Thursday, November 27, 2008


Some hae meat and canna eat, and some wad eat that want it; but we hae meat, and we can eat, sae let the Lord be thankit.  ~ Robert Burns

Thanksgiving is an occasion for us to sit down together with loved ones, eat a good meal and be thankful.  Even when some of those things are not present in our lives the practice of gratitude is one that I believe helps us to lead a happier and healthier life.  This year I'm thankful for many things: being surrounded by my husband and children, friends, the abundance on our table and so much more.  

Today is a day for feasting; our menu includes turkey, chix nuggets (for the vegetarians), green bean and celery salad, mashed potatoes with gravy, cranberry chutney, braised carrots, wild rice and apple stuffing, olives, peaches, pumpkin pie, cherry pie and chocolates.  This doesn't even begin to address the snacks for pre-dinner munching.  On this day, more than most, there is the temptation to indulge in overeating.  In order to avoid that groaning stomach and dyspeptic feeling the day after I plan to eat mindfully; enjoying the abundance of the table but not over indulging.  Saving room for pie, because, after all, who doesn't love pie, and remembering that leftovers practically taste better than the meal itself.   In it's own way mindful eating is a form of gratitude, one that causes us to reflect on the bounty before us, to savor the aroma and taste of good food lovingly prepared.

As we cook, slice, dice and saute for our feast later today I am struck once again by how fortunate we are; grateful to be baking pies with Steve, basting the turkey with Sasha, all cooking together.  While I try to practice gratitude every day, on this day it is more evident because of the nature of the holiday.  I plan to use today as an opportunity to renew my practice of gratitude for all the blessings in my life, both large and small.   And I send a wish that wherever you, whoever you are with, whatever your circumstances there are blessings in your life;  here's to a happy and healthy Thanksgiving Day and every day.

picture courtesy of

Thursday, November 20, 2008


is all around us.  For those in the Northeast, where I used to live, the leaves have left the trees and cooler weather is here.  Here in Texas there are some winter changes, they are just different.  Cooler weather means an extended summer with 50 degree mornings shifting into perfect 70 degree days and sunshine.  Sweeping and raking is as bad as it ever was except that instead of leaves it's pine needles.  And the squirrels are just as busy digging holes in the lawn here as they ever were in New England. 

pumpkins | photo: David R. Tribble
With the change in seasons comes a change in food.  Squashes are appearing in the market, root vegetables, crisp tasting apples and pears.  These are wonderful foods.  Their rich colors and intense flavors inspire us to make delicious meals, the deep colors providing lots of nutrients to sustain us through the winter.  One of my favorites is pumpkin.  I often think about how sad it is that pumpkins are mostly sold for carving and throwing away.  There are so many tasty ways to eat pumpkin.  Pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin soup, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin chutney, pumpkin butter...I'm beginning to sound like Bubba from 'Forrest Gump' but I really do love pumpkin.

At this time of year I love to make this curried pumpkin soup, a thick, flavorful soup, perfect for a quiet evening dinner.  Served with my favorite fresh ground cornbread it's the simple kind of meal we like after a busy day.  

Here's the recipe for the cornbread.  Steve likes it because it's not too "corny" tasting.  I like it because it's moist and keeps well for breakfast the next morning. 

Whole Wheat Cornbread

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup sucanat
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup olive oil

preheat the oven to 425 degrees F
mix the dry ingredients together
mix the wet ingredients together
mix the wet into the dry until just moistened
pour into a greased 9 x 9 pan
bake 20 minutes
let cool 5 minutes on a rack before inverting and removing from the pan

And in case you think you misread that above statement, you didn't.  Cornbread for breakfast can be a wonderful thing.  Lightly toasted with some butter alongside an egg and a fresh clementine, it's a great way to start your day.