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Do you know what is in season in Ontario right now, aside from apples and pumpkins? I’ll give you a hint; they are small, tart, red berries that contain vitamin C, dietary fibre, manganese, as well as being touted as a super-food packed full of antioxidants. They are a go-to item for urinary tract infections, and a staple on this weekend’s Thanksgiving dinner table. All hail the cranberry!

Ok, let’s clear our plates a little, shall we? If you have turned your nose up in the past over the red jelly that slides out of a can with its ridges intact, I can’t say as how I blame you. There’s not much imagination there now, is there? We are in the 21st Century though and can do so much more with cranberries. And I’m not just talking about them on your dinner table either, but we can certainly start there. How about trying your hand at making some homemade cranberry sauce to serve up beside your turkey this Thanksgiving. This recipe from Canadian Living is a mere 68 calories per 2 tbsp, with only 16 g of carbohydrates, no fat, but 10% of your vitamin C intake for the day. 

SPICED WHOLE CRANBERRY SAUCE

Ingredients:

  • 1 navel orange
  • 1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (250 mL) dry red wine or apple cider
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 2 star anise, optional)
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) ground cloves
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 pkg fresh cranberries

Directions:

  1. Peel rind (not including pith) off orange and cut into very thin strips (or use zester); set aside.
  2. Squeeze orange juice into saucepan; add sugar, wine, cinnamon, star anise (if using), cloves, salt and cayenne. Bring to boil over medium heat; boil until syrupy and reduced to about 1/4 cup (50 mL), about 18 minutes.
  3. Add cranberries and orange rind; simmer, stirring often, until cranberries are softened but still whole, about 8 minutes. Let cool. (Make-ahead: Refrigerate in airtight container for up to 1 week.)

Decorate your table with cranberries this Thanksgiving

If you can’t resist buying more than one bag of cranberries when they lie so tempting at the grocery store, there is far more that you can do with these humble fruits. They freeze well, so can be used later in baking, making jams, jellies or sauces. You can also add them to beverages for a festive flair, and they are even more practical if they are frozen to keep that drink cool. Instead of getting chintzy items from the dollar store, or expensive items at a home boutique, you can also turn to the simple cranberry to add a seasonal sensation to your holiday decor. Think cranberries floating in water, or on a tray with votive candles, to take you back to simpler times.

Ready to make a cranberry masterpiece?

Why stop there? If you’ve got the time, make up a cranberry topiary for a centrepiece that will wow your guests on Thanksgiving day. Cranberries last a long time, so this can be a make-ahead project. Maybe the kids would enjoy this craft project? If you want it to last, spray on a little shellac, and you are good to go for Thanksgiving day.

Cranberry Pueblo Cocktail anyone?

If you love the idea of cranberries, but your creativity stops at cranberry juice, don’t fret. Make up a cranberry punch for the kids and throw lemon and orange wedges in it. Dip a little bit out for the adults and add an ounce of vodka for a smooth Cape Cod. Or really impress your guests with a pre-dinner cocktail, like the Cranberry Pueble Cocktail from Oceanspray.

 

However you roll it, cranberries are a big part of Thanksgiving celebrations. I wish you and your family the best over your holiday celebrations this weekend.

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Grace has been said and a turkey was sacrificed in the name of feasting with family and/or friends. We have all given thanks for that. After eating more than  you ever thought was humanly possible, you’ve pushed back from the table. Dishes have been cleared, washed and put away. So I guess you figured that Thanksgiving was over then, right?

Not quite!

What about all those leftovers? At what point did you realize that a 25-pound-turkey was a little more than you needed for your intimate gathering of eight? Oops! Now what do you do? Like all good Canadian families throughout the land, you declare that it’s the “Week of Leftovers!

There are turkey sandwiches, turkey soup, turkey pot pies and of course the standard reheated turkey dinner that you began with, all up for this week’s menu. Think turkey casserole, turkey sheppard’s pie and maybe even turkey burritos to tempt the kids with! The anti-turkites among you might be screaming in horror, but I bet that there are a far cry more people that have their very own favourite leftover turkey recipes that get passed down from Mother to Daughter/Son through the ages.

Or perhaps you are looking for something new to turn your leftover turkey into? Once you are done with the turkey sandwiches and the stuffing is gone for re-heated turkey dinners, are you at a loss? Are you getting desperate looking at the seemingly never-ending plate of turkey meat? My friends, do you need a few more ideas for what else to turn that remaining turkey into?

Jim is here to save the day…

Leftover Turkey Recipes

Here’s a recipe from DIY Reviews, to help you use up some of that leftover turkey that is still in your fridge. It’s cooked in my favourite kitchen tool, the crockpot, to ensure that dinner is ready as soon as you walk in the door tonight.

TURKEY TETRAZZINI IN THE CROCKPOT

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups diced cooked turkey
  • 2 cups broken uncooked spaghetti
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 can (10 3/4-ounce) cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can (4 ounces) mushrooms, with liquid
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pimiento
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

Directions:

  • Spray inside of slow cooker crock with cooking spray.
  • Place broken up spaghetti on bottom of crock pot.
  • Combine water, soup, pimiento, and mushrooms.  Stir in the cheese, turkey, onion and parsley.  Pour other mixed ingredients over spaghetti.
  • Cook on low for 4 to 6 hours or until spaghetti is tender.

