Food for Thought: What’s Your Go-To Thanksgiving Side?

Everyone has one. The one they take seconds and thirds and fourths of. Or the one they always have to have or make or it’s not Thanksgiving. What’s your go-to, must-have Thanksgiving side dish.

Thanksgiving is hands down my favorite holiday meal all year. I love everything about it. I love my own family’s traditions, I love that everyone has very specific Thanksgiving-only traditions, and I love creating new ones with my husband and his family and our collective family as we grow. I love remembering which dish is or was everyone’s favorite, and I love that while so much of the traditional meal is consistent from table to table, how much those consistent ingredients and elements and dishes can vary, too.

My go-to has changed. It used to be my Grandma’s stuffing. Now that I wrote that, it totally still is. I could live off only my Grandma’s stuffing and never get tired of it. But I’m now the fresh cranberry sauce lady.

Here’s a version I’ve made the past few years and will make again next week.

What about you?

Food for Thought: Modifiable Go-Tos

One of the best weapons in my weeknight cooking arsenal is versatile basics. Those go-to dishes you know you can come back to, but don’t need to be exactly the same every time. Those dishes that provide you with a solid foundation but can be customized to whatever needs to be used up in your fridge and still turn out great.

One of my most reliable stand-bys in this regard is my quiche. Literally endless combinations for fillings. A basic frame with interchangeable accessories. Know what I mean? Tonight’s quiches were: chicken sausage with a blend of cheddar and jack cheeses; and sweet onion, spinach, and basil with provolone. YUM.

So I’m wondering what kinds of modifiable recipes you keep in *your* back pocket? What’s your mix and match go-to??

Food for Thought: Farm Shares/CSAs

Over the years we’ve toyed with the idea of signing up for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). If you don’t know what that is, it’s a farm share. A farmer offers a certain number of shares up for purchase. You buy what amounts to a subscription. You buy a share and you get a regular (usually weekly) delivery of whatever produce or protein is harvested or available at a given time during the farming season. Lots of pros, obviously: super fresh stuff, no need to go shopping for produce (or as much of it), convenient delivery or pick-up… so why haven’t we jumped in yet? Well, cost for one. You have to be sure you’re going to be there enough of he season to make the investment worthwhile. And there’s the unknown: you don’t usually know ahead of time what you’re getting, which could work out to be exciting and awesome, or not. Plus, we don’t know which one to choose! So we just talk about it every year and then miss the chance to buy a share! Again. 

I’m volunteering as part of a group in my office to help tend to a community edible garden for the building. On our assigned weeks for watering and weeding, we get to take home whatever is harvested. This week is one of those weeks. And I got to take home a nice little sampling of goodies today. Which obviously made me think…

So I’m curious. What about you? Do you have a share? How did you decide? What do you like/dislike? Do you recommend joining one? Warnings? Pro tips?

What do you say?

Food for Thought: Birthdays!

Today was my birthday, and in an odd twist of fate, I had a random day off thanks to a company-only holiday, so instead of cooking a favorite meal, I decided to treat myself to a bunch of stuff I love, including driving up to one of our old ‘hoods to pick up a favorite meal we haven’t had in a while. But as I treated myself with edible/drinkable goodies all day (okay, fine, all weekend), it occurred to me how much food is a part of celebrating. My go-to birthday foods and sweets have changed a little over the years, but so have I, so I guess that makes sense. Anyway… so I wondered. What are your birthday food MUSTS? A favorite homemade dinner? A special restaurant? A cocktail toast? Ice cream cake? Here’s a sampling of how I food/drink celebrated my birthday the past few days. Now tell me how you do yours.