit I'll grab the gallon.

  • Potatoes for roasting and mashing. Lots and lots of potatoes. In a range of colors and without any nasty pesticides.
  • Carrots and brussels sprouts. Roast 'em. You won't be sorry.
  • Now, I know you already got your heritage turkey. But don't forget sausage and herbs for the stuffing!
  • And round off with a couple pies. Buy on the spot, or place an order with Adrienne's, with pick-up at Bellevue Presbyterian Church on Wednesday!

Just look at those puppies!
Ye all-important Order Form

And, supposing you weren't asked (or trusted) to bring anything. Well, every hostess likes a thoughtful gift. May I suggest...

Yup. Chocolates or toffee or a bottle of wine or a jar of honey or some beeswax candles or a jar of pickles! If they're avoiding carbs and you don't want to unfriend them (yet), maybe some flavored hazelnuts..? All I know is, if someone showed up at my house with Market food offerings, he or she would be my New Best Friend. It's that simple.

Sigh. So while I have much to be thankful for, I'll still be counting the days for baseball season and Market season to resume. In the meantime, continue to check back here for your weekly food news and foodie book reviews!

Which Just Goes to Show People Can Freak Out Over Anything

I knew it! I knew it!

The Wall Street Journal ran an article today about the latest diagnosable disorder: orthorexia nervosa. "Orthorexia" is not, as you might imagine, some sort of spelling disease, but rather an unhealthily obsessive attitude toward healthy eating. Imagine those folks who bore and proselytize you with their stringent diets, diets undertaken not from genuine food allergies but from a desire to be "healthier." Next thing you know, that urge to control what gets ingested takes over the person's life, driving not just their friends and families crazy, but themselves as well.

Among the proposed criteria: an obsession with the quality and composition of meals to the extent that people may spend excessive amounts of time, say three or more hours a day, reading about and preparing specific types of food; and having feelings of guilt after eating unhealthy food. The preoccupation with such eating would have to either lead to nutritional imbalances or interfere with daily functional living to be considered orthorexia.

That is, if your healthy-food obsession leads only to driving people nuts, but you're still getting proper nutrition and able to function in other areas of your life, you don't have orthorexia--you're just tiresome. But if your chosen diet is ironically impairing your mental and physical health, it's time to see a counselor.

Whew. Got that out there. Because good food should be a source of joy, not anxiety!

Consider these dehydrated apple chips Samantha at Collins Family Orchards created:

The awesome thing--not just how they look and taste, but the fact that they were made with just apples, lemon juice, water, and lots of time in the dehydrator. Sam did say it takes a ton of space and time and doesn't make much, but she might have said that because my mouth was watering and she could tell I was about to ask if I could have the rest of the jar and any more she might be hiding in the back.

But the purity of Sam's apple chips does bring me to some bad news (orthorexia nervosa sufferers, please skip this next bit). The Environmental Working Group has put out its first "Dirty Dozen" list for Food Additives. While there are 10,000 legal food additives, of which only a fraction have been tested for safety, the following dozen are "known or possible carcinogens and some can have reproductive and developmental effects":

  1. Nitrates and nitrites (preservatives in cured meats)
  2. Potassium bromate (a flour "improver")
  3. Propyl paraben (endocrine disruptor)
  4. Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)
  5. Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)
  6. Propyl gallate
  7. Theobromine
  8. Secret flavor ingredients
  9. Artificial colors
  10. Diacetyl
  11. Phosphates
  12. Aluminum additives
Looking at this list, I do buy deli ham regularly (uh oh) and hot dogs occasionally (not worried about this), but my bacon and sausage come from the Market, and our folks don't use those preservatives--hence everything being refrigerated or frozen.
Basically, avoiding highly processed foods will protect you from this Dirty Dozen, so largely do-able, unlike avoiding air pollution, for instance.
Two Saturday Markets left! And with Thanksgiving looming, it's time to plan ahead. Get your cranberries and make your sauce now (it'll keep).
Lovely berries [pic from our own Bloom Creek Cranberry Farm]
Load up on apples and squash. Pies can be frozen, as can those sugar-topped casseroles and the soups.
Make rolls or buy them from one of our capable bakers.
Sausage for stuffing!
If you've been invited somewhere, grab that bottle of wine or cider as a hostess gift. Or some toffee. Or a pie. Believe me--a little money, wisely spent at the Market, and you'll secure invitations for years to come. Eat happy and healthy and relaxed, my friends.

