Happy Thanksgiving Weekend!

Thanksgiving is here and I want to mix it up a bit! I love my holiday traditions this time of year. Selecting a plump fresh turkey to roast on the weekend and picking up all my families’ favourite vegetables like potatoes, corn, beans and carrots to fill the table for meal time. 

As some of you may know, I always like to add something new to the table, get a little creative or try new flavours. In some cases it’s taking flavours we all know and love but giving them a twist. 
Right not getting local fall vegetables makes the side dish options endless for Thanksgiving and I wanted to mix a few up to get a flavourful side dish. Rutabaga or waxed turnip to some, is a vegetable you are surely to find easily right now. Some shy away from it as it can be cumbersome to cut. I like to start by cutting away the waxy layer so that the inside vegetable is easier to cut through. It has been working well for me and makes it more approachable to use. I added the sweet potatoes for a hint of colour and sweetness which marries well with the apples I added as well. A slight tang but with added natural sweetness that will be a perfect match to that moist turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. Be sure to choose apples you enjoy eating, as they will only enhance your dish.

If you have some questions on how to cook a turkey or if you should brine your turkey this year or just how big of a turkey you will need, there are lots of great websites to check out for this information: 
makesitsuper.ca will guide you through recipes for times and thawing information for your frozen turkeys while tastyturkey.ca has some great videos featuring yours truly that will guide you through all the stages and questions for your holiday meal.

Be sure to accept any offerings for help for dinner this year, it’s always nice when family members offer to bring something and its okay to suggest they bring a vegetable or let them know your plans so that you can have a meal that fits with your plans. 

The traditional pies are always around for Thanksgiving but enjoying the pumpkin flavour particularly this time of year, having other desserts will certainly be enjoyed by your guests as well. At our house the favourite answer to what dessert would you like is always “a little bit of each!” 
This is a time to enjoy great food and family while building memories. So don’t forget to enjoy yourself in the kitchen as well as at the table this Thanksgiving. 

Rutabaga, Sweet Potato Mash Up

A mixture of sweet and spice is a nice addition to your holiday table. With these fall ingredients on sale you are bound to save a few pennies while still enjoying delicious flavours.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes

1 rutabaga (about 2 lb/1 kg)
2 sweet potatoes (about 1 1/4 lb/ 600 g total), peeled and chopped
2 apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1/2 cup (125 mL) butter
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) fresh ground pepper
2 tbsp (30 mL) chopped fresh parsley
Pinch ground cinnamon

Using a chef’s knife cut off some of the outer waxy layer of the rutabaga. Sit the rutabaga on that flat side and continue to cut away the waxy skin all around. Cut the rutabaga into thick slices and then into sticks and chop. Place into a large pot.

Add sweet potatoes and fill with water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and boil for 15 minutes. Add apples and boil for about 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Drain well and return to pot. Add butter, salt and pepper. Using potato masher, roughly mash vegetables so that there are still some larger chunks in the pot. Stir in parsley and cinnamon.

Makes 8 servings.

Pumpkin Date Thanksgiving Cake

The coconut toffee like icing on this cake gives it a different look but has all the spice and fall flavours perfect for your Thanksgiving table. Serve it up with a dollop of maple whipped cream for the end of your meal.

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes

1 cup (250 mL) pitted medjool dated, chopped
1 cup (250 mL) orange juice
1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
1 cup (250 mL) canned pumpkin puree
1 tbsp (15 mL) ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (125 mL) butter, softened
3/4 cup (175 mL) packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla 
2 cups (500 mL) all purpose flour
1 tsp (5 mL) baking powder
Pinch salt

1/4 cup (60 mL) butter
1/2 cup (125 mL) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (125 mL) sweetened shredded coconut

In a saucepan, combine dates and orange juice. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes or until dates are soft. Stir in baking soda until well combined. Remove from heat and stir in pumpkin and cinnamon; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. 

Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

Beat date mixture into butter mixture until well combined. Gradually stir in flour mixture until evenly combined. 

Scrape batter into 9 inch (23 cm) greased spring form pan and spread evenly. 

Bake in 350 F (180 C) oven for 15 minutes or until top is just set.

Topping: Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine butter and sugar over medium heat until butter is melted. Stir in coconut and cook until mixture is thick and sliding in pan. Remove from heat.

Remove cake from oven and evenly spread Topping over top of cake. Return cake to oven for about 15 minutes or until cake tester inserted in centre comes out clean. Let cool slightly before serving.

Makes 12 servings.

Maple Whipped Cream: Whip 35% whipping cream with pure maple syrup until stiff peaks. I use a couple of tablespoons (30 mL) for 1 cup (250 mL) of cream, but you can make it to whatever your sweet tooth desires.


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