Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thanksgiving Casserole

I feel I would be remiss if I let the Thanksgiving season slip away without mentioning some things that I am grateful for. It is, after all, my favorite holiday: four days off, lots of vegetables and many opportunities to get together with family and friends. When I think back over the last many months, there have been many causes to smile. One is learning about baby loons. As we were sitting on the screened-in porch of Todd's parents' camp house in Maine looking over the lake, I found out that a baby loon rides around on their mother's back for the beginning of their life! I have yet to see this in person, but hope to be up there at the right time of year to see this in action. I have for a long time thought it would be a nice vacation to spend a week on a quiet lake, taking long, meandering walks, reading and writing. It's certainly not a difficult to accomplish this, so I should consider it as a vacation option this year.
Also on the list of things that have made me smile was the Ruby Rose Tea I bought at the Belmont Farmers' Market to make iced tea and the Lola Highball glasses I bought at Crate and Barrel. The tea is perfect for sitting on your porch reading a book on a nice summer day. The glasses were a luxury purchase for me. After having lived in a very small apartment for a few years and moving many times over my lifetime, I have gotten into a mindset of buying only the necessities and very utilitarian kitchenware. But, when I'm at a friend's house eating out of a nice pottery bowl, or drinking from a fun glass, I have to admit, it brings me a bit of joy. So, I've decided to intersperse some fun into my kitchen. Together, the iced tea made from this special combination of leaves and fruit and the etched glass make a nice combination:

There were many great moments and things I saw during our trip to Oregon, but one that stands out is a very old, large tree in front of a house in the Mt. Tabor neighborhood. Of course, as luck would have it, the woman who lives in the house came home as I was photographing it, but she didn't seem to mind. I'm guessing it's happened before. I tried to imagine the tree in it's spot well over a hundred years ago, and all the people who must have sat under for some shade or a picnic, climbed it, swung from it. It must have been shelter or a resting spot for many a bird and squirrel. And, I wondered what it's seen watching over this neighborhood and land before the neighborhood existed.

Somewhat related are the hand made bird complexes that were scattered about the outside eating area of Merriweather's. We had seen one in a yard in the neighborhood we stayed in as well. I believe it was the father of the restaurant owner who made them. What a great hobby!

This year, I didn't make anything exciting for the Thanksgiving Day dinner. I had tested out this casserole the week before and while it was OK, I didn't end up making another and bringing it to dinner. I think it has potential. It's like a stuffing. I found it on vegweb. If you feel like something carby and comforting, it's worth a try. The recipe called for brown rice OR lentils. I did a blend of both.

Thanksgiving Casserole
1 cup cooked brown rice (this would be a 1/2 cup raw)
1 cup cooked lentils
1/2 cup walnuts or cashews, chopped
2 slices whole wheat bread, cut into cubes
1 cup veggie broth
1/2 cup rice milk (or soy)
2 tblsns nutritional yeast
1 rib celery, diced small
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 tblsns of olive or canola oil
herbs to taste: sage, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, pepper (or poultry seasoning)

1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease an 8 inch casserole dish (I ended up using a bigger baking dish)
2. While rice is cooking, saute the onions and celery in the oil.
3. When rice is done, mix all ingredients in bowl, pour into baking dish and bake for about 45 minutes. This is good with some veg gravy.

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