Recently the world has erupted in anger, chaos and violence. Mostly I have been distracted and saddened, deeply saddened by the hatred and anger simmering under the surface. In the midst of all, though, I, can not always think about these terrorist attacks and refugees and all things that are wrong and unjust.
In fact, with the Thanksgiving holiday just a week away, I am juggling work and how to get ready to have our family home. The past two days, I have begun the preparations. Certain chores I don’t mind and others are not so much fun.
Cooking gives me joy. I love all the preparation for baking and cooking. Grocery shopping makes me happy. I actually enjoy ironing the tablecloths and napkins and polishing the silver. I am not so fond of all the dusting and mopping and vacuuming.
Today, all the napkins have been ironed. I have worked on organizing the third floor where the grandchildren will be sleeping. Much more work will need to be done in order for everything to ready.
Wednesday night at the church I serve, I taught a “stress free holiday cooking” class. It was great fun and my prayer is that it was helpful. For those who want some recipes that would make Thanksgiving easier, I offer these three that are tasty, fast and make the preparations a little easier.
5 apples (granny smith, gala, Jonathon or your favorite)
peeled and chunked
½ cup sweetened dried cranberries
1 cup concentrated cranberry apple juice
Add all ingredients to a medium saucepan and cook about 10 minutes until it becomes a chunky sauce. Can be served warm or cold
Refrigerator Mashed Potatoes (Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes)
5 pounds russet potatoes
8 ounces cream cheese
8 ounces sour cream
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
- Peel and cook potatoes.
- Drain well and mash until smooth.
- Add cream cheese, sour cream, seasonings and butter.
- Beat with hand mixer until smooth and fluffy.
- Place in lightly greased casserole dish.
- Dot with more butter.
- Refrigerate until ready to bake.
- Bake at 350 until heated through (about 30-45 min.)
Spicy Sweet Potato Mash
1 ½ pounds sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon butter
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 ½ tablespoons real maple syrup
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper or hot smoked paprika or to taste
Wash the outside of the sweet potatoes and pierce all over with a fork and place in the microwave. Cook on high for 10 minutes or until sweet potatoes are soft
Slice the potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop the flesh into a large, microwave-safe bowl. Add the butter and mix well.
Crush the thyme in with your fingers and add the pumpkin, syrup, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Using a potato masher or a large folk, mash the potatoes until smooth. Place the potato mash back into the microwave and heat for 1 minute or two.
The potatoes can be baked in the oven and the mash itself can be placed in the oven to heat. If you want to fancy it up, you could sprinkle chopped pecans over the top, or chopped spicy pecans over the top.
However you celebrate, may your preparations not be too taxing, your anticipation delicious and in the midst of the chaos and uncertainty of our world, may you gratitude be a gift of grace and love.