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starting holiday food traditions

Welcome to the November 2012 Simplicity Parenting Carnival: Food
This post was written as part of the monthly Simplicity Parenting Carnival hosted by The Lone Home Ranger and S.A.H.M. i AM. This month we are discussing how we balance food, family, and simplicity. Be sure to read to the end to see a list of the rest of the excellent carnival contributors.

It makes some sort of sense that after disappearing for a week I would come back to the blog talking about food. Practically nothing else (save decorating) has occupied my thoughts for the past fortnight. Just about my favorite part of this Thanksgiving–after my mom visiting, of course–is that the whole event somehow came together easily.

My after-action analysis of the gorging bonanza is that we owe its success to simplifying the dishes. We canned and froze much of the accoutrement so that all we had to do was pop open jars and leave casseroles in the counter to defrost. Another way we simplified was to use meat we already had from the CSA instead of worrying about finding and cooking a big (sustainably, humanely raised) turkey. Nate made a fabulous leg of lamb, and I warmed up a large ham steak. We didn’t even miss the turkey!

Making simple dishes is not rocket science, folks, so I won’t belabor the point. Instead, I’ll share links to the recipes. I loved them so much that I think we’ll have a repeat of the meal at Christmas. How’s that for simplifying? (Note: The ones I froze or canned ahead are italicized.) I’ll also share our local farmer’s recipe for mashed squash, which when topped with spiced nuts was just about my favorite dish on the table.


*Made ahead and warmed up.

Much prettier to eat than look at!

mashed hubbard squash 
serves 4

5 lb. sqaush (I used a big half, and weight included peel)
4 Tbs. butter
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. brown sugar
salt & white pepper to taste

Cut the squash into chunks and steam until tender.image
Allow to cool slightly until you can handle it, then scoop out the flesh with a spoon into a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mash until combined. I pureed mine with an immersion blender, but that step is optional depending on how smooth you want it. Season to taste. Top with your favorite spiced nuts (we used a combo of pistachios, cashews, almonds, and pepitas).image

Thanks for reading the Simplicity Parenting Blog Carnival! We hope you’ll take time to read these other great contributors’ posts (Note: Links will all be live by 3pm ET on November 27th):

  • Oliver’s Eats: Simplifying Meals – Carli at One Fit Mom discovers that simpler food offerings improve her toddler’s mealtime behaviour.
  • Filling Our Freezer (or, Making Life a Little Easier) – Emily at S.A.H.M. i AM discusses how her recent discovery of freezer cooking is keeping family meals interesting and making life with a new baby a little easier. .
  • food: I love it – Jamie at I Love Junkmail describes how food unites us and how simple changes can make planning and eating healthier easier.
  • starting holiday food traditions – Justine at The Lone Home Ranger discusses how she embraces the bounty of holiday meals while still simplifying her family’s food traditions.

Thanks to all the fabulous writers and readers for being a part of our simplicity parenting community! Stop by The Lone Home Ranger and S.A.H.M. i AM to see how to join us for a future carnival.

Editor’s Note: This post is part of The Homestead Barn Hop