There is something about Thanksgiving that brings out the best in people (the peeps I surround myself with at least!) There are expectations of giving hugs, being thankful, soul warming food and no expectations of commercial gifts to receive. Just gifts from the heart, of simple inspirations, deliciousness and meaning.
I also love how it inspires creativity & spurs imagination for some including myself. For example, my good friend and fellow lover of all things fall, Jennifer Whalen posted this pretty photo she took today onto her Facebook wall – I love how she artfully placed handpicked decor (likely from a recent expedition in the Rockies with her two boys) atop a kitschy cute apple cranberry crisp in a mason jar! So Pinterest! Thoughtful, giving, inspiring. Gorgeous – I want one!
This year I was fortunate to have my Mom and Dad visiting from the east coast. My inspirations and creativity are directly inherited from both of them. Days and years of treasure hunting, auctions, picking, renovating, repurposing, cooking, baking, crafting……and for every bit of it – I am thankful. So when I suggested bucking the trend of a traditional dinner with all the fixings and setting out for a hike and fall inspired picnic, I knew my parents would be all over it! My mom jumped in and we planned a simple, quick and tasty Thanksgiving picnic menu fit for exploring the Foothills of Alberta!
We didn’t go through many hoops, bells or whistles to create this picnic menu. I don’t claim this to be all homemade and fluffy! The idea was to get it done quick and without much extra cost! And for those of you who did the traditional Thanksgiving, this is an ideal menu to extend thanksgiving well past the supper! For us it was a reverse Turkey Dinner! Tonight we are having the leftovers the traditional way!
Here was our menu:
- Roasted Turkey & Bacon Salad Wraps with cranberry orange sauce, pear & gouda cheese.
- Spinach & Arugula Salad with candied pecans, dried fig, orange pepper, goat feta, avocado with a Honey Mustard dressing.
- Hot Apple Cider
- Caramel Pumpkin Tarts
- Rhubarb Crisp Squares
Here’s the lowdown:
- We roasted a small turkey per normal, still made stuffing, shredded it, kept the carcass and now soup is in the works and reserved the juices for our gravy for our reverse turkey dinner!
- Added a Cranberry Orange sauce from the grocery store (yep – I did not make my own this year!) and added it to the shredded turkey with some Miracle Whip (yep – it was in the fridge and I wasn’t feeling like making my aioli!)
- Baked up some bacon until crispy and crumbled it in with the turkey and cranberry sauce mixture. YUMMMM!
- Scooped the turkey salad mixture over some baby greens atop a wholegrain wrap, then layered some thinly slice pear slices and some gouda slices. Wrapped it up and 6 of those done!
The Simple Salad:
- Spinach and arugula tossed with crumbled feta, sliced orange peppers, dried fig cut in halves, avocados diced, candied pecans (we made these from this recipe link – I couldn’t find my old one from my bakery times, but this seemed close to it & it worked well), and ummm – honey mustard dressing from the grocery store (yep – I have a recipe for that too, but…..)
Two Desserts (if you know me well….!)
- Caramel Pumpkin Tarts adapted from the latest issue of Fine Cooking - We bought mini tart shells and made the filling part and caramel topping with brandy instead of bourbon! I crumbled roasted pistachios on top. These were delicious and we all fought over the leftovers!
- Rhubarb Crisp Squares – these we made at our bakery and they are the perfect mix of sweet and cinnamon! Recipe to follow soon!
- Apple Cider – we bought really good apple juice, heated it up on the stove with some cinnamon sticks and enjoyed. That simple!
There you have it! Another glorious day of simple living in Alberta. Good, easy food, beautiful scenery and family fun! Tonight we do our leftovers in reverse – Turkey Dinner with the fixings!
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours – be thankful all year long!