Talking Turkey

As I mentioned last week, before you reach for that Butterball in your grocery store freezer section, you might want to consider a "heritage" turkey from Windy N Ranch. Here are ten reasons why:

Looks, for starters

  1. Flavor. As with chicken, when you breed the speed into their weight-gain, you breed out the flavor. Ever wonder what turkey tasted like to your great-grandparents? Wonder no more.
  2. Cool names. Let "Bourbon Red, Narragansett, Standard Bronze, and White Holland" roll around your mouth and off your tongue.
  3. Antibiotic-free. Though, if they ever figure out a way to give turkeys flu shots that then grant us flu-shot protection, I might be willing to give ground here.
  4. Growth-hormone-free. These heritage turkeys put on weight in the good old-fashioned manner--over time. As in, 50% longer from here to maturity than industrial turkeys.
  5. Steroid-free. Because we like our baseball-players PED-free, why not our turkeys? A-Rod may be allowed to return to baseball next year, but we all know we won't hold him in the same esteem as players with no hint of fakery. Same goes for the crowning glory of the Thanksgiving table. Baseball, apple pie, Chevrolet, and heritage turkeys is all I'm saying.
  6. Stimulant-free. Meaning, I think, the turkeys were allowed no access to alcoholic ragers and video game marathons. Oh--hang on--word just in--"stimulants" refers to growth stimulants fed to industrial poultry. My bad.
  7. Ionophore-free. I'm pretty sure this means the turkeys were raised entirely in the troposphere, and not outer space, where turkeys have no business being. Wait--what? A quick search reveals that "ionophore" "ionosphere." "Ionophores" are "anticoccidials" added to poultry feed. Using my rusty root-word SAT skills, my best guess is that ionophores fight/prevent tailbones...Onward...
  8. Pastured. Whew. A term I do know. These turkeys got to roam about on grass. Grass with no herbicides or pesticides. Some of you may be claustrophilic indoors-y types, but you wouldn't have made good turkeys.

  9. Available at the Bellevue Farmers Market. How easy is that? Place your order this Saturday and pick up later in the month, while you're grabbing your potatoes and bread and soup and fresh cranberries and green beans and apples for pie and pumpkin for pie. One-stop shopping!
  10. And lastly, Acquainted with the delights of turkey sex. It wouldn't surprise you to hear that the Broad-Breasted Whites which make up most of the turkeys in America rarely feel "in the mood" for turkey whoopee. Not only are they confined and pumped full of nastiness and swollen like surgically-enhanced pageant contestants, but they actually are physically unable to enjoy turkey intimacy. As if we needed one more reason to feel Thanksgiving guilt! As turkey lives go, heritage turkeys have it pretty sweet.


The classic Narragansett
Don't know if you're allowed to order by particular breed, but with these beauties it's hard to go wrong!

Bourbon Red [pic courtesy Livestockconservancy.org]
Who am I kidding? These really have got to be the most ridiculous-looking birds that walk the planet. But so tasty.

On a final note, I leave you with this quote from the lesser-known-but-also-awesome girl pioneer book Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink. Caddie's mom was unable to sell her turkeys at market, and therefore the Woodlawns are forced to eat turkey day in and day out. Plenty of us do this by choice nowadays, but I guess back when turkey had distinctive flavor this could have become a hardship:

"There's nothing nicer than turkey on bread, my child. Think of all the poor children who would be glad of a nice turkey sandwich!"

Tom and Caddie and Warren had often thought of these poor children who had no turkey. Secretly they envied them. One can endure beef every day or even salt pork. One eats it mechanically, without thinking, but not turkey. No matter how disguised with onions or cabbage, or sage dressing, turkey is always turkey. 

Food of Champions

'Tis the season. We officially have a "Corgi" pumpkin on our porch, which I would show you, except it looks nothing like this:

This would be Juba, an actual Corgi

I've got to say, unlike the rest of you out there, spending $7.4 billion on Halloween candy, costumes, and decorations, I'm just not that into it. We bought the pumpkin that became a Corgi, and two bags of candy for the three trick-or-treaters who will darken our door (and I'm rounding up on that number), for a total of $10. Multiply that times 117 million households in America, and you only get a total of $1.2 billion. So, clearly, some of you are going nuts.

Besides, the next Market will be Saturday, November 1, when all of you will be trolling for vegetables to relieve your Snickers hangover. May I recommend...

Little-known fact: purple carrots are yellow in the middle

And once we have the spooky, expensive holiday behind us, there are two important things to look forward to in November: kids' sports championships and Thanksgiving. If you can't give thanks for the one (except to say, "Hallelujah! It's over!"), you certainly can for the other.

