Friday, November 23, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

This is how Thanksgiving began for Shira and Rob:  with pumpkin muffins.  And not just any pumpkin muffins.  These are fat free and no sugar added and easy to make!  Yummmmmy . . .

This is the only change to the plans I had made for our usual feast.  We have replaced the mashed potatoes with mashed sweet potatoes but that is a part of Rob's Thanksgiving tradition which means, for me, everything else was par for the course.

Well, except for Marc not being here.  With Marc here, we would have had to have one more pie for dessert.   No Marc means only two pies required.  Whew!  The guest list, otherwise, included all the usual suspects:

  • Rob
  • Me
  • Shira
  • Joe
  • Erin
  • Bibi
  • Matt
  • Chris (and maybe +1)
  • Adam probably dropping by for dessert
Then the sickness started happening.  Sunday, I was Bibisitting because both Erin and Joe were feeling icky.  I was worried that it might ripple into Thursday and, sure enough, this morning, that is precisely what I was told; Erin is worse and Joe is feeling not so well.  And the question came up:  Would Matt have to stay home too because he caught whatever it is the two of them were sharing?  

Luckily, my mind was distracted with things for I had a meal to start preparing.  The menu has fallen into the following:
One plate of many people enjoyed.
  • Turkey with stuffing
  • A second stove top stuffing
  • Green bean casserole
  • Broccoli with cheese
  • Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
  • Mashed sweet potatoes
  • Cranberry sauce with mandarin oranges
  • Salad
  • Olives
  • Wine
  • Sugar free pumpkin pie
  • Chocolate silk pie
  • Coffee
  • Eggnog
It is surprising how easy this meal has become for us.  Shira no longer eats poultry so she brought along some tofu and Rob added mashed potatoes to our menu a few years ago.  Nonetheless, we have been able to interject these changes without adding any stress to the cooking/baking/etc.

And thank goodness because stress stress stress.

Poor Joe and Erin were both too sick to come for dinner and we didn't even know if Matt could or would be here.  If Matt didn't come then we expected that Adam would not show up  But Joe thought Matt be catching what they all had.  We also were confused by Chris saying he was bringing "Sarah" and we didn't know if this meant his ex girlfriend or a different Sarah.  Or even Sara.  I mean, the possibilities . . .

By noon we had narrowed things down not in the least except that Joe wanted Bibi to spend the night and would be dropped off around 7 or 8.  Her bedtime is 9pm so you can imagine how I was not especially thrilled to learn that I would have so little time with her.  But that disappointment only lasted a moment or two or three before I had once again readjusted things.  We would cook all of the food as planned and bring Joe and Erin plates loaded down with whatever yumminess we could provide.

Then a surprise.

Matt showed up bearing Bibi which is why we readjusted again.  What's more, we learned that Chris was definitely coming over later and with Sarah.  Okay.  So we still had no clue who/what this meant but we were on a roll.

For once, dinner was ready right on schedule.  Remarkable because, regardless of how many times I verify the math, the turkey will be perfectly cooked at 3ish.  So how did I manage to get it right this time?  Apparently the key is to turn the oven off for no apparent reason. I don't even know when I did it. Or why.  But it was off when I went to baste the bird so we turned it back on.
Don't forget:  I get points
every time you click.

Too bad I don't know when I turned it off because now we know the secret . . . we just don't know the timing.

Chris and Sarah were later than originally expected but they arrived in time for the second round of Blokus.  They joined us, as did Shira.  We had also played Candyland.  (Meanwhile, over on facebook, I have an event scheduled for New Year's Day for a game day.  We've had to cancel the last few because Rob had an opportunity to work and when opportunity knocks . . . )

The Turkey Hat--
it's a thing.
Sarah, as it turns out, is someone we've met before and she is a nanny with preschool experience.  (For the record, not Sarah-the-ex.)  Naturally, she and Bibi were almost immediately off in the other room, having fun. Bibi is a charmer. I've never seen a child more able to allure.  No.  That's not entirely true.  My FF Noelle had a daughter who had the same degree of charisma.

Putting Bibi to bed was a piece of cake although she does have her moments of wanting a glass of water and one more bit of our attention before she finally falls asleep.  Rob took Shira home and Matt took home some plates for Joe and Erin.  (At least I think they got them.  Matt kept threatening to eat them himself.  Can't blame him.  Dinner was awfully delicious.)

