For Elvis, the highlight of the day was a long walk in the perfect LA weather and his special thanksgiving dinner. We normally only feed Elvis dry dog food but on Thanksgiving he gets to over indulge just like everyone else. We give him this Thanksgiving in a can and he goes totally crazy for it. He may have also snuck a few pieces of turkey and other scraps that fell while I was cooking too and he was sound asleep before we were finished with our dinner. Definitely a food coma!
As for our Thanksgiving meal, personally I think the best part, not surprisingly, is the sweets. Pumpkin bread is one of my favorite things to bake at this time of year. The stores are stocked with canned pumpkin and it doesn't come around much the rest if the year. Plus the smell of pumpkin bread in the oven fills the whole apartment with spicy fall goodness which I just love!
I like this recipe from epicurious.com that makes two loaves so I can keep one for myself and bring another to share with friends. But because I know I'll be tempted by lots of other goodies at this time of year, I try to make a healthy(er) version. I replace the vegetable oil with unsweetened apple sauce to cut the fat and calories a bit. You can actually do this in a lot of baking. Just replace in a 1 to 1 ratio, so 1 cup of oil to 1 cup of apple sauce. Below is my modified recipe
- 3 cups sugar (or sugar substitute)
- 1 cup unsweetened apple sauce
- 3 large eggs
- 1 16-ounce can pumpkin
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Butter and flour two 9x5x3-inch loaf pans, or you can use Pam for baking to cut out the butter. Beat sugar and oil in large bowl with mixer to blend. Mix in eggs and pumpkin. Mix flour, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, salt and baking powder in another large bowl. Stir into pumpkin mixture in 2 additions. Divide batter equally between pans. Bake at 350°F until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour.
Another dish that's a Thanksgiving tradition in my family is this cranberry apple sauce. My mom's friend gave her the recipe over 20 years ago and we have it at every Thanksgiving and Christmas meal. The combination of apples and cranberries make the sauce both sweet and tart and it goes really well with Turkey and other meats too. Not to mention that it comes out a nice pink color and totally brightens up the table. We've all made a few modifications over the years to the recipe. I've gotten to the point where I don't even measure the ingredients but here's the recipe I generally follow - you don't have to be exact with the measurements and it will still come out great.
4-5 apples peeled, cored and cut into sections. (granny smith or a less tart apple to make the sauce sweeter)
1/4 -1/2 cup of sugar, depending on how sweet you want the sauce
1 bag of fresh cranberries
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon of cloves
1/2 tablespoon of allspice
1 cup of water
Combine all ingredients in large saucepan, pour the water over the top and stir. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the apples are completely softened, stirring occasionally.
We had a perfect Thanksgiving dinner for two.