Thursday, November 28, 2013

Giving Thanks

I started Thanksgiving at 3:30am when the alarm went off.  Scott was heading to Atlanta, I was not.  He was on the road by 4:00 am and I was walking through the doors of American Family Fitness at 4:30 am ready for a 20 minute Abs class and an hour of cycling with my favorite instructor, Joe.  Tabata.  Pyramids. Thankfully, he plays awesome videos and they take away a little of the pain.  A great start to the day.  What is there to be more thankful for than the ability to work out?  It was also nice to visit with all of my gym friends who also live for early morning workouts... No one had to hurry off to work, and it was great to just chill in one of my favorite spaces without feeling rushed whatsoever.

And now the yummy part... A day of indulgence... Autoimmune who?!

I came home and made a Thanksgiving brunch for one.  A slice of toasted Udi's with cream cheese, chicken and apple sausage, and an egg cooked over medium.  For dessert, I pulled out a pumpkin scone from the freezer that I'd baked last month with a strong cup of coffee on the side.  It is Thanksgiving after all.  I get all my baking recipes from The Gluten Free Goddess and you can get that amazing recipe here.

Next came a rest and some reading time before delving into cooking up my signature Thanksgiving dishes.  Sadly, I wasn't spending this Thanksgiving with my man, but I am grateful to have been invited to the home of very sweet friends.

First up are my potatoes.  They are sweet and savory and perfectly creamy.  Everything you want beside a slice of perfectly cooked turkey.  This recipe has its roots so deep I can't even begin.  It goes way back to Amber and me and has had various versions... This is where I'm at with it at the moment...

Sweet and Savory Mashers. 


3-4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 TBSP coconut oil, melted in the microwave for 15 seconds
3 TBSP butter, split
2 TBSP half and half
2 TBSP fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1/2 cup sliced shallots
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425.  Toss the cubed sweet potatoes with the coconut oil and season well with salt.  Place them in an even layer on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Every oven is different, and I end up putting mine up to 450 for the last 10 minutes or so.  You want them to be well done, very soft, falling apart, with some brown bits here and there.  While the potatoes are roasting,  place 1 TBSP of the butter in a small saute pan over medium heat.  When it's bubbly, add the sliced shallots with some salt and pepper.  Cook low and slow until well caramelized.  Don't be afraid to add a few splashes of chicken stock if deglazing is needed.   Set aside when done.
After you pull the sweet potatoes out of the oven, put them in a pot along with the butter, cream, rosemary, and shallots.  Give them a good mix and keep them on low stirring occasionally until you are ready to serve.  Freaking Amazeballs.  Add more salt and pepper if needed.  Or more cream and butter.  Today, it's okay. 

Caramelized Onion Stuffing.

Are you ready for this?  The first time I put this together I thought I might die.  I've been making it every year since.  It's heaven.  HEAVEN.  I really should make it more than just Thanksgiving.  It would be an amazing side dish to any protein.

At the point I was making this, I was running around my kitchen like a mad women to get everything ready and over to my friend's on time, so I have no pictures.  Honestly, it looks like stuffing.  You are intelligent and I think you can get by without a picture on this one. 

Preheat the oven to 375.

First, you need to get the onions going.  In the end, you want about a cup of caramelized onions, so go with about 3 large yellow onions, sliced.  Add 1 TBSP of butter and a TBSP of EVOO to a large saute pan.  When it's hot, add the onions.  Turn down the heat.  Go low and slow for about 40 minutes to an hour.  If deglazing is needed, pour in a little chicken stock.  See my post on onions here for more details and pictures of making caramelized onions.  Set them aside when they are done.  They should look like this:

While the onions are doing their thing and getting all perfect and sweet and lovely...
1/2 stick butter
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup onion, chopped
Salt and pepper 
1 TBSP fresh thyme
1 TBSP fresh sage, chopped
1 1/2 cups chicken broth or stock

2 eggs, beaten
2 TBSP parsley, chopped

1 loaf of Udi's White Bread, left out for a few hours, then cubed

3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Aforementioned 1 cup caramelized onions

Melt the butter in a large saute pan.  Add the celery and onion, salt and pepper, and cook until soft.  Add the sage and thyme and give them a few more minutes, then add the broth.  Bring to a simmer for about 10 minutes.  Turn the burner off and allow to cool while you do the following:

Whisk the eggs in a large mixing bowl and add the parsley and bread.  Stir to combine.  When the broth veggie mixture is not simmering hot, add to the bread along with the caramelized onions and Parmesan cheese and mix well.

Butter a 8 x 11 baking dish.  Pour the stuffing mixture into the dish and top with a bit more Parmesan.  Bake for 30 minutes, covered, then uncover and bake an additional 30 minutes until golden brown and bubbly.

Lovelies, your days of Stove Top are so very over.

My last endeavor was an Apple Crisp, once again, all credit goes to Karina at Gluten Free Goddess.  You can find that recipe here.  It was phenomenal.  Even my non-dessert friend finished his full portion.  That was an enormous complement!  I served it with vanilla ice cream and it was apple pie perfection.  That's definitely happening again. 

Xandy and Roger were wonderful hosts and Simcoe and I had a wonderful time.  I loved that Xandy had a Tree of Thanks on the table and we all filled out what we were thankful for.  Here are mine:

Scott... to be married to my best friend.
The ability to lift, run, and cycle.
Our furry babies, Simcoe and Henry.
Great Friends.

See the little tags of thanks?  How cute, right? And the food... Everything was so freaking good. 

My night is ending with a glass of Cabernet and a little red furry on my lap.  I am hoping I can pull it together at midnight to score a couple good deals on, but at the moment, I am not feeling super confident.  I am confident, however, that my tail will be at the gym tomorrow working that enormous plate of food off my behind.  I'm okay with that. 

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

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