Every family celebrates Thanksgiving a little differently; in some pecan pies reign king in others apple pie is a must. Even the date can vary, my Canadian friends celebrate Thanksgiving on a different month. But one thing is consistent and that is giving thanks. The world economies are seeing some tough times, and the road ahead is not a smooth one, but it’s in times like this that people come together and we find support in each other. This should also be a time when we are looking for way’s to support and sustain our home, planet earth.
Look for a new blog after Thanksgiving on December 2nd, with lots of holiday decorating tips- including paper garlands!
Hear my radio interview with Kari of Napa Valley Life as we discuss sustainable tips on KVON (The Vine).
Sparkling: Begin the evening with some appetizers and some bubbles. Domaine Carneros Brut Vintage 2006. Eileen Crane, the winemaker, suggests adding a paper thin slice of pear or lady pink apple.
Red Wine: Benziger Tribute 2005. Mike Benziger says, “The acid and tannins have the same balance as the turkey and gravy.”
White Wine: Try Robert Sinsky Abraxas, Vin De Terroir 2009. According to Robert Sinsky, “It’s floral, dry, wonderful aromatics. It will match a broad range of flavors at the table: turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes. Even sweet potatoes, as long as they’re not too many marshmallows.”
For more great thanksgiving wine suggestions read Adam Morganstern’s article in the Huff Post Food.
Creative recycle projects for empty wine bottles.
Soap Dispenser: Add liquid soap and a pump dispenser, and voila! You have a nifty Napa soap bottle. Buy soap dispenser here.
Oil lamp: All you need is, a long wick, some lamp oil, a ceramic wick stopper, and a small glass flame-protector. These would look great lining a long table for outdoor entertaining.
Homemade herb olive oil and vinegar: Just add a new cork.
Pumpkins are popping up everywhere, now is a good time to look for these at your local farmers market. Wait! Don’t throw away those pumpkin seeds! Here’s a delicious, healthy snack my mom used to make.
Pumpkin seed snack:
1.) Rinse all the slimy gook of the seeds.
2.) Pat dry.
3.) Spread onto a baking pan with tinfoil and coat with soy sauce (a wheat free version is Tamari).
4.) Bake in an oven at 425 until crisp. Store them in a glass jar and they will keep for quit a long time.
Homemade shabby chic napkins.
Grab one or two favorite sheets, floral patterns work well, and give them a coffee or tea stain. The stain gives a soft, vintage look to the fabric-coffee gives a stronger stain.
Fill a small sack with lots of ground coffee. I over-do it and use about a cup. Tie it closed and throw it into a pot of boiling water. Brew it for about 10 minutes and remove the sack.
Let your fabric simmer in the pot for 10-20 minutes depending on how dark you want to stain it. Remember: Once the fabric is dried, the stain will become MUCH lighter. Remove from the pot with tongs and immerse in very cold water with some white vinegar added. At this point, immersing the fabric in hot water would remove some of the stain. Rinse in cold water.
If you don’t want to ruin your ironing board, cover it with an old pillowcase or spare cotton fabric. Iron the fabric or trim by sections with a hot dry iron until it is completely dry. The stain is now set. More info at Patchwork Pottery.
Support local farms!
Julie and I model fresh tomatoes (taken during the summer) from Gotts Roadside garden in St. Helena. Gott’s grows much of the produce it uses in it’s kitchen.
Contact Farm Fresh To You. They will deliver a box of fresh produce to your door. It’s always a fun surprise to see what goodies I will get in the box and it often the ingredients inspire me to try new recipes.
Support free range, animal friendly farms. This is a ranch owned by friends of mine in Oregon, Big Table Farm. You can find their wine on local shelves and next year, grass fed beef.
Farm photos by Ann Trinca.
Organic Vino! Good for you, good for the planet.
Take a tour of the Benzinger winery in Glenn Ellen. They use certified Biodynamic, organic and sustainable farming methods. Biodynamic agriculture is a method oforganic farming that emphasizes the holistic development and interrelationships of the soil, plants and animals as a self-sustaining system.
Listen to Mike Benzinger discuss biodynamic viticulture.
Don’t waste your Thanksgiving scraps! Instead compost them.
Read my full article on how to start a compost here.
Don’t throw away food! Recipes for Thanksgiving leftovers.
Sweet and spicy turkey curry soup. Recipe here.
Sweet potato soup with crisp prosciutto. Recipe here.
Whole wheat french toast with cranberries and walnuts. Recipe here.
The famous hot brown sandwich created in Brown hotel in Louisville Kentucky in the 1920′s. Recipe
Can it! I come from a family of caner’s, both my mother and grandmother simmered pots of fruit on the stove, pulling hot glass jars out with tongs from boiling water. So I have a soft spot for home canned food. This would also make a terrific Christmas gift and the glass jar can always be re-used!
Pickled Sweet Onion recipe.
Take time to enjoy small moments in the midst of chaos.
Finally, a suggestion for working off the big meal, dance it off!
Special thanks to my dear friend Julie who’s photos I have stolen for this blog. I encourage you to check out her fabulous blog, ‘Literary Legacies’.
Julie and pumpkin.