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Thanksgiving Thoughts and Recipes

Wow…it has been forever…I am so sorry.

Lots of wonderful things were cooked for Thanksgiving, but the main reason for the holiday for us is family.  Whether or not you are truly family doesn’t matter.  Just grateful for friends, family of friends, and my precious family.

Carmen was home all week from Auburn, and Tori was here from Spring Hill.  Stephen was at school until Tuesday, and spent the night with a friend.  So he finally made it home on Wednesday evening.

I am still trying to eat healthy, and so far lost 9 pounds.  Healthier foods have been key in this life style change, and we reflected it at Thanksgiving as well.  Carmen actually complained when I told her that I wasn’t making my Dad’s oyster dressing.  So, I ended up making it, and it turned out just like his.  I have tried in years past, but has not turn out right.

This year it was perfect.  We made tons of gluten-free items for Tori, and what we made, the rest of the family enjoyed without realizing the difference.

 Top Right: cranberry sauce (out of can), pink stuff, pickled okra, olives, 
mashed potatoes, turkey, gluten-free dressing.
Top Left: Giblet gravy, green bean bundles, oyster dressing, carrots and parsnips.
It was really good, for us anyway.  
Pink Stuff:
1 cup small curd cottage cheese
1 small cool whip (lite)
1 small can fruit cocktail (in water or light syrup)
1 can mandarin oranges
1 can pineapple tidbits
1 regular package sugar free jello – I used raspberry flavored.
Drain fruit, pat dry if needed.  Mix jello with cottage cheese, fold in cool whip.  Fold in fruit, and chill for at least one hour.  
Carrots and Parsnips:
Peel and cross cut carrots (large bag), and parsnips (there were 4 med-large).  Try to make as even in size as possible.  Toss in 1 tablespoon of olive oil with leaves from 4 thyme, add salt and pepper to taste.  I roasted on the top rake while the turkey was finishing for 1 1/2 hours at 350 degrees.  Serve hot.
Green Bean Bundles:
2 pounds of whole green beans.  Boil in salt water for 4 to 5 minutes.  Pull out, and place in separate bowl with ice (to stop cooking).  Cut center cut bacon in thirds (not cooked).  Take 5 to 6 green beans and place in the center of a single slice (1/3) of bacon.  Roll (stretch if needed), and place seam side down in casserole dish.  Repeat until all green beans are rolled and placed in dish.  Add 1 1/2 cups of beef broth to bottom of dish.  Sprinkle the top with brown sugar (1 tablespoon – to 2 tablespoons), and pepper.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until beans are fork tender.
Oyster Dressing:
Saute 2 yellow onions, and one full stalk of celery (with the leaves for more flavor) in some olive oil.  Add salt and pepper, and cook until translucent.  Add parsley (about 1/2 cup), and stir.  3 days before cooking, bake cornbread (I used Jiffy corn muffin mix), and biscuits (1 sheet pan – side by side).  Leave out to dry out (cover with tea towel if needed).  Crumble into mixing bowl, add onions and celery.  Mix well.  Add dry sage to taste (we use a lot), and more salt and pepper if needed.  Chop 2 pints of oysters (drain), and add to bread mix.  Use broth from neck, and onion tops.  I also used some chicken broth until soaked into the bread. stir until thoroughly mixed. Spread into casserole dish and bake until top is brown and crusty.  
Tori’s Stuffing:
Tori’s mom sent her a care package to our house with some yummy jams, jellies and croutons for dressing that was gluten-free.  I did the same thing with hers as I did the oyster dressing without the cornbread, biscuits or oysters.  She really enjoyed it, as did David (apparently he doesn’t like oyster dressing).  
Sorry to say that I only took pictures of the crock pot breakfast casserole and desserts which I will post later this weekend.
I hope your Thanksgiving was as enjoyable as ours.
Blessings, 
Jerry Ann
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