But suppose you're really into encouraging and nourishing your little champion--what would be the best food and drink to power the tyke through that meet or match, and give your future Olympian an edge over everyone else's lesser spawn? Good news--I've read a book this week and picked up some tips and ah-has.

  1. "The typical athlete, without using any special nutritional techniques, has enough carbohydrates in his body to fuel roughly three hours of endurance exercise at around 70-80% of effort...If you're exercising for less than 75 minutes, you probably don't need any carbohydrate intake at all for optimal performance. Your body already has plenty of fuel for these shorter efforts without any sort of bars or gels or drinks." I knew it! I knew I didn't have to bring snacks for those dumb baseball games and mighty-mite soccer matches! Spread the word, people.
  2. For "stop and start" sports like soccer and basketball, with games that last 1-2.5 hours, then you might consume between 30-60 grams of carbs and see a benefit. Or, you could just swish the energy drink around in your mouth and spit it out again, because "there's a strong line of research that shows that we have sensors in our mouths that detect the presence of carbs, and that even just rinsing your mouth with carbs has an effect on your brain that can increase your performance"(!). So, okay...for the older kids with longer games, hand over the violently-colored Gatorade, but when they take a sip, run up behind them and scare or tickle them, so they spit it out.
  3. You can make your own Gatorade! U.S. Olympic sports nutritionist Nancy Clark gives this recipe: Dissolve 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 tsp salt in 1/4 cup hot water. Add 1/4 cup orange juice, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, and 3-1/2 cups cold water. Boom. Done. Homemade. Throw in a few drops of lurid artificial food coloring if your child won't touch it otherwise.
  4. Yes, many performance-enhancing substances have been banned from competition, but here are the proven, still-legal goodies!
    • Caffeine. More isn't better, but some has demonstrated results.
    • Baking soda. It keeps muscles from becoming acidic and feeling fatigued. The downside? You can't take your dose via chocolate chip cookies or blueberry muffins. You have to combine it straight with a little carb-dense meal and risk GI side effects.
    • Beet juice. Something to do with nitrates, which your body converts to nitrite and then to nitric acid, making your blood vessels dilate and increasing mitochondrial efficiency. Apparently, at the 2012 London Olympics, athletes cleaned out all the beet juice in a ten-mile radius. Good luck getting your young 'un to chug that stuff, though.
  5. Diet-wise, McClusky recommends eating "one gram of protein daily for every pound of body weight to support muscular growth, and...at least eight fist-sized servings of vegetables a day." That's a lot of vegetables. Which explains why my children will probably never summit that Olympic podium.
  6. Increase brain fitness. Studies showed that increasing brain fitness increases physical abilities as well. Mind over matter.
  7. And, finally, sleep more. In a study of basketball players, an increase of two hours of sleep per night resulted in a 13% performance enhancement, as measured by free-throw shooting, 3-point shooting, and sprint drills. 13%!!! Put down the steroids and the human growth hormones, Sonny, and just go back to bed!
There's more in this fascinating book--I'm giving it to my son's swim coach for Christmas--so get yourself a copy, even if you just want to turn yourself into the Ultimate Weekend Warrior.
So much for athletic excellence. If you're like me, heading into the holidays, you're thinking a lot more about eating than working out. And if we're talking Thanksgiving, we're talking turkey.
Have you ordered your turkey yet? Windy N Ranch is taking deposits on their organic, GMO-free heritage turkeys! Heritage turkeys are exactly what they sound like--old-timey breeds that look, taste, and behave like the turkeys Ben Franklin knew, when he joked about making them our National Bird.
If you haven't had them before, the real deal is tasty. Tasty goodness. Mmm....you better run, little turkeys. Run run run run run, little turkeys...

Thanksgiving Countdown

Skagit Turkeys (note the heavenly light surrounding them)

My mother-in-law and I just divvied up The Dinner. Here's how it played out:

RITA--
Turkey (but my Skagit River Ranch turkey will be delivered this week for personal consumption)
Gravy
Hors d'oeuvres
Pumpkin pie

ME--
Homemade rolls (I'll substitute some whole wheat flour)
Apple pie (delegated to the pie-baking husband)
Butternut squash (suitably disguised as dessert--I'll also add marshmallows to the topping)
Green bean casserole
Brussels sprouts with apple and bacon

That last item I forgot to mention to her, so it'll be a surprise. Did I mention that Thanksgiving is my favorite-est holiday ever? All the food of Christmas, without the gift-giving onus. A holiday where you actually sit around being thankful for what you have already received. No lists, no debt, no gift wrapping, no shipping, no returns. The only downside to the World's Best Holiday is that it marks the end of our Bellevue Farmers Market season. And that is a bummer.

