The In-Between: Our First Couples-Only Holiday Meal

Hats off right away to the following people: housewives from the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s, anyone that has ever prepared a holiday meal where no one brings a side dish, and people who love baking.  I thought about all of you yesterday while preparing our “practice” Thanksgiving feast, which did not actually include any traditional Thanksgiving foods, because we’re saving that for the big one.  I’m that one person in a hundred who actually isn’t that fond of comfort foods- meats, mashed potatoes, and worst of all, gravy.  That means, I only allow it once a year!  Read: this is not a personal attack on Canadian Thanksgiving, so be calm.

Our feast yesterday came together with the help of our fabulous Off the Hook fish share, and our continued Maritime inspiration.  We decided to do fish and fresh produce, and then eat it all.  Here’s a rundown of our meal:

As I’ve mentioned several times now, LNH don’t bake.  I fantasize about it frequently, spend hours pinning things I plan to bake, but it just doesn’t come together.  Yesterday, I learned why.  I’m not nearly patient enough for baking, which caused me to completely misread this very easy recipe from Paula Deen.  Amateur hour.  The great news, I somehow outsmarted Paula Deen, because my mistake made it even MORE delicious.  HAHA!  Win.

Paula Deen’s Pumpkin Pie Recipe (Food Network) – Before you get too excited, let’s just clear the air.  I did not make the crust, and I know that’s cheating.  I told hubs, yes, if I’m making my first ever pie (really!!) I have to make the crust, too.  Then we read the thing about bags of beans and pie weights and were like, “Hmmm maybe next time.”  This came together the morning of, after all.  So yeah- I’m sure you’re dying to know about my big mistake.  Instead of two cups of pumpkin, I got a little carried away and used two entire cans of organic pumpkin.  Whoops.  Everything else, I measured as written, and guess what, it was fantastic anyways.  Do it my way, or Paula’s way (if you want just one pie, or one pie that’s bland.)  My way yielded two pies + a ramekin.  Hehe.

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Thanks, corporation that made this.
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Pie #1 – aka “tester”
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Pie #2 – prize winner. Paula Deen WISHES her recipe yielded 2 pies.

Roasted Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup (Crepes of Wrath) – I’ve been wanting to do something different with my collection of sweet potatoes and this recipes seemed like the perfect Fakesgiving starter.  It was very easy, with the exception of trying to decide how much water to add at the end.  She suggests “eight cups or less,” and I probably didn’t add enough.  Result: a VERY hearty soup that was incredibly flavorful and filling.  I’d add at least six cups of water next time.  Make sure you scroll allllll the way to the bottom of her post, where the recipe is.

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Roasted carrots, sweet potatoes, and onions- pre soup.
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That soup has girth.

Roasted Butternut Squash (Me) – At this point, I began to realize my entire repertoire was of foods from the orange-colored family.  We took care of our beta carotene intake for at least a week.  About four years ago, I bought and roasted my first butternut squash and fell in love.  Squash is so sweet, wonderful and easy- ONCE you get past the cutting part. Yesterday, in an effort to save my skin (literally,) I nuked the squash halves in the microwave to help soften up the skin before peeling, for about two minutes.  It helped about 68%.  I still have a knife burn from all the hacking, but it was worth it.  I chop into bite size pieces, toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, cinnamon, and a pinch of brown sugar and roast for about 40 minutes at 375 degrees.

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OH look. More orange food.

Crab Stuffed Haddock (Allrecipes) – This was all the husband’s doing, and I’m proud to say- he is a meticulous chef with a flair for perfection and artfully chopped ingredients.  He really puts me to shame.  The fish was fresh, stunning and so enjoyable.  By the time we sat down to the fish course, I was far past my comfort level but continued eating, based on tastiness alone.  Excited for tonight’s leftovers!

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Let the stuffing commence.
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If your fish isn’t swimming in what I call, “a butter pool,” you did it wrong.

When all was said and done, I was exhausted!  Four straight hours of cooking, and we didn’t even make a damn turkey!  I will also say, after all that work, we kind of were thinking it might have been nice to have a turkey….ha.  As our first “couples” holiday with just the two of us, and no moms, aunts, or dads providing the eats, I’d say it was a success.  Definitely a good exercise in teamwork and mutual appreciation, as well.  Awwww.  Cute.

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