Words To Live By:

"The work will wait while you show the child the rainbow, but the rainbow won't wait while you finish the work."

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Apple Orchards & A Thanksgiving Twist

I just thought I'd share this (which I'm sure we'll all recall.)  It's a classic and for some, I'm sure it's just a rote tradition when sitting down to that big stuffed bird.  I would hope it has more meaning than that to us:

Bless us, Oh Lord,
and these thy gifts which
we are about to receive from thy bounty,
through Christ, Our Lord.
Amen.

~ A Traditional Prayer of Thanksgiving


'Tis the season to think of bounty, gratitude and the myriad of blessings we enjoy.  Today, I volunteered with Kaleb's class on a trip to one of our local orchards, Archibalds.  Always a great group of kids and the lady leading our tour was amazing - she had songs, puppets and rhymes and did such an excellent job of simply explaining to a group of 5 year olds.   

It's Apple Picking Time!

Mmm - cider!

Kaleb & Mommy
The orchard has a pretty smart set-up when it comes down to adult chaperones on field trips.  Once we got off the bus, the teachers and students sat in the outdoor classroom while the parents/adult volunteers were shuffled into the winery and gift shop.  Archibald's is our u-pick orchard of choice and I love the gift shop selections for baskets, stocking stuffers and other country or gourmet gifts.  Their wines and ciders are absolutely delicious and they have a great play area for the kids.  We have yet to visit the golf course. I think walked out with some great ideas for Christmas gifts after and will be heading back over the next few days to pick up cider for the weekend.        

Speaking of this weekend, Thanksgiving is upon us.  If you're anything like us, you have to split your time between families and that often means multiple meals.   I enjoy a big dinner but only on occasion.  It made me think that the full-blown turkey dinner more than once in a 4 day period is definite carb-turkey-pumpkin overload!  

Fortunately, we live in an area that provides a bountiful harvest of autumn fruits and veggies.  With access to a ton of recipes, there are some great alternatives to that traditional gobbler and the same old sides.    After browsing through my recipe binder, these would be my (mostly untested) picks for a lighter or more intimate meal.  

Turkey:   Turkey Pesto Tenderloins
Veggies:  Maple-Glazed Root Vegetables or Autumn Vegetables with Maple-Ginger Dressing
Potatoes:  Rosemary Mashed Potato Gratin or Epicure's Potato Casserole
Salad:  Epicure's Apple Walnut Salad or Smoked Chicken & Spinach Salad
Dessert:  Buttery Orchard Apple Torte

Of course, with any good recipe (or great home chef!) the fun is in tweaking it to suit your needs.  Don't like one of the root veggies?  Swap it out for somethingn else.  Don't have a particular seasoning or dressing?  Raid your pantry and use what you have on hand.  In the case of the chicken spinach salad, if serving for a Thanksgiving meal, I'd definitely go with turkey instead!

What's on your menu?  Have any unique recipes and/or family faves?   Remember, Thanksgiving is all about more than a full belly and a full house - count your blessings and know that gratitude is more than words spoken - it should be a daily attitude!