Thanksgiving Granola–The Easy Holiday Gift


TIME TO PLAN, CLEAN, SHOP, COOK AHEAD for Thanksgiving. Scroll down to bottom for a list of ideas to get you going.    

                                                        OR….

 READ UP ON MORE TIME’S THANKSGIVING BASICS HERE  (includes links to my baking post, sides recipes, Thanksgiving for two, turkey thoughts, music, movies etc.)

VEGAN AND GLUTEN-FREE THANKSGIVING HERE

Looking for something to take to friends or family for Thanksgiving? Crunchy dried apples, chewy sweet cranberries, toasted nuts, and warm spices (all the usual suspects plus a tad cayenne pepper) make this the perfect little take-along, especially if you’re traveling for the holiday. And, you know what? Granola doesn’t go bad, won’t melt, smell, crack, or crumble (much), is fine at room temperature, goes in suitcase or tote bag, and is the quintessential snack if you get hungry on the road. And really easily, (see recipe for changes and notes), this adaptable food makes a hearty vegetarian, vegan, and/or gluten free breakfast. It also solves the, “What’s for breakfast?” that everyone except the cook asks on Thanksgiving morning. Add yogurt, fruit, milk, or top a big bowl of oatmeal or other cereal with this crunchy goodness.  In fact, it’s great on ice cream!  Sorry, we were talking breakfast. Have time to get fancy?  Make my Bacon-Granola Pancakes with Fried Egg.

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Cauliflower-Ginger Soup

I definitely got my love of soup from my dad, an inveterate soup maker, who would have turned 111 this past weekend were he still fishing on earth instead of on that perfect heavenly lake chock full of bass:

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above:  my proud dad in the same fishing outfit he wore for all the years I can remember

Soup is probably my most loved food if you haven’t yet figured that out. Right after pizza. Well, perhaps this is a difficult thing to discern. I could eat soup every day and sometimes do. While I lust after pizza–any kind except pineapple–I don’t think I could eat it every day.

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INSTANT POT: Cream of Pea Soup with Mint, Scallions, and Sharp Cheddar

                   Stove top version included in the printable recipe below.

A few years ago, next-door neighbor Mike brought over a big dish of peas with pearl onions and fresh mint for the Easter potluck (he did that again this year as peas and mint–mushy or not– are a standout comfort spring bonus with lamb) and Easter Monday I discovered he’d left a big bagful in my fridge. It seemed time for some sort of pea soup and you’ll find that post here.  I loved that soup to death, but had sort of forgotten about it in the interim. It wasn’t split pea, though it might have been its third cousin twice removed.  Not dark and smokey with bacon, nor a homey thick, tummy full soup you’d want in the thick of winter, this was pea soup gone light and bright–and it was a gorgeous hue. (What are mushy peas?)

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Salmon with Scallion Pesto on Broccoli-Parm Mash–Valentine’s Day at Home

Mardi Gras Red Beans and Rice

Fat Tuesday/Shrove Tuesday Bacon-Granola Pancakes with Fried Egg

Nothing says lovin’ like something from the…top of the stove. I hope you’re skipping the long wait and perhaps not-so-great-service at the restaurants on Valentine’s Day.  Go to your favorite spot some other time and give your best servers a break…  Instead, stay home and fix this luscious meal for you and your happiest partner, you and a friend, or just for yourself.

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Almond and Chocolate Shortbread Cookies (Gluten Free + Vegan)

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When you’re looking for food to fit specific diets or food preferences and you’re not used to cooking or baking those profiles, it’s best or easiest, anyway, to pick dishes that are naturally gluten free, for instance, or come perfectly vegan all by themselves, for another. Extra-Bittersweet Chocolate Pots de Crème is a simple, happy dessert for a gluten free eater.  No flour to replace there.  Sumptuous summer strawberries and raspberries glistening with finely minced mint fills the bill for vegans, I’m thinking, because who doesn’t like strawberries and raspberries?

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INSTANT POT Curried Cauliflower-Coconut Soup

Whether or not I’ll stick to it, I don’t know. My goal is to use the Instant Pot (IP) for more than testing recipes for other people’s upcoming cookbooks. It’s not that I’m not a gadget person; I am–sort of. It’s not that I’m out of room…well, I almost am. If another pot this size arrives in my house, it’ll need to be stored in the trunk of my car.  In other words, to buy anything new and large will require a trip to Goodwill carrying a piece of equipment of equal size.   

                                 No IP? Stovetop directions included below recipe.

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INSTANT POT Butternut and Yellow Squash Soup

Need a little basic Instant Pot (IP) info? Scroll down to bottom of post.

I not long ago had a chat with a fellow food writer. No need to mention names and you’ll see why.  The subject of Instant Pots came up. This person pointed out the box that had been sitting for weeks, maybe months, in his/her closet. And, yes, you know what was in that box:  an Instant Pot. (IP).  A slow shake of the head, a flutter of the eyelashes, and a tiny slide of the mouth to one side indicated distaste with even touching that parcel, much less figuring out how to cook with it. “Someday,” s/he shrugged.

What is an Instant Pot anyway? (People ask this regularly in the winter of 2018.)

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Curried Butternut Squash-Lentil Soup

Later in the evening one night last week, Dave (better know as “the hub”) and I  decided to go out for a light dinner and drink. If you wait until 9:00 in Colorado Springs, or maybe in many smaller cities, your choices are often pizza or burgers… or a hop over to one of the all-night breakfast places.  One large brewery nearby stays open until midnight and we ran over there, ordering a glass of white wine for me and a beer for Dave, perusing the menu while we nursed our drinks. This particular food list came equipped with calorie counts and, reading through the long list of available food, I was again flabbergasted by the calories involved in meat dishes versus vegetable and grain meals–especially given the holiday time of year.

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