The Kitchen Prep: When Turkey Doesn't Matter...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

When Turkey Doesn't Matter...

Life has a funny way of reminding you what is most important.

You may have noticed that last week, during what is usually the culminating culinary event of the year for most food lovers, I didn't even post once. Not a turkey roasting tip, suggestion for the flakiest pie crust, or creative use of pumpkin puree in sight.

While many were busy making preparations for a Thanksgiving feast, my family and I were at the hospital with my Abuela who fell and injured her back the weekend prior to Thanksgiving. She was in excrutiating pain for days. We couldn't do anything to help her or relieve her discomfort. It was torturous for her and for us.

While I had spent the past few weeks doing what I always do - leafing through holiday magazines, planning the dishes that I'd contribute to the spread, daydreaming about the finishing touches that would make everything look just right - my Thanksgiving didn't even remotely resemble what I had imagined. Not even a little bit.

But the funny thing is, I've never been more thankful at Thanksgiving. Thankful for my family, who stuck together to help Abuela as best we could. Thankful for my friends who sent their well-wishes and prayers our way. Thankful for modern medicine and for health care workers. Thankful for my faith and for God's healing.

I always knew that the real meaning of Thanksgiving had nothing to do with turkey, stuffing, sides, and pies {though they certainly make the holiday enjoyable & delicious!}. After this year's experience, I will never forget that.

I'm happy to report that Abuela's surgery went well. She is home from the hospital as of yesterday, and relatively pain-free.

As for Thanksgiving recipes... well, we'll have to make up for lost calories some other time. :)

In the meantime, while we get in the Christmas spirit {and get some rest from worrying & hospital visits!}, I'll leave you with a recipe for Eggnog Mini Loaves that are perfect for sharing with family and friends. Because, after all, we know they're what really make the holidays sweet.

Eggnog Mini Loaves
From Taste of Home Food Gifts Edition Magazine

  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 cup eggnog

  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 2 teaspoons rum extract (or dark rum)

  • 1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. In another bowl, beat the eggs, eggnog, sugar, butter and extracts; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.

    2. Pour into three greased 5-3/4-in. x 3-in. x 2-in. loaf pans. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. *

    *Note: I made this twice, once with 2 eggs and once with only 1 (because I ran out) and both times it turned out just fine. I might have actually liked the 1 egg version better. Also, I made one big loaf the first time & 2 small loaves the second time. Just watch your cooking time if you decide to do that, too.


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