Wednesday, October 08, 2014

pockets of gratitude

While busily driving around the city to do errands the other day, I saw a chicken cross the road.  There are no farms in the area (so I have no idea where this chicken came from) and many cars had stopped traffic to let it cross, as if this was commonplace. I guess we Canadians are familiar with poultry crossings, as we similarly allow flocks of Canada Geese to cross the road when necessary.  Amongst the ever growing list of the things I had to do that day, the thought about that age old joke about chickens and roads distracted me long enough to realize how funny it was to actually see a chicken cross the road, and I couldn't stop laughing in the car all the way to my next destination.

With Thanksgiving this weekend, the holiday makes us think of all the things we're thankful for. It's one of my favourite holidays of the year. A gathering of loved ones, sharing the coziness of a hot, deep-sleep inducing meal and spending time creating familiar memories.  I say familiar, because I usually cook the same menu, and ask my guests to bring the same food item year after year.  The familiarity of this tradition provides the comfort of consistency. 

However, I've been thinking a lot lately about gratitude. Maybe we should really be more grateful, taking note of perhaps the small but accumulatively important things that we have in our lives.    Being grateful allows us to slow down and really take notice of what is staring us in the face, every single day.  Like watching beautiful sleepy faces in the quiet of the night. Or the glorious sunshine warming our earth. Or the beauty of mature trees reflected on a calm, still pond.

Being thankful requires a giver and receiver, where we owe that moment, or gift, to someone else for providing it. I'm sure that chicken is thankful that all those cars stopped to let it cross the road.  But being grateful allows you to feel the warmth of happiness at any moment within yourself without waiting to be thankful for something given to you by someone else.

So this year, I'm going to try to be more grateful. Yes, I'll still be thankful for the delicious food on our table. Thankful for being able to spend time with family and loved ones. Thankful for the time off of work to be able to enjoy all those things. But I'll also acknowledge the simple little moments. Grateful for restful children that allow me a few extra hours in the morning so I can prepare for the feast. Grateful for beautiful weather so the commute to our home is safe and enjoyable.

And on an otherwise busy and hectic day, grateful for catching that funny glimpse of that chicken crossing the road and putting a big smile on my face.

Happy Thanksgiving

Turkey Pockets
Serves 4-6 people

This is a great recipe for using left over turkey from Thanksgiving.  You could also use chicken instead (for other times of the year).

  • 2 or 3 cups of cooked turkey, diced. 
  • 1 and ½ tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoon all purpose flour (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup Corn and peas (optional)
  • ½ cup milk (you may need 1 - 2 tablespoons more)
  • ½ teaspoon Herb de Provence 
  • ½ teaspoon Poultry seasoning (optional)
  • Puff pastry sheets (1 used 10 pastry squares - 6 x 6 inch)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Heat a saute pan with the butter until melted, add corn & peas until cooked.  
  • Add the flour, black pepper. Whisk to mix everything and let cook for 2 minutes. 
  • Add half the milk, then all of the turkey, then the remaining milk. 
  • Cook for a 3 - 4 minutes until the milk reduces. 
  • If the mixture is too dry add 1 - 2 more tablespoons of milk. 
  • Season with Herb de provence or poultry seasoning (or both)
  • Let cool completely.

To prepare the puff pastry shell:
  • Defrost puff pastry shells at room temperature for 30 minutes. Cut squares into triangles, fill one side with 1 tablespoon of mixture. 
  • Fold 1 side of the pastry over the filling and crimp the two sides with a fork. 
  • Repeat with remaining shells. If baking right away, brush pastries with lightly beaten egg.
  • Line the pastries on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 15 - 20 minutes or until pastries turn lightly golden brown. 

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