Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart

October16

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The view from the 17th floor where we assemble each year.

Thanksgiving this year was especially poignant for me.  Perhaps it is the upcoming family wedding, perhaps the delight of having my Goddaughter home from Australia to celebrate with us, perhaps that my Mom persevered through another move to be with us, perhaps a sweet combination of all of these things.  Of particular significance though was the gratitude of being carried through some of the tougher moments that the year had brought us since the previous celebration of the harvest.  Surrounded by my family, my friends near and far, my church family and my neighbourhood, I realized anew how wonderful my life is and can be, even though it sometimes feels that I am crushed by its stresses.  As my friend Claudia (who is here right now) says: “There is always a hair in the food!”.

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Our assembly this year was diverse with representatives not just from Australia but Japan (an international student living with a family member),

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from the Wee One who is the youngest (and her adorable second cousin)

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to our Mom and my bother-in-law’s Dad who is in his 90’s

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with various generations of cousins in between.

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When a family of over 40 gets together from all over the city, how does hot and tasty food make it to the table?  One of my sister-in-laws assigns the tasks and as we always say “Many hands make light work”-with different people assigned to prepare our standard favourites, designations to set up and take down and others to bring disposable plates and take out the garbage.

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There is always turkey, ham AND meatballs, potatoes made with and without cream cheese and a couple of casseroles of green bean bake.

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Over the years there have been many food “hits”, this year I may humbly put forward that my adaption of middle eastern sweet potatoes might have taken the most accolades.  The recipe is adapted from my new favourite cookbook:

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Figs
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Unfortunately fresh figs are out of season in October in central Canada so improvising was in order.
Ingredients
  • 4 sweet potatoes
  • olive oil
  • 3 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1½ T honey
  • 12 green onions, cut into ribbons
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 6 figs, cut into quarters
  • 5 oz. crumbed chevre (mine was rolled in berries)
  • ½ c pomegranate jewels
  • S&P
Instructions
  1. Wash & cut potatoes into uniform wedges.
  2. Place them, skin side down on a heavy, greased baking sheet.
  3. Drizzle more oil and salt and pepper over all.
  4. Roast for approx. 25 minutes at 475 degrees until soft but not mushy.
  5. Place balsamic vinegar and honey together in a small sauce pan.
  6. Bring to a boil and then decrease heat and simmer 2 to 4 minutes.
  7. Sauté onions and pepper in oil for 4 to 5 minutes.
  8. Assemble potatoes on platter, top with all ingredients, leaving the pomegranate for last and then drizzle with balsamic reduction.
  9. Can be served hot or at room temperature.

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The piece de resistance was Sister #3’s pumpkin pie.  Creamy and bursting with spices, she may make me a pumpkin pie lover after all these years.

Kath’s quote: “The king and high priest of all the festivals was the autumn Thanksgiving. When the apples were all gathered and the cider was all made, and the yellow pumpkins were rolled in from many a hill in billows of gold, and the corn was husked, and the labors of the season were done, and the warm, late days of Indian Summer came in, dreamy, and calm, and still, with just enough frost to crisp the ground of a morning, but with warm traces of benignant, sunny hours at noon, there came over the community a sort of genial repose of spirit – a sense of something accomplished.”-Harriet Beecher Stowe

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Love-that is all.

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