Wednesday, October 16, 2013

the gift that keeps on giving

During Thanksgiving, we always give thanks to our family, friends and loved ones who have touched our lives in such a beautiful way.

It is always a time of's a time I hope my children will one day, think of when they are having troubles or be grateful that we generally live healthy and happy lives, and there are so many things that we have that many people do without.

Unfortunately October is also a time where consumerism takes over, and the world seems overwhelmed more with costumes and light up pumpkins.  When I was purchasing a few last minute flowers and decorations for Thanksgiving, the sales person keep pushing the sales of costumes and the like...I responded that I wanted to enjoy Thanksgiving first...thank you very much.

As years go by, I have started to notice that Thanksgiving celebrations aren't really celebrated (or "promoted" in marketing terms) as much in the stores any more.  It's like we go straight from back to school to Hallowe'en.  Sure there are some nice fall wreaths, pumpkins and the like, but when I was trying to get a large (to feed my 15+ crowd) turkey, the store managers said they didn't order as many this year, and I was hard pressed to find a turkey that would suffice (and also be large enough to keep on giving after the big day, with leftover turkey for pies, soups etc.).  I was thankful this year I did find one.

I don't know where the fundamental cultural shift occurred, because Thanksgiving is not about religion.  It's about being truly thankful for the opportunities we have.  The fundamental basics of humanity, such as food, water, shelter, clothing, education, safety...things that we ALL should be thankful for, no matter what spiritual path (or not) that one takes.

I am so very thankful for the family and friends that I have.  And even if Thanksgiving celebrations don't appear to be treasured by the "commercial world", I will always treasure this time of year, because it reminds me to be grateful that I am able to share this time with the ones I love.  A love that is the true gift that keeps on giving.

Turkey Pot Pie
(serves 4-6 people)

This recipe can be a bit time consuming, but it's totally worth it and uses up most of the main Thanksgiving leftovers (turkey, peas, carrots, turkey stock, etc.), especially if you make more than one pie. I usually double or even triple the recipe to eat the day after Thanksgiving, one or two to freeze for another night.

Pie Crust
  • 2 1/2 cup of flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup butter (cubed)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening (cubed)
  • 3-4 tbsp. cold water
  1. In a large bowl, mix the  flour and salt together.
  2. Cut in with a knife or pastry blender, the butter and vegetable shortening.
  3. Blend together until a pea-sized crumb mixture forms.
  4. Slowly add cold water until just moistened.
  5. Form loosely in a ball and refrigerate for 30 minutes while you're making the turkey filling.
Turkey Filling
  • 1 1/3 cups peas and carrots
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped leeks
  • 1 tsp finely chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup turkey stock (I used the turkey stock I made with the the giblets, onions, carrots, celery and herbs...chicken stock would do here).
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (or table cream)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 tbsp. fresh), to taste
  • 1 tsp. poultry seasoning (optional)
  • 2 cups diced turkey
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  1. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and leek until softened.
  2. Stir in the flour and cook until a thick paste.
  3. Pour in the milk and stock and continue stirring while cooking until the mixture is smooth.
  4. Add the thyme and poultry seasoning and continue to cook and stir until the mixture thickens.
  5. Stir in the cooked vegetables and the turkey. 
  6. Season with salt and pepper. 
  7. Cook until heated through, stirring frequently, 5 to 7 minutes.
Assemble & Bake:
  • Roll out the pastry dough into two- 9" circles and place one on the bottom of a 9" pie dish. 
  • Place turkey filling into the dough.
  • Top with the other pastry dough circle.
  • Pierce a few holes on the top with fork to let the steam out of the pie. (I usually like to make a "T" with the fork piercings so if I freeze this, I know it's a turkey pie!).  You can freeze at this point, if you're not baking right away.
  • Brush the top pie crust with a little milk.
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for approximately one hour. (you may need to cover the edges with tin foil at the 30 minute mark, to prevent the edges from burning).

Serve, Freeze, Eat or Give.

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