If you were paying attention, you might notice that Adam didn't show up.  I even sent him a couple of texts but no response.  Matt mentioned a girlfriend so my guess is she took precedence over tradition.  I'm still hoping he'll manifest for Christmas but I'll be less inclined to hold my breath now, I suppose.  Chris and Sarah stayed late, with wine and more wine being poured while we talked about all sorts of randomness until it was too late and they chose to leave.

Rob and I went to bed after 11.  It was a long, full day.  And my belly was full as well.  


  1. I know this is a realllllly late comment but... would you care to share your pumpkin muffin recipe? Aw man, I could eat pumpkin every single day... :)

    1. Yes. Take a cake mix. Add a can of pumpkin. Add some pumpkin pie spice. Done. Seriously. That simple. I won't say how much spice to add because I really think that is best done by taste. I probably use more than necessary.

      Now, because we use sugar free cake mixes, our options are limited but if you want to mix it up a bit, you can use any cake mix really. Spice cake mix would probably be awesome. Or angel food. We used vanilla and the muffins were a huge hit. They're a hit with me because they are ridiculously easy.

      However, if you prefer to use something that has fewer preservatives, ask and I'll send you a recipe for a DIY cake mix to which you would normally add eggs and oil and such. And if you want to go gluten free, you can always use a cake mix that is nut flour based. I mean, can you imagine a more natural fit than a pecan flour cake mix made into pumpkin muffins? I certainly cannot.

  2. Hmmm, unfortunately, I've never seen a can of pumpkin in my whole life (and I've been looking) - seems to be something very American? Can I just cook some pumpkin instead? Does canned pumpkin come in pieces or mushed/purree-y? And how much would 1 can be, approximately (or maybe: what's the optimum ratio of pumpkin to dry stuff)?
    I'd also appreciate your recipe for homemade "cake mix", as they aren't available as plentiful here either (at least not a yummy vegan one). Like, flour and baking powder? And what is angel food? (certainly does sound delicious!) *needstogoogle* So many unknown variables in a supposedly simple recipe *lol* :D
    Spicy sounds nice though - I'm famous for my almost ridiculous love for cinnamon - I put heaps of it in everything (literally, hehe) (and, oh, ginger! and cloves! allspice!...).

  3. Btw: I'm envious. You even get to have something called "pumpkin pie spice"? *drool* Maybe it's kinda like "Lebkuchen" spice in Germany/Austria?

    1. Yes, you can use pumpkin. Steam or bake it and puree it into a mash. A can would be 15-16ozs.

      For the cake mix you'll simply follow these directions:

      You may or may not want to leave out the butter. I suspect the fat from the butter affects the texture but vegetable shortening or margarine would work fine, I'm sure.

      As for pumpkin pie spice, I actually never use it because I keep all the elements on hand so if you have all of them, you're good to go. Here is all pumpkin pie spice is:
      2 tbsp. ground cinnamon
      1 tbsp. ground ginger
      1½ tsp. ground allspice
      1½ tsp. ground cloves
      ¾ tsp. ground nutmeg

      Obviously, this will make more than a pumpkin pie recipe would call for or even the muffins would but if you love the muffins as much as we did, you'll be happy to have some on hand all mixed up. That said, I actually did the following:

      2 tsps. ground cinnamon
      1.5 tsps. ground ginger
      1/4 tsp. ground allspice
      1/4 tsp. ground cloves
      1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

      Then, I confess, I added a dash of this or that to taste. Bear in mind, when you bake it, the spices will come out more strongly so you want to take small tastes as you add the spices and be bold but not too generous. Like I said, our taste tends to go on the spicy side of things.

      The texture is denser than a cake because these are muffins. But so good. So delicious. And if your pumpkin doesn't yield enough pulp to mash a full can's worth, use a little unsweetened applesauce to make up for the lost moisture of the missing pumpkin. It will work just fine!

  4. Thank youuu~! <3
    That's actually the same mix of spices I usually use for my pumpkin dishes (and Lebkuchen), although I don't really measure, just like you (and I'm absolutely "spice-loving" as hell, too!). :) I'm definitely going to try recreate (a vegan version of) this! Maybe with some dried cranberries?... Nomnomnom.
    Oh, and poor Satia! :( I'm sending lots of love and ultra gay rainbow healing rays to your finger! <333

    1. I totally wanted to make them with dried cranberries the next time we make them! In fact, we have some dried cranberries now for a recipe we did not make for Christmas. I'll be making it next weekend, however. So if there are any cranberries left over, oh boy! I am going to make the muffins with cranberries. Yaaaaay! And your rainbow healing rays worked because here I am typing again. :)