Recipe: Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s finally here!  Yipeee! My all-time favorite day!  I’m so so excited!  The only thing that would make it more perfect is if all our family were together.  However, at the moment we are living all over the globe.  Thank God I was able to be with my son and daughter last week when we all met up in Tennessee.  My son who is a captain in the Army had his Change of Command Ceremony.  My youngest grandbaby traveled like a pro with her mommy, but my four year old granddaughter stayed home in Washington with my son in law.  But our group included my daughter in law, my aunt and uncle, as well as my younger brother and his new wife, all of whom traveled from California.  It was like a mini (because some loved ones were missing like my Hubby) pre Thanksgiving and even though we didn’t have turkey, we enjoyed feasting on other delicious food and creating special memories.  Like our memories from last year when we all met up in Austin, Texas for Thanksgiving and a belated celebration of my birthday.  Besides doing our own cooking in a house my Hubby rented for us, we did the most amazing food tour of the city.

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As I have shared here and here the important thing about Thanksgiving is in fact that we have a legitimate day, a set aside opportunity to count our blessings.  If you’ve been following along on this blog you know that I live with an “attitude of gratitude” and I don’t need a day on a calendar to tell me to do so.  But it is great to know we’ve got a whole country simultaneously giving thanks!  Americans don’t have many National Holidays.  And with such diversity, not everyone shares all the different holidays on the calendar.  But Thanksgiving is different because it isn’t about religion or ethnicity.  It is really about focusing on what is important, breaking bread with family and friends with appreciation!

Some bloggers have written wonderful posts about what they are thankful for this year.  I have put together my own list of what I am grateful for in my life.  It is in the form of a quasi mnemonic device.  These are 5 things I think are incredibly important.  They are easy to remember because like the five fingers on our hand, each one on its own isn’t as useful as all of them together. As well, I’ve included a totally fun visual to help you remember.  Maybe some of you even made these Turkey Hands when you were younger.

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Each finger represents one area of thankfulness and all of them start with the letter F…..so with five F’s you won’t Forget!  I’ll go one by one starting with the thumb.

  1. FAITH: What separates a human from other animals is our thumb.  More specifically our opposable thumb.  Anyone who saw Meet the Parents would remember the famous cat scene.  Humans are even more unique than other animals that have thumbs in that our opposable thumb is longer, compared to finger length.  This long thumb and its ability to easily touch the other fingers allow humans to firmly grasp and manipulate objects of many different shapes.  But what is even more rare about us is our Faith. The only living being that worships God and joins organized religion.  In fact even a lack of faith, if we so choose (because we have free will) shows our difference.  And for me I am so utterly grateful for my faith.  I wouldn’t be who I am without it.  And it has kept me hopeful and positive even in the most challenging of circumstances.
  2. FAMILY:  Family for some isn’t just the genetic/biological people in your life.  It can be the people you’ve hand picked to be a part of your journey.  Friends and even those you surround yourself with everyday (like the folks at the cleaners you choose to frequent because they make your day that bit happier) are also your family.  And family is number ONE!  They are the people that make this earthy existence worthwhile.  Sometimes you have to experience almost losing them to realize that.  Or other times you need someone to teach you their value.  Like the movie City Slickers’  famous scene.  Here is a clip to refresh your memory and sorry if there is one swear word in it.  I thank God everyday I have my number 1 (index/pointy finger)!  I love my family with all my heart.  So much so that it has stretch marks on it to prove it!

3.  FITNESS:  Since it is in the center and tallest, the middle finger quite literally is the backbone. The quote “your health is your wealth” is important because it is hard to enjoy the other bits of life without it.  I have to say this is my biggest struggle and yet I am super grateful that I have made it this far.  Maintaining your fitness, and that includes physical, mental and emotional, keeps you grounded.  And when you feel good, you look good.  So you don’t need to succumb to the pressure society puts on people to diet or resort to plastic surgery to look attractive.  It will shine through naturally.  I try my best to balance it all out, but if things go awry, I get back on the fitness train.  And thankfully, it usually sorts itself out!

4. FINANCES: It isn’t a coincidence that a wedding ring gets placed on the ring finger. Something precious and costly symbolically attached through a commitment.  Finances are indeed costly if the commitment isn’t respected.  Though frugal,  I am not a cheapskates, in fact I’m far from it.  I love to spend money, just not on myself.  I love to buy things for others.  It isn’t that money is evil, it is the love of money that is so.  Yet I  do realize the importance of spending wisely and also saving.  I am thankful to have enough to provide for a home and a car and the ability to travel, all because of finances.  I am extremely appreciative to have a Hubby who is so hard working.  And most importantly I am content with the fact that through my life I have had no money, loads of money and some money, and yet I am still the same person inside.

5. FUTURE: That little finger, called a pinky.  It’s just at the end, down there, in the future. And yet, it is so important. Our plans, goals, hopes, and dreams, those are all future notions.  I for one am beholden to it because it is what I look forward to in little things, such as a bucket list.  Even my countdown to this day is a spark of excitement.  I love that as humans we have the ability to time travel through our thoughts.  We can look back in the past and reminisces and look forward to the future with wonder.  Some espouse the notion of the “power of now” and while I don’t discount that, I also love being able to think about the future because it gives me guidance as to where I want to go.  And though the path may take a turn or bend, I can still have my eye on the prize.  I am so grateful for the promise of the future.

So if you have read this far, well done!  That means you haven’t overdosed on tryptophan (the common element in turkey that makes you sleepy).  I am not a philosopher and not trying to be preachy like somehow I know it all.  I certainly do not!  But I have lived long enough to know that on this day, Thanksgiving, besides gorging on food, it is good to indulge in some soul searching.  And a bit of soup searching doesn’t hurt either.  In fact, I have the best recipe for butternut squash soup.  It is the perfect starter for a meal like today.  It is delicious and nutritious.  You can even make it with fresh pumpkin if you really want to be in the pilgrim mode!  And since you have your opposable thumbs, you will be able to slice and dice the veg to do all your prep!

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Butternut Squash Soup

 Serves 6

2 kg butternuts squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into chunks

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

2 red onions, peeled and chopped

2 sticks of celery, trimmed and chopped

4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped

2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves picked

salt and freshly ground pepper

2 liters vegetable or chicken stock

Extra virgin olive oil

16 fresh sage leaves

* ½ – 1 fresh red chilli, to taste, deseeded and finely chopped (optional, if you want a bit of a kick)

  1. Firstly, heat some olive oil in a very large sauce pan and fry the sage leaves for about 30 seconds until dark green and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon onto some kitchen paper to dry. These will be used for sprinkling over the soup for garnish.
  1. In the same pan, add to the oil (which will now be flavoured with sage) the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, rosemary leaves and chilli (if using) and a good bit of salt and pepper. Cook gently for 10 minutes until the vegetables are sweet and soft. Add the squash and the stock to the pan and bring to the boil. Then simmer for 30 minutes.
  1. When the squash is soft and cooked through, whiz the soup with a hand held liquidizer. Puree until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  1. To serve, pour into bowls and garnish with the crispy sage leaves.

 

I hope you all have an amazing Thanksgiving.  If you aren’t American nor sitting down to a turkey dinner, you can still celebrate the holiday.  Maybe you can just take a moment and dwell on what you are thankful for in your own life.  Even if it is simply the gift of good eyesight, the ability to see, in order to read this.  Or the blessing of enough money to have a smart phone so you can call someone you love.  And once you think of one simple blessing, so many more gratitudes will begin pouring forth!

Grateful for my faith, family (which includes you), fitness, finances and the future!

YDP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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