Last chance until May to stock up on just-picked local goodness! Apples. Pears. Greens. Squash. Tomatoes. Herbs. Eggs. Salmon (buy and freeze!). Honey. Jam. Treats from Snohomish Bakery and Manini's. Toffee. Soup. Fruit-veggie smoothies and more.

So long, farewell, Bellevue Farmers Market 2012 season!

10-3 in the Congregational Church parking lot. Dogs are welcome, as are early birds! The only birds who have to fear this time of year are the turkeys. And on that note, I leave you with this compelling music video by Katie Rice Music on behalf of our feathered feast fixings.

Refrigerator, We Have a Problem

Namely, I've blown through all my Thanksgiving leftovers.

The first night it was Turkey Tortilla Soup.

The second night it was Turkey Enchiladas.

This morning I used up the last three cups of stuffing in a frittata recipe that I featured in last year's post-Thanksgiving post. That leaves only about two cups of mashed potatoes which will soon find their way into soup, bread, or be fried in little cakes.

If you're still fortunate enough to have some leftovers, check out these easy recipes.

Turkey Tortilla Soup
1 c. chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
2 c. shredded turkey
1 c. corn (optional)
1/4 c. wine
Pinch of crushed red peppers
1 t cumin
1 t Worcestershire sauce
1 t chili powder
2 (14.25-ozs cans) chicken broth or equivalent
1 can diced tomatoes OR 1 lg can tomato sauce or 1 jar salsa

Saute onions and garlic in Tbsp olive oil in a soup pot. Add everything else. Reduce heat and simmer 1 hour. Serve topped with shredded cheese, sour cream and crushed tortilla chips. 4-5 servings.

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Turkey Enchiladas
1 c. sour cream
sprinkle of cilantro to taste
1.5 t cumin
2 c diced cooked turkey
2 c shredded cheddar, separated into 1 c for filling and 1 c for topping.
1/2 jar salsa

6 8-inch flour tortillas
6 ozs cream cheese, cut into long slices
can enchilada sauce

Combine filling ingredients. Divide into equal portions. Fill each tortilla, laying a strip of cream cheese on top. Line the enchiladas up in an 8x8 pan and pour enchilada sauce over. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover and bake at 350F for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes until cheese browns.

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My other food-related problem is that the Bellevue Farmers Market season has ended (alas). I continue to buy my meats, poultry and eggs through the Skagit River Ranch Bellevue Buyers Club (delivered monthly to a centralized Bellevue location), but if I want local produce and specialty foods, I'll have to venture to another farmers market. It just so happens that a college student in Santa Barbara has developed a helpful tool to locate farmers markets for those times when we are out and about.

The program, called "Find the Data," allows you to enter "Bellevue" under the Location (state, city, or zip) field. Choose Bellevue, Washington, hit Enter, and a list of local markets pops up. Although clicking on a market name will not give you the hours and start and end dates, if any, there is a link to that market's particular website. It's a work in progress, and a helpful start!

During the Market off-season I'll be keeping up with the weekly posts on food, nutrition, foodie book reviews, and more, so check back often.

The Thanks that Keep on Giving

Nothing says it like a Hand Turkey

Yesterday my youngest drew up an 80-item list of things she was thankful for. I'm thrilled to report I topped it, well above "Clocks" (#17), "Candy and Cake" (#34), and even "Weapons" (#72). "God" made a pathetic appearance at #80, barely beat out by "Couches." That's always a tough call.

While the eight-year-old's list began to sound like those "Anniversary Gifts" booklets they hand out in Hallmark stores--Silk, Cloth, Wood, etc.--she nevertheless had the right idea, in this season of thankfulness.

Gratitude researcher (yes, there is such a job) Robert Emmons of UC Davis has found that people who practice gratitude demonstrate greater overall well-being. To take just two examples, he discovered that,

  1. In an experimental comparison, those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events (Emmons & McCullough, 2003) [emphasis mine]. And,
  2. A daily gratitude intervention (self-guided exercises) with young adults resulted in higher reported levels of the positive states of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy compared to a focus on hassles or a downward social comparison (ways in which participants thought they were better off than others).

