Thanksgiving was a blur and Christmas is coming fast

Sometimes life’s circumstances make it hard to keep things on schedule. So it has been for us with a family medical issue. I’ve lost track of exactly what we had for dinner, or for that matter what all I cooked, in the week leading up to Thanksgiving weekend. I do have some photos of the results, so I’ll take it from there.
At the beginning of the week I was still on a ricotta rampage, finding ways to use my new favorite ingredient, Fresh Ricotta Cheese. Michael is a big breakfast lover and heartily approved of my Ricotta Pancakes. They were crazy easy to make and packed more protein than the usual dessert-for-breakfast variety.  I’ll have to add them to my list.
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Sweet Ricotta and Apple Tarts were another experiment in the field of desserts. They had a cheesecake like texture and taste, but were lower in calories and fat. The caramel topping wasn’t needed, especially in the quantity that “accidentally” drizzled off my spoon. That topping was straight out of a tub of caramel apple dip that Michael helped jump into the grocery cart. I don’t think we’ll be buying it again any time soon. It’s too sweet even for him, and he loves his sweets.
Autumn Fruit and Nut Bread was a successful addition to my apple recipe collection. (Yes, I’m still dealing with all those apples!) With apples, dates, cranberries and walnuts this bread is a little carb heavy but well worth the splurge. Try it with a smear of cream cheese.
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Through all the craziness of the week, a big pan of My Baked Penne Pasta served us well for a couple of nights. I keep a stash of Meat Sauce in my freezer, so it took no time at all to throw this one together. Not much more time would be needed to brown up a pound of ground beef or sausage to add to a jar of sauce, or you could leave the meat out all together for a vegetarian version. The cheese filling provides plenty of protein.
Aaron and Jen hosted Thanksgiving dinner this year, and did a good job. My assignment was Broccoli Casserole and appetizers. Broccoli Casserole is a family tradition. No holiday dinner is complete with out it. It’s cheesy and gooey and decadent, but you’ll just have to take my word for that, because I can’t find a picture.
On to the appetizers…Those have become something of a tradition in themselves. Bold Party Mix is the first requirement. We snack on that all fall, from football games to New Years.IMG_0590 IMG_0649
Spinach and Cheese Filled Triangles are another requirement, as are Hot Mushroom Turnovers. Both of those are a bit time consuming. This year, after forming a few of the turnovers, I tried to change things a bit to speed the job up.
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I already had my mini muffin pan out, so half the turnovers became mini mushroom tarts. Not the same! The little tarts have the mushroom taste, but aren’t nearly as appealing.  I’ll save the turnovers for company and Michael and I can snack on the tarts.
Out of my recipe archives came a blast from the past, Clam Dip. I had forgotten how good that stuff is! Forget the chips, I could eat it straight out of the bowl with a spoon. I think Aaron and Xander would be right there with me. Pretzels out of the party mix were Xander’s dipping utensil of choice.
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Jen’s request was Candied Orange Peel, some dipped in chocolate, some not. She wanted them last year, but I couldn’t make them. These fruity little candies are one time that appearance counts. You just can’t make them with ugly oranges!
On Saturday, Aaron snuck away from home to join us for the Alabama/Auburn game. I hope he can continue to do so until Xander is old enough to appreciate THE game. Here in Alabama the Iron Bowl is serious business that demands undevided attention and maybe a couple of beers.  Roll Tide!
I was glad Aaron was able to come and wish Emily could have come, as well. Emily got stuck working the whole weekend and missed out on everything except a short visit with Granny, Michael’s mother.  On Sunday afternoon  Aaron rode with Emily to visit her in Tennessee. I was glad both of them had that little bit of time together. It doesn’t happen often.
Whew! Thanksgiving week really was a blur. Now to get going on Christmas. Where do I start? I’m behind already!
Be thankful for what life gives you.


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