T'was The Day After Thanksgiving - LIFE'S A BEACH Blog at Allrecipes.com - 316555


T'was the day after Thanksgiving 
Dec. 1, 2013 6:30 pm 
Updated: Dec. 12, 2013 2:20 pm

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  I love gathering family and friends to celebrate life's goodness with good food and conversation.  Things have been remarkably different for us over the last few years.  The "Holiday Hens", as my brother in law called us, have been disbanded.  One moving out of state, another simply retiring from the planning and execution of big gatherings.  Last year found me in a tent with other volunteers cooking turkey dinners on donated gas grills after Sandy ravaged our community.

This year marks a new era for our family Holiday traditions.  My eldest daughter decided she would like to host this year and her cousin, not to be outdone, has decided Christmas will be at her home.  We have a new brood of "Holiday Hens."  And so far, they have proved very capable.  All of which helps me since I have taken on responsibility for managing our parish soup kitchen and the holidays require extra attention from me.

The Allrecipes Ambassadors were asked to prepare a casserole made from leftovers and Kraft Foods products.  I kept looking at the recipe http://allrecipes.com/recipe/thanksgiving-leftovers-casserole/detail.aspx<  and thinking it could easily be adapted so I could serve a more festive meal to our vegetarian guests at the soup kitchen Thanksgiving dinner than the usual plate, stripped of turkey and gravy.

Since we would need about a dozen vegetarian meals we made two large pans, lining them with Stovetop Cornbread stuffing prepared with extra onion, celery and grated carrots.  We filled the cavity with chopped Portabella mushrooms, sautéed with garlic and onions and liberally sprinkled with shredded Kraft Italian blend cheese.  We topped this with mashed potatoes, piped into rosettes by one of our amazing staff and dusted with paprika.  After baking at 350F we presented our guests with as appetizing a meal as their carnivorous friends ate.

Thank you Kraft and WalMart for helping make this holiday a little happier for those in need.

Note: this is Kraft's photo as we do not permit photographs in the soup kitchen.

