Thanksgiving Eve

Have been eating light this week (unless you count the carton of Breyer's Waffle Cone ice cream we just finished off). The reasons for this are:

1. Trying to detox from the brie/seafood/fried chicken/chocolate cake/every good thing week with my parents. By the end of my visit I started to wonder if maybe I was carrying around a food baby, but it turns out it was mostly bloat. Whew! (And aren't you so thrilled to know that?)

2. Making room for Thanksgiving dinner. And dessert. And leftovers. And my cheeseball. And more dessert. Am excited for all of this food, since last year all of the room my body normally reserves for pumpkin pie was taken up by a fetus the size (and weight) of a Thanksgiving turkey.

This year we are trekking up to Logan for dinner at GH's Grammy's house with the 50ish people. It should be a good time. My food assignment is to bring a fruit salad and a dessert--specifically, a dessert that it just wouldn't be Thanksgiving without. That part was easy, and my local Costco obliged by selling me one of its luscious, tire-sized pumpkin pies that make up so many of my happy holiday memories. And cellulite dimples.

As for the fruit salad, I wasn't quite sure where to go with that since so very often at these kinds of functions the word "salad" is code for "something involving Jello." But then I remembered . . . drumroll please . . . The Pink Stuff. 

I have no idea what its real name is, so if anyone here recognizes it feel free to chime in. But it's this frozen creamy fruit concoction that my mom made one year around the holidays when I was in high school and we latched on to it. It's one of Spitfire's favorites, so I'll be thinking of her while I make it. It's not Jello-based, but I think we can agree it's in the same spirit. Here's the (incredibly detailed) recipe if anyone else wants to class it waaay up this year:

The Pink Stuff

Soften 8 oz. cream cheese
Mix in ½ cup sugar until creamy
Add medium can of drained pineapple
Add 2-3 small sliced bananas
Gently fold in one package of Birds Eye sliced strawberries
Add small container of Cool Whip
Can add some chopped pecans also

Pour into a Jello mold and freeze overnight. Unmold onto a large plate and fill center with fruit.

I do not have a Jello mold, so I will be using my Bundt pan, which my mom assures me should work fine. And now I have that scene from My Big Fat Greek Wedding in my head. ("Bundt. Bundt. Buuuundt.")

Other culinary adventures in the works include the pot of chicken stock simmering on my stove and the pumpkin puree dripping through a mesh strainer. The chicken stock is to use up the carcass of a very tasty rotisserie chicken from Costco. The author of Make the Bread, Buy the Butter (which is awesome, by the way, and is on my Christmas list, hint) says that you shouldn't feel like a slacker or money-waster for buying a rotisserie chicken when you're pressed for time because it usually costs as much to buy a whole chicken and do the roasting yourself. Plus they are delicious. You can even make gravy from the drippings at the bottom, which I did, and it was great. Am now a huge fan of the rotisserie chickens, and I don't care who knows it. 

The puree is the end result of my pumpkin garden. And yes, I'm calling it a pumpkin garden since the pumpkin plants ultimately took over the entire plot. I found pumpkins growing over in the squash and one up in a bush, three feet off the ground. I got 7 little pumpkins, but three of them never fully ripened before it froze. 

The first puree project is going to be Pumpkin Ice Cream to take over to Jen's this weekend. I hope it will make a good accompaniment to the 4 different pies her family is requesting that she bake. They all want different ones, and they all sound amazing. (Note: I know that's an insane thing for a family of 5, although not as insane as this, but I am so hoping she actually does it.)

image from Williams-Sonoma
I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving and that if you travel you'll be safe on the roads! 

Now. Please tell me about your foods. I yearn to know what you are making, or what you hope somebody else makes, or if there's something you hate that keeps turning up every year. (Green been casserole, anybody? Can I get a witness?)


Elsha said... [reply]

I actually like green bean casserole. But cranberry sauce manages to make its way to the table every year and I never touch that stuff.

AmandaStretch said... [reply]

I'm making a chocolate-pumpkin tart again this year. It's like pumpkin pie on crack. As for green bean casserole, I could probably eat a whole pan of it myself.

Nemesis said... [reply]

Okay, here. Are we all talking about the same green bean casserole with the canned, mushy, grey green beans and the cream of mushroom soup? Or is there some GOOD version out there that everyone else but me knows about?

AmandaStretch said... [reply]

That's the one. I may be a foodie, but sometimes that means embracing my love of terrible foods that taste delicious (to me).

goddessdivine said... [reply]

My family LOVES green bean casserole. I personally don't, simply because its green beans. My sister does something to hers to spruce it up; but since I rarely partake, I don't pay attention to what it is. I think it involves almond dices and onions and bread crumbs on top (to give it a crunchy feel).

But enough about beans. My sister also makes the most amazing dinner rolls....that I'm sure are beyond fattening. But, oh. my. gosh. That's my favorite thing for T-giving.

I actually hate stuffing. I know. Go ahead and shoot me. But soggy bread? No thanks. And I can do w/o cranberries and pumpkin pie. (Ok, shoot me twice.) I like pumpkin bread and cookies; but for some reason can't stand the pie.

But I won't have any of this because I'm going out to eat this time around. Yep. Skipping the whole mess-in-the-kitchen-and-too-much-leftovers-you-don't-know-what-to-do-with. I'm kind of looking forward to it actually.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Liz Johnson said... [reply]

I imagine that the Costco rotisserie chickens are an even better deal than she suggests in the book. Seriously, $5?! How can you possibly get that big of a chicken for cheaper than that?!

I am so excited for pecan pie this year, just like every year. It's the one day out of the year that I eat pure corn syrup and love every second of it.

