Share Your Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a holiday that is shared over the many different cultures and beliefs that make up this country.  It is a time to stop and take notice of all we have to be thankful for every day.  In our busy days as parents, teachers, children, and farmers, it is easy to lose track of all the wonderful things that occur each and every day.  Many of us in different locations have suffered their share of hardships this year – drought and loss of crops in the southern states, flooding in the panhandle regions, fires in the west.  Thanksgiving begins the holiday season for many.

Have you ever thought about sharing that time of thankfulness?  Maybe it is customary in your family to gather and share a big meal.  But there is a new idea spreading through some areas: they are gathering together to share the “Thanksgiving Experience” as communities.

The plan is to meet together and share the bounty – almost along the lines of the original community meal of Thanksgiving back in the 1600’s.

There is an added plus to this idea: it allows a plan to provide an invitation to those in our communities who may not otherwise be able provide a good meal for their families.  It allows us to share the gifts of friendship and fellowship on a wider scale.

The plans do not have to be complicated or difficult. The meal can be very similar to a pot-luck supper. The preparation of the meal is shared throughout the group and then eaten together at a chosen location, such as a firehouse or church meeting room.

Here are some simple recipe ideas for the sharing.  All are written to serve 8 to 12 people – unless otherwise noted.  All are easy to prepare into disposable containers and travel nicely – a must for pot-luck meals!

Acorn Squash Rings

2 large acorn squash

2/3 cup orange juice

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup melted butter

1 tablespoon grated lemon peel

1/4 teaspoon salt

Trim ends from squash; cut into crosswise slices 1/4-inch thick. Place slices in a large lightly buttered shallow baking pan; add orange juice. Cover with foil and bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Combine brown sugar, corn syrup, melted butter, lemon peel and salt; pour over squash rings.

Bake, uncovered, about 15 to 20 minutes longer, basting occasionally, until acorn squash is done and nicely glazed.

Cauliflower Broccoli Salad

1 head of cauliflower, separated into flowerets

1 bunch broccoli, separated into flowerets

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

1 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

Combine cauliflower, broccoli, bell pepper, and onion. In a separate bowl or large measuring cup, combine mayonnaise, vinegar, and sugar. Pour mayonnaise mixture over vegetables; toss to coat. Cover and chill for 2 to 4 hours.

Luscious Potato Casserole

2 cups cream-style cottage cheese

1 cup reduced fat sour cream

1/3 cup chopped green onions

1 clove garlic, minced

2 teaspoons salt

5 cups diced cooked potatoes

1/2 cup shredded American cheese or mild Cheddar

Combine the first five ingredients. Fold in potatoes. Pour into a greased, 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Top with shredded cheese. Sprinkle paprika over top, if desired. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 40 minutes.

Caramel Popcorn

3 quarts popped popcorn

3 cups dry roasted mixed nuts, unsalted

1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

1/2 cup light or dark corn syrup

1/2 cup butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 250°. In a large roasting pan combine the popcorn and nuts. Place in the oven while preparing glaze. In a medium saucepan combine brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, and salt. Bring to a full boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, then continue to boil for 4 minutes without stirring. Remove from heat; stir in baking soda and vanilla, then pour over the warm popcorn and nuts, tossing to coat well. Bake another 60 minutes, stirring frequently, about every 10 minutes. Cool and break apart. Store in an airtight container.  Makes 4 quarts.

Share the work, enjoy the food and meet new friends – a winning combination. Happy Thanksgiving!

About Dori Fritzinger

I live and work with my multi-generational family in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. We have a farm of cows and calves, wool sheep, dairy goats, rabbits, ducks, geese, chickens, honey bees, a horse and a donkey. We have a goat's milk soap and bath products line available on our farm web site. I enjoy reading, quilting and doing embroidery.