Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Quiet Thanksgiving ~ Just The Four Of Us And Good Food

The weeks leading up to Thanksgiving kept the family busy such that we hardly saw each other so it was a blessing to get away, just the four of us. 

The Pemigewasset River

We headed to New Hampshire after hearing about all the snow the White Mountains were getting.

Even though I've made Thanksgiving dinner there for the past couple of years, I always forget what it's like since I make the meal only once a year. The pantry is pretty basic so it forces me to cook simply. We brought up all the food I had purchased back at home, including the fresh turkey that came from a local farm (story here). In the end, the simplicity worked in our favor and I made a very fresh and flavorful meal. 

The Meal

It started with drying cubes of multi-grain bread, one loaf, overnight which turned into the delicious and flavorful stuffing, or dressing, the next day. Below, the stuffing was made from fresh bread crumbs, fresh sage, chopped celery, onion, chestnuts (jarred), apples, and low-sodium chicken broth.

Cranberry Sauce
Making the fresh cranberry sauce was next with local cranberries I found at the grocery store (there are many beautiful bogs in nearby Cape Cod), oranges, and sugar. The aromas developing were amazing! It raised our holiday spirits.

I love serving cranberry sauce in a glass dish. It looks so pretty and sparkly.

Roasted Butternut Squash With Parsnips And Apples
This is a simple side dish of coarsely chopped squash and apples (of equal size), chopped parsnips (of smaller size), butter, and freshly grated nutmeg. I roast them in the oven until tender in this cast iron pan, but they roast nicely in a baking sheet also. I like to give them a rustic mash.

If we were home, this dish would have looked as pretty as the picture below. Below is the same side dish idea, without the parsnips, and with roasted butternut squash seeds that I made in late August for a kidney nutrition newsletter.

Roasted Green Beans And Leeks
Next, and my favorite new dish creation, was this side dish made by simply roasting green beans with leeks and extra virgin olive oil at 400 degrees for just a few minutes. In the past, I've made roasted green beans with almonds. But this was more savory. A great healthy alternative to the processed canned green bean casserole - which I've never made but have eaten a few times growing up and really never liked.

Mashed Potatoes And Gravy
Mashed potatoes and gravy were the last to be made. I never got a chance to photograph the gravy because that's when it got a little crazy and the entire meal was put together. The gravy was simple, slowly whisking a little flour with strained pan drippings and adding low-sodium chicken broth as needed. 

The fresh turkey had been roasting in the oven.

And the kids played.

White Friday
We skipped Black Friday and skied. I never really liked Black Friday anyway. I prefer to rest or decorate for the holidays.

Feeling exhilarated by the snow, the mountain, and gorgeous scenery, I kept calling the Friday after Thanksgiving our White Friday.

Cannon Mountain

View of Franconia Ridge


  1. This meal is so traditional, yet so healthy - I want to come to your house next year. It all looks delicious LInda!

  2. What a lovely Thanksgiving celebration you had, Linda! Nothing beats those fun moments and delicious food shared with your loved ones!

  3. Linda! Your blog is wonderful:) Beautiful pictures and lovely presentation of food. Looking forward to seeing more!


  4. Thanks all!

    Linda, come and we will cook great things!

    Tina, your family is beautiful! Keep those wonderful traditions going.

    Leslie, thank you so much! I know you just changed your site so I haven't seen much, but from your recent post, I'm looking forward to seeing more on your blog as well.

  5. I love your White Friday!!! So fun. And your Thanksgiving food looks perfect (your photography is just lovely, Linda!). And I'm spying those Brussels sprouts on the previous to see what I should do next Thanksgiving :)

  6. Linda-thanks for sharing your beautiful Thanksgiving celebration, the most amazing the cranberry sauce, the stuffing, and everything else. The photos look so awesome, and in a rustic (almost like Tuscan style)...actually it totally does look like that!
    What a real wintery scene, which I would love to enjoy once a year, getting away from sunny Florida:DDD

  7. Don't you just love family time ;) It was much warmer here in Texas on Thanksgiving!