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Dec. 1, 2013 8:03 pm
Thanks for what you do, Bigshotsmom. I volunteer at a food bank here and I'm vegetarian, so I particularly appreciate your making Thanksgiving special for those who choose not to eat meat. Often, the attitude is if you're hungry, you should eat what you're given. I see this often with our Muslim clients or people who are gluten intolerant or have other dietary restrictions. You are a true example of charity in its true sense. Thank you.
Dec. 1, 2013 8:34 pm
i too was a manager at the wife's parish soup kitchen. it's very humbling to see so many in need. we love ya bigshotsmom!
Dec. 1, 2013 8:35 pm
What a great idea!! Love your thoughtfulness.
Dec. 1, 2013 9:10 pm
Susiekew, we are fortunate in that we are not a really large operation and are able to be more flexible. I want everyone who needs us to feel included. I always think it reflects on me if we don't make an effort to make a nice presentation.
Dec. 1, 2013 9:15 pm
Mrs.J, I don't think of it as charitable work. Just something that needs to be done. The people who upset me the most are the vets who have become substance abusers. Most of the others will see things get better and move on, but these men... It is really sad.
Dec. 1, 2013 9:16 pm
We love you too Gary! Thanks for stepping up. It really makes a difference.
Dec. 1, 2013 9:17 pm
FF5! Thank you for your kind words.
Dec. 2, 2013 6:15 am
What a terrific idea, BSM. I am sure your efforts were greatly appreciated. As you pass the baton to the next generation of 'Holiday Hens' you have brought joy to those in need. A perfect example of truly giving thanks.
Dec. 2, 2013 6:26 am
BigShotsMom, How wonderful that you volunteer your time to make holiday meals so special for those in need.
Dec. 2, 2013 10:21 am
It's nice to hear from someone that is so loving to all mankind - you really went "above & beyond" for the needy and, I'm sure, made them feel as good as possible in their circumstances. I, too, have an especially soft spot for our Vets - so many lives wrecked & not enough help. You are doing your part - THANK YOU!
Dec. 2, 2013 10:27 am
Hi Baking Nana! Yes, change is good! We had a lovely holiday. You will be amazed the first time you let control go to see new traditions form.
Dec. 2, 2013 10:30 am
Hi Lela, this is embarrassing. I get as much out of it as I put in. I love to cook and after doing it for a huge family for years it was a natural progression.
Dec. 2, 2013 10:31 am
Scooter sandy, you stated the situation well. I love doing it and love knowing it is useful.
Dec. 2, 2013 10:41 am
Proud to know you.
Dec. 2, 2013 1:06 pm
Aw, Rosebud, ...blushes....it is really about how food is a comfort.
Dec. 2, 2013 1:50 pm
You are awesome! Not only for the volunteer work you do, but also for taking the time to think of and make vegetarian meals for those who don't eat meat. Thank you for all you do for your community.
Dec. 2, 2013 4:09 pm
Thank you for the kind words, DebbieJean. This has become such a blessing to me and fills my time in a way I can be proud of.
Dec. 3, 2013 1:59 pm
I doubt you will ever top last years efforts when you cooked that meal when you too were homeless because of Sandy. Your example of living is one I am proud to relate! Thank you for being you.
Dec. 3, 2013 2:05 pm
That sounds like it was a good meal that would've been well received by the guests at the soup kitchen. Thanks for taking the time to serve in such a way. It's always great to hear stories like these.
Dec. 3, 2013 5:46 pm
Oh, Mike, this has become embarrassing! The only way I know how to survive is to get out of my own head and focus on other things. Hopefully, I do some good along the way. You are pretty special in your generosity - thank you for your support!
Dec. 3, 2013 5:46 pm
Thanks One Fat Frog.....I LOVE that name.
Dec. 3, 2013 7:57 pm
What a worthwhile project in lieu of your Holiday Hens gathering. Great for the young chicks to prepare feasts. Now they can rule the roost.
Dec. 4, 2013 10:53 am
Hi MB! Yes, we are turning the holidays over to the young chicks. I just hope they have as much fun and make the great memories my Sisters in law and I did over the years.
Dec. 9, 2013 10:00 pm
Hey BSM, tell us more about your big family. This would be interesting bull sh-- story. C.W.P. can you remember your lies? KEEP US AMUZED.
Dec. 10, 2013 6:50 pm
READERS BEWARE !!!!! Bigshotsmom A.K.A." C.W.P." THIS PERSON HAS A VERY BAD HABIT OF NOT TELLING THE TRUTH. Where I come from we call them a " LIAR.''
Dec. 12, 2013 2:20 pm
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Long Island, New York, USA
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About Me
I am a mother, grandmother, great grandmother by marriage and great aunt. My empty nest seems full most of the time and they all are ready to eat at any moment. I am busier now than I ever imagined once I retired. I now manage our parish friendship kitchen and help in the food bank. Part of what I love most is helping our clients learn to eat nutritiously on their very meager budgets and Allrecipes has been an invaluable tool.
My favorite things to cook
I love anything i can make from scratch, i like to bake breads, rolls, cookies, cobblers, pies. I like to make large dinners too and entertain frequently. I love trying new recipes out on friends and family. Sunday brunch has become a family focal point and if something new doesn't appear they act deprived.
My favorite family cooking traditions
I didn't really grow up with any. Neither my mother or grandmother were great cooks. I learned to cook by trial and error on my own. But I married into a family of excellent cooks who went all out for holidays. All of my children cook well and we work well together preparing holiday meals.
My cooking triumphs
My first successful yeast bread. I spent years being terrified of yeast. The first time my MIL complimented me on a meal I felt like I had won an Emmy.
My cooking tragedies
My early years of cooking were one fiasco after another. I could actually cook fairly well, but had no idea when to start things so they all were ready at the same time. Some meals took whole evenings. My poor husband never once complained, although he did once mention he hoped dinner would be over before it was time for breakfast.
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