***

What about a turkey sandwich with a twist from the folks at Allrecipes.com Canada and their barbecued turkey pocket;

BARBECUED TURKEY POCKETS

Ingredients:

  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can Campbell’s® Healthy Request® Condensed Tomato Soup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 pound thinly sliced cooked turkey breast
  • 3 (6 inch) pita breads, cut in half

Directions:

  • Heat the soup, water, sugar, vinegar and Worcestershire in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat to a boil.
  • Add the turkey. Reduce the heat to low. Cook until the mixture is hot and bubbling. Spoon the turkey mixture into the pita halves.

***

And what about something completely different from Canadian Living‘s kitchen – Turkey Potato Patties! Uses up your leftover mash as well!

TURKEY POTATO PATTIES

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/2 cups (375 mL) diced cooked turkey
  • 1 cup (250 mL) mashed potatoes
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) dry bread crumbs
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) dried sage
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) pepper
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil

Directions:

  • In bowl, beat egg; mix in turkey, potatoes, bread crumbs, green onion, parsley, mustard, thyme, sage, salt and pepper. Form into eight 1/2-inch (1 cm) thick patties. (Make-ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours.)
  • In large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat; fry patties, turning once and reducing temperature if browning too quickly, until crusty and golden, about 6 minutes.
  • Great with eggs!

What’s your favourite leftover turkey recipe?

Hello sunshine! Spirits are decidedly buoyant around the city with you around. Checking the long-range forecast, it looks like that is going to continue right into the weekend as well. Excellent! I like me some sunshine. Just in time for a long weekend too! Maybe the turkey can get cooked on the barbecue for a Thanksgiving feast on Monday? Hmm, have to talk to the wife. So, what are you up to this weekend (aside from the whole family gathering, turkey festivities thing that is)? Or does that take over your whole weekend? Good luck doing up your pants by the end of the weekend, if that’s the case! As for me, I have been at the house on Charlotte St. as often as I can this past week, so I’m thinking that more demo might not happen, what with balmy days forecast for us.

 

Speaking of FOLLOW THE FLIP, we have made excellent progress on the house, don’t you think? Well, you should have seen the kitchen before we started ripping out the cupboards. That empty shell of a room will eventually sport nice clean, modern appliances,  new cupboards and counters, a half wall to separate the kitchen from the open concept living room, and of course freshly painted walls and a brand-spanking new floor. You will not be able to recognize it as the same house when we are through.

 

I suspect that the family and I are going to be out and about enjoying the nice weather this weekend though. It will be perfect weather to pick a few apples and select a big, fat pumpkin for Halloween. Have you been out to Apple Land Station yet this Fall?  If you haven’t, then let me be the first to tell you that they groomed their sand hill, so that it is even bigger than ever! For those that have never been to Apple Land, this sand hill is a more like a mountain. The kids can scramble to the top, roll down the sides or climb through some of the tunnels found within it. There are lots of “big” kids goofing around too, so don’t feel bad about getting a little sand in your shoes Mom and Dad. Oh, and don’t forget about the train. It picks you up at the station and delivers you out to the fields where there are 14 different varieties of apples to choose from. If after all that playing around, you don’t have the energy to bake your own apple pie, you can pick one up in the bakery as well. Apple Land is always a great destination for good family fun minutes from London.

 

Perhaps those rays of sunshine have you more in mind of getting ahead on your winter maintenance, before you are outside doing them in your parka though. Leave the apples to the grocery store and pull out your list of things to do around the house instead then. You’ve cleaned your dryer vent, caulked the cracks and windows around the outside of the house, and swiped the dirt off of your storm windows. What else is there to do?

 

Well, maybe its time to pull the ladder out of the garage and climb up onto the roof for a little inspection there. As it is supposed to be dry this weekend, it is the perfect time to inspect your roof and chimney for any missing or broken shingles, as well as examining your chimney and vents for signs of damaged flashing or faulty seals. An application of roofing cement should take care of any minor problems. FYI: Bigger problems should be left to the professionals, unless you are a roofer by trade. While you are at it, a look down the chimney with a flashlight might be in order. Be on the look out for animals that might hamper Santa’s way or be cause for a chimney fire. Last but not least, don’t look down!

 

If you did happen to pick up a few fresh apples and you are looking for something easy to do with them, I have a suggestion for you. Apple pie requires pastry, you still have to stir together apple crisp and strudel is way beyond me! Instead of heating up the house on a lovely day, why not fire up the barbecue for grilled apples!

 

GRILLED APPLES

Ingredients:

  • Baking apples (Rome Beauty, Jonathan, Greening, Granny Smith or whatever you picked today!)
  • Butter
  • Brown sugar or honey
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • Chopped walnuts

Directions:

For each person, tear off a square of heavy-duty foil large enough to wrap an apple. Core baking apples. Place an apple on each square of foil and fill core cavity with a pat of butter, a tablespoon of brown sugar or honey, sprinkle of cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg and a few chopped nuts. Pull up foil around apple and bake until done over hot fire.

 

There you have a perfect way to finish off a meal, as well as a sunny day. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Welcome to In Your Neighbourhood!

Allow me to introduce myself. The name is Jim. You want to know more? Well, check out my "About Me" page! Don't forget to take a peek at my "Local London Listings" while you are here too! I update it regularly. Enjoy your visit and drop me a line to let me know you were in the neighbourhood!

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