Nemesis said... [reply]

Kristen, I am intrigued by the eating out! As in going to someone else's house or going to a restaurant with family and/or friends?

Señora H-B said... [reply]

I LOATHE green been casserole. It is a steaming pan of hate covered with crispy-fried abomination. I just can't take it. I am very particular about green beans, though, so I think that's part of it. Plus, I never tried it until I was an adult.

This year we'll be having chicken and noodles at my in-laws - note, they are *not* a dumpling family... ;). I'm taking my grandma's cranberry ice (kind of a granita-esque thing). Some people at the in-laws like it with ginger ale. My grandma rolls over a little in her grave every time it happens, but it tastes pretty good.

Last night I made my own mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and some chicken, just so I could eat something that wasn't overcooked. I miss my mom and dad's Thanksgiving dinner a lot.

Jenny said... [reply]

Just reading the words 'green bean' makes me want to vomit. I should probably start making some pies...

Kelly said... [reply]


I always make my sweet potatoes because I love them and want leftovers. Oh yeah, everyone else seems to like them too:http://beeskneesrecipes.wordpress.com/2011/11/23/mamas-sweet-potatoes/

I'm not a big cranberry sauce fan, but Jason LOVES it. Every year I have to buy him a bag of cranberries so he can boil them with lots of sugar and make his very own cranberry sauce. And every year, about 2 months after Thanksgiving, I wind up throwing out a tupperware full of cranberry sauce with maybe 1 or 2 servings scooped out of it before Jason forgot about the leftovers entirely. But if I didn't buy him his cranberries, you know I would hear about it for at least the next year, so I just get them and throw out the remnants later.

Kelly said... [reply]

Also, everyone should be thankful that they're not spending Thanksgiving with Marney: http://awkwardfamilyphotos.com/2009/11/26/awkward-family-story-the-thanksgiving-letter/

Nemesis said... [reply]

Kelly, I just read that thing and I . . . have no words. Can that actually be REAL???

Also, I know what you can do with some of your leftover cranberry sauce: turkey-brie-cranberry sandwiches! They are wonderful. F'rills.

abby said... [reply]

I actually don't like turkey (I know it's an abomination). I'll eat a little bit of dark meat and that's about it. My mom knows how to do a good turkey too. I think it was trauma from childhood filled with low cholesterol food. I do like pumpkin pie (in all forms from Libby to grocery store version), sweet potatoes (especially the ones with pecans on them), mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce in a can (the way nature intended it to be), and green bean casserole (I don't care for real green beans so maybe that's why I like it).

On the Costco chicken...if you make broth with it like I do it actually saves you MORE money. For five bucks I get a meal for a few days and about 9 cups of chicken stock. Plus it's not salty and filled with BMP like the grocery store.

Amanda...share your chocolate pumpkin tart recipe on Facebook with me. Crack must be shared!

Kayla said... [reply]

I'm not a huge coconut fan but I make chocolate haupia pie every year since marrying a Hawaiian. I reeeally look forward to it. SO delicious.

My mom makes that pretzel/cream cheese/raspberry jello salad stuff every year and I just want to dive face first into the pan.

alex said... [reply]

Green bean casserole: it's always there, and I never eat it.

I'm making my mom's sweet potatoes with apple crisp topping for Thanksgiving with friends. I'm hoping nobody likes it so I can eat it all myself.

FoxyJ said... [reply]

We never ate green bean casserole in my house when I was growing up and the only time I've tried it I thought it was gross. I have some fresh green beans from Bountiful Baskets and I'm going to quickly sautee them with garlic and olive oil because it makes them tasty.

I have a great sweet potato dish that I usually make with lots of butter in it and even more butter/brown sugar on top, but this year I am making roasted sweet potatoes and apples with maple syrup. I'm just feeling like I want some lighter stuff this year--I think I'm getting old.

I've never been a big fan of stuffing, but my mom loves it so I'm going to make it. I also have an irrational affection for the jellied cranberry sauce from a can. I bought some for the kids to eat, but this year I'm eating my turkey with homemade cranberry jalapeno jelly. It's awesome.

The overblown pie fest sounds tempting, but I just made two pies this year: pumpkin and pecan. I really only make those two pies once a year and I love them both!

Kristi said... [reply]

Rotisserie chickens make a tasty appearance on our table often. Mmm. One of my friends once posted some article about how awful a predicament we were in because the young wives of today didn't know how to roast a chicken. I had to think to myself, "well, duh. I could roast my own chicken, but why should I when Costco does it for $5?"

My favorite at Thanksgiving is the stuffing. More specifically, my mom's stuffing. Yum.

I hate yams and cranberry sauce. My mom put some yummy praline coconut crumble on top of the yams this year, though, that made them fabulous. I even had seconds.

Janssen said... [reply]

Isn't that book so fantastic? I like you even more for liking it.

emandtrev said... [reply]

I am not a fan of green bean casserole. Love green beans on their own, but I've never had a GB casserole that I've liked. Darn.

My contribution to Thanksgiving this year was appetizers (I kind of laugh at the need for appetizers at that big of a meal, but it did hold off the ruffians while everything was being set up and such) and pie. I made pumpkin and lemon cheesecake pie this year. Both were well received, so I was happy.

Happy Thanksgiving (late) to you!

Jillian said... [reply]

I realize it is past Thanksgiving, but I made a delicious pumpkin dip that you serve with gingersnaps and vanilla wafers and it was delicious. It's also low calorie which for Thanksgiving is either a huge sin or just unheard of. But it's cute served in a pumpkin and I could've eaten the whole thing myself.

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