It can be too easy during the holiday season for adults to focus on the negative: negotiating logistics, difficult family situations, the stress of gift-giving, lines at the post office, planning the giant feasts. Consider this post a gratitude intervention and feel free to come up with your own Top Ten List!

Top Ten Wonderful Things about Thanksgiving:



1. The food. Whether you eat in a restaurant, buy your feast at the grocery story, potluck it with friends and family, or slave over the whole thing yourself, Thanksgiving kicks off the season of deliciousness. If I ever go completely berserk from not keeping a gratitude journal, end up on Death Row and am offered a final meal, I just might ask for a Thanksgiving meal. It's all about the stuffing and cranberry sauce, the green-bean casserole and pumpkin pie. Mmmm...


2. It's not Christmas. No gift pressure. Yeah, maybe you bring your host a bottle of wine, but that's it.


3. We're stuffed, not starving. Think about the pilgrims and how touch-and-go things always were food-wise. Thank heaven for Native-American generosity in those early days and the abundance of our modern food supply.


4. Thanksgiving celebrates leftovers. As I've mentioned before, so many times leftovers get pushed to the back of our fridge until they liquefy or grow nasty gray-green fur. But Thanksgiving leftover creativity has become a tradition in itself. Turkey soup, turkey enchiladas, turkey a la king. Cranberry sauce appears on sandwiches and made into quick bread. When in doubt or suffering from lack of imagination, we just eat the meal itself, over and over until we run out.


5. Thanksgiving is all about opening our doors to each other. The Pilgrims and the Native Americans again. We gather with family or friends or strangers or a mix of all three! And that's how it should be, traditionally speaking. No one cares about 4th-of-July-Barbecue Orphans or Arbor-Day Loners, but Thanksgiving's a whole 'nother story.


6. Time off! (Unless you work for the government, in which case you have already received your reward.)


7. Nap time is sanctioned. Thanks to the early meal and the game on, everyone catches up on some sleep.


8. You don't have to dress up or give out candy. Call me the Halloween curmudgeon, but I consider this a real bonus.


9. We take a moment to compile lists like these. One family I know has everyone go around the table and name something they're thankful for before they can dig in. If you know anyone with a gratitude problem, this can be a real motivator.


10. Thanksgiving leads to Christmas. The second my husband puts down his fork, it's officially Advent. The lights go on. The Christmas music goes on and away we go.


Happy Thanksgiving! May your turkey come out juicy and your rolls lofty!


(This post is shared by both my blogs today.)

Two Farmers Markets Left!

The good news is we aren't going anywhere for Thanksgiving because the parents are coming this direction. The bad news is we aren't going anywhere for Thanksgiving because the parents are coming this direction. Meaning, I don't have to be organized when it comes to luggage and the kids' schoolwork, but I do have to get my act in gear about Thanksgiving dinner. Especially since there are only two Saturday markets left!

When you're thinking about eating local for Thanksgiving, don't forget the following goodies on the shopping list:

  1. The perfect hostess gift. Caramels? Toffee? Smoked Salmon? A jar of jam? Fancy cheese? Flowers, naturally.
  2. Appetizers. Assemble a cheese tray with Golden Glen's Cheddar with Red Pepper and Samish Bay's Ladysmith (Jalapeno, if you feel adventurous). Or whip up some cream cheese and serve it alongside Handmade in Seattle's Ginger Pear Butter. Or stop at Hama Hama for some smoked oysters.

  3. Potatoes. Whether chopped and roasted or mashed with tons of butter, the Market carries every variety. And I've said this before, but after you read Michael Pollan's The Botany of Desire, you will never want to eat a non-organic potato again.
  4. If you aren't making rolls, grab some tasty bread at Ble. Slice it and throw it in the freezer until you need it.
  5. Don't forget that Samish Bay carries sausage, if you prefer sausage-and-cornbread stuffing. Not to mention, onions and celery can also be found at several stalls. If you like oyster stuffing, hit Hama Hama.
  6. Having a pescatorian Thanksgiving? Treat your guests to Food Magazine's Thanksgiving Salmon recipe, complete with cranberry sauce. Loki Salmon tastes wonderful cooked any which way, and the diehards might not miss the turkey.
  7. And finally, for dessert, there are plenty of apples for homemade apple pie, and I've even spotted a few pie pumpkins. Tiny's Organic had a new apple--the Golden Russet. Not as dramatic to look at as their Arkansas Blacks, but very tasty and crisp.

Get cracking, and we'll see you on Saturday!