With all the Thanksgiving feast planning, it would be easy to forget about the centerpiece.
It's too late to order one from the florist, but there are still some beautiful leaves right outside to gather. The colors will serve as a bed for some fresh fruits that we can enjoy later. Table grapes are fantastic right now. Bosc pears and some nuts streaming away from a small sugar pumpkin in the center of the table is simple and elegant.
It's almost time for leftovers, but as a dear friend of mine says, “planned overs.” I'm already thinking of what to do with all the stuff left from Thanksgiving dinner. The turkey itself makes the best gumbo orchestrated from the carcass. I keep whole frozen okra pods on hand to make that happen.
Of course, if I roast an extra turkey breast, there will be plenty for those favorite turkey sandwiches. This year I'm going to make sure I have a loaf or two of Braum's Buttermilk Bread on hand. My husband remains a huge fan of white bread on his sandwiches, so he sometimes makes a stop at our nearest Braum's on the way home just to get a loaf of that buttermilk bread.
I'm a die-hard whole-wheat and pumpernickel girl myself, so I haven't been keen on going back to the white loaves I grew up with. I couldn't help but notice the beautiful texture of the buttermilk loaf while making my husband's sandwich, so I made one for myself. Wow. I would say these buttermilk loaves are tops for flavor, texture and freshness. It makes me feel good to support a product made by a company with strong Oklahoma roots.
Speaking of breads, if you made some of that popular pumpkin bread and have a little left over, cut it into cubes and add it along with any leftover dinner rolls to a bread pudding. Mixed with other breads or even as a stand alone ingredient in bread pudding the rich moist parcels of pumpkin embedded into mix are so good, you may want to make the pumpkin bread just to mix it into the pudding.
You might also try recycling a few of those dinner rolls into cinnamon toast crisps. That's right: crisps. They are sliced, buttered, sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar then baked in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes until crisp and golden brown. These little tidbits keep well and are great to enjoy with a cup of tea or hot cider while decorating the tree.
My other favorite leftover is cranberry sauce. I know we will have some left after the big dinner as several family members can't have the cranberries due to medication restrictions. I have planned an alternative turkey accompaniment for them and some yummy things to do with the extra sauce.
I love the tart tangy attributes of good cranberry sauce simply spread like jelly on toast. Stir it into oatmeal, or pop a big spoonful into the middle of a muffin or scone recipe or perhaps a swirl of it into your favorite Greek yogurt. For muffins, just fill muffin container with about half the batter, add a spoon of cranberry sauce and fill with the rest of the batter. When you bite into that warm sweet muffin with the tart cranberry center, it is irresistible.
By the way, here's what I do to make an alternative for those who can't enjoy the cranberry sauce: Make a great fruit-infused gelatin. One of my husband's favorites is raspberry (you can get it in sugar free). It gels fast with the addition of frozen raspberries. Top it with plain Greek yogurt for a rich and delicious treat. You could use sour cream, but the yogurt works beautifully.
Any good fruit salad also works well if you have to give up the cranberries.
Happy Thanksgiving, ya'll. The season of cookies, Aunt Bill's and gingerbread is just ahead.