Today's a day for being thankful for all we have and as I thought about the day, my first thought was my family and friends. My second thought was how fortunate I am to be at a place and time where I have many choices or alternatives in my life. This wasn't something that was a given for women who were our predecessors, the times dictated a narrower set of choices for women in my mother's and grandmother's eras. That led to some predictability and durability to the family unit that doesn't exist today, but also, I'm sure, led to some dissatisfaction and downright desperation in women's lives.
I think of my Grandmother, who left England alone as a young woman and traveled by ship to Canada. We don't really know what prompted her to make that trip, but no doubt she was a rebel in her time for this one action. Afterwards, she settled down with my grandfather in British Columbia and chose to be a "homemaker" for most of their adult lives (as did my mother after her) , to raise children, play bridge, participate in church and civic activities, and support their husbands as they succeeded in their chosen careers, and as civic leaders in their community.
I didn't have to choose children or career (though sometimes I felt the balance was precarious at best) and I was able to choose to end a marriage that wasn't working. Those choices alone make my life vastly different than theirs. That isn't to say mine is by definition better, just filled with more alternatives than they had.
I've spent the morning preparing a Thanksgiving feast and I thought about alternatives as I did that as well. Our dinner is just the two of us, so there is no requirement to have things we don't like even if they are traditional. I've never liked cranberry sauce, so I made Cranberry Wobbler instead which is a jello salad (one of the few I like) with fresh cranberries, orange, walnuts, and seasoned with cinnamon and cloves.
And I never liked the traditional sweet potatoes, so we are having mashed potatoes. And next year, I just may have to try this wonderful sounding recipe for butternut squash from Mrs. G.
And, I am not a big fan of pumpkin pie either. Put enough whipped cream on it and I can eat it but I like my Pumpkin Pie Squares better because they have an oatmeal-cookie type crust and crunchy pecans and brown sugar on top. The turkey is smallish (11 1/2 lb) but it easily looks like we have enough food for 10. Good thing we like leftovers!
Oh in case you want to try my alternatives next year, here are my recipes:
Pumpkin Pie Squares (pictured above)
1 ½ cup flour
¾ cup quick cooking rolled oats
¾ cup butter
Combine flour, oats, brown sugar, butter in mixing bowl. Mix until crumbly with knife or pastry tool. Press into ungreased 13x9 pan. Bake at 360 for 15 minutes.
2 ½ cups canned pumpkin
2 C evaporated milk
½ c brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
½ tsp salt
Combine pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, salt, and spices in mixing bowl. Beat well. Pour over crust. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes
¾ cup chopped pecans
½ cup brown sugar
2 T flour
2 T butter or margarine
Combine topping ingredients, sprinkle over filling Bake at 350° 15-20 minutes. Cool and serve plain or with whipped cream.
Cranberry Wobbler (recipe from a Jello add years ago)
A Thanksgiving tradition instead of cranberry sauce.
1 1/2 cups Ground fresh cranberries
1/2 cup Sugar
2 pkgs (3 oz ea) Orange or Lemon flavor jello
1/4 teaspoon Salt
2 cups Boiling water
1 1/2 cups Cold water (I use ice cubes to speed up the process)
1 Tbs Lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon Cloves
1 Orange, sectioned & diced
1/2 cups Chopped nuts
Combine cranberries and sugar and set aside.
Dissolve gelatin and salt in boiling water.
Add cold water, lemon juice, cinnamon and cloves.
Chill until thickened.
Fold in cranberries, orange, and nuts.
Spoon into a 6 cup mold. Chill until firm, about 4 hours.
Unmold. Garnish with crisp salad greens, if desired.
Makes about 6 cups or 12 servings
HINT: To unmold, loosen edges with knife dipped in warm water. Dip mold to rim in warm water for 10 seconds. Shake slightly. Place chilled moistened plate over mold; invert.