Thanksgiving Ideas

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I just opened a blog post from Food Renegade (click the photo below to see the original blog entry) and found a recipe I wanted to share.  That made me think of some other recipes that might interest you, so here we are.  My first blog post in let’s don’t discuss how long…

Bacon Wrapped Sweet Potato Bites – Click for Recipe

Butternut Squash / Beet / Granny Smith Apple Casserole

I found this recipe in the Spring and modified it to make it my own.  I hope your family enjoys it as much as mine did.  Just watch your fingers on the finger-eating mandoline!

5-6 golden beets (or red if that’s what you have and you don’t mind the color bleeding – it looks funny but tastes good)
4 granny smith apples
1 butternut squash
1 red onion
1 tbsp sucanat (optional)
1/4 cup fresh thyme, roughly chopped (I have used other herbs, try what you have or what you like)
1/2 cup cold-pressed coconut oil, warmed to liquid (I have used olive oil)
Fresh ground black pepper
Fine ground sea salt

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Slice your onion on the mandoline and add it, 1 tsp of coconut oil and sucanat, to a pan and brown over medium-high heat 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. While onions brown, peel and slice your beets on the mandoline and set aside. Slice your apples (do not peel, the green is pretty) on the mandoline, and cut out the core/seeds on the slices where you find it.

Peel your butternut squash and slice as well. Using a pastry brush, or your fingers, grease your baking dish.

Place a layer of beet rounds in the casserole dish. Paint with coconut oil. With a very light hand, sprinkle—SPRINKLE!—a touch of sea salt and pepper on your rounds. It’s important to season all layers, so be sure to be delicate with your amounts. A tiny pinch will do. Imagine, if you had to (or could) count, you’d make it so only 20 little grains of salt/pepper are on each round. I you are not a fan of pepper, use it every third layer instead of on each one.

Sprinkle beets with fresh thyme. Now place a layer of apple slices on top of your beets. Then place a thin layer of onions on top.

Paint with oil. Add a pinch of salt/pepper. Now place a butternut squash round on the apple/onions. Season with pepper/salt. Repeat this order until the dish is full (or you run out. It will bake down some.  Sprinkle grated Parmesan throughout the layers as desired.

Again, use this order and repeat until full:
Beet: coconut oil, fresh thyme, tiny pinch salt/pepper
Apple: coconut oil, tiny pinch salt/pepper
Butternut squash: Coconut oil, tiny pinch salt/pepper

No matter what layer you finish on, make sure you top it with fresh thyme, salt and pepper.  Finish with a generous layer of grated Parmesan.

Bake at 350°F for 45 minutes.

If you want to use the cream, while the casserole is baking, place cream ingredients in the blender and mix until ultra smooth. Drizzle over warm gratins and serve!

You can prepare this a day in advance. Just make sure it is covered well and you reheat it in the oven, never a microwave. Always use fresh cream sauce to drizzle, too.  This casserole reheats very well, the leftovers were devoured in our house, not a bit was wasted.  It is surprisingly sweet and the flavors meld very nicely.

For more Thanksgiving Real Food Recipes, check out Cheeseslave!


Butternut Squash Soup

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I do not even remember where the original recipe came from.  Somewhere in the internet, I am sure.  It is very rare that I follow a recipe exactly, quite often because of lack of advance planning.  Most things in our life end up being the wing-it variety.  We usually don’t know what our plans are until they’ve already happened.  Wait, I was talking about soup, wasn’t I?

Butternut Squash Soup with Sausage

Butternut Squash Soup.  It has become a favorite at our house.  The first time I made it, Kent was less than enthusiastic about soup for a meal.  It turned out to be one of his favorites, and he now lets me know when we have not had it in awhile.

One thing I remember about the original recipe is it called for nutmeg, and I don’t like nutmeg.  So I substitute ground cinnamon (because that is what I had).  Sometimes my substitutions work out, sometimes they don’t.  Eating my experiments is often quite an adventure at the very least.  Some of them are definitely inedible.  Not this soup, though.

I bake a butternut squash, sliced lengthwise and face down in a quarter inch of water, for 30-40 minutes until tender to a fork.  I’ve tried peeling them and boiling the chunks, but I like to keep the skin on my hands.  Peeling a butternut squash is a monumental task, I find baking them to be much easier.   Then I can just scoop out the cooked squash with a spoon.  I put it in the blender and puree it until smooth.

Soup bones cooking to make stock

Stock is jelly-like when cold (the good stuff is anyway).

Normally, I add an equal amount of home made chicken stock.  Tonight it was beef stock made from our soup bones.  I made beef stock for the first time yesterday.  For this soup, I think I prefer the chicken stock, but I will try other things with the beef stock.  I also got a large amount of tender meat out of the stock pot, which Sky has been eating.  There was enough for Kent and myself to have it for supper last night also, these are very meaty soup bones.

Browned Suasage

So, you have pureed squash and stock in the pot. This is when I sprinkle with ground cinnamon and add a bit of Redmond Real Salt and black pepper.  I heat over low heat to liquify the stock and simmer the two together to blend.  At the same time, I brown a package of sausage, usually venison sausage around here.  Whatever bulk sausage you like, our pork breakfast sausage would work great.  We just didn’t bring any of it home because we have so much venison in the freezer already.

I also sautee some onion in another skillet.  When the sausage and onions are done, add them to the pot.  Add water to get the consistency you like.  Simmer for a bit to let everything blend, then serve.

Sky Likes Butternut Squash Soup!

Tonight, we tried adding creme fraiche.  It gave a nice creamy taste and was pretty good.  We also added our cottage cheese.  This was hands down the favorite.  Kent, Sky and I ate about 3/4 of a 16oz. container of cottage cheese tonight.  In the soup, it got soft and then had a definite squeak when chewed.  If you don’t understand what squeak is, you’ll just have to try it.

This soup is a very flexible recipe.  I want to try it with sweet potato next time.  It stores well in the refrigerator, just reheat and add water as needed to get the texture you want.  We like it pretty thick , but you could thin it down to stretch it out.  It is quite filling (I am still stuffed as I write this at 11pm).