You are reading that right, tonight's post is a culmination of the last several days. Friday morning we headed up to my MIL's house in Evergreen. Sadly, I get no phone reception at her house, so was unable to do my posts. I did however, take pictures, so I could share with you the fun family weekend full of food, drinks, and play.
Friday - Day 27
Friday Morning: Pumpkin Bread and Clean Up.
Last week I made several Pumpkin Bread Loaves to freeze and use over the holidays. Perfect for mornings where you don't want to cook…like Friday morning, after I had been cooking all day the day before. Hubby and some of the family took off to go skiing early, so it was just me my SIL and the kiddos.
LUNCH OF CHAMPIONS! Not really.
We took off on our commute to Evergreen around lunchtime. Poor planning on my part. I though we would just eat when we got there. A car full of hungry kids and a long drive made us stop for some snacks.
Nothing like a Peppermint Hot Chocolate to get you through a drive across Denver.
I thought we got snow over Thanksgiving, Evergreen was amazingly beautiful with its snow covered trees. Beautiful thick powder just begging to be played in. It took us a whole 5 minutes to run in, drop our bags, and find the best sledding hill we could find. Throw in a snowball fight, and building some epic sledding jumps, and by the time the sun was setting we were hungry and ready to get warm by the fire.
My MIL is a foodie like me, and she loves to entertain and cook for large groups. She is also VERY GOOD about having awesome snacks out.
This Cranberry Walnut Bread with Brie was to die for. Great combo. You have to watch out when snacking, especially in big groups. Often times you eat much more than you need to on top of dinner. I try to limit myself…but hey, it's the holidays.
You've got to love the seemingly endless supply of amazing food during the holidays.
Dinner was a rare treat for us, Beef Tenderloin. Beef steak is not something we eat at our house typically, since we always have alternative red meat available (Deer and Elk). I savored every bite of this deliciousness. My MIL is also known for her wicked salads. My homemade salad dressing recipe that I use the most is hers. It's a staple. Pair that with a loaded baked potato and a piece of sourdough bagel and we are in business. I know White Wine is not the best choice for this beautiful meal, but I couldn't see letting it go to waste…I did not finish it during appetizers because my SIL were deeply into a game a Scrabble.
Saturday - Day 28
Bagel Breakfast Sandwich (Boo, no picture). Fuel for the slopes.
A perfect day for skiing! The whole family went up to Keystone. It was suppose to be a half day so we could get home with plenty of time for our new family tradition (see below). But the weather, snow and fun was just too good. We ended up making it a whole day. Even M1 and M2 were having a blast. M1 is a pretty good little skier and is able to ski with the adults. M2 is still learning so hubby spent the morning working with her on the bunny slopes.
The ski resorts are not knows for their healthy lunch options. I remember eating nasty pizza and french fries dipped in ranch as a kid. Now they have so many great options (expensive, but good). M1 and I went with this veggie filled Asian Noodle Bowl. It had beef, Bok Choy, Water Chestnuts, Broccoli, Green Onions, Cilantro, and Miso Ginger Broth. So warming and energizing for another half day of skiing.
Okay, our newest family tradition, which started last year with Thanksgiving leftovers, is a family cook off.
This year we divided into 2 teams of 5. MIL and her hubby were not in the cook off, but played the role of final judge. Each team was given a bag of miscellaneous foods. You are able to eliminate up to 3 ingredients from your bag. They each had to prepare a main dish and a side dish. Each Dish is judged and tasted for dinner by the whole family. We then each fill out a score card based on taste and presentation. Then a winning dish is picked.
I was Team 1:
Shrimp, Parmesean Cheese, Spinach, Pasta, Onion, Canned White Beans, lemons
This is so much fun.
The final products:
1. Grilled Rosemary-Honey Pork Tenderloin with Sautéed Mushrooms-Onion
2. Ginger Garlic Shrimp in a Coconut-Lime -Cilantro Broth
3. Gruyere-Apple and Raspberry Jam Crostini
4. Asparagus with a White Bean and Spinach Pesto Sauce
5. Sautéed Power Greens with Walnuts
These baskets were much easier than trying to repurpose Mashed Potatoes and Stuffing!
Sunday - Day 29
Today we are heading back to Fort Collins. But not after a big farewell breakfast. Pancakes, Fruit Salad, Scrambled Eggs with Ham and Green Onions, and Breakfast Sausage.
What is your favorite part about the Thanksgiving Turkey? Mine is the giblet bag! I get kind of bummed when I don't get the bag of goodies in a whole bird. THIS, my friends, is where the flavor is! And the nutrition!
For Thanksgiving, I use the Giblets (which was the Liver, Gizzard and Heart), the Neck and the Neck Skin/Fat. I braise them in some white wine, salt and water for a couple of hours on the stove. Adding more water when needed. This broth then becomes the base of my gravy. I remove the giblets, and set them aside for later…oh yeah, not done with those babies. I make my rue with the condensed giblet broth, and add the juice from the roasted turkey as needed to make a thinner gravy. (My gravy secret ingredient…pureed liver…shhhhhhhh) NO ONE CAN TELL! It adds such a depth of flavor and a pow of nutrition.
Liver, and other organ meat, is often NOT on the menu. I would like to see that come back. The liver is full of amazing nutrition. Organ meat can be between 10-100x more nutritious than muscle meat. There is a misconception that the Liver stores the toxins in the body. In fact, it does not. I produces several compounds that neutralize toxins in the body, including Glutothione. What Liver does store is essential vitamins (A, D, C, K, B12, and Folic Acid), and minerals (Iron and Copper).
Here is the Nutritional Comparison of Beef Meat Vs. Beef Liver
Not only does Liver contain more nutrition overall, it also higher in Omeg 3 fatty acids. Liver also has 3x the amount of choline (vitamin essential for nerve health), than an egg, which is known for its choline content.
The Heart of an animal is another highly prized nutritional powerhouse. The heart has the highest concentration of CoEnzyme Q10. A compound essential for health muscles throughout the body, but specifically the Heart. Many medications deplete the body of CoQ10 (Anti-Diabetic, Anti-Depressents, Statins, Beta-Blockers) actually increasing your chance of a Heart Attack!!! It's important to make sure the muscle that runs your body is in it's best shape.
That being said, I save the Heart/Gizzard and Neck Meat for Soup! Today was that day. Giblet Soup! I took some of the leftover gravy and added chicken broth to dilute it. I added leftover Brussels Sprouts, Carrot, Celery, Parsley, and Onion as well as the chopped Heart, Gizzard and Shredded Neck Meat. I let if cook until the carrots and onions were soft. AND SERVE! M2 is a huge fan!
Finishing the holiday weekend with a BANG! I had a hankering for hot wings, and it being a big football night, it just seemed right. I bake the wings in the oven first, then coat them in the sauce. This is great because I can customize small batches. Hubby and I did homemade hot wing sauce, and made the girls with homemade teriyaki. You can't have hot wings without ranch dressing, carrots and celery. I added some roasted sweet potatoes as well.
When choosing a pre-packaged dressing, always read the ingredients carefully. They can be full of all sorts of nasty stuff…high fructose corn syrup, MSG, partially hydrogenated oils, etc… You can always make your own!!!
My rules for surviving Thanksgiving...