by Alex Holsinger Halloween just past us, which means Christmas decorations in the retail outlets will be on display in a matter of minutes. For years, my immediate family has charted a decidedly "anti-consumerism" path specifically when it comes to Christmas. Our three kids have never really known the early Christmas morning frenzy of tearing open package after package, but rather, will have a stocking on the mantle with some small but meaningful items in it. Instead, our main gift to one another as a family has been an outing of some sort, or a short (nearby) weekend getaway, for example. A common gift for the whole family might be great tickets to the Missouri Rep's "A Christmas Carol" and a night out on the town. Yes - we still spend money (perhaps more than we mean to), but for years we've opted for the 'experience' over the 'material', when it comes to our family 'gift exchange', and it's been great. If any of our kids end up in therapy because of this practice, I will be sure to let the entire church know. (Smile)
submitted by Kristi H.
In addition to our favorite Thanksgiving recipes, this year each of our sons contributed something new and amazing to the meal. Luke, our baker, made giant flaky dinner rolls, Eli made vegan Bailey’s Irish Cream and pumpkin cookies, and Jordan created a green bean casserole that is too good not to share.
Beans: Trim 2 lbs green beans and boil in veggie stock until al dente. Drain and set aside.
Cream of Mushroom Soup: Sautee an onion until semi-translucent in a tablespoon of olive oil. Add three cloves of crushed garlic, thyme, and rosemary. Add about three cups (12 oz. by weight) of mixed mushroom blend (he used a fresh store blend of pre-cut oyster, shitake, and baby portabella). Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook down until the mushrooms are reduced and almost all the moisture is gone. Add about two cups of cashew cream and a half cup of water. Set over low heat.
Garnishes: Slice 6-8 small shallots as thin as possible. Heat the shallots and one cup of vegetable oil from room temperature to high heat. Remove shallots once they are golden brown. Toast one cup of pine nuts in a dry pan over medium heat.
In a casserole dish combine the cream of mushroom with the green beans and heat at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Remove, add the pine nuts and shallots and cover with tin foil until ready to serve.
Also, here is our beautiful “turkey” recipe, affectionately known as the roast beast.